Like Robin Morgan, our economy still hasn't fixed itself.
On the radio today (NPR), every hour on the hour, was the news that Sony will be laying off at least 10,000 employees. They haven't made their official announcement yet -- that's expected later in the week. And the market drooped as a result of that bad jobs report. As Business Week explains, "The country added 120,000 jobs in March, about half the pace from December through February. Markets were closed Friday, so Monday was investors' first chance to respond."
A consistent at this website since I started it back when Bully Boy Bush occupied the White House is that we need universal, single-payer health care. I have opposed a mandate to purchase insurance because I know how that helped nothing because Mitt Romney was my governor. Yes, before it was ObamaCare, it was RomneyCare. And it didn't help at all.
Chris Hedges' latest column is ObamaCare:
Obamacare will, according to figures compiled by Physicians for a National Health Plan (PNHP), leave at least 23 million people without insurance, a figure that translates into an estimated 23,000 unnecessary deaths a year among people who cannot afford care. Costs will continue to climb. There are no caps on premiums, including for people with “pre-existing conditions.” The elderly can be charged three times the rates provided to the young. Companies with predominantly female workforces can be charged higher gender-based rates. Most of us will soon be paying about 10 percent of our annual incomes to buy commercial health insurance, although this coverage will pay for only about 70 percent of our medical expenses. And those of us who become seriously ill, lose our incomes and cannot pay the skyrocketing premiums are likely to be denied coverage. The dizzying array of loopholes in the law—written in by insurance and pharmaceutical lobbyists—means, in essence, that the healthy will receive insurance while the sick and chronically ill will be priced out of the market.
Medical bills already lead to 62 percent of personal bankruptcies, and nearly 80 percent of those declaring personal bankruptcy because of medical costs had insurance. The U.S. spends twice as much per capita on health care as other industrialized nations, $8,160. Private insurance bureaucracy and paperwork consume 31 percent of every health care dollar. Streamlining payment through a single, nonprofit payer would save more than $400 billion per year, enough, the PNHP estimates, to provide comprehensive, high-quality coverage for all Americans.
But as long as corporations determine policy, as long as they can use their money to determine who gets elected and what legislation gets passed, we remain hostages. It matters little in our corporate state that nearly two-thirds of the public wants single payer and that it is backed by 59 percent of doctors. Public debates on the Obama health care reform, controlled by corporate dollars, ruthlessly silence those who support single payer. The Senate Finance Committee, chaired by Max Baucus, a politician who gets more than 80 percent of his campaign contributions from outside his home state of Montana, locked out of the Affordable Care Act hearing a number of public health care advocates including Dr. Flowers and Dr. Paris; the two physicians and six other activists were arrested and taken away. Baucus had invited 41 people to testify. None backed single payer. Those who testified included contributors who had given a total of more than $3 million to committee members for their political campaigns.
Again, the country does not need ObamaCare.
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Monday:
Nouri's State of Law came in second in the March 7, 2010 elections and Iraqiya came in first -- despite the efforts by Nouri to demonize Iraqiya and use the Justice and Accountability Committee to outlaw various Iraqiya candidates weeks prior to the election. Nouri refused to let go of the post of prime minister and, since he had the backing of Barack's White House, he was able to dig in his heels for over months (Political Stalemate I). The gridlock was only ended when all parties signed off on the US-brokered Erbil Agreement. Nouri used the agreement to get a second term as prime minister and trashed the rest of it. That is the beginning of Political Stalemate II (December 2010) which is the country's current crisis. Since last summer, the Kurds have been calling for the Erbil Agreement to be honored. Iraqiya has joined that call as has Moqtada al-Sadr.
Chihod shows more ignorance of the Constitution he allegedly took an oath to when he declares the KRG is in violation of the Constitution for refusing to hand Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi over to Baghdad. There is nothing in the Constitution about that. The Constitution does cover immunity for office holders, however. Demonstrating that his ignorance is not limited to the Constitution, Chihod then accuses KRG President Massoud Barzani of visiting the US last week in order to lead on a no-confidence vote in Nouri. A no-confidence vote would take place in the Iraqi Parliament. While it's true that many MPs live outside of Iraq, they're not living in the US.
Meanwhile Al Rafidayn reports on State of Law's whisper campaign against Barzani in which they hurl everything at the wall hoping something will stick. This includes the claim that Barzani's a failure because he wanted the Arab League Summit in Erbil and it was held in Baghdad. Apparently State of Law's inability to govern resulted in a heightened sense of awareness as compensation thereby allowing them to read minds. Barzani's made no comment regarding the Arab League Summit being held in Erbil. It was scheduled for Baghdad and scheduled to be held there in 2011. It was finally held there in 2012. He has called for the national conference (to resolve the political crisis) to be held in Erbil. State of Law brings up the allegations of smuggling oil to Iran and insist these are true and that Barzani is behind the smuggling (the way they go on, we're apparently supposed to picture Massoud Barzani with a hose and gasoline can, stopping beside an oil tanker, ready to siphon the tank). Barzani's trip to the US is called a failure (no reason for that judgment call is given). The whispers also include that Barzani's made a deal with Ahmad Chalabi wherein Ahmad will replace Nouri.
Trend News Agency reports that Barzani appeared on Al Arabiya TV and stated Nouri is leading Iraq "to the dicatorship" and that, "If all parties fail to agree on specific changes, then the Kurdish autonomy will no longer regard al-Maliki as Iraqi prime minister". Wladimir van Wilgenburg (Rudaw) adds:
After increased tensions between the Iraqi and the Kurdish governments, Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani told Alhurra TV last Thursday that Baghdad is considering the use of F-16 fighter planes against the Kurds.
In the interview, Barzani says the issue with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is not personal, but it is about his dictatorial policies. "I still consider him a brother and a friend," he said. According to Barzani, division commanders in the Iraqi army are supposed to be approved by parliament, but this hasn't happened.
Barzani told Alhurra that he has confronted the Iraqi PM many times and been told by Maliki that he will act, but he hasn't, and suggested there is talk of a "military solution" to confront the Kurds in Baghdad. Barzani said that in an official meeting with Iraqi military commanders, it was stated that they should wait for F-16s to arrive to help push back the Kurds.
Aswat al-Iraq notes, "Shiite Sadrist leader Muqtada al-Sadr said that 'some want to build a dictatorship under the so-called new false reconciliation,' according to the Media Center of his Trend. He did not mention names."
The community has been neglected by both the Kurdish and Iraqi governments, says Monsignor Yousif. Water is sometimes cut off for days. There are almost no jobs.
Over the years, some townspeople have made their homes within the crumbling stone walls of the remains of centuries-old homes.
Exploration companies have been lured to sign contracts with the KRG as it has offered attractive production sharing contracts while the central government has given out service contracts that compensate players based on a production linked fee.  The better security environment in Kurdistan also makes the region more lucrative to companies intending to set up local operations. However, despite these advantages, most oil majors have stayed clear of pursuing deals with the KRG to avoid antagonizing the central government, which does not recognize the validity of such regional contracts.
ExxonMobil is not the only issue of difference between the Nouri's government and the Kurdistan Regional Government. Pierre Betran (International Business Times) noted KRG President Massoud Barzani's visit to DC this week and points out, "At the heart of the Kurdish-Arab dispute is a constitutional provision that Kurdish President Massoud Barzani said last week hasn't been implemented by Baghdad. Speaking in Washington, he said the provision is designed to set governing and power-sharing agreements between the two governments. The law would also repatriate strategic oil-rich parts of Iraq to Kurdistan."
On April 5, 2010, WikiLeaks released the Collateral Murder video, depicting the killing of civilians and Reuters journalists, and the severe wounding of two children by a U.S. apache helicopter in Iraq. The Reuters news organization had unsuccessfully filed a Freedom of Information Request after the incident to obtain the video. However, it was the WikiLeaks whistle-blower, allegedly PFC Bradley Manning, who took action to expose the horror that took place that day.
Since then, WikiLeaks has become well known worldwide, and Bradley Manning has been nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize.
To honor the second anniversary of the video's release, we ask that you gather your friends and neighbors sometime during the week of April 15-21 to show them the video and start a discussion about why Bradley Manning deserves to be freed.
Below are links to a downloadable version of Collateral Murder and an interview with soldier Ethan McCord, seen rescuing children out of the van in the video. You can share the videos with your guests to start the discussion about advocating for Bradley.
- How are you feeling after watching this video?
- Have you seen the video in the news or have you heard friends talk about it? How do you think the release of the video has impacted your community?
- In his supposed Instant Messaging conversation with Adrian Lamo, the hacker who reported Bradley to the authorities, Bradley states the information should be in the public domain because "without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public." Do you agree?
trend news agency
wladimir van wilgenburg
the voice of russia