Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Caption Contest

Judging by her high school yearbook photo, my guess was that Ann Coulter was voted Most Likely to Blow a Dead Elephant.

The Primaries Are Now a Formality

popseal Slidell, La.

If you liked the leftist assault against Palin, just wait. The yet to be exposed weakness of Romney is the touchy subject of religion. The left will turn over Mormon rocks and find a vast wasteland of doctrinal weeds. On the strength of logical gymnastics, Romney thinks he'll one day be a god on another planet ! Children of god grow up to be gods like Dad, don't they? Celestial marriage wil be a fun topic too. Unrequested baptim for your dead relatives is a nice touch. Do a search about what Mormons believe and your socks will be shocked off your feet. His "wierd cult" will be separated from Chrisitanity on the upside and "Bam will remain in office on the disasterous down side.


Jurassicpork59 Pottersville, USA

"If you liked the leftist assault against Palin..." Damn truth. Why does it have to have such a liberal bias? Why can't we all just convert to truthiness and immediately put all this Republican unpleasantness such as graft, corruption, ignorance and stupidity behind us so the right can get back to attacking people for their religion? The 1st Amendment be damned!

P. S. It's spelled "w-e-i-r-d", "C-h-r-i-s-t-i-a-n-i-t-y" and "d-i-s-a-s-t-r-o-u-s". I suppose correct spelling also has a liberal bias.

True, there are still a few Palin dead-enders who can't get it through their titanium skulls that Palin is simply more interested in making money than in being President and who don't want Mitt Romney in the Oval Office simply because of his ersatz, pod person version of Christianity.

But the NY Times is essentially calling it for Romney because he's poised to get only his second victory in this endless Republican primary season that's taken up only slightly less time than the Laurentide ice sheet that swept down North America.

Maybe the liberal Gray Lady hates the Democratic electoral process as much as the Republican Party or maybe they're as fed up as we with the endless miniseries of the DSM IV (aka the Republican debates). But while television still likes competitive horse races, they also want a clear-cut winner before the race is even over. It's like calling the winner of the Boston Marathon even before the runners get to Heartbreak Hill.

And that's not really surprising considering these post-Clinton United States have pushed the primary season almost back into non-election years to the point of violating state law (as in Florida in the 2008 elections). We're the kind of country that wants results now. Books are routinely pulled off the shelves and sent back to the publisher's shredders if they don't hit the ground running no matter how little publicity they get and the success of a movie is preordained even before its opening weekend is over. Yuppies play classical music to their fetuses, half expecting them to be born with a fucking conductor's baton in their hands.

And, by the dodgy wisdom of push and straw polls, we've decided, yet again, that Mitt Romney should be the Republican nominee. A Romneynation is a zombie narrative that simply will not die like the Spider Man musical that's the perfect delineation of Murphy's Law. But like Peter Parker's Broadway debut, never underestimate the stubborn power of a few rich people who pour millions into a campaign in our post-Citizen's United country.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

That's why we should pay as much attention to mob boss and casino mogul Sheldon Adelson as we do to the re-anointed Romney. As Rachel Maddow tells us, Adelson has such pull in the Nevada GOP that he actually got the state GOP to rewrite the laws for him and a few hundred Nevada Jews so they can still caucus in Clark County right after this Saturday's Sabbath and, even better, to do so in a center named after Adelson himself. And if that fact alone doesn't point to how much more corrupt campaign finance is thanks to Citizen's United, nothing does. The only way Romney could outdo that is by moving his national campaign headquarters to Paul Singer's boardroom.

Adelson has decided that Newt Gingrich would be friendlier to his gambling empire than Mitt Romney, a man who never met a person corporation he didn't love. That's why Adelson has been virtually Gingrich's only significant financial backer in Florida, essentially Gingrich's Paul Singer. But, unlike the open-air asylum known as South Carolina, Floridians seem to be turned off by Gingrich's Mickey Rooney attitude toward holy matrimony and Mickey Mouse take on the economy.

As of November last year, Florida's unemployment rate stood at exactly 10%, about one and a half percentage points higher than the then national rate of about 8.5%.

Maybe Florida Republicans are left cold by Gingrich wanting to turn their kids into janitors and maybe they've long since made the Adelson/Gingrich connection and have embraced Romney's stiff body as they try to struggle against already-charted waters as in 2008 (It's both amusing and troubling that for these past few years neither party has been able to field a candidate worth voting for for quite some time, as if, I dunno, shadowy money men have decided what's best for them and maybe, incidentally, us.).

Either way, the MSM, led by the NY Times have decided along with a reanimated Romney, that the caucus and primary season is over and that the vulture is in after the GOP took the enormous pains to extend it throughout almost all of this election year. It doesn't matter that Romney is 1-2 thus far. Paul Singer's own vulture bucks have spoken louder than Adelson's mob casino money.

And we should thank whatever God we pray to for men like Sheldon Adelson. Because as long as Adelson looks upon Newt Gingrich as a made man, Gingrich will stay in the race and split the Republican vote in spite of the stupendously stupid NY Times holding up Romney's hand for the second time. As in South Carolina, the people, albeit Republican lunatics who boo war veterans and call for hypothetical sick people to die, will once again confound the media pundits who've already declared a winner for the sake of ratings and circulation. And, for me and even moreso than the avalanche of malapropisms, that's by far the most fun this GOP primary season holds.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Top 10 Reasons Why the 99% Should Take Turns Kicking CEOs and Lawmakers in the Nut Sack

It's obvious our entire national economy from top to bottom, from side to side and from inside and out is completely predicated on fraud and malfeasance that always pulls back just enough and just in time before the whole bloody pocket-picking machine completely breaks down. What follows below are my top ten reasons why every interested American in the 99% should be allowed to kidnap every lawmaker on Capitol Hill and Wall Street Chairman and CEO, line them up against their office doors and take turns publicly kicking them in the crotch with steel-toed boots.

  • 10) Buttfucking the American consumer for decades, tanking our and the world's economy, then demanding that we, their victims, bail them out so they can continue business as usual and refuse to share that bailout money even in the form of loans at double digit interest rates.

  • 9) Steal a $3 loaf of bread to feed your starving kids, you get your name and picture on a wanted poster. Steal trillions from the Treasury and the Fed, you get your name and picture on the cover of Forbes.

  • 8) Outsourcing American jobs to Chinese, Indian and Mexican slave labor by making collusive trade agreements and offering tax deferments to Communist countries then force us to sell those goods that we used to make at or near minimum wage.

  • 7) "Jobless recovery"? Really? Really?

  • 6) Keeping HMOs almost completely unregulated under the guise of "reform" then mandating every American carry health insurance at their rates whether or not we can afford it.

  • 5) When people like Barney Frank tout Dodd-Frank and Republicans and Wall Streeters condemn it when in reality it's more watered down than gin mill draft.

  • 4) Through patient capital investment and focused strategizing in setting up a system whereby hundreds get obscenely richer when that patience, effort and diligence would've been better put to use in favor of the 99%.

  • 3) In having the nerve to continue trying to sell the easily-proven fallacies in our post-Reagan and post-Glass Steagall nation that permanent tax cuts, Trickle Down economics and deregulation actually works and creates jobs.

  • 2) Bankers arrested for tanking the nation's economy by stealing trillions, and costing millions of Americans their pensions, jobs and homes: 0. People imprisoned for protesting such theft: 6,436 and counting.

  • 1) For deliberately setting up a system whereby degreed college graduates are expected to pay off ten of thousands of dollars in student loans with minimum wage temp jobs.
  • Saturday, January 28, 2012

    The Seven Year Bitch

    The late former House Speaker Tip O'Neill once said that all politics is local. So are our priorities in crunch times but I'll get back to that later.

    Today's my 7th anniversary as a blogger. I guess, in blogging years, that makes me something like a grand old man like IF Stone or Sy Hersh. Being a political blogger means exposing myself to tons of topical information and in the course of that exposure, certain erosions have taken hold. Among them are an encroaching paralyzation of how to approach, deal with, cogently define and eradicate racism and other forms of right wing stupidity.

    Often I find myself tempted to publicly say, "We need to execute all Republicans, racists and evangelicals immediately if not sooner" when I read of the latest assault on humanity. Knowing that wouldn't fly, I then dial it down a notch and think, "OK, we need to vote out of office all Republicans on a local, state and federal level so the American people can finally advance back into the 21st century."

    But I realize even that's far-fetched. Up to a point, you can judge a congressional district, state or even an entire nation by the lunatics it chooses to represent them. When, for instance, Tom Coburn and Jim Inhofe keep getting re-elected every six years, you know there's something seriously wrong with the state of Oklahoma. When Florida's 8th district voted out Alan Grayson after one memorable and fantastic two-year term while Minnesota's 6th district re-elected pie-eyed psychopath Michele Bachmann in the same election cycle, it understandably makes one wonder what's in the drinking water supply.

    And when I look at the back-sliding this nation of ours has done just in the seven years that I've been blogging, it makes me wonder just what's the use of blogging? Even A list bloggers like Aravosis, Hamsher, Amato, Kos and Duncan Black reach no more than perhaps 1% of the nation. Bottom-of-the-rung bottom feeders like me have reached a tiny fraction of that 1% and even that's taken me years to accrue with much of that traffic coming from misguided perverts and racists.

    What's the sense when not only have I not made a difference, my elders and betters have still not been able to keep the right wing from turning these United States into a Terminator-style wasteland in the blind pursuit of corporate profits and the eradication of people who do not think like them?

    But the alternative is to give up and to not oppose these obvious sick and depraved people. And this former Navy SEAL is a fighter who knows that the worst possible time to give up is right before you get pulled over the edge of the cliff. Because that's what the cocksuckers want. They loath and fear the power of the First Amendment and only want it for themselves.

    And while the jury's still out on the overall efficacy of citizen journalism, as pressing as these issues of the day are, financial worries as well as politics tend to turn parochial and personal during crunch time. Now is such a time.

    If you wonder why this formerly prolific blogger goes for a whole week at a time these days without posting, the reasons are manifold. #1, remember what I said about the erosion that the cruel and stupid produces in even the strongest human minds. Sometimes I'm just so overwhelmed and paralyzed by the stupid that's better to not try to launch a coherent response to it.

    #2, as with the post-adolescent Dylan Thomas, my writing suffers because of constant money worries. After nearly three years of being unemployed, I'm still stupefied that a man with my experience and skills who had relatively little problems finding a job now almost cannot even get a pre-interview. I and many like me are living but dying proof that there never was a recovery and certainly will not be one until every American who wants and needs a job gets one and to do so for a living wage.

    Even when the president, Congress and our various state governments make blatant power grabs designed to undermine working conditions, wages, our Constitutional protections and civil liberties and environment all in the unholy name of corporate profits and power, more and more often I'm unable to concentrate on these things long enough because my landlord, utility companies, insurance brokerage and the city, state and federal governments to whom I owe bill money, premiums and income and excise taxes do not care to hear what my problems are and what problems in the system face us. Life, and bill and tax collection, go on, business as usual, as if nothing horrible and terrifying is happening to our nation.

    If you are even remotely able, Mrs. JP and I would greatly appreciate a donation through Paypal (or through snailmail, if you email me for my street address). I know I've alienated many of my readers over the years with what seems to be constant pleas for help these past two and a half years. I even made an appeal on my 53rd birthday which resulted in next to nothing. And that's OK. No one owes me shit. At the end of the month, all the bills are still in my name and my creditors don't give a damn where the money comes from, only that it's there and on time.

    So whatever you can do for us would be tremendously appreciated by the two and half members of our household. It's hard enough dealing with the right wing and its surrogates in the Obama administration but it's immeasurably more difficult to do while the wolves are baying outside our door and beneath our windows.

    The Arizona Brewers

    Since Sarah Palin has now embarked on a literary career that seems bound and determined to supplant literacy itself and Schwarzenegger has left Sacramento and is depending on his old rival and fellow right winger Sylvester Stallone to get his deflated body back on the silver screen, it could be said that Jan Brewer is now the stupidest Governor alive today and quite possibly the most racist one since George Wallace. And after the tarmac incident in Phoenix a couple of days ago, Obama could easily be imagined kicking himself yet again for making her predecessor, Janet Napolitano, his Homeland Security Chief.

    Jan Brewer is simply a superannuated version of Sarah Palin, a brain fart-prone grifter who sees absolutely no problem whatsoever in abusing her authority as the state's chief executive for the advantage of her relatives. Like Palin and so many other right wing racists (or am I being tautological?), the Governor who signed the most draconian anti-immigrant bill in modern times (SB 1070, which even many prominent Arizona law enforcement officials define as unconstitutional), showed her true colors by waggling her finger at the President of the United States. She then showed another true color (yellow) by trying to downplay the incident in much the same manner that Cheney's office downplayed the "Go fuck yourself" incident with Sen. Patrick Leahy ("...a frank exchange of views" is how Cheney's dungeon masters tried to sweep it under the rug).

    Whatever his reasons for trying to keep the peace, Obama didn't exactly help his own cause by ordering his administration, led by Jim Carney, to chastise the press for paying attention to this virtually unprecedented show of disrespect to the office of the Presidency. As if the look on his face in the lead photo isn't enough ("Yassa, massa, my name be Toby"), it only gives Obama the appearance not of a statesman taking the high road but of a long-suffering black man explaining away the whip scars given to him by a plainly racist right wing by saying that he fell down the stairs.

    Sorry, Mr. President, but you were too far away from Kansas for a house to drop on top of Jan Brewer at the right moment.

    Moreso than the union busting Scott Walker and Chris Christie, the anti labor Paul LaPage and the stupendously corrupt Rick Scott, Jan Brewer is on all counts a national laughingstock as well as an embarrassment and it seems only a vengeful God Hell bound to show us some Dutch Uncle lessons in how not to self-govern is responsible for Brewer not getting recalled. Perhaps it's more of a reflection of the rabidly racist constituency of Arizona, a place where pasty old right wingers go not to die but to accrue more political power.

    Brewer's tall tale of "the scary black man intimidated me" was largely unsupported by witnesses to the incident and Brewer being flustered afterwards was more cerebral flatulence after meeting someone with a superior intellect. The office of the presidency and any person holding it can certainly be intimidating but if you're a state governor and you've met the POTUS before, as Brewer has, then your given moment of being star struck has long since past. It should not be personally held against the President.

    But being biracial has made Mr. Obama a huge target and the most hated African American since Nat Turner and Dred Scott. His reluctance to call out Republicans on their overt racism and confirming that racism does indeed still exist does not do anything for the ongoing struggle for civil rights for his people or the American people in general. In fact, while Obama could easily make a case that he's being singled out for his race, his tack seems to be to simply ignore the fact that racism still exists in our supposedly enlightened age. Pointing out racism is not the same thing as pulling the victim card as so many white Republicans do and it is not dividing a nation that's already divided by racial differences.

    And Jan Brewer's Phoenix had risen once again from the ashes of the civil war and the civil rights movement to rear its ugly hooded head.

    Jan Brewer represents much of what is wrong with America and its politics today. She had abused her power while still a state legislator to lobby for more state hospital money "to prescribe a new drug for the treatment of schizophrenia. The drug, Risperdal, was later used to treat her son’s illness, according to court and medical records."

    Ronald Brewer, as many of us know, is a mentally ill criminal who remains unconvicted only by reason of insanity after being charged with sexual assault and kidnapping. While that shouldn't be held against Jan Brewer, what more people should pay attention to is Brewer's conduct once it became clear that she was to move from Arizona's Office of the Secretary of State to the Governor's mansion. Even before taking the oath of office, one of her first thoughts was to appoint several high-ranking members of her transition team to seal her son's criminal and medical records, a highly unprecedented move. It had all the appearance of Sarah Palin sweeping under the rug her daughter Willow's own burglary and B&E past.

    Then, after lobbying for that extra money for state hospitals, such as the one in which Ronald Brewer has been locked up since 1990, Brewer then decided to deny patients live-saving allocations from Mr. Obama's stimulus that would've offset Brewer's own cuts, a move that has resulted in the deaths of at least three Arizonans waiting for organ transplants.

    Brewer's claim of beheaded bodies in the desert and trying to spin it as a rationale for SB 1070, which essentially allows law enforcement to racially profile and harass even legal Mexican Americans, was so over the top that even the perennially supine MSM pressed her on it, making her double down and then, finally, say that it wasn't true.

    This is just a short, abbreviated list of Jan Brewer's crimes against the people of Arizona and the Office of the Presidency. If any Democratic Governor had ever waggled their finger in George Bush's face during his alleged presidency, the right wing would've called for that Chief Executive to be publicly drawn and quartered. But IOKIYAR, EITVIB (Especially if the Victim is Black).

    Jan Brewer is the poster child for most everything that's wrong with America, with its politics, with the moribund and virtually dead civil rights movement and with the right wing. The shriveled Red Queen of Arizona, with her inexplicable book deal and incumbency, is in itself a damnation of the stupendous danger of stupid people working together in concert in large numbers.

    Wednesday, January 25, 2012


    That's all I got. Since the 23rd, I've been painfully shaving about 2300 words off American Zen's word count since Amazon/Penguin's contest has an unreasonable bias against books that are greater than 150,000 words. What else is going on in the world? I hear there was a SOTU Address recently.

    Sunday, January 22, 2012

    Open Thread

    We need a palate cleanser especially after last night's boondoggle over a primary in South Carolina. So Mrs. JP and I are going out to watch the Patriots advance to the Super Bowl over the broken bodies of the Baltimore Ravens.

    Yeah, I know, the Ravens have always benefited from a stellar defense while the Pats' own D was ranked 31st out of 32 this year. But look at what our defense has done of late and when you have the best quarterback in the NFL and two of the best tight ends in the NFL, no defense scares you. hell, offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien's probably even more scared filling the big shoes of the late Joe Paterno at Penn State.

    So consider this an open thread, thoughts on the NFL post season, etc.

    Republican Voters Pull a Romney in SC

    The people of South Carolina have spoken. The folks that brought you the Civil War, Nikki Haley and Joe "You Lie" Wilson had suspended their Family Values long enough to vote for a old lech who got his cock sucked by a paramour in a car in full view of children, cheated on his wife before that with a staffer while calling for impeaching Clinton for doing the same thing and gave an award to a porno distributor.

    Bravo. The sales of clothespins in South Carolina must've skyrocketed the week before the primary.

    It was just a few days ago when Turdblossom Karl Rove, Charles Pierce at Esquire and yours truly were all on the same page insofar as one thing: Romney would pull off a clean 3-0 sweep with the first caucus and two primaries, that he'd get the GOP nomination even if he dug up Elizabeth's Edward's corpse and fucked her on the floor of the New York Stock exchange from trading bell to trading bell. The stars (or rather the unholy menage a trois of the MSM, the Bilderberg Group and Citizen's United) were all aligned and Mitt was going to be the Republican Party's Great Caucasian Hope.

    But then a funny thing happened on the way to the Republican analogue of Obama's Darth Vader tour bus: Rick Santorum was judged to be the winner of the Iowa caucus, after all, which is kinda like overturning the Ed Armbrister/Carlton Fisk interference call and retroactively giving the Boston Red Sox the 1975 World Series championship. And then, after Mitt was left in the dust as if he was married to Newt and had contracted cancer, 3-0 became 1-2. And the voters of South Carolina last night bucked the Powers that had already anointed Mitt as The One as if he was some sort of polymer-based Neo action figure to do battle with some imaginary Matrix solely of Obama's making and , shit, as they inelegantly say, happened.

    Ergo, after a caucus, two primaries, 947 Republican debates with #948 coming tomorrow in Florida and four turtle doves, the GOP is back to square one with no clear frontrunner and no real identity other than the troublingly abstract mantra of, "Let's get the nigger out of the White House." Essentially, South Carolina voters didn't give a shit who the Supreme Court or Fox News or Karl Rove or the Bilderberg Group wanted and pulled a Mitt Romney.

    The flip-flopping Republican voters in the Midwest, northeast and the south are essentially responding to one thing and it's just a matter of who can blow the dog whistle the loudest and at the right pitch. Santorum retroactively took Iowa after telling an all-white audience that he had no intention of "making black peoples' lives easier." In NH Romney railed about entitlements under Obama and Gingrich in South Carolina called Obama "the food stamp president", as if Obama unilaterally created SNAP all by himself.

    One needn't be a political pundit or sociology professor to know what these men are saying under the frequency beyond which non-racists can hear: Elect me and I'll get the darkies off welfare and stop them from siphoning your tax dollars with their welfare checks. They're merely less blatant versions of Reagan's intolerably racist meme of the welfare queen driving Cadillacs to the welfare office to pick up their checks.

    Obviously, it resonated in Iowa despite the fact that in the Hawkeye State, nine out of ten people on welfare are white and the percentage only goes down slightly on a national level. The Southern Strategy created four decades ago by Nixon and his piano wire-gripping psychopaths is still very much in full effect as is the lie of, "Liberals want to take away all your money and give it to them lazy niggers."

    In the case of President Obama, however, the knuckle draggers who came out last night to vote in the SC primary are largely exempt as the president has consistently called for raising taxes on those making more than $200,000 a year and that Mr. Obama recently signed into a law a payroll tax cut that added another $40+ a week into the pockets of blue collar workers.

    And long before all the poll results were in, South Carolina voters made their message clear: We'd rather replace the guy who just put another $40 in our pockets every week with a guy who wants to take our kids out of the classroom and into the janitor's closet 'cuz he thinks like us when it comes to them there welfare queens.

    Romney's cult simply alienates those in a highly evangelized state like SC. The only true Bible-thumper left in the group, Rick Santorum, like Romney, has a slim public record and just one term in elected office. And Ron Paul, well, is Ron Paul, a small, embittered very old man who, while being perhaps the most viciously racist one of the lot (as opposed to the racism of convenience perfected by Romney, Santorum and Gingrich), just leaves them churchgoers colder than smallmouth bass on ice at the fish market.

    So the series stands even 1-1-1 and the GOP primary process is rebooted. All the more reason to hope that Ron Paul takes the Florida primary in a couple of weeks to tie it at 1-1-1-1.

    Saturday, January 21, 2012

    Thought o' the Day

    Friday, January 20, 2012

    What's Mitt Fudging?

    (By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari Goldstein.)

    Bain, citing privacy reasons, declined to provide a list of the companies it invested in. - The WSJ, January 9, 2012

    OK, we've all heard the stories about Mitt Romney's wooden attempts to resonate with the proletariat. For all the jokes about Al Gore's stiffness in 2000 and John Kerry's blue-blooded egalitarianism in 2004, Mitt Romney makes both Gore and Kerry look like the Isley Brothers on Ecstasy with Jimi Hendrix on accompaniment.

    In fact, if Mitt Romney was any stiffer, he'd have a Y-shaped incision on his chest. His infrequent and invariably failed attempts to resonate with voters who have actually touched a snow shovel and have actually felt sweat on their skin are invariable disasters. The man worth up to $264,000,000 recently told unemployed people in Tampa, Florida that he was unemployed, bet Rick Perry $10,000 on national TV and thinks getting paid over $374,000 for a speech "isn't much." Hell, the only difference between Romney and Lenin's corpse is that Lenin is perpendicularly challenged and isn't afflicted with terminal avarice.

    But Republicans and the mainstream media who love them and take their cues as readily as they do Matt Drudge's every half-baked fever dream are losing their focus. While it's perfectly acceptable for Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich to ask Romney to release his tax returns (albeit because they just don't think Romney can beat Obama toe-to-toe, which he can't. If by late this summer it comes down to Romney and Obama, it won't be a David vs Goliath matchup as much as one featuring a Ken doll vs Goliath.), there's an even bigger question that the corporate MSM are leaving out of the debate.

    Instead of worrying over Romney paying 15% on some of his Bain Capital dividends and stock options, money he hasn't actually earned in 13 years, and perhaps none at all since much of his vast fortune is squirreled away in the Cayman Islands and elsewhere, we ought to focus, instead, on how many tens of thousands of American families Romney had ruined during his 15 year-long reign of terror since he'd founded Bain.

    Even if the tax code was rolled back to the days of Eisenhower and Kennedy, in which the wealthiest paid up to 90% in taxes, Romney would still have over $25,000,000 in the bank, hardly an amount that would inspire much pity among many in the 99%. But little attention has been paid outside of Newt Gingrich's SuperPAC and the DNC to the countless rabble left to starve by the side of the road in Romney's locust-like agenda at Bain Capital.

    Let's take a look at perhaps Romney's most infamous acquisition, Ampad (which, in a masterful piece of spin doctoring yesterday, the right wing American Enterprise Institute not only downplayed but tried to claim Romney's Bain actually created jobs. Forget the fact that a venture capital investment firm's primary if not sole focus is to make money for itself and its investors and that job creation is merely incidental to that very same end.).

    "Last I saw her, she was still technically alive."

    American Pad and Paper was one of 10 businesses into which Bain had either invested or acquired outright that made 70% of the money that stuffed the pockets of their investors and, out of those ten, one of four companies to file for bankruptcy within three years. But there's an ingenious way to spin that: Romney and other supporters of Bain Capital piss and moan that it's unfair to assign blame for failed companies after Bain had essentially bankrupted them with massive management and consulting fees and from which they'd subsequently divested themselves. In essence, Bain is taking the identical position of a serial killer who absolves himself of guilt after stabbing a woman and leaving her to die by the side of the road.

    At the same time they're doing the Pontius Pilate thing and washing their hands of blood or red ink from companies they'd bankrupted (approximately 22% of them), Bain and Romney are also taking credit for building jobs that perhaps ought to go, instead, to a robust Clinton-era economy and senior management at Staples, Domino's, etc.

    Romney once said to Newt Gingrich during a debate, "Doesn't he understand how the economy works? In the real economy, some businesses succeed and some fail." What Romney's really saying is something that we all already know but that he just doesn't quite have the guts to say without the varnish: That in the "real economy", in "real" capitalism, in the "free market", a company's success is measured solely by the money it makes for shareholders and executive management, not by how many blue collar jobs it creates.

    Ampad's notorious example is a case in point and is fast becoming a verbal Armageddon for both the right and the left to the point where both Romney's detractors and supporters stumble over themselves with their half-facts and contradictions (such as professional banshee Ann Coulter a few days ago ascribing Ampad's failure to unions and a mid-90's America going green while forgetting that around the same time, Staples, a Bain-owned paper store, was making billions at the expense of smaller manufacturing companies such as Ampad.).

    The facts are that the union, represented by Romney gadfly Randy Johnson, went on strike when Bain swooped in and raised health care costs for the workers. The deserted hulk and weedy parking lot that used to be the Marion plant was bought by Ampad which was of course owned by Romney's Bain. Despite the workers being represented by a union, Bain and Ampad thought it was more profitable to just fire all the workers and part out the company.

    Typical of corporate raider firms, Bain's strategy for making money at all costs was manifold: Charging obscene management and consulting fees, insinuating their own people on the board of directors, driving up debts, selling stocks, inflating the worth of its holdings, with preserving blue collar jobs not even at the bottom of their list of priorities. From a landmark seven part story published by the Boston Globe in 2007 (but no longer archived and available in part here):
    Ampad couldn't pay its debts and plunged into bankruptcy. Workers lost jobs and stockholders were left with worthless shares.

    Bain Capital, however, made money - and lots of it. The firm put just $5 million into the deal, but realized big returns in short order. In 1995, several months after shuttering a plant in Indiana and firing roughly 200 workers, Bain Capital borrowed more money to have Ampad buy yet another company, and pay Bain and its investors more than $60 million - in addition to fees for arranging the deal.

    Bain Capital took millions more out of Ampad by charging it $2 million a year in management fees, plus additional fees for each Ampad acquisition. In 1995 alone, Ampad paid Bain at least $7 million. The next year, when Ampad began selling shares on public stock exchanges, Bain Capital grabbed another $2 million fee for arranging the initial public offering - on top of the $45 million to $50 million Bain reaped by selling some of its shares.

    Bain Capital didn't escape Ampad's eventual bankruptcy unscathed. It held about one-third of Ampad's shares, which became worthless. But while as many as 185 workers near Buffalo lost jobs in a 1999 plant closing, Bain Capital and its investors ultimately made more than $100 million on the deal.

    To the folks at Bain Capital, that was all in a day's work, albeit an unusually lucrative day's work, and doesn't exactly paint a portrait of a venture capital firm dedicated to saving American jobs at all costs.

    So the next time Romney tries to connect with the proles while pointedly and furtively refusing to release his tax records, instead of obsessing at how stiff and disingenuous Romney is, both political parties as well as the MSM ought to focus on those American workers who similarly don't pay much in taxes for the simple reason that Romney and Company put them out of work.

    Thursday, January 19, 2012

    Land of the Free Lunch, Home of the Brave Old World

    How did we let this happen?

    We, the moussed, Reeboked beneficiaries of the Great Experiment with cell phones plastered to our ears as we drive high performance, less fuel-efficient cars, have somehow let it all get away.

    The "It" to which I'm referring is the now-risible, overarching rationale that guided the Declaration of Independence, the one that stated that all men are created equal. The mystery is not how and why we could let that principle be forgotten but how we could've been so gullible as to believe in it for going on three centuries.

    Even a cursory look at American history, particularly labor and civil rights history, will inform one that far from being open to new ideas, championing labor and being spiritually vested with improving the quality of life for all Americans, the United States has consistently been a nation motivated by greed and maintaining the status quo even to the point of murdering our fellow Americans to that end.

    The inequality and vicious attempts to maintain a tilted status quo began long before the Bread and Roses Strike that began exactly a century ago this month in nearby Lawrence, Massachusetts. Coming less than a year after the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire in New York City that killed almost 150 men, women and children, the brutality of the mills toward its workers was eventually spotlighted by Congressional investigations, exposure from the press and increasing political pressure from trade unions.

    Literally gallons of ink and blood have been respectively spilled by worthy minds and worthy bodies explicating causes and effects, pros and cons and ramifications of why things need or don't need to change. But this facet of human nature does not need too fine a point put on it. And when you fully unpack the whole messy argument it boils down to one simple, atavistic imperative: When people derive good fortune in one way or another, they #1 do not wish to share it with a segment of society they deem unworthy and #2 they wish to keep things that way. (It's no wonder that, according to a recent OECD finding, America ranks 27th overall out of 31 nations in social justice.)

    This has been a hallmark of human civilization perhaps since the days we lived in caves and fought each other over prime hunting and watering grounds. And the infallible human instinct of equating social standing with ill-gotten wealth derived at the expense of the happiness, opportunity and wellbeing of others, wealth that cannot be taken through this vale of tears and imported to the next, is a timeless story.

    And among the perennially greedy landed gentry, virtually the only way to penetrate that veneer of culture and ossified humanity and to get a primal, visceral reaction from these people, for want of a better word, is to threaten their wealth and status quo. Fascism, which is partly characterized by a complicity with private industry, will never be as controversial with the working class and especially not with the wealthy for the simple reason that it doesn't threaten the interests of those who have access to the military and paramilitary power that's needed to maintain a semblance of civil order. Socialism will always be controversial because it threatens to take all that away.

    Greed and selfishness will always be defining characteristics of human society and as long as we keep reproducing, despite our best attempts at nurturing, we will always produce children that will grow up to be exactly the same kind of sociopaths and psychopaths that we now see running Wall Street and Capitol Hill.

    But these past couple of years, we've seen a difference. Far from seeing the status quo merely defended with police and military intervention and through propaganda campaigns, we've actually witnessed an incalculably vicious reaction that has produced a regression in the policies, principles and laws that helped us emerge from a feudal state in the 19th century into the more equitable, civilized industrialized superpower that we'd become.

    As with Europe in the Middle Ages, early 20th century America thrived under a middle class that was largely if not entirely enabled by trade unions both public and private. With unions (or guilds, as they were known in the Middle Ages) came more equitably shared wealth and political power that rivaled that of the church and state. And yet, despite the fact that the 80 year-odd experiment with an actual middle class was an unqualified success story, we've seen a very successful move to actually push the United States back into the feudal/serf state it was before the rise of the union movement about a century ago.

    Now, for the first time in my 53 year-long life, we're hearing Republicans such as Newt Gingrich and Sen. Mike Lee of Utah actually calling for the repeal of child labor laws that got children out of dangerous mills and back in school where they belong. Just a couple of days ago in South Carolina, Gingrich renewed his call to turn children into janitors to approving hoots and hollers from the yahoos in attendance. The overarching and stupendously ignorant rationale among Southerners especially is, as long as we defeat liberalism at all costs, fuck the poor and fuck our own kids. It's an anti-Communist/Socialist mindset engineered by the right wing in a post-Cold War era.

    And, rather than merely indemnifying Wall Street from its excesses and refusing to drag into court the titans who's made the meltdown of 2008 possible, the American public, under a surly simulacrum of representative government, was forced to bail out that same Wall Street despite tens of millions of us protesting that bailout to our elected officials. And, absurdly, the Republican Party that was largely responsible for laying the foundation for those excesses was for a time on our side.

    Occupy Wall Street may be dead but it hasn't been forgotten. Instead, it's been ossified into history regardless of the best spinmeisters Wall Street and Capitol Hill can buy. OWS forced the corporate mainstream media to put under a microscope the world-consuming greed that nearly resulted in the collapse of our planet's financial system. For those who couldn't get away to occupy Zuccotti Park or Liberty Square or McPherson Sq. in Washington DC, the movement showed that, yes, you are not imagining things and, no, you are not alone and you are not crazy for coming to the same conclusions.

    The problem is, fighting to save the American Dream is a battle that's doomed to failure because, except for one brief, shining moment, the American Dream never existed, As George Carlin once said, "it's called the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe in it."

    And when those without guns oppose those who do, we all know what the outcome will be. The only difference is, the police and militia have traded in their clubs, fire hoses and truncheons with automatic weapons, pepper spray and tasers, mobilized not with horses but in tanks thoughtfully provided to them by an increasingly paranoid federal government.

    Our landed gentry's track record on civil rights is every bit as spattered with blood and yet considering White America consistently being on the wrong side of history, the attitude of maintaining a racist status quo remains in full effect. Difficult as it to believe that we had to labor for nearly a century to abolish the enslavement of our fellow humans, that is exactly what we're fighting now.

    How and why have we let this happen? How could we stop building on the progress we'd made throughout the 20th century to the point where we're seeing the dismantling of unions, the defunding of Social Security, the deconstruction of Medicaid and Medicare, the repeal of Glass-Steagall, the outright theft of the voting rights of African Americans and calls to repeal child labor laws and even the Civil Rights Act of 1964?

    Well, as the right wing has taught us, neglect of progress and infrastructure results in this very same thing: The flagging of the vigilance that progress requires and demands will inevitably produce a backslide that will land us back into the 19th century if not further. Under the dominance of the right wing that began under the union-busting Reagan, America is now like a once-champion body builder gone completely to flab.

    And now we find ourselves in the absurd position of protesting rewarding corporations and banks for their corruption and malfeasance, to fight to keep our children out of the janitor's closet and in the classroom, for African Americans to merely secure the right to vote in the face of a sleazy, racist onslaught from an audacious right wing hoarsely screaming about voter fraud in the face of its much, much more massive electoral fraud.

    If we couldn't take our very survival for granted in the nuclear age, at least we were able to take comfort in the fact that if you got up every morning, went to work, upgraded your skills, got a good education and a better job and lived within your means, you'd do OK. And that when the day came that you couldn't get out of bed due to old age or illness, the social safety net would take care of you and reward you for decades of hard work.

    All that's being seriously threatened while we are, for the most part, allowing this to happen. But our forebears risked and gave their lives to hand us the freedoms and rights that we now no longer can take for granted. Then again, they didn't have cell phones, video games and Twitter to keep them happily distracted.

    Monday, January 16, 2012

    Turning 53...

    ...and watching the years grind out of this bloody extruder called Life is like watching an incipiently rickety assembly line struggling to make quota even though automation will someday in the near future make the process obsolete. Yep, at 9:50 tonight, your prehistoric porcine political pundit who's addicted to alliteration turns 53.

    Still nothing on the job front, even though I'm trying like a one-nut on his honeymoon to even get an interview even as the wolves are pissing all over the perimeter of Casa Del Puerco. I know I mercilessly hit you all up for donations in a public plea in the month before Christmas but if you have a few bucks to spare, Mrs. JP, Popeye the cat and I would immensely appreciate any help in the form of a birthday gift before February 1st rolls around. As always, if you haven't already received a copy yet, I'll even throw in complimentary file attachments of both my novels on Kindle (The Toy Cop, my hostage negotiation thriller, is getting an overhaul before I submit it to a CreateSpace/Penguin-Putnam contest later this month).

    Sunday, January 15, 2012

    Top Ten Facts About Tonight's New England/Denver Game

    Tonight. the New England Patriots beat the Denver Broncos 45-10 to advance to the second round of the NFL playoffs. Many amazing facts and stats were accrued, including Tom Brady's 363 passing yards and Rob Gronkowski's three touchdowns and 145 receiving yards, both tying for most in NFL postseason history. But there were some other surprising facts and stats in Denver's loss to the Patriots. What were they?

  • 10) Patriots owner Robert Kraft ate more hot dogs by the first quarter than Tebow had completions all night.

  • 9) Even Patriots head coach Bill Belichick screamed at Broncos offensive squad over subpar play.

  • 8) John Elway called Denver locker room at halftime to offer to come out of retirement.

  • 7) Jesus severed ties with Tim Tebow for better endorsement deal.

  • 6) Fellow evangelical QB and Patriots victim Kurt Warner called Tebow after game to suggest suicide pact.

  • 5) Tim Tebow was sacked only three fewer times than all of Bain Capital's employees combined.

  • 4) Broncos cheerleaders smoking in Gillette Stadium's parking lot after halftime.

  • 3) Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien caught slipping suggestions to Tebow and the offensive line.

  • 2) Tim Tebow completed fewer passes than Herman Cain.

  • 1) That Jesus stops trying to save Mankind every Sunday to personally help Tim Tebow. Unfortunately, someone forgot to tell Tebow it was Saturday night.
  • Saturday, January 14, 2012

    The Bain of Our Existence

    (By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari Goldstein.)

    "The reason is simple: Romney is not a conservative. He's not, folks. You can argue with me all day long on that, but he isn't. What he has going for him is that he's not Obama..." - Unconvicted child molester and drug addict Rush Limbaugh on Bain Capital-owned Clear Channel.

    It would be understandable if liberals were tempted to take a break this winter or at least until Newt Gingrich finally gets smart and drops out of the race. After all, the 28+ minute-long movie unofficially made for and by Newt Gingrich through his SuperPAC, Winning Our Future, is seamlessly indistinguishable from what liberal icon Robert Greenwald would produce through his production company (in fact, it's virtually impossible to imagine the people Winning Our Future had hired to produce the spot not looking to Greenwald's Brave New Films for cues, if the thorough research replete with touching music is any indication.).

    In fact, as long as the former House Speaker is in the race, he'll be doing a lot of President Obama's heavy lifting.

    Yet while proper due and attention is being paid to Mr. Gingrich's unofficial spot, it's notable that other prominent conservatives such as Sarah Palin have piled on. Uniting with Winning Our Future, the former Alaska Governor and failed Vice Presidential nominee and proven tax cheat has demanded that Romney to release his tax records, which he has staunchly refused to do (at the end of the video, you'll see why: Most of Romney's estimated quarter of a billion dollar fortune that was hoarded at the expense of American jobs and companies has long since been squirreled away in not-so-blind trusts and offshore bank accounts far from the apathetic reach of the IRS.).

    The entire video would be an indelibly searing indictment on any candidate with Mitt Romney's history of financial predation at Bain Capital were it not for the fact that among other conservative voters, Barack Obama, a man whose middling stimulus bill still created 3,000,000 jobs, is even more loathed and feared than Mitt Romney.

    While the president's entire agenda on job creation has been underwhelming at best these past 35+ months, it's hard to imagine why and how even rock-ribbed Republicans primarily worried about the economy and job creation would fear Mr. Obama more than the elitist Romney, a mannequin of a game show host who'd cost America countless tens of thousands of jobs in his 17 years helming Bain (or created about 100,000 for communist China, depending on how one chooses to look at it).

    Perhaps Limbaugh in my epigraph succinctly explained it all. As with Romney's repugnance among Republican voters until late, his newfound if middling appeal can be summed up as, "He's not Obama." When dealing with the one-dimensional, reactionarily reptilian Republican brain, one cannot introduce more complex logic than that without subjecting oneself to endless head banging on the brick wall of racially-motivated "reasoning."

    But Romney's so-called appeal, much of which was bought prior to getting endorsements from federal, state and local right wing politicians, is more a direct benefit from running in a weak field of Republican contenders than anything else. Romney, like McCain before him, is like the 83 game-winning 2006 St. Louis Cardinals (who went on to win the World Series.): A mediocre entity that vultures a berth more through process of attrition than anything else.

    But as ill-informed and reactionary as conservative voters tend to be, the repugnance to Romney that still almost cost him the Iowa caucus to one term Senator Rick Santorum can perhaps also be ascribed to reptilian reactivism. Say what you want about George W. Bush and John McCain and many Republican presidential candidates before them but at least those men had human traits and could resonate with voters across a broad spectrum of the electorate (McCain, despite his age and clearly incipient dementia, still got almost 60,000,000 people to vote for him against Obama).

    Mitt Romney, even on those mercifully rare occasions when he tries to connect with the grass roots, cannot help but show what an elitist scum he truly is, whether it's telling largely out of work Floridians "I'm unemployed, too," betting Texas Governor Rick Perry $10,000 over a minor squabble over a book passage during a nationally televised debate, telling hecklers at the Iowa State Fair that corporations are people, that income inequality should be spoken of only in "quiet rooms" or four years ago seeking out a reporter for special abuse when he rightly called out Romney's lobbyist Ron Kaufman as running his campaign.

    In fact, the only time one can get a human reaction from Romney is when someone accuses him of being a flip-flopper, insists that corporations are not, in fact, people or calling him out for his long history of vulturism with Bain Capital. Even then, Romney, will break into the most plastic and disingenuous grin since Ken and Barbie or what Charles Pierce at Esquire calls his "Flog the Butler" face.

    Mitt Romney, scion of a wealthy family who escaped the Vietnam draft and instead spent a year at a palace in France during a Mormon mission, far from being a cool, even-tempered customer, is one of the most viciously defensive Republicans on the map on the rare occasions when someone from a crowd or the mainstream media calls him on his lies and constantly shifting positions. Even the mere suggestion that Romney may have come by his quarter billion dollar fortune under less than honorable means is enough to make him scramble for his emotional launch codes, if his shameful speech in Iowa last summer is any indication.

    Much of Romney's divorce from reality and the facts can be gleaned from his very perversion of the definition of what Bain Capital's primary mission was. Bain, a world-eating entity that has created one weed-clogged parking lot after another from coast to coast, is a venture capital firm. Ask anyone at a venture capital firm who doesn't have a current or former alumnus running for president if their number one goal is job creation and they'll laugh you clear into the street.

    The mission statement of a venture capital firm is to make money and if any jobs are created it's merely incidental. In nearly 25% of the cases in which Bain Capital bought a business, it filed for bankruptcy and was parted out like an old Chevy while hundreds got thrown out into the cold.

    This is the picture that Mitt Romney would like you to forget, one that seems to perfectly illustrate the entire philosophy and agenda of the universally-despised Wall Street. Does that look like a portrait of people who are primarily interested in job creation or one of cash-stuffed scarecrow psychopaths in the heady 80's of Oliver Stone's Wall Street rubbing their unseemly wealth in our faces?

    RomneyCare here in Massachusetts is but a mere microcosm of what he'd do to this country if he was ever allowed to sit behind the Resolute Desk. That abominable mutation of MassHealth, which used to provide for the health care needs of those on welfare and other public assistance, was co-opted by the half dozen largest health providers in the Commonwealth. The rechristened MassHealth Connector now offers rates too high for any unemployed or underemployed person to pay unless they meet a stringent hardship guideline. And if you're not that indigent but still too indigent to pay the premiums these HMOs demand, you'll wind up owing Massachusetts your $900+ personal exemption.

    It's impossible to imagine anyone not on Wall Street or who doesn't work for Bain Capital or who hasn't been paid off by Romney ever voting for him except out of a reptilian revulsion toward a man of African American heritage running our country. It's quite obvious that prominent conservatives such as Mr. Gingrich and Ms. Palin are trying to take down Romney simply because they know that he's unelectable or because they themselves are revolted by the cult to which he belongs.

    Whatever their motives, we should welcome their opposition to a Romney presidency because it marks the first time in a while that well-monied Republicans have ever gotten their facts straight.

    Friday, January 13, 2012

    Caption Contest

    So, is Mitt Romney and the other vultures at Bain Capital made of money or full of shit? Discuss.

    Thursday, January 12, 2012

    Introducing the Bobo Awards

    Perhaps Erik Loomis in his blog Lawyers, Guns and Money was being facetious but he may be onto something when he proposed earlier today creating the Bobo Awards for Socially Pernicious Journalism. I'm guessing that Loomis' name for this award is derived from D r i f t g l a s s 's sobriquet for Our Dear Mr. Brooks of the NY Times.

    His nominee for the first Bobo award is ABC News' Matthew Dowd, for this eyebrow-raising frotting/fellating of overrated Broncos QB Tim Tebow (lately eviscerated by Tom Brady and my hometown Patriots).

    Should this movement gain some traction, I'd only be too glad to host it as a monthly feature right here at Pottersville.

    Wednesday, January 11, 2012

    Caption Contest

    "Tonight, New Hampshire. Tomorrow... Mordor!"

    Make me ashamed of myself by showing me whatcha got.

    Facebook Post to a Young Man

    (Editor's note: What follows is a post I had to write to a young man, a friend of my son Adam who friended me on Facebook last month. This kid has the seedier side of humanity pegged, the part about us being materialistic lemmings and automatons who cannot think for ourselves. Unfortunately, my young friend, who's barely out of his teens, thinks this defines Humanity in general and I'm trying to convince him that's only half the story, that there's another side to people that seems to deserve the perks and potential of being a human being, those of us who have a vested interest in actually making the world a better place to live in. I know this message of conciliation to a budding misanthrope is coming from an unlikely source but along with encroaching old age (allegedly) comes wisdom. And my wisdom, such as it is, tells me that not all is lost regardless of the Maya running out of calendars after this year. And I truly hate seeing the young so incurably cynical toward Mankind in the abstract when their adult lives have barely begun. So I'd like a show of hands: Did I give this lad sound advice or am I just blowing smoke up his ass?)

    Ah... you're too young and beautiful to be so cynical and hateful toward a race of which you're largely ignorant (there are 7 billion of us, you know). When I was your age, I said to my correspondent, the poet XJ Kennedy, pretty much exactly the same thing: That I hated Humanity with a capital H. I was a misanthrope in the making and the much older XJ recoiled in horror. I, too, thought I'd had all the answers by dint of a high intellect and a "poetic sensibility" that made me infallibly sensitive to the ills, absurdities and injustices of the world. And, God knows, I still live with a lot of rage, hatred and cynicism but that, at least, is more focused than it was when I was your age. Now, I can identify the wellsprings of my rage and realize from whence it springs (My parents, the Navy, etc.). But hating humanity as a whole is just going to turn off a lot of people who don't even come close to fitting your definition of Humanity with a capital H being "lifeless materialistic lemmings." Sure, it's one thing to peg the human race for being what it is with its hype-driven "getting and spending (Wordsworth)" but another thing entirely to let that color your perception of people as a whole, including those who would otherwise probably want to have a relationship with you but are turned off by your poisonous hatred. Now, granted, this is coming from someone who can still wield a razor-sharp pen when the spirit moves me but my anger and erstwhile hatred is at least FOCUSED and I don't piss all over Mankind because one Republican said something colossally hateful and stupid. I've learned in my middle age to see the hope and potential in humankind, to have faith that we will, indeed, pull back from the precipice if and when we ever push ourselves to the edge of that metaphorical cliff. Basically, what I'm saying is to cut people some slack. This is the only race running the roost, the human race. And the sooner you learn to cut people some slack the easier and happier your life will become. There are many, many good people out there who can think for themselves and who would probably wish to have a stimulating relationship with you (like me). But the world will not change for you no matter (how) much you grouse about it. There are battles that can be won and some that cannot be. And only wisdom and experience will teach you to distinguish the two.

    Tuesday, January 10, 2012

    Caption Contest

    "...now, class, please turn to page 121 in your textbooks that describes the Republican caucus and primary process..."

    Monday, January 9, 2012

    The Latest From Alan Grayson

    I've got nothing today and I'm in no mood to have one or two hours of hard work go completely ignored all over the internet. So I'll just outsource today's post to Alan Grayson. I reproduce in full the text of his latest email about Rick Santorum (R-Isle of Man-on-Dog.)

    It’s getting really hard to be topical. In the issue of New Yorker magazine dated January 9, 2012 – that’s today -- the lead article is about the rise of Newt Gingrich.

    Newt who? Newt Gingrich? Is he the guy who thought that if he stuck four fingers between the buttons in his shirt, he actually became Napoleon?

    (By the way, America, Newt Gingrich is very disappointed in you. I just thought you should know that.)

    But this note is not about Newt Gingrich; it’s about Rick Santorum. Who remains topical until 8 p.m. tomorrow, when the polls close in New Hampshire. Because New Hampshire Republicans are finding it difficult to square a Santorum state ban on contraception with the motto “Live Free or Die.”

    But this note is not about contraception; it’s about weather forecasts. Which are always topical.

    Rick Santorum tried to ban weather forecasts. Actually, not all weather forecasts. Just government weather forecasts.

    I realize that you could possibly be a little skeptical about that, so here is the bill, at the official Senate website. Sections 2(b) and 2(d) of the National Weather Services [sic] Duties Act of 2005, S. 786, 109th Cong., 1st Sess.

    By the way, Santorum introduced this bill a few months after four different hurricanes hit Central Florida, where I live. In one of those hurricanes, a big chunk of my roof collapsed, right into the living room. So weather forecasts are sort of important in my community. A matter of life and death, you might say.

    Now you must be thinking, "Wow, that guy Santorum is a REAL conservative." Santorum recognizes that government weather forecasts are meteorological socialism; they are a serious infringement on your constitutional right not to know whether it will rain tomorrow. Santorum sees that weather forecasts are a government takeover of the skies. In fact, Santorum is such an astute and profound conservative thinker that he probably realizes that traffic lights are a government takeover of the roads.

    But this note is not about traffic lights. It’s about Rick Santorum and government weather forecasts. And why Rick Santorum tried to ban them.

    Here’s why. It’s because AccuWeather is a commercial weather forecasting company, and AccuWeather employees gave Santorum more than $5,000 in campaign contributions. Then he introduced the bill. Which subsequently and consequently led to Santorum being named as one of Congress’s “most corrupt politicians.” Which is saying a lot.

    I can picture the conversation:

    AccuWeather lobbyist: “Here is $5000 in bundled contributions from AccuWeather. Now introduce a bill to ban government weather forecasts.”

    Santorum: “OK. Sure. Why not? Whatever. I love this cheesecake.”

    And that is what I’ve seen over and over again. This thing called “conservative ideology” has degenerated to the point where it exists simply to spew out rationalizations for something else entirely: whatever the corporate lobbyists want.

    A topic that will remain topical, I’m sure, well after the polls close in New Hampshire tomorrow night.

    Alan Grayson

    Sunday, January 8, 2012

    Last Night's NH Debate: Live Free or Die of Embarrassment

    Willard "Mitt" Romney practices sucking lobbyist cock before last night's debate.

    By now, we've seen the six remaining GOP presidential contenders on TV more often than Madge the Manicurist and Josephine the Plumber combined. And the Republican Freakazoid, Willardpalooza, DSM IV Come to Life, Parade of Penises last night proved only one thing: Willard is the One. He is, in mob parlance, a "made man." He is untouchable, as Teflonic as Reagan and his own hair.

    Willard, leader of the rat hordes, is da Man. Meet your new 2012 Republican Car to Nowhere.

    There was no Night of Long Knives or even a Dusk of Apple Paring Knives. Newt and the others, save possibly for Jon Huntsman in this, his Brian's Song of a national appearance, went after Willard with about as much real zeal as so many crocodiles recently bloated with baby hippos would look at a full-grown hippo. Huntsman did channel Herbert Hoover by muttering something to Willard in Mandarin Chinese, which came off sounding like a chess nerd explaining the Sicilian trap to a bunch of football jocks just before they folded him six ways into a locker.

    So, they did what Republicans do: They instead attacked each other and the President for entirely the wrong reasons (that would be the President who supposedly blamed George W. Bush for the Iraqi skeletons in all the WH closets, the reservoir of red ink pouring out of all the bathroom faucets and the Everest-sized pile of dirt under the rug he left behind in the Oval Office).

    But the fact that Romney, a man with a first name that's onomatopoetic with "the chill that crawls up your spine when you feel something cold and clammy in the dark", was able to so easily deflect so many damning charges proves right then and there that this is the greatest fix since (pardon the pun) Jack Johnson/Jess Willard in 1915.

    Forget the fact that, as Vulture Zero for Bain Capital, Willard did indeed create 100,000 jobs... for Communist China. Forget the fact that Willard has a position paper that looks as though it was written by a schizophrenic with multiple alter egos. Forget the fact that Willard is a psychopath that edges closer and closer to scratching out of that vinyl substance charitably referred to as skin every time someone challenges him or mentions an inconvenient truth about his past or present.

    They've given up on waiting for the zombie Reagan to come shambling out of his grave, they've given up on Republican Jesus coming down from heaven in a golf cart made of light and attended to by cherubic caddies. This is their man, Mormon or no, even though, come November 6th, it would be a very good time to invest in clothespin manufacturers, which is about the only way Willard will create any manufacturing jobs for countries that don't limit couples to two children and a shot glass full of rice per day.

    Forget the fact that Rick "Will You Fucking Stop Googling Me???" Santorum came in a virtual dead heat with Mitt Romney in the Slipknot Caucus last week. Santorum brought more people back down to earth than Harold Camping's failed Raptures last year by insisting that there were no classes and that even mentioning the word "class" was a nefarious liberal plot (sure, there are no classes. We'll all reap billions from not having to pay capital gains taxes under Willard's plan and routinely bet each other $10,000 over petty squabbles).

    Santorum's eight vote deficit might as well have been 80,000 to judge by the fix that's obviously well in place thanks to Citizen's United and the Bilderberg Group who no doubt see Willard as their real-life Manchurian Candidate. Santorum's even more extreme than Israel regarding the settlements, is so Catholic he makes the Catholic League's Bill Donohue look like a goat's head-wearing pagan and, well, there is that Google/Dan Savage thing to live down.

    The Powers That Be have already decided, rightly, that Santorum doesn't have what it takes to get people excited. He's the anti-Jon Huntsman on the other end of the spectrum of Republican lunacy: Whereas Huntsman isn't nearly crazy enough, Santorum's just a little too batshit. Willard, obviously, benefits more than anything else, as the one candidate who's the least embarrassing, the one who's fine-tuning that perfect balance between being a ho-hum conservative pragmatist and someone who paints elephants on walls with his own fecal matter.

    The Republican field of nightmares, after the three horse race in Iowa, has now become Six Characters in Search of an Offer. With Cain and Bachmann now rightfully relegated to the shit pile, the GOP's offerings have now become what it's always been and likely always will be: a half dozen middle-aged to elderly, white, male Republican multimillionaires. The Bilderberg Group has very good reasons to be concerned, considering the heterogeneous makeup that requires looking at which lobbyists and corporates interests support whom in order to tell them apart.

    Oh, and Rick "Fuck you, NH, I'm Gonna Leapfrog Over Ya'll on the Way to SC" Perry was also there like some pot head wandering in and auditing a college course on Hempology.

    Saturday, January 7, 2012

    Your Daily Douche

    Your Republican douchebaggery of the week, culled from all over the internets, the Twitter box and Facebook machine.

    Heading off the always-active Republican police blotter is yet another embarrassment for South Carolina, this time State Representative Thad Viers, who was arrested recently for stalking and harassing his ex-girlfriend. This made Viers drop out of the race for the newly-created 7th District as well as resign from his current post. In his press release, the poor man was able to put aside his personal problems with his love life to address bigger problems take some parting partisan shots:
    While I had hoped to join South Carolina's conservative congressional delegation in fighting back against Washington's out-of-control spending spree, now is not the time. Instead, I will focus on building my law practice and advocating free market principles here in Horry County.

    Oh, and this wasn't the first time this has happened. Viers has a well-established pattern of obsessive/compulsive behavior toward former flames. Back in 2007, "Viers' arrest came nearly four years after he pleaded no contest to threatening to beat and sexually assault a man dating his estranged wife." And this guy wanted to run for Congress? Sadly enough, he would've fit right in with the other psychopaths the Republican Party has fielded.

    Covering himself with glory on the Presidential campaign trail, Rick "Damn You, Dan Savage, Damn You to Hell!" Santorum recently told the mother of a cancer survivor that people with pre-existing conditions are to blame for their conditions and that they should pay more for health care despite having their earning capacity crippled due to an illness they probably weren't too crazy about contracting.

    Yeah, like Thomas Franks we've all asked ourselves what the fuck is with Kansas. The latest WTF moment came from none other than racist Republican Kansas House Speaker Mike O'Neal who forwarded a cartoon to his fellow racist Republican lawmakers comparing the First Lady to the Grinch and calling her "Mrs. YoMama." The message from O'Neal read, “I’m sure you’ll join me in wishing Mrs. YoMama a wonderful, long Hawaii Christmas vacation — at our expense, of course.”

    The backlash resulted in the typical Republican non-apology, which basically boils down to, "I was just funnin' on her. Sorry if ya'll are too thinskinned to get Republican humor." Just two days ago,
    O’Neal had defended the email, contending that he was only making fun of his own bad hair days. In a statement, the speaker’s office said that “political cartoons are a part of American culture.”

    Sure. And this isn't indicative of a pattern of racist behavior by fat, pasty old white Republican men who must be consumed daily with frustration that they can't put on those pure white robes with the pointy hoods (Limbaugh, Sensenbrenner, et al).

    Common Dreams tells us of a study by the Center For Responsive Politics informing us that Republicans in the Tea Party Caucus, who comprise almost exactly a quarter of all Republicans in the House, elected by Tea Baggers to represent the middle class, are actually wealthier on average than even their fellow Republican lawmakers (which is saying a lot).
    The median average net worth of a member of the House Tea Party Caucus was $1.8 million in 2010. (Financial disclosure forms require lawmakers to value their assets and liabilities only in ranges, so it's impossible to know exactly how wealthy a particular elected official is. However, it's possible to calculate an average net worth for each member of Congress.)

    That's significantly higher than the comparable number for the median House member: $755,000. It's also more than 130 percent above the $774,280 average net worth of the median, non-Tea Party Caucus House Republican.

    Furthermore, the caucus, a group of 60 House members founded by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), includes 33 millionaires and six members worth more than $20 million, according to the Center's research...

    So remind me again what those lunatic Tea Baggers were thinking when they elected dozens of psychopaths who plainly don't represent the middle class and have time and again threatened to shut down the government in their quest to cut taxes for their own kind while slashing programs and unemployment benefits for millions of middle-class and lower income folks?

    Apparently, Voter ID should only be made mandatory where black, red and brown Democratic voters are concerned, not white, Republican Iowans voting in last week's caucus.

    Just when you think Creationism and global warming denialists represent the nadir of scientific head-up-the-ass ramming, along comes Peter Duesberg who recently published in an Italian journal that HIV does not cause AIDS. Doucheberg's ideas are thought to result in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people since the AIDS/HIV retrovirus was identified in the 80's. Doubling down on his, er, remarkable theory, Duesberg also claimed that there was no AIDS epidemic in Africa.

    By the end of the year we'll be hearing things like, "Now, so-called experts and elitist eggheads will tell ya'll the earth is round, that's gravity's not a theory and that we revolve around the sun but don't you go believin' 'em..."

    Duesberg actually writes for Scientific American, if you can believe that.

    Just when you thought Deadbeat dad Joe Wilson and Don Young were two of the surliest, nastiest cocksuckers this 112th Congress has to offer, then take a gander at Arkansas Congressman Steve Womack screaming at one of his constituents. And why was he screaming at her? Let's let Blue Arkansas field this one:
    Kelly (Eubanks) works two jobs to support her two kids and is trying to finish up her degree, going to UofA in Fayetteville full time in addition to taking care of her family and working. She went to her Congressman’s town hall (something Womack rarely holds) to ask why he voted to cut the Pell grants she depends on to go to school but wouldn’t cut oil subsidies.

    During the town hall, Eubanks got hissed at Womack's other constituents to "get a job" despite the fact she'd said she had two and they tried to take the mic away from her. After the Town Hall, she was cornered by Womack's constituent service representative, Pam Forester, "to inform (Eubanks) that if she wanted to talk with the Congressman again she needed to go through her and set up an appointment (which is to say, no way in Hell you're getting to him ever again.)."

    This is what you get when you elect Republican plutocrats to represent you. If you challenge them on their corruption and hypocrisy and put their feet to the fire, they'll act like a Town Hall is a Spanish Inquisition and bellow and bully you into submission.

    Rick "Fecal Anal Lube" Santorum pulled double-duty this week at a recent stump speech in which he said gays don't deserve the "privilege" of serving in the military and getting married within their own gender, while saying he didn't want to discriminate against any Americans' rights. Because, according to former Sen. Man on Dog, these are privileges, not rights. And privileges, as we all know, ought to be earned. So, if you're gay, you have to earn the right to defend your country (despite DADT's repeal) and to marry within your gender.

    When an AP reporter held Mitt Romney's happy, dancing feet to the fire by telling him it was obvious that lobbyists were running his campaign, Romney had a Norman Bates moment and confronted the AP reporter. After informing the reporter he'd like to speak with him later, he was inevitably confronted with Romney aide Eric Fehrnstrom who told the reporter he was acting unprofessionally and was "argumentative with the candidate". Oh, and his easily provable facts were downgraded to mere "opinion".

    Ron Kaufman has a long and storied history as a big time lobbyist and it all devolved into Romney's personal semantic interpretation of what "running" his campaign really means. Even Romney admitted that Kaufman was present at "debate strategy meetings" but not "senior level strategy meetings", which, I guess, never involves something as unimportant as debate strategy.

    Wednesday, January 4, 2012

    It Was a Good Life

    Now that the Billy Mumy caucus has finally ended and the bad people have, alas, escaped the cornfield to metastasize across the nation, let's take stock of what we learned or should've learned last night from the Iowa Caucus.

    An 8 vote victory for Mitt Romney (R,D,I- Utah, Massachusetts, whereever) in a caucus in which barely over 30,000 voters across all of Iowa turned out to vote for both him and Rick "All Black People Are on Welfare So I Don't Want to Help Them" Santorum, is not a victory. That's pretty much how many people voted for last year's Typhoid Mary of the publishing industry, Christine O'Donnell, in Delaware's Senate primary. In other words, if Mitt Romney's entire immediate family had turned on him, it would've been a virtual dead heat with a guy named after scatalogical leftover anal lube. So please let's stop proclaiming this a victory for Gov. Dog on Car over Sen. Man on Dog.

    2nd, only half the Republicans who won this glorified popularity contest in Iowa went on to win the GOP presidential nomination, according to CBS. For those of you who needed a calculator during high school math, that comes out to 50/50, meaning that the networks and their sponsors could've saved a shitload of money and spared us the needless, misleading hype by simply televising a coin flip like they do before every NFL game.

    3rd, despite conveniently forgetting that she now represents the 6th District in the Land of a Thousand Lakes and trumpeting her John Wayne/Gacy Iowa roots, Michele Bachmann couldn't muster better than a distant 6th with 5% of the vote. In fact, only 6,073 corn farmers could hold their nose long enough to vote for a hometown girl who thinks slaves were better under slavery than Obama and that the eight year-old John Quincy Adams was a Founding Father.

    4th, Newt Gingrich is politically deader than Ronald Reagan, who still has vaster amounts of appeal than a guy who received $1.6 million from Freddie Mac as a lobbyist and would like to turn our schoolchildren into so many chimney sweeps. Since the Lizard King is now 65, that means he won't be able to run for President at age 69 unless every other Republican in the land is delivered their comeuppance and dies of septic shock after biting their forked tongues. Hopefully, after last night, we won't be seeing Newt on TV again except for the occasional Goldline or juicer infomercial on QVC, or the usual talking head gig on Sunday morning while Sean Hannity rests his massive chin in his hand in a pose of seriousness while Newt's hoarsely screaming about Sharia Law.

    5th, when are we going to realize that straw polls right before a caucus, primary or election are more volatile than alcohol and seemingly inspired by it? In the months leading up to Iowa, every single GOP contender save for Jon Huntsman was, at some point, leading in at least some of the polls, including the Rick James of homemade politics, Herman Cain.

    6th, the only way in which Iowa represents "real" America is in its fickleness, susceptibility to hype and general apathy. With over 99% of the polls reporting, only 122,255 Republican voters came out last night to vote for one Not Reagan or another. Iowa is a state with an estimated 3,062,309 people. Assuming about two thirds are of voting age, that leaves roughly 2,000,000 people. Assuming, generously, that only half of them lean Republican (although we all know the percentage is much higher), that leaves one million registered Republican voters. Yet Iowa saw just barely over 120,000 and no one candidate could capture more than a quarter of that vote.

    That means both Romney and Santorum each garnered just 30,000 out of a potential 1,000,000+ Republican votes, or less than 3%. That's hardly a political bellwether of any type. And they're the big winners from last night.

    7th, Maybe this meathead or your spiritual Godfather Adolph Hitler would agree but no, Ron, we are not all Austrians.

    8th, All the rest, especially Rick Perry, are good for nothing but Letterman and Jon Stewart fun fodder. So, Rick, you can go back to Niggerhead and continue executing innocent people.

    So please let's stop pretending that Iowa is America's crystal ball for deciding who the next president is. Neither Romney nor Santorum, literally, could get enough people to vote for them to fill Fenway Park even with the centerfield bleachers closed for a day game. The Iowa caucus is a joke just as every Republican contender is a joke.

    Billy Mumy fucked up and the psychopaths have already fled the cornfields until the primaries this summer.

    KindleindaWind, my writing blog.

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