June 2, 2008 archive

“Stab Your Friends In The Back” Republicans? Screw ‘Em!

I’m not feeling very generous towards Republicans these days.  No matter what they now say, they let Bush, that bald other-president and all their cronies assault our country and attempt to lay waste our core beliefs.

Impeachment’s too good for those cats, but what the ‘ell… Bring it on!

But they aren’t the only ones to blame.  I blame all Republicans.  

Iraq.  And lying.

Especially for 2004.


And the last 8 years of attempted fascist rule.

And Iraq.

And Iran (a preempt).

And for putting me in the position where, eventually, I’m going to have to forgive them for all that, and much more, because someday I’ll end up coming to my senses and see that that’s the only way to forgive myself for writing essays like this one.

Damn Republicans!

Through the Darkest of Nights: Testament XX

Every few days over the next several months I will be posting installments of a novel about life, death, war and politics in America since 9/11.  Through the Darkest of Nights is a story of hope, reflection, determination, and redemption.  It is a testament to the progressive values we all believe in, have always defended, and always will defend no matter how long this darkness lasts.  But most of all, it is a search for identity and meaning in an empty world.

Naked and alone we came into exile.  In her dark womb, we did not know our mother’s face; from the prison of her flesh have we come into the unspeakable and incommunicable prison of this earth. Which of us has known his brother?  Which of us has looked into his father’s heart?  Which of us has not remained prison-pent?  Which of us is not forever a stranger and alone?      ~Thomas Wolfe

All installments are available for reading here on Docudharma’s Series page, and also here on Docudharma’s Fiction Page, where refuge from politicians, blogging overload, and one BushCo outrage after another can always be found.

Obama’s Education Policy: In Need of Change

I had hoped my first candidate diary would be one of those ones that simply lavish praise upon a presidential hopeful – maybe a nice “Thank You, Barrack, for Today’s Beautiful Sunrise” – but alas, it wasn’t to be.  This is partly my fault (I could’ve written one earlier in the primary season) but it’s also Barrack Obama’s, for his astonishingly poor choice of venue in giving an address on education on Wednesday, May 28.

Even as I write this, the Denver traditional media is tripping over itself with laudatory comments about the Mapleton School District and the school “reform” measures it undertook three years ago.  Regrettably, they’re not going to do much fact-checking beyond the talking point fed to them by District officials, because while it is indeed a fantastic success story that all 44 of this year’s Mapleton Expeditionary School for the Arts’ senior class have been accepted to college, the other numbers, not to mention the seamy history of the reform project itself, paint a far bleaker picture of the effectiveness of “small school reform” measures – and gives at least one voter cause for concern about the educational company Senator Obama is choosing to keep.

General William E. Odom – Dead at 75

h/t to jimstaro.

General William E. Odom died two days ago of an apparent heart attack.

General Odom was a harsh critic of Mister Bush’s Iraq misadventure:

“Among senior military people, he was probably the first to consider the war in Iraq a misbegotten adventure,” Brzezinski said yesterday. “He believed that we’re just stoking hostility to the United States in that region and developing an opposition that cannot be defeated by military means. He was very outspoken.”

Well before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, Gen. Odom warned that military action in Iraq would be foolhardy and futile. He outlined his positions in The Washington Post’s Outlook section Feb. 11, 2007, in the essay “Victory Is Not an Option.”

“The president’s policy is based on illusions, not realities,” he wrote. “There never has been any right way to invade and transform Iraq.”

Gen. Odom became a fixture on news programs and never altered his critical stance toward the Bush administration’s policies in Iraq and Iran. On Tuesday, he and Brzezinski wrote an op-ed article for The Post in which they stated that the White House’s “heavy-handed” approach toward Iran would backfire and “almost certainly result in an Iran with nuclear weapons.”

Chronicling The Uprising: An Interview With David Sirota


The topic below was originally posted on my blog, the Intrepid Liberal Journal and cross-posted at Progressive Historians, the Wild Wild Left, The Peace Tree, the Independent Bloggers Alliance and Worldwide Sawdust.

The centrifugal force in American politics today is the establishment’s failure to deliver prosperity and security. In 2006, Americans voted for a change of direction in Iraq and economic policies at home. Instead, President Bush’s “surge” in Iraq was enabled by a feckless congress as fuel prices soared, the cost of healthcare kept spiraling out of control and corporate CEOs continued to enjoy the benefits of a twenty-first century Gilded Age. Senseless privatization, predatory crony capitalism, political corruption, incompetence and corporate greed have combined to put the American Dream out of reach for people who work hard and play by the rules.

Walking on water

This morning in my essay on “Revenge,” geomoo asked:

Does courage consist in part on walking on the water of uncertainty, buoyed only to the extent that we continually align ourselves selflessly with  basic goodness, instead of marching on the solid ground of rigid belief?

It reminded me of one of my favorite poems that I thought was too long to post in that thread. So I thought I’d just put it out there on its own with geomoo’s question.

The poem was written by someone I quote alot here, David Whyte. I have heard him talk about this poem and he always points out that it was written at least partly to talk about the love of his life, his wife. But he goes on to say that it is also about following the passion of our lives.


“I shall go to Korea”

I gladly paid you next Tuesday for a hamburger today.   I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today”

We have overcome.

We would not be moved.

Ask not what your country did for you, ask what you did for your country.

The British came!

Tell the bill collector: “I paid that!”  When?  Next payday.

The health care scam.

I have an idea for a health insurance company, one that is sure to work really well. Here’s the pitch:

You pay me a fee every month-say, between $500 and $1,000-and I pocket the money. In return, in the event you need someone to cover your medical expenses, I’ll tell you in so many words to go fuck yourself, you’re on your own. I’ll use any excuse to deny your claim, and if one of my employees does the unthinkable and puts me in a position of having to shell out money to pay for your freeloading, I’ll send that imbecile to join you on the unemployment line.

I might feel the occasional bout of generosity; I might deign to throw you the occasional bone, just to keep you complacent, and cover some minor thing. But don’t expect me to pay for your heart operation. What were you doing wearing it out by making it beat so much, anyway? Don’t you know that’s a sure-fire way to end up needing surgery at some point? Especially if you don’t take care of yourself by eating right and exercising regularly? And you can forget about that cancer treatment. Drugs and radiation treatments cost money. Pay for it yourself. I’m busy counting.

By the way, you can forget about complaining. Even if you manage to get through the array of computers set up to discourage you from lodging a complaint, any human employee is going to give you the runaround, too. Raise too much of a ruckus, and I’ll just cancel your policy. That’ll show you, you ingrate.

And I won’t stop there. Just in case some uppity customer decides this isn’t legal, or shouldn’t be, I’ll use some of the money you pay me every month to bribe politicians in the form of campaign contributions to pass legislation protecting my right to bilk you for those monthly fees. Oh, sure, you might complain. You might even try to vote out corrupt politicians who accept my bribes, but by the time you get off your lazy ass I’ll have bought pretty much everyone in D.C. and the fifty states who might be capable or inclined to resist. Let’s face it: with campaigns costing more and more money each cycle, politicians listen to those who can fork over a hell of a lot more than that measly ten or twenty dollars you can afford to part with. You’re screwed.

Great idea, right? Well, not for you, but we’re talking about me. You don’t factor into the equation, except as an ever-opening wallet. What’s that? You don’t think it’s so hot a concept? You’re right, it isn’t. But that’s exactly what you buy into whenever you sign up for insurance from companies ranging from Humana to Kaiser Permanente. The only difference between what I pitched to you, and what the health insurance industry tells you, is that I’m being up front about my intentions.

The health insurance industry is the among the biggest and most successful scam operations in the history of the United States. It is set up to get you to pay money in return for almost nothing. And because what little public health care exists is severely underfunded, and qualifications limited only to certain cross-sections of the poor and elderly, this means your options for alternatives are extremely limited. In fact, nearly fifty million Americans have no recourse but to go without insurance, because they cannot afford the premiums (I’m one of them, by the way).

How did all this get started? As Michael Moore pointed out in his excellent documentary, SiCKO (which I blogged about last year), the scam was created when the CEO of Kaiser Permanente at the time had his flunkies meet with then-president Richard Nixon to discuss how the insurance industry could kill three birds with one stone: dismantle what public health care system existed, ensure that it could never return, and become obscenely wealthy in the process. It wasn’t long afterward that Nixon pushed through Congress legislation that would fundamentally alter the health care system of the United States-for the worse.

What Nixon and Kaiser rammed through Congress resulted in the creation of the HMO system we suffer today. It’s the scam outfit that separates you from your money, while denying you coverage for your medical expenses. And you allow it to go on. Why is this? I could write a dissertation about it, but essentially it all boils down to fear and the dominance of the right in the media on issues such as health care. Professor George Lakoff of Berkley University described in 2005 how conservatives have come to shape and control the national discussion, and get Americans to vote against their own interests. The fear element involves scaring you with horror stories of socialism and the loss of freedom, never mind that you’ve already given up your freedom.

The problem is compounded not only by the failure of the Democratic Party to oppose this sort of swindle, but in its embrace of the status quo as a matter of policy. While Barack Obama builds up his illusion of progressivism, his actual history suggests he is not prepared to challenge the status quo at all, but merely is all too willing to continue it. Hillary Clinton joins him in being among the top recipients of bribe money from the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries. The two Democratic rivals for the presidency have even taken millions of dollars in bribe money from so-called health professionals. And we all know where Republican John McCain stands on the issue of health care: more of the same.

This is the scam you pay for with your tax dollars, and the money you pay out of pocket. In my next entry, I’ll tell you how you can do something about it.

Pony Party: Sunday music retrospective

West Side Story II

Note:  kj posted America and Officer Krupke this morning, so I didn’t have to make a difficult choice. 🙂


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