Hope On The Horizon?

We are nearly out of the woods after years in one of the most debilitating economic crises this nation has faced in its history.  Congress’  response to it?

Let’s do it again!

The possibility of sequestration with layoffs and furloughs for thousands of workers across this great nation will take all the effort and hard work that has gone on over the last few years and flush it down the toilet is a hard one to swallow from this group of do-nothing Republicans.  Forced to deal with that because our President, in order to get some kind of deal done back in 2011, had to make a deal with the devil, aka the House Republicans, to avert a complete disaster with the debt ceiling.

But there is some hope on the horizon.  Click here for links

A deal is still on the table, put their by the President that would avert the looming doom that is sequestration.  The deal includes the chained CPI, a hard but necessary step to take. It has smaller more palatable cuts to non-discretionary spending, with cuts in drug company payments as well as fee restructuring in a number of key areas. It also has within it a limitation in tax deductions for the wealthy that will generate well over half a trillion dollars.

Given that the alternative puts tens of thousands of people in harms way unnecessarily, I am hoping that the Republicans come t their senses and accept this deal, or perhaps some modified version of it, if this is unpalatable.

There are those on the other side of the aisle, most notably mr. P90x himself, Paul Ryan, who seem to think that sequestration is in some way acceptable.

I would ask him is furloughing police officers, firefighters, teachers, corrections officers, and the national guard  acceptable? I would ask him if all the pain and misery created by letting his friends in the defense industry lose money because of cuts in government spending, is that acceptable?  I would ask him if letting people suffering through no fault of their own because of being unemployed because their benefits would expire, is that acceptable?

I hope it isn’t, because America can’t take much more of this stupid decision-making on the part of the Republicans. They are leading America down a dark and ugly road towards economic disaster, and we’ve had enough of that already.  We’re done with that.

The deal that the President has laid on the table here takes into account our future in a way that is forward-looking, makes good use of our present to prepare for our future without causing too much discomfort, and shines a light on the right way to be fiscally responsible while at the same time helping those who need that help the most.

I for one could use some time off from all the histrionics that these Republicans keep creating.  Accept the deal and let us go on with our lives, please.  Thank you.

Can 59 Republicans Be Wrong?

I like reading the news.  It offers a glimpse of the world that shows what is going on beyond our own noses, and shows us the larger world in all it’s splendor.  That look isn’t always good for everyone, and it doesn’t always reflect well on us as a people.

The number of Republicans made republicans in general and America in particular look bad today.

The budget fight ended today with a vote on the floor of the house, but 59 Republicans voted against it.  John Boehner actually needed the Democrats to vote for it in order to get the compromise that he and the President hammered out through the house.  House majority whip Kevin McCarthy is apparently not doing his job.  He’s the guy who is supposed to ride herd on his people and get them to vote the way the party needs things to go.

Now independence is a good thing, but this was clearly an attempt on the part of the right wing nut jobs to hijack the system, and try to stop the government from working properly.

If you hate government, that’s great, fine, wonderful.  We can have a beer and talk about it, and probably agree on a fair bit of it, no matter how far right you are, no matter how far away you and I are on the political map from each other ideologically.  But if you really dislike government enough to try to undermine the fabric of this agreement, even after John Boehner, a man who is about as far right leaning as the House has seen in a Speaker, got the  deal you were looking for a scant few weeks ago, then you are being an asshole for the sake of being one.

It would be a  minor issue, except for the Democrats coming to the rescue of the American people and pulled Boehner’s(and everyone else’s) bacon out of the fire.  If it weren’t for the left, the right would have shut the government down, and that would have hurt millions for no good reason.

And with the more controversial (with the right) debt ceiling vote coming up, be assured you have not heard the last of the government hating government employees known as the neocon/ tea party representatives, and their un-American horsecrap


Pic of the day:  Cafe Terrace at night, Vincent Van Gogh, 1888


That’s it from here, America.  Go to sleep.

Easily Distracted

I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.

Isaac Newton


I am easily distracted some days.  I have been telling myself that I was going to start writing as soon as I got home.  Didn’t happen.  I told myself last week that I would begin working out daily again so I would not get fat just sitting on my ass, not running, and working at a job that requires only minimal use of physical strength.  Didn’t happen. 

I had been thinking about finding something to write, to no avail. For the better part of 45 minutes I racked my brain, trying to work out something to write about.  Then I thought why not just blurb it?  One or two paragraphs per subject, kinda like my random thoughts page, just a few short pieces, instead of one longer article.  Works for me!


How about the stock market?  it’s doing well, amazingly well for all that people are now, and have been saying since before Barack Obama became President how much of a mess the economy is.  Well, with the DJIA over 12000 points,things are looking up.  Even with the market fretting over the events in Egypt, there has been nary a hiccup in the upward climb of the markets.  The rich are still getting richer, which is nice for them, but the poor are still poor, and the rich, whose tax cuts, it was claimed, help spur job growth, even though all evidence points to that as being incorrect, still don’t seem to be hiring many people, even though that tax rate has been in effect for a looooooooooong time.   The economy is really looking up… except for that.  9.0% unemployment, and yes I know it fell .4% last month, but the amount of people hired was a not exactly whopping  36,000.  Numbers are still bad, and will continue to be for a while as far as that is concerned.

And I still need a full time job.  If you have any leads, drop me a line.


How about Keith Olbermann?  He signed a deal to work over at Current TV. I don’t know the details, the money and length of contract, i’m sure they’ll leak out soon enough, that kinda thing always does.  This is actually very good news for current TV.  I am one of the few people who can say they actually watch Current TV semi regularly.  It is a pretty damn good network, lots of hard hitting, first person documentary type of television, but not the kind of thing that is normally made by big tv stations, but with a much more personal feel, made by interested citizen journalists with webcams and the like.  Along with a fair bit of personal interest stories put together in the same manner.

Something bothers me though.   Is the man pigeon-holing himself here going on this unknown a network?  This is a small network, even if it is owned by Al Gore, and the network runs on 25% or so sets of TV sets in the U.S. of A.,they don’t get huge market share.   If he brings 10% of the audience with him from MSNBC, he will probably increase that stations ratings by 500% for that time slot.  I read somewhere that they average about 23,000 viewers a day.  That’s gonna change, tell you that.   But will it do anything for positive for Keith? For his (and my) political agenda?  Will he be able to do for Current what he did for MSNBC? It would be nice.  Time will tell.


Caps lock, boldface and italics are all wonderful things when used in moderation.  Luckily for me, I’m not in moderation 😛


Viddy of the day:  Bush-era act of war on terror to stay in force for US fear factory. This story came out before the Patriot act was voted down today. 


How about the… wait…a portion of the Patriot act got voted down?  Wait…  I have to read about this.  This sounds good, but I’m not 100% up on this, this is worthy of a full article if it is what I think it is.  3 provisions of the Patriot act which were up for extension in the house of representatives today under suspension of the rules, which means a 2/3rd’s majority to pass the bill, and it came up 7 votes short. 

So, what I think this is, if I’m reading this right, and I may not be, is an end, at least temporarily, of roving wiretaps, and the records seizure with no probable cause.  That is good news, very good news for those of us who are deeply interested in civil liberties.

I’m not going to weigh in on this fully until I have all the facts straightened out, like I said, I only heard about this a few minutes ago.


That’s it from here, America.  I’ll write to you tomorrow.


If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the general welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one subject to particular exceptions.

James Madison, Letter to Edmund Pendleton, 1792


They read the constitution on the floor of the house today.  They didn’t read the whole thing. They left the parts out that are no longer relevant, the 18th amendment, the 3/5ths compromise.  It would have, for my money, been better had they read the actual entire document, warts and all.  I don’t want some sanitized version of reality put forth of the history of the nation in which I live.  I want all of it.  The good and the bad.  Show us for the flawed people we are, a people who are a work in progress, who don’t always get it right, but always try.  Don’t show us as you wish we were, but as we were.


A quick aside:

To be honest I can’t really make that last statement like that.  I should say,  Don’t show them as you wish they were, but as they were.  You see, I am a third generation American.  My grandparents on my father’s side came over here on a boat in the 1920’s,  1923 as I recall the story, they came from Ireland and landed at Ellis Island.  My parents on my mothers side came over earlier, not sure how much earlier, but not much earlier, from Poland.  

My family had nothing to do with it, unfortunately.  We were just simple peasants from the country side who decided that we wanted out of those two nations, and came here to seek our fortune. 

I would feel honored if I were descended from those long dead patriots, and had a blood line that went back to the initial defense of the concept of American liberty, but it simply isn’t the case.  Felt a need to say that, just to square up and be honest about myself to you, the reader. (all 4 of you)


Viddy of the day:  House Gallery Disturbance During Constitution Reading.  There was a disturbance during the reading of the Constitution, during the reading of the bit in Article 2 section 5, about qualifications for the office of the President.  A birther started yelling about the President not being American.  Funny stuff. The chair, Rep. Simpson from Idaho, dealt with the drunken screamer correctly. 


A popular Government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy, or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.

James Madison, letter to W.T. Barry, 1822


The entire concept of leaving out bits of the constitution simply for their own wants, regardless of reason, is to me entirely disingenuous to the concept they were trying to get out there.  They wanted to show their love for the document, for the freedom that it represents, and a “renewed sense of the limits the founders intended to place on government“(more on that in a minute).   But what kind of love of nation is it that turns a blind eye to the less than perfect parts of it’s past?  Blind love.  That is not a concept I would ever ascribe to.  I am an American.  I love America, but there is some very ugly shit done in this nation.  Accept it.  Own it.  It’s OK, it doesn’t make you un-American, as a matter of fact, it makes you MORE American.


On the limits of power the Republicans wanted to show Americans:

One hopes that they will shut up about shutting down the fed, and all the bitching about taxation the way they do, like it’s unconstitutional.  I can talk about it, they can’t.  Why?  The document implies the power  to create the fed, and the power of taxation is not only implicit, it is actually stated as a power of congress.  Don’t believe me?  Read article 1, section 8, under enumerated powers. 

Apropos for several reasons

As given, the power to tax in the constitution is almost without limit.  The only limit on it is that it be uniform, and uniform is a word, that in the context of taxation, can be widely interpreted.  Uniform does not mean everyone should taxed equally.  It can mean that the tax burden should be progressive, since those that have more can afford to pay more, uniform by equal burden on those taxed.  If the percentage of tax on a man who only makes $10,000 is the same as it is on  man who makes $100,000,000, is that not onerous to the man who makes the smaller amount? It could even be argued the other way, if you are rich. 

There are many ways to mince words. 

And not just using section 8 article 1.  

Article 6 section 2 makes States rights, that great bulwark of anti-federal government power, a silly joke because one word in that clause.  Shall.  It is not a request that federal law is the law of the land,incapable of being superseded by local statute, it is an order that compels, with all the weight and power of the federal government. Without it, the little rock nine would never have made it to school. I could use more examples, but will not, I’m sure you can provide your own.

The government can do a great many things in just about anyway they want to, and claim constitutionality based on the necessary and proper clause and the Supremacy clause.  Why do you think the NSA exists?  Fisa courts? Because they want it.  Because they can.

There are your limits of government, Republicans.  Enjoy your power, like you always do.  Don’t let it go to your heads too much.


That’s it from here, America.  12 notes tomorrow, methinks.  G’night!

Wrangling The Rangel Angle

I have spent a great amount of time and a great deal of energy fighting the wrongs that I see coming from the Republican party.  But you and I know that the wrongs in government don’t just come from one party.  THAT would be silly, stupid, and wrong.   Democrats can be just as big a bunch of corrupt wrongdoers as the Republicans.  It’s called Hubris, and it is an occupational hazard in politics.  Tonight subject:  Rep. Charles Rangel, former head of the influential ways and means committee.

A leave of absence until the ethics committee is through with it’s investigation of him.  And please don’t ask him questions, it would distract him from working on the health bill.  Holy CRAP, this guy is nuts.   His list of sins is long and ugly.

Working and living in several rent stabilized apartments in Harlem.  Use of Congressional stationary to get corporate money for a CUNY building with his name on it, Accepting paid vacations from corporate sponsors to the Caribbean, Under-reporting both his net worth and his income.  A tax cheat.

One wonders what line he will use to the house ethics committee about all of his many and varied sins.  Because that distraction bullshit won’t work on them like it almost worked on the press at that insanely short and unilluminating almost press conference he had.

The only good that came of it was that he is stepping down from the head of the ways and means committee, to now be headed by Pete Stark. My knowledge of Rep. Stark is sparse at best, but a cursory glance at his ethics record shows one issue. He claims …well, I’ll quote a portion of a wikipedia article for you:

“On December 24, 2008, the House Ethics Committee began an investigation to Stark using his Maryland residence as his primary residence while claiming to live in San Lorenzo, where neighbors in the area Stark claims to live have never seen him. The home Stark claims to reside and also where he is registered to vote is actually owned and occupied by his in-laws.”

Make what judgments you will about the man from that snippet.  He’s hiding something as well. Why else the above mentioned charade?  Ah well. So much for ethical leadership of the ways and means committee.  Guess we just have to settle for a committee chairman.  There’s plenty of time to nail Pete Stark, back to Charlie Rangel.

That leave of absence is open ended, meaning there is a possibility that he may not return to it.  No one I think would be surprised if that happened.  I am seeing on-line an increase in the amount of people calling for his resignation, and a vast increase in the speculation about his not running for his house seat.

I would like to see him step down.  He is the veritable “cancer in the clubhouse” for the Democrats right now.  His very presence makes the rest of the party reek from his corruption.  There is no possible way that that many things could simple be mistakes like he claims them to be, simple dalliances, errors on his part.  One of them yes.  But as many of them as there were? No.  The old Douglas Adams line comes to mind here.  “Prove it to me and I STILL won’t believe it.”

You are an albatross around the neck of the Democratic majority, and the poster child for congressional corruption, Rep. Rangel.  Despite that, you have for years done good for your constituents, for your community, for America.  You can serve them again.

By resigning.  Thank you for you time, sir, but you really should leave.  Now.


There is plenty of crap coming out from the Republicans.  Lies upon lies upon lies upon misstatements upon half truths upon lies ad nauseum. I’ll smoke those bastards later.


Annoying fact of the day.  Rep. Rangel speaking to… I know not whom, claimed to not even know who the corporation HSBC is. Hubris, pure hubris it seems.  How can the man who ran the committee that has jurisdiction over all taxation and tariff matters NOT know about HSBC, one of the Largest Banks on earth?  It is simply not possible, simply not possible.


That’s it from here.  Later!

Today’s nuggets, via wikiquote:  Ethics does not treat of the world. Ethics must be a condition of the world, like logic.  Ethics and Aesthetics are one.  Ludwig Wittgenstein

So long as men worship the Caesars and Napoleons, Caesars and Napoleons will duly rise and make them miserable.  Aldous Huxley

During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.  George Orwell