Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Fiscal Cliff

1- Cut military spending

2- Increase taxes on households making more than $250,000

3- Increase Capital Gains tax

4- Cut spending on entitlement programs

5- Increase minimum age for Medicare

6- Increase minimum age for Social Security

7- Eliminate the Bush Tax Cuts entirely

8- Reduce Unemployment Benefits

9- Make Medicare a voucher system

10- Keep Bush Tax Cuts for everybody, and mainly cut spending

11-Eliminate Bush Tax cuts for everybody, and lower the spending reduction

12- Eliminate Welfare

13- Eliminate Food Stamps


...okay, never mind the next 20 proposals.

The debt reduction negotiations that are taking place are going to involve a combination of spending cuts and tax increases. At a certain point, I gotta step back and ask which of these ideas make the most sense, which make a little sense, and which make no sense.

Military spending is the most obvious, and yet, strangely, is the item the GOP seems most afraid to cut. They scream and yell about increasing taxes on the wealthiest Americans, but when it comes to the cliff they seem more willing to talk about endangering national security by these unthinkable cuts to the military. It's the thing they want to avoid at all costs. During one of the Obama/Romney debates, I think it was Bob Schieffer who said "Look, nobody wants to cut military spending...." and then proceeded to ask the debaters which other items they think are most likely to be addressed.

Wait just a second Bob.

I want to cut military spending, and not just this measly $60billion that is currently on the table. I want to cut military spending by $200-$300billion. Everyone wants to talk about the $17trillion debt as if it's something we've all gotten ourselves into, when the reality is, if we hadn't been unnecessarily building up our military since the end of the Cold War in 1988, we'd have a national debt that would be many trillions of dollars less. Many trillions. If we figure in GW Bush's 2 unfunded wars which, by most accounts will top $2trillion by the time we fix everything we blew up (more like $3tillion if we believe people like Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes), and then figure in the $500-$750billion we've been spending every fucking year for the last couple of decades, and then add to that the newfangled Homeland Security budget of $50billion or so per year since 9/11, ...

We spend more on our military than the next 9 members of the Top 10 combined. If we cut $300billion from our defense budget, we'd still be spending 4 times as much as the next closest country, China. FOUR TIMES as much as China!

I'm all for lowering our national debt, and the interest that we have to pay on it, but seriously, until we accept the fact that we're spending hundreds of billions of dollars per year more than we really need to spend, it's really doesn't make any sense (to me) that we should begin targeting any other government spending. It's got to start with the military, or we're throwing our own citizens; poor, sick, homeless, unemployed, ...under the bus so that we can keep supplying the insatiable appetite of the Pentagon, the military contractors, and their buddies in Congress.

To anyone who tells me that cutting $200-$300billion from the defense offense budget will add a load of people to the ranks of the unemployed, I say that's the problem. We have allowed the military to become such a huge part of who we are as a nation that we've got millions of people depending on the inertia of these massive budgets to keep their jobs.

So Lockheed Martin has to lay off a few thousand people. They're smart. They'll find jobs. So what if the people who make Tomahawk missiles have to reduce their workforce? What have these people done to help our economy? How exactly does a bunch of new cruise missile orders help us get out of debt? We need to stop being a military with a government and go back to being a government with a military again. The sooner we reduce the influence of the military on our overall budget, the better. And I say there's no time like the present. The Fiscal Cliff? Yeah, we're heading for one alright, and the best way to stop a plunge over the edge is to start making some fucking sense out of how our government spends our money.

Who would still say that dumping a couple of trillion dollars into Iraq and Afghanistan was worth it?

That's money spent now, and there's no way to get it back.

However, there is a way to make sure we don't repeat those mistakes, and that is to make it a lot more difficult for these vampires to piss through more money than any human being can even comprehend. Time for the military to get a haircut I say,...a big one. Then, and only then, should we start worrying about how much we're all willing to chip in to keep our old folks cared for.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012


I can't help it.

I guessed correctly on 49 out of 50 states. I missed Florida. Easy to say I just copied Nate Silver's forecast, but that would be lying. Every damned state went the way I thought except Florida.

Really not that hard to do, all it took was a glance at the 2008 electoral map. What has changed in the last 4 years? Which state changed demos? If we could jump forward to 2016 or 2020, I'm pretty sure there will be a blue border around the eastern and western shores of the country, a blue splotch around the Great Lakes, and red everywhere in the middle. Florida might flip back and forth, and maybe Colorado or Nevada, but the rest of the country is going to stay the way it is right now.

And that's a loser for the GOP. It could be argued that it will only get worse as the Hispanic population grows, but it's certainly  not going to get any better for the Republicans.

That is a party in decline.

Which is why they're all talking about expanding the base this morning. -It's time to be more inclusive! We need to reach out to Hispanics! We need to broaden the base!-  Gee, ya think?

Not that I disagree with them, but what does it say that such a realization comes only after first trying, once again, to control the government by way of old white racist people, primarily old white racist men? Now you're going to pivot? Now you're going to say "Hey, we were wrong. We really do want all of you centrists, indies, Hispanics, gays, African Americans, pro-choicers, evolutionists, atheists, voters who worry about the environment and climate change, Asians,...even the Irish!"-

It's too late for that now. Because they don't want those voters. They want their votes, but they don't want the voters themselves. Sure, they'll try to tweak the platform a little to seem more inviting, but it's all bullshit. They want to stay the way they are. And their stubborn refusal to drag their sorry asses into the 21st century is why they're in decline, and will continue in decline. They won't attract votes from the groups I just listed.

Those groups of voters have heard years, decades, of rhetoric from the GOP about what's wrong with them, about why they're not real Americans. Suddenly the GOP is going to throw open the flaps to the tent, pay some lip service to being more inclusive, and expect a crowd of black homosexual atheists to come rushing in?

They're arguing this morning about what went wrong. They're accepting the fact that the tent needs to enlarge, but they still don't understand why. They're trying to figure out a way to gain millions of new voters without changing the basic message of the party. They still think that the United States belongs to the upper income white people, and it's just a matter of figuring out a way to appear attractive to enough new voters to swing the balance of power back in their favor. And it'll never happen.

And that's where the schadenfreude really comes in.

Fuck Mitch McConnell. Fuck John Boehner. Fuck Paul Ryan, and fuck Mitt Romney. I love the fact that they're miserable this morning. It's deserved. They're also big losers.

There's a special place in hell for the shithead conservatives in the media too. For years they've been acting as if their fucked up views on social issues are mainstream. Maybe not overwhelmingly popular, but reflective of a very large percentage of the views of the American population. And they're wrong. I have many self-described conservative friends, and none of them talk about "liberals" they way Sean Hannity does, the way Rush Limbaugh does, the way Ann Coulter does. Asshole like these have been, almost by default, recognized as spokespersons for the conservative movement-if there even is such a thing- and by association the conservative voters have been tainted. The divisive, inflammatory rhetoric that has been spewing from the maws of these people for years, decades, is largely responsible for the deterioration of serious political discourse. They have no counterparts on the left.

For years I've been taking issue with the binary thinking of conservative good-liberal evil, and the counter-argument as well. I do not believe that conservatives are evil. I believe that the assholes like Limbaugh who have been recognized as the spokespersons are, indeed, evil. They have gotten rich on polarizing this country, and because they're a bunch of fucking hucksters, they couldn't care less if they've fucked up the conversation with strawmen arguments and plain old hate-speech.

They're war profiteers.

When I hear Limbaugh lecture his listeners on the "liberal agenda" and "gay agenda" and the "feminazi movement" I can only shake my head in wonder. How in the hell is this guy taken seriously? Do people not realize he's selling snake oil?

Well, it's reckoning day for the shitbag losers who ave added nothing constructive to the dialogue. The American people took their best shots- a billion dollars worth of hateful attack advertisements and outright lies about Barack Obama and the evil liberal agenda- years and years of hateful rhetoric about their political opponents- and they have rejected the message. If they haven't figured that out by now, they are in for a very bad 4 years, and 40 more after that. It's over you fucking losers. This country has had enough hyper-partisan flame-throwing. We do not want to look at people whose politics differ from our own as our enemy. We have work to do, and we won't get anything done if we continue to follow the lead of the fucking people who sell hatred.

And that brings me to Karl Rove. Last night's biggest loser.

I know I've just ranted about the need to chill out on the nasty rhetoric, but I hate this man with every fiber of my being. I thought he was extinct already, thanks to his association with George W Bush, but he wasn't extinct. He played a much larger role in this election than some people realize. He was the mover behind uniting the Kochs, and Sandy Adelson, and a few other gajillionaire dickwads who thought they could buy the White House and take over the entire country by way of American Crossroads, the SuperPac which supplanted the RNC, thanks to Citizens United. Rove had a Hitler-like vision of a Republican Reich which would last for centuries. All he needed to do was prop Mitt Romney up there, win the Electoral College by way of stealing Ohio, and his sinister fucking plan could be put into action.

And that's why this demonic motherfucker was melting down before our very eyes on Fox News last night. Like Randolph Duke at margin call, Rove wanted those machines turned back on. He wanted Jon Husted, his henchman Secretary of State in Ohio, to somehow dig up 150,000 more votes from Cuyahoga County and Hamilton County. He needed that state's votes, no matter how he got them, so that he could launch his long term game plan of Republican domination for the next 50 years. Without Ohio, he knew he was doomed. Without Ohio, Karl Rove knew he faced extinction. And like Hitler, after the invasion of the Soviet Union in the winter of 1941 had turned the tide against him, Rove refused to accept his own defeat and his imminent demise. How is this possible? I spent a billion dollars of Super Pac money. I played this hand perfectly. How can this election not go my way?

Well it didn't go Karl's way The reason Mitt Romney waited an hour and a half to concede defeat after Ohio had fallen for Obama was Karl Rove. I have no doubt that Rove called his hatchet-man Ed Gillespie, and told him to forbid Mitt Romney from conceding. But then Virginia went for Obama. And then Colorado. And it became clear that even if Rove had somehow been able to steal Ohio's electoral votes, Obama still had the necessary 270.

And so, when I watched a red-eyed Mitt Romney take the stage last night for his final speech as a politician, it wasn't Romney I was thinking of, it was Karl Rove. In half-heartedly wishing Barack Obama luck in his next term as president, Mitt Romney was really bidding farewell, on behalf of the American people, to Rove.

Karl Rove's career as a political kingmaker is over, and we're all better off now. The country, and our government, have finally been unburdened. We are rid of that evil man forever, and to that I say good riddance.