Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pick A Card, Any Card

So the good GOPers of Florida think Rick "My State Is On Fire And It's Obama's Fault" Perry is too crazy? And Willard Mitt "When I Say Don't Tax Rich People What I Mean Is Don't Tax Me" Romney is not crazy enough?

The 3 card monte game that is the Republican presidential primary system continues...

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you this week's Tea Party chosen son, Herman "9-9-9 Shall Be The Number Of The Beast" Cain!!! Who favors a 9% flat tax, 'cause rich folks love flat taxes. 'Cause they don't pay as much under a flat tax. And that means they have more money to create jobs! Ha Ha Ha.

(The most famous promoter of the flat tax idea is that flatulent load Steve Forbes, who in my humble opinion would look good roasting on a spit with an apple in his mouth. But I digress...)

And because flat taxes never raise as much money as that socialist scourge of free market capitalists everywhere, the progressive income tax, it also means that there are even less services for the people who aren't rich. Less money for libraries and schools and mass transit. Because those are things that rich people don't need. So away with them!! Less money for roads and bridges. And cops and firemen. Away with them, I say!!

Hermie Cain, pizza mogul, would also like to privatize Social Security, following in his words, "the Chilean model." Because when you think of progressive economic and social policy, Pinochet era Chile is the first place that comes to mind. Right?

Sadly for all concerned, the ugly truth is that after being in effect for more than 30 years, the "Chilean model" has been found somewhat wanting.

Oh, the fees charged to invest the people's money have made the Chilean bankers very rich indeed. (Which I'm guessing was the idea all along.) However, an estimated 50% of Chileans will still need some form of government assistance to avoid living their golden years in abject poverty. Or maybe they can just work as Wal Mart greeters until they drop?

Nice try Herm. Thanks but no thanks. Enjoy your week or two as Republican Tea Party frontrunner, bask in the simpering adoration of the Fox Talking Heads, and then it's off to the ash bin of history for you. Say hello to Augusto Pinochet for me, OK?


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Just when I was feeling better...

I was happy when Obama seemed to decide that it's time to fight. I was happy when DADT was finally (after far too long) ended. And then.....

We once again stake our claim to be among the most barbaric nations in the world. I am extremely anti-death penalty. Even in the case of Timothy McVeigh, who deserved it if anyone did, I did and do not feel that the state has the right to murder one of its citizens. That said, if you're going to kill someone, at least make sure you've got the right person. I would say there is less than a 20% chance that the state of Georgia had the right person when they executed Troy Davis tonight. All but two of the witnesses against him have recanted their testimony. Several jury members have stated that they would note have voted for the death penalty had they known of the evidence that is now available. There was no forensic evidence presented at the trial. One of the two witnesses that didn't recant is and has been a suspect in the murder and he allegedly confessed informally recently.

Our system says to be convicted of a crime you must be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. For the state to actually murder someone this must be at least the standard. The Davis execution does not reach that standard. The state of Georgia and, by extension, the United States of America should be ashamed tonight.

I know I am.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Class Warfare, or: Give 'Em Hell, Barry!

Apparently it's only class warfare if you complain about the injustice and try to change it...if you just surrender, shut-up, and take it like a man, it's business as usual, the good ol' American Way!

And so it goes...

Monday, September 19, 2011

Wil Cardon Is Just Another Republican Putz

And here I thought I'd have a nice, peaceful Monday. The Cardinals lost, which is always a good thing. (Nothing against the players or the coaches, but as long as the Bidwills own the team I wish a pox upon them.)

Most of the teams I care about are doing well, thank you very much. The weather is finally breaking, our son is safely back in school, Mrs. Franklin is in good humor, nothing aches too badly, and all is reasonably right with my world.

Of course, it couldn't last...Today's Arizona Republic brings another of its wretched My Turn pieces.

This one comes from someone or something called Wil Cardon. He is, naturally, a Republican businessman, a self described "jobs creator" from Mesa (of course), and he is running for the U.S. Senate. (insert your own joke here.)

Remember when, in the dewy naivete of our youth, we honestly believed that the Senate was full of qualified, highly intelligent, practical, ethical, men and women, who even when they might disagree about some policy issue at least always had what they perceived to be the best interests of the country in mind? Boy, were we dumb!

I will now try to dispense with Mr. Cardon's "thoughts" as quickly as possible. Let's see...uh, Business Good/Government Bad!!; Less Spending!!; Balance Budget Amendment!!; Fewer Regulations!!; and of course, our old friend, Lower Taxes!!

Where to begin? Mr. Cardon believes that "the dollars that leave Arizona for Washington never truly return." The truth , however, is that Arizona is another one of those Red state's that gets more back from the Federal government than it pays in. Which means those wicked Blue states, chock full of hateful unions and crawling with secular humanist liberals, have been helping us pay our way for years and years. Oops.

Here's another pearl of Wil's wisdom: "cutting taxes will take the handcuffs off businesses and spur economic growth." Apparently he has been in a coma for the last 10 years. This would not surprise me. Just a reminder: the Bush tax cuts did nothing to stimulate job growth. American corporations are sitting on trillions of dollars. The problem is one of demand. Note to Wil "I Honestly Believe That I Am Qualified To Be A U.S. Senator--No Seriously" Cardon: buy an economics book and have someone read it to you. Slowly. And make sure they explain the big words.

Like many free market capitalists, Cardon the Wise is sure that EPA regulations suffocate businesses. You see, businesses small and large need to be free to poison all the air and water and anything else they can, including their workers, because otherwise they just can't compete. Thinking like that will certainly guarantee him a seat at the grownup's table should the Koch brothers ever invite him to Thanksgiving.

(I guess the Koch's must have their own separate stash of air and water they can draw from while the rest of us are suffocating and sprouting tumors...right?)

And I guess the reason Wall Street turned into a lawless casino that wrecked the world's economy was because it was over-regulated, not under-regulated. Dear God, but I am sick of morons!

There is some more of the same, "live within our means", "government should be run like a business" bullshit from this empty headed Mesan, who declares that "the most successful businesses and families share a basic principle: they don't spend more than they earn." Apparently they never borrow either. Not for wars, not for natural disasters, not for college, not to repair the gaping hole in the roof and the cracks in the floor--not for any emergency. Certainly not to pay for Grandma's surgery.

I could go on about United State's Senatorial candidate Wil Cardon and his big ideas, but frankly, I'm tired of the pathetic, rhythmic, bleating of truly stupid people. However, it seems that I am in the minority in Arizona. And anyway, based on what I've seen, we really don't require any qualifications to hold office in this state...

So a featherweight putz like Wil Cardon, who has the intellectual capacity of a small wad of dryer lint probably has a good chance to be your next Senator.

I mean, why not?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Oh, I See

Having just watched the most inept half of allegedly professional football I think I have ever seen--how 'bout that high powered Cardinal offense!--I pause to turn my attention to today's news.

There are times in life when the veil is lifted from our eyes and we see things clearly at last. The Arizona Republic, which is the final word for all things concerning Phoenix, the 6th largest city in the US and a well known hot bed of conservatism, free market capitalism, personal freedom, rugged individualism, and just dad-burned God loving, Get the Damn Government Off My Back Americanism, has an interesting story in its Sunday edition.

The Republic tells us that the state is suffering from a glut of doctors who over prescribe narcotics. That's right. A whole bunch of guys and gals who were absent the day they went over the Hippocratic Oath at Med school have been handing out prescriptions for "oxy" this and "perco" that and all other manner of legally mind altering substances. Lots of prescriptions. Lots and lots. I guess the idea is that "a stoned public is a happy public." Or at least a docile public. (It probably sounded better in the original Latin.)

All this time I thought the problem with our state was that it was overrun with a bunch of ignorant, bigoted, hateful, racist, Hillbillies. Turns out I was wrong. The problem isn't ignorant, bigoted, hateful, racist, Hillbillies. It's ignorant, bigoted, hateful, racist, stoned Hillbillies.

I stand corrected.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Triumph Of Mediocrity

John Boehner is a perfect example of a fellow who has risen well above any position he might be capable of mastering. In a well ordered world and with a little luck he might be managing a Dairy Queen or selling used cars. To give him any say in serious matters that involve anything beyond his own immediate family is laughable. There simply isn't enough brain power there to get a complicated job done.

He is not alone in this deficiency. What wisdom can we possibly expect from the likes of Boehner, Eric Cantor, Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan and all of the other ethical and intellectual dwarfs? Do you really want to trust these people with your future and the future of our nation? Really? Well, what about Rick "Life Is A Ponzi Scheme" Perry or Willard Mitt "I Create Jobs By Firing People" Romney? Trust them to save us? Sarah Palin or Michele Bachmann? Now we've crossed over into the realm of Pythonesque satire: The Really Loony Party. Ditch the tricorner hats and get some of those beanies with the propellers on top.

The primary goal of the typical Republican politician seems to be to find the backers with the deepest pockets that they can comfortably fit into. This is not a sign of intelligence, or talent, or ethics, or anything of substance. It is certainly not a sign of patriotism.

It is a sign of nothing more than the crassest greed coupled with opportunism and a kind of animal instinct survival-ism. But sadly it is also a sign of the times.

"...It may be true that there's no accounting for taste. But ultimately there must be an accounting for no taste at all. In my lifetime I have witnessed the almost complete triumph of mediocrity. Look around. It's everywhere. Art, politics, literature, business. The lowest common denominator is king. This doesn't seem to bother anyone else, so why should it bother me so much? There used to be giants, you know. It's hard to believe that now, but it's true. Giants. Today I look around and I'm surrounded by an army of pipsqueaks. Pipsqueaks with attitude and a super human sense of entitlement. Hell of a thing."**

(**excerpted from the play Lost Languages, by permission of the author)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Death Wish, Too

It should have come as no surprise that at the Ronald Reagan Death Cult Whoopdeedo and Square Dance the other night, Rick "Social Security is a Ponzi Scheme" Perry was applauded for the number of executions he's overseen as governor.

Or the total lack of concern that at least one of those executed was innocent.

Or that a few days later one of Ron Paul's flock shouted out that people without health insurance should just "die".

You see, The Republican Tea Party is the party of hatred and death, and day by day its dark heart is exposed more and more.

Oh, they march around in their stupid little tricorner hats, misquoting the Founding Fathers, waving their tiny guns, and pretending to be patriots deeply concerned about the Constitution, but deep down they're just a bunch of hate filled, mostly racist, fools.

And dupes, as well. They may have cowered and paralyzed half of the Congress, but their noise and bluster only benefits the corporate status quo--the status quo that has left this nation in the sad state it is today.

They scream about welfare and entitlements and yet 44% of Tea Party members are on Medicare, or have a family member who is and 48% of Tea Party members are on Social Security, or have a family member who is. And yet these idiots applaud talk of "Ponzi" schemes and "vouchers."

They weep and moan about the rights of the unborn and then turn their backs on the living. And then they go to church on Sunday and congratulate themselves for being good Christians. Oh boy, the shear hypocrisy of it all takes my breath away!

Listen, the facts are that the only people who won't end up needing both Social Security and Medicare are either very rich or plan on dying young. Which one are you?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Making The Hard Choices

'Tis the season of this politician or that harping on the terrifically onerous burden we all face of "making the hard choices."

Hard choices?

Let's see, should we continue putting the squeeze on the poor and middle class or raise taxes on millionaires and billionaires? Hmmm.

How about Federal subsidies for ridiculously profitable oil companies? Maybe we should send that money to the green energy side of the ledger instead?

What makes more sense, cutting a few hundred billion from the Pentagon or eliminating Head Start and the hot lunch program for school kids? Redundant arms systems or Pell Grants?

Make it easier for corporations to ship jobs overseas or harder?

Leave a few hundred thousand troops in Iraq and Afghanistan or start to rebuild America's infrastructure?

Hand Social Security over to the thieves on Wall Street or simply raise the existing wage limits to insure its solvency forever?

Leave your healthcare at the mercy of the "for profit" insurance companies or replace what we have with a single payer, Medicare for all system?

See, for a sane and honest person, these aren't "hard" choices at all.

Ahh, "sane and honest", there's the rub...

Thursday, September 8, 2011

If it was good enough then, ......

Perhaps my favorite thing about watching President Obama's speech tonight was seeing John Boehner visibly cringe every single time that Obama pointed out that he is proposing in his jobs package things that Republicans have proposed in the past.

Down Memory Lane

Gee, it's funny what we remember and what we don't.

I'd forgotten how insufferably smug Peggy Noonan is...

I wonder who they'll roll out next. Is Ollie North still alive? Does the uniform still fit?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Great Debate--A Preview

And now, live from the Ronald Reagan Crypt in Seamy Valley:

"Good evening ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Republican presidential candidate debate. I'm your moderator--"

"It's all Obama's fault!"
"Kenyan Socialist!"
"Black man!"
"Cut taxes!"


"Yes, well, I'm sure there will be plenty of time for that late--"

"Cut taxes!"
"Cut taxes!"
"Cut more taxes!"
"Shouldn't even be taxes!"


"Alright. Let's begin by asking each of the candidates to--"

"Cut taxes."
"Cut taxes on the rich!"
"Cut taxes on the rich and the corporations!"
"That's what I meant! And let me just add that I love this country!"

(lengthy applause)

"Uh huh. Let's take a moment and talk about Global warming and its potential effect--"

"No such thing!"
"No such thing!"
"God's will!"
"Obama's fault!
"Cut taxes!"

(thunderous applause)

Rick Perry's America--A Preview

Hey Kids! You too can be a pragmatic, conservative, business friendly Republican governor--just like Rick Perry!!! It's as easy as 1-2-3!!!

1) cut the funding for Texas's volunteer fire departments by 75%.

(Extra credit if you can figure out a way to funnel this money to your corporate friends.)

2) pray that there aren't any fires.

3) after that doesn't work, and by the way HAS IT EVER WORKED?, and a good chunk of Texas is in flames, scream about the Federal government's slow response.

(Yes, this would be the same Federal government that you don't want interfering with Texas...)

Next week: how to execute innocent people for fun and profit!!!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Coffee Talk

I'm sure, like me, you spent Labor Day wondering what a very rich guy thought about the State of the American Union, 2011.

Well, lo and behold, our prayers have already been answered!

Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, where they put all the mystery and randomness of the universe into every cappuccino, (consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds and has no place in the $5.95 cup of coffee business), took some of the enormous pile of money he's made from the aforementioned $5.95 cups of coffee and bought a full page ad in the Sunday New York Times to discuss what's wrong, with this, the greatest nation on the face of the earth.

And, wonder of wonders, it's that ole devil "partisan politics." That's right, President Obama and the Democrats and the Republican "loyal" opposition need to set aside this partisan bickering and get down to making America great again.

Yes, he really said that. This only proves that you can make lots and lots of money and still be something of a naive goof.

It gives the impression that each side is equally guilty of "partisan politics", which is a load of crap. The phrase "false equivalency" comes to mind.

Every single proposal the President has made for the last 32 months--even those proposals that were initially Republican ideas--has been stonewalled, filibustered, distorted--whatever, by the Republicans and a few of their kissin' cousins, the Blue Dog Democrats.

That is not simple "partisanship". That is a concerted, scorched earth effort to destroy the President, and the country be damned.

The house is on fire. Side A wants to find ways to put it out. Side B wants to watch it burn, so they can blame Side A. Both sides have opinions and objectives, but that doesn't make them equivalent.

I cannot image a more conciliatory man than Barack Obama. To many of us it appears to be his greatest weakness. But even if it turns out to be his greatest strength, to imply that he has been equally partisan and therefore equally to blame is just plain stupid.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

They Must Think You're Stupid

Let's assume for the sake of argument that Simple W. got his way and Social Security was privatized in, say, 2005-2006. What do you suppose would have happened to all of that money in the great Wall Street meltdown of 2008?

Would Baby Jesus have come down and magically saved all the old folks' pensions?

Uh huh. That's exactly what would have happened! And they all lived happily ever after...

But those wicked socialist Democrats wouldn't let Simple W. and all the rest of the the Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight get their slimy hands on Social Security. So there was no need for divine intervention, and even though the economy crashed and burned, and millions of people suffered, there was at least some form of safety net for the most vulnerable of our citizens.

Time passes. People forget. 2008 was such a long time ago. Not to mention 1929. Who was this FDR guy again? Weren't things so much better when Reagan was President? Who's on Dancing With the Stars and what are the Kardashians up to?

There is much discontent across the land because President Obama hasn't been able to wave a magic wand and fix everything that his predecessor messed up. Also he's, well, black. And that doesn't sit well with the large number of Americans who are still living in the toxic past.

Lies become a kind of currency and an oxymoron-ic chant is heard across the land, "Keep your government hands off of my Medicare!" Wait. What?!

"Corporations are people! They have the right to unlimited free speech!" Huh?! "The Supreme Court says so!" Well, OK then.

Besides, didn't Lincoln say "of the corporations, by the corporations, for the corporations"? I'm pretty sure he did--I think I heard it on Fox News.

In the confusion, the billionaire owners of the country see a chance to finally destroy the pesky labor movement. "Those damn union workers have been stealing from us all these years! And all those annoying government regulations? They're stifling growth! Tell you what, let us do whatever we want to the air and water and soil, and maybe we'll give you a job. Deal?"

As the chaos continues, the really big brains of the Republican Party are back again with their "let's privatize Social Security" mantra. Because, to quote the great bank robber Willie Sutton, "that's where the money is." And we're talking about a lot of money. Imagine the broker commissions! Imagine the campaign contributions to Republican candidates! Tax deductible, of course.

And the beauty of it, at least from a satirist's point of view, is that there are people who listen to them and nod their empty heads and say "Yeah! What a great idea!"