Thursday, February 25, 2010

Headlines - Thursday

How Did Insurance Companies Become Inviolate?

Reading Matt Taibbi and the absurdity of the Obama administration trying to reform healthcare without repealing health insurance anti-trust exemption a plain fact forever clicked into place: nobody represented the little people in this outrage called reform, so the little people can expect little or nothing to change for the better when this Lucy-kabuki-summitry-insanity is finally over.

Single Payer? The one solution the rest of the industrialized world uses that could make such a difference for everyone? Surely you jest, liberal. Public Option? Mandates were campaigned against but suddenly here they are1, and after a cruel tease to the Democratic base the public option was finally dropped, God forbid competition could enter this hell of a forced market. Anti-trust? A year after starting a pathetic attempt will fail, according to Taibbi. Transparency and fairness? Right from the git-go of this torturous nightmare big pharma and Billy Tauzin got a secret deal so the drug industry got all kinds of breaks and protection. Did a group for the little people get a secret deal for all kinds of benefits at the end? Right.

Leaving aside the unforgivable potential electoral disaster this represents (one can endlessly debate the intelligence of the electorate, fine, but every single citizen in the Republic is going to instantly see how the little people got shafted and un-rescued when this nightmare is finally over) and the mystifying phenomena of a candidate promising Hope™ and Change® delivering nothing of the sort on both counts, just how in the hell did the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries get to be such all-powerful inviolate badass political power centers, the chump wannabee representatives of Congress mere pipsqueaks in their pockets? Keep reading:


Olbermann: 'My father asked me to kill him'


Even the devil is afraid of Dick Cheney

Emperor Palpitation suffered a mild "heart" attack Monday when he complained of chest pains and was hospitalized, his office said Tuesday. He underwent a catheterization of fresh puppy blood and returned to his fortified bunker Wednesday morning. Dammit.


Bush: Crist 'unforgivable' on stimulus support - Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush told the conservative publication NewsMax in an on-camera interview that he considers Gov. Charlie Crist's support for last year's stimulus bill "unforgivable."
Jeb Bush: The only governor to have all three of his children obtain police records while he was in office.
By Madeleine Begun Kane

"The stim bill was bad. Voted no,
Cuz it won't the economy grow."
That's the GOP rant
As they privately chant,
"Now give me more stimulus dough."
Adding to the number of criminals
The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) briefed members of Congress from both political parties numerous times about the agency's interrogation and detention programs, several prominent human rights groups said Monday.
Just when you thought that the proverbial fat lady was about to launch into an aria over the final withdrawal of US military forces in Iraq, the US military announced that it is drawing up contingency plans to delay the withdrawal.
The most trusted name in news

CNN Headline: "Poll: Dems should take first step to bridge divide"

First sentence of article: "Two-thirds of Americans think that the Republicans in Congress are not doing enough to cooperate with President Obama, poll suggests."

Update: people are fucking stupid.

Thanks for nothing!
Doctors' Group: Obama Plan Leaves Millions Uninsured, Boosts Private Insurers - by Physicians for National Health Program

WASHINGTON - President Obama's health care proposal, preserving as it does a central role for the for-profit, private health insurance industry, is incapable of achieving the kind of universal, comprehensive and affordable reform the country needs, a spokesman for a national doctors' group said Wednesday.

"Regrettably, the president's proposal is built on some of the worst aspects of the Senate bill," said Dr. Quentin Young, national coordinator of Physicians for a National Health Program, an organization of 17,000 doctors who support single-payer, Medicare-for-All approach to reform. Young's statement comes on the eve of the president's bipartisan summit in Washington.

"For example, the president's proposal would ship hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars to the private health insurance industry in the form of subsidies," Young said. "And to help finance this, it would impose a new tax on health benefits of workers, especially those in high-cost states.

Meghan Stapleton, Top Palin Aide, Resigns to Spend
More Time with a 'Saint' and a 'Precious Miracle'
I guess life with the Grifter Family Circus finally got to her.
But on the bright side, Mooselini will be able to handle The Facebook and The Twitter by herself. Hilarity ensues!

Banking and Healthcare: Reform in Name Only:


Good riddance: GM's deal to sell its Hummer brand to a Chinese automaker fell through Wednesday and the company said it now plans to shut down the brand. 


Where is the Kevin Rudd of the Mediterranean?  The Bob Barker of Bluefin?

Japan flips off CITES over sushi

Not surprising, but irritating nonetheless – heading of CITES at the pass, Japan says they'll buy and eat the last damn bluefin tuna regardless of scientific research and world opinion.


Watch out Carrie Prejean, Miss Beverly Hills 2010 is even homophobier than thou - notes biblical penalty for gays is death:



Was Cheney's Heart Attack Triggered by Stress Over DOJ Finding That He Lied about Torture Intel?
More faith-based evil 

Cults are all about control, and small children must be very hard to control.

The leader of a religious cult was "outraged" when a 1-year-old boy did not say "Amen" before a meal and ordered her followers to deprive him of food and water until he died, a Baltimore prosecutor told jurors Monday.

Another horrifying detail: the mother of the boy went along with the punishment and watched him waste away…all because she wanted to be accepted as a member of the cult.


'The Republican party is the wholly owned subsidiary of the insurance industry'

The Republicans did not like it when Rep. Anthony Weiner called them out during the debate on the antitrust bill. But, he's right. Even if his words had to be stricken from the record, they live on:
Angela Braly, Chairman and CEO of Wellpoint, presides over a corporation which, in 2008, awarded 39 executives over $1 million each in compensation and spent $27 million on 'executive retreats'. Defending her company's recent premium increases of up to 39%, Ms. Braly insists that she is on the side of the consumer. So was Vlad the Impaler.
Dear Sarah: Say it is so, run for president
Leonard Pitts in the Miami Herald:

Dear Sarah Palin:

I hear you're pondering a run for the White House in 2012. Last week, you told Fox news it would be ``absurd'' to rule it out.

I'm writing to ask that you rule it in. I very badly want you to run for -- and win -- the Republican nomination for the presidency.

I know you're waiting for the punch line. Maybe you figure I think you'd be a weak candidate who would pave the way for President Obama's easy re-election.

That's not it. No, I want you to run because I believe a Palin candidacy would force upon this country a desperately needed moment of truth. It would require us to finally decide what kind of America we want to be.

Mrs. Palin, you are an avatar of the shameless hypocrisy and cognitive disconnection that have driven our politics for the last decade, a process of stupidification creeping like kudzu over our national life.

No, you represent the latest iteration of an anti-intellectualism that periodically rises in the American character. There is, historically and persistently, a belief in us that y'all just can't trust nobody who acts too smart or talks too good -- in other words, somebody whose "general persona'' indicates they may have once cracked a book or had a thought. Americans tend to believe common sense the exclusive province of humble folks without sheepskins on the wall or big words in their vocabularies.

More to the point, something is wrong when we celebrate mental mediocrity like yours under the misapprehension that competence or, God forbid, intelligence, makes a person one of those "elites" -- that's a curse word now -- lacking authenticity, compassion and common sense.

So no, this is not a clash of ideologies, but a clash between intelligence and its opposite. And I am tired of being asked to pretend stupid is a virtue. That's why I'd welcome the moment of truth your campaign would bring. It would force us to decide once and for all whether we are permanently committed to the path of ignorance, of birthers, truthers and tea party incoherence you represent, or whether we will at last turn back from the cliff toward which we race.

If the latter, wonderful, God bless America. If the former, well, some of us can finally quit hoping the nation will return to its senses and plan accordingly. Either way, we need to know, and your candidacy would tell us. If you love this country, Mrs. Palin, you can do it no greater service.

Run, Sarah, run.

Ya got balls, Lenny. If Plan A prevails, all's right with the world. Plan B? Look out Canuckistan, here we come, eh?
Dispatch from the "Figure that out all by yourself, Einstein?" file
Gee...who'd a thunk that when you have mass layoffs combined with a disappearing job base, it has public health consequences.
Dr. Gallo is assuming, of course, that lessening or eliminating the effects of job loss is what the people who run the government (particularly the Reublican Party) and corporations (is there really a difference?) want. I think that diminishing life expectancy is exactly the desired goal. It reduces retirement and health care expenses, so what's not to like, when the only thing that matters is the bottom line? If you're going to systematically destroy the middle class, you want to make damn sure they aren't around to pick up the torches and pitchforks.
Grinding veeerrry slowly
The Federal wheels of justice are about to grind their way through the New Orleans Police Department on various Federal charges associated with the alleged murderous acts allegedly committed by police officers after Hurricane Katrina.
A retired police lieutenant was charged Wednesday with obstruction of justice, the first charge in a wide-ranging federal inquiry into whether police misconduct led to civilian deaths in the chaotic days after Hurricane Katrina.
Next up for a slow grinding will be the New York Federal Reserve and Goldman Sachs, for it is becoming clearer and clearer that Goldman Sachs's bloody fingeprints are all over the collapse of AIG and Societe Generale.
When a congressional panel convened a hearing on the government rescue of American International Group Inc. in January, the public scolding of Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner got the most attention. ...

A potentially more important development slipped by with less notice, Bloomberg Markets reports in its April issue. Representative Darrell Issa, the ranking Republican on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, placed into the hearing record a five-page document itemizing the mortgage securities on which banks such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Societe Generale SA had bought $62.1 billion in credit-default swaps from AIG.
Goldman Sachs, among others, allegedly created a class of extremely toxic securities and then, allegedly knowing full well that the securities were garbage, insured them with AIG.

Ron Beasley is right: This would be just like taking out an insurance policy on someone, then having them whacked and collecting on the insurance policy. Only instead of killing one person, these bespoke-suit-wearing grifters threw millions of people out of work and were instrumental in shuttering thousands of businesses.

And they continue to live their lives, unmolested in any way. This is indeed a curious world we live in.
Funny Pictures of Cats With Captions
This is a really good idea and I hope people sign on.

"Nearly half of the Arizona Legislature wants to force President Barack Obama to show his birth certificate to state officials if he runs for re-election. All 40 co-sponsors are Republicans, comprising 75 percent of the GOP caucus. Two of them have since resigned to run for Congress."

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