Archive for the 'Must Read' Category

05
Dec
10

michael lerner wants to create a liberal tea party

While this blog is usually reserved to air out my own personal bile towards blowhards and evil dicks, every once and a while I actually do read things that I like and/or agree with. In dark days such as these, I usually don’t see it coming, but I’m proud to say that Michael Lerner’s recent op ed for the Washington Post is one such occasion.

Through extensive research I have determined that Michael Lerner the op ed contributor is not the actor who played Mel Horowitz on the first season of Clueless, the late, great TGIF show; but rather a super sweet progressive rabbi/lawn gnome:

This diminutive forest dweller of British lore is the first progressive thinker that I’ve read who has had the demented genius/huevos to stand up and say: the problem with the Democrat Party isn’t that it’s too much of a circus, but that it’s not a circus so psychotic that you could imagine Dennis Kucinich manically humping an axe bass guitar while dripping blood from his extended three foot tongue onto the House Floor while a politically reanimated Alan Greyson, in three foot tall silver platform boots, wails on about his “Love Gun.” It’s fucking genius, and about fucking time.

Michael Lerner is looking for any progressive with a head full of good ideas and some spare capital to quixotically run against Obama in 2012 to his left. The results just might knock the man at least a little bit back to the left, where he should have been all along. Check out this thesis:

But there is a real way to save the Obama presidency: by challenging him in the 2012 presidential primaries with a candidate who would unambiguously commit to a well-defined progressive agenda and contrast it with the Obama administration’s policies. Such a candidacy would be pooh-poohed by the media, but if it gathered enough popular support – as is likely given the level of alienation among many who were the backbone of Obama’s 2008 success – this campaign would pressure Obama toward much more progressive positions and make him a more viable 2012 candidate.

This statement goes directly up against the prevailing logic that the Democrat Party’s big tent scheme of kumbaya inclusive politics has failed and that they need to consolidate ideologically in order to move forward on a unified front. That prevailing notion is bullshit.

When the Republican Party got their asses handed to them in two national election cycles, they rebounded with an astro-turf movement of thoroughly disagreeable nut-bags, fatties, red-necks and hacks masquerading as a libertarian uprising: the TEA Party. A group so insane that professional old lesbian impersonator, and Republican vanguard member Lindsey Graham has joined a chorus of like minded wrinkley people in blaming them for the limited gains in the 2010 election.

Regardless of that kerfluffle, much ado has been made about conflict between the super-right wing nut-baggery of the TEA Party, and the everyday corrupt villainy of the GOP. This conflict has been going on as far back as 2009, where a likely Republican Rep. seat went to a Democrat because the TEA baggers bucked an establishment Repub in favor of a certified nincompoop in upstate New York.

Since then, well you know the story: the turf got greener, and the nuts got… nuttier, and the Republican Party moved so far to the right that there’s no center in sight anymore. I mean these TEA Party twits have managed to hold the entire party hostage while at the same time purging themselves of any moderate impulses that might slip by the party. Even the “thinking man’s conservative,” political tumor Newt Gingrich, has been forced to throw the barking seals a sardine or two of hateful anti-Obama rhetoric to keep his slim presidential nod chances dancing.

From a certain perspective, the Conservative movement is a mess in this country and yet the view from reality shows a front of unified opposition to common sense. In short, if you’re a few blog posts away from being a fascist, this is the golden age of your kind of lunacy.

Lerner dementedly (and correctly) points out that we can do the same! We’ve got no shortage of wing-nuts and we’ve got no shortage of legitimate lefties to throw up our own obnoxious insurgency to further polarize the political landscape! Listen to this:

[The hard liberal candidate’s] policy platform must be matched with a willingness to talk clearly about the spiritual and ethical need for a new bottom line – one of love, kindness and generosity. We need a progressive push for a new New Deal, which in the 21st century could be the Caring Society: “Caring for Each Other and the Earth.”

Somebody get this man a drink, he’s on fire! Yes, the “Caring Society,” it’s no “Death Panels,” but hey, it’s a start! This is exactly the kind of fire-under-the-nuts thinking we need from progressives to get the Democrats their groove back. Michael Lerner seems to be the only man in the house who fully understands what it means to have a totally gonzo opposition that will not negotiate on any terms but their own.

Until someone over at the Party to Retain America’s Last Remaining Shred of Dignity wakes up and realizes we are in a post-Hope political ecosphere, maybe Michael Lerner and I can stand outside of Tim Kaine’s office and play this on repeat:

(Read the whole piece at the Washington Post)

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21
Sep
09

WaPo gets it right!

For all the amoral pencil pushers who are still whining about this most recent push for a moderate modicum of health care reform: The Washington Post (the paper for every right wing Patrick Bateman aping Beltway geek who holds a college degree) managed to publish an article that handily bypasses the moral imperative of health care reform, and delves into the wonderful (and boring) world of numbers. The piece, aptly titled: “You Have No Idea What Health Costs: If You Did, You Might Just Want Reform” by Ezra Klein sets out to prove that if you’re still against this thing you’re both a heartless turd and a freakin’ dullard.

In painstakingly laid out and clear-headed language he deals blow after blow against these nincompoops. Here’s a little taste:

The favorite proposal of liberals is the public insurance option… this sort of plan could save the average American 20 to 30 percent on premiums… Of course, providers don’t much like the sound of that because they would see 20 to 30 percent less revenue. And insurers don’t much like the sound of that because they could not compete with that sort of buying power.

Oh, Ezra! You’re devastating! It’s amazing when you think that the right doesn’t even hide this kinda reasoning in public when discussing the public option.

But even better, Klein acknowledges, nay reveals the “wonky tweaks” that offer up the tastiest treats in health care reform delivering a rhetorical BLAMMO! to the backwater bastards that insist that the legislation is simply “too big” to read:

You don’t need many pages to explain a public plan, or set up a death panel (kidding!). Rather, the bulk of these bills amount to hundreds of small tweaks and fixes that make this corner of the health-care system a smidge more user-friendly, or that transaction a tad faster.

Booyah! There’s more:

For instance, despite all the fire over the co-op plan, it gets two pages in the Finance Committee’s bill. Pages 75 to 110 are all devoted to delivery system changes that are meant to make the system a bit more efficient but that no one has ever heard of. “Value-based purchasing” alone gets six pages in the bill. The “National Pilot Program on Payment Bundling” gets another five.

And when he shoots for the win:

Melinda Beeuwkes Buntin, a researcher at the Rand Corporation, and David Cutler, a health economist at Harvard, recently estimated the savings that could be attained by “modernizing” the system over the next 10 years. The changes they examined weren’t dramatic. Replacing paper records with computerized files, making it easier for people to comparison-shop across insurers, “bundling” payments for the treatment of a single illness rather than shelling out separately for each doctor visit — that sort of thing. Added up, they equaled a startling $2 trillion over 10 years. That’s a lot of money for policies that have received virtually no attention in the debate.

Boomshakalakalaka. Read the rest here.

xoxo
Beat