Controlled by Shadow Government: How Top U.S. Officials Are at the Mercy of the “Deep State”
Media Fear-Mongers About Supposed “ISIS Plots” While Covering Up Key Details Like Police Entrapment and Mental Illness
The U.S. Press Has Been Accused of Helping ISIS Spread Propaganda. On New Year's we saw yet another absurd example.
Ghanaians have been fighting attempts at the imposition of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), by the Biotech industry and The Gates Foundation , into their food system for the last few years, including by taking the Government to Court on the issue.
“Since October, [Sempra’s Porter Ranch gas] leak has spewed at least 1.6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, equivalent to 200,000 vehicles driving for a year, said Dave Clegern, a spokesman for the California Air Resources Board” [Bloomberg]. “‘I put my life savings into this home because it’s behind gates, and I felt safe there,’ Paige Hemmis said. ‘I don’t anymore.'” Since October, the leak has spewed at least 1.6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, equivalent to 200,000 vehicles driving for a year. One lawsuit claims the company failed to replace safety valves on the line. Sempra spokeswoman Melissa Bailey said such valves aren’t required under state regulations and it’s too early to say whether they would have prevented the leak.
Stories of 2015 (Michael Hudson): Well, the leading story is that the economy has not recovered. That the 1 percent have recovered, but the 99 percent have not recovered. And there is no sign of recovery, or even any sign that the presidential candidates running in next year’s election are trying to do anything. . . . The continued austerity programs that they have. And what is going to be the political response to this austerity? At what point are voters going to say, wait a minute, we’re not going to vote the establishment mainstream parties if both the Republicans and the Democrats here, or in Europe the Conservatives and the Labour Party and the social democratic parties, they’ve all moved to the right wing of the spectrum, to pro-Wall Street. And either you save the economy, or you save Wall Street and the 1 percent. And so far both parties, both sides of the spectrum in Europe and America, are saving the 1 percent, not the 99 percent.
And you know, 200 years ago the solution to all this was to restore prosperity by extending democratic parliamentary reform, thinking that people were going to vote in their own self-interest. But that hasn’t happened. Instead of voting for self-interest, people get to vote which party supporting Wall Street do they want to watch on television, when the president and the cabinet come on and promote one tax cut on the 1 percent after another. One tax increase on the 99 percent after another. As they gut environmental laws. Which party do you want to actually administer this move to the right? A friendly Democratic face, or a sort of frowning Republican face, in the world of Orwellian doublethink rhetoric. At what point are voters going to see through all this?
If you skip Max and Stacy's reporting below . . . well . . . you probably deserve (or are looking forward to) that next ooommph! to your financial gut. It's always amazed me when confronted with how many people don't (or won't) stay apprised of what's been happening since the 2008 Financial Crisis/Holdup. I strongly recommend that you spend the next 20 minutes watching the video below. Nobody does it quite like Max and Stacy - or as quickly.
Yelling at Yellen?
Too easy. It was only a .025% increase and nothing bad's happened so far.
Don't miss the comments above; they'll slay you.
What else can we do to the poor (and formerly middle class) to make their lives even more worthless (and painful)?
There are lots of things even if we don't mention providing an abysmal lack of decent health care for the over 40 million unemployed.
Michael Grabell, last noted here for his great piece on temp workers in modern America, has a vomit-inducing piece on the excesses of workers compensation conferences, where new layers of middlemen who have seen ways to profit of providing compensation, party to grotesque excess.
A scantily clad acrobat dangles from the ceiling, performing flips and splits as machines puff smoke and neon lights bathe the dance floor in turquoise and magenta. Dancers in lingerie gyrate on poles to the booming techno. Actors dressed as aliens pose for selfies with partygoers. There’s an open bar and waiters weave through the crowd passing out chocolate truffles.It’s the closing night of the National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference & Expo.The party at Light, a Cirque du Soleil-themed club at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, capped off the workers’ comp industry’s biggest annual networking event. For three days in November, hundreds of vendors wooed insurers and employers with lavish after-hours parties, giveaways of designer handbags, photos with Olympic gymnast Kerri Strug, and free rides in orange Hummer limousines.A top manager for a major insurance company recalled standing amid the hoopla a few years back when a company CEO turned to her and marveled: “All of this because somebody got hurt at work.”Workers’ comp is supposed to be simple. If you’re injured on the job, your employer pays your medical bills and part of your wages while you recover.But over the past two decades, a cottage industry of middlemen has emerged, which some have dubbed the “workers’ comp industrial complex.” Even private equity firms have bought in, seeing profit opportunities in employers’ and insurers’ quest to contain spending.
This must be happening because compensation for actual injured workers is really great, right? Ha ha, no.
Over the past year, ProPublica and NPR have detailed how state after state has reduced the benefits historically granted to injured workers. As a result, some workers have been evicted from their homes, denied medical care and put in humiliating situations.
While lawmakers have clamped down on payments to workers, doctors and lawyers, little scrutiny has been given to these “cost containment” firms — even though today they arguably have more influence on how injury benefits are handled than insurers and employers.Highlighting the bounty, there are now more than 150 workers’ comp conferences a year. There’s one for the American Society of Workers Comp Professionals, one for the Association of Workers’ Compensation Professionals and one for the Association of Workers’ Compensation Claims Professionals. At least 26 have golf tournaments.At the national workers’ comp and disability expo, vendors gave away Apple watches, bottles of bourbon, and a Vespa scooter. There were free massages and shoeshines, a superhero caricature artist, more than one mentalist, and a live alligator named Spike.
The problem, shockingly, is private equity firms:
Last year, workers’ comp insurers in California spent 36 percent of premiums on overhead — more than they spent on medical care. That’s over twice what group health plans can spend on administrative costs under the Affordable Care Act.A glimpse of the Vegas expo shows why. There were companies that provide networks of doctors and companies that review medical bills, firms that provide expert medical opinions and firms that specialize in complex claims. There were defense lawyers, data processing firms, rehab facilities, surveillance companies, outside claims shops, occupational medicine clinics, pain management services, translators, schedulers, headhunters and associations promoting other conferences.There were labs that test injured workers’ urine for illegal drugs. There were even labs that test urine to ensure workers are taking the prescribed drugs instead of selling them.In California, the amount of money that insurers spend on medical cost containment programs has more than doubled from $197 million in 2005 to $471 million in 2014, according to the state workers’ comp ratings bureau.Seeing huge profit potential, private equity firms have gone on a buying spree.Sedgwick, a company that processes claims for large employers, was acquired by two private equity firms for $1.1 billion in 2010 and then sold to another for $2.4 billion in 2014. One Call Care Management, known in the industry as a medical “cost containment” firm, was bought for more than $2 billion in 2013, and reportedly bid to buy another vendor, pharmacy benefit manager Helios, for $2 billion this fall.
This is utterly revolting, yet not surprising at all. Part of the reason these conferences are so lavish is that these companies now have great power in state legislatures and can influence legislation. And in the New Gilded Age, with companies writing legislation and shaping regulation, whatever they want is what they get. Like an alligator named Spike and orange Hummer limos.
DuPont’s Deadly Deceit: The Decades-Long Cover-Up Behind the “World’s Most Slippery Material”
For decades DuPont operated above the EPA and knowingly concealed the dangers of Teflon exposure