Archive for the ‘Economy’ Category

Afghanistan: The Little Brown Poor People Have Already Won
May 29, 2012

Did you ever take a close look at pictures of American soldiers trekking around Afghanistan? You’ll see guys humping fifty to a hundred pounds of gear.

And the ‘enemy’? Guys in Afghan street clothes carrying AKs.

Guess who won the war? Yup, the little guys with the funny hats and scruffy beards.

But, you say, it’s not over yet. How could they have won?

You might also ask yourself who the Americans are fighting. Al Qaeda? Pretty much gone ten years ago. The Taliban? Apparently, but they’re fighting a civil war, or will as soon as the Americans get out of the way. And then there’s the ‘suspected insurgents’ and the ‘suspected militants’. It’s never ‘insurgents’ or ‘militants’. And a good many of them are, didja notice, somewhere between the ages of just born to, oh, say, ten years old.

Of course the point for the Afghanis is that they are fighting on their home turf. They live there. They have a long history there. Long and bloody, but it’s their history and their land.

And really, the Americans, their supply line goes halfway around the world. And their lines of reasoning come straight from the rabbit hole. Ripping Afghanistan apart so that ‘terrorists can never use Afghanistan as a launching pad for attacks on the United States again.’ The Americans seem to have forgotten the attacks of 9/11 were launched from major American airports using American airplanes and the criminals were trained in American flight schools. Al Qaeda, or whoever, and it is increasingly obvious that the Americans are fighting whoever, doesn’t need Afghanistan. Or any particular country or place. A dining room table in Peoria, Illinois will serve just fine as a planning venue.

So not only do the Americans not know who they’re fighting, or why, but they’re being beaten. Ten years and Afghanistan just sinks deeper into corruption and violence. But that’s not the win.

The win for the ‘enemy’ is that the United States has spent well over a half a trillion dollars to date, and is on the hook for probably another trillion or more just to provide for the soldiers damaged in the fight. Add in another couple of trillion for the Iraq war.

So the United States is several trillion dollars in the hole, and counting, based on the whims and ignorance of a narcissistic, egotistical adolescent President named Bush and his amoral sidekick Cheney. And a smart guy, or maybe not so smart guy, named Obama continues to throw money into the snakepits of Afghanistan and corporate war profiteers in the United States.

And just how does that count for a win for the little brown guys with the AKs?

Because all the money could have gone to making the United States a stronger, safer country instead of a weak, mewling giant. It could have gone to building a first class education system instead of the existing failing system that’s being undermined by the ignorant fanatics the conservative movement has unleashed in America. That money could have gone to improving infrastructure, to building first class rail systems and urban transit systems. That money could have gone into massive investments in research and development and implementation of energy systems that could free the country from dependence on the oil and coal that are killing the world. That money could have gone to produce a first class healthcare system instead of a third rate insurance system that enriches CEOs at the cost of the lives and health of citizens.

But we have none of those things. Nor will we in the foreseeable future. Our Dear Leaders have decided it is better to fight a war and kill innocent foreign children than it is to risk the wrath of the conservatives, the know-nothings, the ignorant, the religious fanatics, and the rest of the blind ideologues who shout and stomp their feet and then vote for the candidates who appeal to their basest instincts.

The United States was once the place where people the world over aspired to go. It was thought to be the land of freedom and civility. Now, to aspire to become an American is to aspire to sink into a moral sewer.

So, yes, al Qaeda, or whoever, has won. The United States allowed al Qaeda, or whoever, to allow the United States to cut its own throat. And a fine job of it the United States has done.

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Michele Bachmann: “Work or die!”
November 8, 2011

From ThinkProgress:

GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann promised to significantly lower funding to social safety net programs during a speech at the Family Research Council this morning, going so far as to suggest that people who can’t work should not eat. “Our nation needs to stop doing for people what they can and should do for themselves,” she said. “Self reliance means, if anyone will not work, neither should he eat.”

Perhaps they should be whipped too. Or maybe we could cut their hands off because if they do stay alive they must be eating and if they’re eating then that would be stealing, so off with their hands. That’s all just mighty Christian of her, isn’t it?

But really, shouldn’t this prescription of Bachmann’s apply to Ms. Bachmann herself? She is a Republican member of a Congress in which the Republicans have chosen to do nothing, thus they are not in any real sense ‘working’, are they? So, Ms. Michelle, no food for you until you get a real job – not that you’re qualified for anything other than sucking at the public teat of taxpayer money like you’ve done most of your life.

If anyone doubted Ms. Bachmann’s credentials as a completely-off-the-deep-end, insane, dumbass, cold-hearted, brain-damaged moron, her comment should put their doubts to rest. But of course these credentials eminently qualify her as an acceptable candidate for the Republican nomination for President of the United States and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States.

‘Scuse me while I call up the Asylum to see if my old room is still available. That’s the only place I can find sane people anymore.

And because I seem to have logorrhea this morning, let’s consider what Ms. Bachmann has not. No one lives in a complete vacuum. We live as members of communities, or as Ms. Bachmann so innocently put it, ‘in our nation’. Ms. Bachmann apparently believes firmly and profoundly that our nation should become a place of dog eat dog mentality, that the strong should brutalize the weak, in her example by starving them to death. Ms. Bachmann is apparently neither competent nor capable of considering that self-reliance in a community means you do the best you can to care for yourself, but you rely on your community, in this case the United States, to help you when you need it, just as you are willing to help your community when it needs you. But that’s not Ms. Bachmann’s way. She would, it seems, quite enjoy watching people starve to death: after all, that would be justice and being one of the leading intellectual lights of the Republican Party she must, of course, understand justice.

All you unemployed people out there, living high off the pittance of unemployment insurance because there are no jobs, you’d best cover your ass, because the almighty Michelle Bachmann, wielding the sword and word of her God and the thought  processes of any number of insane, deranged pissant dictators, is getting ready to hack your ass off, along with your hands and feet just for good measure. And say, how come your kids aren’t working?

It’s just amazing what the Republicans can dredge up from the mud of humanity to represent their best philosophical and political thought.

You go, Michelle! Yessir, right into a padded room on the locked ward on the fifth floor. Dinner will be served in a couple of months. If you’re lucky.

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SuperCommittee Finance, Shimance! Ride, Ride to Ruin and World’s Ending, Dumbass.
November 4, 2011

 

TalkingPointsMemo has a brief article on the shenanigans of the so-called SuperCommittee, followed by many comments on the effects of the various so-called ideas those august so-called gentlemen on the committee are ‘discussing’.

The commenters seem to have missed the point.

It doesn’t matter whether tax cuts are stimulative or destructive.  The effects of cutting spending by this much or that much do not matter. None of the discussion on financial matters matters.

Only one thing matters to the Republicans: getting Obama out of the White House and installing their own corporate whore. They are willing to wreck the country to accomplish that goal. And they are succeeding on both counts, with the able help of… wait for it… Obama and the Democrats, who are trying desperately to give away the valuable stuff in a pathetic attempt to get the crazies on the right to play nice.

Wake up, America! You have nothing to lose but everything that matters.

Wake up, America! You have nothing to fear but the arrogance, the ignorance, the hatred, and the stupidity of the Republicans, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Tea Party.

Wake up, America! You bunch of sleeping dumbasses.

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And More, From David Michael Green, On Wha’ Hoppened
August 13, 2011

To add some more spice to the Michael Moore piece touted below, add this piece from David Michael Green.

A sample:

Really, you have to give this country credit where credit is due. No contemporary developed nation in the world can touch us where political stupidity is concerned. We’re the best at that! American exceptionalism, man! Take that, you cheese-eating European socialists!

And this…

[Obama] is the anti-FDR in every meaning of that term. FDR saved the country. Obama is burying it. FDR created the Democratic Party as we (used to) know it, once probably the most formidable political machine in American history. Obama is dragging it curbside. FDR gave America its social contract. Obama is dismantling it. FDR reveled in the hatred of the greedy thuggish scum who despised him. Obama keeps hoping they’ll like him and invite him over for a beer if only he lets them pass his limp body around the jail cell one more time. FDR was America’s greatest president. Obama is undoubtedly one of its worst.

And this…

The most disheartening thing about the American political condition is the degree to which people don’t get what has happened to them, and still continues to happen, destroying the body politic. It’s as if you were staring at an x-ray of a giant tumor in your belly, and nevertheless still sat there in befuddled consternation, wondering what the hell was making you feel so ill. It’s as if you then thought to yourself, “Oh, what the hell, I guess I’ll just drink a keg or two of this here Tumor Growth Potion. Maybe that will cure me.” In the latest sign of this diagnostic idiocy, voters in Wisconsin this week had the opportunity to respond to the tumor that is their Republican governor, through the mechanism of recall elections. The results were hardly a ringing endorsement for sanity, or even self-protection from the predators for whom Scott Walker and his party (as well as most of the other party) shills. That’s really depressing.

And you gotta love…

Fox News only makes sense if you’re stupid.

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Wha’ Hoppened? Michael Moore Tells All
August 13, 2011

In a piece at Common Dreams Michael Moore explains how we got to the dismal place we’re at today, living in a country that’s sliding into plutocracy and theocracy, sliding down a chute greased by Ronnie Raygun, the phony Christians of the right wing, and the money guys in the banks and on Wall Street, the corporatocrats, and oh, yes, by the AFL-CIO.

Does anybody remember PATCO?

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It’s a good read. 

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Why Republicans Must Never Govern America Again
July 11, 2011

 

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The Three Stooges

Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, the Women’s Plastic Surgery Assface Award winner, gave a profound insight into the dark, foul heart of modern Republicans on Fox News Sunday.

He is quoted at TPM in the context of stating why he believes foreign terrorists should not be tried in civilian courts:

"These are not American citizens. We just found with the Caylee Anthony case how difficult is to get a conviction in a U.S. court," Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said on "Fox News Sunday."

Think about that for a second. Never mind the dumbasses playing at being terrorists. Think about the Anthony case and what old lady McConnell is saying.

“…how difficult it is to get a conviction in a U.S. court…”

Never mind what you think about Casey Anthony’s guilt or innocence or whether you think the jury was on drugs and the judge an agent of international communism.

Senator Mitch McConnell, a leader of the Republican party, decided that Casey Anthony should have been convicted of murder. His logic leads directly to the assertion that since she was charged she must be guilty.

Why bother with trials? The Senator believes she must be guilty, so just take the bitch out and hang her.

Never mind that she had a trial, that evidence was presented, and that evidence was challenged, and that a jury of her peers sat there for six weeks and heard everything both sides had to offer before retiring and finding her not guilty.

Nope. McConnell and his modern Republican pals don’t think we should do it that way. They think we should do justice another way: if you’re charged by the authorities, you are guilty. That’s very modern, no?

As modern as the Inquisition. As modern as feudalism. As modern as a lynch mob.

But the old whore Mitch might be right. It might be impossible to get civilian courts to convict a lot of the people locked up in Guantanamo and other hellholes the United States has established around the world for so-called terrorists. It might be impossible because in large numbers of these cases there is no evidence. No credible evidence.

There’s hearsay, when some guy wanted to get rid of his neighbor so he could get hold of the guy’s donkey or his wife.

There’re statements made under torture. Those are as reliable as confessions gained by the Inquisition’s torturers. And really, don’t kid yourself that Americans don’t torture people anymore. Bush and his fellow Christians started us down that road as a matter of policy, and we’ve learned that the current President’s word is pretty much worthless, so we’ve no credible grounds to believe we no longer torture people.

And there’s a host of other problems with the whole terrorist evidence situation. But perhaps the most fundamental one is that the United States considers a terrorist to be any person who fights against the invasion and destruction of his country by the Americans. And that pretty much makes the real terrorists to be the Americans.

A good civilian defense lawyer could very likely shred any case brought against these defendants – it’s more than likely most of them are innocent of any crime, and are more likely the victims of the vast war crime industry that we call the United States. That’s the real reason for the Republican call for the use of military kangaroo courts. Without that faux justice the real truth about what America has become might come out and people in Washington might actually have to pay a price for the innocent blood in which they are drenched.

No, the real problem is that McConnell and his friends can’t wait to completely corrupt the civilian system so that they can turn it against United States citizens, so that they can accuse their political enemies and have their accusations stand as proof of guilt, just like in the good old days the Republicans want to drag this country back to. The good old dark days of White rule, of oligarchic rule, of flat out simple firing squad governance.

After all, their stated objective, spoken by United States Senator Mitch McConnell, is to bring down the elected President of the United States, and the current situation in Washington demonstrates that they are more than willing, and able, to destroy the economy and anything else American, in order to do just that.

Their real progenitor, their real hero isn’t Abraham Lincoln. No. The real hero of Republicans, the man they look up to, the man they admire the most, the man they seek to emulate, that fellow’s name is John Wilkes Booth.

And the political system they most admire is one, any one, based on the practices and ideals of the medieval Inquisition.

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Mitt Romney: Filthy Rich and Utterly Clueless
June 16, 2011

Mitt Romney is a useless and clueless politician. He’s so desperate to garner votes that he will say anything, do anything, and change his mind seven times a day if he travels to seven cities a day. And yet he can’t help but wrap his tongue around his ankles and fall on his face when he opens his mouth to mouth his latest ideological platitude. And that mostly because he has absolutely no respect for the working people – you know, the people who made him and his father rich by busting their asses in factories.

His latest insult came in Florida while he was having a conversation with some unemployed people.

Mitt Romney sat at the head of the table at a coffee shop here on Thursday, listening to a group of unemployed Floridians explain the challenges of looking for work. When they finished, he weighed in with a predicament of his own.

“I should tell my story,” Mr. Romney said. “I’m also unemployed.”

Did you hear a word they said, Mittens? Or were you just salivating inside your little mind to get out that clever little sentence?

Here’s a guy worth a few hundred million dollars, who spent a good part of his business career throwing people out of work so he could line his pockets with cash, boo-hooing his lack of a job. Oh sure, he was trying to be humorous about it, but a rich man, a man who’s buddy-buddy with the Wall Streeters and the bankers who cost the country tens of millions of jobs and brought on the economic disaster of the last couple of years, a rich man whose Republican ideology says kick the workers, kick the poor, kick the sick, and give the taxpayer’s dollars to rich jerks like Mitt Romney and friends, jokes that he’s just like real unemployed people. To their faces. And according to the news story they didn’t have the balls to tell him off. They chuckled, like brain-dead, brainwashed idiots.

And he caps it off with this:

“We have all been distressed by the policies that this administration has put in place over the last two years,” Mr. Romney said. “We have seen the most anti-investment, antigrowth, antijob strategy in America since Jimmy Carter. The result has been it’s harder and harder for people to find work.”

It would of course be useless to point out to this stupid Republiclown that it was a Republiclown President and a Republiclown Congress that drove the country into debt, that drove the jobs out of existence, that played fast and loose with the Federal budget in order to fund two useless, pointless wars. (And some fool will no doubt say it was really Clinton’s fault, never mind the budget surplus that Clinton handed the born-again moron from Texas). And it would be equally useless to point out that the Republiclowns haven’t created one job since they won back the House, but have done everything they could to obstruct, delay, deny, and sabotage every attempt by the black guy in their White House to create jobs and get the economy back from the edge of the cliff the Republicans are so desperately trying to push us all over.

Come to think of it, pretty much all the Republiclowns are useless and clueless and really really don’t like people who get their hands dirty at work.

Mitt Romney, Man of the (Rich) People!

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Ah, Republicans! Thank You So Much…
May 25, 2011

 

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Commentary on this at TPM.

Eric Cantor: Republican Sociopath
May 25, 2011

From ThinkProgress

Cantor Says Congress Won’t Pay For Missouri Disaster Relief Unless Spending Is Cut Elsewhere

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), however, said that before Congress approved federal funds for disaster relief, it had to offset the spending with cuts to other programs. The Washington Times reports:

    House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said Monday that if Congress passes an emergency spending bill to help Missouri’s tornado victims, the extra money will have to be cut from somewhere else.

    “If there is support for a supplemental, it would be accompanied by support for having pay-fors to that supplemental,” Mr. Cantor, Virginia Republican, told reporters at the Capitol. The term “pay-fors” is used by lawmakers to signal cuts or tax increases used to pay for new spending.

Think about that for a minute. Let it swirl around your brain, let it bathe your synapses in its simplicity.

Remember the context. Joplin, Missouri. Thirty percent of the town leveled by a tornado. One hundred twenty three dead; fifteen hundred missing. A swath of homes and businesses six miles long and three quarters of a mile wide flattened.

And this disgusting little Republican will hold that town hostage to his ideology of greed and lust for power. Suffering? Mass death? Physical and economic devastation? That means nothing to Republicans, except as a bargaining chip used to implement their insane dogma of governance.

Republicans consistently fail to understand that government is not a business and cannot be run like one, certainly not like the piratical, rapacious sort of business that they favor. That is not to say that some business practices might not be useful in increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of government. But a country is not a business. When a community is hurt, is devastated, when a community’s people are dying and injured, the role of government is to step in and help. Period. No quibbles. No qualms. No bargaining. No ideological grandstanding.

Unfortunately, because of Republican policies and Republican intransigence and Republican arrogance, the entire country is hurting. Yes, Democrats are not guilt free, but Republicans have the bloody hands in American economic failure (and intellectual failure).

And the Republican answer has been to hand more taxpayer money to the wealthy and to the oil companies, two elements who are swimming in riches already.

The Republican answer is to destroy the social safety nets of unemployment insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, and by impoverishing the people whom these social programs serve, hand the financial benefits over to the already wealthy insurance corporations and financial companies.

The Republicans have not created a single job since 2010. They have stood in the economic doorway like fire-breathing Southern governors of times gone by and bellowed, “This shall not pass.”

And when a monstrous disaster befalls a place like Joplin, Missouri, the Republicans just tighten their hold on the doorframe with one hand and hold out the other to take a bribe before they will let the people’s government put out a hand to help the people of Joplin.

That’s the act of a sociopath, and the Republicans have institutionalized sociopathy in the heart of their politics, right along with profound greed, unfettered lust for power, willful and profitable ignorance, and a broad bigotry that attacks any class or group that is neither wealthy nor powerful.

They loudly claim they represent American values, and they do. They represent the worst, the lowest, the most disgusting American values.

If the United States is to survive as a democracy, the Republicans have to be kicked to the ash heap and buried there.

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How to scare a banker
May 23, 2011

At the height, or depth, of the mortgage crisis, sometime last week, my cousin Charlie, a smart guy who fell on hard times and lost his home of twenty-one years to a bank a year earlier, scared the pants off an entire bank full of bankers.

His house had stood empty for a year after the bank unceremoniously threw him, his wife, their three children, the dog, the cat, and two goldfish out on the street. The dog, the cat, and the goldfish all found homes in short order. Charlie and his family, not so much: they lived in their van until last week when it broke down.

Of course Charlie’s story sounds pretty much like the All American story up to that point. No work, no money, no home. But then Charlie did something revolutionary, something unheard of.

“I moved back into my damn home. I tore down the bank signs and moved my family back under the roof I paid for,” Charlie told me while we waited for the bank guy who had threatened to throw him out again. “I mean what are they going to do? Throw me out in the street again?”

The bank guy showed up wearing bluejeans and a flannel shirt with the sleeves rolled up.

“Man of the people,” Charlie said. “Man of the people.”

The bank man walked past Charlie and me and tacked a piece of pink paper to the front door. Then he motioned Charlie over.

“See that,” Bank Man said. “That says you can’t stay here.”

Charlie peered at the paper.

“You can read, can’t you?” Bank Man sneered.

“Sure can. Been reading all my life.”

Then Charlie fired the shot heard round the neighborhood. He tore the pink piece of paper off the door and handed it to Bank Man.

“You can’t do that,” Bank Man said, stepping back from Charlie.

“Sure can. In fact I can do whatever I want on my property.”

“It belongs to the bank, not you.”

“Really? In that case you won’t mind producing the mortgage documents.”

Bank Man pulled a piece of paper from his notebook and handed it to Charlie.

“This is not a mortgage,” Charlie said. “All it says is that the bank made a mortgage.”

“Well this is good enough. It will have to do.”

“No it won’t. I am in possession of my home. You are trespassing.”

By now a small crowd of neighbors had gathered and were muttering Charlie on.

“And furthermore you’ve vandalized my property by nailing that pink paper to my door.”

“I didn’t nail it. It was a tack,” said Bank Man, edging off the porch. “You have to leave or I’ll call the police.”

“Bring it on!”

In short order six police cars arrived, lights flashing, sirens wailing. That was three more police cars than showed up for the double homicide two blocks away a year ago.

The lead cop, a small fellow who looked like an accountant and a lawyer rolled into one neat package in precisely creased pants, questioned Bank Man and then Charlie.

When he finished he eyed Bank Man’s flannel shirt and jeans, and said, “You’re a real man of the people, aren’t you?”

“What?”

“Never mind. Let me see the mortgage papers, please.”

Bank Man handed him his sheet of paper.

The cop read it and handed it back. “You have to produce the mortgage, sir.”

“But that says there is a mortgage. It’s perfectly legal, officer.”

“Well, sir, I’m a lawyer and an accountant, and that paper is not sufficient. Now, where is the mortgage?”

Bank Man shuffled his feet.

“No paper? Then you can’t kick this man out.”

“Well where’s his paper, huh, where’s his paper?”

The cop turned to Charlie, who handed over a sheaf of utility bills and other proofs of residence.

The cop said to Bank Man, “He’s shown me his. Are you going to show me yours?”

Bank Man stared up at the sky, shuffled his feet again. “Ummm, we don’t know where it is.”

“Then you have to leave the property until you can produce it.”

“Can’t.”

“Excuse me?”

“We can’t produce it. We sold it to several thousand people in a securities instrument.”

Charlie piped up, “What’s  that, like a tuba? Like a tuba full of bull.”

The cop shushed Charlie.

“Well, Mr. Man of the People, when you get all those thousands of people to produce their piece of the mortgage we’ll see about how to handle this situation. In the meantime, you are trespassing and Charlie here is to all intents and purposes the owner of this property.”

Bank Man sputtered, “Now wait a minute, just wait, you can’t do that.”

“Perhaps you need help finding your way to the street?” the cop said, nice as pie with a gun.

Bank Man scooted away in his bank car, narrowly avoiding a ticket when he squealed his tires.

Charlie thanked the cop, his wife brought out coffee for all the cops, and Charlie continues to live in the house with his family. It was rumored that the bank executives were going to picket the house, but when they showed up they were outnumbered by neighbors at about two hundred to one. They left in a hurry in their fleet of limousines.

Charlie figures it will take at least a couple of years for the bankers to deal with the courts. In the meantime he’ll bank his mortgage payments in an escrow account. He’s also thinking, perhaps wishfully, perhaps not, that by the time the courts have a decision the executives will be in jail and the bank will be out of business.

Of course, by then no one will know who owns the house. In the meantime Charlie has a roof over his family’s head, and he’s going to try to reclaim the dog, the cat, and the goldfish. At least they aren’t mortgaged.

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