Friday, June 29, 2012


Modern Methods (updated)

I caught this episode on The Science Channel the other night - this is what explains to me some of the methods political hucksters use to get us leaning and keep us in line.

It's what prompted a previous post - Modern Methods.

And for all the Centrists out there, please look around and tell me what examples you can find to show that the Dems are trying to pull the False Memory trick.  I realize they're using a lot of the same advertising gimmicks, but I've not seen the outright attempt to change the facts of historical events to fit their ideology.  That seems to be the near-exclusive province of the Wingnuts.

Full episode on YouTube

At about 14:30, they start talking about the causes and effects of Memory Errors.  Once this is understood, it's a short step to manipulation.  ie: Play up the fear, which revs up the amygdala; plant the new memory, and you've got yourself a new convert.  Sounds like a pretty handy little tool to me.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

That Was Odd

So ACA is upheld by SCOTUS today, and the wingnuts are having a deuce of a time trying hard to blame Obama for the whole thing while also practically turning themselves inside out to avoid criticizing one of their pet "conservatives", Chief Justice Roberts.  I don't know why, but it just seems a little weird to me.

The Assault

The decisions regarding any woman's healthcare needs has to be left to each woman.  And if you believe in free will, then you damn sure better be prepared to let people make decisions on their own, without your interference, and without your peevish little fears of sexuality, or that somebody might make a choice you don't agree with.

An open letter to GOP (Addictive Info)

A thousand State House restrictions on the rights of women.

Mr Job Creator

You have to know what a tin-plated fuckin' phony Willard is just by watching him try to maintain some semblance of cool when he walks on camera.

But the giant steaming pile of Mitt-speak when he talks about the economy and how he knows everything there is to know about creating jobs - man, not even the Shit Flies are gonna land on that scow.

From WaPo (which sometimes tries so hard to remember they're supposed to be a newspaper - it's so cute when they do that):
During the nearly 15 years that Romney was actively involved in running Bain, a private equity firm that he founded, it owned companies that were pioneers in the practice of shipping work from the United States to overseas call centers and factories making computer components, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
While economists debate whether the massive outsourcing of American jobs over the last generation was inevitable, Romney in recent months has lamented the toll it’s taken on the U.S. economy. He has repeatedly pledged he would protect American employment by getting tough on China.

AGW And Climate Change

Mt Everest then and now:

And a Ted talk:


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Modern Methods

Actually, I don't really know how modern it is, but Repubs have developed an extremely effective approach to convincing people of the "rightness" of their political views.

The one overarching objective of this process is to turn somebody into somebody he's not.

eg 1:
Sarah Palin had no real chops as a politician, and certainly no great knowledge as a citizen (or as a human being for that matter), but the GOP needed us to think she was ready to serve as VP so they mounted an all-out campaign to turn her into some kind of Statesman Savant.

eg 2:
John Kerry is a mostly honorable guy and (as much as possible, I think) a legitimate war hero, but the GOP couldn't afford direct comparisons between him and W, so in 2004 they set about turning Kerry into a French-ified flip-flopping coward who lied about his war record to get medals blah blah blah.

This shit works because too many of us just don't have the time or the inclination to try to sort it out and find what the truth really is.
"A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a superficial appearance of being right."
Thomas Paine
Sounds good, doesn't it?  Now, maybe you trust me to verify the stuff I put in here and maybe you don't, but how many people are going to look at that quote and just accept it at face value, versus the ones who'll take 45 seconds to Google it and at least make a cursory effort to check it out?

Enter Thomas Jefferson.  Even the the jerkiest of "conservative" jerks know they're not gonna make it to where they wanna go by sliming Tommy Jeff, so there's an ongoing effort on the part of the Wingnuts to co-opt Jefferson, and turn him into a guy who said things that seem to support the Christianists' point of view.

Some of what Mr Jefferson actually had to say:
"History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes."
"In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own. It is easier to acquire wealth and power by this combination than by deserving them, and to effect this, they have perverted the purest religion ever preached to man into mystery and jargon, unintelligible to all mankind, and therefore the safer engine for their purposes."
"The Christian religion, when divested of the rags in which they [the clergy] have enveloped it, and brought to the original purity and simplicity of it's benevolent institutor, is a religion of all others most friendly to liberty, science, and the freest expansion of the human mind."
"Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, and imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch toward uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one-half the world fools and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth."
 Some of the bullshit they want you to buy:
"Sir, no nation has ever yet existed or been governed without religion. Nor can be. The Christian religion is the best religion that has been given to man, and I as chief magistrate of this nation am bound to give it the sanction of my example."
"Without God, liberty will not last."
 "The Bible is the source of liberty"
Take nothing for granted.  Always check, especially when it seems this or that "quotation" attributed to a "Founding Father" seems to be in near-perfect alignment with any particular ideology.  Let's be careful out there.

With Apologies To Mr Godwin

..again.  A popular "conservative" debate trick right now is to refer to ACA as National Socialist Healthcare, obviously trying hard to get people to create a mental link between  Obama and the Nazis.  Not exactly new, but that kinda manipulative shit's been working for them for a good long time so why give it up now?

But anyway, another one of their favorite tricks is to revise (ie: pervert) history to the point that they claim Hitler was an atheist and so the horrors of The 3rd Reich were possible only because he espoused non-belief, which of course invites the inference that Atheist = Nazi.

Well, gosh - guess what?

It's popular among Christian apologists to claim that Hitler, the Nazis, and the Holocaust are all consequences of atheism, secularism, and liberalism. Such arguments fly in the face of reality: Adolf Hitler regularly proclaimed his faith in God, Nazi ideology was committed to supporting Christianity (on its own terms, of course), and Nazi anti-Semitism was firmly grounded in Christian anti-Semitism. Hitler's theism, religiosity, and Christianity are supported in his own words. His beliefs were not quite what most Christians today believe, but they are part of the same family and nowhere near secular atheism.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Today's Pix

A Tiny Glimmer

Rush Limbaugh got dumped from the line up at a CBS Radio affiliate in Philly recently, replaced by Michael Smerconish.

I haven't heard much of the usual indignantly outraged tantrums from the Wingnuts yet tho'.  Eerily quiet.  But it turns out the AM station dropped him, and he got picked up by an FM outfit, so this doesn't exactly sound like much of a big story, but hey - there it is.

Maybe the real point is that if Limbaugh continues to fade from the AM side, and even if he keeps getting picked up by the FM stations, his reach continues to diminish because FM gets out to a much narrower audience.

Anyway, from Addicting Info:
Limbaugh will no longer be heard on the CBS station in Philadelphia that has allowed him to spew his venom for the past twenty years. He has been replaced by Michael Smerconish with the intro “forget the anger, reason is back”
Score one for reason and morality.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Who's Side?

I'll have to ask for a temporary suspension of Godwin's 1st Corollary so we can play a quick round of Political Scattergories.  Quick - tell me which side of the standard Conservative/Liberal divide do you think this butthead fits best.

From Addicting Info:
The Mission statement of his current group:
“WE BELIEVE that the current government in America is run by Jews,” and, “WE BELIEVE that the Jews [sic] main goal is the total annihilation of the Aryan race, heritage, & culture.”
Mullet states that not only does he not believe President Obama was born in America, he believes Obama is the anti-Christ, (Ethos Magazine in 2010). On his web post on the American National Socialist Party forum, March 13, 2011 Paul wrote:
”Typical Nigger Behavior and they want equal rights? Really is America that far gone that they can not [sic] see that you can take the nigger out of the jungle but not the jungle out of the nigger.”

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Heart And Soul

My maternal-side Grandpa owned a grocery starting in the early 20s, and when the Depression hit, he became pretty well-known locally for his huge heart and willingness to extend credit for those in need - even to the point of having forgiven thousands of dollars in accounts receivable well after the time most of his customers got back on their feet again.

As I learned something about politics, I always assumed he was a fairly "typical Liberal Democrat", but my mom set me straight on that one, telling me he was a life-long Republican and near-extreme conservative who hated FDR and The New Dealers with a passion.  That took me by surprise, and it made me understand that there's a kind of paradox that's always existed in American politics, but has recently begun to disappear at an alarming rate.

I guess it comes down to my favorite Tom Morris quote from his book, If Aristotle Ran General Motors: "There is no contradiction in having a hard head and a soft heart".

So anyway, this is not the heart and soul of American Capitalism, because there is no soul, no heart, and no honor in it:

This is the real deal, because this is where all the heart and the soul and the honor is in American Capitalism:


Payback's a muthafukka, bitch.


..."conservatives" are pussies.

The "French" Thing

Back in 2004, Repubs smeared John Kerry by saying (essentially), "He seems a bit - I dunno - French".

Anybody notice how French the word "Dressage" is?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Flame Up

Sister Simone Campbell:

Not crazy about mixing church with politics, but when somebody finally figures out that Jesus is no Republican, it's good to let her speak - to remind the followers what lies are hidden in all the bible-thumping bullshit coming from certain usurpers and false prophets.  And to get "good Catholics" back to doing what's right for them to do.

(and BTW: this is what a real Conservative looks like and sounds like)


..."conservatives" really are a bunch of cowering, wimpy little pussies who have nothing but a childishly violent reflex to practically everything that happens around them.

And there's an ample supply of hucksters who're more than willing to take 'em for a nice ride.

hat tip = Crooks and Liars

Bald-Faced Hypocrisy

"Conservatives" are always whining about something, and one of the big ones has been what they spin as Obama constantly apologizing for us overseas.  Never mind the fact that he doesn't do that, it's what "conservatives" need us to believe, so they just lie their asses off, knowing we won't check, cuz we're don't pay any attention anyway.

So I'm wondering what this might mean to their little agenda of mendaciousness - oh yeah, I forgot - it'll mean nothing because if they just ignore the facts, then the facts don't count cuz - see paragraph above.

The US House of Representatives voted unanimously in favor of N 683, which issues an official apology to the Chinese people for the series of anti-immigration bills (including The Chinese Exclusion Act) from the 1880s.

U.S. House of Representative apologize for Chinese Exclusion Act (pg A4)
Beijing Youth Daily/Beijing Qingnianbao (Daily, circ. 650,000):
Hong Lei, spokesperson of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that China has affirmed the U.S. House of Representatives' move. As an immigration nation, the U.S.'s development is closely connected with various ethnic people including the Chinese in the United States. The Chinese Americans should be fairly evaluated and respected. Zhao Maxim* said in past 25 years there were only 3 apology bills being passed in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Thus the apology bill this time has created history for Chinese Americans.
*Zhao Maxim = US Rep Judy Chu (D, CA-32)

It passed UNANIMOUSLY - as in no Repubs voted against it.

Mark It Zero, Dude

The wisdom of The Big Lebowski proves the extreme stoopidity of "we're all safer when we all have guns in all circumstances".

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Middle Class Blues

Oh, the horribleness of a life lived in the midst of middle-American privilege.

Monday, June 18, 2012

An Air Of Freshness

Outside of the disinformation bubble of the Baghdad Bob style of "news" at Wingnut Daily, News Fluffer, The RNC and DumFux News, there still exists a fact-based reality.

From Small Business Majority:
Key findings:
Only a third of small business owners want the Supreme Court to overturn the Affordable Care Act; a plurality of 50% would like it upheld, with minor or no changes. This support grows after learning more details about the law’s key provisions:
Only 34% of small businesses want to see the healthcare law overturned, while 50% want it to remain intact with, at most, minor changes. After learning more about its specifics, only 28% want to see it repealed and a 56% majority want it to be kept, as is or with minor changes. A 55% majority say they want it upheld because we need to make sure everyone has health coverage.

Today's Pix

To Be Clear

The income for the "average" American family in 2010 was less than $46,000.  That year, Willard and Ann Romney claimed a deduction of $77,000 on their tax return for expenses related to their horse hobby of Dressage.

I don't really care what these Silver-Spoon Legacy Fucks do with their disposable income or their spare time.  But I have a major problem with all of it when the system is rigged so that I'm forced to subsidize that kinda shit.

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Jesus Scam

When Jesus says we should walk away from everything in our lives in order to follow him; when he says we need to abandon ourselves and our thinking in order to "live in Christ" - when he says that shit, I can't help but think he's easily the most anti-individual,  anti-family, anti-society asshole there ever was.  No wonder they fucked him up.  Hopefully, of course, there was quite a lot more to it than that, but still.  Damn, son.

There's a pretty narrow intersection between me and Penn Jillette, but here's a good slice of it:

Employment Fantasies

From The Economic Populist:
There is no skills shortage, none. In fact employers are being absolutely ridiculous in their hiring practices. It's so bad, employers use software and third party rejection job application websites, which pretty much guarantee a candidate will be rejected. These websites and software are like virtual wastebaskets for your resume. No human involved, it's automatic, guaranteed rejection. It's so bad, an HR executive applied for his own job and was rejected.
If you think American Business Leaders (and their Coin-Operated Politicians) are really worried about unemployment, think again.  Labor is a market just like any other market. When the supply of laborers exceeds the demand for laborers, then employers can push down on the cost of labor while raising their expectations of any candidate's qualifications, which is exactly what we're seeing.

Unemployment only becomes a problem when we can no longer be bought off or distracted or intimidated.  In the meantime, getting dirt-cheap labor because you've got  400 applications for every open slot is a very good problem to have.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

We've Only Just Begun

We're actually involved in a kind of (so far) slow-moving Civil War. And I think the progression is pretty easy to see.

1) Leadership. It's a fairly simple and obvious fact that if you have enough money, you're not subject to the same "Justice" as the rest of us. Once people see "leaders" getting away with larceny, fraud, torture, bribery, child rape, and even murder, then why should the "common folk" hold themselves to any other standard of behavior?

2) Followership: Even when those standards are set and adhered to by people we admire, over time, we will misconstrue and eventually totally pervert the concept. Vince Lombardi says, "winning isn't everything; it's the only thing", and a very short time later, it's morphed into "win at all cost". And that perversion happened well after Lombardi publicly refuted his own statement, saying he regretted ever having said it. Didn't matter.

3) Political Marketing: Self-Governance = Self-Loathing. Anti-Gubmint sentiment strikes at the very heart of our little experiment in democracy.

We're the Government, and Government sucks, so: We Suck.

But our need for self preservation requires us to try not to internalize that hatred - we will most likely turn it outward, looking for some external agent to blame for our feelings of being victimized. So pick a group - any group. Muslims, Hispanics, Liberals, Tea Partiers, NRA Members, name it, we got a group for you to hate with the power of a thousand suns.

So what we have now is the beginning of something I think is already in motion and will simply continue to snowball until it consumes us all. If that sounds as dire and overblown to you as it does to me, then we can still hope for cooler heads to prevail, but it's probably best if you don't now start thinking about what happens if we mix in a nice big hunk of the disruptions we can expect to be driven by Climate Change in the next 10 - 30 years.

So, here's what I think is a kind of instigating incident:

Any given Stand Your Ground law is being interpreted by an awful lot of average yahoos as a license to impose their will on anybody they don't like, and/or act out their Wyatt Earp fantasies, and/or exact vengeance for what they perceive as "those people" tearing down our once-great USA blah blah blah.

None of these boneheads oughta get medals for brains - but nobody ever deserves to get shot arguing about noise in the neighborhood. This just gets worse from here on out.

Rocky Flats

From 1966 to about 1973, my family lived down-stream and down-wind from the facility where Dow Chemical and Rockwell built triggers and other parts for nuclear weapons.

Of the 4 women in my family who lived there, every one of them has had at least one bout with cancer, and 3 of them are dead.

There is no significant evidence of an hereditary factor for cancer among female relatives or ancestors in my family.

"Corporations are people, my friend".  Cool - I want the death penalty for these pricks.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

This One's A Little Weird

Here's an example of a mis-remembered thing that gets stuck in my brain.  I went a good 40 years thinking I'd been taught in 3rd grade that this was Colorado's Official State Song.

BTW: The real Official State Song of Colorado (Where The Columbines Grow) is even worse.

Guilty By Reason Of Womanhood

I'm "pro-choice" because I think people have the right to make their own decisions about their own health and well-being, and because if you give Government the power to prohibit abortion, then you're giving Government the power to require abortion.

I've also hypothesized on what happens if we re-criminalize abortion, asking what does the law look like; and what am I required to do (as a law-abiding citizen) to help uphold such a law?  If you've made abortion a crime, and I suspect a woman may have taken illegal steps to end a pregnancy, I think I have a duty to notify the police and to demand an investigation.

To me, that last bit always sounded like I was waxing a bit hyperbolical, but guess what?
An Idaho woman arrested for inducing her own abortion is taking her case to federal court. Jennie Linn McCormack was charged last year under an obscure Idaho law for ending her pregnancy with RU-486. She joins an increasing number of women who get the so-called abortion pill off the internet.
More at NPR.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Cut The Crap

Obama wasn't born in the US.
Obama is a secret Muslim.
Obama is stealthily destroying American Capitalism on purpose.
Obama wants higher gas prices to help out his hippie buddies in Green Biz.

Whether you love Obama or you hate him, or you don't really care one way or another - it'd be good to make decisions based on real information rather than the smarmy bullshit that passes for political debate points these days.

Isn't it a little weird that the GOP and "conservatives" are all pissed off at Obama for a bunch of baloney they made up, when they really should be in favor of what he's doing (eg) overseas?  You know - the shit they condoned or even rabidly supported when Bush was doing it?

All that other junk is brought to us by people who have no honor and no soul.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Obama's Gaffe

What does Obama mean when he says 'the private sector's doing fine"?  Where does he get off contradicting the Official GOP Narrative!?!

Oh wait - maybe this is what he was trying to tell us:

First, this is what The Private Sector looks like now - with jobs back up to about where they were Pre-Recession.

Now, here's Federal Jobs

And finally, All Gov't Jobs

Which part of Republicans-are-a-bunch-of-lyin'-sacks-of-shit are you having trouble understanding?

John Jonik

A new find for me - John Jonik.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Iran's Unclear Ambitions

From The Agonist today:
Over at Nuclear Diner, veteran Los Alamos nuclear engineer Susan Voss analyzes the amount of 20% enriched uranium Iran has made to date and concludes "The 98 kgs is more than needed for one core for TRR but a reasonable amount if the Iranians are planning on producing a batch of fuel for the TRR rather than producing it every 5-6 years when it is needed." It's exactly on par with the batch of three full fuel cores Argentina supplied Iran in 1992 which is estimated to run out this year.
So, it's probable that all the talk about this material being for bomb production is just warmongering hype.
Bonus: Gareth Porter talks to former top Iranian nuclear negotiator Seyed Hossein Mousavian, who tells Porter that France and Germany were prepared in spring 2005 to negotiate on an Iranian proposal to convert all of its enriched uranium to fuel rods, making it impossible to use it for nuclear weapons, but Britain vetoed the deal at the insistence of the United States.
That last bit seems pretty important. I wonder why The US would want to make it nearly impossible for the French and the Germans to prevent the Iranians from getting the bomb(?)  Hmmm.

Parade Of Stoopid

This is some high-quality stoopid right here:


 Not even Juan (The Twin Token) Williams can go along with Bolling's malarkey.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

It's A Wonderment

Thinking about some things that recently popped into my silly little head.

Here's one: Welfare Cheats.
And another'n: Voter Fraud

How long have we heard about this?
"Young bucks eatin' steak and lobster on Food Stamps".
"Dead people voting numerous times".

Here's my basic premise: There's an element of truth to it - the notion that some people are gaming the system has to be assumed.  I'd hafta be stupid to believe it never happens.  But what I think I know now is that this is "truth with a lower case t", which means it's a Political Truth, which in turn means it's a Political Lie.

And here's my take-away:  The Political Truth is always much smaller than they want you to believe it is, and the Political Lie is always a lot bigger.

On Wisconsin

Sometimes you win by losing and sometimes you lose by winning.  It all depends on how you react to whatever just happened.

via Balloon Juice:
Exit polling showed tepid majority support for public unions (51%), with equally tepid support for Walker’s handling of collective bargaining (52%). This reflects the resentment towards public unions based on the perception that they’re getting a better deal than the rest of us :
Some random stuff:
1) Resentment works.  Voters aren't trying to raise everybody to the level of Unionized Workers, they're convinced that "those damned union bastards are gettin' some kinda free ride at the expense of everybody else".  This is what the race to the bottom looks like.


2) Advertising works. The prevailing message was that Gov Walker was just doing what he told you he'd do when he ran for the office.  You voted for him; now stop whining and take your medicine.

3) The double Standard is alive and well.  It's OK to attack Obama for being successful at what he's done, but going after Romney means you're engaging in class warfare.  Also, it isn't fair to criticize Romney for his success, but those successful unions; well they're just evil.

Hopefully, having outspent the Dems 10-1, the Koch Suckers have a pyrrhic victory on their hands and there might be a somewhat diminished enthusiasm for making the same effort on the next fight.  I'll admit to being a bit dubious on that one - we'll have to see what goodies Mr Walker offers up to reward his benefactors.

Also too - remember that the Dems won another seat in the State Senate, which takes the Repub majority away.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Dr Krugman

Austerity is bad policy because it's not Economics at all - it's an Ideological Religion.  A true faith.  The big problem is that Demand has dried up, and the Supply-Siders just can't stand thinking their pet theory might not work all that well this time.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Mr Escher

MC Escher with a kind of western European yin-yang thing.

The Five Monkeys

One more on the power of conditioning.

On Being A Hero-In-Waiting

Philip Zimbardo:

Conform And Be Dull

This is nothing new.  The marketeers (commercial and political) know about all this, and they use it to manipulate us at every turn.

The Asch Experiments:
Of particular interest to me (in the context of the current political climate) is the bit regarding united opposition at about 3:00.

Now, try not to think about DumFux News, and the simple fact that there's an awful lot of "low-information voters" (aka the independents) out there who pay no attention to what's happening until it's time to decide; and who then simply try to get a feel for which way the wind is blowing so they can vote according to what they perceive as the "majority sentiment".

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Today's Pix

Meanwhile, over at The War On Drugs...


Almost every opinion survey tells us a coupla things that have now passed into "facts" of Conventional Wisdom.

First, approval ratings for Congress are always somewhere down around 10%.  And yet, in spite of those numbers, sometimes 60% of us show up to cast our votes - obviously trying in some way to fulfill the promise of self-governance.

Second, approval ratings for US Military always come in up around 70%, but fewer than 1% of us are signing on to serve.

We've become extremely well conditioned to a weirdly reflexive Political Correctness that requires a basic hypocrisy.

We claim to hate The Government, but we love trying to make something useful of it.

And we profess an undying love for the Military, but we hate the tho't of wearing the uniform ourselves.

And God help you if you ever say anything like that in public.

Like my mom always said, "Conform and be dull".