The State Has the Power to do What?!

The enormous power of certain elements of U.S. federal and state government is something to concern us as citizens.  From intruding into social media, searching our person or tracking our whereabouts without due cause, and state legislatures waging war on women, the power is being overused.

Negative use of social media – Isn’t it ironic that in the same period as the announced Untied States initiative against (Syria and Iran) for the use of social media to target its citizens, we learn that USA Today may have been the target of a false propaganda campaign coming out of the Pentagon.

Invasions of privacy – Despite a recent ruling that people being arrested for very minor offences can legally be strip searched, the Supreme court seems troubled by police GPS tracking efforts and will rule on that case sometime before June.

Impose more restrictions on reproductive rights – According to the Guttmacher Institute, 6 states have passed laws requiring abortion providers to perform an ultrasound on each woman seeking an abortion. Medical personnel must provide the woman an opportunity to view the image.  A recent Texas antiabortion law is now being enforced following court rulings.  In a February story by Reuters, the law is, to quote:

a law requiring abortion providers to show or describe to a woman an ultrasound image of her fetus . . .

While most of those states allow women to decline to view the image, Texas, Oklahoma and North Carolina require women to hear the provider’s verbal description of the ultrasound.  The laws in Oklahoma and North Carolina are temporarily not being enforced, pending court challenges.

The supreme irony regarding “power-over” us, is that it can be misused by the institutions we are supposed to be able to trust – the Supreme Court and the military—as well as the far right wing of the Republican party.

Entitlement programs are no longer off limits for cuts.

President Obama called for Medicare and Medicaid reform in his jobs speech to Congress. And Texas Gov. Rick Perry called Social Security a “Ponzi scheme” in the previous night’s Republican debate.
It looks like everything could be up for grabs in the bipartisan race to dismantle our Federal government’s social safety net.

A Bipartisan Move to Tackle Benefits Programs

September 8th 2011

At the same time, Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill expressed a willingness to wring savings from the long-untouchable programs during the first meeting of the special committee that is charged with recommending $1.5 trillion in deficit reductions over the decade. Then President Obama, in his address to a joint session of Congress on spurring job creation, reiterated his call for a plan reducing long-term debt with both changes in entitlement programs and taxes from the wealthy.

To the chagrin of many in his party, this summer Mr. Obama proposed changes in Medicare and Social Security that once would have been unthinkable for a Democratic president during his unsuccessful talks with the House speaker, John A. Boehner, for a “grand bargain” on cutting deficits. In return for the Republicans’ agreement to raise taxes after 2012 for the wealthy, Mr. Obama indicated that his party would support slowly increasing the eligibility age for Medicare to 67 from 65 and changing the formula for cost-of-living increases in Social Security to a less generous one that some economists consider more accurate.

Until Mr. Perry’s recent entry into the Republican contest, the debate over reining in the projected growth of the entitlement programs focused on the health programs, Medicare and Medicaid. Their projected costs, given the aging of the population and fast-rising medical expenses, are greater and growing faster than those for Social Security.

The turn in both parties toward tackling the cost of the entitlement programs has been building. In 2010, Congressional Democrats approved about $500 billion in future savings from Medicare to help pay for the new health care law, though Republicans attacked them for it in last year’s midterm elections. But the onset of the new deficit committee’s work and Mr. Perry’s scathing critique of social spending has added a new dimension.

At the first meeting of the House-Senate committee on deficit reduction, which is to make recommendations by Nov. 23 for a quick up-or-down vote in Congress, several Republicans said that entitlements were the main cause of annual deficits and should be the panel’s focus.

James E. Clyburn of South Carolina, a House Democratic leader on the panel, said that he was for “smart and compassionate budget cuts” and “ending military adventurism,” but that Congress must not shred Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits.

Separately, the senior Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, Sander M. Levin of Michigan, circulated a memo listing two dozen options that could squeeze more than $500 billion out of Medicare in the next 10 years. Aides to Mr. Levin said that he was not endorsing the ideas but helping other Democrats understand the sorts of actions that could be taken.



Health Care Reform keeps Congress up at night

“<a href="“>Tea Party sign threatens gun violence if health care passes#,” is from Think Progress (3/20/10).


A Guide for Those Traumatized by Right-Wing, Fear-Mongering Lies on Health Care Reform#,” is from The Huffington Post (3/20/10).


GOP Lawmakers Use Christian Hate Radio To Concoct Conspiracies, Build Opposition To Health Reform#,” is from Think Progress (3/20/10).


AARP, AMA Announce Support For Health Care Bill: Largest Doctors And Retiree Groups Backing Legislation#,” is from The Huffington Post (3/19/10).


GOP to Kill Health Bill for Nonexistent Abortion Coverage, But Provide Abortion Coverage to GOP Staff#,” is from AlterNet (3/19/10). Jon adds: “OOPS! That’s the rethugs little secret you’re not supposed to know!”


‘Doc Fix’ Memo FAKE? Health Care Memo Spread By Media, GOP Called ‘Hoax’#,” is from The Huffington Post (3/19/10).


Health-care bill not yet a law, but Republicans already organizing to repeal it#,” is by Perry Bacon from The Washington Post (3/17/10).



Hat Tip Key: Regular contributors of links to leads are Betmo*, Diane~ and Jon#.


Blogs: My news and political blog is at South by Southwest. My general purpose/southwest focus blog is at Southwest Progressive. My creative blog is at Making Good Mondays. And Carol Gee – Online Universe is the all-in-one home page for my websites.


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Health care reform is in the hands of Congress now.


Kucinich will vote for health care bill, says he’s bothered by ‘the attempt to delegitimize Obama’s presidency’#,” is from Think Progress (3/17/10).

Alexander Admits Senate GOP Will Obstruct Fixes To Improve Health Care Bill Simply For Partisan Gain#,” is from Think Progress (3/17/10).

Palin resurrects bogus ‘death panels’ and ‘rationing’ claims#,” is from The Raw Story (3/15/10).

Graham: ‘No Way In The World’ Is Massachusetts’ Health Care Plan Similar To The Democratic Proposal#,” is from Think Progress (3/14/09). Jon says, “The plans could be identical and the rethugs would say they are vastly different.”

Lindsey Graham On Obama Health Care ‘Spin’: Americans Are ‘Tired Of This Crap’ is from The Huffington Post (3/14/10). Jon mutters,”Jackass!”

Christian leaders urge Congress to ignore misinformation on abortion provisions and pass health reform#,” is from Think Progress (3/13/10).

Democrats to use reconciliation, so what is it?#,” is from Yahoo! News (3/12/10). Jon says, “The rethugs have used reconciliation almost twice as much! Hypocrites!”

Majority Rules#,” is from Newsweek Magazine (3/4/10). Summary: Seven arguments Republicans should not be making against using reconciliation for health-care reform, and the one that they should.


Hat Tip Key: Regular contributors of links to leads are Betmo*, Diane~ and Jon#.

Blogs: My news and political blog is at South by Southwest. My general purpose/southwest focus blog is at Southwest Progressive. My creative blog is at Making Good Mondays. And Carol Gee – Online Universe is the all-in-one home page for my websites.

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Online health sites tap into social networking –

Debgupta, a former senior director at the Corporate Executive Board in Arlington, is launching a Web site called WiserTogether ( that allows expectant parents to gauge the experiences of other people in their age group and circumstances who face a range of pregnancy-related issues, including abdominal and back pain, gestational diabetes and hypertension, mood swings and urinary tract infection.

WiserTogether is among several online health sites that began in or have a presence in the Washington area, including HealthCentral, Everyday Health, Revolution Health and Inspire. With the health-care reform debate centered in the nation’s capital, experts say they think more sites will start up in the region.

Online health sites have been booming in the past five years, experts say, driven by the popularity of social networking and patients’ desire to become more empowered in the increasingly complex medical field. Many of the sites have recently experienced heavy traffic from users seeking information on the H1N1 virus. Officials of the Health 2.0 Conference, which tracks the industry, estimate that the number of such sites climbed to nearly 500 from about 35 four years ago.

The sites generally have evolved from the encyclopedic-styled WebMD, becoming more interactive and case-study- oriented, such as Inspire, PatientsLikeMe and CureTogether.

With the health care reform debate alive and well in the Nation’s capitol, more people are thinking about the subject. And the article says that a lot of the questions people ask have to do with the H1N1 flu.
What a great time it is to have the Internet around to help keep us all healthier than we might be otherwise. Be well. . .

Posted via web from Southwest Postings

CBO Says Finance Health Reform Bill Will Save $81 Billion in a Decade « The Washington Independent

The Senate Finance Committee’s health reform bill will save the federal government $81 billion over the next 10 years, according to the much-anticipated Congressional Budget Office estimate released this afternoon. CBO found that subsidizing the coverage expansion will cost $518 billion over a decade, partly offset by taxing high-cost insurance plans ($201 billion), trimming Medicare rates “for most services” ($162 billion), and cutting subsidies to the private insurance companies that cover Medicare patients ($117 billion).

Good news for several reasons: gives cover to moderate Dems who can now vote yes; gives others some funds to add to the bill where needed, cuts Medicate subsidies to insurance companies. However, it only reduces the uninsured by some 29 million people. But that is a huge start. Now on to the committee vote.