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July 31 2017

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Monsanto Forest, Lisboa PT

July 16 2017

July 12 2017

Mark Olden: ‘I can taste the smoke’

Good look at why the total loss of the Grenfell Tower Disaster is too low. Also descriptions of what kind of losses this community face.

As well as the avoidable nature of the disaster, and the wretched official response to it, local anger has been intensified by the belief that the death toll far exceeds the current official count of 80. Until unambiguous amnesties are given to the undocumented migrants who lived in the tower, and to the people who illegally employed or illegally sublet flats to them, the true numbers can’t be known. A community activist told me that leaflets have been pushed through the letterboxes of some of the big houses a few minutes’ walk south of Grenfell, asking the occupants if any of their domestic workers are missing.

Reposted by02mydafsoup-01 02mydafsoup-01

June 30 2017

The Mitch McConnell Sinkhole | Thomas Edsell


I am capturing the data below as a reference, an entry in the chronicle of GOP anti-fact meanspiritedness and outright bigotry gone stupid: because the recipients of Medicaid – the program Republicans are deadset of destroying – serves mostly poor, rural white people, the core of GOP support.

So who actually gets Medicaid?

A plurality, 41 percent, of Medicaid recipients, are white; 22 percent are black; 25 percent are Hispanic; and 12 percent are other ethnicities, including Asian-American.

In 18 states, at least 60 percent of Medicaid beneficiaries are white: ranging from 98 percent in Idaho and 93 percent in West Virginia to 60 percent in Minnesota and Nebraska.

In Kentucky, which is represented by Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, Medicaid covers a third of the population. Seventy-eight percent of Kentuckians on Medicaid are white.

Significantly, while 41 percent of beneficiaries of Medicaid are white, whites receive 51.8 percent of all dollars spent in the program, $149.5 billion out of a total of $288.9 billion in 2012, the most recent year for which such data is available. Whites participate at higher levels in the most costly Medicaid services, including the care of the elderly, of disabled children and of disabled working-age adults.

In the four key Rust Belt states that provided crucial Electoral College votes for Trump in 2016, whites are the decisive majority of Medicaid recipients: 67 percent in Ohio, 59 percent in Michigan and 58 percent in both Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Along similar lines, Medicaid provides benefits to significantly higher percentages of children in rural and small-town America, where Trump and Republicans generally won by their strongest margins. A recent Georgetown University study found that

In 2014-2015, Medicaid provided health coverage for 45 percent of children and 16 percent of adults in small towns and rural areas, compared to 38 percent and 15 percent, respectively, in metropolitan areas.

In McConnell’s Kentucky, the study found that Medicaid has become a crucial source of coverage for adults. Before the passage of Obamacare in 2010, 13 percent of adult Kentuckians were covered; after passage, in 2013-14, the percentage more than doubled to 28 percent. Over the same period, the percentage of uninsured adults in Kentucky fell from 26 to 10 percent.

Since its inception in 1965, Medicaid has become an integral and major part of the American safety net. Not only does it cover health care for the poor, it prevents millions of members of the working and middle classes from losing all their savings and falling into bankruptcy when they or their family members become too old, sick or disabled to work. Medicaid also provides essential help in family planning, preventing premature births and supporting infant and child health.

Diane Rowland, executive vice president of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, provided the following information on the demographics of Medicaid beneficiaries.

Medicaid covers 4.9 million of the 11.2 million children in the United States with special health needs, including those with autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, spina bifida and muscular dystrophy. Nationally, 60 percent of children with special needs are white.

There are 6.9 million working-age disabled adults — many of them the siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles of Mulvaney’s “taxpayers” — who are covered by Medicaid. Fifty-seven percent of the working-age disabled covered by Medicaid are white. They suffer from disabilities ranging from missing limbs, blindness and progressive neurological disorders to traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries.

There are another 10 million elderly Medicaid recipients […] who get Medicaid to cover long-term nursing home care, help with eating, bathing or dressing and care for cognitive or mental impairments like dementia. More than half, 56 percent, are white.

The care Medicaid provides to these elderly men and women does not come cheap. In 2011, according to Kaiser, these patients accounted for 36 percent of total Medicaid expenditures.

What all this data shows is that, contrary to the view that Medicaid is a welfare program, in real life Medicaid has become a financial, emotional and practical lifesaver for millions of Americans. This is especially the case for those with close relatives who need assistance and would otherwise be an enormous burden in one of the 29 states that have “filial responsibility” laws on the books that make it the responsibility of adult children to care for their indigent parents.

So, how can Mitch McConnell and his band of pranksters work so hard to stab their constituency in the heart, while suggesting that they are just stopping ‘theft’ by ‘those people’ of [white] taxpayers hard-earned cash? 

Edsell quotes Mick Mulvaney, a former congressman and now the director of the Office of Management and Budget, who said exactly that:

For years, we’ve focused on how we can help Americans receive taxpayer-funded assistance. Under President Trump’s leadership, we’re now looking at how we can respect both those who require assistance and the taxpayers who fund that support. For the first time in a long time, we’re putting taxpayers first.

Taking money from someone without an intention to pay it back is not debt. It is theft.

So if you left for work this morning in the dark, if you came home after your kids were asleep, if you feel lucky to get overtime pay to support your aging parents or adult children, if you’re working part-time but praying for a full-time job, if your savings are as exhausted as you are, you have not been forgotten.

A majority of Republicans (52%), when surveyed, said that Medacaid is more like food stamps than like Medicare, while majorities of Democrats (73%) and independents (62%) went the other way.

It’s almost heartless to point out that the poor and working class white that rely so deeply on Medicaid are complicit in the GOP lies and inherent race-baiting of the Senate’s proposed. They elected these assholes and our ‘President’, and agree with the lies that support their dark hearted actions. But I don’t wish on the voters – even the fools that voted for these assholes – what many Republicans, in fact, are proposing to do: to screw over the sick, poor, and powerless – of all races, ages, and geographies – in order to give $45,000 a year of tax breaks to the top 1% of American taxpayers.

There is no other way to look at what McConnell, Mulvaney, Trump, and the mainstream GOP intend to do: it’s evil, backward, bigoted, and unconscionably immoral. [And the far right propeller heads want to go totally Medieval, which is, almost unimaginably, even worse.]

June 28 2017

June 13 2017

How to resist Trump's Shock Doctrine

Video from Naomi Klien

June 05 2017

Article: The Guardian view on Theresa May’s plans on terror: they are wrong

The Guardian view on Theresa May’s plans on terror: they are wrong

Article: Theresa May is 'responsible' for London terror attack and must resign says top David Cameron aide

Theresa May is ‘responsible’ for London terror attack and must resign says top David Cameron aide

May 12 2017

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Alto Adjuda, Lisbon  

photo by tsparks

May 10 2017

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A beleza dos jacarandás no Rossio.

The jacarandas are in bloom all over town

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On going Nuclear emergency in Washington State

May 08 2017

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An imagining of Idris visiting Heaven and Hell from an illuminated manuscript version of Stories of the Prophets.

Research links (1), (2)

May 07 2017

How a pharma company made billions off mass murder by faking the science on Oxycontin #1yrago


When Purdue Pharma’s patent on the MS Contin was close to expiry, the Sackler family who owned the company spent millions trying to find a product that could replace the profits they’d lose from generic competition on MS Contin: the result was Oxycontin, a drug that went on to kill Americans at epidemic scale.

Oxycontin is the result of applying Purdue’s tried-and-true time-release technique to another out-of-patent drug, oxycodone (AKA percoset, roxicodone, etc). The plan was to produce an effective painkiller that lasted 12 hours at a time, overcoming the major deficit of drugs like MS Contin in that they had to be taken regularly to be effective. With a 12 hour formulation, the market for MS Contin – mostly people with terminal cancer – could be expanded to a wider world of chronic pain sufferers.

But from the earliest clinical trials, it was clear that Oxycontin didn’t work for 12 hours in most patients. Purdue massaged the numbers, lobbied the FCC, and got its drug approved as a 12-hour dose of effective pain relief. This led to hundreds of millions in advertising and direct marketing by pharma reps to doctors to prescribed Oxycontin for all manner of long-term pain relief. Billions in revenue followed.

When doctors told their reps that their patients’ pain returned in much less than 12 hours, the reps – and the company’s chief doctor – urged them to increase the dose of Oxycontin (and thus the company’s profits), rather than calling for an increased frequency (or another drug). The result was that pain patients took ever-greater doses of a highly addictive drug, but at long intervals that guaranteed excruciating withdrawal symptoms for hours before they were supposed to take another pill. Their doctors then upped their dosage further, leading to even higher highs and lower lows, and more addiction, a black market, and an epidemic of fatal overdoses that continues to resonate through America’s poorest communities today.

The Sackler family is richer than ever. Forbes estimates their net worth at $14 billion – richer than the Rockefellers.

This is truely criminal

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Vila Vicosa

photo by tsparks

May 06 2017

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Flora visits the Cromeleque dos Almendres, Alentejo, Pt

photos by tsparks

April 26 2017

April 25 2017

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Manuel Alvarez Bravo ( Mexican 1902 - 2002) El Sonador (The Dreamer) 1931

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