Blue Shield of California seeks rate hikes of as much as 59% for individuals

Looks like some CEO wants a bigger jet or mansion.

By the way, y’all realize that in most developed nations health care doesn’t involve your getting dry fucked by a corporation that refuses to wear a condom.

From Huffington Post:  http://www.latimes.com/health/healthcare/la-fi-insure-rates-20110106,0,6975599.story

Insurer says the increases result from fast-rising health care costs and other expenses resulting from new healthcare laws. The move comes less than a year after Anthem Blue Cross tried and failed to raise rates as much as 39%.

By Duke Helfand, Los Angeles Times
January 5, 2011

Another big California health insurer has stunned individual policyholders with huge rate increases — this time it’s Blue Shield of California seeking cumulative hikes of as much as 59% for tens of thousands of customers March 1.

Blue Shield’s action comes less than a year after Anthem Blue Cross tried and failed to raise rates as much as 39% for about 700,000 California customers.

San Francisco-based Blue Shield said the increases were the result of fast-rising healthcare costs and other expenses resulting from new healthcare laws.

“We raise rates only when absolutely necessary to pay the accelerating cost of medical care for our members,” the nonprofit insurer told customers last month.

In all, Blue Shield said, 193,000 policyholders would see increases averaging 30% to 35%, the result of three separate rate hikes since October.

Continue reading at:  http://www.latimes.com/health/healthcare/la-fi-insure-rates-20110106,0,6975599.story

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Israeli lawmakers approve ‘McCarthy-esque’ panel to probe ‘left-wing’ groups

Why do the rationales of all war Criminals sound the same?

From Raw Story: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/01/israeli-govt-sets-macarthyesque-panel-investigate-leftwing-groups/

By Eric W. Dolan
Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

Israeli left-wing organizations warned that the legislatures approval of a commission to investigate certain non-governmental organizations (NGOs) would “destroy democracy” in the nation.

The Knesset plenum approved a proposal by members of the rightwing Yisrael Beiteinu party Wednesday to investigate the sources of funding for left-wing NGO’s accused of working against the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

“The delegitimization of left-wing organizations by establishing this McCarthy-esque commission will bring Israel negative coverage from around the world,” Knesset member Dov Henin said while the bill was being debated, according to The Jerusalem Post.

The NGOs targeted for investigation were being blamed for material provided to the United Nation’s Goldstone commission, which investigated violations of international human rights law during the Gaza war. The Goldstone report accused both the IDF and Palestinian militants of war crimes, but heavily criticized Israeli forces for a disproportionate military response.

The NGOs “are behind the indictments lodged against Israeli officers and officials around the world” and “are responsible for branding IDF soldiers as war criminals and encourage defamations,” Knesset member Fania Kirshenbaum said.

Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/01/israeli-govt-sets-macarthyesque-panel-investigate-leftwing-groups/

 

Women’s Rights Advocates Demand U.S. Constitution Guarantee Women’s Rights

NOW PRESS RELEASE:

For Immediate Release
Contact: Mai Shiozaki, 202-628-8669, ext. 116

Women’s Rights Advocates Demand U.S. Constitution Guarantee Women’s Rights

January 5, 2011

While Republicans are reading the U.S. Constitution on the floor of the House of Representatives, women’s rights advocates will be outside the Capitol asking: Where are the women?

“John Boehner and his cronies are holding up the U.S. Constitution as a sacred, perfect document. But we know the Constitution is far from perfect because it does not guarantee women’s equality,” says NOW President Terry O’Neill. “I am honored to join Representative Carolyn Maloney, who has been a tireless advocate on Capitol Hill for women’s rights, to highlight the fact that women still are not fully protected in our nation’s Constitution.”

Who:

Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.)
Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) – invited
Senator Robert Menendez (D-N.J.)
NOW President Terry O’Neill
Leaders from a broad range of women’s rights organizations
What: Call for Equal Rights Amendment to U.S. Constitution
When: January 6, 11:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Where: House triangle, outside the Capitol at 1st St. SE and Independence Avenue

“We are way past due for a constitutional amendment explicitly acknowledging women’s rights in the United States,” says O’Neill. “Nothing less will do, as long as sexists like Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia feel completely justified interpreting women’s rights as unprotected in the U.S. Constitution.”

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World food prices at fresh high, says UN

From BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-12119539

5 January 2011

Global food prices rose to a fresh high in December, according to the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO).

Its Food Price Index went above the previous record of 2008 that saw prices spark riots in several countries.

Soaring sugar, cereal and oil prices had driven the rise, the report said.

The index, which measures monthly price changes for a food basket composed of dairy, meat and sugar, cereals and oilseeds, averaged 214.7 points last month, up from 206 points in November.

It stood at 213.5 points at the high of June 2008 – sparking violent protests in countries including Cameroon, Haiti and Egypt.

There were further riots over food prices in Mozambique in September last year.

However, despite high prices, FAO economist Abdolreza Abbassian said that many of the factors that triggered food riots in 2007 and 2008 – such as weak production in poor countries – were not currently present, reducing the risk of more turmoil.

But he added that “unpredictable weather” meant that grain prices could go much higher, which was “a concern”.

Continue reading at:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-12119539

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Israel said it would keep Gaza near collapse: WikiLeaks

From Raw Story: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/01/israel-gaza-collapse-wikileaks/

By Reuters
Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

Israel told US officials in 2008 it would keep Gaza’s economy “on the brink of collapse” while avoiding a humanitarian crisis, according to U.S. diplomatic cables published by a Norwegian daily on Wednesday.

Three cables cited by the Aftenposten newspaper, which has said it has all 250,000 U.S. cables leaked to WikiLeaks, showed that Israel kept the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv briefed on its internationally criticized blockade of the Gaza Strip.

The territory, home to 1.3 million Palestinians, is run by the Islamist Hamas group, which is shunned by the West over its refusal to recognize Israel, renounce violence or accept existing interim Israeli-Palestinian peace deals.

“As part of their overall embargo plan against Gaza, Israeli officials have confirmed to (U.S. embassy economic officers) on multiple occasions that they intend to keep the Gazan economy on the brink of collapse without quite pushing it over the edge,” one of the cables read.

Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/01/israel-gaza-collapse-wikileaks/

Then go to  http://guerrillanews.wordpress.com/2010/12/27/gaza-youth-manifesto-for-change/ and read what the kids suffering from this crime against humanity feel.

Study Shows Atlantic currents have seen ‘drastic’ changes

From Mother Jones:  http://motherjones.com/blue-marble/2011/01/big-changes-north-atlantic-currents

By Julia Whitty

Tue Jan. 4, 2011

There’s an important paper in early view in PNAS describing profound changes in the dominant currents of the North Atlantic since the 1970s. What’s intriguing here—apart from the findings—is the method of determining these changes.

The authors used new technology to parse the story of ocean circulation from the story of ocean productivity using the skeletons of deepwater gorgonian corals. Specifically, they employed a process of amino acid analysis of nitrogen stable isotopes (δ15N-AA), as recorded in the growth rings of corals living between Newfoundland and Maine.

The technique promises to be a kind of Rosetta Stone for deciphering the ecological and physical history of the oceans.

The results reveal a sharply declining influence of the Labrador Current (colder, less saline, and nutrient-poor) in favor of Gulf Stream waters (warmer, saltier, nutrient-rich) since the 1970s, compared to the previous 1,800 years.

Continue reading at:  http://motherjones.com/blue-marble/2011/01/big-changes-north-atlantic-currents

Se also Planet Save: http://planetsave.com/2011/01/05/ocean-currents-changing-due-to-global-warming/

The climate change deniers often seem to have mysterious ties with the same sort of quasi-religious cults that push strangely fictitious ideas like “Creation Science” and Creation museums where one can see Adam and Eve (created from a rib of Adam) riding dinosaurs ala Hanna-Barbera’s “The Flintstones”.

While the non-science idea of Adam,Eve and Barney (if we are going for the impossible let’s make the dinosaur purple and shoot for the ridiculous) might seem good for a bunch of yucks at the ignorant yokel’s expense there is something far more dangerous going on.

I am firmly convinced that among the powerful of the Christo-Nazis and I might add Islamo-Fascists there is a real awareness that we have hit peak everything and have way too many people.  That we face either shared burden and austerity measures for everyone while limiting population by rigidly restricting births or will alternatively face a radical population crash.

Dominionism along with other Armageddon preaching quasi-religious cults preach of a chosen few who will survive the end of the world, sort of the way Noah supposedly survived some sort of mythical flood.  The leaders know that  having 94% of the wealth concentrated in the hands of 20% of the people helps insure that that 20% will have a better chance of surviving.

The trick is to get their virtual slaves to keep from revolting by getting them to think they too are among the elite.

They (the wealthy elite) also have  the goal of keeping the economy contributing to that 94% of the wealth that is in the hands of the elite.  If that huge amassed fortune of the tiny minority were to be utilized  it might help prevent or at least mitigate the looming disaster so we might work for a softer landing  in a 200-500 year plan that would gradually lower the population to 1-2 billion and have a stabilized, sustainable planet.

The problem as the rich elites and the powerful Masters of the Universe see it is that such a long term goal would require a much more unified and egalitarian world society where people work for shared common goals rather than in competition for dominance.

The battle for the environment is one the secularists must win, the fate of the world depends on our being victorious over the forces of intellectual darkness.

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Milwaukee Archdiocese Seeks Chapter 11

YES… Sue the pedophilic cult out of existence… There is no god only an ancient misogynistic cult used to scam money and support the rule of the masses by a rich oligarchy.  The no god rule goes for Jesus too… Or Allah or any other imaginary invisible sky.

From The New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/05/us/05milwaukee.html?_r=1&ref=us

By LAURIE GOODSTEIN
Published: January 4, 2011

The Roman Catholic archbishop of Milwaukee, Jerome E. Listecki, announced Tuesday that the archdiocese had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, saying it would allow the church to continue its ministry while giving fair compensation to the victims of sexual abuse by priests.

But advocates for the victims say the church’s real motivation is to avoid disclosing information about priests accused of abuse and officials who covered it up.

The bankruptcy filing comes just before the deposition of an important church official, Auxiliary Bishop Richard J. Sklba, who until his recent retirement served alongside three successive archbishops of Milwaukee. A lawyer for Bishop Sklba was trying to have that deposition sealed.

Other officials expected to be deposed include the former archbishop of Milwaukee Timothy M. Dolan, now archbishop of New York. The bankruptcy filing will almost certainly delay the depositions, although they could eventually proceed.

Twenty-three alleged victims have sued or announced their intention to sue the archdiocese for fraud. Mediation sessions between the archdiocese and the victims’ lawyer, Jeffrey Anderson, who has handled hundreds of abuse lawsuits against the church, ended in a stalemate last month after just two meetings.

Continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/05/us/05milwaukee.html?_r=1&ref=us

Republicans’ Radical Plans for Budget Could Threaten the Economic Security of Millions

From Alternet: http://www.alternet.org/economy/149409/republicans%27_radical_plans_for_budget_could_threaten_the_economic_security_of_millions_/

Newly emboldened Republicans plan to use arcane House procedural rules for a scorched-earth assault against government spending.

By Joshua Holland

Jan 5, 2011

Through new budget rules that are expected to pass on a party-line vote in the House this week, and an upcoming battle over raising the government’s “debt ceiling,” the new Republican leadership is preparing to codify a discredited far-right economic agenda into law, forcing deep cuts to public spending at precisely the moment when the economy needs that spending to build momentum.

If the GOP wins the very public fights to come over the next year, it’ll deliver a grievous dose of anti-stimulus to our painfully ailing economy. What’s more, after a campaign season of fear-mongering about the federal government’s budget picture and shrill calls for greater transparency in Congress, if they have their way, the Tea Party Republicans in the House will institute rules that would allow them to run up massive piles of new debt, with at best limited public debate.

It’ll be up to us to make sure President Obama and Senate Dems don’t cave before the onslaught to come.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/economy/149409/republicans%27_radical_plans_for_budget_could_threaten_the_economic_security_of_millions_/

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Obama’s Economic Report Card: A+ for Helping the Wealthy — Failing the Rest of Us

From Alternet: http://www.alternet.org/news/149394/obama%27s_economic_report_card%3A_a%2B_for_helping_the_wealthy_–_failing_the_rest_of_us/

A higher stock market is of little comfort to the millions who don’t have jobs, are facing foreclosure, fraudulent or otherwise, or have no health coverage.

By Nomi Prins

Jan 5, 2011

This article first appeared on TruthDig.

There are two potential ways to measure the economic performance of a political leader. One is by the profitability, stock prices and executive bonuses of a nation’s corporations. The other is by the financial condition of the majority of its population. Since he came to power, President Obama and his economic team have propped up the former and failed miserably to aid the latter.  (For the record, ever since the first paragraph of Obama’s pre-primary website economics plan put free markets before people, this is where we were going, but it still hurts to get there.)

The S&P 500 index is up 50% since Obama took office. But unemployment remains higher than it was when he entered the White House, home foreclosures continue to mount to the detriment of borrowers and entire neighborhoods, health insurance companies responded to his health care “reform” bill by raising premiums, and the financial system’s largest banks continue to prosper in the wake of a multi-trillion dollar bailout with no strings attached to share their subsidizations with the rest of American citizens. To top it all off, as he approaches the midpoint of his first, and likely last, term, Obama bowed to the pressure of the Republican Party and extended tax cuts for the richest Americans in order to be able to also extend them for everyone else more sorely in need. There’s only so long you can blame another administration for your actions.

Obama’s economic policies have either been continuations of his predecessor’s, as in the case of taxes and bank bailouts, or bills so watered down to appease corporations, notably banks and insurance companies, that they are ineffective. In the process, he continues to alienate his supporters—individual voters, not the companies that funded his candidacy—leaving their economy in shambles. Here’s the recap.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/news/149394/obama%27s_economic_report_card%3A_a%2B_for_helping_the_wealthy_–_failing_the_rest_of_us/

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Hate Group, The American Family Association wants people to Boycott Home Depot

Once again the AFA shows why The Southern Poverty Law Center placed on its Hate Watch list.

According to an article on the AFA Hate Site, Home Depot big sins are:

The Home Depot offers insurance benefits that cover sex-changes operations for employees. That insurance also extends to same-sex partners of homosexual employees, proving The Home Depot considers gay couples as “married.” Source: Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index .

And even though they provide their own hate filled spin on it, Home Depot, horror of horrors used Pride festivals as opportunities to sell products to LGBT/TQ people.

I guess the AFA hate good old fashioned entrepreneurial capitalistic good business practices too.

Now this neo-Nazi organization has tried to claim they are being victimized by being labeled a hate group, yet look at what they are advocating.

They want to deny LGBT/TQ people the basic right to equality and dignity.  The last time a political organization tried did that large numbers of people w2ound up in gas chambers and crematoriums.

Well I’ve got a few people on a boycott list too:

I won’t shop at any business or use any service provider who puts one of those little Christian fish in their ads.

I avoid Wendy’s
Carl’s Jr
Domino’s Pizza
Coors
Chic Fil A

Machete

Guilty pleasure confession…

Tina and I have a fondness for ultra violent Hong Kong/Chinese action films.  We also love both Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez films.

We had been waiting for the release of “Machete”, which came out today.  In part because it so nails both the corrupt racist blanco Republican politicians and their low IQ Minuteman followers.  Our Governor Goodhair hated it so we suspected we would love it and we were right.

I’m particularly fond of movies where the poor and oppressed rise up and kill their oppressors.  And this one has it not only with guns but garden implements.

Not for the squeamish or those obsessed with political correctness.  And if you think violence on the part of the oppressed is as bad as the violence of the oppressor then this film is not for you.

But if you are of the oppressed classes and harbor any anarchist fantasies about one day getting even for all the wrongs that have been done you or your people then this film provides a vicarious rush of satisfaction as the corrupt and evil are viciously dispatched.

I give this movie four stars.

 

 

Fed Moves To Gut Predatory Lending Regulation

From Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/04/federal-reserve-rescission-regulation_n_804334.html

Zach Carter

01- 4-11

The Federal Reserve is pushing a new mortgage regulation that would effectively eliminate the most powerful federal remedy for predatory lending.

The regulation would severely limit a practice called “rescission,” used to strike down demonstrably-illegal or fraudulent loan contracts and void a bank’s ill-gotten gains from such predatory lending practices. When a mortgage borrower wins a rescission case in court, the bank loses the right to foreclose, and has to give up all profits from interest and fees on the loan. The borrower still has to repay the principal — the original amount of money extended by the bank — but can’t be kicked out of the house.

Under the Fed’s new proposal, however, borrowers would be required to pay off the balance of the loan before the bank loses its right to foreclose — that means borrowers could still lose their homes, even in cases where banks have broken the law.

Unsurprisingly, banks support the move, but consumer advocates say this would essentially make rescission worthless to borrowers.

“The … proposal would eviscerate the single most effective tool that homeowners have to stop foreclosures and avoid predatory loans,” reads a letter penned by Margot Saunders of the National Consumer Law Center and signed by 16 national public interest groups, along with 33 state housing and legal aid groups and 144 individual attorneys. “Passage of the proposed rule will considerably exacerbate foreclosure statistics in this nation.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/04/federal-reserve-rescission-regulation_n_804334.html

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There’s One Huge State Budget Crisis That Everyone Is Refusing To Talk About

From Business Insider: http://www.businessinsider.com/texas-state-budget-crisis-2011-1#

Joe Weisenthal and Gus Lubin | Jan. 3, 2011, 12:00 PM

You know the story and you know the names: states like Illinois, New Jersey, New York, and California are supposed to be in huge financial trouble thanks to bloated governments, business-unfriendly regulations, and strong public sector unions.

After a crisis-free 2010, investors are expected to punish these hotbeds of bad governance in a muni bond market rout, at least if pundits like Meredith Whitney are correct.

But there’s one state, which is fairly high up on the list of troubled states that nobody is talking about, and there’s a reason for it.

The state is Texas.

Continue reading at: http://www.businessinsider.com/texas-state-budget-crisis-2011-1##ixzz1A8g3159E

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Why Aren’t US Students Rioting Over Crazy Tuition Hikes Like College Kids in Europe?

From Alternet: http://www.alternet.org/economy/149398/why_aren%27t_us_students_rioting_over_crazy_tuition_hikes_like_college_kids_in_europe/

While London has been rocked by student protests over proposed tuition hikes, United States college campuses have been largely quiet. Why?

By Simeon Talley, Campus Progress
Posted on January 3, 2011, Printed on January 4, 2011

While London has been rocked by student protests over proposed tuition hikes, United States college campuses have been largely quiet. Tens of thousands of students in the UK have taken to the streets — confronting police, storming the Conservative Party headquarters, even halting the motorcade of the British monarch Prince Charles.

In fact, all across Europe students are revolting. For months, Italian students have been protesting tuition cuts and budget reforms. Greek students have not responded kindly to IMF endorsed austerity measures. And proposed cuts to the pension system have driven French students, in typical fashion, apoplectic.

Courtney Martin in The American Prospect asks: “But why are the U.K. crowds almost 500 times as robust as those in the U.S.? Why does the American movement to fight tuition hikes and funding cuts remain so anemic in comparison?”

And she answers her question: “In no small part, it’s because privileged students at America’s colleges and universities generally don’t take the issue personally. Those who are politically active tend to set their sights on distant horizons—the poor in India, say, or the oppressed in Afghanistan.”

When the young and privileged take their “do-gooderism” abroad, they take a lot of the energy for local activism with them. Interesting rationale, but I don’t think it fully explains the discrepancy.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/economy/149398/why_aren%27t_us_students_rioting_over_crazy_tuition_hikes_like_college_kids_in_europe/

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