Category Archives: Neoconservative

Why Do We Gotta Learn This Stuff?

Billy Bob Baker, sitting in the back row picking his nose in US history class: “Why do we gotta learn this stuff?” What history teacher has not heard that refrain from some of his or her students ?

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the Bloody Sunday march in Selma, Alabama.

In much of Alabama Negroes could not vote. African-Americans and blacks could not register to vote. The state of Alabama had systematically and intentionally prevented minorities from taking part in elections. State’s rights.

The federal government was doing nothing to guarantee this right.

So. People marched. Peacefully. And the local and state authorities responded with violence. With billy clubs. With dogs. With tear gas. With beatings.

Because people marched for the right to vote. Peacefully. For the right to vote.

Today we have seen a resurgence of the “state’s rights” propaganda. In the 1950s and 60s it was a code word for racism. For keeping minorities powerless. For making laws about marriage, schools, drinking fountains, restaurants and even where a person could sit on a bus.

Take a moment to digest that. The state of Alabama,under the doctrine of “state’s rights” decided that some working, tax paying citizens could not drink at a public drinking fountain. Or use a restroom. The state of Alabama, and many others, decided that even though a person bought a ticket to ride a bus he or she could not sit in an empty seat on that bus unless it was in the back of the bus. Even though the law abiding working citizens paid taxes , the state of Alabama decided that these same taxpaying citizens could not participate in elections.

Let it sink in.
It is not ancient history. It is modern America. It wasn’t 1695, it was 1965.

“Why do we gotta learn this stuff?” Because ignorance breeds racism. Because ignorance of recent history allows one to be lead by the nose into another era of “states rights”. Another code word. Because your ignorance condemns you to be a pawn. Because the world is more complex than Fox Entertainment would have you believe. And to help you understand that no battle for civil rights is ever finished. Because if you remain ignorant you are easy pickings for the demagogues and racists. There are always politicians who will use the codewords to gain power over others.

Yes, Billy Bob. You gotta learn that stuff. Not just for yourself, but so the rest of us can live knowing that your ignorance will not help reactionaries turn back the clock of progress.

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Filed under blacks, Education, government, Neoconservative, neoconservatives, police, Politics, Republicans, Society

No, Rand, You Don’t

Much has been made of Rand Paul’s silly statements about vaccines. They are so ludicrous that they do not bear repeating. Just file them under: Paul, Rand, Typical.

But one part of his statement does bear scrutiny. Why ? Because it reflects, in a few words, the entire misguided libertarian “philosophy”. He stated that the government does not “own ” children. Which, of course, is true. But then he added that “parents own” their children.

It is this simplistic libertarian attitude that is the very weak foundation of the Paul “philosophy”. I own it. It is mine. I have no responsibility to anyone or anything. I can use and dispose of it anyway I want, without regard for others.

If ,as Paul claims, a libertarian parent “owns” his child, then all protections for children disappear. Can a parent abuse a child? Can a parent deny the theory of gravity and throw a child from a window on the 10th floor? Can a parent sell a child into prostitution?

Of course these are extreme examples. But if one accepts the basic premise of child “ownership” then a parent can do whatever he wants, can’t he?

This is where the libertarian “philosophy” falls apart. The denial of rights for anyone except ME. It is the ultimate ME philosophy. No matter how one wants to sell it , the main idea comes back to “MY rights are more important than anyone else’s rights.” Even more important than the rights of my own child.

I don’t have to vaccinate my kids. Other people’s kids have no right to be safe from the measles. I don’t have to wash my hands if I am serving food. The restaurant patron has no rights to a safe eating environment. I don’t have to serve certain “types” of people in my restaurant. Other people do not have a right to equal pubic accommodations.

In the end, the Rand Paul philosophy of ME cannot stand up to the sensible and simple idea that we live in a society. He cannot seem to grasp that he is not the only ME in the world. Kind of like a three year old.

No, Rand, you don’t own your children. You are their caretaker and guardian. Protector. They do not belong to you to dispose of as you wish.

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Filed under Conservatives, economics, government, healthcare, logic, Neoconservative, neoconservatives, Politics, Religion, Republicans, slippery slope, Society, tea party

Why I Like Mitt

Like everyone else on the political left I enjoy poking fun at Mitt Romney . He is out of touch. Was born into great wealth. Hides his money overseas. Takes seriously a religion that believes in magic underwear. (Which is really no sillier than any religion when you think about it). So, I surprised myself when I realized I wanted Mitt to run for POTUS again.

No. Not so Hilary Clinton could waltz to an easy victory. No. Not because I want to see him and his family humiliated again. But because, when looking at the rest of the GOP field, Mitt stands tall.

As in 2012 the GOP faithful have their perennial candidates. People like Huckabee, Perry, Santorum, maybe Newt. Along with a newer breed of crazy. Cruz, Rubio, Rand Paul, Ben Carson. A group of wannabees that make a Star Trek convention look like a royal wedding. None of these candidates has a chance of getting nominated or elected. But they all have a financial stake in running for POTUS.

Running for POTUS in modern times has become a very lucrative business. You fly around the country. Spout whatever comes to mind. And get hollow-headed folks to send your PACs loads of dough. Money that can be used for anything you want.

Take a look at Sideshow Sarah Palin for example. She takes in millions and spends a very small fraction on helping candidates get elected. The overwhelming majority of her unregulated PAC income is spent on her travel, wardrobe and vacations. All legal. A family slush fund. So, running for POTUS is a good gig. The fools and their money are easily parted.

But there is a second group of politicians who actually do want to be POTUS and have a chance of doing so. That would be Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and Mitt Romney. So ask yourself, of those three, who would you rather see sitting in the Oval Office?

Christie may very well self-destruct. But don’t bet on it. The GOP has been known to back criminals and bullies. Tricky Dick, anyone. Christie has a lot of baggage, to be sure. His misuse of the billions set aside for the train tunnel to NYC, which never materialized. His handling of the Sandy funds , some of which still have not been distributed. His costing the state of NJ millions of dollars by holding a special election for the vacant US Senate seat rather than waiting a few weeks and holding that election on election day. He was afraid that the votes for popular Democratic Senate candidate Booker would cut into his own election win. His hiring of a group of folks now under indictment. His vacating the job of governor for 40% of the time to spend it courting GOP votes across the nation. Again, at great expense to the people of New Jersey. Other GOP candidates throwing mud at Christie will be easy. He lives in a cesspool of his own making.

That leaves Jeb Bush. A thought. No GOP candidate NOT named Bush has won the presidency since 1984. From 1980 through 2007 only ONE time has a Bush NOT been on the national ticket. The GOP has been run as a Bush family legacy. A divine right. Which means the Bushes have plenty of money and support from the more traditional GOP money makers. While Jeb himself has plenty of “character” issues that has never stopped a family member from advancing. His illegal removal of tens of thousands of voters from the Florida rolls prior to the 2000 election all but assured his brother the presidency. Even then it took 5 members of the SCOTUS to close the deal. (Two of those justices voting to put GW on the throne had family members working directly for the Bushes) And, like the rest of the family, he does no real “public service” other than line his own pockets. But that will not be a hindrance to the oil industry. Compared to his brother he is smooth and smart and knows how to avoid saying dumb things. Beware.

That leaves us with Mitt Romney. Despite the fact that Romney was crushed in the election of 2012 in the electoral college by a vote of 332-206. But, switch the votes of Florida, Ohio and Virginia and that race becomes an almost dead heat. Add in Wisconsin and Michigan, which now have GOP governors, and it is Romney who wins big. And he did get 61,000,000 Americans to pull the lever for him. So, I understand that Romney thinks he has a chance to win this time around.

But what kind of POTUS would Romney be? Unlike the first group of idiots he is not an ideologue. He does not subscribe to any narrow religious worldview that he seeks to impose on others. Be real. The Church of Later Day Saints has always been as much a business enterprise as a religion. In the last 150 years it has not hesitated to change “god-given” doctrine for political or economic gain. (Polygamy, role of blacks comes to mind).

And unlike Christie or Bush he does not seem tied to special interests. I know he flip flops on some issues and does his share of pandering, but he is basically a business man. A manager. A bottom line guy. Which is why he supported “Romneycare” in Massachusetts. It was the practical thing to do. It made economic sense. And he took federal tax dollars to save the private Olympic games. Socialist when it suits him.

I can see President Christie going off the deep end with his “tough guy” persona and destroying any international cooperation we now enjoy. I can see Christie attacking any newsperson or citizen who dares suggest he is wrong. Christie surrounds himself with yes men who are willing to do his dirty work. What kind of cabinet would he hire? Any independent thinkers? Not the kind of guy I want as POTUS.

I can see President Jeb Bush continuing the family tradition of speaking out of both sides of his mouth at the same time. And blatantly lying with that sincere look on his face; a family gift. I can see Jeb and his people using the same nasty campaign tactics his dad and brother used. The “Willie Horton” ads. The McCain has a black baby smear. The Swiftboating of a soldier who fought in the war the Bush brothers carefully avoided. I think the family mudhole has no bottom when it comes to slinging. Another Bush would mean a major step backward for all but the oil industry. The Saudis, of course, would be gleeful.

I just can’t envision a President Romney doing those things. I think he is educable. I think he is smart. I think he wants to succeed. And I think he has a pragmatic sense that would not allow him to avoid real domestic problems once he was in a position of power. And would not allow him to get involved in the foolish hawkishness that has become a badge of honor for the GOP.

Would I vote for Romney? Heavens no. I don’t agree with him on many, if any, issues. But does he scare me? No, again. Not like Cruz or Bush or Christie or Paul or Huckabee. So, I think Mitt should run again. Maybe three times IS the charm. Maybe not. But at least sane citizens wouldn’t have to lose any sleep over the person sleeping in the White House.

What do you think? Does a Romney presidency scare you?

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Filed under Christie, Conservatives, Elections, GOP, government, Mormon, Neoconservative, neoconservatives, Politics, Religion, Republicans, Supreme Court, tea party, US

The Job Creators Strike Again

The 114th Congress, controlled by the GOP , has now voted to approve the XL Pipeline. The Senate will probably follow suit. It is not clear if this vote actually means anything, since the State Department has not yet completed it’s required study of the pipeline. And the POTUS cannot act to approve it until the State Department makes it’s recommendations. And it is quite possible that President Obama would approve the pipeline anyway, if the State Department so recommends.

But facts and the law will not stand in the way of the Job Creators. The GOP Job Creators. Their dedication to creating jobs has no bounds. The policies of Reagan’s Supply-Side Economics (called “VooDoo Economic”s by former POTUS GHW Bush) have created millions of jobs since the 1980s. That is the good news.

The bad news is that those jobs were created overseas. China. Vietnam. Mexico. Or in states well below poverty level wages. Alabama. Georgia. Tennessee. Good for CEOs and the upper 1 %. Not such a great deal for the middle class or workers. Not such a great deal for taxpayers since so many full-time employees are also on Food Stamps. We may pause at this point to recall that these Job Creators fought very hard to prevent the US from helping the auto industry keep the jobs already created. Tens of thousands of jobs. Good paying jobs with no one on Food Stamps. Saved by the bail outs and TARP. Job Creators hated them. Predicted the end of freedom in America if we saved these jobs. (That catastrophe was somehow averted.)

So the XL Pipeline is not a new triumph for the Job Creators. They have created short term low wage jobs before. For the honor of piping the filthiest oil on the planet across the water tables of the plains states the US will be rewarded with thousands of jobs. Over 1,000 miles of 36 inch pipe. Carrying unprocessed, unrefined thick crude oil . Across water resources. Across farmland and grazing land. What could go wrong?

The pipeline will create 3,000 to 5,000 jobs. Good jobs. Unless they are given to non-unionized, low wage immigrant labor. And these jobs will last a long time. Well. Two years. Then they end. Then the housing built for the temporary workers lies vacant. The boom in the small towns goes bust. But there are more jobs. Permanent ones. Jobs that are here to stay.

The best estimate of the long term permanent jobs servicing the pipeline is 35. And 15 more part time jobs, as well. 50 jobs. The economic impact of these 50 jobs is hard to gauge. The GOP Job Creators have been beating their chests and thumping their …well…their whatevers, for 50 permanent jobs. For 6 years they have battled to get these 50 jobs.

While infrastructure rots and schools crumble, the Job Creators are narrowly focused on 50 jobs for their oil company donors. Not thousands of police officers to make cities safer. Not thousands of teachers to help our students. Not firefighters. Not computer technicians or scientists. Not increased training for new doctors and nurses. Nope.

The Job Creators have spent 6 years whining about 50 jobs. That’s about 9 jobs per year. Fewer than one per month.

A great start. At this rate the Job Creators will have the US economy booming along with full employment by the time the sun burns the Earth to a crisp in 1.1 billion years. But, hey. You gotta start somewhere.

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Filed under Congress, Conservatives, economics, Economy, GOP, government, jobs, Neoconservative, Politics, Republicans, Senate, Society, Taxes, US

Thank you Mr Yoder

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.

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Filed under Christie, Conservatives, Debt, Economy, Neoconservative, neoconservatives, obama, Politics, Republicans

What’s Eating Gilbert’s Textbooks?

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.

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Filed under birth control, Conservatives, Education, healthcare, Neoconservative, Religion, Republicans, tea party

Racist Mike Votes

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 ?

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Filed under Conservatives, Elections, Neoconservative, neoconservatives, Politics, Republicans, Society

I’m Sick of It

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.”

 

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Filed under ACA, Elections, healthcare, homosexual, Neoconservative, Obamacare, Politics, Religion, Republicans, Society, Taxes

The Liberals Are Coming! The Liberals Are Coming!

A Poem. With apologies to…well…everyone.

 

The Liberals Are Coming

 

Listen My children and who shall hear

The whining and crying of those who fear

Who dread the idea of rights for gays

And dream of a past of more bigoted days.

 

“The liberals are coming” is what they say

“The liberals are coming to take rights away”

“Gay liberals are coming to marry our sons”

“The liberals are coming to confiscate guns”

 

They ride through the internet,  fearful and mad

And watch Fox and Friends (which really is sad)

They worry that folks colored black, brown and red

Might all vote for Dems, a day they all dread.

 

Lockstep behind pundits their minds go a sail-in

Listening to Rush, Ann Coulter and Palin

Worshiping at the great temple of Cruz

Fearful of Muslims, agnostics and Jews

 

They see immigrants taking all jobs that are fun

Like picking tomatoes in the hot summer sun

And cutting up chickens and waiting at tables

(For non-union wages) and cleaning out stables.

 

But that half-breed from Kenya is the one they hate most

A communist-socialist they’d like to roast

That Marxist purveyor of health care for all

By tearing him down, they think themselves tall.

 

So afraid of the thought that workers have rights

If they could they would make every issue a fight

Compromise is a blasphemy they can’t conceive

For God speaks to them (or so they believe)

 

One wonders what happens to warp little brains

And cause them to focus on hatred and pain

See commies and Marxists behind every tree

And liberals plotting to “get stuff for free” ?

 

Well, the liberals aren’t coming,  so nothing to fear

The liberals aren’t coming, we’re already here

Over 200 years now and still doing fine

Slowly making life better,  one law at a time

 

Some “liberal” ideas that have taken hold?

Everyone voting. No slaves being sold.

Cleaning the water. Cleaning the air.

Minimum wages. Trials that are fair.

 

Medicare. Head Start. The old EPA.

(Well,  that one was Nixon’s…a “liberal” today)

Women have rights to their own personhood.

Social Security. See, it’s all good.

 

Let Fox-nurtured phobics keep crying in pain

With arguments silly and dumb and inane

And when they keep screaming and howling “Impeach!”

Remind them it was “liberals” who gave them free speech.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under ACA, Conservatives, Education, Elections, Environment, healthcare, homosexual, Immigration, Neoconservative, Republicans, Supreme Court

Obama Captures Devil…The GOP Responds

Over the past few years the Obama Administration has successfully brought to justice the man responsible for 9/11.  Al-Qaeda members and leaders have been killed in drone strikes or captured. And recently one of the “masterminds” of the attack on the Benghazi ambassador was captured and is incarcerated.

But yesterday, the CIA announced it finally has gotten the big one. Under authorization given them by Executive Order 666 the US has taken into custody the Devil himself.

Known throughout the ages as various names,  this evil monster is finally behind bars in an US federal prison.

At his press conference President Obama spoke these words:” The international nightmare is over. Mission Accomplished. After centuries of war, hatred, greed, oppression and violence the world has now been freed from this most evil entity. Known throughout the ages as The Devil, Lucifer,  Beelzebub, The Evil One and various other names, it is now in US custody. The nightmare is over. Evil is gone from the world.

I want to thank the brave members of the NSA, FBI, CIA and Google maps . Their fine work and steadfast determination has  lead to the incarceration of this epitome of evil. Never more will he sow his seeds of hate throughout the world. Mankind is safe forever.”

Around the world the response was one of joy.  The Pope thanked the USA for ridding the world of evil. AIDS disappeared in Africa. All terrorists throughout the Middle East destroyed their weapons and vowed never to hurt anyone again. The Koch Brothers went into hiding. North Korea opened its borders. Putin went to church.

The response from the leadership of the GOP was fast and furious.

Ted Cruz: “How much did this cost the taxpayer? How many millions were wasted on tracking down Beelzebub while hard-working billionaires picked up the tab? Just another example of Obama’s irresponsibility. No taxes for me. Time to shut down the government again.”

John McCain: “As I said years ago, we need to go to war with anyone or anything. At anytime. For any reason. This is another example of Obama’s inability to go  to war over anything. A weak president . What time is it? Where are my pills? And another thing. We need to go to war to show our enemies that we are strong? What time is it ? Where are my glasses?”

Mitt Romney:” As I said all along, the Devil is bad. That is why we need a president who wears magic underwear. Only I can stop the Devil. Obama is clueless. Clinton is clueless…what…they captured the Devil ? That’s not what I saw in the polls…Is it election night yet.”

Sarah Palin: (shrieking)” Of course the Kenyan captured the devil. They were friends. Squawk. Squawk. I knew it. I said it all along. Proof that Obama is a communist. Who else can see Russia ? Can you see Russia? I can see Russia. Squawk. Squawk…Look at ME. At ME. Now.  I am fading fast…”

Mitch McConnell: “A total failure. A total disaster. Another example of how Obamacare has led us to ruin.  What now? Under Obamacare the Devil will get FREE health care for life. And a nice cushy prison cell all to himself. Just another example of Obama’s failure. We will make him fail.”

George W Bush: “No shit ? Gol darn it. Sonnova monkey’s uncle. Whooda thought ?  Mission accomplished. Wanna see my pictures ?
Gotta good one here of me painting a picture of me while I am painting a picture of me. Purty clever. Heh. Heh.”

Rob Rubio: “It’s about time. Should have been done years ago. This president is a failure. His policy is a failure. Anyone can catch the Devil. I could catch the Devil . I could catch TWO devils. I could catch two Devils, one Beelzebub and three illegals. Vote for Me. ”

Rick Santorum:” Thank almighty God . Only God can catch the Devil. If Obama spent less time aborting babies and more time catching the Devil we would be the Land of the Free. Send money.  Now. Please. Hurry.”

Newt Gingrich: “Thank God almighty. We are a nation , under God. The greatest nation on earth. Under the sun. Obama is killing our nation. Send money now to stop Obamacare.”

Cliven Bundy: “Just another communist government overreach.  Taking a man out of his own home. Satan has rights. Unconstitutional. Only the county sheriff has the right to do that. I do not recognize the federal government. I do not recognize the USA or it’s authority. Get off my federal land. God bless the flag. God bless the USA.”

John Boehner: “This could be grounds for impeachment. Congress was not told in advance that the Evil One would be arrested.  We should have been notified that the purveyor of all of mankind’s pain for the last 6000 years was about to be taken into custody. At least 30 days notice. I am ordering articles of impeachment to be written as we speak. We will be organizing a special committee under the direction of Congressman Issa. Anyone see a bottle of Quick Tan around here?”

Meanwhile, the lawyer for Satan has asked the Supreme Court to overturn the Evil One’s arrest on the grounds that the NSA illegally collected information about his cell phone use. The lawyer also demanded that the arrest warrant be ruled illegal on the grounds of patient-doctor confidentiality. It seems as though the NSA and CIA received a tip  from a surgeon who was doing a heart transplant on Beelzebub. He realized that old Satan had no  heart to begin with, just an empty cavity. Justice Scalia has agreed to hear the case. Justice Thomas woke up briefly, concurred, then resumed his siesta.

Finally, Satan’s daughter has made her first public statement on the issue. She claims her father has diplomatic immunity as a life long member of the delegation from Hell that was legally elected a few years ago.  Her written statement follows.

“My father is a good man. He got me a good job. While he may have made a few teensy-weensy mistakes, when this is over he will be greeted in the streets of Montana as a liberator. Give the Devil his due.”(signed) Liz Cheney.

 

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Filed under Benghazi, Conservatives, crime, Foreign policy, Immigration, Neoconservative, neoconservatives, Obamacare, Politics, Religion, Republicans, Supreme Court, Taxes

It’s Not Funny Anymore

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.

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Filed under ACA, Conservatives, Economy, Elections, Environment, healthcare, jobs, Neoconservative, neoconservatives, Obamacare, Politics, Republicans

Women and Children First

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.

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Congressman Reed’s Misinformantion

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.
Two Examples:
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.

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Filed under ACA, Conservatives, healthcare, Neoconservative, neoconservatives, Obamacare, Politics, Republicans

I Don’t Understand

What is the point of the latest Arizona state government attempt  to discriminate against homosexual Americans? Why are they taking the time and the energy to draft a bill for the sole purpose of stopping some of the citizens of their state from receiving services ? Hopefully Governor Brewer will veto this piece of nonsense. But even if she does, one has to wonder what these people are thinking .

While most of us are very tolerant of others there are a few people in power who seem intent on demonstrating hatred and bigotry. How do these folks get elected? Are the majority of citizens in Arizona so disturbed ? Is it something in the water ? A lack of education? Inbreeding? Is there a “bigotry” gene or is it learned behavior?

When a small group of people in leadership positions are so openly hateful it is no longer a local issue. It should be of concern to all of us. Other states have passed anti-homosexual laws already. This kind of sickness CAN spread. Like the swine flu. Or a plague. And for normal people this way of thinking and hating is difficult to understand.

The issue is not religious beliefs, as the sponsors would try to say. Like a used car dealer spray painting  over a rust bucket of an automobile, these “lawmakers” try to hide the corrosion of their bigotry under a fresh coat of paint. Freedom of religion. Nonsense.

Freedom of religion does not extend to taking ACTIONS against our neighbors. You are free to believe what you want, but you are not free to  act on those beliefs to the detriment of others. The Bible says you can beat your wife. The US government says you can’t. The attempt to cloak bigotry in the mantle of freedom of religion is both cynical and absurd.

When you decide to open a business you accept the fact that ALL citizens have the right to use that business. When you accept a job at a hospital or police force you understand that you are required to serve all the people. You benefit from the legal system and taxes paid by ALL citizens. You accept the rules of living in a democracy.

We are not a religious state. If you want to live under Shari’a Law there are plenty of Islamic possibilities. If you so hate homosexuals there are over 30 nations in Africa with anti-gay laws that will welcome you. And Comrade Putin has his arms open wide, waiting for your entrance into that glorious nation. You’ll love it there.

But in the USA? No. We don’t do that here. I would say that the Arizona legislators who thought this up and voted for it should be ashamed of themselves. But the act itself demonstrates they have no shame. So, it is up to the voters of Arizona. What kind of people are you, anyway? What kind of US citizen supports a law designed only to dehumanize others?

I don’t understand the bigotry. And  I hope I never do.

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Neocon Papers 5:Toxic Deregulation

West Virginia. North Carolina. Texas. Deregulation.

If there is anything close to a mantra for the neoconservatives it is the idea of “deregulation”.

The argument for deregulation goes something like this. The government, most especially the federal government, over regulates our lives. Not our lives,  really. It over regulates big business. And because the government over regulates big business that does a number of things. First, it drives big business into massive debt. Second, it depresses the economy because it reduces employment. Third, it makes the cost of doing business more expensive, thereby passing on the cost of goods and services to the consumer. So, if government would stop regulating business all three of those areas would be improved. More businesses. More jobs. More profits. Sounds logical.

Except. We have tried it. It failed. The philosophy attributed to Reagan,  called Reaganomics was an attempt to limit regulations so businesses could thrive.  That philosophy has been the mainstay of Republican “thinking” and to a great extent has been embraced by many Dems as well. Since the 1980s we have seen the federal government loosen rules on lumbering, mining, oil drilling and gas drilling. We have seen the EPA gutted and reduced to a weak organization unable to enforce the laws. The same EPA created by Richard Nixon and the GOP in the knowledge that unfettered business has made a cesspool of much of America.

But big business pushed  back. And won. And as the GOP took state houses they have consistently sought to turn back or ignore reasonable environmental safeguards. Those in favor of safeguarding the air and water were labeled as “tree huggers” and “eco-terrorists” or “communists” who opposed “free enterprise”. Job killers. Of course, the near depression of 2007-2009 demonstrated that Reaganonomics was a colossal failure. Where is that booming,  deregulated economy we we promised?

So, today we can see just a few of the results of that GOP success. Texas. A deregulator’s dream state. Fracking goes on unregulated (except by a weak state agency). People in parts of Texas are exposed not only to water pollution but air pollution as massive quantities of methane emerge from the ground. Studies show methane contamination in Weatherford , Texas. No one knows the long term effects of this so the Texas response has been to do nothing to protect the citizens. And the EPA has had the same response. We’ll have to wait and see. But keep fracking. Deregualtion.

In West Virginia this year we saw the pollution of the largest city’s water supply (Charleston). An uninspected tank leaked toxic materials into the river. Then, in a display of incompetence that rivaled the Keystone Kops we had the governor telling folks to drink the water. Others in the department of health saying don’t drink the water. The company (Freedom Industries) admitting, after about a week, that SECOND toxic chemical had been emitted. The government of West Virginia telling folks finally. …(Well, it’s your call. Drink the water or don’t…unless your pregnant…then you shouldn’t…..) Schools closed , then reopened because tests showed the water was safe. Then closed again because these chemicals showed up  again.  Deregulation.

Another GOP state. North Carolina. This story keeps getting better and better. When Duke Energy (company with close ties to the governor) was sued by consumer groups for  dumping COAL ASH in rivers the state stepped in and took over the lawsuit. It then guaranteed that Duke Energy could not be sued by any public entity, only the state. But…but…but…What about the EPA? Evidently the EPA rules allow STATES to determine the validity of lawsuits and remove the original litigants. That’s right. The GOP “deregulators” will determine how to enforce the EPA rules. The fact that the new governor worked for Duke Energy for over 20 years and has at least $10,000 worth of stock (that is the maximum he is required to report) had nothing to do with the decision. So, Duke Energy can dump coal ash into the water supply. Pay a small fine. (But they “promised” to clean up the mess. They “promised”) And  continue to do business. Deregulation.

It is no  accident that these are GOP lead states. Business can be  good if you can dump your waste into the public water ways. Or pollute the air. And pay no meaningful fines. Good for business. Creates jobs. No downside.

Of course someone will have to pay. Pay for the massive coal sludge clean ups of North Carolina’s waterways. Pay for the clean up of the river continuing to flow into the Charleston water supply. Possibly even install new water pipes. And pay the medical costs in the future for damaged children and adults in Texas,  North Carolina and West Virginia. Because these are real disasters. Man made. Someone will be shelling out billions of dollars over the next 20 years for these and countless other disasters. It won’t be “Freedom Industries”. It won’t be” Duke Energy”. It won’t be the natural gas industry in Texas.  It won’t be the “deregulators”. Can you guess who ?

The neocon mantra continues: Deregulation. Deregulation. Deregulation. Let the next generation pay for it.

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Filed under Conservatives, Economy, Environment, healthcare, Neoconservative, neoconservatives, Politics, Republicans

Good News…for a change

The GOP today decided to vote to extend the debt ceiling for another 13 months so the US government can pay it’s bills. Well, not exactly. In reality only 28 Republicans voted for the measure. Enough to insure its passage with Dem votes.  So, what may this mean?

First and most important, the US will not be defaulting on payments. Contracts already signed and goods already delivered. Contracts underway. Interest payments. This means that for the next year, at least, American business and the rest of the world knows that the US will make good on any debts.

Second and not as important, what does this mean for the GOP? Does this mean they are finally willing to give a little and actually work with Mr Obama? Or does it simply mean that they know this is an election year and they are fearful of once again being seen as the party of “No”? Doing nothing is not much of a platform to run on.

Third, what about Boehner? While he was able to convince most of his fellow Repubs that this issue was not worth fighting, does this mean he has reasserted control of the GOP? Could he have gotten 150 votes if he had wanted to? Is this a step in leading his party to a more sane, cooperative governing style?

Fourth, what about the Tea Party? This was a very public defeat for that small group of radicals. Is this the first step in slowly ridding their negative influence on the GOP? Or will they return with a vengeance and once again try to block any progress? Or are they biding their time, hoping for big victories in the fall so they can oust Boehner from leadership and even install Cruz as Senate majority leader?

Time will tell. But for now, cooler heads have prevailed. And while some may ciaim this is a “Democratic” or “Obama” victory, that is not the case. It is a victory for common sense, stability  and fiscal responsibility. Long overdue.

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Filed under Conservatives, Debt, Economy, Neoconservative, neoconservatives, Politics

Why Immigration Reform Will Not Pass

Both political parties have talked about immigration reform for years. More agents on border patrol. More deportations. A path to citizenship.

According to the “patriotic” wing of the GOP,  illegals are blamed for just about every ill you can think of. They crowd our emergency rooms. They overcrowd our schools. They vote in amazing numbers (at a higher rate than US citizens, evidently). They are the reason for taxes. I think they may even be causing global warming (if the deniers would admit it existed).

Of course, the fact that illegal immigrants actually contribute more to the system, in terms of cheap labor, taxes and buying power, is irrelevant. In the age of “Fox Facts” real facts take a back seat.

So, the Dems want , or claim they want, immigration reform. But the GOP has basically said it is DOA, at least for this year.  With good reason.

The last thing the financial interests which support the GOP, and to some extent the Dems, want is closed borders. Too many businesses and industries thrive on illegal labor. The benefits to major corporate interests are legion.

Illegals cannot demand fair wages. Or working conditions. Or anything, really. They live under the constant threat and fear of deportation. The agricultural and meat processing industries make million, if not billions, by harnessing this low wage labor. No union contracts. No overtime. No testy union negotiations to deal with. No factories or fields that have to meet health standards. A capitalist’s dream.

Imagine what would happen if  all the illegals disappeared tomorrow. Who would take those jobs?  Would these industries be non-unionized for long? What would happen to the wage structure in order to attract US citizens  to those jobs? What would happen to corporate profits? What costs would these industries have to incur to meet safe standards for working conditions?

The same is  true in the construction industry. It is no accident that Congress passed a labor law when distributing money for Hurricane Katrina. A law that specifically denied the demand that American union  workers provide the labor for reconstruction of the Gulf Coast. As a result you had thousands of illegals move up from central America  to rebuild the houses, roads, etc. Non-union, underpaid labor.

This is why for all the whining and groaning about the “illegals” that we hear coming from the right wing we should understand that these same right wingers have never been serious about immigration reform. The very folks who keep them in Congress would be financially harmed if any meaningful immigration laws were enforced. That is also why Congress funds only 20,000 people to run the entire ICE program. In a nation of over 300,000,000 the ICE is supposed to control the borders, process citizenship applications and track down illegals. As well as monitor businesses for compliance. Anyone believe that is possible?

Illegal immigration is here to stay. It’s good for big business.

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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

I was born 64 years ago today. Often we tend to think that we don’t make much progress. But we do. We also sometimes regress. Here is my take  (a quick take) on the good, the bad and the ugly since I was born in 1950.

The Good: Space travel. Understanding DNA. Unimaginable improvements in health care. Blacks can now eat in the same restaurants as whites. And marry each other. As can homosexuals. Cell phones. Air travel.The internet. Understanding of climate change. The disabled are no longer hidden away.The environmental movement.Scientific achievements in evolutionary theory, gene theory  and just about every other field of science. EPA. The Voting Rights Act. And so much more.

The Bad: Vietnam. Iraq. Afghanistan. Trickle down economic theory. Overemphasis on sports in high schools. Fundamentalist religion, here and abroad. Terrorism. 9/11. Weapon sales to petty dictators and gangs worldwide. Genocides. Voter suppression. Science deniers. Environmentally induced cancers.  Over processed food. Vulgarity disguised as free speech. Wall Street. And so much more.

The Ugly: Fox News. Race hatred rekindled. Putin. Drugs in pro sports. The gun lobby.  Many “entertainers”.

 

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NeoCon Papers 4: The Obamacare Fiasco

There is no denying that the website introducing the US to the Aff0rdable Care Act (Obamacare) has been a disaster. Some of the problems have included long wait times, the inability to browse programs before signing up with personal data, and the possible lack of security of personal information.

These real issues have offered the neocons a great opening in their ongoing war on the president. Ammunition to be used to “prove” to their followers that Mr Obama is not only corrupt and a liar but that Obamacare itself is a financial and personal disaster. The reasoning is simple. As usual. If the Obamacare website has glitches and some of the mechanics of signing up don’t work well, the entire idea of universal health care is evil. That argument, of course, makes no sense.

So, let’s look more carefully at something called “evidence”. And put things in perspective. What , exactly, has gone wrong with the Obamacare website and how does that impact on the actual law itself.

First, the website. The website was contracted out to a private company, as is most of the federal government since the 1980s. The company knew what was expected and when the product was due to be released. It knew how much it was going to be paid. These were not secret or unanticipated issues.

Knowing when the product was to be delivered and what the product was supposed to do, the contractors accepted US government funds to do the job. Keep in mind. these software developers were not part of that vast array of”government workers” that the right-wing consistently degrades. These were not federal  or state employees. These contractors supposedly represent the best options for producing things of value, i.e. PRIVATE contractors. But they failed miserably. They knew what they had to do and when they had to do it. And they failed to deliver.

Is this unusual ?  The Republicans in the  House of Representatives were outraged by this multi-million dollar failure of a website.  They have been  trying to determine how on earth the government could allow these contracts to be allowed NOT to perform within the budget given them . Pointing the finger. Which is fine. Except. At the same time the latest (and there has been a long series ) cost overrun for another piece of military hardware went unmentioned. The naval vessel USS Gerald Ford just came in $2 billion dollars OVER budget. That’s right. Add $ 2,000,000,000 to the taxpayers bill, No Congressional outrage. No investigation. No special hearings. No complaints from our “fiscal conservatives”.  Just business as usual. So, on the level  of fiscal responsibility, at least, the GOP outrage over the cost of the website does seem a bit political.

Of course the states that welcomed and tried to implement the law, like California and New York, are, on the whole quite happy with the results. They took responsibility and have encouraged their citizens to enroll in cheaper , more comprehensive plans.  It is the states that refused to cooperate that are having problems.

So, the contractor does not deliver. OK. The website is a mess. No doubt. Somehow, a faulty website,  based on poor computer system, is being translated into a faulty program. Really ? An analogy. You write a book. The published prints it. Pages 55 to 88 are missing. Solution? It is a bad book ? The author should have done better ? Or, let’s reprint that book with all the pages there. ?

So, in the end, this short-term problem WILL be cleared up . And when the ACA finally kicks in for everyone it will be welcomed and appreciated by working Americans.  Something the right-wing of the GOP fears more than anything.

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NeoCon Papers #3 The Job Creators Myth

One of the errors in the neocon movement centers on the idea of “job creators”. One of the key rationales for reducing taxes on the wealthy is that they are job creators.  If they have more  money they will create more jobs. More people will be working. The economy will boom. On the surface it seems reasonable. On the surface.

Who are the “job creators’?  Does reducing taxes create jobs? Are “jobs” what we need to create in the first place? What evidence supports the neocon hypothesis?

First. According to conventional neocon thought the job creators are the wealthy. Through their largesse, hard work and superior knowledge of economics they create jobs for the less intelligent, less  capable and less competent American workers. Without them there would be no jobs. All would starve. Bill O’Reilly , for example, proudly takes credit for “creating jobs” for all the folks associated with his show. But is that how economic systems really work? Do a few create jobs for the many?

No. Modern society has activities that must be carried out, functions that must be filled. Work that must be done. No one “creates” these needs.  They are simply necessary to the functioning of modern society. Food, shelter, clothing, education, transportation systems and energy production are all needs that must be filled. They are not “created” by the wealthy.  For example,before the multinational agribusiness industry developed the need for food was met by family farms.  What the neocons label  as job “creators” are really labor managers. They do not create jobs, they fulfill the management function. If Bill O’Reilly went off the air today another entertainer would fill his slot tomorrow. No jobs lost. The idea of “job creation” itself is an illusion.

Second. Let us, for a moment , accept the illusion that folks with more money do have the ability to “create” more jobs.  Does reducing their taxes lead to an increase in American jobs? That is an intuitive leap. The neocons are experts at intuitive leaps when it comes to economic theory. It makes sense. More money should be freed up so the wealthiest can create more American jobs. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west. The sun orbits the earth. It makes sense. The sun must be traveling around the Earth. But empirical evidence contradicts that common sense.

What is the empirical evidence regarding job creation in the US and reducing tax rates for the wealthiest citizens and wealthiest corporations? Answer. There is none. Zero. Zilch. No causal relationship has ever been established between lower taxes for the wealthiest and increased jobs in America. It is just as likely that lowering tax rates and freeing up money for the wealthiest have lead them to invest those dollars in cheaper labor markets abroad. That, in turn, has lead to lowering wage scales and more job losses within the US.  The newest tax breaks for the wealthiest have been in place at least since 2002. Yet, in 2007 and 2008, just at the time you would expect increased investment to start paying dividends,  the opposite happened. Massive unemployment. Depressed wages. Economic downturn. The job creators, given billions of tax dollars in subsidies,  failed to create jobs. The opposite of what the neocons would predict.

Third. Do we even need “jobs”? Is that the need in the modern world? The attitude among (career) neocons seems to be that any job is better than none. Any job. Any pay. Any benefits or lack thereof. But short term, no benefit, low wage jobs are not better than nothing. Not in the long term. They may provide an illusion of employment and success and productivity. But we do not need more jobs. We need more careers. We need to develop long term, stable careers with good benefits. We need scientists, engineers, teachers, police, mechanics, doctors and so on.  We don’t need to create more low wage, day labor jobs. It is easy to create low wage jobs. It is difficult and expensive to develop careers. That is where our focus should be.

So, there is no  evidence supporting the claim of the neocons that giving more tax dollars to the wealthiest somehow translates into good jobs or careers in the US. The job “creators” is just another delusion. As I discussed in NeoCon #1 delusion is one of the foundations of the neocon movement. They require no evidence. In fact,  they reject the notion of evidence.

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NeoCon Papers #2: Symbols over Substance

The neocon philosophy has many glaring weaknesses. One of them is the placing of  symbols over substance.  Remember the campaign ads of Reagan and his “Morning in America”?  Then came Bush’s “Willie Horton” and more recently Obama’s lack of a flag lapel pin.

What these have in common is the glorification of symbols at the expense of facts.” Morning in America” with flags waving and happy little white faces beaming , freshly scrubbed  and clean. What the REAL America was supposed to look like. Then came Willie Horton. Dark. Criminal. Black. No need to explain. He was the essence of evil.  That evil loosed on the world by Democrats like Dukakis. Both of these campaign ads were effective. Both worked. Both distorted reality.

Then, of course , there is the flag. Even the flag pin itself has achieved some semblance of holiness to the far right. The lack of a flag pin on a politician’s lapel is tantamount to treason ! A disqualification for public office.

What is a flag pin? Really? A cheap piece of plastic or toxic metal painted with stars and stripes. Gaudy. Most likely made by child labor in some factory  in Asia. A piece of junk.  But it symbolizes the flag. And here is where the neocons go off the deep end.

The neocons, as I suggested in Paper#1, are lost in delusions. Their attachment to and misunderstanding of symbols, like the flag pin, reinforces that point. In their world view the flag is not a “symbol” of the United States, it IS the United States. So wearing a cheap foreign made flag pin identifies a politician as  a patriot. Conversely, not wearing one means the politician must “hate America”. There is a logic to that, if you accept their faulty premise.

How many times have we heard some neocon pundit or politician pompously declare that “American soldiers died for that flag”? Utter nonsense. Silly and childish. Except within the narrow confines of neocon logic, where it makes sense. Symbols become reality. In fact no one has ever died for the flag. Thousands have died in wars, either wars of defense or wars of occupation. True. And the flag has been used as  a banner for those wars. True enough. But soldiers do not die for it. They may die for freedom or for oil or to spread democracy or for corporate greed, but the flag itself is simply a prop.

It is this confusion of symbols with reality that leads neocons down logical dead ends. Example. The flag is sacred. Anyone who honors the flag is therefore a patriot. Anyone who does not pay lip service to the flag is anti-American. If Adolf Hitler pranced around with a flag pin today the neocons would proclaim him a great American patriot. If Jesus of Nazareth arrived on the scene and refused to honor the flag he would be condemned as a communist.

Does the flag stand for something? Yes. Generally, to Americans it stands for freedom and democracy. To many Latin Americans and Asians it stands for brutality and death. A symbol may have many interpretations. This is not to deny the significance of the symbol, but understand that it is only a symbol. It is a design on a piece of cloth. No intrinsic value.

The neocons have tried to convert what should be a symbol for freedom into a religious icon.  A sacred object to be venerated and worshiped. It is a misunderstanding of the fundamental difference between the symbolic and the real. No different, really, than the fundamentalist Muslim response to offending the Koran.  Both put the value of inanimate objects above the value of human life and freedom. Both would jail those who refuse to deify  symbols.

This is just another one of the fundamental weaknesses of the neocon philosophy. The triumph of symbols over substance.

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The NeoCon Papers # 1: Delusion

The election of Barack Obama has lead to meltdown by neocon pundits far and wide. Some, like Karl Rove, are offering self-serving convoluted explanations as to why  Romney lost. Others, like Bill O’Reilly are citing some fantasy of a new “non-white” majority as the reason. Some, like Mary Matalin, are exploding in anger and bitterness. And a few, like Paul Ryan, are simply shell-shocked, so deep was their commitment to delusion. Their “future-world”, as they perceive it,  has unaccountably crumbled. Destroyed by a biracial community organizer.

None of them, however, seem to be grasping some of the real reasons Mr. Obama won reelection and the Democrats made gains in both houses. The neocon philosophy itself is the problem. When one carefully examines this worldview it is amazing that anyone voted for them at all, much less the fact that they were able to attract millions of votes.

This is the first in a series of short papers examining the neoconservatives, what they believe and the problems with their philosophy. I will start with the concept of “self-delusion”.

To fool others, at least temporarily, is easy. Magicians do it. Card tricks. Disappearing statues. Bent spoons. Politicians do it. Part of the job description. David Copperfield and David Blaine are masters. They are honest illusionists. Others, like Yuri Geller, are clever frauds. The end result is the same. They make one believe that something exists , when in reality, it does not exist.

The great illusion or delusion of the 2012 election was that Romney was ahead in the polls.  Well ahead and was coasting to a massive 300 plus electoral majority. And an overwhelming popular vote. This neocon belief was not based on an objective look at the polls or any other evidence. In fact, most polls pointed in the opposite direction. It was a delusion based on desire.

Perhaps it stems from the “whomever wants it the most” nonsense that is spouted by sports  commentators.  Somehow wanting something badly enough will magically make it happen. Or perhaps it is based on the very narrow circle of neocon “punditry”, reassuring and reinforcing each other’s gut feelings.  Deny the “lamestream” media. Refuse to accept the idea that the emperor has no clothes. Deny reality.

Whatever the cause, the noecons denied and nurtured this delusion. Our guy will win. Done deal. America is saved. It is reminiscent of the preacher who predicts the end of the world. When the world doesn’t end and the delusion is shattered, the preacher finds an excuse. And carries on with the same delusion. Maybe next year.

This self-delusion (for no one outside the neocon punditry predicted a Romney victory) is one of the building blocks of the neocon movement. It has been from day one. From the first days of the Reagan presidency reality has been ignored or denied and “visions” and slogans have been sanctified. This self-delusion demands ignorance. and denial. It refuses to recognize math and science. So polls cannot be trusted. Facts are treated as opinion. Reality is created from whole cloth. Evidence is seen as an enemy. The search for evidence and facts in and of itself becomes evil.

This attitude underpins not only the faulty predictions of the 2012 election. This self-created alternate reality based on hopes, wishes and predominantly, fears, is a cornerstone of the neocon philosophy. Hope is fine. Wishes are nice. These can be great motivators for real change in a real world. But as the only basis for a worldview they fail miserably.

Which is why the neocon movement is gasping and sputtering today. In denial. Spewing vitriol. Shooting the messenger. A cornerstone has been shattered. Is in shambles. Reality does exist, after all. The grand delusion was just that. A delusion. Shattered forever? Not likely. Just like the doomsday preacher the neocon punditry will simply continue to reconstruct a new reality.

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