Archive for the 'Our boy Allen West-Village Idiot.' Category

Nov 20 2012

Finally-a miracle has happened.

Our long national nightmare is over ( at least for this election cycle).

The worthless piece of human excrement know as Allen West has finally recognized the obvious, namely that he lost and will no longer be stalking the halls of Congress.

I am sure MPRI would gladly take him back and he can stalk the hills of Afghanistan.

Florida Rep. Allen West — the tea party pugilist and face of the class of House Republicans that stormed to power two years ago — conceded Tuesday to 29-year-old construction executive Patrick Murphy in one of the nation’s highest-profile congressional races.

After two weeks of battle with St. Lucie County elections officials — and a recount of early votes that wound up extending Murphy’s lead — West acknowledged that he couldn’t surmount his 1,904-vote, or 0.58 percent, deficit. That difference was just outside the 0.5 percent threshold to automatically trigger a recount of all votes.

Politico being Politico,  did their best to polish a turd tried to put a positive spin on the Congressman's incredibly childish and selfish antics of the last two years, describing him as a "rare truth teller" in politics.

The Liars Club led by the "dumbest man on the Internet", Jim Hoft, has draped themselves in ashes and sack cloth. Seeing these useless men  whine is probably the best part of the whole event. I am glad I gave money to Murphy, just for the privelege of seeing them cry.

Whereas West tries in his concession speech,  to portray himself as some lone prayer warrior on a crusade-the facts of his tenure in Congress portray him in a less glowing light.

West first gained notoriety during his military service in Iraq, when he was forced to retire from the Army for engaging in abusive interrogation techniques. As a congressional candidate,he incorporated violent rhetoric into his campaign speeches, and made demonstrably ridiculous claims about his own background. Shortly before the 2010 midterms, we learned about West's ties to a violent gang of criminals, which the Justice Department believed was involved in drug running, arson, prostitution, robbery, and murder.

Despite all of this, West won anyway — and that's when the Republican got really weird.

Though West was only in office for one two-year term, it's challenging to note all of his unhinged antics — Tim Murphy pulled together a greatest-hits list of sorts yesterday — but I'd remiss if I neglected to note some of my favorites.

In West's mind, if you disagree with him, you're (a) a communist; (b) a supporter of slavery; or (c) quite possibly a communistic supporter of slavery. He doesn't believe Muslims should be allowed to serve in Congress; he saw the AOL-Huffington merger as a secret plot to undermine conservatives; and he called for the U.S. government to censor news organizations.

West also once famously told Democratic leaders, "[G]et the hell out of the United States of America."

We don't yet know what West will do next — he may very well run again in two years, and start the cycle of nonsense all over again — but for now, he's poised to leave the congressional stage after blazing quite a trail.

Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

2 responses so far

Nov 01 2012

Telling the truth

I have made no secret over the last few years of the contempt I feel for Allen West. If someone would take him out back and beat the living shit out of him-I would cry no salt tears. The guy was probably a prick as an officer, deserved his Article 15, and since leaving the service has shown himself to be a disgrace as a politician and a human being.

So it was with great interest that I read this little tidbit:

 

Bob Crowder, the Republican who ran against Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) in the primary, announced Wednesday that he is endorsing Democrat Patrick Murphy in the congressional race. And he didn't mince his words.

“As a Republican for over 30 years, I'm embarrassed by the radical fringe that has taken over the party. Sadly, Allen West is their poster child, and the hateful, divisive comments he's made throughout this campaign make it clear to me he’s the wrong choice for our district,” Crowder said in a statement.

Crowder, who is the Martin County Sheriff, said he is backing Murphy because "he has the right temperament and respect for others — including people he doesn't agree with."

Crowder said Murphy can work with both parties and will be a congressman that Florida's 18th District can be proud of, "unlike his opponent."

Crowder has been mum on the West-Murphy race until now. But his wife, Debbie Crowder, endorsed Murphy earlier this month. She cited the fact that West wouldn't shake her husband's hand at a local GOP meeting as one of the reasons behind her Murphy endorsement.

 

 

Allen West stays classless to the very end.

2 responses so far

Sep 29 2012

Hiatus

I will not be blogging for about a week or so. I have to up to Landstuhl Hospital to have cataract surgery on my right eye. To say that I am nervous about it is an understatement-but I can no longer put it off. And arranging to get it done through the TRICARE system has been a bit of a challenge-however once I got through the "gatekeepers" the treatment from the professionals at Landstuhl has been excellent. Lets hope it stays that way through the next week.

Could I have had this done through the German system? Yes-but I would have had to front a great deal of my own money and then work to get it back through my insurance. Such is the problem of being US insured, while being in an overseas system. Fortunately for me, Landstuhl had a spot and once I had jumped through the TRICARE hoops, they were able to take me on board. I had considered going back to the US to have it done-so that they could bill my insurance directly, but it would have eaten up all of my sick leave. This allows me to go back and forth by train and make my appointments. Plus I will get some opportunity to shop at the "big PX" at Ramstein. ( Which is obscene in its size-as only the USAF could build).

I can't imagine what it would be like to be facing this without insurance. The cost while not large by some standards, would hurt me more than a little financially. And yet, that is exactly what some back in my home country are proposing for their fellow citizens. I cannot accept that line of thinking. That's why I won't be supporting Romney/ Ryan this election. ( among many reasons).

I was thinking about that this morning,  when I decided to act on my thoughts by making a donation to the campaign of Patrick Murphy, the man who is running against the poster child, Allen West. Its a small race in Florida-but if West can be defeated, it raises hope for the rest of us. It was just a small donation, but many donations add up to a strong campaign.

If you feel as strongly as I do about politics in the US, consider making a donation to help take back the house from the Teabaggers.

God willing, I will "see" you in a week or so. Wish me luck!

 

12 responses so far

May 03 2012

The trouble with the tea party

My Canadian counterpart has been writing some really insightful posts about the morass that is the GOP these days.  You should head on over to his site and read his stuff.

First off-he points out expertly what a complete idiot Allen West is, and how once again-for a supposedly educated officer-he has very little accurate knowledge of his own nation's history. Of course I expect nothing but untruth from the poster child-but the Canadian Counterpart does an expert job of ripping his thesis that Congress is full of "card carrying Commies" to shreds.

Which brings me to Representative Allen West of Florida's 22nd congressional district. Being of a military background, Congressman West doesn't do things halfway. Where people like Palin and Hannity are proudly ignorant, West fetishizes stupidity in a way that normal adults would stop at nothing to hide, but modern politics rewards. Add to that the fact that he's an unrepentant fucking war criminal and you have a natural leader of the Tea Party. 



Well, over the last couple of weeks, young Allen has come to embrace his inner McCarthyite with endlessly entertaining results. 

 

On Tuesday, Rep. Allen West spoke at a town hall in Florida. During his appearance, he told the crowd he’s “heard” that up to 80 House Democrats are members of the Communist Party.

The Palm Beach Post reported on the event, adding that West “wouldn’t name names” to back up his assertion. Currently, there are 190 Democrats in the House.

That's notable in so far as even McCarthy himself never went that far. He said that communists subverted the Roosevelt and Truman administrations, not that they were welcomed into them. Nor did McCarthy ever go so far as to say outright that nearly half of the Democratic congressional caucus were actually members of the Communist Party of the United States. 



Of course, West's assertion was so blatantly and laughably ridiculous that it couldn't be ignored, except by Fox News and the Tea Party blogosphere, both of whom are as spectacularly dumb as West himself. The only people who took him seriously was the actual Communist Party of the United States, which is insulted that anyone would associate it with something as spineless as the Democrats. 

 

In a subsequent post-he goes on to document the debt that is owed by the Tea Party to those it despises, those same progressives West attacked,

 

Because they proudly have no idea what they're talking about, West, Glenn Beck and the overwhelming majority of Tea Party members equate early 20th century progressivism socialism and communism. This couldn't be more ironic in so far as the institutions that allowed for the rise of the Tea Party were created by those very progressives a century earlier. Without the progressives, the modern populists would have been crushed in the gears of the political machinery that governed the United States at the time.



As much as populists love talking about the Founding Fathers and the Constitution, they don't understand either very well. For example, the Second Amendment was written the way it was (beginning with the phrase "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State") because the Founders were unanimous in their belief that the new nation shouldn't have a standing military. This comes up several times in the Federalist Papers.



Being isolationist, they understood that a nation cannot have a standing army without deploying it on a regular basis. They created the United States as a retreat from the rest of the world, not as a military competitor in it. For that reason, the people would be armed and loosely organized in militias that could respond to any threat and disband when the crisis passed. 



Aside from being isolationist, the Founders weren't especially democratic. They were all classical scholars and had studied pure Athenian democracy, ultimately finding it unworkable. For those reasons, they created a number of significant checks on the will of the people, including but not limited to, a division of powers between the political branches, the establishment of an independent judiciary and a Senate that was appointed by the state legislatures. In the strictest classical definitions of the words, they were republicans, not democrats



Of course, there's no telling any of this to your average Tea Party member or Sean Hannity fan. Their famous love of tri-corner hats aside, they actually know very little about the political and constitutional history of the country they can't stop proclaiming their love of.

 

 

Its quality writing-well worth your time.

One response so far

Aug 08 2011

The 7% solution

In two weeks-my savings and investments have lost almost 6% of their value. Money that it took me years to cobble together-gone. At least for now. But it could have been a lot worse-A LOT WORSE. Fortunately, I got some good advice and have invested in some pretty strong stocks-so they weathered the storm better than most. Same is true with my mutual funds.

I am sticking to the advice of the professionals and not panicking -but trying to think long term. Keep investing, getting more shares now than before and when the market comes back I will be better than ever.

Except-I’m not so sure the market is coming back. At least not anytime soon. When do I get to be angry? Angry about this totally unnecessary and self inflicted wound? When do I get to see some S&P executives hauled away in handcuffs for committing the financial equivalent of murder? At a minimum-everyone of those assholes ought to be audited and be made to suffer at least a financial penalty for their malfeasance.

So too should our Galtian overlords in Congress who brought this on. And who-like the spoiled and selfish children they are-continue to deny any of it is their fault. What part of “the continued refusal of the Republicans to consider revenue enhancements leaves us no choice” don’t you understand?

And yet we get stuck with useless men like our boy Allen West who refuse to confront reality. I have a message for you Article 15 boy-”The downgrade message, whatever you think of S&P, they mentioned the need for increased revenues and for revenues being on the table three separate times. They absolutely indicted the fashionable intransigence of the Republican party right now in Washington. . . . We did something insane with getting that close to defaulting on purpose.”  You and the tri-corner hat wearing slobs who support you,  created that atmosphere-and then you whine when someone calls you on it?

Oh-and as a bonus-today I got my layoff notice.  Another unnecessary piece of paper created by a three star’s malfeasance. I wish I could blame Congress for it but I can’t-the blame lies closer to home with some really stupid decisions by people in and out of uniform. I knew it was coming-but it is scant consolation. By giving it to me almost two months ahead of time-they don’t have to give me a severance package. And since they are trying hard to find me another home-as am I- it is more of a formality than anything else. So I  bear no grudge against my company. Against our customer though…………..well some things are better left unsaid.

Every black cloud does have a silver lining though. Bank of America took a 20% hit today. Goldman lost 6%. The rest of the big banks took major hits-Morgan Stanley lost 24%.  Could not happen to a nicer bunch of guys. And if I do end up unemployed-it will give a reason to get relief from my alimony. That alone might make the whole thing worth it. Notice I said might-actually it will suck.

And tomorrow-as Scarlett said, is yet another day.

12 responses so far

Jul 20 2011

Win one for the Gipper.

Ronald Reagan was a lot smarter than most of the current GOP Congressmen.

The single most important question facing us tonight is: Do we reduce deficits and interest rates by raising revenue from those who are not now paying their fair share—or do we accept bigger budget deficits, higher interest rates and higher unemployment…  We’re within sight of a safe port of economic recovery. Do we make port or go aground on the shoals of selfishness, partisanship and just plain bullheadedness?  (Televised speech, August 16, 1982.)

If you listen to Allen West,  well, you would know what side he falls on. That of the selfish children.

No responses yet

May 27 2011

I’m sure MPRI would take him back

Our boy Allen West is at it again-wading knee deep in to the mud of hypocrisy.

The House on Thursday narrowly shot down an amendment to scale back military operations in Afghanistan, highlighting growing congressional opposition to the war.

In a close 204-215 vote, the House rejected a bipartisan amendment from Reps. James McGovern (D-Mass.) and Justin Amash (R-Mich.) that would have required the Department of Defense (DOD) to develop a plan for an “accelerated transition of military operations to Afghan authorities.”

Twenty-six Republicans voted in favor of the accelerated transition, and all but eight Democrats supported the amendment, which supporters stressed was a plan to speed up the withdrawal, not an immediate requirement to withdraw forces.

Rep Allen West (Jackass-FL) seemed to think that his fellow Congressman need remedial training:Asked about efforts to curb U.S. involvement, West said, “I would take these gentlemen over and let them get shot at a few times and maybe they’d have a different opinion.”

Really? Do the get to go over there the way West did-as a highly paid contractor?  ( His Army career having come to a quick and ignomius end.). Or do the go as a not paid well enough American soldier?

I’m not sure how that changes anyone’s mind-it might actually make more people vote against the war, to keep other Americans from getting shot at for no purpose.

Allen West is an idiot. Somewhere there is a sentence with the words, “Go” and “yourself” just dying to get out-in reference to our boy Allen.

No responses yet

May 07 2011

Worth reading…..

My Canadian Counterpart makes a lot more sense about Pakistan and Afghanistan than our beloved King David[Petreaus] does. He’s got two posts up that should be mandatory reading for any one of the current crop of idiots in Congress. And should be read twice to learning impaired assholes like Allen West-and most of Lex’s fan’s too.

First, he points out, that having allowed the abominations that are India and Pakistan to come into existence-we are woefully misinformed about what is important to them:

With very few exceptions, American foreign policy over the last six decades been conducted on the mistaken premise that everyone shares the same interests with the United States. That’s definitely not true in Pakistan and never was. Americans were concerned first about Soviet expansionism, then global terrorism. Pakistan’s first, last and only concern is India.
And they aren’t wrong, necessarily. Imagine if the Soviet Union was ten times as powerful as the U.S, but was situated where Mexico is and had cut America in half as recently as forty years ago. Do you think that Washington wouldn’t be every bit as paranoid as Islamabad is? Now imagine that America’s closest and most powerful ally had deepened relations with Moscow and made the unprecedented move of exempting it from the nuclear non-proliferation rules that bind everyone else. Looked at that way, Pakistan’s conduct makes infinite sense.
 

 

More importantly-he points out what the boneheads at Fox News and Powerline have yet to recognize-that the war on terrorism, is a huge tactical mistake by the United States. Whole hordes of people are still whining about how George W. Bush should be getting “credit”.

Credit for what? For involving the United States in a war that is laying the seeds of its own economic and political destruction? Sure-good job asshole! You should have gotten him five year before to get “credit”. You snoozed, got fixated on another worthless country-you lose.

The jihadis are pissed at American foreign policy. Period. But if a president actually had the balls to go on TV and say that, most Americans – who are genuinely peace-loving to point of having an almost  studied ignorance of the rest of the world – would say “Well, why don’t we change our foreign policy?” And that can be problematic for a people who like buying their oil at fifty cents a barrel.

If the Bush administration knew anything, they knew that anything worth doing was worth overdoing. Even after 9/11, they never relented in telling us that we were making war to ensure that girls were going to school eight times zones away, which had never before happened in all of human history. The inhuman incineration of nearly 3,000 innocents in New York City was just no longer enough. The war in Afghanistan wasn’t long about retribution. It became, by the military’ s own branding, a “just crusade.”

The historical problem with a crusade is that they tend not to go well unless they’re won quickly. If they aren’t, they tend to become problematic. Assuming that you’re going to forcibly change anyone’s religious virtues is about as silly as thinking that they’ll change yours.

And that’s really what the “War on Terror” comes down to. “Terror”, in and of itself, isn’t an enemy. It’s a tactic. The United States didn’t win the War of Independence by fighting against outflanking maneuvers any more than they’ll win a War in Terror. If you think about it really hard, you might just understand that you’re an idiot for even having thought very hard about it in the first fucking place.

Al Qaeda is the enemy today, every bit as much as the Nazis were in World War Two. Well, when you kill bin Laden, you defeat the enemy. Unless you don’t. Then you’re fucked, just as you would be if you thought that killing Boy George would have prevented the 1980s.Then you’re you’re in a position where you think that you’re a hero, until Kajagoogoo rises in to destroy us all and there’s no one to defend us because you’re off collecting your trophy.
Yeah, we got bin Laden. But when you really think about it, that’s like thinking that murdering Donald Trump is going to cancel The Apprentice. No one ever counts on NBC’s bringing Warren Buffett out of the darkness, do they?
Doing a Fredo on Osama is important, have no doubt about it. But in the grand scheme of things, he’s only Fredo. It doesn’t matter how many times that you dump him off of the rowboat if his ideas survive. 
 

 

But hey, why let the facts get in the way of a good pro-war narrative? The simple truth is that the United States can no longer afford these protracted crusades-even if they were in our best interests. ( Which they are not). This is especially true, given the fact that Pakistan’s enemy ( who in my perfect world would still be subjects of the British Empire)-are sitting on the sidelines making obscene profits at our expense. And India’s enemy is doing even better. And they never had to send one chugokujin to fight anywhere. Remember that the next time you shop at Wal-Mart.

2 responses so far

Apr 10 2011

Malevolent surgery

ma·lev·o·lent? ?/m??l?v?l?nt/ –adjective
1. wishing evil or harm to another or others; showing ill will; ill-disposed; malicious: His failures made him malevolent toward those who were successful.
2. evil; harmful; injurious: a malevolent inclination to destroy the happiness of others.
3. Astrology . evil or malign in influence.

That is what fully 60% of the cuts made by our Galtian overlords this past week are.

Remember this one-the next time you get on a plane:

PASSENGERS fainted when a 5-foot hole opened in the roof of a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 flying from Phoenix to Sacramento last week. The most frightening moment may have been when, as one passenger said, “You could look out and see blue sky.”

[But] on [that] very day … the House of Representatives passed a bill likely to make it more difficult to detect and prevent midair ruptures, metal fatigue and other serious flight risks.

The bill would cut $4 billion from the Federal Aviation Administration’s $37 billion budget. Representative John L. Mica, a Florida Republican who is the chairman of the House Transportation Committee, says the bill would streamline F.A.A. programs and promised the bill would “not negatively impact aviation safety.

After all-you must be just a leech on society if you don’t own your own Gulfstream.

H/T to Balloon-Juice.

13 responses so far

Apr 09 2011

Tail wagging the dog.

That would be what Allen West seems to appear to thrive on doing.

Earlier this week-our boy Allen West once again showed his “Reader’s Digest” understanding of history when he decided to play the Churchill card:

Mr. Speaker: Will we be Chamberlain or will we be Churchill? Neville Chamberlain, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom between 1937 and 1940, will forever be known for his foreign policy approach of appeasement. Prime Minster Chamberlain, even with Germany’s increasing aggression in Europe, turned a blind eye to the impending danger and did not prepare his nation for war…

Some would argue that comparing World War II to the debate on the budget for Fiscal Year 2011 is not an appropriate comparison. However, I would argue that Winston Churchill was prepared to lead his country courageously, in the way that would ensure England’s future. Today we are also faced with the question of protecting America’s future…

The comnparison is inapt for a whole host of reasons-not the least of which is that when it came to financial adminstration, Churchill did not exactly excel. After all, during the period he was Chancellor of the Exchequer Churchill-did not exactly fit  the “exceptional America” mold:

As Chancellor of the Exchequer in the 1920s he was an equally staunch and eloquent critic of arms budgets, particularly those of the Royal Navy. Motivated by a desire for funds to reduce taxes and increase social spending, as well as a sincere belief that no enemy could or would challenge Britain’s strategic position in the foreseeable future, Churchill campaigned vigorously for strategic complacency and against naval expenditure throughout his tenure as Chancellor. He promoted the formal assumption that any war was at least ten years away and he strenuously opposed Admiralty plans for warship construction, naval aviation development, and a Singapore naval base. The result was a seriously weakened Royal Navy in the following decade when Churchill demanded a more assertive British foreign policy.

Furthermore, as William Manchester pointed out in his writings on Churchill, he was responsible for one of the most disasterous economic moves to befall Great Britain in the 20th century-namely its return to the gold standard in 1925. This led to a disastorous set of events in 1926 that hampered Great Britain for a long time to come:

The effect of going back to gold, said Beaverbrook, was ‘making yet more difficult the selling of British goods abroad and so aggravating unemployment at home.’ Events soon proved Keynes and Beaverbrook right. English goods which had been priced at eighteen shillings in foreign markets now cost twenty – a full pound. This handicapped all British exporters; some became hopelessly crippled. The owners of British collieries could not compete with German and American coal if they charged higher rates. Their only alternative was to cut their miners’ wages. That was ominous. Coal mining, Britain’s basic industry, was also the most highly organized and politicized; Keir Hardie, the founder of the Labour party, had been a Scottish miner. The miners’ union protested the drop in pay. The Trade Union Congress, or TUC, the English equivalent of America’s AFL-CIO, promised to back the miners all the way, and Labour MPs declared their solidarity with them. In July 1925, two days before the cuts were to go into effect, Baldwin temporized. The Treasury, he said, would subsidize the mine owners while a commission headed by Sir Herbert Samuel investigated the situation. The prime minister bought nine months of labour peace, but the cost – first estimated at UKP 10,000,000 but ultimately UKP 23,000,000 – was exorbitant. Churchill had agreed to the stopgap, but he protested, with the rest of the cabinet, when the prime minister proposed to extend it. Keynes was in the thick of things. He asked: ‘Why should coal miners suffer a lower standard of life than other classes labour? They may be lazy, good-for-nothing fellows who do not work so hard or so long as they ought to. But is there any evidence that they are more lazy or more good-for-nothing than other people?’ They were, he said, ‘victims of the economic juggernaut,’ pawns being sacrificed to bridge the gap, required by the return to gold, between $4.40 and $4.86. ‘The plight of coal miners,’ he concluded, ‘is the first – but not, unless we are very lucky, the, last – of the Economic Consequences of Mr Churchill’.

And of course our boy West ignores the fact that in 1940, Lend Lease had not started. The Neutrality act was drying up Britains cash reserves and it was only when FDR was able to provide a massive “stimulus”-Lend Lease- that Britian was able to start the road to break even. Read some alternate history sometime about what would have happened if the US had not come into the war when it did.

And it would serve Mr. West to remember that the British people bounced Sir Winston at the end of the war. Hopefully that will provide a precedent for our current period-and provide for an equally unceremonious defeat of idiots like West, sooner rather than later.

But it is true to form for West-who never lets the facts get in the way of a good sound bite-that teabaggers will like.

9 responses so far

Mar 07 2011

The money is out there……

And Allen West and his retarded Tea Party “friends” know it.

Which explains why they have manufactured a budget crisis that need not exist:

And that doesn’t even begin to account for the savings we could have by leaving Afghanistan and Iraq, immediately.

16 responses so far

Feb 24 2011

The truth the poster child won’t tell you.

I went to body pump after work tonight. Angie, who is actually a very good instructor, decided that we all needed extra beatings in anticipation of the upcoming weekend. Suffice it to say I was dragging ass by the time we got to the pushups and crunches. They suck!

I had begun a long post  about Wisconsin and the bait and switch tactics that Scott Walker is using, in concert with his other sick GOP governor buddies, to try complete the cruxifiction of the middle class. But that will have to wait till tomorrow.

However, I would like to steer you towards a mini-book I downloaded last night for my I-pad. It is called, The Great Stagnation: How America Ate All The Low-Hanging Fruit of Modern History,Got Sick, and Will (Eventually) Feel Better.

It is by a guy named Tyler Cowen and his central premise is both pessimistic and optimistic in the long term. His thesis is, that our tired old notion of American exceptionalism-something the poster child repeats again and again to the fat, lazy and ignorant specimens of Americana who adore him-just isn’t going to sustain the USA for either the short or the long term. Allen West’s dream of rerturning to McKinelyville will destroy the very people who elected him. Cowen makes no secret that for the short term at least, life for the middle class is going to get worse and worse:

America is in disarray and our economy is failing us. We have been through the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression, unemployment remains stubbornly high, and talk of a double-dip recession persists. Americans are not pulling the world economy out of its sluggish state — if anything we are looking to Asia to drive a recovery.Median wages have risen only slowly since the 1970s, and this multi-decade stagnation is not yet over. By contrast, the living standards of earlier generations would double every few decades. The Democratic Party seeks to expand government spending even when the middle class feels squeezed, the public sector doesn’t always perform well, and we have no good plan for paying for forthcoming entitlement spending. To the extent Republicans have a consistent platform, it consists of unrealistic claims about how tax cuts will raise revenue and stimulate economic growth. The Republicans, when they hold power, are often a bigger fiscal disaster than the Democrats. How did we get into this mess?Imagine a tropical island where the citrus and bananas hang from the trees. Low-hanging literal fruit — you don’t even have to cook the stuff.In a figurative sense, the American economy has enjoyed lots of low-hanging fruit since at least the seventeenth century: free land; immigrant labor; and powerful new technologies. Yet during the last forty years, that low-hanging fruit started disappearing and we started pretending it was still there. We have failed to recognize that we are at a technological plateau and the trees are barer than we would like to think. That’s it. That is what has gone wrong.The problem won’t be solved overnight, but there are reasons to be optimistic. We simply have to recognize the underlying causes of our past prosperity—low hanging fruit—and how we will come upon more of it.

Now Mr West-does not like to hear that-he’d rather place the blame on anyone else-Muslims, Unions, CAIR, Olbermann, or any other convienent scapegoat- that his learning impaired followers love to hear bashed.

The problem is, as an explanation its lacking. Cowen’s central idea is that the pace of innovation has slowed, and that we are now on a “technological plateau” that makes further growth challenging. If you consider technology in the broad sense (energy, transportation, home, etc), this makes sense as things have not changed a lot in recent decades.

He points out too, that what technological innovations that have occured-and he fixates here on the internet, are actually accelerating the growth of income inequality, because in the long run they don’t enhance GDP. Without, some careful planning-and redefinition of our values, the technological growth will only reduce available jobs-not add them. Which is fine for the rich bastards at the top of the scale-but sucks for the rest of us.

I’m looking forward to see how he proposes we get out of that time trap.

12 responses so far

Feb 14 2011

An open letter to the poster child……

I dispatched the following letter to Congressman West today. That’s right-our boy Allen West.  In Allen West-you find everything that is wrong with the our new Galtian overlords all rolled up into one package. Watching this video filled me with disgust and enough anger, that I felt a responsibilty to write the guy himself:

The Honorable Allen West

1708 Longworth HOB

Washington, DC 20515

Dear Congressman West:

I had the misfortune this weekend to have had to watch your closing address to the CPAC conference. Since I too am a retired military officer who served approximately at the same time as you did, I find you take on world events profoundly disturbing.  The difference between us, it would appear, is that I actually learned something during my service around the world-and you clearly learned nothing. I viewed your address with utter disgust, that supposedly educated people could elect someone such as yourself, whose views are so extreme and wrongheaded, to a position of responsibility in the Congress of the United States.

I have three issues to raise with you.

The first, is your knowing acquiescence to a violation of the Hatch Act by having a serving Soldier appear at a political convention, in uniform-to give what can only be described as a political speech, endorsing you, to a political group.  He may not have known it was against the law-but I know you do. Your callous use of this young man to further your own twisted political ambitions represents a new low-even for someone who associates with the Tea Party.

Second, your speech is full of lies and misrepresentations of recent American history. For example you cite the often told lie that the administration is seeking to bring on 16000 new IRS agents. This statement may be red meat for the simpletons that attend a CPAC convention-but it is an out and out lie. The claim has been debunked repeatedly by authoritative sources and yet you and others repeatedly cite it. Your interpretation of the new healthcare law is similarly flawed-especially your assertions that the bill is unconstitutional (it’s not, and I believe the Supreme Court will ultimately uphold it), your assertion of all the new “taxes”-which are not taxes at all- shows that it is you that have not taken the time to read and understand the law, not the people you castigate for supporting the bill. Furthermore-your assertion that the underlying principles in the law, primarily the mandate will not work, have not been proven correct in the experience of other countries. I lived almost nine years in  Japan. I’ve also been in and around the system in Singapore. Both nations have mandatory assessments for health care and they work well. I’ve seen both systems up close and experienced them. Your claims about a “nanny state” are ignorant. When my [S.O's] heartless American employer downsized her position out of existence, she was able to move effortlessly to the Japanese National Health Insurance program-with no loss of coverage and the ability to see a doctor on the same day if need be. My experience living overseas where, by the way, the quality of life exceeds that here in the states-convinced me that we as a nation need to improve our health care system NOW. Is the new health care bill everything I want? No. But it’s a hell of a lot better than the lack of alternatives you and your Tea Party sycophants are offering.

That’s just one example of where you and I part ways politically. Now that may be part of the democratic process, but in your case there is one final aspect to the campaign and the style you show as a serving Congressman- that I hold in utter contempt.

You repeatedly use your former military rank as a shield-having been a military officer once,  does not give you a free pass on stupid ideas now. You repeatedly portray yourself as some sort of a victim because of your difficulties in Iraq. I refuse to accept that-you deserved that Article 15 you got, and whenever I see you on TV, I ask myself this one question: “ How many battalion commanders served in Iraq and did not go to NJP and get forced to retire?” The answer is : “Most of them”. So don’t hold yourself up as some paragon of moral virtue. I remain convinced the Army acted properly in your case. You are neither a hero or a villain-but you did make a mistake and you paid for it.  NJP was appropriate and the Army was right not to let you walk away scot free.

Now, some seven years later, it should matter for nothing-but it does because you made it an issue. You capitalize on it and in fact play it up for your Tea Party audience. You did the same in your CPAC speech. It is not that the troops serving in Iraq don’t have the right ROE-it is that they never should have been there in the first place.

So don’t you lecture me on the “superiority” of your values. Furthermore, don’t talk to me about all the spending cuts “you” are going to make, because you and I both know that by exempting defense and most entitlements-you are not even beginning to address the problem. Want to save some money? Want to balance the budget? Repeal the Bush tax cuts, put a surcharge on gasoline and most importantly, get the hell out of Iraq and Afghanistan. NOW-not years from now. The wars are a waste of lives and treasure, and they do NOTHING to advance the security of the United States.

In closing, I intend to do my part to make sure that you are defeated in the election of 2012. I will give money to your opponent and were I in Florida I would actively participate in your opponent’s campaign. You have allied yourself with some really bad people and you are using them in an opportunistic fashion to further your own political ambitions. There is nothing virtuous in that. In a normal world you would be regarded as a crank and an extremist-but sadly, we don’t live in a normal world in America politically. The GOP (a party I voted with for over 25 years until the war in Iraq) has been taken over by the crazies-and so, as a result, you get to channel the ignorance of millions and create a climate of fear and loathing. You decry the tactics that were used against you in the campaign? Look in the mirror, you are equally as guilty of using the same tactics or worse.

So at the end of the day-I am compelled to give voice to the contempt I hold for you. There are plenty of military retirees who can serve well as a representative in Congress. You, however-based on your actions over the last three years and your speech at CPAC-are not one of them.  Reasonable people need to see through your hype and oppose you. This letter is my way of doing so.

Sincerely,

Skippy-san

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