Daily Archive: 05/03/2013

May 03 2013

Medical Bankruptcy in the US Even With Insurance

In the United States, 62% of all bankruptcies in the United States are due to medical bills. It is not among who you would think but most often effects middle aged, middle class, college educated homeowners. 80% of those people had health insurance, so why are they filing for bankruptcy? No other industrial country has this problem.

Our fellow blogger, lambert, writing for naked capitalism, featured this video from Real News Network:

Paul Jay of the Real News Network interviews Dr. Margaret Flowers, a pediatrician from Baltimore who advocates for a national single payer health system, Medicare for all, and Kevin Zeese, co-director of It’s Our Economy, an organization that advocates for democratizing the economy.

At his blog, Corrente, lambert continues to document the atrocities of the Obamacare ClusterFuck.

May 03 2013

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Paul Krugman: Not Enough Inflation

Ever since the financial crisis struck, and the Federal Reserve began “printing money” in an attempt to contain the damage, there have been dire warnings about inflation – and not just from the Ron Paul/Glenn Beck types.

Thus, in 2009, the influential conservative monetary economist Allan Meltzer warned that we would soon become “inflation nation.” In 2010, the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development urged the Fed to raise interest rates to head off inflation risks (even though its own models showed no such risk). In 2011, Representative Paul Ryan, then the newly installed chairman of the House Budget Committee, raked Ben Bernanke, the Fed chairman, over the coals, warning of looming inflation and intoning solemnly that it was a terrible thing to “debase” the dollar.

And now, sure enough, the Fed really is worried about inflation. You see, it’s getting too low.

New York Times Editorial Board: Putting Politics Ahead of Science

Appearing before Planned Parenthood’s annual convention last Friday, President Obama pledged his continuing support for women’s reproductive rights. In a speech before the National Academy of Sciences on Monday, Mr. Obama promised to keep science a sphere “not subject to politics” or “skewed by an agenda.”

On Wednesday, his administration betrayed both reproductive rights and science. The Justice Department announced that it would appeal a federal court ruling that would make morning-after pills available without a prescription for girls and women of all ages.

Eugene Robinson: Obama Goes Wobbly

President Obama had the opportunity this week to make an irresponsible Congress face the consequences of its own dumb actions. For reasons I cannot fathom, he took a pass.

Rather than use the veto pen that must be gathering dust in some Oval Office drawer, Obama signed legislation that cushions air travelers from the effects of the crude, cruel budget cuts known as the “sequester.” The Federal Aviation Administration is now allowed to shuffle funds around to avoid furloughing air traffic controllers-thus avoiding flight delays.

Joan Walsh: Yes, Americans Still Value Their Civil Liberties Even in the Wake of Boston Marathon Bombing

New poll says people are even more concerned about their country becoming a police state than before.

I admit I was a little bit surprised, but pleasantly: A new Time/CNN/ORC poll shows that Americans are actually more concerned about protecting civil liberties in the wake of the Boston bombing, not less. It turns out voters are smarter than many of their leaders, particularly (but not exclusively) on the Republican side of the aisle. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who vilifies his local NYCLU by comparing it to the NRA, might want to take note. [..]

Only 32% of Americans believe that the U.S. government can prevent all major attacks, down from an average of 40% in 2011 and 41% in 2006.  And by contrast with polls taken in the wake of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bombing, when only 23 percent of voters polled showed reluctance to give up civil liberties to protect terrorism,, 49% said they were not willing to give up such rights, as opposed to 40 percent who were.

Norman Solomon: Don’t Vent, Organize-And “Primary” a Democrat Near You

Progressives often wonder why so many Republican lawmakers stick to their avowed principles while so many Democratic lawmakers abandon theirs. We can grasp some answers by assessing the current nationwide drive called “Primary My Congressman” — a case study of how right-wing forces gain ground in electoral terrain where progressives fear to tread.

Sponsored by Club for Growth Action, the “Primary My Congressman” effort aims to replace “moderate Republicans” with “economic conservatives” — in other words, GOP hardliners even more devoted to boosting corporate power and dismantling the public sector. “In districts that are heavily Republican,” the group says, “there are literally dozens of missed opportunities to elect real fiscal conservatives to Congress — not more ‘moderates’ who will compromise with Democrats. . .”

Such threats of serious primary challenges often cause the targeted incumbents to quickly veer rightward, or they may never get through the next Republican primary.

Joe Conason: What Might Be Missing From Bush’s Presidential Library

Like all such monuments that former presidents construct to edify the public, the George W. Bush Presidential Center-opened with great ceremony in Texas last week-is mounted from its subject’s point of view.

My own invitation to the festivities must have been lost in the mail, so I have yet to view the super-cool interactive exhibitions that reportedly allow visitors to become “the decider” on Iraq and other debacles. But the point seems to be that the 43rd president came under sustained pressure and, if he screwed up to an unprecedented degree, then he doesn’t think you or I would have done any better.

That pointless comparison would no doubt elicit Bush’s trademark smirk. He is said to feel satisfied with himself, no matter what the world thinks.

May 03 2013

You’re just pissing on my leg

A Story for May Day: The Fed, Apple, and Trickle-Down Economics

Robert Reich

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

It would be one thing if Apple and other giant companies were borrowing in order to expand operations and create new jobs. But that’s not what’s going on. Apple, remember, is still sitting on $145 billion.

The reason big companies aren’t creating more jobs is consumers aren’t buying enough to justify the expansion. And government is cutting back on spending.

Big corporations are borrowing simply in order to push stock prices up and reward their investors.

It’s a sump pump with the Fed on one end buying up bonds to keep interest rates low, and shareholders on the other end raking in the returns.

Get it? Easy money from the Fed can’t get the economy out of first gear when the rest of government is in reverse.

Trickle-down economics is the first cousin of austerity economics. Austerity is nuts when so many millions are out of work. And as we’ve learned before, trickle-down is a fraud. Nothing ever trickles down.

May 03 2013

On This Day In History May 3

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

Click on images to enlarge

May 3 is the 123rd day of the year (124th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 242 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1919, Pete Seeger, folk singer, activist, environmentalist was born in NYC.

On July 26, 1956, the House of Representatives voted 373 to 9 to cite Pete Seeger and seven others (including playwright Arthur Miller) for contempt, as they failed to cooperate with House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in their attempts to investigate alleged subversives and communists. Pete Seeger testified before the HUAC in 1955.

In one of Pete’s darkest moments, when his personal freedom, his career, and his safety were in jeopardy, a flash of inspiration ignited this song. The song was stirred by a passage from Mikhail Sholokhov’s novel “And Quie Flows the Don”. Around the world the song traveled and in 1962 at a UNICEF concert in Germany, Marlene Dietrich, Academy Award-nominated German-born American actress, first performed the song in French, as “Qui peut dire ou vont les fleurs?” Shortly after she sang it in German. The song’s impact in Germany just after WWII was shattering. It’s universal message, “let there be peace in the world” did not get lost in its translation. To the contrary, the combination of the language, the setting, and the great lyrics has had a profound effect on people all around the world. May it have the same effect today and bring renewed awareness to all that hear it.

May 03 2013

Around the Blogosphere

The main purpose our blogging is to communicate our ideas, opinions, and stories both fact and fiction. The best part about the the blogs is information that we might not find in our local news, even if we read it online. Sharing that information is important, especially if it educates, sparks conversation and new ideas. We have all found places that are our favorites that we read everyday, not everyone’s are the same. The Internet is a vast place. Unlike Punting the Pundits which focuses on opinion pieces mostly from the mainstream media and the larger news web sites, “Around the Blogosphere” will focus more on the medium to smaller blogs and articles written by some of the anonymous and not so anonymous writers and links to some of the smaller pieces that don’t make it to “Pundits” by Krugman, Baker, etc.

We encourage you to share your finds with us. It is important that we all stay as well informed as we can.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

This is an Open Thread.

From Gaius Publius at Americablog on climate change:

Climate crisis – where we’re headed, how much time is left

At his blog Conscience of a Liberal, Paul Krugman

Medicaid Nonsense

Jim White reports on the ricin case arrest at emptywheel

The FBI’s Evidence Against the Genius Who Framed Elvis

At Voice on the Square, JayeRaye’s

Hellraisers Journal: “Shall Americanism or Unionism Rule?”

digby at Hullabaloo points out A big silver lining for deficit hawks

At Corrente, [letsgetitdone:

Make ’em Prove the Causality before They Cause Any More Suffering: Part One

and lambert continues to document the Obamacare atrocities:

ObamaCare Clusterfuck: New 3-page eligibility form may screw states that are farthest ahead on their exchange software

ObamaCare Clusterfuck: IL expected 16 insurance companies on its exchange, only 6 apply

ObamaCare Clusterfuck: SCOOP! IT Whistleblower shares systems diagram for ObamaCare “eligibility engine”

ObamaCare Clusterfuck: Exchanges only expected to cover 7 million in first year

Dean Baker at his blog, Beat the Press:

The Housing Experts on the WAPO’s Rolodex Never Heard of Jumbo Mortgages

May 03 2013

Justice and the Law for Aaron Swartz

The main purpose our blogging is to communicate our ideas, opinions, and stories both fact and fiction. The best part about the the blogs is information that we might not find in our local news, even if we read it online. Sharing that information is important, especially if it educates, sparks conversation and new ideas. We have all found places that are our favorites that we read everyday, not everyone’s are the same. The Internet is a vast place. Unlike Punting the Pundits which focuses on opinion pieces mostly from the mainstream media and the larger news web sites, “Around the Blogosphere” will focus more on the medium to smaller blogs and articles written by some of the anonymous and not so anonymous writers and links to some of the smaller pieces that don’t make it to “Pundits” by Krugman, Baker, etc.

We encourage you to share your finds with us. It is important that we all stay as well informed as we can.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

This is an Open Thread.

From Gaius Publius at Americablog on climate change:

Climate crisis – where we’re headed, how much time is left

At his blog Conscience of a Liberal, Paul Krugman

Medicaid Nonsense

Jim White reports on the ricin case arrest at emptywheel

The FBI’s Evidence Against the Genius Who Framed Elvis

At Voice on the Square, JayeRaye’s

Hellraisers Journal: “Shall Americanism or Unionism Rule?”

digby at Hullabaloo points out A big silver lining for deficit hawks

At Corrente, [letsgetitdone:

Make ’em Prove the Causality before They Cause Any More Suffering: Part One

and lambert continues to document the Obamacare atrocities:

ObamaCare Clusterfuck: New 3-page eligibility form may screw states that are farthest ahead on their exchange software

ObamaCare Clusterfuck: IL expected 16 insurance companies on its exchange, only 6 apply

ObamaCare Clusterfuck: SCOOP! IT Whistleblower shares systems diagram for ObamaCare “eligibility engine”

ObamaCare Clusterfuck: Exchanges only expected to cover 7 million in first year

Dean Baker at his blog, Beat the Press:

The Housing Experts on the WAPO’s Rolodex Never Heard of Jumbo Mortgages