Sunday, August 28, 2011

Manha de Carnival

Baseball? Football? Hell no, the American national pastime is snark, that kind of idiotic cynicism that makes the worthless hunk of big city, small minded protoplasm feel wise and worthwhile.

No, I didn't wake up this way this morning, but I did go looking for live streaming of the remnants of TS Irene on her way through New York. I do, after all have friends and relatives in the area and as of 10 AM today it looks like it won't be all that bad for those not foolish enough to go surfing or walking out on piers to see the waves as idiots are wont to do to the delight of the sharks.

No, what got to me were the endless comments from people using their good fortune to scream the usual brainless things about the inaccuracy of storm strength predictions. Ha, ha, ha -- the worst case scenario seems not to have occurred and as the first licks of wind began to affect the wormy apple, the giggling about the "experts," the government and their liberal inadequacy began.

So perhaps there were ten good heterosexual Christian people in the greater New York area and so God, who as you know is in control of all natural disasters affecting America, decided to spare the city. If so, that small group isn't evident in on line news commentaries. But God or no God, hurricane strengths are subject to too many variables to be accurately forecast so the smart person, the person who has been there, done that and had the T-shirt ripped off his back by the wind, ignores the giggling and prepares for the worst.

There aren't a hell of a lot of New Yawkahs who remember the storm of 1938. Even in Florida in 2004 the locals, many of them from New Yawk were smirking and snarking about the silliness of taking Francis seriously. It was fun to see them lined up at FEMA in their big Republican cars waiting sheepishly for food and water. Many of them no longer have houses in my part of Florida after a cat 2 and a cat 3 hitting the same town in the same month. Even so, in the following year some were still talking about Chicken Little when Wilma was predicted to be a weak Cat 1 yet by the time it came down my street, there were big oak trees rolling like tumbleweed in a Western movie and tall palms flapping like overcooked pasta or being torn to pieces and I still can't sleep through a storm for remembering the deafening noise of that storm.

So keep laughing you smug, know-it-all New York nitwits. Keep telling us we don't need FEMA or the National Weather Service or any silly thing that sounds like government -- just don't go looking for help when the looters come to your door, if you still have a door or are floating out to sea on the remnants of your house after a phone pole came through the wall at 160 MPH. Go have a Tea Party meeting in the soggy rubble stinking of drowned rats and dead crabs and tell yourselves about the every-man-for-himself paradise that comes from having no "government programs." I'm 800 miles away and it ain't my concern.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Cracked Obelisk

" Ladies and gentlemen I don’t want to get weird on this so please take it for what it’s worth. But it seems to me the Washington Monument is a symbol of America’s power, it has been the symbol of our great nation, we look at that monument and say this is one nation under God. Now there’s a crack in it, there’s a crack in it and it’s closed up. Is that a sign from the Lord? Is that something that has significance or is it just result of an earthquake? You judge, but I just want to bring that to your attention. It seems to me symbolic. When Jesus was crucified and when he died the curtain in the Temple was rent from top to bottom and there was a tear and it was extremely symbolic, is this symbolic? You judge."

-Pat Robertson-


Beside the fact that this contemptible idiot is low enough to compare Washington DC to Jerusalem and medieval enough to insinuate that every shake rattle and roll this planet has experienced in the four billion years it's been around indicates the anger of God, besides the fact that this worm thinks his hate is God's hate, he presumes to speak for me and for America in general and that's unforgivable.

No sir, and I use that title in a contemptuous way, I don't think of a nation under God when I look at that monument and I'm certainly old enough to remember when the Knights of Columbus inter alia twisted Eisenhower's arm into bastardizing the children's pledge in 1954. I think of a victorious general and of the first president of the first secular democracy in Western history -- a man who asserted that this is not a nation under Pat Robertson's God or anyone else's.

Like some prehistoric shaman, squinting at goat entrails and attributing every meteor and comet and eclipse to angry but invisible entities for his own detestable profit, Pat Robertson always has a list of grievances to air when any natural process is noticed. Those grievances seem to have little to do with denouncing evil even on a gigantic scale, as God never shook his finger at Hitler or Stalin or Pol Pot or Tomas de Torquemada for that matter, but only at the failure of our secular government to assume the aspect of God's enforcers in private matters - like love - that this black-hearted abomination can make a career out of raging about.

It's not of course that this tin-horn prophet is alone, nor is it restricted to pseudo-Christian pretenders like Robertson who have decided that tolerance for love's many forms is God's main obsession rather than injustice and oppression and exploitation or even murder. Yahweh, the Hammer of Homosexuals.

It's an insult to God, an insult to America; to freedom, to Democracy, to secularism and religious tolerance and all the other things our country actually is "under." This of course is the Worm who told us that God had no power over plate tectonics when the tsunami hit the eastern Pacific not long ago, but yes, I'll judge and I'll judge you viciously. I can't shake the ground or crack monuments and I'm too furious to crack jokes but because God is always silent and never says the same thing to different people: because divine retribution is indistinguishable from random natural events, I will judge you myself, weigh your words and find you wanting.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Tea and Reason

Rick Santorum: the whole line-up of Tea Party candidates -- can't stand to listen to them, not allowed to drown them in a cesspit. What's a patriot to do?

We have all the 'important' Teabagger candidates now segueing smoothly from condemning the president for action to laughing at his inaction after he acted contrary to their threats and demands and tantrums. Santorum, in case you haven't heard, was quick on the draw in assuring us that President Obama was an "indecisive" man who can't take any credit for the fall of the Libyan despot, Moamar Gaddafi and his sons. Obviously, an Obama success; a mission actually accomplished, must not be allowed to interfere with the program of sabotaging our country, its economy, its prestige and anything good we ever pretended to stand for.

Of course, people who admire vermin like Santorum; Tea people who call their jive talking, hate stinking, subversive jihad a political party, aren't biologically capable of asking themselves why Obama was to be impeached just a short time ago for being too decisive by assisting NATO in helping Libyan rebels to overthrow the government -- but by having done so is "indecisive." Like other satanic saviors who come to mind, the lie's the thing. Keep saying it, shouting it repeating it, blogging it, blasting it from the Foxhole relentlessly around the clock and it becomes true. The steadfast become indecisive, the brave cowardly, and anyone who isn't an outright thief becomes a Communist.

One doesn't need to walk on water to be seen as a savior to these atavistic genetic accidents desperate for self esteem. One needs only to be a bigot, a fool a scoundrel and a bastard. (No offense intended to people whose parents never married.) Frankly any person who tolerates and supports such anti-American Tea Party idiocy is doing more than trying to make the president fail so they can put a moron and a crook in his place, they're assuring, promoting and cheering the failure of our country. Remember, the only difference between reason and treason is a T.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Gap

Does it matter that a real, bona fide conservative Republican like historian Bruce Bartlett thinks the Texas Governor Rick Perry is an idiot? Not really, and face it, Perry is the kind of idiot that appeals to the kind of Americans who somehow have taken control of what passes for dialog today -- or at least have drowned it out with their idiocy and superstition. Like making a copy of a copy of a copy, Perry would be the blurriest and least readable page in the Bush dynasty: George III

I confess, when I heard that pathetic American primitive condescending to a schoolboy, telling him that Evolution is a theory that has gaps in it, my first comment didn't contain words nearly as polite as 'idiot.' But upon further reflection, I can see a lot of gaps in Rick Perry and I'm willing to bet that there are gaps between his synapses big enough to hide all the creation myths of the world, not just the one it's profitable for him to accept as truth and enforce as a standard on the rest of us. Sadly his misunderstanding of science is as great as his ignorance of economics and history and. . . well it's a very long list, because Rick Perry is an idiot.

But the Fed is "treasonous" says Perry and not because it actually is in any way, by any definition of the term, but because it provides yet another enemy for the Teadogs to bark at and makes him a leader, a dragonslayer, the Great Stupid Hope. It's treasonous because it delights the swamp critters and desert rats and mountain men; the losers and lamebrains, the anger addicts and the addlepates. The people who eat fried butter on a stick and watch Fox News love to see anyone so brave as to tell them suits and them college boys all about how there weren't no universe 7000 years ago -- because it makes the ignorant feel they're important, that they have a cause, that the world belongs to them.

Rick Perry's audience doesn't really know what the Fed is or what it does or how capitalism works or what Socialism is. Understanding genetics and evolution is as far beyond them as the level of wealth disparity their gullibility supports, nor do they question the Tealords when they're told the stimulus package didn't work or that entitlement programs and NPR and Planned Parenthood have bankrupted the country or that an extra few grand in my pockets will create US jobs. They believe this idiot when he tells them that Evolution, like gravity, is "only a theory." They believe because it justifies their abject ignorance and lets them pretend. In a part of the country where half the population couldn't manage to graduate 4th rate high schools it's a matter of pride to identify with one's idiotic, back of the schoolroom, tobaccy chewin' peers and so we have Rick Perry being taken seriously as presidential material, hell bent to destroy the country just to prove that "idiots rule."

Why is the Fed treasonous rather than timid and inept? Because as Bartlett points out, the Fed may be the only entity not yet tied down by the Lilliputian Teatwits. The only entity with any possibility of getting America to spend again, to bypass the political fatwa imposed by the Republicans occupying Congress like squatters -- to get those countless billions sitting in corporate coffers flowing through the capitalist system to create demand which creates jobs, which create growth. But discussing elementary economics with anyone like Rick Perry is like discussing calculus with a hamster -- and that's a gap that will never close.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Fantasy Islands

There have been a number of great social experiments since the founding of the United States of America as a secular republic whose legitimacy arose from the consent of the governed rather than the approval of some leader presuming to speak for God. It's too soon to know if it's been entirely successful.

If the Ayn Rand style social experiment envisioned by young venture capitalist Peter Thiel ever gets off the ground, or more accurately if it floats, since it's to be conducted on an artificial island, we may get a more definitive answer in a much shorter period of time, or so I suspect. Thiel, the fellow who helped found Paypal and Facebook, would like to construct a series of floating city-states in the Pacific where the 'principles' of Ms. Rand would be tested. They would somehow be established along "strict libertarian lines with a minimalist government free from the regulation, laws, and moral suasion of any landlocked country" says Details Magazine.

How a technology-intensive creation such as a floating city could be built without rules puzzles me since the builders and owners would in essence be the government and a government responsible only to its investors like Thiel and Patri Friedman, ultra-Libertarian grandson of economist Milton Friedman and the brains behind the idea. What sounds Libertarian on the drawing board may be corporatocracy at sea -- or perhaps just a bunch of little boys whose adulthood has been stunted by their massive wealth, playing Peter Pan. I have to wonder which one is Wendy.

And of course, the islanders wouldn't be randomly selected from the teeming masses real America is composed of, if I'm guessing correctly, so perhaps the Island of Randtopian Objectivist Dreams wouldn't have to deal with the real world's most intractable problems nor would any lessons learned about the value of living without the burden of altruistic responsibility be worth the effort. Think of a Petrie dish with a Plague bacteria culture. One might never know the dangers it presents since the vectors that spread it aren't present as it sits there peacefully digesting its agar.

Our country has long been home to many social experiments, some of which have withered away either by banning reproduction or lack of further interest by the participants. Some have gradually turned from the founding principles and melted into the larger American pot. Some are alive and growing, even if slowly changing. But a few thousand rich and aggressive millionaires on an oil rig without "government intrusion" forcing them to treat others in the way they'd like to be treated might be an interesting experiment, but what would the results actually mean in terms of conducting that kind of experiment outside the Petrie dish: in a nation of 300,000,000 rich, poor, healthy, sick, young, old smart, stupid, people with varying degrees of neurosis? Would the experiment mean anything at all if everyone there were so wealthy that the normal concerns and normal needs of normal people never manifest themselves?

Beats me, but this is an experiment proposed by young billionaires full of enthusiasm and self-esteem or should I say, overweening egotism. The real problems of real life are far away from their experience and all too easy to associate with other people and dismiss as the "bad choices" lesser people make. Far too easy to move away from to a fantasy island where disease, suffering, old age and bad luck fear to tread and the good times always roll like those long Pacific swells.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The thrill is gone

You probably missed it, what with all the screaming and yelling that passes for news these days, but they've given us new, higher Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards for 2016. Here we go again.

Paybacks may be a bitch as people are wont to say, but unintended consequences of half thought out measures are worse. It was the first round of government standards that gave us those big, dangerous hunks of steel we call Sport Utility Vehicles; an appellation I still can't endure without a smirk. Yes, sure, the 1948 Willys Jeepster was an SUV, but when the gummint told the auto manufacturers they had to sell more low profit, low performance and soulless austerity vehicles like Chevettes and Pintos, they cynically took unwieldy trucks and gave them womb-like upholstery. Just the thing to prowl pot holed city streets booming like thunder and sucking up the gas. Enter the Hummer, exit sanity.

No telling what will emerge after 2016, but don't look for some significant breakthrough in engine efficiency. Yes, today's engines make a lot more power per unit of displacement and use less fuel to do it, but making them smaller, much more complex and winding them harder has about run it's course and it's a course that didn't always include driveability. Further improvements have to come from something new, like hybrids where the familiar reciprocating engine shuts down and restarts all the time ( and don't ask what that does to engines.) Electrics have limitations you can't dream away and that means the bottom line is smaller and lighter and slower and maybe a much shorter useful life. That might mean more trucks as an alternative - just like it has from the beginning.

Don't concern yourself with improvements in that thrill of driving 'cause there ain't gonna be none. When I think of the car of the future, more miles per gallon seems like less car. Think Europe. Think Fiat Panda, think pain, think sack cloth and ashes. Don't think aerodynamics, stability, transient response, acceleration, speed or braking performance; think skinny tires, high center of gravity, tiny wheels and lots of electronic gadgetry to make up for your lousy driving ability.

Of course, being a government agency, the EPA isn't staffed by car lovers and it it's saddled by obsolete rules that weren't set by engineers and never got around to being changed. I think of how in the 1930's we began to mandate "sealed beam" headlights because they were better than the prevailing bulb/reflector type. I remember how the technology soon made them obsolete too, but we were saddled with them for decades afterwards to our detriment.

The same applies to the EPA mileage ratings. In short we no longer drive the way the politicians assumed when the rules were set down -- if we ever did in the first place. EPA mileage tests assume a rate of acceleration so painfully slow that it would result in horns honked and shots fired. That gives tiny engines a test score advantage that doesn't apply to real driving. They assume a top speed of 60MPH, when the average on my local highways is over 80 and suburban traffic rolls along at 60 but stops every 200 yards. Don't forget that air resistance increases with the square of the speed, so rolling boxes: SUV's 'Crossovers' and the like seem not to be as awful as they really are and low, sleek, slippery sports cars seem worse.

Although brief stops are included, the results do not include time spent waiting at lights. That can, in urban and suburban driving account for half the time you spend behind the wheel. Some cars use much less at idle - or none at all, while some gulp down the gallons, but the EPA rating doesn't notice. Air conditioning use is at least a 10 month thing here, but again, the EPA doesn't bother to factor in AC efficiency either. So what we're likely to get out of this knee-jerk environmentalism is more of what we have - or much less if you see it my way.

Perhaps it's like the SAT tests: accurate at measuring things that may or may not matter. Perhaps that's why my boxy, 1.5 liter PT cruiser gets nowhere near the highway mileage my 6 liter Corvette does even though the EPA figures are similar, neither does it run 12 second quarter mile times or do 190MPH. It can't cruise around town at 800 RPM and still give you whiplash when your mood changes. The cars this new CAFE standard will produce? It's not too likely to be something my grandchildren will prize 30 years from now when most things are throw-away consumables like beer cans and Bic lighters.

But most of all it doesn't howl like the bloody wrath of God when you need to get that pushy little Beemer off your ass, or that cowboy idiot in his pick up truck is sniffing up your tailpipe like a dog in heat or that hiphop box of brain dead teens with plastic wings and a cartoon face. It can't come off a 1G apex at 6500 Mother of God RPM, tires on fire and screaming Glory Hallelujah either.

But it'll be "green" like astroturf, as exiting as a Lawrence Welk polka and it will get you there, sealed tightly in a steel safety capsule breathing canned air as you transport your dead soul across what used to be America but is now the land of "you can't have that any more - or that, or that."

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Turkey in the Straw

What does the Iowa Straw Poll really mean as an indicator of who might actually be the chosen Candidate to bring about the "end of an error?" I really don't know, but it proves that the extremist barn dance is still the thing in Iowa. I'm referring of course to the the fact that, although the lineup (or the menagerie if you prefer) included all sorts of wild things, the Minnesota Gobbler herself came in first. Here's the list as published in the Huffington Post:

U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.): 4,823 votes
U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas): 4,671 votes
Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty: 2,293 votes
Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.): 1,657 votes
Former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain: 1,456 votes
Texas Governor Rick Perry: 718 votes
Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney: 567 votes
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich: 385 votes
Former Utah governor Jon Huntsman: 69 votes
U.S. Rep Thad McCotter (R-Mich.): 35 votes

Neither Romney, Gingrich or Huntsman campaigned actively and Rick Perry had announced his candidacy only shortly after the barnyard gates were closed. All of them were thus at a disadvantage, but you'll notice that Ron Paul was only a half step and a do-si-do behind Bachmann. Perhaps Iowan Tea Tipplers think her 'holy roller two-step' dance gives her that ol' show-time religion shamanship the straight-talking Dr. Paul lacks.

Who knows? But it seems Rick Pawlenty is adding 'former candidate' to ' former governor' on his resume. He announced on ABC's This Week with Christiane Amanpour this morning that he was scraping the muck off his boots and going home.

Once again, I have no idea what all this means and who will be the great Republican Hope come next year. I do suspect that if he or she wins, the much wished for end of an error will be the beginning of a disaster.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Gimme that old slime and religion

The Republican circus' Big Top is beginning to fill with snarling dogs, rooting hogs and booming frogs fighting to get into the center ring -- the kind of things once relegated to side shows so as not to frighten young children and more 'sensitive' viewers.

Rick Perry is, as I write this, now announcing his candidacy from the State of South Carolina, where the First Civil War started with the booming of cannons 150 years ago. The Cold Civil War is heating up and so is the rhetoric. Rhetoric just as emotional and just as full of vain invocations of the common divinity. "It's time to get America working again" he says as though his party hadn't presided in ZERO job growth in the eight Republican years and as though we haven't had significant job growth since. Has Perry suggested anything positive or anything other than blind faith in what got us into this mess? Remember he's the guy who thinks the climate responds better to prayer than to carbon dioxide levels. So far it's still not raining in Texas.

Not all the candidates, however, are quite so willing to engage in such a pitched battle on an even field. All the likely female contestants for instance -- like Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann and Newt Gingrich seem to prefer to come out slapping and eye gouging but should anyone be so unfair as to ask such inappropriate, unfair "Gotcha" questions as "which newspapers do you read" or just what Mrs. Bachman meant when she said:
"But the Lord said, 'Be submissive. Wives, you are to be submissive to your husbands.' "

Perhaps since she wears her religion, not only on her sleeve and on her shield like a crusader, but constantly suggests the superiority it gives her along with the right to make peremptory statements about how the rest of us live our lives, it's an appropriate question. It's the same Question President Carter asked of the Southern Baptist Church and not liking the answer, quit the church in which he was raised and spent his life. She'd have us believe she only meant "respect" contrary to the literal word she's so eager to worship. But she didn't say respect, now did she? Nor did the word of God she thinks she's quoting.

Suggesting both that it's offensively inappropriate for anyone to ask clarification of Bachmann and that her explanation would be far too nuanced for us heathen to understand, we have Roland Martin writing on today.

Martin tells us she was asked by Byron York:
"As president, would you be submissive to your husband?"
Forgetting the "Billary" gambit directed against Bill Clinton, Childe Roland hesitates not a bit to be offended on behalf of Biblical literalists and for the shy, sensitive and ever-so-subtly nuanced Bachmann who brought the subject up in the first place.

I don't know how old Roland Martin is; whether he remembers the Republicans' question as to whether John Kennedy would obey the Pope instead of the Constitution or whether like the other hand-waving, special pleading, smoke and mirrors artists he can only take refuge in fog shrouded ineffability when someone asks a damned good question he wouldn't hesitate to ask of others.

It's a question asked only because she's a woman, asserts Martin rather tautologically. After all, men aren't ordered to obey their wives in the old books some people confuse with the US Constitution. Apparently he thinks men aren't even asked similar questions about the conflict between their beliefs about the the legitimacy of government, their credos and their ability to administer secular laws in a secular country they may disapprove of.

He's quite wrong of course. These questions are asked and not just by me -- and they are important questions to ask of a party that is insisting in ever louder voices that secularism is a problem and that the country rightly belongs only to those with suitable church affiliations.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Queen of the Damned

And, in few words, I dare say; that of all the Studies of men, nothing may be sooner obtain'd, than this vicious abundance of Phrase, this trick of Metaphors, this volubility of Tongue, which makes so great a noise in the World. But I spend words in vain; for the evil is now so inveterate, that it is hard to know whom to blame, or where to begin to reform.

(Thomas Sprat, The History of the Royal Society, 1667)


When I got my copy of Newsweek yesterday; the cover showing Michelle Bachmann looking upward as though reading a celestial teleprompter, I fired off a letter similar to the one I wrote when Sarah Palin became the cover girl not long ago. "Indecency or obscenity can be difficult to define" I said, "but I recognize it when I see it."

Somehow, her supporters saw it differently, condemning the wide-eyed lunatic pose as having been selected by the "liberals" to make her look crazy, but scanning the web for other photos, I found it hard to find one where she doesn't look like a two year old who has just, to her great surprise, soiled her diaper -- but that of course, is only my opinion. No offense to incontinent toddlers is intended.

Her stance on "the evils of Government" as the headline blares, is harder to see as being other than obscene unless it's the indecent dishonesty behind her rhetoric that pushes your particular buttons.

I have to wonder: if Democracy is so inherently bad, what kind of government would she then prefer? If Government itself is the enemy of freedom, who or what could be the ally? I have to wonder if the government is really broken or is she trying to break it to prove her point?

Making big noises in Kansas about an oppressive government that makes tyrannical rules about what kind of light bulbs to use and destroys our freedom by inspecting meat, she certainly begs the question of why she nonetheless promotes a "faith based" government that tells us what kind of sex we can have and with whom; promotes poisoning the well if someone can get rich doing it, which encourages us to pray rather than to fix our problems and to be a nation of individuals who owe nothing to anyone.

Then there's also the question of the deceit involved in taking government subsidies under false pretenses and using one of them illegally to fund prayer sessions in the guise of psychotherapy. Really, if we can't call her crazy, what other excuse can we make for her? Ignorant? Malicious? Greedy?

It's a two tier government she dreams about, with one set of rules for 98% of us that exist to preserve and increase the capital and the power of Corporations, Plutocrats and Theocrats. Of course no one with any understanding of Capitalism and what makes it expand would recommend policies that shrink the numbers of people whose spending makes Capitalism work while the one-percenters send capital and jobs abroad, but what made you think the Teabaggers are Capitalists in the first place? The kind of Randian, take the money and run Utopia these people claim to envision is Feudal as well as futile and self-destructive. The rabble-rousing and specious rhetoric smells more of the Brown Shirts and Bolsheviks than Tom Paine or Tom Jefferson.

Of course those who follow the Tea Party Queen like the mice of Hamlin, should be intelligent enough to realize that not only do we not have an oppressive, confiscatory tax situation, but that very low marginal rates inevitably produce bubbles and busts as they did in the 1920's and at the end of the last decade. They should recall that the years of low debt and high prosperity were the years of high marginal tax rates. They should be smart enough to see that all that extra cash in already deep pockets does not create US jobs, but inflates the market and makes hedge funds flourish - but only for a while. They should be, but they're either too ignorant or too stupefied by the pied pipers of the radical right. But like the Shadow, Bachmann knows what rage lies in the hearts of men. Unlike the Shadow, she's hell bent on making a buck for her backers out of it.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Damned if you don't

Even in the mean, scummy world of American presidential campaigns, there are few examples of behavior more scurrilous than the personal attacks on Barack Obama and his wife and children. Central to the defamation were the attacks on his religion, descriptions of which which ranged from radical Christian anti-white crusader to militant, anti-Christian Islam. Of course these attacks are ongoing and virulent even while such a potential candidate as Mitt Romney is feigning shock and dismay at what seems to be a largely non-existent attack against him and his Mormon affiliations.

In a lurid article at Politico, titled Obama Plan: destroy Romney, Ben Smith and Jonathan Martin try to convince us that the Obama campaign staff is planning unconscionable and personal attacks on Romney's religion and character.

Shocking, I know. That sort of thing never happens in America and Republican campaigns never, ever fabricate stories about the war records or terrorist affiliations or high crimes or foreign influences or membership in weird religious cults or even the citizenship of their opponents.

None the less, there was an anonymous source or two we must trust as well as we trust the journalistic integrity of Politico. It's just political reality, says the article. He can't campaign on accomplishments so he has to get dirty and therefore he's already dirty. Seems logical even if it isn't actually the truth, much less fair or balanced reporting.
"And so the candidate who ran on “hope” in 2008 has little choice four years later but to run a slashing, personal campaign aimed at disqualifying his likeliest opponent."

No, he has little choice so he's already guilty of what we predict he will do: he'll be as bad as we Republicans. Those dirty Democrats want to go after Romney's poor record of getting rich while eliminating jobs as CEO of Bain Capital, for instance. They'd like to portray him as "weird" and personally awkward, and even stiff, perhaps like John Kerry was said to be by his GOP opponents. That's slashing for ya! And what about 'Romneycare' in Massachusetts?

Weird. It's a word used often by Obama campaign headquarters we're told. " there’s not a lot to like about Mitt Romney,” said Pete Giangreco who worked on Obama's 2008 campaign;
“There’s no way to hide this guy and hide his innate phoniness.”

Calling a candidate a phony just for being against what he used to be for? I mean how far below the belt will they punch? An "unidentified" source even suggested that Romney's personal awkwardness might turn off some voters -- outrageous!

"In a move that will make some Democrats shudder, Obama’s high command has even studied former President George W. Bush’s 2004 takedown of Sen. John Kerry."
says Politico. I admit - I'm shuddering, but with laughter.

Of course the Romneyites are already calling Obama "disgraceful" for doing what he hasn't done but they predict he will do since they've backed him into a corner -- and their outrage is justifiable. What could be worse, from a Republican perspective, than Democrats doing what Republicans did? And not actually having done it is no excuse! What could be worse than interrupting the personal attack on Obama with an attack on Romney, even if the personal attack on Romney as a "weird" Mormon is a fabrication?

But perhaps here's the grounds for impeachment they've been looking for since the day the oath of office was administered (improperly, they say.) Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) told a Tea Party rally that impeachment "needs to happen" but when asked for the grounds, he had to dissemble since bribery, treason and such things are hard to substantiate in the absence of guilt. Hey, use your imagination, Mike. Just predict he will!

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Right but wrong

You could fault Ron Paul for stating the obvious, but hey, somebody has to do it. Should the country try to save it's triple A rating with Moody's? Why bother when those helium-filled bond ratings proved to be based on politics and greed and by giving investors false confidence, helped precipitate the market collapse of 2008?

“I always wonder about this ratings, the bond ratings before the crash three years ago wasn’t helpful, so sometimes I wonder if it’s political theater to build up the fear.”

said Dr. Paul on Bloomberg TV yesterday. Of course it is, but is he doing the same thing?

But I'm not sure that I agree with the rest of his assessment: that the country is insolvent and bankrupt and got that way by excessive spending on the health and welfare of Americans. It's a bit like telling your spouse that the family could go to Disneyland more often if they weren't saddled with life insurance and a retirement savings plan, but I don't think one can rightly compare the financial problems of an individual or a family with the problems of a country in such a simplistic fashion.

One becomes insolvent and enters bankruptcy because one's income is insufficient to be able to manage one's debt. An individual does not always have control over how much money he makes; can't always find a job, can't always be healthy enough to work, can't always pay medical bills.

That's not so with a government. Our revenue shortfall is in some large part voluntary; an effort to "starve the beast" by thwarting its ability to run programs that the electorate voted for. That attempt is also a bit of political theater with a lot of smokey pyrotechnics and a bit of dramatic hand waving involved so as to obscure the fact that very low taxes on large incomes do not raise revenue, by magic transfer from the people who put much of their incomes into hedge funds and equities to the people who spend most of their incomes on food and shelter.

So yes, Social Security, a government program that did much to create the Middle class and take tens of millions of older people out of abject poverty, is going to run out of funds eventually because they're going to make it run out of funds so that they can do away with it. So yes, it's also political theater designed to create fear and panic, but perhaps the word 'theater' isn't quite strong enough. I'd call it a scam.

Thursday, August 04, 2011


I'm constantly deleting political diatribes from my in-box that begin with wild claims about something the "liberal press" isn't telling us for nefarious reasons. Nearly always, it's already been in the headlines or never happened in the first place, but here's a story that doesn't seem to be getting enough exposure, considering the rants and tirades coming from Rush and Fox and other people trying to twist the Oslo massacre into something that shows persecution of Christians, whom we all know are never, ever violent -- not like those amoral Mao-loving Stalinist Atheists and devil worshiping Kalashnikov-carrying Muslims.

According to a new Gallup poll, when asked whether they're against violence that kills civilians, Muslims are most likely to answer in the affirmative at 78%. Atheists and agnostics are second at 56%, while only 38% of Protestants and 39% of Catholics would agree with such an affirmation of the value of human life.

Let me repeat it for the benefit of the many-headed beast: over 60% of those who identify as Christians, the overwhelming majority of Americans, will tolerate the slaughter of innocents versus only 22% of Muslims. Would I define all of these people as Christians - or Muslims for that matter? No I wouldn't, but that's hardly the point. It's wrong to absolve people with such a hypocritical ploy. Neither the Torah, the Bible nor the Quir'an ever killed anyone, but there is enough in them to provide a template, an excuse, a justification for nearly any abomination.

My long standing opinion that there are hardly any Christians around still stands and among that few, many would tell you the others weren't Christian either - as history proves, but applied to the question with us today: "is this a Christian Nation, based on Christian principles?" I can insist it's not. To the question of "are those alleged principles the best and only way" I would try not to laugh and offer the suggestion that we could use a large dose of Muslim and Humanist principles if we'd like Jesus to smile upon our arrogance, hypocrisy and pretension.

When asked whether it was justifiable for "an individual person or a small group of persons to target and kill civilians," Muslims still were far more likely to be 'Christian' about it with 89% answering in the negative and Christians again coming in last, behind the godless infidel. Can we begin to understand that the ancient religious wars between Christian, Jew, Muslim, pagan and infidel have little to do with anything good.

Of course, to attempt discussion using terms like justice is like juggling water, but in my opinion, the enormous industry that scripts our opinions for us is showing it's hand here -- or bloody claw, if you prefer. If you want to know why we are the way we are regarding placing blame for violence and hatred, I might speculate that Muslims and Atheists and free thinkers aren't likely to be watching Fox or to follow Beck or Limbaugh or their hate filled and dishonest rants, while those who call themselves part of the Religious Right often do.

A year ago, a Pew Poll found that only 30 percent of Americans in general have a favorable view of Muslims. I think we know why and I think we know who is behind the unrelenting defamation: burning books, carrying signs in the street and opposing basic freedoms for Muslims in America.

After all, who has the most to gain from vilifying infidels or anyone else trying to oppose replacing secular law with Gospel Law? What are the goals of people who condemn humanism and those who assert their reverence for human life?

I have no doubt that the Religious Right will have no choice but to ignore these numbers or attack them with some neo-Ernulphian malediction and a chorus of Liberaiberaliberal and there is less than no doubt that they'll never give up on the notion of their special privileges and special, God-given right to dictate to all of us, lashing out at enemies they create for the purpose of distraction and ignoring the casualties.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

With patriots like these, who needs Osama?

You may agree with Florida Governor and former Medicare pirate Rick Scott's oft stated opinion that regulations kill jobs. You might also be an idiot. But at least, our skinhead governor, AKA Fourteen Felony Rick, energized by getting away with no punishment after his company scammed the taxpayers out of the better part of a billion dollars and lost 2 billion for his stockholders, doesn't make national policy based on dangerous and hollow credos and thinly veilled criminal enterprises.

We have to leave that to the Congressional Giggle Gallery and Anarchist Marching Band. In their haste to slash anything worthwhile the government does in order to prove that the Government does nothing worthwhile, they forgot to fund the FAA.

Maybe Ronald Reagan would smile at this second assault on air travel safety, but maybe even the Gipper would gasp at the notion that regulation of air traffic and air carriers is inherently bad. Firing air traffic controllers because they were understaffed, ill equipped and overworked seems questionable, but at least Reagan had the decency to fire them outright rather than just deciding not to pay FAA employees. Airport inspectors (who needs airport inspectors?) are now being told to charge their own expenses to themselves if they insist on being such parasites and after all, that mysterious bony hand will assure that the airlines will do a better job of tightening the wing bolts when nobody is watching over their shoulders.

So far this idiocy has claimed nearly a hundred thousand jobs in the last couple of weeks. Let's not even think about the threat to public safety and call it Personal Responsibility instead. After all, you really don't have to fly.

Speaking of idiocy, is there yet anyone so despicably demented, deluded and just plain dumb to insist that firing people creates jobs? They hope there are that many Teaheads of course, since they'd like to shift responsibility to the air carriers on the theory that foxes do the best job of watching hen houses and do it cheaper ( and maybe pass the savings on to Congress.)

What the hell, let's just forget to pay Congress, cancel those benefits and pensions and privatize the whole snake pit. I mean, it's essentially privatized already and the HMO's and the oil companies and the Telecoms can pay their damn benefits.

But let me make this clear to those who inevitably try to avoid blame by saying "both sides are guilty." The Republicans did this. The Democrats tried to stop it.

Let me explain why. For each week the FAA isn't on full duty, airlines pocket about $200 million from bogus ticket fees — because, thinking you don't know what's going on, which if you're a Fox Following Teasmoker is a safe bet, the airlines hiked up prices and are pocketing the difference. If the Corporate Aristocracy is happy, the lackeys are happy and if the public is broke, so much the better - they'll work for less. Such is the Genius of idiots.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

As They Like it

Wake up, little Susie, wake up
Wake up, little Susie, wake up
We’ve both been sound asleep, wake up, little Susie, and weep
The movie’s over, it’s four o’clock, and we’re in trouble deep
Wake up little Susie
Wake up little Susie, we gotta go home.

-Everly Brothers-


I'm relatively sure that our new "save your way out of unemployment, no job needed" austerity program will stifle the economy and thwart any meaningful recovery and that a good share of the people who held the gun to our heads to push this sorry debt ceiling bill, not only know it too, but desperately want that outcome so as to help push the Tar Baby out of office and privatize the presidency in 2012.

The Tea Terrorist Great Leap Backward may not let 20 million people starve as Mao Zedong's Great Leap Forward did, but it's not only not going to put bread on the table, for many of us, that table may be a park bench.

Victory is so close they can almost taste it. Unemployment is so high so that millions don't have the money it takes to be heard, don't have the money it takes to buy the products that make the economy expand -- but corporate profits are up -- way up. Call your congressman? Write your Senators? Sorry Charlie, teabags come with strings attached and unless your letter is stapled to a million dollar check you might as well save the postage and stationery.

Corporate profits are up, and that's OK. We're selling overseas and manufacturing overseas and American workers are redundant -- and face it, America and what we used to think of as the American way of life, the American Dream, is a millstone around the corporate neck. It's a global economy now and global corporations owe no allegiance to the United States even if they're nominally American companies. They will use every strategy they can to avoid paying taxes in the US or benefiting workers who can be replaced and exploited cheaply in China and India. We're witnessing one of those strategies today. The only people not in danger of being outsourced or laid off or screwed out of benefits and pensions are the legislators and judges and corporate propagandists on the payroll and sorry, little Suzie Teabag, that ain't you. Wake up.

Now all that Social Security money and that Medicare money go right back into the economy, purchasing goods and services immediately. Minimum wage workers spend every dime they make. Nobody hoards food stamps. They don't want that. They don't want money in your hands, since it's money that might give you some political power, since it's money they could sit on and hoard and invest abroad with no taxes paid. Think it will go to creating American jobs? Are you stupid?

Your taxes aren't going down, theirs is. They're not creating any jobs you're eligible for or would accept, and your cost of living will be going up as the Dollar shrivels like Limbaugh's penis and your freedom and your rights and your privacy and your political voice and your retirement plans are dissolving in the rapidly rising water.

And they like it that way.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Listen up, you Tea Party Bastard

For between true Science and erroneous doctrines, Ignorance is in the middle.

-Thomas Hobbes-


“the credibility of the United States is now surrounded by uncertainty.”Said Fareed Zakaria on AC360. I don't think so. That the reigns of power have been grabbed by a malicious minority for whom the successful defense of a failed and disastrous economic theory seems damned certain. That even a very large majority of voters have become so removed from participation in decision making is so certain that the Tea Party inmates now dance with idiot glee on the site soon to become the grave of our country. For after all, has that 3% taken off the adjusted gross in excess of $250,000 not been the reason we all did so well during the Bush administration? Wasn't it the reason that private sector job growth was at 0.0% for 8 years?

What remains quite certain in my mind is that the stated objectives of the hostage takers are not to be taken at face value, yet, even if we do, the premise behind it all is a lie and smells accordingly. The real but hidden objective of course is a feudal society out of the sick dreams of Ayn Rand, where a handful of powerful people are unimpeded in their greed and everyone else is destined ( and designed) to serve them while subsisting on their crumbs and leavings. But, these scams, these lies, these frauds are still the fundamental props of that Tea Party scheme, a scheme shown to fail even more quickly than Communism does -- and we're allowing our erstwhile democracy to fall like Jericho to a mob walking in circles and blowing loud on a horn.

"The imbecile bourgeoisie of this country make themselves the accomplices of the very people whose aim is to drive them out of their houses to starve in ditches"

-Joseph Conrad-

Upper bracket tax cuts do not create jobs or prosperity except for a very, very few individuals and that prosperity comes with a crushing burden on the rest of the populace. While the fake Libertarians rhapsodize about not ever asking what they can do for their country, Mexico sits there demonstrating what it's like when a handful with all the money are absolved from responsibility and often even from the law.

A healthy Capitalistic system, a system that fosters job growth requires discretionary money flowing through the hands of consumers and the "agreement" we now seem to have had forced upon us takes it away while granting favors to a privileged class who spend proportionately less on consumer goods, thus weakening the economy. We've had thirty years of the continuous failure of this long con, although, thanks to the ownership of the 24 hour propaganda system by that privileged plutocratic class, we've forgotten.

The rich man will not hire people to build anything while most of the country can't afford to buy them
and as a shark requires moving water to survive, a capitalist economy requires moving money.

Tax cuts do not pay for themselves with increased revenues. much less do they pay for the longest and most expensive wars in American history. We have now had three wars in three decades, all sold as self-funding and the lion's share of our debt is attributable to our having to borrow the funds from abroad to pay corporations who do not pay taxes rather than paying for it. The war that pays for itself in booty is a stinking lie. How much more proof will it take?

Tax cuts for the wealthy do not create jobs, nor boost the economy, nor boost revenue. Only a small fraction of the extra cash in deep pockets makes its way back into the economy and nearly all of the cash from entitlements and paychecks of middle and working class families does -- and quickly. For each Porsche or Ferrari or yacht bought with that extra tax bonus, for every stash of Krugerrands or condo in Marbella, 10 families, maybe 100 families would have bought cars and washing machines and refrigerators and school supplies and some might have bought hamburger instead of cat food. Their money returns to the economy instantly. Yet every day we hear lying voices shouting about "job destroying taxes;" shouting so loud that we forget that our most prosperous and fully employed years featured high marginal rates.

Marginal rates below 50% seem to precede recessions. Don't believe me, look it up and the biggest debt increases have been under Republicans for a very long time -- most spectacularly under the misrule of Bush and Cheney and don't tell me you were against it at the time, you weren't.

“Reagan taught us that deficits don't matter”
-Dick Cheney-

This isn't Obama's recession, it belongs to all of us and Obama's biggest "spending spree" was in his first year, operating under a budget and tax scheme passed by Bush. It's as if Congress bought the yacht under Bush and because Obama had to make the payments, pay for the dockage, maintenance and fuel, he's the spendthrift.

The biggest increase of the debt ceiling in the average American's lifetime was under Reagan, the second under Bush, 200% and 90% respectively. Both presidents created recessions. Clinton raised the debt ceiling 44% and raised taxes and we had record high employment and the longest period of expansion and prosperity - ever. Funny how you told us his success was because of Reagan and Bush the First, but on the day of his inauguration, it was "Obama's recession."

26% under Obama so he can pay "the troops" and keep our contractual obligations -- and the reeking, ignorant unwashed rabble take to the streets and storm Congress screaming about impeachment and the biggest spending president ever since the beginning of time.

"Joy to great Chaos! Let Division reign"


But you won't learn, you won't be honest, you won't stop protecting your fantasy, even if you have to go down with the ship you're scuttling. So keep giggling, keep your nose in the air -- keep talking about tax and spend Democrats and bleeding heart Liberals. You'll bleed too and there will be no one to help, no one to care.