Thursday, September 30, 2010

Education Nation

I rip the media a lot for focusing on mainly ridiculous stories whose only purpose is ratings and sales of bullshit products. But NBC has really stepped up with their focus on education with their Education Nation project. Even in a time of sleazy election stories, their decision to focus on this extremely important issue shows real courage. I've been waiting to see something like this for a long time and boy oh boy have they delivered! The site is chock full o' action items on where you can start and what you can do to help out. Want to see how your local school is doing? Check out the nation wide, searchable database for detailed information.

The simple fact is this. Our country is having the problems we are having because of our education system. We are at a crossroads and every citizen must make a serious effort to improve the education of future generations. Marches, rallies and yelling are nice but what do they accomplish? Getting involved in the education of your community is far more valuable.

There is no doubt in my mind that Arne Duncan is the best Secretary of Education we have had in decades. He, and the president, understand all too well the stakes. This would be why they are calling for 10,000 new math and science teachers ASAP, a review of the tenure policy, poor teachers to be fired, and an absolute commitment to achieving deep knowledge and enduring understandings in the youth of our nation.

I'm going to be talking quite a bit about Education over the next few weeks. I'll also be sharing my thoughts on the film Waiting for Superman which has become an enormous spark to the movement to change the system. I'll be looking at specific issues that need serious change in order to improve the system.

Bring your pens and pencils, kids. Get ready to take notes and share ideas!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Imagining Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton has been on my mind a lot lately. I'm wondering what our first Treasury Secretary would think of our current economic situation. On the surface, one would think that the author of The Federalist Papers would offer great insight into the limits of government regarding the US Constitution. After all, this was the guy who argued against having a Bill of Rights.

Yet, it was Hamilton who, just two years after publishing the Federalist Papers, issued a state paper calling for the first central bank in our country's history. This idea was the great granddaddy of the Federal Reserve. More importantly, there was not a single word in our Constitution that allowed for such an institution.

Nonetheless, the man who is held up as the one who knows exactly what the Constitution means went to Article I Section 8.

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

From this, he determined that it gave Congress the power to create a central bank. Given the fact that Congress had the power to collect taxes and borrow money, he reasoned that a central bank would help this process considerably. In looking at this line from Section 8, he argued that there are implied meanings in our Constitution. Meanings that give power, not only to the enumerated items but also to the implied ones.

Jefferson and Madison couldn't believe it. They knew as well as several others that there was no such power guaranteed in the Constitution. They argued vociferously against it. But our first president (another Founding Father) George Washington agreed with Hamilton. And thus was born our first national bank.

Essentially, what I am saying is that by taking this action, two of our Founding an author of a primary source on the Constitution...stated in no uncertain terms that it is a living document and open to interpretation by the people we elect.

So, the next time you hear someone yelling about strict readings of the US Constitution and what our founding fathers intended, tell them this story...that is, right after you wipe their spit from your face.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Hey, wait a minute...!

I've had a lot of angry people tell me in the last two years that Barack Obama is a terrorist loving socialist. Now we have this? And in my own backyard?

The warrant for the raid on Kelly's apartment, in the 1800 block of Riverside Avenue, sought notebooks, address books, photos and maps of Kelly's travels to the Palestinian territories, Colombia and in the United States on behalf of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization.

The warrant also sought any information about efforts to support FARC, a guerrilla organization in Colombia, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and Hezbollah, the political and paramilitary organization based in Lebanon.

Apparently there were raids in Obama's home town of Chicago as well.

In Chicago, the FBI raided a condo of Hatem Abudayyeh, director of the Arab American Action Network, said Tom Burke of the National Committee to Free Ricardo Palmera, a Colombian revolutionary imprisoned in Colorado. Burke, who was given a subpoena, said he is a member of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, as are some other raid subjects.

Burke said the group "advocates for socialism in the U.S." and opposes U.S. military intervention abroad. "Chicago and Minneapolis are two of the places we are bigger," he said.

I was under the impression that President Obama, as a freedom hating socialist, would in attendance at such a place with Bill Ayers running the meeting. Instead, he's arresting all of these advocates for socialism on suspicion of having terrorist ties? Could it be that I was right all along, not only about his place on the political spectrum (see: Dwight D. Eisenhower) but also about the infinitesimal influence of the actual left wingers of this country?

Take a look at this piece from World Socialist Web Site.

Of a piece with the Times’ decision to bury its news report on the raids in a perfunctory article on its inside pages, the editorial sends a clear signal to the Obama administration and the police/security agencies. The Times has no problem with the use of police-state methods to suppress antiwar sentiment and will not make an issue of the attacks carried out on Friday. This amounts to a tacit endorsement of the FBI raids.

Even the "Traitor Times" is now part of the police state? Where's Ann Coulter when I need her? Sheesh....

Some of you bitched at me and assured me that the Obama and the radical left were one and the same. In fact, I was told quite clearly that the radical left was running our government. And yet, he is now arresting them? He sure has a funny way of showing his loyalty...

Frankly, I'm stumped. Anyone care to help me out on this one?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Whither the Tax Cuts

In what has to be the most pathetic display I have seen in quite awhile in Washington DC, it appears that the Democrats are going to wait until after the election to take up the issue of the Bush tax cuts. Why they are not taking a vote is pure stupidity.

Most Americans want the tax cuts to be extended for all but the upper 2 percent. It's a slam dunk for the Dems heading out to campaign for the month. Even if they don't have the votes, they can point to the GOP and completely illustrate which party stands for the middle class and which does not.

They can also call the Republicans on their credibility gap regarding the tax cuts and what it will mean for the deficit. The simple fact is that if the budget is to be balanced by 2020 while making the cuts permanent AND protecting the programs (Social Security, Medicare, Defense etc) the GOP (in their Pledge To America) says that they will protect, the entirety of the rest of the federal government will have to be abolished. The complete absurdity of the GOP position needs to be aired. But now with no vote in either House, this won't happen.

People need to understand some basic facts about taxes. Here is an excellent summation from a recent comment by blk.

The average guy (someone who makes, say, $100,000 or less a year) will pay the regular income tax rate, which is 28% at $100K, as well as payroll taxes (Social Security and Medicare, which is 6.2% on $100K).

Now the rich are different. Much of their income can come from capital gains, which is taxed at the 15% capital gains tax rate. So, if you're rich, you just arrange to get most of your income in the form of capital gains taxes (stock bonuses, dividends, etc.) instead of salary. That way you pay taxes at half the rate of regular guys, and you pay no payroll taxes at all.

This is why Warren Buffet blasted the Bush tax system: he paid taxes at a 17.7% rate on his $46 million in 2006, while his secretary, who made $60K, paid taxes at a 30% rate.

And it's easy to arrange any percentage of your income to come as dividends. If you own a corporation, you decide how much salary you are paid. You also decide how to distribute dividends from profits. You simply adjust the slider to more dividends and less salary if you want to pay less tax. The IRS might get suspicious if you pay yourself $1 (as the GM CEO slyly did while accepting stock in place of salary). But paying yourself a salary of half a million dollars while giving yourself ten million dollars in dividends will still mean you're paying half the tax per dollar earned than the average person, and the IRS will never blink an eye.

This point was further driven home in a recent editorial by John Verant, a lawyer here in Minnesota.

The past 30 years have witnessed the largest redistribution of wealth in the history of America. When Ronald Reagan came to power, the richest 1 percent of Americans held 20 percent of the total wealth. When he left office, that figure was 36 percent. Today it is 43. Since 1980, the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans had their share of all income increase 2 1/2 times. And the top 0.1 percent had their share of our national earnings increase an amazing six times.

And yet we hear a constant drone about the evils of "soaking the rich" and how awful that would be for the free market should the tax cuts for the upper income brackets be allowed to expire.

The problem with this argument, as even Adam Smith knew, is that the "free market" is an objective measure of value only when parties have relatively equal bargaining strength. When bargaining strength is grossly disproportionate, as is usually the case in employer-employee relationships, the market is a compass that indicates nothing more principled than He Who Has the Power.

So, all of you Smith lovers out there can find another colonial to prop up as "evidence" that your ideas actually have practical application in reality. This is our reality now and it sucks. Adam Smith is completely irrelevant.

Verant goes on to echo blk as well as make some key points as to how we arrived here.

Our leaders changed the rules of the game.
  • They changed the tax code so that Warren Buffet now pays income tax at a rate slightly less than one-half that paid by his secretary.
  • They permitted businesses to use tactics in labor negotiations that in Europe would be criminal.
  • They permitted corporations to undergo reorganizations in which they extinguished their obligations to employee pension funds, while their obligations to banks were held sacrosanct.

As a direct consequence, today the richest 1 percent of Americans own as much as the bottom 95 percent, a disparity greater than at any time in our history. Money is power, and having a tiny minority holding the bulk of the power is contrary to the most fundamental premises of a democracy.

This is the exact reason why the GOP and their supporters want the tax cuts to stay the way they are. The people that are funding the so called grass roots of the Tea Party (the Koch Brothers, for example) desperately want this system will stay in place. And who can blame them? This sort of insane disparity gives them more power.

But how can one measure this disparity?

The top 25 hedge fund managers in America collectively received $25 billion in compensation last year, an amount equivalent to that paid to 658,000 schoolteachers responsible for the education of 13 million students

The CEO of one of Minnesota's health insurance companies receives compensation equal to that of about 1,600 nurses.

These could be the Democrats talking points. They would have Main Street on their side in less than a second because this is the very essence of why our economy sucks as bad as it does right now. Enmity for Wall Street is at an all time high! But the Dems are too afraid of being called a "socialist" or "Hitler" even though there is nothing remotely socialist about having the government do their fucking job and actually defend us against these pathological scumbags.

It's no wonder the Democrat's base isn't as energized as the GOP's base. Their leaders are submitting five weeks before the election has even happened.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

From The Left

We hear quite a bit about how the majority of America hates the new health care law. What we don't see is why they hate it. Now we have a poll that confirms what I have thought all along: people wanted more.

A new AP poll finds that Americans who think the law should have done more outnumber those who think the government should stay out of health care by 2-to-1


The poll found that about four in 10 adults think the new law did not go far enough to change the health care system, regardless of whether they support the law, oppose it or remain neutral.

Interesting. So the next time I have a blowhard yelling in my face about how America hates "Obamacare" I can point them to this poll?

You're damn right I will. And it gets even better.

Those numbers are no endorsement for Obama's plan, but the survey also found a deep-seated desire for change that could pose a problem for Republicans. Only 25 percent in the poll said minimal tinkering would suffice for the health care system.

Republicans "are going to have to contend with the 75 percent who want substantial changes in the system," said Stanford political science professor Jon Krosnick, who directed the university's participation.

Running on repeal plays well to the base but how well it will play to the general population is completely different animal.

And this

"I think it's a Trojan horse," Braley said of the health care law. "It's a communist, socialist scheme. All the other countries that have tried this, they're billions in debt, and they admit this doesn't work."

isn't going to cut it when you take a look at these poll numbers. Or facts, for that matter. How's Germany doing these days?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

What to Expect

If the GOP wins either or both House in the fall, I can't think of a better summation of what they are going to offer than this.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Postcards From the Pledge
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Hmm...maybe it might be a good thing for President Obama in 2012 if they do win.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Why They Fail

Take a look at this video.

Obviously it is edited and staged but that's not the real reason why this is bad PR for the Democrats. Where's the bile, fear, anger, and hatred? It's a feel good story with a happy ending and many Americans in 2010 simply don't like that.

One would think this is something that Democrats could point to and tout as a success. I certainly think it is and I point to it as a chief reason why I voted for Barack Obama. He said he would bring affordable health care to people like this woman and he did it. Under the old law, her family would've gone bankrupt and died. It's just that simple.

Sadly, many of us thrive on the WWE like circus. This is why the folks at MSNBC will never cover a story like this. It's bad for ratings. Chris Matthews laments the Tea Party and their insanity but is actually one of their biggest helpers along with everyone else on that network. Stories like the one above don't fit into the media meme of "Obama sucks, Dems are Gonna Lose Big" so they won't be seen.

And this would be why they fail.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Yep, Pretty Much.

Before there was Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, there was The Onion.

Nation Once Again Comes Under Sway Of Pink-Faced Half-Wit

This particular pink-faced half-wit is at the height of his persuasive powers," Ellington said of the bloated, hateful multimillionaire. "By exploiting citizens' greatest anxieties during an uncertain time in our nation's history, the pink-faced half-wit has been able to promote his own vain, avaricious self-interests under the guise of standing up for the very disenfranchised people whom he himself is fleecing.

I don't think I've read a more accurate assessment of the machine that drives the GOP.

And why do I keep talking about the "party out of power?"

According to scholars, pink-faced half-wits have had remarkable staying power throughout history despite their outlandish, easily debunked claims, shameless self-promotion, and complete lack of credentials. More often than not, experts said, these pasty, shallow dullards skillfully manage to control debate on the most important social and political topics of the day.

That's why.

Don't think for a moment, though, that The Onion is playing favorites.

In recent years, there has been a new breed of equally vociferous, foaming morons who espouse opposing viewpoints but use identical tactics: the prime example being that pink-faced Michael Moore half-wit.

What's amazing to me is how similar the mouth foamers are even if they are at ideologically opposites. Compare any left wing blog to a right wing one. They are basically the same. They use the same language, the same insults, suffer completely from cognitive dissonance, and claim "the truth."

Sadly and more importantly, many of these people have lives which are not very fulfilling for a number of reasons. Perhaps they are being hit by tough economic times or aren't very socially comfortable. It's probably a combination of both. So, they feed upon this sickening arena that has been slowly raised to onyx level importance and feel better about their lives.

I suspect, though, that it is an empty feeling. And, like many addicts, they keep going back to sate themselves with a tool (pink faced half wits) that will never be enough. Meaningful change is never going to occur in this country as long as our perception of these important social and political are warped to fill this pathetic urge.

In the final analysis, the cause of all of this is simple. The real pink faced half wits are the ones we see in the mirror every morning.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


There's been a never ending drone in comments about why I "don't talk about the Democrats accomplishments" on this blog. Setting aside the nausea that I have in thinking I have to "prove myself" again (aka fucking with Mark and making him dance like a monkey), I think their accomplishments speak for themselves. If you don't like them, go vote for the GOP candidates on November 2nd. There is little or nothing I could do to change anyone's mind who is pathological in their holy war against the government.

What I can do, however, is point out (as I see fit because it's my blog) the blatant lies that the GOP tell on a daily basis. Take, for example, this recent analysis of Michelle Bachmann's statements by Politifact.

Bachmann has scored five Pants on Fire ratings, plus six False ratings. After 11 encounters with the Truth-O-Meter, Bachmann continues to hold the rare distinction of an all-False/Pants on Fire record.

See the link for the blatant lies she has told.

Now, the reason why it's important to talk about her is that....MANY PEOPLE LISTEN TO HER. It might be a vain hope on my part but perhaps a few will stop and listen. Case in point, a very conservative friend of mine the other day was shocked to hear Newt Gingrich's bizarre theories on President Obama that I wrote about the other day. "Why isn't he talking about fiscal responsibility?" she asked me. Well, here's why.

The GOP thinks that we must cut spending. Fine. Where? I want three specific examples of where you are going to cut spending, conservative commenters. For example

I am going to cut social security, medicare, and veteran's benefits.

Next, I'd like you to go down to your local VFW and tell everyone there that is what you want our leaders to do. Let me know how it works out. This would be the real reason why Newt Gingrich is talking about Luo tribesman. He's full of shit.

Talking about the party "out of power" (amusing considering how much power they do have) is important because I think people need to hear what they are going to do which is nothing. They have no fucking plan at all. For example, President Obama and the Democrats in Congress had a plan and they have carried some of it out(health care, fin reg reform, college loans, consumer protection). All of these actions are going to help the middle class which, in my opinion, means the economy. The stimulus they passed helped us out of the recession, now officially declared over (more on that later this week).

See, they have actually done something. And the GOP answer is...?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Truly Wonderful

I just found out that this guy is now the subject of new documentary film. I remember VHS tapes of this floating around 20 years + ago. The first viral video? So hilarious...

Saturday, September 18, 2010


It's been a few days but I still don't understand Newt Gingrich. What does this mean?

What if [Obama] is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together [his actions]?

Newt thinks that this is "the most accurate, predictive model" in analyzing President Obama. Apparently, the explanation is that this is some sort of redux of Dinsesh D'Souza's recent piece (see: gibberish) in Forbes but I just can't believe that Newt said it. I don't agree with the guy on most issues but for him to move this far right into birtherville is simply shocking. I mean, he is a smart guy, right?

Besides, I thought that President Obama was akin to King George with the Tea Party hoping to take him down. Now he's anti-colonial? I can't keep up...:(

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Liberal Media Watch

In looking at the media coverage from the last two days, one would think that the Tea Party has stormed the castle and is about to kick the anti colonial Kenyan out of the White House. The "liberal" media has been played perfectly by the supposed haters of it (Palin, O'Donnell etc) in playing non stop footage with one general theme: INCUMBENTS BEWARE!!!

One problem, always....are the facts. From CQ Politics.

Through Tuesday’s primaries, more than 98 percent of House and Senate incumbents seeking re-election won their primaries.

Numbers don't lie, folks. So while we do see that more incumbents have lost than in recent years, the media (surprise, surprise) has massively exaggerated the victories. Here are some pretty pictures that further illustrate this fact.

Even in 1994, the re-election rate for incumbents was 90 percent in the House. I'd expect something between that and 94 percent this year. The races that will more likely swing GOP are the ones with no incumbent. Now that we are in the general, it's going to be much harder than people think to topple incumbents.

The numbers show it's easier to do in the Senate which is why the certain victory in Delaware (now a near certain loss for the GOP) would've helped a lot. There's no incumbent there. Add in candidates like Sharon Angle and it's even tougher given that Reid is an incumbent.

Odd, that the Right has fallen for the media's narrative considering how much they loathe the "MSM."

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

So Long to the Senate

With Christine O'Donnell's win last night, the GOP's hopes at gaining back the Senate went from slight to virtually nonexistent. I've stated many times on this site that moving further to the right doesn't get them anywhere with independents. This is especially true for a very blue state like Delaware. It may even be true for a red state like Nevada. If you don't want to take my word for it, how about this guy?

Former George W. Bush political adviser Karl Rove told Fox News Channel, "This is not a race we're going to be able to win."

If he says it, what does that say about the current state of the GOP?

This was left in comments recently.

After O'Donnell's big win last night, I think both Dems and Repubes should be deathly afraid. The Tea Party has spoken.

Well, GOP stalwarts should be afraid. The Dems? Maybe in tossup states like Colorado or Wisconsin. But Delaware? I don't think so. This was a primary, folks, with only 55,000 people turning out. 29,000 of them voted for O'Donnell. In many ways, this was a glorified nominating convention. With the national GOP not spending any money on this state, Ms. O'Donnell is going to have a tough time winning in a general. Explaining her views on abortion and masturbation will be even tougher.

In fact, we already know how she would do in a general...poorly. She was the party nominee in 2008 and lost to Joe Biden (260,000 to 140,000). So, deathly afraid? Not so much.

All eyes should be on the House now. With so little polling and many Tea Party candidates vying for seats, it's certainly going to be an interesting 48 days!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Welcome Back, Mr. Kotter

Juris is back from his travels and left an interesting comment below that I wanted to bring out front in its own post.

I suspect there are two reasons the Dems are painting such a bleak picture: 1) fire up the base by scaring them (classic Repub tactic, no?), and/or 2) the worse the run up looks - anything short of annihilation and they can claim a victory of sorts.

Regarding his first point, I agree. Let's take a look at some numbers.

Here are the results from the 2008 election (popular vote)

Barack Obama-69,456,897
John McCain-59,934,814

Generally, there are more people that vote in presidential election years. So, in 2008 we have around 130 million. Estimates for this year will be around 80 million. Now, of the 60 million that voted for McCain, I'm betting that around 40 million are hard core GOP base folks who vote in every election. Of Obama's 70 million, the hard core Dem base is less than that...maybe 35 million. In 2008, the hardcore GOP base is manageable because of all the independents and the "every 4 year voters" that the Dems swayed. But in an off year? It's devastating. That's why the Dems are in trouble.

The conservative base is the largest minority voting bloc in this country (copyright: Jerry Falwell). Add in the Tea Party folks and the scales are tipped (assuming 80 million turnout) in favor of the GOP. If independents flip or don't show up like they did in 2008 and the Dems can't spark their base, the losses will be significant. So, this may be why they are using this tactic and will continue to do so for the next 49 days.

Regarding your second point, if they lose either House, it's a loss. And, after John Boehner was spanked into shape yesterday, we know what a GOP run House is going to look like: Fuck you, Mr. President. The GOP are going to disagree with him on everything. The Dems might be able to claim a victory but they will be completely wrong. The loss of the House will be a disaster for the party and nothing will get done.

The other thing to consider in all of this, which ties in to my point above regarding turnout, is the difference between likely voters and registered voters. With the likely, the GOP has the edge. But the registered voters are split down the middle with each party in a dead heat.

So who is going to turn out?

Monday, September 13, 2010

MSNBC News Staff=Pikers.

"You pick you narrative and the news doesn't fit your narrative, change your fucking news!"

No shit.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Nine Years

Nine years ago this morning, he kissed his wife and three children goodbye and went to work as a cook at Windows on the World. All that remains of him is his leather wallet, an ID card, and some coins. His name was Abdoul-Karim Traore. Nine years later, the prayers of his wife Hadidjatou and their three children are not welcome on or near Ground Zero.

They, along with the scores of American troops of Islamic faith in Afghanistan who are currently putting their lives on the line for Sarah Palin, John Boehner, Terry Jones and Newt Gingrich as well as everyone else in this country, are effectively being called baby killers.

Land of the free, eh? We have come nowhere since 9-11-01 and somewhere in a cave the inexplicably still alive Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahari are having a good chuckle.

Because they are still winning.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Searching For Answers

In the last couple of days, Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich and John Boehner have all compared the burning of the Koran by Pastor Jones to the building of the Islamic Center two blocks from Ground Zero saying that both are bad ideas.

To equate these two things as both being "bad ideas" is completely ridiculous and unbelievably offensive. How these three people and their supporters think that the malicious act of burning a religious text is anywhere near the construction of a place for people to gather in play, study and worship is beyond me. I don't get it. Anyone care to fill me in on what I am missing?

I've written quite a bit on here about my prejudice against Muslim men but I have to say that the backlash to the building of the center in New York has shown me how truly awful this bias is and has more or less extinguished it. There were around 60 AMERICANS of Islamic faith that died on 9-11 and they have every right to grieve and pray at Ground Zero, near Ground Zero, or anywhere else for that matter.

We must show ourselves to be a more tolerant and accepting nation. It was not Muslims that attacked us on was a collection of psychotics that twisted Muslim faith into something it is clearly not. If we continue protesting the building of this community center, we reveal ourselves to be no better than them...succumbing to intolerance, hate, anger, and fear.

Our country is better than this and we have much bigger problems (see: our economy) to tackle than this garbage.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Full Swing

The fall election season is now officially in full swing. I urge all of you to click on the icon to the left ( and check out Andy's site. It is chock full o' great data and info. He will be updating it pretty much every day from now through November.

His algorithm has the Dems keeping the House but being more in danger of losing the Senate which is interesting. He bases this on the fact that 94 percent of House district's don't have any polls out. So how does Chris Matthews know that the House is "gone?" Good question. Also interesting is that Andy has pointed out that three seats (DE-AL, HI-1, and LA-2) are nearly certain to go blue. That would mean that the GOP needs 42 out of the others to flip.

If the House does go GOP, Andy's got an interesting take on what could happen.

Also worth considering is the difference between 218 seats in the House and a working majority. A number of new representatives are probably going to be tea partiers who are running on a platform of cutting the federal deficit. If the first thing a new Republican-controlled House does is bring up a bill to cut taxes--without cutting spending, which is always difficult to do because every line in the federal budget has supporters--then passing this bill would increase the deficit. Some of the people who ran on cutting the deficit may not be too keen on increasing it as their first official act. So in practice, to actually get anything done, the Republicans may have to pick up 45 to 50 seats, a much more difficult task than getting 39 because it requires winning some of the "landslider" seats, which the Democrats-who have more money than the Republicans--will fiercely defend.

While I don't want the GOP to take over the House, it would be interesting to see what might happen if this were to occur. The old school GOPers aren't going to cut spending....even though they say they are going to..which puts them in a fight with the new TP backed folks. These folks may end up voting with the Dems on bills but for opposite reasons.

Something else to look at is this article from the Times today.

Republicans are within reach of gaining control of eight or more chambers in state legislatures this fall, according to interviews with Republicans, Democrats and independent political analysts. That would give Republicans the power to draw more Congressional districts in their favor, since the expected gains come just as many legislatures will play a major role in the once-a-decade process of redrawing the boundaries of those districts.

As the saying goes, all politics are local. This is the real story of the Election 2010. With the census being done this year, new CDs are going to be drawn for 2012 that will have sweeping consequences. Pay attention to how these local state houses turn out and if many stay blue, the GOP taking the House back for two years might not be the end of the world for Democrats.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Ah, the burning of books...again....

I'm having a hard time figuring out how Terry Jones, pastor of the ironically named Dove World Outreach Center in Florida, justifies a Koran burning ceremony on September 11th. The entire proceeding plays right into the hands of the them yet another propaganda tool for recruitment. Thankfully, General Patraeus agrees.

Images of the burning of a Koran would undoubtedly be used by extremists in Afghanistan -- and around the world -- to inflame public opinion and incite violence ," Gen. David Petraeus said. "Were the actual burning to take place, the safety of our soldiers and civilians would be put in jeopardy and accomplishment of the mission would be made more difficult."

That doesn't matter to Jones, though, The burning will go ahead as promised. So much for religious tolerance.

And we're back to book burning....again? Sheesh....

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Score Card

Ah, I see. Apparently, there were NOT any headless bodies in the Arizona desert.

So, let's see headless bodies....illegal immigration down....arrests by the Obama administration up...and violent crime down in Arizona.

By my count, that makes FOUR things the GOP have wrong about regarding the immigration issue.

Friday, September 03, 2010


"The House is gone."

----Susan Page, USA Today, commenting on the Chris Matthews show, 3 Sept 2010

I know it's cold outside here in MN (55 degrees) but my calender says Sept 3, not November 3rd.

Never in my life have I seen so many people, including Democrats, conceding defeat for an election so far off. Perhaps there is some truth to the jibes of lily livered, spineless and weak.

What a bunch of fucking pussies....

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Why Sarah Does So Well

A couple of days ago, I put up that quote from Saul Alinksy regarding his warning, in 1972, that the middle class of this country would be driven to conservatism. Go to any conservative rally today and you will hear from Beck, Limbaugh etc.. screaming about "taking our country back." Alinsky saw this perfectly when he saw quite clearly that the white middle class was living in frustration and despair, worried about their future, and ripe for a turn to radical social change, to become politically-active citizens. This is exactly what has happened since the election of Barack Obama and quite ironic considering that Alinksy is now required reading for FreedomWorks people.

This is also why Sarah Palin is doing as well she is right now.

Arianna Huffington has a wonderful piece called Sarah Palin, Mama Grizzlies, Carl Jung, and the Power of Archetypes. In it, she details the appeal of Sarah Palin and why she is so effective.

We are awash in crises right now -- crises that require smart and creative policy fixes. So why is somebody who so rarely deals in policy fixes so popular? It's because Palin's message operates on a level deeper than policy statements about the economy or financial reform or health care or the war in Afghanistan.

Clearly, this is true. Look at her supporters.

It's not Palin's positions people respond to -- it's her use of symbols. Mama grizzlies rearing up to protect their young? That's straight out of Jung's "collective unconscious" -- the term Jung used to describe the part of the unconscious mind that, unlike the personal unconscious, is shared by all human beings, made up of archetypes, or, in Jung's words, "universal images that have existed since the remotest times." Unlike personal experiences, these archetypes are inherited, not acquired. They are "inborn forms... of perception and apprehension," the "deposits of the constantly repeated experiences of humanity."

Alinksy spoke of this archetype as well and not only correctly predicted the coming of Ronald Reagan but the shift of large swaths of the the middle class to conservatism. In fact, Palin's use of the grizzly bear is not unlike Reagan's use of it in the 1984 campaign when he alluded to a frightened Walter Mondale not standing up to bear known as the Soviet Union.

I've heard many people say that voters in this country have now "seen the light," are becoming more conservative, and will take their country back. With the advent of the Tea Party, they are convinced that voters have now adopted their ideology and will send many packing come November 2nd. I contend that it's more that the movement's leaders (Palin, Beck, Limbaugh, Gingrich) know very well how to use symbols to tap into the collective unconscious and manipulate those inborn forms of perception and apprehension. How can they do this?


The middle class actually feels more defeated and lost today on a wide range of issues than the poor do. And this creates a situation that's supercharged with both opportunity and danger. There's a second revolution seething beneath the surface of middle-class America -- the revolution of a bewildered, frightened and as-yet-inarticulate group of desperate people groping for alternatives -- for hope.

Their fears and their frustrations over their impotence can turn into political paranoia and demonize them, driving them to the right, making them ripe for the plucking by some guy on horseback promising a return to the vanished verities of yesterday. The right would give them scapegoats for their misery -- blacks, hippies, Communists -- and if it wins, this country will become the first totalitarian state with a national anthem celebrating "the land of the free and the home of the brave."

Sadly, he died in the same year that he gave this interview and his stated goal, which follows, was never realized.

But we're not going to abandon the field to them without a long, hard fight -- a fight I think we're going to win. Because we'll show the middle class their real enemies: the corporate power elite that runs and ruins the country -- the true beneficiaries of Nixon's so-called economic reforms.

Never in a million years would Alinksy imagine how fulfilled his prophecy would be regarding corporate power and how it became a stark reality with the 2007-2008 economic crisis. It's not that people are shifting to conservatism, it's that they are frustrated by their economic situation which was brought on largely by this corporate power elite.

But they don't see this because the people that stand to benefit the most from maintaining this power are extremely adept at channeling Jung and swaying them, as Alinsky predicted, to their views. In essence, they are supporting the people who fucked them over in the first place. How ironic it will be when they see that most, if not all, of the "taking this God Damned country back" will, more than likely, result in their situations becoming worse.

And the Democrats, whose policies aren't perfect but at least they are attempting to steer things back in the right direction, are completely terrible at using images and archetypes.

Maybe it's because they are too busy trying solutions that have practical application in reality.