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FYI: Nixon’s health care plan 1974

FYI: Nixon’s health care plan 1974

Compare and contrast Nixon’s plan to the ones the Republican ghouls in Congress are trying to enact. It is interesting to note that although his plan was similar to Obamacare, Democrats refused to help enact it. Led by Ted Kennedy, they were insisting on a payroll tax-funded national insurance plan.

Rather than compromise and look to enact their plan later on, the whole thing went down in flames. Now some 40 years later, the Democrats are battling to save Obama’s ACA.

From The American Presidency Project, University of California at Santa Barbara

February 6, 1974

To the Congress of the United States:

One of the most cherished goals of our democracy is to assure every American an equal opportunity to lead a full and productive life.

In the last quarter century, we have made remarkable progress toward that goal, opening the doors to millions of our fellow countrymen who were seeking equal opportunities in education, jobs and voting.

Now it is time that we move forward again in still another critical area: health care.

Without adequate health care, no one can make full use of his or her talents and opportunities. It is thus just as important that economic, racial and social barriers not stand in the way of good health care as it is to eliminate those barriers to a good education and a good job.

Three years ago, I proposed a major health insurance program to the Congress, seeking to guarantee adequate financing of health care on a nationwide basis. That proposal generated widespread discussion and useful debate. But no legislation reached my desk.

Today the need is even more pressing because of the higher costs of medical care. Efforts to control medical costs under the New Economic Policy have been Inept with encouraging success, sharply reducing the rate of inflation for health care. Nevertheless, the overall cost of health care has still risen by more than 20 percent in the last two and one-half years, so that more and more Americans face staggering bills when they receive medical help today:

–Across the Nation, the average cost of a day of hospital care now exceeds $110.
–The average cost of delivering a baby and providing postnatal care approaches $1,000.
–The average cost of health care for terminal cancer now exceeds $20,000.

For the average family, it is clear that without adequate insurance, even normal care can ‘be a financial burden while a catastrophic illness can mean catastrophic debt.

Beyond the question of the prices of health care, our present system of health care insurance suffers from two major flaws :

First, even though more Americans carry health insurance than ever before, the 25 million Americans who remain uninsured often need it the most and are most unlikely to obtain it. They include many who work in seasonal or transient occupations, high-risk cases, and those who are ineligible for Medicaid despite low incomes.

Second, those Americans who do carry health insurance often lack coverage which is balanced, comprehensive and fully protective:

–Forty percent of those who are insured are not covered for visits to physicians on an out-patient basis, a gap that creates powerful incentives toward high cost care in hospitals;
–Few people have the option of selecting care through prepaid arrangements offered by Health Maintenance Organizations so the system at large does not benefit from the free choice and creative competition this would offer;
–Very few private policies cover preventive services;
–Most health plans do not contain built-in incentives to reduce waste and inefficiency. The extra costs of wasteful practices are passed on, of course, to consumers; and
–Fewer than half of our citizens under 65–and almost none over 65–have major medical coverage which pays for the cost of catastrophic illness.

These gaps in health protection can have tragic consequences. They can cause people to delay seeking medical attention until it is too late. Then a medical crisis ensues, followed by huge medical bills–or worse. Delays in treatment can end in death or lifelong disability.

COMPREHENSIVE HEALTH INSURANCE PLAN (CHIP)

Early last year, I directed the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare to prepare a new and improved plan for comprehensive health insurance. That plan, as I indicated in my State of the Union message, has been developed and I am presenting it to the Congress today. I urge its enactment as soon as possible.

The plan is organized around seven principles:

First, it offers every American an opportunity to obtain a balanced, comprehensive range of health insurance benefits;

Second, it will cost no American more than he can afford to pay;
Third, it builds on the strength and diversity of our existing public and private systems of health financing and harmonizes them into an overall system;

Fourth, it uses public funds only where needed and requires no new Federal taxes;

Fifth, it would maintain freedom of choice by patients and ensure that doctors work for their patient, not for the Federal Government.

Sixth, it encourages more effective use of our health care resources;

And finally, it is organized so that all parties would have a direct stake in making the system work–consumer, provider, insurer, State governments and the Federal Government.

BROAD AND BALANCED PROTECTION FOR ALL AMERICANS

Upon adoption of appropriate Federal and State legislation, the Comprehensive Health Insurance Plan would offer to every American the same broad and balanced health protection through one of three major programs:

–Employee Health Insurance, covering most Americans and offered at their place of employment, with the cost to be shared by the employer and employee on a basis which would prevent excessive burdens on either;

–Assisted Health Insurance, covering low-income persons, and persons who would be ineligible for the other two programs, with Federal and State government paying those costs beyond the means of the individual who is insured; and,

–An improved Medicare Plan, covering those 65 and over and offered through a Medicare system that is modified to include additional, needed benefits.
One of these three plans would be available to every American, but for everyone, participation in the program would be voluntary.

The benefits offered by the three plans would be identical for all Americans, regardless of age or income. Benefits would be provided for:
–hospital care;
–physicians’ care in and out of the hospital;
–prescription and life-saving drugs;
–laboratory tests and X-rays;
–medical devices;
–ambulance services; and,
–other ancillary health care.

There would be no exclusions of coverage based on the nature of the illness. For example, a person with heart disease would qualify for benefits as would a person with kidney disease.

In addition, CHIP would cover treatment for mental illness, alcoholism and drug addiction, whether that treatment were provided in hospitals and physicians’ offices or in community based settings.

Certain nursing home services and other convalescent services would also be covered. For example, home health services would be covered so that long and costly stays in nursing homes could be averted where possible.

The health needs of children would come in for special attention, since many conditions, if detected in childhood, can be prevented from causing lifelong disability and learning handicaps. Included in these services for children would be:
–preventive care up to age six;
–eye examinations;
–hearing examinations; and,
–regular dental care up to age 13.

Under the Comprehensive Health Insurance Plan, a doctor’s decisions could be based on the health care needs of his patients, not on health insurance coverage. This difference is essential for quality care.

Every American participating in the program would be insured for catastrophic illnesses that can eat away savings and plunge individuals and families into hopeless debt for years. No family would ever have annual out-of-pocket expenses for covered health services in excess of $1,500, and low-income families would face substantially smaller expenses.

As part of this program, every American who participates in the program would receive a Health-card when the plan goes into effect in his State. This card, similar to a credit card, would be honored by hospitals, nursing homes, emergency rooms, doctors, and clinics across the country. This card could also be used to identify information on blood type and .sensitivity to particular drugs-information which might be important in an emergency.

Bills for the services paid for with the Health-card would be sent to the insurance carrier who would reimburse the provider of the care for covered services, then bill the patient for his share, if any.

The entire program would become effective in 1976, assuming that the plan is promptly enacted by the Congress.

HOW EMPLOYEE HEALTH INSURANCE WOULD WORK

Every employer would be required to offer all full-time employees the Comprehensive Health Insurance Plan. Additional benefits could then be added by mutual agreement. The insurance plan would be jointly financed, with employers paying 65 percent of the premium for the first three years of the plan, and 75 percent thereafter. Employees would pay the balance of the premiums. Temporary Federal subsidies would be used to ease the initial burden on employers who face significant cost increases.

Individuals covered by the plan would pay the first $150 in annual medical expenses. A separate $50 deductible provision would apply for out-patient drugs. There would be a maximum of three medical deductibles per family.

After satisfying this deductible limit, an enrollee would then pay for 25 percent of additional bills. However, $1,500 per year would be the absolute dollar limit on any family’s medical expenses for covered services in any one year.

As an interim measure, the Medicaid program would be continued to meet certain needs, primarily long-term institutional care. I do not consider our current approach to long-term care desirable because it can lead to overemphasis on institutional as opposed to home care. The Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare has undertaken a thorough study of the appropriate institutional services which should be included in health insurance and other programs and will report his findings to me.

IMPROVING MEDICARE

The Medicare program now provides medical protection for over 23 million older Americans. Medicare, however, does not cover outpatient drugs, nor does it limit total out-of-pocket costs. It is still possible for an elderly person to be financially devastated by a lengthy illness even with Medicare coverage.
I therefore propose that Medicare’s benefits be improved so that Medicare would provide the same benefits offered to other Americans under Employee Health Insurance and Assisted Health Insurance.

Any person 65 or over, eligible to receive Medicare payments, would ordinarily, under my modified Medicare plan, pay the first $100 for care received during a year, and the first $50 toward outpatient drugs. He or she would also pay 20 percent of any bills above the deductible limit. But in no case would any Medicare beneficiary have to pay more than $750 in out-of-pocket costs. The premiums and cost sharing for those with low incomes would be reduced, with public funds making up the difference.

The current program of Medicare for the disabled would be replaced. Those now in the Medicare for the disabled plan would be eligible for Assisted Health Insurance, which would provide better coverage for those with high medical costs and low incomes.

Premiums for most people under the new Medicare program would be roughly equal to that which is now payable under Part B of Medicare–the Supplementary Medical Insurance program.

HOW ASSISTED HEALTH INSURANCE WOULD WORK

The program of Assisted Health Insurance is designed to cover everyone not offered coverage under Employee Health Insurance or Medicare, including the unemployed, the disabled, the self-employed, and those with low incomes. In addition, persons with higher incomes could also obtain Assisted Health Insurance if they cannot otherwise get coverage at reasonable rates. Included in this latter group might be persons whose health status or type of work puts them in high-risk insurance categories.

Assisted Health Insurance would thus fill many of the gaps in our present health insurance system and would ensure that for the first time in our Nation’s history, all Americans would have financial access to health protection regardless of income or circumstances.

A principal feature of Assisted Health Insurance is that it relates premiums and out-of-pocket expenses to the income of the person or family enrolled. Working families with incomes of up to $5,000, for instance, would pay no premiums at all. Deductibles, co-insurance, and maximum liability would all be pegged to income levels.

Assisted Health Insurance would replace State-run Medicaid for most services. Unlike Medicaid, where benefits vary in each State, this plan would establish uniform benefit and eligibility standards for all low-income persons. It would also eliminate artificial barriers to enrollment or access to health care.

COSTS OF COMPREHENSIVE HEALTH INSURANCE

When fully effective, the total new costs of CHIP to the Federal and State governments would be about $6.9 billion with an additional small amount for transitional assistance for small and low wage employers:

–The Federal Government would add about $5.9 billion over the cost of continuing existing programs to finance health care for low-income or high risk persons.

–State governments would add about $1.0 billion over existing Medicaid spending for the same purpose, though these added costs would be largely, if not wholly offset by reduced State and local budgets for direct provision of services.

–The Federal Government would provide assistance to small and low wage employers which would initially cost about $450 million but be phased out over five years.

For the average American family, what all of these figures reduce to is simply this:

–The national average family cost for health insurance premiums each year under Employee Health Insurance would be about $150; the employer would pay approximately $450 for each employee who participates in the plan.

–Additional family costs for medical care would vary according to need and use, but in no case would a family have to pay more than $1,500 in any one year for covered services.

–No additional taxes would be needed to pay for the cost of CHIP. The Federal funds needed to pay for this plan could all be drawn from revenues that would be generated by the present tax structure. I am opposed to any comprehensive health plan which requires new taxes.

MAKING THE HEALTH CARE SYSTEM WORK BETTER

Any program to finance health care for the Nation must take close account of two critical and related problems–cost and quality.

When Medicare and Medicaid went into effect, medical prices jumped almost twice as fast as living costs in general in the next five years. These programs increased demand without increasing supply proportionately and higher costs resulted.

This escalation of medical prices must not recur when the Comprehensive Health Insurance Plan goes into effect. One way to prevent an escalation is to increase the supply of physicians, which is now taking place at a rapid rate. Since 1965, the number of first-year enrollments in medical schools has increased 55 percent. By 1980, the Nation should have over 440,000 physicians, or roughly one-third more than today. We are also taking steps to train persons in allied health occupations, who can extend the services of the physician.

With these and other efforts already underway, the Nation’s health manpower supply will be able to meet the additional demands that will be placed on it.

Other measures have also been taken to contain medical prices. Under the New Economic Policy, hospital cost increases have been cut almost in half from their post-Medicare highs, and the rate of increase in physician fees has slowed substantially. It is extremely important that these successes be continued as we move toward our goal of comprehensive health insurance protection for all Americans. I will, therefore, recommend to the Congress that the Cost of Living Council’s authority to control medical care costs be extended.

To contain medical costs effectively over the long-haul, however, basic reforms in the financing and delivery of care are also needed. We need a system with built-in incentives that operates more efficiently and reduces the losses from waste and duplication of effort. Everyone pays for this inefficiency through their health premiums and medical bills.

The measure I am recommending today therefore contains a number of proposals designed to contain costs, improve the efficiency of the system and assure quality health care. These proposals include:

1. HEALTH MAINTENANCE ORGANIZATIONS (HMO’S)

On December 29, 1973, I signed into law legislation designed to stimulate, through Federal aid, the establishment of prepaid comprehensive care organizations. HMO’s have proved an effective means for delivering health care and the CHIP plan requires that they be offered as an option for the individual and the family as soon as they become available. This would encourage more freedom of choice for both patients and providers, while fostering diversity in our medical care delivery system.

2. PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS REVIEW ORGANIZATIONS (PSRO’S)

I also contemplate in my proposal a provision that would place health services provided under CHIP under the review of Professional Standards Review Organizations. These PSRO’s would be charged with maintaining high standards of care and reducing needless hospitalization. Operated ‘by groups of private physicians, professional review organizations can do much to ensure quality care while helping to bring about significant savings in health costs.

3. MORE BALANCED GROWTH IN HEALTH FACILITIES

Another provision of this legislation would call on the States to review building plans for hospitals, nursing homes and other health facilities. Existing health insurance has overemphasized the placement of patients in hospitals and nursing homes. Under this artificial stimulus, institutions have felt impelled to keep adding bed space. This has produced a growth of almost 75 percent in the number of hospital beds in the last twenty years, so that now we have a surplus of beds in many places and a poor mix of facilities in others. Under the legislation I am submitting, States can begin remedying this costly imbalance.

4. STATE ROLE

Another important provision of this legislation calls on the States to review the operation of health insurance carriers within their jurisdiction. The States would approve specific plans, oversee rates, ensure adequate disclosure, require an annual audit and take other appropriate measures. For health care providers, the States would assure fair reimbursement for physician services, drugs and institutional services, including a prospective reimbursement system for hospitals.

A number of States have shown that an effective job can be done in containing costs. Under my proposal all States would have an incentive to do the same. Only with effective cost control measures can States ensure that the citizens receive the increased health care they need and at rates they can afford. Failure on the part of States to enact the necessary authorities would prevent them from receiving any Federal support of their State-administered health assistance plan.

MAINTAINING A PRIVATE ENTERPRISE APPROACH

My proposed plan differs sharply with several of the other health insurance plans which have been prominently discussed. The primary difference is that my proposal would rely extensively on private insurers.

Any insurance company which could offer those benefits would be a potential supplier. Because private employers would have to provide certain basic benefits to their employees, they would have an incentive to seek out the best insurance company proposals and insurance companies would have an incentive to offer their plans at the lowest possible prices. If, on the other hand, the Government were to act as the insurer, there would be no competition and little incentive to hold down costs.

There is a huge reservoir of talent and skill in administering and designing health plans within the private sector. That pool of talent should be put to work.

It is also important to understand that the CHIP plan preserves basic freedoms for both the patient and doctor. The patient would continue to have a freedom of choice between doctors. The doctors would continue to work for their patients, not the Federal Government. By contrast, some of the national health plans that have been proposed in the Congress would place the entire health system under the heavy hand of the Federal Government, would add considerably to our tax burdens, and would threaten to destroy the entire system of medical care that has been so carefully built in America.

I firmly believe we should capitalize on the skills and facilities already in place, not replace them and start from scratch with a huge Federal bureaucracy to add to the ones we already have.

COMPREHENSIVE HEALTH INSURANCE PLAN–A PARTNERSHIP EFFORT

No program will work unless people want it to work. Everyone must have a stake in the process.

This Comprehensive Health Insurance Plan has been designed so that everyone involved would have both a stake in making it work and a role to play in the process consumer, provider, health insurance carrier, the States and the Federal Government. It is a partnership program in every sense.

By sharing costs, consumers would have a direct economic stake in choosing and using their community’s health resources wisely and prudently. They would be assisted by requirements that physicians and other providers of care make available to patients full information on fees, hours of operation and other matters affecting the qualifications of providers. But they would not have to go it alone either: doctors, hospitals and other providers of care would also have a direct stake in making the Comprehensive Health Insurance Plan work. This program has been designed to relieve them of much of the red tape, confusion and delays in reimbursement that plague them under the bewildering assortment of public and private financing systems that now exist. Health-cards would relieve them of troublesome bookkeeping. Hospitals could be hospitals, not bill collecting agencies.

CONCLUSION

Comprehensive health insurance is an idea whose time has come in America.

There has long been a need to assure every American financial access to high quality health care. As medical costs go up, that need grows more pressing.

Now, for the first time, we have not just the need but the will to get this job done. There is widespread support in the Congress and in the Nation for some form of comprehensive health insurance.

Surely if we have the will, 1974 should also be the year that we find the way.

The plan that I am proposing today is, I believe, the very best way. Improvements can be made in it, of course, and the Administration stands ready to work with the Congress, the medical profession, and others in making those changes.

But let us not be led to an extreme program that would place the entire health care system under the dominion of social planners in Washington.

Let us continue to have doctors who work for their patients, not for the Federal Government. Let us build upon the strengths of the medical system we have now, not destroy it.

Indeed, let us act sensibly. And let us act now–in 1974–to assure all Americans financial access to high quality medical care.

RICHARD NIXON
The White House,
February 6, 1974.

Time to sue the anti-GMO bastards

Time to sue the anti-GMO bastards

Anti-GMO groups like USTRK and the Organic Consumers Association have long been getting away with libel, slander and defamation of honest scientists.  It’s time to fight back.

I’ve never understood why people like Kevin Folta et al haven’t hit back. I’ve heard all kinds of things like the cost of a lawsuit etc. Nonsense. It doesn’t cost that much to just file a lawsuit.

In the case of USTRK who have been abusing the FOIA laws to suit their political agenda, they should be at the top of the list. They’re based in Oakland, California, Alameda County and here’s how it breaks down:

Filing a complaint for over $25K: $435 and the cost of USRTK to answer: $435. So at least you can hit them for $435 and whatever it costs for their lawyers to do the work.

Now you have to figure how many people have they libeled? Let’s be conservative and say only ten. That’s $4350.00 just in court costs, not including attorneys fees to file the answers. If they file a motion for summary judgment, to try to make it all go away, that’s $500 for each plaintiff. Another $5,000.

Now we go off to Finland, Michigan home to the goofy Organic Consumers Association the anti-GMO/anti-Vax hooligans. The cost to file a civil suit in District Court in Michigan is $150.

There have to be some fair-minded attorneys who would take on these cases pro bono or even a contingency basis if you wanna go after them for millions.

But the point is make them pay, even if it isn’t tons of dough. Tie them up in court with paperwork. Hell, you could probably find some smart law students who would do it for the experience under the mentoring of some savvy attorney.

So, this is what I propose. I would like to hear from all scientists et al, who have been subject to FOIA attacks by USTRK and any other squints who have been targeted by other anti groups. DM me on the Tweeter or email  me.

I want those within the sound of this blog to ask around and see if they can find any attorneys who would be willing to take this on.

And I would like to hear from you if you think this is tilting at windmills. I am willing to start a GoFundMe to raise money to pay for the legal costs of this endeavor. I think there are quite a few folks out there who would be willing to pony up a couple of bucks towards a good cause in the name of science.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trump the criminal and his hero and mentor, the demonic Roy Cohn.

Trump the criminal and his hero and mentor, the demonic Roy Cohn.

This is an updated post that originally appeared on 1/25/17

It should come as no surprise that Trump has an attraction to evil leaders like Putin, Dtuerte of the Philippines and and Erdogan of Turkey.  The man who Wayne Barrett called  the personification of evil,  Roy Cohn was Trump’s hero. They talked up to five time a day on the phone. Trump is neither Republican or a Democrat. He is a criminal; a grifter and all around sociopath.

We now have a crime family in the White House. We have President who should be prison and not the White House.

I keep beating this drum and will continue to do so until that miscreant is ousted. Please share this with your dumbass Trump supporters friends and family

In a A Short History of the Trump Family, Sidney Blumenthal writes

Reckoning with Trump means descending into the place that made him. What he represents, above all, is the triumph of an underworld of predators, hustlers, mobsters, clubhouse politicians and tabloid sleaze that festered in a corner of New York City, a vindication of his mentor, the Mafia lawyer Roy Cohn, a figure unknown to the vast majority of enthusiasts who jammed Trump’s rallies and hailed him as the authentic voice of the people.

________________________________________

The recent untimely death of investigative reporter Wayne Barrett left me sad. He was one of my NYC journalistic heroes. He was a giant and his dogged determination led him to expose the fraud and criminal that Trump is.  But no one paid attention. Trump once paid Atlantic City cops to arrest him when he was working on a story about his casino fraud after Barrett turned down his offer of a free apartment to back off the story.

If you want to know Donald Trump all you have to do is look who his hero was. His hero was the hatchet man for Joe McCarthy and later in life was an evil man who was attorney for all five NYC mafia families. Everything about Cohn wreaked of evil and venality. And that was Trump’s hero and mentor.

In an interview with the New Republic in December of 2016, Barrett gave the most apt description of Cohn I’ve ever heard. He actually had lunch with Cohn and this was his takeaway :

Roy Cohn ate with his fingers. I kid you not. He brought a little glass inside of his coat pocket. He would pop little white pills when he thought you weren’t looking. He was the most satanic figure I ever met in my life. He was almost reptilian. I think he’s going to handle the swearing-in at the inauguration. They’re not going to bring a judge, they’re going to have Roy. And then Roy’s going to go back to the White House and fuck a 12-year-old. In the Oval Office.

Trump has long been the FBI radar and was even interviwed by them

R.I.P Mr. Barrett and read the interview.

Update 5/5/17

Here are some links to articles about Trump’s criminality and his association with gangsters, fixers and other lowlifes. I post these links to give those who haven’t lived in NYC for the past 40 years a good idea of who this man is and what a despicable fuck he truly is.

Just What Were Donald Trump’s Ties to the Mob?

“… Trump’s career has benefited from a decades-long and largely successful effort to limit and deflect law enforcement investigations into his dealings with top mobsters, organized crime associates, labor fixers, corrupt union leaders, con artists and even a one-time drug trafficker whom Trump retained as the head of his personal helicopter service.”

FBI agents subpoenaed Trump in 1980 to ask about his dealing with John Cody, a Teamsters official described by law enforcement as a very close associate of the Gambino crime family. The FBI believed that Cody previously had obtained free apartments from other developers. FBI agents suspected that Cody, who controlled the flow of concrete trucks, might get a free Trump Tower apartment. Trump denied it. But a female friend of Cody’s, a woman with no job who attributed her lavish lifestyle to the kindness of friends, bought three Trump Tower apartments right beneath the triplex where Donald lived with his wife Ivana. Cody stayed there on occasion and invested $500,000 in the units. Trump, Barrett reported, helped the woman get a $3 million mortgage without filling out a loan application or showing financials.

The Many Scandals of Donald Trump: A Cheat Sheet, The Atlantic

There have been a string of other allegations, too, many reported by investigative journalist Wayne Barrett. Cohn, Trump’s lawyer, also represented the Genovese crime family boss Tony Salerno. Barrett also reported a series of transactions involving organized crime, and alleged that Trump paid twice market rate to a mob figure for the land under Trump Plaza in Atlantic City. Michael Isikoff has also reported that Trump was close to Robert LiButti, an associate of John Gotti, inviting him on his yacht and helicopter. In one case, Trump’s company bought LiButti nine luxury cars.

And the list goes on. We have a Criminal-Chief and his crime family

One final note. This from an article by a BBC correspondent on the conservative UK Spectator website from January of this year

…  I heard something similar at an impeccably liberal cocktail party in Washington before the election. The crowd were national security intellectuals. ‘If Trump is elected,’ said one of the guests, ‘it will end in a military coup. Tanks on the White House lawn.’ He was the second person to tell me that at the party. Conversations in Washington have taken on a hallucinatory quality. Impeachment — however far-fetched an idea — is not the most outlandish possibility being discussed in this town as the 45th president is sworn into office.

Convicted of laughing at Sessions? Not exactly

Convicted of laughing at Sessions? Not exactly

Credit Alex Brandon/Associated Press

The story is making the rounds and everyone is outraged. A Code Pink protester was arrested and convicted of laughing during Jeff Sessions confirmation hearings. Is this true? Well sort of and not exactly.

61 year-old Desiree A. Fairooz of Bluemont, Va. was escorted from the room after she laughed when Republican Senator Richard Shelby said that Mr. Sessions’s record of “treating all Americans equally under the law is clear and well-documented.” Fairooz laughed at that description, rightfully so, but here’s where the two sides differ as to what happened next.

According the NY Times

Ms. Fairooz said that, on hearing that, she let out a giggle.

“I just couldn’t hold it,” she said on Wednesday. “It was spontaneous. It was an immediate rejection of what I considered an outright lie or pure ignorance.”

She said when officers came over, she expected to be warned or told to shush and was surprised to be taken into custody.

The feds have a different story

Ms. Fairooz had “let out a loud burst of laughter, followed by a second louder burst of laughter,” the U.S. attorney’s office said in the filing. The police then tried to “quietly escort” Ms. Fairooz from the room, but she “grew loud and more disruptive, eventually halting the confirmation hearing,” the court papers argued.

As she was escorted away, Ms. Fairooz loudly asked, “Why am I being taken out of here?” She also said that the nominee’s “voting record is evil.”

Before the trial, Fairooz was offered a plea deal which she rejected, insisting on a jury trial. Big mistake.

HuffPo interviewed jurors after the verdict and they said they didn’t convict her on the laughing charge but rather her actions after she was being led out of the room.

She did not get convicted for laughing. It was her actions as she was being asked to leave…

The jurors did say she shouldn’t have been arrested in the first place for laughing

We did not agree that she should have been removed for laughing,” the jury foreperson stated. Some jurors indicated they believed Coronado made a mistake.

“The officer, she was a rookie officer, and I think it was her first time involved in an arrest,” another juror stated. “Make of that what you will.”

They said the rules were so broadly written they had no choice but to convict.

Jurors also said, “If Fairooz hadn’t said anything on her way out… there would have been a different verdict.”

The U.S Capitol Police report stated the protesters “were advised by the committee chair prior to the committee starting that demonstrating in the committee room was an arrestable offense.”

Code Pink are professional protesters. They are well-known on Capitol Hill Police. In an article in The Atlantic from 2015 they describe the relationship as usually cordial and friendly. They quote Code Pink’s national coordinator, Alli McCracken

The signs and t-shirts are a giveaway to Capitol Police officers, who often chat with CodePink members and protesters before the activists head inside. It’s a cordial, friendly relationship, Alli McCracken, CodePink national coordinator, said.

“‘What kind of trouble are you getting into today? Is anybody going to get arrested?’ That’s their standard question after we’ve asked how their kids are doing,” McCracken said.

Sometimes they cross the line and it looks like that happened in this case.

But since Code Pink is a constant presence on The Hill and they are allegedly on good terms with Capitol Hill Police, does their presence and dissent actually do anything positive? Are they thought of as nothing more than goofballs who dress in silly costumes? Are they taken seriously or are they seen as a joke to Congress people? That’s the big question.

 

MAD DOG AND ENGLISHMEN 1993: Happy St. Pat’s

MAD DOG AND ENGLISHMEN 1993: Happy St. Pat’s

©1993 Bernie Mooney                                                                                                     730 words


MAD DOG AND ENGLISHMEN

As the Loyalist death squads mounted their campaign of terror and murder in Northern Ireland, Prime Minister John Major was busy cutting a back room deal with Unionist politicians in order to save his floundering government.

Since the beginning of 1993, Loyalist paramilitaries had been waging a campaign of randomly targeting Catholics. By time of the IRA bombing on the Shankill Road in October that took nine lives, Loyalists had killed nearly two dozen Catholics, injured dozens and made attempts on the lives of Nationalist politicians. Not one word emanated from the mouth of John Major or his friends. Then came the IRA bombing on the Shankill Road.

Tory and Unionist politicians fell all over each other in condemning the horror. The chorus of denunciations that emanated from Britain’s House of Commons after the bombing echoed throughout the world.

For the last three years, Loyalist paramilitaries have killed more people than the IRA. Not once did any British or Unionist politician offer any condemnation of these groups. One Northern Irish police detective told me,

“The British government cares more about how much a bomb costs than they do about how much a life costs. I wouldn’t say it, but there are those who believe the price of a life is cheap.”

The top Loyalist hitman, nicknamed “Mad Dog,” claimed he has personally killed 13 Catholics over the last two years. The UVF and UFF, Loyalists paramilitaries, have publicly announced their  intent to “mass murder” Catholics. They made several attempts last month and succeeded on Halloween Eve in Greysteel.

Officials of the moderate Social Democratic National Labour Party (SDLP) claim at least 20 Loyalist death squads are operating in the Belfast area at the present time. A detective involved in tracking down IRA and Loyalist killers said in a pre-bombing statement to the local Belfast press, “There have been several mass murder attempts by Loyalists and only by the grace of God have more people not been killed.

There is no doubt that the threat from the Loyalist side has been increasing in recent years. And although the gangs claim they are targeting republicans for assassination, it is clear the vast majority of murders this year have been purely random and purely sectarian.”  No one can defend the horror of the Shankill, but there seems to be a double standard among Northern Irish Unionist and British politicians when it comes to the deaths of innocent Catholics.

Before the bombing, neither the Reverend Ian Paisley, Northern Ireland Secretary Sir Patrick Mayhew, nor Prime Minister John Major stood up in the House of Commons and condemned the Loyalist campaign. They and others were similarly quiet when Loyalist gunmen opened fire on a van full of workers, firebombed homes and attacked taxis. They were all content to ignore Mad Dog’s public declaration at the thrill of getting, “your first taste of  Fenian blood.”

When condemnation did come, it was late and muted and at the prodding of SDLP MP, Dr. Joe Hendron.

The voices that haven’t been heard at all are those in west Belfast who, while expressing sympathy with the families of those killed, find it hard to condemn the bombing due to its stated aim; to kill Loyalists who were killing their family members and neighbors.

Walking the streets of West Belfast, you could sense the unease of those on the streets. Anyone stepping out for a loaf of bread, or going to and from work was a potential target.

The IRA was under increasing pressure from the community to hit back at the death squads. The squads were striking with seeming impunity. So, the IRA finally did strike back, in what senior Republican sources told me was an “ill-conceived” action that went “tragically wrong.”

The bomb was meant for top Loyalists meeting in their headquarters above the fish shop on the Shankill Road, a meeting that ended 45 minutes before the bombers arrived. It was a classic IRA blunder that also claimed the life of one of the bombers. I heard the blast from my bed and breakfast in the University area, one mile away

That blunder left the Catholic community in even more fear and gave the Loyalists have another excuse to continue the bloodletting. It’s not as if they needed another excuse. Featuring traditional Irish folk music in your pub is enough.

For some time British and Unionist politicians have called on the Catholic community to condemn those who kill in their name. Yet, they were silent as people carried on their murderous campaign in their name.

Trump’s hero and mentor: the demonic Roy Cohn

Trump’s hero and mentor: the demonic Roy Cohn

 

The recent untimely death of investigative reporter Wayne Barrett left me sad. He was one of my NYC journalistic heroes. He was a giant and his dogged determination led him to expose the fraud and criminal that Trump is.  But no one paid attention. Trump once paid Atlantic City cops to arrest him when he was working on a story about his casino fraud after Barrett turned down his offer of a free apartment to back off the story.

If you want to know Donald Trump all you have to do is look who his hero was. His hero was the hatchet man for Joe McCarthy and later in life was an evil man who was attorney for all five NYC mafia families. Everything about Cohn wreaked of evil and venality. And that was Trump’s hero and mentor.

In an interview with the New Republic in December of 2016, Barrett gave the most apt description of Cohn I’ve ever heard. He actually had lunch with Cohn and this was his takeaway :

Roy Cohn ate with his fingers. I kid you not. He brought a little glass inside of his coat pocket. He would pop little white pills when he thought you weren’t looking. He was the most satanic figure I ever met in my life. He was almost reptilian. I think he’s going to handle the swearing-in at the inauguration. They’re not going to bring a judge, they’re going to have Roy. And then Roy’s going to go back to the White House and fuck a 12-year-old. In the Oval Office.

R.I.P Mr. Barrett and read the interview.

 

 

Be careful what you wish for: Indian Point nuke plant to close by 2021… or 2025

Be careful what you wish for: Indian Point nuke plant to close by 2021… or 2025

The New York Times is reporting that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has reached an agreement with the owners of the controversial Indian Point nuclear power plant to shut it down and its environmental critics are wetting their pants. The fight against the plant has been ongoing for years. This is one of those be careful what you wish for scenarios. Close it down and replace it with what? The article only mentions vague possibilities.

The prospects for replacing that power are so far unclear, but potential options include hydropower from Quebec and power from wind farms already operating across New York, according to the person.

Wind? At present wind provides a tiny 2.6% of all NY State power. Also, it would take 4,000 onshore wind turbines to power just NYC and that would take up about 40 square miles, or about half the size of Yellowstone. Then you have to run new transmission lines which will have an environmental impact.

The Quebec hydropower option called the Champlain Hudson Power Express  is an idea but that too is fraught with problems. The proposed transmission line from Quebec to NYC will run 333 miles, but cost is an issue and even the developers admit it will have to be subsidized by ratepayers since the cost of operating it will cost over $400 million/yr. This doesn’t even include the costs of construction. It cost the Port Authority $1 billion to run a seven-mile line from New Jersey to Manhattan.

New York City’s Department of Environmental Conservation, (DEC) did a study back in 2011 about the various impacts resulting from Indian Point’s closure. They found that the use of hydropower would result in an increase in carbon emissions of 15% statewide and of 5%-10% in NYC. And, the addition of thermal plants would be needed because even the Quebec hydropower wouldn’t be enough.

IPEC is able to provide approximately 2 GW of generation with no direct air emissions. Its retirement will cause a substantial increase in the air emissions from power plants. Our analysis indicates that both the City and State would see approximately a 15% increase in carbon emissions under most conventional replacement scenarios, with roughly a 7-8% increase in NOx emissions. NYC would see similar carbon emissions increases.

In addition:

The state market would see wholesale cost increases of approximately $1.5 billion per year, or roughly a 10% increase under most scenarios. NYC consumers would pay approximately $300 million per year more for wholesale energy, or approximately a 5-10% increase.

The report also predicted that citywide reliability problems beginning within a year of the second reactor’s expiration.

Then you have the taxes and employment. The plant pays $75 million in state and local taxes and employs 1,000 contractors and 1,100 salaried employees and is the region’s major employer

As a former protester in the 70s, I have come around and feel nuclear power should be a major part of the mix. And major climate scientists like the Big Daddy of climate change activists, James Hansen formerly of NASA, support nuke power. I think they should upgrade Indian Point to state of the art rather than shut it down.

And speaking of Hansen, here’s his response to Bernie Sanders’ desire to close Indian Point:

Now, Bernie Sanders says he wants to shut down the plant. If that happened, it would be replaced in substantial part by fracked natural gas that would create the equivalent carbon emissions of adding roughly 1.4 million new cars to the road… For the sake of future generations who could be harmed by irreversible climate change, I urge New Yorkers to reject this fear mongering and uphold science against ideology.

In a press conference called  [LIVE] Conférence presse de James Hansen à La Galerie by World Efficiency. in 2015, James Hansen, along with  Tom Wigley, Kerry Emanuel, and Ken Caldeira spoke and took questions on the issue of nuclear power. All agreed that nuclear should be part of the mix.

Here’s a small clip from the presser posted on the site Atomic Insights by Rod Adams who notes “None of them agreed that a energy system using 100% renewable energy is a valid objective.”

 

Emmanuel, interestingly enough is a Republican. Both he and his wife suffered a barrage of threats from climate deniers in 2012 when he appeared at a climate panel in New Hampshire. His offense? Saying Republicans should take their heads outta their asses regarding climate change. As he told the DESMOG blog back then

“I don’t like it when ideology trumps reason, and I see that the Republicans are guilty of that in spades at the moment… I’ve been toying with the idea of officially switching to independent status,” he adds.

Oh and this is curious. Two years ago, Cuomo fought to reopen an upstate coal-burning energy plant.

 

The Wolf Blitzer “Disturbing” Warning System

The Wolf Blitzer “Disturbing” Warning System

wolfpanic

 

“This just in. You are looking at obviously a very disturbing live shot there.”

“We’ll stay on top of this very disturbing story.”

Very disturbing development in Chicago at the university there.”

“On the heels of a several disturbing incidents…”

“… that is a very disturbing element…”

“I want you to explain what you said, because it’s very disturbing,” Blitzer said…

“We have disturbing images we want to show our viewers as well” – wolf blitzer @cnn

“You have to realize, this is really disturbing a lot of people from all spectrums of life.”

“Disturbing video of police aggressively detaining a black college student..”

disturb

March Against Monsanto claims victory for creating world’s largest agribusiness company

March Against Monsanto claims victory for creating world’s largest agribusiness company

Pesticide and pharmaceutical giant Bayer announced that it would be acquiring seed giant Monsanto. Now you would think this would make MAM howling mad. You would think that. Instead, they are cheering it and counting it as a victory.

Obviously, we should take a brief pause to celebrate our efforts. One has to assume Monsanto, one of the most powerful corporations in the world, probably wouldn’t have curled up and allowed themselves to be gobbled up by Bayer if it weren’t for the amazing efforts of millions of people all over the globe.

What part of consolidation don’t these dipshits understand? While still not commanding a monopoly of the market, they will control sales of 29 percent of the world’s seeds and 24 percent of its pesticides. It will create the largest agribusiness in the world. Let me repeat that…. Bayer’s acquisition of Monsanto will create the largest agribusiness in the world.  So yeah MAM! Pat yourselves on the back for your victory.

Monsanto held firm on an earlier offer, but Bayer kept upping the ante until Monsanto couldn’t say no. The $66 billion deal (I believe the actual number is $66.6 billion) is all cash. Since Bayer kept upping the ante and wound up paying about $22/share more than Monsanto’s current price, how toxic can they be?

The most surprising aspect of the merger is the fact that Bayer would be willing to take on the global disdain that many hold for Monsanto.

Sure, if it makes them money you idiots. Why would a company pay $66 billion for a company whose annual profits hover around $15 billion? The Wall Street Journal reports

Bayer plans to pay $128 a share for Monsanto in an all-cash transaction, up from its latest offer last week of $127.50 a share, the companies said. The price represents a roughly 5% increase over Bayer’s original offer in May of $122 a share. Including debt, the deal is valued at about $66 billion.

Oh, and check out this idiocy

We have exposed their corruption, we have made them lose millions, we have been the reason a 1/3 of their workforce has been laid off and we are the reason the word “Monsanto” is the equivalent to “toxic poison” for much of the world.

They’ve gone from totally nuts to totally delusional. These fuckers live in their own world. I don’t think they have any concept how the real world works.

The WSJ:

Tensions have escalated further because global crop prices have fallen for three straight years, squeezing profits and forcing the seed and agriculture industries to cut costs and trim their workforces. Monsanto said last year it would lay off 12 percent of its employees, or 2,600 jobs.*

They are also cheering 2,600 people losing their jobs? These people are vile.

Not all antis are as gleeful. Dave Murphy, the executive director of Food Democracy Now! was quoted on the site EcoWatch

Now the most evil company in Europe has absorbed the most evil company in America. Monsanto and Bayer’s new corporate motto should be ‘Killing bees and butterflies for fun and profit.’

And Murphy’s motto should be, “Being an idiot for a living.” 

Murphy’s take is more in line with most anti sentiment. Ronnie Cummins, the anti-vax head knucklehead over at the Organic Consumers Association also weighed in. He said something like, “BIG POISON! BIG POISON! Arrgghhh” as he scratched at his measles.

That said, the deal is not a done deal.  According to the WSJ, they still have a lot of regulatory hurdles to get through in the U.S. and the Europe.

The deal is likely to warrant intense scrutiny from American and German antitrust regulators, who will assess whether the merger would unfairly lead to higher prices for farmers worldwide. The new company would preside over roughly a quarter of the world’s seed and pesticide supplies.

Regulatory crackdowns have busted several high-profile mega-mergers this year, including a $150 billion deal between pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and Allergan.

Justice Department investigators have in recent years launched probes into “possible anticompetitive practices” in America’s Monsanto-led seed industry, though a formal investigation was closed in 2012 without pursuing charges.

The EU opened an investigation into the merger of Dow and DuPont this year and the merger of Swiss seed maker Syngenta and China National Chemical Corp. is also on their radar. The Monsanto/Bayer merger makes it the 5th agricultural merger this year alone. Others have included John Deere/Precision Planting, and Potash Corp./Agrium. All these mergers are coming at a fast past are alarming regulators, not to mention, farmers.

Now, about that John Deere merger. Precision Planting is owned by Monsanto and the Justice Department filed a lawsuit against the merger back in August. Renata Hesse, the head of the antitrust division said, “If this deal were allowed to proceed, Deere would dominate the market for high-speed precision planting systems and be able to raise prices and slow innovation at the expense of American farmers who rely on these systems,

If all these mergers go through, around 75 percent of the global agricultural/pesticide and agricultural services industry could end up in the hands of three companies.  Farmers fear lack of competition would raise prices and that concern is a valid one, especially in a time of flat crop prices cutting into their incomes. The concern is so great that Iowa Republican senator and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Charles Grassley has slated a hearing for Sept. 20 to question seed-industry executives and experts.

Grassley said the hearing will focus on the transactions currently being reviewed by antitrust regulators, and the current trend in consolidation of the seed and chemical industries.

The seed and chemical industries are critical to agriculture and the nation’s economy, and Iowans are concerned that this sudden consolidation in the industry could cause rising input costs in an already declining agriculture economy.

And here’s a question. What about the name Monsanto? Good question. Glad you asked. Here we have a bit of confusion. Monsanto says the deal is a merger. Bayer says it’s an acquisition. What’s the difference you ask?

Well a merger is where two companies form a new company. An acquisition is when one firm buys out another and the bought company ceases to exist.

Which will it be? Hmmm. Given Monsanto’s negatives in the PR department, I will go out on a limb, with my limited knowledge, and say this will be an acquisition. Monsanto will be folded into Bayer and Monsanto will cease to exist.


* Here’s what I never got about corporation finances. Look at the above quote. Monsanto didn’t say they were losing money. They said their profits were squeezed. What exactly does that mean? They’re still making money, just not as much as they’d like so, so laying off people seems like a real dick move. In the first quarter of this year their net income was $1.06 billion compared to last year when it was $1.42 billion.  Did they really have to lay off 2,000+ people? Yeah, I know shareholders,  blah, blah blah. But still. This just goes to show that as benign as Monsanto is in relation to other corporations, they’re still a corporation and they act like one when it comes to money. I don’t know this is a fact, but I’m assuming that the execs didn’t take a pay cut during this downturn.

The suits may be nice people, but when it comes to profits, their loyalties lie with the company and not the people who work for it. That’s why I never hopped on the Monsanto bandwagon and bought a shirt or hat etc. as a poke in the eye to the anti-gmo crowd.

Biotech industry files for bankruptcy

Biotech industry files for bankruptcy

Note: This is re-write and update from a 2013 post.

Bankruptcy_monopoly

Days after a group of 107 Nobel Laureates published a letter telling Greenpeace to knock it off with their anti-GMO nonsense, the biotechnology industry filed for bankruptcy, citing their misguided buying everybody off, scheme .

At a hastily called press conference, industry representative and Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant, told assembled reporters

I mean, do you know how many people are in the Nation Academy of Sciences alone? Something like 2,000. So, a few million to a scientific body here and a few million to every independent scientist in the world there, and it begins to add up.” That’s not even including  having to pay those thousands of keyboard jockeys who defend us on internet comment boards. The straw that broke the financial camel’s back were the Nobel laureates. Those bastards didn’t come cheap.”

Anti-gmo activists were left slack-jawed. “We just lost our boogeyman,” one activist lamented. “It’s not fair.”

Asked what was next for the bankrupt industry, Executive VP and CTO, Rob Fraley said it was too early to tell, but excitedly suggested they were thinking of getting into the organic farming business.  “Man, do you know what a cash cow that racket is? I was in Whole Foods the other day and they get like 4 bucks for a freakin’ tomato. Sweet. We’ve gotta get in on that action.”

Hours after the announcement, Organic Consumer’s Association honcho Ronnie Cummins and GM Watch honchette, Claire Robinson had to be talked down off a Maharishi University rooftop after Jeffrey Smith pleaded with them saying, “Cmon guys. We can still make stuff up about beneficial technology.”

In a related story, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor said she planned to retire from the Court and buy the Bronx.

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