MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:
Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare System is the largest hospital system in the Memphis area and the second-largest private employer in Shelby County. And according to new reporting, the company stands out for something else - the thousands of lawsuits it's filed against low-income patients, including its own employees, aided by a licensed collection agency owned by the hospital itself.
According to a new report by the Memphis-based reporting project MLK50 and the nonprofit reporting group ProPublica, the hospital system has brought a whopping 8,300 lawsuits against patients for unpaid medical bills in the last five years. Hundreds of people are having their wages garnished to pay off hospital bills, and many of them are Methodist Le Bonheur employees, typically low-wage workers who make around $12 an hour.
Wendi C. Thomas is the founder and editor of MLK50, and she wrote a two-part series about these lawsuits published this week on ProPublica.
Wendi C. Thomas, thank you so much for joining us.
WENDI C THOMAS: Thank you for having me.
MARTIN: So it's not unusual for hospitals to sue patients for unpaid medical bills, but there's so much striking about this situation. Like, what are some of the things where - that stands out about this about how unusual this is?
THOMAS: So Methodist is really aggressive in their use of the courts to collect on these debts. Once they get a judgment, they will hound a patient from low-wage job to low-wage job to try to garnish their wages, and that's what we saw with the main character in our story, Carrie Barrett. I call her Ms. Carrie. So Ms. Carrie had surgery in 2007, was sued in 2010. And since then, the hospital has actually added $18,000 worth of interest to her debt. So not only do they add, you know, $5,000 in attorney's fees - they're also accruing interest even as they know she works at low-income jobs.
So part of how this works is Methodist gets the judgment, and then they filed a garnishment order. The employer can return that garnishment order saying, basically, this person doesn't make enough to even have their wages garnished. Ms. Carrie's employer was telling her she's not even making more than enough to have her wages garnished, and Methodist kept after her. It was like they were just waiting to see if she made a little bit more money so they could take it.
Is that not disgusting?
And they claim to be a servant of the Lord?
They're nothing but greed and avarice.
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Monday, July 1, 2019. A palace emerges in Iraq, nearly 250 people were killed in the ongoing Iraq War last month, the government of Turkey continues to terrorize the people of Iraq, Joe Biden's mouth continues to get him in trouble but, hey, THE ATLANTIC is always there to lie for him, right?
Let's start with the unusual. In Iraq, a new palace has emerged.
Let's start with the unusual. In Iraq, a new palace has emerged.
A drought revealed a palace thousands of years old submerged in an Iraq reservoir wapo.st/2NqmXhK
A severe drought allowed researchers to discover this Bronze Age palace in northern Iraq
Drought uncovers 3,400-year-old palace in Iraq ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=1…
A 3,400-year-old palace has emerged from a reservoir in the Kurdistan region of Iraq after water levels dropped due to drought.
An ancient palace has emerged from a reservoir in the Kurdistan region of Iraq as a result of receding waters due to a severe drought. Read more about this here: po.st/AbL7yr
Drought exposes ancient palace hidden in Iraq reservoir ctvnews.ca/sci-tech/droug…
The Independent: Germany's tübingen university has announced the discovery of a palace and ten tablet belonging to the mitani kingdom in northern iraq google.com/amp/s/www.inde…
Ancient palace revealed after drought drains water from Iraq reservoir "The Bronze Age site in Kurdistan, dating to a time when the Mitanni Empire held sway over a swathe of the Middle East, has been excavated for the first time independent.co.uk/news/world/mid…
Iraq's drought unveils 3,400-year-old palace of mysterious empire Receding waters in the Mosul Dam reservoir have unveiled "one of the most important archaeological discoveries in the region"Researchers said the Mittani Empire is one of the least understood ancient civilizations.
As a new month kicks off today, Margaret Griffis (ANTIWAR.COM) does a count:
During June, at least 246 people were killed, and 163 others were wounded. Also, 70 bodies were recovered from mass graves. At least 287 were killed or found dead during May, and another 203 were wounded.
At least 53 civilians, 26 security personnel, and 120 militants were killed during attacks in June, while 70 bodies were unearthed from mass graves. Also, 106 civilians, 44 security personnel, and two militants were wounded.
Last week found the president of Iraq, Barham Salih, again acting as though he were the prime minister. The prime minister is supposed to be the official running Iraq, the presidency is a ceremonial post. ALMSADAR NEWS notes:
Baghdad will not allow the United States to use its bases on Iraqi territory for an attack on neighbouring Iran, Iraq’s President Barham Salih said.
“We do not want our territory to be a staging post for any hostile action against any of our neighbours, including Iran. This is definitely not part of the agreement between the Iraqi government and the United States,” Salih told CNN broadcaster in an interview.
Mick Krever (CNN) adds:
"We do not want our territory to be a staging post for any hostile action against any of our neighbors, including Iran," Salih said in an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour in London on Tuesday.
"This is definitely not part of the agreement between the Iraqi government and the United States."
In an interview with CBS in February, US President Trump said that "one of the reasons" he wanted to keep a base in Iraq was to "be looking a little bit at Iran, because Iran is a real problem." (When asked if he meant that his intention was to be able to attack Iran, he said, "No... all I want to do be able to watch.")
Damien McElroy (THE NATIONAL) notes that Salih is calling for all sides to "cool down." There are two points to make about the above. First, is Salih doing the bidding of the prime minister?
Last week, Adel Abdul-Mahdi was informing the United Nations that he wanted more foreign money for reconstruction in Iraq. Sunday, Carla Sertin (OIL & GAS) reported:
Iraq's oil ministry announced that the country exported 110.7mn barrels of oil in May 2019, according to the Iraqi Oil Marketing Company. It made $7.3bn in revenue from oil exports that month.
Oil ministry spokesperson Assem Jihad said that oilfields in central and southern Iraq produced 96% of the total amount exported, accounting for the same proportion of revenue.
So, no, Iraq doesn't need money for reconstruction. It may need money to feed the government's never-ending corruption. But is Salih making public demands re: staging platform so that Adil can turn around and use that as a chip to call in more money?
Another possibility, Adil is completely inept.
In what world does the prime minister of Iraq seek the shadows and allow the ceremonial post of president to make policy?
Adil is weak. Nouri is circling, yes. Former prime minister and forever thug Nouri al-Maliki wants back in as prime minister. He's not the only one. Hayder al-Abadi has sold himself to Robert Fisk as the answer to Iraq and Robert has bought the nonsense and written copy to promote Hayder and his return as prime minister.
ISIS is still launching attacks in Iraq. And US troops are 'training' someone, who knows who, really. But where is the Iraqi government?
Over the security forces? The Minister of the Interior. Over the military? The Minister of Defense.
We are all aware, right, that those posts are vacant? That they've been vacant since October?
Adil failed to fill those posts in October -- despite the Constitutional requirement. He and his groupies in the press insisted he'd fill them in a matter of weeks. As December popped up and they remained unfilled, the press began insisting he'd do it in the spring.
Spring's long gone. It's summer.
The posts still aren't filled.
In fairness to Adil, this isn't the first time the two posts have been empty. They were empty, for example, in Nouri's second term as prime minister. Remember? And remember what happened in Nouri's second term? The rise of ISIS and ISIS seizing control of various territories in Iraq -- most infamously Mosul -- which they held for over two years.
So, yes, it matters that the posts are again empty today.
Iraq is and remains a failed state.
The US government has no cares about that. They aren't concerned over Iraqis dying or, honestly, US troops dying. They'll keep propping up the failed government as long as they can keep pumping the oil.
The US government isn't the only one harming the Iraqi people, there is also the Turkish government. Ahmet Furkan Mercan (AA) reports:
Turkey resolutely continues cross-border operations against terrorists in Iraq, told the country's Foreign Ministry to Iraqi Charge d’Affaires on Sunday, according to a statement by the spokesman.
Iraqi Charge d’Affaires Issam Muhammed was summoned to the ministry and informed that Turkey will resolutely continue cross-border operations against terrorists in Iraq, Hami Aksoy, the spokesman for the Turkish Foreign Ministry, said in a statement.
They make that decision and the global community looks the other way. They look the other way when they should be demanding an end to these bombings which are an act of war and aggression against the Iraqi people. THE DAILY SABAH notes, "On May 27, Turkey launched Operation Claw against the PKK in the Hakurk region of northern Iraq. Operation Claw aims to prevent the infiltration of PKK terrorists onto Turkish soil from Hakurk and to spoil the settlement plans of militants in the area. The ongoing offensive has neutralized at least 60 terrorists so far." KURDISTAN 24 adds:
Iraq’s Foreign Ministry on Saturday described Turkey’s ongoing incursion into the country as “unilateral acts of war” that violate Iraq’s sovereignty and called on Ankara to end its cross-border campaigns, which result in dozens of civilian casualties annually.
If this was being done to the United Kingdom, the world would be enraged. If it were being to the United States, bomber planes would be hitting Turkey right now. But bully Iraq and get away with it, terrorize the Iraqi people and get away with it.
Turning to one of the Iraq War's biggest supporters to this day -- Joe Biden. The former US senator and former vice president is among 25 candidates for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination. It's a hard road for Joe. Kate Sullivan and Paul LeBlanc (CNN) report:
The presidential hopeful suggested public sentiment toward gay rights issues has come far in a short period of time, saying five years ago if someone at a business meeting in Seattle "made fun of a gay waiter" people would just let it go, according to a pool report of the event. The audience vocally responded to the remark and some in the crowd said homophobic comments would not have gone unchallenged even before five years ago, according to the report.
The event was hosted by public relations executive Roger Nyhus, who is known as a leader in the Seattle gay rights community.
It's been a tough series of days for Joe since he burned out at the debate on Thursday. Fortunately, he has many whores in the media who will support him and rewrite history. One such whore is Mike Giglio at THE ATLANTIC. I don't know how to deal with his piece. There's a significant lie every other paragraph. We would require days to do the walk through to correct the record. Let's note one section:
By the time Obama and Biden took office, however, some veteran U.S. officials, such as Khedery, were becoming concerned about Maliki. His rhetoric had taken on a more sectarian and conspiratorial tone. He began purging his political rivals, and dragged his feet on accommodating Sunni fighters and politicians.
“He had this paranoia,” Jeffrey Feltman, who headed the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, told me. “He didn’t believe in the rule of law. He saw enemies everywhere. He wanted to set up parallel structures. I think that was already clear by 2010, the way things were going.”
Did he have this paranoia?
Wow, that's a shocker.
I mean, it's not like, right here, at this site, we didn't break the story on the CIA work up on Nouri. Oh, wait, we did. We did that in 2006. And we were repeatedly mocked for that.
I remember it very well.
The CIA assessed the various candidates before the US backed Nouri. Nouri was chosen because the CIA found him to be very paranoid, highly paranoid. It was thought that this paranoia would allow him to be easily controlled and manipulated by the US. That's why he became the prime minister.
Again, we broke that here.
And we were were attacked for it and mocked for it. And I must be lying. And Nouri wasn't paranoid. And blah blah blah.
When WIKILEAKS published cables a few years later, some were shocked that US officials referred to Nouri's paranoia.
We weren't. The paranoia was no secret. It was known throughout the US government. And it was known in 2006. So to pretend that it was surprising to Vice President Joe Biden in 2009 that Nouri was paranoid?
That's just lying.
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- Truest statement of the week II
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- Editorial: More money to the Iraqi government?
- TV: Emerging truths
- From The Diary Of Dan Rather
- Iraq Twitter exchange
- 10 Great Beatles Covers
- Two great losses
- Surprising news from Iraq
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Kat's "Kat's Korner: Give Judy her due" and "Kat's Korner: James Blake at his most revealing and romantic" went up Sunday.
The following sites updated: