Patients Lose When Corporate Looters Suck Billions of Your Dollars out of Healthcare — Is it Too Late to Stop Them?

Patients Over Profits

The corporate capture of Americans’ health care dollars is underway. Last year private equity firms spent a dizzying $63 billion gobbling up doctors’ practices, emergency rooms, surgical centers and more to corner the healthcare market. Patients, stuck with oversized premiums, unconscionable deductibles and rapacious copays, are subsidizing corporate larceny to the tune of $3.65 trillion (as of 2018). Free market bloodsuckers armed with $2.5 trillion of unspent cash from the ballooning stock market and Trump‘s tax cuts masquerading as tax policy, are licking their chops as they anticipate returns of 25% from the misery of Americans struggling to afford medical care. Why should you be concerned that free-market corporations and banksters are looking to monetize your health? For a possible answer, read “Patients Lose When Corporate Looters Suck Billions of Your Dollars Out of Healthcare.— Is It Too Late to Stop Them?

19 total views, 3 views today

Read More

U.S. Colleges on the Dole While Students Wind up Debt Slaves: All in a Day’s Work in the Empire

Student Loan Burden

“The elite universities including Princeton and Yale admit more students from the top 1% of earners in America than from the bottom 60% combined.” (Equality of Opportunity Project) Shocked? Isn’t that business as usual in the empire where the rich, particularly the super-rich (aka politicians’ best friends) get to ride roughshod over the rest of us? If you’re a university whose annual cost to attend is $76,000 and climbing, doesn’t it follow that 70% of your students will come from the top-earning 20% of families. 20% will come from the top 1%. (“It’s a big club and you aint in it”- George Carlin)). It started over a hundred years ago when the sixteenth amendment gave Congress the power to levy taxes. Included in the new tax law was a provision allowing college and universities a free ride in the form of a tax exemption. The colleges cashed in. At the end of FY 2018, the four richest universities had endowments worth $119 billion (that’s Harvard, Yale Stanford, Princeton). What are the federal taxes due on $119 billion? If you’re a non-profit college: zero. On college-owned real estate. Once again zero. (Out of the goodness of their hard hearts, Yale agreed in 1990 to throw a few shekels into the city coffers, like the $8.5 million they coughed up one year for the 340 acres of prime real estate they own in downtown New Haven.) It wasn’t supposed to become a gigantic windfall. What it was supposed to be was a mutually beneficial arrangement — tax exemption from the government in return for these institutions providing a range of public services to their communities. If you think that’s what’s happening, you’re sorely mistaken. Find out why higher education has devolved into the playground of the super-wealthy by reading “U.S Colleges on the Dole While Students Wind up Debt Slaves: All in a Day’s Work in the Empire.

49 total views, 1 views today

Read More

The Empire Has It Both Ways: War on Women at Home. War on Everybody Else on the Planet

Patriarcy

What’s happened to the loyal opposition when it comes to poor women, many of them women of color? Their sisters, whose wealth and celebrity command the media spotlight, have successfully targeted sexual predators masquerading as movers and shakers in media, entertainment, politics, sports, and business. Their testimonies have incited public outrage and tanked the careers of their abusers. A comeuppance they richly deserve. But there are millions of women in life-threatening situations who aren’t so lucky. Their crime is poverty. The politicians and media gurus consider them non-persons. Occasionally a powerful woman or two (Oprah and Hillary) will pay lip service to their plight. What’s missing is outrage as both Democratic and Republican administrations in the name of “saving money” bring the budget axe down on the programs they depend upon. Saving money never seems to get in the way when there’s a trillion-dollar defense budget to be passed or tax cuts for the filthy rich that will leave the US treasury $2 trillion poorer. In the face of the ideals the richest country in the world touts but rarely practices, the question must be asked: Is the treatment of poor women the canary in the coal mine signaling the final downward spiral of America’s moral vision? Read “The Empire Has It Both Ways: War on Women at Home. War on Everyone Else on the Planet” and decide for yourself.

47 total views, 2 views today

Read More

A Country with More Guns Than People is a Recipe for Disaster

More Guns

In the U.S., it’s raining guns. 393 million of them. More guns than people in a country that has become a Hobbesian jungle of mass shootings with countless lives lost prematurely. In all three branches of government, legislative, executive, and judicial, our leaders sit on their hands preferring to be consolers rather than doers. Pleas to stop the slaughter from those grieving fallen loved ones don’t move the needle. We are a country eating itself up. 53 people lost their lives in mass shootings in August alone. The exceptional nation has an exceptional record for wars at home and abroad. Curbing gun violence at home is a long-term effort and to be successful needs an equal effort to end U.S violence abroad. SA takes a stab at uncovering the reasons the U.S. is now the most lawless nation in the world in “A Country with More Guns than People is a Recipe for Disaster.

88 total views, 2 views today

Read More

A Peoples’ History of the Obama Presidency

Obama - Trump

In two and one-half years, the Trump house of horrors has produced poisonous legislation to further oppress millions of poor and working class Americans and erode what’s left of the fraying social safety net. Even the Obama administration is starting to look good in retrospect instead of what it really was a business-as-usual administration whose campaign was big on promises — affordable, universal healthcare, legislation to advance labor’s right to organize and bargain collectively, and curtailment of the militarized surveillance state and its corollary perpetual war —and whose presidency was a repudiation of all that came before — expanding two wars to seven, becoming the official deporter-in-chief, selecting targets for assassination on Terror Tuesdays, including an American teenager, using a 1917 law passed by another failed president to lock up whistleblowers, passing a corporate welfare bill promoted as universal healthcare and generally selling out the hope and change promises candidate Obama had made. Can we be hornswoggled again, this time by his partner in crime, Joe Biden? Want to make sure history doesn’t repeat itself? Read “A Peoples’ History of the Obama Presidency” to see how it could.

For a more exhaustive examination of eight years of a failed Obama presidency, read SA’s Legacy: Obama’s & Ours

72 total views, 1 views today

Read More

Perpetual War Abroad, Mass Shootings at Home: It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s America the Beautiful

War Comes Home 2019

People mowed down shopping for back-to-school supplies for their kids. Thirteen hours later and fifteen hundred miles away revelers enjoying a night of fun and frolic run for their lives as an assault rifle shatters the peaceful night. Thirty-one will pay the ultimate price. The rest will remember the terror and the horror forever. Grieving relatives will mourn and through their tears ask why. Life in 21st century America is risky business. The specter of fearful American parents buying bullet-proof back packs for their elementary school children should shock all Americans. A reflection of our foreign policy, perhaps, as the global image of America spirals downward from freedom and democracy to violence and militarism. The corporate media doesn’t like to talk about it, but endless war is eating us alive. U.S. diplomats have been outsourced by generals and admirals, strategic policy-making replaced by deadly threats and sanctions, and the passage of sky-high military budgets pays for seven wars and 800 military bases We live in a country falling apart where millions face economic ruin and social programs are dying on the vine while the U.S. war machine rolls merrily along. What’s wrong with this picture? We make a stab at the answer in “Perpetual War Abroad, Mass Shootings at Home: It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s America the Beautiful”

174 total views, no views today

Read More

Will a Charm Offensive and Oodles of Money Land Pete Buttigieg in the Oval Office? Ask Barack Obama

Obama Remembered

Here we go again. In an eerie reprise of 2008, along comes Pete Buttigieg with good looks crowd-pleasing rhetoric, the right credentials and most important the staffers and big-time donors who won it for Obama. Mayor Pete is running a campaign large on half-truths, misdirection, and feel-good platitudes and short on principled policy positions. His big donor fetes are drawing the cream of the oligarchic crop. They are the real engine driving his campaign. His “meet and greets” with ordinary Americans are window dressing. Like his mentor, he’s not for a national healthcare system, free college tuition, scaling back a hopelessly bloated military, restoring sanity to a surveillance-obsessed government, or putting a dagger in the heart of income equality. We aren’t the first to point out the resemblance but we are the first to do it in living color with actual quotes from the horses’ mouths. Ready for eight more years of Obama? Before you drink the Kool-Aid, read “Will a Charm Offensive and Oodles of Money Land Pete Buttigieg in the Oval Office? Ask Barack Obama

92 total views, 3 views today

Read More

That Sound You Hear is the Stampede of Democratic Hopefuls Running Away from National Health Insurance

That Sound You Hear is the Stampede of Democratic Hopefuls
Running Away from National Health Insurance

Medicare For All

National health insurance was MIA in the first Democratic debate. Over two nights 18 of the 20 candidates declined to get behind it. Make that 19 as one, Kamala Harris, seeing which way she thought the wind was blowing, walked back her support the next day. Their excuse: 158 million Americans who get their health insurance at work and are allegedly invested in corporate healthcare. And what a great deal they’re getting — premiums up 55% in the last decade, rising twice as fast as wages and three times as fast as inflation. Workers forced to give up 10 to 12% of their pay to cover their health insurance premiums and 85% paying deductibles as high as $2,000. What’s not to like? Thanks to corporate media the lies and misstatements of the corporate health industry get widespread coverage. More than one-half of Americans believe they will still have to pay premiums, deductibles, and copays under a national health plan. Thanks to the hundreds of millions of dollars the healthcare lobby showers on Congress, many of them sing from the same hymnal. We make the case for national health insurance with every sector of the economy paying their fair share: wealthy individuals and corporations, the finance industry, and taxpayers. It’s time for America to join the rest of the world and deliver healthcare to anyone who needs it.

170 total views, 1 views today

Read More

How Healthcare Went from a Healing Profession to a Profit-Driven Business

Hospitals Buy Prctices

EMAIL Will Americans ever wake up to the shoddy treatment they receive in their doctor’s office? Will they ever say “no mas” and give a collective heave-ho to a system run by the rich for the rich that costs each American $11,212 every year but ranks near the bottom of the barrel at 27th in effectiveness among 36 of the most economically developed countries in the world? It’s a $3.75 trillion boondoggle done up to make you think there’s really a wizard behind a magical curtain instead of a fraudster behind a piece of cloth. Read “How Healthcare Went from a Healing Profession to a Profit-Driven Business” and guaranteed you’ll be shouting “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore.”

121 total views, 1 views today

Read More

“The Fruits of Empire: The American People at the End of their Ropes”

The Surveillance State

Welcome to the U.S. police state where talk of war, threat of war, and actual war takes center stage. Which country will feel the heavy hand of the American colossus next? Venezuela, Iran, or the long shot North Korea? War abroad means massive surveillance and repression at home and bankrupt social programs. While the U.S. blows over $1 trillion dollars on defense and the costs of maintaining 800 bases (that we know about) in over 70 countries and troops in 150 countries, the people suffer under a privatized healthcare system that has big business written all over it, 44 million young people stagger under a student debt load of $1.5 trillion, and “deaths of despair” claim 150,000 U.S. lives every year. Where but in the U.S. police state is suicide the second leading cause of death among children (ages 10-18)? What happens to today’s middle-aged Americans, 25% of whom have no retirement savings, when the government makes good on its threat to cut social security. The paradox is inescapable— the richest country in the history of the world yet its citizens have run up a collective debt of $13.5 trillion, 80% of U.S. households live paycheck to paycheck, 20% can’t pay their monthly bills and the U.S. booming economy has left 54% of Americans feeling no appreciable upswing in their personal financial situation. When the drive to colonize the world is the major objective, what happens to the people? We try to answer that question in “The Fruits of Empire: The American People at the End of their Ropes

361 total views, 1 views today

Read More