A Ben Cohen Ink Comic


By Ben Cohen a “legendary master of the left field.” -BRP!

“Unintentionally misunderstood since 1975.” –Anonymous

“A big f@#k you, to the audience.” -B. Pendarvis

Ben Cohen's Facebook Found Objects Third Party News

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Up Rise Against the Plutonamy NOT Your Neighbor

I have in the resent past spoken of the merits of living in a moderate culture, a consumerist culture, and a Pop Culture. How this as helped maintain stability; a stability that I see as making us the greatest nation in our world’s history. I characterize us this way, as someone who has at times, in particular situations, looked upon, Canada, Japan and the EU with envy; as someone who is well aware of our comparisons to the Roman Empire. Still I see no rival at the end of the day, a sobering reality. I wrote this as my own revolutionary urges increased. Today, it seems we are more likely to embrace Muse’s anthem “Uprising,” then even a year ago. We are a legitimately angered people, with nostalgia for the revolution that gave our “democracy” birth. So much is on our plate, personally, nationally and politically. With the level and rate of exchanged information now accessible to us, we are incited to revolt. New Media has brought us a heightened experience of urgency, diminishing our perspective. We have been here before, on a brink. At the birth of our great nation, during civil war, during the Great Depression, after Pearl Harbor, under McCarthyism, Viet Nam, and 911; this is not a new fear. However, we live in very uncertain times, which rival all of these tests of our unperfected union. Our moderate foundation is fractured and threatens to give hold. I urge us all to take a deep breath and find a way to move forward together.

As an artist and art teacher well versed in media arts, I am well aware of the deficiency in Arts education. I clearly understand that we are deficient as a people in an understanding of our visual lexicon. I see how this has contributed directly to the ease in which we are manipulated as members of a democracy, and consumers in an economy by visual communication. I would suggest that the state of our reading comprehension and auditory education is in a similar state. We are as a people easily manipulated by those who have the resources to communicate to us through New Media, Newspapers and Television.

Those who are communalists are easily swayed by messages that speak to the world view presented in their childhood. Individualists are swayed by the messages of conspiracy (clearly in this text, you will see which side I error on). We receive these tall tails from the controlling factions in our Plutonamy. A small number of people who control our economy, news and government; a wild conspiracy I hear you communalists exclaim.

These people are no different from us, with egos and ethics that fluctuate under duress and opportunity. These people are no smarter then you or I, they just have access; to information (sometimes a manipulation from within their own ranks), to money, to power. It is easy for us to put up our hands and say…they are idiots. Sometimes they are our idiots…and sometimes they are their idiots…but they are still idiots. But they are always idiots who can get elected. They are idiots who go from high society and/or big business into “noble” politics and then back. Benefiting when they are out and manipulating “for the good of the people” when they are in; always being manipulated themselves by their own self interest and the self interest of the Plutonamy they are invested in.

We are often told that we are a center-right nation. I disagree, we have simply through our history have moved the line in a progressive way, which has helped keep us the greatest nation in the history of Earth. However, it has also changed the definition of Conservative and Liberal. Just look at the actions the “liberal” democrats have taken under Clinton and Obama. Most of the policies they have implemented are originated as conservative ideas; Clinton’s policies on budget deficit reduction, welfare, gays in the military and economic regulatory reform; Obama’s policies on health care (I hear you now…trust me this is a conservative law…it is Romney’s bill), war and again regulatory reform. Under Bush you need only look at his liberalism through his budgetary expenses and position on immigration. These positions switch not on ideology let alone practical solutions, rarely on personal knowledge or passion (although this is what they tell them selves so they can sleep at night); they switch in order to keep us pitted against each other in order to keep them in power, keep us at war and keep them rich. Damn the people, damn the planet, damn ethics, damn morals, damn the peace and prosperity, damn freedom, damn their rights, damn the truth, damn honor and justice, damn your quality of life and pursuit of happiness, damn the people; “they” say behind closed doors, amongst themselves, those Plutonamians. There is a revolving door between the IVE League, Wall Street, K Street, Congress, The White House, Newsmedia, the Free Massons, The Fed and the Banks. These are the electable officials and these are our Plutonamy leaders.

So sometimes we want to “throw the bums out,” or even revolt like our founding fathers (their, the Plutonamians founding fathers). But what choices do we have? The bum I want thrown out more, is the one you want to save. And the replacements are not any better. And yes there are rare acceptations…and we often don’t find out that till they have died, if we find out at all. I still think that Obama one of these positive few,…being advised by and compromising with…idiots in power.

So what happens? These idiots use the media as a vehicle to manipulate us and pit us against each other; calling it democracy. While calling what the other side is say unpatriotic. On top of that, they present false information as fact; in part because they themselves have grown up with the same lies.

The Plutonamy is threatened by only one thing, a united educated people; a people who can disagree, without fear and hate; a people who base these disagreements of philosophy and problem solving on facts, not propagandized fictions. However, we are not enabled and we have not empowered ourselves to be these people, unless we take a deep breath and look with clear eyes at our own egos and ethics. Trusting each other and not the bull we are being fed.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Healthcare: Half-Empty, Half-Full

Tonight will be one of those nights where you peak in on your emotional investment only to wish you had buried it in the sand for another long while.  And if, and when it matures you now know you will soon be either satisfied or unsatisfied, but not based on the results, but based on your glass half full, glass half empty persona.

This health care “reform” process has taken liberty with our abilities to proceed on principle.  Everyone involved has sacrificed their moral stance and the results will reflect this.  This battle was honestly waged by some for the greater good.  Nevertheless, with it they have used what ethical fundamentals were left as collateral.  This is not a new feeling.  A crucible of short-term and long-term necessities where used to sacrifice other long-term and short-term necessities.  Just look at our averted total fiscal collapse and how we feel now about it.  It still stinks.  I believe in the buck stopping at the president’s desk.  However, it is hard to blame him for the economic and cultural mess we are in.  No mater which direction he turns he will be blamed.  Therefore, he has done what we do as a nation, thrown it right down the middle and gambled that more people will see the world as half full in the aftermath.

This is a decent bet.  As I have written before we are stable, because of our natural affinity to being middle class in the middle type people.  This cultural and economic reality have played the most significant role in our stability and longevity.  Nevertheless, it has also made us complicit in the manipulations we are subject to and the resulting controlled chaos we are amerced in today.  As “Muse’s” song Uprising has captured our attitude our actions remain far removed from those that birthed this great nation.  In the end, this may prove to be a good thing.  As Joe Scarborough inferred the other day, most of us will wake up when this healthcare bill is passed and still be alive.  However, this attitude may also prove to be our world’s demise, keeping us moderately tuned to our commitments to resolving our issues. 

In the history of the world, we have not been faced with a more dire forecast of our environments future.  The truth is as individuals we can do things to change the environment, but we are either conditioned or in reality we cannot do enough to hold back the tide.  We know that it would require governments big business, and religious leaders to work coordinately with sincerity to accomplish saving us from global warming.  As a consumer and voting mass, we maintain some power in effecting that change.  But the truth is it has been these large entities that have been orchestrating our manipulations.  Apparently for so long that they are unaware of this fact, it has become an instinctual action in the institutions to manipulate our communities away from coordinated efforts to solve world problems in order to further institutional growth.  Communitarians and Individualism will for foreseeable future be at odds, maintaining a moderate existence serving the manipulating unconscious efforts of our institutions hubris, until we adapt or it is to late.  A dire proclamation, considering I am glass half full type.

In Michael Lewis’s “The Big Short” we find high drama in individual stories, but the biggest revelation to me was the reality that the institutions were unaware they were orchestrating their own downfall.  In addition, well all know the government stepped in deeming them to big to fail.  Perhaps saving us, but in such a way that corrupted our ethics and ignited our rhetoric.  A rhetoric that has been easily carried over to healthcare, an issue that if done correctly in the most significant way contribute to lessoning the negative impact of the economic collapse.

Since we are all winning and loosing in this healthcare bill on a most basic level what are the gains and sacrifices?  I am not sure all is know yet.  Much of this is a gamble. 

I would be remiss in stating first that the vast majority of this bill’s ideas on policies original sources are Republican.  Yes over time, Democrats have found it politically exspediant to adopt these ideas as much as Republicans have found it politically beneficial to stonewall policies they came up with.  The process on both sides of the isle have been so toxic, that we may find that subsequent congresses continue to manipulate their rules and the constitution in order to “win.”  Democrats who have been weak and naive in enacting meaningful policy change, have taken this time to adapt ethical standards that mirror their advisories.  The crumbling highroad has been demolished.  This was a congress that set out to bring ethically reform to the institution, but the extreme circumstances, and their own human ethical fallacy proved to strong. Republican’s like the wolf they are found opportunity in obstruction and false characterizations that serve to undermine their own agenda while obstructing “actual” will of the people.  If this year has not been an argument for term limits and actual transparency, what has?  Democrats now get to sate they are as strong (corrupt) as Republicans (at least in carrying our Republican agendas) and Republicans can say they believe in doing nothing.  Not exactly, the deficit reducing small government we all wish was a reality these days.

More people will have healthcare, so at least that goal will be met.  Most of the discriminating polices that contribute to cost cutting or higher profits for Insurance companies, but ultimately contributed to the higher overall healthcare budget.  This increase of coverage will result in less emergency visits for PCP care and increase preventative and conservative treatment of our populace which should result in lowering cost while increasing quality of care.

There is an exchange and some price regulation by the government, so that may prove to provide competition that results in some cost cutting.  Insurance companies gained a lot with the Mandate, but I wonder if they will be forced to lower cost also by the lower of the penalty for not having insurance.

The CBO has projected a substantial deduction of our national debt while only increasing taxes for the wealthy.  Something that is morally appropriate, but still an issue of conflict based on some very principled arguments.  If we can enact a budget that is deficit neutral and a pay-go plan then we may be able to retain sustainability.  One step I would take would be to end our wars and reduce military spending while marinating a strong deterrent and improving our intelligence efficacy in the guidelines set out by the freedoms garneted by the constitution.  This militarily isolationist approach (another truly conservative approach…not a perversion that we see in the Republicans now) could prove to be more effective on the war on terrorism then current policy.  Don’t get me started on the urgency of this threat. I digress.

Medicaid expansion and Medicare fixes are important, but not even close to as effective as had been suggested through the process.  It is watered-down.  Seniors and the needy will see modest but important improvements.

Small and Moderate business employers will see modest improvements, but nothing as good as originally advertised.  It may fall short of improving their ability to survive the current economic conditions.  If the exchanges are effective, it may save the small business however.

The issue of Abortion, I feel as someone who is pro-choice, but concerned about the number of abortions and a practical person, I am concerned about the debate of abortion in this legislation.  What is most alarming is the diverse interpretations of the language and hope this is not representative of the opacity of the overall language in the bill.

Most of what is in the bill will not take effect for 4 years, well after political shift occur.  So who knows what will occur.  This is a purely political reality.  The good news is the discrimination against kids will be immediate.

This patchwork, that the political climate has barely been able to withstand, particularly with the self serving pool of elected officials we have, and the lack of honorable, intelligent and valiant leaders, may still prove to be just enough to accomplish most of what it set out to do in helping reduce cost, and expand coverage and fix ethical issues in our medical system.  However, three huge issues were not addressed.  We did not make coverage universal in quality (perhaps not even in affordability or coverage).  We did not reduce the deficit all the way.  Moreover, the one that drives me crazy the most, because it was hardly addressed and could be the most significant elephant in the room.  We did nothing to change the way in which doctors are paid.  The reason the quality is good in some places and horrid in others.  The reason we have a shortage of medical providers in some fields.  The reason costs are so bloated.  The reason this entire thing is a mess, is because we pay doctors to do procedures, not so solve efficiently and effectively patient problems, while considering the realities of chronic illness and the need for focus on quality of life and patient productivity in these cases.  Until we deal with that, we are just putting a band-aid on it.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Covered Submission Rejection

Original by John Byrne for Marvel Comics
My Rejected Submission to 
(...don't hold against 'em, I pushed it with the Disney angel...
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