David DeGraw’s article The Wall Street Economic Death Squad deserves your attention. I don’t know what he proposes we do about it, and can’t say whether I’d do or recommend the same, but surely his article shows you where your wealth currently resides.

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Posted: October 25, 2009 at 9:23 pm

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It’s a fact: Health care insurers are in it for the money. Payouts for health-care are minimized to benefit stockholders. Insurance company CEOs and other top executives literally rake billions of dollars off the top, funds that are put into health care yet will not be providing health care. Vast amounts of money leak out the pipeline between consumers and health providers, diverted to middlemen who add absolutely nothing of value to the system. Even without fraud, which seems pretty unlikely in this era of fraud, the health insurance paradigm represents a massive and unnecessary burden on our health care system. Yet no side of the debate in Washington addresses this fat section of the health care costs pie chart. Instead, the debate seems centered around how can we force every citizen to contribute to this particular slice of the pie!

Washington makes an enormous error in calculating the cost of health care, and everyone seems to just follow along. The real cost of health care is the sum of payable invoices of health provider services actually provided, with the additional costs of medicines prescribed and health related equipment sold or rented. This sum is far lower than the cost of insuring every citizen, in the event that they might need (or will eventually need) health services. Yet the plan moving towards legislation will force the uninsured to purchase “acceptable insurance” or pay huge fines and even face jail time (up to a year!). No costs are lowered, in fact the drug companies get protection from both having to lower prices and from lawsuits in the event that their product causes damage. The proposed plans are universally so ridiculous, so obviously pandering to large corporate interests, so psychopathic and so sociologically wrong – it makes me sick!

Acceptable insurance should be no insurance, and no need for it. Insurance does not provide health care, it takes from it.

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Posted: September 27, 2009 at 10:41 am

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The Delaware County Fair was last week, and since it was raining, I stopped by the Democratic Party booth. And there I suggested to the gray haired, and rather self-satisfied but somewhat delusional fellow, that he take down his signage, move his booth to the middle of the aisle and invite the Republicans in their booth across the way to join him, and thus discontinue the charade since they were two sides of the same coin – and a wooden nickel at that. Of course he was disinclined, and instead attempted to suggest that there was still some working semblance of representational government, and that the Donkey way was ever so much better than that of the Elephant.

Meanwhile in Washington, Obama was preparing to announce his appointment of former Monsanto vice president Michael Taylor to be Food Safety Czar. Need I say more? What about “Change”? What about “Hope”? I’m hoping Taylor has changed, but that’s doubtful. Mr. Taylor has made the trip through the FDA/Monsanto revolving door a few times, getting higher status each time around. Maybe Obama was pretty high himself, when he made that appointment. More likely, Obama was told who to appoint by those above him – and I’m not talking about God.

Biointegrity.org supplies links to some of the FDA’s internal documents which point out hazards of genetically modified foods and flaws in the methods the agency used to make it’s policy. I’ve added the link to the Research Tools list at left.

By the way, do you know why it’s hard to find genetically modified food in Europe? Because the people refuse to eat it! Demand labeling at the very least.

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Posted: August 26, 2009 at 10:36 pm

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When the righteous are tasked with cleaning up, accounting for, or fully investigating a set of circumstances, inevitably some common sense guidelines will be followed resulting in a clearly cleaner, accounted for, or fully investigated outcome. Sadly, after boatloads of U.S. government cleanups, accounting, and investigations we find ourselves ever deeper in muck. Unless we believe in unprecedented levels of ineptitude, it becomes obvious that neither clarity nor an honest accounting was ever the objective of these endeavors. As stated in the Yale Law Journal’s somewhat apologetic article, Parrhesiastic accountability: investigatory commissions and executive power in an age of terror, “… commissions operate at the behest of elite political forces that have considerable investment in the status quo.” Commissions are obviously formed to conceal the crimes which lead to their establishment. Participating in such whitewashing is itself a crime. (By the way, a note to the Yale Law Journal: We don’t live in an age of terror, we live in an age of fraud.)

The Warren Commission, the Kean 9/11 Commission, the Iraq Commission, the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission – these are just a sampling of the fairly recent. There are probably hundreds you never heard of, or have long forgotten, that just as surely swept facts under the rug. You can watch the posturing as Congress “grilled” Paulson, Bernanke or the SEC’s executive group of captured stooges. Quite a little theater they got going there in DC. With all the grandstanding, finger pointing, evasiveness, memory losses and denials I can almost believe they’re not meeting later for drinks. In the end, trillions are freshly printed for passing amongst cronies, conflicts of interest blithely ignored, and our once great country blunders along on it’s way down the pipes.

I doubt I’ve ever met anyone with a pair of firing neurons who implicitly trusts investigatory commission findings. Whitewash investigations are “de rigeur” in the final acts of all high crimes. Often enough, a commission becomes a long-standing aide and benefactor to the very same criminal elements it should curtail. In fact, you can be virtually assured either a heinous crime has transpired and is about to be covered up, or someone’s political opposition is about to be sidelined when you hear that a commission will be formed to investigate. Undoubtably, a scapegoat will emerge from the ranks of the lesser minions, with the blame squarely shouldered.

The Washington Post announced the latest charade today, Attorney General Eric Holder has determined he ought to hold up the façade of law and order by appointing a special prosecutor to “investigate” CIA violations of anti-torture laws. Don’t expect to see Bush and/or Cheney perpwalking. Bet on seeing the scapegoats trotted out. Even the Post has to inadvertently admit the pointlessness of the faux investigation/spectacle, the article ending with an upbeat spin on dismal news:

“(Holder and his team appear to be)…rejecting a broad inquiry that could result in possible prosecutions of Justice Department lawyers in the Bush years as well as cabinet officers who developed counterterrorism policy; but giving civil liberties advocates at least part of what they wanted without supporting a full, independent truth commission to examine a host of Bush national security practices.”

You want a feast, you get a spoonful – most likely of food gone bad. Criminal style compromise at best.

These shenanagins take place only with our tacit approval. Remember, those running the show are far outnumbered by their victims, or soon to be victims, and their success depends entirely on you doing nothing.

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Posted: August 24, 2009 at 7:34 pm

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A universal construct among scams and cons is the application of temporal pressure during a period of confusion and disarray. If you don’t sign now, this fabulous opportunity will be lost! And with just such a tactic, the 1000 plus page Stimulus Act was passed earlier this year. Buried within the weighty tome were fundamental Federal health care policy changes, passed without public comment or debate. We’re probably still a year away from seeing if the “Stimulus” part of the bill will work as intended but it’s certainly valid to question why health care reform legislation needed to be stuck in there and rammed through.

If the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Chairman John Conyers can’t make any sense of proposed legislation without “two days and two lawyers”, I can’t expect casual readers to be figuring it out either. There’s plenty of chatter throughout the media, traditional and otherwise, which pretty much only serves to cloud the issues further. All we can be certain of is that the legislation passed unread!

If rubber stamping reams of legislation into law without an inkling of what you are doing sounds like a bad idea, well, it probably is. I’ve read the stories of doctors losing decision making authority to appointed government bureaucrats, of eligibility for treatment to be determined by factors such as the patient’s age, of remedies based on mathematically derived “treatment effectiveness” rather than individual particulars, of massive databases to be built – and stocked with your personal medical history and financial information, of a new form of national ID card – ostensibly for health purposes. I can’t vouch for the accuracy of all or of any of those scenarios, but I can’t say I like their remote possibility.

I like the stealthily enacted health legislation even less when scratching its surface reveals medical care may soon be doled out (or not) based on the value of a statistical life year (VSLY). It appears health care costs are to be disingenuously reduced by reducing health care itself, rather than actually lowering the cost of treatment. I’m sure that brings smiles to the Pharma/Medical groups paying to maintain financial hegemony throughout the “reform”. Naturally the wealthy will continue to receive the finest care money can buy, while the rest of us will be at the government bean counter’s mercy. Let’s hope those in charge aren’t eugenicists!

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Posted: August 15, 2009 at 5:01 pm

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China is recognized as having as much as $1.2 trillion in dollars, perhaps 70% of their entire reserve. If the Chinese decide to unload, the dollar would drop markedly. This “nuclear option” of openly divesting greenbacks has been unanimously disregarded as mere posturing. It’s claimed that the subsequent dollar devaluation would be too harmful to Chinese reserves.

What is missing from that analysis is the fact that reserves are “extra”. Suppose China moved to divest itself of dollars and the dollar deflates to the value of a quarter. How bad is that for China really? So what if their cash reserve shrinks in value to only $300 billion? China can afford the loss. It was surplus money anyway, and probably, to the Chinese, the political gain would be worth the loss. In comparison the U.S. doesn’t have any cash reserves.

Compare the situation to those bankers who receive million dollar bonuses and the average working Joe. If a dollar deflates to a quarter, the banker’s bonus is now worth only $250,000 while Joe’s entire net worth is decimated. Joe becomes homeless while the banker just has to put off buying his Bugatti Veyron for a while.

China has been quietly buying up vast amounts of resource assets such as mining and energy companies. This seems to telegraph a future willingness to abandon the dollar. When China moves, it’s ruthless. Just ask a Tibetan. Now, I’m no economic or political wizard, so please tell me where I’m wrong…

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Posted: August 13, 2009 at 5:59 pm

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With the economy in shambles, thanks to what appears to be the accelerating wealth shifting strategy of the criminal class, the rest of us will be searching hard for that promised “Change We Can Believe In.” The Fed, printing greenbacks as if they are going out of style (which they are), is fully aware that U.S. currency is thus devalued. That’s why their cronies are receiving it in exponentially larger amounts. Budgets, not long ago tallied in the millions, are now routinely in the billions, tens of billions and even hundreds of billions. Bank bailouts and executive payouts are at formerly unimaginable levels. It’s a Weimar Republic style hyperinflated cash wheelbarrow making it’s reappearance from the top down. By the time it hits ground level, and the smoke clears, U.S. paper currency may be utterly worthless.

Don’t expect big media to clue you in on this. Media provides the smoke. Don’t expect “big” anything to help. Big gets big, feeds and maintains itself, by taking advantage of little. Expect big to obfuscate reality and steer you in the opposite direction. In spite of the cheery “less negative than expected” depression era news you may have heard to the contrary, a clear, logically oriented mind sees an ugly future looming. There is no manufacturing base, no new jobs are coming to replace those lost, no new boom on the horizon to usurp the bust. We have record breaking (and rising) public and private debt with no foreseeable repayment plans. Collusion and cooption of government with corporate giants is not likely to be thawing soon.

There is however, change you can believe in, and by that I mean silver coins. When paper money no longer has discernable value, Morgan and Peace dollars, Liberty and Franklin halves, Washington quarters, Roosevelt and Mercury dimes and other silver will be in high demand. Gold is certainly good too, but it’s simply not as convenient as silver for smaller purchases such as groceries. As I write this, these coins are worth a bit more than 10x their face value. In 1964 a cup of coffee cost a dime. That same silver dime (now valued about $1.07) will still get you a cup in some places. If hyperinflation drives coffee to $5.00 a cup, that silver dime may well continue to suffice. Silver coin is the change I believe in.

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Posted: August 13, 2009 at 2:08 pm

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“I am not a crook.” He was. “I did not have relations with that woman.” He did. “The air is safe.” It wasn’t. “Sadaam’s got stockpiles of WMDs.” Nary a one. “We have found absolutely no link between vaccines and autism.” They had. “Insert quote here.” Insert truth here. The past eight years provided too many lies to list. (I won’t go near some of Rumsfeld’s bizarre contortions.) If our current President ran into the doppelgänger who campaigned in his stead they’d probably annihilate each other like matter and antimatter. Don’t try to tell me it’s all for national security! (more…)

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Posted: August 4, 2009 at 4:01 am

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I was reading the Congressional Research Service’s The 2009 Influenza Pandemic: Selected Legal Issues (PDF available at www.pandemicfluonline.com), and got as far as the second page where it says:

…the 2009 influenza pandemic may raise a classic civil rights issue: to what extent can an individual’s liberty be curtailed to advance the common good?

Now, you just know they’re gonna get right down to the meat of things and come up with the rationale for all sorts of limitations on individual liberty for the “common good.” It’s awfully hard to argue against the common good, isn’t it? Even I wouldn’t take that one on. This whole blog is about the common good. (more…)

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Posted: August 1, 2009 at 3:56 pm

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According to the UK’s Food Standards Agency, and as gleefully reported today by the BBC, ‘Organic has no health benefits’, so we can all breath a sigh of relief and return to eating pesticide and chemical filled garbage. There’s probably no health benefits to unleaded paint then, eh? Any benefits left in quitting smoking? Do we even need to debunk this utter foolishness?

Personally, I wouldn’t expect an organic pepper to have significantly more nutrients than any other pepper, since they are usually not genetically engineered, though nutrient levels were the only factor in the study’s determinations. Turns out organic peppers do indeed have elevated nutrient levels, but not significantly elevated, according to the FSA. The health benefits of not ingesting a host of ingredients far too dangerous to be included in a child’s chemistry set is a glaring omission. (more…)

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Posted: July 29, 2009 at 1:30 pm

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