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McCamy Taylor

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Member since: Tue Nov 9, 2004, 06:05 PM
Number of posts: 19,226

About Me

Here is my fiction website: http://home.earthlink.net/~mccamytaylor/ My political cartoon site: http://www.grandtheftelectionohio.com/

Journal Archives

Food Fight! (Or Why Won't Obama Have to Go Negative Next Fall? A: Because the GOP Already Did It!)

Added intro: Why should a Democrat care if the GOP presidential primary has entered meltdown mode? Obama's style and personality do not allow him to go negative. This year, he will not have to. Democrats will have plenty of "negative" material to use about the GOP nominee---and they can credit it all to other Republicans! How sweet is that?

Long post, but hey? Who ever wants a food fight to end? They are so much fun---if you are a spectator.

Mitt Romney has been the presumptive GOP nominee since McCain’s defeat in 2008. Everyone knew he would run again and (most likely) win his party’s nomination. He should have been in good shape. A former governor, he could boast about having “executive experience”. As someone who oversaw an attempt at health care reform, he was ready to tell America “I can give you what you want better than Obama can.” Since he was a Republican from a northeastern state, he would not have a lot of right wing ideological baggage to dump before heading into the general election. Romney was the guy who could hit the ground running along the line on the center of the road….

So, why does Romney look so weak? Why is he in a virtual dead heat with Rick “Man on Dog” Santorum, one of the most pathetic politicians the GOP has ever produced? How come Ron Paul---a certified libertarian loon---is nipping at his heels? Why is Newt---a Republican’s Republican---stalking him, ready to launch a pie square at Romney’s chiseled features the moment he looks over his shoulder? Blame the Super Pacs.

How did the GOP go from being the party which never ever criticizes another Republican during the primary to the food fight in Animal House? Two words: Citizens United. Those two words hit the scene in January 2009. They were followed the very next day by two other words that have changed the face of politics in America. Super Pacs. The speed with which Rove and others formed their Super Pacs suggests that Citizens United came as no surprise to them. The case at the center of the controversial ruling began when the Bush administration decided (for the first and only time) to enforce federal election financing rules in a case involving attack ads against Hillary Clinton. Why would the Bush administration attempt to enforce federal election rules for the benefit of a woman that the GOP hates? Maybe so that Rove and others could announce their newly formed Super Pacs before the ink was dried on the Supreme Court’s ruling.

Super Pacs were the winner of the 2010 election---and the U.S. lost. By running attack ads against incumbents, the GOP managed to propel a bunch of bat shit crazy Republicans into office. If they could get a posse of Tea Baggers elected, surely the Super Pacs could get one white man installed in the White House…

Or maybe not. The problem with Super Pac money is there is so damn much of it. And it can only be used on negative (attack) ads. Every company in the world is free to form a Super Pac. There is no limit on the amount that can be spent. Hell. China could form a Super Pac to fund a candidate and the Supreme Court would give it a big thumbs up. Remember, Justice Stevens warned the others that the ruling would allow unlimited foreign money in U.S. federal political, and Scalia and the others responded with a big Don’t care!. And if we are talking about all the money in the worldthat is a whole lot of cash just waiting to be spent on the Republican Party primary Battle Royale in which the last man standing is the winner:

Thanks to the Gang of Five, the Republican presidential primary has now entered its Warring States period. The Warring States era in China was the six hundred years of chaos that occurred as various kingdoms battled to see who would come out on top.

No, that isn’t an artist’s rendition of the recent GOP primary in Iowa. That’s a bunch of long dead Chinese guys trying to kill each other in their frenzy to become the Big Boss. But it could easily represent Newt (who has now decided to go negative) and Romney (who already went negative) and Rick and Ron and Rick and all their super-duper political weapons of mass destruction which were bought and paid for by Big Oil and Big Banks and Big Pharm and Big Agriculture and everyone else who is willing to pay for the right to choose the next Secretary of _____.

Super Pac money means a lot of things (besides never having to say you are sorry for your serial adultery or your racist newsletter or your sheer idiocy). Super Pac money means that the corporate media can not anoint a candidate, as they did back in 2008 with John McCain and insist that Republican voters hold their noses and vote for him. In the old days, when NBC declared your campaign dead and buried, folks stopped giving money and that was that. Remember how John Edwards second place finish in Iowa was used to hammer the nails in the coffin of his campaign? The press tried to do the same this year. So far, the only Republican candidate they have managed to shoot down was Herman Cain, for the crime of being Black. (The sex part was obviously not important since Newt is still in the race.) The rest just keep holding out their hands and getting more cash from the rich/corporate donors. And as long as the money keeps flowing, the campaigns keep chugging along, like the Little Train that Could.

Except make that a great big shiny nuclear powered red train. And put six of them on the same track trying to get to the finish line first…

Super Pac money can not be used to tell the world about the greatness of the guy who has promised to cut back federal regulations for your industry. It can not be spent on television ads that show your white male candidate kissing babies and walking on water. No, it has to be spent on ads in which one Republican (Romney) accuse other Republicans (Newt) of going “Whoops!”


Or this one from Romney about Perry:

Romney's ads have been so much fun to watch (and so productive at the Iowa caucuses) that Newt Gingrich has decided to join the food fight:


Romney is not the only one flinging lime Jello across the crowded cafeteria . A group representing “did not even make a blip on the radar screen” Huntsman has purchase $300,000 worth of anti-Romney ads for New Hampshire:


Here is a great graphic (all ready for the Dems to use next fall) courtesy of Ron Paul. If anyone knows where I can get this one as a bumper sticker, please let me know.

Another great graphic from Ron Paul:

Here is an excerpt from a Ron Paul anti-Romney radio ad:

"Mitt Romney can't fight against ‘Obamacare’ because he supported the same mandates and government takeovers as governor of Massachusetts. Romney can't stand up against more bailouts because he supported them. He can't lead the charge to shrink the government because he has grown it."


That’s a radio ad, because it’s cheaper. Ron “No more welfare for anyone even companies” Paul is probably not rolling in corporate cash. But lots of the others are. Recall that Perry entered the race with six---count ‘em six Super Pacs. All of them paying for ads like this anti-Romney ad, “The Truth is Not for Sale”, from Perry


And this double barreled ad from Rick Perry attacking both Newt and Mittens:


I have always been a big fan of kitten fighting graphics like this one:

But I am beginning to enjoy the Mittens fighting graphics, too!

Posted by McCamy Taylor | Wed Jan 4, 2012, 03:03 PM (1 replies)

How Super Pacs are KILLING the GOP.

Super Pacs have accomplished a miracle. They have persuaded Republican candidates to savage each other in the primaries the way that Democrats have always savaged each other in the primaries. Why this new found blood thirst? Simple. In the old days, Republican candidates had to raise money from a bunch of wealthy Republicans who believed that you should never give the opposition party any ammo to use in the general. So, the GOP candidates confined their snarkiness to the Democrats.

Now, any Republican can hold out his hand to any US or International Corporation and say "Gimme money and I will give you the Secretary of ______ (insert cabinet position that interferes with your ability to make insane amounts of money)"

Since there are a gazillion companies around the world that want to make insane amounts of money, it is easy to get funding. Even if you are a serial adulterer (Newt), a "submissive" wife (Bachmann) or a certified loon (Santorum, Paul).

Super Pacs have a second unintended effect of making it very hard to clear the field of candidates. In the old days, when your poll numbers went down, your money would run out and you would quit. Or (more likely) when the corporate media declared your campaign over (as it did John Edwards campaign after his second place finish in Iowa) the money would stop rolling in and the candidate would be forced to quit. Well, in our new improved Super Pac funded era, the polls don't mean shit and neither does the corporate media. Nowadays, money speaks louder than words, and under the Super Pac system, the money never runs out. Never! Not as long as the donors are still solvent. These companies have shelled out millions already. They want a return on their investment, damnit!

And as long as there is money, the Republican presidential contenders will continue to Run, Baby, Run! Even if they have no hope of winning, a strong showing in the primary will boost their political status. Check out Herbert Cain, if you doubt me.

Posted by McCamy Taylor | Tue Jan 3, 2012, 01:12 PM (3 replies)

Back of the Bus (Warning, Heartbreaking Graphics)

For those younger than 40, the phrase "back of the bus" might not mean much. If the buses of your childhood were all bright yellow as in school buses, you probably preferred sitting in the rear, away from the eyes of the driver.

For any American over 50, the phrase "back of the bus" has a whole different meaning. During the days of segregation, African-Americans were expected to ride in the back of the bus. If the whites ran out of room in the front of the bus, Blacks were expected to give up their seats. Blacks were not even allowed to walk through the front of the bus on the way to their ghetto in the back. They had to pay the driver, then exit, then go around to the back door. Sometimes drivers (white) would take their money and then speed away before they could get to the back door. Ha ha. Very funny. Look at that ____ run. This from the days when hunting Blacks was considered a sport by some in the U.S. and whole families attended lynchings and commemorated the event with group postcards.

Note the date and location. Marion, Ind. 1930. That was only eighty years ago. Some of those kids may still be alive. Shouldn't someone comb through old newspaper and years book so that we can attach faces to the men, women and children who participated in these acts of murder (for which there is no statute of limitations)?

We all know about Rosa Parks, but the struggle to move up from the "back of the bus" is an old one. In 1884. Ida B. Wells-Barnett refused to move to the smoking car, which was the one designated for Black railroad passengers. She was forcibly removed from the train, while the white passengers cheered.

Several years later after three of her friends were lynched for daring to fight back when a rival white grocery store sent a mob to attack the Black men's grocery for the crime of stealing business, she wrote:

" The city of Memphis has demonstrated that neither character nor standing avails the Negro if he dares to protect himself against the white man or become his rival. There is nothing we can do about the lynching now, as we are out-numbered and without arms. The white mob could help itself to ammunition without pay, but the order is rigidly enforced against the selling of guns to Negroes. There is therefore only one thing left to do; save our money and leave a town which will neither protect our lives and property, nor give us a fair trial in the courts, but takes us out and murders us in cold blood when accused by white persons.


"Become his rival" is in bold, because that is what "back of the bus" means. One demographic group steals the wealth of another through intimidation, which can take the form of both legal oppression and violence. When Black Americans had to sit at the "back of the bus" or risk being ejected and arrested, they were paid a small fraction of what whites were paid for their labor. They were ripped off by store owners, landlords. If they dared to rise above their station (uneducated menial labor) they were killed. Even after the Civil War, several generations of white Americans grew rich and prosperous thanks to the underpaid labor of the nation's African-American citizens.


Here is the story of Rosa Parks and three more women of color who refused to give up their seats. The author of the article writes:

"What was wrong with society at the time to think it was okay to force people to sit in certain seats just because of the color of their skin? Did we not learn a lesson from the Nazi treatment of the Jews?'

I am afraid that people all across the world have learned the wrong lesson from atrocities such as slavery in the U.S. and the holocaust. Slavery made plantation owners rich. Growing cotton was extremely labor intensive. The big plantations would never have survived if they had been forced to pay the field workers an honest wage. A century later, in Nazi Germany, the industrialists who supported Hitler (like our own Henry Ford) made a killing from the unpaid labor of Jewish prisoners. Right now, in America, a whole generation of young African-American men have been moved to the "back of the bus" through our criminal justice system which hands out harsh sentences for the "crime" of using certain drugs. Once in prison, these young men become slave labor. Out of prison, they are denied education grants and are forced to do unskilled, low paid labor for the rest of their lives.

When someone tells you "move to the back of the bus" he isn't simply saying "I don't want to sit next to you." He is saying "Because I am a ___and you are a ____, I have power over you. You had better listen to me and do exactly what I say, or you will suffer. And no one will do a thing to save you. They will cheer as I spit on you and hit you and drag you from the bus/train."

And the man (or woman) who tells us to move to the "back of the bus" has another message, one that is implied in the first. "You only have the power and rights that I choose to grant you. You only have worth and value if you have worth and value to me. That means you had better pick crops for a pittance wage. And you had better give birth to the dozen or so children that I need to run my farm or my business with minimal overhead. And when I have had a bad day, you had better not say a word when I take my anger out on you, verbally or physically. Because you were put on this earth to serve me. I own you. So get to the back of the bus. And don't you dare give me that look. Don't you dare object, even silently. Because if you do, I will denounce you to the world as unnatural, a devil bent upon destroying our society. I will paint myself as the victim and you as the transgressor. I will make your life a living hell."

"Back of the bus" is not a uniquely American problem. Here is an account of a Dalit---more commonly known as an Untouchable---who refused to give up his seat. Note that the "offended" party was Muslim, meaning that they do not even believe in the caste system. This was not a religious issue. They were not following the dictates of their Lord. They simply knew that they were more powerful and more important.

"Inhuman and cruel treatment of Dalits is practiced even by India’s non-Hindu communities, as experienced by Kiranbhai Parmar, a Dalit living in Ingoli village, Ahmedabad district, Gujarat. On his way home from work on 21 January 2009 at about 4pm, Kiranbhai took a vacated seat in a public bus while seven male members of the Khan family were standing inside the bus. One of the Khans called him a ‘dhedh’ (derogatory term suggesting lower caste) and declared that as long as the ‘Khan Sahibs’ (Khan Masters) were on the bus, a ‘dheda’ cannot sit. When Kiranbhai refused to give up his seat the seven men punched and kicked him.

"The Khan family belongs to the Pathan community, enjoying significant social status within the general Muslim community. After being threatened by them, the bus driver stopped the bus between the Trasad and Pisavada villages, and left Kiranbhai there, about 7km from his home village. The victim was able to get a three-wheeler and returned home at about 6pm, but pain from his internal injuries lasted several months.

"Kiranbhai went to the police station with his parents Hiraben and Natubhai Parmar, the next day, to lodge a complaint. They watched as an officer called the Khans to inform them of the complaint. They then accepted the family’s application but refused to register a case, advising them to go home; if they pushed on with the complaint, they said, the family would likely not be able to stay in their village. The Khan family later called them, offering to take no action against them if they took back their complaint; the Parmars refused.

'On February 5 the Khans announced a gathering at the local mosque, where they decreed that, beginning on February 6, anyone who associated with Natubhai’s family or his two brothers’ families (Ishwarbhai being the elder brother and Galabhai the younger) by offering them work or selling or giving them any goods, would be fined 5000 rupees. The three families determined to stay and fight the boycott. However on February 9, the water pipes to the fields owned by the three brothers were cut off. On March 8, Ishwarbhai was badly beaten by 11 members of the Khan family after he rented a wheat threshing machine from a nearby village. The operator had stopped shortly after a call from a Khan who threatened to destroy the machine and burn the operator alive, and when Ishwarbhai called the police he was taken to Majid Khan’s home by an officer called Jasaratbhai. The policeman entered the house and allowed Ishwarbhai to be beaten with wooden sticks for about fifteen minutes before taking him back home. "


Why does India have a caste system? Because those at the bottom are forced to do manual labor and jobs that no one else wants to do. In a free society, those with intelligence and determination, would get an education and better jobs. And then who would tend the fields? Who would shovel shit?

When you are told to move to the "back of the bus" you are also being told "Shovel my shit. And thank me for being allowed to do so."

U.S. buses are still segregated in some parts of the country. In Brooklyn, the B110 city bus is gender segregated, because that is what the Hasidic community it serves has requested this. However, it is still a public bus. Anyone can ride---and if any women gets on and does not move to the back, she will be told to do so, in violation of U.S. law which prohibits discrimination in public accommodations.


We have heard about gender discrimination in public places in Israel recently. This is not a new problem. Five years ago, an Israeli-American woman, Miriam Shear was beaten by a mob on a Israeli bus after she refused to sit in the back:

"I said, I'm not moving and he said, 'I'm not asking you, I'm telling you.' Then he spat in my face and at that point, I was in high adrenaline mode and called him a son-of-a-bitch, which I am not proud of. Then I spat back. At that point, he pushed me down and people on the bus were screaming that I was crazy. Four men surrounded me and slapped my face, punched me in the chest, pulled at my clothes, beat me, kicked me. My snood [hair covering] came off. I was fighting back and kicked one of the men in his privates. I will never forget the look on his face."

Shear says that when she bent down in the aisle to retrieve her hair covering, "one of the men kicked me in the face. Thank God he missed my eye. I got up and punched him. I said, 'I want my hair covering back' but he wouldn't give it to me, so I took his black hat and threw it in the aisle."

'Stupid American'

Throughout the encounter, Shear says the bus driver "did nothing." The other passengers, she says, blamed her for not moving to the back of the bus and called her a "stupid American with no sechel (common sense.) People blamed me for not knowing my place and not going to the back of the bus where I belong."


Sound depressingly familiar? Ida Wells Barnett would say so, if she was still alive. So would Rosa Parks. Both women would likely be horrified to discover that they can now be required to move to the back because they are woman. You know, the group that makes less than men for doing the same work, making extra profit for corporate bosses, the group that disproportionately lives in poverty here and around the world, the gender which is expected to be an emotional punching bag for men who are also exploited by their bosses and who dare not say a word back to the guy they are really mad as so they take it home and take it out on the wife, enabling them to go back to work tomorrow and make their employer a little bit richer---

If you take away one thing, I hope it is this. God never told anyone to get to the "back of the bus."

Posted by McCamy Taylor | Mon Jan 2, 2012, 08:48 PM (11 replies)

GOP Halftime Show

There is so much to delight (and distract) Iowa’s Republican voters. Perry promises to let women die rather than allowing them to terminate their pregnancies. I can just see the proud little faces of the dead women’s orphaned kids.

(Big smile) “It’s ok. Momma’s up in Heaven with Jesus and the angels, ‘cause she wouldn’t kill our little (brother/sister). Li’l (brother/sister) is up there, too! Daddy, when do we get to go to Heaven so we can see them?”

If Santorum has his way, the kids won’t have to wait too long. President Santorum is gonna put his finger on the red button the minute he gets into office and bomb Iran to Kingdom Come. Since his target is Iran’s nuclear reactors, that means another Fukushima, this one located in the Persian Gulf. If the Royal Meteorological Society is to be believed, the prevailing winds will be from the southeast during the first month of Rick’s presidency. That means that most of the radioactive waste will go northwest to Kuwait and Iraq, contaminating their oilfields. However, the Saudi Arabian oil fields are just a hundred-fifty miles away across the water to the west. Wonder what that will do to oil prices? Wonder how much money the Koch Brothers will make on oil speculation if they know in advance that the Bushehr reactor is going to go boom?

Don’t want to see another war in the Persian Gulf? Gingrich is your man. His motto is make love not war---as long as the love he is making is not with his wife. The Newt has allowed the GOP to shed its stuffy, “no sex allowed” image. Yeehaw! Bring on the scantily dressed cheerleaders! On the other hand, Black men are still expected to keep it in their pants. That’s what you call traditional family values.

All the candidates agree that Medicare has to go. But Ron Paul is way out in front of the others with his desire to abolish Medicaid too. Medicaid is the state sponsored program that provides prenatal care to uninsured women and pediatric care (including immunizations) to uninsured children. Medicaid also helps pay nursing home bills. What will an America without Medicaid be like? More home deliveries, more kids with birth defects and diseases of prematurity like blindness, more measles, mumps, chickenpox, diphtheria, pertussis, meningitis and tetanus, more old folks found in their apartments three or four weeks after their death when neighbors notice the foul odor, more kids with cleft lips for other kids to laugh at----if you have always wanted a beggar on every street corner, you will love America under the rule of Ron Paul.

For those Iowa Republicans who prefer buxom to beefcake, Michelle Bachmann has all your S&M fantasies covered. A proponent of female “submission” you will never see her dressed up like this:

But if you are lucky, you might see her like this:

If only that annoying man from Massachusetts would get the hell off the playing field. Who wants someone so---so---bland and boring during halftime. Come on, Mittens! Birther is so 2008. If you want to wow the Republican voters, you need to come up with something more extreme. Remember how the crowd cheered Rick Perry for executing an innocent man in Texas? Maybe if you promised live, televised executions…
Posted by McCamy Taylor | Mon Jan 2, 2012, 12:54 AM (5 replies)

Will Yemen Be the Site of the Next U.S. Hostage Crisis (and Votes for Hostages Deal)?

I have a bad feeling about this. Read on, and I think you will, too.

We all remember how Reagan/Bush got into office They arranged a votes for hostages deal with Iran. Iran held onto the hostages until after the 1980 election, in order to hurt President Jimmy Carter's re-election chances. But how many folks here remember why Iran took the American embassy hostage in the first place?

In 1979, the U.S. puppet dictator, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi aka the Shah of Iran was forced out of power. He wandered from country to country, until President Jimmy Carter decided to let him come to the United States, ostensibly for medical treatment. As if we were the only country in the world with doctors. (Note that Switzerland offered to take in the Shah.) The revolutionary government in Iraq used this as an excuse to storm the American embassy and take hostages. The corporate media in the United States used this act of terrorism to launch its "America Held Hostage!" political campaign against Carter with the goal of unseating the Democratic president and replacing him with corporate puppet Reagan and ex-CIA boss Bush.

Now, the United States is talking about letting the president of Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh come to the U.S.----for medical treatment. As if we are the only country in the world with doctors. Note that Yemen has reason to blame the U.S. for the abuses of its president. Note also that the country has its own share of terrorists, though in this case they are the Sunni Al Qaeda rather than the Shiites of Iran.

"The United States has found itself in a sometimes awkward position as the unrest in the Arab world has swept through Yemen. The administration conducts extensive counterterrorism operations with the Saleh government on suspected Al Qaeda cells in Yemen."


There are plenty of parallels between Iran and Yemen.

"A turning point in the standoff came on March 18, when security forces and government supporters opened fire on demonstrators as they rose from their noon prayers. The crackdown failed to disperse the protest, even though at least 40 people were killed and more than 100 injured. Mr. Saleh declared a state of emergency shortly after the violence, and denied that security forces had been involved in any shooting.


"In late March, the United States, which had long supported Mr. Saleh, even in the face of the protests, quietly shifted positions after concluding that he is unlikely to bring about the required reforms and must be eased out of office. While American officials have not publicly pressed Mr. Saleh to go, they told allies that they now view his hold on office as untenable, and they believe he should leave."


What happens if Saleh comes to the United States? Nothing---unless Al Qaeda and the Saudis who finance them want to force Obama from office and install another friend of oil/George Bush clone as U.S. president. In that case, Al Qaeda can create another hostage crisis--or the political equivalent---in Yemen this time. There will be civilians involved in the protests, making it extremely difficult for Obama to send in troops. The U.S. corporate media will moan about how America is (once again) being held hostage. Al Qaeda/the Saudis will ensure that the conflict in Yemen does not end until a Republican is in the White House. Right now all the GOP candidates are the lackeys of Big Oil....

This is not a conspiracy theory. There is solid proof that Bush negotiated with Iran back in 1980. The Reagan-Bush administration paid for their sins by being blackmail targets of Iran for 12 years and then again for eight more years under Bush-Cheney. The U.S. sold arms to Iran (illegally). We took down Iran's enemy, Saddam. Big Oil reigned supreme. And before that, Henry Kissinger derailed the peace talks between the U.S. and Vietnam in order to get Nixon elected.

The far right is not known for its creativity. If a political dirty trick works once, they will repeat it again and again. That's what the word "conservative" means. Hostages for votes was a huge success, from the point of view of corporate America. It is inevitable that right wing strategists will consider repeating history. Indeed, back in 2009, I predicted that this would be one of the strategies contemplated by the next Right Wing Coup in America.


So, if it isn't too much trouble, please Mr. President, consider letting Saleh go to some nice neutral country for his health care. I hear they have a great medical system in Europe, better than our own.

Posted by McCamy Taylor | Mon Dec 26, 2011, 05:30 PM (3 replies)

Warning! Your Police Officer's Sleep Disorder May Be Hazardous to Your Health

JAMA the Journal of the AMA has an article in its December 21, 2011 issue about sleep disorders among U.S. police officers. It is called "Sleep Disorders, Health, and Safety in Police Officers". Here is the link. Read it fast. I think JAMA makes these articles public for only a short time.


The authors of the above article administered surveys to about 5000 police officers from different parts of the country, to see how many were likely to have sleep disorders and how much these sleep disorders might interfere with their job performance.

One of the most surprising findings---40% tested positive for at least one sleep disorder. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) was the most common of these sleep disorders. For anyone not familiar with OSA, here is a link to my old DU journal.


Sleep apnea is a syndrome in which a person is unable to move air during sleep. I.e. he or she chokes or strangles, anywhere from a few times an hour up to every few minutes. The disturbed sleep, low oxygen and elevated catecholamines (stress hormones) can cause a variety of medical problems. Some of these include poor attention, temper flare ups and falling asleep at inappropriate times (like on the road). Sleep apnea is a major public health problem because it is so common (up to 16% of men have it), so underdiagnosed (less 20% of those men know they have it) and because an untreated sleep apnea sufferer drives like a drunk driver---a drunk driver who thinks he is in perfect control.

According to the JAMA article, police officers have a relatively high rate of sleep disorders. Despite the fact that most police officers have good insurance, many of them do not know that they have a sleep disorder and are not being treated. And---most worrisome from a public health perspective---these officers with untreated sleep disorders are more likely to fall asleep while driving, more likely to be involved in motor vehicle accidents at work and more likely to act in an angry manner towards the public. They also make more administrative errors and safety violations. They are more likely to become depressed or "burned out" than those without a sleep disorder.

Factors that increase the risk of a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea include male gender, increasing age and obesity.

How many police officers who react in an angry, inappropriate manner to protesters suffer from a sleep disorder? How many police involved in high speed chases that end in accidents have OSA? How many innocent folks have been shot or tased or struck by a sleep deprived officer?

The solution is simple. Since police officers are public servants, screen them all annually, refer those who test positive for formal sleep studies (that can be paid for by their insurance) and start the appropriate treatment. Previous studies show that once you start treating a sleep disorder, function usually returns to normal.

The major flaw of the JAMA article. A sleep survey was used and only a small number of participants where given formal sleep studies (the gold standard test) to confirm that the "positive" surveys indicated actual disease. However, screening surveys have proved reliable in general population studies, and the use of these would allow police departments to address this problem in a relatively cheap and easy way.
Posted by McCamy Taylor | Sun Dec 25, 2011, 09:09 PM (13 replies)

They Just Pulled the Plug on Medicare and Tricare

I don't know whether to cry or scream.

The MSM is treating it as an afterthought. "House votes "no" on tax cut and unemployment extension. (Oh, and by the way, the nation's health care safety net for the elderly, disabled and military retirees has just crumbled....)" The House, which tried, unsuccessfully to abolish Medicare by voting for the Paul Ryan Bill this spring, has just pulled the plug on the nation's biggest, most beloved public insurance program by failing to cast a vote for another bill. The Republicans won't even talk about what they are doing to Medicare. All they will say is that the Senate did not provide enough tax cuts---

And that is why the New Year is going to be a very unhappy one for the nation's seniors, disabled and military retirees.

January 2, 2012, your mom has been scheduled to get her cataract surgery for months. Her eyesight is poor, which limits her mobility. She has fallen twice, because she can not see. The last time, she stumbled over her sleeping cat and fell down the porch. The doctors said it was a miracle she did not break anything. She is in good health, except for her bad eyes and her weak bones. She wants to stay independent as long as possible. That’s why she decided to get her cataracts fixed. They are going to do the right one first---

Correction, they were going to do the right one first. That was before the House voted not to stop the scheduled 27% reduction in Medicare provider fees on January 1, 2012. Now, your mom’s eye doctor is rescheduling all the elective surgeries he performs for Medicare patients, in hopes that the provider fees will go back up sometime next year.

Tell Mom not to worry. If she stumbles over the cat again and breaks a hip this time, the orthopedic surgeon will pin it back together. Doctors will continue to perform urgent and emergency surgery for Medicare patients, the same way they do them for folks who have no insurance at all.

January 2, 2012, you and your spouse get your healthcare through TRICARE, the federally funded insurance for military retirees. Good thing, too, because your employer outsourced your job to India, and now you work for minimum wage and no benefits. You were lucky to find a provider in your area. Lots of doctors have opted out, because of low reimbursements. You are due for a check up in January. So is your spouse---

Unfortunately, you get a letter in the mail. Your doctor is no longer going to accept TRICARE. The 27% payment cut is too steep. She is very sorry. She will continue to treat you for emergencies for 90 days, while you try to find some one else who will accept you as a new TRICARE patient. You call to see if she will change her mind if Congress restores TRICARE funding. Her office manager tells you “Sorry. TRICARE payments are too uncertain. Have you considered getting on private insurance.?”

Of course, you have considered getting on private insurance! But you are too old. You have high blood pressure and diabetes. No one in your old field will hire you, and no private insurer will write you an individual policy. Good thing you have a car. You may be driving a long, long way to see your new doctor.

January 2, 2012, you and your family have been seeing the same family doctor for decades. He delivered both of your babies, back in the days when he still did OB. He saw your kids through chicken pox and croup. He was there when your husband had his stroke. He took care of your blood sugar in the hospital after they did your breast cancer surgery. He was there for you during the bad times as well as the good.

Last time you talked to him, he said he had no intention of retiring. However, today you are informed that he has changed his mind. He will be retiring as of April 1. No, it is not an April Fool’s joke. His accountant says that he will be losing money if he keeps his practice open, now that Medicare has cut its payments to physicians by 27%. No, even if Congress fixes things in February or March, he will not change his mind. Medicine is too uncertain now. It’s better if he retires.

January 2, 2012, you receive your Medicare card in the mail. Finally! Now, to find a doctor who accepts your insurance. Knowing how hard that can be, you did your homework. Your county medical society provided you with a list of doctors in your area who are taking new Medicare patients. You get out your phone and start calling. And you discover that the list from December, 2011 is no longer up to date. Every single office you call tells you the same thing. “The doctor isn’t taking new Medicare patients. Sorry.” A few of them aren’t taking Medicare period. They offer to see you if you will sign a “private contract” in which you agree to pay the doctor out of your own pocket and not to rely upon Medicare to pay your bills. What the hell? For the past two years, you have been paying for your own health care out of your own pocket. That’s why you haven’t had a mammogram or a diabetes test or even a visit to check your blood pressure. How is Medicare any different from no insurance?

Is John Boehner having a merry Christmas? I know that the nation’s seniors, military retirees and disabled are having a very, very unhappy New Year.
Posted by McCamy Taylor | Wed Dec 21, 2011, 07:07 PM (15 replies)

Former Bush Ad Man Forms “Well Funded” Third Party: Needs “Virtual” Candidate for "Virtual" Party

Remember Mark McKinnon? He is hoping you don’t. He is BFF with George W. Bush and did his advertising in the 2000 and 2004 election. McKinnon was Juanita Lozano’s boss. She is the woman who went to jail for mailing a Bush debate tape to Al Gore’s campaign.


Now he has a new “virtual” political party, Americans Elect. He has everything he needs---- including seed money from "wealthy hedge fund executives" (see the link below)---except for one thing. He has no “virtual” candidate to represent his “virtual” party.

Hey, Mark, I hear this guy is out of work.

What the hell is a “virtual” political party? Good question. Read what follows and you may begin to suspect that it is nothing but a huge corporate slush fund designed to promote a third party splitter candidate to steal votes from Obama.

Though it will be listed alongside other political parties on state ballots next fall, the group is organized as a social-welfare organization — devoted to promoting no particular candidate, ideology or issue — which allows it to preserve the anonymity of its donors. Some of them, like Ackerman’s father, a New York financier who forked over $5.5 million, have been forthright about their contributions. But the majority remain shrouded in secrecy. For Roemer, who caps donations to his campaign at $100 and won’t accept money from political action committees, the group’s financing structure has sown doubts about its intentions. “I might not be able to participate if the source of funding depends on the very special interests I am trying to force out of the room,” Roemer says.

American Elect says its use of anonymous giving is an effort to safeguard big-ticket donors, well-heeled and connected types who are fearful of retribution. But the explanation hasn’t mollified good-government advocates. “It’s absurd that this group says they want to change the way business is done and they’re attempting to run a candidate for President on the ballot in 50 states with secret money,” says Fred Wertheimer, president of the campaign-finance watchdog group Democracy 21. “If the candidate of Americans Elect were to play a key role in determining the outcome of the 2012 election using secret money to finance their candidate, that would be an extraordinary scandal.”


That last line bears repeating:

“If the candidate of Americans Elect were to play a key role in determining the outcome of the 2012 election using secret money to finance their candidate, that would be an extraordinary scandal.”

I am already appalled. How about you? What I am not is surprised. I have been predicting this GOP election dirty trick since they lost in 2008. If you don't believe me send me an email, and I will direct you to my old journal.

Note that almost every article about American Elect sums up its politics as “well funded.” From today:

"With "none of the above" the default choice for a growing number of voters in next year's presidential election, a well-funded "virtual third party" called Americans Elect plans to offer an alternative by putting a centrist candidate on the ballot in several states."


From November:

"The effort is funded with $21 million raised from undisclosed seed donors, reported to be mostly wealthy hedge-fund executives. Ackerman said the group's goal is $30 million to get on ballots and run the process online."


From October:

(T)here's likely to also be a wild card in this election. Americans Elect, a well-funded "virtual third party," plans to put a centrist presidential candidate on the ballot in all 50 states, and while he or she is unlikely to win the presidential election, the presence of a third candidate could still have a major impact on the outcome.


This media blitz about well known former Bush ad man (and BBF) Mark McKinnon’s “well funded” virtual party is designed to help it solicit money. Lots and lots of corporate money, with a few smaller sums that can be used to back up its claim that it is a populist movement.

Even if this "virtual" party loses its "social-welfare" designation, it should be able to rake in big bucks. Citizens United v. FEC has made it possible for a handful of wealthy oilmen (say, the Koch Brothers) to single handedly bankroll as many third party splitters as they want. These guys and gals do not have to actually garner any votes. All they have to do is clutter up the ballot, making it more difficult for pollsters to predict with any accuracy who will get how many votes. Then, someone with the source code (or even just a cheap box purchased at a hardware store) will flip enough votes from Obama to these “virtual” candidates to cost him the election.

Ever wonder why the GOP presidential candidates (including some real losers like Santorum) are so desperate to get nominated this year? They are convinced that with dirty tricks and corporate money, the Republicans will be able to get anyone selected, the same way they did in 2000.
Posted by McCamy Taylor | Wed Dec 21, 2011, 02:47 PM (6 replies)

GOP Controlled House Delivers Lumps of Coal for Christmas to the Nation’s Elderly

I don’t like saying this, and I was really hoping that I would not have to say this, but here it comes…

Told you so.





For months, I have been trying to alert DUers to the very real possibility that Congress would fail to act to avert the looming 27% fee cut to Medicare providers. And today, that is just what the GOP controlled House did. By rejecting the bipartisan Senate bill that would have extended unemployment benefits and kept middle income America’s taxes from rising, House Republican leaders have also missed their chance to protect our nation’s seniors. From the NYT:

"The bill that the Senate passed on Saturday, in an 89-to-10 vote, would also prevent a sharp cut in the fees paid to doctors who accept Medicare. Some Republican senators, including Senator Scott P. Brown of Massachusetts and Senator Richard G. Lugar of Indiana, have called on their counterparts in the House to support that vote."


Boehner and Company will attempt to portray their vote today as something other than what it was----a great big “Fuck You” Christmas card to America’s seniors. They will say that they objected to some nuance of the Senate bill. They will say that the Senate bill did not go far enough---and therefore, the House had to cut off the unemployed, cut off hard working Americans who are struggling to make ends meet, cut off seniors who depend upon Medicare in order to live. They will attempt to portray this as an ideological battle. Well, I have something to say to the House Republicans.

We can not eat your ideology.

Ideology will not pay the mortgage.

Your ideology will not keep Grandma’s heart beating.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has announced their disaster plan. By law, all providers face a 27% fee cut starting January 1, 2012. Given high office overhead, this will force many doctors to start seeing Medicare patients at a loss. Many doctors have said that they will stop accepting Medicare patients if the fee cuts go through. Since the House did not act, the cuts are going through. All CMS can do now is delay payments to providers for ten days in hopes that Republican members of the House get back from their Christmas break in a slightly more Christian frame of mind.


I am not holding my breath. Recall that the Republican controlled House voted along party lines last spring to abolish Medicare. When the Senate refused to go along, they backtracked. But they never really gave up. As long as Medicare exists, it can be used as a template to create a single payer insurance program for the nation. Therefore, Medicare had to go.

Boehner claims that he really, truly wants to keep taxes for the working class low, and he really truly wants to give the unemployed a helping hand. That's why he voted to raise middle class taxes and end unemployment benefits....

Yes, I know that makes no sense. It isn't supposed to make sense. Boehner and his fellow Republicans did not vote to raise our taxes or cut off our unemployment. Those would be stupid things to do in an election year. No, they voted the way they did, because their corporate masters alerted them to this opportunity to hammer another nail in the coffin of Medicare. The panic that ensues----elderly folks told to reschedule their elective surgery, elderly told to find new doctors, elderly confused and alarmed---will taint Medicare---and the single payer option---for years to come.

Never mind if a few old folks die as a result.

Posted by McCamy Taylor | Tue Dec 20, 2011, 08:49 PM (1 replies)

A Very Bad Idea Coming Soon to a City Near You

What if Congress voted tomorrow to cut your Social Security check in half? How would you feel? What would you do?

Retired firefighters and policemen in Central Falls, Rhode Island know how they would feel, because it has happened to them already. They have agreed to sharp cuts in their retirement pensions. They have no choice. If they don’t agree to accept half, the city says it will file for bankruptcy under a new plan that will allow it to decide which of its creditors get shafted and which get paid. Bondholders will not see a loss on their investment, but retirees could see their pension contracts voided. And the city retirees do not have Social Security to fall back upon. Here is the NYT article:


How can a city tell its retirees “Sorry, we are broke” while telling investors “Great news! We are flush with cash!”? You tell me. A contract is a contract. But in the U.S., contracts to pay investment brokers apparently count for more than contracts to support the folks who put out our fires and capture our criminals. That is because the banks are too big to fail while American workers are disposable.

If this trick works in Central Falls, it will be copied by cities all across the country. What a boon for local governments! It will be like getting free money! Cities that do not opt to place their pensioners out on ice floes will find themselves unable to sell municipal bonds. We will hear mayors claiming “If you want us to put out your fires now, you better let us stop paying the folks that used to put them out.”

And once local government workers are without a pension, it will be quite easy for the federal government to say “It isn’t fair that retired firefighters and police carry the burden for our bad economy. All retired workers must do their part.” At which point, your Social Security check will be cut in half---and the feds will tell you “Just be happy we don’t take all of it.”
Posted by McCamy Taylor | Tue Dec 20, 2011, 12:26 PM (36 replies)
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