Monday, September 21, 2009

First aid

Need any further evidence that the Senate Health Reform bill is largely a sham and just a slightly reworked corporate welfare plan?

Think Progress' Igor Volsky reports that, "Following Baucus' announcement, HealthNet shares increased by 3%, United Health Group Inc shares rose by 2.7%, Humana Inc. grew by 2.6%, Wellpoint stock gained 1.7% and Aetna Inc rose 1.6%."

From Jason Linkins at the Huffington Post: "Max Baucus was paid handsomely (in campaign contributions) by the health care industry to deliver a health care reform bill that only the health care industry could possibly love. Well, mission accomplished! As Julie Hirschfield Davis reports for the Associated Press today, the Baucus plan 'gives health insurers, drug makers and large employers reasons to heave sighs of relief, sparing them the higher costs and more burdensome rules included in other Democratic-written alternatives.'"


Socialize the risk, privatize the profits.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

We're Number 37!

From Paul Hipp: "Here is a song celebrating our proud ranking in the World Health Organization's list of world health systems for all the obstructionist hecklers to sing as they continue down the road to total irrelevance."

It's only rock n roll but I like it.

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Saturday, September 12, 2009

War Is a Racket

In 1934 there was an attempted coup in the United States that was thwarted largely due to the efforts of U.S. Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler (ret., now deceased).

Butler was awarded the Medal of Honor twice and the only person to be awarded a Marine Corps Brevet Medal and a Medal of Honor for two different actions.

After it dawned on him how his heroism and the heroism of the troops under his command had been misused, he wrote a pamphlet called "War is a Racket" which has pretty much been expunged from our historical reading lists in school.

In the following video, an actor recreates the speech that Butler gave to many different audiences during the 1930s.

"War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small 'inside' group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes."

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Republican Asshole of the Month

And the winner is ...
Rep. Joe Wilson, R-South Carolina.

(Normally these awards are annual, but there's just so many deserving candidates!)

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

In Search of Steve Ditko

I realize that this goes against the usual grain of Muttering Jam (i.e., it ain't political), but it IS cultural. Artist Steve Ditko was as much (if not more) a creator of the iconic modern comic book hero Spider-Man as Stan Lee, but abruptly departed the comic at the first zenith of its success, and has eschewed his rightful share of the megamillions that the franchise has raked in since. Now in his 80's, the reclusive artist singularly pursues his own vision, heavily influenced by the philosophy of Ann Rand (oy!). Join BBC commentator and comic fan boy Jonathan Ross as he, in turn, pursues the artist. If you are not an enthusiast of "sequential art," you may want to watch anyway, if only to glean why those of us who are, are.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Monday, September 07, 2009

Another one bites the dust

Those of you who read this blog with any degree of modest regularity know that I am a big Van Jones fan.

I was ecstatic when he was appointed to be the "green jobs czar" for the Obama administration, and knowing the man's work ethic, I was confident that his low profile since that appointment was evidence that he was deep into the architecture of policy craft that would at once lead our country to a new energy future and empower the lost generation of inner city youth with a cornucopia of green collar opportunity.

But even a low profile cannot keep you safe from the roving eye of the petroleum-bloated corporate machine and their hell-spawned facilitators. No, all it took was a sorryass ex-top 40 DJ turned wingnut cheerleader named Glenn Beck.

If you can stomach it, here you can watch one chapter of this evil little man's week long character assassination of Van Jones.

Now, it should be mentioned that an organization that Van Jones founded called Color of Change successfully organized the advertiser boycott of Glenn Beck's show on FoxNews because of its scurrilous half-truths and racist-tinged attacks on the Obama administration. The boycott has cost Beck 57 sponsors, including Wal-Mart. No, you you won't find that little factoid on any of the myriad right wingnut web sites defending Beck's hideous little mind fuck. And of course that has NOTHING to do with Beck's pukesome crusade against Jones.

Among his other imagined sins, Van Jones DID have the temerity to call right wing Republicans "assholes." He also admitted that he can be one, too. I think he showed statesmanship restraint, don't you? Remember what former VP Dick Cheney, during a Senate session, told Sen. Patrick Leahy to do to himself? And Cheney, as we know, has never let an ounce of self-inspection tarnish his dream image of himself as some sort of white knight.

This weekend, Van Jones resigned from his post in the Obama administration.

Here is a great blog piece by St. Petersburg Times TV/media critic Eric Deggans on this subject.

And another great piece by Sharon Joy
Kleitsch at

The toxic minority

Let's face it.

Somewhere between 25 and 36% of the voting age American public are complete morons.

These are people who cannot think critically, whose pig-brained (and I genuinely apologize to all intelligent members of the genus Porcus) decision-making capabilities are molded exclusively by the latest, loudest, red-faced truth-defiling instrument of Rupert Murdoch's media empire, who willfully take for granted the past largess of the Federal government's experiments towards a civil society (and believe me, we have a long way to go), who often fail to even recognize that such inventions as social security and medicare are in fact government programs, whose grasp of the world stage ends five yards from their front door (or at best, the exit doors of their local shopping mall). These are the people who, right to the bitter end of November 4, 2008 insisted that history would redeem the administration of George W. Bush and his Svengali, Richard B. Cheney.

If the current voting age population of the United States is somewhere around 150 million, that means that 37.5-54 million of our fellow citizens have their heads situated firmly and irrevocably up their colons. That is no small number of pinheads. But they are still a minority. Now, breathing such fecund air does little for such already oxygen-starved brains. And yet, somehow, it is this sputtering minority that seems to rule the debate, at least within the strangled hallways of the mainstream media (what the wingnuts call the "liberal" media), when it comes to reforming the health insurance industry, shifting our energy paradigm to one much less reliant on fossil fuels, climate change, or literally any attempt at reform by our current moderate Democratic president. The reasons for this are manifold, intertwined, but not really very complex.

For one, spewing "tea-baggers" make for better press than quiet, reasoned, proponents of liberal causes. (Aside: "tea-bagger" has an interesting definition among the urban young that has nothing to do with politics - well, maybe sexual politics. Look it up. Personally, I feel like that's what's being done to me when I see some gonad-driven wingnut screaming at my congressional representative).

For two, the media is, for the most part, controlled by large corporations who, in case you haven't figured it out, are the main architects of "public" policy in America today (and times past, too). The status quo serves them very well, and projecting image after image of red-faced Sarah Palin facilitators is a bulwark against any reform that may suit them less.

And for three, the rest of us, by our conspiracy of silence, enable them.