Friday, April 15, 2011

Developing ... Donald Trump KENYAN Birth Certificate Found!

Unfortunately, we do not have the means to send "our people" to Mombasa General Hospital in Kenya to investigate this SHOCKING development!

The President Is Finally Catching On ...

I'm glad the President finally is letting on that he understands what these Republicans are about; I still think he gave away much too much in the interests of, what? Some fleeting, ephemeral compromise?

Republicans Are VILE, VILE Crapagandists

These are the talking points the Republican ratbastards came up with today, trying to flip Democratic and Progressive arguments:

1) "Politicians" are worrying about the "next election" not the "next generation." Right, Paulie. This is Paul Ryan demagoguery on the House floor, when he knows as well as anyone it's a question of priorities: Are we going to preserve Medicare by holding down health care costs, spreading the responsibility among all citizens, not the poor and middle class to give millionaires and billionaires MORE tax cuts — or, as they have plotted for decades, are we going to "starve the beast" of government and hand the spoils to millionaires, billionaires, and corporations, privatizing everything. Keep in mind, Social Security is the LAST big pot of OUR money these scumbags and Wall Street want to get their grubby little hands on.

FIRST, they KILL Medicare and GUT Democratic progressive programs in discretionary spending. NEXT, they launch an all-out assault on Social Security. All in the name of "deficit reduction;" a deficit, as the President noted, they ran up the flag pole during the George W. Bush years when all those ginormous tax cuts for the top two percent failed to create any jobs whatsoever.

And they continue to push this narrative, that tax cuts for plutocrats are absolutely essential for job creation, because the rich are the "job creators." There is no empirical evidence for this whatsoever. As Jonathan Alter said: "This is a radical Republican attempt to repeal much of the social contract that served this country through the 20th century; they want to repeal the New Deal (Social Security) and the Great Society (Medicare) and take us back to the 1920s." Jonathan is right on target (except for some prescriptions, like raising the retirement age to 69), and people better start waking up to this clear and present danger to our country. Democrats and so-called "independents" have to rise up and turn the Republicans back. The President cannot do it alone.

2) Dan Lundgren came out talking about the "arithmetic" of Medicare. Where the fuck did he come up with this? Progressives, Rachel, this blog with my "Beltway Math Rant," have been pounding the hypocrisy of these ratbastards, in which they consider $400 billion in unpaid tax cuts for the rich the deficit CREATOR we can't touch, off the table, a "nonstarter," but they want to take $100 billion off the hides of the poor and middle class, the pliant Democrats calling them "historic" deficit reductions. And that's just for starters, gutting programs that are INVESTMENTS in our people, from Planned Parenthood to environmental regulations to children's nutrition — and on and on.

3) Republicans claim they're "saving" Medicare not DESTROYING it, when they know full well that a  $15,000 voucher won't cover the costs of a senior citizen's typical medical problems, many of which are chronic and UNINSURABLE. Most despicable of ALL (it's ALL despicable, actually) is the notion that people in their 60s and 70s who may be in poor health and failing mental acuity, are in NO CONDITION to shop around for some fly-by-night operation that will sell them a fraudulent bill of goods, take their voucher money, and call it health insurance — that is, until they become sick. This is what had been happening to younger Americans for DECADES until the Obama healthcare plan put an end to these practices. Now the Republicans want to reinstate it ON THE BACKS OF SENIORS! Don't they know that seniors are ALREADY among our most vulnerable populations for all kinds of scams that will drain their meager retirement savings?

4) They're going to play dangerous games with the good faith and credit of the U.S. government. They are already trying to set Democrats up to extract outrageous budget cuts by threatening not to raise the debt. These ratbastards know full well they cannot default on our debt, lest their biggest clients, Wall Street, the rich, and the corporations, suffer huge financial losses. But they will take us to the brink, with a cadre of Teabagger true believers ready to push us over the edge. The slightest miscalculation and it happens. They are willing to plunge us into a spiralling worldwide recession-depression just so they can blackmail Democrats by playing a game of chicken or Russian roullete.

All of it is so disgustingly despicable, it's almost beyond belief, beyond words. Will the Idiot Punditocracy pick up on these points? Of course not. They'll lap this shit up as if it's a genuine line of argument. Our media is a HUGE part of the problem; just when they're most needed as watchdogs and advocates for the people.

Here's the sad truth. This garbage you're hearing from Republicans is straight out of the Rove-Luntz playbook of message-language manipulation. They have a PROBLEM with accurate charges of killing Medicare, so they've been advised by Luntz to repeatedly say they're "saving" it, even though, of course, it's a LIE. Ever notice how a governing rule of propaganda 101 is to attack one's weakness and then attempt to co-opt it? Hence, the talk of "arithmetic" OUTRAGEOUSLY from the party that, as the President pointed out, threw two unpaid wars, ginormous unpaid tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, and a Medicare prescription plan that cost as much as his healthcare plan, into the DEFICIT column. Then they have the shameless gall to "pivot" from this history of plundering our Treasury to  give our wealth to millionaires and billionaires, to come out and say the "arithmetic" doesn't add up — which has been the progressive argument for raising revenues from the rich all along. Republican hypocrisy boggles the mind.

These Republicans and Teabaggers are un-fucking-believable. They're all in the pockets of the rich and the corporations. They are like criminals; a crime syndicate; a mafia. They are the most contemptible politicians EVER to populate the Republican Party. Worse than Nixon and Reagan. Although Reagan started this nightmare.

Memo To GOP Teabaggers: Today Is The FIRST Day Of The Rest Of Your Lives

ENJOY it, Kiddies!

Progressives, liberals, and Democrats will be sitting on the sidelines, eagerly awaiting the spectacle of GOP House members step up to the plate and fearfully vote


... for the Ryan budget-that-destroys-Medicare-and-throws-seniors-under-the-bus as the GINORMOUS voting bloc of senior citizens looks on across the land. Will the Teabaggers call another 200-person demonstration (covered by the Idiot Punditocracy, including sellout PBS) vs. a 100,000-person strong demonstration in Madison, Wisconsin (not covered by the Beltway Media) to try to inject some steel into quivering Republican Rep. spines? (That's their idea of infrastructure reform.)

GOOD LUCK — SUCKERS! Yer gonna need it ... Pass the popcorn, willya?

Here's the GOP/Tea Party Campaign Song for 2012:

Moron Joe, The Gift That Keeps On Giving ...

“Yew Noe It Was A Stew-pid Poe-litical Mew-ve” … What kind of clownish accent is that? Sounds like the New York City “upscale” affectation of a Southern hick from Joe-gia, ‘Bama, and Florida trying to fit in with the big city sophisticates. Mika doesn’t have to affect some faux-nee accent … I suppose when you’re Moron Joe you must embellish your speech to stay in league with her natural class.

It seems Moron Joe didn’t want to touch the content of President Obama's speech, which was at its root an eloquent defense of our nation’s values (he knew he would get CREEm-m’d by us leftwing bloggers, and Mika too) so he whined that the President “tactically” did not make a “smart political move” by inviting Ryan just so he could “insult him.”


Let me explain one of the tenets of the wingnut “libertarian” Decoder Book. First, they whine a lot. When they attack the so-called liberal “elites” (like Mika, for instance, whose father is a distinguished Democrat) it’s because they really want to break into the club and be accepted. Status is a big thing for wingnut libertarians like Moron Joe. He’s very transparent in his sensitivity to perceived slights from liberals and must have been greatly distressed to see his Objectivist buddy Paul ‘Eddie Munster’ Ryan, sitting there, looking like a little kid who lost his lollipop and was about to cry as the President demolished his plan. Imagine how distressing it must have been for Moron Joe to be thinking, “Hold on, Paulie, dewn’t make a scene now … Wait until you get back to the office, then you can have a goo-ewd cry with Speaker Boehner behind closed doors. Dewn’t embarrass us, now.”

The second thing about these Ayn Rand freaks and their derivatives is they’re sort of a closed community, i.e., a cult. And they’re über-egotistical. (For a good freak show laugh, watch a convention of Objectivists next time it’s on C-Span.) So naturally, when the President clobbered Paulie’s treasured “cause-not-a-budget” plan, Moron Joe immediately assumed it was personal. But it wasn’t, of course. The President didn’t criticize Ryan for being the ridiculous self-styled Randian character he fantasizes himself to be. He went after Ryan’s plan! And so, when the President made a major policy speech, only immature and insecure wingnuts would see it as a slight if they’re invited to attend by the White House.

In the real world where Mika and the rest of us live, as opposed to the one inhabited by Dean Chris Matthews’s colleagues in the Idiot Punditocracy, Mark Halperin and Moron Joe, a White House invitation would be considered a great honor. Understandably perhaps, the wingnuts have cause to see everything outside the Wingnut Hive that concerns them as a conspiratorial slight of some kind. I mean, they are pathetic D’Ohlts, right? But in this case, the President most likely didn’t waste his time thinking about a Machiavellian way to “insult” Paul Ryan. To the contrary, not inviting Ryan would be the greater insult in the President’s mind, as well as the topic of endless spin by the likes of Moron Joe & Co., who would then say the President was afraid to confront his adversary so he "insulted" Ryan by not extending him the courtesy of an invitation, was afraid to look him in the eye, etc. etc. (See Mika — 'I'm with stupid' — slap down Moron Joe on this point.)

Besides, the President might have thought, “Hey I keep inviting these guys (the Republican leadership) to the White House for some serious talks over dinner and they keep declining to play golf or attend fundraisers instead, or they’re ‘too busy’ or whatever, so ... they probably won’t come anyway.” (Hmm … Did Moron Joe agree with those who criticized the Republican leadership for declining a White House invitation as an insult not only to the sitting President but to the Office of the President itself?)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Quotable: World's Oldest Man Dies At 114, Left Message For GOP, Tea Party

Walter Breuning was the world's oldest man when he passed away today at 114, in Montana. Bruening, whose life spanned nearly half the life of this republic, recalled and shared the secrets of his longevity ("Never be afraid to die ... Because you're born to die") in an interview with the AP last October, in which he also said this:
"I think when Roosevelt created Social Security, he probably did the best thing for people. You hear so much about throwing Social Security out. Don't look for it. Hang on to your hat. It'll never go away."
The world's oldest man considered the signing of Social Security into law this nation's greatest achievement. Take it from someone who knew. The secret to longevity and a good life in America is to be an FDR Democrat. Walter Breuning lived the American Dream. He wasn't rich. he worked his entire life and retired in dignity, thanks to Social Security and Medicare, to pass on at the ripe old age of 114.

We should hear Walter Breuning. We should not destroy what's best about America. We should preserve and cherish it.


Here's an example of Republican "JUDGMENT" courtesy of one of your heroes, leading Global Warming denier James Inhofe, senator from (you guessed it) Oklahoma. (Sorry "sr", I'm not picking on Okies ... honest.)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Dear Mr. President: YES!

What took you so long, sir?

When President Obama said "not on my watch" blasting Paul Ryan's insane budget, it was music to my ears; this music:

This REUTERS post-speech survey has President Obama crushing Ryan:

Now for the bad news: The devil's in the details — Dana Millbank and David Sirota threw cold water on the expectations game, suggesting the President will now embrace the Bowles-Simpson Commission roadmap, which is anything but progressive. (Item: raising the retirement age to 69, which is unacceptable, and means testing Social Security which is dicey.) It's up to progressives now to keep the pressure on these negotiations and draw our own lines in the sand.

HOWLER OF THE DAY: The GOP talking point in response to the President is to whine: "CLASS WARFARE!" So ... What's your point, wingnuts? Republicans have been waging class warfare against the middle class for the last 30 years. What do you call the statistics cited by the President:
In the last decade, the average income of the bottom 90 percent of all working Americans actually declined. Meanwhile, the top 1 percent saw their income rise by an average of more than a quarter of a million dollars each. That's who needs to pay less taxes?

They want to give people like me a $200,000 tax cut that's paid for by asking 33 seniors each to pay $6,000 more in health costs. That's not right. And it's not going to happen as long as I'm President. (Applause.)
What do you call it: The ruling class idea of altruism? Tax cuts for jobs in China while 90 percent of the American people get screwed? In truth, if the President succeeds in triangulating a "grand compromise" that is acceptable to liberals and progressives, he will have averted genuine class warfare. Les Misérables ain't just a musical, y'know ...

Question: Why did Chris Matthews have Rep. Marsha Blackburn on his program? The crapaganda coming out of that woman's mouth was unbelievable; worse still, Matthews let her speak without ONCE challenging BULLSHIT like more "options" for seniors. THESE PEOPLE ARE LIARS! Haven't you figured that out, Chris? They're just blowing smoke, and LYING.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Roger Ebert Rocks: "The One-Percenters" — Where's The Outrage?

Our very own Roger Ebert, renowned movie critic and cancer survivor has something to say about the current economic condition. I reproduce portions of his article below. Where's the outrage? When are the American people going to wake up and rise up against this hostile corporate takeover of our democracy? There was a time when government was the great equalizer; government protected the little guy against the ravages of corporate power and money.

No longer. Not only with with the shredding of regulatory protections for safe water, food, air, transportation, work environment; but now, with crony capitalism Republicans removing workers rights, pensions, healthcare for seniors, and for all, turning the middle class into poverty. How long, how long can these outrages persist, when 400 obscenely rich oligarchs control 40 percent of the nation's wealth?  Check it out:
"The upper 1 percent of Americans are now taking in nearly a quarter of the nation's income every year. In terms of wealth rather than income, the top 1 percent control 40 percent.

"Their lot in life has improved considerably. Twenty-five years ago, the corresponding figures were 12 percent and 33 percent."

So I discover in a piece by Joseph E. Stiglitz in the new issue of Vanity Fair. These facts confirm my impression that greed is now seen as a virtue in America. I'm not surprised by the greed of the One-Percenters. I'm mystified by the lack of indignation from so many of the rest of us.

Day after day I read stories that make me angry. Wanton consumption is glorified. Corruption is rewarded. Ordinary people see their real income dropping, their houses sold out from under them, their pensions plundered, their unions legislated against, their health care still under attack. Yes, people in Wisconsin and Ohio have risen up to protest these realities, but why has there not been more outrage?

The most visible centers of these crimes against the population are Wall Street and the financial industry in general. Although there are still many honest bankers, some seem to regard banking and trading as a license to steal. Outrageous acts are committed and go unpunished. Consider this case of money laundering by Wachovia Bank, now part of Wells Fargo. This Guardian article reports: "The authorities uncovered billions of dollars in wire transfers, traveler's checks and cash shipments through Mexican exchanges into Wachovia accounts."

The CEOs of the venerable trading firms that were forced into bankruptcy were all paid bonuses. In a small recent case, executives of Borders intended to pay themselves $8 million in bonuses until a U. S. Trustee objected. A company spokesperson said, "The proposed programs were designed to retain key executives at Borders as we proceed through the Chapter 11 reorganization process." In short, retain those whose management bankrupted the corporation.

Corporations in theory are managed to benefit their shareholders. The more money Wal-Mart can make by busting unions and allegedly discriminating in its hiring practices, the happier its shareholders become. Yet obscene bonuses penalize even the shareholders. Isn't that, in theory, their money? Wouldn't it be decent for the occasional corporation to put a cap on bonuses and distribute the funds as dividends?

I have no objection to financial success. I've had a lot of it myself. All of my income came from paychecks from jobs I held and books I published. I have the quaint idea that wealth should be obtained by legal and conventional means—by working, in other words—and not through the manipulation of financial scams. You're familiar with the ways bad mortgages were urged upon people who couldn't afford them, by banks who didn't care that the loans were bad. The banks made the loans and turned a profit by selling them to investors while at the same time betting against them on their own account. While Wall Street was knowingly trading the worthless paper that led to the financial collapse of 2008, executives were being paid huge bonuses.

Wasn't that fraud? Wasn't it theft? The largest financial crime in American history took place and resulted in no criminal charges. Then the money industries and their lobbyists fought tooth and nail against financial regulation. The Republicans resisted it, but so did many Democrats. Partially because of the Supreme Court decision allowing secret campaign contributions, our political system is largely financed by vested interests.

We know that Bernie Madoff went to jail. Fine. No Wall Street or bank executive has been charged with anything. It will never happen. The financial industries are locked an unholy alliance with politicians and regulators, all choreographed by lobbyists. You know all that.

What puzzles me is why there isn't more indignation. The Tea Party is the most indignant domestic political movement since Norman Thomas's Socialist Party, but its wrath is turned in the wrong direction. It favors policies that are favorable to corporations and unfavorable to individuals. Its opposition to Obamacare is a textbook example. Insurance companies and the health care industry finance a "populist" movement that is manipulated to oppose its own interests. The billionaire Koch brothers payroll right wing front organizations that oppose labor unions and financial reform. The patriots wave their flags and don't realize they're being duped.

Consider taxes. Do you know we could eliminate half the predicted shortfall in the national budget by simply failing to renew the Bush tax cuts? Do you know that if corporations were taxed at a fair rate, much of the rest could be found? General Electric recently reported it paid no current taxes. Why do you think that was? Why do middle and lower class Tea Party members not understand that they bear an unfair burden of taxes that should be more fairly distributed? Why do they support those who campaign against unions and a higher minimum wage? What do they think is in it for them?

If it is "socialist" to believe in a more equal distribution of income, what is the word for the system we now live under? A system under which the very rich have doubled their share of the nation's income in 25 years? I believe in a fair day's work for a fair day's pay. Isn't that an American credo? How did it get twisted around into an obscene wage for shameless plunder?
One of the challenges facing the One-Percenters these days is finding ways to spend their money. Private residences grow as large as hotels, and are fitted out with the amenities of luxury resorts. Fleets of cars and private airplanes are at their owners' disposal. At work, they sink absurd mountains of money into show-off corporate headquarters that have less to do with work than with a pissing contest among rival executives. Private toilets grow as large as small condos, outfitted with Italian marbles and rare antiques. This is all paid for by the shareholders. One area of equality between the One-Percenters and the rest of us is that we sit on toilets of about the same size. What's different is the size of our throne rooms.

I find this extravagance unseemly in a democracy. Many of today's One-Percenters feel no more constraint than Louis XIV. A culture of celebrity has grown up around these conspicuous consumers, celebrating their excesses. I believe rewards are appropriate for those who have been successful. I also believe a certain modesty and humility are virtuous. I find it unbecoming that those who fight most against social welfare are those most devoted to their own welfare.

n America there is an ingrained populist suspicion of fats cats and robber barons. This feeling rises up from time to time. Theodore Roosevelt, who was elected as a Trust Buster, would be appalled by the excesses of our current economy. Many of the rich have a conscience. Andrew Carnegie built libraries all over America. The Rockefeller and Ford Foundations do great good. Bill Gates lists his occupation as "philanthropist."

Yet the most visible plutocrat in America is Donald Trump, a man who has made a fetish of his power. What kind of sick mind conceives of a television show built on suspense about which "contestant" he will "fire" next? What sort of masochism builds his viewership? Sadly, I suspect it is based on viewers who identify with Trump, and envy his power over his victims. Don't viewers understand they are the ones being fired in today's America?

Tea Party Remedial Education: Alan Simpson To Okies — HYPOCRITES!

Oklahoma isn't only one of the most conservative states in the Union — secede, why dontcha, pleeease do us a favor! — it's also the second-highest recipient of federal largesse: OUR TAX DOLLARS.* Take it from Republican Alan Simpson, former senator from Wyoming who was never known for mincing his words. I happen to know there are a lot of anti-government, Teabagger "necessary evil" types in Oklahoma. I'd say the odds are pretty good most of these Tea Party bastards are feeding off the federal government trough while railing hypocritically against government for everyone else — especially if it's people of a different color and ethnicity.

Here's the cantankerous Mr. Simpson, telling it like it is on Chris Matthews's Hardball. He must be mellowing in his old age, because he really ripped his Republican brethren a new one. Or maybe it's because the Democrats on the President's cost-cutting Commission on which Simpson served as co-chair were the most honest, reasonable, and nice to Simpson, although they did not agree with a single one of his policy prescriptions. That's how Democrats are. We're normal human beings. Those other creatures, the wingnut Republicans, well, let Mr. Simpson tell it:

*I could not independently confirm Sen. Simpson's assertion that Oklahoma is the "2nd highest state in the Union getting federal funds." The article ranks Oklahoma as no. 15 in federal tax dollars received, but it dates back to 2005. Perhaps Mr. Simpson has access to more current data. The point remains the same, if it's 2nd or 15th out of 50: Anti-government loudmouths have some nerve, eh.

Alice (And Paul) In Wonderland

Alice Rivlin, a technocrat who served as President Clinton’s OMB Director, has attracted unwanted attention lately after Paul Ryan began touting her as a co-conspirator in drafting his Medicare destruction budget plan. He calls it it the ‘Rivlin-Ryan Plan’ and his voucher idea “premium support” (another Luntz language propaganda adjustment?). In the world of economists, Alice Rivlin occupies a rather lowly technocratic rung compared to policy wonks and Nobel laureates of Paul Krugman's caliber. But even Rivlin, the technocrat, is mindful of too close an association with Ryan’s cruel and insane ideas. She made sure to put daylight between her posture and Paul Ryan's Medicare scheme.

It’s almost a throwback on a grander scale to when the Reagan administration outrageously miscategorized ketchup as a “vegetable” in order to cut funding for poor children’s school lunches while remaining within minimal nutrition standards. Both targeted our most vulnerable populations — Reagan went after poor children, raising their levels of malnourishment, and Ryan is targeting seniors for a cruel, inhumane fate: zapping health care for seniors on fixed incomes who cannot afford to pay out-of-pocket for the balance of their premiums. The common thread is, those with the financial means to supplement their meals and health care are spared. But the elderly poor are targeted for elimination through the vicissitudes of fate and a shredded social safety net.

Nazi Germany targeted similar populations — the poor, the elderly, the chronically ill, wards of the state, generally — for elimination in favor of younger, healthier, and wealthier people. The Economist termed Ryan’s Medicare scheme “fundamentally immoral.” Even conservative economists ripped Ryan’s “off the deep end budget” while Talking Points Memo mocked Ryan’s Alice in Wonderland white unicorn assumptions, and Time’s Michael Grunwald ripped the idiot punditocrats who labeled Ryan’s plan “courageous.”
Ryan is a conservative Republican from a conservative Republican district, a committee chairman in a conservative Republican caucus. He was reelected last year with 68% of the vote. . . . I do question whether it was really courageous for him to propose huge tax cuts for the rich, squeeze health care for the poor, and promise that nobody over 55 — the heart of the conservative Republican base — will have to make any sacrifices. Honestly, does anyone think this week has been bad for Ryan's career?

Paul Ryan, Man of Steel?

I’m trying to decide what the Paul-Howard-Ryan-Roark Beltway Media cult of personality reminds me most of: A Leni Riefenstahl paen in film to the purebred Aryan, or John Galt, the hero of Ayn Rand’s ponderous tome Atlas Shrugged. Both artistes inject plenty of  physicality into their male characters. There were no couch potatos in Nazi Germany; the regime was big on working out. The men, with their chiseled, “angular” faces, white skin, blonde hair, were outdoorsy types working out while striking heroic poses for Riefenstahl’s camera.

Shrug, Paul, shrug ...
In the Fountainhead, the dissident architect hero worked on his tan on the building site while showing off his musculature to the woman he would later rape. Rather than give up his cause and submit to those socialist building codes, Roark blew his project up. The court indulged him a 60-page speech to explain his (yawn) philosophy from the dock, before sending him to the Big House. As a slobbering wingnut fan writes, this budget “architect” is:
“[D]elivering that inconvenient truth (versus Al Gore the socialists’ anti-hero Global Warming mythmaker) in a role he’s coveted for years ... Ryan Roark is aware that plenty of colleagues are balking. And if the nation’s aging, fiscally strained voters reject RyanRoark’s “Path to Prosperity”? “We can all go do something else with our lives,” Ryan Roark, 41, said Tuesday.”
After all, it's a “cause” not a budget. Suggestion for Rep. Ryan: Hold a ritual “bombing” of your “Path To Prosperity” on the Congressional lawn for your Galtian fans, then deliver a speech on the well/dock of the House to explain said rejected philosophy/budget “using such time as [you] may consume.”

Is it just me, or does this peculiar wingnut emphasis on Ryan’s physicality seem, oh I don’t know, a little too homo-erotic perhaps? Not that there’s anything wrong with it, mind you, but what does the wingnuts’ hard-on for Paul Ryan have to do with the 2012 BUDGET? Or, for that matter, a workout routine called P90X. And what do the “P” and the “90” stand for … and is the “X” a large? Hmm …
The messenger is a youthful father of three with an enthusiasm for fitness who is as likely to have Led Zeppelin as Beethoven playing through the ear buds he often wears around Capitol Hill. He leads sessions of a workout routine called P90X for a few colleagues as many as five times a week. He’s an avid bow hunter who emails from the brush as he waits for deer.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Beltway Math Rant

The reason the Idiot Punditocracy is held in such contempt in this blog is very simple. Watching Rep. Pete DeFazio on the Cenk show — Cenk is a decent progressive despite having spent too much time in the Dylan Ratigan ghetto — the Congressman, another one of the very few, brave, tough ... Democrats laid out what passes for deficit-cutting math in Georgetown cocktail parties: President Obama added $400 billion to our deficit by extending the Bush tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires just so he could cut $38 billion off our hides, the struggling middle class and the poor, and boast through crocodile tears with the Washington Monument as a background prop that he made such "painful" cuts that were (YAY!) the largest in history — a line later repeated by White House political adviser David Plouffe.

Okay. So you take those cuts off our hides for no good reason, and now you're ready to draw your little line in the sand, White House? Excuse my French, but go fuck yourselves. You're the sorriest excuses for Democrats I believe I have ever seen. So what does this have to do with the Idiot Punditocracy? They're colluding with the White House and the Republicans to lay this bullshit false narrative on the rest of the country. From Jeanne Cummings, who was so concerned this narrative wouldn't take she touted wingnut extraordinaire Allen West as an authority on "entitlement reform," to punditocrat John Heilemann who co-authored the "inside" politics book of the season, Game Change, gone Hollywood and suddenly in demand to opine grandiloquently on budget and economic issues, of which neither he, nor Chris Matthews, nor Cummings, nor Andrea Mitchell, nor that fraud Paul Ryan, with the glint of the zealot in his eye, who arrogantly framed the "debate" by saying it's not about a budget but a "cause," are economists, i.e., experts. Well, fuck him and his refried trickle-down Reaganomics, too.

It is about "a budget"— but most of all, it's about people who are hurting out in the real world, right here and right now, while the politicians posture and the Idiot Punditocracy frames the false narrative. The Republicans are predictable. We all know what lies they're going to tell — Boehner: "We don't have a revenue problem; we have a spending problem." Right. We've had a revenue problem for at least the last eleven years — and I would argue the last seventy years, come 2012, back to the days when a Republican president, Dwight David Eisenhower, last balanced the budget with a little help from the highest tax bracket for millionaires of 91 percent. If I had my druthers, I'd opt for soaking the rich; it's the most responsible thing we can do, if we're serious about this debt; the least they can do is accept it without a fight, if they're patriots, given the damage the affluent class has done to this country. It may be too late; the damage may be irreparable.

You know those alternative history books and 'What If' scenarios played by historians? Well, here's my 'What If' scenario: If we had a Democratic Party worth its fucking salt, with real backbone, conviction, and values, this mythical party once embodied by RFK, JFK, LBJ, FDR, and 'give 'em Hell Harry', this Democratic Party would have (a) passed a a budget with more domestic spending, because it's the right thing to do in recessionary times, (b) cut billions in defense, because it's the right thing to do to curb the war economy, and (c) followed the leadership of an assertive President confident in the rightness of  his "cause" who informed Democrats, Republicans, and the American people early on of his inalterable intention to end the Bush tax cuts for the rich, while asking for the American people's support to return the Democratic majority in the House. This is how the debate should have been framed, coopted, and owned by the Democratic Party, in an ideal political and historical scenario.

Could he have done it? Harry Truman did. And Barack Obama is no Harry Truman. Yet, if boldness were one of his qualities, he would have embraced his inner Truman. President Obama is a decent man. He knows what the right thing to do is. Guaranteed the Democrats wouldn't have suffered their historic losses in the November midterm elections, and the Tea Party would have been eclipsed much sooner than now had this scenario become reality. Could it have been any worse? The Tea Party is finished, it's running on fumes, the American people have seen through it and rejected its radical prescriptions. But the Idiot Punditocracy, the President, and politicians of both parties in D.C. have yet to get the memo. Why? Naked self-interest.

The Idiot Punditocracy has decided to protect its own self-interest while having its fun reporting the ballgame with this phony narrative. One that is, actually, a confluence of D.C. political and Beltway Media interests: Republicans get to drive the narrative; the President gets to tack right and act like a Republican, only slightly less toxic than the Teabaggers leading Boehner around by the nose while Ryan fulfills their "profligate, radical, and unpopular beyond your wildest dreams" ideas, as proclaimed by our ever-optimistic Rachel. Oh yeah, and of course, the Idiot Punditocracy get to keep their entitlements, paid for by us, the middle class, thank you very much. But they'll never admit their reporting was in any way  influenced or colored by pocketbook issues. Hey, you know, that's for the rest of us; that's how we vote. The Idiot Punditocracy, aka the Beltway Media, theirs is a noble calling; they even get to interview Woodstein on Moron Joe and Hardball. Me, I don't feel so optimistic ... sorry, Rachel.

You can tell how serious the Idiot Punditocracy is on reporting the FACTS about this hideous "cause-budget" of Ryan's by the prominence of actual experts (in this case, economists) on their shows: Cenk (Robert Reich), Lawrence (Robert Greenstein), and Rachel have reported extensively on the issue with experts' quotes. Big Eddie's bailiwick has been the turmoil in Wisconsin, and he's also tackling this head-on. As for the rest ... pfft. Where's Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman? He's off the ABC Sunday show probably because he shot down wingnut windbag regular George Will once too often. Paul Krugman banned. Let's face it, Krugman's voice is so antithetical to everything the Idiot Punditocracy wants to push, he's been effectively banned everywhere else, too.

The Idiot Punditocracy is flipping the middle class and poor the bird, telling us to take our medicine because, hey it's not so bad — Ryan says, let us eat cake.  Historically, though, the cake-eaters have had the last laugh. One thing is certain: The Ryan budget and this top-down cutting frenzy will inevitably lead to social unrest. Bob Herbert's words, not mine, in his swan song from the Times. It's a catch-all euphemism for a lot of things — none of them good.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Why Would Donald Trump Pick on Gail Collins?

The New York Times columnist is such a nice lady. But when she eviscerated his cynical, ignorant birtherism in a recent column, the bully billionaire could not contain his bile in a letter to the Times. Collins remembers a past run-in with Trump:
"During one down period, I referred to him in print as a "financially embattled thousandaire" and he sent me a copy of the column with my picture circled and "The Face of a Dog!" written over it."
How classy. Curious too, considering that ugly fishface with the repulsive “do” should make disparaging references about anyone else’s appearance. On the other hand, those pucker fish lips are perfectly suited for his bilious delivery. (What does it say about this country that this jerk has a top-rated schadenfreude show on NBC in which he takes pleasure in firing people?)

Trump suffers from Charlie Sheen’s self-delusional cult of celebrity. He’s received nothing but fawning press coverage for his entire career. Hence, he doesn’t know how to react to the marginally more skeptical political coverage. No one’s ever told him to his face what a freakish asshole he actually is, in appearance and mentality. Perhaps privately, to which he undoubtedly replied with a variation of Sheen’s “WINNING!”

I read a GREAT takedown of Charlie Sheen in a friend’s blog:
"Someone please explain to him that “warlock” doesn’t mean “a magician of great supernatural powers”, or anything else grandiose that Charlie Fucking Sheen may think it means. It comes from the Anglo-Saxon words waer, meaning truth, and leogan, to lie. In other words, someone who belies the truth. It fits him, all right; he’s a liar and an oathbreaker (how many marriage vows has he violated now? Anyone keeping track?) Anyhow: How very fitting that he got booed off the stage in Detroit. I think we can soon officially close the book on this misogynous showbiz trainwreck. When someone compares Milli Vanilli favorably to you, you know you suck."
Charlie Sheen and Donald Trump — WARLOCKS. Hmm …

If Donald Trump thinks his fake presidential run is a “winning” cover to publicize his crappy TV show, on the theory that any publicity is good publicity, he doesn’t know much about the world of politics. He actually seems to believe his fortune can insulate him from negative media scrutiny and that every political talk show is like Entertainment Tonight.

Even worse for this ugly fish (Sparky’s much better looking), he’s got thin scales. That’s a deadly FAIL for a wannabe politician, especially when his wounds are self-inflicted. Comparing himself to George Washington, then bashing Collins with “her storytelling ability and word usage (coming from me, who has written many bestsellers), is not at a very high level. More importantly, her facts are wrong!”… only invites further humiliation from her: “Although Trump and I have had our differences in the past, I never felt it was personal. In fact, until now, I have refrained from noting that I once got an aggrieved message from him in which he misspelled the word 'too.'” One of those bestsellers — The Art of The Deal — comes highly recommended by John Boehner and the Tea Party Caucus.

For Collins, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel (with fish food pellets).