October 26, 2009 archive

An “Ideological Left?” Are you kidding me?

(I wrote this as a comment in Budhy’s essay about forming a left ideology, and decided to write it as an essay.)

An “Ideological Left?”  Are you kidding me?    

Talking about a “progressive agenda” is like people sitting around talking about what they’d do if they won the lotto, or prisoners talking about what they’re gonna eat as their first meal once they get out of jail.

The world is not left-and-right any more, not one bit.

The whole notion of even calling something “left” is, frankly, kind of silly.

Listen, what we currently have in place is a thoroughly corrupt government, corrupt media, and corrupt corporate system, all of which exist in a conspiratorial circle-jerk where they all help each other out, to continue their consolidation of corrupt power.

There is only one way to get ANYWHERE right now, and that is to eliminate corruption from the system.

I mean, we cannot even TALK about a “progressive agenda” or “right vs left” until these things are addressed and dealt with.

Right now the entire government exists to provide Corporate Welfare and legal protection to a corrupt corporate class.   The media is there to do the same, and to propagandize the people into not being aware of any of this, and for the people to blame each other rather than those who are behind all the corruption.

In this battle, politics shouldn’t play a part.   Corruption is corruption, thievery is thievery, gangsterism is gangsterism.

All Americans need to realize that they are being SCREWED, and band together to get rid of the screwers so that we can get back to the quaint notions of discussing whether we should have small government, states’ rights, etc. etc. etc.  

We are being robbed blind by a ruling class who has hijacked the government itself, and has bought the media.

Listen, one year ago, I had to travel to visit my father, to help him out because he had fallen seriously ill.    He is a very intelligent man, an engineer with three graduate degrees, a career Army veteran, and is about as well informed as I am, only on the opposite side of the universe.  He is an unrepentant right-winger.    And so is his wife, my stepmom.    She is ignorant, relatively uneducated, racist, fearful, and superstitious.    She listens to Rush like he’s a member of the familiy.   They watch only Fox News.   They are the die-hard, right wing fundamentalist “Christian” types that represent a significant portion of the electorate, probably in the 25% range.  

As I was travelling is when the stock market fell 777 points, and the “bailout” was announced.

Never before in my life, and in a way that I never thought would happen, we were all on the same page.   We, for ONCE in our lives, AGREED on what was going on — that we were getting ripped off and SHAFTED.

It was, really, a beautiful moment.   We could talk about what was going on and be in agreement, for the first time ever.  

Americans all across the country felt the same way.  For, oh, about a week or two.   Then we all got distracted by the bullshit election (and the election WAS bullshit, seeing as how Obama is just another tool of the same fucking elite rich bastards who committed all these crimes), and we all moved on, and we all thought “oh well there’s really nothing we can do”.

But underneath all of that is STILL a festering realization that we’ve all been shafted.  Not the left, not the right, not the moderates, but ALL of us.

And that is what needs to happen, is we all need to get together and realize “okay, wait a minute, lets put our idealogical issues aside for a while and GET RID OF THESE LYING THEIVING MOTHERFUCKERS WHO HAVE TAKEN ALL OUR MONEY and who are LAUGHING THEIR ASSES OFF AT US.”

Which leads me, for one, back to TocqueDeville’s essay on the Guillotine.

I, for one, am for peaceful acts rather than violent ones.   Although I do honestly believe that a few brooks-brother-suited corpses hanging from lamposts would have a MONUMENTAL affect on the way these people operate.

How much shit will Americans eat?

That is really the only question worth talking about.

Beyond that, who really gives a shit about progressive agendas?   A progressive agenda is never gonna happen as long as pirates are running the show.   Talking about it is pure fantasy, it’s masturbation.

I’ve long advocated a new party, one that represents nothing but Common Sense.  In fact, I would call it the Common Sense Party.   It wouldn’t have anything to do with “left” or “right” or any of the crap that’s entrapped us for generations now, it would be about looking at problems and figuring out how to fix them.

The biggest problem right now is that Corporate Welfare has destroyed this country.  Corporate Welfare has led to the corruption we now are experiencing.

Military spending?   It’s not “defense”, it’s Corporate Welfare.   The money we spend on the “war?”   It’s not really spent on a war, it’s Corporate Welfare, i.e. $400 a gallon for gasoline.   Who gets that money?  Corporations!   Marking up the price every step of the way!    I mean, think about it.  

The money comes from us, goes to the government, and is handed out, sometimes literally, to corporations who then rent PO boxes in the Cayman Islands so they can avoid paying taxes and avoid all the American laws.   They build their factories in China so they can avoid all the American laws including those designed to protect the environment, workers, and so they can avoid paying American workers American wages.

Talking about a “progressive agenda” is like people sitting around talking about what they’d do if they won the lotto, or prisoners talking about what they’re gonna eat as their first meal once they get out of jail.

Talking about “revoking their corporate charters” is the same.  Fantasy.  Ain’t gonna happen.   “Sending them to jail” is a fantasy.  They own the judges, they own the lawmakers, they own everybody.  

So really the only thing worth talking about right now is how do we get out of jail?    Let’s come up with a foolproof escape plan, then we can start bickering about the details of our future.  

Right now there is no future.  There’s only more of the same.

Cleverly React To This, You Shall!


We Need a New WPA, to “Bridge” Workers with Hope

The Problem: Unemployment, is just supposed to keep getting worse:

U.S. Initial Jobless Claims Rose More Than Forecast

By Shobhana Chandra

Oct. 22, 2009  (Bloomberg) — More Americans than forecast filed claims for unemployment benefits last week, a reminder that the labor market will be slow to recover.

Initial jobless applications rose by 11,000 to 531,000 in the week ended Oct. 17


Economists project the unemployment rate will reach 10 percent by the first quarter of 2010, underscoring the risk to consumer spending, the biggest part of the economy. Companies cutting costs remain reluctant to hire, even as they’ve eased dismissals from levels seen earlier this year.


I heard a news Report this weekend that the +10% is expecting to last throughout most of 2010 too … Uh Oh!

Is this really necessary?

This Alexander Cockburn essay got me thinking.

All the Populism Money Can Buy

Across the country last weekend, there were antiwar demonstrations, modest in turnout, but hopefully a warning to Obama that war without end or reason in Afghanistan, plus 40,000 more troops to Kabul, is not why people voted for him.

 I spoke at our own little rally in my local town of Eureka, Calif. My neighbor Ellen Taylor decided to spice up the proceedings by having a guillotine on the platform, right beside the Eureka Courthouse House steps. Her father was Telford Taylor, chief U.S. prosecutor at Nuremberg,

 When she told me about the plan for the guillotine, I wasn’t sure it was a good idea. But Ellen said she wanted to reach out to new constituencies beyond the committed left, and what better siren call than the swoosh of the Avenging Blade? A hundred years ago, people liked to stress the similarities of the American and French revolutions. Mark Twain composed the most eloquent defense of the Terror ever written, in “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.” But then, after 1917, the French Revolution was seen as the harbinger of Bolshevik excess and it grew less popular.

 Up on the platform I took the guillotine issue head on. Only 666 aristocrats in Paris had been topped versus 1,543 throughout France. The reward: decisive smack on the snout of the land-holding aristocracy; durable popular power for peasants, workers and the petit bourgeois: M. le patron and M. le proprietaire stepped into history.

 Here in America, the corporate class is now entirely out of control, lawless and beyond the sanction of prosecutor, juror or ballot box. If every corporate lawbreaker felt that somewhere along the line the retribution of the guillotine might await them, it would concentrate their minds marvelously and cow them into lawfulness.

He’s right. They are out of control. So, I’m wondering. Is it guillotine time? Is that what it’s going to take?

What do you think?

Sen. Sherrod Brown Torches Dick Cheney on “Dithering”

Crossposted at Daily Kos

    Sen. Sherrod Brown does NOT pull any punches once he gets started, and this time he beat up on poor ole Shooter something awful.

    First Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) put up a lame defense for another 5 years of Afghanistan, but at least he was kind enough to throw Dick Cheney under the bus while he did it. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) then systematically torched Dick Cheney (Sith-Lizard planet) for being Co-Proesident to FAIL.

    More of a good torching below the fold.

Considered Forthwith: Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Welcome to the 25th installment of “Considered Forthwith.”

This weekly series looks at the various committees in the House and the Senate. Committees are the workshops of our democracy. This is where bills are considered, revised, and occasionally advance for consideration by the House and Senate. Most committees also have the authority to exercise oversight of related executive branch agencies.

This week, I am looking at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Two thoughts before proceeding. First, I am happy to be out of the newspaper business because I can say what I really think without worrying about objectivity. Second, what I really think is that the committee’s website is in dire need of a redesign.  

Pique the Geek 20091025: The Things that We Eat: Holiday Goodies

This essay is sort of a prequel to two that I am scheduled to write for What’s for Dinner, posted at Dailykos.com (and here) Saturday evenings around 7:30 Eastern.  Next Saturday I am writing rather long one about jellies (and related items) with lots of technical information and pictures of the process from start to finish.  On 05 December I return to write about my favorite holiday goodies.

This got me to thinking that some of those goodies need background preparation before cooking them.  Tonight we will discuss several key ingredients in some of my favorites, and some of the biology and natural history about them.  Some things, like preparing nuts and persimmons, HAVE to be done in advance for various reasons, and some can be done in advance to ease the workload during the busy holiday season.

Paul Rosenberg on Obama

As you may know I’m a big fan of OpenLeft and Paul Rosenberg is one of my particular favorites.

I asked for and received permission to quote at length a piece he wrote today which, while he may claim my excerpt mischaracterizes his position, thoroughly captures mine.

Ridgelines and River Bottoms

by: Paul Rosenberg

Sun Oct 25, 2009 at 17:30

… Obama is, at bottom, a conservative, notwithstanding some cultural inclinations to the contrary.  When all is said and done, he wants to change things as little as possible, his desire for change is driven by a perceived necessity to avoid disaster, and the priorities and parameters of change are dictated by doing as much as possible for those representing existing power, and doing as little as possible for everyone else.  This is what classic Burkean conservatives believe in, along with the ideal of unifying the polity, and marginalizing all divisive forces.

Divisive forces, for those not clued in, means you and me, pardners.  Every bit as much as Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck.  For a classic conservative like Obama, it really makes no difference whatsoever if the divisive forces are right or rational.  All that matters is that they resist going along.  And because of Obama’s essential conservatism, it’s you and I who are the problem in Obama’s eyes.  Not Baucus, Nelson, Lieberman & the like.  You and I.  We are the problem.

And since we are the problem, we’ve got to get a whole lot better at it. Because if we can make ourselves insoluble, then that will force Obama to accept us, however much he may hate doing so.

And that is the only way that we will get what we want.

… (T)oward that end, we need to become very, very good at separating the wheat from the chaff.  And very, very good at saying, “No!” and sticking with it.

In order to do this, we must be willing to risk taking losses. Because, quite frankly, losses are always a possibility–and generally become even more likely whenever you go on defense, no matter how reasonable it may seem.  That’s why I’ve argued that we should not, and cannot support a bill with individual mandates and no public option.  This will be political poison, and the only question is “How fast will it act?”


Sunday Train: Leveraging Pittsburgh / Cleveland for Canton/Akron / UPDATED

Burning the Midnight Oil for Living Energy Independence

crossposted from ProgressiveBlue, also available in Orange

One of the stories that came out into the press this week was the pledge by the US Department of Transport to look into extending the designated HSR corridors to include Pittsburgh/Cleveland.

This would extend the Cleveland/Chicago route via northern Indiana and connect with the Triple-C route at Cleveland (both currently competing for HSR Stimulus funding). This is a 145 mile alignment that would offer a 2:10 Express trip between these two cities as a 110mph corridor, for a 67mph route speed – and faster, of course, if later upgraded to a 125mph Regional HSR corridor.

The focus today is not, however, High Speed Rail – it is conventional rail. The focus is on how to take this alignment that hit the top northeast corner of Akron’s Summit County and leverage it into effective rail service for the Canton-Akron area.

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