Archive for January, 2012

Oof.

Jan 23, 2012 in Politics

I don’t care who you are, this deserves a kleenex.

-hw

Not surprising…which is extremely depressing.

Jan 22, 2012 in Politics

Budget cuts in all areas of social services means that there are more people like Albert Flowers walking the streets without treatment.

These events happen quite frequently where I live. High on right wing theology and under constant pressure to juke stats that show an increase in collared “criminals”, juiced-up cops cruise the streets on search and destroy missions looking for anybody who dares to accidentally trip over a piece of broken sidewalk or drive to work with registration tags a month overdue. When they happen across an obviously mentally ill individual they jack them up and haul them into jail and then when they get too out of control they dump them off at the local emergency room. The hospital tends to them at a cost of up to $3K per day until they’re stabilized and then they’re sent out the door with, thanks to Medicare Part D, 30 days of domestically produced/priced meds. Those thirty days expire, the patient starts to self-medicate with alcohol, becomes delusional and sometimes violent and the process starts all over when they once again become a nuisance to the locals.

Will facts matter in the 2012 election?

Jan 19, 2012 in Economy

The thing is that when you look back, the stimulus was one of the few things that did have an effect on the recession. We already had low taxes and a deregulatory paradise before the economy collapsed, why would those things be expected to work as salve for fiscal wounds?

-hw

Somebody’s going to have to explain this one to me.

Jan 19, 2012 in Clueless Conservatives, Election crap, Politics

Santorum wins Iowa by 34 votes and it’s declared a draw?

So somebody neutralized those 34 votes.

Who has that power? I’d like to know, and why. What is the limit?

-hw

People power winning.

Jan 19, 2012 in Politics

Wisconsin voters got a million signatures to give Scott Walker the boot for his disastrous, deceptive mauling of the office of governor. And it’s looking like yesterday’s SOPA awareness effort made a huge splash, got people talking, and turned a few politicians away from the entertainment industry money. Now I am, of course, a big entertainment industry supporter but don’t tell us we have to break the internet and give their lawyers the kill switch for them to make a buck.

People power, right? Make sure you take an extra fifty bucks before November and give to as many as five or ten candidates you support. Five bucks from you makes a huge dent in the system. It’s money that the politician owes to the electorate, not just the big money sponsors. If everybody with an opinion gave a candidate five bucks, every candidate in America will be awash in campaign cash, thus neutralizing the impact of money. Flood the system with your currency, and the policies will rise to the top. Real debates will be had. And won.

-hw

When a Republican writes this an angel gets its wings.

Jan 19, 2012 in Politics

Yummy:

If you were trying to come up with the most atrocious candidate imaginable to go toe-to-toe with Barack Obama in 2012, you couldn’t do much better than Mitt Romney. He was an unpopular moderate governor who lost 2 out of the 3 major elections he’s run in and whose signature issue Romneycare is an enormous failure. Moreover, he’s so uninspiring that he makes Bob Dole look like Ronald Reagan and that’s before you consider his incessant flip-flopping that makes it impossible to really know where he stands on any issue. Romney’s candidacy also runs counter to almost every political trend in the book right now. He’s the antithesis of everything the Tea Party stands for — a moderate establishment-endorsed, principle-free Rockefeller Republican. On the other hand, he’s like a bad guy straight out of central casting for the Occupy Wall Street crowd, a conscience-free 1 percenter who makes $10,000 bets and lectures the public about how corporations are people — while hordes of poor and middle class Americans that he fired trail in his wake telling tales of woe about how Romney made their lives into a living hell.

This is just as brutal:

The best thing of all is that the rest of their choices aren’t any better. They’re trying to resuscitate Newt, for gawd’s sake. That’s trading one symbol of all that’s wrong with Republican politicians for another, but losing the hair and chiseled jaw in exchange for a giant grey man-baby.

So with the GOP presidential race winnowing down its field of mediocrity down to a flower pot of amorphophallus titanum, I declare today that 2012 is really about Congress. Just as it’s always been.

It’s been cool and hip to declare more loudly than the next liberal how much President Obama has betrayed the base and his accomplishments are trifling. Hell, sometimes it’s been on the nose. But let’s take the latest horrible betrayal: The NDAA.

SO who among the self-mutilating Republican-enabling left will care to point out that the bill was sent to President Obama with a Senate vote of 86-13?

Should Obama still have vetoed it? Yep, I absolutely believe he could have and should have attempted to peel off more Senators and get out the offending amendment. Would he have succeeded? Possibly. But when a bill comes his way with a nearly twenty vote margin above a veto override, I’m not about to use all my gunpowder on Obama.

The core reality, the path that will actually get something done in this world we live in where Republicans are running on torture, abolishing women’s rights and starting a war with Iran, is to primary the hell out of these jackasses in Congress whenever we get the chance and to start standing up for liberal values even in the reddest of the red states. The fact that Obama even got healthcare passed was because Democrats were succeeding at doing this since the fire got lit under their asses in 2004 and he was able, for a few months there, to get 60 Senators to override the Republican filibuster.

Without Congress, there is nothing. Even with Congress, we were blocked and obstructed, the really good Democrats in the House sending bill after bill to the Senate to die. We have to have complete control of Congress and have Republican Senators afraid to try stalling.

So primary every unsatisfactory Democrat with grassroots money, and beat the living shit out of every Republican in an election. That’s how you’ll get something done. That’s how you’ll get a world where Congress restores the Constitution. That’s how you get your Democratic president signing one good bill after another. That’s how you’ll get the Glenn Greenwalds of the left applauding their leaders with clear conscience. That’s how you’ll get your country back, and by “your country” you mean one with a real goddamn Constitution, not just one with a white president ala the Tea Party.

-hw

Journamalism stupor…

Jan 12, 2012 in Journamalism

Can’t sum it up better than this. Maybe, “Should we start including peanuts in our peanut butter?”

I must giggle a bit that Mitt Romney’s stupendous campaign of constant, unskillful lying has pressed the NYT to confront some of its attitudes towards stenographic journalism. After two Gee Dubya campaigns, the euphemization of torture, and Sarah Palin I didn’t think the press had any boundaries on reprinting bald-faced lies, but there ya go, a limit.

-hw

Kill these tabs!

Jan 12, 2012 in Politics

1. Another nail in the Romney coffin before he’s even out of the general election gate. Romney has as much a chance of winning as Mr. Burns.

2. It’s still okay to treat Occupy protesters like cockroaches.

3. Citizens United backlash still spreading. People are catching on that these immortal supercitizens who cannot be jailed are steering our government while actual citizens are left behind.

4. This Iran idiocy really is going off the rails. Ron Paul, noted racist and homophobe, has been the only public figure to throw water on our increasing manic anxiety over Iran acquiring nuclear weapons, which already has most of the GOP field declaring war and the Democrats trembling over looking “weak.” Well, Dems, if you don’t want to look weak, be strong and face reality. Iran seems to be stomaching various acts of war against them with some patience, perhaps because they know what anybody who isn’t a harebrain knows, that they will eventually get the nukes anyway and then maybe they’ll be left alone.

5. The pressures of inequality on the market and its link to the Great Recession. It’s not exactly rocket science that the wealthy do better when everybody’s doing better, but thirty years of voodoo Reaganomics has taken its toll.

6. Think the Republican contenders are delivering body blows to Romney over Bain? Wait til the Democrats pull out their big guns :)

7. Excellent analysis of the crazy cult of anti-Obama haters that the GOP has become. Along the lines I’ve laid out before:

The main reason, I believe, is that the American right was backed into a corner and had no other card to play. The disastrous presidency of George W. Bush revealed the complete bankruptcy (literally) of the two core right-wing nostrums, “freedom” (good) and “big government” (bad). “Freedom” had led to the biggest meltdown since the Great Depression. And big government – which was greatly expanded by Bush, to the deafening silence of the soon-to-be-anti-Obama fanatics – had done nothing to prevent it. In the wreckage left by Bush, there was nothing for the right to do, if it wanted to live to fight another day, except deny causality (and reality) and demonize Obama.

Exactly. Do you remember that little moment in 2008 where the Republicans were losing, so utterly adrift that people started to wonder if they were finished as a party? Where they had to come up with something to say, and there was nothing sane left to say? That’s when the Tea Party started.

-hw

Sarah Palin finally gets it.

Jan 12, 2012 in Sarah Palin

“Oh Lord. Oh Lord! Are we just numbskulls out here in the heartland of America? Just a bunch of numbskulls who can’t read the unemployment numbers and see that 5 trillion dollars in new debt later under her husband, President Obama, five trillion dollars more, and we still have fewer jobs today than we had before he took over,” Palin said, responding to a clip of Mrs. Obama claiming that some people are “confused” about the president’s real accomplishments. “But, we’re numbskulls out here and we just don’t understand what these numbers mean, what they represent.”

You, Sarah Palin, certainly are a numbskull, and your attempt to conflate yourself with all people in the “heartland” (since when is Alaska the heartland?) is just an attempt to cover up for your numbskullduggery. The debt exploded because of the recession, not because of any new policies from Obama. The jobs are lost because of the recession, not because Obama’s policies lost jobs (as I just noted, Republicans have done their best to kill jobs since the Tea Party took over the House)

If you are the type to get offended when people think you’re an idiot, one step you can take is to stop being a goddamn idiot. Palin prefers to act self-righteous, and still seems to have learned nothing. After three years, she couldn’t be bothered to learn enough to pretend to be a semi-plausible Republican presidential candidate, and with Rick Perry still in the race that’s an absolute crime. She’s never demonstrated an ounce of insight or intelligence, and yet when she mangles statistics we’re supposed to immediately discount the possibility that she doesn’t have any idea what she’s talking about. Because, of course, it’s the correct and immediate answer anybody sensible would seize upon.

But just let me say, the strange invective and spite being hurled at Michelle Obama recently really is something else. She’s quite beloved by most of the country, certainly by more people than Sarah Palin, and she pretty much does nothing but look amazing and advocate for healthy living. Considering her formidable intelligence and talents, she’s been remarkably restrained the past three years. But there you go, the difference between a confidently quiet intelligent person and an neurotically insecure loud fool.

-hw

Job slaughtering! Job massacring! Job murdering!

Jan 12, 2012 in Clueless Conservatives, Politics

For people who have decided they’re going to repeat the phrase “job killing” as often as possible whenever talking about Democrats (regardless of the facts), Republicans sure have managed to kill a lot of jobs.

-hw

Shhhh….

Jan 10, 2012 in Politics

Haven’t said much because the Republicans are about to nominate a pathological liar nobody likes who grew up rich and got richer firing Americans and outsourcing their jobs, who then later became governor of Massachusetts and made his signature accomplishment the very health care reform plan that was conceived by Republicans but used as a model for the Affordable Care Act (OBAMACARE!!!).

Then again, I can’t lose with this field, can I?

And while this is a pretty miserable crop, it is so for a reason. These are the only people fool enough to try running for president as Republicans when the Republicans have gone from bankrupt in 2008 to completely flibbeldy-floo buggers beyond belief. They are utterly riddled with inexplicable hatred for President Obama, and as a result they’ve painted themselves into corners so many times they’ve taken to jumping out windows. Whereas President Obama has handled the recession too conservatively, Republicans have forced themselves to believe he handled it no differently than Chairman Mao. Whereas Obama clearly was not responsible for the actual crisis itself or the hemorrhaging of jobs taking place as he swore his oath, Republicans are so unable to stomach looking at the scoreboard that they have no political option except to lie, lie, lie repeatedly. Romney has done well being a rather exceptionally prolific liar and dissembler, but he’s merely won first place among liars. The problem is, nearly all sane and mildly informed people know he’s lying. In order to appease the base, he has almost nothing he can say that is the truth, because they’ve been drinking pure horsepiss and dining on horseshit for three years.

And with our lovely Tea Party congress, we’ve gotten a full laboratory experiment in which we can see that obstruction and austerity do nothing to help job creation, and even hinder it.

So Republican policies created the crisis, Republican policies left us so in debt that fighting the crisis became even more difficult, and Republican politicians when elected made the economy worse with the debt ceiling debacle and forcing deep cuts in the public sector.

What’s Mitt or any of them supposed to run on? They’ve already done what they could to flee from or lie about Obama’s foreign policy record. Even though Mitt is perfectly willing to lie through his perfect teeth about Obama’s foreign policy, he’s not going to win re-election promising war with Iran and another eight years in Afghanistan. His only chance is the economy being so bad without hope of recovery that nobody cares he’s a pathological liar and Wall Street fatcat who collects $26 million a year from a company he doesn’t even work for anymore. Or that nobody will notice he has nothing more planned than even higher tax cuts for the rich, which will create even more debt wars, resulting in again more punishment of the remaining 99% of Americans.

So yeah, it’s hard to talk about Romney or any of the candidates with a poker face. Can we really be this lucky? Well, all I can say to sober up is that the luck is purely political, and that America itself has been profoundly disserviced by the Republican party. When we needed governance we got looted and pillaged. When we needed responsibility we got only fingers pointed at those who came in after the fact. When we needed recovery, we got only betrayal.

May this election be over soon for our nation’s good. In the meantime, we might as well enjoy the sad spectacle of Mitt Romney, who is whatever he is at the moment yet can never get better.

-hw

Let’s hold on a second here and think this one out…

Jan 04, 2012 in Politics

Are we really going to start removing fat kids from their parents as a solution to obesity? It does not seem to me to be a wall we should lightly hop over.

Yes, parents are responsible for their children. And extreme obesity may be a sign of deeper, more severe issues at home. But it is nonetheless seriously disgusting to see children wrenched from their parents when, at the highest levels, we are represented by a government that has made it abundantly clear it would prefer to pander to the interests of the frozen food industry than reform childhood nutrition. One in which presidential candidates mock children’s health initiatives as “nannying.” Even the authors of that provocative JAMA story recommended governmental “investments in the social infrastructure and policies to improve diet and promote physical activity among children.” It takes a village to raise a child without a body-mass index number in the danger level.

Imagine if you were a little boy, perhaps without the best body image, and you knew that seeing your mom was contingent upon losing weight. Now imagine the over 12 percent of third-graders in Ohio who are severely obese and may now be facing a similar fate. Whatever you think of parental accountability for childhood obesity, ask yourself this: If one child can be removed, what happens to the rest? Who’s going to decide which parents of obese kids are neglectful? And who will take care of their health when neither their government nor their families seem to know how?

When Michelle Obama says, “You should eat vegetables and exercise more,” Republicans may choose to see that as further proof of the impending Liberal Holocaust, but this kind of meddling threatens to legitimize such complaints. It may be a tragedy when a parent lets their child’s body go to ruin, but not only can we not prevent all tragedies, we do not have the right to do so. And when the government so clearly fails via the school system where it has proper domain in providing proper nutrition and necessary exercise, by what argument can it claim legitimacy? Throw in genetic components of obesity and the issue becomes hopelessly muddled. Failure to justify a power means conceding that power does not rightfully exist.

-hw

Montana stands up for democracy.

Jan 04, 2012 in Constitution

Their state Supreme Court calls bullshit on the Citizens United ruling which declared as a fact that allowing corporations to buy elections does not result in corruption. It’s not like we don’t have plenty of history in this country to cite, and they do.

The federal Supreme Court, having four plainly radical Republican activists on the bench will doubtlessly ignore reality, but Kennedy does occasionally show signs of regard for empirical evidence. In the meantime, our government is up for sale, politicians desperate to raise the money needed to pay off the private broadcasters who we gave public airwaves to for virtually nothing.

I just keep wondering, if money is speech, why can’t I bribe a police officer or judge? Am I not merely speaking and practicing my First Amendment rights?

-hw

Renewable energy getting huge boost from Obama administration.

Jan 04, 2012 in Energy

This kind of stuff doesn’t get a lot of fanfare, but it’s got a lot more to do with national defense than bombing people in Afghanistan or starting a new war in Iran as the GOP candidates proudly promise.

With two years of the Obama administration, almost four times as much clean energy has been put on the grid on public lands as in all the previous 40 years.
All the renewable energy ever permitted on public lands totaled 1,800 MW by the end of 2008. In the last two years, the Department of the Interior has approved 6,600 MW of new projects.

I’ve mentioned it before, but at a relatively inexpensive cost we could generate 70% of our electricity with solar alone by 2050. Throw in support from other renewables like wind (and possibly waste-eating fast neutron nuclear power) and we’re set.

-hw

Iowa Republican Caucus Live Blogging!

Jan 03, 2012 in Politics

With 98% of precincts reporting I’m calling it for Palin.

An Anonymous Person Agrees With Me!

Jan 03, 2012 in Politics

Rod Dreher (via Roy Edroso) found an anonymous individual that buttresses his hatred of the poors:

["Dr. Smith"] said that many of the patients he sees “are people who are poor because they just don’t want to work. They’ve never had a job and they never will have a job. They’re fine with that.”

He said that the general public has no idea how much money is wasted on medical fraud and abuse by members of the underclass, and on treating people who have no intention of being anything other than dependents on the state, and who will demand treatment “if they as much as stub their toe” because they don’t have to pay for it…

The observable common behavior [of the poor] is so strange, irresponsible, and wholly dysfunctional that it’s hard to relate it to any norms we recognize as healthy, or even sane. But one is not permitted to say things like this out loud, or one will be accused of heartlessness, and worse.

Yet here’s Dreher saying it out loud; what a brave fellow! Be nice to him, now, he just lost his sister.

At the hospital I work at we refer to the class of people that Dreher is meta-speaking of as the “mentally ill”. Or more specifically, “schizophrenics” or “those suffering from bi-polar disorder” or “dementia” who, when filling out job applications, defer to the voices in their heads when listing references. How unscrupulous of them! But therein lies the rub: they’re either digging through your garbage or they’re involved in some form of established state run mental health systems that are perpetually under-funded. The problem is that right-wingers find both of the above two options disagreeable and instead unanimously prefer the far more expensive option of incarceration because it’s not really about public health issues or the money being spent on hypothetical stubbed toes. It’s about looking for an opportunity to complain that Somebody Is Getting Something That They Don’t Deserve.

-mg

Represent, Iowa!

Jan 03, 2012 in Iowa

Holy smokes:

That’s the clean version. Just got back from Iowa and I’m feeling all Mr. Rogers.

-hw