How’s that Rebranding Working For Ya, Reince (cont.)

Here we go again:

American Enterprise Institute scholar Charles Murray can be heard explaining to an audience at the University of Texas that his views on women had not changed since a 2005 paper, in which he asserted that one or “maybe” two women had played significant roles in the field of philosophy.

When a woman at the event on Tuesday asked Murray if he still believed what he wrote, Murray quipped, “Who do you have in mind?”

Murray argued that in “certain traditions” like literature, women had been at the “peak of accomplishment.” But he said that he could only recall one important female philosopher, “and she was not a significant thinker in the estimation of historians of philosophy.”

“So, yeah, I still stick with that,” he insisted. “Until somebody gives me evidence to the contrary, I’ll stick with that statement.”

Mr. Murray is an advisor to Texastan Gubinor wannabe Greg Abbott who was hand-picked by theocrat secessionist Rick ‘count to 3′ Perry to replace himself while he runs for preznint.

A Populist Rant

A cure for whatever ailes me
Turdblossom expresses himself

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.

Larry Summers

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.

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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.
  • paris-hiltonRestore 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.
  • hoovervillesChange 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.
  • star-trek-corsetNerd 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.
  • Clinton 2008Cancel 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 Morning Quote

“If turnout is in the 30s, the low 30s, we’re gonna win. If it gets higher up in Fairfax [in Democratic-leaning Northern Virginia], say like 40, it’s likely we won’t. I don’t think it’s going to hit 40 anywhere. I’m looking at 32.”

–Pat Mullins, Virginia Republican Party Chairman, explains how voter suppression a low turnout will help Ken (At Your Cervix) Cuccinelli have a chance in hell of winning.

Sports!

economy poor tax

If you want to know why I no longer watch sports or am interested in it, look no farther than this Atlantic article.

After listing example after example of billionaire team owners getting public money for their stadiums (and living near the city of Santa Clara, who just got reamed by the 49ers for about $1Billion only drives it home more), there is this single, little factoid that just makes me feel outrage and nausea:

That’s right—extremely profitable and one of the most subsidized organizations in American history, the NFL also enjoys tax-exempt status. On paper, it is the Nonprofit Football League.

Football—and Churches—should be taxed.

(The Atlantic)

The Evening Quote

“One of these days someone’s going to trigger one of these homemade bombs with an ObamaPhone. Can we at least cut the welfare off now?”

–Dennis Miller

Because welfare=terrorists.

Gee, you know Dennis, someday some terrorist is going to drive on a road paid for by taxpayer dollars, too, so we should stop building them, too?

And before I get off my soapbox, can we quit calling the Lifeline telephone program Obamaphones? They were created before The Kenyan took office and it is not funded by taxpayer money. It is designed to allow the poor to connect to jobs, family, and 911 services. I don’t think any of those things are bad.

Fear and Loathing in Tampax – Chapter Two

In the morning, the new first lady of the GOP holds the traditional tea party
teaparty

Some people say Ralph Reed, Jack Abramoff’s glabrous grifting pool boy and Paul Ryan were “separated at birth”
siami1
There brains sure are the same

So as not to feel left out, the Sainted one visits the Log Cabin Mousketeers and the Log Hogs who hang with them
log cabin mouseketeers

To honor the keynote speaker – the boys of the Senate decided to hold “Chris Christie Night” at the Hotel
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Now that he has secured the nomination, the badge passes to Mittens
BADGE

After a hard day at work, some of the boys from the House hit the clubs
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The Evening Quote

“People now don’t die from prostate cancer, breast cancer and some of the other things.”

–Congressional Candidate NY-27 Chris Collins (R – of course)

Tell that to the 30,000 or so men who die from prostate cancer, and the 40,000 or so women who die from breast cancer each year. Assrocket.