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US could provide Medicare for all citizens as Canada does if some war spending ($891,971,525,495 since 2001) spared

US spending on war in the past 8 years, since 2001

(quote)

The health care system in Canada is funded by a mix of public (70%) and private (30%) funding. The U.S. spends more per capita than any other nation in the world, but is the only wealthy industrialized country in the world that lacks some form of universal health care. In 2006, 70% of health care spending in Canada was financed by government, versus 46% in the United States. U.S. government expenditure on health care was just under 83% of total Canadian spending (public and private).

Michael Moore’s film Sicko

All Canadian citizens are covered with a provincial Medical Services Plan, which receives funds from the federal government via tax transfers. The system is therefore a single-payer one, whereby everyone contributes to the care of all citizens. Individuals choose their own physicians, who decide what care is required - not the government, regardless of what you might hear on radio and TV talk shows - and they do not have to ante up large sums for emergency and intensive care or even for infant delivery. The system works very well.

(unquote)

Photos courtesy of costofwar.com and docotube.com

Original Source: Wikipedia and The Seattle Times

280 California parks bring annual $4.3 bil to state, mils locally. 200-park closure to shoot deficit? or economy?

Leo Carrillo State Park, Malibu, California is the closest Pacific Ocean beach to Thousand Oaks, California. Its biggest claim to fame is as a popular location for photographers and movies, including The Karate Kid, Grease, The Craft, and Point Break

(quote)

The State Parks use less than 1/10th of 1% of the budget, yet return $2.35 for every dollar spent in revenues from surrounding communities whose economies are boosted by (or based on) proximity to the parks.

Proposed state parks closure list is not for the faint of heart

"This morning, I glimpsed the list of California state parks earmarked for closure if Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger successfully cuts funding, and I became sickened and angry. There are 220 parks, reserves and beaches on the list. That would leave a mere 59 parks for our continued enjoyment." (Comment posted by Maggie Wolfe Riley: "The State Parks use less than 1/10th of 1% of the budget, yet return $2.35 for every dollar spent in revenues from surrounding communities whose economies are boosted by (or based on) proximity to the parks.")

Among 220 state parks the governor proposes to close, Anderson Marsh Park is a California State Historic Park  read more »

Earth'd be greener with less mind, less money on hate: Obama ends Bush-Era torture, "no prosecution of officials"

Obama Administration: No prosecution of officials for Bush-Era torture policy

With less global hostility, less conflict, there would be more money to work on the fast climate change... In addition, putting aside the notion of Geneva Convention against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, who would believe confession under torture? (see movie Goya's Ghosts)

(quote)

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said during our exclusive interview on "This Week" that President Barack Obama will not pursue the prosecution of Bush-era officials who devised torture policy against detainees, as laid out in memos the Obama administration released this week.

Earlier in the interview, I asked Emanuel about a series of officials, including former CIA director Michael Hayden and former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, who have criticized the Obama administration's decision to release the Bush-era memos outlining torture techniques of detainees. "First of all, we banned these techniques and practices. Banned them because we didn't think they were consistent with American security and its values," Emanuel said on "This Week." "Second is, we've enhanced America's image abroad. These were tools used to by terrorists, propaganda tools, to recruit new terrorists. And the fact is having changed America's image, does have an impact on our security and safety to make us stronger.  read more »

Possible to settle piracy issue not at risk of hero's life who saved 19-crew's lives, ship & food aid for hungry?

The Maersk Alabama arrives in Kenya Saturday with 19 crew members on board guarded by Navy Seals. The ship's captain, Richard Phillips, was still being held hostage on a lifeboat hundreds of miles from shore by Somali pirates who seized the ship Wednesday.

Somali pirates in a drifting lifeboat with hostage Capt. Richard Phillips want $2 million for his release. How decisively wise it would be to settle the piracy issue not at the risk of a life, a hero’s life who after all has saved other 19-crew’s lives and a valuable freighter, and 400 containers of food aid for hungry people.

(quote)

The US-flagged, Danish-owned freighter, Maersk Alabama, hijacked by pirates off Somalia safely reached a Kenyan port at the price of a volunteer hostage, Capt. Richard Phillips. When asked by a journalist how it felt to arrive in Kenya, a member of the 19 remaining crew who did not give his name said it was "terrifying and exciting at the same time." Asked about his captain, he said: "He's a hero."  read more »

Leadership: Going to war with Iraq was wrong, Australian PM Kevin Rudd admits, pulling all AU troops back home

Australian PM Kevin Rudd

(quote)

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said there had been a "failure to disclose to the Australian people the qualified nature of the intelligence - for example, the pre-war warning that an attack on Iraq would increase the terrorist threat, not decrease it".

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has pulled the country's troops out of Iraq

Mr Rudd, a former diplomat, also dismissed his prede- cessor's argument that Australia had been obliged to send troops to Iraq because of its long-standing alliance with the United States.

He said while he valued the alliance highly, it did not mean that Canberra should automatically accede to US requests for military support.

(unquote)

Photos courtesy of AP and defenselink.mil/HomePagePhotos/

Original Source: Telegraph

Leadership: when many governments busy bailing out big business, Australian banks to give mortgage help to jobless

Australia’s biggest four banks: Commonwealth Bank of Australia, New Zealand Banking Group Ltd, National Australia Bank, and Westpac Banking Corp

To keep Jobless from becoming Homeless in the midst of economic turmoil, millions need direct financial aid. Australia now takes action though its unemployment rate stood at 5.2% in February, while in comparison, unemployment rate in U.S., for example, rose to 8.5% in March and homelessness rates across the States is soaring...

(quote)

The Australian government announced Sunday that the country's biggest four banks will give people who have lost their job up to a year free of mortgage repayments. After returning from G20 meetings in London, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd told an employment conference in Melbourne the mortgage assistance plan would alleviate the "anxiety and fear" the jobless feel when faced with ongoing payments.

Australia’s Prime Minister Kevin Rudd

Australia's big-four banks, which dominate the home loan sector, include the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA.AU); National Australia Bank (NAB.AU); Westpac Banking Corp. (WBC.AU) and the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd (ANZ.AU).  read more »

Brazil's plan bears vision of forest protector shot to death 20 years ago trying to save the Amazon rain forest

Amazonian landscape, with a shaft of light

“Development” or destruction of the planet? The value of a standing forest could be more than the value of a forest burned and logged in the name of development. How many more trees would be cut, forests burned down in the name of development in days not far behind us, and time ahead?

(quote)

RIO DE JANEIRO — Twenty years ago, a Brazilian environmental activist and rubber tapper was shot to death at his home in Acre State by ranchers opposed to his efforts to save the Amazon rain forest. After his death at age 44, Francisco Alves Mendes, better known as Chico, became a martyr for a concept that is only now gaining mainstream support here: that the value of a standing forest could be more than the value of a forest burned and logged in the name of development.

This month, Brazil took what environmentalists hope will be a big step forward in realizing Mr. Mendes’s vision. The government of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva introduced ambitious targets for reducing deforestation and carbon dioxide emissions in a nation that is one of the world’s top emitters of this heat-trapping gas.

Francisco Alves Mendes, pictured in 1988, was killed by ranchers opposed to his efforts to save the rain forest  read more »

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