Archive for the 'Head in the sand idiots' Category

Jun 03 2014

Sideshow Bowe

It is with sad and undisguised disgust that I watch the collective conservative freak out of the release of SGT Bowe Berghdahl, the only prisoner of war held by the Taliban. In the early morning of June 30, 2009, Berghdal went missing from his unit's small outpost in Mest, a restive area in Paktia province. Within several hours, radio chatter from the Taliban indicated that they'd captured the soldier.

He spent the next five years in captivity, growing gaunt in the numerous propaganda videos that the Taliban trickled out to the press. On numerous occasions, they publicly threatened him with execution. Many Afghans and some Westerners in similar positions had been tortured, decapitated, or shot to death.

This passed weekend he was released by his captors in exchange for 5 prisoners being held in the concentration camp prison in Guantanamo Bay. And then the hounds of hell came rushing loose from the caves of the Glibertarian Kingdom.

And who was leading the way? Princess Dumbass of the Northwoods and The Town Hall Harlot herself.  She is pretty much setting a record for hysterical posts screaming about the man, which is a lot considering that this little specimen of female self loathing is always hysterical about something. But in this case-she has her well oiled plagiarism machine working till all hours of the night.

Over on Facebook or any of the normal blogs its no better either. The ranting is especially virulent. It runs along a consistent set of themes:

1) Obama negotiated with terrorists.Which is an interesting whine considering it simply makes him well, President, and is doing the same thing that Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, Johnson, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Clinton, and George W. Bush did.

2) Second, he released some bad guys.  People say he should not have done that. However, as the Christian Science Monitor points out-they were going to have to be released soon anyway:

But dealing with people you find odious – your enemies – is how most wars end. And with the US set for full withdrawal from Afghanistan at the end of 2016, the prospect of a crushing defeat for the Taliban is pretty much nil. Getting POWs back, whatever the circumstances of their capture, a crucial goal.

Did Obama just swap five dangerous "terrorists" for Bergdahl, as Sen. Cruz alleges? It depends on your definition of "terrorism."

Four of the five men released into Qatar's custody, where they are supposed to remain for at least a year before being allowed to return home, were indeed senior members of the Taliban movement. The Taliban have been seeking the release of the five in exchange for Bergdahl since 2011, and there had been fitful progress in that regard, with Qatar acting as a mediator, since at least 2013.

Outgoing Afghan President Hamid Karzai has sought in recent years to find a reconciliation deal with the Taliban, and the release of the "Guantanamo Five" has been a part of those efforts.

 

Boo fucking who. The guy is home and that is the main thing.

3) And of course now we come to the real turd in the punchbowl-the guy is alleged to be a deserter. Soonergrunt over at Balloon Juice addresses this in a quite logical fashion:

I don’t know if SGT Bergdahl voluntarily walked off his camp and surrendered to the enemy or not. Just because a few fellow Soldiers in his unit say that doesn’t make it so. The most powerful communication system in an Infantry company is what we used to call “S-5–rumor control.” I’ve never been in a unit that wasn’t essentially a knitting circle with automatic weapons. Young Soldiers, for whom boredom is an almost constant companion (punctuated by moments of sheer terror) can give the most catty junior high school girls’ clique a run for their money. That doesn’t mean it’s necessarily wrong, but I wouldn’t put a lot of stock in it without some corroboration. So I’ll hold off judgment on that. It’s also been brought up that he supposedly sent some emails to one or more people expressing doubts about US military actions. So did I. So have a lot of guys who then went out and did the very best they could do for their buddies and their country. It’s irrelevant anyway.

We’re getting out of Afghanistan, and the treaties to which this nation has repeatedly pledged itself require that we release Prisoners of War and repatriate them home. Taliban are distinct from Al Qaeda in this respect because Taliban could be considered the government forces of Afghanistan (whether legitimate, loved, respected, or not) while AQ isn’t anything but a bunch of thugs under international law. So this idea that we gave up valuable prisoners for one guy and that makes it a bad deal is bullshit on its face. We were going to release them. We were REQUIRED to release them under international law that we largely wrote. Whatever intelligence value they had was long since wrung out of them, in some cases literally. One of them had laid down his arms and pledged to work with the new government of Afghanistan prior to the Pakistani government taking him prisoner more as a propaganda tool and removing a potential political problem than anything else, I am given to understand. So we got something we wanted for doing something now that we would have done in a few months for nothing anyway. That’s not exactly brilliant poker, but it was pretty well played.

We don’t leave our people behind. That’s an Army value. The people ranting about this whole thing either don’t understand or don’t care about that simple concept. Whatever SGT Bergdahl may have done or not done, we don’t leave our people behind. If it hasn’t already, the Army will shortly start a 15-6 investigation, so called in reference to the Army Regulation that describes such things. You’ve probably heard the term “Board of Inquiry.” They are essentially the same thing. When the Army has concluded what the circumstances of SGT Bergdahl’s capture and captivity were, then they’ll make some decisions, but I’ll just note for the record that US POWs have rarely been punished for their actions or inactions while in enemy hands. Many, many of the POWs in Viet Nam, including John McCain signed documents created by their captors confessing to war crimes and indicting their fellow POWs and the US. Former CW4 Michael Durant, taken prisoner by a Somali warlord after being shot down in the battle of Mogadishu (Blackhawk Down) made problematic statements to a TV camera that were subsequently shown around the world. None of these men were ever subjected to disciplinary action upon repatriation to my knowledge.

So I’m glad that SGT Bergdahl will be reunited with his family, at long last.

David Graham over at the Atlantic points out much the same thing-pointing out too, that Obama made clear that he was not going to be bound by a stupid Congressional obstacle if it conflicted with his powers as Commander in Chief.  So much for the "he broke the law argument".

Obviously there is going to be an investigation. The Army will make a decision one way or another. And it will have to weight all the factors including what he suffered in captivity.  And somehow it will have to prove its case in court, if it has one. Personally,  I think all this public outrage is doing the defense attorney's job for him-it will make it impossible to prosecute, even if the Army did want to.

Clearly, however, the collective stupidity shown by all the usual suspects makes me wonder about how screwed up the land of my birth is becoming. Everyone needs to chill the f*ck out and remember this little tidbit of advice:

 

 

Nuff Said.

23 responses so far

May 01 2014

Happy May Day! Power Point Rangers of the world unite!

Dilbert captures the art of briefing a flag officer:

219144.strip

Serious point to be made-I have always shaken my head at flags who insisted that their briefing products be" dumbed down." They usually never phrase it that way-but rather insist on the BLUF ( Bottom Line Up Front).  Seems in Capstone training, the ability to read and skim gets unlearned. Our now . former. boss-he was a big believer in pictures on slides. Somehow he felt that bullets on slides produced for note taking, took away from his brief. Never mind the fact that a good briefer does not have to read the slide-but bullets provide detailed context. Then again, to this guy, context is never important-just his conclusions.

And we wonder why we end up with things like LCS.

It is to weep.

 

No responses yet

Apr 15 2014

The impeachment of Barak Obama

It’s a double whammy of depression, of late. On a personal note-the ongoing churn at my place of employ is making the ability to enjoy the choice location more than a little problematic sometimes. As the S.O. and I settle into the new house , the more we like many of its features. The one obvious down side has been the lack of internet connection-but the porch and view from said porch offsets it to a great degree. And after days like this one:

218318.strip

 

I need the peace and solitude it brings.

So I have that bit of downward pressure on my life-offset in great deal by location, but it’s not enough to overcome the frustration of knowing I am right, being right, and being unable to make the types of meaningful changes that need to be made.

Adding to the downward pressure on my spirit is the realization that I will be returning to the US of A-not by choice as much as lack of one. And that when I get there-the downward spiral of US politics will have continued its decline into abject stupidity.

Especially since as many pundits predict-the GOP may take the Senate as well as keep the House. Once that is accomplished, I fully expect the Congress of the United States to do nothing (something they are already doing), but  they will begin a full throated effort to impeach Barak Obama.

It’s coming-you can rest assured of that. And since it takes 67 Senators to convict, and the odds of the GOP winning that many seats are virtually nonexistent, it will be another typically pointless gesture undertaken by the teabagger crazed loons who run and who support the current twisted political vision known as the Republican party.

The bulk of 2015 will be spent talking about it and the Fox Noise machine will kick into overdrive trying to convict the president in absentia, since they will be unable to achieve their real dream of ending his political career. (Remember these were the same people who were telling you that Romney was going to win big).

Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Tex.), who has said there are enough votes in the House to impeach Obama, added: “We’ve also talked about the I-word, impeachment, which I don’t think would get past the Senate in the current climate. . . . Is there anything else we can do?”

Why, yes, there is, congressman: You can hold hearings that accomplish nothing but allow you to sound fierce for your most rabid constituents.

The Republicans in the House know there is no chance of throwing this president from office. Yet at least 13 of the 22 Republicans on the panel have threatened or hinted at impeachment of Obama, his appointees or his allies in Congress. They’ve proposed this as the remedy to just about every dispute or political disagreement, from Syria to Obamacare.

 

This kind of political fight is exactly the last thing the country needs right now-but when did the GOP ever make doing the right thing a priority? Certainly not since the middle of the 20th century.

So how will it happen? I predict they will use the “slow burn” technique. They will pass their 65th or so vote to repeal the ACA.  When that  gets vetoed as it surely must,  it will set forth the following scenario:  there will begin a series of hearings trying to establish that the President exceeded his executive authority by making decisions on extending deadlines and such.  Using those as the pretext they will turn over to the House committee that does such things a resolution demanding the impeachment of Obama for exceeding his legal authority as President. ( When he in reality he has not even used his authority near enough). The old canards will be dragged out: Bengahzi, IRS, and all the rest of the nonsense that has been long been put to bed.)  Fox will have hour after hour of commentary for its brain dead audience-hyping the idea of impeaching the President. Comparisons to Clinton's blowjobs will resound. This will all occur in May or June of 2015 with the actual trial set to occur in September of 2015 after the summer recess. ( allowing the illusion of justice and due diligence by allowing both sides time to prepare-it will also try to be timed so as to make Biden a real lame duck if they should get lucky and win).

Nothing of substance will be accomplished by the Congress in 2015. They will stall on the budget-and perhaps force another debt ceiling fight, hoping to use that to pile on in the process, leaving the country to tear itself apart politically. And in the end-the President will be acquitted, but there will be loads of sound bites that ultra conservative Presidential candidates can use repeatedly showing how the Kenyan usurper was never supposed to be in the job anyway. ( Popular vote or Electoral college results not with standing).

And Nate Silver will be pilloried again-for denying the Romney monster the victory they feel was rightfully his in 2012.

And in the meantime what happens to the country?  Wages will continue to stagnate and more and more wealth will continue to move upward-aggravating the tepid economic recovery by seeing more and more Americans slide downwards in terms of purchasing power. In fact, the country could slip back into recession because of the turmoil the impeachment crisis will create in world markets. Holders of 401K's-like me-will see themselves condemned to working for the rest of our lives at unsatisfying jobs ( as the comic mentions above) because the value of our accumulated savings will tank.

And that will be all occurring before we get to 2016. 

Now ideally, an impeachment drama would produce the kind of universal public outrage that will backfire on the GOP and make it a pariah in the elections of 2016. It can and should lead to a recognition of the flawed and selfish viewpoint of American Politics and economics that was legitimized by Mitt Romney in 2012 ( with his disgusting codification of the rhetoric that 47% of the American population are nothing but "moochers")-and seized upon by soulless men such as the Zombie Eyed Granny Starver , Paul Ryan.

But it won't. Primarily because that kind of outrage will come from an informed electorate-something the United States has not had for a long time. Only about 20% of us actually understand the issues in the proper context, and draw the correct conclusions from it. Another 30% subscribe to the "I got mine, so fuck you!" philosophy of the current teabagger controlled GOP-and the remaining 50% just can't be bothered to get up from the TV to learn anything. Or vote.

If that does not give you good reason to be depressed about the future of the land of my birth-you are not grasping the problem.

Its a bad news story, that could be easily fixed and could have been as long ago as 2009.

But it won't.

Welcome to the new dark ages.

 

11 responses so far

Dec 11 2013

The Zombie Eyed Granny Starver, hard at work

Yesterday afternoon, the Devil's apprentice himself, Paul Ryan ( Worthless Cocksucker-WI) and his Democratic counterpart Mrs Landingham (H/t to Charles Pierce for the term) announced they had reached a budget deal.

Some deal. Rather than go for the straightforward approach of repealing the rest of the Bush tax cuts and lifting the cap on Social Security ( and let me make this abundantly clear for the all the deficit scolds out there, worthless people that you too are, Social Security does not contribute to the deficit and its time you stupid people stopped saying that.)

Instead we get this bit of trickery designed to fuck a whole lot of us at the drive through:

In a move expected to save $6 billion, the Bipartisan Budget Act announced Tuesday by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., calls for reducing annual cost-of-living adjustments for military retirees under the age of 62. Working-age military retirees would receive an annual pay adjustment that is 1 percentage point less than the rise in consumer prices. For example, the 1.7 percent COLA that took effect on Dec. 1 and will first appear in January checks would be just 0.7 percent for military retirees under age 62 but still be 1.7 percent for older retirees if the proposal were now in effect. The COLA reduction would be phased in three years. The December 2014 COLA would be reduced by 0.25 percent, the December 2015 COLA would be reduced by 0.5 percent and the full reduction would take effect with the December 2016 COLA. Disability retirees would not have their COLAs reduced. The plan could come to a vote in the House this week and, if it passes, be taken up by the Senate next week. The budget plan also saves $6 billion from changes in federal civilian retirement.

As Charles Pierce pointed out, once again the GOP gets to fuck over hard working people and steal,  while the Democrats simply can pat themselves on the back for politely letting them do it.

Apparently, the nation once again avoided a Grand Bargain by the skin of its teeth, but what makes me nervous is the fact that, at the press conference, the ZEGS spent most of his time celebrating what his side had gained out of the deal, while Mrs. Landingham spent most of her time celebrating the fact of the deal, and stressing that The American People would be glad to see both sides working together.

This is how the scale generally gets loaded in Washington — Republicans get enough of what they want so as to rest up for the next big grab while the Democrats throw themselves a parade to honor how mature and grown-up they are. For them, the deal is an end in itself. For the Republicans, it is a means to an end. The fight gets fixed that way. For all the huzzahs, you can hardly hear the cries of the people who are being sold down the river.

I am one of those people being sold down the river-and just reiterates for me why the Zombie Eyed Granny Starver has to go. If you have been reading here for a while you know that I have no sympathy for Paul Ryan, wishing fervently that he would drop dead in the early morning DC weather. There to be run over by a passing bus in his last brief moments of consciousness. And that would not even begin to repay him for the evil he conspires to do.

And take a look at the sleazy way this evil man tries to justify his thievery:

"We think it is only fair that hard-working taxpayers, who pay for the benefits that our federal employees receive, be treated fairly as well. We also think it is important that military families, as well as nonmilitary families are treated equally and fairly," he said.

Got that boys and girls? It's a back handed insult at federal employees and military retirees, as he implies that they don't work hard and have not earned their benefits. ( As opposed to say, greedy corporate CEO's) Not to mention its a double whammy for them since they have not had a pay raise since 2009 AND a lot are already contributing 15% of their salaries (same amount I have contributed since I left the military)  to our retirement accounts just to match the amount I would have been contributing were I still with my civilian corporation job. ( This due to the differences in how salaries are computed).

The Military coalition should be screaming bloody murder about this. So should a lot of other organizations. But they won't. It's for the children!

There are a whole bunch of other goodies tucked into this bill-many of them bad ideas that started not with politicians, but with budget hacks inside DOD. Who keep whining about treating people decently. And lets not even mention the abomination in the Defense bill that strips Convening Authorities of their authority to act in court martials. I'll have more on that tomorrow.

 There is a special place in hell reserved for you, Ryan,  and the rest of the herd. Please be speedily on your way.

6 responses so far

Jul 09 2013

The best favor we could do for ourselves.

Get the hell out of Afghanistan-as fast as we can.

I would love to see that happen. If we can't afford to pay our employees their full salary, can't afford to buy the things the nation needs, can't afford to do the things the nation should be doing-then we don't have the money to pursue stupid wars for people won't change no matter what we do.

Not-going-to-happen. But still a man can dream, can't he?

Increasingly frustrated by his dealings with President Hamid Karzai, President Obama is giving serious consideration to speeding up the withdrawal of United States forces from Afghanistan and to a “zero option” that would leave no American troops there after next year, according to American and European officials.

Mr. Obama is committed to ending America’s military involvement in Afghanistan by the end of 2014, and Obama administration officials have been negotiating with Afghan officials about leaving a small “residual force” behind. But his relationship with Mr. Karzai has been slowly unraveling, and reached a new low after an effort last month by the United States to begin peace talks with the Taliban in Qatar

I think this is a trial balloon-probably designed to send a message to Karzai to get with the program. But it sure would be nice if it were true.

The wars are a costly drain on American resources-and as I have repeatedly maintained and I still believe-just about all of our current problems can be directly or in directly traced to the wars, Especially our massive mis-adventure in Iraq. Furthermore our objectives in accomplishing retribution for 9-11 were accomplished a long time ago. Every day we stay, accomplishes nothing in the national interest of the United States-and accelerates the decline of the United States as a global super power.

Contrary to the opinions of some, the wars-especially the war in Iraq-were not noble causes. And in both Afghanistan "victory" has very different meanings depending on who you talk to. The real issue though,  is that "victory" no matter how you define it,  is unattainable. Primarily because the Iraqi and the Afghan people themselves remain mired in a pit of ancient rivalaries and misgudied beliefs that had no place in the 17th century-much less the 21st. Since they refuse to change-then leave them to their beliefs. Cut them lose and lets get back to taking care of ourselves.

Problem is Obama won't take that kind of bold step. Because he doesn't have the political capital to do it for one thing-there are too many surgeaholics like Linsey Graham and William "The Bloody" Kristol around. He could stand up to them -but he won't.

And secondly-bold change is not Obama's style. The last three years have been proof of that, which is one reason we are stuck in the tea party hell of our current politics.

Ah but if only! Lets get hell out of Afghanistan and go home.

 

No responses yet

May 15 2013

Yes Virginia, these people are that crazy.

I have been watching with great interest the cries of anguish over the so called "scandals" that have your dyed in the wool member of the Teabag set, salivating and dreaming of the day they get their revenge. Just for grins I actually dropped in on the group "that prides itself on its civilized discussion"-even though they very seldom actually do that. The members of this community are, by and large,  are a self reinforcing community-trading conspiracy theories among themselves and viciously attacking anyone who dares to challenge the conventional orthodoxy.

"I got a chuckle out of the intolerant part. That really is a pretty good joke. Lex would have gotten a chuckle from it as well."

Probably he would have-because the simple truth was they could not see intolerance if it bit them in the ass. But just because they cannot recognize-or they choose not to recognize,  their shortcomings, does not mean they don't have them. I reinforced that knowledge quite well-I got my fair share of abuse and am good to go for about 6 months. No need to return.

In case you have been in cave somewhere-here is a rundown for you:

Alex Pareene at Salon has an entertaining rundown of the three “scandals” that could supposedly lead to the impeachment of the president: Benghazi, the AP phone logs and the IRS-Tea Party thing.

Pareene figures the Benghazi issue is kaput because the GOP stupidly focused on meaningless talking points on Sunday shows rather than the real issue, which was inadequate security. And since austerity-humpers in the House were slashing security budgets like Fruit Ninja addicts in Arcade Frenzy mode, it’s a good bet they don’t want to go there. That and the preening Sunday performances of would-be soap opera stars like Senators McCain and Graham led the GOP to focus on the dud aspect of the Benghazi affair, soiling a once-promising bit of dirty laundry.

Likewise, Pareene points out that while the AP logs issue may have a built-in advantage due to its implications for the very media that would be charged with ginning up impeachment-level outrage, the GOP can’t claim clean hands there either: The Republicans are the ones who demanded that the administration investigate the leaks that led to the AP investigation in the first place. And the GOP isn’t really opposed to spying on reporters, at least if Republicans get to do it sometimes. This might lead to another brogressive boner for Rand Paul, but perhaps nothing more.

According to Pareene, the jackpot scandal has got to be the IRS-Tea Party thing because, even if, as seems likely, no one at the White House knew about it, it’s the “conservative movement’s dream scandal.

 

He is most certainly right about the last part-the IRS "scandal" is a Tea Party wet dream. The agency they hate the most-second only to their hatred of Obama, screwed up in actually trying to do their job. Which was namely, to weed out hack political movements that are trying to circumvent both the letter and the spirit of the tax code, in order to hide the fact that their donations are not just from the grass roots.

Tea Partiers love to lecture you on how its not just one movement, but several. And they love the idea that it is a grass roots movement-not orchestrated at all. Never mind that it ignores the fact that the Tea Party was the rebranded rump of the Bush dead-enders. It was a convenient fiction that they all tell themselves in order to hide the fact that their policy prescriptions are nonsense, that they would directly suffer the most if their plans were enacted, and that they are in fact-being exploited by men a lot richer than themselves. The media conveniently cooperated too-clinging to the absurd notion that it was a genuine grassroots movement. And they cling to it still, "like turds to a moth-eaten pair of faux-Colonial breeches."

And so they are shrieking with glee that they may finally have the chance they have been dreaming about since January 20th 2009. They think they can , dare I say it, impeach Barak Obama.

Never mind that none of this hardly rises to the level of "high crimes and misdemeanors"-never let the facts get in the way of a good, old fashioned, blood libel. The fact that they are so determined is enough to give any sober American pause. Pause and fear-that a significant portion of the nation's citizenry is so brutally demented.

I think the notion of impeachment is industrial-strength insane. There is utterly no proof that the President Obama even knew anything directly about the shifting Benghazi responses, let alone did something about them (yes, folks; under the Constitution, the President must do something). And as for the Internal Revenue Service story, from what we now know, those transgressions were committed by IRS staffers in Cincinnati who have never been closer to Obama than their television sets… Impeachment is crazy… and the idea that Obama has any direct culpability in either of these matters is, given what we know today, utter madness. Okay?

But this is my point: utter madness is what today’s Republicans do. You can present to me every logical argument you desire. Benghazi at the end of the day was a terrible tragedy in which mistakes, bad mistakes, were certainly made, and in which confusion and the CYA reflex led to some bad information going out to the public initially, but none of this remotely rises to the level of high crime. The IRS cock-up was just that, a mistake by a regional office. I get all this, and I agree with you.

But what we think doesn’t matter. I can assure you that already in the Pavlovian swamps of the nutso right, the glands are swelling. Theirs is a different planet from the one you and I inhabit….

… They do their base’s bidding, not America’s. How many times do you need to see them do this before you accept that it is the reality? And now there’s an added element. They want to gin up turnout among their base for next year’s elections. And if they gin it up enough, and the Democratic base stays home, they could end up holding the House and taking the Senate. And if they have both houses, meaning that the vote in the House would not be certain to hit a Senate dead-end, well, look out.

I hope the White House knows this. I hope they understand, I hope the President himself understands, that the fever has not broken and will not break. It might crescendo right up to his very last day in office. And yes, a lot of this Benghazi stuff is about Hillary Clinton. But not all of it. And the IRS thing, which Drudge led with for two days in a row and may yet be bigger than Benghazi, isn’t about her at all. If my worst fears are never realized—well, good, obviously. But it will only be because they couldn’t identify even a flimsy pretext on which to proceed. Never put the most extreme behavior past them. It is who they are, and it is what they do.

 

Yes they are that messed up and they are that crazy. These people are not caricatures-they really exist.

And that should scare the bejesus out of you.

20 responses so far

Dec 29 2012

Cry me a f*cking river.

One of the most frustrating things about this whole silly "Fiscal Cliff" nonsense is that the people supporting our Galtian overlords never tell you the whole story. They just point out the things that they want you to hear-and hope that you are not smart enough, or knowledgeable enough on tax laws to spot the obvious holes in their narratives.

Take this story that appeared in the NY Post and was taunted forth by Phib.

The Post showed a chart and then told "horror" stories of how very well off people are going to "suffer". Lets look at the chart shall we?

25N_FISCAL_FIRE--525x1150

 

Oh the horror! The misery! Someone making 300,000 dollars a year might be reduced to the ruin of drinking Gallo with dinner instead of a fine French Burgundy! Oh the unfairness of it all!

It must be the fault of those goddamned moochers.

Except of course its not one bit true. The chart is one of the most misleading ones I've yet to see in the recent month-and trust me, I have seen a fair share.

Let's take a couple of the "horror stories" that are cited in Phib's post and dissect it a little more shall we?

 

“It’s that much higher?” asked IT worker Vikas Kataria, 34, who discovered that his combined household income of about $250,000 per year will cost him nearly $10,000 more in taxes. “I thought it was a couple thousand — but that’s a lot,” said Kataria, who works at Merrill Lynch in Manhattan and is married to a systems analyst for a brokerage firm. “That’s huge!”

 

With higher taxes, the couple would have to cut out on traveling and family vacations.

Give me a fucking break, you, whiny, selfish,  bastard. 

First of all, you work for Merrill Lynch and you can't get decent tax advice? Then you deserve to pay more taxes for being stupid. And second-by your own admission my dear Vikas, you are not going to see your taxes go up by 9730 dollars. Or have you forgotten that Post did not take your dependent deductions into account? Or that it also doesn't factor in many of the probable tax deductions you will take because being a high earner, you have the ability to take them. And lets not forget the Post chart has deliberately left off the tax sheltering effect of even putting the maximum allowed into your 401K-which at 250K per year should be pretty easy to do.

Factor all of those things in, I'm willing to bet your taxes only go up about 5600 or so. 400 dollars a paycheck on someone receiving a pay check of  almost 11000 every two weeks. ( Before taxes and other withholding). 21000 a month.

Yes that is the right number of zero's.

God damn it all-it must really suck to be you. Oh the heartlessness of having to make ends meet on at least  13000 dollars take home a month.

When is the last time I ever saw that much money in a month? Oh right, never. And I still take vacations and drink premium quality beer-and have a piece of my hard earned retirement stolen from me every month by a thankless, fuck less, fat shrew.

But I'm supposed to feel sorry for you and your plight. Uh-huh. Right…………………………………………….

Now journey to the top end of the scale-someone making a million dollars a year is forced by the hand of a draconian government to get by on a paltry 650,000 a year. So much for that new Lexus or my business class ticket to Paris. Good God Man, just how unreasonable can you get?!?

As Mitt Romney showed us-the odds of the 1 million dollar earner actually paying the amounts listed above are slim to none. And that's what this pointless whining fails to highlight-effective tax rates are what really matter. And those tend to be statistically higher for those in lower income brackets. Furthermore, its not going to help anyone if all the country does is continue to just hold down already low tax rates on the rich without addressing the real issues that are at stake in today's economy. And all of this tax talk ignores the fact that neither side is doing what it needs to about addressing seriously the issues of income inequality, wage stagnation, and the forces that are crushing the American middle class. This is why I am not crying any salt tears about the plight of rich people working for Merrill Lynch or business owners who are too stupid to take advantage of incorporation rules that would lower their tax liability. And I am not afraid of the "cliff" except in how it will affect the stock market. The market of course will be affected, primarily because of the whining by people who actually have a lot to be thankful for.

AND TAX RATES WILL STILL BE THE LOWEST IN THE US IN 50 YEARS.  The repeal of the Bush tax cuts will, however,  restore much needed revenue to balance the budget.

That is something these morons crying about tax cuts conveniently forget.

The social costs of an austerity agenda — and, certainly, all the available evidence from those European countries wherein one was imposed — are profound. Whether you like it or not, there has been a general political consensus for the paste eight odd decades that a social safety net is one of the legitimate products of that creative enterprise of self-government, that it is part of what we agree to when we form the political commonwealth. To have an austerity agenda imposed from above, and by a relatively unaccountable political elite, and because of the damage done to the nation's finances by an absolutely unaccountable financial elite, is to make an obvious mockery of that political commonwealth, and to do so hard upon an election in which the existence of that safety net was so directly and democratically validated, is to spit in the eye of a self-governing people. This, in turn, will engage all the worst popular instincts, including ill-directed and abandoned popular wrath.-Charles Pierce.




7 responses so far

Nov 24 2012

Breitbart still sucks

Charles Johnson has observed on several occasions that while the late, not so dearly departed, Andrew Breitbart was well and truly one of the United States' biggest morons-the children who write in his stead can top it.

 

Sure enough, Breitbrat Ben Shapiro’s moronic attack on President Obama’s Thanksgiving address was rapidly picked up by the rest of the right wing Fake Outrage Machine. The Daily Caller has this article based on Shapiro’s post: Obama Thanksgiving Address: Calls to Unite Behind WH, Doesn’t Thank God.

Watch how the Daily Caller’s Christopher Bedford blatantly slants the story against President Obama, saying he “urged the country to unite behind his administration” twice, even though the actual quote from Obama’s speech says no such thing.

 

And true to form-the members of the Liars Club, led by Jim Hoft; the "Dumbest Man on the Internet" picked right up on it.

John Hinderaker, Jim Hoft, William Jacobson, the Town Hall Harlot: Michelle Malkin-who is spending the weekend looking down on Wal Mart protestors for having the audacity to publicly point out the company could do more for its workers-and of course lets not forget the collective stupidity that is Breitbart. They are all contemptible people. As stupid and vile as you might expect.

No responses yet

Nov 04 2012

Voting is the best revenge.

John Hinderaker and the rest of the contemptible cocksuckers  members of the Liars Club, are all up in arms over an offhand remark that Obama made in a stump speech a day ago. In a speech Obama mentioned his opponents and the crowd quite understandably began to boo-and Obama said, "No, no, no — don’t boo, vote. Vote. Voting is the best revenge.”

Hinderaker and the rest of the echo chamber seem to think that shows some sort of "dark side" to Obama. In the twisted universe they inhabit, only supporters of Rmoney are supposed to have emotions and proud convictions. They are all up in arms about it, making a huge issue over nothing.  Obama was right.

I got news for Mr. Hinderaker, worthless bit of slime that he is, in a democracy governed by laws-voting is the only revenge. As much as they might deserve more. And as much as I would like to see them receive some well deserved suffering for the damage these folks have done to American political discourse-in a proper society that simply is not done.

I voted by absentee some two weeks ago. And yes I voted for Obama. Because he is the guy on the ballot, and a vote for him is a vote against dismal view that Hinderaker constantly sets forth. As my favorite news magazine points out-in far better form than any word Mr. Hinderaker has ever written:

Many of The Economist’s readers, especially those who run businesses in America, may well conclude that nothing could be worse than another four years of Mr Obama. We beg to differ. For all his businesslike intentions, Mr Romney has an economic plan that works only if you don’t believe most of what he says. That is not a convincing pitch for a chief executive. And for all his shortcomings, Mr Obama has dragged America’s economy back from the brink of disaster, and has made a decent fist of foreign policy. So this newspaper would stick with the devil it knows, and re-elect him.


When I voted for Obama, it was a clear knowledge of the things he hasn't done that I wanted him to. A clear knowledge that he has not gotten out of both stupid wars Bush got us into-he's gotten us out of only one, and that was only with the help of the worthless Iraqis themselves; with the clear knowledge that he has been stymied for the last two years by a group of worthless people in Congress, all of them Republican, who were more concerned about torpedoing the economy for their own political advantage ( witness the debt ceiling debacle);  with a clear knowledge that the ACA while a great step forward is not the best legislation that could have been produced-and had the American people and the Republicans in Congress not been so stupid we could have had much better. I voted knowing all of these things. But in the end the choice came down to this and this alone:

This election does not represent a choice between left and right. It represents a choice between balance and a new, extreme form of conservatism. This new conservatism cannot accept any tax increases as part of a deal to reduce the deficit. For all his attempts to sound moderate in the campaign’s closing days, Romney has not altered the response he gave during a Republican-primary debate rejecting a hypothetical deal involving a 10-to-1 ratio between spending cuts and tax increases. This refusal to acknowledge the need for more revenue is a recipe for eviscerating government—and the cuts, as Ryan’s budget shows, would fall disproportionately on programs for Americans with the lowest incomes.

The new right has broken with conservatism’s past—and our country’s most constructive traditions—by adopting a new and radical individualism that largely ignores our country’s gift for community.

 

 

Hinderaker and the rest are, in part, responsible for that extremism. Being the grifters that they are they are, they live to keep everyone stirred up so that more money flows into their pockets. By voting against the things that he advocates and for a vision for the country that accepts the world is changing-no matter how much  William Jacobson refuses to accept it-I am getting my revenge.  They deserve it too-and if it makes their cherished "conservatives" take a hit, then I will have done my civic duty well.

<————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–>

UPDATE! It would seem the money grubber in Chief, old Mittens himself is jumping onto this line"For revenge. Instead, I ask the American people to vote for love of country,". Ok. Fine.

For love of country, because I don't want it screwed up by yours and the "zombie eyed granny starver's" twisted vision of it, and for revenge on the stupid people who enabled the hollowness of your ideas. Either reason works for me-so long as Mitt Romney loses.



 

12 responses so far

Oct 10 2012

Mired in the swamp of unimportant things-forgetting the major turnoff we took to get here.

I've not felt much like posting these last few days-and tonight an incident occurred that crystallized for me why. I won't go into the details-except it brought home to me how truly polarized our populace is-and how ignorant as a whole it has become.

It started with a post from someone who took a member of the Liars Club at face value. As is typical when one deals with avid fans of the Liars Club-responding in any opinion but agreement brings forth a swarm of angry folks, because they don't like to have their cherished ideas dissented with. The subject in the long run is not worth discussing-its just one of many examples of the absurdity that seems to run rampant nowadays. It is depressing to see really-because it is a symptom of a bigger problem.

People forget what a major detour the United States took in 2003-when it invaded a country that it had no business invading, under false premise, and then once begun in haste took years to finish. And even when it was finished, it occurred not because of any action that we had undertaken, but one that our sometimes "allies" forced us into, by actually asking that we honor a commitment that we had made three years previously. 

People also seem to have conveniently forgotten-that it was some pretty misguided economic decisions that were made in the 1980's that put us in the mess we are in today. And it is beginning to appear that, rather than acknowledge that fact that the country needs a new course. And perhaps that course is not Barack Obama-but I can guarantee you, it is not with Mitt Romney or Paul Ryan or any of the other current crop of people who have driven all the reasonable people into hiding.

And it depresses me to no end.  It depresses me to see smart people-people who should know better-get wrapped around the axle about minor stuff, when in fact they should be mad as hell at the events that put us here.

The world is changing. No one, least of all me, can stop that. I know that-as much as it pains me.

But I have a right to stick up for my view point. Just as much as anyone else does. And I will not be cowered by people's lunacy.

That is all.

Now if you will excuse me-I have a bottle of Scotch to finish and let it swirl me down the road to oblivion. I deserve it tonight……..I AM THAT PISSED OFF.

No responses yet

Jul 09 2012

Guest post.

I am posting this post by my Candian Counterpart in its entirety. Its worth reading-every word-because it effectively lays to rest just about every bullshit argument we here from the ranting herd of ill-informed Fox News viewers.

Take it away, Skippy Stalin:

Even more troubling that the modern conservative shift in foreign and military policy is its even more dramatic shit in economics. As conservatives became Wilsonian (or liberal) in foreign affairs, they have gone right off of the edge of reason when it comes to money. This is important in so far as when you cease to have money, you run the very real risk of not having a country at all.

Before I go further, I'll take a minute to explain what I believe because some of you might be new.

I don't like government and would like to limit its power against the individual as much as possible. The difference between me and modern movement conservatism is that I recognize that most people – including most "conservatives" – don't agree with me and probably never will. Modern conservatives, for example, are just as likely as liberals to use the tax code to influence and shape personal behaviour.

That being the case, I'm of the considered opinion that government needs to be paid for. The idea that you can "starve the beast" is silly. You might be able to do it, but you do great harm to your country and economy for the trouble. Other than rhetorically, there is no absolutely no consensus on the need for small government. People might say that they like the idea of limited government, but when you ask them about particular programs to be cut, they very quickly get outraged.

More importantly, I'm not even sure that democracy is amenable to the idea of limited government in the first place. As the electorate becomes less and less informed (and more politically polarized), politicians are finding that it's easier to do the one thing that politicians have always done: bribe people with their own money.

Conservatives since Reagan have done this through the tax code, with the exception of George W. Bush and the Republican Congress of 2001-'06, who used both the tax code and more traditional spending to mollify the public and buy its political support. The Conservative Party of Canada under Stephen Harper did pretty much the same thing between 2006 and today.

First, the Tories passed the least efficient tax cut imaginable (on the consumption tax, which didn't increase purchasing power or stimulate the economy to any large degree, but cost a fortune in revenue) and stuffing the tax code with credits designed almost exclusively to buy votes. And then when the financial crisis hit, the Tories engaged in a stimulus program at least as large as Barack Obama's in the United States. When Grover Norquist tells you otherwise, Grover Norquist is lying.

This results in massive deficits and debt. The truth is that every time in American history that large tax cuts have been passed, they have created deficits because spending has not only not gone down, it actually increased. The Kennedy-Johnson tax cuts were accompanied by the Great Society and the Vietnam War. The Reagan tax cuts were implemented alongside a dramatic defense build-up. And finally, the Bush 43 tax cuts were matched by two unfunded ground wars and an explosion of domestic discretionary spending.

I know, just as pre-1980 conservatives did, that tax cuts are spending by other means and must be paid for. When they aren't, you plant a time bomb in your own economy.

There is no end to the outrage over Obama's deficits from conservatives. What they won't admit – and for some crazy reason, Obama himself won't point out – that the single largest drivers of the deficit remain Bush's programs. Chief among those are the 2001 and '03 tax cuts, which have cost a staggering $3.7 trillion in lost revenue and debt service costs over the last decade. Then there are Medicare Part D, No Child Left Behind and the secondary costs of the Iraq and Afghan wars.

Obama has contributed to the deficit, but not as much and not in the ways that you'd expect. First, there was the 2009 $800 billion stimulus, slightly over a third of which was tax cuts. Then there's his ongoing payroll tax "holiday." And all of this was done over four years of chronic, high unemployment, which deprives the government of significant revenue and further grows deficits. Obama also expanded the Afghan War and increased defense spending.

Yes, Obama has spent his share on nonsense, but not as much as you probably think. That's not a defense of Obama, who I'm not especially fond of, but those are the facts and they seem to be in short supply these days.

Modern conservatives are married to Reagan's ideology. but seem to have forgotten the philosophical underpinnings of it. Reagan's tax policy was predicated on the Laffer Curve, which posited that if you cut taxes to a certain level, you stimulate the economy and maximize tax revenue, thereby minimizing the cost of the cuts. But even the Laffer Curve relies on some spending restraint, without which you blow a hole in the deficit.

Here's an interesting fact. I'm the first person in well over a decade to mention the Laffer Curve. God knows Republican politicians don't. Of course, things like the Laffer Curve are hard to explain in a thirty-second TV ad and it's always easier to go on an almost Maoist campaign of renaming things you don't like, which the GOP began doing in the mid-1990s.

They began with the rather innocuous estate tax, which almost no one paid but raised a ton of revenue. That became "the death tax", making it easy to cut to nothing during the Bush years. In the last year or so, Republicans don't recognize certain Americans as "wealthy", "well-off" or plain old "rich" anymore. These days they're "job creators", which has an awfully patriotic ring to it.

Unfortunately, it also fundamentally misrepresents how the economy works. The rich – pardon me – the job creators don't create jobs on their own, and they never have. To suggest that they do, whether out of some charitable impulse or simply because they're bored, is insane. Even Donald Trump only hires one person for every nine that he fires.

Here's a very basic lesson in how economics works, maybe the simplest you'll ever get. Jobs are created by consumer demand. That demand incentivizes industry to create supply, which in turn is where jobs come from. Absent consumer demand, jobs don't get created, irrespective of what the rich do.

Unemployment in the United States isn't what it is because Barack Obama took away all of Mitt Romney and Bank of America's money. It's because there is no consumer demand. People, it turns out, don't make extravagant purchases when they're afraid of losing their homes, which a good many Americans have been for five years now. Furthermore, banks are less than favorably inclined to make loans when they're afraid of being burned by another round of defaults.

This recession has nothing at all to do with personal income, corporate or capital gains tax rates. You could lower them all to zero and you still wouldn't move the needle on employment. Unless and until the housing surplus is liquidated, there will be no demand for construction or durable goods manufacturing, which are the early drivers of economic recovery. Even then, people are going to be jittery about their massive household debt, which will inhibit growth even when the housing situation is corrected.

It will probably take at least a decade for the U.S economy to return where it was prior to 2007, assuming that it ever does. And I'm not making that assumption.

For a number of reasons that I don't want to get into here, the American economy enjoyed artificial growth for the last thirty years. Real household income began to stagnate in the mid-1970s, and Americans maintained their standard of living by using their houses as ATMs and going into credit card debt. That was manageable when interest rates were high, but when they came down for a sustained period in response to the bursting of the tech bubble and 9/11, borrowing went into hyperdrive until it was finally exhausted. While the financial services industry was bankrupting itself through unimaginably crazy derivatives trading, American consumers were bankrupting themselves the old-fashioned way. During that thirty-year period, the U.S manufacturing sector was sent overseas, further retarding middle-class growth.

As a consumer, how confident would you be under those circumstances?

At the best of times, the myth of "the job creator" is a nonsensical fantasy. In the situation the American economy currently finds itself in, it could be disastrous.

Let's say the GOP wins the presidency, holds the House and wins a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate (an extremely optimistic prediction of this election, I know.) They've said that they'll make the Bush tax cuts permanent and further lower rates, and I have no reason to doubt that they're crazy enough to do it.

The only trouble is their pledge to close loopholes and lower or eliminate deductions. Specifically, they won't do it.

First, no Republican will do anything nuts, like tell you which loopholes and reductions they plan on doing away with, which should tell you that won't touch any of the popular ones where the real money is. Those are the mortgage interest deduction, the deduction for state and local taxes, and the deduction for charitable and political contributions. Remember, these people are too scared of Iowa primary voters to do anything easy, like eliminate the ethanol subsidy. That being the case, what makes you think that they'll do anything hard?

Second, the lobbyists won't let them, even if they were brave enough to want to. You know how ObamaCare became such an ungodly mess? Because the Democrats so needed the insurance, hospital and pharmaceutical industries on board to pass anything at all that they let the lobbyists write the bill. Serious tax reform is going to draw in every lobby known to man and probably a few that aren't.

Folks with a working knowledge of history will point to the Tax Reform Act of 1986. Unfortunately, that ignores that things have changed a great deal since then.

  • Reagan, who had not yet been politically wounded by Iran-Contra, was still a highly popular president. There is no reason to believe that Mitt Romney will have those kind of approval ratings in a bad economy. That's especially true where tax cuts in a bad economy are concerned.
  • Congress was still more popular than your neighborhood pedophile, which isn't true now.
  • The lobbyists were only beaten (and they very nearly weren't) because tax reform had broad bi-partisan support, which no rational person thinks is possible in this atmosphere.
  • Because of a sea-change in campaign finance law, lobbyists are more powerful than they were twenty-five years ago, not less.

On top of the likely failure of tax reform, no one is suggesting that any serious entitlement reform will take effect in less than fifteen years, and defense cuts are completely off the table. But they say that they will cut rates, which increases the deficit further. As soon as the international markets see that, I can't imagine that they won't further downgrade America's credit rating, driving interest rates up in a stagnant economy and killing consumer confidence.

If European bank failures don't send the economy into a depression, that will.

And I'm assuming a lot in making those predictions, specifically the Republican commitment to keeping taxes low for everybody.

Prior to 2009, Republicans were proud of the number of people that they took off of the federal tax rolls with the Reagan and Bush tax cuts. But like a lot of things in their orthodoxy, that's changed.

Pissy idiots like Erick Erickson, Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin have responded to the equally nonsensical Occupy Wall Street movement by taking up the banner that they are the "the 53%" of Americans that pay federal taxes. Erickson and Bachmann both make well over $100 grand and Palin has managed to trade her half-term as governor of a state where no one lives into about $10 million, so I suppose we should give them all a cookie because we should feel terrible for them.

The 53% rhetoric begs an interesting question. Are these people just making a preening display of their moral superiority (or the fact that they're too dumb to properly shelter their substantial incomes, like Mitt Romney did), or are they seriously suggesting a regressive new tax structure?

This isn't the cheap political stunt that it appears to be on first blush. For twenty years now, Republicans have been proposing fairly significant tax increases on the poor, the working poor and the middle class. That's basically what a flat tax or the Fair Tax would do. Most economists believe for it to generate the revenue that the current code does, it would have to be around 27% and increase with the number of deductions, loopholes and other goodies that you put into it.

For example, if you deduct things like food, gasoline or heating fuel, the rate has to go higher. The same is true if you have rebates or "prebates" for low-income earners. Because the lower and middle classes spend a larger percentage of their income than do the wealthy, you effectively shift the burden of the tax code, or "spread the wealth around."

Nor are things like Social Security and Medicare, which are funded by a separate payroll tax, ever mentioned. Would the payroll tax disappear? If so, is the tax really "revenue neutral" given the unfunded liabilities of those programs? How does a revenue neutral tax balance the budget and pay down the debt. especially when taxes as a percentage of GDP are at their lowest point in nearly a century?

Another problem with a flat tax, as I mentioned earlier, is that cuts to consumption taxes generally don't stimulate economic growth. When Canada's Conservative government cut the Good and Services Tax by 2% in 2006-07, it didn't do anything other than cost billions of dollars and throw the budget out of balance. Well, it did get Harper elected, so I guess there's that. But economically, it was next to useless. By instituting a flat tax, you remove the only conservative means of economic stimulus during downturns.

Furthermore, increasing taxes on the lower and middle classes inhibits paying down personal debt, without which I don't see any growth occurring, regardless of what the government does with fiscal policy. Nor will flat taxes bring manufacturing jobs back to America because tax rates aren't the problem, overseas labor costs of less than a third of the U.S standard living wage are.

That doesn't mean that I don't support it. I haven't seen precise enough language on it to decide either way. I'm certainly not dismissing it out of hand because it's a lot more serious than the standard Republican boilerplate of "Tax cuts for everybody!" But it does mean that conservatives are lying when they say that they don't want to raise anybody's taxes because they do, and in a fairly big way.

The thing is that all of these plans are premised on revolutionary theories, which conservatism wasn't traditionally predicated on. At best, the outcome these plans are unknowable, at worst, they're wishful thinking. But they do not "promote retaining traditional institutions and support, at most, minimal and gradual change in society", which is what conservatism is still defined as doing.

As a matter of lingustics, revolutionary conservatism is an oxymoron. As an economic theory, it's potentially lethal.

20 responses so far

Oct 18 2011

The 50 worst places to get your news.

Regardless of your political persuasion. The list that is given below is a rogues gallery of misinformation, diatribe, uninformed commentary, factually inaccurate reporting-and general all around mean spiritedness that can be found in the civilized word. When you hear someone saying, ” I was just reading or watching (fill in the blank) and it’s one of the names on this list, consider it a warning sign. Some have been asterisked to denote their special status as deserving of having the living stuffing beaten out of them.

1. Fox News *
2. Rush Limbaugh ***
3. Glenn Beck **
4. Michael Savage **
5. Alex Jones
6. The Heritage Foundation *
7. The Wall Street Journal * (Was once a good paper then along came Murdoch).
8. Neal Boortz***
9. Sean Hannity ***
10. Bill O’Reily**

11. Rightwingnews.com
12. National Review *
13. Mark Levin***
14. The Weekly Standard * (Except for “William the Bloody” Kristol. He gets three stars.
15. Washington Times *
16. The American Conservative
17. The Drudge Report *
18. The Cato Institute *
19. Media Research Center
20. Townhall.com*
21. Red State***
22. Andew Breitbart’s Big Government ***
23. The American Cause
24. Christian Coalition**
25. The John Birch Society**
26. Citizens United
27. Freedom Works***
28. Tea Party Express ***
29. Tea Party Patriots ***
30. No Left Turns**
31. News Busters **
32. News Max
33. The New York Post *
34. Conservative HQ
35. Sirius radio “Patriot” *
36. Conservative American News
37. Conservative Daily News
38. Judicial Watch*
39. The Source Daily*
40. Republican National Committee*
41. American Spectator **
42, Reason Magazine **
43. Where Freedom Rings
44. Conservapedia
45. The Right Side of the Web
46. CNS News
47. Michael Reagan**
48. Family Research Council***
49. Conservative Underground**
50. Hugh Hewitt*********************** ( Needs an extra ass whupping).

* Biased exclusively towards the GOP

** Totally deranged

*** Deserving of a five iron across the forehead repeatedly.

H/T to Addicting Info!

13 responses so far

Oct 08 2011

The irony, of course, is lost on them.

I love the fact that conservative supporters of the selfish, fat, ignorant, pigs teabaggers are up in arms because literally thousands of their fellow citizens exercised the same right claimed by the selfish, fat, ignorant, pigs teabaggers to assemble peaceably to express their displeasure with the government’s obsession with rewarding the top 1% of this country while ignoring the other 99%. Protests based on a flawed interpretation of the Constitution, historically inaccurate readings of a narrow group of historical documents-while ignoring equally valid other commentaries-with people wearing stupid hats and costumes and carrying stupid signs with lies posted on them comparing the duly elected President of the United States to Hitler; those are OK. But people who are outraged at getting fucked over repeatedly, having to struggle to get things that they should be able to obtain by right, people who have been kicked out of their homes, have lost their jobs, have been unable to get another one-those things they are not allowed to be angry about. Got it.

Or as Jon Stewart expressed it:

On Wednesday evening, Jon Stewart gazed at the Occupy Wall Street movement through the lens of Fox News sound bites–especially the condescending and incoherent ones. The negative sentiment was the exact opposite of how the News Corp. property felt when it was fanning the flames of the Tea Party opposition only a year and a half ago. And The Daily Show host makes sure to point out that nonsensical logic (especially jabs at Sean Hannity and Steve Doocey), while singling out one of the budding stars of the protest movement, Jesse LaGreca, along the way. The takeaway line though, was Stewart just leveling: “Look, if this thing devolves into throwing trash cans into Starbucks windows, nobody’s going to be down with that … but these protesters, how are they not like the Tea Party?”

The differences of course are several. One is demographics-the tea party was primarily white, middle aged, overweight, and more than a tad bit selfish and stupid.  Occupy Wall Street protesters are younger, much better informed than their tea party counterparts, and are not being astroturfed by rich bastards like Dick Armey for one thing. They also have a big difference in the use of money and busses:

There is one not so obvious or immediately noticeable difference between the Occupy Wall Street protests and your average Tea Party protest. Sure, the crowds seem to be younger, signs featuring Obama as Hitler are entirely absent, and there aren’t many people who are dressed like Uncle Sam sneezed stars and stripes all over them. There are no guns or demands to see the president’s birth certificate. But the less obvious difference is in buses. While the Tea Party protests always feature big buses covered with flags and eagles, buses at the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations are used to haul the protesters to jail.

I bring this up because teapartiers like to pretend they’re running their own show. That their protests are grassroots and their organizations are of their own construction. But those buses carting them around from protest to protest didn’t just appear out of nowhere. Someone paid for them, someone gave them their ultra-patriotic paint jobs, someone’s buying all the gas. All that takes funding and, as much as the ‘baggers like to pretend they’re an independent movement, they’re all bought and paid for— and then moved from square to square like pawns on a chessboard.

It has also been very well pointed out by those who are not watching Fox News, that unlike the teabaggers-the Occupy Wall Street movement does not have herds of Democratic politicians running over to suck their dicks jump on board their band wagon. If anything they have been avoiding them. Greg Sargent points out why:

If there’s one thing that’s growing clearer by the hour, it’s that this is an entirely organic effort, one that’s about nobody but the protestors themselves. In this sense, we’re seeing a replay of the Wisconsin protests. Those ended up falling just short of what activists had hoped to achieve, but their months-long showing was still important — it demonstrated that left wing populism is still alive and well and sent an important message about the mood of the country. The key was that it grew organically with little to no involvement from Beltway Dems and the White House.

If anything, Occupy Wall Street’s lack of outside encouragement from bigfoot Dems has been a strength, rather than a weakness. As major progressive groups debate how they can contribute to strengthening the movement — and how to give it specific direction and a specific agenda — the need to preserve its grassroots nature will remain paramount. Who knows where this will end up, but for now, this is another reminder that the Tea Party isn’t the only voice of popular discontentment over the economy. We don’t necessarily live in Tea Party Nation, after all.

And finally, as Jon Stewart points out very ably, the Occupy Wall Street folks, “don’t feel the need to constantly reassure themselves and each other how ‘patriotic‘ they are. They just are.”

Of course-to a dedicated tea sniffing fanatic, the irony and hypocrisy of their criticism is just lost on them:

One response so far

Aug 06 2011

Some thoughts on the S&P

Published by under Head in the sand idiots

First and foremost-they are in no position to judge. These are the same goons who who rated subprime-backed securities as just fine and dandy. Now they think they they are qualified to pass judgement on US fiscal policy? Really?

Second, as has widely been reported-they had their numbers wildly wrong. But they went ahead with the down grade anyway.  That should cause a serious observer-which leaves out virtually all of the tri corner hat wearing brigade of thugs-to question the accuracy of their other judgements.

That all said-as Felix Salmon points out over at Reuters, there is a valid gem of truth in what they are saying. 1) The GOP through its continued intransigence and willingness to hold sacrosanct promise to Grover Norquist, while not holding true on promises to the average American-has turned its back on the easiest and most viable of deficit solutions:repeal of the poorly thought out and horrible Bush tax cuts. 2) They can see what the rest of us can too-there is a certain segment of our politics today that is hell bent on destroying the economy and destroying average Americans-just so they can destroy and delegitimize Barak Obama. Dennis, over at John Cole’s place summed up their view point rather nicely:

This is especially true of the Republican Party which has been taken over by neo-Confederates. Like their fore-bearers of old, this modern Republcan Confederate Party would rather blow up the Nation than compromise on any item that might harm the oligarchs running the con. Then, as now, it was about money and the right of the few to steal the labor of others while passing on the cost of their corruption to the majority. Then, as now, they built their political world view upon a foundation of magical thinking, fear and hate. And then, as now, they would do anything and everything to destroy the President of the United States. Then it was Abraham Lincoln. Now it is Barack Obama.

I had an email the other day from Dan, a BJ reader, who mentioned that the current debt crisis was “economic Fort Sumter” for our 21st Century Republcan Confederate Party. There is some truth to that. The first half of 1861 was a time when Confederates were convinced that they shit gold and spat fire. They were certain that when they acted the rest of the Nation and the World would follow their script. Compromise—or even giving President Lincoln a fair hearing—was out of the question. The only path was the path of Confederate fantasy and so the War came. Shots were fired on Fort Sumter, but things did not go according to plan.

History repeats as an echo with Wingnutopia and the Confederates in the 112th Congress. Once again, they are convinced that their fantasies are bold and true and that they must tear the Nation apart to “save it”. This time, the hostage isn’t a Fort in Charleston Harbor—it is the economy. Once again, they are convince if they pull the trigger, everybody will fall in line. These modern Confederates are just as crazy as their 1861 role models. You can tell how crazy they are by their auto-hostility to any hint of compromise—especially if the compromise has anything to do with that Black man in the White House.

As I have pointed out before, the batshit crazy folks leading the charge,  by and large, think they themselves have nothing to lose as a result of the ensuing economic carnage. They see themselves as safe in their jobs and homes-and truly believe that nothing bad will happen to them as a result of their own stupidity. Behaving irresponsibly though, will finally stick it to the “moochers” who they truly view as “stealing from them” since they view tax revenues as organized theft-rather than the pooling of resources for the purposes of accomplishing a greater good for the common populace. It is one reason they are so fixated on tax cuts-tax cuts for the rich. Tax cuts for ordinary workers, many of whom will be those hated lucky duckies whose incomes are too low to pay income tax, are if anything something tebaggers dislike.

Which brings us back to the S& P and its clear language chastising the GOP for failing to consider tax cut repeal: “We have changed our assumption on this because the majority of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues, a position we believe Congress reinforced by passing the act.”  Felix Salmon , however points out the fear of irrational behavior on the part of our government runs much deeper than that-because some people just love to play with matches:

Firstly, talk of debt-to-GDP ratios and the like is a distraction. You can gussy up your downgrade rationale with as many numbers as you like, but at heart it’s a political decision, not an econometric one.

Secondly, the US does not deserve a triple-A rating, and the reason has nothing whatsoever to do with its debt ratios. America’s ability to pay is neither here nor there: the problem is its willingness to pay. And there’s a serious constituency of powerful people in Congress who are perfectly willing and even eager to drive the US into default. The Tea Party is fully cognizant that it has been given a bazooka, and it’s just itching to pull the trigger. There’s no good reason to believe that won’t happen at some point.

Finally, it’s impossible to view any S&P downgrade without at the same time considering the highly fraught and complex relationship between the US government and the ratings agencies. The ratings agencies are reliant on the US government in many ways, and would be ill-advised to needlessly annoy the powers that be. On the other hand, the government has been criticizing them harshly for failing to downgrade mortgage-backed securities even when they could see that there were serious credit concerns. So by that measure they have to downgrade the US: the default concerns we saw during the debt-ceiling debate were real and can’t be ignored.[...]

Thus, there is a case for the S&P’s logic. Nothing, it seems, will get the attention of our radicalized group of tea swilling zealots. And the outlook for the next year is even more dismal-given the backdrop of a Presidential election and all the attendant craziness associated with one. You thought 2008 was bad? 2012 will make Palin’s lies and the hysteria associated with her rallies seem tame in comparison. Expect large numbers of monkey signs, an upward tick in the sales of confederate flags, and dynamite sales of “2nd Amendment solution” bumper stickers. It is only right for rational people to despair that the government will do anything useful long term. And if the GOP wins in 2012-they will set out with glee on the dismantling of any evidence of progress the country has made in the last 100 years-so adamant is their desire to return us all to the gilded age of 1896 and life expectancies of 48 years.

But such talk by S&P ignores the very real fact that they are biting the hand that feeds them. During the housing bubble they fed the beast that nearly destroyed us:

All of this is true. Standard Poor’s didn’t just miss the bubble. They helped cause it. They were paid by the banks to award their AAA-stamp of approval to all manner of financial products that were anything but riskless — which, ironically, makes them an accessory to the resulting explosion of U.S. debt. You’ve heard the old joke about chutzpah being a young man who murders his parents and then pleads for leniency because he’s an orphan? S&P has chutzpah. All the credit-rating agencies do. It’s built into their business, which requires them to assess the stability of markets they helped crash. It’s long been my position that the credit-rating agency model is broken and, at times, dangerous, and investors need to pay less attention to their pronouncements and policy needs to do deemphasize their role in the system.

Unfortunately what is done is done-and they will not undo it, no matter how much the adminstration whines about the faultiness of their model, the capriciousness with which they make decisions,  or their beholdeness to the wealthy who helped create this mess-and then were bailed out 100 cents on the dollar when they guessed wrong. And still, three years later-not one major investment banker is behind bars.

In the end though-we have only ourselves to blame. For not being informed enough to make intelligent decisions at the ballot box-which in turn allowed a bunch spoiled, fat, selfish children to take seats in a government they do not work for and most decidedly do not belong in. The results were predictable -and ones I have been warning my readers about since 2009. My favorite news magazine sums it up nicely:

Investors largely tuned out the debt-ceiling debate until its final days out of a belief based on long experience that for all the antics and rhetoric of the Tea Party, the people who actually run Capitol Hill would never compromise the country’s credit worthiness. After all, it was Mr Boehner who reminded his freshmen colleagues that on the debt ceiling they’d have to act like “adults.”

That is not what happened. As the fight dragged on, the leadership moved closer to the Tea Party, not the other way around. And they seem happy with the results. Why else would Mitch McConnell have promised on August 1st to do exactly the same the next time the debt ceiling must be raised?

It is striking that the proponents of this strategy seem so oblivious to its impact. Our economy is lubricated by a sophisticated and stable credit market whose most vital component is also the most ephemeral: trust. As the crisis amply demonstrated, when trust erodes, the system freezes up. America has built a reputation for responsible and credible management of its finances over the centuries, and that reputation has been reduced to a political football, like a federal judgeship. Henceforth a foreign pension fund or central bank that once mindlessly ploughed his spare cash into Treasurys will have to think twice.

This actually could be a useful turning point-and a point from which the country goes forward intelligently. Sadly, we won’t. The 20% of us who true believers in selfishness-will not allow it. I’m not sure what it is going to take-short of a Louisville Slugger to the forehead or destroying them financially- to get their attention. They are that determined not to learn.

8 responses so far

Jul 31 2011

What he said…….

Published by under Head in the sand idiots

Want to get rich? Play poker with Obama-you will make a fortune! This so called deal will kill any hope of a recovery. Enjoy life in a totally self created depression, teabaggers. I wish you the joy of Grover Norquist while it lasts.

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman said Sunday that the debt deal will worsen the current unemployment situation and the nation’s long-run fiscal situation.

“From the perspective of a rational person — in other words a progressive — we shouldn’t be talking about spending cuts at all now,” Krugman said during a roundtable discussion on ABCNews’ This Week With Christiane Amanpour. “We have 9 percent unemployment. These spending cuts are going to worsen unemployment. It’s even going to hold the long-run fiscal picture because we have a situation where more and more people are becoming permanent long-term unemployed.”

Krugman’s not alone in his opinion: Last week, economic forecasting firm Macroeconomic Advisors analyzed Republican and Democratic debt proposals and said either plan would significantly slow economic growth if enacted.

“We used to talk about the Japanese and lost decade,” Krugman continued. “We’ll look at them as a role model. They did better than we’re doing. this is going to go on. I have nobody I know who thinks the unemployment rate will be below 8 percent at the end of next year. With the spending cuts it might be above 9 percent at the end of next year. There is no light at the end of this tunnel. We’re having a debate in Washington, all about, ‘Gee, we’ll make the economy worse, but will we make it worse on 90 percent of the Republicans’ terms or 100 percent of Republicans’ terms?’ The answer is 100 percent.”

What is especially frustrating is knowing it does not have to be this way-the fire extinguisher on the increasing debt is within our reach, and we refuse to touch it.Just repealing the Bush tax cuts would stop deficit growth in its tracks. Well thought out spending cuts, including defense-triggered in major part by leaving Afghanistan and Iraq immediately and having a review of our global strategy with an eye to retrenchment-would probably do the rest.

Oh and while you were watching Congress kneel down to the goons in the Tea Party, the FAA has been limping along and the government has been losing 30,000,000 dollars a day in revenue.

It is madness.

Dilbert.com

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

13 responses so far

Next »

  • Categories

  • Previous Posts

  • ISSUES?

  • Want to subscribe to my feed?

    Add to Google
  • Follow me on Facebook!

    Just look for Skippy San. ( No dash).
  • Topics

  • Meta