Monday, February 28, 2011

Bureaucrats at Work

We’ve become a wimpy lot. Yesterday, Sunday, as my wife was showering, the power suddenly failed. It was perhaps 6:30 in the morning, almost light. She quickly finished her shower and we checked outside to determine whether it was us (we do live in an old house, circa 1920, after all) or it was a larger power outage. The stoplight at the end of our street was out, so we assumed something bigger had occurred.

I collected our newspapers and returned indoors, where it was now light enough to get about. My first instinct was to go to our coffee maker to begin preparations for our daily cappuccinos. But no, the espresso machine is electric, as is the normal coffee pot. I could turn on the stove and light a match to get some fire to heat water, but that isn’t how we make our cappuccinos. I stood there thinking, “man, we are so totally reliant on electricity, it’s a bit pathetic.” I suppose we could have gone to Starbucks to get a couple of cappuccinos, but Starbucks doesn’t really make a decent cappuccino. Mine at home are way better than anything they can make. I mean, Starbucks probably makes a totally awesome giganto caramel mocha frappuccino, with extra whipped cream, and chocolate on top, in the 72 ounce cup, but what would I do with that? I mean, nobody actually drinks those things, do they???

So, we stayed at home and awaited the inevitable city fix-it crew. In about an hour, the fix-it crew had the power back on. And I thought, “you rock, guys.” I know you’re just poor, inefficient, lazy, city bureaucrats, sucking up our hard-earned tax dollars (the Republican-Faux News characterization), but I’ll bet no republican banker from Citibank could have fixed the power outage that fast. They would have been sitting in their office, sucking their thumbs.

So, we got our power back, I could make our coffees, and our smoothies, and we could relax again, knowing that there are guys out there who actually work for a living, and who actually know how to fix things.

I wonder what our friendly neighborhood bankers were doing to fix things in their world???

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Teabagger Fiscality

I noted the other day how the media keeps referring to the Koch brothers as the Coke brothers. Hey guys, their name, spelled Koch, is pronounced COCK, not COKE. I realize that they would rather be referred to as a caffeine-ridden bottle of brownish sugar water than as, you know, a flaccid penile implant. But I’m going to continue pronouncing their name correctly—the Cocks.
But I digress. The Cocks are really getting their money’s worth out of their serfs, the Teabaggers (hereafter to be known as the Cockserfers). This Astroturf bunch keeps yelling about the deficits and cutting spending, almost as though they were serious about fiscal matters. I note that, when the Shrub and his gang of thugs were running up record deficits, after giving away vast sums to their rich friends, the Cockserfers were silent. Nope, it was only after we elected a (Black) Democrat that they suddenly became fiscally pious. So, why the sudden interest in fiscal sanity?? Well, one explanation is that the Cockserfers (mostly white) are simply racist. While likely accurate, there is a larger truth here. See the Cock Brothers, and Rupert the Magnificent, are all about two issues—money, and money. Mainly, they don’t want any interference in making money. Taxes are one form of interference. The Shrubbers gave away the farm, and our Prez failed to let the tax cuts expire last December. So, largely, they still don’t pay their fair share of our national tax burden. But the second money issue is regulations. They want no federal interference from the likes of EPA, the FCC, the SEC or any of those other nasty Federal regulatory agencies. Again, the Shrub and his gang largely gutted the regulatory agencies, allowing the Cocks and others of their ilk to do whatever they wanted, without any federal interference. But unlike the tax cuts, they faced potentially serious interference from a Democratic President and regulatory agencies run by Democrats.
So, what are the Cockserfers trying to do??? Why dismantle the regulatory agencies (when they’re not gutting things like Planned Parenthood, or Child Health). Now the regulatory agencies represent chicken feed in terms of the federal budget. But they represent a real threat to global polluters like the Cocks, known mainly for their efforts to destroy the global environment. See, they’re just not a serious crowd when it comes to Federal budget matters. To be fair, they’re a singularly ignorant lot, so what can we expect??
So, we will need to watch carefully to see what other agencies the Cocks hate, by following the trail of Cockserfer protests. Whatever they try to defund will be something their Lords of the Cock Manor want to kill. We are really rushing back to the 19th century.
And on another planet somewhere in Catholicland, we note that the Newtster has become a devout Catholic. Having dumped two wives, (the Newtster apparently never bought into this “Until death us do part” thing) the Newtster is not only married again, but he is a now a pious Catholic. We assume his conversion has nothing to do with the fact that the Republican Party is composed mainly of right wing Christians, of course. It’s just something he always wanted to do. It’s comforting to know that the Catholic Church continues to have no principles worthy of the name.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Republican Strategy

It has become increasingly clear that republicans are now following a playbook written during the time of the Gipper. Who should be given credit for the authorship is not entirely clear, but it actually matters little. The pattern has now been repeated numerous times, so the current mess should come as no surprise to anyone.
The strategy begins with the major Goal of Republican ideology: Shrink government to the minimum consistent with the national defense and the underlying conservative aim of world dominance. All other elements--repeat --ALL-- of our national government must be eliminated—one diehard quipped that he wanted to reduce government to the point that it could be flushed down the drain.
This strategy eliminates all elements of a caring, empathetic social system. All people must care for themselves, regardless of their ability to do so, and regardless of the blocks placed in their way by our economic or social systems. Those who can’t stay afloat in such a system, will necessarily drown.
The basic strategy seems to have several parts.
Part One: Create a Crisis – Republicans understand that if life is normal and times seem good to the American people, there is little enthusiasm for major change. So, it is necessary to create a crisis, and not just any crisis, but foremost an economic crisis. The most expeditious way to create such a crisis is to reduce the inflow of revenue, generally by tax reductions. If one can subtract the revenue base through tax cuts, then we quickly create a major crisis. Reagan created such a crisis through his adherence to the absurd Laffer Curve, through which tax reductions were supposed to increase Federal revenues—an absurdity quickly revealed and which led to huge federal deficits, and a rapidly escalating national debt. George W. Bush is probably the dominant adherent of crisis-creation in this regard. Starting from a budgetary surplus created by Clinton’s policies, Bush enacted massive tax cuts for the wealthiest of his supporters, leading to the largest federal deficits in the nation’s history. He was ably assisted by the nation’s bankers, who, in pursuit of even greater profits, embarked on a series of what can only be described as Ponzi schemes, beyond even the wildest dreams of people such as Charles Ponzi, or Bernie Madoff. As with all such schemes, the bank Ponzi’s eventually crashed, bringing ruin to millions of people, without seriously affecting the personal wealth of the banking Ponzi-masters, equivalent perhaps to a trifecta.
Part Two: Use the crisis to reduce the size and scope of government. It is revealing to observe republican strategists who vowed to bring back jobs, but acted first to eliminate social safety net programs. If we have massive deficits caused by tax reductions and illicit banking practices, the most obvious way to reverse the damage would be to increase taxes and more tightly regulate the banking thieves who perpetrated these legal crimes. But, no. Republicans are engaged in eliminating programs serving the middle and lower classes. In Wisconsin, the Governor there began with a budget balance, created a budget shortfall, and is now using that shortfall to boldly eliminate unions in his state. We can see across the board, republicans gunning for social programs, leaving untouched the military—necessary to secure their aims of global dominance—and leaving untouched the shredded regulatory framework aimed at controlling their 21st century robber barons.
Part Three: Secure their gains by using recent electoral gains to game the electoral system such that more republicans will be elected in future elections by controlling the districting maps. Once they secure both houses, their gains can be made permanent.
Part Four: Continue their assault on our third branch of government—the courts-- to secure a solid republican controlled judiciary. They have already made major advances in corrupting the Supreme Court, and have managed to block Obama appointments to lower courts to the point that many lower court systems are being damaged seriously.
This strategy is well advanced and could result in another government shutdown, creating yet another form of the same crisis. What then happens during these artificial crises is that democrats are forced to yield, and begin arguing on republican turf. One can see that occurring for example, in the December session in which Obama and the democrats yielded to republican demands to extend the tax cuts for the wealthiest of their patrons, thus perpetuating the economic crisis.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, ordinary Americans seem oblivious to what is happening in this once great nation. We remain engrossed in the turmoil in the Middle East, as one regime after another comes under assault by people who are fed up with the status quo of their own robber barons. We sit watching our TVs, drinking our beer and ignoring the fact that the reverse is occurring here—an outright assault by extreme right wing robber baron forces that now control a very large part of our nation, and seek to control all of it.  One wonders what the Middle Eastern protest crowds would think about America if they could but observe what is happening here. What is most ironic here is that, as the Middle East protesters strive to achieve what we already have, we seem to be striving to move back to that 14th-17th century system they are trying so desperately to leave.

Monday, February 14, 2011

I Wonder When . . .

I wonder when the Republican Party lost its independence. The interesting thing about American politics is that sometimes you can’t tell when a coup d’état has occurred. Because Republicans represent American Bidness, as opposed to the American people, every once in a while the “bidnessmen”, whom I now call The Dukes, get it into their heads that they want to run things a bit more directly. So, they start writing scripts for their employed sword-carriers, whom I sometimes call The Barons, such that their employees appear a bit . . . well crazy. That is generally the first sign of the coup d’état. The next sign is that the words tumbling out of the mouths of the employed sword-carriers suggest something so antithetical to our American values that one must assume the employers, the Dukes, have become unhinged.
While the royal Republicans and their crazed teabagger serfs continue to speak about becoming fiscally responsible, something one does not normally associate with republicans, their only actions so far, as the loyal opposition now recently in charge, are to propose severe limits on personal freedoms, i.e., attacks on abortion policy, responsible family planning policies, and, of course, their old favorite Gay and Lesbian couples wishing to marry. They seem oblivious to the plight of ordinary working people currently seeking in vain for employment. Of course, they also are not normally associated with caring about ordinary Americans.
Since our current economic plight was brought about through republican policies, e.g., huge tax cuts for the wealthiest citizens, coupled with complete freedom of action for our greediest and least mentally competent citizens—bankers—one might have thought they would lay low for a while. But no, they are now all about reducing taxes further and eliminating any and all programs that benefit the American Middle Class. It’s interesting to observe the change in philosophy between the old robber baron days, and now. In days of yore, people of the ilk of Henry Ford understood that, in order to have any customers willing and able to buy his products—Ford automobiles—he would have to help create a middle class. People would need decent paying jobs so that they could afford not only a place to live and some food, but also one of his cars. Now, the robber barons, people like the Cock Brothers and Rupert the Magnificent, seem not to understand that the great American Middle Class is what made America the powerhouse it has been for the past fifty years. At one level, they seem intent on destroying the educational engine that helped create the Middle Class—the public school system in America. And at another level, they are doing their best to reverse Henry Ford’s policies by sending jobs abroad to China and other undemocratic societies. Their focus on low cost as the sole criterion of American Bidness, eliminating criteria such as quality, seems aimed at eliminating the Middle Class.
You have to ask yourself . . . what the hell are they thinking? Are they that stupid, that short-sighted, and that greedy???
We’ll have to watch and wait, I guess, to see how the next chapter in the great republican coup d’état plays out in this best of all possible worlds.
In the meantime, I plan to continue getting my News from Stewart and Colbert. At least, they make me laugh. It’s safer for my TVs also. I’m less likely to throw a rock through the TV screen.
Meanwhile, let’s enjoy the coming Spring . . .

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Revolution Stuff

Very interesting, this revolution stuff. So, the people actually caused a dictator to leave office, without killing him. It remains to be seen, of course, what the Egyptian army will do to bring about a real democracy, wherein real people vote for candidates of their choice to run things. A hopeful sign for the Middle East, a place where democracy has never been high on the list of things to do. They seem to prefer 14th century rulers, whether kings or presidents. So, who's next . . . Saudi Arabia would be on my list, followed by Syria. Iraq, of course, is still up in the air, presumably awaiting a decision by Donald Rumsfeld as to whether he would like to be president for life.
I can't quite tell what our own teabaggers think of this situation. They of course have been told by their bosses, the Cock Brothers, that whatever happens, it is Obama's fault, unless whatever happens is good, in which case the neo-cons caused it to happen, and they can congratulate themselves.  And Rupert's acting ensemble, Glenn, O'Reilly & the Fat Drug Addict have all been told that Obama is wrong, whatever he does.
So, maybe now life will return to normal, and America can resume our preoccupation with Bud Lite, NASCAR, and eliminating the Middle Class. Spring is almost here . . . and that's a good thing.

The guys, below, are soon to join our garden again, and we can for a while forget about the teabaggers and that old anarchist Ron Paul.

Monday, February 7, 2011


I guess I don’t quite get the “revolution” thing. Most folks (well not Hosni and others of his ilk, but) seem to agree that a nice peaceful transition from the Mubarak regime and a democratic government in Egypt would be preferred. A lot of people seem to think that Obama should be doing more to push out old Hosni, but what’s a guy to do? I mean, we’re not exactly in charge, are we? I’m sure the protesters aren’t really keen on allowing anybody remotely connected with Mubarak to remain in power. The appointment of his head of Intelligence services as the new VP couldn’t have been received as a good sign by the protesters, huh?
But the thing is, what should we really expect, say in the best of all possible worlds? If Mubarak fires all of his extensive political heads, shitcans his cabinet and dissolves his government, what happens next? Is there anyone standing there waiting to assume control, or do we think that anarchy is the best Plan B? Maybe we ought to send over to Egypt Rand Paul and a few other teabagger anarchists to consult with the Egyptian crowds on their next best steps to a successful anarchy. Alternatively, does a new government of human rights activists and democratic thinkers mysteriously appear and take over automatically, say like what happened in Iran? Oh, right, they actually had a government in waiting—theocratic terrorists.
The Egyptian bankers seem to be getting nervous, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but are they now poised to move in? A government run by bankers; now that might be interesting. Oh, wait, that would be the United States. Not such a hot idea, then.
So, is there someone, an Egyptian Thomas Jefferson standing by in the wings, ready to write up a new Constitution and Bill of Rights for the Egyptians? Somehow, I doubt it. More likely, is a guy backed by a lot of guns who is hankering to be President, and that doesn’t seem reassuring. Say, has anyone seen old “Shock und Awe” Rumsfeld lately???

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Hug a CEO -- 2012 is coming

As the nation remains fixated on Hosni Mubarak’s public nightmare, John Boehner and his GOP monsters are coming out from under your bed. Applicants for Obama’s job are appearing everywhere magically, sort of like the wee people in the Wizard of Oz. They foresee a golden road leading to the palace owned jointly by the wicked witch of the west and the Wizard behind the curtain. And ladies and gentlemen, they are beginning to let us view their platform. Let’s see, what’s on their “To-Do” list for us?
1. Well, obviously, first on their must-do list is to take away health insurance for some 40 million men, women, and children. Some say it’s 40 million, some think it may be 50 million, but, hey, who’s counting? The key is, if you didn’t have health insurance before Obama, you won’t have it when they take control. The health insurance industry will once again feel perfectly safe to deny you coverage.
2. Then, although they decry government when it concerns the general welfare of the American people, they desperately want government to control (read “say no”) whether women can have an abortion. Dear John Boehner is even redefining rape, so he can have his way.
3. Reducing income taxes for their über-rich overlords, you know the Cock Brothers, the banking CEOs, and, of course, let us not forget Rupert the Magnificent. And how will they pay to reduce the taxes of the wealthiest? Well, by eliminating Medicare and Social Security—they do so want to get rid of those two legacies of a humane society.
4. Now this one is complicated and I’m not sure I understand how they plan to accomplish it, but they seem intent on eliminating America’s Middle Class. Their vision of that shining country on the hill seems to be a two class society—the über-rich and everyone else. This democracy stuff is complicated and messy and they appear to be obsessive-compulsives regarding neatness. So, they would like to see a return to an oligarchy, where dukes rule the land and act collectively as a sort of super governing council. They, of course, see themselves as the barons of the land – Baron John has such a nice ring, don’t you think?? The recent meeting of the dukes in Rancho Mirage (what a great name for a meeting of the über-rich) could be seen as a sign of things to come—instead of Congress and all that mess, the dukes would simply meet in fancy-schmancy places and then tell us what they decided via Twitter.
5. Lastly, they really want to change their beloved Constitution, some might say just eliminate it, by inserting a provision for states to opt out of any laws they don’t like, and even to leave this blessed Union to form their own country. Yeah, both the Governor of Texas and Sarah Barbie think that they could do just fine on their own thanks.
So, that’s it folks. I’m sure they will issue a few more boffo planks (making unions illegal??) in their platform for 2012, but that’s probably enough for now. Oh, I’m just so excited at the prospect of a Republican oligarchy replacing this old mess we call America.
Oh, and I forgot, Baron John wants to replace that old saw, "In God We Trust" with "Let'm Eat Cake". He thinks it has a nice ring to it.