Friday, September 30, 2011

Wait, the Republicans *DO* have a Jobs Plan: The Plan is to Eliminate Jobs...

Rick Perry's Plan: Two Birds--Education and Jobs--One Big-Ass Head of Hair...
Governor Rick Perry's new budget for the state of Texas will, according to the Texas State Teacher's Association will eliminate up to 49,000 jobs, and terminate financial aid to 43,000 college students. Rick Perry has declined federal assistance through Obama's Race to the Top for education, saying at recent a campaign stop "I don't think the Federal government has a role" because accepting assistance could "very well lead to a dumbing down of the rigorous standards we've worked so hard to enact."


He has a point: I mean, Texas should decide its own educational fate, right? Maintain their standards and whatnot without all that job-creating red tape from Washington, know what I'm sayin'? Heh, well, the good news is that with this new budget? That should be no problem at all pard. Texas is currently ranked dead last in percentage of adults with high school diplomas. And that's a record you can take to the bank. Well, not if you're one of the "education workers" that will be laid off, but someone else could definitely take that to the bank. Someone with massive hair, perhaps...

The Path to Economic Strength? Hello? Eliminate Jobs, of course! Perry's jobs plan has far reaching consequences not just for teachers and students, but will likely result in a total loss of over 100,000 jobs, according to the Center on Public Policy Priorities, and cost another 140,000 private sector jobs, as well. Here's what the Texas State Teachers Association has to say about Rick Perry's budget:
“When it comes to public education, Rick Perry is all hair and no cattle. He talks a good game of economic development and job creation, but his under-funding of public schools and universities undermines Texas’ ability to adequately prepare young people for the jobs that will make or break the state’s future." 
But they have no money, right? Wrong. Perry insisted that $6.5 billion be left unspent in the emergency "Rainy Day Fund" so that Perry could win points with his anti-everything base.
Good 'ol Boy / Trailer Park Boy:
Separated at Birth?

Rick is Self-Smarted.  Why on this pleasantly non-warming planet would education be a national priority like, say, defense? It's just brainly type stuff, anyways. First, who needs teachers? All Rick Perry needed to know he learned as a cheerleader for Texas A&M, where he was elected social secretary, was one of five male cheerleaders, and graduated with a 2.5 GPA.

Separated at Birth? If you've ever seen "Trailer Park Boys," (and you most definitely should if you haven't), there's another Ricky with helmet-like hair who has a similar outlook. All he ever needed to know he taught himself. In fact, I think it's fair to say that both of these Rickys understand that too much education can be dangerous for your health! 

"People say books and college are for to bein' make you smarter, but they can also for to be get you dead." - Ricky, Trailer Park Boy





Thursday, September 29, 2011

Who Hates Government Spending? Why Government Employees, of Course!

Bachmann. Perry. Christie. Boehner. Cantor. Who are they? Well, in addition to policy makers and rightist luminaries, they're all government employees! Yes, that's right, patriots, they want to cut government spending to the bone--just not the bone connected to their paycheck bone. Know what I'm saying? Me neither, entirely, but the point is that they all receive checks derived from your stolen tax dollars!!

Leaders of the new right seem to love spending time railing on about the need to cut spending, but they also have spent a lot of time on the government dole. What's a lot? Well, collectively, they have been government employees for about 89 years!

Let's have a look at their CVs, shall we?

Rick "Only spending cuts can prevent forest fires" Perry
JAMES RICHARD "RICK" PERRY - REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENT
Current Governor of Texas and leading republican candidate for president and inventor "Hair Helmet for Men."

Personal Goal: Destroy 49,000 teacher's jobs in TX and to do something different to turn the country around, like putting a not terribly bright Texan in the White House.

Wikipedia at a Glance: Perry graduated from Paint Creek High School in 1968. He then attended Texas A&M University, where he was a member of the Corps of Cadets, a member of the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity, was elected senior class social secretary, and was also elected as one of A&M's five yell leaders (a popular Texas A&M tradition analogous to male cheerleaders).[12] Perry graduated in 1972 earning a GPA of 2.5 and a bachelor's degree in animal science.[13]

Years as a Government Employee: 26
Governor of Texas, 2000 - 2012
Texas Lieutenant Governor, 1999 - 2000
Texas Commissioner of Agriculture, 1991 - 1999
Texas State House of Representatives, 1985 - 1991


Gov. Chris "Teachers are thugs!" Christie
CHRISTOPHER JAMES CHRISTIE - GOVERNOR OF NEW JERSEY
Current Governor of New Jersey, potential presidential candidate and Tony Soprano stand-in.

Personal Goals: Make fun of Obama for not having the courage to lead, then turn down roaring right-winger crowd begging me to run (or lightly jog) for office.

Wikipedia at a Glance: Christie has been criticized for subpoenaing Senator Robert Menendez during his contested 2006 campaign, just two months before the election.[35][36] Christie's aides have insisted that they initiated the action in response to an article that appeared in The Record, which reported that in 1994, when Menendez was a U.S. Representative, he had leased his former home to a social service agency that he had helped obtain federal financing.[35] The non-profit group paid Menendez more than $300,000 over nine years to rent the building. Menendez claims to have cleared the arrangement with the Congressional ethics office, a step that had also been reported previously by New Jersey newspapers.[35]According to Menendez, just prior to signing the rental lease, he cleared it by phone with a lawyer on the staff of the United States House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct. Following the subpoena, the lawyer, who no longer works with the Committee, came forward to say that while she doesn’t recall the conversation, it probably happened—and that if she were advising Menendez now she would tell him, as she apparently did then, that there was nothing improper about the arrangement.[37] As of August 2009, nothing has come from the investigation.[35]

Years as a Government Employee: 10
Governor of New Jersey, 2010 - 2012
US Attorney for District of New Jersey, 2001 - 2008
Morris Count Board of Chosen Freeholders, 1994 - 1995


Michele "No seriously, dude, what are you on? "Bachmann
MICHELE MARIE BACHMANN - REPRESENTATIVE FROM MINNESOTA
Current Member of Congress from Minnesota, and presidential candidate cuz God said so.

Personal Goals: Wash away the gay and offer federal money to constituents while ranting against federal spending.

Wikipedia at a Glance: In 1979, Bachmann was a member of the first class of the O. W. Coburn School of Law, then a part of Oral Roberts University (ORU).[11] While there, Bachmann studied with John Eidsmoe, whom she described in 2011 as "one of the professors who had a great influence on me".[13][14] Bachmann worked as a research assistant on Eidsmoe's 1987 book Christianity and the Constitution, which argues that the United States was founded as a Christian theocracy, and should become one again.[11][13]
Years as a Government Employee: 17
Member of Congress, Head of Tea Party Caucus, 2006 - 2012
Minnesota State Senator, 2000 - 2006
IRS Tax Attorney, 1988 - 1993

John
"Immense debt is a moral water hazard"
Boehner 
JOHN ANDREW BOEHNER - REPRESENTATIVE FROM OHIO
Current Speaker of the House of Representatives and frog to the Tea Party's scorpion.

Personal Goal: Screw Obama then golf, golf, golf!

Wikipedia at a Glance: A September 2010 New York Times story said Boehner was "Tightly Bound to Lobbyists" and "He maintains especially tight ties with a circle of lobbyists and former aides representing some of the nation’s biggest businesses, including Goldman Sachs, Google, Citigroup, R.J. Reynolds, MillerCoors and UPS.".[22]

Years as a Government Employee: 27
US House of Representatives, 1990 - 2012
Ohio House of Representatives, 1985 - 1990
Board of Trustees, Union Township, Butler Co., Ohio, 1982 - 1984

Eric "I WANT YOU to Cut Spending" Cantor
ERIC IVAN CANTOR - REPRESENTATIVE FROM VIRGINIA
Majority Leader of the House and sole Jewish republican in the House of Representatives surrounded by evangelical goyim.

Personal Goal: Make students pay, and pay, and pay. And everyone else, too.

Years as a Government Employee: 19
US House of Representatives, 2001 - 2012

Virginia House of Delegates, 1992 - 2001

Wikipedia at a Glance: He enrolled at George Washington University (GW) in 1981, and as a freshman he worked as an intern for House Republican Tom Bliley of Virginia and was Bliley's driver in the 1982 campaign.[5] Cantor was a member of Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity while at GW and received his Bachelor of Arts in 1985[6] He earned a Juris Doctor degree from William & Mary Law School in 1988, and received a Master of Science in Real Estate Development from Columbia University in 1989.[2]

My "Conversation" with an Angry Right Wing Person

The right's energizer bunny
keeps going and going and going...
First off, I read every article that Bob Cesca writes on Huffington Post. Bob is a very clever, articulate guy, and crafts his highly charged rant pieces against the outrageous contradictions and hypocrisy of the the neo-right with facts, figures, and engaging prose. Today, Bob posted a piece, The Republicans Continue to Wage War Against Government Workers, about how the government is comprised of actual "people" with real lives and mortgages and families and credit cards--not blood-sucking demonized automatons, as the current leading republicans would have you believe. Among many other things, Bob also explains that all these people who hate government employes--are government employees themselves! But that's an inconvenient irony and the right isn't terribly big on the whole irony thing (see below).

Bob also explains that all these people who hate government employees--are, in fact...wait for it....government employees themselves! But that's an inconvenient irony and the right isn't terribly big on the whole irony thing.

Gee, thanks evil Government entity!
The thing is, I made the usual mistake of posting a comment in response to Bob's piece (which I highly recommend that everyone read). And, predictably, I got a response to my comment from someone's who disagrees with my communist views. So I decided to post the brief "online conversation" between me, and an angry, anti-government person.

Note: My better half tells me not to engage in this kind of "back and forth" but I can't help it. I feel like at some point, it needs to be done. At some point, we're going to have to engage in a conversation with the right, because that's how conflict is ultimately resolved. "Enjoy"?

Original comment by Groobiecat in response to Bob Cesca's post:
Mr. Elastic Person responds to my comment:
My response to Mr. Elastic Person's response:

Response: *Dog barks somewhere in the distance*

My Bad. A commenter replied, more or less correctly, that the phone and rail systems actually were mainly the result of private sector ingenuity. I have to agree, although the government provided assistance in both cases. I think I need to stick to the basics: Highways, Research and the Interwebs, Mail, Health, including inoculation against many kinds of diseases, National Parks, Flu Shots, Jobs, Gas (oil drilling tax incentives!).

*Yes, jobs! I keep forgetting that the government actually does create jobs!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Oh Hell Yes: The Power of the People Helps Elizabeth Warren's Message Go Viral...

...and is being reflected in the president's own words. This is very good stuff, indeed. In a previous post, I urged folks to pass along Elizabeth Warren's plain-speaking, common sense explanation about why the so-called "class warfare" argument of the right is just wrong. A lot of other folks did, too, apparently. In a new Washington Monthly piece, author Steve Benen explains:
"It’s a good thing that Elizabeth Warren video went viral; it’s starting to have an impact on the national discourse." 
Warren's wise words paraphrased by Obama. More please.
Apparently, in a speech the other day, Obama paraphrased Warren's wise words (now we just need the president to paraphrase her words on how we got into the debt crisis!). Here are the two speeches, side by side:
On how we succeed as a collective, not just as individuals:

“This is the Land of Opportunity. What’s great about this country is that any of these young people here, if they’ve got a good idea, if they go out there and they’re willing to work hard, they can start a business, they can create value, great products, great services. They can make millions, make billions. That’s great. That’s what America is all about. Anybody can make it if they try.

“But what’s also a quintessentially American idea is that those of us who’ve done well should pay our fair share to contribute to the upkeep of the nation that made our success possible because nobody did well on their own.

“A teacher somewhere helped to give you the skills to succeed. Firefighters and police officers are protecting your property. You’re moving your goods and products and services on roads that somebody built. That’s how we all do well together. We got here because somebody else invested in us, and we’ve got to make sure this generation of students can go to college on student aid or scholarships like I did. We’ve got to make sure that we keep investing in the kind of government research that helped to create the Internet, which countless private sector companies then used to create tens of millions of jobs.”


[click here for original video]









OBAMA'S SPEECH






On class warfare and the social contract:

"I hear all this, ‘Well, you know this is class warfare, whatever...’ --No!
There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You built a factory out there? Good for you, but I wanna be clear: you moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did.

"Now look: you built a factory and it turned into something terrific or a great idea, god bless! Keep a big hunk of it! But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that pay forward for the next kid who comes along."

On responsibility for the debt crisis:

"We got into this hole...$1 trillion on tax cuts for the rich under George Bush. We got into this hole $2 trillion on two wars that we put on a credit card for our children and grandchildren to pay off. And we got into this hole $1 trillion on a medicare drug program that a) was not paid for and b) is 40% more expensive than it needs to be because it was giveaway to the drug companies.

...so that’s just $4 trillion right there.

So, part of the way you fix this problem is don’t do those things."

[click here for original video]






WARREN'S SPEECH

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

PolitiFact's Pants on Fire. How PolitiFact Got it Wrong on Debt Increases under Bush vs. Obama

Pants on Fire? Yes. But PolitiFact's, not Pelosi's...
How PolitiFact Botched the Research for National Debt under Clinton, Bush, and Obama
The folks at PolitiFact used a faulty methodology to discredit a chart released by the office of Nancy Pelosi on the accumulation of national debt, from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama. They graded Pelosi's chart, which can be found here. as a "Pants on Fire" rating (meaning, basically, the chart's authors are essentially lying). That's not what this post is about. This post is about how PolitiFact's methodology is actually incorrect because its basic assumption is incorrect. Therefore, their conclusion that conclusion that Obama is responsible for the largest debt increase is simply not true.  According to PolitiFact:


From the online calculator, we requested the daily debt totals since 1993 and picked out the ones closest to the inauguration dates* of those three presidents, as well as the end of the month of April 2011. Here’s what we came with for gross federal debt:
January 20, 1993 (end of George H.W. Bush and beginning of Clinton): $4.188 trillion
January 19, 2001 (end of Clinton and beginning of George W. Bush): $5.728 trillion
January 20, 2009 (end of George W. Bush and beginning of Obama): $10.627 trillion*
April 29, 2011 (closing date of the chart): $14.288 trillion

This allows us to determine how much the debt rose under each president:

Under Clinton: Increase of $1.54 trillion, or 37 percent
Under George W. Bush: Increase of $4.899 trillion, or 86 percent
Under Obama: Increase of $3.661 trillion, or 34 percent
(*emphasis added)

Debt ownership begins at inauguration? Um, yeah, right, I don't think so. Now, see, the basic premise of this "analysis" by PolitiFact is simply incorrect: Obama's "debt ownership" didn't start at $10.6 trillion, as the PolitiFact numbers above would have you believe--that's not how the real fiscal world works. New presidents inherit the previous administration's budget policies for the majority of their first year in office. Obama's fiscal policies didn't somehow magically take shape on January 20 of the year and month he took office, as PolitiFact implies. It's illogical.

If you believe PolitiFact's methodology, you would also have to  believe that a relief pitcher at the bottom of the 9th inning, with his team down 10 to 1,  is responsible for losing the game. It just ain't so.

PolitiFact's analysis is based on starting the "debt ownership clock" when a president (in this case, Obama) took office. But the debt clock should actually "start ticking" around 9 months into a new president's term. Why? Because the following fiscal year is what he can control, not the one he starts working in. This is an important methodological distinction.

The (real) National Debt under Clinton, Bush, and Obama. A more realistic assumption for national debt (which, simply put, is the accumulation of budgetary shortfalls each year, btw) assumes that fiscal spending priorities continue into the next year. That's because the federal government's fiscal year starts on October 1 from the previous year, and continues to September 30 of the following year.

When Obama took office in 2009, Bush's budget for 2009--and its associated accumulating debt--began on October 1 of 2008. This is important, because the accumulated debt that should have been ascribed to Bush, $1.3 trillion, is, according to PolitiFact, owned by Obama. This is illogical nonsense.

Obama wasn't responsible for the $1.3 trillion in accumulated debt from October 1, 2008 through September 30, 2009--George W. Bush was responsible for it. Here's how my methodology works:
  • Bush "inherited" a national debt from Clinton starting at about October 1, 2001, of $5.8 trillion. The national debt increased under Bush to $11.9 trillion--more than double the inherited debt.
  • Obama's "inherited" national debt from Bush--again, assuming the previous president's budget continued through September 30, 2009--was $11.9 trillion. The debt increased to $14.6 trillion by the end of August 2011, for a bit more than a 20% increase--not the 34% increase that PolitiFact determined.
PolitiFact's errant conclusion is a very important one, because that amount adds up to a HUGE difference between that date and the date that Bush's budgetary policies ceased: 

Bush fiscal policies (and associated debt) continued from January 20, 2009...
Source: Department of the Treasury
...through to October 1, 2009. During this time, Obama didn't "own" this debt, which was still driven by Bush's fiscal policies (below). The debt increase that PolitiFact ascribes to Obama amounts to $1.3 trillion bucks. That's a pretty big research error.
Source: Department of the Treasury
Here are the debt numbers from the end of Clinton, through Bush, and into Obama's administration--all from the Treasury Department's Web site:


    Source: Department of the Treasury Website


    To Sum Up, PolitiFact Got it Wrong. I really have nothing personal against PolitiFact--I think they have a great site, typically speaking, but in this case, they got it seriously wrong. And I have no idea why Pelosi's office didn't fight them on this,  because it's actually pretty important. Why? Well, it's silly season. Facts and fact checkers are critical to the ongoing debate. And frankly, this is something that no one seems to pay very much attention to, which is ironic, considering that a political movement known as the Tea Party arose as a result of "out of control government spending." Well, where the hell were they when Bush--and again, this is mostly his debt burden--was spending on two wars that we couldn't afford and the right wants to rebuild other countries, while refusing to rebuild our own?

    A Final Note. I'm not an economist, but I did work on Capitol Hill a lifetime ago, and once even did research on the "twin debts" of trade and the national debt (btw, if you're interested, the national debt reached its post-war high of $2.1 trillion when Carter was president, if memory serves). I may actually be off by a few billion here or there, but the overall analysis is, I think, pretty sound. If you think otherwise, please let me know. 

    Monday, September 26, 2011

    Think About It...Clinton on Perry Apocrypha & Why the Tea Party Economic Model is Doomed

    Introducing: Think About It... the first in a series of videos that presents real-world quotes from luminaries (and lunatics). Please take a moment to check out my first effort to spread the words of reason, not fiction, through actual quotes of opinion leaders in the United States. 



    Makes sense to me. "There's not a single solitary example on the planet, not one, of a country that is successful because the economy has triumphed over the government and choked it off and driven the tax rates to zero, driven the regulations to nonexistent and abolished all government programs, except for defense...there is no example of a successful country that looks like that."

    I've been saying for a while now that government involvement in the US economy is basic, not scary, and, in fact, it has been this way since the inception of our country. It was never our founding fathers' intention to take government completely out of the economic picture--never. Not once. And, in fact, there's not a single instance of a successful modern country that has removed the government from of its economic destiny.

    Thanks for viewing... and please let me know what you think. If you agree with these views, please pass it on!

    Useful Links. Here's a summary of key links for further information:

    Friday, September 23, 2011

    Okay: Time to Assess, Rally, Consistently Point Out Facts, then Repeat, Repeat, Repeat...

    Bob Cesca: Cogent voice of reason from the left.
    In a recent, well written article on Huffington Post, Bob Cesca explains away Rick Perry's movie-trailer approach to spreading lies that no jobs were created under the Obama administration. The video's fear-mongering apocalyptic feel, typical "American" visuals, and booming soundtrack amount, according to Cesca, to one thing: "The Republican marketing machine is strikingly powerful" and the left ignores this fact at its own peril. But this has always been the case: the right makes bullet point assertions, which go largely unchallenged in the mainstream media, and the left seems to sit by and smite its forehead repeatedly. So, my question is: Why can't the democrats do the same or better than the republicans when it comes to driving the narrative?

    Approval ratings are low--
    but not just among the right and center.
    For one thing, Obama chose to go this alone. No, seriously, he did. He didn't unify his divided base; if anything, he helped split it. Many progressives have felt ignored and even betrayed, as he continuall­y reached out to the right in hopes that his compromise and shift to the right would appeal to their underlying interest in improving the country. That proved to be a huge strategic mistake. By now it's clear that their only goal is to defeat Obama, therefore, a bad economy is actually good for their own political fortunes. It's that simple.

    But what happened to the left's narrative? There never was one, really: On one hand, many felt angry and disaffected over his continuation of many Bush policies. On the other hand, die-hard supporters insisted he had a larger plan and that we should all stick with him, no matter what, because the alternativ­e was too scary. This is a bit of an oversimplification, but without a consistent message (or series of messages/facts/themes, the way "change" and "hope" worked so well during the campaign), the left has ceded the prevailing narrative to the lock-step right and its proven Rove Method: make outrageous lies and statements, repeat. The left isn't good at this, even when it's not divided and you replace "lies" with "facts.

    The Democrats need to unify the left and present one voice.
    For another, democracy is overrated. What? How can one be too democratic? Well, if you look at how effective Karl Rove was in 2000 and 2004, he used a simple but very effective approach to driving the narrative: Establish a few themes, and repeat them, over and over. Rove is no longer involved to my knowledge, but the new right basically uses this method to tremendous effect. On the other hand, the tea party has been known to "target" members of congress who don't tow their line with complete and utter fealty or who are open to negotiate "with the other side." The left isn't so viciously disciplined, however, because, well, that's creepy and a bit fascistic. But some discipline and consistency would be nice.

    I remember when John Kerry was running in 2004, and one of the criticisms of his campaign was that the "narrative machine' was too democratic--too many views and ideas, and no coherent theme of what his candidacy was about. Of course Democrats lost in 2004 due in part to the Rove "lie, repeat" approach. This time, ignoring the effectiveness of the Apocryphal Repeat Machine could cost us at the polls again.

    Can you hear us now? The Left needs to drive the narrative.
    Oh, for fuxxake, so now what? Well, it's time to stop beating up Obama (and yes, I've been beating him up as much as anyone, but the time for that is over) and start driving the narrative by repeating facts that are inconvenient to, and undercut, the right's narrative. We need to circle the wagons and start repeating and sending viral some rock-solid facts like those in Bob's piece.  We need to watch and post and forward videos that repeat simply, undeniable facts, like those from Elizabeth Warren, whose clear-headed, simple presentation of reality needs to be repeated over and over. And yes, it's time to get ughly, and scare the depends right off the old folks and let the women in this country know that the right intends to undo the socialized care that they and their families rely on.

    Elizabeth Warren: Listen, Forward, Repeat. If you haven't heard her already, please take a moment to listen to Elizabeth Warren on simple logic and an idea we should all agree with:



    A Final Note: If you aren't familiar with Bob Cesca, you should be. He's one of the brighter lights over at Huffington Post. So, hey, Bob, if you're reading this, how about putting some of your own production skills and pals in the industry to work on that front?! Maybe get together with Scott Bateman and Mark Fiore?. Something tells me your videos would destroy Rick Perry's...

    Thursday, September 22, 2011

    Guest Author Hugh: It's Morning in Moronica

    Mendacious President: Ronald
    "Trees Cause More Pollution than Cars" Reagan
    With both parties invoking Ronald Reagan these days in a craven attempt to use his memory to score political points with the middle, one could say it's morning in America again--or, perhaps, Morning in Moronica.  Personally, I couldn't understand back then how people saw in Reagan anything but an obvious, lying dumbfuck. That was before I had my revelation, which was only recently, and realized that the mindless set in America saw their own reflection in Reagan and voted for him essentially out of dimwitted narcissism. 


    More of the same?
    Who'd-a thunk we'd see the country devolve to such an extent that the Reagan and Nixon eras and abuses would one day seem quaint in comparison? And who'd-a thunk we'd have a Democratic successor to Dubya who would continue his worst abuses of power--and then some--where the crackdown on whistle blowers is concerned? I've been reading some Gore Vidal again lately and that guy has the American political system pegged. He says that the Republicans and Democrats are just different wings of the same party: the Property Party. I used to think he was wrong about that, just being curmudgeonly and cynical, but boy was I wrong. Talk about naive. That was before Obama gave the biggest fraudsters in history get out of jail free cards and allowed them to profit hugely from their crimes, which as time goes on, I find more and more unforgivable. To say nothing of giving a bunch of war criminals get out of jail free cards. 


    Former VP and current war
    criminal Cheney profits from his crimes.
    That comes to mind because of Cheney and his recent book bragging about said crimes. And profiting from them. If this doesn't show how utterly hollow America's become, I don't know what does. Remember when Ford said pardoning Nixon was the end of our long national nightmare? Turns out it was just the beginning. It set the stage for all the unpunished crimes to follow. It showed that if you rise high enough, you don't have to worry about accountability and possible serious prison time. All this talk about the sanctity of the Constitution and the hallowed memory of the Founding Fathers from people like Rick Perry, who I'm sure doesn't think Bush et al. did anything wrong, really makes me sick. They don't understand the most basic meaning of the Constitution--a country governed by laws and not men. 


    If James Madison were alive today he'd be an object of scorn.




    Hugh lives in California and despite 30 years of watching things go from stupid to stupider in the US of A still can't bring himself to move to Canada.