Connecting the Dots, Part 8…

Connecting the Dots, Part 8…

When you were a kid, did you ever read Dr. Seuss’ book The Sneetches and Other Stories? You know the one I’m talking about. Continue reading “Connecting the Dots, Part 8…”

Burden of Proof…

Burden of Proof…

This nugget showed up on a friend’s FB post, which I can now no longer find. Chances are, either the friend decided it had to go, the genius who posted it blocked me, or I blocked him.

At the time, (sometime just after Christmas, I think) I thanked the guy for posting virtually every propaganda-driven talking point Alex Jones and Fox News have shoved into his brain in the name of truth. Here it is, folks. GOP trash talk, all in one convenient comment.

He said:

Stop watch mainstream media it’s bad for your brain. If we look back in history even JFK said Tax cuts like these would bring economic boom like no other. As far as healthcare goes the ACA screwed that up a long time ago anyone who tried to tell you that trump is the one that caused premiums to almost tripe this year in some places it out right lying. Also those so called environmental regulations had nothing to do with protecting the environment and everything to do with eliminating clean coal. Just look at the Democratic controlled Flint, Michigan they still don’t have clean drinking water. Stop looking at the virtue signaling idiots saying everything is bad and open your eyes markets up, costs are dropping, companies are pledging billions in Christmas bonuses to their employees, you are no longer forced to buy health insurance that most cannot afford, you also won’t be penalized for not buying health insurance you can’t afford, and last but not least we now have evidence of the Russian collusion that liberals have been so desperate for. Unfortunately the proof is the Hillary Clinton sold 40% of our uranium stockpiles to Russia and the Robert Mueller as well as Obama were in on it.

Fallacy Ref: Burden of Proof

Then he told me I had to debunk all the claims he made. First I said no. Normally I’d have called him on the fallacy, because it’s not MY job to prove he’s wrong. It’s HIS job to provide his source.

But then I thought about it and decided to make an example of him. It’s too good to pass up, because this is a dump truck load of bunk.

Note: If you find the text out there, you’re doing better than I. And I left every grammatical error, all the fallacious bullshit, all the propaganda where it is.

I’ve addressed each point. You’re welcome to follow (and read) all the articles below. Obviously there’s a lot to read. Heck, took me almost a month just to sit down and compile this post, but then it’s been sitting in my draft folder all this time and frankly, I need some time to process the current spy novel that is our political situation in the US, so this is acting a little like a sewage-based palate cleanser.

Your mileage may vary. Additions to the debunking are welcome, as are corrections. This stuff is like a fast moving freight train. Four of the articles came out in just the last week.

Onward…

But whatever. It’s an exercise in researching and I’ve got nothing better to do. Well, that’s not true either. I’ve left all the impressive typos and grammar as an exercise in identifying a fool. Feel free to interpret his prose the way I did.

Best way to do this is to break it down, one bogus claim at a time.

Here goes:

1. If we look back in history even JFK said Tax cuts like these would bring economic boom like no other.

Well, no. Forbes: The Laffer Curve Files: JFK’s Advisor Said Tax Cuts Raise Revenue

Also: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: Kansas Provides Compelling Evidence of Failure of “Supply-Side” Tax Cuts

2. As far as healthcare goes the ACA screwed that up a long time ago anyone who tried to tell you that trump is the one that caused premiums to almost tripe this year in some places it out right lying.

From a conveniently timed article posted TODAY by the NY Times:

Why Is U.S. Health Care So Expensive? Some of the Reasons You’ve Heard Turn Out to Be Myths

In a new, detailed international comparison, the United States looks a lot more like its peers than researchers expected.

There were two areas where the United States really was quite different: We pay substantially higher prices for medical services, including hospitalization, doctors’ visits and prescription drugs. And our complex payment system causes us to spend far more on administrative costs. The United States also has a higher rate of poverty and more obesity than any of the other countries, possible contributors to lower life expectancy that may not be explained by differences in health care delivery systems.

3. Also those so called environmental regulations had nothing to do with protecting the environment and everything to do with eliminating clean coal.

Um…

National Geographic: Can Coal Ever Be Clean? It’s the dirtiest of fossil fuels. We burn eight billion tons of it a year, with growing consequences. The world must face the question.

Coal ISN’T clean. That’s a lie told by coal and oilmen who don’t want to see their profits cut through advances in renewable energy like solar, wind, or hydro-energy. And this guy has forgotten what life was like before the EPA.

4. Just look at the Democratic controlled Flint, Michigan they still don’t have clean drinking water.

That’s a massive oversimplification of the problems that led to Flint’s water disaster, and it ignores Republican Governor Rick Snyder’s role in the decision-making process. From Politifact:

Who’s to blame for the Flint water crisis?

Our conclusion

Based on what is currently known, Snyder does bear a significant share of the responsibility. His fiscal approach helped set the stage for the water switch that led to the poisoning, and it was his hand-picked emergency managers who implemented the changes. Snyder also oversaw the state environmental and health departments that have come in for sharp criticism for their failures to act quickly and forcefully when the first indications of a problem cropped up.

However, experts say that claims from Clinton and Sanders that focus on Snyder alone oversimplify matters — and give a partisan spin to what is more fairly characterized as a broad failure of governance at all levels. Such one-sided accounts gloss over the responsibility borne by local Flint officials who supported the decision, by an EPA that failed to press harder for changes as the problem worsened, and by officials of both parties who contributed to the longstanding fiscal problems at both the state and city level.

5. Stop looking at the virtue signaling idiots saying everything is bad and open your eyes markets up, costs are dropping, …

Well, not exactly…

NY Post: Wall Street surges on strong hiring, low wage growth

The Dow Jones industrial average soared 440.53 points, or 1.8 percent, closing at 25,335.74 Friday after the Labor Department reported the US economy added 313,000 jobs in February — blowing past analyst estimates of 200,000. Unemployment remains at 4.1 percent — its lowest level since December 2000.

Meanwhile wages, although still climbing, grew only 2.6 percent in February over the last year. That’s down from the 2.9 percent year-over-year growth initially reported for January.

But that’s not the whole story either:

NY Times: Are Wage Gains Picking Up? Stalling? Questionable Data Makes It Hard to Say

When the Labor Department reported last month that average hourly earnings had jumped 2.9 percent in January, it looked as though the long, steady recovery in the American job market might at last be translating into faster wage gains for the nation’s workers.

Then came Friday and the latest jobs report, which showed that wage growth was weaker in January than initially reported and that the gains in February were weaker still, up just 2.6 percent from a year earlier.

The muddled data on wages was a potent reminder that even the strongest job market in a generation has not been robust enough to reverse a longstanding pattern of lagging pay.

With flat wages and a reduction in what your money actually pays for (like, for example, the quantity of orange juice in a carton, which used to be 64 fl. oz. but is now almost always 59.5 fl. oz. instead, for more than we paid 10 years ago), the wages haven’t kept pace with the actual costs. While it looks like goods are getting cheaper, they’re just less high priced. When the prices return to the same level as they were when people first started earning these wages, come talk to me about lower costs.

6. …companies are pledging billions in Christmas bonuses to their employees, …

Yeah, about that…

Fox Business: Bankrupt Toys R Us execs could still get up to $21 million in holiday bonuses

Chicago Tribune: AT&T hands out bonuses to 200,000 workers, pink slips to 600 others

Newsweek: COMCAST FIRED HUNDREDS OF WORKERS BEFORE CHRISTMAS ALONGSIDE PLEDGE TO GIVE $1,000 ‘TRUMP TAX CUT’ BONUSES

7. … you are no longer forced to buy health insurance that most cannot afford, …

Sure we’re not…

Idaho Statesman: Nebraska groups rally behind Medicaid expansion ballot drive

He’s got a nasty surprise coming, in about a year, I’m thinking because…

8. … you also won’t be penalized for not buying health insurance you can’t afford, …

Still not correct. As a matter of fact, the IRS has a bit to say on that subject:

IRS: Affordable Care Act (ACA) Tax Provisions

And his crowning achievement, the 2017 equivalent of Benghazi:

9. … and last but not least we now have evidence of the Russian collusion that liberals have been so desperate for. Unfortunately the proof is the Hillary Clinton sold 40% of our uranium stockpiles to Russia …

*eyeroll*

Snopes: Hillary Clinton Gave 20 Percent of United States’ Uranium to Russia in Exchange for Clinton Foundation Donations? Allegations of a “quid pro quo” deal giving Russia ownership of one-fifth of U.S. uranium deposits in exchange for $145 million in donations to the Clinton Foundation are unsubstantiated.

Unsubstantiated. That’s because this is bullshit. See below.

10. … and the Robert Mueller …

No. Just no.

Snopes: Did Hillary Clinton Tell FBI’s Mueller to Deliver Uranium to Russians in 2009 ‘Secret Tarmac Meeting’?
Hyperpartisan web sites mischaracterized a State Department cable alerting the U.S. Embassy in Russia of a transfer of criminal evidence obtained in a sting operation.

Mischaracterized. Meaning twisted, slanted, or otherwise spun to tell something that isn’t true. Go figure.

11. … as well as Obama were in on it.

Oh, the conspiracies. But never about the Republicans, only the Democrats. The poor guy just isn’t going to get it until after the 2018 elections are over, and when he realizes how screwed he really is, he’s going to turn around and blame everything on the Democrats, just like his masters have told him to do.

This *just in* (and right on time, too).

Washington Post: The ‘dossier’ and the uranium deal: A guide to the latest allegations

As a service to readers bound to be confused by an increasingly complex story, here’s a brief guide to the latest developments in the tangled allegations involving Russia, President Trump and Hillary Clinton.

But wait. There’s more!!!

Reuters: Informant had no evidence Clinton benefited from uranium sale

An informant whom House Republicans have said could reveal a link between a 2010 sale of U.S. uranium supplies and donations to the Clinton Foundation provided no evidence of that during a four-hour interview with congressional staff last month, Democrats said on Thursday.

The informant, lobbyist William D. Campbell, “provided no evidence of a quid pro quo involving Secretary (Hillary) Clinton or the Clinton Foundation and no evidence that Secretary Clinton was involved in, or improperly influenced” the uranium sale, the Democrats said in a five-page summary of the Feb. 7 interview.

And that’s that.

No cries of foul, no backpedaling. Once you toss the junk out into the Internet wild, like those tiny microbeads of plastic in the Great Lakes, it’s out there, suitable for framing or tossing into an otherwise sensible discussion of politics. And no need to declare truth because who wants to take the time to sort it all out?

Seriously.

This guy used virtually every Alex Jones/Breitbart/Daily Caller/Gateway Pundit PROPAGANDA-based talking point to try and refute a legitimate source for something he disagreed with, and that’s what’s wrong with American Conservatives today.

They have no idea they’re being told lies, have no filters for this BS, and think liberals like me will waste our time trying to tell them the truth when they’re not going to listen or believe it anyway.

I tell ya, I ought to get paid for this stuff.

Now where’s my Soros check?

*kidding*

Connecting the Dots, Part 7…

Connecting the Dots, Part 7…

There’s a benefit to following folks I’ve never met anywhere else but FB. Occasionally, someone shows me a bit of the Internet that I’ve missed before, and because it flew under the radar, I didn’t have it available to draw connections.

Today, someone revealed a tiny tip of a much larger iceberg, and now I’ve got the first Dots post in almost seven months.

This could have been an Aftermath post, but it’s not, because it’s a train wreck in progress and it’s likely already too late to stop it from taking our country down.

It annoys me that people still have the guts to complain about Hillary Clinton, who still think she just made things up when she said there was a vast Right Wing conspiracy. That’s where the first Dots post derived, and this is actually no different.

I woke up this morning to a typical political argument on FB between a handful of people who, like the characters in Into the Woods singing about whose fault it was that the Giant “Trump” was ruining their lives, want to assign blame over how we got here.

Sondheim is a musical genius. The number “Your Fault” in Act Two is a perfect illustration of that argument I walked into this morning, and others I’ve seen since Trump has blossomed into the full blown conman cum tin pot dictator he’s always wanted to be.

Don’t know the show? Here’s the Disney version. You might recognize a couple of the faces here. Or not:

But see, that’s why I blog. Because it helps me collect my thoughts so that the next time I wander into one of these He Said/She Said/They Said arguments, I have the ability to narrow down the argument to a single point.

In a lot of ways, I fulfill that role of the Witch: Pragmatic to a fault, trying too hard to protect the thing she loves, afraid of what will happen if she loses control of the situation. I relate to that character far more than I should. And yet…

Tonight I discovered that I missed something really REALLY important about the 2010 election that other folks having a similar argument just pointed out to me. The starting point is here, in a source I only sort of like, because Salon often reproduces other people’s articles without attribution or linking to the original source.

I try very hard not to plagiarize, and I want to give credit where credit is due. I’m also keenly aware that this medium is Orwell’s Memory Hole.

In the time it took for the Salon article to hit, the source of its postulations has already vanished. Fortunately, though, there are other sources, so I’ll post the article and then I’ll follow the rest of the leads.

And never fear: I have local copies of the things I think matter, and I’ve already archived some of the site material as well, because sooner or later the folks who started this will make it disappear again, as if it never happened. Because that’s what the Ministry of Truth is all about.

It starts here:

Salon: How the Republicans rigged Congress — new documents reveal an untold story

The title is misleading (as is a lot of what Salon publishes, but that’s a different subject). Fact is, someone FINALLY noticed that the Republicans laid the roadmap (or rather REDMAP) out a long time ago.

I was just as clueless about what happened in 2010 as the next Democrat, after President Obama won in 2008. I was THRILLED to see the back side of President Bush. And I was busy with my kids, trying to stay afloat with a part-time job while I looked for something full time in a truly awful job market, living in a house that was upside down on it’s mortgage.

Distracted. Missed the details, didn’t look where I needed to look, and then BANG! New congress, Republican sweep, so many Red States and Tea Party EVERYTHING. I started paying attention, but I still wasn’t looking where I needed to look.

So when today’s Politico post dropped, I spent an hour poking around trying to locate the offending PowerPoint that showed us everything we need to know. And I got…nowhere.

The link to that PowerPoint is gone.

But…but…that’s not the end of the story.

The analysis I just finished aggregates the empirical data that shows how well the plan worked. It gives an insight into WHY the polls were wrong, and it proves out what the GOP already know.

They’re counting on low Democratic voter turnout this year. Folks are looking at Doug Jones like he’s the Blue Messiah and I can’t begin to tell you how dangerous that narrative is, because it’s based on a LIE.

Let’s back up for a moment, though.

This site seems innocent enough. It’s ancient news, in fact. http://www.redistrictingmajorityproject.com/.

According to the site’s About page:

What is redistricting and why does it matter?
At the conclusion of the 2010 national census, congressional seats will be reapportioned to each state. The states with a shrinking population will lose congressional seats and states with a population boom will gain seats. A massive effort to redraw state legislative and congressional lines will take place according to each state’s laws. The party controlling that effort controls the drawing of the maps – shaping the political landscape for the next 10 years. In 38 states, governors and state legislators play a determining role in the redistricting process.

What is REDMAP?
REDMAP (REDistricting Majority Project) is a program of the RSLC dedicated to winning state legislative seats that will have a critical impact on congressional redistricting in 2011.

How can REDMAP succeed?
REDMAP succeeds with your help. Only by staying up-to-date on the latest news, and engaging your friends and family about the importance of our effort, can we succeed.

How can I help?
REDMAP is a grassroots effort. We are funded solely through contributions from commonsense conservatives throughout the country – and we rely on grassroots conservatives as our best means of alerting fellow conservatives across the country to our efforts.

Grassroots my ass.

The Tea Party started out as a Grassroots organization, until the Koch brothers took it over and helped sweep in the ultra conservative Freedom Party Republicans in office today. And now Rand Paul, one of its founders, is bound and determined to shut down government rather than sign off on a budget bill that addresses all sorts of long term issues.

NY Times: Government Shutdown Looms as Rand Paul Protests Budget Deal

So really, HOW DID WE GET HERE?

I mean, I’ve laid out a lot of the groundwork for how we got to the mess we’re in, but I mean the GOP majority that has us so screwed we can’t actually produce a budget, and even if we could, would make it impossible to balance without taking a hacksaw to what’s left of our shredded safety net.

Well, there’s a clue right here. It came out before the end of the Primary season, and folks might have noticed, but like I said, a lot of us were distracted with trying to find work and keep our houses, and we weren’t spending a lot of time idly reading articles on an election process that would clearly take care of itself.

After all, we had our first African American president! What could possibly go wrong?

Politico: GOP could gain redistricting powers

And

New Yorker Magazine: State for Sale A conservative multimillionaire has taken control in North Carolina, one of 2012’s top battlegrounds.

These reporters were on to something, but nobody wanted to listen because we couldn’t lose. Why worry when we’d just waste our time. Of COURSE we’d keep all those seats.

Only…that’s not what happened, was it?

No.

Why?

Because the moment President Obama took his first oath of office, the Republican billionaires knew they had to stop the progress Democrats made, the movement President Obama inspired, and the progress toward a more liberal landscape. And that’s when REDMAP was born.

Here’s what it looked like, in July of 2015, one month after Trump declared his candidacy,

The following June, just as the FBI’s investigation into Russian influence started to heat up for both Clinton (publicly) and Trump (in silence), New Yorker Magazine featured a story that highlighted David Daley’s book “Ratf**ked: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America’s Democracy” (Liveright).

Daley tried to tell us, but we were too busy making fun of Trump and being horrified that Cruz might win, we didn’t pay attention then, either.

Little by little, piece by piece, as the GOP realized Trump was the key to everything, they all lined up behind the grifter, the demagogue of Mar-a-Lago whose failed businesses let him deduct almost a BILLION dollars in bankruptcy claims, screwing every contractor he encountered, and seated him at the desk in the Oval Office.

Hindsight, as they say, is crystal clear. We got here because we failed to connect enough of the dots early enough in the process to stop this grassroots takeover. Like a virus, the GOP have sucked the Blue out of most of the US. There are islands, pockets of liberalism, and they’ve all been neatly tied up with a big red bow, designed to ensure that those seats will never turn blue again, no matter how many angry Democrats turn out.

There is no guarantee the GOP will run candidates like Roy Moore. There’s no guarantee that a million voters will blow off the Midterm elections because they hate all the candidates.

On the contrary, the majority of Republicans will seem to be almost okay, just enough different from the Democrats that those people who adore false equivalency will tell themselves again that it makes no difference, and they’ll vote for the guy at the top of the ballot, because he’s already got the seat and what could possibly go wrong?

It’ll be that way all the way down the ticket. Just look at what happened in Virginia. With the race down to the very last legitimate ballots, the GOP were able to pull out that one last ballot, put two names inside film canisters, and draw lots. That’s where we are today. An entire state legislature decided on a single solitary ballot. And we have people like Ed Gillespie to thank for this.

The Washington Post: Gillespie took partisan mapmaking to a new level. Try turning that into a bumper sticker.

Here’s what the goal is, for 2020. Feel free to drag that line to the left and right, to see what the GOP expects the landscape to look like after 2018. Go ahead. Check it out. It’s what I’m predicting will happen.

https://rslc.gop/map-center/

Democrats still think we can play by the rules. Greens think their high moral ground will protect and insulate them from the damage this country has already suffered and will continue to suffer under Republican rule.

They don’t understand that our country’s election process has become a game of political Calvinball, where the rules change from moment to moment, to suit the needs of the GOP.

If we keep having these blame-storming arguments that revolve around purity tests, we’ll be the rest of the way back to the Gilded age, with all the gains after 1900 just plain gone.

Back to the days of billionaire robber barons, landed gentry, slavery, and feudalism.

You think we’re there now? You ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.

Two weeks…

Two weeks…

I am casting my vote for Hillary Clinton as soon as the polls are open for early voting. I’m not taking any chances.

Yesterday on FB there was a meme circulating about how Jimmy Carter was up by 8% before the landslide that lost him the presidency in 1980. Back in March, the article below suggested that Trump’s message wouldn’t serve to do the same damage in this election as the fight between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan did back then.

I disagree.

In 1980 I was still too young to vote, but I lived through the damage Reagan and Bush did during their twelve years at the helm of the US. They lied about the economy and tossed out regulations we’re only now coming to realize were important and not just a drag on business. People felt justified in voting against Carter because of a variety of things, including the “Iranian crisis” that extended through much of Carter’s last year in office, only to come to grips with Iran Scam in the late end of Bush’s sole term.

I understand that as conspiracy theories go, the October Surprise is unproven and fairly damning, but as I hasten to remind people, Bush Sr. was involved in the CIA prior to his run for the Presidency that led to being selected as Reagan’s running mate that year, and I have absolutely no trouble at all believing that he was in it up to his ears. I believe the truth will out once we finally have access to Reagan’s papers, starting in 2020 (if we’re lucky and the GOP don’t find a way to bury the truth down further).

From Wikipedia:

October Surprise conspiracy theory

Allegations that the Reagan administration negotiated a delay in the release of the hostages until after the 1980 presidential election have been numerous but unproven. Gary Sick, principal White House aide for Iran and the Persian Gulf on the Carter administration’s National Security Council, claimed in his book October Surprise: America’s Hostages in Iran and the Election of Ronald Reagan[145] that CIA Director William Casey and possibly Vice President George H. W. Bush went to Paris to negotiate such a delay. Many others have made the same allegations.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_H._W._Bush#Other_positions.2C_1977.E2.80.9380

I celebrated when we finally got a Democrat in the White House in 1992, though he wasn’t the one I voted for in the primary. I am grateful that we have one again, who’s worked really damn hard to undo a lot of the damage the Bush family has done to our country in the last 36 years.

We CANNOT afford to let this election slide based on polling statistics. A portion of our country is on the brink of recognizing and celebrating our diversity at precisely the same time as people in other portions are looking for people to blame, to vilify, to terrorize into believing that Hillary Clinton is the very devil.

I am asking a different question. It’s the same question I’ve asked since the end of the Primaries.

What if the polls aren’t telling the whole story? What if people who have the opportunity to vote choose not to exercise their right? What if they try but are prevented because the GOP is too scared to let Democrats back into power again?

What if the GOP knows that a Democratic majority in the House and Senate would spell an end to witch hunts and allow for forward progress because they can no longer obstruct change, and they are doing their best to turn the country toward fascism?

What if the true separation between Trump and Clinton comes down to too few votes in too many battleground states?

Can you really trust polls to tell you the truth? Their scope is limited, by definition, to the people they reach, and there’s no guarantee that those people will answer truthfully. Things can change (like they did for Jimmy Carter) in a matter of days. Can you say with confidence that the numbers on fivethirtyeight.com are in sufficient quantity that they’re reliable? What if the predictions of a landslide victory for Hillary Clinton are wrong?

Suppose the separation between candidates is as it was during the primary? There were fewer than two million votes across the entire country that separated Democrats from Republicans and MORE people voted for Republicans during this year’s primary than in any election from 1992 through 2012. That margin is too close for my own personal comfort.
 
Early voting is underway in many states. I’m going to get the opportunity to exercise my right starting on October 27. I will cast my vote for Hillary Clinton with a clear conscience and a hope that enough others will do the same that Donald Trump will have no chance, and that all the down-ticket offices will finally be filled with enough Democrats to restore a super majority to OUR side of the aisle (something not seen since Jimmy Carter’s presidency).
 
If your vote of conscience puts Donald J. Trump in charge of the country, I guarantee I will hold you personally responsible for the damage he and his followers will do, and we will not speak again.
 
Count on it.
 
#ImWithHer

It’s the little things…

It’s the little things…

So I managed to tune in to the big game at the exact moment that commercial came on. You know the one. There’s not enough eye bleach in the world to get that image out of my mind.

Who was it for? I’ve forgotten, because ICK!

I was going to watch the rest of the game, even had an invite to go to a party for the purpose, but by the time I got my dinner together and actually sat down, the Broncos had already scored the first 10 of their points against the Panthers. I’m just not invested in football, unless I have someone to share the commercials with, and my heart wasn’t into the blogging aspect of game watching this year.

I opted to watch last week’s Downton Abbey episode, followed by the new one that aired on Sunday at 9. Ironically, it’s about a very rich family coming to terms with reality in the decline of a major empire, in the lull between wars.

So I missed Lady Gaga’s performance, and Beyonce’s, but I caught the very worst commercial of what everyone seems to agree was the very worst game in the 50 year history of the Superbowl. (Nope. Won’t post links. I couldn’t find a reliable source for the official videos and the sources I did find are questionable. Sorry.)

Meh.

Meanwhile, there’s this. I suggest swallowing, because you’ll regret it later.

Addicting Info: President Makes Surprise Appearance After Super Bowl – And He Has Jokes (VIDEO)

It’s good that the President is relaxed enough to make these jokes, and I appreciate his sense of humor, but it feels just the teensiest bit like Nero fiddling while Rome burns. Not, you know, like this guy, by a long shot, but still.

In other news, I just finished my taxes, and I managed to make it just enough that I didn’t owe anything to either the feds or state, even though I sucked more money out of my IRA so I could buy my fixer upper and get out from under the ridiculous rental market. And it’s a good thing I did it when I did, because today’s little stock market dip is outrageous.

At a point where we ought to be able to celebrate paying less than half of what we were for fuel when President Obama took office, nobody’s happy. Banks are engaging in risky investments again, and every time they play that game, folks who’ve trusted the system and put their money in IRAs suffer the consequences.

If you think you’re immune, consider:

  • Most traditional pension plans are gone. Even the government has largely divested of pension plans, except for certain sectors like the US Postal Service.
  • Unemployment numbers fail to include folks over 50 who are increasingly forced to admit they won’t get a job to replace the one they lost in the recession
  • The permanently disabled who can no longer qualify for full-time and can’t collect unemployment don’t count either.
  • Neither do the kids who’ve never had a job before and who never qualified in the first place.
  • Cost of food hasn’t dropped. Neither has the cost of other goods, except when discounts apply at special sales, and even then we know some places intentionally inflate the cost of goods so the “sale” really isn’t one. And it’s a long time till Christmas again.

It’s enough to induce heartburn in anyone who’s paying attention.

Small wonder I wasn’t in the mood last night to party. And when it gets right down to it, why I’m not all excited just because I’m presently paying about $1.67 for gas.

I don’t believe it’s going to last.

I think it’s a temporary dip in prices, and that dip is going to go away again the moment we let the GOP win. Because their interests, in every way, lie in oil prices.

They’re punishing the rest of the world right now, on Wall Street, because oil prices have slipped so far. If they manage to leverage themselves into position to take the White House, to ensure a permanent majority in the House and Senate, to rewrite the Constitution, you’d better believe the only ones who’ll win already count their annual salaries in 10 digits or higher.

New Hampshire’s Primary is tomorrow. Who’ll come out on top: A Democrat and at least three Republicans. After tomorrow, there’ll certainly be fewer choices on the Red side of the aisle. We’ll be one state closer to November. And one more step closer to the end game for American Democracy.

What did you do last night?

Ya know, I’ve got a lot of experience reading between the lines…

Ya know, I’ve got a lot of experience reading between the lines…

Unless you’re living under a rock (and you’re probably not if you’re reading my stuff), you already know about the blowback from the trade of former POW Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl for five former residents of Gitmo, Afghan detainees we were preparing to keep indefinitely. As in forever. As in we never ever intend to close Gitmo, so long as That Black Man is President.

That’s precisely what I read right here:

In a tweet Monday morning, Johnson noted that Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA) had said “if Obama’s trying to liquidate and close Gitmo through deals to release detainees, that’s illegal too.”

Illegal. Say whut?

You read that right. The GOP think it’s illegal because of this law it appears they passed.

That’s hilarious, considering we’re already in violation of the Geneva Convention. So what law are they talking about? Why, it’s our old friend, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

That’s right, friends. Almost one year ago to the day, by a 59-2 vote, the GOP secured Gitmo and are in a position to keep us from closing this facility because it would look good for the President to bring this chapter to a close.

These same disingenuous bastards will hold up the continued operation of the prison as a failing step in the President’s agenda of change. It must be HIS fault the base is still in operation. It CAN’T be us! We had NOTHING to do with it!

I call BULLSHIT.

Not only did the President talk about this with the GOP in advance of the swap, but three years of negotiations have gone by since the process began. The only ones with egg on their faces here are the GOP who worked to ensure the language got included in the NDAA, which authorizes payment to our troops on the ground.

I can’t do justice to the justifiable indignation, the gut wrenching prose and points Jim Wright has written in his latest Stonekettle Station post, but I can sure boost the signal.

We have just five months left before the 2014 elections and you have an OBLIGATION to do something about these sanctimonious, lying, manipulative bastards.

Show these obstructionist GOP bastards the door.

 

 

Spineless? I don’t think so…

Spineless? I don’t think so…

How Democrats Got a Spine: The Republican Party taught them how to be uncompromising

Why do they stick with Majority Leader Harry Reid—why, when three of them could cast “safe” no votes and Reid could still beat the House bills? Democratic aides say that the red-staters are “scared straight” by the House GOP. They’re not getting the calls from home to defund Obamacare. Their home-state papers aren’t dogging them, either. They’re in no fear of losing an “optics” battle to John Boehner and company.

And this, friends, is why after all this time, I’m proud to say I’m a Democrat. It took a while to get here, but now, here we are. We should have done this with the Fiscal Cliff, but we pulled back, gave concessions, which gave us nothing.

No more playing games with the government. The GOP has to own its own mess, or we’re never going to get past the crap. The people need to understand how we got here and who’s responsible.

While I’m on the topic, before any of my Friends posts this myth to their feeds, best check out non-partisan PolitiFact on the ACA. Have you seen this image in your feed yet? It’s only a matter of time before you do.

Our ruling

The Facebook post tells the story of a man who says he opted out of Obamacare soon after the marketplace was launched on Oct. 1, 2013, and was informed that he owed a fine of more than $4,000.

The post includes many elements that make no sense or are flat-out wrong — and can be easily debunked by reading the law or reliable summaries of it. We rate it Pants on Fire.

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2013/oct/04/facebook-posts/closer-look-facebook-post-mans-struggle-obamacare-/

Trouble is, the post is a series of lies, designed to frighten people away from checking out the new program, because the ACA stands to help millions of Americans who are poor and facing life-threatening illness every day and the GOP are scared to death that it’s going to cost them their cushy jobs.

And why? WHY is this happening at all? Because people bought the load of feces that the “Job Creators” have to be left alone to generate jobs, went to the polls repeatedly over the last 30 years and elected these “public servants” to put the Rich before everyone else in the US.

Anyone with a middle school education knows about the concept of Supply and Demand. Jobs come when people can afford to buy goods. The more goods they want and can buy, the greater the need to supply those goods. Without the need, the supply dwindles. So what do we do? Subsidize the suppliers instead of looking at ways to make the supply lines work again.

But wait. That’s not what actually happens. Why? Because once the rich have your money, they can do whatever they want with it. Up to and including finding cozy tax shelters off US soil. This is what Free Enterprise actually does for our country:

And in the meantime, with all those subsidies, the rich grow richer, stash their cash offshore and retire fat and happy somewhere safe where the poor can’t touch them.

If you study history, the aristocracy gets taken out every time the rest of the workers figure out who’s reaping the benefits of their work. The American Aristocracy (or Plutocracy) knows this. They’re doing their level best to make you believe that their particular brand of crap is chocolate, and that you need to eat Chocolate to survive. And if you don’t do it their way, it’s your fault for not liking the taste.

Guess what? The emperor has no clothes! The chocolate isn’t chocolate. They are LYING to you! And they’re joking about it while they do, or they’re showing themselves for the greedy asshats they truly are.

And while they’re keeping you busy fending off the repo man, the auctioneer, or simple bankruptcy because your medical bills have gone through the roof, they’re walking away with YOUR American Dream.

You should be mad as hell at the GOP. I just hope you didn’t elect them, because if you did, you, my friend, are part of the problem.

Yeah, I’m a Democrat. Proud of it.

I just hope that I can enjoy what’s left of my life, in health, and in a society that actually does care for its citizens. After all, we’re supposed to protect the life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for everyone, not just the rich.

I think the GOP just forgot who everyone really is.

Peter Finch as Howard Beale,
“I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”
And here we are…

And here we are…

At 11:58 pm on Monday, September 30, 2013.

Lest there be any question or confusion in anyone’s mind over who is directly responsible for the closure of our national parks, the sudden and explicable shutting down of services far and wide throughout the country, and the eternal brinkmanship of the Tea Party, this article sums it up for you:

Boehner Refuses To Allow Vote on Popular Democratic Bill That Would Avoid Government Shutdown

That’s right, kids. The Hydra is just about ready to eat itself, and all because political theatre is more important than running the country.

But why? Why?

Here’s what’s been brewing in my head the last two weeks, thanks to yet another mass shooting, in my neck of the woods. Better buckle your seatbelts and hang on. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis driven by delusions

On September 16, 2013, something remarkable happened. Again.

13 people died, including a mentally ill man, aged 34. Those are the details you can gather from the article above. Additional details have surfaced about how Alexis’ behavior was cause for concern, but not sufficiently off to justify actual medical treatment. He was, as far as anyone knew, fit enough to hold a security clearance and to purchase guns and ammunition. And as soon as the act was over, and it was clear the shooter was dead, all we had left was a series of clues that added up to a head-scratchingly vague image of what drove this man to commit random murders that morning.

This time, the discussion of gun control ended before it even had a chance to start, because the timing was so close to the end of the government’s fiscal year, even this tremendous loss of life, just a short mile or so away from Capitol Hill, was insufficient to jumpstart the discussion of sane guidelines for owning and operating a firearm.

Stunning, really, because one short week later, all the news reports could talk about was whether there would be compromise.

I could have told them then that there wouldn’t be. There’s no reason for compromise. You can’t compromise with terrorists.

These senselessness acts of violence and mayhem are no less vile than the one perpetrated by the members of our House of Representatives against this country and our people. Republicants, Thuglicans, Tea Publicans – call them what you want, but whatever, you need to wake up and realize that the whole group is suffering from a case of paranoid schizophrenia, and we have left the disease untreated because we can’t seem to figure out what to do with the mentally ill.

These citizens, armed with hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of dollars are telling the rest of us that we’re to blame for the mess our country is in.

A ‘post-democracy’ phase

Really?

Why are we in this mess today?

Because people in Ohio (a state bought and sold by ALEC) elected John Boehner again in 2012.

Boehner has zero interest in working the differences out. It’s not why he was elected.

The extreme Right elected him and his ilk because they don’t WANT the rest of the country to know that the way to fix the problem is to reverse 30 years of Trickle Down Damage, brought on by people who believed the horse hockey Saint Reagan fed them when he said all we needed to do was make it easier for the rich to spend their money and everyone would win.

It took 30 years for us to get where we are today, and the plutocracy like what they have just fine. Keep the scum down and they can’t rise up like they did in France because they’re too busy chasing turban-wrapped shadows and uppity black Presidents. 

When Mitt Romney made those ill-timed comments and the nice guy waiting tables caught him on camera, he wasn’t talking to the general voters. He was talking to his infernal brotherhood. And now, his puppet masters are mad because they didn’t get their way last November, so here we are, 45 minutes after midnight and not a budget in sight. 

The only way this has to do with the Democrats is that they are not the Tea Party. Ergo, they are W.R.O.N.G.

And the worst thing is, every last one of the Tea Party’s supporters has swallowed the crap the Koch brothers have fed them through the last 30 years. Y’all should be ashamed of yourselves.

The only difference between what Aaron Alexis did and what the House Republicans are doing now is that he was shot for his crimes. Instant retribution. The House of Representatives is still getting a big, fat paycheck (more in a year than I’ve made in the last 10 years, combined). They’re not going to see anything happen – at least until November 2014. (See that countdown ticker to the right? That’s how long we have before we can fix this mess.)

The last time the government shut down, Newt Gingrich was in the driver seat. Even Newt has figured out this is wrong-headed.

Newt Gingrich: ‘No Grand Strategy’ Around Possible Government Shutdown

Maybe the Affordable Care Act will do what we haven’t been able to accomplish since the GOP sucked the life out of the House in the 1990s – finally win the government back so that we can rise back up to our former glory as a compassionate country that takes care of its own. Instead of throwing our most vulnerable citizens under the bus, perhaps we can find a way to make it possible for us to enjoy life again. But first, the Tea Party has to go.

Someone needs to stop the insanity.

And the sooner, the better.

Two days to armage…Government Shutdown…Again…

Two days to armage…Government Shutdown…Again…

Ya know, in the grand scheme of things, this isn’t going to matter one bit, once the rest of the polar ice melts and all the fresh water gets mixed up with ocean water, but in the short-term, I’ve had about enough of the Tea Party’s brinkmanship and Ted Cruz’s 21-hour hot air festival. The Grand Obstructionist Party wants the Affordable Care Act to fall and they think what they do now to shut the government down will matter. The miscalculation (and it’s huge), is that President Obama already signed the act into law, and no matter how many times they vote to repeal it (42 at last count, including the current Budget fiasco in process this weekend), it’s still the law and they don’t have enough votes in either the House or Senate to override it.

Their fantasy land will cost the country big time in the next few weeks, but if the ACA has the effect I suspect it will, come 2014 (just a little over a year from now), we’re going to see a sea change in the House, because the little people who put these Tea Party bullies in office are going to begin to understand the real ramifications of the fight to keep the American People from the benefits of the law.

Frankly, nothing would please me more than to see a clean sweep of the House and Senate, though we have a solid four years before we can really clean house, thanks to the Class of 2010, but there’s a bunch of folks rooting for the government shut-down to happen so the GOP can finally get their comeuppance, and I’m right there with them.

And you know why I’m certain this is going to happen? Because President Obama has nothing to lose.

Nothing.

He’s already gone through the second term election. No matter what, he’s good till he steps down in 2016. And by then? That’s three years of education, along with more time spent bolstering the economy. (You have noticed how it’s improved, right? I mean, I had to take money out of my IRA, which will serve to affect my tax situation almost not at all, thanks to my current miserable financial situation, and lo, it’s back at the same level it was before I pulled the cash out.

So when you get right down to it, there’s a lot the government shut-down will do, but I’m okay with it, if the long-term benefits are that we can finally eject the insanity and start doing something about our current crazy situation.

What do I want?

I want an end to both Citizens United and the Patriot Act.

I want the Voting Rights Act restored or at least fixed so that it addresses our current reality, because otherwise a whole bunch of brown people and poor people and old people and young people are going to find it difficult to vote in the Tea Party states come next year.

I want women’s rights respected.

I want Marriage Equality throughout the country, in all 50 states, so my friends who want to be married don’t have to worry about which state they’re in.

I want the poor to have their protections restored and the safety nets fixed so that people can stop worrying about how to feed their kids and they can concentrate on getting jobs.

I want the jobs to come back from China and India, and all the loopholes closed so that we stop bleeding our good jobs overseas and rewarding companies for reducing their overhead at the cost of our own people.

I want sane gun-responsible legislation in place, so we can finally start addressing the gun owners and stop blaming the objects for misuse, before another toddler shoots her cousin or another undiagnosed psychiatric thug goes off randomly and takes more innocent lives at random.

I want the War on Drugs to become a Discussion on Responsibility and I want the prison system to become a public responsibility again. No more work-camps.

I want sensible and practical Immigration laws that protect our workers and give them opportunities.

I want people to receive the pay that they need so they aren’t relying on public assistance because they don’t need it.

I want free and easy access to birth control and better education about, well, just about everything, including real world life skills (pregnancy, relationships, marriage, money, lifestyle and practical skills, not just math and reading). Without context the education is meaningless.

And more than anything else, I want the rich to stop being greedy assholes who are just as happy to count their money in their comfy second homes offshore as they are living apart from the squalor of everyday existence for the rest of us.

We need the Tea Party and their neo-fascist leadership (read: ALEC) out of power. We’ve got three years to do it, by my calculations. Here’s hoping this is the start to the end.

Government Closure?

Bring it.

 

So tired of the lies…

So tired of the lies…

How much time will we continue to waste on GOP-generated panic items before we understand that they’re acting collectively like the boy who cried wolf and we just ignore what they have to say?

Diverting our attention away from critical concerns like the rampant poverty, hunger, crime and corruption, Keystone XL and tar sands spills, our rape culture and misogynistic attitudes toward women, the continuing housing and job crisis and more? When will we hold these criminals accountable?

So very, very tired of all the lies, all the obstruction, and all the rest.

When will we learn?

NPR.org: 6 Surprising Things About The IRS Scandal

forwardprogressives.com: Darrell Issa Proven to be a Fraud: Full Transcripts Reveal No IRS White House Conspiracy

democrats.oversight.house.gov:  FIRST-HAND ACCOUNT: CUMMINGS RELEASES FULL TRANSCRIPT OF “CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICAN” IRS MANAGER EXPLAINING GENESIS OF TEA PARTY SCREENING: Manager Denies Republican Claims of White House Involvement or Political Motivation

Theme: Elation by Kaira.