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Mass Murder In Charleston

This piece is going to be long. I have a lot to say. Deal with it. This post may seem to be all over the place. I have a lot of points I want to cover. Deal with it. I will make every effort to organize my points in a coherent way, in order to help you deal with it.

The Event

You already know what happened, but let’s briefly recap. A white shooter (I refuse to use these assholes names because they don’t deserve fame for what they do) walked into a historic black church in Charleston, SC on Wednesday night. He sat in that church and watched the congregants study the bible while looking all of them in the eye for an hour before deciding that they all must die. He murdered nine people.

The Shooter

According to his roommate, he had been;

“planning something like that for six months”.

The roommate also said,

“He was big into segregation and other stuff. He said he wanted to start a civil war. He said he was going to do something like that and then kill himself.”

But I guess that in South Carolina, this doesn’t seem abnormal enough to raise any warning flags, so the roommate never alerted the authorities to this apparently totally normal and culturally acceptable behavior (more on this later).

At the age of 19, this whackadoodle had no job, no driver’s license, and no habit of ever leaving his house. Naturally, this behavior told his father that buying him a gun for his birthday was a totally responsible thing to do.

That piece of crap father bought the gun for his nutbag son in April, but didn’t let him take it home until a week before the shooting.

Heeelllllooooo, crazy ammosexual. Perhaps using your brain rather than your ammosexual programming would have been good here. You don’t give your obviously disturbed, loser of a son a gun for his goddamned birthday. You give him therapy sessions. If South Carolina has a capital murder charge on the books, I want the father arrested on capital murder charges for being complicit in these murders.

Several sources said that he said that he “planned to kill a bunch of people” a week before the shooting. Again, this must seem totally normal in the fucked up culture in those parts of Charleston, since no one thought to call the authorities (who were busy murdering and framing Walter Scott anyway, so they might not have had the time to deal with it). More on the fucked up culture in South Carolina later.

Here’s what the shooter’s friend (from the trailer park) relayed about what the shooter said (from The Daily News):

The 21-year-old suspected gunman told his friends at the trailer park last week that he wanted to kill people at a local college — but no one took him seriously because of his deadpan sense of humor, his friend Christon Scriven told the Daily News.

“He flat out told us he was going to do this stuff,” said Scriven.Roof moved close to the Lexington, S.C., trailer park about two months ago, he said.

Last Wednesday — exactly one week before the Charleston church massacre — Roof told his friends and neighbors at the park that “he was looking to kill a bunch of people on Wednesday” at the College of Charleston, Scriven said.

The friends assumed Roof, known for his dry sense of humor, was joking.

There are apparently no social media pictures of the shooter that don’t include an overtly racist element (confederate flag or a YAY apartheid! patch). But again, this is apparently not a thing in his community so he felt really comfortable letting his racist freak flag fly. As well he should, since the confederate flag flies over South Carolina’s state house right at this very moment.

The Fucked Up Culture In South Carolina

I know I’m going to get shit for saying this, but I most certainly am not going to get shit for not making my case; South Carolina has a culture that aids and abets these kinds of terrorists. In fact, it has a long and rich history of racism and violence.

Here’s the state capital after the shooting:

Flags

Do you notice anything? Perhaps about the positions of the flags in relation to the staffs they’re on? Interesting. Two flags are paying their respects to the dead, and the one is proudly and defiantly letting its hatred wave from atop it’s perch.

Let me be very clear about this; the confederacy committed treason against this country. Period. There’s no rational way to deny that without redefining treason. And they committed that treason in order to preserve their “state’s rights” to own human beings.  And in the end, they got their asses handed to them by the north.

There is no source of pride in this event; treason, slavery, ass kicking. That’s the story of the confederacy. And yet, the south is the only place in the world where an ass kicking is celebrated and memorialized. I wasn’t in Nashville for 45 minutes before I saw my first monument of some treasonous confederate douchebag. The normal human reaction to getting your ass handed to you, is to do everything you can to forget it. Not southerners. They celebrate their ass kicking. Can you imagine if Germany were this fucking stupid, and had Nazi flags all over their state houses? YEAH, we got CRUSHED! We’re the proudest LOSERS ever!

By the way, losers – when are you going to overthrow the tyrannical government that still has its boot on your throat? I mean, we’re still suppressing your states’ right to own people. You’re armed to the teeth. When is this overthrowing of the government going to happen? What are you waiting for? I mean, every day that you keep stockpiling the guns (we have less than 40m households with over 300m guns), and not overthrowing the government, just makes us think that you’re spineless chicken hawks who just like to play with guns. The fact that you can only seem to use those guns to shoot off your own teenie weenies doesn’t help your stupid confederacy pride rhetoric. Practice what you preach already. Go ahead, members of the confederacy; finish what your loser predecessors couldn’t. Or stop celebrating them, cause you’re just pathetic.

The confederate flag is just part of the fucked up culture in South Carolina, that thinks nothing of people spewing racist remarks. Cause hey, who doesn’t?

South Carolina does not have a hate crimes provision on its books. It’s one of only six states who apparently feel that prosecuting people for terrorizing a community based on race is just too “big governmenty”. Besides, what’s the big deal about targeting someone based on nothing other than race? Plus, how can you tell who a hater is, when the whole fucking state thinks the confederate flag is a source of pride? It’s just white pride, right? So the federal government is stepping in to take care of the hate crimes portion of litigating this mass murder. That’s more tyranny for you confederates to suck on. Enjoy.

South Carolina has a population of 4.8 million people. That’s a little over half the size of New York city and yet, they have two different factions of the KKK and four white nationalist organizations.

There is a cultural problem in South Carolina. In 2010, they actually held a “succession ball” in Charleston. I’m not kidding. People dressed up in their “YAY, we’re LOSERS” costumes and celebrated treason.

Look at this stupid twit:

 

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If she cared at all about history and honoring it authentically, the dress would be all burned up and there would have been a bullet hole somewhere in it because her side LOST.

Okay, enough of that.

Fucking Fox And Their Foul Racist Mouths

Fox is very concerned about not jumping to conclusions;

 

Oh my fucking god, there’s so much bullshit going on here, that I fear my head will explode before I can get it all out. I’m going to try and be brief in my unpacking of this, so as not to be as agitated as I was in the last section.

An attack on our churches? Yeah, this was about the religious beliefs of the congregants, rather than their skin color. Did I miss the part where the shooter proclaimed, “fuck leviticus and fuck Jesus”?

This is part of a rising hostility among Christians because of their biblical views? I just can’t.

Pastors should arm themselves? What kind of sick fuck uses this as an opportunity to sell more guns?

People are jumping to conclusions about this shooting, just because a white guy shot up a black church? In addition to his copious racist comments before the shooting, he said (during the shooting), “You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go.” No asshole, there’s no jumping to do here. He told you why he did it.

It’s a tragedy beyond human comprehension? Listen, uncle Ruckus; some of us have been comprehending this since the beginning of time. I’m not sure why “You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go” is confusing to you, but your ancestors probably wouldn’t be flummoxed by what’s going on here. Racism isn’t beyond human comprehension. It’s beyond your paid, phony shill ass’s comprehension, but the rest of us get it.

I’m going to wrap up this very long post by saying one last thing. I haven’t heard of anyone referring to this mass murder of nine people as a thug, the way Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, and Eric Garner were referred to. I’ve heard a lot of talk of mental illness, which I never hear when referring to a black person suspected of anything.

But I know, I know….we’re living in post racial America.

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The Sociopathology Of Wealth

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but there’s a drought in California, and there are only a years worth of water reserves on hand. As a result, water prices have skyrocketed and residents have been asked (nicely) to reduce their consumption by 25%. Since that request to lower water consumption came from the governor, a charming town in southern California called Rancho Santa Fe has increased its water consumption by 9%.

Why? Because they have golf courses that need to stay lush and green, and a population who feels they’re entitled to live in the pretty, green place they signed on for. You may have guessed by now, that this is a very affluent area, where the median income is $189,000 per year (compared to the national median income of $50,000 a year). Earning four times more than the average American isn’t enough to keep the residents of Rancho Santa Fe happy if they can’t have all of the water in California too. They feel that, since they can afford to pay for all the water they need, they shouldn’t have to conserve a drop.

Steve Yuhas, a charming resident of  Rancho Santa Fe says, “If you can pay for it, you should get your water.” He’s impervious to being shamed for his flagrant disregard for his state’s state of water emergency because, “[people] should not be forced to live on property with brown lawns, golf on brown courses or apologize for wanting their gardens to be beautiful”. He said something that particularly inflamed my bitchy muscle, but let’s hear what some other people had to say before I get to that.

Gay Butler (another resident of Rancho Santa Fe) said (from atop her show horse), “I think we’re being overly penalized, and we’re certainly being overly scrutinized by the world. It angers me because people aren’t looking at the overall picture. What are we supposed to do, just have dirt around our house on four acres?”

Awwww, you poor baby with your four acres.

Brett Barbre, who lives in a very affluent part of Orange County said, “I call it the war on suburbia”.

No asshole, it’s called a drought.

Because that last comment wasn’t douchey and clueless enough, he added, “California used to be the land of opportunity and freedom. It’s slowly becoming the land of one group telling everybody else how they think everybody should live their lives.”

Let me repeat; it’s called a drought, you idiot.

Jurgen Gramckow, a farmer in Ventura county agrees with Barbre’s douchey assessment and adds (comparing water to buying gasoline), “Some people have a Prius; others have a Suburban. Once the water goes through the meter, it’s yours.”

Until the water runs out because of the drought, asshole.

Let’s get back to Steve Yuhas, the first douche in this piece. Here’s another gem from him:

“I’m a conservative, so this is strange, but I defend Barbra Streisand’s right to have a green lawn. When we bought, we didn’t plan on getting a place that looks like we’re living in an African savanna.”

So much douchey in just two sentences. First of all, if you think that defending someone with different political beliefs than yours is strange, you have a humanity problem that you need to deal with immediately. Secondly, she has cut back her water usage because she’s capable of feeling shame and (I hope) recognizing that she’s part of a larger community, so you’re defending nothing other than your own abhorrent behavior. Thirdly, people whose homes are hit by tornadoes didn’t sign up for being the proud owners of a pile of rubble, but nature happens and grownups deal with it. Petulent children whine about their entitlement.

But here is the most obnoxious thing that Yuhas had to say;

“We pay significant property taxes based on where we live. And, no, we’re not all equal when it comes to water.”

I’m not going to address the second sentence in that pile of poop he hurled at us. But that first part about the property taxes really steams my beans. Since that asshole lives in California, he’s getting away with property tax highway robbery because of Prop 13. This motherfucker’s property tax rate is capped at 1%, and his increases are capped at 2% regardless of the valuation of his estate. Compared to NJ, where property taxes are 1.89%, NH, where they’re at 1.86% or Texas, where they’re 1.81%.

So spare me the whining about how much you’re being taxes, you greedy fuck. You live in a mansion, and you have a great public education system funded by your property taxes (has anyone ever heard of a failing public school in a wealthy neighborhood?). You’re getting more than what you’re entitled to.

But let me move on before I get myself too worked up. I have a point here, beyond putting rich assholes on display. In listening to them and hearing what they think, it’s clear that there really are two Americas, and that these people don’t feel like members of society at all. There’s no sense of community and no sense of duty going on among the rich. They really live in a dog eat dog world where nothing matters beyond their desires. There is a fucking drought happening in their state, and they really think that if they’re paying for the water, they can use all of it they want. The less water the state has, the more everyone will be paying for it. That means that the cost also goes up for households making $15,000 a year.

The rich don’t care about their state, country, or community beyond protecting what they feel they’re owed.

In a study published last year, The Chronicle of Philanthropy found that wealthy people give less (as a percentage) of their income than low income people do, especially in times of recession. Here are the key points (from the Forbes article);

  • Americans who earned at least $200,000 gave nearly 5% less to charity in 2012 than in 2006.
  • Unlike their wealthier counterparts, low- and middle-income Americans — those who made less than $100,000 — gave 5% more in 2012 than in 2006.
  • The poorest Americans — those who took home $25,000 or less — increased their giving by nearly 17%.

Why? Because when times are tough, people with less think about their communities and others who may be suffering. Wealthy people think less about their communities and more about hoarding. Dog eat dog.

Studies have shown that wealthy people are less compassionate. From the article;

The researchers asked participants to spend a few minutes comparing themselves either to people better off or worse off than themselves financially. Afterwards, participants were shown a jar of candy and told that they could take home as much as they wanted. They were also told that the leftover candy would be given to children in a nearby laboratory. Those participants who had spent time thinking about how much better off they were compared to others ended up taking significantly more candy for themselves–leaving less behind for the children.

This is the psychopathy of entitlement.

More from the article;

In a second study, participants were asked to watch two videos while having their heart rate monitored. One video showed somebody explaining how to build a patio. The other showed children who were suffering from cancer. After watching the videos, participants indicated how much compassion they felt while watching either video. Social class was measured by asking participants questions about their family’s level of income and education. The results of the study showed that participants on the lower end of the spectrum, with less income and education, were more likely to report feeling compassion while watching the video of the cancer patients. In addition, their heart rates slowed down while watching the cancer video—a response that is associated with paying greater attention to the feelings and motivations of others.

This is a text book demonstration of psychopathy:

psy·chop·a·thy

a mental disorder in which an individual manifests amoral and antisocial behavior, lack of ability to love or establish meaningful personal relationships, extreme egocentricity, failure to learn from experience, etc.

Greed is good. More from the article;

But why would wealth and status decrease our feelings of compassion for others? After all, it seems more likely that having few resources would lead to selfishness. Piff and his colleagues suspect that the answer may have something to do with how wealth and abundance give us a sense of freedom and independence from others. The less we have to rely on others, the less we may care about their feelings. This leads us towards being more self-focused. Another reason has to do with our attitudes towards greed. Like Gordon Gekko, upper-class people may be more likely to endorse the idea that “greed is good.” Piff and his colleagues found that wealthier people are more likely to agree with statements that greed is justified, beneficial, and morally defensible. These attitudes ended up predicting participants’ likelihood of engaging in unethical behavior.

Given the growing income inequality in the United States, the relationship between wealth and compassion has important implications. Those who hold most of the power in this country, political and otherwise, tend to come from privileged backgrounds. If social class influences how much we care about others, then the most powerful among us may be the least likely to make decisions that help the needy and the poor. They may also be the most likely to engage in unethical behavior. Keltner and Piff recently speculated in the New York Times about how their research helps explain why Goldman Sachs and other high-powered financial corporations are breeding grounds for greedy behavior. Although greed is a universal human emotion, it may have the strongest pull over those of who already have the most.

This disconnection from society is why wealthy people are seen as pariahs. Because they see themselves that way. People don’t hate the wealthy for being rich. People hate the wealthy for being entitled and selfish, particularly when that wealth was gained by winning the lucky sperm lottery.

If rich people would stop being so douchy, and start giving a damned about the society that makes their wealth possible, the chairman of Cartier wouldn’t have to worry about the poor rising up and starting a class war.

I’m sorry, did I say starting? I meant finishing.

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Rich Donors Don’t Influence Politics, Silly!

Listen to Marco Rubio lay a giant turd out there with no shame and a completely straight face;

He’s never had a donor come to his office, looking for anything from him. Interesting. Maybe he just doesn’t have big, billionaire donors, so that’s the reason he’s never been asked to do anything special? Did I mention that he said this during the swimsuit competition of the Koch presidential primary beauty pageant?

Who believes this? Is he representing the views of the American people here?

Hardly.

A CBS/ New York Times poll conducted in the beginning of May has 80% of Americans in favor of limiting campaign donations. Only 17% think that our current system of unlimited spending is just swell.

Here’s another poll from October, 2012 where Americans are even more opposed to the massive corporate spending on elections. In this poll;

  • Nearly 9 out of 10 Americans think there’s too much corporate money in politics (51% strongly agree).
  • 81 percent of Americans agree that companies should only spend money on political campaigns if they disclose their spending immediately. 80 percent agree that companies should only spend money on political campaigns if they get prior shareholder approval.
  • Requiring corporations to get shareholder approval before spending money on politics is supported by 73 percent of both Republicans and Democrats, and 71 percent of Independents.
  • 84 percent of Americans agree that corporate political spending drowns out the voices of average Americans, and 83 percent believe that corporations and corporate CEOs have too much political power and influence.
  • More than 8 in 10 Americans (81%) believe that the secret flow of campaign spending is bad for democracy.
  • 87 percent agree that prompt disclosure of political spending would help voters, customers and shareholders hold companies accountable for political behavior.
  • 77% of Americans support a requirement that companies publicly disclose their contributions to groups that funnel money into politics.
    • 74% of Americans support a plan allowing candidates to run for Congress without raising large contributions by collecting small contributions and receiving limited public funds.
    • 74% of Americans favor requiring that the name of the company and its CEO appear in ads paid for by corporate political spending.

Here’s a poll from Gallup in 2013 that says that half of all Americans support publicly financed campaigns. Here’s what Americans said about voting on limiting campaign contributions;

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 9.27.11 AMI can post a dozen more polls that produce the same results. I can also produce dozens of republicans that agree with Marco Rubio.

Wanna know what I can’t produce? A democrat that thinks corporate money flowing into elections is awesome.

When someone tells you who they are, you should believe them.

You think Hillary is too corporatist, and likely to serve her financial industry donors if elected? I think you’re probably right, but republicans are flat out telling you they will.

At least Hillary is speaking out against Citizen’s United and says she supports a constitutional amendment to get money out of politics. Is she lying? Maybe. Is Marco Rubio lying? Definitely not. Is it possible to want to reform the system while being really effective at working with it? Yes. It’s inconceivable to me that we’re going to ever get a president who isn’t a money raising machine ever again, without reforming campaign finance. The fact that she’s very good at doing what needs to be done in order to become president doesn’t necessarily mean she’s happy about it. It doesn’t. And if you’re positive that it does, you’re either projecting or you need to seek mental help to treat your delusions of clairvoyance.

We know where Bernie stands. We also know that his chances of becoming president are not great. Is it possible? Everything is possible. I’m hanging in with him for as long as he hangs in, but we’ve never seen a candidate with less money win a presidential election. In congress, the odds of winning an election without having the most amount of money is 6%. That’s right, 94% of the time, the candidate with the most money wins. Those are pre-Citizen’s United and McKutcheon statistics. They’re most certainly worse now.

If given the option between someone who tells me they’re definitely not going to be representing me (and they like it that way), and someone who tells me that they would like to make it possible for them to work for me, I’m going to pick the latter. I would be a rube not to.

At least with democrats, there’s a teenie, tiny chance they believe what they say. Unfortunately for America, republicans definitely mean what they say.

Both parties are not the same, and all you have to do to realize that, is to pay attention to what they’re telling you about themselves.

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The DNC Is Excited About The Donald

This is fantastic! Here’s the official statement from the DNC regarding Donald Trump’s entry into the republican primary field;

DNCTrump

This would be the best troll ever, especially since The Donald is so narcissistic as to believe it’s earnest.

I and the internet at large have been having a lot of fun with Trump’s entry into the republican clown car. But in all seriousness, Trump made a giant mistake today. His only talent is that he has is the ability to market himself to low class, low income assholes who dream of the day that they have so much money that their assholishness has to be accepted by those around them. He’s about to get torn apart by the media, by his opponents, and by the billionaires who have other ideas about who they plan on selecting to be the nominee.

If the Fox debate were going to be held tomorrow, Trump would be in because he meets the “top ten” in the polls candidate threshold they established. If he’s still holding on to a top ten spot come mid July, sit back and pop some popcorn because this is going to get mighty amusing. Sheldon Adelson and the Kochs, who have decided to join forces (this is a very bad turn of events) are going to punch him hard with more money than he could possibly hope to ever inherit. And when someone throws a punch at Trump, Trump turns into a roid rage kind of asshole.

Mark my words, Trump won’t have much left to market after this presidential run. His brand is about to become damaged beyond repair.

I couldn’t be happier.

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Jamie Dimon Mansplainin

Jamie Dimon on May 10, 2011 explaining a two billion dollar loss to his shareholders on a conference call:

“In hindsight, the new strategy was flawed, complex, poorly reviewed, poorly executed, and poorly monitored.”

 

“It was a bad strategy. It was badly executed. It became more complex. It was poorly monitored.”

“We’re willing to bear volatility, and um, that’s life.”

“This trading may not have violated the Volker Rule, but it violated the Dimon principle.”

“We’re not in a business where we are not going to make mistakes. We are going to make mistakes… I could never promise you no mistakes.”

“Even hindsight’s not 20/20, but with hindsight, yes, obviously we should have been paying more attention to it.”

Jamie Dimon at Davos in 2009 speaking about the financial crisis:

“Just because we’re stupid doesn’t mean everybody else was.”

That was after taxpayers needed to pony up $100 billion dollars to create the capitol he didn’t think he was going to need in order to run his casino. He was trying to make the point that regulations aren’t necessary, simply because he was a total fucking moron.

Jamie Dimon on the London Whale debacle:

“It’s a tempest in a teapot.”

“[It] plays right into the hands of a whole bunch of pundits out there … These were grievous mistakes, they were self-inflicted.”

“We made a terrible, egregious mistake … There’s almost no excuse for it.”

“We made a stupid error. Businesses make mistakes, they learn from it and get better. Only when I come to Washington do people act like making a mistake should never happen. Only with academics and politicians is it not allowed.”

“The London Whale was the stupidest and most embarrassing situation I have ever been a part of.”

From an article in The International Business Times (regarding the London Whale):

The bank has been criticised for allegedly holding back information from regulators during the London Whale saga, but Dimon said nothing was withheld and “we didn’t know ourselves sometimes” as JPMorgan tried to mop up in the aftermath.

So you’re running a company in a fashion that allows for you to not know what the fuck is going on? And you’re still employed, why?

Why am I revisiting Jamie Dimon’s greatest hits? Because this arrogant and demonstrably incompetent ass had the audacity to say about Elizabeth Warren, “I don’t know if she fully understands the global banking system.”

Really? You don’t know if she understands? You’ve repeatedly told us that you don’t understand what the hell is going on (usually after one of your giant fuck ups), and we’re supposed to care that you don’t know if Elizabeth Warren understands what you clearly don’t?

Oh for fuck’s sake, can’t you just rob the world in silence? Must you take our money and subject us to your arrogant bloviating?

Honestly, what this idiot lacks in intelligence and morality, he makes up for on audacity. You don’t get to mansplain things to someone who has been right about damned near everything she’s said in the past twenty-five years without me bitchily pointing out what a stupid, greedy, arrogant fuck you are.

That’s it. Short and sweet bitching this time.

 

 

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Denny Hastert Speculation

I haven’t really said anything about this because we don’t know what happened with Hastert. Since I’m not fond of speculation, I’m going to hold off on comment until we have a better idea of what happened.

To be clear, we have more questions than we do answers. We know that Hastert was paying off someone who was bribing him over something. We know that that something has a sexual component to it and that its being referred to as “misconduct”. That’s all we know from the indictment.

An anonymous source at the FBI said that the person doing the blackmailing (they’re calling him “individual A”), knew Hastert for “most of Individual A’s life.” Another anonymous source at the FBI says that “It was sex.”

That’s all we know.

We don’t know when the misconduct happened, other than it was “years earlier”. That could be five years or it could be twenty-five. We don’t know. Everyone is assuming that it happened while Hastert was a high school wrestling coach, but I haven’t seen a source on that piece of information from any media outlet reporting it. It hasn’t been attributed to anyone. Not an anonymous source at the FBI, not someone close to the victim/blackmailer, not anyone that I’ve found so I can’t treat it as “information” as much as “speculation”.

We know that the extortion started in 2010. That’s the part that makes everything much more murky than people are assuming. If the event happened during Hastert’s tenure as a wrestling coach (from 1965 – 1981), why did the blackmail take so long? Why didn’t the blackmailer step up when Hastert got the speakership was at the height of having so much to lose? Why is Hastert paying? Is he unaware of the statute of limitations? Does the blackmailer have some sort of hard evidence? It’s hard for me to believe that Hastert would feel threatened to the tune of $3.5 million by someone saying that he (Hastert) did something twenty-five years ago. He could easily dismiss the accusations as the wild claims of a would be black mailer.

I feel like there are more questions than there is information here, so I’m not going to speculate on whether he was involved in pedophilia or simply closeted gay sex.

We do know that he’s a hypocrite, but we’re not positive about whether his votes on gay rights issues were hypocritical, or whether his family values platform is where the hypocrisy hive lies.

There is one funny part of the indictment that I can’t resist commenting on. When the FBI questioned Hastert about the large bank withdrawals , he said (from the indictment) that “……he did not feel safe with the banking system”. Right. That’s why as speaker, he went to great lengths to pass regulations that would make banks much safer places for people to keep their money.

Is he aware that he’s a republican, and that the most heinous sexual misconduct he and his party have ever committed involves sodomy with all of the big banks?

I thought that part of the indictment was hysterical.

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Machete Wielding Terrorists In The US

Did you know that the FBI uncovered a major terrorist plot a couple of days ago? It’s a familiar story; a religious whack job was planning on burning a city in New York to the ground, in order to carry out his demented holy war.

Listen to what some of this sick fuck had to say:

“We shall be Warriors who will inflict horrible numbers of casualties upon the enemies of our Nation and World Peace.”

The city in New York that was the target of the attack is a small town in upstate, called Islamberg. Here’s what this deranged terrorist posted on his Facebook page;

“It [Islamberg] must be utterly destroyed in order to get the attention of the American people”

So the plan was to go to Islamberg and carry out an all out assault. The FBI became aware of this violent jihadist earlier this year, and had him under surveillance for months. One of the wire taps picked up a call where the terrorist was sharing his plans to travel to New York to do some “reconnaissance” in early April. He wanted to map out buildings to burn down. He talked about using molotov cocktails to firebomb a place of worship, school and cafeteria in the town.

Here are some of the other things he said in the wiretaps;

“We’re gonna be carrying an M4 with 500 rounds of ammunition, light armor piercing. A pistol with 3 extra magazines and a machete. And if it gets down to the machete, we will cut them to shreds.”

“We will be cruel to them. And we will burn down their buildings, and if anybody attempts to harm us in any way … we will take them down.”

“If there’s a gun fight, well there’s a gun fight. And I want to come home ’cause I love my family and I want to see my kids again. But I also understand that if it’s necessary to die then that’s a good way to die.”

So who is this animal, and why haven’t you heard anything about this? You haven’t heard anything about this because the FBI didn’t send out a press release, the way they normally do when they break up a terrorist plot. Why?

Doggard

That’s why. Meet the vicious terrorist. This is Robert Doggart. He’s an ordained Christian minister in the Christian National Church, who lives in Tennessee. He served in the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps, including two years as a unit commander. He has a PhD from LaSalle University, and spent forty years as an electrical generation engineer. In 2014, he was a far right independent congressional candidate, running in Tennessee’s 4th district. He got 6% of the vote, but ultimately lost to Scott “no abortions for you, but lots of abortions for my wife and mistresses” Desjarlais.

Who was he talking to in those wiretaps? Militia members in Texas and South Carolina. You know, the types of groups that showed up in Nevada for Cliven Bundy. Why did he target Islamberg New York? Because for over seven years now, Sean Hannity has been asserting that Islamberg is a terrorist training camp.

Despite the fact that this has been debunked, right wing media outlets (like Fox and WND) have been perpetuating the lie as recently as last week. The fact is that Islamberg has about 200 residents. Here are some of them;

Islamberg

Scary. Thank god Doggert was on the case, and that Fox News set him on the path to protecting America from these…….Americans.

If you listen to Fox news, you don’t know shit about shit. It’s actually worse than not knowing shit. Everything you’ve invested your valuable time in learning, is complete bullshit created to make you afraid of things that will never hurt you. An alternate reality has been created to scare and manipulate you.

On a fairly regular basis, these consumers of right wing propaganda plan terrorist attacks and murder doctors in church. Hannity and O’Reilly feed the cuckoo birds with hate, and those birds commit acts of violence as a result of the manure they’ve been fed. And they [Fox viewers] will never be told about people like Robert Doggart, and the FBI will just forget to send out a press release about catching him.

Don’t worry though, you’re safe now. They caught him……………and let him go on $30,000 bail. No, I didn’t forget a zero. It was thirty-thousand dollars (that’s three thousand down if he used a bail bondsman) to get out of jail on charges of planning a terrorist attack. He faces fines of up to $250,000 and up to 5 years in prison. Up to. That would be the most amount of time Mr, “We shall be Warriors who will inflict horrible numbers of casualties upon the enemies of our Nation and World Peace” could serve in prison.

Eric Garner died for allegedly (but not really) selling loose cigarettes. Tamir Rice died for carrying a toy gun through a park.

Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 9.54.27 AM

I know it’s hard to see what’s going on in this picture through all the tear gas and SWAT teams, but that guy checking Facebook on his phone and smoking a cigarette is under arrest for shooting up a diner in Waco, TX with his fellow thugs.

Eric Garner died for allegedly (but not really) selling loose cigarettes. Tamir Rice died for carrying a toy gun through a park.

Your perception that black people are to be feared, and that Muslims are coming to kill you didn’t happen accidentally. It’s been brewed for you, like a well crafted micro brew beer, with the media and law enforcement all doing their part.

White terrorists and murderers aren’t included in your nightly news shows by design. You won’t hear about the Robert Doggarts of America by design, even though there are exponentially more right wing terrorists than there are Muslim terrorists. 83% of white murder victims are murdered by white people, but you should definitely worry about black on black crime.

But I know, we’re living in post-racial, post-911 America so be afraid of all the brown people, who aren’t actually being treated any differently than white people.

My head hurts.

 

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The Inevitability Of Single Payer

I’ve always maintained that a single payer health care system is not only the way to go, but the inevitable endgame for the US. I didn’t love Obamacare, but I saw it as a first step. A first step by the way, that we’ve been trying to make since Nixon was president. Unlike with financial “reform”, when Obama refers to the ACA as “historic”, he would be correct since we historically haven’t made a damned thing happen.

I was incredibly skeptical on where the savings we were being told to expect were going to come from. But they did come, and they came in in bigger numbers than anyone had expected. So I was wrong, and I admitted I was wrong. And then when the rates were announced for 2015, and they stayed completely flat, I was elated to have been wrong.

Republicans were 100% wrong about every single thing they said about Obamacare. Wanna know how you can tell? They haven’t brought it up in a really long time.

On the other side, some liberals can’t take a good day and accept that it’s a good day because Obamacare was a giant giveaway to big pharma and the private insurance companies. I’m talking to you in this post.

Yes it was a giant giveaway but you also had a good day so spare me your analysis about how horrid everything will be tomorrow. When the norm is that you never win and big business always wins, it’s not rational not to celebrate the small victories when you get them. You really have to be a special kind of ideological partisan not to be happy about the savings we’ve seen, regardless of how long they last. The liberals who are so rigid in their ideology, whether it be as advocates for single payer, or as demonizers of Obama for not being a liberal irritate me the most. Obama isn’t remotely liberal enough for me either. That doesn’t mean that I have to demonize every single thing he does and conflate the drone disaster in Pakistan with the brilliant Iran and Cuba deals, in order to make forming an opinion about him easier on myself. That kind of ideological purity is how republicans ended up where they are today.

But back to Obamacare. Of course it’s is going to cave in on itself. Yes, it was a giveaway to private insurance companies, whose business model was fatally flawed. We got a respite on premiums because of the influx of people coming into the system. But corporate greed will eventually prevail. By eventually, I mean in the near future.

This meme showed up in one of my social network feeds:

CignaCEOOf course I got to fact checking, not because that salary sounded high to me. I remember the CEO of United Healthcare collecting over 100 million dollars in 2009. But I didn’t want to reshare until I confirmed the information. The information that I found reaffirmed my belief that single payer is the inevitable endpoint for us. David Cordani did in fact make $27.16 million dollars last year. That was a fifty-three percent increase from his 2013 salary of $17.76 million dollars in 2013.

Are you completely disgusted? Well buckle up, we’re just getting started. Cordani’s compensation in 2013 was an increase of forty-two percent from the $12.5 million he was getting paid in 2012.

I took a look at what was happening with our buddy Stephen Hemsley at United over that same period of time. In 2014, his total comp was just over $66 million dollars. That’s way the fuck up from his 2013 compensation of just over $28 million dollars. He was at $34.7 million in 2012. In his defense, the poor bastard did take a huge cut from his totally reasonable salary of $102 million in 2009.

Jay Gellert, who is the CEO of the worst health insurance company in America (Health Net) saw his salary increase from $5.79 million in 2012 to $12.48 million in 2014.

Do you see the pattern here? 2014 was a very good year for these vultures, who aren’t talented enough to make something you actually want to buy (like Steve Jobs was), so they make money on your back (literally). In Q1 2014, nine of the eleven biggest insurance companies in the US saw their stock prices hit a fifty-two week high because of Obamacare. Health insurance stocks outperformed the rest of the stock market in 2014, as did hospitals. The “big five” health insurance companies are feverishly working on whipping up new plans to offer on the exchange next year. That means that 2016 will likely bring us another year of flat or slightly declining premiums.

As I said earlier, I’ll take it. Am I bothered that the vultures are making out like bandits? Of course I am. They’re talentless hacks, paying themselves blood money and patting themselves on the back for a job well done, because President Obama did all the work for them and brought in higher profits. But we all won too, and that almost never happens for us thanks to the way campaign finance laws have devolved. I’ll take it for as long as it lasts.

It definitely won’t last. We can see the scorpion and the frog dynamic unfolding already. Health insurance companies are scorpions and they will always sting. We’re going to end up in a single payer system because when this caves in on itself, there’s nowhere else to go. Unfortunately, there are going to be some painful years between the collapse of Obamacare and the acquiescence from our politicians to a single payer system. I think we’re going to see skyrocketing uninsured rates that parallel the trajectory of skyrocketing premiums. The more unaffordable insurance is, the fewer the people will buy it. And that will bring the private insurance industry back to its failing business model, and it will cause hospitals to hemorrhage money again.

But I’ll take the respite in the meantime, and I will call this law the success that it is. I don’t need to conflate what I’m positive will happen in the near future with what is happening now.

Here’s the best part of Obamacare; President Obama took the republican health care plan away from them and implemented it successfully. Democrats are now officially the experts on improving the health care system. There is no plan left for republicans to put on the table. Single payer is all that’s left. I’ve studied health care systems all around the world. They’re all either single payer or a much more effective version of Obamacare. Switzerland has a 100% private insurance system, just like Obamacare. Of course, their regulations and cost controls are much more “big governmenty” than ours. They regulate the shit out of drug prices, the cost of medical procedures, and even the profit margin their 90+ private health insurance companies can make (I think they can make a 5% profit vs the 20% that Obamacare allows). They also have the second most expensive health insurance system in the world, after ours. A couple of other places have single payer with private insurance available for those who want it to cover extras.

Trust me when I tell you that single payer is the end of the road. It’s either that, or everything collapses for us, for insurance companies, for doctors, and for hospitals.

Make no mistake, Obamacare was a necessary first step to single payer. We were never going to go from the shit show we had, straight into sanity. I do wish he had fought for it a little bit, just to put the term “single payer” in the minds of more Americans who have no idea what that means, even though they know they want it. But my premiums were cut in half so Obamacare goes in the Obama success column.

Yes, that’s right I have columns. It’s much more complicated than just lionizing or demonizing someone, but I use excel so it works for me!

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Evolve

When the sentence for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev came down yesterday, I was a little torn. I am against the death penalty for the same reason I hold most of my positions; the data makes it clear that state sponsored killing has no upside. It doesn’t deter a damned thing (if it did, people in Dallas would all leave their front doors open), it costs taxpayers exponentially more than a life sentence, and we get it wrong way too many times to make this an acceptable practice.

Even though I’d worked all of this out nearly two decades ago, I was still a little torn. I mean, what he did was horrifying. Make no mistake, I am appropriately horrified at what he did, and I remember the video vividly. A child died on top of the life altering injuries that he and his brother inflicted on so many people. It doesn’t get much more loathsome than what they did. So I was torn because I have some pretty strong emotions about what he and his brother did, and those emotions are at odds with what I intellectually know. So I kicked the tires of being a barbarian around for an hour or so. Turns out that barbarism really isn’t for me. If barbarism was ever going to be a good fit for me, this would be the time. We know he’s 100% guilty, so no fear of killing the wrong guy like we’ve done so many times before. Yes, the deterrent thing is still bullshit and the cost will be astronomical, but those two things will be true in any death penalty situation. But that visceral emotional thing was present here for most of us, since we watched it happen so this isn’t like reading about a murder and thinking about the death penalty from the most detached perspective. Am I as emotionally invested as someone who was there, or had a loved one who was there. Not even remotely, please don’t think that’s what I’m saying. I’m just saying that this is one of those cases where we’re all a little attached to it.

But even in this situation, where the strongest case for the death penalty was put before me, I still couldn’t succumb to my baser instincts. The death penalty is for revenge. It’s not for anything else. I frankly don’t see how adding another corpse to the death toll of the Boston bombing helps the situation, unless your objective is to feed one of the most primitive of all emotions; revenge.

Some of the family members want it, others don’t.  I’m sorry, but those families who need this person to die in order to get “closure” should evolve. We’re a first world country that practices the third world barbarism of execution. Fucking evolve already. There’s no excuse for being a barbarian, when you’re holding an iPhone in your hand. I get being barbaric when you don’t have indoor plumbing and have to dig a hole to shit in. I don’t get it in America when you have all of the world’s knowledge in your back pocket.

If Larry Flynt, who grew up in the backwoods of freaking Kentucky can speak out to spare the life of the man who paralyzed him, everyone can evolve.

If you’re counting in a corpse to give you the peace that you seek, you’re doing life wrong. You’re literally squandering the sentience you were given. It’s time to join the rest of the developed world.

Evolve already. That’s how you’re going to find peace.

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Literally Blinded By His Ideology

Luis Lang 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meet Luis Lang. Luis is a staunchly republican resident of South Carolina, who hates Obama and ostensibly, all things liberal. Luis is a self employed handyman. Luis is 49 years old and has never had health insurance. Apparently, he prides himself on paying his own medical bills. I have no fucking idea why this would be a source of pride, but we’re only at the beginning of all the shit that makes no sense to me about Luis.

You can see where this is going, right?

In a turn of events that no one could have seen coming (by “no one”, I mean everyone but freaking Luis), this forty-nine year old man developed a serious health issue, as forty-nine year old men are wont to do. He has a partially detached retina and bleeding in his eyes, caused by diabetes. He had a headache in February and like most “proud” people with no insurance, he let the headache continue for ten days before going to the emergency room, where people go to pay more for treatment than anywhere else in America. Turns out that Luis had a series of ministrokes. It cost him $9,000 to get treated in the emergency room. That ate up all of Luis’ savings.

Luis’ vision is rapidly getting worse because he hasn’t done shit to manage his diabetes, so he can’t work anymore. Since he can’t work, he doesn’t make enough money to get a subsidy to buy private health insurance on the exchange. Plus he missed the open enrollment deadline.

So before we get into the really outrageous assholery of Luis Lang, let’s recap the assholery so far. What kind of beyond middle aged man doesn’t think that he and his (presumably) beyond middle aged wife will need health insurance? I mean seriously, how stupid are you? Did I mention he’s a smoker who doesn’t regularly deal with his diabetes? Perhaps because he has no fucking insurance? Nine-thousand dollars. That all Luis had in savings. I spent six thousand dollars on surgery for my cat a few years ago. What did this idiot think was going to happen if he got into a major car accident? He’s basically got a change jar for a savings account, and no fucking health insurance.

Here’s where we get to the real assholery, or the eye of the ass as I like to call it; Luis thought that “help would be available” in an emergency. He and his stupid wife blame President Obama because that magical help didn’t materialize, the way two grown ass people apparently thought it would. They say that because the magic help fairy didn’t come, Obama and democrats are to blame for passing a complex and flawed bill.

“(My husband) should be at the front of the line, because he doesn’t work and because he has medical issues. We call it the Not Fair Health Care Act.”

Right, cause that’s how health insurance works; people who don’t have any should go to the front of the line for free health care. I fucking despise these stupid people. I really do.

Oh, but there’s more to hate. The original story about Luis appeared in The Charlotte Observer yesterday. Since then, his story has gone viral and his GoFundMe page has raised over 10k. Wanna know who’s donating? Liberals who are trying to talk some sense into Luis (and some who want to just scold him for his stupidity). I will not be one of the liberals who donates to Luis because Luis is a monumental ass.

We’re not done with the assholery. The journalist who wrote the original piece did a follow up interview with Luis today to find out how he felt about all the donations. I’m going to pull from the follow up piece verbatim, and let you decide what you think of Luis.

I [the journalist] had warned Lang Monday that his story was likely to spur criticism of him and his decisions, but neither one of us was prepared for the scope and intensity of reactions. While many commenters were gracious, others were abusive. Lang’s wife, Mary, says she got a threatening phone call at their home Tuesday.

“It turned into a political thing,” Lang said. “That wasn’t my intention when I reached out. This is ridiculous.”

Your intention was to panhandle the public. That is ridiculous. You are ridiculous for complaining about how this has turned out for you, especially since you’re getting the money you were after.

So has he learned anything from this experience?

“I did,” he said.

Figuring out exactly what that was took some follow-up.

Although there has been extensive coverage of the Affordable Care Act since it was passed in 2010, Lang, who gets his news from local TV and the Internet, didn’t know about the Medicaid gap or the fact that income fluctuations can make if difficult to calculate subsidies. He believes his case has helped people understand that.

Actually, no. Some of us familiarized ourselves with the law and knew exactly what to expect. And if something wasn’t immediately clear, the government generously provided you with a number you could call to get someone on the phone to help you with what you couldn’t figure out for yourself. This asshole admits he’s never had insurance. Does anyone think he didn’t get insurance now, because the ACA was too complicated? Or is he just a deadbeat, who has no sense of personal responsibility?

“I hold the whole government responsible for this, state and federal,” he said. Greed from medical providers and the government also add to the flaws in the system, Lang said.

Does he hold himself responsible? There was a short pause.

“I do hold myself partly responsible because of the view that I had. I should have taken better care of my sugar,” he said. “Yeah, I should have had insurance.”

There was a short pause? This idiot is the kind of person who will never learn a damned thing. Luis is the quintessential republican voter. He expects things to just be taken care of for him, even though he’s against big gubment. Everyone else is mooching from him, yet he seems to have no sense of personal responsibility for himself or where his actions have gotten him. He’s the antithesis of the teabagger I wrote about a few weeks ago. You know, the one was able to retire early thanks to Obamacare?

This asshole is going to take the money and learn nothing from what’s happened here. He’s going to take the money and not feel an ounce of shame over having to beg for money on the internet. This guy is an idiot, and he’s going to vote against his own self interest until the day he dies.

And that’s why he gets no money from me. I decided to make another contribution to Bernie today instead, since that’s money better spent.

 

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