Tuesday, August 30, 2011
News that Gets My Goat:
-This goes out to those of us who have risked nausea watching the Faux News talking heads riff on their meme that “half the people in this country pay no taxes.” The Daily Show does their thing with clips of all the Fox personalities and a sample of GOP Congressmen repeating the exact same lines. Makes me wanna puke. It’s insulting to the intelligent viewer to listen to $5 million-a-year-contract Hannity say that the folks at the bottom end of the income chart don’t pay enough taxes, when the fact is that low income folks pay sales and payroll taxes that make their effective rate about twice that of the average millionaire. They won’t air the facts, but rather scream about “class warfare.” A quick look at the numbers tells that it’s the folks in the lower income brackets who are getting their asses blitzkrieged. Middle-class incomes have been flat for thirty years!
GOP Congressmen, who have suddenly discovered the National Debt now that a Democrat is in the White House, have finally found a tax that they will raise. No, it’s not the Bush tax cuts, corporate taxes, estate taxes or capital gains tax, it’s the Making Work Pay provision of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 that cut payroll taxes for millions of low-income Americans, due to expire this year. Grover Norquist, once bagman for Jack Abramoff and Ralph Reed, whose “Americans for Tax Reform” has sworn most Republican politicians to his anti-tax pledge, who has called the proposed repeal of ethanol subsidies a tax increase, is not on board, saying he’d have to study proposals to extend the tax holiday. I guess he’s waiting for low-income Americans to stuff checks in his mailbox.
-I get that creepy feeling when I read about Rick Perry being a protégée of former Senator Phil Gramm. Yes, that Phil Gramm; the klepto-pol who has been called the single person most responsible for the Crash of 2007. Author of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 that repealed Depression-era banking reforms and unleashed a debt-fueled frenzy of trading in commodities futures and derivatives such as collateralized debt obligations and credit default swaps, Gramm gave up his Senate seat and place on the Banking Committee to become a Vice Chairman for investment banking at Swiss Banking giant UBS to help them sell crooked tax shelters; running them afoul of US authorities, liable for millions in fines and holding billions in sub-prime loans. Some genius. Gramm is also cited as mentor to Congressman Pete Olson, the GOP’s replacement for convicted felon Tom DeLay, and Congressman Jeb Hensarling, who will soon be famous for bringing his Devil-take-the-hindmost philosophy to his new post of co-chair of the Debt Reduction Supercommittee.
Maybe Perry’s handlers only mention Gramm to distract from the fact that Perry takes marching orders from on-the-outs megalomaniacs Karl Rove and Dick Rumsfeld. Many folks remember Rove and Rumsfeld, but it’s been over three years since Gramm embarrassed the McCain campaign by calling the recession “mental,” saying that “we have sort of become a nation of whiners.”
Monday, August 22, 2011
America meet Rick Perry
This from Peggy Fikac in The Chronicle:
Lest we think politics is all games, a KIDS COUNT report released last week, and reported on by my colleague Gary Scharrer showed an aspect of Texas that Perry's unlikely to highlight in his presidential race. One of every four Texas children lives in poverty, and Texas has the worst rate of “food insecure” children in the country — one in four children live in homes in which their parents don't know where they'll get their next meal or how they'll pay for it. It reminded me of a post on the Capital Area Food Bank's website under the haunting headline, “Ten-year-old Jose stays active to prevent thinking about hunger.” It quotes the child: “Sometimes we don't have that much food. I just play some board games or I sleep, or do something active so I don't think about it. We're just trying to get the family to keep on going.”
Inbox Fw: RE:
“It was the young people of this nation who elected Obama and the Democratic Congress.
“You fell for the "Hope and Change" which in reality was nothing but "Hype and Lies." You have tasted socialism and seen evil face to face, and have found you don't like it after all. You make a lot of noise, but most are all too interested in their careers or "Climbing the Social Ladder" to be involved in such mundane things as patriotism and voting. Many of those who fell for the "Great Lie" in 2008 are now having buyer's remorse. With all the education we gave you, you didn't have sense enough to see through the lies and instead drank the 'Cool-Aid.' Now you're paying the price and complaining about it. No jobs, lost mortgages, higher taxes, and less freedom. This is what you voted for and this is what you got.
“Well, don't worry youngsters, the Grey Haired Brigade is here, and in 2012 we are going to take back our nation. We may drive a little slower than you would like but we get where we're going, and in 2012 we're going to the polls by the millions. This land does not belong to the man in the White House nor to the likes of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. It belongs to "We the People" and "We the People" plan to reclaim our land and our freedom.”
- Well thanks, gray panthers, but remember that your generation, like every other, did the right thing after exhausting every other possibility.
Say what you will about the Executive, Judiciary and our ‘Parliament of Whores,’ but we can’t simply blame this trainwreck on Mr. Obama. The Bush bailouts and the Recovery and Reinvestment Act, flawed as they were, probably prevented the Great Recession from becoming the Greatest Depression yet. I shudder to think what we would have if we’d elected the addled and belligerent Senator McCain three years ago. Think war with Iran for one thing.
This latest mess has been years in the making, the financialization of the economy, corporate take-over of government, militarization that has us spending more on defense than the rest of the world put together, and economic injustice that has the richest 400 families in America owning half the country while middle class incomes have been flat for thirty years. The American people have been voting for this rubbish all along; as H.L. Mencken said, "the Boobus Americanus is a bird that knows no season."
I guess you triggered a rant with this one. I didn't 'reply all,' but the "lies, evil and socialism" stuff is too much for me. I'm disappointed with the Pres too, but for different reasons. I take comfort in my belief that a good president is one who makes both sides mad. Reminds me of what FDR said when pullman porters came to tell him what a raw deal they were getting, He said 'I agree with you, now make me do something about it.' The presidency is a 'bully pulpit,' but it doesn't have the power to move mountains. That job is reserved for 'we the people.'
But, Hands Off My Medicare!
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Perry Quotables That Didn't Make News
2. The Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack can munch on the corn in my stool;
3. Ambassador, Kristie Kelly of the Phillipines, is so fat that when she buys clothes they change the tags to, "one size fits some."
4. Michelle Bachman didn't always look this way. No, Sir. When she ran for congress the first time she was so ugly that when she went in the bank, they'd turn the surveillence cameras off.
5. Josaia Vorege, the Prime Minister of Fiji, can suck my rosey red dick!
6. They tell me that John Bellows, the Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, always smells like B.O.
7. Mary Schapiro, Co-Chair of the SEC?! Baby, I got your Sarbane-Oxley Act right here! (grabs crotch)
8. Mass, St. Patrick's Cathedral: "pooot."
Monday, August 15, 2011
White House Debates Fight on Economy
Here’s a bit from Binyamin Appelbaum and Helene Cooper in Sunday’s New York Times:
“WASHINGTON — As the economy worsens, President Obama and his senior aides are considering whether to adopt a more combative approach on economic issues, seeking to highlight substantive differences with Republicans in Congress and on the campaign trail rather than continuing to pursue elusive compromises, advisers to the president say.
“Mr. Obama’s senior adviser, David Plouffe, and his chief of staff, William M. Daley, want him to maintain a pragmatic strategy of appealing to independent voters by advocating ideas that can pass Congress, even if they may not have much economic impact. These include free trade agreements and improved patent protections for inventors.
“But others, including Gene Sperling, Mr. Obama’s chief economic adviser, say public anger over the debt ceiling debate has weakened Republicans and created an opening for bigger ideas like tax incentives for businesses that hire more workers, according to Congressional Democrats who share that view. Democrats are also pushing the White House to help homeowners facing foreclosure.
“Even if the ideas cannot pass Congress, they say, the president would gain a campaign issue by pushing for them.”
-I’m with Sperling on this one. Obama has been settling for half a loaf all along, and that’s not getting it done. After the Bush bail-out, Congress had little stomach for stimulus spending to address the Great Recession, and the half-measures that passed served little better than the ‘helicopter theory’ of pump priming would have done.
Economists say this recovery will take years. What are we to do in the meantime? People need work, and there’s work to be done in this country. State and local governments are strapped for cash and have been laying off workers and putting off public works. Consumer demand is off because people are either broke or worried about going broke.
We’ve been hearing the GOP’s answers, and they’re all about comforting the comfortable and afflicting the afflicted. They want to privatize Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and even Unemployment Insurance. By way of stimulus they would cut corporate tax rates and capital gains taxes, forego taxation on repatriated corporate profits, and make permanent the lowest tax rates on top earners in fifty years. At the same time, they adamantly oppose any reform of the tax code to close loopholes such as those that benefit Big Oil, Agribusiness, and owners of McMansions and vacation homes. Does anybody really believe this will move corporate America, already sitting on huge cash reserves, to create millions of jobs? It sure didn’t happen when Bush did it. What we would see is record salaries and bonuses for corporate titans, higher dividends, stock buybacks, and a new wave of job-killing mergers and acquisitions.
With progressive tax reform, sustainable energy policy, improved healthcare reform, right-sizing of defense spending, a tax on transactions between financial institutions (a segment of the economy that has doubled in size these last thirty years) and means testing of entitlements, we could afford a new National Recovery Administration to put Americans to work on projects with real pay-back. Energy saving building retrofits, renewable power projects, transit systems, schools, libraries, Wi-Fi networks; all are candidates for investment. Hell, there are millions of Americans that don’t have access to decent supermarkets. The G.I. Bill of 1944 returned between $5 and $10 for every dollar invested. Sensible spending like this could tide us over while the economy recovers from its debt hang-over and put us in position for growth and prosperity down the road.
Now I know that none of this would pass through the present Congress. That’s no reason not to propose it. President Obama should channel “Give ‘em Hell” Harry Truman and not let up until he is re-elected with a super-majority in Congress. Truman berated the “do-nothing Congress” saying “I don’t give them Hell, I just tell the truth about them and they think it’s Hell.”
He could quote Theodore Roosevelt, a great Republican who 100 years before the Crash of 2007 said “It may well be that the determination of the government (in which, gentlemen, it will not waver) to punish certain malefactors of great wealth, has been responsible for something of the trouble; at least to the extent of having caused these men to combine to bring about as much financial stress as possible, in order to discredit the policy of the government and thereby secure a reversal of that policy, so that they may enjoy unmolested the fruits of their own evil-doing. . . . I regard this contest as one to determine who shall rule this free country—the people through their governmental agents, or a few ruthless and domineering men whose wealth makes them peculiarly formidable because they hide behind the breastworks of corporate organization.”
NY Times Editorial: 3/19/14
Corinthians 14:2 For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit.
Friday, August 12, 2011
Rick Perry to Announce
Spokesman Mike Miner announced Thursday that Texas Governor Rick Perry will declare himself a candidate for the GOP presidential nomination at the RedState Gathering Saturday in Charleston, South Carolina. Ah, South Carolina: “too small for a republic, too large for an insane asylum.”
Perry could have announced this week and taken part in the Ames Iowa debates with eight other Republican candidates last night. Perhaps he was doing like his buddy Sarah Palin and avoiding those darn “gotcha questions.” Chances are that nobody in Charleston will be asking him about Texas-style crony capitalism, or the revolving door that sends top staffers out to become high-paid lobbyists and brings them back to the Governors office to write policy and legislation. There will be no questions about his crazy preacher friends such as Pastor John Hagee, who has made millions telling his flock to be friends of Israel, so that God can start a fire there that burns the whole world. Nobody will point out that Perry, who is so “Fed-up” with government, hasn’t had a job in the private sector since he sold Bibles as a student at Texas A&M forty years ago.
Is Perry for real, or maybe he just doesn’t want to go back to Haskell? He’s done well in government and is living high on the hog with his travel, $10,000 a month digs, and security detail. He may simply be enjoying the high life on what used to be called the “rubber chicken circuit” as some other candidates, declared or otherwise, are doing. Right-wing think tanks pay good these years, and there seems to be a ready if artificial market for books by “conservatives.” RedState.com owner Human Events Magazine’s Regnery Publishing, once publisher for Robert Welch, founder of the John Birch Society, now sells millions of books by G. Gordon Liddy, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, and Newt Gingrich, though I don’t know how many people read the stuff. Campaigning is a license to raise millions from wealthy companies and individuals, something Rick Perry has never had a problem with. Opportunities abound for some who know which side their bread is buttered on.
From the, "only in Texas" Department
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Ouch! The Stupid! It Burns!
I did a random sampling of Bachman photos beginning with Christmas morning in 1965. Basically, she looks, "as crazy as a shithouse rat," (thanks, Molly) in every single f-in' photo she ever took.
It doesn't surprise me that NOW stuck their public foot in their mouth (again) by labeling the News Week cover, "sexist," etc. They have a talent for snuggling with strange bedfellows. But can't someone there make a quick Google machine check on the photographic record of 'Ol Crazy Eyes before going all stupid on us?
Tuesday, August 09, 2011
Well, last week’s Teaparty Downgrade became the Teaparty Crash. After hearing parts of Standard and Poors’ Research Update, I thought I’d put some of it up here. It may seem like pretty dry stuff until you consider the fact that all that drama is costing us money. I know that my retirement accounts are down over 5%, which really stings after I was anticipating good returns after seeing the DJIA back up over 12,500 just over a week ago. How exasperating!
The GOP has shown that they’ll go to any extreme trying to take back the White House. Well, election year starts in a few months, and I hope this coup attempt blows up in their faces. If the voting public can see who the real culprits are here, and not lose focus over the next fifteen months, maybe they’ll re-elect the president and throw those baggy-assed freshman out of the House. That’s a big ‘if,’ and there are tough times ahead between now and then. For all the talk about jobs, you know the only job measures to come out of this congress will be in the form of corporate give-aways and tax breaks for “job creators.” –I don’t believe in that type of creationism either. If we want to see a new Works Progress Administration, Civilian Conservation Corps, or Rural Electrification Administration type agenda to address unemployment while improving public health, education and infrastructure, we’re going to have to hang in there and vote for it.
Meanwhile; a word from Standard and Poors:
United States of America Long-Term Rating
Lowered To 'AA+' On Political Risks And
Rising Debt Burden; Outlook Negative
The political brinksmanship of recent months highlights what we see as
America's governance and policymaking becoming less stable, less effective,
and less predictable than what we previously believed. The statutory debt
ceiling and the threat of default have become political bargaining chips in
the debate over fiscal policy. Despite this year's wide-ranging debate, in our
view, the differences between political parties have proven to be
extraordinarily difficult to bridge, and, as we see it, the resulting
agreement fell well short of the comprehensive fiscal consolidation program
that some proponents had envisaged until quite recently. Republicans and
Democrats have only been able to agree to relatively modest savings on
discretionary spending while delegating to the Select Committee decisions on
more comprehensive measures. It appears that for now, new revenues have
dropped down on the menu of policy options. In addition, the plan envisions
only minor policy changes on Medicare and little change in other entitlements,
the containment of which we and most other independent observers regard as key
to long-term fiscal sustainability. Our opinion is that elected officials remain wary of tackling the structural issues required to effectively address the rising U.S. public debt burden in a manner consistent with a 'AAA' rating and with 'AAA' rated sovereign peers (see Sovereign Government Rating Methodology and Assumptions," June 30, 2011, especially Paragraphs 36-41). In our view, the difficulty in framing a consensus on fiscal policy weakens the government's ability to
manage public finances and diverts attention from the debate over how to
achieve more balanced and dynamic economic growth in an era of fiscal
stringency and private-sector deleveraging (ibid). A new political consensus
might (or might not) emerge after the 2012 elections, but we believe that by
then, the government debt burden will likely be higher, the needed medium-term
fiscal adjustment potentially greater, and the inflection point on the U.S.
population's demographics and other age-related spending drivers closer at
Monday, August 08, 2011
Support The President
Thursday, August 04, 2011
Good day at the beach
The dawn patrol, a bit tardy, hit East Beach Monday for the best day fishing this year so far. Wind was off a bit, SSW, but pretty flat, and water was green to the beach.
While The Creature netted up a bucket of mullet, Joey and I free lined live shrimp in the surf and soon were wrestling speckled trout. A couple were solid slot fish, near 24.” Those went on ice. After this bite slowed down we bounced mullet off the bottom in the 2nd gut and found enough little black tip sharks to keep it interesting. All in all a great day, especially to have fish show up when I had company. Most trips lately featured gale-force winds and sandy surf. I hope this trend holds, every year seems to bring at least one ‘ice cream’ day with big shrimp on the beach and pompano there eating them. Maybe tomorrow..
Is That A Bible In Your Pocket?
Why do I keep acting like Rick Perry is light in the loafers? Because credible witnesses tell me about their expereince with Perry's circumstances that appear very much reasonable to conclude as something that has come up in the past.
I don't like politicans, such as the governor, who do things like facilitate cuts to services for handicapped children with so much apparent glee. It is seemingly reflexive on the part of these guys to deamonize their victims so that whatever happens makes it appear that they had it comin' to 'em. Teachers, environmentalist, latinos, the poor, are all bad people. But gay folks get special treatment, and in light of Perry's possible polarity in that regard, this relentless homophobic bashing strikes me as hypocritical beyond my ability to tolerate. Even from the party of incredible macho men like Ralph Reed, Gary Bauer, and Orin "Chaps" Hatch.
Perry's Texas miracle: 1. Texas debt = 28 billion; 2. Texas 45 -50th in per capita social services spending; 3. Texas No. 1 in uninsured people; 4. Texas No. 1 in minimum wage jobs; 5. 45% of wages below the poverty line; 6. Unemployment = 8.5%; 7. Six states with lower unemployment.
I don't care how much of a Christian he pretends to be, the suffering he helps cause in order to look after his friends is not very Christian, to me. But let's not confuse religion with sexual orientation; he does that by himself just fine. He has called upon the people everywhere to join him in a day of prayer:
"In a video invitation, Perry says it was inspired by the Old Testament Book of Joel, with an apocalyptic passage on God's army marching on the Israelites to punish them for their moral decline. Perry says America is facing a similar moral crisis today. In Joel, God calls on the Israelites to come together in a "sacred assembly" with "fasting, with weeping and with mourning." Perry said Americans should do the same at the gathering at Reliant Stadium, where the 2004 Super Bowl was held." *
The Super Bowl??? Wow!
He sent out 71,000 invitations, but only got 8,000 back. None of the politicians he invited dare to appear at such a spectical. The event became a bit of an abortion (ironic?) just about as soon as it began. Perry had the thing catered by the Fred Phelps Ladies Auxilliary - just kidding. No, really:
The American Family Association is paying for the event – no public money is involved. The evangelical association is a nonprofit that describes itself as being "on the front lines of America's culture war" and was previously known as the National Federation for Decency. The group, based in Tupelo, Miss., publishes a magazine and operates 200 radio stations. The group condemns homosexuality, opposes abortion rights and argues that the First Amendment's guarantee of religious freedom only applies to Christians.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled the association a hate group for spreading misinformation about homosexuals and transgender people. Perry has dismissed such characterizations and appeared on a Christian radio show with the association's president, Tim Wildmon.
The prayer gathering "is not political, it's not about promoting an organization. ... It's about people calling out to God," Perry said on July 14. "I want God helping me, guiding me, giving me direction." *
Even though Fox News will make the thing look as big as Woodstock on TV, the air is already out of the whoopie cushion. It's a dud. In fact, I've heard smart-alec hippies and rubber neckers are making plans to attend to get free Jesus gear...Oh, and the hundreds of protestors.
At this point, my advice to Gov. Goodhair is to pray. In a closet.
*Many thanks to Huffinton Post.
Tuesday, August 02, 2011
And the Winner Is.....