Jill Stein: “Nationalize The Fed.” How Will Clinton, Trump, Johnson Respond?

” … Dr. Jill Stein has started the real debate of the 2016 presidential election. Would Ms. Clinton, Mr. Johnson or Mr. Trump like to volunteer as the first to respond?”


By Jerry Alatalo

“A man is truly ethical when he obeys the compulsion to help all life he is able to assist, and shrinks from injuring anything that lives.”

The Philosophy of Civilization, Part II (1923)

– ALBERT SCHWEITZER (1875-1965) Alsatian-born physician, organist, philosopher

blogger3-1Alphabet Now that the dust is nearly settled after the Republican and Democratic party conventions, the remaining serious candidates are Clinton, Johnson, Stein and Trump. Now, with only three months until election day November 8, the presidential debates are ready to roll into high gear. Green Party candidate and inheritor of a large segment of Bernie Sanders supporters Jill Stein has initiated the debates by, among other proposals, expressing her view that the U.S. Federal Reserve should become a public, not private, institution.

It’s fair to say nationalizing the Fed is the boldest proposal coming from a presidential candidate in a long, long time. How will the…

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Doctors Without Borders Pulls Out of Northern Yemen Due to US-Backed Bombing Campaign

“Please immediately call your Representative and Senators and ask them to oppose U.S. support for the war in Yemen including arms sales to Saudi Arabia. The Capitol switchboard is (202) 224-3121.”



Yesterday, Doctors Without Borders, commonly known by its French name Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), evacuated its staff from six hospitals in northern Yemen in response to the August 15 bombing by the U.S.-backed Saudi-led coalition of an MSF facility in Yemen’s Hajjah governorate earlier this week that killed 19 people and injured 24.

Since peace talks between Houthi rebels and the Saudi coalition collapsed on August 6, the coalition has resumed and apparently doubled down on a strategy of bombing civilian targets. On August 7, 18 civilians were killed in a coalition bombing of a marketplace in Yemen’s Nehm district. According to Mr. Othari, one of the injured who lost his son in the attack, “They targeted only civilians… There wasn’t a single gunman or military vehicle around.” On August 9, the coalition bombed a potato chip factory in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa, killing 14 civilians. The day after…

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Despite Avalanche of Denials, It’s STILL All about Race

Florida’s 18th Judicial Circuit, where Trayvon Martin was murdered, has likely been Florida’s frame-up capital since the early 1980’s – perhaps even the nation’s frame-up capital. Obviously, any time someone is framed for murder, someone else has gotten away with murder. The FBI and Department of Justice cannot expose Florida’s conviction and peripheral corruption without exposing their historic involvement in it. We need a president who actually believes in equal justice, who will immediately appoint replacements for James Comey and Loretta Lynch if they don’t reverse course and adhere to their public corruption mandates. Obviously, the president need not be a constitutional scholar, or the recipient of the Nobel Peace prize. The president only needs to firmly believe that no one will get away with murder on his or her watch. The 18th Judicial Circuit’s freed innocents include Juan Ramos, Wilton Dedge and William Dillon; the remaining framed innocents include still-incarcerated Crosley Green, Jeff Abramowski and Gary Bennett, as well as still-very-dead, wrongly executed Gerald Stano.

United States Hypocrisy

Trayvon Martin Trayvon Martin

In the weeks and days leading up to a jury in Sanford, Florida’s unanimous acquittal of George Zimmerman, the admitted killer of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, on July 13th, there were no shortage of lawyers, prosecutors and other “legal analysts” who flooded the airwaves of television and radio stations attempting to provide legal justifications for why Zimmerman was likely to be acquitted of all charges. All of these voices sought to give credence to and provide cover for the United States’ system of “justice” regardless of what the eventual outcome would be (though they were reasonably certain the verdict would result in a Zimmerman acquittal). These legal analysts were attempting to lay the path down for a legal rationale to carry the day, and prevent members of the public from feeling that they live under a criminal “justice” system which operates with one set of rules…

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No End To The Church Of England’s Cover-Ups

“As so often the church has waited until the offending Christians have died or are long retired before issuing belated admissions of guilt and grudging apologies.”

Frostys ramblings a left look at life

Covering up historic child abuse is now a permanent feature of the Church of England, says PETER FROST.

IN ITS latest cynical attempt to bury bad news, The Church of England published a damning report on the horrific abuse of youngsters at a Church of England children’s home on the same day Theresa May became Prime Minister.

This latest of so many cases of child abuse by bishops, clergy and senior lay staff employed by the church concerns physical and sexual abuse at Kendall House in Gravesend, Kent over a 20-year period.

kendall house

Vulnerable girls were regularly overmedicated on antipsychotic drugs, locked in isolation rooms, physically abused and even raped.

The Church of England has now issued a “wholehearted apology” following the investigation, which found the response of the dioceses of Rochester and Canterbury “woeful and inadequate.”

“Only the naive will believe this is not an attempt to bury bad news…

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The Agreement to End Hostilities in its 4th Year: Read and Spread the Word!

Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity

From the Prisoner Human Rights Movement:
Today it is four years since the Agreement to End Hostilities was issued from the Pelican Bay SHU by the PBSP-SHU Short Corridor Collective and the Representatives Body. The text of the Agreement stands strong, and we encourage you all to spread the word and keep to it. It is and has been the basis of our success in fighting for our human rights. United we stand!

Agreement to End Hostilities in Spanish and English (flyer to download)

Statement to the Streets and All Youth Lock-ups, from Youth Justice Coalition, and Agreement to End Hostilities in English (flyer to download)

Statement to the Streets and All Youth Lock-ups, from Youth Justice Coalition in Spanish and English (flyer to download)

August 12, 2012

To whom it may concern and all California Prisoners:

Greetings from the entire PBSP-SHU Short Corridor Hunger Strike Representatives. We are…

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Level 5 Exoneration Tailspins I – III

When I fall silent, there is a reason. Either my health is much worse than usual, or something so outrageously lawless has happened that I have to pull myself out of a resulting emotional tailspin. Often, the outrageously lawless events are wrongful executions, but just as often, of all things, they’re ridiculously spun exonerations. Here are the worst exoneration tailspins during my 12+ years of advocacy – the Level 5’s – including the most recent:

Level 5 Exoneration Tailspin I – Wilton Dedge, 2004

Perhaps as many as 100 convictions in Florida alone – including at least two that resulted in executions – should have been scrutinized after Wilton was exonerated, because they were nearly identical. But none were. Wilton was the first incarcerated innocent I advocated for, sending off emails and faxes to then-Governor Jeb Bush and others. I had learned about Wilton’s frame-up by Googling Judge John Dean Moxley – one of Wilton’s original prosecutors – trying to figure out why he couldn’t see that the opposing attorney in my case before him was abusing process like crazy. Turns out Moxley did see that the attorney was abusing process, it just so happens that he approved of such things. Wildly. Just like he approved of framing innocents.

Level 5 Exoneration Tailspin II – William Dillon, 2008

William Dillon’s was one of the scores of identical convictions in Florida that should have been scrutinized after Wilton was exonerated … another Brevard County matter. My pleas to examine the remainder of the identical convictions were this time primarily directed to then-Governor Charlie Crist. His unwillingness – still – to investigate those perhaps 100 or so convictions led to the continued false imprisonment of Gary Bennett, another Brevard matter.

Level 5 Exonerationation Taiilspin III – Davontae Sanford, 2016

There is more than one way to skin a cat, and had Wayne County, Michigan been in any way cooperative in fulfilling a simple request – essentially making one Goddamned phone call – it could have foiled Brevard County, Florida’s decades pf conviction and peripheral corruption from the outside in, foiling present-Governor Rick Scott’s deep disinterest in making justice available to Gary Bennett and others. But, as luck would have it, Wayne County is as corrupt as Brevard, far too much of a glass house to throw stones at another glass house, which led me to advocating for Davontae Sanford’s release for over six years. Now that Davontae is free, Wayne County is pretending that there was no contractual requirement of the Detroit police to record all interrogations borne of Eddie Joe Lloyd’s previous exoneration, that their coerced confession frame-up of mentally disadvantaged Davontae was a first.

Davontae’s unscrupulously spun exoneration likely won’t permanently derail my innocence advocacy efforts. If it does, perhaps I’ll begin standing up for someone harmed by multiple courts in more than one state … me.

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Davontae Sanford (L) and his most steadfast advocate outside of his circle of family and friends, Vincent Smothers, professional hit man and one of the actual perpetrators of the homicides that half-blind developmentally disabled 14-year-old Davontae was coerced into confessing to. Had Smother gotten his way, Davontae would have served a few weeks, not eight years.




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Ruling re Medicare’s snail-slow Administrative Law Judges

Single Payer healthcare would eliminate the “need” for Administrative Law Judges who have ruined countless lives with their insupportable assertions of individuals’ ability to work. Making ALJ’s move faster will only somewhat curtail their counter-productive existence, just as removing pre-existing conditions from health insurance companies arsenal of reasons to deny coverage claims only somewhat curtailed their counter-productive existence. 

For Immediate Release
Contact: Matthew Shepard, Communications Director
MShepard@MedicareAdvocacy.org, (860) 456-7790
Judge Approves Settlement and Certifies Nationwide Class
in Related Cases Challenging Medicare’s Appeal Process

August 9, 2016 – Although required by law to issue decisions within 90 days of receiving a request for Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) review, Medicare’s Office of Hearings and Appeals (OMHA) was consistently taking a year or more to complete the task.  Last week, however, a federal judge in Connecticut approved a settlement in a nationwide class action lawsuit that will ensure that Medicare beneficiaries receive speedy hearings and decisions from ALJs on their appeals of coverage denials. Exley v. Burwell, No. 14-cv-01230 (D.Conn., Aug. 1, 2016).  A week after approving the Exley settlement, the same judge, Judge Jeffrey Meyer, in a related case challenging the 98% denial rate at the two levels of appeal below the ALJ level, denied the government’s motion to dismiss and granted the plaintiff’s motion for certification of a nationwide class. Sherman v. Burwell, No. 15-cv-1468 (D.Conn., Aug. 8, 2016).

Together, the two actions go a long way to resolving the ongoing problem in the Medicare system of administrative review, in which beneficiaries have routinely been denied at the paper-review stages and then been forced to wait indefinitely for a live ALJ hearing – where the chance of success jumps to the 60-70% range. Judith Stein, executive director of the Center for Medicare Advocacy, whose attorneys spearheaded both cases, saw the result in Exley and the possibilities for Sherman as critical to Medicare beneficiaries: “The great majority of beneficiaries lack representation, and the combination of rubber-stamp review at the lower levels and the extraordinary ALJ delay is so daunting that they give up.  We hope and expect that these decisions will reverse that trend and make appeals of Medicare coverage denials timely and meaningful again.”

The main feature of the Exley settlement is that Medicare beneficiaries, whose appeals to the ALJ level represent only about 1-2% of all Medicare appeals, will be placed at the head of the line, greatly reducing the wait time for their decisions. Although OMHA has been informally following that policy, it will now be required to under the settlement. The vast majority of appellants are medical providers such as hospitals and suppliers – beneficiaries comprise only 1 to 2% of those requesting ALJ hearings.  Prioritizing beneficiary appeals has negligible effect on the system as a whole while ensuring timely decisions for those who need them most.  Other aspects of the settlement are also intended to make the process more beneficiary-friendly.  And, significantly, the settlement will be enforceable until August 1, 2019.  Robert  Lessler, the son of the original lead plaintiff, Stephen Lessler (who waited over nine months after appealing for coverage of nursing facility care and died the day before OMHA issued a favorable ALJ decision), was gratified that at least his father’s ordeal would benefit others: “Justice for my father was delayed just a bit too long.  I am very pleased, though, to know that through this litigation, no more Medicare beneficiaries will endure a similar delay.”

In the Sherman challenge to the denial rate at the first two levels of appeal, the government had sought to have the case dismissed on two jurisdictional grounds.  The judge rejected both arguments, however, holding that the plaintiff was not required to exhaust administrative remedies in order to bring the claim to court and that the case had not been mooted out when coverage of the plaintiff’s individual claim was approved after the filing of the court case.  The court also declined to dismiss the case by concluding that the plaintiff had stated a plausible claim for relief under the Due Process Clause in the contention that a “secret policy” was the cause of the dramatic rise in the denial rate.

In addition, Judge Meyer certified a nationwide class of Medicare beneficiaries of home health care services who received an adverse initial decision dated on or after January 1, 2012 and who received or will receive adverse decisions at the Redetermination and Reconsideration levels of appeal.  The immediate effect of the decision is that the government must respond to the written discovery requests that plaintiff had submitted prior to the motion to dismiss.  Gill Deford, one of plaintiff’s attorneys at the Center for Medicare Advocacy, saw the class certification as a significant development: “With a nationwide class certified, this case will not be going away, and the government will not be able to limit the breadth of discovery to the individual plaintiff’s situation.  The extraordinary increase in the denial rate didn’t just happen by chance.  Now, we should be able to find out how and why it happened.”


About The Center for Medicare Advocacy

Established in 1986, The Center for Medicare Advocacy, Inc. is a national nonprofit, nonpartisan law organization that provides education, advocacy and legal assistance to help older people and people with disabilities obtain access to Medicare and quality health care. CMA focuses on the needs of Medicare beneficiaries, people with chronic conditions, and those in need of long-term care. The organization is involved in writing, education, and advocacy activities of importance to Medicare beneficiaries nationwide.

Sent by:

Matthew E. Shepard
Communications Director
Center for Medicare Advocacy, Inc.
PO Box 350
Willimantic, CT 06226
(860) 456-7790 (860) 456-2614 (fax)

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