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Uniquely American Problems and Apathy, Info For Foreigners as 50th Anniversary Approaches

Guest Tom Scully

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Guest Tom Scully

In another thread, John Simkin posted the comments and questions displayed below. It occurred to me that foreign visitors to Dallas and other U.S. destinations this month and in observance of the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy Assassination next year may not be very aware of how distracted the majority of Americans are, compared to residents of other western post industrialized nations, over the consequences of the failure (evident in a failure to sustain the majority of U.S. residents) of the U.S. economic system, aka "free market system, capitalism, etc."

American CTs may not be on the same page as foreigners as far as prioritizing conspiracy research.

If the result of conspiracy is an inability for a rapidly rising number to obtain food, shelter, and medical care, is it fair or constructive to attempt to distract a one of a kind representative such as U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders from his current focus and commitments, vs. JFK Assassination investigation and justice priorities and goals?

In other words, do the very few elected representatives committed to the interests of the "have not" sixty percent have ability or justification to work for release of Assassination related documents?

It seems to me that Americans have a whole set of problems and distractions not experienced by Canadians, Australians and Europeans. Imagine living in a country where your neighbors predictably work and vote against their own best interests and accept the results of doing so as normal and as the superior, "American way of life," even as the opposite is probably obvious to observant foreign visitors

and foreign Kennedy Assassination researchers.

An anecdote I can share that I think sets my outlook/situation apart from the typical visitor from western Europe is related to the expenses of medical insurance coverage and medical services and prescription drugs. During a typical year, the out of pocket costs of insurance coverage consisting of an above average benefits plan of which more than 50 percent of the cost is employer paid,

additionally insured by Medicare insurance my wife is eligible for due to disability, including insurance premiums costs and deductibles we pay for drug and medical services (a $25 co-pay for each visit to an in network doctor, as an example), if we do not use less generously covered dental or eye care services and experience no serious illness or medical emergency, amounts to

payments of one sixth (16-1/2 percent) of our gross, annual household income. During the current year, my wife has experienced serious illness and the costs of additional drug and medical procedure copayments and deductible charges will double our 2012 payments compared to last year to 33 percent of this year's gross income. As I posted, our insurance coverage is generous, we enjoy above average protection at below average insurance premiums.

In 2005, U.S. Senate democrats argued feebly and unsuccessfully for exemption of regressive "bankruptcy reform" legislation in the case of medical cost bankruptcy resulting from illness and disability. The new law

bought by the banks ended the ability of all those filing for bankruptcy to have debts removed. A repayment plan is since required of all of average and above income. Credit card interest rates remained in the 15 percent annual range despite the ability of banks under the "reform" to recover much more from bankrupts. Bill Clinton had vetoed the same legislation passed by congress several times during his presidency.

In response to (Obamacare) national "insurance reform", this is the typical reaction of those in political control in at least one third of U.S. states.:

(Since our household is insured, the "reform" will not affect our insurance coverage or expense in the near term. The intent of the new laws are to compell U.S. residents who can afford insurance but do not pay for it, and employers who do not pay a significant share of decent insurance coverage as an employee benefit, to purchase insurance coverage through newly set up (by October, 2013) online insurance exchanges in each state, to either purchase insurance or pay a fine for noncompliance, enforced through annual income tax filings examination. The anticipated revenue from insurance purchases by healthy individuals and by employers would finance the costs of providing insurance to the uninsured low income households through expansion of the current medicaid coverage of poor and disabled in each state. The politicians in opposition will relegate their states to the more expensive current system of the 50 million

uninsured in America seeking no drugs or medical care until they feel badly or injured enough to go to hospital emergency rooms for care costing much more than the cost of a visit to a doctor's office and for early and preventive care. The uninsured tend to wait until their condition is acute and then pursuing much more expensive emergency room treatment billed at list prices to them. Mostly

they walk out after treatment and their unpaid bills are factored into the costs of the insurance of those who are covered and by subsidies to hospitals paid by local and federal governments.)

I thought a typical "red state," but one with above average population growth, in other words, one much more attractive to newcomers than Louisiana or Mississippi, would provide illuminating examples of the dysfunction, injustice and the poverty and "serf like" conditions a place like Dallas has much more in common with than NY City, Chicago, or San Francisco.



State Eyes Major Changes In Medicaid

.....Medicaid covers 1.7 million Georgians who are poor or disabled. The majority of Medicaid recipients are children, who, along with pregnant women, are already in managed care plans.

The state’s decision may be at least partly linked to the financial crunch that Medicaid faces.

Gov. Nathan Deal recently noted that for the 2013 and 2014 budget years, the state faces a $700 million shortfall in its Medicaid program.

The aged, blind and disabled population represents about 25 percent of Medicaid beneficiaries in Georgia but accounts for about 55 percent of Medicaid costs here.....


Like other governors, Nathan Deal won't expand Medicaid in Georgia

Tuesday, Aug 28, 2012

By Bill Barrow

....Medicaid expansion and the state insurance exchanges, which would allow uninsured individuals to shop for private-sector policies, are the anchors of Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

Medicaid is government health insurance for low-income Americans, mostly children. It is financed jointly by the federal government and the states, with the state’s share based on per-capita income. Poorer states pay a smaller portion of their Medicaid spending than wealthier states.

Initially, the Affordable Care Act of 2010 required that states, beginning in 2014, cover anyone in households earning up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level. The expansion would add about 620,000 people to Georgia’s current enrollment of 1.5 million.

But the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that expansion must be optional. Republican Govs. Rick Scott of Florida, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Phil Bryant of Mississippi, Nikki Haley of South Carolina and Rick Perry of Texas have said they will not expand their programs.


(quote name='Tom Scully' timestamp='1352264021' post='262484']

"Four more Years!"

I had the luxury of voting for http://www.garyjohnson2012.com/ to serve as U.S. president. I live in a voting district of voters overwhelmingly favoring Mitt Romney.

Romney seems much more extreme and secretive than Obama. I would have voted for Obama if I believed my vote was needed to help prevent the election of Romney.

We need at the least to discuss with each other and with any presidential candidate whether the President of the United States is to act unchallenged in the manner of

a tyrant. A third party candidate at least permitted to debate the two corporate sponsored candidates on television and qualified by receipt of 5 percent of the vote in this election to receive matching federal campaign funds would be an improvement of the lack of debate we have experienced during this campaign.


What are Gary Johnson's views on the JFK assassination? What are his policies on other subjects?

We have the same problem in the UK. However, we do have the odd maverick MP. I used to provide information to Norman Baker on subjects like the death of David Kelly. However, he has lost interest in conspiracies since being appointed as Parliamentary Under Secretary for the Department for Transport in the government.

I now work with Tom Watson who did much to expose the activities of Rupert Murdoch. He is currently trying to expose the paedophile sex ring in the British government in the 1980s. In the US do you have anybody like this in Congress?


John, there is one lion in the U.S. Senate, the only socialist party member, representing the state with the smallest population of the lower 48 states, (aka continental U.S. states) the state of Vermont, re-elected for a six year term earlier this month, Bernie


This is an excerpt from his remarks of just the other day. The corporate media almost never presents these numbers.:


Sen. Sanders Rages: ‘Social Security Has Nothing to Do With Deficit Reduction’

Posted on Nov 17, 2012

.....And here’s the bottom line: The bottom line is, as all of you know, this deficit was caused by two wars that were unpaid for, caused by tax breaks to billionaires, caused by the Medicare part D program written by the insurance companies and by the lack of revenue coming into the federal government because of this Wall Street caused recession. And I will be damned, if at a time when we have the most unequal distribution of wealth and income of any major country on earth, when you have the top 1 percent owning 42 percent of the wealth, bottom 60 percent owning 2.3 percent of the wealth, you do not balance the budget on the backs of the bottom 60 percent....

In this 2010 video, Senator Sanders describes the conspiracy of worldwide plutocracy owning the U.S. congressional (The Senate and the House of Representatives) and executive branch selling out of the political process.:

Sen. Sanders seems fearless and forthright. Meanwhile, on the other side of the spectrum, this is the saga of a high growth, low taxed, Republican party controlled U.S. state, recently elevated to eighth most populous and the location of the ninth largest metropolitan area in the U.S. Growth and low taxation are touted by the right and center as a recipe for economic growth and

a strong middle class. This is typical.:

Senate votes to reduce unemployment payments - Atlanta Journal ...

www.ajc.com › NewsState & Regional Govt & Politics

Feb 24, 2012 – (Senator of Georgia State Senate) Senator Fran Millar has sponsored a bill that would shrink Georgia unemployment benefits from 26 weeks to a sliding scale of 12 to 20 weeks.


Governor Deal Signs Law Slashing Unemployment Benefits - May 3, 2012

ATLANTA (AP/WAOK) - Gov. Nathan Deal has signed a law that will reduce the number of weeks people would be able to collect unemployment benefits.

Beginning July 1, unemployment benefits will be reduced from 26 weeks to a sliding scale of between 14 and 20 weeks, depending on the unemployment rate.....


Introduction to Unemployment Insurance

By Hannah Shaw and Chad Stone

Updated June 25, 2012

The federal-state unemployment insurance system (UI) helps many people who have lost their jobs by temporarily replacing part of their wages while they look for work. Created in 1935, it is a form of social insurance, with contributions being paid into the system on behalf of working people so that they have income support if they lose their jobs. The system also helps sustain consumer demand during economic downturns by providing a continuing stream of dollars for families to spend.

The basic unemployment insurance program is run by the states, although the U.S. Department of Labor oversees the system.....

Dollar amount. The average unemployment benefit was about $300 per week in 2010 and 2011. However, individual benefit levels vary greatly depending on the state and the worker’s previous earnings. In addition, in several states, workers receive higher benefits if they have dependents.

State laws typically aim to replace about half of a worker’s previous earnings up to a maximum benefit level. The maximum state-provided benefit in 2012 ranged from $133 in Puerto Rico and $235 in Mississippi (the lowest for a state) to $653 ($979 with dependents) in Massachusetts.[10] Because the benefit is capped, UI benefits replace a smaller share of previous earnings for higher-wage workers than lower-wage workers. In 2010, the most recent year for which data are available, the average UI recipient nationwide got a benefit that replaced 46.2 percent of his or her earnings, but that “replacement rate” ranged from 33 percent in Alaska to 56.5 percent in Hawaii.[11].....


What are the minimum and maximum weekly benefits paid in Georgia?

Effective July 1, 2007, the minimum is $44 per week. The maximum is $330 for claims filed on or after July 1, 2008. The amount an individual will receive is based on the amount of wages earned in the base period.

..........[8] Six states offered fewer than 26 weeks of benefits in the first half of 2012: Michigan (20 weeks), Missouri (20), South Carolina (20), Arkansas (25), Illinois (25), and Florida (12 to 23 weeks depending on the unemployment rate); two states offered more than 26 weeks: Montana (28) and Massachusetts (30). Georgia will offer 12 to 20 weeks (depending on the unemployment rate) beginning in July 2012.

Georgia flouts federal order, withholds lunch ladies' unemployment ...


Sep 7, 2012 – States nationwide are trying to cut costs by reining in unemployment benefits, but Georgia has taken a bold step by refusing to pay seasonal.....

But his open defiance of a US Labor Department order to restore unemployment benefits to seasonal workers is seen as the boldest move yet by a cash-strapped state. The Labor Department has responded by threatening to withhold the $72 million it pays Georgia annually to administer the program.

Mr. Butler has called it a states’ rights issue, contending he within his rights to refuse payment because the people aren't technically unemployed; summer breaks are a part of their contracts and they don't receive new contracts until the fall. But these 4,000 school bus drivers, janitors, pre-K teachers, and landscapers have traditionally received jobless benefits during the summer and have budgeted for it, creating hardships.

What Georgia is doing “is unusual because most states don’t want to threaten all their funding in a situation where it’s pretty clear that they’re on the wrong side of the law,” says Maurice Emsellem, a policy director at the National Employment Law Project in Washington. “But it also points to similar concerns in other states, especially those states with serious loans" from the federal government......

....and the result of this typical Republican party dominated state government in a high growth, low taxed state?

Even as unemployment decline was not stable and not confirmed, the state government was slashing benefit coverage in a state already paying one of the lowest weekly maximum benefit in the U.S.:

Metro Atlanta's jobless rate rises to 9.3 percent in July | The Biz Beat


Aug 23, 2012 – The job picture has improved from a year ago when metro Atlanta's unemployment rate hit 10.1 percent. There were 31,900 more jobs in July ...

Georgia Poverty Rates Highest in 30 Years | NBC Augusta 26


11 hours ago – Georgia's poverty rate is now at its highest points in 30 years. ... analysis released Tuesday by the left-leaning Georgia Budget & Policy Institute.


Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012

Middle class still reeling from recession in Georgia

The State of Working Georgia 2012 shows the pain of the recession lingering – and, in some cases, worsening – in the two years of slow recovery since the recession technically ended.

Take wages, for example. The median annual wage in Georgia dropped more than $2,500 between 2010 and 2011, the nonprofit reports, a steeper decline than in any other state.

The wage loss helps explain Georgia’s ranking as the fifth poorest state in the country, according to Wesley Tharpe, a policy analyst for the nonpartisan think tank.

Nearly one in five Georgians lives in poverty - below $22,891 a year for a family of four, according to a federal definition — the institute reports. Only four other states are poorer....

......The recession killed eight percent, or 338,500, jobs in Georgia, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The state has since regained about 130,000, and the unemployment rate is at 8.7 percent after peaking above 10 percent.

The jobless pain was felt more keenly by Georgians in the prime of their working lives, the report says. In 2010, the percentage of employed Georgians ages of 25 and 54 was at its lowest since 1979, at 73 percent.

Median household income, one of the most commonly used measures of a family’s financial well-being, hit a peak of $55,000 prior to the recession. A year ago, it had dipped to $45,973 – about the same level as 1990 with inflation factored in.


Poor Land in Jail as Companies Add Huge Fees for Probation

By ETHAN BRONNER Published: July 2, 2012

......“The companies they hire are aggressive. Those arrested are not told about the right to counsel or asked whether they are indigent or offered an alternative to fines and jail. There are real constitutional issues at stake.”

Half a century ago in a landmark case, the Supreme Court ruled that those accused of crimes had to be provided a lawyer if they could not afford one. But in misdemeanors, the right to counsel is rarely brought up, even though defendants can run the risk of jail. The probation companies promise revenue to the towns, while saying they also help offenders, and the defendants often end up lost in a legal Twilight Zone.

Here in Childersburg, where there is no public transportation, Ms. Ray has plenty of company in her plight. Richard Garrett has spent a total of 24 months in jail and owes $10,000, all for traffic and license violations that began a decade ago. A onetime employee of United States Steel, Mr. Garrett is suffering from health difficulties and is without work. William M. Dawson, a Birmingham lawyer and Democratic Party activist, has filed a lawsuit for Mr. Garrett and others against the local authorities and the probation company, Judicial Correction Services, which is based in Georgia.

“The Supreme Court has made clear that it is unconstitutional to jail people just because they can’t pay a fine,” Mr. Dawson said in an interview.

In Georgia, three dozen for-profit probation companies operate in hundreds of courts, and there have been similar lawsuits. In one, Randy Miller, 39, an Iraq war veteran who had lost his job, was jailed after failing to make child support payments of $860 a month. In another, Hills McGee, with a monthly income of $243 in veterans benefits, was charged with public drunkenness, assessed $270 by a court and put on probation through a private company. The company added a $15 enrollment fee and $39 in monthly fees. That put his total for a year above $700, which Mr. McGee, 53, struggled to meet before being jailed for failing to pay it all.....


Probation Profiteers - In Georgia's outsourced justice system, a traffic ticket can land you deep in the hole.

—By Celia Perry| July/August 2008 Issue

Welcome to Americus, Georgia. Located 10 miles east of the peanut farm where Jimmy Carter was raised, the town has a charming city center with broad streets, a diner that still sells hot dogs for 95 cents, a Confederate flag that flies conspicuously on the outskirts of town, railroad tracks that divide white and black neighborhoods, chain gangs that labor along the roadways, and, on South Lee Street, right across from the courthouse, its very own private probation office. Middle Georgia Community Probation Services is one of 37 companies to whom local governments have outsourced the supervision of misdemeanor and traffic offenders. It's been billed as a way to save millions of dollars for Georgia and at least nine other states where private probation is used. But to its critics, the system looks more like a way to milk scarce dollars from the poorest of the poor.

Here's how it works: If you have enough money to pay your fine the day you go to court for, say, a speeding ticket, you can usually avoid probation. But those who can't scrape up a few hundred dollars—and nearly 28 percent of Americus residents live below the poverty line—must pay their fine, as well as at least $35 in monthly supervision fees to a private company, in weekly or biweekly installments over a period of three months to a year. By the time their term is over, they may have paid more than twice what the judge ordered.....

......No one at Middle Georgia returned my calls, so I stopped by the company's Americus office; there, I watched a female probation officer instruct a toothless man about the additional fees he needed to pay for improperly storing scrap tires at his auto shop. "Y'all know this ain't right," he shouted. "You railroading me!" Eventually, another Middle Georgia employee noticed me. I told her I was a reporter. "We don't talk to reporters," she said coolly.

Middle Georgia, along with the rest of the state's private probation industry, owes much of its business to Bobby Whitworth, who was Georgia's commissioner of corrections until 1993, when a sex-abuse scandal involving female inmates forced him out. Gov. Zell Miller promptly reassigned him to the Board of Pardons and Paroles, which positioned him nicely for a side job consulting with a private probation company called Detention Management Services. Three years later, in December 2003, a jury found Whitworth guilty of public corruption for accepting $75,000 from the company to draft and lobby for legislation that dramatically expanded the role of private probation companies. Whitworth was sent to prison for six months, but the law remains on the books, and the private probation industry—led by Georgia's two most powerful Republican lobbyists—has lobbied to be given felony cases as well. That plan has run into opposition from law enforcement: One sheriff told lawmakers last year that among his peers, private probation was seen mostly "as a moneymaking fee-collection service." Another said there is generally "not a lot of emphasis on supervision as much as there is on collection.".....

......By April, he had paid his original $600 fine, but had $645 to go to cover Middle Georgia's fees. He told me he wouldn't mind paying if his probation officer would only help him get treatment. "I throw up blood," he said. "I just can't stop drinking because I got so many problems in my head. I have asked, 'Can y'all find somebody to help me with my alcohol problem?' 'Sir, we can't do that. We don't do that.'"

The Pawn Brokers - DBusiness - May / June 2011 - Detroit, MI

November 13, 2012

......Michigan law states pawnshops can charge a maximum of 3 percent interest a month and a $1 monthly storage fee. A $100 loan, for the standard 90 days, will cost $9 in interest and $3 in storage fees — a total of $12. Of course, larger loans are more typical, ensuring a larger profit if the loan defaults for the dealer.

When Economy Down, Pawn Shop Business Up | LoanSafe


Dec 30, 2011 – In Georgia, a pawn shop can charge up to 25 percent interest monthly on a loan for the first three months an item is in pawn and 12.5 percent....

Edited by Tom Scully
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"U.S. Senate democrats argued feebly". We have Taxation Without Representation. At one point in history some citizens were able to recognize that this was not merely a day to day bummer, but an uberbummer.

The problem is how do you get the enough to see the problem today, in terms of Today's Corporate Democrats function as the cowcatcher of the Republican's locomotive who only serve to prevent a real opposition to the Republican's agenda of raw corporate fascism. Today's Democrats share that agenda, because they can see what they are doing.

Our entire Billionaire's Inverted totalitarianism is designed to depoliticize the fascist tendencies and make them seem like they are natural law, first cousins of gravity. The Assassinations and all of their media-narrative implications, are the best way of putting wrenches in that false gravity, because it shows the wrenches installed by fascism in the Enlightenment ideas that, children are told, legitimated the nation's founding.

The problem is that not enough people SPREAD the knowledge, and not enough people let the media implications dangle.

We have no representation. Nothing shows this better than bullets, and Lucent truths, when gravity took coffee breaks. We have done a horrible job of countering the compartmentalization of the human mind known as the internet and also known as Chris Mathews.

I choose not to use the word apathy, even though that is the end product. I prefer to point out that the population has been in very pricey, graduate degree program in Learned Helplessness that has more to do with Harry Reid than their moms, although I could be overgeneralizing here.

Edited by Nathaniel Heidenheimer
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