Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Republican Alternative To Obamacare Is -- More Obamacare?

4/04/2012 @ 7:45PM
The Republican Alternative To Obamacare Is -- More Obamacare?
Rick Ungar, Contributor

As we await what many in the chattering class anticipate could be the striking of all or part of the Affordable Care Act by the Supreme Court, it seems like the time is right to explore what the Republicans might have in mind as a replacement.

It would be a fairly dramatic understatement to say that there has been little in the way of proposed alternatives on the part of the opponents of Obamacare.

However, Congressional Republicans appear to now be nervously acknowledging that­should Obamacare go down at the hand of the Court­they will have to make good on their promise to replace the law in order to give the American people the relief the ACA sought to provide.

So, what does the GOP have in mind, if anything?

The 'preparation gap' is somewhat astounding. After two years of calling the President's landmark healthcare reform every name in the book, Representative Fred Upon, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Congressional leader who would be among those most responsible to take the lead in fashioning a new approach to reforming our ailing health care system, suggests that the GOP wheels are just now "beginning to turn."

Consider that for a moment if you will. Despite the numerous bills that have already been introduced onto the floor of the House of Representatives, each designed to take apart the Affordable Care Act, the sponsors of these bills are, just now, beginning to think about what they will do if the Supreme Court short-circuits Obamacare before it really gets started. Health care reform would be placed squarely in the court of the GOP, Americans will expect them to have something in the oven to meet the challenge and the Republican wheels are, apparently, just now beginning to 'spin'.

Still, there have been a few proposals put forth by our Republican friends­either legislatively or via GOP sound bites and talking points. Many of these suggestions, while certainly representing nothing that would approach a coherent plan, do often bear one common feature -- they all adopt much of the very legislation that has been the target of their deepest displeasure.

Put another way, it appears that the GOP strategy for solving our healthcare crisis is, in no small measure, going to involve using Obamacare to replace Obamacare.

According to Chairman Upton, the GOP drafters of healthcare reform would very much want to retain the provision that would allow kids under 26 to stay on a parent's policy. Why? Because Upton acknowledges that the change has been both effective and popular.

And while Republicans have made the insurance mandates a 'cause celeb' in their battle to discredit the President, they appear more than willing to acknowledge that a program that doesn't provide healthcare coverage to those with pre-existing medical conditions is not going to be well accepted by the American public.

It is no secret -- on either side of the aisle -- that this can only be accomplished via mandated coverage in the private markets or by way of a government operated system to insure folks with pre-existing conditions.

Because the Republicans have long been so adamantly opposed to increasing the government's involvement in healthcare delivery, they came up with the idea­many years ago­of forcing Americans to take personal responsibility for their health care needs by purchasing insurance.

But that was before Barack Obama adopted this Republican hatched solution.

Now, with nowhere else to turn and with a public that demands that they be able to obtain coverage, no matter what their medical condition, the GOP is left to propose more government involvement.

According to Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rogers (R-Wash), the GOP is ready and willing to put more federal money into government run, high-risk pools that will offer subsidized coverage to people who are unable to get private health insurance due to their existing medical problems.

Not only is Congresswoman McMorris prepared to expand the government's role in healthcare, she is offering up the very subsidies that are, supposedly, anathema to free-market Republicans who see no place for taxpayer money in the delivery of health care services.

And she is not alone.

One of the most active anti-Obamacare voices in the Senate, GOP Senator John Barrasso, himself a physician, is also beating the drum for government subsidies.

"The main feature of a Republican plan could be federal assistance for the purchase of catastrophic health insurance with high deductibles, Mr. Barrasso said.
"No one would go bankrupt or lose a home as a result of injury or disease," Mr. Barrasso said. But patients would face more up-front costs and would therefore have incentives to become more discerning consumers of health care, he said."

Via New York Times

How is this not Obamacare on steroids?

McMorris' plan, backed up by Senator Barrasso, would not only continue a hefty portion of the government subsidies included in the ACA, but would take a plan that was based on continuing the private health insurance system and turn it into a plan that greatly increases government involvement in delivering health care.

To be sure, there are features of what would appear to form the Republican solution that are not included in the President's approach. The GOP is mouthing the old standbys of solving our problems by doing something about medical malpractice and allowing cross-state sales of health insurance. However, they also know that that the effort to replace the ACA will be done under a pretty harsh spotlight­one that will expose the completely false promise of these solutions.

Let's begin with medical malpractice. What, exactly, would the proponents of attacking malpractice do? Is Congress going to bar individuals who have been legitimately harmed by a gross medical error­whether committed by a physician or a hospital­from redressing that error? When a family is left to pay millions of dollars in maintaining the existence of a child damaged for life as a result of a serious and grossly negligent medical error, will Congress legislate laws that effectively say 'tough luck'?

Let me tell you what is really happening here. Those who are voicing the reform of medical malpractice don't understand that the argument was traditionally based on doing something about the pain and suffering damages juries frequently awarded to victims of gross medical mistakes. These damages go beyond making a plaintiff 'whole' with respect to their financial losses resulting from a medical malpractice and seek to punish the negligent actor for the bad behavior. These are also the damages that make the headlines when juries award huge verdicts with endless zeros tacked on.

The thing is, two-thirds of the states have already put severe caps on what can be awarded by juries for pain and suffering damages, leaving those who continue to make the argument well behind the times. As a result, the days of lawyers behaving like 'ambulance chasers' are long gone, with plaintiffs often struggling to find representation when they have a legitimate claim. The lawyers simply are not interested because the big awards no longer exist. And yet, the politicians who point the finger at medical malpractice as a chief cause of our problems have not caught up to this reality.

As for reducing defensive medicine (unnecessary testing done to protect a physician or hospital in a medical malpractice suit) as a means of saving big dollars in the healthcare system, I'm all for it. But for the ideologues on the Right, an ideological conflict is presented that they do not know how to overcome.

All government would have to do is provide guidelines for how doctors utilize testing in certain medical situations and ordain that any physician or hospital who follows these guidelines would have the presumption of using proper medical procedure on their side should a legal battle ensure. However, the GOP vehemently opposes such guidelines in the belief that this involves government telling physicians how to practice and further inserts government into the patient-physician relationship.

In the real world, you can't have it both ways. Thus, a GOP Congress would be forced to make some choices that would fly in the face of their own ideology. Not wanting to make these choices, the result will be that a Republican led House of Representatives would do nothing in this regard.

It might also help you to know that medical malpractice accounts for 2 percent of our healthcare economy. So, if Congress wishes to outlaw medical malpractice as a way of lowering the cost of healthcare, they are going to take a lot of heat as the real numbers become available to the public and we all discover that completely doing away with medical malpractice suits would, at best, have a negligible impact on our problem.

As for sales of health insurance across state lines, I wonder when people are going to figure out that this is the ultimate in false solutions.

If you own an insurance company, it really doesn't matter where you base your home office ­you are going to price your policies based on the costs of care in the area in which you are selling. An insurance company based in Alabama, when selling to someone in California, is not going to base their premiums on the cost of a triple-bypass in Mobile. They are going to price it based on the cost of heart surgery in Los Angeles -- just as does an insurance company already operating in the State of California pursuant to a state license.

Further, when you remove the obligation that an insurance company be licensed in the state where they are selling, what you get are fly-by-night operations that sell very cheap policies that end up having very little in the way of benefits included in the policy. Why? Because, if they are selling me the same policy I purchase from California Blue Cross, they are going to have to charge me pretty much the same thing I pay to California Blue Cross. There simply is no magic in having one's location in another state if they insuring me for care that I will obtain primarily in the state in which I live. Accordingly, to get my business they will price insurance policies low and bury the actual coverage limitations in the small print. Without the benefit of consumer protections provided by my home state -- now having no jurisdiction over this out of state seller -- I've got nowhere to turn when something goes seriously wrong.

Still further, should I have a problem with my Alabama based insurance company, I'm not going to find it particularly comfortable to have to sue them in an Alabama court when I live in California.

Given that the few glimpses we've had of the GOP approach to healthcare reform reveals little in terms of a real and legitimate impact on costs, we can expect that their ideas must do at least as much as Obamacare to gain more universal coverage for Americans.

Not so much. While the Republicans are prepared to adopt many of the good ideas contained in the Affordable Care Act, their own contributions would do little to get anywhere near the increased availability for coverage provided in the ACA.

In the plan offered by Republicans as their response to Obamacare in 2009, the Congressional Budget Office determined that the program would result in 3 million additional people gaining healthcare coverage as compared to the 30 million who would so benefit under the Affordable Care Act.

I have often speculated that Congressional Republicans go to bed at night secretly saying a prayer that Obamacare will survive the Supreme Court test because they have nothing in their bag of tricks to serve as a replacement. When we review the ideas that they have provided to date, it becomes easy to see why they would be terrified of having to face up to an American public that has had their appetite whetted for real solutions to our out of control healthcare system. The truth is, they have nothing that will do much of anything to address the real problems. After two years of bellyaching, all they've got are the bromides and sound bites they've been using for years and, without the Affordable Care Act, we are going to need so much more.

So to those who have invested so much in ridding the nation of Obamacare, I say be careful what you wish for as you just might get it. And from what we've seen so far, you most assuredly are not going to like it.

contact Rick at
Twitter @rickungar

**JP** Latest Jobs in Pakistan and The World, Tuesday, May 01, 2012 to Thursday, May 03, 2012

Hello joinpakistan,

May 3, 2012 11:36:12 PM PKT,

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Latest Jobs in Pakistan and World!

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Specialist Database Designing (Islamabad)

May 1, 2012

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Samsung Scholarships and Careers

May 1, 2012

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Jobs in Action for Peace and Sustainable Development (APSD) - NGO INGO NGOJobs

May 1, 2012

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PhD Students Summer School in Multilingualism Research, Prague, Czech Republic

May 1, 2012

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Software Developers, Database Developers required by a reputed Software Firm

May 1, 2012

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US based firm is seeking an experienced IT professionals for Pakistan

May 1, 2012

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the Bridport Prize, 2012

May 2, 2012

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Section Manager Sales for Multan

May 2, 2012

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Engineers Required for KSA (Saudi Arabia) - UAE SaudiArabia Gulf

May 2, 2012

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Jobs in International Rescue Committee (IRC) - NGO INGO NGOJobs

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Industrial Business Development Executive Required (Sales)

May 2, 2012

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Jobs in International Rescue Committee (IRC) - NGO INGO NGOJobs

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Highway Engineer Urgently Required for a Huge Company in Saudi Arabia (KSA SAUDIA SAUDIARABIA GULF UAE)

May 3, 2012

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Vacancy: HR & Admin Officer

May 3, 2012

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IT & Software Development Jobs

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Regional Sales Manager Required at Lahore

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Plant Admin Officer - MNC FMCG

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Assistant Manager Industrial Relations - MNC FMCG

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Head of Quality Audit - MNC Pharmaceuticals

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Head Analytical Services - MNC Pharmaceuticals

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Obama Is Right -- It’s Time for Reflection

It's time for Americans to do what they should have done in 1989 -- dismantle the entire national-security state, including America's overseas military empire, the entire military-industrial complex, and the CIA. The Cold War is over, and the policies of the national-security state have produced the "war on terrorism."

Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Obama Is Right -- It's Time for Reflection
by Jacob G. Hornberger

President Obama says that the one-year anniversary of the U.S. military's killing of Osama bin Laden should be a time of reflection rather than a time of celebration.

Indeed. Let's do some reflecting.

Immediately after the 9/11 attacks, U.S. officials claimed that the attackers had been motivated by hatred for America's "freedom and values."

That was a crock, as I pointed out in September 2001. Actually, it was U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East -- that is, the bad things that the U.S. government was doing to people in that part of the world -- that gave rise to the anger and hatred that manifested itself in the 9/11 attacks.

Of course, that was the last thing that U.S. officials and apologists for the U.S. government's pro-empire, pro-interventionist foreign policy wanted people to focus on. If people began focusing on the real motivation for the 9/11 attacks, that might cause them to begin discussing and debating U.S. foreign policy and then possibly moving America in a different direction.

Most everyone living today has been born and raised under a national-security state, a system in which the military-industrial complex, the massive overseas military establishment, the CIA, the NSA, and other such agencies play a dominate role in American society. We have become so accustomed to the national-security state that only libertarians and a few liberals gives its existence a second thought. It's just a given that the national-security state must always be a permanent foundation of American life.

But let's not forget when and why the national-security state came into existence. Its primary roots go back to the end of World War II, when U.S. officials converted America's World War II ally and partner, the Soviet Union, into a new official enemy, one that was supposedly as threatening to the United States as Nazi Germany.

U.S. officials told Americans that despite the end of the war, it was now necessary that the United States remain on a war footing for the indefinite future. That meant that the standing army became a permanent part of the U.S. government, with ever-increasing budgets for the military and the military-industrial complex. It also meant the establishment of the CIA, which would end up involving the United States in all sorts of nefarious and sinister plots, including coups, assassinations, and invasions. It meant an FBI that would spy on, monitor and keep files on the activities of "suspicious" Americans. It meant embargoes and sanctions that would squeeze the lifeblood out of foreign citizens in the hopes that they would install pro-U.S. rulers into power. It meant massive death and destruction in Korea and Vietnam.

And it was all justified because of the national-security state's "war on communism" -- a war directed at the Soviet Union, the former partner and ally of the United States during World War II.

But in 1989, the worst nightmare of the national-security state occurred. The communist threat disintegrated. The Soviet Union went bankrupt, owing to out-of-control government spending. Germany was united. Soviet troops evacuated Eastern Europe.

The U.S. national-security state had lost its justification for its existence. There was only one logical course that should have been followed: to dismantle the national-security state.

That's not what happened, however. Instead, the national-security state decided to go abroad and poke some hornet's nests, especially in the Middle East, knowing full well that people were likely to become very angry.

There was the Persian Gulf intervention, when countless Iraqis were killed and maimed and when U.S. forces intentionally destroyed Iraq's water and sewage treatment plants knowing the adverse effect that would have on people's health, especially children.

There were 11 years of brutal sanctions on Iraq, which prevented those water-and-sewage treatment plants from being repaired and which decimated Iraq's economy.

There was U.S. Ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright's infamous statement that the deaths of half-a-million Iraqi children from the sanctions were worth it.

There was the stationing of U.S. troops on Islamic holy lands, knowing the adverse effect that would have on Muslim sensitivities.

There were the deadly and illegal no-fly zones over Iraq.

There was the foreign aid to brutal dictators in the Middle East.

There was the foreign aid to the Israeli government.

It all added up to generate unbelievable anger and rage among people in the Middle East.

And it's not as if U.S. officials were unaware of the boiling cauldron of rage and hatred. There were the terrorist attacks on the USS Cole and the U.S. Embassies in East Africa. There was the 1993 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

Prior to the 9/11 attacks, author Chalmers Johnson warned that unless the U.S. government changed course, the result would be terrorist retaliation on American soil. That's what his book Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire was all about.

Here at FFF, we were saying the same thing, prior to 9/11. See here, here, here, here, and here

In fact, in December 1999 Sheldon Richman wrote:

Apologists for activist government never tire of telling us that the benevolent state is our protector and that without it we'd be at the mercy of monsters. It is about time that we understood that the U.S. government does more to endanger the American people than any imagined monsters around the world. How so? By pursuing its Grand Foreign Policy of meddling anywhere and everywhere. It stands to reason that if you stick your nose in other people's quarrels you will acquire enemies.

In February 2000 I wrote: "If there had been a terrorist attack [on January 1, 2000], you can be 100 percent certain that the U.S. government would have used the crisis as an opportunity to march America farther down the road to total destruction of our civil liberties."

The 9/11 attacks was just a continuation of retaliatory attacks that had occurred before, attacks that were in retaliation for what the U.S. government was doing to people in the Middle East.

And the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan were also just a continuation of the things the U.S. government had been doing prior to 9/11. They were certain to produce an endless stream of anger and hatred and an endless thirst for retaliation.

It's time for Americans to do what they should have done in 1989 -- dismantle the entire national-security state, including America's overseas military empire, the entire military-industrial complex, and the CIA. The Cold War is over, and the policies of the national-security state have produced the "war on terrorism."

It's time to restore our nation to a limited-government, constitutional republic. It's the only way to restore freedom, peace, harmony, and prosperity to our land.

Since bin Laden’s death

Tuesday, May 1, 2012 12:12 PM EDT
Since bin Laden's death
The War on Terror and its various civil liberties assaults have escalated, not been reversed or even slowed down
By Glenn Greenwald

In the wake of Osama bin Laden's summary execution one year ago, many predicted that the War on Terror would finally begin to recede. Here's what has happened since then:

*With large bipartisan majorities, Congress renewed the once-controversial Patriot Act without a single reform, and it was signed into law by President Obama; Harry Reid accused those urging reforms of putting the country at risk of a Terrorist attack.
* For the first time, perhaps ever, a U.S. citizen was assassinated by the CIA, on orders from the President, without a shred of due process and far from any battlefield; two weeks later, his 16-year-old American son was also killed by his own government; the U.S. Attorney General then gave a speech claiming the President has the power to target U.S. citizens for death based on unproven, secret accusations of Terrorism.
* With large bipartisan majorities, Congress enacted, and the President signed, a new law codifying presidential powers of worldwide indefinite detention and an expanded statutory defintion of the War on Terror.
* Construction neared completion for a sprawling new site in Utah for the National Security Agency to enable massive domestic surveillance and to achieve "the realization of the 'total information awareness' program created during the first term of the Bush administration."
* President Obama authorized the use of "signature" drone strikes in Yemen, whereby the CIA can target people for death "even when the identity of those who could be killed is not known."
* The U.S. formally expanded its drone attacks in Somalia, "reopening a base for the unmanned aircraft on the island nation of Seychelles."
* A U.S. drone killed 16-year-old Pakistani Tariq Aziz, along with his 12-year-old cousin, Waheed, three days after the older boy attended a meeting to protest civilian deaths from U.S. drones (another of Tariq's cousins had been killed in 2010).
* NATO airstrikes continued to extinguish the lives of Afghan children; in just the last 24 hours, 5 more Afghan children were killed by the ongoing war.
* The FBI increased its aggressive attempts to recruit young Muslim-American males into Terror plots which the FBI concocts, funds, encourages, directs and enables, while prosecuting more and more Muslims in the U.S. for crimes grounded in their political views and speech.

Does it sound like the War on Terror and its accompanying civil liberties erosions are ending, or going in the opposite direction? The morning after the bin Laden killing, I wrote that the killing of bin Laden would likely re-ignite American excitement over militarism and would thus likely further fuel, rather than retard, the War and its various implications. As always: combatting Terrorism is not the end of the War on Terror; the War on Terror is the end in itself, and Terrorism is merely its pretext.

Freddie Mac Needs More Taxpayer Money

Freddie Mac Needs More Taxpayer Money
"Government-controlled mortgage giant Freddie Mac is requesting $19 million in additional federal aid after posting a loss for the first quarter of this year." ( Washington Post)

Really, this story is getting old.

Bailing Out Statism
The Collapse of Fannie and Freddie Is Government Social Engineering Gone Bad
Sheldon Richman
December 2008 • Volume: 58 • Issue: 10 •

The key to understanding the saga of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- the newly nationalized twin government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) that dominate home financing -- is this:

They were created -- intentionally -- to distort the housing and mortgage markets. That is, government planners were not content to let voluntary exchange and spontaneous market forces configure those industries unmolested. So -- holding the taxpayers hostage -- they intervened.

Make no mistake: The collapse of Fannie and Freddie is government social engineering predictably gone bad.

In a free society supply and demand would govern markets. The demand for houses would be determined by people's preferences and the wealth and income at their disposal. Supply would be determined by relative profit expectations, which is to say, by the demand for housing and the competing demand for the required inputs.

A distortion occurs when government planners and rent-seeking corporate allies, under cover of humanitarian social policy, engineer a deviation from natural market outcomes. (Rent-seeking here refers to the quest for politically derived as opposed to market-derived profits.) Dressed up as promotion of the American Dream through homeownership, the planners used the political means­ultimately, the threat to imprison uncooperative taxpayers -- to channel wealth to the construction, real-estate, and financial industries. The primary instruments of this social engineering were Fannie Mae, created as a government agency during the New Deal and -- cough -- "privatized" in 1968 to get it off-budget, and Freddie Mac, created as a "private" GSE in 1970.

The GSEs don't make mortgage loans. Rather, using borrowed money, they buy mortgages from original lenders, encouraging banks to make more loans and immediately pass them on to others. Pooling lots of mortgages together, the GSEs create mortgage-backed securities (MBS) and either sell them or (more frequently) keep them, assuming the risk of default. In fact Freddie and Fannie created the secondary mortgage market that has come in for criticism since the subprime problem developed.

Freddie's and Fannie's activities were designed to channel money to mortgage lenders so that they could loan widely, especially to people who might have been priced out of a fully private mortgage market. The system inevitably lowered lending standards and interest rates. If these activities had been performed not by GSEs but by real private companies, they would have been subject to market checks. But they were not. They're not called government-sponsored enterprises for nothing. As such they have special advantages over real private companies, permitting them to do things on a scale larger than would have occurred in a free market. The advantages include tax exemption, government loans, an implicit bailout promise, and lower capital requirements.

The result was a far more concentrated lending market and hence greater vulnerability to changing conditions. Fan and Fred hold or insure $5.4 trillion in mortgage debt­half the national total­making the taxpayers ultimately responsible now that the GSEs are under federal conservatorship. Three-quarters of new mortgages are GSE-backed. So the government has just become the country's major mortgagee.

The GSEs have lost well over $10 billion since the mortgage meltdown occurred, and they were getting close to being unable to borrow enough money to roll over their debt. This and fear of a more general economic meltdown are what prompted the government to step in, exposing the taxpayers dramatically. The bailout will begin with a billion-dollar infusion. Then the government will start buying shaky Freddie- or Fannie-backed mortgage securities in the marketplace. A $5 billion purchase will get things going, but up to $200 billion has been promised. It will no doubt be more.

Where will this money come from: taxation, borrowing, or the printing press? What will that do to our economic well-being?

The New York Times is wrong. This is not "an extraordinary federal intervention in private enterprise." It is the state bailing out statism. Let's hear no more about the "laissez-faire" Republicans. That myth serves only to protect advocates of state intervention regardless of party.

It is with deep sadness that I note the death in October of our long-time contributing editor Norman Barry after a long illness. Over the years Norman kept Freeman readers informed about free-market and statist developments in Europe and elsewhere, always with optimism about the future of liberty. He was a professor of social and political theory at the University in Buckingham, which, he proudly noted, is the United Kingdom's only private university. Among his many Freeman articles, my favorite is "Freedom and Morality in the Plays of Tom Stoppard" (August 1999, He was a gentleman, a prolific scholar, and a pure pleasure to work with.

Skyy Fisher, Compton School Board Member, Called Trayvon Martin A 'Faggot Black Dude' (AUDIO)

Skyy Fisher, Compton School Board Member, Called Trayvon Martin A
'Faggot Black Dude' (AUDIO)

A Compton Unified school board member called deceased Florida teen
Trayvon Martin a "faggot black dude" and school Superintendent Karen
Frison a "bitch" during a recent podcast interview, and the statements
are drawing outrage and disbelief from parents and the school
community in Compton, Calif.

The audio is captured in the YouTube video above. It starts with the
hosts of Pigzradio replaying a KTLA interview with Fisher, in which he
comments in an official capacity about an alleged sexual relationship
between a Davis Middle School teacher and a student.

The podcast hosts mock him for his use of words like "alleged" and
"accountable," since apparently it clashes with another version of
Fisher they're more familiar with. "It's really funny to see Skyy on
the news, but not being arrested," jokes one host.

The show then attempts to call Fisher but there's no reply. However,
Fisher calls back, and it's unclear if knows he's being recorded as he
proceeds to openly discuss the closed Davis Middle School molestation
investigation. His opening line? "Oh my fucking god!"

Fisher's comments, which start at minute 7:22, include:

"that white dude that killed that faggot black dude in Florida. I'm
going to go out and try to search for this [inaudible]."

"If you all see that George Zimmerman bitch, tell him I'm looking for him."

"That bitch superintendent wouldn't give me a fucking district car,
and I told that bitch that I was going to get her."

"The daughter is like, doing bad in the class, and she's trying to get
back at the teacher... The father comes to the board meeting, crying
and shit to the board, talking about his daughter's been raped and all
kind of bullshit. All of a sudden, this motherfucker has six

"Wow, so instead of you guys stealing the money, someone else is
stealing the money from the district," says one host. Fisher's
response: "Yeah! Yeah!"

"We're meeting this Tuesday at 7 o'clock. Oh! You've got to definitely
come. There's solidarity with this Trayvon Martin bitch, and I'm
trying to get on news so I'm wearing the hoodies at the whole board
meeting... It's the perfect publicity stunt. I'm going to wear a
hoodie, the news is going to come out, and I'm going to announce my
candidacy for City Council, goddammit."

"If I saw myself walking down the street with a hoodie on, I'd shoot
myself too!"

Fisher's inflammatory comments were first reported by LA weekly. They
had received a tip from a concerned Compton school parent named
Sergio, who sent them the interview.

Sergio told LA Weekly, "It's embarrassing, it's distasteful, it's
unprofessional." Fisher, Sergio said, "should be held to a higher

A filmed taping of the interview (which has since been taken down) was
posted on OneCompton, a community forum.

In reaction to the video, forum user Maggie Morris writes, "This is a
trusted official, leader of our community saying people with hoodies
should be killed or kill themselves, Wow! He uses the "N" word, curses
like a sailor and wants some cocaine SMDH!"

Another resident, who claims to have worked with Fisher on showing
support for Trayvon Martin's cause, was more cautious. "There has to
be more to this video than what seems. It's hard for me to believe
that this interview reflects the board member's core values and true
opinions," Bryan O. Parker responded. "I personally feel that this has
to be some sorta tasteless form of entertainment that both you and I
will never understand."

Fisher, a Compton native, was elected to the Compton Unified board of
trustees in November 2011. His CUSD profile touts Fisher as a Compton
native who is also "a product of the Compton educational system."

In the past, he's been a representative for the American Federation of
Teachers and a union organizer for SEIU. Fisher has also served as the
chair for the Los Angeles County Democratic Party and a delegate for
the state democratic party.

His personal Facebook page describes him as a "community servant who
believes in empowering our youth to push past obstacles tha [sic]
exceed past their wildest expectations to achieve the true California

Listed as his favorite quotation: "To whom much is given, much is required."

The Huffington Post has reached out to both the Compton Unified School
District and Fisher for comments. This story will be updated with
their response.

Listen Here:

Together, we can change the world, one mind at a time.
Have a great day,

Together, we can change the world, one mind at a time.
Have a great day,

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Qaeda Rifts Seen in Documents Found in Bin Laden Hideout

Qaeda Rifts Seen in Documents Found in Bin Laden Hideout

WASHINGTON — The senior leadership of Al Qaeda was riven with divisive
debates about tactics, strategy and even marketing in the months
leading up to the raid that killed its leader, Osama bin Laden, a year
ago, according to a cache of letters and other documents recovered
from his compound and released Thursday.

Department of Defense, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Osama bin Laden, shown in a photograph taken from video and released
by the American military, mapped out a strategy to take advantage of
the Arab Spring uprisings just a week before his death.

A decade after the terrorist attacks that brought down the World Trade
Center and demolished part of the Pentagon, leaders of the terrorist
group debated how closely to affiliate with other extremist
organizations, how much it should target the United States, how to win
the support of Muslims, whether to attack drug runners to steal their
money and even whether the infamous network should change its name.

One document found in Bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan,
suggested that the name Al Qaeda had "lessened Muslims' feelings that
we belong to them" and lacked any religious connection. The name,
Arabic for "The Base," was first used to refer to some of the
muhajedeen fighting the Soviets in the 1980s.

The document proposed a variety of possible alternatives with Islamic
themes, including Monotheism and Jihad Group, Muslim Unity Group,
Islamic Nation Unification Party and Al-Asqa Liberation Group. Such
names, the unknown author argued, would make the American-led war
against Al Qaeda into more of a war on Islam.

The documents were released by the Combating Terrorism Center at the
United States Military Academy at West Point. Seventeen letters
totaling 175 pages were released, dating from September 2006 to April
2011 just before Bin Laden's death at the hands of Navy SEALs.

The center's evaluation of the documents focused on Bin Laden's
efforts from his hideaway to control the sprawling alliance of
militants that operated in his name. Indeed, the center titled its
report, "Letters from Abbottabad: Bin Laden Sidelined?"

"He was at pains advising them to abort domestic attacks that cause
Muslim civilian casualties and instead focus on the United States,
'our desired goal,' " the center's report said. "Bin Laden's
frustration with regional jihadi groups and his seeming inability to
exercise control over their actions and public statements is the most
compelling story to be told on the basis of the 17 declassified

The documents revealed a roiling debate over the relationship between
the central Qaeda group and the various affiliates over which Bin
Laden exercised little control. Some of his top lieutenants argued for
disassociating with the branch outfits, while others pushed for more
integration. Bin Laden himself wanted to stay in touch with those
groups and provide advice without fully incorporating them into Al
Qaeda itself. He viewed some of these affiliates as incompetent and
decried operations that killed Muslims.

Bin Laden also mapped out a strategy just a week before his death to
take advantage of the Arab Spring uprisings that had thrown much of
the Middle East into turmoil. He wanted to encourage "people who have
not yet revolted and exhort them to rebel against the rulers" while
trying to guide them away from "half solutions" like secular
democratic politics.

The documents give little new insight into Al Qaeda's relationship
with Pakistan, where Bin Laden had managed to find refuge for years,
but did hint at a difficult relationship with Iran. "The detention of
prominent Al Qaeda members seems to have sparked a campaign of
threats, taking hostages and indirect negotiations between Al Qaeda
and Iran that have been drawn out for years and may still be ongoing,"
the report said.

As has been reported recently, the documents show that Bin Laden
sought operations to assassinate President Obama or Gen. David H.
Petraeus when he was the commander of international forces in
Afghanistan. Bin Laden instructed that two units be set up, one in
Pakistan and another in Bagram, Afghanistan, home of a major American
base, to target airplanes carrying Mr. Obama or General Petraeus.

Bin Laden wrote that Mr. Obama's death would result in the ascension
of Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who was "utterly unprepared,"
and concluded that "the killing of Petraeus would have a serious
impact on the course of the war" because he was "the man of this
phase." Bin Laden explicitly ruled out targeting Robert M. Gates, then
the defense secretary, Adm. Mike Mullen, then the chairman of the
Joint Chiefs, or Richard Holbrooke, then the president's special
representative for Afghanistan, but did not explain why.

Bin Laden clearly was not informed in advance of the attempted bombing
of Times Square in May 2010, and he passed along remonstrations to the
Pakistani Taliban, which sponsored it. In particular he was bothered
that Faisal Shahzad, arrested in the plot, had said he lied when he
took his oath of American citizenship. That "amounts to betrayal
(ghadr) and does not fall under permissible lying to the enemy," Bin
Laden wrote.

Likewise, Bin Laden did not seem to think much of Anwar al-Awlaki, the
American-born militant killed in a drone strike in Yemen in 2011, and
he warned of the "dangerous consequences" of "Inspire," the
English-language magazine produced by Al Qaeda of the Arabian
Peninsula, apparently viewing its content as tasteless.

The documents suggested that Bin Laden was not as close to his deputy
and eventual successor, Ayman al-Zawahri, as some had thought. Mr.
Zawahri shows up only occasionally in the letters and does not seem to
be a main point of consultation, at least if the documents are
representative. Indeed, the center suggested that Mr. Zawahri might
have even acted against Bin Laden's wishes by publicly admitting
affiliate groups into Al Qaeda.

Instead, another Qaeda leader named Atiyyatullah, who also went by
Atiyya, appeared to be closest to Bin Laden. The revelation that Bin
Laden used Atiyya as his consigliere was to some who followed Al Qaeda
for years the most surprising insight. At one point, Bin Laden
confided in Atiyya his concern about his legacy. "He who does not make
known his own history," he wrote, runs the risk that "some in the
media and among historians will construct a history for him, using
whatever information they have, regardless of whether their
information is accurate or not."


Together, we can change the world, one mind at a time.
Have a great day,

Together, we can change the world, one mind at a time.
Have a great day,

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Black Hole Four Million Times Bigger Than the Sun Shreds a Star

New post on

Black Hole Four Million Times Bigger Than the Sun Shreds a Star

by Sard

Out-of-this-world images show a star being EATEN by gigantic black hole four million times bigger than the sun

PUBLISHED: 22:10 EST, 2 May 2012 | UPDATED: 22:12 EST, 2 May 2012

Astronomers have spotted a unique sight - a star in a distant galaxy being 'eaten' by a black hole four million times the size of the sun.

The resulting gigantic explosion sparked a flare so brilliant that observers detected it from a distance of 2.1 billion light-years away.

Giant black holes occupy the centers of most large galaxies, including our own. Its central black hole is four million times as massive as the sun and swallows a star once every 10,000 to 100,000 years.

Astronomers first picked up a signal from the constellation Draco in May 2010, when the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope in Hawaii spotted a flare at visible and near-infrared wavelengths.

The scientists calculate that the black hole's gravity had torn the star apart a month earlier by pulling harder on one side of the star than the other.



Sard | May 3, 2012 at 11:05 am | Categories: Astronomy, Conservatism, Science | URL:

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FORWARD Comrades!

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42 Things You'll Only See In China

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**JP** Fw: 20 Painkillers found in your kitchen

--- On Thu, 3/5/12, Farhan Safeer Qureshi <> wrote:

From: Farhan Safeer Qureshi <>
Subject: 20 Painkillers found in your kitchen
To: "Farhan Safeer Qureshi" <>
Date: Thursday, 3 May, 2012, 10:08 AM



When Danish researchers asked achy people to jazz up their diets with ginger, it eased muscle and joint pain, swelling and stiffness for up to 63 percent of them within two months. Experts credit ginger's potent compounds called gingerols, which prevent the production of pain-triggering hormones. The study-recommended dose: Add at least 1 teaspoon of dried ginger or 2 teaspoons of chopped ginger to meals daily.


Cure a toothache with cloves

Got a toothache and can't get to the dentist? Gently chewing on a clove can ease tooth pain and gum inflammation for two hours straight, say UCLA researchers. Experts point to a natural compound in cloves called eugenol, a powerful, natural anesthetic. Bonus: Sprinkling a teaspoon of ground cloves on meals daily may also protect your ticker. Scientists say this simple action helps stabilize blood sugar, plus dampen production of artery-clogging cholesterol in as little as three weeks.



Heal heartburn with cider vinegar

Sip 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar mixed with 8 ounces of water before every meal, and experts say you could shut down painful bouts of heartburn in as little as 24 hours. Cider vinegar is rich in malic and tartaric acids, powerful digestive aids that speed the breakdown of fats and proteins so your stomach can empty quickly, before food washes up into the esophagus, triggering heartburn pain, explains Joseph Brasco, M.D., a gastroenterologist at the Center for Colon and Digestive Diseases in Huntsville, AL.

Erase earaches with garlic

Painful ear infections drive millions of Americans to doctors' offices every year. To cure one fast, just place two drops of warm garlic oil into your aching ear twice daily for five days. This simple treatment can clear up ear infections faster than prescription meds, say experts at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. Scientists say garlic's active ingredients (germanium, selenium, and sulfur compounds) are naturally toxic to dozens of different pain-causing bacteria. To whip up your own garlic oil gently simmer three cloves of crushed garlic in a half a cup of extra virgin olive oil for two minutes, strain, then refrigerate for up to two weeks, suggests Teresa Graedon, Ph.D., co-author of the book, Best Choices From The People's Pharmacy. For an optimal experience, warm this mix slightly before using so the liquid will feel soothing in your ear canal.

Chase away joint and headache pain with cherries

Latest studies show that at least one in four women is struggling with arthritis, gout or chronic headaches. If you're one of them, a daily bowl of cherries could ease your ache, without the stomach upset so often triggered by today's painkillers, say researchers at East Lansing 's Michigan State University . Their research reveals that anthocyanins, the compounds that give cherries their brilliant red color, are anti-inflammatories 10 times stronger than ibuprofen and aspirin. Anthocyanins help shut down the powerful enzymes that kick-start tissue inflammation, so they can prevent, as well as treat, many different kinds of pain, explains Muraleedharan Nair, Ph.D., professor of food science at Michigan State University . His advice: Enjoy 20 cherries (fresh, frozen or dried) daily, then continue until your pain disappears.

Fight tummy troubles with fish

Indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel diseases...if your belly always seems to be in an uproar, try munching 18 ounces of fish weekly to ease your misery. Repeated studies show that the fatty acids in fish, called EPA and DHA, can significantly reduce intestinal inflammation, cramping and belly pain and, in some cases, provide as much relief as corticosteroids and other prescription meds. EPA and DHA are powerful, natural, side effect-free anti-inflammatories, that can dramatically improve the function of the entire gastrointestinal tract, explains biological chemist Barry Sears, Ph.D., president of the Inflammation Research Foundation in Marblehead , MA . For best results, look for oily fish like salmon, sardines, tuna, mackerel, trout and herring.

Prevent PMS with yogurt

Up to 80 percent of women will struggle with premenstrual syndrome and its uncomfortable symptoms, report Yale researchers. The reason: Their nervous systems are sensitive to the ups and downs in estrogen and progesterone that occur naturally every month. But snacking on 2 cups of yogurt a day can slash these symptoms by 48 percent, say researchers at New York 's Columbia University . Yogurt is rich in calcium, a mineral that naturally calms the nervous system, preventing painful symptoms even when hormones are in flux, explains Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., a professor of gynecology at Yale University .

Tame chronic pain with turmeric

Studies show turmeric, a popular East Indian spice, is actually three times more effective at easing pain than aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen, plus it can help relieve chronic pain for 50 percent of people struggling with arthritis and even fibromyalgia, according to Cornell researchers. That's because turmeric's active ingredient, curcumin, naturally shuts down cyclooxygenase 2, an enzyme that churns out a stream of pain-producing hormones, explains nutrition researcher Julian Whitaker, M.D. and author of the book,Reversing Diabetes. The study-recommended dose: Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of this spice daily onto any rice, poultry, meat or vegetable dish.

End endometrial pain with oats

The ticket to soothing endometriosis pain could be a daily bowl of oatmeal. Endometriosis occurs when little bits of the uterine lining detach and grow outside of the uterus. Experts say these migrating cells can turn menstruation into a misery, causing so much inflammation that they trigger severe cramping during your period, plus a heavy ache that drags on all month long. Fortunately, scientists say opting for a diet rich in oats can help reduce endometrial pain for up to 60 percent of women within six months. That's because oats don't contain gluten, a trouble-making protein that triggers inflammation in many women, making endometriosis difficult to bear, explains Peter Green, M.D., professor of medicine at Colombia University .

Soothe foot pain with salt

Experts say at least six million Americans develop painful ingrown toenails each year. But regularly soaking ingrown nails in warm salt water baths can cure these painful infections within four days, say scientists at California 's Stanford University . The salt in the mix naturally nixes inflammation, plus it's anti-bacterial, so it quickly destroys the germs that cause swelling and pain. Just mix 1 teaspoon of salt into each cup of water, heat to the warmest temperature that you can comfortably stand, and then soak the affected foot area for 20 minutes twice daily, until your infection subsides.

Prevent digestive upsets with pineapple

Got gas? One cup of fresh pineapple daily can cut painful bloating within 72 hours, say researchers at California 's Stanford University . That's because pineapple is natually packed with proteolytic enzymes, digestive aids that help speed the breakdown of pain-causing proteins in the stomach and small intestine, say USDA researchers.

Relax painful muscles with peppermint

Suffering from tight, sore muscles? Stubborn knots can hang around for months if they aren't properly treated, says naturopath Mark Stengler, N.D., author of the book, The Natural Physician's Healing Therapies. His advice: Three times each week, soak in a warm tub scented with 10 drops of peppermint oil. The warm water will relax your muscles, while the peppermint oil will naturally soothe your nerves -- a combo that can ease muscle cramping 25 percent more effectively than over-the-counter painkillers, and cut the frequency of future flare-ups in half, says Stengler.

Give your back some TLC with grapes

Got an achy back? Grapes could be the ticket to a speedy recovery. Recent studies at Ohio State University suggest eating a heaping cup of grapes daily can relax tight blood vessels, significantly improving blood flow to damaged back tissues (and often within three hours of enjoying the first bowl). That's great news because your back's vertebrae and shock-absorbing discs are completely dependent on nearby blood vessels to bring them healing nutrients and oxygen, so improving blood flow is essential for healing damaged back tissue, says Stengler.

Wash away pain injuries with water

Whether it's your feet, your knees or your shoulders that are throbbing, experts at New York 's Manhattan College , say you could kick-start your recovery in one week just by drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily. Why? Experts say water dilutes, and then helps flush out, histamine, a pain-triggering compound produced by injured tissues. Plus water is a key building block of the cartilage that cushions the ends of your bones, your joints' lubricating fluid, and the soft discs in your spine, adds Susan M. Kleiner, Ph.D., author of the book,The Good Mood Diet. And when these tissues are well-hydrated, they can move and glide over each other without causing pain. One caveat: Be sure to measure your drinking glasses to find out how large they really are before you start sipping, she says. Today's juice glasses often hold more than 12 ounces, which means five servings could be enough to meet your daily goal.

Heal sinus problems with horseradish

Latest studies show sinusitis is the nation's number one chronic health problem. And this condition doesn't just spur congestion and facial pain, it also makes sufferers six times more likely to feel achy all-over. Horseradish to the rescue! According to German researchers, this eye-watering condiment naturally revs up blood flow to the sinus cavities, helping to open and drain clogged sinuses and heal sinus infections more quickly than decongestant sprays do. The study-recommended dose: One teaspoon twice daily (either on its own, or used as a sandwich or meat topping) until symptoms clear.

Beat bladder infections with blueberries

Eating 1 cup of blueberries daily, whether you opt for them fresh, frozen or in juice form, can cut your risk of a urinary tract infection (UTIs) by 60 percent, according to researchers at New Jersey's Rutgers University. That's because blueberries are loaded with tannins, plant compounds that wrap around problem-causing bacteria in the bladder, so they can't get a toehold and create an infection, explains Amy Howell, Ph.D. a scientist at Rutgers University .

Heal mouth sores with honey

Dab painful canker and cold sores with unpasteurized honey four times daily until these skin woes disappear, and they'll heal 43 percent faster than if you use a prescription cream, say researchers at the Dubai Specialized Medical Center in the United Arab Emirates . Raw honey's natural enzymes zap inflammation, destroy invading viruses and speed the healing of damaged tissues, say the study authors.

Fight breast pain with flax

In one recent study, adding 3 tablespoons of ground flax to their daily diet eased breast soreness for one in three women within 12 weeks. Scientists credit flax's phytoestrogens, natural plant compounds that prevent the estrogen spikes that can trigger breast pain. More good news: You don't have to be a master baker to sneak this healthy seed into your diet. Just sprinkle ground flax on oatmeal, yogurt, applesauce or add it to smoothies and veggie dips.

Cure migraines with coffee

Prone to migraines? Try muscling-up your painkiller with a coffee chaser. Whatever over-the-counter pain med you prefer, researchers at the National Headache Foundation say washing it down with a strong 12- ounce cup of coffee will boost the effectiveness of your medication by 40 percent or more. Experts say caffeine stimulates the stomach lining to absorb painkillers more quickly and more effectively.

Tame leg cramps with tomato juice

At least one in five people regularly struggle with leg cramps. The culprit? Potassium deficiencies, which occur when this mineral is flushed out by diuretics, caffeinated beverages or heavy perspiration during exercise. But sip 10 ounces of potassium-rich tomato juice daily and you'll not only speed your recovery, you'll reduce your risk of painful cramp flare-ups in as little as 10 days, say UCLA researchers.



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