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      I spent a half-hour tonight sitting in the hallway, waiting out a tornado warning. It never hit here (I don’t think we got more than a sprinkle of rain) but it did hit the Hellmouth, where I used to live north of here. It hit the local mall, and took down a nearby car dealership … Continue reading Tornado night
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      Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – August 1, 2021 by Tony Wikrent Strategic Political Economy U.S. Population Growth, an Economic Driver, Grinds to a Halt [Wall Street Journal, via Naked Capitalism 7-26-2021] America’s weak population growth, already held back by a decadelong fertility slump, is dropping closer to zero because of the Covid-19 pandemic. In h […]
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Reality is for people who can’t afford health care

One of these things is not like the others


From McClatchy, via BDBlue at Corrente:

Two weeks after President Barack Obama signed the big health care overhaul into law, Americans are struggling to understand how — and when — the sweeping measure will affect them.

[…]

“They’re saying, ‘Where do we get the free Obama care, and how do I sign up for that?’ ” said Carrie McLean, a licensed agent for eHealthInsurance.com.

[…]

McLean said the call center had been inundated by uninsured consumers who were hoping that the overhaul would translate into instant, affordable coverage. That widespread misconception may have originated in part from distorted rhetoric about the legislation bubbling up from the hyper-partisan debate about it in Washington and some media outlets, such as when opponents denounced it as socialism.

“We tell them it’s not free, that there are going to be things in place that help people who are low-income, but that ultimately most of that is not going to be taking place until 2014,” McLean said.

I had to laugh when I first read that, but it was one of those laugh-or-cry situations. But you can’t really blame people for misunderstanding all the facts about the new law when even members of Congress don’t have a clue:

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D.-Fla.) is insisting that the new health care law she voted for last month does not mandate that individuals buy health insurance, despite language in the law that plainly says otherwise.

By the time people start learning the truth about ObamaCare it will be 2014, and no matter what happens in 2012 Obama will have already faced his last election campaign. Not only will the program require a (virtually impossible) supermajority to repeal, but the Democratic party will be the ones catching hell for enacting a Republican plan.

Those health insurance company execs and Wall Street bankers are getting one hell of a ROI on the millions of dollars they spent back in 2007 to jump-start Obama’s campaign.

Thursday, A sorry excuse for news

This story from Glenn Greenwald (referring to stories in the NYTimes & Washington Post) makes me Throw Up ::

Confirmed: Obama authorizes assassination of U.S. citizen

Today, both The New York Times and The Washington Post confirm that the Obama White House has now expressly authorized the CIA to kill al-Alwaki no matter where he is found, no matter his distance from a battlefield.  I wrote at length about the extreme dangers and lawlessness of allowing the Executive Branch the power to murder U.S. citizens far away from a battlefield (i.e., while they’re sleeping, at home, with their children, etc.) and with no due process of any kind.  I won’t repeat those arguments — they’re here and here — but I do want to highlight how unbelievably Orwellian and tyrannical this is in light of these new articles today..

As Glenn goes on to point out ::

No due process is accorded.  No charges or trials are necessary.  No evidence is offered, nor any opportunity for him to deny these accusations (which he has done vehemently through his family).  None of that.

Instead, in Barack Obama’s America, the way guilt is determined for American citizens — and a death penalty imposed — is that the President, like the King he thinks he is, secretly decrees someone’s guilt as a Terrorist.  He then dispatches his aides to run to America’s newspapers — cowardly hiding behind the shield of anonymity which they’re granted — to proclaim that the Guilty One shall be killed on sight because the Leader has decreed him to be a Terrorist.

Plus — See the first Update.  The President himself knows (or used to know) that it’s wrong.


The health care/insurance issue isn’t as settled as you might think:

BostonBoomer sent me this link:

Massachusetts Health Insurance “Market” Just Failed, And There’s Worse to Come

Jon Walker writes about the decision of private health insurers in Massachusetts to withhold offers for new plans in the state’s Health insurance “Connector.” That follows the Boston Globe report of a decision by Massachusett’s insurance regulator to deny most of the requests by insurers to raise their insurance premiums.

Jon traces the problem to the absence of a public option, which could guarantee consumers an alternative/safety net if the private insurers withhold their products. He also faults the ability of private insurers to sell insurance outside the exchange/Connector. I think he’s right, but there’s an even more fundamental problem at work here, and it reminds me of what happened in California’s electricity market.

The short version is that Massachusetts appears to be inadvertently fostering an artificial shortage in health insurance. And they’re doing it for the same reasons that California authorities inadvertently created or exacerbated artificial shortages in electricity that repeatedly caused blackouts during the 2000-2001 crisis.

We’ve seen this before, and unless Massachusett’s Governor and regulators are smarter than California’s Governor and Public Utility Commission, this is not going to turn out well. So what’s going on? . . .

And from the New York Times, some cost estimates ::

How Much Will the High-Risk Pools Cost?

Premiums may be no higher than the average cost of an individual policy in the area covered by the plan. This is a significant improvement over current high-risk pools in some states, where premiums can be twice as high as a typical policy. In addition, older people in the new plans cannot be charged more than four times younger ones. The maximum out-of-pocket expenses that people in the new plans will be required to pay is $5,950 for individuals and $11,900 for families.

No more than 4 times as much as younger ones.  Isn’t that sweet?

l0


Kyrgyzstan opposition seizes power in unrest that leaves dozens dead

Reporting from Islamabad, Pakistan
Opposition leaders in the small, mountainous Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan seized power in the capital early Thursday after thousands of protesters ransacked government buildings and riot police fired on crowds, killing dozens of people.

If these links seem random, disjointed and uninspired it’s probably because they are.  I’m going through a transition period that seems most similar to that period right after our invasion of Iraq after months of protest.

It’s implied that the news seems mildly interesting but not actually important:

Thinking about the story about Obama’s call for the assassination of al-Alwaki — isn’t that actually a Death Squad — and not just a health insurance reform metaphor? It seems like a big deal – a major change in direction – but, The New York Times story linked to by Glenn (above) is filed under Middle East & the Washington Post story is under the World Desk.  Both stories buried far from the front page.

If the Times & the Post planned to follow up on these stories would they be buried like that?

That’s what I’m thinking about.  What about you?