Archive for November, 2011

Credit where due.

Nov 30, 2011 in Drugs

If more politicians talked like this, and were actually willing to act on it, there might be some hope for America exiting this war on its own peaceful citizens. I’m doubly impressed that it’s coming from a Republican. Unfortunately, while President Obama has given some lip service to the senselessness of the Drug War and must surely know about the racial disparities in its enforcement, it hasn’t even been on his radar and the DEA under him is going bananas on harmless marijuana users. It sickens me to think that it’ll take a Republican with the “toughness” credibility to implement sane measures, because all it would take is a Democrat with actual toughness.

-hw

Our post-Constitutional era.

Nov 30, 2011 in Abortion, Christian Right, Clueless Conservatives, Constitution, Disappointing Dems, Politics, Religion, Sophistry, Straight-up madness, teh gay, Torture, War on Terra, Where's the outrage?!?!

This is becoming inevitable, as the Republican Party, while ever ready to say the word, “Constitution,” is a complete and udder fraud on the subject, and has categorically dismissed most of the Amendments and the underlying philosophy behind the Constitution’s writing.

Now, I know it is required that I disclose the presence of a certain contingent of chickenshit Democrats who regularly cave whenever Republicans get hot and bothered, but they’re never the driving force, and they’re a minority within the Democrat Party, so there. It’s the wholly unbridled unified army of the Republican Order that drives an agenda that has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the Constitution or the Bill of Rights, except as their protections pertain to white Christian heterosexual males.

1. They’re actively pro-torture, even though they square that by declaring any form of torture they like to not be torture. Simple, right? Not only is the Constitution unambiguously against cruel or unusual punishment, i.e. torture, but the entire history of the country at war has hewn to the same principles. Ronald Reagan was explicit in his condemnation of torture. The Republican Party today is best represented by Rick Santorum telling John McCain that he doesn’t understand torture.

2. They’re consistently against or dismissive of the religious freedom of gays, gay-supporting straights, Wiccans, atheists, Muslims. That the First Amendment ever be read in context with a world of varying beliefs is verboten. It’s about the Christian right to inject Christianity into anything they do, even and especially as a public employee. But when it comes to gays, the Christian right directly posits its beliefs as important enough to cancel out those of gays and to directly affect how gays live their lives by forbidding them marriage. The thought that Jesus might look kindly upon a loving gay couple cannot be entertained.

3. Search and seizure, forget it! Everything is open, up for grabs, ready to be peeped upon by Uncle Sam whenever he wants. The Drug War paved the way, the War on Terror planted the settlement and opened shop. Merely being suspected of having drugs can result in asset forfeiture, meaning your property rights are violated without due process, the police department acting as judge and jury. The burden of proof is often reversed onto suspects in such cases, and property is rarely returned regardless of charges.

Every phone and internet conversation has been opened up, and siphons through the NSA’s data miners.

Binney, for his part, believes that the agency now stores copies of all e-mails transmitted in America, in case the government wants to retrieve the details later. In the past few years, the N.S.A. has built enormous electronic-storage facilities in Texas and Utah. Binney says that an N.S.A. e-mail database can be searched with “dictionary selection,” in the manner of Google. After 9/11, he says, “General Hayden reassured everyone that the N.S.A. didn’t put out dragnets, and that was true. It had no need—it was getting every fish in the sea.”
Binney considers himself a conservative, and, as an opponent of big government, he worries that the N.S.A.’s data-mining program is so extensive that it could help “create an Orwellian state.” Whereas wiretap surveillance requires trained human operators, data mining is automated, meaning that the entire country can be watched. Conceivably, U.S. officials could “monitor the Tea Party, or reporters, whatever group or organization you want to target,” he says. “It’s exactly what the Founding Fathers never wanted.”

Power creeps, as the Founders realized, and always, always had to be balanced.

4. While ever ready to claim that rights not spelled out in the Constitution aren’t really rights, directly contradicting the Ninth Amendment, the Republican Party has declared that money equals speech. Why then should I be punished for bribing a police officer or judge? I’m merely talking to the them.

No, anybody knows exactly what money in politics means, it means buying politicians, period. Money buys politicians, it buys media outlets, it pays people to spout theories that testify to the greatness of the wealthy, and it’s all done for the sake of ever more money. As Danny DeVito said in The Heist, “That’s why they call it money.” It’s not the same as speaking your mind, it’s engaging in a transaction. There’s a reason “money talks” is a cliche. With money, speech isn’t so important anymore. It becomes the pretty envelope on a fat wad of cash.

5. Nor does it say anywhere in the Constitution that corporations constitute distinct immortal citizens with full rights. The very construction of a corporation is a legal designation, a product of government legislation. Who ever talks about it in those terms? Certainly not Republicans. Apparently God made corporations?

Ruling in Citizens United that not only could these corporations donate unlimited funds to candidates, but do so anonymously? Does anybody on this planet think the politicians don’t know exactly who donated? It merely creates a gigantic firewall against the public, keeping them out of the process, refusing to tell them who’s bought their supposed representative.

Jesus declared that the rich would not easily find their way into Heaven. He said no such thing about those with lots of opinions. Yet a party built on Judeo-Christian superiority delivers the sentiment, “money equals speech,” to us with deeply sincere faces, even strident faces. Add to that, “a corporation is a person,” whereas one soulless legal entity is equated to a human being, and the conundrum deepens. How do these people maintain such cognitive dissonance? With great strain.

6. Indefinite detention. Like torture, it is the complete and utter opposite of each and every plank, nail, and window in the Constitution’s house. It is the Gulag. It is the dungeon. It is the concentration camp. And now one of the two major parties has not merely let it fly under their radar, but made it their agenda. Take a few Dem politican scalps if you will, but only lefties and a few libertarians (where are you guys when we need you?) are going to bring this fight at all. Lesson from 2010: Letting more Republicans get into office is not a solution.

7. General Welfare: Abolishing the EPA? YHGTBFKM (You have got to be fucking kidding me). The Koch brothers need to dump more poison in our groundwater, Michele, won’t you help them?

The entire concept of the general welfare of the country has completely evacuated the Republican Party. In their eyes, fuck the general welfare. People get what they deserve, and if your life sucks, blame yourself. Of course, if everybody did a lot more looking in the mirror at themselves, we wouldn’t have many Republicans left. Instead, they survey only the oily shell of the individual, and perceive nothing of the complex lattice-work of society that supports their existence.

If you don’t fund schools, you end up living in a world of noisy uneducated people giving you rotten service, and you can only keep moving to new suburbs so long. If you don’t fund police departments, you end up with high crime rates and decreased property values. If you fund prisons while not funding rehab clinics, your Drug War will result in financial incentives that outweigh regular crime prevention. A Drug War waged primarily on minorities will turn jail into a martyrdom ritual, and your children will revere felons as heroes.

President Obama turned the health care system into a universal program, for which he is reviled by the right (not to ignore the political convenience…had there perhaps been a President Romney in 2008, his Massachusetts plan would be considered to be a rightful and just conservative blueprint to accomplish the goals of liberals through free-market means). The rather explicit permission of the Commerce Clause gives the government more than fair leeway to point out that uninsured people merely transfer the cost of their care to others. A mandate is really little more than a distribution of that cost among all citizens. You might not like it, but who’s going to be there for you if you have a stroke in twenty minutes and spend your remaining decades fully paralyzed?

8. Abortion. The government should enter the womb and put up a sign telling the mother to keep providing the nutrients but she’s not in charge anymore? That assertion of domain over the entirety of her body and its natural processes isn’t listed in the Constitution as a specific right, thus it does not exist?

As I mentioned, this is in direct violation of the Ninth Amendment, which explicitly states that the enumeration of certain rights is not meant to disparage the others. The Constitution is not a finite list of rights, and it says so clearly! And it certainly grants the government no power over a woman’s reproductive process. Anti-abortion sentiments were rare at the time of the writing of the Constitution, unfit for a special extension of government powers. And yet as the subject has become a crusade for religious fundamentalists, attempts to justify its Constitutionality have naturally occurred. Their crowing is as predictable as a rooster.

______

Republicans have in many cases not merely gone passive about certain rights, they’ve turned outright aggressive against them. Such a republic facing this prospect would rightly be deemed to be in or near its death throes, about to face a civil war. No matter how casually Republicans treat the Constitution, they’re emphatic about it, often moreso than Democrats. And that should just never be the case, because the only people I see left standing up for the Constitution anymore are left. And if libertarians were to be believed for half the things they say about liberty, there wouldn’t be Republican majorities anywhere.

-hw

Killing America to save America.

Nov 30, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Constitution, Disappointing Dems, National Security, War on Terra, Where's the outrage?!?!

Fortunately, the White House is issuing a pretty stiff veto threat to a law invalidating the US Constitution and pretty much Western Civilization for those accused of terrorism (or supporting terrorists, of course, or possibly knowing something about terrorists…) and locking people up indefinitely, US citizen or otherwise.

Yet, as usual, we have a Republican Party that long ago stopped caring about due process for non-Republicans and enough chickenshit Democrats peeling off at the slightest whiff of being “weak” to get it passed in the Senate. Where’s Newt Gingrich with a history lesson when you need him?

-hw

What are those protestors complaining about?

Nov 29, 2011 in Politics

Or $7,700,000,000,000.

The amount of money the central bank parceled out was surprising even to Gary H. Stern, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis from 1985 to 2009, who says he “wasn’t aware of the magnitude.” It dwarfed the Treasury Department’s better-known $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP. Add up guarantees and lending limits, and the Fed had committed $7.77 trillion as of March 2009 to rescuing the financial system, more than half the value of everything produced in the U.S. that year.

“TARP at least had some strings attached,” says Brad Miller, a North Carolina Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, referring to the program’s executive-pay ceiling. “With the Fed programs, there was nothing.”

Bankers didn’t disclose the extent of their borrowing. On Nov. 26, 2008, then-Bank of America (BAC) Corp. Chief Executive Officer Kenneth D. Lewis wrote to shareholders that he headed “one of the strongest and most stable major banks in the world.” He didn’t say that his Charlotte, North Carolina-based firm owed the central bank $86 billion that day.
‘Motivate Others’

JPMorgan Chase & Co. CEO Jamie Dimon told shareholders in a March 26, 2010, letter that his bank used the Fed’s Term Auction Facility “at the request of the Federal Reserve to help motivate others to use the system.” He didn’t say that the New York-based bank’s total TAF borrowings were almost twice its cash holdings or that its peak borrowing of $48 billion on Feb. 26, 2009, came more than a year after the program’s creation.

They committed fraud, basically.

The modest credibility of CATO.

Nov 22, 2011 in Constitution, Drugs

At least those libertarians will take a break from bitching about the Constitutional income tax being “theft” to talk about actual government theft.

If you can’t acknowledge that we threw away most of our Constitutional rights over the Drug War, who are you to even talk about liberty? Especially those who would declare that freedom in America died the day we passed health care reform. Hmmm, requiring me to pay for the medical care I expect to receive, vs. breaking into my house and permanently confiscating my property without any conviction or even charges filed?

Where do your priorities point you?

-hw

UPDATE: Lovely Drug War nugget that connects to the Newt Gingrich Comedy Tour: Newt once proposed mandatory death penalties for those bringing more than two ounces of marijuana into the country. And yes, of course Gingrich has admitted to smoking pot, but check this out:

“See, when I smoked pot it was illegal, but not immoral. Now, it is illegal AND immoral. The law didn’t change, only the morality… That’s why you get to go to jail and I don’t.”
August 8, 1996, Wall Street Journal

I wonder if it’s moral again, and what determines that?

But you knew this would happen.

Nov 22, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives

The study that shows Fox News viewers know less than people who watch no news at all might have something to do with conversations like this, where Bill O’Reilly and Megyn Kelly go to absurd lengths to prove what authoritarian tools they are.

Kelly called the pepper spray “a food product, essentially,” but both wondered whether the particular mix the campus police used to repeatedly spray student protesters had been diluted. “A lot of experts are looking at that and saying, is this the real deal?” Kelly said, though she added that the spray was “obviously abrasive and intrusive.”

She then said that it was not clear that the police had overstepped their boundaries, since they were trying to disperse a crowd practicing civil disobedience.

“I know that the tape looks bad,” she said. “I agree it looks bad. All I’m saying is from a legal standpoint, I don’t know that the cops did anything wrong.”

O’Reilly was a tad less nuanced in his comments. “I don’t think we have the right to Monday-morning quarterback the police,” he said.

It’s just food, ya know!

As the paper and this Speakeasy Science blog post by Deborah Blum (which cites the paper) point out, pepper spray is far more potent than even the hottest of hot peppers. Blum writes that commercial-grade pepper spray is listed at between 2 million and 5.3 million Scoville units — a measure of “hotness” that hinges on capsaicin content. Compare that to between 200,000 and 350,000 Scoville units for habanero peppers.

The NCMJ paper notes that when the skin is exposed to OC spray, people can experience “tingling, intense burning pain, swelling, redness, and, occasionally, blistering.” If it gets in the eyes, it can cause pain and stinging — and temporary blindness that lasts 30 minutes or so. According to this paper from 2000, published in Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, the “immediate changes in mechanical and chemical sensitivity” can persist for up for a week but that a single exposure doesn’t appear to harm the eye tissues.

Respiratory exposure can be more dangerous, with responses including “burning of the throat, wheezing, dry cough, shortness of breath, gagging, gasping, inability to breathe or speak .. and rarely, cyanosis [blue or purple skin or mucous membranes], apnea and respiratory arrest,” the NCMJ paper says.

Blum writes that the sprays “pose a genuine risk to people with asthma and other respiratory conditions.”

At least one of the protesters went to the hospital with chemical burns. You see, they weren’t Tea Partiers so all’s well.

But the flaming zeppelin of depravity here is, “I don’t think we have the right to Monday-morning quarterback the police,” quoth Bill O’Reilly. We don’t, Bill?

There’s also the fact that the students were passive, just sitting there. So what was the pepper spray, but punishment?

So since when did our justice system devolve to the point where police officers are now dispensers of punishment?

-hw

Are you prepared for the Newt comedy?

Nov 22, 2011 in Politics

Leading with his chin, Newt Gingrich kicks off his lead in the Republican polls vocalizing something that’s been festering in the right-o-sphere: an end to those cumbersome child labor laws!

Grab your popcorn…

-hw

It’s racist to even defend Limbaugh at this point.

Nov 22, 2011 in Politics, Racism

#^!#%¥£€~>[]&$@*=+ uppity???

Did Limbaugh think playing the race card over true accusations against Herman “black people are brainwashed” Cain was a free pass to utter one of the worst racist slurs towards Michele Obama? No, because he’s been saying racist shit his entire career.

-hw

UPDATE: Glenn Beck seconds the motion.

Get behind nothing!

Nov 20, 2011 in Deficit

Apparently future yearly deficits are contingent upon us actively choosing to continue policies that make them happen, but doing nothing erases deficits and saves us $7+ trillion in the next decade, so let’s do nothing!

Personally, I’m exceptionally skilled at doing nothing, so I support this plan, and am completely prepared for full disengagement.

-hw

A nice, clear, bright line.

Nov 19, 2011 in Politics

That’s what exists between this and the American way envisioned in the Constitution:

I guess we’re lucky we haven’t had another Kent State, or that we’re not being mowed down in the streets like in Syria, but that isn’t where the line between authority and individual rights lies in the US. Those aren’t our standards.

Let’s review that First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

I don’t see the part in there that says, “But if we say no tents or stand here but not there and you don’t listen, we bash your head in and pepper spray you.”

There is absolutely nothing complicated about this. Anybody who’s even paid the slightest lip service to the Constitution should be steaming mad about this, period. If not, perhaps Syria might make a better fit for you.

-hw

Kenny Powers Has A Joe Walsh Moment.

Nov 16, 2011 in Politics

-mg

Who will question our drone policy besides Glenn Greenwald?

Nov 14, 2011 in Barack Obama, War on Terra

A reminder that our drone strikes, generally good at nailing people we think are terrorists, also rack up huge numbers of dead people we know next to nothing about. My position is that a few thousand dead by drone is at least an improvement on a hundred thousand dead by botched invasion ala Iraq, but that both are tragic, and we must soon use the numbers of al Queda we’ve killed as an opportunity to clear out of the Middle East as much as is physically possible.

Glenn Greenwald will say so, I’ll say so, but who else? Obama’s drone strike policies have completely enamored the Beltway and have even managed to wrest praise from Michele “Batshit” Bachman, who surprisingly couldn’t come up with an argument that drone strikes prove how pro-terrorist Obama is. Democrats are understandably proud that President Obama has notched some huge victories against Islamic terrorists and Middle East dictators, notably bin Laden and Gaddhafi, agreed to remove troops from Iraq (hey, Glenn, let’s just remember that Bush signed that deal after Obama won the election promising to end the war…Bush was only reading the writing on the wall, and it’s ridiculous to pretend it would have happened had McCain won or that McCain would have felt bound by any such agreement), and gently handled the Arab Spring revolutions. But it’s important to remember there is no such thing as a clean war that spares the lives of innocents, and that power unchecked will naturally grow deeper and wider in its reach. It seems we’re subject to President Obama’s conscience to choose a better path, but there’s little cause to expect the Nobel Peace Prize winner to do anything significant before his second term. But perhaps he will hear the discontent out there with these drone strikes, note their growing counter-productiveness, and lessen their frequency.

-hw

The demoralization of Dana Pico.

Nov 14, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Curiosities, The Internets, We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

Our chief rival blogger, Dana Pico, has called it quits.

While there is always some value to a good rival, the decline of Dana’s site was ultimately an act of justice. By good rival, I mean Dana Pico and his crowd of co-bloggers and regular commenters were always ready to engage and at least present a fairly well-distilled authentic version of the blather that passed for Republican thought. I probably couldn’t last long on Red State without getting axed, but Dana Pico had one conceit that made his blog tragically superior to most rightwing blogs: he wanted an unfettered free speech zone, where liberals and conservatives would match wits without fear of removal.

Now, this is standard practice at Iowa Liberal, but for a rightwing blog that’s quite amazing. Rightwing blogs do no exist to create dialogues or foster advancing thought. They can only exist as echo chambers, and the only liberals who can hope to remain standing in a comments thread are those too weak and easily battered about to pose a real threat. The model is Rush Limbaugh’s show, where an intelligent, articulate liberal who will stand his ground has no chance of making it through the polished screeners or Rush’s mic-cutting button.

Dana bemoans the loss of his regular commenters, and I couldn’t help but feel a little pang of responsibility. As I read the names, Sharon, Eric, DNW, assovertincups, etc., I could almost recall the precise threads that led to their demise. And I was directly involved in each. Yes, I made Dana’s friends go away, but it’s a political blog, not a Facebook page. So screw’em. I didn’t chase them away with cruelty or mocking, I chased them into corners and didn’t let them bullshit their way out. Climbing out the window was their only option. Or stopping the bullshit and being intellectually honest, but apparently that’s a worse option than suicide to such folks. The bullshit is what fuels their existence. Why argue with me and concede anything when they can go listen to Sean Hannity tell them they’re brilliant?

The real sad part of it all is Dana himself, who really did exist in a class above his partners for most of his blog’s existence. Dana could marshall facts together in a manner that demonstrated at least some regard for the value of veracity. His interpretations of a chart might have been skewed, but he was much less likely than other rightwingers to throw complete fiction out there. He might have been veered into racist dogwhistling with his constant invocations of Barack Obama’s middle name, but he somehow managed to convey in his writing a bit of a wink and a nudge: hey, don’t take it too seriously, I’m just razzing.

But ultimately, Dana couldn’t outrun his allegiance to the letter R next to a politician’s name. After eight years of George W. Bush, leaving the country in financial ruin, disrepair, and locked in permanent war, Dana doubled down, declaring Gee Dubya the second best president of his life next to the sainted Ronald Reagan. The hated and reviled Dick Cheney, architect of America’s degradation via torture and surrender to polluters, was Dana’s choice for 2008. Dana dutifully defended Sarah Palin and recently Rick Perry, calling them smart and relying on the defense that people once called Reagan dumb. Personally, I think comparing Palin to Reagan demonstrates more disregard for Reagan than it does credibility for Palin.

The flipside of this is that Dana also tried getting revenge for Dubya by branding President Obama “the worst president” of Dana’s life. The fact that Dana was forced to recognize that Obama prosecuted the “War on Terror” with greater energy and effectiveness than hero Dubya boxed him in further, leaving him with one plank to rest his case on: Suggesting that not only did Obama fail to magically undo the destruction that Republican policies of the past thirty years had wrought on the economy, but that his policies had actually made the economy worse. I pointed out many times that Dana was against TARP, against the stimulus, against saving the auto industry, essentially advocating nothing as a means of fighting the Great Recession, and Dana readily concurred. I asked him, what if Obama had done “nothing,” and we were at 12% unemployment…? Dana said he wouldn’t give Obama the slightest quarter and would bludgeon him with the 12% number anyway, and literally admitted it was because he was a Republican, Obama was a Democrat, and thus he had to “restore fiscal sanity.” Exit integrity.

But Dana still had hopes of using this narrative to win an election. Until the debt ceiling fiasco.

The debt ceiling fiasco, where Republicans held the economy hostage, threatening to sink the whole ship if Democrats tried to combine spending cuts with tax increases to get our deficit problems under control. Obama surrendered, seeing his approval numbers shattered, the avenger of 9/11 bowed before Republican economic terrorism. In the immediate aftermath, the combination of being so close to the brink damaged our credit rating, and the threat of austerity measures dampened the stock market. How did Dana respond to this great Republican success? Yep, he blamed Obama. Integrity stood no chance of return.

Unfortunately for Dana and the Republicans, Obama’s rope-a-dope strategy snared them again. With the debt deal complete and the public soured on the issue, Obama was able to pivot to active job creation measures. It had been proven to the public and the media for anybody to see that the Republicans were utterly intransigent, and would do absolutely anything to block Obama in the hope of drawing blood for 2012. Emboldened, they weren’t about to stop and suddenly cooperate, and thus the Republicans found themselves once again advocating nothing except more passes for the rich, the 1%, to pay fewer taxes, pollute more, and ship more jobs out of the country.

Then Occupy Wall Street happened, and the dynamic of the country shifted. Everything became crystalline, and the real picture of the past thirty years of Reaganomics became clear. The system was rigged for the rich to get richer and everybody else to suck on their fumes. “Trickle down” economics didn’t work. Bush’s tax cuts broke the bank. The “job creators” were moving factories elsewhere and had the Republican Party firmly in pocket re-writing the rules to keep the money moving in one direction- up. They weren’t making jobs, they were inventing piles of money on paper, calling shit loans triple-A, and when they came up short, when reality intervened, the country took the blow and the taxpayers were handed the bill. Right now, millions of homeowners are still underwater, obligated to pay imaginary prices, facing no good options while the bankers responsible got a bailout.

In that aftermath, lodged in this reality, it’s no surprise that the Republican primary process is a circus, that any halfway-decent candidates long ago opted out, and that we get to tune in to buffoons tossing word salads around trying to pretend that somehow, Dana’s alternate world actually exists. That yes, it’s really Obama’s rescue measures that hurt us, not Republican deregulation. That lower taxes for the rich will do us some good. That we should really keep pouring billions into overseas wars that the public wants out of, and maybe start the biggest one of all with Iran. Why the fuck not nominate a pizza salesman who is proudly ignorant? Knowing things hurts the Republican dream, knowing things chases the la-la fantasies away. Why the hell not claim that Rick Perry is smart and that, you know, he couldn’t do worse than Obama!?

This is an utterly horrible time to be a Republican, and an even worse time to be a Republican blogger who doesn’t want to ban opposing voices from his blog. Dana was too dedicated to his flock, yet his flock wanted seclusion and affirmation. Free speech? Dana’s product didn’t sell.

And so he’s now resigned to offering some content to the blog of his craziest collaborator, John Hitchcock, who’s now begging their few readers for handouts because he’s too broke to afford a decent car (I drive a 2007 Honda CR-V, and I don’t exactly make a fortune, so what’s the deal, Hitchcock?).

I turned very bitter on Dana after the debt ceiling disaster, my patience finally snapped. But it was all politics. Personally, I have no trouble understanding that Dana is a genial, nice guy who would probably make a great neighbor. I’d trust him with him son, I’d hand him the keys to my home if he needed to crash. To me, stuff like that really has nothing to do with political arguments. Even most segregationists were lovely people back in the day, if you were white. But if Republicans tried understanding that principle, they’d deflate the core of what drives populist Republicanism, resentment.

I simply say to Dana, either embrace rational thought or go the way of your friends and heroes. The two have become mutually exclusive. Your blog, in that it was an attempt to reconcile the two, was doomed from the start. I believed at one point you were smarter and wiser than your friends, now I think you to be merely a slicker salesman trying to make blatantly unpopular and unsound positions sound like folksy “common sense” that defies any real common sense. Maybe there’s a brighter future for you, but in all likelihood the only chance is to sell out completely and turn those skills into cash money pimping for the Republican Party at a higher level. Revive the blog, make it exclusive, keep the interfering liberals out, and watch your garden thrive. You might even get your Joe the Plumber moment. Won’t do the country any good, but hey, that obviously stopped mattering awhile ago, didn’t it?

-hw

Contemplating the unthinkable.

Nov 08, 2011 in Occupy Wall Street

Jeremy in Minneapolis flagged a good one on FB this morning:

Teh horror.

-hw

The danger of believing anything Republicans say-

Nov 08, 2011 in Crazy Tea Party People

-is that you will believe anything Republicans say. Not that Tea Partiers are models of intellectual honesty, consistency, or principle, but surely it must deflate their tires to see Republican politicians jump on their bandwagon then turn around and suck up whatever government largesse they can claim for their states/districts.

One of the numerous problems with the Tea Party was that they were never really organized around any idea beyond “commie black president takin’ my tax dollars and giving them to lazy black parasites,” but even that was secondary to the big goal, which was to shift power from the semi-rational Republican elites and put it in the hands of the crazy base. The elites, realizing where the wind was blowing, quickly offered deference, but did everything they could to make sure that someone other than their own voters contribute the suffering that Tea Partiers demanded. You see, it’s always somebody else out there sucking the lifeblood out of the government, the government benefits you receive are what you deserve!

-hw

Shiny objects.

Nov 07, 2011 in Christian Right, Women

Hey, deadbeat dads, you too can get an award for upholding family values, even if you owe six figures in child support! Just hate teh gay and women.

-hw

Complete and utter devastation.

Nov 04, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Crazy Tea Party People, Economy

A good primer compiling numerous resources on the cause of the 2008 financial collapse. Short version: Just because Republicans decided everything was the fault of blacks and the gubmint doesn’t mean anybody has to take it seriously. Just like invading Iraq after 9/11, they decided that the best thing to do was blame the people they already hated, so they came up with whatever it took to paint that picture, even if it meant leaving out virtually the entire story of what really happened.

Regardless of whether or not Republicans are racists or just generally bullshitters and assholes, the fact is that we as a country really have to stop giving them any credibility until we see real proof. Over and over and over again Republicans make grave pronouncements and intimations of irrefutable fact, and just as often we find out that not only are they wrong, but easily verifiably wrong by the most basic empirical standards. And their mistakes are rarely harmless. We elected them back into office in 2010 without ever holding them accountable for 2008. We didn’t even expect them to know what happened in 2008, instead we listened to their fabulous fibbing yet again. And how successful can a repairman be if he doesn’t understand what’s broken? As could only be expected, they only did further economic damage to the country, directly destroying jobs, damaging our credit rating, and taking us to the bring of economic Armageddon (just to prevent tax increases on the rich, mind you).

No party that cannot come to terms with our predicament and what caused it can be trusted to lead, period.

-hw

The rent is too damn high!

Nov 03, 2011 in Politics

Says the “person” who pays no rent:

(Reuters) – Thirty large and profitable U.S. corporations paid no income taxes in 2008 through 2010, said a study on Thursday that arrives as Congress faces rising demands for tax reform, but seems unable or unwilling to act.

Pepco Holdings, a Washington, D.C.-area power company, had the lowest effective tax rate, at negative 57.6 percent, among the 280 Fortune 500 companies studied.

The statutory U.S. corporate income tax rate is 35 percent, one of the highest in the world, but over the 2008-2010 period, very few of the companies studied paid it, said the report.

The average effective tax rate for the companies over the period was 18.5 percent, said Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, both think tanks.

Their report also listed General Electric Co, Paccar Inc, PG&E Corp, Computer Sciences Corp and NiSource Inc as among the 30 that paid no taxes. All 280 corporations examined were profitable over the period.

Corporations will say rightly that the loopholes that let them slash their taxes were perfectly legal, the report said.

“But that does not mean that low-tax corporations bear no responsibility … The laws were not enacted in a vacuum; they were adopted in response to relentless corporate lobbying, threats and campaign support,” the report said.

Despite the moaning and groaning, companies in the United States have it easy. Sure, they’ll threaten to “Go Galt” but that bluff was called after the Affordable Care Act passed and the biggest threat the 101st Fighting Keyboarders could come up with was to stop tipping their wait staff which we all knew was bullshit from the start because nobody tips the cashiers at McDonald’s. So why are they calling for more tax breaks for corporations that already pay no taxes? Because, as the above article points out, in the case of Pepco Holdings you’re receiving a net subsidy. Players gotta play, lobbyists gotta lobby and tricking some meth-addled sheet-rocker from Tulsa into footing the bill for your Bulgari cufflinks won’t weigh heavy on the conscience when your boss is a legal fiction with no responsibilities to its fellow “persons”. To do otherwise would be socialism!

-mg

Just Another Muslim Terrorist Plot

Nov 02, 2011 in Politics

By “Muslim” I mean “white Christian right-winger,” but hey, who’s counting? -TT