Friday, December 25, 2009

The Fallacy of Political Balance

I generally am skeptical about the "name" pundits and media stars like Olbermann, Maddow and all the experts they have on their shows that they repeatedly call on to explain things. Even though I generally agree with them, their shows always end up balancing the political spectrum as if the true place where the world should exist is somewhere between the right wing nut tea baggers and the progressives who want universal health care and an end to all war.

Think about that for a minute. What kind of world is it where we agree to accept war just to balance the political spectrum? Why isn't war horrifically wrong and something that should never ever be resorted to as long as people can talk things out. It's not like the middle ages where in order to negotiate you have to travel thousands of miles to meet with your foes. Every nation in the modern world has an open dialog with every other one. The fact that we attack territories like Iraq or Afghanistan to rid ourselves of "terrorists" is absurd. No group of people or enemy lives within the borders of any single country. If you attack them, they simply pick up and move to another territory, just as Al Qaeda exists in countries all over the world.

But back to the media pundits. Paul Krugman is one that I find a little less "balanced." That's a good thing. He attacked Obama for the selection of the same assholes that brought down our economy as the people to run our treasury and economics. He was left out to dry by the media for that, which indicates to me that he was doing something right. The media is owned by conservatives, even MSNBC, the one thought of as progressive. Olbermann and Maddow take their stories from their higher ups at MSNBC based on what is marketable to the progressive leaning audience. The fact that MSNBC is bent as far as it is toward progressives, indicates that progressives are actually close to center and not on an extreme end of the political spectrum. But when Olbermann talks about Limbaugh or the Fox News dickheads, he's just giving them free advertising. If he truly thought they were as of little importance as they really are, he'd ignore them completely. They are nonentities and don't exist in my world.

Now the Senate just passed a healthcare bill and Krugman is applauding that as a great step forward. Is Krugman trying to get back into the media spotlight by going middle of the spectrum here?

Krugman writes in the New York Times article, Tidings of Comfort, about the split of people into three distinct areas of the political spectrum: the far right teabaggers, the fiscal conservatives and the progressives, as if this defines left, right and center.
First, there’s the crazy right, the tea party and death panel people — a lunatic fringe that is no longer a fringe but has moved into the heart of the Republican Party. In the past, there was a general understanding, a sort of implicit clause in the rules of American politics, that major parties would at least pretend to distance themselves from irrational extremists. But those rules are no longer operative. No, Virginia, at this point there is no sanity clause.

A second strand of opposition comes from what I think of as the Bah Humbug caucus: fiscal scolds who routinely issue sententious warnings about rising debt. By rights, this caucus should find much to like in the Senate health bill, which the Congressional Budget Office says would reduce the deficit, and which — in the judgment of leading health economists — does far more to control costs than anyone has attempted in the past.

But, with few exceptions, the fiscal scolds have had nothing good to say about the bill. And in the process they have revealed that their alleged concern about deficits is, well, humbug. As Slate’s Daniel Gross says, what really motivates them is “the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, is receiving social insurance.”

Finally, there has been opposition from some progressives who are unhappy with the bill’s limitations. Some would settle for nothing less than a full, Medicare-type, single-payer system. Others had their hearts set on the creation of a public option to compete with private insurers. And there are complaints that the subsidies are inadequate, that many families will still have trouble paying for medical care.

Unlike the tea partiers and the humbuggers, disappointed progressives have valid complaints. But those complaints don’t add up to a reason to reject the bill. Yes, it’s a hackneyed phrase, but politics is the art of the possible.

The truth is that there isn’t a Congressional majority in favor of anything like single-payer. There is a narrow majority in favor of a plan with a moderately strong public option. The House has passed such a plan. But given the way the Senate rules work, it takes 60 votes to do almost anything. And that fact, combined with total Republican opposition, has placed sharp limits on what can be enacted.

There may not be a Congressional majority in favor of single payer, but there is (I think) a popular majority among all Americans in favor of it, or would be if they understood what it really is and were not misinformed by conservative owned media.

And that's at the heart of what's wrong in the U.S. government. It doesn't act on the will of the majority. It's not representative. This is one fact that pretty much all of these three groups agree on. Taxation without representation is alive and well.

The other point here is that progressives are painted as far left of center, when in fact they are more middle. With the extreme right moving into the spotlight in the Republican party it makes progressives perceived as being far right only because of a popular obtuse sentiment that these two groups have to be balanced.

Nothing could be farther from reality. Progressives don't balance with right extremists any more than right balances with wrong. You might think that right does balance with wrong, and if so then you exemplify my point. If right balances with wrong then we should allow just enough crime to balance with the good that people do. If a hero saves a life then it should be OK to murder someone for balance.

And so for Obama and others to say we have to compromise and balance the political spectrum is completely absurd, irresponsible, and morally corrupt.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Mammogram Media Blitz is a Right Wing Attack Tactic

Dan Pfeiffer writes, "One of the hallmark tactics from opponents of health insurance reform has been to grab onto any convenient piece of information and twist it into some misguided attack on reform, no matter how unrelated it may actually be..... and Fox News obliges them with the headline 'Critics See Health Care Rationing Behind New Mammography Recommendations.'" He says the media outlets feed on this kind of opportunistic "controversy." Ya think?

Gee, how did the mainstream media miss this statement coming from the White House?

Pfeiffer continues that it's ironic that the the right would spin this government agency recommendation as "health care rationing" that is part of the insurance reform movement. In fact health care reform proponents want to see increased preventative measures, as do most doctors.

One very basic problem with U.S. healthcare is that we have a policy of only providing free health care to people when they are in an emergency or at risk of death. By that time it's often too late, especially in cancer cases. Staunch reform proponents want socialized medicine for all people to have health care as they need it, when they need it, for all ages - Medicare for all.

So the right is spinning this (what I would call suspicious) recommendation from the independent U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

Note the word "independent."

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sibelius had stated that she expects no changes to take place in the government or in the health insurance industry as a result of this (independent) USPSTF report. In fact she stated Wednesday that women should continue to get checked at age 40. Yet the right wing liars, as per usual, keep saying this stuff will be part of health care reform.

On the other hand we should indeed keep watch that the health insurance industry doesn't try to sneak in this kind of cut back on preventative services which would benefit them and which they could blame upon reformers with this kind of media spin. This is all out media warfare. The pen is mightier than the sword.

Pfeiffer's blog continues with the following clarification FAQ:
Will Medicare now stop paying for breast cancer mammography for women because of this recommendation?

Women who are currently getting mammograms under Medicare will continue to be able to get them. There are no plans to change that. The law states that in order to change Medicare coverage of mammograms a formal rule making process must be undertaken and that is not happening.

Isn’t this the first step toward denying coverage for mammograms?

No. The Task force is an independent panel of experts in prevention and primary care that evaluates available evidence and makes recommendations about effective clinical preventive services based on scientific information. Under the health insurance reform legislation, the USPTF would have no power to deny insurance coverage in any way. Their recommendations would be used in health reform to identify effective clinical preventive services.

How will this recommendation affect private health insurance coverage?

The Task Force does not address insurance coverage and payment issues; it focuses on the science of the clinical services it evaluates. Each insurance company is different and makes its own coverage decisions. The Task Force recognizes that clinical and policy decisions involve more consideration that this body of evidence alone. Clinicians and policymakers should understand the evidence but individualize decision making to the specific patient or situation.

Tommy Thompson said the Task Force recommendations were the official position of the U.S. Government. Is that your position?

We have tremendous respect for the Task Force and the work they have done. They are an independent scientific body that makes recommendations based on scientific evidence; however they do not set official policy for the federal government. Under health reform, their recommendations would be used to identify preventive services that must be provided for little or no cost.

Won’t the USPSTF be used to ration care under health reform?

Absolutely not. The USPSTF, an independent task force made up of some of the nation’s top doctors and scientists provides science-based recommendations regarding the most effective preventive, treatment and screening services. The Task Force’s recommendations would be used to help determine the types of services that must be provided for at little or no cost and the Task Force would have no power to deny insurance coverage in any way..

What do these recommendations mean for the current health reform bills?

While the bills are still being drafted and debated in Congress, health insurance reform legislation generally calls for the Task Force’s recommendations to help determine the types of preventive services that must be provided for little or no cost. The recommendations alone cannot be used to deny treatment.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Ft. Hood Shock: Incredible Coincidence or Orchestrated Obama Photo Op?

It's November 10th, 2009, the day before Veterans Day. President Obama visits Ft. Hood to mourn with those military families who lost friends and loved ones at the hands of a domestic "terrorist," who just happens to be a Muslim and who committed this crime so close to Veterans Day and while Obama is on the brink of making a decision to send tens of thousands more troops to the war in Afghanistan (against Muslims) amidst very strong public opinion to get out of that war. Well it was strong, until this shocking "terrorist" act took place.

This is absolutely amazing. We have the most well equipped military and intelligence agencies in the world and yet they can't stop known terror suspects with simple box cutters who even trained in U.S. flight schools - they can't stop those guys from hijacking five planes and crashing into the Pentagon and the twin towers; and they can't stop this guy Hasan, who they have known evidence on as well with his relations with a known terrorist sympathizer and they even employ him on a military base.

Someone clue me in here. Are these people in our intelligence agencies complete idiots?


There are those who question the whole legitimacy of 9/11 as a purely terrorist act. There were no aircraft engine parts found at the Pentagon on 9/11. Instead they found what appeared to be a hole in the building made by a missile. Some demolition experts believe the twin towers were destroyed with explosives by demolition experts - like our highly trained military who specialize in such things perhaps? There are questions about flight 93 that crashed in a farm field in Pennsylvania, supposedly headed for Washington D.C. piloted by U.S. military trained "Muslim terrorists" (Was it shot down by the military as is standard military policy when a hijacked aircraft becomes a threat, especially a threat to national security?). Why was there so much media analysis of what happened on that flight, which we couldn't possibly know of for certain, to the point where a Hollywood movie was made depicting such nebulous speculation and conjecture in vivid high definition detail?

Now we have this highly suspicious terrorist act by Hasan, where we know he was thwarted and harassed to the breaking point, and we know he had an internal conflict between his ethnicity and people versus his military service, while working for a military that slaughters innocent Muslims with extreme ethnic prejudice (if you were a white guy working for an Arab army that did this to Americans, do you think you'd have a few internal conflicts too? How about a few dead collaterally damaged Texan babies? Want to work for those guys?).

Left: Obama narrows down his decision to send tens of thousands more American lives into a nebulous war.

Yet our military with its vast resources can't figure this stuff out until after a great American tragedy happens, coinciding with Veterans day and on our American soil - all the talking points of making a case for war against a foreign enemy. What a great photo op for Obama at Ft. Hood the day before Veterans Day. Can you think of a better commercial for going to all out war?

Naomi Kline's book The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, points out ever so clearly the history of the United states government in using disasters to make a case for war, not only in our country but first in South American countries which were the proving ground for this policy. And we see this happening over and over again. Here we are with Obama on the brink of sending ten's of thousands more troops off to fight and die in vain for a war without end, without purpose, without strategy. A war that targets innocent civilians because our crack cutting edge military can't figure out the difference between civilians and terrorists, and in the process of killing the innocent, proliferates more terrorism.

It is very highly likely, in light of this historical fact, that our intelligence agencies employed persons from the Muslim connections that Hasan had, to his neighbors that harassed him to his wit's end, with the sole purpose of perpetuating and coercing him to commit these crimes, so that they would have an awesome ongoing news story (one that will now last for months since they went to extreme measures to keep him alive) to make a case for perpetual war in Afghanistan and to sway public opinion away from it's current sentiment against staying in Afghanistan.

Friday, October 30, 2009

CIGNA Kills Girl, Doctor Arrested

Grigor Sarkisyan tells us of his daughter who was denied treatment and died because of it, as Dr. Matt Hendrickson MD and others get arrested and protesters chant "CIGNA profits, people die, arrest the real criminals." This happened in Glendale CA as similar sit-ins at health insurance companies take place around the country. Over 900 people have signed up to risk arrest at these ongoing sit-ins including a number of doctors. They do not accept the public option as the answer to this problem. Only a single payer system that covers all Americans at affordable costs is acceptable and these rallies and sit-ins will continue until that happens.

Margaret Flowers MD, seen in this video after a Senate hearing this summer, was arrested Thursday 10/28/2009 and remains in custody vowing to stay there until she gets a meeting with the CEO of CareFirst 3401 Boston St &1501 S Clinton St, Canton Crossing, MD.

In Louisville KY seven occupied the Humana lobby for over 24 hours. Humana allowed them to stay as long as they wanted and stated they too want health care reform.

In Warwick, CT, sit-protesters, including Robert Darling, a cancer patient being denied care, occupied the United Health Care office, demanding that the insurer cover Robert’s bone marrow transplant immediately. The CEO was unavailable but the PR manager talked with them and promised to meet with Mr. Darling within a week to answer him.

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40 risked arrest at a San Francisco sit-in while 200 rallied in support and 30 others blocked entrances to Blue Shield offices. Protesters advocated a “single-payer” system in which the state or federal government would create one system of health insurance to cover everyone, as would be created by Rep. John Conyers’ H.R. 676, which would improve Medicare and expand it to cover everyone. The California legislature has twice passed bills creating a similar single-payer system on the state level, but Gov. Schwarzenegger vetoed both these bills.

In New York nine were arrested at a Welpoint sit-in. Simone Morse, a 19-year old student at Hunter College, was the first to be handcuffed and pulled up from the floor this morning at 1 Liberty Plaza in lower Manhattan, the corporate offices of WellPoint, one of the largest health insurers in the United States.

Cameron Gibson, a 23-year-old medical student at SUNY Downstate, was one of the next to go, followed by Frank Broadhead, a 67-year-old senior on Medicare, who was carried out on his back and deposited into a nearby police van by two members of the New York Police Department. In total, nine protesters were arrested on Wednesday morning on charges of disorderly conduct and/or trespassing, according to an NYPD officer on site who spoke off the record.

“My name is Matt Hendrickson, I am an Emergency Physician and a member of Physicians For A National Health Program.

I am sitting in at Cigna tomorrow to ask Cigna why the health insurance industry is denying health care.Why are they charging America a 25% tax on all healthcare transactions to support a system that avoids the sick? Why has the number of physicians grown by 200% in the last 40 years while the number of insurance administrators has grown by 3,000%? Why does their industry have 1 million administrators, while there are half as many physicians and Medicare only has 15,000 employees?

Why does Medicare pay their chief executive $150,000 while Cigna pays Ed Hanway $12 million? Why is their industry raising premiums for small businesses by 15% a year? And then diverting 15 cents off every dollar to deny care to their paying customers.

I'm going inside Cigna today to ask these questions. I’m going to bring some pictures with me. Some of the faces will be familiar to Cigna.Like Nataline Sarkisyan who lived in Glendale until she was 17 when she died because Cigna denied her transplant. But they may not know Jenny Fritts who was 24 when this picture was taken with her two-and-a-half year old daughter Kylee. She was also seven and a half months pregnant with her second child- a beautiful baby girl. Jenny is dead. Jenny’s unborn baby is dead. They died because she was turned away for appropriate care from a for-profit hospital due to lack of insurance.

I want Cigna to know about this young woman, seen here at her two-year-old son’s birthday. She came to my ER with a mole behind her ear and a swollen lymph node. Her husband had recently lost his job when their tech firm downsized.

We recommended she get a biopsy. The family used part of their savings to get the biopsy done promptly by paying cash. The biopsy revealed metastatic melanoma. Now the Thomas family has no income, depleted savings and the mother of their three young children has an invasive cancer with no health insurance.

If Cigna won’t let me inside their offices, I’ll sit down outside and wait to speak to them. If police won’t let me wait, I will be arrested. It is my duty as a physician and my honor as a citizen to be speak out for My patients who are losing their savings, losing their homes and losing their lives because of the existence of the private insurance industry.

America cannot wait any longer. Our uninsured cannot wait. Our small businesses cannot wait. Our middle class cannot wait.

This is just the beginning Cigna. Other physicians are risking arrest today. And there will be more next month, and the month after that. We will not stop speaking out for our patients and stating unconditionally that private health insurance must go.”

Matt Hendrickson, MD MPH
Vice Chair, PNHP/CaPA LA
Chair, LA Single Payer Coalition

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Rape in the Ranks: The Enemy Within

This is a synopsis of the 28 minute French film by Pascale Bourgau who interviewed US military women raped on duty. It's been seen on European TV but not in the US. Pascale, a reporter for the Belgian channel RTBF (Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon), while six months pregnant, along with Anne Barrier, toured the United States to meet these women and tell of their pain, rebellion and today, their struggle. The documentary was selected for the New York Independent Film Festival and will be shown Monday evening, October 26 at 5:45pm at the City Cinema East, 181 2d Ave, NYC. Following the showing of "Rape in the Ranks", we will have a panel to discuss rape in the US military at the Telephone Bar and Grill, 149 2nd Ave (212-529-5000). See Filmmaker Pascale Bourgaux is available for interviews. Her telephone is 212-982-0684 and 646-2638402.
Raped by their comrades, Tina, Jessica, Suzanne and Stephanie have been ignored by U.S. military officials in seeking justice. Though the Pentagon acknowledged receiving 3,000 reports of sexual assault in 2006 alone, and had launched a rape prevention program in 2004, the number of reported sexual assaults has since skyrocketed, but not the number of convictions. Only 2% of accused rapists are ever brought before a courts martial. Very few women have been willing to speak out, with the exception of these four brace women. Unable to stand the nightmarish daily rapes by her commander in Iraq, 21-year-old Suzanne refused to report back for mission and was brought before a courts martial. 25-year-old Jessica was raped in the U.S. and Korea, yet still dreams of going back to active service and seeing her attackers brought to justice. Stephanie has come to regret never reporting her own rape and perpetuating the law of silence. 20-year-old Tina, who was raped in Iraq, is no longer around to recount her nightmare. She supposedly "killed herself." Her mother claims she was murdered. This report tells the story of their pain, revolt, and uphill battle for justice.
Image captions: Left: Pascale Bourgaux interviewing Ann Wright, a former colonel who resigned before the war in Iraq; now a pacifist and defender of the cause of raped female soldiers (Washington, outside the White House). Right: Jessica and her husband Brendan Brinkman.

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Single Payer is NOT Off the Table

Los Angeles 10/15/09 – 12 arrested for a sit-in at Anthem Blue Cross offices as Maureen Cruise, Public Health Nurse, explains why single payer is not off the table. Along with a contingent of doctors, Cruise believes universal health care (a.k.a. single payer or medicare for all) is the only option. As Dr. Jo Olson recently told me, single payer is the only fiscal and moral solution. She has been working for a single payer system for the past five years. Nurse Cruise was an L.A. public health care nurse at numerous clinics until they all closed with the recent economic downturn. As she explains, over 100 people die every day for lack of health care in the U.S. More die every day because they are denied health care from insurance companies despite paying their high premiums. Yet we see public free clinics closing. People are forced into medical debt and foreclosure to pay for health care, unlike every other country. “What kind of country does this to it’s people?” she asks.

Nurse Cruise goes on to say that Pelosi’s announcement to the world that single payer is off the table was a ploy to make everyone forget about it and go for a public option instead, a public option written by and for the insurance industry, which spends over a million dollars per day lobbying Congress. The public option, as she says, is an insurance industry bailout, because with our economic downturn and the insurance industry’s annal retentive (my words) policy of raising rates to make up for losses, they are losing customers and so they look to the deep pockets of our government in the corporate welfare state we call America. But as long as we don’t have a viable health care system without the for profit insurance factor, and as long as we don’t have universal health care, people will continue to rally.

It’s interesting that the right tea baggers agree with the left in this area. Both sides agree that government bailout spending is wrong. But the right has been deluded by the right wing bumper sticker mentality media propaganda into believing that it is an Obama socialism agenda at fault. in fact it is a Wall Street corporate socialist agenda, since as cruise and many others agree, Wall Street owns Congress, and seemingly the Presidency as well.

But the bottom line is that, by law and on paper, this is still a democracy for and by we the people, not the corporations; and so the people have taken to the streets, lead by doctors and health care professionals like nurse Cruise, Dr. Olson and many others. They hold rallies and sit-ins around the country and get arrested in protest. Dr. Susie Baldwin calls the public option a government insurance industry jobs program, which leads me to wonder, why can’t the insurance industry make an honest living selling a service that people need? Why must they resort to living off the government, pushing Congress to make laws forcing people to buy their worthless product which amounts to a mafioso payoff to keep their useless thug industry alive. Why must the insurance industry live on government corporate welfare? Are they too lazy to get a real job and pay their way like the rest of us?

As Dr. Paul Papenek told me, people don’t need actuaries or claims adjusters. People need doctors and nurses. Shouldn’t we forsake the misguided careers of insurance professionals, not only for the 45,000 lost lives every year for lack of health care, but also for the high cost and fiscal deterioration of our country due to the exorbitant waste, fraud and spending on health care due to a corrupt monopolistic health insurance industry.

Parts of this clip will be included in a feature documentary, Got Healthcare?

Sam Pullen Arrested at Health Care Sit-In Remains in Jail to End Insurance Abuse

Washington DC – Chanting “patients not profits,” citizens and health care providers held rallies and sit-ins at health insurance company offices in New York, Washington, Phoenix, Palm Beach, Portland, Boston, Cleveland, Los Angeles, and Reno. (Full list of cities and arrests below.) 54 were arrested to support an end to insurance abuse and win health care for all. 14 arrested in New York have not yet been released. Sam Pullen, 31, arrested in Los Angeles is refusing to give information to police, vowing to stay in jail until Blue Cross, where he protested yesterday, stops denying care to those who need it most. Another round of sit-ins and rallies is planned for Wednesday, October 28.

Pullen was inspired to action by his mother, who was denied coverage for a lifesaving bone marrow transplant by Blue Cross when he was a teenager. Weakened by her cancer treatments, Pullen’s mother staged a one-woman sit-in at the insurance company office, resulting in the approval of the transplant that extended her life for years. Thanks to the transplant, she lived long enough to see Pullen reach 18 years of age.

“I am honoring my mother’s sprit by refusing to leave custody until Blue Cross ceases its practice of denying doctor-requested treatments for patients with life-threatening conditions,” said Pullen, who is being supported by Mobilization for Health Care for All and other groups. “We will not back down until profit-driven insurance companies no longer stand between the American people and the health care they deserve!”
The above was copied from the Mobilize for Health Care website, which updates the article daily. Sam Pullen organized the Los Angeles financial district sit-in at the Anthem Blue Cross offices. 12 were arrested there as seen here.

Rallies and more such protest actions are planned for future events and will continue, not until a public option is passed, but until a universal fair affordable health care system is agreed upon, a system such as medicare for all or a single payer system. A silent rage has been awakened in Americans across the country and this will only escalate as the right and the insurance industry push back.

Pelosi has stated that single payer is off the table. But the doctors, health care professionals and other activists who continue to stand up for universal health care will not acknowledge Pelosi’s statement. Single payer is not off the table. It’s the people’s table, not Congress’.

Good luck to Sam and the other American heroes who remain in jail to protest our corrupt monopolistic socialized corporate welfare state insurance industry that preys upon all Americans for it’s very survival.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Public Option: Obama's Health Insurance Jobs Program

President Obama recently mentioned at a town hall on health care reform that he didn't support a single payer system because it would be too disruptive. He didn't explain what he meant by disruptive but industry professionals assume he refers to health insurance industry management and employees who would become jobless in short order under a single payer system. It's not clear if management outnumbers other employees.

Obama is keeping these insurance industry jobs on as part of the government public option plan to persist health insurance industry control over people's health care. Even without a public option, insurance companies stand to have an even better stake in the health care market. The future looks bright for health care insurance employees who will be able to continue their never ending thankless job of denying health claims to people in need of medical care.

The 45,000 people who die every year due to lack of health care and from denial of insurance as well as the 14,000 daily who lose their health insurance are apparently forsaken for the few hundred thousand jobs in the health insurance industry. What's a few hundred thousand lives and disrupted families every few years to as many well fed well paid industry office workers' jobs? We need to have at least one or two industries that continue to make record profits while the rest of us face financial ruin.

The move by Obama is in line with America's ongoing shift toward corporate welfare socialism. The U.S. is the only industrialized nation that does not have a single payer type system to ensure all it's citizens have health care and have healthy productive lives. It's not certain if this fact is the symptom or the result of America slipping into the list of third world countries where 5% or less of the population control 95% or more of the country's wealth and power. America is no longer considered a democracy by most people who understand the meaning of the term. We are at best an oligarchy, with our government under corporate control by the wealthy few.

In light of America's failure to deliver health care, despite our advanced technology (only available to the very rich here) we now rank 37th in the world in health care. France is number one.

My suggestion is that Americans stop buying health insurance if they can avoid it. Vote with your wallet. That's the only thing these people understand.
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This video is a clip from a longer film currently in production. The title of this clip is based on Dr. Susie Baldwin's reaction to Obama's statement that a Single Payer system would be too disruptive, as seen in this video. So blame her for it.

Much of this video was shot at the recent Mad as Hell Doctors' rally in Hollywood last week. Special thanks to Dr. Jo Olson, Dr. Susie Baldwin, Dr. Paul Panacek, Dr. Nikki Mihara, and Dr. Horace Williams for their participation.

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Also on YouTube

Monday, August 17, 2009

No Health Care? Tough. This is America. Die.

Here's a rundown of the right's genius response to heath care reform based on interviews at this recent health care town hall in Alhambra CA.
  1. Solution for the 48 million uninsured: Life is tough. Get over it. Die.
  2. Solution for those uninsured who end up walking into hospitals: Well there should be some kind of program for them (duh - like government socialized health care?).
  3. Major concern: the health care reform is not about health care (What's it about then? Toilet paper?).
  4. Yup. Major problem with socialism: Toilet paper (Wasn't that a 60s U.S. propaganda spin?)

So if we keep the current system and 48 million people remain uninsured, who picks up the bill when they walk into the hospital? The government.

So, it is then the government's prerogative to insure these people ahead of time in order to save money on their hospital bills, is it not? It is also only fair that everyone else has the same option to choose that government insurance as well.

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Saturday, August 15, 2009

The End is Here

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? How about if our troops kill a million innocent Iraqis and none of it is reported (no pictures, no video). Did it happen? What about if five billion people around the world decide to stop using banks and the present day financial infrastructure has to rely on corporate social welfare to survive, but they eventually fade away anyway. Did they ever really exist? I mean, the money we all have is our money. Even if it's in a bank, it's our money. Take the bank away and it's still our money. Banks are a mere illusion that charge fees for a show.

Suppose they gave a war and no one showed up? Suppose a lot of filmmakers (tired of playing Hollywood games) went out and made their own films, self-distributed them and banded together to help each other in what eventually became an alternate movie industry of and by real filmmakers instead of executive fat cats who do nothing but collect dust, money, and hookers. Suppose said fat cats disappeared from the movie scene altogether. Were they ever really there to begin with? I mean the filmmakers still make their movies with or without them.

What if people stopped using insurance companies altogether and got the government to be there for them in case of medical emergencies and accidents, just like the police and firefighters, and then no one would have to dole out 30% to insurance company administrators? Would those administrators have ever really existed?

If you were one of the million plus Iraqis who was killed, and who saw your family, friends, neighborhood, and country annihilated before your eyes, I think that would qualify as your rapture. By the same token, if you're a conservative authoritarian who lives by the rule of law and order and follows whatever the current law and order of the day has been determined to be by whoever is in charge, but then things suddenly turned on you and suddenly there was no law and order as you once knew it, there was no democracy or free market capitalism, and there was absolutely nothing you could do about it (What can you do? Drop a nuke on Wall Street?) - if all of that were the reality (which it is by the way) would that be your rapture?

The end is here.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Right Wing Nut Cases

The other day I went to a health care town hall meeting in Alhambra CA, with Congressman Adam Schiff. (D-CA) who supports a single payer health care system. The meeting was jammed with the now typical right wing nut cases. I hesitate to call them Republican, though most Republicans support what they do, but some do not, as you may have heard about Rep. John Isakson (R-GA) citing Palin as "nuts" for her "natterings about the health-care reform bill [that] are anything except the figments of a discombobulated imagination." In fact I heard that a number of advertisers are pulling out of Glen Beck's Fox News show, due to his remark that he considered Obama racist. Meanwhile, though down for a while it appears Obama's ratings are back up in the 60% area. Ain't that a bitch? What the hell is going on? Is there some kind of rational thought virus going around?
Let me push this a little further. I recently saw a video with Douglas Rushkoff, author of NY Times bestseller, Life Inc. who talks about how our current bank centered money system evolved from a personal based money system due to the aristocracy becoming comparatively poor to the masses of average people. He talks about a future utopia where people won't need money or at least not government issued currency. They'll trade on their own merits and labor. Money will come from the people up instead of a government controlled trickle down, which basically means people are pissed on by the government. This sounds kind of nuts at first but not when you think about how nuts our banking system is today it's certainly no where near as nuts as the right wing nuts going off at health care rallies, not to mention Sarah "fucking nut case" Palin.
So here's the thing. If you read John dean, another Republican gone rational, in his book, Conservatives Without Conscience, he talks about authoritarian conservatives, the worse kind of conservatives. These "nuts" (if you will) believe that people follow the rule of a leadership. It's a Nixonian, Cheyenian, Bushian, Palinesque kind of do what ever I tell you to do, and think whatever I tell you to think, organizational structure. Authoritarians are either leaders or followers. None of them subscribe to the idea that people can think for themselves. No. They are on a groupthink Orwellian mindset. So, what I'm thinking now is that we've had eight years of authoritarian conservatives running our government and its not easy for them to let go of that power they thought they had over us. Ergo, town hall nut cases.
The town hall nuts that I interviewed for a forthcoming documentary, stated that they were not protesting nationalized health care because of nationalized health care (I told you they were nuts). No. They stated their concerns are really about socialism in America. That America would become a socialist state. That nationalized health care was just the first step toward a terrible socialism, as bad as Nazi Germany, Russia or Cuba.
Now you have to feel sorry for these people. Obviously they are simply misinformed. They just didn't get the memo. The socialism town halls are not scheduled until like 2015. Someone must have got their dates mixed up. France, England, Canada and a total of 39 major countries have very successful socialized medicine programs. They have yet to become socialist states or Nazi Germany. In fact if any country is headed down the road to totalitarianism it's the present day capitalist United States of America, with it's now policy of corporate outsourced military, preemptive war, torture, and international terrorism on the greatest scale ever in the history of the world. If these people were really worried about a government socialism that takes away our freedoms they'd repeal the Patriot Act, and pull all (not just a token few) our troops out of the preemptive wars we continue to wage in Iraq and Afghanistan. Obviously they are not doing anything of the kind and reports of them being lead by paid insurance industry at these town halls shills seem quite reasonably true.
I personally observed a select few individuals at the town hall I was at, who consistently shouted out in disruption trying to interrupt proceedings with inane requests, or they'd attempt to lead the crowd in Palinesque chants about freedom and so on.. But most of the people there didn't bite. They didn't go along enough to make those chants turn into an angry mob of protests and disruption. People are on to this tactic. These few agitators later banded together to laugh and joke about how things were going. Obviously they aren't too smart to be so easily observed this way.
The jig is up guys. We all know for a fact that you're just a bunch of fucking nuts.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Convention for the Sake of Convention

There is a disturbing trend in Hollywood toward convention. By that I mean movies that are made with the conventions you'd expect to see in a given genre or even by studio. We expect certain types of films from Disney, and maybe certain other types from Warner, and something different again if the genre is horror, or romantic comedy and so on. This is convention and some people will even call it craft. This is especially proliferated in TV. I can't think of one sitcom that doesn't use bank lighting. That means banks of soft lights that flood the set in brightness. While in horror films we see mostly darkness with only glimmers of light here and there. Much more dramatic. But still so very conventional and expected.

Now take something like Pirates of the Caribbean. Generally it's lit with bright soft sunlight with everyone flooded in brightness. But there are occasional scenes of something more dramatic, as in the stables. But even there, it's pretty much all flat and soft. It's not until we get to the underwater scenes with the pirates walking or the moonlight on the deck of the ship, that we find something really interesting.

Anyway, my point here is that Hollywood and TV generally use conventions for the sake of conventions. There's no motivation there. Why would every room and scene in a sitcom be flooded with bright soft light? It's not real. The rooms in our houses aren't' like that. Look around in your house. The light is brighter near the window, or at night only around your lamps, and it drops off into darkness as you get away from the light source. So what then motivates studios to use something like bank lighting? I can't think of hardly a single place in real life where everything is flooded evenly with soft all penetrating light. Even in an office of overhead fluorescents, the light drops off near the corners of cubicles.

Obviously these so called Hollywood artistic professionals either can't be bothered to make something look interesting and real, or they don't want to spend the time on it. So we end up with pasty plastic looking people with caked on makeup to make sure they are evenly lit like everything else on the set. This is completely what you call unmotivated lighting. There is no motivation for this other than the studio budget or the grip's inability to do something interesting.

So you say, this is no trend. It's always been this way. Well maybe. But it seems so much of a standard now that if you make a film without pasty lighting, you get criticized for being too artsy. You become the one who is accused of not having motivation for the lighting you use. In other words, if it's not a horror film or some dark drama, you had better flood the place with pasty light and cake on the makeup.

But people ultimate don't buy it. It may be subconscious. But we all find something fake in these bank-ly lit scenes. That's one reason why reality programs have taken off. They don't light anything. They just shoot whatever is out there in real life. Of course this is the opposite extreme. Although in both cases of bank lighting and reality shows we have the common element of lazy unmotivated lighting. Seldom do they take the time to light something with true motivation for how the light should fall on the subjects.

Convention for the sake of convention is a lie. It's lazy, and it's ugly. It's an indication of poor sloppy work and under par production.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Just Back from Comic Con

Find more photos like this on Comics
I took my son Chris to Comic Con for one day. It was so crowded and we were so tired from the drive down there and the parking hassles that we didn't think to check out the schedules and conferences. So all we did was walk the floor.

Though that was pretty interesting and Chris enjoyed looking at the anime stuff which is what he's into. There are so many people in costume and makeup, and they are so good at it that you can't tell the professionals apart from the regular people.

It's really cool to see so many enthused people and all their costumes. You don't get crowds like that at film festivals nor all the celebrities and Hollywood studios. It's almost cool that it's so crowded with people like that.

We got back home and the rest of the family was jealous, though I had asked them back in April to get tickets with us. Next year we're all going and I'll make sure we get to the conferences and know what's what.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Poker House - One Week Limited Release in L.A., Johnston Iowa, and Irvine Ends 7/23

Anyone who can should check out this awesome film. A true heartfelt story by Lori Petty. One week only at the Lamelle in Santa Monica. You may not get another chance to see it. It is a story of adolescent rape and as such is not easily able to get wide distribution - similar to Hounddog in that respect.

I caught the world premier last year at the LA Film Festival. Not a dry eye in the house. The audience went nuts. Standing ovation. It has a hard hitting ending that actually hits home in the credits, similar to how No Country for Old Men did but this one doesn't leave you guessing. It just leaves you in tears. What an incredible cast. But I'd have to say the real star of this film is the director, Lori Petty, despite not having an acting role in the film. Her perspective is so original and refreshing.

Set in the 70s, a young girl struggles to survive, with two younger sisters, in a home overrun by gamblers, thieves, and johns. Written and directed by Lori Petty. Right there you know a film about this subject matter written and directed by a woman has got to be good.

There are too few woman directors out there but when they succeed they have a refreshing, interesting and compelling voice. This film was first on my list at the festival. Strangely there were three shows still available when the festival started. People just don't know what's good.

The big problem with distribution is the same thing that makes this a great film, it's subject matter; that being the story of three young girls growing up in a poker house with a hooker mother and an abusive pimp along with their seedy associates. People don't want to hear that films like this are playing at the cineplex. They don't want to know what really goes on in America.

I was discussing this film with someone who mentioned Memoirs of a Geisha in comparison, which got me to thinking about how Geishas are highly respected and trained as in a profession. But in the US people in this business deal with drugs, guns, pimps and violence. It's one of the most outrageous saddest state of affairs that plague American society, and the reason is because it is illegal in most every state, forcing it into the hands of underworld unscrupulous characters.

The film distribution industry is so annal about edgy films like this. Hounddog had to be re-cut and toned down after the controversy generated over the adolescent girl's rape scene, played by Dakota Fanning. It then ended up with a limited release at Lamelle as well. I haven't seen it since then. It shows only than one limited release on IMDB. Will The Poker House have the same fate?

It is a tragedy when films like this don't get out because of the distribution industry's short sightedness. We didn't have this problem in the seventies when The Godfather caused a huge uproar with protests at theaters. The irony is that controversy like this sells. Thus Godfather became a classic hit and helped to launch Coppola's career so he could go on to do greater things.

Showtimes and Theaters

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Real America

(HD Video - allow at least 5 minutes for this video to load or see the low def version)

PASADENA CA - On Thursdays since, June 25, 2009, a group of protesters gathered at the intersection of Orange and Hill Avenues to hold a protest vigil, shown in this film, and which continues there weekly. Drive by and honk if you care to.

So why after 60 years of Republican blocked attempts at nationalized health care are we finally seeing some movement? It looks like things are so bad that the insurance companies aren't even making out. If things get bad enough for people and people can’t afford to pay their bills, guess who gets screwed? The insurance companies who charged the outrageous premiums to begin with. Once again we see the authoritarian right digging their own grave. Keep up the good work guys. With any luck your kind will soon be extinct. Bailouts can't go on forever. At some point these greedy corporations will die if we refuse their services, whether out of necessity or not. The people have the power and always have. It's ultimately about cutting off the money. Now if only we could do this to Wall Street and The Pentagram.

“Health care reform is no longer just a moral imperative, it is a fiscal imperative. If we want to create jobs and rebuild our economy, then we must address the crushing cost of health care this year, in this Administration.” - President Barack Obama, White House Forum on Health Reform, 3/5/09

The following excerpts are from

“With All These People Losing Jobs, A Lot Will Lose Their Health Insurance”
The Wall Street Journal, Thursday, April 23, 2009 - President Obama has said that health reform “cannot wait, must not wait, and will not wait another year.” Today the Wall Street Journal cited evidence that illustrates why so many Americans cannot afford to wait another year for health reform. Layoffs are causing thousands of Americans to lose their health care coverage, and as was reported today, insurance companies are seeing their profits shrink as they lose members.

Insured, but Bankrupted by Health Crises
New York Times, 7/1/09 - It is commonly cited that nearly 50 million Americans go each year without health insurance. What is perhaps less apparent is that millions more are severely under-insured. The unfortunate reality is that even those with insurance are too often brought to financial ruin because of medical expenses.

Medical Bankruptcy
South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 6/23/09 - Americans across the country are struggling to keep up with rising costs of medical bills, high deductibles, increasing premiums, and the escalating costs of prescription drugs. For some Americans health care costs result in medical bankruptcy. According to a new Harvard University study, 62% of bankruptcies in 2007 were caused by medical-related debt.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Iranian Protests in U.S. Streets may Save them from Dehumanized War, unlike the Iraqi and Afghan Victims of U.S. Occupation

Iranians have been holding a protest vigil since the Iran election in front of the federal building at Westwood and Veteran Avenues in West Los Angeles. On Sunday, June 28, 2009, about 5,000 of them took to the streets there in the march depicted in this film. Many would not be interviewed on camera, probably in fear of reprisals against their families in Iran by the Iranian government, as some told us. Of those who spoke on camera, they explained how their presence was only to show solidarity with those in Iran. They feel frustrated that they cannot do something more to stop the Iranian government. Some want the U.S. and the U.N. to impose sanctions on Iran, specifically to companies like Nokia that do business with the Iranian government in providing surveillance technology used wrongfully against the Iranian people, to deny them basic freedoms.

However, sanctions on Iran from the U.S. in the past have hurt the Iranian people as much, if not more than it hurt the Iranian government. Is it possible for the U.S. or the U.N. to have the acuity to distinguish between the Iranian people and the Iranian government; to impose selective and targeted sanctions on companies like Nokia, or at least the offending technologies they sell? If so they would then target the Iranian government's anti-democratic behavior without hurting the Iranian people, unlike what the U.S. did to Iraq after the Gulf War in obtuse sanctions that effectively broke down their infrastructure, and took away basic human needs like water and electricity from all the Iraqi people.

One good thing that these marches do is to show the world and the Iranian government the faces of Iranians, which makes it impossible for the U.S. and other governments, to dehumanize the Iranian people in order to wage war, as the U.S. has done in Iraq and Afghanistan. Iraq War veterans have testified to this fact in the Winter Soldier testimonies on U.S. military racism (, citing how their superiors demean Iraqis, and now Afghans, by routinely referring to them as "hodgie", a slag term for Hajji.

It is a well known fact among scholars (like Dr. Haig Bosmajian, University of Washington in Seattle) that the U.S. military has, as a matter of policy, demeaned the people of entire countries that we have gone to war with, ever since the Korean War when they referred to Koreans as "gooks", which carried over to the Vietnam War. It is no stretch to call our military racist. But this was also found during WWII when they called the Germans "krauts". The Germans are especially infamous for their pro-war dehumanization campaign of the Jewish people in calling them "rats". The purpose of this as government policy is to make it easier for people and troops to accept war, especially the killing and genocide of innocent people.

See also: Iran Was an Easier Enemy Before We Saw Their Faces by David Bromwich, Huffington Post, June 24, 2009 12:32 PM

Visit the Stop War Project

Friday, April 17, 2009

Why have a bank? Vote with your feet. Walk out.

If you're like me you don't hold onto money long enough to warrant keeping a bank account with the liability of bouncing checks when it nears bottom. So don't have one. Use money orders. Why direct deposit all your cash into some crooks' bank? It's your money. Put in in your wallet, or your safe. By the time I pay my bills all I have left is spending cash for food anyway.

If you must have a bank account, just put enough in to cover the bills you must pay by check or your bank card. Why bother going to a money machine every time you need your own cash? Why pay all the associated fees? Banks have a great racket. They hold all your money, fee you when ever they feel like it, post your checks when ever they feel like, and share all your transactions with any government agency or lawyer who comes down the pike.

We have the power to stop banks in their tracks. Vote with your feet. Walk out of your bank.

It's been suggested that credit unions are a great alternative to banks. I don't think people should blindly follow any one strategy or part of the industry. One credit union may be good. Another may be bad. Generally they sound good, but they all still charge the same interest and fees as banks.

Why should people be responsible for propping up an economy based on credit, which profits the bankers, including credit unions? People should learn to live within their means, not on credit. This is the root of the problem. This is what the Japanese discovered when they went through this. They now live more within their means.

The further contraction of the economy without banks that some fear is merely a contraction of credit. People still have the ability to make a living and profit. In fact, without the incredible interest they now pay, up to around 30% on a typical credit card for example, they will have more money and the 'no bank, no credit' strategy will improve their cash position.

The only thing banks are good for is credit, and right now that is even questionable. The root of our problem is credit. It's time to think outside of the vicious credit cycle box. If banks want to attract customers they should compete for the business, reduce their interest rates, cut out all the fees and overdraft penalties that multiply when they hit. That's how a free market will work. Credit unions have those fees and interest charges too. Until they come up with a better alternative, I say walk out on them. Make them earn our trust and our business.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Who Needs Hollwood? Not these guys.

There's a new movement in filmmaking. It's what you might call a "who need's Hollywood?", DIY approach. A number of new filmmakers have had some awesome success with this. The thing is there is no one way for everybody. Each filmmaker seems to find their own road. But there are some commonalities, like social networking, self-distribution, and audience interaction, and always hard work.

Arin Crumley and Susan Buice successfully produced, directed and distributed their feature film, Four Eyed Monsters, through the internet and a lot of Google time. One thing about this is that technology moves so fast, and things are ever changing, so that what worked for them is already outdated. But their independent spirit in going down their own road, even paving their way through a wilderness, was the thing we can all take away from their experience and apply to ourselves. By the way, Four Eyed monsters garnered two Independent Spirit Award nominations.

The road they took started with vlogs on YouTube. I think they planned this as part of their strategy in marketing their film. Their vlogs were about the behind the scenes "making of" stuff that you might find in typical DVD extras. But there is nothing typical about these guys. The film itself was kind of a similar docudrama of their relationship, much of it in a vlog fourth wall style. That sounds a bit repugnant on paper. But the film is really beautiful. Check out the trailer to get a feel for it.  So while the film was about their relationship's birth, life and death, as the tagline reads, the vlogs were about that too, along with the making of the film and with more reality.

The interesting this is that their "making of" experience is like none you've ever seen, or maybe never will. They forged their way to gather a YouTube and social network audience, which they translated into theatrical sales, by capturing emails and zip codes and persuading  theaters across the country to show their film during four Thursdays September in 2005, I think it was. That itself is quite an accomplishment. But it doesn't end there. in fact it still hasn't ended.

They acquired support form a number of online web film distributor ventures, including YouTube, where they were the first online feature release, and, who paid them a dollar for everyone who they referred to Spout, amounting to $35,000. Their vlogs were so popular that they included them as a series of episodes on the DVD, along with the film and a soundtrack CD. The DVD has sold around 1500 copies through their website, mainly. Now they are talking to DVD distributors and I think they are available at Borders and maybe on a cable movie channel in the future.

This is backwards from what the conventional Hollywood big business model professes. In that model, you never release to the DVD market and certainly not the internet, until you have exploited the theatrical market. Not these guys. They offered their film for free on YouTube, along with the vlog episodes, which built interest for the DVD and generated the theatrical and DVD markets.

I've heard filmmakers worry about exposing their film like this, as a quick way to kill all chances for conventional distribution. but what Arin is saying is that conventional distribution is a pipe dream. Susan calls it the prince with the glass slipper. This is so true, and so obvious, it's amazing filmmakers haven't seen this before. We are wasting our time submitting to festival after festival, where are chances are a few hundred out of 5000 to 6000 for the big festivals. Even if we have a good film, and even if it;s picked up by a festival, the chances of finding a distributor this way are so remote. There are usually one or two film at any festival, if that, that get a distribution deal. Then what? Our films are shelved. We don't have to accept this treatment.

Like Arin and Susan we have the greatest marketing tool at our fingertips, and it's free. The internet. Lance Weller and some others have a website,, where these kinds of things are discussed openly. You'd be surprised at how many filmmakers are finding audiences this way.

Here are some websites to check out:
YouTube Screening Room

At these sites you'll find a lot more links.

Check out my own venture at, and my film project, Stop War.

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Stop War Project

The Stop War Project seeks to stop all war for all time through the power of communication. I believe the troubles in the world stem from a lack of communication. If we all were more informed of what was going on in the world this might be very different. I believe we could even stop war this way. The Iraq war has gone on for six years, costing thousands of American lives and over a million Iraqi lives, most of them innocent people, children and babies. Would the people in this country stand for such a policy if they were the victims? No. But a bigger question is, do most Americans even know what has been going on?

For six years we've been supposedly "fighting" terrorists by wage a preemptive war in Iraq. Meanwhile the real architect of that terrorism, Osama Bin Laden, is yet to be found. In fact he is supposedly in Afghanistan. We have been bombing innocent people in the wrong country. Why?

There is also evidence that Al Queada stemmed from a CIA organization (see The Three Trillion Dollar War by Joseph Stiglitz). We know that Bin Laden was a CIA operative who worked with George H.W. Bush. Amazingly we can't account for this one man's whereabouts after initially spending $1,000,000,000,000 (that's a trillion), 5000 American lives, 1.5 million Iraqi lives, 20,000+ innocent Afghan lives (God only knows the true numbers. We don't bother counting them. They're just Afghans.), in a supposed war to hunt him down.

Now if we're going to have a war we should at least be honest and upfront about it. If it's not Bin Laden then say so. If the cost is three to five trillion dollars as Joseph Stiglitz says, then fess up to it. Show us the American body count every week. Tell the American people the costs of these wars, the liabilities, the increased terrorism they proliferate and convince us it's worth it. No one can do this.

Iraq is a preemptive illegal racist American genocide and continues to be so. Is this America or a neo-Nazi state?

The more innocent people we kill, the more we motivate their survivors to become insurgents and terrorists and retaliate. What would you do if your town was bombed and your family killed. Would you sit back and take it? Our country was founded on the right to arms, to fight for and protect our freedom and our families. Yet we are oppressing another country, doing this very thing, and when they retaliate we call them terrorists, and retaliate with more bombs and guns, which keeps the cycle going and war profiteers profiting.

We are proliferating terrorism and endangering our freedom, not protecting it. And so our troops do not fight or die for freedom. They fight and die for Halliburton, Texaco, and Shell. They fight and die in vain. Many of them are vain. They are racist warmongers who live to fight and even die for the promise of glory, a false glory. But that's just my opinion. I respect your right to differ. Many troops fight and die with great honor, because they believe they do it for their country. But not all of them. Just look at the pictures and videos I have collected to see evidence of this. Even if they think they are fighting with honor, there's nothing honorable about preemptive racist genocidal war.

We need to get the word and the pictures out, to expose what's gong on. There are many veterans against war, who speak out and protest regularly. You can find them all over YouTube. You will also find racist troops who mock the Muslim culture, even to their faces, and show their strong prejudice and disrespect for theirs lives, for all life.

Join the Stop War Project Network.

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Lonely Right: War Protests n Hollywood

Hollywood, CA, March 21 2009 - Thousands of protesters gathered in Hollywood. This video, part 1 of a series, shows a Iraq war veteran who says he became aware, after serving in Iraq, that the real heroes don't wear U.S. uniforms. The real heroes are on the other side. He said hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis have died at the hands of US troops and that the US is the largest terrorist organization on the planet.

Part 1 also has a Los Angeles school teacher talk about how money being used for AIG bonuses could have kept the elementary school teachers of the 10,000 teachers from having to be laid off, and that the many billions spent by California alone on the Iraq war could solve California's budget crisis.

A lone right wing war monger protester, behind a wall of LA police officers, was there on his bullhorn to tell protesters they were wasting their time and that they can never stop war.

For detailed info on the rally and a list of participants, see

Films from Out in the Street Films

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Enough! - Protesters at AIG in LA

Enough! - Protesters at AIG in LA from Jon Raymond on Vimeo.

Los Angeles, March 19, 2009, 5:PM - As part of a nationwide SEIU sponsored protest, LA protesters outside of AIG were just as concerned about the billions of bailout dollars to all Wall Street firms as they were about the $165 million in AIG bonuses. They listed three demands from Congress:

1) Pass the Employee Free Choice Act
2) Affordable Health Care for All (citing that 55 million Americans are uninsured)
3) Strong Banking Reform.

They then proceeded to the front doors to ask that the top AIG executives come down to accept their reality check, where they were held back by numerous AIG security personnel. They chanted: Bring them down, AIG you cant hide. We can see you greedy side, and AIG has got to go. They were then informed that the people in the building left early after hearing of the nationwide protests, and that no one was there to see them. They responded with a chant of Dock their pay, followed again with AIG you cant hide.

This film was made from concept to completion in 16 hours by me alone. I wired two lavs through my long sleeved t-shirt, with the mikes clipped to the wrist ends. This gave great stereo separation for the sound, and control over the wires. The camera was a one chip Cannon Optura Xi. Everything was hand held. The shoot was about an hour of almost non-stop recording, and the editing about 10 hours.

Jon Raymond - Filmmaker
Music - Improvisation by Tony Milosevic / Absynth & Orange

Rally Participants:
SEIU - Los Angeles

From Out in the Street Films

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