Congress recently passed a giganormous spending bill. It was for over 1.1 trillion US dollars. That’s a lot of paper. In numbers it looks like this 1,100,000,000,000. That is more M and M’s than you can shake a stick at.
A lot of that loot goes to luxuries like food stamps, housing for the poor, homeland security, etc. But thanks to Congressman Yoder of Kansas, a fiscal conservative, some of that loot may be coming my way. Kansas, as you may or may not know, is now facing millions of dollars in debt as a result of the “Tax Cuts for Billionaires” program instituted by GOP governor Brownback. Have no fear, like Christie of New Jersey, Brownback intends to raid the public employees pension plans to make up the difference. It worked for Christie. Fiscal conservatism at its best.
But, back to Yoder.
Congressman Yoder was able to slip the Citibank bailout provision into the new budget. Written by Citibank and debated by …well…by no one. No time to debate. It was slipped in at the last minute. (Where are the howlers who were screaming at Obamacare because they only had 6 months to read it before the vote?) This provision allows Citibank (and others) to make those risky bets on certain derivatives and have those bets covered by the US taxpayer if they go bad. The same risky bets that helped lead to the financial meltdown and bailouts of..oh..many, many years ago. I can’t remember. Was it 1929 or something like that. Ancient history. Couldn’t happen again.
At any rate, I assume that because corporations are people that means people are corporations. Makes sense to me. Right?
So, as a corporate entity I plan to fly to Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.
I will take my life savings (too embarrassed to give you the amount) and place is all on number 43 . One spin of the roulette wheel. Win and I am a millionaire. (Well, maybe if I win 8 times in a row). All my money. One risky bet. What could be better? This….
And the best part is this. If I win, I get to keep my winnings. Hurrah!. If I lose I will claim I am a bank. I will claim I made a risky bet. The taxpayers will cover my losses. Then, guess what ? I can simply bet again.
So, thank you, Mr Yoder of the bankrupt state of Kansas. Thank you for looking out for the little guy.
Las Vegas, here I come.
Congress recently passed a giganormous spending bill. It was for over 1.1 trillion US dollars. That’s a lot of paper. In numbers it looks like this 1,100,000,000,000. That is more M and M’s than you can shake a stick at.
(Darren Wilson was the police officer who confronted and killed a black man in Ferguson, Missouri. He was subsequently NOT indicted by a grand jury. he has since retired from the police force.)
I was involved in an internet argument with someone who I will call “Billy Bob” the other day. Billy Bob is a died-in-the-wool supporter of Darren Wilson and his rights to kill unarmed people if he feels threatened. Billy Bob’s main argument is that Wilson was a cop. Being a cop gave him the right to kill.
I disagree. Be that as it may, Billy Bob went one step further. He thinks that Darren Wilson, (now that he has resigned) , is going to end up in the FBI. Really. He does. So, I imagine the job interview as follows…
FBI: So, Mr Wilson, I see you have 8 years experience as a police officer. Why did you leave the force?
Wilson: I did it for the good of the community.
FBI: I see. Can you expand on that?
Wilson: Yepper. I shot and killed a bad man and people in the community got mad at me. They even tried to indict me but I beat the rap.
FBI: Well. I assume you killed this man for a reason.
Wilson: Yepper. I felt my life was in danger.
FBI: So, he drew his gun first and then you shot back in self-defense?
Wilson: Nope. He didn’t have a gun.
FBI: So, he had a knife and was coming at you and was going to stab you ?
Wilson: Nope. He didn’t have a knife.
FBI: Well, he was carrying some weapon, obviously. What did he attack you with?
Wilson: He didn’t have a weapon. But he hit me. Hard.
FBI: I see. Couldn’t you have used some self-defense techniques? Some of your training?
Wilson: Nope. I was in a car when he hit me.
FBI: You were in a car? Couldn’t you just drive a few hundred feet away and wait for backup?
Wilson: Never thought of that. But he hit me. Hard.
FBI: So, why did you shoot him?
Wilson: I feared for my life. He was big. REAL big. Made me feel like a 5 year old little boy. So I shot him. I don’t like feeling like a little boy.
FBI: So, you shot him in the leg or arm to incapacitate him ? To slow him down?
Wilson. Nope. In the head. In the body.
FBI: You shot him more than once?
Wilson: I shot AT him about 10 or 12 times. I hit him 6 times. That did the trick.
FBI: So , he was right next to you and you missed 4 or 6 shots?
Wilson: Yepper. That is why I kept shooting. DUH.
FBI: Well, Mr Wilson. The FBI prides itself on being a highly-trained, well-regulated peacekeeping force. We demand top level skills, intelligence, split-second decision-making and respect for individual rights. We do have to use force, but we train our agents to use only necessary force. I really don’t think we will be interested in interviewing you for a position.
Wilson: Did I mention that the guy was black. And very big. And scary. And that he looked like a demon ?
FBI: So. You see demons? You know what a demon looks like?
Wilson: I seen pictures of them. In demon books. And I tell you, this guy LOOKED like a demon. No joke.
FBI: I see. Thank you for coming in Mr . Wilson. And best of luck in the future.
So, Billy Bob, I don’t think the FBI will be calling on Darren Wilson to join the force anytime soon. Thank god.
It wasn’t long ago that we faced two major crises. They had to be faced. Enemies had to be defeated. The very existence of America, nay, the existence of the human race was in the balance.
Appealing to us to stop the dual menaces of Ebola and ISIS, the GOP candidates cried for action. Before it was too late. They knew that Obama was doing nothing. The Dems were doing nothing. Only quick, decisive action could save the republic.
Ebola was spreading like wildfire. African immigrants were sweeping across America spreading the disease like a plague. As Glenn Beck and others pointed out, Mr Obama was seeking to infect Americans with Ebola as part of his secret master plan to …uh…anyway. And Obama and the Dems were doing nothing. Elect the GOP and rid America of this plague!
ISIS was out of control. Murdering. Raping. Pillaging. Destroying cities and towns and imposing Shari’a Law on the world. And Obama and the Dems sat by and watched. Perhaps even secretly supported the Muslim Brotherhood. Elect the GOP and defeat ISIS. Take some action, already.
And, in the worst possible scenario, ISIS and Ebola were working together to destroy America. Congressman Tom Cotton (now Senator) of Arkansas, Congressmen Jason Chaffetz and Duncan Hunter and soon to be Lt. Governor Dan Patrick of Texas (all Republicans) had absolute proof that ISIS agents infected with Ebola were crossing the border from Mexico. And Obama and the Dems do nothing. Take some action. Elect the GOP !
So, I was ECSTATIC when the GOP won the elections. Finally, we are going to see some action. These guys are no nonsense hombres with a will and determination to do what needs to be done. The message was clear.
Take action on Ebola TODAY. Declare war (which only Congress can do) on ISIS TODAY. Men of action needed in this crisis.
So, what the first thing Mitch McConnell is going to do? In his speech after being elected majority leader of the Senate he made it clear. His number one priority is a trade deal. A deal to ship more jobs overseas and allow foreign companies to bypass US law. No ISIS Crisis ? No Ebola solution.
And in the House of Misrepresentatives the first order of business? The very first vote taking by Boehner? A declaration of war on ISIS ? Nope. Funds for containing the spread of Ebola ? No. A vote on the XL Pipeline.
So, now that the election is over ISIS and Ebola are not longer crises. The real crises are the inability of foreign companies to bypass US law in trade agreements and the sometime in the future pipeline to carry Canadian sludge across the plains states.
What is the lesson to be learned ? There is no crisis too big that it can’t be solved by having an election.Horrible, republic-threatening problems and crises do not need real solutions. They do not need to be met head on. Emergencies can wait. Just have an election and all the issues that existed two days prior to the vote magically disappear.
If we had only known this in the old days. Just think. If we had held an election 3 days after so-called emergency of Pearl Harbor we could have won WW2 without firing a single shot!
I applaud the wise and generous school board of Gilbert, Arizona. They have ordered the destruction of a page, well, 2 pages, of an AP Biology textbook. And they continue to search and destroy other Biology textbooks which may be harboring information destructive to the youth of Gilbert.
If you haven’t been following the news. This school board, by a 3-2 margin, has demanded that 1 sheet (2 pages) be ripped out of an AP Bio book. Why ? Because it has a section about abortion and birth control. Unfortunately for sperm, the other side of the sheet has information about sperm, including a cute photo of an anonymous little critter.
Of course , some folks might think this is wrong. In fact, 2 of the board members who voted for the destruction of evil were just kicked off the board by the voters. Their term ends in January. Still, the uninformed electorate needs to applaud, rather than criticize these Tea Party geniuses.
So, on that note I have composed an open letter to the Gilbert School Board:
Dear Tea Party Brethren in Christ:
I, for one, fully support your desire to keep the youngsters of Gilbert as ignorant of the real world as possible. If we can keep them from knowing about stuff, then that stuff does not exist. For example, if we would stop talking about global warming, poverty, terrorism and penguins I am certain they would all go away. Especially penguins.
While I applaud your intentions I have to say I think you may have miscalculated what the outcome will be. Destroying an academic treatise is always good, for sure. And in this case you have performed a double duty, a two-for-oner, killing two birds with one stone. Or one rip, as it were.
Not only have you destroyed any information about abortion and birth control, but you have also laid to rest sperm. There is very little that is more exciting to a teenage boy than frontal views of the Dalkon Shield or a discussion of condoms. I can still remember sneaking copies of Gynecological Weekly into my bed at night. So, we can all agree on that. And when teenage girls are exposed to actual photos of sperm. Well. Their hormones go crazy with lust-filled thoughts about pregnancy and child rearing and so on. Instant sluts. So, I have no complaints about the destruction of information. Good work.
For example, take my case. When I went to Catholic school back in the late 1960s we had something called “Religion” class. One kid, I will call him “Jim” did a project on birth control He explained the various methods and even brought in condoms, IUDs, the pill, etc. While it was informative I am sure it lead to the sexual revolution. Until then we had no teen pregnancies. (Although a great number of the Catholic School girls did take long vacations to visit Aunties and returned a few pounds slimmer). Would we have had AIDS had Jimmy just did a project on the Ten Commandments instead ? I think not !
So. I am on your side. But I fear you may have made things worse instead of better. For a couple reasons.
First, all those kids who would never have read the textbook in a million years are now going to read it. Plus, they are going to go first to the very pages you do not want them to read. One best thing a teenager likes to do is anything an adult thinks he should not do. So, probably ALL the kids (not just Hubert and Emily, who read EVERYTHING) have already read those passages by now. As Homer Simpson would say, “DOH !”
Secondly. A guy named Al Gore invented something called the “interweb” not long ago. Weird as it seems, kids can get on this “interweb” from their computers and learn things NOT in the textbooks we so generously deface for them. They can learn about sperm and IUDs and abortion and even penguins. It is difficult to rip out pages on the “interweb”. I know. I have tried. Does not work.
So, my fellow keepers of the public morals and purveyors of ignorance. I applaud your intent. However, I fear that kids may somehow learn about abortion, birth control and sperm OUTSIDE the school setting. I fear they may even learn about penguins. I call it bad parenting ! Still, best of luck in the future. And while you are ripping up pages I suggest you look at Amendment 1 of the US Constitution. Sharpen those scissors !
Sincerely, The Old Liberal.
Maybe some of you have forgotten but Sarah Palin and a few other GOPers warned us about Obamacare. She warned us about the “Death Panels”. You know, the ones in which old folks would have to stand up in front of a panel of Obama bureaucrats .
Grandma, hunched over. Wobbly. Clinging to her cane.Tears rolling down her cheeks while a group of nameless bureaucrats, appointed by Obama grilled her. Why should SHE live? What was she contributing to society.
Then, as they consulted and cackled. The VERDICT.
Pull the plug , Granny. It’s over. The Fat Lady sang. NEXT.
Sarah, having read the entire ACA (remember from her Katie Couric interview…she reads EVERYTHING) warned us. She put out the call. If you were getting on in years your days were numbered. Not by chance . Not by the Big Guy in the Sky. But by Obama bureaucrats.
She read it. It was there. She talked about it during the debate with Joe Biden.
Rush Limbaugh saw it. So did Michelle Malkin. And Senator Grassley.
Like a dreary Bergman film the Grim Reaper was waiting. Waiting for Obama to give him the nod. The end.
So, I was quite surprised when I sat down in Penn Yan at a diner and ran into an old codger. We’ll call him Clarence.
Clarence is a veteran of WW2. He grew up during the Depression. NO, NOT the Bush Depression, the original Depression. He paid into Social Security when it first started.
He was old. Real old. He made me feel like a spring chicken. You see, Clarence is 93. Still driving. Still getting about.
So, I asked Clarence. Shouldn’t you be dead ? (Think that was that being rude?) How did you do it? How did you avoid the Death Panels. His story is one of daring, courage and moxey. Moxey. Good word. Wonder what it means.
Clarence told me how he received a notice from Obama. To appear. At the local Death Panel.
So, he showed up. Facing him scowled 6 of the nastiest, meanest SOBs you ever saw. Liberals, every one of them. Clarence was shaken. I mean, he had whipped Hitler. Triumphed with Paton over the Nazis. But this group was really scary.
Why should you live, they wanted to know. What good are you?
Clarence is 93 but still quick on his feet. (Well, not really. He shuffles along. But he is quick, metaphorically). He didn’t get to be 93 by not telling people what they want to hear.
So Clarence told them he was on public assistance . On welfare. (Not true). That he had no money. (not true) He had no birth certificate. (True) And that he was an illegal immigrant who had leached off the nation for years and was given an Obamaphone for voting for Obama 7 times in the last election . (Partially true). And, he had 12 abortions. (Exaggerated that one for effect)
That was all it took. Nothing the Liberal Death Panel bureaucrats like better than an illegal welfare cheat who kills babies. Not a dry eye on the Death Panel.
Verdict. Let him live.
So, Sarah warned us about the Death Panels and it is true. As true as anything she has ever said. But Sarah underestimated the guile and creativity of the American people. And their intelligence. So, when the Death Panels come to call, remember Clarence. Like this 93 year old codger, you , too may beat the system.
I met Racist Mike this week.
I was visiting my daughter and her husband in their new (old) home in New Jersey…check that..New Joicy.
While I was working on the back deck the neighbor, Racist Mike leaned over his deck and started a conversation. By the way, at the time of the conversation I had no idea his name was Racist Mike. Never met him before.
The conversation started innocuously enough. Talking about golf. I learned he was a great golfer in his youth. I am a hacker. If I lose fewer than three balls on the local 9 hole course I consider it a great round. Mike used to shoot in the 60s. Till he hurt his back.
After golf I learned that Racist Mike grew up in this part of Jersey and had no desire to visit the Finger Lakes, where I live. No desire to see the world. No Marco Polo is Racist Mike. This area was all he needed to see. OK. We can’t all strive to push the limits of adventure posed by the Garden State Parkway. God knows where it leads !
I also learned (as you can guess, Racist Mike did most of the talking in this “conversation”) that his old neighborhood, just a few miles from here , was now overrun by the “Spanish”. Visions of Generalissimo Franco and his army trudging through Belleville flitted in my brain. Death to traitors. Tapas, anyone?
Then of course, we moved on to the “blacks”. The “blacks ” might be coming to Racist Mike’s neighborhood and he wasn’t thrilled. I am not sure if he knows any “blacks” but he has strong opinions about them. Kind of how I feel about alien beings from Alph Centuari. Never met one, but I am pretty sure we wouldn’t get along. I wanted to suggest to him any “blacks” who could afford a $ 400,000 home probably would not want him as a neighbor. But I didn’t.
Next up: Obama and the Ferguson , Missouri shooting. I learned that the police officer in Ferguson was attacked by the black thug and was forced to defend himself by pumping the guy full of lead. And that Obama and that “black Attorney General” supported black thugs. (To his undying credit, Racist Mike does not use the “N” word. He is a real PC racist.) And, that, my friends , is why the Democrats will never win another presidential election! You heard it here first, from Racist Mike.
Before I could respond and perhaps start a brawl in my daughter’s new neighborhood I heard a voice from inside the house. “Dad, I need your help here”. It was a way out and I took it. Once inside, my daughter said she didn’t need help but was just giving me an out from Racist Mike’s encyclopedia of ignorance. Thank you, sweetie.
I don’t know where Racist Mike gets his belief system. Probably a combination of growing up in “simpler times” and a steady diet of Rupert Murdoch and Rush Limbaugh. There is only so much room in the brain. Maybe the tolerant, smart stuff fell out. Or , maybe it is just old age. He is 73. Or maybe his contact with blacks has been limited to his Rap Music video collection. Hence the thug imagery. Whatever.
One thing for sure. Racist Mike votes. Racist Mike, and people like him , make sure they get registered and vote. They help determine who will be in Congress and who may be in the White House. People like Racist Mike form the base of the Tea Party, and now, the Republican Party. Something to think about.
Racist Mike votes. Do you ?
Scene: North Pole, or thereabouts.
Relf the Elf strolls into Santa’s Workshop.
Relf: Hi guys, where’s Santa? I haven’t seen him in days. I need to order some more yo-yos.
Delf the Elf: Haven’t you heard? Big meeting today. Santa has an announcement. Here he comes now.
Santa approaches and walks to the podium. He is wearing a Brooks Brothers suit and alligator shoes.
Santa: Good morning elves. After 346 years Mrs. Claus and I have decided to retire. We will be leaving tomorrow for Santa Lucia. I have sold Santa’s workshop to Bayne enterprises. They have assured me that they will continue the high quality of service that has become a hallmark of this organization. While I will miss you all I am confident you will continue to enjoy prosperity and serve the children of the world. In short, they made me an offer I could not refuse. Thank you for your service and stop by if you are ever vacationing in the Caribbean. All questions will be handled by your new employer, Bayne Enterprises.
With that, Santa left the podium and a thick-haired, square-jawed Dudley Do-Right look alike took the microphone.
Mr Mitt: Good morning. I am Mr Mitt, your new boss. As Santa said, Bayne has acquired Santa’s Workshop and we remain committed to providing he finest quality to our customers at the lowest price. Any question?
Velf the Elf: I heard from a few retired elves that their pension payments have stopped. What is going on?
Mr Mitt: Excellent question. As you know, Santa was quite generous in his pension plan, which has lead to a less than maximum profit for the company. We have found it necessary to restructure the pension system. In fact, no pensions will be paid to the retired elves. And the pension plan has been eliminated for the curent employees. This has been necessary under the current economic conditions.
Velf: But we paid into those plans. I have been working here for over 134 years, making monthly contributions. You can’t just eliminate my pension.
Mr Mitt: Since you have been working without a union contract we are well within our rights to do so. At times like this we all need to make sacrifices for the good of the company. Next question?
Kelf the Elf: This morning I saw a number of trucks loading equipment out of the toy shop. What is going on?
Mr Mitt: Excellent question. I am so glad you asked that. As part of our restructuring to make Santa’s Workshop more efficient we are in the process of outsourcing many of our operations. Actually, all of our operations. To stay competitive we will be making toys in China and the Philippines from now on. We will maintain a North Pole address, of course, but our actual manufacturing operations will take place in Asia. These reduced labor costs will allow us to stay competitive while creating a positive work environment for child workers. Our new slogan is “Santa’s Workshop: Made for children by children.”
Yelf the Elf: What about our jobs? You can’t just fire us.
Mr Mitt: I am glad you asked that question. Excellent question. We at Bayne Enterprises believe that the elf workers are the future of our company. We seek to maintain the high standards that the elves have achieved over the last 300 plus years. The quality and dedication of the elf labor force is second to none. Rest assured, not a single elf will lose his job. All elves will be relocated to China to train and instruct the new work force. Of course, to stay competitive, all pay will be halved and there will be no benefits packages available. All costs of transporting you , and if you desire your families, to China will be deducted from your new half-salary. And, of course, there will be regular work reviews which may lead to immediate termination if your work is found to be sub-par. Any other questions?
Pelf the Elf: Sounds like a total screw job to me. We train new employees. Half pay. No benefits. You can fire us at any time. No pension. What’s in it for us?
Mr Mitt: Excellent question. I am glad you asked that question. Bayne Enterprises takes great pride in providing investors with the best opportunities for growth and financial security. I would hope you would take great satisfaction is being part of a corporation that seeks to maximize investor profit while providing the best possible service. Which reminds me. No more free toys to poor kids. That was an awful business model. All Christmas toy deliveries will be by subscription or prepayment only in the future. Any other questions?
The Elves looked at each other and slowly trudged out of the workshop.
In the distance a semi pulled up to the fenced in reindeer yard. Donder and Blitzen glanced over and read the lettering on the side of the truck (yes, reindeer, unlike Fox news watchers, CAN read). On it’s side was this lettering: Sideshow Sarah’s Reindeer Meat Company and Travelling Circus.
Every once in awhile I just get sick of American politics and “culture”. Which is why I haven’t posted recently. This is a very negative post. If you are in a good mood, don’t read it. If you have a firearm, unload it immediately and lock it away. For your own safety.
Mitch McConnell running for senator in Kentucky. A state that has embraced the ACA but calls it Kynect. Very successful. People LOVE it. Poor people finally get health care. So McConnell is running against Obamacare. He is running for one reason, according to him. To make sure that the president of the United States will not be able to govern for the next two years. McConnell has no positive programs. No desire to make life better for people. In fact, he wants to eliminate the very program that has been successful in Kentucky. Take away health care from his own constituents. His ONLY goal? Make Obama fail. And you know what ? The idiots will probably vote him back into office. Makes me sick.
Iraq is a total mess. The “Mission Accomplished” has succeeded if the mission was to destabilize an entire region. If the”mission” was to unleash the most backward, radical, 13th century-minded fundamentalist force. If the “mission” was to enslave women under the guise of religion. If the “mission” was the genocide of Yazidis. Now, the same folks who created this mess by supporting the occupation have no answers. Except war. What William Fulbright (in the Vietnam Era) called the “arrogance of power”. If only we stay longer. If only we use more weapons. If only…if only…if only. Already over half a million innocent civilians dead. They are now “free”from the tyranny of breathing. And the biggest hawks, of course, are those who would never leave the safety of their gated communities or allow their children to ever be at risk. Remember, Dick Cheney had better things to do during the Vietnam War era. Makes me sick.
Many GOP-lead state governments are still trying to stop gay marriage. Why ? What is the point? Why does it matter to anyone else if two consenting adults want the economic benefits of marriage? Are there no real problems in these states? Is there full employment ? Does everyone have access to quality health care and quality education? Are these governments just controlled by folks who are inherently nasty and vindictive and narrow minded? These same state “leaders” are the ones who constantly moan about waste and government interference. Hello? Wasting tax dollars on court cases so your government can interfere with the lives of married folks. Makes me sick.
The Ferguson protests or the Ferguson riots. Take your pick. Happens all the time. People have legitimate complaints. Have legitimate reasons to protest. And then a few idiots , usually thuggish young men, turn to violence. Take it as an opportunity to loot and vandalize. So, the legitimate protest gets swept away by coverage of the violent few. Plays right into the hands of the racists. Of course, without the violence the protesters receive no news coverage at all. Protesting isn’t news. But violence works every time. Makes me sick.
Kim Kardashian. I don’t know who she is. I could not pick her out of a line up. But every time I open my computer she seems to be there. Stories about her. What she eats. What she wears. What she doesn’t wear. Her baby. Who is she? Has she cured cancer ? Has she won a Nobel prize in literature? Is she involved in settling the Palestine-Israel conflict? Has she been working with orphans in Zambia? I suspect she is a media creation whose main claim to fame is being a media creation. I could be wrong. Nevertheless. The coverage of non-important people makes me sick.
OK . I’m done. Next time I promise a more uplifting post. Like….the REAL truth about Santa Claus and his “elves.”
$650,000,000. Each year. That is what the US spends on public education. A big pile of pennies. A massive gold egg.
As certain elements of our political system continue to degrade teaching and public education they are keeping one eye firmly focused on this treasure trove of tax dollars. Your dollars. My dollars. Dollars that are going to educate the next generation of citizens.
On one hand they attack teachers and unions and emphasize testing rather than learning. On the other hand they can’t keep their eyes off that big mountain of gold. Ripe for plucking. Privatization.
If you don’t keep the figure of $650,000,000 in mind you will not get it. Just as the private prison industry has been taking over the housing of criminals, we see a movement in politics to turn over education, and tax dollars, to private companies. What Mitt Romney would call a “transfer of wealth”.
Now, you might think that is a good thing. Public schools can do better. Add to that the ingrained myth that private industry is somehow more efficient that public institutions. And there is no doubt plenty of waste , corruption and failure in some public schools. So, it may be tempting to turn over the education of kids from highly trained professionals to for profit companies.
Except it doesn’t work. Well, it depends. If your goal is to simply shift wealth from regulated, licensed, dedicated institutions to unregulated , short-term profit scam artists it does work. If your goal is to improve schools, it doesn’t. Of course, the same politicians who are constantly trying to degrade public education, de-fund it and de-unionize it are the ones who want to turn it over to the private entities. Starve the schools then complain about them.
I took my car to my “government-regulated” mechanic last week and told him to rebuild the engine using only a screwdriver. He said couldn’t do it. He said he needed better tools to do the job correctly. I told him he was a failure. So, I need to get a new mechanic. I found a guy who said he could do it. He is a “privatized” mechanic. He doesn’t need to follow any stupid government regulations. And he is cheap. Left my car with him last week. I am sure it will be fine. Can’t wait to get it back.
Not a single long-term study has shown any significant increase in student performance in these privately run “schools”. A good example is the Wisconsin “Rocketship” fiasco. Cut teaching staff. Put kids in front of computers. Emphasize only test scores. And even then test scores did not improve. But “Rocketship”profits did…from $ 2 million to $16 million. Without results. (http://truth-out.org/news/item/23319-scathing-report-finds-rocketship-school-privatization-hurt-poor-kids)
$650,000,000. Each year. Every year. Waiting to be transferred from the taxpayer to the private companies. Like pirates scanning the horizon searching for the Spanish treasure fleet. The Jolly Roger of the privateers is being raised all over America. And the bullion is your tax dollars.
It’s coming. Every time you hear a politician degrade teaching and schools on one hand you can be sure he is taking something else from the privatization movement with the other hand.
The formula is here: Underfund education. Blame the teachers. Turn it over to privateers.
$650,000,000 each year is too hard to resist.
After Mao Tse-tung (or Mao Zedong) the communist dictator took control of China he decided to develop industrial production as quickly as possible. His goal was to catch up with the nation of Great Britain, a hated imperial power, in the production of food and iron and steel. He did this by instituting a series of 5 year plans…the most important called the “Great Leap Forward”. China was going to “leap” over a century of industrial and agricultural production in a few short years.
To do this, the Mao bureaucracy assigned production goals of food stuffs and raw iron to every commune. The commune leader was responsible for meeting those goals. One of the ways to meet the production of iron ore was a multitude of “backyard” furnaces. Small furnaces in which the communes throughout China purified iron ore, pots, pans and scrap metal for pig iron, later to be used in the production of steel. The peasants and communes “enthusiastically” responded. (The toll in human life to these policies is well documented elsewhere).
Now, if a commune failed to meet it’s yearly quota the leader of the commune was demoted and a new bureaucrat took his place. If the commune did meet the quota the government often increased the quota slightly more the next year. After a couple years of this system the Chinese communes were producing massive amounts of pig iron. The Great Leap Forward was a great success. Or was it?
As it turned out the production of food and iron was pretty much a fantasy of the bureaucracy. In order to keep your job you had to turn in production totals. People lied. All the production was on paper, not in reality. After all, the government gave them no help and had production goals that were unreachable. In reality. And the iron that was produced was of such low quality that it was virtually useless. But on paper all was well. After three years the Great Leap abruptly ended. A massive failure.
Which brings us to the current Great Leap Forward in American public education. We have heard , well, forever, that US schools are “failing”. Despite the fact that the US has one of the best educated work forces in the world. Just look at test scores. Look at those failure rates. Bring up those test scores. Demolish those failure rates.
Once, teachers were expected to teach youngsters. How to read, write, think, express and do all those other things educated folks are supposed to do. Teaching is hard work. Learning is harder work. It isn’t easy getting 14 year old boy to study . Video games, sports, the internet are all much more interesting than Pythagorean’s theorum. Or the causes of WW1. Or Darwin’s theory. Learning is an active process, after all. And if a youngster does not put in the time he will not get the reward. Should he?
Except. Those test scores. Those failure rates. If the test scores are low we have to blame someone. If the failure rates are high we have to find a scapegoat. And the principals and superintendents and media and politicians and parents know exactly who is to blame. The teachers. The unionized, lazy teachers. The overpaid peons. The peasants. The commune workers struggling to make pig iron in those backyard furnaces. Without much help.
So, what do we do? Have a Great Leap Forward. Just like Chairman Mao. Tell the peasants to “produce ” more with less. Just give us those “test results”. And raise those “passing rates”. And we will be happy. Lower the passing requirements. Make the tests easier. Produce test grading systems that boggle the mind (Like 40 out of 50 correct equals a 95). Do whatever it takes. Or heads roll. Superintendents get replaced. Principals get fired. But those damned teachers have tenure. Not what do we do?
Massive dishonesty. If a student fails it is the teacher’s fault. Or the school’s fault. Or the parents’ fault. Never the student’s responsibility. The numbers look bad. Fix them. Some teachers and administrators cheat. Better to produce good test scores than lose your job. Keeps the community happy. No teacher is ever criticized for having too many passing grades. Drill, baby, drill. Forget about learning. Forget about the process of discovery. Focus only on the test. And then wonder why real students get bored. Doesn’t matter. It is all about the test scores. The production quotas. The pig iron. Forget quality, just produce the pig iron.
And when the Great Leap Forward (No Child Left Behind; Race to the Top) fails miserably, we know what has to be done. Blame the peasants. Blame the teachers. Privatization.
Next essay: The Great Privatization Scheme.
Some people are heroes. Some people are traitors. And in the fantasy world of the right wing “media” there is no middle ground. You, too, can become a hero…or a traitor. It is all about timing. Three easy steps.
Step One. Becoming a hero.
Volunteer to go to war. Does not matter which war. Does not matter if the cause is just. Or if there is any cause at all. War, in and of itself, is a hero maker. If you join you become a hero.
Nothing the TV “news” likes better than a good old fashioned war. Reporters make careers. Officers make careers. Soldiers …well, they try to survive. Bad guys are killed. Everyone is happy.
As a volunteer soldier your congressman may have his picture taken with you. You will be honored for your courage and bravery and patriotism. You will be in the campaign ads. Next to the flag. Papa is proud. Mama is worried proud. And you will be a great hero.
Until you come home. Then, well, you are on your own. Papa is still proud. Mama is relieved. Your congressman doesn’t recognize you. Now you need help. Of course, you can always join again.
Step 2 . Becoming a superhero.
Get captured. Does not matter how. Wander off of base. Go AWOL. Get trapped by the enemy. There are a thousand strategies you can use. But get captured and your hero status will rise exponentially.
Look at John McCain. From a playboy, flyboy , wise guy pilot to hero status just by being captured. So what if he gave military information to the enemy (His words in a 1973 US news and World Report first person account). I don’t blame him. Who wants to be tortured ?
So, a hero captured and held as a POW is a double hero. Congress demands that the president bring you home. At any cost. We don’t leave our men behind…blah…blah…blah. A weak president leaves troops behind. A cowardly president. Do anything …but bring them home. We will swap enemy prisoners to get our boys back.
Like 1973. When John McCain and other US POWs were swapped for Vietnamese POWs. Vietnamese POWs who would undoubtedly return to battle to kill other Americans. But that was okay. John was okay with that. A risk worth taking. We got our boys back. Heroes all. Especially John.
Step 3. Becoming a traitor.
The hard part. How do you change from being a superhero POW into a traitor. It is all about timing. Ask Bowe Bergdahl.
Let’s say Barack Obama is president and he manages to negotiate your release. Well. Bad news for Bowe. You may have been a hero when you risked your life in Afghanistan. You may have been a super hero when you were taken prisoner and endured 5 years of captivity at the hands of the Taliban. Endured isolation. Endured torture. Endured.
Instead of coming home to bands and parades and embraces, you will come home to anger and nastiness and cowardly accusations. Instead of inspirational stories about enduring captivity, the armchair generals of Fox will label you a collaborator. The same folks who praised Cliven Bundy will vilify the POW. But don’t take it personally. It really is NOT about you.
It is all about that other guy. The wrong guy was responsible for your release. Poor Bowe. Should have been born 40 years sooner. Then maybe someday he could have been a hero. And a US Senator.
May, 2014 news item: The installation of solar panels on the White House roof is complete. They will not generate much electricity but they serve as a symbol that it is time for the US to move toward non-fossil fuels. Time to look to the future and break our dependence on oil. Barack Obama is also trying to get $2 billion for this new technology. Perhaps sometime in the future we will look back on this as the beginning of the end of the stranglehold of fossil fuels as an energy source.
1979 news item: Jimmy Carter has installed solar panels on the White House. They do not generate a lot of electricity but are a symbol of what America can do in the future. If we have the will. In the midst of the Arab oil crisis this is a start to free us from dependence on fossil fuels. No need to invade the Middle East. Carter’s extensive energy plan calls for wise investment in solar technology. All he needs is a willing Congress.
Carter states….” ….a generation from now, this solar heater can either be a curiosity, a museum piece, an example of a road not taken, or it can be a small part of one of the greatest and most exciting adventures ever undertaken by the American people; harnessing the power of the Sun to enrich our lives as we move away from our crippling dependence on foreign oil.”
1981 news item: The adventure ends. In one of his first acts a president, Ronald Reagan commands that the solar panels be removed from the White House. As a symbol that America will remain addicted to fossil fuels. Any hopes that America may become free of dependence on the fossil fuel industry is dashed. The panels are sent to Maine’s Unity College where they provide free electricity for heating water.
35 years of lost research and development. 35 years of increased dependence on oil. 35 years of backward thinking. Thank you Ronnie, your legacy lives on and on …at the gas pump. Next time you fill er up, think of Ronnie.
Barack Obama was born in Kenya. His birth certificate says Hawaii. Two newspapers in Hawaii announced his birth at the time. But, according to the birther movement, he was born in Kenya. Thereby making him an illegal president. A few conspiracy nuts at work ? Pretty funny stuff. We laughed.
Barack Obama is a radical Muslim who went to a madrassa as a child. A school where he learned to hate America and worship the Koran. Fox News carried the story. Over and over. And he did go to school. And the school had a lot of kids from Muslim families. But it was a public school. And in a Muslim country, believe it or not, most students come from Muslim families. Laughable. Silly. Debunked. Pretty funny stuff. We laughed.
Barack Obama is a radical black Christian who hates the white race. Wants to kill whitey. Plays the hate game. He did, after all, attend a church run by the firebrand black preacher, the Reverend Wright. And the good reverend is known for his hyperbole and angry sermons. So, if Obama sat in a church and listened to sermons by this guy, he must be a white-hating racist. Except Obama left that church. He denounced the ideas of Reverend Wright. Publicly. And since Obama’s mother and grandparents who raised him were white it is pretty hard to imagine that he hates “white people”. Silly. Right wing conspirators at work. Funny stuff. Silly. We laughed.
John McCain, in a frenzy of panic and disregard for all reason, manages to choose as his running mate one of the most unqualified people on the planet. Not just the US. The entire planet. And Sarah Palin becomes the darling of the emerging far, far, far right. When she can’t name a newspaper or magazine she reads her defenders blame it on Katie Couric. Couric “set her up” with a surprise “gotcha” question. Who could be expected to know the answer? It was a clever trap. And this same VP candidate then pronounces that her foreign policy credentials include the fact that Alaska is adjacent to Russia. (To be fair to Sarah she never said she could see Russia from her porch).She declares that global warming was a fraud. 99% of the scientists are wrong! Drill, Baby, Drill. She thought she had the intelligence, thoughtfulness and gravitas to be the most powerful person on Earth. She was to be a heartbeat away from the Oval Office. Absurd. Unqualified. Ridiculous. What was McCain thinking? Pretty funny. We laughed.
And then there were the “make him fail” pronouncements from elected members of the Congress.. And a Congressman screaming “you lie” at the State of the Union message. Over the top. Wanting to make the POTUS fail ? The man just elected by the majority of Americans? Rudely interrupting a constitutionally mandated speech by the POTUS. Shouting out like a heckler at a baseball game. Childish. Vindictive. Certainly this kind of vitriol would be rejected by the voters. They had gone too far. They will self-destruct. Pretty funny? We laughed.
And here is where the “liberals” have problems. The smug liberals. The elitist liberals. The “know-it-all” liberals . The “we are superior intellect” liberals.The “I am smart and they are stupid” liberals. Like me. We just did not believe that so many people would tolerate this nonsense. How could folks fall for these frauds. In our cocoon of certainty, sanity and logic we assumed that just about everybody else would think, consider and then laugh at these guys. They would see these shenanigans as silly and obnoxious and anti-American. And potentially dangerous. And punish the right-wing radicals at the ballot box. They had gone way too far. We laughed.
Boy were we wrong.
The extremists gained popularity. We could not believe it. They won key seats in Congress and took back the House of Representatives. Astounding. And the nonsense continued. Intensified. Remember the “death panels” Where are they ? Remember Obama “taking away your guns”? Mine is still in the closet. Remember the “redistribution of wealth”? Today the top 1% of Americans still possess 40 % of the wealth. Remember the “failure of Obamacare” and how businesses were going to close and unemployment soar? Unemployment is down to almost 6 %.
And then, in a temper tantrum befitting a three-year old, the right-wing of Ted Cruz shut down the government, costing billions. Fiscal conservatives ? Now, seeing that Obamacare has become a reality and that people actually like it, they have a new shout. Benghazi. Benghazi. Benghazi. A “do nothing” GOP with a two-pronged plan: Shout loudly and do nothing for the American people.
We laughed at the birthers. We laughed at Sarah Palin. We laughed at the death panels and the ACA freak out. We laughed at the gun nuts. We laughed at the global warming deniers. But now they have power and influence beyond their numbers and seem to have a stranglehold on the democratic process.
Time to stop laughing. It’s Not Funny Anymore.
It is time to end Obamacare. The people have spoken. We have seen poll after poll tell us that. Obamacare is not what people want. Obamacare must go!
Poll after poll (and politician after politician) tells us what people DO want.
First. They want to be sure that they can get some type of basic health care plan for themselves and their loved ones. Something affordable. With help for low income folks. One of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act. The ACA.
End Obamacare. Support the ACA.
Second. People want to be able to keep their sons and daughters on their insurance policies . In this tough economy many young people cannot find good jobs . To be able to stay insured on their parents’ policy makes good sense. People want it. Another provision of the ACA.
End Obamacare. Support the ACA.
Third. Basic services. People want basic health services like check ups and contraceptives and preventative medical care. It is cost effective. It is very cheap when compared to the consequences of NOT having these services. Another provision of the ACA.
End Obamacare. Support the ACA.
Fourth . End of life counseling. Very popular. People want to know their options when and if they become incapable of making end of life decisions. Nothing we like to think about but it can have a great impact on families, financially and emotionally. Luckily, the ACA provides for the end of life counselling. No more Obamacare “death panels”.
End Obamacare. Support the ACA.
Fifth. Guaranteed coverage. People want a policy that guarantees they cannot be rejected or eliminated because of pre-existing or acquired health conditions. One of the main reasons people do not change jobs. They want to keep health benefits. The ACA guarantees coverage. Even if you start to get expensive.
End Obamacare. Support the ACA.
Sixth and seventh and so on…Limits to insurance company profits. No longer limits to payouts if you get really sick. Increased help for the working poor by enrolling them in Medicaid. Closing the prescription donut hole. And more…..
People HATE Obamacare. But they LOVE the provisions of the ACA. So join in. Call your congressman (If he is like mine he will never call back). Write your senator. Email the White House. Together we can end Obamacare and implement the ACA. Something all Americans can agree on!
There have been a slew of voter suppression laws in many GOP held states since the last election. While on the surface many of these laws seem to be innocuous enough, the devil is always in the details. Behind this attempt at disenfranchisement is the myth that millions of illegals are somehow managing to vote, and they all vote Democratic. Oh well. Sigh.
The reforms sound reasonable enough. Take Kansas, for example. The new law (in force since 2013) says that in order to vote you must have proof of citizenship. A photo ID. But that does cost money. And the list of acceptable documents needed to obtain the proper ID all cost money. The state website says that you can apply for a FREE birth certificate…uh…except it costs $15 to apply for the FREE birth certificate. Tantamount to a poll tax. If you want to vote, you pay. And lost in the details (remember that is where the “devil” resides) is an interesting clause.
In Kansas folks who have voted in the past do NOT need new ID. Nor do they need to prove US citizenship ! What ? Yes. The Kansas law seems to apply ONLY to new voters. Those registered before January 1, 2013 do not have to comply. But…if there has been wide scale voter fraud in Kansas (the purpose for the law) doesn’t that mean that voters “in the past” have been illegal ? Let the ILLEGAL voters continue to vote ? Defies logic. But it makes sense if your goal is to suppress a certain segment of the population from voting. Young voters. New voters. Poor voters. Groups which tend to lean Democratic. Reminiscent of the very effective “grandfather clause” of the old south.
Other states, like Ohio, have changed their voting laws to make it more difficult for working people to vote. Actually, Ohio has pretty good laws. They allow early voting. And voting on weekends right before the election. Very popular. Especially with working folks. And voting in the evenings the weeks before the election. This allows working folks a chance to get to the polls. Well, it did. But they discovered that African-American voters (largely Democratic) voted early and on Sunday. And since the working poor had jobs, the evening voting was attractive to them. Not good for the GOP. This year the Ohio GOP government changed those voting times. Too many working people being able to make it to the polls has never been good for the GOP.
And Florida has made registering new voters much more difficult by ,for the first time, establishing very strict time restrictions on the process.
Just three examples, there are more.
All the while, these GOP controlled state governments insist that they want citizens to have the right to vote. They WANT citizens to vote. They want all citizens to be part of the process.
OK. Let’s call their bluff. Let’s see if the GOP would join us in the following solutions.
First. Every person should be given a free national ID voter/citizenship card at the age of 18. Can’t do it? Of course we can. Every male in the US is obligated to register for Selective Service upon reaching the age of 18. Each one is sent proof of registration. They are put in the system. They are identified. A similar system could be used to register every male and female as voters. You get a card. Like a Social Security card. It proves you have the right to vote. You present the card at your polling place. Only citizens get these cards. End of problem.
Second. Mandate that any other forms of ID required to vote must be free. No application fees. Free. If any state requires ID beyond the Voter registration card the state must provide those forms of ID for nothing.
Third. Voter week. Every state will open voting for one full week , ending on Tuesday, election day. And each state will provide polls to be open until 9 PM each day of the voting week. This will make it easier for citizens to vote. Make it easier for the working class to vote. Something the GOP SAYS it wants to do.
Fourth. Any illegal immigrant attempting to vote will face immediate deportation.
Fifth. The voter tax rebate. Every citizen who votes in the national election will be given a tax rebate of $100. Just send it in with your next year’s tax return. A reward for good citizenship.
I am sure there are other, better ideas for encouraging voting. Maybe a national voter registration week ? Or making Election Day itself a national holiday?
If the GOP is serious about citizens voting there are plenty of ways to encourage that. Of course, if EVERYBODY votes, the GOP has real political problems. And they know it.
So, despite the posturing about “citizens” and “waving the flag” and “honoring America”, don’t expect any action soon from the GOP. Do expect voter suppression laws to continue to become more focused and more restrictive. Otherwise it would look too much like they were encouraging democracy. And we all know where that will lead.
What has happened to our cowboys?
News item summary: A “rancher” named Bundy has been grazing his cattle for free on federal land for 20 years. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has taken him to court a number of times trying to collect. The fees, by the way are incredibly cheap. The BLM charges $1.35 per animal per month. Try to feed a cow for that. (Private businesses charge $10-28 per month for the same grazing rights) But this cheat refuses to pay. And when, after 20 years and court cases the BLM finally did come to take his cattle, he called on his cowboy friends relatives to take up arms. And the BLM backed down. For now.
I am not even going to bother with whether or not this guy is legally entitled to use land that does not belong to him. The courts are clear. He doesn’t. And his claim that he does not recognize the “authority of the US government” may give him a leg to stand on in an insanity plea. But not good for much else. I prefer to focus on another aspect of the case. Cowboys and how they have changed.
Those who support Bundy with their guns and philosophy present themselves as heroes. Tough talking hombres. A couple cowpokes I saw on camera said they were ready to “give their lives”. Give their lives so a guy who Romney would describe as “wanting something for nothing” could continue to mooch off the government. OK. I guess that is worth dying for.
Or, well, maybe not give MY life, exactly, but somebody’s.
As the story unfolded a former Arizona sheriff, Richard Mack , talked to Fox News (sic) about the strategy he intended to use. I am NOT making this up. Mack said that if things heated up the Bundy faction intended to put women in front of the men. Unarmed women. To be used as shields. To take fire from the federal “rogue agents”. To be casualties. This would prove just how evil the federal government was. Can’t argue with that “reasoning”. The cowboys would hide behind a human shield. What has happened to our cowboys?
Maybe it is time to remake some of those old westerns I watched as a kid. Try this: “Shootout at the Nevada Chicken Ranch”, starring John Wayne and Clint Eastwood.
John Wayne: Well,pardner, I see the evil Land Management Goons are coming to try to take away our grazin rights. Gonna meet em at 12 noon at the Nutcase Corral for the big shootout.”
Clint Eastwood: (spits) There’s 10 of them and only 2 of us. But I’m a willin’ to die so Uncle Buck can continue to graze his 7 herd of longhorns for free. How about you?
JW:Hmmmm…. I know a better way out of this mess. How many womenfolk do you have?
CE: Well, there’s my wife, Lilly Sue and daughter, Rosey Sue and the baby. Aunt Gertrude and my niece Mandy Sue. That’s it.
JW: Well, lemmee see. I have my sister Honey Sue and she has 4 little uns, Sue Sue, Gunna Sue, Wanna Sue and Lets Sue. There is my Aunt Nelly and Aunt Kate. Oh…don’t forget Granny Grumplin. If we can git her started in her walker she’ll be fine. Hardly ever falls over. We can prop her up if needs be.
CE: Well,what’s yer plan?
JW: Here it is, pardner. We’ll git all those womenfolk down there and stand them up between us and the feds. Then, when the shootin starts we’ll have good cover. Reminds me, how about the Pork Belly twins? Seen them around?
CE: I…I…don’t know, pardner. That jest don’t seem right. To use the womenfolk like that. It ain’t manly. It ain’t the cowboy way. It’s kind of cowardly, ain’t it?
JW: Aw, go on pardner.Times are changin. This is a deadly situation. And you know what they always say. If there’s trouble it’s always “women and children first”.
Cowboys just ain’t what they used to be.
It is April 16. Tax day has come and gone. I can finally admit it. I am a Revenuephiliac. I love the IRS.
I fear this admission will rain down anger upon my being. I will be hated more than Gandhi at an NRA meeting. Vilified more than Al Sharpton at a gathering of the White Aryan Nation. Be more harshly treated than Sarah Palin at a MENSA Convention.
But I confess. I love the IRS. Very Un-American, I know. But that’s the way I am. And here’s why.
The IRS is under attack. And has been for many years. The money budgeted for enforcement has been declining. Since 2002 the IRS budget has actually declined by 17%. Fewer agents means that the chances of getting audited are less than 1% for most folks, about 20% for millionaires and less than 1% for businesses. Some politicians, like Ted Cruz, have publicly stated they want to do away with the IRS completely. So, as a champion of the underdog, I take up the banner of our tax police. Seriously. They have a banner.
As the financial support for the IRS has waned on the one hand, fraud and corruption have skyrocketed on the other. Who could of guessed ? Fewer cops, fewer arrests. The Center For Tax Justice estimates that for every dollar spent on funding the IRS the US brings in $10 dollars in revenue that would otherwise be lost. WHAT ? A federal agency that makes money ? Others estimate that with long term modernization the actual investment return is closer to $200 for each dollar spent today. There are BILLIONS of tax dollars going uncollected each year. Over $280,000,000,000 in overdue taxes will never be collected according to an IRS study from just a few years ago. And it is getting worse.
It has been a longstanding tradition to hate taxes. It is as American as racism or homophobia, to be sure. The nation was founded by tax dodgers. The Boston Tea Party was not a protest against free speech…it was a tax protest. And probably justified. Why pay taxes to those guys across the ocean? The Whiskey Rebellion? Same thing. Except this time it was why pay taxes at all. So, we have a solid history of being tax avoiders and tax cheats. All the more reason for the IRS.
After all, the IRS is nothing more than the domestic equivalent of our military or police force. And who can hate the troops? Or the police? They uphold the law, go after lawbreakers and make sure everyone plays by the same rules. They support the democratic process and the rule of law. They help collect the funds necessary to keep the nation moving ahead. They are the cop on the beat. The Marine standing guard over the flag.
Of course some taxes are pre-collected. The tax on the McDonald’s counter worker and the non-unionized VW assembly line worker. The cop. The teacher. The engineer. Anyone who works for a living. These shmucks can’t cheat on their taxes, and probably wouldn’t anyway.
Who could be against the IRS ? Tax cheats? Crooks? Organized crime? Money launderers for drug cartels?
Who benefits from a weak police force ? The honest citizen or the criminal?
So, join me in this IRS lovefest. Write your congressman. Ask for more money and better enforcement of our tax laws. What better investment is there? A $10-200 return for every dollar spent. In the end, if ALL taxes are collected, won’t you and I pay less? Won’t the honest citizen get a break?
Revenuephiliacs Unite! You have nothing to lose but your friends! And you might save a few bucks as well.
I confess that I spent much of my early life in the basement classrooms run by Catholic nuns. 60 kids in a class. One nun. Order was maintained by a combination of physical and mental coercion that would leave Dick Cheney screaming for the ACLU to intervene. Made the CIA look like a marshmallow convention. Nevertheless, order WAS maintained.
One of the nuns, Sister Crossmetwiceandyourdead, was especially adept at the verbal barb. And when the third grade boys in the back of the room (never me, of course) were getting rambunctious she would utter one of her favorite jibes: Empty Tin Cans Make the Most Noise.
Which brings me to the Tea Party Republicans.
We have witnessed, over the last 4 years, a regular, strident, loud and nasty noise from these folks. Unrelenting. Untrue, yes. But the noise is still the noise.
And just like the noise from the ill mannered third graders interfered with any orderly, sensible discussion in class, so the noise from these third party Tea Party supporters is meant to do the same for sensible, honest, political debate.
After all, it is not the “noise” of folks trying to bring about some positive change or supporting making things better. It is not the positive noise of cheering on your team at the ballpark. It is the boos and catcalls and whistles of the few post-adolescent boys in the bleachers who have had too much to drink. It is noise without purpose except to confuse and irritate. Signifying nothing. Just loud.
BENGHAZI. BENGHAZI. BENGHAZI. They chant this mantra as though it has some deep, philosophical or factual underpinnings. So, the GOP Congress investigates Benghazi. A tragedy. They collect evidence. Indict no one. But the noise continues.As though a tragedy is reason enough to make noise. BENGHAZI.
OBAMA HATES AMERICA. OBAMA IS A MUSLIM. OBAMA IS A SOCIALIST. The noise. The labels. No evidence. No basis in fact. But, just as my little classmates enjoyed doing anything but the hard work of school, (after all they WERE 3rd grade boys) so these adult Tea PArty chanters enjoy the sound of their own chanting. Easier than facing facts. Easier than doing the work. OBAMA IS EVIL.
OBAMACARE IS BAD. OBAMACARE IS BAD. The empty tin cans. They bang. They clang. They deafen meaningful discussion. They evade specifics. Always. Evade specifics. It’s just ..bang…clang…bad….bang..clang…OBAMACARE IS BAD.
OBAMA WANTS YOUR GUNS. OBAMA WANTS YOUR GUNS. And yet. No guns are taken away. Nor bullets. I just double checked my closet. Gun still there. Bullets still there. The tin cans clang. Deafening. Drowning out sensible debate while 35,000 Americans die each year. The empty tin cans even drown out the sounds of children screaming in Sandy Hook Elementary. OBAMA WANTS YOUR GUNS.
After a few years the empty tin cans in my school moved on. They grew up. They did what they needed to do, even if they didn’t like it. Maybe they realized that their senseless noise wasn’t amusing anymore. Maybe they wanted to participate in positive ways. Maybe they just got tired of their own banging and clanging. I know the rest of us did. Or maybe they deafened themselves.
So, Sister Crossmetwiceandyourdead, I guess you were right. The empty tin can noisemakers were very loud and very forceful. But, in the end, their noise dissipated. They grew up. Let’s hope the current Empty Tin Cans are able to do the same.
I receive “communications” from my representative in Congress, Mr. Reed (R-NY) , fairly regularly. Which is good. I like to see what he is up to. One of his jobs as a Congressman is to keep folks “informed”. I guess. Which is why I always look for information in his literature. And looking for information in his mailings is like a Where’s Waldo problem.
Example 1: A postcard he sent telling me he opposes Obamcare’s cuts to senior citizens, specifically cuts to Medicare. This sounds pretty awful, especially since I am soon to be joining the Medicare system. I certainly don’t want the government cutting MY BENEFIT!. I mean, we have to cut somewhere, but not ME!
The postcard had a pretty specific figure of $300 billion dollars. A very big cut to my benefits. Obama wants to cut MY BENEFITS by $300,000,000,000. Not anything to sneeze at.
So I called Mr Reed’s office and talked to a very nice lady. I asked her what programs were being cut by Obamacare. $300 billion is a lot of programs that old folks are going to lose. She was pleasant enough and tried to answer, but couldn’t. She explained that they had no SPECIFIC information on that topic. Took my name and phone number so the Congressman could get back to me with an answer. . Two weeks ago. Never heard from them since.
Example 2: An email arrived telling me how Mr. Reed was opposing Obamacare because of the new “full-time” work provision. According to the email, people who work 30 hours a week are now considered full time. And this is a travesty. An outrage.
It will hurt working families. They will make less money. So, Mr. Reed is sponsoring a bill to make the 40 hour work week the law of the land.
I called Mr Reed’s office. I talked to a very nice young man. Again, he was pleasant but could not answer some of my questions. Does Obamacare mean that people can work ONLY 30 hours ? Can’t they work more if they and their employer want them to? Wasn’t this “30 hour” provision put in so companies could not make someone work, say, 39 hours and then claim they were part-time, hence not covered by the law? What is the real problem here?
Once again, these basic, common sense questions could not be answered. I almost felt sorry for these staff members who are forced to try to explain these silly bits of misinformation put out by the Congressman.
Conclusion: It is one thing to be against the ACA for legitimate reasons. And back it up with evidence. It is quite another to spread misinformation and partial, selective information to try to undermine the law. People deserve ACCURATE information. If Mr Reed opposes the ACA, as he does, then why stoop to a low level of shenanigans? He should be ashamed of these types of mailings. I am sure there are real weaknesses in the law, but when Congressmen spread misinformation about it, it leads one to question ANYTHING they say in their literature.