Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Comparison

What you get when you have a Republican supermajority and a Republican governor (North Carolina):

Massive abortion restrictions snuck in as amendments to totally unrelated bills
Laws to prevent voting by the members of other party
Slashing unemployment benefits and turning down Federal unemployment assistance in a State with the fifth highest unemployment in the country
Attempts to frustrate the enforcement of Federal law
cuts to education spending
hundreds of arrests of peaceful protesters


What you get when you have a Democratic supermajority and a Democratic governor (California):

A balanced budget
Paying down of State debt in workers' compensation funds
Increased spending on education
Massive reduction in cost to get health insurance

The Stupidest Idea of the Decade

Kenneth Pollock, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, and "liberal" Iraq war hawk from way back:

"In an alternative universe, the United States might re-intervene in Iraq,
redeploying tens of thousands of soldiers to restore everyone’s sense of safety and allowing the political process to heal again."
So that is the sort of thinking that it takes to get a great-paying job presenting the "liberal" 
view of what our foreign policy should be.   If that isn't stupid enough for you, try this:

"Ousting the Foreigners.The sudden reemergence of a unified Iraq was good news for the Iraqis and bad news for the foreign elements helping to tear it apart. As always, when Iraqis felt that they could trust one another and live in peace, they had no reason to seek foreign assistance against one another. At this point, Iraqis still did not really trust one another, but they all trusted the Americans."

In this brain-dead person's view, Americans were not the "foreigners" in Iraq, and they were not the ones who were helping to tear it apart.  And after killing several hundred thousand Iraqi civilians, we were the ones they "trusted."

The combination of stupidity and malice that was necessary to write these words is beyond my ability to characterize, so I will have to leave it at that.

Thanks to Eschaton for leading me to this nonsense.

Monday, July 29, 2013

They Can't Take Responsibility for Anything

As I've pointed out so many times before.  Case in point, this comment from an interview with Dan Balz from the Washington Post, and Mitt Romney:


"(Balz) interjected, “But when you said there are 47 percent who won’t take personal responsibility — ” Before I finished, he jumped in. “Actually, I didn’t say that. . . .That’s how it began to be perceived, and so I had to ultimately respond to the perception, because perception is reality.”

What Romney actually said:

"There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what...[M]y job is is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."

I don't think much of a comment is needed. This is so much standard Conservative behavior that it hardly bears noticing.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Fat Chance

From Daily Kos, on the upcoming Republican budget tantrums:

"President Obama must tell Speaker Boehner that he will not get he wants. Period.  Obama won the election, and the American people are with him. If Boehner wants to shut down the government, then he must shut down the government. I believe that in such a scenario, given the polling and the president's history of being reasonable and willing to compromise, the American people will put the blame squarely on Boehner and the House Republicans...

 But none of this can happen unless Barack Obama does his part. He is the key. If he stands firm, as did Bill Clinton when Newt Gingrich tried to blackmail the country not that long ago, then the priorities and morals of the American people have got a chance."

But he won't.

Instead, he will do what he always does- cook up some slimy deal where the Republicans get another big chunk of the corporate legislation they want, in return for a few more months of not destroying the economy. 

How can any rational person, after seeing this behavior for five years, think that things are going to be any different this time around?

Why Do We Have To Wake Up to This "News?"

"...John McCain Is Barack Obama’s New Best Friend
The two have their eyes on history as they transcend years of friction. The upshot could be good for the country."

Yeah, and the "upshot" could be really bad for the country, too.  Guess which one Green Eagle is putting his money on.

This bastard conducted one of the dirtiest campaigns in history against Obama, and has tried to stab him in the back over and over again.  How can Obama be oblivious to the consequences of cozying up to a miserable person like McCain?

The Energy Industry Versus the Rest of Us, Again

Here's an all too typical story from the New York Times today, about the energy industry trying to make it harder for people to provide for their own energy needs, thus leaving them captives to huge corporations:

"For years, power companies have watched warily as solar panels have sprouted across the nation’s rooftops. Now, in almost panicked tones, they are fighting hard to slow the spread.

Alarmed by what they say has become an existential threat to their business, utility companies are moving to roll back government incentives aimed at promoting solar energy and other renewable sources of power. At stake, the companies say, is nothing less than the future of the American electricity industry... to hear executives tell it, such power sources could ultimately threaten traditional utilities’ ability to maintain the nation’s grid.


 “If the costs to maintain the grid are not being borne by some customers, then other customers have to bear a bigger and bigger portion,” said Steve Malnight, a vice president at Pacific Gas and Electric. “As those costs get shifted, that leads to higher and higher rates for customers who don’t take advantage of solar.”

In other words, the customers of the utility companies are obligated to provide them with a certain amount of profit.  As usual with large corporations, they have come to believe that they are entitled to screw out of us every penny they can get, but if things go a little wrong for them, we are expected to pay the price so their stockholders can continue making money.  In other words, they believe that they have a right to the same system of corporate welfare that is draining the country dry, so they do not have to have successful businesses to thrive.

"...utility executives say that when solar customers no longer pay for electricity, they also stop paying for the grid, shifting those costs to other customers. Utilities generally make their profits by making investments in infrastructure and designing customer rates to earn that money back with a guaranteed return, set on average at about 10 percent.

Utility executives call this a “death spiral.” As utilities put a heavier burden on fewer customers, it increases the appeal for them to turn their roofs over to solar panels."

You know what?  Why should we give a damn whether private companies make a profit?  They certainly don't care whether we survive or fail.  It's funny that, when it comes to impoverishing the American people to the point that they can't afford their products, it never occurs to them to worry about their profit margins, but when it comes to having to build a strong enough business to fend off legitimate competition, suddenly that is out of the question.

So, here is a first suggestion:  How about cutting the guaranteed profit that we give them, in return for their getting the right to act as monopolies, to 5%?  In a world where it is hard to make over 1% on your life savings, that seems fair to me.  And if that isn't enough for them, how about telling them that we are not going to run capitalism as a rigged game any more in this country.  Let them go belly up, and sell off the grid for pennies on the dollar to someone who can run it more cheaply.  And just let their stockholders take a bath.  That's what is supposed to happen in a capitalist society when a company can't compete. 

And then, no more government subsidies for any large corporation.  Let real capitalism take over.  If you make a bad investment, you're screwed.  If you fail to anticipate the future, you're screwed.  That's the way they want ordinary people treated; if it's good enough for us, it's good enough for them.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

A Very Disturbing Story About Glenn Beck

So, Glenn Beck has rented several rooms in a Salt Lake City hotel to display an "Independence Through History" exhibition.  Here is a brief description of some of the material, from Alexandra Karl, writing in the Salt Lake Tribune:

"The adjoining room contained objects from Glenn Beck’s personal collection. This included a hooded KKK cape and a swastika banner which had been used at Nuremberg. Underneath was an illuminated vitrine containing a copy of Mein Kampf signed by Adolf Hitler, a stack of love letters by Hermann Göring, and a satin handkerchief browned with Hitler’s blood...I can’t help wondering what prompted Beck to collect such macabre objects and include them among his personal belongings. What are the virtues of owning Göring’s love letters, Hitler’s signature or a few drops of his blood?"




I certainly have to second Ms. Karl's feelings here.  Glenn Beck is one of the most influential figures in the American right today.  He is held in the highest regard by the entire Tea Party movement, and is in a position to influence the thinking of millions.  What can it possibly mean that he has acquired the personal belongings of Hitler and Goering, and paid to have them displayed under the title of "Independence Through History?"

This is just one more sign of the pervasive sickness which exists on the American right- an evil harbinger of what will be our fate if they ever manage to come to power again.  Beck's open adulation of the worst monsters in human history shows how easy it is to gain a platform to spread the most vile kind of hatred and violence in this country.

I have talked about the right's romance with fascism many times, and I am sure that many of my readers thought I was way over the top.

I don't think so.

A Squalid, Ugly Country

How did it ever come about that we have to wake up in the morning to read things like this in the newspaper:

"Snowden won't face torture or execution, Holder tells Russia...


NSA leaker Edward Snowden won't face abuse or the death penalty if he returns to the U.S. as he claimed in his request for political asylum, the attorney general tells Russian authorities."

This is the country that Bush and Cheney, the Republicans and too often their Democratic fellow travellers, the neocons, the teabaggers, the corrupt corporate sellouts in Congress, have bequeathed to us- a country that needs to reassure people that we won't torture someone.

Now, we're right down there with Robert Mugabe or the rulers of the Sudan, telling the world that, oh no, of course not, we wouldn't torture that person; they have no need for political asylum. Just send them home and we will be so good to them.  We won't torture them like all those other people we tortured (and still pretend we didn't.)  I mean, this is AMERICA, where the people throw tantrums when confronted with the horrible prospect of being given health insurance, and threaten armed rebellion if their taxes aren't cut- surely they would rise in revolt if they thought that our government had given into barbarism and decided that it had the right to torture people.

But, no.  As long as it's someone else, preferably someone with brown skin, it's just fine.  Our wonderful absolutely not racist American people have spoken- as long as it happens to someone else, it's not torture.  So come on home, Edward Snowden.  What could you possibly have to fear?

Friday, July 26, 2013

More Shameless Conservative Lying

About their current hero, George Zimmerman.  I keep promising myself that I am going to forget about this nauseating specimen of humanity and move on, but here I go again.  It was my disgust with his story that led me to not post about this ludicrous incident before:
"Now added to the list of  false news reports appears to be the story of George Zimmerman heroically rescuing a family of four from a burning SUV.

The initial report was that George Zimmerman was ‘just coincidentally’ driving by after a car accident occurred, that he leaped out of his vehicle to come to the rescue of the family of four trapped inside as the vehicle caught fire, pulling them to safety. That was followed by the claim that the family he rescued had planned a press event to thank George Zimmerman, but that they canceled due to threats from Trayvon Martin supporters."


My first instinct when I heard this story of Zimmerman leaping from his undisclosed hideout and heroically saving a family, just days after his acquittal for having murdered a black kid, was that it had about as much chance of being true as the old Superman cover above.  I'm sure many of you felt the same way.  Well, now the truth emerges:
"What did occur was that an accident occurred where a car slid on it’s side into a median. People at the scene called 911, which went to the Sanford office of the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office. BEFORE responding to the 911 call, News Ball.com reports that Seminole Sheriff’s Dept. Officer Patrick Rehder, a self-styled friend and supporter of Zimmerman, contacted Zimmerman by cell phone directing him to go to the accident so as to appear to be a hero.

There were plenty of people driving by who witnessed the accident, and stopped to help the family out of the vehicle, BEFORE Zimmerman showed up, according to the 911 calls...Zimmerman then got out of his car with a fire extinguisher, and apparently left without doing anything especially heroic.  Zimmerman did not appear to risk his life to pull anyone out of a burning car, as was claimed.

We have no independent verification that Zimmerman was even there, much less that he did anything heroic.  No photos, no cell phone video, no police video, no other people who were present as indicated by the 911 calls that support that Zimmerman was there, or did what was claimed – that he pulled people from a flaming car wreck."
On the other hand, we do have this interesting story from CNN, which was apparently considered so inflammatory that it was essentially suppressed until after the trial:

"(CNN) -- A woman has accused George Zimmerman, the man charged in the fatal shooting of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, of having sexually abused her for about a decade, beginning when she was 6 years old and he was 8.

The woman said the abuse occurred when her family visited with Zimmerman's. "Every time that we would go up there, I could just look at him and he would give me a certain look and I would know if it was going to happen when we got together for family gatherings. Because he just got this look in his eye like he was going to."

Referring to Zimmerman as "Georgie," she said "he just sucked up to my dad. He was like the son he never had. And he always was just, you know, very charming and personable with everybody in the family, and just always would laugh and entertain everybody. But he was different behind closed doors with me."
 George Zimmerman, superhero who appears out of nowhere to pull children from a burning car or murdering, racist pervert- We report- you decide.


Update:  Well, here's another article casting some big doubt on the whole incident:


"More Evidence To Suggest Zimmerman Car Crash Rescue Was Staged Emerges...with a lot of help, Zimmerman has made himself look like some kind of good samaritan here, when he really is a conniving, sneaky, underhanded man with a Hero complex and inability to accept the fact that he is not an officer of the law."

This article has more information about Zimmerman's contact with the Sanford police before he showed up at the scene, and some new information about the supposed victims of the accident suddenly disappearing from their social media sites.  Man, I hope we get a smoking gun on this latest incident from someone who is looking more and more like the lowest sort of scum.



Thursday, July 25, 2013

Wingnut Wrapup

Yeah, again.  Yup, there's more.  As there always is:

Derek Hunter, Town Hall:  "Mike Lee Prepares to Buck Leadership, Fight to Defund Obamacare...since 2011, when Republicans regained control of the House of Representatives, Republican leadership had some teeth to act on those words, they seem to have turned vegetarian."

Voting 38 times to do away with Obamacare, while doing nothing to address the nation's real problems- not enough focus on Obamacare.  Really, Mike, how about having a useless vote every day in Congress?  That will use up more time and money while accomplishing nothing, which seems to be Republicans' intent- collecting a salary for doing nothing.  And they call food stamp recipients chiselers living off of the government's dime.

Doug Giles, Town Hall:  "Obama Stirs Trayvon Pot to Distract from IRS, NSA, DOJ and Benghazi Scandals"

Doug, I hate to break this to you, but outside of your right wing echo chamber no one even remembers all the lies you cooked up over these phony scandals.  That's because Conservatives are nothing but a pack of smear merchants cooking up a new "scandal" every day, and people have just about tuned out.  Good thing, too, because paying as much attention to your nonsense as Green Eagle does is bad for your health.

Town Hall:  "Mich. gov. says bankruptcy the right choice"

Of course he does.  He's a corrupt, lying scum elected with corporate money, and there's nothing he wants to do more than steal public workers' pensions in order to finance more tax cuts for the rich.

Katy Kieffer, Town Hall:  "Eric Holder vs. Toilet Paper Holder "

Nothing like a serious, polite discussion of the issues, huh?

Sally Pipes, Human Events:  "Thanks to Obamacare, doctor shortages set to quintuple"

This is taken by the right to be another reason that Obama is a miserable human being, rather than a sign of how many people in this country don't have health care.

J. Christian Adams, Rule of Law:  "A Catholic church has been robbed of donations destined for the Marih Center, a Pro-Life crisis pregnancy center in Alexandria, Virginia.  How base must one become to steal from a church, particularly supplies destined for needy mothers?"

Needy mothers indeed.  A facility intended to force your intolerant, hateful religion on helpless pregnant girls.  The people who took donations away from your malignant campaign should get a medal.

Jim Hoft, Gateway Pundit:  "IT GETS WORSE… Obama to Use Community Organizers to Enroll Citizens for Healthcare"


The horror!  Obama is actually trying to enforce the law, just like he swore to do when he took office.  But right wing racist dicks hate the law because it might help black people, so Obama is a monster.

Alan Keyes, Renew America:  "Impeachment must be the centerpiece of the 2014 elections – and candidates for both houses must sign a pledge to impeach!  Boehner must be dumped as Speaker and replaced with the next president of the United States, whoever that may be, chosen by the House – the 'people's chamber'!"

Impeachment!  That's the total agenda of the Republican party, according to Alan Keyes.  Then, once they have stabbed Obama and Biden in the back, the lunatic Republicans in the House will pick the next President.  That's really going to help the country.

Monte Kugliowski, Renew America:  "I have heard commentators repeat the narrative that Zimmerman killed an unarmed teenager – even though they agree with the jury verdict. That is a mistake.  It's a mistake because the fact that Martin was a 17-year-old is knowledge we have now; but it's not knowledge that Zimmerman had."

I see.  Since Zimmerman didn't know Trayvon was an unarmed teen, he wasn't.  Reality is in the eyes of the (white) beholder.  If Zimmerman had thought that Trayvon were a rabid dog, that would have been what he was, so Zimmerman could have killed him without a second thought.  Here's some more malicious idiocy from this very disturbed man:

"It's also a mistake to say that Zimmerman shot an unarmed person. According to the eye-witness testimony...At the point of the pummeling both individuals had access to the same weapon."


What, the gun?  This is the most amazing murder defense I ever heard- at the time of the shooting, both the murderer and the victim had access to the gun, so the victim was armed, and it was just fine for the murderer to shoot first, before the victim could use the murderer's gun.  What kind of a morally repugnant scum can even think of such a line of reasoning?  Oh, I remember now- a Republican.

J. Matt Barber, Renew America:  "Zimmerman speech Obama should have given"

Summary:  A white guy killed a black guy.  Tough shit.  Get over it.

World Net Daily:  "Ex-HHS official: Obamacare killing Constitution"

Supreme Court:  Obamacare is okay with the constitution.
Ex- Bush administration jackass who is now the president of a bible college in Nebraska:  Obamacare is killing the Constitution.
 Take your pick.

Laurie Roth, Renew America:  "There is no other choice: The Affordable Care Act must be de-funded...There is no more time. The House and Senate conservatives must do everything controversial, sneaky, rude, inconvenient, ill-timed, nasty, and costly to stop this unaffordable, unethical, and evil attack on America's healthcare system."

Well, at least she's honest about it.

Gina Miller, Renew America:  "Dirty-rotten commie race hustlers...I know I speak for millions of Americans when I say we are sick to death of the ignorant, Hell-born campaign by the communist Left to feed the fires of racial strife. White America is not racist – No one is "keeping the black man down" in America except the black man himself.  What Barack Obama (or whatever his name is) and his detestable Attorney General Eric Holder have done by inserting themselves into the Zimmerman case is worthy of long prison terms for each of them.   There is no doubt in my mind that these leftist enemies of the United States want to see America burn."

Right, Gina.  Well, I guess that's enough time for you.

Lord Monckton, World Net Daily:  "A statue for Ted Cruz, please"


You're a lord- pay for it yourself.

Jeff Poor, Daily Caller:  "Ted Nugent calls for boycott of Chicago"
Whatever.

Daniel Doherty, Town Hall:  "2016 Poll: Rand Paul Leads Pack, Rubio Plummets"


Faced with a choice between sort of crazy, and totally crazy and a racist to boot, who do you think Republicans are going  to go for?

Moe Lane, Red State:  "Actually, Barack Obama was unlikely to be sensible about Obamacare. Ever."


And Moe is right- if you mean by the word sensible, giving up everything he was elected to do, abandoning his Presidential responsibility to see that the laws be faithfully executed, and just letting the Republicans' rich masters  run hog wild over the entire world.

David Harsanyi, Human Events:  "The Left’s ‘crumbling infrastructure’ myth"

Brought to you by the same people who brought you "the left's global warming myth,"  "the left's evolution myth,"  "the left's growing disparity of wealth myth," and a whole host of other right wing blockbusters.

J. Christian Adams, PJ Media:  "Holder Tries to Re-grab Texas, Announces Nationwide Attack on Election Integrity...Texas AG Tweets At Eric Holder: If It’s War You Want, It’s War You’ve Got."

Alright, then, Texas.  You are going to start a war with the Federal Government over Holder's attempt to enforce the law.  Stop your bullshitting and blabbing already, and get on with the fighting.  Let's see who wins.  Or are you really the lying cowards we always suspected Texans to be?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

More Ranting from Green Eagle about Wall Street

I'm breaking down and revisiting the topic of uncontrolled criminality in the financial world, and how it is crushing us out of existence.  What finally pushed me over the edge is the persistent rumors that the President, who has been worse than useless in controlling Wall Street is now considering making one of the chief Wall Street malefactors, Larry Summers, the chairman of the Fed, further postponing the likelihood that the government will face its responsibilities to keep the economy stable.

A couple of days ago, I posted some longish excerpts from the New York Times about the manipulation of the market in aluminum by Goldman Sachs.  The general take on this conduct is that it was a really shrewd move on their part to artificially drive up the cost of aluminum, damaging both consumers and producers of anything with aluminum in it, while raking in billions in profits from a scheme which was of absolutely no benefit to anyone but themselves.

Well, it is not "shrewd" to find a way to profit at the expense of people who actually produce or consume products, and therefore are the real engines of the economy.  It does not demonstrate extra intelligence; what it in fact displays is a lack of common human decency.  If you and I are walking down the street and we see an old lady, and I mug her and steal her purse while you don't, it's not because I am shrewder than you, it's that I lack morality.  The truth is, anyone can think of ways to exploit the helpless; actually doing them is not a sign of superiority.

No, the real fault lies with the government, which has destroyed regulation on the financial community to the point where these vultures have now amassed so much of our nation's wealth that they can spread their economic pollution into other businesses, turning the whole economy into nothing but a victim of their behavior.

And let's face it- what kind of people are these Wall Street guys, these hedge fund managers, these executives at Goldman Sachs and its peers?  No one goes to work at Goldman Sachs out of altruism, or out of a desire to do good in their life.  Yeah, there are a few of them who are where they are because they inherited daddy's seat on the stock exchange, but by and large, this is a group self-selected for two qualities:  Overwhelming avarice and a near sociopathic obsession with themselves and their own wealth.  The whole system, as it now exists, works to single out the most self-absorbed and greedy people in the country, and then turn over to them the entire workings of the economy.  Is it any wonder that this scheme isn't working out so well?

Here is a truth that was learned in 1929, but which has been shouted out of our national consciousness by corporate funded lies:  The nation and the world cannot afford to allow too much wealth to be concentrated in the hands of so few people, because when it is, their runaway greed destroys everything and we all end up suffering.  That is what is happening now in this country.  There is only one answer: the very rich must be stripped of a large part of what they own and control.  This is not punishment- it is survival.  A Supreme Court justice once said, "the Constitution is not a suicide pact."  Well, the economy is not a suicide pact either.  We need to end the ability of these people to destroy everything we work for all our lives; the out of control passions of a few thousand people cannot be allowed to stand in the way of the survival of everyone else on earth.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Real Story of Our Country Today

No, not the Zimmerman trial or whatever else the cable channels currently have wall to wall coverage of.  It's a long story that amazingly was the headline article in Sunday's New York Times, showing that the mainstream press can still once in a while latch on to what is really going wrong with our country.  Still, the press will largely let this tale of abomination die away as fast as possible, since it is more than obvious that the government will do nothing to rectify the problem.  I am going to quote at some length from the article, because it is so important, but I urge you to try to read the whole thing, which has much information I can't include here:

"MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich. — Hundreds of millions of times a day, thirsty Americans open a can of soda, beer or juice. And every time they do it, they pay a fraction of a penny more because of a shrewd maneuver by Goldman Sachs and other financial players that ultimately costs consumers billions of dollars.

The story of how this works begins in 27 industrial warehouses in the Detroit area where a Goldman subsidiary stores customers’ aluminum. Each day, a fleet of trucks shuffles 1,500-pound bars of the metal among the warehouses. Two or three times a day, sometimes more, the drivers make the same circuits. They load in one warehouse. They unload in another. And then they do it again.

This industrial dance has been choreographed by Goldman to exploit pricing regulations set up by an overseas commodities exchange, an investigation by The New York Times has found. The back-and-forth lengthens the storage time. And that adds many millions a year to the coffers of Goldman, which owns the warehouses and charges rent to store the metal. It also increases prices paid by manufacturers and consumers across the country."

Notice that this scheme, which siphons billions of dollars from manufacturers and consumers- the real participants of the economy- into the pockets of Wall Street bankers, is referred to as a "shrewd maneuver," not as a parasitic bloodsucking by bankers that we have allowed to grow so rich that they can corner the market in an essential commodity without fear of retribution.  What is "shrewd," I guess, is for Wall Street to have bought enough politicians in Washington that this sort of behavior is not a crime:
"...the efforts by Goldman and other financial players has cost American consumers more than $5 billion over the last three years, say former industry executives, analysts and consultants.

The inflated aluminum pricing is just one way that Wall Street is flexing its financial muscle and capitalizing on loosened federal regulations to sway a variety of commodities markets, according to financial records, regulatory documents and interviews with people involved in the activities.

The maneuvering in markets for oil, wheat, cotton, coffee and more have brought billions in profits to investment banks like Goldman, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley, while forcing consumers to pay more every time they fill up a gas tank, flick on a light switch, open a beer or buy a cellphone.

Using special exemptions granted by the Federal Reserve Bank and relaxed regulations approved by Congress, the banks have bought huge swaths of infrastructure used to store commodities and deliver them to consumers."
"Special exemptions and relaxed regulations"...Once again, deregulation, which decriminalizes the behavior of vulture capitalists and allows them to feed on the near-dead remains of the American economy.  But it's all perfectly legal!  Because our corrupt Congress and (unfortunately) our equally culpable President, who has allowed Wall Street chiselers to run the economy for their own benefit, for his whole term, have made it legal!  Because Saint Ronnie Reagan said that it is wrong to stop the rich from doing anything they want, no matter how harmful to the rest of us, and the nation has swallowed that religious dictate whole.  So, if all of the rest of us need to periodically have our lives crushed in order to finance the speculation of the rich, that is just too bad- it's the way God meant it to be, so shut up and starve in the streets.  You do not deserve a home, or food, or medical care, but the owners of Goldman Sachs deserve the billions they have extorted from the trade in Aluminum, in return for which they have contributed nothing except a new way to fleece the rubes.
"...there is no suggestion that these activities violate any laws or regulations.

Goldman Sachs says it complies with all industry standards, which are set by the London Metal Exchange...the London Metal Exchange, which oversees 719 warehouses around the globe, has not always been an impartial arbiter — it receives 1 percent of the rent collected by its warehouses worldwide. Until last year, it was owned by members, including Goldman, Barclays and Citigroup. Many of its regulations were drawn up by the exchange’s warehouse committee, which is made up of executives of various banks, trading companies and storage companies — including the president of Goldman’s Metro International"
No suggestion that these activities violate any laws or regulations.  Of course, the laws and regulations were drawn up by a private group made up of Goldman Sachs itself, and a bunch of like-minded banks and financial groups.  We didn't violate any rule- we wrote the rules ourselves, so who should know them better than us?  And if something we want to do in the future does violate a rule, we can just do away with the rule!  See- we always act in total accord  with the "rules."  Aren't you proud of us?
"All of this could come to an end if the Federal Reserve Board declines to extend the exemptions that allowed Goldman and Morgan Stanley to make major investments in nonfinancial businesses — although there are indications in Washington that the Fed will let the arrangement stand. Wall Street banks, meanwhile, have focused their attention on another commodity. After a sustained lobbying effort, the Securities and Exchange Commission late last year approved a plan that will allow JPMorgan Chase, Goldman and BlackRock to buy up to 80 percent of the copper available on the market.

For much of the last century, Congress tried to keep a wall between banking and commerce. Banks were forbidden from owning nonfinancial businesses (and vice versa) to minimize the risks they take and, ultimately, to protect depositors. Congress strengthened those regulations in the 1950s, but by the 1980s, a wave of deregulation began to build and banks have in some cases been transformed into merchants."

Yeah, all of this could come to an end if the Fed is willing to stand up to this criminal behavior, but of course, there are "indications" that the Fed will let it keep going.  And now they are on to other commodities, like copper- a criminal enterprise approved by the SEC, after a "sustained lobbying effort."  I wonder just what that involved.

Well, let me end by pointing out once again that this monstrous behavior (which, by the way, is said to add $10.00 to every tank of gas you buy) was a crime until Reagan-era "deregulation" simply did away with the laws against it and made it legal.  I have made a jackass of myself here at Green Eagle railing over and over again that deregulation was the greatest fraud ever perpetrated on the American people, and here I am, still at it.  You do not put an end to criminals by legalizing their behavior- you end criminal behavior by putting a large number of criminals in prison, and that is where the upper management of Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup and all the other large-scale corporate criminals belong.  Until they end up there, we will all suffer so these people can own houses in the Hamptons and hundred foot yachts.

Don't hold your breath.




Sorry To Say I Told You So

Who can be surprised about this?

"Welcome back to filibuster city.

The Senate’s agreement to approve President Barack Obama’s nominees and avoid the “nuclear option” will expire later this week after senators are expected to vote in two new members to the National Labor Relations Board. That’s the last part of the deal that expedited seven of Obama’s picks, with the president agreeing to choose two NLRB nominees to satisfy Republicans.

But there’s already a queue forming of new Obama nominees, and Republicans aren’t about to lay down and let this group go through."

Here comes the Republican obstruction of the Senate, from John McCain, Rand Paul, and several others.

"The implication that somehow now Republicans are just going to roll over on these nominations is very wrong,” said Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, a member of GOP leadership.

“If we’ve got members who raise red flags about particular nominees, yeah, the rest of us pay pretty close attention to that,” he added.

Both sides agree there was no handshake agreement to clear the path for future executive branch nominees"

That's right- the Republicans had their fingers crossed behind their backs when they made their agreement to stop misusing Senate rules to force their decisions on the majority of the country.  

And Harry Reid fell for it, hook, line and sinker.  What's more, the entire National press (including most of the left-leaning blogs I read) have crowed for days about what a smashing victory Reid won- giving up the momentum to stop a problem that has damaged the government for years in order to get three or four nominees through the Senate, leaving a backlog of hundreds.  And here we are again, right back where we started.  Just how much stupidity (or complicity, if you are a little more cynical) does it take to think at this point that the Republicans will fairly honor any agreement they make?  And of course, I'm not just talking about Harry Reid here, but our perpetual Pollyanna President too, who can be kicked in the face by Republicans every single day for five years, and not figure out that they are his enemies.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

By All Accounts...

Just noticed this in last week's New York Times Magazine (print edition, so sorry, no link:)

"Since 1994, violent crime in the United States has fallen by more than 40 percent.  By all accounts, police departments today are more professional, less corrupt and more effective than they were 30 years ago.  Yet, for variety of reasons, minority perceptions of the police have not improved."

So, to sum things up briefly, "by all accounts" does not seem to include "minority perceptions."  "All accounts," to the New York Times, apparently only include the same establishment idiots who have compiled a decades-long record of being wrong about everything.  Minorities are not entitled to have "accounts."  That is for their betters.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Depressing Chart of the Day

The truth hurts.  Here's a chart I cribbed from Brad de Long which could make you feel rotten all day:

There is not one reason that this should be true, except for the greed of the rich, and corrupt politicians, very largely Republicans, who fight to give the rich anything they want.  Sorry, "patriots," we really do live in a terrible country- the worst industrial "democracy" on earth.  And the stupidity and greed that makes you blab on about "the greatest country on earth" keeps us this way.  All of us- you (who deserve it) and your victims in the rest of America (who don't but are getting it anyway.)

The truth, in the end, is so simple.  The only reason so many don't see it is that they are blinded by hatred and avarice, and they will themselves to ignore reality.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Time To Break Up the Banks

Way past time, of course.  The gigantic banks that have played such a major role in destroying our economy should have never been allowed to come into existence at all.  Here's part of an excellent column by Dean Baker on the subject:

"In the last few years, plans for breaking up the big banks have gained support from both ends of the political spectrum. Unfortunately, the more centrist figures in both political parties continually stand in the way. This is a clear case where the ability of banks to buy politicians is obstructing the will of the American people.

The basic point is straightforward. The large banks enjoy a massive taxpayer subsidy in the form of implicit insurance. Creditors believe that the government will bail them out if the banks get themselves in trouble, as was the case in the financial crisis. Because of this government guarantee, investors are willing to lend money to J.P. Morgan and Goldman Sachs at lower interest rates than they would demand from a smaller bank.

Bloomberg News estimated the size of this subsidy as $83 billion a year. To put this in perspective, the whole food stamp program costs $76 billion. That means taxpayers give more money to the big Wall Street banks each year than to the tens of millions of people getting food stamps."

And as Baker points out:

"The mega-banks that dominate finance are actually a relatively new creation. The merger wave of the last quarter century has resulted in banks that are more than five times as large relative to the size of the economy as the biggest banks were in the 1980s."

Let's see...25 years ago...that would be in the late eighties- right in the middle of the Reagan-Bush I presidencies.  And what happened then to set this disastrous change in motion?  That was the heyday of what I have repeatedly referred to as the greatest fraud ever perpetrated on the American public: deregulation.

Deregulation, one of the most sacred shibboleths of all Conservative/Republican dogma, in reality consisted in taking laws that protected the American people from the ravages of out of control capitalism, and doing away with them.  What did we get as a result?  We got two massive cycles of artificial boom and bust in real estate, a nearly disfunctional medical care system which replaced patient care with the goal of making a few hundred people as rich as possible, and a mini-depression, only moderated by a Democratic takeover of the government.

Now, protecting Wall Street speculators becomes more important than Social Security, Medical Care, even the basic needs for survival of the working poor.

I want to state the obvious:  The people who control our financial sector today are nothing but career criminals.  And like any other criminals, they are not going to stop until they are severely punished.  I believe that a first step would be to put about 20,000 of them in prison for long terms.  I am not kidding about this number.  Until these parasitic vampires are too afraid to drain the substance out of our economy, they are not going to stop.  And the price of their wealth will continue to be the impoverishment of all the rest of us.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Wingnut Wrapup


Well, now that right wingers have had a few days to get the gloating out of their systems over the fact that a white guy got to stalk and murder a black guy, and other white people decided that was cool, I thought it might be time to get back to their normal, everyday hatred.  So, here goes:

Dennis Prager, Town Hall:  "The Election of a Black President Has Meant Nothing...The greatest hope most Americans -- including Republicans -- had when Barack Obama was elected president was that the election of a black person as the country's president would reduce, if not come close to eliminating, the racial tensions that have plagued America for generations."

Because white assholes like Dennis are still hating as much as they can.  So, that's Obama's fault.  He failed to find a magic way to turn Dennis into a decent human being.  And by the way, Dennis, if we want to know what the American people hoped for when they elected Obama twice, we sure as hell aren't going to turn for the answer to a right wing scum who has spent the last five years smearing Obama.

Heather Ginsberg, Town Hall:  "What It's Like to be a Conservative on a Liberal College Campus"


I hope it feels like being a dumbass.  Because that's what you are, Heather.

Debra J. Saunders, Town Hall:  "Vigilantes for Justice:  Oddly, the folks protesting Zimmerman's vigilantism the most loudly are acting like vigilantes themselves. In Oakland, Calif., protesters chanted: "Zimmerman, the people say guilty." NAACP President Benjamin Jealous launched a petition urging the U.S. Department of Justice to file civil rights charges against Zimmerman. First the verdict and then the trial."

I'm keeping away from Zimmerman stuff as far as possible, but it is so interesting to me to see that right wingers can't tell the difference between murder and saying something at a demonstration.

Phyllis Schlafly, Town Hall:  "Common Core Won't Make Kids Smarter"

No it won't, Phyllis.  However, it will see to it that they learn more things that they need to know.  That's a big minus in your world, apparently.  By the way, just for the sake of truth in advertising, I think it would only be fair of you to use a picture of yourself that was taken after World War II.  Phyllis is about 900 years old, and as mean as they come.  Do you think she really looks like this:


Actually, here is what I think is a more recent picture of Phyllis:



 

Elizabeth Meineke, Town Hall:  "Do You Know What They're Teaching In Your Child's School?"

Yeah.  As far as I can remember, nothing.

Brad Jackson, Red State:  "Why Republicans Are Leaving “Republican” Behind...On today’s edition of Coffee and Markets, Brad Jackson and Ben Domenech are joined by Anne Sorock to discuss a fascinating new study on why Republicans are leaving the GOP label"

Because, much to our amazement, they actually do have some vestigial sense of shame?  ...Nah, that can't be it.  What was I thinking there?

Kathy Shaidle, PJ Media:  "Raining on the Nelson Mandela Parade-You're not supposed to speak ill of the dead, so I figured I'd get a head start"

Communist...Terrorist...Criminal...blah blah blah.  What else would you expect from the same people who brought you "Obama is Satan?"

Wes Vernon, Renew America:  "So, is this the takeover? What do you think?  Inquiries to this column (in person or e-mail) have reflected at least a question in the minds of some Americans as to whether we are in the middle of a Communist take-over.  Let's examine that:


What would you say if you were to learn that legislation backed by Democrats and Republicans – and currently at the top of Capitol Hill's agenda – bears a striking resemblance to a plan carefully crafted by members of the Communist Party USA?"

I'd say that you are just one more right wing liar, Wes, who doesn't have a single fact to support the corporate agenda you are paid to push, so you are just resorting to smears and falsehoods to trick suckers into doing the bidding of the rich.  How about that, for what I would say?

Wes babbles on and on about all of the Communists in Congress, and all the other hooey beloved of teabaggers everywhere.  As you know, I don't often do this, but I am going to link to his post, in case some of you would like to steep yourselves in the sheer madness that is conservative thought today.

Kevin Glass, Town Hall:  "U.S. One of the Least Attractive Tax Climates in the World"

Well, then we'd better get going on climate change.  Wait, No!  Not that!  Help!  Get us out of here!

Walter E. Williams, Town Hall:   What Egyptians Need...What Egyptian citizens must recognize is that political liberty thrives best where there's a large measure of economic liberty."

Yes, that's right!  Just make things better for corporate vultures like the Koch brothers and hedge fund managers, and everything will get better.  Look how well it's worked in the U.S.

Bryan Preston, PJ Media:  "States Enacted ‘Stand Your Ground’ Laws Because Leftists Just Can’t Help But Ruin the World"

That's right- Repoublicans are kissing the asses of big campaign donors from the NRA and passing Koch brothers funded legislation because Democrats did...something.  Anyway, it's all Democrats' fault.  Isn't it always?

World Net Daily:  "Dementia rate drops sharply"

Not among you guys.

Howard Hyde, American Thinker:  "Stop the (Obamacare) World, I Want to Get Off"

Great, Howard.  Move to Somalia, where the government won't do anything for you, just the way you want it.  Howard manages in this post to say one of the stupidest things I have ever heard:

"High-productivity workers in advanced countries are not threatened by low-wage workers in less-advanced ones..."

Oh no, I never heard of a good job here going away because of low-wage workers in other countries.  How could any fool believe that such a thing ever happened?  And why is this true?

"...because it is productivity that counts, not the hourly wage."

Just work ten times as hard, workers, and you can keep your jobs!  Not at the same pay, of course, but at least you won't have to starve in the streets!  Aren't your corporate overlords wonderful to take care of you in this way?

Barbara Kralis, Renew America:  "Catholic Church defends 'Stand-Your-Ground' laws"

I think the Church thought this was a law requiring children to stand still while priests raped them.

Joseph Farah, World Net Daily:  "Holder, Obama: Sharpton-style race-baiting criminals...I don’t know how to say this more delicately."

I'm sure you don't, Joseph, since, as you have proven for years, you are apparently not capable of getting a true sentence out of your mouth.

Astute Bloggers:  "THE LEFT WANTED ZIMMERMAN LYNCHED AS THEY WANTED BUSH LYNCHED AND AS THEY LYNCHED CLARENCE THOMAS."

Lynching: apparently another term for putting someone on the Supreme Court.

The Idiocy of Generating Nuclear Waste

I want to say something about the moment when I realized that all talk about preserving nuclear waste intact for tens of thousands of years is just more lying corporate propaganda.  Actually, what I want to mention is where I was when the emotional argument hit me.  I was here:

Two views of the pathetic remnants of the Roman Forum.  The Forum was one of the greatest creations in the history of mankind, and yet less than two thousand years later, these ruins are all that remain of it. 

No one will ever be able to convince me that nuclear waste, which has a real value to terrorists and countries that want to enrich uranium to build bombs, can ever be safely preserved intact for 60 or 70,000 years- ten times the age of civilization to date.  One look around the Forum should convince anyone of how absurd and malicious that claim is.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Does the Nuclear Industry Ever Tell the Truth?

As long as I can remember, every nuclear disaster- Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, etc.- has routinely been followed by an endless succession of lies, as plant operators and government officials do everything they can to prevent the truth from leaking out. Here's a specimen of typical corporate behavior, from Three Mile Island:
"Company officials created the conditions that led to the accident, then withheld the information about its seriousness from the public, state and federal officials for two days. This was even though the plant was minutes from melting down, which would have spewed lethal radioactivity far and wide. After the accident, company officials lied to the government regarding its causes and covered up facts, which eventually led to the criminal conviction of the company that ran the reactor, GPU subsidiary Metropolitan Edison Co. Rather than fire anyone, GPU rewarded and promoted those who were responsible and who had lied. GPU engaged in an ongoing post-accident cover-up of the accident's seriousness.
Well, Fukushima is no exception:
"The nuclear power plant at Fukushima has been leaking contaminated water into the ocean for the two years since the accident that saw three of the plants six reactors suffer a meltdown, according to the head of the Nuclear Regulation Authority in Japan...

Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), the power plants operator, has constantly denied that any of that water has been leaking into the Ocean, but in the last few days it has switched its position and finally admitted that it can’t actually say for sure that the water is not leaking into the sea.

Tepco has also admitted that the amounts of radioactive cesium, tritium, and strontium detected in groundwater around the plant has been growing, making the job of sealing the leaks even more urgent. Cesium and Strontium are especially dangerous to humans."
In fact, as reported in an excellent post at Op-Ed news:

"By official measurement, the water coming out of Fukushima is currently 90,000 times more radioactive than officially "safe" drinking water."
Oh, only 90,000 times more radioactive...nothing to see here, folks.  Just move along.

And in case you think this is just Japan's problem, take a look at this map of the spread of radiation from Fukishima, from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration:


Coming to a beach near you, if you live on the West Coast of our half of the world.  But of course, the power plant owners have spent two years denying that any radiation is leaking into the water.  And if the history of the nuclear industry is any guide, they will continue to lie their asses off, until people forget about the whole thing, and governments (i.e. us) pick up the tab. 

The nuclear "industry" has been a curse since the day that it was created in the misguided minds of scientists who wanted desperately to believe that they hadn't spent their lives doing nothing but inventing the worst weapon in world history.  It's long past time to put an end to it.  All we would have to do is to make sure that people who operate nuclear power plants know that they will have to pay for all of the costs of their operation, and these cursed facilities will disappear overnight.

Thanks to Crooks and Liars, through whom I found this story.  Don't hold your breath waiting to hear about it on the network news.

 

Monday, July 15, 2013

They Can't Shut Him Up

Thankfully, because he seems to be the only person in the entire mainstream press who is allowed to tell the truth on a consistent basis.  Of course, you know who I am talking about:


"Something terrible has happened to the soul of the Republican Party. We’ve gone beyond bad economic doctrine. We’ve even gone beyond selfishness and special interests. At this point we’re talking about a state of mind that takes positive glee in inflicting further suffering on the already miserable.

The occasion for these observations is, as you may have guessed, the monstrous farm bill the House passed last week.


To fully appreciate what just went down, listen to the rhetoric conservatives often use to justify eliminating safety-net programs. It goes something like this: “You’re personally free to help the poor. But the government has no right to take people’s money” — frequently, at this point, they add the words “at the point of a gun” — “and force them to give it to the poor.” 

It is, however, apparently perfectly O.K. to take people’s money at the point of a gun and force them to give it to agribusinesses and the wealthy...

Somehow, one of our nation’s two great parties has become infected by an almost pathological meanspiritedness...If you’re an American, and you’re down on your luck, these people don’t want to help; they want to give you an extra kick. I don’t fully understand it, but it’s a terrible thing to behold."

I've always had sympathy with the notion that Conservatism/Fascism is deeply connected with a very real form of Sadism- the delight in inflicting pain on others. When they have to choose between what is the prudent, conservative (in the literal meaning of the word) policy, and the one that allows them to hurt  someone else, Republicans seem to have descended into a condition where cruelty wins out every time.  This is a really sick phenomenon*, and I need hardly remark that, as a principle on which to run a country, it is a recipe for disaster.

Thanks again, Paul, for stating the obvious when no one else is willing to do it.


*Not dissimilar, I guess (Godwin be damned) from the policies followed by a certain central European country from 1933 to 1935.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

And Another Little Remark about Zimmerman

Thank you George Zimmerman and your jury, for proving to us that Antonin Scalia and his four right wing fellow travelers on the Supreme Court were so right a couple of weeks ago when they told us that we don't need to do anything about racism, because it doesn't exist any more in America.

I Can't Resist

I know it's useless, but I am going to make a remark about the acquittal of George Zimmerman for his murder of black teenager Trayvon Martin.

I told this story some time ago, but it bears repeating.  As an L.A. Dodger fan, I learned that the Dodgers once had a minor league training camp in Sanford, Florida, the home of Zimmerman.  In the 1940's the Dodgers sent the now legendary Jackie Robinson, who would become the first black man to play major league baseball, to this camp:
"As Jean West, a school teacher in Florida, wrote, "Branch Rickey had miscalculated the degree to which Jim Crow was entrenched in Sanford...The mayor of Sanford was confronted by what the author describes as a "large group of white residents" who  "demanded that Robinson...be run out of town."

The Mayor caved. On March 5th, the Royals were informed that they would not be permitted to take the field as an integrated group. Rickey was concerned for Robinson’s life and sent him to stay in Daytona Beach...

This was a low moment for Jackie. The man whose number, 42, is retired throughout Major League Baseball almost quit and rejoined the Negro Leagues
.
The team then took an extraordinary step... Rickey, ''moved the entire Dodger pre-season camp from Sanford, Florida, to Daytona Beach due to the oppressive conditions of Sanford.''
Sanford, Florida is one of the most racist, hate-filled places in this country.  How can anyone be surprised that a listless prosecution by white males, and a carefully selected jury of white, middle aged women (old enough to still be comfortable with their race hatred) didn't think the stalking and murder of an unarmed black teenager to be worthy of any sort of punishment?

Sad to say, this is reminiscent of the black jury that acquitted the blatantly guilty O.J. Simpson.  Well, one way or another, the nation's justice system got its revenge on O.J. and he is now in prison where he belongs.  I suspect that Zimmerman's crime will catch up with him sooner or later also.  He is destined for a miserable life, and it couldn't happen to a more deserving person.

Testing

The New York Times' lead editorial today is about testing in the schools.  Of course, it starts from the premise that the Bush Administration's insistence on universal testing in public schools was motivated by some real Republican desire to improve the quality of public education:

"The theory behind the No Child Left Behind Act was that holding schools accountable for test scores would force them to improve instruction for groups of children whom they had historically shortchanged."

How can anyone who has followed the history of the Republican love affair with charter schools, vouchers, home schooling, and anything else that eats away at the quality of our public schools possibly believe that for a second?   And at this point in time, how can people delude themselves into thinking that the Republican party gives a damn for anyone but the rich?

Here is the obvious truth about testing:  School testing is linked to the resources that must be provided to schools.  The better a school tested, the more money it would receive to educate its students.  And we all know perfectly well that poor children in poor communities are never going to have available to them the many advantages that rich children have, so better off school districts are always going to do better on these tests.  The entire regimen of testing was designed for one purpose only, and that was to provide an excuse to transfer more money from the poor to the rich.

That is all that the Republican party exists for, as we all well know- cutting food stamps, cutting Social Security, cutting Medicaid, so that rich people and their corporations can receive more and more of our national wealth.  Why would anyone think they would act any differently when it comes to education?

Monday, July 8, 2013

Hiyo Silver and Away!

I remember when friends of mine were starting to work on The Lone Ranger.  I heard of the predicted $200 million price, and I couldn't believe that anyone was actually proposing to spend that kind of money on a cowboy movie.  In my experience this sort of idiotic overspending is almost inevitably accompanied by a total lack of concern with the only thing that really counts in a movie- the story.

Well, here we are.  I, for one, am very glad indeed to see this bloated specimen of poor management crash and burn.  I wish it would lead to more rational thinking at the top,  but this is America, after all.  So, I guess I'm just venting.  Idiots will continue to get millions for running companies into the ground, while the rest of us suffer.  At least in this case the suffering is limited to two and a half hours of boredom.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Egyptian Democracy

I can't resist making a comment about events in Egypt the last few days. A lot of us are conflicted, glad to see  the end of a government intent on imposing a theocratic dictatorship, but concerned that the agency bringing about this desirable end is the military.  Well, I have a couple of thoughts about this.

First of all, for those who don't know what happened in Egypt's elections, there were really three groups competing to run the government after the fall of Mubarak:  the military, which had been in control for decades, the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, and a very large but loose coalition of relative liberals.  It is the last group which really represented the aspirations of the Egyptian people (as far as we can tell) and it is they that pushed Mubarak out.

Just a side comment here:  My wife, in watching the various protests over the last few days, noticed that the Muslim Brotherhood supporters were practically all old guys with beards; the "liberals" (for want of a better term) were mostly young people in jeans and t-shirts.  Just like with the teabaggers in this country, the Islamists have already lost; like the victims of a character in a famous Anime, they are already dead- they just don't know it yet.

Anyway, back to the subject.  In the first round of Egyptian Presidential elections, the military and the Islamists, being generally authoritarian people, each coalesced behind one candidate.  The liberals, being, well, liberals, didn't and ended up fielding several candidates.  The result of this was that, although the liberal candidates in the aggregate easily got more votes than the candidates of either the Islamists or the military, none of the liberal candidates individually could beat those two, and so a runoff election was held, in which the Muslim Brotherhood guy narrowly beat the military guy.

Is this democracy?  Well, in a sense it is, but it is fatally flawed democracy which pushed out the candidates truly representing the majority in favor of the same two factions who have spent decades reducing Egypt to its current pitiful state.  Whatever has happened here, it is clear that the Egyptian people are not satisfied with a mockery of democracy.  We'll just have to wait and see what they end up with next.

Little Note

I'm going to be away for the next week or so.  I've been pretty lethargic about writing anything lately, because most of what is going on in this country is Republicans acting piggish and stupid, and that gets tiring after a while.  Hopefully, I'll feel a little better after my trip.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Their Asshole Behavior Never Stops

Former Republican Congressman and war criminal Allen West, speaking out in outrage because Lady Gaga changed one word when she sung the national anthem:

"Having served in the US Army for 22 years alongside some very brave men and women, I find Lady Gaga's defiling of our National Anthem reprehensible. We are the land of the free because America has always been the home of the brave from Lexington and Concord to Kandahar. This young lady should be taken to Ft. McHenry and given a history lesson as to why Francis Scott Key wrote those words incredible words. In this week where we remember the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg and the 237th anniversary of our Independence is further evidence of the level of ignorance and disrespect some have for our national character. She and all those who cheered her abomination should be ashamed and apologize to every serving and retired member of our Armed Services. But perhaps I ask too much…"

How ashamed and apologetic should West be for having tortured innocent civilians in Iraq, and consequently being forced out of the armed forces, and how ashamed and apologetic should every Republican in this country be for their party, which determined that this hateful monster was suited to serve in Congress?

I have just about reached the end of my toleration with these people.  It is getting very difficult to pay any attention to them any more.

Why We Can't Have Nice Things

Because of this:

Not because this sort of thing is happening in Egypt.  It's because it isn't happening here in the United States.  And because on the rare occasions when it does happen, the American Press, which is obsessed now with the protests in Egypt totally ignores it when it happens in our country.

Meanwhile, this is what has happened to the vast majority of the American people:

Look at column 7.  Currently, the middle class in this country possesses 0.6% of our country's wealth.  This compares to, for example, to 33.4% in Australia, 40.6% in Denmark or 49.4% in the Czech Republic.  We are down on the level of India and China.

Our wonderful country, which not too long ago had the richest, most thriving middle class in the world, now is ranked 27th, and is still on the way down.  And yet, I'd bet that not one American in a hundred, and not one American in a thousand in the red States, believes anything but that we are the richest country on earth.

The United States is today little more than a corpse.  And most Americans seem perfectly happy with their condition- a guarantee that things will only get worse in the future.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Hey, It's July, Harry

Time for Harry Reid to put up or shut up on his promise to change the filibuster rules if the Republicans keep using them to thwart government action on every single thing that doesn't give money to the rich.

My guess:  Harry will shut up.  That's what he always does.