March 23, 2010 archive

Docudharma Times Tuesday March 23

Tuesday’s Headlines:

Whaling: the great betrayal

World Water Day: Thirsty Gaza residents battle salt, sewage


Stimulus Plan for Rail Line Shows System of Weak Links

FDA asks doctors to temporarily halt use of Rotarix vaccine


Is the pope a reactionary or a prophet

Nicolas Sarkozy reshuffles cabinet after regional election humiliation

Middle East

Israel defies Obama over Jerusalem settlements

Israel government to be formally accused over ‘Mossad’ assassination


Pakistan’s nuclear ‘godfather’ in new inquiry

The black marketeers stealing Indonesia’s islands by the boat-load


Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir ‘will expel poll observers’

Egypt names Ahmed el-Tayeb sheikh of Al-Azhar University

Did you vote for Nixon in China?

I’m just not sure what I can add to this-

Next Big Issue? Social Security Pops Up Again

By JACKIE CALMES, The New York Times

Published: March 22, 2010, A1

By 2016, Social Security will begin paying more in benefits than it collects in payroll taxes, according to the annual report of government trustees; reserves in the form of government i.o.u.’s will be exhausted by 2037, after which incoming taxes will cover three-quarters of benefits.

Before his inauguration, Mr. Obama said of Social Security, “We have to signal seriousness in this by making sure some of the hard decisions are made under my watch, not someone else’s.”

Similarly, some Democrats argue that their party should act now, while it controls the White House and Congress, rather than take the chance that Republicans will regain power and try to carve private retirement accounts from Social Security, as former President George W. Bush did unsuccessfully.

Umm… what’s the difference again?

Make sure you speak slowly and loudly like I’m “fucking retarded” and deaf, or even worse- French.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

Fragments 3

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Tired of being chipper about endless criminality?

Tired of being exuberant about pregnant mothers being gut-shot in the middle of the night in  Afghanistan?

Fatigued of your joyous tirades when government ships a bazillion more dollars out the door?

Exhausted from infectious laughter about who among you can’t find jobs?

Experiencing burnt-out lassitude from cheerleading massively corrupt malfeasance?

Enervated by enthusiasm?

Fagged out by optimism?

Feeling the oats of listless insignificance?

Pfizer presents Despondex:

Lies, Damn Lies, and the Media

By David Swanson

ACORN is shutting down because of a fraudulent video pimped by the corporate media.  U.S. forces in Afghanistan have heroically laid seige to and conquered a fictional city, helping build the case for further escalation.  A cable news channel has created a right-wing mass movement by pretending it already existed.  Congressman Dennis Kucinich voted for a health insurance bill he believed would deprive more people of healthcare (and wealth and homes), because fraudulent reports had convinced his constituents of the opposite.  The peace movement was defunded in November 2008, because of a fraudulent presidential election campaign.  71% of Americans believe Iran has nuclear weapons.  41% of Americans think the quality of the environment is improving.  Has the power of the corporate media to overwhelm all before it begun to sink in yet?

ACORN’s funders didn’t have to run and hide because of a bunch of laughably bad lies, but they were afraid.  The most common excuse of progressive congress members for anything they do is fear of the media.  The peace movement didn’t have to shut down, but its funders had used war as a criticism of Republicans; opposing war for its own sake was secondary, and their televisions told them peace had arrived. Kucinich could have stuck to his No vote on healthcare, but he probably wouldn’t have lasted long in Congress.  We don’t have to be suckered by comically manipulative war news, but all the big media outlets want war — and the Democratic-party outlets especially favor war now.  Fox News could not have created the Teabaggers on its own, but MSNBC and the Democratic blogosphere spend a majority of their time focused on Teabaggers and Republicans because it unites their viewers/readers against something uglier than elected Democrats, never mind that in Washington the Democrats technically have all the power.


On the Healthcare Betrayal Bill – don’t take the healthcare “reform” bill lying down

People who I don’t consider Democratic lemmings, like Noam Chomsky and Robert Reich, have said that the healthcare “reform” bill is worth voting for, even if one has to hold one’s nose. However, Chomsky recently wrote

“There should be headlines explaining why, for decades, what’s been called politically impossible is what most of the public has wanted,” Chomsky said. “There should be headlines explaining what that means about the political system and the media.”

Problem is, Chomsky, as well as anybody, knows that there will be no such headlines, unless activists force such headlines. Which won’t happen from veal pen groups, such as MoveOn. But this diary isn’t for groups such as Moveon. As Jesus might have said, “They have their reward.”

Late Night Karaoke

Open Thread

Open Thread: Fairy-tale Logic

Fairy-tale Logic

by A.E. Stallings

Fairy tales are full of impossible tasks:

Gather the chin hairs of a man-eating goat,

Or cross a sulphuric lake in a leaky boat,

Select the prince from a row of identical masks,

Tiptoe up to a dragon where it basks

And snatch its bone; count dust specks, mote by mote,

Or learn the phone directory by rote.

Always it’s impossible what someone asks-

You have to fight magic with magic. You have to believe

That you have something impossible up your sleeve,

The language of snakes, perhaps, an invisible cloak,

An army of ants at your beck, or a lethal joke,

The will to do whatever must be done:

Marry a monster. Hand over your firstborn son.

h/t to Hecate

For the Fifth International: A response to Chavez’s call

Original article via Socialist Appeal (UK):

The call issued by President Chavez to set up a new revolutionary international, the Fifth International, has provoked a passionate discussion in the ranks of the workers’ movement in Latin America and on a world scale. It is impossible for Marxists to remain indifferent to this question. What attitude should we take towards it?

Crunch time for a gutted financial reform bill

  While the Senate and House have debated the health care reform endlessly, fighting tooth and nail at every step, all the while being broadcast on network television, the financial reform bill is quietly moving along under the radar. On the same day that Senator Dodd proposed his sweeping reform bill, it passed committee.

 “The bill that finally passes on the floor will be a much more business-friendly bill,” Miller said today. “They won’t get a bill done until Dodd and Shelby agree on the compromise, but Republicans do want to get a bill done this year. So there’s incentive for both sides to come to agreement.”

 The fact that the bill is going to be watered down even more is a sad statement to an on-going tragedy.

The Traveling Insurance Man Problem

So I got to thinking about healthcare, and this shit sandwich they served up. Why the Democrats didn’t start at universal healthcare and settle for single payer is beyond me. That’s just how the Democrats role, like a three-legged dog.

Anywho, it took Germany a hundred years to get to their universal healthcare system together, and they had this little side project in the middle of that. Even Canada had to province by province, once LBJ taught them how to do it.

Even back then, the biggest son of a bitch Texas has bred for generations backed down to crazy Republican tactics and we just got Medicare. We could have what Canada has now had Democrats not compromised then. And isn’t it funny how it’s always the Democrats who compromise.

So where does the state single payer movement go from here?

A national health insurance reform bill is on the brink of passing and all is well on Capitol Hill.

But that doesn’t mean too much for the rest of the country.  Much of the country still wants more than a public-option-free, far-from-single-payer, band-aid-like bill to fix our broken health care system.  One writer states, from the interesting vantage point of Australia, where they do have universal health care:

But Australia has something that America lacks: a universal public system that provides basic medical services for all.

Here, thanks to Medicare, you can be cared for in a public hospital without going broke regardless of your health insurance status…But the political compromise [Barack Obama’s] been forced to adopt fails to address the morbidity at the heart of the system.

It’s taking the disease and trying to turn it into the cure.

The solution, the real health care reform that we’ve been asking for since Teddy Roosevelt’s time, lies with the state single payer movement.  And, at least here in Pennsylvania, we’re moving full speed ahead.  All that this bill means for us is that we’d better move fast if we want real health care reform any time soon.

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