Monday, October 31, 2011

Monday Music Break

Since it is Halloween, I thought I would do something themed, but everything seems like a predictable cliché. Bobby "Boris" Pickett's The Monster Mash. Michael Jackson's Thriller? I mean come on. Been there, seen that.

That's why today's Music Break Monday is something really scary: The Archies' Sugar Sugar. What is scary about it is that it made it to Number One on the Billboard Top 100 for 1969. It's scary that such great songs as The Rolling Stones Honky Tonk Woman was only #3, and Creedence's Green River and Bad Moon Rising came in at only #35 and #36.

This was 1969. Nixon's first year as president. The War in Vietnam claimed 11,616 American lives in 1969. The word about the terrible My Lai Massacre got published in 1969, and the prime perpetrator, Lt. William Calley, got not no more than a slap on the wrist. October saw the massive and nationwide Vietnam Moratorium war protests.

What's scary is that the most vapid, the most insipid song in the history of music was able to come in at Number One on any list except maybe one identifying the most annoyingly cloying bubble gum music of the last hundred years. And it came from a fuckin' CARTOON SHOW on television, and was performed by working-for-scale studio musicians who no doubt hide cringing under their beds when Casey Kasem plays their retrospective on American Top 40.

So, without further ado, here it is, the Number One song of 1969:

A Storm is Coming

Here's Kieth Olbermann at the top of his game. Watch it.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Seven Republicans Who Would Not Be Welcome in Today's Party

Thanks to 50 Quotes Americans Should Remember, here are some telling words from some prominent Republicans from the past, in more or less chronological order. In this list are five former US presidents, one presidential candidate and one Supreme Court justice.

"Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration."
-- Abraham Lincoln

"We all agree that neither the Government nor political parties ought to interfere with religious sects. It is equally true that religious sects ought not to interfere with the Government or with political parties. We believe that the cause of good government and the cause of religion suffer by all such interference."
"We all agree that neither the Government nor political parties ought to interfere with religious sects. It is equally true that religious sects ought not to interfere with the Government or with political parties. We believe that the cause of good government and the cause of religion suffer by all such interference."
-- Rutherford B. Hayes

"I like to pay taxes. With them, I buy civilization."
-- Oliver Wendell Holmes

"The supreme duty of the Nation is the conservation of human resources through an enlightened measure of social and industrial justice. We pledge ourselves to work unceasingly in State and Nation for … the protection of home life against the hazards of sickness, irregular employment and old age through the adoption of a system of social insurance adapted to American use."
"I believe that there should be a very much heavier progressive tax on very large incomes, a tax which should increase in a very marked fashion for the gigantic incomes."
"It is essential that there should be organization of labor. This is an era of organization. Capital organizes and therefore labor must organize."
-- Theodore Roosevelt

"Only a fool would try to deprive working men and working women of their right to join the union of their choice."
"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."
"We will bankrupt ourselves in the vain search for absolute security."
"Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes that you can do these things. Among them are a few Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or businessman from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid."
-- Dwight D. Eisenhower

"While I am a great believer in the free enterprise system and all that it entails, I am an even stronger believer in the right of our people to live in a clean and pollution-free environment."
"Today's so-called 'conservatives' don't even know what the word means. They think I've turned liberal because I believe a woman has a right to an abortion. That's a decision that's up to the pregnant woman, not up to the pope or some do-gooders or the Religious Right. It's not a conservative issue at all."
"Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they're sure trying to do so, it's going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can't and won't compromise. I know, I've tried to deal with them."
-- Barry Goldwater

"Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost."
"We establish no religion in this country. We command no worship. We mandate no belief, nor will we ever. Church and state are and must remain separate."
-- Ronald Reagan

[emphasis added]
Can you imagine any one of the Pathetic Clowns in the current roster of presidential hopefuls saying anything remotely like these ideas? Well, maybe John Huntsman, the only one of them who seems even a bit rational, and you know how far he's gotten in the political dogfight for the hearts and minds of the Rethug rank and file.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

George Soros and Gun Control?

Jeez, it just never stops. Regular readers know that I have a wackjob cousin who insists on sending me the worst kind of crap imaginable. But I don't cut her off because they are invariably entertaining. Plus I can almost always count on them to provide fodder for the OPOVet gristmill.

Here's today's example:

Don't know if this true or not ! Worth checking out .
Subject: WOW! This is scary!
For the last several years a company called "The Freedom Group" has been buying up American gun and ammunition manufacturers.
Some of these companies are:Bushmaster,
Dakota Arms and
DPMS Panther Arms
Dakota Arms
LC Smith
Barnes Bullets
Some people worry that Freedom Group is going to control most of the firearms companies in the United States. Of course, If you control the manufacturers you can decide not to sell to civilians, or, you can raise the prices to rediculous levels or you can make the supply of guns and ammo scarce - all sorts of logjams.
What a perfect way to control America's guns!
If you do some digging you will see that The Freedom Group is owned by a Wall Street investment company called "Cerberus Capital Management".
"Cerberus" in the epic book "The Inferno" by Dante Alighieri, is a three-headed demon hound (from Roman mythology) that guards the Gates of Hell to prevent those damned souls who have just crossed the river Styx, from escaping back to the world.
Investor GEORGE SOROS owns Cerberus!
Please pass this on to all your freedom loving friends. This needs to come out - and quickly! Why have we not heard about this in the "mainstream" media? I would think this would be BIG news.
The absence of big media coverage on this important subject should be BIG news to you, too!
You'd think that an email that starts out with "Don't know if this true or not! Worth checking out" would normally be followed by the person actually, you know, checking it out. But in this case you would be wrong.

Here's what I found with a minimal amount of actual effort. Yeah "BIG news", and it's also big news to Snopes:
As the National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) notes on their web site:
Recently, an old rumor regarding Cerberus — the private equity firm that owns Freedom group, a holding company that in turn owns a number of firearms manufacturers, including Remington, Marlin, Bushmaster, and DPMS — was in some way tied to George Soros.
This rumor is completely false and baseless.
NRA has had contact with officials from Cerberus and Freedom Group for some time. The owners and investors involved are strong supporters of the Second Amendment and are avid hunters and shooters.
In reality, at no time has George Soros ever been a part of the ownership group of Freedom Group or Cerberus, and as a privately traded corporation, there is no possibility that he will be in the future.
This unsubstantiated rumor has caused a great deal of unnecessary concern for gun owners. NRA-ILA urges our members to take great care before repeating baseless rumors found on the Internet.
George Soros appears nowhere on the Cerberus list of senior executives, unlike such other notable socialist-communist-fascist gun control freaks as ... Dan Quayle and Baby Doc Bush's former Treasury Secretary John W. Snow.

Sometimes you gotta laugh. Sometimes you gotta cry. And sometimes you gotta do Andre Breton's ultimate surrealist act: "...dashing down into the street, pistol in hand, and firing blindly, as fast as you can pull the trigger, into the crowd." --Second Manifesto of Surrealism, 1929.

Okay, all you wingnut pantywaists, don't flame me over this. I'm just fucking kidding!!!!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Koch Sucker Product Boycott

Thanks to my post on Tuesday, Three Things You Can Do, Constant Reader The Yellow Fringe provided us with this list of Koch-Sucker products to boycott. Many thanks to YF for posting this list.


Antron Carpet Fiber
Stainmaster Carpet
Quilted Northern
Platinum Plywood
International Brands
Demak Up
Nouvelle Recycling
Damn, there goes my new car, the Lotus Evora. But... we all have to make sacrifices.

Of course we are already refusing to buy stuff at WalMart and Home Depot, aren't we?

Bring the bastards to their knees.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Thousand Clowns

A thousand clowns. No, I'm not talking about that terrific 1965 movie starring Jason Robards.

I'm talking about the original thousand clowns that would come pouring out of that impossibly small car at the circus.

The Federal Elections Commission maintains a list of people who have officially filed papers as presidential candidates, and as of today there are -- ready for this? -- a total of 255 of them.

The list includes the usual suspects, Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, et al., but it also includes such household names as President Emperor Caesar, HRM Caesar St. Augustine de Buonaparte (presumably these two will split the Royalist vote), Jonathon The Impaler Sharkey, and even a guy named Verl (no relation) Farnsworth.

These are not just political dilettants. The bar is set high enough to weed out the merely frivolous:

  • The individual has received contributions aggregating in excess of $5,000 or made expenditures aggregating in excess of $5,000; or
  • The individual has given consent to another person to receive contributions or make expenditures on behalf of him or herself and that person has received contributions aggregating in excess of $5,000 or made expenditures aggregating in excess of $5,000 (11 CFR 100.3(a)).
It makes me wonder how The Impaler (who is running as a Republican, naturally) and the President Emperor were able to con anyone into coughing up that five grand. Watch the list and we'll see who else files. It's still a long time until the election, so we may just make that Thousand Clown goal before it's all over.

Ten Reasons to Dump Bank of America

Over at Truthout news analyst Nomi Prins has an incisive list of ten reasons you can't back on -- or with -- BOA.

Here are the ten reasons, but be sure to check out the full story since she provides some great analysis of each one of these points:

1. B of A rejects the right of customers to protest.
2. To recoup ongoing losses from its stupendously dumb acquisitions of Countrywide Financial and Merrill Lynch, B of A pillages its customers.
3. B of A's other fees are just as bad.
4. Bank of America takes gross advantage of the military.
5. Bank of America is officially rated the biggest, scariest bank.
6. B of A's derivatives position keeps rising.
7. Bank of America got the most AIG money of the big depositor banks.
8. Bank of America leads the big bank fraud lawsuit settlement tally.
9. Even after lawsuits, B of A would still rather please investors than customers.
10. Bank of America, despite having been buoyed up by the government, did not pay taxes, and, given its glorious ineptness, will be laying off 30,000 workers.
[emphasis added]
As I said before, I am currently in the process of dumping my mortgage with BOA, and after all this I won't even park on the street in front of my local branch because someone might think I'm a customer. Screw 'em. If everybody takes action, and all the money flees the coffers of the bank, we'll see then who is "too big to fail"...

Ten Things You Can Do To Help Occupy Wall Street

Over at Huff Post there's an article written by Michael Kieschnick, who is the President of Credo Mobile (full disclosure, that the mobile phone service I use and I urge you to switch to it as well) talking about some things we can do to help Occupy Wall Street:

  1. Get information about what's really going on from truly independent media like Democracy Now.
  2. Show up -- if there is a local Occupation visit personally. Form you own opinion about the people you meet.
  3. Ask local occupiers if there are ways you can offer support -- from delivering food and blankets to participating in the General Assemblies or related marches and actions.
  4. Sign our petition on police misconduct against Occupy Wall Street here.
  5. If you have extra money, consider supporting lawyers defending various Occupy efforts at the National Lawyer's Guild here.
  6. See if the New Bottom Line coalition of unions, congregations and community groups is active in your area in confronting banks over foreclosures and evictions, and join in. Check them out here.
  7. Check out local member-owned credit unions to move your money into your local economy.
  8. If you are politically active, ask politicians you know to return any contributions from banks or Wall Street.
  9. Put up "We are the 99 percent" posters in your community. Make your own or download one from or
  10. If you are a parent or an educator, turn this into a teachable moment. Find resources here.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

1968 Again Anyone?

By all indications, 1968 was one of the most divisive and violent years in our civil history. The infamous Chicago Police Riot at the Democratic convention was the low point, and you'd think we'd learned something in the last 40+ years.

But apparently not. Not when the Oakland Stasi police thugs use tear gas to break up a nonviolent protest, not when the uniformed minions of the 1% will rain destruction onto the head of an Iraq War veteran, giving him serious -- critical --head injuries.

From all accounts (except those by the police themselves, of course) it is evident that the attack was completely unprovoked, completely unwarranted, and completely unconstitutional.

Notice that it occurred in the early hours, around 4 AM. There was a reason for that. That's the time when the human body is in recharge mode, when its defenses are down and its energy at a low ebb, and its mind is all cobwebby and easily confused.

That's the time of day when the air is full of noisy floodlight helicopters criss-crossing over the Black ghettos and Latino barrios of East Los Angeles. That's the time of day when the Gestapo made its raids on unsuspecting German citizens. That's the time of day when the Stasi made its brutal attacks on East Germany's "enemies of the state".

In short, that's the time of day when every fascist authoritarian government in the world makes raids on its own citizens.

Something stinks in the city of Oakland. It also stinks in Atlanta for the same reasons as Oakland. It stinks in Maine because some fascist would-be assassin threw a chemical bomb into Occupy Maine's kitchen area, and before long it will likely stink in every city that has been "inconvenienced" by The People, who are taking the constitution seriously enough to try to exercise some of those rights that are given lip service by the system and its mouthpieces but are really held only in the abstract. When it actually comes down to someone exercising that right to peaceably assemble and petition for a redress of grievances... Uh, not so much.

This will get worse before it gets better. And what kind of crank are the cops smoking, to think that stomping on the protestors will do anything except create more protestors. And will it take an American Tiananmen Square with unarmed demonstrators facing down tanks before the rest of the 99% "get it"?

I hope not, but all indications are that we are going that way. I urge everyone to find an Occupy site near you and head on down. First learn how to protect yourself against tear gas, and then take some supplies (cash, food, blankets, warm clothing and toilet paper are always good) for the people, hang around and talk to them, join the movement. We can't all spend the night in sub-freezing temperatures, but we can help those who can.

Let's all go do it this week, next week, and every week after while The People are there.

Oh, and one last thing. If a cop starts hassling you, be sure to get his badge number. If he starts hitting you, repeatedly scream out his badge number so others will know who is hitting you.

Jeez, these are skills I kind of thought I wouldn't need after the 60s were over. Guess I was wrong.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Three Things You Can Do

Over at Politicus there's a piece on the three steps you can take now to help stop the cancer-stage-of-capitalism corporatists from their ever-expanding death grip on the American economy.

It's a fairly long article, and if you are like me and having old-age-attention-deficit-disorder creeping up on you, here's the short answer:

Move your money out of a big bad bank, stop shopping at big box stores like Wal-Mart and Home Depot and stop buying Koch Brothers products.
Yeah, that's it. I have a mortgage with BOA (I would never have approached them myself but I was a victim of their buying up the bank that bought the bank that held my mortgage) and I am shopping around for another bank that I can allow to steal my money. And I already don't shop at WalMart and Home Despot Depot.

If you have an account in one of the Big Banks, I suggest that you move it to a local credit union. And wait until November 5th to do it. That's the Big Day for people to withdraw their money and close their accounts. You might have to wait in line, but you will be there with like-minded progressives and others who have fucking had enough of Wall Street and the Banksters.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday Music Break

We're finally getting out of Iraq.

The Constitution? It's Just a Piece of Paper

Remember when Dubya made that statement? His actual words were "Stop throwing the Constitution in my face! It's just a goddamned piece of paper!", an appalling statement that I wrote about at the time.

And that's evidently what current Rethug front-runner, former pizza chef chief and full time cynical manipulator of the low-information voter Herman Cain thinks as well. He's a little more slick than Baby Doc, but he is either woefully misinformed on exactly what is in the constitution, or he's pandering to the Rethug base.

Why else would he make so many egregious constitutional errors in his speeches, in his off-the-cuff remarks, such as these:

  • Pledging to “sign” a constitutional amendment outlawing abortion if he is elected president: Actually, presidents have no duties at all when it comes to amendments.
  • Confusing Founding Documents: In his speech announcing his candidacy for the presidency, Cain lectured the nation to “reread the Constitution.” Rather than take his own advice, however, Cain quoted the Constitution as saying that “when any form of government becomes destructive of those ideals, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it.” Those words are not in the Constitution, although a very similar phrase appears in the Declaration of Independence, which, in case Cain is not aware, is actually an entirely different document than the Constitution.
  • Banning Worship: As part of a wide-ranging campaign of hate against Islam, Cain claimed that local communities have a right to ban mosques. The Constitution disagrees. It forbids laws restricting the “free exercise” of a person’s faith.
  • No More Medicare or Medicaid: During his time as a talk radio host, Cain claimed that absolutely every single line of the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional. One problem with this radical view is that if Congress cannot subsidize health care — one of the key functions of the ACA — then Medicare and Medicaid are also unconstitutional.
  • Unrepealable Laws: Cain doesn’t just support a radical tax plan that would create the largest deficits since World War II, slash taxes on the wealthy and jack up taxes on the poor, he proposed effectively locking that plan in place permanently. The Constitution forbids lawmakers from preventing their successors from repealing new laws.
  • Letting Arizona Start A War: Cain also wants to give each state the power to set its own immigration policy. The Constitution, however, leaves immigration almost entirely up to the national government because immigration policy is so closely tied to foreign policy. Nations have gone to war over another nation’s treatment of their citizens, so no one state should have the ability to force the entire United States into this kind of conflict.
And I believe that this is just the proverbial tip of the iceberg when it comes to that vast but empty storehouse of knowledge residing in the brain of Cain. But, since there is virtually zero chance that he will actually become president, I think we can relax.

Actually the Cain campaign is nothing more than a public relations tour designed to sell more books and get higher speaker's fees from the frothing wingnut morons who are willing to pay this joker for the privilege of being snookered by his moronic but undoubtedly charismatic snake oil.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

New Logo for the 2012 RepubliCON Convention

This week the Rethugs announced the official logo for next year's convention. Take a close look at it and you will see that it appears to be a semi-rampant rogue elephant taking a shit on the American flag -- a flag with only three stars because, I presume, they can't count any higher than that...

Okay, I'll admit that I did do a little freehand addition to the original; the pile of crap was added, but only because I thought that the graphic looked a little ... unfinished.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Just In Case You Wondered About the Teabaggers

It seems as though the Occupy Wall Street movement has kind of sent them to the back of the bus, but don't worry. They are still with us, doing their level best to ruin the economy and bring down the president.

The latest is that they are going on "strike" this year. As business owners they are "striking" from hiring anyone, not a single person in the next year.

We all knew that the RepubliCONs were up to no good in trying to keep the economy in chaos until the election next year, and here's actual proof of how they are doing it.

I think that that vast army of unemployed are going to be more than a little pissed off when they find out that they could have been working at a job that was there except for the pissy-ass whiner of an owner who would rather drive his own business in the ground and become unemployed himself than allow Obama to "win". I can't be held responsible for what might happen to that owner's business when the word gets out.

Jesus, were can we find a list of assholes who have signed on to this farce? I'll be perfectly happy to never set foot -- and more importantly set money -- in their stores. For the rest of my life.

Everyone join me and then let's see how you like them apples, Mister I'm on "Strike" business owner.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Return of the Chickenhawks

I see that the neocons lost no time in calling for yet another war, this time against Iran.

As you might surmise, it's the usual suspects: Sean Hannity, William Kristol, John Bolton, et al., none of whom have actually worn the uniform of the US armed services, even though they all had a significant opportunity to do so.

In short, chickenhawks, whose motto is "let's you and him fight -- I'll hold your coat". I haven't done my due diligence on all of the names mentioned in the Common Dreams article, but I'm willing to bet good money that not a single one of them has served in the military.

But that inconvenient fact has never stopped them before.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Monday Music Break

Somehow it just seems right:

The Rapture? Again? Yawn...

In our semi-regular segment, The Rapture Will Not Be Televised, I note that religious rapture professional Harold Camping (wrong in 1992, 1994, and last May) is once again claiming that The Rapture is gonna happen -- yeah, this time for sure, really! -- next week.

Jeez, when will this demented old geezer finally just GTFU ("give the fuck up") on this shit?

Still, though, I am willing to spend some good money on attorneys who will draw up letters of transfer for the personal and real property of those who think that they will be "translated" to that Higher Plane come next week. After all, they aren't going to need those cars, houses, clothing and personal effects after they shuffle off this mortal coil, and those of us who are Left Behind are going to need some creature comforts which will aid us in the long night ahead.

Anyone want to show some Christian charity and that spirit of sharing that Jesus (the "real" one, not the one that totes the M16 and is willing to smite mightily his enemies) preached about? Just contact me here.

I'll be waiting...

Hypocrisy Much?

Occupy Olympia

I managed to drag my old and tired bones down to Olympia's Sylvester Park on Saturday for the Occupy Olympia rally, and it was well worth it. A bit chilly, but it didn't rain, and a terrific crowd that spanned all the demographic, from children happy to be outdoors to teachers to fellow veterans to one feisty ninety year old(!).

I didn't get arrested. But neither did anyone else. The Olympia bunch are pretty laid back, and I really didn't see any of those rightwing agents provocatuers who seem to have popped up in other locations. I heard a guy on the radio this morning talking about Fox News "coincidentally" setting up their equipment right next to a sketchy group of big-talking violence-pushing "smash the state" people. Unfortunately I didn't get the city, but if you don't smell setup in this, then you need a sinus transplant.

As demonstrations go, this wasn't huge, just a couple hundred people or so, but the enthusiasm was infectious and the speakers were inspiring.

Here's a video with some of the people and the signs from Saturday:

There are also more videos on YouTube of Occupy Olympia, and here is my favorite sign from Saturday:

The other side said "If corporations are people, why hasn't Texas executed one?" Great stuff.

Of course the hard core of wingnuttery right here in Olympia has been burning up the comment section of the local newspaper's online account of the movement. Read it here and look for some comments by some leftwing rabble-rouser who posts under the name of "farnsworth68".

Friday, October 14, 2011

Charts Tell the Chilling Story

Okay, this is verging off into some pretty wonky stuff, but here are a couple of telling charts from the oddly interesting Portal Seven.

The first is the unemployment rate from 2000 to 2011 showing exactly what damage was done by the Baby Doc Bush Maladministration when it comes to putting people out of work:

Click on either image to view it in a larger format.

The second is the count of monthly bank failures for the period of 2008 through 2011:

And the War in Afghanistan is now officially in its tenth year of boots-on-the-ground boondoggle, and the generals are saying that they still want the chance to "win" it. Excuse me, but this is where I came in 40 years ago. They wanted the chance to "win" in Vietnam, too, and we all know where that got us.

WASF. Indeed...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Simple Declaration

Here is the Declaration by the Occupy New York City crowd:

As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together. We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies.

As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known.

  • They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosure process, despite not having the original mortgage.

  • They have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to give Executives exorbitant bonuses.

  • They have perpetuated inequality and discrimination in the workplace based on age, the color of one's skin, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation.

  • They have poisoned the food supply through negligence, and undermined the farming system through monopolization.

  • They have profited off of the torture, confinement, and cruel treatment of countless animals, and actively hide these practices.

  • They have continuously sought to strip employees of the right to negotiate for better pay and safer working conditions.

  • They have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right.

  • They have consistently outsourced labor and used that outsourcing as leverage to cut workers’ healthcare and pay.

  • They have influenced the courts to achieve the same rights as people, with none of the culpability or responsibility.
  • They have spent millions of dollars on legal teams that look for ways to get them out of contracts in regards to health insurance.

  • They have sold our privacy as a commodity.

  • They have used the military and police force to prevent freedom of the press.

  • They have deliberately declined to recall faulty products endangering lives in pursuit of profit.

  • They determine economic policy, despite the catastrophic failures their policies have produced and continue to produce.

  • They have donated large sums of money to politicians, who are responsible for regulating them.

  • They continue to block alternate forms of energy to keep us dependent on oil.

  • They continue to block generic forms of medicine that could save people’s lives or provide relief in order to protect investments that have already turned a substantial profit.

  • They have purposely covered up oil spills, accidents, faulty bookkeeping, and inactive ingredients in pursuit of profit.

  • They purposefully keep people misinformed and fearful through their control of the media.

  • They have accepted private contracts to murder prisoners even when presented with
    serious doubts about their guilt.

  • They have perpetuated colonialism at home and abroad.

  • They have participated in the torture and murder of innocent civilians overseas.

  • They continue to create weapons of mass destruction in order to receive government contracts.*

  • To the people of the world,We, the New York City General Assembly occupying Wall Street in Liberty Square, urge you to assert your power.
Exercise your right to peaceably assemble; occupy public space; create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone.

To all communities that take action and form groups in the spirit of direct democracy, we offer support, documentation, and all of the resources at our disposal.

Join us and make your voices heard!

*These grievances are not all-inclusive.
Sound familiar? It ought to. It mirrors the Declaration of Independence.

You'd think the Teabaggers would be all about it. But no, they are not true American patriots, unlike the folks at Occupy Wall Street, and unlike the folks at Occupy Everything.

There are Occupy events across the nation this weekend, including right here in Olympia, Washington. I plan to be there.

What about you?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Looking More Closely at Herman Cain

Now that Herman Cain's star has, kind of by default, started to rise, I think a closer look at him is warranted.

Especially that 666 999 tax plan of his.

Bruce Bartlett, a senior Republican economist and long-time associate of the likes of Ronald Reagan, George Bush I, Jack Kemp and Ron Paul, has some impressive credentials to bring to the discussion, and he recently had a column in the NY Times, Inside the Cain Tax Plan:

Little detail has been released by the Cain campaign, so it’s impossible to do a thorough analysis. But using what is available on Mr. Cain’s Web site, I’m taking a stab at estimating its effects.
First, the 9-9-9 plan is actually an intermediate step in Mr. Cain’s plan to overhaul the tax system and jump-start growth. Phase 1 would reduce individual and business taxes to a maximum of 25 percent, which I assume means reducing the top statutory tax rate to 25 percent from 35 percent.
No mention is made on the site of a tax cut for those now in the 10 percent, 15 percent or 25 percent brackets. This means that the only people who would get a tax rate cut are those now in the 28 percent, 33 percent or 35 percent brackets. According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, only 4 percent of taxpayers pay any taxes at those rates.
. . .
This means that the 47 percent of tax filers who now pay no federal income taxes will pay 9 percent on their total income. And elimination of the payroll tax won’t even help half of them because the earned income tax credit, which Mr. Cain would abolish, offsets both their income tax liability and their payroll tax payment as well.
Additionally, everyone would now pay a 9 percent sales tax on all purchases. No mention is made of any exemptions from this tax, so we may assume that it will apply to food, medical care, rent, home and auto purchases and a wide variety of other expenditures now exempt from state sales taxes. This would increase their cost of living by 9 percent while, at the same time, the poor would pay income taxes.
. . .
And here’s the kicker in the Cain plan. Phase 2 is merely a transition to yet another fundamental tax reform. In Phase 3, the United States would adopt the so-called Fair Tax, which would replace all federal taxes with a 30 percent [!!!] sales tax on all goods and services.
At a minimum, the Cain plan is a distributional monstrosity. The poor would pay more while the rich would have their taxes cut, with no guarantee that economic growth will increase and good reason to believe that the budget deficit will increase.

Even allowing for the poorly thought through promises routinely made on the campaign trail, Mr. Cain’s tax plan stands out as exceptionally ill conceived.
Got that? THIRTY percent tax on all goods and services. Memo to Herman Cain, who as a "business executive" pizza vendor, ought to know this: Our capitalist society is based on buying stuff, and if you put in place a tax that increases the price of that "stuff" by one third, then people are going to buy less of it. And there go the jobs (and this time they just disappear, instead of being outsourced to some Third World country), along with any chance of recovery, along with the very fabric of our society.

This is not rocket surgery. I learned this fifty years ago, way back in Econ 101. The real question is why didn't Herman Cain learn it?

Sunday, October 09, 2011

My New Religion: Dudeism

I've toyed around with different "mock" religions over the years, including Church of the Sub Genius, the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and the Church of Reality, but now I've finally found one that most exactly represents my personal beliefs, attitudes and the need for slack.

And that is the Church of the Latter Day Dude, based on the character of "Dude" as played by Jeff Bridges in The Big Lebowsky:

Come join the slowest-growing religion in the world – Dudeism. An ancient philosophy that preaches non-preachiness, practices as little as possible, and above all, uh…lost my train of thought there. Anyway, if you’d like to find peace on earth and goodwill, man, we’ll help you get started. Right after a little nap.
. . .
While Dudeism in its official form has been organized as a religion only recently, it has existed down through the ages in one form or another. Probably the earliest form of Dudeism was the original form of Chinese Taoism, before it went all weird with magic tricks and body fluids. The originator of Taoism, Lao Tzu, basically said "smoke ‘em if you got ‘em" and "mellow out, man" although he said this in ancient Chinese so something may have been lost in the translation.

Down through the ages, this "rebel shrug" has fortified many successful creeds – Buddhism, Christianity, Sufism, John Lennonism and Fo’-Shizzle-my-Nizzlism. The idea is this: Life is short and complicated and nobody knows what to do about it. So don’t do anything about it. Just take it easy, man. Stop worrying so much whether you’ll make it into the finals. Kick back with some friends and some oat soda and whether you roll strikes or gutters, do your best to be true to yourself and others – that is to say, abide.
You can even get yourself a more-or-less legitimate ordination as a priest of Dudeism.

Dude, am I wrong?

In the meantime, The Dude abides...

Friday, October 07, 2011

You Go, Zach!

My good friend Debby, who has made several appearances on this blog, has a son named Zach.

Zach was a student in Denver studying Labor History with the idea of becoming a college professor in the field. He is also a "white card" (i.e., "on call") longshoreman, and the son of a longtime longshoreman, so labor issues are in his blood. As is political activism. Here's a definite case of DNA not falling far from the tree, as it were.

He decided to come home to Washington state and get involved in the longshore dispute in my "home town", Longview. He figured, rightly so, that in the long run it would be better to be involved in history rather than just studying it.

Day before yesterday he managed to get himself arrested at the Occupy Seattle demonstration. Debby was a little apprehensive about it (after all, he's her "baby"), but I assured her that at worst he would be locked in a bare holding cell with his other demonstrators and wouldn't go into "general population" and the most they could charge him with would be a misdemeanor. Plus it will greatly enhance his "street cred" when he carries this arrest with him as a badge of honor.

Sure enough, they held him and three others in that holding cell for two hours with their hands cuffed behind their backs and then cut them loose.

At last notice, he was back in the tents at Westlake Center, doing his part to bring attention to the crimes of the banksters.

It's so refreshing -- so liberating -- to see young people willing to put themselves on the line for something that they so deeply believe in.

You go, Zach! Don't let the bastards grind you down.

You Might Be... Addendum

One that wasn't on the original list but ought to have been.

You believe that government can't do anything right, except in cases of capital punishment, wherein each and every person executed had a completely fair trial with evidence presented by the government that was incontrovertible and an appeals process that was fair, even and balanced.

If you agree with me on the barbarity of the death penalty, please check out The Innocence Project and do what you can to eliminate this appalling practice by the governments of the various states.

Another thought: If capital punishment is such a deterrent, why does Texas have such a high rate of capital crimes?

Why Ronald Reagan Would Never Make it in Today's GOP

Here's a video clip from 1985. RepubliCONS, watch it and weep.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Sarah Palin Out -- Say It Ain't So!

It is with great regret that I note that Sarah Palin is dropping out of the race for the White House, a race that she was never in to begin with.

Only in America could this be headline news. My personal regret is that it will probably drive down the readership of this blog.

The one page on this blog that has gotten, according to Blogger Statistics, the absolute highest number of hits (by a factor of 2-1!) is my post from November 2008, Sarah Palin Camel Toes, the vast majority of those hits coming from Google Search for the phrase "Sarah Palin Camel Toes". Do the search yourself and you will see that this blog occupies the top four slots in the Google rankings.

What does that say about the Internets, about the users of those Internets, and about the public at large? And what does it say about the media in this country that of all the possible stories they could cover on a given news day, the non-story of a non-candidate dropping out of a race that she was never in gets top billing?

It's a sad commentary on our times, for sure.

Still, I'm going to miss her. She was easy, a ready target every time she opened that pit-bull-with-lipstick mouth of hers and said something stupid. My biggest regret is that I didn't slam her more than I did.

Shit. See, I'm doing it myself... Damn you, Sarah Palin!

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

You Might Be a Conservative If...

I just love this stuff. Here's a terrific list of "warning signs" that may prove you are a conservative, including:

1: You’re irate over the president taking so many vacation days on the taxpayer’s dime (61 thus far), but you thought George W. Bush earned every minute of his leisure time (196 days at the same point in his presidency).
2: You’re happy with your 40 hour work week, paid vacations and company-provided healthcare, but you’re strongly anti-union, because those commies haven’t done anything for you lately.
. . .
13: You accuse president Obama of raising your taxes to the highest point ever, even though they’re lower today than at any time since 1950.
. . .
22: You believe that no matter who’s in the White House, the office, if not the man himself is deserving of your respect. The only exceptions to this rule, are if his middle name sounds Muslim, and if he’s not at least as white as that black guy who works down in the mailroom at the office.
There are lots more. Go ahead and read them and shake your head in sad-but-funny disbelief.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Sure, Good Idea! Invade Mexico! It Worked Before!

Whenever you think that the Rethugs just can't get any worse, you will always be in for a surprise.

Now Rick Perry wants to invade Mexico!

Why not? We've done it twice in our history, first in the so-called-by-white-people Mexican War, and once more in 1916 when General John "Black Jack" Pershing made an incursion -- a "punitive expedition -- into Mexico allegedly in pursuit of the "bandit" Pancho Villa.

As you can well imagine, the native Mexicans were less than happy to see us there each time. As in Baghdad, troops were not met with flowers and open arms. Nor will they be so welcoming when General Perry leads his wetpants troops across the Rio Grande this time around.

But you still gotta hand it to the Rethugs. They will do almost anything, go almost anywhere, to fight a war.

Just so long as they are fighting it with someone else's children.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Goddam that Arab Spring Anyway!

So Michelle "I'm Not Crazy I Just Act That Way" Bachmann is decrying President Obama as an unindicted co-conspirator for everything that the so-called "Arab Spring" stands for, huh?

Yeah, okay...

Of course she's just fine with the US propping up brutal dictators (Shah of Iran anyone?), just so long as they continue to mouth the "I'm pro-American" platitudes while torturing, butalizing and murdering their own people.

Jesus wept.

God help us if that fucking wacko-assed bitch actually gets the nomination. As I've often said, whichever inept wingnut crazy-ass motherfucker actually becomes the nominee (and the official odds are 9-2 for at this point for Bachmann), we are still just one "October Surprise" away from her actually becoming president...

Jeez, Costa Rica is looking more attractive every day...

The Proof Is In! Living Will Kill You

The latest non-issue is a report that eggs are now back to being bad for you.

And I had to read this right after I ate two homemade eggs on muffins for breakfast.

But not so fast. This study actually says that they found a "suggestion" which "was not statistically significant" and yet they published a screaming-headline story to the effect that eggs may increase the risk of developing lethal prostate cancer.

News flash: If you are a man and you live long enough not to die of something else, you will most likely get prostate cancer.

I'm now trying to get some Federal bucks to validate my own study that breathing air will kill you. My proof: Everyone who has ever died breathed air -- and probably a lot of it -- before they shuffled off this mortal coil...

Now it's just a question of sitting back and waiting for that generous handout.

News Flash: Herman Cain IS Black

Herman Cain, famous for his incomprehensible "999" plan (just turn them upside down and you'll get -- gasp --- 666!) has finally found his "black" voice.

Seems Rick Perry's dad leased some land in Texas near a rock formation known locally as "N****rhead", which was painted on the rock. However, it seems that it had been painted over some 20+ years ago and finally it was turned completely over so no one can see even where it had been.

End of story, you'd think Not for old Herman, though. He came right out and called it "troubling" and "insensitive".

All of which led the Perry campaign to fight back. Yadda yadda yadda.

How about all the black prisoners that Perry executed? Whattaya got to say about that, Herman?

Yeah, that's what I thought. It's the mark of a desperate campaign when they have to trot out a non-issue from a quarter century ago and try to make a big deal of it.

The name itself dates from a distant time, when geographical names were not by any stretch of the imagination "politically correct". It's a sad commentary on the way things used to be. In the state of Washington we've had any number of racist and/or sexually suggestive place names, e.g., Squaw Tit Mountain, Cock Rock, etc. Those have all been changed now, and Cock Rock -- so named because it resembled a giant erect penis -- has been changed to the neutral "Rooster Rock", which leaves most people wondering what happened to all of the roosters.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Yes, They ARE That Stupid

[Thanks to The Daily Kos for this stolen image]