We’ll start the day with a story that illustrate the point that for Wingnuts, it’s not how you play the game that counts, it’s that you win at all costs:
Boy exorcist and noted volcano scholar Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal signed a bill into law on Friday that kills a current lawsuit against 97 oil and gas companies that was filed by the New Orleans regional levee board Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East. The new law could negatively affect state and government claims against BP over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Before everyone gets huffy and puffy let’s recall that politicians are hired to do their jobs by the corporations that represent them. They do not work for you and me. So while we might be outraged at Jindal’s actions, for BP (for instance) Jindal represents a good return on their relatively small investment.
After a tumultuous week of party infighting and leadership stumbles, congressional Republicans are focused on calming their divided ranks in the months ahead, mostly by touting proposals that have wide backing within the GOP and shelving any big-ticket legislation for the rest of the year.
So… Wingnuttia decided that their best strategy for 2014 is to hibernate for 8 months and do and say nothing? Is that because they know that their policies are amazingly unpopular, their candidates are loathed, or just sheer refusal to do their jobs.
On the bright side, this allows them to be defined by the opposition (I mean, other than the Teabaggers who will define them anyway), and by their fringe candidates. “Legitimate Rape” anyone?
Majorities of the middle class have voted against their own self interest since the Reagan Era began. We remain in a death spiral where our chest-tightening, middle-class anxiety feeds our bad choices — fueled by not-even-below-the-surface racial/gender/sexual orientation hatred and the Xristian Xrazie-fueled culture wars. Pete Wilson invented wedge-issue politics, and Karl Rove perfected it with the
stolen elections of Chimpy McStagger.
But, at the end of 2013, we might be on the edge of the promise of the Occupy movement: there seems to be a whiff of populism in the air, despite all the noise over distractions that Wingnuttia throws at us (See Christmas, War On), Twittering on the Twatter, Facebooking, and Reality TeeVee.
In a previous post, I mentioned that Clinton-era warmed over weak-tea economic advisor Larry Summers wrote about stagnation is the new normal. Given that ol’ Larry was the one who convinced Big Dawg to sign the law that scrapped Glass-Steagall, well, maybe he was bragging that his plan was working as designed?
As seems obvious to most, this War on the Middle Class will leave us with a few people on the top of a huge pile of ill-gotten gains, and everyone else in the bottom (the 99%), you know, where they belong according to the 1%ers. We are told that resistance is futile and we should graciously accept the few crumbs that the plutocrats deign to throw our way.
As I mentioned earlier, this demolishing of the middle class is not an immutable law of nature, it is the result of nearly 40 years of policy designed to do this. Let’s be clear: it is the policy of the United States government for the last 30+ years to serve only the interests of corporations and their owners.
However, policy can be changed, and we can change it.
Here’s a few ideas, in no particular order of things we must change, and can change:
- Raise taxes on the richest Americans, back to pre-Reagan 70 percent, and close the damn loopholes.
- Restore some sanity to inherited wealth. Do we really want to enable Paris Hilton’s lifestyle? Think of it as an intervention.
- Tax Wall Street transactions. Kick the Hedge Funders right in the balls.
- Enforce antitrust laws to stop anti-competitive mergers and acquisitions and break up such mega-merged industries as banking, airlines, gas, phone networks, broadcasting, etc. If the laws are not robust enough, then we need new ones.
- Change the tax code so that it removes incentives for bad-boy economic behavior (such as out-sourcing US jobs overseas, CEO bastards’ out-of-control compensation, and the gambling that lead to our current Second Great Depression). Maybe besides removing incentives, these changes should punish this sort of thing.
- Enact a new Glass-Steagall law. D’uh.
- Embark on a spending spree for research and education. K-through college needs to be funded such that anyone who wants to go on to higher ed can go on and not end up with crippling debt. We need to take first place in having an educated populace, like we once did.
- We need a Kennedy-style man-on-the-moon challenge for clean energy, and climate change. The so-called Carbon Tax would be a good way to fund it, too.
- Nerd Alert: We must fund NASA. We need some ’60s optimism again, and every dollar invested returns in multiples of benefits. It’s not just Tang and Teflon.
- Outlaw the influence-peddling in D.C. Some call it lobbying, but I’m a simple man and call it legalized bribery.
- Pass a constitutional amendment to roll back Citizens United. Heck, amend the constitution to explicitly state that corporations are not people. They are not even Soylent Green.
- Pass the union-enabling card check legislation, and make union-busting patently illegal.
- Cancel all the Free Trade deals. Just kill ‘em dead. Another fine finger-fuck from Bill Clinton, by the way. Ross Perot was right about that sucking sound. Er, that other sucking sound.
- We are not Great Britain. We must get out of the empire business. It didn’t end well for them, and it won’t end well for us.
- Our stimulating the economy only through a Reagan-like build-up of the military-industrial complex would be better spent on, oh, I don’t know, building and operating high-speed trains (I’m writing this draft on the train, duh). Let’s try some nation-building at home.
- Reform the Media. It’s not just a question of the long-dead Fairness Doctrine, but the media should be serving the people. The airwaves belong to us, so news outlets that demonstrably and intentionally misinform us (Lie To Us) should be penalized for their misdeeds. (Yes, I’m looking at you Fox. I’m also looking at CBS, NBC, and ABC.)
Our Betters are doing fine, thanks. Corporate profits and cash on hand is at a record high; while real hourly wages are lower than when Chimpy was “elected” in 2000.
Wingnuttia is emboldened to cut food stamps and unemployment assistance during a depression. Gallup tells us that 72 percent of respondents said big government is a bigger threat to the nation’s future than big business or big labor. [sic, and also ha-ha. Big Labor! Killer material, dude.]
Yeah, we are dumber, less engaged in the common good than we are in reality TeeVee. I think a combination of bloggers, muckrakers, and an engaged citizenry can help to lead to a new progressive era.
Call to Action
I read someplace that no rant should be without a call to action. Choose a topic above, any one of ‘em, and email your representatives in Congress and ask them what they are doing about that topic, what their position is. Be friendly but be persistent. When they blow you off (and they will, usually with a form letter), call them. The staffer will blow you off, too, but they will tally the number of calls that they get on any topic or piece of legislation.
A family friend who worked as a staffer told me that almost never do the officials read their constituents’ email, and said essentially that it is the lowest form of “talking” to the representative; lower than faxes. Phone calls come next (there was some metric that they use like each call counts for 100 people), but real letters, physical mail is the gold standard for being heard. The Representative sees a stack of letters and starts to sweat a little.
Let’s make ‘em sweat.
The GOP Uncivil War, Cont.
Musical accompaniment for this post.
This is somewhat new to me, and see if you can follow along:
- The GOP-led House passes a bill to fund the government through Dec. 15.
- The GOP-led House expects (demands?) GOP Senators to filibuster it.
- The GOP-led House gets to claim that they passed legislation and the GOP Senators get the blame for the legislation failing (the government shuts down) or the legislation passes and the GOP Senators gets the blame for Obamacare.
So the Wingnuttian master plan is to pass legislation and then hope that legislation fails in the Senate?
I think what we are witnessing are the seams of the straight jacket ripping apart. The House Republicans and the Senate Republicans are fighting for each other to get the blame for funding ObamaCare and/or shutting down the government.
And as a cherry on top (of the straight jacket? Metaphors are hard…), high-pitched Senator Ted Cruz is on the House’s side and the House hates him for being on their side.
The new and improved Third Amigo, Kelly Ayotte (R-NRA), is filling in Traitor Joe’s shoes very nicely. Instead of being in the pocket of AIPAC, she’s sitting comfortably in the pocket of Wayne LaPierre, having voted to kill off the very weakened background checks legislation and whatnot, even though 91% of her state was in favor of them.
Quid Meets Quo
LaPierre, to thank her for her efforts, put up this very deceptive ad when polls showed that Ayotte’s favorability rating almost instantly fell by more than 50%:
But it didn’t seem to do much good: her poll numbers remained depressed.
The Plot Thickens
So in steps the American Future Fund to lend a helping hand:
Except… those everyday, ordinary New Hampshire voters are Republican activists per Think Progress:
Jayne Millerick is billed in the ad as a “New Hampshire mom” and says “Those attack commercials are partisan and deliberately misleading.” But Millerick is actually a Republican strategist who served as Chairman of the New Hampshire Republican State Committee, a New Hampshire Republican Delegate in 2008, and was a member of New Hampshire Women for Mitt coalition in 2012. She is now a professional political consultant.
Judy Brown, another “New Hampshire mom” from the ad, served alongside Millerick in the Romney campaign and volunteered for Ayotte’s campaign in 2010. In 2013, she was named as the Nashua City Republican of the Year.
Barbara Dutile, a “Law Enforcement official,” is the wife of a Republican Sheriff in Grafton County who was Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) New Hampshire delegate in 2008, campaigned for Romney, and served as an alternate delegate. In 2012 she received an award from the Republican Party of New Hampshire.
The other individuals featured in the ad Richard Crate, Russ Larry, and Christopher Connelly, are all part of a group of law enforcement officials who have backed Ayotte and are featured on her Facebook page.
So what does it all mean? Well, like Traitor Joe who famously to be relevant, Kelly Ayotte wanted to be a power player in the Senate, but she poorly choose her issue to betray her constituents; they hate her, they really hate her. I can hardly wait to see who steps up next to prop her up.
…need a little more air:
Jeffrey Skilling, the convicted former Enron Corp. chief executive officer, may get out of prison in as little as four years if a judge approves a deal with prosecutors over objections by victims of one of the biggest corporate frauds in U.S. history.
Yes, former CEO of Enron and current Federal Prisoner Jeffrey Skilling decided to buy his freedom by giving “up all claims to $40 million in forfeited assets.” Which when you consider Enron’s initial bill for fraud was $40 BILLION makes it, oh… 1/10 of 1% of his ill-gotten gains.
That’ll learn him.
The Congress is, after voting to fund the return of the Air Traffic Controllers.
The whole Sequester thing is stupid; that the Dims are so undisciplined (or dumb?) that they could not hold the line on pressure for Airport delays from their business lobbyists? Really? They let this go through without using it for any leverage for funding, oh let’s say Head Start, or you know, anything that actually mattered.
This is one of those times reasonable people cannot blame The Kenyan Usurper so much as pity him. We need some real Democrats with real spines, some that are capable of actually not caving. I’m really shocked Pelosi didn’t get ahead of this.
Next up: Grandpa Walnuts now says it is time to save the military from the Sequester. Bet me.
UPDATE: I win.
Unless I am completely mistaken–and that is always a possibility–the point of the stupid sequester was to inflict pain equally on the constituencies of both parties, and thus force the feral children in Washington to behave as grownups and try to solve some of the many problems facing the country.
Which is exactly why the FAA furloughed air traffic controllers as part of their so-called haircut, and the flight delays ensued.
But instead of addressing the core issues of why there is a sequester, the Senate moved at lightening speed (and the thought of abundantly be-chinned Mitch McConnell moving fast is absolutely amusing), the Congress is following, and The Kenyan has vowed to sign authorization to return the furloughed Air Traffic Controllers back to work.
So… how’s that strategy working for us? Business class passengers can go back to frequent flier miles and closing deals, but at-risk children and homeless people don’t have lobbyists, so they can suck eggs. If they had eggs, that is.
The investigation is ongoing and the committee has not formally reprimanded the individual in charge, but it is being widely reported that Democratic State Representative John Fresolo is the one behind the scandal.
He allegedly sent ‘lascivious photos of his privates’ to a computer at the State House, and an aide complained to the Ethics Committee to start the investigation.
I’m assuming there was no need for a wide-angle lens, if you know what I mean and I think you do.