Archive for the 'corporatocracy' Category

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!

16
Apr
09

Rick Perry is a Schmuck of Infinitesimal Proportions

Normally, I wouldn’t give this shit-fer-brains Texas Blagojevich the time of day, but in the interest of my pride as a Texan, I have to comment on Perry’s lastest episode of cerebral diarrhea.

Admitting you live in a state that has elected (excuse me, reelected) Rick Perry as governor and whose senators are Kay Bailey-Hutchinson and John Cornyn must be like admitting you have herpes. While I have no cause to admit the latter, I imagine great scorn emitting from those who are audience to my admission.

perry-douchebagAnd now, with Governor Imbecile saying Texas might have to secede, it is vein-poppingly frustrating to watch the national media equate his statements with me. (Though I shouldn’t talk, having blamed Alaska numerous times for the immersion of Sarah Palin into the national spotlight). Ugh.

Dictator Perry

If Texas were to secede, Perry would try to turn this state into a dictatorship as he is the poster child of political hypocrites giving figurative blow jobs to the corporate industry for cash. In 2007, Perry tried to issue an executive order forcing schoolgirls across the state to be vaccinated with Gardasil. Now, it seemed a bit “conflict-of-interesty” that Merck, the maker of Gardasil, had contributed to Perry’s PAC and some of his staff was on their payroll. Hmm… Very odd.

So, one man, one stupid, megalomaniacal idiot presumes he can dictate the health care of the state’s children. And what is so illuminatingly funny about this episode in relation to his comments yesterday is that the bastard said (while speaking here in Fort Worth, gag me):

I believe it’s (the government) become oppressive in its size, its intrusion into the lives of its citizens..

What a dick!!

So, forcing girls to receive a vaccine that has had widespread, proven negative side effects on numerous females isn’t an intrusion by the government into the lives of its citizens. Risking our daughters’ health for money. He’s not just a dipshit, he’s unethical and immoral. Never before had I actually wished an incurable, acute case of dysentery on someone. Unfortunately, I discovered I had no magical powers of the cursing persuasion. Poo.

The executive order was rescinded after the legislature was threatening action and every rick-perry-merck1demographic of every political persuasion forged a collective anger that grew intensely threatening to the governor. Right wingers were afraid the vaccine would turn all our innocent girls into whores on Main Street and the left wing was seething at the thought of such a violation of civil liberties. I would have been picketing until my extremities bled had the order really gone into effect.

And the man is running for reelection in 2010. Yes, my blood pressure has a visceral reaction to a potential Perry victory.

However, certain realities allay my fears that we will once again see Perry carry the mantle of leadership in our red, but improving Lonestar State.

First, Kay Bailey-Hutchinson is running and will hopefully best the sonofabitch in the Republican primary. While I would normally oppose such a objectionable use of a vote, I may vote in the Repub primary for Kay just to help knock Perry on his keister.

Second, and this is awesome, every major county in Texas went Democrat on Nov. 4, 2008 – Harris County (Houston), Dallas County (obviously, Dallas), Travis County (Austin), Duval County (San Antonio), and El Paso County (um…El Paso). Now, of course, the election of Obama drew many minorities to the polls that don’t normally turn out to vote. Still, the tides may be a-changing here in Texas and Republicans better take notice. Perry doesn’t want to take much of the stimulus money available to us and his policies are all capitulations to big business, like Bush. How surprising.

We’re tired of it. We’re over it. It’s time for a new chapter. We do, however, need strong, worthy left candidates to stand up and those are in short order because the oil and gas industry has such a stronghold on electoral results.

And if you think Perry is a scourge just us Willie-listeners have to deal with, he has national ambitions. He wasn’t going to run for governor again because he threw his lot in early with Giuliani before the ’08 election, bidding for a VP spot on the national ticket. Well, everyone saw Mayor 9/11 implode last year and Perry had to turn to the governor race in 2010 to stay relevant. Now, he’s making outrageous comments, like the secession crap, to assert himself nationally. If you can imagine, I’m not wishing him the best. In fact, if he loses in 2010 – especially in the primary – there’s a good chance his influence will evaporate and he’ll be just another nightmare in the past like his predecessor, Bush The Unequaled Disaster. I’m crossing my fingers.

All The Way With Kay!!! (for primary purposes only, that is)

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.

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.

26
Mar
09

The Problem With Ideology

Let me set the stage. During the last eight years of governance, the Republicans supported their party leader and the Democrats checked their spines at the Capitol doors whilst Bush and Cheney did their patent best to lead this country off a cliff. Almost all the Republicans I know refuse to defend Bush’s record and repeat over and over that they had no idea Bush would be such a wretched president. Disappointment knew no boundaries.

So you would think, after the last 8 years, there would at least be some shift in the Republican message – especially after the trouncing the majority of American voters gave them in the last election. But no, they are hanging on to their failed ideas and policy as though the last eight years were just a dream.

Why would they be so clueless? Why would they be so clinically in denial regarding not only the failure of their policies, but the fact that the majority of Americans wish to change course away from Right-wing lunacy? The answer: ideology, or the body of doctrine, myth, belief, etc.

The Republicans are a party of ideologues. Right-wing commentators are ideologues. Religious leaders are ideologues. Uneducated, anti-intellectuals are ideologues.

The problem with an ideologue is that they tend to focus on the theories inherent in their adopted ideology without regard given to potential or realized negative repercussions of said ideology. No matter what may occur because of the practice of that ideology, negative results are blamed on external factors and positive consequences are credited to the ideology. The ideology is never wrong.

Obviously, progress of humanity is determined by the species’ ability to learn and adapt. Actions tend to have positive or negative consequences and learning helps one to avoid negative consequences. Evidence and data are drawn upon in the decision-making process and thus, improve decisions and development.

Not with ideologues. Evidence and information are disregarded in strict adherence to the core, fundamental theory presented in the ideology. Reality has no weight, no bearing in the presence of ideology.

Here are some examples:

  • The gross misconduct of the financial sector was enabled by the freeing of the market by ideologue politicians. Despite the globalized economy, despite the proven nature of many men to serve his greed when times are ripe, despite every indicator of human behavior, free marketeers still believe that capitalism in its purest form (which is an impossibility) is the answer to all economic questions.
  • Abstinence-only education has been proven to increase teen pregnancy and abortion. Yet, pro-lifers insist that sex education, and the information such education  proffers, should be excluded from school curricula. Sex education = less abortions. Abstinence only = more abortions. Yet, their ideology prevents them from adopting the wiser of the two educational options.
  • U.S. guns laws are so lax, that 90 percent of the guns used in Mexico’s drug war, which is spilling across the southern U.S. borders, come from America. The selling of arms at gun shows is so unrestricted that even a drug cartel member could easily attend one of these conventions and purchase arms to take south. Yet, should one member of the national government even suggest limiting access to assault weapons – just assault weapons – the gun lobby goes ape shit. Obviously, the more the government limits access to arms, the fewer arms will be in the hands of criminals. But gun lobbyists are ideologues. Why the feel the need to allow every Tom, Dick and Harry to own an AK-47 is beyond me and the data that this policy endangers far more people than it protects is widespread. But ideology is strong and blinds people to the obvious effects of their decisions.
  • The legalization of marijuana would weaken drug cartels, increase the use of intensely beneficial hemp plant, help multitudes of medical patients, bolster the economy in certain geographic areas, increase efficacy of police forces and decrease prison populations. Marijuana overdoses, unlike those of alcohol, are unheard of. And the criminalization of marijuana has more to do with this country’s cotton lobby history that protecting its citizens. Yet an antiquated ideology regarding the substance prevents the majority of the population from recognizing the benefits of its legalization.

Ideology hampers progress. It hampers positive change and forms a mental prison around those comforted by stale and erroneous memories. It is a crutch for the weak-minded and those afraid to recognize reality and make painful, unfair decisions that might improve circumstances and take us beyond that which holds us back.

Remember, if you were taught an ideology vehemently by your elders from the time you were an infant, and believe it with the entirety of your heart as an adult, without question  – it is probably wrong. And handicapping. And your insistence on holding on to this crutch, this blindfold, hurts all of us. Consider evidence, information, data, reality to the contrary.

Ideology thrives on the limiting of information and lack of education. Take North Korea, the Taliban, the FLDS, Jonestown, Bloods and Krypts, Branch Dividian, white supremacists, child-molesting priests. Strict adherence to ideology is and was the lifeblood of these cults, religions, predators.

That’s why Democracy is such a good system of government. By shining the light of information into dark corners and allowing people to think for themselves, educate themselves and separate themselves from the bounds of ideology, better discussions and debates are had and better decisions are made.

Good decisions are good simply because their results are constructive, not because they help prop up some useless ideology.

25
Mar
09

Meredith VETO: Blanket Statements by Politicians About the American People

It’s been a while since I’ve issued a Meredith VETO, but I’ve come to notice one phrased used by many a politician or politician commentator: “Americans think” or “Americans want” or “Americans feel.” Americans this, Americans that! Stop the madness!

I disagree with quite a few of my fellow Americans on quite a few issues and I know they disagree with me (when the jackasses comment on my blog. kidding!). When a politician bunches together a population which is commonly in discord and brandishes us as a verbal missile with which to pulverize political opposition, I take exception. The person usually making the statement is claiming “America” thinks or feels or demands something I am totally against and, many times, the majority of Americans are against.

Unless you’re talking about someone named America, stating cited poll numbers or an easily recognizable demographic observation – stop lumping Americans together. Start saying “many Americans” – even “most Americans” would be better.

Politicians forget that we’re not the dumb little kid sitting on the curb, easily bribed by ice cream and don’t know what you’re saying when you spell out words (i-g-n-o-r-a-m-u-s). We are in the game and paying attention as much as the blowhards on radio and TV or corporatocracy bitches in Washington. When you hear someone use the broad stroke of “Americans” improperly, it has the awkward feeling of hearing someone talk about what a cunt you are behind your back.

So, in conclusion: Americans are different. Americans disagree. Americans are not one contiguous borg marching in lockstep into some benign asshole’s ideological black hole… Those are Republicans.

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.

13
Mar
09

Rick Perry: Big Business Bitch

Rick Perry is by far one of the worst governors Texas has every seen for a myriad of reasons.

And now, by rejecting part of the federal stimulus money, Perry proves once again that he is ankle grabber prostrating himself ass-up to the wishes of big business. Who cares if the Texas unemployment fund could be operating at a deficit later this year?! Just like all these other no-solution right-wingers, he cares more for his electoral prospects than helping Texans through tough times.

Perry has never considered the interests of Texans over his own relations with big biz, whether its helping to fast-track the building of coal plants ahead of new environmental regulations or attempting to issue an executive order requiring the vaccination of pubescent girls with Gardasil – a medicine proven to have serious side effects in many recipients and made by a company who has given Perry money.

The man’s overdue for some “Texas Justice” and I’m not just talking about branding his ass (though, that’s worth considering as well).

I’m tempted to vote in the Republican primary next year for Kay Bailey Hutchinson even though I would never vote for her in the gubernatorial election – I just want Rick Perry out and I don’t have confidence in the intelligence of Texas voters to wake the hell up. Of course, voting against a candidate instead of for another violates my unwritten code of ethics, as does voting for douchebags. And there is hope – with Harris Country going blue in the last election, it’s a start.

23
Feb
09

Best Videos From Last Week 2.23.09: Fox’s Right Wing Agenda, Concentration of Wealth, Regulation

There was some good TV happening last week, here’s what I found notable (hint – read the stuff at the bottom. really):

  • With more and more voters edging toward the left or moderate (and, ahem, away from the Radical Religioner Party), Fox is having a harder time hiding their right wing agenda. CNN’s Howard Kurtz catches the latest Oh No, They Didn’t! moment on Fox.
  • MOST WORTH WATCHING: I very much appreciated this 20 minute clip of Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski on Morning Joe as he discusses the concentration of wealth over the last few years. It is important for the public to understand that Republican policies enable the top few to get richer off the backs of the lower masses and unless we want the government to determine labor costs (we don’t), it is up to the public themselves to deflate the culture of extreme corporate wealth. Watch the video.
  • CLASSIC GO GET ‘EM! CLIP: Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero goes off on Fox over the suggestion that laborers have to shoulder the burden when companies lose competitiveness (many times due to executive decisions). Lots of talking over each other, which is annoying and Bernero obviously had an agenda when he went on the show, but still…it’s a good clip.
  • Repubs are already lining up their big guns against the upcoming attempts at health care reform. Some of the guns are not new and this one in particular, Betsey McCaughey, is having a clear problem locating the truth. Warning: it’s a Keith Olbermann clip, so if you don’t like him…watch the clip anyway.
  • IF YOU HAVE ITUNES: Dan Rather Reports aired an excellent program on the housing crisis with an even more excellent interview with TARP watchdog Elizabeth Warren. She is one of the few honest heroes of the Wall Street bailout. If you don’t have Itunes, you can get the transcript at the bottom of this page – I recommend the PDF version because the online version has formatting issues. Here are some highlights from the interview that are extremely worth a read:
    • RATHER
      Well, you’ve written– a great deal about family economics and the middle class. Are we in danger of– for all intents and purposes– losing the middle class? Or is that too much of a fear?
      WARREN
      No, I think that’s the real fear. So, here’s the– here’s what’s happened over a generation. Somebody out working 40 hours a week is making less than he was making 30 years ago. Household income has gone up a little. How? Because we put the second earner to work– if she could do it. But that has now flattened out. There’s no one else to put to work. We’ve put to work as many moms as we can possibly do. So, where we stand now is income has flattened out again. But core expenses; housing, health insurance, transportation, child care and taxes, because they’ve got these two salaries, have all gone up. And that’s left the basic family with less money than they used to have a generation ago. So, then we hit the skids of this recession. The bottom falls out of the housing market. They can’t tap home equity. These crazy mortgages for many of them are forcing their expenses up. They’re losing jobs. And that means we have not a few people, we have literally tens of millions of Americans, hard-working, play-by-the-rules, middle class people; people who got decent educations, people who got decent jobs, people who got married, moved out, bought houses, the backbone of what we are as America, those people are now hanging on by their fingernails.
    • RATHER
      If we lose the middle economic class do we have an America approaching anything what we’ve known in my lifetime and yours and our father and mother’s lifetime?
      WARREN
      No. It’s a different America. It becomes a two-class America. It may actually have a larger upper class. You know, maybe– maybe that moves to ten percent of the population who really do quite well. You know, the kids; you can send the kids to college with no debt and they graduate with no debt. They do fine. Nobody gets sick. You know, that’s the group that works. And then what we have is a big underclass. It’s folks who just live basically paycheck to paycheck. If– if you can hang on, if you don’t get a layoff or a cutback in hours
      RATHER
      Or you don’t get very ill?
      WARREN
      If– and one of the kids doesn’t get sick, if grandma doesn’t fall and break a hip, if you don’t get divorced or have a death in the family, you might be able to skirt through. But if anything goes wrong, you’re living one pink slip, one bad diagnosis away from complete financial collapse.
    • RATHER
      You did a special report on regulation. Take us back quickly over the last 25 years. What’s happened to regulation or supposed to have happened to regulation.
      WARREN
      So– so, here’s one way to look at it. In 1792 our young republic, George Washington is president, hits its first economic crisis. And credit markets freeze. Does this sound familiar?
      RATHER
      Yes, it does.
      WARREN
      And– it almost brings the country to its knees. And here’s what happens. About every 15 to 20 years we have another crisis. We call them panics. We have different names for them.
      RATHER
      Depression?
      WARREN
      Depression. But they happen about every 15 to 20 years for 140 years. The pattern is just unmistakable. Then we hit the Great Depression. And coming out of the Great Depression we put three new regulations in place; Glass Stiegel, which divides our community banks basically from the Wall Street investment banks, FDIC insurance, put money in the bank and know that it’s safe and some SEC regulations so you can invest on Wall Street and they can’t cheat you too directly. That’s what we put in place. For 50 years we have no bank failures, no major crises. It works. Now, there’s innovation. There’s change. It’s time to change regulations. It gets to be the early 1980s. And what do we do? Instead of saying new products, we need to change regulations to adapt, we take a different path. We say–
      RATHER
      We let banks to go in the insurance business and vice versa?
      WARREN
      Let’s deregulate. That’s exactly right. We begin to break down the old regulations. We say, “Who needs regulations? They’re so pokey. So old.” So, we go with this idea of let’s get rid of regulation and what happens? Late 1980s, savings and loan crisis should’ve been a warning. Late 1990s, remember long term capital management, hedge fund? Should’ve been a warning. But we let it go. Early 2000s, Enron, bad books, not telling the truth. Should’ve  been a warning. But we let it go. And where do we end up? In the biggest crisis since the– Great Depression. Markets are wonderful. They produce great wealth for us. But they are by their very nature something we call pro-cyclical. When they’re going up, they chase themselves up. Hey, wow, it’s doin’ great! Up they go. And when the go down, they chase themselves down. And they go lower than actual supply and demand would suggest. Now look, we can live in a world all ups and downs for the rest of our lives. We can say, “Who needs regulation? Let’s just ride that roller coaster wherever it goes.” But, you know, we have to remember when it goes down, it doesn’t just take down the people who gambled. It doesn’t just take down the people who invested on Wall Street. It takes down everybody who’s got a pension. It takes down folks who have jobs in construction industries and– and other industries that get hit by this. It takes down– in this case, it takes down homeowners, people who thought they were doing the right thing to protect themselves for the future. It takes down the prudent along with the gamblers and the wild ones.
      RATHER
      Which is where we are today?
      WARREN
      Which is exactly where we are today. So, we could say, “Hey, no more regulation. That’s fine.” But look what it’s brought us. We are not willing to let these big financial institutions fail. We’ve got this too big to fail notion. So we are going to shovel billions of dollars in their direction and still take the position we shouldn’t regulate them? I– this is a world that may be a lot of fun for
      the high flyers who get theirs and keep theirs. But it’s not a world that works very well for ordinary families.
09
Feb
09

Obama on CEO Pay in 2006

A commenter on the HuffPo who must have been in hibernation the last few years wrote snidely when someone complained of CEO pay that no one cared about the exorbitant amount until the recent ridiculous spending in light of the taxpayer bailout.

Obviously, this commenter lives in an alternate reality. Or they go to one of those “prosperity gospel” churches who forget baby jesus didn’t like the rich and tell all their peeps that god wants them to drive Escalades and live in mini-manses, so they need to tithe regularly to get them.

I’ve long had a problem with CEO ever since. In 2005, I worked for the printing arm of an insurance company whose CEO made above 20 mill a year and had a private jet while the peeps who worked on the printing floor made around 7 bucks, received no sick leave and couldn’t afford the crippling fees for the company-offered health insurance for themselves or their children. Funny how a health insurance company couldn’t afford cheaper health insurance for their own employees – yet the CEO and the good ol’ white boys at the top were making out like bandits.

And remember the deserved hoopla over the $28 million paycheck Alan Mulally received after heading up Ford for only 4 months? Yeah. Stratospheric CEO pay had been a problem for quite a long white.

In fact, Obama wrote a few words regarding the subject in his last book The Audacity of Hope, which was released in 2006. In light of the new CEO pay restrictions, which – surprise, surprise, – some Big Business bitch Republicans have come out against, I thought it apropos to highlight Obama’s opinion on the issue before the economy took a nose-dive.

In 1980, the average CEO made fort-two times what an average hourly worker took home. By 2005, the ratio was 262 to 1. Conservative outlets like the Wall Street Journal editorial page try to justify outlandish salaries and stock options as necessary to attract top talent, and suggest that the economy actually performs better when America’s corporate leaders are fat and happy. But the explosion in CEO pay has had little to do with improved performance. In fact, some of the country’s most highly compensated CEOs over the past decade have presided over huge drops in earnings, losses in shareholder value, massive layoffs, and the underfunding of their workers’ pension funds.

What accounts for the change in CEO pay is not any market imperative. It’s cultural. At a time when average workers are experiencing little or no income growth, many of America’s CEOs have lost any sense of shame about grabbing whatever their pliant, handpicked corporate boards will allow. Americans understand the damage such an ethic of greed has on our collective lives; in a recent survey, they ranked corruption in government and business, and greed an materialism, as two of the three most important moral challenges facing the nation (“raising kids with the right values” ranked first). Conservatives may be right when they argue that the government should not try to determine executive pay packages. But conservatives should at least be willing to speak out against unseemly behavior in corporate boardroom with the same moral force, the same sense of outrage, that they direct against dirty rap lyrics.

Trickle-down wealth is a myth. The top economic class hoard the wealth, grow the poverty class and weaken the middle class – which weakens the economy. Our country needs to reevaulate whether we’re willing to allow the wealthy to take the rest of us for a ride. Obviously, I vote no.

And isn’t it nice to have a president a bit of common sense? Like a breath of fresh air.

19
Jan
09

With Less Than 24 Hours to Go, I Say NEVER AGAIN

With just one day to go all I can say is I never thought this day would come. This is my long accounting of George W. Bush and that which he wrought upon our nation. It’s not a full catharsis, but merely the start so that we may say Never Again.

2000 Election – My Confessional

I can remember exactly where I was the moment the news stations called the 2000 election for Bush. On a treadmill in Perth, Australia. Everyone in the gym looked in my direction to see what the lone American thought of her next president. Mind you, this was before the news stations realized they had committed the media blunder of the century and we’d have to wait for characters like Katherine Harris and hanging chads to become famous before the Supreme Court decided who our next president was.

Having recently graduated college and, thus, deciding to party like a rock star, I was too clueless to get my act together and send in an absentee ballot to participate in the election. It’s the only one I’ve missed and will carry the shame until dementia erodes my cognitive abilities. I would have voted for Bush, though. Gore was such a lame douchebag (not to mention Lieberman) and I had yet to fully shed the Republican shackles of my youth. Hell,as a University of Texas student, Bush had been my neighbor. No one knew the gravity of the election and most people I knew were eager to see our governor succeed.

During the campaign, Bush kept saying the U.S. had to stop being the world’s policeman and scale back our military entanglements around the globe. Having recently studied the Vietnam War, international diplomacy, nuclear weapons policy and the fall of the Soviet Union – his rhetoric hit home with me. How was I to know he’d do a 180 once he had his finger over the red button?

This was before the convenient days of Google and Wikipedia. And I was clinging to the bubble of youthful ignorance with full force, which meant I did not research W’s history. I did not discover that he was an utterly failed businessman who had skated through early adulthood like many rich kids on his daddy’s name without forging a worthy identity or principle. I did not know the man was a hollow shell with only a pre-determined ideology and a daddy complex to steer decisions that would determine the fate of millions.

2004 – Was Bush Sent to Make this Nation Atone for Sins of its Past?

By 2004, it was glaringly apparent that Bush was incapable of the necessary consideration and deliberation to benefit this country or any other. In the primaries, I voted for Wes Clark, thinking him to be the only Democrat candidate who could reasonably compete with Bush for votes while the Iraq War of choice was being waged. Instead, John Kerry walked away with the nomination and I knew Bush would be reelected. Kerry was a non-starter, running on an “I’m Not Bush” platform, echoing the dismal reality that the Democrats had no voice, no testicular fortitude, no message.

Our country was to be held hostage for another four years by the evangelical, anti-intellectual far right and their moronic leader. I truly believed (living in Oklahoma, at the time) that the majority of this country were actually uneducated hicks who cared more about their guns than community service and thought it more important to have a big dick than humility. It was as though the America I thought existed was being suffocated by the intolerant and selfish and stupid.

I immediately bought a “01.20.09” bumper sticker, proudly displaying my patriotic desire to alter the direction of our nation. I wasn’t alone. Every time I saw another car sporting the same sticker – more than you’d expect here in north Texas – my heart leapt for joy. The peeps were waking up.The tide was turning, biatch.

THE WORST PRESIDENT IN HISTORY

It has been a most painful four years. Gay marriage bans, attempts at abortion redefinitions, no repentance for sending thousands to die for a war of choice – a war based on lies and deceit and salesmanship, and almost every department under the Executive Branch in ill repute for either illegal activity or preventing progress.

Bush is so smug with pride over the fact that the U.S. has not been attacked since 9/11. “I’ve kept America safe,” he repeats. But another leader of higher caliber could have kept us safe without sacrificing our dignity, integrity and honor. A better leader would have questioned his decisions, would not started or outsourced a war designed to establish a legacy. A better leader would have known things are not so simple, not so black and white, and not easily designated “good” and “evil.”

How many Americans did Bush keep safe from Alzheimer’s and diabetes and paralysis by supporting the limitless possibilities of embryonic stem research? How many teenage girls turned to abortion because Bush decided federal funds would support abstinence-only programs proven time and time again to fail, aptly demonstrated by the 2008 Republican V.P. nominee herself? Bush’s legacy entails auctioning off national protected lands (why?) and hindering the listing of many species (including polar bears) from the endangered species list.

At every turn available, the Bush administration sold out this country and it’s citizens to the mega-corporations designed to bleed every penny we have and every penny we’re approved for from our shrinking wallets. He sold the war and soldiers’ safety to Blackwater, Halliburton and myriad of other war profiteers. He sold our energy policy to the energy companies, the EPA to business hell-bent on raping the environment. Even the FDA is a joke, a corporate gimp with a failed record for protecting the consumer.

Under Bush, our nation became a budding autocracy who spies on its citizens at home and abroad. The Justice Department was politicized, the State Department was a Yes Man, the Defense Department was the epitome of incompetence, Homeland Security is a theatrical presentation, FEMA is a mythological black hole, the CIA is a plaything of the Executive.  The FCC has multiplied its interference in our “freedom of speech” a thousand-fold.

There has been no shining light from this President. No progress. No national greatness achieved. He came to office promising to unite and instead tore our country asunder.

With less than 24 hours to go it almost doesn’t seem real. Probably because it will take a generation repair the endless damage that clouds the horizon.

Obviously, I do not believe history will smile on George W. Bush. Unlike others, I do not think that his legacy will mirror the future of Iraq. The Iraq War empowered Iran like nothing else could for centuries – and history knows. In this age of information, ALL the destruction by this administration is on record and serves as a reminder that it does matter who the President of the United States is. Their character and integrity and intellect matter. Their decision-making matter.

We must remember George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. We cannot let time sweeten the memory of the last eight years. We must record it and remember it for the sake of future generations. So that we may say with conviction: NEVER AGAIN.

Is it real? It doesn’t feel real.

12
Jan
09

Why Are Oil Prices So Volatile?

Hint: It ain’t supply and demand.

Last night, 60 Minutes aired an invaluable report explaining the roller coaster oil prices – a must-watch (or must-read, if you prefer the trascript) for anyone confuzzed by the inanity of the energy market.

Spoiler: those manipulative bastards from Enron make a comeback.

Video and transcript here. Really, watch it or read it.

03
Dec
08

Doctors’ Business Ties To Be Disclosed

In Cleveland, at least – but it’s a good start. The Cleveland Clinic has announced it will reveal the relationships between its doctors/researchers and pharmaceutical companies and device makers. The objective of the disclosure it to prevent conflicts of interest in its health care system. It gives my such a warm feeling inside to witness an increase in corporate transparency. Well, that increase in transparency and the glass of white wine I’ve poured for myself while awaiting Top Chef to start. Love that show.

Seriously though, how many people do you know who can recite stories about a visit with a doctor who prescribed unnecessary medication or recommended a superfluous procedure? Though these Hippocratic Oath defiers are few and far between – when you’ve had an experience with one, it’s downright diabolical.

These greenback-hungry tricksters must be stopped!

And if The Cleveland Clinic turns out to be a trendsetter, they will. If I lived in Cleveland, I’d definitely have them administer the tetanus-diptheria booster I’ve been avoiding.

02
Dec
08

Conscientious Consumerism

I am a huge believer in voting with dollars. Huge! Whether it’s buying environmentally safe products or not eating veal or going to doctors who belong to minority groups, I try to put my money where my loud mouth is. No, I’m not religious about it – I don’t always buy locally-grown produce or independently-brewed beer and I wouldn’t go to a doctor who left a scalpel in me just because she was Hispanic and female (though, all the Hispanic female doctors I have visited have been phenomenal).

It’s called conscientious consumerism – as opposed to the American phenomenon of conspicuous consumerism which feeds on the souls of impoverished children.

One of my main responsible spending projects is the support of non-religious free thinkers (atheists, agnostics,

hee hee

hee hee

spiritual boycotters of organized religion, etc.). Of course, there are only so many directions this moral compass points. Hell, I live in Fort Worth and there aren’t too many openly atheist businesses in town, despite all the roofers who have Christian fish on their yard signs. It was much easier to practice when I lived in Austin.

But every cent counts, right? So, I look for books written by non-believers, buy Simpsons dvds, am not unfamiliar with adult toy shops, try to see Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt movies despite my inability to take them seriously as actors anymore. I avoid businesses who use the Christian fish as their selling method, refuse to go within 15 feet of a Christian book store unless it’s to flash my boobs in their windows (kidding!), etc., etc. Twilight was written by a Mormon chick and while I salute her entrepreneurial spirit, I will not read her books or see the movie. And I’m making a much more concerted effort to keep funds from Scientology followers (you know who I’m talking about).

But, it’s hard, people! And I’m weak. I can’t help but find myself in the drive-thru at Chick-Fil-A now and again. And despite the fact that burger chain Fudruckers plays god-awful christian worship music on Sunday mornings (by request), I manage to chomp down on their wondrous meat and buns, wedge fries and heavenly processed jalapeno cheese sauce once a month (or more?) on a day that is not designated for rest for the majority of Americans. And, shhh, but I love the Chronicles of Narnia series.

The response to Propoboycott-oppressionsition 8, however, is making my life a lot easier. The publication of donor lists have helped galvanize a boycott against the business leaders who helped ensure the success of a religious political movement aimed at oppressing the rights of a specific group of Americans. I am more than happy to joint the effort to hand prejudiced business leaders some whoopass with each dollar I don’t spend supporting them. Cinemark Theaters, this means you.

What is surprising is that MANY of those that end up on the boycott lists are Mormon – not just any ole Christian felt called to donate in support of Prop. 8. It is mind-boggling how many of the donors supporting Prop. 8 live in Utah. It seems there was a concerted effort within the church walls to push parishioners to spread hate. Sure, their church leaders have routinely practiced pedophilia and suppression of women, but how dare gays have the right to marry! What imbeciles. Needless to say, I’m not planning any trips to Utah any time soon.

Though I don’t live in California, I do pay attention to the movements supporting gay marriage – many of which lists monetary supporters of Proposition 8. For instance, Californians Against Hate has a great website, giving me many more businesses upon which to focus my responsible consumerism: A-1 Self Storage, Washington Mutual, Templeton Funds, Marriott, like I said – Cinemark Theaters. Mormonsstoleourrights.com lists the ways in which the Mormon Church has worked to oppress gays and also posts a petition viewers can sign advocating the loss of tax-exempt status for churches who are politically involved.

Boycotting is not a “bullying” tactic as many of the named donors are claiming. Religioners have their fun with boycotts all the time. And I fully support any American’s right to donate to causes they support. However, I have the right to refuse to patronize those with whom I disagree. Voting by the dollar is one of the most fundamentally democratic expressions we Americans have and a major producer of progress. I will never purchase anything produced by Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh or anyone else that spews hatred and vitriol. That’s my right.

And while I will suffer for my views (no more Franklin Covey planners…) it is important for me to practice what I preach and support efforts to expand good will to all people and oppose those who would oppress.

By the way – what an abismal shame that a dishonorable person like Saxby Chambliss could reach one of the highest offices in the land. What the hell, Georgia?! This man inhabits the bottom of the moral barrel and you would re-elect him?! What a disgrace.

24
Nov
08

Corporations Too Big To Fail

Here in the U.S., we celebrate unrepentant capitalism. Conservatives constantly ward against punishing success with higher taxes. Friedman and Greenspan followers across the land espouse unfettered, free market ideals.

Now, an unprecedented lack of regulation has brought many of these bastions of unfettered success to the brink of failure. Despite greedy management and poor decision-making, our government has deemed AIG, Citibank, and probably the Big Three too big to fail.

Question: Why should we allow these corporations to grow so big they hold the U.S. (and, thus, global) economy hostage? Why should we promote free markets that allow these corporations to be rewarded with tax payer money for years of shitty operations?

I understand the government must do what it must and shore up these weak giants. Wouldn’t it be prudent (I hate that word), however, to exert regulatory measures that prevent these corporations from being able to hold our country by the balls? From continuing this Corporatocracy of America?

21
Nov
08

First Golden Parachute of the Bailout

At least, I think it’s the first. Pro Publica reports South Financial Group, a bank in South Carolina, has been approved to receive $347 million as part of the federal government bailout of the financial sector. Founder and double-decade CEO Mack Whittle retired two months early (coincidence?) and walked away with an $18 million severance package. His retirement comes before restrictions on golden parachutes will affect SFG’s receipt of taxpayer money.

Certainly $18 million pales in comparison to the parachutes rampant in big business’ golden showers. Still, Whittle oversaw the poor decision-making that has brought the SFG to the brink of failure, dependent on government money to stay afloat. Why he’s entitled to a $133,920 auto allowance and $75,000 for financial planning, only Beelzebub knows.

The delicious silver lining? Apparently, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) is calling for an investigation into Whittle’s early retirement, accusing him of “gaming the system.” According to Talking Points Memo, Whittle had grown dissatisfied with Sanford’s treatment of the business sector and backed another cat’s effort to unseat the governor in 2006.

These corporate executives who are looking for the huge pay-day as unemployment numbers grow into the millions better watch out. Their greed and mismanagement has brought the world to a global meltdown – to radiate a “let them eat cake” attitude will surely earn them an “off with their heads” response. The electorate is growing tired of the hoarding of wealth at the top of the economic totem pole and surely our representatives are on the receiving end of their rightful earful.

Whittle, like the rest of us, should have saved for retirement and faded into the sunset full of self-doubt over his leadership spanning the housing boom. There’s enough blame to go around and he should grow up, exit Neverland stage left and eat his fair share of the shit pie he helped cook.

13
Nov
08

Corporate Lobbyists Have Their Sticky Hands All Over This Bailout Mess

corporate-lobbying-bombLike bees to honey, the government bailout has triggered an explosion in corporate lobbying on behalf of banks, savings and loan institutions and insurers. Only these bees are very rich and very greedy. According to CQ Politics Nov. 1, K Street reported nearly $830 million in expenditures and revenue for July, August and September of this year – with no end in sight after registering 500 new clients just this October.

Corporate lobbyists are about as reputable as used-car salesman. And for good reason. Imagine, as a politician, your source of information on an industry, company, town or organization is a person paid directly by that entity to encourage legislation if favor of said entity. It is the height of conflict of interest. Would you trust a prostitute if he/she told you they were the best lay on the strip? No! But if you’re a john, you’ll probably do them anyway.

And this is the problem we have with big biz lobbyists. Their information and opinion are skewed, biased and unreliable. The lobbyists who represent the wealthier entities are inevitably more successful, securing de-regulatory measures, earmarks, etc. for their clients. And money continues to power the Washington merry-go-round, as we’re seeing with Paulson’s bailout.

During the lame duck Congressional session in 2000, our public-serving representatives legalized unregulatedmoney-equals-power over-the-counter derivative markets (ahem, gambling). Now, would our legislators come up with this idea on their own, under the assumption that this loosening of the stock market rule book would benefit society as a whole? NO! Slimy little wankers in the form of lobbyists undoubtedly sent oodles of cash to specific designations to earn those Yeas. The lobbyists likely wrote the legislation itself.

The U.S. bailout package, unlike the U.K. bailout, includes unprecedented loans to the banking industry without stipulating the banks in turn must issue loans to help lubricate financial markets. The bailout loans come with no restrictions that the government money cannot be used to pay stockholder dividends, nor for the payment of executive bonuses. It would seem elementary to obligate banks to use the bailout appropriately and in the best interest of the economy. And yet our Treasury Department and Congress have been the Daddy Warbucks to Little Orphan Annie – as you wish, my dear. How does such an asinine lack of oversight, transparency and intelligent governance fall by the wayside during this worldwide torrential economic plunge?

Lobbyists. Under the orders of the corporate pimps. Conducting trades of cash and influence in the backs of the American public. The examples of manipulations, misdeeds, proliferation of misinformation and the results of such actions are endless:

  • Reuters: “The Government Accountability Office said 72 percent of all foreign corporations and about 57 percent of U.S. companies doing business in the United States paid no federal income taxes for at least one year between 1998 and 2005.”
  • AP: “Some of the nation’s biggest banks are in for a windfall — on top of the $700 billion government bailout — thanks to a new tax policy quietly issued by the Treasury Department. The notice gives big tax breaks to companies that acquire struggling banks hit hard by the mortgage crisis. In some cases, the tax breaks could exceed the cost of acquiring the banks, according to analyses by private tax experts. The change could cost the Treasury as much as $140 billion by enabling firms that acquire struggling banks to use more losses incurred by those banks to offset their own taxable profits.”
  • Bloomberg: The Federal Reserve refuses to identitify the recipients of $2 trillion in taxpayer loans, despite promising transparency in return for approval of the bailout plan.
  • ABC: Pelosi (and Obama) is calling for more of the $700 bailout to be given to the Big 3 American automakers, who received $25 billion in September, with environmentally friendly strings attached.

Corporations are convincing our federal representation, through Olympic lobbying efforts, to collude in efforts that secretly and overtly reward poor financial judgment, strengthening corporate power and influence and coporate-lobbyist-stickman1proving that our government is no longer beholden to the voters, but to big business.

Obama is taking baby steps to quell the loud voices of corporate lobbyists. Transition team leader John Podesta introduced new lobbying restrictions for the transition process. CNN – “Those who leave the transition team will be barred for a year from lobbying the incoming administration on matters related to their transition jobs, and current lobbyists who join the team are barred for 12 months from working in policy fields related to their lobbying work.”

Hopefully, an Obama presidency and Democrat-led Congress will find time in their busy schedules to legally amputate the greedy fingers of corporations – their lobbyists. I’m not holding my breath.

And while lobbying is protected by the first amendment, the flood of cash through these unethical vessels into D.C. must end. These people make and distribute far too much money, assualting our democracy with each greedy cent. They divert power from the people to self-interested corporations, delivering an economic crisis that could easily define the next age.

11
Nov
08

Term Limits, People, Term Limits!!

I have to be honest, it irritates the damn hell out of me that House Representatives and Senators and elected officials across our great 50 can engross themselves with political power and influence with little accountability due to the relative inability of the electorate to instate reasonable term limits.

Year after year, term after term, we watch as our elected officials gerrymander, vote themselves pay raises, trade influence for donations and gifts of all sorts – above the radar and beneath it. We watch with disdain and judgment as Russia closes the curtain on its sovereign democracy and Master Putin asserts his constant iron-fisted rule. Haha, you fools! America has the most superior democracy in the land!

Bullshit.

Sure, our president has term limits. The Legislative Branch, however does not. Nor does the Supreme Court.

The longer Reps and Sens serve, the more their influence and name recognition and fundraising ability grows and the more difficult it is to vote them out of power. Ted Stevens, who has been a senator since 1968, was just convicted of seven felonies and Alaska still can’t manage to vote the bastard out (though many votes are yet to be counted, so it could potentially happen). Barring a scandal or once-in-a-blue-moon alteration in voter sentiment on a national level, the vast majority of incumbents find themselves sitting pretty on election day.

Every day a government official serves, is another day closer to the next election. And these people are pathologically competitive – they are not driven by a selfless need to serve. Their arrogance and certainty in their superiority keeps them fighting toward election day again and again. Politicians can’t take steroids, however, to win their races. So they take lobbying donations.

And who do you think they were talking to during bailout negotiations? As House Reps were hearing from their constituents across the land not vote for the bailout, the many Representatives held back, claiming to abide by the wishes of their specific supporters.

Not so. An army of lobbyists were unleashed by the banking industry to insure a little extra sugar was inserted into the bailout package. You see, Great Britain included stipulations in their bailout package requiring the banks to start issuing loans in order to receive government funds. Not ours. And, golly gee, they’re not loaning any money. Neither Congress, nor the Bush administration specified the bailout cash could not be used for executive bonuses. And with Christmas coming up, who do you think Santa will visit? Right.

The latest stinger is that the Treasury Dept. issued a notice during all the bailout hubbub giving banks a tax break if they acquire other failing banks. Tax payers could end up paying nearly $140 billion for this new policy. Certain legislators have openly questioned this potentially illegal move (Congress never even got to debate the new tax policy), however, we’re only now hearing about these reprehensible shenangians AFTER the election and most congresspeople won’t even touch it with a ten-foot pole because they think the attention could lead to greater economic mire.

As the bailout battle waged, the package grew sweeter by the hour for the banking industry. The Reps weren’t holding off because of their constituents, they were playing fast and dirty with banking lobbyists. Most of them will be returning to the House next year, spank you very much. The lack of term limits once again ensures the Corporatocracy of America thrives, feeding voraciously off the American consumer and taxpayer.

term-limits1Furthermore, there is an entrenched dance and culture in Congress new members must learn. Obama felt the wrath of McCain after offering bi-partisan cooperation on lobbying and ethics reform and then having to rescind that offer to save his hiney from uber-partisan Harry Reid. Obama had yet to learn the dance. Hillary learned it fairly well – junior Senators keep their mouths shut, nose to the grindstone and prostrate themselves before their party elders. With such unspoken, yet rigid rules and ginormous egos, it is no wonder our Congress is fairly ineffective much of the time and certainly slow to respond to voter sentiment.

This petrifying and paralytic condition in our legislative branches both state and federal would have a much harder time clogging the engine of government if the cleansing of term limits were permitted.

Now, U.S. Term Limits asserts House members should be limited to three two-year terms. Other proposals have been for Senators only have two six-year terms available to them while House members have six two-year terms available.  I think giving everyone an opportunity for two four-year terms, like the president, would be optimum solution.

The Supreme Court should also have term limits. Justices should serve no more than 12 years  I see no benefit in the appointment, especially of younger justices, for life as times, supreme-courttraditions, cultures and the American people change and grow and progress. Our leadership should reflect our values and opinions. We should not be held hostage by the ideologues of yesteryear or yesterdecade.

The argument against term limits is that if the government official is not performing properly, they should be ousted through an election. Term limits punish good performances and erase the motivation for good behavior by a lame-duck representative. This is a short-sighted argument. There are plenty, plenty of qualified Americans to represent Americans at the federal level. Term limits hinder the ability of career-politicians to sacrifice the good of the American people for their self interests.

Would we lose a few good politicians? Sure. But term limits would profit voters and Americans in a significant decrease in lack of corruption and lobbying influence. Lame duck legislators would have an eye on their legacy, not their approval ratings, which would be a much more effective motivator for proper governance.

Americans overwhelmingly approve of term limits. According to a Pulse Opinion Research Poll, 83 percent of Americans believe elected officials should serve limited terms. Though this poll only surveyed 1,000 people, many ballot initiatives in the 1990’s for term limits were approved. In fact, movements against term limits are largely funded by special interests whose livelihoods depend on the success of the Corporatocracy of America.

The national electorate, however, is practically powerless to have term limits approved. The debate over length of terms and specific term limits would be long and hard fought. And the Supreme Court decided in 1995 that the states could not issue term limits on their federal representatives. You cannot have some senators under term limits and others not. Basically, the Congress would have to approve their own term limits – and it ain’t happenin’ any time soon, sister.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful we could just have a national election and let the American voters decide if our federal representatives should have term limits? How democratic! But you see, we have a representative democracy – not a direct democracy. We elect representatives to carry out the will of the majority of the electorate. It is meant to protect against tyranny of the majority. Ergo, no national proposition on term limits.

So, we must wait until the fat kid decides it’s time for him to put the cookie jar down. We Americans can lobby the kid, yell at the kid, try and try and try to convince the fat kid that cookies aren’t good for him. He needs vegetables, dammit! But that kid has the “over my dead body” look in his eyes. Maybe one day we’ll get close enough to the fat kid to choke him until he sees the light. I’ll certainly try.

And I’ll be keeping a close eye on fat kid Bloomberg up in New York who led the City Council in sneaking term limits out the back door while the peeps were paying attention to the crashing stock market and plummeting retirement savings. Some concerned citizens and future politicians are suing to stop the mayor from poisoning their well of democracy and I wish them all the success in the world. His behavior is shameful.

And that’s the problem with politicians. They all want to save the world. But they want to be the ones to do it. The only ones. The first ones. No one else can save the world the way they can. So, they hold on to their seats by whatever means possible. And until we decide as a nation to give more and more good citizens their opportunity to serve their country and remove then remove them before they are sullied by the game, we will suffer in a multitude of unfortunate and unnecessary ways.

Federal politicans always claim they’re going to change the way things are done in Washington. Every election season find change in Washington the main mantra. The biggest change, the best change would undoubtedly be the limitation of terms. It would be revolutionary. And we’d be pissed off at our government a lot less.




Scarlet Letter of Atheism

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