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Monday, 03 August 2009 03:48

BuzzFlash Mailbag for August 3, 2009

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Subject: The Big Squeeze

Even as carefully qualified as it was, President Obama's assessment of the GDP numbers released Friday seemed to paint far to rosy a picture. That the flow of lost jobs has slowed was the "good" news apparently. It does seem to me that this is more analogous of a lemon getting squeezed - sure the flow of juice eventually slows - but doesn't mean that the pressure has let up. The point of maximum dynamic pressure on the economy is likely still ahead. Durable goods orders were down significantly last quarter - that's the number that really counts. It's where the jobs are - or at least used to be. The fact that he has to hold his nose while feeding billions to big bankers is not all that consoling either. There has been no financial reform - just rumors that the government is considering the possibility that it might be advisable to at some point regulate someone - but then again it might not. Besides the republicans are against it - out of concern for small businesses. I quit laughing at that joke long ago. Then of course there was the "it might have been so much worse" aphorism. The fact that you can't really argue with it accounts for its popular use in defense of "trickle down" economics. Missing by a mile is better than missing by three miles - unless of course the object is to actually hit the target.

The grimmer the economy actually becomes, the rosier the picture being painted for us. Obama's financial advisors missed a promising career as portraitists to become the economic hacks that they are. The president distances himself from unpopular bonuses for bankers by passing his wallet to an "independent" compensation "czar". He has yet to explain how record compensation for the perps at Goldman Sachs has benefitted the American middle class in any way. And of course the question is never put to him. Nor has he offered any explanation for how consolidation amongst "too big to fail" banks is not anti-competitive to the extreme. The only competition that's going on is in who can get their hands deeper into Uncle Sam's pocket and buy up or ruin the biggest number of their smaller competitors. As always there's that disgusting tinge of irony to all regressive policies. The "no downside to big" - "Bank of Opportunism", Skank of America, already a consolidation of two of the biggest banks in the country - plus Country Wide - the prime player in the sub-prime crisis, has gone on to acquire Merrill Lynch one of the biggest investment banks on Wall Street. So if they were too big to fail in the first place, they're super jumbo sized too big to fail now. The irony is obvious to anyone who knows anything about BofA's history. When Mr. Giannini founded it as the Bank of Italy it was dedicated to providing banking services to average Americans. The big "wealth management" banks in NY had nothing but contempt for this entire concept and as the bank grew it's nemisi on Wall Street intervened not once, but many times by having congressional their cronies pass more laws specifically crafted to curtail the growth, popularity and profitability of consumer banking and the growth of BofA - including eventually breaking the bank up into smaller entities - than in the entire history of U.S. banking . This is all detailed on Wikipedia here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bank_of_America and in the excellent book "Breaking the Bank", which chronicles BofA management's early dis-sastifaction with revenue produced from their always profitable consumer banking operations and how they lost their shirts in a series of risky financial adventures in South America. The perps working at these TB2F banks have proven their worth by first causing the crisis by taking excessive profits out of the economy (using the "Enron loophole", provided to them by congress), and then profiting from the crisis in ways that few could even have dreamed of. From their point of view they're just getting their fair share of the spoils - the fact that it's taxpayer money is just icing on the cake. These people are pirates and they behave like pirates - no different from their cousins off the coast of Somalia.

On Meet the Press/Lets make a Deal - or whatever it's called now, Larry Summers talked about "getting these banks to recognize that they need to contribute to their communities". Part of this week's deal was apparently that he'd be asked no questions on TB2F bank compensation or consolidation - and sure enough he wasn't. These so-called banks are all about making as much money as they possibly can and the notion that they can be persuaded to do otherwise is just poppycock. On all matters related to banking the Obama administration is even more secretive than the shrubbery that preceded it. These people are virulently anti-labor and anti anybody that they don't play bridge with. They in fact run the country. They'll do anything to distract the country while they're in the process of "getting paid" on the public dole - including this fakir's health care plan. Already profits are up dramatically congressional leadership. Congress is a little bit like eBay in that they put their legislation up for bid, but they're different in that they get to take money from all bidders while giving the prize up to the highest bidder. It's more of the heads I win, tails you lose kind of game that originally caused the economic crisis and is now being exploited to the max. They don't even have to keep it a secret - it's common knowledge and in the headlines nearly every day. The big joke is that "no crisis should go unexploited" and this one certainly isn't. The health care reform that will come from congress is the one crafted by the insurance companies that will force everyone to by an insurance plan with very high deductibles and crafted to cover only those illnesses that they're least likely to acquire - like an excess of money. Never has there been a citizenry more worthy of this plan the people of the United States today. They follow where their Fox leads them - even into the heart of the deepest and darkest wood. Congress and MSM have turned "reform" into a dirty word. What gets reformed today will be biting Americans painfully in the ass tomorrow - especially in the region around the wallet.

We are being squeezed by the insurance companies on one side and the banks on the other. This is an n-square problem. The fewer jobs the more uninsured, the more uninsured the more costly it is for taxpayers who left to pay for expensive visits to the emergency room and the serious illnesses that result from lack of access to preventative medical intervention. Insurance companies thrive on the emerging demographic of people who changes jobs frequently and who forfeit their medical insurance payments each time that they do. An entire strata of Americans are being actuarially killed off by companies already making obscene profits. This is more a question of basic morality than it is of medicine. There is no chance that the senate will pass a plan that includes a public option - much less single payer. Taking our money and snubbing us is one thing, taking corporate lobbyist money and snubbing them is quite another. They have to produce what they were paid for or risk waking up in bed with a horse's head. To them a public option is a public foot in the door that will reveal them for the skimmers and scammers that they are. Their plan is guaranteed to make things much worse (good) while a public option in almost any form will work (bad). The very things that they're trying scare Americans with are actually the inevitable outcome of the "plan" they're lobbying for. I'll take my chances with a government bureaucrat any day over a front man for a greedy insurance company.

For me the worst of it is that Obama is so embedded with big bankers and big oil that the real economy is effectively pinned to the ground. The health care plan that he will sign into law will only make things much worse and actually put a huge number of Americans under the ground.

Tim Mooring
San Francisco, CA


Published in BuzzFlash Mailbag
Friday, 31 July 2009 04:50

BuzzFlash Mailbag for July 31, 2009

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Subject: Why Invent The Wheel

I just listened to an interview Thom Hartmann had with Sara Robinson. She's an American journalist living in Canada discussing the Canadian health care system.

See the video interview http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Glokxfzcsk&featrue=channel

Sara wrote an article:"Mythbusting Canadian Health Care Part I" Feb 4, 2008 http://www.ourfuture.org/node/21313

In her article she addresses all the questions you might have about the Canadian system.

My husband is insured through the Illinois Chips insurance program. Right now premiums for him alone are $850 a MONTH. You'd think a state program would be cheap but it isn't. We also have to have insurance for the rest of us which is costly.

Why can't Congress just use what our neighbors to the north are using? It seems to be working just find for the Canadians so why can't Americans have the same program?

How hard is it to look at the Canadians, British, French and any other country that ALREADY has a nationalized health scheme and just use what they have that is successful?

These law makers need their heads examined. Unfortunately, with our health insurance coverage here in America,it wouldn't be covered.

markmyword
Chicago, Illinois


Published in BuzzFlash Mailbag
Thursday, 30 July 2009 04:48

BuzzFlash Mailbag for July 30, 2009

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Subject: Health Care or Health Insurance Reform?

Read this morning that the administration is reframing the terms of the debate from health care to health insurance reform. It got me thinking if this is what the real debate is actually about.

To a certain degree, there is an argument to be made that everyone has access to health care in that they can go to an emergency room of a public hospital and receive care. The question then really boils down to one of whether they WILL be able to afford the price of that care.

Many times people DO avoid going to a doctor on a routine basis because the cost of the care is prohibitive. So, they let preventive care go with the hope that it might magically heal itself. However, it doesn't. By the time it gets to that point, the problem is exacerbated and they finally have no choice but to go to an ER.

People are going bankrupt due to the COST of health insurance premiums and the COST of prescription medicines that are preventive (such as BP meds, cholesterol meds, and other types of meds to control every day problems). These are also the types of problems that then morph into "pre-existing conditions" or "chronic" conditions that insurance companies will drop a person for due to "costs."

A person with insurance is then dropped and no longer can afford the hands-on costs for the preventive care (regular visits and routine tests) and preventive meds (atenolol, lipitor, etc). Thus the issue then does, indeed, become of affordability.

Perhaps this has been a part of the problem. The Republicrats have twisted what is really meant by "health care affordability and access" into one strictly of health care.

We have heard the straw man argument that some have put out that has scared some seniors -- that of "government employees" talking to individual seniors about "end-of-life" planning being plans for assisted suicide. What is really specified is making sure all affairs are in order or provisions made. This is an initiative that DOES make sense -- do you have your wishes in writing? Do you want to be resusitate? Do you want tube feeding? What about life support if you have a terminal illness? These are actually issues we should address forthrightly no matter how our age. But, this was twisted by repubicrats into euthanasia.

But seriously, this is really an issue of affordability of health care and health care insurance.

I still don't understand what the problem is with perhaps forming a federal government group insurance type of program for those who can't afford "typical" health insurance health care. Instead of providing subsidies, have a sliding scale for premium payments. It only makes sense that the more people you have paying in, the less expensive it will be.

The more people paying in, costs can be lower. It makes sense to me. When I was employed by the USPS, I had Group Health and my co-pays were very inexpensive. It could be set up on the VA model for vets who are unable to afford traditional health insurance.

You fill out paperwork based on your federal taxes and your "payment" is based on that. You can also get your prescriptions through VA. Same could be done for dental care. A federal system of affordable dental care in each and every state. Doctors and dentists can contract to provide services perhaps at reduced rates. The people who can afford lower premiums will increase the amount of patients a good provider can bring in -- everyone comes out better for it in the end.

This contentious debate between the "dems" and the "reps" is more about protecting the profits for the traditional industry than it is about having a healthy and productive society where everyone is treated fairly.

P.S. There are six, yes six, different committees in Congress working on this issue. Three are in the House, three are in the Senate. Is it any wonder it is such a cluster? Just one version of a bill, HR 3200 is over 1,000 pages long. Insanity reigns supreme in our government bureaucracies of blood sucking leaches.

L M Johnson
Tacoma WA


Published in BuzzFlash Mailbag
Wednesday, 29 July 2009 06:31

BuzzFlash Mailbag for July 29, 2009

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Subject: Single Payer

Hey Buzz, Okay. So here's my concern. Assuming that a public option is the best we can get, (I reject that assumption, by the way), but, given that assumption, how do we keep said public option from becoming diluted and attenuated beyond recognition, to the point that it is worse than nothing? As you are well aware, I'm sure, there are powerful and nefarious forces at work now trying to do just that, i.e., to transform the concept of a public option into a cruel parody of its original intent. The Medical Industrial Complex and its lobbyists and lackeys are pulling hard to the right, trying to contort any proposed reform legislation into something which actually benefits not the people, but the health insurance companies. ( It should surprise no one that the health insurance companies would fight dirty and to the death to preserve their $500 billion dollar annual revenues. ) So, given such a sorry state of affairs, what should our response then be? Or, if we believe that politics is the art of the possible, and that that means compromise is always necessary to achieve our political goals, how do we get where we want to be? Well, to begin with, it would seem to me that if you want to end up in the middle, you don't start out in the middle. If you start out in the middle, and you believe that compromise is inevitable, then you will inevitably end up at a point some substaintial degree to the right of center, given that the opposition is pulling hard to the right. It would seem to me that the starting point would be to stake out a position on the left, and pull hard in that direction to at least counterbalance the forces that are pulling hard to the right. In this way, the final product would end up much closer to the middle, would it not? For this reason, then, I believe that everyone who supports real health care reform, whether they support the idea of single-payer or of a strong public option, whichever the case, should be fighting hard for single-payer. To this end, I would like to invite all of my friends who favor a strong public option to join me and other advocates of single-payer in supporting H.R. 676. Let's get real health care reform; not some insipid, watered-down farce that ends up helping the insurance companies.

G. Will Hunter
USA


Published in BuzzFlash Mailbag
Tuesday, 28 July 2009 04:37

BuzzFlash Mailbag for July 28, 2009

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Subject: A Party Without a Plan

A Party Without a Plan It seems to me that party affiliation has degenerated to the point of being just a label. On nearly every front the republican agenda and the democratic agenda are proving to be nearly identical. This must be extremely shocking and disappointing to people who supported President Obama during his candidacy and the election. Where is the change that he promised us? On foreign policy: identical. On economic policy: identical. On war policy: the venue has changed - otherwise identical. This is beyond galling to the point of being absolutely infuriating.

Perhaps the most irritating thing of all is that people on the left seem to be taking their "talking points" entirely from MSM. Can't people realize that the reason that SP is so popular with the right is that she is such a lightening for knee-jerk reaction on the left? If we were to stop talking about her she'd go away. Why is so much space on the Buzz devoted to her? She is a self-inflicted wound that will never heal if we keep scratching it. She's an obvious idiot - can't we just leave it at that and go on to address what I had hoped and thought was our agenda of change?

Even the term "progressive" has become little more than a meaningless label. Where are the concepts, the ideas? There doesn't seem to be any. Health care is even worse than a huge diversion - it is serving only to line congressional pockets. We had better hope that nothing will come of it because it's absolutely guaranteed that anything that does come from it will only serve to further the interests of the insurance and health care "industry". When you're getting your head pummeled is no time to be thinking of your health care plan - you need to be kicking the shit out of the people pummeling you on the head. In that huge field of democratic candidates in the '08 primaries there doesn't seem to have a single one of them - with the possible exception of Dennis Kucinich - who wasn't a republican in a blue tie. We should be jimmying the door of the WH and dragging that man out into the street. If b**h deserves jail time for lying - then so does Obama.

Obama supporting Star Wars? Obama sucking up to China? Obama kissing Israeli ass? Obama trying to emulate b**h with a mini-surge in Afghanistan? Obama as the banker's wallet? Obama trying to appeal to the republican base? WTF is going on? What's next - an effing hunting vest and a shotgun? We've been lied to and deceived before - but never on this scale. He promised to tax the rich - but I ask you - who's getting taxed? I know my patience is getting taxed. Don't you think he should at least throw a dog a bone? But even on things like NASA policy he won't do a GD thing. All we get is that idiotic grin and lame jokes. There's not even a single star in the sky anymore - we're experiencing a total eclipse of hope. Yes we can - what?

Meantime, back at the ranch, MSM is rubbing their ass in our face every single minute of every single day and the left is sucking it up. It's a spectacle of tweeting non-sense. Every day is puke worthy. I'd would so love to blame it all on that little prick, Tiny Tim Geithner, but how on earth can I? Obama is his boss. Was that our President talking up a grand alliance with China - that great repository of prison labor and American jobs? Since when did all the expressions of concern over civil rights turn into shit eating grins? Hillary Clinton is little more than a hill of beans. Did she break her elbow or her backbone?

If we wind up putting SP in the WH then no one can say that we don't deserve it.

Tim Mooring
San Francisco, CA


Published in BuzzFlash Mailbag
Monday, 27 July 2009 05:00

BuzzFlash Mailbag for July 27, 2009

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Subject: EJ Dionne and The Stupidity of Senator's Thune's Gun Amendment

Hi BuzzFlash,

I hope everybody has read EJ Dionne's column about allowing guns in Congress. If not, here it is.

"Arm The Senate" http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/07/26/AR2009072602189.html

Why, if Congress wants to allow whack-a-doodle gun owners to pack heat and roam OUR streets, stores, movie theaters, restaurants, etc; should THEY still get protected in Congress by Security Guards and Metal Detectors?

Get rid of the Security Guards and Metal Detectors and let people that "work" there walk into Congress facing an audience that isn't carrying signs or wearing pink shirts but "packing heat".

Let the members of Congress, that voted YES to retain their NRA Votes, pack their own heat and let the gun wars inside of Congress begin.

Can't wait to see how fast those 58 Senators duck under their desks when a spectator starts shooting at them.

Think this would be the last time we see such a stupid amendment from any Senator, regarding guns?

Nah, just dreaming. Those NRA Senators are too dumb for that. They would have an amendment up for a vote, requiring every Senator to bring a bazooka to work.

Thank-you EJ Dionne, for showing the stupidity of the NRA Senate Members.

Tom Wieliczka
Windsor Locks, CT


Published in BuzzFlash Mailbag
Friday, 24 July 2009 07:07

BuzzFlash Mailbag for July 24, 2009

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Subject: health care

What happened? Obama was for Single Payer health care back in 2003. Then he said he could do Single Payer if he had a Democratic House and Senate. Henry Waxman was for Single Payer. When asked "Are we going to have Single Payer now that we have the House, Senate and White House", he said "It's not going to happen." Why is he opposed to that now? Single Payer would cover everyone, with free choice of doctor and hospital, leaving nobody out. Why is Obama proposing a more expensive plan, which will leave the most vulnerable citizens, the elderly, and the sick, out? If you are over 55 and have cancer, he has told you to just forget it, you are not going to be covered. He hasn't read the entire bill (which is scary) but that's just a piece of it. Remember during the primaries how Hillary asked Obama "Who does your plan leave out?" Who do YOU want the plan to leave out? It will not lower costs. It is only a bailout for the insurance industry. Follow the money. The insurance company gave money to Obama and McCain. That money has to be paid back in tax dollars. The insurance company campaign contributions is like a loan from the mob. In France, everyone is covered. My 90 year old father-in-law is not told "you are too old" as our elderly WILL be told, under this proposed plan. It will not control costs. Taxes will go up, however. We need to make them consider the cheaper version of Single Payer and kick the insurance company and drug company out of our health care decisions. I don't care whose campaign they funded.

A BuzzFlash Reader


Published in BuzzFlash Mailbag
Thursday, 23 July 2009 04:49

BuzzFlash Mailbag for July 23, 2009

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Subject: Allow Concealed Carry in the Capitol Building

I wonder how Senator Thune feels about legalizing carrying concealed weapons into the Capitol or Supreme Court Buildings? If the right to carry a weapon is so sacrosanct - then why not? If it's OK on school campuses and in national parks why not in the Senate chamber. If someone in the public gallery draws a gun, then they can use their own guns to defend themselves. It seems imminently unfair for them to draw a little circle around themselves where their interpretation of the 2nd Amendment doesn't apply. If young children on school campuses have to face the prospect of being blown away by some gun nut then why not them? After all they have the best health plan available anywhere, if they get shot they can likely live to die another day. Those are better odds than you, your children or the police patrolling your neighborhood might face on any given day. If the perpetrator is caught then he/she would face the appropriate legal sanctions - that should be consolation enough for any dead Senator.

This may sound like a bad joke, but I'm just trying to find a line that Senator Thune won't cross on behalf of the NRA. National parks are not it, school campuses, class rooms and state lines, even churches are not it - what about the threshold to the Senate chamber? People have a right to protect themselves don't they? God knows we need to protect ourselves from the Senate. I just want to hear him say that there's someplace - anyplace where carrying a concealed Uzi would be inappropriate - and explain why.

Tim Mooring
San Francisco


Published in BuzzFlash Mailbag
Wednesday, 22 July 2009 05:03

BuzzFlash Mailbag for July 22, 2009

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Subject: Health Care

I'm one of the working uninsured. I lost my left eye to cancer ten years ago. My wife has had cancer twice. I had insurance, but being an independent contractor, we lost being able to afford it years ago.

I read about the Republicans saying that...well, never mind. If it's a Democratic idea they're against it. I do believe this.

Any elected official that votes against government run health care should show their loyality to decreased government costs by giving up their own government ran health care.

If they don't, they are hypocrites.

Mike Curtis
Greenbrier, AR


Published in BuzzFlash Mailbag
Tuesday, 21 July 2009 05:02

BuzzFlash Mailbag for July 21, 2009

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Subject: randall terry's "logic"

Hi, Buzz!!

Randall Terry said this week that if health-care reform includes funding for abortion, there will be violent opposition by so-called "pro-lifers," and that it will be the government's fault.

Reminds me of the period immediately before the Civil War, when Southerners threatened to secede if Lincoln were elected, saying that the North would then be to blame for breaking up the country. Lincoln replied, "That is cool. A highwayman puts a pistol to my ear and says, "Stand and deliver, or I shall kill you, and then you will be a murderer!"

Terry is just the latest grandstanding highwayman to jump out of the bushes at us. The really sad thing is that he's getting media attention for this. The only attention he should be getting is from law enforcement. The last time I checked, incitement to violence is NOT covered by the First Amendment, and IS illegal everywhere. Why is Terry still walking the streets?

Jane Hawes
Edmond, OK (red-state Democrat)


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