Tuesday, July 27, 2010

We're never leaving Afghanistan because it's too good for business

If the Wikileaks disclosure of classified documents concerning the mangled mess that is Afghanistan changes any of the granite-minds of centrist Democrats (read Rockefeller Republicans) and wing nut, asshole, reactionary Republicans then Pfc Bradley Manning and Julian Assange should receive the Medal of Honor and the Nobel Peace Prize respectively.

Unfortunately it will not. And they will not.
A Christian Science Monitor headline tells the tale:Congress's response to WikiLeaks: shoot the messenger. There's really no need to read further. With the exception of a handful of enlightened Democrats and one socialist, most of Congress is ready, willing and quite capable of throwing more troops, more treasure and time into the sewer that is Afghanistan.
If I have said this once I shall continue saying a thousand times: Since Vietnam, winning a war, any war, was and never has been the objective government of the United States, both on the elective Constitutional side and the career management side. And as we should know from the recent events that led up to and subsequent to George Dubya Bush-Hank Paulson engineered TARP bailout, the upper echelons of career federal management and high seniority elected officials take their marching orders from the Wall Street Investor Class. The Investor Class has no incentive to end America's military adventurism. It's good for business.

The primary goal of what President Dwight D. Eisenhower aptly named the military-industrial complex is to keep the fight, any fight, going as long as possible to keep the the real engine of our creaky domestic economy humming along. In many respects the military-intelligence-industrial complex is the last bastion of American technological expertise, organized labor in the private sector and heavy manufacturing.

I mean, just look around your own home. How many made-in-America products can you find, aside from perhaps the furnace and central air conditioning unit? Even traditionally domestic-manufactured items as washing machines and refrigerators and furniture are increasingly being imported from China. But the United States can still make one helluva air superiority jet fighter!

The another thing the military-intelligence-industrial complex successfully did to keep it deeply embedded in the US economy was the shifting of pension funds from traditional "defined-benefits" pension plans, whereby employee retirement compensation is funded totally by the employer, to "defined-contribution" pension plans, the 401k for example, whereby the employee is responsible for contributing towards his own retirement. But from my own experience with the federal employees version of the 401k, the Thrift Savings Plan, the individual employee is never let in on the secret of where his hard-earned money is being invested. The same can be said of Individual Retirement Accounts, IRA, which I also have. I receive a prospectus once a quarter but reading through it is tedious and the names of many of corporations which the fund held stock in meant nothing. I had no idea what Halliburton did, even though my IRA held its stock, until 2000. Suffice it to say that if you own any investment vehicles for retirement, IRAs or 401k, you are investing in the American way of war. By the collusion of Wall Street and Congress in legislating our we fund our retirement the military-industrial-intelligence complex has made us all accomplices in their crimes.

The most curious thing that keeps the American-way-of-war going is the bleeding heart anti-war movement. Because our oh-so-sensitive Pentagon does not want to upset the bleeding heart anti-war movement the American-way-of-war tries its darnest to limit civilian casualties. I do not support the Bush wars, yet from Troy to Korea wars were never won by worrying about civilian casualties. Look at all the German and Japanese civilians we, the United States the ostensible good-guys, slaughtered in World War II! Sorry to sound like a contrarian but if killing civilians brings an end to a war then so be it. The only realistic way of limiting civilian casualties is to not get militarily involved in the first place!

The only way out of the Afghan morass is: One, our troops on the ground in Afghanistan are defeated in detail, ie massive casualties and surrender of entire elements of army and Marine units to Taliban forces; two, a country-wide mutiny of a majority of American military units in Afghanistan; three, a systemic economic collapse on the home front. The first two scenarios are unlikely, the third almost happened in 2008 but thanks to the Bush-Paulson TARP bailout the military-intelligence-industrial complex shuttered, sputtered but did not fail.

But never fear, good and gentle readers, the next theater of operations in "the war on terror" is on the horizon: Somalia.

So remember, gentle reader, war may not be good for children or other living beings but it is positively wonderful for the Investor Class and its running dog lackeys in the coordinator classes and the union men and women hard at work in the factories that churn out our military weapons of mass destruction.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Comment on Brace Yourself: This Is the Tip of the Iceberg for Oil-Induced Enviro Catastrophes

Yet the Obama administration is openly supporting not an outright ban on offshore drilling, but Kerry and Leiberman's weak-kneed concessions. Their bill does include provisions that allow states to ban operations within 75 miles of their coastlines, as well as a sweetener that allows them to siphon off larger revenue from those operations. Brace Yourself: This Is the Tip of the Iceberg for Oil-Induced Enviro Catastrophes, Scott Thill, Alternet.org

So, O.K., I turn on my TeeVee this morning and there's New York US Senator Chuck Schumer, and usually I put him in the provisional "good guy" column, saying something like, "We are not going to get a "clean" energy bill unless we have offshore drilling."

Schumer was immediately followed by recombinant DNA human-turtle mutant Mitch McConnell saying, "If we don't have offshore drilling we'll have fourteen dollar a gallon gasoline!!!" Of course my personal reaction was, "What's wrong with that."

Next I saw some bloated Louisiana, rednecked commercial fisherman pitching a bitch about how me makes more in one day of fishing than BP paid him for three days of cleaning oil off the Gulf! Oh, poor baby.

And what fuel do you suppose that poor lard-assed Louisiana, rednecked commercial fisherman uses to power his boat to go to the fishing grounds to make more in one day of good fishing than BP pays in three days of cleaning up the area of his livelihood? I'd say diesel fuel refined from petroleum, wouldn't you.

And I'll bet you even money that when that same bloated, rednecked Louisiana fisherman sets down to slam down a few watery Bud Lights with his buddies, he'll start bitching how big gub'munt ain't doin' enuff for 'em down here. Course he and they all hate big gub'munt 'cause big gub'munt dictates to 'em what they can catch. Then he'll start moaning how the price of diesel fuel's going up because of this oil spill; how it'll cut into his profits and he jes' cain't go on like that. And all his buddies will shout their assent.

Then some other barroom sage will interject, "Mubbe that offshore drilling ain't so bad. It brings in a lotta jobs fer young folk an' them oil rigs are good fer fishin'." And our lard-assed, rednecked protagonist and all his buddies will nod in agreement.

From the corner of the bar comes a voice saying he heard tell that that Nancy Peelosee and her California tree-huggin' pals wanna stop offshore oil drillin' altogether and that'll spell the end of commercial fishin' in Louisiana! And the bar will erupt in shouts of acclamation. Why thanks to them tree huggers the gub'munt tells us fishermen what we can catch and when we can catch it, shouts another. And a round of anti-government grumbling cascades round the bar.

And so we Americans are caught in a web of our own making. We say but we don't do. We bitch but nothing changes. The ideologically pure left's wishing to improve things for what it sees as the better feeds right into the lunatic right's paranoia about loosing its pathetic jobs and ways of life.
And that paranoia is kept at a fever pitch by constant feedback from right wing talk radio and FauxNews.

Two things are clear, we will never see any significant change in this country until somebody dies. Perhaps very many somebodies.

Secondly the forces of reaction have done a better job in studing and understanding the psychology of the working middle class, especially "white" working middle class, than its counterparts on the ideologically pure left. While the ideologically pure left says it stands for the interests of working men and women, they too often look at their leftist saviors as creatures from another planet.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Comment on Jim Hightower Op-ed Posted on Alternet.org

Jim Hightowner has a spot-on op-ed posted at Alternet.org titled The Right-Wing Loons Should Stop Blaming "God" for the Oil Spill

Hightowner's right, gawd didn't cause the BP Gulf oil spill, human avarice and cupidity did. Not only on the side of the oil company executives and their major shareholders but on the side of politicians for campaign contributions and average Americans hungry for cheap shrimp and fish and even cheaper gasoline.

And sorry, even though this oil spill will damage an already endangered eco-system, I can not feel too much sympathy for the shrimp and fishing boat owners and operators, the charter fishing and excursion boat captains. What do you think they used to fuel the engines of their boats so they can shrimp, fish? Their farts?

In the last presidential election these assholes voted for cheap oil. They voted for "drill, baby, drill!" Look at any detailed map of the '08 election. Why in St. Bernard Parish, LA, directly in the path of the oil slick, 71% of the eligible voters cast their ballot for the McCain-Palin ticket and "drill here, drill now!" And I will wager that the older voters of St Bernard Parish overwhelmingly cast their ballots in 1980 for Ronald Reagan, apple pie and SUVs.

Here's how fucking brilliant the American people are:
Despite the spill, 60 percent say they support allowing for more drilling off U.S. coasts, and 53 percent believe that offshore drilling’s potential economic benefits outweigh its potential harm to the environment.

The public is split on the federal government’s response to the spill: 45 percent say it has not done enough, while 43 percent say it has done enough.
Poll: Despite spill, support for oil drilling high, MSNBC.com

I was talking about this to a buddy of mine last night. I was complimenting him on his comments to an NPR talk show. But when I launched into my rant about the dumbasses on the Gulf coast who vote for cheap oil, guns, gawd and the right to be as stupid as they can to be, he said, oh, no, no, no. Those poor dumb bastards are "victims," he said, of slick Madison Avenue advertising. They, and the vast majority of Americans, are conned, hoodwinked, bamboozled by a never ending stream of propaganda telling to buy SUVs and big block V8 pick ups.

True enough. But, I countered, you don't have to pay attention to the propaganda. And we've always had the option of fuel efficient vehicles and voting for eco-friendly politicians. But we Americans never took those options. We never learned a thing from the Exxon Valdez or the OPEC oil embargoes of the 1970s. I reminded him of a late mutual friend who, dedicated to the outdoors and the ecology as he was, never in his short life owned a fuel efficient automobile; the guy always owned full-sized vans, SUVs and pick up trucks. Dumbass Americans have gotten used to $3 a gallon gas so what the fuck?

I guess B.F. Skinner is right and Noam Chomsky is wrong, we Americans are little more than pigeons in one of Skinner's electrified boxes dancing to the Investor Class's tune every time they flip the switch.

So next in this oil spill saga the commercial shrimp and fishing boat owner-operators, the charter fishing and excursion boat captains and the owners of casinos and resorts all along the Gulf Coast will start whining and crying that the government isn't doing enough for them. Conveniently they make themselves victims of their own stupidity and want the rest of the country to feel so sorry for them and bail their asses out.

Even the CEOs being grilled in Congress right now are playing the victim: "Oh, fuck, it ain't BP's fault this thing blew up it's Transocean's;" "No it's not Transocean's fault, it's Halliburton;" "Hey, guys, don't get on Halliburton's case, it's BP's fault."

But watch this Fall the dumbasses who are getting drenched in crude will turn around and vote for some sleazy used car salesman of a Republican who will sell them out to the corporations at the drop of a dime. Why? Because the "Lie"-brules are gonna take their guns, kill babies, spit on the American flag and socialize medicine!

Meanwhile the Greens, Socialist Workers and libertarians will run around telling everyone and everything that they are not in big business's pocket and not do a fucking thing as usual. They would rather whine how the system is stacked against third, forth and fifth parties; even enough in clean money, clean election states, where they have no excuses and should be making in-roads, they are not doing anything either!

Face it people, we are screwed and as the late Walt Kelly put the in the mouth of his swamp sage Pogo Possum, We has met the enemy, and he is us!

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Response to Jack Smith's op-ed posted at Alternet.org

Look Out, Obama Seems to Be Planning for a Lot More War, by Jack Smith (reposted from Asia Times Online)

Oh, please, another tiresome accusatory article on an American president--really any and all US presidents since William McKinley--furthering the cause of US imperialism.

Somehow in the world's oldest democracy commentators of every political stripe pretend that our presidents have some sort of magical dictatorial powers to do or undo that which they like or loath. But that's the beauty of being an American citizen, one can set in the rural remoteness of the Hudson River Valley or the cornfields of central Iowa or the mountains of Idaho and pretend one is not an accomplice in the expansion of the military-industrial complex and our overseas American empire.
That's bullshit. If one is a citizen of the United States, from the closeted gay Second Amendment-is-the-First Amendment gun nut to the Nike-wearing college student anarchist, one is as guilty as President Obama in the growth of the military-industrial complex and the overseas empire.

Noam Chomsky, collecting his pension checks from an institution of higher learning high on the Pentagon's funding list, is just as guilty as the poor kid from Appalachia, brain filled with patriotic bullshit from right wing talk radio and his semi-literate preacher down at the local Pentecostal church, who enlists in the All Volunteer Force because it pays better than Wal Mart and Mooslims hate Jesus.

The military-industrial complex percolates throughout every facet of American life, from McDonald's to Halliburton, from Disney to Raytheon, from FauxNews to Lockheed Martin. In the bases and camps of our AVF the brainwashed dine on the same mass produced crap their civilian counterparts dine, KFC, McDonald's, Coke, Pepsi.
Stooges who never served in any of the uniformed services don their own homemade uniforms of black leather boots, pants, vest to ride their noisy Harleys in honor "heroes" returning from Iraq and Afghanistan in boxes so a tiny, noisy gaggle of homo-haters from Topeka, KS will disturb the solemnity of the occasion.

Fat, shaven-headed, American flag grease-painted, non-military veteran, anti-union assholes standing at attention, saluting the USAF jets flying over the NFL stadium to honor "our heroes in uniform" are just as guilty as the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers members clocking off at General Dynamics Electric Boat plant in Connecticut.

Bleeding heart liberal politicians who agitate so openly homosexual men and women can serve as officers and enlisted personnel in the AVF are just as guilty as conservative politicians smiling approvingly of illegal immigrants getting fast-tracked for citizenship by enlisting in the AVF.

The only way to get the United States off this track is if one or more of three events happen: new legislation nationalizing the manufacture of weapon systems, an arsenal system, taking the profit incentive out of manufacturing and procurement and a universal service draft; the defeat of the AVF, Army, Navy, Ari Force, Marines, in the field in detail as was Germany and Japan in World War II; a total economic collapse which would necessitate the US government shrinking the Pentagon budget, closing overseas bases and reducing the size of the AVF. Of the three economic collapse is the easily obtainable, but I doubt if anything of substance changes in my life time.

So go ahead an bluster and bitch. You have a First Amendment right as do I.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Tea Party Network

Look, I like marijuana...

Look, I like marijuana, I don't know why I like it I just do. It's like liking chocolate. why does anyone like chocolate? Because it's sweet? There are a lot of sweet things. But chocolate has this combination of molecules, flavonoids, alkaloids and what-have-you-oids that in combination have proven health benefits.

Well marijuana is sort of like chocolate. Marijuana has all these cannabinoids that work in conjunction with one another and only work with one another. So despite science's best efforts to refine the active ingredients out of pot and take the "high" out as it were,only whole leaf, organic marijuana has a medicinal effect.

So that's NORML's latest angle for legalizing marijuana, medical marijuana. And so I found myself with a couple of hundred other people at a rally for medical marijuana on the west lawn of the Iowa State House, of course no television cameras were there. Speaker after speaker testified to the efficacy of marijuana as a medicine, pitched a bitch about the harshness of the anti-marijuana laws or advocated for the end to "pot"-hibition. You know, I've heard this all before. Most of the rhetoric was a lot of hot air and a curious mixture of religiosity, "God created marijuana," and libertarian politics, "Ron Paul's for medicinal marijuana. Vote for Ron Paul!," with a caveat not to vote Republican even though marijuana has allies in both parties.

And as I looked around the crowd, mostly young people in their late teens, early twenties with a smattering of geezers like me, though to be truthful most of the geriatric-tokers sported gray, greasy ponytails and bushy, gray beards over their marijuana leaf-decorated t-shirts. The whole enterprise looked frozen in time, circa 1972 or so.

And that's what is so bullshit about the USA. Culturally we have no identity, no authenticity of purpose or being.  People in the United States tend to wear costumes for whatever function or whatever political or religious or recreational sport we happen in which we participate. Guys who ride twin-V motorcycles, whether it be Harley Davidson, Victory or one of the Japanese brands, all have to wear black leather vests, blue jeans, some sort of do-rag et cetera. So except for a couple of Boomer moms who were there in support of their sons, I was the only guy not wearing any "marijuana leaf" apparel. I was also just about the only guy over fifty not sporting a gray beard or a greasy, gray ponytail.

And here's what I'm getting at when I say the USA is all about bullshit: Activism for marijuana legalization has been going on for something like forty years now and, with the exceptions of the 14 states that allow medical marijuana, any move toward legalization has never gotten off the snide. Now back in 1972 we could point to our parents' generation and blame them for being the stumbling block but who do we point at now?

I'm pointing the finger at my generation. What a fucking disappointment we Boomers are. Now as sure as I type this some Boomer motherfucker will say I'm wrong and list all the fucking wonderful things the Boomer and GenX generations have done to date. To which I answer: Bullshit.

Look at the leadership of both political parties, with the exception of a few relics like Robert Byrd of West Virginia, they are all Boomers, especially so the the Republican Party. That pumpkin-faced, prick, House Minority leader, John Boehner is a Boomer as is his butt-boy Eric Cantor of Virginia. George Dubya Bush, the most incompetent president ever, is a Baby Boomers as is his mentor "Turd Blossom" Karl Rove. As was Rove's guru Lee Atwater whose 1988 "Willie Horton" commercial scared the living shit out of white, suburban Boomers enough for them to vote for Dubya's not as incompetent father George H.W. Bush. Atwater, it should be noted, loved the Blues and playing Blues guitar. Now I've never known anyone who is a Blues aficionado who doesn't smoke pot so it's a good bet Atwater toked.

Oh yeah, and somebody voted for Ronald Reagan. That bastard's election can't solely be blamed on the New Deal-World War II generation, our parents. I know my old man and my mom thought Reagan was a piece of shit even then. But somebody had to vote for him.

And need I point out the Rock world's raging Boomer reactionaries like Vincent Damon Furnier a.k.a. Alice Cooper, Ted Nugent and Jeff "Skunk" Baxter?

So do I think marijuana will be legalized any time soon? No! Not while the Boomer and GenX generations are around. My generation, the American version, is without a doubt the most hypocritical, fucked up piles of dung squeezed into human skin to have ever walked the face of the Earth.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Re: "Why Law Enforcement Officials Should Hate Arizona's Racist New Law"

"Why Law Enforcement Officials Should Hate Arizona's Racist New Law, Alternet.org

My Comment:
What the Arizona anti-immigration law really proves is the fecklessness of the Green Party and other ideologically pure leftist groups.

Why? Because Arizona is a clean money, clean elections state so Greens and other ideologically pure leftist political parties and individuals can not fall back on their standard excuse of lack of funding to get get the message out.

In fact when Arizona passed its clean money, clean elections law the Republican Party of Arizona feared a wave of liberal/progressive Democrats and more radical leftist parties sweeping state house elections. That ain't happened. In fact just the opposite occurred.

Clean money, clean elections has led to Arizona politics being the playground for Ayn Rand-cultists, George Lincoln Rockwell-groupies, John Birch Society-fellow travelers, Grover Norquist-lovers and other various and sundry flavors of right wing anarchists, homophobes and xenophobes.

Look at who's running for what in Arizona this fall and to date only one Green, a Richard Grayson, has declared. He's running against the incumbent Republican US Representative the aptly named Jeff Flake. On the Web site USElections.com Grayson is characterized as an "Attorney, NY Resident," traits which will not endear him with the former Midwesterners and Californians of white Arizona.

Face it, the United States is screwed. And it is the Baby Boomer generation that has screwed it. I mean we Boomers were supposed to be this great break from the "conservatism" of our parents. What a load of bullshit that was! We Boomers were supposed to be the generation of peace, love and understanding. What a load of bullshit that was! What is going down in Arizona and across the nation will not straighten out until the Boomers and GenXers are out of the picture, and that's going to take another generation. Thirty years! By then the damage may be irreversible. But by then, hopefully, I'll be dead.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

It's all bullshit if Employee Free Choice Act isn't passed

It's Sunday and this is the day President Obama eulogizes the 29 scab miners who died needless deaths from a preventable explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine in Montcoal, WV owned by Massey Energy; the CEO of which should face indictment for man slaughter but more than likely will not and go on his merry way killing gullible scab labor for the greater glory of the shareholders.

As reported by the Washington Post, President Obama plans on ladling out the usual treacle about how these brave men risked their lives, "... all for their families. ...These miners lived - as they died - in pursuit of the American dream." It seems the "American" dream these days consists of owning a nice pick up, a fishing boat, a two-story tract house, an LCD big screen TV and being treated alright by the corporate bastards who own one's soul, q.v. April 7, SimplyErnest.blogspot.com. "Whipped American Worker"

The Washington Post report adds, the president plans on reminding all of we mere mortals, as these 29 martyrs are carried aloft to some coal begrimed Valhalla, "Never forget, they say, miners keep America's lights on."  He will then pledge greater vigilance and detail for mine safety so future Upper Big Branch mining disaster will never happen again.

Now here's why the president's speech is bullshit: nowhere does he mention, at least as reported by the Washington Post, the fact that traditionally unionized mines have safer work environments. While the president waxes poetic on how the dead hero miners and all us consumers of electricity are "...all family. We are Americans[,]" he breaths not a word about the Employee Free Choice Act.

EFCA is a bill that needs even greater legislative priority that "immigration" reform.
The Employee Free Choice Act streamlines procedures for employees to decide on union representation and bargain a first contract. Under this bill, a union would be automatically recognized in a workplace when a majority of employees sign cards stating that they want to be represented by that union. To facilitate agreement on a first contract for employees after the union is recognized, the bill enables either the union or management to refer any disputes about the contract to mediation if an accord has not been reached within 90 days after bargaining begins. If the mediator is unable to reach a deal within an additional 30 days, the dispute will go to binding arbitration with the arbitration agreement binding for two years. Finally, the bill increases penalties for violations of labor law: raising fines, tripling the amount of back wages employees can receive if they are illegally fired or discriminated against for exercising their labor rights, and requiring the courts to seek injunctions against employers, as well as unions, that violate labor laws.
But the sticking point is the simple "card check" requirement. As usual the forces of reaction, never champions of democracy unless it suits them, have gone into full cry that card check "would effectively eliminate private voting."  Of course the suburban white boys who pump out this propaganda have never gone through a National Labor Relations Board union-certification vote. Or if they have they have done so from management's perspective and know that management intimidation, management snitches and ballot stuffing are par for the course.

The sad fact is the American worker is so whipped and brainwashed by thirty plus years of right wing radio and television demagoguery, in the sense of, a leader who makes use of popular prejudices and false claims and promises in order to gain power, that he or she accepts the fact that he or she is fungible.  Why do you think corporations and even government agencies have substituted the bureaucratese gobbledygook of  "human resources department" for the older and straight forward "employement office?" As the whipped American worker Kevin Lambert says, "They treat me alright."

If Congress and the president do not make progress on the EFCA then these 29 miners will have died in vain.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Calling Doctor Keynes

O.K., we can piss and moan all we want about how both political parties are in corporate America's hip-pocket and they are. And we can stomp up and down, thump our chests and yell we're not going to vote or we're going to vote Green, libertarian or socialist.

And it won't do a bit of good.

Why? Because for the last sixty years or so the "free market" school of economic thought has been in the ascendancy and it doesn't look as if it is about to be totally discredited at any time in the immediate future. Oh, sure we've just had this "great recession," but the coordinator class fucks who got hurt by it the least are already seeing an up-tick in their stock portfolios so no biggie. Right? Newsweek magazine says "we're back" so it must be true.

And the Investor class bastards who were the root cause of the "great recession of 2008" are reaping even greater financial rewards than their coordinator class employees, life is good again.

So what if a bunch of unwashed, Jesus-loving working class schnooks are unemployed? Keeps the cost of labor down. And through years of clever and not-so-subtle propaganda the dumb fucks of the laboring middle classes are at each other's throats and in the mood to burn down Washington, D.C. Life is great for the Investor class and its coordinator class lapdogs. They are after all modern America's philosopher-kings.

And as all good philosopher-kings they have concocted a noble lie that a "free market" economy is something akin to a force of nature. To the four forces that hold the universe together, gravity, electromagnetism, the strong and weak nuclear forces, add the "free market." As I interpret this noble lie, the "free market" economy works independent of human control much like gravity say. Its effects can be observed and quantified but human intervention to change the course and behavior of the "free market" are doomed to failure. The best way for mere humans to interact with the "free market" is to let it work its magic with as little human intervention as possible.

At least that's what these fuckers tell us. They know its bullshit. They know that the economy does not work like a gigantic farmers' market. They know that their profits go up when competition--that catch phrase of the capitalist catechism which if we groundlings chant it enough will produce low, low prices-- is stifled.

And it has come to pass, as blowback from the Cold War, that our university schools of business are now mere seminars for the ordination of priests to the "free market." Look at recent US Treasury Secretaries from the current Tim Geithner and Bush's Hank "Wall Street Bailout" Paulson to Nixon-Fords' William Simon whose quotation, "There is only one social system that reflects the sovereignty of the individual: the free-market, or capitalist, system[,]" could have come from the pen of Ayn Rand.

America's middle classes are just fucked until we can demystify and demythologize the "free market" and its high priesthood.

Unfortunately the any ideas of an alternative to the "free market" from the ideologically pure left comes down from a gaggle of tenured university fine arts and language professors, trust fund babies, the true leisure class of the Investor class, and a semi-repentant Reagan-era Assistant-Treasury Secretary, himself the architect of "Reagan-omics!" For the most part it is warmed over sophomore year "Radical Students Brigade" Marxism, sans dictatorship of the proletariat.

The tea bagger far right is even more dismal as it is stupid in calling for even fewer federal regulations over corporate power then is already the case.

Look, I have no problem with capitalism if it is kept small and manageable. Nor do I have any problem with aspects of socialist economic principals operating in industries and services which effect the lives of the vast majority of the public, i.e. the electric grid, medicine, education, basic transportation and communications. What I do have a problem with is the "free market" ruling our lives as if it were religion. Economies are neither forces of nature or divinely inspired. They are the most human of inventions after religion itself.

We need to steer a middle course between the Scylla of the marshmallow-Marxism of the ideologically pure left and the wild "free market" Charybdis of the Randian tea bagger right.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Found in the email inbox

This is an email I received from an otherwise nice lady. They only real thing we have in common is our heart conditions, cardiomyopathy, and certain cardiac drugs we take. I've never met her in person though I do know she is a few years older than I, is not college educated, is on Social Security and Medicare and was in sales and marketing before retiring.

This one is a little different ...

Two Different Versions ...

Two Different Morals

The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.   The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed. The grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.

Be responsible for yourself!
(No the original moral is :"It is best to prepare for the days of necessity.")


The ant works hard in the withering heat and the rain all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while he is cold and starving.

CBS, NBC , PBS, CNN, and ABC show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food.

America is stunned by the sharp contrast. How can this be, that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?

Kermit the Frog appears on Oprah with the grasshopper and everybody cries when they sing, 'It's Not Easy Being Green...'

ACORN stages a demonstration in front of the ant's house where the news stations film the group singing, We shall overcome. Then Rev. Jeremiah Wright has the group kneel down to pray for thegrasshopper's sake.

President Obama condems the ant and blames President Bush, President Reagan, Christopher Columbus, and the Pope for the grasshopper's plight.

Nancy Pelosi & Harry Reid exclaim in an interview with Larry King that the ant has gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper, and both call for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his fair share.

Finally, the EEOC drafts the Economic Equity & Anti-Grasshopper Act retroactive to the beginning of
the summer.

The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the Government Green Czar and given to the grasshopper.

The story ends as we see the grasshopper and his free-loading friends finishing up the last bits of the ants food while the government house he is in, which, as you recall, just happens to be the ant's old house,
crumbles around them because thegrasshopper doesn't maintain it.

The ant has disappeared in the snow, never to be seen again.

The grasshopper is found dead in a drug related incident, and the house, now abandoned, is taken over by a gang of spiders who terrorize the ramshackle, once prosperous and peaceful, neighborhood.

The entire Nation collapses bringing the rest of the free world with it.

Be careful how you vote in 2010.
Ive sent this to you because I believe that you are an ant not a grasshopper!

Make sure that you pass this on to other ants.

Dont bother sending it on to any grasshoppers because they wouldnt
understand it, anyway
I think the racist and classist subtext is clear. Ants are suburban white boys and girls, grasshoppers are every one else, especially blacks since "spiders" seems code for Mexicans.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

The whipped American worker

Behold the face of one Kevin Lambert, a whipped American worker.

Mr. Lambert works for Massey Energy at the Upper Big Branch Mine in Montcoal, WV, the site of a suspected methane explosion that killed 25 of Lambert's fellow workers.

Mr. Lambert was interviewed by Harry Smith on CBS's "Early Show" this morning. Here's what he had to say:
"We know it's gassy coal," he said. "We know that when - you're gonna hit methane. You don't know where it comes from. Could come from a crack. Could come anywhere. All it takes is a spark. I can't see how they can point a finger at just anybody. It's just methane."

Does he feel Massey, whose safety record has come under scrutiny, is a safe operator?

"They treat me alright," Lambert replied. "There's no safe mines. I don't care where you go. You're not gonna find a safe mine. They could do whatever they want - make all the laws.

"When a man goes (into a mine), he knows that could be it. … You stick your head between two rocks to make a living, you know you're taking a chance. These 25 guys … they died for a cause. Every time you turn your lights on at home … you should think about them guys.

"Everybody overlooks West Virginia. They never think about coal. We need coal. We gotta have coal. Ya gotta have it. Gotta have it. Bottom line - gotta have it."

The printed word cannot convey the impression of the contrived nature of Mr. Lambert's statement: These 25 guys … they died for a cause. Every time you turn your lights on at home … you should think about them guys. Wanton disregard for worker safety is the price we Americans pay for electric energy, eh, Mr. Lambert? Are your 25 dead co-workers martyrs for the American way-of-life, heroes of free market capitalism, not victims?

Mr. Lambert spoke quietly and resignedly when there should have been outrage. But the company, Massey Energy, that owns the mine in which he works and where 25 of his co-workers died was cited 458 time last year for safety violations. Thanks to Massey CEO Don Blankenship's political connections those were ignored, fines never paid. And yet according to Mr. Lambert, "They treat me alright."

I am sure Mr. Lambert is a patriotic American. Perhaps he is a veteran. I am sure he goes to church on Sundays, owns a pick up, maybe a fishing boat. His wife probably works and they have a mortgage to pay and young'ums to feed, cloth and school. I am also certain Mr. Lambert considers himself a rugged individualist who does not need a union boss leeching dues from his paycheck. So he kisses the hand that holds the whip.

What a sad commentary on the American worker.  Not far from Montcoal,  in 1921, 7,000 miners rose in rebellion against greedy mine-owners, their hired goons and corrupt state officials in the Battle of Blair Mountain for the right to unionize. Mr. Lambert may even have ancestors who fought at Blair Mountain but he is whipped, broken. He, like so many American workers, has accepted his fate as a fungible commodity, a thing to be thrown away like broken tool when it is no longer useful.

And so, once the dust is settled and all the bodies are brought to the surface and after all the funerals, Mr. Lambert and his whipped co-workers will put their heads between the rocks knowing full well they too could be free market martyrs.    

Saturday, March 20, 2010

LTE: Des Moines Register

It is too bad the delicious irony of the up-coming fall elections is lost on the majority of Iowa's registered voters.

If polls are to believed Iowans, like Americans everywhere, are in an anti-incumbent, throw the rascals out mood. Yet if the Des Moines Register's Iowa poll is to be believed Iowans are ready and willing to return Republican Charles Grassley to the US Senate. Grassley is the consummate professional politician admitting in a viral Internet video that he has in fact suckled at the public's breast nearly all his adult life. Yet every six years the ultimate Washington insider since 1976 transforms himself into the Washington outsider while accepting the generous donations of pro-Republican lobbyists.

Of course Iowa Democratic Party chairman Michael Kieran, after a long and laborious search, has done boosted Grassley's chances by resurrecting the political career of the feckless Roxanne Conlin, she of 1980s Tax-Ann fame. To date neither Iowa's Green Party or Socialist Workers' Party or Tea Party activists of a libertarian bent have announced any candidates for US Senate. Iowa's voters are left with the usual choice between a Tweedle-Dee Democrat and a Tweedle-Dum Republican.

Paraphrasing Jimmy Carter's apt observation that America deserves government as good as its people from where I sit we are a very sorry lot indeed.

Response to op-ed "Barack Obama, I Want a Divorce"

Response to op-ed "Barack Obama, I Want a Divorce", by Clancy Sigal posted March 20, 2010 at Alternet.org.

Ha, ha, ha, ha, haw...We are truly fucked.

Dumbass leftists, progressives, liberals, Greens or what have you who stand in opposition to the corporatist evil personified in today's Republican Party, like the Judean rebels squabbling among themselves when Titus was at the gates of Jerusalem, are prepared to commit elective hari-kari in the fall and hand control of the federal legislative branch back to a cadre of anti-government used car salesmen.

Boy, that'll teach'em.

Look at the polls, dumbasses. In California the corrupt Republican eBay ex-CEO Meg Whitman has pulled even or ahead of Jerry Brown, née Governor Moonbeam, in the race for the governorship. Generic polls show Republicans in many competitive races leading or tied with incumbent Democrats http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/dcnow/2010/03/polls-show-gop-gaining-in-election-year.html.

And yet the ideologically pure left is ready, willing and able, in the name of ideological purity, to hand Congress to these Reagan-worshiping, corporate ass-kissers. I do not understand the left's suicidal tendencies.

I mean, sure I'm as fed up with Democratic sell outs as much as the next guy. But I fear the Republican used car salesmen even more. The used car salesmen of the GOP are a threat to our democracy. The Republican used car salesmen are a danger to the republic! And yet the small-d democrats of the ideologically pure left are ready to hand the keys to the US Capitol over to Mitch McConnell and John Boehner.

That's really fucking smart.

That'll solve everything! Look, leftist dumbasses, if you intend on running insurgent third-party candidates in why not do so in "safe" Republican US Congressional districts? Quite running spoiler candidates in close Congressional and Senate races. What the fuck does that prove? Your leftist shit don't stink?

I'll take the lesser of two evils any day. Sorry.

To me it only makes sense to kill, to destroy, to annihilate the great evil first then pick off the lesser evil at one's leisure. Evidently that logic doesn't register with America's ideologically pure left.

In spite of the polls now there is a real opportunity to irrevocably hurt the Republican Party in the fall elections. What Greens or Socialist Workers or whatever must do is support and vote for progressive Democrats in primary challenges in "safe" Democratic district and take on reactionary Republicans head-on in "safe" Republican US Congressional districts where the establishment Democratic Party usually offers only token resistance.

But the usually knee-jerk leftist reaction is: "Holy shit! Dennis Kucinich voted for the pro-corporate HCB! Let's get a real progressive in there." So the Greens or some other leftist outfit runs a spoiler candidate and when a used car salesman of a Republican ousts Kucinich we're all wondering how that could happen.

Unfortunately since the ideologically pure left refuses to pull its head out its ass the only thing I can do is hold my nose and vote Democratic.

Like I always say, paraphrasing Jimmy Carter, America deserves government as good as its people. And from my perspective we're one sorry lot.

Monday, February 22, 2010

NEW: Brian Duffy Cartoon - Photos - KCCI Des Moines

NEW: Brian Duffy Cartoon - Photos - KCCI Des Moines

Trento’s Take: Fox News Can’t Upset Murdoch’s Saudi Prince

Last month I appeared on Fox News Network’s morning show, Fox and Friends, to talk about airline security. Normally such appearances end up as clips on the Fox News Web site. Granted, the Steve Doocy interview was hardly groundbreaking, but that is seldom a criterion for feeding the beast that is a major cable network news Web site. Curiously, I was quoted in a written piece on the site that got a fair amount of pick-up, but no video.
It was not until a few days later that I learned what may have been behind the absence of a video clip on the Web site. I had said to Doocy that Saudi Arabian money was still financing Al Qaeda. Doocy did not react to my comment. But ten days later I learned that Fox’s parent company, News Corporation, was, at the time of my interview, negotiating with a Saudi prince to vastly increase his stake in the company.

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Monday, February 01, 2010

Move Your Politicians

In the Nineteenth Century populism was characterized by first anger and then legislative action against banks, monopolies and the railroads. Among the leaders of the populist movement were Democrat William Jennings Bryan, socialist Eugene V. Debs and Republicans Robert La Follette and Theodore Roosevelt.

The true evil genius of today's banksters, monopolists and investors is that through organizations they bank roll, Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform, The Cato Institute and so on, and especially their control of the "mainstream media" featuring right wing mouthpieces like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh populism has been turned on its head. Through decades of propaganda, beginning as far back as the Nineteen Fifties, working class resentment at the inherent unfairness and inequality of the capitalist system has been refocused and reframed on the one institution which has the power to control the excesses of Wall Street, the federal government.

Moving accounts from one of the "too big to fail" maga banks into community banks and local credit unions will send a message to Wall Street, especially if the Wall Street investors see their profit margins decline. However this will be only a temporary palliative for the banksters will merely alter their method of doing business for a time to recapture business lost to CUs and small community banks, then it will be back to business as usual.

The reason governments exist at all is to control the economy. This government has shirked that responsibility for far too long.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Friday, January 29, 2010

New Osama Bin Laden Tape: Blasts US For Climate Change

You know, the guy's right that the US and the rest of the industrial nations are responsible for global warming.

That being said, however, Osama's latests statement feeds right into the teabaggers' paranoid and xenophobic feed-back loop that global warming is a hoax dreamed up by Al Gore to fleece patriotic Americans out of their hard-earned money.

And this many be paranoid on my part but I'm beginning to think Osama, al Qaida, the Saudi royal family and the Republican Party are all part of a conspiracy to keep the world hooked on oil.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Sunday, January 24, 2010



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From Nixon’s debacle, the Republicans learned important lessons, including their need to build a media infrastructure of their own to protect future Republican presidents from “another Watergate.” Nixon’s former Treasury Secretary Bill Simon took the lead in pulling together wealthy conservatives to invest in right-wing media and think tanks. [For details, see Lost History.]

The Left extracted an opposite lesson from Watergate. Feeling a false confidence that the mainstream news media would continue performing a watchdog role, progressives mostly dismantled what had been a thriving “underground” media of newspapers, magazines and radio stations, which had grown up amid the youthful opposition to the Vietnam War. [For details, see Consortiumnews.com’s “The Left’s Media Miscalculation.”]
In the 1980s, the American Left followed a different path, ignoring the importance of having a media infrastructure that could get out its message, instead favoring vague concepts like “organizing” and “going back to the roots.” The Left embraced the bumper-sticker slogan, “think globally, act locally,” and abandoned the front lines of Washington's information wars..

What money the Left did spend on national politics was devoted heavily to “campaign finance reform,” pushing for laws and regulations that supposedly would limit special-interest donations given to political parties and candidates. While well intentioned, the logical flaw of this approach was that it limited what could be spent by politicians on campaigns but ignored the Right’s unrestricted – and unmatched – investment in media.

After Bush prevailed, Nader and his followers refused to accept any blame for the outcome, claiming instead that it was Gore’s fault for not winning his home state of Tennessee, or having a lousy recount strategy, or any number of other excuses.

It had become a trademark of the Left’s purists to almost never take responsibility for anything, but rather to assume the role of critic. They would typically find fault with whatever compromise the pragmatists judged necessary while pretending that the American people were ready to rally to the banner of radical change if only the Democrats would blow the bugle.

The reality was that many middle- and working-class Americans were now identifying with the Right’s anti-government “populism” -- as promoted by the pervasive right-wing media -- not with the Left’s unheard explanations for why government intervention was needed to address social ills.

Ironically, Ralph Nader, whose candidacy helped make the Roberts and Alito appointments possible, stepped forward to denounce the ruling, saying it “shreds the fabric of our already weakened democracy by allowing corporations to more completely dominate our corrupted electoral process.”

Nader’s solution was to propose a constitutional amendment that would “prevent corporate campaign contributions from commercializing our elections and drowning out the civic and political voices and values of citizens and voters.” However, Nader presented no practical way for such a constitutional amendment to be enacted.

Another irony of the expanding power of corporate money is that it will surely be disguised in “populist” garments meant to deceive simpleminded Americans who will think they are joining a movement to free the Republic from the threat of Big Government, when they will actually be handing the Republic over to corporate titans, including some fronting for foreign money.

And to top off this past week, Air America – after many stop-and-go moments – finally came crashing to earth, declaring bankruptcy and closing up shop.

Its demise was interpreted by some liberal pundits as a sign that progressives shouldn’t bother to invest in talk radio because progressives supposedly are too nuanced in their viewpoints, while talk radio is all about simplistic bombast.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Bank Shot: Independents And Dem Base Still Aligned In Anger

So the good people of Massachusetts have elected a white, suburban, coordinator class conservative who, remarkably enough, looks a little bit...no a lot...like Mitt Romney.Oh, but Scott Brown's not just another "professional" politician! He drives a pick up!

The reactionary right controls the media, with the exception of the Internet and they want to get their hands on it, so they control the message. Simple as that.

You can rant and rave about corporate Democrats and third parties all you want, it ain't gonna change a thing. The left, or whatever stands for the left in this country, has let the forces of reaction control the message. Writes Robert Perry:

"One of the Left’s favorite slogans became “think globally, act locally.” In practice, that meant favoring local activism (such as direct philanthropic spending on projects like feeding the poor or buying up endangered wetlands) over national media (i.e. building the kind of informational infrastructure that the Right had).

"So, it was not so much that the Left lost the “war of ideas” to the Right over the past three decades; it was more that the Left abandoned the battlefield.


The modern Republican Party is a party of used car salesmen with unlimited access to the media and an sleep-walking electorate with the attention span of a mosquito. How else can a cadre of slick, professional politicians recast themselves every couple of years as "Washington outsiders?"
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Posted this at Alternet.org

While money is the primary influence on the conduct of both major parties I have come up with a shorthand definition to distinguish between them: Democrats are systems managers, Republican used car salesmen.

The Coakley-Brown match up in Massachusetts, even though both candidates are attorneys, illustrates this nicely.

Scott Brown is running, as nearly every Republican has since 1980, as a Washington, D.C. outsider and champion of smaller government, i.e. cut welfare for the poor and cut taxes for the rich. Never mind that as a lieutenant-colonel in the Massachusetts Nation Guard Brown's sucked off Uncle Sam's tit for thirty years, knowing, in this day and age of the All Volunteer Force our soldiers and Marines and National Guardsmen are sacrosanct heroes whose asses the rest of us must kiss with great regularity, I'll get some flack for even entertaining this thought.

And even though Brown maintains a law practice focusing on divorce and adoptions, for most of his adult life, when he wasn't collecting a US Treasury check for one-weekend a month and three weeks a year with the Guard, he has been since 1992 a professional politician. Yet he sells himself as some one untainted by big money politics. Absolute bullshit which the teabaggers are eating up with gusto as they have since 1980. Some people never get it.

Coakley, on the other hand, is a long time law-and-order Democrat, a prosecutor since 1982. She's the kind of competent systems manager, i.e. coordinator, the establishment Democratic Party elders love so much these days. Intelligent, bland and a good administrator, Coakley is the kind of politician who would be good at running a state or federal agency, as she does in her capacity as Massachusetts Attorney General.

So what this election boils down to is, colorless though competent jurist versus a huckster, a lawyer-huckster at that.

So when some one tells you there isn't a dime's worth of difference between the two major political parties, you can say there is: Democrats are systems managers, Republicans used car salesmen. One party, the Democrats, is content to competently manage the status quo. The other, the Republicans, sees the status quo as a means to an end for self-aggrandizement and enrichment at their teabagger partisans' expense for the benefit of their major political campaign donors.

Linn County Republican ponders loyalty resolution « Iowa Independent

Linn County Republican ponders loyalty resolution « Iowa Independent

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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Frank Rich: The Great Tea Party Rip-Off

Amazing, isn't it? Frank Rich articulates what many on the progressive left see and yet many heart and soul teabaggers remain blind.

Like deer caught in the headlights of Sarah Palin's smile and Michael Steele's bald pate, the mostly white, mostly suburban tea party movement is ready to hand the fortunes of this nation back over to the "free market" fundamentalists who have done such a splendid job of ruining the national economy to this point.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Jimi Hendrix fans have a new experience in store - latimes.com

Jimi Hendrix fans have a new experience in store - latimes.com

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Big Bonuses Could Turn Tea Parties Against Banks

From the WSJ report: " If a company is doing well, they don't have a problem with it. Most people in the tea-party movement are capitalists....If the company in question is one that received a government bailout -- totally different story."

In other words one of the right's usual motives, envy, rears its ugly head. it is the usual petty envy that some one is getting something that the average teabagger thinks he/she isn't, and it is being paid for by his/her tax dollar, hence the hatred of so-called entitlement programs.

It does not seem to matter to teabaggers that Hank Paulson was the architect of the TARP bailout end the end of George Dubya Bush's lame-duck second term. Nor does it matter that many of these same teabaggers must have endorsed passage of the Gramm-Leach Act, gutting the New Deal era Glass-Steagall Act which lead to the '08 financial crisis, questions of privacy aside. That's all ancient, ancient history. Teabagger live for the present just like they did when they were hippies.

It is the lame-brained worship of the Rand-Friedman-Greenspan "free market" economy which has brought the nation to this juncture. And members of the teabagging movement as are culpable as the most corrupt politician.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Monday, January 11, 2010



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Oliver Stone: Hitler An 'Easy Scapegoat'

First of all these quotations are out of context, so I can only hazard a guess as to Oliver Stone's intention.

That being said, I shall hazard a guess that Stone's "Hitler is an easy scapegoat" is that too many politicians cite the Nazi dictator's terrible and unforgivable genocide as emollient for current Israeli depredations visited upon the Palestinians.

And there should be no controversy about the Soviet Union's role in World War II, or the Great Patriotic War as Russians name it. Stalin, after all, was a monster like Hitler. But unlike Hitler Stalin was slightly more sane though that does not absolve him for his sociopathic personality.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Exploring race: Sen. Harry Reid and the 'double standard'

Exploring race: Sen. Harry Reid and the 'double standard'

Sunday, January 10, 2010

News Flash! Nader admits to being "spoiler"

St. Ralph Nader, patron saint of the Ideologically Pure Left, is reported to be considering not running for US Senate from the State of Connecticut!
Nader's Senate prospects hit snag with Dodd's retirement

McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON -- What's up with Ralph Nader?

The three-time presidential candidate and consumer crusader, mostly under the political radar while hustling a new book of fiction, also has been quietly thinking about doing something completely different: running for the U.S. Senate.
The intriguing prospect of running against embattled Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., in his home state this year has hit a snag, however. Dodd made the surprise announcement Wednesday that he'll be retiring, leaving the race open to a strong Democrat, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.

That has Nader, 75, known for his "spoiler" role in the 2000 presidential election, re-thinking his chances.

"The attraction is a three-way race," Nader said in a telephone interview. His voice raspy from a cold, Nader - "I never get sick" - spoke from his home in Washington. "It's less likely to have a three-way race with such a strong candidate."

Blumenthal, who's held the attorney general position since he was first elected in 1990, has a reputation for pursuing consumer and environmental causes.

Dodd was a more inviting target for Nader, who's among the critics of the chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee for his handling of the financial crisis and for benefiting from a favorable mortgage from scandal-ridden Countrywide Financial Corp.

Nader was looking at a contest as the third option between a weakened Dodd and a Republican opponent; among the candidates is Linda McMahon, former chief executive of World Wrestling Entertainment Inc.

And what, pray tell, would St Ralph running against Chris Dodd accomplish besides getting an asshole Republican elected?

And getting another asshole Republican elected to the US Senate would get the peasants to rise up how, St. Ralph?

Well, gee, St. Ralph, how'd you like the Bush years? And the Clinton years post-1994, those were great weren't they, St. Ralph?

In some ways I can understand the concept of making things worse before they get better. I've even said myself that these white, suburban fucks making $70,000 a year and less who vote Republican, because Republicans cut the social safety net out from under niggers, spics and all other lazy Democratic welfare dependents, deserve to get a taste of their own medicine when the economy goes tits up. But would that really make these guys more amiable to a more socialist agenda or merely drive them into even more virulent fascism? Well from what I've seen in the past thirty years or so the lower income white collar classes of Suburbia USA are growing increasing fascist, witness the teabagger movement.

My biggest complain with St. Ralph and his ilk of the IPL is that while their criticism of the system is correct they only offer mealymouthed solutions like, people got to get organized, fight the system, buy local, act global and so on, and nothing changes.

But what really sticks in my craw about the leading lights of the American IPL like St. Ralph is that most are members in good standing of the coordinator class with the financial wherewithal to withstand only the most severe of economic downturns. And like their opposites on the reactionary right, leaders of the IPL are for the most part products of the nation's leading institutions of higher learning. Quoting from "Can We Rescue the Republic Before the Dark Politics Take Over?" by Kirk Nielson, posted at Alternet.org, December 25, 2009,"...Harvard, Yale, Princeton and most elite schools "do only a mediocre job of teaching students to question and think." Elite universities are in the business of producing "hordes of competent systems managers" not critical thinkers. And there is the crux of the dilemma of what ails the United States.

Politics is firmly in the hands of one, and only one, socio-economic class, the coordinator, or system manager, class. My short hand for the difference between establishment Democrats and Republicans is simple: Democrats are lawyers, Republicans are insurance salesmen. That may seem overly simplistic but all one need do to verify it is scan the biographies of US Congressman and Senators.

The great genius of the coordinator class since the end of World War II was to create the illusion that the United States was a truly classless society, as opposed to the faux classless societies of the Soviet Union and Maoist China, where all its citizens had a chance to move up the economic ladder.It wasn't true fifty years ago and it is even less true now.
Good article posted at Alternet.org on Cerberus Capital.
Cerberus Capital: Literally Blood-Sucking the Poor to Make Their Billions

By Mark Ames, AlterNet. Posted January 9, 2010.
Wall Street vampires. Lately, a lot of Americans, including myself, have used the bloodsucking monsters as a metaphor to describe the Wall Street billionaires who rule us, and who are ruining us. Like so many awful stories of the past few years, it turns out that these Wall Street vampire-billionaires really exist, literally. Like all vampires, they live in remote castles, and they feed themselves by luring poor, desperate humans into their dens, hooking them into blood-pumping machines and sucking out their plasma for mind-boggling profits.

Cerberus Capital, one of Wall Street’s most notoriously ruthless leveraged-buyout firms (or “private equity firms” in PC-speak), recently made a $1.8 billion killing on its human plasma investment, a company called Talecris. Talecris was purchased for a mere $82.5 million just four years earlier, meaning Cerberus made 23 times its investment on human plasma. This was accomplished by the most savage, heartless means possible: by paying peanuts to impoverished human plasma donors, who increasingly come from Mexican border towns to blood-pumping stations set up on the American side, jacking up the price of plasma by restricting supply (a lawsuit filed by the Federal Trade Commission accused Cerberus Plasma Holdings of “operat[ing] as an oligopoly”), and then selling the refined products to the most desperately ill—patients suffering from hemophilia, severe burns, multiple sclerosis and autoimmune deficiencies. The products cost so much—one, IVIG (intravenous immunoglobulin) cost twice the price of gold as of last summer—that American health insurance companies have been dropping or denying their policyholders in increasing numbers, endangering untold numbers of people.

Tomas Asher, chairman of a company that trades in plasma, described the business this way: "It's like selling hog bellies or wheat or beef. It gets sold all over."

Profiting from ruined American lives is nothing new to Cerberus. (The company takes its name from the legendary three-headed attack dog of Greek legend who guards the gates of Hell, making sure no condemned soul ever escapes. How appropriate.) Cerberus is the same shady fund that bought Chrysler and GMAC in 2007 and drove them into the ground, blamed everything on unions (even after firing 30,000 Chrysler employees), and dumped the companies onto American taxpayers—but only after lining up tens of billions in taxpayer-funded bailout funds. Cerberus is led by some of the most aggressive "free market" Republicans of our time. The chairman of Cerberus is former Treasury Secretary John Snow, who oversaw the destruction of America’s economy while serving under Bush from 2003 to 2006, bragging during his tenure, "We are the envy of the world."

Snow bragged again in 2007 after Cerberus acquired Chrysler, "Over 25 years ago, when Chrysler faced bankruptcy, it turned to the United States government for assistance. Today, Chrysler again faces new financial challenges. But it is private investment stepping in to inject much-needed support." A year later, Snow was running around Washington begging and screaming for government handouts.

Joining Snow as international chairman for Cerberus is former Republican Vice President Dan Quayle, the pampered imbecile who couldn’t spell “potato” correctly. Two more perfect vampires couldn’t have been invented than Quayle and Snow for the America of the Bush Era—peanut-brained, sleazy jerks.

The top vampire in Cerberus is the fund’s founder, billionaire Stephen Feinberg, a major Republican Party campaign donor with a hardcore fetish for Harleys and big guns. Supposedly Feinberg was very uncomfortable with taking all those socialism-esque billions from American taxpayers. The New York Times described him as "a longtime free-market enthusiast and a Republican who never envisioned himself needing the government for help.”

My Comment
The true genius of evil bastards like Cerberus founder Stephen Feinberg is that they have the where withal to control the media and the message to get those who suffer the most due to their financial shenanigans to defend and even admire them.

As noted in the article above Feinberg and Cerebus:...bought Remington, America’s oldest firearms manufacturer, and since then they’ve snapped companies making everything from bullets to silencers... And what was one of the biggest unfounded rumors circulation round the right wing moron-o-sphere? the Barack Obama ammunition ban. At the height of this lunacy NRA members were urged to buy a lifetime supply of ammunition. And, of course, when this NRA fueled and funded panic created shortages of ammunition, not only for gun dealers but law enforcement, the NRA blamed the president.

I can imagine Feinberg and NRA vice-president-for-life Wayne La Pierre meeting for congratulatory sessions of mutual masturbation for hoodwinking their working class stooges once again, and for a tidy profit.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Unemployment Rate Holds Steady At 10%, 85,000 Jobs Lost In December

As poorly as the big investment banks and the Fed managed the economy since the 1999 Banking Modernization Act a major recessions was in the cards.

This current recession will be harder for the country to recover from since beginning with the consumer electronics industry in the1970s major Wall Street investors have consciously hollowed out the domestic economy by outsourcing manufacturing to countries with slavery-level wages for workers. The socio-economic class landscape of the United States is taking on the look of a Third World country, a large and impoverished lower class, a small though extremely wealthy upper class and an almost non-existent middle class.

Just about the only unionized blue-collar, heavy manufacturing industry which has not been outsourced into extinction is the manufacturing arm of the military-industrial complex. I am sure the patriotic board members of Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon etc are entertaining the thought of depending more on our foreign allies for low-cost, high-tech weapons of mass destruction.

The sad fact is ever since Ronald Reagan declared the industrial economy dead and that the dawning to the so-called service (servant?) economy the nation has been on a downward economic spiral. Manufacturing will come back to the United States in the future, when workers will willingly accept hard, dirty factory jobs for below current hourly minimum wage.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

A challenge to Senator Jim DeMint to a debate on TSA collective bargaining rights

A challenge to Senator Jim DeMint to a debate on TSA collective bargaining rights

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What's Ahead for the Economy and Politics in 2010

Reich clearly sees what other so-called pundits fail to.

And his concluding two sentences summarize the entire GOP platform, philosophy and grand plan for regaining a majority in the US House and Senate. The real brilliance of current Republican strategy since Ronald Reagan is that it has effectively brainwashed working-middle class Americans, the very segment of the population hurt most by GOP tax and federal spending cutting policy, into voting against their own best economic self-interests.

The failure of establishment Democrats, especially those of the Clintonian DLC caucus, is acting too much like Republicans. In the up coming election cycle the GOP offers nothing yet Democratic fecklessness gives them hope that their brand of nihilism will resonate with Americans.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Sunday, January 03, 2010

PolitiFact: Dick Cheney Falsely Says Obama Won't Admit The U.S. Is At War Against Terrorists

I think that if Mr. Richard "Six-Deferments" Cheney wants to legitimize this so-called war on "terror" he demand his friends and colleague in the Republican Caucus in Congress introduce a bill declaring war on terrorism and Islam.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost