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We’re all slaves for the wealthy, here’s more proof

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As if we in the bottom 99% need any more PROOF that capitalism only works for the top 1%, this should put even Republicans’ teeth in a collective clench.

How many months of how many people’s monthly insurance premiums would it take to pay for this??? From Boston.com

Cleve L. Killingsworth, who abruptly resigned last March as chief executive of the nonprofit Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, collected $8.6 million in compensation from the state’s largest health insurer in 2010.

The rich package — which included $1.4 million in severance pay, with more money to follow — was detailed in a Blue Cross filing with the state Division of Insurance yesterday. It touched off a volley of criticism at a time when government and business officials, including Blue Cross’s leaders, have been struggling to restrain health care costs….

Public interest advocates, pay specialists, and insurance customers were quick to call Killingsworth’s payout excessive.

“It sends the wrong message at the wrong time to consumers and employers,’’ said Jon B. Hurst, president of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts. “We’ve gone through years and years of double-digit premium increases. We need the health care industry in this state to start reflecting the rest of the economy.’’

It sends the wrong message is an understatement, this is IMMORAL and should be illegal. Why aren’t the Teabaggers and the Christian right up in arms about the fact that THEY themselves helped pay for this fat cat’s golden years? Isn’t this more of an affront than government borrowing or gay marriage?

This came DIRECTLY out of the bank accounts of the people of Massachusetts. There is no other way to spin it, is there? Maybe it was carved out of the savings from turning down organ transplants for children or something? There’s no math to do here, the people of Massachusetts paid for this. Incredible.

WHY IS THIS ALLOWED TO HAPPEN? WHAT DID THIS GUY DO THAT WAS SO GREAT THAT THOUSANDS OF THE “LITTLE PEOPLE” SHOULD PAY HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS EVERY MONTH FOR *HIM* TO RETIRE LIKE THIS?

WHAT SORT OF MAN-GOD IS THIS CLEVE L. KILLINGSWORTH?

I’m rather curious, aren’t you?

Via Daily Kos

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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A giant sucking sound: What caused such a rapid decline of Glenn Beck’s ratings ?

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The ratings for Glenn Beck’s nightly Fox News conspiracy theory rants are still taking a Nielsen nosedive. I’m not going to go out on a limb again and say Beck’s “over” because he rallied the very next day after I did it the last time and I just had to take it all back. So I’ll simply point out what James Downie wrote in The New Republic:

Beck, says [biographer Alexander] Zaitchik, was caught “in a vicious circle”: To keep viewers coming back, he had to keep creating new, more intricate theories. Last November, in a two-part special that indirectly invoked anti-Semitism, he accused liberal Jewish financier George Soros of orchestrating the fall of foreign governments for financial gain. During the Egyptian Revolution, Beck sided with Hosni Mubarak, alleging that his fall was “controlled by the socialist communists and the Muslim Brotherhood.” Beck is now warning viewers not to use Google, accusing the search-engine giant of “being deep in bed with the government.” In recent months, it seems, Beck’s theories became so outlandish that even conservatives—both viewers and media personalities—were having a hard time stomaching them. Now, each new idea appears to be costing Beck both eyeballs and credibility. “At some point,” says Boehlert, “it doesn’t add up any more.”

Yep, at this point even the very dumbest people watching Beck’s show have probably realized that Van Jones and obscure magazine articles written in 1965 don’t have shit to do with anything.

“It’s hard to gain a million viewers,” says Eric Boehlert, of Media Matters, in the article, “but it’s really hard to lose a million viewers.”

Worse still, for Beck’s, uh, fortunes, as Adam Weinsten points out on the Mother Jones blog today (quoting “The Wrap” an entertainment trade blog):

In January, [Beck’s] FNC show averaged 1.76 million total viewers during the 5 p.m. hour, according to Nielsen estimates—down 39 percent compared to January 2010.

And he scored just 397,000 viewers in the coveted 25-to-54-year-old demographic, a 48 percent slide.

February did not show much improvement. Through Feb. 27 his Fox show is down 26 percent in total viewers for the year (2.06 million compared to 2.89 million last year) and off 30 percent in the demo, averaging 501,000 25-to-54-year-olds vs. 760,000 last year.

But dig what this implies about the, er, vintage of his viewers:

Here’s the salient fact: Less than one-quarter of Beck’s viewers are ages 25 to 54. Assuming the number of youngs who watch him is negligible—a pretty safe assumption, I think—that means that dang near to 80 percent of his viewership is in or around senior-citizen territory. Perhaps it’s no surprise that the olds like Beck. But it gets me wondering: Who exactly makes up that 25 to 54 demographic?

Asexual trolls who still live with their mothers” would be my first guess. Hey, there are a lot of ‘em, we just never see them, except for when they’re commenting on blogs.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Well, when you put it THAT way: The Republican Strategy
03.04.2011
02:05 pm

Topics:
Class War
Current Events
Economy

Tags:
Republicans
Wall Street

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Former Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich’s latest book, Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future can, more or less, be summed up in a single sentence: Until we deal with the preposterous wealth disparity in this country, America’s fucked and it’s going to stay that way. (I couldn’t agree more, btw and loved the book). The following excerpt from his February 17th blog post, “The Republican Strategy,” lays the issue pretty nakedly on the table, I think you’ll agree:

Republicans would rather go after teachers and other public employees than have us look at the pay of Wall Street traders, private-equity managers, and heads of hedge funds – many of whom wouldn’t have their jobs today were it not for the giant taxpayer-supported bailout, and most of whose lending and investing practices were the proximate cause of the Great Depression to begin with.

Last year, America’s top thirteen hedge-fund managers earned an average of $1 billion each. One of them took home $5 billion. Much of their income is taxed as capital gains – at 15 percent – due to a tax loophole that Republican members of Congress have steadfastly guarded.

If the earnings of those thirteen hedge-fund managers were taxed as ordinary income, the revenues generated would pay the salaries and benefits of 300,000 teachers. Who is more valuable to our society – thirteen hedge-fund managers or 300,000 teachers? Let’s make the question even simpler. Who is more valuable: One hedge fund manager or one teacher?

Suck on that logic, Teabaggers and rightwing dickheads… take a good long toke!
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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