Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Today's Pix


Aircraft Carriers

China recently unveiled its brand new toy - which it bought (as surplus) from Ukraine - and which BTW, has yet to be fitted out to make it capable of launching and landing AIRPLANES.

Correct - China has an aircraft carrier that can't carry aircraft.  I feel so threatened.

Your Civics Homework

We might get around to fixing this one of these days - but I'm not holding my breath.

Oh, Willard

Willard's team decided they'd try to make it look like they had any fuckin' clue on what to do about the problems thrown at us by Superstorm Sandy, so they dressed up a campaign rally to look like they give a rat's ass about anything but themselves.

Too typical.  But it points up (again) the simple fact that the Repubs are always trying to substitute these empty gestures and photo ops for real policy and helpful action.

Balloon Juice takes 'em down.
But Romney is shameless. He wants to use Sandy’s destruction as a media hook, so he re-branded his rally for the stupid and gullible members of the press as a “storm relief’ effort. To underscore the stupid deception, Mitt asked attendees to bring can goods to the rally, as if random truckloads of unsorted can goods flooding a disaster area are useful. The Red Cross is pretty specific that these kinds of efforts produce piles of supplies that cannot be used and cause real problems for relief efforts:
Does the American Red Cross accept donated goods?

Unfortunately, due to logistical constraints the Red Cross does not accept or solicit individual donations or collections of items. Items such as collected food, used clothing and shoes must be sorted, cleaned, repackaged and transported which impedes the valuable resources of money, time, and personnel.
Something else it points up - Romney is another silver-spoon legacy puke who doesn't know the first fuckin' thing about the lives or the problems of real people, and apparently he knows even less about any of the mechanisms in place that actually work to help real people when they need it.


..but of course, we can run with it because of the rule: "Significant If True".

So eat it, Repubs.  You wanna make shit up about Obama, then you can bloody well expect to get it back.

Gettin' It Done - 6

It's not a good idea to celebrate the violent destruction of a fellow human being, and it's not in keeping with the high concept of Due Process just to hunt a guy down and kill him, but if there's ever a good reason to make exceptions, Osama bin Laden was it.
6. Eliminated Osama bin laden: In 2011, ordered special forces raid of secret compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in which the terrorist leader was killed and a trove of al-Qaeda documents was discovered.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sandy The Keynesian Hurricane

Wanna see straight up Keynesian Economics at work?  Take a good look at what happens when FEMA and other Federal Assistance is administered properly over the next few months.

We had a little peek at it after Irene, but now we're gonna see it all happen center stage.

From Crooks & Liars:
Now, don't get me wrong. There's no way in hell I'm happy about this storm (in fact, I'd like to send an invoice to oil lobbyists and tell them to split the bill) and after it's done, there will be people who died (sixteen on the East Coast, 69 in the Caribbean as of this writing), and countless others left homeless, but there is a small silver lining in all those clouds.
Because the construction industry has been moribund for a while. Now it will explode, and a lot of people who didn't have jobs will have them.
And those people who have those new jobs will spend money, and that will create more jobs. How many? That depends on how much money the feds put into the recovery. (Don't forget, Wall Street brokers live in these affected areas, too.)
And, oh yeah, let's see what we can learn from comparing Obama's FEMA with Jr Bush's FEMA, and then take a good look at what Willard's been saying about how he thinks FEMA should be scrapped so we can privatize those functions and make Halliburton even fatter and richer - which he then Etch-A-Sketched later.

Lyin' sack o' shit.

Wouldn't It Be Nice?

Yeah - they're prob'ly not really able to do it - pretty cool if they could tho'.  And that's how it starts.

During A National Emergency

...what does leadership look like?  Let's see:

Today's Krugman

He's been on a bit of a hot streak lately - except maybe for his choice in music.

He makes a great point in this post, not only about Nate Silver's 538 thing, but about the GOP's  Bubble of Alternative Reality.
This is really scary. It means that if these people triumph, science — or any kind of scholarship — will become impossible. Everything must pass a political test; if it isn’t what the right wants to hear, the messenger is subjected to a smear campaign.
From the comments:


Gettin' It Done - 7

"Saved the US car business" may be overblown hyperbole and graceful understatement all at once.  Government shouldn't be in the business of propping up failing enterprises.  There is such a thing as a life cycle, and it applies to companies and to whole industry sectors as well as to people (also to countries, but that's a different post).  So I'm always worried that throwing tax dollars at a business problem is just postponing the inevitable.  It's a really tough call, but sometimes you have to pull the plug.  All that said, if you don't have the capability to produce stuff that you can sell, then you don't have an economy.  Lose your manufacturing base and you're on your way to losing it all.  Not understanding that concept was one of the hugest mistakes we made in the 80s and 90s.

I'll admit right now that I was all for Free Trade agreements like NAFTA,et al - thinking it'd be good for us if American businesses had to compete just like everybody else; if we couldn't build better refrigerators than the Japanese, then we should get our butts kicked - damned unions blah blah blah.

I was wrong.  Not so much wrong about Free Trade - if you do it right, then the whole free trade thing really is a good idea.  But that's just it: "if you do it right".  About all we've managed to accomplish is to turn Ross Perot into a prophetic messenger - and you start to get an idea of the monumental-ness of your fuck up when that happens.

So the very stark difference in the basic instincts of Obama vs Romney when it came to making a decision on what to do about Detroit tells me most of what I need to know about these guys.  Obama sees what's happened and understands that we have to do some things aimed at leveling the field so we're not always playing up hill.  Romney sounds like he's stuck in 1989, still thinking (like I did) it doesn't matter if we don't make anything here anymore, because the workforce will just retrain itself and become managers; or everybody'll borrow some money and go back to school; or they'll finally open that shoe store their mom always wanted them to try.
7. Turned Around U.S. Auto Industry: In 2009, injected $62 billion in federal money (on top of $13.4 billion in loans from the Bush administration) into ailing GM and Chrysler in return for equity stakes and agreements for massive restructuring. Since bottoming out in 2009, the auto industry has added more than 100,000 jobs. In 2011, the Big Three automakers all gained market share for the first time in two decades. The government expects to lose $16 billion of its investment, less if the price of the GM stock it still owns increases.
I still don't like bailouts, but you have to know how to make the better choice from a very short list of shitty options.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Mustache Of Understanding

Tom Friedman used to be a pretty decent writer who had decent ideas and a decent regard for what goes in the world.  The only decent thing about him these days is that he's still a decent writer - or more accurately: he can put words together in a way that makes a point and makes it fairly easy to understand the point.

Here he is trying desperately to keep us from realizing how culpable he is for having contributed mightily to the steaming pile of crap that is Centrism, while not working nearly hard enough to keep the Repubs from losing their minds completely.
HARD-LINE conservatives have gone to new extremes lately in opposing abortion. Last week, Richard Mourdock, the Tea Party-backed Republican Senate candidate in Indiana, declared during a debate that he was against abortion even in the event of rape because after much thought he “came to realize that life is that gift from God. And even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.” That came on the heels of the Tea Party-backed Republican Representative Joe Walsh of Illinois saying after a recent debate that he opposed abortion even in cases where the life of the mother is in danger, because “with modern technology and science, you can’t find one instance” in which a woman would not survive without an abortion. “Health of the mother has become a tool for abortions anytime, for any reason,” Walsh said.
He goes on with some pretty cookie-cutter verbiage (that most middle schoolers could come up with), pointing out that wearing the "pro-life" badge is inconsistent with a position that isn't also in favor of gun control (eg), etc.

So it's nice to see Friedman with his head somewhere other than up his own ass for a change, but I have to wonder why he waited until now to start writing about the extreme positions being staked out by an increasing number of Repubs.

Maybe he finally senses a certain change in how most Americans think about such things. Or maybe he senses a certain change in how more and more of his readers are getting hip to the fact that he's a billionaire know-nothing who tripped and fell into a river of cash, and who now needs us to forget he's actually a douche bag shill for Corporate Media.

I dunno - but he's doing nothing so much as he's playing the very old game of "discovering" an issue and standing in front of it, hoping we'll be fooled into thinking he's leading us in some way.

Fuck him - don't get stupid and hit him; and don't throw shit at his head, but if you see this dick in a bar somewhere, do us all a solid and spit in his drink.

A Quickie

Undecided Voters get a lot of attention, and I think the spanking they're finally taking is richly deserved and long overdue.

I think I can (mostly) conclude that The Undecided Voter is trying to rationalize his apathy by hiding behind this phony impartiality.  Being "undecided" becomes a way to deflect criticism for staying deliberately ignorant of practically the whole process.  And the more we kiss their asses trying to move them one way or another, the more Undecided Voters we create - because we end up rewarding this childish behavior.

In the end, Undecided is just another form of Both Sides Do It / They're All The Same etc.

It's bullshit and they need to be called out for it.

This Is How Ya Do It

Whatever it is you're trying to do, you get your ass out there and you sell the fuckin' thing.

"I refuse to see us live on the accomplishments of another generation."

"The business of government is the business of the people, and the people are right here."

Gettin' It Done - 8

Personally, I kinda like having an economy that works; even one that's not great, but still manages to limp along at a 1 or 2% growth rate, in spite of all the best efforts of a certain opposition party in Washington.
8. Recapitalized Banks: In the midst of financial crisis, approved controversial Treasury Department plan to lure private capital into the country’s largest banks via “stress tests” of their balance sheets and a public-private fund to buy their “toxic” assets. Got banks back on their feet at essentially zero cost to the government.
One of the biggest problems we have right now is that Obama hasn't gone after many of the worst offenders - the banksters (et al) who helped blow up the mortgage bubble that blew up the financial system.

It would be monument-worthy badass if the Prez took on Wall Street and beat 'em into submission - ala JFK in '61 against Big Steel, and again in '62 when he actually put a few Big Utilities execs in jail on charges of collusion and price-fixing.

It's a much different time now, of course, so Obama has to do things in a way that doesn't feed the anti-gubmint mindset of the rubes.  Here's hopin'.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Today's Pix

Gettin' It Done - 9

It may well be impossible to create the "perfect union", but our founding documents require us to keep trying.  And until we all have the full compliment of rights and privileges due us under the law, we're all 2nd class citizens in one way or another.  
9. Repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”: Ended 1990s-era restriction and formalized new policy allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military for the first time.

In Bed With Willard

Bill Maher makes the point about electing a lot more than just Mitt Romney.  Put this guy in the White House, and every bumpkin with a bus ticket and a bad idea will be headed back to Washington to collect on what he thinks Willard owes him for turning out the Radical Right Voters.  Do you really want Grover Norquist, Bryan Fisher and Sheldon Adelson picking a replacement for Ruth Bader-Ginsberg?

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Tweets Are The New Bumper Sticker

...or graffiti or t-shirts or whatever.

It's The Horse Race, Stupid

Pro-Life My Ass

hat tip = Democratic Underground

This Takes Guts

A post at Balloon Juice:
The Romney Campaign and the entire modern Conservative movement is very easy to understand. It is all about race. Full stop. For these people, every election is an attempt to use fear, anger and even hate of brown folks to inspire white folks to vote against their self-interest and support their Galtian overlords.

I'm really hoping this isn't to be taken at face value.  I'm hoping there're people in the GOP who hate this kinda shit as much as the rest of us.  But I'm really concerned that the ghost of Lee Atwater is setting the strategy, and because it works, that it'll continue apace.

I'm also hoping this isn't simply a knee-jerk reaction from "the left"; that it's not just sitting and taking shots; sniping from the bushes.  I don't like it, but I can't just ignore it either.

Gettin' It Done - 10

Kinda continuing with the theme from yesterday's post (Gettin' It Done - 11).

This one really seems to stick in Willard's craw - or more accurately, in WIllard's advisors' craw, cuz that guy seriously has no tho'ts of his own on Foreign Policy.  Anyway, they first tried to slam Obama for "leading from behind", but then they found out nobody supported direct US involvement.  Next, they tried to slam him for "following the French", but then they found out that all that "French-ified leadership" was depending on American-supplied intel (which everybody called indispensable), and without which, (eg) they'd still be talking about the Slaughter in Benghazi.  And on and on and on.
10. Toppled Moammar Gaddafi: In March 2011, joined a coalition of European and Arab governments in military action, including air power and naval blockade, against Gaddafi regime to defend Libyan civilians and support rebel troops. Gaddafi’s forty-two-year rule ended when the dictator was overthrown and killed by rebels on October 20, 2011. No American lives were lost.
You can argue that last bit: "no American lives were lost", and connect it to the 4 dead Americans in Benghazi last month, and then try to score a few points about how Obama's policies are unravelling and blah blah blah.  But when Condi Rice comes out and defends Clinton's State Dept, saying in effect that foreign service is some dangerous shit and you don't conduct proper diplomacy by hiding in a bunker - well I have to think the translation is something like, "You really don't know what the fuck yer talkin' about, Willard".

One of the things we never hear is that Qaddafi was aware of the bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie - at least aware of it, if not very closely involved.  Ya gotta know that if Willard was in charge when Libya went down, they'd be naming buildings and parks and high schools after the prick for his "stalwart efforts to bring the Islamofascists to justice!"

So lemme see, when Sadam has nothing to do with 9/11, we pretend he did so we get ourselves into a supremely stoopid war that goes on for 8 years and gets more Americans killed than actually died on 9/11, and costs us a trillion dollars.  But when Qaddafi actually does have something to do with hundreds of dead Americans and he finally gets what he deserves for it, then we just shrug - meh - and make like it's no big deal; plus we get to listen to Repubs piss and moan about how Obama didn't do it right, or some other fuckin' nonsense.

These people have no soul and no honor.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Serious Wonkette

I've been in some FaceBook fights over the last year or so with some "friends" who have ended up calling me "the enemy".  Some of these guys are standard-issue wingnuts and they're pretty wacky and kookie and I tend to see them as little more than a fringe-y and colorful thing that serves as a distraction for the Press Poodles, but doesn't represent anything of substance.

I really hope that's the case, but when Wonkette has a hard time smiling about it, there may be real cause for worry.
A man advocating executing journalists for treason in honor of Free Speech Week for being too supportive of the American president just described other people as “Orwellian.”
This week marks the 50th anniversary of The Cuban Missile Crisis.  I bring that up because in the middle of all the shit, JFK managed to remember history, and specifically recalled the warnings from The Guns of August. ie: everybody has a plan; everybody follows their plan; and the whole thing becomes a matter of an If/Then Algorithm that always ends in a shooting war.  Having been burned once (Bay of Pigs), Kennedy broke with tradition, refusing to allow "the plan" to take precedence over actual in-the-moment reasoning.

With all the banter and bickering over Red Team vs Blue Team that's gone on for as long as there's been places on the internet to go and engage in the fiercest flame wars you can imagine, we've gotten to a place (I think) where the fight will no longer be confined to cyberspace.  Each "side" knows most of what the other side has to say; and each side recognizes the style and substance of the other side's rhetoric; so it becomes "if Attack 238, then Counter Attack G; unless Attack 238 is combined with Straw Man Gamma, in which case, deploy Parry & Riposte Yellow yada yada yada".

Unfortunately, there's always a very dark and dangerous aspect of things like Populism and Partisanship and Regional Chauvinism etc.  There's always somebody hangin' out in the bar (or the park or wherever) just itchin' for a fight to break out.  Doesn't matter what the fight's about, they're just looking to mix it up with somebody, and all they need is a decent-sounding excuse.

Now consider the sheer numbers of combat veterans we've been minting lately, and put that together with the fact that we have as many guns in this country as we have humans; plus the widening of permissive gun laws; and then take a long look at the style of recreation favored by a very important slice of the American Male Demographic: Video War Gaming, Paintball, Combat-style Shooting Sports (with real guns and live ammo).

Step by step; in small degrees; inching forward; If. Then. Boom.

Doesn't have to be that way.  It just happens to be the trend.

Obama Ad

Lena Dunham is the creative genius behind a series on HBO called Girls.  (One of my new faves)

And of course, "conservatives" are freaking out about it - I think mostly because the GOP's Cool Factor number is making a serious attempt at dipping below absolute zero.

Gettin' It Done - 11

In the last "debate", Willard said something like "we don't dictate to the world, Mr President, we help people overthrow the dictators", it was an Etch-A-Sketch moment for the ages.  He said it with great confidence and authority, as if he believed in his heart of hearts that the noble GOP still somehow held a clear advantage on Foreign Policy issues.  And he said it as if he really expected all of us to have forgotten completely that Obama helped out in Tunisia; and had knocked over Qaddafi; and is still applying constant pressure on Saleh; and is pushing Assad, and...
11. Told Mubarak to Go: On February 1, 2011, publicly called on Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to accept reform or step down, thus weakening the dictator’s position and putting America on the right side of the Arab Spring. Mubarak ended thirty-year rule when overthrown on February 11.
Whatever sounds good for his argument right now is what Willard says.  The heat of the moment is all that matters.  If he can move you just a little with a snappy 10-word bumper sticker - that's all he seems to care about.  And if it goes against easily verifiable events of history (like something that happened last year, or several months ago, or fucking yesterday), well - whatever - it's not like the idiots he's talking to actually know anything; not about history anyway.  And as long as he's got that solid 25% who never venture outside The Bubble, WIllard can say whatever he wants and let DumFux News do the rest.

Important Rape Advisory Update

Hat tip(s) = BlueGal and Daily Kos


Lizz and Sarah tell us what it is.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Today's Pix

You don't have much of a war if nobody shows up to fight


So Trump the Chump did his little bombshell thing yesterday, and wow - what a fuckin' stinker that was.  The bastard totally screwed up my chance to crow and brag and strut around - asshole that he is, I'm sure that's exactly what he was planning all along.

So, I was wrong yesterday when I posted my prediction that Lil Donny's big revelation would be about Obama and divorce (Out On A Limb).

But Jesus, dude - you wanna fuck with the Prez and your idea is to try a little extortion?  You turn it into a very bad thing that essentially takes a charity hostage?  Why not just give the money to the charity and stop being such a dick about it?

Gettin' It Done - 12

Yeah, I know - Obama didn't do a lot of the things he should've done: Gitmo and Military Commissions and Black Sites and Drone Attacks and Habeas Corpus and and and.  All true, except that he's also been pretty busy issuing Exec Orders to the effect: "while the legal authority exists for us to do all these really shitty things that are totally unconstitutional or extra-judicial or straight up illegal, I'm directing members of the Executive Branch not to do them - if you guys think that's possible."

I think Obama's been trying to get some political cover (duh); both so he can use the tools he's got to go after the bad guys, and to defend himself from the shit-slingers.  So he doesn't get good marks for closely following the law, but since he's "my guy", I'll have to cop to believing I can trust him more than I'd trust "their guy".  
12. Reversed Bush Torture Policies: Two days after taking office, nullified Bush-era rulings that had allowed detainees in U.S. custody to undergo certain “enhanced” interrogation techniques considered inhumane under the Geneva Conventions. Also released the secret Bush legal rulings supporting the use of these techniques.
I hate the feeling that I'm constantly having to choose from a list of lousy options - imagine what it must be like in the Oval Office every fucking day.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A New One

Just a good place to go once in a while to get a little bleach splashed on your soul.

Atheist Overdose


Out On A Limb

I have to admit I've been a little intrigued by what Lil Donny Trump's October Surprise could possibly turn out to be.  But then, along comes Gloria Allred and it's very possible that I can make a solid connection, and a prediction with a fair probability of being right.

First, the leading speculation seems to be that Trump has "uncovered" some "evidence" indicating that Barack and Michelle Obama were like all set to file divorce papers back in 2001 or whatever.  So this is not a big deal in any meaningful way except as a political tool.  Did the Obamas get a divorce?  No.  Did they move beyond some kind of preliminary filing?  Apparently not cuz they're like y'know, still married.  Does any of that shit matter?  Yes - but only if you think I should be in jail because I've tho't about kicking Donald Trump in the nuts; or that Tagg Romney should be in a cell at Gitmo for saying he wanted to take a swing at Obama.

Enter Ms Allred, who is helping out Maureen Stemberg Sullivan in her divorce efforts against Tom Stemberg (founder of Staples).  It seems ol' Willard gave sworn testimony in the divorce proceeding, and that his statements were sealed, and that The Boston Globe has petitioned the court to unseal them for all to see and enjoy.

Could there be anything in the testimony that's bad for Willard?  Well, what if his statements were to the effect that Staples wasn't as profitable as WIllard was telling his investors?  What if he kinda fudged it all - just a little - so his buddy Tom could kinda fuck his soon-to-be ex-wife out of a nice big chunk of settlement money?  And it doesn't have to be anything all that horrible.  If the story is that Romney did anything but stand up and champion Mrs Stemberg's cause, you can bet Benjamins to Baby Wipes he'll come off looking like a paternalistic wife-beater to lots of women voters.

So in rides The Donald to make a pre-emptive strike that works to show Obama in the same light.  On the one side, you've got Romney + Divorce, and on the other side, you've got Obama + Divorce.  Simple equation.  Both sides do it.  Both sides are exactly the same.  Nothing to see here, nothing to think about.  It's all even - go back to sleep.

Ya heard it here.

Today's Krugman

Via NYT:
One of the central talking points of right-wing economists is that “uncertainty” caused by Obama is holding the economy back; they cite, again and again, a paper by Bloom et al purporting to find a relationship between uncertainty and jobs, with uncertainty measured via such things as article counts.
The certainty meme has always irked me.  Why is uncertainty such a big deal for these guys?  Are we supposed to remove all risk from every business venture so the mighty capitalist heroes can be absolutely guarantied to turn a monster profit?

I'm hoping they're talking more along the lines of just reducing the probability of some screwball politician changing something that unfairly upsets the applecart at inopportune times.  Of course, that's what they're selling - that Obama will do something that makes it harder for a business to flourish.  But what has Obama done that in any reasonable (or even discernible) way has depressed the economy, or made it more difficult for any business to operate in the black?

It's a crock.  And John Fugelsang has a few words on the subject:

Today's Pix

Gettin' It Done - 13

Unfortunately, a double-digit percentage of Americans still believe the Apology Tour bullshit.  Which fits perfectly with the double-digit percentage who still think Sadam had something to do with 9/11, and the double-digit percentage who think Climate Change is a hoax, and and and.  Sometimes, it's really hard for me not to say, "fuck 'em".  I'd like to think I could write them off and forget about them because they'll never change and so it's not worth trying.  And sometimes, I do say that, but as mushy as it sounds, they're my neighbors and my friends and my in-laws.  So, since I'm not planning to murder them, I guess I just need to keep hammering away, and hope I can get one or two to listen.  That's what I'm thinking today anyway.
13. Improved America’s Image Abroad: With new policies, diplomacy, and rhetoric, reversed a sharp decline in world opinion toward the U.S. (and the corresponding loss of “soft power”) during the Bush years. From 2008 to 2011, favorable opinion toward the United States rose in ten of fifteen countries surveyed by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, with an average increase of 26 percent.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Yo, Willard

I didn't watch the "debates".  I'll go along with the many people who say these things are little more than 90 minutes of dueling campaign ads.  Altho', this time, we did get a new wrinkle in that Willard turned it into a more conventional sales pitch.  It really does look and sound like Romney's in there pimping a deal for his group to take over USA, Inc.  Which I think may be a lot closer to the truth than I'm comfortable with.  My biggest problem is that whenever we elect Repubs, we get way too many freakazoids in the bargain (NeoCons, TheoCons, Cold War Retreads, et al) - we gotta remember that the prez isn't the only guy we're handing power to.  So it's iffy enough when you put a guy in the Oval Office who doesn't know his way around Capitol Hill; or doesn't know much about Foreign Affairs; or isn't particularly up on International Trade.  Obama was a big risk 4 years ago because his resume was pretty damned thin, but he seemed like he had his own shit together enough to be trusted to dig into the details to the point where he wouldn't just get railroaded into making supremely stoopid decisions (I'm talkin' Iraq-level stoopid, not Healthcare Reform-not-getting-everything-we-wanted stoopid).

Putting a guy like Mitt Romney in the White House means we start over again.  Plus, Willard may have several more pounds of brain matter than Jr Bush, but the way he's been jerked around by the Wingnuts for the last 6 years makes me think he'll continue trying to shoehorn himself into just about any position these characters want him to take.

Experience matters.  And there's nothing better to get you ready to be POTUS than actually being POTUS.

And BTW, Willard - you've been runnin' your mouth about "Obama's foreign policy unravelling" for months.  What happened?  Focus Group got your tongue?

One last thing - about how "the women" were turned off by the aggressiveness and the confrontational aspects of the campaigns in general.  Because, of course, the ladies are just too genteel; they're bound to suffer a spell of some kind; I do declare they'll get the vapors if the menfolk continue this unpleasant belligerence.


If somebody was physically assaulting you, and I walked up and planted my fist in the prick's eye socket 4 or 5 times, would you be just a tiny bit relieved, or would you insist on feeling put off by my aggressive behavior?  And who says I need to do that anyway?  Who says women are so frail they can't possibly fend for themselves?  Sorry guys - pretending that "the women" are always hiding behind their powder puffs and are desperately in need of your protection just don't cut it anymore.

Gettin' It Done - 14

One of the things that didn't work out so well when everybody was busily hacking away at "all that Washington red tape that strangles commerce" was that we ended up boondoggling the financial sector to the point that we might as well have nationalized the banks.

It's interesting to me that the "conservatives" are always accusing their opponents of hiding a socialistic agenda, when they're the ones making it impossible for banks to operate without a guaranty of government help.  The banks borrow money from the government at ridiculously low rates to begin with, and then If the borrower defaults, Uncle Sugar steps in to pay off the loan.  So who the fuck is the socialist in all of this?
14. Kicked Banks Out of Federal Student Loan Program, Expanded Pell Grant Spending: As part of the 2010 health care reform bill, signed measure ending the wasteful decades-old practice of subsidizing banks to provide college loans. Starting July 2010 all students began getting their federal student loans directly from the federal government. Treasury will save $67 billion over ten years, $36 billion of which will go to expanding Pell Grants to lower-income students.
If you ask me what I think of American Capitalism, I'd have to answer - I think we should try it.  (the good ones know what to borrow, and the great ones know what to steal)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Pick 'Em

Once upon a time, there was a thing called The 4th Estate.

But now it's just a flea market where you pick and choose your own message, your own messenger, and whatever "facts" you need to build your own reality.  Unless you're prepared to spend most of your day trying to figure out what's real and what ain't, you're forever relegated to the giant pile of nuthin' under the heading: Low Information Voter.

We are so fucked.

Today's Pix

Gin Wingmore

Music is recyclable and derivative, but that's not a bad thing in a lot of cases.  As long as people come up with this kinda stuff, Buddy Holly and Bo Diddley will never die.

hat tip = Crooks & Liars


3 Dead and 4 wounded.

Today's Krugman

Lifted all of it - short and sweet and oh so tasty (NYT):
David Dayen makes a very good point, which I missed: during the Hofstra debate, in which questions were posed by members of the public rather than the Beltway elite, there wasn’t a single question about the deficit. Not one.
The public really doesn’t care.
And you know what? Neither do financial markets, which continue to lend to the U.S. government at incredibly low rates.
Meanwhile, the results from austerity are in — and it’s now clear that the adverse economic impacts of austerity in a depressed economy are much worse than the elite imagined (although Keynesian economists knew better), and are in fact so severe that austerity is largely self-defeating, having little impact on the budget deficit even in the short run because reduced revenue takes away much of the initial savings. Once you take long-run effects into account, austerity is almost surely self-defeating.
Yet deficit fever, with demands for spending cuts right away, has dominated policy discussion for almost three years, with all the Very Serious People believing that by pounding on this issue they were demonstrating their Very Seriousness.

Gettin' It Done - 15

I think it's a good idea whenever you put real money into public schools.  But I don't like things like privatization and high-stakes testing.  I'm fairly sure the people advocating for Race To The Top mean well - people who dive in and fuck things up always mean well - I just don't think you improve the schools if you don't improve the neighborhoods.
15. Created Race to the Top: With funds from stimulus, started $4.35 billion program of competitive grants to encourage and reward states for education reform.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Lying For The Lord

Google that - "lying for the lord".

Read thru a few of the hits and after you make the easy connection to Willard being a lying sack of shit, tell me it has nothing to do with the basics of what we know about a "ruling elite" (ala Leo Strauss) and the sense of entitlement engendered by a system of intergenerational wealth transfer.

Then ask the questions.

Does Meghan McCain get to where she is without mommy's money and daddy's connections?

What about Luke Russert?

GW Bush can trace his lineage back to Franklin Pierce.

If this is to be the meritocracy we like to believe it should be, then we have to re-establish rules that require the Idiot Offspring of The Nobles to start at the same place as everybody else, and to meet the same criteria as everybody else, and to do the work everybody else is required to do.

If you're in favor of "Equal Opportunity and not Equal Outcomes", then stop supporting a system that practically guaranties inequality.

Gettin' It Done - 17 & 16

This one means there's a fair probability that my cost for for a fill-up won't increase by much.  That is, of course, as long as Big Oil allows the Free Market to work the way it's supposed to work (always a little iffy).
16. Boosted Fuel Efficiency Standards: Released new fuel efficiency standards in 2011 that will nearly double the fuel economy for cars and trucks by 2025.
I'd forgotten about this one.  There's plenty to worry about when it comes to trying to put out a fire by pouring several hundred tons of money on it, but sometimes all you can do is take the least bad option on a menu filled with really shitty alternatives.  I just wish I felt more assured that Obama's team is doing something to make the next meltdown less likely to happen, and less damaging when it does.
17. Coordinated International Response to Financial Crisis: To keep world economy out of recession in 2009 and 2010, helped secure from G-20 nations more than $500 billion for the IMF to provide lines of credit and other support to emerging market countries, which kept them liquid and avoided crises with their currencies.

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Real Mitt Romney

"I'm not looking for a colony on the moon, just for someone to blame."

Whether You Can Hear It Or Not

...the universe is laughing behind your back.


Remember this one?  
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Yeah - uhm - fuck that.  Try this one instead:
May God bless us with discomfort
At easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships
So that we may live from deep within our hearts.
May God bless us with anger
At injustice, oppression, and exploitation of God's creations
So that we may work for justice, freedom, and peace.
May God bless us with tears
To shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger, and war,
So that we may reach out our hands to comfort them and
To turn their pain into joy.
And may God bless us with just enough foolishness
To believe that we can make a difference in the world,
So that we can do what others claim cannot be done:
To bring justice and kindness to all our children and all our neighbors who are poor.
Amen, muthahfuckah.

hat tip = The Professional Left podcast, episode 150


...No problem - gotcha covered.

Hippie Punching

...turned upside down.

Fighting Back

Matt Taibbi at Rolling Stone posted a decent little blurb about Bill O'Reilly's fact-free crap attack on Bill Moyers:

When I went into Bill's studio yesterday, I heard about a crazy dustup he had recently with Bill O'Reilly, the details of which are extremely aggravating in a way that, as anyone who has followed this political season knows – this is a story about someone getting facts wrong – is becoming increasingly and unpleasantly familiar. What happened was that in his much-publicized debate with Jon Stewart, O'Reilly bashed PBS for funding lefty agitators like Bill Moyers. "Here's what we get – a $16 trillion debt, and we've gotta pay for Bill Moyers," O'Reilly boomed. He also at one point held up a flash card with a picture of Moyers, along with the headline, "Why is NPR getting our money?"
Taibbi also links to the Rebuttal from Bill Moyers, which is fine-point accurate, but kinda points up what seems like a pettiness of the whole thing.  But when you add up all of the (petty) little things that pass for debate and discourse coming from the "right", it isn't petty at all.  Each little thing by itself is just a drop in the bucket, but (and I've said this before) given time, drops have filled the oceans.

Anyway, the story's pretty good, but I was mostly encouraged by what popped up in the comments under Taibbi's blog post.

First, of course, the designated Troll weighed in:
Dear "Progressive" Trash,
You are never going to turn this country into the socialist dictatorship you'd like it to be. NEVER. What exactly do you intend to do with the 80% of the country who doesn't want what you want? Yeah, you manage to fool and bribe another 30% to vote for the Democrats from time to time, but when they find out or are reminded about who you really are and you lack of respect of the RIGHTS in the CONSTITUTION, we all band together to kick you autocratic butts OUT of power once again.

If you ever manage to seize control of the government, doubtful as the military despises you as well, we have a lot of guns and believe me, we'd relish fighting you. It's all irrelevant though because come November, you are DONE. You will be relegated to your Universities of brainwash, your media whine fests and your stupid NGOs and non-profits.

Obama is toast and so is your anti-liberty, government corruption agenda for at least 30 years. 
Nah, nah, nah, nah. Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah. Hey hey hey. GOODBYE!
Eat crow your weasels.
Not much new there, but then we got this in response to the Troll (bobby tomas):
Dear Mr. Tomas,
I am left of center in my politics, to be sure. What I frequently notice when someone on the right writes as you have, is that there is NO information to be found in your post. Calling me a socialist doesn't mean anything. HOW am I a socialist? How do you define socialism, what don't you like about socialism, and what aspect of it are you assuming I embrace?
What does 80% of the country want that I don't??
What it is about the the progressive platform that you so strongly disagree with? If Fox News has told you what the progressive agenda is, you might want to ask a progressive if Fox got it right.
I like the constitution. There isn't any aspect of the constitution that I want scrapped.
Where's the increased autocracy?? Please give an example of our country hastening in that direction in the last four years.
We on the left are anti-liberty? Pretty please - how so?
There is a lot of talk on the right about restoring Freedom. Here's a question for you: What freedoms have you lost in the last four years. Please be specific.  (President Obama hasn't done anything pro or con about guns during his presidency, so please don't say he's after your guns.)
And so on.
There is, in my opinion, no information in your post.
And that's how ya do it.

Same Shit, New Day

Repubs absolutely adore this play.  They run it all the time.

hat tip = Addicting Info

In 2004 and 2008, RushBo and Cheney at al were telling us that if we voted for the Dems, al-Qaeda would get us.  Now it's "Vote Republican or lose your job".  There's just always a boogey-man du jour.  But, Repubs (generally) use threats that aren't firmly anchored in a little thing called objective reality.  We elected Obama, and none of the bad things they told us would happen happened.

  • no concentration camps
  • no confiscation of guns
  • taxes are down, and the Dow is up
  • oil and banks and telecomm weren't nationalized
  • no forced gay marriage (or whatever the fuck that one was about)
  • kids are still reciting The Pledge in school every day
  • and on and on and on

But - throwing a bone to the centrists in the crowd - yes, the Dems play the same game (tho' with one notable difference).  The Dems have been trying to warn us about the Repub agenda:

  • kill the unions
  • overturn Roe v Wade
  • defund the safety net
  • de-regulation
  • cut down on competition and accountability
The difference being that the Dems are warning us about real problems with a Radical Right agenda, and the Repubs are mostly just makin' shit up.

Gettin' It Done - 18

I don't like spending more money than we've got, and I don't like debt and I don't like thinking we're losing control of the size of government, and I don't like all the things that everybody else doesn't like about the economic pickle we're in.  But this is so simple it's stupid - if nobody's spending money, you don't have an economy.
18. Passed Mini Stimuli: To help families hurt by the recession and spur the economy as stimulus spending declined, signed series of measures (July 22, 2010; December 17, 2010; December 23, 2011) to extend unemployment insurance and cut payroll taxes.