Saturday, April 30, 2011

Sharia Law?

With challenges in education, health care, infrastructure, and budget deficits facing the state legislature in Minnesota, it makes complete sense that they are zeroing in on an issue far more important: gay marriage.

It makes sense if you are intolerant, of course.

I thought this debate was over. Most of the new generation of conservatives are pro gay marriage and find it to be a distraction from the larger issues our country faces. On this, we are in complete agreement. Yet, here we are, still putting up with this garbage and now we will see an initiative on the ballot which will specifically outlaw gay marriage in the state of Minnesota...even though it already is against state law. Supporters say the amendment is necessary otherwise the courts will find a way to make it legal.

That would be that whole equal rights thing in case you were wondering and we can't have that now, can we? So cue the ballot initiative aka DOUBLE SECRET FAG PROTECTION.

I (along with Nikto) have been talking on here for quite a while about how intolerant conservatives around the world really cause most of our problems these days. More specifically, I have pointed out the similarities between Christian conservatives and Islamic conservatives. Now they are not even hiding it anymore. Take a look at this photo on the right.

This is Shaykh Faraz Ahmad from the Muslim Community Center in Bloomington testifying along with State Senator Warren Limmer, a sponsor of the gay marriage ban amendment. They both argued that gay marriage will destroy our state and is against the will of God.

Well, at least they can find some common ground on this issue so I guess I should be happy. I have to wonder what's next, though. Sharia law?

Hmmm....worried about Sharia Law incessantly on a daily basis...until its intolerance has shared beliefs and then it's one big happy PAR-TAY, ain't it?

Friday, April 29, 2011

A Sliver of Light

Did I slip into an alternate dimension? Last week Speaker of the House John Boehner, on oil companies.

We're in a time when the federal government's short on revenues. They ought to be paying their fair share.

And now today from budget "guru" Paul Ryan on the oil industry and corporations in general.

We're talking about reforming the safety net, the welfare system, we also want to get rid of corporate welfare.

If they actually follow through, you can color me impressed. Maybe my long drought of not voting for Republicans (1996) will soon come to an end:)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Rand A Go Go

I've been thinking a lot about Ayn Rand of late given that several of my readers are her all too willing zombies. And Atlas Shrugged is now a film. Oh joy..

I guess I'm trying to figure out how a woman who was a pro abortion, free love atheist got to be so popular with the right...the libertarians, I get, but the base? Why?

The other thing that's amusing and not as well known about Rand is that she happily took Social Security and Medicare when her time came under the name Ann O'Connor. Did she consider herself a "looter," a "parasite," or a "moocher?" Perhaps she figured that she paid into the system so why not take out of it when her time came. Getting lung cancer in 1974 and seeing her insanely high medical bills was more than likely another factor in her change in thinking later in life.

Even more interesting is the fact that, as scribe Mark Ames writes, Rand modeled her characters on sociopaths.

“Whenever you hear politicians or Tea Partiers dividing up the world between ‘producers’ and ‘collectivism,’” he wrote, “just know that those ideas and words more likely than not are derived from the deranged mind of a serial-killer groupie….And when you see them taking their razor blades to the last remaining programs protecting the middle class from total abject destitution—Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid—and bragging about how they are slashing these programs for ‘moral’ reasons, just remember Rand’s morality and who inspired her.”

Indeed. One has to wonder what sort of process would occur in the minds of a "law and order" Tea Partier upon learning that their religion is based on morally bankrupt individuals.

A recent piece by Jason "Filthy Liberal Scum" Rosario really nailed the whole Randian religion. Echoing Ames, he writes, "The more I thought about it, the more obvious it became. A conservative society is a borderline sociopathic society."

The whole piece is a very accurate analysis of the pathology that I talk about frequently. In fact, he says the same thing I have been saying lately.

Do you know why Rand’s laissez-faire utopia would fail? It’s the exact same reason a socialist utopia would fail; people are imperfect. We are greedy, envious, petty and selfish. There will always be some among us who will better themselves specifically to the detriment of others because they simply don’t care. There will always be those who, as they gain power and wealth, will want more at any expense.

Indeed. Both he and I are in agreement in curiosity in wondering what Rand would think at witnessing the Epic Fail of Wall Street in 2008.

These people are sociopaths, pure and simple.  

Rand was a big champion of no regulation at all.  Close your eyes and imagine what Wall Street could do with even less regulation than it had before.  Think of all the possibilities. Taste the freedom.

Yeah, no. That would be a giant big NO for me. I've seen that film already and it ends with the Rand worshipers beating their chests and screaming about how entitled they are to loot the nation. I just don't get the worship of sociopaths. I never will.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Trumping Trump

For almost three years we've had to endure the endless drumbeat of nonsense about Obama's birth certificate, the various conspiracy theories about how he was really born in Kenya, that his grandmother planted stories in Hawaiian newspapers in 1961 so that infant Obama could get Medicare in his dotage (Medicare wasn't enacted until 1965), that he's a Muslim (which would be ultimately revealed when the mystical long-form birth certificate was finally unveiled), that he's an anti-colonial Kenyan (somehow the elder Obama imparted this legacy during the one visit to his 10-year-old son during a Dave Brubeck concert).

The release of Obama's official birth certificate should put an end to the controversy, but it won't. The birthers will now find fault with something else: he can't be real American because his father was born in a foreign country. Or they'll start pushing the closet Muslim theory again. Or that Hawaii isn't a real state.

So, in the birther spirit, let's apply the same rigorous analysis to their darling, Donald Trump.

Trump's mother was born in Scotland. Trump says he was born in New York, and produced a birth certificate to "prove" it. But it turned out that it wasn't the official birth certificate, it was just one ginned up to look like one issued by a hospital -- who knows when? It doesn't give the nationalities of his parents, or their places of residence or anything. And it wasn't even released by the government! After scurrying around for a bit, Trump produced a second birth certificate (this time for sure!).

But if you actually look at Trump's "birth certificate," it's obviously a photostat or a microfilmed reproduction and not the original. That means Trump has not produced the original document. It can't be analyzed forensically to determine authenticity. They tell us the original was destroyed after being microfilmed "to save space in the archives," but more likely it was to cover up Trump's actual birthplace, which is his mother's ancestral home on the Isle of Lewis. Yes, Trump is actually Scottish!

Donald Trump is a Brit. A Tory. A limey. A god-damned pommy git! He's a king-loving, America-despising, anti-American Revolutionary War zealot. Isn't it obvious from his high-flying lifestyle that he fancies himself royalty? He thinks he's better than the rest of us because he's rich and can spin a good lie.

But that's not all: he hates America, and American women. Trump is a serial bigamist, shacking up with foreign women from Communist countries over and over. He's been married to Czech and Slovenian women for 21 of the last 34 years. That means he has -- or at least his private parts have -- lived outside the United States 62% of the time. He's spent hour after hour listening to these cunning vixens spout Socialist propaganda, brainwashing him into donating to Democrats. From the Washington Post article, he tries to hide his true motives behind realistic opportunism:
“Everyone’s Democratic,” he told Fox News in an interview about his potential candidacy. “So what am I going to do — contribute to Republicans? One thing: I’m not stupid. Am I going to contribute to Republicans for my whole life when they get heat when they run against some Democrat and the most they can get is 1 percent of the vote?”
What exactly is Trump saying here? Is he saying that he agrees with the Democrats, or just buying their favor with campaign contributions? If he was a real American, he wouldn't dream of consorting with those liberal pinkos. Hell, if he was a real American he wouldn't even live in New York, a place crawling with welfare queens, hedge fund managers, real estate tycoons, stand-up comics and librarians.

And then there's religion. Trump says he's a Presbyterian. But he's also said he was a Catholic, and a member of the Dutch Reformed Church. And then he got married to his third (!) wife in an Episcopal Church. Why can't this guy make up his mind? Or is he really hiding something? But let's go with his latest statement: Presbyterian. Did you know that the Presbyterian Church started in Scotland! Yes, Trump has pledged his soul to a foreign god!

And then there's that hair. What is he hiding? If he had any stones he'd man up and just admit he's bald. That means he must be hiding something. But what? Oh, oh. Now I get it. He's actually doing the reverse Londo to hide the fact that he's really an alien from Centauri Prime!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Budget Director

I enjoyed David Stockman's recent piece on what has to be done in order to reign in our nation's debt. Likely, no one is going to like what needs to be done including myself. He gets right to the point very quickly.

The resulting squabble is not only deepening the fiscal stalemate but also bringing us dangerously close to class war. This lamentable prospect is deeply grounded in the policy-driven transformation of the economy during recent decades that has shifted income and wealth to the top of the economic ladder. The share of wealth held by the top 1 percent of households has risen to 35 percent from 21 percent since 1979, while their share of income has more than doubled to around 20 percent.

The culprit here was the combination of ultralow rates of interest at the Federal Reserve and ultralow rates of taxation on capital gains.

Hmm...who else has been saying these same things? Me. And I was never lucky enough to be the Budget Director for Ronald Reagan. So, Stockman's not exactly a liberal although by the current GOP's standards he's probably a communist. Later in the article, he puts forth some solutions, one of which I don 't agree with at all.

We are about to descend into class war because the Obama plan picks on the rich when it should be pushing tax increases for all, while the Ryan plan attacks the poor when it should be addressing middle-class entitlements and defense.

Well, there it is. At least someone had the guts to say it. Everyone needs to have their taxes raised. Except I can't see how that would be helpful given the decided lack of consumer confidence. Given that consumers make up two thirds of our economy, raising taxes on the lower 90 percent, in my opinion, would be disastrous. The middle class is the engine that drives this economy and they do not need any more burdens place upon them.

Overall, Stockman's piece states the obvious. Everyone wants solutions but no one wants to sacrifice. Worse, political theater is driving all of this which means nothing is getting done. I've stated many times on here that, as far as I'm concerned, everything is on the table including Social Security and Medicare. Hell, simply controlling the growth of Medicare would make a significant dent in our deficit and debt. Of course, that would mean controlling the cost of health care which means government regulation which means a pile of skulls, right?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Fucking Classic!

You'll be hearing a lot more about Republican Jesus in the coming days:)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Thinking Of Q

On this Easter Sunday, I've been thinking about the Q Document. For those of you who don't know, the Q document is the supposed source for the gospels of Matthew and Luke, specifically the material not contained in the gospel of Mark which was written before any of the others.

In fact, Matthew and Luke borrowed heavily from Mark and this mysterious document which may not have been a document at all. Many biblical scholars believer that it was simply stories that were finally written down in the form of Matthew and Luke. This I find to be very fascinating as it's stories that truly define us.

One of the things that drive me nuts about our culture is how we define success...indeed, how we define our lives. Last in Line is fond of asking folks, "How's your dash?" meaning the "-" that people have on their tombstones. It's clever in a dark sort of way and I've always loved it. I've always found it frustrating that people define their dash by what they do.

If you find yourself in any sort of social situation, invariably you will meet someone new and they will ask or you will ask, "So....what do you do?" The conversation usually devolves from there into heretofore unseen depths of boredom. I've talked about this before but how about the next time this happens say, "Tell me a story." Most people tend to shy away from this so have a few stories ready of your own and tell one to make them feel comfortable in telling theirs.

When they do tell it, listen closely to what they say and within just a few minutes you will find out quite a bit about the person. Are they an introvert or an extrovert? Are they intrinsically motivated or extrinsically motivated. More importantly, are they happy or sad? All of this can be heard and seen with the kind of story they tell.

As with the Q document, there is always a bit of mystery with every story but that's what makes us who we are. How we interact with each other is just as important to how we develop as how we function within our culture. And, it's stories, not what we do for a living, that we should be talking about. The stories of Jesus Christ created a magnificent tapestry that has lasted for over 2,000 years. As Jesus said,

"Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these.."

What stories could we tell today that will last for that long?

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves, not as an exploited proletariat, but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires----John Steinback.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day

Being that it is Earth Day today, I thought I would point out a few interesting pieces I've seen over the last few weeks about climate change. In many ways, Dick Lugar was right.  President Obama's energy message has failed and it's largely due to political reality. The right has been very successful at shifting the message from "It's happening" to "It's a hoax" and they've done it with no facts or science whatsoever. They've succeeded in portraying leading scientists as a doomsday cult of true believers. Attack your opponent with what is, in fact, your greatest weakness...surprise, surprise...

So where are we at on this Earth Day 2011?

1. Glacier National Park once had 125 glaciers. It now has 20.

2. A shipping lane has now opened through the Arctic.

3. 400 coal-fired plants around the United States emit an average of 366,000 tons of hazardous air pollutants per year -- mercury, arsenic, chromium, nickel, carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide. These kill an average of 15,000 people per year.

These three items are absolute facts. If you still are in doubt (and I know some of you are), go ask your local science teacher to show you how a greenhouse gas (carbon dioxide) warms the atmosphere. It's actually pretty cool to see first hand.

What's been interesting of late is to see how some energy companies have been changing their tune.

Richard Kelly, CEO of XCel Energy, is now saying that a $20 per ton carbon tax would translate into an extra 5 bucks on a 100 dollar a month bill. He's also saying that Xcel could find a way to conserve more energy and admits they waste quite a bit. This way the extra tax wouldn't be passed on to the customers. He, along with other energy leaders, see the future.

So what is it and why are they saying all of this? Because climate change is a security threat. I've put up articles from the DoD detailing that they are moving forward regardless of what the knee jerk debunkers think. In 2010, the human species burned 6 billion tons of coal. Energy demand is expected to rise by 30 percent by 2030, which means burning roughly 8 billion tons per year. From the article:

If climate change continues unchecked, we will see millions of people displaced globally, countries destabilized and U.S. troops mobilized to address these new threats.

The Defense Department calls climate change a destabilizing influence and “threat multiplier.” There is no better example of climate change as a destabilizing force than what happened in Pakistan last year. More than one-fifth of Pakistan was flooded by torrential rains and insurgents have pounced on the chaos-created opportunity to turn Pakistan into a breeding ground and safe haven for terrorist activity.

This is very, very serious folks.

So, why don't Americans believe in global warming? The Economist nailed it and offered an excellent solution.

A somewhat constructivist approach to building public concern would be to build up the issue-linkage between climate change and the search for renewable-energy sources. This would help mitigate the economic and psychological concerns (the latter because it's easier to accept a problem exists if you have a way of addressing it.) And renewable energy doesn't have the political or epistemological baggage of climate change. As my colleague said yesterday, "The idea that sustainable-resource use and renewable energy is some kind of socialist hippy hobby is incredibly naive and frivolous, and extremely damaging to the American economy.

I completely agree. Let's focus on the renewable energy as a tool to mitigate security concerns and bolster our economy.

Yet, we also need to call out the fact free science crowd and revel them for what they are: bullies.  They don't like to lose and they will do everything in their power to win. As with most of these debates, the only way victory is achieved is through money.

If Americans can see that they stand to lose money as a result of carbon emissions and stand to reap huge rewards for renewable energy, we can wave bye bye to the professional debunking of climate change.

Time to get out the spectacles!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Ultimately Counterproductive

The Republican Party across the country has declared all-out war on abortion and birth control. The budget bill earlier this year was almost thrown off the rails because of amendments to defund Planned Parenthood. Several states are passing laws to further restrict abortions to 20 weeks. John Kyl infamously lied on the Senate floor, saying that abortion constituted 90% of Planned Parenthood's services, only to later characterize the lie as a statement "not intended to be factual."

Yet for decades now Republicans have been constantly harping on welfare queens, anchor babies and "breadwinners" who bear children only to get government money.

The best way to ameliorate these problems is to make birth control and abortion easy, safe and cheap. Yet Republicans and conservatives are doing everything in their power to cause the people they seem to despise to reproduce in greater and greater numbers.

For some religious conservatives I can understand: they truly believe that abortion is wrong and should be stopped.

But the ostensibly libertarian Tea Party Republicans don't seem to have moral compunctions about anything, as long as it saves them a dollar. They don't seem to give a damn about abortion, chastity, abstinence, or the sanctity of marriage. Remember when Rush Limbaugh was caught with a Viagra prescription for another man? Nudge, nudge, wink, wink. Heroes of the Tea Party like Limbaugh, Gingrich and Trump go through wives like other men go through SUVs.

But stopping abortions and preventing Planned Parenthood from dispensing birth control to the poor (who are overwhelmingly black and Hispanic) seems counterproductive to the greater goal of saving money on social programs like welfare and Medicaid, as well as education, prisons, etc. Furthermore, demographic trends indicate that white Americans will be in the minority in the not-to-distant future, which has the potential to spell doom for the Republican Party.

Are the Republicans just a little bit afraid of getting tarred with the Hitler brush if they appear to be advocating eugenics by letting the government pay for birth control?

Or are they just so stubbornly cantankerous that they can't stand the idea of paying for someone else to have sex without getting punished for it with pregnancy?

Or is it a cynical ploy to pretend to deliver on the promise to end abortion that they've dangled in front of religious conservatives for decades?

Practically speaking, it will cost us a whole lot more in the long run to force women to bear children they don't want and can't afford. By eliminating birth control and abortions for the poor welfare and Medicaid costs will increase, hospital emergency rooms will be overloaded, education costs will increase, future unemployment rates will go up, and crime rates will rise as unwanted children grow up with no prospects for any kind of decent life. (There's a school of thought that the reduced crime rates we've seen since the 90s are in large part due to the legalization of abortion.)

The Republican Party seems to be bound and determined to cut off birth control and abortion; this will be ultimately counterproductive in the extreme. It will only serve to magnify the deficit and other social problems. Sometimes you need to spend a little money to save a lot of money.

Where are those practical, hard-headed, penny-pinching conservatives when we need them?

Six Signs of A True Believer

I've been talking a lot lately about the true believers of the conservative and libertarian movements. A recent discussion with a former student reminded me of the Kegley-Raymond text The Global Future. On page 150 of that book, the authors list six characteristics of transnational religious movements. I thought of, Katie, my acquaintance at the gym and smiled.

1. View existing government as corrupt and illegitimate because it is secular and not sufficiently rigorous in upholding religious authority or religiously sanctioned moral and social values.

While this certainly isn't true of libertarians, it is very true of the base.  Not only do you have to be a Christian but you have to be a Christian in THEIR WAY. President Obama and the entirety of the Democratic party are not sufficiently Christian.

2. They subscribe to a particular set of behavior and opinions that they believe political authority must reflect, promote, and protect in all governmental and social activities. The government must be in the hands of believers.

This is what Katie meant by "taking our government back." It must be back in the hands of believers. Of course, they mistakenly see people like me and President Obama as believers as well but really that's how their perception works. Again, Obama and all Democrats are destroying our country.

3. They are exclusionists. They tend to see their views as part of the inheritance of everyone who is a believer. 

4. They are militant and willing to use coercion to achieve the only true end.

This is what I was getting at the other day when I spoke of the similarity between the current conservative movement and the Nazi party in Germany in the 1930s.  Their fervent belief is overwhelming and I especially find it troubling in the economic beliefs of libertarians.

5. They attack the inability of government to address social problems.

This is where the abortion and gay marriage issue comes in. They see both as pure evil and the government as being complicit in allowing them both to transpire. 

6. They are universalists. They see their views as part of the inheritance of someone who is a believer. 

Perhaps the most frightening of all.  This is quite evident in how they continually and massively deride the left. Look no further than my comments archive.

From now until the election, look closely for any or all of these traits coming from the right. No doubt, these characteristics will become increasingly magnified as we move closer to November 6, 2012

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


From a recent item in my news feed on Facebook...

I have no problem paying my fair share of taxes because I'm an adult and that's part of the deal.

The Reagan Myth Shattered

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What I Would Do

There have been plenty of times I've been called a communist in the blogsphere. Marxy is nick name that has never really bothered me. In fact, nearly all of the derisive comments online don't really bother me. And I've had students call me just about every name name in the book so my skin is pretty thick.

But Katie accusing me of being a communist really hit a nerve with me. Not so much personally but from the point of view of an educator. Doesn't she know what happens when we go down this path? I think it was her tone and the blind rage that I saw in her eyes. That never leads to anything good.

This is why I could never support a dictator even if he or she held my exact ideology. I don't want anyone forced into my vision of the world nor am I that certain that all of my ideas are valid. She was and that's what really scared me. Generally, I know what works and what doesn't based on events and experience. I am not so blind in any thing I believe in that I would use my fear, anger and hate to justify a total authoritarian regime.

I haven't asked her yet what she would do but I have to admit that after the other day, I'm frightened to know the answer.

Monday, April 18, 2011

A Voice In My Head (on steroids!)

This past weekend, I was at my gym working out as I often am. Up sauntered the merry little band of true believers that hang out with me and BS politics. We have the doctor (Sean), the evangelical pastor (Edward), the retired gym teacher (Katie) and the female body builder (Erica). Erica is married to a one of the chief Tea Partiers in Minnesota and actually used to be super liberal. But she married him and suddenly she was super conservative. I guess it's not surprising. After all, she simply traded one naive idealistic viewpoint for another.

I've talked about these folks for quite some time using different names but the names I listed above (not the real ones, obviously) are going to stay the same from now on. They've said too many "wonderful" things over the years that it's high time I got more organized and used them as demonstrative characters. Granted, they aren't representative of the whole of the conservative movement but they do say things that echo many of the things I hear on here all the time. In essence, they are the perfect true believers. More importantly, they are testimonials to the effect that there are no voices inside my head:)

This last conversation got into spending right away. Edward made his usual comments about Social Security being a Ponzi scheme (he doesn't even say "like" a Ponzi Scheme anymore), Sean was his usual rage filled self hating everything Obama does, and Katie had quite a bit to say about Planned Parenthood (all they do is provide abortions) as well as the "drive by" media. Erica didn't really say much but threw in a comment about libtards before she left.

It was right after this that the following conversation occurred.

Katie: It scares me to death that you teach our children, Mark.
Me: Why?
Katie: Because you are a communist.
Me: I'm not a communist.
Katie: Yes, you are. The things you are a communist.
Me: No, I assure you I'm a capitalist. And it's not my job to share my opinions when I'm in class. I'm more interested in my students' opinions and moving them to a higher level on Bloom's Taxonomy. It's enough work to get them to pay attention, be inspired, and get their work done.
Katie: But you can't help it, though. Your ideas just ooze are a communist...and it frightens me that you teach our children. 

Katie was adamant and there was really no convincing her that I wasn't a commie so I told her to try not to let fear rule her life and think a little more critically about politics. She then started going off about GE paying no taxes and Obama being in their back pocket which I actually took as a sign of progress as well as further proof that their is some  potential for common ground between someone like me and her. But then she went back to personally insulting me and screaming about taking our country back so I went off to do some cardio.

The whole exchange, especially the end where she angrily called for taking our country back, made me think of a scenario which I'm going to throw out to all of you. I'm certainly going to present her with it as well at some point. I started to reflect on her statements and realized that she was directing most of her venom at me (a teacher) and the media. Whenever folks narrow their rage at the those two outlets of information, I can't help but think about how those were items #1 and #2 on the list in Germany circa 1933. So, here's my scenario.

Suppose a candidate comes along named John Smith. He is the living embodiment of a perfect conservative. He is your ideal candidate. Now, I know we have some variation with conservatives here so each of you imagine your perfect guy. This guy has the backing a very large group of people and is accumulating so much support that he has enough power to run the country exactly how you want him to run it. In other words, there are enough like minded people for him to run the country as a single and authoritative body.

Given that he embodies perfectly your ideology, would you support him in this endeavor? Be honest. Remember, he is going to do everything you want him to do. He has "taken the country back" and is carrying your ideology into action. I'll put up what I would do tomorrow.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Who's He Think He Is...Bo Diddley?

Heathers has always been one of my favorite films. I don't know if it's the dark humor or the fact that Winona Ryder is mega fucking hot but I've always loved it. I haul it out every year and proceed to laugh my ass off even after more than 20 viewings.

The characters of Kurt and Ram, classic adolescent bullies, remind me quite a bit of the right  these days. The first scene of the film finds both of them wondering who the new kid (Christian Slater's character, Jason Dean) is and why is staring at Veronica (Winona Ryder). "Who's he think he is...Bo Diddley?" Ram asks Kurt. The question, of course, makes no sense and it's quickly obvious to anyone with a brain that Ram is an idiot but I find myself of late having the same reaction when having a discussion with folks on the right these days. They, much like Kurt and Ram, can be characterized as this:

Idiot bullies saying things that don't make sense sucking me (and all of us, really) into their small mindedness and misery.

They can't stand the fact that someone might actually know more than they do. They don't like it when it's me and they REALLY don't like it when it's President Obama. Who's he think he is, Bo Diddley? At least they got the skin color right with him.

In essence, that was their reaction to President Obama's speech last Wednesday. Most of it made complete sense and, unlike the Ryan plan, was not partisan at all. It contained many spending cuts and restructuring ideas that are anathema to the Democrats. Since it also called for the Bush tax cuts to expire on the wealthy, it was branded with a red T and labeled as destructive. Translation: We also believe in welfare and want to make sure the wealthy hold onto their money since we revel in being piss boys and water carriers. 

I think they mix up the buckets sometimes:)

Let's dispense with a couple of myths once and for all. First, the wealthy are always going to have plenty of money. There weren't any wealthy people in the 1950s when they were taxed at 90 percent? I must have imagined all those lavish homes and diamond wearing women. So, enough with the apocalyptic brown shirt paranoia. Second, without a stable economy, they won't have ANY of their money. This is a point that seems to have been lost on them. They are so trapped in the peasant envy meme that they can't see that they need the middle class to drive this BUY THEIR SHIT. They need the services the government provides just as much as the rest of us.

The simple fact is that consumer spending accounts for two thirds of our economy. Now, I'm not a math genius but if there are less and less consumers spending money than how does that effect our economy? We will not be able to maintain any sort of stable framework with spending by such a small group people. The CitiGroup plutonomy document should be taken as a frightening warning and not as the biased ravings of the left.

Another important myth that needs to be ejected from the capsule is that top earners pay most of the taxes. The people that assert this aren't looking at the big picture. Well, actually, they aren't even entirely accurate. The top one percent paid 2 percent less of a share in 2008 than they did in 2007. The real fault with this notion, though, is lack of width of vision. Very wealthy people don't even pay that much in taxes.

The top income tax rate is 35 percent, so how can people who make so much pay so little in taxes? The nation's tax laws are packed with breaks for people at every income level. There are breaks for having children, paying a mortgage, going to college, and even for paying other taxes. Plus, the top rate on capital gains is only 15 percent.

This article does have some pretty surprising numbers and I say this knowing what kind of reaction I will get from the true believers when they read it but we've been over all of this before. Where we haven't been, however, is here.

Simply put, our economy will not survive with this sort of disparity. If two thirds of our economy is consumer spending and the average income of for the bottom 90 percent has declined this dramatically, how can we have any sort of stability? Combine this with the drop in national income and I'd say we have a whole lot of Marie Antoinettes out there that need to wake up. The bottom 90 percent need to wake up as well and realize that the top earners are making a butt load of money WITHOUT hiring. They don't give a shit about you so giving them tax breaks will absolutely NOT result in more jobs. Clean that plaque out of your head most ricky fucking tick.

So, Kurt and Ram, you guys need to wake up. Put aside your nonsensical bullying and open up your minds. Enough with the paranoia about socialism, fascism, statism, and wealth envy. By ignoring this ever growing flaw, you are actually moving us closer to what you fear. Set aside your true beliefs, need to constantly win an argument and admit that you are wrong. Conservative economic policies have rarely worked even on the micro level. They call it "trickle" down for a reason and our economy simply can't take any more of this abuse.

President Obama is trying to save capitalism and, by extension, your asses. So am I. His plan is the problem solver, not Paul Ryan's plan, because it actually has everything on the table in terms of addressing the debt. Relax. He's not coming to get you. He's not Hitler or Stalin.

And he isn't Bo Diddley either.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Weekend Funnies

I just found this hilarious site that all of you must check out. The headline that got me was this one.

Paul Ryan calls President Obama’s budget speech “excessively partisan”, Dr. Freud unavailable for comment.

I'll have something tomorrow on the Obama v. Ryan duel.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Just got this on Facebook.

Remember when teachers, public employees, Planned Parenthood, NPR, and PBS crashed the stock market, wiped out half of our 401k's, took billions in TARP money, spilled oil in the Gulf of Mexico, gave themselves millions in bonuses, gave unlimited and undisclosed amounts of money to politicians, and paid no taxes?

Yeah, me neither.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wonder Why Our Country Is Broke?

The above was the title of an email forward courtesy of Last in Line. Clearly, Last sent this to me to get my goat and does not subscribe to the titanic level of racism contained in it. But I guess I'm wondering what some of you think of it. Regardless of what my readers think, though, this is another fine example of a "Voice Inside My Head." This is where a lot of the anti tax, Tea Partier shit originates.

The bread winner in the family....interesting!

Bread Winner...

I was speaking to an emergency room physician this morning. He told me that a woman in her 20s came to the ER with her 8thpregnancy. She stated, "my momma told me that I am the breadwinner for the family."
He asked her to explain. She said that she can make babies and babies get money for the family. It goes like this: The grandma calls the Department of Child and Family Services and states that the unemployed daughter is not capable of caring for these children. DCFS agrees and states that the child or children will need to go to foster care.

The grandma then volunteers to be the foster parent, and thus receives a check for $1500 per child per month in Illinois .

Total yearly income:
$144,000 tax-free, not to mention free healthcare (Medicaid) plus a monthly card entitling her to free groceries, etc, and a voucher for 250 free cell phone minutes per month. This does not even include WIC and other welfare programs.. Indeed, grandma was correct in that her fertile daughter is the "breadwinner" for the family.
This is how the ruling class spends our tax dollars.
Sebastian J. Ciancio, M.D. Urologist, Danville Polyclinic, LTD
Is this a GREAT COUNTRY or what...
Don't forget to pay your taxes!!!
There are a lot of “Breadwinners” depending on you & me

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Not A Factual Statement

If only more conservatives were like John Kyl and just admit it! Also, I think I have to start shopping more often at Walgreen's!

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Pap Smears at Walgreens
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogVideo Archive

Width of Vision Redux

President Obama's statement on the debt ceiling, which I posted yesterday, says quite a bit about the guy. First, it demonstrates that he's not spend crazy. The fact he knows that this is large problem should give people around the country, regardless of their political stripe, hope.

Second, the statement doesn't exist in a vacuum. One has to look at why he said it and what happened afterwards. He said it at a time when President Bush was essentially not vetoing a single bill from Congress. Clearly, he has the foreknowledge to see that this was going to create a problem. And it has.

The problems we have today were caused by the actions of the GOP led Congress and President Bush. Contrary to the catechisms of the anti spending hysterics, the crash of 2008 gave us only one, albeit pretty crappy, option: bail out/stimulus. Without both, the world economy would have collapsed. The world in 2006 was a much different place than it is in 2011.

My point in all of this was to show that people (especially true believers) have to think outside of the box when seeing a statement like this. In other words, critically think about it. In many ways, this illustrates what the president told Bill O'Reilly before the Super Bowl a few months back. He said that by the time something gets to his desk, it's so FUBAR (my words, not his:)) that every solution really stinks. So which do you want to have-vomit or diarrhea?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Width of Vision

Let's illustrate what I mean by "true believer." Check out this quote:

The fact that we are here today to debate raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. ... Increasing America's debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that 'the buck stops here.' Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem.

No, this wasn't a Tea Partier that said this. It was then Senator Barack Obama who said it back in 2006. So, what do you think? Be honest.

My analysis tomorrow.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

True Believers

A while back, I renounced using the term "Cult" to describe the conservative movement in this country. I did so because my neighbor informed me that Barack Obama was the anti-Christ and had the number of the beast tattooed on a hidden skin flap on his arm. This neighbor, incidentally, is now stockpiling water for the coming apocalypse. How long has the world been ending again?

But I was wrong for a whole host of other reasons regarding my use of the word "Cult" to describe the current form of the GOP. For example, being in a cult implies small numbers. That's not true at all. The conservative movement is quite large and, more or less, dictates the policy of this country. This happens when they are in power or not. Why? Because the Democrats are, for the most part, incompetent when it comes to dealing with them.

Give the Dems a break, though, because there's not much they can do.Because when it comes to the conservative base of this country, one has to take into account that they are true believers. Essentially, the only thing cult like about them is summed up simply in one word: Faith. And, man oh man, do they have it in abundance. As Kevin Smith wisely wrote, "You can change an idea but you can't change a belief."

On the surface, you notice this right away. Their perceptual framework sees everyone as being true believers. I, along with many liberals/Democrats/progressives, are accused daily of having religious fervor when it comes to our ideology. I am constantly taken aback by this because nothing could be further from the truth. I'm certain that nearly everyone else on the left is as well. I have my ideas regarding religion and morality but beliefs? Nope. Beliefs about politics? Economics? Sociology? Psychology? History?

Nope. No beliefs. I deal with what actually happened and what actually works. Aside from a few micro examples here and there, none of the ideas that conservatives offer have ever worked. Nearly all of them have actually made things worse in our country on a number of levels. It's why we are at the position we are in today. The true belief of deregulation...the true belief of realism in the international arena...the true belief of

All this has dawned on me over the course of the last six years that I have been friendly with an evangelical minister at the gym where I work out. I've written about him before. He takes his religious beliefs and uses that framework as his basis for politics. Michelle Bachmann, for example, is his choice for president in 2012. Why? Because like him he is a believer and she can be trusted. Never mind that she is completely incapable of being president. She believes and that's all that is needed. Yet, look at the Democrats. You won't catch the Democrats rallying behind Dennis Kucinich or Hank Johnson any time soon.

Another way to notice what I am talking about is how the true believers on the right react to political discussions. I make it a point to not attack people personally yet they take everything personally. Why? It's their faith and they are clearly insecure about it. What other reason would they have for insisting upon the fact that they are right about everything? So, they respond in kind with personal attacks because their faith is weak. I've seen many insults directed towards me on this blog and during my time over at Kevin's blog. As time has gone on, these attacks bother me less and less. Some of you have wondered politely if I like being abused. Not true at all. It's because I don't have a true believer mind set so the personal doesn't really enter into it.

Likely, the right will never get this. I know that the chances of changing their perception on this are about as likely as a conservative admitting that tax cuts for the wealthy don't work. But true believers it is, folks, and not a cult. We see it in how they look at the Constitution, the Bible, the ever increasing control of power and money in this country by the wealthy, the focused effort to strip average Americans of power, economics, cultural diversity, education, climate change, and health care. Check out any of Bill Whittle's videos (links of which have been posted lately in comments) for excellent illustrations how true believers practice their faith.

All of this is deeply frustrating to me because their beliefs put them on the wrong side of most issues...fighting angrily against what would actually benefit them in the long run and give them more freedom. Even saying something like this evokes shrieks and howls of protests. How dare I know what is best for them? How dare I dare I that....blah blah blah...all of these protestations are also illustrative of how ingrained their belief is and how insecure they are about it.

As I have said recently, managing the fantasies of the true believers is a waste of time. I'm more or less finished with it. I'm hoping that other people in the country--either in the media or ordinary citizens like me--cease paying attention to people who think, for example, that is absolutely nothing wrong with less people having more and more money every day. You're not going to see me coddling the worship of CEOs any longer, pampering the auto debunk of climate change skeptics, and gently reminding people that  the Democratic Party won't lead us to this:

Paranoid Fantasy. Absolute Lie.

True believers, get some fucking ones would be nice...and lose the back and forth between 8 year old boy temper tantrums and adolescent power fantasies. Start being part of the solution and cease being part of the problem. I know it's a lot to ask but you are going to have to change your beliefs. Not only have they damaged, are damaging, and will damage this country but they are holding us back from taking an action vital to our future.

Moving Forward.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Our Little Plutocracy

A fine example of where we could be headed if we don't wake up. Class war, indeed. But are we too apathetic and/or deeply ingrained in the belief that we'll make it just like Charlie Sheen and Lloyd Blankfein? Here's to hoping not.

Friday, April 08, 2011

An Illustrative Slice

The following question was asked of me recently in comments.

How do you manage to get such a undeservedly high opinion of your own judgement?

In order to answer this one, let's take a look at the recent fight over the budget. As I am writing this, it seems like the sticking point is Planned Parenthood. Let's take a look at what each side has to say about it.

The Democrats say that the GOP is holding out so they can prevent poor women from getting cancer screenings.

It's a spin filled way to make a point and takes a page from the fear mongering play book. But it is technically true. The GOP wants to defund Planned Parenthood and PP does provide health care for people with lower incomes.

The GOP says that the Democrats want to use taxpayer money to fund abortions.

Not only is this statement filled with fear mongering, it's also inaccurate. They Hyde Amendment prohibits federal funds from being used for abortions. But, being the scorched earth paranoids that they are, the GOP want Planned Parenthood destroyed.

As you can see, it doesn't take a genius to make a judgement call on which of the two parties lives in a fantasy land. We (as in our entire country) could move forward if we didn't have to spend time managing their fantasies.

This would be one of the primary reasons I have this blog: to call them on their bullshit. Democrats have bullshit too but it's not anywhere at the level of the GOP these days. Liberals, by their very nature, are more reflective. I certainly am. I think Dennis Kucinich is naive, nuts and completely full of shit. Hank Johnson is really off his rocker and Barney Frank is a dick. Most of the left think so as well. These are all opinions, of course, but they honestly are true. Yet I would these same words to describe Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin. Other than a stray comment here or there (juris would be one, although he is not a conservative), conservatives won't rip those two or anyone else (see: Donald Trump of late) who say crazy shit because they know that's how they appeal to their base.

Essentially, liberals have better judgement than conservatives, generally speaking, because of the very meanings of each word.

LIBERAL: Open-minded or tolerant, especially free of or not bound by traditional or conventional ideas, values, etc.Favorable to progress or reform, as in political or religious affairs.

CONSERVATIVE:a person who is reluctant to change or consider new ideas; conformist. Disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change.

People that are that reluctant to change, admit when they are wrong, refuse to consider new ideas, and protect their own regardless of how batty they are demonstrate a clear lack of good judgment.

In other words, it's that my judgment is perfect. It's that their judgment, by their very nature, is so incredibly bad.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Three For Thursday

Wisconsin Election

This would be an example of something that I "won" but really lost. Am I the only one that feels sorry for both candidates? What a mess. Let the recount dance begin...again....barf. There's no victory in this for anyone and I'm really beginning to question the election of judges. Shouldn't they just be appointed like they are at the federal level? The whole thing has become so partisan with both sides screaming activism. I am happy that voter turnout was high, though. It needs to stay that way but I doubt it will considering our culture can't focus on anything for more than a few minutes. Speaking of which...

Happy Trails, Glenn

Glenn Beck and Fox News have parted ways. His show will end at the conclusion of this year. I've received some emails and a few posts in comments wondering what I thought so I thought I'd at least mention it. First of all, it was only a matter of time. The same thing happened to Rush and then he went back into his niche on radio. That's where Glenn will be and he will do quite well. Second, I think we may have seen the zenith of short wave radio fantasy peddlers. They'll still have their core audiences and will make zillions of dollars off of fear, anger and hate but it's not going to be as mainstream anymore. After all, you can only say the country is going to be thrown into a boiling pit of sewage by evil communists for so long. When it doesn't happen, then what do you say? It works in the right wing blogsphere (cue the photos of skulls) with so many true believers there but not in the more widespread media where the public, thankfully, isn't that moronic.

An interesting tandem to this is the decline of Sarah Palin. As soon as the "liberal" media stopped covering her, she suddenly didn't seem to matter much anymore. Maybe she should do another interview with Katie Couric to rile up the base again.

Ryan's Road Map

Paul Ryan has some good ideas in his long term plan. Restructuring Social Security and Medicare certainly has to happen. As is always the case with folks like him, he didn't stop to think and realize that the under 55 crowd, if they are paying more for health care, probably won't be much of a revenue generator for the government. Essentially, his ideas are very one sided and they will likely make our deficit worse. Surprise, surprise!

I have noticed of late that every word from the right has been about spending cuts. Honestly, it's become such an obsession that I doubt they are thinking clearly at all. They have to confront the revenue question seriously. We are wasting too much time managing their anti tax fantasies. Of course, that's what you get when the John Birch society takes over your party. When they start to talk about revenue and honest cuts in defense, I'll start to take them more seriously. But for right now, they are not thinking rationally.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Wrong Adversary

I'm continually amazed that many folks on the right are still a feared of the gubmint. In their minds, we are getting closer every day to jack booted thugs coming to all our homes and seizing the fruits of our labors. Many think this is already happening (see: taxes). At least they are right about it already happening...and it isn't the government.

Banks Accused of Illegally Breaking Into Homes

The culprit, Ms. Ash soon learned, was not a burglar but her bank. According to a federal lawsuit filed in October by Ms. Ash, Bank of America had wrongfully foreclosed on her house and thrown out her belongings, without alerting Ms. Ash beforehand.

Huh. Would this be another example of a private corporation forcing their way into someone's home? Yes. Yes, it would.

In Texas, for example, Bank of America had the locks changed and the electricity shut off last year at Alan Schroit’s second home in Galveston, according to court papers. Mr. Schroit, who had paid off the house, had stored 75 pounds of salmon and halibut in his refrigerator and freezer, caught during a recent Alaskan fishing vacation.

“Lacking power, the freezer’s contents melted, spoiled and reeking melt water spread through the property and leaked through the flooring into joists and lower areas,” the lawsuit says. The case was settled for an undisclosed amount.

Bank of America had the locks changed? Not the government? Well, they must have used the government as a tool, right?

In Florida, contractors working for Chase Bank used a screwdriver to enter Debra Fischer’s house in Punta Gorda and helped themselves to a laptop, an iPod, a cordless drill, six bottles of wine and a frosty beer, left half-empty on the counter, according to assertions in a lawsuit filed in August. Ms. Fisher was facing foreclosure, but Chase had not yet obtained a court order, her lawyer says.

Nope. Contractors, huh. Where is the government in all of this? Oh yeah, I forgot. Neutered by the conservative movement in this country.

These would be (more) specific examples of a private corporation fucking people over, Not only did they seize Schroit's house but they ruined his food! Now, I'm not an expert but, in addition to food being required for nourishment, was the fish not the "fruit of his hard earned labor?"

Wrong adversary, Tea Partiers. Wrong adversary. But I suppose, in the end, it's OK, though because Bank of America has a lot of money. And we all know that if you have a lot of money, Jesus loves you more and you can do whatever you want.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Perks Are Fun! (10, 11 and 12 of 20)

As I have demonstrated repeatedly on here, many people in our country don't like the rules. One such rule is taxes. They may say they simply want to pay their fair share and moan about how if our taxes were lower, businesses wouldn't leave to go elsewhere but really that's a crock of shit. Unless there were zero taxes, they would still move offshore. Why? Because they are human and people are pretty greedy.

The best part about being wealthy, though, are the perks. And the priority status, of course.

Banks, credit-card companies, wealth managers, airlines, and hotels all fiercely compete for the business of the super-rich, and the result is perks and deep discounts their other customers never know about.

Recall the Citigroup Plutonomy document.

Further examples of this can be seen in my home state of Minnesota.

Executive perks have not just survived the worst economic downturn in five decades. They are flourishing.

In Minnesota, dozens of top executives continue to get free medical benefits, access to private jets, country club memberships, free financial planning services, generous hiring bonuses and other rewards, in some cases even as they cut costs elsewhere.

Flourishing, you say? In an economic downturn? Of course, making any derisive comments about this automatically means I must be jealous. Or a socialist. Or Hitler. Right? It can't possibly be that I want to warn of the lessons of history regarding societies that were too stratified. It REALLY can't be that I want the middle class to be the engine of the economy again because that is what has been proven to actually work. Nah, none of that pinko shit. I'm jealous/a socialist/Hitler...pick whatever one you want.

Even firms that have dramatically downsized their workforces are keeping perks intact for senior managers. Hutchinson Technology Inc., a disk drive component maker in Hutchinson that has downsized three times since 2008 and just announced plans to shed 30 to 40 percent of its workforce over the next year, last year paid about $430,000 in perks to seven senior executives. CEO Wayne Fortun received an $11,770 car allowance and free financial planning services, on top of his salary and stock.

Hey, that sound great! One simple question, though. Who is going to buy stuff when no one, save a few, has any money?

Executives worried about the tax bite of these corporate goodies can often rest easy. The reason: Corporate boards often reimburse senior managers for taxes owed on fringe benefits -- essentially a "perk on a perk."

But wait, I thought corporate taxes were too high? WTF?!!??

"It's not good for morale when employees see their executives living in a world of their own, while the guy next to them just lost his job," said Eleanor Bloxham, founder and CEO of the Value Alliance, a board advisory firm in Columbus, Ohio.

No shit.

Funny, though, they aren't simply living in a world of their own. They are being supported by some of my readers who are under the (very) mistaken impression that either none of this matters or someday they will be rich too if they just work hard.

At least United Health Care learned their lesson.

Minnetonka-based health insurer UnitedHealth Group got rid of most of its executive perks after revelations emerged in late 2006 that former CEO William McGuire and others at the company had been granted stock options "backdated" to a day when the stock price was at a low price. Prior to the change, McGuire and four other top executives were collecting more than $600,000 a year in freebies, on top of millions of dollars in stock options and other compensation.

In last year's proxy statement, UnitedHealth stated, "We do not believe that providing generous executive perquisites is either necessary to attract and retain executive talent or consistent with our pay-for-performance philosophy."

I wonder what it will take for more companies to adopt this attitude. Maybe some new thinking on the part of the Tea Party and its supporters who seem to feel that the wealthy need their welfare. Any chance it will happen soon?

Monday, April 04, 2011

It's Official: I Love Science

"Here, let me show you."
After a few minutes, he did.
"Cool. Or warm, actually," I said smiling.

Mr. Cunningham, the science teacher in our building, had just demonstrated to me how carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that warms the atmosphere.

"So, what about all this business that carbon dioxide isn't really warming the atmosphere?" I asked
"Well, what did you just see, Mark?"

I've mostly avoided the science areas of the school in the past but something tells me I should hang around there more often. As I have been told many times on this blog, reason, logic, and facts are great things. I must admit fault in avoiding math and science over the years. I didn't have the greatest teachers in either subject and that, combined with my horse shit attitude about the subjects, were why  I chose to pursue other subjects with greater inspiration and motivation.

Now, though, I'm pretty inspired because, as some of you have been telling me,  I've discovered that if one invests some time in looking at the facts and the evidence through science and math, one can see clear evidence in support of all sorts of things. Like....massive inequality in the United States, for example. Or climate change. As soon as one sets their mind to science, they start to notice information like this:

Scientist Beloved by Climate Deniers Pulls Rug Out from Their Argument.

We see a global warming trend that is very similar to that previously reported by the other groups. The world temperature data has sufficient integrity to be used to determine global temperature trends. Based on our initial work at Berkeley Earth, I believe that some of the most worrisome biases are less of a problem than I had previously thought.

Really? Well, hey, that's pretty cool. Or warm, actually. Check out the graph, too. So much for the skepticism on that one.

There's also information like this:

Scientists connect global warming to extreme rain

Extreme rainstorms and snowfalls have grown substantially stronger, two studies suggest, with scientists for the first time finding the telltale fingerprints of man-made global warming on downpours that often cause deadly flooding.. Two studies in Wednesday's issue of the journal Nature link heavy rains to increases in greenhouse gases more than ever before.

What an interesting article. Gosh, science can be fun!

Honestly, I have to say that I've been such a fool. If I'd only had better teachers and paid attention more in science and math, imagine where I could be today. Well, I'm still a young man and there's no time like the present, eh?

Mr. C (not his real name btw:)) has said that I'm always welcome in his room during my prep block.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Always a Winner (8 and 9 of 20)

A few readers are under the assumption that I have forgotten about Steverman's Secret Financial Weapons of the Super Rich. Rest assured, I have not. Let's take a look at the next two shall we?

Lower Fees

Rich investors "should be able to get the absolute maximum discount," says Paul Sutherland, president of Financial and Investment Management Group, a wealth manager. They can wind up paying only 15 percent of a mutual fund's maximum fees, he says.

Financial Advice

The super-rich can afford the best advice. They can hire lawyers and accountants to lower their tax bills, insurance experts to get them the best deals and protection from losses, and personal financial advisers to scrutinize each investment.

So, yet another answer to the question, "How do the wealthy fuck people over?" is that the game is rigged in their favor. They always win. No wonder the right loves them so much!

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Rand Paul's Potty Mouth

In a recent congressional hearing where incandescent light bulbs were being discussed, Rand Paul went a tirade about his toilets.
“Frankly, my toilets don’t work in my house, and I blame you and people like you who want to tell me what I can install in my house,” Paul said. He added, “I find it insulting.
Instead of blaming the company that built his defective toilet, Paul is blaming the government. We have low flow toilets in our house, and have had them for ten years, and they work just fine. Now, I suppose it's possible that Paul is so full of it that he needs an extra-high capacity toilet, but he could adapt his flushing technique to accommodate his great . . . needs.

Why do we have low-flow toilets? To save water, obviously. Why should we save water? If you live in LA, or Phoenix, or Las Vegas or pretty much anywhere in the southwest, or you live in Atlanta, where they recently suffered from a years-long drought, you know how wretched it is to not have enough water.

Big, thirsty toilets are just about the worst possible use for clean, fresh water: does it really make sense to waste 3.5 gallons of water to wash away a few ounces of urine? (Low-flow toilets use 1.6 gallons or less.) The average person flushes 5 times per day. With 300 million Americans, that comes out to 5.25 billion gallons a day. Using low-flow toilets reduces that to 2.4 billion gallons.

Water-wasting toilets require local governments to build extra large sewer systems and sewage treatment plants. They require development of larger water supplies, more municipal water towers for storage, and on and on. Wasting things costs money, and wasting common resources costs everybody money. Higher demand for a commodity raises its price, especially when it's in short supply -- that's Econ 101. Why should I pay more for water just so Rand Paul can waste it?

We use water for things other than toilets and showers and watering the lawn: industry needs a lot of water for fabricating ICs, generating power, making aluminum, etc. In California alone, low-flow toilets can save more than 100 billion gallons of water a year: water that farmers could use to feed the city folks who are literally pissing away the water farmers need.

Government regulations such as these save money and save lives. Those pesky government regulations for seat belts, air bags, crumple zones in cars, and so on, have saved thousands of lives. Those annoying regulations that require lead-free gas, catalytic converters, mercury capture in coal-plant emissions have saved millions of lives since they were enacted. They have lifted many of the ugly gray-brown clouds of filth that used to mar every city's skyline.

And who was that vile bureaucrat who signed the low-flush toilet act into law in 1992? Well, it was that commie pinko tree-hugging George H. W. Bush. The enviro-fascist who enacted the light-bulb law that Paul and Michele Bachmann were bitching about? George W. Bush (the Energy Independence and Security Act, enacted in 2007).

It used to be that Republicans were actual conservatives, wanting to conserve the past, our natural resources and our heritage. Now they seem to only be interested in conserving the right to be wastrels, and corporate profits that require ever-increasing rates of consumption to keep the stock market mavens and corporate take-over artists happy.

Why is it that every conservative these days has to trot out their petty grievances about every possible inconvenience in life and blame it on the government? Grow up, Rand Paul. You're embarrassing your kids with all this toilet talk.

Friday, April 01, 2011

House of Cards

Here is the entire House of Cards documentary from CNBC. It's an excellent bookend piece to Inside Job.

Voices in My Head