Department of Now It All Makes Sense
Nancy Bordier and Joseph M. Firestone
Most governments claim they are democracies because they hold popular elections. A large majority of their citizens who cast votes also think their governments are democracies.
But there are other criteria besides elections for determining whether or not a country has a functioning democracy -- or a failing democracy.
A major criterion, possibly the most important one, is whether voters actually control elections and their legislative consequences.
- Can voters decide who runs for office and set the priorities for the legislation their elected representatives pass if they are elected?
- Can voters freely run their own candidates? Or must they vote for candidates run by intermediaries like political parties or special interests?
- Do institutions like the U.S. electoral college and election authorities place limitations on voters' ability to run their own candidates by imposing requirements voters find it difficult or impossible to fulfill, such as collecting massive numbers of signatures, paying unaffordable fees, etc.? Read more about Overcoming Systemic Voter Disempowerment with a System Changing Technology
(Cross-posted with permission of the author from New Economic Perspectives)
Here’s a summary of the plan Bernie Sanders has set out, along with my comments (in italics).
1.) We need a major investment to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. $1 trillion investment to create 13 million decent paying jobs and make this country more efficient and productive.
Agreed, but let’s not settle for a mere 13 million jobs. We need twice that. And, of course, the “price tag” is irrelevant—so long as we create useful jobs that pay living wages, we can “always afford” to pay for them. By creating jobs we are not just investing in infrastructure, but we are also investing in our people, enhancing their participation in our society and providing them with the means to support their families. We can always afford that. Read more about A TWELVE STEP PROGRAM TO RESTORE PROSPERITY: THE BERNIE SANDERS PLAN
James Petras has written an enraging article entitled “The Soaring Profits of the Military-Industrial Complex And the Soaring Costs of Military Casualties”.
Petras contends that there are two major beneficiaries of the major wars launched by the US government: one is domestic and the other is foreign.
The first is the US arms manufacturers. Their investors have been overwhelmed with profits during the past "warring" decade and a half!
My Cautionary Tale about Free Trade Agreements, Healthcare, Presidents, Parties and Lying. Is Everything We've Been Told, Wrong?
[Stickying this because it's important! --lambert]
I'm going to try to write a short piece about a really horrible disconnection that has occurred between the politicians who run the country and its people. The conflict of interest between free trade agreements and the special interests and politicians that enable them, and affordable healthcare. It threatens our country's future and democracy.
Over the last week in several comment threads I've pointed folks to the Nick Skala paper "The potential impact of the World Trade Organization's General Agreement on Trade in Services on health system reform and regulation in the United States" which I think explains a lot that needs to be known in the US about the goals and amoral value system of the so called "free trade agreements". Read more about My Cautionary Tale about Free Trade Agreements, Healthcare, Presidents, Parties and Lying. Is Everything We've Been Told, Wrong?
What the hell is going on in this country?
Supreme Court Strikes Down Aggregate Limits on Federal Campaign Contributions "The ruling, issued near the start of a campaign season, will change and most likely increase the already large role money plays in American politics." Read more about SCOTUS Strikes Down Aggregate Limits on Federal Campaign Contributions - This is horrible news.
Obamacare Clusterfuck: Tips for People Who Have Had to Drop Medical (Not Health) Insurance Because of "Obamaffordability"
Welp, today I dropped my medical (not health) insurance, effective January 1, 2014. Due to "Obamaffordability" I can no longer justify the cost.
Just as Lambert is new to the whole insurance thing, I'm new to the whole un-insurance thing. Prior to now, I have had medical insurance non-stop for the last 20 years, ~12 of those years on the individual market.
So I figured this could be an open thread for people in like situations or otherwise "running naked" pertaining to insurance, for sharing "alternatives" to medical insurance? Read more about Obamacare Clusterfuck: Tips for People Who Have Had to Drop Medical (Not Health) Insurance Because of "Obamaffordability"
You remember Liz Fowler, right? The Flexian who crafted ObamaCare for Max Baucus while on secondment from her "real" job as a Wellpoint VP, and who then went on to the White House, and then went on to cash in as a Big Pharma lobbyist? Of course you do. And as it turns out -- hold onto your hats, folks! -- she did very well for Wellpoint when she'd parked herself on The Hill:
No health insurance company has aligned itself with Obamacare as closely as WellPoint. The nation's second-largest health insurer opted to participate in the health insurance exchange for every state where it operated. WellPoint's stock scored huge gains in 2013, climbing 51%.
Did the Obamacare connection help make WellPoint a big winner? Yes -- and no. The company's participation in those state exchanges hasn't made much difference so far. Obamacare enrollment has been far behind projections.
However, another facet of Obamacare has helped WellPoint. As a result of the health reform legislation, several states have expanded their Medicaid programs. Those states include California and New York, both of which happen to be [oh ha ha ha!!!!] states where WellPoint does business. Medicaid enrollment stands out as one of the few bright spots for Obamacare thus far. WellPoint, with the largest Medicaid membership of any major insurer, is poised to be a big beneficiary.
A brilliant corporate move. You can see Fowler working out strategy with her C-suite buddies: "What can they possibly not fuck up? Yeah, Medicaid! It already works! They don't have to build a website or anything!" And Wellpoint would have had every opportunity to become intimately familiar with Administration foibles; that's what's so great about being a Flexian! Read more about ObamaCare Clusterfuck: Wellpoint cashes in from the law its Flexian VP, Liz Fowler, wrote
A strange thing just happened on the way to a (true blue) full Democratic sweep of Virginia .
The Attorney General election ended with a razor thin victory by the Democrat, Mark Herring. (169 votes out of millions cast).
This being well within the .5% margin entitling the loser to a recount, Mark Obenshain availed himself of the statutory remedy.
Several days into the recount, he decided to concede, rather than let it run its course.
ObamaCare Clusterfuck: Why Obama shouldn't have told people to call the 800 number instead of using the website
But consumer advocates say the centers were never meant to be an alternative to the insurance exchange website. They were conceived of as a supplement – a way to offer some consumers more help to understand their options.
Obamacare Clusterfuck: Hospital sues its state commissioner over not being included on Exchange plans.
Seattle Children’s filed suit Friday over the state Office of the Insurance Commissioner’s “failure to ensure adequate network coverage” in several health plans being sold through the state’s new online insurance marketplace, called Washington Healthplanfinder. ... Families that enroll in those plans could face significantly higher cost-sharing amounts they have to pay if they seek care at Children’s rather than at in-network providers.
[Update] I've added some revisions, links and updates.
Thanks for adding me, Lambert
The past couple of days I’ve heard constant talk of the deals people are getting on the Obamacare Exchanges, (when the servers are up, of course). $120/month premiums, $500 or less deductibles. All of this sounds like a great triumph of liberal social policy. And if that were the whole story, I would definitely agree. Read more about DRASTICALLY thin provider networks on Obamacare Exchange plans
You can run from the truth
You can hide from the truth
You can deny the truth
But you cannot destroy the truth
Robert J. Burrowes
According to Robert J. Burrowes in “Why Violence?” “no-Self” people run from, hide from, deny the truth. “Self” people recognize it and communicate it!
Edward Snowden! Self or no-Self?
Bradley Manning! Self or no-Self?
Gitmo Hunger Strikers! Selves or no-Selves? Read more about Invisible Violence to Kids = no-Self Adulthoods & Violence