July 26, 2011

Southern Baptist shameless liar--Richard Land

I have been watching Land off and on over the years, and have had moments where I almost respected him. He was one of few SBC leaders to apologize for slavery and segregation--albeit years after when it was safe to do.

But it is clear that he is a shameless liar for the right. And a further reminder that the bogie men of my youth were misplaced. It wasn't the feminists I needed to fear, but the Souther Baptist leaders--wrapped in the flag and carrying a Bible.

I will also say that watching the Republican party drive our country's economy off the cliff, I am reminded how many of them proclaim their Christian faith. That has worked out so well, hasn't it?

Don't dare tell me Republicans care about the deficit

Because they don't. I read yesterday that this debt crisis will surely end up raising the cost of borrowing for the country. A 1% increase in the interest rate will cost us an additional trillion fucking dollars in interest payments. So when Boehner and Cantor and the rest of the Republican assholes say they are only interested in us "living within our means," they are lying through their teeth.

This is not about the deficit. This is about two things. One, is the Tea Party idiots who have taken a pretty decent democratic model and fucked it up. Turns out that democracy doesn't actually work well when one side doesn't believe in compromise or negotiation. And the Second is the conservative right's absolute hatred of any social safety net.

My Republican friends all tell me they support some safety net, they just want it under control. Well, they should really check with the sociopaths running their party, because the GOP would prefer that Grannie be left on the sidewalk when she can no longer afford her meds or rent.

Don't tell me they care about the deficit, and don't tell me that the GOP doesn't hate poor and working people.

July 24, 2011

Taxes as wasted consumer spending

Interesting to talk to people about taxes. I understand that historically people have not wanted to pay taxes, and of course, we have our "taxation without representation" cry from the American Revolution (that is partially true, at least). And there is little doubt that the Republican party has seized on that as a rallying cry and easy way to get votes. "I will cut your taxes, no matter how low they get, and you can be free and have what you want." That is a pretty easy sell.

But what bugs me is how dismissive conservatives have become about taxes as if they are all bad. I know I have said this before, but my taxes go to help disabled and poor--to help people overseas avoid malaria and AIDS. Of course, my taxes also go to sugar subsidies and torture rooms. None of us ever get everything we want from taxes or government--a truism if there ever was.

However, in this day and age where we are supposed to imagine the federal government as a household budget that should live within its means, it might be instructive to take those Republican tactics and actually put them through a household budget. (Make no mistake, the largest economy in the world should not be managed as a household budget, but just hear me out.)

First, of course, this national household budget has done the opposite of what most actual budgets try to do--it has taken a purposeful salary reduction and is always fighting to bring in less money. I know of no household who does this on purpose. Second, this national budget seems to see all taxes and expenditures as wasteful. It is as if we, as a family, simply decided to not pay for a roof, because it was not fun, or tires for the car, or oil changes for the car. So many of those costs are not ones that we get to enjoy or play with, but are ever so necessary and are not wasteful at all. They allow us to have cover, or transportation, or heat and air, etc.

But Conservatives have sold the bill of goods that your tax money doesn't get you anything, because it goes to the government instead of to something you like. But it goes to invest in schools, and public health, and infrastructure, and the healthcare for others. Because we all live in a broader community and are harmed when our neighbors are sick or under educated, or when the roads and sewers don't work.

If Progressives could do anything, it would be to identify the actual benefits from taxes--things that benefit even the anti-tax people. Things like Medicaid support for nursing home care, or matching funds for police and fire services, or for cleaner and healthier water systems. Investments in technology that, I would argue, probably lay somewhere in the process of every technology we enjoy today. Investments that have allowed millions to build small and large businesses.

July 23, 2011

On Evangelicals and the GOP

As we watch the GOP drive our economy over the cliff rather than possibly cause the elites any discomfort, I have been thinking about how the evangelicals I know can support these policies. Part of it is in these "dog whistle" moments such as when Tim Pawlenty names Jesus as one of his favorite political heroes, but then will govern as a purely conservative politician--with no real mention of Jesus when he cuts programs for the poor or defends torture.

For my evangelical friends, I think they have been co-opted in a way that they don't even understand. The GOP knows they are very uncomfortable with abortion and gay rights, and largely uninformed about broader political issues. So, they will vote for the GOP out of an assumption of moral superiority, and never really check back. They vote for Republicans on the basis of being "pro-life" and then never notice that the GOP defends and openly encourages torture and more war. They vote for fiscal responsibility and look the other way while the party defends only the rich. Our friend Kevin Powell caught this nice bit from Huffington Post on why evangelicalism is losing the younger generation, and a big part of that is their sexism and complete sell out to conservative politics.

I am starting to think that Google+'s new approach to social networking is a good way to see the evangelical's political world. One circle is the personal relationship where God is about them, and their personal "walk with Christ." That is where the lion's share of evangelicals books and discussions trend--how can you walk closely with God and how can he make you happier.

Then there is that circle named politics. It is one filled with myths about "pulling your self up by your bootstraps," and "individualism" and "the market economy" solving everything. It is a cold and ruthless place where people who don't work hard enough get left behind, and those who don't have enough to pay for healthcare are on their own. It is the world of Thomas Hobbes rather than that of the Gospel. And that is important, because in that circle, the only Bible verses are about God smiting people who are gay and the assumption that abortion is evil.

When we want to be spiritual, we enter the spiritual circle and talk about relationships over religion. When we want to be political, we switch circles and talk about tough choices and how wasteful government is. There is only one place for Christianity in politics. It is to get an entrance ticket, and then never be asked about it again--and then only for conservatives.

Sad. As SOF reminded me this afternoon, the OT has a lot of challenges to that kind of politics, but all we hear about are the passages from Leviticus about homosexuality. Nothing about abandoning the poor. Nothing about the evils of the rich exploiting the poor. Nothing about the need for people of faith to defend the oppressed rather than the comfortable.

If Muslims do it, it is terrorism. If Christian whites do it, it is extremism

The omnipotence of Al Qaeda and meaninglessness of "Terrorism" - Glenn Greenwald - Salon.com

Republican economics: cut wages, cut benefits, turn employees over to Medicaid--cut Medicaid

Saw this tweet a few minutes ago:
In Arizona, 2700 Wal-Mart workers are on Medicaid because it is impossible for them to afford healthcare.”
Just did a simple Google Search.

If this isn't a war on the poor, then someone should explain it to me.

July 22, 2011

Republicans are irresponsible. Period.

Word comes tonight that Republicans have broken off talks with the White House on the debt ceiling. As Pandagon notes, this isn't rational:
"I love Republicans saying no plan has been offered and then saying that Obama's plan would be terrible. #logic"
What I love is that Republicans are so concerned about the deficit that they want only the poor and elderly to pay. Rich Republicans and Democrats need not be bothered. But if you are poor and disabled, or elderly and on a fixed budget, or about to be elderly, or about to be poor--their word to you is to "suck it."

A Republican friend of mine asked me if I thought that Republicans didn't care about the poor and elderly. I told him, truthfully, that I thought most actual Republican voters were not like that. He is a good example of someone who does a lot of work to help people. But he doesn't seem to recognize what his party is doing in his name. He has been distracted by abortions and gays, and simply assumes that the Republicans are actually fiscally responsible.

They are not. And they aren't even close.

July 21, 2011

Allen West claims that we don't like him because he is a black conservative

And even says that we are mad because he got off our "21st-century plantation, and they cannot afford to have a strong voice such as mine out there, reverberating and resonating across this country."

Yeah? No. Actually, we don't like you because you are an asshole who took a criticism of your policy stances (legitimate) and then decided to respond by disparaging a woman as not "a Lady" and therefore not worthy of his respect.
West: Wasserman Schultz And Dems Attack Me Because I'm A Black Conservative (AUDIO) | TPMDC

Oh, and remember that this is the guy who tortured a detainee in Iraq, was nearly charged for it, and brags about it to this day.


July 18, 2011

First economic disaster caused by spite

Watching this horror show in Washington is making me a little ill. We have Republicans openly arguing that their government should default on its debts as a statement of fiscal responsibility. Yes, they think that not paying what we owe is responsible.


And let's not forget that a good bulk of the economic problems we have were created by Republicans. Though, if you ask them, they have forgotten all of that.

But their goal is not to actually reduce spending. Or to help the economy. It is to kill the social safety net and, most importantly, to defeat Obama. Even if that means harming the economy for all of us.

Reminds me of that Seinfeld episode. Seinfeld Scripts - The Wig Master:
"Scene cuts to the Andover shop.

Jerry: 'Excuse me I'd like to return this jacket.'

Teller: 'Certainly. May I ask why?'

Jerry: '........For spite...'

Teller: 'Spite?'

Jerry: 'That's right. I don't care for the salesman that sold it to me.'

Teller: 'I don't think you can return an item for spite.'"

Bachmann Nation: Where facts don't matter

The Washington post has a poll that shows that a majority of Republicans and Tea Partiers think that the debt ceiling doesn't need to be raised and nothing bad will happen if it is not.

Which reminds me of why the Republican part has become so unbelievable. They simply reject inconvenient facts. So a vast majority of evolutionary biologists knows that evolution is fact, not some vague idea? You find the one scientists who has questions and he or she becomes your standard bearers. Vast majority of climate scientists believe climate change is human caused? You just find that one guy (I was sent a link one time that proved climate change wasn't real--it was from an astrologer) and you just say, "there are many theories out there. The science isn't in."

Except it is. But when you are a Bachmann Republican, you just "conclusion shop" until you can find a historian who has Paul Revere ringing bells, or an economist who thinks that the default is no big deal. It doesn't matter if the guy is an idiot, because his knowledge doesn't matter either. What only matters is what you want to believe. There is a part of me that is a little jealous of that. I wish I could just deny my fears about climate change or economic collapse.

But I live in a real world where species adapt, and carbon increases the temperature, and when one of the biggest economies in the world refuses (out of spite) to pay its bills, there are going to be consequences.

In other words, I think, therefore I am no longer even eligible for the Republican party.

Um, GOP? You do realize that is a cliff you are driving us over, right?

Every Major Credit Agency Prepares to Downgrade U.S.

Oh, that's right. You are all fucking idiots. Club for Growth tells Republicans: Trigger a Default or Else.

Why Americans Think All Politicians Fail Them

David Frum has an excerpt of his recent column on why Americans think all politicians fail them, but I think he overlooks--at least from the part that I can read--the role that his own party has played in this. After several decades now of demonizing government, why would he think that the public would somehow trust their representatives in that government?

In fact, there seems to be this scenario going on--since Watergate. Republicans tell the public that government and politicians are evil and can't be trusted. Republicans then win elections on that claim, then take steps to prove that government is destructive and harmful to the public. Then blames Democrats for their own failings.

Rinse and repeat.

July 17, 2011

Breaking Up with God: A Love Story

I mentioned this book before, but finally finished it yesterday. Not because it is a difficult read--quite the opposite--but I just was distracted with a few other things. So yesterday afternoon, I found myself crying a few times as I followed her journey. Greg's review is really good, and he explains this book better than I can.

This book won't be for everyone. I think that is fairly obvious. But her questions about God sounded like those in my own head. And her frustration with the church's simplification echoed my own. My own experience was like this:
Evangelical: God is so much bigger than you can even imagine.
Me: So he might actually be she?
Evangelical: Don't be silly. He is just like a father.
Me: So there is no way he would wipe out populations of people, right?
Evangelical: No, he can do that and be just like your father too.

In summary, God is so much bigger than we can even imagine, but he prefers America, hates anyone who criticizes Israel, hates gay marriage, and likes capitalism and private property. But we can't really know him. If something good happens that we prayed for--that is proof that God answers prayer. If something bad happens that we prayed for--that is proof that we can't understand God's purpose and will. Even though we understood it when we liked the outcome.

God becomes, in that sense, everything and nothing. He is in complete control, but sometimes things happen that he clearly could not have wanted to happen, but he allowed that to happen because of some other reason. We are to have a close personal relationship with him--closer than that with our closest human connections, but can't really know him. And he might still smite us--as he has that opportunity and his "ways are higher than our ways."

She recounts a similar response to the torture revelations from Iraq. I think it is hard to completely explain how difficult that moment was for me. Well, not that moment as I am well aware of the evil that men do. But when the conservative church endorsed, or at best, shrugged off the evil of torture, something died for me. Their God didn't mind that because, as Bristol Pail said the other day, "God is on our side." He prefers us to those Muslims. I expected those who talked about how big God was, and who recounted the stories of Jesus as shepherd, finding that one lost sheep--I expected them to weep when they discovered that Bush was torturing in our name.

But they didn't. They didn't even come close. And their God didn't say anything to them. Still hasn't.

July 15, 2011

Fundamentalism means never having to compromise

After all, when you know the ultimate truth, compromising with lesser beings is pretty silly. I get that. But of course, these people don't actually have the ultimate truth, and their methods have been clearly ineffective. Of course, I am talking about Republicans on taxes.

Jesus. I get it. As Tracy Jordan once said on 30 Rock, "I get it, Jack, Republicans want less taxes, more guns, and the end of the gun tax." And I get how tax cuts can be effective in certain situations. The idea of "supply side" economics is to encourage the "supply" of goods--with the theory being that if you have a supply problem, incenting or encouraging production and investment will then benefit from demand. But the problem with Republicans is that they have decided that every economic situation could benefit from more supply. But in this recession, supply has never been the problem. Inventory has stacked up because people lack the ability to consume. That is the demand side, not the supply side, and merits a different approach.

But for modern Republicans, there is no economic problem that cannot be solved by a tax cut. Even when it won't work. And that has led to this kind of unbelievable zeal that puts, as Meyerson notes, tax cuts over even helping the disabled or the poor. Ever.
In Minnesota, a state with a Democratic governor and a Republican legislature, Gov. Mark Dayton sought to raise taxes on only the relative handful of Minnesotans with annual incomes in excess of $1 million. The legislature opposed that, insisting on cuts (including to services for those with disabilities) that Dayton wouldn’t countenance.
Or in California where Jerry Brown offered to deregulate some areas and even cut state pensions if Republicans would allow the people to decide on tax increases. But Republicans have decided no tax cuts, ever.

Here is the funny thing. Every Republican I have talked to in person claims that they are not opposed to raising some taxes. Yet their leadership drives us off a cliff. Somehow I don't think the elected Republicans fear their base leaving them. So I am not sure I trust my Republican friends that much.

July 13, 2011

The Christian right and White Supremacy

Sarah Posner has a piece on the connections between the far right and the White Supremacy and neo confederate movement. It is worth a read.

But to be very clear, and I am sure Ms. Posner would agree, this is not to suggest that conservative Christians are racist. But it does suggest that there are connections that many of them don't even realize. In fact, I am becoming more and more convinced that the conservative Christians are largely ill-informed about what their politicians are doing in their name. I don't think they realize much of the insanity, and this is just another example. It doesn't excuse their ignorance, but it may explain why they have become supporters for a party that is increasingly racist and certainly only interested in the interests of the rich and powerful.

July 11, 2011

Goddamn Republican idiots

Seriously. Maybe it is the heat getting to me, but I am finally realizing that Republicans are going to sink our economy to prove that they are fiscally responsible. They are goddamned fucking idiots. And that is the nicest thing I can say about them right now.

Let's start with this nice little chart. Look at the down arrows since Bush took office, and look at how big those down arrows are. And notice how many of these fuckers voted consistently for every goddamned one of those tax cuts during two wars.

Now read what the conservative Economist has to say about this crisis.
The sticking-point is not on the spending side. It is because the vast majority of Republicans, driven on by the wilder-eyed members of their party and the cacophony of conservative media, are clinging to the position that not a single cent of deficit reduction must come from a higher tax take. This is economically illiterate and disgracefully cynical.

Now read what the intellectually dishonest and seemingly endlessly stupid Republicans have to say about the negotiations. Meanwhile, Obama has actually floated over 3 trillion dollars in cuts, in exchange for minor increases in revenue that only close loopholes, they don't even raise marginal rates. And Obama, damn it, is actually floating raising the retirement age for Medicare--Jesus Fucking Christ--while Republicans refuse to even close one goddamned loophole.

These people are nuts. There is nothing worse than ignorant people who believe that compromise is evil, and Republicans have given us a whole fucking caucus of them. I hope you all enjoy their "fiscal responsibility" when our economy slides back into recession.

What fucking morons.

July 10, 2011

The nature of God

How is that for a grandiose blog title? Yeah, I thought so too.

But I am reading this book, thanks to Greg's review. It is a great book, and has already spurred some thoughtful conversations about the nature of God. For me, one of the best examples was the discussion about Aaron and the Golden Calf--including the part where Moses has some 3,000 people killed according to God's order. As I noted to a friend, I find that God hard to understand in the context of the "personal relationship" God that I am supposed to see as Father. Yeah, except my own father never claimed that he could kill me and be right to do so.

But that is the nature of evangelical language right now, and I think that needs to be rethought. Greg once again highlights an example from this last week's tragic case of a baseball fan dying trying to catch a foul ball. Just an awful story, and as it turns out, the player who threw him the ball--Josh Hamilton--responded to it with this empty, but all too common response:
I can't imagine what they're going through right now. I can't imagine. All I can think about is praying for them and knowing that God has a plan. You don't always know what that plan is when those things happen, but you will.
As Greg notes, this is the kind of response that means absolutely nothing. The same thing could be said if a person has a personal victory, or when the Japanese nuclear plant leaked. It has no meaning, or has very bad meaning. And, as Greg notes, there is a better response:
"This is a tragedy, and I can't explain it, but I believe God will ultimately bring something good out of all this."
Instead, we get the vapid and meaningless response that so many evangelicals use without even thinking.

USA Women win one of the most amazing contests I have ever seen

Wambach, Solo key dramatic US win over Brazil - World Soccer - Yahoo! Sports

What a damn game. It had everything. Bad luck, bad refs, some nice plays, and then one phenomenal cross in extra time when the game was just about done--followed by a header into the back of the net. Then another great save in penalty kicks to push the Americans past the Brazilians.

The bad ref just about ruined it all, and highlights how a bad ref can really screw up this game. Of course, they can fuck up any sport, but the premium on scoring in soccer really makes it a bigger impact--at least to me.

But what a game.

July 8, 2011

More on the debt crisis

Meant to post this very good NPR story on what the default would do to our economy. Still amazes me that supposedly fiscally "responsible" people would threaten to not pay our obligations. Shame on them.

And here is a great look at how different the two sides see the poor and rich. Orrin Hatch thinks that the poor aren't doing enough on the debt crisis because many of them are too poor to pay federal income taxes. Never mind that income inequality continues to grow, and those poor are losing ground, not gaining, and never fucking mind that they pay a lot of other kinds of taxes at a regressive level. Never mind. Just protect the rich.

Steve asked about Social Security cuts. Here is what I found. My problem with any of this is that while many people will be able to manage this without a significant hardship, there are those who will be barely scraping by who will hurt. That is the option v. asking the people who's income has increased nearly exponentially over the last 30 years. Nothing fair or just or moral about that.

July 7, 2011

More on the GOP's war on the poor

Saw this tweet from columnist Charles Blow:
CharlesMBlow: ...Pain for Dem constituents (the poor) will be real. There are many of them. Pain for Repubs will be on principle. How many ppl own jets?
And it is worth walking out. The cuts that Republicans have already enacted and are pushing for will result in actual and real deprivation. Elderly people who can't quite have their prescription and their food. Or middle class people struggling to pay for nursing home care--or that family with the disabled child.

Those people will miss meals, suffer more hardship, and in some cases will die sooner than they would have.

On the other hand, the rich are being asked to dip into their rising wealth. Inequality is growing at leaps and bounds, but we will continue to ask the poor to contribute to the deficit and bow to the wealthy.

And clearly, for conservative Christians, social justice is simply not important.

GOP and the wealthy win

Two stories from this morning that completely ruined my coffee. The first Chris Hayes called "terrifying" is this story about Obama floating deep Social Security cuts to assuage the fucking ransoming GOP. Yeah, let's take the best social safety net of the last 100 years and offer it up as a chip to hijackers for what? Yeah, for what? For nominal talks about closing loopholes--oh, and the GOP says that any loophole closed has to be paid for. No new revenue. Fuckers.

But when asked about the idea of shared sacrifice, the GOP is clear about who they serve. Leave 'Em Alone! Republicans Explain How The Rich Can Contribute To Debt Reduction | TPMDC.

A shorter version? The rich make jobs, and they already pay taxes, so leave them alone. Beg them to stay and make jobs. That is their sacrifice. Never mind that they continue to get richer and richer and leave people behind. And never mind that all of this is intended on further distancing the rich from any obligation to the poor and middle class.

A bad day, and a bad day for Obama. He is selling us out.

July 6, 2011

So Casey Anthony was found not guilty?

And here is the deal. I had not heard of the trial until yesterday's verdict. I saw buzz on Facebook and had to google the name. I guess that proves that I don't watch cable news and that the news I read online doesn't cover this kind of story.

But now I am caught up, and my reaction is that our country is seriously messed up. This is the story that captivates the entire nation, while Republicans threatening to crater our economy is simply ignored. I am certainly not saying that the death of this little girl is trivial, because it certainly is not. It is a deeply tragic story. But watching the news last night, I saw a level of obsession with the story, the characters, and the outcome that seemed to belie the context.

So I have multiple objections. The first is the same I felt after the OJ trial when people start slamming the jury. Nancy Grace doesn't get to execute people she thinks are guilty, and the system is set so that it is difficult to convict people. But further, I am always amused (if amusement is the right word--and I don't think it is) when people are so dismissive of a jury verdict like this, but somehow convinced that all the people we execute are dead-bang guilty. If the system is so flawed to let this woman wrongly slide, why are they not skeptical about the people sent to the chair?

And the other is, as always, a sense that the media focuses on the easy, and ignores the difficult. I understand the grief over this little girl, but, as I noted, there are key political issues that go unnoticed. Republicans killing the economy is one, but another and equally vexing one is the budget cuts that will endanger thousands of young girls like Caylee Anthony. How do people express grief over one lost girl, but have no difficulty voting to cut off funding for thousands of kids, some of whom have disabilities or are in foster care?

But the media prefers these stories because they have natural drama, and require almost no intelligence to sell. And the public prefers a story that is simple to those that are tough to understand.

And we are all lessened.

July 5, 2011

Even David Brooks thinks the GOP is crazy

And this is close to the best, concise explanation I have read:
"The members of this movement have no sense of moral decency. A nation makes a sacred pledge to pay the money back when it borrows money. But the members of this movement talk blandly of default and are willing to stain their nation’s honor.

The members of this movement have no economic theory worthy of the name. Economists have identified many factors that contribute to economic growth, ranging from the productivity of the work force to the share of private savings that is available for private investment. Tax levels matter, but they are far from the only or even the most important factor.

But to members of this movement, tax levels are everything. Members of this tendency have taken a small piece of economic policy and turned it into a sacred fixation. They are willing to cut education and research to preserve tax expenditures. Manufacturing employment is cratering even as output rises, but members of this movement somehow believe such problems can be addressed so long as they continue to worship their idol."

July 4, 2011

Ok, this made my day--Should we teach Math in schools?

A wonderful parody of the questions posed to Miss USA contestants about teaching evolution in schools. For all the people who use the word "believe" in conjunction with "evolution."

July 3, 2011

The 4th of July

This has never been my favorite holiday. Maybe it was my dislike of large group picnics. I don't know. I know I have enjoyed some individual 4ths, but not all of them. Maybe it is because the dogs never enjoy the noise.

I remember the first summer we had Streak. Anglican's apartment had a great view of the fireworks, so we all went down there to watch, and I brought this little dog who had adopted us. He was so scared. He spent the entire fireworks with his head under my arm. Damn I miss him. I am watching my thumbnail grow out with a little sadness. He bit me during a treatment and the mark is just about gone. That has been a pretty steady reminder, though I know I don't need that to remember him. But it is still sad.

We have tried to rehabilitate this weekend, mostly by trying to spend it with friends. Last night we had a couple over and tonight we head to more friends. That will be good.

I think I have always struggled with the patriotism part. I get loving your country. I just am not sure what to think about people loving it in such an angry and hateful way. I read this week about a congressman from Georgia who said that he would do anything "short of shooting them" when he saw illegal immigrants. I suspect he sees himself as an uber patriot. As do most conservatives.

Yet, it makes me feel a little ill. And the conservative war on people continues. Minnesota has shut down state offices (non essential) primarily because Republicans refuse to raise taxes on anyone. That makes no sense to me, but those Republicans will tell me that they believe in freedom and that they are patriots.

And I read that across the country, not only are women seeing abortion outlawed, but states are starting to criminalize any kind of miscarriage. I get the opposition to abortion, but this is going a step beyond. And what amazes me about this kind of law, is that I am pretty sure that the upper middle class white wife will not have her miscarriage questioned. I am pretty confident of that. If that is small-government, then I have to just throw up my hands. That is fascism. That is what a totalitarian state does--not one that preaches freedom.

I do love this country. I refuse to wave a flag and won't put one up on the house. But I have deep respect for our country's history and actual freedoms. I still consider our constitution a brilliant document. I believe our system is amazing, and one way it has proven that is how much expansion and access we have added since the original document. I believe in what Herbert Croly called "the promise of American life." But I don't see it in conservative thought today. All I see is hate and bigotry and stupidity.

We can do better. On this 4th, I will remember my friend Streak, and I will think of all my friends and family around the country and here in town. I will think of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice fighting for us, and for those others who have stood up for the least of these here at home.

July 1, 2011

Asking middle class workers to take pay cuts? Good sense. Asking corporate jet owners to pay more in taxes? Class warfare.

The wealthy are angry as hell, and they aren't going to take it any more! How dare Obama talk about the elite paying a little more? That is, as all the right wing punditry knows, class warfare. Asking people to not retire until age 69 is not. Nor is removing Medicare and gutting Medicaid. Why do the poor people need healthcare any way? Or assistance for nursing homes.

Why don't they do what the wealthy do and just pay for it out of their other fund?

No, when Obama dares to ask corporate jet owners to pay a little more in taxes, he has crossed a line of fairness that we all see. We all are concerned about those rich fuckers, aren't we?

And what is Obama and his evil Socialist Muslim conspiracy asking for? Good question:
"What they're talking about is a proposal by the president to have corporate jets depreciated over seven years, rather than the five years provided for now by, yes, a current loophole.

I will allow you a moment to regain your composure, or simply jar yourself awake again after reading that sentence, because this represents the sort of Existential Fucking Threat to the Republic that gets Republicans into a serious lather. Corporate jets depreciating over seven years, rather than five? My God, what monsters have we become? It's all right to nix new school lunch standards because feeding kids healthier food would cost more. It's all right to break labor agreements. Heaven knows it's all right to cut food stamp assistance or unemployment insurance, or tell seniors that Medicare is going away and good luck finding private insurance, pals. Austerity is the buzzword of the day—but tax depreciation over SEVEN years instead of FIVE? To the battlements! The comfortable, leather-appointed battlements!"

To deal with this crisis, Republicans are adamant that we cut. Cut. Cut. And then cut some more. It is going to be painful, warned Paul Ryan. But better to cut cut cut now than see the economy completely collapse--you know, like when we decide to arbitrarily default on our debts. Oh wait. No, the Republicans are worried WORRIED that if we don't address entitlements, somewhere down the line, we will all be in deep shit. And so we have to make those painful decisions now.

Except if you are wealthy. Then you get a tax cut now and a "thank you" for being wealthy.