Have a Koch and a Smile

Well, that was a nice little sabbatical.

Last time I wrote, President Obama was re-elected. I stopped writing. It’s not that I threw in the towel. It’s just that this medium didn’t seem to be as much fun as it used to be.

Lately, though, I’ve been looking lately for a reason to jump back in.

Enter Charles Koch.

On April 2, Koch wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal headlined “I’m Fighting to Restore a Free Society.” And it’s so. Much. Fun.

He begins: “I have devoted most of my life to understanding the principles that enable people to improve their lives. It is those principles—the principles of a free society—that have shaped my life, my family, our company and America itself.”

Actually, the principles that have “shaped” Koch’s life, his family, etc., are those of the John Birch society, of which his father was a founder.

This is an organization that promoted the bizarre notion that President Dwight D. Eisenhower, a five-star general, was a communist.

Sound familiar?

He continued: “Unfortunately, the fundamental concepts of dignity, respect, equality before the law and personal freedom are under attack by the nation’s own government.”

No, they’re not.

“A truly free society is based on a vision of respect for people and what they value. In a truly free society, any business that disrespects its customers will fail, and deserves to do so.”

Let’s see if General Motors sticks around following the revelation that it ignored signs of a faulty ignition switch in its cars that ended up killing 12 people.

I betcha it does just fine, though I would say that killing your customers is sort of on the par of, you know, disrespecting them.

“The central belief and fatal conceit of the current administration is that you are incapable of running your own life, but those in power are capable of running it for you. This is the essence of big government and collectivism.”

No, it isn’t.

“More than 200 years ago, Thomas Jefferson warned that this could happen. ‘The natural progress of things,’ Jefferson wrote, ‘is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.’ He knew that no government could possibly run citizens’ lives for the better.”

When I see a Founding Father quote used, you know, I just have to research it. This one is genuine, though, as often happens, it is taken wildly out of context.

Jefferson penned this in a letter to Col. Edward Carrington, a fellow Virginian and a delegate to the Continental Congress. As one can actually read, Jefferson’s concern at the time was that his colleagues would give in to a hysteria to crown George Washington as King of America, as many, including John Adams, wanted to do. Jefferson specifically addresses “the principle of necessary rotation, particularly to the Senate and Presidency: but most of all to the last.” Jefferson wasn’t warning anyone about “collectivism.”

He was arguing for Article II of the Constitution.

Koch then writes: “The more government tries to control, the greater the disaster, as shown by the current health-care debacle.”

Just because you keep saying it doesn’t mean it will ever be true. The stated purpose of health care reform was to provide coverage for more people. More people have been covered.


“Collectivists (those who stand for government control of the means of production and how people live their lives) promise heaven but deliver hell. For them, the promised end justifies the means.”

This is the portion of Koch’s column that chaps my ass most.

I shall say this slowly and with feeling: Nobody, at least nobody who anyone should take seriously, wants the government to make your blue jeans. Anyone who says they fear communism or socialism lurking behind every corner is spewing nonsense.

I personally have talked several people down from the “health care reform is socialism” ledge. That I have had to do so speaks to the concentrated power of propaganda like the op-ed column I am reviewing.

But they got talked down. Some of them even got covered. And, in doing so, I imagine they were disabused of the notion that what we’re talking about is “socialism” in any regard.

Adding 7 – 10 million more, kids, and you’ve poked a pretty big hole in that balloon.

That idea doesn’t float anymore, Mr. Koch.

Koch goes on for several paragraphs to defend Koch Industries’ corporate record, which I am not writing here to analyze. It is the dogmatic nonsense that sets me seething. And Koch, and his forum the Wall Street Journal, has certainly not failed to disappoint.

Thanks! I forgot how much fun that was!

Paul Ryan for VP

It is confirmed today that what Mitt Romney has in mind is to continue down the darkened road of converting our fine nation into a modern serfdom where everything is for sale and government’s only role is to protect the interests of the fat cats.

Paul Ryan is your typical Ayn Rand boot-licker. He is a true believer; I’m guessing one of those warped little frogs who picked up Atlas Shrugged at age 14, an age when most young men tend to be narcissistic little assholes anyway, and then they pick up this tome that tells them, hey, it’s okay to be a narcissistic little asshole, in fact, you should make it your life’s guiding principle, and that’s how you get Paul Ryan.

If these boys get in, this country’s going to get fun real fast. They will continue, nay, they will intensify the Bush administration’s efforts and policies, an effort that was so helpful that we ended up having to loot the national treasury just to save our necks. How quickly we forget that Bush indeed believed in economic stimulus: It was called TARP.

Paul Ryan. Interesting. If you had any doubt about where President R-Money would take us, well, doubt no longer. So long reproductive rights, so long Medicare, so long government stimulus and any current policy that has actually slowed our grand march to the cliff’s edge.


Props to one of my many former adopted home states for defending collective bargaining rights and for telling Gov. Kasich to suck it. The subhead, of course, is that Ohio approved a measure that rejects health insurance mandates, the central plank to President Obama’s health care reform.

Frankly, good on Ohio for this vote as well.

Mandated coverage is a load of happy horseshit, and this is a good reminder. All it will do is to drive millions of customers to the still-corporate, still thieving, and still wholly unaccountable insurance scheme. We need single payer. We need to blow up the overpaid warthogs who do nothing but take a dollar out of your pocket and hand it to the healers, and then who dictate what you’re entitled to and what you ain’t. Mandated coverage is horseshit, and candidate Obama knew this whereas President Obama plumb forgot.

But Ohio went and remembered. Awwwwww.

Who Are The People In Your Neighborhood?

I waved at the mailman the other day.

It was a rather involuntary action. I saw the oddly shaped truck ambling down the road. I felt an impulse to offer a friendly gesture, to wish the person well, even though I have never met him and would not know him if he were standing with me on line at the Lady Gaga concert. I waved because it’s rather ingrained in me to feel kindly toward the mailman.

When we are young, at least when I was young, muchh of the media we were exposed to is meant to engender respect and honor for a few civil professions. For some reason, at the top of that list of professions? Yeah, you got it. The mailman. Don’t believe me? Who’s the first person Bob and the Muppet sing about here (besides the laundry man and Santa)?

There is something intrinsically wholesome about the United States Postal Service. It is specifically provided for in the Constitution. It is, in fact, older than the country itself and is the oldest postal system of its kind in the world. And it is about to get frittered away.

In the midst of this insane drive for “austerity” among phony cries from Republigoats regarding the nation’s debt, Congress proposes draconian cuts to this service. They want to close post offices, to cut Saturday delivery, to lay off carriers.

These are the logical results of a long-time effort to run the USPS “more like a business” rather than more like a vital piece of national infrastructure. It would be easy to blame the service’s shortfalls on the advent of e-mail and social media. But an absurd, onerous requirement that the post office pre-fund future retirees’ health benefits until 2017 is the real boot on its neck. USPS must pay out of its operating budget between $5.3 to $5.8 billion annually to pre-fund retirees’ pension funds.

This cynical requirement is certainly not necessary. It is clearly directed at hobbling the USPS, part of a longtime war on government infrastructure and, in particular, on unions.

That is how weird the politics of these Untied States of America have gotten. People are cheering the probably demise of the post office. You can reliably and securely transport a piece of paper anywhere in the country for fourty-four cents in two days or less fewer, yet there’s a contingent in this country who thinks that sucks because there’s not some fat white guy somewhere siphoning off a million dollars an hour in stock options. And yet, getups like UPS and FedEx would be nowhere without the United States Postal Service. Unlike those for-profit enterprises, the USPS has a mandate to deliver to anywhere in these Untied States. That means you, Chanute, Kansas.

In fact. The United States Post Office gets the handoff from the for-profit bozos for 25 percent of their business. Which makes me wonder why in hell the CEOs of those two companies aren’t yelling rather loudly about this current state of affairs.

Let the brainwashing commence, though, I guess. Yes, you’re right, nothing is worth done if somebody isn’t sponging up a fat profit from it; and the free market can solve any problem and has your best interest at heart. Why would I want my mail delivered by an government agency where I can call my congressman and complain if my Post Office doesn’t do right by me when I can have completely unaccountable CEOs run everything instead? The post office is socialism. The post office is socialism. Infrastructure is stupid and who cares.

This country has lost its damned mind.

Amend This.

The Equal Rights Amendment was adopted by the House on October 12, 1971. It was adopted by the Senate on March 22, 1972. It was presented to the states with a seven-year deadline for ratification. The President of the United States at the time, one Richard M. Nixon, endorsed its approval. Required number of states for ratification: 38.

By 1978, 35 states had ratified the Equal Rights Amendment. Congress extended the deadline by 39 months.

By Oct. 4, 1982, despite hunger strikes and court challenges, the Supreme Court ruled that the ERA had failed.

Here is what the Equal Rights Amendment says.

Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.

That’s all it says. And yet, it took a decade to fail spectacularly.

I have just heard a Republigoat politician of some sort say that he believes they can get a balanced budget amendment passed this year.

When they say things like this, they are either lying to you, or they are stupid. I am glad that a balanced budget amendment in actuality would be nearly impossible to pass, because it is an incredibly stupid, horrible idea. The United States was founded in debt; one of the first things the new government did was to assume the war debts of the states so that it could establish credit. This action set this country on the path to be one of the most powerful financial forces in the world.

Talk of such an amendment is only meant to tickle the naughty bits of Fox “News” consumers. It is not serious discussion. It is simply foolish idiocy and a waste of lung capacity.

Stop buying this stupid crap.


There is no economy in Joplin, Missouri. Not today.

Oh, come on, Brady. You’re just being your usual commie bastard self. Of course there’s an economy in Joplin. You know, supply, demand, that kind of thing?

No, bubba. When demand is this friggin’ off the charts, there isn’t any supply worth a damn that would exact a toll for it, or that could, for that matter.

Did I mention we’ve got family in Joplin? This was their house. From what I hear, the first thing they did after this went down was to run out to the nearest ATM to make sure they had enough cash to participate in this robust economy. Because you see, to my family, the most important thing is to participate in the dynamic, magical free market that would automatically meet their needs and the needs of those around them, you see.

Geez. That’s so implausible it doesn’t even successfully reflect the sarcasm it’s meant to.

There is no economy here. Supply and demand are so far apart in Joplin that there is no negotiating. Demand is off the friggin’ charts. And supply is all like, ewwww, it’s so muddy and icky, perhaps we’ll just stay here in this nice Marriott in Kansas City.

Certainly, the disaster capitalists will show up eventually, and there will be money back in Joplin. But Nelson Hidalgo doesn’t show up in Treme until the second season, not until after the fat guy jumps off of the boat. For now, there is no supply in Joplin. Only demand. That’s not an economy.

That’s what government is for. Government is supposed to do the shit work in times and places when and where even the most soul-less, opportunistic scumbags won’t go rushing in, when the incentive to work is so lousy that the only funding available to help is the munny that you and I put into the center of the table and agreed, look, if anything happens…

That’s how it works. That’s how it’s always worked. That’s how America works. It’s why Americans found the images they saw on television during the Katrina aftermath so horrifying; because most Americans, even the most tea-baggiest tea-baggers of all of the tea-baggy tea-baggers, most Americans assume that, in America, if you’re ever struck by a real-live disaster, in America, someone will help you. No matter whom you tend to blame for Katrina, that this social contract was left unhonored in this great nation was a devestating illumination for many Americans and was certainly the beginning for a lot of people to start pointing at the naked guy in the throne.

But Republigoats are what they are and they believe what they believe. I mean, it’s not their fault. They’ve taken the suppository. And so you have a guy like Eric Cantor, who’s sitting there nickel-and-diming while my cousins there are trying to track down any remnants of their family photo albums in the rubble.

These people do not govern well. They do not understand government. They do not believe in government. They believe we should all be one giant happy corporation and God Bless America Inc. But there is no economy in Joplin Missouri, and GBA Inc. wouldn’t spare those people two sticks to rub together.

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.

We Tried That Already. It Didn’t Work.

Every time I hear one of these TP wackadoodles talk about how we need to lessen the reach of the federal government and how the federal government is only supposed to provide an army or whatnot, I can’t help but wonder what the hell history classes they had growing up. Because one of the first lessons I think you ever learn once you start studying history is that, guess what, buttmunch, this notion of a strictly limited federal government and then the states individually get to decide everything else? WE TRIED THAT ALREADY. IT DIDN’T WORK.

That was the model created by the First Continental Congress. It was called the “Articles of Confederation,” and it went into effect in 1781. This form of government made it impossible to negotiate treaties or to create money that was worth anything. We weren’t able to protect our markets (not that such a thing means a shit anymore, of course), and land values went into the toidey because there was no national government to defend the land. This form of government lasted FIVE YEARS, and then they came to their senses and realized that a strong central government was NECESSARY. The Annapolis Convention convened and led right up to sunny Philadelphia. And that’s how a bill becomes a law.

We tried a flimsy central government. It didn’t work. And that’s not my liberal supposition. It’s a historical fact. You people are mentally ill. Government is good. STFU. Eat Snacky Smores.

Shaking Hands With The Unemployed

Nobody has summed up the idiocy of the Senate’s holdup of the unemployment extension better than Rachel Maddow. Nobody.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

What she points out so adroitly here is that unemployment benefits aren’t just good for the jobless. It’s good for the economy as a whole. I don’t know what the exact stats are exactly, but I’ve heard it quotated frequently, that for every buck that goes out in unemployment benefits in times like these, $1.35 is generated in the American economy. That’s because these are dollars that are turned over so quickly and so efficiently that it’s that beneficial to the economy as a whole. So these Republigoats, they’re not just being scrooges here to the jobless, and they’re not just denying the lazy and shiftless a free lunch, neither. No, friends, they’re TRYING EVERYTHING THEY CAN TO STOP THE ECONOMIC RECOVERY IN ITS TRACKS.

To make matters worse, they’re also taking a big fat dump all over the memory of one Thurgood Marshall. WTF, guys? Thurgood Marshall? Really? REALLY? Why not just drag Bambi into the hearing room and field dress him alive? Huh?

And hey, remember how President Obama was going to come over to your house and take all your guns away from you? Well, guess what? John Roberts (who, I have to remind you, looks exactly like Otto from “Airplane!”) and his bunch have now made it so you can have a gun or a mace or whatever you want everywhere you go! Yay guns! It just strikes me as so friggin’ odd that conservatives are so all about guns even though it was a kook with a gun who very nearly took out their vaunted superhero Ronald Warson Raygun. But, what the hell. Let’s just everybody get ourselves all armed up. James Brady be damned.

This country. Is losing. Its mind.