Saturday, August 22, 2009

The "Death Panels" Are Already Here

Sorry, Sarah Palin -- rationing of care? Private companies are already doing it, with sometimes fatal results.


This piece nicely documents some of the common problems routinely faced by patients with private health insurance all of which demonstrate that under the current system, insurers have an irreconcilable conflict of interest with their patients. The industry's primary goal is to make as large a profit as possible by perpetuating a virtual monopoly over private health care reimbursement. This places them in direct opposition to patients whose goal it is to obtain needed care. The situation is logically absurd, morally indefensible and legally unjustified. It must be altered through proper legislative relief--meaning the private health insurance industry must either be seriously regulated or replaced.

For more information on this topic see THIS...

--Dr. J. P. Hubert

By Mike Madden

August 12, 2009 "Salon" August 11, 2009 -- The future of healthcare in America, according to Sarah Palin, might look something like this: A sick 17-year-old girl needs a liver transplant. Doctors find an available organ, and they're ready to operate, but the bureaucracy -- or as Palin would put it, the "death panel" -- steps in and says it won't pay for the surgery. Despite protests from the girl's family and her doctors, the heartless hacks hold their ground for a critical 10 days. Eventually, under massive public pressure, they relent -- but the patient dies before the operation can proceed.

It certainly sounds scary enough to make you want to go show up at a town hall meeting and yell about how misguided President Obama's healthcare reform plans are. Except that's not the future of healthcare -- it's the present. Long before anyone started talking about government "death panels" or warning that Obama would have the government ration care, 17-year-old Nataline Sarkisyan, a leukemia patient from Glendale, Calif., died in December 2007, after her parents battled their insurance company, Cigna, over the surgery. Cigna initially refused to pay for it because the company's analysis showed Sarkisyan was already too sick from her leukemia; the liver transplant wouldn't have saved her life.

That kind of utilitarian rationing, of course, is exactly what Palin and other opponents of the healthcare reform proposals pending before Congress say they want to protect the country from. "Such a system is downright evil," Palin wrote, in the same message posted on Facebook where she raised the "death panel" specter. "Health care by definition involves life and death decisions."

Coverage of Palin's remarks, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's defense of them, over the weekend did point out that the idea that the reform plans would encourage government-sponsored euthanasia is one of a handful of deliberate falsehoods being peddled by opponents of the legislation. But the idea that only if reform passes would the government start setting up rationing and interfering with care goes beyond just the bogus euthanasia claim.

Opponents of reform often seem to skip right past any problems with the current system -- but it's rife with them. A study by the American Medical Association found the biggest insurance companies in the country denied between 2 and 5 percent of claims put in by doctors last year (though the AMA noted that not all the denials were improper). There is no national database of insurance claim denials, though, because private insurance companies aren't required to disclose such stats. Meanwhile, a House Energy and Commerce Committee report in June found that just three insurance companies kicked at least 20,000 people off their rolls between 2003 and 2007 for such reasons as typos on their application paperwork, a preexisting condition or a family member's medical history. People who buy insurance under individual policies, about 6 percent of adults, may be especially vulnerable, but the 63 percent of adults covered by employer-provided insurance aren't immune to difficulty.

"You're asking us to decide that the government is to be trusted," Gingrich -- who may, like Palin, be running for the GOP's presidential nomination in 2012 -- told ABC's "This Week With George Stephanopoulos" on Sunday. But as even a quick glance through news coverage of the last few years shows, private insurers are already doing what reform opponents say they want to save us from. (The insurance industry, pushing back against charges that they're part of the problem, said last month that "healthcare reform is far too important to be dragged down by divisive political rhetoric." The industry has long maintained that its decisions on what to cover are the result of careful investigations of each claim.) Here is a look at a handful of healthcare horror stories, brought to you by the current system. It took Salon staff less than an hour to round these up -- which might indicate how many other such stories are out there.

-- In June 2008, Robin Beaton, a retired nurse from Waxahachie, Texas, found out she had breast cancer and needed a double mastectomy. Two days before her surgery, her insurance company, Blue Cross, flagged her chart and told the hospital they wouldn't allow the procedure to go forward until they finished an examination of five years of her medical history -- which could take three months. It turned out that a month before the cancer diagnosis, Beaton had gone to a dermatologist for acne treatment, and Blue Cross incorrectly interpreted a word on her chart to mean that the acne was precancerous.

Not long into the investigation, the insurer canceled her policy. Beaton, they said, had listed her weight incorrectly when she bought it, and had also failed to disclose that she'd once taken medicine for a heart condition -- which she hadn't been taking at the time she filled out the application. By October, thanks to an intervention from her member of Congress, Blue Cross reinstated Beaton's insurance coverage. But the tumor she had removed had grown 2 centimeters in the meantime, and she had to have her lymph nodes removed as well as her breasts amputated because of the delay.

-- In October 2008, Michael Napientak, a doorman from Clarendon Hills, Ill., went to the hospital for surgery to relieve agonizing back pain. His wife's employer's insurance provider, a subsidiary of United Health Care, had issued a pre-authorization for the operation. The operation went well. But in April, the insurer started sending notices that it wouldn't pay for the surgery, after all; the family, not the insurance provider, would be on the hook for the $148,000 the hospital charged for the procedure. Pre-authorization, the insurance company explained, didn't necessarily guarantee payment on a claim would be forthcoming. The company offered shifting explanations for why it wouldn't pay -- first, demanding proof that Napientak had tried less expensive measures to relieve his pain, and then, when he provided it, insisting that it lacked documentation for why the surgery was medically necessary. Napientak's wife, Sandie, asked her boss to help out, but with no luck. Fortunately for the Napientaks, they were able to attract the attention of a Chicago Tribune columnist before they had to figure out how to pay the six-figure bill -- once the newspaper started asking questions, the insurer suddenly decided, "based on additional information submitted," to cover the tab, after all.

-- David Denney was less than a year old when he was diagnosed in 1995 with glutaric acidemia Type 1, a rare blood disorder that left him severely brain damaged and unable to eat, walk or speak without assistance. For more than a decade, Blue Cross of California -- his parents' insurance company -- paid the $1,200 weekly cost to have a nurse care for him, giving him exercise and administering anti-seizure medication.

But in March 2006, Blue Cross told the Denney family their claims had exceeded the annual cost limit for his care. When they wrote back, objecting and pointing out that their annual limit was higher, the company changed its mind -- about the reason for the denial. The nurse's services weren't medically necessary, the insurers said. His family sued, and the case went to arbitration, as their policy allowed. California taxpayers, meanwhile, got stuck with the bill -- after years of paying their own premiums, the Denney family went on Medi-Cal, the state's Medicaid system.

-- Patricia Reilling opened an art gallery in Louisville, Ky., in 1987, and three years later took out an insurance policy for herself and her employees. Her insurance provider, Anthem Health Plans of Kentucky, wrote to her this June, telling her it was canceling her coverage -- a few days after it sent her a different letter detailing the rates to renew for another year and billing her for July.

Reilling thinks she knows the reason for the cutoff, though -- she was diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2008. That kicked off a year-long battle with Anthem. First the company refused to pay for an MRI to locate the tumors, (Editor's emphasis throughout) saying her family medical history didn't indicate she was likely to have cancer. Eventually, it approved the MRI, but only after she'd undergone an additional, painful biopsy. Her doctor removed both of her breasts in April 2008. In December, she went in for reconstructive plastic surgery -- and contracted a case of MRSA, an invasive infection. In January of this year, Reilling underwent two more surgeries to deal with the MRSA infection, and she's likely to require another operation to help fix all the damage. The monthly bill for her prescription medicines -- which she says are mostly generics -- is $2,000; the doctors treating her for the MRSA infection want $280 for each appointment, now that she's lost her insurance coverage. When she appealed the decision to cancel her policy, asking if she could keep paying the premium and continue coverage until her current course of treatment ends, the insurers wrote back with yet another denial. But they did say they hoped her health improved.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Americans: Serfs Ruled by Oligarchs

By Paul Craig Roberts

“In a little time [there will be] no middling sort. We shall have a few, and but a very few Lords, and all the rest beggars.” R.L. Bushman

“Rapidly you are dividing into two classes--extreme rich and extreme poor.”

August 19, 2009 "Information Clearing House" -- Americans think that they have “freedom and democracy” and that politicians are held accountable by elections. The fact of the matter is that the US is ruled by powerful interest groups who control politicians with campaign contributions. Our real rulers are an oligarchy of financial and military/security interests and AIPAC, which influences US foreign policy for the benefit of Israel.

Have a look at economic policy. It is being run for the benefit of large financial concerns, such as Goldman Sachs.

It was the banks, not the millions of Americans who have lost homes, jobs, health insurance, and pensions, that received $700 billion in TARP funds. The banks used this gift of capital to make more profits. In the middle of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, Goldman Sachs announced record second quarter profits and large six-figure bonuses for every employee.

The Federal Reserve’s low interest rate policy is another gift to the banks. It lowers their cost of funds and increases their profits. With the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999, banks became high-risk investment houses that trade financial instruments such as interest rate derivatives and mortgage backed securities. With abundant funds supplied virtually free by the Federal Reserve, banks are paying depositors virtually nothing on their savings.

Despite the Federal Reserve’s low interest rate policy, beginning October 1 banks are raising the annual percentage rate (APR) on credit card purchases and cash advances and on balances that have a penalty rate because of late payment. Banks are also raising the late fee. In the midst of the worst economy since the 1930s, heavily indebted Americans, who are losing their jobs and their homes, are to be bled into bankruptcy by the very banks that are being subsidized with TARP funds and low interest rates.

Moreover, it is the American public that is on the hook for the TARP money and the low interest rates. As the US government’s budget is 50% or more in the red, the TARP money has to be borrowed from abroad or monetized by the Fed. This means more pressure on the US dollar’s exchange value and a rise in import prices and also domestic inflation.

Americans will thus pay for the TARP and low interest rate subsidies to their financial rulers with erosion in the purchasing power of the dollar. What we are experiencing is a massive redistribution of income from the American public to the financial sector.

And this is occurring during a Democratic administration headed by America’s first black president, with a Democratic majority in the House and Senate.

Is there a government anywhere that less represents its citizens than the US government?

Consider America’s wars. As of the moment of writing, the out-of-pocket cost of America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is $900,000,000,000. When you add in the already incurred future costs of veterans benefits, interest on the debt, the forgone use of the resources for productive purposes, and such other costs as computed by Nobel economist Joseph Stiglitz and Harvard University budget expert Linda Bilmes, “our” government has wasted $3,000,000,000,000--three thousand billion dollars--on two wars that have no benefit whatsoever for any American whose income does not derive from the military/security complex, about which five-star general President Eisenhower warned us.

It is now a proven fact that the US invasion of Iraq was based on lies and deception of the American public. The only beneficiaries were the armaments industries, Blackwater, Halliburton, military officers who enjoy higher rates of promotion during war, and Muslim extremists whose case the US government proved by its unprovoked aggression against Muslims. No one else benefitted. Iraq was a threat to no one, and finding Saddam Hussein and executing him after a kangaroo trial had no effect whatsoever on ending the war or preventing the start of others.

The cost of America’s wars is a huge burden on a bankrupt country, but the cost incurred by veterans might be even higher. Homelessness is a prevalent condition of veterans, as is post-traumatic stress. American soldiers, who naively fought for the munitions industry’s wars, for high compensation for the munitions CEOs, and for dividends and capital gains for the munitions shareholders, paid not only with lives and lost limbs, but also with broken marriages, ruined careers, psychiatric disorders, and prison sentences for failing to make child support payments.

What did Americans gain from an unaffordable war in Iraq that lasted far longer than World War II and that put into power Shi’ites allied with Iran?

The answer is obvious: nothing whatsoever.

What did the armaments industry gain? Billions of dollars in profits.

What about President Obama? “A corporate marketing creation,” sums up the distinguished British journalist John Pilger.

Obama is the presidential candidate who promised to end the war in Iraq. He hasn’t. But he has escalated the war in Afghanistan, started a new war in Pakistan, intends to repeat the Yugoslav scenario in the Caucasus, and appears determined to start a war in South America. In response to the acceptance by US puppet president of Columbia, Alvaro Uribe, of seven US military bases in Columbia, Venezuela warned South American countries that the “winds or war are beginning to blow.”

Here we have the US government, totally dependent on the generosity of foreigners to finance its red ink, which extends in large quantities as far as the eye can see, completely under the thumb of the military/security complex, which will destroy us all in order to meet Wall Street share price expectations.

Why does any American care who rules Afghanistan? The country has nothing to do with us.

Did the armed services committees of the House and Senate calculate the risk of destabilizing nuclear armed Pakistan when they acquiesced to Obama’s new war there, a war that has already displaced two million Pakistanis?

No, of course not. The whores took their orders from the same military/security oligarchy that instructed Obama.

The great American superpower and its 300 million people are being driven straight into the ground by the narrow interest of the big banks and the munitions industry. People, and not only Americans, are losing their sons, husbands, brothers, and fathers for no other reason than the profits of US armaments corporations, and the gullible American people seem proud of it. Those ribbon decals on their cars, SUVs and monster trucks proclaim their naive loyalty to the armaments industries and to the whores in Washington who promote wars.

Will Americans, smashed and destroyed by “their” government’s policy, which always puts Americans last, ever understand who their real enemies are?

Will Americans realize that they are not ruled by elected representatives but by an oligarchy that owns the Washington whorehouse?
(Editor's emphasis throughout)
Will Americans ever understand that they are impotent serfs?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Health Care Reform Debate Full of "Noise"

By: Dr. J. P. Hubert

There is a tremendous amount of "noise" currently polluting the national discussion on health care reform. The first commonly misunderstood falsehood is that the system we now have operates according to "free-market" principles. In reality it doesn’t. For example, all Medicare reimbursements whether to doctors or hospitals are limited by the Federal government. Health Care providers are not allowed to charge whatever the market will bear as is the case in a so-called "free-market." Medicare publishes a list of maximally allowable charges that every provider who participates in the Medicare Program must abide by. Not only may "health care providers" not charge whatever they wish for their services, Medicare only reimburses a percentage of the Medicare maximum allowable charge.

For purposes of illustration; if a health care provider (in this example, a surgeon) charges a usual and customary fee of $2000.00 for a given procedure including all post-operative care, and a private insurance company through a negotiated (discount) care contract pays $1500.00 for the same procedure (a 25% discount), Medicare may set the maximum allowable fee--that the provider is allowed to charge--at $1000.00. From that number, Medicare will actually pay only a percentage of $1000.00 for example 80% or $800.00 that is, 40% of the usual and customary fee or a 60% reduction. The only way the provider in question could be paid the $2000.00 is if the patient paid the entire fee personally. However, Medicare does not allow a Medicare patient to pay a non-Medicare approved rate and therefore the patient would have to drop Medicare entirely if he wished to do so. This is extremely uncommon of course. Most patients of Medicare age are enrolled in the Medicare program and would not be willing to drop that coverage in order to pay a health care provider their usual and customary fee.

If on the other hand, such a patient had a supplemental insurance policy to help make up the difference between the Medicare allowed reimbursement of $800.00 and the allowable charge of $1000.00 the supplemental policy would pay a maximum of $200.00 which means the physician would receive a total of $1000.00 or 50% of their usual and customary fee rather than the 40% that Medicare alone would pay. In either case, the amounts are significantly lower than the so-called usual and customary fee which the surgical provider would charge for the same procedure on a non-Medicare patient with full indemnity insurance coverage. However, the supplemental option does not apply if the provider accepts Medicare assignment meaning that the Medicare approved amount of $800.00 must be accepted as payment in full. Should a physician/surgeon, who accepts Medicare assignment attempt to collect the remaining $200.00 from the patient, the consequence could be the physician’s permanent expulsion from the Medicare program. The Medicare system of reimbursement clearly disadvantages the providers who perform complicated lengthy procedures which are quite costly. They have no legitimate way of compensating for the steep reductions in reimbursements. To my knowledge none of the bills pending in Congress attempt to rectify this problem. Certainly none call for increasing long frozen or severely reduced fees for medical and surgical sub-specialists who for over 2 decades have been discriminated against unfairly. Primary care providers have been the primary beneficiaries of any Medicare fee increases.

The situation is even more drastic with respect to Medicaid reimbursement which is so low as to be incompatible with the financial viability of providers who treat a significant percentage of such patients.

Private insurance companies have largely adopted Medicare reimbursement rates as well over the past 2 decades such that very few if any remaining “for-profit” companies/policies pay the so-called "usual and customary" fees which 20 years ago were significantly higher than Medicare allowable rates. Through a variety of discount vehicles including HMO's, PPO's, and various other kinds of negotiated care contracts, the private health care system no longer operates according to free market principles. In fact, as Mr. Cockburn indicated in his piece, private medical practice ceased following a "free-market" model over 40 years ago when third party payers (insurance companies, Medicare and Medicaid) entered the medical market place. The Health Care "product" from that point on instead of involving only medical providers and patients, thereafter became heavily influenced by the wishes, concerns, goals etc. of third party payers. Their goal was to pay as little as possible to providers through heavy discounting of fees while limiting costly treatments and procedures. This was accomplished by eliminating undesirable insured’s and avoiding those with pre-existing conditions all the while continuing to increase insurance premiums at a much greater rate than the annual rise in cost of living. In the private sector these increasing premiums were utilized to help build profits, increase stock price and pay exorbitant salary, bonus and benefits packages to management rather than being used to pay for needed medical care. This has been unconscionable.

It is a complete ruse to argue that health care reform would mean the end of "free-market" economics in medical care. It ended a long time ago. The only question remaining is whether insurance and pharmaceutical companies will be allowed to continue stealing an unconscionable percentage of the total health care dollars available or whether some significant change is to occur whereby the available monies will be spent directly for the benefit of patients. In other words, will the unjust and immoral monopoly that private health care mega-companies currently enjoy be allowed to continue?

In his article Mr. Cockburn was certainly correct in asserting that the insurance companies and the pharmaceutical industry are too powerful at present in their ability to exercise complete control over private health care policy. They of course have been unwilling to release their strangle-hold over the health care system. Unfortunately President Obama has been unwilling to “take-on” these two industries and has essentially folded his cards and admitted defeat without even trying to reign in their power. The Huffington Post reported that in his secret negotiations, Mr. Obama guaranteed the insurance and pharmaceutical industries that any potential health care reform plan would not allow negotiation over drug prices nor prescription drugs to be imported from other countries, essentially insuring that the currently excessive insurance and pharmaceutical corporations’ profits will be maintained. The President gave away the store before even trying to regulate the worst offenders.

Furthermore, it is ludicrous to blame physician health care providers for the enormous rise in health care costs when their reimbursements on an actual and relative basis have dropped year over year for over 2 decades as compared with the cost of living. Their only recourse has been to make up in volume what they have lost in per-case reimbursement. While some physicians have tried to do so, it is neither morally acceptable nor medically safe beyond a minimal degree. There is only a finite amount of time available and beyond a minor increase in volume of patients or procedures complications, errors and adverse outcomes must result at least in part by attempting to rush too many patients through the system per unit time.

Hospitals have largely experienced the same reimbursement reductions which were effected as part of the diagnosis related group (DRG) legislation 2 decades ago. Insurance and pharmaceutical companies on the other hand continued to raise their rates at an incredible double digit percentage year over year. It is obvious that the major problem with regard to the rising cost of health care is the unregulated nature of the private health insurance and pharmaceutical industries which through incredibly effective lobbying efforts have managed to avoid necessary regulation. Unfortunately, the actual providers of medical care i.e. doctors, nurses and hospitals have all experienced drastic cuts.

The second most frequently false health care claim is that reform will lead to rationing of care and bureaucratic control of medical decision making. That is already the case and it is insurance companies and hospitals that are primarily responsible for doing it and to a lesser extent Medicare. Patients and physicians are still united in seeking to provide needed care in most instances while insurance companies and hospitals have a vested interest in not allowing costly, complicated and high-risk procedures and treatments to be done—in the interest of increasing profits. Sadly, this is even true of so-called “not for profit” hospitals.

Stories abound of patients who have had their insurance company deny payment for various reasons despite their procedures having been determined to be medically indicated by multiple medical providers/experts. Most people are aware that they can be dropped by their insurance company at any time and they must absorb the expense of hiring an attorney to contest the suspension of care when they are least able to do so both from a health and economic standpoint. Insurance companies realize this and take full advantage of it in an almost predatory fashion. Moreover, the insurance companies are not in business to provide their insured’s with health care but unfortunately to make as much money in profits as they can by finding reasons to avoid paying for needed care. It is commonplace for patients to receive a denial of benefits letter from the insurance company for reasons which often are totally spurious.

A third false health care claim is that to provide for the entire nation’s health care would simply be too costly. This is a completely phony excuse as it is obvious that the Federal government is willing to spend virtually any amount of money on making war, bailing out the so-called banks “too big to fail” and in artificially propping up certain industries. In all of these, anything but “market forces” are involved. The amount of corporate welfare (monies provided at taxpayer expense for the benefit of favored corporations) that is given out to certain entities is simply astounding (trillions of dollars so far).

To date the combined actual cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars has approached one trillion dollars and the long terms costs associate with them is conservatively estimated at a minimum of another trillion dollars. This is an unconscionable sum of money spent for wars which were unwise, immoral and illegal under US and international law. Imagine how much health care could have been provided with 2 trillion dollars! The annual “Defense Budget” of the United States exceeds a trillion dollars if all the hidden costs are added. Moreover, the two Middle East wars have been financed by the continued passing of war supplemental authorization bills above and beyond the Defense Department’s annual budget to which must be added another almost 200 billion dollars annually in war supplemental’s since 2003. That adds up to another 1.2 trillion dollars through 2009.

The truth is that there is more than enough money to provide health care for the entire nation if our priorities are properly ordered. We should end our empire of foreign bases, our presence in Iraq/Afghanistan and re-regulate the finance industry . All “3” represent ongoing financial drains which we are simply incapable of sustaining. They only benefit a minuscule fraction of Americans—those who have managed through over-utilization of our corrupt campaign finance system to buy the US Congress and the Executive branch in order to insure their own personal self interest and ill-gotten gains.

In conclusion, the following is a summary of the major features which must be included in any serious attempt at health care reform.
1.) In order to be meaningful it must address the issue of corrupt insurance and pharmaceutical company practices.
If the current system is allowed to persist, the number of Americans without insurance will continue to grow from the current almost 50 million to who knows what number as more and more Americans become incapable of affording their health care premiums.
2.) If the cost of prescription drugs is not drastically lowered in the United States, increasing numbers of patients will be forced to do without them either partially or completely which over time will only increase the cost of medical care.
3.) Equally important is the need to make it illegal to exclude patients from coverage because of pre-existing conditions or because they required costly medical treatments and or procedures
both of which are examples of discriminating against patients who have a history significant illness.
4.) The uninsured must be brought into the system if we are to eliminate the high cost of treating them in emergency room settings after they have already become seriously ill.
(author's emphasis throughout) This is particularly crucial if the “risk-pool” is to be made large enough to be able to reduce premium rates for groups and individuals.

The two most important problems which must be definitively corrected are the almost 50 million Americans without health care coverage of any kind and the monopoly exercised currently by the insurance and pharmaceutical industries. A failure to resolve these 2 problems will result in higher heath care costs, reduced care and higher taxes that is, a situation worse than the one we face now.

Based on what has transpired to date, I fear that President Obama will allow the insurance and pharmaceutical industries to continue making obscene profits the way the banking industry has--which to date he has been unwilling to re-regulate.

I hope I am wrong. It increasingly appears that the US Congress and Executive branch are controlled by big Pharma, big Banking and the big health insurance companies.

To be continued…

It’s Official: Healthcare Reform is Dead

by Shamus Cooke

Global Research, August 18, 2009

The “transparent government” that President Obama guaranteed during his electoral campaign has become yet another broken promise. On August 14th, the Huffington Post revealed a memo containing details of “the deal” that Obama cut with health care mega-corporations in secret White House meetings. And although the White House denies the authenticity of the memo, the details are consistent with earlier reports from other national media outlets.

The White House deal essentially reduces some of the more egregious health care corporation swindling — estimated to save $80 billion over ten years — while Obama shamelessly promised that other irrational vehicles for health care mega-profits will remain untouched: any congressional health care plan will not attempt to negotiate for cheaper drugs, nor import them from other countries, Medicare will not be altered in a way that affects health care corporations’ profits.

Creating new laws by backroom dealing with giant corporations is of course bad for democracy. Unfortunately, Obama had few other options, since he refused beforehand to directly confront the health care industry’s power. He was thus reduced to bargaining with these entities, leaving any leverage at the door. The health care companies fully understood this and exploited the situation to the fullest.

The competing health care bills in Congress reflect this dynamic, since Congressmen have been similarly awed — and bought — by the health care industry. The different health care bills all agree that health care should be “mandated” — like the car insurance you’re required to buy (if you can afford it). All the bills also agree that Medicare payments to hospitals and other providers — many directly affecting the most vulnerable — will be cut drastically, leading to “…savings [that] would pay nearly 40 percent of the [health care] bills’ cost.” (The New York Times, August 9, 2009). They’re giving health care with the left hand and taking it with the right.

One disagreement between the competing plans was the highly controversial “public option.” This was what the health care corporations hated most, since it was a way to directly take power out of their hands. Again, the White House backed off, “signal[ing] Sunday that it was willing to compromise and would consider a proposal for a nonprofit health cooperative being developed in the Senate.” (New York Times, August 16, 2009). The “cooperative” idea is widely considered by health care advocates to be useless.

Such sellouts were the inevitable result of intensified health care industry bribery (so-called “lobbying”), which Business Week claims to be “… a record $133 million…in the second quarter of 2009 alone…” (August 6, 2009). The same article — appropriately named The Health Insurers Have Already Won — examines the health care lobby’s successes and notes that no matter what health care bill emerges from Congress, the “insurance industry will emerge more profitable.

The same article also reveals — unsurprisingly — that health care corporations were responsible for destroying the public health care option, while “also achieving a secondary aim of constraining the new benefits that will become available to tens of millions of people who are currently uninsured. That will make the new customers more lucrative to the industry.” This simply means that the taxpayer money that will be used to subsidize any health care plan will go straight towards health care company profits, while providing the same shoddy care they’ve always provided.

Heads they win, tails we lose.

The health care industry is so pleased with the deal they’ve struck with Obama, they’re willing to put up $150 million toward an advertising campaign to insure the deal’s passage.

This servitude to the health care corporations has strongly emboldened the rightwing, who are using the Democrat’s obvious corruption to stir up hysteria and fanaticism through media and town halls. The rightwing attacks have driven many liberals to defend the Democrats, who deserve zero pity, let alone support.

The Republicans are placing safe bets that the Democrats will achieve absolutely nothing progressive in health care — a gamble that will payoff tremendously in the next elections. The Republicans are also using the situation to massively propagandize against “socialism,” a word wrongly attributed to any health care bill in Congress. The purpose, however, is to steer people away from any substitute to capitalism, a system that millions of Americans rightfully see as broken as health care.

The rightwing is also using the health care crisis to again focus its guns on immigrants. Instead of the giant health care corporations being responsible for the health care crisis, society’s most vulnerable are painted as the culprits. The Wall Street journal complained that health care costs are being driven up due to “half of the 12 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. don't have health insurance”. (August 15, 2009)

Of course the 6 million undocumented immigrants who lack health insurance have plenty of company: there are at least 47 million U.S. citizens without health insurance, a number that is growing drastically as unemployment skyrockets.

The same Wall Street journal article implies that anyone seeking emergency room help should be turned away unless they show proof of citizenship. Leaving aside the obvious moral issues of denying a human being emergency room medical treatment, another issue remains: millions of working and poor people do not have any “proof of citizenship,” and would also be denied lifesaving emergency health care.

The Wall Street Journal would never focus on the fact that a large number of African Americans likewise use the emergency room for their primary source of medical treatment, since such a statement would be obviously racist, while racism against immigrants is widely accepted. Whipping up racist hysteria, however, is a tactic that is being employed on a broader basis as people rightfully blame mega-corporations for the economic crisis.

Another issue blamed on immigrants is Medicare’s economic woes, while the real perpetrators — the health care corporations — escape responsibility. Every time Medicare is used to purchase overpriced medications, the pharmaceutical companies rake in huge profits. Medicare must also pay for over priced medical procedures, pricey hospital stays, etc. In fact, Medicare Part D was specially inserted by the Bush administration to drive up profits for the health care industry. In Part D’s first six months, profits for pharmaceutical companies went up $8 billion, according to the U.S. House Committee on Government Reform. Part of Obama’s deal with the health care industry says that Part D will remain untouched.

This fiscal ransacking of Medicare is being used as a reason to dump the program in its entirety, something that the Democrat’s “health care plan” will be the first step towards achieving. (The most profitable parts will likely remain intact.)

Medicare must not only be saved, but extended to everybody. This obvious solution to America’s health care disaster is “too radical” for Democrats and Republicans alike. Indeed, under the current system far too many of society’s resources are being used towards the profits of the health care industry, bank bailouts, and foreign wars for such truly universal health care to exist.

To create health care for all, the socially-precious health care industry must be completely taken out of the hands of the mega-corporations who’ve ruined the lives of millions of people — indeed directly responsible for the deaths of a staggering number of lives — while helping bankrupt federal and state governments.

In an earlier article we wrote: “If Obama’s health care plan leaves in place the same greedy shareholders and CEO’s of the health care mega-corporations, while funneling them billions of taxpayer money, very little is likely to change. Likewise, if every American has health insurance, but insurance companies benefit from not paying for expensive surgeries or medications, or drug companies continue to benefit from having monopolies over medications, millions of people will continue to suffer.” ( March, 9, 2009, The Emerging Health Care Sellout).

Obstacles to change must be removed, not bargained with or pandered to. The health care industry — like the big banks — is exerting a stranglehold over society that the Democrats and Republicans are unwilling to break, and indeed profit from. This cowardice will hopefully shed light on an old truth for millions of people: the Democrats — like the Republicans — are a party of big business and cannot be anything different. Workers must make a decisive break with the Democrats and politically organize themselves independently, so that another hope-wielding politician doesn’t waste our time with promises of change while delivering health care profits, bank bailouts and wars.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Winners And Losers In The American Warfare State

By Sherwood Ross

August 17, 2009 "Information Clearing House" -- “On my last day in Iraq,” veteran McClatchy News correspondent Leila Fadel wrote August 9th, “as on my first day in Iraq, I couldn’t see what the United States and its allies had accomplished. …I couldn’t understand what thousands of American soldiers had died for and why hundreds of thousands of Iraqis had been killed.”

Quite a few oil company CEO’s and “defense” industry executives, however, do have a pretty good idea of why that war is being fought. As Michael Cherkasky, president of Kroll Inc., said a year after the Iraq invasion boosted his security firm’s profits 231 percent: “It’s the Gold Rush.” What follows is a brief look at some of the outfits that cashed in, and at the multitudes that got took.

“Defense Earnings Continue to Soar,” Renae Merle wrote in The Washington Post on July 30, 2007. “Several of Washington’s largest defense contractors said last week that they continue to benefit from a boom in spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan…” Merle added, “Profit reports from Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin showed particularly strong results in operations in the region.” More recently, Boeing’s second-quarter earnings this year rose 17 percent, Associated Press reported, in part because of what AP called “robust defense sales.”

But war, it turns out, is not only unhealthy for human beings, it is not uniformly good for the economy. Many sectors suffer, including non-defense employment, as a war can destroy more jobs than it creates. While the makers of warplanes may be flying high, these are “Tough Times For Commercial Aerospace,” Business Week reported July 13th. “The sector is contending with the deepening global recession, declining air traffic, capacity cuts by airlines, and reduced availability of financing for aircraft purchases.”

The general public suffers, too. “As President Bush tried to fight the war without increasing taxes, the Iraq war has displaced private investment and/or government expenditures, including investments in infrastructure, R&D and education: they are less than they would otherwise have been,” write Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes in “The Three Trillion Dollar War”(Norton). Stiglitz holds a Nobel Prize in economics and Bilmes is former assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce. They say government money spent in Iraq does not stimulate the economy in the way that the same amounts spent at home would.

The war has also starved countless firms for expansion bucks. “Higher borrowing costs for business since the beginning of the Iraq war are bleeding manufacturing investment,” Greg Palast wrote in “Armed Madhouse”(Plume). And when entrepreneurs---who hire so many---lack growth capital, job creation takes a real hit.

We might recall too, the millions abroad who filled the streets to protest President Bush’s impending attack on Iraq and who have quit buying U.S. products, further reducing sales and employment. “American firms, especially those that have become icons, like McDonald’s and Coca-Cola, may also suffer, not so much from explicit boycotts as from a broader sense of dislike of all things American,” Stiglitz and Bilmes write. “America’s standing in the world has never been lower,” they say, noting that in 2007, U.S. “favorable” ratings plunged to 29 percent in Indonesia and nine percent in Turkey. “Large numbers of wealthy people in the Middle East---where the oil money and inequality put individual wealth in the billions---have shifted banking from America to elsewhere,” they say.

Because the Iraq war crippled that country’s oil industry, output fell, supplies tightened, and, according to Palast, “World prices leaped to reflect the shortfall…” What’s more, he points out, after the Iraq invasion the Saudis withheld more than a million barrels of oil a day from the market. “The one-year 121% post-invasion jump in the price of crude, from under $30 a barrel to over $60, sucked that $120 billion windfall to the Saudis from SUV drivers and factory owners in the West.” Count the Saudis among the big winners.

The oil spike subtracted 1.2% from the gross domestic product, “costing the USA just over one million jobs,” Palast reckoned. Stiglitz and Bilmes said the oil price spike means “American families have had to spend about 5 percent more of their income on gasoline and heating than before.” Last year, the Iraq and Afghan wars cost each American household $138 per month in taxes, they estimated. Count the Joneses among the big losers.

Palast writes, “It has been a very good war for Big Oil---courtesy of OPEC price hikes. The five oil giants saw profits rise from $34 billion in 2002 to $81 billion in 2004…But this tsunami of black ink was nothing compared to the wave of $120 billion in profits to come in 2006: $15.6 billion for Conoco, $17.1 billion for Chevron and the Mother of All Earnings, Exxon’s $39.5 billion in 2006 on sales of $378 billion."

Palast notes the oil firms have their own reserves whose value is tied to OPEC’s price targets, and “The rise in the price of oil after the first three years of the war boosted the value of the reserves of ExxonMobil oil alone by just over $666 billion…Chevron Oil, where Condoleezza Rice had served as a director, gained a quarter trillion dollars in value…I calculate that the top five oil operators saw their reserves rise in value by over $2.363 trillion.” Who’s surprised when Forbes reports of the ten most profitable corporations in the world five are now oil and gas companies---Exxon-Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell, BP, Chevron, and Petro-China.

“Since the Iraq War began,” Matthew Rothschild, editor of The Progressive wrote, “aerospace and defense industry stocks have more than doubled. General Dynamics did even better than that. Its stock has tripled.” An Associated Press account published July 23rd observed: “With the military fighting two wars and Pentagon budgets on a steady upward rise, defense companies regularly posted huge gains in profits and rosier earnings forecasts during recent quarters. Even as the rest of the economy tumbled last fall, military contractors, with the federal government as their primary customer, were a relative safe haven.”

Among the big winners are top Pentagon contractors, as ranked by as of 2008. Halliburton spun off KBR in 2007 and their operations are covered later. Data was selected for typical years 2007-09.

1.Lockheed Martin
2. Boeing
3. KBR
4. Northrop Grumman
5. General Dynamics
6. Raytheon
8. L-3 Communciations
9. EDS Corporation
10. Fluor Corporation

Lockheed Martin, of Bethesda, Md., a major warplane builder, in 2007 alone earned profits of $3 billion on sales of nearly $42 billion.

Boeing, of Chicago, saw its 2007 net profit shoot up 84% to $4 billion, fed by “strong growth in defense earnings,” according to an Agence France-Presse report.

Northrop Grumman, of Los Angeles, a manufacturer of bombers, warships and military electronics, had 2007 profits of $1.8 billion on sales of $32 billion.

General Dynamics, of Falls Church, Va., had profits in 2008 of about $2.5 billion on sales of $29 billion. It makes tanks, combat vehicles, and mission-critical information systems.

Raytheon, of Waltham, Mass, reported about $23 billion in sales for 2008. It is the world’s largest missile maker and Bloomberg News says it is benefiting from “higher domestic defense spending and U.S. arms exports.”

Scientific International Applications Corp., of La Jolla, Calif., an engineering and technology supplier to the Pentagon, had sales of $10 billion for fiscal year ending Jan. 31, 2009, and net income of $452 million.

L-3, of New York City, has enjoyed sales growth of about 25% a year recently. Its total 2008 sales of $15 billion brought it profits of nearly $900 million. Its primary customer is the Defense Department, to which it supplies high tech surveillance and reconnaissance systems.

EDS Corp., of Plano, Tex., purchased by Hewlett-Packard in May, 2008, had 2007 sales of nearly $20 billion. Its priority project is building the $12 billion Navy-Marine Corps Intranet, said to be the largest private network in the world.

Fluor Corp., of Irvine, Tex., an engineering and construction firm, had net earnings of $720 million in 2008 on sales of $22 billion.

The good times continue to roll for military contractors under President Obama, who has increased the Pentagon’s budget by 4 percent to a total of about $700 billion. One reason military contractors fare so well is that no-bid contracts with built-in profit margins tumble out of the Pentagon cornucopia directly into their laps. The element of “risk,” so basic to capitalism, has been trampled by Pentagon purchasing agents even as its top brass rattle their missiles at socialist governments abroad. If this isn’t enough, in 2004 the Bush administration slipped a special provision into tax legislation to cut the tax on war profits to 7% compared to 21% paid by most U.S. manufacturers.

Former Halliburton subsidiary KBR, according to author Pratap Chatterjee in his “Halliburton’s Army”(Nation Books), raked in “more than $25 billion since the company won a ten-year contract in late 2001 to supply U.S. troops in combat situations around the world.” As all know, President Bush’s Vice President Dick Cheney previously headed Halliburton (1995-2000) and landed in the White House the same year Halliburton got its humongous outsourcing contract. Earlier, as Defense Secretary, (1989-1993) Cheney sparked the revolutionary change to outsourcing military support services to the privateers. Today, Halliburton ranks among the biggest “defense” winners of all.

Halliburton’s army “employs enough people to staff one hundred battalions, a total of more than 50,000 personnel who work for KBR, a contract that is now projected to reach $150 billion,” Chatterjee writes. “Together with the workers who are rebuilding Iraq’s infrastructure and the private security divisions of companies like Blackwater, Halliburton’s Army now outnumber the uniformed soldiers on the ground in Iraq.”

Accompanying Pentagon outsourcing, Chatterjee writes, “is the potential for bribery, corruption, and fraud. Dozens of Halliburton/KBR workers and their subcontractors have already been arrested and charged, and several are already serving jail terms for stealing millions of dollars, notably from Camp Arifjan in Kuwait.”

There’s likely no better example of how Halliburton/KBR literally burned taxpayers’ dollars than its destruction of $85,000 Mercedes and Volvo trucks when they got flat tires and were abandoned. James Warren, a convoy truck driver testified to the Government Affairs Committee in July, 2004, “KBR didn’t seem to care what happened to its trucks…It was common to torch trucks that we abandoned…even though we all carried chains and could have towed them to be repaired.”

Bunnatine Greenhouse, once top contract official at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, made headlines by demanding old-fashioned free enterprise competitive bidding. She told a Senate committee in 2005: “I can unequivocally state the abuse related to contracts awarded to KBR represents the most blatant and improper abuse I have witnessed” in 20 years of working on government contracts. Greenhouse was demoted for her adherence to the law, Chatterjee said, but she became a cover girl at “Fraud” magazine and was honored by the Giraffe Society, a tribute to one Federal employee who stuck her neck out.

Tales of Halliburton/KBR’s alleged swindles fill books. Rory Maybee, a former Halliburton/KBR contractor who worked at dining facilities in Camp Anaconda in 2004 told the U.S. Senate Democratic Policy Committee “that the company often provided rotten food to the troops and often charged the army for 20 thousand meals a day when it was serving only ten thousand.” Food swindling, though, is small potatoes. Say Stiglitz and Bilmes: “KBR has also been implicated in a lucrative insurance scam that has gouged U.S. taxpayers for at least $600 million.”

To fatten profit margins, contractors who cheat U.S. taxpayers apparently think nothing of underpaying their help. “While the executives of KBR, Blackwater, and other firms are making profits, many of those performing the menial work, such as cooking, driving, cleaning, and laundry, are poorly paid nationals from India, Pakistan, and other Asian and African countries,” Stiglitz and Bilmes write. “Indian cooks are reported to earn $3-$5 a day. At the same time, KBR bills the American taxpayer $100 per load of laundry.” Blackwater, the security firm repeatedly charged with shoot-first tactics, fraudulently obtained small-business set-aside contracts worth more than $144 million, they assert.

According to “Blackwater”(Nation Books) by Jeremy Scahill, the security firm in 2004 got a five-year contract to protect U.S. officials in Iraq totaling $229 million but as of June, 2006, just two years into the contract, it had been paid $321 million, and by late 2007 it had been paid more than $750 million. Scahill reports an audit charged that Blackwater included profit in its overhead and its total costs. The result was “not only in a duplication of profit but a pyramiding of profit since in effect Blackwater is applying profit to profit.” Scahill writes, “The audit also alleged that the company tried to inflate its profits by representing different Blackwater divisions as wholly separate companies.”

“As of summer, 2007, there were more ‘private contractors’ deployed on the U.S. government payroll in Iraq (180,000) than there were actual soldiers (160,000),” Scahill said. “These contractors worked for some 630 companies and drew personnel from more than 100 countries around the globe. …This meant the U.S. military had actually become the junior partner in the coalition that occupies Iraq.” And each Blackwater operative was costing the American taxpayers $1,222 per day. The Defense Department remains, of course, America’s No. 1 Employer, with 2.3 million workers (roughly twice the size of Wal-Mart, which has 1.2 million staffers) perhaps because America’s biggest export is war.

“Who pays Halliburton and Bechtel?” philosopher Noam Chomsky asks rhetorically in his “Imperial Ambitions” (Metropolitan Books). “The U.S. taxpayer,” he answers. “The same taxpayers fund the military-corporate system of weapons manufacturers and technology companies that bombed Iraq. So first you destroy Iraq, then you rebuild it. It’s a transfer of wealth from the general population to narrow sectors of the population.” It’s also been a body blow to Iraq, killing a million inhabitants, forcing two million into exile and millions more out of their homes. Incredibly, the U.S. proposed to reconstruct the nation it invaded with their oil revenues---and then, after taking perhaps $8 billion left the job undone. (Since the U.S. kept no records of how the dough was dispensed, it is not possible to identify the recipients.)

As Stiglitz and Bilmes remind us, “The money spent on Iraq could have been spent on schools, roads, or research. These investments yield high returns.” In an article in the August 24th Nation, policy analyst Georgia Levenson Keohane cites the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities to the effect that 48 states are reporting deficits totaling nearly $166 billion, projected to reach, cumulatively, $350 billion-$370 billion by 2011. “Although many states have attempted tax increases, these are politically challenging and often insufficient to close the gaps. Consequently, statehouses have been forced to cut vital services at a time when the need for them is ever more desperate,” Keohane writes.

In the same issue, reporter Marc Cooper notes the poverty rate in Los Angeles county borders on 20 percent; that California’s schools are ranked 47th nationally; that the state college system has suspended admissions for Spring, 2010; that thousands of state workers are being laid off and/or forced to take furlough days; that unemployment has reached 12 percent; that state parks are being closed; that personal bankruptcies peaked last; that one in four “capsized mortgages in the U.S. is in California.” Plus, California’s bond rating is just above the junk level and it faces a $26 billion budget shortfall.

California’s woes need to be examined in the light of the $116 billion the National Priorities Project of Northampton, Mass., says its taxpayers have shelled out for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2001. Those same dollars roughly would put four million California students through a four-year college. Bear in mind, too, outlays for those wars are but a fraction of all Pentagon spending, so the total military tax bill is far higher than $116 billion to California.

In calling for a reduction in military spending, Rep. Barney Frank (D.-Mass.) said, "The math is compelling: if we do not make reductions approximating 25 percent of the military budget starting fairly soon, it will be impossible to continue to fund an adequate level of domestic activity even with a repeal of Bush's tax cuts for the very wealthy….(American] well-being is far more endangered by a proposal for substantial reductions in Medicare, Social Security or other important domestic areas than it would be by canceling weapons systems that have no justification from any threat we are likely to face." On the other hand, maybe Americans want to keep paying to operate 2,000 domestic and foreign military bases and spend more money on armies and weapons of death than all other nations combined. Maybe they like living in the greatest Warfare State the world has ever known. My hunch, though, is a lot of Americans haven’t connected the country’s looming bankruptcy with the greedy, gang from the military-industrial complex out to control the planet, its people, and its precious resources.

After the long-suffering civilian population of Iraq, whose "crime" was having oil---a country Steiglitz says that has been rendered virtually unlivable---the big losers are the American taxpayers who are bleeding income, jobs, and quality of life, not just sacrificing family members, on behalf of a runaway war machine. California’s plight is being repeated everywhere. A great nation is being looted and millions of its citizens are being pauperized before our eyes.

Israel’s Fifth Column

By Jeff Gates

August 17, 2009 " Khaleej Times" -- In October 2007, Defense Secretary Robert Gates coined a generic term to describe the most challenging combatants when waging unconventional warfare. He called them simply “the people in between.” Those people, a dominant force in mainstream American media, comprise a fifth column in support of those skilled at waging war by way of deception.

The term ‘fifth column’ originated in the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s to depict forces that clandestinely undermine a populace — from within — to aid an external enemy. The term was later cited as a rationale for interning citizens during WWII, including Germans in the UK and Japanese in the US. Israelis routinely refer to Arab-Israelis as a fifth column residing within what Tel Aviv describes as the Jewish state.

Though misapplied in practice, the term remains an apt depiction of how internal influence can be wielded by a hostile force. In the Information Age, this fifth column focuses on those ‘in between’ domains where modest numbers can wield outsized influence. Television news is optimal as modern-day media operates “in between” a populace and the facts they require for a system of governance reliant on informed consent.

The dominant influence of pro-Israelis in mainstream media is not the focus of this article. Here the focus is Wolf Blitzer at Cable News Network who typifies how “the people in between” manipulate public opinion in plain sight and, to date, with legal impunity.

While working as a Washington correspondent for Jerusalem Post (1973-1990), Blitzer served as an editor of Near East Report, a publication founded by Isaiah Kenen, a registered foreign agent of Israel, who also founded the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. AIPAC coordinates a network of transnational political operatives known loosely as “the Israel lobby.” Neither AIPAC nor Blitzer has yet registered as a foreign agent in the US.

The son of Polish Ashkenazi émigrés, Blitzer first emerged on the media scene in 1989 with the publication of Territory of Lies, an account of Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard that The New York Times obligingly included in its list of “Notable Books of the Year.” Reviewer Robert Friedman described Blitzer’s sympathetic treatment of Pollard’s treason (the theft of more than one million classified documents) “a slick piece of damage control that would make his former employers at AIPAC (not to mention Israel’s Defense Ministry) proud.”

As a writer for Hebrew language newspapers in the 1970s, Blitzer wrote under the name Ze’ev Barak—Hebrew for “wolf lightning.” The Blitzer media presence first emerged with his CNN coverage of the Gulf War in 1991 and the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. Initially a military reporter for CNN, he became a fixture on television news as CNN’s Clinton-era White House correspondent until 1999 when he became a high profile CNN anchor.

Since August 2005, CNN (marketed as “the most trusted name in news”) has featured the former AIPAC editor broadcasting from a White House-associative studio set branded as “The Situation Room.” CNN colleague John King deploys a similar credibility enhancing set by broadcasting from “The State of the Union.”

On one key media principle US law is clear: the airwaves belong to the public. The nation’s Founders knew that the preservation of self-governance depends on an informed populace. That’s why modern-day lawmakers enacted legislation to ensure that media outlets are not concentrated in a few hands, enabling a fifth column to shape public opinion around a predetermined agenda. Little could America’s first lawmakers have known that an ideologically aligned few would concentrate broadcast media in the hands of those who share an undisclosed bias. When Likud Prime Minister Ariel Sharon fell ill in Israel, Blitzer’s broadcast originated from Jerusalem. Likewise, when Israel invaded Lebanon in July 2006. Blitzer again relocated to Israel to focus viewer attention on the situation there.

As Tel Aviv sought to expand the war to Iran, several anti-Zionist rabbis appeared in Teheran alongside Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who echoed their wish that Zionism be “erased from the pages of history” (widely reported as a wish to “wipe Israel off the map”). Rather than interview these dissident rabbis, Blitzer featured David Duke, a former head of the Ku Klux Klan. Rather than associate the Iranian president with anti-
Zionism, Blitzer used the Situation Room to associate him with racism and anti-Semitism.

Between the US populace and the facts they require for informed consent lies an “in between” domain. In that realm is found a network of like-minded fifth column operatives whose pro-Israeli bias works unseen — yet in plain sight — to shape public opinion around a predetermined agenda. That agenda-shaping “news” routinely features commentators from think tanks who share the same bias.

What is the reach of this media-induced corruption of informed consent? According to CNN’s August 2009 advertising in The New York Times, this cable network delivers trusted news to 70.6 million television viewers in the US. What’s been the cost in blood and treasure of this undisclosed bias — not just to the US but also worldwide?

The most trusted name in news featured National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice in September 2002 when she issued a fact-free warning about Iraqi WMD: “we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.” From the Pentagon’s perspective, “the people in between” are waging unconventional warfare. From the perspective of this enemy within, the only unconventional aspect of their deception is the fact that a long-deceived public is now learning about it—many of them for the first time. The displacement of facts with what a populace can be induced to believe is the very threat to personal freedom that the Founders sought to escape. The only modern aspect of this ancient form of warfare is the reach of the media technologies with which such deception can now operate — as with CNN — on a global scale.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Formation of a New World Order and the Anti-Christic Cabal


By: Dr. J. P. Hubert

Myriads of people throughout the world have increasingly realized that something has gone horribly wrong but few have been able to sift their way through all of the propaganda which is being promulgated by the elite ruling class.[1] In light of the tremendous amount of information available through the alternative media, it is now incontestable that a global Cabal[2] exists. This Cabal controls the so-called elite main-stream media in order to better insure their goal of world-wide domination.[3] Other investigators have copiously documented the various components of the cabal including the role played by various secret societies including the Order of Skull and Bones, the Bildeberger’s and others.[4] What follows is an attempt to explain in as simplified a way as possible what has already occurred and is currently transpiring in the geopolitical/spiritual realm--for ease of handling henceforth referred to as the New World Order (NWO). It is this writer’s contention that there is both a material and spiritual component to what the Cabal is doing to help bring about the NWO. MORE...