Apr 112014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, and I don’t know why, but I feel lethargic.  I’ve gotten enough sleep, and I don’t feel ill.  Perhaps it’s that I’m taking Chantix again.  My last attempt to quit fell apart during the moving process, so I’m trying again.  Q-Day is Infernal Revenue day.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:21 (average 5:09).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: It’s still early yet, but a monster El Nino might be forming in the pacific, and it just might shake up the worlds weather for awhile.  Over on the robertscribbler blog is an excellent write up describing the details of a monster Kelvin wave, which sometimes signals the start of an El Nino.  Here’s what he has to say about the Kelvin wave:

The pool of 4-6+ degree Celsius above average temperatures continues to widen and lengthen, now covering 85 degrees of longitude from 170 East to 105 West. Perhaps more disturbing is the fact that the zone of extreme 6+ C temperature anomalies has both widened and extended, covering about 50 degrees of longitude and swelling to a relative depth of about 30-40 meters. This is an extraordinarily intense temperature extreme that well exceeds those observed during the ramp-up to the record 1997-98 El Nino event.

more below the fold… [emphasis original]

Click through for an in depth report on this potential El Nino and what it means to you.

From NY Times: Senate Republicans on Wednesday blocked legislation meant to close the pay gap between men and women, framing an election-year fight between the parties over whose policies are friendlier to women.

The bill was an attempt by Democrats to press what they see as their electoral advantage among women in the coming midterm elections, but they fell short of the 60 votes they needed to prevent a filibuster and advance the legislation.

Now there can be no doubt. Republicans do not want to see equal pay for people they consider property that should be kept barefoot and pregnant.

From TPM: The House has passed a GOP budget blueprint that promises a balanced federal ledger in 10 years through sweeping cuts across the federal budget and eliminating health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

The 219-205 vote on the nonbinding framework takes a mostly symbolic swipe at the government’s chronic deficits. Follow-up legislation to actually implement the cuts isn’t in the cards.

The plan by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan would cut more than $5 trillion over the coming decade to reach balance by 2024. The sharpest cuts would come to health care programs for the poor and uninsured, food stamps, and array of domestic programs, including Pell Grants, education, and community development grants.

No surprises here.

Cartoon:

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Prior to this, white southern racists were a bloc of Democrats known as the Dixiecrats.  They were so outraged by this event that they left the Democratic Party.  The Republicans, seeing there was no future in representing primarily billionaires and corporate criminals, adopted the Southern Strategy and embraced the racists’ hatred.  This is how racists became the base of the Republican Party.

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Mar 212014
 

In the US, we spend far too much on welfare.  Our welfare system is riddled with fraud and abuse.  Lest you think that someone laced my catnip with InsaniTEA, I am not referring to the safety net necessary to help poor Americans.  That’s a relatively insignificant part of  our welfare system.  Most welfare goes to greedy corporations, who use it to enrich the 1%.

0320ReportMost of us are aware that the government gives mountains of cash to powerful corporations in the form of tax breaks, grants, loans and subsidies–what some have called "corporate welfare." However, little has been revealed about exactly how much money Washington is forking over to mega businesses.

Until now.

A new venture called Open the Books, based in Illinois, was founded with a mission to bring transparency to how the federal budget is spent. And what they found is shocking: between 2000 and 2012, the top Fortune 100 companies received $1.2 trillion from the government. That doesn’t include all the billions of dollars doled out to housing, auto and banking enterprises in 2008-2009, nor does it include ethanol subsidies to agribusiness or tax breaks for wind turbine makers. 

What Open the Book’s forthcoming report does reveal is that the most valuable contracts between the government and private firms were for military procrument [sic] deals, including Lockheed Martin ($392 billion), General Dynamics ($170 billion), and United Technologies ($73 billion). 

After military contractors, $21.8 billion was granted out to corporate recipients in the form of direct subsidies; literally transfers of cash from the pockets of Americans to major corporations. The biggest winners were General Electric (GE) ($380 million), followed by General Motors (GM) ($370 million), Boeing (BA) ($264 million), ADM ($174 million) and United Technologies ($160 million)…  [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Alternet>

There’s a lot more valuable information here.  Click through, please.

The next time Republicans tell you we need welfare reform, agree with them.  Then ask them which wasteful and unneeded military contracts and which corporate subsidies should ne cut.

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Mar 082014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, and I’m feeling much more awake than when I returned from my medical appointment yesterday.  I really needed that sleep, and my only really conscious time, I invested in the Rachel Maddow special.  I barely made it through that.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:48 (average 4:51).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Media Matters: Mythpedia Instructional video

 

This is a great new tool. To use it, click here!

From Upworthy: An Economist With 2 Minutes And A Marker Explains The Greedy, Selfish Things Some Rich People Do

The best way to stay on top is to make sure no one is competing with you.

 

Up with Robert Reich! Down with the Republican Reich!!

From Daily Kos: Last night, Jon Stewart delivered another excellent segment showing how Senate Republicans have blocked veterans benefits and the military sexual assault bill in order to try and stoke a war with Iran.

 

 

Maybe the Shame-O-Meter should be called the GOP-O-Meter!!

Cartoon:

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Mar 042014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, and I’m between naps.  The medical appointment tired me out.  All in all, I spent over two hours waiting for the lift bus, and because the medical complex is so huge, I still walked about a mile.  Fortunately I did the research for this article before I left.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:40 (average 5:36).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Salon.com: Old, white, wrinkled and angry, they are slipping from polite society in alarming numbers. We’re losing much of a generation.  They often sport hats or other clothing, some marking their status as veterans, Tea Partyers or “patriots” of some kind or another. They have yellow flags, bumper stickers and an unquenchable rage. They used to be the brave men and women who took on America’s challenges, tackling the ’60s, the Cold War and the Reagan years — but now many are terrified by the idea of slightly more affordable healthcare and a very moderate Democrat in the White House.

We’re losing people like my father to the despair of Fox News, and it’s all by design.

My dad is 67 years old, a full year younger than the average Fox viewer, who is 68, according to an analysis in New York magazine by columnist Frank Rich. I’ve read accounts of people my age — 40 or so — losing parents to cancer or Alzheimer’s, but just as big a tragedy are the crops of grandmothers and grandfathers debilitated by Fox News-induced hysteria.

This is a fascinating read on how the Republican Reichsministry of Propaganda brainwashes people to promote irrational hatred. Click through.

From NY Times:

Recently the Federal Reserve released transcripts of its monetary policy meetings during the fateful year of 2008. And, boy, are they discouraging reading.

Partly that’s because Fed officials come across as essentially clueless about the gathering economic storm. But we knew that already. What’s really striking is the extent to which they were obsessed with the wrong thing. The economy was plunging, yet all many people at the Fed wanted to talk about was inflation.

Matthew O’Brien at The Atlantic has done the math. In August 2008 there were 322 mentions of inflation, versus only 28 of unemployment and 19 of systemic risks or crises. In the meeting on Sept. 16, 2008 — the day after Lehman fell! — there were 129 mentions of inflation versus 26 mentions of unemployment and only four of systemic risks or crises.

Historians of the Great Depression have long marveled at the folly of policy discussion at the time. For example, the Bank of England, faced with a devastating deflationary spiral, kept obsessing over the imagined threat of inflation. As the economist Ralph Hawtrey famously observed, “That was to cry ‘Fire, fire!’ in Noah’s flood.” But it turns out that modern monetary officials facing financial crisis were just as obsessed with the wrong thing as their predecessors three generations before.

Click through for most interesting analysis by Paul Krugman. What Krugman did not cover is the reason Banksters fear inflation so much. It devalues the stored wealth of the 0.1%.

From Crooks and Liars: Last month, “Christians” launched the next great hate-based initiative in the guise of a beneficial community program: Trail Life. The organization says it is the “premier national character development organization for young men which produces Godly and responsible husbands, fathers and citizens,” but really amounts to just another attempt by the Christian right to discriminate against America’s LGBT youth.

The Trail Life Scout Oath includes an order to be “morally straight.” Ron Orr, whose almost-Eagle Scout son left BSA to join Trail Life, explains that “As Christians from a scriptural basis, we love all folks, but the Scripture is very clear that being homosexual is a sin.” He says that it’s important to “hold a strong line” and “set a consistent example for our young men,” though some would question what positive example a youth organization based in hatred can possibly provide.

I disagree with the author on one key point.  These are not “Christians”.  They are Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christians, making them completely anti-Christian.  This is a picture of the Trail Life scouts’ salute. Need I say more?

0304TrailLife

Cartoon:

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Feb 222014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow and feeling slightly improved from yesterday.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:42 (average 6:35).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: Here’s an amazing video that clearly explains why welfare doesn’t work how you think it works. At 6:38, we find out the obvious about who the biggest welfare user in the country is.

 

I was correct in my estimation of who America’s biggest welfare user is, and I fully agree with the premise of this video.

From The New Yorker: Citing the scandals embroiling Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, the Republican Governors Association today ordered its members to discontinue the use of e-mail, “effective immediately.”

According to a memo sent to all Republican governors, “Any plots, schemes, conspiracies, or violations of campaign-finance laws should be conducted using pay phones or easily disposable cell phones such as the ones used on ‘The Wire.’ ” The governors were instructed to read the memo once and then either burn or eat it.

LOL Andy!! I bet PIGnocchio ate his!!

From Reuters (H/T Daily Kos): Volkswagen’s top labor representative threatened on Wednesday to try to block further investments by the German carmaker in the southern United States if its workers there are not unionized.

Workers at VW’s factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee, last Friday voted against representation by the United Auto Workers union (UAW), rejecting efforts by VW representatives to set up a German-style works council at the plant.

German workers enjoy considerable influence over company decisions under the legally enshrined "co-determination" principle which is anathema to many politicians in the U.S. who see organized labor as a threat to profits and job growth.

Chattanooga is VW’s only factory in the U.S. and one of the company’s few in the world without a works council.

"I can imagine fairly well that another VW factory in the United States, provided that one more should still be set up there, does not necessarily have to be assigned to the south again," said Bernd Osterloh, head of VW’s works council.

"If co-determination isn’t guaranteed in the first place, we as workers will hardly be able to vote in favor" of potentially building another plant in the U.S. south, Osterloh, who is also on VW’s supervisory board, said.

Kudos to VW’s works council. If Republicans insist on blocking the way the company wants to deal fairly with workers, those jobs should go to states that Republicans do not control.

Cartoon:

0222Cartoon

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Feb 202014
 

I trust you all remember how Little Lord Willard was etching his sketch faster than Lyin’ Ryan’s nose grows, when we were treated to the definitive moment of the 2012 campaign.  Thinking he was speaking only to his vulture capitalists cronies, he made the infamous 47% comments, making it crystal clear that he and his party truly represent only billionaires and corporate criminals.  It seems that when Banksters think they are out of the public view, they behave altogether different then they do, when they think the world is watching.  Experiencing this first hand, engendered the following conclusion.

0220Kappa…As I walked through the streets of midtown in my ill-fitting tuxedo, I thought about the implications of what I’d just seen.

The first and most obvious conclusion was that the upper ranks of finance are composed of people who have completely divorced themselves from reality. No self-aware and socially conscious Wall Street executive would have agreed to be part of a group whose tacit mission is to make light of the financial sector’s foibles. Not when those foibles had resulted in real harm to millions of people in the form of foreclosures, wrecked 401(k)s, and a devastating unemployment crisis.

The second thing I realized was that Kappa Beta Phi was, in large part, a fear-based organization. Here were executives who had strong ideas about politics, society, and the work of their colleagues, but who would never have the courage to voice those opinions in a public setting. Their cowardice had reduced them to sniping at their perceived enemies in the form of satirical songs and sketches, among only those people who had been handpicked to share their view of the world. And the idea of a reporter making those views public had caused them to throw a mass temper tantrum.

The last thought I had, and the saddest, was that many of these self-righteous Kappa Beta Phi members had surely been first-year bankers once. And in the 20, 30, or 40 years since, something fundamental about them had changed. Their pursuit of money and power had removed them from the larger world to the sad extent that, now, in the primes of their careers, the only people with whom they could be truly themselves were a handful of other prominent financiers. [emphasis added]

Perhaps, I realized, this social isolation is why despite extraordinary evidence to the contrary, one-percenters like Ross keep saying how badly persecuted they are. When you’re a member of the fraternity of money, it can be hard to see past the foie gras to the real world.

Inserted from <NY magazine> Hat-Tip: Daily Kos

Bear in mind, this is just the conclusion.  The rest of the article is packed material so intense that it make’s Little Lord Willard’s 47% rant seem infantile in comparison.  It includes several pictures and audio clips of these leaches who are sucking America dry, while having the unmitigated hubris to call themselves “job creators”.  It is far too important an article not to click through for all it has to offer.

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Feb 192014
 

In recent months, more and more of the super-rich vulture capitalists behind the Republican war on the poor and middle classes have been exposed as greedy ideologues, as Democrats have pursued policies to end welfare for the 1%, and Republicans have sabotaged them.  This seems to have hurt the Plutocons’ feelings so much that they have been going off the deep end in attempts to justify their extreme greed.

0219crazyrichpersonIs it us, or have America’s ultrawealthy been sounding increasingly unhinged lately? Despite the fact that the wealth of the 1 percent jumped 31 percent from 2009 to 2012 while the other 99 percent of America saw a gain of only 0.4 percent, the rich are very upset, and they need to tell us about it. Maybe it’s all the talk about income inequality that’s gotten them so stirred up. Whatever it is, here are five signs that the zillionaires seem to be losing it.

1. The rich are mouthing off in epic rants.

They’re going on talk shows, writing editorials, bitching and moaning, and taking every opportunity to tell us just how fed up they are.

Wealthy Upper East Siders in New York are screaming [Murdoch delinked] at progressive Mayor de Blasio is punishing them by not plowing their streets of snow. Billionaire Home Depot founder Ken Langone warned Pope Francis that if he doesn’t shut it about income inequality, the charitable contribution spigot will be turned off. Nutcase venture capitalist Thomas Perkins just claimed that there is a war on the rich comparable to the Holocaust and that the wealthy deserve more votes. Bill O’Reilly warned, "Every affluent person in America is in danger. Every one." He asks you to pray for them.

During the Occupy protests, there was a surge of wailing from the 1 percent about perceived demonization and vilification, and it seems to have risen once again. It’s gotten so bad that Jason Furman, head of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers (and quite rich himself) has told his fellow 1 percenters to knock off the “hyperventilating.”…

Inserted from <Alternet>

Frankly, I disagree with Jason Furman.  The more these vulture capitalists and their Republican lackeys spew outrageous justifications for the welfare they receive at YOUR expense, the more we get to expose them for who they really are and what they represent.

This article has for more ways that the 1% are committing TEAbuggery.  They are worth the read, so click through.

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