Thursday, July 28, 2011

Outcomes Matter

I know there are actually a pretty fair number of "progressive" US Senators and a good percentage of House Democrats are as well. This, of course, depends heavily on what progressive means (or hell - Democratic). I'll get along with some generic generally understood "progressive" rather than a named Caucus, still a doubtful exercise, but one has to start somewhere. Anyhow, I'll just postulate that there is a pretty large percentage of national Democratic legislators who could be called progressive. Now that's thrashed out...

You might think that would have some meaning. You'd be FOS if you did. Take a look at legislation passed. What the Democrats managed to do was to pass a previous decade or two GOP legislation. Now, the Democrats only control the Senate and the Presidency. The President manages to advocate for the stuff of one or two decades previous GOPerism. Sure, I have the luck to live in Oregon and having 4 of 5 House members as Democrats and passably progressive to go along with Sens Wyden and Merkley and all that means is ... well, what we've gotten.

It is easy enough to see that President Obama is far less harmful to Democratic ideas than any of the GOPers and I suppose that can be presented as a reason to vote for him. There is a problem with that, the Democrats tried that in 2010 and to a significant extent it didn't work (a whole bunch of Bluedogs found out). The President I worked for and voted for in the Primaries and General has turned out to be the best of the bunch and about what I expected (a bit more of what I expected, maybe). When you toss the reality of LIEberman, Bauchus, and Nelson you get something that you have to try pretty hard to call Democratic. It comes down to the most important people in the room are hardly recognizable as Democrats and you get what we've gotten.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The President and Speaker Spoke

And what did we get? The President almost kicked the GOP in the teeth all the while proposing GOP policy. The Speaker managed to start out with lies and then a major FU. It seems that the GOPer policy of holding the economy hostage will either succeed or kill the economy. Somehow we're supposed to believe that something Democratic will be included in this while the President takes the GOP approach called the Reid plan with no revenues.

Maybe you can start to understand that we're not talking about pissing off the Left, we're talking about doing the GOP dirty work and calling it compromise. It is not compromise to do what the other side wants, period. This was a speech by a Democratic President? This is a proposal by a Democratic Senate Majority Leader? I won't call compromise a dirty word, but I'd call this a dirty deal by cowards.

Where the hell does that leave most people who'd call themselves Democrats? (I don't mean my lefty friends) As this plays out I am assessing my affiliation. I don't like what I'm watching.

Wanna Make Any Bets?

So after all the bullshit around the debt ceiling ends, what will that look like? I have no faith that anything that looks remotely Democratic will be the outcome. If that is how it goes, who gets blamed?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Bachmann And Migranes

The Daily Caller (no link, ever) published a bit of a hit piece on Rep Michelle Bachmann's migranes. Of course this went all over the internet. It seems she controls this debilitation with medication, as do many others. If you're new and drawn in by the 'google' let me assure you that I think Bachmann is a clown with an attitude - no I don't like her.

The "Caller" is a GOPer organ so one has to wonder to whose benefit this story was designed for. I don't think those enthralled by Bachmann's craziness would be much put off by such a story, but considering the publisher and their agenda it is obvious that it is supposed to work to some one's benefit. It is pretty safe to doubt that Mittens is their guy, and Pawlenty is a bit too soft for them. I'd guess this is an opening salvo for the TexAss godliness governor Perry. There is no way Perry and Bachmann can share the same oxygen in a GOP Primary - they simply split that god-botherer vote and marginalize each other.

Tucker Carlson's vanity publication going after Bachmann says something about the state of the bunch running as of now and how the GOP feels about it. The shapeshifter Mitt doesn't do much for the GOPers other than to assure the monied interests that somebody will look out for them with some modicum of sanity. Pawlenty has proved he couldn't punch his way out of a wet paper bag and the rest are just jokes. This means Bachmann, in the absence of someone else, starts to look like a credible player in the Primaries. Barring a serious mishap for Obama, Michelle looks so poor against him as to cost the GOP not only in a General Election in 2012 but in future elections and that might be the why of "migraines."

If the idea of this is to benefit Perry, you really have to feel pretty amused by what passes for the GOP in today's world. Oh hell, you have to be amused by them or be horrified - anyhow.

Debt Ceiling Resolution?

Since I've managed to carp pretty strongly about this "budget" resolution to the debt ceiling I'll go ahead and step up with my predictions of how it actually goes from horrid to just bad and unlikely.

Horrid is the one where House GOPers manage to put us into defualt. I'm sure the plutocrats don't want that, but how much leverage they have with the lunatics is open to question.

The next one in the steps up from lunacy is where Democrats let all the pain fall onto those who can't take much more resulting in nothing in results to deficit - essentially a cave to House GOPer near loons.

The least likely outcome is a ceiling increase without strings, or one that makes it appear that the President is responsible (McConnell). The only way this happens is if the plutocrats make it clear to the loons that they'll crush them flat for not letting it happen - and making them believe it. It might be best for the nation of all alternatives, even if it is correct.

Oh hell, I'll be more clear. If it would be good for the nation as a whole it has no chance and if it is good for corporatism and plutocracy it is likely. Without a major shock to the electoral system that is the course set for us. Since Congress and the President have managed to kick the can of the BushCo tax cuts down the road this day has been coming - quicker and quicker - and at some near point reaching this kind of debacle for the simple reason that the US was spending way too much without revenue.

Look, between wars, corporate swilling, and waste the tax revenues have been way short for quite awhile and this recession pushed the whole show over the brink. I have never been and am not much in the line of a deficit hawk but everyone saw this coming and it can't go on and ... we'll continue to pour money into Middle Eastern Wars as though nothing else matters. Even raising taxes won't do the job any more so stuff has to be cut. The question is whose ox gets gored in the cut regime. The answer, my guess is, whoever can't afford lobbiests and doesn't vote regularly. There ya go, we're really screwed and the recourse seems to be handing the tiller over to the lunatics or more of the same GOP policy dressed up as Democratic policy.

Chambliss And Nelson ???

So John King of CNN has Chambliss and Nelson on as champions of the "Gang of Six" plan? That is just wonderful, Right and Righter as champs. Maybe you can figure out why legislation today winds up to the right of '70s GOPers. You got a health care reform plan right out of the GOP opposition to Hillary Care that is now Obama sCare and banking reform that is that in name. Go down the damn list and tell me why I should listen to a single thing Nelson has to say as a Democrat.

Democrats will define themselves for pretty much a generation with what they do. Wanna make any bets?

If you think the plutocrats will be in the least inconvenienced by anything Chambliss and Nelson won't oppose or that the poor and working class won't get the knife in the process you are an optimist of real proportions.

OK, I'll hold fire ... for awhile. I know DC gives a damn if I just up and quit.

BTW - "Gang" is probably charitable as an appellation.

GOPers And Debt

The GOPers seem to be in hostage taking mode or in the position of dead hostages don't matter. Either position works for opposing Democrats. Now it does seem as though almost all economists are scared spitless of default and yet a good sized piece of the GOPers are stating publicly that it just doesn't matter. Another piece simply don't seem to be able to follow the numbers from the BushCo tax cuts sufficiently to have reason get into play.

The dead hostage bunch likes to make the case that the President has the ability to decide who gets paid, which is true. The problem is that a ten percent whack to the GDP will result in a serious crash no matter who gets paid what. They will tell their ignorant true believers that the crash happened because the President made the wrong (ie socialist) choices. They win with their nut-base no matter what when the crash comes.

The hostage takers are betting that the President and Democrats will blink (or more correctly swerve in the game of chicken). What they ignore at their peril is that Democrats would be committing electoral suicide to swerve. Not just some, but almost all of them, and the polls are real clear. They also manage to ignore that doing anything about the deficit without taking back some of the gifts to the plutocrats is impossible. Electorally the consequences to them depend on whether they can continue to successfully play their "job killing tax increases" mythology to their base and some "middle" voters in the face of what history says since BushCo did it.

It is my guess that the President and a bunch of Democratic legislators believe some sort of reason will seap into the ranks of the GOP. I see a complete lack of evidence of such a thing. Most of us have zero ability to do anything to prepare for the consequences of a failure of that optimism. It seems the results will be either a car crash involving a tree or a long fall off a cliff depending on default or cave in and the same 27%ers* will be cheering - despite what happens to them.

*Those who'd be crushed by drastic cuts will also continue to not vote - either from GOP disenfranchisement or apathy. The GOP** knows it and counts on it.

**So do the "Ben Nelsons" of the Democratic world.

'Faux' :News Corp And Murdoch In Trouble?

You'd get the feeling from watching the news lately that 'News' Corp might be in a bit of difficulty over the junk they got up to at News Of The World over in England. It certainly has stirred up the Brits to find out just exactly how corrupt the relationship between their government and Murdoch's Empire has been. Now, it certainly is a valid question to ask just how it is that it has taken this long. Consider that they have published headlines claiming credit for the election of a party?

The Brits and their political parties have pretty much just plain ignored real obvious evidence that something has been broken for some time. Once you face up to that, you find that what broke things loose was a specific piece of wrong doing - not the fact that the system was flat out corrupt. It just isn't a problem that Rupert Murdoch runs their political system, it is about a dead girl and hacking.

According to Murdoch, himself, the problem was with 1% of his empire. He's shut that down and shifted the business to one of his other papers at the cost of 200 some jobs. Pretty much meaningless in terms of business. The BSkyB purchase may be off the table for now; and that is now. At this moment politicians are running away from their buddy Rupert, but neither he nor his empire have gone away, the back door to 10 Downing or whatever will still be open once the furor dies down. Keep in mind that everyone is looking right now and that won't last.

The horrifying consolidation of media in the US continues, essentially unopposed by anyone with actual power. Only the most blindly stupid don't consider NewsCorp a defacto GOP enterprise - or possibly the GOP a defacto NewsCorp enterprise. GOPers and FauxNews fans still consider the NYT and WaPo and ABC, CBS, and NBC to be liberal news propaganda - despite their corporatist fluffing exercises and stenography as balance.

Short of some memo from Rupert approving bribes and hacking the "I had no idea" crap will carry the day. Too many politicians in this and other countries owe NewsCorp big time and the public doesn't want truth or fact based analysis since that might challenge their ideological mythologies. The masters of the universe know that control of information is the trump card in dominance and the public flatly doesn't give a damn as long as they're not challenged or crushed in one fell blow.

Rupert and NewsCorp will be just fine and will continue to win the GOPer hearts and the rest of the media will continue to be useless to informing the public because those who care about it have power and money and those who'd oppose it have squat. Maybe if everything just completely crashes...

Not even then, bet ya.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Motorcycle Service Fun (Sarcasm)

Some of you know that I own an FXSTSSE3 and that I ride - a lot. (in English that's a 2009 Custom Vehicle Operations Screaming Eagle Springer Soft-tail) Riding a lot means that Harley-Davidson's 2 year unlimited milage warrantee expired this mid-May and the bike just rolled over 40K miles. That expiration means that I feel free to do my own maintainance. I know a company can't make you use their service centers to honor warrantees, but I also know that this is an expensive bike that gets way more miles than Harley anticipated and conversations that start and end with "your people are the only ones who ever touched it" cut a lot of wiggles out. Yes, I own the actual Harley service manual for that motorcycle.

So, back to my tale. I am mechanically adept, I am damned good with tools and with reading, understanding, and following instructions. I cannot do anything with the computerized bits but that is outside the perview of service. Some of the service is complex, partly because the bike has a springer front end but it isn't beyond me or anyone competent. The last service was done while I was on the road back from FL and it seems that somebody managed to not understand torque specifications. To change the oil in the primary case you pull the drain plug in the bottom and then remove the primary cover to replace the oil. The drain plug was no problem, the #27 torx head screws in the primary cover were an issue, well ... two of them were. The specification are 84-108 inch pounds which isn't a lot. The top two screws refused to move with a hardened tool steel socket and 1/4 inch rachet. The torx grooves on the top one simply started going away, even with tapping with a light brass hammer and that is what it took for the next one left to it. The top one took being driven loose with a chisel, a bad thing, but I did get the cover off and the oil replaced. I will have to replace those once I can get to a dealer. I was not happy.

The next problem point was the oil filter, no filter wrench I could put on it would budge the damned thing. Not the light rubber strap wrench which should easily have removed it, and not even the Harley wrench borrowed from a local motorcycle shop. This filter is to be torqued 1/2 to 3/4 turn from gasket contact by specs. That is a bit more than you could manage with your bare hand, but it isn't a heck of a lot. I wound up driving a screw driver into the filter and cranking on it - not once, but three times for a total of 3/4 turn and then the Harley wrench barely got it off. At that point the gasket was squealing as it turned. I don't know how much beyond gasket contact that thing was turned but it was a lot and with holes through the side of the filter a lot of oil ran out on the engine.

The engine and tranny in these bikes go through a very wide temperature range, they get darned hot and they are subject to vibrations and that is a consideration whenever messing with one. But way tighter is not way better. This is what Harley publishes torque specifications for, that difficult environment. By the time I was done with these problems I was pretty unhappy - swear words were involved.

The oil all looked good which in nice and having nice fresh oil in the bike is very good - and better yet, I won't have this mess again.

What Did Anybody Think Would Happen?

The jobless numbers went up last month because the jobs added simply were well short of population growth. The stark part was the break out between public and private sectors. The private sector added 60K jobs and the public sector shed 40K getting a net of plus 20K.

Low tax rates on the rich have not resulted in jobs, not since GWB got them, vast profits for favored industries have not produced jobs, in point of fact the housing bubble was the job driver for GWB while everything else went to hell. Why people can't manage to see that the GOP policies have not produced spit is beyond me.

The actual numbers exist that demostrate that the GOPer policies are bad for the economy and bad for the general citizenry and yet... well, we're talking about the damned debt ceiling and crashing the economic clown* car.

*if you don't think this economy deserves that level of derision ... well ...

GOPers And Their Pledges

Michelle Bachmann got herself into some hot water with her signature on the Family Something Pledge thanks to its reference to black children being more likely to be raised by two parent families under slavery than under Obama. It is a part and parcel with the GOPer Grover Norquist stupidity in relation to taxes. To be sure there is a lot of other noxious stuff in the pledge she signed, just as there is in the Norquist idiotology.

What they seem to see is the hanging plum of getting a segment of voters on board without seeing the actual meaning of the stupidity they're signing onto. To be sure, a Christian Taliban may not seem like a problem to a Bachmann just as subsidies for targeted favorite companies aren't a problem for some. There are consequence, though.

I don't think potential Bachmann voters are much bothered by the slavery thing or the rest of it and I don't think potential Paul Ryan voters are much bothered by hedgefund managers paying less tax percentage than actually poor people. The problem for the GOPers is that these folks get to be their public face to a public that might pay attention.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Democrats Will Define Themselves

Thanks to the bullpucky argument about the debt ceiling (this is debt not new expenditures) the deficit hawks and others in the GOP will force Democrats to define themselves. I'd say it is the case that Democrats don't want to define themselves as shown by their behavior over the past couple years (or hell - decades). I don't suppose there's much debate that the GOPers have defined themselves as the Party of Theocracy and Plutocracy with their voters opting for one or the other of those defining features.

While the Democrats have shown little inclination (through results) to do something other than coddle the Plutocrats, there has been a continuing mythology that it is the party of the ordinary citizen. What the GOPers have managed with the debt ceiling nonsense* is to force, through the application of a gun to the head approach, the Democrats to actually take some kind of public stand. It seems the GOPers are unwilling to let them weasel out of the defining business.

What I have decided to do is to let this month's nonsense play itself out and see just how the Democrats do define themselves. Since they've already caved to the idea that the existing debt/debt ceiling is the budget I don't have a lot of optimism for what that definition is going to be.**

*you can certainly include WI, OH, FL, & ETC

**certain definitions could make me willing to join the the ranks of "as if it matters"

Don't expect much in the line of posts... Heh - you already don't.