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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Scott Walker, the emperor without clothes

Scott Walker, Governor of Wisconsin was elected in 2010 as a stealth Tea Party loon running as a moderate. The people of Wisconsin soon learned as he and his compliant legislature handed out huge tax breaks to corporations while assaulting public unions as a guise to dealing with an essentially fake budget crisis.

A war of sorts broke out, with Walker claiming public school teachers (starting salary in Wisconsin $20,000 a year) were essentially greedy and lazy parasites. Walker won the initial battle but then had to deal with a recall effort against some of his state senators that ended one close victory from him losing power in the state senate.

Undeterred he's soldiered on, predicting success for his great job creating policies. He's now facing a potential recall election next year and it's going swimmingly, that is if you loathe Walker. Something like 600,000 signatures for recall are needed. The recall has aout 2 months to reach that number to trigger the election. They have about half the total in two weeks.

While touting his 'soon to be evident' economic miracle h's been hammering away at neighbor Illinois' policies which are basically doing the exact opposite of Walker.

Bad move. The numbers are just out for state-by-state job creation for October. Walker is going to learn a bitter lesson about what you say these days as a politician. Everything is recorded and he's used the Illinois comparison enough times to create a DVD feature's worth of highlights.

Oh, yes those pesky job creation numbers. Illinois created 30,000 private sector jobs leading the nation. Wisconsin...not so good. It leads the jobs lost, about 9,700 in October. The state lost jobs in September, August and July. In fact the state has been shedding jobs since Walker's 'reforms' kicked in.

Elections are funny and unpredictable things, but Scott Walker will be out of a job next year. He's even created the opposition ad campaign all by himself.

Slim Harpo - Baby Scratch My Back

Get your groove on.

Nothing evokes the spirit of Christmas quite like...........

a machine gun wielding kid posing with Santa.

From the Scottsdale, Arizona Gun Club. "Santa's back with his bag of goodies". "Blam, Blam, Blam, have a Merry Christmas, motherfuckers".  Granny better not give me another sweater with reindeers.

Richie Havens - Freedom

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Rick Perry joins the voter suppression brigade....unintentionally

Republicans always want to stop likely Democrats from voting. They do this by passing voter ID laws making it much harder for some to vote chasing phantom voter fraud, often alleged but rarely proved. Close to the election they send out mailers to minority areas with confusing information. They do the same with phone calls. Democrats, on the othe hand try to register as many new voters as possible.

Rick Perry tried the 'confuse a voter' ruse, unfortunately he chose to try it on his own supporters.

For those who are unaware, the legal voting age is 18. Just another reason Perry is heading straight to the trash heap of Presidential candidates.

Banks likely foreclosed on 5,000 members of the military illegally

Nothing to see here.  Just business as usual.

Why am I not surprised? Will they be punished? Probably not.

Tarika - "Avelo!"

Some entrancing music from Madagascar to help your day.

Maassive crimes that go unpunished

Rampant fraud among mortgage services continues unabated and unpunished.  Why follow the law when not following the law increases profits with no consequence.

From Naked Capitalism, a blog worth reading if you're interested in the truth about the economy and the causes and results of the meltdown.

And what happens when this kind of fraud goes unprosecuted? It continues, even today. The same banks that ran the corrupt home mortgage securitization chain are now committing rampant fraud in the foreclosure crisis. Here’s New Orleans Bankruptcy Judge Elizabeth Magner discussing problems at Lender Processing Services, the company that handles 80 percent of foreclosures on behalf of large banks (emphasis added):

"In Jones v. Wells Fargo, this Court discovered that a highly automated software package owned by LPS and identified as MSP administered loans for servicers and note holders but was programed to apply payments contrary to the terms of the notes and mortgages."
Read the whole article.  This is just the tip of the iceberg.

Creating jobs

The cornerstone of the GOP economic plan is cutting taxes for the rich, already at their lowest level since WWII even lower .  "Rich people are 'job creators'" is their standard mantra as to why capital gains taxes and estate taxes should be eliminated.  Never mind that about half of all capital gains taxes are paid by the top 10% of the 1%.  These people got extremely rich because they didn't use their money to create jobs. They used other people's money to do that.if they created jobs at all.

Willard 'Mitt' Romney's tax plan would add another $6.6 trillion to the deficit over the next 10 years and although he has refused to release his own tax records he alone would stand to pocket a couple of million extra a year from his own tax cut.

To say this idea is horseshit would be an insult to horseshit which at least can be used as fertilizer. Good luck selling that idea to the nation in its current mood.

Reagan started this bullshit idea, which has since been repudiated by David Stockman, his budget director.  It took the U.S. 204 years to rack up a trillion dollars in debt.  Reagan more than doubled that in 8 years adding $1.8 trillion to the debt.  Bush senior added another $1.4 trillion in only 4 years.

Then in 1993 President Clinton raised taxes and the Republicans, including Newt Gingrich leading the charge lined up to predict the collapse of the economy and America as we know it.  They were correct in the latter.  Under Clinton 23 million jobs were created and for the first time since the 1950's his he left office creating budget surpluses.

Then along came Bush Jnr. the master of disaster who cut taxes in 2001 and 2003.  It was the first time in history that a President had cut taxes while paying for war(s).  Bush managed to add almost $6.7 trillion to the Federal debt.  In all these five Presidential terms created 87% of America's total debt since 1776.

His job creation - not so hot.  He created virtually no new jobs in 8 years.

Enough said.  

How our tax dollars are spent

Here is a breakdown of how the discretionary spending in the Federal budget are spent.

Defense spending has risen from $295 billion annually to almost double in just over a decade.  Part of that is the boondoggle spending on Homeland Security of almost $100 billion a year.  America spends more than the rest of the world combined on defense and the Republicans want to spend even more yet they believe they can balance the budget with massive tax cuts for the rich and increased spending on the military.

Quote of the day

From retiring Barney Frank, the Massachusetts Democratic Congressman on the GOP led House.

"It consists half of people who think like Michele Bachmann and half of people who are afraid of losing a primary to people who think like Michele Bachmann and that leaves very little room to work things out."

Monday, November 28, 2011

Pete Seeger - Which Side Are You On

For the times we live in

It's back/I'm back

My last post was in early July when the debt ceiling debate was raging with mind numbing fury and the certain knowledge that it wouldn't end well. We expect mindless idiocy from the Republicans, it's in their DNA and they really can't help it. We expect, although I doubt anymore, something a little better than mindless idiocy from the media.

The issue was simple. Increase the debt ceiling for money already spent or a host of really horrible things could happen. A sufficient number of Republicans in Congress, showing a complete lack of understanding basic reality thought that Bill Clinton sticking cigars where they don't belong or the President trying to fix our broken health care system were more horrible to the power of twenty took it to the brink before marginally saner heads prevailed.

Raising the deficit has always been a pro-forma vote. We've raised it 106 times since 1940. Reagan raised it 18 times while Bush Jnr. raised it 7 times with nary a peep. The most recent episode was political theater of the worst kind, playing politics, and incoherent politics at that. The media instead decided to report it as a death cage match between two lumbering masses of brawn without bothering to let the audience get an inkling of its history.

It ended with S&P downgrading the U.S debt. Never mind the absurdity that S&P now officially considered the worthiness of the U.S. debt to be less than the mortgage backed derivatives designed to fail that they happily rated as AAA just so Goldman Sachs could offload them on unsuspecting suckers.

The kindergarten sandbox argument even spooked the financial markets. I was too pissed off, too disillusioned and personally weary from all of this.

An expanding workload and burnout caused me to stop blogging. I didn't even bother to check my blog to see if anyone was still clicking on it...until today. Rather surprisingly people are still checking in daily, hopefully to see if my blog was ever going to be resurrected.

It has, and is.

Things have changed since early July. We've seen the clown car cavalcade of the Republican nominees ans their endless weekly reality show "America's Best Candidate" AKA the Primary debates or the "Anyone but Mitt" show. Call off the election and bring in some new faces to humiliate themselves. I'm sure the show will be renewed for another season.

If it weren't for a fickle and sometimes dim electorate common sense says it should be Obama, who has rediscovered some of his mojo, in a canter. There are some promising signs. Gov. Kasich had his ass handed to him in Ohio in the elections a few weeks ago, the Occupy Wall Street movement, for all its negative press has shown extreme resilience and the issues it raises have become part of the national conversation. Polls show steady support for raising taxes on the rich averaging well into the 60% range, even touching 70%.

It's not going to be easy running on a pro 1% ticket, especially for Mitt Romney who is the complete embodiment of privilege. What has surprised even jaded old me is the weakness and vapidity of the republican field. We always knew Michelle Bachman was somewhat crazy and a dim bulb to boot. It's taken the spotlight of the debates to show she isn't 'somewhat crazy' but a complete loon as well as a blithering idiot. That she sits on the Intelligence Committee in the House is a cruel joke on the idea of rational government. Rick Perry; 'oops' says it all and Herman Cain makes Perry look marginally intelligent. It says a lot about corporate America hat such a doofus can be CEO of a large corporation even if they only make crappy pizza.

Newtie has more baggage than the Vanderbilts packing to winter n Florida and that only leaves Romney who seems to be more hated by his own party than by the Democrats. Even the vast sums of money that corporate America will throw at the election can't save this lot.

America has far more often than not, shown it has the capacity to correct itself relatively peaceful when the pendulum swings to far. It won't be easy with the Republicans completely wedded to economic policies that want to take the nation back to the days of the robber barons and enough Democrats who still believe in compromising with people who should be in padded cells.

We're a little less than a year away from what is one of the most important elections in American history. It's going to be quite a ride. I will be here to document it, hopefully with some insight, some wit, a lot of snark and a fair amount of bemusement. I hope you all keep coming back.\, oh and click on an ad once in a while so I can at least get paid a pittance for my efforts.

Lastly a thanks to Amber of Occupy the San Fernando Valley who I met at the Studio City farmer's market yesterday. We chatted for a while and I mentioned my dormant blog. After telling her I had taken a longer than expected or desired hiatus from blogging she insisted that I resume.