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Member since: Sat Mar 20, 2004, 11:37 AM
Number of posts: 34,576

Journal Archives

Healthcare Cost Crisis - The World's Costliest Health Care

Alec Smith died of diabetic ketoacidosis, though it is probably fairer to say that he died from high healthcare costs. The 26-year-old from Rochester, Minnesota, had just moved out of his parents’ home and didn’t have enough money to afford his insulin. He decided to ration his remaining supply until his next paycheck, a week later. Alas, he was not able to make it. Alec died alone in his apartment, vomiting and having difficulty breathing, from a condition that never should have occurred.

Alec’s story is extreme in its outcome, but not in its outlines. Nearly half of Americans say they have delayed or skipped medical care because of the cost. People who face higher costs for medical care are diagnosed with cancer at later stages of the disease and take fewer medications. Even the very sick use less care when their out-of-pocket costs rise. Health suffers.

Allowing the makers of life-saving medications to price their products without constraint is a recipe for premature death. But the issue is more complex than just greed. Even if the United States cut every pharmaceutical price in half and eliminated all profits on health insurance, the gap between U.S. medical spending and that of other rich countries would fall by less than a quarter. Health care is more than just rapacious profits in drugs and insurance.

The reality is that the healthcare problem is multifaceted. But that is not the same as saying nothing can be done. On the contrary, it means there is even more to do. Three areas are essential to tackle if we want to reduce health spending to near the level in other countries.


Medical bills should not be dreaded in a great healthcare system

Supreme Court Ethics Crisis - Ginni Thomas and Conservative Activists Worked Together to Exploit

Ginni Thomas and Conservative Activists Worked Together to Exploit Citizens United Ruling: Report

As the Supreme Court prepared to decide the Citizens United case that designated money as political speech, Ginni Thomas — wife of Justice Clarence Thomas — along with conservative activists quickly and quietly filed to create exactly the type of non-profit group that would benefit from the decision, Politico reports.

In the ensuing years, according to Politico, Thomas worked closely with Federalist Society leader Leonard Leo to build a conservative movement that would fuel changes to the judiciary and help overturn laws regarding abortion, affirmative action, and other issues important to the right wing.

“Ginni really wanted to build an organization and be a movement leader,” a source familiar with her thinking at that time told Politico. “Leonard (Leo) was going to be the conduit of that.”

Much of this was made possible through funding from Nazi-obsessed billionaire Harlan Crow. Crow, who infamously collects Hitler paintings and Nazi memorabilia, has been in the news recently for giving grandiose favors to the Thomases, including footing the bill for their grand-nephew’s tuition, purchasing the house where Clarence Thomas’ mother lived, and paying for lavish vacations that the Thomases enjoyed. The justice has been under scrutiny for his relationship with Crow due to his failure to report the vacations and other gifts in his financial disclosures to the court.


Supreme Court - Unelected tyrants and activists OR Sacred institution?

The sudden respect for the judicial branch and proclaiming it to be a sacred institution is what we in sociology call an "invented tradition", but maybe some of us are old enough to remember when the "other side of the aisle" considered them to be "nine black-robed tyrants", let's look at the footage, shall we?

Conservatives today:

“Next we go after Obergefell v Hodges and then the rulings banning Christianity from public schools,” white nationalist Vincent James told his followers on Telegram last Tuesday afternoon, less than 24 hours after a draft opinion authored by Justice Samuel Alito indicated that the Supreme Court was poised to overturn Roe v. Wade.

James was among a chorus of far-right and Christian nationalist activists looking forward to using the SCOTUS decision to implement their theocratic agenda. Not satisfied with simply removing the right to abortion protected in Roe, they’re eager to pass a total abortion ban, dismantle the right to same-sex marriage, and institute their ultraconservative version of Christianity on others. They see an ally in the Supreme Court
, and there’s reason to believe that they’re right.


And conservatives in the past:

Yesterday on Newsmax TV, Ben Carson said that the federal government does not need to recognize a Supreme Court decision on gay marriage because the president is only obligated to recognize laws passed by Congress, not judicial rulings.

“First of all, we have to understand how the Constitution works, the president is required to carry out the laws of the land, the laws of the land come from the legislative branch,” Carson said. “So if the legislative branch creates a law or changes a law, the executive branch has a responsibly to carry it out. It doesn’t say they have the responsibility to carry out a judicial law.”



Conservatives today:

Now three Republican senators have unveiled a bill that would hold future Supreme Court leakers accountable with a $10,000 fine and 10 years in prison for releasing information about pending decisions.

“The recent leak was an attempt to publicly intimidate justices and undermine the integrity of the Court—all while putting lives at risk,” the main sponsor, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, said in a statement.

“My bill holds leakers accountable and takes away any hopes of profiting off their crimes.”

Marco Rubio, a co-sponsor, said: “You shouldn’t receive a badge of honor or financial reward for leaking confidential documents from one of our nation’s most sacred institutions - you should face serious penalties.


And conservatives in the past:

This past Saturday, Phyllis Schlafly hosted former House GOP Majority Leader Tom DeLay on “Eagle Forum Live” to discuss the alleged threat of gay marriage. Schlafly segued into the topic of gay marriage by describing an open letter to the Supreme Court, signed by conservative pastors and politicians, pledging to defy any Court decision which strikes down state bans on same-sex marriage.

DeLay lamented that “people don’t understand the constitution. We haven’t taught our children now for three or four generations what the Constitution is, and the separation of powers, and what our Founding Fathers had in mind as this brilliant understanding of how you can limit government and limit the tyranny put on us through people or oligarchies.”

Because of this supposed constitutional ignorance, DeLay claimed, “right now, the American people don’t understand that the Supreme Court, when it makes a ruling, it’s just an opinion if no one enforces that ruling. The Supreme Court doesn’t have a police force; the Supreme Court doesn’t have an army; the Supreme Court doesn’t have people that can enforce their ruling.” Therefore, if conservatives “stand up to them and invoke the Constitution, then we don’t have to accept a ruling on marriage that redefines marriage. And that’s basically what this ad is all about. We’re sending a message to the Supreme Court that, number one, it’s illegal that they have this case before them; it’s not in their jurisdiction.”

Proving his Constitutional prowess, DeLay argued that “it’s not in their authority to write law by ten unelected, unaccountable people, lawyers, and if – this is a red line that we’re drawing. If they rule against marriage, we will all defy them.”



Conservatives today:

While overturning Roe has been an intense focus and will be a massive victory for the religious right and right-wing legal movement, reversing Roe is just one part of a much broader agenda that has been promoted by the right-wing Federalist Society and allied political operatives who have worked with it to pack the federal courts. Trump basically outsourced his judicial picks to the group’s activists. Now, with the Trump justices cementing a hard-right majority on the Court, Federalist Society lawyers and judges and their political allies can move even more aggressively to reverse a century’s worth of precedents, pulling the constitutional rug out from under the New Deal and Great Society anti-poverty programs like Medicare and Social Security; further gutting voting rights in favor of states’ rights; weakening the separation of church and state; and undermining the federal government’s ability to regulate corporations and protect workers and communities.


And conservatives in the past:

The goal of “court-stripping” legislation is to simply declare that federal courts are no longer allowed to hear the claims of citizens that their rights are violated. Family Research Council President Tony Perkins–decrying the “judicial activism” behind the Supreme Court decision finding unconstitutional Bush’s military commissions to try Guantanamo detainees–encourages court-stripping, along with right-wing judicial nominees, as a long-term strategy, citing two court-stripping bills in the works:

Congress needs to resist this judicial activism. One way to constitutionally check the courts is with measures like the Pledge Protection Act sponsored by Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) and another way is Cong. John Hostettler’s (R-IN) Public Expression of Religion Act (PERA). Finally, we can give a fair up or down vote to judicial nominees like William J. Haynes.

Now, even as the House vote on the anti-gay marriage amendment looks to fail, Human Events endorses a court-stripping bill to circumvent the Constitution on the issue of marriage:

Unfortunately, the (marriage) amendment failed in the Senate last month, receiving only 49 votes. It is also destined to fail in the House: In the last Congress, it received only 227 votes, more than 60 shy of the super-majority needed. But there is a way Congress can act this year to protect state marriage laws from activist liberal judges. Rep. John Hostettler (R.-Ind.) has proposed a bill that would strip all federal courts, including the Supreme Court, of jurisdiction to hear any challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). …


So are the courts, up to the Supreme Court, the bold stuff or the italicized stuff? Can someone help me out?

Supreme Court Ethics Crisis - Supreme Court Justices Offer Unconvincing Dodge on Ethics

Tuesday’s U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on “Supreme Court Ethics Reform” quickly broke down along partisan lines. Democrats pointedly argued that declining public confidence in the Court was in part due to the justices’ refusal to adopt written ethics rules, such as the lower federal courts’ Code of Conduct for United States Judges and comparable codes in every state. Republicans angrily countered that the hearing was just one more episode in a decades-long smear of conservative justices. Each side produced witnesses to back up its position, but the most important witnesses, it turns out, were not in the room.

Two letters to the committee set out the issues as sharply as the testifying witnesses, without an overlay of partisanship. The sitting justices made the case for the status quo, while a prominent former judge focused on the need for formal ethical transparency.

Chief Justice John Roberts had politely declined an invitation from the committee chair, Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL), to appear in person or designate another justice to testify. Along with his own letter, invoking the separation of powers and judicial independence, Roberts attached a Statement of Ethics Principles and Practices, signed by all nine justices, conservatives and liberals alike, explaining how they currently address certain “recurring” ethics issues in the absence of a formal code.

On the eve of the hearing, former federal appeals judge J. Michael Luttig, a widely respected conservative, provided his own letter to the committee, explaining the Supreme Court’s obligation to assure the public, “in every way both necessary and possible,” that there is no reason “to question the ethical conduct” of the justices. “There should never come a day,” Luttig added, when Congress “is obligated to enact laws prescribing the ethical standards” applicable to the Court. But Congress “indisputably has the power under the Constitution to do so,” he concluded.


If a co-equal branch of the government can not rein in the corruption of the SCOTUS, then it is weak

And not really co-equal.

If a co-equal branch of the government is not willing to rein in the corruption of the SCOTUS, then it is an accessory to that corruption, and a question of its legitimacy is on the table as well.

"Look at the scoreboard" "... ok"

The truth about the Trump tax cuts.


Followed by...


Using the very same data, we see...




So reading this and knowing which years Trump had the White House, it wasn't a golden age, it was a participation trophy age.

This is who Republicans yearn for? This is the economic policy they desire?

MYTH: There's nothing we can do about the ethics crisis of the Supreme Court, especially from Thomas

FACT: Google "Jury Nullification"

If something is now illegal because Thomas was in the majority of a decision or if a right or protection is restricted because of Thomas,

no matter what it is...

Reproductive rights
Gay rights

Then if I am on a jury, then I will say "Not guilty" no matter what. You should too. And don't talk about it when selected for the jury, don't say "Oh, they will screen people out", it's time to get the word out. Every American citizen needs to know that they are either going to protect themselves and each other from Clarence Thomas OR be an accessory to his corruption.

What are you going to choose?

I'm not scared of "If they can do it to Trump, then they can do it to you"


"If they can do it to Kalief Browder, then they can do it to you"
"If they can do it to Breonna Taylor, then they can do it to you"
"If they can do it to Michael Lowe, then they can do it to you"
"If they can do it to Elijah McClain, then they can do it to you"
"If they can do it to Anthony Novak, then they can do it to you"

on the other hand.

But that's "Defund the Police" talk.

Strange, right?

It's kinda sad that conservatives won't learn a single thing from all of this

They've been all "Jan 6 people are political prisoners" and "This is unprecedented" but when 2024 rolls around the Republicans will of course talk about "law and order", "tough on crime", "not being so gentle with suspects", "stop coddling criminals and them... you know, THEM" and I guarantee you that they will break into cheers and that not more than five of them at a rally will be going "Hold up..."

I want to be angry and disgusted at them, and I am, but really, I mainly just pity that adults are caught up in this kind of thinking or not-thinking.

Senator who said US has an "under-incarceration problem" worried about "harm" from charging Trump

Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) released the following statement after former President Donald Trump was indicted by a federal grand jury:

“Never before in American history has the party in power targeted a former president with criminal charges. Such an unprecedented step should not be taken lightly. But the left-wing prosecutor in New York City reportedly has charged President Trump with a convoluted legal theory already rejected by his predecessor and the Department of Justice. I hope that the courts dismiss the indictment as a matter of law, and I urge the prosecutors pursuing President Trump to carefully consider the harm caused to our republic if flimsy charges against former presidents become a new common practice in our politics.”

The very same Senator Tom Cotton...

GOP Sen. Tom Cotton is once again dragging out one of his favorite lines: The United States, Cotton believes, simply needs more prisoners.

On Wednesday, in response to a report about rising homicide rates, Cotton tweeted that the U.S. “absolutely has an under-incarceration problem.” It was the second time he posted to social media about it in 24 hours.

The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world, with more than 2 million people in prison and nearly 700 out of every 100,000 people in jail as of 2018, according to the Prison Policy Initiative.

“If anything, we have an under-incarceration problem,” Cotton said in a speech at the conservative Hudson Institute think tank in May 2016. In 2015, the murder rate was 4.9 murders per every 100,000 people, according to FBI statistics—one of the lowest rates on record.


Aren't we solving Tom's problem? What gives?

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