Belaboring the Obvious

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

For people distressed over the Constitutional abuses...

... created by having a black President in the White House, I suppose this interpretation of the Constitution is in character.

If one were to go by Blech and crew, one might think America's only product is assholes.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Everyone is waiting for the change...

... having expended most of the hope. Well, now, is this an indication of the sort of change we can expect?

The Secretary of the Treasury's office metaphorically moves down Wall Street from Goldman Sucks to Robber Barons `R Us?

Ooooh, that's change we can believe in, yessir.

Yeah, right.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Word to the wise Dems in Congress....

If you keep trying to play into the narrative of the whacked-out doofuses in the extreme minority, if you worry about what they might think about you say or do, you're:


And, so are the rest of us. Submit to the tyranny of the batshit-insane minority, and we're all fucked.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Yet one more instance of...

... legislators running helter-skelter away from anything that resembles central planning and into the arms of the free-marketeers....

Ultimately, even the large U.S. firms are creating more jobs overseas, since they're assembling from components manufactured in Asia. But, the government's happy if the big multinationals are making money, even if means that every part built in China represents an inadvertent or intentional technology transfer of either process or design.

We're already well behind other parts of the world in green technologies, and given the paltry amount of money we spend on non-military basic and applied research, we've probably already fucked ourselves in this market.

But, yeah, that "free" market is sumthin', ain't it?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

About this woman, Palin....

I've pretty much stayed away from Palin the phenomenon, but, now that she's back in the media's eye because she has a heavily ghost-written book released, I suppose it's now time to weigh in on Scary Sarah, the Alaskan mooseketeer.

We have the sorry-assed Senator McCain to thank for making her a media phenom, first of all. Had not Johnny Crash-and-Burn picked this dweeb as a running mate, she would have dissolved in a hail of ethics complaints while the erstwhile governor of the least-populated state in the country.

We also have the mainstream media, always desperate to emulate The National Enquirer, for elevating her well beyond her station.

And, we have Scarah herself, anxious to make of herself much more than she actually is. If this paltry excuse for a human being were my mother, it would have been a toss-up whether I left home forever or murdered her with an axe. I guess her children have more tolerance than do I.

She's a fake, a phony, a hypocrite, a liar and a consummate self-promoter.

Should I care? Only to the extent that she might, one day, have some influence on my life as an elected politician. She's stupid, vain, and thoroughly unqualified for any office superior to that of director of garbage collection in her tiny, insignificant home town of Wasilla, Alaska. Even then, grifter that she is, Wasilla better keep an eye on her, in the event she might use that office for personal gain.

So, why should I be concerned? Because the idiots in the Washington, DC, media see her as "news." They'll keep this moronic halfwit in the public eye as long as they can, will spin her ground-level ignorance and her stratospheric stupidity as "relevant," will make her the political equivalent of Michael Jackson's long-overhyped death. She's the Aimee Semple McPherson of the new century, except with Christian witch doctors.

The longer the media strokes this whining excuse for a human being, the more dangerous she becomes, the more the Christian right sees her as their defender in the vicitimization sweepstakes, the more the populace accepts her drivel as truth, because it's easier and simpler to digest.

So, let's be plain. This horrible woman is a cancer on the body politic, and everyone other than right-wing wackos (because they're helpless and hopeless) needs to have their heads examined if they think, for a moment, that this brain-dead religious fascist, this minor-league beauty-queen runner-up, has the slightest interest their welfare. What she really wants to be is Anita Bryant with clout someone else gave her.

She's a chancre on the ass of democracy.

And, that's all there is. Oh, yeah, except that she hates to hear people complaining. I mean she really hates it.

Thus endeth the lesson.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Herbert gets it right today...

... as far as he goes.

Herbert does make the point that infrastructure keeps commerce going, that Europe still understands this, and that the U.S. no longer does. But, there's a lot unsaid in his article about how this state of affairs came to pass.

First, a significant amount of the infrastructure that we've just patched together for decades was built in the 1930s, by the WPA and the CCC. It takes some looking to see it today, but during the Great Depression, the CCC built more than 650,000 miles of roads out of what were previously just dirt cart-paths. The building in which I worked as a Christmas temp in 1965 for the post office was built by the WPA in the `30s as a courthouse, and was converted to a post office annex in the early `50s. That building continued to be used for that purpose until the early `70s. One can still find along the Lake Michigan shoreline permanent surveyor's markers which were placed by the WPA for the Coast & Geodetic Survey. When I worked for a municipality in Michigan in the `70s, all the master water and sewer maps had first been done by the WPA, starting in 1934, painstakingly drawn in ink on starched linen.

Almost everywhere one goes, there's evidence of what the WPA and CCC did during the `30s, even if one ignores the huge projects, such as the expansion of Philadelphia's first airport, the Tennessee Valley Authority and urban renewal in major cities such as New York. These were projects that were more strong-back-ready than shovel-ready. If you could do physical labor, there were plenty of ways to put you to work, and in ways that had lasting benefit, benefits that carried through the Depression and WWII and well into the post-war economic expansion. In a sense, we've been coasting on the infrastructure developed during that time.

Conservatives rail against any notion of central planning, and in the last thirty or so years, the entire notion of national central planning has been discarded in favor of "free market" principles, that corporations know best and that tax cuts can better accomplish those ends, a remarkably self-serving attitude on the part of a corporate elite whose growth in the `50s and `60s depended largely upon federally-planned and -executed infrastructure improvements.

With the dissolution of federal revenue-sharing to the states, infrastructure spending has devolved into a system of pork-barrel projects and earmarks at the Congressional district level, a hodge-podge driven by local politics and cronyism that in no way serves national needs. Forgotten by fiscal conservatives is the simple fact that the arguably three single largest surges in infrastructure and industrial growth in the country's history were managed at the federal level--the WPA/CCC/TVA infrastructure/jobs programs, WWII arms production, and the Eisenhower-era interstate highway system. All were, for the objectives of their times, unqualified successes (the implications of huge dams for power production, or the effects that the highway system had on automobile use, fuel consumption and air pollution were largely unanticipated, and certainly weren't contrary to the interests of the corporate giants which benefitted from that infrastructure).

All, however, did not make huge profits for corporations, and no one corporation or consortium of corporations could have managed any of those tasks--they were simply too large and ambitious. Now that the costs of replacing that aging infrastructure are coming due, the cities and states, starved by thirty years of tax cuts and tax-abatements-for-jobs extortions by corporations, are seriously considering turning over infrastructure to those very same corporations that have systematically starved them. In the Chicago area alone, formerly low-cost access roads are now corporately-controlled toll roads, and the city of Chicago is at this moment considering turning over its public water system--built and funded over tens of decades at public expense for public benefit--to private control because it no longer has the revenues to maintain that system. That's what the multinational corporations do to third-world countries. Is Chicago going to send out its police to quell the riots caused by skyrocketing water bills, as happened in Cochabamba when Bolivia sold its water system to a subsidiary of Bechtel? Is Chicago going to have to create laws--due to corporate demands--that make collecting rainwater illegal because it might hinder corporate profits, as happened in Bolivia?

No, what Herbert forgot to put plainly front-and-center is that there's been a war going on for thirty years, at least, a war waged by corporations against the public commonwealth and the means of maintaining it. The corporate mind thinks, "why shouldn't we be able to buy public infrastructure at fire-sale prices and then profit from it?"

The question everyone else should be asking is "why the hell should we let them?"

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Megalomania defined....

Mini-Cheney on Fox News Sunday just brushes up against the idea of her father running for President in 2012.

Let's just get this idea of hers (his) in proper perspective right away. Cheney is stupid. Crafty, but, stupid. By even the most constricted definition, he's a war criminal. When Junior's approval ratings were in the toilet and headed lower, Cheney's numbers were even worse than his.

He's the most anti-democratic politician to come along in many decades. His obsession with secrecy borders on the pathological. He's a consummate liar. He's as corrupt a politician as we've experienced since the days of the robber barons. In virtually every way that the Bush administration fucked up over the course of its eight-year reign of terror, Cheney was smack in the middle of those obscenities.

But, just ignore all that for a moment. He would be 72 years old at time of inauguration in 2013. He's had four, possibly five, heart attacks. His black, shriveled heart has more electronic gear attached to it than does a spy satellite. He's been treated for deep vein thrombosis. He's a germ freak and never traveled without his trusty nuclear-biological-chemical warfare suit, even when just going from his residence at the Naval Observatory to the White House compound. And he has a tendency to drink, at inappropriate times and levels.

There are certainly plenty of contenders for the title, but, hands down, Cheney is the most amoral, ruthless and power-mad person in the country today. Think Nixon cubed. The Republicans are stupid and greedy enough that they would make him their front-runner in 2012, given that the current crop of contenders are just silly and/or irrelevant, and Cheney knows this (he might even be cultivating this crop of doofuses, behind the scenes, in order to improve his chances).

Would the American public give this monster serious consideration in 2012? Sure, if there were some fear-provoking event that he could exploit. After all, by hook and by crook, Cheney and Bush were put into office twice before. A Cheney run for President would be the ultimate act of cynical opportunism, a blatant assertion of the country's collective short memory, but, after eight years of his Presidential puppeteering, it would be in character for him.

If Cheney does run in 2012, and, god forbid, wins, I do hope--though it's a perishingly small consolation--Obama will recall that he had ample opportunity to prevent such a calamity, in two specific ways. First, he could have opened government, as he promised, to expose the enormity and scope of Bush's and Cheney's crimes, and second, he could have chosen to uphold the law and prosecute them for those crimes. That he has done neither of those things only improves Cheney's chances.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I'm wondering if this was actually...

Dan Senor's or Paul Bremer's idea. Glenn Greenwald writes:

In April of this year, the British daily, The Guardian, published an article by Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, an Iraqi citizen, documenting the increasingly autocratic practices of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The article quoted an Iraqi intelligence official claiming that "Maliki is running a dictatorship." As if to prove their point, the reaction of the Maliki government was to sue The Guardian under a law that does "not allow foreigners to publish articles critical of the prime minister or president," and yesterday, an Iraqi court ordered the newspaper to pay Maliki the equivalent of £52,000.

Sound like a law the Bush Bozos at the CPA would have dearly loved to see Congress pass, just for fun, y'know.

So, our present and future costs of this illegal invasion are going to be $2 trillion or more, we've killed hundreds of thousands of civilians and displaced several million more, seen--at last count--4680 of our own soldiers killed in combat, thousands more of non-combat causes and tens of thousands wounded, many seriously and in life-changing ways, so Nouri al-Maliki can act like a tin-pot dictator who's going to sue anyone that's "critical" of him.

Not to mention that this is a British paper, and the British have their share of losses, too, in this clusterfuck of enormous proportions.

My guess is that there's more than a few Britons, right about now, who'd be cheered to see Tony Blair's liver on a pike, just below George Bush's and Dick Cheney's.

I think about all that time the CPA spent squabbling about and editing the Iraqi constitution, but, in all that haste to bring the so-called "free market" to Iraq, it just slipped their collective minds to include basic human rights and freedom of the press....

Democracy, Bush-style, comes to Iraq, and there's no end to it in sight....

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Well, Mr. Obama...

... since you've fucked up just about everything you've tried to date, so, when you're ready to actually fix the mess you find yourself in, just give me a call.

I've got a ton of suggestions for you.