Saturday, December 31, 2011

Sunday Satire: New Years Day Edition

  The first day of the year! Only 364 more days until 2013

                HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!


Jay Leno: "President Obama went Christmas shopping at Best Buy in Virginia this week. He had to go to Best Buy because he's not allowed to go to Walmart, because China said, "You can't buy any more stuff from us until you pay off what you already owe us."
"While shopping at Best Buy, out of force of habit, President Obama put everything on layaway. He told the store, "Don't worry about it; the grandkids will pay for it."

''Obama called on Americans to have more grandchildren. Probably so there's more of them to pay off our debt.''

Bill Maher: ''Sarah Palin said Obama should stop 'pussyfooting around' and release the photos. Yes, because the guy who ordered the SEALs into a sovereign country without permission and killed public enemy number one is a pussy, and the woman who quit her job as the governor of a state with no people after half a term and won't do an interview with anyone but Greta Van Susteren is a bad-ass. Right.''

''Hank Williams Jr. got his ass kicked off of Monday Night Football. His crime was comparing Obama to Hitler on Fox News. Or as it used to be called, 'The Glenn Beck Show.' ... If we are going to fire every Southern hillbilly who thinks Obama is like Hitler, who will be our Republican congressmen?''

Conan O'Brien: ''This morning on the 'Today' show, Jenna Bush interviewed Ozzy Osbourne. Ozzy was so confused and inarticulate that Jenna accidentally called him 'dad.'''

David Letterman: ''Herman Cain was unaware that China is a nuclear power. And I said to myself, 'Hey, Herman, how about making an unwanted advance on a history book?'''

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Why The Oligarchs Want to Ghettoize The Country

Originally posted to Ray Pensador on Mon Dec 26, 2011

It works like this... The most important assets for a free people are time and leisure.  Once you have that, then you can develop the ability to think critically, to analyze facts, events, trends, and to become aware of the dynamics that operate within a social system.

In a society, once a large-enough segment of the population has developed an understanding of how the system works, you then have an informed citizenry who is able to act in favor of their interests.

So in a healthy democracy where the population is informed and educated, you will not have a very marked disparity in income distribution between the population and the rich.

So having access to time and leisure, leads to an improved ability to think, to analyse, and to become aware about how the system works.  This in turn leads to the ability to organize with other informed citizens to take collective actions to safeguard your interests.

For the citizenry, this results in having a larger share of the nation's income, wealth, and power.

That's why the oligarchs are always (eternally) trying to find ways to chip away at the ability for the common man to be able to have access to idle time and/or leisure.

That explains the hundreds of millions of dollars certain business organizations and lobbying groups spend on bribing politicians nationwide to setup a legislative framework to make it harder for workers to unionize, to make education less accessible, to destroy the proper functions of government.

When it comes to power, the most significant component is income and wealth, especially in a capitalist system.

Once people fall into poverty, they become powerless (by and large); that's why you hardly see politicians talking about the poor.  They are always talking about the "middle class." 

And it does not matter how large the segment of the population falling into poverty may be.  For example, a population that has a 10% incidence of poverty, is as powerless as a population who has 80% living in poverty (in my opinion).

Right now (as you read this), there is a segment of the population who has vast wealth and it's using it to manipulate the bought off politicians nationwide (federal, state, counties, cities) to push "austerity measures" onto the citizenry.

These austerity measures have the effect of curtailing access to education, health care, and a plethora of workers' rights.

As these very well-planned policies take effect, the average worker then has less time, and less leisure.  This immediately translates into a rapidly-expanding wealth gap between the rich, an the rest.  As the rich become richer (aided by the bribing of Democrats and Republican politicians across the entire country), and the poor become poorer, the percentage of the population who is poor also increases rapidly (as it is the case now).

As poverty spreads through the population, ignorance also spreads, since poor people don't have access to the proper infrastructure to get educated.

And here's the "brilliance" of the oligarchs.  As the "hamster wheels" (as it were) are spun faster and faster, the workers try to keep up.  Those who fall off the wheel, unable to keep up with the oppression and exploitation, then fall into poverty, and are quickly marginalized, stripped from any source of power, and ghettoized.

The dwindling middle class, seeing the wretched consequences of poverty are then intimidated and fearful, and do everything they can to stay on the wheel, picking up the pace mandated by the increasingly oppressive system.

But the system is rigged, which results in the inexorable rate increase of poverty and/or economic insecurity in the population.

And here's the biggest quandary: Once a citizen understands that the system is no longer legitimate, and that it is rigged in this way, does it becomes the duty of such a citizen to rise up in protest with the objective of stopping the system on its tracks, so it can be fixed?

Herein lies the inherent conflict between those who have come to realize that the system is broken, and that it's not longer legitimate, and therefore has to be stopped from operating normally, and those who because of fear and/or their inability to understand the situation still hang on to the notion that the system is "normal."

In every society where oligarchs rise, along with oppression and exploitation, it is the latter type of citizen who is the most responsible for it.

For once the system has turned totally corrupt, predatory, and criminal (as it's the case today in the United States), then patriotic and informed citizens have the duty to stop it from operating normally, in order to defend against a domestic enemy (the likes of ALEC, The US Chamber of Commerce, and other neo-fascistic organizations).

Such a system, if not stopped on its tracks, always leads to the following: A very tiny elite comprised of people with extreme wealth and a totally bought-off class of politicians (as it's the case now with the Democratic and Republican party establishments), in control of most of the wealth and power of the country, and a population living in a neo-feudal society.

We are way on our way to become such a society.  All the hallmarks of a banana republic or third world country have been met, including rampant bribery of the political establishment, thievery and criminality at grand scale, with impunity and aided and covered up by bought off and corrupt politicians, the rise of an increasingly brutal police state.

The only question that remains is if the dwindling middle class is going to decide to cower in fear, remain on their knees, bowing down to large-scale criminals, or stand up for justice, freedom, and democracy.

We'll find out soon enough.  If we decide to remain on our knees, we'll keep feeding the corrupt and exploitative system, which is rigged to eventually totally destroy the middle class and plunge the entire population into serfdom, and ignorance.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement.

Mitt Romney: Another “ Christian “ Liar In Politics

    I sometimes find it amazing just how casually our “ Christian “ presidential hopefuls forget the “ Thou shalt not bear false witness “ part of God’s Word when they seek election to the office of president.

    Mitt Romney, being the “ family values “ man from the Mormon branch of Christianity, is no different than either Michele Bachman, Rick Perry, or any other Republican who seeks the GOP nomination.

The Big Promises and Bigger Lies of Mitt Romney

Avenging Angel                Posted on Mon Dec 26, 2011

In the election of 1928, the Republican Party of Herbert Hoover promised voters "a chicken in every pot and a car in every backyard."  (We all know how that turned out.)  Now, Mitt Romney is pledging that "If I'm President" every college graduate will be guaranteed a job, Iran will have no nuclear weapons and the United States will dominate the 21st century.  And when Romney isn't making fantastic promises about what he'll do when he gets to the White House, he's slandering the current occupant, Barack Obama.

"I Won't Let Iran Get Nukes"

Governor Romney's guarantees start with Iran and its nuclear program.  In a November 10, 2011 op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Romney pledged, "I won't let Iran get nukes."  Or as he put it 10 days earlier during a GOP national security debate:

"If we re-elect Barack Obama, Iran will have a nuclear weapon.  If you elect me as president, Iran will not have a nuclear weapon."

As to how he'll ensure that outcome, Romney explained that "If you want peace, prepare for war."  And despite occasionally acknowledging the complexity of a strike against Iran and even the questionable possibility of success, Romney told the Wall Street Journal this weekend how he would get it done:

So what would he do about it? "I do not have a top secret security clearance at this stage to be able to define precisely what kinds of actions we could take." But he adds that "the range includes something of a blockade nature, to something of a surgical strike nature, to something of a decapitate the regime nature, to eliminate the military threat of Iran altogether."

No U.S. Decline in Romney's "American Century"

Romney's promise to "eliminate the military threat of Iran altogether" is just part of his larger assurance that the 21st century will be another "American Century."  Pretending that the rise of India, China and Brazil doesn't inevitably entail the relative loss of U.S. power and influence, Romney announced in his October address at The Citadel:

"This century must be an American Century. In an American Century, America has the strongest economy and the strongest military in the world. In an American Century, America leads the free world and the free world leads the entire world...As President of the United States, I will devote myself to an American Century. And I will never, ever apologize for America."

Not content to rest there, Romney accused President Obama of "waving the white flag of surrender":

"An eloquently justified surrender of world leadership is still surrender.

I will not surrender America's role in the world. This is very simple: If you do not want America to be the strongest nation on Earth, I am not your President.

You have that President today."

Two months later, Mitt Romney repackaged his promise and his slander at the December 15 Republican debate in Sioux City, Iowa:

"Our president thinks America is in decline. It is if he's president. It's not if I'm president. This is going to be an American century."

As for Romney's charge that President Obama "went around the world and apologized for America," the Washington Post Fact Checker deemed it a Four-Pinocchio lie.

A Job for Every College Graduate

At an event in New Hampshire last week, Governor Romney's pandering went from the sublime to the ridiculous.  There, Mitt pledged President Romney would deliver full-employment for all American college graduates:

"What I can promise you is this -- when you get out of college, if I'm president you'll have a job. If President Obama is reelected, you will not be able to get a job. That's the reason I will hopefully get young people who are in college is to say, You know what, I understand what it takes to get jobs in America."

As the record shows, not so much.  After all, as the Los Angeles Times recently documented, Romney's "Bain Capital often maximized profits in part by firing workers."  That's why, the Washington Post Fact Checker and Fortune all refused to vouch for Romney's claim that "In those hundreds of businesses we invested in, tens of thousands of jobs net-net were created."

Obama "Has Not Created Any New Jobs"

If Mitt Romney can't prove his boasts about his own job creation record, neither can he justify his blatant lie about President Obama's:

"25 million people are out of work because of Barack Obama. And so I'll compare my experience in the private sector where, net-net, we created over 100,000 jobs."

"I'll compare that record with his record, where he has not created any new jobs."

Sadly for Mitt Romney, the Bush recession began in December 2007.  As ThinkProgress rightly noted, "The private sector has added 2.3 million new jobs since March 2010, and it took the Obama economy one year to create more jobs than the economy under President Bush did in eight."  As The Economist explained earlier, the recession was not at its deepest just as Barack Obama was entering office, but far worse than official statistics revealed at the time.  Romney might also want to check with former McCain economic adviser Mark Zandi as well as the non-partisan CBO, who concluded that the Obama stimulus program "added up to 0.9 million jobs in 2009, 3.3 million jobs in 2010 and 2.6 million jobs in 2011."

Obama's Debt Exceeds All Previous Presidents Combined

Mitt Romney didn't just lie about Barack Obama's jobs record.  At the Sioux City debate, he got President Obama's contribution to the federal debt all wrong as well:

"We all understand that the spending crisis is extraordinary, with $15 trillion now in debt, with a president that's racked up as much debt as almost all of the other presidents combined."

Of course, we don't all understand that, because it's not true.  After Ronald Reagan tripled the gross national debt and George W. Bush doubled it again, Uncle Sam's red ink totaled almost $11 trillion when Barack Obama took the oath of office.

Obama is "Taking over 100 Percent" of Health Care

In his desperate quest to win over conservative Republican primary voters, Mitt Romney has turned his back on his signature achievement which he once boasted was a health care model for the nation.  And to do it, Romney has been lying for months by telling voters "Obamacare is about taking over 100 percent of the people's insurance in this country."

In a September 15, 2011 interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, Romney made the same charge:

"The Massachusetts plan was crafted for Massachusetts, for the needs of 8 percent of our population that didn't have insurance, not for the 92 percent that did. Obamacare is a plan that takes over 100 percent of the people in the country and their health care, and that's one of the reasons why people don't want it."

Sadly for Mitt Romney, repetition of a lie doesn't make it any more true.

The Affordable Care Act passed by Congress and signed by President Obama in the spring of 2010 targets the 17 percent of people (over 50 million people) who are uninsured.  As Politifact explained in deeming Romney's fraud another "Pants on Fire" lie:

According to the Census Bureau, the percentage of Americans without health insurance nationally was slightly under 17 percent in 2009, the year Obama began pushing for the bill. According to a Congressional Budget Office estimate, the number was about the same in 2010, when the measure was signed into law. Other estimates have pegged the national number at about 15 percent.

As Henry Aaron, a senior fellow with the centrist-to-liberal Brookings Institution right noted, comparing 8 percent to 17 percent "would have been apples to apples" when it comes to the impact of the individual mandate at the center of both the Massachusetts and national plans. Sadly, Politifact concluded, Romney was guilty of "a felony case of comparing apples and oranges."

Romney "Will Reverse President Obama's Massive Defense Cuts"

During that same "American Century" speech in October, Governor Romney pledged:

"I will reverse President Obama's massive defense cuts.  Time and again, we have seen that attempts to balance the budget by weakening our military only lead to a far higher price, not only in treasure, but in blood."

Sadly for Romney, as Steve Benen pointed out, defense spending has not only gone up every year of the Obama presidency.  It is higher than it ever was when George W. Bush sat in the Oval Office.

Of course, Romney's confusion over matters of war and peace are hardly new.  In an April op-ed for the Manchester Union Leader, Mitt forgot about the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan as he denounced President Obama for "one of the biggest peacetime spending binges in American history."

Obama's "Equal Outcomes" and "Entitlement Society"

Last week, the Romney campaign rolled out what may well become the meta-theme and meta-lie for the 2012 general election race.

After President Obama declared in his Osawatomie, Kansas address that Republican trickle down economics "never worked," Romney struck back.  Just not with the truth:

"Just a couple of weeks ago in Kansas, President Obama lectured us about Teddy Roosevelt's philosophy of government. But he failed to mention the important difference between Teddy Roosevelt and Barack Obama. Roosevelt believed that government should level the playing field to create equal opportunities. President Obama believes that government should create equal outcomes.

"In an entitlement society, everyone receives the same or similar rewards, regardless of education, effort, and willingness to take risk. That which is earned by some is redistributed to the others. And the only people who truly enjoy any real rewards are those who do the redistributing -- the government.

"The truth is that everyone may get the same rewards, but virtually everyone will be worse off."

By raising the mythical red menace of communism and falsely attributing it to Barack Obama, Romney in the words of Paul Krugman had introduced "The Big Lie" into his "Post-Truth Campaign." While Andrew Sullivan announced "Mitt Romney is a big, fat liar," Steve Benen lamented that "Romney, allegedly the responsible one in the Republican field, has been reduced to lying uncontrollably."  And while Greg Sargent in the past had expressed amazement at "Mitt Romney's casual, effortless falsehoods," New York Magazine's Jonathan Chait explained that Romney's red scare rose to a whole new level of duplicity:

"This isn't just a casual line. In eight sentences, Romney asserts over and over again that Obama wants to create "equal outcomes" and give everybody the "same rewards." This is nuts, Glenn Beck-level insane. Restoring Clinton-era taxes is not a plan to equalize outcomes, or even close. It's not even a plan to stop rising inequality. Obama's America will continue to be the most unequal society in the advanced world -- only slightly less so. The alternative proposals accelerate inequality even further."

Of course, as the proliferating profiles from the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Washington Post and others show, Mitt Romney is no stranger to inequality.  Legendarily cheap and analytical, as a Harvard Business School student Romney gave a presentation to his classmates that "proved the value of family time based not on emotion but on yield."  Two Romney quotes - "I love business" and "I love data" - seem to sum up the man.

As for loving the truth, that for Mitt Romney is apparently another matter altogether.

* Crossposted at Perrspectives *

Originally posted to Avenging Angel on Mon Dec 26, 2011
Also republished by Community Spotlight.



Sunday, December 25, 2011

Newt Gingrich’s Christmas Present

    Merry Christmas everyone. You to Newt

Twas the Day Before Christmas—in Virginia

by Neapolitan        Sat Dec 24, 2011

Reposted from Neapolitan by Kaili Joy Gray

'Twas the day before Christmas, and all through the land
All the candidates went to events that they'd planned.
There were breakfasts, and lunches, and dinners galore;
There were so many speeches their throats became sore.

Late last night, on their bus, they'd been snug in their beds,
While a vision of victory danced in their heads.
But today, there would never be time for a nap;
Just a flight or a drive to some dot on the map.

Then from deep in Virginia, there came such a clatter!
The media sprang to see what was the matter,
And found that, despite spending mountains of cash,
Two front-runners' efforts were gone in a flash.

In Virginia, no votes go to Gingrich or Perry,
So Christmas, for them, will be much less than merry.
"Too few signatures gathered", the state's rationale; it
Appears that their names won't appear on the ballot.

"Just get 10,000 signatures, as the state asked.
Go and get'em!" the candidates' staffers were tasked.
"There are five million voters!" and out they were sent,
Their goal to go gather just point-two percent.

But even so few was, it seems, just too many;
They may well have not bothered gathering any.
A few scattered thousands, their meager collection,
And these two are out of this March's election.

You'd think, with their millions, and well-paid promoters,
They'd maybe connect with a handful of voters.
But Perry's aw-shuckness, and Gingrich's "greatness"
Meant nothing: their campaigns were vanquished by lateness.

Oh, the horror! The anger! The utter dismay
On this Christmas-y Eve of a Christmas-y Day!
Yes, for Perry and Gingrich, the end of the race--
In Virginia, at least, where they're gone with no trace.

In Virginia, their campaigns fell in on themselves,
Like the work of some angry, malevolent elves.
And the candidates face these Virginia defeats,
Where the Klown Kar continues with two empty seats.

But while many rejoice at this most recent reason
To laugh at this silliest GOP season,
Remember, before you go off with a grin:
While those two may be out, all the others are in.

Now I'm through here; I've had a few minutes of fun,
But tomorrow is Christmas; there's work to be done.
So I'll leave you with this: as I head out the door,
To the GOP wannabes, let me implore:

"Now Bachmann, now Romney, now Hunstman, now Perry,
And Gingrich--yes, you of the multiple-marry--
Santorum, and Johnson, and even Ron Paul:
Please go away! Go away! Go away all!"