What should we expect as events unfold this week in Wisconsin? Labor reporter and activist Mike Elk (In These Times, Michael Moore.com) discusses what he saw on the ground at the protests and the rebirth of the labor movement in America. What is happening in Wisconsin is the most import domestic issue of this generation. If you don’t understand why, you need to think a little harder! As labor goes, so goes the nation. Follow Mike Elk on Twitter
Michael Moore’s speech in Wisconsin is truly a MASTERPIECE of political oratory. You have to watch it, it’s absolutely riveting. One of the most vital statements of brutal political and economic fact that an American citizen has ever said with the eyes of the world upon them (and Moore’s never been shy in that department, has he?). To Michael Moore, I say “Bravo, sir.” And to the brave working (and retired!) people of Wisconsin and the Democrats on the lam fighting these over-reaching Republican goons on our behalf, you are the very, very best amongst us in a dark time in our nation’s history.
Talk about speaking truth to power, this is a knock-out. Moore’s words, the crowd, the moment. It’s stunning theater.
The fight in Wisconsin makes me prouder to be an American than I have ever been in my entire life. It makes me glad to be alive right now as the scales fall from the eyes of so many people at once all over the world.
The best part is that you know damned well that Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Sarah Palin and the rest of the gasbag rightwing punditocracy are going to pull this speech apart tomorrow. Translation: Every one of those fuckers will have to watch it. Brilliant!
I laughed, I cried and I felt REALLY REALLY HAPPY AND ENERGIZED. What a fantastic gesture for Michael Moore to make and it came at EXACTLY THE RIGHT TIME.
That speech was a profound shot of adrenaline. A part of history. A thing of great beauty.
Please watch forward his speech to everyone you know and have ever met or will meet in the future. Here’s how it starts out:
America is not broke.
Contrary to what those in power would like you to believe so that you’ll give up your pension, cut your wages, and settle for the life your great-grandparents had, America is not broke. Not by a long shot. The country is awash in wealth and cash. It’s just that it’s not in your hands. It has been transferred, in the greatest heist in history, from the workers and consumers to the banks and the portfolios of the uber-rich.
Today just 400 Americans have more wealth than half of all Americans combined.
Let me say that again. 400 obscenely rich people, most of whom benefited in some way from the multi-trillion dollar taxpayer “bailout” of 2008, now have more loot, stock and property than the assets of 155 million Americans combined. If you can’t bring yourself to call that a financial coup d’état, then you are simply not being honest about what you know in your heart to be true.
And I can see why. For us to admit that we have let a small group of men abscond with and hoard the bulk of the wealth that runs our economy, would mean that we’d have to accept the humiliating acknowledgment that we have indeed surrendered our precious Democracy to the moneyed elite. Wall Street, the banks and the Fortune 500 now run this Republic—and, until this past month, the rest of us have felt completely helpless, unable to find a way to do anything about it.
A commenter on YouTube quipped “Imagine if Obama gave a speech like that!” Worth pondering. I hope that the President at least watches this speech, that would be a start in the right direction!
As if we in the bottom 99% need any more PROOF that capitalism only works for the top 1%, this should put even Republicans’ teeth in a collective clench.
How many months of how many people’s monthly insurance premiums would it take to pay for this??? From Boston.com
Cleve L. Killingsworth, who abruptly resigned last March as chief executive of the nonprofit Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, collected $8.6 million in compensation from the state’s largest health insurer in 2010.
The rich package — which included $1.4 million in severance pay, with more money to follow — was detailed in a Blue Cross filing with the state Division of Insurance yesterday. It touched off a volley of criticism at a time when government and business officials, including Blue Cross’s leaders, have been struggling to restrain health care costs….
Public interest advocates, pay specialists, and insurance customers were quick to call Killingsworth’s payout excessive.
“It sends the wrong message at the wrong time to consumers and employers,’’ said Jon B. Hurst, president of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts. “We’ve gone through years and years of double-digit premium increases. We need the health care industry in this state to start reflecting the rest of the economy.’’
It sends the wrong message is an understatement, this is IMMORAL and should be illegal. Why aren’t the Teabaggers and the Christian right up in arms about the fact that THEY themselves helped pay for this fat cat’s golden years? Isn’t this more of an affront than government borrowing or gay marriage?
This came DIRECTLY out of the bank accounts of the people of Massachusetts. There is no other way to spin it, is there? Maybe it was carved out of the savings from turning down organ transplants for children or something? There’s no math to do here, the people of Massachusetts paid for this. Incredible.
WHY IS THIS ALLOWED TO HAPPEN? WHAT DID THIS GUY DO THAT WAS SO GREAT THAT THOUSANDS OF THE “LITTLE PEOPLE” SHOULD PAY HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS EVERY MONTH FOR *HIM* TO RETIRE LIKE THIS?
WHAT SORT OF MAN-GOD IS THIS CLEVE L. KILLINGSWORTH?
I’m rather curious, aren’t you?
Via Daily Kos
The ratings for Glenn Beck’s nightly Fox News conspiracy theory rants are still taking a Nielsen nosedive. I’m not going to go out on a limb again and say Beck’s “over” because he rallied the very next day after I did it the last time and I just had to take it all back. So I’ll simply point out what James Downie wrote in The New Republic:
Beck, says [biographer Alexander] Zaitchik, was caught “in a vicious circle”: To keep viewers coming back, he had to keep creating new, more intricate theories. Last November, in a two-part special that indirectly invoked anti-Semitism, he accused liberal Jewish financier George Soros of orchestrating the fall of foreign governments for financial gain. During the Egyptian Revolution, Beck sided with Hosni Mubarak, alleging that his fall was “controlled by the socialist communists and the Muslim Brotherhood.” Beck is now warning viewers not to use Google, accusing the search-engine giant of “being deep in bed with the government.” In recent months, it seems, Beck’s theories became so outlandish that even conservatives—both viewers and media personalities—were having a hard time stomaching them. Now, each new idea appears to be costing Beck both eyeballs and credibility. “At some point,” says Boehlert, “it doesn’t add up any more.”
Yep, at this point even the very dumbest people watching Beck’s show have probably realized that Van Jones and obscure magazine articles written in 1965 don’t have shit to do with anything.
“It’s hard to gain a million viewers,” says Eric Boehlert, of Media Matters, in the article, “but it’s really hard to lose a million viewers.”
In January, [Beck’s] FNC show averaged 1.76 million total viewers during the 5 p.m. hour, according to Nielsen estimates—down 39 percent compared to January 2010.
And he scored just 397,000 viewers in the coveted 25-to-54-year-old demographic, a 48 percent slide.
February did not show much improvement. Through Feb. 27 his Fox show is down 26 percent in total viewers for the year (2.06 million compared to 2.89 million last year) and off 30 percent in the demo, averaging 501,000 25-to-54-year-olds vs. 760,000 last year.
But dig what this implies about the, er, vintage of his viewers:
Here’s the salient fact: Less than one-quarter of Beck’s viewers are ages 25 to 54. Assuming the number of youngs who watch him is negligible—a pretty safe assumption, I think—that means that dang near to 80 percent of his viewership is in or around senior-citizen territory. Perhaps it’s no surprise that the olds like Beck. But it gets me wondering: Who exactly makes up that 25 to 54 demographic?
Former Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich’s latest book, Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future can, more or less, be summed up in a single sentence: Until we deal with the preposterous wealth disparity in this country, America’s fucked and it’s going to stay that way. (I couldn’t agree more, btw and loved the book). The following excerpt from his February 17th blog post, “The Republican Strategy,” lays the issue pretty nakedly on the table, I think you’ll agree:
Republicans would rather go after teachers and other public employees than have us look at the pay of Wall Street traders, private-equity managers, and heads of hedge funds – many of whom wouldn’t have their jobs today were it not for the giant taxpayer-supported bailout, and most of whose lending and investing practices were the proximate cause of the Great Depression to begin with.
Last year, America’s top thirteen hedge-fund managers earned an average of $1 billion each. One of them took home $5 billion. Much of their income is taxed as capital gains – at 15 percent – due to a tax loophole that Republican members of Congress have steadfastly guarded.
If the earnings of those thirteen hedge-fund managers were taxed as ordinary income, the revenues generated would pay the salaries and benefits of 300,000 teachers. Who is more valuable to our society – thirteen hedge-fund managers or 300,000 teachers? Let’s make the question even simpler. Who is more valuable: One hedge fund manager or one teacher?
Suck on that logic, Teabaggers and rightwing dickheads… take a good long toke!