Wednesday, March 17, 2010
THE DEEPEST LINK
Friday, March 12, 2010
Thursday, March 11, 2010
To learn that the CEO of Blue Cross Tennessee received a $2 million bonus is really not news at all. It is merely more of the same, and exactly what we can expect if the Healthcare Industry is expected to "curb" their spending. It just ain't gonna happen.
This is just goes to demonstrate that we MUST have immediate intervention, regulation, oversight and accountability over the Healthcare Marketplace.
I did not need another reason to demonstrate the need for immediate intervention, however for those who do, please read the excerpt below from KnoxViews:
"Blue Cross CEOs gorge on profits from premiums."
"The chief executive officer of Blue Cross of Tennessee got a big salary boost to over $2 million this year. Searches for "salary president ceo blue cross [statename]" will get you the figures for the rest of the states. To keep it simple, though, let's just assume that the 50 CEOs of each Blue Cross operation in each of the 50 states makes roughly what the top guy in Tennessee gets, Tennessee not being exactly one of the wealthiest states. That means we're looking at well over $100 million of our health insurance premiums poured into the homes, yachts, and kids' private schools of a tiny elite instead of going into the provision of health care for Americans." -Vigil Proudfoot, KnoxViews available: http://knoxviews.mobi/node/11418
Obama's plan to come to the table with the Healthcare Industry is being passed off as Healthcare "reform" is a farce. The concept of self-regulation as the newest chapter in healthcare reform effort is a joke, and my concerns continue to grow with each passing day. Since that compromise was made, have any of us seen any movement towards reform or seen our healthcare dollars get more bang for the buck?
Asking or expecting the health industry to reduce costs through self-regulation without accountability is simply ridiculous. Especially when we see reports such as these that show a CEO salary of several million dollars.
Health care is already completely self-regulated and controlled. A person does not have free choice when choosing a provider. Due to an unholy alliance of provider networks, insurance underwriters, pharmaceutical conglomerates and private for profit hospital corporations such as HCA.
By negotiating with providers and developing one-size-fits-all prescription formularies and treatment protocols, we remove the ability for the consumer to make independent informed decisions about the value of various treatment options.
We rely upon one the ratings of physicians who have self-interest in controlling access and information to accurate information through their reliance upon Certification and Licensing Boards. By limiting access into the profession, health care costs are inflated and it is near impossible for the consumer to determine the fair value of a health care service.
Second, the consumer is far removed from the negotiating process, so we do not have a good sense of the fair, free market value of one particular service in comparison to another. All you need to do is look at any EOB (explanation of benefits) report for your last trip to the hospital.
Billing codes are used and assigned through various service departments and the insurance carrier then decides which services are covered and at what rate. They use the terms like “Reasonable and Customary Rates” and then choose to pay 80% of that amount. Therefore, by definition, that 20% must be built in to the billing rates to adjust for the actual (and expected) rate of reimbursement.
Such complicated billing procedures and methods are so complicated and technical that the end recipient of services (the consumer) really has no idea if an X-ray costs $90 or $73. Add into that a separate fee for the radiologist, and sometimes a charge just to use the facility, and even smart people find it difficult to understand.
The bills are then processed by an insurance adjuster who must determine primary and secondary (supplemental) plans and determine who is responsible for what, the end cost and intricate design is truly “priceless.”
Good luck to those people who actually purchased supplemental plans they saw advertised on TV, you have been duped. Giving people (especially the infirm and the elderly) a false sense of security is unfair and unjust.
Without regulation, intervention and enforcement, many people will continue to believe they are prepared and protected from that ultimate for “just in case” scenario that results in major, catastrophic medical loss.
The administrative cost alone on the part of the “Responsible Party” is probably more costly than the initial service they received at whatever hospital for whatever condition.
You cannot apply basic economic theory and free market principles to health care. Health care is fundamentally different and should be considered a public good.
We cannot believe or expect health insurance conglomerates will control their own spending and free from government intervention. We need to do something NOW!
"You may not care how much I know, but you don't know how much I care!"
Nashville Mayor Karl Dean makes a deal with the Chamber of Commerce: Details Unknown http://www.google.com/gwt/x?wsc=gh&wsi=b5af5ccc1a1ba97d&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.addthis.com/bookmark.php%3Fv%3D20&ei=pkKZS7iZHI2qoAeyuNCvCA&ct=pg1&whp=30
This will be edited... Because in typical Nashville Style, I would 7.50 to read about this "economic package Mayor Dean put together with the Nashville Chamber of Commerce. As someone who has spent the part of my life evaluating various social welfare programs, this make NO sense to me! Put out a press release for god sakes, send a letter or email to those of who are repeatedly denied services these programs are supposed to help! It is just beyond my capacity to understand how you actually spin this shit when there are people like me shouting it the rooftops! Have you NO shame? Don't bother to answer, not as if you might actually take 5 mins to READ an email some "random" constituent sent a year ago early March. Where are Brady's files? Did he leave them behind? Enough. I have had enough. Thank you for giving me such a clear sense just how much you really do value my support and dedication and hard work on your campaign! Excuse me while I go throw up, AGAIN tripping down memory lane.
Refresh Tag(s): Assassination; COINTELPRO; Congress Failed Oversight Democracy; Congress Oversight Failures; Dirty Tricks; Dirty Tricks Political Espionage; Disinformation; Espionage- Spygate- FBI- NSC; Freedom Of Information Act; Government Transparency; (more...) House Oversight Committee; Information Suppression; JFK; JFK Assassination; Petition; Political Assassinations; Secrecy - Transparency; Transparency (less...)
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By Bill Simpich (about the author) Page 1 of 12 page(s)
For OpEdNews: Bill Simpich - WriterMemos released in full show that Lee Harvey Oswald was used in espionage aimed at the Soviets during 1959 and 1963. On both occasions, Oswald was seeking an instant visa in order to enter a Communist country.
Documents recently released in full reveal that alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald was wittingly or unwittingly used in CIA spying activities referred to as LCIMPROVE during the two months before John F. Kennedy was killed. Until the last few years, these documents only existed in less-than-complete form.
LCIMPROVE is defined in two separate CIA documents as "Counter-espionage involving Soviet intelligence services worldwide". The request for the definition of LCIMPROVE by government staffers to the CIA is here (see item #2) The CIA's response is here.
Counter-espionage involves actions taken to detect and counteract espionage. Several CIA memos with the subject line "LCIMPROVE" were written during the two periods of Oswald's life when he was trying to instantly obtain a visa to enter a communist nation.
The LCIMPROVE memos in 1959 dramatically describe the time when Oswald was seeking to defect to the Soviet Union. These memos are also linked to the REDCAP program to induce Soviets and Eastern Europeans to defect to the West.
These REDCAP/LCIMPROVE memos are filled with wild yarns about sex-and-alcohol parties involving Americans and Soviets together in Helsinki. It was days of wine and roses, with each side testing the other. American vice consul William Costille was enticing the Soviet consul Gregory Golub to defect. By all appearances, Soviet consul Golub just wanted to let the good times roll.
Soviet consul Golub was warmed by the camaraderie. Helsinki became the only place in the Soviet borderlands where a foreigner could get a visa in a matter of minutes if you "looked all right". This change in policy came down shortly before Oswald needed to cross the Soviet border from Helsinki.
Oswald was still a Marine when he came to Helsinki. Oswald would probably never have received permission from Soviet authorities in Moscow to enter the USSR. The instant visa from Golub is what made it possible for Oswald to successfully defect to the Soviet Union during October 1959. He married a Soviet woman and returned with his new family to the United States in 1962.
LCIMPROVE documents from late 1963 report on Oswald's quest to get instant visas to visit Cuba and the USSR. The CIA reports on Oswald's visits to the Soviet and Cuban consulates in Mexico City to obtain these visas less than two months before the JFK assassination. Oswald showed up with his visa application at the Cuban consulate on a Friday all fired up to leave for Cuba the following Monday. This was during a time when Mexico City was an "intelligence battlefield" for both sides in the Cold War.
On the lighter side, Oswald was behaving like a clown. He was demanding an instant travel visa to go to Cuba. The American government ban on Cuban travel had begun two years earlier in 1961. Mexico City was the only place in Mexico that an American had any chance to get into Cuba at all. The Cubans were only providing travel visas during time to American travelers when a way station was needed while en route to one's ultimate destination.
In this case, Oswald hadn't even applied for a Soviet visa. Obtaining a visa from the Soviets was going to take four months. Oswald was doing one of the things he was best at - being an impossible person.
Oswald had succeeded in making himself the talk of the town on Embassy Row in Mexico City. Tongues were wagging inside the Cuban consulate at Oswald's rash and rude manners as he tried to convince the employees into giving him a visa to leave for Cuba the following Monday. His flat-out lie to them about having a Soviet visa added more fuel to the fire.
The buzzing of the consulate employees was picked up by CIA wiretaps throughout the building and on every telephone. As a bonus, such an event inevitably worsened relations between Cuba and Oswald's Fair Play for Cuba Committee during a time when a documented CIA-FBI plan to discredit the FPCC was nearing fruition.
The more hidden aspects involved the shadowboxing between the Americans and the Soviets. For years, there was a practice in intelligence circles of slightly altering items in Oswald's biography and using these items as "marked cards" as they passed information back and forth with each other. If an unauthorized person had access to a particular spelling of a name, for example, that "marked card" indicated that there had been a leak. A leaker might be a defector.
Thus, Oswald was wittingly or unwittingly involved in a molehunt aimed at at American intelligence officers. Ann Egerter was the main mover in this effort. Egerter was with the Counter-Intelligence Special Investigations Group, or CI/SIG. For years, the CIA and other agencies had been using "marked cards" as a method to see if the CIA itself was being infiltrated by Soviet or Cuban agents. Egerter referred to her group as the "office that spied on spies".
At the same time, REDCAP memos surfaced during the summer of 1963 directed at Kostikov and other Soviet Embassy employees. As mentioned above, REDCAP was a CIA program that encouraged Soviet defections. Soviet vice consul Valeriy Kostikov was the subject of a REDCAP memo written the same day that Oswald first visited the Soviet embassy. The CIA may have wanted to see if Oswald could effectively test the emotional makeup of Soviet vice consul Valeriy Kostikov or another embassy employee. Oswald was a provocateur, in the classical sense of the word. He knew how to get an argument going, as well as how to spur a discussion that might reveal a vulnerability that Kostikov or another embassy employee.
The story is that Oswald came to the Soviet Embassy in late September, buttonholed Kostikov, threw a loaded revolver down on the table, and burst into tears. The purpose of this drama may have simply been to get Kostikov and the other consuls to let down their guard and talk.
Take action -- click here to contact your local newspaper or congress people:
Free the JFK Files Now, Not in 2017 or LaterBill Simpich is a civil rights attorney and an antiwar activist in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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Wednesday, March 10, 2010
March 7. And now more than ever I am homeless at home.
What kind of a world allows children to go hungry and forces people out on the street because they owe $4.50 in late fees.
Well there are no more late fees or gas prices to bitch about.
There are just memories of my father's last words as I walked into the courthouse alone.
And the knowledge that he didn't lift a finger to stop the two men from removing my clothes as they put all their weight into to middle of my back, forcing my head into a plastic matress that lay on the floor.
They left bruises, abrasions and scars in places no one ever bothers to look... deep inside my heart that still aches for the injustice I have witnessed. Not only on March 7 2002, March 7, 2009, but right now as I lie hear with nothing left but broken appliances, water stained journals I kept over the years.
My body will never heal, that I can live with. But watching my neighbors, friends, collegaues, and community look the other way is much more difficult. Doctorsthat left the wounds untreated, records missing several pages of listing the first 72 hours before I was seen by a medical professional.
While I was kept in a room with no vathroom, food, speakers, or emergency call button to cry for help. Injected with drugs and that were mysteriously absent from any medical chart.
I spent the next 5 and a half months documenting my experience. I took 1,890 photos. I sent out 32,000 tweets.
No one called. No one came. No one cared.
My spirit is every bit as broken as my already fragile bones have been since I was twenty two.
There were my colleagues who lost the medical record that I so carefully preserved on the blank pages of a telephone book.
There was Christina who brought me clothing and the Pastor who promised to visit. I never saw either of them again. There was chamber meeting I so carefully composed myself to give my regrets to the Mayor. The same fucking Mayor who names me on his committee of educators. I haven't forgotten, and trust me, neither will you.
My name is Elyssa.
Elyssa Danielle Durant
Yes, I am the daughter of of the man who did this to you.
Thank you, Daddy. I'm every bit as strong as your dirty cops who beat all those men into the ground in West Philadelphia.
I am sorry for what he has done.
To you, to Mumia, and to the 13 innocents that died on May 13, 1985.
Sometimes I think they were the lucky ones.
Former guard sentenced in deadly bar shooting | Nashville City Paper: Nashville's Online Source for Daily News
Former guard sentenced in deadly bar shootingFriday, March 5, 2010 at 5:30pmStaff reports
A judge ordered the former Nippers Corner security guard who shot a Marathon Sports bar patron two years ago to begin serving a six-year sentence today.
Davidson County Criminal Court Judge Randall Wyatt Jr. sentenced Jeremy Holmes to a six-year sentence with a status review after two years, when Holmes could get probation for the remainder of his sentence. After defense attorneys argued for six years of probation, Wyatt determined Holmes should serve at least two years for the offense.
Holmes was indicted on a second-degree murder charge in September 2008 for the shooting death of Adam Villegas in a Nippers Corner parking lot on May 16, 2008.
An August 2009 trial ended in a hung jury, and in January, Holmes accepted a six-year sentence for pleading guilty to voluntary manslaughter.
Holmes contended that Villegas got into his car after a night of drinking and started to pull away as Holmes tried to record his license plate number. Holmes said he then drew his gun and ordered Villegas out of the car.
When Villegas didn%u2019t cooperate, Holmes fired one shot into Villegas%u2019 car hitting him in the neck. Villegas died at the scene.
According to police, Holmes said he felt at risk of being hit by the car.
Filed under: City News
GUNS IN BARS...