Friday, September 24, 2010

Your Tax Dollars At Work

A Little Something To Remember

I was reminded today of something I hadn't tho't about for a long time.  It popped into my brain as I was half-listening to an interview with Jimmy Carter on his new book.

It was during Carter's term that we formalized diplomatic relations with China.  Nixon first made the effort at rapprochement, but it was Carter's actions that made it all real and concrete.

A Democrat actually followed up and followed thru on an initiative of a previous (and VERY) Republican president.  So I'm thinking that's what real bi-partisanship looks like.  Not the bullshit we hear about now.  Where is that kind of thing now?

Quick Note

The culture war is back in a big way, and one of the favorite themes is "Poor Down-Trodden Rich People".

It's become Accepted Political Fact that the top 1% of Income Earners make 19% of Adjusted Gross Income, but they carry 37% of the tax burden.  What nobody ever seems to notice is that these same 1%-ers actually own 43% of the wealth.

If your argument is all about taxing people according to the benefits they receive from the economy, then you must be in favor of raising taxes on the Top 1% to more closely reflect the benefits they get.

Just sayin' - everybody oughta pay for what they get.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Endorsed by Sarah Palin, Renee Ellmers is running for congress in NC's 2nd district.  Here's an ad That shows a lot of what's wrong with politics in general; and what's wrong specifically with these "New Repub Insurgents".

Shouldn't somebody be asking: What exactly does she propose to do to prevent people from building this "mosque"?

What Just Happened

Some good things have just kicked in, no thanks to Repub and Blue Dog opposition to healthcare reform laws.
  • Many plans will be prohibited from placing lifetime limits on medical coverage, and they will not be able to cancel the policies of people who fall ill.
  • Children with pre-existing conditions will not be denied coverage.
  • Dependent children will remain on their parents' health insurance plans until age 26.
  • Private plans must cover peventive services with no co-payments, and with preventive services being exempt from deductibles.
  • Insurers will no longer be able to cancel your health insurance retroactively due to an unintentional mistake made by you or your employer on your paperwork.
  • A way to appeal insurance company coverage determinations or claims is established along with an external review process.
  • States are granted money to investigate unreasonable rate hikes by private insurance companies.

Little Republicans


It's about equal rights.  It's about trying not to be on the wrong side of history.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Quick Note

To people who are fed up with politics as usual; people who want a chance to vote "None Of The Above"; people who believe that not voting is actually making a politically valid statement:

Wise up.  I hear a lot of people tell me they just can't bring themselves to choose between the lesser of two evils any more.  Been there, guys (still there in some ways).  It sucks and it feels like you're not making any progress at all.  But one thought keeps me goin' back over and over again.  Choosing in favor of the lesser evil is the same as deciding against the greater evil.  If you're confronted with two lousy alternatives; neither of which will do you much good, but one of which could be worse than the other; why would you choose not even to try to beat back the one you think poses the greater threat to you?

And for my Values Voter friends - in the face of evil, doing nothing is not an option.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Something New

Sometimes, it's hard not to see the hand of God at work.  Just beyond the limits of our imagination; just out of our reach; somewhere out there is where God could be.  There's a real probability that we'll never know what God is.  So for now, we have to be content with pushing the outside of the envelope; always trying to learn more about what God is not.

From Who's The Monkey, watch this video right now.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Short Memos

A couple of quick reminders for people who want very much to take the reins of power.

1) While religious faith is very much all about feeling certain that there are answers to whatever questions you have, it is NOT about being certain that only your brand of faith is in sole possession of those answers.

2) Here in the good ol' US of A, it's NOT up to the government to make good citizens; it's up to the citizens to make good government.

3) Regarding the pure arrogance of the organizers of silly things like The Values Voter Summit:  I think you're smart enough to know there aren't any voters who DON'T vote their values, so please just knock off that kinda bullshit.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Useful Idiots

I don't use the term in the pejorative.  I think anybody who gets on board with a political party or identifies strongly with a movement of any kind is a "Useful Idiot", so in this little experiment in self government, we're all Useful Idiots to some degree.  It's just that some are more useful and others are just idiots.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Republican Tide

Well, maybe not so much.  In a previous post, I predicted the Repubs making gains in House and Senate races, but not taking majorities in either.  I'm no big deal political analyst; I just try to get a feel for these things

My main line of reasoning is that while some incumbent Dems have drawn opposition in their primaries (challenged from their left because they're seen as "not progressive enough", etc), they haven't lost - or at least they haven't lost many.  Blanch Lincoln in AR and Mike Bennett in CO both won their primaries, and both are likely winners in November.

But on the Repub side, it seems like the uber-freaks from way right are winning primaries all over the place.  Christine O'Donnell - DE, Sharron Angle - NV, Marco Rubio - FL, Carl Paladino - NY, Rand Paul - KY.

I could be wrong (it does happen from time to time).  Maybe it's possible that voters are pissed off enough to allow some yahoo to get out in front of 'em and pretend to be some kind of leader.  I'm just thinking we haven't reached critical mass yet, and that Dems have a shot at reminding voters that we need to be FOR something - that practically nothing the Tea Partiers are saying can actually be translated into policy that anybody with a living, thinking brain would agree with.

Hope springs eternal.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Out On The Limb

Maybe the Dems have finally kinda gotten part of their shit together, and maybe the Repubs are being exposed as a little too extreme; and maybe, even tho' the Press Poodles keep trying to convince us the big bad polling numbers must surely spell doom for incumbents, they're actually soft enough to melt on a cold day; I dunno.  I'm just not convinced that conventional wisdom holds true this time around.

Boehner kinda broke ranks with the standard Repub reaction of opposing everything Obama wants to do when he said he could support letting the Bush Tax Cuts expire for the top tier if it means we keep the middle class cuts in place.  Also, Karl Rove got into a bit of a spat with Hannity on the air when he (Rove) questioned the viability of Repub candidates like O'Donnell (DE) and Angle (NV).

I think the Dems keep both houses in congress.  They lose seats, but they maintain the majority.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Trouble In Repub Land

After a spring and summer filled with the non-sense of anti-Latino, anti-Obama, anti-Working Guy, anti-Government politics, we get to revel in the sheer awesomeness of the GOP faithful showing what seem to be their real colors - again.

There's been a lot of generalization regarding Muslims and the vocal political forces at work in American politics right now.  A big bunch of our Press Poodles write a lot about how the Tea Partiers and the Right Wingers are bigots, while a slightly smaller contingent of Press Poodles push back saying it's not fair to characterize all of them as biased assholes based on the signs some of the rubes carry at their rallies.  At any rate, the Repubs are trying pretty hard not to be too closely identified with the too-extreme elements of the Tea Party movement (even tho' the movement is largely funded on the sly by some very prominent Repub donors and directed by some longtime Repub operatives).

Since most of the pushback comes from pundits and other media types who are self-described conservatives &/or Repubs, plus what seems obviously an attempt either to launch  the Tea Party as a sub-brand of the Republicans (or at least to co-opt the Tea Party to make it part of the Repub stable) I think it's pretty safe to say that, politically, the GOP owns these wackos and owns whatever these wackos say and do.

No matter how hard the Repubs try to deny and dismiss, the simple fact remains that the assholes on display at the Tea Party parades won't be voting for any Democrats in November.

Just sayin'.

A Question For Newt

Dinesh D'Sousa wrote a slam on Obama, and Gingrich picked up on it, knowing he could capture a couple of news cycles by attacking what should be Obama's real strength - ie: his rise from humble beginnings to become POTUS.  That's pretty much Standard Operating Procedure for the Repubs over the last 20 years or so  - they let the opponent describe what his own strengths are; and then they attack those strengths by simply making shit up.

So anyway, Ol' Newt uses D'Sousa's fantasy about how Obama's all hung up on his dad's world view as a Kenyan, trying to make a coupla points.

First, the connection to Kenya.  This is brilliant because it reminds the rubes of the Birthers' crapola theories about Obama's legitimacy without having to say anything about it at all.

Second, it goes after Obama's real strengths. As I mentioned above, it strikes at the rags-to-riches narrative, but Gingrich adds an attack on Obama's persona as the cool intellectual with a passion for public service.

But here's my point: after the rhetorical fog has lifted, we're still a country founded by people who wanted to stop living under the rule of foreign kings and their appointed nobles.

In such a country, how is it a bad thing for the president to be "anti-colonialist"?

Just wonderin'.

I Heart Larry Wilkerson

From The Real News Network:
WILKERSON: Oh, au contraire, we don't have that choice anymore. We get two idiots to vote for every year, whose campaigns say all manner of things, but whose actual actions are not—I'll quote Ralph Nader here—virtually are not any different from Tom and Jerry. I mean, the two of them are going to do the same thing, because basically what we have today is a corporatocracy: we have the presidents and the Congress in the hands of big food, big pharmacy, big oil, finance, insurance, and real estate. Look at Tim Geithner and Larry Summers. They're quintessential representatives of those communities. And that's who runs this country now. The president doesn't run this country, the secretary of defense and the secretary of state don't run these people, and God help us, the American people don't run this country. Big money runs this country.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sunday Funnies

Modern Day Book Burning

Yesterday, I downloaded a copy of The Quran to my iPod and then angrily deleted it.

Cold Dead Fingers

Lotsa "conservatives", when talking about 2nd amendment rights and their notions of self-reliance and self-determination and whatever, like to argue that their gun is the great equalizer; that having the gun means it's less likely that anybody is going to push them around.  I call this position The Meyer Lansky.  To paraphrase Mr Lansky, "Everybody's more polite when everybody's got a gun".

I think we could all come up with a fairly simple rebuttal, but that's not what I'm thinking about right now.  I'm wondering why the people who try to make that point are usually the same people who seem to think the same philosophical outlook doesn't apply to nuclear weapons.

Just wonderin'.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Mid Terms 2010

Do not put these assholes back in charge.

Political Insurgency 2010

Everybody seems really freaked out about how the "Tea Party" candidates are likely to screw everything up in the elections this year.  The Repubs are talkin' like they have the House majority sewed up already, but then again, there're lots of stories about how the establishment losers of the primaries refuse to show up at the little Party Unity rallies, where they're supposed to throw their support behind the insurgency winner.

If the Repubs are sure of a big win in November, why are they so upset about the Repub candidates who they say will win them the majority?

Two guesses:
1) The Repubs aren't really feeling confident - it's all just bluster.
2) If these Tea Baggers get elected, the Repub leadership will find it difficult if not impossible to hold any of the new members to party discipline.

Actually, Maybe Freedom Is Free

Monday, September 6, 2010

Electioneering 2010

From TPM:
"Mexican drug cartels literally do control parts of Arizona," Babeu told the Times. "They literally have scouts on the high points in the mountains and in the hills and they literally control movement. They have radios, they have optics, they have night-vision goggles as good as anything law enforcement has."
"This is going on here in Arizona," he added. "This is 70 to 80 miles from the border - 30 miles from the fifth-largest city in the United States."

 This guy Babeau is the sheriff of a border county in Arizona, and the guy who appears in John McCain's campaign video about "finish the danged fence".  TPM actualy does some decent reporting, so they called around to other law enforcement offices, and couldn't get anybody to confirm anything Babeau said.  In fact, while most stopped short of calling him full of shit, they all flatly contradicted the guy.

Here's a quick question:  Since Babeau is supposed to be in charge of upholding the law in his jurisdiction, is he just pleading for help...or is he admitting to professional incompetence?

Assuming he's a capable agent of the law, I gotta wonder why he says such things.  So I'm thinking it has everything to do with making sure certain middle class white people have something to be afraid of so that Big Daddy Politicians get more power.

These assholes pull this kinda shit because it works.

Right Rage Of The Day

Attempts to tear down Obama will never stop. It doesn't matter what he says or does, the "conservatives" will keep hacking away. Not because they think he's wrong; and not because they think they have better ideas; but because that's how they make their living.

Obama recently installed a new rug in the oval office that includes a quote from a speech by Martin Luther King: "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice".
Here's the video:

Thursday, September 2, 2010

New Slogans Needed

Why aren't the Dems blasting the Repubs for saying (essentially) the the US is done - we can't do anything anymore.

Where's all that "Yes We Can"?

The New Right Exposed

Read this from Conor Friedersdorf
There's this weird dynamic in the United States where some conservatives will praise the hard working kid who gets good grades in high school, completes all their homework, avoids behavioral and legal trouble, plays varsity sports, takes a leadership role in student government, and studies hard for his SATs... until he or she attends Harvard, at which point they're put in the coastal elite box, especially if they wind up in politics, media, or academia.