Monday, January 31, 2011


This was going to be a blog about communication styles between the left and right and the common folk. But that will have to wait, I am afraid. With the protests in Tunisia and now Egypt it has become obvious to this blogger that our current methods of personal communication with cell phones and the Internet and social media will simply not cut the mustard when we need to get the messages out and among ourselves about what is happening in the streets, what we want and plan to do about it and what the world needs to know. When it is obvious that a government can shut down the internet and cell phone access when ever it wants. Prevent news agencies from covering a situation and hassles and/or detains those who are reporting, it is imperative that a method of communication that is not dependent on the private sector or governments is necessary. At least temporarily.
The technology exists now like it never has before. What is necessary is to learn and create alternatives. To use our natural inventiveness to make a system that can be put into place so that our story gets out regardless of the circumstances. It would not need to be pretty or even perfect. It just has to work.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Big Lie

It was just so over the top, and so wrongheaded that our usually fractious populace, and the politicians and hangers on who cater to them were, for once, united in their condemnation. After all what the congressman said was just, simply, out of bounds.

What the congressman said was this:

And the myopia of the other side, let alone the hypocrisy of some of its members, is hard to fathom.

They say it's a government takeover of health care, a big lie. Just like Goebbels ; you say it enough, you repeat the lie, you repeat the lie, you repeat the lie, and eventually people believe it. Like blood libel. That's the same kind of thing. The Germans said enough about the Jews and the people believed it and you had the Holocaust. You tell a lie over and over again. And we've heard it on this floor; government takeover of health care.

PolitiFact, nonpartisan, Pulitzer prize-winning, 2009, St. Petersburg Times, said the biggest lie of 2010 was government takeover of health care, because there is no government takeover. It's insurance.

You can see just how outrageous it was just by reading it. It is easy to imagine the many people who needed "the vapors" to revive them, after hearing such words. Some congresswoman says

we also know that the very founders that wrote those documents worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States....

And I think it is high time that we recognize the contribution of our forbearers [sic] who worked tirelessly -- men like John Quincy Adams, who would not rest until slavery was extinguished in the country

while another political figure who was once nominated to serve as Vice President of the United States explains that "the Sputnik moment" that many of us remember as the catalyst for the development of a apace program that led to our landing men on the moon slightly more than a decade later and increased spending to educate more scientists and the research that led to the technological breakthroughs which have marked our time, in facts stands for a race to space that the Russians

won, but also incurred so much debt at the time that it resulted in the inevitable collapse of the Soviet Union.

but really it is Steve Cohen, the man with a political opponent who suggested he not be elected since Jews hate Christians who has poisoned our political discourse.

And, of course, he and Politifact are wrong. The lies about a government "takeover" of health care, while as asinine a claim there is, and one which was repeated in Republican campaign commercials every hour on the hour during October last, were not, and cannot be the lie of the year.

It is this one: constantly repeated every single day, by sages on televisions throughout the land:

The budget deficit must be cut and cut now. We will rue the day, if we do not reduce the deficit immediately.

Here, for instance, are the famed Nobel Laureates in Economics: Dr. Joe Scarborough of the University of Talk Louder than Anyone Else on Set, and Professor Michael Barnicle of The Institution of Higher Cowering to Conservatives so Maybe They Will Like Me:


I'm very disturbed by the president actually bragging about increasing spending while Greece and Portugal and Spain and Ireland go up in flames and moody's saying we could be next.... if you look it at the front page of the New York Times" yesterday talking about the states going up in flames in debt, if you see what's happening in spain, is spain going to collapse?

What happened in Portugal, what happened in Ireland, what happened in Greece, what's happening in America where you have Moody's saying they're going to downgrade our AAA rating, which is going to mean 5 trillion, instead of being historically low rates will be at high rates.

5 trillion debt becomes a $20 trillion debt just like that and it cripples the united states.

Mike, this is basic math.

This is basic banking.


You know what, maybe members of Congress, individual members of Congress, and maybe even the President of the United states, should take one month off from listening to focus groups and reading polls and spend more time with an averageAamerican family to see how they balance their checkbook month to month and what they do is what this Congress and past Congresses have been unable to do.

Figure out what they can afford and what they can't afford.

Because average American families can't put bills off into the distance for too long.

We all have to make those decisions.

You had to choose am I going to buy a mink lined sink or aim am I going to get the leather jacket.

So, aside from these two laureates, there appear to be no other economists who find this analogy to be apt. The idea that, for instance, your family should not radically cut back its expenditures at a local restaurant since to do so might put the restaurant out of business or at least cost some of its employees their income is, of course, ludicrous. The government has a different role and obligation.

Try this from people who have greater expertise in this, than the consistently broke blogger, if you continue to believe that Professors Scarborough and Barnacle were doing anything but wasting the morning away.

More importantly, away from the bloviation machinery (including the one we are both using right now), this is well understood. After Vice President Cheney famously explained that deficits don't matter, an article in the Weekly Standard (not to be confused with the Daily Worker) explained, with unusual cogency why he was probably right at least when the government is "teetering on the verge of a major recession."

Now that we are way past "verge" and perhaps major recession doesn't really say it, the preferred economist to make the same point, Paul Krugman, has pointed out often, that with a

a depressed economy and high unemployment...[w]hat the government should be doing ... is spending more while the private sector is spending less, supporting employment while those debts are paid down. And this government spending needs to be sustained: we’re not talking about a brief burst of aid; we’re talking about spending that lasts long enough for households to get their debts back under control. The original Obama stimulus wasn’t just too small; it was also much too short-lived, with much of the positive effect already gone.

So, as oddly dissonant it may seem when people tell us about the evils of our deficit while giving tax breaks to the wealthy, it is not. The Republican Party which nominated and elected President Reagan has had one over-riding goal: to undo the New Deal and return the United States to the eat what you can kill economy that President Roosevelt inherited as it lay in the ditch, careening toward the anarchy and dictatorships already in sight in the rest of the civilized world.

But it was a world which, as President Roosevelt described it while seeking his first re-election, where

[t]hrough new uses of corporations, banks and securities, new machinery of industry and agriculture, of labor and capital - all undreamed of by the Fathers - the whole structure of modern life was impressed into this royal service.

There was no place among this royalty for our many thousands of small-businessmen and merchants who sought to make a worthy use of the American system of initiative and profit. They were no more free than the worker or the farmer. Even honest and progressive-minded men of wealth, aware of their obligation to their generation, could never know just where they fitted into this dynastic scheme of things.

It was natural and perhaps human that the privileged princes of these new economic dynasties, thirsting for power, reached out for control over government itself. They created a new despotism and wrapped it in the robes of legal sanction. In its service new mercenaries sought to regiment the people, their labor, and their property. And as a result the average man once more confronts the problem that faced the Minute Man.

The hours men and women worked, the wages they received, the conditions of their labor - these had passed beyond the control of the people, and were imposed by this new industrial dictatorship. The savings of the average family, the capital of the small-businessmen, the investments set aside for old age - other people's money - these were tools which the new economic royalty used to dig itself in.

The New Deal was intended to enlist the government against these forces instead of supporting them but in a curious way would end up making business even better, since it helped create a middle class with buying power far beyond what anyone could have imagined as President Roosevelt took office in March, 1933.

Still, a segment of the world ended by the New Deal always pined for its return. They took over the Republican Party dismembered by Watergate and set on their course to put us back to the good old days before that patrician from Hyde Park took their measure.

Hence, their chosen Representative to "respond" to the President's State of the Union address---a speech pointing a way forward (please watch Rachel Maddow's summary of what it meant), went right after the whole structure erected by the New Deal to forever protect our citizens from the predations that nearly destroyed the nation but which they derisively refer to as "entitlement programs."

Programs to invest in what we need to do to move successfully into the new century, Congressman Paul Ryan said, will

transform our social safety net into a hammock, which lulls able-bodied people into lives of complacency and dependency.

So, there it is. In black and white. At least we are going to be candid about what the plan is; a significant achievement. Congressman Ryan's speech just confirmed how right Dr. Krugman was when he explained a year ago, that the deficit is killing us meme---which the beltway press have adopted as their own mantra as well--- results in

all the talk ... about how to shave a few billion dollars off government spending, while there’s hardly any willingness to tackle mass unemployment. Policy is headed in the wrong direction — and millions of Americans will pay the price.

The almost unreadable but spot on book What's the Matter with Kansas explained how all the culture war stuff fooled the easily misled into supporting politicians out to hurt them for the benefit of the fat cats who supported them, but the repetition of their nonsense by supposed news dispensaries helps more than the abortion is evil rant (which has, you will notice, returned). The point is that no matter how ridiculous something is, if you repeat it often enough, it becomes accepted as true. The most famous and effective use of this technique was...

oh, yeh. Never mind. Not allowed to say that.

Friday, January 28, 2011


File:Declaration independence.jpg

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
650,000 people died so that these sacred words could have the opportunity to breathe life into a new nation; fulfilling the promises of an antecedent document that had been more or less discarded by the time of the Constitutional Convention. Tens of thousands of other people were forced to die before their time in addition to those lost on the battle fields just to add these two sentences to our Constitution.

We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal….

Oh, the great changes promised by Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment were not immediately implemented.

Not like the dictates of the 13th Amendment.

And the 15th Amendment was immediately implemented upon its ratification and then, ten years later, all but ignored for almost a century.

Great changes take time, even when the blood of a large percentage of a population is shed in the historical blink of an eye.

The beauty of Section 1 is its simplicity. It is so short and soooooo very sweet; and so very hopeful.
And it includes the poetry of Jefferson molded by Radical Republicans into the most important Constitutional provision of all time; radicals who knew the importance of ratifying such poetry as soon as possible; as if those wise men knew that there was a window of opportunity that might slip away.

Oh our courts, pressured by less idealistic politicians and lobbyists were slow to apply the ideals present in Section 1.

Well the words never meant absolute equality, wrote the robed shamans who were chosen to implement this new ideal into their deliberations.

Well, due process is a little vague and might even be thought to be in the minds of the beholders said our shamans.

But beginning in the ‘30’s a new, more idealistic group of robed shamans came up with an idea; a new manner in which they could implement the ideals of Section 1.

Why not look to the list of Constitutional Protections created at the same time that our nation became a nation. Why not use the dictates contained in the Bill of Rights? Rights that only applied to the relationship between U.S. Citizens and the Federal Government but never to the relationship between U.S. Citizens and state governments.

And within 30 years, almost all of the promises contained in the Bill of Rights were adopted by our Supreme Court; and also with the necessary help of Congress and various Presidents.
Alabama could no longer maintain that the Bill of Rights applied only to Federal Law and had nothing to do with the citizens of Alabama.

And northern cities could no longer maintain that the Bill of Rights had nothing to do with property ownership.
And some local political group running some ‘machine’ could not cut off a person’s right to free speech in order to fend off competition in the voting booth.

There are thousands of pages containing some of the finest political and statesmanlike language ever written in those Supreme Court decisions.

However, those changes in our government’s perspective toward individual rights are always subject to attack. Individual rights might be written in a constitution, recited in court decisions and etched in stone but there has always been and will continue to be THE STRUGGLE to maintain those rights.
So it is written:

On Monday, Rand Paul announced that he is joining Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) in cosponsoring the Life at Conception Act. The law would declare that a person's life begins at conception. Paul and Wicker reason that by becoming legal persons protected under the Constitution's 14th Amendment, which guarantees equal protection under the laws, then it will override the constitutional right to an abortion that the Supreme Court found in Roe v. Wade.
Of course, if fetuses had all the rights of a person, it might lead to interpretations that—ironically, given that Paul campaigned on a strong commitment to privacy and liberty,—would vastly expand government power. For example, if a pregnant woman smokes or drinks alcohol, or simply eats unhealthily, could she face prosecution for reckless endangerment of a child? In any case, Paul confidently predicted that "passage of the Life at Conception Act would reverse Roe v. Wade without the need for a constitutional amendment."
But he is not averse to amending the Constitution when necessary. On Thursday, Paul and Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) introduced a resolution that would amend the Constitution to prevent children born to illegal immigrants from gaining automatic citizenship. Under the current interpretation of the 14th Amendment, which Paul and Vitter oppose, citizenship is given automatically to anyone born on U.S. soil. So Paul wants to expand the 14th Amendment to cover the fertilized embryos of American citizens while restricting it to exclude the babies of illegal immigrants. It's not clear where the fetus in an illegal immigrant's uterus would fit into this equation.

These fascist pricks wish to screw with perfection, the perfection contained in Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

And you should never FUCK WITH PERFECTION.

Before I get into possible language that would be used by the likes of Curly Rand Paul and Steve King et. al., let us examine the consequences of their ideas concerning new definitions of ‘citizenship’.
First, what would be the consequences of declaring that citizenship does not begin with birth, but upon coitus leading to birth.

You know the Japanese add 9 months to the age of their citizens. So a Japanese baby born on the same day as an American baby is 9 months older according to this Asian perspective.

So if a baby is born in the United States (simplifying the possibilities here), the normal course is for the doctor and nurse/midwife to note the date and time of the birth on some form provided by the state. Within due course, the mother signs a form along with the father (hopefully) and these forms are sent to the state birth records department.

And Vwella, a birth certificate issues.

But if we have a constitutional mandate that the individual was ‘born’ at the time the mother’s egg split in two, we have a problem.

If a sperm can take as long as two weeks to fertilize an egg, how does one determine when the individual is born?

And what if mommy and daddy had coitus on May 2nd in Mexico and they immigrated to the U.S. on May 9th and the baby was birthed in Minneapolis on December 9th two months ‘early’?

Was the baby ‘born’ in Mexico on May 2nd, the date of coitus?

Now what if the other constitutional provision proposed by the fascists demanding that the child be born in the USA and that at least one of the parents is a naturalized citizen. And assume further that the naturalized citizen was not naturalized officially until after the mother bore the child; and assume further that the child was ‘created’ in the Bahamas on some moonlit night?

Like some of those Constitutional Lawyers, we could go on and on here with four hundred pages of ‘what-ifs’.

I can only conclude with one simple thought: