Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Holiday Stress

I get it every year, but for some reason it's worse this year than it ever has been.

Maybe it's the bullshit that's happening in Washington DC, maybe something else, but I'm just going to shut down until after the holidays.

I'd like to just disappear into the desert until the New Year, but we don't have a warm desert anywhere nearby, and it's too far to drive to get to the Mojave and The Slabs.

Last year we escaped to Hawaii for a couple of weeks, but we spent all of our traveling money on our trip to France, and now we are stuck in the wet winter of western Washington.

Everybody, have a great holiday and I'll see you after the New Year.

--The F Man

Monday, December 13, 2010

Anybody Get the "I'm Tired" Email Yet?

As I've said before, I'm on some pretty oddball mailing lists, and one of the things that came to me last week was what is apparently a viral email essay written by a guy named Robert Hall (and no, it's not the actor from CSI, even though it purports to be) who is allegedly a Marine Corps veteran and five-term Massachusetts state senator.

It starts out with the title "I'm 63 and I'm Tired", and then it gets into the nitty-gritty:

I'm 63. Except for one semester in college when jobs were scarce and a six-month period when I was between jobs, but job-hunting every day, I've worked hard since I was 18. Despite some health challenges, I still put in 50-hour weeks, and haven't called in sick in seven or eight years. I make a good salary, but I didn't inherit my job or my income, and I worked to get where I am. Given the economy, there's no retirement in sight, and I'm tired. Very tired.
I'm tired of being told that I have to "spread the wealth" to people who don't have my work ethic. I'm tired of being told the government will take the money I earned, by force if necessary, and give it to people too lazy to earn it.
I'm tired of being told that I have to pay more taxes to "keep people in their homes." Sure, if they lost their jobs or got sick, I'm willing to help. But if they bought Mc Mansions at three times the price of our paid-off, $250,000 condo, on one-third of my salary, then let the left-wing Congress-critters who passed Fannie and Freddie and the Community Reinvestment Act that created the bubble help them with their own money.
And it goes on and on with anti-Islamic and racist screeds and a bunch of phony-assed I-pulled-myself-up-by-my-own-bootstraps kind of crap.

You may, if you wish, see the whole thing over at Snopes, whose take on it is that it is true (that Robert Hall said it) but that it was sometimes wrongly attributed to the actor guy Robert Hall who plays the coroner on CSI.

The list that this was sent to is mostly Vietnam veterans of the Rethug-Asshole stripe, but there are a couple of liberals besides me on it and one of them responded to this crap with his own lambaste of the Glenn Beck/Bill Orally/Faux News gobbling morons who believe this shit.

Which, of course, then prompted a flurry of "If you don't like it here why don't you get out you fucking commie!" responses, with North Korea pretty much heading the list of potential new homelands for us commie-nazi-socialist-atheist-pinko liberals.

Naturally I couldn't just sit by and do nothing (but you knew that already). Here is my response to the list:
I have a simple question: Why does this joker claims that the economy is so bad he can't retire, if he's worked every day of his life and owns outright a condo worth 250k?
A lot of people, me among them, have retired and are doing fine on what I suspect is a lot less retirement income than this Robert Hall has available to him.
I suspect that this whole piece of raving is a little long on exaggeration and a little short on actual facts.
But what you can expect from a former politician (he was a Massachusetts state senator) whose political party is not given but which I would bet good money is Republican?
In Glennbeckistan, though (as Winston Churchill so famously said under different circumstances), facts are such precious and fragile things that they must constantly be protected with a bodyguard of lies...
And those of you who are parroting the "if you don't like it here, get out" line: It appears that you are the ones who don't like it here, since you are doing all the complaining. Why don't YOU get out? May I suggest the Ayn-Rand-Libertarian paradise of Somalia as a potential new home base for you, where there are no taxes and no government intervention in your life because there is ... no government.
Just what you want...
I know, it's too easy. It's like shooting fish in a barrel. But so what? It's still fun.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

A Lost Generation

A lost generation. That's what it seems like to me, with Obama giving up without a fight and giving the rich motherfuckers their two-year tax cut extension, and the spineless Democrats are going to go right along with it. I really can't see Obama attempting to run for reelection now and trying to gin up that whole "hopey-changey" thing again in two years. I know a lot of people who will not vote for him again because he's Republican-Lite.

I'm particularly pissed off since I worked so hard to get him elected. That whole Hopey Changey Thing isn't working out for me, or anyone I know. When I voted for Obama, I wanted another FDR and instead I it looks like got another Clinton (who, to be fair, was the best Republican president of the 20th Century)

All the Dems have done is kick the problem down the road two years, so the tax cuts will expire in an election year. Can you imagine the Democrats trying to do anything with it when they are in an election cycle? No, I didn't think so, and in the meantime the deficit that could have been partially plugged by that tax income will just get bigger and bigger.

It's a missed opportunity, and a HUGE one. Now it'll be a cold day in hell when those two-percenters have to pay anything resembling their fair share of taxes in this country, and in the meantime we'll have a country coming apart at the seams and the only tailors who can sew it back together are Chinese...

And the Rethugs will finally have their way, a government so small that they can drown it in a bathtub.

I'm seriously thinking about getting out. The only problem with that is that there is no reasonable way to actually get off the planet...

Ironically this news came on the very day that I was being sworn in as the Democratic Party Precinct Committee Officer in my local party.

Oh, the humanity...

Friday, December 03, 2010

The Mormons and the Constitution

It's an article of faith -- or a "prophecy" from one or another of the old "prophet, seer and regulator revelator" guys at the top of the Mormon hierarchy -- that one day the US Constitution will "hang by a thread" and it will be up to a Mormon to save it.

Could it be we've already found our boy? Newly-elected Teabagger senator from Utah, Mike Lee, a scion of "Mormon royalty"-- he is a direct descendant of John D. Lee, infamous for being Brigham Young's scapegoat for the savage Mountain Meadows Massacre of white settlers who had the gall to cross Mormon land -- says that the Constitution is "divinely inspired" and he personally knows ('cause god told him, presumably) how to interpret it.

Here's Buzzflash's Mark Karlin:

What is the difference between religious fundamentalists and so-called "strict constructionists"? Actually, they are two sides of the same coin.
First, they both believe that the Constitution and the Bible are divinely granted documents. Secondly, they believe that there is a literal interpretation to both, and that they are the ones who know what that is. Thirdly, anyone who disagrees with them is either a heretic or un-American, or both.
The New York Times makes note of one newly elected Tea Party Republican senator:
Mike Lee, a 39-year-old Republican from Utah, has the most impeccable establishment legal credentials: the son of Rex Lee, a solicitor general under President Reagan, he attended law school at Brigham Young and later clerked for Samuel Alito on the U.S. Court of Appeals and then the Supreme Court. But on the campaign trail, especially during his heated primary battle with the three-term Republican incumbent Bob Bennett, Lee offered glimpses of a truly radical vision of the U.S. Constitution, one that sees the document as divinely inspired and views much of what the federal government currently does as unconstitutional.
This radical viewpoint is what characterizes the "Repeal Amendment" movement, which I wrote about yesterday. It is the fanatical, cultist viewpoint of those who believe that only they have the divine knowledge to understand "God's word" in the Bible and in the Constitution.
For these extremists, the Constitution is not a document of men and women that threw off the shackles of a Europe still governed by the claim of divinely sanctioned royalty, but rather, like the Ten Commandments (an apt analogy), a manifestation of the will of God - and an exclusive Christian God at that.
"As your U.S. senator," Lee promised during the campaign, according to the Times, "I will not vote for a single bill that I can't justify based on the text and the original understanding of the Constitution, no matter what the court says you can do."
Of course Lee is just the one, having labored in the august halls of the SCOTUS as a clerk for Scalito, to know exactly (and rather smugly I might add) just what the Constitution allows.

BTW, be sure to read that inner link to How Radical Is the Republican Leadership in Congress? Very.:
How radical is the Republican leadership in Congress? Let's just say that some of them make anarchists look like "centrists."
Eric Cantor, who was elected incoming house majority leader by the GOP caucus, is backing a plan, according to Talking Points Memo (TPM), "to blow up the Constitutional system and replace it with one that would give state governments veto power over federal laws."
A few years back, such an anti-constitutional notion would have been considered the province of unbalanced individuals and extreme, right-wing cultists. Now, the notion of states overriding the Constitution and federal law has apparently become mainstream for the Republican Party.
Of course, it would take an amendment to the Constitution, called the "Repeal Amendment," to eviscerate the founding document of our nation and our legal system. Cantor, for his part, thinks that this is a good idea, saying: "The Repeal Amendment would provide a check on the ever-expanding federal government, protect against Congressional overreach, and get the government working for the people again, not the other way around. In order to return America to opportunity, responsibility, and success, we must reverse course and the Repeal Amendment is a step in that direction."
According to TPM, one of the main goals of the Repeal Amendment is to overturn the 17th Amendment, which allows for the popular election of senators. This is an objective both the Tea Party and Antonin Scalia share, as BuzzFlash pointed out in a recent commentary. This fits in well with the perplexing notion that the "rabble of democracy" is a danger to the Republic!
So back to little Mikey Lee. He probably believes -- truly believes -- in the kind of crap he's spewing, and since he's already part of Mormon royalty, how hard can it be for him to already think he's The One who will save the Constitution?