• PCM commented on the blog post Obama Facing Criticism For Not Showing Up At Paris Unity Rally

    2015-01-16 13:49:31View | Delete

    As always, your reply was persuasively argued and articulately penned. I can’t spot any points of contention between our views.

    France’s biggest sin BY FAR with respect to its Muslim/Beur population is its failure to do anything to end the country’s de facto version of Jim Crow. In French eyes, apparently, being considered strictly equal under the law is the end of the inquiry (just like enactment of the 14th and 15th Amendments was the end of the inquiry in the United States…). And Charlie’s biggest sin is having failed to identify and attack that failure at least as often and pointedly at it makes fun of Islam. It’s a little as though an American magazine for atheists had published cartoons in the 60s making fun of African-Ámerican churches while remaining silent on segregation and de facto discrimination at school, in the workplace, and in public and private services. (To be fair, Charlie does attack discriminatory police and immigration enforcement.) And the Muslim/Beur attackers themselves are helping the French government draw attention away from root causes by buying into the religious-clash paradigm.

    It’s been well over two days, so I don’t think my original comment is going to get posted. Too bad; it had some of the cartoons you were hoping to see. Do a search for Charlie Hebdo : après les caricatures de Mahomet, la Une s’attaque à présent aux catholiques and you should come upon an article in the French edition of the Huffington Post with a slideshow of anti-Catholic cartoons. I couldn’t get the slideshow to run, but that might be because my computer and browsers are overly protected against privacy and security threats that could turn out to be relatively innocuous. Sometimes it’s just too much work to temporarily disable all of the protections and this was one of those times. You will hopefully have better luck. (Oh, and in case anyone suspects the anti-Catholic cartoons were brand-new, after-the-fact window dressing, I remember seeing a lot of anti-Catholic cartoons in Charlie well before it was ever accused of being islamophobic.)

    At the end of my original comment, as kind of a digestif, I included a link to a cartoon that had nothing to do with religion or politics but that I just thought was pretty French. I’ll try posting just that one now and see if it goes through. Delete the spaces after the periods.

    p5. storage. canalblog. com/56/80/177230/65076241. jpg
    Caption: Cell phones and driving: what are the risks?
    Squirrel: Eeek! Eeek!
    Cellphone: Put my husband on, you homewrecking hussy!

  • PCM commented on the blog post Obama Facing Criticism For Not Showing Up At Paris Unity Rally

    2015-01-15 14:29:46View | Delete

    Hi, Sarah. I’ve had a reply to you awaiting moderator approval for nearly 36 hours now. I don’t know if it’s because the moderator can’t decide whether I should have written “decorum” instead of “decorousness” or because some of the non-Muslim anti-religious Charlie Hebdo cartoons I linked to were too … indecorous. Or maybe some algorithm picked it out for moderation — too long? too many links? naughty language in some of the translated captions? — and there simply aren’t any moderators left during FDL’s partial hiatus.

    A lot of anglophone progressives seem to have picked up Olivier Cyran’s polemic against Charlie and are running with it without looking back, or even sideways. It seems likely that the former Charlie editor-in-chief Cyran worked under was in fact an imperious, hypocritical prick. It seems clear that Charlie has run more, and more virulent, anti-Islamic cartoons since 9/11 than it did before. And while I’ve seen plenty of recent cartoons attacking police profiling, immigration profiling, and xenophobia, I haven’t seen any attacking the social prejudice, geographic ghettoization, and professional glass ceiling faced by most of France’s Beur population to this very day.

    But going through the covers and cartoons of the past several years, I didn’t get the impression that Charlie had become an anti-Arab/Anti-Muslim hate rag. I still found the same outrageously irreverent, anti-fascist, anti-censorship, anti-prude, anti-xenophobe, and ecumenically anti-religious paper I used to know.

    None of this negates the social and prosecutorial double standard Jews and Judaism enjoy with respect to Muslims and Islam in both France and the United States. Charlie seems to have knuckled under to the double standard and treads carefully when it comes to mocking Jews, under threat of criminal prosecution and civil suit. That said, I nonetheless managed to find a couple of cartoons on ritual circumcision that would probably have been spiked by 99.99% of American editors. (Hey! Maybe even the ones at FDL!) Nor does it negate the fact that some governments, politicians, and commentators are using the Charlie massacre to gin up support for the Global War on Muslims. But it does let Charlie off the hook, just a little, for being a witting tool in that war. Well, at least if the anti-war-for-oil, anti-Arab-puppet-dictator, pro-Palestinian, and anti-Catholic cartoons — and even one anti-Buddhist cartoon — I found are any indication.

  • PCM commented on the diary post Do Americans Hate Children? by David Swanson.

    2015-01-10 12:57:31View | Delete

    The US indisputably treats its own and other countries’ children like crap, but I’m skeptical that initiation rituals are a magic bullet for anything, especially in the absence of much broader and deeper systemic changes. In fact, I suspect they’d be used as window-dressing.

  • PCM commented on the diary post Do Americans Hate Children? by David Swanson.

    2015-01-10 12:49:17View | Delete

    Hard to tell without knowing the poster (and I’m not going to go digging around in his past comments to find out), but I’ve known a few adults who genuinely felt that way in real life. Based on my subsequent experience with those people, disliking kids is a Big Red Flag about an individual’s personality [...]

  • If this law isn’t struck down as patently unconstitutional on a motion for summary judgment, and that judgment isn’t upheld on appeal, my opinion of the federal bench is … well, it’s going to be confirmed, actually.

  • PCM commented on the blog post Satirical French Newspaper Faces Deadly Attack

    2015-01-08 08:27:33View | Delete

    Very sad. I grew up reading Charlie Hebdo and can still recite one Wolinski cartoon from memory, over 30 years later … and it still makes me chuckle.

    It’s premature and opportunistic to speculate about it being a false-flag attack.

    Primary use of regional languages and dialects in France plummeted after World War I.

    There are in fact stereotypical accents and speech patterns associated with first-generation Arab immigrants to France and with second- and possibly third-generation “beurs” who grew up in de-facto segregated suburbs. It’s similar to what you see in the United States with African-American speech patterns.

    Building on what Sarah B. had to say, I’d venture that blowback from homegrown Muslim/Arab-French terrorists is due at least as much to enduring prejudice, discrimination, and segregation within France as to France’s military role in Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria. Remember the riots and car-torchings in the suburbs of Paris and a few other major French cities a few years back? Those didn’t just spring up out of nowhere, any more than the Watts riots of ’65 did.

  • PCM commented on the blog post Joseph Stiglitz Blocked From SEC Panel For Criticizing Wall Street

    2015-01-06 14:43:56View | Delete

    Yeah. I sometimes watch Real Time with Bill Maher for oppo research (on Democrats), and not long before the last midterms, Warren was on, making all kinds of wild claims about the great things Democrats wanted to do, and would, if only those awful Republicans would let them…

  • PCM commented on the blog post Joseph Stiglitz Blocked From SEC Panel For Criticizing Wall Street

    2015-01-06 14:38:23View | Delete

    But, but, if we don’t support the secular corporate proxies, the dominionist corporate proxies will win!

  • PCM commented on the blog post Foul Balls and the symbol for three strikes

    2014-12-31 16:53:18View | Delete

    Whether Scalise wittingly hung out with the new KKK or not, he’s got his work cut out for him if he intends to outdo the Obama Administration’s performance in regard to African-American household net worth, which dropped 80% under Obama’s watch (as a direct result of legislative changes that Bill Clinton signed off on). To me, this report is about as substantively worthwhile as reports about Obama hanging out with former members of the Weather Underground back in Chicago. Even if Scalise is Grand Wizard of his own Klavern, it doesn’t make Democrats look any better in my eyes and I still refuse to support anyone to the right of the Socialists and the Greens.

  • PCM commented on the blog post The Roundup for December 26th, 2014

    2014-12-27 17:47:35View | Delete

    President Obama is our leader….

    Wow erik! I didn’t know you worked for Wall Street! And if so, wouldn’t it be more accurate to say, “President Obama is our bitch?”

    But seriously erik, as the oracle of Democratic Party values on FDL, do you think it’s racist to despise a black man who presided over an 80% drop in African-American household net worth without lifting a finger just a little bit more than than if he had been white man? Yeah, I guess the very concept of race treason is racist, although when a candidate tacitly uses his race to leverage support from certain segments of the electorate, you could argue that there’s a case to be made for it.

  • PCM commented on the blog post The Roundup for December 26th, 2014

    2014-12-27 12:04:39View | Delete

    Correction to your analogy, based on my own limited recollection of my own limited knowledge of history: Italy invaded Ethiopia in 1935, the League of Nations didn’t do jack-squat, and

    Mexico was the only country to strongly condemn Italy’s sovereignty over Ethiopia, respecting Ethiopian independence throughout. Mexico was amongst only six nations in 1937 which did not recognize Italy’s occupation, along with China, New Zealand, the Soviet Union, the Republic of Spain, and the United States. But three years later only Joseph Stalin’s USSR officially recognized Selassie, and the U.S. government considered recognizing the Italian Empire with Ethiopia included.

    —-Wikipedia, “Second Italo-Ethiopian War

    (Thank you, Wikipedia, for confirming and fleshing out my recollection.) If Ethiopians wanted to blame all of Europe for Italy’s invasion, or pretty much the whole world for that matter, they’d have a leg to stand on.

  • PCM commented on the blog post The Roundup for December 26th, 2014

    2014-12-27 11:18:16View | Delete

    Providing way more pay to workers by forcing employers to cough up would provide much-needed financial help to Americans.

    Plus, given that all US state and local tax systems save Vermont’s are regressive, and given that US legislative and regulatory authorities are determined to help parasitic healthcare systems, telecoms, cable providers, and ISPs suck every last drop of blood they can get out of their American hosts, it’s win-win! And in cities with re-inflated housing bubbles, landlords can get a piece of the action, as well!

    Equally seriously, I’ve been saying forever that we need to have weekly and daily overtime and that we need to make it mandatory for everyone. High-paid workers can be sweated, too; witness the software industry.

  • PCM commented on the blog post Over Easy: The “Halo Effect” and it’s opposite.

    2014-12-23 10:52:58View | Delete

    I have a friend who has health insurance for the first time in 30 years, a great plan for him at a reasonable price, yet he still posts anti obamacare links on his facebook.

    As someone who knows a little something about how American health insurance coverage, healthcare costs, and health outcomes stack up compared to other developed countries, I’d venture to guess that your qualification of your friend’s plan as “great” and the price as “reasonable” may be the result of a counter-Fox-inspired halo effect.

  • Hey everyone! Look over here! Cuba! Talking with Raúl Castro! Witty repartee on the phone! Cuban rum! Cuban cigars! Classic American cars! Over here, everyone! Looking forward! Not backward at torture or white police departments and court systems running harassment, shakedown, and for-profit-prison rackets on black citizens and killing the ones who get uppity! (Wait, did I say that last part out loud?) Look over here! Cuba!

  • These comments would seem to indicate the end of an assault on freedom of the press that the government had been waging against Risen for the past six years. * * * “If the result is that the Attorney General does not want to issue the subpoena that his own Department of Justice fought for all the way to the Supreme Court, then three years of Mr. Sterling’s life have been wasted in litigation.”

    To paraphrase a former criminal procedure instructor of mine, “In many (and maybe even most) cases, the punishment is the PROCESS, whether the target is innocent or guilty.”

  • PCM commented on the blog post There is No Preparing for Health Care Calvinball

    2014-12-13 23:38:38View | Delete

    [G]overnment has a bad track record in VA health care.

    I’m going to have to call you out on that. The VA suffered a very well publicized scandal after being saddled with a big bolus of new patients without being given commensurate additional funding. Immediately prior to the scandal, the VA had been rated by a couple of serious studies as offering not only the best quality/cost ratio but also the best absolute quality of care of any major healthcare system in the country — including outfits like Johns Hopkins and the Mayo Clinic. Besides, the VHA is a non-universal Beveridge system with a restricted provider network, not a universal single-payer system with a universal provider network, and its excessive-wait-list problem is more likely to be reproduced under the ACA, with its narrowing provider networks, than under single-payer. The VHA scandal is not evidence that “government can’t handle healthcare,” and to say so is to mindlessly or maliciously repeat a Big-Health political talking point. So stop doing it already.

  • PCM commented on the blog post The Study Health Care Reform Desperately Needs

    2014-12-10 14:57:18View | Delete

    At some point, Jon, you’re going to have to muster the integrity and courage to go beyond critiquing how artfully the turd was polished, even if it makes the people who forced us to buy the turd unhappy.

  • Yes, mulp. In universal healthcare systems that provide care to everyone on an egalitarian basis at a cost of 40% to 50% less than ours, they do it by making “everyone in health care slaves so they are not paid.” Take Canada, for example:

    [An internal document of PNHP-Western Washington, dated 3 September 2014:]


    Specialty / Canada (2010-2011) / US (2013)

    Total Physicians / $295,606 / NA

    Anesthesiology / $323,975 / $338,000
    Cardiology / NA / $351,000
    Critical Care / NA / $281,000
    Emergency Medicine / NA / $282,000
    Diabetes & Endocrinology / NA / $184,000
    Family Medicine / $241,077 / $176,000
    Gastroenterology / NA / $348,000
    General Surgery / $386,723 / $295,000
    HIV/ID / NA / $174,000
    Internal Medicine / $371,795 / $188,000
    Nephrology / NA / $242,000
    Neurology / $277,928 / $219,000
    Ob/Gyn / $401,465 / $243,000
    Oncology / NA / $290,000
    Ophthalmology / $675,551 / $291,000
    Orthopedic Surgery / $372,742 / $413,000
    Pathology / NA / $239,000
    Pediatrics / $268,172 / $181,000
    Physical Medicine / $255,972 / NA
    Plastic Surgery / $337,874 / $321,000
    Psychiatry / $215,434 / $197,000
    Pulmonary Medicine / NA / $258,000
    Radiology / NA / $340,000
    Rheumatology / NA / $214,000
    Thoracic/Cardiovascular Surgery / $467,794 / NA
    Urology / $430,358 / $348,000

    Canadian Data: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/average-gross-fee-for-service-payment-per-physician/article7824173/?from=7750697

    US Data: http://www.medscape.com/features/slideshow/compensation/2014/public/overview#2

  • I find it shocking that 57% of the people are eir satisfied with their healthcare costs.

    Don’t be shocked. I myself did a poll of a bunch of frogs in pots of water heating on the stove. I asked them if they were satisfied with the temperature of their water. Blithely unaware that other frogs were enjoying the cool waters of a nearby pond, 57% of them answered, “Riggit.”

  • The aggregate costs will be lower and 95% of us will end up spending less for dramatically better coverage. See marym’s links, supra.

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