Thursday, August 21, 2014

Rightwing Race Hustlers On Ferguson Shooting

The idea that WND somehow has racist motivations is bizarre, especially when fully 20 percent of the site's regular weekly columnists are black – including Sowell, Star Parker, Walter Williams, Eric Rush... ~ Joseph Farah, founder of the website World Net Daily (and head birther) making the Black Friend argument as to why their excessive reporting on Black Mobs isn't racist. (as reported in a 2/8/2014 Gawker story).

As is ALWAYS the case, when some crime occurs in which racism may be a factor, the Right must present incidents where the roles are reversed (AKA "The Fallacious Flip"). As those who follow the news know, a White Ferguson MO cop shot and killed an unarmed Black teenager. So guess what? You probably already know. The Right finds a case in which a Black cop shot and killed a White teen.

Proof that racism wasn't a factor in the Ferguson shooting, right? Whether it was or wasn't I do not believe is clear, but I think at least some (if not many) of the protestors believe it was... and for good reason (it's called "institutional racism"). Whatever the truth is (whether or not racism was a factor), it certainly strikes me that the number of shots fired might have been excessive (the 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot 6 times).

Although CNN reports "dueling narratives in Michael Brown shooting", and, after reading the story, I can report that the witnesses accounts are at odds with one another in key areas. So an investigation is definitely needed, and no conclusions should be jumped to until it is complete.

I do, however still believe there is a problem in general with cops shooting - or by some other method killing - unarmed suspects (a police killing via a choke hold for example). And MANY of the examples of this ARE of a White cop killing a Black victim, so there is cause to believe that race may be a factor (in general and not necessarily in regards to this case). And there is also the fact that a majority of the Ferguson MO police are White, while the community they are policing is majority-Black.

But the Ferguson community protests in regards to problems of (White majority) cops using excessive force (which is how they view this case) - and the problem of the police force not being racially diverse - is spun by WND as lies serving an agenda of the "Leftist Media"... as usual. This time WND reports on fellow racist Limbaugh's take on the subject...

Rush Limbaugh: There's a mindset out there, and the way it works in situations like this [is] only people of color can be victims. A white person can never be a victim. It just can't happen. That's not permitted, that's not allowed because it isn't the case. The whites are the oppressors. They're the majority. In the liberal worldview, every majority is an oppressor... They're all oppressors. The minority is always the victims, and the victims are with whom we should always sympathize, no matter what. And the victims are permitted to do anything precisely because they're a minority... They're outnumbered. The evil majority does horrible things to the minority. And so the minorities... [are] always victims. And so anything they do is justified and we must try to understand the rage.

But in the current climate in the United States, a black person can never be the oppressor and a white can never be the victim. And that's how you have a corrupt or perverted news business in Salt Lake City, refusing to identify a black cop who may have shot an innocent person. That destroys the whole picture we've been creating here for centuries. That could totally destroy the image that we've been trying to concoct... (Rush Limbaugh comments via World Net Daily, 8/20/2014. "Black cop kills White Man, Media Hide Race" by Joe Kovacs).

The Media was "hiding" the race of the Black cop who shot the White teen? The WND article notes that "Utah's Desert News reported the police chief saying the officer is not white [and] The Salt Lake Tribune noted, the officer involved was not white". Seems pretty clear to me that they said the cop wasn't White. And it did come out that the cop wasn't Hispanic or Asian or whatever. But two papers saying the cop wasn't White (info that came from the police chief) amounts to the Media "hiding" the cops race? Right.

What this REALLY amounts to, IMO, is (yet more) racism from the Right. As well as opportunism. An opportunity to shamelessly attack the "Leftist Media". This time with bogus claims of hiding the fact that the cop was Black. Similar to what happened with George Zimmerman, that he was "White" was info that came from the cops. In both cases the media reported what the police told them!

As for the rest of Limbaugh's racist tirade, it is complete BS, of course. A White person can be a victim, but Whites ARE the oppressors. They're the majority (police force in Ferguson is mostly White, while community they are policing is majority Black) and we also have a long history (that began with slavery) of racism... against Black people.

Yeah, racist Whites like Limbaugh and those at the Black-mob-obsessed WND find that history inconvenient and work hard to deny that our past influences our present. But it *is* our history. So, no, a Black person can't be an oppressor. A minority can belong to an organization that sometimes acts as an instrument of oppression (the police), but this does not make them an "oppressor", but simply an instrument of the organization (in this case the police) that acts as oppressors for the White majority (again, it's called "institutional racism").

And there is also the fact that the police are becoming increasingly militarized, and what this points to, I think, is a mentality that says excessive force is what is necessary. I mean, another issue that concerns me is the police killing of pet dogs when those pets react to the police busting down doors (sometimes the wrong ones) to arrest people. And surely that has nothing to do with racism.

In any case, a minority is NOT "permitted to do anything precisely because they're a minority". And this "image that we've been trying to concoct" that Limbaugh refers to is REALITY. And YES, the "Leftist media" does NOT want that "image" destroyed, you lying racist tool!

So, in conclusion, I'd say that we definitely have a problem of police using deadly force not as a last resort, but drawing their guns and shooting to kill when they shouldn't be drawing their guns at all, or, if they do, shooting to wound. Racism may be a factor (and I believe it sometimes is), but if it was a factor in the Ferguson shooting is not known.

And I believe it probably won't be a factor in the investigation. Only the question of whether or not the shooting was justified will be asked. But, as you can see from the Limbaugh spin as reported by WND, the Right misses no opportunity to inject race into a news story. Injecting it via false accusations against the Left of "playing the race card" and "concocting" a history of racism for the United States.

"Concocting" being code for reporting the reality of the situation. A reality the Right wishes to deny because it aides THEIR concocted narrative regarding their racism being a "fair and balanced" reporting of the facts. "Facts", that when it comes to WND, often include the violence of "Black mobs".

A 2/8/2014 article from the blog Gawker by Adam Weinstein says that WND is battling Google for "its right to be racist". According to the article, Google "has accused WND of using hate speech and has threatened to block ads on the news site over its use of the term black mobs in news stories and columns.

Yeah, no kidding. As a subscriber to the WND newsletter, I noticed this some time ago. Google cites a figure of 670 "Black mob" stories and bases it's objection on it's AdSense policies against using "derogatory racial or ethnic slurs to refer to an individual or group". Although, over how long a period of time the article does not say. Still 670 is a big number... and kudos to Google for calling out WND. And Google, being a private company, does not have to respect WND's "free speech rights".

.........................

Something else the Right likes to complain about in these situations is when Black leaders show up on the scene to offer their support and assistance. People like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, in doing so, are "race baiting", they say. The Reverend Sharpton, I should note, went to Ferguson and discussed the problem of the police force not being racially diverse. His solution was for more Black voters to show up on election day.

Catching the end of his MSNBC program the other day, I saw Mr. Sharpton note the fact that when it was time to elect Mr. Obama a second time, Black turnout was high. But for the next election - one which also had local officials like the chief of police on the ballot - turnout was pathetic (2 percent, if I remember correctly). Sounds like good advice to me and certainly NOT "race hustling". Advising the Black community to vote, that is (which is a good way to at least begin to curb the institutional racism problem).

"Race husting", IMO, is a term used by White racists, or "right-wing white-grievance mongers" who are "stoking racial tension for cash" (wording as per a 7/23/2013 Salon article). People like Limbaugh... and organizations like WND (even given the fact that they have "Black friends") are real "race hustlers", and I think the evidence overwhelmingly shows this to be true. It isn't the Black leaders or Black MSNBC personalities who "race bait", but the racist right and race hustling and racist-pandering Rightwing media.

Video: Ferguson Cops Busted? New Video Seems To Show Brown Paying For Cigarillos (0:42) Link. (H/T to Shaw Kenawe of Progressive Eruptions for pointing me to this story & video from Crooks & Liars).

SWTD #270. See also TADM #56.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Not Lying About Muslim Bigotry

They swear by Allah that they said nothing (evil), but indeed they uttered blasphemy... ~ The Holy Quran, Al-Tawba, 9:74. This is in regards to those who reject the fundamental doctrine of the finality of the Prophethood of Hazrat Muhammad. Such persons are outside the fold of Islam. (Source).

Wikipedia notes that "the belief in Muhammad's prophethood is the main aspect of the Islamic faith". But on another blog I was called a "lying bastard" for questioning whether or not the following remark (by the blog proprietor) indicated a bigotry toward Muslims...

rAtional nAtion uSA: When moderate Muslins, in concert throughout the world stand tall and renounce all terrorism, acknowledge that the "prophet" muhammad was a evil man who raped, plundered, and pillaged then maybe I might believe they want to live in peace with non Muslims. (8/10/2014 11:09:00 PM EDT).

Now, I am NOT a scholar of Islam or of the prophet Muhammad. I do, however, think that rejecting THE main aspect of one's faith might cause others practicing that faith to view any individual taking that view as not a true adherent of said faith. Indeed, (as per the quote at the top of this post) if someone rejects that Muhammad was a prophet AT ALL (as Lester suggests by his use of quotes around the word) are they not also rejecting "the fundamental doctrine of the finality of the Prophethood"?

This is, by the way, a doctrine that says Muhammad is the last prophet. Surely he cannot be the last prophet if he is not a prophet at all, right? And, in regards to anyone who calls for disavowing this main aspect of Muhammad's prophethood, are they not actually calling for Muslims to abandon their faith?

So (given this logic), would it not be a fair assessment of the statement above that [1] the "rAtional" fellow is calling for Muslims to abandon their faith and that [2] if they do not do so, then the United States and any allies that would join us should wage a "jihad" against any Muslim that decided to remain a Muslim?

"Jihad" conclusion based on the following comment...

rAtional nAtion uSA: You put together a coalition of rational western nations along with eastern nations who are sane and want terror stopped. Pool remeasures and plan a concerted strategy to take out the terrorists in their hiding places everywhere...

Then, the sane rational world lets the terrorist states and organizations know that a strike of any kind on any member nation is a strike on all, and any will unleash such destruction on them they'll wish they were never born. (8/10/2014 AT 08:04:00 PM EDT).

This, as I recall, was the rationale for going into both Afghanistan and Iraq. And with the comment above the rAtional guy is calling for more Afghanistans and more Iraqs? Our government has a website called State Sponsors of Terrorism that lists four countries (Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria) that qualify for the list. Is Lester suggesting (as soon as his "coalition" is formed) that - the next time either of these four countries does something that qualifies them to be on this list - that we will declare war?

War, or something short of war that would still qualify as unleashing "such destruction on them they'll wish they were never born"? Whatever that might be... I doubt the American people will support more war. Although Lester himself has said in the past that he thought Iraq was stupid. Now he's calling for MORE of the same stupidity?

Sounds like it to me. And what's up with Lester referring to Muslims as filthy or "lice ridden"? Some might be, but I doubt they all are. Frankly, I'm somewhat surprised he didn't throw a "towel head" or "sand ni**er" in there. It isn't as if Lester is searching for additional pejoratives to use against the hated terrorists only...

rAtional nAtion uSA: ...the Palestinians are as infested with camel fleas and lice as they were a thousand years ago. (8/10/2014 AT 6:21pm).

So it's not just radicalized Muslim terrorists who are "infested" with fleas and lice, but Palestinians. ALL of them, presumably. Which is why I have a hard time believing the following...

rAtional nAtion uSA: I'm not BIGOTED AGAINST muslims I've friends who are Muslim, wonderful caring people who are NOT CRAZY and who do not call for the genocide of the Jewish people and infidels in general.

I am however most decidedly bigoted against the jihadist that are fueled by their violent, irrational, genocidal, devoted allegiance to the madman :prophet muhammad (piss be upon him) and the organizations the belong to. (8/11/2014 AT 01:02:00 PM EDT).

Lester's "Muslim friends" belong to an imaginary sect of Islam where either: Muhammad isn't a prophet, or one in which it's OK to denounce him as a rapist and plunderer (but still acknowledge him as a prophet)? Either way this sect is completely imaginary... which means Lester has no such friends. I suspect that this claim is similar to the one made by Whites who say they have a "Black friend" but are lying.

So, let's review: Lester wants all Muslims to reject the "main aspect" of their faith (i.e. reject Islam for some imaginary version of Islam that does not exist) or go on the "naughty list". Which means we might declare war on them? Maybe if they live in Cuba, Iran, Sudan or Syria... then some "shock and awe" that kills civilians (which happened/continues to happen in Afghanistan and Iraq) is justified?

Sounds like a "convert or be killed" ultimatum (convert to some imaginary form of Islam that either says it's OK to believe Mohammed was a terrible person, or one that says he wasn't a prophet). But didn't the radicalized Muslim terrorists issue a similar ultimatum? I'm pretty sure they did.

Given this, am I out of line to think that [1] suggesting we "unleash such destruction on them they'll wish they were never born" for not rejecting the "main aspect" of their faith and [2] suggesting that people who live in this part of the world are "lice infested" - ALL the people and not just terrorists... that these views might be indicative of a person who harbors some bigoted thoughts in regards to all Muslims and not just "the terrorists"?

I think so. But Lester was so offended by my pointing out his bigotry that he said I "no longer exists in [his] consciousness".

That must be worse than being banned, which Lester did just previous to wishing me into the cornfield. OK, so Lester has banned me before, but now? I must REALLY be banned this time! Although it's my own fault for "lying" about Lester's bigotry. A bigotry that has him calling for Muslims to convert to some imaginary form of Islam or not be trusted by him to really be desirous of peace.

Although it is possible that Lester won't believe they want peace even then - he only said he MIGHT believe them. Regardless he'll probably go on being convinced that they are flea and lice infested. That was one point I think he was crystal clear on, that they all have fleas and lice... the Palestinians (at least). I don't know about other Muslims.

Now, for stating this obvious conclusion based on Lester's own words, Lester says I am a "lying SOB". But I did not lie. I told the truth. And surely it is not my problem if Lester does not see the bigotry in his own words.

SWTD #269. See also TADM #54.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

That Massive Sucking Sound and Its Echo

Because murder is like anything you take to; It's a habit-forming need for more and more ~ Lyrics from the song "Murder by Numbers" written by Sting & Andy Summers.

There wasn't anything that Brabender and Workman ever could have done to save Slade Leeds. They knew it and so, too, did Leeds. But being that the latter was a persistent bugger (not to mention one that was totally lacking in pride) and his protectorate malleable, damned if that sucker didn't seem to last for decades and decades. In fact, it's probably still going on!

"Sorry it has to end this way for you, my friend" William Hartenbaum remarked as Slade whined yet again. "You simply can NOT do this to a fellow Societyman" a frantic and disbelieving Slade declared. But, after staring into William's eyes, it became apparent to him that Hartenbaum had made up his mind.

"Help me Brabender" he cried with tears in his eyes. "Help me Workman" Slade pleaded. But Slade's employees ignored him. William had had enough of this so he gagged his friend. Then, with great sadness he shoved the bound Slade into the wet concrete. Slade dropped approximately 10 feet into the open pit and landed with a wet thud in the concrete that would become the foundation for Vanderschmidt towers, a new luxury apartment complex being constructed by William's buddy Vincent Vanderschmidt.

A look of horror overcame Slade's face as he sunk into the hardening slurry that would soon be his rock solid tomb. Slade sunk slowly, the weight attached to his ankles dragging him down. But his suffering did not go on for that long, despite it likely seeming to last decades for the poor fellow! "I really hated to do that. Killing one of your best friends is a hard thing to do" William remarked.

"Stop, you can't do this, Dennis!" the one called Workman screamed after William and his accomplices had subdued the three men, bound their hands and feet, and then made it apparent they would soon join the dead body of Cliff Thesage in the freshly poured cement mixture. But why the hell was Workman addressing his pleas to Dennis?

"Nobody's going to save you now" Russ Teafeur, one of William's accomplices and a member of the four friend's murder club, growled. "Dennis will save us... and he knows why" Brabender squealed, shaking his head as Voltron attempted to gag him.

"Do you know what he's talking about, Dennis?" William querried the recent inductee into their murder club (an addition that made the trio a quartet). "Workman is talking about the evidence he has against me that will automatically be released if he should be killed or go missing" Dennis reluctantly informed the group.

"Evidence of what?" Voltron demanded, grabbing Dennis by his lapels and getting in his face. "Evidence of embezzlement by Brabender, Workman and myself from The Quarry" Dennis squawked. "I had no choice, after running up a large amount of debt in anticipation of my rich uncle kicking off. An uncle who then went into remission".

William remembered the conversation in which Dennis told him he'd be joing William, Voltron and Russ in the 1 percent when his uncle died from terminal brain cancer, leaving him everything in his will. "That's tough" an angry William replied. "But that does not entitle you to thieve from my best friend".

An intimidated Dennis started whimpering. "This means Brabender and Workman will keep their mouths shut about them walking in on us disposing of Thesage's body" Dennis explained desperately. "Surely it would be much more suspicious if they disappear as well" Dennis concluded, suddenly afraid that William might decide to murder him too.

"He has a point" Russ Teafeur interjected. "I guess that means they are malleable to not squealing to the cops" Voltron concluded, releasing Dennis from his grip. "Absolutely" Brabender enthusiastically agreed. "Especially given the fact that we were stealing from Mr. Leeds. The cops will likely conclude we were in on it" Workman added, assuming he had just been saved from joining Leeds in the concrete.

Just then there was a massive sucking sound as the squirming body of Slade Leeds finally disappeared beneath the surface of the pool of cement, rock and water. William turned and silently bid his friend adieu. "The Society has lost a valuable member", William ruefully observed. "And now Slade's wife Sassy is a widdow" Hartenbaum added sorrowfully. "A shame, given what a good woman she is".

"But this was Slade's own fault. What the hell was he doing here?" William demanded, turning to face Brabender and Workman. But he was met with silence. "Come on, answer Mr. Hartenbaum's question" an angry Voltron demanded. "You do want to make it out of here alive, do you not, Workman", Voltron added as he withdrew a wicked looking dagger from his belt and approached the two bound captives.

"You're going to talk" Voltron growled, holding his sharp blade to the neck of a frightened Workman. "Or I'll slit you from ear to ear. I don't give a damn what you have on Dennis".

SWTD #268, PIF #23, Murder Club #3.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Apology Owed By Spinning Liar Re LBJ/Tonkin Vs GWb/WMD

Fifty years on we know the trigger for war with Vietnam was a fiction. Will it be another 50 before we know the truth about Iraq? ~ DD Guttenplan, writing for The Guardian in a 8/2/2014 piece titled "When Presidents Lie To Make A War".

Many "love letters" from a blogger named Willis Hart concerning yours truly on his idiotic Libertarian blog as of late. And by "love letters" I mean lies targeted at someone this blogger dislikes intensely.

But the disliking is mutual. Specifically due to the lies this dude spins, such as the following...

Willis Hart: wd is one of those people who claims to be against war, war crimes, and empire but who constantly spins for then when its his fellow's doing (the asshole even spun for LBJ and Vietnam which was quite possibly the most moronic war of them all). (7/30/2014 AT 9:40pm).

I never said a damn thing in support of the Vietnam war, you liar. And, yes, it was one of the most moronic wars of them all. Until preznit bush came along, that is. As for my "spinning" about LBJ, all I said was that "whether or not LBJ lied is, in my opinion, a tad more nebulous that the question of whether or not George W. bush lied in order to pressure Congress into allowing him to invade Iraq".

Initially I do not believe LBJ lied about what happened at the Gulf of Tonkin, although I do believe he latched onto the initial reports of what happened and used that to justify the actions he (and Robert McNamara) wanted to take. And, then when he found out the initial reports were inaccurate? Then he did keep that info under wraps. So, yes, he did lie. Later.

That would be a little different than what bush did, which was to lie right away, even though he knew the truth from the get go concerning WMD that Iraq did not have. And THAT was the point I was trying to make to the Hartster. That the lies of bush were worse for this reason. That is even *if* Iraq having WMD was a good justification for invasion (which they did not, but assuming they did). I say no.

But Willis rewrites the discussion that took place on his as me "spinning" for LBJ and him holding firm to his principals (the a-hole says he's "intellectually honest" while I'm the MOST "intellectually dishonest" person he's ever encountered).

Willis Hart: And, yes, just like a lot of the conservatives did with Bush and Iraq. (7/30/2014 AT 9:41pm).

What is ironic about this comment is that Willis is one of those conservatives. In regards to the lying about WMD, Willis spun and Willis spun HARD.

Willis Hart: I recognize now that Sadam pretty much had to go. I just wish that President Bush hadn't de-Baathified the country and disbanded the military in that those 2 things really strengthened the Iranian bastards. (6/28/2013 AT 8:39pm).

Notice that he basically agrees that Iraq needed to be invaded and Saddam removed, but only starts disagreeing when it comes to the "de-baathification" and disbanding the military (things that happened AFTER we invaded). Previously he said he was against the war, but would absolutely not call bush a war criminal and insisted (wrongly) that bush never lied.

Willis Hart: you gave me no evidence that Bush KNEW that there weren't weapons of mass destruction and then lied to the American public... No testimony. No paper trail. Zero. (7/10/2012 AT 7:00pm).

But there MOST CERTAINLY IS a paper trail. And the George W bush most certainly lied.

First, the lie...

In remarks preceding the invasion by one day (6/21/2003), the former president said, "our cause is just, the security of the nations we serve and the peace of the world. And our mission is clear, to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, to end Saddam Hussein's support for terrorism, and to free the Iraqi people". (Wikipedia page: Iraq and weapons of mass destruction, footnote #93).

And now the proof/paper trail that proves bush was lying...

The invasion of Iraq was ordered by ex-preznit bush on 3/20/2003 AFTER the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohamed ElBaradei, told the Security Council (on 3/7/2003) via written report that the "UN inspections in Iraq worked".

Mr. ElBaradei's team conducted 247 inspections at 147 sites and found "no evidence of resumed nuclear activities... nor any indication of nuclear-related prohibited activities at any related sites". The IAEA report went on to say that "Iraq had not imported uranium since 1990... no longer had a centrifuge program, [and that] Iraq's nuclear capabilities had been effectively dismantled by 1997". (Excerpt from a 5/23/2013 SWTD post titled "Intellectual Honesty Concerning ex-President bush's WMD Lies").

The IAEA told bush via written report (PAPER TRAIL) that there was no WMD. Yet Willis defended the ex-preznit on this matter. While sticking his fingers in his ears and humming (figuratively) so he was didn't have to hear about any proof of bush lying. At one point he even said he was convinced that "Saddam had to go". Spinning? In my opinion... absolutely.

But now (apparently) the hypocrite has changed his mind? The following excerpt from a Willis post seems to suggest he has. In this instance he blogs about the Zimmermann Telegram.

Willis Hart: ...the fact that the American people bought this shit (a la the Maine, a la the Gulf of Tonkin, a la WMD, etc.)... (7/26/2014 AT 4:00pm).

Here Willis argues that the Zimmermann Telegram (a 1917 diplomatic proposal from Germany for Mexico to join the Central Powers, in the event of the United States entering World War I on the side of the Entente Powers) was used by president Woodrow Wilson as a rationale for US involvement in WWI. Willis says this is a lie comparrable to The Maine, the Gulf of Tonkin and... wait for it... the LIE by bush concerning WMD that Iraq did not have!

Although, I should note that Willis does not call the idea that Mexico might go to war with us a "lie", he calls the telegram a "rationale". Indeed, the telegram was published and the public was angered, but Wilson did not suggest Mexico was going to attack us. The fact is that (in 1917) "as a direct consequence of the Zimmermann telegram" we recognized the government of Venustiano Carranza (who came to power via a 1914 revolution) "in order to ensure Mexican Neutrality in WWI".

Is publishing a telegram and then using public outrage to get us involved in WWI a "lie"? Surely not a deception on the same level as the other (actual) lies Willis mentions. Although I don't know if the situation with the Maine qualifies either. Seems to me to be another case where confusion about what happened was used by some to get the American public to accept war.

Of the bunch I would say that bush's declaration that we were invading to "disarm" Saddam is the CLEAREST cut example of a president outright and bold-faced lying. And with the commentary I quote above, Willis is (ostensibly) acknowledging the fact that bush did lie. If so, then I say Willis owes me an apology. Or at least an acknowledgment that he's retracting his previous statements like the one I quoted above regarding there being "no evidence that Bush KNEW that there weren't weapons of mass destruction and then lied to the American public".

As well as other statements that are now at odds with his (apparent) new stance regarding bush lying about WMD. Statements like the following from 5/6/2012...

Willis Hart: And I don't even really dislike the guy [George W. bush]. I just wish that he had listened more to Powell and less to fellows like Wolfowitz and Perle. And in terms of his motivation, I don't know, I'm not a mind-reader like wd. In Thomas Ricks's book, "Fiasco" (which wasn't exactly a flattering read for Mr. Bush), he states that the regime change advocates were actually LOSING the debate early on and that it wasn't until 9/11 that guys like Perle and Wolfowitz finally started getting some traction. If you were to force me to give an opinion on this, I would say that the decision to invade Iraq was probably more a function of group-think (I believe that this was Scott McClellan's assessment in his book, too) than it was the result of some sinister, diabolical cabal. I'm sure, though, that wd would disagree. (Link).

As well as this one from 8/1/2012...

Willis Hart: There was at least SOME ambiguity regarding WMD. (Link).

If Willis is retracting these earlier statements - then I think he needs to own up and show some intellectual honesty. Admit he was wrong instead of trying to paper over his past incorrectness by falsely painting himself as "consistent", which is something he PRIDES himself on... his SUPPOSED "consistency". I mean, back when I was making my case that bush lied (on Willis' blog - before he banned me) Willis responded by saying it was "almost as if he's got some sort of sick pathology about Bush".

I had a "sick pathology" in regards to the ex-preznit because I - well before Willis did - acknowledged the truth about bush's lying about WMD to scare the public into accepting an unnecessary war? F*ck you Willis. And f*uck you again for continuing to lie about my positions on these matters. I do not CLAIM to be "against war, war crimes, and empire" but "constantly spin" when "my fellow" is the guilty one. I'm against these things, PERIOD. No matter what party the president belongs to.

LBJ lied and kept us in, and escalated Vietnam, costing many American lives in a pointless war. bush lied about WMD and many innocent Iraqis were killed, many American soldiers were killed and maimed, and trillions of dollars were wasted (much of which went into the pockets of bush cronies. A fact I have YET to see Willis acknowledge!).

So, while it is good that Willis is now acknowledging the fact that bush lied about WMD - that he presents himself as "consistent" on this matter is utter BULLSHIT. And that he lies about my positions (to distract his readers from his inconsistencies on this topic?) is deplorable. And, so long as this lying about yours truly is celebrated on the blog of the lying Willis, I will NOT cease irritating him (downgraded from harassing him, I guess). So long as I notice Willis lying about me - and encouraging others to lie - the irritating will continue.

As for how long we might have to wait before it is know that bush lied us into Iraq? We knew the minute the falsehood about why he was invading Iraq escaped his lips. Although, for some of us, the getting to the point where the truth could be accepted took a little longer. And, it is, of course, not AT ALL widely accepted that bush intentionally deceived.

50 years before the truth concerning bush's WMD untruths are established fact? Perhaps. I suppose we have to wait for him to die first. Accepting uncomfortable truths seems to be easier if the truth to be accepted concerns someone who is no longer with us.

Video #1 Description: A clip from the documentary The Fog of War by Errol Morris. In this YouTube video Robert McNamara says "It was just confusion. And events afterward showed that our judgement that we had been attacked that day was wrong. It didn't happen". (3:33).

Video #2 Description: Official trailer from Errol Morris film The Unknown Known, a documentary focusing on Iraq war liar Donald Rumsfeld... bush's McNamara? (2:56).

SWTD #267. See also SWTD #154.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Straight from The Warped, Psychotic, Brain-diseased, & Idiotic Mind of A Lunatic Libertarian Douche-bag

The Bowles-Simpson proposal has become a kind of short-hand in Washington for what a balanced, bipartisan deficit-reduction deal could look like. When given a closer look, the plan is anything but balanced. Bowles-Simpson is touted by inside-the-Beltway pundits who think that cutting benefits for seniors who have an average income of $22,000 a year is the type of "hard choice" we need to be making. We should not and need not reduce the deficit on the backs of seniors and others who survive on a low income ~ Jan Schakowsky (dob 5/26/1944) the Democrat representing Illinois's 9th congressional district, serving since 1999. The Congresswoman was a member of the 2010 National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (AKA Bowles-Simpson Comission). The Rep voted against the commission's final proposal.

Refuting lies about me in regards to past comments ("old bones" some might say) on another blog are why I have decided to author this commentary. Lies from the blog "Contra O'Reilly" put forward by one Willis Hart in a blog post from 7/12/2014.

Willis Hart: "On the Assertion that Bowles-Simpson is a Conservative Plan"... Only in the warped, psychotic, brain-diseased, and idiotic mind of a lunatic leftist douchebag would anything even remotely along these lines even be considered. The fact of the matter here is that the ratio of spending cuts to tax increases in Bowles-Simpson is only about 1.4 to 1, and the only reason that it's even this high is because of interest apparently having been included. Compare this to the ratios of the ACTUAL conservative debt consolidation packages which have consistently put forth a cuts to revenue ratio of approximately 5 or 6 to 1... or even to that deal which Obama almost had with Boehner which was pretty damned close to 4 to 1 and, if anything, Bowles-Simpson is probably a little bit to the left of center. Of course, if you yourself are so brazenly to the left that you actually consider people like Bernie Sanders, Van Jones, Francis Boyle, and Bill Ayers as mainstreamers, and even go as far as to quote Joseph Stalin, you're probably going to think that pretty much anything is "conservative", I would think. (7/12/2014 AT 12:32pm).

Yet another post from this doofus in which he, for some strange reason, makes it out to be that I alone in the entire world hold a position that is so incredibly ridiculous that all those negative adjectives are necessary. And he lies about people I view as "mainstream", none of which I really view as "mainstream".

I like Bernie Sanders, and I like Van Jones. Senator Sanders describes himself as a socialist. His voters seem to like him, although I will absolutely admit that Senator Sanders is to the Left of mainstream... although Bernie Sanders is the founder of the House Progressive Caucus, which is the largest Congressional Congress. Isn't being the largest a hallmark of being mainstream?

Van Jones I would describe as a Progressive that fights for the Middle Class. The Middle Class isn't "mainstream"? But he may be a little to the Left as well when compared to the Democratic Party at large, which I would describe as skewing Conservative. Bill Clinton described himself as a New Democrat, which means he considered himself a Democrat who was "economically neoliberal".

New Democrats claim to be "an ideologically centrist faction within the Democratic Party" but their adoption of neoliberal policies also advocated for by the Right makes New Democrats CONSERVATIVE Democrats.

New Democrats were more open to deregulation than the previous Democratic leadership had been. This was especially evident in the large scale deregulation of agriculture and the telecommunications industries. The New Democrats... were responsible for the ratification of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). (Source: Wikipedia/New Democrats/Bill Clinton as a New Democrat).

Also, under the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) the Democrats began (more) aggressively pandering to the business community (which the deregualting and free trading advocating was a part of) in order to secure more campaign cash (bribes). DLC/New Democrats viewed their past losses (losses that sent Reagan and Bush Sr) to the White House as being related to Republican campaigns being better funded. Better funded because GOP candidates had greater greater access to the Conservative Business (plutocrat) money pool.

The "New Democrat" movement was a response to this funding issue. Incorporate Conservative ideas in order to get Conservative business money. New Democrats are Conservative Democrats.

The Blue Dog Coalition "is a caucus of United States Congressional Representatives from the Democratic Party who identify themselves as moderates and conservatives". This caucus was formed in 1994 during the presidency of Bill Clinton. Wikipedia notes that "the term Blue Dog Democrat is credited to Texas Democratic Rep. Pete Geren... who later joined the Bush Administration.

Our current president, the fellow who appointed Bowles and Simpson to co-chair the so-called "bipartisan" commission tasked to produce debt reduction legislation, is a self described Blue Dog. Erskine Bowles is a Conservative Democrat [1] who served as Bill Clinton's Chief of Staff. Alan Simpson, a former Republican Congressman who "George H.W. Bush reportedly considered Simpson for the vice presidency in 1988".

So what we have in this "debt reduction" comission is Conservative Democrats partnering with Republicans. And, if that is not enough information to know for a fact that ANY "compromise" that MIGHT have come out of the commission would most certainly skew to the Right, there is also the fact that reducing the government's debt in response to a poorly performing economy (AKA austerity) is an ENTIRELY Conservative idea.

Keynesian economics - the economic theory subscribed to by TRUE Leftists and Left of Center Democrats - "is the view that in the short run, especially during recessions, economic output is strongly influenced by aggregate demand (total spending in the economy)". Talking debt reduction (austerity) in response to an economic downturn is a wholly Conservative concept.

Heck, the NAME of the comission was the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. "Fiscal responsibility" is code for "austerity". The idea that austerity is the answer to economic downturns is in complete opposition to the theory behind Keynesiansim.

As such, NO debt reduction (i.e. austerity) plan coming from such a commission could in any way NOT be Conservative! Now, if the Democrats had proposed a commission in which cutting waste and improving efficiency were components - but which focused on Keynesian stimulus and job creation ideas - THAT would be a plan truly befitting Democratic economic ideals.

But a plan of action that immediately concedes that the very ideals the Democratic Party is built upon are wrong and capitulates that the Republican austerity is the way to address an economic downturn? Such a plan is CONSERVATIVE from the get-go. It does not matter if "the ratio of spending cuts to tax increases in Bowles-Simpson is only about 1.4 to 1".

And there is also the fact that the spending cuts included items that would actually hurt our economy like using the (bogus) chained-CPI to take money out of the pockets of Seniors (and other Social Security recipients). Non-conservatives view the chained-CPI as a non-starter.

The Nation: [Bowles-Simpson and the White House] depicted [the chained CPI] as a "more accurate" formula that "will reduce deficits and improve Social Security solvency". ...but there’s no debating these simple points: Chained-CPI is both a benefit cut and a tax increase. (Top 5 Myths About Chained-CPI, Debunked by George Zornick, 4/11/2013).

In addition to the chained CPI, Bowles-Simpson wanted to "increase the early and normal retirement age to 68 by 2050 and 69 by 2075". But the problem with all these Social Security cuts is that the money in the Social Security Trust Fund has nothing to do with our national debt!

Truthout: [The Social Security trust fund is invested in Treasury Securities amounting to] $2.7 trillion... [This] came about not because entitlements are out of control and the government has been forced to borrow to meet retiree benefits, but rather because future retirees have paid more taxes than necessary to meet benefit obligations. Workers have essentially been prepaying into the Trust Fund in order to provide for their future benefits.

So it makes no sense to try to solve the supposed problem of too much government debt by cutting benefits for current and future Social Security recipients. (The $17 Trillion Delusion: The Absurdity of Cutting Social Security to Reduce the Debt by Marty Wolfson, 1/11/2014).

So, not only is the Chained-CPI a non-starter; ANY cut Social Security benefit cut is a non-starter (this includes raising the retirement age, which also is a cut). The ABSURD idea of cutting SS benefits to "reduce the debt" is CONSERVATIVE in nature.

Other "reforms" that would take money out of the pockets of ordinary Americans included cuts to all other "inflation-indexed programs... [such as] the military and civil service retirement system". Still other "reforms" included cuts to student loan programs and cuts that would increase out-of-pocket costs for Medicare beneficiaries. All which would be cuts in opposition to the theory of Keynesianism which says cutting (austerity) makes economic downturns WORSE, not better.

So, again, it DOES NOT MATTER that "the ratio of spending cuts to tax increases in Bowles-Simpson is only about 1.4 to 1" because it is a CONSERVATIVE idea that austerity is economically beneficial!

Now, I'm not saying that Bowles-Simpson had nothing positive in it at all. There were actually some proposals Democrats could get behind in the Debt Reduction plan (such as (reforming farm subsidies), but it absolutely did skew Conservative (for the reasons I just outlined).

Now, here I should note that Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky released an alternate proposal that actually did provide for balanced deficit reduction. A proposal that did not place so much of the deficit reduction burden on seniors, the middle class, and low-income families.

Rep. Schakowsky's plan proposes increased investment in jobs, infrastructure, education, and research and development to strengthen the economy and generate growth. The plan also calls for the protection of Medicare, Medicaid and Obamacare while proposing additional steps to bring down the cost of health care overall. The plan would raise the top tax rates on the wealthy and end tax subsidies for big oil and highly-profitable corporations that ship jobs and profits overseas. It would eliminate wasteful military spending and focus on modern threats. The plan proposes additional revenue opportunities to strengthen Social Security and achieve long-term solvency without cutting benefits. (Source: 9/12/2012 Press Release as posted to the Congresswoman's website)

The Schakowsky plan is considerably closer to what I was previously talking about a plan that included cutting waste and improving efficiency, but which focused on Keynesian stimulus and job creation ideas. The Schakowsky plan IS the Progressive answer to the CONSERVATIVE Bowles-Simpson proposal.

And, if I am "so brazenly to the Left" as Willis asserts, then so too must Jan Schakowsky, as well as other critics of Bowles-Simpson, including Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, who "criticized the deficit report for omitting a tax on the financial industry, as was recommended by the International Monetary Fund" and Paul Krugman, who wrote that "Simpson-Bowles... raises the Social Security retirement age because life expectancy has risen completely ignoring the fact that life expectancy has only gone up for the well-off and well-educated, while stagnating or even declining among the people who need the program most".

Lastly, I have to wonder why the hell names like Francis Boyle and Bill Ayers are added to the mix of people he THINKS I view as "mainstream". They aren't. And I've actually spoken against the views/actions of both of these individuals. Not that it matters, I suppose, as in the minds of the idiots who post/comment on the "Contra O'Reilly" blog disagreement by me somehow becomes agreement.

Hence the reference by Willis to me quoting Joseph Stalin, which he thinks I did to "butress my opinion"... a claim that is complete bullpucky. That I quoted Stalin (which I did) to "buttress my opinion" (I did not) was something Willis imagined happened.

And in regards to imagining things, commenter Dennis Marks added canards concerning me defending "Noam Chomsky's pro-Khmer Rouge views [and] Mao worshipper Van Jones [by equating] Maoism to ending police brutality".

The truth is these are both vile lies (although quite typical for the scumbag Marks). *If* Noam Chomsky HAD "pro-Khmer Rouge" views I would NOT defend them. And *if* Van Jones was a "Mao worshipper" I would not defend that either. Both assertions are false, however [2][3]. Also, Maoism has nothing to do with ending police brutality. Van Jone belonged to a group that read the writings of Mao AND advocated against police brutality. But these were two separate things. The advocating against police brutality did not come from the reading of literature by Mao (there is/was no linkage).

In any case, Mr. Jones has changed his mind in regards "world-views and philosophies" that he experimented with in his youth. Van Jones now firmly believes our regulated market system is the best way to achieve desired reforms that will allow the middle class and working poor to prosper.

    Footnotes & Supporting Articles
  1. "Like a lot of technocrats, Bowles is a conservative Democrat who has struggled to find a niche in elective politics". Source: Keep Erskine Bowles Away from Treasury By Timothy Noah, The New Republic 11/8/2012.
  2. The boring truth about Chomsky: he does not support Pol Pot by Michael Brull, The Drum 7/5/2011.
  3. Severe Conservative Delusions: Van Jones Maoist Edition by Dervish Sanders, SWTD #144 5/6/2013

SWTD #266. See also TADM #50.

Friday, July 11, 2014

On Willis Hart Lying About Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee Asserting that the U.S. Border With Mexico is Secure

...more than 30% of undocumented migrant laborers in the U.S. are victims of labor trafficking - or recruiting a person for labor through force, fraud, or coercion for involuntary servitude, debt bondage, or even slavery - and 55% are victims of other labor abuses ~ Quote via the Public Health Watch blog from a recent study published in the May issue of The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science by researchers Sheldon X. Zhang, Michael W. Spiller, Brian Karl Finch and Yang Qin. (Study Finds Shocking Rates Of Trafficking, Abuse Of Undocumented Immigrant Workers).

The following post; a commentary which is complete and utter bullplop, from the blog of the liar known as Willis Hart...

Willis Hart: "On Congresswoman, Sheila Jackson-Lee, Asserting that the U.S. Border With Mexico is Secure"... I'll take, "Just One More Pitch-Perfect Example of Why We Need to Vote Every Single One of these Cork-Soakers Out of Office", for a thousand, Alex. (Posted to the blog "Contra O'Reilly" on 7/10/2014 at 4:56pm).

Problem is, Congresswoman Jackson Lee (Rep from Texas' 18th) did NOT straight up say the US/Mexico border is "secure"... and the following transcript proves it! (Transcript of a 7/10/2014 discussion between Sheila Jackson Lee and MSNBC Live anchor Craig Melvin).

Via the Breitbart website...

Jackson Lee: [T]hen on the other end, Craig, we have got to be able to deal with their care and then deal with our border. I disagree that our border is in devastating condition. Our border patrol agents are doing their job.

Melvin: Do you think the border is secure?

Jackson Lee: Craig, here what I think. I think you have not looked to this issue except for this rising migration.

Melvin: Congresswoman, this is - this is a very simple question, yes or no, are our borders secure?

Jackson Lee: I think our border with now 21,000 border patrol agents is under control. We need to give them more resources, more equipment and they can stand to have more support as it relates to the increasing of those numbers that may come through the supplemental. There's a large amount of money for increasing numbers of border patrol and ICE officers. But I would not cry fire to suggest that our border patrol agents are not on the job. They are on the job. I have spoken to them. I have been on the border, I have been on the Rio Grande. I have been on the border at night. ("Shelia Jackson-Lee: I disagree that our border is in devastating condition", 7/10/2014).

"Under control" and "not in devastating condition" is the same as saying it is "secure"??? Also note that SJL says our border agents need MORE resources, MORE equipment and MORE support. This amounts to SJL saying the border is secure? Her saying MORE resources are needed?? I think not, Willis, you liar! In any case, I agree with The Economist, which says "The US-Mexico border [is] secure enough".

The Economist: Spending billions more on fences and drones will do more harm than good. ...border enforcement costs $18 billion a year, more than all other federal criminal-law-enforcement agencies combined. ... Most of America's 2,000-mile southern border is tighter than it has ever been. Greater use of surveillance technology may reduce crossings further. Yet the growth in numbers from Central America shows how strong the "push" factors behind migration remain. America's politicians may or may not find a way to declare the border "secure". But if Mexico's economy stutters, or violent crime soars again, the magnets of high wages, jobs and security across the border will prove too powerful for many to resist. (Excerpt from a 6/22/2013 article).

The article also notes that Republican Senator John Cornyn refuses to talk immigration reform until "the southern border is 90% secure", yet some estimates say it is already 87% secure. This "secure the border" meme is, in other words, a political ploy.

One that the Hartster has clearly fallen for. And I thought he knew better. I mean, the dude has argued for more immigration (to provide cheap labor for the plutocrats' factories, in order that they don't have to go overseas when they are desirous of exploiting workers).

The truth is, we spend way too much on border security. A much better use of these monies would be enforcement of laws that say you must be an American citizen (or have a work visa) to secure employment in the United States.

That is the reason people cross our Southern border... for jobs. No jobs; no reason to come. But wealth-worshippers like the Hartster know that is the LAST thing the plutocrats want (to cut off their supply of cheap labor).

That is why Republicans misdirect with baloney about "securing the border". And playing to the xenophobia of their base helps them accomplish their goal of keeping illegal workers illegal.

With a path to citizenship the illegal workers could come out of the shadows; the shadows where they have no choice but to tolerate being pushed around by employers who tell them they must accept low wages and unsafe working conditions or be reported to ICE.

The "secure the borders" crowd is a part of the deception designed to keep wages low for low-skilled legal workers, as well as aid those who traffick and abuse undocumented immigrant workers! And Willis Hart, with his dishonest commentary about Sheila Jackson-Lee aligns himself with these people! For that I say, shame on you, Willis!

SWTD #265. See also OST #26.

Friday, July 04, 2014

On The South, AKA the "Stupid States", Voting Republican

The question of why poor people vote Republican is not simply an issue of income but primarily race and partly region and gender. Poor people may be more likely to vote Democrat; poor white people are not ~ Gary Younge writting for The Guardian in a 10/29/2012 article, "Working class voters: why America's poor are willing to vote Republican".

The following is an excerpt from the Thom Hartmann Radio Program, 3/13/2012, which I edited for brevity and clarity. Have Right to Work laws made people in the Southern states stupid? Thom answers a caller's question.

Caller: I was wondering, what divides us intellectually from Mississippi and Alabama? Why are those states deemed as being the "stupid states"?

Thom: A lot of it has to do with the history of labor. During the industrialization of the United States, in the 1920s through the 40s... The Wagner Act (National Labor Relations Act or NLRA) was passed in 1935 and Union shops started, and the South started unionizing just like the North did. Although most of the industrial activity was still in the North. The South was still largely agricultural, although there was a lot of textile work going on in the south... a lot of clothing being made. And people were forming unions.

Then, in 1946 the Republicans took both the House and Senate for the first time since the crash of 1929. They only held the House for 2 years... they lost the House for over 30 years - they didn't get it back until the year Newt swept the House in 1994. So, during that 2 years they did a lot of damage.

Harry Truman proposed a bill that would give everyone in American free health care. It was Medicare Part E, basically... they shot that down. They then passed a bill called the Taft-Hartley Act (Labor–Management Relations Act) which said that individual states could opt out of the provisions of the National Labor Relations Act [Congress overrode Truman's veto]. If a majority of people in a workplace voted for a union, that was fine, but not everybody had to participate in that union. Which basically makes it real easy for employers to bust unions, and radically reduces the benefits, both to the union and the union employees, of having a union.

The Southern states were the first to jump on this bandwagon and they all became right-to-work-for-less states, very, very quickly. And so, since the 40s they've had lower wages... in the average right-to-work-for-less state people make 5 thousand dollars a year less than they do in a free bargaining state. They are also twice as likely to die on the job.

Now we're almost 3 generations away from this, and I would say that's the largest single reason. Because there was less [tax] revenue [because workers were earning less], there was less money for education and people were stuck in cyclical poverty. It's a genuine tragedy.

END Thom Hartman Program excerpt. If you are a subscriber to the Thom Hartmann program podcast, the location of this segment of audio can be found at 17:50 to 21:21 of Hour 2 on Tuesday March 13, 2012.

My Commentary: Keeping wages low for average workers is ABSOLUTELY the reason why the south is essentially a solid, grim block of poverty. I say this in agreement with a recent post on the excellent blog "Progressive Eruptions", a blog where the proprietor, Shaw Kenawe pointed out the following...

...the south is a solid bloc of conservative voting. This is what southern conservative leaders have done for the citizens who vote against their best interests by keeping those conservatives in office. And here is the result of their failed conservative policies. Nothing but misery has "trickled down" to these southern states. (H/T to Progressive Eruptions. Posted on 7/3/2014 at 7:25am).

And why is the South solidly Republican? The answer is slavery and the Civil Rights legislation signed by LBJ in 1964, previous to which it was the Democratic Party that supported Slavery and racism. But that all changed when Democrats flipped to support to equality and Republicans (several years later) took up the mantle of White racism in order to win the South.

Wikipedia, Solid South: ...beginning in the 1960s, Southern support for the Democratic Party started to decline given its national leaders' support of the civil rights movement, including school integration. The Republican Party began to make new gains in the South, building on other cultural conflicts as well.

In 1968, President Richard Nixon's Southern Strategy is credited with allowing either the Republicans or Southern Democrat George Wallace's independent campaign to keep much of the South out of the Democratic column at the presidential level.

The South continued to send an overwhelmingly Democratic delegation to Congress until the Republican Revolution of 1994. Today, the South is considered a Republican stronghold at all levels above the local level, with Republicans holding majorities in every state except Arkansas and Kentucky after 2010. Political experts have often cited a southernization of politics following the fall of the Solid South.

The South's history of slavery and racism and Republican Party's desire to pander to these voters is why the South is today solidly for the GOP. And the South is poorer than the rest of the nation due to the Republican Party being the party of the wealthy and big business...

From a business perspective... the loyalties of the parties did not really switch. ...the Republicans remain, throughout, the party of bigger businesses; it's just that in the earlier era bigger businesses want bigger government and in the later era they don't. ...earlier on, businesses needed things that only a bigger government could provide, such as infrastructure development, a currency and tariffs. Once these things were in place, a small, hands-off government became better for business. (excerpt from a 6/14/2014 post from the Soadhead blog "Why Did the Democratic and Republican Parties Switch Platforms". Authorship attributed to "Sharon" with quotations from Eric Rauchway, a professor of American history at the University of California, Davis).

So, the flipped platforms referred to in blog excerpt above is in reference to support for Big Government. The Republicans used to support Big Government and now they do not. But they obviously ALSO flipped on the issue of support for African Americans, going from supporting ending slavery to opposing equality/civil rights legislation.

And this is the same Republican Party that began as a reform party that initially opposed slavery. But the priority of pandering to the wealthy won out and the decision was made (by Nixon) that the racist White vote was needed in order to win elections, which is why the Republicans and Democrats flipped positions on the issue of racism; after LBJ signed the Civil Rights Legislation of 1964 the GOP became the new home for America's racists.

And the South is decidedly poorer and dumber as a result. Poorer because big business does not want to pay as low of a wage as possible to workers, and with Republicans in control, they get what they want (Right-to-work legislation). Dumber because, as research has shown, poverty makes people less intelligent.

Image Description: This map shows U.S. poverty rates, which are highest in the south. Red-shaded states indicate poverty rates between 17.9 and 22.8 percent. Orange is 15,9-17.8 percent. Light orange indicates 12.2-15.8 percent, and yellow indicates 9-12.1 percent (source: These Nine Maps Show How The GOP is Destroying Southern States by John Prager from Americans Against The Tea Party, 3/6/2014).


SWTD #264

The Irrational Hypocrite Strikes Again; Breaks Own Rule & Discusses "Old Bones"

Because hypocrisy stinks in the nostrils one is likely to rate it as a more powerful agent for destruction than it is ~ Rebecca West (12/21/1892 to 3/15/1983) a British author, journalist, literary critic and travel writer. A prolific, protean author who wrote in many genres, West was committed to feminist and liberal principles.

A blogger who (ironically?) calls himself "Rational Nation" has a STRICT policy against discussing what he calls "old bones". What is in the past should stay in the past, given that it is over and done with and we can therefore do nothing about it. Discussion on said topic is pointless.

Or that might be one rationale for someone to call a topic "old bones" and chastise those who bring it up. Or it might be a defense mechanism designed to prevent conversation on a topic the objector does not like. In the case of the "rational" individual that topic is any criticism of former preznit bush and his illegal wars launched while our nation was in shock after 9-11. A shock the former criminal administration used to steal from the American people via war profiteering.

I recently brought this up on the rAtional oNe's blog and was immediately shot down. My comment and the "rational" response as follows...

Dervish Sanders: The Bush Family profited greatly as a result of the war with Iraq. Yeah, I know that's an "old bone" according to RN and one other who comments here, but why, simply because the former prez is no longer prez should no one be outraged by this? (6/28/2914 at 01:30:00 PM EDT).

"rAtional" nAtion uSA: It is old bones and GWB is not a war criminal which I know you have proffered in the past. Having said that O I have no problem putting into motion such actions that would make that impossible in the future. (6/28/2014 at 02:20:00 PM EDT).

Huh. Mr. Nation has "no problem putting into motion such actions that would make that impossible in the future". But why would Congress do this? Given that the rAtional oNe wishes everyone to not discuss any transgressions of the bush administration, which involves any discussion of war profiteering that took place. Why put anything into place when there is no reason (no reason that we're discussing, in any case).

Those who don't remember the past are doomed to repeat it. Perhaps that is what the rAtional oNe desires? Who knows. Also, who brought up bush's war crimes? I didn't mention them. I didn't use the term "war criminal" in any case, although war profiteering might be considered a war crime. I'm not sure. Surely I would deem it to be highly immoral.

But whatever immoralities or war crimes those in the former bush administration might have indulged in are "old bones" and thus not worthy of discussion. Which is why you'll NEVER see the rAtional oNe mention them, except to chide anyone who might do something as pointless as bring up anything that might have anything to do with such things.

Nope. No way Mr. Nation would write and submit a comment like this one...

"rAtional" nAtion uSA: GWB, elected to office twice. Playing to the fears and reality of 9/11 he was able to advance rather idiotic agenda, Afghanistan excepted of course. Although he. couldn't even get the job done there cause he had to turn to Iraq. Big scare over phantom WMD and all.

Yep, historians are going to have a blast with the dude's legacy down the road. Oh, did I mention his poor (very) economic and fiscal policies? I hate say it, but GWB indeed managed to screw up his wet dream. (7/1/2014 at 7:58pm).

But this is a genuine comment (from the blog Contra O'Reilly). The rAtional oNe actually wrote it. I wonder if he "hates to say it" because it makes him a hypocrite? No, that couldn't be it. And he's largely correct, excepting Afghanistan, of course (both wars were illegal). But this is ALL "old bones", as the rAtional individual would say. Discussion of this nature is strictly verboten. On his blog as well as on ANY blog that this rAtional dude might view... and that includes MY OWN BLOG!

On 9/28/2013 I authored a post for this blog in which I offered my thoughts on a discussion with one of the liars who sold us the Iraq war. The commentary was my response to an airing of the Thom Hartmann radio program in which Thom interviewed bush war criminal Douglas Feith.

In response to this commentary Mr. Nation scolded me due to my foolishness in bringing up a topic that nobody cares about.

"rAtional" nAtion uSA: Do you think Mr. Sanders that anyone is concerned with this any longer other than yourself? Inquiring minds want to know. (10/01/2013 at 10:17pm).

Ok, if nobody cares, why did this supposed rAtional person author a comment on Willis Hart's "Contra O'Reilly" in which he brought up "old bones" like bush exploiting the fear that gripped the nation following 9/11? SURELY the rAtional oNe would not let me get away with such a comment... on his blog or on any blog where he comments. Not even on my own blog. "Old bones" would, withOUT a doubt, be a phrase included in a reply Mr. Nation would be sure to submit if he saw me make such a comment.

And if the rAtional guy reads this... he KNOWS I speak the truth. Also, in regards to the "phantom WMD", I know another commenter who would object to that narrative. That person wouldn't be me, of course, but another that frequents the "rAtional" blog. This is a person who is absolutely convinced that Saddam had WMD and the invasion NEEDED to happen in order to "disarm" him. This fool even goes so far as to claim that it wasn't bush who started the war (with his invasion) but Saddam!

In any case, I don't know why someone who is supposedly so rAtional would concern himself with things he deems to be old bones while believing others should not discuss them. I'm going with hypocrisy. No, make that astounding hypocrisy that stinks in my nostrils (a stink that I've reported on previously).

But I'm guessing that this rAtional mAn only objects when CERTAIN people bring up such topics. I know I'm in that group. Others are likely added (or excluded) by the rAtional hYpocrite as he sees fit.

SWTD #263

Thursday, June 19, 2014

On The Lunkheadedness Of A Wealth-Worshiping Koch-Loving Prevaricator

...what makes us angrier? 25 million dollars from conservative business owners who fix elections, suppress voters and shape policies which negatively impact million of Black folks nationwide? Or the fact that our schools can't afford to tell the Koch brothers' where to shove it? ~ Jarrett L. Carter, in regards to a Koch Brothers donation to the United Negro College Fund. (Quote excerpted from his 6/11/2014 article, "Koch Brothers' UNCF Gift Is Worst Symptom of HBCU Financial Crisis".

A lie about me from the blog of one "Will Hart" is what I will be addressing with this post. Because if he's going to specifically mention me on his blog - and interject a big fat whopper about me into a post that would otherwise have nothing todo with me - well, I've got no choice but to author a response. Regardless of whether or not he reads it (and I am quite positive he will not).

Will Hart: "On the Koch Brothers Donating $25,000,000 to the United Nergro College Fund"... By my count that's approximately $24,999,999 more than wd and the rest of those lunkheads (aka experts at spending other people's money) have ever donated to the thing. (6/16/2014 AT 5:03pm).

Apparently a "lunkhead" in the dictionary of Will Hart is someone who does not worship wealth as he does. So what if they donated a ton of money to whatever charitable group? That hardly makes up for all the evil they do. By "evil", I mean, fund causes (think tanks, campaigns, etc) in an attempt to steer our government in a more Libertarian direction. So they can pay workers less, pollute more, pay less in taxes, etc.

Everything I, as a Democrat on the side of hard working Americans, am opposed to. So they spend some of their vast fortune in an attempt to buy some goodwill? Lunkheads like Will Hart lap it up. In their minds "we the people" shouldn't be deciding what causes are of value to society (and should receive funding). Those decisions should be left up to the wealthy people he loves and worships (metaphorically, not literally).

In regards to the LIE, I never said a damn thing (on the blog of Willis or elsewhere) about how the Kochs should spend "their" money. "Their" in quotes because - If the country were run the way I believe it should be - they'd be forced to pay workers more and to contribute more in taxes.

Or, they wouldn't exist because we wouldn't need them. Wouldn't need them because a lot more businesses would be co-ops. Businesses owned by workers so that the majority of the profits go to the people who actually do the work and not parasites who benefit from the labor of others.

That said, I'm a believer in capitalism and certainly do not wish to flip us to any kind of communist system. The Koch brothers are free to do with "their" money as they see fit. That I've EVER said one word about me spending their money is a complete and total fabrication. Although the dishonest Hartster refers to taxation. But tax monies, once collected, no longer belongs to whomever it was collected from... you idiot!

Also, in regards to Rusty Schmuckelford saying "you wont see [other Lefty bloggers including] WD... give any credit to the Koch brothers... they will just try to denigrate them" - I say... damn straight.

Rusty also lumps "Rational Nation" (the blogger I oft refer to as "Lester") into that group, and in response to that Lester posted the following...

Lester Nation: ...reason tells me their philanthropic endeavors are carefully selected to serve their interests. IOW, where they get the biggest bang for their millions. Not much different than Soros actually. (6/17/2014 AT 5:28am).

I actually agree with Lester. Although in the case of George Soros, he is on the side that wishes to raise the taxes of folks like him... quite UNLIKE the Koch Brothers. So Lester is WAY wrong in that regard. He isn't, at least, as naive as Willis or Schmuckelford.

It should be noted that the UNCF President/CEO - who DEFENDED accepting the gift that will go to historically black colleges and universities) - said the purpose of the Koch donation was to "to give the impression of support for Black people without the troublesome task of directly doing so".

Indeed.

So, does that mean I think the UNCF should have told the Kochs to shove their donation? I surely wish they could have comfortably done that (because they did not desperately need it). But I'm not going to say they should have rejected the money (not my decision to make in any case). I am, however, going to agree with the criticisms of the Kochs by Jarrett L. Carter (as quoted at the top of my commentary).

The Kochs are the worst of the worst when it comes to plutocrats bribing our politicians and spending their ill-gotten gains to corrupt our political system in their favor. And the Kochs most certainly are in favor of suppressing votes and shaping policies which negatively impact millions of Black folks nationwide. Given that, there is no way in hell I would even think of praising them (even to a tiny degree) for this attempt to buy goodwill.

Although it clearly worked in regards to gullible lunkheads and stooges like Willis and Schmuckelford.

SWTD #262

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

On "Their" Being Something Missing From An Idiot Blogger's Healthcare Free Market Magic Argument

Thirty-two of the thirty-three developed nations have universal health care, with the United States being the lone exception ~ quote from True Cost, a blog on American policy, economics, and social issues, as examined through the concept of "true cost".

Lester Nation, an individual I frequently disagree with recently made a comment on the blog of Will Hart which I believe has some merit to it.

Lester Nation: I'm wondering if their is something missing here. I recall seeing an actual bill for childbirth back in the day. Total cost just over 300 dollars. Ever shopped for health insurance on the private market? It's interesting that prices for comparable plans Don't vary much and prices never seem to come down. (6/10/2014 AT 7:42 PM).

This is in response to a Will Hart Libertarian-bullplop "the free market can solve all our problems" screed... as follows...

On the Idiotic Assertion that Competition Won't Bring Down the Cost of Healthcare Because Healthcare is a Necessity... This is an easy one to refute, folks. All that you have to do is compare healthcare spending as percentage of GDP prior to Medicare and Medicaid with that of what it's been since these programs. And here's the evidence. For the first 180 years or so of the republic, healthcare spending as a percentage of GDP was consistently in the low to middle single-digits, and it wasn't until government got massively involved (in the 1960s) that the numbers started skyrocketing. And the reasons for this are obvious. Whenever government gets into the business of subsiding something, the cost of that something invariably escalates. That, and the third-party payment system acts as a disincentive for folks to shop around and be better consumers, take better care of themselves, etc.. I mean, I know that the phrase, "getting rid of the middle man", has gotten a little clicheish over the years but in this instance I gotta go along with it. (6/10/2014 AT 7:23pm).

Like the Word Salad Man I am also wondering if "their" is something missing. Scratch that... I'm positive THERE is something missing... because I know what it is. Missing from Will's analysis of the healthcare market is the fact that other industrialized nations have Single Payer insurance. And THEIR subsidization is very high. However, their costs are much lower. But Will foolishly overlooks this fact to make his magical "free market" argument.

Turns out it is Will Hart's nonsense that is easy to refute. We really SHOULD get rid of the "middle man" and costs really would come down. Except we should replace the middle man who greedily desires huge profits (the private HC insurance companies) and replace them with a middle man that will do the job for no profit. That would be Single payer, a middle man insurance setup (and we do need to do this via insurance) where everything is under the control of We The People.

So, REALLY, why did health care costs being skyrocketing in the 60s? Will Hart blames government subsidization, and foolishly says it's "obvious" that "whenever government gets into the business of subsiding something, the cost of that something invariably escalates".

Sorry, but no, that was NOT the reason. As Forbes points out, in an article titled the "capitalist case for nonprofit health insurance", the reason for the costs going up was because we switched from a nonprofit to a profit model.

financial writer John Girouard: If you want to know what went wrong with our healthcare system and the best way to fix it, all you have to do is look back a few decades to a time when health care was a community concern, considered as essential as any public utility. ... Blue Cross, the most recognizable name, began in 1929 as a tax-exempt insurer covering a community of teachers in Dallas. Blue Shield was started as a tax-exempt insurer to cover employees of mining and lumber companies in the Pacific Northwest, with a group of local doctors providing care through a service bureau. We lost the positive aspects of affiliation health insurance starting in the 1960s and through the 1980s when Wall Street discovered there was money to be made turning nonprofit health insurers, hospitals and nursing homes into investor-owned companies. (Link to the 10/12/2009 article).

The greed of Wall Street is why the United States did not go the route of the other 32 developed nations. By the way, the "True Cost" blog says "the US will have universal health care in 2014 using an insurance mandate system" but this is not true given the SCOTUS decision that individual states could refuse the Medicaid expansion. Those too poor to afford HCI in those states still are without access. As a result 5.7 million Americans in 24 states that could otherwise qualify for Medicaid have been left behind - that is according to the White House website.

In addition, a transition to Single Payer is at least feasible, unlike the foolish Hartster's idea of getting rid of HCI altogether (except for catastrophic coverage). I guess he thinks Congress will be able (and willing) to pass a law getting rid of insurance companies... then what? Some people die during the transition period as people "shopping around" begins to drive down prices.

More likely quite a few people would die before the HC providers realized they had to make due with less profit. Although I imagine a lot of hospitals would close their doors. Yeah, I think a LOT of people would be onboard for this brilliant plan of action... NOT.

And I guess he thinks that when everyone is "shopping around" for the lowest prices, the HC insurers won't gouge for that catastrophic coverage because... who the f*ck knows?

A better idea? Transition to Single Payer by allowing people to buy into Medicare. Slowly the HC insurers would go not for profit or go out of business.

Finally, the assertion that competition won't bring down costs because healthcare is a necessity is not "idiotic", it is TRUE.

Joe Flower, author of Healthcare Beyond Reform: Doing It Right for Half the Cost: For the most part, people do not access health care for fun. Recreational colonoscopies are not big drivers of health care costs. In some cases, such as cosmetic surgery or laser eye corrections, the decision is clearly one the buyer can make. It's a classic economic decision: "Do I like this enough to pay for it?" But for the most part, people only access health care because they feel they have to.

[Also]

Risk has no relation to ability to pay. A poor person does not suddenly discover an absolute need to buy a new Jaguar, but may well suddenly discover an absolute need for the services of a neurosurgeon, an oncologist, a cancer center, and everything that goes with it. And the need is truly absolute. The demand is literally, "You obtain this or you die".

A person can shop around for the lowest price, but for a market to be "free" a person must be able to decide NOT to buy at all. Supply and demand drives a free market, and, obviously, when the demand is such that people must buy your product or die, the supplier can charge more. The only thing idiotic here is that someone would be deluded enough (by Libertarian free market fantasies) to believe this is not the case.

SWTD #261. See also OST #19.