Archive for the 'Congress' Category

18
Jun
09

SCARLET H (Hypocrisy) UPDATE – Repubs Vote No on War Funding

Scarlet H - Repubs - War fundingI’m starting a new series entitled “Scarlet H Update” about political hypocrisy, as I described in my last blog. I’m sure it will be a regular series, because now that there’s a Democrat in the White House, we’re sure to routinely witness Repubs again and again do the same things they chastised Democrats about while Bush was ruining the world.

I’ll probably have to start another series “Spineless Dems – WTF?!” and we might have an installment of that tomorrow.

In case you didn’t happen to read yesterday’s post in which I discuss the all-too-common combination of Republicans, adultery, and hypocrisy, the Scarlet H will now be applied to those who criticize one and then do the exact same thing down the line. It’s elementary, but you see, our politicians simply cannot stop themselves from issuing the almighty condemnation for actions they themselves pursue. While I would say this is a bipartisan problem, the majority of Scarlet H award winners are Rebubs for too many reasons to go into at this juncture.

Today, we focus on war funding.

Remember this little gem from the campaign trail in which Cindy McCain attacked Obama for voting against a war funding bill – which her husband had done earlier as well (I could only find a video of the ridiculousness enmeshed in a Hardball clip, but it’s at the beginning, so you don’t have to watch all the commentary if you don’t want to):

Cindy’s speech mimicked many attacks the Republicans have launched against Democrats should a leftie ever, ever decide to vote against a war fuding bill. Why would they do such a thing? You see extraneous funding are always attached to bills that guaranteed to pass – like a military funding bill. This is how many projects receive money. I’m not saying it is right. I’m saying this is how it is – whether a Democrat or Republican has been in the White House.

Well, it just so happens that a war funding bill has come across the laps of our Washington legislators – complete with the typical extraneous funding requests and guess what? The VAST majority of House Republicans voted against the lastest war funding bill June 16.

As Politico (whose piece I linked to above) points out:

In 2005, Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) ripped Democrats who opposed the supplemental request, calling their position “immoral.” When war funding came up again in 2006, Cole took to the floor to say, “I would ask members to remember this is a vote about our willingness to support our servicemen and women and not about other policy issues.”

He voted no on the war funding Tuesday.

Even McCain said he is leaning against voting for the bill – I wonder who his wife would support on the campaign trail now.

The fact of the matter is that Republicans have railed against Democrats repeatedly, consistently in recent years when Democrats voted against war funding bills for the exact same reason Republicans are turning their backs on this piece of legislation.

In a flood of vitriol, Republicans hurdled accusations claiming the Democrats did not care for the troops, hated America, weren’t patriotic every time they Dems something stripped from a war funding bill.

Now Republicans are committing an act they had, as recently as the last presidential campaign, called a grievous sin.

There’s no honor, no dignity in politicizing the troops, which the Republicans do repeatedly when it serves their purpose. Then, to turn tail when the White House is blue, is a true bottom-feeder low. Despicable from all angles.

And don’t write any comments criticizing the legislation. I’m not defending the legislation. War funding bills have always had these tag-along items and only now are yellow-bellied Republicans standing against such legislation. Shameful.

And that’s why, today, Republicans get the H.

And talk about double standard, why isn’t Fox reporting on the lack of Republicans supporting the bill?

17
Jun
09

Republicans, Adultery and Hypocrisy AGAIN

Politicians need to stop criticizing each other for having affairs. You know the ones who protest the loudest are in the back room boning their secretary or their friend’s wife or some prostitute when they’re not in front of their precious cameras.

And I really don’t think having an affair makes you a bad legislator or should immediately designate your pink slip.

But, for chrissakes, Republicans! All the bastions of morality who spewed faux indignation after Clinton’s Cigar Adventures with Lewinsky are, one-by-one, revealing themselves card-carrying members of the Scarlet H club – Hypocrites.

Sanctity of marriage, my ass. Newt Gingrich, Larry Craig, David Vitter and now John Ensign have all emerged as pathetic boobs committing the same sins for which they’ve ordered others’ political executions.

Furthermore, these are all men (old and white) who have called for the preservation of the their version of marriage and would keep same-sex marriage from being legal. Yet, they grind their own marriages to a pulp. How they think adultery should remain legal while same-sex marriage not, according to their own logic and dogma, is beyond explanation.

It is always the Christians, always the right wingers, the Sarah Palins, the Carrie Prejeans and now the John Ensigns who make the Religious Right-Wing Hypocrites-R-Us Party so unpalatable. They hold everyone else to a standard they themselves cannot meet.

Every week, another of my Republican friends (mostly white and 30) tell me they are abandoning the Red Party and heading over to the Libertarians. And you can thank, in large part, the never-ending, vomit-inducing mountain of hypocrisy that eminates from the right side of the aisle. It’s beyond grotesque.

26
May
09

Namby-Pamby ‘Bout Gitmo Detainees

It’s perfectly acceptable for the Senate to shoot down funding for the removal of the Gitmo POWs if there is no plan in place for the aforementioned approval. I’m down with that.

All this NIMBY shite, however, regarding the detainees is right-wing/media overblown hoopla. Remember the summer of shark attacks? And then there was the media storm about steroids in baseball. The Terry Schaivo saga. And on and on and on. The media fixates on an issue, turning it into a much bigger monster than it actually is.

And the right-wingers want to ride this one all the the way to the 2010 elections. “The liberals want to let the terrorists run loose on American soil! The liberals want to let the terrorists go so they can attack us again!” God, all the needles it would take to pop all those gasbags full of hot air.

First of all, it has been quite common for the United States to hold prisoners of war inside U.S. territory. Really, peeps, it’s no big whoop. I would willingly pit any of the Gitmo POWs against the vast majority of inmates incarcerated in the U.S. in some steel cage death match with all my money on the American criminal. Damn straight.

The U.S. penal system, as well as its legal system, is well-equipped to deal with these men – ALL of them, even the real bad ones.

I challenge the media to profile each of these detainees individually. You see, grouping them together is marketing trickery to conjure images of these men far worse than they actually are. Remember, children, the best decisions are made with an over-abundance of information. So, let’s find out who these men are and then we’ll see if you’re still so scared of these rag-tag boogeymen.

Do they want to harm Americans? Yes. Are they “evil”? Sure.

But this is the freaking United States of America and if you think we can’t handle a few religious extremists caught in combat who have no access to military technology even close to many third world countries, let alone the U.S. than there is a severe plague of underestimation of U.S. fortitude.

And the Right. For fuck’s sake, they are ridiculous. All their bravado, all their gun-waving, dick-jousting, big man rhetoric, evaporates at the mere thought of some weakened, slipper-wearing men with beards being held in a super-max in Colorado. It’s pathetic.

The Right doesn’t even think the U.S. legal system – that so many Americans have died for – is capable of dispersing justice to these criminals.

Well, they may hope to win elections with this load of crap. But I, for one, am taking a stand on the side of U.S. strength and might. We can handle these guys. And any notion that we can’t is assinine politicking – from the Democrats as well as the Republicans.

20
May
09

Pelosi Schmelosi

Normally, I don’t speak on behalf of all liberals. But, today I’m going to. Because I feel like it.

Throwing Pelosi in front of the bus won’t help Republicans, but they can enjoy using her as a punching bag as long as the media thinks there’s a story in it. Whatevah. Liberals really couldn’t give a shit.

We’re not huge fans of hers in any case, numero uno. Numero dos, I’m a proponent of term limits, so anything that can knock congresspeople who have been at their post over 8 years, I’m in favor of. I feel the same way about Harry Reid.

And, in reality, the Repubs like Pelosi right where she is – with the big crosshairs on her forehead. The Right thinks attacking her boosts their numbers. And they may be right in the short term. Ergo, forcing Nancy out is not in the game plan, gnawing on her slowly decaying remains, however, is.

And, with this whole “Did she know about the occuring torture?” is such a red herring, it’s laughable.

We will not stop discussing who tortured, who ordered it and whether or not it produced actionable intelligence and who knew about it – Righties and Lefties alike. We will not stop trying to assess whether Cheney and his beasties ordered the torture of an Iraqi in an effort to prove a link between Al Qaeda and Saddam, with which to sell the Iraqi War. The discussion will not go away. This is part of our heritage and our history and these determinations will have great effect on our future.

Furthermore, we want all relevant memos released as well – we’re generally for transparency in government. All this keeping shit secret for the safety of the country is bullshit. When the government is hiding something, it’s to benefit themselves, not the people. The best decisions and opinions are made with an overabundance of information, not underabundance.

Remember Patrick Henry’s 1775 call: Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death saying? Liberty means transparency. It means the government not spying on you. It means the government abiding by the law, no matter the identity of the person with whom they are dealing. When you do not protect the freedoms and rights of another, it will be your rights the government will come after next.

Right Wing: Go throw sand and Nancy all you want – it doesn’t matter to me. But when your little schoolyard fight is through, we’ll still be marching our call for solid answers on the questions of torture.

And, for the record, the CIA does lie at times. Especially under the Bush administration, who used the organization for politically motivated purposes. That’s reality. If the Right wants to rave their hands like asylum inmates in defense of the CIA and insist that speaking of the organization in realistic terms to shade the discussion, fine. This is a topic of conversation, not a strategy. And no one said the CIA lies “all the time” or “systematically,” Giuliani, or said they were not doing their job or that they did not do a phenomenal job. But the CIA has fudged the truth in a number of instances and if certain Righties cannot tell the truth about the topic, if they cannot acknowledge reality (for political purposes), they are an irrelevant participant in the discussion and a hinderer of progress.

In other words, grow the fuck up.

04
May
09

Conservative and Liberal Southerners Face-Off With Mutual Awesomeness. UPDATED

A conservative blogger, Essence of America, asked me to join in a spirited discussion (see comment section of this blog about douchebag Rick Perry) during which we both present our views of various issues. Because Essence’s commentary style is one of irreverent, foul-language appreciating flavors, I thought we’d be a perfect match. That and his personal insults make me laugh really hard on the inside. I’m a sucker for people with a sense of humor who aren’t too sensitive and offended easily.

Essence launched the discussion with his take on a number of topics presented below. My responses are below his comments. After he reads my responses and responds, I’ll paste those in. Enjoy (it’s crazy long, by the way, so I hope you’re at work and bored):

And so it begins. I’ll start this magnificent dialogue between us by briefly addressing each of your points. Then we’ll go from there.

CHURCH AND CHRISTIANITY

ESSENCE OF AMERICA:

Have you ever been kicked out of a church because your family, as foster parents, was taking care of black children for an adoption agency? Did people who call themselves Christians ever threaten you because they didn’t like the way your dad preached? Have you ever had a cross burned in your yard and been called nigger lover? Have church members ever stood in your front yard and record your conversations in some ill-advised attempt to set you up for a fall?

If anyone is pissed off about what church has become, it’s me. You have no idea. I’ve struggled for years with this, having to balance my love of God against my bitterness for His church.

But it’s the church’s fault. Denominational theology is more important to them than Christ’s teachings. If you attend a Baptist church, you are taught to believe this or that. If you attend a Methodist church, you are taught something else. If you go to a Presbyterian church, it’s one way, and if you attend a Pentecostal church or non-denominational one, it’s something else. And don’t even get me started on Catholicism or those other branch-off churches I consider to be cultic.

I will say I have been more comfortable in the non-denominational church, where people of all backgrounds and races are generally welcomed and the focus is on worship, not theology.

Still, I don’t like going anymore. It feels fake to me, like people are not there for the right reasons. So if anyone understands how you feel about church and her people, it’s me. We’ll talk more about that later.

POLITICAL MPRESSIONS:

First of all, I don’t use the N-word. Seriously, the word doesn’t belong to white people – especially white men. Even if you’re not using it against anyone. The word belongs to the black people and they can decide amongst themselves what to do with it. It’s like “cunt” with women. That word belongs to women unless you live in Australia, where it’s practically a term of affection men use with each other. Here, I don’t think men should use it – but I’ll be blue in the face before my husband decides to abide by this tenant. The cunt.

Okay, church and Christianity. Sure, they are separate things to a degree – but I do believe the church is by-product of the use of religion for power. Christianity was created by men for political reasons. Most tribes and cultures throughout history have had religions. Almost everything in the Bible is borrowed from previously-established religions (for example, Zoroastrianism). Many of these tribes were organized with the caste-system and the only ways to rise above your birth station was by entering the military or the priesthood. Priests were extremely powerful, so it was a naturally beckoning to many the ambitious soul. The creation of Christianity was a natural example of this tradition. Furthermore, the human race has always sought explanations for its existence and the world around it and religion has largely fulfilled that whole (though quite erroneously) until science was capable of offering a much better, evidence-based enlightenment.

Also, Jesus almost definitely did not exist as the tales in the Bible tell. First of all, the gospels don’t even agree on the facts of his life. Secondly, Jesus, as the Bible describes, almost certainly would have gained much more attention outside other cultures and we would see writings about him in other cultures. And this is not the case.

Furthermore, we live in world that rewards good decision-making. If you’re a junkie, you’ll most likely die. If you commit crimes, you’ll most likely end up in jail. If you treat people poorly, you’ll most likely end up alone or hated. Now, according to Christianity, we have two choices to make: believe in this man as lord and savior, without evidence, to receive eternal salvation OR evaluate the information and evidence, of which there is none other than this book written by men, refuse to accept the divinity of Jesus and find yourself blistering in eternal hellfire.

Why would God create a world in which evidence-based, informative and judicial decision-making is rewarded and them condemn those that would use such an exemplary decision-making process to Satan’s lair? It makes no sense. Any reasonable, objective, un-brainwashed person could recognize this. That and almost everything in the Bible can be debunked. Get with the program. As Christianity spread, it usurped the traditions of the locals to better convert them. Most religions of the time did the same. Christmas and Easter were not originally Christian holidays. They are now. And isn’t the Corporatocracy of America quite the benefactor?

Religion is and always has been a tool used to control people. Power is one of the primary ambitions of man and both religion and the church feed this. Churches are business institutions and the people that erect them are hungry for power, money, and adoration and the Bible (which describes a God of Abraham I would never follow) paves the way for these charlatan monkeys (ahem, Joel Osteen). They decry homosexuality and abortion (which the Bible barely mention) while living obese and rich (which the Bible soundly renounces) lifestyles. Ridonkulous. How funny that Miss California would discuss the sanctity of marriage while ignoring the sanctity of her body (which the Bible says to leave unaltered) by allowing the California Pageant people to pay for her boob job. Wow. Makes me want to sign right up.

Phew, let me take a breath as I get off my soapbox.

UPDATED –

ESSENCE OF AMERICA:

You couldn’t be more wrong, Mpressions, about the Christ. And I’ve got news for you, my friend, you’re not going to be receptive to the opposing argument with such a hardened heart. I could debate theology with you all day long and get nowhere. I could tell you what He has done in my life and in the lives of other believers I know. I could tell you about the miracles I’ve witnessed in not only my life but in others as well. I could share the Gospel with you, unconditionally, for as long as you’d listen. But it’s not going to change your heart. Only God can do that.

I’ll just drop a link for you and let you know I’m here if you want to talk about it. I’ll pray for you and hope you won’t just dismiss this: http://www.ucgstp.org/lit/gn/gn053/bibletrue.htm

POLITICAL MPRESSIONS:

It’s true you won’t get anywhere debating religion with me. Just try and remember that the majority of us atheists and agnostics (at least those of us over 30) were once religious, and probably Christian. We use to have those same stories of what Jesus did in our lives and tales of miracles we witnessed firsthand. We were there. So, those stories would most likely reveal no new revelations. Trust me, we’ve heard it and said it all before. And I like to think of it not as a hardened heart, but an open mind.

CONSERVATIVES AND LIBERALS

ESSENCE OF AMERICA :

I know what you’re saying, and I know the difference in terminology. I am a Republican politically and a conservative socially. In just about every way possible, you’re going to get a right-winger with me. I can attribute much of that to my upbringing, and I’m not ashamed of it.

As a member of the GOP, I am not a blind supporter. I don’t go gently into that good night. When my party is wrong, it’s wrong. I did vote for and supported President Bush. But I did not like every single thing he did. I can think for myself and talk for myself. The fact remains, though, I am on the right side of the aisle and it always will be that way – unless, of course, my fellow right-wingers lose their damned minds and they do go gently into that good night. If that happns, I might just have to take over the party myself.

POLITICAL IMPRESSIONS:

Haha. I soooo encourage you to take over the party yourself at this moment. It’s a rotting ship. I was never too conservative, but I was a Republican in my younger days (which weren’t that long ago). I would have voted for W. if I wasn’t lazy about getting my absentee ballot in (I was in Australia at the time). But, I was a government major and then a geopolitical analyst and after really observing the results of Republican ideology, I had to jump off the bandwagon.

And I would never accuse  you of being a blind supporter, but you must remember that most of liberals – definitely the ones that comment on my site – are well-informed as well. Hell, I’m pro-death penalty, I eat meat, I drive an SUV. But, you see, Democrats tend to be a coalition with many diverging groups. The Republicans have morphed into an ideology-driven borg that refuses to allow members who do not tow the line. That will be their kiss of death if they do not somehow overcome their tendency to simply “fall in line.”

And you say you will always be on the right side of the line. I define that as being loyal to the label. You should strive to be on the right side of truth and policy rather than actually care about political labels or colors. I call myself Independent because money-hungry bastards who call themselves politicians inhabit both parties. I care more about policy than party.

UPDATED –

ESSENCE OF AMERICA:

You’re half right. I care more about my country than a label. But I’m a Republican for many reasons, not the least of which is this ideology stuff you’re so happy to condemn. For the anti-Republicans scattered chaotically across America – with deep concentrations of them on each coast and a few in the Midwest – people like me who hold sacred certain principles and American traditions are mere fucktards who cannot and will not tolerate the opinions of others. The fact I’ve taken the time to engage you is representative of my tolerance. The first time I visited your blog, I wanted to spit up in my mouth. I could not disagree more with you on just about everything on here. In fact, I’d go even further by saying your politics are what I hate so much about the left-wing machine (http://essenceofamerica.wordpress.com/2009/04/18/former-mccain-advisor-wants-gop-to-turn-left/).

But I am grateful for this opportunity, for your willingness to listen to what makes me who I am. You seem like a well-rounded person, even if you are so imperfect politically. Indeed, I can tolerate a liberal, despite the fact so many liberals think we conservatives are a bunch of hateful bigots who carry our Bibles everywhere while we go after homosexuals.

POLITICAL MPRESSIONS:

Political personal interactions are so different than responding to a group as a whole. And each side resents how the other side lumps the other into one homogeneous borg. I get that.

I don’t think liberals are all the same. Some are vegetarian, some prioritize inner-city development, some are staunch pacifists, some are environmental terrorists, some think women who stay at home are parasites on their husbands. I really belong to none of these groups. We’re quite different and more a coalition.

Republicans, while some might be socially liberal, tend to have a base that is of the same opinion. Pro-life, pro-gun, for small government, lower taxes, etc., etc. There is much more commonality among right wingers than left wingers. However, I know many the reasonable and lovely Republican, and many the nutjob, freako racist Republican.

Either way, we’ll never be happy reading what the other side has to say about our side. That said, if you can’t have a sense of humor about it, it’s just not worth it. Life is short and there are way too many fun Republicans for me to hold up a Do Not Enter sign when they approach. While I think it’s retarded not to be able to talk to people about politics and religion, I can wax and wane on beer and college sports for hours. We have to see what we have in common and stop being so offended all the time when people disagree with us.

PATRIOTISM

ESSENCE OF AMERICA:

I haven’t read your post about this yet, but just let me say I am patriotic, I do love my country, and I am a good person – though not perfect. I’m the kind who gets chills during the singing of the national anthem and seeing the American flag wave. I like a good war story. I enjoy talking to members of the U.S. armed forces. I think you can love your country but not like the direction it’s headed. I think you can disagree with or even hate what the president of the United States is doing and still be patriotic. And I think you can want a different kind of change without being hateful.

POLITICAL MPRESSIONS:

I agree that you can be patriotic and still disagree with the president. However, for chrissakes, we need to get off this crazy train where patriotism equals character. And we should not be judging how patriotic or NOT patriotic others are. It’s not a currency and I am soooo sick of the Right doing everything they can to seem patriotic in order to gain the upper hand of the debate.

I want to know how many of these people have lived outside of the U.S. so that they may compare it and know just how they actually feel about this country. I have lived outside of it twice – and hopefully will do so again – and can appreciate more than you could ever imagine. I have seen firsthand the differences in culture that allow me to appreciate my home. But the U.S. has a long way to go to claim the superiority all the Right award it. I would encourage all readers now to read a blog I have written in the past: How Great is the U.S.? It’s an eyeopener.

Patriotism also means having the courage to admit the faults of the U.S. and the areas in which our country can and should improve. Patriotism should not be used as a weapon and it is shameful that the Right does so repeatedly (and not John C. Holmes shameful, but Joseph McCarthy shameful).

UPDATED –

ESSENCE OF AMERICA:

To me, patriotism means actually loving your country – I mean loving it. Democrat or Republican, love of country must come first. Obviously, a person can love his country and recognize its faults while working to correct them. We would disagree, obviously, on what those faults are. To me, patriotism means serving honorably and bravely in the U.S. armed forces without regard to politics. My dad is a war veteran. I have other relatives and friends who have served. I believe no greater honor exists than wearing the American uniform.

It’s another story, however, to go abroad and insult your own country and apologize for its existence (http://essenceofamerica.wordpress.com/2009/04/03/obama-mocks-america-presidency-while-overseas/). I just can’t abide by that kind of idiocy.

POLITICAL MPRESSIONS:

I think all Americans love their country. And my love of my country is no one else’s business and isn’t for anyone else to judge. My worth is not how many flag’s I’m waving on the 4th of July. People who judge others’ patriotism can suck it as far as I’m concerned. I bet Jesus wouln’t walk around saying who’s patriotic and who isn’t. And many people can love and honor their country and do not have to join the armed forces – and I have a bit of military in my family as well.

First of all, almost anyone can join the Armed Forces. During Bush, they eased recruitment standards that allowed people with criminal histories and gang members. Now, I don’t give a shit if someone has the uniform on. If they kill, rob, or peddle drugs while, they are not honorable.

Also, sexual assault is rampant in the Armed Forces. A huge percentage of women in the military report being sexually assaulted. Many times these incidents are pushed under the rug and many a seemingly honorable young man in uniform has felt it his right to rape females. That is abhorrent and quite the opposite of honorable.

We can romanticize the Armed Forces all we want, but many join it because they have no other options or want a paycheck – not for the love of their country. This is reality and I’m not afraid to say it – not for all the right wing attacks that may come my way for stating what actually happens. I will not whitewash the military or act as though there are no bad apples.

I do appreciate what soldiers have done for this country and the sacrifice they make for us. My acknowledging problems in the military does not diminish that. And the Right’s refusal to discuss the military in a way that appears to diminish its greatness is the umbrella under which many of these dishonorable acts take place.

THIRD PARTIES

ESSENCE OF AMERICA:

I just don’t get them. I like to make fun of them precisely because of what I told you about my libertarian buddy. The guy is good people, but I never can grasp what he’s really about. I can’t even remember who he voted for in November. I do remember, though, how he kept talking about how he just might write himself in as president because no one he liked was on the ballot.

I just can’t respect that kind of thinking. Hell, I would have respected him more if he had voted for Obama. At least then I could understand the rationale.

POLITICAL MPRESSIONS:

I completely understand. On a theoretical level, I think a multi-party system would enhance the level of democracy in this country. In such a case, the two parties couldn’t hold the country by the balls and then cede all decision-making to the corporations. Under the multi-party system, you really would have a contest of quality candidates rather than a fundraising-a-thon. Many would argue that those who raise the most money were then supported by the most people, but when you look at Center for Responsive Politics numbers, you see just how entrenched companeis are in the fundraising process. Third and fourth and fifth parties would help alleviate this problem.

That said, if Nader hadn’t run, Gore would have won (despite all his douchiness) and we wouldn’t have had the atrocity of W. If we want the multiparty system and we want it to work, we’ll have to go through a painful process to earn it. And as for Libertarians – it’s a fad that has arisen in response to the inability of the Republicans to drop the religioners off at the nuthouse and regain competence. Once these old white guy Falwell-foll0wers die off, Republicans will return to prestige and Libertarianism will evaporate. Furthermore, the more I have discussions with Libertarians, the more I realize they really do not understand the results of the political ideology they espouse. I’m happy to see them on the playing field though. I will support the emergence of all viable third parties, even I don’t vote with them.

UPDATE –

ESSENCE OF AMERICA:

I believe mostly in the two-party system and its survival for the betterment of democracy in this country. It is my opinion, though, that third parties only serve to dilute elections and thus, are not worthy of any votes whatsoever.
POLITICAL MPRESSIONS:
I don’t think the two-party system is good for democracy at all. It gives us the choice of lesser of two evils. If we had five or six viable candidates for positions, we’d have better choices, fresher talent, speedier progress, and less wheeling-and-dealing.
At this point, for the majority of politicians, if they have the funds to run a great campaign, it doesn’t matter the quality of politician they are. As long as they are of the party the majority of their constituents are, they can be as unethical as they like.
The multi-party system would also help staunch the entrenchment of corporate interests as companies would have to more widely distribute their contributions (which should be illegal anyhow).
At this point, our two-party system intensifies the polarization of the country and increases the likelihood that the political will behave unethically at some point in their political career and that the politician with the most money is the most likely to win.

INTELLECTUALS AND THE DESIRE TO BE INTELLECTUAL

ESSENCE OF AMERICA:

I’ve been called “passionate” and “hardcore” and “crazy” about my politics and beliefs. So I do appreciate when someone of a varying opinion brings the same passion to an argument. I respect those types. I cannot, on the other hand, abide by people who believe in something but can’t explain why they believe that way.

About a year ago, I was hosting my own birthday party when the brother of my best friend started talking about his affection for Bill Clinton and other Dems. By this time, we both had plenty of drinks in us, and the argument became exceedingly spirited. People were laughing. We spent half an hour insulting each other, defending each other’s parties and beliefs, and threatening bodily harm to each other.

But when it was over, we shook hands, laughed it off, and got back to the business of celebrating life and freedom and America.

So, finally, here’s to an ongoing discussion about right-wingers and left-wingers and why we are so freaking different. Feel free to drop by essenceofamerica at any time to get your daily dose of conservative awesomeness. And if you ever decide to come to the other side, we’d be glad to have you!

“Cause God blessed Texas with His own hand
Brought down angels from the promised land
Gave ‘em a place where they could dance
If you wanna see heaven brother here’s your chance
I’ve been sent to spread the message
God blessed Texas”

POLITICAL MPRESSIONS:

Mkay. Good remarks. However, they had nothing to do with intellectualism. So, I’ll respond to your remarks and we can talk about intellectualism later.

I am completely with you about wanting to kick someone overboard when they can’t explain their political leanings. I was at my sister’s birthday party in the heart of a McCains-ville part of Houston when some of the peeps asked me about politics, knowing I was a lefty. They’re response was that they didn’t know enough to have a real discussion with me. Grossly pathetic – though I still like those people quite a bit on a character level. Plus they are great to party with.

Debate and discussion are the vessels of progress and we cannot shy away from them or simply have the goal of superiority. Through every interaction a lesson can be learned. I read right wing blogs and watch right wing televsion because not only can I learn something new, I can understand how others think. And that’s important in a Democracy.

Most of my family (extended, not immediate), and a great many of my friends are right wing and Republican and I would do anything for them. So, I’m not afraid to have a discussion. I’ll still like them afterward. You can’t be offended by disagreement or insist on political correctness because to do so impedes progress.

And that is some crazy “God Blessed Texas” shit.

I’ll just say that I love this state because sitting in an inner tube on a lake with a floating cooler of Lonestar and Willie Nelson playing in the background is seriously the most awesome activity ever. Ever.

I’ll just add here – and I will repeatedly in my blog forevermore – that Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin and El Paso ALL voted for Obama on Nov. 4, 2008. So, our little good ol’ boy Repubs better watch their asses.

UPDATED –

ESSENCE OF AMERICA:

Yes, maybe I got off track with this one. But I dare say the country probably does not give one little shit about who Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, and El Paso go for in presidential elections. The state is still red (as are most states), as evidenced by the county-by-county election map of November 2008. As for Austin, that place is a hotbed for liberal activity, so it’s no surprise it went for The Blessed One.

POLITICAL MPRESSIONS:

So, true. Most of the country doesn’t care about these cities. I merely point it out because of the recent craziness of our governor and in rebuttal to recent Republican leadership statements that they are shoring up support in the South. They are, in fact, losing numbers – not strengthening them – down here. The only state that went more Republican in ’08 was Oklahoma. And there’s a very reasonable explanation for that that would take a while to write out, but I can offer it easily upon request.

WRAP-UP

ESSENCE OF AMERICA:
Meredith, you presented all the classic liberal arguments in this one. Well done! It’s a shame you went to the other side a few years ago, but I’m sure you were deceived like so many before and after you.

You’re welcome to rejoin us at any time. I mean, you display the charactistics of many conservatives in our country: You drive a truck (so do I, an American one); you listen to good music (I have many different tastes); you like to have a good time (nothing’s better than a cookout and many, many beers, if you ask me); and you are a spirited debater.

Touche!

By the way, I’ve never liked the word cunt. I believe it corrupts, rather disgustingly, what is supposed to be a glorious and essentially perfect part of the female form. To call it a cunt, or to call someone a cunt, can have an almost demoralizing effect on the sexual being, if said sexual being is a pansy, of course.

Nonetheless, the word is just no good. No good at all. And I despise it. Even women shouldn’t use it, a term of affection among them or not. Cunt. Well, fuck, that just doesn’t do it for me. Cunt. Just can’t get my mouth around it.

Ok. Sorry about that last part. I could not resist. Shame on me.

POLITICAL MPRESSIONS:

Hey! I presented all the classical liberal arguments? Perhaps I’m a classy liberal… Well, maybe not (I have a really, really impressive belch).

I appreciate the offer to return to the Right, I will however decline in the name of Progress. If one thing doesn’t work, you take a reasonable step at studying the problems and solutions and then make decisions. That’s what I’m about. Republican ideology is tried and failed and it’s time to move on.

That said, I very much enjoyed your participation in this debate. So much of this is more about discussion than our conclusions and we rock in this most important facet of American politics.

So funny your comments on the word “cunt.” You see, when this word first came into existence it meant vulva or vagina and was not offensive. Male-dominated cultures tend to alter words referring to the femine and make them offensive. In latin langauges, many bad things have are femine (war), while good things (money) are masculine. Think about how many derogatory words you can think of for women: bitch, cunt, whore, jezebel, slut, etc. And how many you can think of that deride men for their sexually liberal ways?

In my opinion, we need to take back the word “cunt” and many others that had reasonable beginnings and restore them to the previous grandeur. Will it happen? No bloody likely.

30
Apr
09

Specter’s Move a Reflection of Ugly Realities

MOTIVATIONS OF THE CONGRESSPERSON

I’ve said many a time and I’ll say it again: Congresspeople make decisions under the influence of one, two, or both motivations: either to achieve reelection or to land a cushy job once they have left office. This is why they have ceded all their decision-making powers to the

Ill take Jowls for 200, Alex.

I'll take "Jowls" for 200, Alex.

corporations that fund their reelection campaigns.

Specter’s turncoatitude is merely a reflection of this reality. Was his decision just a fulfillment of megalomaniacal goals? Yes, but he is no different than any of his colleagues. This will again lead me to raise the call for congressional term limits (though it would be nice to see them apply to the Supreme Court as well), which would limit the strata of ambition congress people may climb.

Specter wishes to remain in congress? Well, that’s just plucky for him. However, and feel free to correct me, I’m sure Pennsylvania has a multitude of qualified and capable candidates for Senate. And seeing as how Specter has enjoyed, what?, 30 years as Senator, isn’t about time for some new blood, fresh talent? As far as I’m concerned, seniority is overrated and Specter is acting more like a geriatric toddler than elder statesman.

SPECTER SQUEEZED OUT BY THE ELEPHANTS

And do you think Specter will deliver votes to the Democrats now that his head pokes out the ass of a donkey? Not bloody likely.

The center of the country has now headed back toward its previous center. Under the political climate of the last eight years, Nixon would have looked like a liberal and all the right wingers were claiming this is a center-right country. A shortsightedly inept commentary  – especially seeing as how the independents and moderates are now naturally waving blue flags because all the right wingers want to legislate our uteri and keep men from kissing each other because baby jesus doesn’t like it. The logical and rational no longer have a place in the GOP Circus Freak Show.

Specter is still a moderate, and his votes will reflect that. Now that the Repubs have no room for moderates, Specter is by design a Democrat and a natural illustration of this recent political shift of quite monstrous proportions.

ELEPHANTS BECOME OSTRICHES: ALL IS GRAND WHEN YOUR HEAD’S IN THE SAND (god, i am so awesome with the rhyming)

Academically and as a voter, I am not amused to witness the decaying of the Republican Party. I used to consider myself among its ranks and I’m acquainted with quite the few logical, Republican in-the-knows. Many are finding themselves more comfortable inside the confines of the Libertarian parameters now – and that’s extraordinarily fun for me to watch as a liberal. But the fracturing of the GOP is a symptom of how fringey, how cultish, how clinically insane a great many of my fellow Americans are. And that’s sad.

This Grand Party has a great cancer and it is the refusal of honest self-analysis. A reasonably-minded fellow could easily diagnose the cause of the Republican death spiral: its limited ideology fewer and fewer Americans share.

repubs-head-in-sandBut Republicans don’t see it that way. “Specter’s out? Good riddance! McCain lost? Hated him anyway!” Tom Delay, and what a specimen he is, graced Hardball with his presence today and said (now don’t drink anything at this moment because you might spit it out all over your keyboard) that the real problem with the Republican Party right now is NOT a failure of principles, it is a failure to communicate them. Mm-hmmm…Mkay…I hear that….Excuse me while I choke on the eyes that have rolled into the back of my head.

You see, the Republicans erroneously believe that simply because Bush was a big spender, deficit creator, Americans are fleeing the Right. Well, let’s take a tally: he was “strong” on defense (in the worst kind of way), he kept the government small in terms of regulation, he was as conservative on social issues as a president of booblical proportions can get, AND he lowered taxes (for the wealthy, who – by the way – doubled their wealth under Bushie Two Shoes while the rest of everyone watched their 401ks erode faster than Specter’s party loyalty).

Except for the whole spending thing, W. was a bona fide, ideological, stick-in-the ass, card-carrying member of the old white guy Gto-theOto-theP. Americans didn’t just reject his spending in this last election, they rejected all those other inherently flawed tenets of the Republican foundation.

The problem with Republicans is their principle. Their principle allows them no logical solution to offer for the dramatically diseased state of our health care system. And they only adhere to their principle of small government when it suits their purposes – which is many times not the case, such as farm bills and subsidies (ahem, fructose corn syrup). Then their “small government” banner drives us into the economic ditch through lack of regulation and their adherence to abstinence-only education translates into more teenage pregnancy with no government assistance after these babies have been pushed to have babies.

Republican principle and ideology is a failure of decision-making, of study, of analysis and of progress. It doesn’t work. The last eight years proved so. Specter’s defection is merely a symptom of this reality.

And now the Repubs are just sitting on their hands, praying to their precious baby jesus that Obama fails. Because only in Obama’s failure and the subsequent harm to this country could Republicans find their strength again. And from this atheist-leaning agnostic’s mouth: God help us if that happens!

15
Apr
09

Tea Baggers – Disingenuous, Ignoramus Boobs

The blogosphere is alight today with opinion pieces denouncing these rube-magnet “Tea Parties.” Here’s another one.

cause bush told the truth!

cause bush told the truth!

First of all, much like a circus, these Tea Parties put on display for the rest of us to see, the imbecilic nature of Right Wing nutjobs. The ones who vote for their big biz Republican politicians who enact policy that directly injures their very constituents. Who is dumb enough to believe the Dick Armeys, Newt Gingriches, Limbaughs, Coulters, Hannitys, Glenn Becks, Michael Steeles, Rick Perrys, Mark Sanfords, Sarah Palins, Michelle Bachmanns, David Vitters? Who is dumb enough to be whipped into a gun-buying, revolution-shouting frenzy of inanity by this honorless Republican leadership? Go to a Tea Party tonight and find out.

DEFICIT

Here’s why these people are disingenuous: they are protesting government spending that would drive up the deficit. Well, their precious Reagan drove up the deficit, George H. W. Bush and his highly successful son drove up the deficit and nary a Tea Party was had. Where was the outrage? I remember a bunch of Right Wingers getting their panties in a bunch over the fact that Bill Clinton was sucked off by an intern, but did they ever congratulate him over balancing the budget? No. They don’t care about the deficit. They’re group-think idiots of the highest order.

They keep saying they don’t want our kids to inherit a huge deficit. Yet, they don’t give a shit if our kids inherit an environment raped by big business because we were to ignorant to switch to renewable energy when we had the chance. They don’t care if our kids inherit a country with semi-automatic weapons carpeting the countryside. They don’t care if our kids have affordable health care and access to decent medical attention. Their claims of concern for our kids is false and hollow and nauseating.

TAXES

And they’re complaining about taxes. Well, let’s see. Obama is instituting the broadest tax cut in history. And he’s only raising taxes of the wealthy to less than they were under Reagan. In fact, the GOP’s proposed budget again lowers taxes for the wealthy, increasing them for the lower and middle classes, according to this PDF put together by Citizens for Tax Justice. They also discovered that the GOP plan would cost $225 billion more than the Democratic plan.

These Right Wingers are also people calling for the U.S. to attack Iran, North Korea and launch a military operation in Somalia and off its coast – yet they don’t want to PAY for it. Funny how their buttboy Bush didn’t want to pay for his war of choice either – refusing to fund the soldiers on the battlefield appropriately and refusing to fund their care when they return home. Yet, the Bush administration sent billions of dollars to defense contractors who struck it rich while unable to account for millions, if not billions of dollars they received.

HYPOCRITES

We’re seeing calls for Revolution – for people to arm themselves as if to somehow thwart the government. How ridiculously hypocritical these white, racist conservatives are being! What if members of the left made these anti-government slogans? How unamerican we would be labeled –  how unpatriotic.

This is a lunatic fringe minority of the American demographic and they want to control the fates of the rest of us. They would rather overthrow the legally-elected government representing the views of the majority of this country. The election was a blowout – the American people spoke and were absolutely demanding a change in leadership and these crazy teabag freakos would attempt to undermine the very democracy innumerable people have shed their lives to give us. They seek to weaken the country and cheapen the government system that makes them so proud only when it serves their selfish purposes.

LIBERTY

How deep does these people’s inability to process logic and thought go? Consider their calls for liberty. Bush used illegal warrantless wiretapping on the American people (and most relevant journalists). Right Wingers were silent. Bush banished Habeas Corpus from the Constitution. The Right Wingers were silent.  Bush turned the Justice Department into a partisan death squad. Right Wingers were silent. The illegality of gays to marry inhibits the liberties of a vast number of Americans. Marijuana as never caused the death of a person, yet the liberty to smoke pot legally is almost non-existent. Women’s liberty to choose to end a pregnancy would be taken away if these conservos had their way.

The only liberty they want is to take away the rights and decisions of those who disagree with them. They would oppress the rest of us for their own, ignorant, baseless, uninformed reasons.

DOUCHEBAGS

This shade of political activist allows the terrorism of the rest of the country by easing the release of assault weapons onto our streets and into the hands of criminal elements both

yeah, and Bush wasnt? Jeez....

yeah, and Bush wasn't? Jeez....

domestic and outside our boarders. Their answer is that we should all arm ourselves, encouraging the possibility of gun battles in our neighborhoods.

These Tea Baggers do not understand the realities of their theories and the results of their lunacy. While their opinions on deregulation and taxation and government spending, etc. sound quite wonderful, they have unintended consequences and materialize in ways that damage this country’s economy, civil liberties and safety – as was illustrated so clearly under Bush.

The Tea Baggers had their chance. They controlled the White House and Congress for six of the last eight years and their policies tore this country asunder, taking it to the brink of collapse. This subgroup of political outliers would dictate liberties not only to the rest of Americans – but hang the rest of the world out to dry, attacking many without justification and at the same time arousing indignation that we sacrifice our “sovereignty” by abiding by U.N. Resolutions.

These people are idiots – the lowest common denominator of the uninformed. They are being used by people and leadership whose policies affect these “protestors” negatively in a significant way. Yet, time and time again, Republican “tax and deficit” lies – and the use of god, guns and gays – gets these turkeys hot to trot in an attempt to inhibit progress and improvement of this great nation.

It’s real cute, the mock revolution and display of boobery by the ‘baggers. I’m glad the rest of us can sit back and chuckle at the baffoonery without real fear their opinions will gain any traction. In my opinion, the best way to overcome this circus of ‘tards is to stay informed. Read,read,read. And remember the last eight years.

In short, take a hike, tea baggers. You don’t know what you’re talking about and the rest of us (ahem, the majority) don’t need or want you.

And I don’t want to hear any shit about the Tea Parties being Libertarian before being hijacked by the Right Wing wackos. This blog is meant for those hijackers. The tea bags are being funded by the Right Wing death squads and that’s why I’m responding so vehemently.

UPDATE 4.16.09: After looking at all the pics of these rallies, it was clear there were no minorities amongst the Tea Bag douchers. A klan-esque political movement of old, white people that is tasteless to minorities, gay people, non-believers and progressive women will go nowhere and gain bupkis. And Rove thinks this “movement is significant.” Um…right. He also referred to Democrats’ “tax and spend tendencies.” Why don’t we talk about how great the “no tax, but sill spend a lot” policies of the Republicans are? I guess it’s true. Right Wingism does rot the brain.

10
Apr
09

Why Bush, Cheney – and those damn Tea Partiers – Aren’t Smart

Forgive me for stating the obvious.

In the April issue of Real Simple magazine, science writer Jonah Lehrer pens an article entitled, “10 Ways to Be a Better Thinker.” It was quite interesting. My favorite was #5 – Take Long Showers, which says “moments of insight often arrive when you’re not aware that you’re thinking of the problem.” This is probably why my best blog ideas come to me right before I’m about to fall asleep and there’s no way in hell I’m getting out of bed. Suffer for my art? Please.

But #8 and #10 were the most interesting to me in terms of analyzing our political leaders, which I’m wont to do quite often. The eighth suggestion is to Study Your Mistakes, “One common trait of successful people is their willingness to focus on their fumbles.” And, on a similar note, Ten advises us to Think About Our Thinking, “Metacognition, as this is known, is a crucial skill. Many scientists argue that the best predictor of good judgment isn’t intelligence or experience; it’s the willingness to engage in introspection.”

These appear to be simple, basic concepts regarding the quality of thought. Yet, when you look at the majority of our political leaders, you will find a demographic either devoid of the capability of such improved mental activity or you find people simply unwilling to admit fault and self-analyze. So many of these dolts seem to have one speed of thought, with self-imposed blinders preventing them from the most important of decisions: how to change for the better.

We are witnesses to such blocks of immovable concrete when we see Republicans on television refusing to understand the realities and results of the decisions of the last eight years. They keep calling for lower taxation for the upper economic echelons and increased deregulation. There is absolutely no acknowledgment of fault or quality instances of introspection.

W. Bush says in Dead Certain, a great look at the man’s presidency by Robert Draper, that he HAD to believe that his decision to go into Iraq was correct. He would never allow himself to even consider the idea that perhaps the war had been a mistake. When you’re playing with thousands, perhaps over a million people’s lives, this attitude seems almost criminal for those with their fingers over the red button.

But that was the biggest criticism of Bush, wasn’t it? That the man wasn’t intellectually curious, probably due to the fact that he wasn’t introspective. His foot was on the accelerator regardless of whether there was a brick wall in his path or not (while the rest of us are in the back seat). It was only a “disappointment” that weapons of mass destruction weren’t found in Iraq. When asked what went wrong with Katrina, Bush immediately asks whether he should have landed Air Force One instead of simply flown over the area.

There is a grave, almost developmentally challenged inability by Bush to analyze situations in their totality or through the lenses of those with differing opinions. And his supporters have the same problem. Even now, many across the media’s various forms insist Iraq was a success and is now doing fine. Five soldiers died today in Mosul in a suicide truck bombing. There is widespread violence still and the region is extraordinarily unstable. Ask an Iraqi if they think the war was a success. It’s their country, after all. And these are real people! Over a million Iraqis have died since the war started and Bush talks about them like they’re little Lego men in one of his Lego forts. It’s despicable.

This lack of critical thinking skill is also what led Cheney to declare in May of 2005 that the Iraqi insurgency is in its last throes or that Obama is making us less safe because he is changing Bush’s policies. Cheney will never acknowledge that their administration’s policies allowed Iran’s influence and power to increase exponentially and caused an explosion in global hatred toward America.

People can disagree with Obama’s policies, as I do with some, all they want. But read the man’s books, look without prejudice at his decision-making process and you will see an increased capacity for deliberation, introspection, intellectual curiosity, consideration of mistakes, and appreciation for not only differing views, but everyone’s views. That’s why we elected him. Whatever you say about his policies, the man’s process is an ocean of improvement over our last commander in chief.

And all these little Tea Party shenanigans Fox seems to be orgasming over – the ones calling for the impeachment of Obama before he has even been in office 100 days – reveal how simple-minded the radical fringe of the Bush supporters are. None of them would give you a decent assessment regarding the mistake they made reelecting Bush. Nor would they be introspective enough to appreciate change or understand that the rest of us deserve a president who

This is what Im talking about. Reality has left the building.

This is what I'm talking about. Reality has left the building.

represents us as well. None of them would ever recognize that the policies they support, the ones that were instituted over the last eight years, have brought our country dishonor, ill-repute, economic woe and autocratic policies. They have committed a great harm and the rest of us have stood up and said no more.

I understand the pendulum swings politically. Right now, the Far Right Wing should have some dignity, grace and allow the rest of us – the majority of us (for now) – to institute the policies we believe will not only rescue us from this iniquitous past, but improve our now and our future. They should be a little introspective and come to grips with the fact that most of us do not agree with them, most of us support Obama at this point, and we have a right to resist the oppression they would impose.

02
Apr
09

Is Chris Dodd the New Britney Spears?

Remember a year ago when the news was all Britney Trainwreck all the time? It was anthropologically delicious watching the vag-flasher self-destruct one Red Bull at a time. And how glorious that we political junkies have our own disaster-seeking boobs hellbent on claiming their tragic turn at the gallows of public opinion.

Sure the vast majority of America couldn’t care less as Connecticut’s senior senator careens vehemently toward electoral self-destruction, but I giggle a little bit as each new day brings one more nail-in-the-coffin decision Christopher Dodd seems unable to avoid. Lest you think me walking the left-wing plank, shame on me that I might be tickled by events possibly resulting in the election of a Republican to the Senate, here’s the 411:

Doddsy ranks at the top of the 1998-2008 AIG campaign donation list (George W. Bush came in second). And, a few weeks ago, he tried to deny to CNN that his office had inserted language into the stimulus bill allowing for AIG exec bonus payment. The next day, he embarrassingly reversed his claims and came clean in a gut-twisting moment for most lefties, such as moi.

And NOW, now the idiot extraordinaire will bask in an April 7, $1,000-a-head fundraiser to be hosted by a hedge fund manager who made out like a bandit betting against the subprime housing market in 2007. At least Dodd people had the foresight to move the fundraiser from its original venue – an exclusive club under fire for having no minority members. What friggin’ geniuses. And I’m sure there will be plenty of minorities at the fundraiser. Maybe the rich AIG residents of Connecticut can give the minorities protesting outside their homes a ride to the bash.

As you can imagine, Dodd’s poll  numbers are in the crapper without a chance of seeing sunshine anytime soon. I mean NO chance. In this era of Obamalove, C.D. is coming in a cool 16 points behind a potential Republican contender. Ouch. What’s even more hysterical about this political Hindenburg is that New England has rebounded from Bush to such an extreme, that the last Republican House member from the region lost his reelection bid last November. Even in this climate, Dodd is headed for severe senatorial, exit-Stage-Left carpet burn.

Yes, of course I like to see more Dems in Congress than Repubs, but as I’ve said before, I think the vast majority of congresspeople on both sides of the aisle are big business whores. Can’t say it enough. Whores, whores, whores – the lot of ’em! Dodd is obviously no exception and if he has to serve as the sacrificial lamb for this “teachable moment,” so be it. The pied piper of judgment is calling and Dodd’s ain’t got no bank.

I hope his colleagues are watching. And one more thing, TERM LIMITS.

24
Mar
09

I Loathe Congresspeople

I do. When I see their puckered faces ripe with false indignation and staunch certitude, my blood pressure ticks a few points higher and I need a “calgon” moment.

Chris Dodd denied his efforts allowed the AIG fuckers to receive bonuses. David Vitter was traipsing around with women of the night whilst calling for Clinton’s removal from office. Diane Feinstien played patty-cake with W. over war funding because her husband is a defense contractor. Reid is a spineless, ineffective “leader” that just won’t go away – much like a canker sore. Lieberman – well, the reason for his position among the Capitol Hill jackasses is obvious. Spector is basing his EFCA vote on his 2010 poll numbers. McConnell wakes up on the wrong side of the decision-making bed every day. Chambliss has the ethical fiber of rice paper. I can’t even stand the senators from my own state – Cornyn and Hutchinson, who provided the lube as Bush dragged this country down a hellhole. I could go on and on.

Especially about House members, like Bachmann, who envisions a redneck autocracy (much like the one we were headed for under W.) as the perfect governmental establishment. Cantor aping outrage over AIG bonuses despite taking their campaign contributions. All the blowhards on the Financial Services Committee using their session with Tim Geithner for some pithy grandstanding. It’s sickening.

When I see Congresspeople giving interviews on the cable news channels, most of the time I see people issuing rote answers that don’t progress this country and don’t piss off their campaign contributors. The legislative branch has become an aider and abettor to the Corporatocracy of America with little to no consideration for the good of the people – only good of their reelection chances or ability to earn oodles in the private industry after whoring out all their favors on the Hill.

The vast majority of these people are as beneficial to the state of the union as a tapeworm. The quality of our government is in dire need of term limits, so we might have a chance of electing people who mean what they say – not simply spewing lies and ideology. And maybe then I won’t feel the need to hurl everytime I watch an interview with some lying bastard congressperson.

23
Mar
09

AIG Bonus Pay – Focus Anger Productively

Ichiwawa!! Short-story version: Those useless waste-of-spaces up at AIG figured out a way to make themselves rich by basically selling thin air and are now being rewarded for their b-to-the-ullshit as the rest of the world watches their savings tank faster than a single girl’s sobriety at a gay bar.

Am I mad? Yer damn right I’m mad!

BUT, demanding the bonuses be taken back or creating some Terri Schiavo-esqe tax legislation to swat these sonsabitches’ testicles will not solve one iota of the problem that created this hellacious economic debacle. In fact, these demands are distracting from addressing the real issue – lack of regulation. And lemme tell you, the free marketeers are hoping this “populist tantrum” will do just that – create a huge spectacle refocusing Congress’ efforts away from bringing back appropriate regulation that would have prevented this mess in the first cotton-pickin’ place.

Derivatives once again need to be outawed – as they were back in the early 20th century. Phil Gramm and his little butt buddies in Congress brought forward legislation back in late 1999 – that Bill Clinton signed – deregulating derivatives. And these AIG jackasses sold them. Allowing someone to basically buy “insurance” that a company, such as Overstock.com, will go out of business when the purchaser has no interest in the company whatsoever makes absolutely no sense. It is legalized, unregulated gambling – especially when AIG claims falsely they could back this insurance. (If you need to learn more about derivatives, watch this 60 Minutes program.)

Why were they allowed to get away with this? Because the free-marketeers, “capitalism in its purist form is the best way to run the economy” peeps erased any power by the government to regulate or monitor these new “products” on the Wall Street Market.

Now, I don’t know about you – but I haven’t heard one word from Obama or Geithner regarding reinstating these market regulations. I haven’t heard Barney Frank or Chris Dodd or any of the main players “outraged” about the AIG bonuses calling for new legislation that would focus directly on these bubble schemes the idiots on Wall Street erected.

This is the moment, rife with public anger, to enact these regulations that will prevent the further shredding of our capitalist strength. A completely unfettered free market allows the know-hows to screw over the rest of us and bring everybody and their cousin down the toilet with them. We need these regulations. Without them, this Corporatocracy of America will continue to allow big biz to shit all over everyone who doesn’t have their hand in the pot.

So, tomorrow, when Bernanke and Geithner go before Congress, we need less talk about these AIG bonuses – they’re just red herrings – and more talk about the detriments of derivatives and short selling.

26
Jan
09

Quickfire Mpressions – Rush, Guantanamo, Govt. Spying

Rush Limbaugh: Says he hopes Obama fails. Joy Behar said on Larry King last week that anyone with a brain knows Ann Coulter is a wackjob. The same can be said of Limbaugh. He’s trying to stay relevant in a new era of reality and common sense and, to borrow the words of Obama, he’s on the wrong side of history. For Obama to fail would mean continued job losses, economic mire and an attack on the U.S. – meaning, Rush is anti-American success and progress. He’s merely a pimple on the ass of the U.S., no more. Buh-bye, you suck and thank you for not pro-creating. It’s the most American thing you’ve done.

Closing Guantanamo: It has to be done. Under the American Flag, everyone in U.S. custody is entitled to a fair trial. Period. If military authorities do not have evidence against these men, or have evidence obtained illegally (I’m talking torture, people), they must be released. If they go back to fight our military, so be it. And everyone who doesn’t want these combatants held in their backyard should sign a waiver giving up their right to a trial should they be held against their will. When you do not stand up for the rights of others, it will be your rights that are taken next. It is reprehensible that we have held these people for so long without even attempting to give them a fair shake at justice. Do unto others, people… Justice is not pretty. It is not comfortable. But it is necessary.

Cheney upset Libby didn’t get a pardon: Shut up, you fool! You helped set in motion the outing of a CIA agent. Even North Korea wouldn’t out one of their own. You should be tarred and feathered and placed in stocks in the public square so that we all might have a kick in your in the ass. You sick fuck.

Govt. spying on journalists: NSA whistleblower Russell Tice explained to Keith Oblermann’s last week that the warrantless wiretapping is being used for purposes other than listening to people talking to terrorists. Yeah. Big surprise. When you give the government the opportunity to run roughshod over the Constitution (right to privacy), you cannot be surprised at the subsequent raping and pillaging. In this instance, the government targeted journalists – so called, watch dog of the government. Here’s the interview:

What’s really interesting is that hardly any news program has covered this revelation. I guess those impartial journalists don’t want to get on the wrong side of Big Brother. We all saw what happened to Dan Rather. And you Obama lovers (I voted for him, too) need to remember that Prince O voted for FISA.

In response to the reckless and unconstitutional behavior, I resolve to use red flag words, like jihad and martyr and bomb and allah and more, during my wireless phone conversations. I urge you all to do the same.

States where presidents come from: Cool little piece by the NYTimes says states have to wait on average 70 years before one of their citizens is on a national ticket for president or vice president. This year, four first-time states contributed nominees: Hawaii (B.O.), Alaska (S.P.), Idaho (S.P.) and Delaware (J.B.). I love fun historical shit like that.

07
Jan
09

Roland Burris is a Dipshit

But he must still be seated. No one ever said politics is pretty.

Roland Burris never should have accepted the seat from Blagojevich and he knew exactly what he was doing when he did. He’s waving his self-centered ego within the legal bounds of the Illinois political process and speaks falsely when claiming to be thinking first of serving the people of his state as best he can. My guess is that Illinois peeps just want the Blago bullshit to go away.

For the next two years his smug mug will only be reminder of the decaying stench of Chicago machine politics – of which he has repeatedly tried to be a hack over the years. Had Blagojevich not been in the position he is in a far better candidate, likely African-American, would have been chosen.

But Burris managed to make himself the conversation and take the spotlight from Blagojevich and gained the public momentum necessary to deliver himself straight into Obama’s coveted senate seat.

It’s nasty. He’s nasty and hopefully won’t win in 2010 – I’d rather it go to a Republican then stay in the hands of someone with such little integrity. Burris claims innocence and lack of taint. But all he did was keep is evaporating career alive by helping the bad guys win. Blech.

28
Oct
08

Financial Meltdown Puzzle – Another Piece

There are a myriad of reasons out national economy has hit the skids (and is taking down the global economy with it). While Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are on the receiving end of partisan finger-pointing, they aren’t the entire story. Not even close. They were a symptom, not the cause.

In my quest for knowledge regarding this financial bailout, a main theme keeps emerging: lack of regulation. I’m sure you’ve heard the term.

Well, this weekend, 60 Minutes’ “The Bet that Blew Up Wall Street” gave a very comprehensive explanation of yet another piece of the meltdown puzzle: the legalization of the derivative markets, which basically “allows you to wager on financial outcomes without ever having to actually buy the stocks and bonds and mortgages.” Side bets.

The rocket fuel was the trillions of dollars in side bets on those mortgage securities, called ‘credit default swaps.’ They were essentially private insurance contracts that paid off if the investment went bad, but you didn’t have to actually own the investment to collect on the insurance.

Dinallo (Eric Dinallo, insurance superintendent for New York) says credit default swaps were totally unregulated and that the big banks and investment houses that sold them didn’t have to set aside any money to cover their potential losses and pay off their bets.

‘As the market began to seize up and as the market for the underlying obligations began to perform poorly, everybody wanted to get paid, had a right to get paid on those credit default swaps. And there was no ‘there’ there. There was no money behind the commitments. And people came up short. And so that’s to a large extent what happened to Bear Sterns, Lehman Brothers, and the holding company of AIG,’ he explains.

The derivative market, basically gambling, was illegal for most of the 20th Century. A few lobbyists and campaign contributions later and the lame duck Congress in 2000 – when Bill Clinton was president – signed the bill that reopened the markets for these side bets. Without regulation, there was no body to even track how many of these bets were made or for how much.

I wonder if this next Congress will allow the law to stand, thus continuing to weaken our fragile Wall Street.

In any case, it’s worth having the knowledge and understanding of the role these derivative markets played in the meltdown, so I’m including Steve Kroft’s piece because it truly was an eyeopener. Very much worth the watch:

You can view the video here or read the transcript here.

21
Oct
08

Simpletons Have Taken Over The Republican Party

Politics have always been selling the most simple ideas about the most complicated issues. Capitalism vs. Socialism. Legalization of abortion vs. Criminalization of abortion. Gay marriage vs. Marriage between a man and a woman. War vs. Peace. Welfare vs. Politics of Personal Responsibility. It seems so easy to decide which side of the coin to set up shop until you dig deeper into the issue – especially social ones.

Many of Americans, however, have no interest in understanding the nuances and complexities of the issues facing this country and its citizens. They exist in the shallow end of the pool, searching for answers that bolster their viewpoints rather than seeking information that may broaden their comprehension. They exist in all voter demographics, but it is the more ugly and intolerant of these simpletons that currently serve as the foundation for the Republican Party. It is on these people that Republicans have been betting elections on for years.

In recent weeks there has been loud murmuring of the “narrowing” of the Republican Party. Colin Powell’s endorsement of Obama reflected this development in Right Wing politics – the sacrifice of the intellectualist in favor of the zealot. Many Republicans once supportive of debate, discussion, consideration now find themselves the minority in their party – a stranger in their own home.

In 2004, the Republicans successfully added bans against homosexual marriage to ballots across the country, bringing out evangelicals in droves and delivering a solid victory to the Right. This tactic, largely attributed to Karl Rove, gave Republicans a taste of the power they could attain if only they would debase the election with a simple and divisive issue. Once the simple-minded were good and scared into believing their very way of life was threatened if they didn’t show up to the polls, the Republicans reaped the reward of scare-tactics and dividing a nation. George W. Bush had promised to be “The Great Uniter” but preferred power at any cost and thus ceded his lofty moral ambitions to the salacious intentions of Rove, who believed in a “Permanent Republican Majority”, the very antithesis of democracy.

It seemed for a while the lunatics had taken over the asylum and run away with our grand country, suffocating our national opitimism with their arrogance, isolationism and thirst for power. Americans watched as their government lied them into an unnecessary war, left thousands to die after a hurricane on our own soil, murdered a defining tenant of liberty: habeas corpus, used semantics to skirt Geneva Conventions regarding prisoners of war, committed the ultimate sovereign American hypocrisy of torture, illegally spied on its own citizens, outed one of its own CIA agents, neglected military efforts in Afghanistan, made our country sink lower and lower in developed-world health care standards, sent jobs overseas, established free trade agreements with countries who have no regard for the environment or the laborer or quality of product, redistributed the vast majority of the wealth in this country to the upper economic echelons and, little by little, brought our economy to the verge of collapse.

And Americans, left hopeless and dejected and crushed by years of detestable executive government are now standing up and saying, “No longer.” They are turning their hopes to a fallible, yet thoughtful man whom they will elect as president in two weeks. This turn of events, you can imagine, is causing tremors in the Republican Party, as they witness the death of their “Permanent Majority” aspirations.

In this moment of political crisis, the frenzied Right Wing fringes of have seized command of the ship, ignoring rational voices futilely trying to warn them off the path which leads to a destination of utter annihilation. A line has been drawn in the sand and many, including Colin Powell, Chuck Hagel, Michael Smerconish, want no part of this incensed and ugly Republicanism. Others  – Christopher Buckley, Peggy Noonan, David Brooks, Kathleen Parker and more – have appointed themselves lighthouses amidst the storm, only to be rebuked by the anger and dejection of the Republican Simpleton.

The thoughtless Simpletons have their captains: Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Ann Coutler, Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, Tom Delay, Newt Gingrich, Laura Ingraham, Michael Savage, Karl Rove. And they’ve elected their hero, no not McCain – he’s almost a victim of  Stockholm Syndrome this maelstroom, giving way to the  tactics of fear: attack, lie, then attack some more. No, their new hero is Sarah Palin.

Palin is the new, perfect mascot of the Neo-Conservative, the epitome of this rash of intolerant, hateful and unthinking Simpleton Republicans. They see everything in black and white: Obama’s association with Bill Ayers, Palin’s “executive” experience, Powell’s endorsement of Obama, drilling = energy independence, taxes, foreign relations, the war on Iraq, the SURGE, anti-Americanism.

These are the simpletons that think our country perfect and in no need of improvement, these are the people who think our country is on a hill – above all others – who coined the term “freedom fries” and have no appreciation for our foreign brethren, their own pride and traditions and culture and opinion. These are the people who think any criticism of the US a blasphemy and equate the number of flags flown to the strength of character. These are the conservatives who believe a lie even more after the truth is told to them.

These are the conservatives who are one-issue voters and would criminalize abortion while supporting legislation that would increase poverty, leading to increased abortions. These are the Michelle Bachmanns who would dare judge another person’s anti-Americanism, whatever that means. These are the Republicans who would care if Obama were or Muslim or not and would yell “terrorist” and “kill  him”. These are the Fox News believers who would banish any other source of information that might challenge their way of thinking. These are the base that made it impossible for McCain to choose a more suitable running mate such as Tom Ridge or Joe Lieberman.

These are simpletons who do not appreciate intellectual curiosity and education and information. They do not understand intricacy and nuance and complexity. They do not know of the depth of arguments and issues – federal taxation and necessary marriage of American capitalism with socialism. They do not want the government teaching their children evolution and sexual education but would have the government legislate the private lives of those that may live differently. These are the Jacks of “Lord of the Flies” and Samuel Parrisses in “The Crucible” and Joe McCarthy’s and witch hunters who would turn fascist if given any length of legitimacy and dominance. They do not seek truth nor justice nor reason, but struggle to create an ugly, one-sided caricature of their view of the United States of America.

These simpletons have the minds of children, which is why they gravitate so steadily toward a woman who speaks with the tone of a fifth-grade teacher, or school principal at best. They suckle on the lies of the Republicans, calling Obama a Marxist, that he would raise everyone’s taxes, they he palls around with terrorists, that he is the equivalent of Paris Hilton or Britney Spears, that he must answer for the words of Jeremiah Wright, that he is unamerican and different than you and me, that he has different values and shady intentions. This is mother’s milk for the simpletons, leading Fox News to shovel it by the ton.

So many legitimate, centrist Republicans tell me not to associate them with these simpletons. And I don’t. I appreciate my more understanding, learned, reasonable Republican friends.

But in an election such as this, a vote for the Republican Party at the presidential level is a vote for the Simpleton. For the ugly scourge that threatens liberty and discourse and progress. For the person who thinks to be an American is to be a white Christian. For the person who has no capacity of self-analysis, empathy for others, consideration for differing views.

The Republican Party is not what it once was. The Grand Old Party. It has narrowed into a shriveled shadow of its former days, a haven for hate and intolerance. And I am thankful and glad not to consider myself one of its members.

UPDATE 10.22.08: The New Republic echoed my sentiments today (though more diplomatically) in Alvaro Vargas Llosa’s “Cracked Up” – here are a few excerpts:

A rebellion is beginning to take place among American conservatives, many of them influential commentators who are denouncing the takeover of the Republican Party by a mixture of anti-intellectual populists and political extremists.

These fundamental deviations from conservatism crystallized in the Bush administration. The result was the biggest growth in government since the presidency of Lyndon Johnson, a loss of international prestige and, in purely political terms, the alienation of millions of people who could have been attracted to the Republican Party had its libertarian roots been preserved in dealing with social issues. Thus, the party that styles itself the champion of individual liberty has come to be seen by many in the United States and around the world as a special-interest group driven by factions and devoid of principle.

That many conservatives have finally decided to speak out is encouraging. That they are being vilified is even more encouraging–it means that they may just have a point. After the elections, conservatives will have to do some serious soul-searching and ask themselves a few simple questions: How was it that they let their movement and their party be hijacked by people who were hellbent on disfiguring the face of American conservatism? How was it that the self-styled party of individual liberty became, in the eyes of many, the party of big government, intolerance and jingoism?

15
Oct
08

Awaiting the Last Presidential Debate of 2008

After 21 Republican Primary debates, 26 Democratic Primary debates, 2 presidential debates and 1 VP debate, we are now at the end presidential debate cycle of 2008. My thoughts in sheer, edge-of-my-seat anticipation for the drama to unfold tonight?

Why, oh why did baby jesus make the last presidential debate be on the same night as the Project Runway Finale?! I mean, I know I can Tivo it, but still, that’s not the point.

Anyway (moving on, baby jesus), last night, I watched the Frontline presentation “The Choice 2008” – “A compelling look at Obama and McCain and their path to their party’s nominations.” It was. Compelling, I mean. The interviews – John Weaver, David Axelrod, Peter Rouse, Mark Salter and more – I already know quite a bit about these candidate’s bios, but I was kinda riveted. You can see the PBS excellent website about the program and view it here.

From Frontline

I found myself not just mourning the John McCain that lost the 2000 primary, I found myself mourning the John McCain that won the 2008 primary. The last few months, I have been too angry at McCain to properly grieve over the loss of the stand-up guy I once hoped would beat Giuliani and Romney. After a bit of education on McCain’s past, I realize that there were hints even 30 years ago that McCain’s sense of decency was a little shoddy. The last vestige of honor McCain is holding on to is named “The Jeremiah Wright Issue” and it seems that he has decided to sit on it – at least for now. This doesn’t make him a martyr, mind you – he’d still lose. The Dow is currently down over 700 points and you could put Rev. Wright sermons on a continual loop on every radio and television station in the land, but that won’t distract voters from their diminishing investments and retirement and purchase power. Sorry, charlie, this is a Democrat year and will come packaged in a pretty little bow late Nov. 4.

One of the more surprising revelations on Frontline was Tom Daschle talking about Obama’s choice in 2006 to run for president. Now, I know that ever since 2004, Obama has been the golden child of the Democratic Party. It was amusing to watch the video of his speech at the DNC in 2004 with Hillary and curly-haired Chelsea clapping heartily and rising to their feet during one of Obama’s more stirring lines. Many of the Dems saw Obama that night and felt a re-energizing that would later turn their

From Frontline

From Frontline

attentions away from a Hillary 2008 victory. Obama was caught up in the desire for the Democrats to rise above the ashes of Gore and Kerry and 6 years of Repubs controlling both the Presidency and the Congress.

Obama knew he wanted to run for president some day, but Daschle explained that Obama would not always have the opportunity before him. The longer he was a senator, the more of a record he would have to attack and the more votes he would have to explain. The end of 2006 shaped up to be the “now or never” for Obama.

It doesn’t make me particularly warm inside to think about Obama’s avoidance of a prolonged senate career – whether it would have had an effect on his presidential ambitions or not. His lack of experience in comparison to Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, Bill Richardson and, yes, Hillary Clinton (whom I would never vote for) is substantial.

I vote largely on character, however, I am quite content that he is our most likely next president. I am especially looking forward to tonight’s debate with comfort in Obama’s most recent performances and the odds against McCain bringing a can of whoopass to the table. But the admission by Daschle that the lack of experience was a net positive in Obama’s White House quest reiterates how ridiculously jacked up our electoral system is and what a detriment this two-party establishment is serving our democracy. Sigh.

So, tonight the last of our presidential debates. The last of the real determining factors regarding the destination of the spoils. Since my guy’s ahead, I’m going to relish every minute of it and try to squeeze out a little pity for the old guy destined to lose after running one of the most reprehensible campaigns in history and picking one of the least qualified running mates. Pity will be hard for me. I’m not a tremendously sympathetic person by nature and have felt like burning McPalin in effigy a few times over these weeks.

What’s doubly awesome for me is not only is Obama pulling away in polls, my alma mater is #1 in college football (which is almost better than McCain losing the election). If only the Project Runway finale was tomorrow, we’d really be in business!

Knock ’em dead, Obama! Give ’em hell! And, remember, you’ve come a hell of a long way since those primary debates when you were practically sucking on a dry rock. So, in the words of Michelle that night long ago in 2004, “Don’t screw it up!”

Footnote: Sarah Palin must stop wearing that polar bear broach. Doesn’t she realize her policies would kill off every last one of them? And not in a fun way like shooting them.

14
Oct
08

Why “Drill, Baby, Drill” Chanters are Idiots

I’m sure most of you who watched the Republican National Convention saw the goobers in hardhats and safety vests which said, “Drill, baby, drill!” Their captain, Rush Limbaugh said June 18,

They’re (Democrats) going to oppose the economic growth of the country. They’re going to oppose your prosperity. They’re going to oppose all of that by standing in the way of this.

They’ve (Democrats) got their talking points and they’re lying through their teeth about it.

Bill Nelson of Florida, one of, ahem, my senators, is out there saying that, (paraphrasing) “Hey, the federal government’s already leased a whole bunch of land to the big oil companies; they’re not even using it.”  It’s such a smoke screen, the number of years left on these leases is very few, and the whole thing is a lie anyway.  I have the figures to prove it.

Entrepreneurs of all stripes, all sizes, create business of all sizes. They’re a wide range. And who is it that always sets out to punish them and destroy them?  Liberals, the American left! Absolutely right, Brian. I could read your lips in there.  Good going.  What does Obama want?  Barack Obama wants you to suffer.  Barack Obama wants higher prices on fuel. right now.  Barack Obama wants a windfall profits tax. right now.  Barack Obama wants to raise your income taxes, by the way, right now.  He wants to raise capital gains taxes, right now.  He wants to raise Social Security taxes, right now.  Obama wants you to suffer.  The Democrat Party wants you in pain.  They want you angry, and they are willing to block any remedy to this problem in order to keep you suffering and in pain and angry.  Obama wants prices up, he wants your income down, and he wants taxes up, ladies and gentlemen.

I know, he’s a crackpot. I recommend reading the whole transcript because it’s incredibly laughable. Let me continue. Here’s Sarah Palin during the VP Debate,

The chant is “drill, baby, drill.” And that’s what we hear all across this country in our rallies because people are so hungry for those domestic sources of energy to be tapped into.

Barack Obama and Senator Biden, you’ve said no to everything in trying to find a domestic solution to the energy crisis that we’re in.

If that’s not enough to make you want to sprinkle cyanide on your cheerios, country singer Aaron Tippin has a new hit, “Drill here, drill now,” you can listen to here. I’m posting the second verse:

Every time a foreign tanker pulls up to our shore
They got us over a barrel while they bleed us a little more
And think how much it costs just to bring it all that way
And how many American jobs that’d make if we were drillin’ in the USA
Oh and God forbid if our oily friends should decide to cut us off
We’d be standin’ around with our britches down now listen to me ya’ll

Perhaps Aaron’s legendary tight pants have seized up blood flow to his brain.

What I’m trying to say is that all these calls for offshore drilling and energy independence have made it clear there’s a drought of information on the Right. I’ve decided to rectify the situation by gathering what we informed people call FACTS to help explain the error in this argument – which many Democrats are perpetuating as well. It’s almost criminal.

So, I beg of you – educate yourself. Even if you don’t want to read my lengthy presentation of reality and possibility, conduct your own research of the effects of increased offshore drilling, the possibility it will lower gas prices, and the addition to jobs and U.S. prominence alternative energy technology will provide.

Here’s my crack at it. It’s long, but it’s worth it. Jesuschrist, it’s worth it.

The clamors for energy independence only surfaced following the rise in gasoline/petrol prices. Because gas prices are largely determined by the decision made by OPEC regarding production levels, Americans are under the incorrect impression that drilling for more hydrocarbon off our shores will provide energy independence and lower gas prices.

OFFSHORE DRILLING ≠ ENERGY INDEPENDENCE ≠ LOW GASOLINE/PETROL PRICES

The American people are uninformed, which is nothing new, and their politicians are doing nothing to correct this problem because they are whores for campaign contributions, which lead them to feed the corporatocracy that is pimping America by trading money for favorable legislation. The oil & gas lobby is one of the biggest john of them all. According to the Federal Election Commission Sept. 2, 2008, and reported by the Center for Responsive Politics, campaign contributions for the 2008 election cycle totalled $22,543,340. Republicans were the most successful streetwalkers, receiving 75 percent of these contributions, while Democrats only garnered 25. Apparently, it’s hard out here for a pimp Democrat.

Because Americans don’t understand the realities of domestic hydrocarbon production, 67 percent answered in the affirmative to the RasmussenReports poll question, “In order to reduce the price of gas, should drilling be allowed in offshore oil wells off the coasts of California, Florida, and other states?” According to the survey, the results of which were released June 17, 64 percent of voters “believe it is at least somewhat likely that gas prices will go down if offshore oil drilling is allowed.” Now, I’m sure you know embittered former pollster for the Clintons, Dick Morris runs RasmussenReports and is now a sweetheart of the Right – which is why they quoted this survey endlessly.

The false assumption is that offshore drilling will lead to energy independence which will lead to lower gasoline prices.

Wrong.

U.S. WOULDN’T OWN OFFSHORE OIL AND GAS ONCE IT IS DRILLED

As Cenk Uygur correctly pointed out of the Huffpo, the United States government does not own all the hydrocarbon that is produced within its borders. The company that is awarded the contract to drill owns the oil or gas and may decide to sell their unrefined product to whomever they like and will likely do so to whoever is the highest bidder, be they India, China, etc. Simply because the U.S. government decides to open leases off Florida, California and ANWR does not automatically assume the U.S. markets will be the recipient of those energy resources.

Secondly, the U.S. refineries are operating near capacity. According to the latest numbers provided by U.S. Department of Energy for July 2008, U.S. refining operable capacity was 17,610,000 barrels per day. Of that capacity, U.S. refineries produced 17,464,000 barrels per day. The last major refinery built in the U.S. began operations in 1976. This is partially due to strict standards set by the EPA and the high cost of such an endeavor, but also NIMBY (Not in My Back Yard), an acronym describing a residential opposition to nearby industrial building. People want to use the oil and gas, they just don’t want to be near the production of their precious energy. With my family from in and around Lake Charles, I can see why.

The point is that politicians – Dems and Repubs alike – encourage the drill, baby, drillers; they just forget to mention that even if we increase offshore drilling, we do not have the refining capacity to ensure those energy reserves serve the American market. Sure, we can loosen environmental standards and attempt to rush the establishment of some refining infrastructure before oil companies bring that offshore hydrocarbon online. But visit Lake Charles for a weekend and decide if you want those big daddies in your backyard or if you would rather just drive less, switch to fluorescent light bulbs and inflate your tires.

U.S. ENERGY COMPANIES WILL CONTINUE TO KEEP PRICES AS HIGH AS THEY CAN

Americans are also assuming that oil and gas companies, in all their benevolence, would flood the American market with hydrocarbon to allow gasoline prices to decrease. Not gonna happen. FOR EXAMPLE, PLS’ ProspectCentre reported Oct. 1, 2008 that Chesapeake Energy, the largest producer of natural gas in the U.S., will “reduce it drilling capex (17%) through year-end 2010 by ~$3.2 billion in response to recent price collapse that has driven gas prices down (~50% since July 1)…Of the capex reduction through 2010, $1.9 billion is associated with reduced drilling activity.” WHAT??? you ask. Gas prices are over $1 more than when Hurricane Katrina hit. My car cost $12.50 to fill up eight years ago and now requires $40. And Chesapeake Energy is reducing drilling because energy prices are falling. Yes, Chesapeake produces natural gas, which is different than gasoline – but prices of energy originating from hydrocarbon sources are closely related.

Translation: Chesapeake Energy is decreasing their drilling of natural gas in order to reduce supply, despite typical ravenous demand of Americans for energy, which will help keep prices high. Politicians have given Americans the idea that American oil and gas (natural gas) companies are operating at capacity and we need to open more leases to bring more energy online in American markets. False. Major companies in the United States are right now decreasing domestic energy production because prices have fallen, causing these companies what they see as budgetary constraints.

The interesting tidbit about Chesapeake’s maneuver is that they’ve done it before. BNET Sept. 27, 2006: “Effective October 1, 2006, the company plans to temporarily shut-in approximately 100 million cubic feet (mmcf) per day of net natural gas production (approximately 125-150 mmcf per day gross) in various areas of operations in the southwestern U.S. until natural gas prices recover from recently depressed levels.” What has happened since the end of 2006? Prices have risen! How surprising! Of course, I’m not suggesting Chesapeake’s activities alone have caused gasoline prices to increase, but I’m giving you an idea of how the oil and gas industry responds to any decrease in gasoline prices.

You see – and this is very important – even if oil and gas were produced as much as possible within American borders and even if refineries were built to handle the capacity of oil and gas sucked out of the ground, oil companies would keep production low. Why? Why? you ask. I will tell you.

The oil companies have discovered that Americans have a high pain tolerance when it comes to energy prices. Americans will let gasoline reach $4.00 a gallon before really pulling back. They will never allow gasoline prices – profits – to fall back to the yesteryear of cheap gas and easy energy. No matter how available or plentiful that energy is domestically, the companies will manipulate the market to keep prices high. Oh, they’ll give us a load of “reduced supply” mishegoss, but make no mistake – they only have eyes for profits. Right now, according to PLS, XTO, EOG and Petrohawk “may watch Chesapeake’s stock to determine if they should follow the same plan.”

The main point is that even if all our hydrocarbon energy supply originates within U.S. borders, prices will remain in the nose-bleeds. Them’s the brakes. Yes, we are currently experiencing a reduction in prices, but it won’t last.

DON’T FORGET ABOUT REFINING

Now let’s assume that we do open all our oil and natural gas reserves to quell demands for more resources. We throw open every lease available off various coasts and in protected wildlife preserves and give them to the exploration and production companies like letting a fat kid loose in a candy store. We would have to assume that demand would remain the same or decrease in order to bring gasoline prices down.

Just one thing. Remember that last refinery that was built in 1976? Yeah, American consumption of energy has increased 25 percent since it was built. If prices are cheap, our consumption will not decrease unless there is a national mandate Americans understand is necessary to preserve our environment and the health of our children. With demand high, prices will remain so as well.

Because American oil and gas demand will always rise above domestic supply – especially with cheap prices – we will never be energy independent as long as our main source of energy is hydrocarbon. Our demand will always outpace domestic supply. Can’t say it enough.

If we do throw open all the leases possible and build refineries to service the American market as much as possible, we will end up polluting the shit out this country. Perhaps this wouldn’t be such a big deal if the only pollution we had to deal with was only that which we create ourselves. It’s not. Pollution from China has already started having worldwide effects – especially in California, where emissions regulations for local industries will have to be sharply curbed to deal with the fallout from China’s production boom.

“GREEN REFINERIES”? SURELY, YOU JEST.

No, I don’t, Willis. There have been recent movements toward establishing “green refineries” – if there is such a thing. Arizona Clean Fuels Yuma fought for seven years and finally received a permit to build a 150,000 barrels-per-day refinery that it says will operate within strict environmental regulations. Hyperion Resources, based in Dallas, is planning an environmentally sound refinery that will turn Canadian crude into low-sulfur gasoline and diesel at a rate of 400,000 barrels per day. According to a Reuters article describing the project, it often takes five years before companies receive the required permits for construction, which can often lead to investors jumping ship.

And if that wasn’t enough to whet your appetite for green gas, Hunton Energy of Houston has proposed the first green refinery on the Texas coast, shooting for a 340,000 barrels-per-day facility to convert Canadian bitumen crude into clean-burning jet fuel and diesel. According to the Houston Chronicle, “Its defining feature is the integration of a gasification facility, which would capture most of the plant’s carbon emissions before they reach the atmosphere.” It will be interesting to see whether this refinery – in ten years, if the project succeeds – will live up to its “green” claims.

There is, however, no definition for “green” and its subjectiveness has allowed it to be used as a major selling tool by energy companies who tend to be colorblind when it comes to the environment. In this case, “green” refers to reduced emissions by the refineries. It does not mean “zero emissions” as such as thing is currently impossible.

Obviously, the greenest refinery will likely do more detriment than wind and solar combined. Although one has to take into account the energy needed to produce a wind turbine, transport it and set up the massive thing (I see them in parts on 18-wheelers all over the highways here in north Texas). How long would a windmill have to generate energy before justifying its very existence? Just a question.

CLEAN COAL, JUMBO SHRIMP, PRETTY UGLY

Still, the term “green refinery” calls to mind another potential oxymoron: “clean coal.” Politicians say it all the time and the term even enjoyed a bit of attention during the recent Vice Presidential Debates. Jeff Biggers of The Washington Post has taken notice as well. He writes in a scathing opinion piece of the coal industry and its treatment by the Bush administration, “Clean coal: Never was there an oxymoron more insidious, or more dangerous to our public health. Invoked as often by the Democratic presidential candidates as by the Republicans and by liberals and conservatives alike, this slogan has blindsided any meaningful progress toward a sustainable energy policy.”

“Clean coal” is referring to reduced emissions from coal-firing plants and efforts are underway around the world to find the means to reduce the environmentally detrimental affects of this energy source. The release of carbon dioxide into the air is one of the biggest offenses of coal use and scientists are trying to discover new means to deal with this greenhouse gas, included rerouting it under ground. Capturing the CO2 is a top priority in “clean coal” technology. According to National Geographic News, however, technologist Gordon Couch, with the International Energy Agency’s Clean Coal Centre in London, says zero-emissions coal power is a realistic goal – though years away.

“NUKULAR” ENERGY

John McCain likes to repeat that nuclear energy is just fine because he served on a Navy ship powered by nuclear energy and all Senator Obama needs to do is talk to one of our sailors serving a nuclear-powered vessel (yeah, because they’re experts) to learn the benefits of this energy. But nuclear plants are some of the most dangerous sources of energy – the fact that Chernobyl and Three Mile Island are household terms is a large indicator of public concern regarding this energy option.

Nuclear waste is an even larger concern. And since no real long-term solution has been found regarding the storage of nuclear waste, it is irresponsible for politicians to tout this as an option for energy independence. Nuclear waste is also tremendously costly to store – the Department of Energy has said the controversial proposed storage facility at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain would cost $96.2 billion to build and operate. France is repeatedly used as a positive example of the use of nuclear energy. However, France reprocesses its nuclear waste – which is banned in the United States due to proliferation risks – and still has leftovers, which it stocks in hopes that, perhaps in 100 years scientists will have found away to eliminate the toxicity of the waste. Bonne chance.

SUSTAINABLE ENERGY…HEAD OUT OF THE ASS

Geothermal Plant in California

Even with the environmental benefits of nuclear energy, the question still looming is the cost-benefit ratio of investing such an enormous amount of funds into a technology that is detrimental in the long-term, rather than positive alternatives: biomass, geothermal, wind, solar, tidal, hydrogen.

Powerful lobbyists, greedy politicians and corporate executives have convinced the more uninformed Americans, including Palin – who chanted, “Drill, baby drill. Mine, baby, mine,” on the stump – that we must turn to domestic oil, gas and coal to increase energy independence, which will bring down gas prices.

I don’t just disagree with them, I have shown that they are wrong. They are incorrect. And almost every source I have provided in this blog is available on the internet.

So, why does the truth not out? Why do Democrats participate in this charade as well? Bucks, dollars, contributions. The building of the United Corporatocracy of America. The oil and gas industry has been the 12th largest campaign contributor to John McCain’s quest for the presidency, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Had we focused our surplus budget and American acumen for technological development on alternative energy sources back in the 1990’s instead of cheap housing developments, we might already be energy independent. Perhaps Detroit wouldn’t be in the economic doldrums. Perhaps we might not be transferring all of our wealth to “countries who do not have our best interests at heart.” But, then ExxonMobil and ConocoPhilips and many other oil & gas companies wouldn’t be receiving record profits this year. Without their political involvement, Halliburton probably wouldn’t have received a number of sweet, no-bid contracts in Iraq from the Bush administration.

Instead, we’re left with “shoulda, woulda, couldas” dangling in front of our rose-colored glasses to the past.

To make matters almost unpalatable, the Right continues to dupe many of its followers – legendary anti-intellectuals, consistent swallowers of Fox News Propaganda who disdain facts, truth, research, reality and education – into believing offshore drilling will produce energy independence and lower gas prices. It won’t. It will only make the same white men richer year after year and worsen our environmental contributions.

RENEWABLE ENERGY IS BEST CHANCE FOR U.S. TO RETAIN GLOBAL PROMINENCE

Renewable alternative energy is our chance to regain and retain our primary position on the world stage. Global citizens are hungry and demanding alternative power and the U.S. has every opportunity to develop it, deliver it, and benefit from it. Like Obama said, renewable resources can give the U.S. the same economic positioning as the computer. Renewable energy technologies could be a major cultivator of domestic jobs and prop the U.S. up again as a major supplier to global market demands.

U.S. domination is subsiding, our economy is not growing as fast as other countries and we are losing our hegemonic status. Instead of tackling this development head on through education and technology, the idiotic dipshits of the Right are attacking our science classes, trying to shrink budgets for math education and calling for the same failed energy policies that will cripple our best chance to retain American greatness.

Republicans are selling our future to win elections now and their mindless followers are not only heading toward that cliff, they want to drag us over the edge with them. It is shameful and embarrassing and hopefully only a footnote in our country’s history. “Drill, baby, drill” is not the answer. It is “Dead Man Walking” for the U.S. economy and perhaps if these people knew exactly what they were proposing, they wouldn’t be trying to doom our country’s attempts to lead the world into the next technological era.

Let me be clear. I am not opposed to increased offshore drilling or increasing refining capacity. I am opposed to presenting it as a method for attaining energy independence and lowering gasoline prices. Such an assertion is untrue and only increase the falsehoods with which many voters make their decisions at the polls. It is harmful to democracy and it is harmful to the economic future and sustainability of this country. We must refocus our priorities to renewable and sustainable energy sources.

UPDATE 10.15.08. FYI, beeyotches, Time (as I spotted on Think Progress) is reporting that despite Sarah Palin’s calls for energy independence, she herself has supported efforts to send domestic hydrocarbon to more-profitable foreign markets.

According to Time, “Palin personally intervened in April, 2007, but her concerns were strictly local. She asked DOE to condition its approval on guarantees that gas needed in Alaska not be diverted to the better-paying foreign venues — a position she held until this past January, when the producers reached separate agreement with the state to meet its needs.

At no time did Palin or her government cite the desire to preserve Alaskan gas for the lower 48 states. The Sempra terminal began operations just four months after Palin announced unconditional support for the Marathon and ConocoPhillips request and a month before DOE approved their plans to export gas to Asia.”

Will the hypocrisy never end???

30
Sep
08

Blogging About the Bailout From the Netherworlds of Anti-Obama Territory

I was on the road all day yesterday driving from Houston to Pensacola to visit my parental types with my sister. Besides all the damn convoys of electricity and tree-trimming trucks heading back home after helping get Houston power back up following Hurricane Ike (my sister says thank you) driving in the left lane trying to give me an aneurysm, the ride went pretty well. All I’m saying is that I don’t know what South Texas and South Louisiana did to make baby jesus mad. Who knew hurricanes were such a useful tool of divine justice?

As I’m playing Highway Commando and trying to make good time, we get a call that the House voted against the bailout. Against the bailout! We immediately turned my new XM radio (which rocks hard) to the news stations – which was fun because the first thing we heard was Boehner and his fellow boners blaming Pelosi for the failure of Republicans to vote for the bailout package. Apparently, Pelosi gave some partisan speech, which pissed off quite a few of the Repubs so much, they forgot their vote would affect the entire U.S. economy and that of the rest of the world and decided to use their vote for political gamesmanship and spit in Pelosi’s glossy eye with a “Nay.” What word am I thinking of? It’s another word for donkeys… Oh, yeah – Jackasses!!

Who gives a shit about people’s retirement packages? Who gives a shit about companies being able to meet payroll? Mortgages, car loans, grocery bills…who cares, who cares, who cares? The American people have been fed a lot of baloney about the free market and American capitalism and decided to call their representatives, instructing them NOT to vote for the bailout. And the House reps actually claim they listened to these people – these people who have not one iota of understanding about how the markets work and what a catastrophe it will be if the bailout fails and allows the markets to wallow, freezing credit and large portion of the exchange of monies. Even my Republican family – who is watching the retirement upon which they currently live head toward the drain – was astounded at the stratospheric stupidity of these politicians.

Just real quick – the House Repubs are LYING when they said they’re voting no because of their constituents. They’re voting no because of lobbyists. As we speak, K Street is in a tizzy over golden parachutes and regulation and anything that might redistribute wealth in this country and is threatening all those little Congresspeople up for reelection. Three words: constituents my ass. Don’t insult me. I’m mean, I’m a blogger, for chrissakes.

I don’t think this current situation is altogether a bad thing.

Pick your jaw up off the ground and take a breath.

First of all, the level of education of the American public in the areas of economics, finance, credit, etc. has increased immensely. If we have to feel pain now so that our entire country operates with a few more smarts and a tad more responsibility, it is worth it. The people of this country have been told that their monthly income should not determine their standard of living. Credit was the answer to everything, and was easy to access, encouraging every Tom, Dick, Harriet, Rumor, Tallulah and Scout to spend those george washingtons without any attention to budgets and saving. Economic retards, as it were. I used to be one. These are my people.

Well, I’ve moved on – slapped in the face by a low FICO score, and it’s time for the American people to do so as well. Hopefully, this economic crisis will move us in that direction.

So, have a margarita, a mojito, a martini, a miller lite or whatever it takes to get your blood pressure down; then save money, diversify your investments, purchase cars and homes  beneath the amount you are approved for, stop trying to keep up with the Joneses, learn the language of finance and grow old, fat and happy (well, not fat).

That’s silver lining numero uno. The next, OBVIOUSLY, is the political fallout.

How fun! How tickling! How fucking hysterical!

The Democrats are about to take over the majority of the House and the Senate and get the Executive branch. And what happens? The House Repubs group together to collectively shoot themselves in the foot and take McCain down with them. Well, yeee-fucking–haw! I didn’t think this election season could get better AFTER McCain’s fake suspension, but I was gloriously mistaken. If I wasn’t in my parents’ Republican household, I’d be cranking up all the angry liberal commentary on the boob tube I could and just enjoy watching the conservative avalanche. God, it’s like Festivus came early this year. I don’t have anything else on my wishlist.

And it only gets better. The icing this week will be the Biden-Palin debate. Even if Palin does well – and I hope she does – Biden will be drowning our little sassy Republican VP candidate in facts, names, dates, details of overseas trips. And I love Gwen Ifill. Seriously, I think we would be friends in real life.

Ultimate conclusion 09.30.08: Keep yer panties on, because the economy will do much better under Obama than McCain – so get out there and make sure your vote is on the right side of future prosperity.

And wish me well as I try to keep my angry, foul liberal mouth in check just a little bit. Because my mom (who is not crazy conversative) still hits. Backhands, to be more specific. (As my sister will testify.)

25
Sep
08

McCain Has Not Suspended His Campaign

McCain lie 59,546,115: He will suspend his campaign.

Tucker Bounds, McCain spokesman, just told Andrea Mitchell,

Before John McCain suspended his campaign yesterday, the situation we were looking at looked very different than after he showed leadership and called for bipartisanship, to put partisanship aside and tackle this solution.

So many things wrong with this picture.

1. Tucker’s presence and comments on MSNBC alone are campaigning.

2. It was clear the Dems and Repubs were much closer to reaching a deal on the bailout package before McCain gave his politically preemptive press conference.

3. Tucker’s comments prove true all the claims that McCain wanted to swoop in and take all the credit for the Congressional cooperation on the bailout package. How? Cause his spokesperson just swooped in and gave him all the credit for the bail out package. So funny when just last week McCain was saying the fundamentals of the economy were strong.

24
Sep
08

Pharmaceutical Company To Disclose Payments To Doctors

I’d put the hallalujahs off for just a minute, though.

According to AP, Eli Lilly and Co. has said they will report payments made to doctors over $500 for services, speeches, etc. How unusual.

The pharmaceutical industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. Every time you go to the doctor, they have another prescription for you. Words such as “bi-polar disorder,” “anxiety disorder,” “clinical depression,” “attention deficit disorder,” and so many more are in our everyday vernacular. Do you fee sad sometimes and then happy sometimes? Well, that’s not right! Have a pill and this pill and this pill even though we have no idea who their chemical interactions will affect your body!

Do you think any of those diseases exist in developing world? No, they have to deal not with disorders of conveniences, but actual maladies such as starvation and AIDS and tuberculosis. Drugs do not cost nearly as much in those areas of the world because people could never dream of affording them and entire countries’ economies would face collapse. The cost of one pill here in the U.S. could feed the population of Sub-Sarahan Africa.

We’ve raised a population of entitled Americans who expect easy street and look to quick fixes when times get tough. We don’t even need to leave our bedrooms to have anything we need in the world. Is it a coincidence that obesity numbers go up the same time as depression and a infinitesimal amount of other diseases increase? I don’t think so.

Furthermore, the drug companies use people as their guinea pigs by pushing drugs far too quickly through governmental approval – though many times due to pressure by patients. Many times, these drugs prove to cause extreme harm over the long period. You know every time you turn on daytime TV and some ambulance-chaser is talking about Vioxx? There you go.

The drug companies pour a load the money they make with their high-priced drugs into the pockets of doctors who recommend them and write prescriptions and the law makers who decide (de)regulation. Ever heard of Medicare? As Wikipedia says, “According to Marcia Angell, the former head of the New England Journal of Medicine, ‘The United States is the only advanced country that permits the pharmaceutical industry to charge exactly what the market will bear.'”

Drugs that Americans depend on to live and stay healthy will cost them the quality of their life simply because of corporate greed and the idea of “free market” which does not exist in this country. Drug companies will tell you that their profits are focused on providing more products. They don’t reveal the salaries of their executives. It’s sickening, really.

So, now Eli Lilly and Co. says they will disclose doctor payments in expression of good will. AP reports,

Dr. Peter Lurie, deputy director of the health research group at Public Citizen, said the state laws can let patients know when their doctors have a connection to a drug firm, but the state laws are not working very well. The laws have various exemptions and sometimes don’t even disclose the information to the public, he said.

Lurie was skeptical that Eli Lilly’s announcement represented a step forward on the issue of more transparency in health care.

“There are dozens of pharmaceutical companies. This is just one of them. Most won’t follow this guideline at all, and there will be no enforcement,” Lurie said. “This is Ely Lilly’s attempt to forestall the federal legislation by saying we’re in effect complying anyway.”

Needless to say, my skepticism remains high. Why wouldn’t Eli Lilly disclose all payments? How many of the payments they issues are under $500?

High drug prices are simply another example of the myth of the free market and “American capitalism.” This manner of economic laissez-faire hurts the lower economic echelons – which is the majority of Americans. Until we start being honest about the reality of our lack of regulation, American voters will never demand better treatment from the Corporatocracy our country has become. Socialism is not a bad word and does not work in its pure form. But for our citizens to reap the benefits of economic growth, we must pepper our capitalism with a bit of socialism. Pro-capitalism is not patriotic. Being honest is.




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