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That’s what republican legislatures have for America. No, I’m not being hyperbolic.

For two election cycles now, the American people have overwhelmingly voted democrats to represent them. All across the country, Americans have voted for democratic congressmen and democratic senators. We all collectively, by a large majority, voted for a democratic president. The will of the people has been abundantly clear here. And yet, we have republican legislatures filibustering EVERY major piece of legislation since President Obama was sworn in. We voted for a platform but republicans are more interested in their own agenda than they are with the will of the people. They’re blocking financial reform as I type this, despite the fact that 65% of Americans are in favor of it.

They don’t give a shit what democrats OR republicans want. This should be a major concern for all Americans, regardless of your party affiliation. And republicans that support these tactics are (I’m being kind here) ASSHATS! I understand the urge to support any efforts to block something that you don’t support, I really do. But condoning and supporting these tactics shows a lack of big picture thinking. You should care more about your country than you do your party. These tactics literally discount the will of the people and threaten to destroy the system of governance that the founders created. Anybody that supports this clearly hasn’t considered the fact that these tactics will eventually be used to eviscerate a platform that you voted for.

But the contempt that I refer to isn’t just about preserving power for republicans. They have actual contempt for Americans.

Last week, South Carolina Lieutenant Governor Andre Bauer said that unemployment is caused by “flat out lazy” American workers. FYI – South Carolina has a 12% unemployment rate. This wasn’t the first time he made this sort of comment. Back in January he said this;

My grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals. You know why? Because they breed. You’re facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don’t think too much further than that.”

Charming, right? Before you chalk that up to one stray asshole, let me continue.

Back in March, the other douchebag senator from Arizona, Jon Kyl made this statement;

“Unemployment insurance doesn’t create new jobs. In fact, if anything, continuing to pay people unemployment compensation is a disincentive for them to seek new work, because people are being paid even though they’re not working.”

As a quick aside, I want to let Arizona know about a law that you may or may not know about. This is an old Arizona state law that has been on the books for a very long time. If you live in Arizona, you’re only allowed to own two dildos. I’m not kidding! So here’s a thought; you may not want to squander your allotment on your two senators!

Need more? Check out Tom DeLay in an interview with Candy Crowly last month:


I can give you several more examples of these opinions from republicans, but you get the point. These aren’t isolated opinions, they’re an example of the ideology that republicans have about Americans.

They have contempt for you if you have the temerity to be unemployed because the ponzi schemes that their biggest contributors in the financial were running collapsed, therefore robbing you of your job. That’s right, to republicans, you’re the asshole here. And as long as you’re getting a few hundred dollars a week in unemployment benefits from the federal government, you won’t be seeking the six figure job that you just lost because you’re fundamentally lazy.

Trust me when I tell you that I would find this unacceptable if it came from democrats. This is not a partisan thing for me, and it shouldn’t be for you. This should be about preserving a system that made America great. Allowing a party that was elected into a minority position by the American people to hijack the system isn’t going to turn out well for democrats or republicans. Allowing the Bush administration to wiretap phone calls and monitor all electronic communication in America completely unchecked, didn’t turn out well for us since we have no evidence that the Obama administration has shut that program down. Why would a party willingly give up power that another party obtained? I don’t trust Obama with my privacy any more than I trusted Bush. And I don’t trust democrats not to use these tactics when they’re the minority.

This is unacceptable and republicans and democrats have to come together to let our representatives know that we won’t stand for this.

How can this possibly be something that we don’t all agree on?


Let’s Abandon Financial Reform

I mean it. Screw trying to reform the system. This is the conclusion I’ve come to after a rigorous review of our current economic system.

Sure, our economic stability went to shit when we started peeling back regulations on banks and investment banks back in the 80s. Regulations that by the way, kept us virtually bust free for forty years. And yes, continued deregulation through the 90s and 00s did make for a more volatile and precarious financial system, resulting in shorter boom and bust cycles. But I still say fuck it. We shouldn’t bother to regulate.

I know I sound nutty again, but there’s a method to my madness.

I really believe that our chances of getting the kind of regulation that we had in the 40s in place is pretty damned close to impossible. The financial industry has way too much money invested in our politicians. Our congressmen, senators, and president aren’t about to bite the hand that feeds them. We’re not going to get any kind of reform that will prevent banks from doing precisely what they did to tank the economy in 2008. We’re sure as hell not going to get any regulation that will stop investment banks from creating new “financial products” that could potentially be even more devastating than the financial products that just screwed us. So let’s not even bother. Who needs another long, drawn out battle like the one we just had on health reform, that will leave us almost as screwed as we would be if we did nothing?

I say we leave the banks alone. Let them do what they want to do, completely unmolested by government oversight.

What we should do instead, is start national banks to compete with the private banking system. I’m not talking about taking over the banks. I’m talking about creating new banks.

Right now, Bank Of America, CitiBank, WaMu, Chase, and all of the other banks that are “too big to fail” are borrowing 100% interest free money from the federal government. Money that we had hoped they would use to lend to small businesses so that we could jump start the economy. But they’re not actually lending that interest free money the way that we wanted them to. They’ve calculated that they can make much bigger short term profits if they take that interest free money and gamble it on derivatives. What they’re not gambling on derivatives, they’re lending to you in the form of credit card debt. And they’re charging you an exorbitant interest rate to borrow money that they’re getting for free.

So why not cut them out? Let’s get rid of the middle man and create national banks. We just did this with student loans. We used to let banks be the middle man in the student loan system. It was a great deal for them. They loaned out the money which they got from the federal government and charged interest for it, but were completely insured by the federal government if you defaulted on paying the loan. They got all of the reward with absolutely no risk. So we finally decided to cut them out of the equation. Student loans are now going to come directly from the federal government. The interest that you pay on those loans will now be paid directly to the federal government to keep the system going. Makes sense, right? So why can’t we do that for small business loans, mortgages, and personal loans? Why are we letting private banks interject themselves between us and the federal government who supplies the money anyway?

This would solve every single problem that we face today. We wouldn’t have to worry about the banks being too big to fail because we would have a solid banking system in place. So if you fail, fuck you. We’ll be just fine. A national bank would give consumers more options. We could decide for ourselves if we trust the private system over the government bank. We wouldn’t have to worry about small businesses being left out in the cold by banks that don’t want to lend to them. We certainly won’t be paying 30% interest on credit cards since national banks wouldn’t have derivatives trading to finance. We wouldn’t have to worry about ever bailing out another undeserving bank executive again. And since banks are so averse to government interference, we could stop the FDIC insurance system that we currently provide them. And we can charge the private banks interest on the money that they’re getting for free now.

This is the perfect solution to every single problem that we face. And the banks would get what they want; free reign.

I honestly don’t know why we’re not having a serious conversation about starting national banks. Unless I’m missing something, it seems like the solution to all of our national problems. And it creates more competition. Who can argue with that?


Time For The Tea Party To Put Up Or Shut Up

Most of you have heard about the immigration that was passed in Arizona yesterday. This is a vile, hateful bill that promotes discrimination, and does absolutely nothing to reduce illegal immigration. It requires that police officers in Arizona seek proof of immigration status from anyone that they suspect might be here illegally. It forces everyone in the state of Arizona to have their birth certificate, social security card, or passport with them at all times. Do you routinely carry these documents with you? This law is reminiscent of another time, in another country, when SS officers could demand to see anyone’s "papers" for no reason whatsoever. Arizona is recreating Nazi Germany, except that instead of looking for Jews, blacks, and gays, they’re targeting Hispanics. Yes, this might be the first time since WWII ended, that Nazi Germany has been invoked without hyperbole. I can’t think of a bigger government intrusion over the past several decades than this law. Why don’t we just streamline this whole system by requiring that everyone in Arizona pin their birth certificates to their chests at all times? This will save the officers a lot of time that will otherwise be wasted in harassing US citizens of Hispanic origin. Plus it will minimize the torrent of law suits that will lead to inevitable ownership of the state of Arizona, by those US citizens of Hispanic origin that will be falsely imprisoned and unconstitutionally harassed. We don’t have an immigration "problem" in America. We have an immigration solution. Illegal immigrants are the solution for corporations that want to get around those pesky labor laws that we have in America. Illegal immigrants make it possible for Purdue to sell you chicken for $1.99 per pound. If they had to pay a living wage and cover benefit costs for their employees the way federal labor laws mandate, you would be paying $6.99 per pound for that same chicken. If you want to eliminate the flood of immigrants into this country, the most effective way to do that is to have mandatory jail time for anyone that employs illegal immigrants. If the CEO of Purdue does twenty years in prison for hiring thousands of illegal immigrants, I can assure you that the CEO of WalMart would make a strong effort to make sure that he doesn’t suffer the same fate. If there were no jobs here for illegal immigrants, they would stop coming. It’s really that simple. The fact that we don’t go after the employers is evidence that our government doesn’t want to stop the "problem". It’s a system that’s working very well for everybody. Corporations get to maximize their profits by exploiting second class non-citizens, consumers get cheap goods, and the government doesn’t have to worry about millions of people claiming their social security benefits after a lifetime of service to this country. And as an added bonus, low income Americans get to hate a class that they deem to be beneath them. They don’t have to be the bottom of the American food chain the way they would be if the eyelegals weren’t here. But I digress. My point in this post speaks to the tea party movement, a noble group of Americans that has picked up the fight against a tyrannical government takeover of our country. I expect that they’re going to be out en masse to protest this most intrusive of big government laws. GO GET EM, tea party! You must be seething with anger over what Arizona has done here. Time to protect America from the Arizonan SS officers and restore our freedom. As an added bonus, you get to dispel all of the baseless allegations of racism that have been hurled at you by the liberal media. I understand that you’ve gotten a bad rap because of a handful of extremists that seem to have a knack for being in front of every camera that has ever been present at any tea party you’ve ever held. But guess what? You have an opportunity to prove the lame stream media wrong, and shut them down once and for all. You get to wage a just war and restore your good name. What’s not to love about that? So you go get em, tea party! Show the world that you won’t put up with big government, while showing them that you’re tea partiers, rather than the teabaggers they’ve made you out to be.


Turning The Tables

I’m an idiot. But in my defense, most people that want comprehensive health reform are idiots so I’m not alone. While watching some footage of interviews with teabaggers, something occurred to me that should have occurred to me months ago. Something so obvious, that I’m an idiot for not having seen it before now.

The biggest complaint that the teabaggers have with the reform bill that passed last month, is that it infringes on their liberty by forcing them to buy health insurance. We (health reform advocates) have been combating this assertion with reason and logic, pointing out that costs are out of control and that there are entirely too many uninsured people that need to be covered. We’ve been doing this all wrong. We need to speak to them in terms they can understand. So, my faithful readers, I have come up with the debate winning talking point on health reform.

Are you ready? This is so freaking simple, you’re going to kick yourself for not having parroted it for months.

We need to let the “liberty lovers” know that yes, they should be forced to buy insurance because we’re tired of supporting their deadbeat asses. They shouldn’t have the option of not having insurance because every time they go to the emergency room, they’re bleeding the rest of us dry. They shouldn’t be allowed to be reckless because doing so foists their bill on us, thereby infringing on our freedom. We work hard to pay our taxes so we shouldn’t be forced to pay extra because they’re too lazy to work hard enough to pay their own way. And while you’re at it, let them know that you wish that the bill provided for throwing the deadbeats in jail for not buying insurance. The threat of prison might stop them from mooching off the rest of us.

Let them know that we’re tired of their self entitled socialist ways! They need to step up and deal with their own shit, because we’re not going to carry them anymore! They need to pick themselves up with their own bootstraps, or else we’re going to beat them with ours.

See? It’s short, simple, and fact-free which means they’ll understand it.


Capitalism And Leprechauns

I am constantly amazed and confused by people that wax poetic about American capitalism. I can’t tell whether they just don’t understand the fundamental principles of capitalism, or if they’re simply not paying attention to what’s going on in America today.

So let’s clear a few things up by starting with the definition of capitalism:

An economic system based on a free market, open competition, profit motive and private ownership of the means of production. Capitalism encourages private investment and business, compared to a government-controlled economy. Investors in these private companies (i.e. shareholders) also own the firms and are known as capitalists.

In order for capitalism to exist, you must have a situation where the shareholders who have invested in a company partake in the profits of that company. We don’t have anything resembling that anymore. We have a system where executives of a company take all the profits that are left after purchasing a congressman, leaving the shareholders with nothing.

Everybody is aware by now, of the exorbitant bonus structures in the financial industry. On the day that the FEC announced that they were filing charges against Goldman Sachs, the company announced that it would be paying out $5.4 billion in bonuses. This, just 15 weeks after they had paid out $16.2 billion in bonuses. If you take a close look at the readily available financial disclosure information for all of the big banks and investment firms in the US, you’ll see a pattern emerging. Executives seem to be shifting most of their compensation into cash pay outs, rather than accepting stock grants. They’re obviously looting the companies for every cent they can get, while they can get it. None of the five biggest banks in America currently have any assets. You read that right, they’re not worth anything. Their liabilities far exceed their assets, making them “zombie” banks. I’m not going to get super financial wonky on you because this would be a really long post, and I want to focus in on what corporate executives are doing to America. But trust me, I’ve done a lot of research into this, and listened to all of the economists that correctly predicted the subprime collapse. They are all in agreement in their assessments that our banks are worthless. They are also all in agreement that another major collapse is eighteen to thirty-six months away. But more important than what these very smart economists with solid track records of forecasting our economic situation, is what the executives are doing. The fact that they’re suddenly shifting compensation packages to cash payouts tells me that they don’t want stock in the companies that they’re running into the ground. If you don’t want to believe the “doomsday” economists, then look at the evidence and apply a little bit of common sense.

So as these executives are looting the companies that they’re running into the ground, they’re royally fucking their shareholders, who are seeing none of the fake profits. I say fake because the banks are leveraging taxpayer bailout money to show liquidity that doesn’t really exist.

Who are the shareholders? That would be anyone with a 401k in America. Your 401k is invested in virtually all of the companies in the Fortune 500. Because of the way 401k investment options are packaged, most people have no idea what exactly they’re invested in. It’s safe to assume that you own some Bank Of America stock and some Citibank stock and some Goldman Sachs stock, as well as bundles of tech stocks and retail stocks. One of the many shitty things about this system, is that Goldman Sachs is moving most of your 401k money around. They are one of the biggest investment firms in the world, which means that they’re steering your 401k investments. They’re the reason why the dotcom bust happened. They were IPOing total crap companies, in an effort to create imaginary money so that they could amass real profits for themselves. When that well went dry, they created imaginary money in the form of inflating the real estate market. They drove up the value of your house by “qualifying” a pizza delivery guy to buy the house next door to yours. It didn’t matter that the pizza delivery guy couldn’t really afford to buy a house. Goldman Sachs figured out that they could sell the pizza delivery guy’s debt to you, by investing your 401k money in real estate bundles that were worthless.

They got you to create debt on the basis of imaginary equity that they then got you to buy! Amazing, right?

And while they were creating huge profits for “the company”, they weren’t creating any profits for you, the shareholder, because they were taking the lion’s share of the profits out and paying themselves enormous bonuses. The more they understood the precariousness of the financial structure they had created, the more imperative it became for them to grab all the cash they could while there was any cash to grab.

This isn’t limited to the financial sector. Here’s a great story that got on my radar thanks to The Young Turks. It’s a story about Abercrombie & Fitch, whose profits have plummeted in the past 2 years. In 2009, the company netted $254,000, way down from $273M in 2008 and $476M in 2007. Their CEO’s (Mike Jeffries) compensation package for 2008 totaled $71.8M. Think about that for a second, he got paid about 1/3 of everything that the company made in 2008! But that’s just his compensation. We’re not even adding perks into what he cost the shareholders. His travel expenses in 2008 were $1.3M! We don’t know what his total compensation for 2009 was just yet (I’m DYING to find out), but we do know that the board of directors took some steps to tighten his belt. They decided to limit his travel expenses to a mere $200,000 per year. But before you start weeping uncontrollably for his terrible fate, you have to know that in exchange for amending his employment contract (which expires in 2013), Jeffries received a lump sum of $4M! Yes, he got a lump sum that amounts to sixteen times what the company made in profits last year, for simply agreeing to amend his employment contract. A little quick math tells me that if he continued his lavish travel through the end of his contract, the cost of the tab to the company would have been $2.6M. By amending his contract, they brought that cost up to $4.4M.The worst part is that he’s going to walk away a very rich man as a reward for bankrupting the company that he works for. It’s the same racket that Carly Fiorina ran with Hewlet Packard. She got a golden parachute which cost the shareholders $45M just to get her to leave! And now this stupid bitch that failed her way to massive wealth may become the next US senator from California? Unbelievable!

See what I mean about looting? And once again, who gets fucked? That would be the shareholder (i.e. you).

We don’t have capitalism in America, anymore than Ireland has leprechauns. We don’t live in a country where hard work pays off anymore. We live in a place where the system is gamed to favor the rich, while sticking you with the tab when they fail.

Take a look at this lovely chart, which shows the ratio of CEO compensation to the average worker’s salary.

Charming, right? A CEO today makes 319 times what the workers in their company makes. I predict that we’re going to see a huge spike in CEO compensation for 2009 and 2010 because of a last ditch effort to squeeze every cent out while there’s a there there.

Oh yes, the people out there screaming for capitalism confuse me. I wouldn’t be confused if they were all Carly Fiorinas, but they’re not. They’re the people who work hard, only to earn less than they were earning ten years ago, while their retirement funds are routinely looted by a handful of very powerful people.

Don’t worry, this post isn’t all about doom and gloom. The good news in all of this is that I still believe we can turn it around (although that window is closing). We just collectively need to realize that we have all the power. We still get to vote every year.

I know that our government sucks. Our system has entirely too much corporate money in it, thereby eviscerating its efficacy to actually do something good for the people. But the alternative view of trusting corporations to do right by us is completely insane. I can’t do anything about Mike Jeffries, but I can vote out Charlie Rengel. I understand that I have more power over the government than I do over corporate executives.

The first thing that we can all do, is to move our money out of the big banks. If our government won’t stop them from becoming “too big to fail”, then we can. Move your money is an excellent resource to help you find a good community bank.

The next thing we can do is to start collecting signatures in each state to put a “clean election” measures on the ballot. If we mandate that our elections are publicly financed, we take the first step in taking back our government. The biggest problem we have right now is that it costs an average of $8M to win a senate seat that pays $175,000 a year. Does anyone else see a problem with this? If our representatives didn’t have to whore for corporate cash just to get elected, they just might start representing you for a change. Keep in mind that this culture of CEO looting didn’t happen without the help of the government.

And lastly, we can keep ourselves informed. We have to keep a close eye on the people we elect. You can’t just assume that your congressman is “the good guy” amid a sea of corrupt politicians. And it shouldn’t matter if your representative is they guy you voted for. That should be more of a reason to keep an eye on them. Democrats didn’t keep an eye on Clinton. What did we get in exchange for our blind faith? We got NAFTA and a massive deregulation of our financial institutions. How did that work out for you? Republicans didn’t keep an eye on Bush. We’re all to familiar with what they got in return. I’m not going to go through all of the damage that he did. This post is long enough!

My point is that we would all be better off if we policed our own party, instead of policing the party that is never, ever going to get our vote. Doesn’t that make more sense to everyone? We’re not getting anywhere with partisan attacks on the opposing team. It’s just not working. We need to let our team know that they’re going to lose a vote that they previously had if they don’t represent us well. And we need to mean it.

I guess what I’m saying is that we need to get proactive! I really believe that if we do, things will get better. We are not as powerless as most of us believe we are.


And So It Begins

The passing of health reform is barely a month old and we’re already getting a sampling of how the health insurance industry plans to respond. I first want to take a moment to pat myself on the back for (a month ago) predicting that things were going to get a whole lot worse over the next four years, before they got even a little bit better. Okay, moving on from my self flagellation.

I want to share a few health insurance stories from my friends over the past month since I’ve already shared my stories of corporate premium increases.

A friend of mine got his renewal options from Blue Cross of California a few weeks ago. I had braced him for a 30% – 60% increase since that’s what I’ve been seeing from Blue Cross for small business rate adjustments. He emailed me to let me know that his rates had gone down by $300 a year. I was naturally immediately suspicious. I had no doubt that the new plan was going to cover far less than the old plan, and that there were likely new stop losses written into the plan to limit Blue Cross’s exposure if my friend had the audacity to use his health coverage. He emailed me the plan summaries for his old plan, the new plan, and two “cheaper” options that Blue Cross offered his small group.

Blue Cross did exactly what I suspected they did. Some of the changes include:

Increasing the annual out of pocket maximum.

Capping the annual coverage for office visits to $750 per year. Think about that one for a second. Blue Cross is only going to pay out $750 per year (unless you experience a hospitalization) on a plan that collects $5,000 a year in premiums.

They included lab work in that $750 a year maximum reimbursement. Lab work routinely costs $500 – $800 for basic blood tests.

Blue Cross is no longer covering the cost of any medical supplies that you may need. So if you end up in an accident and end up needing a wheel chair, oxygen tank, or anything else as part of your rehabilitation, you’re shit out of luck.

Another charming change that they made last year, is that PPO subscribers can no longer go to their own physicians for annual physicals. They must instead, go to a Blue Cross clinic to be seen by one of their physicians. Appointments must be made 60 days in advance. Let me translate what this means. It means that Blue Cross couldn’t get most physicians to agree to administer preventive exams for the low-ball reimbursement rate that they offered. So what they did was to limit their subscribers to only having the option to see the physicians that did agree to their (very likely) absurdly low rate. Why would one doctor agree to do a procedure for a fee that most doctors refused to do it for? Because they’re trying to build up a practice! You no longer have the option of seeing an experienced doctor to do your annual exam if Blue Cross is your insurer.

Remember all of the stories in Sicko about people who had insurance, only to  discover that their coverage had huge gaps in it? Remember how all of those people who had paid their premiums their whole lives were forced into bankruptcy because of all of those gaps in coverage? Guess what? Those people are you. And if it’s not you right at this very moment, it’s going to be you as soon as your renewal happens.

A month ago, I predicted that by the time this health reform bill fully kicks in four years from now, that the average premium would be 60% – 100% higher than it is today. I stand behind that prediction because in order for insurance companies to meet wall street expectations, they’re going to have to cap coverage and increase rates.

As our coverage gets worse, we’re most definitely going to hear republicans blame health reform for the deterioration. This is a little bit like blaming a woman for her own rape, because she wore a short skirt. Passing a reform bill hasn’t created unabashed greed from our health insurance executives, it has simply created an urgency to accelerate their current practices.

If you’ve been reading this blog, you know that I’m not a fan of the reform bill that was passed. It simply doesn’t go nearly far enough. If they weren’t going to pass a public option in order to keep the insurance companies honest, they should have regulated the crap out of them immediately. They should have given federal regulators the sole power to make premium increases until the exchanges are set up.

Let me back up for a second to say that I’m not usually a proponent of this much regulation of private industry. For example, Chuck Schumer is proposing passing legislation to ban airlines from charging passengers for carry-on luggage. While I agree that charging passengers to carry on their luggage is obscene, I believe that the market can take care of this practice. As “discount” airlines nickle and dime their customers by adding nearly $100 in carry-on fees to every round trip flight, I believe that consumers will respond in kind by choosing other carriers or traveling by rail for shorter trips.

But health insurance is not a product that you can choose not to purchase. It’s a necessity of life. And we don’t have the option of going to another provider, because through years of mergers and acquisitions, and with no anti-trust laws to stop them insurance companies have created a monopoly. We have a total of seven insurance companies in the whole country. In this one instance, I say that we need to regulate the shit out of insurance companies. If they don’t like it, they can get out of the business of getting between us and our doctors. I for one, won’t miss them at all.

Yes this bill was gutless, in that it doesn’t go far enough. A public option is essential in order for us to control costs. I was never convinced that “medicare for all” would be sustainable in this country because of our steroid riddled food and our incredibly unhealthy lifestyles, but a public option to compete against private insurance companies is a no brainer. So I agree that this bill is wearing a skirt that is too short, and that we’re showing too much leg. But that doesn’t condone the rape that we’re going to continue to see from the health insurance industry. If you think that it does, your anger is horribly misplaced.

Health insurance reform is not your rapist. Your insurance company is.


I’m Impotent

Nothing says “I’m impotent” like strapping a semi automatic rifle to your back and marching aimlessly through public streets in a herd. Honestly, do any of these guys look like they’ve experienced an erection in the recent past?

Nothing says “I’m a psychopath” like marching your big gun through public streets on the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing.

There are some seriously disturbed people out there that lionize Timothy McVeigh, and I’m afraid that April 19th is forever going to be “embrace your favorite whack-a-doodle” day in America.

And here’s their leader:


Rush, if your world is one in which a tragedy like Waco is a reason for another tragedy like the Oklahoma City bombing, you live in a far uglier place than I do. Here’s a newsflash Rush; Oklahoma City happened because of one mentally imbalanced asshole, PERIOD. There’s no reason or rationale beyond that. And every time you open your mouth to rationalize something like this, another potential asshole finds his wings. I love how Rush sets out to disprove what Clinton said about him by PROVING that what Clinton said was correct.

I’m honestly concerned that every year on April 19th, when a democrat is in office, we’re going to be forced to pay attention to the craziest among us. They seem to be relatively dormant during republican administrations for some inexplicable reason. I guess that warantless wiretapping feels more freedomy than having a fairly elected democratic president does. Sorry, I got off topic for a minute there.

I’m usually not a big proponent of ignoring the crazies. I generally believe that if you don’t shine a light on them, they grow in numbers. But I feel like we need to make April 19th a day of deference toward victims of the Oklahoma City bombings. We need to take this day back, or forever be doomed to celebrate the whackos among us.

So just for one day, let’s ignore Rush, Beck, The teabaggers, and the armed nutjobs in DC. Let’s just mourn a sad day in our history and pay homage to those that lost their lives needlessly.


The American Media Crapfest

I spend an inordinate amount of time each day trying to remain an informed voter. Trust me, when I say “inordinate”, I mean that someone should organize an intervention! I spent every waking moment taking in and researching news from MSNBC, FOX, Limbaugh, O’Reilly, BBC, Al Jazeera, the white house press secretary, CSPAN (my favorite), The New York Times and the Washington Post. I have clocked enough time into listening to Limbaugh, that I actually qualify for admission into any bettered woman’s shelter in the country!  I have to say that it’s getting harder and harder for me to get all of the facts every day.

Both parties claim a media bias against them, which is a joke, while being completely true at the same time. It’s true because we can no longer get the whole story on anything from one single source. It’s a joke when conservatives (and FOX specifically) refer to “the mainstream media” bias. FOX is the number one cable news channel (from a viewership perspective) in America. That makes them, by definition the mainstream media. There is NO city in America where a radio listener doesn’t have access to Limbaugh AND Savage AND O’Reilly AND Beck. Not a single one. On the flip side, most of the country has no access to Ron Reagan, Tom Hartman, Randi Rhodes, The Young Turks, or Stephanie Miller. We have an overabundance of conservative talk with only a smattering of liberal talk which sadly, is an improvement over where we were just 6 years ago.

The access to liberal media, which started six years ago with Air America (RIP) was completely nonexistent on television five years ago. There was no Olbermann, and no Maddow. Phil Donahue had a short lived show on MSNBC, which brought in their best ratings of the day for that network. He was canceled despite his ratings because NBC didn’t want anyone on their air that would challenge the Bush administration “in a time of war”. Shouldn’t everybody have been challenging them in a time of war? When did “challenging” become synonymous with “making shit up”? If the war was what the administration purported it to be, wouldn’t critical reporting have validated its necessity?

The shitty thing in this whole situation is that we have to pick a side before we can even get any information. You have to decide of you fall on the liberal or conservative side of an issue before you can get even one single fact about it. That puts us all in the position of forming an opinion based on (at most) half of the facts on any given issue.

We are as divided as we are because we don’t know anything.

Let me give you some examples. FOX is FOX so I won’t spend any time talking about their distorted reporting. You can go to Media Matters for that. Since most of my followers are democrats, I’m going to focus on liberal media.

We’ve heard a tiny little bit about how much money Exxon pays in US taxes. Not nearly as much as we should, but a little bit nonetheless. In case you missed it (which was easy to do), Exxon reported $40.61 billion in profit last year. They paid 47% in taxes worldwide. They paid 0% in taxes to the United States, which clearly disproves that higher corporate taxes suppresses job creation. They will pay taxes AND create jobs if they have to. You know what you’ll never hear from Olbermann and Maddow? GE earned $30 billion in 2009. How much did they pay in taxes? Nada. Not one thin dime. What’s worse, they claim that they’re owed a $1.1 billion refund! You will never, EVER hear that from Olbermann or Maddow because MSNBC is owned by GE Capital. They had to stay relatively quiet on the tax situation with Exxon because their employers are getting away with the same type of murder. You’ll notice that I left out Ed Schultz. I left him out because he’s always been a shill for the DCCC. He didn’t have to sell out at all to join MSNBC.

The liberal media left out or distorted all sorts of facts about the health reform bill that was just passed. One point that I heard over and over again, is that every insured American pays and extra $1,000 per year in premiums to cover emergency room costs for the uninsured. This figure came straight from the white house and was reported, completely unchallenged by MSNBC. This was a figure that the Center For American Progress came up with. The CATO Institute (a decidedly right wing “think tank”) came up with a $200 per year, per person figure. I was completely unable to get to the truth. Politifact (which is really good at sifting through the bullshit) couldn’t come up with a “real” number either. I know with 100% certainty, that we’re spending too much to cover the uninsured. Bringing them into the insurance system is a no brainer. But because of my intellectual curiosity, I’d like to be able to attach an actual number to the problem.

Here’s another one that goes back to the 2008 elections. We repeatedly heard from (then) senator Obama, that 90% of all of the contributors to his campaign were ordinary Americans. Olbermann and several others repeated this. After doing a little research, I discovered that Obama was 100% correct in that assertion. However, he neglect to mention that the money raised by that 90% of ordinary Americans amounted to only 50% of all the money he raised. The other 50% came from corporate donors. I’m not saying that only 50% in corporate donations isn’t seriously impressive (and completely unheard of in modern politics). I’m just saying that what we were told paints a different picture than what the reality was.

The issues with our media aren’t just limited to the distortion or omission of facts. The byproduct of receiving distorted facts is that we end up with a severely skewed ideology.

I’m going to use hate crimes legislation as an example. I, like most liberals saw what happened to Matthew Shepard and supported hate crimes legislation 100%. How could anyone look at that event and not have a strong visceral response? I held onto this point of view for months, until I really looked at the conservative perspective. They kept asserting that we already have laws against beating and torturing people to death. Adding another layer of legislation to specifically protect the gay community would create a “special class”. Sorry folks, you can’t advocate for equality while demanding “equality plus”. I ultimately ended up agreeing with that assessment. After thinking about even more, I realized that supporting hate crimes legislation was directly at odds with my anti-death penalty views. Statistics show that having a death penalty doesn’t serve as a deterrent at all. In 2009, Dallas’ murder rate was 10 murders higher per 100,000 residents than New York City’s. Texas, of course loves their death penalty, where New York doesn’t have it at all. I realized that in order to believe that beating someone to death while hating them for being gay would prove to  be a greater deterrent, I would also have to believe that the death penalty is an effective deterrent. I already know that isn’t true. I had to eventually reconcile my beliefs to conclude that I really don’t support the passing of hate crimes legislation. My initial feelings were purely visceral and not at all fact based, much the same way conservatives’ views on the death penalty are. I never would have gotten where I did if I hadn’t proactively sought an opposing perspective. As much as I love her, Rachel Maddow was never going to give me the other side.

The current state of our media serves only to reinforce preconceived notions. It’s completely useless in informing us. Facts very rarely fit conveniently into an ideology the way they do in the American media.

My point here, is that we need to look at all of our news sources with a critical eye. You can’t just listen to one person or one source and have any sort of confidence in the knowledge that you’re well informed. That’s simply not true anymore. This applies to Olbermann devotees as much as it does to FOX News sycophants. If your news supports your ideology ALL the time, you’re not getting news.


We Are Not A Divided Nation

Anyone that tells you that we are, probably has an agenda that ultimately isn’t going to serve you well.

Indiana University just completed a survey on health reform and came up with results that some may find surprising. You can see the study here.

Most democrats are going cite this study to point out that republican representatives are liars because republican representatives are going to point to one finding that, when taken out of context means exactly the opposite of what it actually means.

Let me break it down to show you what I read into the results.

Let’s start with the broad question of, “Do you support efforts to repeal the health reform legislation that was passed?” Here’s a graph that maps out the responses:

This graph tells me one very important thing; democrats are just as emotionally invested in the bullshit that their party feeds them as republicans are. This is a broad question that allows the subject to give an ideologically based response. In my opinion, the independents have it right. This bill is a mixed bag. On one hand, it does absolutely nothing to control the cost of purchasing insurance. On the other hand, it does eliminate waste in the medicare system and incentivizes more people to get insurance.

Something interesting happens when subjects were asked if they wanted congress to stay focused on health reform.

Virtually everybody agrees, regardless of party affiliation. This tells me that republicans don’t really want a repeal since they want to keep working on it, and that democrats aren’t as happy with the bill as they appeared to be in the first question. This is where Bitchy’s sunny optimism starts to come out. We AGREE!

Something even more interesting happens when respondents are asked, “ how important they thought it was for Congress to work on “establishment of a public option that would give individuals a choice between government provided health insurance or private health insurance?”. 67% of respondents rated this an important topic to address. 59% of those that favor repeal feel that this is an important topic to pursue. The majority of Americans want repeal because this bill doesn’t go far enough.

Once again, we basically agree regardless of party affiliation. When it comes down to it, Americans know what’s not working for them and they know how they want to fix the problem.

Wouldn’t it have been nice if republicans had joined in on the fight for a public option? I don’t know if it would have changed anything, given the fact that our representatives are clearly all serving their corporate masters first and foremost . But damned it, I wish we could have found out.

And while I’m on the topic of putting self interest ahead of ideology, let me make a point to democrats. You’re going down the same slippery slope of accepting any crap that your party puts in front of you. This is how things went horribly wrong for republicans. If you keep going down this road, your party will start to serve up nothing but crap. Republicans have been happy to accept the village idiot (Dan Quayle, George W Bush, and Sarah Palin) for three elections in a row now, happy to accept the idea that this is the best that republicans have to offer. How much kool aid drinking do you think you have to do before this guy becomes your democratic nominee for president?



Obama Can’t Be A Muslim Terrorist

According to a Harris poll that came out a few weeks ago, 57% of republicans think that President Obama is Muslim. 67% believe he’s a socialist, and 24% believe that he may be the Antichrist.

I would like to allay those fears by showing you that he can’t possibly be a terrorist once and for all. Let me show you why.

This guy,

Christopher Paul was arrested in Ohio yesterday for having ties to Al Qaeda. In 1997, he  apparently received a fax from this guy

Mahmedou Ould Salahi, a gitmo detainee and suspected terrorist.

Last month, Pakistani officials claimed to have arrested this guy

Adam Gadahn, a native Californian and suspected Al Qaeda terrorist.

Is anyone else starting to see a pattern here? These guys are all just plain unfuckable. Is it any mystery why they’re all wooed by that whole 72 virgins fantasy? They clearly have no hope of ever achieving human contact with a woman in this life, so what the hell? Why not go for the jihadi brass ring which will not only get you the virgins, but it will also shorten the miserable experience of forced virginity in this life.

Think I’m full of it? Here’s more proof;

Here’s Raja Khan. He’s a Chicago cab driver suspected of sending money to Al Qaeda terrorists. And in case you hadn’t noticed, he’s thoroughly unfuckable.

And here’s KSM. It really doesn’t get more unfuckable than him, does it?

And lastly;

All 19 of the 9/11 hijackers. 19 seriously unfuckable men.Honestly, this wouldn’t even happen with someone else’s vagina!

Now look at our president.

Now this clearly the face of a man that has never had to ask a woman to sleep with him twice, which makes it impossible that he would ever be lured in by the promise of virgins. He’s clearly been there and done that many, many times. When he smiles, the legs of every woman within a 100 mile radius spring open like the jaws of life thrust into action to rescue a baby out from a mangled car. This is a man whose life is spectacular.

No amount of afterlife goodies could cause this man to fuck up the life he has now.

So please, get over your irrational fears. You’re being ridiculous!

Oh, and republican women – if you’re in a state of perpetual fear of a terrorist attack, I have a suggestion for you. Don’t waste your life cowering in fear. Get proactive. You should all go out there and look for the biggest troll that you can find and lay him like carpet. It will probably do you some good as well.

Your country needs you. God bless and go forward.