The US Doesn’t Care About Health, It Cares About Disease Management

Hospital

The Article: U.S. manages disease, not health by Andrew Weil in CNN Online.

The Text: The most insistent political question of the past four years has been: How can more Americans get access to medical care?

The federal response was the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Better known as “Obamacare,” it is a complex mix of insurance changes and tax credits. When the act takes effect on January 1, 2014, it will provide access to insurance to about 30 million people who currently don’t have it.

Unfortunately, that was the wrong question. So the looming “answer” is wrong as well.

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Department Of Homeland Security, It’s Time We Had A Talk

Department of Homeland Security

The Article: 1.6 Billion Rounds Of Ammo For Homeland Security? It’s Time For A National Conversation by Ralph Benko in Forbes.

The Text: The Denver Post, on February 15th, ran an Associated Press article entitled Homeland Security aims to buy 1.6b rounds of ammo, so far to little notice. It confirmed that the Department of Homeland Security has issued an open purchase order for 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition. As reported elsewhere, some of this purchase order is for hollow-point rounds, forbidden by international law for use in war, along with a frightening amount specialized for snipers. Also reported elsewhere, at the height of the Iraq War the Army was expending less than 6 million rounds a month. Therefore 1.6 billion rounds would be enough to sustain a hot war for 20+ years. In America.

Add to this perplexing outré purchase of ammo, DHS now is showing off its acquisition of heavily armored personnel carriers, repatriated from the Iraqi and Afghani theaters of operation. As observed by “paramilblogger” Ken Jorgustin last September:

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Costco, Proving GOPers’ Wisdom Wrong Every Day

CostCo

The Article: Costco Proves Republicans Wrong By Paying a Living Wage and Watching Profits Soar in Politics USA.

The Text: Costco is proving Republicans and the Wal-Mart wrong by paying workers a living wage while also earning record profits.

While Wal-Mart experienced February sales that were considered, “total disaster,” Costco’s earnings for the second quarter of the year climbed 39%. The New York Times reported, “Costco Wholesale’s net income for its second quarter climbed 39 percent as it pulled in more money from membership fees, sales improved and it recorded a large tax benefit.”

Costco CEO Craig Jelinek openly supports raising the minimum wage to $11.50 an hour, “At Costco, we know that paying employees good wages makes good sense for business. We pay a starting hourly wage of $11.50 in all states where we do business, and we are still able to keep our overhead costs low. An important reason for the success of Costco’s business model is the attraction and retention of great employees. Instead of minimizing wages, we know it’s a lot more profitable in the long term to minimize employee turnover and maximize employee productivity, commitment and loyalty. We support efforts to increase the federal minimum wage.”

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Who Really Benefits From The Safety Net

Social Safety Net

The Article: Who Benefits From The Safety Net by Binyamin Applebaum and Robert Gebeloff in The New York Times.

The Text: A new analysis from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities underscores that the poor are no longer the primary beneficiaries of the government safety net.

Terms like entitlements, government benefits and safety net often conjure images of tax dollars sliding from the hands of the wealthy into the pockets of the poor. But as we reported Sunday, that image is badly outdated. Benefits now flow primarily to the middle class.

The center’s study found that the poorest American households, the bottom fifth, received just 32 cents of every dollar of government benefits distributed in 2010.

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With Climate Change, Denial Is More Expensive Than Reduced Consumption

Climate Change

The Article: Price for Denial, Inaction on Climate Is Higher Than Toll of Reducing Consumption by Karen Rybold Chin in TruthOut.

The Text:

For Tad Patzek, Peak Oil – not climate change – poses the greatest risk to human health and survival on Earth.

The chair of the Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering at the University of Texas and co-author with Joseph Tainter of Drilling Down: The Gulf Oil Debacle and Our Energy Dilemma, Patzek does not deny climate change or the notion that the human use of CO2 has helped caused it. It’s just that climate change has already been set in motion, and it will take 80,000 to 100,000 years to reverse it. This is, the Polish-born Patzek says, “for us, an infinite time.”

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