Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Like watching a train wreck in slo-mo

Time to snap back into reality.  Watching the joy in Tahrir square was obviously fun but the problems facing planet earth will not be solved in Cairo--no matter how important Egypt has been to the creation of civilization over the years.  Unless MAJOR changes are made right here in USA, the world will continue to careen from disaster to disaster.  This is the belly of the beast.  And the beast needs significant modification.

And citizens of USA are rapidly running out of excuses for doing nothing.  "We tried electoral politics and worked hard to get elected a community organizer of color and what did we get?--a thoroughly corrupt sell-out who is on his way to making Herbert Hoover look enlightened by comparison.  What else can we doooo?"

Well, boo freaking hoo.  Certainly anyone who wishes to change the direction of this criminal enterprise we still call a country is up against enormous challenges.  Yes our education system is so bad it is a negative influence.  Yes our organs of mass communications operate at about a fourth grade level of comprehension.  Yes our citizens are so woefully uninformed, a fourth-rate comedian like Jay Leno can make fun of them in a regular segment.  Yes, our citizens are so historically illiterate, they could just as well be infants.  Yes, most of us are so scientifically backward it is as if the Enlightenment never happened.

So what?  For most of history, the communication necessary to affect social change was so difficult, it consumed a major fraction of a movement's energies.  For example, one of the main precursors to the American Revolution was the formation of the Committees of Correspondence in 1772.  Just getting pamphlets and handbills distributed was a major hassle.  Now, communication is so easy that the big problem is finding folks who can actually read your output.  This new-found ease of communication partly explains the speed of events in Egypt.

Folks have been miseducated and propagandized into a near-lethal ignorance but that should just make the tablet easier to write on.  For example, learning history isn't something like learning a second language where one must start before 10 years old if one hopes to be good at it.  You can learn history into your old age.  So if knowing some history is necessary to building a better society (and it most certainly is) then it is possible at any time to start filling the information void in the heads of most folks in USA.  And sooner or later, most people discover they WANT to know history.  And if progressives don't fill this need, idiots like Glenn Beck will be happy to.
America's 17.5-trillion-dollar loss: Time to move Tahrir Square to Wall Street?
by Jane Stillwater | February 7, 2011 - 2:32pm
I'm really really glad to be leaving for Antarctica in a few days -- because America's undemocratic financial system is really really starting to piss me off. Here in land of the (once-upon-a-time) free and the home of the (used-to-be) brave, America's elite financiers are making all the rules and raking in all the profits -- while the rest of us just shut up and pay. And pay and pay and pay.
Maybe if I spend some time down with the penguins, I'll be able to cool off.
In a recent article entitled, "Another Crash is Certain," economist Mike Whitney quotes Nomi Prins, author of "Shadow Banking". According to Prins, "at the height of federal payouts in July 2009, the government had put up $17.5 trillion to support Wall Street's pyramid Ponzi system."
Is Prins saying that American taxpayers could possibly lose $17.5 trillion dollars to a Wall Street Ponzi scheme? Yeah, duh. You'd better bring on the penguins. Boy am I pissed.
And over in Egypt these days, people are pretty much going nuts in Tahrir Square because Hosni Mubarak had pocketed approximately $70 billion dollars from the money his country has received from American taxpayers. Just 70 billion? That's not very much -- not when you consider that we taxpayers here at home have just gotten hornswaggled into putting up 17.5 trillion dollars to cover Wall Street's latest pyramid shell game. Yet people in Egypt are royally pissed off by this blatant corruption -- while most of us Americans are just sitting around on our hands.
Where's the outrage here in America? Where are OUR protests! Where is OUR Tahrir Square!
I would love to see every single patriot in America -- right-wing or left-wing or both -- drop everything he or she is doing right now, run down to the Safeway, 7-Eleven or Piggly Wiggly, stock up on snack food and then surround Wall Street, K Street and the Federal Reserve Board (located at the Eccles Building on Constitution Avenue between 20th and 21st Streets, NW, BTW) and stay there for as long as it takes to get America's elite financial mountebanks to leave.
I'd love to see millions of us flooding these plazas, eating picnic sandwiches, taking turns using the bathrooms -- and demanding justice and OUR money back. more
And as Bill Black keeps reminding us, we do have a criminal justice system that can do more than throw black kids in jail for dealing drugs.
And just a reminder, one of the BIG problems unique to USA is our utterly corrupt and out-of-control medical-industrial complex.
18 Ridiculous Statistics About The Health Care Industry That Will Make Tear Your Hair Out
Michael Snyder, The Economic Collapse | Feb. 5, 2011, 7:26 AM 
Do not read this article if you do not want to get angry. 
The health care industry in the United States has become one gigantic money making scam, and tens of millions of American families now live in great fear of illness and disease.
Why are they so afraid? It is not because they fear the illnesses and diseases. Rather, the prospect of racking up tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of dollars in medical debt is enough to deeply frighten just about anyone.
Today, virtually every single American is one really bad day from financial ruin. Did you know that medical bills are the number one reason for bankruptcy in the United States? Did you know that the vast majority of people that go bankrupt due to medical bills actually have health insurance?
Meanwhile, there are a significant number of people that are becoming fabulously wealthy off of this system. Our "health care industry" has turned large numbers of doctors, lawyers, health insurance company executives and pharmaceutical company executives into multi-millionaires. The health care industry in the United States has been so corrupt and so greedy for so long that we don't even remember what a legitimate medical system even looks like anymore.
The following are 18 ridiculous statistics about medical bills, medical debt and the health care industry that will make you so mad you will want to tear your hair out....more
  1. A recent study found that medical bills are the root cause behind more than 60 percent of all personal bankruptcies in the United States each year.
  2. The same study found that three-fourths of people that go bankrupt because of unpaid bills actually have insurance
  3. If you have an illness that requires intensive care for an extended period of time, it is really easy to rack up medical bills that total over 1 million dollars.
  4. It is estimated that hospitals overcharge Americans by about 10 billion dollars every single year.
  5. One trained medical billing advocate says that over 90 percent of the medical bills that she has audited contain "gross overcharges".
  6. Insurance companies often get hospitals to knock their bills down by up to 95 percent, but if you are uninsured you pay the whole amount.
  7. One study found that approximately 41 percent of working age Americans either have problems paying off accrued medical debt.
  8. Health insurance premiums for small employers in the United States increased 180% between 1999 and 2009.
  9. Even as the rest of the country struggled with a deep recession, U.S. health insurance companies increased their profits by 56 percent during 2009 alone.
  10. Between 2000 and 2006, wages in the United States increased by 3.8%, but health care premiums increased by 87%.
  11. America's five biggest for-profit health insurance companies ended 2009 with a combined profit of $12.2 billion.
  12. The top executives at the five largest for-profit health insurance companies in the United States received nearly $200 million in total compensation during 2009 alone
  13. Blue Shield of California recently announced plans to raise health insurance rates by an average of 30% to 35% this year, and some individual policy holders could actually see their health insurance premiums rise by 59 percent.
  14. More than two dozen pharmaceutical companies made over a billion dollars in profits in 2008.
  15. According to one doctor, "a gunshot wound to the head, chest or abdomen" treated at his hospital would cost the victim more than $13,000... JUST for trauma care alone.
  16. According to one recent study, the medical liability system in the United States added approximately $55.6 billion to the cost of health care in 2008.
  17. Americans spend about twice as much as residents of other developed countries on health care, but they receive much lower quality and far less efficiency in return.
  18. Approximately 46 million Americans do not currently have any health insurance at all. That means that 46 million Americans are just one really bad day away from financial ruin without any protection whatsoever.

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