A Headline I Just Have to Love!

September 26, 2011

Why the Antichrist Matters in Politics:

Yep, that’s what the article was called!  Click on the link to read it!


Through the Ceiling

August 1, 2011

I am on vacation, but I do read the newspaper, and words are failing me.  Rather, I should say, words are choking me!  I’ll just use a few  bullets and a quote, and have done with it.

  • Repeal the law that created a debt ceiling.  It’s idiotic.  Just a phony way to impose “fiscal discipline.”
  • Do we have a democracy?  Most people want a taxes on the corporations, the wealthy, and judicious spending cuts.  We got neither, and the show is being run by a bunch of radical lunatics with backing from very big money.  I’m beginning to think Troutsky is right after all.
  • I voted for Obama because I thought he could win and Hillary might not, and of course, he was far better than McCain.  I never expected much.  He has surpassed my expectations in a negative way to an amazing extent.
  • Is he a dunce, a tool of the establishment, or a technocrat robot?

Here’s some text from Paul Krugman (bad on global warming, good on politics!) in his column today on Obama’s abject surrender to the Tea Party arm of Wall Street, and part of his linked text – my emphasis:

Did the president have any alternative this time around? Yes.

First of all, he could and should have demanded an increase in the debt ceiling back in December. When asked why he didn’t, he replied that he was sure that Republicans would act responsibly. Great call. . .

Obama, at his press conference last December, announcing his surrender to the GOP on tax cuts; the questioner was Marc Ambinder:

Q Mr. President, thank you. How do these negotiations affect negotiations or talks with Republicans about raising the debt limit? Because it would seem that they have a significant amount of leverage over the White House now, going in. Was there ever any attempt by the White House to include raising the debt limit as a part of this package?

THE PRESIDENT: When you say it would seem they’ll have a significant amount of leverage over the White House, what do you mean?

Q Just in the sense that they’ll say essentially we’re not going to raise the — we’re not going to agree to it unless the White House is able to or willing to agree to significant spending cuts across the board that probably go deeper and further than what you’re willing to do. I mean, what leverage would you have –

THE PRESIDENT: Look, here’s my expectation — and I’ll take John Boehner at his word — that nobody, Democrat or Republican, is willing to see the full faith and credit of the United States government collapse, that that would not be a good thing to happen. And so I think that there will be significant discussions about the debt limit vote. That’s something that nobody ever likes to vote on. But once John Boehner is sworn in as Speaker, then he’s going to have responsibilities to govern. You can’t just stand on the sidelines and be a bomb thrower. [Oh, yes you can!!]

And so my expectation is, is that we will have tough negotiations around the budget, but that ultimately we can arrive at a position that is keeping the government open, keeping Social Security checks going out, keeping veterans services being provided, but at the same time is prudent when it comes to taxpayer dollars.


Obama: Back to School!

July 23, 2011

click for credit

Is that a Democrat donkey falling off that cliff, I wonder?

Many of us have had a dream in which we find ourselves back in school – why are we there? We got out years ago, have a job -  we’re married! What’s going on?!   I wonder if President Obama has that dream, but he belongs back in school!

Asked why he continued to talk with Republicans who hold to the most extreme positions possible – Starve the beast!  Privatize social security! Cut Medicare! No New Revenue (Taxes)! – and perhaps most disturbing – Default? What me worry? I read the Federalist Papers! – Obama replied, “Because someone has to show that they’re serious about this!” That sounds like the frustrated and clueless plea of a novice teacher faced with a class of violently disobedient children.

His way of showing his seriousness is to bend over backwards to offer an agreement that sells out the party and the people who worked to elect him, that tears down the great social accomplishments of the modern American state, and that contains virtually nothing in return. “Balance” is the word of the day. We’ll cut entitlements and spending, if you will mention, uh…think about…uh, maybe, pretty please, sort of promise to close tax loopholes for corporations and raise the rates on the richest 1% of citizens. To the Tea Party contingent, taxing the mega-rich is a “Tax on the American People.” To paraphrase Tonto, “What you mean ‘we’ rich man?”

Obama seems blindly committed to his post-partisanship agenda, but how does that work when the other party is committed to the destruction of everything your party stands for? Do you just say, “Let’s talk about it some more.” That works in a college seminar, which is where Obama seems to think he is standing, but when he wakes up, if ever, he will see that he is in the elected office of the presidency.


Plutocracy is here.

April 11, 2011

All money, all the time.  As Gore Vidal remarked, there is only one political party in the USA, the party of money.  And now, as we edge towards complete plutocracy, we have a ‘visionary’ president acting as a ‘bridge’ between the ‘two parties.’  That’s the reactionary Republicans, and the Democrats, who have become the left-wing of the reactionary Republicans.

Reform of the financial bad-actors?  Pretty much dead.  Health care reform?  An incremental fix to a jury-rigged system that works badly except for the insurance companies who make piles off of it.  Budget?  Cut, cut, cut…but don’t raise taxes on the wealthy and the corporations.  They are already high enough, at least on paper.  Nobody pays those rates, though.  Wasn’t it Leona Helmsley who said, “Taxes are for little people?”

And those plutocrats, they are not ashamed to hold out their hand for me, after all, they paid for it!  What are all those campaign contributions for?  They squeeze mega-bucks out of the most vulnerable and least affluent sectors of the economy with credit card flim flam, mortgage flim flam, and every other trick in the book.  And they skim mega-billions off of the economy through financial speculation.  How would they do this if there were no economy?  The economy that they ransack is the collective production of all citizens, but they game the system for themselves.  And they, through the Tea Party surrogates, call for Big Government to get off the backs of the citizens.  How convenient.

Not much good news out there.


United States of Glock

January 10, 2011

Once again, we have a vital demonstration of the importance of the Second Amendment to the US Constitution.  (I presume the Republican Congress read that amendment the other day!)  The right to bear arms, and to use them, is essential to the preservation of our free society.  Yes, that shooter was probably mentally ill, but his intent was good…er, his aim was good…uh…his heart was in the right place.  And if he had not had the right to his gun of choice – an old-fashioned six-shooter or Saturday Night Special just won’t hack it today – he wouldn’t have killed so many people and riled up so many gun control fanatics.  And nothing gets the Holy NRA going like a little political violence to explain away.  I’m sure they’re in high gear on Capitol Hill right now.


Accept all changes in document…

January 7, 2011

US Constitution Manuscript - Preamble and Article I

I was tickled to hear that the Constitution was being read in the House under the Republican’s leadership, a nod to their Tea Party backers.  Great, let’s get back to sources!  And who would read Article I, Section 2, and how would it be read?  I’ve bold faced the really interesting part.

Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.

There it is in black and white, the counting of slaves as 3/5 of a person, part of the Great Compromise that brought the slave states on board to ratify the Constitution and balanced the power of the states with a bicameral legislature, not to mention the fact that it was at the root of cataclysmic events in U.S. history. 

Well, according to the NYTimes article, an edited version was read that removed all text that was invalidated by later amendments, as well as the amendments themselves!  How’s that for history down the Memory Hole!  I guess that the congressmen and women are so used to tracking changes in documents with word processors – add edits and accept all changes, show Final without markup – that it makes sense to them.


Class Warfare

December 9, 2010

Click on the comic above to see it full size – it’s more true than funny.  Since Reagan, the Republicans have been leading an effort to shift wealth to the upper 2% of the income strata in the USA, and to shift the burden of paying for that shift, and the rest of what government does, to everyone else.  Naturally, the “middle class” gets hit the worst because they have jobs and steady incomes from which to pay taxes.  (I use that term in the good ole American sense of anyone making less than $250,000 a year.) 

Bad as it is, there is a humorous side to it.  How else to react to the twin efforts by the Republicans this week to deny health coverage to the 9/11 rescue workers – they are concerned about how to pay for the $7.4 billion – and to lock in the GWB tax cuts for the wealthy for another two years, not to mention the loosening of the estate tax.  The cost of the first tax item alone is about $900.0 billion.  Balanced budget anyone?

And why are we at this juncture?   Our president tells us that liberals don’t have realistic expectations about what can be accomplished.  This may be true – the game was lost a long time ago, before the 2010 election.  Why wasn’t Obama on the warpath about these topics for the last two years?  All that anger in the Tea Party and fellow travellers could just as easily have switched targets from him to the bankers and coupon-clippers.

I think that fundamentally Obama, and most Dem legislators, don’t grasp the concepts of power and class.  It’s quite simple:  people with lots of money and power want to keep it.  They don’t really care if social problems are solved or not as long as their status isn’t infringed.  They may back irrational policies, but that’s okay.  If the works get gummed up, so much the better.  The more stupid government looks, the better.  They can always lobby their senators for a free corporate plum later, and in secret.  The Party of No works just fine in this case.  They can rail against government spending while they shovel money to their friends and not be troubled by the contradiction – there is no contradiction.  The overall goal is being met.

This sort of talk is taboo in mainstream American political discourse, so it’s not surprising Obama doesn’t shout about it.  Sure, he talks about “special interests”, but Unions get lumped in that group.  Senior citizens too.  As if they are all equal.  Obama always said he wasn’t a liberal, and he was being honest.  He’s very mainstream.  He never sought to build a political base for a counter-assault to the Republican class war which is why it’s too late now.  That would have been “business as usual in Washington…”


Time to Repeal Health Care Reform!

October 6, 2010

The Republican pledge to America includes a bit about repealing ‘Obamacare’, that awful adjustment to our national system of health non-insurance.  This excellent analysis in the NYTimes makes some very good points about that idea.

Yep, the reforms aren’t working…yet.  Oh, it’s true that you can’t be bumped from coverage for a pre-existing condition now.  And children are now covered under the plan of their parents until they are 26 years old  - how’s that for totalitarian oppression?  But some of the reforms aren’t going to work for a while yet, a few years.  In the meantime, there’s a lot of screaming going on as the insurance racket…er industry, tries to adjust to the minimal inconveniences that the new law imposes on them.

The article linked here focuses on ‘mini-meds’, those plans offered to low paid workers, like the ones at McDonalds, that cover expenses up to the sum of $2000 per year.  Try and get chemotherapy on that dime, will ya!  You can pay more and up the maximum to ten grand, but that’s chicken feed in the health disaster market.  Of course, looking on the positive side, these plans are better than nothing!  As the author points out, is that our litmus test for a good program these days?

By 2014, if we don’t repeal this law right darn quick! , these low-paid workers will be able to get real insurance plans, just like the one that John Boehner has – well, not quite – at an affordable price.  And furthermore:

For insurance companies, these changes won’t be quite so positive. They will no longer be able to sell plans that devote 30 percent of revenue to salaries for their workers. They will not be allowed to compete over which company can come up with the most ingenious ways to say no to the sick. Their benefits and prices will become more public, thanks to the exchanges.

Man the barricades, Tea Party-ers!  Kill the Bill!!


Politics by the Numbers

September 26, 2010

Hmm…let’s see:

  1. A recent poll from Stanford for the Associated Press indicates that the vast majority of Americans think that health care reform should have gone much farther than it did in changing the health care system by a 2-to-1 margin over those who think the government should stay out of health care.
  2. The Republican Party is banking heavily in the coming elections on their inflated rhetorical pledges to repeal the heath care reform bill.

What shall we think of this?

  • Republicans are very principled competitors, who care not at all about winning – it’s the ideas that count?
  • Republicans are very stupid and out-of-touch politicians who are living in a dreamland?
  • Polls bear little relationship to what people really think?
  • Polls don’t indicate much about how people will vote?
  • Democrats are stupid cowardly politicians because they have been so reluctant to hammer Republicans on health care and other issues?
  • Democrats and Republicans are not very interested in what most voters really want?

I don’t know.  November could be very interesting.  I have felt for a long time that the Democrats will do better than expected, i.e., not lose big.   If items No. 1 and No. 2 are both really true, then perhaps I’ll be proven correct.


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