Friday, June 30, 2006

The litmus test for congressional insanity

Yes I've suspected it for a long time. The telecom act of 1996 was proof for many that congress was completely in the pocket of large corporations. But of course most of us knew little or nothing about that before the bill was passed. Now today this net neutrality issue is being closely followed and I think it will provide some much needed insight into what exactly has gone wrong with our government. The issue is a complete no brainer. The companies that gave us the worst performing broadband services in the industrialized world want even more power and control.

Here is an article that summarizes the issue very nicely:

Network operators are also preparing to invest in a lot of new infrastructure to make the network faster and more reliable; they are looking for ways to recoup that investment as quickly as possible, and shaking a lot of cash out of the Googles and eBays of the world is an obvious approach. It's a bit like realizing that someone is driving trucks loaded up with diamonds on your highway, and deciding that they have to pay more because their cargo is valuable.

Is this not totally transparent? Do you really need a freaking PhD to figure this out? That's the question that keeps running through my head. Apparently congress is still having a difficult time figuring it out. ("What part of this do you NOT understand, Mr. Congressional Hackjob?") Either that or they just don't care. America is slowly being turned into a 3rd world country. One by one, we stand by and watch as our systems degrade. Education. Health care. Internet. Exactly how much can we afford to bleed? I'm beginning to think that is the one question congress is trying to answer!

There is only one correct action to take here. If congress fails to act in the manner appropriate then they will have proved once and for all that they are complete sellouts who would rather see our country be ruled by corporations (unaccountable private tyrannies), rather than by the people.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Thanks again, George

"Nonetheless, majorities in every country surveyed except Pakistan expressed pessimism about Muslim-Western relations, with Germany most strongly viewing the situation as bad (70 percent), followed by France (66 percent), Turkey (64 percent), Spain and Britain (61 percent), and Egypt (58 percent)."

RatherGate: Did CBS intentionally burn itself?

I have no direct evidence, but I strongly suspect that CBS burned itself and Rather so that Bush would win the election. They may have tarnished their name a little, but CBS, as a business, simply had too much to gain from another four years of Bush. And I bet they still haven't forgiven Rather for talking about controlled demolition when he reported on the collapse of building 7. So this was kind of like killing two birds with one stone. Hell, it was more like 3 birds. People can use this story to claim that the media has a liberal bias. heh

But to me the bigger story is the right wing noise machine. The way these idiots find some tiny little sliver of doubt and just pile on and march in lockstep like 10,000,000 lemmings off a cliff... they really worry me because that behavior is so dangerous.

Everyone on the right was all over that "forged document" story. Because it was suspicious. Too suspicious, imo, suspicious to the point of obviousness... which also worries me. How can something be suspicious when it is totally obvious? Like a trail of breadcrumbs... Yes, something about this story stunk badly. I find it impossible to believe that CBS didn't see it coming. In fact I know they did because I read and watched the interviews with CBS's authenticators who predicted the backlash from the right wing noise machine. So I guess I do have a small amount of direct evidence that CBS burned itself intentionally.

The whole forged document story comes down to one simple question: when you see a trail of breadcrumbs, do you ask "I wonder who left this?" or do you ask "was I supposed to find this?"? Were 1 million idiot wannabe detectives supposed to jump on this? I mean these people aren't too bright. Most of them still think Bush is a conservative. Ha ha. Yeah not too bright.

But what really bothers me is that these people scrutinized this story yet they just swallowed all the lies about 9/11. ("It's all just a series of weird coincidences. blah blah blah") I honestly thought the able danger story was going to be their undoing, because their desire to blame Clinton could have exposed more of the conspiracy. But that story just sort of died when they realized it went far beyond a Clinton or a Gorelick.

But anyway my point is... the million idiots who were all over this forged document story are a real problem because they so completely gullible. They didn't care about the story. For them it was a simple equation:

"Microsoft Word didn't exist back then so therefore Bush's [censored] doesn't stink. "

Talk about a classic non-sequitur. But I guess that's about how deep their tiny little groupthink consciousness goes. It doesn't take a genius to realize that such a ship of fools could easily be steered into a rock. hmm... "a rock" ... "uh-rock"... Iraq... imagine that. Just another coincidence I'm sure.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Speaking Rovish

Karl Rove isn't right about much. And that includes this latest round of "cut and run" bs.

It's not cuttin and runnin when you find out you've been lied to... it's called COMMON SENSE. More and more people are realizing the ugly truth behind people like Rove and when they do... surprise surprise they change their mind about certain things. And so they should. If Rove wants to call it cuttin and runnin or flip floppin so what? I say tell him to go visit the local playground during recess, because he needs some new material. I mean, what's next? Neener neener?

Just because children have a basic understanding of republican motivations, ie, greed, selfishness, posturing, fearmongering, etc, doesn't change the fact that politics is best handled by adults with mature minds. So I don't mind phrases like "cuttin and runnin". In fact let's talk about cuttin and runnin, Mr. Rove. You cut taxes and the rich run to collect the cash. You cut oversight and run the economy into the ground. You cut deals with mexico and run our jobs to china.

Need I go on? We shouldn't allow these people to continue to act like little brats. They are far more devious (and yes downright evil) than they seem at first glance. I mean, really... Combine the trademark image of a bumbling Bush with phrases like "cut and run" and "flip flopper" and you have a republican party that is being portrayed as a schoolyard bully. Does that mean that they only deserve a slap on the wrist? I get the sense that that's all they're hoping to get. And I also get the sense that they may be right, given the sad sorry state of the media.

But in reality the Grand ol Party currently stands for a bunch of war profiteers. And cutting taxes during a time of war... that is treason in my book. Asking poor and middle class people to spill their Blood for wars based on lies and profits... and then having THE NERVE to mock them when they realize what's going on. If people Rove mocks were anywhere near as evil as Rove, I wonder what of his would be Cut, and what would be Runnin...

Hey Rover... why don't you "Just Get Me A F—ing Faith-Based Thing. Got it?"

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Got Debate?

I like to watch CSPAN. Or to be more accurate I like to listen. (There really isn't much to actually "watch" on that channel.) My favorite part is without a doubt when people call in and voice their own opinions.

When a republican calls in they, 9 times out of 10, spout some rediculous talking point that really makes no sense at all. I've listened to literally hundreds of these bogus talking points. It makes me wonder if any of these people could actually survive a debate against any "lucid" person. I think lucidity is the key word. Nothing irks me more than seeing a lack of lucidity among people. The dems who call in are lucid about 7 times out of 10. They're not perfect but by god 70% is better than 10%.

I'm going to list some of the rediculous comments and arguments I've heard today from the republican callers.

The lord is on Bush side
The next caller countered this one nicely. God is on the side of killing innocent civilians? I guess if you're a repug.

Americans are not stupid enough to believe that Saddam was responsible for 9/11
Yeah well pew research data clearly shows that 70% of Fox viewers did indeed think Saddam was responsible for 9/11. Many of the other big network viewers shared similar views. Interestingly enough, comedy central viewers are more informed.

bottom line, Saddam Hussein is a terrible murderer
I guess if he was a "good" murderer like the dozen other tin pot dictators around the world, he'd be alright?

if the terrorists think we are a nation of cowards... they're gonna come home with us
Oh yeah I bet at least 2 out of 3 repugs live by this talking point. The terrorists are gonna get ya! Nevermind the fact that we created the terrorists in Iraq by invading Iraq.

if we left we'd start a civil war
As if it's not already a civil war. Right wing pundits are definately responsible for this view. Iraqis killing Iraqis... sounds like a damn civil war to me.

theyre basically barbarians, they got to be converted to christianity... and they got to be wiped out.
To be fair I think this guy was some kind of hack, calling in pretending to be a repug trying to make them sound even more extreme than most of em are. Although I've met many people who do indeed want to wipe out the entire middle east. We've all met people like that. They sound alot like this: "Turn em into a parkin lot"

killing civilians is a casualty of war
idiot. One could argue that our only purpose there IS to kill civilians. What else are we accomplishing. (Besides enriching the Vice President and his cronies?)

they're not gettin the picture... if we're not there they're gonna be here.
Again the terrorists are gonna get ya. Why leave the border wide open?

the far left is putting this country in danger with this strategy of cuttin and runnin.
lol. This guy used the phrase "the far left" like 10 times. He must be a big O'Reilly fan. It's not a partisan issue.

I support the war, not the war itself, but...
totally clueless

we've lost respect... everybody's runnin around calling people by their first and second names... he's "President" Bush....
This guy is a teacher blaming everything on the fact that people don't address "the president" in a prim and proper way. Christ if you wanna be proper call him "the illegitimate president". And if that's not convincing, then I've got just two words for you: Peter Wallsten

I was a democrat for 35 years... I had to switch... just too daggone librul
if it took him 35 years to figure that out then he's probably a lost cause.

I support the president. I have two sons in the war. They understand what the mission is, they understand what they're fighting for.
They know what their mission is? The leadership doesn't even know what its mission is. It changes every year.

we about lost it to the germans... and saved us from that. That's why these people can say what they want to say.
Here we have the classic talking point where we have to fight all these wars for Halliburton so that we can be free. Germany is the most common example. They never mention the fact that Nazis existed within the US during the buildup to WWII, and that they funded Hitler, and that Bush's grandpa was among them. (Prescott Bush's Union Banking co was siezed under the trading with the enemy act.)

if we dont defend ourselves we gone be muslim.

Iraq would be even worse than Iran... (had we not invaded)
I hate to break it to ya but Iraq IS worse than Iran. Thanks to us.

how many times do we have to tell the democrats... they're out to change our religion, they want us to become muslim
Maybe if it wasn't a totally bogus argument, you wouldn't need to repeat it ad nauseum.

we want to convert them to peaceful muslims
lol. According to right wing fantasy logic, a dead muslim is a peaceful muslim I guess.

it's a shame to see people (democrats) play politics
But it's ok for rethugs to do it. He didn't actually say democrats but it was implied.

if you're really soft on guantanamo people, why don't you just adopt one of em.
I swear I'm not making this stuff up. The US constitution grants people the right to due process. We really should try and set a good example for the rest of the world. Guantanamo is a disgrace.

I just hate to see all these people don't realize the gravity of the situation we're in and the enemy we face and what they really want and what they demand from us and we should face these people head on.
Rambling nonsense. I do realize the gravity of the situation. And if this guy studied the mechanisms of power and media manipulation, he'd probably realize the gravity of the situation too.

he (Saddam) ruled the country like Adolph Hitler.
One could argue Bush is trying to rule like Hitler. Enabling Act = Patriot Act?

let's not forget that Clinton in order to balance the budget had to gut the military, so ... we had to build back up the military
We "had" to build back up the military? For what? To invade Iraq... talk about total temporal confusion. He's basically saying we made the decision to invade Iraq shortly after Bush was (s)elected. I actually agree with that. But the funny thing is he would never admit that directly.

Wow. Most of these comments make me think they were drunk when they called. The fact that the party representing these people is the party in power shows that we are in grave peril. There is nothing more threatening to democracy than an uninformed electorate. These people are just flat out wrong. Their arguments hold no water.

How then can they maintain a majority? Answer:

The real FEMA fraud

Over $1 billion of disaster relief was spent on footbal games, vacations, and yes even a sex change operation. What great headlines this stuff makes!

To be honest my first thought was why is it that the media jumps all over this type of fraud but remains silent about fraud involving companies like Halliburton? And what ever happened to this story: "Why Is $59 Billion Missing From HUD?(United States. Department of Housing and Urban Development)"


Or this story: "Audit: U.S. lost track of $9 billion in Iraq funds"


And remember what Rumsfeld said on September 10, 2001?: "According to some estimates we cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions"


I've argued that the media is controlled by the elite wealthy and so stories don't get much coverage unless they somehow serve the elite. So after all these relatively unknown stories of fraud flashed through my mind, I then asked the obvious question: how does this particular fraud story serve the elite? How is it different from the others? Well it's quite transparent I think. They want to create more contempt for the people. To the elite, these FEMA "handouts" represent another form of welfare. And boy do they HATE welfare. (Unless of course it's corporate welfare.) I can already picture droves of right wing bloggers gloating over this. They want people to be hung out to dry when there's a disaster. Personal responsibility, they call it. Apparently that only applies to poor and middle class people and not to the rich. I can't believe the hubris...

This is an example of what I call "engineered incompetence". How hard would it be to plan for a system of disaster relief that is more immune to fraud? Not very hard at all, unless you have total contempt toward the idea of even providing disaster relief. And to top it all off, the people with such contempt will end up being rewarded for this. Watch and see.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

The Invisible Hand... and the invisible string attached to it,2933,197209,00.html

Yeah I've read many pieces of propaganda like this. They usually contain certain key absurdities such as:

"Such a privatization will promote greater supply and efficiency".

It's sickening that people actually still believe this stuff. I've devoted great thought to understanding why, and all I can say is it must help them sleep at night. Call it cognitive dissonance; if they knew the horrible truth contained within their ideology, they would certainly not be able to sleep at night. Unless they really are evil.

Why does this propaganda persist? Why is it that even after the systematic looting of California by Enron, these people still cannot admit even to themselves that they are wrong? How many times does it have to happen?

The guy who said "Burn baby burn" was just an ordinary person; a low level thug. Yet this privatization gave him the motive to morph into something dreadful; something which has no moral issues about profitting directly at another's expense. And these people have the nerve to set foot in a church and claim they act according to god's will? They are the poster children for atheism.

"And these individuals -- let there be many thousands of them -- will rise from poverty to become part of the investor class, and even philanthropists to their fellow man."

Here we have it, yet another regurgitation of the cream of all right wing propaganda. Where oh where do I start? The investor class? Just what the hell is this investor class? Erm... a group of people who do not produce anything. A group of people who buy up stocks and then dump their shares unless a company focuses on short term gains, even if those gains come at the expense of long term survivability. Sounds like a damn cancer to me. And that is pretty much what they are. The "investor class" is half cancer and half parasite. And now anyone with a little extra money can, via the internet, play parasite with the economy. No wonder we can't get economic growth without spiraling debts and deficits.

What makes me curious is why these people think that any normal person really wants to be part of the "investor class"? All this makes being rich seem a bit less appealing. And what's this about philanthropy? Oh yeah these people actually think it's ok to rape and pillage the rest of us simply because they give back a little of what they steal! How [censored] generous. You're my heroes. But I'm sure Jesus loves you no matter how much you give back.

Here's another winning quote:
"America is not 'addicted' to oil; too many oil-rich countries are addicted to socialism and nationalism, by which problem-solving entrepreneurship is hampered or criminalized."

We're not addicted to oil? Well that's a relief. Talk about living in denial. I can't say I'm surprised. We are NOT addicted to oil, junk food, defense spending, or commercial drugs. Hmm it feels good to say that. If I repeat it three times a day can I be a Fox News contributer?
And here come the attacks on socialism. Oooh the evil socialists. How dare you inflict health care on all your citizens! And nationalism? wtf? These people can't have it both ways. They are a bunch of flag waving Nazis when it serves their purpose... like before the latest imperial invasions. But when promoting their ideology, nationalism is bad? Ah my bad, I see the conundrum. Nationalism is bad for business, but good for public opinion. Solution: lie to the people. Recall that America was once the world's leading exporter of oil, but now we are the leading importer. So, according to right wing fantasy logic, this happened because... why? Because we are too socialist? If America is too socialist then these people really are Nazis. So which is it Mr. Robert L. Bradley, Jr.? Are yall a bunch of Nazis, or do you simply not have a damn clue what you're talking about?

Now that all the pleasantries are out of the way I can get to the point. I actually agree with the concept of the Invisible Hand guiding the market. The problem is, the hand has got some strings attached to it. Usually those strings are under the control of the elite wealthy. That's how they stay wealthy despite spending most of their lives not actually doing anything productive. I guess they consider yanking on a string a couple times a day to be their fair share of work. So how will this invisible hand solve the oil problem?

High prices? Alternative fuels? War? Starvation?

My guess would be all of the above. Unfortuantely that basically means destitution and ultimately death for a lot of people. You see, the "free market" often makes "decisions" that end peoples lives. If oil were to peak tomorrow, and if we were to switch some of our land from food production to fuel production, that would basically put the starving poor in direct competition with the consumerist middle class. Each wants to buy a certain type of fuel, and each type would basically come from the same pool of resources. The middle class would end up driving up the cost of food and fuel, thereby undercutting the survivability of the poor. In a capitalist society anyway. Like any analysis of capitalism it ends the same way: with an extremely oppressed poor majority, and an extremely rich elite minority. Neofeudalism at it's finest.

Let me tell you what the invisible hand would give us, if left unchecked:

We'd have power shortages and prices spikes. Our #1 industry would be gambling. We'd have drugs. Legal drugs, under the complete control of the elite wealthy, of course. We'd have garbage for food. We'd be breathing toxic air. Ooh but the market will solve that problem too. We'd be taking a fancy well marketed drug to cover the symptoms from all the toxins in the air and water. And then of course we'd have to take a second drug to cover the side effects from the first drug. And then a third... and then a fourth. The production of each one would of course exacerbate the original symptoms. But we don't care about such things... because "cause and effect" has always been highly questionable. Especially when you can afford 100 scientists who will say so without losing sleep over it.

Can you imagine an entire economy devoted to gambling, junk food, weapon, and drug sales? It is possible for an economy like this to have the appearance of growth and prosperity. But in the end it's just a ponzi scheme, one that is floating on a sea of oil and debt. I predict that if such a sea of oil (or credit) ever dries up, then we're going to have a lot of skeletons walking among us. I can't wait to see how Fox News spins that story.