Friday, January 11, 2008

U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Tom Donohue, Rich Getting Richer, American Health Care Sucks, Big Pharma goes Olive Drab, John Ashcroft and Deadbeat FBI.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce president President Tom Donohue let the world know where working folks stand in the land of the free.

If you're a candidate and you're for the working class, then the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is against you. And they're going to spend big bucks to try to stop you.

WASHINGTON -- Alarmed at the increasingly populist tone of the 2008 political
campaign, the president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is set to issue a fiery
promise to spend millions of dollars to defeat candidates deemed to be

"We plan to build a grass-roots business organization so strong that when it
bites you in the butt, you bleed," chamber President Tom Donohue said.

I have no doubts that Mr. Donohue knows what he's talking about when it comes to butt biting. After all, it's just the same as butt sucking, except he has to use his teeth. He has to have a stressful job, having to be sure that he's not biting when he should be sucking.

And what has Mr. Donohue's butt biting and sucking gotten us? Let's take a look.

The income gap in the United States is greater than anywhere else in the
developed world. Conservative analysts attempt to justify the disparities as a
necessary step to economic growth, arguing that the rich are being rewarded for
innovation and risk-taking, while the poor experience smaller but meaningful
gains. Everyone benefits in the long run.

But according to numerous recent studies, income and net worth have
actually been DROPPING for all but the top 10 percent of American households.
Because of escalating home mortgage expenses, healthcare, and childcare costs,
the average two-income family today has less disposable income than one-income
families had 30 years ago. The expected "trickle-down" effect has not occurred.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Gini coefficient (a measure of
inequality) has grown steadily over 35 years, from .394 in 1970 to .469 in 2005.
Low-wage earners find it increasingly difficult to escape the burdens of
poverty. The Economic Policy Institute found "significant income correlations
between parents and their children," to the degree that "it would take a poor
family of four with two children approximately nine to 10 generations -- over
200 years -- to achieve the income of the typical middle-income four-person

Impressive, huh? The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is actually proud of the work it's done to shovel as much wealth as possible from the bottom to the top. How Republican of them.

And by using this same formula, these scumbags have worked the same magic for health care as they have for the workplace.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - France, Japan and Australia rated best and the United
States worst in new rankings focusing on preventable deaths due to treatable
conditions in 19 leading industrialized nations, researchers said on
If the U.S. health care system performed as well as those of those top three
countries, there would be 101,000 fewer deaths in the United States per year,
according to researchers writing in the journal Health Affairs.

And if you're one of those right-wing cretins who still believe that American health care is far superior to any other country's, I'd suggest that you read this.

You hear it over and over again, in casual conversation and in serious
debates among experts: If we create universal health insurance here in the U.S.,
then we'll end up with less responsive, less advanced medical care. Few
arguments have done as much political damage to the cause of universal health
care. And, as wonks like me have been arguing in recent months, few arguments
fall apart more quickly under scrutiny.

After all, if universal health insurance means long queues for treatments,
then why aren't patients in Paris or Hamburg waiting months for routine services
— while patients in Boston and Los Angeles are?

If it means getting rushed, impersonal treatment, then why do France and
Germany give new mothers more than four days to recover in the hospital, while
insurance companies in the U.S. push new mothers out before two?

If it means making do with less advanced technology, then why does Japan have
more CT and MRI scanners per person than we do?

Yes, we owe the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, along with their partner the Right Wing Propaganda Machine, a lot. Without them many more of us might be able to live the American Dream.

Here's a couple of neat things that the Chamber's philosophy has brought about.

The joining of Big Pharma and the military with the idea of drugging our troops for their own good. I think it's so that they won't realize how they're being screwed over.

In June, the Department of Defense Task Force on Mental Health acknowledged
"daunting and growing" psychological problems among our troops: Nearly 40
percent of soldiers, a third of Marines and half of National Guard members are
presenting with serious mental health issues. They also reported "fundamental
weaknesses" in the U.S. military's approach to psychological health. That report
was followed in August by the Army Suicide Event Report (ASER), which reported
that 2006 saw the highest rate of military suicides in 26 years. And last month,
CBS News reported that, based on its own extensive research, over 6,250 American
veterans took their own lives in 2005 alone -- that works out to a little more
than 17 suicides every day.

Posttraumatic stress injuries can devastate the lives of soldiers and their
families. The suicides that are so often the result of such injuries make it
clear that they can be every bit as lethal as bullets or bombs, and to date no
cure has been found. Treatment and disability payments, both for injured troops
and their families, are a huge budgetary concern that becomes ever more daunting
as these wars drag on. The Psychological Kevlar Act perhaps holds out the
promise of a prophylactic remedy, but it should come as no surprise that Big
Pharma has been looking for a chemical intervention.

I really think that the cheapest and most effective thing we can do for the troops is to bring them home.

I'm sure the U.S. chamber of Commerce is proud of former Attorney General John Ashcroft, it's not what you know but who you know.

WASHINGTON — When the top federal prosecutor in New Jersey needed to find an
outside lawyer to monitor a large corporation willing to settle criminal charges
out of court last fall, he turned to former Attorney General John
, his onetime boss. With no public notice and no bidding, the
company awarded Mr. Ashcroft an 18-month contract worth $28 million to $52
That contract, which Justice Department officials in Washington learned
about only several weeks ago, has prompted an internal inquiry into the
department’s procedures for selecting outside monitors to police settlements
with large companies.

Oh well, Ashcroft can say a prayer and anoint himself with a little oil and probably slide right out of this.

And the Chamber can be particularly proud of the fact that Big Business interests now trump national security interests.

Telecommunications companies have repeatedly cut off FBI access to wiretaps of alleged terrorists and criminal suspects
because the bureau did not pay its phone bills, according to the results of an
audit released yesterday.

The report cited a case in which an order obtained under the Foreign
Intelligence Surveillance Act -- which covers clandestine wiretaps of terrorism
and espionage suspects -- was halted because of "untimely
"Late payments have resulted in telecommunications carriers actually
disconnecting phone lines established to deliver surveillance results to the
FBI, resulting in lost evidence," Fine said in a seven-page summary of the
audit's findings.

You know, this is a pretty sorry state of affairs, the FBI might accidentally stumble onto a real terrorist plot while they're busy spying on us and the phone company cuts off their service.

So thank you U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Republican Party and the dog vomit Democrats that voted with them, you have brought incredible changes to this country in the last seven years.

And to end, Happy Birthday Boo Boo! (My wife Retha) Thanks for putting up with me for the last 24 years.

Enjoy your Friday.

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I did not mean that Conservatives are generally stupid; I meant, that stupid persons are generally Conservative. I believe that to be so obvious and undeniable a fact that I hardly think any hon. Gentleman will question it.

John Stuart Mill (May 20 1806 – May 8 1873)