McClatchy reports June’s record ocean warmth worries fishermen and environmentalists. “Ocean surface temperatures around the world were the warmest on record for the month of June, according to federal scientists, though they caution that one month doesn’t necessarily imply global warming… Some scientists think that the rising temperatures hint at broader changes, perhaps resulting from global climate change. Environmentalists and fishermen are wary of what it may mean.”
The NY Times reports More U.S. troops are sought for Iraq. Gen. Ray Odierno, the commanding general of American forces in Iraq, has requested more U.S. troops for northern Iraq to help smooth the working of Kurdish and Iraqi forces. “Tensions between the Iraqi Army and the Kurdish militia, known as pesh merga, have kept them from working together, and as a result Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia has been able to launch devastating attacks on small villages not controlled by either side”.
The Hill reports President Obama picks a fight with the left on health reform. “In backing away from its support for a public option in healthcare reform, the Obama administration is picking a fight with the liberal wing of the Democratic party.”
“Liberal Democrats have insisted a public insurance option is necessary to ensure competition for private insurers. Just this week, former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean predicted there could be Democratic primary challenges if a healthcare bill without a public option is approved by Congress.”
The NY Times reports the ‘public option’ health plan may be dropped. Howard Dean “said on Monday that he saw a public plan as inextricably linked to a health overhaul.” “I don’t think it can pass without the public option,” he said.
“You can’t have reform without a public option. If you really want to fix the health-care system, you’ve got to give the public the choice of having such an option,” he said.
The LA Times reports White House says public healthcare option not ‘essential’.
Both Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said on Sunday talk shows that a government insurance option was not essential — one day after President Obama himself said as much…
Sebelius told CNN’s “State of the Union” that a public option is “not the essential element” of healthcare overhaul, but that lowering insurance costs and preventing insurers from dumping customers for preexisting conditions or for exceeding coverage caps are must-haves.
“I think there will be a competitor to private insurers,” she said. “That’s really the essential part, is you don’t turn over the whole new marketplace to private insurance companies and trust them to do the right thing.”
Gibbs agreed, describing the “bottom line” for the president: “What we have to have is choice and competition in the insurance market.”
Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports there are Six lobbyists per lawmaker work on health overhaul. 3,300 lobbyists, six for each of the 535 members of the House and Senate, are influencing the debate on healthcare overhaul. That is “three times the number of people registered to lobby on defense” and more are signing up each day.
“These groups spent $263.4 million on lobbying during the first six months of 2009, drugmakers alone spent $134.5 million, 64 percent more than the next biggest spenders, oil and gas companies.”
McClatchy reports a Notorious Afghan warlord returns to help Karzai. Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum, an Afghan warlord who allegedly allowed the murder of thousands of Afghan prisoners and destroying evidence of their mass graves has returned to Afghanistan from Turkey to help Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s re-election campaign. “His support could be key to Karzai’s chances of securing more than 50 percent of the vote”.
Meanwhile, the NY Times reports Threats by the Taliban may sway the vote in Afghanistan. The Taliban has promised “anyone caught voting in the presidential election will have his finger – the one inked for the ballot – cut off… The possibility of large-scale nonparticipation by the country’s Pashtuns is casting a cloud over the Afghan presidential election”.
The Guardian reports the UK Minister of Defense claims the Afghanistan war winnable despite growing death toll of British soldiers. “The war in Afghanistan is ‘winnable’, the defence secretary, Bob Ainsworth, insisted today, as new figures showed that more British soldiers have been injured in the country this year than in the whole of 2008.”
August 17, 2009 archive
Aug 17 2009
Aug 17 2009
First of all, I’d like to say thank you to all of those who have written a Health Care Horror Story diary, and I’d like to encourage others to do the same and write their personal horror stories for others to see. The more of these articles we can post on teh toobz, the more we can reveal the true national horror that our for-profit Murder By Spreadsheet industry inflicts onn our nation.
Now, on to the real story.
FACT: Without Blue Dog/ConservaDem opposition, HCR would have been passed with a public option already
Despite the public debate, the fact is that the Republicans are not killing health care reform despite the screamers/teabaggers/ets. No, the Blue Dogs/ConservaDems are killing this reform.
So, I hereby pledge to make it my personal business to DESTROY the fake Democrats in the House and Senate, and I hope you will make the same pledge with me.
More and a call to action below the fold
Aug 17 2009
Turns out that the Taliban isn’t getting all that much of its money from drugs. Why get it from drugs when you can get it from Uncle Sam?
KABUL – It is the open secret no one wants to talk about, the unwelcome truth that most prefer to hide. In Afghanistan, one of the richest sources of Taliban funding is the foreign assistance coming into the country.
Virtually every major project includes a healthy cut for the insurgents. Call it protection money, call it extortion, or, as the Taliban themselves prefer to term it, “spoils of war,” the fact remains that international donors, primarily the United States, are to a large extent financing their own enemy.
“Everyone knows this is going on,” said one U.S. Embassy official, speaking privately.
It’s classic East Coast politics. The Taliban are the mob, and they get their cut. A big cut.
Then they use the money, from us, to fight us.
And why shouldn’t they fight us? WE’RE ATTACKING THEM.
What’s lost in most of these discussions is the obvious elephant in the room — the only reason the Taliban is fighting us is because we’re there attacking them.
Why are we there, spending $133 million a day?
I repeat, we are
spending throwing away $133 million A DAY, five and a half million bucks AN HOUR fighting the natives who are using our own money to defend themselves.
Five and a half MILLION DOLLARS AN HOUR fighting a “war” that we are losing.
Only to find out that a lot of our money is going to the same people we’re fighting.
Now, my absurdity meter has redlined quite a few times over the years, but I think this completely smashes it.
Of course what those figures don’t tell you is how much of that $5.5 million bucks an hour is going directly to American corporations. I mean, it’s not going to the soldiers. Right? It’s going to the corporations who supply the machinery, the gasoline and diesel fuel (ESPECIALLY them), the arms makers, the bootmakers, hell, there must be hundreds of big corporations for whom this is a BIG portion of their daily cash flow.
$5.5 million bucks an hour. To fight an opponent that we are also funding.
That’s what America has turned into.
The dog has caught its own tail and is devouring it.
Aug 17 2009
If it has not become painfully obvious to you that the Insurance Companies and the Sickness Care Industry is writing the “Health” Care legislation in Congress, you seriously need to wake up.
They are spending millions of dollars to do so. And what are they spending it on? Politicians.
Politicians and ads to sway public opinion.
This brings us toi the key question: What do they want?
They want a Health Care Bill that mandates, by law, that every American HAS to, is forced to, must, buy insurance……FROM THEM.
With no alternative.
Their goal is to get 46 million new forced ‘customers.’
Let me say that one more time.
The Insurance companies want “reform” that will force every American to buy their product.
Aug 17 2009
Karl Marx’s most profound understanding and prescient warning about the future of Kapitalism is this: It is inevitable in the Kapitalist system, wealth (generated by labor) accrues further and further away from the worker and consolidates itself into fewer and fewer hands, leading to an abyss of economic disparity between labor and “owners”, which leads directly and inevitably to rebellion by labor against Kapital.
Aug 17 2009
While I was serving at Ramstein during Desert Storm, “Overseas!” magazine came out with an article with that incredibly cheesy title. It featured a tough looking gal in chocolate chip cami’s with a firm set to her jaw and a pair of the ubiquitous 1980’s ZZ Top “cheap sunglasses” that were being offered for sale in every AAFES store, BX, PX, and commissary. I believe she was either standing there holding a weapon or standing behind a gun emplacement. The very idea that this woman would be in combat was laughable at the time, women were having enough problems being allowed to fly C130 cargo missions for USAFE’s arm of the Desert Storm operation, Proven Force.
Aug 17 2009
‘Public Option’ in Health Plan May Be Dropped
By SHERYL GAY STOLBERG
Published: August 16, 2009
PHOENIX – The White House, facing increasing skepticism over President Obama’s call for a public insurance plan to compete with the private sector, signaled Sunday that it was willing to compromise and would consider a proposal for a nonprofit health cooperative being developed in the Senate.
The “public option,” a new government insurance program akin to Medicare, has been a central component of Mr. Obama’s agenda for overhauling the health care system, but it has also emerged as a flashpoint for anger and opposition. Kathleen Sebelius, the health and human services secretary, said the public option was “not the essential element” for reform and raised the idea of the co-op during an interview on CNN.
Ripples of Dispute Surround Tiny Island in East Africa
By JEFFREY GETTLEMAN
Published: August 16, 2009
MIGINGO ISLAND, Lake Victoria – This little island doesn’t look like much.
It’s a slab of rock, not even an acre big, packed with rusty metal shacks, heaps of garbage, glassy-eyed fishermen and squads of prostitutes, essentially a microslum bathing in the middle of Africa’s greatest lake.
But baby Migingo is creating a huge fuss. The island happens to lie right along the disputed watery border between Kenya and Uganda, and politicians have even threatened to go to war over it.
Fish. Lots of them, but maybe not enough. The island is an angler’s paradise, surrounded by schools of tasty – and exportable – Nile perch.
Aug 17 2009
Muse in the Morning
Dream Catcher #6
Aug 17 2009
Editor’s Note: I know that President Obama wants to look forward and all and not dwell on the past and stuff like illegal invasions, the death of 100,000 Iraqis and the Proven FACT that America had a planned, organized, and well funded Official Policy of Torture…
…. But as his poll numbers plummet, (at the hands of pretty much the very same people whom ya know, did all that stuff) maybe he should reconsider and take a minute to remind people of The Republican Reign of Terror that we and the world just went through? You know, for some perspective??? Here, I will do my part below. And maybe, just maybe, one of these days we can get around to actually DOING something about the crimes and horrors of the Bush Years.)
A Blue Dress and the Supreme Court handed the Presidency to a drunken frat boy whose only interest was cutting the taxes of his Ruling Class buddies (Texas my ass, he is from Connecticut) deregulating energy markets and looking good to the other half of his personal base, the Religious Right, to make sure he got reelected.
“This is an impressive crowd — the haves and the have mores. Some people call you the elite — I call you my base.” –at the 2000 Al Smith dinner
Even something kinda importatnt like a daily intelligence briefing saying the USA was about to be attacked was something to be flippantly dismissed with a snide aside.
Until the planes hit.
Then it was panic time.
Dick Cheney, who had just recently finished up his secret energy meeting where Iraq was divided up amongst the oil barons and hearty congrats at blacking out California and screwing Grandmas for profit were extended to Ken Lay, was hiding in a basement under the White House and….depending who you believe, deciding or not deciding or not knowing whether to shoot down flight 93 before it crashed into him.
Bush was on Air Force One trying to decide WTF to do….besides changing his undies after fully realizing what had just happened….on his watch.
The worst terrorist attack on US soil took only a few hours before it started to turn into a plan to attack Iraq to show up Bush’s daddy, who hadn’t had the balls to go after Saddam. Whether his dad was just smarter or whether all the booze had killed too many of Lil George’s brain cells we will never know, but hell, HE was going in, dammit, no matter what it cost.
Bring It On, Dead or Alive…
“This foreign policy stuff is a little frustrating.” –as quoted by the New York Daily News, April 23, 2002
“You know, one of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror.” –interview with CBS News’ Katie Couric, Sept. 6, 2006