Thursday, October 29, 2009

This Man Is a Genius

Stephen Colbert is a genius. His staff, I am sure, deserves credit, too. But they are led by a true, indomitable genius. Period. Last night's episode of the Colbert Report is one for the ages. You can watch the best moments below.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Returning DOUCHE Lieberman to Irrelevance

Senators Reid and Durbin (D-NV and D-IL, respectively) are open to majority vote to beat health care filibuster, thus returning DOUCHE Lieberman to the irrelevance he belongs to (complete with stripping him of all committee positions he currently holds, hopefully.)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My Letter to Douche Lieberman's Office

Dear Sen. Lieberman:

I am writing in dismay as I have just learned that you plan on supporting a GOP filibuster of any health care reform bill that contains a public option. Apparently, you oppose the inclusion of the public option in the final bill on grounds that it would be too expensive.

Two things: as Marcie Wheeler notes here ( you are either misinformed or intentionally misleading. Worse, you had no qualms supporting what economists Linda J. Bilmes and Joseph E. Stiglitz called "the three trillion dollar war." Was that not expensive enough for you to oppose, Sen. Lieberman? And lest you should counter that health care reform is not an issue national security like 9/11 and terrorism, consider the fact that since 9/11 hundreds of thousands of Americans have died of preventable deaths, which proper and timely health care could have prevented or delayed.

Your argument against cost does not make sense, Senator. Which leads people of ordinary intellect like me to believe that something else is at play here. Whatever it is, do not shame yourself or the people you represent by denying the American people an idea whose time has come.


On Douche Lieberman's Incredible Hypocrisy

Read this excellent compendium by Marcie Wheeler on Douche Lieberman's hypocrisy and on how most of the media are credulously handling the senator's statements opposing the public option.

Never doubt the ability of one contemptible turd to spoil the party for the rest of us.

Justice Scalia Is Also a DOUCHE

In case anyone anywhere had any lingering doubts about whether Justice Scalia is a douche of the first order, he cleared them when he stated that he would have dissented on Brown v. Board of Education, which ended school segregation based on race in the United States, just a few decades before the most emblematic and last-standing bastion of racism, South Africa, did.

Really, these are the days when I regret having abandoned Christianity, with its vision of fire and brimstone in hell. Too bad it's all a fantasy that people like Supreme Douche Antonin Scalia peddle to the plutocrats' advantage.

Sen. Lieberman is a DOUCHE

Sen. Lieberman, the contemptible Connecticut senator (a Democrat in name only) who sided with the Bush administration on all matters related to the ill-advised wars that are making Osama Bin Laden laugh at American stupidity and futility, is now on the record having said that he will side with a GOP filibuster of any bill that contains a public option.

Sen. Lieberman justifies his opposition to the public option with the fact that it will cost taxpayers too much. (More than the alternative, which is more than 45,000 preventable deaths each year, senator?)

Obviously Sen. Lieberman is either too corrupt or too dumb to see the fallacy of his logic: He opposes the public option on the ground that it is too expensive, but he had no qualms supporting what economists Linda J. Bilmes and Joseph E. Stiglitz called "The Three Trillion Dollar War" (granted, he was not the only Democrat to do so, but he was arguably the most vocal and visible Democratic presence on the president's side.)

At this point, I think it would only be fair for Sen. Lieberman to forego his own health insurance for the rest of his (hopefully brief) political life, so he can experience first hand what it means to be an "all out-of-pocket" American.

Please read Robert Creamer of the Huffington Post on why the public option should get a straight up-or-down vote).

Also, please write Sen. Lieberman to censor his position and try to sway him back to the side of fairness.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

It Could Happen To You

Check out this link to see what some Americans and their families had to endure because of health insurance companies' greed and the loopholes in our current laws.

Why Fox News Is Not a News Organization

Alternet's Adele Stan lists 8 (good) reasons why Fox News cannot be considered a news organization. Not that CNN and MSNBC should rejoice in Fox's failure. The fact that they are not a propaganda organ does not mean that they are good news organizations. They are quite bad themselves, in fact.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Rachel Maddow Skewers Conservative Hypocrites... Again

Welcome to Debunking Misinformation 101.

Franken 100 - Idiot Shill Lady 0

And one word about the cancer survival bullshit the idiot Hudson Institute shill lady tried to pull on Sen. Franken: read's response to those who try to use cancer survival rates as an indicator of health care quality.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

You Still Think Health Insurance Companies Are Looking Out For You? HAHAHA!

You're a woman. You have been drugged by two men you met at a bar. You fear an HIV infection. You take HIV medication, just in case. And, after all you have been through, you lose your health insurance, only to find out you are pretty much uninsurable because of the HIV medication you took as a precaution.

Is this a great country? Or... what?!?

There are still fools (or crooks) out there, who think we'd be worse off if the government offered its own plan to fight off the worst disease of all: health insurance-itis. Tell them to go back to their gilded, Jesus-shielded abode and wither away, preferably without a peep.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) on the Rachel Maddow Show

Very interesting interview, particularly the part about bi-partisanship as a "weapon of mass distraction."

When the time comes, Mr. Grayson is the type of Democrat you want to support with your contribution (and/or your time).

Monday, October 19, 2009


There really is a Rep. for everything.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

I Like Bill Maher, But...

Bill Maher brings a skeptical eye and a rational viewpoint to a lot of current issues. On some, though, he is clearly in error. The problem is, people who like him might be tempted to give him credit on topics on which he deserves none because of other, legitimate views he holds. That is why I believe it is important to highlight a couple of posts from Pharyngula.

On vaccines, Bill Maher is wrong and PZ Myers and others call Maher to task: here, and here. And Tara C. Smith, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Iowa, explains why she will be getting her kids the flu shot.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday Night Highlights

Tonight, Bill Moyers interviewed Mark Danner, a journalist whose work I was not previously familiar with, but whom I was lucky to "meet" on tonight's Bill Moyers Journal. His splendidly lucid analysis of Obama's Nobel Prize, the war in Afghanistan and--basically--how the 9/11 was the bait that U.S. enemies to draw the United States into a quagmire, much like they had done with the Soviet Union, is not to be missed.

Also on the Journal, a gracious look at the much maligned work of community organizers, the folks who--day in, day out--step up to the plate to make up for the gross mismanagement of our communities by the corrupt and callous politicians (like Sarah Palin and Rudy Giuliani, the shameful opportunist featured at the beginning of the segment) who view them like fiefdoms instead.

Finally, an enlightening, urgent and moving look at the state of nursing in the United States by the always wonderful and educational Now. You can watch it below.


Rep. Grayson (D-FL) hit another one out of the ballpark on Real Time with Bill Maher. He said this: "The Republican idea of health care reform is to let you take your gun to the doctor's office." Exactly.

And You Want Us To Bend Over Backwards... Why?

Fresh from Colorado Public Radio, I have just heard that Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) supports a public option for health care reform, but only if certain conditions are met. For example, the public option would have to compete fairly with private insurers. I don't understand why and I don't think it should. Here's why.

Health insurance companies are not in the business of providing health care services. They are in the business of handling claims and bills. Their role is largely administrative, and adds little or nothing to the quality of health care that human beings receive. In fact, the opposite is true. A large number of health insurance companies (if not the totality of them) exist to provide a profit, either to their shareholders or to their highly paid executives. Even not-for-profit health insurance is not truly uninterested in profit: "Profit is what is left over after expenses are calculated, and those expenses include everything from CEO salaries to artwork in hospitals." So, you see, not-for-profit is in the bottom line of the beholder. The more claims they turn down, the fatter their bottom line. The practice of denying claims often results in preventable suffering and deaths for the insured, and in the enduring grief of their loved ones. More people are bankrupted because of health care costs in the United States every year than for any other single reason.

The public outcry for the need for health insurance reform (shared, supposedly, even by those who oppose the Administration's efforts to reform health care, up to and including AHIP's president, Karen Ignagni) stems from the truly shameful way in which insurance companies have operated so far, including using domestic battery, pregnancy, and acne as pre-existing conditions to deny or cancel coverage. The latest example of the insurance industry's criminal callousness is canceling coverage for an entire category of patients, those affected by muscular dystrophy (hardly the result of individual behavior).

When people like Sen. Udall say that we must ensure that a public option would compete "fairly" against private companies he neglects to consider that "fairly" is a word that simply does not exist in the insurance industry's vocabulary and that competing fairly would be like bending over backwards to please an industry that has bent us over the years to the point of cracking us. The time to be nice to the crooks that populate the boardrooms of health insurance companies is over. I hope Sen. Udall gets the message. In fact, I will send his office a link to this post.

Rachel Maddow's Lashes Out at Parasitical Front Groups

If you have not seen Rachel Maddow's show on MSNBC last night, you have missed a truly stunning outburst directed at the man across her desk, Tim Phillips, the leader of American for Prosperity, a front group for big corporate interests. Maddow accused Phillips, to his face and without hesitation, of being a parasite ready to exploit American fears for political an economic advantage.

You have to see it to believe it, and you can do so here (via Think Progress).

Rich, Cold Blooded Murderers

Read about Dawn Smith and her plight (sure death, delivered by Cigna.)

It's time to start prosecuting health insurance executives like Cigna CEO H. Edward Hanway and sending them to jail as the murderers they are.

Murder They Underwrote

Guardian Life Insurance Co. is cancelling coverage for muscular dystrophy patients. Because the law says they can (at least according to one judge for the Southern District of New York).

The father of the muscular dystrophy patient whose case is at the center of Judge Pauley's ruling in favor of Guardian Life Insurance put it bluntly and, methinks, accurately when he said "This is attempted murder, as far as I'm concerned. They targeted us, they never expected to get caught. I believe that justice will prevail."

Logic and Science v. the Fine Tuning Fairy Tale

You know the fine tuning argument right? Life on earth is possible only because an infinitely improbable set of parameters has converged to make life possible. Since the likelihood of this happening spontaneously is infinitely small, then a designer, a.k.a. god, must have intervened to set as appropriate all the values that made life arise. This is the favorite argument proposed by believers in intelligent design, a.k.a creationism 1.0.1, to refute the concept of abiogenesis and, more broadly, of evolution itself.

Joe Thornton, a biologist at the University of Oregon, has written three beautiful paragraphs (in a larger, technical response to Michael Behe's hijacking of his research group's paper on molecular evolution, published in Nature magazine) that are intended to rebuff Behe's contention that some mechanisms in nature are so complex that they could not possibly have arisen spontaneously. The same argument can be made not only against Behe's argument of irreducible complexity (hence design), but against the fine tuning argument as well, as clearly and as cogently as ever.

Here is what Thornton wrote:

Finally, Behe erroneously equates “evolving non-deterministically” with “impossible to evolve.” He supposes that if each of a set of specific evolutionary outcomes has a low probability, then none will evolve. This is like saying that, because the probability was vanishingly small that the 1996 Yankees would finish 92-70 with 871 runs scored and 787 allowed and then win the World Series in six games over Atlanta, the fact that all this occurred means it must have been willed by God.

Consider the future: there are countless possible that could emerge from our present state, making the probability of the one that actually does evolve extraordinarily low. Does this mean that the future state that will ultimately emerge is impossible? Obviously not. To say that our present biology did not evolve deterministically means simply that other states could have evolved instead; it does not imply that it did not evolve.

Consider your own life history as an analogy. We can all look back at the road we have traveled and identify chance events that had profound effects on how our lives turned out. “If the movie I wanted to see that night when I was 25 hadn’t been sold out, I never would have gone to that party at my friend’s house, where I met my future spouse….” Everyone can tell a story like this. The probability of the life we actually lead is extraordinarily small. That obviously doesn’t mean that its historical unfolding was impossible.

Case closed. Again.

(Thornton's response can be found here And here is the post that sparked my curiosity about Thornton's research.)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Why Republicans are a Shameful, Dangerous Lot For This Nation

Just watch this. Consider it in the context of tea parties, Glenn Beck's rants about socialism, fascism, and czars, Republican outbursts of joy when Chicago lost its Olympic bid, Rush Limbaugh's mean-spirited and pompous idiocy, etc, and you will easily understand why Republicans deserve all the ridicule they get, and why they have a dangerous and harmful influence on the country's future.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Teaching the Controversy

The way you know that Intelligent Design is the surrender of the zealot's mind against the unknown is how easy it is to spoof. And how difficult it is to tell apart the spoof from the real thing.

With thanks to Pharyngula for highlighting the video clip.

Monday, October 12, 2009

"Fat", Toothless, and Denied Insurance

If you need any more proof that the health insurance industry has gone off the deep end, watch this segment about how a 4 month-old can be denied access to private health insurance because of... obesity.

If there is no hell, we need to build one for health insurance executives.

One note: Bernie Lange, the "obese" infant's father, praised The Rocky Mountain Health Plans insurance company for changing its policy. Well, hallelujah! They did the right thing... after the media brouhaha. One question: why did the policy exist in the first place?

Read more at:

Interesting Read for Your Health Care Reform Education

Ezra Klein on PricewaterhouseCoopers and their "independent" study on the effect of health care reform measures on insurance prices.
Anthony Weiner's logical conclusions about AHIP and the PWC study.

The Republican Jesus

Insurance Spokeswoman Makes Best Case to Date for Public Option

Well, she did not. But when Karen Ignagni, president of America's Health Insurance Plans, praised an insurance industry-funded study by PricewaterhouseCoopers, which warns Americans of rising health insurance costs if the health care reform measures that require those with pre-existing conditons to be covered should pass, she unwittingly made the best case for the public option she could have made.

They call it an industry analysis, I call it what is is: blackmail.

Let's throw the whole lot of them insurance industry bums out! We can do health care on OUR terms, like they do in the civilized world, where insurance companies play by the strict rules set for them in the name of public interest. (And no, we cannot call ourselves civilized as long as the current state of health affairs endures.)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Bill Moyers Editorial on Health Care Reform

Oh dear, oh dear: another bullseye by Bill Moyers. Wherein mighty Moyers reveals the revolving door through which insurance interestes come and go to influence the position of Max Baucus's Senate Finance Committee on health care reform and why reform will serve not your interest, but the insurance industry's.

And as Moyers says in his closing sentence, after you watch his editorial, "don't just get mad: get busy."

Oh, and by the way, Moyers's interview with Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) and former IMF chief economist Simon Johnson, about the financial crisis and missed opportunities, is a "must view", too.

A Serious Look At End Of Life Decisions

If you're a teabagger (in the sense propounded by clueless Republicans), or if you are Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), you should not miss the latest episode of PBS's Now. If after watching the video below you still think that end of life counseling is synonimous with "death panel", then I would advance the opinion that you are alread brain-dead and, as such, beyond passing judgment on important matters. Consequently, you should let others make decisions that you are not in a position to make. Oh, by the way, my sympathies to your family.

If you are one of my wise, regular readers, then watching this 25 minute episode will make you even wiser. Enjoy.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Friday Night Delight

Well, maybe delight is not quite the best noun to pick but, whatever you do tonight, do not miss the Bill Moyers Journal on PBS. The main topic is the financial crisis, and the fact that business continues as usual even after billions and billions of taxpayer dollars have been injected into the system, supposedly to fix it.

Now also promises to be good, with focus on health care.

So delay your Friday night rendez-vous at the local watering hole long enough to catch these two shows. You won't regret it.

The Mean Idiots' Parade

This morning, President Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The mean idiots' parade is in full swing already. Here are a few, revealing highlights:

The RNC: "The real question Americans are asking is, ‘What has President Obama actually accomplished?’ It is unfortunate that the president’s star power has outshined tireless advocates who have made real achievements working towards peace and human rights. One thing is certain – President Obama won’t be receiving any awards from Americans for job creation, fiscal responsibility, or backing up rhetoric with concrete action."

Rush Limbaugh: "Our president is a worldwide joke. Folks, do you realize something has happened here that we all agree with the Taliban and Iran about and that is he doesn't deserve the award. Now that's hilarious, that I'm on the same side of something that the Taliban, and that we all are on the same side as the Taliban." Really Rush, you have made us none the wiser with your "revelation". It is not news that you hate America.

Erick Erickson at "I did not realize the Nobel Peace Prize had an affirmative action quota for it, but that is the only thing I can think of for this news."

There will be more, but these statements are indicative of the sourpuss, racist, and mean-spirited attacks to come.

Repuglycans, indeed.

The Nobel Prize to America

I am not among the people who are wondering what on earth possessed the Nobel Committee to award the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize to our 44th president, Barack Obama. The statement issued by the awarding committee says it all: the president has received the prize "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples."

The rest of the press release contain other revealing statements, for example:
"Obama has as President created a new climate in international politics."
"Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts."
"Thanks to Obama's initiative, the USA is now playing a more constructive role in meeting the great climatic challenges the world is confronting."

But the most important pointer to explaining the committee's decision may be this (emphasis added):
"Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future. His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world's population."

In other words, the prize has been given to President Obama for helping the USA rejoin the international community and for his diplomatic leadership.

You who voted for President Obama back in November should be proud: this Nobel Peace Prize is all yours.

Yes, the award is probably premature. Yes, there were probably more deserving nominees. But it is impossible to overemphasize the fact that this year's peace prize is an anti-Bush, anti-neo-con statement that we helped to make when we elected the antithesis of Bush, instead of his continuation, 11 months ago.

This is the world's way of patting America on its back, and of rewarding President Obama for changing the tone of American foreign policy.

Now all the president has to do is go out there among the world's many peaceful people and earn the prize we helped him win.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Congratulations, Freshman Sen. Franken!

Sen. Franken saw his first amendment pass today by roll call, even though there was no scarcity of Republicans to vote against it. Consider what they voted against:

"The story came to my attention of Jamie Leigh Jones who, when she was 19, went to Iraq to work for [defense contractor] KBR and she was put in the barracks with 400 men and was sexually harassed," Franken told the Huffington Post in a brief interview shortly after the vote. "She complained. But they didn't do anything about it. She was drugged and gang raped and they locked her up in a shipping container. She tried to sue KBR and they said you have a mandatory arbitration clause in your contract. She tried to fight back and said this is ridiculous. She took it to court and they have been fighting her for three years."

"This bill would make it so that anybody in business with the Department of the Defense can't do this," he concluded emphatically. "They can't have mandatory arbitration on issues like assault and battery."

(Read more at:

Here are the names of the Republicans who voted against Franken's amendment:

Alexander (R-TN)
Barrasso (R-WY)
Bond (R-MO)
Brownback (R-KS)
Bunning (R-KY)
Burr (R-NC)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Coburn (R-OK)
Cochran (R-MS)
Corker (R-TN)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Crapo (R-ID)
DeMint (R-SC)
Ensign (R-NV)
Enzi (R-WY)
Graham (R-SC)
Gregg (R-NH)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Isakson (R-GA)
Johanns (R-NE)
Kyl (R-AZ)
McCain (R-AZ)
McConnell (R-KY)
Risch (R-ID)
Roberts (R-KS)
Sessions (R-AL)
Shelby (R-AL)
Thune (R-SD)
Vitter (R-LA)
Wicker (R-MS)

Truly despicable.

The Influence of Money on the Health Care Reform Debate

Scary stuff, with graphs, via the Daily Kos site.

Evil, Stupidity, and Health Care

"The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread."

This quote by the famous French intellectual, journalist and man of the letters, Anatole France, captures the essence of the evil folly of Republican inaction on health care. It could be easily adapted to read "Republicans (and blue dog Democrats) in their majestic impartiality and enduring faith in the power of the free market to let all prosper, will allow the rich as well as the poor to go without needed medical care and health insurance."

That is, I am afraid, the degree of absence of empathy and of idolatry of the free market that one large part of the population and its elected representatives have displayed in the health care reform debate. The combination of evil, from political leaders who have scared the throngs of the gullible into believing that fairness in health care equals death panels, the advent of "socialism" and the death of the free market, and of stupidity, of the people who let themselves be scared, brings to mind another famous saying by the already mentioned French intellectual, Anatole France: "Stupidity is far more dangerous than evil, for evil takes a break from time to time, stupidity does not."

May both the evil and the stupid reap what they are unrepentantly and unwittingly sowing.

The Most Important Special Comment. Ever.

UPDATE: Here is the link to the National Associations of Free Clinics that Keith Olbermann talked about last night. Please make a tax free donation in whatever amount you can afford.

You think it's hyperbole? Watch. Watch the full hour. If you cannot watch the full hour, watch part 5. Keith Olbermann nails the subject of health reform. As I said watch, weep, spring into action. (I will provide a link here as soon as information becomes available on how we can donate to the National Association of Free Clinics, which Keith mentioned in the last segment.)

Part 1 -Part 2 -Part 3 -Part 4 -Part 5

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Scattered Thoughts on Michael Moore's "Capitalism"

Twenty years later, Michael Moore is back where he started out with "Roger and Me". In that first movie, he eulogised his home town of Flint and laid the blame for its ruin squarely at the door of the myopic and greedy corporate executives who felt no allegiance to roots of their success, nor to what their predecessors had built, and put the interest of shareholders ahead of their responsibility to the community where their business had operated and prospered. Now, with "Capitalism: A Love Story", Moore has come full circle.

Some will try to sell you the interpretation that the core idea of Moore's movie is that capitalism is intrinsically bad. In doing so, they will be trying to pit capitalism against Michael Moore, counting on the fact that a vast majority of Americans will quickly choose the former. Actually, the theme of the movie is far more nuanced. I don't think that Moore believes that capitalism is intrinsically bad. However, he does hammer home the point that capitalism is the host to the parasite that will lead to its ultimate destruction: greed. Left in the hands of greedy men capitalism will turn out to be a self-destructing system, just like socialism, left in the hands of a different type of greedy men, degenerates into communism. I remember having such a discussion with a very good friend of mine almost twenty years ago, and now I feel sadly vindicated by the recent turn of events.

Before capitalism completely self-destructs, enabled by the inability of the human race to regulate its innate selfishness, it will litter the trail with the lives of many people. In a twist of bitter irony, many such lives will be those of people who have bought lock stock and barrel the argument that capitalism can essentially do no harm, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding. And the evidence is starting to mount, as seen in the dozens of cities like Flint that have been destroyed by greed, in the thousands of mom and pop stores that have been put out of business by the likes of Wal-mart, in the hundreds of thousands of people who have been left to die with their pre-existing conditions by health insurance companies, and in the millions of people who have lost their homes to foreclosure after paying billions of dollars towards the impossible dream of owning a house to corporations who treated them worse than gamblers in a casino. Nonetheless, Americans have been successfully brainwashed for decades into believing that capitalism is inherently good.

And now, in quick and short order, the most memorable parts of the movie:

  • The Citigroup strategy document about plutonomy, which you must read to get a glimpse of how you and I are viewed by corporations and their handsomely paid analysts.
  • The part about America's corporate spokesman turned president (Ronald Reagan) and his role in paving the path to the destruction of the middle-class, aided and abetted by his accomplices in Congress (including, sadly, a good deal of Democrats).
  • The way Congress squandered the lessons of 9/11 and again caved to President Bush and Secy. Paulson, much as it had caved after 9/11 in clearing the way for the war of choice against Iraq, and consented to lavishing hundreds of billions of dollars on CEOs who should be behind bars and on the companies they almost bankrupted with their greed.
  • The indefensible corruption of politicians like Sen. Dodd (D-CT) who were taking advantage of the sweetheart financing deals offered by Countrywide, all while they were publicly decrying companies precisely like Countrywide.
  • The segment on the hard-to-believe contention that capitalism and Christianity are compatible, reciprocally reinforcing, belief systems (as exemplified here). Granted, not all Christians support this view (see here for a contrasting example), but that is precisely the "beauty" of religion as the opium of the people: Christianity is not an objective science, it is a fantasy that thrives on the interpretive powers of the various individual that use it to further their ends and on its truthy book, which is as pliable as the prophecies of Nostradamus.
So far so good, and little to disagree with.

The disagreement, and it is not one of minor consequence, comes at the end, when Moore advocates the elimination of capitalism, to replaced it with democracy. Apparently Moore means democracy as in true democratic rule, in the workplace and in society at large. The error of this demand is gigantic, for it assumes that it is not democracy, better yet--the inevitable manipulation of it made possible in a capitalistic system, that has gotten us where we are.

We live in a world, as described in the above-mentioned Citigroup document, where 1% of the American people holds 95% of the wealth. In this condition we see the magic (and I mean the word as literally as possible) of capitalism at work: Its admirable ability to convince a huge number of voters that the system is not inherently inequitable and flawed, and that the fact that the share of wealth accumulated by the top 1% is the result of superior ability to create wealth, rather than the unnatural outcome of a rigged system. The underlying illusion, that we are all endowed with the original ability to be successful given an illusory level playing field, is the evil genius of capitalism.

Message to Michael: We live in a democracy already, one in which a large share of 95% of the people has sacrificed its sense of fairness, equity and justice to the altar of Mammon though it will never even be allowed in the vicinity of the temple.

I, too, refuse to live in a country like this as Michael Moore proclaims at the end of his undeniably important movie, but--unlike Moore--who can stay to fight, I might not have that leisure. May Michael Moore, and all of us, live to see the better system that will eventually take capitalism's place. Whatever it is, it would all have to begin with taking money out of politics, which is precisely the opposite of what the Supreme Court seems about to do.

Friday, October 02, 2009

John Boehner Needs To Get Out More

Out of office would be nice, but I'd be satisified if he took a walk around the streets on any town in Ohio, where 57% of the state's population supports a public option. And yet, Boehner, the quintessential Repub-lie-can, actually said this on camera:

"I'm still trying to find the first American to talk to who's in favor of the public option, other than a member of Congress or the administration."

If he is not lying he is clueless and should be voted out of office. If he is lying, all the more reason to vote him out of office. Either way, please make him be gone, Ohio.

Remember, Bill Clinton was impeached for lying about an issue that had zero impact on your life or mine (except for the impact that was created by the people who hated him and wanted him out of office). Instead, this tool is lying to justify his opposition to health care reform that would arguably improve the lives of most Americans.

We will see who we are as a nation when Ohio goes to the poll. I fear I know the answer already. I have rarely seen deceit and dishonesty go unrewarded in America's politics.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

As I Survey The Wreckage

"As I survey the wreckage of the Obama landscape, I fear that my predictions before the election may sadly come true. Although some dismissed me (even people I thought would give me a fair hearing), I predicted that, if elected, Obama would lose the wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq, and that the US would be hit hard by more terrorist attacks."

Thus begins The Unsafe World of Barack Obama, the latest pseudo-prophetic rant by Mr. Groothuis, a.k.a. The Constructive Curmudgeon. In Groothuis apople-lyptic fantasies President Obama has already "lost" both the war in Iraq and the war in Afghanistan.

Never mind that in July 2008 President Bush negotiated
a timetable for U.S. troop withdrawal with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

Never mind that it is the prerogative of the commander-in-chief
to take his generals' various opinions under advisement before deciding whether the goals of the mission are realistic and achievable and whether they warrant sending more and more of our troops into harm's way (a double conundrum that never seems to have crossed the faith-driven minds of Obama's predecessor and his aides). (And if it is so important that we win these wars that the Curmudgeon so strongly believs in, why doesn't he stop blabbering about them and join the army, which is so badly in need of fresh flesh?)

Never mind the fact that it is impossible to begin with to define victory against an enemy that you can never completely defeat, one that you cannot sit down with to negotiate a peace or surrender treaty, precisely the ideal type of enemy for those who, like Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, etc., desired to produce a state of perennial war to support their political goals.

Never mind the fact that the "war on terror" was, is, and will remain an unwinnable war that threatens to bankrupt our nation, both financially and morally, one that should never have been fought primarily on a law enforcement level, with sparse military support only when strictly necessary.

The Curmudgeon is already surveying "the wreckage of the Obama landscape" without mentioning the fact that it is what is left over from the previous administration, the one the Curmudgeon almost invariably defended for its longsightedness.

The Curmudgeon chastises President Obama for not denouncing the rigged elections in Iran, without mentioning the fact that it was precisely what the enemies of the Ayatollahs had asked him not to do, so not as to give the Iranian government a reason to politicize the political repression and to increase the violence against protesters under the pretense that they were being manipulated by the Americans. He further chastises the president for "chumming" with Chavez (when? where?) and for not condeming terrorism while giving a speech in Egypt to the Muslim world. (I have already written about this unintelligent, uninformed accusation, and you can read what I wrote here.)

And then, in a final flourish of factless commentary, the Curmudgeon directs guilt by association on President Obama, saying that "[i]t is unlikely that the Obama-esque Democrats will vote to renew [the Patriot Act]", in spite of the fact that the Obama Justice Department wants to extend the spy provisions of the act, and that a lot of progressive Democrats are quite disgruntled with the president for perpetuating many Bush-era policies that fly in the face of civil liberties.

Never mind facts, for they hinder Groothuis's agenda, which--based on what he writes--have little to do with making reasonable arguments and much to do with the politics of personal destruction.

One last thought: Groothuis accuses "contemporary Democrats [because they] do not understand the forces of evil in the world or how to confront them." Oh no, Mr. Groothuis, we recognize them, and how. Why, with due proportions, we see right through them, even through you.

As I survey the wreckage of Mr. Groothuis's mind, I fear there is nothing worth salvaging.
Copyright 2004-2012