Friday, October 21, 2011

Nobody Asked Me, But...

1) First, it was bin Laden. Now, it's Qaddafi.
2) Still, John McCain could find something to bitch and moan about it. Which John McCain was talking today? This John McCain, the guy who felt he had to speak out against HIS OWN PARTY for interfering in foreign affairs or this genuflecting John McCain?
3) Speaking of obstructionist and interfering Republicans, might I suggest the time has come to Occupy Republicans? All 47 of them voted down a bill to provide funding for jobs for teachers, fire fighters and policemen, with a tiny incremental increase on the marginal tax rate on people earning over a million dollars a year. It's time we take the fight to their houses: blockade their driveways, picket their fences, stop traffic and make some damned noise.
4) So we can start to blame the bigots on the right for food shortages this winter.
5) How many times will I have to write this headline before the numbnuts get it? Climate Change Isreal!
6) If you're up early...really early...look to the skies. Find the constellation Orion. Settle in.
7) Recycle space! OK, space *junk* but you get my drift. Good idea, DARPA.
9) Remember when we had the moon all to ourselves? There goes the neighborhood!
10) Wanna cut taxes, Republicans? Did you really want more dead children on your hands? Since the Iraq war began, four times as many children have died in the US at the hands of their own family members than soldiers have died in Iraq, mostly because we lack a safety net to prevent abuse. Shameful. Disgusting.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Poor Keep Getting Poorer


If It Didn't Work The First Time

Double down on teh STOOPIT
Claiming that George Soros was responsible for OWS blew up in the faces of Rush Limbaugh et al when it turned out that any donation was made almost a decade in advance to a charity that spent Soros's money long before OWS was even a gleam in anyone eye.
So, that didn't work. What to do, right wing? What to do?
I GOT IT! Claim the same thing about the same organization, only THIS time, the funding came from a REPUBLICAN!!

MC Hammer To Google, Bing

Errrr, fail.


This is what Christianity looks like.

Purple Prose




Sarkozy Comes Up Short

Carla Bruni bore him a daughter.

Cats In The Cradle



TO: Republican Presidential Candidates
FROM: Actor212
RE: Campaign Rhetoric   
Please don't be ghetto, Warsaw or otherwise. Stick with your white bread, vanilla linguistics, yo.
I'm looking at you, in particular, Herman Cain.

I'm Being Patriotic!

Leave a comment. Honor America.


This is what democracy looks like.

A Promise Made

I want to talk about expectations. I want to talk about Occupy Wall Street.

Hundreds of attorneys, law students and other legal minds are volunteering their skills to protect the rights of protesters in the Occupy movement, according to the National Lawyers Guild.

In New York alone, dozens of people have stepped forward to act as legal observers at marches in the past month. They don luminous green hats at rallies and document the names of those arrested in confrontations with the NYPD, and they also can be found in court.

The New York City chapter of the Lawyers Guild has about a dozen pro bono lawyers working on cases. At least 50 more attorneys are on standby if the caseload becomes overwhelming, said defense attorney Marty Stolar, who represents several protesters.

The US Constitution promises us many rights, in exchange for....what? Abiding by the laws of the land as passed by the government.

And how do we abide by those laws? Well, as a living human being, by knowing the law, by understanding the law, and by accepting responsibility when we are in the wrong of those laws.

So those rights are promised to us in exchange for our promise to obey the law. Sounds like a social contract to me!

What form does this "obeyance" take? As a people, we are expected to contribute to the greater good of the society around us, economically, spiritually, morally. Most laws in this country grow out of the Ten Commandments which are easily understood (and devilishly hard to obey, but that's a different post.)

This has all been simplistic to this point because I need to pin down the crux of this article. Bear with me a bit longer.

So how do we contribute to the greater good? By being good citizens. And we're good citizens by keeping out of trouble and not being a burden to the rest of society.

We are trained for this from the very earliest onset of consciousness. We're taught that, if we just work hard at a job or a business, we can aspire to a mediocre middle class existence.

Really. That's the Horatio Alger myth we've all had inculcated in us from the get-go, in some form or other. Many, if not most of us assume we're to be rich by working hard and saving our money (HA!) but in truth, all that was supposed to provide us was a stable family life and decent food and shelter.

The disconnect we get learning all this stuff is pretty ironic: If we stay in school, study hard, get a job, go to work, get married, have children, act normal, watch TV and buy the stuff we're brainwashed into buying, we'll be "normal." No, better than normal. We'll be real Americans.

Meanwhile, only one percent of us can be in the one percent. Only five percent of us can be in the five percent. Only one in five of us can be in the twenty percent.

Do you see where the confusion starts in people's minds?

It gets harder. Look at the other half of the Alger Myth: if we save our pennies, the dollars will take care of themselves.

Possibly true. No one ever got rich working for someone else, but plenty of people have accumulated a comfortable wealth by putting away as much money as possible, and many of us grew up in a day when banks would let a five year old open a savings account with five bucks, so he could put away his allowance and chore money. We were encouraged to save, to delay gratification, and to only go into debt when it was absolutely necessary (to-wit, to buy a house. Then it became maybe for a car. Then, it went onto maybe for college. Then, maybe a vacation. Then, maybe Christmas presents. Then, food.)

We didn't stop saving because we wanted to, we stopped saving because we had to. You'll notice what happened in that progression: it went from things that were nice to have to things we had to have.

We had to have a house, because when our parents and grandparents returned from World War II, there was plenty of cheap houses to be bought within spitting distance of the city where they worked. And we had to have the car because that's how they got to work (see above: go to work, be a real American.)

And as wages began to flatten for the American middle class, parents just couldn't put away enough money for college which, through the laws of supply and demand, were becoming exponentially more expensive every year. Why? Because wages were flattening. The kids needed more education just to keep up with the American dream. That increased demand. Colleges could only be built so fast. A college education, once a privilege, became a commodity.

Y'know, as America the nation is just finding out, you borrow enough and soon those monthly payments eat into your income. Now, any big ticket item become financeable. Like appliances. Like vacations. And soon, you find yourself trying to work the magic of buying now, paying later on everything because you simply do not have the money.

Meanwhile, the Alger Myth never changed. It never flexed to "Work hard, pay later, and die of a heart attack."

At least the OWS folks would have had warning about what they were up against.

So here we are: a generation lost in cyberspace with no time left to start again. We have an entire battalion of kids who did what they were told: studied hard, got an education, got a job, got a place to live...and now find themselves spending night after night in a sleeping bag on an increasingly cold concrete sidewalk.

And people mock them for being lazy hippies. People who, if they had to sleep on a couch would whine about being uncomfortable.

We broke a promise to these people, and we ought to honor it.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

How Big Has OWS Gotten?


As Groucho Said....

"I like my cigar, too, but I take it out every once in a while."
While a $200,000 phone bill...that's not a something no one should be subjected to, it does pay to be aware of your telco's policy on roaming.
And shut the damn phone off! Sheesh!

With Charlie Sheen In Rehab

My guess is this number will come down significantly

Didn't We Just See This Movie?

Scientist to try and clone a wolly mammoth?

Texass To World: Thr S No S*ch T#!ng As Gl08al Warm!n9


Gov. Christie's Economic Development Plan

1) Cut taxes
2) Destroy anything unionized or having to do with poor people.
3) ????

Attention, Exhibitionists!


Yes, We Left Iraq Such A Calm, Peaceful Place


This! Is! Sparta!

While I'm fairly sure there's a compromise to be had there, I don't think you want to fuck with Greeks, fellas.

In Our Midnight Confessions

Yes, it was 3AM, and yes, he's a minor anchor for an organization that doesn't even have its own 24 hour cable news channel, but it's still a big deal when a network news anchor outs himself as a gay man.

The Vaguest In Vegas

I don't watch primary debates: they're basically like picking which colour you want the wall, so long as its white (pun intended.) You know who is going to say what, and generally, people on the campaign trail truth themselves out long before the debates roll in.
So I let the punditry "analyze"-- because really, what kind of analysis does white paint need?--  and I rely on them to let me know who they think won, and who lost.
I knew going in that Herman Cain would get beaten on and it was a matter of how hard he could fight back. Not hard enough, it seemed, from the highlights I saw. He never really answered the charge that his "Nein! Nein! Nein!" tax plan was a bad idea and would burden more Americans with higher taxes, and would add a sales tax to the mix, one that states would probably decline to collect: "apples and oranges," he called it, but as Romney pointed out, you can have both in a basket of fruit.
Romney, for his part, will have to work pretty hard in the OccupyWallStreet environment to dispell the elitist rich guy image he's so carefully cultivated as a marker of his financial and business acumen. Statements like "So we went to the [gardening] company and we said, 'Look, you can’t have any illegals working on our property. I’m running for office, for Pete’s sake – we can’t have illegals.'... And let me tell you, it is hard in this country as an individual homeowner to know if people who are contractors working at your home, if they have hired people that are illegal." 
It was OK for Zoe Baird to have an illegal nanny until she was nominated to the SCOTUS. Romney ought to have learned the lesson that you take care of this stuff off the books and early. He's basically admitting it wasn't an issue for him until it became clear that appearances matter.
Anyway, go read the article I linked to. It's fun to watch the GOP stammer and mutter their way to oblivion.

This Is How You Do It


The United States deported the largest amount (sic) of people in the last year in the nation's history, immigration officials say.

John Morton, the director of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, says the agency deported nearly 400,000 individuals during the fiscal year 2011 that just ended in September.

ICE said about 55 percent of those deported had felony or misdemeanor convictions. 

Nearly half a million people deported in the middle of a budget crisis. One million since Obama took office

(Ed Note: I'm aware this is a FOX News article, so must be taken with a generous portion of salt. The agenda here is two-fold: a dogwhistle to remind rednecks there's still ten million undocumented workers in the country, and as a broad dig at Latinos who supported Obama in droves. I used this article to deliberately highlight the inherent bigotry presented.)

Of the 400,000 deportations, only 52,000 were for serious felonies like homicide or drug trafficking (not sure how much of that is marijuana, tho.) That's an increase of 89% over the Bush administration's numbers and that, I think, we can all laud. Clearly, tho, the other 170,000 were for simple "crimes" like loitering (e.g. waiting for the van to take them to work,) or other misdemeanors.
The large majority of deportees were simply turned back just after they crossed the border, again, something I think we can all get behind. Nonetheless, it's not a discouragement to people to be arrested and sent back. They'll simply try again someplace less readily patrolled.
People come to America illegally for the same reasons people come here legally: to make a living. Even the poorest working wretches in our country-- doing the most menial, miserable tasks, things you and I would never even consider doing--  earn a salary that is light years ahead of what a modest income in other nations to our south can be. You can't blame them for wanting to scrape bird shit off a bridge cable.
Barring, however, a comprehensive policy that includes immigrants into society who really want to contribute to America, this policy may indeed be the sanest and most humane we can achieve at this point. It certain beats Herman Cain's plan to electrocute people.
It probably doesn't help Cain that Mickey Mouse...I mean, Bachmann... came out in full throated support of Cain's proposal. That's a little like Hannible Lecter supporting the Soylent Green candidate.
I don't forsee an easy end to this issue. It's one that will be with us a long time, and will be contentious until some settlement can be achieved.
That settlement lies somewhere between a 2,000 mile long fence and open borders.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Does It Have To Be Friday? I Have Plans....

Harold Camping is being a douche again

How Often Do You Get To Read About Cannibalism?

He must have been served in a light cream sauce.

How Desperate Is She?

Mickey Mouse, I mean, Bachmann, trotted out the short-fingered vulgarian yesterday to burnish her campaign

All Around The Red States

Do, um, they realize those pieces of glass over the podium that every President and candidate has used since the Carter administration are teleprompters?
I guess not.

It Would Be Nice If, For Once, America Was Ahead Of The Curve


Talk About Close Calls


How Scared Is The Corporatocracy?

They're trying to find ways to "market" OWS.

Um, No, Because He's A Fucking Loon?


Monday, October 17, 2011

Putting The Pieces In Position

I suspect that within a few months, we'll see a partial normalization of relations with Cuba, possibly before the 2012 elections. This is the second loosening of airport restrictions this year, Puerto Rico being the first

The Answer To This "Confusion"?

Once we can establish that, suddenly Big Government is just a matter of getting the corporatocracy out of the current government and handing it back to the people.
OK, that's not as easy as I make it sound, but it is doable.

Happy Birthday!



Before Wall Street gets to it first!

Moron Murdoch

He may be ousted from the News International board of directors this week

Cain Sugar From The Horse's Mouth

Like stealing candy from a baby, Herman Cain admits he will raise taxes.

So When Teabaggers Whine About The "LameStream Media"...

And how it treats Republican candidates?

Megan McArdle Is Jealous, Apparently

She wonders why flight attendants aren't as hot as they used to be.
Note to Megan: Whining because you couldn't have been a stew on Pan Am or TWA back when they were eye-candy is no reason to bemoan the fact that the job of flight attendant is a grueling, demanding job that ought to value competence and performance over whether a person hit the genetic jackpot in the looks department.
Something like, I don't know, having a column in the Atlantic because of some genetic fluke, I guess.

Rupert Murdoch: Douchenozzle

Apparently, Murdoch would take a hammer to the US education system.

Occupy London

These blokes and birds have it right

Weak Tea

Say goodbye to Teabaggin' freshman Wisconsin Representative Sean Duffy.
One should never whine about making it on a six figure salary in a state where people are thrown out of $30,000 a year jobs.

Herman Cain: Man Of The People

If your name happens to be "Koch"

Shlaes The Draggin'


Protesters want redress of a proximate wrong, or some “efforts to crack down on abusive practices” of Wall Street, as President Barack Obama put it last week. They need something more general: a job or a better job; cash or insurance for health bills; a way to pay off student loans. In other words, a stronger economy.

Talk about begging the question: this douchenozzle seems to somehow think that magically a stronger economy will spontaneously grow out of pursuing the same goddamned failed policies that got us into this mess, by somehow claiming they worked in the dim dark past...of the Harding administration?

Y'know, somehow pursuing policies of ninety years ago that failed to noticeably improve the lot of the end of that very decade, the Great Depression seized the entire planet...and that have yet again demonstrated a complete impotence in the face of an economic hurricane seems stupid.

Shales, for thirty years, we've lowered taxes, over and over (save one important exception). And for thirty years-- save for that same exception-- we've seen wage stagnation, an inability to generate jobs, and a middle and working class losing ground, forced to borrow against their homes, their incomes and their good names.

In the past ten years alone, tax rates have been the lowest SINCE the Harding administration, yet barely three million private sector jobs have been created.

Compare that to the Clintonian exception of the 90s, when 23 million were created.



Unionize Wall Street

There was a separate October 15 2011 rally in Times Square on Saturday, although Occupy Wall Street was on everyone's mind and, indeed, they sent a large delegation up in solidarity.
Estimates range as high as 50,000 people at its peak.
Do you want to know why the cops didn't bust heads there, but waited until the OWS crowd moved back downtown?
Here's why. Note the men in blue polo shirts:
All city employees were urged to come down in attire that identified their position or department in the bureaucracy. This means doctors (yes, NYC's docs are unionized), nurses, police, firefighters, santitation engineers...all showed up in force and marched from Washington Square Park up the five miles or so to Times Square.


The world saw the Occupy Wall Street protests up close and personal as rallies spanned four continents, sparking riots in Rome, where a crowd of 200,000 gathered, and arrests in London.
All that was on top of sporadic clashes between police and protestors (I refuse to characterize them beyond that, but let me just say that I have always believed cops need to develop a thicker skin in these instances.)
Hell, the movement has even spawned a Kiddie Koalition!
If you've been trying to work out the demands or the raison d'etre of the movement, well, it's really not hard. It's the same reason the Teabaggers were initially as popular as they were.
Melissa Harris-Perry of The Nation made a most excellent comparison on Saturday's UP With Chris Hayes on MSNBC: The Teabaggers were at the apex of their popularity when they were perceived as being a movement formed in opposition to the bailouts of the Bush administration (and later, Obama's.) When they careened into hate messages against President Obama, people walked away from them.
Similarly, the OWS movement is about populism, first and foremost. After all, my bank got a $25 billion bailout and all I got was this lousy debit card fee.
It's true: the Teabaggers once upon a time held approval of some 40+% of Americans. Now, they are the same jackwagon 20% or so who supported Bush in the final days of his administration.
And who now paint Dumbya as a liberal, but I digress...
OWS does not seem in any danger of following the Teabaggers in dipping into obscurity, mostly because it's not a fraudulent movement. There is no perception involved here, no FOX News humping the hell out of a made-up story funded by billionaire tycoon money and forged on the anvils of evil.
And you'll note yet another reason why this is presumably to be so: the anti-tax movement never really took root across the world the way the anti-corporatocracy movement has. This is a genuine movement of people who are frustrated and angry. The sneering and mocking of the right wing only serves to stiffen their resolve.
Now, you're probably wondering about the title of this article. You're probably wondering what the hell a broad overview of the OWS movement's origins and philosophies has to do with your mind.
You want to join the OWS, but it's hard. You don't live near a big city. You can't get to the rallies on the weekends, much less the week. You have a job and in this economy, you need to balance your work with your political beliefs or else you'll find yourself permanently attending these rallies.
There is still something you can do: you can occupy your mind. This is a time for honest Americans to stand up and be counted. You can comment here, if that's what makes you feel comfortable. You can call the Limbaugh or Hannity programs if you've got the nerve and can make your point in the face of a gale of derision and bullshit agendae.
You can write to your Congresscritter or Senator and ask him or her why we STILL don't have a jobs bill, nine full months into a Congress where Weaker Boener promised to help the workers of America get one.
You can ask your friends what they think and then, arming yourself with the facts you've read on this blog and thousands of others over the years, point them to the truths of it: there really is no America anymore, there's only Americans and the people who'd try to own us lock, stock and barrel.
You can skip or or any number of myriad corporatist websites, and buy locally. Support Main Street by occupying it, too. Sit in the coffee shop. Speak your mind, respectfully of course, but firmly and with great resolve. And when you get laughed out, go back the next day and make the same points.
I'd advise against doing this in a bar because, you know, politics and alcohol don't really mix, but hey, if you can, do.
At Thanksgiving dinner, when Uncle Frank starts into his tirade about the President, you can ask him politely if he thinks the GOP might bear some responsibility for the mess we're in-- by then it will be ten months without a jobs bill, and five months since the debt ceiling standoff and credit downgrade. Break his concentration. End his focus. Start the dialogue.
Occupy your mind. Get informed. Get those around you informed. Do what you can.
And then try to do a little bit more.