A Quick Look At Last Night’s Festivities From the RNC

Pic of the day: Jabberwocky, by John Tenniel

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The charlatan takes very different shapes according to circumstances; but at bottom he is a man who cares nothing about knowledge for its own sake, and only strives to gain the semblance of it that he may use it for his own personal ends, which are always selfish and material.

Arthur Schopenhauer, Parerga and Paralipomena

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There is actually much less to grasp a hold of and actually talk about in Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech at the RNC last night than there was in Paul Ryan’s speech the night before. There was simply much less meat in the speech, less actual talk about what he would do.

He did attack the President in a few places, but they were pretty damned weak attacks, I have gone after the President harder than Mitt Romney did last night.

He made a big point of saying that America isn’t better off now than it was 4 years ago. And I can tell you from personal experience that that is a hairy load of bulllshit. 4 years ago the economy was hemorrhaging hundreds of thousands a jobs a month, the stock market was in the shitter, and Oil was at $147 dollars a barrel back then.

Oil is still to damned high, but it is lower in price, as low as the market will allow it to fall. The Job market has not skyrocketed, obviously. But what has happened is that it has stabilized. Is it growing? No. Should it be growing? Maybe. With the amount of shock the American financial system took thanks to the laissez-faire system that the Bush ownership society foisted on us, it is mighty hard for me to imagine things ever really coming back the way they were.

McCain would not have been able to do better. No one could have done more, and with less than President Obama has with the economy, given what he had to work with, and how unwilling the Republicans were to work with him on anything. Never did they come up with a coherent plan to help, just partisan bullshit that was hostile towards the American dream.

For eight years, The Republicans created a new normal like Pinochet created a new normal in Chile when he took over there. Chile was financially much stronger before Pinochet. It was much more vibrant and robust, like America was Pre-Dubya. Pinochet, like Dubya and the Republicans took over and wrecked the place, destroyed the economy and the nation. Difference between Pinochet and the Republicans of the first 8 years of this century in America is that in America they didn’t need to use a military junta to impose their bullshit on the people.

And that in a nutshell is what Romney wants to bring back to America.

Pinochet without all the disappearing people.

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Now some specifics.

Romney says the President’s tax hikes on small business will eliminate jobs. That despite the fact that there have been 18 small business tax cuts, and the bulk of stimulus money went to small businesses. Mitt needs to read up on reality before speaking.

Mitt said that the Presidents assault on coal, oil and gas will send manufacturing jobs oversees. For a reality check, note that during the end of the Bush administration, oil went as high as $147 a barrel. Right now, WTI crude futures are at $96.47 a barrel. We are now less dependent on foreign oil than we have been in years. We are producing more oil than we have in nearly a decade. There are more American oil rigs working now than have ever worked before.

Tell me again how the President is assaulting oil and gas? Oh, and coal? The coal industry is stronger under the President. More people are working in the coal industry. The stimulus put billions of dollars into coal mining, and there is an emphasis being put in the industry not only to burn coal in a more clean manner (despite all the rhetoric there is no such thing as clean coal, but apparently they’re trying to get it cleaner) and make work conditions safer for the workers who do the dangerous work there.

So much for that point. Many of Mitt’s points against the President were of this variety, the easy to dismiss variety.

The speech mirrored Mr. Romney pretty accurately. Mitt is easy to dismiss and is full of crap, just like his speech.

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And thank you Mr. Eastwood for bringing us Invisible Obama and Eastwooding.

You are a good man, Mr. Eastwood, with the courage of your convictions, and you showed that last night. The speech was a flop though. You muffed it, pretty badly. All the stopping and starting, and hemming and hawing sounded bad. You sounded like a down on his luck actor who has forgotten his lines. Because you had. Should’ve stuck with the script though, Clint. That’s what it’s there for.

For inadvertent comedy though… dude. You win. You. Just. Win. You should smile, Mr. Eastwood, at last nights speech.

Then go have a therapeutic yell at some other invisible people in fine bentwood chairs. Bentwood is just a personal choice on my part, you can use whatever style you like. Just don’t let’em tell you to go fuck yourself. No reason to take that kind of abuse, none at all.

:)

I’ll always think of you as The Outlaw Josey Wales, Mr. Eastwood, no matter your intentions last night. You were and are a great and good man, the moment had it’s way with you, that’s all.

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That’s it from here, America. G’night.

Thursday Night Late Night Idle Talk

Pic of the day: Carpenter at work on Douglas Dam, Tennessee (1942)

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I love hard work. I live to sweat, to earn my daily bread by the sweat of my brow. I haven’t worked all week and frankly that is no damn good. I’ve been sitting on my ass not making money. It kicks my ass. I have had slow weeks before but this is the first week where I’ve had no work in three months. It doesn’t sit well with me. I want to work. I am tempted to work on my resume and send it out to people just so I can find something that get me working every day.

I’m getting lazy to boot. Sleeping late, not exercising. And I’m eating too much. And this is all from a mere 5 days off. I need to get my lazy ass moving. I’m not making excuses, it’s stupid crap.

At least I’m still running like a maniac. Averaging over 9 miles a run so far this week. Gonna try to go long and hit the hills hard until next week. Next week I have work. Next week will be better. I can’t wait.

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In the last analysis, what is the significance of life? If we divide mankind into two great classes, we may say that one works for a living, the other does not need to. But working for a living cannot be the meaning of life, since it would be a contradiction to say that the perpetual production of the conditions for subsistence is an answer to the question about its significance which, by the help of this, must be conditioned. The lives of the other class have in general no other significance than that they consume the conditions of subsistence. And to say that the significance of life is death, seems again a contradiction.

Soren Keirkegaard

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Watched hockey tonight. Don’t do it often, so this was a real treat. Watching the Rangers hand the Senators their lunch made it even more of a treat. The Rangers took control of the game after coach Torts called a timeout. The team came alive after that, and scored 2 goals in the second period, including what ended up being the game winner by Brian Boyle with around a minute left in the middle period. They got sloppy during the last half of the third period and gave up 2 goals, but the effort was strong, and the win felt damn good.

LET’S GO RANGERS!

My wife’s team, the Bruins won as well.The Caps goalie Braden Holtby, who started after both the Cap #1 and #2 goalies came up hurt, came up big and got the Caps to OT before Chris Kelly scored the only goal of the game about a minute in. Looking forward to a Rangers/Bruins eastern conference finals.

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And now for something completely different…

Reading comments about fracking generating local earthquakes on a story on Bloomberg.com, about how it has been around since the 1940, and how the whole story is a load of crap. Read that particular bit from someone who claimed to be from Oklahoma who had been in the oil business and about how it’s a bunch of bullshit, all this negativity about fracking.

Then I went on to read about how the fracking that went on from the 1940′s until the 1990′s was different than the stuff that is creating the earthquakes. The stuff that went on early apparently was low volume fracking, that generally used between 20 and 80 thousand gallons of liquid per well.

What gets done now is that instead of thousands of gallons per well being used, millions are used, generally between 2 and 3 million gallons, and has apparently increased tectonic activity underneath the mid-western United States. From the 1970′s until the year 2000 the area experienced on average 21 earthquakes a year. That number has jumped since the beginning of the use of high volume fracking. There were 87 earthquakes in 2010 and 134 in 2011.

Now I don’t know a great deal about the science on this, I’m just not knowledgeable in this particular area, but it seems to me that low pressure fracking is perfectly safe and acceptable. It did no harm, it does no harm, no worries, keep at it. But the increase in pressure brought about by the increase in fluid injection seems to be a bit too much of a negative to be allowed to continue.

I’m not a fan of unnecessary legal action, but this looks like a clear cut case where those who are in power need to seriously look at the potential negative consequences of high volume fracking.

After all, an earthquake caused by high volume liquid injection fracking, even a small one that damages an underground pipeline and spills oil everywhere, that gets into the ground water and makes life difficult if not impossible for people and wildlife in the area is entirely unacceptable. We need better that this from the oil industry. If they can get oil using high pressure fracking, they can get it other ways. And if they can’t, that is their problem, not mine.

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That’s it from here, America. G’night.

To Pay For Mass Transit? Are You Sure?

In a plan that is typical of the effectiveness of Republican legislators, a plan has been put in place to boost oil production in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska.  This plan has been created to pay for mass transit.  This will, according to the CBO raise a total of 2.06 billion dollars by 2016.  Their target amount they wanted to raise by 2016?

$40,000,000,000.

Meaning their big plan to raise money to do what they want to do will raise all of 5% of the money needed in the time frame allotted by them to actually do the job.  And on top of this they are planning to cut fuel taxes as part of this plan, not necessarily a bad thing, but the cutting of income is a curious way to generate income.   So how do they plan to fund the rest of this?  They plan to ask for a one time transfer of funds from the U.S. General fund for transit (aka the highway trust fund, which is funded by fuel taxes) of…

$40,000,000,000.

Seriously.  And this is to Pay for mass transit?  Are you sure about that?

And why would they ask for the entirety of the $40,000,000,000 for their project when they have at least some of the money coming in from oil production increases brought about specifically for the purpose of raising money for this project?  Unsure whether it’ll pan out, perhaps? One wonders about exactly why they would simply not ask for the remainder of what is needed, rather than a surplus.

AAAAAAAnd of course they will have to find a way to pay for this.  They have asked that every dime that Democrats spend be offset, the least we could do is return the favor. There is no news out there that speaks to how they would pay for this one time $40,000,000,000 fund transfer, from a fund whose size they are seeking to decrease.

More on this as news becomes available.

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Accepting the absurdity of everything around us is one step, a necessary experience: it should not become a dead end. It arouses a revolt that can become fruitful.

Albert Camus

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Pic of the day:  Gulf Offshore Platform

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And is it me or does every plan that the republicans come up with have something to do with oil?  They want to increase jobs?  Build a pipeline!  It’ll only hire a few thousand people, and most of those will be only temporary hires, but so what!?!?  It’s jobs and it’s oil!  But they can never make enough oil wells in the states to fill all the jobs We The People need, or make enough oil for all our needs.  Which means no matter what, oil use simply puts us deeper in the hip pockets of other countries.

You’d think they had friends in Iran or Russia or Saudi Arabia or something…

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That’s it from here, America.  G’night.

Fun With Oil Companies

I have been reading one of those news stories that makes you shake your head, and ask questions you would be very tempted to answer yourself, even though you don’t know those answers. The title of the story is self-explanatory.

Oil giants coddled Qaddafi, lobbied on his behalf

Reading the story is like reading a litany of the wrongs that exist in Washington.

Lobbyists and lawyers too eager to grab money, any money, and do any job, for anyone, with no scruples about the destroying the concept of “moral integrity”.

Politicians too eager to listen to these slick salesmen and women, to help these people who grease the wheels of Washington politics, with the money (I say blood money, but I’ve always been the dramatic one) with no view towards the good of the American people, and looking only at their own finances, like they are more important than “We The People.”

Oil companies too eager to use these clearly easily useable and used people to further their own ends, instead of looking elsewhere for profits, seeking the easy dollar instead of working for it.

This starts with legislation, aimed at letting American terrorism victims seize assets of countries found liable, signed into law by Dubya.  Libya sought an exemption to the law.  How did they seek it?  The oil companies claim that Qaddafi, and one of his henchmen browbeat 2 executives and threatened them with decreased production if they didn’t talk the congress into signing off on an exemption for Libya, which was a country which was explicitly targeted by this law.

After the oil companies hired on additional lobbyists to speak to members of the house and senate, they were convinced to allow the exemption after hearing that Libya would create a fund for victims of terrorism.  This should not have convinced them of anything, because over the years Libya has racked up several hundred kills, or have we forgotten Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie?  Or the plane they blew up a year later that killed another 171 people? Or the Berlin disco bombing in 1986?

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Real success in business is to be found in achievements comparable rather with those of the artist or the scientist, of the inventor or statesman. And the joys sought in the profession of business must be like their joys and not the mere vulgar satisfaction which is experienced in the acquisition of money, in the exercise of power or in the frivolous pleasure of mere winning.

Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis

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Viddy of the Day:  Hillary Clinton urges Africa to support Gaddafi´s exit CCTV News

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There is no way to dress down the oil companies without also talking of the actions of the politicians who passed this exemption.  These being politicians, I expect as much from them. I am not surprised, or angered to be honest, that they would see the move to create a fund for the victims of terrorism as a good move for everyone.  Simply leaving the law as it was, without the exemption, would not make sense for them. After all, who could be against a fund for the victims of terrorism, paid by a nation considered to be terrorist?  Seems that action is always better than inaction in political calculus.

The political side of this equation makes sense, even if it starts motivated by greed and weakness, like in this case.

I find it frustrating that big oil companies are willing to stand up to Congress to claim that the deserve all the tax breaks in the world, claiming that cutting  those tax breaks are discriminatory and counterproductive, but can’t stand up to a foreign leader cajoling them for 30 minutes.

Especially when these companies have it within their grasp to go elsewhere and get oil from a great many countries.  I’m sure Nigeria, Algeria, and Angola would have all gladly signed contracts with these companies to increase production and make up the shortfall from being cut off by Qaddafi.  Those countries, and 16 more (15 if you take the United States off of the list), all produce more oil than Libya.

These oil execs are wimps, plain and simple.

Qaddafi cajoled James Mulva, browbeating him for 30 minutes.  One wonders whether he falls apart every time his wife yells at him. This paltry half hour talk was enough for the man to turn around and press the political machine in Washington for breaks for Libya, with the aid of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the U.S.-Libya business association.  He didn’t stand up for himself, or the American people, who this oil would come to.  He didn’t even try to find a way around Qaddafi, tucked tail and ran for the cover of government.

This is, by the way, the same man that said that cutting tax breaks for oil companies was “Un-American.”

Sounds like Jim Mulva is the Un-American one to me.  He must’ve left his balls at home that day.

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That’s it from here, America.  G’night.

Un-American?

Such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks, and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing. The sun needs no inscription to distinguish him from darkness.

Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man

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I am such an old man.  I enjoy watching the news, I have fun thinking about, talking about, and writing about news and politics, and other kooky stuff.  I giggled and guffawed when I read that Mike Huckabee has a new website meant to indoctrinate kids as far as American history is concerned.  He claims it’s to fight the “Blame America First”  attitude in America’s classrooms.

At a hefty profit, I might add.

I am unsure when he started looking into the Un-American activities of these Bolshevik 7 and 8 year olds, who are clearly affected by their communist parents and socialist teachers.  I’m happy that someone is going to be there to tell us what to think of our history, because we clearly have been affected by this whole “Blame America First” crowd.

Wait a second… Isn’t he blaming America for not putting America first?  And what nation are we putting first?  Denmark?  Bolivia?

SRSLY though, I don’t see it.  The Huckster is trying to make money by stealing(for lack of a better term) money from conservative parents, so he can indoctrinate their kids into their political hierarchy.

THAT’S putting America first, isn’t it?

No, it isn’t.

It’s… putting  a small sliver of American political viewpoints in kids heads to the exclusion of anything else in an attempt to indoctrinate them (if the viewpoint was that strong they wouldn’t need to, but that is another point for another time.)  That is almost entirely Un-American.  I’d say completely Un-American, but there is a profit to be made by taking the rubes for all their worth.  Bleed them white, that’s what they’re there for after all, isn’t it?

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Link of the day:  National Jukebox.  A great bit of Americana for anyone interested in what Americans thought felt, and listened to a century ago.

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Viddy of the day: Oil execs fight to keep tax credits

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It was less than a joy to read, and afterwards to watch news about some psychopath saying that repealing tax incentives for oil companies is “Un-American.”  The Psychopaths name? ConocoPhilips CEO Jim Mulva.   And not only did he, in the title of a paper, say that taxes accumulated to assist in the governance of the state in which they work is wrong, he said in that paper that:

1) It would shrink tax revenue.  You show me how adding $2,100,000,000 in tax revenue will somehow drop tax revenue. This schmuck, with all his millions, can’t buy a clue himself?

2) It would cost jobs.  Jobs in the oil industry, with the amount of money they are making, have actually dropped each of the last 5 years. So the claim that jobs will disappear is an empty threat. If they aren’t creating jobs now, they can’t claim that continuing subsidies will create them.

3)  Claimed it would hurt their capacity to invest in new energy technologies.  Since when have they been interested in that?  Show me ONE place where they have shown an OUNCE of interest in new energy technology.  Show me One!  You can’t, because they aren’t interested.  They are interested in oil.  Not wind, not nuclear, not geothermal, nothing but oil.

4) He claimed it would cause prices to rise.  LOL.  Srsly, LULZ.  Oil prices have gone up, along with their profits, over the past decade, and they have shown no inclination towards passing the money they are making, and the savings they get from their subsidies onto the customer.

Jim, a few more cents on top of the $4.00 a gallon you get won’t hurt you long term, and you know we’ll pay, so quit pretending you care.  You don’t and we figured it out.  Plus, people will still have to get from point a to point b, and they’ll still need your shitty stinking oil.  You’ll make your money, quit bitching about us wanting a slice of the pie. We paid for the damn thing, your profits came from our pockets, now we want some of it back, dammit.

Lie to someone else, you crazy bastard.   To claim that it is Un-American for taxpayers to want money from multi-billion dollar corporations is just plain silly and stupid.

And you know something? Maybe wanting an end to these subsidies is discriminatory in their direction, but so what?  Are they not being at least inequitable towards us with their abusive practices which have padded their wallets, making them richer and us poor in a manner that is wholly against the entire concept of free market?

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I don’t like any of these people, or what they are doing.  If that makes me Un-American, then I’m fine with that.  With that said, I am at least as good an American as any of them.  I stand for something different than they do, though.  I, and millions of others like me, stand for more than profits and manipulation. We have morals, unlike Mike and these twisted oil tycoons.

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That’s it from here, America.  G’night.