Anyone who believed the deck wasn’t stacked

Anyone who believed the deck wasn’t stacked in favor of corporate health insurance … quickly put on the closest dunce cap … fool

Health Care At Supreme

Court, Day 3: Insurance

Mandate Imperiled

Early reports from the U.S. Supreme Court’s third day of hearings on the new federal health care reform law suggest its centerpiece, the requirement that all individuals have insurance or pay a tax penalty, is in trouble. But whether removing it would ‘kill’ the law was not clear.

The day opened with a discussion of so-called ‘severability’–or a theoretical discussion by the justices of what parts of the law could be struck without undoing Congress’s legislative intent. It was a discussion that allowed the justices’ more ideological inclinations to be seen, and that is where it appears that the individual mandate is in trouble. ScotusBlog’s quick report after these arguments suggest that conservatives are holding sway–and want to strike the mandate:     

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By Steven Rosenfeld | AlterNet 
Posted on Wednesday, March 28, 2012 @ 09:31 AM


Water a cause for war in decades ahead

Threat level …  U.S. intel: Water a cause for war in decades ahead


Drought, floods and a lack of fresh water may cause significant global instability and conflict in the coming decades, as developing countries scramble to meet demand from exploding populations while dealing with the effects of climate change, U.S. intelligence agencies said in a report released Thursday. 


If you don’t choose to read the entire report I invite to make the time and spend five minutes just skimming it … you just might be surprised …   READ THE REPORT


What is really on trial here … ?

What is really on trial here … ?


Posted on Mar 29, 2012 … By E.J. Dionne, Jr. E.J. Dionne’s e-mail address is ejdionne(at)


Tree days of Supreme Court arguments over the health care law demonstrated for all to see that conservative justices are prepared to act as an alternative legislature, diving deeply into policy details as if they were members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

Senator, excuse me, Justice Samuel Alito quoted Congressional Budget Office figures on Tuesday to talk about the insurance costs of the young. On Wednesday, Chief Justice John Roberts sounded like the House whip in discussing whether parts of the law could stand if other parts fell. He noted that without various provisions, Congress “wouldn’t have been able to put together, cobble together, the votes to get it through.” Tell me again, was this a courtroom or a lobbyist’s office?

It fell to the court’s liberals—the so-called “judicial activists,” remember?—to remind their conservative brethren that legislative power is supposed to rest in our government’s elected branches.

Justice Stephen Breyer noted that some of the issues raised by opponents of the law were about “the merits of the bill,” a proper concern of Congress, not the courts. And in arguing for restraint, Justice Sonia Sotomayor asked what was wrong with leaving as much discretion as possible “in the hands of the people who should be fixing this, not us.” It was nice to be reminded that we’re a democracy, not a judicial dictatorship.

The conservative justices were obsessed with weird hypotheticals. If the federal government could make you buy health insurance, might it require you to buy broccoli, health club memberships, cellphones, burial services and cars? All of which have nothing to do with an uninsured person getting expensive treatment that others—often taxpayers—have to pay for.

Liberals should learn from this display that there is no point in catering to today’s hard-line conservatives. The individual mandate was a conservative idea that President Obama adopted to preserve the private market in health insurance rather than move toward a government-financed single-payer system. What he got back from conservatives was not gratitude but charges of socialism—for adopting their own proposal.

The irony is that if the court’s conservatives overthrow the mandate, they will hasten the arrival of a more government-heavy system. Justice Anthony Kennedy even hinted that it might be more “honest” if government simply used “the tax power to raise revenue and to just have a national health service, single-payer.” Remember those words.

One of the most astonishing arguments came from Roberts, who spoke with alarm that people would be required to purchase coverage for issues they might never confront. He specifically cited “pediatric services” and “maternity services.”

Well, yes, men pay to cover maternity services while women pay for treating prostate problems. It’s called health insurance. Would it be better to segregate the insurance market along gender lines?

The court’s right-wing justices seemed to forget that the best argument for the individual mandate was made in 1989 by a respected conservative, the Heritage Foundation’s Stuart Butler.

“If a man is struck down by a heart attack in the street,” Butler said, “Americans will care for him whether or not he has insurance. If we find that he has spent his money on other things rather than insurance, we may be angry but we will not deny him services—even if that means more prudent citizens end up paying the tab. A mandate on individuals recognizes this implicit contract.”

Justice Antonin Scalia seemed to reject the sense of solidarity that Butler embraced. When Solicitor General Donald Verrilli explained that “we’ve obligated ourselves so that people get health care,” Scalia replied cooly: “Well, don’t obligate yourself to that.” Does this mean letting Butler’s uninsured guy die?

Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick called attention to this exchange and was eloquent in describing its meaning. “This case isn’t so much about freedom from government-mandated broccoli or gyms,” Lithwick wrote. “It’s about freedom from our obligations to one another … the freedom to ignore the injured” and to “walk away from those in peril.”

This is what conservative justices will do if they strike down or cripple the health care law. And a court that gave us Bush v. Gore and Citizens United will prove conclusively that it sees no limits on its power, no need to defer to those elected to make our laws. A Supreme Court that is supposed to give us justice will instead deliver ideology.






DRONE WARFARE: US Military Releases Information on Drone Slaughter of Afghan "Non-combatants

03-28-2012  • released on 22 March 2012 a declassified 2,100-page report on slaughter of 23 Afghan non-combatants – men, women, children – in February 2010, blamed on Creech drone pilots over-enthusiastically calling in Hellfires on a 3-vehicle civilia .

But “we” can count on the “Supreme’s” to CYA

But “we” can count on the “Supreme’s” to CYA these donor$ and their names will never see the light of day



Judge Throws Out Rule Shielding Campaign Donors

03-30-2012  •  New York Times

The Federal Election Commission overstepped its bounds in allowing groups that fund certain election ads to keep their financiers anonymous, a federal judge ruled Friday. 


"Stand Your Ground" … What SHOOT FIRST and then ask questions … This sets up open season on humanity … Is this really what we want … ?



The Money Trail Behind Florida’s Notorious Gun Law The National Rifle Association invested heavily in the legislation that helped keep Trayvon Martin’s killer a free man.


On April 26, 2005, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush signed into law SB 436, better known as the "Stand Your Ground" law, which gave Floridians the right to use deadly force to defend themselves in public without first trying to flee from a threat. Nearly seven years later, the law has exploded into public view with the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida. Police released the shooter, George Zimmerman, the night of the killing after he claimed self-defense; ever since, there has been a firestorm of debate over the wisdom of Stand Your Ground laws, also known as "shoot first" laws, which now exist in 24 states.

The money trail leading to the watershed law in Florida—the first of the 24 across the nation—traces primarily to one source: the National Rifle Association. When Gov. Bush conducted the 2005 signing ceremony, standing alongside him was Marion Hammer, a leader and familiar face from the pro-gun lobbying powerhouse. But the NRA’s support for the Stand Your Ground law was far more than symbolic. An analysis by Mother Jones of election and lobbying records reveals that the NRA was instrumental in creating Stand Your Ground: Over a nine-year period the organization gave more than $73,000 in campaign donations to the 43 Florida legislators who backed the law. That money was buttressed by intense lobbying activity and additional funds spent by the NRA in support of the bill’s introduction and passage.

The NRA’s point man in the Florida legislature was state Rep. Dennis Baxley (R). In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Baxley, a card-carrying NRA member and an ally of Bush’s, reaped financial support from the NRA’s Political Victory Fund. In 2000 Baxley received a $500 campaign donation from the NRA (the state’s legal limit per election cycle) on top of nearly a thousand dollars more in independent spending backing him. By 2004, the NRA awarded Baxley its "Defender of Freedom" award. And in 2007, the NRA spent a whopping $35,000 on radio advertising to support Baxley in a primary fight. (He lost.)

State Sen. Durell Peaden (R), who introduced his chamber’s version of the bill, raked in $1,000 in direct donations from the NRA during the 2000 election cycle. The NRA also spent nearly $1,500 in independent expenditures on his behalf. Other top recipients included GOP state Senators Rudy Garcia, Bill Posey, and Ken Pruitt, who together received more than $22,000 in support in the late 1990s and early 2000s. All told, more than a third of the 114Florida lawmakers who co-sponsored the Stand Your Ground bill enjoyed the NRA’s financial backing between 1996 and 2005.

The NRA Political Victory Fund also twice donated the $500 maximum to Jeb Bush, during his 1998 and 2002 gubernatorial campaigns. And between 1996 and 2004, it gave $55,000 to the Florida Republican Party, which in turn spent big money to boost Republicans in state legislative and gubernatorial races. According to the National Institute on Money in State Politics, the NRA and its Political Victory Fund have given $2.6 million to state-level campaigns, political committees, and candidates in the past decade.

Campaign cash, however, was only part of the NRA’s strategy for passing Stand Your Ground legislation in Florida. Beginning in early 2005, the gun rights group launched a lobbying blitz behind Baxley and Peaden—promoting news stories about Peaden’s campaign to pass the Stand Your Ground law and blasting out an "Action Alert" urging its members to contact their state legislators and pressure them to support the bill. "The citizens of Florida have a right to expect absolute safety within their own homes or vehicles and to be able to use all manner of force against an unlawful intruder/attacker," the alert said.

Florida lawmakers in particular felt the heat from the NRA’s Hammer, who lobbied them intensely for months during the run-up to the vote. After Gov. Bush signed the bill, the NRA’s top national lobbyist, Chris Cox, hailed Hammer’s role in the law’s passage: "Thanks in no small part to the tireless efforts of our own former President Marion P. Hammer, law-abiding Floridians may now stand their ground and defend themselves against attack by violent criminals without fear of criminal prosecution or civil lawsuit." (Hammer did not respond to a request for comment.)

Back in 2005, critics blamed the NRA as much as Florida lawmakers for Stand Your Ground’s passage. "The NRA is a very powerful lobby and a lot of members don’t want to cross it," said state Rep. Dan Gelber (D) who opposed the bill. Sarah Brady, chair of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, told the New York Times, "The populace in Florida is very much common sense and on our side, but the State Legislature is very conservative and the NRA has control of them…It’s just a terrible, terrible bill."

Today, as the Trayvon Martin controversy continues to unfold, Hammer and the NRA find themselves on the defensive over Stand Your Ground. Under pressure, Gov. Rick Scott hascalled for a special task force to revisit the 2005 law—though its members will be selected by Republican Attorney general Pam Bondi and four pro-gun Republicans lawmakers. The creation of that task force has been delayed, much to the ire of Democratic lawmakers in Florida.

But Hammer is standing her ground. "The law should not be on trial," she recently said. "The law did not do anything wrong." Indeed, proponents argue that the law doesn’t apply in Zimmerman’s case. Former Gov. Bush, for one, has said that Zimmerman’s apparent pursuit of Martin means that the Stand Your Ground won’t apply in this case. "Stand your ground means stand your ground," he said. "It doesn’t mean chase after somebody who’s turned their back." Meanwhile, Zimmerman’s attorney, Craig Sonner, has maintained that his client was acting in self-defense but has suggested that Florida’s Stand Your Ground law doesn’t necessarily apply. "In my legal opinion, that’s not really applicable to this case. The statute on ‘stand your ground’ is primarily when you’re in your house," Sonner told CNN. "This is self-defense, and that’s been around for forever—that you have a right to defend yourself."

The findings of Scott’s task force are likely months away. What’s already clear, though, is that the law at the heart of the Trayvon Martin tragedy may well not have existed if it weren’t for the NRA and its war chest of political money.


And who did you believe was watching your back…?

…And who did you believe was watching your back…?


US Government Approves Monsanto Seed Experiment across America


By Anne Sewell

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA’s Genetic Engineering page and our Millions Against Monsanto page. Washington – For the first time, the U.S. government has signed off on a large-scale experiment with genetically modified crops from Monsanto engineered corn seed. 

RT reported that the experiment will introduce Monsanto’s engineered corn seed across America from South Dakota to Texas. 

The giant GMO corporation has been given the go-ahead to test a man-made corn variant which apparently can thrive in dry, unfavorable conditions. Much of the American south and southwest is experiencing abnormally arid conditions, and Monsanto says that the GMO seed could thrive under these drought conditions and "revitalize" a large portion of the nation’s agriculture. 

However, it is far more likely that a success with the experiment would simply improve Monsanto’s profits and not much more. 

The U.S. government has approved Monsanto’s test of the biotech crop on farms owned by the company, to see if the seed could be commercially viable. If it is viable, then the seed is expected to be made available for purchase in 2013. 

As reported by Digital Journal recently, America’s small farmers are already in danger and are threatened by the industry giant Monsanto. Recently a class action suit by farmers, saying that Monsanto’s crops were infringing on their organic crops, was rejected by the courts.  

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