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Disinfo 5-30-12

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  • robalini
    Please send as far and wide as possible. Thanks, Robert Sterling Editor, The Konformist http://www.konformist.com http://robalini.blogspot.com
    Message 1 of 1 , May 30 12:33 PM
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      Please send as far and wide as possible.

      Thanks,
      Robert Sterling
      Editor, The Konformist
      http://www.konformist.com
      http://robalini.blogspot.com
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/konformist

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      Not What the Doctor Ordered
      20 Million Could Lose Employer Coverage
      Posted by Robalini on May 9, 2012
      http://www.disinfo.com/2012/05/not-what-the-doctor-ordered-20-million-could-lose-employer-coverage

      In all the hand-wringing over the last two months for Obamacare by “liberal” apologists, little has actually been said about the actual effects of the law. True, whether or not Obamacare is beneficial has little if anything to do with its constitutionality. (And the actual Constitutional issues involved, however valid, have little to do with the cynical politics behind the Supreme Court’s right-wing block in the case.) But you’d think if someone was gonna go to bat for a law, they’d at least acknowledge the law’s merits.

      Hence one story that caught my eye in March: “20 million could lose employer coverage under Obama health care overhaul.” The source, the World Socialist Web Site, may not be acceptable to the media establishment, but the primary source for the WSWS certainly is: the Congressional Budget Office. Here’s what the CBO concludes:

      As many as 20 million Americans could lose their employer-sponsored coverage in 2019 under the health care legislation signed into law by President Obama in March 2010…The CBO’s most optimistic estimate, which the federal agency says is subject to a “tremendous amount of uncertainty,” is that 3 million to 5 million could lose their employer health coverage each year from 2019 through 2022.The new projections for loss of employee coverage are a substantial increase over last year’s estimates, when the CBO’s best prediction was that only 1 million people would lose employer-sponsored coverage.The new study is the latest indication that the health care overhaul will result in a deterioration of health care for the majority of Americans, and not the improvement touted by the Obama administration. Working families and those in low-wage jobs stand to suffer the most from companies eliminating coverage.

      As many as 20 million Americans could lose their employer-sponsored coverage in 2019 under the health care legislation signed into law by President Obama in March 2010…

      The CBO’s most optimistic estimate, which the federal agency says is subject to a “tremendous amount of uncertainty,” is that 3 million to 5 million could lose their employer health coverage each year from 2019 through 2022.

      The new projections for loss of employee coverage are a substantial increase over last year’s estimates, when the CBO’s best prediction was that only 1 million people would lose employer-sponsored coverage.

      The new study is the latest indication that the health care overhaul will result in a deterioration of health care for the majority of Americans, and not the improvement touted by the Obama administration. Working families and those in low-wage jobs stand to suffer the most from companies eliminating coverage.


      Of course, this one very disturbing study is hardly the Alpha or Omega on Obamacare. But it certainly shows one major part of the sales job for the bill was a complete con. In June 2009, President Obama declared before the American Medical Association: “If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.” This declaration wasn’t an aberration but the decided norm. When pressed, Obama would admit even then the statement was only true using weasel talk: that he meant Obamacare wouldn’t require anyone be dropped from a health plan. But as the CBO now concludes, the framework of Obamacare will certainly encourage — and pretty much subsidize — businesses dumping their workers into inferior health care plans for profit.

      Perhaps you have a different conclusion of Obamacare based on the evidence. (The CBO itself oddly declares “a sharp decline in employment-based health insurance as a result of the ACA is unlikely” when summarizing its own findings.) Fair enough. But even if you do, a CBO study warning 20 million Americans could lose their health plan shouldn’t be ignored, and for the most part, it has. The de facto censoring of this report is part of a larger pattern of deception: while Obamacare has been sold as supposed universal healthcare program, in reality it is a gigantic windfall for the already crooked and bloated insurance companies at the expense of the public at large. The irony is this masquerade is promoted by progressives that will be left holding the bag as Obamacare continues to be a unpopular political disaster.

      *

      Did All Dinosaurs Have Feathers?
      Posted by Robalini on May 10, 2012
      http://www.disinfo.com/2012/05/did-all-dinosaurs-have-feathers

      I remember reading long ago an article about how man's own psychological and sociological biases can shape how they view scientific phenomenon. (Sadly, as this was in the pre-Internet days, I can't locate it anywhere on the Web, so forgive me if the details are vague or off a bit.) Perhaps the best example: when the biological process of impregnation is usually presented, the model is a valiant army of noble sperm battling waves of defenders to the egg as it lays helpless from the attack without the surrounding protections.

      This image evokes the idealized fantasies of the Age of Chivalry, turning the act of conception into a battle between knights and warriors over a chaste and passive queen. (Talk about a Holy Grail.) It also squares with the gender roles that dominate society, that of the male aggressor and the female as his prey.

      It is also, biologically speaking, completely wrong. Or at least that is what many biologists argue after looking at the evidence. The conclusion of these biologists: the more accurate model is of an egg, eager to become fertilized, utilizing all its energies to attract and capture the sperm, which would otherwise wander cluelessly and aimlessly to their pointless self-destruction. And even then, with the millions of sperm released in each ejaculation, the egg is lucky to acquire even one lucky duck in the batch of losers. Suddenly, conception looks less like a Camelot romance and more like a Judd Apatow comedy.

      I don't pretend to be an expert in biology, so I don't have a side in this debate if in fact any debate still exists. What I do understand is human psychology, and thus I do understand that our own biases can create a paradigm that frames our vision of reality, a paradigm that can trump the evidence itself

      With this as a backdrop, it becomes quite quite understandable that when dinosaur bones were first discovered, it would immediately evoke images of lizards. The creatures revealed by the remains were quite large and thus intimidating, and lizards are quite intimidating as well. (That the dinosaur could evoke mythological visions of dragons certainly didn't hurt either.) It is quite understandable looking at their skeletons to immediately equate them with giant reptiles, covered with scaly hides.

      Slowly, however, a dissenting view of the dinosaur has developed and evolved, a scientific argument based on observation. The dinosaur, these intellectual renegades have argued, have less in common biologically with reptiles and more in common with birds, which are direct descendants of the dinosaur. Given that lineage, it would be more likely that dinosaurs would be covered with feathers.

      As evidence has slowly been uncovered of dinosaurs that did indeed have feathers, what was once dismissed without comment has been included in the officially sanctioned view of reality. Yes, some dinosaurs did have feathers, at least the smaller ones. Still, as the creatures got larger, the lower the percentage of the creatures that would have feathers. Thus, the establishment view of prehistoric reality could continue with only minor modifications.

      This vision has taken a major blow recently with the discovery of Yutyrannus huali, a name that translates into "beautiful feathered tyrant." As MSNBC reports: "A team of Chinese and Canadian scientists analyzed three well-preserved fossil skeletons — an adult and two juveniles — recovered from a quarry in China's Liaoning Province by a private fossil dealer. Most striking were remains of downlike feathers on the neck and arm. Though coverage was patchy, scientists suspected the species had feathers over much of its body."

      Granted, Yuty-hu wasn't quite as big as T. rex, but it was big enough in its own right, 30 feet long and weighing over a ton. So the obvious question that MSNBC asks: "If a T. rex relative had feathers, why not T. rex?" As Luis Chiappe, director of the Dinosaur Institute at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County summarized: "People need to start changing their image of T. rex."

      But perhaps this is merely the tip of the iceberg. Rather than ask if T. rex had feathers, shouldn't it be asked if ALL dinosaurs had feathers? Granted, perhaps this is an assertion that is absurdly false, and one that is almost impossible to prove to boot. But somehow I suspect that just by asking this absurd little question, one may get a closer view of prehistoric reality than what has dominated our belief system.

      To read more:

      Scientists find the king of the feathered dinosaurs
      http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/46954385/ns/technology_and_science-science
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