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Joel Pett | Toppling the Bush Legacy / AmericanProgress.org

Health Insurance costs going up, and reformers won’t admit it

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  • Threat from Sebelius defies economic reality
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  • Steep rate hikes on way for individual health insurance
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E. Thomas McClanahan, Kansas City Star | KS

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In March, the Democrats passed their big bill and gained sole possession of the U.S. health care system -- lock, stock and rate increase. Politically, they own it all.

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Wait. Rate increase? Oops. All that stuff about "bending the cost curve down?" Never mind.

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Earlier this month, several health insurers began announcing premium increases, and to the acute discomfort of the Obama administration, they laid part of the blame on the health care bill.

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Steep rate hikes on way for individual health insurance, Carol M. Ostrom, Seattle Times | WA
Double-digit rate increases are hitting most individual health-insurance plans in Washington state, hurting jobless workers and worrying insurance regulators.

The Myth Of A 'Christian Nation'

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That the US is not a Christian nation is historical fact--not an opinion--worth remembering.

A. James Rudin, Religion News Service/Huffington Post

The late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan is credited with saying that "everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but they are not entitled to their own facts."

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Some leaders of the religious right would have us believe that America was founded as a "Christian nation." The facts, however, say otherwise.

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While the Founding Fathers, with their diverse Christian backgrounds, had every opportunity to make the fledgling United States into a "Christian nation," the factual record reveals they consciously refused to do so.

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The Right's Shameful Muslim-Bashing, The Progress Report

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  • "If the prospect of losing our Constitution to religious government frightens you, don't worry about the tiny Muslim-American minority. Worry about the anti-mosque majority Gingrich is working to mobilize." --Slate Magazine's Will Saletan
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  • Zero Tolerance
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Third world America

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  • Collapsing bridges, street lights turned off, cuts to basic services: the decline of a superpower
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  • Poverty Rate In U.S. Saw Record Increase In 2009: 1 In 7 Americans Are Poor
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  • The United States of Fear
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  • Empire of Illusion
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Luiza Ch. Savage, MacLeans

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Ken Mitchell

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Danny Wilcox Frazier/Redux/ Robert Galbraith/Reuters/ Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

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In February, the board of commissioners of Ohio’s Ashtabula County faced a scene familiar to local governments across America: a budget shortfall. They began to cut spending and reduced the sheriff’s budget by 20 per cent. A law enforcement agency staff that only a few years ago numbered 112, and had subsequently been pared down to 70, was cut again to 49 people and just one squad car for a county of 1,900 sq. km along the shore of Lake Erie. The sheriff’s department adapted. “We have no patrol units. There is no one on the streets. We respond to only crimes in progress. We don’t respond to property crimes,” deputy sheriff Ron Fenton told Maclean’s. The county once had a “very proactive” detective division in narcotics. Now, there is no detective division. “We are down to one evidence officer and he just runs the evidence room in case someone wants to claim property,” said Fenton. “People are getting property stolen, their houses broken into, and there is no one investigating. We are basically just writing up a report for the insurance company.”

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If a county without police seems like a weird throwback to an earlier, frontier-like moment in American history, it is not the only one. “Back to the Stone Age” is the name of a seminar organized in March by civil engineers at Indiana’s Purdue University for local county supervisors interested in saving money by breaking up paved roads and turning them back to gravel. While only some paved roads in the state have been broken up, “There are a substantial number of conversations going on,” John Habermann, who manages a program at Purdue that helps local governments take care of infrastructure, told Maclean’s. “We presented a lot of talking points so that the county supervisors can talk logically back to elected officials when the question is posed,” he said. The state of Michigan had similar conversations. It has converted at least 50 miles of paved road to gravel in the last few years.

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Poverty Rate In U.S. Saw Record Increase In 2009: 1 In 7 Americans Are Poor, Hope Yen and Liz Sidoti, Huffington Post

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  • Experts say a jump in the poverty rate could mean that the liberal viewpoint – social constraints prevent the poor from working – will gain steam over the conservative position that the poor have opportunities to work but choose not to because they get too much help.
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  • Special Report | American Labor in 2010
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  • The jobs emergency
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The United States of Fear, Bill Quigley, Common Dreams
You tell me what happened to the land of the free and the home of the brave since September 11, 2001.

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Empire of Illusion, Jeff Dietrich, The Catholic Agitator

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  • It's all about spectacle and debauchery. People are so disconnected from reality that they don't know how to read what is happening--they cannot grasp that the walls are tumbling down--and so they retreat into absurdities. This is the disease gripping American society today.
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  • Building a Nation of Know-Nothings
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  • Lady Gaga: Pop Star for a Country and an Empire in Decline
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How Corporations Own the US Congress

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For whom does the two party system work?

Shamus Cooke, Global Research

Cassatt and Brookins

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With the November elections quickly approaching, the majority of Americans will be thinking one thing: "Who cares?” This apathy isn't due to ignorance, as some accuse. Rather, working people's disinterest in the two party system implies intelligence: millions of people understand that both the Democrats and Republicans will not represent their interests in Congress.  

This begs the question: Whom does the two party system work for?

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The answer was recently given by the mainstream New York Times, who gave the nation an insiders peek on how corporations "lobby" (buy) congressmen. The article explains how giant corporations — from Wall-mart to weapons manufacturers — are planning on shifting their hiring practices for lobbyists, from Democratic to Republican ex-congressmen in preparation for the Republicans gaining seats in the upcoming November elections.

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