Sunday, July 29, 2018

Almost 80% of US workers live from paycheck to paycheck

Why cut off your legs to save your toe? All that does is make it harder
for you to get to the finish line. Well a living is like a car race and so how
are you get to your retirement or even live spending what you earn, if
you can only afford a GEO METRO? Or disabling your car being stupid or
just not being able to afford parts to fix your car. It's an issue!

It's like with your pay it would take you 100 years for you to get there!
And so just think about all those people driving GEO's clogging up the track!
Full of people that can't afford to do better and so everyone in the race
gets slowed down. Overall it takes care of itself in everyone slowing down
doing without makes nothing for others. They will have to fix it sometime!
Where is the growth with a traffic jam? 

How are you to get there walking with no car?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOur3Oyobus

~~~~~Almost 80% of US workers live from paycheck to paycheck. Here's why
Robert Reich

The official rate of unemployment in America has plunged to a remarkably low 3.8%. The Federal Reserve forecasts that the unemployment rate will reach 3.5% by the end of the year.

But the official rate hides more troubling realities: legions of college grads overqualified for their jobs, a growing number of contract workers with no job security, and an army of part-time workers desperate for full-time jobs. Almost 80% of Americans say they live from paycheck to paycheck, many not knowing how big their next one will be.

Blanketing all of this are stagnant wages and vanishing job benefits. The typical American worker now earns around $44,500 a year, not much more than what the typical worker earned in 40 years ago, adjusted for inflation. Although the US economy continues to grow, most of the gains have been going to a relatively few top executives of large companies, financiers, and inventors and owners of digital devices.

America doesn’t have a jobs crisis. It has a good jobs crisis.

When Republicans delivered their $1.5tn tax cut last December they predicted a big wage boost for American workers. Forget it. Wages actually dropped in the second quarter of this year.

Not even the current low rate of unemployment is forcing employers to raise wages. Contrast this with the late 1990s, the last time unemployment dipped close to where it is today, when the portion of national income going into wages was 3% points higher than it is today.

What’s going on? Simply put, the vast majority of American workers have lost just about all their bargaining power. The erosion of that bargaining power is one of the biggest economic stories of the past four decades, yet it’s less about supply and demand than about institutions and politics.

Two fundamental forces have changed the structure of the US economy, directly altering the balance of power between business and labor. The first is the increasing difficulty for workers of joining together in trade unions. The second is the growing ease by which corporations can join together in oligopolies or to form monopolies.

By the mid-1950s more than a third of all private-sector workers in the United States were unionized. In subsequent decades public employees became organized, too. Employers were required by law not just to permit unions but to negotiate in good faith with them. This gave workers significant power to demand better wages, hours, benefits, and working conditions. (Agreements in unionized industries set the benchmarks for the non-unionized).

Yet starting in the 1980s and with increasing ferocity since then, private-sector employers have fought against unions. Ronald Reagan’s decision to fire the nation’s air-traffic controllers, who went on an illegal strike, signaled to private-sector employers that fighting unions was legitimate. A wave of hostile takeovers pushed employers to do whatever was necessary to maximize shareholder returns. Together, they ushered in an era of union-busting.

Employers have been firing workers who attempt to organize, threatening to relocate to more “business friendly” states if companies unionize, mounting campaigns against union votes, and summoning replacement workers when unionized workers strike. Employer groups have lobbied states to enact more so-called “right-to-work” laws that bar unions from requiring dues from workers they represent. A recent supreme court opinion delivered by the court’s five Republican appointees has extended the principle of “right-to-work” to public employees.

Today, fewer than 7% of private-sector workers are unionized, and public-employee unions are in grave jeopardy, not least because of the supreme court ruling. The declining share of total US income going to the middle since the late 1960s – defined as 50% above and 50% below the median – correlates directly with that decline in unionization.

Perhaps even more significantly, the share of total income going to the richest 10 percent of Americans over the last century is almost exactly inversely related to the share of the nation’s workers who are unionized. (See chart below). When it comes to dividing up the pie, most American workers today have little or no say. The pie is growing but they’re getting only the crumbs.

Over the same period time, antitrust enforcement has gone into remission. The US government has essentially given a green light to companies seeking to gain monopoly power over digital platforms and networks (Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook); wanting to merge into giant oligopolies (pharmaceuticals, health insurers, airlines, seed producers, food processors, military contractors, Wall Street banks, internet service providers); or intent on creating local monopolies (food distributors, waste disposal companies, hospitals).

This means workers are spending more on such goods and services than they would were these markets more competitive. It’s exactly as if their paychecks were cut. Concentrated economic power has also given corporations more ability to hold down wages, because workers have less choice of whom to work for. And it has let companies impose on workers provisions that further weaken their bargaining power, such as anti-poaching and mandatory arbitration agreements.

This great shift in bargaining power, from workers to corporations, has pushed a larger portion of national income into profits and a lower portion into wages than at any time since the second world war. In recent years, most of those profits have gone into higher executive pay and higher share prices rather than into new investment or worker pay. Add to this the fact that the richest 10% of Americans own about 80% of all shares of stock (the top 1% owns about 40%), and you get a broader picture of how and why inequality has widened so dramatically.

Another consequence: corporations and wealthy individuals have had more money to pour into political campaigns and lobbying, while labor unions have had far less. In 1978, for example, congressional campaign contributions by labor Political Action Committees were on par with corporate PAC contributions. But since 1980, corporate PAC giving has grown at a much faster clip, and today the gulf is huge.

It is no coincidence that all three branches of the federal government, as well as most state governments, have become more “business-friendly” and less “worker-friendly” than at any time since the 1920s. As I’ve noted, Congress recently slashed the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%. Meanwhile, John Roberts’ supreme court has more often sided with business interests in cases involving labor, the environment, or consumers than has any supreme court since the mid-1930s. Over the past year it not only ruled against public employee unions but also decided that workers cannot join together in class action suits when their employment contract calls for mandatory arbitration. The federal minimum wage has not been increased since 2009, and is now about where it was in 1950 when adjusted for inflation. Trump’s labor department is busily repealing many rules and regulations designed to protect workers.

The combination of high corporate profits and growing corporate political power has created a vicious cycle: higher profits have generated more political influence, which has altered the rules of the game through legislative, congressional, and judicial action – enabling corporations to extract even more profit. The biggest losers, from whom most profits have been extracted, have been average workers.

America’s shift from farm to factory was accompanied by decades of bloody labor conflict.

The shift from factory to office and other sedentary jobs created other social upheaval. The more recent shift in bargaining power from workers to large corporations – and consequentially, the dramatic widening of inequalities of income, wealth, and political power – has had a more unfortunate and, I fear, more lasting consequence: an angry working class vulnerable to demagogues peddling authoritarianism, racism, and xenophobia.
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jul/29/us-economy-workers-paycheck-robert-reich

Saturday, July 28, 2018

How did the Ancients Moved Massive Things



How did they do those things in the past a wonder of engineering...
Engineering, not magical thinking mostly seen as how we engineer 
things today. But back then with so much of it so evenly spread about
without internet, cellphones to connect to. Such a common point of 
engineering in what they where making. A true mystery overall!

~~~~~Solved! How Ancient Egyptians Moved Massive Pyramid Stones
The ancient Egyptians who built the pyramids may have been able to move massive stone blocks across the desert by wetting the sand in front of a contraption built to pull the heavy objects, according to a new study.

Physicists at the University of Amsterdam investigated the forces needed to pull weighty objects on a giant sled over desert sand, and discovered that dampening the sand in front of the primitive device reduces friction on the sled, making it easier to operate. The findings help answer one of the most enduring historical mysteries: how the Egyptians were able to accomplish the seemingly impossible task of constructing the famous pyramids.
https://www.livescience.com/45285-how-egyptians-moved-pyramid-stones.html

Friday, July 27, 2018

How Plants Communicate and Think



Life is bigger than many think. And so it's always gold to stop and look around
at what is going on and so not staring at your phone all the time!
Plants communicate. This is something that points that there is more to life than 
you know, but should seek to find out what else are you missing in life!

~~~~~It’s every plant’s worst nightmare. In the fall of 2009, in a Victorian greenhouse at the Cruickshank Botanic Garden at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, Zdenka Babikova sprinkled vegetation-devouring aphids on eight broad bean plants and sealed each plant’s leaves and stems inside a clear plastic bag. This was no act of malice, though; it was all in the name of science. Babikova, a PhD student at the University of Aberdeen, knew that aphid-infested bean plants release odorous chemicals known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air to warn their neighbors, which respond by emitting different VOCs that repel aphids and attract aphid-hunting wasps. What she didn’t know was whether the plants were also sounding the alarm beneath the soil surface.

Five weeks earlier, Babikova filled eight 30 cm–diameter pots with soil containing Glomus intraradices, a mycorrhizal fungus that connects the roots of plants with its hyphae, the branching filaments that make up the fungal mycelium. Like a subterranean swap meet, these hyphal networks facilitate the trade of nutrients between fungi and plants. In each pot, Babikova planted five broad bean plants: a “donor” plant surrounded by four “receiver” plants. One of the receivers was allowed to form root and mycorrhizal contact with the donor; another formed mycorrhizal contact only, and two more had neither root nor mycorrhizal contact. Once the mycorrhizal networks were well established, Babikova infested the donor plants with aphids and sealed each plant in a separate plastic bag that allowed for the passage of carbon dioxide, water, and water vapor but blocked larger molecules, such as the VOCs used for airborne communication.

Four days later, Babikova placed individual aphids or parasitoid wasps in spherical choice chambers to see how they reacted to the VOC bouquets collected from receiver plants. Sure enough, only plants that had mycorrhizal connections to the infested plant were repellent to aphids and attractive to wasps, an indication that the plants were in fact using their fungal symbionts to send warnings.
https://www.the-scientist.com/features/plant-talk-38209

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

One of my favorite college movies

Being college is about working in a group in a like project class setting.
The movie "Prince of Darkness" sort of fits the college life I had in the 90's.
A group of us would meet in the fireplace lounge like primeval monkeys
finding fire for the first time hanging around the fire with intelligence learning.
https://www.upi.com/Science_News/2018/07/19/Neanderthals-could-start-their-own-fires-new-research-proves/8641532026500

So relating to the part of the movie all of the scientist getting together working it out,
was fitting for my college time. And so the intelligence the movie had for a college
setting!



Causality Violation?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGsv0pJemTY

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causality_(physics)

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

7 Ways To Have An Open Relationship When You're Married

These are the days that many are just getting tired of having or seeing
relationships as for how paranoid they are!
Many stupid things come out of paranoid people.
Much as based like the male ego running loose.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SiFmtwnNUeU

Being open is being fair to others you are with.
Me I love a married women wanting them to be open
about why that is as it has nothing to do with the male ego.
It's like in spiritually a trinity is like three becoming one.
Love is spiritual anyway so you see my point, to become one
and calm! Accepting that road we all ended up on together.

And so you can't have that gold if you all are not open!

~~~~~7 Ways To Have An Open Relationship When You're Married
1. Put it all out on the table.
via GIPHY

If you’ve been curious about making your relationship open, the first and most important thing to do is talk it over with your partner. Sit down at an appropriate time when both of you are calm and have plenty of time to chat.

Be sensitive bringing it up, but be clear and honest with your emotions. Explain why this is something you’d like to try. If they agree, you can take the next step. If not, talk about other ways to evolve your monogamous relationship.

2. Set some ground rules.
The rules couples put in place for their open relationships vary greatly, but are all of equal importance. Once you're sure that you both want to go forward, sit down and make a list of boundaries that both of you are comfortable with. Write them down and talk out all of the details before going forward.

While it’s important to be compromising in a relationship, this isn’t the place to bend-over backward. Make your opinions known and don’t hold back.

Here are some common rules people in open relationships use. But don’t follow these — do what's right for you:

Always practice safe sex outside the relationship.
No sex with mutual friends. Sexual encounters must not interfere with the couple’s customary or planned time together. 
Sex is permissible only when one partner is out of town.
Outside sex is only allowed with advance agreement with one’s lover.
Outside sex is allowed only when both partners participate.
Outside sex is never permitted at home.
Sex is permitted at home, but not in the bedroom.
3. Don’t be afraid to speak up.
via GIPHY

If you make rules that don’t work and you feel unhappy, be sure to leave room for adjustment. No one said the rules had to be set in stone and it may take time to feel out what works best for your relationship. Be patient with each other and the fog will start to clear.

4. Decide what you're comfortable hearing about. 
If you feel the need to spill every detail of your escapades but your partner would rather you keep that to yourself (or vice-versa), you need to discuss those boundaries that make you both comfortable. Ask for the details you want but before you even ask make sure you really want to know.

Maybe you want to know who and when, but is it really necessary to know every detail? If you can handle it and it feels important to you then by all means, ask!

5. Take it one step at a time.
Start out slow. Consider first bringing someone else into your bedroom before you both go out on your own. Either way, be sure to have a frank discussion about each experience before proceeding full-steam ahead.

If it felt right and you’re ready to move forward, you can now do so with more confidence. But if something went awry, identify the root of the problem and work it out before moving on.

6. Don’t cheat.
via GIPHY

Unless your rules explicitly state that your partner wants to know nothing about who you sleep with, remember that cheating is still cheating, even in an open relationship. Holding back the details, even if it’s because you broke a rule and are worried you will hurt your partner, could cause greater problems going forward.

Your open relationship only works because you have trust, and once that’s gone you have nothing.

7. Don’t force the issue.
If it isn’t working for one of you, it isn’t working for both. Whether this means adjusting your rules or stopping outside relations altogether, make the change that is going to make you comfortable.

Open relationships do not work if only one person is happy. You may come to a point where you no longer need the open relationship or you may come to a point where you no longer want to stay in a committed relationship. Whatever your feelings, be open with them.

Open relationships are about working together to make your partnership exactly what you want it to be. If you're honest, communicate frequently and openly and use the tips above you'll go far.
https://www.yourtango.com/20085129/7-tips-beginning-open-relationship

Because of my post number 666 is a ray of light to get over it.



As I say love has no boundaries as so is the point with love to be open
to each other in what, who and why that love is there.
The one makes the many. Love and support in one makes a stable
ground for all!

But about the 666 number? It's just a number in fact 616 is said to

The good wins and is worth the effort. There is the point to ask of what
is it's value to who and so all! 

What is it like to not be open. The paranoid bad life in the love one would hold,
 in that is also holding all around you and others back! That is the hell!

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

I know the vacuum cleaner man he seen my tits



There is that point in life to not live a confined life
because you will just look back at your life to see all you have
missed! The light comes on for you eventually to realize
people are having fun all but you!

What a relief to be able to say openly that it happened and I hope more
people do feel free. Take in that lover of your life because life is short!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

VooDoo Woman, Catnip, Luck in Love Affairs, Blood Moon’ Of The Century



I am a lover so in the point of me burning catnip here and there.
I was wondering what if the Gypsy lady I love at the time did have
Catnip in her pocket?  Oh yes, oh please but it's more than that!
(Humanism, metaphysics, quantum entanglement I don't know!)

"Really important meetings are planned by the souls long before the bodies 
see each other."

"Generally speaking, these meetings occur when we reach a limit, when we 
need to die and be reborn emotionally. These meetings are waiting for us, 
but more often than not, we avoid them happening. If we are desperate, 
though, if we have nothing to lose, or if we are full of enthusiasm for life, 
then the unknown reveals itself, and our universe changes direction."
Paulo Coelho 
https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/203508-really-important-meetings-are-planned-by-the-souls-long-before

So for me I don't know but I see it enough to take it as it is. Life is strange so.... 
I was at the store once and as I came around the aisle there was a lady
with wide eyes laughing at me. She just opened a bag of catnip before I came
around the corner!

VooDoo Woman? What ever it is the intent should be pure about love.
Things that take you higher on a different plane.
Love is for the better of the good and the catnip does what it does so well! So... 
If it helps keep the catnip in your pocket? I'm by your side!
"Attracted to you like a Cat to CATNIP."

It's about that love and Belongingness!
http://walmartramen.blogspot.com/2017/08/her-dog-man-love-and-belongingness.html

~~~~~The Longest Full ‘Blood Moon’ Of The Century Is Happening This Month
On July 27, lucky stargazers will see the longest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century also known as a blood moon. The nearly two-hour total eclipse will be visible to people in parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia, according to NASA.
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/longest-blood-moon-of-century_us_5b47c342e4b022fdcc57aa9d

~~~~~Magickal Uses of Catnip
In Voodoo- CATNIP LEAVES are used by many folks for Luck in Love Affairs. CATNIP is called a Woman’s Love Herb because it is said to make women enticing and charming to thus to make men ready and increase their nature – and for this reason, we hear that women use it to aid in bringing about relations.  If you carry CATNIP in a flannel bag, the man you want will be attracted to you like a Cat to CATNIP. They also say that you can use it in an herbal bath, sprinkle it at the 4 corners of the bed, or burn it with incense to attract a new lover. Another way we have heard to employ it is to soak CATNIP LEAVES in whiskey and sprinkle the liquid on your doorstep for 21 days, starting on the full moon!

Remember that concentrating on your intentions when crafting magickal items imbues that piece with the magick. Catnip is also used in love spells, often as an ingredient in mojo bags or candle magick. Just as the cat finds this herb intoxicating and irresistible, so will the one you target in love magick, using catnip to draw them to you.




http://www.moongiant.com/Full_Moon_New_Moon_Calendar.php
http://herbalriot.tumblr.com/post/65354528719/magical-uses-of-catnip
http://herbalriot.tumblr.com/post/67666214156/magickal-uses-of-catnip

http://walmartramen.blogspot.com/2014/12/healing-with-catnip.html

Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Skills Gap is Costing Companies... Why?



When will there be time or money for a education to have better job skills?


As everything nothing stays the same! The job markets are looking to go higher.
But at the bottom High schools struggle with cuts to their funding.
But also is the deficient unsustainable living in towns shown by the masses
walking with no cars, all around bad quality of live. Make nothing, have nothing!
If you have nothing you can't get ahead as like getting the job skills it takes education
and so that cost money. As like getting good credit it takes money, you have to
buy something! And so many states are about neglect. Making it hard on the poor
without asking what will that do? Are the able to ask? Well I mean you will have to
think sometime. What is all of those people going to do to the labor force.
Why disable the labor force with people with no cars walking to work.
How are they to get the job skills?

Trump is making things bad for us and all. States are feelling free to be fascist
toward their own people. Neglect, where is the welfare of the people?
It's in the pockets of the stock investors corporations going up only
to be pulled down by the poor that can't afford their job skills.
If you have nothing you have nothing! Don't expect anything!
If the workers can't take care of themselves from neglect then how
are they to take care of the workplace?

~~~~~The Skills Gap is Costing Companies Nearly $1 Million Annually, According to New CareerBuilder Survey. "Workers say they are lagging behind. Those doing the hiring are not the only ones noticing the issue. 1 in 5 workers (20 percent) say their professional skills are not up to date. Fifty-seven percent of workers reported that they want to learn a new skillset to land a better-paying, more fulfilling job, but half of them said they can't afford to do so."
http://press.careerbuilder.com/2017-04-13-The-Skills-Gap-is-Costing-Companies-Nearly-1-Million-Annually-According-to-New-CareerBuilder-Survey

~~~~~House Speaker Paul Ryan said Thursday the current four-year college system leads to "mountains of debt" and not enough of the technical skills needed in today's workforce."
https://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2018/07/12/Paul-Ryan-American-workforce-needs-more-technical-skills/8081531421272

But as you know you get what you pay for. What do you expect from a brain surgeon
that got his Medical degree, Neurosurgery residency and so from a JR college?
What will that DR do to the job market for his profession? Like not joining a union
you get the lowest pay you can with no one seeing you get better so you get worst!
And so the worst is quicksand bringing others down also!

~~~~~Why Corporate America is recruiting high schoolers
Since 2011, more than 400 companies have partnered with 79 public high schools across the country to offer a six-year program called P-Tech. Students can enroll for grades 9 to 14 and earn both a high school and an associate's degree in a science, tech, engineering or math related field.

The companies offer input on the curriculum, bring students on site, pair them with employee mentors, and offer paid internships, or some combination of the above.

"There's a war for talent across all our competitors. We know we're going to need a lot of different pathways to bring talent in," said Jennifer Ryan Crozier, president of the IBM Foundation.

IBM was the first to try out the P-Tech model, working with a high school in Brooklyn and the City University of New York.

Since then, energy companies National Grid and Con Edison have partnered with another school in New York City, as has Montefiore Medical Center. Both Motorola and Verizon work with schools in Chicago and Dow Chemical will start working with a new program in Louisiana in the fall — to name a few.

Connecticut, Maryland, Rhode Island, Colorado, and Texas also have P-Tech schools, and state funding has been set aside to open some in California in 2019.

P-tech schools are a modern version of what were once commonly known as vocational schools. But unlike those of the past, which sometimes became a "dumping ground for less-academic kids," newer career and technical programs are careful not to close off a pathway to college, said Brian Jacob, a professor of education policy and economics at the University of Michigan.

Instead, they aim to prepare students for both a career and higher education.

In fact, a majority of P-Tech's early graduates have chosen to pursue a bachelor's degree rather than jump immediately into the workforce.

Employers know they are playing the long game.

"This is about preparing the next generation of the workforce," Crozier said. "It's not a short-term fix for roles we have open today," she said.
https://money.cnn.com/2018/07/10/news/companies/ibm-tech-schools/index.html

Noting vocational schools. But unlike those of the past, which sometimes became a "dumping ground for less-academic kids," was because many small towns had no foundation for learning and school finding was cut more. The kids would of been better with education but was deprived!

It's not that they are stupid it's that they could never afford their education in the 
first place. Everything was low so low is what they got! So many kids went into vocational schools to pick up on what they missed because their school didn't cover what they needed for college. There is the bottom also of their parents not being able to read and or just having the time for their kid. Many in small towns can not afford preschool, daycare  where kids have the resources to learn to read so they come into school ready! If you don't then you are behind!

Or like a Abandoned child syndrome or like Asperger Syndrome type of lifestyle,
resulting from their parents working all night, sleeping all day.
From the neglect of no time or just being broke with no security!
Well it's true and all of those things do need to be looked at when
you get pushing for more job skills in people. Are they able to?
What needs to be fixed? The point is to think! Rise the pay make a foundation!

Checkout counter sensors, monitor Customers, Employees and Shoplifters



There has been a issue Walmart spying on their workers, shoppers and shoplifters.
Mostly from their data centers. Walmart Area 71 and their data center in
northern Colorado Springs. It's known about Walmart's face recognition.
Body movement alert recognition parking lot, etc and more than I know!
But what is known is shown by what others know and from relating to
other technologies.

"If several items are taken from a cologne display, the smart display system triggers a flag that immediately sends a preventative message via email or text to a loss prevention person in the store who may be able to stop theives before they leave the store,"
https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/229674

Shopping is not the way it used to be. Many stores I am sure have the same
technology. But for the workers it's bad to have big brother watching you.
And for the shoppers to be recognized and for the shoplifters to be known,
is a bugger when you think about it.

When I shop at Walmart I was aware of the shoplifter spying on Walmart does.
There was a few times I acted like I was shoplifting something like putting
my hands in the shelf like I was doing something. Knowing it would set
a red flag at a data center somewhere! And or wave at the cameras sometimes!
Walmart will do what it wants in that so it was best to let them I knew.
I would like to see more people doing it like to say we know what you are doing
where not going to take it!

Are you ready for this?!

~~~~~Walmart patents tech that would allow it to eavesdrop on cashiers
Checkout counter sensors, if implemented, could let chain monitor customer interactions and track employee performance.

Walmart has patented surveillance technology that would allow it to spy on employees’ conversations with customers and use the audio to measure workplace performance.

The patent for “sound sensors” that could be installed at checkout is the latest example of controversial workplace surveillance technology and automated systems that purport to quantify and increase employees’ productivity. The filing comes at a time in which the US retail giant is facing growing competition from Amazon, which completed a $14bn acquisition of Whole Foods last year.

The patent filed this week described a system of sensors “distributed throughout at least a portion of a shopping facility”. Audio of both workers and customers could potentially be used to determine “if employees are performing their jobs efficiently and correctly” and aid in increased “cost savings” and “guest satisfaction”, the document said.

Walmart said in a statement that the patent is a “concept that would help us gather metrics and improve the checkout process by listening to sounds produced by the bags, carts and cash registers and not intended for any other use”, adding: “We file patents frequently but that doesn’t mean the patents will actually be implemented. We’re always thinking about new concepts and ways that will help us further enhance how we serve customers.”

The system, the filing said, could record “beeps” on the scanner to measure the number of items purchased; the “rustling of bags” to determine the number used; the sounds of “guests talking while waiting in line” to measure the length of the wait; and the “audio of conversations between guests and an employee” to gauge whether workers were greeting guests.

In recent years, there have been escalating concerns about employers monitoring workers, with critics questioning the effectiveness of this technology. Some research has suggested that excessive monitoring could lead to decreased efficiency, as BuzzFeed reported.

There have also been growing criticisms about the surveillance leading to potential privacy and labor rights’ violations. Walmart has long faced criticisms over its treatment of employees, including complaints about wages, working conditions, anti-union tactics and discrimination.
https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/jul/12/walmart-surveillance-sound-sensors-employees

~~~~~Walmart’s Use of Sci-fi Tech To Spot Shoplifters Raises Privacy Questions
In the old days, when a store caught someone stealing, a detective would march the thief to a backroom and take his picture with a Polaroid camera. The photo would be added to the retailer’s in-house rogues gallery to help store security keep an eye out for bad guys.

But earlier this year, Walmart (WMT) showed how times have changed. It tested a system that scanned the face of everyone entering several of its stores, identified suspected shoplifters, and instantly alerted store security on their mobile devices.

The potential of such facial recognition technology has been discussed for years. But now some stores are actually using it.

Walmart’s experiment, which it ended after several months, highlights the powerful high-tech tools available to retailers to reduce theft. However, it also raises questions about whether stores should have to follow rules when using the technology to protect shoppers’ privacy.

“Put a grid on their face”

Joe Rosenkrantz, CEO of FaceFirst, a Southern California company that sells a facial recognition system to retailers, promises to “transform security at every store.” He says FaceFirst software is being used by several Fortune 500 retailers, which he declined to name because on non-disclosure agreements.

“The system is smart enough to notify a loss prevention associate on their iPhone within seven seconds,” says Rosenkrantz,

The automated notifications can include a profile of the suspect, as well as a “corporate directive” of how to respond. All store security has to do is scout the aisles to find the person in question and confront them.

Retailers using FaceFirst do not, however, save a photo record of everyone coming in the store. Instead, the software is set to find matches against an existing gallery of alleged offenders. Images of innocent shoppers are discarded. Stores only retain photos of suspects (or people who resemble them) who security staff have previously flagged.

“We give them a mobile app,” says Rosenkrantz. “It makes it so they can zap someone’s face. It puts a grid on their face [for future identification]”

Images from FaceFirst’s marketing material show how this might work in practice. Here is a screenshot from its brochure for retailers (the company also sells software to law enforcement and the military):

Screenshot of FaceFirst brochure
Here is another image from the same brochure, which depicts how the technology can match an image of someone who enters a store against the store’s database, and then transmit the relevant information to a computer or phone:

So who is actually using FaceFirst? The topic is a sensitive one and retailers are skittish about discussing it.

A handful of national retailers contacted by Fortune revealed little: Home Depot says it does not use face scanning software. Walgreens says it has no contract with FaceFirst, and added it does not discuss specific security measures. Target, meanwhile, would not confirm or deny if the company uses the software.

The only company that acknowledged using the software was Walmart. According to a spokesperson, the retailer tested facial recognition software in stores across several states for several months, but then discontinued the practice earlier this year.

“We were looking for a concrete business rationale … It didn’t have the ROI,” or return on investment, the spokesperson says.

The explanation suggests that any savings Walmart had by reducing shoplifting failed to offset the cost of deploying and using the technology. The company declined to discuss any specifics about how many suspected shoplifters it identified or describe the accuracy of the software.

Biometrics and who owns your face

Facial recognition software is hardly new. Casinos have used it for years as has the military and law enforcement, but it has remained controversial A program giving facial recognition-equipped iPads and smartphones to all San Diego police officers is under scrutiny, in part due to a New York Times report that suggested police may be forcing innocent people to be scanned.

Meanwhile, tech giants like Facebook (FB) and Google are becoming increasingly accurate at automatic face “tagging.” Their computers learn to recognize individuals based on certain features in their face by creating a “faceprint.” The services can then prompt users to identify people in social media photos. In some cases like Facebook’s “Moments”, they simply add names to faces automatically.

However, not everyone is comfortable with companies using their face like this. In Illinois, consumers have filed class action suits against Facebook and photo-service Shutterfly for violating a state law related to biometrics. In European countries and Canada, meanwhile, automated photo tagging features are unavailable because regulators are uneasy about their privacy implications.

Such controversies over facial recognition could become more common. The reason is that the technology has improved significantly in recent years, leading more companies to adopt it for consumer purposes. Although the technology is most commonly used by retailers for detecting shoplifters, some stores are exploring whether facial recognition could serve as a way to identify and reward loyal customers. Indeed, a site called “Facedeals” invites people to submit a scan of their face in return for discounts from local businesses.

Despite the marketing, however, the accuracy of facial recognition in retail stores is unclear. While Rosenkrantz, of FaceFirst, says his company’s software is accurate in the 98% to 100% range, others are skeptical. A source familiar with experiments by major retailers and unaffiliated with FaceFirst says that companies have concluded that facial recognition is “not ready for prime time.”

This may because computer computers can have trouble recognizing faces when shadows obscure them or when people wear hats or glasses. The success rate also depends on having good quality photos of suspects to compare to. In the case of retailers, FaceFirst offers to help its clients build an initial database of suspects based on a store’s existing photo records (including Polaroids).

Whatever the state of the technology, however, U.S. retailers are likely to continue their experiments, especially as there are few laws that prevent them from doing so.

Legal vacuum

“The whole issue of facial recognition and biometrics has been discussed for a while, and there’s no consensus of how the privacy structure should work,” says Jeffrey Neuburger, a lawyer who heads the privacy and data security group at Proskauer in New York.

He explained that the debate turns on whether companies must notify shoppers that they are using the technology, or offer opt-out options. However, an initiative to create rules fell apart last summer when nine privacy groups quit a Commerce Department working group, saying industry would not agree to even basic boundaries on facial recognition. Since then, civil liberties groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation continue to decry the lack of oversight.

A spokesperson for the the Commerce Department group that is overseeing the policy process said in a statement: “While NTIA is disappointed that some stakeholders chose to stop participating in this effort aimed at developing a privacy code of conduct related to commercial uses of facial recognition technology, other stakeholders told NTIA that they want to continue to make progress on this issue and so the process is moving forward. In response, NTIA held a meeting on July 28, and we expect to convene another meeting in December or early January.”

As for Wal-Mart, the company declined to comment on the privacy implications of the technology.

The upshot is that, for now, companies have more or less free rein to operate as they wish in the U.S. when it comes to using facial recognition tools. The only exceptions are Illinois and Texas, where state laws limit collection of biometric data. California, which is typically active on consumer privacy issues, is considering a bill that would prevent online vendors from collecting students’ biometric information, but does not have more wide-ranging laws.

As for the federal government, Neuburger says the Federal Trade Commission could conceivably try to regulate the industry under its unfair trade practice authority, but that the agency is not able to create news laws on its own. Meanwhile, he says Congress is unlikely to pass sweeping laws about privacy and facial recognition anytime soon.

“I don’t think people are fully aware of it,” Neuburger says. “People see tagging in Facebook and Shutterfly. But I don’t think they’re fully aware that when they walk into a retailer, their face might be scanned and added to a database.”
http://fortune.com/2015/11/09/wal-mart-facial-recognition

~~~~~Former Wal-Mart Worker Blows Whistle on Company Surveillance Operation, Spying of Critics
A former worker at Wal-Mart is claiming the retail giant is running a sophisticated surveillance operation that targets employees, journalists, stockholders and critics. The worker, Bruce Gabbard, says the retail giant spied on employees, journalists, stockholders and critics of the company. We speak with the Wall Street Journal reporter who broke the story. [includes rush transcript]
https://www.democracynow.org/2007/4/6/former_wal_mart_worker_blows_whistle

Info on Walmarts data centers.
http://walmartramen.blogspot.com/2013/11/walmart-area-71-and-secerets-and-beyond.html

Monday, July 9, 2018

Biggest Protest Ever For, Roe v. Wade, Health Care Rights...



Why would people like to loose 45 years of rights Roe v. Wade because a few
ignorant people wanting to be codependent with hardships discriminating others
because it's their rights but not others rights.
Why cut off your legs to save your toe without asking why it was like that 
in the first place? Like it happens out of the blue for no reason. 
Well I would like to know so I don't have to cut off my legs. 
Unless you like cutting off your legs enjoying your misery too much that people
do but they expect you to do the same. Like the one legged wolf caught in a trap! 

You don't need those rights you can do without just like we do!
In that thinking never ends well as you live like a small town so you will have nothing 
like they have nothing! So small and extinct you will be not sustainable, going
backwards as you can't go forward by taking away the steps.
Steps like rights, higher wages, things that bring you up.
There is always a time to be brought up and you can't if you take it
away from yourself and others.

Over some small group of religious groups and communities that can't even follow
their own rules. Render to Caesar but has a tax exemption. If they can't follow
their own rules then how are you to follow them. Yet have them make laws for you
to cater to the few? It's like having people like this making rules for you!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cP2mpo6jvhQ

Keep your Church out of Business! Really there is a Separation of Church and state.
The Treaty of Tripoli Noting the value of America from 1797!
Businesses are not a church they are a business that makes money and not a
market in the church pushing for that cleansing of the temple when things get
to stupid that time comes. A Church should stay in the Church you are to deside
partly because you are not god and so why should you make decisions for him?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roe_v._Wade
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Tripoli
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cleansing_of_the_Temple

Trump’s Nominee To The Supreme Court will not be liked by all the people
that do not want their rights taken away from them.
So I do see a massive protest to say so!

~~~~~He also dissented with the majority in Priests for Life v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, arguing that the Obama administration had imposed a “substantial burden” on the rights of religious groups by requiring them to include birth control coverage in their health insurance plans.

A former law clerk for Kavanaugh who now works for the anti-abortion legal group Thomas More Society wrote in an op-ed that Kavanaugh is the strongest possible choice for a president who hopes to overturn Roe.

Kavanaugh ‘Has Written Almost Entirely In Favor Of Big Businesses’
Kavanaugh’s hundreds of opinions in his 12 years on the appeals court have been reliably conservative.

Kavanaugh “has written almost entirely in favor of big businesses, employers in employment disputes, and against defendants in criminal cases,” noted Adam Feldman, a lawyer who publishes the Supreme Court analysis blog Empirical SCOTUS.

Kavanaugh was also a consistently vocal critic of President Barack Obama’s environmental protection rules. But two of his opinions upheld Obama’s signature legislation, the Affordable Care Act. However, he did later rule in support of religious organizations in a separate case against the ACA.
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/brett-kavanaugh-supreme-court-nominee_us_5b3e9f32e4b09e4a8b2b5847

Friday, July 6, 2018

Stupid People and Fireflies, Mistaking Them for Alien Lasers



Such a good point in life how to do better, a point to grow!
And so to think about those things that have more meaning in your life. 
Not to wonder aimlessly, "It's a rare, rare, rare thing!" Something my
old lady has been saying a lot lately. She also keeps seeing the clock and it
happens to be on 4:44! I have a recurring number 48 for me.
I have a few red strings of fate with people also. My old lady is connected to me.
Walking to my car once I tripped and when I did she did also like my string
pulled on her. She worked in the town my other red string connections also
worked in or was at, so in reality I have to note it's worth. 

But on the part of taking Psychedelics you need to be thinking about it
to learn about it. Whats the value of it.. At least think about it, just think!

~~~~~Police: Pair high on bath salts fired gun at fireflies, mistaking them for alien lasers. Suspected bath salts, green lasers, and fireflies -- State Police say they're all part of this story that put two people in jail.

Troopers say 30-year-old Jesse Shields and 22-year-old Katherine McCloskey were high on suspected bath salts during a bizarre chain of events early Saturday morning. According to investigators, the pair from Clinton County had a "bad trip" and thought that fireflies were green lasers coming from aliens who were after them.

State Police say Shields fired his revolver in the air to scare away the lasers and then ran to a nearby home on Long Run Road in Lamar Township, where he asked the homeowner to call the cops because something was chasing them.
https://newsok.com/article/5600510/police-pair-high-on-bath-salts-fired-gun-at-fireflies-mistaking-them-for-alien-lasers

Red String of Fate unseen still there.



The two people connected by the red thread are destined lovers, regardless of place, time, or circumstances. This magical cord may stretch or tangle, but never break. This myth is similar to the Western concept of soulmate or a destined flame.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_thread_of_fate

Noting the "regardless of place, time" part. If it was in the past it is.
And so if it is a coincidence over, and over, and over again it's not a
coincidence. If it was it still is, as it's still there being is!

True! The String Theory short film points to that also in strange ways
to me, being the Ramen on the film. The year it was made etc.
A good point I had nothing to do with. It's there accept it!
It's a Galaxy thing again!

Thursday, July 5, 2018

WalmartRamen BIO / Who is:

Who am I? I am a Think tank for the rights of others.
Well because of my road in my life all relating to all a real form of 
deeper learning. And being a INFJ it is just normal for me to scan all
around me to see the obvious from the redundant circle of life, a trap.
Just be more alert to what effects what or who. Cause and effect!

When I was in school I got bugged about my teacher so I went to the principal 
to gripe that the teacher was not teaching me enough. I liked her but I needed more
than I was getting and it bugged me. I questioned my education and so that 
was a normal thing for me to do being it was my education not hers or others. 
I am not them, I am me and I need to know. Question everything!

Relating to the times of school and to put a light on things I guess.
I have to mention that when I was a kid my "Object Permanence" happened
far sooner than expected. I am advanced in that cognitive stage when I was a kid.
I remember playing ball and slightly seeing the ball go under a couch.
I knew it was out of sight so it was gone to me but also knew it went under there.
My first paradox in life!

So I put my hand under the couch not sure if my hand would disappear and I felt
something and I pulled it out and when I looked at it. It was my ball and at that
moment it set off a something like a seizure. I remember shaking bad, like my 
neurons had a massive connection wire up at that moment, like a PC reboot. 
Boom, boom norm, just like that. 

I also have Multiple intelligence's, Deep learning.
I am a  A Visual Thinker. I have photographic memory or sort of being
able to retrieve it from my memory at will and examine it in detail.

I have Mental rotation ability / Visual Spatial Intelligence.
My dad was a oil engineer so as with drafting maps you have that
ability or you don't, I do! So seeing my dad showing a few of his maps
I was able to see it.

I am INFJ mixed in a few parts with INTJ but I am more in INFJ! 
It's not surprising for me. Still funny that it fits my nature.
" INFJs are the rarest type, and make up about 1–3% of the 
general population."

Back when I was 7+ I think, a homeless guy gave me something like LSD
or something. Well I tripped out and saw the Machine Elves.
They attacked me with knowledge and I mean attacked! I was taking the
knowledge in when they started to question and hold back when they
stopped and asked me if I could take this it's a life time of knowledge / advanced.
I was upset that they stopped and wanting to know why they stopped being
concerned about my well being when they attacked me with knowledge
in the first place. We went on. Keep in mind I was 7+ I think, so to me I see the 
point Terence McKenna was talking about. So to me I see it as having a better OS!

And from where I have been I just burn catnip now I have been there 
already at 7+ and from my past loves of my High School girlfriend being 
a EX teenage prostitute pimped not of her will! A hair dresser that barfed
on the first date taking me to a gay bar because she felt safe there after 
testifying against a biker gang that made her sleep with a frozen pig I think!
A college girlfriend who saw her last boyfriend blanking her mom in
the blank and saw it like a plunger going back and forth. Blacked out
and walked all the way to the middle school to get her younger sister
only to wake up in a fetal position in her sisters gym not knowing how 
she got there! On and on... Do I need LSD? No not really!
https://walmartramen.blogspot.com/2015/05/where-have-i-been-mirror-mirror.html

I am a lover of life and I know it's worth it! That is the point of all!

“Nature loves courage. You make the commitment and nature will respond to that commitment by removing impossible obstacles. Dream the impossible dream and the world will not grind you under, it will lift you up. This is the trick. This is what all these teachers and philosophers who really counted, who really touched the alchemical gold, this is what they understood. This is the shamanic dance in the  waterfall. This is how magic is done. By hurling yourself into the abyss and discovering its a feather bed.”
– Terence McKenna
http://visualmelt.com/Terence-Mckenna

I have a past life memory as a fish!
A Pikaia from the Cambrian Period and more? Well yes I do!
I also point of my past life memory relating to Cuttlefish behavior.
because relating my personality trait of plasticity! I change to needs and
I'm entertaining in a challenge. Might be the same as the Cuttlefish
relating to my past life into today?

I seen a guy put gas on himself and get burned up in his car on a bridge.
Seen a kid get killed by a donkey I was to young to know was death was.

And because of all that is in my life, I have earned it to be like I am.
Keep that in mind, I got hit by a car doing 45 mph with me on a moped 
and made it! So I may not take things people think as serious, seriously!
It's not serious to me! Life is too short really to be serious!
Protected destiny? Destiny yes a have a few I tend to meet people before 
I meet them. I put it as a red string of fate, soulmates, meaningful things!
I seen many strange things in my life so I believe it.

I have a few famous family members in my life. One was NASA pioneer
on APOLLO 1 fire working on cabin pressure. Yes the team he was on had 
a accident but back then they didn't know it was a all new thing to do back then!

Burred in my family is also a famous musician that was on cocaine in the 80's.
A one that was partly reasonable for the New York City blackout of 1977.
A loose nut! Who knew! Even my mom wiped out a corporation in the 50's.
She was their only bookkeeper and she misplaced a dot, so came tax day
and the place had way overspent! 

I met DIO, my friend had a relative that was in the band DIO.
Me and my friend where riding our bikes at ORU tulsa and DIO was
playing in Oklahoma at the time. His relative was looking for him and
his mom said we where at ORU riding bikes.
So he took his white limo to ORU and found us!

They put our bikes in the back of the limo and we got a ride with the band
back home. Yes I met Ronny James Dio he was not happy about having a
white limo because the black ones where all used up for funerals white was
all they had. "The prince of darkness does not drive up in a white limo!"
He was kind of not happy he was in a white limo and being at ORU!
"Is this ok?" Funny!

He asked me about my famous family member and he kind of insulted him / me
on the fact of the cocaine use he had at the time.
"Too bad... If one of my band mates used the drug they would be fired.",
"Where is he anyway?" (No one knew at the time!)

So about me? I am my own. I have the background to think as a tank.
There is too much to say just read!


~~~~~Research / Data and Information is all found at:
http://walmartramen.blogspot.com

http://www.youtube.com/walmartramen

http://www.youtube.com/user/walmartramen/playlists

https://www.facebook.com/wmart.ramen

https://twitter.com/WmartR






Photos:
https://goo.gl/photos/ZXoDMdNenWwdytJ17

About:
https://walmartramen.blogspot.com/2013/11/its-never-too-late.html

https://walmartramen.blogspot.com/2013/10/it-is-time-walmart-ramen-urges-push-for.html

http://walmartramen.blogspot.com/2017/09/where-have-i-been-mirror-mirror-on-rocks.html

http://walmartramen.blogspot.com/2014/12/my-middle-school-best-time-of-my-life-84.html

http://walmartramen.blogspot.com/2015/10/my-college-years-1990s-and-college-stuff.html

http://walmartramen.blogspot.com/2014/02/banquet-servers.html

http://walmartramen.blogspot.com/2018/07/walmartramen-bio-who-is.html

WalmartRamen, Links, Info

I need to note that you should not see me as a News site!
I am a "Think Tank" a muse for News sites, like a Adjunct professor 
a Ghost writer of the internet.

My BIO!
http://walmartramen.blogspot.com/2018/07/walmartramen-bio-who-is.html

You might see a point here and there on something on other news sites or on
TV, it's not me but from something from my works.

I put in what I know or what I learned from others.
Humanistic Psychology, Quantum theory, Chaos theory, Drug classes (addictions)
Deviant behavior etc... So what I know I use! 
Noted in the point of "Deeper Learning!" 

And so I should say don't be like me as I have many things in my background
that relates, to other things that relates to other issues in life!

And it's about life!
"Life is too short. It's best to be open with each other!
In 1985 I got hit by a car doing 45 mph on a moped doing 0 mph!
I'm still here! Be open and love!"

Don't fear!



~~~~~Research / Data and Information is all found at:
http://walmartramen.blogspot.com

http://www.youtube.com/walmartramen

http://www.youtube.com/user/walmartramen/playlists

https://www.facebook.com/wmart.ramen

https://twitter.com/WmartR






Photos:
https://goo.gl/photos/ZXoDMdNenWwdytJ17

About:
https://walmartramen.blogspot.com/2013/11/its-never-too-late.html

https://walmartramen.blogspot.com/2013/10/it-is-time-walmart-ramen-urges-push-for.html

http://walmartramen.blogspot.com/2017/09/where-have-i-been-mirror-mirror-on-rocks.html

http://walmartramen.blogspot.com/2014/12/my-middle-school-best-time-of-my-life-84.html

http://walmartramen.blogspot.com/2015/10/my-college-years-1990s-and-college-stuff.html

http://walmartramen.blogspot.com/2014/02/banquet-servers.html

http://walmartramen.blogspot.com/2018/07/walmartramen-bio-who-is.html

Republicans made Obamacare expensive - General welfare clause, Not!

Why have that high dollar Obamacare that the Republicans made so high
by not letting it be less expensive. Only to offer a lower cost insurance
that does not cover your medicines that many can't afford to get mostly
like me that only has $6 left in the bank before payday.
"Has insurance, can't afford to use it." Why? Who won't help you?
Republicans are bragging for something they did not letting the help
get to the people that needs it to have Obamacare.

Republicans are about neglect. Neglect their people.
Where is that "For the welfare for the people?"
The General welfare clause putting into healthcare to not have
a cost of uninsured plus the cost to the economy with unstainable
workers doing without. Pushing their self-sufficient life of nothing
as they make nothing so they have nothing making nothing for anyone!
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_welfare_clause

People enjoy their misery too much, they like it that way and is why it's 
like that in the first place otherwise they would change it if they didn't like it!
And that cost others, the expecting others to cut off their leg to save
their toes just like they do. Like a one legged wolf caught in a trap!
https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/04/existential-anxiety-not-poverty-motivates-trump-support/558674

Neglect It shows in their personal life not
sustainable, their home is falling apart, their truck is ready to blow it's
timing chain to be on the side of the road and all of neglect heading
for a correction. There is always a need to be brought up.
It gets daunting living without the AC because you can't afford to use it.
All of that neglect effects you and so from you into the economy as
you work heat soaked tired un supported and working as such.
Workplaces are like, "If they can't take care of themselves then how are they
to take care of the workplace?" While the worker is struggling to live,
so they don't as they are not able to keep it up forever. Neglect!!!

Obamacare puts back into the economy as it makes sustainable workers
that work to give value to the company they work for.
Vs a bunch of uninsured workers that can't even take of themselves
yet the workplace.

"The country that is more developed industrially only shows, to the less developed,
the image of its own future." - Karl Marx

~~~~~Obamacare Sabotage Is Working, Trump Administration Is Outraged To Learn
The Trump administration is so concerned that the Affordable Care Act is failing that it wants the program to fail even more.

On Monday the Department of Health and Human Services released a report on insurance coverage trends for people who obtain coverage on their own rather than through employers. Although the report provided a broad overview of enrollment trends, as previous agency reports have, this brief focused much more heavily on one group: people who buy private plans without the help of federal tax credits that the Affordable Care Act has made available.

Mostly, these are people who make more than four times the poverty line, or roughly $49,000 a year for an individual or $100,000 a year for a family of four, because that’s the income cutoff for the tax credits. They get their insurance through a variety of sources ― in some cases through HealthCare.gov or one of the state-run exchanges like Covered California and in other cases through brokers, privately run websites or directly from insurers.

Average monthly enrollment among people in this group fell by 20 percent from 2016 to 2017, HHS found. That works out to about 1.3 million fewer people buying unsubsidized private coverage. The government’s findings are broadly similar to the results of a study that researchers at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, using data from the consulting firm Mark Farrah Associates, unveiled last week. 

This trend toward declining coverage among unsubsidized buyers is worrisome. It’s consistent with a broader story that close observers of the health care system have understood for some time ― namely, that the impact of the Affordable Care Act varies a lot depending on where you live and, especially, how much money you make.

A central question in health care policy right now is what to do for those people who are really struggling.

How Obamacare Works ― And Doesn’t Work
The basic idea behind the Affordable Care Act’s regulation of private coverage was to upgrade the policies available to people who buy policies on their own, to take care of people who couldn’t get or afford decent coverage before. That meant prohibiting insurers from charging higher premiums or denying coverage to people with existing conditions. It also meant requiring that all policies limit out-of-pocket expenses and include 10 essential benefits, including mental health and maternity care.

These changes, though popular, have necessarily made insurance more expensive, because they mean insurers must pay medical bills they were once able to avoid. By design, the new federal tax credits offset that effect, in much the same way that people with job-based health benefits get an indirect tax subsidy through their employers.

The majority of Americans buying coverage on their own qualify for those subsidies and, by and large, they’re doing OK. They are finding insurance, sometimes for dirt cheap or even no cost at all, and it’s helping them get care they need, even if they live with diabetes, survived cancer or have other medical issues that would have disqualified them from coverage in the old days.

But the minority of consumers who don’t qualify for assistance ― that is, the ones the HHS report spotlights ― have to pay full price for coverage that, for many of them, is simply more expensive than they can afford.

These people aren’t poor, but in many cases they aren’t rich either. Some would have to fork over one-fifth of their income for premiums, not even accounting for the out-of-pocket costs they face with virtually every instance of medical treatment. (Deductibles on some family plans exceed $10,000.) Many people are dropping coverage rather than pay such high rates.

How Neglect And Sabotage Affected The Program
Republicans have long used stories of people struggling with these premiums to attack Obamacare, and on Monday, Seema Verma, the administration official who oversees Affordable Care Act implementation, did just that, saying the new figures are proof that the law is failing consumers and that some markets are in the throes of a “death spiral.”

“The market is NOT WORKING for the unsubsidized,” she said in a tweet.

Almost nobody, not even the law’s most ardent defenders, disputes that the law has real and serious shortcomings ― or that those shortcomings have meant sky-high premiums for some people, especially those whose incomes are just above the threshold to qualify for assistance.

Progressive analysts and even some Democrats worried a lot about this in 2009 and 2010, when the program was coming together in Congress. Some pushed, unsuccessfully, to make the tax credits more generous and available to more people ― precisely to make sure consumers didn’t get stuck with premiums they couldn’t handle.

But design flaws in the Affordable Care Act are by no means the full story here. Almost from Day One, the law has been subject to neglect and sabotage by Republican officials. In states like Florida, state-level Republicans refused to promote enrollment and in some cases issued regulations that made outreach even more difficult. In states like Iowa and Tennessee, GOP officials made it easy for insurers to keep offering plans that didn’t comply with the Affordable Care Act’s rules. This reliably drew healthy customers away from comprehensive plans, forcing insurers to raise prices for those plans and depressing enrollment.

In Washington, Republicans in Congress gutted funding for a risk corridor program that was supposed to let insurers absorb losses in early years. That dealt a heavy blow to insurers, knocking some out of the market.

And that was all before Donald Trump took office. Since early 2017, even as efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act have faltered, the administration has cut funding for outreach (and is proposing to further cut it next year) while yanking a special set of payments that reimburse insurers for plans they offer for the lowest-income consumers.

Probably the single biggest blow came late last year, when Republicans passed and Trump signed a tax bill targeting the individual mandate, which requires people to have coverage or face a financial penalty. That penalty, which the tax bill will reduce to zero, is supposed to induce healthy people to get coverage, thereby stabilizing markets and allowing insurers to keep premiums lower. Insurers across the country have already proposed extra premium increases for 2019, when the penalty zeroes out, because they expect to get fewer healthier customers.

Not all GOP sabotage efforts worked out as intended. And the program has in many respects proved surprisingly resilient, which is why, absent a full repeal, millions will continue to get financial security and health care because of it.

But the overall effect has been to weaken the program and make insurance more expensive for the unsubsidized.

Yes, that’s the very problem Verma was bemoaning on Monday.

What The Trump Administration Will Do Next
And things will almost surely get worse next year because of another regulatory change the administration is about to introduce. Sometime this month, HHS is expected to finalize a rule that will loosen restrictions on short-term insurance plans that, like the old plans, usually lack key benefits and aren’t available to people with existing conditions. 

The original idea of short-term plans was to provide stopgaps for people with coverage lapses. Once the rule change is in place, more people will be able to use these plans as a substitute for year-round insurance ― in other words, as their primary way of paying medical bills.

Verma and other Trump administrations officials say these plans are a form of relief, because, after all, they will be a lot cheaper than the coverage available today. In addition, some of those unsubsidized people currently priced out of coverage will start buying these plans and be better off than if they had no insurance at all.

But the short-term plans will have many benefit holes. Most of the ones available now don’t even cover prescriptions. As a result, anybody who needs medical attention could face staggering, potentially ruinous medical bills with one of these plans.

And of course, the plans will be available only to people who don’t have existing conditions. About 1 in 4 nonelderly adults has a condition that would trigger coverage denial, Kaiser Foundation researchers concluded.

The promotion of short-term plans is emblematic of the GOP’s general approach to health care, which is to scale back or eliminate the requirements for what insurance covers. This frees up insurers to offer cheap, skimpy plans that are attractive to people in relatively good health while transferring the financial burden for medical problems onto those who get sick.

Alternatives exist. Democrats have talked with increasing urgency about addressing the needs of people who still can’t afford coverage ― whether through straightforward increases in financial assistance or more sweeping schemes that envision creating a new public insurance program like Medicare that would be available to all Americans and perhaps even displace private insurance altogether.

Each of these ideas has its upsides and downsides. But Democrats can’t do much with any of them until they have power in Washington. That would take an election cycle and probably two. Until then, the future of the Affordable Care Act remains in the hands of officials and lawmakers determined to undermine it ― and then cite its shortcomings as reason to wreck it even more.
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-obamacare-sabotage_us_5b3b9dede4b09e4a8b27e32a