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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Donald Trump isn't the 2016 candidate who's got a mini-media empire with a dedicated following all figured out. It's Bernie Sanders. The Vermont senator, who's been comparing corporate television programming to drugs and accusing it of creating a "nation of morons" since at least 1979 -- and musing to friends about creating an alternative news outlet for at least as long -- has spent the last year and a half building something close to a small network out of his office in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill. ... Kenneth Pennington, a former Senate staffer who later became the presidential campaign's digital director, recalled Sanders's refrain from long before he ramped up the current operation: "'What we are doing is what the news media should be doing. Our goal is to create the biggest network possible for distributing information about public policy.'" read more

Monday, April 23, 2018

Dr. Murray Altose has developed a keen appreciation for the advantages and aggravations of veterans health care after nearly 30 years at the Northeast Ohio Veterans Affairs (VA) Healthcare System, which includes the Louis Stokes Cleveland Veterans VA Medical Center and outpatient clinics. Altose, 76, the longest-serving chief medical officer/chief of staff in the entire VA health care system, is retiring at the end of this month. Altose said, "I really believe strongly that the needs of the veterans are best understood within the context of the VA's health care system, and the VA knows how to do this better than anybody else. read more

Sunday, April 22, 2018

President Donald Trump said Saturday that he is considering granting a posthumous pardon to boxer Jack Johnson on the advice of actor Sylvester Stallone ... Johnson, the first African-American world heavyweight boxing champion, was convicted in 1913 under the Mann Act for taking his white girlfriend across state lines for "immoral" purposes ... Johnson was convicted by an all-white jury in less than two hours and was imprisoned for a year. The sentence and imprisonment destroyed the boxing career of the "Galveston Giant." He died in 1946. read more

People around the world are coming together today to celebrate the planet and take action to protect it. Earth Day has been celebrated for 48 years, with more than one billion people all over the world marking the day through celebrations and volunteer projects. This year's theme is End Plastic Pollution. The Earth Day Network, the organization behind the annual event, wants to stop the use of single-use plastic products, lead and support the adoption of a global framework to regulate plastic pollution, and mobilize and educate people about ways to diminish plastic pollution. According to the World Wildlife Fund and Zoological Society of London's 2016 Living Planet assessment, wildlife populations across the globe have declined by 58% since Earth Day began in 1970, and up to two-thirds of the planet's vertebrates could be gone by 2020. Experts say pollution, habitat destruction and climate change are the biggest factors behind the decline. read more

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Forbes just published this load of BS | Before her passing earlier this week, former First Lady Barbara Bush announced that she would be spending her final days at home with her family utilizing "comfort care" in lieu of continued medical treatment for her congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Meaning, she chose treatment to provide her comfort instead of pursuing further treatment for a cure ... she [Mrs. Bush] was an early champion of hospice programs for the terminally. Specifically, between Congress and the White House, she made a splash in the media more than once due to her visits at the Washington Home for chronically ill patients and her 1989 photograph holding a baby with AIDS. read more


Per the link at the top of the thread ...

Even before he became a national figure, Sanders made his out-sized aspirations explicit to his early Senate staff.

Prior to running for president, he would regularly pull aside a small group of aides and muse aloud about creating a news agency that focused solely on policy -- telling them that he considered his office to be a competitor to the New York Times.

He considered his media operation so central to his broader mission of educating and galvanizing the public that during 2013's government shutdown he changed Pennington's official designation from "non-essential" so that Pennington could return from a mandatory furlough to the work of churning out independent content.

By then, Sanders's team was uploading everything he said in public to YouTube, often with little editing, and it tried circumventing traditional press by posting his materials to Reddit, too.

Soon, Pennington was issuing regular formal reports to Sanders and other senior staffers that compared the engagement on Sanders's Facebook page not only to other congressional offices, but to the Times, as well.

Sanders had been building to that ambition since day one of his political career.

We're all rightly disgusted with Trump's use of social media ...

But Bernie's vision of getting his message out is truly the way to go -- regular Americans should know and understand that tax cuts don't pay for themselves, a fact that the mainstream media will not hammer home on prime-time news -- so going around the traditional media versus trying to enlist them make all the sense in the world.

Even when it includes the NYT and the WaPo, go around them. Yes, working Americans read the NYT and the WaPo, but not on the same level as upscale Americans who aren't going to feel the acute symptoms of wealth inequality.

From the same Guardian link ...

Beyond specific tactics and policies, there remains another, in some ways more insidious connection between the stratagems of the second Bush presidency and the rise of a reality TV star to leading candidate for president.

It can be seen in an interview that Karl Rove gave to Ron Suskind for Esquire during the run-up to the invasion of Iraq in 2002.

In typically hands-off fashion, he was identified only as a "senior administration official".

As Suskind later described it:

The aide said that guys like me were ‘in what we call the reality-based community', which he defined as people who ‘believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality'.

I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism.

He cut me off. ‘That's not the way the world really works anymore,' he continued.

‘We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out.

We're history's actors ... and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.'

What Rove was describing is perhaps the most damaging long-term effect of the most recent Bush administration on American democracy: the deliberate and manipulative delinking of the action of the sovereign from the shared sense of a "discernible reality".

I will never forget, in 2003, listening on the radio to an interview with the mother of a soldier who had died in Iraq.

She was asked what her reaction was to reports that there were no weapons of mass destruction.

"I don't believe that," she said, beginning to cry. "I won't believe that. Because then his death would be meaningless."

This, I thought, is what strong ideology does: by wedding the force of our strongest emotions to ideas detached from reality, it forces the mind to avoid the truth.

At which point, people truly are subjects of the "empire".

Glad I came to my senses and stopped voting for Republicans and Bush's after the 2000 election fiasco.

How the Bush dynasty's tactics birthed the President Trump nightmare


But the Bushes have long been aristocrats with knives in their pockets.

In politics since the 1950s and in the White House for 16 of the last 28 years, this dynastic family embodies more than any other the transformation of the Republican party from a coalition of north-eastern social liberals and economic elites to one of southern, religious conservatives and free-market extremists.

Jeb's grandfather, Prescott Bush, was a liberal Republican senator from Connecticut who took a stance against Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s.

His son, former president George HW Bush, moved to Texas and to the right, opposing the Voting Rights Act and supporting Barry Goldwater in 1964. In order to run as Ronald Reagan's vice-president, he subsequently abandoned his liberal support for abortion rights, and became a staunch opponent of them.

HW's son George, in turn, completed the pilgrimage of the party by running as an Evangelical with a Texas drawl committed to privatizing social security and slashing the taxes his father had been pilloried for agreeing to raise.

And Jeb went to macabre lengths in proving his own devotion to the pro-life agenda as governor of Florida, personally intervening to prevent the husband of Terri Schiavo, a brain-dead woman, from taking his wife off life support.

Along this path came the willingness to employ – always at arm's length – not only the kind of racially charged demagoguery that Trump brandishes openly, but the staging of false controversy for political gain that is the real estate executive's modus operandi.

It is not just the Republican party's general extremism that has created such a vast public space for a demagogue to fill.

The Bush family's political behavior, in all its disdainful violence, prepared the way for Trump.

The difference being that where the Bushes used henchmen, Trump is his own – and all the more effective for it.

Thanks for nothing!

That has nothing to do with my point, which you will never understand.


Here's some wisdom for you and anyone else who may see this ...

Top 5 Regrets Of The Dying


For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last 3 to 12 weeks of their lives.

People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learnt never to underestimate someone's capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.

When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:

1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

2. I wish I didn't work so hard.

3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

I saw this years ago when it was first published, and I thought, okay, how about doing these things BEFORE we're told we're dying?

So here are mine ...

1. Live life truely -- In most ways, I've done this, and I'm happier for it.

2. Don't work too hard -- I got a job I luv, and working hard is thoroughly satisfying, so this doesn't bother me.

3. Have the courage to speak up -- Speaking up by calling people who are douchebags, douchebags, is liberating -- see Barbara Bush. If I were at a Bush Townhall, I'd speak my mind.

4. Stay in touch with friends -- Yeah, maybe, but Facebook has ruined everything.

5. Allow yourself to be happy -- I feel very happy, but I hate unfairness and injustices -- standing on principle makes me happy.

And while it's not specifically mentioned, I'd add not being easily offended makes me happy -- and Blotto-Babs and the entire Bush Family can kiss my ass.

As far as I have been able to find, Stuart's 1989 brief is the first published proposal of an individual mandate in the context of private-sector-managed health systems. In 1991, Mark Pauly and others developed a proposal for George H.W. Bush that also included an individual mandate. While others credit Stanford economist Alain Enthoven with the idea, Enthoven's earliest published reference to an individual mandate was an indirect one in the 1992 Jackson Hole paper.


The individual mandate is not what I'm talking about.

The incentives in US healthcare are dysfunctional because they mostly go in the wrong direction.

To do something concrete about end-of-life healthcare, you have to aim the incentives in that direction -- this means higher reimbursement rates for primary care and geriatric clinicians and the treatments they prescribe, along with higher reimbursements for palliative and hospice medicine plus the social work that goes hand-in-hand with what is done medically. Higher pay means higher talent and a more focus on getting it right.

But, in order to do those things, other clinicians will lose out -- mainly the specialty doctors and surgeons who make WAY more money for aggressive medicine and treatments than primary care doctors provide -- and these doctors are not going to willingly take a pay cut.

So who's going to go against the medical associations and their lobbyists representing these specialty doctors to change things for the better?

It's going to take someone with some serious political clout and some serious money -- and I don't see the Bush's or any Republicans leading the charge, ever.

Per the article ...

It's been a goal of politicians to get around the press and reach voters directly for as long as the nonpartisan news media and elections have co-existed.

Sanders is after something bigger, and he's getting there, in eye-popping fashion. In its first year, Bernie TV's viewership soared: His office says his 2017 videos were viewed over 800 million times, led by a clip described as "Here's what happened when a Republican senator challenged a Canadian doctor on their single-payer health care system," which has been watched 32 million times.


Two videos from Trump's inauguration and the next day's Women's March each got around 15 million views.

Then, when Sanders first televised a town hall on his Medicare for All proposal this January, 1.1 million saw it live, and another 1.6 million tuned in the next morning, a plurality of them men between the ages of 25 and 34, according to his staff.

When he hosted a similar event about inequality with Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren and Michael Moore in March, 1.7 million watched live, and 2.5 million saw it the next day.

This has never happened before.

But most of it emerged without Sanders's fellow senators paying attention; he rarely coordinates with his colleagues.

That's caused some grumbling among senior Senate staffers who would be happy to see their bosses join Sanders on air, and among others who are nervous that he's stealthily building a huge operation ahead of a 2020 run.

Give'm hell, Bernie!

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