Monday, July 11, 2011

'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Monday, July 11th, 2011
video 'podcast'

Special Comment:
The Nation's Purpose
via Current: part 1, part 2
via YouTube, h/t cathyferkleheimer

ShowPlug1: Live on Countdown @Current 8ET: Murdoch Scandal explodes AGAIN: Hacking or proposed hacking of ex-PM Gordon Brown...

ShowPlug2: Hacking of medical records of Brown's son w/cystic fibrosis, Charles & Camilla, London PD. Attempted hacking: 9/11 victims

ShowPlug3: Latest from biographer @MichaelWolff + why do Carl Bernstein and John Dean call this "Murdoch's Watergate" I'll ask @JohnWDean

ShowPlug4: POTUS reportedly offers to raise Medicare age to 67 in Debt Deal. Guest: Progressive Caucus co-chair @RepRaulGrijalva

ShowPlug5: Author of Arizona "Papers Please" law SB 1070 to face recall. Latest from my guest AZ State Sen. @KyrstenSinema

ShowPlug6: Worsts: Bachmann doubles down on slavery reference, McConnell w/worst rationalization for Military Commissions (Casey Anthony?)

ShowPlugLast: + my Special Comment: A Presidency is not important except for its impact on other lives. Don't TOUCH Medicare, Sir.

watch whole playlist

'Evil Empire', Michael Wolff

'Murdoch-Gate', John Dean
YouTube, (excerpt)

'Debt Deal Standoff', Rep. Raul Grijalva

Time Marches On!

'Recall Fever', Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ)

Worst Persons: Sen. Mitch McConnell, Raymond Wieczorek (R-NH), Rep. Michele Bachmann

Special Comment: The Nation's Purpose part 1 part 2

Special Comment: unofficial transcript

Finally as promised a Special Comment on President Obama's role in the deal to raise the debt ceiling, and perhaps make cuts to, or raise the eligibility age for, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security.

Face it. We do not take care of one another. Not 'we' as in progressives, not 'we' as in Americans, not 'we' as in the West, 'we' as a species. Individual people we know, we take care of them. It is human nature dating back to the caves to form small protective units: families, clans, groups, guilds - but take care of everybody? Everybody in your neighborhood? The people you love and the people you don't know? Everybody in your country? The people who are like you, and the people who have in common with you only humanity? Do you take care of them? Do we take care of them?

It seems as if we are taught as young children to share, and then as soon as we let go of our parents' hands we are taught to stop sharing. Or to at least stop prioritizing sharing, to stop sharing unconditionally. In the broadest sense, where there is no identity or family or clan or group, no hope of reward or mutual defense, no insurance against one's own future hardship, face it: we do not take care of one another.

And that is why the social safety net that this country has stitched together piece by piece over 75 years, despite the unceasing protests of the greedy and the ensconced and the divisive and the xenophobic, that is why the social safety net is this country's greatest accomplishment and the greatest evidence that every once in a while, American exceptionalism is based not in flag-waving but in reality.

This is not to say our system of Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid and everything else is the best. Nor was it the first. 3,400,000 people in this country above the age of 65 still live below the poverty line, and 43,600,000 of all ages still do so. But unlike so many other nations, unlike what so many in this nation want to see and desperately strive to force, the movement in this country for more than a hundred years has always been forward, has always been just slightly bigger and better than it was yesterday, towards the simple idea that those other people you see every day - the background characters, the extras in the movie that is your life - that they count too! And that the only obligation you truly have in life is to try to do something. Something for them. Even if you will never meet them. Even if you will never know them. Something. Not everything. Something.

Every day since I started to think, I have realized I knew a little less than I thought I did the day before about why we are all here. But over time I have come to agree with the baseball player Jackie Robinson: 'A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.'

What other measure is there of each one of us? You will die and I will die and everybody you will see tomorrow will die and so will their children and their descendants and we will be at best memories, and by what are all those who preceded us judged? Name anybody in history, name anybody we all know or somebody only you know, by what are they judged? The answer, stripped of the bells and whistles, is not wealth nor fame nor beauty nor power but what impact did they have on the lives of others?

This, Mr. President, was not intended to be a sermon. But I find I cannot forecast what will happen politically if you craft a compromise to a manufactured political crisis that includes unnecessary cuts to Social Security, and raising the age for Medicare eligibility from 65 to 67. I find I cannot forecast if you will have made yourself unelectable next year, or if there's just enough greed and self-serving amnesia to reduce such an attack on that safety net to a political blip. I find I can't forecast if the Republicans will then somehow call off their 24/7 character assassination of you. I find I cannot forecast if the rest of us, battered by your compromises here and your 'It's a start's there, will bother any longer to defend you. I find I can't forecast if I will still be able to support you.

But I can forecast this. Any true greatness of this nation originates entirely in whatever spark of humanity and selflessness we devote to taking care of the least of us. Any claim we have to lead, to encourage, to inspire other nations starts with whether we continue to move forward each year, each day, each minute towards a time when we have no hunger in this country, when we have no poverty in this country, when we have no old people eating dog food in this country, when we have no patient in this country deciding between meals and medicines.

To paraphrase Jackie Robinson, the life of a nation, Mr. President, is not important except in the impact it has on the lives of its people. And if this deal with the Republicans takes a dollar away from those people who do not have a dollar to spare, while preserving the millions for those who have millions more, if this deal, sir, keeps intact funding the mechanisms we have for killing people while cutting the mechanisms we have for keeping people alive and healthy, then it is a betrayal of everything that makes this country great. And Mr. President, then it is worse than just a betrayal of all those who elected you, it is a betrayal of who you are. And who you have spent your life becoming. For your presidency, sir, is not important, except in the impact it has on other lives.

Good night and good luck.