Like/Dislike

Pic of the day:  Morning in a Pine Forest, by Ivan Shishkin

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A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself within. The essential causes of Rome’s decline lay in her people, her morals, her class struggle, her failing trade, her bureaucratic despotism, her stifling taxes, her consuming wars.

Will Durant, Caeser and Christ

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Like:  Mitt Romney saying publicly that he likes parts of the Affordable care act.

Dislike:  Anyone actually believing that.  He still wants to toss the ACA out. Anyone who says different is crazy.

Like:  Ann Romney going on Meet the Press with her husband.

Dislike:  Ann Romney thinking that Mitt has been ‘demonized’ as being heartless.  He seems pretty heartless to me, kind of guy who would cut a company to pieces and sell the good bits and fire everyone else and not sweat making a profit off of putting thousands of people out on their asses.  Seems heartless, ya know? I don’t know that ‘demonize’ is the right word for calling someone out on being what the actually are.  In the real world that is called being observant.

Like:  Fact checkers.  The world needs’em

Dislike: Fact that fact checkers are not as obsessed with the actual facts as they should be.  A number of them are bad, and it makes every one of them look bad.  Politifact is good, as is factcheck.org, but I’ve seen others that are partisan in their fact checking from both sides of the fence.

Like: The President is leading in the polls as of this weekend.  The ‘bounce’ from the convention seems strong from where I am looking.  He’s up by 4 percent in right leaning Rasmussen polling, and 5 percent in Gallup’s latest poll numbers.

Dislike:  That really doesn’t matter all that much.  No matter how you slice it, 45% of the country will vote Republican, 45% will vote Democratic, and slightly less than 1% will vote for a third candidate, meaning the election will be moved by the 9or so percent of the population that will vote that has, up until now, not paid a shit’s worth of attention to the issues.

Like:  Many of the important issues (abortion, jobs, etc) of the day do get discussed daily by a large number of people.

Dislike:  Not enough people though.  And many times the issues are clouded by the myriad things that cloud human communication, from obfuscation, deceit and outright lies, to distractions and side issues that addle the minds of even the best of us.  I’ll write an article on that issue later this week.

Like: The President and Vice President are down to earth good people who genuinely like connecting with the people they work for, aka, Americans.

Dislike:  It leads to photos in the news and stories, like this, and this.  I don’t find it bad at all, but you can be sure that pics of some 40 something biker chick in the V.P.’s lap, surrounded by bikers will cause some level of stupid horseshit from the right wing schmuckosphere.

Like: It’s football season.

Dislike:  The Giants lost their first game and the offense sputtered.  The Jets scored 6 TD’s, after only scoring one all pre-season.  And the Redskins and the Eagles both won. Bastards.  Four teams have scored over 40 points this week, none of them my team.

Fuckers.

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

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.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

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.

A Stranger Named Adam Get Me Angry, And Convention Fun

Pic of the day:  Dragon Rising to the Heavens (Ryu  Sho Ten), by Ogata Gekko

(Attribution: Adam Cuerden)

Note: I fucking hate tossing attributions for pics anywhere on this site, which is why I almost always use art with expired copyrights, and always from Wikimedia commons.  This pic gets one because despite the fact that it was created in 1897 by a brilliant artist, this putz adam whatsisface did some resto work on the original and gets to act like its his and wants it attributed to him.  Like he created the fucking original.  Asshole.  Please.  Next time leave the original alone.  The artist who created the original should be the only one to get credit.

If nothing substantive has been changed you cannot be said to have made it your own, hence it makes a sham of Gekko’s work that someone did some paint by numbers work on this and gets copyright status for it.  This is roughly equivalent of saying you made the car yourself and want credit for it because you put tint on the fucking windows and changed out the spark plugs.  Ya it took time and there was work involved. So what? It’s bullshit. It’s silly stupid self-centered bullshit, and it’s wrong.

I’m sure he’s a nice guy, and a helluvan artist in his own right.  I’m just saying this seems an abuse of the concept of copyright law, no matter how legal.  He deserves it not.

Moving on…

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’T is all men’s office to speak patience
To those that wring under the load of sorrow;
But no man’s virtue nor sufficiency,
To be so moral, when he shall endure
The like himself.

William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing, act v, scene i, Leonato

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The RNC cancelled most of today’s fun at the convention due to the hurricane that was supposed to be barreling at them at breakneck speed.  They did that because they are uniquely sensitive to hurricanes and their aftermath, after Dubya told NOLA to go fuck itself in 2007.  The Republicans turned that whole city into a disaster area by being so damn slow in response.

Killed thousands doing it, all in the name of the political concept that is so central to our curious breed of American fascism.

Seems they did it wrong this time though, necessary though it was.  The Hurricane is currently intensifying in the gulf of Mexico and will in all likelihood make landfall Wednesday morning, though NOLA will be feeling it before that.  So while they are finishing day twos festivities, NOLA will be hunkering down.

Missed Tampa by a wide margin, though.

Meaning that they took today off so they could… watch the weather channel?  Tampa got rain.  Some rain, still are.  But they always get rain.  They got some wind.  They’re off the water, they get wind.  Nothing substantive from what I could tell, nothing gale force or stronger.  As far as I can tell New York city got more rain in an hour than Tampa got all day today.  Then again it was pouring cats and several other types of docile house-broken four legged hairy tailed mammals out here today.  Got around 3 inches of rain in an hour.  I know, I was in it.  Damn near destroyed my umbrella and my shoes may never get dry.  Gotta wear them to work tomorrow too…

But I digress…

The convention should be a blast for all those involved, rain or no, hurricane or no.  Everyone there will (wrongly) call President Obama a Socialist and a Kenyan and a Muslim.  They’ll say he’s raised taxes when he hasn’t.  They’ll say he’s killed jobs when all he’s killed is Osama Bin Laden.  They won’t give him credit for it, or anything good that’ happened in America over the last few years.  But that’s OK.  That’s what they do.  Wouldn’t expect anything less from them.

Even though he’s a capitalist baptist Hawaiian tax cutting job creator.  They can’t tell people that though, or that lil shit Mitt would lose by 40,000,000, instead of the 1 or 2 mill that he can win (or lose) by if these Un-American fascist bastards keep lying about our President.

They’ll shout themselves hoarse for a formerly liberal Massachusetts governor who put through universal healthcare for all, while decrying the President and his universal healthcare, vowing to destroy it.  They’ll shout for the guy who ran Bain capital, a company that bought companies, sold off the best bits and killed the rest, resulting in thousands of jobs being lost.

Have fun, kids! I know I will!  🙂

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

Good Lies?

Pic of the day. part i: La Trappistine, by Alfons Mucha

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All too willingly man sees himself as the centre of the universe, as something not belonging to the rest of nature but standing apart as a different and higher being. Many people cling to this error and remain deaf to the wisest command ever given by a sage, the famous “Know thyself” inscribed in the temple of Delphi.

Konrad Lorenz,  On Aggression

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Silly season in American politics is a wonderful time, when fans on all sides of the political divide completely lose their minds and pass off the most egregious lies they can about everything they can.  Which says a lot about American politics, because that crap happens all the damn time.

All sides here, both Romney and Obama’s camps are putting out what can only be called lies about each other.  Romney can’t get a damn thing right about the Affordable health care act, and the Obama campaign seems to love making claims about Romney and Bain that are a stretch at the very least.

Now, if I can find the truth in less than a minute on the net, so can everyone else.

So, if we can so easily find out what really is going on, why do they lie?

Short answer:  Because they can.

Slightly less short answer:  Because they can. Because they are basically speaking to their own people, and don’t care much about what the other side thinks, because those bastards won’t vote for (fill in your candidates name here) anyway, so the hell with’em.

Less short answer:  The lies they tell might be…well… lies, but they tell a story, create a narrative.  And storytelling is something that is vitally important in politics, and that narrative is more important than the fact that some of the things said are not truthful.  Lies can be forgiven by the faithful because they are told at the expense of the person being lied about, who is bad enough a person that  that lie could be true, if he had had the opportunity to do the deed, whatever it is.

So the next time Mitt tells one of his outlandish lump of shit lies about the ACA, or when the President or one of his people pass off something less than legit, understand that it is actually told in the service of that candidates greater good, or what passes for that.

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Now that doesn’t mean that slanted messaging on either side is all that bad of a thing.  That slant is there to talk to people of a particular slant, that’s where the word “slanted” in this context comes from.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

So, should the fact that your candidate is completely full of shit stop you from voting for them?  Of course not.  Everyone in this country who has anything to do with politics is full of shit.  If you want to vote for someone who isn’t full of shit, go to… go to… fuck, I have no idea where they have people who run for office who aren’t completely full of shit.

If you can find politicians that aren’t full of shit, chances are you’re full of shit too.

If you think the place you get your news isn’t full of shit, chances are you’re full of shit too.

If you believe every good thing anyone says about your candidate, yep, yer full a’ shit.

If you think every bad word said about your candidate is horrible and wrong or at the very least improper and needs to be redressed by you in some way, there you are again, being full of shit.

Says the guy who is about as full of shit as one can be and not live on a toilet.

🙂

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This election, like every election, is about money.  Who will get more of it, who will control it, and where it will be spent.  I personally believe that a Republican victory would be a victory for the fundamentalists from the Chicago school of economics whose vision for the world is, from my perspective, evil.  It is based on the freedom for the rich to get richer by any means necessary and for the rest of us to get screwed.  Their system wasn’t built for anyone who doesn’t have a ton of money.  If you’re a have not, you don’t count to the Republican robber barons.

Milton Friedman, the man who gave birth to that Un-American school of economic thought, was the antichrist and the best thing anyone can say about him is that he is thankfully dead.  Though he still lives through the theories he perpetuated, which is worse than having him actually walking the earth.

It’s a truism:  You can’t kill an idea.

Not even a bad one.

Fundamentalism is evil, it is always evil no matter what form it takes.  Capitalist fundamentalism is as harmful to the American dream as Communist fundamentalism, as christian fundamentalism, and as Islamic fundamentalism is.

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Pic of the day, part ii:  Dance, by Alfons Mucha

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Which is more damaging to modern humanity: the thirst for money or consuming haste… in either case, fear plays a very important role: the fear of being overtaken by one’s competitors, the fear of becoming poor, the fear of making wrong decisions or the fear of not being up to snuff.

Konrad Lorenz, Civilized Man’s Eight Deadly Sins

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

If The President Said…

Pic of the day, part i: The Boating Party, by Mary Cassatt

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Free men are aware of the imperfection inherent in human affairs, and they are willing to fight and die for that which is not perfect. They know that basic human problems can have no final solutions, that our freedom, justice, equality, etc. are far from absolute, and that the good life is compounded of half measures, compromises, lesser evils, and gropings toward the perfect. The rejection of approximations and the insistence on absolutes are the manifestation of a nihilism that loathes freedom, tolerance, and equity.

Eric Hoffer, The Temper of Our Time

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I love the inherent dislogic within Mitt Romney’s rhetoric.  Mitt Romney said that the extension of  middle class tax cuts will “kill jobs.”  But then again he says everything that the President does kills jobs.

Tax cuts kill jobs?  I was under the impression that tax cuts were good things and created jobs?

Republican rule #1:  Taxes are bad.

Republican rule #2: Low taxation creates jobs.

This President has cut taxes so much I’m surprised I have to pay any at all.  Taxes being the natural enemy of Republicans, I’m surprised they hate the guy so much.  He’s doing a credible impression of a Republican with all the tax cuts he’s tossing around.

And while he’s cutting taxes, he’s proposing more tax cuts.  He’s cut taxes for small businesses 18 times.

What’s he gotta do, put on an elephant mask and scream “fuck the IRS” until Grover Norqvist’s ears bleed?

🙂

When I hear Mitt Romney say a tax cut for the middle class will kill jobs, I know what he really means.  And what Mitt means is He doesn’t care how republican this guy acts as far as taxation is concerned, he’s gonna say everything President Obama does kills jobs.

If the President said he walked his dog, dog walking would kill jobs.

If the President said he rooted for Prince Fielder during the Home Run Derby, Romney would say that rooting for Prince Fielder kills jobs

If the President said he had the best sex of his life in the White House, Romney would say fucking kills jobs.

Well…. maybe not on that last one, but Romney’d think about putting out a press release about it, just to be a dick. (to say nothing of the fact that the President wouldn’t say that, he’s not some inbred hick after all.)

Mitt Romney kills jobs by going to the same old tired line all the damn time.  Mitt, you cheap fuck, hire a writer.

Or not… I don’t mind making fun of you, Mitt.

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Pic of the day, part ii:  Lilacs in a Window, by Mary Cassatt

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Modern man is weighed down more by the burden of responsibility than by the burden of sin. We think him more a savior who shoulders our responsibilities than him who shoulders our sins. If instead of making decisions we have but to obey and do our duty, we feel it as a sort of salvation.

Eric Hoffer, The Passionate State of Mind, and Other Aphorisms

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

The Costs of Regulation

Pic of the day:  Death and the Miser, by Hieronymous Bosch

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We rarely hear, it has been said, of the combinations of masters, though frequently of those of the workman. But whoever imagines, upon this account, that masters rarely combine, is as ignorant of the world as of the subject.

Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, Book I, chapter viii

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There are plenty of things that are wrong with government.  There are plenty of things that have always been wrong with government and will not change regardless of who is President or what party runs what parts of the government.  Regulation for example, is expensive as hell.  Costs an absolute boatload to make sure that everyone do what they are supposed to do.  According to the Romney campaign it cost something like 1.75 trillion dollars annually.  The Romney campaign says as much in big bold letters on it’s website.

But they paint the picture a bit too gloomily I think.  They are projecting the cost not to the United States government to regulate businesses, but the total cost to businesses to make sure that they comply with those regulations.    The actual cost of regulations to the United States government is closer to 55 billion dollars annually, FAR from the near 2 trillion dollar number being floated by the Romney campaign, among others.

Now that is a tremendous cost to American business, and I have no idea exactly how the businesses that are spending that money are spending it.  Does it go to having people on the payroll to make sure that regulations are adhered to?  If so then those dollars are well spent.  If it is for attorneys so that they can make sure businesses are abiding by the law properly, then I tell you that I have no problem with it. I believe that circumstances similar to the picture I have painted here are the reason the private costs of regulation are so expensive.  It keeps thousands of people working, hundreds of thousands if I am correct.  If the cost of your safety and mine from the predations of big business and job safety are the costs of regulation, and I believe that they are, then that cost is essential to the health and maintenance of American business, both large and small.

And I say pay it, smile and pay it.  If it keeps discover card from dripping you dry with costs unforeseen, if it keeps the dockworker who makes sure you get your goods safely and on time safe, if it makes companies follow rules they would much rather not, then I say pay it.

If there are ways that business can defray those costs, then by all means do so.  Lobby the government, call senators and representatives, speak to the people in power about helping you.  But damn you, don’t complain about spending money that keeps Americans working, safe and free from the predations of the world.

Mitt knows what he’s doing here.  By writing that the private costs of regulation are a bad thing, when they are at once necessary and proper, is a feat of legerdemain fitting of a man who will do or say anything to reach the highest seat of power by any means necessary, regardless of the consequences.

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

 

A Few Basic Questions for Mitt Romney Regarding His Tax Plans

Pic of the day: Haneton Triptych, center panel

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Schisms do not originate in a love of truth, which is a source of courtesy and gentleness, but rather in an inordinate desire for supremacy… In fact, the real disturbers of the peace are those who, in a free state, seek to curtail the liberty of judgment which they are unable to tyrannize over.

Baruch Spinoza

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It’s official, Mitt Romney is the nominee of the Republican party for President of the United States of America. It became official a few hours ago when Mr. Romney won the Texas primary. Congratulations Mitt!

Now all you have to do is convince a plurality of Americans that voting for you is the right thing to do. And like any member of the two major parties in this country, you already have about 45% of the nation already in your pocket simply by being the nominee of one of those parties. Each party, without the slightest bit of help get about 45% of the populace to vote for them.

But that last 10 percent of the nation that is left over, I tell you brother, they are not easy people to convince of anything.

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I am at this moment reading Mr. Romney’s website and will, when finished give a detailed account of exactly what he says about foreign policy and taxation and Social Security and a host of other issues.

I have read his tax plan. On the surface it is nice but there are questions I have. They may be answered by other things in other places on the site that I have yet to get to. The questions are as follows:

How do you plan to make up for the shortfall created by the 10% across the board cut in the corporate tax rate. Government has not shrunk in size in our lifetimes, whether a Republican or a Democrat was in office. To make that drastic a cut in taxes must surely be made up for with an opposite and equal level of cuts in Government spending or increases in taxation elsewhere. Will you cut Social Security? Defense? Medicare? There isn’t enough discretionary spending out there that could be cut to make up for the shortfall, so I’m curious to see who will get hit with the budget axe.

The other tax cuts you propose beg the same question.

There is no word in the tax section about the Bush tax cuts. I was curious to see what exactly he has to say about the Bush Tax cuts that are set to expire at the end of this year. Those tax cuts have cost us trillions of dollars and not helped create job growth as they were supposed to. Will he extend the Bush tax cuts or will he raise the tax rate on the rich by 4%?

How can he justify the statement that the President has “exploded the size of government” when the size of government has actually risen more slowly under President Obama than any other President in the last 60 years?

There will be much more on Mitt Romney in the coming weeks and months, as his candidacy merits much scrutiny.

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