Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sorry, but it's not just the Right that's Wrong...

I mean, it is on the debt ceiling, but not on other issues like, say, nuclear power...

I live about 6 miles from one of the shittiest, most dangerous nuclear reactors in the country: Vermont Yankee. It was built around the same time as the infamous Pinto, and about to the same specs. It's cooling tower collapsed a few years ago. It's pipe system leaked tritium (and probably still does) into the the surrounding ground. And it has 100s of more times more deadly stored nuclear waste than the same, poorly designed reactor model in Fukushima, Japan. So, when it went before the NRC a few months ago to get its license renewed for another 20 years beyond "useful life," what did the NRC do? Like every other application brought before it previously, it rubber stamped it. Why? Well, because the NRC is closely tied to the nuclear industry, and in fact, they're known for having had discussions with Entergy (which owns VY) on fighting the state of Vermont's move to have the reactor shut down.

Obama likes nuclear energy, and has always said as much. These aren't republicans we're talking about here, folks, these are democratic appointees who are in bed with the nuke industry. Ask any anti-nuke activist--any one of them--how they feel about Obama and his NRC and they'll respond quickly with a snide laugh and an angry laundry list of grievances against both.
So, yeah, the left isn't above responsibility for selling progressive ideals down the river. For a lot of us, the party has lurched waaaay to the right. And to me? That's the wrong direction. Until something changes in a very substantial way, I'm going to keep my iodine pills handy (which will be about as useful as ducking and covering in the event of a atomic attack....).
"We all know the atomic bomb is very dangerous. It is such a big explosion."

Friday, July 29, 2011

Surreal Problems...

...require surreal solutions:

Now there's this option, as outlined by Jack Balkin:
So if something does pass the House, it will demand a constitutional balanced-budget amendment as the price of a second vote next year. I think we can safely say that the political process has failed. Now what?
Well, there do appear to be legal loopholes. Jack Balkin gives us the platinum coin option:
Sovereign governments such as the United States can print new money. However, there’s a statutory limit to the amount of paper currency that can be in circulation at any one time.
Ironically, there’s no similar limit on the amount of coinage. A little-known statute gives the secretary of the Treasury the authority to issue platinum coins in any denomination. So some commentators have suggested that the Treasury create two $1 trillion coins, deposit them in its account in the Federal Reserve and write checks on the proceeds.

Franz would have been proud...

Fried Day: Negotiating with Republicans...

Fried Day: Let's Rock...

Alright, tired of the headache-inducing intransigence of the Tea(r shit apart) Party. So, let's take a break and listen to a brilliant track by Porcupine Tree:

Pot, Meet Tea Kettle...

So, when it comes to keeping its "house" in order, apparently the radical right is not exactly the model of fiscal restraint that it insists the government should be. Tea Party Members of Congress are indebted, big time, and that's like the tea kettle calling the pot black.

This from CNN:
Washington (CNN) – They’re hard-charging, compromise-damning members of Congress, and they’ve changed the debate in Washington over the size and spending of the government. In recent days, Republican hard-liners in the debt ceiling talks have been vociferous in their rhetoric.
At a tea party rally, Sen. Mike Lee of Utah said his faction needs to push forward a balanced budget amendment and other measures “… in order to save our country from a Congress that for decades has been burying our children and our grandchildren, both born and unborn, under a mountain of debt.”
But according to recently released disclosure forms, Lee and others in his caucus have some significant personal debt of their own.
The documents — annual personal financial disclosure forms that were released in June — show that Lee had amassed at least $15,000 in credit card debt and had a $50,000 line of credit at a Utah bank as of late last year.
He’s not alone. Republican Rep. Tim Griffin of Arkansas had at least $15,000 of debt accumulated on an American Express card, according to the forms. Griffin, who won his seat with tea party support, has recently said Washington has “a spending addiction.”
Rep. Kevin Yoder, a freshman Republican from Kansas, said in a recent press release, “Washington needs to cut up the credit cards.” But Yoder’s own form shows he amassed at least $15,000 in what’s called a “revolving charge account” with Citigroup.
The forms are not exact. They do not reveal exact amounts of assets or liabilities. They only list ranges; for example, the form for Griffin shows his credit card debt to be between $15,000 and $50,000.
The disclosures, added to the recent language these congressmen have been using to stoke the debate in Washington, have drawn criticism from at least one watchdog group.
Ryan Alexander, president of the nonpartisan group Taxpayers for Common Sense, says, “It raises that question: How are you managing your personal debt? You're telling us how to manage our debt as a country, you're making ultimatums, and we don't know what you're doing with your personal debt. And they're holding credit card debt. Not every American does that. That's a choice that you made, to put that kind of debt on your own personal finances.”
And this well reported story re: Bachmann's finances:

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Scorpion and the Frog: A Cautionary Political Tale...

The Tea Party can't help it: It's in their Nature
The scorpion and the frog is a fable about a scorpion who asks a frog to carry him across a river. The frog protests, fearful that he will be stung during the trip. The scorpion argues that if it stung the frog, they would both drown. The frog agrees, and begins carrying the scorpion across. But midway across the river, the scorpion stings the frog, who asks "Why did you sting me? Now we'll both drown." The scorpion replies, "Because that is my nature."

This well worn fable is an excellent metaphor for the way the tea party supporters act. No matter the cost, no matter the facts, the tea party will stop at nothing to "win." And by win, I mean potentially wreck an already weak economy. Why? Because there is only one narrative--CUT--and that narrative cannot be undermined. Any who consider doing otherwise or even "working with the other side" will be summarily stung, even if it means drowning themselves as well.

We Now Live a World where Newt Gingrich is too Moderate...

When he was asked by what he thought of Ryan’s proposal to revise Medicaid so that seniors would receive annual payments to purchase health insurance (also known as "premium support," Gingrich replied “I don’t think right-wing social engineering is any more desirable than left-wing social engineering. I don’t think imposing radical change from the right or the left is a very good way for a free society to operate.” The hew and cry from the right was loud and clear: traitor!.

...and John Boehner "Worships at the Alter of Massive Spending"
According to a piece in The Hill Tea Party Leader: Boehner Must Go
Tea Party Nation leader Judson Phillips called on House Speaker John Boehner "to go" and be replaced by a "Tea Party Speaker of the House" in a blog post Wednesday morning, the same day that Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, said that her group was looking into the same idea.

"Now Boehner is in the process of surrendering again. He is surrendering not to [President] Obama, but to the status quo in Washington," Phillips wrote. "The House passed Cut, Cap and Balance, which would cut $111 billion from the budget. It would cap spending and set a good course for the future. 
Martin sounded a similar theme at a breakfast sponsored by The Christian Science Monitor, saying that in a just-completed poll of their members, four-fifths are not satisfied with Boehner and nearly three-quarters would like to have a new Speaker of the House. 

"Maybe we should see about a different speaker right away," she said.

Tea Party to Boehner: "You're Fired."

Phillips was more strident in his criticism. "Boehner has no real interest in solving the problems this country faces. ... He worships at the altar of massive spending," he wrote. "We need a Speaker who is a leader. We need someone with courage and vision. Boehner has none of those qualities. He is not a leader."
Phillips urged readers to call their legislators and advocate for Boehner "to go" and be replaced by a "Tea Party Speaker of the House."

Cut. Cap. Balance. Cut. Cap. Balance.
So, let me get this straight: Boehner, who attacks the president's plans every chance he gets, let Tea Party shill Rep. Cantor steal the initial negotiations spotlight while he enjoyed status as a potted plant, and even today is pursuing the the Tea Party (TP--hmmm, insert pueril 7th grade-level joke here) agenda of cut without consequence of removing tax subisidies, is somehow too moderate for the right? Really.

Drunk with power much? It's clear now (okay, okay, it was never opaque before), that this mindless machine known as the Tea Party will stop at nothing until it's stung its way--and the American economy--to the bottom of the river. 
And the lesson learned in this tale? For Boehner (and now McCain) at least, it's be careful who your friends are--they could just as easily turn out to be your enemies. 
Let the mindless cannibalism continue...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Company She Keeps Part 2: Bachmann's Gay Hater Pal Delivers a Predictably Strange "Prayer"

Please make the crazy man go away.
Okay, so, let's say that you're the close, spiritual associate to a major candidate for president and political figure. You're known as someone who hates gay people because homosexuality is illegal in America (only it's not). Anyway, you have your own "ministry" where you "spread the word" about, well, whatever bowl of apocryphal bullshit you had for breakfast.
Still, you have to take care to uphold a certain image and presence. It's important to present a sense of gravity, of seriousness as a man of God and close associate to Michelle Bachmann.
Bradlee Dean Blog Post: June 4, 2011

Even though you're well known for advocating violence against gay people, when you're called upon to give the opening prayer to a state legislative body, like Bradlee Dean was in May 2011 in his home state of Minnesoooodah, you follow a process:

1. You get out of bed.
2. You put your 3 foot long hair in a pony tail.
3. You don your baddest track suit.
4. You head over to the statehouse.
5. You make it to the dais, even though you appear to be slightly hungover.
6. You deliver your hastily thrown together prayer (well, more like a pseudo patriotic, themeless  rant/monologue).
7. You mangle the order of historical events and conflate fighting in Iwo Jima (World War II) with the Korean war, and say "Father God" a lot.
8. Finally, in closing your "non-denominational" back of the napkin "prayer," you invoke Jesus as everyone's savior (because we all know that he is, right?) while insulting any potential Jews or Muslims who might be listening in, or anyone who is thoughtful and literate.
9. Oh, and you also gratuitiously denigrate the President for being a non-believer.
10. Now you're done, turn around, and listen to the silence in the stunned chamber, and go back to your life of thinking that quoting famous dead people ad nauseum makes you smarter and somehow lends weight to your anti-decency agenda of attacking gays and suggesting that African countries are right to imprison them for life.

This is my best guess, anyway, of  how Dean prepares and delivers a speech. But don't take my word for it, watch for yourself:

I think that about covers it. Here's a transcript of Michelle Bachmann's apparent spiritual guide giving the opening prayer in the state house, if you really need to read it:

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

People Who Rock: Scott Bateman, Political Animator.

Scott's actual audio takes are brilliant summaries of political leaders's views--with dead-on side comments--that let people know the true subtext of the opaque, metaphor-driven narratives of our "leaders." Here's a great animation between Fox "News" journalist Chris Wallace, and Speaker of the House John Boehner.

Actual Audio: John Boehner from scottbateman on Vimeo.

Check out Scott's other great work here.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Throw the Bums Out? Sure, but Let's be Clear about Who the Bums Are...

What's Eating John Boehner? And why is he willing
to throw a match in the economic gas tank? 
There's a tendency among people who aren't necessarily up on the details of Washington, DC politics to think that gridlock is basically the fault of no one party, and that all the bums should be thrown out.  Specifically, the debt ceiling crisis has thrown into stark contrast the different approaches of the two sides, and reveals that, yes, there are bums, and no, they shouldn't be assigned equal blame.

In one corner, we have the Democrats...led by President Obama. He's tried to address the need to extend the debt ceiling as a negotiator. His strategy is one that has been accepted in American politics over the course of many administrations, both left and right. Take Reagan, for example. According to Bruce Bartlett, a top Treasury Official under President Bush:

Can John be talked down from the ledge?
"There was a consistency to Reagan on taxes, which was basically that he cut them when he could, but raised them when he had to. He was not dogmatic on this issue, as his current day followers seem to think," said economist Bruce Bartlett, a senior policy analyst in the Reagan White House and a top Treasury official in President George H.W. Bush's administration."

Clinton was able to compromise with the Republicans when they shut down the government because the republicans led by Newt Gingrich didn't threaten to use the debt ceiling in the budget battle.  

At the core of Obama's belief is that (and Reagan's, actually) ultimately, both sides have the same goal: To ensure the stability and integrity of the US economy.

But this is where things fall apart.

Because in the other corner, we have the republicans...led by House Speaker John Boehner and his Majority leader in the House of Representatives, Eric Cantor. Unlike the Democrats, Boehner and Cantor do not believe that a negotiation involves acknowledgement of the other side's goals, a willingness to "give a little to get a little," or even that a negotiated settlement is in the best interest of the country. In fact, they believe that a negotiation, and specifically, this negotiation, is about making the president look bad/weak, so that they can defeat him and take power. How do I know this? Because regardless of his proposals, they have rejected them out of hand, even though they mirror their own right-wing agenda. Finally, in an indication that he was at his wits end, at a press conference on July 22, the president put the approaches of the two parties into stark terms:
...I've gone out of my way to say that both parties have to make compromises. I think this whole episode indicated the degree to which at least a Democratic President has been willing to make some tough compromises. So when you guys go out there and write your stories, this is not a situation where somehow this was the usual food fight between Democrats and Republicans. A lot of Democrats have stepped up in ways that were not advantageous poliically*. So we've shown ourselves willing to do the tough stuff on an issue that the Republicans ran on.
This is partially the president's own fault, because he completely miscalculated the borg-like nature of the Republicans (but that's a separate discussion). So, what are we dealing with here? Well, the bums in this case are the Republicans who are uninterested in negotiation in the traditional sense. With them, there is  no "give and take," there is only "Take. Repeat." But people conflate/equate the two sides--wrongly--as being equally at fault for the standoff. This is patently untrue. The position proposed by the right, known as "cut, cap, and balance,"is a recipe for economic disaster, the brunt of which would be borne (of course) by the most vulnerable in our struggling economy.

Obama expected that he could deal with the other side of the aisle--and even though he put forth what can only be considered a republican proposal--that was a serious miscalculation on his part, because not only did they not bite on a proposal that contained their own policies, they had no incentive to. Any actual agreement would simply help the president and, even at the expense of the welfare of the country, this is their main goal. Given this, what do they have an incentive to do? Well, with fire ant like tenacity and a lemming-like genetic drive, they're only goal is to ensure that nothing stands in the way of their "cut, cut, cut" without a single penny of revenue increases from those who clearly can afford it.

Bums Identified. Request Permission to Disarm Them...
Now that we've identified which bums should be summarily "thrown out," what can be done? Well, since Obama essentially rejected Clinton's (and others') recommendation that he invoke the 14th amendment to unilaterally increase the debt limit, at this point, the president is hoping that the legislative branch will come to some sort of accommodation. Unfortunately, the two sides appear to be in different governments on different planets.

You know this, but it brings me back to my main point: The republicans are at fault here.

To conflate both sides as being at fault is the logical equivalent of saying that someone who buys gasoline for their car and then goes to sleep is equally responsible for its destruction as the psychopath who creeps around at night and drops a match in the gas tank. 

What did he say? Depends on the day...
But the media hasn't and won't report the facts. No matter how many compromises and Republican proposals this Democrat puts together, they haven't budged. And it doesn't matter that Cantor, Boehner, and McConnell all voted to raise the debt under Bush without threats or protest. And it doesn't even matter than Cantor was first against a short-term extension, and now is for it, and attacks the president for his own position.  It's easier for the mainstream media to follow the narrative that the right wants, to wit, "both sides are at an impasse and the republicans are ignoring the president because he insists on tax increases rather than balancing the budget" than to do the simple analysis that I've done here that correctly assigns blame to the right. And in this crisis, that approach couldn't be more wrong.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Company She Keeps Part 1: Bachmann's Gay Hater Pal: Bradlee Dean

Dear Lord: Please Help Bradlee's Hate
Ministry of Ignorance...
Here's the short story: Bradlee Dean is a rap metal drummer christian evangelist in Minnesota who thinks nazis were gay and that homosexuality is illegal in the United States (FYI: It's not, as the Supreme Court ruled in 2003). One of his best pals is Michelle Bachmann, the republican congresswoman and presidential candidate, who has helped raise money for Bradlee and his "You Can Run But You Can't Hide" organization. It seems like an odd pairing, but when you start to look at what he is about, and the hate he spews about gay people (and others), and her glowing praise for his ministry's efforts to enforce christian beliefs in the public school system, you start to understand that hey, they really are quite similar.

1. Dean believes that all men are created equal (well, almost all men).  He quotes Thomas Jefferson's screed that "“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal” meanwhile, he also is on record for saying that castrating and hanging gay people is okay because harsh treatment was used by our forefathers against those who practiced buggery. Gee, Mr. Dean, because our "forefathers" also owned slaves, shouldn't we be able to own slaves as well?

2. Homosexuals are lawbreakers and they want you to break the law, too. He stated on his blog that "radical homosexuals want to re-educate America by teaching people of all ages to hate the laws that expose their crimes."

3. Brown shirts and jack boots? NO WAY Hitler was gay. But Dean Bradless is out to prove not only that, but that his inner circle were 90% gay and would commit horrible acts of violence. Dean's guest, Brian Fischer of the  that his "proof positive, in the twisted world of Dean Bradlee, that gays have been historically proven to be genocidal Dean hosted a radio show during which his guest, notorious gay hater Bryan Fischer of the ironically named American Family Association, stated that Hitler and his storm troopers were all gay. Here's a quote from the nutzi himself:
Ladies and gentlemen, they are Nazis. Do not be under any illusions about what homosexual activists will do with your freedoms and your religion if they have the opportunity. They'll do the same thing to you that the Nazis did to their opponents in Nazi Germany.
So, gay people are not only like nazis, they actually were nazis--get it?

4. Peculiar is one way to put it. Batshit crazy is another. Bradlee constantly talks about his belief in laws and the Constitution of the United Staes. But until 2010, he was a member of an Oregon-based group known as the "Embassy of Heaven," a self-described "Christian Patriot" organization that subscribes to the belief that individuals are themselves sovereign nations and not bound by the laws of the United States. The group, which makes its money by selling fake license plantes and passports, has been identified as an "anti-government group" by the Department of Justice, and counted among its members a violent anti-abortionist who murdered Dr. George Tiller in Wichita, Kansas.
Bradlee was a member of the Embassy of Heaven
("God's Government on Earth")
5. MLK is awesome, dude! And he would have denounced Dean.  Dean likes to quote Martin Luther King, Jr. often because, presumably, King was initially thought of as something of a firebrand just like--you guessed it!--Bradlee Dean. My guess is that Dean knows that MLK is a popular figure, and being associated with him is especially useful when he has gone to schools (it's amazing, but true that schools have paid him to come and preach to their kids)--and to justify his own extreme views. Ironically, of course, MLK was a man who fought his entire life against intolerance, hatred, and bigotry. Coretta Scott King, MLK's widow, has stated that he was for gay rights, and quoted him as saying "I've always felt that homophobic attitudes and policies were unjust and unworthy of a free society and must be opposed by all Americans who believe in democracy." (For more on this, and Coretta Scott King's comparisons between the gay and black struggle, click here. NOTE: In January, the Gay community was asked to March in the MLK Kingdom Day Parade!)

6. Let's rock, kids! Oh, and homos and evolution are evil!  Bachmann has helped raise money for his organization "You can Run but You can't Hide" in conjunction with his band, Junkyard Prophet has a reputation for getting gigs where he talks about the evils of drugs and a bad lifestyle (the bait) and then talks about the evils of homosexuality and evolution (the switch). According to the Minnesota Independent:
In 2003, in Benton, Wisconsin, Dean and his band, Junkyard Prophet, performed at Benton High School for students in grades 7-12.  According to an article in the Dubuque Telegraph Herald, Dean “condemned homosexuality and the teaching of evolution in schools” in the process of speaking about abstinence and drug use.  “They talked about influencing and brainwashing people. Be wise to the fact that is what they were doing. They were using the same tactics,” Neis told the students. (Source: Minnesota Independent)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Ever Wonder Why it Seems so Hard to Get through to Conservatives?

Results from a study to be published this year indicate that people with conservative brains have a larger amygdala--the fear center, or primitive part of the brain said to be responsible for reflexive impulses--and a smaller anterior cingulate, which is known to be the part of the brain that focuses courage and optimism.

This might explain why facts, figures, logic, and analysis don't appear to get through to conservatives who have made their minds up that, for example, people who are different represent a danger. It makes even more sense when one adds this research into the frustrating fight to get the right to acknowledge a different viewpoint. It might also explain why the hard right's position is more like religious one upmanship, than the give and take of civil discourse and negotiation.

Or maybe they're just infantile and emotionally unintelligent.  

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Students Don't Have Enough Money Worries, Let's Give Them One More...

According to Think Progress, Eric Cantor, the #2 republican in the House of Representatives, proposed that students that take out loans should start paying interest right away, rather than being able to defer payments until after graduation. 

Great idea, right? So, instead of eliminating the current oil exploration/drilling subsidy for the record profit-making oil industry, which would save about $40 billion over 10 years, let's stick it to students! Hell yeah, man--you think you enjoy Ramen noodles now? Better stock up!

But why stop there? Contact Eric and recommend that we eliminate government-funded everything for students altogether, like the school lunch program. Hey poor kids, feeling hungry at school? No worries, there's plenty that you can eat for free! Just go dumpster diving! Don't be put off by the occasional rat bite or bee sting--it's a small price to pay for doing your part to trim the deficit.
QUICK TIP: Check out the dumpsters behind the restaurants where the oil execs dine--I hear you can score some excellent foie gras!!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

S&P to Republicans: Time for the Adults to Take Over

Politicus USA reported that Standard & Poor's, the entity that rates the "credit" part of the United States' claim to "full faith and credit," released a policy update that endorsed the president's original negotiating position over the keep tax breaks for the oil industry stance of the House republican refuseniks. Basically, the rating agency has affirmed President Obama's initial bargaining position (the "grand" plan), that was summarily rejected by the leadership in the House. S&P clearly states the need to use a combination of revenue increases and cuts for a consolidated debt reduction plan of $4 trillion:
We expect the debt trajectory to continue increasing in the medium term if a medium-term fiscal consolidation plan of $4 trillion is not agreed upon. If Congress and the Administration reach an agreement of about $4 trillion, and if we to conclude that such an agreement would be enacted and maintained throughout the decade, we could, other things unchanged, affirm the 'AAA' long-term rating and A-1+ short-term ratings on the U.S.
The credit rating agency--which is no bastion of liberalism--decided to weigh in at a very detailed level, and essentially just told the republicans in the House of Representatives that their proposals were not serious and would result in a downgrade of the United States' debt rating.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Need a Little Fabulous...?

Michele Bachmann has been against gay people for a long time. (On what would happen if her same-sex marriage ban amendment fails to pass in 2004“It isn’t that some gay will get some rights. It’s that everyone else in our state will lose rights. For instance, parents will lose the right to protect and direct the upbringing of their children. Because our K-12 public school system, of which ninety per cent of all youth are in the public school system, they will be required to learn that homosexuality is normal, equal and perhaps you should try it. And that will occur immediately, that all schools will begin teaching homosexuality.” -- Senator Michele Bachmann, appearing as guest on radio program “Prophetic Views Behind The News”, hosted by Jan Markell, KKMS 980-AM, March 6, 2004.)
And her husband, Marcus Bachmann, owns a clinic where, reportedly,  they try to "cure" gay people. (An investigation by Truth Wins Out revealed that the clinic of Marcus Bachmann, the husband of presidential candidate Michele Bachmann (R-MN), practices reparative therapy, a controversial and discredited clinical method designed to “cure” gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. - Truth Wins Out)
Me? I love the gays. And frankly, many of my gay friends (and a lot  of my family members) think I have my own fabulous tendencies. But I digress. Jon Stewart reveals his struggle to show us just how fabulous Marcus is.  

(Click to watch!)

Useful Links:
The Bachmann Record
The Daily Show: Marcus Bachmann Is So Gay that Jerry Seinfeld Shows Up To Help Jon Episode
Truth Wins Out Investigation

Financial Brinksmanship and the Debt Ceiling...

From the classic movie "War Games"
The right's "stalwarts" against debt are fakers. They pretend like they're standing for freedom, apple pie, the liberty to engage in unusual skin bronzing. These people are more interested in scoring political points and "preserving their brand" than in ensuring the stability of the US economy. The people I'm referring to are Sen. McConnell, Rep. Boehnner, and Rep. Cantor. They're holding the country's financial stability hostage by refusing to increase the debt limit unless they get all the cuts they want. They refuse any tax increases (or, say, ending oil subsidies) in exchange for their willingness to increase the limit. Of course, these same hostage takers voted to increase the debt limit under Bush five times and are now using the issue to make political points, and it doesn't get any more cynical or hypocritical than that.

According to ThinkProgress, five debt limit increases occurred during the Bush presidency. The current debt-limit brinksmanship crowd--McConnell, Boehnner, and Cantor--voted aye each time:

June 2002: Congress increases debt limit $450 bln. to $6.4 trillion.
May 2003: Congress increases debt limit $900 bln. to $7.384 trillion.
Nov. 2004: Congress increases debt limit $800 bin to $8.1 trillion.
May 2006: Congress increases debt limit $781 bin to $8.965 trillion.
Sep. 2007: Congress increases debt limit $850 to $9.815 trillion

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

What is the real republican agenda on the economy?

Well, failure, mainly. If Obama fails, they win! Well, that's their simple-minded reasoning, anyway. And they've been telling this for a while.

Are we crazy yet?
Michele Bachmann acknowledged that low employment helps her election chances.
Rush Limbaugh stated on at least one occasion: "I would be honored if the drive-by media headlined me all day long: 'Limbaugh: I hope Obama Fails. Somebody's gotta say it."

Politcus USA sums it up well. The “fiscally responsible” members of congress have no reason to see Obama succeed--even in something as clearly in the interest of the country as raising the debt ceiling. Obama is actually out-cutting them, but they’re not interested in that either. As Politicus states, “...Cantor, Boehner, McConnell and Paul Ryan raised the debt ceiling seven times when Bush was president in order to continue borrowing to pay for the wealthy’s tax cuts, the Medicare drug program, and two wars.” So, why are they holding the country hostage now? Sen. McConnell, only slightly more savvy than the insane clown posse of Cantor, Boehner, and Bachmann, lets us know their real agenda:

So, I went to sign...

...this petition to tell Speaker of the House Boehner to end special tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires and to stop pushing America's economy to the brink of disaster by refusing to increase the debt ceiling (something that the republican leader in the senate admits would endanger the country and the president warned would interfere with the disbursement of social security checks). Not that my signature will make a difference. Boehner doesn't care about petitions--especially those that aren't from his own district (for more about Boehner please refer to Dikipedia).

But that's not really my point. My point is what happened after I got to the web site of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to sign the petition.

That's when things got a little strange. See, today, everyone has a Facebook page, and often, people take screenshots of the people who "like" them to show prospective friends or fans just how popular they are. But is "Brian" really the "Facebook face" of the Democratic party?

Sure, lots of different folks out there and there's plenty of room for 'em all. Big tent and all that. But really?  I'm thinking the DCCC webmaster was told, "Okay, dude, just grab a typical screenshot of the people who like us, ermkay?" So, after a lunch of granola, yogurt, and perhaps some medical-grade marijuana, webmaster dude grabs a screenshot.

Cheers, Brian, for showing your Democratic colors. But get some rest and some Vitamin D for fuxxake--you look like shit.

One Tax System for You and One Tax System for the Rich.

Journalist David Cay Johnston talks with NPR about his new book that explains how government subsidies and new regulations shift money away from low and middle income people and to the to the wealthy and well connected. He explains in easy to understand detail the infuriating inequality of our tax system. How can we expect shared sacrifice when we have system built to go after the poor and enrich the already rich? When it comes to taxes, here's how Murdoch has the government pay him--rather than the other way around: 
Over the past four years Murdoch's U.S.-based News Corp. has made money on income taxes. Having earned $10.4 billion in profits, News Corp. would have been expected to pay $3.6 billion at the 35 percent corporate tax rate. Instead, it actually collected $4.8 billion in income tax refunds, all or nearly all from the U.S. government. (View the original article
Source: David Cay Johnson

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

So, Career Builder Dot Com....

...sends me these updates that let me know that there are "New Jobs!" in my hometown. Of course, this is a lie, and intended only to make me open up their sad, sad email. Usually the jobs are for food store manager or clerk (not that there's anything wrong with those), but today, among the resume building services available, I noticed this:

So, I should seriously consider "getting into" reconstructive facial surgery because it offers "America's fastest-growing salaries"??

Well, okay, I'll give it a shot, but to be honest, I was never that good at science. But really, how hard can it be? And I couldn't agree more, finding the right position *can* be frustrating. I mean, I go down to the local cosmetic surgery store, I ask for a job application, and they just look at me funny. Like, dude, hello? I gotta get paid, know what I'm sayin'?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Arizona State Senator Points Gun at Reporter for Kicks....

...which in and of itself isn't really all that surprising. In fact, that's fairly predictable. Even the story is not all that unusual:

Republican (surprise!) Sen. Lori Klein keeps a loaded handgun in her purse. During an interview w/ an Arizona Republic reporter, she pulled out the gun, pointed it him, and stated "Oh it's so cute." The gun, a .380 Ruger, which doesn't have a safety, does have a laser site site, however, which she pointed at the reporter's chest. People are shocked by her cavalier behavior, blah blah blah.
But here's the thing--and this is going to be considered discriminatory by some--but...just look at this person:
Is it me or does this person look nuts?
She just looks crazy to me; the coat of Lancomme war paint. Creepy. Like some insane real estate broker who won't take no for an answer. I notice that a lot of people on the far right look, well, not right in the head. Okay, but I digress.
According to the Huffington Post, "...Klein's handgun has become a symbol of the gun control debate, and while she supports those who want the right to carry guns, she says it's a personal choice that she isn't forcing on anyone. 'I don't like chocolate ice cream. Am I going to force you not to have any?'"

Makes sense; great analogy.  Freedom to play around with guns is so similar to allowing people to eat chocolate ice cream. I mean, you have a gun on the one hand, a cute one, even, and you have some ice cream on the other. One can put a hole in your chest and the other can just make you sleepy and maybe a little chunky. Hey, we're all entitled to our likes and dislikes, yeah? Some people like firearms and some people like choco dessert. Get it?

Hey Senator, have you tried this ice cream? I hear it's killer! 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Federal Government: Marijuana is (still) Bad, Bad, Bad

The Federal government recently ruled that marijuana has no medical use and should stay in the same class of drugs as heroin. It has no medicinal benefit, so, it should remain a "dangerous illegal drug." This makes sense, because meanwhile, in the world of the perfectly legal/lethal other drugs:

One in 25 deaths around the world is caused by alcohol consumption, and booze is now as damaging to global health as tobacco was a decade ago, according to a study in the British medical journal the Lancet. And according to the US Government's own Centers for Disease control, more deaths are caused each year from tobacco use (443,000, including more than 10% from second hand smoke) than all deaths from HIV, illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle accidents, suicides, and murders combined.  

So, let me see if I have this straight: Deadly and legal indulgences alcohol and tobacco? Goooood.  Laughing at your hands, driving too slow, and eating a whole box of graham crackers with milk while watching Bugs Bunny? Baaaad.  

Saturday, July 9, 2011

What does Bachmann really want? A bad economy.

CNBC Interviewer: “Does it strike you that as the unemployment rate goes up, your chances of winning office also go up?” 

Rep. Bachmann: “Well, that could be. Again, I hope so.” 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Tax the Rich? Yes, thank you....

Bold Progressives are calling their members of congress to tell them to vote for higher taxes on the those who can most afford it. Sign Bernie's letter to the President. 121,809 signatures and counting. Be counted.

We all must share the pain of getting our fiscal house in order. Click here to call on your senator to vote for raising taxes on the rich!