Not Necessarily Beautiful, but Mutated

Before Barack Obama was elected President of the United States, he was a world-traveled young man who went to Occidental College and made his first public policy speech at age 20, transferred to Columbia, graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, became a community organizer and grew that organization from a staff of one to a staff of 13, then attended Harvard and was chosen to edit the Harvard Law Review in his first year, graduated from Harvard, wrote a book, then was a lecturer on Constitutional law from 1992 to 1996, then was elected as a state senator in 1996, was reelected in 1998 and in 2002, losing in a run for the House of Representatives in 2000 only to be elected as a senator in 2004, riding a stellar speech at the 2004 Democratic Convention, when Obama came to the attention of many of us as a superstar.

And a large complaint against Obama during the 2008 election was that he didn’t have any experience.

Herman Cain graduated from Morehouse College with a Bachelor of Science in mathematics and got his graduate at Purdue, a Masters in computer science. He worked as a ballistics analyst for the Department of Navy. He became a successful analyst in the area of restaurants and foods, drastically improving the performance of 400 Burger King restaurants he managed for Pillsbury. Pillsbury took the unusual step in corporate America of rewarding success, and Cain was made CEO of their Godfather’s Pizza. He closed approximately 200 restaurants and eliminated several thousand jobs. Then, he and a group of investors bought Godfather’s Pizza from Pillsbury in a leveraged buyout. He was a member of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s board and also was CEO of the National Restaurant Association having previously been a board member and also served on various boards of directors of other food service corporations. Cain was also a voice against the Clinton health care plan, was a senior adviser to the 1996 Dole campaign, was a brief candidate for President in 2000, was a candidate for Senate in 2004 and did not win the primaries, and since 2005 has had an association with the Washington lobby group “Americans for Prosperity.”

We are hearing a lot about Cain’s reported and alleged proclivity toward forcing pretty young girls into uncomfortable situations, and I do not want to make light of those charges. These stories are making the recitations of Paula Jones make Bill Clinton seem like one suave character.

What we’re not hearing much of, though, is that Herman Cain’s career is that as a corporate bean counter made CEO and as a failed candidate for political office; that he has little to no experience for the office he seeks. There is not public service in his background unless you count being a candidate and a lobbyist.

I could give a crap that he’s been inappropriate with women. I am concerned that the man is not remotely qualified for the position.

Airplane! The Senator!

Via TRMS via The Smoking Gun comes the funniest thing we’ve heard of at least since Charlie Sheen said “Duh! Winning!” (I am giddy to note that TMS’ coverage of this includes a photo homage to North By Northwest.)

Let’s first remember who James Inhofe is. Senator from Oklahoma. Favors a Constitutional amendment banning marriage rights for everyone. Originator of the phrase “God, guns, and gays” as a phrase used in an electoral campaign. Has said that the United States should base its policy regarding Israel on the Bible. Outspoken advocate of the notion that climate change is a hoax. Has compared the EPA to the Gestapo. Trained as a pilot by the United States Navy, Inhofe is a commercial pilot.

Now that we recall who Inhofe is, we can kick back and enjoy the story. Check this out.

Newly released Federal Aviation Administration documents and audiotapes shed a scary new light on a bizarre incident late last year during which U.S. Senator James Inhofe landed his Cessna on a closed runway at a south Texas airport, scattering construction workers who ran for their lives as the politician’s plane hopscotched over them and six vehicles.

The FAA material, provided in response to a TSG Freedom of Information Act request, details how Inhofe, 76, chose to land on the main runway at the Cameron County Airport on October 21 despite being aware that it was closed and had a large ‘X’ on its threshold.

The politician, the FAA investigation determined, “still elected to land avoiding the men and the equipment on the runway.” In a bid to avoid “legal enforcement action,” Inhofe, who has a commercial pilot’s license, agreed to “complete a program of remedial training,” according to an FAA letter sent in January to Inhofe, a third-term Republican senator from Oklahoma. Inhofe is pictured at right.

Because it is so god-damned funny, I have stolen the audio directly from TSG and am posting it here. Please go “>see the full story at TSG here.

This is a recording of a phone call from a construction supervisor to the FAA regarding Inhofe’s little stunt:

And from a second call:

Now, let’s hear from FAA quality assurance specialist Marshall Reece:

Wow. What an asshole.

You’re Doing It Wrong

Rachel Maddow, ever brilliant though overtly redundant and also she repeats herself a lot and says the same thing over and over again as well also, really had an excellent piece last night about how “conservatives” seem to have an ultimate hard-on to bring back the Confederacy. If you ain’t watched it yet, g’head:

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She’s right. These fuckin’ guys do seem obsessed with reviving one of the most failed, seditious, cruel, and generally horrible historical moments in American history. Six Hundred Thousand Americans died during the Civil War, and many Republigoats are just frothing at the mouth to go right on back to it. When these assholes in this clip are at the microphone espousing secession, it’s all one can do not to yell out FINE. GO AHEAD. SECEDE, YOU ASSHOLE. WE DON’T NEED YOUR STUPID STATE ANYWAY. MAY YOUR SHIT COME TO LIFE AND KISS YOU. GHEY KHAK AFEN YAM*. FUCKERS.

But the Confederacy is not the only horrible idea that “conservatives” hold close to their hearts. They yearn for the days of the Articles of Confederation, which was the first system of government we had in these Untied States of America, which gave the states considerable autonomy, including the rights to print their very own munnies. This was such a disasterous system of government that we had a SECOND constitutional convention and created a SECOND Constitution and a SECOND form of government with a stronger central government that had the right to tax and to print munnies. But now, as Rachel points out in her piece cited above, “conservatives” are wet in the crotch to return to those days. The AOC were utterly ruinous financially and politically, but these assholes just can’t wait to return to it.

Embracing horrible ideas is apparently what “conservatives” are all about.

For instance. When the Great Depression took hold and Roosevelt started to address the issue by spending government munnies, and then things started to get better, the “conservatives” went hey, hold on there, Charlie, and Roosevelt caved to that political pressure and started efforts to tighten up the federal budget. And guess what happened? The economic recovery fell right on its ass. Then Japan saved us by bombing the living gravity out of Pearl Harbor, and the government was allowed to spend lots of munnies again. But budget tightening during a recovery touted as what a country needs? Sound familiar? It didn’t work then, and it ain’t gonna work now. But “conservatives” walk around with their dicks out regarding this notion.

How about the mythical animal known as the “free market?” How about deregulation? How about the notion that cutting tax rates leads to higher returns? How about The 1/2 Hour News Hour? Back-alley abortions? Privatizing Social Security? I’m telling you, these assholes never met a horrible idea they didn’t want to please orally.

And we keep listening to them like they actually have something to say.

Yes, Mr. “Conservative,” that’s very interesting. Yes, I agree. Tejas should absolutely seceed, and wimmens shouldn’t have no access to safe and legal abortions or anything else; keep those broads barefoot and pregnant and tell them to STFU. That’s right, Mr. “Conservative”, we don’t have a revenue problem; we have a spending problem. Nod, nod, nod. Why does America so consistently listen to a band of thugs who has been so consistently wrong about so much?

Hey. “Conservatives.” You know what was also a great idea? LAWN DARTS. Throw them straight up in the air and don’t move from that spot. K?

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

*Yiddish. It means “Go shit in a lake.”

No. We Have A Revenue Problem.

I heard John Boner say it in one of the sound bytes regarding the ongoing budget kerfuffle, and I am paraphrasing, but he said it almost exactly: We don’t have a revenue problem. We have a spending problem.

That doesn’t even make sense. But it certainly does serve the nation’s fat cats well, does it not?

We have given and preserved under the previous preznit and the current one some of the most ginormous tax cuts ever for the wealthy. Then we had an economic maelstrom the likes of which we have not seen in two generations. I can tell you from my own experience that I will be paying less in taxes in 2011 than I did last year, and, in fact, I got two months from last year I didn’t pony up a dime. How’s about you?

But we don’t have a revenue problem?

Of course we have a revenue problem. Unemployment still hovers around ten percent, and unemployed people only pay taxes if you allow them to collect the unemployment benefits they paid for, which, increasingly, we’re not so much willing to do. If you collect less in taxes, you will have a revenue problem. If my job stops paying me munny, guess what? I have a revenue problem. WE HAVE A REVENUE PROBLEM.

But. If you’re one of these assholes who is sopping up the juices from the Boosch tax cuts, it sure is convenient if the legislators you purchased can work to convince Americans that the problem is that we spend too much munny on poor people and public broadcasting and all those damned abortions, ain’t it? Lookit this shiny thing over here while my friend ducks out the window with that big bag of munny!

That’s all it is, people. We have a revenue problem. And until it gets addressed, prepare to see more and more of this beloved place to look like the tsunami hit here.

When You Point Fingers, Three Fingers Gouge Your Eyes Out and Curb Your Spine

There is a lot of finger pointing going on regarding the impending government shutdown. Democrats say it’s the Republigoats’ fault; Republigoats sez it’s the Democrats’ fault. I just want to point out one thing regarding all the phalanges waving around: There is, truly, only one political party which has actually said out loud that shutting down the federal government is a drool-inducing sexual fantasy of theirs: The Republigoats.

If there is a shutdown at midnight, you will collectively hear every last Republigoat in these here Untied States moan in ecstasy and then have to excuse themselves to use the washroom. Some might even have to ask you if you can lend them a change of pants. Because the direct policy goal of the Republigoat party is to beat the living shit out of the government until it can do little more than curl up in a ball in the corner, rock back and forth, and blow spit bubbles.

Although. As Dr. Rachel Maddow (no, not that kind of doctor) points out seven or eight times every night on her television program lately, Republigoats and “conservatives” talk a big game about “limited” government but who in actual fact won’t rest until there’s a telescreen in every home. In Michigan, the governor wants the power to dismantle your local municipal government based on his say-so that said government is not fiscally solvent. They want the power to monitor every pregnancy in the nation to ensure that every last one is carried through to birth. The examples are countless; these “small government” folks are actually interested in a big strong goose-stepping government that feeds us black goo bread and Victory gin.

But when it comes to government doing the things government ought to do, when it comes to facilitating unemployment benefits—a government function I personally was recently made very glad was there—when it comes to the government investing in women’s health, when it comes to building infrastructure, to being the spendor of last resort in tough economic times, when it comes to these reasonable functions of the commons, these Bizarro-Utopian Anarchists pop a boner at the notion of shutting down the aspects of government that are actually useful. One of their leading champions, consultant Grover G. Norquist, famously said that he’d like to get government so small he could drown it in a bathtub. But I’m sure he’d light candles and use a nice bubble bath and salts first.

Remember whose eternal wet dream is a government shutdown when you don’t get your tax refund until November.

A Toast For The Assholes

As you may have heard, there is this weird and awesome call on—in light of the shooting rampage of Jan. 8—for something called “civility.”

There are so many utterly bizarre aspects to this call. For starters, I find this word choice weird on its face.

“Civility” means you don’t fart in church. It means you don’t eat your co-worker’s lunch; it means you don’t stare at someone’s birthmark. Not communicating in such a way as to appear to be advocating political assassination is not “civility.”

It’s just common sense. It shouldn’t even bear mentioning. I mean, if you have to explain to your 12-year-old that it’s not nice to shit in his hand and throw it at people, it may be time to start looking into a tower to lock the kid in for the rest of his life.

So. I don’t think we’re actually talking about “civility” here. I think what we’re actually talking about is a big basket of “duh.”

The other thing that strikes me as odd about it is just the sheer absurdity of the logic at work. Somehow, “civility” wasn’t important before, not when a presidential candidate was being accused of “pal-ing around with terrorists,” or when the President is being likened to Hitler and to a voodoo witch doctor, or during the State of the Union speech or anything. No, it takes a horrific shooting rampage for our policy leaders to take up the cause of “civility?”

I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there’s something that seems somewhat…disproportionate.

But. Even if what we were actually discussing was “civility,” achieving such an aim would actually be impossible. Because in order to advance the policy positions advocated by the Republigoats, you pretty much have to be an asshole.

The over-arching philosophy that informs Republigoat politics, championed by the likes of Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman, is, in a nutshell, that a person is entitled to be an asshole, and there’s not a damned thing that society can do or say about it.

Consider the current debate, that over health care reform. The law as it stands provides breaks to small businesses, allows you kid to be on your policy until he’s 26, requires insurance companies to actually spend money on care, abates prescription costs for many seniors, disallows discrimination based on pre-existing conditions, bans annual and lifetime limits, bans rescsission, provides free preventive care, among a host of other reforms that benefit Americans, American businesses, and the American economy as a whole.

And one of the very first orders of business these assholes want to take up is to repeal it.

I’m sorry. But if your entire legislative aim is to take all of that good stuff away, you are an asshole. And there is no way in heck you’re going to be able to even begin to approach “civility.”

Remember, a Republigoat President VETOED HEALTH CARE FOR CHILDREN. Remember, Republigoats have repeatedly stood firm against extending unemployment while fighting like cornered rabid leopards for tax cuts for zillionaires. Remember, this guy

is a Republigoat.

He is also an asshole. That’s then Sen. Jim Bunning of Kentucky, a guy with an impressive baseball record but an abysmal record as a legislator. At the time, you might recall, Bunning was single-handedly blocking an extension of unemployment benefits. The reporter following him was merely seeking an explanation of such an asshole move. Bunning’s asshole position on the matter would later become business as usual for congressional Republigoats.

So long as one political party is slavishly committed to the notion that “free markets” can accomplish anything and that all Ameurka needs is to pull itself up by its own bootstraps*, do not expect there to be “civility” in American politics. The very policies pursued and advocated by the Republigoats render this hope to be impossible.

*a phrase originally coined to simply refer to an impossible task, by the way.

A Unique Breed

Ruth Marcus has an excellent column today, one that bears out the notion I often espouse, that the “conservative” movement here in America is a unique and rabid critter indeed.

Marcus takes a brief peek at the conservatives who now run Britain.

The difference between the British conservative leaders and the ones we’re stuck with in the United States is the difference between rational conservatism and magic-wand conservatism.

Again: Today’s Republigoat Party would sic a lynch mob on Barry Goldwater and would make Ronald Raygun sit in a corner wearing a funny hat. This party is no more “conservative” than I am a boston terrier. Which is why I was pleased to see Jon Stewart ask Eric Cantor last night whether or not there would be a place for Ronald Raygun in today’s Republigoat party. Cantor, of course, tap-danced around the question. But it is worth noting.

Party-loyal Republigoats are part of a leviathan effort to drag the entire country as far to the political right as is possible. The Prez that some people are calling a liberal commie muslim extremist is in many ways actually fairly conservative. For instance, “Obama-care” is actually the plan Republigoats put on the table to counter what the Clintons wanted to do for health care. What we ended up with was, literally, a Republigoat plan. And yet today, Republigoats bleat on about how radical a plan it is? Argh!

Elsewhere in the world, it seems, conservatism has not caught this strange mutation virus. Thom Hartmann regularly recounts how he sat down with some of the most conservative European leaders he could find, and they looked at him like he was crazy when he asked them if they rejected their country’s national health care system. To a person, every one of those conservative leaders said they LOVED the national health care system and wouldn’t think of doing without it. Nope, it’s just our guys who think that nickel-and-diming people to death is the way to go.

Hey. Republigoats. I’m sorry. But you’re being led by a bunch of maniacs. You haven’t noticed?

Jackass

…and yet you just hear this constant whining. Complaining. About a loss of our competetiveness, America in decline. We’ve never been more dominant. We’ve never had more natural advantages than we have today. We’ve sort of become a nation of whiners.

This was Phil Gramm, in his capacity of financial adviser to then presidential candidate John McWeirdsmile, July 10, 2008.

By August 2008, 9.2 percent of all U.S. mortgages outstanding were either delinquent or in foreclosure.

By October 2008, President Bush had signed the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, creating the Troubled Assets Relief Program.

This little trip back in time is by way of a reminder NOT TO LISTEN TO REPUBLIGOATS WHEN THEY ARE SPEAKING.

This has been a public announcement from Ketchup Is A Vegetable dot com. Eat Snacky Smores.

Makes Sense to Me

A few basics that make sense to me. I dunno.

  • Large businesses do not necessarily want to get larger. Often, their goal is actually to become smaller. Small businesses, however, are often eager to grow. And by “become smaller,” I mean “fire people,” and by “grow” I mean “hire people.” This is what people mean when they say that small businesses are where job growth occurs. So the legislators who blocked the small business legislation really screwed us.
  • The most efficient economic stimulus remedies are food stamps and unemployment because these burn holes in peoples’ pockets. People do not bank food stamps. They spend them. And when your local grocer’s cash flow is looking better, he might be more inclined to hire a couple of more baggers. So the legislators who blocked the unemployment extensions really screwed us.
  • If you give a CEO a choice between investing excess profit back into his business or giving his excess profit to Uncle Sam, he will prefer to invest it back into his business. But, if you give a CEO a choice between investing excess profit back into his business or shoving it into his own fat greasy pockets, he’s going to choose to do the latter every time. Once upon a time, this country incentivised the former. Today, we incentivise the latter, and the legislators who are suggesting that we extend the “Busch tax cuts” want to continue this and are therefore really screwing us.
  • If the Busch tax cuts were so magically good for our economy, then why are we in the shitter? These tax cuts are actually horrible for the economy, they leave the U.S. treasury empty, and, unlike investment in infrastructure, they do not actually create jobs, nor do they leave anything useful behind. The legislators who are suggesting that we extend the “Busch tax cuts” are really screwing us.