Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Baucus Caucus

(Almost) Everything that's wrong with the Baucus Plan, in TWO MINUTES!

Former CIGNA insurance exec Wendell Potter (come late to a conscience, but better than never, I guess) inscribed an "open letter" to Baucus (via DownWithTyranny) which lays out what the senator(s) should do if he were to decide that he works for his constituents rather than for his campaign donors. I take Potter's recommendations to be minima:
*Create a grant program for state insurance departments to help them better enforce market rules and protect consumers.

*Establish a federal role for private health insurance oversight and provide resources for the Department of Health and Human Services to hire expert staff to carry out these functions and coordinate with state regulators.

* Require health insurance plans to disclose clear, accurate, and timely information on their policies and practices to ensure that they do not circumvent new federal health insurance regulations.

* Add needed transparency requirements such as: establishing fair grievance and appeals procedures by health insurers; clarifying information for health professionals and freeing up time for patients by establishing transparency standards relating to reimbursement arrangements between health plans and providers; and requiring advance notice of plan changes so consumers get what they pay.

*Establish America’s Health Insurance Trust, a nonprofit, independent, consumer-driven organization that will evaluate and give ratings to all health insurance products offered through the National Health Insurance Exchange. Annual insurance product ratings will be based on factors such as affordability, adequacy, transparency, consumer satisfaction, provider satisfaction, and quality.

* Ensure that ombudsman offices in each state are open to consumers at all stages of the appeal process to allow for early intervention and increase the likelihood of successful appeals.

Health insurance reform requires that we not only create strong new consumer protections. It also requires that those rules be effectively enforced. American families and businesses must have health insurance that is accountable to them, not to Wall Street.
Potter's recommendations are based on the Baucus committee's AHFA, which is going to be the plan which gets to Obama's desk, in whatsoever form it ultimately takes.

Imho: No "plan" which does NOT extract the profit motive from the provision of health insurance is a designated failure, from the first instant.

Oh, and that soi disant "public option?"

Yeah, right!


Thursday, September 24, 2009

The "9/11" Commission Report

I'm of the LIHOP (Let It Happen On Purpose) persuasion. There were fingerprints of way too many Pearl-Harbor-hungry PNAC signatories all over that mess for that not to have been the case. Maybe they "misunderestimated," mebbe not.

But anyway, the lead attorney for the 9/11 Commission, is out with a book in which he claims "the official version of the story is almost entirely untrue, based on false testimony by the White House, CIA, FBI and NORAD." John Farmer, Dean of the Law School at Rutgers University and former Attorney General of New Jersey, was legal counsel to the 9/11 Commission, and in charge of drafting its report. Mark Crispin Miller reports:
And now, having read through lots of further evidence, he’s come to the conclusion that the official version of the story is almost entirely untrue, based on false testimony by the White House, CIA, FBI and NORAD.

His new book, The Ground Truth: The Story Behind America’s Defense on 9/11, makes this case with loads of documentary evidence–and his colleagues on the commission are on board, as the article below makes clear.

So are John Farmer and those other members of that very commission all “conspiracy theorists”?

Here’s the press release re: Farmer’s book from Rutgers University:
I wasn't even aware the Commission had finished publishing its report. There was a "Part 1," about five years ago, iirc, which summarized the evidence and recorded testimony, but drew no conclusions and assigned no responsibility. The summary was delayed for political reasons, and finally released in 2007. And now, one of the major functionaries in the initial proceedings apparently recants (cants?)? Vehdddy interlesting... (rip, aj. w)

Well, sorta. It's not exactly a smoking gun.

Skip to the chase:
Newark, NJ – The nation’s top-down command structure was abysmally ill-prepared to respond to the surprise attacks of September 11, 2001 and, as the bungled response to the much-anticipated Hurricane Katrina underscored, remains a bureaucratic hindrance to the “on the ground” way in which crises are actually experienced and most effectively addressed. Equally important, misleading accounts by the administration and the military of key aspects of the air and ground response on 9/11 have set the country up to fail in response to future threats.
Of course, the greatest weakness of the top-down model is that if there is either willful ignorance or inadvertent, total incompetence at the top, every subsequent level will be contaminated ("Helluva job, Brownie!"). Purposeful ineptitude was also apparent in the officials' responses to Katrina, perhaps more evidently, in the discourses which celebrated the 'cleansing' of the city. It's not an accident, e.g., that the restorations in New Orleans do not include replacing the inexpensive housing overwhelmingly occupied by poor black and immigrant communities.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

National Academic "Standards": What'll Be On "The Test"

If you were a 'critical educator," whose pedagogy and practice were informed by theories of emancipatory and democratic education, and socially constructed epistemology, the following torrent of terrifying tautologies and imperious, impenetrable 'educationalistese' boiler-plate would freeze your Freire off, dry up your Vygotsky in a trice.

Via Susan Ohanian's excellent daily out-rage round-up (available by signing up at her site, a necessity for critical teachers and educators). If I were still teaching, my students would be reading and commenting on her posts.
The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) today released the first official public draft of the college- and career-readiness standards in English-language arts and mathematics as part of the Common Core State Standards Initiative, a process being led by governors and chief state school officers in 51 states and territories. These standards define the knowledge and skills students should have to succeed in entry-level, credit-bearing, academic college courses and in workforce training programs.
The college- and career-readiness standards have been informed by input from education and content experts and feedback from participating states. They were developed based on the following guiding considerations:
* Fewer, clearer, higher: It is critical that any standards document be translatable to and teachable in the classroom. As such, the standards must cover only those areas that are critical for student success.

* Evidence: Each document includes sources of evidence for the standards. Evidence informed what was included in the standards.

* Internationally benchmarked: These standards are informed by the content, rigor and organization of standards of high-performing countries and states.

* Special populations: In the development of these standards, the inclusion of all types of learners was a priority.

* Assessment: The standards will ultimately be the basis for a system of high quality assessments.

* Standards and curriculum: Standards are not curriculum. The curriculum that follows will continue to be a local responsibility (or state-led, where appropriate).

* 21st century skills: The draft English-language arts and mathematics standards have incorporated 21st century skills.
What you have there is the structure of the next wave of "high-stakes" tests. The whole thing is chock-full of impossibly contradictory aims. How, for example, can there be "fewer, clearer, higher" standards without the standards themselves being more exclusionary, and more capricious? In Texas, the state version of this effort is wrestling with whether or not to replace Cesar Chavez with Phyllis Schlaffly. No, really. No fucking shit.

The k-12 standards are next, though how they will--or even CAN--differ from the "considerations" described as underwriting the list above escapes me for the moment.

Monday, September 21, 2009

WTF? Congressional Dims Attacking ACORN?

ACORN Bill Shows 2006, 2008 Dim Election Wins Were "Meaningless"

Paul Rosenberg, of Open Left, via ALTERNET:
Why the Congressional Dems' Attack on
ACORN Is an Attack On Us All

When the congressional Democrats joined the Republicans in attacking ACORN and cutting off its funding--without even the pretense of an investigation to establish a rational basis for their actions--they clearly demonstrated the almost utter meaninglessness of electing a Democratic majority over the past two wave elections. The elections were clearly important in terms of removing the GOP from direct power, so that it's worst abuses were either ended or toned down.

But clearly nothing remotely resembling actual Democratic governance has emerged to take it's place. And this vote was a stark, harrowing reminder of how politics, like nature, abhors a vacuum: if you don't have a positive agenda, you will end up voting for any sort of stupid, evil shit that comes down the line, if the stampede factor is high enough. Or, to put it more bluntly: If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything. So here's a quick run-down on what I see as six of the principle evils involved in this heinous act. I invite everyone to add to my list in comments.
I'll enumerate them here with minimum explanation, the full texts of which can be read on the link, above:
(1) Screw The Poor, Part 1: The defunding directly takes money away from the leading organization involved in helping low and moderate income keep their homes...

(2) Screw The Poor, Part 2: Cutting back on voter registration for minority and low-income voters..

(3) Empower Demonization: ...The stupidest thing that Democrats can do is cave in to rightwing demonization, and thereby empower it. So, naturally, that's what the Versailles Dems do...

(4) VALIDATE Demonization: But the Versailles Democrats didn't just empower conservative demonization by allowing it to succeed. They joined in on it--essentially saying that conservatives were right to demonize ACORN...

(5) Invalidate the reason for voting for Democrats in the first place...

(6) A general "fuck you" to all grassroots activists. Seriously, if I have to explain this one to you, I'm afraid that I can't possibly explain it to you.
Presumably, one would include "community organizers" in that "grass-roots activists" category "thePrez" just shat upon, again, nest paw?

Cartoon by Kevin Siers of The Charlotte Observer (September 18, 2009) and featured at McClatchy DC. DOTOF™ to Diane/Cab Drollery

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Odd Menage a Trois Road-tripping for "Disaster Capitalism" In Schools

Arne Duncan, Two Other Stooges--Sharpton & Gingrich--
Take The MCLB*/Accountability Show On The Road.

Susan Ohanian is an invaluable resource for 'critical' educators and sympathetic readers. A recent e-mail contained reference to but no link to the following deposition by the editor at the blog Black Agenda Report, and this exquisite take-down of the Obama "Education Reform" team. He's done so well with health insurance, climate policy, pursuit of Bushevik war-criminals, ending our wars and boosting the economy, I guess we should just "trust him" to do the right thing for schools, right? (face-palm, face-palm, face-palm...)
Quite separately from each other, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Rev. Al Sharpton and Newt Gingrich have long ago forfeited whatever credibility they may once have had. Taken together, they are simply a bad joke: three grown men publicly eye-poking and slap fighting each other while they all come together to sell us high-stakes testing, charter schools, educational privatization and the whole package of corporate “school reform.”
Expanding on that theme, Danny Weill, of Dissident Voice, criticizes the game and castigates the players:
Duncan, of course, is spearheading the campaign to sell the charter school snake oil to the public. It’s like an old traveling medicine show equipped with elixirs and potions for every ailment but Duncan’s the guy with the bankroll, the go to guy. He has close ties to billionaires: Eli Broad, Gates, the Walton family and other philanthropic interests who have for years looked forward to this moment to step in and control the design and organizational structure of American education. Maybe while he's in Los Angeles, where 250 schools were simply given over to "outside operators" he'll find a little time away from his soap box tour to spend a few minutes at the Eli Broad Superintendents Academy that prepares non-educators like Duncan for Superintendent positions in urban schools while the Broad Foundation trains works side by side with 'associates' of skilled executives in various fields for leading urban school systems (School Administrator, August 2007). There, he can listen to the voices of experienced, proven leaders from business, military, civic and government sectors sharing ideas with their non-educator counterparts on how to privatize and reform education. Even Newt and Sharpton might enjoy the challenge.
It's worth remembering that Duncan, a hoops-playing, wealthy, aristocratic FOO, has never spent even an HOUR employed as a teacher. He's a lawyer, ceo, and entrepeneur. It is endlessly debatable whether those are the best qualifications for the chief educational policy maker in the country.

I come down for: NOT! If he was gonna choose a white male, there were so many other, better choices--for education, if not for commerce and profit wrenched from the public teat.

*MCLB = More Children Left Behind

Friday, September 18, 2009


Bill Hicks on marketers/pr guys...

DOTOF™ to Driftglass, a master.
The one and only upside to Madison Avenue's relentless dredging of the American mind is that, if you happen to be interested in what is truly driving us at any given moment (and you know how to read the goat entrails of commercial culture) then it's all there, laid out for you like a Sunday brunch buffet.
Go read the sad saga of "Joe Boomer" (where but for fortune would I have gone...)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Robert Borosage (e.g.)...

And the folks who think Obama's got the correct read on the financial re-regulation crisis.

Today on the CAP blog, Our Future, the normally clear-headed Borosage posted a column titled "Mugging the Common Good." In it he seeks to convince the troops of the virtues of Obama's meek "plan" to re-regulate the markets that drove the world into its current crisis. Near the top, he includes the following incredible paragraph:
"(Obama) really does believe you put everyone around a table, have a "civil conversation," find areas of agreement and move forward. He does believe that everyone—from billionaire hedge-fund operators to insurance company CEOS to conservative legislators—will in a crisis put the country first."
Which left me gasping in disbelief!

What utter, total, complete, unmitigated codswallop! If it were true, there'd be no crisis to rectify! But when has it EVER happened that the money guys looked beyond their next million dollars and cleaved to the common good?

When has that EVER happened? AMERICAN banksters--through the agency of then-Senator Prescott Bush--managed to collaborate VERY PROFITABLY with Hitler while the rest of the fucking world was at WAR with him...

Chuy, the STOOPIT!

If "thePrez" really believes that, then he's simply too simple, too naive, too trusting (or too stupid?) to govern. Hell, if he believes that, he shouldn't be left alone to bathe himself, and should have his food cut up for him...

And if Borosage really believes it, then somebody needs to shut off his keyboard. There's a nice padded room for him, somewhere.

Obama's proposals to reregulate the "finance Industrry" are just as useless and toothless as his proposals for reforming health insurance. Where's the "Glass-Steagal" replacement? Oh, yeah, it's the "public option" of the financial clean-up. Not on the table. The little Obama actually proposes is weak, feckless, ineffectual, ('self-regulation"?) and will leave the banksters with all the regulatory latitude they'll require to stimulate the NEXT bubble, and the NEXT bust, from which either Obama or the fascist who replaces him will have to bail them out, once again, by means of which the banksters can finish cleaning out the Treasury of whatever they were NOT able to pilfer this time... I hear they want to 'securitize'life insurance, next, and health insurance after that.

I know the guys in the CorpoRat media gotta pretend that there's "hope" for "change."

But do NOT peddle that limp, stinky shit expect the rest of us to buy it...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

This usta be my beat: Baker, LA, Installs 10 Commandments In CIty Park

Baker, LA, is "Crackerville." I usta both cover Baker and the River parishes and write for the religion page for the Barely Adequate, back in the '80s. The "Religion Clause" put up the news:
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
10 Commandments on City Hall Property Is Problematic
(Leave it to the ol' prof to understate the case. W)

A new, molded concrete depiction of the Ten Commandments has gone up on the city-owned Veterans Plaza next to the city building in Baker, Louisiana. (Baker is a semi-rural town/bedroom suburb, on the north side of Baton Rouge. W.) According to the Baton Rouge (LA)Advocate last week, both this monument and an identical one nearby on the grounds of the Baker First Baptist Church face the Baker High School campus across the street. The monument on city property, as well as installation costs, were paid for personally by former city councilman A.T. Furr.

Mayor Harold Rideau did not consult with the city attorney first, and city council never formally approved the installation. Instead it was approved informally "by word of mouth." Rideau said: "We’re a Christian-based community." Former councilman Furr says the monument is constitutionally acceptable because it is in a park that pays tribute to veterans, but City Attorney Ron Hall says that if it was put up with knowledge of city officials, it is probably illegal. [Thanks to Bob Ritter for the lead.]
City Atty Hall's remark is better understood in context:
“If it’s put up with City Hall knowledge and consent, it’s probably not legal. I’m not saying I’m against it, but I think it’s illegal,” City Attorney Ron Wall said Thursday.
As I remarked in comments:
This is how theo-fascism works, nest paw? One day you wake up and the thing is there and it's too late to object. You can't just blow the fucker up, even if that's what it deserves, for its privileged, ratified effrontery...If you object, you'll be shunned, not a good thing in a tiny, vicious, rural Louisiana backwater.

Sounds like a case just BEGGIN' for a good lawyer, Prof. Ya got any friends down thataway might try it?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

La generación siguiente de assholes está aquí

DOTOF™ to my Blog-bud Tena from Texas, watching in amazement, in situ, as the comedy unfolds and the next contingent of pushy white people try to muscle in on the action. In Nuevo Mexico, you never see the ambush til it's sprung. The demeanor doesn't change, til one time, they got you surrounded and there's no easy way out...

I think of northern New Mexico as "America's Afghanistan."

Every indigenous rebellion against the "liberators" has begun in or near Taos, from the Pueblo revolt of 1680, to the "Costa" rebellion of the 1840s (in which Gov. Bent was murdered), to Tijerina in Tres Piedras in the '60s of the last century...

A restive people here-abouts...animated by the uneraseable legends of the bandit hero, which are remnants of Iberian resistance to Islam in the 15th Century.

The best thing about living north of Santa Fe izzat you're never really very far from the the 21st Century...in a fast enough car...

Friday, September 11, 2009

Coal Companies

Are driving the Cerulean warbler, a tiny (5") tree-top dweller in the Appalachian mountains (and nowhere else) extinct.

They are doing it by the expedient of destroying the little bird's habitat, wholesale, by removing the tops of whole mountains bearing the forests and woodlands which this azure avian's habitat.

The bird is not particularly unique, except that evolution bestowed upon it, and all of life, a singular niche.

Which the civilized appetites for "cheap" energy regard as expendable if it prevents 'people' from experiencing any slight diminishment in the voracious consumption of the planet. There is NO INCENTIVE for "energy-producing corporations" to REDUCE their outputs. Indeed, to do so could lead to charges of market manipulation, as long as no other alternatives were practical.

However, and notwithstanding the profit imperative, for the price of six months of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Dept. of Energy could easily afford to install some form of efficient solar collector/reflector on the roof of every building in America, and reduce the consumption of fossil fuels, the mining of which is used as an 'excuse' to exterminate and eradicate those beautiful co-earth-bound creatures which are no less entitled to their hard-won existence than are we.

An author/environmentalist named Julie Zickefuus examines the fate of the Cerulean warbler, the extraction processes for coal, and the implications of its apparently inevitable demise with the latter processes on our condition as humans in a wonderful piece on BirdWatchers' Digest dot com.

The Photo: A male cerulean warbler, a treetop songbird of the Appalachian mountain forests. This image was taken in Berkeley County, WV just after this male returned from spring migration. He was nesting in the Sleepy Creek Wildlife Management area.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Joe Klein, who seems unable NOT to beshit himself and everyone around him

Van Jones is the guy that the hopey/changey crowd thought/hoped they were electing when they voted for Obama.

Brad Johnson, on Grist dot org, rips Joke Lein a whole new alimentary tract for Klein's stupid, vengeful, ill-informed, high-tech lynching of the corpse of Van Jones. Johnson, in my opinion, is much too nice about Klein, the quintessential, immoral turn-coat insider. What? Chutzpah?
Joe Klein, the prominent Time Magazine liberal columnist, has embraced the right-wing assault on Van Jones, the White House green jobs advisor who resigned this weekend. Stung by a successful boycott for calling the president a “racist,” Glenn Beck led a campaign against Van Jones as a “self avowed communist” who is a “danger to the republic.” Yesterday, Klein said “good riddance” to the “too-angry blowhard” Van Jones, comparing him to a “white supremacist” and a “Nazi”:
Anyway, Jones: He has, in recent years, done some valuable work trying to steer green jobs into poor communities…but there is a bright line in American political life: Self-proclaimed “communists” need not apply. Communism is too odious and foolish a philosophy for anyone reasonable to believe in, or even to use as red-flag hyperbole, as Jones did after the Rodney King riots of the early 1990s, when he said that he’d been a [black] nationalist, but was now a communist. It’s sort of like a Republican President appointing someone who had said, “I used to be a white supremacist, but now I’m a Nazi.” So, good riddance. The work of this presidency is too important to be side-tracked by a too-angry blowhard spouting foolish radicalism.
In the past decade, Van Jones has been at the vanguard of a green capitalism that combines progressive and conservative ideals, “focusing on job, wealth and health creation” in poor and minority communities while healing the planet. His work has helped establish the Oakland Green Jobs Corps, the Green Jobs Act, and community partnerships for job training and retrofit programs in cities across the nation.

Before becoming a leading green capitalist, Jones was a progressive leader in the Bay Area. The “communist” smear hinges on a 2005 interview with the East Bay Express, in which Jones described how he had “renounced” his radicalist politics of the 1990s, when he participated in STORM, a utopian, anti-racist peace collective in Berkeley, CA that drew from Marxist teachings. Jones was radicalized by the 1992 Rodney King trial, in which four LAPD officers were acquitted of police brutality although their beating of Rodney King was caught on videotape. While acting as a legal observer for a non-violent rally in San Francisco protesting the trial and its aftermath, Jones was caught in a mass arrest for which the city later apologized.

Klein’s comparison of Jones to a “Nazi” “white supremacist” is both repugnant and ironic, considering Jones’s record of fighting racism and embracing compassion for all people. Following the Rodney King verdict, Jones worked effectively against police brutality, establishing first the Bay Area PoliceWatch and then the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights. The Ella Baker Center successfully campaigned against San Francisco police officer Marc Andaya, who led a team of cops in beating Aaron Williams, “emptying three cans of pepper spray into his face, and hogtying him in an unventilated police van where he died.” With its “Books Not Bars” campaign, the Center also stopped the construction of the Alameda County “Super Jail for Kids” in 2001.

Klein — a compelling writer who has argued for legalizing marijuana, a war crimes tribunal for the Bush administration, and the same green-jobs vision as Van Jones a lazy, unprincipled, vicious, back-stabbing fucknut Villager— should be the last person to promote a McCarthyite purge of “left-extremists” from the Obama administration.(Emphases supplied. W)
Klein is less a journalist than that character--Cartman?--from South Park screaming endlessly about the hippies.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Van Jones, Who Thought He Could Talk "Like A White Man"...

Van Jones resigned his post in the Obama regime last night in the wake of furious scurrilous claims moounted mainly by Glenn Beck (whose lies Jones had been instrumental in highlighting and challenging, causing advertisers to publically desert Beck, albeit NOT Faux News) about his having called Pukes "assholes," and having signed a petition demanding further inquiry into the events of Sept. 11, 2001.

Jones made a single mistake, but in two shapes: Van Jones mistake was imagining the rules for white guys applied to him as well.

Not! (Obviously)...

He thought that being on the winning team accorded some protection.

And it would have, had he been a black Puke. Look at Michael Steele. Even for a losing cause, Steele is sufficiently "white" that he can get away with all kinds of wacky, idiotic, stupid, racist shit...Steele, however, is a lackey and stooge of the White wing of the Party of Privilege and property: an Honorary "White" guy.

But Jones is an (inferior) member of the "Inferior" wing of the Party of Privilege & Property. That's the wing of the Poor and Colored Folks. The "Inferior" wing does NOT possess the dispensations accorded to the Superior wing, the wing of Whiteness and Cash. Winners or not, they are not permitted to speak 'accurately' about their opponents.

What, did Jones think he was a White man? Fool...

Van Jones' sin was talking like a white man.

He called the Mandarins "assholes." That they definitely ARE assholes is no excuse, no protection.

As an "inferior" (colored) member opf the "Inferior" wing of the party of power and property he mistakenly thought that being on the 'winning' side gave him some cover. That he could criticize his opponents in language similar to that being leveled against him.

As for the "truther" argument:

Last week there was a story over at Conde Naast that Vladimir Putin might have been complicit in fomenting the troubles that he gained his reputation and power by quelling, "the Chechens!"

It was regarded as a serious complaint by the Russians--who forbade its publication in Russia--by Cande' Nast, which succumbed to Russian pressure, adn by NPR which bveathlessly reported it as a 'journalism' story.

Americans, that is, had no qualms about suggesting that Putin might have killed Russians to advance his political agenda. But Murkins who harbor such suspicions about the Busheviks are deemed 'paranoids?"

Why are Murkins held to be more honorable, less bloody-minded, than the Russians?

Because Murkins "wouldn't do that"?

We don't torture either, iirc...

(Addendum: Sunday, Sept. 6, 1353 MDT--Phew! Jon Schwarz, at ATR, reminds me of a close call: If "thePrez" had actually supported Van Jones--one of the very few people anywhere in Washington, in EITHER "party" with a grain of integrity and an active social conscience--like Schwarz, I might have been forced to concede I'd misjudged Obama's character...and I hate having to admit a mistake..."Phew!" indeed...)

Friday, September 4, 2009

White Fright & "The Rule of Reversal"

On The Daily Show a couple of weeks ago, "senior Black correspondent" Larry Wilmore got right down to it: "The country's getting darker, white folks. Deal With IT!"

Now Patricia Williams, in her new "Diary of a Mad Law Professor" column in The Nation also notices the obvious and lays it out about as gently--and historically--as possible: For the "(white) majority," "my country" has become "THEIR country," and they're freaking the FUCK out. She lays it out in
Reverse Nazism and the War on Universal Healthcare
She, too, detects a whiff of Weimar:
The spinmeisters of the right have done quite a job with what used to be straightforward English etymology. Thanks to Rush Limbaugh and Fox News, "integration" was inverted to mean "takeover" and "colorblindness" is code for abandoning the advances of the civil rights movement, which itself is synonymous with an "industry" of exclusion. It's no surprise, then, that whenever a piece of progressive legislation comes to the table, the same manipulations come into play from right-wing pundits who shamelessly profess their desire to see the Obama presidency fail. Thus it is that America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009 is being turned upside down as the neat equivalent of Germany's Bankrupting Forced Death Act of 1939.

If you are watching the healthcare town-hall ruckuses with only common dictionary meanings in your head, you will be struck by the protesters' general incoherence and outright nonsense, bearing no rational connection to the actual draft of the healthcare bill. As Representative Barney Frank demanded of one constituent who likened the bill to Nazism, "On what planet do you spend most of your time?" (Of course, there is as yet no publically announced, single "plan," but several "plans" in different Congressional committees which will eventually all have to be 'reconciled.' But no matter: It's the process that matters now, and white folks are skeered! Emphases supplied. W.)

But if you listen as though deciphering pig Latin and realize that this demographic is speaking from a well-managed, near-hypnotic looking-glass world where every word from the mouth of a Democrat (or a liberal, or a Latina, or a Canadian) is a lie, a betrayal... then it all makes sense. Their world truly has been turned inside out, by the election, by the economy, by the precarious conditions that threaten us all. But for those whose sense of identity has been premised on a raced, masculinist, conservative Christian hierarchy of American power, the world must seem even more emotionally terrifying than any actual facts would indicate.

So reversal is key to understanding what's going on. It's not just "lies"; it's the expressive angst of people whose felt power relations have been turned upside down. It's not factually accurate, but this is how they feel. Obama is Hitler! Health insurance for all means euthanasia for me! "My" country is suddenly "their" country. (BINGO! W.)
"Reversal" of course has been the centerpiece of the whole GOPuke strategies for the last 30 years.
Of course, there are special interests who profit from the magnification of these fears. Betsy McCaughey, a former shill for a medical instruments company, is the original source of the "death panel" rumors. From the beginning, big pharmaceutical and insurance companies, with an almost inconceivable amount of money to spend, have been muddying the waters. Think about the recent revelation that Merck secretly financed the publication of a fake medical journal that was designed to look objective but merely touted the supposed benefits of its products--and included "paid advertisements" for the company's drugs. What is truth in such a corrupt hall of mirrors?

But what does the bill actually say? A quick summary of the most contentious point: the act would provide reimbursement if you seek medical counseling about end-of-life decisions. This option allows you to plan what you would like to have done in the case of catastrophic or terminal illness--nothing forced about it. All extraordinary measures will continue to be used to resuscitate someone whose wishes are unknown: feeding tube, intubation, cracking ribs to defibrillate, whatever it takes. By contrast, it is private, profit-motivated insurance companies--which deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions and restrict one's choice of doctor, medical treatments and length of hospital stays (based on actuarial tables)--that bear the greatest resemblance to a mulching euthanasia machine. When nearly 50 million US citizens live without any health coverage, how on earth could a purely voluntary public option be considered throwing people under the bus?
All of this is complicated but surely, with a bit of listening, comprehensible to the average citizen. So how do we connect the reality of our dismal life-expectancy and health-cost statistics to the hysterical sobbing of people who come to town-hall meetings furious that "the insurance companies won't be able to make a profit"? Much of the epic woe is not about healthcare or public options. It's about roiling resentments that need to be dressed up as something else, the coded mummery of Halloween monsters hybridized into new chimeras of hate. It's about fear that precious resources are being transferred to "alien" others. Fear that the gains of others are ill-gotten, leaving the lonely patriot survivalist as victim, "thrown away," trash. (In other words, whites fear the treatment they have levied against "others" for 500 years. I would too. W.)In these fiery monologues, even our president is figured as conspiratorially alien-birthed, from a galaxy far, far away, who's just pretending to be one of "us."

This morning I saw a picture of President Obama dressed as Hitler, complete with little mustache, tacked high on a tree trunk. At first it seemed jaw-droppingly ridiculous, sociopathically paranoid. But if the rule of reversal is what's encoded in that image, all people of good will must worry that what's really at stake for some of our gun-toting, demagogic fellow citizens is nothing less than America's very own Weimar moment.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Kings Tut-Tut

My little exercise in Faux 'Journalism'/Agitprop was picked up by a relied-upon o'seas blog, Avedon Carrol's The SideShow, today (in a four-hour period, when I recorded 100 hits, 38 of them came from her link. Thanks Avedon! There's no 'bad' traffic!)

But the piece--which broadly implied that Glenn Beck might be involved in multiple, sexual homicides; not a masterpiece of subtlety, I'll grant--elicited a couple of the kinds of responses one anticipates when one takes off the gloves and mixes it up, down in the mud, and the blood and the beer. Because Murka regards "nuance" with the same degree of understanding with which it regards leprosy. This is a battle for the Id of Murka. No holds barred.

But, apparently, it aint "seemly." "We" don't stoop to those devices...

"Tut, tut," saith one Mandarin--"not good for the cause." Presumably it's an image thing. "Seriousness" is much prized. "Tut-tut-Tut," exclaimeth another, gathering seriousness unto himself like a cloud. "Tut tut tut tut tut," mutters another at a distance, as a citation...(It's almost as if they're lecturing the hostess for a breach in protocol. I wonder how she feels about that?)

Agitprop "works." Truth is no antidote. It is always contingent. The Bushevik years should have taught anybody with more brain-cells than a jelly-fish. Twain noticed (paraphrasing): A lie's got round the world before the truth is outta bed. The advantage is with the fustest, with the mostest, in propaganda as in every other kind of competitive human endeavor.

Beck and the rest can control the discourses only until they are discredited. They have to be humiliated. Mocked. Covered in filth. Losers. Not gently discussed as if they were weird flora.

It really doesn't matter, as they have so skillfully demonstrated all these years, whether there is a single scintilla of truth in any charge. It is in play as soon as it is "out there." Especially in the 24-hour news cycle, the propagandists personal, private propaganda petri dish.

LBJ is said to have remarked (paraphrasing): I don't give a rat' ass if it's true or not. I just wanna hear the sumbitch DENY it!

The guy shouting "I'M not a liar. YOU'RE A LIAR!" is not saving face, is not "winning.".

Addendum:@10:22, MDT, Sept. 3, 2009

Via Google:
Results 1 - 10 of about 227,000,000 for did glenn beck commit a crime?. (0.16 seconds)
Fyeieio: The Pond is #4 among 227MILLION pages containing that text string!

Izzis a great fuckin' cunchry, 'rwaht?

The "Public Option" Bait & Switch: Don't Be Fooled Again!

(Click on the cartoon to enlarge it. W)

Bill Boyarsky, writing for TruthDig, offers the following prescription for keeping your wits about you as the "health-care/insurance-reform" kabuki winds down to its inevitable conclusion (i.e., Dims in Congress fold, "thePrez" caves to get a Bill--ANY fucking Bill--and the Health Insurance Parasites (HIP) win again).

While the media are transfixed by all the screaming in town halls and on television, the real work of health care reform is being done in secret by congressional staff technocrats, government bureaucrats, health industry lobbyists and sometimes even a member of the Senate or House.

The controversy over the so-called public option is a prime example of what is happening. Under this arrangement, government health insurance plans are supposed to compete with those offered by private insurance companies, with the hope of forcing the private companies to lower prices and expand benefits. Advocates of this scheme offer it as an alternative to what’s known as universal medical care, Medicare for all or “single payer,” which would eliminate the role of insurance companies altogether in favor of a government-only plan. Many liberals say such far-reaching reform is unattainable. As a compromise, they support the public option.

The fight over the public option has occupied much of the media coverage, but left unsaid is the fact that weeks of behind-the-scenes negotiations have weakened the public option proposal to the point that it is hardly an option at all.

I discussed the matter with Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio. Kucinich favors universal health insurance coverage, not the public option. So do I....Kucinich suggested I read articles written by health insurance expert Kip Sullivan on the Web site of Physicians for a National Health Program, which advocates government-run universal health care. Sullivan, he said, has figured out the real story.
The real story is pretty much what you've suspected all along...
Sullivan writes that public option advocates once promised a program as far-reaching as Medicare but “now promote something entirely different. To make matters worse, they have not told the public they have backpedaled. The campaign for the ‘public option’ resembles the classic bait-and-switch scam: Tell your customers you’ve got one thing for sale, when in fact you are selling something very different.”

Sullivan documents how the public option has been watered down since Jacob Hacker, now a political science professor at the University of California at Berkeley, proposed it several years ago. Hacker first estimated that 129 million would be covered, drawn by its generous terms. But the public option plans now before Congress would cover no more than 10 million, Sullivan said. Reducing subsidies to low-income people has cut the number covered, while limits on private insurance benefits have been eased.

In addition, the public option would actually be run by insurance companies such as Blue Cross, acting as contractors for the federal government. What is everyone arguing over? Heads they win, tails they win.

Referring to a bill approved by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee, Sullivan writes that the language of these provisions is so complex “it requires at least two readings to understand it.” The language of this and the other bills is no doubt designed to be purposely incomprehensible to most lawmakers, who will receive the final bill only at the last moment. The bills certainly are not being written to be understood by the general public.

Another important issue being decided in private is what precisely will Americans get from the new plan. “What level of subsidies [will] be available to make coverage more affordable for people?” asked Drew Altman, president of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. “What kind of coverage will people receive, and will it meet the public’s expectations?”

Kucinich doesn’t like the secret process. Neither does a newspaper that seldom, if ever, agrees with him on anything: The Wall Street Journal. Noting that President Barack Obama has complained that critics have misrepresented him, the paper said, “Who’s to know what’s reality and what’s a myth when the public and Members of Congress aren’t able to read a bill that would restructure one-seventh of our economy.”

So far, the loser in this game of backroom politics is the consumer or, in this case, the patient. (That is, you and me, fellow citizen consumers. W.) The winner is the medical care industry.

President Obama is scheduled to speak to Congress on Wednesday on the issue. He’ll have to assure the rest of us that we’ll be winners, too. (Emphases supplied. W.)
Good luck widdat, cully.

Whatsoever else the final bill does, it will not even infinitesimally discommode the big money. You/we will ALL be required by LAW to purchase whatsoever piece of shit the Big Money decides to force up our asses, with the full endorsement and sympathy of our "hopey/changey" president. NO lube, and this is all th foreplay you're gonna get.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

I "Hope" Pastor Anderson's Church Explodes Next Sunday

I wouldn't pray, of course. I don't do that...

...but--kinda the way he and his congregation hopes AND prays "thePrez" gets brain cancer--I profoundly "hope" lightning strikes Pastor Anderson's church next Sunday, when all the parishioners--men, women and children--are inside...

and that there's an undiscovered gas leak in the building...

and that the lightning sets off a HUGE explosion...

and that the whole filthy place gets razed to the ground.

You will note, I have NOT wished for the death of anyone, pastor or (gun-toting) congregants. No, no. "That would be wrong," as former President Nixon once declared (in another context, of course): It would be wrong to wish for the untimely demise of another person.





To accuse me of such thoughts would be the vilest calumny.

No, I only "hope" for the explosion.

After that, what happens is between them and their "God."