Thursday, June 30, 2011

GOP Economic Sabotage

It appears that some in some form of national Democratic leadership have brought themselves to the point of stating that the GOP is engaging in economic sabotage. Now, it has been my position since St Ronnie that economic sabotage was being conducted on the American public. That public hasn't been willing to engage in that discussion - not as long as it was the poor, working poor, and blue collar who were getting their throats cut - it seems enough of that public is willing since those reluctant Democrats are speaking up.

You bet, I'm just being mean and expecting waaaaayyyy too much - well other than this - have you heard any of this up until now? It isn't like this is something real new or that the Democrats haven't gone along with much of it all the way up to now. Will it stop here? Hah...

Not Too Many Posts...

You may have noticed a spate of posts and then an entire lack. Some work came my way. Then there is the matter of what has passed for politics lately ... yes I do actually mean lately. I'm more impressed by an elementary playground riot than what is passing for politics over the last couple weeks.

The outrage meter burnt out, circuits fried. Along with the meter the humor reservoir dried up. I'm pretty sure this isn't the first time in our history outside the Civil War that things have gotten this out of hand but that's not much consolation to living in it.

How is it I'm supposed to give a damn about something that is just plain stupid? Sure, I'll wait and see how this summer plays out, but I don't have high expectations when one Party is out to lunch and the other is trying to do reasonable deals with them.

Moderate Republicans - Bill Clinton Mentions Them

So, they must exist? Bill, to paraphrase, said that a moderate Republican could give Obama a real run. I'm not sure which political landscape the ex-Pres is watching, but the one I'm seeing on display is the one where the moderate Republican's name is Barack Obama - even if he is running under the blanket of a (D).

Don't misunderstand that - in today's climate the President is practically a progressive radical. I don't pretend to mind read the President, out side my pay grade and capabilities - what I can do is look at outcomes. So can you.

It has been demonstrated to my satisfaction that there are no "moderate" Republicans at any national level and none at most state levels. You could argue about NY, but that is NY.

I'm sorry Pres. Clinton - you, sir, are FOS.

The Constitution and Debt and Congress

I present for your perusal Art 4 of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution. I give full credit to Bruce Bartlett and Lawrence ODonnell for bringing it back to my consciousness in this mud fight over the debt ceiling.

The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

Since most of you readers know where my sympathies lie I won't bore you with that. The Article seems pretty clear to me, the debts incurred by the US are its debts and won't be questioned. It doesn't seem in the least odd to me that debts incurred by the US are its debts and the US is responsible for them as legally entered into contracts and must be honored. That, in itself, is the reason why most think it would be catastrophic to default on that debt and it is the reason people are willing to let the US assume debt. Whatever it is that you think about government spending, that spending has been done on the authority of the citizenry of the US whatever their political leanings.

Setting a budget is certainly the business of the Congress, primarily the House, but obligations are not subject to political high-jinks. It is not the business of Congress to hold hostage the debt and obligations of the United States for any reason. There is a difference that seems to have evaded the Congress of the US.

and a few others...

Monday, June 27, 2011

GOP Movie Fantasy World

Sure, some of us noticed that Michelle Bachman got John Wayne's birthplace wrong, not Waterloo, IA, and that caused some giggles. That isn't what matters, not even a little bit.

What matters is the theme she was hitting, she wants to live in John Wayne's America. That America is a Hollywood Production, it does not and never did exist. John Wayne was only a brave dedicated soldier on the movie set, he only played a part in movie sctipts that had little to do with history. The pictures and dialogue from the screen are just that, they are not reality, they are not a true picture of America at any time other than very exceptionally and John Wayne's flicks are not among the exceptions.

This is not a Michelle thing, it is practically the foundation of the Modern GOP. As you pick through their policy stands you find almost nothing that reflects reality or even a return to some previous reality. Their ideas and policy ideas are the stuff of fantasy. They sell their voters on the concept of a return to some previous foundation of morality. Gays are scarcely something new, not being closeted and scared to death is fairly recent. Movie stars that were idolized in those halcyon days turn out to have been ... well, really queer. That fierce warrior John Wayne never served a day in his life, while somebody like that goofy likeable Jimmy Stewart certainly did. St Ronnie, of revered GOP mythology, never saved a wagon train or served or own a chimp - he was a figment of Hollywood imagination now set into cement as a Great President.

There were no Happy Days, the Fifties sucked really bad for an awful lot of Americans, WWII was an ugly nasty brutish affair, you could go on and on about the taming of the West, the Revolution, the Gilded Age and most of American History. That's not about hate America - that's about love the real thing and understand how and why we are here today. There were real and astounding accomplishments during the Gilded Age and there were horrid conditions and actions accompanying them. You cannot understand the Gilded Age unless you know what it was and how it worked out - and that isn't available from a Hollywood Movie Script. You just cannot address today on the basis of imaginary images. You cannot, for example, set a tax policy that works based on the idea that cutting taxes increases revenue if it just never happened except in your fevered imagination. You cannot do anything about the outcomes of slavery by pointing to scripts rather than the reality of racism and institutionalize poverty to just deny it exists or is justified.

I like movies, I'm willing (if it is any good) to suspend disbelief for awhile and let the fantasy be momentary reality. I sure the hell don't expect to see hobbits and wizards out there saving civilization from the orcs.

Friday, June 17, 2011

I'm So Wrong On Economics...

For quite some time now I've had some things to say about tax rates and the rich and ultra-rich that involve dissuading them from wringing every last cent out of the economy. Awhile ago I was gratified to see that somebody with qualifications was tracking along where I'd been. The plutocratic right, quite naturally, pushed back.

Well, Robert Reich was having none of it. Not even a little bit of it. Yes, he has more and better credentials than I do and he used actual numbers but he said what I said. Let's try to pay attention and not act as though the GOP bullying is going to get them anywhere. Um, Democrats?

Why do I have the distinct impression this is wishful thinking?

Hey, See That Comment Button?

Yeah, you're allowed to use it, even encouraged to use it. Please do.

This'll be around for awhile.

In Honor Of Congress A Tasteless Photo Of Self

I won't even bother to try to deny to the media that it's me.

I don't suppose sex is the first thought that occurs...

ah well

You Can Tell The GOP Something But It's Probably Pointless

Hey, Family Values Guys:

I know in relation to gay marriage you like to portray me and others like me as dedicated to the destruction of marriage and modern civilization. I am aware of the tradition of asserting a homosexual agenda.

Let me assure you of the Family Values persuasion - I don't give a good goldamn if Hank and Harry want to get married any more that I give a rat's patoot if John and Mary want to get married. I don't know them and I'm not invited to the nuptials or the more fun reception. I don't care! I have NO agenda and I have no approval of any of their proposed unions. I have no idea whatever if they should get married, if they're doomed to divorce, spousal beatings, or any other damn thing about it.

What I do know is that I am firmly of the belief that each and every law-abiding citizen should have the same rights and responsibility as any other citizen. There are some good things that are connected to getting married and there are some serious responsibilities that go along with it as well. Ask anyone getting divorced if that isn't the case. I am a married hetero-sexual male and there is nothing in the marriage of anyone else that is going have the least affect on that.

When I have straight friends getting married I have hopes for them to be happy and successful in their union. I have the same hopes for my gay friends. This is because I know these people and have a reason to care about their marriage. I cannot, for the life of me, figure out why I should care about some anonymous marriage or make it any of my business and I have no intention of randomly encouraging it (or for that matter - discouraging it).

I do not give the least bit of a fat rat's ass if anybody I don't know gets married or not. Now we get to the crux of the issue, because I do want law abiding citizens to have the same rights and responsibilities I do very much give a damn if they can get married.

Now do you understand?


I thought not.

Democrats Lose By Joining Cuts Jabber

Congress and then the White House have budget difficulties to deal with along with a looming debt ceiling problem. There sure are a lot of issues at play in this mess but one thing is real clear, spending and revenue are out of joint - pretty seriously. You sure can try to address such a problem from only one edge, but that does mean that half results ensue or unacceptable consequences ensue.

The second Democrats start to talk about cuts, sensible cuts, or any kind of cuts without taxation reform they have accomplished two things that are bad for them and the nation. First they have ceded to the one side approach and the two prong approach simply disappears. Secondly by engaging in cuts dialogue they put themselves into comparison with the GOPer while admitting that cutting is the way to go.

Any approach that involves simple humanity in relation to cutting by itself will result in virtually nothing and assuage no one concerned with the budget without slamming military spending (not gonna happen). Democrats cannot with any conscience or hope of electoral success slam hell out of people who are already over the edge or going over and the GOP gives a damn. The Democrats cannot look as though they are doing anything and will at the same time make quite a few lives just enough more difficult to take a lot of heat. Some people will notice that wealth makes out and poverty increases and the only people who will care an iota aren't voting GOP.

In order to end DADT and get a START treaty the Democrats let the BushCo tax cuts get extended. In order to get a treaty nobody opposed for any principle whatever and to get a policy that affects a vanishingly small minority of the nation revenue was decreased. Any attempt to cover that lost revenue will badly harm a hell of a lot more people who cannot take it than DADT would over years of extension. If you think I in anyway ever supported DADT you're ... well, way wrong. But that is now the proposition Democrats face if they go to cuts alone. The plain politics of it is that they would lose a lot more votes than they gained. Was DADT flat wrong, yes - was the mechanism also flat wrong, yes; and that is what you get when you do deals with the Devil.

Our tax code is so completely skewed to the favor of absolute wealth that leaving it in that state is damn near criminal and will continue to crush the economy of this nation. It is simple enough to understand that wealth will always do well short of fires and murder. It is not difficult to stay wealthy in a system that operates with capitalism at its base and I don't have a real big problem with that since most of us can benefit as well. We do not benefit as well, but the operative word is can. The fault is not with a system based on capitalism, it is the matter of making sure that not even crumbs fall off that capitalistic table. This is the crux of what Democrats face - well that and the reaction of wealth.

Democrats pretty much take anyone left of Obama for granted as voters because they have nowhere else to go and the alternative is generally nasty enough to get them to vote. It may be the case that the 2010 election results showed Democrats that a campaign of "not as bad as" can have bad results. There is also the aspect that the results of 2010 scare the hell out of anybody left of Genghis Khan. I would not want to bet on how that tension plays out and I'd sure think Democrats sure shouldn't unless smashing the country to teach us a lesson is part of the thinking.

I don't think many Democrats expect much in the line of taxation reform and that they'll go along with essentially half-measures. What I don't see them going along with is absolutely nothing done other than a ball bat taken to the poor, disabled, and disadvantaged. It no longer matters how many lies the GOP tells about "job creators" in the wealth category, only a few deluded souls believe it.

I'd like to see President Obama re-elected and Congress in responsible hands other than GOPers but there really should be some reason to do it.

Hot Dog, He's Gone And We Can Stop Talking About ...

See ya, Anthony.

After today's frenzy over the resignation maybe the media and Democrats can talk about something that matters a hill of spit. The GOP sure doesn't want to talk about anything that actually matters and they might miss having a Weiner to put in their bun.

A person can have hopes and all - can't they?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Say Hello To The 19th Century

I'm sorry to have to say it, the return of the Gilded Age (also known as Robber Baron Era) is upon us. Well, it is short of its denouement where the nation was starting to come apart in violent conflict. Oddly enough this mess is being Presided over by a Democrat rather than GOPers.

I don't know what the best the Democratic Party could do for elected officials and I don't short the quantity that exist that don't desire a return to those golden days but outcomes matter. That the GOP is hell bent on resurrecting the Robber Baron Era is scarcely a newsflash and that they want all of it back is pretty obvious by the theocratic anti-science stances they take along with the plutocrat sexual relations they have. (sorry for that mental image - heh)

You'd be hard put to find something in the government that directly affects economics that isn't run by one of the Masters Of The Universe other than those that aren't run by anybody since exceptions can't get confirmed. Now maybe a couple people are surprised that outcomes in any economic issues favor the plutocrats and those that don't just don't get anywhere. I can't think why that is so, other than some sort of blind stupid loyalty to personality/Party. The people who are surprised would tend to be liberal, the GOPers just plain don't see it at all and their blind stupid loyalty to personality/Party is awesome.

The risk the GOPers run in their drive to cut social safety nets is that what ended the Gilded Age was just that, starving homeless people aren't reasonable and enough of them is bad news for the plutocrats. Some of these cretins might bother to look at history that isn't millennial past and doesn't feature gods.

Iowa Pointless To GOP Primary?

Tonight Rachael Maddow made the point that Iowa is pointless in GOP Primary circles because she said the Iowa GOP has radicalized itself out of relevance. I agree with her that in regard to a General Election that segment of the GOP is meaningless. I don't agree that they're so far outside that GOP voters other places won't go in their direction. Even Mark McKinnon bothered to note that SC has similar voters.

I don't think that this year the GOP is all that hot for an establishment candidate. I do think they've self-obsessed sufficiently to block out the reality that a hard core candidate would play poorly against the President. A real large number are convinced that they are a part of some grand sweeping movement. There is also the matter of the CU decision and the groups, including Koch outfits, who don't like what they see in the "establishment" candidates. There is a closed little world composed of FauxNews, Rush (and ilk), the CU enabled bunch, and '10 elected GOPers that doesn't see past its narrowly defined limits.

Maybe Rachael and some of the other pundits didn't notice that it was GOP Primaries that ran Christine ODonnel, Sharon Angel, and a host of loons that did win and don't even come close to GOP establishment credentials. Now maybe you'd like to make the point that Sharon and Christine didn't win and that it was Blue Dogs that lost or just poorly run campaigns that lost to the loons. That does not matter. There is a usurper in office, that guy is in our House. It isn't just racism, it is socialism, communism, liberalism, whateverism that is different from the GOP Americanism narrative of the past couple decades.

The GOP has managed to stir itself into a complete frothing foaming fit over Democrats. The BushCo theme of fellow travelers traitorous defeatist liberals was only the opening salvo, now their old white guy POW got handed his ass by that usurper and only the principled obstructionism of GOP Congresscritters has save the nation from ... something horrible. What didn't sink in to the GOP establishment while they were busily fomenting fear and loathing was that frightened angry people don't think long term and strategically and vote for ... Mittens (or whatever establishment type they settle on). It isn't just imaginary devils scaring these folks, unemployment is high and threatening and wages suck and the country's demographics are changing and hell, a lot is changing. Many many people resist change and not much matches what they think it ought to.

I'd like to see a rational political landscape, I'd sure like to see an election where the centrist Obama doesn't look like a left wing nut next to their candidate because there is a hell of a lot of reasonable ground to the left of Obama. I'm sorry Rachael, you're giving way to much rationality credence to the GOP today and you're far from alone.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Speaking Of Bigotry Rep King...

A Congressional Hearing on prison radicalized Muslims? I don't know a whole hell of a lot about being in prison but I was under the impression that there are really dangerous groups other than just Muslims - some reallllly lily white... Not maybe as politically useful dogwhistling as ... you know ... Muslims.

Ah gee whiz, the other is such good fodder for political dogwhistles and somebody there to cheer it on. You'd think there was nothing of import going on in this nation to address.

Thinking may be over-rated...

GOPers On Display? (offensive video)

I had left this be except elsewhere. It seems to be getting around real thoroughly so I'll have this to say. This thing is offensive and outrageous on so many levels that racism, sexism, violence, and outright lies only sort of covers it. I don't cover or comment on Stormfront, Aryan Nation, or any of the other bigotry plus outfits, but now that this thing is wayyyy out there...

I'm not infuriated by it because it is a reflection of something so stupid and senseless and politically immaterial as activism as to be laughable. It won't get voters that wouldn't have anyhow, it won't do anything other than point up that there are sufficient numbers of GOPers of this school to bother making it. Well, it got somebody attention...

Every society has its resevoir of bigotry and there really isn't much to be done about that - apparently, historically. There is the part of pointing out that it is stupid and ignorant so that hopefully fewer do it or fall prey to the dogwhistles but this group is impervious to appeals to decency or humanity.

Now I can't afford to lose my mind over every demonstration of bigotry by bigots of whatever stripe and every race, religion, and etc. has its own resevoir of bigotry. I will lose my mind when such stuff is mainstreamed and particularly when I see dogwhistling attempted. Closet bigotry and unacknowledged bigotry concerns me a whole lot more than this kind of pathetic exercise for the simple reason that the obscured bigotry has real potential to drive our relations.

Maybe you think I ought to be ranting, I think it is a heck of a lot more effective to point to the GOP and ask if this is really a good thing for them. If it is a good thing, why is that? In fact, why would somebody even think it would work within the GOP realm?

Well, they do have their Fattman and all...

Way Too Early Presidential Race Prognostication

It is soooooo early in the 2012 election process that crystal ball gazing would probably be about as good me trying to analyze - but I'll go ahead anyhow.

Looking at what composes the GOP field currently and maybe prospectively I tend to think Bachman is going to be a lot more of a factor than some other guessers. Mitt has a supposed lead, but Bachman just announced and is just actually starting to campaign. That Mitt lead is real soft and what it amounts to is that his name has been around for awhile with nobody sniping at him.

I'm a real sceptic of Mitt, all his flipper-floppering around puts him in doubtful regard and his Mormonism isn't going to fly well with the Christian Right. I have no opinion on his religion, they do. Romney's Massachusetts record just won't square with today's GOP and he can only fool about with it just so far - in the face of actual believers like Bachman. His absolute only hope is that St Ronnie's 11th Commandment carries his day. Pawlenty stubbed his toe rather badly on that one.

Pawlenty has no hope, he doesn't fight and his laughable budget policy just won't produce any heat in a Primary Election. In regards to the President he doesn't sound any different than anybody else so he just isn't a stand out. He is faced with Mr Businessman Mitt on one side and true believer Michelle on the other and looks like nothing in particular.

Look, Palin is not running, The Newt is lizard toast, Cain is black and a nobody, Huntsman thinks the GOP of yesteryear still exists, and Santorum is ... well, Santorum and Ron Paul thinks he's a Libertarian and that it means something. Oh hell, Perry is just Bachman with a Texas accent and is ... cripes ... Texan. Um, deficit?

OK, sure, in a rational political landscape Huntsman ought to be the shoo-in since he won't scare anybody, has been fairly consistent, and he isn't a real liberal. Not a damn chance. Did I mention Mormon, again?

Michelle Bachman is crazy time and she'll say things she ought not - but her gaffes will be passable amongst the GOP as forgivable and be spun as hostile media manipulation. What Michelle brings are honest conservo-GOP credentials. As crazy as I think she is, she has been consistently there and vocal. I do think that the GOP has made the mistake of being so damn partisan and demonizing of anyone else that she is now the voice of most of the Party's electorate. This is not the Party of reasoned debate and compromise and has effectively demonstrated it. The idea that they can now switch gears and go 'middle' isn't reasonable. Their actions over the last decade have precluded the 'middle' candidate.

Right now the President has his own sets of difficulties. While he never promised to be some left progressive, he did create an image of hope and change that is naturally undercut by the compromises any President would have to make which leads to a certain amount of lack of enthusiasm. The fact that this President never pretended to be left will not please or assuage the left in the face of the plutocratic gains made under him. I don't know that means they'll stay home but the left of the Party does ordinarily get out on the ground despite political disregard. There may be a limit.

The President has an economy that ... well, polite words don't suffice, but sucks. How long the voters will go with pointing at GWB and GOP constructed economic framework is open to question. Very little policy other than the Stimulus has kicked in at this point or will before 2012 and that's a problem. Health Care is little more than a dirty word in most people's experience because not much more than the rhetoric is in their experience. Deficit fever is not going to work in Democratic favor, anything they do in the regard of cutting will simply be compared to the GOP's more aggressive stances and for the most part the consequences will be negative. If the Democrats play along, they will simply be GOP-lite and once again with no clear agenda other than "not as bad as."

Compared to any GOP candidate the President will be the smartest and most reasonable person in the field. That's real good except that may not be the electorate's mood. People who are sick and tired of something don't want to be reassured they want something done (even if it's impossible). I don't have a rightwing bone in my body but I also don't want my damned head patted and that's bad.

Where the President comes out in a General Election fight may come down to who the GOP puts up against him or if the economy tanks. Michelle may scare the hell out of 'ordinary voters' and that's good for him. A tanked economy versus about any real Primary contender is real bad news. Asking me what the economy will do beyond suck for everyone other than plutocrats is just too much.

I pretty much laugh at the idea that the GOP will nominate a responsible person - they ceded that quite awhile ago and their try with the POW didn't work out as the base has really noticed. I have watched the pundits talk up the Mitt or Huntsman as though they are pretty much how it will go. This is not the GOP of four years ago and nothing I've seen brings me into the view that reasonable or even qualified is going to work whatever the desires of whatever they think is the GOP establishment.

Feel free to mock this late fall 2012.

Gasoline Prices A Bit High, GOP Responds

Aw I just can't do it, the crap is over my waders. I'll let McClatchy tell you the dirt on the US House. Speculation is the name of this game.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Economy Not A Zero Sum Game

The GOPers and other psuedo-libertarians and real libertarians are real fond of pointing this out. As far as I can tell, they're right about that. Well, right and FOS at the same time.

The problem is that if the top takes enough out all by themselves some are going to find themselves at zero or even negative. If you were to bother to look at how the top is doing right now in this generally acknowledged crapped out economy you'd not find any losing going on. Your job may be gone, your home gone, your health care access gone - they're making a lot of money, doing better in fact.

So, be happy that this isn't a zero sum economy.

You wouldn't want your betters to suffer, too - would you?

I really think legislation is a better way than pitchforks and torches (or bullets, bombs, and various more nasty things) but I'm not sure I'm all that adverse given the state of lawmaking and lawmakers today...

Would it really be more unpatiotic and treasonous to put a pitchfork into some of these cretins than for them to KILL GRANDMA? I didn't ask about legality since it certainly would be legal for them to do in Grandma. Just ask 'em. Oh, you don't have to - they held a vote.

*It is necessary to quibble quite a lot to talk about doing to them what they are trying to do to you and yours and not get your ass arrested. Really, it is - just ask 'em. Patriot SomethingOrTheOtherACT.

No kidding, they've been telling you for decades how they'd do things and you just thought they were talking.

Remember Capital Gains Taxes?

I hope you remember all the economy building and jobs creation that was coming from the continuous slashing of Capital Gains Taxes. You do remember? Notice any of either?

What you may have noticed is that the share of wealth held by the very top surged and everybody else lost. Well, you would have noticed if you'd paid attention. Everybody with lots of money sure noticed and paid attention - enough attention that Capital Gains Taxes are once again strangling growth...

You suckers suck so bad that you make sucking eggs look like and accomplishment.

Gee, it's not real hard to find, the IRS has all of it, just without detail on the top 0.01%ers. Somebody needs to point and laugh - I'm just having trouble doing it through all the tears.

Fiction Reprise

A couple people emailed me awhile back that they were interested in this pit (bit, I meant BIT) of fiction I was working on after I first posted it. I left "Fawn" alone and put a couple other studies together. A bit of "Fawn" to save you time if you just don't care:
Fawn David made a deal with the devil or perhaps not that but a twisted fallen angel. There is no simple way to make the acquaintance of such a being, the route to an encounter with such an entity by needs be complex and unlikely – it might even involve a cardboard refrigerator box moving of its own accord and a heart too soft for its own sake. The box was twitching and rustling as Fawn rounded the corner into the alley that held the door to the staircase leading to the upper story of the unsuccessful appliance store housing her mean apartment. She had a gait that was not quite a waddle, a heavy set woman of a light chocolate color remarkable only for a smile that expressed sweetness to any on whom it was bestowed and soft eyes that could deny no injured creature they held in their gaze.

This will take you to the jump where "Fauwn" first appeared.
It will require some jumping back and forth but here's somebody you aren't supposed to like:
Character Study – Billy Williamson
Billy Williamson was a bad man, that is to say a very not nice man. His entire life was an exercise in being very not nice, bad. By the age of six he was torturing small animals, people we wont to blame his poor confused parents, but really no one had an idea why as he progressed in age and nastiness. Billy was not particularly large or strong and he certainly was not attractive. Billy Williamson was mediocre in all respects but one – meanness. If he managed a bit of charm it had only one end and that was an unkindness, and worse – it needed have no point, no rationale beyond that it brought someone or something pain. It is sometimes said of a person that they are a waste of skin or a misuse of oxygen – in a rational universe Billy Williamson would have had neither, unfortunately the universe does not enforce rationality.

Billy Williamson after jump

If you're still playing along you can go to Jamie

If you're this far you have patience for a longer bit, Duane Jacobs.

I'm interested in your comments if you spent the time to read this stuff. Rest assured, these people all have things to do and they are all connected. I have thoughts about how I'll pull this all together that aren't quite traditional in format but this is a work in progress. Please use this post to comment.

Breaking News = Weiner Has Innocent Conversation

Damn I'm so sick of Rep Weiner sucking the air out of poliitcs that I'd like to see him resign for no other reason than that. But then. there is the aspect of his staying and keeping the panty-sniffers in an uproar that appeals to me.

The only thing about the whole mess I give an actual damn about is getting back to talking about things that actually matter ...

Oh darn, I have to admit I talked about Newt now don't I...?

Let's move onto something really important ... the last stupid thing Sarah said.

Was there something about killing Medicare, is unemployment (reported not actual) at over 9%, are the rich making money hand over fist while the rest of us get a knife in the back, does anybody in this forsaken place give a rat's ass that as a society we're sinking into a hateful greed obsessed morass?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Are We Really At This Point?

TPM points out statements by MA GOP state rep Ryan Fattman that ...
I'll be damned if I'll paraphrase this kind of thing:

Asked if he would be concerned that a woman without legal immigration status was raped and beaten as she walked down the street might be afraid to report the crime to police, Mr. Fattman said he was not worried about those implications.

“My thought is that if someone is here illegally, they should be afraid to come forward,” Mr. Fattman said. “If you do it the right way, you don’t have to be concerned about these things,” he said referring to obtaining legal immigration status.

You'll have to excuse me if this makes me want to throw up, illegal immigration is worse than having a rapist run loose. WTF is wrong with this country that anyone with the least pretence of running for any office or holding any office would say such a thing? That this nation has managed to spawn enough people like this for such a thing to be said makes me feel like telling the whole show to stuff itself up *an un-named orifice.

*My mother told me I was being too rude awhile ago - and at age 58 I still pay attention to her because she is right a lot.

Hells Canyon Motorcycle Rally - Baker City, OR

Thursday the bikes started rolling into town and though I don't have anything like a count I'd guess around 100 and that's well ahead of the weekend Rally. I've put over 38,000 miles on my 09 FXSTSSE3 (25 months) so I've been around a bit. I have not been anywhere with better riding for roads, traffic density, and scenery. Yes, it is my home and I'm a bit ... prejudiced, but I'm pretty confident that if you tried us you'd not be disappointed or feel over-sold.

The weather is looking a bit iffy, which is pretty much the norm for the second weekend in June around here. Road conditions are good, winter gravel is mostly gone and the surfaces wintered well. It is quite green thanks to lots of rain - rain I'm sick of.

We'll show the kind of hospitality that'll impress and make you want to come back. I hope it's plenty nice weather, looking forward to seeing you all.

I regard to weather guessers in this area - today (Fri) was forecasted day before yesterday to be sunny and warmer - reality of today was rain all morning and leaden skies. The forecast now has only some resemblence to two days ago - so who knows ... sunny Sunday. Who knows what they'll say this evening.

Being Mean To The Newt?

The last couple posts might seem like I'm not only piling onto Newt but also gloating about his ... difficulties. I'm pretty sure there is an element of that. Look, I loath that guy as one of the worst examples of a politician. He is an intellectual light weight with delusions of grandeur, he is about as fake an example of Family Values horse-pucky possible, and his political ethics flat out suck eggs - bad enough that he resigned the House thanks to his ethics (non-sex related, too). I don't think there is a modern pol I have a lower opinion of - and I have a damned low opinion of quite a few.

Whatever any of the rest of GOPer Primariers are, in these catagories they're pikers. The longer this piece of work is around the more disgusting politics gets. I sincerely hope this not only is the end of Newt in national politics but also the end of Newt Is Important Inc.

You Can Only Fake Running For So Long

A point was made by Rachael Maddow about The Newt and a Presidential run being a matter of only being able to pretend or threaten to run for just so long before Newt Inc quit making money. He was, she asserted, either going to run or be outed as a fake. When he finally got the ball rolling, I had the same thought, that it was simply a "Hey, I'm relevant" sort of thing. His problem now is that he may have killed off Newt Inc with his performance.

Now if one takes this analysis to be pretty accurate, you're going to have to look over at Sarah. She has her own version of Newt Inc - call it Sarah Grifting Inc - to look after. She's parlayed her VP performance into a modest fortune and a dedicated fan-club. This thing works as long as she holds some appearance of relevance to her followers and that means looking like she's viable and willing as a candidate.

I'm pretty sure that goofy bus vacation thing was all about getting media attention to keep the rubes happy and hopeful. I'm also real sure that she'll continue to thrash around in this Primary mess until the point where she'd actually have to run. Then it will be a matter of some sort of conspiracy of Lame-street Media and Sell-out Old Boy Network that kept her out. Given the nature of her fan-club she can probably get away with the ground covered by The Newt's previous non-candidacies this time around. That will give her another four years to plow the grifting ground and reaping the money sown by her believers. But four years will not be real kind to her looks and put her in the same position as The Newt this time around. She cannot go eight years on her looks and by 2016 if she doesn't go for it her people will begin to cease to believe and there goes the Bucks. The problem with running in '16 is that it would put her under the FEC rules and they're not easy to putz around with, so the move then may be to fake it as long as possible once again and let it go at that as far as the money machine goes. With good planning winding it up just before the '16 drop dead date should leave her financially .... wonderful.

So if you're really tired of hearing about Sarah now, there is hope - sometime in 2016 she'll be pretty much done...

One can hope...

Idea Guy Newt Hits The Wall

The Newt, our favorite lizard, has hit a pretty serious wall with his top aides and managers quitting today - en mass. The money has been run through and the GOP isn't on his side (whatever that is lately). Newt is really impressed with his intellect and the GOP has fed this delusion for years and years. He's been extolled as their Idea Guy for a long time.

It doesn't matter that his Ideas on policy have been damn near universally stupid and even un-Constitutional. What The Newt did for the GOP that they liked was raise money and put together The Contract On America (cheap shot, I know). That amounts to ethically challenged methods of getting cash and propaganda. It isn't as though the GOPers are adverse to propaganda - hell the Ryan Plan is just that, it isn't serious policy.

What happened is that The Newt continued to believe his press releases and thought he could say something negative about the Ryan Plan. He forgot about the propaganda part of his resume and got paid for it. The Contract wasn't taken seriously by the GOP as any more than propaganda any more than the Ryan Plan is, but in order for such propaganda to work it must be seen as taken seriously by concerted whole-hearted support. Newt missed that boat with his comments on Ryan's Plan.

Ooops, there went Newt taking himself seriously. Not to be done in the GOP.

The only way this is really a disaster for Newt is if it interferes with his ability to grift money out of politics.

It might...

Historical Stupidity = It Ain't Just Sarah

It's been a hell of a lot of fun watching Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman, and assorted other GOPers mangle American History and get caught out as speaking idiocy. The real big problem is that as McClatchy points out - it ain't just them. A really sad state of affair exists.

It would be the easiest thing in the world to make this about Sarah Palin.

She makes mistakes like Apple makes iPhones, so there is a temptation to catalogue her recent bizarre claim...

Funny stuff, but serious soon ensues:

Where history is concerned, this is fast becoming a nation of ignoramuses and amnesiacs.

The alarm bell has been ringing for years. Consider “Losing America’s Memory: Historical Illiteracy in the 21st Century,” a 2000 study by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, a Washington-based advocacy group. Researchers found that the majority of seniors at the nation’s best colleges could not identify the words of the Gettysburg Address or explain the significance of Valley Forge. They did not know, the study concluded, because they had not been taught. History, the study said, was no longer a requirement in the nation’s top schools.

And then, there is a 2006 assessment by the Education Department’s National Center for Education Statistics, often called The Nation’s Report Card. It found that nearly 40 percent of 12th graders could not identify the purpose of the Lewis and Clark Expedition and only 14 percent could identify and explain a factor leading to U.S. involvement in the Korean War.

Now I've teased you, go read it and think about what it means to be headed down this particular road.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Voter Fraud, How About Fake Candidates - GOP?

The Wisconsin GOP pushed through some of the most regressive voter ID laws there are all in the name of stopping non-existent voter fraud (honestly, to disenfranchise Democratic voters). Now the Wisconsin GOP is running ... wait for it ... Fake Candidates. Yes, in order to delay recall elections they are running Republicans in the recall as Democrats - currently three of them - to force Primary elections. They are openly soliciting signatures to get these Republicans on the ballot as Democrats.

Next time these cretins mention voter fraud somebody will point at this and laugh.


While You Were Looking At Sexting...Pawlenty...

Poor old boring Timmy Pawlenty had to do something to not look like ... well, anybody sane. He proposes a 5% GDP growth while slashing taxes and federal spending. One way is to cut the government out of anything you could Google as a service. I guess the FBI is gone since a quick google will find you private investigators and certainly that evil EPA can be replaced by Waste Management. There will be two tax rates, 10% up to $50K and 25% thereafter. Estate tax gone and corporate taxes cut to 15%.

You'd be well informed to understand that the last time the growth was 5% for even two consecutive years was 1973-4. The top Fed income rate was 94% and capital gains were at 77%. He proposes something historically unlikely driven by something factually contradicted.

Where does the rest of that field go from there? What nuttiness is Mitt pushed into advocating in order to keep up? These folks are doubling down on all the crap that directly led to where we got to in 2007. Is anybody paying attention and doing spit to deconstruct the lying bullshit that passes as GOP economics?

There is actually talk that the GOP could make a run of it in the 2012 General... That sure gives the Democrats lots of room to play at "not as bad as." It must be plain old masochism that keeps me interested in politics.

In A Distracted Land

In this country it is worth a couple weeks of news coverage to parse a Congressional sexting. This same country regularly elects and re-elects politicians who directly vote against the economic interests of their constituents in order to pursue some "Values" agenda, and in fact will re-elect ones who directly violate that "Values" agenda just because they continue to spout that nonsense. A Palin or Bachman can say things that would never pass muster if uttered by some horse-faced pudgy woman. I could go on and on about things that would best be described as voyeurism.

I have no idea of how to address this crap other than to point and laugh. The national car was driven off the road and smashed into a ditch at the edge of the cliff it rolled over to and now as it teeters on that crumbling edge filled with us as passengers ... we spend time on whose underpants and what text messages...

The clown show that is the GOP House and GOP "Greatest Hits Primary" is busy rocking the wrecked economic vehicle as if to see how big a smash it can make after the fun of watching it fall and every body's eyes are focused on some other shiny object. The nation may deserve what is happening to it, but there are a hell of a lot of people here that don't.

Despite what the children running this country think, it is not a crash car that you snap back together after exploding it on a wall. It has taken at least three decades of the St Ronnie theme to put us here and a couple terms of the hapless fidgeting of the Obama sort are not going to do spit to turn things around or even stop the crashing. President Obama may be the best we could elect now and may be doing the best anyone could right now but that doesn't mean laying down and taking it is the least bit sensible. While it would be stupid to try to replace or harm the current President it is not time to just hand out a free pass to any of our politicians on the basis of "not as bad as". In a nation this easily distracted keeping a push going on where the dialogue is at count heavily if doing better in the future is going to happen.

Or we can just watch the thing drop and smash and giggle.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Funny Thing About Sex

It probably has to do with sex being a primary drive of our species and something to do with our desire to hang a drape over that but it doesn't pass belief just how stupid we can be around the matters of sex or sex fanatasy. The only thing I can think of worse than lying about being stupid about sex is pretending to adhere to one set of values and enforcing them while practicing something entirely different.

Both are forms of lying, but only one pretends to have a right to enforce a standard.

Really it is bad enough to be stupid about sex, being stupid about being stupid is just plain ... stupid.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

The Economy And Politics

I just caught the end of some CNN Money program where an ostensibly reputable economy sort made the statement that (paraphrased) 'our economy is not about politics.' I'm trying pretty hard to give this guy some kind of benefit of doubt and let that be about some kind of 'the President can't wave a wand at it.' The overall tenor makes me think he meant the economy is somehow outside politics. This does seem to be one of the themes of a certain set of economic apologists.

The shape of our economy is almost entirely political. Everything from tax policy to trade agreements to labor laws is the outcome of political activity. There are all kinds of blather about free trade and free markets which flatly have never existed. Everybody who talks about the economy has an agenda and their pet. The very act of negotiating a contract or seeking employment is simply politics at its most local. The objective is that I want the most of whatever for the least of whatever and that exchange involves power and wealth. If I want a good price on materials I tell a supplier that I'll buy lots from him versus his competition if he gives me a better price, if I'm a worker and unionized or working in a short market I can demand more ... money, better working conditions, etc. If I'm a politician virtually everything I do will have a broad effect. Tax policies easily affect the direction of flow of wealth and the uses of wealth. (that wealth can be minimal or maximal or monetary or physical) Trade agreements are pretty obvious, but so is anything related to physical or mental health or race relations or education or ... just about whatever government gets up to and those are political choices.

If a politician leaves you in doubt as to the basic thrust of his economic viewpoint in relation to policy regardless of whether the word economy is brought up, you will be ignorant of what the economy is going to do to you. Abortion access has a direct impact on economics even though it would seem to be another question altogether. Where money flows as an outcome is an important piece of the puzzle whatever the policy in question. This does not mean the first dollar moved, it is the movement of the dollars as an outcome.

It is pretty easy to point to the GOP as the party of plutocracy, it gets a bit more controversial to point to the Democrats as belonging to the same club, differences in degree being what's at issue. It isn't real complicated to take most issues apart and see where money flows if you're willing to go past the very first dollars in that analysis. Our economy is in the state it is in today not as a result of some inexorable world condition but as a result of political actions taken previously.

Friday, June 03, 2011

They Don't Really Mean Capitalism

One of the recurring buzz words of the GOP and libertarian wing of the GOP is the word Capitalism. This word is presented as the foundation of "our high standard of living" and "Prosperity." Like most buzz words it has the problem of being meaningless and in that, a lie. They would have you believe that when they say that word, they are talking about the One True Capitalism.

There is not now, nor has there ever been a system of true capitalism. What has existed from the time of Adam Smith's dissertation on the subject is managed capitalism and the word managed is quite important. Smith, himself, stated the unfettered capitalism would be an evil. The GOP does not mean such a thing, they do mean managed capitalism and the argument of how to manage capitalism has been ... well ... nasty since Jefferson and Hamilton went hammer and tongs over it (that argument resulted in Hamilton's death in a duel).

The second the magic word "managed" enters discourse you understand that the system is being rigged. Now since the entire concept of Capitalism depends on just what it says, capital, the system is rigged in that direction so rigging it isn't exactly a strange concept. The Republican establishment knows better but they're entirely happy to have the voters wander in ignorance. They mean managed capitalism quite thoroughly though they'd rather just not deal with that. The question has always been in whose favor the rigging is done.

The entire concept of markets depends on competition and yet capitalism contains within it the seeds of destruction of competition through sufficient acquisition of the assets of a market - yes we call that monopoly. There is nothing inherent to capitalism in corporations or for that matter unions. Both are constructions designed to increase leverage in markets through pooling of resources and both are the results of legislation. Both are products of managed capitalism. Wall Street and Banks are the products of legislation and exist thanks to legislation.

What the GOP wants to hide is that their agenda has spit to do with Capitalism and everything to do with whose favor the system is rigged. That is what the argument is with everybody that supports managed capitalism. Ever since St Ronnie the plutocrats have been winning on class warfare - all the while claiming the "other side" is doing it. As long as shared goals are not present in the discussion managed capitalism does mean class warfare.

Oh sure, like this would make even a dent in a true believer's skull...

I'm not sure the electorate doesn't deserve the crash we're in and a worse one based on the GOPer plutocratic thuggery. I'm not too pleased to know better and get dragged into it anyhow.

Before you get all damned puffed up - there may be a significant difference in how much the two Parties are willing to screw the public, but really...

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

A Broken Contract

Coming out of the Depression and following it a new social economic contract was established in this country. Although there are a great many factors, a couple feature prominently - the shared social and economic disaster of the Depression and the shared sacrifices of World War II. The case can certainly be made that some few greatly profited from both but that does not negate the nearly universal sharing. This resulted in a nation that not only deserved but also believed it deserved to share in the benefits of the economy and society in broad terms. This means more than just unionization and moderate compensation for upper management and some restrictions on the tools of wealth, it also led to the successes of the Civil Rights movement and what success feminism had.

The 1950s and '60s were the era of big things, and not just cars. Unions built power bases, government put together large programs, manufacturing output soared, and general participation in society and economy exploded. A social and economic contract of shared work and shared benefit became the norm. This scarcely means inequities didn't exist or weren't tolerated but they were greatly reduced from any previous periods. None of this was free of conflict and backlash and yet this is the reason those conflicts even existed.

By the 1970s the very successes of the 'new contract' began to create fractures. Union membership was falling, welfare resentment rose, racial resentment broadened, economic gains by labor began falling and a distance began to grow between labor and white collar in perception of 'place' in the economy and society. By the 1980s a theme grew that government (and by extension - unions) was a problem. Taxes became seen as an evil rather than a necessary sacrifice and as a tool of unfairness to success. The Reagan era began and with it the work of dismantling the contract. Greed was the new contract and those not winning were seen as 'at fault.'

This brings us to today. In this sad state of affairs the ending of DADT and a corporate welfare health care 'reform' are great achievements in a social contract while the drivers of deficits like taxation rates, militarism, and out-sourcing are ignored in favor of gutting what programs of social equity exist. The drivers of discussion are somehow fairness to the greatest beneficiaries of a broken contract and the disaster of supporting those left behind in this broken economy. The social contract has become 'greed is virtue' even in the smallest sense of demonizing public employees and shifting the burden of being old onto the old. The winners are somehow deserving and those who didn't deserve misery so that anything else is socialism.

When a social contract is broken there is fallout and it will involve more than just a broken economy. Misery does not necessarily breed good decisions.