Friday, September 11, 2009
I'm Thinking About Killing Glenn Beck
"Hang on, let me just tell you what I'm thinking. I'm thinking about killing Glenn Beck, and I'm wondering if I could kill him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it. No, I think I could."
No doubt, the above quote is provoking two main reactions from those who've stumbled across this blog today:
1. Progressives, (who are wondering what's going on and horrified that I would talk about violence against another human being).
2. Conservatives, (who are outraged and angry that I would say such as thing about their hero, Beck).
But I wrote the above quote to prove a point.
That is: Wingnuts like Beck can literally get away with anything they say, and face no real repercussions. After all, all I did with the above quote is take a May 2005 quote that Beck made and I substituted the words "Glenn Beck" for "Michael Moore"----the words Beck used in the original quote.
Since Beck made that quote in 2005, his career has gone from strength to strength. Last year, he made over $23 million. His audience and influence continues to soar. This, despite the fact that he continues to spew out crazy, violent rhetoric like his 2005 quote about killing Moore.
And yet, if anyone on the Left makes even a mildly controversial remark, it will dog them to the end of time (and almost certainly end their career).
Recall that all Howard Dean ever did was give out an enthusiastic shout to his supporters---and that alone was enough to sink his presidential ambitions. He didn't even say anything controversial, for Chrissakes.
But the Right-Wing these days pretty much about to get away with murder, and face zero repercussions. Beck can call the predominately African-American victims of Hurricane Katrina "scumbags" and get away with it. He can call the mother of a fallen soldier, Cindy Sheehan, a "slut" and get away with it. He can chillingly talk about killing Moore and get away with it.
Speaking of repercussions, I'm aware that the grassroots group, ColorOfChange.org, is running a highly successful boycott against Beck's Fox News program. Thus far, they've managed to persuade over 60 advertisers to stop sponsoring Beck's hate.
I strongly applaud what ColorOfChange.org is doing. But I'm not entirely convinced that Beck will ever face any real repercussions as a result of this boycott. Advertisers, after all, are likely to just switch to other Fox News programs. As long as Beck's 3 million-plus viewership continues to rise (which is in fact the case), I doubt Beck is going to lose his show anytime soon, boycott or not.
There's another point I've been trying to make by quoting Beck's hate speech. That is: We progressives are a bunch of wussies. We let the wingnuts attack us over and over and we don't even bother to defend ourselves.
Case in point, Beck goes after Van Jones (a co-founder of ColorOfChange.org) and the White House promptly throws Jones under the bus (seemingly handing a big victory to Beck---at a time when he ought to be reeling and on the ropes after losing all his main advertisers). Once again, the Dems managed to take a clear victory and somehow turn it into a defeat.
People: it's time we take the gloves off and start fighting back against these bastards, fighting fire with fire. I'm sick and tired of people like President Obama trying to "reach out across the aisle." For a change, we need to act like we're the party who won a clear mandate from the American people, instead of a timid, meek party that is afraid of its own shadow and lets the GOP sh*t all over us every chance they get.
By the way, if you don't support fascist hate speech polluting our nation's airwaves, then please support ColorOfChange.org and sign their online petition.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
'Great' American Health Care System Isn't Cutting It On Life Span
This just in -- the U.S. is now ranked 42nd among the world's nations in life span. How can this be happening in a country that spends so much on medicine, the most worldwide per capita? It's a paradox: When it comes to insurance, less isn't more; but when it comes to medication, less can indeed be more. And, we need news media that will actually report on the problem rather than essentially shill for the medical/drug establishment.
To get the stats out of the way, this is from the Associated Press report:
Countries that surpass the U.S. include Japan and most of Europe, as well as Jordan, Guam and the Cayman Islands. ...
A baby born in the United States in 2004 will live an average of 77.9 years. That life expectancy ranks 42nd, down from 11th two decades earlier, according to international numbers provided by the Census Bureau and domestic numbers from the National Center for Health Statistics.
Andorra, a tiny country ... between France and Spain, had the longest life expectancy, at 83.5 years ... It was followed by Japan, Macau, San Marino and Singapore. ...
Researchers said several factors have contributed to the United States falling behind other industrialized nations. A major one is that 45 million Americans lack health insurance, while Canada and many European countries have universal health care, they say.
OK, so far, so good. At least someone is observing that the number of uninsured Americans may have a lot to do with this. But wait, there's more. This Mainstream Media report lapses into whitewash and absurdity.
But "it's not as simple as saying we don't have national health insurance," said Sam Harper, an epidemiologist at McGill University in Montreal. "It's not that easy."
Among the other factors:
• Adults in the United States have one of the highest obesity rates in the world. Nearly a third of U.S. adults 20 years and older are obese, while about two-thirds are overweight, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.
"The U.S. has the resources that allow people to get fat and lazy," said Paul Terry, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Emory University in Atlanta. "We have the luxury of choosing a bad lifestyle as opposed to having one imposed on us by hard times."
• Racial disparities. Black Americans have an average life expectancy of 73.3 years, five years shorter than white Americans.
Black American males have a life expectancy of 69.8 years, slightly longer than the averages for Iran and Syria and slightly shorter than in Nicaragua and Morocco.
• A relatively high percentage of babies born in the U.S. die before their first birthday, compared with other industrialized nations.
Forty countries, including Cuba, Taiwan and most of Europe had lower infant mortality rates than the U.S. in 2004. The U.S. rate was 6.8 deaths for every 1,000 live births. It was 13.7 for Black Americans, the same as Saudi Arabia.
"It really reflects the social conditions in which African American women grow up and have children," said Dr. Marie C. McCormick, professor of maternal and child health at the Harvard School of Public Health. "We haven't done anything to eliminate those disparities."
Most of the above displays an astonishing lack of critical thinking by this MSM reporter, or perhaps by editors who got hold of the piece later. The story attempts to drive some wedge between the absence of universal coverage in the U.S. and (1) racial disparities, and (2) infant mortality. A national health insurance system would do a vast amount to address these two problems. Our current system is the precise reason why many minorities do not or cannot get adequate care, when they are either old or newborn. It's the lack of insurance, stupid.
The passage points out that Cuba and most European countries have lower infant mortality rates than the U.S. Guess what those countries have that we don't.
Obesity is certainly a problem in America, and one for which individuals can largely be blamed. Or can they? As decades of my life have passed, I have witnessed a socially irresponsible advertising culture that graduated from making people into two-pack-a-day cigarette addicts into junk-food junkies who wash it all down with sugary soft drinks. If one ate a steady diet of what one sees every day on TV ads, billboards, and in the urban sprawl of any given U.S. city, it's the superhighway to diabetes and heart disease.
A thing I find quite revealing and disturbing is that although the Japanese smoke twice as much as Americans -- they light up the way we did in the '60s, back when my childhood senses were ablaze with TV cigarette commercials -- they don't have nearly as much heart disease as we do, and they're living longer than us. A simple observation is that they don't have quite the same advertising culture as we do, and so they're more likely to eat fish, tofu and veggies than a bacon cheeseburger. A decent diet can actually compensate some for other kinds of vices.
Something else to consider is that, for the poor in America, a good diet is actually hard to afford. It's cheap for our poor and working class to consume a lot of starch and sugar. Even the simplest staple items like rice and pasta -- not good for diabetics -- are much cheaper than the more healthful choices. We've had a reversal of roles between rich and poor in modern America: In the bad old days, the poor were skinny because they went hungry, and the rich were plump because they had all they could eat. Now the poor eat, but it's the wrong foods, sold cheap. The rich can afford the sauteed vegetables and the catch of the day.
But, I'm recalling that Emory University professor's remarks about Americans being so soft, not having a tough lifestyle imposed on them by adversity. This seems like an absurd contradiction as well. During hard times, people have trouble eating -- at all. Good food, or bad. And life spans were much shorter then. Something tells me the professor hasn't missed many meals.
Now for an unintended consequence of living in an "affluent" society -- affluent for some, anyway. The U.S. is the most overmedicated nation ever. Our "health care system" is largely driven by the pharmaceutical companies' greed, and they are hooking people on meds every day with the same foresight and scruples as the corner dope dealer.
Statin drugs are being pushed as though half the adult population should be on them. They may do a lot for people with severe cholesterol problems, but they can have very serious side effects. I have known a number of people who have given them up, despite warnings, because they complained that they always felt like they had the flu. My mother passed out and had to be hospitalized after three days on Zocor. I took Lipitor for three days, and I think my supervisor at work suspected that I was drunk.
I have been hospitalized twice in recent years after having adverse reactions to medications. Doctors who aren't into this dope craze describe patients coming to them looking pale and wan. And wait, there's more, from a site called Health and DNA:
ADRs are the fourth to sixth greatest killer in US with more than 100,000 deaths per year; and 2.2 million serious adverse reactions per year according to a 1998 Journal of the American Medical Association report. (JAMA 279:1200 1998) This study is a meta analysis of 39 research reports published from 1966 to 1996.
21.3% of the 548 most recently FDA approved medications were subsequently withdrawn from the market or given a black box warning. (JAMA 287:2215 2002).
The GAO reports that 51% of new drugs have serious, undetected adverse effects at the time of approval.
Of the best selling prescription drugs, 148 can cause depression, 133 hallucinations or psychoses, 105 constipation, 76 dementia, 27 insomnia and 36 parkinsonism. "Worst Pills Best Pills: A Consumers Guide to Avoiding Drug-Induced Death or Illness," third edition, 1999.
I know from the experience of being overmedicated that it's hard some days just to get out of bed under those conditions, let alone get one's regular exercise for general health and weight control.
I have yet to see Michael Moore's Sicko, but I anticipate seeing it this week. It shouldn't be hard for him to win me over. This "health care system," coupled with a predatory advertising culture, looks likely to make either my generation or the next one the first to have a lower life expectancy than our parents had. As my fellow baby boomers age and become more dependent on this broken system to get decent and well-considered care, this is clearly one of the crucial battles that Americans must win.
Manifesto Joe is an underground writer living in Texas. Check out his blog at Manifesto Joe's Texas Blues.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
The Michael Moore "Awful Truth" Segment That Inspired "Sicko"
If you haven't seen it before, Michael Moore's "The Awful Truth," TV series (which aired on Bravo in 1999-2000) was one of the best things Moore has ever done. It was a hard-hitting investigative series that took on many targets in American society, including corporate and political corruption, lies, and hypocrisy.
In the series' first episode, Moore took on Humana, after this "healthcare" company initially denied a man's claim to pay for a life-saving pancreas transplant.
The episode later inspired Moore to direct Sicko, his upcoming feature film, which will be released on June 29. This episode is available on YouTube, along with a number of other "The Awful Truth" segments.
Monday, May 28, 2007
How The Right-Wing Slime Machine Is Gearing Up To Attack Michael Moore's "Sicko"
One might expect that any rational, clear-thinking adult would wait to actually see a movie before they decide to attack it.
However, there are three things that are certain in life: death, taxes, and the fact that the wingnuts will do whatever they can to slime Michael Moore and his work.
After all, Moore is the anti-Christ to these people. He's been detested by the right wing ever since he dared to speak out against George W. Bush in Fahrenheit 9/11.
It was all enough to make right-wing writer and Fox News commentator Bernie Goldberg rank Moore as No. 1 in his 2005 tirade, 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America.
Never mind the fact that Moore has been vindicated, time and time again.
The current wave of Moore-bashing seems to date back to his "infamous" March 2003 Oscar-night speech. The press reports I read about that event focused solely on the fact that his comments drew boos from some audience members.
Few people, though, seem to remember exactly what Moore said that night, a mere three days after the U.S. launched its war on Iraq.
"We live in a time where we have a man who's sending us to war for fictitious reasons," Moore said, thus throwing a wrench into the carefully choreographed TV event beamed around the world.
In hindsight, of course, this comment has turned out to be amazingly prescient. The Bush team's stated rationale for the war has been shown to be, indeed, fiction.
Since then, Bush's once-sky-high approval ratings have sunk into the toilet. Indeed, a majority of Americans today believe that the Iraq War wasn't worth it. It took a few years, but Americans finally came around to Moore's views about Bush and the war.
Of course, Moore wasn't the first commentator to attack Bush. But he was the first to really draw blood, during a time when the MSM was fawning over Bush.
And the wingnuts have never forgiven Moore.
In attacking Sicko, the right-wingers have wasted no time in smearing Moore and his film. Never mind the fact that the movie won't even be released in the U.S. until June 29.
The popular movie reference site, IMDB.com shows how polarizing a film Sicko, is already, despite the fact that it is a month away from release. As of May 27, already 39 people had voted to give the film a rating of "1" on a scale of 1-to-10. It's unclear as to how these people have managed to see the film, considering that it has only played to a relative handful of people at the Cannes Film Festival in France (where, by all accounts, it was rapturously received by adoring crowds).
How much do you want to bet that those 39 thumbs-down votes were from Rush-listening wingnuts here in the States who haven't seen the film (and have no intention of doing so)?
Fox News propagandist Sean Hannity is helping to lead the charge against Sicko. Recently, he has repeatedly claimed that the U.S. has "the world's best health-care system." It's a mantra that we can expect to hear repeated, ad nauseam, over the next few months.
In the coming weeks, we can expect a predictable chorus attacking Sicko, from both HateWing radio, and the nutcase wingnut blogs.
I expect that the right-wing will roll out the really heavy artillery on the eve of Sicko's release (just as the wingnuts did when Fahrenheit 9/11 was released).
Recall how the right-wing British writer Christopher Hitchens slammed F9/11 in a high-profile Slate review on June 21, 2004 that was titled, "The lies of Michael Moore."
Time hasn't been kind to Hitchens' review, which served up a heavy dose of spurious "evidence," trying to defend Bush's case for war (most of which, of course, has now been completely debunked).
Hitchens also accused Moore of "cowardice," a bizarre charge, considering that Moore was inundated with death threats in the aftermath of F9/11.
Indeed, even many theater owners who showed F9/11 received death threats. Although there's no way to be sure exactly who was making these threats, one can be sure that they weren't liberal Democrats. And if anyone was guilty of "cowardice," it was the mainstream journalists (of which Hitchens is a member) who helped sell Bush's war to the American people.
I expect the right-wing will do whatever it can to tarnish Sicko and slime Moore in the weeks to come.
But it's clear that the wingnuts have their work cut out for them, if they're going to try to convince Americans that Sicko's indictment of the U.S. health-care system is false.
After all, polls have repeatedly indicated that a majority of Americans want the government to step in and do whatever it takes to provide health-care to everyone. Additionally, most Americans have horror stories of their own in dealing with HMOs and the health-care system.
Wingnuts like Hannity can babble on all day about how America supposedly has the best health-care system in the world. But I suspect that most Americans are no longer buying this crap. We as a people know that there's something seriously wrong with our system. And no amount of propaganda and Fox News disinformation will change that fact.
Monday, May 21, 2007
Michael Moore "Watchdog" Site Owner Reveals Wingnut Hypocrisy
Here's a simple question for Jim Kenefick, who runs the self-appointed Michael Moore "watchdog" Web site, MooreWatch.com.
Why, exactly, did you keep the $12,000 check that Michael Moore sent you to pay your bills?
By trying to defend your decision to keep the money, you showed the world that you are a hypocrite who has no principles.
You've spent years now sliming Moore's work with your pathetic little wingnut site. In one unhinged, hysterical attack after another, you've called Moore a liar, a scam artist, and worse.
Then one day, you bitched and moaned that you couldn't pay your bills. And Moore was kind enough to send you a check.
Much of the blogosphere has been abuzz lately about your lack of class and how ungrateful and insulting you've been to Moore during this episode. But to me, this episode only showed what a despicable hypocrite you are.
If I was struggling and some right-wing guy who I detested offered me some cash to get by, I would starve to death before I'd accept one FUCKING CENT of his money. There is no way on earth that I would accept money from any supporter of the party of a psychopath like George W. Bush, who has done so much to harm this once-great nation.
But I guess that's the difference between us liberals and the wingnuts. To us, principles and integrity are far more important than mere grubby money. By contrast, the GOP and its supporters worship at the altar of money every day (and seem genuinely baffled that the rest of us don't do so as well).
Look, Kenefick: if you wish to attack Moore, that's your right. (It would be nice, though, if you had some valid points for a change, instead of just making up bullshit about Moore, day after day).
As far as being a target of Kenefick's rage, Moore is at least in good company.
After all, on Oct. 10, 2004, in a typical rambling blog post, Kenefick accused John Kerry of "traitorous behavior."
Let's review a couple of facts. Kerry volunteered to serve his country in combat during the Vietnam War. He was wounded in action and was awarded the Bronze Star, the Silver Star, and three Purple Hearts by the U.S. Navy.
And now, Kenefick says Kerry is guilty of "traitorous behavior."
This, even as Kenefick keeps his tongue firmly lodged in the ass of George W. Bush, a coward and a deserter who never saw a day of combat and who got his rich, powerful daddy to pull strings to get him out of serving in Vietnam.
For Kenefick to keep Moore's money to pay his bills is reprehensible, no matter how he tries to spin this. He's a hypocrite who has absolutely no principles.
Hmmm, I guess he fits right in with today's Republican party. Most Republicans I know are greedy jerks who're obsessed with money. A lot of them would probably sell kiddie porn if there was a quick buck in it and they could get away with it.
One thing I'd like to point out is that I think that having a watchdog site for Moore is actually not a bad idea in concept. (Just as I think Fox "News," CNN, and the rest of the corporate MSM ought to have watchdog sites that keep tabs on their content).
What I find despicable, though, is that sites like MooreWatch.com attack Moore for supposedly telling "lies" and then turn around and praise the likes of George W. Bush, the biggest pathological liar who ever occupied the White House. And, unlike Moore, (who only makes movies for a living) Bush has done unfathomable damage to America and the world---not to mention the 600,000+ Iraqis slaughtered for his lies.
Wingnuts like Kenefick have been sucking Bush's ass since Day One. They've been desperately trying to convince the rest of us that Bush's shit is instead actually fine gourmet chocolate. Their despicable little scam actually worked for a short while in the confusion and chaos of post 9/11 America. Today, however, all sane, rational Americans now know it's all shit---which leaves Bush's little cult-like fan base looking more pathetic every day.
I'd suspect that, there are wingnuts out there now considering stepping forward, offering to pay Kenefick's bills, if he'll send Moore back his money. At this point, though, it'd make no difference, even if Kenefick returned the money.
The damage is already done. We've all now seen what an ungrateful, classless jerk Kenefick is. And we've all seen how he was quite content to put money ahead of principle.
Hey, Kenefick: it's up to you whether you keep Moore's money or not. Just don't expect anyone to take you seriously ever again.
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