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In 2008 a man named Tres Biggs from a small town in Kansas called Coffeyville was arrested for the first time. In the previous few years his young son had been diagnosed with leukemia and his wife who quit her job to care for the boy fell ill as well developing a serious heart condition. Biggs worked two jobs to support his family neither of which provided health insurance which may have explained why he couldn’t pay the $2,100 Coffeyville Regional Medical Center were now coming after him for. He was sent a court summons and missed the date and so now it was time to go to fucking jail.
“He was fingerprinted, photographed, made to strip and told to brace himself for a tub of delousing liquid,” this great piece in ProPublica explains. “His bail was set at $500 cash; he had about $50 to his name.”
A friend bailed him out but the judge handed the $500 over to the hospital.
In 2019 Bernie Sanders criticized Kamala Harris for fundraising in the Hamptons the opening anecdote of this piece in the New York Times on his wretched sexist “bullying” supporters explains.
This came after Harris criticized his Medicare For All plan.
“‘I don’t go to the Hamptons to raise money from billionaires,’ he tweeted last August, elevating a message that supporters had already been pushing. Thousands of retweets followed.”
Thousands of retweets followed.
Harris would raise a million dollars at that party and a few others that same week there and in Martha’s Vineyard.
One of the parties in the Hamptons was hosted by public relations titan and Democratic cash bundler Michael Kempner.
“That gathering raised double the campaign’s original goal and had more than 150 people attend, according to those briefed on the matter,” CNBC reported. “Tickets ranged from $1,000 to $2,800.”
“Others in attendance at the Kempner fundraiser included Citigroup executive Ray McGuire and Brad Karp, the chairman of legal powerhouse, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. Kempner bundled $100,000 for Hillary Clinton in 2016, and nearly $1 million in total for both of President Barack Obama’s runs for the White House, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.”
Kempner has donated to other Democratic candidates in the 2020 race including Harris, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg and Cory Booker and not you know who.
In 2009 Biggs got another court summons. He owed $380 to a radiologist represented by an attorney named Michael Hassenplug who regularly drags poor people like him into court in Kansas on behalf of hospitals and ambulance services. Treatments at the hospital for his son which they understandably prioritized over everything else because it’s their sick son conflicted with this court date too. On top of that his wife’s condition was getting steadily worse.
“Her doctors concluded she had Lyme disease,” according to ProPublica. It “was affecting her nervous system and wiping her short-term memory. Each time she woke up, she repeated: ‘Don’t take me to the hospital.’”
Meanwhile the balance of the bill that originally landed Biggs in jail continued to grow at 12% interest.
“The hospital had garnished his wages, and the radiologist had garnished his bank account, seizing contributions that his family had raised for [his son] Lane’s care. Living on $25,000 a year, Biggs couldn’t afford to buy insurance. His family was on food stamps but didn’t qualify for Medicaid, a federal insurance program for people in poverty. Other states were about to expand it to cover the working poor, but not Kansas, which limited it, for families of his size, to those who earned under $12,000. Like millions of others across America, he and Heather fell into a coverage gap.”
By 2012 they had over $70,000 in medical debt. Represented by Hassenplug Coffeyville Regional Medical Center sued the family.
Keynote speaker Mitt Romney and his personal guest actor Ben Stiller, Kellyanne Conway, Secretary of Transportation and wife of Mitch McConnell Elaine Chao, Jamie Dimon the CEO of JP Morgan Chase who recently said socialism will lead to “an eroding society,” billionaire founder of the private equity investment firm the Carlyle Group David Rubeinstein…
“The zeal of Mr. Sanders’s fans has helped establish him as one of the 2020 front-runners a week before the Iowa caucuses,” the Times continued on Sanders’ angry fans without mentioning what it might be they are angry about.
“No other Democrat attracts supporters more dedicated to forcefully defending their candidate and lashing his foes, more willing to repeatedly donate their time and money to sustain his bid. Through the end of 2019, Mr. Sanders had raised nearly $100 million from over five million individual donations, without ever holding traditional fund-raisers, leading the primary field.”
“Yet as Mr. Sanders moves to position himself as a standard-bearer for a party he has criticized from the left for decades, the power of his internet army has also alarmed Democrats who are familiar with its underside, experienced in ways large and small.”
Judge David Casement the judge in Coffeyville who oversees medical debt cases like the one Biggs has been caught up in is a cattle rancher who never studied the law but was nonetheless appointed to his position. Every few months often at the behest of Hassenplug he brings people like Biggs into his court to face their creditors and to explain that they are in fact still very poor and unable to pay. If they do not show up let’s say because they are working or dealing with healthcare crises Hassenplug will ask for a bench warrant for their arrest which Casement always agrees according to ProPublica.
“In practice, this system has made Hassenplug and other collectors the real arbiters of who gets arrested and who is shown mercy. If debtors can post bail, the judge almost always applies the money to the debt. Hassenplug, like any collector working on commission, gets a cut of the cash he brings in.”
…billionaire AOL founder Steve Case and his wife Jean Case chairman of National Geographic, Ben Carson, Politico founder and multi-millionaire son of a banker Robert Allbritton, Paul Ryan, ex-White House Press Secretary Jay Carney and his wife the Good Morning America correspondent Claire Shipman, Hilton president Chris Nassetta, Fox News’ Bret Baier…
“In a party gripped with anxiety about unifying to defeat Mr. Trump, the venom among Sanders backers and their counterparts supporting other candidates is of serious concern to Democrats,” the Times writes.
…Bob Woodward, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, John Kerry…
“In recent days, Sanders supporters have filled the social media feeds of Ms. Warren and her allies with snakes — emojis, GIFs, doctored photographs — following the candidates’ quarrel over whether Mr. Sanders had told Ms. Warren privately in 2018 that a woman could not win the presidency.”
…Democratic Senators Mark Warner and Chris Coons and Republicans Senator Rob Portman and Representative Mark Meadows…
“Hassenplug started collecting for doctors, dentists and veterinarians, but also banks and lumber yards and cities,” ProPublica writes. “He recognized that medical providers weren’t being compensated for their services, and he was maddened by a ‘welfare mentality,’ as he called it, that allowed patients to dodge bills. ‘Their attitude a lot of times is, ‘I’m a single mom and … I’m disabled and,’ and the ‘and’ means ‘the rules don’t apply to me.’ I think the rules apply to everybody,’ he told me.”
“Former Senator Barbara Boxer of California, a Clinton supporter who had been at the Nevada convention, said she worried for her safety after being booed offstage,” the Times writes.
…Joe Lieberman, Trump advisor, lobbyist and CNN contributor David Urban, Colin Powell, Norah O'Donnell…
I was just looking at this study “Effects of the Minimum Wage on Child Health” from the National Bureau of Economic Research and it had some interesting things to say.
“Results indicate that a higher minimum wage in childhood leads to significant improvements in general health. A $1 increase in the minimum wage over the child’s life is associated with approximately a 10% increase in the probability that the child is in excellent health and a 25% to 40% decrease in missed school days due to illness or injury from an increase in minimum wage at different periods.”
The effects of a higher minimum wage on a child’s health are particularly strong during their first five years of life right around the time that Tres Biggs’ son was diagnosed with leukemia.
“Greater family income can affect child development through multiple channels,” the report goes on. “The most direct pathway is the increase in consumption of goods and services, such as better nutrition and more use of health care that are beneficial to the child,” which you know no shit but it’s still important to study this type of thing I guess because a certain type of person might not believe it otherwise.
“More income can also affect residential and employment stability because of a greater ability to smooth consumption through both savings and access to credit,” the report says. “Finally, greater earnings is likely to reduce financial stress, which may lead to improved mental health of all family members and reduce unhealthy behaviors that are caused by stress, for example, tobacco and alcohol use.”
…Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon, CBS’ Norah O'Donnell…
I don’t want to make it sound like I am personally in favor of harassing people online in any way beyond saying you are fucking dumb and your political ideas are dumb which I do endorse wholeheartedly. I also certainly do not condone violence or stalking or sexist attacks against women or any of the shit that Bernie supporters are regularly almost always falsely accused of. But I sometimes wonder if any of the people who are opposed to Medicare For All or increasing the minimum wage or any of the people who go to parties at Jeff Bezos’ mansion Democrat or Republican alike or the people who bundle donations for centrist status quo politicians have any idea just how fucking easy they have it right now at this very point in time? How frictionless and devoid of pain their lives are compared to the vast majority of people for whom being told to fuck off and eat piss on Twitter would be so far down on their list of problems that they’d need a microscope to even notice it.
I wonder if the powerful ever contemplate how much worse things could get for them if conditions continue apace as they are in this country in terms of wealth inequality and the disease of predatory for profit healthcare? Being called a shit head might seem like a luxury to them some day.
Still I do not wish them any physical harm. May things remain this peaceful for the powerful forever. May they never know what living in this country is actually like. I don’t think they could take it.
…David Petraeus, Mike Allen the founder of Axios, ABC News White House correspondent Jonathan Karl, baseball legend Cal Ripkin Jr…