Are government conspiracies real or imagined? With your help, this site will attempt to separate the truth from the fiction, with regard to government conspiracies. Please let us know by commenting on each post whether or not the story is, in your opinion, proof of government conspiracies or fiction. Thank you.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Another Foreign News Outlet Links U.S. Bio-Warfare Labs to Ebola Outbreak

(Truthstream Media)

Russian news outlet Ria Novosti recently featured an interview with Professor Francis Boyle, University of Illinois College of Law, implicating the United States military-industrial complex in the current Ebola outbreak which the World Health Organization claims has now taken over 4,000 lives in West Africa.
Via Ria Novosti:
“US government agencies have a long history of carrying out allegedly defensive biological warfare research at labs in Liberia and Sierra Leone. This includes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which is now the point agency for managing the Ebola spill-over into the US,” Prof. Francis Boyle said.
“Why has the Obama administration dispatched troops to Liberia when they have no training to provide medical treatment to dying Africans? How did Zaire/Ebola get to West Africa from about 3,500km away from where it was first identified in 1976?”

“Why is the CDC not better-prepared for this emergency after the US government spent about $70 billion since the anthrax attacks of October 2001 to prepare for this exact contingency?” Boyle said.
Great question…how exactly did the Ebola virus get to West Africa from 3,500km away where it was first discovered in the Democratic Republic of the Congo?

Why isn’t anyone else asking that question? That question should be asked by every talking head on every mainstream media outlet on repeat 500 times a day every day until it is answered. Of course, predictably, none of the Western establishment media puppets are asking any of the tough questions about Ebola.

Questions like what happens if a mosquito bites an infected person, then flies off and bites someone else. Can Ebola spread then? Bill Gates certainly seemed to think so when he was funding research into mosquitoes as vaccine deployment systems.

Aside from that, billions of dollars have been poured into the CDC over the years. Mac Slavo of SHTFPlan.com recently asked similar questions to those of Professor Boyle after CDC Head Dr. Thomas Frieden claimed that it was a protocol breach which led to the first ever diagnosis of Ebola caught within the U.S. in the case of the Dallas Hospital nurse who reportedly tested positive after caring for Patient Zero Thomas Duncan.

Duncan’s nurse somehow contracted the deadly virus despite reportedly wearing all the requisite protective gear. In response, Director Frieden claimed it was a breach in protocol, despite Frieden’s nearly continuous reassurances in the media leading up to the diagnosis that there was “rigorous protocol” in place to stop the disease both before and after Duncan brought it here.

Quite obviously the CDC’s “rigorous protocol” has utterly failed. Now Frieden, a man who contradicted himself live on CNN as to how the virus is even spread, has once again changed his tune, responding that, “We have to rethink the way we address Ebola infection control.”

Four decades and billions of dollars later and now the CDC has to rethink the whole darn thing, huh?

This whole story is here

Friday, October 10, 2014

Cuba Warns of Serious Dangers Facing Humanity at the United Nations

UNITED NATIONS.— Cuba yesterday [Oct. 7th] warned of the serious dangers threatening the existence of the human species at the United Nations General Assembly, and called for commitments to address them.
“Humanity is literally facing life and death,” the Cuban Ambassador to the UN, Rodolfo Reyes, said during a plenary of the Assembly devoted to discussing the report of the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the work of the organization, according to PL.

The Caribbean diplomat noted that nearly 70 years following the creation of the United Nations, the planet and its 7.2 billion people are at the mercy of nuclear weapons, climate change, severe and rapiding spreading epidemics and the attacks on sovereignty and self-determination of peoples.

Nothing can justify that 25 years after the declaration of the end of the Cold War we continue to be threatened by more than 16,000 nuclear weapons, a quarter of which are ready for immediate use, he stated, according to PL.

Reyes ratified the position of the island that the only way to rid humanity of this danger is the total prohibition and elimination of these lethal devices, whose devastating impacts were felt by the residents of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Japanese cities which the United States dropped atomic bombs on in 1945.

He noted that many member states have proposed to agree on a comprehensive convention on nuclear weapons, to prohibit their possession, development, production, testing, storage and transfer, as well as their use or the threat of using them.

We urge the Secretary General to contribute with his influence to the beginning of negotiations for such an agreement, he said.

The whole story is here

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Ten Plagues That Are Hitting America Right Now



By Michael Snyder
State of the Nation

Why are so many plagues hitting the United States all of a sudden?  Yes, one can always point out bad stuff that is happening somewhere in the country, but right now we are facing a nightmarish combination of crippling drought, devastating wildfires, disastrous viruses, dying crops and superbugs that scientists don’t know how to kill.  And as you will see, we even have a plague of flies down in Mississippi.  So what in the world is going on?  Is this just a case of bad luck, or is something else happening?  At the conclusion of this article, please feel free to tell me what you think.  The following are ten plagues that are hitting America right now…  
#1 The Plague Of Flies In The Upper Mississippi River Valley
This is perhaps the least dangerous plague, but it is also one of the most interesting.  Just recently, a plague of flies was so thick in the upper Mississippi River valley that it showed up on radar
The mayflies were detectable on radar around 845 pm and reports in the towns and cities began rolling in of the swarming and piles of mayflies. Numerous videos and pictures were circulating on social media, some of which are posted below as well.
The radar detected the flies about 845 pm, emanating from the river (the source) with echo values similar to that of light-moderate rain (35-40 dBZ). With a general south-to-north wind flow above the surface, the mayflies quickly moved north once in the air. As the flies dispersed moving north-northeast, they also gained altitude with some of the echo being detected as far north as Black River Falls and as high as 2500 feet above ground.
By late evening, mayflies were swarming in La Crosse, La Crescent, Stoddard and points up and down the river. While the emergence of mayflies from their river bottom mud dwelling can occur at various times through the warm season depending on the species, this particular emergence was that of the larger black/brown Bilineata species.
Here is one photo of the flies that was posted by the federal government…
Plague Of Flies In Mississippi - Government Photo Public Domain
#2 The Chikungunya Virus
As I wrote about the other day, down in Florida health officials have discovered the very first confirmed cases of the chikungunya virus to be transmitted locally.  In other words, it is now being passed to people that have not even traveled out of the country.
An epidemic of the virus has already been declared down in Puerto Rico, and authorities are deeply concerned about the possibility of one up here as well.
Already, cases of the virus have been reported in 30 different states and the total number of cases in the U.S. is more than five times higher than in any other recent year.
If you live in an area that has a lot of mosquitos, you might want to be very, very careful right about now because this is a virus that is exceedingly painful
With illness onset, the person develops high fever, chills, and joint pain, followed in some by a rash on the trunk, limbs and face lasting 3-4 days. Muscle and joint pain last about one week. Joint pain is often severe and in some people lasts longer, up to several months.
#3 The Wildfires Out West
The massive wildfires in Washington, Oregon and western Canada have spread clouds of smoke over vast areas of the northwest United States in recent days.  The following excerpt comes from a recent CNN report
Wildfires spanning almost 170,000 acres are driving hundreds of people from their homes in Washington state and across the border in Canada, officials said.
Washington authorities say the fires surged overnight to 168,713 acres in the state. The flames have encroached on towns.
Janet Pearce of the Washington state Department of Natural Resources said the four fires had not been contained as of Friday morning. An estimated 80 homes were destroyed and cell phone service was knocked out.
#4 The Drought In California
The nightmarish multi-year drought in the state of California just continues to get even worse.
This week it was reported that 81 percent of California is now experiencing “extreme drought” or worse.
Three months ago, that number was just 68 percent.
And we are being told that downtown Los Angeles is now the driest that it has been since rain records began in 1877.
For much, much more on this, please see my recent article entitled “20 Signs The Epic Drought In The Western United States Is Starting To Become Apocalyptic“.
#5 The Virus That Has Killed Millions Of Our Pigs
A horrific pig virus known as porcine epidemic diarrhea came over from China a little over a year ago.
Since then, it has killed about 7 million pigs, and approximately 100,000 more are dying each week.
#6 Citrus Greening
Have you ever heard of citrus greening disease?
Perhaps not, but it has gotten so bad down in Florida that experts are now saying that the entire citrus industry in the state “could be destroyed”
“It’s horrible — it’s a disaster,” says Fred Gmitter, a professor of horticulture science at the University of Florida Citrus Research and Education Center.
It might be time to kiss your OJ goodbye, unless science steps in to save the day.
At least 70% of Florida’s citrus trees are already infected by the disease, known as citrus greening, huanglongbing, or occasionally just with an ominous “it,” as in “It’s here.”
Florida’s citrus crop this year is the lowest it’s been in 30 years, and agricultural authorities have continued to lowertheir production estimates. Orange-juice prices are up nearly 20% this year alone and will continue to rise. The disease was a major factor in the lime shortage that made the price of a box of Persian limes jump from $18 to $85 last December. Prices could jump higher for oranges. Researchers and growers say that if a cure isn’t found, the entire $9 billion Florida citrus industry could be destroyed.
#7 Bananas Going Extinct?

You bananas are not safe either.
According to CNBC, the TR4 fungus is spreading so rapidly that it could eventually totally wipe out the variety of bananas that we find in our grocery stores today…
Banana lovers take note: The world’s supply of the fruit is under attack from a fungus strain that could wipe out the popular variety that Americans eat.
“It’s a very serious situation,” said Randy Ploetz, a professor of plant pathology at the University of Florida who in 1989 originally discovered a strain of Panama disease, called TR4, that may be growing into a serious threat to U.S. supplies of the fruit and Latin American producers.
“There’s nothing at this point that really keeps the fungus from spreading,” he said in an interview with CNBC.
While there are nearly 1,000 varieties of bananas, the most popular is the Cavendish, which accounts for 45 percent of the fruit’s global crop—and the one Americans mostly find in their supermarkets.
#8 The Number Of Earthquakes Is Increasing
For a long time, scientists tried to deny that the number of earthquakes is increasing.
But now, the USGS is finally admitting that the number of big earthquakes has doubled
If you think there have been more earthquakes than usual this year, you’re right. A new study finds there were more than twice as many big earthquakes in the first quarter of 2014 as compared with the average since 1979.
“We have recently experienced a period that has had one of the highest rates of great earthquakes ever recorded,” said lead study author Tom Parsons, a research geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in Menlo Park, California.
Fortunately, most of the earthquakes in the U.S. so far this year have been relatively small or have been in isolated areas.
But they have been popping up in very unusual areas (such as Oklahoma), and as seismic activity along the Ring of Fire continues to increase, it is probably only a matter of time before one of our major cities gets hit with a major tragedy.
#9 Superbugs
Thanks at least in part to the massive overuse of antibiotics, a new generation of superbugs is arising.  Scientists have no way to kill these superbugs, and according to experts they are finding their way “into healthcare facilities nationwide”
Drug-resistant superbug infections have reached near-epidemic levels across U.S. hospitals, with an alarming 500% increase now documented in a study just published in the August issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology(the journal of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America).
Lead author of the study, Dr. Joshua Thaden, warned “This dangerous bacteria is finding its way into healthcare facilities nationwide… A CRE epidemic is fast approaching… Even this marked increase likely underestimates the true scope of the problem given variations in hospital surveillance practices.”
The study also found that an astonishing 94 percent of CRE infections were caused by healthcare activities or hospital procedures.
#10 Fukushima
The Fukushima nuclear disaster is the gift that just keeps on giving.
Hundreds of tons of radioactive water are being released into the Pacific on a continual basis, and this could potentially affect our oceans and our food chain for generations to come.
But it is a “slow motion disaster” that is already “old news”, so most Americans don’t think about it anymore.  But the truth is that there is a lot of evidence that it should be taken very seriously in this country.  For much more on this, please see this article.
In Japan, of course, things are even worse.
In fact, one Japanese doctor that was working in Tokyo says that radiation sickness is rampant in that city
Since December 2011, I have conducted thyroid ultrasound examinations, thyroid function tests, general blood tests and biochemical tests on about 2000 people, mostly families in the Tokyo metropolitan area expressing concerns on the effects of radiation. I have observed that white blood cells, especially neutrophils, are decreasing among children under the age of 10. There are cases of significant decline in the number of neutrophils in 0-1 year-olds born after the earthquake (<1000). In both cases, conditions tend to improveby moving to Western Japan (Neutrophils 0–>4500).Patients report nosebleed, hair loss, lack of energy, subcutaneous bleeding, visible urinary hemorrhage, skin inflammations, coughs and various other non-specific symptoms.
And this Japanese doctor believes that things are so dire that he says that the entire city of Tokyo should be evacuated…
Residents of Tokyo are unfortunately not in the position to pity the affected regions of Tohoku because they are victims themselves. Time is running short. I took an earlier step forward and evacuated to the west. My fellow doctors of medicine, I am waiting for you here. And to the people in Eastern Japan still hesitating, all my support goes to facilitating and enabling your evacuation, relocation, or a temporary relief in Western Japan.
Just like with Chernobyl, this radioactive material is going to silently make people sick and kill people all over globe for years to come, and most of them will never have any idea what is really happening to them.

This entire story is here

Saturday, September 27, 2014

TV = Weapon of Mass Deception

On average, Americans watch over 4 hours of television every single day. 98% of American households have at least one television, and 49% of Americans openly admit they watch too much television.

Television has had profoundly negative impacts on American cultural and social life. It hinders education and learning, promotes excessive materialism and commercialism, and encourages degenerate, narcissistic, and hedonistic lifestyles. Television promotes violence and unrealistic life expectations. It leads to a sluggish, inactive existence, and is extremely dis-empowering. (See more television statistics and facts here.)

Our obsession with the television has had a profoundly harmful impact on our overall health, both physical and psychological, as well. Rather than playing outside and interacting with friends and neighbors, children are cooped up indoors, glued to the television. Rather than having positive, productive discussions and social interactions with their family, friends, and neighbors, many adults instead opt to turn on the television. Very few people read anymore, preferring instead to watch television or movies.

But how many Americans recognize the television for what it truly is? Most naively assume the television is simply a form of entertainment and information, when in reality the television is a weapon of mass deception, social and cultural distortion, and mass mind control.

The rest of this story is here

It's a spyphone: Apple devices can record your every movement


  • Hidden in Apple phones is a function which logs every journey you take
  • Frequent Locations feature was quietly introduced to iPhones a year ago
  • iPhones are able to analyse the data and work out where you live 
  • Apple claims the data never leaves your phone without your permission 
  • Professor Noel Sharkey said Apple’s ability to track people is 'terrifying'
The Frequent Locations feature was quietly introduced to iPhones a year ago
It is tracking your every move – recording the exact time you left for work, where you bought your coffee and where you like to shop.

But this isn’t a futuristic spy drone or some sinister Big Brother state – it’s the iPhone sitting in your pocket.
Hidden in Apple phones is a function which logs every journey. The iPhones are then able to analyse the data to figure out where you live and work, basing decisions on the frequency and timing of trips.

The function – called the Frequent Locations feature – was quietly introduced to iPhones a year ago. But since access to the programme is buried beneath five layers of settings menus, few people know it exists.
Apple claims the data never leaves your phone without your permission, and that it was only designed to improve mapping services.

But Professor Noel Sharkey, one of Britain’s leading computing experts, described Apple’s ability to track people as ‘terrifying’. ‘This is shocking,’ he said. ‘Every place you go, where you shop, where you have a drink – it is all recorded. This is a divorce lawyer’s dream. But what horrifies me is that it is so secret. Why did we not know about this?’

Smartphones have had the ability to track their owners’ movements since they were first installed with GPS chips and mapping functions.

But this feature, which is automatically installed on any iPhone with the iOS 7 or an iOS 8 operating system, is the first to display the movements clearly on a map. The phone records the date of every one of your journeys, your time of arrival and departure and how many times you have been to each address.


This story is located here

Obama’s Long Battle to Cut Social Security Benefits


Eric Zuesse

If, as expected, U.S. President Barack Obama will, for the first time in his Presidency, be given by the nation’s voters two Republican-controlled houses of Congress, he’ll finally be able to sign into law bills that are as conservative as he wants; and one of these new laws will transform Social Security.

Back in 2009, he came into office wanting to address the long-term financial issue of Social Security not by removing the annual earnings-cap of around $100,000 that pertained (and above which income was/is untaxed for Social Security, so that this change alone could solve the problem), but instead by reducing retirement benefits to seniors: cutting the benefits they receive. This man, Obama, who went along with George W. Bush’s taxpayer-bailouts for Wall Street rather than institute bailouts of Main Street (the public) and who thereby produced continuation of the economic crash for everyone other than the nation’s wealthiest 1% or 5%, was also aiming to serve the wealthiest Americans at the expense of everyone else when it comes to long-term changes of Social Security. Now that voters will likely produce a solidly Republican Congress in this November’s elections, and so President Obama will thereafter be signing into law bills that will have passed two Republican-controlled houses, one of those bills he’ll sign will probably be his longstanding dream one, of slowly decimating the Social Security program, a program that Democrat FDR had proudly started. Obama’s plan to do this is the “boiling frog” approach: slowly enough so that the public won’t much notice the change until it’s too late and the “frog” is “cooked.”

On 12 November 2007, the great blogger “Mike the Mad Biologist” headlined “Obama Has Lost My Vote” and gave as his reason Obama’s having used the phrase “the Social Security crisis” when there was no ‘crisis’ except in the rhetoric of Republican politicians and their aristocratic stooges who want to reduce government benefits for everyone but aristocrats.

President Obama’s plan to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, predated his becoming President, though he didn’t talk about it when he campaigned for the job. (If he had talked about it, he wouldn’t have won the Democratic nomination; and he might not even have beaten the Republican candidate, John McCain, in 2008, since no Republican Presidential candidate has ever publicly campaigned to weaken what his Party nonetheless routinely contemptuously refers to as “entitlements.”) Everyone had simply assumed that no Democrat would want to weaken or reduce the crowning achievements of Democratic Presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Lyndon Baines Johnson, not to mention of the Democratic Party itself. But Barack Obama wanted to do it; and he remains committed to doing it.

On 16 January 2009, four days before Obama became President, Michael D. Shear headlined in the Washington Post, “Obama Pledges Entitlement Reform,” and he reported about “a wide-ranging 70 minute interview with Washington Post reporters and editors,” in which Obama endorsed efforts by congressional Republicans, and “the Blue Dog Coalition of fiscally conservative Democrats,” to cut Social Security and Medicare. Progressives were already disturbed at what their friends in Congress were leaking to them about Obama’s strong commitment to doing this, and so a few blog posts were issued to ring alarm bells publicly about it. Paul Rosenberg at openleft.com headlined on January 17th (three days before Obama’s Inauguration), regarding “Obama’s ‘Mandate’ To Slash Medicare, Medicaid & Social Security,” and he presented polls showing that the public not only didn’t want to cut any of these programs, but that 74% wanted Medicare and Medicare spending increased, and 62% wanted SS spending increased. Even 65% of self-declared “conservative” Americans wanted the medical programs increased, and 62% of them wanted SS spending increased. To Obama, his plan to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, so as to fund the Wall Street bailout, was an act of political courage. (In his interview with the Washington Post, he “pledged to expend political capital on the issue.”) It was his long-term plan, even though the polls showed widespread opposition to it by the public. This was a matter not of expediency, but of conscience, for him: he needed to find some way to fund both the ongoing Wall Street bailouts, and the massive federal debt that would be caused by the 2008 Wall Street crash and its resulting plunge in federal tax-collections; and this “balanced approach,” of tax hikes and spending cuts, would be his solution to both problems.

Steve Benen at the liberal washingtonmonthly.com headlined about the matter on the same day, January 16th, “Entitlements,” and he said “Obama’s comments on the subject weren’t troubling at all.” Benen ignored the messages that were then flying around Capitol Hill saying that Obama was evidently determined to cut back on these programs, and that he was working behind the scenes with conservative Democrats and with Republicans in order to achieve this before 2012. Obviously, he didn’t meet this goal.

Conspicuously missing from the list of names that the incoming President mentioned to the Washington Post as being among the individuals with whom he was discussing his planned changes to Social Security and Medicare were the Democratic leader in the Senate, Harry Reid, and the Democratic leader in the House, Nancy Pelosi, both of whom were already strongly on the public record as opposing any cuts to Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid, as being appropriate ways to address the nation’s fiscal problems that had been caused by the Wall Street crash. Often during the subsequent years, Obama drove both Pelosi and Reid to fits with his back-door efforts to cut “entitlements,” such as when, on 18 February 2010, he appointed the conservative Democrat Erskine Bowles to serve opposite the extremely conservative Republican Alan Simpson as being the two co-chairs on the White House’s “bi-partisan” federal debt commission concerning entitlement “reform.” (The Commission heads produced recommendations that congressional Democrats roundly repudiated for slashing entitlements, and that Republicans condemned for increasing taxes.) Obama set this Commission up to deal with the soaring federal deficits that had been caused by Bush’s 2008 economic collapse, so as to use those federal deficits as an excuse to slash entitlements despite producing thereby even more suffering for the poor, at the very same time while Wall Street was being bailed out. Bowles was supported by the Wall Street mega-banks that were being bailed out by taxpayers. Simpson was a born conservative who followed in his father’s footsteps as Wyoming’s Republican U.S. Senator. His father had been quite extreme: “one of six Republican senators who voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964.” So, this commission was set up in order to be a wolf-in-charge-of-chicken-coop type of operation, and congressional Democrats thus opposed it. Republicans opposed the commission’s mandate because it would mean increasing taxes – the commission wasn’t conservative enough for them. Thus, on the very same day, 28 March 2012, when the Bowles-Simpson recommendations were finally dashed in the House, the House passed instead the Paul Ryan budget, which Mitt Romney ran on, against Obama. The 2012 Presidential “election” was, consequently, between two conservatives, one of whom pretended not to be.

This “reform” of “entitlements,” along with tax-hikes on the rich, is what Obama has publicly referred to many times as his “balanced approach” and “shared sacrifice.” As this link shows, he announced at a press conference on 15 July 2011, that, “If you’re a senior citizen, and a modification potentially costs you a hundred or two hundred bucks a year or more,” then you should accept this cut, because “Congress has run up the credit card” paying the mega-banks in the Wall Street bail-out and to make up for the economic collapse from the 2008 Wall Street crash. So, “The least I can do is to say that people who are making a million dollars or more” (after their firms were rescued by the bail-out) will “have to do something as well. And that’s the kind of tradeoff, that’s the kind of balanced approach and shared sacrifice that I think most Americans agree need to happen.” However, in the nearly two years after Obama talked about cutting Social Security benefits by “a hundred or two hundred bucks a year or more,” the actual size of that proposed cut has become now, $100 a month: it has gone up by 600% to 1200%, in his 2013 proposal.

Obama has been trying hard: On 20 July 2011, Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com headlined “Bipartisan Plan Summary Charts Confirm Key Deficit ‘Cuts’ Come From Imminent Social Security Pillage,” and this conservative website expressed shock at how amazingly Republican this plan was, which Obama was trying to ram through. The “bipartisan” Obama had reached farther into Republican territory than Republican politicians had even dared. But Republicans stood firm in their demanding more tax-cuts for the super-rich. Congressional Democrats wouldn’t stand for that.

The following day, July 21st, Paul Kane bannered in the Washington Post“Debt Talks Bring Tensions Between Democrats, Obama to Surface,” and he reported that even top Democrats in the Senate – Reid, Kerry, Cantwell, Mikulsky, Lautenberg, and Feinstein – were shocked that the Democratic President was leaving them entirely out of the loop in his budget negotiations, and was negotiating only with leading Republicans. “Often kept in check out of loyalty for their president, congressional Democrats have grown increasingly suspicious of Obama’s motives over the past year. … They questioned whether Obama shared their core values. … The Democrats were winning, the senators said. The American people were with them on tax increases for the rich. … Why give up now? … Democrats lashed out, saying that deep cuts to federal agency budgets and entitlements were too steep a price to pay. … In the House, rank-and-file Democrats said the situation had grown dire. … [As one of them put it, he feared] ‘a deal that basically gives them [Republicans] everything they want but yet still takes away from those who are our most vulnerable.’”
Also on 21 July 2011, the Washington Post bannered “Debt-Limit Talks: As Obama, Boehner Rush to Strike Deal, Democrats Are Left Fuming,” and reported: “Democrats reacted with outrage as word filtered to Capitol Hill, saying the emerging agreement appeared to violate their pledge not to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits as well as Obama’s promise not to make deep cuts in programs for the poor without extracting some tax concessions from the rich. When ‘we heard these reports of these mega-trillion-dollar cuts with no revenues, it was like Mount Vesuvius. Many of us were volcanic,’ said Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD).” The issue was no longer whether there would be drastic cuts to SS and Medicare, but whether there would also be tax-hikes on the rich. Furthermore, Grover “Norquist [whose statement reported earlier that day to the editors of this same newspaper, saying that termination of the Bush tax cuts wouldn’t count as a tax increase, had evidently alarmed his financial backers] backed away from the reported remarks Thursday. … Expiration of the cuts would amount to a tax increase” after all, Norquist announced. So, he was telling his Republican troops to stay in line in blocking Obama’s plan.

Businessinsider.com bannered the same day, “The Question Now: Can Obama Bully The Democrats Into a Debt Deal?” and Zeke Miller reported that Senate Republicans were euphoric, convinced that Obama would sign steep budget cuts with no significant tax increases, a deal which would decimate the Democratic vote-turnout in 2012. Huffingtonpost.com headlined “Tom Coburn [Obama’s conservative Republican friend]: President Obama Will Back Down On Budget Bill Veto Threat,” and reported that leading Republicans were confident that Obama would give them what they demanded. Washingtonsblog.com headlined “Debt Crisis Being Used as Shock Doctrine to Steal More Money from the American People to Give to the Richest 1%.” The world’s great newspaper, Britain’s Guardian, bannered “Barack Obama Is Gutting the Core Principles of the Democratic Party: The President’s Attacks on America’s Social Safety Net Are Destroying the Soul of the Democratic Party,” and the Guardian’s American reporter, Glenn Greenwald, said (and he documented) that “It is now beyond dispute that President Obama not only favours, but is the leading force in Washington pushing for, serious benefit cuts to both Social Security and Medicare.”
The next day, Patricia Murphy at The Daily Beast headlined “Democrats’ Debt-Deal Shutout: House Democrats are shocked and outraged that Obama is pursuing a debt deal with Boehner that sidelines them and won’t hike taxes – though some are resigned to it.” Also on the 22nd, “The Fix” blog at the Washington Post, headlined, “Democrats, Divided (on the Debt Ceiling),” and Chris Cilizza and Aaron Blake reported that Obama was out to hold onto the White House, regardless of the wishes, or political survival, of Democrats in Congress. Obama was, it appeared, willing to destroy the Democratic Party, if need be, in order to stay in the White house, even if this would mean his ruling as the titular “President” when both houses of Congress would be Republican in a second Obama term. Obama wouldn’t be able to achieve anything that way, but he still would retain the title of “President,” and he still would have the power to place the aristocracy even deeper into his debt, perhaps so that they’d finance yet-bigger memorials to him (etc.) during his retirement. And needless to say, a President retiring like that would have money poured at his feet, by lots of aristocrats who have money to pour.

Also on 22 July 2011, President Obama held a press conference, opening with “Remarks by the President.” He said: “Essentially, what we had offered Speaker Boehner was over a trillion dollars in cuts to discretionary spending [while unemployment already was high], both domestic and defense. We then offered an additional $650 billion in cuts to entitlement programs – Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security. … We were offering a deal that called for as much discretionary savings as the Gang of Six. We were calling for taxes that were less than what the Gang of Six had proposed. And we were calling for modifications to entitlement programs, [which] would have saved just as much over the 10-year window. … I spoke to Democratic leaders yesterday, and although they didn’t sign off on a plan, they were willing to engage in serious negotiations, despite a lot of heat from interest groups around the country. [NOTE: Like Ronald Reagan, he referred to traditional Democratic Party constituencies as ‘interest groups,’ but did not refer to traditional Republican Party constituencies that way. This phrase was psychological code for treating Democratic constituencies as being leaches or parasites upon the public, rather than being the public. He actually said this; and this type of language was frequent from him. It constituted a clear sign that he was a closet Republican.] … It is hard to understand why Speaker Boehner would walk away from this kind of deal. And frankly, if you look at commentary out there, there are a lot of Republicans that are puzzled as to why it couldn’t get done. In fact, there are a lot of Republican voters out there who are puzzled as to why it couldn’t get done.”

During the Q&A session after the speech, Scott Horsley asked, “Q: Mr. President, can you explain why you were offering a deal that was more generous [to the Republicans] than the Gang of Six [composed of three conservative Republicans, two conservative Democrats, and one liberal Democrat]?” Obama answered: “Because … there are a group of his caucus that actually think default would be okay. … And so I understand how they get themselves stirred up and the sharp ideological lines that they’ve drawn.” Norah O’Donnell asked, “But they were willing to move on some revenues, apparently?” And he answered: “Absolutely.” He went on to explain: “If I’m saying to future recipients of Social Security or Medicare that you’re going to have to make some adjustments, it’s important that we’re also willing to make some adjustments when it comes to corporate jet owners, or oil and gas producers, or people who are making millions or billions of dollars.”

On July 23rd, Mike Allen of Politico bannered “The Obama-Boehner Breakup,” about the collapse of the deal. However, already, Ezra Klein in the Washington Post, had explained in advance “Why Liberals Should Thank Eric Cantor [Boehner’s #2, and the Tea Party’s leader in the House].” Klein explained that whereas Obama wanted to make a deal that would satisfy Republican voters, few other Democrats were willing to go that far, and that therefore Cantor forced Obama to go into the coming 2012 electoral battle fighting to retain his base, instead of appealing to what was commonly referred to as the center-right: Republicans and independents. Obama didn’t have the stomach to fight for, and run on, a Democratic position; but now, because of the Tea Party’s intransigence, he would have to run on Democratic positions; this would now be the only way for him to compete in 2012.

Also on July 23rd of 2011, Jane Hamsher headlined at her firedoglake.com, “Obama: We Offered Cuts to ‘Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security,” and she quoted Obama’s admission that, “We [i.e., honestly: he, singular – this was his concession, not his and Boehner’s, but he used here the plural in order to fool Democrats] then offered an additional $650 billion in cuts to entitlement programs – Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security.” Hamsher’s comment was: “It’s been two and a half years since we first said Obama was trying to cut Social Security. Denial is no longer possible.” She was right. She had been right all along.
Two days later, on July 25th, Obama delivered an “Address by the President to the Nation,” in which he said: “While many in my own party aren’t happy with the painful cuts it makes, enough will be willing to accept them if the burden is fairly shared. … And to his credit, this is the kind of approach the Republican Speaker of the House, John Boehner, was working on with me. … This balanced approach isn’t on its way to becoming law … because a significant number of Republicans are insisting on a different approach – a cuts-only approach. … Many Republicans in the House refuse to consider this kind of balanced approach.” What he didn’t say but knew was that almost all Democrats in Congress would also vote against the deal, if it were to have been placed to a vote. While Obama’s vague reference there to “enough will be willing” suggested that plenty of congressional Democrats accepted his plan, and that only Republicans had killed it, all indications were that the only Democrats who would actually have supported it were some of the “Blue Dog” or conservative Democrats. In the House, there were 26 “Blue Dogs” in 2010, and 14 of them remained after the 2012 elections. In the Senate, there was only one in 2010: she was the anti-public-option, even anti-Obamacare, “Democrat” Blanche Lincoln from Arkansas, but Lincoln lost her seat to the Republican. Though she had won re-nomination in 2010 because Obama fund-raised for her against her broadly popular (and pro-public-option) Democratic primary opponent, Bill Halter, Senator Lincoln was defeated by the Republican candidate, John Boozman, in the general election. Perhaps Obama was especially sad to lose there a “Democrat” who voted in the way that he actually felt but could not say. But Boozman would be quite similar to her.
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Before going any further here, it might be worth noting that one of the reasons why congressional Democrats were shocked at Obama’s commitment to cutting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, is that prior to his being elected as President in 2008, he had (even if only intermittently) championed the progressive proposal on Social Security, which was to eliminate the approximately $100,000 earnings-cap on income that’s taxed by the “FICA” or Social Security tax, so that all income, no matter how large, would get taxed into Social Security.

This story was originally posted here, where you will find the rest of it posted.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Crime of Overbilling Healthcare

by RALPH NADER
 
Over twenty years ago, Pat Palmer, in her own words, “stumbled upon a $400 overcharge in a bill my father received for a routine medical procedure.” That might have become the costliest “overcharge” the gouging, overbilling health care industry ever inflicted on itself. Because it led Ms. Palmer, whom Steve Brill (author of the Time Magazine cover story, “Why Medical Bills are Killing Us,” April 4, 2013) called “one of my earliest tutors as I tried to figure out the dysfunctional world of medical economics and billing,” to start a business investigating the overbilling of patients.

Located in Roanoke, Virginia, Medical Billing Advocates of America (MBAA) (billadvocates.com) makes money by saving patients money. No savings, no charge. In twenty years, she has collected a multitude of cases of doctors, hospitals and insurance companies overcharging. This evidence reflects routine, everyday overbilling in the many billions of dollars a year.

The rest of this important piece is here