Upsetment
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U.S. Falls Behind in Arctic Great Game

U.S. Falls Behind in Arctic Great Game | Upsetment | Scoop.it
U.S. Falls Behind in Arctic Great Game « | Foreign Policy | the Global Magazine of News and Ideas
Kenneth Weene's insight:
So much of American policy is driven by denial and the belief that we are inherently number one. Sadly, we do little longterm planning and often find ourselves rushing to catch up. This is another example of that failure. The White House is way to concerned with today's crisis and lacks a builtin system for take the long view. At least in part that is because we think of government as having a four year shelf-life rather than an ongoing function. No matter what goals and ideas the Obama administration may suggest, they will be scrap heaped by the next POTUS, even if it is a Democrat. This is not a good way to run a country and certainly not a good way to face the challenges of the future. 
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Leader of Syria Rescue Group, Arriving in U.S. for Award, Is Refused Entry

Leader of Syria Rescue Group, Arriving in U.S. for Award, Is Refused Entry | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Raed Saleh, of the Syria Civil Defense group, was to accept an award from InterAction, an alliance of international aid agencies. He was stopped at Washington’s Dulles International Airport.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Once again Washington bureaucracy demonstrates its inability to care about people. Raed Saleh represents the best of humanity in the horror that is Syria. 
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Why America needs a third party: Voters are growing more disgusted with the two-party system

Why America needs a third party: Voters are growing more disgusted with the two-party system | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The dominance by two parties has been disastrous, regardless of where you fall on the ideological spectrum
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Yes, we need a third party, but will one come onto the scene. Possibly we could have one of the current parties die, my bet is the GOP, but the current government system is strongly biased towards a two party system. Perhaps it's time to consider a parliamentary government in which multiple parties can contend and compromise. 

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We obtained folk legend Pete Seeger's FBI file. Here's what it reveals.

We obtained folk legend Pete Seeger's FBI file. Here's what it reveals. | Upsetment | Scoop.it

from the 1940s through the early 1970s, the US government spied on singer-songwriter Pete Seeger because of his political views and associations. According to documents in Seeger's extensive FBI file—which runs to nearly 1,800 pages (with 90 pages withheld) and was obtained by Mother Jones under the Freedom of Information Act—the bureau's initial interest in Seeger was triggered in 1943 after Seeger, as an Army private, wrote a letter protesting a proposal to deport all Japanese American citizens and residents when World War II ended.

Kenneth Weene's insight:

It was my privilege to meet Pete. He was a great influence in my life; I even reference his group The Weavers in Broody New Englander. I share this post in part to honor him but more importantly to iterate my horror at the racism and bigotry recently being shown in this country towards Muslims and especially Arabs. Pete is an icon to those of us who know that what was done to Japanese Americans was wrong. More, he is a role model to all who believe in the dignity of the individual in the face of the politicians who would belittle others. His stand before HUAC represents a high-water mark for integrity. 

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Survivor Blasts Kim Davis For Playing 'Eye Of The Tiger' Without Permission

Survivor Blasts Kim Davis For Playing 'Eye Of The Tiger' Without Permission | Upsetment | Scoop.it
After Kentucky clerk Kim Davis walked onto the stage at former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's (R) rally on Tuesday to "Eye of the Tiger," the band Survivor lambasted her for using the song without permission.

"NO! We did not grant Kim Davis any rights to use 'My Tune -The Eye Of The Tiger,'" the band wrote on its official Facebook page on Tuesday. "I would not grant her the rights to use Charmin! C'mom Mike, you are not The Donald but you can do better than that."
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Kim Davis is not a martyr for Christianity or religious freedom but a remnant of the Civil War. What Americans must understand it that this is a battle not over conscience but the Fourteenth Amendment. If you want to learn more, read my essay about the amendment and the ongoing attack from the Republican Party on it. Remember without that Amendment, then the federal government has no say over civil rights which again become the province of the states, indeed if you are a strict Reconstructionist Christian, of the counties. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/what-does-fourteenth-amendment-anchor-kenneth-weene?published=t

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Health Insurance Companies Seek Big Rate Increases for 2016

Health Insurance Companies Seek Big Rate Increases for 2016 | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The companies say new customers under the Affordable Care Act have been sicker than expected, while federal officials say they want the requests scaled back.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

A few observations: 1) This once again makes the case for single payer healthcare. 2) The insurance company actuaries didn't understand that many people who didn't have insurance were sick—wasn't that the whole point of the discussion of medical bankruptcies? 3) How much of the "direct subscriber benefits" is waste to gin up the costs so insurance companies can make higher absolute profits? For example, why does my local insurance coordinator offer WEI bowling? 4) And this is a biggie! How do we decide on what are and are not appropriate treatments and preventative measures? Including in this, to what extent can we cut medical care costs by making sure people have proper living conditions and nutrition. 5) To what extent will the large increase in demand for services smooth out once people have access to health care for a while? For example, will giving children more preventative care lower costs for those people down the road?

Finally, and this seems to me to be the crux: Should the cost of those requiring special and extensive care, such as cancer patients, be subsidized by the government with payments to the insurance companies? Is that a legitimate expense for the government in order to keep the rest of the marketplace stable and rational?

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Defense Contractors Dominate List of Top 10 PAC Contributors in 2015 | MapLight - Money and Politics

Defense Contractors Dominate List of Top 10 PAC Contributors in 2015 | MapLight - Money and Politics | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Master Sgt. Ken Hammond/Wikimedia Commons June 11, 2015 -- The Senate is currently debating the National Defense Authorization Act, which sets the annual spending limit for the Department of Defense. Some of the bill's provisions are strongly supported by companies that have contributed heavily to the campaigns of federal candidates. Which 10 corporate PACS contributed the most money to federal candidates during the first few months of 2015?
Kenneth Weene's insight:

While there are Republican fools who think corporations are people and should be free to spend this money lobbying (but of course not pay taxes), I imagine that Eisenhower is writhing in his grave at this report.

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This is America’s worst college: Screwed-over Corinthian College students get screwed again by so-called debt relief

This is America’s worst college: Screwed-over Corinthian College students get screwed again by so-called debt relief | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Internships at Sonic? Career counseling via Craigslist? These students were taken for a ride -- and need more help
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Here is the worst part of this story in a nutshell: "The Education Department, which has a vested interest in preventing defense to repayment claims because granting them loses the government money, will adjudicate the claims. The Department vowed to hire a “special master” to oversee the process, but ultimately they would make the final decision on who gets relief and who doesn’t." The Department of Education should have a vested interest not in preventing government expense but in assuring proper educations. By failing to oversee the process by which students are led into debt by institutions offering substandard education, the government has in effect cast its lot with the unscrupulous rather than with the citizenry. In the complex world, we look to government to provide adequate information with which to make consumer decisions. If the government fails to provide that information in adequate ways, it is not the individual citizen who is at fault but the government. Consider, for example, if we were talking about the FAA's failure to warn against flying on certain airlines or the government failing to make sure that a food recall was not made public.

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10 Weird Things The Government Spent Money On - ODDEE

10 Weird Things The Government Spent Money On  - ODDEE | Upsetment | Scoop.it
From pumpkin donuts to Facebook likes, check out this list of unusual things the feds have funded.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Paying for Viagra and saying it's for "troop support". Getting monkeys drunk. Exercising shrimp. The government finds some amazing ways to spend money. While none of these were billion dollar boondoggles, the all boggle the mind. Much as I believe in government, I also believe in governing government.

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Double the N.I.H. Budget

Double the N.I.H. Budget | Upsetment | Scoop.it
It’s insane that we spend so much on health care and so little on research.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Unheard of you say, but it's true there are some things on which I agree with Newt Gingrich, and this is one of them. Of course, there are those who don't want medical research either from some bizarre political philosophy or because government sponsored research might get in the way of their making money, but I bet most of us agree that this is a reasonable way for the government to help all Americans. And, if in the process, the cost of healthcare falls thereby cutting future costs of government, that would be a wonderful added boon for the taxpayers. 

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The rich get government handouts just like the poor. Here are 10 of them

The rich get government handouts just like the poor. Here are 10 of them | Upsetment | Scoop.it
From fancy business lunches to yacht deductions.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Now why are rich people entitled to these great giveaways? If we want to go after the poor who might be taking advantage of the system by say using food stamps to buy seafood instead of spaghetti, if they want use their welfare benefits to go to a swimming pool instead of sweltering in the heat, should we really be willing to allow the rich gambler to write off his losses or the bon vivant to write off that yacht he keeps in Key West or Catalina? If we think it makes sense to do drug screening on welfare recipients, how about the rich guy who pockets the money from allowing a bunch of his buddies to rent his place for a week so they can party-party-party?

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Food Safety Law’s Funding Is Far Below Estimated Requirement

Food Safety Law’s Funding Is Far Below Estimated Requirement | Upsetment | Scoop.it
New requirements, which were passed by Congress in 2010, cannot be met without more money, supporters of the overhaul say.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Next time you or someone you know is sick from eating tainted food, please remember that the Republicans put the health of the food companies ahead of your health.

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Republicans Warn Iran -- and Obama -- That Deal Won't Last

Republicans Warn Iran -- and Obama -- That Deal Won't Last | Upsetment | Scoop.it
47 Republican senators have written an open letter to Iran's leaders warning them that any nuclear deal they sign won’t last after Obama leaves office.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

So much for believing in separation of powers. So much for the old truism that politics stops at the water's edge. In deed, I consider this letter close to treason. Worse, it is well passed the criterion for stupidity. Iran has to be engaged and has to be part of the effort for stability in the Middle East; that by the way because of the GOP's darling little George W. who didn't understand his daddy's decision to leave Saddam in power. Jesus, how dumb do the GOP get to be before Americans figure it out?

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Why victims of deadly meningitis outbreak haven’t been compensated

Why victims of deadly meningitis outbreak haven’t been compensated | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Victims are supposed to have access to funds totaling millions in compensation.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
This is the kind of government and legal system dysfunction that underlies the wave of discontent that is sweeping through America. Both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are riding that wave, but the fact is that no POTUS can make such idiocy and indifference stop. We must stop focusing on the work of lawyers and accountants and start taking a broader view of how the government is supposed to function. By the time this is worked out, those who are most deserving of the small restitution that might be offered will no longer be able to use it and a few pennies will go to their relatives. The rest will have been eaten up by the bureaucracy and legal fees. The saddest thing is that the resulting outrage may feed not the energy of those who would make the government more responsive but those who would take advantage by decrying government regulation and control when in fact the original problem so clearly demonstrates the need for government oversight in some areas, such as health and safety standards. 
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This Vet Filmed Himself Trying To Get A Doctor's Appointment At VA. It Wasn't Pretty.

This Vet Filmed Himself Trying To Get A Doctor's Appointment At VA. It Wasn't Pretty. | Upsetment | Scoop.it
A Massachusetts congressman has a bill that could fix this.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

It is unconscionable that government bureaucracies have become so totally their own world. There should be a clear effort made to declutter government, which is different from dismantling it. Let's insist on proper functioning and accountability. 

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One governor bucking the bipartisan tradition of passing the buck

One governor bucking the bipartisan tradition of passing the buck | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Rhode Island’s Gina Raimondo, a Democrat, is redefining responsible governance.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

It may be a tiny state, but it has a great governor going for it. Her motto: "“Don’t ignore big problems and don’t try to pretend that problems are smaller than they are.” I guess that means she's actually telling the voters the truth, which is quite a different approach from politics as usual. 

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Kenneth Weene

Kenneth Weene | Upsetment | Scoop.it

The Fourteenth Amendment contained the historical terms of surrender for the Confederacy. Each Confederate state when rejoining the union and accepting the constitution was accepting that federal government now had the right to determine what was due process in each state.

Kenneth Weene's insight:

Because defending our American constitution is important.

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Sandia Corporation Agrees to Pay $4.7 Million to Resolve Allegations Related to Lobbying Activities | OPA | Department of Justice

Sandia Corporation Agrees to Pay $4.7 Million to Resolve Allegations Related to Lobbying Activities | OPA | Department of Justice | Upsetment | Scoop.it

“The money allocated by Congress for the Sandia National Laboratories is designed to fund the important mission carried out by our national laboratories, not to lobby Congress for more funding,”

Kenneth Weene's insight:

At least there are some limits being placed on the greed of corporations. Of course, there are many who will think that the Justice Department has overstepped by saying no to a corporation.

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The CIA Can’t Keep Its Drone Propaganda Straight

The CIA Can’t Keep Its Drone Propaganda Straight | Upsetment | Scoop.it
This week, one government intelligence agency, after patiently and methodically tracking a terrorist leader for months through precise electronic
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Another example of the madhouse that is our American "Espionage Industry." We have given a bureaucracy control over a toy, so we had best expect that toy to be played with. Meanwhile, I prefer the intellectual powers of the other CIA, the one in Hyde Park. I figure we could win a lot more hearts and minds by creating some great new dishes than we ever will by killing people.

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What It’s Like to Be Declared Dead by the Government

What It’s Like to Be Declared Dead by the Government | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Every year, due to typos, 12,000 Americans are erroneously declared dead by the Social Security Administration. Those affected endure the Orwellian nightmare of convincing the government that they are alive.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

I hope you are alive to read this. This is the kind of government glitch which requires fast action not bureaucratic processes. To subsequently refuse repayment of withheld benefits amounts to a statement that the government has no responsibility to the individual as does the indifferent way in which the bureaucracy goes about rectifying such situations in general. The bottom line here is that if the government has no allegiance to the individual, does the individual have a responsibility to obey the government? Over and over, I find the American experiment to be foundering on the rock of government indifference to the needs of citizens and wonder if this is or is not a democracy (or republic) or is it merely a rudderless bureaucratic mistake?

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FBI Runs Secret Air Force Posing As Fake Companies To Spy On U.S. Cities

FBI Runs Secret Air Force Posing As Fake Companies To Spy On U.S. Cities | Upsetment | Scoop.it
WASHINGTON (AP) — The FBI is operating a small air force with scores of low-flying planes across the country carrying video and, at times, cellphone surveillance technology — all hidden behind fictitious companies that are fronts for the government, The Associated Press has learned.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Some people have read my latest novel "Times to Try the Soul of Man" and said such conspiracies can't be happening—not here in the U.S. of A. I suggest the doubters take a look at this article and then reread my book. It is the nature of government to expand its control and of people in authority to perpetuate their power. Truly, we live in "Times to Try the Soul of Man."

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Police morale can wait: How the Baltimore riots should reshape Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s agenda

Police morale can wait: How the Baltimore riots should reshape Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s agenda | Upsetment | Scoop.it
As the chaos in Baltimore has shown, it's far too soon to shift our attention to the grievances of cops
Kenneth Weene's insight:

This article is right on target. In Baltimore and elsewhere the morale of the police must be balanced with the rights and needs of the people, especially the poor and those who are otherwise unheard. Of course there must be law and order, but that means behind the blue line as well as in front of it. Sadly, the police of Baltimore have a long record of abuse. Which leads us to another question, can the federal government effectively step in to find that balance or should it be a local or perhaps a state issue? In all honesty, I think it must be local and state first and the federal government should only step in under the most egregious situations. What the feds can do is stop selling military and militarizing weapons to local police; they can stop making believe that police science is perfect so there is room for juries and investigators to have doubts when appropriate, and they can work more assiduously to protect and encourage investigative journalism. Remember that our "First Amendment Rights" are way more effective and important than our "Second Amendment Remedies".

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Leading Republicans differ over armed 'insurrection'

Leading Republicans differ over armed 'insurrection' | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Let this sink in: a debate over the right to an armed insurrection against the United States is an apparent GOP primary issue this year.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

And there are still Americans, even patriotic Americans, who will vote for a member of the Good-Old Poops party. Isn't it time for us to find a better group to oppose the Democrats. Seriously, you could find better thinking in the monkey-house of any zoo.

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DNA tests reveal many herbal supplements are fake

DNA tests reveal many herbal supplements are fake | Upsetment | Scoop.it
A third of the pills tested didn't contain the advertised herbs -- and some had been replaced by toxic ingredients
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Of course the U.S. government's attempts to oversee even food and drugs is being hampered by the Republican party and its anti-government stance. But only fools trust businesses to self-regulate. It is time for Americans to realize that proper government oversight of business is essential to a properly functioning society and economy.

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As U.S. hits debt limit, Treasury takes steps to extend borrowing

As U.S. hits debt limit, Treasury takes steps to extend borrowing | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The Treasury Department has started taking steps to extend the federal government's borrowing ability as the U.S. hits its debt limit again Monday, Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew told lawmakers Friday.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

The farce that is Washington continues. A few simple suggestions: cut waste and interdepartmental duplication. Cut back on pentagon weapons procurement that is based on political goals instead of actual military requests. Offer rewards to government employees who save money by innovation. Increase taxes on corporations and the very wealthy. Reduce the number of foreign military bases. Require allies such as South Korea and Japan to help pay for American forces providing their protection. Increase grants that might lead to greater national income, such as to science and technology. Repair the infrastructure and improve the railroads; both of which will increase the current GNP and will provide for economic growth. It isn't rocket science to figure out that today's wealth concentration system is not the best economic model.

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