Monday, November 18, 2013

How Much Will Rachel Jeantel's 15 Minutes Continuing Irk The Haters? (Plus Tea Party Racism & Zimmerman Arrested Again)

Haters never win. I just think that's true about life, because negative energy always costs in the end ~ Thomas William (dob 2/9/1981) an English actor who played the character of Loki in the Marvel Studios films Thor (2011), The Avengers (2012), and Thor: The Dark World (2013).

This post consists of three related topics/questions, as follows... [1] Rachel Jeantel's "15 minutes of fame" continues with an Ebony article and photo shoot. How much will this irk the haters? [2] Is someone who agrees with those who say the Tea Party has a problem with racism sticking to a generic Leftist template? and [3] The killer George Zimmerman was arrested for threatening his current girlfriend with a gun. Is this guy eventually going to end up in prison for an extended period of time?

[1] Rachel Jeantel Dec/2013 Ebony Photo Shoot & My Subscription To Said Publication... Just How Much Will This Irk The Haters?

I just received the December 2013 issue of Ebony in the mail, paged though it, and found an article in the "Style/Makeover" section titled "Rachel Jeantel: New Year, New Look". This is the 7th issue of Ebony I have received, despite never subscribing to it. Honestly I have no idea why they're sending me this publication. I got a bill awhile ago, but it said that if I wanted to continue receiving Ebony I should submit payment. I figured the magazines I had received thus far were a trial subscription that Ebony had decided (for a reason unknown to me) to send me the mag for free to get me hooked.

I did not return the bill with my payment info and inform them I wanted to keep getting Ebony. I threw it away and assumed no more magazines would be sent. But still they come. And I've been reading them (most of the articles) and not disliking it... not liking it enough to subscribe, but it's an OK read for free. I also received two issues of some snowboarding magazine that I never told anyone I wanted. That magazine I paged though and looked at the pictures (and nothing else), as I have zero interest in snowboarding.

Although I do know why I got that one. I got an email from Publisher's Clearinghouse and entered their sweepstakes (a number of times)... but NEVER ordered anything. Yet they THINK I ordered the snowboarding magazine when I know I did not (not even by mistake). I emailed them when they sent me a bill and said "I did not order this and am not paying". No response. I called them when the second issue arrived and found out they had received my email and my subscription was cancelled (and I owed nothing).

I haven't contacted Ebony because the bill they sent me said I should pay if I wanted to CONTINUE my subscription. They've never said I owed them anything for the issues I've already received. If they want to send me the magazine for free that's OK with me... which is definitely NOT the case with the snowboarding mag, which I don't want, even for free. In any case, back to the Rachel Jeantel article... it is not that long and mostly concerns the "makeover". I say she looks good (see picture below). And I also say, that, although her "fame" (however long it lasts) came from a tragic incident (the murder of her friend)... still, I say "good for her". And I decided to share these feeling on my blog because I figured it is something that would irk the haters (at a minimum).

Rachel Jeantel says (in the article) that she did not seek fame. Of course not. She was there (court) to "help out a friend". Yes, she did not want to get involved at first, but that was only when she thought the police didn't need her testimony (and she did not want to get involved if she didn't have to). I say this is completely understandable, given the "media backlash" (mentioned in the article) and the racist hate it attracted from the Right (I know because many of the racist haters commented on my blog when I wrote about the murder of Trayvon Martin).

This Ebony article makes me smile when I think of something positive coming Miss Jeantel's way; after all the hatred and racism directed at her from the Right (even if it in no way makes up for the loss of Trayvon Martin, or for his killer getting away with murder). Still, it is a small victory against all the haters. My hope is that Rachel rides this train as long as she is able, and that it (her fame, even if it does not last) assists her in attaining much future success.

Let me know if you agree, or if you're a hater who disagrees (I'll publish your comment but likely ridicule it... so, if that is OK with you - hate away). BTW, I wasn't suggesting (with the underlined header that my subscription to Ebony would irk anyone, only the fact that Rachel Jeantel appeared in the magazine).

[2] Can My Pointing Out The Fact That The Tea Party Has A Racism Problem Be Described As Me Following A Leftist "Template"?

This is the racism from the Right (mostly concerning our first Black president) that, if you mention it to anyone who isn't a Lefty, is met with skepticism. I recently noted my agreement with a public figure who said the Tea Party contained racist elements, to which the Libertarian-voting Objectivist/Ayn Rand enthusiast rAtional nAtion replied by saying "As w-d sticks with the generic template".

The "generic template", according to the rAtional fEllow (if my deciphering of his comments is accurate) is that I call the Tea Party racist while ignoring the racism in the Democratic Party. Wrong-o, Mr nAtion. There are racists who identify with all political parties, it's just that the racism in the Tea Party is provably worse. And those Conservatives who disagree with it ignore and deny it, while at the same time using it to their advantage. They ignore/deny it even if they don't agree with it because any attack on Obama is good (in their minds). It gets the racists out to vote... the racist Republicans and Tea Partiers, that is.

So... in regards to the "generic template"... am I quilty of adhering to one as the rAtional oNe charges? Do the the haters of Rachel Jeantel include many Tea Partiers? While I am sure many Conservatives hate her, regardless of whether or not they identify with the Tea Party, is she hated more by Tea Party folks? These are two additional questions you may consider answering if you choose to reply to this post.

[3] George Zimmerman's History Of Domestic Abuse & Problems With Guns Meet, Again

George Zimmerman's first girlfriend (and at-the-time fiance) filed a restraining order against him predicated on a charge of domestic violence (in July of 2005). Although whenever anyone brings this up (in print or on the TV) they also mention that Zimmerman filed a reciprocal restraining order... implying that this was just a "he said, she said" case in which they were both accusing each other and therefore either could be lying (or they could both be guilty of violence against the other).

Then, following Zimmerman's acquittal in regards to the charges against him for killing Trayvon Martin, his (now ex) wife Shellie called 911 (Sept 2013) and said George had his hand on his gun and was threatening to shoot her and/or her father. She also accused him of punching her father in the nose and smashing her iPod. Afterwards she declined to press charges, although she did divorce him.

Now Zimmerman has a new girlfriend and THAT girlfriend has made similar accusations. Below I have transcribed a portion of the 11/18/2013 airing of Politics Nation hosted by Al Sharton. Why an excerpt instead of just telling you what happened in my own words? Because it will irk the haters...

Al Sharpton: Breaking news tonight, George Zimmerman arrested in Florida. At this hour Zimmerman is behind bars [picture of a bearded Zimmerman displayed on screen]... after an incident involving his girlfriend. Charged with felony aggravated assault with a weapon, domestic battery violence and criminal mischief. (excerpt from the MSNBC program "Politics Nation").

Now, according to Zimmerman (in a 911 call) he says his girlfriend went crazy on him. Zimmerman's version of events (as told to a 911 operator) is that his girlfriend - who is "pregnant with our child" - got violent after she told him to get out and he agreed to do so. Zimmerman says she started yelling and breaking her own stuff. Or his stuff. He wasn't sure. His girlfriend says Zimmerman stuck his gun in her face, but in regards to that Zimmerman says his GF has a gun and his gun is locked up. (see here for the audio of the 911 call).

In regards to this I say Zimmerman is a liar. Also, I must ask WHY would any sane female agree to shack up with this person? He has a history of abusing women and threatening them with guns. What is wrong with these women? And how the hell did Zimmerman get a GF, move in with her, and knock her up in less than 2 months time?

The question I'm going to request any reader of this commentary respond to is... will this idiot (the current GF) press charges, or will she decline to do so (like Shellie)? Also, will Zimmerman be convicted and serve some jail time (as he clearly needs to) or will this be another "he said, she said" situation where Zimmerman defends himself by lying (as he obviously did when he told "his side" of what happened the night he murdered Trayvon Martin)? And, finally, will yet another woman shack up with Zimmerman and eventually file domestic abuse charges... and in how short of a time period will that come to pass?

For the record, I know George was acquitted in the show trial, but I shall continue to say he murdered Trayvon, as that is what I believe happened. Technically he was found "not guilty", but in my mind he is a murderer.

Image Description: Rachel Jeantel post-makeover in the December 2013 issue of Ebony magazine.

Video Description: Racism Still Motivates Tea Party. In this Ring of Fire video, host Mike Papantonio & Chauncey DeVega discuss racism within the Tea Party and how the word "cracker" is NOT comparible to the N-word, 8/9/2013 (9:33).

SWTD #220, lDel #12.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Regarding The Rationale On Why Higher Education Should Be Free

...higher taxes on the wealthy can finance more investments in infrastructure and education, which are vital for growth and the economic prospects of the middle class. Higher taxes on the wealthy also allow for lower taxes on the middle -- potentially restoring enough middle class purchasing power to keep the economy going ~ Robert Reich, describing why taxing the rich is good for the economy as quoted in his 4/18/2012 article with the same title. Robert Reich (dob 1/27/1963) an American political economist, professor, author, and political commentator. He served in the administrations of Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter and was Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 1997.

I recently heard a rationale via Progressive Talker Thom Hartmann's radio program for getting rid of the for-profit higher education system we have in the US. This rational reminded me of a discussion that took place on the blog of a "Moderate" turned Libertarian from awhile back. And, after hearing Mr. Hartmann's rational, I must say that it looks like I was right, but not entirely for the reasons I thought I was.

The discussion and then the rationale from Mr. Hartmann as follows...

Dervish Sanders: I think college education (and beyond) should be free. It's an investment because people with higher levels of education get higher paying jobs and pay more in taxes over their lifetimes. (7/3/2011 AT 4:48pm).

Libertarian Blogger: Oh, free college education now! Do you have ANY idea how expensive that would be? And do you even care? We'll pay for it by taxing the rich, right? (7/3/2011 AT 9:00pm).

Thom Hartmann: In my new book, The Crash of 2016, I point out that one of a number a possible triggers for the next major stock market crash is a widespread default on student loan debt. That's a time bomb, but, what's really interesting is that it would cost the federal government about 125 billion dollars a year to provide everyone in the country with basically a free college education. We spend about 121 billion dollars a year administering, overseeing, checking for fraud and subsidizing our loan program. I think we should have a jubilee... forgive all student debt and then start providing people with free college education, it's our intellectual infrastructure. (The Thom Hartmann Program, 8/23/2013, 27:47-28:43 of the first hour of the THP podcast).

When I made my comment on Mr. LB's blog I was making the same argument as former Clinton administration Labor Secretary Robert Reich (as quoted at the top of my post)... and that was without knowing how much it would cost. And Mr. LB is right when he asked "do you even care". I did not because I know that such investments return more than what they cost (as I pointed out). But why the hell are we spending only slightly less (4 billion, according to Mr. Hartmann) so banksters can make money? This is more corporate welfare that we don't need. Also, clearly Mr. LB didn't care (or know) how much the cost would be, or how paying to send qualified individuals to college is an investment (and that is how we should look at it).

Yes, more people would likely go to college if it were free (and all you needed to do was qualify), so the amount would likely rise from 125 billion... but, again, it is an INVESTMENT. And, this criticism is from an individual who constantly criticizes and insults American workers who have "chimpanzee jobs" (he wants to offshore them) and says "we have a shortage of skilled workers", but then slams the idea of "we the people" via our government making an investment to solve the problem!

Sounds to me like this dude simply hates the government and irrationally places his faith in the "free market" to solve our problems... but the only problem the "free market" has any interest in solving is accruing more profit to itself. That is the only goal of the plutocrats, what's best for the nation be damned. IMO, either the people who subscribe to this nonsense (the free market as a solution to all our problems) are either fools who allow their idolizing of the wealthy to blind them to reality (such a fool can be recognized by the things they say such as "I love billionaires"), or have some financial incentive to spread their "free market" lies (they work for a billionaire funded institution).

Proof of this irrational hatred is a ridiculous insistence that no matter what the government attempts to do, it gets the exact opposite result. For example, if it attempts to tackle the poverty problem (LBJ and the Great Society), it makes poverty worse... and if it invests in our intellectual infrastructure... wanna guess what happens?...

Libertarian Blogger: I would also submit that a huge reason for the skyrocketing costs of higher education is the fact that the government continuously subsidizes it. (11/14/2013 AT 9:16pm).

In explaining his BS statement Mr. LB says "when you subsidize something, you increase demand. When you increase demand, you increase the price"... and then makes his case by informing his readers that "nearly 40% of the kids who take these subsidies never even graduate". Obviously (in his mind) these 40 percent never should have attempted college to begin with.

While it may be the case that some of these students who dropped out shouldn't have gone that route, but the way to weed out these people should not be to take away government subsidized government loans. Mr. LB thinks it's just the poorer kids who start college but don't finish it? Clearly he believes the only reason anyone would quit is because they never should have gone to college to begin with (they realized they weren't cut out for college, I guess). But neither of these suppositions are necessarily true.

Notice how all the assumptions that Mr. LB makes lead to one conclusion? That conclusion being that who goes to college should be based on ability to pay. He also approves of this kind of discrimination in the health care insurance arena, insisting that Single-Payer would result in rationing. But we have rationing NOW. Again, based on ability to pay. Me, I think the problem of people starting college and not finishing is likely more often than not money related (the student can't afford to continue). But, for those who drop out because they decide they can't hack it... perhaps we can blame the admissions officers who took their money instead of counseling them to consider (for example) trade school?

Whatever the case may be I agree with Mr. Hartmann, in that paying for the college or trade school education of qualified individuals is an investment in our intellectual infrastructure. Higher learning isn't a commodity we should be looking to keep the price down on by deciding who should be able to attend based on ability to pay (or ability to get some kind of scholarship, of which there are only so many to go around). There are other ways to lower the cost of a college or trade school degree.

Higher education should be free because, in the end the taxpayer would come out ahead... those who attend and graduate end up making more over their lifetimes and therefore pay more in taxes. We make our money back, in other words. Not only due to the higher educated person paying more in taxes, but also because people with higher incomes have more money to spend into the economy, thereby stimulating economic growth that benefits everyone.

Video Description: Obama unveils plan to lower college costs, 8/22/2013 (2:08).

SWTD #219, wDel #42.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Libertarian BS About The Great Society Subsidizing Poverty

from 1963 when Lyndon Johnson took office until 1970 as the impact of his Great Society programs were felt, the portion of Americans living below the poverty line dropped from 22.2 percent to 12.6 percent, the most dramatic decline over such a brief period in this century ~ Joseph A. Califano Jr. (dob 5/15/1931) Special Assistant to President Lyndon B. Johnson (7/26/1965 to 1/20/1969).

If there is one thing that Libertarians absolutely can not stand it is the idea that government can be a force to affect positive economic or societal change. Fact is, Libertarians strongly believe that government can't do anything right. One of their favorite pastimes is running down government and heaping praise on the so-called "free market". It's the answer to all our problems, doncha know?

If they aren't demonizing government, an institution that represents The People and works on their behalf (in so far as they haven't been bribed by the wealthy elites), then Libertarians are demonizing poor people; and the demonization of both is exemplified in this recent post by a Libertarian blog I check in from time to time.

Libertarian blogger: The poverty rate was coming down precipitously in this country and for the most part people weren't having children out of wedlock, and then came the Great Society. Thank you so much, the political class. ...this is one hell of a strong correlation and you know, YOU KNOW, that if the trend-lines had been plotted out in the opposite direction the left would have been singing and dancing that it was some sort of proof-positive that the Great Society was effective. And the fact that it makes such total fucking sense. Of course when you subsidize something you're going to get more of it. Hello! (11/12/2013 AT 7:43pm).

The poverty rate was coming down because our economy was growing due to industrialization and continuing innovation, for which, yes, we can thank the so-called "free market". But the reason EVERYONE benefited is because of the existence of unions; organizations that allowed workers to bargain for their share of the wealth. According to Mr. Libertarian Blogger (Mr. LB) Democrats can't blame Reagan, but it was Reagan who kicked off his presidency by declaring a war on working people, as Liberal Talker Thom Hartmann points out in his 2006 book Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle Class...

Thom Hartmann: We can easily trace decline [of unionization] to Reagan's first public declaration of war on the middle class when he went after the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) in 1981. He broke the back of the air-traffic controllers' union and began the practice of using the Department of Labor - traditionally the ally of workers - against organized labor and working people. (Excerpt from Thom's book reprinted by Alternet, 9/5/2006).

If you look at the graph Mr. LB includes with his post to "prove" that LBJ's war on poverty actually subsidized poverty and therefore increased it, you will get the impression that the Great Society didn't have much of an impact, but that is because the graph covers such a large period of time (1940-2010) and all the programs that comprised the Great Society were not actually fully in effect for very long, as noted by Wikipedia...

Wikipedia/The Great Society/The War On Poverty: The War on Poverty [began with] the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, which created the OEO to oversee a variety of community-based antipoverty programs. ... The OEO was dismantled by the Nixon and Ford administrations, largely by transferring poverty programs to other government departments. Funding for many of these programs were further cut in President Ronald Reagan's first budget in 1981.

Mr. Libertarian Blogger is criticizing a program that began in 1964 and for which the dismantling commenced only 5 years later (under Nixon who assumed office in 1969)? And, then there is the fact that Johnson got us involved in the Vietnam war the previous year (1963) and "Anti-war Democrats complained that spending on the Vietnam War choked off the Great Society". So, the programs were under-funded due to money spend on the Vietnam conflict, which brings us to what the actual criticism should be... a criticism the Lefty publication The Nation notes was levied by Martin Luther King...

Mark Engler, writing for The Nation: King criticized Johnson's War on Poverty for being too piecemeal. While housing programs, job training and family counseling were not themselves unsound, he wrote that "all have a fatal disadvantage. The programs have never proceeded on a coordinated basis... At no time has a total, coordinated and fully adequate program been conceived". (Dr. Martin Luther King's Economics: Through Jobs, Freedom 1/15/2010).

The obvious conclusion is that the Great Society didn't do enough and it didn't do it long enough. Mr. LB did not present "one hell of a strong correlation" that the Great Society caused poverty to increase, as the short while that it was in place it did have an effect (as Joseph A. Califano Jr. points out in the quote at the top of my post).

As for the graph and conclusion drawn from it by Mr. LB that out-of-wedlock births have increased (again) due to the Great Society... this is a simple-minded conclusion (the kind of conclusions Conservatives and Libertarians excel at). The Brookings Institute analyzed the data, and their conclusion was that out-of-wedlock births in the United States increased due to "technology shock".

The researchers lay out their hypothesis as follows...

Brookings: In the late 1960s and very early 1970s (well before Roe v. Wade in January 1973) many major states, including NY and CA, liberalized their abortion laws. At about the same time it became easier for unmarried people to obtain contraceptives. ... We have found that this rather sudden increase in the availability of both abortion and contraception [caused] reproductive technology shock... In our view, it was the technology shock itself that, by eroding the age-old custom of shotgun marriage, paradoxically raised out-of-wedlock birth rates instead of lowering them. (An Analysis of Out-Of-Wedlock Births in the United States by George A. Akerlof and Janet L. Yellen of Brookings, 8/1996).

Why? Brookings concludes that...

Brookings: Women who were willing to get an abortion or who reliably used contraception no longer found it necessary to condition sexual relations on a promise of marriage in the event of pregnancy. But women who wanted children, who did not want an abortion for moral or religious reasons, or who were unreliable in their use of contraception found themselves pressured to participate in premarital sexual relations without being able to exact a promise of marriage in case of pregnancy. (same credit as previous quote).

Thus out of wedlock births increased. Granted, this explanation is a little more complicated and nuanced than the one put forward by Libertarians and Conservatives who think like Mr. LB. It makes sense to me, in any case. More so than the notion that poor people prefer to live in poverty, so long as they're getting welfare from the government... and a poor woman will have kids out of wedlock on purpose just to get more bennies. Regarding that argument Brookings said...

Brookings: One argument that appeals to conservatives is that of Charles Murray, who attributes the increase to overly generous federal welfare benefits. But... welfare benefits could not have played a major role in the rise of out-of-wedlock births because benefits rose sharply in the 1960s and then fell in the 1970s and 1980s, when out-of-wedlock births rose most. (same credit as previous Brookings excerpt).

However, as I pointed out earlier, demonizing the poor is something Libertarians and Conservatives excel at. If you say the government can't help the poor (and in fact it makes poverty worse) then no money need be spent on these types of programs. There is therefore no need to tax the wealthy to help the less fortunate (as it only harms them). And, let us not forget that it's their own fault for being lazy and preferring to lie back in the social safety net hammock instead of working hard to get ahead.

But most people do not prefer to only get by. Most people do work hard but simply can't get ahead... as the plutocrats are taking more and more, which is easier for them to do since Reagan and his war on unions. It certainly is no coincidence that Libertarians and Conservatives also hate unions, as unions allow workers to bargain for higher wages. Also, it is no coincidence that Libertarians and Conservatives love free trade, as that also drives down wages for working folks. Hello!

SWTD #218, wDel #41.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Clueless Ayn Rand Worshiping Objectivist Concerned About Wealth Inequality Doesn't Realize His Ideology Fosters It

Oh, for an honest Libertarian who would say "Yes, in Libertopia we'd have rampant quackery, organ-seizure, baby-selling, slavery in all but name - BUT THAT'S FREEDOM! ~ Seth Finkelstein, programmer and author who writes for The Guardian.

The video at the bottom of this commentary was recently included in a post about wealth inequality in the United States on the ironically titled blog "rAtional nAtion uSA". The proprietor of this blog, Lester Nation, is an individual who believes in the greed rationalizing ideology of Ayn Rand. Given that, his including of this video in his post proves just how clueless this guy is when it comes to the end game the plutocrats who endorse Libertarianism (like the Koch Brothers) desire.

The endgame of the plutocrats; the entire goal of pushing Libertarianism and Randism on our nation is to further enrich themselves and impoverish everyone else. This is a zero-sum game and when the rich get richer we all get poorer. It doesn't have to be, but the way Libertarians play the game it is. If they were willing to pay their workers more those workers would spend that money into the economy, thus increasing demand and benefiting the "job creators". Instead they seek to pay the workers as little as possible, thus decreasing demand.

Libertarians say economics isn't a zero-sum game, but that is only true when the economy is growing. The economy only grows when the workers have money to spend; which generates demand; which grows the economy. Problem is, when the corportist and CEO class seeks to increase their wealth by paying workers less and less, this causes the economy to contract (workers have less money to spend) and then the game is zero sum (the workers can't spend unless they borrow against the equity in their home, use their credit cards, or otherwise go into debt). For the plutocrats to win the workers must lose, which they have been over the past 40 years, ever since this country adopted Reaganomics (also known as "trickle down").

But Libertarians (the true believers like Lester) fail to realize this. They think that if government simply gets out of the way the wealthy elites will (unrestrained) be able to make more money and that money will trickle down to everyone else (those who work hard). This, despite the fact that the employers seek to pay as little as possible and, without government "restraining" them, they will engage in practices that drive down wages to an even greater extent... insourcing, outsourcing (using cheap overseas labor and then importing the goods sans tariffs), anti-unionism, etc.

Question is, for how long with the citizens tolerate this inequality before they demand change? And what kind of change will they demand? That really concerns Lester. He articulates these fears in a comment to his own post as follows...

rAtional nAtion: How this is going to shake out is uncertain. But my money rests on serious social unrest, a serious depression, and the results will be exactly what Capitalists have railed against for years. MORE GOVERNMENT CONTROL and HIGHER TAXES. (10/22/2013 AT 4:56pm).

All I can say to that is... amen, Lester. I pray you are right, but I also pray the middle class isn't decimated before we reach a breaking point. BTW, by "more government control" Lester refers to more democracy. Libertarians hate democracy, as they foolishly believe the "free market" should rule, not "we the people". Me, I'm a Progressive who believes in democracy and believe that "more government control" equates to our elected representatives doing more of what we want. And, of course taxes aren't high enough (FactCheck.org and PolitiFact both confirm that taxes are at a historical low).

I think Lester is right, but unlike him I don't fear the results he predicts. I am not looking forward to a possible depression, but if the people wake up and demand more democracy, higher taxes and other economic policies that will rebuild the middle class I'd be on board with that 100 percent.

According to Thomas Jefferson, "those seeking profits, were they given total freedom, would not be the ones to trust to keep government pure and our rights secure". The "free market", in other words, will destroy rights in order to gain more profit... and reduce the rest of us to paupers (or vassals). A country with a large and vibrant middle class, as pointed out by Progressive talker Thom Hartmann, is not natural.

When the plutocrats rule (as the Libertarians desire) the end result is a small number of uber wealthy rulers, an equally small middle class, and a large number of working poor. "We the people" via our elected officials must create and enforce legislation and economic policies to foster and enable the existence of a middle class... this would be the government that Libertarians and Randians like Lester Nation fear and despise. These foolish individuals fail to recognize the wisdom in Jefferson's words because they have been thoroughly duped by the plutocrats.

Video Description: Video posted on the rAtional nAtion uSA blog to complement a 10/22/2013 post by the proprietor titled "The Great American Income Shift". The video points out just how much more money the wealthy have than the rest of us (and that the inequality is significantly more than most Americans think)...

Further Reading
[1] Libertarianism Makes You Stupid by Seth Finkelstein, August 1997.
[2] Garbage and Gravitas... Ayn Rand was a melodramatist of the moral life: the battle is between the producer and the moochers, and it must end in life or death by Corey Robin, The Nation 5/20/2010.

SWTD #217, lDel #11.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Billionaires Kill: Volume 1

The inability to grasp the pathology of our oligarchic rulers is one of our gravest faults. We have been blinded to the depravity of our ruling elite by the relentless propaganda of public relations firms that work on behalf of corporations and the rich. Compliant politicians, clueless entertainers and our vapid, corporate-funded popular culture, which holds up the rich as leaders to emulate and assures us that through diligence and hard work we can join them, keep us from seeing the truth ~ Chris Hedges (dob 9/18/1956) an American journalist and best-selling author specializing in American politics and society. With this quote from his 10/20/2013 commentary "Let's Get This Class War Started" Hedges warns us that we aren't taking the danger posed by billionaires seriously.

Recently I read a commentary on a Libertarian blog where the proprietor and author asked "whether having multiple billionaires in a Society is desirable or not". He added some caveats, but basically the answer was yes, billionaires are beneficial. In regards to this conclusion I am in strong disagreement. Progressive talk radio host Thom Hartmann wrote an article about this awhile back, and his conclusion was that we (as a society) should not allow anyone to accumulate a billion dollars (or more).

Thom codified his proposal by launching the "No Billionaires" campaign and website. As proposed by Mr. Hartmann, when anyone accumulates WEALTH (in aggregate, he isn't referring to income) in excess of a billion dollars, a wealth tax of 100% should be assessed. While that may sound extreme and I'm sure the aforementioned Libertarian blogger would label me "Far Left" in response, I say Thom Hartmann's case against billionaires makes sense and is something I would support.

Regarding why I would support a tax that amounts to confiscation (oh, my!), I'd like to address that question with four quotes from the aforementioned Libertarian blogger and follow up these selected quotations with excerpts from the articled authored by Thom Hartmann in which he lays out his case. As follows...

1. Libertarian Blogger: In and of itself it's a meaningless question (the question of whether or not billionaires are desirable). You would also have to known, in my opinion, a) the overall size of the economy, b) the growth rate, c) the opportunity structure, d) the regulatory climate, e) the amount of crony capitalism involved...

My Commentary: No, you don't need to address those questions before deciding whether or not billionaires are desirable. They are not, whatever the answers to those questions might be. The reason they are not is that, when money is allowed to aggregate in the hands of a few the result is ALWAYS that those few (or some among them... example: The Koch Brothers) use their wealth to manipulate public discussion, public opinion and our legislators (via campaign donations AKA bribes). Wealth aggregated in a few hands breeds political corruption (the bribes I just mentioned). Mr. Hartmann points this out with the following (excerpt from his article)...

Thom Hartmann: We've been given political corruption as billionaires like Sheldon Adelson and the Koch Brothers can now buy politicians and legislation to benefit their own selfish interests like tax cuts for wealthy people, deregulation for polluting oil corporations, and free trade for job outsourcers.

2. Libertarian Blogger: I mean, I know that the left de facto wants me to say that billionaires are evil and all but I would simply point out that Cuba, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, and Indonesia don't have any billionaires and do we really want to emulate them?

My Commentary: Untrue. The Left does not want YOU (or anyone representing your Libertarian/Conservative) position to "de facto" say billionaires are "evil". This "evil" nonsense is a strawman the Right likes to break out whenever this question comes up. Selfishness may indeed be evil, but that is not what is at issue. The real question is whether or not having billionaires is beneficial to society. Also, the reason some countries are poor has nothing to do with them having or not having billionaires and we don't need to emulate any poor country to not have billionaires (this is another strawman).

Mr. Hartmann gets it...

Thom Hartmann: The issue is not punishing the wealthy. The issue is acknowledging that billionaires have sucked up so much wealth out of our economy that the rest of us are drowning. What's worse is the rest of us are working harder than ever. Productivity has steadily increased post-World War 2, and it used to be that income gains increased right alongside it. But around the time of Reagan, productivity and wages began to diverge. While productivity increased, wages stagnated. That's because all the extra profits made by increased productivity weren't given back to the workers, but instead pocketed by CEOs and executives.

3. Libertarian Blogger: You would also have to know... what the billionaires do with the money (do they waste it on politics or are they philanthropic?).

Thom Hartmann: Our nation does not thrive on the goodwill of billionaires. We thrive on the hard work of average Americans who wake up every day, go to work, care for their families, and raise children to believe that America is a "WE" society - a place where we all work together. Not a place where we wait for scraps to fall off the billionaires' dining table.

My Commentary: The Libertarian blogger has posted on the awesomeness of billionaire philanthropy before, but I'm with Thom Hartmann on this. Whether or not billionaires are philanthropic is not at issue. OVERALL the existence of billionaires is destructive, as Mr. Hartmann explains in his article...

Thom Hartmann: We've been given financial instability as billionaires, having more money than they can spend in a dozen lifetimes, go to Wall Street to gamble. As author Larry Beinhart has discovered, whenever tax rates drop below 50% - and the super-rich have a lot of hot money to play with - there are always subsequent economic crashes: It happened in the 1920s, it happened in the 1980s with the Savings and Loan crisis, and it happened just a few years ago with the housing bubble bursting.

My Commentary: An example of how the existence of billionaires is destructive would include the crony capitalism mentioned by the Libertarian blogger. It is CAUSED by billionaires spending money to influence our political system. The two go hand-in-hand (billionaires and crony capitalism). This is a fact Mr. LB is clearly oblivious to. Another harm billionaires visit on our economy is the crowding out (and outright targeting) of small business...

Thom Hartmann: We've been given gigantic transnational corporations - steered by billionaires - that can crush the competition of small business and kill the American entrepreneurial spirit. According to a newly released study by the New America Foundation, the number of entrepreneurs per capita in America has dropped by 53% since 1977. And since 1991, the number of Americans who are self-employed has dropped by more than 20%. Americans who use to be able to start their own businesses are increasingly being forced to join the ranks of the working poor - crowded out of the market by the billionaires' corporate domination.

4. Libertarian Blogger: Thankfully, the economy isn't a zero-sum game. (This is actually a comment Mr. LB makes to his own post).

My Commentary: Up to a certain point this is true, but the way the billionaires have been playing the game, it is NOT... as pointed out by Mr. Hartmann...

Thom Hartmann: ...the rest of us are working harder than ever. Productivity has steadily increased post-World War 2, and it used to be that income gains increased right alongside it. But around the time of Reagan, productivity and wages began to diverge. While productivity increased, wages stagnated. That's because all the extra profits made by increased productivity weren't given back to the workers, but instead pocketed by CEOs and executives. In other words, we're all working harder, but unfortunately by no will of our own have been forced to give up these fruits of our labor to the elites - to the billionaires whose wealth has exploded and continues to increase year after year.

My Commentary: Is Mr. LB completely unaware of the fact that income and productivity gains used to track each other and they no longer are? This is the very definition of zero-sum, Mr. LB! In another commentary on his blog Mr. LB says "the assertion that the rich are getting richer is a patently false one" and he "proves" his assertion by citing figures concerning the percentage of wealth held by the top 1%, a figure that does fluctuate and is currently lower than it has been in the past (in 1992 the top 1% held 37.2% of our nation's wealth and in 2010 they held 35.4%).

But this is yet another of Mr. LB's strawmen! There are a lot of people who qualify as rich who aren't members of the 1% club. As a whole the rich (not just the 1%, Mr. LB) ARE getting richer. According to a 4/25/2013 article titled "It's Official: The Rich Are Getting Richer And Everyone Else Is Getting Hosed" from the Business Insider (an article that cites a Pew Research Center study that "looked at how American households have fared since the depths of the recession")...

Business Insider: The richest 7% of American households went from owning 56% of the country's net worth to owning 63% of it. That left only 37% of the country's net worth to everyone else. (article by Henry Blodget).

Proof positive that the rich are getting richer. Now, Mr. LB loves to defend the wealthy and use strawmen to do it, but the aggregation of enormous sums of money *is* destructive and deleterious to our economy and our nation, no matter how you slice it. It is bad regardless of what the answers to the meaningless questions Mr. LB asks...

Thom Hartmann: ...our subservience to the billionaires has given us a perverse form of capitalism - corporate capitalism - which subjugates all the needs of our society like clean air, food and water, security, healthcare, education, retirement, and energy to the demands of quarterly profits. To the demands of billionaires who sit in corporate boardrooms and figure out what extra bit of profit they can squeeze out of their workers, out of the fracking wells, out of the Gulf of Mexico, out of bombs dropping on Afghanistan, out of healthcare premiums, and out of pensions and retirements. As Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges has routinely pointed out, corporate capitalism, if left unchecked, will kill us.

My Commentary: Yes, corporate capitalism brought to us by the existence of billionaires is killing us. Unless we want to die (economically as well as literally) we need to rein them in. Or, as Thom Hartmann concludes, "the way to put a check on it (the destructive power of the billionaires) ...is to cut off the spigot funneling what was once middle class wealth to the billionaires".

See also: The Billionaires' Long Game by Robert Reich, 12/11/2012.

SWTD #216, wDel #40.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Finance Pundits Shill For Wall Steet Bankster Plutocrats Re JPM Settlement

The real truth of the matter is, as you and I know, that a financial element in the large centers has owned the government ever since the days of Andrew Jackson ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt (1/30/1882 to 4/12/1945) 32nd President of the United States (1933–1945), served for 12 years and four terms until his death in 1945, the only president ever to do so.

No prosecution of the Banksters that brought down our economy (under the bush administration) by the Obama Administration is one of the main criticisms that Liberals such as myself have regarding the current president (that, plus their abuse of the 4th amendment and the drone attacks that are creating more terrorists than they kill)... now, recently a settlement against JP Morgan Chase for 13 billion dollars was reached by the Justice Department for JPM's role in the crisis that brought our country to the brink.

The Justice Department says that JP Morgan Chase knowingly mislead investors by selling them securities that were backed by very risky mortgages, and JPM agreed to pay 13 billion in fines and compensation, even though most of these mortgages were acquired when JPM purchased Bear Stearns and WaMu (purchases coordinated by our government)... in order to save them and prevent a complete collapse of the banking system. Given that they were "helping us out", some Conservative pundits are now complaining about a "shake down" and alleging that JPM is being "robbed at gunpoint".

However, as pointed out by Jon Stewart on the 10/23/2013 airing of The Daily Show, that is the way things work in our system... if one company is purchased by another company the purchasing company assumes responsibility for any malfeasance that the company they are purchasing may have committed. In fact, Jamie Dimon (CEO of JPM) told investors that "any liability related to the assets themselves will come with us" and then he set aside 28 billion dollars for "litigation expenses".

So, what explains the Daily Show clips of various Conservative pundits mischaracterizing the settlement as follows? ... host of CNBC's The Kudlow Report Larry Kudlow called it a "shakedown" and an "arbitrary and political hosing", Andrew Napolitano of Fox Nooz said it is a "sophisticated shakedown", Fox Business Network "senior correspondent" Charlie Gasparino claimed "the Obama administration is at war with American business", "Money Honey" Maria Bartiromo characterized the settlement as a "witch hunt"; and CNBC Mad Money host Jim Cramer speculated that "the Justice Department feels like it needs some scalps" and that "this was a jihad against JP Morgan Chase".

These pundits know better. They know the truth (that JPM is economically responsible for the malfeasance of the companies they purchased) but they LIE. This is proven with another clip Jon Stewart plays of the Mad Money's Jim Cramer describing the JPM deal to buy Bear Stearn and WaMu back when it occurred...

Jim Cramer: There is no word in the English language that captures the ruthless brilliance of Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JP Morgan, accomplished this weekend. Dimon masterminded a deal that is amazing for JP Morgan. It makes me want to say... BUY, BUY, BUY! Dimon totally outfoxed the FED. [snip] There is no denying it was a steal. I'd even call it theft in the best sense of the word, or maybe a shakedown, if the legal department would let me. It's practically criminal, and I mean that as a positive. (3/18/2008 broadcast of CNBC's Mad Money hosted by Jim Cramer).

Are these people nothing but shills for the plutocrats, or what? And, as Mr. Stewart points out, a portion of the settlement is tax deductible. 13 billion may seem like a lot of money, but it should be a hell of a lot more (even Dimon thought so), and some of these fraudsters should be going to jail (but absolutely nobody is)! The Obama Administration hasn't collected any scalps, and for that I say shame on them (although I'm sure a McCain or Romney administration would have done the same or less). What this proves is that when you're rich and powerful the law treats you a lot different than it would an ordinary schmo.

Also, that Jim Cramer is an idiot. Remember, that this is the guy who said Bear Stearns was "a solid stock a few days before the investment bank closed its door" and advised his viewers (if they were investors) that they should not move their money from Bear because that would be "silly". But the fact is "the collapse and takeover of Bear Stearns wiped out billions of dollars in shareholder value in a matter of days [and that] large mutual funds... saw the value of their Bear Stearns holdings plummet" (source: NPR).

See Also: Jon Stewart to financial TV reporters: f*ck all y'all by BruinKid, Daily Kos 10/24/2013.

SWTD #215

Friday, October 25, 2013

Regarding An Ignorant Righty & The Tell That If He Uses It You Know He's Lying

If a dishonest creep wants to tap dance, give them the spotlight and a mirror ~ Vanna Bonta (dob 4/3/1958) an American novelist, poet and film actress best known as the author of "Flight: A Quantum Fiction Novel" (pub. 1995). The novel introduced quantum fiction as a literary genre that emerged in the 21st century.

The tell is his use of the phrase "I shit you not". If the blogger Willis Hart uses this phrase you can be absolutely certain that what he just said was 100 percent false. Not that he isn't lying when he doesn't use it... he lies a lot and only infrequently says "I shit you not"... but when he does use it you can be positive that he just lied.

For example, Willis recently posted the following commentary to his blog...

Willis Hart: On Ignorant Leftists; Tao... He apparently believes that there are more than 5 quintiles. Again, I shit you not. (10/25/2013 AT 1:42pm).

(Note: Willis was shamed into removing this commentary. The link, if clicked still goes to his blog, but displays a page that says "Sorry, the page you were looking for in this blog does not exist").

This Hart lie was in response to an argument between him and Tao on the rAtional nAtion blog. Willis tried to prove his point by using data from the IRS website, which is broken down into five earnings categories (which the IRS website refers to as quintiles). Tao correctly pointed out that Willis' use of that data couldn't prove anything about the top 1 percent wage "earners" because with only 5 categories, those in the top 1 percent are lumped in with people earning a lot less.

Quintile 5 includes everyone making $178,020 and up, so CLEARLY Willis cannot prove anything about the 1 percent using these figures. Tao is correct, even though what he actually said was, "First off, your use of IRS quintiles is uninformative because the IRS only has five quintiles".

Since the word "quintile" (in statistics) means something that is divided into "five equal proportions" Tao, in saying "the IRS only has five quintiles" reveals his ignorance (according to Willis)... you can't have more than 5 of a thing which, by definition, has only 5 portions.

But everyone else who read the comment knew Tao meant that since the top income range covers everyone who makes more than $178,020... that data IS uninformative when it comes to making any point concerning the top 1 percent. So, even though Tao should have referred to income broken into categories and ditched the word "quintile"... his point is still ABSOLUTELY correct!

But instead of acknowledging his incredible wrongness the lying Hartster does a tap dance concerning Tao using the word "quintile" incorrectly to obfuscate the fact that Tao was right and Willis was wrong. And really Willis, a lame "definition flame" is all you got? IMO, you can't get much more dishonest than this... I shit you not.

#214, wDel #39.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Libertarian Dream Of Plutocrats As The New Feudal Lords & Everyone Else Their Vassals

It has a fair claim to be the ugliest philosophy the post-war world has produced. Selfishness, it contends, is good, altruism evil, empathy and compassion are irrational and destructive. The poor deserve to die; the rich deserve unmediated power ~ George Monbiot, describing the ideology of Ayn Rand's Objectivism (an ideology that Libertriansim is derived from) as quoted in his 3/5/2013 article A Manifesto for Psychopaths. George Monbiot (dob 1/27/1963) is an English writer, known for his environmental and political activism.

Who is John Galt? an unoriginal Ayn-Rand-worshipping Objectivist Libertarian-voting individual whose blog I was recently banned from asks in one of his latest posts. John Galt was a poor oppressed rich person from whom the government wanted to steal an invention from that could benefit mankind greatly.

This invention of Mr. Galt's produced virtually unlimited amounts of free electricity. Although this Galt fellow was already a wealthy man he wanted to use his invention to grow even wealthier. The oppressive socialist government simply wanted to seize it (or that is my understanding, as I have never read Atlas Shrugged).

Mr. Galt could not believe it that the government wanted his invention to use to the benefit of all mankind. He didn't care if the poor of the world struggled and died if the wealthy elites sucked up all the wealth. Rational self-interest told him he should have it all... or at least as much as he could get, the rabble be damned.

So Galt suggested to all the other rich people that they go on strike. Now, in reality, if this actually did happen... perhaps there would be some pain initially as the world adjusted, but eventually others (non rich people) would step forward and fill the gap (the gap created by the wealthy withdrawing their money from the economy).

Worker cooperatives formed by laid-off workers (the socialist government would take the idle factories and give them to the workers instead of allowing society to collapse). The workers would do the work (as they had done before) but now they would reap the benefits of their labor. Instead of the wealthy elites siphoning off a majority of the money that came from the fruits of their labor, the workers would distribute it among themselves and spend it into the economy. Soon everyone in the lower economic classes (the middle, working and poor) would all be much richer.

Everyone would be grateful the wealthy elites went "on strike" and tell them to get lost. Seeing as they no longer wanted to be a part of America (and refused to pay their taxes, I'm guessing)... perhaps they could be deported. That would be my happy ending to Atlas Shrugged, in any case. Instead, as depicted in Ayn Rand's fantasy novel, everyone else finds they are hopelessly lost without the "productive people" and they beg John Galt and the wealthy a-holes who joined him to end their strike.

Thus the evil Socialist government is toppled. Although the tome doesn't mention who cooks and cleans for the rich "makers" while they are on strike. Apparently they find some traitors among the "takers" to sell to them (food and other essential supplies)... but how the hell does food (or other essential goods) get processed or manufactured if the rich shut down their factories because they are on "strike" and everyone is helpless without them?

The book does not say (apparently). How they can cut off their noses to spite their faces and not suffer any consequences is not addressed by Rand (as far as I know). This is why many who become interested in Rand and Objectivism as young adults most often abandon it as adults.

They wake up to the fact that the ideology is filled with huge logical holes (just like Rand's novel). One such individual is Progressive Talker Thom Hartmann. I have heard him mention a number of times on his program that he was a Conservative (due to the influence of his father) when he was very young; moved on to Libertarianism, and now calls himself a Democratic Socialist... although he says his program represents the "radical middle".

According to Mr. Hartmann Libertarianism represents a new feudalism... and regarding this perspective I am in agreement with him. Thom laid out his argument in a rant from the June 24th airing of his program... an argument I have transcribed below (with minor edits made for reasons of brevity and clarity)...

Thom Hartmann: [Caller] you have an antidote for the Ayn Rand thought virus?

Caller: I think it would be good to ask these people who have been infected and they don't realize it. Do we the people have the ethical authority to regulate our economy, to determine how our natural resources are used, and to set a fair tax rate?

Thom Hartmann: Not according to Libertarians. We do not have that authority. That should be in the hands of the free market. They define "liberty" as economic liberty, exclusively. You don't have the freedom to not be hungry. You're not free to not freeze to death in the winter. You shouldn't be free from the worry about going out into the workplace without a decent education. There are a whole host of freedoms that I would submit that Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson worked very hard to give us. Those are freedoms that are not recognized by Libertarians.

Unless you were born wealthy like the heroes of Atlas Shrugged... your daddy having built a railroad or having been given it by Abraham Lincoln. The Commons is the place where these guys always fall apart in any kind of rational argument, although they don't realize that they're falling apart. What they argue that the Commons would be best served if it was all privatized and we tried that. It was called feudalism.

The feudal lords were not the kings, they were not the political actors of their day, they were the owners. The feudal lords owned everything. They owned the roads, they owned the forests, they hired private sheriffs to make sure that anyone who shot anything in the forest had to pay a tax on it or give a piece of it to the local lord. Feudalism was all about property rights and placing them above human rights.

(Excerpt from the 6/24/2013 broadcast of the Thom Hartmann Program, 11:32 to 14:00 of hour 3).

Let me add that it isn't just Libertarians that have this "entitlement mentality"; in that they feel they are entitled to the labor of the workers at as low a price as they are able to "negotiate" (i.e. force workers to accept)... Conservatives very much share this same entitlement mentality and both greed-based ideologies desire to impoverish the workers so that money can be transferred to the phony "job creators".

The difference between Libertarians and Conservatives is that Libertarians believe government should get out of the way and allow the plutocrats to rule, while Conservatives believe governmental politicos should help the plutocrats (while enriching themselves, of course). Both ideologies call for the further screwing of the workers and are attempting to achieve that goal by demonizing workers as lazy and jealous.

And both ideologies idealize and raise up for worship the wealthy leaches who profit from the labor of the workers by re-labeling them as "job creators" (when it is actually demand that comes from the consumption of the workers that creates jobs).

Both Libertarianism and Conservatism are poisonous ideologies that seek to destroy the liberty and wealth of the workers to the benefit of the plutocrats. It is time to stop blaming workers for their inability to stop the wealthy elites from taking advantage of them. What we need to do is empower workers via increased unionization (make unionization easier via legislation like card check), make the formation of worker owned cooperatives easier and by decreasing the unfair advantage gained by offshorers by increasing tariffs.

Raising taxes on the wealthy (the wealthy who have benefited greatly by underpaying the workers who created and continue to create their wealth), and redistribute that wealth. This, contrary to Conservative and Libertarian claims, would put money back in the hands of the workers who earned it (but from who it was taken), not to give "unearned handouts" to those who don't deserve them. Until we take these steps we will continue on down the road toward neofeudalism.

And we won't take these steps so long as the gullible masses buy into the propaganda and spin coming from the plutocratic class and their stooges... true believers and deluded fools (like the followers of Ayn Rand who are still repeating the question "who is John Galt"). The bottom line is that Americans need to wake up and start supporting and electing progressives and populists (one in the same, IMO) and stop buying into the self-serving wealthy-worshiping Conservative fairy tale nonsense that relies on victim-blaming and lies about the "evils" of socialism and who REALLY creates the wealth of a country (the workers). If not we will surely end up as vassals of the wealthy feudal lords (even more so than we are now).

Further Reading: Atlas Shrugged - Left Behind for Libertarians by Grey Fedora, Daily Kos 10/7/2013.

SWTD #213, lDel #10.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Lies And The Lying Lester Trolls Who Tell Them

Again, I think there are individuals who I'd like to meet in a dark alley somewhere and have some fun with them only because they are liars and cowards ~ Vince McMahon (dob 8/24/1945) the CEO and Chairman of the professional wrestling promotion World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).

Nine days ago I authored a fictional story in which the blogger Lester Nation figured prominently. Or a fictionalized version of him. Apparently this post made Lester quite angry. Previously when I presumed he had banned me he said I was lying... lying because the game-player would publish some comments while rejecting others. He has now declared that NO comments submitted by me to his blog shall be published henceforth.

This happened immediately after I published the fictional story. And he hates being called "Lester" very much too, as he is now heavily playing up the nickname he created for me, "Canardo Sanders". So my use of that name probably contributed to the banning... but it was certainly the story that pushed him over the edge.

Now Lester is so angry that he trumpets my banning with slanderings of me on his blog, in an attempt to turn other bloggers (including Progressives) against me. After approving an obvious spoof comment (someone spoofing Shaw Kenawe), Lester said...

rAtional nAtion: Yes Shaw I certainly recognize the imposter for the infestation he or perhaps she is. Hopefully the fake will get the rather direct hint and slither away. If not it will go the same way as Canardo Sanders, Steve, Radical Redneck, the infamous Jew Baby Hater Anon, and others. To Spam or simply get deleted. (10/12/2013 AT 11:13am).

Lester (with this comment) puts me in the same category as the other trolls he names. Although I still believe that these individuals might actually be Lester trying to elicit sympathy from Progressives (which he has), or simply attempting to dupe them. But I am NOT a troll; certainly I do not fall under the definition as given by Wikipedia, which says a troll is "a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, or off-topic messages".

I have never done any of these things. I only seek honest discussion. Steve, a mentally disturbed individual that originally commented on Lester's blog but is currently focusing his attentions on me, is a clear example of a troll. And Lester himself has exhibited behavior on my blog that is incredibly trollish in nature. For example, Lying Lester said (in a previous comment on this blog) that him commenting on Sleeping with The Devil is "is a mere amusement for me, an oppurtunity to laugh and then infuriate you".

Prior to this comment Lester admitted that "I've had fun playing games with your delusional ass". This was back when I allowed anonymous commenting and Lying Lester submitted a lot of anonymous comments... and was convinced he was fooling me into thinking all his comments were a bunch of other people hating on my blog.

Now he describes me and the comments submitted to his blog as an "infestation". But Lester ADMITS to trolling on my blog (as evidenced by the comments I quote above)! Was Lester not behaving as a troll and "infesting" my blog when he submitted the above comments (as well as many other similar comments)? And let us not forget Lying Lester's use of a sock puppet he called The Sword of Truth (TSOT), an alternate identity he hide behind and used to comment on the blog of his supposed friend Shaw Kenawe.

At the time I originally called out Lester as TSOT the "evidence" I presented was my noticing that Lester misspelled "guilty" as "quilty". I gave multiple examples of the misspelling from Lying Lester and just one from TSOT. So the case could be considered circumstantial... but now (whilst looking over an old comment thread on this blog) I have found an additional clue that I think is definitive - and proves beyond any doubt that TSOT was indeed a sock puppet of Lying Lester. This clue is contained in the following comment..

The Sword of Truth: How trite your comment Anon. It does serve to keep the crap fest alive though. (8/06/2013 AT 9:01am).

I have NEVER seen anyone else BUT Lester use the term "crap fest". This is not a coincidence (as the "quilty" observation COULD have been). It has now been proven definitively that "The Sword of Truth" was a sock puppet of Lester... My deducing was accurate. But Lester made fun of my sleuthing, using the sign-off "Sir Baron von Quilty, At Your Sevice" on the blog of Shaw Kenawe, and in response Shaw said "Now THAT'S funny!". Finding out a commenter on your blog misrepresented himself and posted under an alias is funny?

Clearly if one wishes to be friends with Lester one must ignore it when he lies to you (making fun of me exposing him as TSOT was a denial and that denial was a LIE). Me, there is no f*cking way I'd be willing to ignore the lies of Lester in order to be his "friend". Seriously, I doubt Lester considers any Progressive to be his friend. I strongly suspect it gives Lester great pleasure that there are Progressives he has duped into thinking he is genuinely friendly toward them. No offense to those Progressives who think Lester is their friend... but you are being lied to. Lying Lester is laughing at you behind your back.

OK, so none of these Progressives who are being duped by Lester will read this, or will likely disbelieve me if they do. Does that mean Lester "wins"? I say no. Lester is a loser because his lies are pointless. What does he think he is accomplishing with these lies? Beats me. In any case I'm not going to "get the rather direct hint and slither away". So long as Lester continues to slander me (and attempt to sow discord) I shall continue to defend myself, especially when hypocrites like Lester print comments such as the following on their blogs...

rAtional nAtion: Examples of such infestations would be the attempt by individuals such as Canardo Sanders of Sleeping with The Devil infamy and yourself [the fake Shaw Kenawe] to divert discussions of substance and relevance towards a cesspool of BS. (10/12/2013 AT 9:41am).

This comment would be quite accurate if Lester were talking about himself, as this was a goal he tried very hard to accomplish when he came to my blog to defend himself against the accusations of Steve. These were accusations that had validity, so Lester was not able to do a good job defending himself, and ended up resorting to name-calling (as he actually made the inflammatory comments for which his detractors were criticizing him).

And, because I listened to Steve, Lester held me accountable... even though the entire situation arose because Lester made comments that certainly could be interpreted as Anti-Semitic. Now it just so happens that Steve turned out to be a raving maniac, but that does not change the fact that it was Lester who made his own bed (something the hypocrite accused me of when he banned me). And I blame him for bringing the troll Steve to my blog (I have sent approximately 80 Steve comments to the Spam folder since I banned him).

Given these facts (Lester trolling my blog and inciting the hate-filled homophobe Steve), I find the fact that Lester is now slandering me on his blog a situation that DEMANDS a response from me. I simply cannot allow the liar's slanderous misrepresentations to go unchallenged (hence this commentary).

Also, an FYI in regards to the story I mentioned at the top of my post... in it I accuse Lester of being Steve. The reason for the accusation is that 1 Lester said "Anon is Steve and perhaps wd/DS". So Lester accused me of being Steve first, and me accusing him of being Steve (when we already know he used at least two sock puppets, TSOT and Lodoc) is certainly plausible. And, 2 Steve saying (to me) "I will just call you RN from now on. Your character traits... are identical".

Yes, I'm sure that many people have made the same observation; that Lester and I are identical... not. In any case, I can now chalk up another banning... this time officially. The question now is... where can I go to get banned next? Some Conservative blog where they hate Liberals would be too easy.

SWTD #212, lDel #9.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Jig Is Up For A Global Climate Change Denier On Steroids

[George] Oh, I'm telling you, the jig is up. [Jerry] It was a bad jig to begin with. We never should've started this jig. [George] It was a good jig. [Jerry] It was a bad jig, a terrible, terrible jig ~ Conversation between George and Jerry from the 19th episode of the third season of the American sitcom Seinfeld titled The Limo (original air date: 2/26/1992).

Libertarians (as far as my observations go) are heavily into Global Climate denialism. Most likely because acknowledging the reality of global climate change would mean we have to do something about it. Libertarians strongly believe that the wealthy "job creators" should be able to do whatever the hell they want with minimal government interference. But the fact is that nothing will ever be done regarding global climate change UNLESS government takes the lead.

The reason for this is because it's easier making money using old technologies instead of innovating new ones. Yes, companies will plan for the future and spend some money innovating, but not at the expense of dropping old technologies or energy sources. There is still plenty of oil in the ground and the "free market" will never leave it there voluntarily. The Libertarian, ever a believer in the free market fantasy, clearly can not acknowledge the facts concerning global climate change, as that would require an acknowledgement by them that the free market can't solve this problem.

And it would also require that they support the government take the lead (via regulations and subsidies) to push the "free market" to develop the energy technologies of the future. A Libertarian wouldn't be a Libertarian if he (or she) did that. Thus the Big Oil funded global climate change industry, an industry that a Libertarian-leaning blogger that I've refuted here before subscribes to strongly.

This is an individual who has dedicated his blog (in large part) to "refuting" the claims 97.5 percent of climate scientists say their research supports (or points to as being very likely). But this fellow to whom I refer says it's the "skeptics" who have it right. In fact he goes as far as to say that the 97.5 percent of climate scientists who disagree with his point of view are anti-science. This "anti science" claim is one he made in a recent post...

Willis Hart: The most reliable measurement of ocean temperature that we have is the ARGO system and according to that there has been ZERO ocean warming since 2003. That, and for the CO2 theory to be the correct one, the tropsosphere temperatures would have to increasing at a faster rate than the surface site temperatures AND THEY ARE NOT. The jig is up, Jerry. (10/15/2013 at 1:49pm).

(Argo is a network of over 3000 floats scattered across the globe that measure temperature and salinity of the upper ocean. Argo data indicates a cooling trend from 2003 to 2008).

Despite Mr. Hart having his facts correct regarding Argo data, his conclusion is way wrong. Regarding the slight ocean cooling over a period of five years, Skeptical Science says...

Skeptical Science: Claims that the ocean has been cooling are correct. Claims that global warming has stopped are not. It is an illogical position: the climate is subject to a lot of natural variability, so the premise that changes should be monotonic – temperatures rising in straight lines – ignores the fact that nature doesn't work like that. This is why scientists normally discuss trends – 30 years or more – so that short-term fluctuations can be seen as part of a greater pattern. (Skeptic claim addressed: Does ocean cooling prove global warming has ended?).

A graph (included with the Skeptical Science article referenced above) that charts ocean temperature since 1955 shows the oceans are CLEARLY warming. So, pointing to five years of a little cooling and saying that disproves AGW is dumb. In any case, the Argo data only measures ocean temperature down to 2000 meters... or the surface of the ocean. In regards to that, a commentator to Will's post pointed out that Argo (and the ocean's surface) is not the whole enchilada...

Jerry Critter: Perhaps you should tell the oceans [that the warming stopped in 1998]. They do not seem to have got the message.... the whole ocean, not just the surface. (10/15/2013 at 11:00pm).

What Jerry is talking about (I presume) when he says "the whole ocean, not just the surface", is the research that finds the "Deep Oceans Warming at Alarming Rate" (the deep ocean is water from below 3000 feet and is 90 percent of ocean's volume). Concerning the deep ocean, a 7/11/2013 article from Discovery News (A website run by the Discovery channel) reveals the following...

Larry O'Hanlond writing for Discovery News: Despite mixed signals from warming ocean surface waters, a new re-analysis of data from the depths suggests dramatic warming of the deep sea is underway because of anthropogenic climate change. The scientists report that the deep seas are taking in more heat than expected, which is taking some of the warming off the Earth's surface, but it will not do so forever. (7/11/2013, Discovery News).

The source of the information cited in the article from Discovery is a research paper from the National Center for Atmospheric Research published in the scientific journal Geophysical Research Letters (The National Center for Atmospheric Research is managed by the nonprofit University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) and sponsored by the National Science Foundation. Geophysical Research Letters is a biweekly peer-reviewed scientific journal of geoscience published by the American Geophysical Union that was established in 1974).

According to the paper's co-author, the "heat of global warming is going to different places... [and what this research shows is that] global warming is continuing even though it's not always manifested as a strong surface temperature increase. It's... manifesting itself in different ways".

As for Hart's second claim, this is from the skeptics (or "luminaries", as he calls them) John Christy and Roy Spencer of the University of Alabama. These two individuals "published a series of papers starting about 1990 that implied the troposphere was warming at a much slower rate than the surface temperature...".

Skeptical Science notes that "from 1978, a series of satellites have measured atmospheric temperature in the troposphere and stratosphere" and that the conclusions reached by Christy and Spencer were wrong because they made an "algebraic error" and because they failed to account for diurnal drift. Diurnal drift, as explained by Skeptical Science is...

Skeptical Science: The satellites orbit the earth from pole to pole. The satellites possess no propulsion so slowly over time, the local equator crossing time (LECT) changes. This is exacerbated by decay of the satellites orbital height, dragged down by the thin atmosphere. As a satellite's LECT changes, it takes readings at changing local times, allowing local diurnal cycle variations to appear as spurious trends... the word trend designates a change, generally monotonic in time, in the value of a variable. (Skeptic claim addressed: Satellite measurements of warming in the troposphere).

According to Christy HIMSELF, the "discrepancies [between surface and atmospheric temperatures in the troposphere] no longer exists because errors in the satellite and radiosonde data have been identified and corrected". So he acknowledges the errors in his original calculations (but remains a skeptic for other reasons). Someone alert Willis that the "luminary" he cites does not stand by his original assertions. Assertions the Hartster cites (I'm guessing, as he just throws the assertion out there as if it were fact, but does not cite Christy as the source of the discredited assertion).

So, when Willis says "the tropsosphere temperatures would have to increasing at a faster rate than the surface site temperatures AND THEY ARE NOT" he is WRONG. Skeptical Science says that the satellite data (the data Christy and Spencer used to conclude that there was a "warming trend of only 0.09°C per decade, well below the surface temperature trend of 0.17°C per decade"), when corrected (via removal of Christy and Spencer's algebraic error and correcting for diurnal drift) "are in good agreement with models". That would be the models that show global climate change to be REAL and OCCURRING. The denialism jig is up, in other words.

I'm not going to say that the luminaries Mr. Hart admires (or even Willis himself) are anti-science as Willis does in his post (a post in which he claims that Barack Obama is anti-science), but I do think Christy and Spencer are wrong. And, if Barack Obama were to disregard the fact that "97.5% of climatologists who actively publish research on climate change [say] human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures" and suggest we do nothing to combat this very real threat (because there are those who are skeptical)? THAT would be anti-science, as well as anti-logic.

(The 97.5 percent figure comes from "a survey of 3146 earth scientists [who were] asked the question Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?". Skeptical Science says that "more than 90% of participants had PhDs, and 7% had master's degrees. Overall, 82% of the scientists answered yes.

However, what are most interesting are responses compared to the level of expertise in climate science. Of scientists who were non-climatologists and didn't publish research, 77% answered yes. In contrast, 97.5% of climatologists who actively publish research on climate change responded yes".... so we're talking about 2579 people who agreed with the consensus position, not 75 people... as Willis claims).

Update 6/9/2015: Willis Hart does not read this blog and is therefore unaware that Christy and Spencer's research has been discredited. Although he could have found that information elsewhere... but he also does not read ANY website where such information might be found (ANY website where info rebutting change denialism might be found). I did attempt to bring this up on the blog of rAtional nAtion, due to him posting on the topic, but my comment so frightened Willis that he pretended not to see what I wrote. I am sure he decided it a better course of action to keep his head buried in the sand. In any case, the details regarding this matter (my revealing this info on the blog of Mr. nAtion and Willis Hart ignoring it) can be found via my commentary on the incident, SWTD #288.

SWTD #211, wDel #38.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Laffering At Historically Inaccurate Suggestion That Raising Taxes Caused The Great Depression

Art Laffer's claim that low state tax rates are the key to economic growth. What should you think about that claim? That's easy: it's junk economics ~ Paul Krugman (dob 2/28/1953) an American economist, Professor of Economics and International Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, Centenary Professor at the London School of Economics, and an op-ed columnist for The New York Times.

What caused the Great Depression? Recently I read an historically inaccurate assertion that it was a tax increase under President Hoover that is to blame; argument as follows...

Libertarian Blogger: The Keynes Curve? ...taxation may be so high as to defeat it's object, and that, given the sufficient time to gather the fruits, a reduction of taxation will run a better chance than an increase of balancing the budget [Quote from] John Maynard Keynes. Gee, I wonder if he said this before or after Hoover raised taxes 152% and plunged a recovering U.S. economy into a depression. (10/12/2013 AT 9:41am).

Uh, no. The Libertarian blogger I quote above is referring to something that didn't happen. The tax increase under Hoover happened (although I'm not sure where this 152% comes from), but this increase was NOT what caused the Great Depression. The Great Depression was caused by a previous lowering of taxes. Apparently Mr. LB has never heard of the roaring twenties? That was the bubble created by taxes that were too low. It was the bursting of that bubble that caused the great depression, NOT any tax raising by Hoover, as pointed out by the nation's top Progressive Talker...

Thom Hartmann: ...the massive Republican tax cuts of the 1920s (from 73 to 25 percent) led directly to the Roaring Twenties' real estate and stock market bubbles, a temporary boom, and then the crash and Republican Great Depression that started in 1929. (Excerpt from the book Rebooting the American Dream, pub. 2011).

According to Mr. Hartmann the way to prevent bubbles and busts is to keep the top marginal tax rate at 50 percent or higher. History shows us that when Republican administrations (or Dems acting like Republicans) come in with an agenda of cutting taxes, those tax cuts invariably lead to bubbles, like when the bush administration rammed through a tax cut that favored the wealthy via reconciliation in 2003. Regarding that tax cut, Harlan Green of Popular Economics says...

Harlan Green: The Bush tax cuts are the most current example; in fact they helped to cause the Great Recession. For much of the excess profits were spent on market speculation - especially in subprime loans and payday lending to the poorest among us - that caused the housing bubble. (Article: What Happened to the Bush Tax Cuts? Huff Post Business, 06/04/2012).

(Note: Harlan Green has a degree in Economics from UC Berkeley and is the editor and publisher of PopularEconomics.com).

As for Mr. LB's quote from Keynes and his suggestion that he would agree with the Laffer Curve... [1] I'm sure there would be a disagreement between the two regarding what constituted how high taxes would have to be to qualify as "so high", and [2] Laffer and Keynes were both wrong. The Laffer Curve has been debunked.

The Middle Class Economist says "Laffer got it exactly backward, with tax revenue initially falling as tax rates increase, then rising after a further increase in rates". The quoted blog post further notes that Sweden in the 1970s had a top marginal rate of over 100 percent, and their tax revenues went up, not down.

The lesson to be learned from this is that it is tax cuts that lead to bubbles that causes recessions, NOT tax increases. In fact it is a marginal tax rate over 50 percent that stabilizes the economy and prevents bubbles and busts from occurring (or causes them to be less severe if they do occur). That there are some who still argue otherwise makes it clear that no matter how many times we bubble and bust we may never learn. Why? Because the wealthy and their stooges will continually argue the exact opposite of the truth.

The reason being that the wealthy always make out like bandits while the rest of us suffer. A 9/11/2013 LA Times article notes...

Connie Stewart of the LA Times: The Great Recession hit the top 1% harder than other income groups, but the wealthy recovered quicker too. From 2009 to 2012, as the U.S. economy improved, incomes of the top 1% grew more than 31%, while the incomes of the 99% grew 0.4% - less than half a percentage point. (9/11/2013).

Time to adopt the budget of the Progressive caucus that eliminates the deficit and Raises a $31 billion surplus in ten years. Enough of this failed trickle down economic BS (of which the Laffer Curve nonsense is a component).

SWTD #210, wDel #37.