Pardon The Expression

Pic of the day:  Fantasies about a found glove, dedicated to the lady who lost it, 4/10 by Max Klinger  (1878)

1878_Klinger_Handschuh_04_Rettung_anagoria

___________’_________

That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons that history has to teach.

Aldous Huxley, Collected Essays (1959)

____________________

And it begins…

The propaganda war that we all knew was coming has started, the one where America will argue with itself about gun control.  That those on the side of more guns have again started their foray into madness is not a surprise, though the timing is.

They haven’t even finished burying the dead in Newtown yet.

It’s a pity really, that we’ll have to once and for all deal with these madmen and their paranoia, and pardon the expression, shoot down the idea that sensible gun legislation will interfere with ordinary men and women owning guns when it won’t.

The gun side of the argument has already began calling talk of and petitions for gun control “Magical thinking.”  I read it on reason.com, a curiously named right wing libertarian site, what with the complete lack of reason noted on that site.  Now what does magical actually mean?  Near as I can tell it means that they think that because there is no concrete plan in this talk and petitioning , aside from “don’t let homicidal maniacs get their hands on guns and kill people, because hey, we’re people, and we kinda like not getting shot dead.” nothing concrete can come of it.

When we all know that isn’t true. Fresh legislation is in fact already pending in the Senate, thanks to New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg.

I’ve always wondered why the NRA crowd gets so, again pardon the expression, up in arms over gun control.  It s not like there has ever been legislation produced or even imagined that says No one can ever have guns again, end of statement.  Never has been said, never has that thought been brought forward, at least not by anyone with a brain in their head.

But that is exactly the kind of argument that the NRA and their kind put forth and pretend is the reality that will occur if we are to ever have real serious gun control legislation pass.  And the end times scenarios they paint on top of these ridiculous and patently false claims are so disingenuous as to be unbelievable.  They would have you believe that any attempt at gun control in America would destroy our ability to defend ourselves(bullshit), and turn the entire nation into a land ruled by gun toting gang members (more bullshit) where honest law abiding citizens will be unable to walk the streets free at night (major bullshit.)

The first time heard these arguments put forth, I lolled.   But they are serious. The NRA even created a brochure back in 2006 with bright glossy pictures, some quite ominous looking, to drive the point home.  They are the same arguments used now, heard them after Columbine too, well before the brochure was even thought of.  Heard them after Va Tech. Heard them after Aurora.

It’s a lie.

It’s a lie.

It’s a lie, and if you believe it you are, pardon the expression, out of your fucking mind.  All we want to do is make sure we are safe, which we clearly aren’t at this point as a nation.  I can still be free if guns are controlled and regulated by law like cars.  And so can you, and if you don’t think you can be then either you live in a really shitty neighborhood or you are paranoid and delusional and perhaps should not be allowed to play with the grown up toys, dangerous little thing that you are.

Just saying.

There is more on this subject to write about, a great deal more, and I’ll get to it at a later date.  I have things I must do.  I’ve taken as much time as I can here today. Tomorrow, perhaps.

____________________

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

On First Reading

Pic of the day:  Bennington Battle flag

_____________________________

Wherever the real power in a Government lies, there is the danger of oppression. In our Governments, the real power lies in the majority of the Community, and the invasion of private rights is chiefly to be apprehended, not from the acts of Government contrary to the sense of its constituents, but from acts in which the Government is the mere instrument of the major number of the constituents.

James Madison, in a letter to Thomas Jefferson, 1788

_____________________________

I am in the process of reading the supreme courts ruling in the case National Federation of Independent Business v Sibelius.  I have to tell you it is an interesting read.  And not without twists and turns.  I can see why CNN and Fox were quick to say that the law was being overturned.  Much of the beginning statement was reasoning for the individual mandate to be overturned.  And the reasons were soundly thought out and reasonable.

Curious I should say that, seeing how I am very much for this law, personally.  I was much in line with Chief Justice Roberts rationale against using the commerce clause and the necessary and proper clause to constitutionally validate the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, once I read it.

The rationale against the law when looked at from these arguments is entirely reasonable.  I personally think he is right because in light of those arguments, it is a creation of power above and beyond the mandate of congress.  These two instances (commerce, and necessary &  proper) are both there to protect already enumerated powers, laws that already exist.  The health care law overstepped those bounds and created powers that did not exist before, and because of that the Chief justice shot those arguments down.

But the taxation argument saved the Patient protection and Affordable care act.  Despite the fact that the law calls the penalty for not getting health insurance a “penalty” and not a tax, the court said that they would simply look at the penalty as a tax, because the law is enacted in such a way that the penalty is actually paid like a tax, and is in fact collected by the IRS, and, according to the court, “the payment is not so high that there is really no choice but to buy health insurance.”

And payment is not intended to induce the purchase of health insurance, and there are no negative legal consequences to not buying health insurance.

Says so right in the writ of certiorari.  It’s on page four.  Click here to read the entire thing.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

The one thing I have not seen is the actual amount one would have to pay should one not have health insurance.  I have heard from some fearful right wingers that there will be jail time for those who do not buy health insurance.  Which is just plain silly. There will be no jail time for anyone not according to the law that I read, and that law is the same one that Justice Roberts signed off on.

Partially.

He did say that stripping states that do not comply with the law of their medicare benefits was “Dragooning.”

Can’t say that I disagree as far as that goes, but it doesn’t go far enough.  The states that simply turn their backs on the people who would be helped by this law won’t agree with Justice Roberts here.  And neither do I.  There are abuses that the state can heap upon the individual, just as the federal government can, and this was meant as a protection from the states “dragooning” the citizens of those states who turned their backs on this law, against the will of the electorate and would make them suffer with sub-standard medical coverage.

I would much rather see a state government made to suffer some harm than to see it’s citizens health unnecessarily compromised due to purposeful disregard of a federal law that does not impinge on my freedom, which this does not.  Mind you complete loss of their medicare coverage was a bit much. Some other penalty could have been brought to bear that would have stood the constitutional test.  The law would have survived untouched if not for that major misstep by congress.

_____________________________

Pic of the day:  Mademoiselle Marcelle Lender by, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

______________________________

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, in a letter to W.T. Barry, 1822

______________________________

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

Bursting The Balloon

Pic of the day: Bursting the Balloon, political cartoon from 1844.

Click the link above to see a full-sized version of the cartoon.  Call this a premature celebration, showing Henry Clay and his VP Frelinghuysen rising up and James Polk falling.  Polk defeated Clay in a very close 1844 election.

___________________________

No president who performs his duties faithfully and conscientiously can have any leisure. If he entrusts the details and smaller matters to subordinates constant errors will occur. I prefer to supervise the whole operations of the government myself rather than entrust the public business to subordinates, and this makes my duties very great.

James K. Polk, diary entry from 1848

____________________________

Viddy of the day;  Checking in:  Health Care Reform across the country.

____________________________

Healthcare reform would improve individual insurance.  At least according to the article I read on a site called nurse.com. It is a very short article about how insurance costs to the individual would be affected by the scheduled introduction of the new health care exchanges, which take effect in 2014.  The article makes the point that individual insurance market will drastically change, for the better as I read it, for the purchaser when the exchanges come into being.

Should they come into being.  If the Supreme court holds back and does not dismantle this portion of the affordable healthcare act.  I am not holding my breath waiting for them to make a decision in favor of the customers here. During the last few years, during the regime of Roberts court, business has made out extraordinarily well.  I do not expect that to change over much. If insurance companies will make out better without the law, they being good businessmen, will accede to the demands of the insurance companies.

Especially if Justice Thomas has anything to do with it, he being as politically active in extreme right wing politics he and his wife are and have been.

___________________________

If you read near the bottom of this article, you will read where a Senator from the state of disbelief (aka Texas) said something unbelievably dumb.  He said that Uncertainty over taxes was damaging to the economy.

Uncertainty over taxes is damaging to the economy?

Uncertainty over taxes is damaging to the economy?  

BULLSHIT!   The usual stupid bullshit that makes sure that the rich pay less than the poor tax-wise is damaging the economy.  Screw you, Sen. John Cornyn.  You sir, are an idiot! And if you read the rest of his diatribe, you can see just how much of a lying sack of shit John boy is.

And the President is right, congress needs to get their asses moving on that jobs bill.  Unless the Republican house likes looking tentative in the face of increasing economic uncertainty.

Read the article, please.

____________________________

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

A Rose By Any Other Name

Pic of the day:  Mont Saint-Victoire, by Paul Cezanne.

___________________________

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose,
By any other name would smell as sweet
;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title: — Romeo, doff thy name;
And for thy name, which is no part of thee,
Take all myself.

William Shakespeare, Romeo & Juliet, Act ii, scene ii

___________________________

A full stomach and a fat wallet make it awful hard to understand people who have neither.  Like Solzhenitsyn said, a man who is warm cannot understand a man who is cold, and extending that particular analogy further to include other tactile and visceral sensations is not all that much of a stretch.  You can stretch the analogy even further and make it work for concepts like freedom and liberty.

A man who has liberty/freedom/rights cannot understand a man who doesn’t.

There is however a place where those who have and those who have not can agree.  That the destruction or diminution of any of these important concepts is wrong.  Enter Cispa. Think Sopa and Pipa with a spiffy new paint job put there to make it look less threatening.   A bill that will be voted on in the next two weeks by the U.S. House of Representatives.  A bill that will, like Sopa and Pipa damage your rights and privacy.  If this bill is made into law, the Government will be able to legally monitor you at will.

That is a problem.  I’ve done nothing wrong.  Why am I being treated by a criminal, monitored like I’ve done something wrong?  What have I done?  What have we done? Did we offend the government so much by surfing the internet that they have decided that we have to live with this yoke upon our shoulders for our own good?

Do our civil liberties mean nothing?  Are businesses so completely in control that they count more than us? Do we have no inherent right to privacy?  We the people would lose our right to privacy should this law be enacted.    A hard working, tax paying citizen should not have to live in a society where the greatest threat to our security is the government who claims they are trying to protect us.

The title of the bill is the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act.   It is much more far reaching in it’s scope than that.  If only it did just that, I don’t think anyone would mind.  If it was just the sharing and protection of cyber intelligence, no one would mind.  It cannot be called “intelligence” when it is doing nothing more than turning the government into the personal watchdogs of companies who would have no allegiance to anything but the almighty dollar.

Intellectual property protection is NOT the protection of cyber intelligence.  Copyright protection is NOT the protection of cyber intelligence. Anyone who tells you otherwise is completely full of crap.

I will be contacting that low life demonic monkey of a representative of mine, Michael Grimm, to tell him to not allow this crap to get through.  I suggest that all my American readers contact their low life demonic monkeys and tell them to cut the crap.

___________________________

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

Nice

A Mitt Romney supporter and volunteer followed Mitt around, and after some short amount of time and some speaking to staffers got to meet him.    She told Mitt she needed a job and was having problems finding one.  He dropped everything to listen to her story.  Mitt took down her personal information, and said that maybe the state of South Carolina would be able to help.  The campaign then went out of their way to help her pay her light bill.  Mitt later saw her on line at a function, and gave her $50 or $60.

Moral of the story?  Mitt Romney is a nice guy.

Mitt being a nice guy is really a touching story to hear.  The usual thing you hear about conservatives is that they are anything but nice people.  It’s good to hear that there are actual humane people on that side of the political fence.

But then again, most of the talk that they are inhumane, or for some reason nasty individuals comes from the press.  I’m sure that most politicians, like most regular people, are in fact nice people.

Doesn’t mean I’d want him to be President.  I’m a liberal, and I’ve seen the negative effect that conservative economic policies have on the nation as a whole, and on individuals as well.  It stifles economic freedom, creates a social Darwinist type atmosphere of survival of the fittest, that leaves no room for growth from the bottom rungs of the economic ladder.

It doesn’t matter how nice of a guy the guy running for President is.  If he doesn’t want to do the things that I want him to do, then he won’t get my vote.  It’s that simple.  And Mitt being a Republican, will act like George W. Bush, and work for the corporations before the people, and the rich before the working and middle class.  And that doesn’t hold water in my book.

And it never will.  It’s nice to see he’s an honorable person though.  If he likes I’ll have coffee with the guy.  I just won’t vote for him.

And you’ll notice that he never got the person in question the one thing asked for.  A job.

___________________________

Viddy of the day:  Mitt Romney — A BLR Soundbite

I LOVE the BLR people for the work they do.  Absolutely great, funny stuff.  “I will force Spiders and Badgers on the Enemy, and get’em all to shut up!”  Just great!

___________________________

The Obama administration got it right on something everyone can get behind.  They’ve turned their back on SOPA, as well as PIPA.  SOPA, which would make no major dent in efforts to stop piracy while at the same time acting as a potential censor on any content, looks dead.

Nice.  I’ve written about this nasty little piece of shit legislation before, and the more people back away from this loser horseshit legislation, the better we , as a nation are.

___________________________

Familiarity with any great thing removes our awe of it. The great general is only terrible to the enemy; the great poet is frequently scolded by his wife; the children of the great statesman clamber about his knees with perfect trust and impunity; the great actor who is called before the curtain by admiring audiences is often waylaid at the stage door by his creditors.

L. Frank Baum, The Master Key

___________________________

Pic of the day:  School of Athens, Raphael

____________________________

A day after the fact, I figured out what the eulogy of my father was missing.  It was less a touching memorial of the life and doings of my father, and more an uncontrolled outpouring of personal grief and pain, and that is NOT what a eulogy is supposed to be.  It was not something I think the man would be proud of.  Why would he be proud of his son not being able to control his emotions enough to talk about his life and lift the spirits of those who most need their spirits lifted?

Well I did talk about his life, but the tone was at times a harsh one, spoken by a man who had watched him wither and die, and frankly did not handle it well.

A tip for those who think they may at some point in the future have to write a eulogy and speak at a funeral. Do it BEFORE the emotional pain you will no doubt go through hits, especially if you wear your heart on your sleeve like I do.

And practice until you have it down, I did that and my timing was good. Too bad I had great timing with a shitty eulogy.

I’d like to apologize to my family for what I put them through.  It was not good enough for the man it was about, or his family who are grieving his loss.

____________________________

That’s it from me, America, G’night.

Fun With Indefinite Detention

I was reading a story before which caught my eye (if I find the link to it I will place it here), about the current additions to the NDAA.  It was curious in that it, unlike most news stories, used the actual source of the information in the story.  In this case it was truly an easy thing to do, it being a story about legislation.   It made it abundantly clear that there are some very major offensive things going on in this legislation.  The fourth amendment, which was on life support to begin with, gets a stake in the heart.

There should not be, regardless of the offense, any reason for any American to be held indefinitely without a right to trial until the cessation of any hostility. Whether that trial be in front of a military tribunal or a court of law is of no consequence.

What is at issue is future interpretation.  It is not a matter of who is being hunted now.  It is who will be hunted later that concerns me.  This is a power given to the federal government that is at once overwhelmingly powerful, and crushingly invasive.  Add to this the effect of warrantless wiretaps, and you give the government the power to surveil anyone they so choose, under any pretense they choose, and then take them and put them away.

Forever.

We need jobs, and they give us indefinite detention instead.

Morons.

_____________________________

Viddy of the day: Stop Indefinite Detention.   This viddy is from nearly 2 months ago, when no one was listening, except a handful who knew what was coming.  The word was not enough, and did not reach enough ears, and that is why it has gotten to where it is today.  Maddening.

_____________________________

An avidity to punish is always dangerous to liberty. It leads men to stretch, to misinterpret, and to misapply even the best of laws. He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.

Thomas Paine,  First Principles of Government

_____________________________

THAT power does NOT belong in the hands of ANY government, Especially one that claims to be democratic, as ours does.

One has only to look back a scant few years, when a great many people were looking at the Bush White House, and using terms like Oligarchy. There are those on the right that use that term with our current President.  The word Plutocracy has been tossed around as a derisive term for the current form of American government.  Both terms are, seemingly apt.  And both are entirely negative, and that negativity shows itself most forcefully in codifying indefinite detention of American citizens.

The rich and powerful few, naturally paranoid to begin with, in an attempt to defend what is theirs, defend it so forcefully that they do damage to those who stand with them, and those who actually run things.

Fools.

Not every term used against the American government is apt.  Socialist?  No.  Unitary?  Not really, but that day may yet dawn.  Empire?  It could be argued, but not by people who know what the term means and also know who is in charge of things.  But both oligarchy and plutocracy fit, and both are just a walk down the garden path to Fascism.

Which is why we need to fight this now, before the disease spreads and get worse, while we can, with strength and democracy, kill the beast.

_______________________________

Pic of the day:  The Attack by Ettu Isto (1899)

_______________________________

There is good news on that front, and it is from one of the same legislative bodies that created this monster.  Senator Diane Feinstein has introduced legislation that will, according to this story, create a barrier to protect the people from the detention power given the President in the current NDAA.   Read the bill here.

It is good to see that not every American in a position of power wants to mangle the constitution and the protections it gives a free people.

Thank you, Senator Feinstein.

______________________________

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

Who Hates Freedom?

There is one kind of prison where the man is behind bars, and everything that he desires is outside; and there is another kind where the things are behind the bars, and the man is outside.

Upton Sinclair, The Jungle

_______________________________

I am reading news about the changes in voter registration laws around the country, purpose made to short change democrats at the voting booth.

Voters who vote early tend to vote democratic.  So what do Republicans do?  Not try to build a case that they are the best people to look to for political leadership. No, because they know they aren’t.  What they do is cut down the amount of time you can vote, thus making it harder for the many millions of hard working democrats who vote early to vote early.

Because Republicans hate freedom.

Voters in Nebraska in 2008 voted by and large for John McCain.  Except in Omaha, which voted for Barack Obama.  And because Nebraska’s electoral college votes are granted individually rather than winner take all, like 48 of our 50 states, Barack Obama got 1 electoral vote from Nebraska.  The Republicans in Nebraska did not take kindly to this.  What do you think they did? Do their level best to work with the people of Omaha to convince them that the Republican way is the best way?  A door to door meet and greet type of campaign to woo voters?  Nope.  They have decided they need to change their electoral process to a winner take all process for one reason, to take any prospect of a Democrat getting even one electoral vote in Nebraska.

Because Republicans hate freedom.

Pennsylvania is going through much the same thing, though in the exact opposite direction.  Ohio and other states are making voter registration more difficult.  To all these Republican freedom hating idiots I have no words … none.  Well, actually I do, but I won’t use them.  Yet.  Now is not the time.

Now is the time for everyone, Republican and Democrat, Conservative and Liberal, to register to vote.  Before they finish getting their legislation through, and make it much harder for you to vote.  Read everything you can get your hands on about the electoral process, about the issues that exist locally and nationally.  They want to pull the wool over your eyes.

Don’t let them.

__________________________________

Update:  The members of Teamsters local 814 are still locked out of work at Sotheby’s.  They have been locked out since August 1st, and I have heard nothing that tells me that they will be working anytime soon.  The law firm of Jackson and Lewis, those notorious union breaking bastards, who took great pride in trying to break the BMW union shop in Ontario, California, are now trying the same thing here.

Apparently even with Sotheby’s raking in big bucks because the rich are investing in art to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars annually, these bastards want the guys who get the least money in the company and are ostensibly the face of the company to get shafted.  These un-American punks want to see a British company destroy American jobs, rather than stand and talk man to man with the union.

Jackson Lewis hates America.  It’s that simple.

Sotheby’s bargaining in bad faith with my brothers angers and annoys me, but there is nothing I can do… Except hope they win against these America hating bastards.

GO 814!

__________________________________

It was the incarnation of blind insensate Greed. It was a monster devouring with a thousand mouths, trampling with a thousand hoofs: it was the Great Butcher — it was the spirit of Capitalism made flesh.

Upton Sinclair, The Jungle

__________________________________

And if you would like a peek inside the mind of the Republican party look no further than the RNC.  I found in my mail something from those Un-American bastards, with Reince Priebus’ name on it.  It was a survey, titled the “2011 Obama agenda survey”.  A nastily worded survey, meant to portray Democrats in a light that is at once ugly (nothing wrong with that), and filled with lies (that crap ain’t right.)

It is less a survey than thinly veiled propaganda.  It says that Democrats want to expand welfare benefits to the point of unlimited eligibility, which is bullshit.  It states that health care will be administered by bureaucrats, which we all know is a steaming pile of crap.  Eliminating performance standards in education while expanding federal funding for it is stated as something that could realistically happen, when we all know that that is a damn lie.

I will scan the document and place it as a link at some point in an upcoming article.

The best bit about this?  It is an old RNC ploy.  I read about a similar “survey” that went out several years ago, when Michael Steele ran the RNC.  Seems that despite the fact that Mike was a lightning rod for negative attention throughout his reign as head of the RNC, they are still using his tactics.

He must have done something right for them, and that something seems to have been ratcheting up the rhetoric and propaganda and lies to people who are more than willing to believe what they are fed without so much as a thought as to the truth of the statements.

_________________________________

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