11 December 2011


Whenever I come across an interesting or informative article, news item, or image that might be suitable to publish in this forum, I send the link to my desktop for future reference. Sometimes I write about an item immediately, sometimes I don't, and things accumulate. Today I'm clearing out the links related to politics. Now don't just move on to some other online activity just yet ~ scan the titles below first. If even one catches your eye, it will be a worthwhile investigation. 'Sides, some of them are so silly that they're fun.

The first entry is nine days old, but still an eye-opener. In The Bomb Buried in Obamacare Explodes Today ~ Hallelujah! we learn that one provision should have a long lasting and powerful impact on the future of health care in our country.

"That would be the provision of the law, called the medical loss ratio, that requires health insurance companies to spend 80% of the consumers’ premium dollars they collect—85% for large group insurers—on actual medical care rather than overhead, marketing expenses and profit. Failure on the part of insurers to meet this requirement will result in the insurers having to send their customers a rebate check representing the amount in which they underspend on actual medical care.

This is the true 'bomb' contained in Obamacare and the one item that will have more impact on the future of how medical care is paid for in this country than anything we've seen in quite some time. Indeed, it is this aspect of the law that represents the true 'death panel' found in Obamacare ~ but not one that is going to lead to the death of American consumers. Rather, the medical loss ratio will, ultimately, lead to the death of large parts of the private, for-profit health insurance industry.

Why? Because there is absolutely no way for-profit health insurers are going to be able to learn how to get by and still make a profit while being forced to spend at least 80 percent of their receipts providing their customers with the coverage for which they paid. If they could, we likely would never have seen the extraordinary efforts made by these companies to avoid paying benefits to their customers at the very moment they need it the most.

Today, that bomb goes off."

Next, consider The Top 10 Federal Contractors, All Working for the Military. "These corporations received $138.4 billion in taxpayer funds .... these ten corporations paid for the services of no fewer than 109 different lobbying firms deployed to Capitol Hill", with many lobbyists working for more than one contractor. The sheer audacity of all concerned in engaging in multiple levels of conflict of interest, at taxpayer expense, is staggering. Why are these funds not being devoted to public works projects like the WPA or the CCC, to lower unemployment?

Mostly because the majority of people in this country don't want to know, don't want to be bothered. They would rather numb their minds and trust those in economic, military and political power to make decisions for them. We the people are the decision-makers. All those highly-paid CEOs, generals, and politicians work for us. They are our employees. Yet, according to Ignorance Is Bliss When It Comes to Challenging Social Issues, "The less people know about important complex issues such as the economy, energy consumption and the environment, the more they want to avoid becoming well-informed, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association. And the more urgent the issue, the more people want to remain unaware." That is just sad.

It is also disturbing when you consider the 24 Policies That Republicans Supported BEFORE They Were Against Them. Government by principle, or government by expediency? We, the voters, must decide.

So what do you think ~ are we moving in the direction of becoming a police state? Given the assaultive behavior of police officers in multiple cities toward members of the Occupy movement, one could be forgiven for wondering. Here are Five Things That Have Civil Rights Advocates Nervous ~

~ Indefinite military detentions of U.S. citizens.

~ Targeting U.S. citizens for killing.

~ Arresting witnesses for recording police actions.

~ Using GPS to track your every move.

~ Surveillance drones spying on U.S. soil.

Sound paranoid? Every one of these acts has taken place, or is proposed to take place in the near future. Thankfully the third issue is already being addressed. Here is the detailed finding in Federal Court Rules That Videotaping Police Is A First Amendment Right. Those last three words are key to most of the volatile issues being played out on the streets and in Congress ~ rights guaranteed to individuals by the U.S. Constitution. Too many of those in politics, the military, and law enforcement seem never to have heard of that founding document, much less read and understood it.

Lastly, two articles on the gruesome imbalance of wealth distribution and taxation in our fair land ~ Taxing the 1% ~ Why The Top Tax Rate Could Be Over 80%, and Finally, A Rich American Destroys the Fiction That Rich People Create the Jobs. Hint ~ millionaires and billionaires seek only to increase their wealth by maximizing profits by any means necessary, up to and including firing portions of their workforce. "What creates jobs is the company's customers, who create demand for the company's products, which in turn creates the need for the employees to produce, seel and service those products. If those customers go broke, the demand for the company's products will collapse. And the jobs will disappear, regardless of what the entrepreneur does." In an economy with high unemployment, mortgage foreclosures, and stagnant wages, with jobs being outsourced to other nations, it is rather difficult to wave a magic wnd to generate customer demand. Thank you, Reaganomics. Thank you, Republican presidents and legislators since 1980 who have led us down the garden path.

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