Monday, February 28, 2011

What Frank Rich Said

Why would anyone who is not a corporation or billionaire want unions destroyed? Or the agencies destroyed which are responsible for keeping horrible poisons out of our air and water? Or The Social Security system which working people pay for so they will have a modest disability and retirement plan? Or public schools destroyed? Or the very institutions destroyed which are the referees in a civilized society keeping one small segment from enslaving the rest?

Why would anyone with a clue ever vote for a Republican? Is it because Obama is a Kenyan socialist and illegal immigrants are taking all the jobs that Republicans haven't given their bosses tax breaks to send to Asia and being forced to talk with working people about their employment deal means unions are Marxists and schools that aren't run by churches are from Satan unless they are expensive private schools that you can't afford to send your own children to?

Simple! That Magna Carta thing was a huge mistake obviously, except that while school kids nowadays know WHEN it was signed, they don't have a clue why it was signed and what it meant. At what point did collective bargaining become a bad thing?

Frank Rich:

That’s not to say there is no fiscal mission in the right’s agenda, both nationally and locally — only that the mission has nothing to do with deficit reduction. The real goal is to reward the G.O.P.’s wealthiest patrons by crippling what remains of organized labor, by wrecking the government agencies charged with regulating and policing corporations, and, as always, by rewarding the wealthiest with more tax breaks. The bankrupt moral equation codified in the Bush era — that tax cuts tilted to the highest bracket were a higher priority even than paying for two wars — is now a given. The once-bedrock American values of shared sacrifice and equal economic opportunity have been overrun.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Weekend Reading Assignment

This was forwarded by a good friend whose dad, Jack Matlock, was the last U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union, . It is a speech by his friend Chas W. Freeman, former ambassador to Saudi Arabia, on the challenges of Asia and is one of the reading assignments for a cruise in the Pacific Rim. Clear headed stuff...

Weekend Reading Assignment

Will the Republican Party Find Its Hitler?

The coordinated attacks on public education, unions, and everything that isn't government for the rich along with the increasing use of propaganda by the Republican Party bear an uncanny historical similarity to another time in another country. The first thing Adolf Hitler did when he got to power was to arrest the union leaders and send them to concentration camps. Yes, I am comparing today's Republican Party to the Nazi Party, but there is a huge difference.

Republicans go all whiny and hurt and outraged when someone compares their tactics to Hitler. There's a good reason for this...Their tactics are damned near carbon copy Hitlerism with one serious exception...No Hitler. 

We see all sorts of totally goofy Republican candidates appearing to be the rising star, flaring brightly, if briefly, in the glare of conservative radio and TV adulation. Like the unbelievably incapable Christine O'Donald, the genuinely nutty Michelle Bachman, and the delusionally unqualified Sarah Palin, they all seem to melt when they fly too close to the spotlight. This hasn't caused the people behind America's headlong rush toward neo-fascism to give up the search. The Koch brothers currently being the best known among the two dozen most rich and powerful ones, our American fascists keep pouring millions into the campaigns of men and women they hope will be their next Hitler, someone who can stun crowds of tea partiers with fear and hate filled speeches disguised as pleas to Christianity and Nationalism. So far they have found a number of people who are either coldly calculating, like Mike Huckaby and Newt Gingrich, or those not ready for prime time batshit insane semi-beauties previously mentioned. Mitt Romney won't do at all, since he actually seems to contain a whiff of thoughtfulness which has to play havoc with his commitment to conservatism. It must be difficult to be a committed conservative who has yet to surrender to insanity. 

The Koch brothers and their cohorts seem to have the idea that they can transform the once great though ideologically flawed Republican Party into a slightly softer version of an Americanized Nazi Party, and all they need to do is find someone to play the part of Adolf Hitler on TV but still take their orders.  They can pay think tanks to demonize communists, socialists, immigrants, unions, school teachers, working people, Muslims, and so on just like Hitler did, except that they have to leave out Jews this time. (That would be too obvious, perhaps, and anyway  a fair number of Jews have come over to the neo-fascist way of thinking as evidenced by the fact that over two dozen high ranking members of George W. Bush's administration held dual Israeli citizenship. This is a touchy subject but it has to be noted.)

So the Neo-American-Fascists are an alliance of rich elites, multinational corporations, the military industrial complex, the Catholic Church and Conservative Protestant denominations. (This is nothing new for the Catholic hierarchy. Historically they've been here before, more than once.) In their "Build it and they will come" scenario, the cart is standing there and is now waiting for the horse. This is backwards from the way Hitler did it and the only explanation I can give is that the Military Industrial capitalist Complex got out in front and decided to prop up controllable stooges like Reagan and W instead of waiting for potential dictator with the right combination of intelligence, charisma, and mental illness to come along. What could go wrong, right? Now they are ripe for their Hitler. 

Americans have to understand this and make their choice. The use of non stop propaganda and the attack on unions is historically identical to Hitler's actions that eventually resulted in the destruction of Germany and most of Europe in the process. This moment in history is a call to action. The next 18 months will decide whether America will be governed by the Middle Class or the Ruling Class. 

Will working Americans take over the Democratic Party and save this country? 

Will you?



Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Monday, February 21, 2011

Hardworking Tennesseans will stand together and tell the State Legislature to stop attacking those of us who work hard everyday to keep our economy going

Feb. 21, 2011


Stop the Attack on Hardworking Tennesseans

WHAT: Hardworking Tennesseans will stand together and tell the State Legislature to stop attacking those of us who work hard everyday to keep our economy going and make our communities better. Now is the time for them to focus on Tennessee’s real priorities - creating quality jobs and boosting our economy.

WHO: Tennessee Citizen Action, SEIU, AFL-CIO, Professional Firefighters, FOP, United Campus Workers, TEA, AFSCME. Speakers: Mary Mancini, Executive Director, Tennessee Citizen Action. Additional speakers TBA.

WHAT: Press Conference & Media Availability

WHEN: Wednesday, February 23, 2011, 11:30 am

WHERE: State Capitol, Legislative Plaza, 301 6th Avenue North, Nashville, TN (In front of the escalators to the tunnel)

CONTACT: Mary Mancini,, 615-480-4678

About Tennessee Citizen Action: Tennessee Citizen Action works in the public interest as Tennessee’s premier consumer rights organization. Our mission is to work tirelessly to improve the overall health, well-being, and quality of life for all people who live and work in Tennessee, including ensuring safe and healthy work conditions for every worker.

Unions...Free Market Response to Corporate Failure

Unions have their problems. They exist simply because Corporations have more problems. In functioning human societies we band together to cure problems. We get together and create fire departments to fight fires, police departments to fight criminals and to make sure we ourselves behave reasonably toward each other. As workers we have gotten together and collectively formed unions so that we can speak as one voice to our employers about fair wages, safe working conditions, and fair treatment.  When you see or hear the word "union" you should think "a group working people". When you think of the 40 hour week, overtime pay, and paid vacations, think of America's unions who brought you those things. Those are all good things. i think we all agree on that. but you know who hates good things for working people? Corporations.

Corporations are legal fictions, devices that excise the human conscience from commerce and exempt the people hiding behind the corporate veil from the consequences of their own decisions and actions.  Show me the conscience of a BP or an EXXON? Show me the conscience of Murray Energy Corporation or any corporation in the coal business? Murray owns the Crandall Canyon mine where intentionally and illegally trying to remove the pillars of coal which supported the roof caused the mine to collapse and entomb six men. Bob Murray cannot be touched personally by legal action since he operates through a corporation. A corporation can kill people and get away with it. They spend massive amounts of money to purchase elected officials who then pass laws to let the corporations, and the people hiding behind their veils, get away with things they shouldn't, dumping poisons into our air and water, allowing unsafe working conditions, paying less than they should for a day's work, selling unsafe products, and so on down a long list. If America's unions didn't exist, who exactly would be negotiating with corporations for better working conditions, insurance, and fair compensation? Nobody! That is exactly why they want laws passed to stop working people from gathering together and asking for better jobs.  That is exactly why corporations hate the free market when it comes to labor. They have no conscience.

Laws against unions are laws against working people. This is odd because most Tea Partiers claim to be Libertarians but somehow seem to be on the side against the free market.  Most Tea Partiers seem to be working people but somehow seem to be against themselves. Isn't this even odder since isn't the Tea Party, after all, a union? It's a very confused union funded by the men hiding behind massive and many layered corporate veils, but the Tea Party is plain and simple a union. Normally a union of working people would have the common goal of improving their own standards of living and working. The Tea Party is one of the few times in human history when people have banded together to make their own lives worse.

There should be a law against that.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hotter Climate Causing More Severe Storms and Flooding Like Nashville Flood

As soon as scientific studies hit the press we see paid commenters call them "drivel", "1000% wrong", and so on, often as in the case with this article making out right false statements in the attempt to discredit climate change as a serious threat to our planet's future.

There are two stories here...

One...Humans are causing serious harm to their future ability to survive on this planet by continuing to burn fossil fuels.

Two...There are people and corporations actively working against this truth and no shortage of people willing to take their money and lie for them.

From the story in today's Times Free Press:

...(At the end of the decade ending in 1999) scientists say climate change kicked into a higher gear, the events examined were similar to more recent disasters: deluges that triggered last year’s deadly floods in Pakistan and in Nashville, Tenn., and this winter’s paralyzing blizzards in parts of the United States.

The Times Free Press

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Deficits Don't Matter When Republicans Are In Charge

Southern Beale notices the same media complicity in the sudden Republican about face on the deficits as we had when the Bush Administration was hyping WMD's in the run up to the Iraq war.

As the 2012 budget forces us all to go ‘round the hamster wheel for another insufferable bullshit national debate, I’d like to remind people of one thing: deficits don’t matter.

That wasn’t just Dick Cheney’s wishful thinking when trying to shove tax cuts for the uber-wealthy down our throats in the middle of wartime, that was a Weekly Standard column by none other than the august Irwin Seltzer, of the conservative Hudson Institute


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Quote of the Day

The moral is clear. Republicans don’t have a mandate to cut spending; they have a mandate to repeal the laws of arithmetic.

That is of course from the imminently sensible Paul Krugman, who in the same piece also says,

The key point to understand is that while many voters say that they want lower spending, press the issue a bit further and it turns out that they only want to cut spending on other people...



President Barack Obama is a statesman trying in his own way to reverse the tide of conservative destruction to our nation. He is up against the most massively financed foe in American history, that most heinous of malignancies, the Military Industrial Complex. In a twist that Dwight D. Eisenhower could have never imagined during his days facing the Soviet Block behind the Iron Curtain, the phrase enshrined in our Constitution, "Enemies Foreign and Domestic" used to mean different sets of foes. Now they are one and the same.

Is it time for America's Jasmine Revolution?

Monday, February 14, 2011

It Really Is This Bad In America

Conservatives appear to be calling for turning America into a totalitarian state:

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Friday, February 11, 2011

Where to start...

There is so much going on that I don't have enough outrage to go around. Somehow i find myself in complete solidarity with the good people of Egypt in wanting to replace their government with a democracy of the people. I also wish that somehow we could do the same thing in the United States of America.

Wouldn't it be nice if the two biggest news stories in America could also be the two biggest media stories? Here are my picks:

Former President George W. Bush cancelled his planned trip to Geneva Switzerland this week in order to avoid being indicted for authorizing torture.

And...Even more significant because Bush was installed in office by one vote in a tragic Supreme Court decision that may forever cheat Americans out of electing their own government...Justice Clarence Thomas turns out the have committed felonies in hiding th fact that his wife was receiving money from people whose cases he was deciding as a sitting Supreme Court Justice.

You may think these other stories are more important, but regardless, none of them received banner headlines in our press. Sad...

Fox News Insider, "We Were a Stalin-esque Mouthpiece for Bush"

US Chamber of Commerce Lobbyists Hired Hackers To Sabotage Unions and Smear Chamber’s Political Opponents.

All across America people are rising up and demonstrating against the wars, for unions, for jobs, for Progressive change in this country by the hundreds. Where's the media? Covering Tea Party meetings with the same 25 people. We're being scammed and let down.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Quote of the Day and Must Read

Ecosystems are complicated things but once established they tend to maintain a balance within the ebb and flow life's tolerances. Go into a functioning ecosystem and damage one part of it and things go all out of whack. The calculus of existence tends to fix things if the offending cause is removed but things rarely go back to the way they were. After some mega disruption of our entire planet's ecosystem the large land roving dinosaurs got punked and what was left of them had to take to the air in order to get away from competitors at ground level.

To illustrate a point, let's look at a much smaller ecosystem, that of a large island in a great lake on the USA Canadian border. The island has a lush plant cover with excellent diversity. It also has moose and wolves. In centuries past, before massive quantities of sequestered coal were dug out of the ground and burned, the climate was stable and the great lake froze solid in some winters. If the moose population got too large there would be too much pressure on the plants, the moose would eat too many of them and the plants would not be able to produce enough food to keep the moose population going. This was prevented by the wolves which had a taste for fresh moose meat. The wolves ate moose, the moose ate plants, and the plants regulated the number of moose by starving them if they ate too much and the wolves didn't eat enough moose to keep the plants thriving, and so on. It was not exactly a perfect system and occasionally something got out of balance. In warm winters the moose, who are excellent long distance swimmers, could swim away from the island to the mainland and work things out from there. In cold years the wolves who are excellent long distance runners could run across the ice to the mainland and so on.

Everything works well within certain parameters as long as there is a balance and some way to relieve the pressure of too many wolves or too many moose. But what happens if something happens to the wolves? The moose will die out if there are either too many or too few wolves. If all the wolves were to be killed off by disease, for instance, the moose would become way too dominant, eat all the food in the summer and starve in the winter. If the wolves have too many babies and nothing to keep their population to a workable number, at some point they need too much food to survive and will eat all the moose and die once the moose run out and climate change keeps the lake from freezing over so they can run to the mainland. No more moose and no more wolves. It is both more complicated than that and just that simple. It's all about balance.

Something has to keep the moose in check and something has to keep the wolves in check...or they both die.

We can think of economic systems in the same way. In America we have our resources, our people, and our corporations. In a libertarian society there are no rules. The most voracious predator eats everything until it runs out of food and dies. Left unchecked, our corporations would grow and devour each other and all of the resources. Peoples' wages would be driven down until eventually there would be no more resources and the people would have insufficient wages to survive and buy whatever it is that the one remaining corporation would be selling. The end would be economic Armageddon...This is where we are heading.

There is no salvation from this unless we add regulation to the economic system...To the ecology of people, planet, and how we do business. Anarchy does not produce balance. It does not produce a happy citizen. It produces only ruin. It does produce what some people would call a winner. I prefer to use the term, "The Biggest Loser." The one last corporation can die knowing that it has won. It has no more competition. It has all the money. It has eaten all the resources. And...It has let all the people die since, by virtue of its perfect productivity ratio, it has no more use for them. Now we will have reached the ultimate state of imbalance.

This is where we are heading. The wolves get fat for a little while. And then they die.

We are seriously out of balance at this point in time and somebody's going to die. Maybe everybody.

This is what President Obama did not state to the Chamber of Commerce yesterday. he was very nice to them. But he did not tell them they were killing America. He should have. They are. And ultimately they will die...Unless...

They recognize the ultimate truth in ecosystems and economies:

Regulation is life!

The incentives and demands of the corporate charter are clear: maximize value to the shareholder. Asking nicely of even the most beneficent and moral of the corporate titans that they explicitly violate that charter is worse than useless: it's an insult to their characters.

Only hostile regulation--regulation expressly opposed to the principle of shareholder return, and thus inimical to the individuals whose job it is to maximize that return--can do what is necessary to achieve the closest thing to economic utopia that we imperfect creatures will ever hope to attain.

Ronald Reagan was lying to us. Government IS the solution. Government of, by and for the people.

Amen, brothers and sisters...Amen

Dear Air Traffic Controllers Union, Love and Kisses, Ronald Reagan

What a nice letter...

I have been briefed by members of my staff as to the deplorable state of our nation's air traffic control system. They have told me that too few people working unreasonable hours with obsolete equipment has placed the nation's air travelers in unwarranted danger. In an area so clearly related to public safety the Carter administration has failed to act responsibly.
You can rest assured that if I am elected President, I will take whatever steps are necessary to provide our air traffic controllers with the most modern equipment available and to adjust staff levels and work days so that they are commensurate with achieving a maximum degree of public safety....
I pledge to you that my administration will work very closely with you to bring about a spirit of cooperation between the President and the air traffic controllers.
Ronald Reagan

Nervous breakdowns and suicides were treacherously high for air traffic controllers. Every outside look verified that they were in horrendously pressurized working conditions with responsibility for peoples' lives using out dated and failing equipment.

Once elected President...Reagan destroyed the air traffic controllers and their union.

PATCO leaders were hauled off to jail for ignoring court injunctions against a strike. The Justice Department proceeded with indictments against 75 controllers. Federal judges levied fines amounting to $1 million a day against the union while the strike lasted. Over 11,000 strikers received their pink slips, while 1,200 went back to work within a week's time. Morale among the strikers was shaky. "I thought Reagan was bluffing," lamented one controller. In October the Federal Labor Relations Authority decertified PATCO.

Once the strike was broken, Reagan refused to rehire the trained and experienced men and women. He did essentially meet all of their demands for new equipment and procedures after he fired them for begging.

This is the Ronald Reagan that Conservatives love. A miserable bastard if ever there was one...but he had such a nice smile.


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Mythology 101

I contend that this country is ruled by people who want our brains turned to mush. I've always thought this is helped along by the fact that our dominant religion tells children as part of its creation myth that God wants us ignorant and kicked us out of the Garden of Eden because a woman let a talking snake seduce her into eating a magic apple which made her and her man friend intelligent. I have friends who believe this to literally be the case. Once you can accept the contradictions implicit in that tall tale, then you can move on to lesser fabrications such as the mythology of Ronald Reagan. if ever a person did not deserve to have an airport named for him it was Ronnie.

The greatness of America peaked at the moment before Ronald Reagan became our president. We had strong unions and a robust manufacturing sector, a semi-fair taxation system that gave our government enough money to build schools and universities that were the envy of the rest of the world. We had a strong and growing middle class, though the hard core poor were still the hard core poor. As a percentage of our population the poor were stable and not growing as they are today. We did have serious problems with our financial sector and the start of income inequality but income disparity was still merely a symptom rather than a goal. In today's dollars the average worker made over $20 an hour and it was a good living. A greater percentage of our young people would attend college every year than did the year before. The future was bright. Ronald Reagan would change all that.

When Reagan took office in 1981 he fulfilled his campaign promise of massive tax cuts for the rich and corporations. Unemployment soared, the economy tanked, and the national debt spiraled out of control to a nearly three times all the debt amassed in the previous 80 years of the 20th century combined. But as the incomes of average Americans stopped growing, the incomes of the richest among us began to soar. Best of all, the monetary policies that were stifling the rest of the economy, stabilized inflation so that those who had wheelbarrows of money stashed in banks could keep it there without it losing value instead of having to invest it in the economy. Workers would never again make as much money as they did before Reagan and his handlers came into power.

Today, as a result of the continuation of Reagan conservatism, the average worker makes $19 an hour, those that are working. The financial sector is now the home of our largest organized crime families and has taken something like three trillion dollars out of the American pocketbook in just the last 8 years without producing anything except a national debt that is three, no , FOUR times as massive as that created under Reagan. Most of this occurred during Baby Bush's reign as figurehead interupted only by the only Democratic presidential term since Reagans, that of Bill Clinton.

Reagan was a functional racist. He vetoed an anti-apartheid resolution directed at South Africa. his veto was overridden by the Republican controlled Senate in what may have been the last moral act of Republicans in this country. As Republican strategists learned under Reagan, functional racism is necessary for Republicans to gain and hold power in the USA. Low income whites must be led to vote against their own interests in order for Republicans to stay in power. Fear is the key to doing that. Fear of illegal immigrants who will take your job and rape your daughter,even as Republicans filibuster measures to standardize driver's licenses and id cards in America so that employers can instantly identify illegal workers and deny them the job candy that is luring them across the border in the first place. Fear of blacks, muslims, liberals, socialists, marxists, and everybody except conservatives..

Now, as a result of this avalanche set in motion under Reagan, there is a race to the far far right end of the teeter totter as "real" conservatives try to portray moderate conservatives as being way too sane to hold office in America. If you aren't a tea Party whacko who believes Republicans are making America strong by smashing American troops into the quagmire of the Middle East and sending our factory jobs to Asia, 40,000 closed factories in the US since 2001, then you aren't really a conservative. If you believe that Obama isn't a socialist, was born in the USA, or somehow got to be president of the Harvard Law Review because of quotas, then you aren't crazy enough to serve the conservative movement. Sanity is an automatic disqualifier in today's Republican Party, and Ronald Reagan, who by objective observation was either asleep at the wheel or in the throes of Alzheimer'sj disease during a significant of his Presidency...Ronald Reagan could not be elected today. Why? In a few, very damned few, instances he did what was morally right.

He raised taxes a number of times in hopes of stopping the growing deficit.

Reagan created the Department of Veteran's Affairs.

He dreamed of a nuclear free world

Reagan gave amnesty to 3 million undocumented immigrants.

And though he perpetuated homophobia, he reversed his position on Aids awareness when confronted by an innocent child dying of the disease.

These things do not fit the conservative mythology of "Saint" ronald Reagan, however, and you will hear little about them today as conservatives wallow in the hog slop of what Reagan started...the destruction of an America where "We the People" has any meaning beyond "We, the Ultra Rich and our friends, the Corporations."

In the most dramatic strike of irony's hand, conservatives will praise Reagan for defeating America's arch enemy, the Soviet Union. In fact, the Soviet Union could not have done more to destroy America than conservatives have since Reagan proved that a figurehead could adequately serve as president with good speech writers and the ability to believe his own lies. Reagan helped create the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden but that will not be celebrated today. In fact, I wonder how many people will realize that Bin Laden struck, not at the American people per se, but at the institutions brought into outsized power by Ronald Reagan, the American Financial Sector in the World Trade Towers and the Defense Department in the Pentagon. Ronald Reagan did not defeat America's enemies...he built them...with our money.

In fact, when you really look at things objectively with the well being of most of Americans in mind, Ronald Reagan and his conservative mythology have turned out to BE America's enemy.

Happy 100th Ronald Reagan's birthday, America!


Further reading...

10 Things Conservatives Don’t Want You To Know About Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan, Enabler of Atrocities