Showing posts with label True Believers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label True Believers. Show all posts

Monday, November 07, 2011

Her Ignorance Is As Good As My Knowledge

The most horrifying part of this video is when she talks about brainwashing. Heaven help us...

Sunday, November 06, 2011

My Wife Shrugs

My wife just finished reading Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. It was given to her by my brother-in-law who considers it "his Bible." I asked her what she thought about it and this was our conversation.

"Are there actually people out there that think these characters are real?" she asked me.
"Which characters"
"The ones that make up most of society in this book...Rand's users and the mooches who take advantage of all the creative innovators."
"You mean that's how people who post on your site view people who collect Social Security?"
"Good Lord..."

The expression on her face made me realize how truly deluded the perception is of far too many people in this country. They actually think that people who are participate in government programs are dragging down our society. It also helped me to understand why blue collar folks are conservative. They are all under the horribly mistaken impression that our government is driving away innovators when, in fact, the exact opposite is true.

Just ask Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

People Invest To Make Money

Back in the 1980s and 1990s, tax rates for the rich were far higher, and my percentage rate was in the middle of the pack. According to a theory I sometimes hear, I should have thrown a fit and refused to invest because of the elevated tax rates on capital gains and dividends.

I have worked with investors for 60 years and I have yet to see anyone — not even when capital gains rates were 39.9 percent in 1976-77 — shy away from a sensible investment because of the tax rate on the potential gain. People invest to make money, and potential taxes have never scared them off. And to those who argue that higher rates hurt job creation, I would note that a net of nearly 40 million jobs were added between 1980 and 2000. You know what’s happened since then: lower tax rates and far lower job creation.

We hear a lot of garbage from the right about how higher taxes will lead to lack of investment and job losses. These same people lapse into their ridiculous hubris and assume that anyone left of center doesn't know anything about how business works. They do, of course, despite all evidence to the contrary. The above quote is from someone who knows business a great deal more than most and has the wealth to prove it. Before I get to who it is, let's take a look at some more facts from his recent piece.

Since 1992, the I.R.S. has compiled data from the returns of the 400 Americans reporting the largest income. In 1992, the top 400 had aggregate taxable income of $16.9 billion and paid federal taxes of 29.2 percent on that sum. In 2008, the aggregate income of the highest 400 had soared to $90.9 billion — a staggering $227.4 million on average — but the rate paid had fallen to 21.5 percent.

So, their taxes have gone down and their wealth has gone up.Why they are bitching is a complete mystery. Why people who make 40K a year are proxy bitching for them is borderline insanity.

Last year about 80 percent of these revenues came from personal income taxes and payroll taxes. The mega-rich pay income taxes at a rate of 15 percent on most of their earnings but pay practically nothing in payroll taxes. It’s a different story for the middle class: typically, they fall into the 15 percent and 25 percent income tax brackets, and then are hit with heavy payroll taxes to boot.

Some of us are investment managers who earn billions from our daily labors but are allowed to classify our income as “carried interest,” thereby getting a bargain 15 percent tax rate. Others own stock index futures for 10 minutes and have 60 percent of their gain taxed at 15 percent, as if they’d been long-term investors.

The taxes I refer to here include only federal income tax, but you can be sure that any payroll tax for the 400 was inconsequential compared to income. In fact, 88 of the 400 in 2008 reported no wages at all, though every one of them reported capital gains.

Hmm...Nikto and I have been saying the same thing.

So who is the author who has clearly and factually related this information? It's Warren Buffett, one of the three richest men in the world.  Now, given that he is a shining example of success in the world of investments and business as well as knowing a thing or two about jobs, it follows logically that we should heed his advice: let's stop coddling the super in right fucking now.

If we are going to make spending cuts, we have to follow with an overhaul of how we collect revenue. That means no more subsidies, tax shelters for the wealthy, and the end of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. In short, a complete overhaul of the tax system. This is what has to be done to seriously address the issue of our debt and prop up the overall health of our economy.

The time for make believe and managing fantasies is over. We need to destroy the bizarre myths that the right have created regarding taxes. They must be exposed as the catechisms of true believers that they are and have no place in reality. They are holding us back from fixing our country and propelling us in a positive direction towards the future.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Disgusting Stew

Take a look at this article from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune (in order to read it you must give them your email...sorry)

But a crowd of more than 500 -- far larger than the ones most candidates attract on the Iowa campaign circuit -- sat in rapt attention as Bachmann told the story of how she confessed her sins and found Christ as a teenager in Minnesota. She received a standing ovation.

"It was just a wonderful witness," said First Assembly of God church member Mark Linebach, who described himself as spellbound by the telegenic congresswoman. "She is 100 percent comfortable in the setting of a church."

My first thought upon reading this was that I think it's about time we reviewed the tax exempt status of some of these churches. There was nothing religious about this visit at all. It was purely political.

My second thought was complete disbelief at how so many people don't grasp the simple fact of how hauntingly close this is to Muslim extremism.

"Michele wants Iowans to see her faith as a major part of her decisionmaking process," said Steve Deace, a Christian broadcaster who has had her on his radio show in central Iowa. "It's wise of her to do that."

I'm a Christian but I have no problem voting for an atheist for president. My faith in Jesus doesn't extend to civil religion and that is exactly the cancer that has taken over a large part of our culture. Somehow both of them have become mixed up in this disgusting stew that bears no resemblance whatsoever to our democracy nor Christianity.

When I talk about True Believers, these are the people of which I speak. These are the "voices inside my head." There is no doubt in my mind that these people want a fascist culture in which there is no compromise and no room for individual thought and freedom. They may say that they are for less government but that is a complete lie. In fact, the opposite is true. They want everyone marching in lock step in a newly founded theocracy.

What we are seeing with Ms. Bachmann right now could be the start of that. I doubt she will get very far in a national election but the simple fact that she has people following her should give us all pause. We don't want people like her in leadership in this country.

History has shown us it always leads to the same place.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

From A Giggle To A Chuckle To A Deep Belly Laugh

Imagine my delight when I cracked open my paper this morning and saw this headline.

Radio host gets charged in Ponzi scheme

Conservative radio show host Pat Kiley claims he was just reading from a script when he told his worldwide radio audience in weekly broadcasts that he was a senior financial adviser and they could avoid financial Armageddon by entrusting him and his business partners with their money.

Don't give your money to the evil Gubmint. Give it to us!!

But federal authorities say he did much more than that. In an indictment unsealed Wednesday, Kiley was portrayed as an integral figure in the $194 million Trevor Cook Ponzi scheme that defrauded more than 700 investors.

Kiley's program, "Follow the Money," was carried on more than 200 stations nationwide, including KSTP Radio (1500 AM), and on the Worldwide Christian Radio network. He called his listeners "truth seekers" and drew them in, rich and poor alike, with promises of financial security, just as the bottom began to drop away from the stock market.

Oh no. Say it ain't so. Of course, this is even the best part of this story.

In court, Kiley told U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Keyes that he had "probably $9 to $10" in the bank, $11 in cash and an as-yet uncashed Social Security check, "which I live off of."

I thought it was Social Security that was the Ponzi Scheme. Now he says that he's living off of it? Pardon me for just a moment...


Maybe the "Gubmint" does know how to handle money better than the private sector. They always come crawling back to it, don't they?

Monday, July 11, 2011

What Do You Want Him To Do...Pull Your Car Around For You?

A few days ago, President Obama called on Congress for a much bolder plan to reduce the deficit. He asked for double the amount of reduction ($4 trillion dollars) that is currently being discussed. This was in line with the Bowles-Simpson plan from last December. The GOP response?


They only want $2 trillion in reduction.

I'm trying very hard to find the logic in what they are doing but I can't. In all honesty, I feel for John Boehner He's a good guy but he simply doesn't have the votes because his party has been hijacked by true believers. Like the socialists who believe in their utopia, the Tea Partiers have their own unicorn fart land and they are not budging from attempting to realize their warped dream. The word "compromise" isn't in their fucking vocabulary. Part of me thinks they would love it if the government defaulted on its loans so then it could be destroyed and everything could then be privatized. They may yet get to realize their dream.

Rick Ungar breaks this down quite nicely over at Forbes.

What Boehner likely understands – better than those who he is supposed to be leading – is that the GOP is permitting the fundamental change, long at the heart of the conservative cause, to vanish into thin air and that it is happening in the name of protecting corporate subsidies that are the very antitheses of a free market economy – another of the inviolate tenets of conservative policy.

I've been saying that for the last couple of weeks. At least Ungar has an explanation to my confusion.

I don’t know about you, but I can only think of one other explanation – fealty to the wealthy corporations and wealthy individuals who keep your Republican leadership rolling in the campaign cash so they can remain in their powerful jobs.

I fear we are witnessing one of the most perverse and dangerous games our leaders have ever embarked upon. I’m stunned by the sheer audacity of these elected officials so ready to play chicken with the financial lives of so many simply to benefit a very few.

And yet people keep supporting them. As Maher said the other day, I get the 1 percent that support the GOP. What I don't get is the other 99 percent. No doubt, this is one the greatest achievements in propaganda in the history of the world. A very small (and wealthy) group of people have convinced a very large group of people that anyone who makes up the the entire left half of the political spectrum (as well as the 25 percent to the right of center because, let's face it, they're RINO pussies) are actively working to destroy our country when in reality the complete opposite is true.

The GOP has a chance here at very serious entitlement reform but they are letting in slip through their fingers. Even Krugman admits that Obama is out GOPing the GOP. So far the markets are acting like the debt ceiling will be raised and there will be a deal. I guess I'm not so sure.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

What Would Ronald Reagan Do?

Well, it's pretty easy to find out.

Ghost of Gipper looms over GOP

More importantly, what does his top economic guy say now?

Americans Support Higher Taxes. Really.

Get the message yet?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Out Of The Mouths Of Babes...

I have found quite a few of your statements regarding the Constitution of the United States, the quality of public school education and general U.S. civics matters to be factually incorrect, inaccurately applied or grossly distorted.

The above statement is a perfect illustration of why I no longer post on Kevin Baker's site nor (for the most part) engage people who seek to have their paranoid fantasies legitimized. Kevin, along with his merry band of sycophants, are completely and utterly defined by the statement above. The fact that it was made by a tenth grade girl in a letter addressed to Congresswoman Michele Bachmann makes it terribly ironic considering Kevin's one note samba about our nation's schools.

Sadly, though, where Amy Myers (the author of the statement above) has failed in her educational pursuits is what the people who she is criticizing are capable of doing. Take a look at this.

"A lot of them are calling me a whore," 16-year-old Amy Myers said, referring to anonymous comments reacting to online news reports about her challenge to the 55-year-old Minnesota congresswoman.

Amy and Wayne Myers said the comments on conservative websites alarmed them most. Several commenters threatened to publish the Myers' home address.

Others threatened violence, including rape, they said.

"I got a call from the principal that the main office received threatening mail," said the computer programmer and single father.

I wish I could say I'm surprised but I'm not. This is the place you go to when you are a True Believer. Amy, like many students across the country, represent what the right fears the most: critical thinkers. She needs to understand that they will react like this because it threatens their continued relevancy. This is why the drumbeat from the right has continually been that education is filled with socialists/communists/fascists that want to brainwash our children (B to the W-I wonder if any of them can tell the difference any more between the three).

Because the truth is that the right is attempting to do their own version of brainwashing which naturally leads them to the perception bias that current educators are doing the same. Further (and Kevin is fantastic example of this), they never stop to think and reflect that maybe many children like Amy won't listen to their warped view of history, civics, and education because it's simply "factually incorrect, inaccurately applied, or grossly distorted." Why are they incapable of seeing this? Because when you strip all the paranoia, hate, and anger away all the only conviction they truly have is their own vanity.

I hope that Amy realizes all of this as she moves forward in her life. Although being a confident and intelligent student of history, she need only look at the threats of intimidation and violence that occurred in Germany in the 1920s and 1930s for insight as to what happens when you challenge the Tea Party "goddess" (also ironic when you consider the cries about Obama's brown shirts but that's just another example of perception bias again).

Oh, and no response as of yet from Congresswoman Bachmann's office as to whether or not she will accept Amy's challenge.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

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

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.

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!

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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.