Warpy's Journal - Archives
the more young people are starting to abandon it. Even believers are loath to self identify as Christians since the ugly coalition between televangelists and their followers and right wing government has become a known quantity. Sensible people want absolutely no part of it, and since all Christians are being unfairly lumped into that coalition, they've abandoned self identification as such.
50 years ago, the word implied a certain standard of ethical behavior that all people who identified with it at least attempted to achieve. Then came the televangelists pushing a particularly unholy combination of Southern Baptistry, Dispensationalist Calvinism and prosperity theology and even the pretense of trying to emulate Christ's ideals of tolerance and charity was abandoned. Once you were "saved," you could do any horrible thing to other people here on earth that you wanted, your ticket to heaven was punched.
The past 40 years have damaged the brand name horribly. I sincerely hope that isn't the case permanently, and I hope the mainstream religious figures at long last repudiate the nonsense coming from the pompadoured frauds on "Christian" television and their pet politicians. It's overdue.
Violating international and domestic law to execute a threat on foreign soil is the first and what has now happened twice. The fact that the second is a US citizen just adds another layer of badness to the whole thing.
Invading a country to capture the threats to US security. It seems we did that 10 years ago and are still bogged down there. Do we have another trillion dollars to piss away on a war which itself is of questionable legality?
Going in with a team with guns blazing to extract the bad guy is another, undoubtedly costing lives on the ground, of dubious legality, and of uncertain success.
Having a show trial in absentia, presenting evidence and convicting the bad guy as an enemy of the state also has a dubious history, it seems to have been done extensively by the Soviets, as well as launching the teams of assassins to perform the execution outside the country.
Then there was the alternative of leaving him where he was, building his organization online but within the US, filling them with all sorts of jihadist nonsense about slaughtering infidels (the rest of us). While some of his converts would likely find actually acting too much trouble to pursue, some of them would undoubtedly act and how many of us do you think should have to be sacrificed to following rules?
While I've never been a fan of using unattainable ends to justify unacceptable means, this is a series of terrible alternatives, all of which had to be considered.
While I shed no tears for one more murderous asshole shuffling off this moral coil, I do shudder at the prospect of its becoming business as usual as it was under GOP presidents. I also think this is going to have some legal consequences now that they're not the ones doing it.
(Don't bother responding if you're young and idealistic)
that sounds supremely logical to a lot of businessmen but which has failed us so completely whenever it has been put into practice.
That's what has to be pointed out to the general public, that something that sounded so good in speeches 35 years ago has now had the test of time and that the economy we have right now is its inevitable result, just like it was 80 years ago and for every bust economy before that one.
What looks good in theory often doesn't work out all that well in practice. We now have proof positive that Republican theory doesn't work out well for the wealthy except in the short term and doesn't work at all for the other 99.5% of us.
Romney's plan has already failed. It's failed repeatedly. If Democrats don't point this out, then they deserve to lose.
should be an automatic disqualification on reason of insanity.
One of the few things we had left that made this country decent to live in is the firm separation between church and state.
That's the other disqualification, right there. The godly always seem to want to push their dogma onto the rest of us. No thanks, fellas.
Unlike you, I do respect the pious to the point that I realize they have a right to believe whatever will get them through a dark and lonely night.
They don't have a right to get into government and use it to push the rest of us around and I will fight them to my last breath.
An extra few hundred dollars a year in a family's pocket won't do anything but help them pay down some of their debt load. It won't be converted into extra food, a new car, or any new toys.
They'll still be dressing the kids in hand me downs from friends and yard sales.
The whole "cut taxes, stimulate the economy" ruse has gone on long enough. It didn't work. It polarized the economy nicely, fattening the 0.5% of us who can be classified as plutocrats, but it didn't do anything for the rest of us, not really, since any Federal tax cut at the bottom was more than offset by increased State taxes and licensing fees.
What we need instead are targeted tax hikes. We need a confiscatory rate on billionaires. We need that money not only to pay down the crushing debt this country has as a burden, we need it to generate jobs building the next generation of infrastructure. Infrastructure investment always leads to a boom in businesses that use that infrastructure. Jobs will put money into pockets and create demand for goods and services far beyond what a piddling tax cut for the few who still have jobs would create.
The proof that tax cutters have been wrong for the last 30 years is the economy we have now. The only wonder is that diehards are still clinging to the fantasy that shoveling money at the rich while flipping quarters at the rest of us will create prosperity. It's time to retire it along with the Tooth Fairy. We've all grown up beyond fairy stories now.
The current financial crisis is due in a large part to the men put into place by the last administration whose job it was to protect the scammers by not doing their jobs. Markopolos spent years trying to get action from the SEC on Madoff and was stonewalled, even with the whole scheme dumped right into the SEC's lap. BP was allowed to violate safety rules at its plants with impunity, leading to the disaster in the Gulf. The side bets on the financial system are ongoing and the ratings agencies, while facing inquiries, are still not bothering to do their jobs rating this balance sheet junk.
People at the bottom caught with a joint or a rock of crack would go to prison for long sentences as examples--after all, peasants don't work hard enough if they're on drugs. Men at the top were coddled and protected and still are. Madoff went to prison but his whole organization, together with his crooked family, skated and kept all the loot. This is not by accident, it's by design.
Madoff only went to prison because he fleeced the upper middle class and lower tier of wealthy clients. Had he simply stolen from retirement funds for working people, he'd still be in business today. No one at any enforcement agency was ever concerned with where the money went, as long as the front man went to prison, everything was supposed to be fine in the world.
Our laws are still largely in place, but the possibility of ever having them enforced depends entirely on the class of criminal. Rob a gas station, and you're sent up for a decade. Rob millions of people, financial institutions, and even whole countries of their futures, and you get a smirk and a free pass to multiple retirement palaces around the world. Make paper profits for the unimaginably rich, and you are insured that the whole system will rise to your defense, your name will be kept out of the papers, and your rewards will be handsome and permanent.
It is going to take decades to unravel what happened during the 8 years the plutocrats rigged an incurious idiot into office so that they could scam the rest of us and be assured that the laws would not be enforced. It will take decades more to recover from it.
The first step would seem to be to enforce the laws we still have, vigorously and across the board. I'm still waiting for signs that will happen.
is to avoid getting stuck in another one for the rest of my life. I have been happily divorced since 1985 and if Prince Charming is out there, languishing for my wifely expertise, he's just going to have to heave his bulk out of that recliner chair and take care of himself for a change.
I'm officially matrimoniophobic.
I'm always amused by the shrieks about the terrible threat to straight marriage, mostly from men. If ever there were an institution overdue for a major shakeup, it's straight marriage.
Unfortunately, gay marriage isn't going to do it. It will have absolutely no effect on it and the alarmism is just more wasted energy.
So congratulations, best wishes and Mazel Tov. I will dance at any wedding that isn't mine. I am delighted it will eventually be extended to any adult that consents to it. That's long overdue.
just naturally attract the worst teachers, when exactly the opposite is true in so many cases. Teachers who want a true challenge gravitate there and that's where you're going to find a lot of the most creative and hard working teachers. I know some of these teachers and they're awe inspiring. They're also labeled underperforming.
They seem underperforming because of the kids they're given: undernourished, occasionally given illegal drugs by parents who want their own highs to be enjoyed in peace and quiet, from a culture of multi generational hopelessness, poisoned by lead paint and other heavy duty pollutants, often speaking no English at all, and if they're lucky, from two parent homes where both parents are working constantly, unable to help with homework or confer with the teacher but keeping them adequately fed and clothed.
The other fiction is that the corporate model is any way to run a public system, something that is as true as other Republican fantasies like trickle down economics. Because the corporate model doesn't allow for the human factor of kids in distress and parents who are either overworked or totally uncommitted to their children, teachers will continue to be labeled unproductive when they're actually doing a heroic job of managing to teach these kids to read, at all.
I'll change my opinion of all this garbage only when the affluent, upper middle class suburbs are seen as full of underperforming teachers and schools. Until then, it's just more damned class warfare against the people least able to fight back.
because no one in that top 15% has ever handed out a job unless there were a lot of people in the bottom 85% with money in their pockets, waiting to pay for whatever goods or services that job would provide.
That's why the supply siders have been absolutely wrong about everything. The wealth transfer to the top produced a net loss in jobs, since it stripped money out of the pockets of the very people who were going to spend it on goods and services. Only opening the credit spigot wide for a couple of decades kept this economy on life support, and it was artificial life support, at that.
You can't run an economy on debt forever because eventually servicing that debt cuts into subsistence. You can't run an economy on subsistence if you want people to buy things that economy produces. The whole economy flows from the bottom up, not the top down as the supply side true believers would like to tell us.
The proof of all this can be seen in the last 30 years of our economic history. Unemployment has been creeping up (until it started to gallop in 2008) as the working and middle classes saw their purchasing power going down every year. The wealthy might have bid up securities, creating a 300% increase in the Dow during the 90s, but they did nothing to invest in domestic industry to increase the number of jobs out there.
If you want to know that supply side economics is a dismal failure, just look around you at all the empty storefronts and the going out of business sales, and the long lines wherever jobs are advertised. The wealthy have never had it so good since the 1920s, the last time the supply siders crashed this country's economy. The jobs have disappeared, just like they did the last time.
Anybody who still tries to push this crap on DU, where so many of us know better, is doomed to the same dismal failure the supply siders have once again demonstrated their threadbare dogma is.
because it's breaking through that wall of denial so many people were living their lives behind, that wall that said that they were invulnerable to any sort of disaster because Americans were automatically entitled to the good life, no matter how much debt they had to run up to achieve it.
I was much more pessimistic about this country while Stupid enjoyed a high approval rate and the SUVs kept getting bigger along with the car payments and household debt continued to climb as inflated house prices conned people into thinking they were richer than they actually were.
I've seen that smug suburban demeanor change into nervousness, soon to be followed by sheer panic. The awful truth is finally dawning on the entitled, that the emperor has been naked for many years, that their net worth is less than zero, that the friendly credit card people are not their friends.
As we cross that tipping point between faith in the system and the knowledge that faith has been betrayed, things are likely to get much worse, at least in the short term of the next several years. Only when faith in a non sustainable system has been utterly destroyed can we start to build a more sustainable system yet again.
And that's why the news aint all bad.
Derivatives have as much reality as a casino bet. In a mathematically determined game, with the odds with the house, the house will always come out ahead at the end of the year. However, that bet in and of itself has no intrinsic value to anyone.
Derivatives were bets placed on bets placed on bets, each concerned with decreasing overall risk for the house. They functioned fairly well for four decades in doing just that and the house (banks, brokerages and hedge funds) all got quite fat on them, with numbers going up year after year, even though those numbers represented enormous debt running all through the game.
However, those bets, placed years ago with real money, are being seen now as losing hands. The real money is long gone, spent by the house on new carpeting and free buffets for the suckers who were enticed to go into debt to get into the game. Since then, they've played a game of bidding up those bets with money they created out of thin air through leveraging debt, themselves.
The suckers have nothing to show for it but debt the house was counting on to keep the game going. The house has nothing but a bunch of worthless cards and the debt it leveraged in order to bluff the game. Basically, the money is gone, the Emperor is naked as a jaybird, and nobody can hide the fact any more.
I can tell you that civilians absolutely could not handle hospital humor. The stuff we pull in hospitals to cut tension would gag slime mold.
The tragedy of this video was that overtired people mistook a camera lens flash for weapons fire. The tragedy was compounded by an apparent military coverup of the incident.
However, this is what war is about. All wars are like this, the slaughter of innocent civilians who were in the way being repackaged as collateral damage so that people back home won't be disgusted and the boys who caused the war can continue it.
What we need to be angry at is that this war was pursued based on lies and in order to further empire. What we need to be angry at is the waste of lives, the world's good will, our own treasury, and in a very large part our future on this rich man's war of convenience.
Wikileaks has done a service in obtaining and posting this video. It's high time everybody knows what war is really all about. It's not glory, it's filth, misery, blood, death, waste, and a bunch of rich old men getting richer.
Just excuse me if I don't waste any outrage on the troops.
try to focus on what's happening to those screechers today. That party is bursting apart at its seams, its conservative backbone having decamped as it's become an embarrassment to self identify as Republican and the disparate group of crazy people left out of Reagan's unholy coalition are starting to fight each other over party purity, which they mistake for unity.
If they field a presidential candidate in 2012, it's not going to be much of a presidential candidate. All the presentable ones have retired, died off, become leery of entering the fray, or are exemplified by the befuddled McCain. The closest thing they have to a typical Republican with star power is Palin, and she's building consensus that she's unfit for much of anything, especially high office.
Yes, no matter what any Democrat does, the remaining Republicans will scream their silly heads off. Wise people will sniff derisively as their power fades and the screamers will no longer be able to block anything.
It would be a great help, of course, if the new Senate fields a Majority Leader who is willing to play hardball and tell Republicans throwing filibuster hissy fits that they need to get down on the floor and start talking or business will proceed as usual without their consent. The best way to get the filibuster returned to a sane tactic is to force the tantrum throwing GOP actually to do them.
In other words, it's not as hopeless as it was 20 years ago, 30 years ago or 40 years ago. The great pendulum in the sky is moving toward the left again and the right is out of ideas, out of stars, out of thinkers, and generally out of gas. In addition, their grand ideas have been proven to be dismal failures, yet again.
This too shall pass, as anyone who has ever been constipated knows.
although I was considerably more terse when I did it.
I remember the sheer nuttiness on the youthful left in the mid 70s, wild eyed suburban kids preaching revolution while the majority, for whom the system was still mostly working, looked on aghast at the thought of its overthrow.
The tables are turned this time, with senescent people being the ones to be wild eyed and preaching violent revolution to maintain a senescent movement, radical reactionary conservatism. In addition, they're defending a system that is working for no one, not even them.
While the right never gets hammered down to the extent the left has been, we can expect media and state to put out some half hearted attempts at doing so unless these loons manage to assassinate a high profile target. In that case, maybe we'll see a real crackdown on the sheer lunacy and Beck and the rest of the blowhards getting their overdue pink slips.
Still, for those of us more sanguine movement types of the 60s and 70s, the parallels of a dying paradigm breeding fanaticism and threats of violence among the diehard adherents are very telling.
Stick a fork in the conservatives, they're done. Oh, they'll hang on grimly as long as they can and there will always be a few buffoons out there to keep us entertained, but their original thinkers (who were able to dress up a warmed over mercantilism and make it sound fresh and new) are all ancient or dead and there are no new voices to take their places, their ideas have suffered greatly from being tried and having failed, and the religious soldiers for Jesus are just pissing people off, their power to affect the superstitious decreased by the fact that they're assholes and nobody wants to listen to them any more.
Soon they'll just be an ugly and embarrassing memory, it's the way this country has always been, the pendulum creaking back and forth. However, they'll be back a generation or two from now, new smart boys repackaging Reaganism for a new crop of suckers.
Maybe next time we'll be ready for them.
I remember a B-actor who was so far to the lunatic right no one would ever take him seriously. He not only served two terms, he managed to gut a lot of what kept money moving in the economy, shoveling it toward the rich while overtaxing working people on their Social Security premiums to make up the difference.
I remember a former CIA guy who spoke gibberish and didn't have a clue what a supermarket scanner was. He served one term and put the economy in the toilet and the only thing that did him in was a promise not to raise taxes that he couldn't keep.
I remember a Connecticut preppie who tried to pass himself off as a folksy Texan and who couldn't say a simple declarative sentence if left to his own devices, a booze addled, wet brained Christian rich man radical who probably wore those cowboy boots because he could no longer tie his own shoes and he was rigged into office twice. The only reason he didn't have a puppet successor rigged into office was because the inevitable Republican crash happened at the end of his second term.
You bet I take this fading beauty queen who speaks verbal goulash seriously. Get enough of the stupid and the superstitious behind you, especially when they realize they've been getting screwed without getting kissed and are too damn dumb to figure out who's behind it/them and they'll follow you anywhere, even to a job you're not remotely qualified for, just because you convince them to blame all the wrong people.
If this idiot woman's handlers get their way, this country is finished.
And it's possible.
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