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Corporate Dumbitude

I use the word dumbitude because corporations today are dumb. And to rub salt in the wound, they’re dumb with a really smug attitude.

Since America is essentially a corporate owned entity at this point, we have been dragged down to a level of unspeakably dumb.

Look at how BP is dealing with the oil volcano in the gulf. Dumb. They have no fucking idea how to stop the geyser from spewing millions of barrels of oil into the gulf. Six weeks into this nightmare, and they’re using the same ineffective techniques that failed forty years ago in this situation. Rachel Maddow did a great segment highlighting this a couple of nights ago. It’s not just BP. It’s the oil industry at large. It’s obvious that in the past fifty years, these assholes haven’t invested a single dime in developing ways to deal with potential disasters. Their R&D investment has been limited to figuring out innovative ways to get to oil that they were unable to get to in the past. So now we have a situation where the world is watching massive amounts of oil filling up the gulf of Mexico. We’re all watching in disgust and horror. And as our disgust brews, our appetite for offshore oil drilling is evaporating.

Dumb move, oil industry. BP isn’t the only oil company working on this in the gulf right now. They’ve all got engineers working with BP to try and plug this thing up because they know that every day that this continues, our disdain for the industry grows. Thank you Congressman Ed Markey for making sure that the public has access to a live video stream of what’s happening in the gulf. Having access to that video ensures that our vitriol won’t dissipate anytime soon.

Not spending money on safety measures or R&D to figure out effective ways to deal with oil spills is dumb because it will cut into long term profits. It’s dumb because each time one of these oil disasters happens, our appetite for alternative energy grows. We may forget this incident and keep going the way we were, but maybe the next one will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. I don’t know how many more of these need to happen before we get there, but we WILL get there.

The part that really incenses me in this whole thing, is listening to the smug CEO. He honestly still believes in his own brilliance. He thinks he’s brilliant because his accounts payable department is at this very moment, cutting giant contribution checks to every single United States congressman and senator. Mary Landrieu has had to hire several new staff members, just to carry bags of cash from BP’s offices to hers. He thinks he’s brilliant because he will contribute a weeks worth of BP’s profits to politicians, who will then in turn, limit BP’s liability from hundreds of billions of dollars to hundreds of millions. It will be a smart investment on his part. He will literally be paying pennies on the dollar on what this should cost BP. That doesn’t make him brilliant. It makes him a bully. And this strategy may work this time. It may even work for the next couple of times, but the public eventually will put its foot down. And even if we never do, we will get to the point where we’ve run out of oil.

The dumbest thing about the oil industry is that they’re not putting any money into developing renewable energy. There’s no reason why their livelihoods have to depend on a finite substance. If IBM operated the way the oil industry does, they would have spent millions of dollars to convince the public that computers were dangerous, and that we need to stick with our typewriters. The oil industry is unbelievable dumb in it’s short term thinking.

They’re dumb in the same way that the financial industry is dumb. It’s all about squeezing out every nickle this quarter, with no thought whatsoever toward next year. The financial industry is going to bury this country in the next couple of years. When I say bury, I mean that 2008 will look like the good old days compared to what’s coming. They’re dumb because this pyramid scheme of funneling all of the money to a handful of people at the top has been played out over and over again by various societies. It’s always ended in a crumbling of that society. You can’t have a culture with no middle class. It’s never, ever worked and it never will. Plus, ours is a culture of self entitlement. I believe than when pushed far enough, Americans will revolt before accepting a fate of becoming wage slaves to a corporate master.

Here’s an interesting assessment by a non-partisan group, of the American Power Act that was recently proposed by Kerry and (gag) Lieberman. They basically conclude that if passed, this bill would create an average of 203,000 jobs per year. They estimate that the oil industry would lose 72,000 jobs per year, but that the US would pick up 165,000 jobs in nuclear energy, 19,000 in renewable energy jobs, 28,000 jobs in biofuels, and 96,000 jobs in clean coal.

The oil industry are fucking idiots for not taking the lead in developing new energy sources. I believe that silicon valley will eventually innovate the oil industry out of business. By the time the oil industry shifts from their bullying tactics to jumping on the bandwagon, it will be too late for them.

The corporate dumbitude that we’re experiencing may well bring the US off its superpower perch. It’s too bad, because the founding fathers actually did a pretty damned good job of creating viable democracy.

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Re: The Ground Zero Mosque

If you’re a smart person, I’m not talking to you right now. This is an email I’d like to address to another demographic. Although, smart people can help me out by forwarding this to the people that you know that fit this demographic.

Dear Fucking Idiots In America,

I understand that your panties are in a bunch over a mosque that we’re planning on building at ground zero. I would like to be among the first to tell you to shut the fuck up, you ignorant bigot.

You see, your ass backward thinking is going to get me attacked, here in New York. While you wax poetic about hypothetical terrorism from your safety nest hundreds or thousands of miles away , I live with it every day. And as you propagate your ignorant, isolated views, you put me and my city in danger. I know that you don’t do this with malice, so let me educate you a little bit.

Terrorists aren’t born. They’re created. They’re recruited, and then they’re worked up to hate the purported enemy so much, that strapping a bomb onto themselves and committing suicide just to take a few of them out makes sense. Getting people worked up to the suicide bombing state takes a whole lot of demonization. You really have to frame the enemy as being a threat to all that is good and holy. If you can do that effectively, you can recruit legions of people to commit acts of terrorism until the end of time. They key is really all in the messaging. The nineteen hijackers on 9/11 were brainwashed into believing that America’s primary objective in the world is to destroy Islam. They believed that they were dying for everything that is good and holy.

When we invaded and occupied Iraq, a country that had done nothing to us, we reinforced that belief that America is out to destroy Islam so recruitment became easier. We started seeing Muslims becoming radicalized in Pakistan, Afghanistan, the UK, the US, and in Iraq, where we saw a brand new flavor of Al Qaeda emerge.

All of that happened because ignorant people got to call the shots. People that had no fucking idea about the culture in the middle east were making decisions on how best to deal with the middle east.

Let’s step back twenty years to where this all began. It really began when the Reagan administration, who were ignorant about middle east culture, decided that we needed to help Afghanistan fend off the Soviet Union. None of this was altruistic, of course. Reagan was scared shitless of the Soviet Union. So he was persuaded that going in and training and arming the Mujahideen in Afghanistan was in our best interest. That was all fine and good and it worked out more or less the way the ignoramuses wanted it to in that, the Mujahideen did succeed in driving the Soviet Union out of Afghanistan. It all went horribly wrong after that, when we failed to provide Afghanistan any support to rebuild their country. This created a chaotic struggle for power among various factions of Mujahideen and Islamist warlords, which subsequently gave birth to Al Qaeda.

So you see, Fucking Idiots Of America, two generations of your ignorant brethren taking action without bothering to understand what they were getting into, is what got us to 9/11.

So now that we’re here in 2010, and still dealing with this global terrorism threat thanks to ignorant people like you. I hope that, with the information I just shared, you understand why I want you to shut the fuck up.

Recruitment of terrorists continues, and we’re still in danger. It’s time to disarm the recruiters. We need to cut them off at the knees. Fighting them “over there” is ultimately what brought them “over here”, so that didn’t work.

Now we’re going to try something new. We’re going to demonstrate that we’re not out to destroy Islam, and therefore don’t rise to the level of evil that necessitates strapping a bomb to your chest. We’re going to do that by building a mosque near ground zero. We’re going to make it harder to convince some poor schmuck to commit suicide on order to kill a few of us.

I’m sorry that after all of these years, you’re too stupid to understand this tactic. But I don’t actually need you to understand it. I gave up on the hope that this was possible when you made Sarah Palin your poster girl. I just need you to shut the fuck up, and stop providing fodder for the recruitment of future terrorists. Accept the fact that we’re going to build a mosque near ground zero for the primary purpose of demonstrating that your dumb ass doesn’t represent America.

You don’t think of New York as “the real America” anyway. You can’t shun us one day, and them presume to tell us what to do the next. We’re not within your border so shut the fuck up.

You can be ignorant, bigoted, and small if you want to but do it quietly. I just want to be safe.

Sincerely,

-Bitchy

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Bitchy’s Energy Policy

This is obviously something that we’re all thinking about, given the BP disaster in the gulf.

Let me share a few thoughts on this catastrophe before I move into my energy policy.

First off, BP is obviously reprehensible for their part in this. That well should have been packed in mud (as they’re finally in the process of doing now), right from the beginning. They ignored safety measures in order to cut costs.

We saw a preview of how BP plans to fend off the law suits, during the congressional hearings a couple of weeks ago. BP, Transocean, and Haliburton all formed a circle jerk in which, they each pointed the finger at one of the other two companies and denied their own accountability. Personally, I believe that this was BP’s operation which makes them primarily liable for damages. I sincerely hope (although I have no faith it will go down this way), that a court makes that decision early on in the process. I have no issue with BP turning around and suing Transocean or Haliburton for any liability they feel may rest with the other companies due to negligence, but I believe that everyone that has been damaged by this disaster should be able to collect damages from BP.

Exxon fended off paying out a single dime for twenty years. Many of the fishermen that lost their livelihoods died during those twenty years. We need to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

Let me add that I am disgusted by how the Obama administration has handled this so far. They have relied entirely on BP to assess, inform, and remedy the situation. Are they stupid? It’s obvious to anyone watching this unfold, that there is no government agency that has the knowledge to deal with this. That part isn’t Obama’s fault. But as it has become increasingly more obvious that BP also lacks the knowledge on what to do here, government inspectors should have gone in to gather information and start working with BP on formulating a cleanup plan. The fact that BP has been the only entity gathering data during the crucial first thirty days, makes it even more difficult for those seeking damages to make their case. I find it reprehensible that the Obama administration’s complacency is adding misfortune of a lot of people whose lives have been destroyed over this.

On to my energy policy.

I wish we were in the position to stop all offshore drilling immediately, but we’re not so that’s not my short term position. If we had followed the trajectory set by Jimmy Carter on energy policy forty years ago, we may be there today. But Ronald Reagan (can we please refer to him as the fuck up that he was now?)took the solar panels off the roof of the white house and every president that has followed him has done little or nothing to move us out of oil dependency, so here we are. Since Jimmy Carter left office we’ve had seventeen oil spills where over 50,000 (or more) barrels were spilled, totaling well over 50 million barrels of oil spilled in the past thirty years.

My point is that we’re not getting better at this, and anyone that tells you we are is full of shit. Our seafood already has alarming levels of mercury and other scary shit in it. Fish in Alaska are still coming up with weird tumors on them, from a twenty one year old spill. We need to set a goal for getting off oil. This simply isn’t working anymore.

Plus, we have 2% of the world’s oil reserves. We consume 25% of the world’s total oil consumption. Does this sound like a situation we can drill baby drill out of?

So here’s my plan.

-We must allow offshore drilling to continue, but we need to impose and enforce stronger regulations on both drilling and transporting.

-We need to force oil companies to drill on the leases they currently hold. Here’s what most people don’t realize about “drill baby drill”; oil companies are exploring on the leases they have, and then they’re capping those wells until oil is worth more. That’s what they were doing with the Deepwater Horizon well. They were capping it. I understand that the rig in the gulf is an exploration rig, which is different than a drilling rig. But what the oil companies have been doing, is capping oil that they find indefinitely. Think about it, why would you sell oil at $100 a barrel if you knew that waiting ten years would increase the value of that oil by 300%? We need to give the oil companies a limited window of opportunity to drill on the leases they currently hold. We could also limit the number of offshore oil leases that a company can hold. This would force them to drill baby drill, instead of hoard baby hoard.

-We need to end all subsidies and tax breaks to oil companies. They don’t need it. When you’re making 45 billion dollars every twelve weeks, there’s no reason to panhandle the American people for help.

-We should take all of that money and channel it into developing green technologies like The Bloom Box. Can you imagine where we would be today if we had started 40 years ago? If we can start manufacturing green technology, we would get the added bonus of possibly reviving Detroit. We have manufacturing facilities that are going to crumble if we don’t start manufacturing something in them soon. I say, let’s incentivize R&D firms to manufacture in Detroit.

-We need to significantly raise cafe standards on automobiles every ten years. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be driving cars that get a minimum of 60 mpg, especially when you consider the fact that a 1973 Honda Civic got 40 mpg.

That’s it, Bitchy’s plan to energy independence. We need to do what we do; innovate.

You’ll notice that I didn’t mention nuclear energy. There’s a reason for that. First off, we can’t build a nuclear power plant without the government guaranteeing the loan. Banks won’t lend to nuclear power plant developers. They’ve proven to be a bad risk, so the American people would be on the hook for paying to build a nuclear power plant. Once we get one built, insurance companies won’t insure them. So American taxpayers would be on the hook for any and all damages if something went wrong. And lastly, no one has come up with a permanent solution on what to do with the waste. France has made some progress on this. They’re reusing most of the waste. But it’s what they’re doing with what’s still left that concerns me. They’re basically encasing it in concrete and burying it. That concrete will break down over time, even if there were no nuclear materials in it. I’m going to go ahead and say that with nuclear waste in it, you’re going to have to dig up those concrete caskets to make sure they’re still sealed fairly often. So 100 years from now, France is going to be dealing with the nuclear waste they’re producing and the nuclear waste they’ve produced over the past 130 years.

I’d be willing to have a conversation about building and insuring a nuclear power plant after someone has worked out the waste issue, but not before then.

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You Are NOT A Libertarian

Libertarianism is the new black. Or if you’re Rand Paul, libertarianism is a way to screw blacks, but I digress. It feels as if more and more people every day are proclaiming their libertarianism. If libertarianism were female, she would be the new “it” girl.

I cringe every time someone tells me they’re a libertarian. I cringe because I know they’re not. Most people want government where they want it, and don’t want it where they don’t want it. That’s not libertarianism. Those lines are usually drawn by a predisposition to either liberalism or conservatism.

So let’s run through a series of questions that will demonstrate why you’re not a libertarian.

1 – Do you have an example of a libertarian government that you would like to model our government after? If you can’t name a successful example of your political ideology, then it’s not an ideology. It’s a fantasy. So unless you can come up with an example of a society that functions with no government intervention other than Somalia (which is mine), you’re NOT a libertarian.

2 – Can you name twenty things that the federal government does for you, off the top of your head? If you can’t describe all of the things that the federal government does, then you definitely haven’t put any meaningful consideration into how to better do those things.

3 – Can you name a successful financial system that includes no government intervention whatsoever? Again if you can’t do this, then you have a hallucination, not an ideology or a hypothesis.

4 – Can you name an instance when an oppressed minority achieved equality without government intervention? If you can’t, you’re living in an unrealistic Utopian fantasy where the unprecedented is possible. Or, you don’t give a shit about civil rights. Or worse yet, you’re a straight up racist because you’re happy oppressing the rights of minorities. Hey, wait a minute – maybe the teabaggers ARE true libertarians!

5 – Are you prepared to legalize all drugs and drug related activities? If you’re not fine with your neighbor cooking crystal meth in their bathtub, you’re not a libertarian. You should also be prepared to not be bothered by that neighbor peddling their goods on your street. Embrace their lovely clientele meandering through your neighborhood, because you’re a libertarian.

6 – Are you prepared to accept any and all social behavior such as prostitution, dog fighting, and voyeurism, to name a few? If you feel compelled to legislate any aspect of how people choose to live their lives, then you’re not a libertarian.

I find that most “libertarians” can’t get through questions 1 – 4. I suspect that they would have “exceptions” that they would want enforced in questions 5 and 6.

The wheels are falling off the Rand Paul wagon because he’s having a hard time getting through questions 1 – 4. Libertarianism, in its pure and sincere form is insane. It can’t stand up to even minor scrutiny because it’s wildly unpopular to anyone that isn’t emotionally invested in the ideology. Most people know in their hearts, that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was the right thing to do. Most people understand that if you remove protections for the disabled, you’ll have a slew of disabled people panhandling you on the street, rather than earning the living that they’re capable of earning. Rand Paul is falling apart because libertarianism is a fundamentally indefensible fantasy.

In order to buy into libertarianism, you have to believe that people will do the right thing simply because it’s the right thing to do. Does anyone actually believe this? When you start to take it apart, libertarianism is no more viable than the tooth fairy is. This is an ideology that can only stand the test of time, as long it’s never put to a test.

And because it’s never has been (nor will it ever be) put to a test, it’s a perfect little dream world to take refuge in when everything else has gone to shit.

When your government is 100% bought and paid for by corporate interests, and therefore useless in protecting your interests, there’s always the libertarianism magic pony to jump on. When you hate government and need to blame it for Wall Street fucking you in your small government delusion, there’s always the libertarian Utopia to fall back on.

Libertarianism isn’t something that people actually believe in. It’s a mythical land that you can run to in your mind when everything is falling apart before your very eyes.

Stop acting like a fucking child, retreating into your “happy place” when the world is falling apart around you. Work to fix what went wrong with the system. Dreaming isn’t going to fix anything. Educate yourself, and get proactive.

You are NOT a libertarian. Please stop telling me that you are. I’m tired of taking this delusion apart one person at a time.

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Who’s Your Daddy?

I love FOX News. I love the pundits, I love the “reporters”, I’m only mildly amused by the commentators (but that’s because they’re all dimwits). I mostly love them for their talent. Yes, I said talent. You have to be a pretty talented broadcaster to repeat the same talking points that have been repeated over and over again for the six hours preceding your show, and still make it fresh. Like it or not, it does take a high level of skill to parrot what you’ve been told to say, while making it your own. They’re talented in the same way that hosts on QVC are talented. Not everyone can talk about some worthless trinket for ten minutes, while still keeping the audience engaged.

Yesterday’s talking point was predictably, about how Obama was the loser in the elections on Tuesday. He lost big, because the two candidates (Specter and Lincoln) that the administration backed both lost. It was odd that they didn’t apply the same logic to McConnell’s boy losing in Kentucky, but that’s beside the point. All day on Wednesday, different pundits and reporters were bandying about the phrase “referendum against Obama”. Some of them spoke of this referendum authoritatively, others listened intently as their guest made this assessment, and yet others delivered their analysis as if they were making a brilliant point that had not yet been made. The entertainment lies in the different forms of delivery. It’s fascinating to watch it go on and on, hour after hour.

But style points aside, I have a newsflash for the people on FOX News. Obama is my president, not my daddy. I don’t take marching orders from him and I don’t consider a vote against the candidate that he supports to be a slight against him. He backed two candidates that weren’t liberal enough for democratic voters. If anything, Tuesday was a win for progressives who are doing what they can to move Obama leftward. He won his election by promising us change. We’re going to make him honor that promise whether he likes it or not. Voting for someone other than the candidate he stumped for is not a referendum on Obama. Voting for Obama’s opponent in the next election is a referendum against Obama.

Republicans have a hard time with the concept that your president isn’t your daddy because they generally go along with what their leader tells them they should go along with. Warrantlessly wiretap me? YES DADDY, I love small government! You’re going to drive up the biggest deficits this country has ever seen? YES DADDY, I’m a fiscal conservative! You want to funnel billions of my dollars to your corporate cronies at Haliburton? YES DADDY, I believe in the free market! They were happy to contradict every single tenet of conservatism because daddy told them to.

So now they’re left with nothing, other than to project. We’re not mindless lemmings, happy to go along with everything our president tells us to do, so we must hate him. We voted for candidates that were to the left of the ones he backed so we must all be turning against liberalism, thereby proving that we’re a right of center country.

Republicans don’t understand democrats and independents at all anymore, which is becoming problematic, since their voters don’t trust the establishment anymore. Daddy has slapped them around one too many times. When you simply don’t understand 60% of the country, and you’ve abused another 20% one too many times, you’re in deep trouble.

I sound like a broken record, but get it together republicans! I can’t have a country with only one viable party.

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The Apple Did Not Fall Far From The Tree

I’m referring to Rand Paul. It’s barely been thirty six hours since he won the republican primary for the open senate seat in Kentucky. Since his victory, he’s said some things that make him seem a little bit racist.

Before I can share my opinions on Rand, I must first begin with Ron Paul. I do have to preface all of this by telling you that I do not believe in blaming the son for the sins of the father. I believe that doing so is unfair, and generally unfounded. When I bring up Ron Paul, I do so because I believe that it’s important to understand the ideology under which Rand Paul was raised.

Ron Paul first registered on my radar during the first debate for the republican primary in 2008. It became very clear in the first ten minutes of that debate, that Ron Paul was not your typical republican. He said a lot of things that made sense. I felt as if he was the republican counterpart to Dennis Kucinich in that, he was a conservative truth teller, impervious to party talking points and corporate interests. There were many points in which I vehemently disagreed with Ron Paul, but I definitely felt that he merited a closer look.

So I started to do some research. A few hours into my research, I came across the newsletters that Ron Paul published monthly from 1978 to 1999. I found this article about the newsletters from a January 2008 story in the New Republic. Let me short hand the article for you with some quotes from the newsletters;


“opinion polls consistently show only about 5% of blacks have sensible political opinions,”

“if you have ever been robbed by a black teen-aged male, you know how unbelievably fleet-footed they can be,”

He claimed that black representative Barbara Jordan is “the archetypical half-educated victimologist” whose “race and sex protect her from criticism.”

“Boy, it sure burns me to have a national holiday for that pro-communist philanderer, Martin Luther King. I voted against this outrage time and time again as a Congressman. What an infamy that Ronald Reagan approved it! We can thank him for our annual Hate Whitey Day”

One newsletter ridiculed black activists who wanted to rename New York City after King, suggesting that “Welfaria,” “Zooville,” “Rapetown,” “Dirtburg,” and “Lazyopolis” were better alternatives.

But don’t worry blacks, you’re not alone in Ron Paul’s world of the unworthy;

In 1990, one newsletter mentioned a reporter from a gay magazine “who certainly had an axe to grind, and that’s not easy with a limp wrist.”

In an item titled, “The Pink House?” the author of a newsletter–again, presumably Paul–complained about President George H.W. Bush’s decision to sign a hate crimes bill and invite “the heads of homosexual lobbying groups to the White House for the ceremony,” adding, “I miss the closet.” “Homosexuals,” it said, “not to speak of the rest of society, were far better off when social pressure forced them to hide their activities.”

“Homosexuals, if admitted, should be put in a special category and not allowed in close physical contact with heterosexuals.”

Feeling left out, Jews? Don’t worry;

A 1987 issue of Paul’s Investment Letter called Israel “an aggressive, national socialist state,”

Of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, a newsletter said, “Whether it was a setup by the Israeli Mossad, as a Jewish friend of mine suspects, or was truly a retaliation by the Islamic fundamentalists, matters little.”

I could go on and on, but you get the point. Being the skeptic that I am, I had to assume that the reporter on the New Republic story might have had an axe to grind with Ron Paul so I kept looking until I found actual copies of the newsletters. You can look at them here, here, and you can download one here.

I don’t want to keep going on and on about Ron because this post is about Rand, but if you want to know more about how Ron reacted to these revelations, just Google “Ron Paul” + newsletters.

Back to Rand. Here’s an interview that he did with Rachel Maddow last night;

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_FDPZJlaOc[/youtube]

And here’s part 2;

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IS_qya7w0hs[/youtube]

A few things struck me about Rand after having watched this interview.

The first thing is Paul’s cowardice. He lacks the courage of his convictions. If you truly believe something, it’s presumably because you think that your belief is the right thing. If that’s the case, there should be no need to evade directly answering questions about what you believe. The way he evaded answering the question tells me that he KNOWS that his views should be suppressed. If you know that you’re right or righteous, there’s no reason to obfuscate. You should believe that your correctness has the power to persuade others.

The next thing that struck me is his intellectual dishonesty in the gun example he brought up. A gun is something that you CARRY. You have the option of leaving it at home, and doing so won’t prevent you from going to a lunch counter.  You can’t leave your “blackness” home. It’s WHAT you are, not what you do. That equivocation was absurd.

There was also a comment on Wednesday. A reporter asked Rand if he was concerned that holding his victory party at a private country club would “send mixed messages”. Rand responded by saying, ““I think at one time people used to think of golf and golf courses and golf clubs as being exclusive. But I think in recent years now you see a lot of people playing golf. I think Tiger Woods has helped to broaden that in the sense that he’s brought golf to a lot of the cities and to city youth, and so no, I don’t think it’s nearly as exclusive as people once considered it to be.”

I thought that it was a little bit unusual that he interpreted the question to be about race. My interpretation would have been that the question was about populism, since he ran as an allegedly populist tea party candidate. The mixed message lies in having your victory party in a venue that appears to be elitist.

I am not a person that feels comfortable labeling people as racists. I have lived in the most liberal parts of this country so racism is not a natural concept for me to wrap my mind around. So when Rand made the Tiger Woods comment, I didn’t jump to a racist conclusion even though I knew how he was raised. I was not willing to combine a seemingly innocuous comment with the sins of the father to conclude that Rand Paul has racist views. When I look at the Maddow interview and silo it apart from everything else, my inclination is to view his comments as staunchly libertarian rather than inherently bigoted. His platform is after all, one of libertarianism.

But when I put the totality of the information about Rand Paul together, I can’t avoid the conclusion that he is a racist.

Here’s the problem with racism today; it’s subtle because it isn’t tolerated in mainstream society anymore. Overt racism isn’t socially acceptable anymore so racists have to go undercover. They have to be subtle. A great example of this is the birthers. Clinging onto the belief that our black president wasn’t born in America, despite all of the evidence to the contrary, is just a subtle way of saying that he’s not one of us.

I really resisted concluding that the apple didn’t fall far from the tree when it comes to Rand Paul, but I can’t avoid it any longer.

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As Goes Kentucky, So Goes The Nation?

Hardly.

Primaries are my favorite part of the election cycle. Yes, I’m a dork! And like every other dorky political junkie, I was watching yesterdays primaries closely. Here’s what happened in my estimation; nothing surprising.

I get that cable news has to make it all sound like we saw a stunning upset last night. Boring elections make for lower ratings, and fewer reasons to roll out the pundits. But nothing unpredictable happened yesterday.

Everyone is focused in Pennsylvania for some reason. To me, Pennsylvania was the least remarkable result yesterday. But the focus on Pennsylvania is a means to “scrutinize” the Obama administrations efficacy in getting people elected. Personally, I don’t believe that Specter’s loss last night had very much to do with Obama. I think that Specter’s chances of winning a democratic primary after switching parties was compromised right from the beginning. It just seemed like such a self serving maneuver. He was going to have a hard time overcoming that all along. I phone banked into Philly on behalf of the Sestak campaign. I was surprised at how many people had no idea who Sestak was, even a week before the election. Specter’s loss wasn’t about Obama, and it wasn’t about Sestak. It was about Specter. I believe that he lost because he couldn’t overcome the impression that he’s self serving, and because he fell victim to the anti-incumbent fervor that we’re seeing across the country.

The Mark Critz victory was no more a referendum against republicans than the Specter loss was a referendum against Obama. Mark Critz is the democrat that ran for Jack Murtha’s congressional seat in Pennsylvania. This is a decidedly democratic district that, for some reason, republicans thought they had a chance at grabbing. I have no idea what they were thinking! This is not a district that  republicans would normally dump money into. The fact that they did this time, tells me that they are completely out of touch with what’s going on in the country. Republicans lost a race that they never had a chance of winning. There was no “statement” being made here by the voters in that district.

The Rand Paul victory was the most interesting thing that happened last night, even though it wasn’t a surprise to anyone that was watching the polls. It wasn’t interesting because of the tea party angle (not to me, anyway). It was interesting because Mitch McConnell was the real loser yesterday. When the candidate backed by the leading republican in the senate loses in his own state lost by twenty four points, I’d say that a message was being sent. Mitch McConnell got spanked last night. I don’t know Kentucky politics all that well so I can’t speak to how much of this victory was a tea party thing, versus a “Ron Paul’s son” thing. But I do think that it’s clear that republicans are not happy with the republican party.

I feel like the republican strategy of obstructing and obfuscating is blowing up in their faces. They should have taken the 2006 and 2008 elections to heart and realized that they are a broken party. They should have rehabbed themselves by going back to the basic tenets of conservatism. They should have come up with creative solutions to remedy the enormous problems they created during the Bush years. And most of all, they should have done a mea culpa for having lost their way. They should have been working hard to show the American people that they learned a lesson and were prepared to massively change course. But instead of doing any of that, they chose to pretend that they made no mistakes. They adopted a strategy of waiting for the democrats to suck more than republicans have. They decided to do everything they could to make the democrats look bad, rather than to elevate themselves.

Mitch McConnell was one of the chief architects of this strategy, and I believe that Kentucky sent him a message yesterday. Maybe I’m being a sunny optimist here, but I feel like republicans aren’t happy with their party taking the “we may suck, but they suck more” approach.

I have to admit that I was surprised that Blanche Lincoln didn’t win last night. Not because I like her, I actually think she’s a flaming piece of crap. But she’s a “conservative” piece of crap, who is actually perfectly suited for the political landscape in Arkansas. I thought that she would win the primary, and then lose the general election.

Onto my prediction for November.

I do believe that democrats are going to lose seats. Historically speaking, it’s a foregone conclusion. But I don’t believe that democrats are going to lose control of either the house or the senate. The number of seats lost will ultimately rely on job creation. If Obama can create a million jobs between now and November, I believe that the total loss of seats will be around twenty. I think that if they create NO jobs between now and November, they will lose around thirty seats, which still keeps them in control of the senate and the house.

I just don’t see a huge anti-democrat ground swell out there. Not because democrats have been great on anything, but because republicans haven’t done anything to make themselves more attractive to voters. I anything, they’ve dug their heels into their crappiness. When given the option of choosing between a heaping, stinky pile of turds and a slightly less aromatic and smaller pile of crap, you have to pick the lesser of two evils.

And sucking less is what will keep democrats in power or more accurately, in a majority state of powerlessness.

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STOP Blaming BP

Yes, you read that correctly. I do not subscribe to the idea that BP is to blame for the oil spill. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely believe that BP is responsible for the spill, but I do not blame them for it. And no, I’m not a shill for Exxon!

Blaming BP means buying into that whole, “corporations are people” nonsense that republicans like to spew. You see, in order to blame BP for this disaster, you must believe that BP should have a moral compass. You would have to buy into the idea that BP should have imposed stronger safety measures on itself because that would be the right thing to do. Can you see how that doesn’t work?

BP, like any corporation, has one and ONLY one objective; to make as much money as they possibly can. They have a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders. They do not have a moral responsibility to the planet (or anyone else). They don’t have a conscience and they don’t have feelings that can be hurt, nor should they.

You’re naive if you expect them to. As a shareholder, I need for the company that I invest in to have the sole objective of increasing the value of my shares in the company. Corporations should be nothing more than money (and job) creating machines.

It is the government’s job to protect the health and well being of its citizens.

I blame the Bush and Obama administrations for this. They should have been the moral compass. They should have made sure that the drilling operation was safe for the workers and the ocean. They should have regulated them more thoroughly, and they certainly shouldn’t have entertained the notion of issuing waivers rather than inspections.

In a healthy society, the government and the corporations would have an adversarial relationship. Each side pushing against the other with conflicting agendas. The corporations’ profit motive should be clashing with the government’s objective to protect the health and well being of citizenry.

That’s not what we have here. We have a government that is nearly entirely bought and paid for by the corporations. They’re not adversaries, they’re allies. And they’re aligned against we, the people.

Here’s where I should go off on a tangent about publicly financed elections, but I’m going to save that for another (or several) posts.

My point in this post is that BP isn’t where our focus should be here. If you’re blaming them while at the same time insisting that corporations are not people, then you need to reexamine your philosophy to come up with something more consistent. I go on and on about conservative hypocrisy. Here’s an area where liberals need to check themselves. Blaming BP for not policing themselves is like blaming a lion for hunting deer. It’s what they do.

No the blame here lies squarely on the shoulders of our government. They failed to protect us and they failed to protect our environment.

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Idiots or Assholes?

I’ve been stunned by the circus that is the BP oil spill repair efforts. Seriously, it’s been like watching Pinky And The Brain plot to take over the world.

First we had the original accident, which was so unlikely to ever happen, that it was hardly worth doing inspections on the safety equipment designed to kick in if something does go wrong. And then when, against all odds, something did go wrong, the equipment (which went untested) shockingly failed to work. Once that happened, we watched BP’s brilliant engineers come up with a plan to stop the oil geyser on the fly, because there was no emergency plan in place. What did they come up with? They tried to slip a giant condom over the geyser. A plan which, by the way, even they didn’t think would work. When the condom failed, they decided to try a smaller condom! One that would just cover the tip. I’m not sure how one concludes that an extra small condom will get the job done when the XXL trojan didn’t work, but to no one’s surprise, this didn’t work either. The next plan is to clog the leak up with garbage. No, I’m not kidding. They have named it the “junk shot”. I wish I had the type of imagination to make this shit up.

There was a senate hearing into the matter last week, which was hilarious before it even began. We’re going to watch the lawmakers that lobbied for the loosening of regulations on the oil industry “get tough” on oil executives? Seriously? Predictably during the hearings, all three of the companies involved (BP, Transocean, and Haliburton) pointed the finger at the other companies. This, by the way, is going to be the strategy for how they’re going to stave off paying one nickle in damages for decades. The one thing that all three companies could agree on is that no one could have seen this coming.

This seems to be a common theme in America these days. One day you’re a brilliant and successful CEO of a very large company, touting your genius to every politician that you can buy. The next day, after something goes horribly wrong, you suddenly become clueless, an idiot that never saw it coming. We saw all of the bank CEOs transform themselves from genius to idiot. None of them could have seen the financial collapse coming. Angelo Mozilo (of Countrywide infamy) embraced his idiocy so vehemently, that he spun his sister (Lori Mozilo) into such an empathetic fervor, that she wrote this blog for HuffPo. She seems lovely, doesn’t she? I mean it. She seems like a lovely person that has bought her brother’s bullshit hook, line, and sinker. Congratulations Angelo, you’re an asshole that turned his sister into an idiot. Well played. I have to wonder, did these people adamantly profess their stupidity to the board of directors of their companies when they were negotiating their compensation packages? And will any of them be so wracked with guilt for being so over compensated (given the fact that they’re idiots), that they’re going to return the piles of cash that they made to the shareholders?

This tactic isn’t limited to CEOs who find themselves in trouble. This tactic of stupidity is everywhere. When people try to step in line in front of you, they always feign cluelessness for “not having seen you there”, or for not understanding why 30 people are lined up in a designated area. Oh, there’s a line? We see it when someone cuts you off on the freeway so that they can make the offramp. They didn’t cut you off because they’re assholes, they cut off because they didn’t see you there.

It’s the, “I’m not an asshole, I’m an idiot” defense. Personally, I’ve had about all I can take of this. Why does this work? Where did we get the idea that idiot is better than asshole?

Does anyone out there find an idiot less contemptible than an asshole?

I am of the opinion that an asshole that uses the idiot defense is the most loathsome kind of person on earth. But that’s just me. I own up to my assholiness when it’s deserved. Why doesn’t anyone else?

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Opinion, Or Projection?

I’ve been listening to, and reading opinions about Elena Kagan for a couple of days now. I’ve done a good amount of research in an effort to learn more about her, and I have a conclusion; Anyone that has an opinion about this woman is making assumptions based on what they want her to be.

She is as close to a blank slate as a person that is qualified for this job can be.

She’s definitely qualified for the position. Don’t let anyone tell you that she’s not qualified because she’s never sat on a bench. Two ( Rehnquist and Warren) of our last four Chief Justices had no judicial experience when they were nominated to the court. John Roberts only had two years experience on the bench when he was nominated. Forty of the one hundred and eleven supreme court justices that we’ve had in our history, had no judicial experience prior to serving on the court. She’s currently serving as our Solicitor General. She’s worked as a law professor, an associate at a giant law firm, assistant white house council during the Clinton administration, and clerked for Thurgood Marshall. She’s qualified.

Now that we’ve established that, on to her “temperament”. Liberals don’t think she’s liberal enough. Republicans think she’s a flaming liberal (and a lesbian). So who’s got it right? There’s really no way to tell. On one hand, she’s worked for some very liberal judges (Mikva and Marshall) and politicians (she was an adviser on the failed Dukakis presidential campaign). Does that mean she’s a liberal? Not necessarily. Rahm Emanuel has always worked within the democratic party. Is anyone under the illusion that he’s a liberal? She worked in the Clinton white house which, in my opinion, is neither an indication of liberalism nor conservatism, although it does support corporatism! And then there’s that brief period when she worked as a paid adviser to Goldman Sachs. Does this point to her being a conservative? Not really, but it does indicate that she doesn’t find Goldman morally objectionable enough to refuse to do business with them.

On the issue of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, she did (briefly) deny military recruiters access to the main recruitment office during her tenure at Harvard (she did not cut off their access to students in any other way), but during her  confirmation hearings in 2009 she pledged to defend the Solomon Amendment, which balances out her actions at Harvard. Her objection to the military recruiters was actually intellectually sound. She asserted that she wouldn’t allow any other organization that practiced discrimination to use the recruitment office so she didn’t feel that military recruiters should get special treatment. This was by no means an emotional perspective.

That’s pretty much all we have to go on with Elena Kagan. She seems to have spent her whole career almost methodically ensuring that she remains a blank slate. It seems as if she’s spent her entire career preparing for a supreme court nomination hearing. Does that make her shrewd? Absolutely. Does it make her calculating? That would be a matter of opinion.

The one thing I’m certain of, is that the far right is never going to find actual evidence to support their assertions that she’s gay. Whether she is or not is really moot to me and any other rational human, but I’m positive that assaulting her with those assertions will be the path that the far right will take. I’m equally certain that they will never find any evidence to support their assertions because she has been so methodical in maintaining her “blankness”. There’s absolutely no chance that she’s left any evidence of gayness out there to sink her nomination.

The truth is that we simply don’t know what we’re going to get when she becomes a supreme court justice. I say when, because she’s almost assured a confirmation. I have no doubt that Obama knows what he’s getting since they have a personal relationship that goes back many years. But since we don’t really know what Obama is, given his persistent moderation, we don’t know what he’s looking for in a supreme court justice.

The bottom line is that anyone that has an opinion about her temperament is basing that opinion on pure conjecture.

Personally, I would liked to have seen a more overtly liberal nominee to balance out the corporatist cabal we have in Roberts, Thomas, Scalia, Alito, and Thomas. My ideal court would consist of four conservatives, four liberals, and one free thinker that can be persuaded. Since we don’t have that right now, I would have preferred the nomination of George Carlin’s ghost to this vacancy!

But much to my dismay, we got Elena Kagan. Do I oppose her? I really have no reason to. Do I support her? I really have no reason to. She truly is a blank slate, and I’m not projecting anything onto her.

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