Monday, August 31, 2009

Bill Moyers With Bill Maher

Great interview segment where Moyers makes several good points. The most important one being that we have two political parties that are both beholden to corporate interests leaving the whole of the electorate disenfranchised. I really dig his comments against incrementalism too!

The Democrats are simply craven corporatist sheep to the last one of them.

Bill Moyers Journal:
Money-Driven Medicine

Best Bits:

DR. DONALD BERWICK: It is, I guess, politically correct, widely believed, that to say that American health care is the best in the world. It's not. There's a much more complicated story there. For some kinds of care my colleague Brent James calls it rescue care. Yes, we're the best in the world. If you need very complex cardiac surgery or very advanced chemotherapy for your cancer or some audacious intervention with organ transplantation, you're pretty lucky to be in America.

You'll get it faster and you'll probably get it better than in at least most other countries. Rescue care we're great. But most health care isn't that. Most health care is getting people with diabetes through their illness over years or controlling the pain of someone with arthritis or just answering a question for someone who is worried or preventing them from getting into trouble in the first place. And on those scores: Chronic disease care, community-based care, primary care, preventive care. No no, we're no where near the best. And it's reflected in our outcomes.

We're something like the… We're not the best health care system in the world in infant mortality rates. We're like number 23. There is an index that is used in rating health care systems, which is the rate of mortality that could have been prevented by health care. There are at least a dozen countries with lower rates of preventable mortalities than the United States and not one of those countries spends 60 percent of what we do on health care.


LARRY CHURCHILL: We're now treating medicine as if it were an industrial product. Through put. How many units of care can you deliver? The idea that you are going to see a patient on average for between 12 and 15 minutes, no matter what their condition or how many kinds of problems they have or how complicated their diagnoses or how much reassurance they might need is an idea that you can treat medicine like a production line product and you can turn out patients in the same way like we produce widgets. That's a commercialization and an industrialization of the relationship. So this is a system which is fundamentally broken in terms of the kind of conflicts it raises in the minds of physicians and, also, in the minds of the patients.


MAGGIE MAHAR: What's truly staggering is how much waste there is in our health care system. Up to one out of every three of the more than two trillion dollars that we spend is wasted on ineffective, often unproven procedures, overpriced drugs and devices that are no better than the drugs and devices that they're replacing. Unnecessary hospitalizations, unnecessary tests. Now this may seem like an overstatement. I mean, how can it be that 1/3 of the money is wasted? We actually have close to three decades of research done by doctors at Dartmouth University proving how much waste there is in the system. What the Dartmouth research ended up doing was looking at health care all across the country and what they discovered is that in some high treatment states, like New Jersey, Medicare was spending 20 percent more per patient than the average. And in other low treatment states, like Iowa, Medicare was spending 25 percent less than average. They tended to focus in on what happened to patients during their final two years of life.

So in that way you're comparing apples to apples, pretty sick patients, and they began looking at sick patients who had the same disease etcetera- Finding these enormous differences in what Medicare spent. Some people said, "Well maybe patients in New Jersey are simply more demanding than the stoic citizens of Iowa." But, in fact, very few people demand a chance to spend more days in the hospital during their final two years of life. Very few people cry out for a chance to die in an ICU or to have that fourth procedure or to be poked and prodded by eleven or twelve specialists during your final six months of life. In the states where Medicare spends more, these are the things that happen to people.

They're getting more aggressive, intensive, and expensive care. And here's the stunner: The outcomes are no better. Often they are worse on average in states like New Jersey or New York or California than they are in low treating states like Iowa or North Dakota.


DR. JAMES WEINSTEIN: My daughter's name is Brieanna. She had beautiful blue eyes, curly brown hair; your first child, the light of your life. 13 months later I get a call from our pediatrician saying, "Could you come over to the hospital?" And I walk into the pediatrics hospital and I ask my wife what's wrong and she says, "They won't tell me. They won't tell me." The doctor walks in with about, it seems like, 10 other people other people. Very intrusive. And said, "I think your daughter has leukemia and we need to treat her, immediately."

The protocol for a treatment was very intense chemotherapy. She would lose her hair quickly. She would be sick. She would develop sores in her mouth. She wouldn't be able to eat because of sores from the chemotherapy in her esophagus. She would have all kinds of rashes. Her blood counts would be almost zero so her risk of infection would be very high. We couldn't take her any place. She had to be protected. And it sounds, "Well, that's not so bad, we can do that for a week." But the protocol was for 3 years. She did pretty well for about, I think, 2 years and then the leukemia came back. And they said, "We need to re-induce her with the bad medicines again and we have to consider brain and spinal radiation.

So spinal taps every day for three weeks." I said, "I don't get it. I mean, you just told us if we followed this protocol, these are the results. We did everything you said and it is still not working. And now you want us to do something worse." "Well, you have no choice and if you don't do that we will sue you." I said, "What?" "If you don't do what we tell you, we'll sue you."


MAGGIE MAHAR: If you can believe it, Rashi Fein has survived 5 decades of the battle for health care reform. In 1953 he served on President Truman's commission on the health needs of America at a time when Truman was pushing for universal coverage. Then he worked with JFK when he fought unsuccessfully for Medicare, a battle that LBJ would later win. As a professor of medical economics at Harvard, Fein has never given up. He firmly believes that medicine should not be all about money. As he puts it, "We live in a society not just in an economy."


MAGGIE MAHAR: A physician takes an oath to put his patient's interests ahead of his own. A corporation is legally bound to put its shareholders' interests first. And this is part of the inherent conflict between health care as a business, part of our economy, and health care as a public good and part of our society. Health care has become a growth industry. That means higher health care bills. That means more and more middle class people cannot afford health care in this country.


BILL MOYERS: ...And remember that television ad Barack Obama made as a candidate for president?

BARACK OBAMA: The pharmaceutical industry wrote into the prescription drug plan that Medicare could not negotiate with drug companies. And you know what, the chairman of the committee who pushed the law through went to work for the pharmaceutical industry making $2 million a year. Imagine that. That's an example of the same old game-playing in Washington. I don't want to learn how to play the game better. I want to put an end to the game-playing.

BILL MOYERS: Now look at this recent story in the LOS ANGELES TIMES. Lo and behold, since the election, the pharmaceutical industry's $2 million dollars a year superstar lobbyist Billy Tauzin has morphed into President Obama's pal. Tauzin says the President has promised not to pressure the drug companies to negotiate with the government for lower drug prices and has agreed not to allow cheaper drugs to be imported from Canada or Europe - contrary to the position taken by candidate Obama…

Each of these stories illuminates the scarlet thread that runs through Maggie Mahar's book - the story of how today's market-driven medical system gives Wall Street investors life and death control over our health care, turning medicine into a profit machine instead of a social service to meet human need. That's the conflict at the heart of next month's showdown in Washington.


I don't really have a comment. Just see it or read it. Amazing stuff.

On the Financial Crisis
All You Need to Know

Watch CBS Videos Online
More here:


Kroft seems at pains NOT to mention the politicians behind this insane bullshit, so here's that stuff from the comments at the above link and which checks with what I recall about it without making any further research into it right now:

I watched how you connected the dots, the mess we have with people losing their homes and the financial meltdown that was caused by "Legislation of Congress in 2000, the Commodity Futures Trading Modernization act" that opened the door to CDS's and Derivatives. The "Side Betting" that put our country at the greatest financial risk since the Great Depression. I noticed that you did NOT mention the man behind it, Phil Gramm, who introduced the bill, look a Wikipedia about Phil Gramm, aka "Foreclosure Phil". The Modernization bill, along with the repeal of the Glass Steagal Act of 1933 with the Gramm-Leach-Biley law of 1999. Pushed through by the Republican Controlled Congress, supported by Democrats and signed by Bill Clinton, and of course Alan Greenspan are the supporting architects and a Lot of their friends made "Billions" from moving money around and skimming from every working, notice the term working, man, woman, and child in America. I noticed that you DID NOT interview US Senators like Grassley and Hatch and other US Senators that were in office in 1999 and 2000, who pushed for and voted for the Modernization Act. They are running for cover, and judging by the smoke screen they are not really wanting to talk about how they "Screwed the American People" with the Modernization Act that permitted "side betting" and "having insurance on someone else's life(business or mortgage) hoping they will die" as with CDS's and Derivatives in home mortgages that were built around Fraud.

Let's be clear, because they ought not to be able to have it both ways. All of these asshats, politicians and financial gurus alike, are:

1. Genius types, smartest people in the room, too big to fail, and perfectly deserving of all of their bonuses. And therefore, all equally deserving of metal connecting bracelets and prison cells to call home because they absolutely knew what they were doing.

2. Ignorant know-nothings that should still be dealt with harshly because they had the effective "fiduciary responsibility" to know better and therefore also to behave better.

3. I suppose some kind of middle ground between those poles is possible, but is there really anything that let's any of them off the hook?

This shit was illegal and then made legal again. If you rob someone on the street corner you go to prison. Rob someone via Wall Street financial instruments and you receive a house in the Hamptons, hookers, cocaine and a golden parachute with which to float away.

There is no law.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Private Health Insurance Industry =

Brought to you by "Americans United For Change":

And don't forget the HMO and Nixon nexus:

Propaganda: We are Now and Have Always Been at War with Eurasia!

Tom Ridge on National Security After 9/11

Ridge was never invited to sit in on National Security Council meetings; was "blindsided" by the FBI in morning Oval Office meetings because the agency withheld critical information from him; found his urgings to block Michael Brown from being named head of the emergency agency blamed for the Hurricane Katrina disaster ignored; and was pushed to raise the security alert on the eve of President Bush's re-election, something he saw as politically motivated and worth resigning over.


Be afraid. We will save you and keep you from harm. This has been a message brought to you by the Grand Old Party. Yee-Haw!

Matt Taibbi: Sick and Wrong

This is Rolling Stones current information on this week's lead political story:

Maybe I just like free content, but I hate the way RS plays hide and seek with their most important political content this way. The videos don't seem to work, so I therefore provide links to alternative information sources below. ASAP I will have the full text from some probably independent online source and edit it into this blog entry. Why? Because...




The take-away (most of which occurs between minutes 6:00-7:15): Health Care Reform properly has two prongs that have been utterly gutted by the political process. The first significant thing you could do to reduce health care costs is to eliminate or radically reduce the administrative overhead (i.e. the amount of papers that get filed and pushed around from place to place, a.k.a. "chasing claims"); and the second thing that could be done is to create a public run plan that would force private health insurers to compete with the cost-cutting methods of the VA and Medicare and thereby force costs down across the industry.

Thirty percent of the waste in health care delivery arises from the administration of hundreds of different plans that simply don't need to exist between health care professionals and their clients. This simple goal could be accomplished by a single-payer system the terms of which could easily be understood because it's just one plan instead of hundreds; and can be easily illustrated as the difference between a walk down a single hallway versus being trapped in a labyrinth with hundreds of hallways and dead-ends.

The only real reform being contemplated now is regulation over the existing health care insurance system that prohibits these private insurers from dumping patients or from denying them the care which they have legally contracted to receive. In other words, the private health insurance industry will now have to play fair. If they intend to continue making the profits they make right now they'll have to hike up their prices instead of denying people care. But they get to continue to exist and go on their merry way if they can behave like tolerable corporate citizens even while their business model is bankrupting the whole country.



OMG, Maria Bartiromo is a complete tit. She desperately needs a pink slip. If nothing else, just remember this moment the next time she tries to come across as sage.

Yes, the U.S. has the best health care system in the world and to which most people are denied access; or even when they have access they may still face bankruptcy due to astronomical prices. Wonderful...we should be so proud.

What kind of health insurance would Jesus carry?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Value for the Money

Author David Sedaris shares a personal anecdote about healthcare

Allow me to answer with kidney stones. I had my first one at the age of 34. At the time I was living in New York, and had no health insurance. Never in my life had I experienced such pain, but I couldn't afford to go to the hospital, and so I passed it at home, not knowing until the end what it actually was. (I thought I was delivering Satan's baby through my penis.)

I had my second kidney stone seven years later, in Paris. It was ten o'clock in the morning, and after looking at my options in the phone book, I took the metro to a hospital in the 15th. Two minutes after walking through the door, I was in a private room. Delicious, mind-numbing drugs were delivered to my blood stream by way of a tube and life was beautiful. I was in the hospital for four hours, and as I was leaving, I asked the receptionist how I was supposed to pay.

“Oh,” she said, “We'll send you a statement.”
“But you never even asked me my name.”

A few weeks later I got a bill for the equivalent of seventy dollars, this because I'm not a French citizen, and am therefore not entitled to free care.

I got my third kidney stone a few months ago, while on a lecture tour of the United States. The hospital I went to was in Westchester county and the service was outstanding. Maybe I arrived at the slowest time, but, like in France, I was waited on immediately, and the doctor and nurses could not have been more pleasant. Again I was there for four hours, though this time the bill came to $5,800. Not including medicine.

I'm completely fascinated by the health care debate going on in the United States, especially by posters of Obama with a little mustache drawn on his upper lip. Is that what Hitler is really known for, his health care plan? To quote Bill Maher, “I haven't seen this many pissed off old white people since they canceled, “Murder She Wrote.”

Now I live in England. I've just been granted Indefinite Leave To Remain, which allows me access to the NHS.


The only way to prefer what we do in the U.S. is if you are actually insane. I'm a fiscal conservative so I like to get my money's worth with everything. You tell me:

$70 vs $5,800+

Rachel Maddow on Health Care Reform Politics


Okay. So the GOP doesn't really want pizza and we should therefore not bother to negotiate with them since we can bypass anything they do via reconciliation, right? Alright, Hawaiian it is...

War is a Scam

As Aghans vote, American support for the Afghan war collapses

...ABC News opinion poll shows that American support for the Afghanistan War is collapsing...The bad news for Obama is that liberals and Democrats are far more hostile to the Afghanistan War than are Republicans.


Fuck...ya' think?!

Malcolm X: The House Negro and the Field Negro


Malcolm X was one of the most important political figures of the last century. I sometimes reference the idea of the House Negro so I wanted to post this here for the uninformed.

Obama reminds me of Martin Luther King, Jr. too much. Too much the appeaser, too centrist, too bland altogether...

I doubt X would have supported Obama's agenda as is. It needs to be remembered that Martin Luther King, Jr.'s achievements may only have been possible because people the likes of X and the future members of the Black Panther Party were waiting in the shadows ready to do what needed to be done. "By any means necessary." Because...

"You can get much farther with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone." - Al Capone

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Glenn Greenwald: Great Minds Think Alike?

Previously I stated this:

Obama is carefully orchestrating all of the reasons why any healthcare reform will prove impossible. And despite whatever Obama or any other Democrat may say of it in the future - they are intentionally dropping the ball on this reform issue because they lack both the leadership and the courage to do the right thing. Cowards all!

And today I will go one step further: Obama is intentionally tanking everything. Every fucking thing a progressive might want is being deep-sixed. Obama is an owned man - a "house negro" as Malcolm X used to speak of them. Obama licks the hands of his corporate masters. If they feel bad, Obama feels bad too. Obama doesn't stand for hope unless it's false hope. Obama does not represent change anyone can believe in unless its change for the worse.

Here's the deal: The Dems think they can make people vote for them again in 2010 if they can keep people on the hook on the progressive issues of the day. As I said in early July:

Do you know how the GOP keeps promising the judgmental asshole bottom-feeders in the party that someday they really will outlaw abortion when everyone with any sense knows that they will never do that very thing because it is a) politically impossible and b) extremely useful as an issue to stir the support of their psychotically christian base?

I think healthcare reform and peace movements operate the exact same way in the Democratic party. The Democrats will never go against the monied interests of the health insurers nor big pharma. It just ain't gonna happen. And the Democrats are regularly greased by the military industrial complex too. No hope there either.

The Dems think we all have a big fucking "L" for loser imprinted on our foreheads and that they can keep riding our dashed political aspirations to victory each and every election. They mean for us to keep hoping with no payoff.

Quoting myself:

And again:

Now, the brilliant Glenn Greenwald is one long-winded motherfucker. His blog entries read almost like legal briefs in their determined attempt to refute all possible alternative viewpoints before Greenwald offers up his own opinion for examination. In his most recent blog he would seem to be on the exact same track I have been on for a while now:


Over the past decade, the Democratic Party has specialized in offering up one excuse after the next for its collective failures. During the early Bush years, the excuse was that they endorsed Bush policies because his popularity and post-9/11 hysteria made it politically unwise to oppose him. In later Bush years when his popularity plummeted, the excuse was that Democrats were in the minority and could do nothing. After 2006 when they won a Congressional majority, the excuse was that Bush still controlled the White House and had veto power. After 2008 when a Democrat won the White House, the excuse was that Republicans could filibuster.

Now that they have a filibuster-proof majority, a huge margin in the House and the White House, the excuses continue unabated, as Democrats are now on the verge of jettisoning one of the most significant attractions for progressives to the Obama campaign -- active government involvement in the health insurance market. The excuses for "compromising" are cascading more rapidly than ever: We need Republican support to ensure it's bipartisan. The Blue Dogs won't go along with what we want. Centrist Senators will filibuster. There are similar excuses being made to defend Obama from accusations that he deserves some of the blame for the failure of the "public option."

...I'm really surprised that there's anyone...who actually believes this -- that the Obama White House is merely an impotent, passive observer of what the Democrats in Congress do and can't be expected to do anything to secure votes for approval of the health care bill it favors. As the leader of his party, the President commands a vast infrastructure on which incumbent members of Congress rely for re-election. His popularity among Democrats vests him numerous options to punish non-compliant Democrats. And Rahm Emanuel built his career on controlling the machinations within Congress. The very idea that Obama, Emanuel and company are just sitting back, helplessly watching as Max Baucus, Kent Conrad and the Blue Dogs (Rahm's creation) destroy their health care legislation, is absurd on its face.

...The attempt to attract GOP support was the pretext which Democrats used to compromise continuously and water down the bill. But -- given the impossibility of achieving that goal -- isn't it fairly obvious that a desire for GOP support wasn't really the reason the Democrats were constantly watering down their own bill? Given the White House's central role in negotiating a secret deal with the pharmaceutical industry, its betrayal of Obama's clear promise to conduct negotiations out in the open (on C-SPAN no less), Rahm's protection of Blue Dogs and accompanying attacks on progressives, and the complete lack of any pressure exerted on allegedly obstructionists "centrists," it seems rather clear that the bill has been watered down, and the "public option" jettisoned, because that's the bill they want -- this was the plan all along.

The Obama White House isn't sitting impotently by while Democratic Senators shove a bad bill down its throat. This is the bill because this is the bill which Democratic leaders are happy to have. It's the bill they believe in. As important, by giving the insurance and pharmaceutical industries most everything they want, it ensures that the GOP doesn't become the repository for the largesse of those industries (and, converesly, that the Democratic Party retains that status).

This is how things always work. The industry interests which own and control our government always get their way. When is the last time they didn't? The "public option" was something that was designed to excite and placate progressives (who gave up from the start on a single-payer approach) -- and the vast, vast majority of progressives (all but the most loyal Obama supporters) who are invested in this issue have been emphatic about how central a public option is to their support for health care reform. But it seems clear that the White House and key Democrats were always planning on negotiating it away in exchange for industry support. Isn't that how it always works in Washington? No matter how many Democrats are elected, no matter which party controls the levers of government, the same set of narrow monied interests and right-wing values dictate outcomes, even if it means running roughshod over the interests of ordinary citizens (securing lower costs and expanding coverage) and/or what large majorities want.


Given Obama's lackluster negotiating style it's hard to imagine any other result was intended. Obama has broken promises. He has given away the store for 2% with big pharma behind closed doors. Neither single-payer nor the "public option" was ever given serious play. It all seems so obvious now.

Greenwald goes on to say some "pie in the sky" shit as if things might still turn out alright, but you'll have to forgive me if I remain a cynical realist. The plan was to fail. If we pull success from defeat, I will NOT be crediting Obama for it. If success occurs it will be because torches and pitchforks were the next logical negotiating tactic.

It remains the assertion of this blog that the threat of violence is a transformative force and that's what Jefferson really intended by it all along. The fucker lived to the ripe age of 83, and that's obviously not because he was constantly spoiling for a fight. However, he did stand ready to take certain things all the way if he absolutely had to. There is a difference...

Cynic that I am, I observe that this protracted health care reform "dog and pony show" has also served the function of distracting all and sundry from the perhaps just as meaningful fleecing of the American Taxpayer when it comes to the bank bailouts - without meaningful oversight and a now broke FDIC - and the utter lack of Wall Street reform. The economic bubble just might get reinflated and all of these problems passed off to the next biggest fool after Obama.

Fantasy Sequence...

Interviewer to Obama: "Mr. President, what are your greatest accomplishments since you took office?

Prez Obama: "Well, first of all...wait, look over there!!!"

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Smart Talk on Health Care Reform and Its Opponents


This is a great piece of interviewing. Watching this Countdown segment gave me a strange fantasy concerning the upcoming 2012 election:

Rachel Maddow
Progressive Party Candidate for President of the United States

And while I'd love to see Huffington as VP, I think there are Constitutional barriers to that. Still, Arianna could be a valuable cabinet member instead so its all good.

Maddow is the most intelligent person on U.S. television today.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Just Say No to a Health Insurance Mandate

Sebelius: Public Health Care Option "Not The Essential Element"

WASHINGTON - Apparently ready to abandon the idea, President Barack Obama's health secretary said Sunday a government alternative to private health insurance is "not the essential element" of the administration's health care overhaul.


Okay, so now all we are really talking about is health insurance reform. All determined without any significant play for single payer nor public health care options. The real needs of the country must wait for another president, another congress and a completely different political party that can operate as if it actually had a pair.

Then I favor reigning in the health insurance industry of all its misdeeds. That would be fine.

But a mandate to buy private health insurance - a complete giveaway to a middleman industry that serves no legitimate purpose?!!

No fucking way.

The New World - X

See it here:

"Honest to goodness, the bars weren't open this morning.
They must've been voting for a new president or something.
Do you have a quarter?" I said, yes because I did.
Honest to goodness, the tears have been falling all over this country's face.

It was better before, before they voted for whats-his-name.


Flint, Ford, Auto, Mobile, Alabama, windshield wipers, Buffalo, New York, Gary, Indiana, don't forget the Motor City, Baltimore and D.C. now all we need is...



All we need is money Just give us what you can spare
Twenty or thirty pounds of potatoes or twenty or thirty beers.
A turkey on Thanksgiving like alms for the poor.
All we need are the necessities and more.





Saturday, August 15, 2009

Centrist Politics: Jamieson & Altman on Bill Moyers Journal

DREW ALTMAN: It's part of our democracy, but I think it's actually kind of sad because the left, doesn't like this legislation a lot. They're not really enthusiastic about it. They would prefer a single-payer approach with more government. And on the conservative side, they're not crazy about it either. They would like a market approach, people getting vouches or a tax credit and just shop in the marketplace. This is down-the-middle legislation. And yet we see these fears and concerns as if this were a radical approach. It's not a radical approach. It's just a down-the-middle approach...When you look at the real polls about where the public actually is, what you see is there's been a little bit of a tick down in public support and people are getting a little anxious as they follow the media coverage. But still the majority of the American people are for moving forward with this...And so the language has changed. It's now about health insurance reform and not about health reform.

BILL MOYERS: Health insurance reform. Not health care reform...

DREW ALTMAN: You know, facts are useful here. While this legislation does involve a significant expansion of government financing for coverage for people, it's useful to point out that the lion's share of the coverage is private coverage, which is why many people think the private insurance industry is supporting this legislation and they are because they get more paying customers.

BILL MOYERS: Yes, Drew, but what people on the left say, liberals and people even further left, say that what this legislation threatens to do is to require citizens to subscribe to insurance under the insurance company. And without a public option, the insurance company has a captive constituent.

DREW ALTMAN: One the reasons for that is in order to do the reforms of the health insurance system, how health insurance works, which everyone benefits from. It's the one part of this legislation that helps everyone. So you can't be turned away if you get cancer or heart disease or if you're sick. You'd have to have a big pool, so you spread the risk that way so that those of us who are healthy are subsidizing those of us who are sick because we, too, may get sick some day. So that's the reason for the requirement that everyone's in...

DREW ALTMAN: But there's a bit of a catch here. First, though, that's the biggest challenge they face. Of all the challenges they face, the toughest one is financing, financing, financing. It is coming up with that list of savings measures and new revenues that really is the toughest nut to crack. And that's what they're working away at.

KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON: I think that you've got a real problem with cost shifting in this country. It's not as large as the administration has made it out to be. But when people come into hospitals without insurance and they are helped in the process, as they should be, that cost goes somewhere and it comes off into the people who are insured through some mechanism. I think we ought to be concerned about what that does economically in the long term, also what it does to the well being of those who come in without insurance and, as a result, get care later with a worse prognosis.

We ought to be concerned about that because we're moral human beings. But when Obama, President Obama, makes the big argument which says our economic future is dependent on fixing this, if he could make that single case, he could justify putting this through even if he couldn't in the process guarantee deficit neutrality across a period beyond ten years. He hasn't persuasively made the case. But imagine if he could persuade you that we've got another kind of economic meltdown coming because we're not fixing this piece of our own economy. And he makes the case to you, we could forestall that. Or if it were to happen, it wouldn't be as bad if we fixed this. Wouldn't you find that a persuasive argument? I think there's a case to be made, and I think it's a challenge to him to make it.


These are excerpts, you need to see or read the whole show if you want a more complete version of the discussion. Even so, I think I have managed to condense this segment down nicely to the essentials with the above quotes.

I have a HUGE problem with the way these two guests wanted to frame the debate in terms of health insurance reform. Let me be clear - I don't want health insurance reform because I want private health insurance companies out of business for 99% of the population. If the top 1% needs still more health insurance coverage, then I guess I am okay with the billionaires wasting their money on whatever suits them best. I think the reforms that are needed now are from top to bottom in every aspect of the way we deliver and pursue health prevention and health crisis care. Maybe it's a semantic game in the end, but one might argue that even single payer would be a kind of health insurance - but if it's run by the government I see it more as a public service or entitlement program. Think about Social Security or Medicare - does anyone really think of those as insurance based programs? No, they don't.

And if affordability is the biggest impediment to progress on health care reform then why isn't single payer being discussed? Is there any way that keeping health insurers between the public and health care delivery a cost saving measure? No, the job of the insurers is to make profits in the billions and they do that by denying people care.

Kathleen Jamieson makes a final absurd claim that people will be reassured if the AMA and the AARP support whatever legislation is finally proffered to the public. Well, maybe that will reassure people that are offensively ignorant (you know, about 49% of your neighbors in the U.S.) but that will make the rest of us deeply suspicious instead. Both of those organizations are deeply invested in the status quo and anyone with even half a brain knows it.

Jamieson and Altman, we see you coming and we don't like what you represent.

I was surprised that Moyers didn't go after these two about some of their assertions and opinions. Ah well, no one said the man was perfect.

Who Would Be Silly Enough
to Carry an Unloaded Firearm?

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorSpinal Tap Performance

Stewart on Faux News: "That's the subtext, because we only report the news that conforms to the narrative we've worked so hard to construct."

Lawrence O'Donnell Exposes GOP
Congressman's Hypocrisy On
Government Health Care (VIDEO)


Lawrence O'Donnell refers to himself as a "practical European socialist." See why in this video clip in which he eviscerates his GOP guest. I guess the politician wasn't actually expecting any journalism to take place when he agreed to do the show.

I think O'Donnell was being a total dick to make a very good point about the kind of rhetoric that the GOP is so fond of using when the cameras are well out of sight. It's not exactly "When did you stop beating your wife?" but isn't far off either.

Still, I liked it!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Obama Fail:
Big Pharma Puppet-Masters Revealed

Internal Memo Confirms Big Giveaways In White House Deal With Big Pharma

A memo obtained by the Huffington Post confirms that the White House and the pharmaceutical lobby secretly agreed to precisely the sort of wide-ranging deal that both parties have been denying over the past week...

The deal, as outlined in the memo:

Commitment of up to $80 billion, but not more than $80 billion.

1. Agree to increase of Medicaid rebate from 15.1 - 23.1% ($34 billion)

2. Agree to get FOBs done (but no agreement on details -- express disagreement on data exclusivity which both sides say does not affect the score of the legislation.) ($9 billion)

3. Sell drugs to patients in the donut hole at 50% discount ($25 billion)
This totals $68 billion

4. Companies will be assessed a tax or fee that will score at $12 billion. There was no agreement as to how or on what this tax/fee will be based.

Total: $80 billion

In exchange for these items, the White House agreed to:

1. Oppose importation

2. Oppose rebates in Medicare Part D

3. Oppose repeal of non-interference

4. Oppose opening Medicare Part B


Obama on Drugs: 98% Cheney?

Obama's big deal with Big Pharma saves $80 billion out of a total $3.6 trillion. That's 2%...

...And what did Obama give up in return for $80 billion? Chief drug lobbyist Billy Tauzin crowed that Obama agreed to dump his campaign pledge to bargain down prices for Medicare purchases. Furthermore, Obama's promise that we could buy cheap drugs from Canada simply went pffft!

What did that cost us? The New England Journal of Medicine notes that 13 European nations successfully regulate the price of drugs, reducing the average cost of name-brand prescription medicines by 35% to 55%. Obama gave that up for his 2%.

The Veterans Administration is able to push down the price it pays for patent medicine by 40% through bargaining power. George Bush stopped Medicare from bargaining for similar discounts, an insane ban that Obama said he'd overturn. But, once within Tauzin's hypnotic gaze, Obama agreed to lock in Bush's crazy and costly no-bargaining ban for the next decade.

What else went down in Obama's drug deal? To find out, I called C-SPAN to get a copy of the videotape of the meeting with the drug companies. I was surprised to find they didn't have such a tape despite the President's campaign promise, right there on CNN in January 2008, "These negotiations will be on C-SPAN."

This puzzled me. When Dick Cheney was caught having secret meetings with oil companies to discuss Bush's Energy Bill, we denounced the hugger-muggers as a case of foxes in the henhouse.

Cheney's secret meetings with lobbyists and industry big-shots were creepy and nasty and evil.

But the Obama crew's secret meetings with lobbyists and industry bigshots were, the President assures us, in the public interest.

We know Cheney's secret confabs were shady and corrupt because Cheney scowled out the side of his mouth.

Obama grins in your face.

See the difference?

The difference is 2%.


Disappointment heaped on disappointment heaped on disappointment...

Is there anything to like about Obama except that he isn't John McCain? So far Obama fails to distinguish himself by pursuing only soft differences like us being up to our tits in Afghanistan instead of Iran (which would have been McCain's possible choice). I voted for Obama so we would withdraw entirely from foolish military adventuring abroad, not to favor one absurd theater of war over another.

If I get started on health care reform this will become the comment that never ends...

Glen Beck is a Fucktard

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And that's why we don't take him seriously on this blog.

Congress-Critters Actually Insane!


What the fuck more can be said here? These asshats don't know what they support - or is it merely an issue of when they supported it? It's pretty hard not to imagine, as Olbermann suggests, that these fuck-wits subsequently get calls from their corporate puppet-masters and told what to do after they fuck up by actually trying to do their jobs and serve their constituents.

Health Insurance Industry Lobbyist: "I gave you money - you will suck my dick! Do a retraction, a 180, whatever...!"

And than there's Arianna Huffington...

Huffington is the consummate opportunist, no doubt. But that's no reason to reject her astute opinions on issues of the day. In this Olbermann segment she skewers Obama's namby pamby political bullshit.

Obama can't get shit done because the position he negotiates from is ruinously centrist from the start. He has no room for compromise, so he just loses ground every fucking time!

Froomkin on Obama's Falling Poll Numbers

The Truth Will Out

But I suspect the poll numbers are also reflecting a growing disillusionment among those who placed a lot of hope in an Obama presidency -- disillusionment that he's not standing up for what the people who voted for him stood up for in November.

And not just disillusionment, either. Anger, too. Professor Drew Westen, an astute analyst of the national psyche, blogged yesterday that "if Americans are starting to turn populist anger toward a White House that has doggedly refused to focus that anger where it belongs -- toward the banks, the mortgage brokers, the regulators who failed to regulate, the oil companies that have blocked energy reform for decades while racking up record profits, the health insurance companies that make their profits by denying coverage and discriminating against the ill, the pharmaceutical companies whose lobbyists have negotiated away the right to negotiate, and the Republicans who bankrupted the treasury during the eight long years of the Bush Presidency and crashed the economy on their way out -- I can understand why."



For that he considers himself a journalist.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Blog Name Refs, Two Sources:

Let's Just Say It: We're Scared Someone's Going to Try to Kill Barack Obama

MSNBC just aired video of a man with a pistol strapped to his leg waiting for Barack Obama to arrive at a townhall in New Hampshire...The man is carrying a sign that says, "It Is Time to Water the Tree of Liberty." That's a reference to a Thomas Jefferson quote: "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants." ...Now, this guy is carrying a legal weapon, says NBC News' Ron Allen. The local chief of police has no objections. Open carriage of licensed handguns is legal in New Hampshire, and the man is standing on the private property of a nearby church (!) that has no problem with an armed man hanging around.


Who was that gun-toting anti-Obama protester?

...Kostric insisted his intentions were peaceful, and that he's not affiliated with Birther groups...But at least one of those statements doesn't seem to be true. A right-wing activist named "William Kostric," who's left a lot of footprints around the Web, is listed as a "team member" of the Arizona chapter of We the People, the far-right group best known for joining a lawsuit challenging Obama's right to be president based on his not being a U.S. citizen. Kostric told MSNBC he recently moved from Arizona to New Hampshire...


Wow, another GOP "Moran."

When I chose a portion of the famous quote for the name of this blog the Jeffersonian concept I was trying to champion was that of a government that feared its people enough to respect and do right by them.

Jefferson was a modern man. He was a renaissance man in the best sense of the word. He was a keen observer, an incredible statesman, a gifted man of words, a farmer and architect, a lover of good food and gash-hound and many more things besides. Jefferson favored intellect over violence, but he could also back up his words with a thrown fist if he needed to.

Jefferson can most easily be compared to a modern liberal or progressive once you really dig deep into his political philosophy. I think Jefferson meant for his fiery words to stand as a reminder to those in positions of power and affluence that people of lesser means are perfectly capable of defending their own turf when and if push comes to shove.

In other words, Jefferson's words are meant as a means of forestalling actual violence as long as everyone recognizes that violence is always available as a means of resolving political conflict. It is not the preferred method of political change among gentlepersons, but it is always there as the most obvious and resolute of threats.

I voted for Obama. I am also severely disappointed in him. That doesn't mean I now seek his blood because of my altered perspective on the man. Civilized people don't think or act that way. We wait for the political process to resolve our problems for us. Sometimes time alone is all that is needed.

I didn't like Bush Jr. at all, but I never contemplated violence against him or my government. Violence has to be the solution of last resort. I may talk a good game of revolution but while nearly 50% of the population disagrees with me now is not yet the time. When things are truly bad more people will tend to agree with the need for change by whatever means necessary.

My patience for the political and economic changes I think need to occur has worn very thin indeed, but there must be a peaceful way to achieve those ends before violence becomes necessary.

At least, that is my hope.

We can't have come this far only to let ourselves be ruled by the sword at the moment of crisis. But the people in power would do every well to remember that a fear biting dog will attack if it feels provoked.

More and more Joe and Jane Sixpack have their backs up against the wall.

When change becomes necessary, change will occur. That's not a threat, it's the biggest take-away one gets from observing history.

A word in your ear...

Super-Gold-Plated Cadillac Health Care Plans

A Clear Choice on Federal Subsidies

The debate over the merits of taxing high-cost, excessively generous insurance plans has highlighted Goldman Sachs’s plan as an example. Goldman’s 400 managing directors reportedly receive an average of $40,543 in employer-provided health insurance annually. What has received less attention is how much of the cost the federal government pays. This compensation is provided tax-free. The same result would occur if the compensation were included as income and the government sent each Goldman managing director a check for $14,777 each year.

For comparison, consider an illustrative family of three in which the father earns $30,000 as an independent contractor for a small plumbing company and the mother earns $25,000 from a small retailer. Neither small business provides health benefits. The couple has a daughter in second grade at the local public school and pays $100 a week for child care after school and during the summer. The family lives in a modest home and pays $1,000 a month in rent and $250 in utilities. It owes $2,312 in federal income taxes, $6,502 in Social Security and Medicare taxes, and $1,350 in state income taxes. It has two cars with payments of $300 a month each, and pays $2,000 a year in car insurance and $1,000 a year for gasoline. It spends $150 a week on groceries. The couple has avoided accruing any credit card debt, but they have no saving for retirement and no life insurance.

After paying these basic expenses, this typical family would have a little less than $500 a month to cover any costs for clothes or shoes, car repairs or maintenance, household expenses, restaurant meals, and any hobbies or activities — and all of the family’s health expenses.

Right now, the federal government pays $14,777 to provide health insurance for each of Goldman Sachs’s managing directors and pays nothing to provide health insurance for this middle-income family. The Administration and Congress face a clear choice: can we modestly reduce the extremely generous government subsidies provided to the Goldman bankers and others similarly situated to help pay for a subsidy worth a fraction of that amount to families of modest means?


I know something like a comment is expected here, but do I really have to say anything at all? What conclusions do you draw about our supposed democratic republic? I mean, technically it still is a democratic republic, right? Maybe...?

Our Adventure in Afghanistan:
The Next Viet Nam Style Quagmire

U.S. Ambassador Seeks More Money for Afghanistan

In a cable sent to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Ambassador Karl W. Eikenberry said an additional $2.5 billion in nonmilitary spending will be needed for 2010, about 60 percent more than the amount President Obama has requested from Congress. The increase is needed "if we are to show progress in the next 14 months," Eikenberry wrote in the cable, according to sources who have seen it.


Is that all they want? Here, let me just peel that amount off my bill roll...

Polite atrocities

Suzon at Alternet said this:'s_in_it_for_jim/#comments

..."Polite atrocities" (corporate crimes against people facilitated by civil agents--politicians, lawyers and judges)...


A fuckload of the good stuff is in the comments. That's one of the democratizing effects of the internet, the supposed real author's work on a given webpage is vastly less interesting than many of the posts in the comments section.

Everyone's going to get their 30 seconds of fame now...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Obama Health Care Reform Fail Tracked by HuffPo

Cribbing from HuffPo because this is all part of some kind of campaign promises public domain video stuff:


"The pharmaceutical industry wrote into the prescription drug plan that Medicare could not negotiate with drug companies. And you know what the chairman of the committee, who pushed the law through went to work for the pharmaceutical industry making 2 million dollars a year.

Imagine that.

That's an example of the same old game playing in Washington. You know I don't want to learn how to play the game better, I want to put an end to the game playing."


"First, we'll take on the drug and insurance companies and hold them accountable for the prices they charge and the harm they cause... And then we'll tell the pharmaceutical companies, 'Thanks but no thanks for overpriced drugs'. Drugs that cost twice as much here as they do in Europe and Canada and Mexico. We'll let Medicare negotiate for lower prices. We'll stop drug companies from blocking generic drugs that are just as effective and far less expensive. We'll allow the safe reimportation of low-cost drugs from countries like Canada."

"I'm going to listen to everybody. We'll have the doctors and the nurses and the members of Congress and patient advocates. I'll have the insurance and drug companies at the table. They just won't be able to buy every chair. And we will... And I'll be at the table. I'll have the biggest chair, because I'm president. If people have other ideas and I don't assume that I've got every single idea. It can be improved and I want input. We're going to have to make some compromises.

But here's the thing. We're going to do all these negotiations on C-SPAN.

The American people will be able to watch these negotiations so if they start seeing a member of Congress who is carrying the water for the drug companies instead of for their constituents and says, 'Oh, you no. we can't negotiate for the cheapest available price on drugs because the drug companies need these profits to invest in research and development', I'll say, 'OK, let me bring my health care expert in here'. And on TV, we'll ask my health care expert, 'What do you think about what the drug companies are saying?'

And what that drug expert will undoubtedly say is 'Well, drug companies do need some profits to invest in research and development but a lot of what they're calling research and development is actually marketing costs for some of these TV ads you see' ... where everybody is, you have all these people dancing in fields, looking all happy. You don't know what the drug is for. Right? Except for that one drug, you know what that's for. You know what that one is for.

Anyway, you get my point. Open this. Transparency. You will hold me accountable, you will hold Congress accountable. That's how we'll get welfare... uh health care reform passed."


So, when I call the guy a lying sack of shit you will know I am not just being a dick about it. The guy is a house nigger all the fucking way. Licking the hands of his masters, soon to float away on a golden parachute...

And yes, it really does piss me off!

Sell High!

Over a year ago I said this:

Smart money says the economy will recover and our economic cycle of bubbles and busts will continue on its merry way.

Smart money also says that you do generally the opposite of what the media tells you. The owners of mass media have a message for you - the lowly consumer - and it runs usually exactly the opposite of what the media owners - and economic puppet-masters - are going to do. When they say the economy is bad what they really means is that they want you to panic and to sell low so that they can buy low. When they tell you the economy is in a boom cycle what they really mean is that they want you to buy high so that they can sell high.

This is really no different than people that try to spike the buying and selling of stocks by deseminating rumors that favor the way they want the sheep to move. The sheep move one way and the rumor-mongers move another way.

Today, I give you billionaire financier George Soros:


U.S. economy has bottomed: George Soros

"I think it (the stimulus) has made a difference, the economy has actually bottomed and I think we are facing a positive quarter, and I think that is largely due to the stimulus," he said in an interview with Reuters Television in New York.


What does it mean? On HuffPo one astute poster, GoodRead, said:

When Soros says the economy has hit bottom, what he is really saying is he wants to sell his positions and needs buyers to get in the market so he can get out at a high...The same goes for Goldman Sachs and Chase. When the Smart Money talks, listen...The Dow will drop ~600 points within 75 days.

Surely the "man who broke the Bank of England" and former member of the Carlyle Group can do no wrong?!

Or can he...?

Jon Stewart: Healther Skelter

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Healther Skelter - Obama Death Panel Debate
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Monday, August 10, 2009

Froomkin Fail

Our Fuzzy President Is About To Come Into Focus

We're finally going to get to know the real President Obama.

Once the final outlines of health-care legislation become clear, we'll know what really matters to him. Where he draws the line. How he wields the levers of power. Whose ox he gores when there's goring that has to be done.

We'll know who's really in charge.

What's amazing is that more than six months into a presidency that Obama vowed would be the most transparent in history, we still know so little about some basic things like how he makes up his mind and who influences him the most.


In which Dan Froomkin (late of WaPo now at HuffPo) said nothing worth reading and actually managed to sound like in idiot in under two paragraphs and two sentences.

What Dan doesn't say is how critical it would have been for Obama to show some real leadership in the last several months instead of whatever it was we actually got served up instead.

So now Obama is really gonna show his stuff, huh Dan? I doubt it because we've seen it already; you just haven't been paying attention.

Epic fails all around.

HuffPo via Political Animal Aug. 10 2009

Conservative Activist Gets In Fight At Health Care Town Hall

Gladney told reporters he was recently laid off and has no health insurance. [emphasis added]

Wait, the conservative opponent of health care reform, fighting (literally) to defeat a plan that would bring coverage to those who lose their jobs, lost his coverage because he got laid off?


This story is both tragic and hilarious. It points up one of the things that utterly sickens me about U.S. politics - GOP supporters that oppose their own political interests. It would be great if this guy worked for Walmart before he got laid off and also flies a big American flag above his $200 rusted-out trailer park home.

Why do people that need the safety nets promoted by progressives and liberals instead support the political interests of the top 1%?

In the U.S. there is a complete disconnect between one's position in the class hierarchy and how one votes. And in my opinion, there shouldn't be. The fact that this disconnect exists is evidence of some kind of mass indoctrination and for which I normally blame organized religion and our schools.

What else could explain it?

Friday, August 7, 2009

How Obama Intends to Fail

Krugman: "Town Hall Mob" Part Of Southern Strategy

lightningbolt said:
The reason many Obama supporters are not as passionate as the crazy right wingers is because Obama's plan isn't really what his supporters want. Obama's supporters want a single payer system, which is not even being talked about. Therefore, there is no reason to go out and fight.


Back in May I said this:

Obama hasn't floated a plan of his own and despite his previous support for a single-payer plan he has refused to allow any such plan to be discussed at recent healthcare reform negotiations. His claimed deadline may reflect the political realities of congressional elections in 2010, but it is also defeatist and melodramatic. Where was the forewarning on this? Now everyone is supposed to immediately jump in support of whatever Obama decides his plan will be even though he has refused to state just what in the hell it is? And the single-payer option is off the table? And it's now or never? By 1 August 2009?

He doesn't seem very hopeful, does he?

Obama is carefully orchestrating all of the reasons why any healthcare reform will prove impossible. And despite whatever Obama or any other Democrat may say of it in the future - they are intentionally dropping the ball on this reform issue because they lack both the leadership and the courage to do the right thing. Cowards all!

And today I will go one step further: Obama is intentionally tanking everything. Every fucking thing a progressive might want is being deep-sixed. Obama is an owned man - a "house negro" as Malcolm X used to speak of them. Obama licks the hands of his corporate masters. If they feel bad, Obama feels bad too. Obama doesn't stand for hope unless it's false hope. Obama does not represent change anyone can believe in unless its change for the worse.

Here's the deal: The Dems think they can make people vote for them again in 2010 if they can keep people on the hook on the progressive issues of the day. As I said in early July:

Do you know how the GOP keeps promising the judgmental asshole bottom-feeders in the party that someday they really will outlaw abortion when everyone with any sense knows that they will never do that very thing because it is a) politically impossible and b) extremely useful as an issue to stir the support of their psychotically christian base?

I think healthcare reform and peace movements operate the exact same way in the Democratic party. The Democrats will never go against the monied interests of the health insurers nor big pharma. It just ain't gonna happen. And the Democrats are regularly greased by the military industrial complex too. No hope there either.

The Dems think we all have a big fucking "L" for loser imprinted on our foreheads and that they can keep riding our dashed political aspirations to victory each and every election. They mean for us to keep hoping with no payoff.

I am going to actively campaign against that notion. An all Democrat congress and White House was my final test. They aren't doing what's right and they're not even half trying to do anything worth doing. There is no quid pro quo between my vote and what they may or may not accomplish. They just want me and you on the hook, hoping forever.

I'm done.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

My Cynical Take on Lauren Luke

Does anyone remember that fake story about eBay's origins? Here's wiki on that:
The frequently repeated story that eBay was founded to help Omidyar's fiancée trade Pez Candy dispensers was fabricated by a public relations manager in 1997 to interest the media. This was revealed in Adam Cohen's 2002 book, The Perfect Store, and confirmed by eBay.

Well, I am having a very cynical moment when it comes to internet media superstar Lauren Luke because of that kind of cynical and false pandering to the masses. I'm just not quite believing anything at face value anymore. But I'm still soft-hearted enough to recognize that maybe it's me and not her. Ah well...

Here are some Lauren Luke links to get on with what I am talking about:

The Julia Child of eyeliner

Panacea81's Channel YouTube

By Lauren Luke

It would be great if everything about this young lady could be taken at face value. I'd like to think that some "commoner" has made it to the big time off the back of her YouTube vids and unabashed enthusiasm for makeup and a more glamorous outlook on everyday life. Everything about the girl seems genuine and sincere. I admire her confidence despite being handed generally an average appearance. Confidence is enormously attractive and can overcome many obstacles. I even like that a chubby young woman is being accepted this way into the upper level of the fashion world - that can only do good since the fashion industry has up to this point been absolutely obsessed with making women feel bad about themselves in order to sell more products that no woman really needs in exchange for the money with which most women cannot truly afford to part. The theater signage in my head reads: "Chubby Girl Radiates Confidence Under the Harsh Limelight!"

It's all good. All is well. I'm impressed.

Except that I don't quite believe it. Someone, whether it was Luke herself or some corporate bigwig, recognized that she has a very symmetrical face. In fact, if she dropped some "stones" she'd actually be worthy in some area of media either as a presenter or model or something like that. Something about her is simply too polished. It's been dumbed down and made "sincere" with Lauren's accent and so on. But her videos are clearly edited and something about it smacks of money and a deeper advertising purpose.

I blame advertisers. They have made it impossible to accept anything at first blush.

Maybe the big trick is simply how well Lauren Luke exploits herself.

Rachel Maddow As Captain Obvious

This is Rachel revealing the true professional PR consultant/corporatist membership of supposed "grassroots" GOP protest movements. I'd like to say that this is really brilliant reporting but its actually quite obvious stuff. She pulls most of her critical investigative information directly from the websites of these wingnuts. Still, Rachel is smart and that's extremely cool. Stating what is obvious and the truth is actually sort of revolutionary in the U.S. political landscape. Rachel is there most days just telling it like it is and being only slightly smug about it.

We're living in a country where something very like 50% of the population is offensively ignorant, bigoted and Christian. Maybe its just me, but there seems to be some kind of relationship between those three things that is quite hard to overcome. Personally, I think it is one of the purposes of organized religion to keep people relatively stupid. If it were otherwise people would more readily admit that creationism is just a lovely myth instead of trying to get it taught in science classes across the country opposite the teaching of the theory of evolution and the processes of natural selection.

Old-timers must be truly blinkered if they think that a single payer or public option health care system would hamper them in any way. I mean, aren't they enjoying the benefits of Medicare? Medicare is a government run system of socialized medical coverage. I guess that escapes their attention.

Here's wiki on Medicare:
Medicare is a social insurance program administered by the United States government, providing health insurance coverage to people who are aged 65 and over, or who meet other special criteria. Medicare operates as a single-payer health care system. The Social Security Act of 1965 was passed by Congress in late-spring of 1965 and signed into law on July 30, 1965, by President Lyndon B. Johnson as amendments to Social Security legislation. At the bill-signing ceremony President Johnson enrolled former President Harry S. Truman as the first Medicare beneficiary and presented him with the first Medicare card.

My thinking is that if a single payer program fails to gain any traction this time around that we should start going after Medicare and the medical benefits of congress-critters too. Let's get everyone onto the same bullshit private insurance system with which everyone else has to contend.

If everyone suffered collectively and equally under the thumb of the profiteering health insurance industry then, and perhaps only then, would we see real progress on the health care reform issue.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

This Modern World

A clear and compelling vision: Hope for eventual change


Monday, August 3, 2009

What’s a home garden worth?

So, if we consider that our out-of-pocket costs were $282 and the total value generated was $2431, that means we had a return on investment of 862%.


The Slow Food movement asks us to determine for ourselves the true value and meaning of food. For me, making better food choices means making this a better world, it means less oil was used to make and transport my food, it means fewer animals suffered to satisfy my palette and that we have a new way of sticking it to the man by taking a revolutionary stand against the grotesque consumerism that characterizes the 21st century American.

Don't buy it. Make it. Grow it. Catch it. Gather it. Experience it. Share it.

Real value is never found in dollar notation.

We can be more than mere ghosts of the modern age drifting through media-blitzed shopping malls in search of the next consumerist bliss-point.

We can be human beings.