Saturday, September 29, 2012

Romney Shrugged

One casual observation I suspect of having some merit  is that people who complain a lot about some failing in others are covering up something similar in themselves.  Perhaps those who make such a constant noise about large numbers of our countrymen being freeloaders while covering themselves in self-adulation would give weight to the conjecture. Are they really getting a raw deal?

One certainly does hear more than enough fiction from the Republican Party's candidates about welfare queens driving Cadillacs and the stifling of initiative that comes from subsidized school lunches and perhaps a bit less about subsidies for business interests and of course, now we have that abominable new straw man, the 47%.

It's an American habit, and not just a Conservative habit, to dismiss, and often angrily dismiss any discussion of  factual support for political arguments and particularly examples of how our assertions fail to be born out in other countries, so of course those who support Mr. Romney for reasons known only to their subconscious minds, that 47% of Americans do not make enough money at present to pay Federal Income Tax are happy to frame that in terms of government dependency.  

Of course, as with most things you hear from Romney and Ryan, it's not true at all, finely crafted as the rhetoric might be and as effective in pushing that American middle class self pity hot button. As Ezra Klein pointed out in the Washington Post not long ago, the taxpayer supporting a family on $40,000 a year may not pay Federal Income Tax, but he's paying tax on every dollar he makes while the fortunate one ( excuse me, the selfless job creator) making $4,000,000 is likely paying  less than 35% on the whole chalupa.  As Klein says, it's phrased that way to make it seem only fair to give a break to those heavily burdened 'job creators.'  What it's not supposed to do is to remind you that the $40,000 'freeloader' is paying payroll tax on every dime up to around $100,000.  So when you look at the total family tax bill, it seems quite a different story.  The numbers make liars out of a lot of people and the burden is being shouldered by the rich and poor only it's the poor and the struggling middle who can't pay their bills because of it.  Taxes aren't cutting into the caviar budget, they're making it harder to buy the canned tuna and hamburger helper; harder to pay for college, harder to pay those ridiculous medical bills and harder to buy those new cars and appliances and houses that are the real job creators.

Not 47 percent paying nothing, but everybody paying something, and most Americans paying between 25 percent and 30 percent of their income.  Where are the freeloaders?  Where are all those hordes of freeloaders eating up the hard earned dollars of the job creating Galts?  The taxpayer earning a hundred grand pays more than the one making over a million and the poverty stricken have to pay 20% of their miserable $25K all of which they need to spend to stay alive.  Is it difficult to refrain from bad language and malediction when listening to such damaging lies?  You bet.

So they're lying of course and as usual. The total tax burden is far more equally distributed than the Republicans want you to believe and one might make a case that the people crying loudest about freeloaders are getting a better deal then they would like to admit. Perhaps there's some hidden guilt involved, perhaps not.

There is no more factual support for calling nearly half of us freeloaders dependent  upon government subsidy than there is for Ryan's 3 hour marathon times and in reply to that cynical bumper sticker I saw yesterday sneering "4 more years?  Are you out of your mind?"  Why no sir, I'm not and I'd remind you that neither intelligence nor honesty are more equitably distributed in the world than money. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sin and Atonement

Today is Yom Kippur and being an atheist and unobservant Jew, the fact that I remembered is unusual for me.  A collection of ritual and remembrance and appeals for mercy to some doddering old imaginary reprobate in the upper troposphere aren't the sort of things I often occupy my mind with, but for the random musings I sometimes indulge in on gray mornings such as this. 

I don't know all that much about the origins of  this holy day.  Vague memories from childhood religious school attempts at indoctrination, involve the guilt of pretending to be Christian following 1492.  I'm not sure it's quite true, but then even the true myths aren't quite honest, are they? Besides that was a few years before I was born and I never pretended not to be a Jew.

Anyway, Judaism is hardly unique in being soaked to the bone in feelings of guilt and sinfulness and the feeling of remorse for things that need not produce it; things that often never happened. There are sins we get from sexual thoughts not approved by authority ( few are) and sins we get from mythological ancestors who didn't exist and couldn't have committed them. That's more of a Christian thing, of course and even if a childless, non-Christian God might forgive you ad libitum and with regard to your subsequent actions.  We can't avoid it though, even as Jews, and prophets from time immemorial were there to tell you that every misfortune you'd think God would have prevented happened because -- well just because you're steeped in sin. Whatever happens, there's always a prophet there to cash in by blaming it on sin and with his hand out for offerings.

People will tell you that prostitution is the oldest profession, but of course freedom to exchange favors didn't originate until some priest, some prophet, learned to control his tribe by threatening them with some imaginary god; by inventing sin and selling a way to make it go away.  Give part of the hunt to God by letting the priest eat it, support your synagogue and maintain the kind of ethnocentrism needed to support the clergy and government by expiating the guilt, atoning for the "sin."

And sin, almost by necessity, has nothing to do with  harming anyone.  The original sin had to do with disobedience to arbitrary command ( he's jealous by his own admission, remember) and in particular the disobedience involved in learning about morality -- taking moral decisions into one's own hands as one takes a piece of fruit into one's mouth. It involves a forbidden improvement of our human lot for which we will be punished -- unless. . .  Upon that unless is many a church founded.

So if you're a Jew, you may be afraid not to spend today hungry and thirsty and miserable, chastising yourself for committing all those sins we surely must have committed  but not necessarily reporting to the police or the IRS or our spouses so that old whoozis in the clouds will let us live another year and you'll do it in full knowledge that there's no correlation whatsoever between ritual, sin, expiation and living another year.  After all we've made decisions and had thoughts the priests and prophets, rabbis and our relatives didn't decide or think for us and  Yahweh-in-the-sky-with-lightening wouldn't approve of us making all by ourselves.

But of course, this is a Jewish holiday, observed by many Jews simply because they are Jews and feel in need of that sort of identity for one reason or another even if it's only to set them apart from others with their own ways of expiating their innate feelings of unworthiness.

CNN's Belief Blog asks us what we are atoning for, and some of the answers gave rise to this post.  One sad response was about pushing his sister down the stairs and blaming it on the dog. Another pointed out that as a Catholic, she atoned for her laziness and impatience, as though she somehow owed some cosmic entity much hard work without asking for any return. (40 days longer than those flaky Jews as she pointed out) Perhaps that lack was somehow as bad as pushing someone down the stairs, but I'll leave the ranking of sins to the self-appointed experts. All I can do is talk about the harm one does to another. Perhaps therefore, an apology to the sister would do more good than religious ritual or the profession of a credo, but I fear an apology to the dog would be as effective in obtaining forgiveness from the infinite and uncaring cosmos.

Then of course was the writer who tweeted:
"I don't need to atone for anything. Jesus Christ already atoned for every wrong thing I've ever done or will do."
I don't know if he or she was standing on a pedestal while tweeting, but that's how I imagine it.  Forgive me if I find that to be dangerous and arrogant and a rejection of moral scruple and if I cannot imagine any mystic process by which the execution of an ancient political and religious dissenter  would free one of moral responsibility (or any trace of humility) but that's religion for you.  Chum the waters with fear of unavoidable and dire consequences and then offer a hook with a way out wrapped around it that's so entirely meaningless in moral terms it can't be dealt with by appeal to fact or reason and perhaps only with Tertullian's 'Credo quia absurdum' which, being in itself absurd really doesn't deal with it anyway.

So anyway, I'm a Jew and it's Yom Kippur and even though there are countless things I'm sorry for having done or not done, my thoughts are my business and I go where they lead me and I don't expect special favors or indulgences for not eating bacon or sewing a cotton shirt with linen thread or any of the 600 some odd commandments or for not atoning for things that never happened or can't be made better or be undone because I don't matter all that much.  It all comes to the same thing and our Earth will boil away and our Sun die and the universe disperse forever into the cold and dark and all our gods and atonements in vain, time without end.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Smoke some Tea with Bruce Tinsley

Life provides some tasty moments, even in lean  and hopeless times: delicious little bonbons like the news that the Romney campaign had to borrow $20 million last month and is still $11 million in the hole. Of course that wouldn't have happened if it weren't for that socialist Obama.  Say, maybe he can pay off that debt by cutting costs and quitting now!  Nah, he'll have to raise some revenue by going after the very, very, very rich.  Irony is sweeter than Tupelo honey.

But it's the disconnect, the discontinuity at the interface between reality and the wild and hyperbolic hurricane of principle and theory and doctrine and ad hoc explanations that makes these things so sticky, gooey sweet.

I had to laugh today at a newspaper comic strip called Mallard Fillmore that illustrates that discontinuity; bashing Obama and Liberals and free thinkers so desperately, it's obvious that Bruce Tinsley the perpetrator, has long since run out past the boundaries of the real into a world of his own where Obama is falling in the polls and Tinsley has some far better alternative to offer, but don't ask. 

Humor from the alternate reality where Bush's failures were Clinton's fault, where the Bush economic fundamentals were 'robust' and where paying off Bush's unprecedented spending spree means the debt is Obama's fault.A reality where the government cannot create jobs but that Damn Obama isn't creating the jobs we demand.

Hey, I'm four years older than I was four years ago.  Damn those Liberals!

No, sorry Tinsley, you never were funny. Bitter, angry and a bit delusional and really a bit pathetic certainly.  You've been very wrong for a very long time and you need to recognize it.  You get printed so that the papers can pretend to be balanced, so that their corporate owners can be told that their viewpoints are being served and so that the barrel scrapings, the scab picking, booger eating, shack dwelling, debt ridden 98 IQ dregs of hung over humanity might buy an occasional paper and find something they have the vocabulary to read and feel good about themselves that they too can hate that Damned Obama just like you -- find an anger bigger than their own to unite behind.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Those people

You're going to hear a lot about it today and I have to admit, there's a smile on my face this morning.  It's not because I put a lot of store in some stupid remark that may or may not be a window into the true mind of Mitt, but because I've been hoping all along that the sheer arrogance evidenced by the ballooning buffoonery of the Swaggering Right would be their downfall.  After all, it's damned hard to step carefully when you're goose-stepping. Looks like Mitt has done just that -- stepped right in it.

"There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent on government, who believe that, that they are victims, who believe that government has the responsibility to care for them. Who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing."

 Said Willard M. Romney, thinking he was still in an age when you could say things and the words would just fade away.

Romney was, of course flattering his audience as politicians always do; flattering people who like to think of themselves as special because they make or have or have inherited a good deal of money - or people who certainly would be rich if it weren't for all those freeloaders and Democrats. Build up their self-esteem,and a  good way to keep up that head of steam is to look down on others. And so Mitt reminded them that his job is not to worry about those people, which is a sideways way to say his job as president would be to worry about these people, his wealthy constituents. Remind them that Obama supporters are just looking for an excuse to pick their pockets.

And should any be troubled by Marley's chains rattling in the background, Mitt is there to remind them that those people don't rate sympathy because they all think of themselves as victims, because they depend on the largesse of the large-assed assembled patricians.  Don't worry about those people. His concern is with the 5% the 10% who are thoughtful, not the ignorant under $250K a year rabble with all their cooties.

Those 47% of course don't really live tax free of course.  28% do pay payroll taxes and we're not talking about Social Security and Medicare -- and nearly everyone pays real estate taxes directly or indirectly and we all pay sales taxes. About 17% just don't make enough money or are elderly and dependent -- those whose jobs went to India perhaps or those devastated by huge medical bills, but although there are millions of different stories, it's good to know that Mitt thinks the President's job is not to worry about them.  Let them worry about themselves.  The real problem for a president according to people like Mitt is that he and his audience have to pay taxes.  America is about us.  The business of their president is asset retention and Mitt is here to tell them he's their man -- one of these people.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Off to see The Liz

The Wonderful Magical Apology tour Is waiting to take you away over at Fox News.

"I will not and I will never apologize for America. I don't apologize for America, because I believe in America."
-  Mitt Romney -

"You know, after he went over there and apologized to them, I can't vote for that guy"
-heard everywhere and every day- 

Associated Press Fact Check would beg to differ and the Washington Post agrees that this Wagnerian cycle of Obama's Apology Tour, like Ryan's 'under three hour' marathon time -- a lie.

With the November Elections close at hand, one might expect to be hearing some concrete plans about what the Republicans might actually do about the economy and since we are not hearing some concrete plans about what to do that differ from the deed that got us into this mess, we might rightly expect that, as with Nixon's infamous "secret plan to win the war" the plan consists of  clinging white knuckled to the same course that ran us off the cliff and swept the GOP out of power.  The plan is to keep the lies coming, keep them consistent enough, outrageous enough and nasty enough to satisfy the Josef Goebbels system requirements.  Hey, it works and it got Tricky Dick re-elected.

Yes, indeed -- we all know the debt is enormous and we're told all day and all night that it's all because of  Obama's  never specified 'Policies.'  You know, those policies that have more people on welfare than ever, according to the river of e-mail I get every morning and  which isn't any more true than that he eliminated the  Democratic 'work for welfare' program or tried to keep military voters out of the polls or that "he went over there and apologized to them."  Yes, yes, "the government keeps printing money."  They keep saying it, but then the bills need to be paid and there's no new money coming in thanks to the cuts.  But remember -- for the most part those bills were run up by the President Who Never Existed: George W. Bush who actually told us the bills would pay themselves - by magic. Now why is it you haven't heard Bush quoted or mentioned for quite some time now?  Haven't heard him speechifying for Mitt, now have you?  Bush who?

The most expensive war in American history, the GWB prescription drug plan, the biggest, most expensive agency we've ever had and the large cuts to revenue which for 30 years have been promised as the magic fertilizer from which prosperity grows, haven't grown anything but the noxious Kudzu of debt and never actually were supposed to, since as Co-President Dick Cheney smilingly said "Debt Doesn't Matter."  No, it's true, no new private sector jobs were created during the Bush frat party years, the government ballooned in size and expense and so did the debt and we didn't hear a God damned peep out of Chicken Little who's clucking himself half to death at the moment.  We heard a lot of Liberal bashing though, didn't we?  And the Liberals were right though, weren't they? 

But we're not hearing it, we're hearing about birth certificates, death panels, radical Socialism and magical, mystical apology tours to 'over there' where he apologized to them.  And of course the US has never done anything it needs to apologize for, being the magically mystically greatest country since God created the Earth 5773 years ago today. The Slave auctions to Wounded knee to My Lai, we've always been angels and heroes in our own hermetic consciousness.

You're not hearing that the facts make liars out of the Fox and its friends, that 90% marginal tax rates once presided over prosperity and full employment and diminishing debt, that slashing the top bracket funnels money into the market and real estate and hedge funds and inflated bubbles which bring on busts and recessions. You're not hearing that we're paying less taxes than ever and still after decades it hasn't showed a hint of paying off.

Hell, you're not hearing anything but lies or breathing any thing but the smoke of desperation.  That Colored boy - now he's gone and abandoned Czechoslovakia, that empty suit, Commie tyrant Muslim from Africa! whines Fox News.  That smell? It's the smoke and the stink of desperation. The collapse, the bailouts -- all that began under Bush and the current candidates loved it -- and Czechoslovakia went out of existence 10 years ago before you ever heard of Mr. Obama and his apology tour over there.

So keep believing, as Liz the Wiz Cheney tells us on Fox, how he went over there and apologized to them even though he didn't, because it's all you've got if you're a Romney supporter. It's all you've got. Keep joking about how he's not an American like fancy pants Willard because the smoke would be blown away if you had any memory and were willing to use it. The curtain of slander would be torn asunder and all you'd see is the few dozen wizards burning up millions and millions  trying to make themselves very, very much richer at the expense of your future.

" The president himself has got a terrible record on national security, and it’s clearly something that Gov. Romney ought rightly to be pushing” 

Continued the Liz, as the Fox folk danced down the yellow brick road away from the fact that Al Qaeda is in tatters and the 9/11 planners including Osama are dead and there have been no more attacks on our soil.  Yes, and I'm sure he will be pushing it while bashing the health care plan he wrote and extolling all those empty shibboleths like smaller government and all that religious claptrap about morals and birth control.  What the hell else can these people do when the facts, if facts be remembered, would cast them all into the pit?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Obama killed Jesus -- and a whole lotta other stuff.

Scientists plead for urgent action to tackle the growing dementia crisis

 reads the headline in The Observer. Have they been listening to the 2012 Presidential campaign or watching Fox News?

Brit Hume of the paralyzed face; has the Botox affected his brain or has he been surgically altered so as not to grimace when he dutifully reveals what his corporate masters want you to think: that President Obama sympathizes with the people who  killed a US ambassador and some of his staff.

He loved it, Obama did. He loved it like he loved 9/11, like he'd love to grab your guns, raise your taxes and steal your chickens. He hates America and everything you hold dear and he pisses on the Bible and shits on the flag every morning before breakfast and uses them new smart meters the power company installed to sneak through the wires and  have phone sex with your wife at night.  You know, he does things -- things like the way he 'went over there and apologized to them' and other things, other policies, other histories that only happened in the Budweiser soaked minds of America's demented underclass, straining for some excuse to make it appear that they're not ignorant, demented bigots.

Yessir, Romney was right, just like Mister Brit said -- but Ol' Rom  just didn't say it right so's them libby rills would be satisfied, but hell, ya'll know that boy ain't a real Amerkin. And never you mind that ol' preacher Terry Jones  who went from roastin' weenies over Koran fires to makin' films showing us how all them other prophets like to lick Satan's privates and Jesus hates 'em all.  Just because them pagan ragheads got all exited don't make it his fault or our fault for promotin' him and stirrin' up the good Amerkun Tea Paytry-its in the name 'a righteousness.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Logic 101

Let's say it's because the truth hurts, but I really hate to be taken for stupid by people who don't know me from Adam. I would at least prefer to be given the opportunity to say or do something to prove it.

So they tried to take me for a fool last night. When my Caller ID screen flashed "Opinion Poll"  I was suspicious.  It didn't say something like Zogby or any name I would recognize, so I paused the TV and picked it up hoping to have an opportunity to express my displeasure at the illegally late hour.  I soon detected that "David" from the "polling company" was actually a computer. Didn't take any Holmesian deduction really.  If the Voice on the phone does not stumble or pause at my assertions as to his oedipal relationships it's likely that old Dave is a new Dell.

But I went along, hoping to have my shot, answering that yes, I was going to vote, yes I was certain I was going to vote, am a registered Democrat and no I wasn't going to risk divine retribution by voting for some tin horn torturer  like Allen "deport the commies" West,  but noticing that the questions all compared the Republican Party with the "Democrat" Party, I began to lose patience.

You probably aren't old enough to remember how easy it was to determine political polarity by noting how the speaker pronounced Vietnam. It rhymed with Pete Ham if you were for the glorious crusade to protect American freedom.  Curiously the same dialect discrimination obtained with our invasion of Iraq.  If it was Eye-wrack, you were for it.  But these chuckleheads can't bring themselves to acknowledge the Democratic Party by saying it right and they're too smugly stupid to notice that I might notice. They always and steadfastly and in the face of cannon fire, call it the 'Democrat' Party. 

But I digress. One might expect a careless listener of some intelligence to miss this point, but when Digital Dave asked whether my preference might lie with the Republican plan to create jobs, build prosperity and bring on a new dawn of American world domination in Jesus' name amen by getting rid of crippling business regulation and those unnecessarily Marxist corporate taxes --- or whether I might somehow, perhaps accidentally make the thoughtless mistake of  destroying the fabric of the space-time continuum by letting the top bracket rise to the point where Ronald Reagan shocked us by lowering it -- and voting for the Democrat agenda?

So would you vote for peace and prosperity or for disaster?

Somewhere in a primary school class where they teach basic reasoning skills; ( they do do that, don't they?) somewhere in the beginning pages of Logic for Dummies, there must be mention of forced choice questions. No, I don't have advanced degrees and my Greek doesn't exist. My first grade teacher thought I was not first grade material and I only had three years of calculus in College, but really.  If this reeks of stupid to me, is this the best these bozos can do?

 Somewhere in Hell, just south of the place reserved for cannibals and mass murderers there's a parking spot with a nice tin sign that reads:  THIS SPOT RESERVED FOR THE TREASONOUS BASTARDS AT ELKHURST COMMUNICATIONS.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Cursing God

Men shall clap their hands at him, and shall hiss him out of his place.
Job 27:23

I was going to begin this with "Only in a Godless universe could Chuck Norris thrive" but of course that's not true.  Perhaps there is a God like YHWH who has made another cynical bet with one of his drinking buddies that a nation claiming to be Godly and "under God" and to be possessed of divine virtue and guidance and "values" would reject evil counsel.  If so, my money is on the Paraclete and not on that Religious-Right parrot Norris.

In a  video released this weekend, Chucky Cheesus, with his wig on his head and his wife by his side and looking like a talking armpit, told those foolish enough to watch him that:

 “If we look to history, our great country and freedom are under attack . We’re at a tipping point and, quite possibly, our country as we know it may be lost forever if we don’t change the course in which our country is headed.”

Yes, things like taking care of the old and infirm and helpless children will certainly do that or daring to tax people like Prince Romulus and his Court Jester Ryan as much as we tax my gardener.  If we   dare not to reject the African/Indonesian born Antichrist and his evil plan to salvage Democracy from God's own Ecclesiastical Christian Feudalism.  Indeed, as the nitwit Norris claims:  the only reason the Evil Obama was elected is that God's own martial artists stayed home, doubtless rolling and gibbering on the floor licking rattlesnakes instead of  following the Idiot's Crusade down to their holy polling place to elect a hypocrite whore of a candidate who couldn't remember his own address but was able to parrot anything the Billionaire Electors and pious pimps of God told him to do to gain high office and like Pilatus, serve the needs of Empire.

Yes sir, if the vicious Roman occupation of Judea had had state managed health insurance, Mary would have aborted Jesus for sure said the martial arts messiah, his capped teeth clapping together through his crotch-like facial hair. But not, of course if the Romans had used the nearly identical Romney version.   If this makes your head spin, you must be some kind of heretic who has forgotten the mysterious ways of God. Have you forgotten that the more something stinks of bullshit and deceit, the more redolent is it of  sanctity?

Yes sir, we're in for "a thousand years of darkness" says Norris' familiar, Gena, quoting the Great Buffoonicator St. Ronnie the Reagan, praised be his name -- even though Reagan, blessed be his memory, raised the evil taxes most high and may have cut a deal with the Ayatollah and facilitated the rape and murder of nuns and other innocents.  A thousand years, even though Obama the Unclean hath not done these things nor banned he any sacred guns as did Bush the Elder.  It's not the facts that Damn the evil Obama, it's the "policies" we tell you about in our moronic maledictions but never mention specifically, lest truth intrude.

A thousand years of darkness, perhaps much like the darkness pre-Enlightenment Christian world enjoyed in Europe under the domination of the Church and all its pomps. 

A thousand years of darkness after those Democrats "enshrine Islamic moral codes into US law"  and turn the Boy Scouts gay.

Sure, there could be a God.  He could be hardening the hearts and forcing the stupidity of these pusillanimous Pharaonic pretenders in order to destroy them, but I suggest that  we don't wait for waters to part or for manna from heaven nor should we wait for 40 years to get to the polls. By all means let's not wait for that Thousand year Reich Norris dreams of.  These people are evil and if you don't like such crapulous, worn and loaded usage, lets just call them dishonest, deluded and  demonstrably dumb. When you hear them talk about God, know they're talking about a different entity than you might expect and that the praise of God, in their mouths, is a curse.

Your name, so long the last word of the Savant, the sanction of the judge, the force of the prince, the hope of the poor, the refuge of the repentant sinner,  -- this incommunicable name I say, henceforth an object of contempt and curses, shall be a hissing among men.

-Pierre-Joseph Proudhon-