Links

Any link's presence here is not necessarily an endorsement of it's content. To see the Healthcare Hijack or Medicare and Social Security Stealth Capture - or Global Good Jobs Theft links click the links on the upper left.
The beginning of the end for "guaranteed issue" healthcare to the huge number of Americans with health conditions?

Quotation from the story by Melissa Patrick for Kentucky Health News "What’s happened? Insurance consultant Robert Laszewski told me that “we have a program that is really bad for the middle class and really good for those with low incomes.” People whose incomes are between 250% and 400% of the poverty level (between $31,900 and $51,040 for a single person and $65,500 to $104,800 for a family of four) get “fairly good premium subsidies. People with incomes less than 250% of poverty get great subsidies.” But those with incomes greater than 400% get no subsidies to help with premiums and the other cost sharing insurers require. That means, he said, that millions of Americans without subsidies have bailed out of Obamacare, either going uninsured as some 200,000 New Yorkers are doing because insurance is unaffordable or turning to the new market the Trump administration has created that offers short-term plans for far less money and far less coverage. As I was researching the high costs of Obamacare policies, Kentucky Health News happened to publish one of the best insurance stories I’ve seen in a long time. The piece by Melissa Patrick clearly laid out what Anthem, the country’s second largest health insurer, has in mind for people who aren’t eligible for Obamacare subsidies. The carrier has designed a series of six policy options designed to reach a wide audience of untapped prospects, the company tells its brokers. The policies, called the “Anthem Enhanced Choice Plans” are, according to the company, “a new marketing opportunity” and “quality coverage for clients.” It calls them budget-friendly options for people who don't qualify for ACA subsidies. The new policies are “medically underwritten,” meaning that people with preexisting conditions will not necessarily qualify for coverage, as they would with an Obamacare policy. Anthem will scrutinize your health records. If you pass the test, you can buy coverage for as long as three years. “Anthem has positioned this to brokers as an alternative to the ACA,” says Joel Thompson, an independent broker in Ceredo, West Virginia. “When we talk to clients who don’t get a subsidy, they are suggesting ‘Enhanced Choice’ instead.” He added: “They are trying to draw off the healthy consumers from the risk pool.” If that happens, that's bad news for the ACA long-term. Prices will go even higher."

Comedian Jimmy Dore on the incoming President-elect

This is an exploration of a leaked tape of Biden addressing an audience that isn't afraid to ask him what he has to offer. "I have record that is second to none", but his responses are filled with a high number of misrepresentations. His audience, IMHO, have a right to honest answers to his questions. Its not enough to just compare ones self to Trump over and over.

Trading Away Our Jobs: How "free trade" threatens employment around the world.

The world is facing an economic crisis on a scale unseen since the Great Depression. Hundreds of millions of people stand to lose their jobs and their livelihoods as a result of the current recession, adding to the hundreds of millions who have already lost their livelihoods to the "free market" model of globalisation. Yet still politicians continue to proclaim their faith in the principles of "free trade" as the means to pull the global economy out of recession and create employment opportunities for the future. --- This report examines the empirical evidence of the impact of "free trade agreements" on jobs. Using studies and statistics collated here for the first time, the report shows how past trade "liberalisations" caused huge job losses in both Africa and Latin America, the two continents that bore the brunt of early experiments in "structural adjustment" and other "free trade" policies. Findings from those experiments reveal a pattern of deindustrialisation, job losses and falling wages whose impact continues to be felt to this day, condemning whole generations to unemployment and poverty and stifling hopes for sustainable development. (Note: This report was written in the UK but also applies to the US which along with the UK is likely next in line for massive "structural adjustment") Working people and the non-wealthy are invariably expected to pay the full price. Direct PDF URL: https://waronwant.org/sites/default/files/Trading%20Away%20Our%20Jobs.pdf

No TTIP through the back door. Health, environment and climate are not negotiable

TTIP negotiations have been continuing under the radar, completely uncovered in the US media. Recently, More than 100 EU Civil society organisations (Plus the US's IATP) demand a stop to trade talks that will further endanger EU rules on health and the environment and aggravate the climate crisis. A change of course is needed. (Seattle2Brussels Network)

Rough Trade: The threat of TTIP to small businesses in the UK (and USA, and Canada, and EU)

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) account for the overwhelming majority of all businesses across Europ and create the vast majority of new jobs.The European Commission has called SMEs “the engine of the Europe economy”, adding: “They drive job creation and economic growth, and ensure social stability. In 2013, over 21 million SMEs provided 88.8 million job throughout the EU. Nine out of every 10 enterprises is an SME, and SMEs generate 2 out of every 3 jobs.”1 In the words of Jean-Claude Juncker, Presiden of the European Commission, “SMEs are the backbone of our economies.”2 In the UK, SMEs are hotwired into every part of the economy. According to UK government statistics:3 • SMEs represent 99.9% of all UK private sector businesses and account for at least 99% of businesses in every main industry sector. • The UK’s 5.4 million SMEs provide jobs for 15.6 million people (60% of all private sector employment), and their combined £1.8 trillion turnover represents almost half the entire turnover of the UK private sector. • 99.3% of all private sector businesses in the UK are small businesses (those with fewer than 50 employees). As the government’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills acknowledges, “Small businesses are a major source of job creation as well as being critical in driving economic growth through innovation and competition.”

A $500 billion pot of gold: How Boston Consulting and Google pushed Modi to end the era of cash

“We expect the digital payments space to witness significant disruption in the days ahead.” "The disruption came on November 8, when Prime Minister Modi decreed that most of the cash notes by value were no longer legal means of payment. By itself, the remark about the “disruption in the days ahead” might be considered suggestive but weak evidence that BCG and Google knew something of those plans. However, combine this with the fact that they forecast a tenfold increase of digital payments and of the merchant acceptance network by 2020 without giving any real compelling reason why such an unlikely development should come to pass. In fact, the report is pretty heavy on reasons why it will be difficult to get many more merchants on board and says that the acceptance network has more or less stagnated in recent years. From stagnant, the growth rate has to jump to at least 60 percent per year (if you want to start 2015, more if the baseline is 2016) to make the forecast of a tenfold increase by 2020 come true. The only real reason given in the report for the expected stellar increase is mobile payment apps becoming available. This is not a very convincing reason for a large jump in the growth rate, as these apps have been around for a number of years already."

Resveratrol inhibits the replication of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS‐CoV‐2) in cultured Vero cells

Phytotherapy Research/Early View OPEN ACCESS Dear Editor, An emergence of the novel coronavirus designated as the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS‐CoV‐2) at the end of 2019 has triggered an ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‐19) globally. As of 22nd September 2020, more than 30,949,804 confirmed cases and 959,116 deaths have been reported worldwide (WHO, 2020). COVID‐19 bears several pathological hallmarks including fever, breathing difficulty, bilateral lung infiltration, and death in the most extreme cases (Huang et al., 2020). Several anti‐viral drugs have been used to target the SARS‐CoV‐2 infection. These drugs include remdesivir, ribavirin, penciclovir, lopinavir/ritonavir, chloroquine (Wang, Cao, et al., 2020). However, most of these medicines have limited efficacy to reduce the severity and, particularly the mortality of COVID‐19 patients. In addition, some of them have serious side effects (Cao et al., 2020; Wang, Zhang, et al., 2020). The shortcomings of current medicines lead scientists and physicians to continuously look up for better remedies for COVID‐19. Resveratrol is a promising one of those remedies. Resveratrol (3,4,5‐trihydroxy‐trans‐stilbene, RES) is a phenolic compound produced by various members of spermatophytes such as grapes, mulberry, and peanuts. It displays potential effects to suppress replication of several viruses including dengue virus (DENV), Zika virus (ZIKV), as well as influenza virus (Mohd, Zainal, Tan, & Sazaly, 2019; Paemanee, Hitakarun, Roytrakul, & Duncan, 2018). Particularly, RES has the capacity to significantly inhibit MERS‐CoV infection and increases the viability of cells infected by this virus (Lin et al., 2017). Based on these observations, we have initiated a study to test whether RES also inhibits the replication of SARS‐CoV‐2. This study has been approved by the ethics committees from Shenzhen Third People's Hospital and strictly follows the approved protocol. All procedures involving SARS‐CoV‐2 infection were performed in a biosafety level 3 laboratory. First of all, the dose‐responsive study of RES (from 1.56 to 200 μM) was performed to assess whether RES exhibits cytotoxicity on Vero cells (ATCC, CCL‐81). The results showed that cell viability of Vero cells remained above 90 and 80% with the RES at concentrations of 100 and 200 μM for 48 hr, respectively (Figure 1a). The results suggested that RES had little cytotoxicity to Vero cells even at such high concentrations which is consistent with previous reports on various other cell types including oocytes or embryos (Li et al., 2016). To test the effects of RES on SARS‐CoV‐2 replication, the Vero cells were infected with SARS‐CoV‐2 (BetaCoV/Shenzhen/SZTH‐003/2020 strain virus GISAID access number: EPI_ISL_406594) at a multiplicity of infection (MOI) of 0.01 and treated with different concentrations of RES. The viral replication was analyzed at 48 hr postinfection with quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT‐PCR) and immunofluorescence assay (Figure 1b,c). The results showed that RES significantly inhibited the replication of SARS‐CoV‐2 with an EC50 (half‐maximal effective concentration) of 4.48 μM. To examine the time window of RES on SARS‐CoV‐2 infection, RES was incubated with cells before and/or after their infection and the time‐of‐addition assay was used to evaluate the effects described by Wang, Cao, et al. (2020). Briefly, viral RNA was extracted from the harvested supernatants and then qRT‐PCR was performed. The SARS‐CoV‐2 mRNA copy number was compared between the mock‐treated and RES‐treated cells. The results showed that the inhibitory rate for SARS‐CoV‐2 replication in cells pre‐treated with RES 50 μM for 2 hr was less than 20%; however, inhibitory rate in cells treated with RES after virus infection was excessive at 98% which was similar to the full time treatment (pre and after treatment together). The results indicate that the inhibitory effects of RES on SARS‐CoV‐2 replication have a strong presence after the viruses are inoculated into the culture medium. It has been reported that RES possesses highly stable conformation to the viral S protein‐ACE2 receptor complex (Wahedi, Ahmad, & Abbasi, 2020). Interestingly, when cells were co‐incubated with virus and RES for 1 hr and then the RES was removed for additional 48 hr incubation, the inhibitory rate was still at around 64% (Figure 1d). This suggests that RES has a blocking capacity to the viral entry into cells. These novel data support the potential utility of RES on SARS‐CoV‐2 infection.

Comparing TiSA and TTIP

this is one of three documents which somebody posing as me uploaded some time ago to a site, around the same time as my twitter account was arbitrarily deleted. Although Its open access and says so, I had not uploaded it. So I find that as quite strange. Its still worth reading now, given that Biden has been elected so these deals are likely to both be revived soon. They set our country up for huge punitive penalties if we attempt to change our minds about the things that result in the highest fines ever recorded - for example. ISDS and non-ISDS work alikes like the sanctions in anti-democratic WTO deals should be eliminated. This is the URL that is linked. https://www.rosalux.rs/sites/default/files/publications/5_Comparing_TTIP_and_TiSA_web.pdf One of the others is "TISA vs Climate Action: Trading away EnergyDemocracy" That one is also quite topical. Its worrisom that ISDS could put our country on the hook for huge bills that could literally result in our natural resources like energy and water being sold off to pad the pockets or pay the debts created by - seized to pay debts incurred by our dishonest oligarchs, in the country's's peoples names.

Logical Fallacy: Poisoning The Well

A major propaganda operation is trying (and succeeding) at making discussion of a lot of topics, TOXIC. Discussions that need to be happening now, given the HUGE future altering changes that are being carved in stone due to our FTA commitments. Lets not forget, Rodrik's Trilemma makes a good argument that democracy and hyperglobalization don't mix. At all. Except for the very rich, we will all basically lose big under the changes they made back in 1995, which are only being implemented now. In particular, potentially tens of millions of good jobs may be lost, if firms from elsewhere in the world can do them for less. This will mean massive losses in humn lives as families fall apart, homes are lost and hearts broken. And we've never had a chance to discuss them, let alone vote on them, because of sophisticated disinformation schemes.. like poisoning the well. On a huge scale. Please think about that before you buy the suppression of even discussing the "trade" agenda. Which is a pretext for a theft of the entire world and future from almost everybody.

How Should the EU and Other WTO Members React to Their WTO Governance and WTO Appellate Body Crises?

Ernst-Ulrich Petersmann, Abstract Since 2017, the United States (US) and other World Trade Organization (WTO) members violate their legal duties and democratic mandates given by national parliaments to maintain the WTO Appellate Body (AB) as legally prescribed in Article 17 of the WTO Dispute Understanding (DSU), i.e. as being ‘composed of seven persons’, with vacancies being ‘filled as they arise’. This contribution argues that none of the reasons offered by the US for its blocking of the (re)appointment of AB candidates - on grounds unrelated to the personal qualifications of the candidates - can legally justify its disruptions of the WTO legal and dispute settlement system. Also the European Union (EU) has offered no convincing justification of its failure to protect ‘strict observance of international law’ in it external relations, as required by Article 3 of the Lisbon Treaty on European Union (TEU) and by Article IX:1 WTO Agreement (‘where a decision cannot be arrived at by consensus, the matter at issue shall be decided by voting’). The 2018 ‘Concept Paper’ prepared by the EU Commission on ‘WTO modernization’ indicates no strategy for the obvious problem that the EU objective of ‘preserving and deepening the rules-based multilateral system’, including ‘more effective and transparent dispute settlement including the Appellate Body’, is inconsistent with the US strategies underlying US blocking of the AB jurisdiction by preventing the appointment of AB judges, a strategy which was previously applied by the US for blocking third-party adjudication under Chapter 20 of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Trade diplomats have no democratic mandate for disrupting the AB jurisdiction by illegally reducing the number of AB members to one single judge by December 2019 and, thereby, undermining the WTO legal and dispute settlement system. EU trade diplomats must exercise leadership for using the existing legal powers and duties of the WTO Ministerial Conference and General Council under Article IX:1 WTO – if necessary, based on ‘a majority of the votes cast’ - to initiate and complete the WTO selection procedures for filling AB vacancies and protect the AB as legally defined in Article 17 DSU. Article IX.2 could be used for authoritative interpretations ‘taken by a three-fourths majority of the Members’ confirming the collective duties of WTO members to fill AB vacancies in case of illegal blocking of AB nominations. WTO law foresees similar majority decisions for the appointment of the WTO Director-General; such majority decisions are necessary for preventing illegal de facto amendments of the WTO legal system, and do not set a precedent for future WTO majority voting on discretionary, political issues, which most WTO diplomats reject as a ‘nuclear option’. As suggested by European ordo-liberalism, citizens and democratic institutions must hold trade politicians democratically and legally more accountable for complying with their legislative mandates to implement and modernize, but not to destroy WTO law and dispute settlement. Keywords: Appellate Body; competition rules; governance crisis; ordo-liberalism; WTO

Resisting the Merger and Acquisition of Human Rights by Trade Law: A Reply to Petersmann (by Philip Alston)

Petersmann's proposal for the enforcement of human rights through the WTO is presented as though it were simply a logical development of existing policies, rather than representing a radical break with them. In a form of epistemological misappropriation he takes the discourse of international human rights law and uses it to describe something which is in between a Hayekian and an ordoliberal agenda. It is one which has a fundamentally different ideological underpinning from human rights law and would have extremely negative consequences for that body of law. Many of his characterizations of the existing state of the law - whether at the national, EU or international levels - are questionable. What is needed is for all participants in the debate over the future relationship between trade and human rights, be they ordoliberals such as Petersmann or mainstream human rights proponents, to move beyond such analyses and to engage in a systematic and intellectually open debate which acknowledges the underlying assumptions and meets a higher scholarly burden of proof than has so far been the case.

The essence of neoliberalism by Pierre Bourdieu

Utopia of endless exploitation The essence of neoliberalism What is neoliberalism? A programme for destroying collective structures which may impede the pure market logic. As the dominant discourse would have it, the economic world is a pure and perfect order, implacably unrolling the logic of its predictable consequences, and prompt to repress all violations by the sanctions that it inflicts, either automatically or —more unusually — through the intermediary of its armed extensions, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the policies they impose: reducing labour costs, reducing public expenditures and making work more flexible. Is the dominant discourse right? What if, in reality, this economic order were no more than the implementation of a utopia - the utopia of neoliberalism - thus converted into a political problem? One that, with the aid of the economic theory that it proclaims, succeeds in conceiving of itself as the scientific description of reality? This tutelary theory is a pure mathematical fiction. From the start it has been founded on a formidable abstraction. For, in the name of a narrow and strict conception of rationality as individual rationality, it brackets the economic and social conditions of rational orientations and the economic and social structures that are the condition of their application.

(Forbes) Court Case Against Trump "Immigration" (non-immigrant) Visa Ban Moves Forward

According to Forbes, even in the midst of the coronavirus epidemic, there is no reason not to outsource, and continue to outsourcing an ever growing, potentially unlimited number of good US jobs. (See also several articles on India's WTO suit DS503 in Inside US Trade, from March 2016, and others.) This is just nuts. Money isn't everything.