Sunday, October 31, 2010
Friday, October 29, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
At Pig Pickin’ and Politickin’, a barbecue-fed rally organized here last week by a Republican women’s club, a half-dozen guests were asked by a reporter what had happened to their taxes since President Obama took office.“Federal and state have both gone up,” said Bob Paratore, 59, from nearby Charlotte, echoing the comments of others. After further prodding — including a reminder that a provision of the stimulus bill had cut taxes for 95 percent of working families by changing withholding rates — Mr. Paratore’s memory was jogged.“You’re right, you’re right,” he said. “I’ll be honest with you: it was so subtle that personally, I didn’t notice it.”
Few people apparently did.
Monday, October 25, 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
On the morning of Oct. 14, a cyberinsurgency caused servers to crash at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
The culprits, however, weren't attacking the chamber; they were well-meaning citizens who overwhelmed the big-business lobbying group with a sudden wave of online contributions. It was one of the more extraordinary events in the annals of American populism: The common man voluntarily giving money to make the rich richer.
These donors to the cause of the Fortune 500 were motivated by a radio appeal by the de facto leader of the Tea Party movement, Glenn Beck, who told them: "Put your money where your mouth is. If you have a dollar, please go to ... the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and donate today." Chamber members, he said, are "our parents, our grandparents. They are us."
It's simply amazing to me how ridiculous this has gotten.
Only in this day and age can Ron Johnson, a multi millionaire who worships Ayn Rand, run against Russ Feingold in Wisconsin as a non elite representative of the people. As Milbank goes on to mention....
The Tea Party, he wrote, will "constrain the elite's economic and cultural hegemony."
Oh? Who will do this constraining of the elite's hegemony? Why, people such as the Tea Party's Senate candidate from Alaska, Joe Miller (Yale Law School), and from Kentucky, Rand Paul (Duke Medical School), and from Colorado, Ken Buck (Princeton University).
Is this a joke? Really?
I know several people personally who post comments on here. They aren't multi millionaires protecting their power and pot of gold. They are ordinary, hard working people...many making less than my family...and yet they are staunch supporters of the latest version of the GOP...staunch enemies of President Obama and the Democrats...and I have no idea why. It makes no sense whatsoever.
They are willingly supporting people whose chief goal is to maintain the current system of maximum stratification. They view people who are actually trying to make their lives better as mortal enemies in some sort of sick and twisted reality. They act in direct conflict with their own self interest. And vilify anyone who points that out to them.
It's a sad fucking day in our country, my friends. Very fucking sad.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Global Climate Change Doubt is Tea Party Article of Faith
Wow. I'm shocked.
“Climate change is real, and man is causing it,” Mr. Hill said, echoing most climate scientists. “That is indisputable. And we have to do something about it.”
A rain of boos showered Mr. Hill, including a hearty growl from Norman Dennison, a 50-year-old electrician and founder of the Corydon Tea Party.
“It’s a flat-out lie,” Mr. Dennison said in an interview after the debate, adding that he had based his view on the preaching of Rush Limbaugh and the teaching of Scripture. “I read my Bible,” Mr. Dennison said. “He made this earth for us to utilize.”
I wonder if Mr. Denison posts on this blog?
And I really love his insistence that the Earth was made for man to exploit. I wonder if he ever stops for a moment and thinks about the effect of climate change (man made or not) on international security issues which could lead to destabilizing economies in various states around the world.
Skepticism and outright denial of global warming are among the articles of faith of the Tea Party movement, here in Indiana and across the country. For some, it is a matter of religious conviction; for others, it is driven by distrust of those they call the elites. And for others still, efforts to address climate change are seen as a conspiracy to impose world government and a sweeping redistribution of wealth. But all are wary of the Obama administration’s plans to regulate carbon dioxide, a ubiquitous gas, which will require the expansion of government authority into nearly every corner of the economy.
Any of you fall into these categories?
Ah, well. At least they are "thinking" as opposed to simply letting their emotions run away with them:)
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Austan Goolsbee is the chairman of President Obama's Council of Economic Advisors. He is the Robert P Gwinn Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business (currently on leave while he works for the president). He is a centrist and primarily focuses on human behavior as it relates to economics.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
No. A corporation is not a person by any commonsense definition, most specifically because it is not a citizen.
Over the past few years the right has rationalized that illegal immigrants and terror suspects have no rights because they are not citizens. We are, as the argument goes, therefore free to expel, imprison and interrogate them as we see fit.
Consistently applying this rationale to corporations means that the only rights they should have are the rights that are bestowed upon them by the laws that govern their creation and operation. By any commonsense definition corporations are not people and the government is free to dictate restrictions on their behavior, which it still does in excruciating detail.
Unlike citizens, corporations are not mentioned in the Constitution. Nothing in the Constitution says that a corporation is a person. They are given no rights by the Constitution. A slave (euphemistically called a person "bound to Service for a Term of Years") is worth three-fifths of a person. A corporation? Zero.
If fact, corporations as they exist today did not exist at the time the Constitution was written. They did not become "artificial persons" that "possess individuality and immortality" until 1819 in another notorious Supreme Court decision.
Corporations exist solely to allow individuals to band together to avoid personal responsibility for collective actions. In particular, corporations are formed (in preference to partnerships) to avoid personal financial liability in the event of bankruptcy or other legal responsibility. This isn't evil or bad, it's necessary to run a business. But it's the reason why corporations aren't people.
As long as the officers of a corporation don't mix personal and corporate finances, and commit no crimes, they can run a company into bankruptcy and walk away without personal consequences. For example: let's say the officers of MegaMaint, a large building maintenance services corporation, build a new building with fancy offices for themselves and a fleet of nice new trucks, all with big loans from a bank. The building -- built by the lowest bidder -- has huge cost overruns, is poorly constructed and eventually collapses before completion. The trucks all break down -- lowest bidder again. MegaMaint goes bankrupt. The assets of the company are liquidated and the bank gets almost nothing. The bank goes after building contractor and the truck company, but they declare bankruptcy and their corporate officers skip out as well.
Now let's say that Jim is a small businessman who runs a sole-proprietor window-cleaning business. He doesn't have the money or wherewithal to hire a lawyer and set up a corporation. Jim borrows money from the bank to build a new outbuilding and a new truck. Then he falls off his ladder and breaks his back. Jim doesn't have health insurance because he's in a high-risk occupation and the premiums are too high. He goes bankrupt from medical bills and lost income.
The difference between the MegaMaint CEO and Jim is that Jim is on the hook for everything. The bank and the hospital can go after everything Jim and his wife own in bankruptcy proceedings: their house, their bank account, their lake cabin, her jewelry, their stereo, their TV. They are forced to sell their house and property to pay off the bank loan and the medical bills.
The MegaMaint CEO is free to go out and do it all over again. Jim is out of his house, stuck in bed, broke, with a broken back.
How is that fair?
This is the key difference between a person and a corporation. No one is responsible in a corporation. As long as there's no proof of crime or entanglement with personal and corporate finances, no one is held accountable for a corporation's -- or the CEO's -- mistakes. To be fair, corporate bankruptcies are rarely this clear-cut. The CEOs are always giving themselves bonuses while the company's going bust, lying about financial prospects, or cutting deals with subsidiaries they secretly own. So CEOs are always involved with litigation after a bankruptcy.
Now the Supreme Court has also decided that corporations should be allowed to freely manipulate the electoral process via the media, by hiding behind "non-profit" slush funds that allow corporations to avoid responsibility for slanderous attack ads against their enemies. They can secretly donate millions of dollars to get candidates elected to office who have promised to do what these giant corporations want them to do: i.e., deregulate industries dominated by huge multinational corporations like Koch, BP, FOX News, Toyota, GlaxoSmithKline, etc., allowing them to escape even more responsibility for the things they do.
We have no idea who's giving to the political slush funds that finance these scurrilous ads. There are no reporting requirements. It could be foreign corporations or even foreign governments. Which would be a crime. But there's no way to find out because five guys on the Supreme Court think Target, Exxon, Burger King and Coca Cola are just regular folks.
For a more concrete example of corporate irresponsibility, consider the BP oil spill. Because it involves at least three corporations and dozens of engineers and rig workers, it will be impossible to find the person responsible for the spill in the Gulf. But BP has a history of serious safety lapses resulting in numerous explosions, deaths and spills from the Gulf, to Texas, to Alaska. Their safety record is abysmal, even compared to other oil producers.
Corporate management at BP is responsible for this climate of irresponsibility. People and animals have died, economies have been trashed and our land and seas have been despoiled. Undoubtedly a few lackeys will be fingered as the fall guys who caused the spill. But the ones truly responsible, the ones at the top who demanded that they get the oil out as fast as possible no matter what, will never be brought to justice. And that's the whole purpose of corporations: to dilute personal responsibility so that the guys at the top enjoy all the benefits and never face the consequences of their mistakes.
It's the Bizarro version of the old maxim: with great power comes no responsibility.
Monday, October 18, 2010
In addition to defining the Democrats perfectly, it's a nice list of accomplishments as well. These would be the same ones that I "never talking about."
Because for hundreds of years white penises were America. White penises founded America, they made the rules and they called the shots in the workplace, in the home, and at the ballot box. But now the unthinkable is happening. White penises are becoming the minority: 2010 was the first year in which more minority babies were born in the U.S. than white babies. This is what conservatives are really upset about -- that the president is black, and the best golfer is black, and the Secretary of State is a woman, and suddenly this country is way off track and needs some serious 'restoring.' If penises could cry -- and I believe they can -- then white penises are crying all over America.
And that's where this crew comes in; Sarah Palin, Christine O'Donnell, Michele Bachmann; the lovely MILFs of the new right. And their little secret is that their popularity comes exclusively from white men. Look at the polling: minorities hate them, women hate them -- only white men like them. I'm no psychiatrist, but I do own a couch, and my theory is thatthese women represent something those men miss dearly: the traditional, idiot housewife.
If an election between Obama and Sarah Palin were held today, and only white men could vote, Sarah Palin would be president. Did you know that in 1788, when there were four million people in America, only 39,000 of them -- the richest white men -- got to vote? That doesn't sound good to you?
Ah-Ha! Now I get the Tea Party and why so many of them want us "to return to what America was founded on!"
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Friday, October 15, 2010
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Indeed. So, in the GOP's vision of a perfect world, the only rights we would have as citizens are contingent upon how much money we have. Which party is it again that is the party of privilege? More importantly, which party continually blames the victim?
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Monday, October 11, 2010
And this mindset doesn't stop at religion. Some Americans insist they know the absolute will of the Founding Fathers, that the Constitution is an inviolable holy writ that means only what exactly what it says. But the disagreements among the Founding Fathers are well documented; they did not all believe the same thing. They argued and comprised and came up with one of the greatest documents ever written. Even so, within 10 years of its writing there were huge disagreements among those same Founding Fathers about what it meant -- like whether the Constitution should allow the establishment of a federal banking system.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Saturday, October 09, 2010
The fisherman in Montana became the embodiment of their trip -- Ali and Tariq were embraced nearly everywhere they went, from a Confederate souvenir shop in Georgia to the streets of Las Vegas, Nevada, to the hills of North Dakota where the nation's first mosque was built in 1929.
For Ali, his favorite moment was Ross, North Dakota, a blip of a town with a population of 48 people. He knew little of the town's rich Muslim history, and it was difficult to try to find someone in the town who did.
A pastor directed them to a woman, who kindly pointed them down a dirt road to where the nation's first mosque once stood. It's no longer there. It's been replaced by a tiny cement block mosque, complete with a gold dome. Nearby, there's a cemetery marking the pioneering Muslims of America, with birth dates of 1882, 1904, 1931.
Ali stood in awe. As he approached the mosque, his heart pounded. "I knew our roots went deep in this country, but it was great to truly experience it. Praying in there was like hopping in a time machine," said Ali, a 25-year-old Muslim who was born in Columbus, Ohio. "I literally felt like I was plummeting and falling."
Indeed, Muslim roots are very deep in this country which many people do not know. What Ali and Tariq found was an America that is much more tolerant than the media make it out to be.
It's a small but vocal group of Americans in this country pushing this anti-Muslim rhetoric," Ali said. "And unfortunately in our society, whomever shouts the loudest is going to get the most air time.
Once again, I'm happy to be wrong! Check out their web site located here for more details of their trip and their upcoming plans.
Thursday, October 07, 2010
Wednesday, October 06, 2010
U.S. Army Capt. Lisa Kirby speaks with Kaka Kot School students to learn what they want to be when they grow up in the Nahr-e-Shahi district, Afghanistan, Oct. 4, 2010.The Afghan National Army's 209th Corps and the U.S. Army's 10th Mountain Division's Female Engagement Team donated about $3,000 worth of school supplies to the girls' school. Kirby is the team coordinator assigned to the 10th Mountain Division on Camp Mike Spann in northern Afghanistan. U.S. Army photo by Sandra Arnold
Tuesday, October 05, 2010
- Starting Jan. 1, 2013, 3M retirees eligible for Medicare will get a health reimbursement arrangement: an account with credit in it to buy a Medicare supplement plan or a prescription drug plan.
- Starting Jan. 1, 2015, retirees not eligible for Medicare will also get a retiree health reimbursement arrangement to buy an individual insurance plan on the open market
"I got to tell you, I would like to take Congress and wring their necks," said Horne, of Hudson, Wis. "They've taken a very satisfactory and good health insurance program and going to I don't know what."
Her husband, 75, who's had cancer and open-heart surgery, said he knew this day would come ever since "Obama passed Obamacare."
"You would think every corporation in America would do the same. Number one, it's going to save a hell of a lot of money and number two, it's probably as fair a system as you can get out of anybody," he said.
Will the new plan save money for him? Horne laughed: "I have no idea."