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(Courtesy of Delaware Liberal’s Hot & On Top Reporting)
Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that 5,600 Delaware residents will benefit from $1.8 million in rebates from insurance companies this summer, because of the Affordable Care Act’s 80/20 rule. These rebates will average $351 for the 5,300 Delaware families covered by a policy.
Obamacare is working! Obamacare is saving people money. They were at the mercy of insurance companies before. Now, they have $1.8 million in their pocket.
It is not because of Republicans!.. They are the ones taking money out of your pocket, handing it to the insurance companies, and saying “don’t forget about that campaign contribution in October.”
No one can trust Republicans unless you are making more then 10 million a year. No one.
So when they say the first thing they want to do in January is repeal Obamacare, and now you can see why.
That want insurance campaign contributions… and that is all. They don’t give a fuck about you.
Only Democrats can right the wrongs… Do what you know you must. Swear on a stack of Bibles, never, never, never, never vote for a squirmy, sluggish, beetle-infested, putrid, maggotty, caterpillerish, centipedific, millipederishes, multi-lensed eyeballed, appendage ringed mouthed, stinger-embedded, infectious bacterial infested, food coveting, ooze secreting, spontaneously defecating insect who swears allegiance to the Republican Party….
Spray them with insecticide instead…..
(Wow, what a great demo idea for the Republican National Convention……)
Sometimes after reading truth like this, you just want to walk into a room of thronging with roaches, pretend they’re Republicans and squish them each and every one ………
In today’s political world, the embattled progressives are ironically in the same position American forces found themselves in Afghanistan around the time Obama was sworn in………
Things do not seem to be going well at all….
They did not get the Bush tax cuts off the books. Those tax cuts are still sending jobs overseas. They did not get single payer health care; insurers still limit health care. And now, many of the federal programs supporting the economies in their districts, are about to be eradicated….
“If only” Obama had stood tough!.. “If only” Democrats were better negotiators and didn’t give up everything at the drop of the hat… “If only” the Democrats worked harder last December to get the Bush tax cuts not reinstated. “If only” Democrats hadn’t lost the House last election, things would be different. “If only” Obama hadn’t sold us out! “If only” Obama had a spine. “If only” Democrats hadn’t caved and given Republicans 100% of what they want…“If only” the media would educate the public. “If only” truth was allowed on the airwaves….
The Progressives should not base their future strategy on “what-ifs” and “if only’s” as Progressives (especially here in Delaware) are prone to do. Such an approach is not “reality-based.”
It is instead, “hope-based”, which is to say in reality … “illusion-based”…
The illusion persists that Obama can “make” Republicans do what Progressive want. It equals the illusion that the US, can “make” the government of Karzai, do what everything we want…
In both cases, both progressives and the US, can’t force the issue. Instead, what they have to do, is out-argue, snuggle-up, and win the battle of the minds; they have to convince the respective populations that if they follow their way, the population will be better off.
With this bill, we now have a “reality” to assist with that convincing…
The core of all the arguing, is the hypothesis that America needs to tax it’s wealthy a little more.
When American’s go to the polls in 2012, they will have begun to feel the effects on the economy of what happens when one cuts $100 billion a year. Just like the balanced budget deficit bill of 1937 pushed America back into depression, so will this bill.
Progressives need to be out there saying, “We told you this would happen; see? We were right all along; all you have to do is tax the wealthy and this all goes away…..”
Unfortunately (or rather fortunately), there will not be a World War III to pull us out of this next upcoming depression… We will just have to spend Federal Dollars as if there was one. Which means, we have to return to the top marginal tax rates of 1941 – 1945…
So yes, there are no new revenues in this bill. Had there been, the reality would be that the House would have allowed a default.
But the argument can now begin… anew,… starting tomorrow! That increases in taxes cause an increase in jobs….. Had another default issue been allowed to occur again before the election, that argument would have been held hostage once again…
Now, it can’t… It can’t…. The argument of “good taxation” will get out there. This future election will be all about job creation…..
The Tea Party and Progressives both make the same error. They feel that holding another side hostage to get their way, is acceptable. That is not how America works. Often we fail, to remember that America is the one who put the Republicans into the position they did. Likewise, it was the Americans who put Democrats in the same position, two years earlier.
This argument needs to be played out over the course of an election cycle. The Americans themselves need to weigh in on this argument. Each side must argue their case.
It comes down to Clinton’s way… versus Bush’s…..
Start changing minds.
“Should the debt ceiling not be lifted in time by May 16, in order to prevent the Treasury from running out of funds, I am hereby using the emergency powers given to the Chief Executive by the Constitution, to temporarily suspend the Bush Tax Cuts until: 1) either we can legally borrow the funds to continue paying on our commitments, or 2) we bring our debt down to the 2008 level by having much more tax revenue pour in.
This is in effect, immediately, and I have instructed the IRS to recalculate all 2010 tax forms over the level of $2 million dollars, and asses those individuals and companies, for the differences.
We must take this action because Republicans want to pay politics with your lives. As Chief Executive, I am responsible to you, not them. I won’t let that happen.
With these tax cuts out of the way, and with our austerity programs already in effect, that windfall of profit the Treasury will receive, will be entirely funneled towards the paying off our debt.
This policy will continue until Republicans can act reasonably and in a productive fashion.
Is ex-president Bush hard of hearing?
At a recent SMU sypmposium he had the opportunity to take questions from a number of midwestern students, whose residencies ranged from Fargo to Texas. The moderator, C Span’s Brian Lamb said “we have enough time for one more student question”….
“Their questions aren’t stupid….”
Thinking it was a joke, Brian quickly explained I said….”S T U D E N T” question….
As if nothing was said at all, …. “I think they’re pretty good questions. Not stupid at all…..”
The host stayed silent…..
“In fact, their questions are better than yours …….” …
Things moved on… Those of us watching kinda laughed a little, remembering some episodes along both campaign trails and in front of cameras… Some things never change….
But there are a couple of things to ponder. When asked what he was most proud of, his rapid response was to increase money to help Africa with AIDS.
He did, over the dead body of his party, pursue and get passed, large increases to fight AIDS.
“It was a national security issue, or one that would become one in the next generation. Imagine a child seeing his parents dying from AIDS, and the richest country, with unimaginable wealth relative to him, stood by and offered nothing?”
“We had the capacity to do something, and with little sacrifice to us, .. we did it.”
This, not only is a window into the soul of a man but also illuminates that which makes the soul of this country, great. This nation, which was at the time preparing to unilaterally invade another country while unprovoked, was simultaneously funding the largest amount ever voted, to help impoverished African countries combat a killer disease. In other words, the US is not all bad.
And secondly, the Bush tax cuts made it two more years beyond their expiration. That is a lasting legacy. Even though I argue those cuts are the sole reason this nation’s economy is in the bed it’s lying in, even though the opposite party held all the cards, they still got a buy for two more years. That means something. One can’t say they were a worthless mistake that bankrupted the government, railroaded through both chambers by ignorant Republicans at the expense of our country.. …. because we passed them again.
All one can say now,….. it that our government is economically illiterate. :)
As of this writing there is still 20 minutes to go.
It was good the Republicans insisted on having this. They were shown up to be well meaning citizens concerned with the future of health care profits. There is no denying it anymore… The tapes are in.
It was good that Obama chose to be the moderator. He definitely is the best president of this century. I could not help but think of George Washington moderating between Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson. Today we saw a real leader in action… Not someone who happened to grab a megaphone during a time of sorrow. Most impressive was his grasp of the issue. He responded to Republican posturing with facts against which they could not argue back.
The Democrats have really tried to be bipartisan and that has produce a good bill. This bill is necessary to help seniors, to help small businesses, to help every American making less than 100,000 a year, to help America compete with cheaper government run health care systems utilized by our prime competitors. It helps everyone but insurance executives… That is fair in my book because they voted for the losing side..
Defining moment: When one Republican congressman was arguing for switching to health cost withholding plans, Obama retorted if it was indeed so good, why ddidn’t he give up the Federal Employee coverage he had now and go for it… The Congressperson’s face became crimson…. If it wasn’t good enough for him at $174,000 a year, how would it be good enough for someone making $40,000?
Most disgusting moment. CNN’s coverage diverted away as soon as Stenny Hoyer began speaking to discuss around their high priced round table, just how strong Lamar Alexander had come out fighting… So obviously a set up… I switched to CSpan. Never again CNN…..
Photo courtesy of State Symbols USA
So, it wasn’t a tomato after all. It was either a jalapeno or seranno pepper which caused the outbreak that completely shut down the tomato market for three weeks. Florida growers alone estimate an economic hit of 47 million dollars.
Today in Longworth House Office Building, the Subcommittee on Horticulture and Organic Agriculture held a Public Hearing on this outbreak. California Democrat Dennis Cardoza presided. . It was poorly attended by his fellow Congressmen; only one from Texas, and one from Florida thought the issue worthy enough to weigh in on. But called before the Committee were Dr Lonnie King from the CDC, and Dr. Acheson from the FDA.
This hearing makes it official. No signs of the St Paul strain were ever found on any tomatoes. At this point in time, the strain has been only positively identified on one pepper in a Texas warehouse. That pepper was traced to a Mexican farm, where the same strain has now been found in the irrigation water. Additional peppers from that farm are still in the process of being tested.
American farmers grow food under stricter standards than do their foreign competitors. Under rigorous questioning, the FDA admitted that it does not have adequate resources to test every type of food for every possible contaminant. In this particular case, improperly treated sewage was used to irrigate crops. One should not be surprised. Almost all produce grown on farms in desert climates, use recycled sewage as a well documented method of recycling the desert’s most precious commodity: water.
Bryan Silberman from Newark, Delaware testified in a quick summary, speaking as the head of the Produce Marketing Association,
Traceability has received a technological boost because of the Bioterrorism Act. But record keeping is not new. Since 1930, record keeping has been federally required to assist in the tracking of fresh produce.
The Produce Marketing Association is recommending 3 common elements to speed up the ability to trace products. The link required to speed up traceability, he said, is to mandate the use a sticker on every case of globally produced product. These stickers would contain three important pieces of information: the global trade item number, the lot number, and the harvest or pack date. Use of bar codes capable of tracing that information, could speed up traceability eventually to a few minutes, with no bureacratic cost involved…
The Bar code would be a baton, passed from one link to the next, capable of being tracked from the start line to to the finish.
This bar code would need to be both machine and human readable, but if done on a global scale, it could speed up the formation of an action plan and collapse the time line between recognizing the initial outbreak, and issuing correct advisements to America’s public.
Currently there are not yet any solutions before the government. As a nation, we are still in the process of determining what went wrong… But what this salmonella outbreak did demonstrate, was the industry’s ability to follow a food product backwards from a restaurant to the farm.Technology currently exists which CAN provide unique knowledge to assist in the tracking of pathogens.
In the future, industry officials want changes in the FDA so that government agency feels freer to work alongside the industry itself. This St. Paul strain of Salmonella Outbreak case illustrates the parts of the system which as of yet, do not work well.
Thomas Stenzel of the United Fresh Produce Association said that from the restaurant to the farm…… Traceability worked. Initially we were able to follow the item backward from the sick consumer to the farms. The problem with tomatoes occurred because the evidence pointed to many different farms. There appeared to be a widespread, instead of a common point of contamination. As the sickness began being traced to different farms nationwide…. the natural assumption was that a major widespread tomato outbreak was under way….. Someone should have asked the question… maybe it wasn’t a tomato? Later, as it became obvious that tomatoes were not the source of contamination, all began to realize that someone should have realized it sooner…. Traceability works. For once the jalapeno peppers were targeted, investigators showed up at a small distributor on the outside edge of McAllen, Texas, tested a pepper, and bingo…. Then from there, back to the farm.
All locally grown jalapenos are still good. Almost all of Mexican jalapenos are still good, with the exception of one farm … We need to make that determination in our public statements. Geography is not shorthand. To say that all Mexican peppers are bad, is harmful.
The economic damage done to tomato farmers, is worse than that of a hurricane or flood. Farmers, produce distributors, and consumers all had to dump tomatoes and peppers. All groups suffered losses. On a side note, insurance companies reimburse damage done by Mother nature. They do not cover food lost to outbreaks…..
When asked what problems this outbreak illuminated for the Produce Marketing Associations, Bryan Silberman of Newark, Delaware said that the tight grasp on information being held tight to its chest by the FDA, made assisting in the investigation difficult.
It was like an orthopedic fiber optic scope not being able to see, Bryan said, on being asked to comment: “We were all being asked to comment without knowing any of the details.”
“What did fail in trace-back?” all were asked. No specific answers were forthcoming. Just a general consensus that it turned out to be the wrong item we were tracing… Human error. Once again the technology was sound. The humans operating it were not…..
So what is needed? Dr. Acheson of the FDA, laid it out specifically: more money to inspect. more money to train. Often the field investigators showing up at farms, came from other FDA departments such as pharmaceuticals. These people hadn’t a clue of what to search out, and had to call there on the spot, their department head in order to get the right questions needed to ask the farmers…
In an food outbreak, the FDA are the cops; they treat the industry as if it did something wrong. In a establishing a new system, the first recommended step would be to bring in industry experts. A solution would be to pre-vet through security, experts in each field. There are jalapeno experts still out there, who have not yet been contacted by FDA… For one, the field of investigators is spread too thin, and this recent round, points clearly to that deficiency… Most experts were not contacted because in an investigation they were not trusted, just as a family member’s testimony involving a crime within that family, is also not to be trusted. Common sense dictates that the FDA establish relationships with industry experts who have previously undergone a thorough security clearance, and have significant security clearance so that they can be called in at the first signs of a problem…..
University of Minnesota (Go Gophers) public health professor, Michael Osterholm, commended his dedicated group of graduate students (who affectionately call themselves ” The Diarrhea Squad”) which found the outbreak and should be credited for the initial finding and tracing of this strain.
Rep Tim Mahoney (Fl) is interested in implementing a uniform system. Right now the standards in Mexico are different from those of our domestic production.
For example a new request being made of food growers, pre-harvest pathogen testing, has no true standards for industry to follow. Different customers are demanding different standards. Standardization would help simplify this new request requiring new technology.
Growers keep records to insure they get paid for their product. Developing a “Standard Label” which is third world compatible would allow us to trace a food product anywhere around the globe.
However domestic local growers, selling in local farmer’s markets, open a new problem. There is little accountability with local produce being grown by individuals.. But large chains like Wal*mart have started buying locally. This small producer is going to become a critical problem… For as the economy sours, and everyone sees their half an acre as a money-making opportunity, anything can show up in the food chain. It will be a real problem to monitor all of the local produce showing up on our tables, if this trend continues…..
Currently the “FDA is under funded, under sourced, has little oversight or inspection.” said Rep. Mahoney (D FL). “They are not equipped for this new challenge.”
One trend currently occurring is that as American companies go to Mexico, they are taking their best practices with them and insisting that their practices be enforced within that local market…
Whereas private industry has stepped up with innovation, the weakest link in our defense against pathogens on produce, is the underfunded FDA which is struggling under the Bush cuts.
The industry’s current estimate is that more than 50% of produce companies have their data on electronic records… Mandatory tracing is something that the entire industry could reasonably adjust to. Tracing was not the problem. Within hours or days we can trace right up to a single farm. But at what cost? That is the limitation. Agencies, federal and state, with no funds cannot send agents out into the field. So far no proposed legislation has been proposed
Florida growers informally and voluntary adopted a tomato model of tracing distribution which will be implemented by the agriculture department of Florida and may perhaps be used nationwide someday…
Produce traceability has been in effect since end of last year. Produce associations continue to build the system. The time line for implementation will be determined by the August 20 steering committee and will be made public later.
As mentioned before, adequate record keeping already exists. At some future point in time when those records are married to electronic bar code reading system , we will have a vast improvement of traceability. The economic driving force of this, is the cost effectiveness coming from both standardization and efficiency. At one point in time every grocer had a different sticker, with a different number on its produce, The system still worked but made comparing records between grocers rather difficult.. Now with unified codes, one can do so efficiently on one computer.
This has been the most expensive year in history to plant a corp. Crop insurance does not cover outbreaks. Is Federal compensation justified? Or should crop insurance be extended to cover such outbreaks? Last month’s outbreak cost 18 million in losses to just one domestic Florida company, a loss over which they had no control, for it was not caused by them.
Perhaps in time some accountability will be in order….
The Impeachment process has begun…..
We must remember what is at stake, is not the reputation of a sitting president, nor is it about the future of a certain political party…
Instead what is at stake ….is whether our Constitution is still valid as of this year, 2008. Various crimes against it have been made by this administration. Our question is this: do we continue forward into time with our founding father’s vision?,,,,,Or do we scrap it and allow ourselves to become lthe same as every other superpower?
That is the debate upon which all of us need to stay focused…
Let’s not allow ourselves become sidetracked by distractive sideshows…….