watch this

Dec. 5th, 2011 06:23 pm
realthog: (Default)

At last a member of the US mainstream news media (Dylan Ratigan of MSNBC) finds the voice of truth.

It's the best 3 1/2 minutes you'll spend all week.

realthog: (Default)
Ken Ward Jr of the South Charleston Gazette has posted a frightening piece about the fact that, in the upcoming gubernatorial contest, West Virginia's voters have this choice:
  • a moron
  • another moron
Here's how his article opens:

Well, given their earlier answers to similar questions during the primary campaign (see here, here and here), none of this should have come as much of a shock. But it’s still something to see when the anti-science attitudes of West Virginia political leaders and candidates are put out there so clearly . . .

At last night’s debate between the Democratic and Republican gubernatorial candidates (the broadcasters group that sponsored the event refused to allow third-party candidates to take part), Hoppy Kercheval of  West Virginia MetroNews asked: Do you believe man’s actions are causing the world to warm?

Republican Bill Maloney replied simply:
We’re in a cooling cycle.

Democrat Earl Ray Tomblin said: Once again, there are differences of opinion as to whether we’re in global warming now.

Now, we all expect Republican politicians to choose the moron option when asked anything about science -- after all, their science education comes in the form of packets of high-denomination used bills from Exxon and the Koch Brothers -- but it's alarming to find a Democrat doing the same.

Proof of human beings co-existing with DINOs, I suppose . . .

h/t Climate Progress
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Denying Science is running a little late -- pub date is now October 4 rather than the scheduled August 23 -- but the first review is in, from Nicole Parker at New York Journal of Books. It's a pretty favourable review, concentrating mainly on the antivaxer section of the book (as befits Parker's specialist field). I'm very pleased, you bet.

Meanwhile, we batten down for the arrival of Hurricane Irene at the weekend. This evening we went out to get some D batteries for the flashlights. Ho ho ho. In the end I bought an LED flashlight that takes AA or AAA batteries, depending on what you have handy. We've got lots of those, and I bought an extra emergency 20-pack just to make sure.

With seven cats to keep track of, this weekend may be no joke . . .

It's difficult to ignore the irony that most people in the US, even confronted by a grotesquely increasing frequency of extreme weather events, continue to believe that "there's no such thing as global warming". On the other hand, should I be surprised? Just 38% of the US public think evolution is real despite countless observations of it actually happening, right now.

Teh stoopid, it is all around us. We should batten down our hatches to protect against that as much as against Hurricane Irene.

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We have two wars going on, the economy's in difficulties, global warming is accelerating, unemployment is frighteningly high, "extreme weather events" are increasing in frequency, healthcare and education are in a shambles, working people are shouldering a higher ratio of the tax burden than ever before, unions are under attack, ACORN has been destroyed (who next? Oxfam?), poverty levels are obscene, and much, much more, and the US right thinks the most important item on the nation's political agenda is . . .

Anthony Weiner's penis.

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The headline of this Climate Progress piece tells the story, although the article itself is worth reading for the details. Step back Bobby Jindal, whose mockery of volcano monitoring occurred, you'll recall, just scant weeks before Mt St Helens blew its top with what would inevitably have been, without volcano monitoring, heavy casualties.

At the time it was easy to paint Jindal as a lone bonehead on the fringes of the GOP. Not so easy this time 'round. Here's the headline:

Tornado forecasting saved countless lives this week. Too bad Congress, including Alabama’s entire delegation, voted against maintaining forecast quality

Of course, this is the party that thinks the way to tackle global warming is to pretend that it's not happening, and that anyone who says otherwise is part of a grand, DC Comics-style conspiracy by the international climatological community.

realthog: (AZ)

Announcing the deal, Mr Boehner, a leading Republican, said: ". . . We fought to keep government spending down because it really will create a better situation for job creators."

So the thinking must run: "By taking money out of the economy and thereby reducing consumer demand across the board, we'll encourage companies to hire more employees to produce the extra goods and services that customers are queuing up to . . . er . . ."

Or maybe Boehner's been bought and he's working on the old principle that "If you've gotta tell a lie, tell a big one"?

ill news

Dec. 2nd, 2010 06:00 pm
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Continuing their War on America, the incoming Republican House leadership have announced they're going to abolish the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, which accordingly held its last meeting yesterday. Stephanie Vallejo has the story here.

This is, obviously, both imbecilic and extraordinarily destructive to the national interest. The Republican reasoning, if such it can be called, appears to be that, since the Committee was created by Nancy Pelosi, they should abolish it to piss off both her and President Obama -- the fate of the nation, and indeed of the world, be damned.

It's like something out of South Park, isn't it?


Oct. 25th, 2010 09:24 pm
realthog: ("no such thing")

The Grand Old Delusional Party has been in touch with me again, via its propaganda unit Nutsmax (the media empire that can proudly boast it's saner than WorldNutsDaily, One Nuts Now -- although this is borderline -- Townhall and Accuracy in Media).

This time they've sent me a personal email promulgating a deliberately misdirecting conspiracy theory about George Soros, plus an appeal for funds so that I can add my painfully extracted penny to the unprecedented billions being donated to the GODP's midterm campaigns by the likes of the American Chamber of Commerce and almost every multinational corporation you choose to name . . . all permissible thanks to a Supreme Court stacked with rightwing activist judges and those judges' recent Citizens United decision, which
essentially permits corporations to buy elections.

Seems to me the corporations have bought the judges, hm?

Whatever, this particular email is signed by someone claiming he's "Senator Norm

I've checked, and so far as I can ascertain there is no
"Senator Norm Coleman."

There is, however, this guy.

He's called just Norm Coleman, not Senator Norm Coleman, and the footnotes of my consciousness reveal to me that he's the dim bulb who in 2009, despite for months exploring extensive legal chicanery in an attempt to subvert the democratic process, got beat by the person who is now Senator Al Franken.

I also remember him saying some abominably stupid things about George Galloway, who's hardly a moral exemplar but at least on occasion has aspirations higher than shilling for corporate masters, which at the time seemed a certain Senator's aim. And, to judge by this email, still is.

But only someone seriously delusional would try to pretend in a fundraiser that Norm Coleman is still a Senator. Whether the GODP likes it or not, Coleman lost. Trying to pretend otherwise is extraordinarily delusional.

Is it not time the GODP sought counseling?

Any hope they might start telling us the truth is, of course, beyond forlorn.

realthog: (Default)

. . . what with all the blaring, crow-eating headlines about it on FAUX News and the like. Here's something released just before Christmas when everyone's paying attention real hard. The New York Times has the story:

Report Finds Acorn Broke No Laws

The controversial community organizing group Acorn has not broken any laws in the last five years, according to a Congressional Research Service report released Tuesday evening. [. . .]

The report found no evidence that voters attempting to cast ballots at the polls had been improperly registered by Acorn, a chief Republican accusation. [. . .]

And there's plenty more where that came from.

Just to celebrate, I sent ACORN 25 bucks. This is Christmas, after all, and the main effect of the GOP/media witch-hunt of ACORN has been to deprive yet further some of the already poorest men, women and children in the land.

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Here's Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) speaking on the Senate floor on Friday:

This will become one more example of the arrogance of power being exerted since the Democrats secured a 60-vote majority in the United States Senate and took over the House and the White House. I dream some day of having the Republicans have 60 votes. I’ll tell you one thing, I think we would finally have the total responsibility to get this country under control and I believe we would. But we never come close to that. There are essentially no checks and balances found in Washington today just an arrogance of power with one party ramming through unpopular and devastating proposals one after the other.

Clearly Sen. Hatch has forgotten those halcyon years leading up to 2006, when there was no deficit, employment, prosperity and healthcare were universal, phones were untapped, 9/11 had been prevented, the relief operation post-Hurricane Katrina had been a sparkling success, the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay was unheard-of, habeas corpus was not under threat, the Supreme Court was a wise and politically unbiased independent body, there were no wars, and pigs flew.

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Sarah Palin was plugging her latest ghostwritten novel on FAUX News's Bill O'Liarly Show the other day. I gather even The Big Loofah himself had difficulty stomaching some of her utterances, and persecuted her Katie Couric-style by requesting she actually answer his questions. And then there was this . . .

O'Reilly: Let me be bold and fresh again. Do you believe you are smart enough, and incisive enough, intellectual enough, to handle the most powerful job in the world?

Palin: I believe that I am because I have common sense, and I have, I believe, the values that are reflective of so many American values. And I believe that what Americans are seeking is not the elitism, the, um, the, ah -- kind of spineless -- a spinelessness that perhaps is made up for that with elite Ivy League education and -- fact resume that's based on anything but hard work and private-sector, free-enterprise principles. Americans could be seeking something like that in positive change in their leadership. I'm not saying that that has to be me.

realthog: (Default)

The Philadelphia Examiner site carries a top-notch article today by Joshua Reese called
"Climate Change We Can Believe In"; I very strongly recommend it (and a hat-tip to [profile] frostokovich for recommending it to me). It's a level-headed assessment of the political realities we find ourselves among because of a long history of mixed stupidity, cupidity and corruption among our legislators and their counterparts in some (not all) other countries. Reese holds out a tiny measure of optimism that we may indeed be able to get past these political and ideological logjams, despite the huge probability against.

And then you read the comments beneath the article and you realize that, no, Reese's small gleam of hope is just an illusion. We're doomed because of Teh Stupid. Here's "Tim":

This new religion and former science (climatology) is a scam. Most of the believers (climatolojists) will argue that crazy people like me refuse to acknowledge the facts and data on global warming. Well, as to the question of weather or not the Earth is getting warmer, it is. Now here is where people like me and climatolojists differ. A scientific mind must be very careful to separate correlation and causation. Just because two events happen at the same time does not mean that they are linked in any way. Scientists have done much research on the subject. It seams that governments around the world repress any scientific facts that are contrary to this new fascism. Fact = all the other planets are also warming at same rate as Earth. The EPA's own report was suppressed by the current administration in June 09 because it did not reflect current policies, Google it, I dare you to think for yourself. To understand why climatolojy is so insidious, you only need ask, who benifits?

When, at the end of this century, humanity's billions have been reduced to a few warring tribes at the poles, and someone wonders why this catastrophe could have come about, they need look no further than "Tim".

realthog: (isa)

Republican friends keep telling me that, when it comes to the great debate over healthcare reform, I should regard extremist loons like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, Chuck Grassley, Michelle Bachmann, Newsmax, WorldNetDaily, Town Hall, Steven Anderson, Bill O'Reilly, Ann Coulter, Williiam Kristol, the Washington Times, the Wall Street Journal editorial page, the Washington Post editorial page, Jonah Goldberg, Andrew "Not So" Breitbart . . . and, oh, maybe a few billion other neocon commentators as just the ephemera that they should be.

Instead, I should focus on having a dialogue with all those moderate Republicans there are around.

The official GOP rather than the fruitbats, in other words.

Well, what do we have here but a brand spanky new discussion document released by the Republican National Committee, under the imprimatur of chairman Michael Steele, called 2009 Future of American Health Survey. One of its questions reads as follows:

It has been suggested that the government could use voter registration to determine a person's political affiliation, prompting fears that GOP voters might be discriminated against for medical treatment in a Democrat-imposed health care rationing system. Does this possibility concern you?

A friend, on reading this, was so incensed that he remarked: "Now that they bring it up, I'm all for it."

In a way I don't blame him. There has never been the remotest suggestion anywhere before this dishonest document of any such thing. The RNC has invented a lie and tossed it into the stockpot in the hope of frightening gullible, undereducated people.

And my friend's point is obviously a larger one. What should have been a serious debate about a monumentally serious issue --
every year 18,000 people, or three 9/11s, die unnecessarily because they slip through the cracks of the current system, so it's a problem that anyone sane would regard as worth addressing -- has been dragged relentlessly into the gutter of fallacy, smear, hysterical bunkum, racist threats of violence and general halfwitted, scaremongering Jabberwocky by one side of the argument, and by one side only. The quote above doesn't come from any of the self-designated mad-barking-wolverine outliers of the right but from the GOP's very own establishment: it's a whopper of enormous proportions, and the people who issued it know it to be so. They are not, shall we say, guilty of a mere misunderstanding.

What depresses me most is that all those "reasonable" right-of-centre friends of mine, when asked to distance themselves from such outright scaremongering and dishonesty, start changing the subject.

Which makes them, I reckon, every bit as guilty.

realthog: (leavingfortusa)

As I remarked to [profile] pds_lit last night over our mushroom stroganoff (yep, I got a mushroom bargain in a local store so bought in bulk), the only political parties that conduct business primarily though lying are the repressive ones -- the Hitler regime, the Stalin regime, the Kim Jong-il regime, the Ahmadinejad regime, and so forth. Oh, and, uncomfortably close to home and embarrassing to admit, the modern US Republican Party.

Other politicians are of course not innocent: almost all of them fib on occasion, and/or "spin". But the deliberate use of outright lying as an everyday political tool is the province of politicians whose instincts are anti-democratic and repressive.

In no context could this be clearer than the current "debate" over healthcare reform. It's hard to pin the scabrous false scaremongering e-mail that's doing the rounds directly on the GOP leadership (according to some reports, it's a fabrication done by insurance-company lobbyists), but in many other instances the GOP -- and the GOP leadership, at that -- can be seen right out in the open lying in a manner to draw admiring gasps from the likes of Richard Nixon.

Our beloved media, of course, regard as "balance" the placing of these flat lies alongside the facts and the attempt to find "middle ground" between the two: how often does one have to repeat that the midway point between truth and a lie is still a lie?

Whatever: yesterday [ profile] frostokovich sent me a copy of a statement given to the Canadian Senate by conservative Canadian Senator Hugh Segal on June 22 eviscerating the "facts" offered a week earlier to the US Senate by minority leader Mitch McConnell; in so doing, of course, Segal demolished another myth promulgated by the US right -- that the argument over healthcare is one between conservatives and liberals, because Segal's own political views exemplify the fact that all over the rest of the developed world national health services are supported with equal enthusiasm by left and right.

But that's an aside. Here's Segal's statement, taken verbatim from Canadian Hansard's transcript:

Kingston General Hospital

Hon. Hugh Segal: Honourable senators, a week ago in the United States Senate, Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican senior senator from Kentucky, made a speech opposing health care reform proposals advanced by the Obama administration. In that speech, he chose Kingston General Hospital as his example of all that is allegedly wrong with Canadian universal health care.

Perhaps unwittingly, Senator McConnell distorted, misrepresented and misstated how long KGH patients might wait for surgery. I have a duty as the senator from Kingston-Frontenac-Leeds to correct him on the floor of this chamber.

Thanks to Saskatchewan NDP Premier Tommy Douglas, Conservative Prime Minister Diefenbaker and Liberal Prime Minister Pearson, we developed a tenet of national health policy that has served millions of Canadians extremely well. Nothing is beyond improvement. However, Canada has a health care system that allows total access to every Canadian citizen or permanent resident, regardless of their province or territory, and regardless of their financial circumstances.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but no one is entitled to their own facts. Unfortunately, Senator McConnell's facts and statistics were absolutely incorrect. He informed the United States Senate that there is a 196-day waiting period for hip replacement at KGH. The actual number is 91 days. He stated that it takes 340 days, on average, for knee replacement surgery. The actual number is just over 100. He maintained that cancer surgeries, including brain surgery, can take upwards of three months. At KGH, the waiting period is eight days for neurosurgical cancer, 16 days for breast cancer and 49 days for prostate cancer.

Senator McConnell said that patients in Ontario may wait six months for cardiac bypass surgery. The median wait time, thanks to the outstanding work done by Dr. Keon many years ago, is actually 16 days.

I am troubled that my American colleague, in his misrepresentation of a proud institution that has served Kingston for 170 years, has compelled me to remind him that, according to the American Institute of Medicine, there are 48 million Americans without health coverage of any kind, 9 million of whom are children. Without health insurance, a total hip replacement will cost, on average, $39,299 U.S., according to Blue Cross Blue Shield. Even with health insurance, the out-of-pocket costs for Americans for deductibles and co-insurance will typically be $3,957.

I am putting on the record accurate and current facts and figures relating to the same procedures referenced by my American colleague. I add that, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average lifespan in his state of Kentucky is 75.2 years. According to Statistics Canada, that number is 80.4 years in Ontario and 78.3 years in Kingston. Furthermore, according to the Fraser Institute, in a recent study, the U.S. spent $6,714 per capita versus $3,678 in Canada in 2004.

Finally, while Canada is struggling to meet the ever-increasing demands and costs of our health care system, no Canadian will need ever declare bankruptcy to obtain life-saving treatment for their son or daughter. This fact makes the struggle worthwhile.

I regret that Senator McConnell found it necessary to "inform" the American public of the hazards of universal health care by maligning a most professional, dedicated and capable institution such as the Kingston General Hospital.

In light of this, it's not unnatural for us to expect some sort of retraction and/or apology from Senator McConnell. Okay, I'll pause a moment to let the hollow laughter subside.

And it's not just from Senator Segal that McConnell knows he got his facts wrong. Kingston General Hospital's chief of staff, Dr David Zelt, was moved to write to McConnell correcting his figures. The Toronto Globe and Mail gave the details:

Hip replacement................................... 196 days.......................91 days
Knee replacement.................................340 days.....................109 days
Cardiac bypass surgery........................6 months.......................16 days
Neurological cancer surgery.................3 months.........................8 days
Breast cancer surgery...........................3 months.......................16 days
Prostate cancer surgery........................3 months.......................49 days

In other words, you have to wait a bit for non-urgent operations -- but only a fraction of the time McConnell stated. Where McConnell was silent was on waiting times for urgent operations -- because, of course, in essence there aren't any waiting times for those.

(In the US, of course, the waiting time for an urgent operation can often be in effect infinite, in that you're dead by the time the insurance company gives the go-ahead -- or, if you don't have insurance, you're likely dead anyway.)

Initially, McConnell could have offered the claim that he had been misinformed or that otherwise he'd got his "facts" in a twist. He'd then have been guilty of only a B-Grade lie: presenting as a matter of established fact something that has not been established at all.

But to persist in the lie once the correct information has been made available to you, or simply to remain silent so that your original error is left to stand? That's a prime-time, Numero Uno, Grade-A SuperWhopper lie: the type of which Goebbels said, "If you've got to tell a lie, tell a big one."

Which brings me back to my original point: all politicians lie occasionally, but it's diagnostic of the repressive politicians and demagogues that they do so habitually, actually preferring the option of outright lying to the other political and rhetorical tools available to them. McConnell and his cohorts perhaps could present a coherent argument against healthcare reform; instead they choose dishonesty.

By their own deeds we must judge them.

realthog: (Default)

I just got this from MoveOn:

The Senate just announced they'll take a month-long vacation before voting on health care reform.1


Republicans think that by demanding delays, they can kill reform—and too many conservative Democrats are playing into their hands.

But Americans can't afford to wait: while the Senate is on vacation, over 400,000 people will lose their health coverage.2

Every member of Congress needs to hear—quickly—that voters want them focused on health care now, not running off on vacation. Click below to sign our "Don't go!" petition, which we'll deliver to congressional offices today:

The petition says: "Don't go on vacation without acting on health care. Americans don't get a break from the health care crisis, and Congress shouldn't get a break until they vote on the bill."

Every day, 14,000 Americans lose their health coverage.3 And every week, 17,000 file for bankruptcy because they can't pay their medical bills.4 The notion that we can afford a delay when real people's lives are at stake is mind-boggling.

The key to winning this fight is to generate the biggest outcry we can, as quickly as possible. After you sign the petition, send it around to your friends, link to it on Facebook and Twitter, and also make a phone call to your member of Congress.

Failing to deliver reform isn't an option here—not when our broken system just gets worse every day. Can you sign the "Don't go!" petition to Congress right away?

Thanks for all you do.

–Nita, Kat, Ilya, Daniel, Peter, and the rest of the team


1. "Senate Won't Vote on Health Care Overhaul Before Recess," The New York Times, July 23, 2009.

2. "Health Care in Crisis: 14,000 Losing Coverage Each Day," Center for American Progress Action Fund, February 19, 2009.

3. Ibid.

4. "Three Weeks in America Without Health Reform," The NOW! Blog, July 17, 2009.

Even if -- perhaps especially if -- you're one of those people who never signs petitions, please sign this one.

How many deaths will it take 'til they know that too many people have died . . .?

March 2013

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