Cleveland Cavaliers' newest cheerleader.
One of our best Twitter sources for news from Iran has gone silent. Here are her ominous last messages:
- Allah - you are the creator of all and all must return to you - Allah Akbar - #Iranelection Sea of Greenabout 10 hours ago from web
- thank you ppls 4 supporting Sea of Green - pls remember always our martyrs - Allah Akbar - Allah Akbar - Allah Akbar #Iranelectionabout 11 hours ago from web
- we must go - dont know when we can get internet - they take 1 of us, they will torture and get names - now we must move fast - #Iranelectionabout 11 hours ago from web
- Everybody is under arrest & cant move - Mousavi - Karroubi even rumour Khatami is in house guard - #Iranelection -about 11 hours ago from web
- they pull away the dead into trucks - like factory - no human can do this - we beg Allah for save us - #Iranelectionabout 11 hours ago from web
- Lalezar Sq is same as Baharestan - unbelevable - ppls murdered everywhere - #Iranelectionabout 11 hours ago from web
- they catch ppl with mobile - so many killed today - so many injured - Allah Akbar - they take one of us - #Iranelectionabout 11 hours ago from web
- in Baharestan we saw militia with axe choping ppl like meat - blood everywhere - like butcher - Allah Akbar - #Iranelection RT RT RTabout 11 hours ago from web
- reports of street fighting in Vanak Sq, Tajrish sq, Azadi Sq - now - #Iranelection - Sea of Green - Allah Akbarabout 11 hours ago from web
- rumour they are tracking high use of phone lines to find internet users - must move from here now - #Iranelectionabout 11 hours ago from web
- phone line was cut and we lost internet - #Iranelection - getting more difficult to log into net - #Iranelectionabout 11 hours ago from web
- all shops was closed - nowhere to go - they follow ppls with helicopters - smoke and fire is everywhere #Iranelectionabout 12 hours ago from web
- ppl run into alleys and militia standing there waiting - from 2 sides they attack ppl in middle of alleys #Iranelectionabout 12 hours ago from web
- so many ppl arrested - young & old - they take ppl away - #Iranelection - we lose our groupabout 12 hours ago from web
- saw 7/8 militia beating one woman with baton on ground - she had no defense nothing - #Iranelection sure that she is deadabout 12 hours ago from web
- they were waiting for us - they all have guns and riot uniforms - it was like a mouse trap - ppl being shot like animals #Iranelectionabout 12 hours ago from web
- I see many ppl with broken arms/legs/heads - blood everywhere - pepper gas like war - #Iranelectionabout 13 hours ago from web
- just in from Baharestan Sq - situation today is terrible - they beat the ppls like animals - #Iranelection RT RT RTabout 13 hours ago from web
As the debacle of AIG, the world's largest insurance company (until last fall), so graphically illustrated -- insurance companies are big evil blood-sucking vampires.
No, really. I'm sure I saw that somewhere.
They place bets on the likelihood of us encountering misfortune and like any bookie takes it's cut whether we win or lose. They've made so much money on our suffering, and often denying us the coverage we thought we paid for, they can afford to buy themselves a Congress.
The original idea of insurance was to spread the cost of tragedy over as many people as possible so whatever harm befalls one of us can be mitigated by spreading the hurt so far and wide that it's barely noticeable to society at large -- and society benefits by bringing an otherwise productive member who no longer can contribute back to wellness and helping us all move forward.
Our entire tort system is based in large part on this idea, spreading the cost associated with calamity, reducing the risk of doing business far and wide because we are more than the sum of our parts. We're better together than apart. Respondeat Superior, agency, vicarious liability, product liability, and the very concept of a corporation are all legal doctrines ingrained in our law that express this idea -- that we cannot as a society rely on the law of the jungle and be considered civilized. Risk must be spread so no one person alone bears the full weight of failure and injury lest nothing be done for fear of unbearable consequences.
Specifically, when it comes to health care, it's bad enough that the cost of medicine and medical procedures have gone through the roof, but to tolerate the vampires who feed off the system and give nothing of value back is unacceptable. Having a public option will do more to keep them honest than any regulation. Those that can't compete were cheating anyway. They were running a care denial company and not acting as a health care provider should.
Doctors should be paid, and paid well. Nurses and technical staff too. When looking at the system with an eye towards what benefits society, we all are better off if the best and the brightest find it financially and emotionally attractive to enter the medical field if so inclined. I want the best people there and you get what you pay for. I want state of the art advanced facilities and equipment which ought to cost a lot too. And I want everyone to have access to all that.
So you spread the cost. All of us spend some so that we can all enjoy the benefits of a wellness system of the highest caliber. If your Congressional Representative balks at the very idea that a publicly funded health care provider is unacceptable for some sort of ideological reason, you have the right to wonder what is wrong with the government run health plan they use.
I have to admit, the long debate over what form our health system revolution should take over the last couple of years has dented my resolve that single payer is the only way to go and/or a public plan is at least a good start towards running the private insurance companies out of business if not a complete dismantling the for-profit model.
The best argument, to me, for resisting socialized medicine is in the area of research and developments. Private enterprise simply is the fastest and often most effective route to innovation. Pharmaceuticals especially illustrate the greed-is-good effect, Viagra being one of the most stunning examples. Simultaneously it shows how market forces can advance discovery and success, and at the same time proves the market has whacked out priorities and is devoid of social conscience. If there were a market for an AIDS cure as lucrative as that for male-pattern baldness, HIV would be a memory.
So there's good and bad in the market-based approach to medical R&D. The market indeed works, and works well. Yet it doesn't necessarily work for the greatest good. There is no "invisible hand" when it comes to our well being.
So, which way to go? Should we scrap the whole for-profit system or at least pour our energies into creating a competing public system designed to eventually destroy private health insurance -- or accept at face value that a public system really is a benign competitor filling a societal need and not something more sinister.
We already have an example of a system that uses public institutions and private enterprises that both compete and complement each other in a uniquely American way. Bumbling and stumbling but always chugging forward -- Education. America higher education exploits both a market-driven environment and public finance in the form of assistance to students in private and public institutions, as well as universities that are wholly manufactured creatures of government.
Which would you get rid of? Would you rather have only Harvards and Yales or do away with those hoity-toity schools in favor of funding Ohio State or Michigan University? Of course we do neither and accept that the Ivy League Schools are the envy of the world -- but cannot boast anywhere near the volume of citizens who recieve excellent educations at State run universities throughout the land -- most of whom rooted for way better football teams than the Ivy League had in over a century.
The Big Ten pretty much doomed decent football in the Ivy League (apologies to Doug Flutie and Fran Tarkenton), but these public universities, big as they are, in no way threatened to undermine the existence of the private colleges who still keep going despite costing double, triple or more than their public counterparts.
Don't knock the football factories, which not only pay for all the other athletic programs but earn a lot of their graduates millions as pros -- the only measure so many conservatives who deplore public anything recognize as the meaning of success. Next time a Republican insists that anything the government runs turns to crap, ask him or her which NBA team drafted the starting point guard from Princeton.
It is relevant if making cash is what counts. If it's about educating as many people as possible to make the country more productive, where would we be if we relied solely on private colleges? Not the leader of the free world, that's for certain, since the vast majority of our population would be embarrassingly undereducated.
We spread the benefits of a world class American education far and wide through both public and private systems which both fill complementary instead of competing market and social needs. They work side by side and I wouldn't eliminate either. Having both a public and private educational system spreads knowledge and wealth. Now it's time to spread the health.
I guess there aren't any important issues to discuss, slow news week and all. Best to dive head on into the Politics of Grievance the tabloid media prefers. Von Brunn would approve. We can talk about North Korean Nukes and hostage journalists, Iranian elections shaping the Middle East for the next decade, health care, the rise of right-wing violence, the economy or those two pesky wars when we don't have Sarah Palin's hurt feelings to console.
Maybe I should take heart, that this is merely part of the death rattle of the conservative movement. But better minds than mine are still trying to grip with the right wing mentality -- and the examination of the Paranoid Style of American Politics has been going on for a long time with no satisfactory answers or effective strategy to bury it. This description of the phenomenon from 1964 applies to rages against the Illuminati as well as rants against the fictional Liberal Fascist ghosts: (H/T Jay Rosen)
America has been largely taken away from them and their kind, though they are determined to try to repossess it and to prevent the final destructive act of subversion. The old American virtues have already been eaten away by cosmopolitans and intellectuals; the old competitive capitalism has been gradually undermined by socialistic and communistic schemers; the old national security and independence have been destroyed by treasonous plots, having as their most powerful agents not merely outsiders and foreigners as of old but major statesmen who are at the very centers of American power. Their predecessors had discovered conspiracies; the modern radical right finds conspiracy to be betrayal from on high.P.S. Hey Steve. Palin should stay "above the fray?" You're hilarious dude. How would she get any airtime that way?
Today's toll: 11 Iraqis Killed, 23 Wounded
Wax delusional about some Reaganite of the past. [Or plagiarize, updated below.]
Ronald Reagan did not look back at some successful conservative politician of a by-gone generation as somehow bestowed with a kind of divinely inspired wisdom whose every platitude was gospel and approach to every policy to be followed to the letter.
I don't recommend reading AKMuckraker's account of a recent speech by Sarah Palin, except for the schadenfreude humor content of his running commentary. If you dig too deep into the word salad only the Ninny from Wassily can deliver and actually try to understand what the hell she's talking about, it's clear her message can be boiled down to one thought bubble: Ronald Reagan was right and we need to go back and do everything he told us to do.
Mind you, it should come as no surprise I'm no fan of our 40th President and never was. But I never remember him revolving his entire political philosophy around some previous prince of conservative thought -- let alone completely miss the boat when it came to understanding and applying history's lessons. At least he had the good sense examine the world honestly and try to make it better (as he saw it) without applying a three decade's old doctrine to contemporary problems. The man certainly was an original.
His imitators make themselves look so very small by their constant comparisons -- incapable of original thought.
Between Reagan and the two Bush boys we've had Reaganite conservatism running the Executive Branch for 20 out of the last 28 years, and Clinton only had two years to screw up their right wing paradise until Newt Gingrich took over Congress and stopped any chance of liberal reform dead in it's tracks. So dammit ... where's my perfect supply-side utopia?
Oh, that's right. We're living it ... never mind.
Honestly, go back? Sarah Palin wants us to go back to Reganism? When did we ever leave it? Obama's done a lot in the last 4 months, but a complete roll back of Reaganism will take a bit more time. Do these cookie-cutter conservatives really miss the Cold War so much?
Over grown military budgets ... Check. Out of control deficit spending ... Check. Unrestrained government bloat with a side dish of cronyism, incompetence and bureaucratic stagnation ... Check. Concentration of executive power at the expense of States rights and civil liberties ... Check. Shoot first and never answer any questions later foreign policy ... Check. Hell, Clinton did the right's dirty work on welfare reform.
Go back? Ronnie, we hardly missed you. These were the realities of Reagan's rule, despite his rhetoric to the contrary. Governor Palin, however, in her own unusual lexicon, remembers it differently some how.
Reagan knew that real change and real change requiring shaking thingsShe knows nothing, nothing -- absolutely nothing of what Reagan wrought. I think. You can't be too sure what the hell she means most of the time. One can only conclude she hasn't much of a clue either. Does she really think Reagan was some kind of a deficit hawk? Hell, not even Dick Cheney was so deluded, merely concluding that "Reagan proved deficits don't matter." The Bushes piled on more debt to Reagan's record spending. Clinton was the only one since who tried to get a handle on the budget, and left office with a surplus.
up and maybe takin' off the entrenched interest thwarting the will of
the people with their ignoring of our concerns about future peril
caused by selfish short-sighted advocacy for growing government and
digging more debt, and taking away individual and state's rights and
hampering opportunity to responsibly develop our resources, and
coddling those who would seek to harm America and her allies.
Reagan talked tough, but he also talked to our enemies. He got a lot more out of Gorbechev from private meetings between respectful equals than he ever did calling the Soviets names. The "Evil Empire" shtick was strictly for domestic consumption to win the hearts and minds of supporters who really thought he was John Wayne, and thought John Wayne was for real.
Iran? Obama is getting considerable push-back for daring to think we should talk to Iran. But Reagan not only talked to them, he sent Ollie North over there with plane loads full of weapons -- to trade, not to fire. If a Democrat tried that, I think they'd call it more than "coddling."
The only thing Palin gets remotely right, no doubt quite by accident, is Reagan's hostility to environmentalism. Palin is a kindred spirit with the millenialist bigot Ronnie put in charge of the interior, James Watt. He too wanted to sell off all undeveloped public lands to the highest bidder for gas and oil drilling, but in these modern times I'll bet she'd opt for a no bid contract if they threw in a nice pair of shoes.
Seems that Sarah Palin is so devoid of original thought, she stole most of this speech from Newt Gingrich.
Sarah Palin's garbled, often incoherent speech delivered in Anchorage on Wednesday--the one in which she declared "screw political correctness" and wondered why "we have to pussyfoot around our troublesome foes"--was largely lifted from an article written four years ago by Newt Gingrich and Craig Shirley.
Palin apparently also felt that she could "screw" intellectual integrity.
While Palin twice mentioned Gingrich in the speech (she never once acknowledged Shirley), virtually every single reference she made to Reagan was lifted directly from the Gingrich-Shirley article. It's a pure case of unadulterated plagiarism.
Gah! Teh Stoopit! It Buurrrnnnnnsssssss.
Dr. Tiller's suspected murderer, Scott Roeder, is white, Christian,There are obvious differences, and profound similarities. None fairly explain let alone excuse the difference in attention -- which of course adds fodder to the victimization card the Malkinites of the world love to play first and foremost: liberal media bias.
anti-government and anti-abortion. The gunman in the
military-recruitment-center attack, Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, is
black, a Muslim convert, anti-military and anti-American. Both crimes
are despicable, cowardly acts of domestic terrorism. But the disparate
treatment of the two brutal cases by the White House and the media is
There's really something more visceral at play here to my way of thinking. The SOURCE of Roeder and Muhammad's radicalization are as far removed as possible.
It's dog-bites man when a Muslim black man radicalized in Yemen hates America. Quite another when the victim's job description does not comtemplate him being in the line of fire like a soldier, and the shooting is in Church not a military recruiting center -- that's shocking enough. Add to that the shooter belongs to the majority religion, not a marginalized minority; is a member of the predominate political demographic, being a white male; and the cognative dissonence of trying to save lives by taking them as Roeder no doubt would argue, as opposed to Muhammad simply being on a killing spree.
As foreign as Muhammad may seem to so many in the heartland, we "get" him. He's pissed at us and he has his reasons, no matter how warped. Roeder on the other hand could be a neighbor and we'd never suspect he was dangerous, and the reasons for what he did leave us shaking our heads and arguing amongst ourselves.
So it's not bias or anything sinister, just human nature why the two incidents are treated differently. In so many basic, gut level ways they couldn't be more dissimilar.
The last time an American political party disintegrated so dramatically, falling from the pinnacle of holding the presidency and a congressional majority to near obscurity was when the Whigs disintegrated in the wake of the Compromise of 1850. The last Whig President, "Know-Nothing" Millard Filmore, could not retain the White House and the death-spiral was swift and dramatic, culminating in the worst Democratic President, James Buchanan, the rise of the newly formed Republican Party, the election of Abraham Lincoln, and the Civil War, all in less than a decade.
I'm in no way predicting that we are on the road to ruin, quite the contrary. However, the political evolution this nation is currently undergoing could be as dramatic when historians look back, and the demise of the Republican Party may be seen as a symptom of social upheaval as their emergence likewise reflected turbulent times.
Instinctively, they know they're in trouble. As an organization they have been devastated by their continued lack of coherent leadership which a party known for lock-step, top-down management cannot endure. Not surprising that when every day President Obama's cool demeanor and rational approach to the problems the GOP has left us makes them look worse and worse each and every day -- they lash out. Yesterday's stunt blabbing about a classified intelligence briefing is no exception.
Republicans ignited a firestorm of controversy on Thursday by revealing some of what they had been told at a closed-door Intelligence Committee hearing on the interrogation of terrorism suspects.This from the chest-thumping, flag-pin obsessive, oh-so-patriotic Republicans simply desperate for anything that looks like a win. Their party and their own hides once again trumping any notions of national security or the rule of law, this was at best stupid and at worse, treason.
Here's the dangerous irony. These administration critics have claimed that the Obama Justice Department releasing memos authorizing torture techniques that by and large did not seem to work has made us less safe because our enemies can now train to techniques the Bush administration quit using years ago. But what they and former VP Cheney want the public to know are techniques that they allege DID work.
Cheney said. Yet, this authority would have little use because, thanks to the release of the documents, "the enemy now knows exactly what interrogation methods to train against."Good luck to 'em Dick, since we don't use these any more, and won't and they weren't particularly effective from what we know so far. What Cheney wants exposed are the methods he claims did work. That would be useful information for our enemies.
Why, Dick? Why? Will the world knowing what we learned through the torture program prevent future attacks? No. If we developed a silver bullet means of fool-proof information extraction through these methods, is it really a good idea for anyone to know we have such capability? No, no, not at all.
Wouldn't it be better for captives on a battlefield to give up voluntarily like they did in droves during the first Gulf War, believing they will receive humane treatment at our hands instead of bringing down as many of our soldiers as they can in a futile last stand rather than be treated like animals? But no. Typically myopic, these petty Republican zealots are wholly unable to appreciate the big picture when it is at odds with their own self-serving interests.
I've no sympathy for the remaining Republicans right now, and in the long run their antics are more an annoyance than true danger to the republic. If they want to win these arguments, let them get organized, offer some solutions instead of tired slogans, and win some elections. Then they can declassify anything they want -- just like Cheney and his pals selectively released self-serving intelligence over the last eight years, including burning an under-cover operative and her entire non-proliferation operation.
He had his chance to "prove" torture worked. Dick Cheney, his daughter Liz, and all their dead-end supporters can tell their stories to a jury, because the world neither needs nor wants to know their version of revisionist history.