Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Fillibuster is to Fight Corruption, not to Foster it.

Senate Republicans and Senator Joe Lieberman have forgotten that they are in Washington to serve America. They voted against:

  1. Guaranteed affordable health care ( such as the public option or lowering the Medicare age limit that would offer price protection through competition)
  2. Legislation protecting the insurance customer from being dropped from their insurance
  3. Legislation protecting the insurance customer from arbitrary financial lifetime limits
  4. Legislation protecting the insurance customer from Government interference in their insurance plan (limiting what the private insurance companies cover, such as abortion)

Let's look at it another way. The Republican Senators, and Joe Lieberman voted for:

  1. Forcing 30 million more Americans onto the private health insurance plans without any price protections
  2. Allowing insurance companies to continue to defraud customers into paying premiums when there is no intention to actually pay for their health care
  3. Allowing insurance companies to declare any financial limits as to coverage that they choose
  4. Limiting the type of coverage that private insurance companies can offer (preventing them from paying for legal procedures such as abortion).

Every single Republican Senator voted for the above abuses of the American people. Luckily for us, they lost the vote!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Truth from a Fellow American

Yesterday, I was at the IGA grocery store, and got to talking to the grocery manager who was stocking the shelves behind me. I was looking at the tea, which wasn't on my list. We like an assortment of black and green teas, as well as flavored teas for after dinner, and I was trying to remember which ones we had recently finished. I must have been there long enough that he thought I might be interested in a conversation.

"My wife just called from Walmart" he said, "and whatever they might say about the recession, she says the store is empty."

This triggered my thoughts about Walmart, and as I was shopping at my local store, and he was employed by my local store, I thought it was worth a mention. He seemed to read my mind, because he continued.

"I know what they say about Walmart," he responded, "but they have the lowest prices, and several of he (Mr. Walmart) loses money on several of his products just because he promises to have to lowest prices."

I admitted that they had the lowest prices, and reminded him that I usually shopped locally so that local merchants would stay near where I lived. (The Walmart was 30 miles away.) I then explained the movie about Walmart which he hadn't seen. A couple had an invention and they wanted Walmart to pick it up because that would insure their financial success. Walmart told them the price they wanted to pay for it. This price was much lower than the couple's original plan, and they eventually found that they could only produce it at that price if they had it manufactured in China. They did, and Walmart agreed to sell it for them.

Overseas Manufacturing is Hurting Us

He agreed that it was a shame that US goods were being manufactured overseas, but that if they were the least expensive....

I suggested that the big corporations would do well to remember that if they didn't hire US workers, that there would be an ever shrinking market. If there is no one to buy, there won't be those great big profits for them.

He then told me a story that you would only hear from someone who had been in the grocery business for years and years.

Corporate Greed has Increased Since Owners Have Sold to CEO-run Corporations

He used to work at Waldbaum, when it was owned by Mr. Waldbaum. They marked up their goods about 15%. There were 75,000 full time employees. Mr. Waldbaum paid good wages and took care of his employees as well as his customers. He was a millionaire and his stores did a large business.

A&P then bought the chain. They fired 65,000 full time employees. They increased the markup to 30%. This increased profits greatly, but the chain's revenue dropped to half of what it had been. My grocery manager, Larry, explained that this kind of greed was happening everywhere. We didn't have business owners anymore, but CEO's. And, he added, CEO's don't care about anything but profit and they don't care about anyone but themselves.

He said that when he was young, people were paid well for what they did. He bought his home when he was still in his 20's as many of his friends did. It was a shame that wages were so low for most people these days that they couldn't afford to pay rent, energy, phone and insurance and feed a family and that the CEO's were earning billions. "They will never understand what it's like for most people who have to worry about how to pay their heating bill" he added.

Before Ronald Reagan, corporate CEO's earned no more than 25 times the salary of their lowest paid employee. If the receptionist earned $7/hour, the CEO would earn no more than $175/hour. William McGuire of United Health Group is paid $234 a minute or $14040/hour. There are people in America earning less in a year than he earns in an hour.

Those who are paid these exorbitant salaries are people who can fire 65,000 Americans in a minute and people who can cut off a woman just diagnosed with breast cancer from health insurance for mistating her weight 5 years ago.... These are rare people. These are psychopaths who have no feelings for other people.

There are Solutions:

Larry had some solutions:

  1. Restore the Tariff, so that it will NOT save money to manufacture overseas
  2. Return Taxes on those earning more than $500,000 per year to 90% as it was during Eisenhower's presidency.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas, HR3962 and Stupak

Those who want the Stupak Amendment added to HR3962 are against the "killing of innocent children" no matter whether they are already dead or would be born without a heart or a brain.

We all agree that the killing of healthy innocents is wrong, although some of us think it matters how many cells a zygote has and whether or not that zygote would be able to live after birth. Yet, these same anti-abortion Christians/Jews don't support the public option. I have tried to point out that once those children are born, their families might need support. They then tell me that it is the woman's "personal responsibility".

I have pointed out that the woman was accepting her responsibility when she made the difficult choice to have an abortion, and it was the Christian/Jew who took away her ability to make that decision. Therefore, it becomes the Christian/Jew's responsibility, at least in part I think, to insure that she has the means to properly care for that child.

"No" says the Christian/Jew. She should have kept her pants zipped. (Let's not get into the dress code here....) I pointed out that the man could have kept his pants zipped.... The Christian/Jew answers, that it is their personal responsibility also.

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

A person can only be responsible if s/he has life and liberty, and authority over his/her own life.

When the founders wrote the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence, they lived in a land that had water with abundant fish, and in a land with abundant game and timber. Any healthy person with some skills could live abundantly. If a family was large, you simply chopped down a few trees and built an addition to your home. It was more hands for fishing, farming or for cooking. This gave people authority over their own lives.

This is not so true today. For a person living in poverty, it's very difficult to provide for a family. The larger a family becomes, the more stress is put on the family economy. This stress forces a family to make decisions between buying health insurance, or paying the mortgage, or between after school activities and private school, or even Mom's medication and food for dinner. Many upper and middle class men are choosing to have vasectomies to limit family growth.

But, what about the woman whose boyfriend or husband doesn't have a vasectomy? Should she allow all her children to suffer if she becomes pregnant? We certainly can't answer this here, but it is not such a simple problem once a pregnancy has started.

Let's talk a little more about authority over one's life

In urban areas, there is a strong correlation between living or working near a power plant, and respiratory disease. As you probably know, power plants are not generally put in the wealthy areas where people have health insurance. They are built in the poorer areas where people have low paying jobs that don't come with health insurance.

These families without private health insurance take their asthmatic children or elders to the nearest hospital ER or free health clinic. These are costly visits for the US government and are partly responsible for the rapidly increasing costs of Medicare/aid.

Those Christians/Jews who speak so easily of preventing abortions are not accounting for the environmental illnesses that are part of living in a poor area. The poor have less access to clean air, a stress-free environment and fresh vegetables. This contributes to an increased incidence of asthma and other illnesses.

These families do not have the freedom to move to a better location, far from power plants. However, Medicare for all would give these families greater authority over their lives. They would have access to a family physician who could help with preventive care and family planning as well as consistent palliative care.

Community Responsibility

One might expect that the Christian/Jew who insists on preserving life would also seek to protect those lives. This is not the case. Those who speak against abortions do not generally accept the principle of community responsibility. They call this "communism" or "socialism". They speak against community responsibility as an affront to their "freedom".

It is alright for a private health insurance executive to earn a salary of millions of dollars, yet, they are blind to any connection between this salary and the high cost of health insurance. This is "free enterprise". They blame increasing health costs on the government.

In every other country that has government health care, costs are lower and outcomes are better. Their argument is easily refuted, but the anti-abortionists are arguing from principle rather than from fact or history.

So, the anti-abortionist insists that they have the right to prevent a woman from exercising free choice over her family size but that the woman does not have the right to expect any responsible assistance from them.

Right to Life

This is the most absurd phrase in the American political lexicon. Those who identify with this term generally:

  • Believe in preventing abortions (thus forcing more births) but not in taking care of those children
  • Believe that most Moslems are political extremists and terrorists and should be killed
  • Believe that the US has the right to kill and that the soldier can do no wrong until s/he comes home and needs health care and benefits because s/he can't work to support him or herself
  • Believe that Capital Punishment is a deterrent to murder, and that state sanctioned murder is fine
  • Believe that doctors who care for women seeking abortions can (or should) be murdered because they murder fetus'
  • Believe that wealthy CEO's who cause the deaths or illness of other Americans through extreme pollution or rescission of health insurance are not murderers but "free market capitalists" which is somehow close to godliness or sainthood.
  • Believe that government officials who seek to provide christian charity to those who can't provide for themselves, are anti-American

I have to admit that I can't see the logic in this position. This is a lot of killing for someone who claims to believe in the "right to life." Can anyone explain this to me? Please comment and I promise I will write you back.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Motorola Droid Review

The Newest, thinnest, sliding phone for $199, and with a two year contract you get a $100 rebate! Whoo, hoo.

Great Features:

The Screen is beautiful! It has a very clear display, more clear than the IPhone. A simple tap zooms in or out of an app. And, you can scroll through your contacts on the screen.

The keys on the keyboard are close together and this takes a little practice if you have heavy thumbs.... The virtual keyboard is easier to use and has a nice little vibration when you strike a key.

The Google Maps application is fabulous. You can easily scroll across the map directly on the screen With this phone, you won't need another nav system. It gives perfect directions, quite loudly, and quickly recalculates if you take a different turn.

It allows on screen widgets for easy access. This will please busy Twitter or Facebook users. When the Droid is "on" you are notified immediately of any new Twitter updates. If the Droid is "off" with a dark screen, there's an LED light in the upper right hand corner that flashes different colors for different applications, such as email, or Twitter.

Not So Great...

The Facebook sync is a little tedious as it has no way of separating the "bob"s or the "Trish"s, but you can do this ahead of time by renaming your contacts to match their facebook id's which will be unique.

If you like downloading music, you can copy from your computer by mounting the SD card into your USB and copy the files manually. Or, you can get Sailing Media (WIndows/Mac) to copy ITunes playlists.

As with any Bluetooth phone with a WIFI radio, or any phone that keeps apps up and running, this uses power. Some owners have complained about a short runtime battery. This can be fixed by turning off apps that you aren't using. One user who bought it on Friday, has found that without special treatment, his charge lasts from 8am to 7pm, which is before he generally gets home. One other site set the screen lightness to max, set the media app to "repeat all songs" and the screen to "never sleep". They used 1 hour of Google navigation. They got 7 hours of battery life.

The camera is not the strength of the Droid as many users have complained, but at this time there are only 2 camera apps in the Android marketplace so this will likely get better when there has been more innovation in this area.

General Review by Mobile Tech

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Peace is Coming! It's Election Day in the USA

And, health care is coming too, because those of us who want what's good are now focusing on what we want rather than what we don't want. This was a big mistake we made in 2004. I pray that we continue today with the insights that we had in 2008. The article here is one that I just wrote for Ezine Articles. It seemed appropriate for today as well.

Now, take notice of the beautiful blue artwork to the left. This Blog Blast for Peace is the work of Please join if you have a blog. The idea is to flood the blog-world with Dona Nobis Pacem.... But, let Mimi tell you. Click on her artwork to the left.
According to Universal Law and Ho'oponopono, I'm 100% Responsible For Everything in My Life, and so Are You for Your Life

I'm Sorry. Please forgive me.

This is Ho'oponopono. I am responsible for everything in my life. I can clear, clear, clear by saying, "I love you. I'm sorry. Please forgive me." This simple prayer has cured physical illnesses and mental illnesses. Dr. Hew Len, PhD. learned about it from Morrnah Nalamaku Simeona who healed his child from a life long skin disorder. He studied and became a master of the method and used this cleansing prayer to cure an entire hospital for the criminally insane in Hawaii. Dr. Hew Len explains that it works because once you cure/clean the error in yourself, then those around you who are expressing your error are cured. As he says, "You never saw a psychologist with healthy clients, did you?"

I have been practicing Ho'oponopono since August, 2007 when Joe Vitale's book, Zero Limits came out. I have seen it create change in the lives around me as I take more and more responsibility. The Buddhists, I believe, were the first to notice that we are all One. We are all connected to the One. To give you an example, if I am sorry for my frustrated feelings, ask that they be removed and replace them with love, the crying, screaming child in front of me calms and laughs. If I am feeling frustration at the traffic, and ask to be forgiven, and then replace those feelings with compassion for my fellow drivers and faith that Divinity will get me to wherever I'm going when I need to be there, the traffic almost always improves -- but I do always get to my appointment on time whether or not it does.

How Does this Fit with the Law of Attraction?

What we think about comes about is one of the principles of the Law of Attraction. It's a matter of putting your energy and your attention on to some wanted or unwanted result. It doesn't matter which. If you are attending enthusiastically to your business, and expect to see customers finding you, they will come. If you are worried about your business, and keep looking to see whether or not customers are coming, they will not come.

When Mother Teresa was asked to join an "Anti-War March, she refused. She asked to be invited when they had a "Peace March." This is a story told by Jack Canfield who explains that she understood the Law of Attraction. Of course she did. Look at what she did with nothing! She knew that being positive was the only way to achieve your goals.

This also works with politics:

We watched in 2004 when an unpopular war and an unpopular presidency was elected for two reasons:

  1. What we think about comes about and those who wanted President Bush and Vice President Cheney defeated, could hardly think about anything else.
  2. John Kerry, who was running against them, was not clear about his goals, except to overturn what President Bush and Vice President Cheney had done. He was doing just what his supporters were doing and was thinking about the other guy!

Thus, what we were all thinking about in 2004, the election of President Bush and Vice President Cheney, came about. This is also a principle of advertising. "Say whatever you want about me, but spell my name correctly."

Our reality begins with our thought. Thought moves into vision which might inspire action and vision makes us feel. Feelings change our vibration. This is the Law of Attraction. This is cause and effect.

Ho'oponopono and Cleansing Correction
In 2008, I remembered to think about what I want, rather than what I don't want. In 2000, 2004, and 2008, I didn't want Dick Cheney or torture or Gitmo or Abu Grabbe. I was so passionate about not wanting any of this, that they were re-elected in 2004. By 2008, I had remembered to focus on what I did want, and so did almost 70% of other voters. I did Ho'oponopono and took responsibility.

I focused on my vision of the United States. I chose another dream. I'm sorry. I love you. Many of us did this. We reminded ourselves of what we love about our country. I took responsibility for violence and torture. Ho'oponopono. I'm sorry. I love you. Please forgive me. Thank you.

The new dream was of a fair man who had been raised (because I was getting tired of the fear) in Hawaii, the only state in the union where they still pass a stress test as unstressed. (This is well documented in the book, The Heart's Code.) I remembered that in the United States we dream and work together and don't let our neighbors suffer.

The Acts after the Great Depression:

  1. The Wagner Act of 1935, mandated unions when 51% of the workers voted for them,
  2. The Social Security Act (Act of August 14, 1935) [H. R. 7260] An act to provide for the general welfare by establishing a system of Federal old-age benefits, and by enabling the several States to make more adequate provision for aged persons, blind persons, dependent and crippled children, maternal and child welfare, public health, and the administration of their unemployment compensation laws; to establish a Social Security Board; to raise revenue; and for other purposes and
  3. Fair Labor Standards Act, 1938 - 2009 set a minimum wage and standards regarding overtime and child labor and record keeping.

I remembered that in the United States, there is not a huge difference between the rich and poor. (Prior to President Reagan in 1980, corporations voluntarily held the top salaries of their executives to no more than 25 times the salary of the lowest paid employee.) I remembered that in the United States, a poor boy who has a great dream can become a great man (President Lincoln being a notable example). I remembered that in the United States we appreciate people with different ideas (such as Steve Jobs, adopted as a child, and subsequent travel to India and study of Buddhism and Calligraphy which lead to his development of Apple Computer) because those ideas add to the creativity of our solutions. I remembered that in North America, we have honored Mother Earth (so that in the 1700's, the trees were 200 feet high at the end of Long Island, and the top soil in the Great Plains was 40 inches deep) and learned to live within her tolerances and can do so again.

My new thoughts created a new reality. I had not remembered this in 2004 when I was filled with sadness and distress. My strong feelings for the changes in the land I loved overwhelmed my support of John Kerry, and I caused George Bush and Dick Cheney to be re-elected. I'm sorry. Please forgive me. But, in 2008, I remembered in the nick of time.

Our Ideal, and Our Heartfelt Desires will Always Manifest

This is the Law of Attraction. Take 100% responsibility for this. Ho'oponopono. I love you. Thank you.

I desired a man who was intelligent, calm, kind, articulate and would have the courage to speak to foreign leaders as equals without bullying them.

Our ideas, if connected to strong feelings and strong belief, will always manifest. And, it seems, many people had the same idea. Enough was enough with the torture and disregard of Habeus Corpus. Perhaps we could elect a man who seemed to respect others.

And, like Dwight Eisenhower, President Obama is not afraid to put the corporations in their place (in his proposition to having a Public Option in the health reform bill and laws to ensure that the insurance companies keep to their contracts). Like John F. Kennedy, he has a vision of an innovative America that is not afraid to take risks in order to lead the world to a bright new future (in his support of clean energy).

Let's focus on peace, good health and abundance for all. Let's stop focusing on war. Ho'oponopono. Take 100% responsibility. When you heal the war inside you, and I heal the war inside me, we will have peace.


Nancy J. Stremmel is the co-owner and developer of: the compendium of information on the Law of Attraction. She is a writer, licensed Social Worker, educator, artist and therapist. She believes that everyone can make the Law of Attraction work for them.

This was a show of the practical effects of taking 100% responsibility. For more serious studies of the Law of Attraction, I have given access to core historical teachings here.

Article Source:

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Medical Bankruptcies

This is great. Al Franken schools Hudson Institute Senior Fellow Diana Furchtgott-Roth about medical bankruptcies.Our bankruptcies in the US are caused about 62% of the time (according to the American Journal of Medicine) by medical costs. And, of those, nearly 78% of the people had medical insurance.

Whoo. How could that happen? I always thought that if you had medical insurance you had access to the greatest medical system in the world! Well, it happens because there is such a thing as "lifetime limit" and if the insurance company can find one mistake in your application (which could be as small as your weight or treatment for acne or asthma when you were ten years old) then they can rescind your application and cancel previous as well as current liabilities.

This was a hearing held the other day in the Senate Judiciary Committee on medical bankruptcies. If you haven't seen it, it's well worth watching.

Friday, September 25, 2009

How Bad is the Deficit?

Are we simply at the precipice before it all is so much easier?

There has been a lot of worry about the deficit, and this is a problem because it adds to the National Debt. The interest on the National Debt is one of the largest items in recent Federal budgets. Just as this is a problem when it's true in a family budget, it's true at the National level. This is something we must deal with or soon it will be the only thing in the budget....

But, there have been some really frightening estimates and proclamations of the catastrophic results of current spending. We wish to allay those fears based on data analyzed by the Congressional Budget Office.

The deficit is dependent on the government's income. This is dependent on taxes. When millions of people are falling off the tax roles and onto the unemployment compensation roles, it makes the deficit bigger and bigger every day. This is not because spending is increasing every day, but because the income is decreasing. This is not the current administration's fault but because the economy exploded in 2008.

It is, however, something this administration must live with, and we have done this before. When Bush took office, the deficit was a surplus of $431 billion each of the prior 3 years before W. This was achieved because Clinton had to live with a pay-as-you-go law passed by Congress. In the past, administrations assumed that this was the way to run a government, but that had been forgotten in the 1980's. This Congress has remembered, in part, because things got so our of control in the last 8 years after the law had lapsed.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, Bush's deficit in 2008 was $459 billion. Now, since this is a budget deficit, and the wars were never in the budget, doesn't that mean that his deficit was even greater?

From the AP
"The deficit will hit $482 billion in the 2009 budget year that will be inherited by Democrat Barack Obama or Republican John McCain, the White House estimated Monday. That figure is sure to rise after adding the tens of billions of dollars in additional Iraq war funding it doesn't include, and the total could be higher yet if the economy ..."

Obama put the wars in the budget. And, when that was written by the AP, they didn't know that the economy would take such a serious and debilitating dive. However, in spite of all this, there is hope in our future.

From the CBO

"CBO estimates that, as the economy recovers, if current
laws and policies remained in place, the deficit would
shrink but remain above $500 billion per year, or more
than 3 percent of GDP....As the economy improves and spending related to the financial rescue and the economic stimulus package tails off, the deficit is projected to gradually diminish; by 2013, it would amount to 3.2 percent of GDP (about the same level as in 2008), under the assumption that various tax provisions expire as scheduled and that discretionary spending rises at the rate of inflation. Between 2013 and 2019, deficits are projected to range from 3.1 percent to 3.4 percent of GDP, well above the 2.4 percent of GDP that they have averaged over the past 40 years."
CBO Summary of Budget 2009, page 6.

According to CBO estimates above, in 4 years, the deficit is going to be at about the same as it was in 2008, 3% of the GDP. Isn't that what even Republicans said was good?

I don't think that is good enough, and neither does Obama, which is why this Democratic Congress passed the pay-as-you-go bill in April. As the economy recovers, this will put us in a position to begin to pay down the National Debt.

We can keep the pressure on our representatives. There is no reason that the Public Option, if a buy in to Medicare, can't support the costs of the seniors even better than private for-profit insurance supports those members who are using their health benefits with those who don't need to use theirs but are continuing to pay premiums.

This could be a win-win!

Monday, September 21, 2009

The National Debt and TARP - Your Money?

Back to serious matters. There have been so many questions about the banks and the bailout money and the Federal Deficit -- your money?

First, since there is such attack on Obama and Democrats right now, I'd like to talk about the national debt in graphic form. If you look right now at the graph of the National Debt from 1940 to the present, you'll see a modest increase during WWII, and then it's almost flat until the Viet Nam War. From 1975 to 1980, it begins to go up. This is the period of Gerald Ford to Jimmy Carter. Gerald Ford came into office during double digit inflation (topping 12% in 1974), high oil prices, and low confidence in government as a result of post Viet Nam, and post Watergate and Richard Nixon's resignation. By March of 1980, inflation and interest rates were topping 18%. Even so, the debt went up moderately, and if you look at the other chart comparing it to GDP, the debt continued a down trend through Carter's presidency.

Then, came Reaganomics, and top-down Supply Side Economics, and huge tax cuts for the rich. Look at the two big rises in National Debt as compared against GDP. Both rises were during the big tax cuts of Reagan and both Bush's. Clinton took back some of the giveaway and reduced the budget still constrained by pay-as-you-go, and the National Debt was greatly curbed. Compared against GDP, it was reduced.

At the beginning of Reagan's term, the National Debt was about $1 trillion. By the time a Democrat was back in the White House, it had climbed to over $3 trillion. Clinton kept it below $6 trillion, tapering off significantly during his last 4 years. Bush lowered taxes again, raising the National Debt to $10.6 trillion by the time he left office.

Now, let's look at the National Debt as compared to GDP, and you'll see that the differences are even more pronounced. National Debt goes down during Democratic control, and up during Reaganomics and the Bush eras.

Finally, the graph from Emmanuel Saez (below) showing the income share of the top .01% of earners, that Paul Krugman published in August of this year. As Thom Hartman keeps saying, tax breaks for the rich result in bubbles which inevitably pop. The dot-com bubble caused by the excitment of a new industry increased incomes across the board, but also created some tremendously wealthy entrepreneurs. The stock market decrease approaching 2000, the end of Clinton's term, lowered the top income from 5% to 3% of total income share and lower than it was in 1986 when Reagan lowered the income tax for the top incomes from 50% to 28% and raised the lower level taxes from 11% to 15%.

George Bush came into office and again lowered taxes every chance he got until we have another serious recession, bordering on depression, and the highest spread of income ever -- at 6%. The peak in 1928-29 resulted in the Great Depression. A peak in 1986 was followed in 1987 by Black Monday and a stock market crash. Again, as Thom Hartmann points out, tax reductions for the rich results in a bubble that pops. This was repeated in 2000 when the stock market crashed again after the .com bubble.

And, this has come to that: The Bank Bailout

There's a list of recipient banks here: at CNN
which shows that about $200 billion was borrowed and about $70 billion has been paid back so far.

Now, where did the money come from in the first place? It was called the Capital Purchase Program and the effort was to prop up capital and make available additional money for lending. It didn't come from the taxpayer. It was part of TARP.

The TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) allowed the US Treasury Department to buy preferred (non-voting) shares of hundreds of banks. The US taxpayer was told that there would be a modest return including a 5% quarterly dividend. To date, we've seen better than expected profits of 15% or a total of $334 million in profit from the large banks who have repaid their debts and an additional $35 million from 14 smaller banks.

However, to stay realistic, Citigroup and Bank of America are still troubled, and neither is going to repay their bailout money soon. Their stocks have surged this summer, but they are both still sitting on mortgages that don't look good.

Will the Paybacks happen soon enough?

The US Treasury is subject to a Congressional debt limit. In February it was raised to $12.1 trillion. It currently stands at $11.7 trillion and was scheduled to hit the limit in mid-October. There are steps it can take short term to free up cash but none of them are long term solutions. Some of them are an avoidance of investing in Federal employees pension or G fund, or in the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund. Payments to this fund are normally $5.63 billion every month.

The Fed has been one of the biggest buyers of US Treasury's and government backed mortgage debt. What does this mean? The regional banks comprising the Federal Reserve System have agreed to buy the debt of their weaker brothers. In the second quarter, the Fed bought $164 billion of the $339 billion in new Treasurys. The Fed has been buying upward of 80% of the bonds issued by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. This has propped up the Real Estate market, but in October the Fed is scheduled to stop buying those bonds.

Luckily, US Households have been buying US Treasurys at an unusual rate. Is this because they are unsure about their local banks? This week, the government is auctioning a record $112 billion in debt. If the US citizen continues to buy our national debt, we can at least keep our debt out of foreign hands.

US Debt of George Bush: From $5.6 trillion to $10.6 trillion 1/20/09.

US Debt during year 2009: From $10.6 trillion to $11.8 trillion.

Obama has returned to pay-as-you-go which created the dip in National Debt that we saw during the Clinton years. Please support this practice as it seems to be the only way to constrain the lawmakers. Additionally, the top tax rates are now below what they were during the 1950's and the Eisenhower presidency. This is not helpful. A return even to the Reagan tax rates would greatly reduce the National Debt.

There is a myth being perpetrated that Republicans handle the Nation's money better. Not so. It would seem that they handle their money and our money better while the Nation goes deeper into debt!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

People of Walmart

It's a holiday weekend, so we're going to set you up with the funniest web sites. Be the first, or 100,000th on your block depending on where you live, to visit these sites. The first is People of Walmart.

People of Walmart
is not easy to get in to, but it is well worth the try. This is one of the hottest, and newest sites (with an Alexa rating of 59,037 in it's first month.) Three friends set it up, Andrew, his brother Adam and their friend Luke. In their own words:

People of Walmart was founded in August of 2009 by three friends and roommates after an international trip to Walmart. Let’s face it; we all have seen the people who obviously don’t have mirrors and/or family and friends to lock them in a basement, and they all seem to congregate at Walmart. It’s not everywhere that you can shop for milk at 10 a.m. next to a 400lb mother of 6 wearing a pink tube top, leopard tights, and hooker heels.”

You can find the site here:
Race Day: Get there early to get a good seat!

Photos are up by date, and you are allowed to browse the previous day for the best in hairdo's, outfits, cars and pets! It's a "don't miss" from Mindbridge Trends!

They are asking for photos, so grab your camera on your next trip to Walmart if you haven't got anything better to do! Oh, one thing, there is a disclaimer:

"We would also like to stress that we are in no way liable if you get your ass beat by Bubba when he catches you taking his picture. Be discrete, have fun, and Enjoy!"

Once a Flower Child, Always A Flower Child....

Ha. Good heads up. Maybe you should avoid weekends....

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Senator Edward Kennedy Remembered

Senator Kennedy always made me cry from pride and hope. Perhaps because he was a lion, and courage makes me cry.

Joe Hill, labor activist convicted of murder, on the day before his execution made a suggestion to his supporters: "Don't Mourn, organize!"

This would be an appropriate way to remember Ted Kennedy. Senator Edward Kennedy did this after burying his 3 brothers who all died serving this country. In his honor, we will do this to help to get the first American health care reform bill passed with a public option.

We can't talk about someone who lived so much of his life in the US Senate without a good by from an old friend, Vice President Joe Biden. In the following video he explains that with Ted as a colleague, idealism was infectious and most recently, they had more hope and faith than they did when they were young.

At this time, when most lawmakers are beholden to fundraisers and their funders, Senator Edward Kennedy was fortunate to come from family wealth. This enabled him to stand tall, and sometimes to stand alone or almost so as when he voted against funds for the war in Iraq. Senator Kennedy never forgot that he was a liberal and that his party was the party of working families rather than the home of lobbyists.

The millions of dollars spent by insurers,and hospitals have already defeated any chance for single payer, but perhaps Senator Kennedy's memory will help to empower the supporters of the public option.

This is a nice 8:22 minute video of Teddy sailing with his family, and about him as spoken by many of his friends from the Senate.

Now, what can an individual do in these last few days before the lawmakers come back?

  1. Learn about the law from the Whitehouse:
  2. Sign the petition by Schumer/Leahy/Durbin This is at 96,571 and it would be far more effective if we pushed it over 1 million. -- Send it to everyone you know! Let's see how fast we can build these numbers.
  3. Call or write to your Congressional Representatives, and your Senators, several times is fine. They are being bombarded, I promise you, by the right wingers who have been fed a stinking sack of poop that they believe is truth. We have to let them know that we are out here, and we are reasonable, and we are watching. Put in your information, and the name of your rep will come up with telephone numbers. Click on the name, and you will get a form for writing an email. This is the Senate site, and you can contact your Senators from here.
  4. Repeat as often as possible....

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Glenn Beck's Advertisers Head for the Hills!

There are companies in America which are pulling back their advertising support of right wing hate speech.

They deserve our business. This is wonderful news.

How did it happen? Color of members have successfully mobilized in one of the fastest and most effective campaigns I have ever seen. Thousands of phone calls were placed and thousands of letters were sent to company executives.

According to, and an August 24th, Color of Change press release:
"By the end of the week, three of these companies - Clorox, Lowe's and Sprint - had pledged not to run additional ads; Red Lobster and Vonage have not yet responded.

The new companies distancing themselves from Beck include Airware Inc. (makers of Brez anti-snoring aids),, AT&T, Blaine Labs Inc., Campbell Soup Company, Clorox, Ditech, The Elations Company, Experian (creator of, Farmers Insurance Group, Johnson & Johnson (makers of Tylenol), Lowe's, NutriSystem, Sprint, The UPS Store and Verizon Wireless. They join twenty other companies who previously pledged not to run additional ads on Glenn Beck. The moves come after the Fox News Channel host called President Obama a "racist" who "has a deep-seated hatred for white people" during an appearance on Fox & Friends."

The first companies to respect the request to correct their advertising include: Allergan (maker of Restasis), Ally Bank (a unit of GMAC Financial Services), Best Buy, Broadview Security, ConAgra, CVS, GEICO,, Men’s Wearhouse, Procter & Gamble, Progressive Insurance, RadioShack, Re-Bath, Roche, SC Johnson, Sanofi-Aventis, Sargento, State Farm Insurance, Travelocity and Wal-Mart.

When you visit these companies, let them know that you appreciate their removal of support from Glenn Beck and Fox Network.

You can join and support the campaign to stop sponsorship of Glenn Beck.

Thank you.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Jon Stewart Explains the Health Care Reform Bill

The Health Care Debate?

This explains it all….

From August 17th…..

Part 1

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive - Betsy McCaughey Extended Interview Pt. 1
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealthcare Protests

Part 2 August 20th

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive - Betsy McCaughey Extended Interview Pt. 2
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealthcare Protests

She insists that patients are under treated 46% of the time, and only over treated 11% of the time. How can she make that statement, and then suggest that we don’t need this bill?

She could not find anything wrong with paying for a consultation that would cover all end of life choices including the “creation and adherence to orders for life sustaining treatment”. She tried to insist that doctors would get paid less if the patients or their families changed their plans at the last minute, and Jon agreed that would be wrong but that this was not in any way what the bill says.

Jon pointed out that the health insurance companies have already rationed care, and she tried to say that there would be too little money in Medicaid for seniors….. What? Seniors get Medicare, not Medicaid.

She was suggesting a plan that would offer a debit card to uninsured Americans, $1000 to $2000 per year for health insurance. Jon pointed out that the average health care plan costs $5000. Her comment was that he was good at math….

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Return of Feudalism in America

The attack on this public option is a serious and focused attack on the Middle Class in America.

Thom Hartmann reminds us that the rise of a middle class is not natural in a "free and unfettered" economy. It has happened accidentally, only a couple of other times in the history of the world.

  1. It happened after the plague, the black death because there was a sudden change in population and resources were then freed. The increasing demand for labor drove up the price of labor. Many historians, Thom reminds us, credit this emergence of a middle class with the Renaissance.
  2. 400 years later, when the wealth of America was "discovered" by Europeans, the increasing wealth balanced by a stable population produced a second middle class. This emerging middle class brought about the Enlightenment and the American Revolution.

As the population in America increased, pushing back the Native Americans into small "reservations", the middle class again decreased. At the time of the Republican Great Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt tackled the question for the first time, "How to create a middle class without killing off a third of the population, or discovering gold in a distant land?"

Previously, capitalism had been uncontrolled. He developed the controls that "saved American capitalism from itself."

The Wagner Act of 1935, mandated unions when 51% of the workers voted for them.

The Social Security Act (Act of August 14, 1935) [H. R. 7260]

An act to provide for the general welfare by establishing a system of Federal old-age benefits, and by enabling the several States to make more adequate provision for aged persons, blind persons, dependent and crippled children, maternal and child welfare, public health, and the administration of their unemployment compensation laws; to establish a Social Security Board; to raise revenue; and for other purposes.

Fair Labor Standards Act, 1938 - 2009 set a minimum wage and standards regarding overtime and child labor and record keeping.

He also instituted government employment through the WPA, CCC, etc. and invested money in roads, bridges, dams, hospitals and schools. These improvements on infrastructure are investments, and not simply expenses as are bombs and other munitions that disappear when used.

The Weimar-style Hyperinflaton, or The 2nd Great Depression:

Ronald Reagan came into office and set about undoing FDR's New Deal, and we have heard more about this from the right wing pundits. Rush Limbaugh never tires of saying, "Roosevelt is dead!"

Ronald Reagan began to lower income taxes, and he lowered the cost of government as well, but this practice was not followed by either of the Bush's. They continued to lower taxes while increasing costs. Borrowing from Saudi Arabia and China, rather than taxing Americans kept the costs of the wars against Iraq and Afghanistan hidden from the concerns of the American taxpayer.

If we look at this chart we can see that the height of the minimum wage in America was in 1968. Since then, we have had an almost steady decline in real wages due to inflation, and a lack of Congressional support for minimum wage increases. There was a recent increase in 2006 after the longest stagnant period since the first minimum wage.

The government is supposed to provide a stable currency to make markets possible. As the Weimar Government failed to do this, so the recent conservatives have failed. The court system should enforce the contracts that make markets possible. Yet, health insurance companies are allowed to rescind customers who develop any ongoing condition, without access to the courts. Congress was appalled during their testimony, but they refused to change their policies.

An educated workforce, through public education, should be able to travel to work on public roads, or over public bridges or through tunnels or on public railroads or buses. These costs have gone up, and the maintenance has gone down. There has not been a major improvement in the public transit system since, well, the 1950's.

If you Google "bridge collapse", there is the Tacoma collapse in 2006, the Indiana collapse in 2009, and the Minneapolis collapse in August 2007. That year, in April, Bob Herbert wrote for The New York Times that
President Truman had signed the Marshall Plan which rebuilt Europe. He pointed out at that time that a half century later, the US couldn't even rebuild New Orleans. He added that the American Society of Civil Engineers claimed that the US infrastructure was in such bad shape that it would take more than $1.5 trillion over a five year period to bring it back to reasonably adequate condition.
Obama's entire stimulus package was only $787 billion, and still the complaints are unrelenting.

New York City raised its own alarm in the 1970's when the West Side Highway, a raised highway in Manhattan collapsed. Afterwards, studies for the city showed that the entire highway system, the bridges, the drinking water system, and the subway system were all seriously and dangerously deteriorated. In the 1980's, iron workers attending to the Manhattan Bridge were given hazardous duty pay because the iron was so rusted in many areas that they could put a finger through the structural iron.

This has been an ongoing project in New York City, with the city absorbing most of the costs. Mr. Felix Rohatyn explains that
"Since the beginning of the republic," he said, "transportation, infrastructure and education have played a central role in advancing the American economy....Politics and ideology are the main reasons that government has turned away from public investment over the past several years. Zealots marching under the banner of small government have been remarkably effective in thwarting efforts to raise taxes or borrow substantial sums for the kind of public investment that has always been essential to a dynamic economy."
Meanwhile, Herbert points out, China and India are racing to develop the infrastructure and education optimal for competition in the contemporary world. Felix Rohatyn explains:
"It has been shown that the productivity of an economy is related to the quality of its infrastructure. For example, if you don't have enough schools to teach your kids, or your kids are taught in schools that have holes in the ceilings, that are dilapidated, they're not going to be as educated and as competitive in a world economy as they need to be."

The economic conservatives for 26 years have managed to undermine the middle class and to empower the wealthy elite while transferring from investment in infrastructure to expensing for war. Even the little bit that Obama scheduled for the infrastructure in his stimulus bill was attacked.

This is not new. Thomas Jefferson first warned of free market corporatists:
"Those seeking profits,were they given total freedom, would not be the ones to trust to keep government pure and our rights secure. Indeed, it has always been those seeking wealth who were the source of corruption in government....I am not among those who fear the people. They, and not the rich, are our dependence for continued freedom. ... We must make our election between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude."

And, this is why the attacks on Obama and the "health care reform" are so poisonous.

Changing the Tax Structure:

Progressive taxation, was another part of FDR's stimulus plan -- giving workers more to spend and thus stimulating demand for goods and services. In this case, restoring the tax on the upper class in order to insure payment for the public option part of the health care reform, would give more to the middle class to spend.

It is not uncommon for a small business/entrepreneur to pay as much as $26,000/person/year for health insurance. This is the down payment on a house! What other uses would the middle class put this money to if not on health insurance?

As Jefferson said in a 1785 letter to James Madison, "Another means of silently lessening the inequality of property is to exempt all from taxation below a certain point, and to tax the higher portions of property in geometrical progression as they rise."

Thom Hartmann adds,
As Jefferson realized, and FDR proved, with no government "interference" by setting the rules of the game of business and fair taxation, there will be no middle class.

And as history around the world proves, when the middle class vanishes, democracy often goes with it.

Thom explains in another article : "The policies of "free and open markets" will naturally produce a small and powerful wealthy class, a small "middle" merchant class, and a huge and terrified worker class, traditionally called "serfs". A free market will create a "Dickens-era" state where the working poor are kept in constant fear and anxiety.

Aren't we approaching this today? In this time of recession, as the unemployment figures continue to climb, those yelling at the Town Hall meetings are afraid and angry. They just don't know why. They are not seeing that their real wages have been shrinking since 1968, but they are feeling the pressure.

Who is the REAL ENEMY?

They don't realize that the middle class is under attack when government began to renege on its function to set the rules of business:
in such a way that working people must receive a living wage, labor has the power to organize into unions just as capital can organize into corporations, and domestic industries are protected from overseas competition

Jefferson realized that a strong central Congress would be needed to help to regulate the commerce of the States. Meanwhile, conservatives then, as now, believed in the trickle down theory and that government was the problem not the solution.

Still, they can't explain why the series of tax cuts by the Hoover administration, preceded the Great Depression, and then raising taxes to provide for government intervention, and the protection of labor rights through the 1930's, 1940's and 1950's, led to a golden age for the American Middle Class.

In the 1930's the top tax rate was 25%, and before Reagan began to dismantle it, it held at 70% for decades. As the top tax rate fell, it caused bubbles (in the stock market and housing) and the middle class fell in proportion. It seems that tax cuts to the upper 10% harm our economy, while tax cuts to the bottom 25%, as Jefferson predicted, are good for the economy.

Between Lincoln's death, and the Great Depression, conservative economics and the Gilded Age brought about a return of feudalism, a disparity between those with great wealth and the growth of the working poor. It took 2 generations before Franklin Roosevelt returned to Lincoln's policy of protecting the rights of labor and the founders' tariffs to protect domestic industries and workers.

We must learn the lessons of the past. To do this, I think we have to listen to each other and stop listening to the corporate megaphone. We had a saying in the 1960's -- "Don't trust anyone over 30 years old." Today, I think we can change it a bit to "Don't trust anyone making over $1 million." These guys are not in the Middle Class, and it's not the Middle Class who are paying them. In other words, they do not share our interests or concerns!

  • Rush Limbaugh -- $400 million (More than Katie Couric, Brian Williams, Charlie Gibson and Diane Sawyer, combined!)
  • Glenn Beck -- $50 million over 5 years.
  • Howard Stern -- $500 million
  • Sean Hannity -- $100 million
  • Bill O'Reilly -- $9 million

We have a congress and a President who have taken on the $6 Trillion health insurance industry and are doing their best to give the American worker the health care we need at an affordable price. This is not a pretty fight.

Our government needs our help if they will be able to protect our interests.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Who is Responsible for the Deficit?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The GM Chevy Volt

The Chevy Volt is not GM's first electric car. Expected to get 230 miles per gallon in city driving, the Volt is part of a new lineup. It is expected to launch late in 2010.

Although this might seem radical, GM had an electric car many years ago which was quickly taken off the market.

The gasoline will only cost 60 cents per gallon. Beyond 40 miles, a gasoline engine works to charge the battery. Recharging takes 8 hours on a normal outlet, but only 3 hours if 240 volt outlet is available.

Either way, until there are chargers available in parking garages, park at work and run an extension cord out your window to recharge your vehicle! GM plans to charge $40,000 which is 33% more than the original Prius, but as that price came down, so GM expects that mass sales will allow them to lower the price.

At home, can you imagine solar chargers on your garage connected to storage cells that will fully charge your car over night? Then, what would your commute cost you?

Will there be a market for all electric vehicles? Would you buy one?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

"Not-For-Profit" Health Care Plan is not Socialism

The proposed not-for-profit American health care insurance plan has been suggested as an optional plan:

1. for those who don't have health insurance,
2. for those who have been expelled from for-profit plans,
3. for those who would rather change over from more expensive plans.

There have been suggestions/proposals that would make this not-for-profit health care insurance plan a ZERO tax burden on 99% of all Americans:

* Decrease the tax deduction for the most expensive homes
* Raise the taxes of the upper 1% back to that of the Reagan years
* Charge a fair premium from those who can afford it

Any two of the above would more than cover those Americans who don't now have health insurance.

None of those suggestions would be adding any tax burden on us or our children, but would reduce the tax burden on our children because:

1. it would eliminate the 60% of bankruptcies that are now caused by medical emergencies.
2. And, it would reduce the numbers of those who go on Medicaid/Welfare because they don't have medical insurance.
3. And, it would improve the health of Americans who would be covered for preventive costs.
4. All of the above would reduce the current national health care costs.
5. It would improve the profit margin of American companies who otherwise cannot control the cost of doing business, which would increase American tax income and help to reduce the National Debt

Any small businessman will tell you that the cost of for-profit health care insurance rises every year about 30%. It is not because their costs of doing business are going up. It is not because medical costs are going up. It is because the CEO enjoys having his salary and benefits and staff bonus' go up.

For the small business, any cost of doing business that rises 30% every year is unsustainable. Their income is unlikely to rise 30% every year, and if it were, why would they want this to go the the insurance company rather than to their staff who is responsible for making it happen?

In any other industry, there are laws against "price-fixing", but not in health care insurance. This insurance has a special relationship in the laws against monopoly because Blue Cross-Blue Shield once provided a service to Americans by providing low cost hospitalization insurance.

The small businessman cannot change providers to solve this great increase in the health care premiums charged each year:

1. Because then any staff member who has gone to the doctor would be un-insured because of the "prior condition" clause of all for-profit health insurance companies.
2. Because there is no real competitive price difference since the for-profit health insurance companies are allowed to engage in price fixing. One insurance might offer a lower "come-on-in" price, and then just raise it every year until they have the same price as the one the business just left.

A human would support this bill:

* If s/he believe in competition, because the current health care insurance system does not have any competition.
* If s/he believe that a business should honor its contracts, because currently, insurance companies do not honor their contracts.
* If s/he believe that a small business should be able to provide their employees with the same benefits as do large companies.
* If s/he believe that someone who is willing and able to pay for health insurance should be able to buy reasonably priced insurance for his family.

If you believe in any of the previous benefits, you can support the 3 honest Senators who are standing alone against the $$$$ of the Health Care Insurance Industry. They are simply looking for a show of hands, not $$.

If we don't support them, we are giving our vote to the lobbyists paid for by the current health insurance industry. Why would you trust them with your children's future? This is the moment in time when they can be curtailed. Not stopped, but curtailed.

I am not in favor of socialism, but neither am I in favor of handing my vote to those who have already proved that they are only interested in unrestrained greed.

This is the forum for smart people.... Vote from clarity, not from fear.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

3 Senators Support Public Option


Three Senators are standing tall in support of a public option. Senator Chuck Schumer has been outspoken, clear and unequivocal on national TV. Senator Patrick Leahy and Senator Dick Durbin have recently joined him.

This week as other Senators and Blue Dogs seem to be retreating from the onslaught of the Insurance Lobby, these three are showing courage and commitment. Let's support them. They have created a website where our support can be counted. You just have to "sign in" with your email, first and lastname. Simple.

The numbers have grown by about 10,000 since yesterday. Let's show the Blue Dog cowards and any other quivering politicians that the American PEOPLE want a public option. We should let them know that they ignore us in favor of the Insurance INDUSTRY at great risk.

The Insurance Lobby is pouring $1.4 million into DC every day. These Senators who are standing for us, will need a lot of evidence to sway their peers. Please give it to them. Send off the address to your friends and family.

Now, for those who are curious about what a public option is, I'll explain as succinctly as I can. However, just as the President is very vague and general, so are we all since we don't have a bill to speak about yet.

Right now, the US is the only industrialized country that doesn't offer health care to all citizens. We have doctors and hospitals and everything you might need if you have:
a) Money
b) Health insurance
c) Medicare
d) Medicaid

If you don't have one of the above, you are among millions of Americans who just don't go to the doctor and try their best to avoid needing a hospital. This ends up being costly, because if you should end up in a hospital, and are seen, someone will have to pay. Everyone now agrees that this is more expensive than it is to offer preventive or early intervention care before your health is seriously compromised.

The question is how to do it. In Canada, they have single payer care for everyone. The government pays the doctors and the hospitals and the testing sites, etc.. None of those providers have to ask about insurance, and they all bill one source, the government.

President Obama has made it clear that since 16% of our economy is now tied up with private insurance, he is not going to put them out of business. This is a lot of jobs and some healthy taxes from the only industry that is posting record profits during this economy.... oh, and the recently resuscitated financial industry.

So, he is hoping that the Senate and House can splice together a combination of private insurance and public insurance as a health life line that will insure that everyone is covered. This needs to include some stipulations or regulations for the private insurers who have been getting rid of any of their clients who begin to cost them money. There will be new rules that will require any private company who has taken money to insure you, to actually do so. These are a very good start and we support them.

Yet, preventing the abuses of the private insurance companies only helps those who have insurance. We still have millions of Americans, and small companies who can't afford health coverage. Small companies are charged more than large companies, so independent business people are often out of luck. Other Americans: freelancers, artists, writers, florists, nannies, shoe repair people, dog walkers, house sitters, elder care semi-professionals, substitute teachers, lawn mower repair and sharpeners, handymen, small contractors and part time workers across the country are uninsured. These are people who make our lives more beautiful, or more possible as they take care of those we leave at home when we go to work.

The public option would be a low cost medical insurance plan that would cover these folks. If they can't pay at all, it would be at almost no cost. But, if they can pay a reasonable premium, they would contribute.

There were many suggestions on how to pay for those who can't pay anything that I believe we've covered in previous articles. President Obama suggested a cap on the deduction for the most expensive houses. Why he asked, should a middle class businessman get a $5000 deduction and a wealthy corporate officer get a $70,000 deduction? Either the wealthy man doesn't need to buy a house that expensive, or, he can afford to pay more of his own mortgage. Another suggestion was to reverse the Bush tax deductions for the top 1%. They would still pay less taxes than they were at the end of the Reagan term. This would allow us to provide health insurance for all Americans.

The one thing the President has promised is that this will not be paid for by taxing the middle class!

The other promise of the President, is that anyone who has insurance that they are happy with will be able to keep their plan and their doctor(s).

So, please, there is no reason not to do this. There is no reason not to do this. There is every humane reason to do this. And, it makes financial sense since doctors, hospitals and other providers are burdened with tedious intakes and tedious phone calls to make sure that each sick person can somehow pay for care. If everyone is covered, there's no problem!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Beliefs versus Reality

What is going on during this health care debate? Misinformation and fear mongering, that's what.

$1.5 million is pouring into Washington DC every day to change the shape of reality.

This is frightening, because in another article we have discussed how your genetics are shaped by your beliefs. If we are led to believe that we will be less healthy or less wealthy by adopting a public option, it will be so.

So, let us look at this for a minute:

For example, if you are worried, it doesn't matter that you live in a safe neighborhood and have a good job and a wonderful partner. The facts seldom affect your feelings. It is your beliefs that affect your feelings. When the American President Bush, and his cabinet began to go on TV and talk about the "smoking gun that would be a mushroom cloud" it did not matter that Sadaam Hussein was no threat. It mattered only that "these important people who know more than I know seem frightened". These beliefs that "they know more than I know" and that "they seem frightened" formed a perception in millions of Americans that "the world is suddenly dangerous."

Another example from more recent TV. The Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats who are receiving large money contributions from the Health Insurance Industry are spreading lies about the "wonderful private health system" in the United States. That we are about 31st out of 37 industrial nations for longevity, and infant mortality statistics does not affect
the beliefs of those who are listening to their lies on the TV and radio every day. They say we're the best, and this is believed because Americans love to hear that we are the best. That almost every doctor I know complains about dealing with the private insurance industry does not affect their beliefs. Doctors expect to have their requests questioned by the insurance companies. This does not happen in other countries where there is a single payer system. There the doctor is paid for his work and his tests without a question. It is only here that the doctor must make several phone calls to get any requested procedure approved. Yet, when the TV talking heads say over and over and over, "Don't let the government come between your doctor and you!" it is believed.

Additionally, I don't know anyone who doesn't have at least one story of someone who lost their health insurance when someone in their family got sick. The health insurance industry is pouring $1.5 million into Washington DC every day. This is to buy their talking heads and to delay
change until everyone is bored of hearing about it and momentum is lost. So, in spite of the fact that millions of Americans die every day because they lost their health insurance, there is the myth promoted that if the government enters into the health insurance arena, things will be worse.

We pay per person more than double the amount for health care and insurance that is paid in any other country. All other systems are less expensive, yet, somehow we are being fed the belief that if the government enters into the health insurance arena, without any need for profit, that things will get even more expensive. This makes no sense at all. Insurance company execs earn from $10 million to $124 million dollars each year, or $39,846.74 for a lunch hour. No government employee is going to earn anywhere near that amount. United Health Care just posted record profits, in spite of the recession, and in spite of paying that obscene salary to their CEO.

A government program does not have to make a profit. The government will pay your doctor directly without question as it has for Medicare patients since the '80s, yet, the insurance company is spending a lot of money to convince us that a government option is going to cost us more than we're paying now and reduce the quality of care....

So, the facts: Those on Medicare in our country are happy with their health care. They do not complain about the government coming between them and their doctor. The doctors do not complain about the government refusing payment or refusing a procedure. So, let's assume that the government option will be totally satisfactory.

Don't let them frighten you. We should be frightened of the status quo!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

BlackBerry Curve 8900 for 1 Cent

OK Racefans, I said that I would bring to you the best deals and the most interesting products. Well, I think the BlackBerry Curve 8900 phone being offered by Amazon for 1 cent is a great bargain!!!!

And, did I mention free 2 day shipping? It's not available in all zip codes, so I wish you luck, but if it is available in yours, Whhoo Hooo!

The catch is that you have to buy a T-Mobile plan. Now, if you travel to Europe, T-Mobile is the best plan anyway, or so I understand. I never actually had T-Mobile, but I've known people....

And, when you're in a T-Mobile "hot spot" web on the phone switches over so that your email doesn't cost you anything. What a bargain, right?

The T-Mobile plans range from $39.95 to $149.99 for the unlimited Family unlimited Nationwide plan. If you're interested, here's the link:

That's all folks!

Ooops, and did I mention that there are great sales going on at Mindbridge Products? 80% off for a few more days. Find the books, programs, audios or business products that you've been looking for. Find the last minute gift that you need for a colleague or friend. Take a look at Mindbridge Products.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Warning! Warning: Toxic Dolphins and Toxic Living

This is an announcement. Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (flame retardants) are causing troubles. We are not anti-corporation, but we are pro-dolphin and pro-child. Jake Richardson in has posted that scientists have found unusually large levels of flame retardant in dolphin blubber. The closer the dolphins are to downtown Miami, the more the chemical was concentrated.

These chemicals are applied to furniture, clothes and electronics and they slow the ignition of items in a burning room. No doubt they have saved lives, however, in the dolphin they cause the death of dolphin fetus'. According to Richardson, “The U.S. has historically led the world production of these man-made chemicals and was responsible for about 50% of the total global demand in 2001.”

These polybrominated diphenyl ethers are also found in humans and the longterm effects are unknown. I can't imagine it will be good. Anyone who has eaten seafood has ingested them. Some believe that it could interfere with our immune response and others believe that it will affect infant brain development. It is a known neurotoxin.

To make matters worse, it would not even be good enough to give up all seafood forever, because Deca, one of the polybrominated diphenyl ethers, has been found in apples. Now, I have been telling all the parents I work with, that Granny Smith, or green apples, don't tend to develop the scale that red apples do, and so have less fungicide on the apple even when they are not labled "organic." But now, we have to worry about polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or specifically Deca.

Amy Rosenthal reports in Enviroblog that the plastic pallets on which apples and peaches (especially) are stored and "hydrocooled" to keep them fresh, leach out the polybrominated diphenyl ethers onto the fruit.

She reports that these polybrominated diphenyl ethers have been associated with disruptions in brain development and hormone systems.

We have an epidemic of autism in this country. Can we afford to risk any more suspect chemicals in the environment of mothers and young children that will adversely affect brain development? Some flame retardants have already been banned. Can't we ban the rest to save our dolphins and children? At least let's keep them out of sea runoff areas, and away from any food.


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