Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tax Cuts Upon Tax Cuts

David Atkins has an article over at digby’s place that praises the Democratic plan which would not only extend the payroll tax cut but which would increase it from 2% to 3.1% and would extend it to employers as well. It would be “paid for” by taxing incomes over $1 million at 3.25% and would therefore be “revenue neutral.”

We are so in love with this “tax the rich” that we don’t even want to pay for our own retirement. We want “the rich” to put up the money that we will live on after we become too old to work for a living.

In any case, when you are deep in debt and there are no jobs available, taking money out of your left pocket and putting into your right pocket does nothing to help you. Lowering taxes on one group while raising taxes on another is not policy, it is pandering to get votes, because it doesn’t alter the economics of government one iota.

President Obama campaigned on criticism of Republicans for their policy of tax cuts, and the first major legislation he pressed for once in office was a “stimulus” which consisted in large part of tax cuts. Tax cuts as economic stimulus has been embraced by Republicans for decades and rejected by Democrats, economists, and most people of sanity, but Obama touted the tax cuts in the "stimulus” as some sort of major victory.

Since then he has continued to criticize Bush for cutting taxes, while at the same time extending the Bush tax cuts of which he is so critical and adding so many tax cuts of his own that I have lost count of them. In one speech he even bragged that he had made more tax cuts for more people than any president in history, and in that same speech referred to the Republicans “driving the car into the ditch” with tax cuts and spending.

Now, after more than a full year of bleating about “fiscal restraint” and “living within our means,” he wants to add yet more tax cuts. Why? Because it is reelection campaign time, and tax cuts will get him votes. It will get him votes because Americans don’t want good governance, they want tax cuts and they want to punish the rich.

Is this a great country, or what? American exceptionalism.

Daily Question

Cat on rail (click on image for broader view of the stairwell environment)

Question: Can a small calico cat fall 11' 3" down a stair well and land on the bottom step without being injured?

Answer: Apparently she can, although it wreaks a certain amount of havoc on the nerves of the humans who cohabit with her.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


The Chargers will play their next game on Monday night in Jacksonville against the Jaguars, a team which just fired its head coach. I wonder if that will have Norv Turner feeling a little bit wierded out after losing six games in a row. He claims that he doesn't think about things like that.

Nick Canepa wrote a front page commentary in the Union-Tribune today to the effect that Norv will be fired at the end of the season, but that A.J. Smith is an excellent GM who should be retained. There were 173 comments to the online version and I scanned to be sure; every one of the comments said that Canepa was either stupid or insane. My opinion is that he is both.

And in addition: I don't believe that opinion pieces should published be on the front page of a newspaper, and for damn sure stupid opinions uttered by a jackass should not be.

An Unworthy Cause

All of this froth about the 99% and the 1% is getting really old. If your income is $100k per year, which group are you in? Right, not only are you are one of the 99%, you are not even near the top of the 99%. Are you suffering? Do you live in squalor, or on the street? Do you wonder where your next meal is coming from? No, of course not.

Then why are these idiots “occupying” Wall Street to tell the 1% how miserable you are?

It’s a metaphor, you say. Well, if so, it’s a bad one. I am unmoved by the sad plight of people who live in homes of 3000 square feet. If you want to calculate what percentage of people are homeless and stage a propest for that number I am with you. Hell, just use the number of people in families living below the poverty line and I will listen to you.

Protest in behalf of people in need and I will pay attention. Protest against people who you believe have too much and I consider you to be greedy, selfish and ignorant. If you are religious envy is a sin, if not it is merely ugly and unbecoming.

If, on the other hand, economic inequality is your issue and you want to go to Washington and protest against legislators who pass laws which result in unequal economic opportunity, laws which result in destroying the level field upon which the game of finance is played, then I am with you all the way.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Space Is Not Speech

Liberals everywhere are denouncing the eviction of Occupy Wall Street from public spaces as “an infringement of free speech.” I am not going to argue the methods being used to accomplish those evictions, they may very well be unjustified and some of them certainly appear to be, but the fact of those evictions is a somewhat different matter.

What is government supposed to do when one group’s free speech prevents another group’s right to that same freedom? Occupy Wall Street has claimed title, for instance, to a public square in San Diego that is routinely used by non-profit organizations for various purposes, mostly to raise money for their charitable causes. They have been unable to do so several times in the past month, despite obtaining the proper permits from the city, because Occupy Wall Street has refused to leave the square.

So the government cannot deny free speech to Occupy Wall Street, but Occupy Wall Street can deny free speech to anyone else who wishes to use that public space?

It is my belief that one is entitled to one's rights only to the extent that the exercise of those rights does not interfere with the ability of other citizens to exercise their rights in equal manner. The role of government and of law enforcement is to assure that all citizens are able to avail themselves of their right to free speech, not just those who make the most noise, nor just those who have any particular message.

Occupy Wall Street is entitled to say whatever they want to say, but the ability to occupy any particular piece of public property is not part of “free speech” and no person or group has the right to monopolize public space.

Vanishing Linebackers

They are called "the second line of defense." Their purpose is to be there when a running back gets past the defensive line, thus "line" and "backers." So Willis McGahee pops through the line of scrimmage and... Hello? The linebackers seem to be off on a sightseeing trip somewhere. Perhaps that's why management frowns on football players dating the cheerleaders. "Hey, you. Put the girl down and get back to work."

Norv Turner was at the podium after the game taking questions. Notice I did not say "answering" questions. Asked why he did not try to score at the end of the game, when he had the ball, 1:33 left and two time outs, he babbled something about how "we had had trouble getting it in the end zone" (which seemed to me to be all the more reason to keep trying), and about not wanting to get Philip Rivers hit (which seemed odd), and balls popping up. In other words he didn't try to score because he didn't want his team to make a mistake. How wierd is that?

But it got even more wierd. He was asked why the running back who was averaging six yards per carry was on the sideline when the Chargers were approaching field goal range in overtime and he stammered something about not knowing why Matthews came off and assuming he would be off for only one play, and that not only did he not know why Matthews had not returned to action, he did not even know that he had not done so. Norv is calling the plays, and he does not know which running back is on the field.

I have not been among those calling for Norv Turner to be fired, but that little tidbit has sold me. Norv Turner should go.

And one question I’d like to know, which Norv was not asked. Was Nick Novak aware that he had been shown taking a piss on the sideline on national television when he missed the winning field goal?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Well, That's Okay Then

Pakistan is in a major uproar over an American a NATO attack on two military bases inside Pakistani territory which killed at least 24 of its people. Now our loyal, honest and trustworthy allies, the Afghan government is saying that the Pakistanis fired first, so that's okay then. The Pakistanis are the bad guys for firing on us when we send heavily armed military helicopters across their borders, and they should expect to lose lives when they do something that stupid. Next we will hear that they somehow lured us across the border. Taunting, maybe.

Update, still Sunday morning: Oh, my bad. It turns out that it was at night and that American and NATO forces received fire from across the border while they were still in Afghanistan, and they then called in the air strike. They do not explain why, when receiving fire from Pakistani territory, they bombed the shit out of Pakistani forces instead of simply departing.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Newsflash, OWS

Occupy Wall Street has a new message for getting back at "the rich" and is now suggesting that we all refuse to do our holiday shopping at big stores. Limit our shopping, they are telling us, to small neighborhood-owned stores.

News flash, people. When big stores experience a revenue decline due to dropping sales they do not fire the Board of Directors or major stockholders. They fire the $10/hr clerks and the $7/hr stock boys. Execution of your brilliant thinking would not hurt "the rich" so much as it would add to the number of jobless persons.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Good Turkey, Awesome Football

LSU sleepwalked through the first quarter and had me muttering dire threats of mayhem and destruction on anyone who came within reach of me, but then they came out of their slumber and kicked ass. When Mathieu returned the punt to tie the score the cat fled the living room and I did not see her again until sometime in the fourth quarter. Molly does not care much for football. Actually, she's pretty much indifferent to football, she just doesn't like... Well, you can imagine what she doesn't like.

And I'm still somewhat less than dazzled by LSU's tackling abilities.

We still have the Iron Bowl upcoming. When I lived in Atlanta my best friend was a third generation Auburn graduate, and I would go to his house to watch the Iron Bowl every year. His father would be there along with his sons (guess where they were planning to go to college), and I would cheer for Alabama just to keep things rowdy. Fun times.

The halal turkey was awesome, and I don't feel much like facing Mecca right now, so I think we're okay. The store sells these disposable roasting pans to avoid having to cleanup, but I don't know why anyone would buy them when cleaning a roasting pan is such a fun and rewarding endeavor.
I know, I'm probably not a well person.

Hmmm, Government Worked

It's a bit unclear to me what role the Antitrust Division of Justice played as opposed to the F.C.C. in this, but AT&T has bitten the bullet and will not go through with the T-Mobile merger. This is a case of the government protecting the consumer whichever agency played the major role, and it's refreshing that Antitrust even showed up at all, so let's all acknowledge that we do have a case to make here for keeping Democrats in play.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Why Is This Surprising?

Things that make you go, "Hmmmmmm."  Scientists have done some experimental calculating and are now concluding that the outer portion of the Earth's core is not a mixture of iron and oxygen as they had postulated, but probably contains quite a lot of silicon. They are surprised, but I'm wondering why, exactly. Haven't they ever studied the composition of lava?

Happy Halal Thanksgiving

I am delighted to say that the turkey sitting in my refrigerator, waiting to be cooked tomorrow for reasons that have only partly to do with the most important football game of the weekend, is a Butterball. I'm sure that will thoroughly piss off Pam Geller, and that actually adds to my pleasure. I am going to enjoy every moment of cooking that bird.

My nephew learned to speak Pashtun while he was serving in Afghanistan.
I may call him and get him to teach me a few phrases to mutter over the bird while I am preparing and cooking it.

The "most important" football game? Oh, you silly, poor benighted people. Arkansas at LSU, of course. Geaux Tigers.

Anyway, Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Logical, We Are Not

I actually am tired of criticizing Obama, but he just keeps stepping in dog poop, raising his foot and announcing that it smells like apple pie.

After cutting taxes so many times that I have lost count, he is demanding that Congress extend his latest tax cut, at the same time announcing that he will veto any bill that attempts to circumvent a $1.2 trillion deficit reduction “trigger” that consists entirely of spending cuts. This after a full year of insisting that deficit reduction must be balanced between spending cuts and increases in revenue, otherwise known as tax increases, and rejecting “deals” which did not include sufficient revenue increases.

He is simultaneously saying that his number one priority is to restore the economy, notwithstanding that the $600 billion reduction in military will reduce the size of the military, and that all of those service members who will be downsized will no longer be “military personnel” but will then be “unemployed persons.” In addition, of course, all of the people servicing the former military personnel will also be “unemployed persons,” as will all of the people making the supplies used by the downsized military.

Yes, I do think we need to cut defense spending, and by a good bit more than $60 billion per year, but in doing so we need to consider how to deal with the unemployment that it will cause. Obama is not discussing that.

Nor is he discussing how he is going to reduce the military and at the same time engage in a “buildup of forces” in both the Middle East and the Pacific. He leaves unexplained, as well, why such any such buildup is beneficial, and Michael Brenner suggests that it is not.

Language is the first victim of muddled thinking. So it is with the Obama administration’s groping for shibboleths to lend gravitas to its floundering foreign policy. First there was “leading from behind;’ then fight, talk, build in Afghanistan. Now Hillary Clinton is ‘pivoting’ toward China and the Pacific.

Probably "denying them space in which to plan their attacks."

Nor does he explain why he is saying he will veto any bill which does not cut defense by $600 billion while his Secretary of Defense is saying that if we cut defense spending we will leave ourselves so drastically weakened that we will encourage our enemies to attack us. Panetta, notably, does not name the enemies which he claims will be so emboldened by the gutting of our military that will result from a, roughly, 10% reduction in spending.

And everyone is bleating about how illogical the Republicans are.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tax Hikes, Forsooth

Some time ago the liberal media was excoriating Republicans for what they referred to as “sleazy rhetoric” in referring to the expiration of tax cuts as “tax hikes.” Republicans were, at the time, accusing Democrats of “raising taxes” because they were attempting to let the “Bush tax cuts” expire, and the liberal media regarded that as some kind of dastardly accusation, because letting tax cuts expire is not the same thing as raising taxes.

In fact, Chris Matthews and others claimed, Republicans made the Bush tax cuts expire on purpose, specifically so that they could later accuse the Democrats of raising taxes when the Democrats tried to let them expire. You follow that? The claim is actually rather astonishing, in that it would require that the Republicans knew that the Democrats would be in power when the Bush tax cuts expired, which is taking the “reading of political tea leaves” to a rather ridiculous extreme.

Then Obama comes along and gets a “payroll tax cut” passed and, guess what; it has an expiration date. How many people are surprised, now, when President Obama accuses the Republicans of raising taxes when the Republicans want to let the “Obama payroll tax cut” expire?

"This payroll tax is set to expire at the end of next month. ... If we allow that to happen, if Congress refuses to act, then middle-class families are going to get hit with a tax increase at the worst possible time," Obama said. "We can't let that happen, not right now."

(Emphasis mine) Indeed, we cannot let the Republicans “hit the public with a tax increase.” Give me a break.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Get Fuzzy Today

today's comicTotally broke me up.

On Representative Government

Digby has a post in which she praises Bernie Sanders for confusing Wolf Blitzer. Other than the small detail that a reasonably intelligent fifth grader could confuse Wolf Blitzer, the basic premise that Sanders is taking is, in my opinion, flawed because he keeps repeating, “Well, I think that position is way out of line with what the American people want.” Right, and the average infant just wants its mommy to hold it 100% of the time, too, but that’s just not a realistic expectation.

I keep harking back to the decision that the people of Tucson made when, fearing that water from the Central Arizona Project would be lost to Mexico if it was put into the ground, they held a referendum and decided that it should be put directly into the city’s water system. The result was city water that was unfit for human use, hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage to the water system, and a new decision to put the water into the aquifer after all, which had been the urgent recommendation of the experts all along, and was what the city government had initially decided to do before the referendum overrode their decision. “What the people want” is frequently a very stupid thing to do.

Whether or not it is in this case is irrelevant. The point is that making decisions on how to steer the ship of state based on “what the people want” is not how our government is designed, and for very good reason. That argument is the very worst one to use in making a point for decisions regarding proper governance, because it is itself a circumvention of proper governance. We elect representatives to represent us, which is why they are called “representatives” after all, and then we don’t let them represent us. Instead, we insist on bypassing their decisions and letting “what people want” be the determining factor in how decisions are made.

If this is how we are going to run the nation we might as well do away with election of representatives and simply make decisions based on polls. And don’t tell me that Congress is so badly broken that governing by polls would be better. Go ask the people of Tucson how they liked their water in 1994.

Three Way Tie

Today is Monday. Arkansas plays LSU in "Death Valley" on Friday, and Alabama meets Auburn on Saturday, and sportscasters are having erudite discussions with wrinkled foreheads about how to resolve the "three way tie" that results from LSU losing and Alabama winning. One idiot says that would put LSU in third. Morons.

Update, 7:30am: The "morons" comment was not about the inaccuracy of their speculation, but about the speculation itself. I have a revolutionary idea, let's wait until the games are played and then discuss what should be done about the rankings based on the results of the games.

Sort of reminds me of the "talking heads" on the political shows. "Well Fuddpucker could win in Iowa eight months from now and then that would cause turmoil in Zanzibar, which would give him a lead going into the Lower Slobovia primary." Unless, of course, he is first caught having relations with a goat on the steps of the capitol prior to Iowa.

Case in point: watching a bunch of idiots babbling on "This Week" about how "the Republicans don't want Romney." Actually, I don't think the Republicans really care who they get; they just want Obama out. It's the media that doesn't want Romney, because he doesn't say all sorts of radical and idiotic things for them to laugh and giggle about.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Wierd Football Weekend

I missed the LSU/Mississippi game because I was at a funeral service, but a final score of 52-3? And how often do three of the top five ranked college teams lose in one weekend? And how often does the SEC West have the top three positions in the rankings?

Unlike some people I correspond with, I think LSU will defeat the Hogs next week, and we may be moving toward a LSU/Alabama national championship game. I know, I'm getting ahead of the game a bit.

The Chargers set a new record for bizarre today, in part because Chicago's #33 may be the sorriest excuse for a cornerback I have ever seen. Or maybe he just had a bad day, but it seemed that Philip Rivers could complete an 80-yard pass to Vincent Jackson any time he wanted to. Unfortunately, that doesn't help when you're in your opponent's territory and need to score with a short game, because that long bomb was the only thing the Chargers had.

The Chargers had zero yards of offense in the fourth quarter, running only four plays the entire quarter, two of which were interceptions thrown by Philip Rivers. In one case he was trying to throw the ball away, and seemingly could not find the sideline. That's sort of like not being able to hit the wall of a barn while standing inside the barn.

The Chargers can no longer take solace in "at least we are still leading the division," because they are now third fourth in the division, which has only four teams. Tim Tebow's team is second. (At the time of my original post the Kansas City game was not yet complete.)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Ignoring The Problem

At “Informed Comment” I commented in response to a post by Juan Cole regarding the bailout of banks which he regards, quite properly, as a sellout of the people. My comment was to the effect that we should be aiming our protest at the legislators who perpetrated the sellout of the people, not the banks who benefited from it, and the response was entirely negative.

“Diffuse the issue, cloud it by pointing fingers at Also Unindicted [sic] Co-Conspirators,” said one response. “The government is just bought property, sir. The beneficiaries are not passive or innocent,” said another and, “Oh, yee [sic] defender of banks,” was the beginning of the third.

It seems that the vast majority of progressive/liberal activism simply does not care about malfeasance in government but has focused on a cause that consists entirely of a bitter enmity against “the Wall Street rich” and an undying determination either to punish them or to make them less rich. Suppose that such effort was successful. Suppose that Wall Street in its entirety was demolished, with every bank and every financial house burned to the ground. Suppose that every person employed in any capacity in every one of those institutions, right down to the secretaries, were thrown in prison. What would we have left?

We would still have the corrupt legislators taking bribes from weapons manufacturers, taking bribes from the health insurance industry, taking bribes from the ship building industry, taking bribes from highway contractors, taking bribes from the oil industry, taking bribes from the drug industry, taking bribes from overseas reconstruction companies, taking bribes from security companies, taking bribes from subcontractors to the Army Corps of Engineers, taking bribes from communications companies… The list is all but endless.

We would have eliminated the beneficiary of a $1 trillion bailout which is the cause celebre’ today, but we would still have a vast array of industries throwing billions of dollars in bribes at corrupt legislators to steal trillions of dollars of taxpayer money every year endlessly into the future.

President Obama pointed his finger at Wall Street because they were an easy target, an easy way to divert attention from the cesspool of corruption which is our government, the government of which he is the Chief Executive. He promised to clean up this cesspool, and all he has done is participate in the climate of corruption and point a finger of distraction, a distraction swallowed whole by his loyal sycophants.

Friday, November 18, 2011

My Issue With Tim Tebow

(Other than, “Omigod, why is this idiot playing quarterback in the NFL?”)

Alcoholics Anonymous has a tradition of anonymity which has come to mean only “I will not tell anyone that you are in AA.” It always meant that in part, of course, but it also includes a concept which has largely been dropped of “I will not broadcast that I am in AA” as well, and the reason for that has to do with human fallibility. If a member of AA is making a big public deal of his participation and gets drunk, he does damage to the credibility of the organization, and weakens their ability to provide a solution for people with alcohol problems. He becomes an example that the AA program does not work.

Of course, it does work for many people, but by going public one risks becoming a “bad example” unless continued success can be guaranteed. Human nature being what it is, that can never be the case. The AA tradition of non-self-revelation does not apply on a personal level, merely at the level of “press, radio and film,” that is to say that while people do not hide that affiliation, they do not flaunt it either.

I believe that people of religious conviction should not flaunt that conviction for precisely the same reason. There certainly is no reason to hide such conviction, and I am not suggesting that anyone should do so, but making public display of it in all venues strikes me as risky, at best.

Tim Tebow attributes his faith to all sorts of success, but to what does he attribute the loss to the Detroit Lions? Were the Lions more powerful than Jesus that day? Does the fate of the entire Denver team depend on the ability of Tim Tebow to maintain some intangible "faith quotient” for each game? Giving credit for success is fine, but what happens when the success doesn’t continue?

How should we view Tim Tebow’s religion if Tebow exhibits human frailty and gets caught up is some moral scandal? He attributes his success to his faith and his Savior, to what would he attribute his failure? Or does he, perhaps, think that he is a person of such perfection that such failure is simply impossible? That concept seems more than a little bit arrogant, doesn’t it? Tebow is walking on the edge of a precipice here.

Philip Rivers, who is a better quarterback on his worst day than Tebow will ever be on his best day, is also a man of very deep religious conviction. He doesn’t hide that, but he keeps discussion of it in the realm of his private, personal life. He does not inject religion into the venue of the field of athletic endeavor. Instead he displays a charming humility, a quality which Tebow most profoundly lacks, and elevates his teammates and the coaches under whose direction he works.

As a result, not only do I have a greater respect for Philip Rivers as a football player and a person, but I have a greater respect for the depth of his religious conviction.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Oh, Crap

If there is anything the NFL did not need it is a Tim Tebow 20-yard td run with 58 seconds left capping a 95-yard drive to give Denver a four-point win over the New York Jets. The league has gone completely to shit.

Right, Call On The Marines

Sometimes I am just embarrassed when Barack Obama opens his mouth and says things in behalf of my country.
I thought that he had reached a nadir with his claim that we were spending billions of dollars and hundreds of lives in Afghanistan in order to “deny the terrorists space in which to plan their attacks.”  Now he is explaining how our troop buildup in the Pacific will maintain peace, and specifically why we are stationing Marines in Australia.

Those 500 Marines “will help ensure the security of vital sea lanes, as the U.S. moves to blunt China’s expanding influence,”  he says.

So, first one has to assume that China is a threat to the sea lanes off the Australian coast. I’m not sure where his feverish little imagination got that particular concept from. Then one has to assume that if a Chinese fleet, which they don’t have, materialized and made threats to our shipping, which does not transit that area, that 500 Marines on shore would somehow be able to defend our shipping from that Chinese fleet.

I am a big admirer of the United States Marine Corps, and would be the last person to denigrate their abilities, but 500 shorebound Marines against a Chinese fleet…
I don’t think I would bet on the Marines.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What's Constitutional About OWS?

As I continue to read about Occupy Wall Street, I continue to wonder if this nation has any democratic future at all. The supporters of OWS write that in disbanding these groups the mayors are denying them their right to assemble and to “petition the government for redress of grievances.” Meanwhile the court says they have a right to assemble, but not to camp permanently in public spaces, which is what the mayors are breaking up, and Matt Taibbi wrote of them last week,

“People don’t know exactly what they want, but as one friend of mine put it, they know one thing: (Bleep) this (bleep)! We want something different: a different life, with different values, or at least a chance at different values.”

That hardly sounds like a petition to government, it sounds more like the flower children of the sixties only, probably, without the drugs. Not to mention the following, written by one of the protestors, which hardly sounds like someone dealing with matters of national governance,

We declare “victory” and throw a party… a festival… a potlatch… a jubilee… a grand gesture to celebrate, commemorate, rejoice in how far we’ve come, the comrades we’ve made, the glorious days ahead. Imagine, on a Saturday yet to be announced, perhaps our movement’s three month anniversary on December 17, in every #OCCUPY in the world, we reclaim the streets for a weekend of triumphant hilarity and joyous revelry.

We dance like we’ve never danced before and invite the world to join us.

Some have even had the poor grace to compare OWS to Tarhir Square. Those Egyptians were very focused and knew precisely what they wanted. They wanted Mubarek out. They gathered in numbers which made it impossible to remove them, and they were not holding some sort of party with group conscience discussions where everyone has a chance to talk about anything he has on his mind. There was one topic in that square; they wanted Mubarek out.

If you want to protest something, and have a real issue about which to do it, then by all means do so, but a group campout with your collective kitchens and libraries, with your tent cities and your donated blankets and making yourself at home is not a protest.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Navy Comes Full Circle

The San Diego Union-Tribune has a nice front page article today about the U. S. Navy’s newest type of ship propulsion, whereby diesel engines drive generators to provide electricity for electric motors which turn the propellors to actually drive the ship. Oh, really?

Look at the ship pictured at the top of this blog. She was built in 1940, and she has (are you ready for this?) four diesel engines which are permanently coupled to generators, which provide electricity for the two huge electric motors which turn the propellers. Fancy that.

Dr. King They Are Not

Too many comments are comparing Occupy Wall Street with Dr. Martin Luther King and I have to speak against that comparison, which I consider odious. Dr. King did not march to demand that freedoms be taken away from white people. He did not march in protest that white people had too many privileges and too much opportunity and should therefore have some of that taken away from them. Indeed he praised a nation that created that privilege and opportunity, and his demand was that people of color be granted equal access to it.

Occupy Wall Street cries “tax the rich” so that equality can be created by dragging those who have down to the level of those who have not, and Dr. King would be appalled by such an approach to equality.

If the demand of Occupy Wall Street was “let us work” I would be with them 100%. If they were demanding that the jobs which have been sent overseas be returned to this country I would fully support them. If they were demanding that the jobs which are still available here pay better wages I would support them calling a general strike to promote that goal. Whatever disruption they cause to society or inconvenience to law enforcement in pursuit of any of these purposes would be fully justified.

But disrupting their society merely to express that “I’m pissed off” and voice a demand to “tax the rich” draws neither sympathy or support from me.

Update: That being said, I do not support the forcible ejection of them from public spaces, either. Zucotti Park is privately owned, but Bloomberg is treating it as public space and is violating court orders to allow the park to be reoccupied. Wrong.

Bad Optics Indeed

John Cole at Balloon Juice said that he finally watched the 60 Minutes piece about insider trading by Congress. He commented that the one who looked the worst in the interviews was Nancy Pelosi, that she “looked evasive, defensive, and just didn’t look trustworthy.”

News flash, John. Nancy Pelosi would look that way if she was reading aloud from the Declaration of Independence.

Monday, November 14, 2011

At Least CBS Isn't NBC

NBC announced today that it has hired Chelsea Clinton as a regular broadcast person, adding her to a long list of aristocracy on its staff. They have Luke Russert, son of the immortal Tim Russert, they have Jenna Bush (we all know who her father is), and they have Meghan McCain on MSNBC. CBS just hires the hoipolloi.

Gingrich? Really? Newt?

I could understand Rick Perry rising to the top in the polls. Nobody knew who the hell he was, and he sounded... Well, okay, he sounded like an idiot, but he was providing the kind of idiocy that Republican primary voters love, and he can be rather charming. So it was understandable that before it became apparent that his IQ was in single digits that the Republicans voters would love him. I get it.

I could understand Herman Cain's rise, too, kind of. Nobody ever thought his IQ was above room temperature, but he had that tax thing with nines that low information voters (aka Republicans) could wrap their minds around.

But Newt? Newt has been around since dirt was invented and it is patently obvious that he is not only an idiot, but is childish and a spoiled brat as well. He has, to boot, a sour and nasty personality that I suspect even his mother could not tolerate. How is he getting any attention?

Public Service & Unemployment

I know I’m going to be harshly criticized for this, but it’s been brewing in the back of my mind for quite some time and I’m just going to ask it. Why do we have both unemployment payment and public service employment? It seems to me that if we had any sense, public service employment would
be our unemployment program.

Here we are paying one group of people to clean our parks and haul off our garbage, and paying another group of people who have lost their private sector jobs to, um, look for work and otherwise do nothing. Why do we not put people who have lost their private sector jobs to work cleaning our parks and hauling off our garbage until such time as they regain work in the private sector and not pay anyone to sit on their asses and do nothing?

We can't replace firefighters and police, obviously, but do I need to point out how much such a program would reduce problems with unfunded public service pensions? Do I need to point out how much a program like that would reduce taxes?

"Foreign Policy Success"

Think Progress has listed what it believes are Obama’s great foreign policy successes which the Republicans are not giving him credit for. I read them and could not prevent myself from laughing out loud. There is much to admire in President Obama, both as a person and as a President, but if this is the best we can do as a list of his success at foreign policy, we definitely need to elect somebody else.

Liberals like to claim that Republicans stretch the truth and make false claims, but this list reveals that such practice is by no means limited to Republicans.

Killed Osama Bin Laden, Ramped Up Campaign Against Al Qaeda: What have we come to where the insertion of a military team into the sovereign territory of an ally without their knowledge or approval to assassinate someone is labeled as “foreign policy” at all, let alone as a “foreign policy success” which tops the list? How, precisely, did killing Bin Laden “ramp up the campaign against Al Qaeda,” and if it did, how would that be foreign policy?

Mobilized Int’l Coalition To Protect Libyan Pro-Democracy Demonstrators: Actually, he was dragged into this one by France, and he started a war without Congressional authorization in violation of his authority under our constitution. The purpose is somewhat questionable, as the war was actually and admittedly for the purpose of regime change, but it did succeed. So we’ll give him this Bushian success, somewhat like a bank robber who got away with it.

Ordered The Complete Withdrawal Of U.S. Forces From Iraq By End Of The Year: And we’re back into lala land, because he did nothing of the sort, George Bush did that before he left office. In fact, Obama tried valiantly to undo that, arguing for more than a year to strike a deal with Maliki that would allow our troops to remain longer.

Isolated And Weakened Iran: In what world is an adversarial position considered “successful foreign policy”? Success of foreign policy would be bringing Iran to the negotiating table, as he promised to do in his campaign, and reaching agreement with them on their nuclear program. The claim is a bit weird in any case, since Iran is selling all of the oil it is able to produce at world prices.

Repealed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: Indeed he did, but this cannot possibly be stretched into the realm of foreign policy.

Halved The Number Of Russian And American Nuclear Missile Launchers: A success of some significance to be sure, but given how far back in history the Cold War resides…

Supported Democratic Transition In Egypt: I quit laughing at this one and became a bit angry, because he actually supported the military regime right to the bitter end. He gave some trivial lip service to the protestors, but supported Mubarek until he no longer could, and then tried to promote Mubarek’s deputy as a successor.

Killed Senior Al Qaeda Leader Anwar Al Awlaki: again we have assassination as a “foreign policy success,” and this time assassination of a US citizen without even charges, let alone conviction in a court of law. Mere accusation by the administration that he was a “Senior Al Qaeda Leader” despite there not only being no actual evidence for that, but considerable evidence to the contrary.

Strengthened U.S.-Israel Relationship: You have to be kidding. This claim, after Israel cancelled a building freeze and rejected a peace process on the day that our Vice President arrived in Israel for a state visit.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Maybe His Brain Exploded

There is a piece in Salon about why the GA (graduate assistant) at Penn State didn’t call the police when he caught Sandusky in the act of raping a young boy in the football dressing room shower. It’s in the form of a Q&A with Joan Tabachnick, who is described as “author of the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s guide,” and Ms. Tabachnick basically says that the GA was so shocked that he didn’t comprehend what he was seeing, felt shame as having made the discovery, was overcome with concern about what would happen to the child if he did report it, was so overwhelmed with respect for Sandusky that he doubted his own instinct to think that the act was wrong, repeated that he was so overwhelmed by the monstrosity of the act than he could not comprehend it, and finally something about the Catholic Church hierarchy (even though this was a football coach at a state university) and challenging authority.

It is, without question, the most unmitigated pile of bullshit I have ever read.

The comments are pretty much universally to the tune of “he knew they would believe Sandusky’s denials and he would get fired,” which I suspect is precisely why he did not report it. Mostly along the lines of if the university was going to cover it up then he was certainly going to go along.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Football Rivalries

A friend of mine wondered what it would be like to see either Alabama or LSU play the Chargers. Heh. I opined that either one of those teams would blow the Chargers off of the field. The SDSU Aztecs might have to stay focused in order to beat them. Slippery Rock U would probably lose.

Anybody Got An Ark?

RainstormThis does not happen often in San Diego. Sunspots might not be our issue.

No, That Isn't What We Meant

So, somebody started spreading the word that 2012 is coming, a year which is supposed to be the end of the world, and that the Sun is experiencing increasing activity, with sunspots sending out solar flares, and suggested that a massive solar flare might wipe out the Earth.

NASA, with its usual gift of stellar wordsmanship (heh), said that no, solar flares would not wipe out the Earth and that solar flares were a “problem in the same way that hurricanes are a problem.” They probably should have picked a better way to phrase it, because the result was pretty predictable.

“NASA Forecasts That Solar Flares Can Wipe Out Entire Cities.”

NASA hasn’t responded to that one yet, but I rather suspect that what they meant to say was that solar flares are actually rather small on a global scale, and that we can see them coming in time to take protective measures to prevent them from doing much in the way of great damage.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Follow The Bouncing Ball

When I was a kid we had a whole bunch of cats who lived, mostly, in the house. We were always going to give away the latest litter, but often did not because they were too cute, and we were sometimes not entirely sure how many cats we had, because they didn’t usually stay still and allow us to count them. My father was very fond of cats.

One day Dad brought home this ball made out of “super rubber” that bounced with extraordinary enthusiasm. He thought it was great fun to set the ball rocketing around the living room and watch a handful of cats go utterly insane chasing it, bouncing off of walls (both cats and the ball) and running into each other, which occasionally started a cat fight. Playful, of course, the cats were all on friendly terms.

Then, of course, Dad discovered the laser pointer…

Anyway, this European economic crisis reminds me of that ball, and the stock market and economists remind me of our room full of cats. One moment the European economy is predicted to collapse into total ruin within hours and our stocks are sinking like a rock in a millpond. Then a plan is announced which is going to fix everything and ecstasy rules the day. That evening someone announces that the plan won’t work, or that they aren’t going to participate in the plan…

The one thing that can make American politics look reasonable is European economics and American reaction to it. The whole subject appears to me to have just gone utterly, batshit insane. Europe needs a dose of economic lithium.

Unbelievable (not)

"It doesn't matter how it looked, the only thing that matters is that we're four and one and that we're leading the division."

That was the team consensus after beating teams with a conbined record of 1-11 in the first five games. Since then, after four games against teams with records at .500 and above and losing all four of them, they have changed their tune only slightly and are saying that they "believe in themselves" and that they just "have to keep going after it," whatever "it" is. They don't say what "it" is because they don't have the most remote clue what "it" is.

The Chargers game plan has been to get behind and give the opponent a false sense of security, and then to throw long passes and win the game at the last minute when the opponent has slacked off due to its false sense of security. Amazingly, this has actually worked fairly well for a while, but now teams are catching on and are lurking in the weeds late in the game and are jumping on the Chargers long routes. They either deck our receiver or, somewhat more colorfully, intercept the ball. I don't know why anyone thought this was not entirely predictable.

The Chargers were tired of being criticized for playing badly while leading the division, so they chose to quit leading the division. Brilliant.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

And Both Sides Are "Heads"

There is a massive, record-breaking storm hitting Alaska right now, and heading toward San Diego, so of course several climate change advocates are jumping on a bandwagon to claim that this proves their case. Sigh.

When there was a massive snowstorm last winter and climate change deniers claimed that it disproved climate change, these people were quick to say that “one weather event proves nothing,” and to trot out the “weather is not climate” defense.

But every time there is a massive rain storm they want to claim it proves their case. The reason that annoys me is that I am one of the people who thinks that the world’s climate is indeed worsening, and when these idiots do this they weaken the cause.

Just as when the National Weather Service predicted an unusually high number of large hurricaines for this year, these folks were quick to claim that as "proof" of climate change. Their case was, to say the least, rather seriously weakened when the predicted hurricaines failed to materialize.

Educational Priorities

Ohio State, USC, North Carolina, and now Penn State. Tony Barnhart has it exactly right that college athletics has lost its way and that, in a larger sense, higher education in this nation has turned into something pernicious and greedy which protects the cash cow that is represented by its athletic programs. The “conference realignment” nonsense is but a small symptom of that disease, and when it reaches the point that institutional greed is protecting child rapists something has to be done.

Certainly I am a huge fan of college football, but the images last night of large numbers of college students rioting in support of a football coach who actively abetted the sexual abuse of children sickened me. What are we teaching our young people, that they can develop such a priority? If the game has to be suspended on a nation-wide basis in order to restore football, a game for God’s sake, back into its proper place in the panoply of the college experience, then that should be done. Today.

Chargers PITA

Not only do I have to watch the Chargers this evening, I have to watch them on the NFL Network no less. I thought that television "journalism" had hit the ultimate low with ESPN, but the NFL managed to take the bar so low that it is actually underground.

The Next Generation

CBS News has gathered what it considers to be "todays brightest minds" to offer snippets of wisdom concerning how best to "set America back on the right course." Their selection is a bit odd, including the founder of the world's largest hedge fund, the head of the Republican Mayors Association and such, but at least Michelle Rhee has nice legs. Oh, come on, how could I not? They put her in the front row wearing a skirt that barely covers her ass. They didn't do that on purpose?

And, yes, I'm still watching CBS News. I have to do something. I stopped watching everything on MSNBC. Give me a break.

Anyway, their "brightest minds" are mostly babbling nonsense such as "ending partisanship" to right the sinking ship that is America, but asked what they see "that is working now, going right today" several of them cited the wonderfulness of the upcoming generation, and how awesome today's young people are.

They should have been in State College PA last night to see students rioting in support of Joe Paterno. How heartened would they be by the idea that for todays education seekers a football coach is more important than the integrity of the education system itself.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Not Good Enough

Joe Paterno was informed that his assistant coach was having sex with young boys in the locker room on the Penn State campus, told his superiors at the university and then sat back and did nothing further. He should have reported the incident to the legal authorities as soon as he was informed of it, and he sure as hell should have done so when his superiors took no action for years.

Now he being allowed to resign at the end of the season. He should not be allowed to resign at any time, he should be fired in disgrace. He should be locked up and the key thrown away. By failing to report the sex abuse to the proper authorities, and by remaining silent for years when his superiors covered up sex crimes, he is complicit in those crimes.

Penn State should be ashamed of itself, and the football team should refuse to take the field so long at that criminal is part of the university’s athletic department.

Still Getting It Wrong

I had a brief moment of hope that maybe the “Occupy Wall Street” people were finally making some sense when I read the headline that they are planning a march from New York to Washington, and then I read on and saw that it is only a small splinter group of them and that their target is to rescind the Bush tax cuts for the rich. That is off target in so many ways it’s difficult to decide where to start.

The tax cuts in question are actually Democratic tax cuts. Blaming Obama for Bush’s wars may be misplaced, but taxes is another matter; it was Obama who put these current taxes in place for this year and next, and it was the Democratic Party in control of Congress which failed to make even a token effort to rescind them for two full years prior to that. They are no longer the “Bush tax cuts.”

Inequality of wealth is not due to the 3% cut in taxes which the Bush government granted to both the wealthy and the middle class at the same time. While “the rich” had their taxes cut from 39.6% to 35% the middle class had theirs cut from 28% to 25% and the poor had theirs cut from 15% to 10%. All of that may not have been the most fair thing in the universe, but it certainly was not the root cause of the protested 99% inequality in the distribution of wealth.

“The rich” did not get that way because of not paying taxes, despite all of the popular rhetoric claiming that to be the case. They fall into two classes of theft, actually, both of them entirely legal.

One class became rich in much the same manner that homeowners did, by turning paper into money. When you buy a house for $150,000 and five years later it is “worth” $500,000, did it become larger in that five years? Did it begin performing some function not previously performed? Of course not. It is still worth the $150,000 you paid for it, only now you can persuade some sucker to pay $500,000 for it. Or to lend you $500,000 against the “equity” in it. The wealthy on Wall Street became rich in much the same way, selling “financial instruments” for high prices that were actually worth the cost of the paper they were printed on.

The other class is the owners of companies who shipped production jobs overseas, stealing those jobs from the middle class. Occupying Wall Street is stupid, because those companies are not headquartered on Wall Street, and taxing those owners is stupid because doing so is not going to bring those jobs back.

Politicians, Obama in particular, have sold us on “tax the rich” as a diversion to take the heat off of themselves, and "Occupy Wall Street” has bought in to the diversion with great enthusiasm. Rather than holding elected officials accountable, they seem to think that a token punishment on “the rich” who have been sold to them as the source of their problems will make everything wonderful again.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Why They Fight

The big deal today, the outrage and call to action, is inequality of wealth and the only proposed solution I have seen is to “tax the rich.” If this is the nation we have become, then millions of soldiers have died in vain. They saved a nation that does not value freedom, but has become a nation squabbling over money and unable to offer halfway reasonable solutions even for that.

We take off our shoes and submit to searches in the name of “being kept safe from terror,” we submit to our phones and communications being tapped by government, we accept a government that imprisons and kills without due process of law. We have been content with two consecutive chief executives who openly violate our constitution, stand mute as our Congress devolves into uselessness, and we are moved to actual protest only over being denied “our fair share” of the nation's wealth.

Even then the protest is not against the lawmakers who betrayed us and violated laws, but a mere expression of anger against the “haves” of that inequality. The demand is not reforms and proper governance, or the return of the jobs that have been lost, but that a symbolic pittance be taken from the rich to salve the feelings of the “have nots” in the inequality of wealth.

Salving the hurt feeling of the “have nots” is the only thing that such taxation will do. It will not create jobs in any meaningful way. It will restore the social safety net only partially, and only for one year, and it will do nothing for the “have nots” after that. Most importantly, it does nothing whatever to address the issue that is believed to be so important, the inequality of wealth. Does anyone seriously believe that a 1% increase of taxation is going to address the protested 99% imbalance of wealth?

Soldiers are dying on battlefields today. They believe in the constitution of a great nation which provides for things like freedom from improper search and seizure, due process of law, and proper governance. They are not sacrificing their lives to assure that you get your fair share of the money.

"We are the 99%" they cry. I'm one of the 99%, and I don't care. I don't care who has the money. I care about a government which adheres to our constitution.

Elect A Democrat

Here's what we can do after 2012 if we elect a Democrat. ...

Hmmm, okay, here's what Obama will do if he is reelected. ...

Well, here's what a Democratic Congress will accomplish after 2012. ...

Well, okay, let me use today's liberal argument.

For God's sake, Don't elect one of those crazy Republicans!

Monday, November 07, 2011

Swooning Over Mediocrity

I predicted it last night and I was right, the local media is going bananas over the Chargers’ offense yesterday, notwithstanding three interceptions thrown by Philip Rivers, ignoring that the Chargers lost a third straight game, and ignoring the fact that the offense was playing against a pass defense ranked 31st in a league of 32 teams. Frankly, I find it hard to believe there is a team anywhere, at any level including Pop Warner, with a worse pass defense than Green Bay. I think you could put the Chargers cheerleaders on the field and they would play better pass defense than Green Bay did yesterday, if only by means of distraction.

The local postgame analysts kept saying repeatedly with great enthusiasm how happy they were that the Chargers “didn’t quit” and that “they kept fighting” when they were trailing. People… There is no provision in the NFL for throwing a towel onto the field to signal surrender as in boxing. They were playing against the 30th worst overall defense in the entire league, only two teams are worse, and Rivers was intercepted three times.

The Chargers lost to Kansas City last week and this week Miami wins its first game of the season -- against Kansas City, and by a score of 31-3. So Miami has a record of 1-7 and its one win is against a team that beat us, but the Chargers are not worried because “we're still tied for the Division lead” and do not have a losing record. Of course we don’t have a winning record, either, our quarterback leads the entire league in interceptions, and look at who we are tied with.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Daylight Savings Time Ends

This is a biannual chinese fire drill at our house. Between the devices which change automatically, my wife changing clocks without telling me, me changing clocks that she’s already changed, her changing clocks that have already automatically changed, me changing things back because I think she’s changed them when she actually hasn’t, her changing them the wrong direction after I’ve already changed them after they automatically changed in the first place…

Pretty soon one clock reads 6:00 and the television is set for 12:00 and I’m trying to figure out why the damned football game isn’t on yet.

Tigers Stop The Tide

The LSU Tigers may not have conquered all of Northern Europe but, unlike King Canute, they did stop the Tide. I’m not entirely sure now much they deserved the victory, as I think the better defense in the field was wearing red, but the purple and gold defense made the big plays, the game lived up to its promise and I think the better team won. I do believe Les Miles may have had a few words at halftime to his defense about tackling, as Richardson had 56 yards in the first half and 5 yards in the second. Or maybe he just had them eat grass.

Onward to a national title. Geaux Tigers.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

The Last One Is Gone

I stopped watching Rachel Maddow a long time ago. I am perfectly willing to watch women do political commentary, and I do so fairly frequently, but I’m not interested in watching a pre-pubescent girl do it.

I stopped watching Chris Matthews because he thinks that democracy consists of who is currently leading in which poll, and who is running what kind of campaign advertisement. He also got into a rut of having Howard Fineman on every show, who thinks that journalism consists of reciting who he has been talking to and what they have been telling him. Pah.

I watched Ed Schultz screaming at me only once. No thank you.

Cenk Uygur likewise. He’s been watching Rachel Maddow too much.

Don’t even get me started on Chris Hayes. Just… Don’t.

Lawrence O’Donnell seemed to have something going, but then I started having to record him so that I could fast forward through his nonsense. I’m learning that is a sign of a losing proposition, because eventually I forget to record, and then comes the time that I forget to record and realize that I don’t really care that I forgot.

This past week he has been on a rant, taking up pretty much the entirety of his show every day, over the accusations against Herman Cain. I don’t really care about Cain, and I particularly don’t care about vague, undetailed accusations leveled by persons who took money to remain silent and now want to keep the money and are hurling accusations through lawyers while remaining anonymous. Why anyone, let alone someone pretending to be a journalist, would take these people seriously escapes me, but O’Donnell has now essentially erased MSNBC from my television dial completely.

Well, okay, no, my television doesn't have a "dial." That was a metaphor.

Bank Transfer Day

So you have come up with the brilliant idea of moving your money to a credit union. Oh, give me a break. You could not find your ass if I gave you a mirror on a stick, a flashlight and an illustrated guide. I have had my money in a credit union for more than twenty years, and I refinanced my 30-year fixed rate mortgage a year ago at an interest rate that you are presently hoping for. Not that it was a huge savings, because the original mortgage was at the same credit union.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Oh, Just Retire

Look, I loved Mark Martin when he was a race car driver, but he is older than dirt and these are not race cars any more anyway. Now we hear that he is moving to a team owned by Michael Waltrip, who pretends to be a race car driver but is actually only a mouth with arms and legs, and will drive 25 races per year while the owner drives five races, and either the car will be idle or some other driver will drive six races. Give me a break.

So Martin is driving junk for part of a season, leaving him ineligible for the championship, and accomplishing what, other than embarrassing himself?

Think It Through

When you decide to claim a celebrity as the father of your baby, you might want to consider making sure that the celebrity is not a mere sixteen years old. Being famous for being charged with statutory rape is not, I suspect, what the lady had in mind. The mind boggles.

Oh Good, Another "Revised Statistic"

You all know, I’m sure, about the government’s reporting on unemployment, whereby if you give up looking for a job you are no longer counted as unemployed. Likewise if your unemployment benefits run out; you don’t have a job, you have no income or health insurance, but you are not unemployed. That’s how they avoid reporting actual unemployment of something like 16% and keep reassuring us that it is a mere 9% or so.

You know too, I’m sure, about the government’s reporting methods on inflation, where they do not include food or fuel prices in the calculation. They include things like luxury yachts, cars, designer clothing and pretty much everything that no one buys when times are bad and which every store in town is currently selling at a discount as a result. They do not include gasoline, which has gone from $2.04 per gallon to $3.85 and which people making minimum wage must buy every week. They do not include bread, milk or hamburger, which… Well, you get the point. It lets them tell us that inflation is under control.

Now we have another statistic which has been bothering the government, namely poverty rates, which are increasing far too rapidly to suit the government Propaganda Machine Census Bureau. We can pretty much predict the reaction, and indeed, they have come up with a “revised method” for counting the poverty rate. Everyone who is surprised by this, raise your hand. Yes, I thought so.

And the new method is not trivial, by any means. The article in the New York Times tells us that, “One alternate census data set quietly published last week said the number of poor people has grown by 4.6 million since 2006, not by 9.7 million as the bureau reported in September.” Cutting the number of people who live in poverty in half would certainly make this nation's government world image look better.

Bleeding heart liberal that I am, I have to confess that I would prefer that we actually do it, rather than just manipulate numbers to pretend we are doing it. I realize that sort of means that I am just a little bit out of step with the principles which “make this country great” but, in the immortal words of a famous sailor man, “I am what I am.”

I’m surprised we don’t have a “seasonally adjusted” poverty rate.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Criminal Tax Laws

headlineThe article goes on at length to berate corporations for not paying taxes. It does not accuse them of violating any laws, mind you. They are, it seems, heinous criminals for obeying tax laws written by Congress.

Look, when a murder is committed for hire, do we go after the guy who hired the hit and let the murderer go free? We do not. We punish them equally, usually, but for certain, the guy who used the gun, the guy who pulled the trigger and actually committed the evil act goes to prison.

Today we have a grievance, to me one of questionable priority, but a legitimate grievance regarding how much wealth the major corporations and richest individuals have amassed. The tax laws are to blame, we say, which I think is nonsensical, but let’s go with it nonetheless. Up in arms we go and the guilty must be punished.

But wait, who do we want punished? Do we want to punish both the persons who passed those tax laws as well as those who benefited from them? We do not. The legislators who took bribes to pass the laws apparently were hapless and helpless victims of the system, who took those bribes of necessity because they could not otherwise get reelected to stay in office and continue passing laws. We want, in fact, for those legislators to remain in office because in addition to passing those tax laws they are passing laws to bring federal money into our home states.

No we want to punish the guys who asked to have the laws passed, not the ones who did the deed. We want to punish the one who paid for the murder, and let that actual killer remain free to continue killing because he buys his guns and bullets from us.

This is America. We have our priorities.

OWS Stubbed Its Toe

A few days ago I expressed encouragement regarding the calling of a general strike on the part of OWS in Oakland. Yesterday was the day set for that action, and the OWS crowd marched as a mob and closed down the Oakland dockyards. That was entirely the wrong move.

A strike means that you do not work for your employer, or that you do not buy from sellers in the area you are striking. It does not mean that you actively prevent others from lawfully going about their business. What OWS did was shut down a business where people who were not participating in its protest were trying to make a living. A strike is between a business and its employees, or a business and its customers, not between a business and an outside mob.

In closing down a business unrelated to them, OWS ceased to be a protest, legally exercising their right to assemble and speak, and became a mob interfering with the rights of others. Making protest does not permit one group to infringe on the rights of others to lawfully go about their business.

The fact that a portion of the OWS belonged to the labor union working at the docks does not change the issue, nor does the fact that the longshoremen chose to walk off the job at the docks in sympathy with the protesters after they arrived and blocked the gates. OWS was not representing the workers in their action, they were representing their own protest against whatever it is that they are against, and they did not shut down the docks from within, they shut them down as an outside agency.

I am losing respect for a group that after more than a month cannot even express what it is trying to achieve other than a desire to take some money away from rich people, and are increasingly infringing on the civil rights of the communities in which they live.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

American Values

Apparently a couple of women entered into an agreement to accept a rather large amount of money in exchange for silence about Herman Cain's peccadillos and now, having enjoyed the money for some years and wanting to keep the money, they have broken the silence and want to give details. They believe such bad behavior should not be concealed. Apparently they did not believe that some years ago when they did not have any money. There might be even more money available now for giving the details. Who knows, there could be a book. This is America. I am so proud.

The case of the young lady who was so miserable living in a mansion in Coronado that she tied her hands behind her back, tied her feet, gagged herself and then, after having done all of that, hanged herself from a second floor outdoor balcony naked, is being reopened by her family. The police demonstrated how it was possible for her to tie her hands behind her own back, a process which took something like five minutes, but failed to mention why she might do that. Of course Doctor Phil is involved in reopening the case and the outcome will be on his show. Did I say how proud I am that this is America?

John Corzine, former Democratic governor of New Jersey is having to answer for the failure of his financial firm, a multi-billion firm which did just fine for hundreds of years, failed within two years after he took it over and is now apparently missing hundreds of millions of dollars. This is the governor who was so unpopular that he resulted in the election of Chris Christie, a Republican governor in a state that formerly did not even know how to spell the word Republican. I just can't stop being proud of this country.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

If Occupy Wants Change...

The San Diego Union-Tribune is “sympathetic to some of the Occupy movement’s strong views” today's editorial says, although it does not specify which of those views it is sympathetic to other than some rather weak blather about banks selling homes based on market speculation. The paper seems to think that Occupy is pissed off only about the housing bubble and housing prices, which would indicate that the paper is living in some sort of isolation bubble of its own.

It goes on to say that Occupy should “do what protest movements have done historically” to achieve its purpose, which is “promote your views and go to the polls” to, and this is where it gets really silly, “support those whose values you share” whatever the hell that means.

I’m sure that whatever idiot wrote this drivel does believe that, because it would promote his/her vested interest in the continuation of the status quo. I’m not sure if Occupy is going to achieve anything or not, I fear it will not, but it’s a damn sure cinch that what the editor of the Union-Tribune proposes has accomplished nothing in the past and will accomplish nothing in the future.