Thursday, August 16, 2012

“Bewitched, bothered and bewildered” ******************************************* We’re bewitched by the POTUS campaign, every 4 years. But for the 95% of the voters that have already decided, it is media Sturm und Drang , signifiying very little..a lot of smoke and mirrors. To the more cynical, the POTUS campaign is a “political carnival staged by the private corporations”, the not-so-hidden hand, deep politics of this electoral season. We’re bothered by the strident chorus of the 15-30 sec. media ads., concocted in the fertile brains of the well-paid “nattering nabobs of negativism”. And we are bewildered by the GOP clamor to voucherize Medicare. The vast majority of the population like Medicare…those on it and those looking to be on it. The GOP, and Paul Ryan, have been bought by the vast private insurance corporations. They don’t like the single-payer model of Medicare. They want those under 55 to have the “freedom” to shop for health insurance when they turn 65, using a voucher to search for an affordable policy. And the majority of the new 65ers could not afford the insurance premium. The attack being used now by the GOP is that Obama will cut $716 billion from Medicare, over ten years. That is misleading…a pants on fire,Pinocchio-type lie. Under Obamacare, the rise in Medicare costs over 10 years will be reduced, SAVING $50-70 billion yearly. And the savings will not be a cut from the Medicare trust fund.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Paul Ryan and women’s reproductive rights *************** “…on abortion and women’s health care, there isn’t much daylight between Ryan and, say, Michele Bachmann. Any Republican vice presidential candidate is going to be broadly anti-abortion, but Ryan goes much further. He believes ending a pregnancy should be illegal even when it results from rape or incest, or endangers a woman’s health. He was a cosponsor of the Sanctity of Human Life Act, a federal bill defining fertilized eggs as human beings, which, if passed, would criminalize some forms of birth control and in vitro fertilization. The National Right to Life Committee has scored his voting record 100 percent every year since he entered the House in 1999. “I’m as pro-life as a person gets,” he told the Weekly Standard’s John McCormack in 2010. “You’re not going to have a truce.” ****************** “NEW YORK (AP) — A vibrator giveaway that attracted long lines in New York City came to an abrupt end when the city told the promoters to pack it up. The Trojan condom company set up “Pleasure Carts” on Wednesday in two Manhattan neighborhoods, and were set to give away 10,000 vibrating sex toys. Nearly 300 people had lined up at each of the hot-dog-style carts.According to the New York Post the giveaway was interrupted when a city representative told the promoters to shut down because of crowds.”Times Union ************************* What does Mr. Paul’s extreme position on abortion rights and the Trojan free vibrator giveaway have to do with each other? Well, dear readers, I was just thinking that Paul should support the free giveaways as a safe method of birth control.This giveaway could, if it takes hold , reduce abortions and poverty. The latter because poverty and single mothers are directly linked. I’m going to send a tweet to PR, seeking a response. Could Biden ask PR about this at their Oct. debate?
The Romney-Ryan mantra on lower taxes on the wealthy. ***************** Romney-Ryan (R-R) want to lower the fed. income tax rate for the top earners. But this segment already has it very good. R-R use the “nominal” top rate of 35%, and argue it is so high it de-incentivizes the job creators. But the 35% is not the real rate. The “effective” rate, the real rate, is about 15%…the lowest in 30 years. Tax lawyers and CPAs work full time reducing the “nominal” rate to the lowest rate legally allowed. K Street lobbyists work full time to obtain tax credits, excemptions etc. (what wonkish budgeteers like Ryan call “tax expenditures”), which now total over $1 trillion ,with a T, yearly. Ryan wants to lower the “nominal” rate by eliminating many expenditures. What would, or could politically, be eliminated? The $75 billion home mortgage deduction? Would the Ryans,Romneys, and Obamas agree to that on their mansions? That’s a clown question, bro.! The $120 billion employer deduction for health care? That’s another clown question, bro.! Employers would drop health insurance for millions. The $38 billion deduction for charitable giving? There you go again…another clown question, bro.! And how about eliminating the $150 billion that is saved by using off-shore tax havens? Now that’s a clown question, on steroids! Like Jack Benny traveling over alligator-infested moats to visit his vault, Mitt like to make occasional visits to the Caymens and Bermuda to carass his stash. Lowering “nominal” tax rates by eliminating expenditures will not happen.
The WSJ’s chief editor , and VP, Paul Gigot, and the WSJ/NY Post op.ed. writer Peggy Noonan appeared on George Steph. Sunday Morning and ,in essence, said that picking Mr. Paul as VP will guarantee the ” rootinest, tootinest, fallootinest, shootinest” Fall campaign. They rhapsodized how PR is the ideal person to engage the economic issue; that PR in so many ways is the conservative’s political wet dream becoming reality. Howard Dean, also on the panel, responded that this was fiddle-faddle; fuddle duddle; and that the right-wing should dream on. Dean summed up the real enchilada, the cosmic issue, that will cost the R-R team in Florida, Pa. Ohio, NH etc.. It is Medicare. People like Medicare…the elderly and the young. It works, and with savings and tweaking, it will survive financially. PR wants to voucherize Medicare. Dean proclaimed that PR can call it a preimum, but it is a voucher. The PR plan is to have Medicare-eligibles receive a voucher, and then go into the private insurance market and get a policy. And with the GOP, fed. and state levels, generally opposing a health insurance exchange, the voucher holders couldn’t compare policies. PR, and his supply-side, Jack Kemp, Aynd Rand, Alan Greenspan group really support the privitization of just about everything that governments now provide..including education, health care, highways, ad infinitum.
We now know why Ryan accepted the VP invitation!! ****************** It’s because Wisconsin electoral law allows him to continue running for Congress, which he apparently is going to do. If a Wisconsin House rep. runs for VP or POTUS, s(he) can also run for Congress. So Mr. Paul has the safety of knowing he likely can keep his House seat, if the R-R national ticket loses. This is similar to LBJ’s manipulation of the Texas law, that allowed him to run for the Senate while running as VP in 1960. I just got the e-mail below from Ryan’s Dem. Congressional opponent, and only when I read this did I know that Ryan can run for both offices. Has the msm mentioned this at all? “gordon… Hi, I’m Rob Zerban. Along with President Obama and Vice President Biden, I have the unique privilege of being the other candidate who gets to defeat Paul Ryan this year. That’s because despite running for Vice President, Paul Ryan is still running for Congress in Wisconsin. And I’m his progressive opponent. I’ve been preparing for over a year now. I have a great team and raised over a million dollars in grassroots donations — more than all of Ryan’s opponents in the last 10 years combined. But to finish the job, I need your help. Paul Ryan supports ending Medicare. I support Medicare for All. Paul Ryan supports lowering taxes on the rich. I want the rich to finally pay their fair share. Paul Ryan thinks the way to create jobs is tax giveaways for Big Oil, Wall Street, and other big corporations. I’m a small businessman who fights for the little guy. Paul Ryan is pro-life. I am pro-choice. Tell me when to stop… The point is — Wisconsin voters finally have a competitive Democrat running against Paul Ryan. A bold progressive. And with Ryan now ignoring local voters, 2012 is the perfect moment to defeat him for good. It’s been exciting to work with Progressive Change Campaign Committee members over the past year — standing up for the 99% and fighting back for Medicare. In Congress, I look forward to being your partner as we fight for progressive change. Thanks for your support. Rob Zerban”
Today is primary day in Connecticut. Talk about voter suppression! The state’s political elite schedule a primary in mid-AUgust, when 5% of the eligible voters will participate (and that’s an optimistic prediction.) ******************* Living in Connecticut can be the “best of times, and the worst of times. This writer spent 5 years in this wonderful state, going to school and living in poverty. And the memories are positive. It’s a state that can juxtapose the beautiful UConn campus in Storrs, with the Appalachian-type dead city of Willimatic 10 miles away. This state of contradictions has the Gold Coast, the Danburys, the exurbia for wealthy Manhattanites, as well as Hartford, one of the poorest cities in America. This state of contrasts has New England small towns where Main Street and small d, democracy, flourish, tucked between cities where international corporations fly their company flags. Politically, it remains a blue state. But the traditional liberalism of labor union and New Deal coalitions is long gone. The former Dem. now independent, Sen. Joe Lieberman is retiring. As he has said, there is no path for him to run and win re-election. While it’s difficult to define Mr. Joe, it’s clear he never was a New Deal/Great Society Hubert Humphrey. The activist Dem. base saw him as a corporate liberal; a strong supporter of the submarine base in Groton; the military-industrial complex; and the Hartford insurance giants. The Ct. GOP has moved far to the right, and the far right Linda McMahon will win the Senate primary today. This wealthy woman was the long-time owner of the WWF, which she transposed into a quasi- pornographic S & M spectacle that had grown men throwing each other out of a ring…a popular extravaganza that really doesn’t elevate our culture. McMahon will win today, but I’m convinced she will lose again in Nov. I know she will lose because I have confidence in the good sense of the Nutmeggers.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Mayor Bloomberg, Jaws, the Black Widow, and the American Dream ***** Mayor Bloomberg opened the traditional July 4th festivities at Coney Island yesterday. He gave an obvious reluctant the Coney Island (CI) Nathan’s hot dog stuffing contest. Nathan’s gruesome ritual has no redeeming health or cultural qualities. Bloomberg’s nanny instincts in health and obesity issues would normally compel him to ban the hot dog “Circus Smirkus”. But corporate marketing reigns supreme. Bloomberg is, at heart, a corporate plutocrat; and he was not about to denounce Nathan’s hot dogs. July 4th is a day celebrating our country’s declaration of independence. Thomas Jefferson’s declaration states “ that We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their CREATOR with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” John Adams always thought TJ was a prolific, and good, writer. What a blogger TJ would be today. The winners of the Nathan’s contest were the infamous “Jaws”, who stuffed 65? Dogs into his body within 10 minutes; and the female Black Widow (no racial slur in the name) who took in 48 dogs. If TJ had attended the Nathan’s circus, he would likely tell Jaws and the Black Widow that they have an inalienable right to destroy their health. TJ may also have decided to go on YouTube, which he may have invented at Monticello, in a public service warning to all of us that modern corporate marketing can be hazardous to our health and freedom. As Mass. Senate candidate Eliz. Warren recently said: “And Mitt Romney tells us in his own words that he believes corporations are people. No Mitt, corporations are not people. People have hearts, they have kids, they get jobs, they get sick, they love and they cry and they dance, they live and they die. Learn the difference. And Mitt, learn this. We don’t run this country for corporations, we run it for people.”

Sunday, May 6, 2012

some random ruminations

Some ruminations ********************** *Indiana long-time Senator Dick Luger will likely lose in Tuesday's primary. His overall conservative ratings are in the upper 70ies. What do the tea partiers, the purists, want? He is 80 yrs. old, with over 35 yrs. in the of the ol' bulls. He works across the isle, and he is considered a gentlemen in the Senate club. **France's Pres. Sarko will likely lose in the Pres. second round voting today. His persona is not attractive; and he has been the French political leader for 5 yrs. The French voters seem not to want to spend another 5 yrs. with this guy. Enough is enough! His moderate Socialist opponent argues that the German/French alliance promoting euro zone austerity has caused severe hardships; and he pledges to moderate the German led austerity program. Good luck with that. The Greeks also vote today, and the large swath of the voter population are angry and don’t like the German/French austerity measures. The French and Greek voters will be sending the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the euro bankers a strong message today. “After Dallas, LBJ acted like Popeye after a can of spinach..” Unknown source in Robert Caro’s brilliant 4th installment of LBJ bio., Passage of Power -- I am reading this book, and it is a vivid page turner. I am a student in the JFK murder conspiracy school, and accept Caro as a non-believer in conspiracy. So I have some serious questions after getting to the end of Caro’s masterpiece: …why did he go on Air Force 1 in Dallas, when AF2 had the same communication capabilities? Caro does’t answer this. …Caro describes the conflict between Robert Kennedy and LBJ, including RFK’s opposition to having LBJ as VP candidate; the campaign to marginalize VP LBJ by RFK and the WH staff; the three episodes on the funeral weekend when RFK sorta blocks the Oval Office doors when LBJ wants to move in on Sat, when RFK comes in late to the first LBJ cabinet meeting, and when RFK seems to be in denial that LBJ was now the POTUS. But Caro ignores the more serious issues between these two men. More on that when I compose my review of Caro’s tomb. …there are many more questions, than answers. Former Pres. Bill Clinton wrote the NYT review of the Caro book this weekend. Being a member of the Club, former POTUSes, Clinton is generally laudatory of LBJ and Caro. More on Clinton’s review later, either here or elsewhere.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Don't you bore me with talk of the jet stream, and our lack of winter and 70degree temps this weekend.

Don't you bore me with talk of the jet stream, and our lack of winter and 70degree temps this weekend.
I stopped into the popular coffee shop Uncommon Grounds on Broadway in historic Saratoga Springs.
As I chatted with two regulars, the topic of the high temps., no snow winter, and the coming 70degree weekend came up.
On of us asked about the jet stream...what is it, and why should we care?
When one of us argued that climate change, the warming of world through human activity, causes the jet stream to move more to the extreme poles,,north and south...a lighbulb lit above us. (led bulb of course).

The northern jet stream has remained to the north of us all winter, preventing northern Artic and Canadian air from pushing out the warmer southern air.

So most of us can be bored with talk of jet streams and climate change.
Just bring on the good coffee.

A Santorum-Gingrich ticket? Let's get a reality check on this.

(..A senior adviser to Newt Gingrich told The Huffington Post Tuesday night the campaign likes the idea of Rick Santorum and Gingrich running on the same ticket for the presidency and vice presidency.

"Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum would make a powerful team against Barack Obama," the adviser said on the condition that his name not be used. "They have the capability to deny Gov. Romney the nomination.")
Well folks, politics ain't beanbag.

Newt stays in the race.
Because of the RNC rules on proportionality, Mitt is close to getting the majority of delegates for Tampa convention, but is short.
Leading up to Tampa, Rick and Newt get in a hotel room alone, and strike a grand bargain.
They will combine their delegates, and they will agree to form a joint ticket....with Newt as VP.
This bargain will be taken to the Tampa convention floor, and pandemonium ensues.
Mitt falls short of a majority on the first ballot, and many of his delegates move to Santorum on the second.
Rick and Newt emerge victorious at Tampa.

It will make a good HBO movie.
But let's take a reality check.
First, Newt's ego will not allow him to take VP slot.
And if he did, and the Santorum/Gingrich ticket wins in Nov., Newt as VP would make Cheney resemble a milquetoast VP.

When JFK/LBJ won in 1960, LBJ wrote a memo to POTUS-elect JFK outlining how the VP position would be the power center in the administration.
JFK never responded to the memo, and eventually marginalized LBJ.
Santorum would be faced with the same power conundrum with Newt.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Hellzapoppin. Mitt is now a country boy as the Miss. and Alabama primaries approach.

“Well I got me a fine wife I got me old fiddle
When the sun’s comin’ up I got cakes on the griddle
And life ain’t nothin’ but a funny funny riddle
Thank God I’m a country boy”
John Denver’s Thank God, I’m a country boy.
“I am learning to say y’all and I like grits, and … strange things are happening to me,” Romney joked with the crowd.”
Mitt in Mississippi yesterday.

Hellzapoppin. Mitt is now a country boy as the Miss. and Alabama primaries approach.
This man has moved so much to the right to win the GOP conservative voters that he will not be able to pivot to the center for the general election

And that seems to be Mitt’s weakness.
He is surrounded by neo-cons who whisper in his ear on when to attack Iran.
He seems to bend with the slightest political wind.

When the Texas primary approaches, he will go to Dallas and wear a Stetson and claim his great uncle died at the Alamo.
This man has class, and he appears to have a moral core, but he panders too much.

When JFK went to Dallas/Fort Worth, and was given a Stetson at the Fort Worth breakfast, he didn’t put it on and invited all the attendees to come up to the WH the following Monday and he will put it on (at least for a few seconds).
In contrast, Mitt will grab the hat. leap onto a horse, and take off for the Alamo.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Some random ruminations on Super Tuesday

Some random ruminations on Super Tuesday
Romney narrowly won Ohio, even though he outspent his rivals by 5 to 1; and he had the troops on the ground.
Mitt appeals to the $100K + annual income voters; but he can't close the sale on those making under $100k and with the evangelicals.
The former accurately perceive Mitt as a Wall Street, country club multi-millionaire, with several houses and with an attractive wife who drives two gas guzzling Caddies.
The evangelicals believe Mormonism is a cult; and that will not change.

Virginia is a good example of Mitt's weakness in the South.
Santorum and Gingrich were not on the ballot; and even with only Ron Paul as competition, Paul got over 40% of the vote.
The GOP Virginia voters know Paul can't get the nomination; and if through some course in miracles, he did get the nod, he would be trounced by Obama.
But the Virginia social conservatives and evangelicals still voted for Paul, as the anti-Mitt candidate.

But Mitt also won about 180 delegates yesterday, bringin his total now to close to 400 of the 1100 needed.
It is not possible for any other candidate to win the delegate majority on the first convention ballot.

And the Ohio voters ended the political career of Dennis Kuchinch, the progressive Dennis the Menace.
He was soundly defeated by Toledo-based progressive Rep. Kaptur.
Kuchinch can teach, write, give speeches and become a MSNBC analyst; and his progressive voice will remain with us.
The same GOP Ohio voters gave the Congressional nod to Joe the Plumber. OMG.
Rep. Kaptur should dispatch him back to his garage.

(..Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) won a huge victory against fellow Dem. Rep. Dennis Kucinich in a member-versus-member primary, set up by the state’s redistricting. With nearly all precincts counted, “Kaptur led Kucinich 55 percent to 41 percent.”

And finally: That’s Joe the Congressman to you. Samuel “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher won the Republican nomination for a congressional seat in Ohio last night. He’ll face off against Kaptur in November. ..")

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

"For the last decade, the international community has tried diplomacy -- it hasn't worked," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told an audience at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee gala. "For six years the international community has applied sanctions -- that hasn't worked either. Israel has patiently waited for the international community to resolve this issue. We've waited for diplomacy to work, we've waited for sanctions to work. None of us can afford to wait much longer."
PM Netanyahu used words that leave no ambiguity.
Israel will stike Iran soon.
The DC war party, the neo-cons, the Israeli lobby, and the rightwing govt. in Israel will strike; and the Middle East will be in flames.
How will Egypt react? Will the current military junta, and the future Arab Brotherhood, keep the Camp David peace treaty in force? Not likely.
What about Turkey?
Will Hamas and Hezbollah fire their hundreds of rockets into Israel?
What about Russia and Putin? Russia does not need Iran's oil, but both nations have strong links, and agreements, on trade and investments. Putin now has been emboldened by his strong victory Sunday.
Putin has strong anti-US feelings; and he is an authoritarian.

What about China, which does have important energy ties with Iran?

And didn't Nostrodomas predict nuclear war in the Middle East?

Hang on to our hats!!!

Romney and Iran

Romney and Iran
If anyone doubts Romney’s neo-conservative foreign policy credentials, then read his op.ed. in yesterday’s Wash. Post. Linked below.

He assumes that Iran is building (a) military nuke. weapon(s), although the firm evidence is lacking on this conclusion.
He will rachet up the Iran sanctions.
And he will visit Jerusalem shortly after moving into the WH (” I will demonstrate our commitment to the world by making Jerusalem the destination of my first foreign trip. ..)
But he does not write that Jerusalem should continue to represent the three great religions in the world.

The neo-cons have attached themselves to Romney’s campaign, like active, fervent ideological barnacles on a wealthy cruise ship.
And these barnacles are “feathery little grabber things”, and they have grabbed hold of Mitt, Newt and very likely Santorum.
And barnacles feed on the “phytoplankon” of the billionaire pernicious,secret super-pacs.

The neo-cons barnacles that have attached themselves under the chairs of DC think tank offices, or the masthead of Bill Kristol’s Weekly Standard, are panting to return to power.
And Romney is their cats-paw to achieve that goal.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The White House has justt issued a pr release on the opening comments of Obama and Israeli's PM Bibi.

The White House has justt issued a pr release on the opening comments of Obama and Israeli's PM Bibi.

The public rhetoric is nice...warm an fuzzy.
But the war fever among the DC and Israeli rightwing is rising.
The Senate's 3 amigo neo-cons , McCain, Graham (Lindsey) and Lieberman just returned from Israel; and are pushing for an air attack against Iran.

The DC war party wants to push Obama into a war with Iran before the election.
And such an attack will have serious negative consequences for the world.

And don't believe Putin, and Russia, will not become directly involved.
Putin's election to another 6 yr. Presidency emboldens him.
Russia does not need Iran's oil, but their contracts, links, do deep.
And Iran is on Russia's border.
Sen. John McCain made the rounds of the Sunday morning political shows.
He has just come back from Israel, and his comments are preparatory to Obama’s meeting with Israel’s PM Bibi today.
Bibi wants to force the US to bomb Iran before the Nov. election.
And the Israeli PM will tell Obama that Israel will go alone if the US refuses to join in.

The Senate, led by McCain, Joe Liberman, and Lindsey Graham, voted on an Iran resolution last week that would be a functional declaration of war…”.. thirty-five Senators (20 R’s and 15 Dems) introduced Senate Resolution 380 “regarding the importance of preventing the government of Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons capability.”

McCain, Liberman and Graham are the 3 neo-conservative war hawk amigos.
They are the front line spokesmen for the DC war party.

Since most military analyses suggests that Israel does not have the bombs that could penatrate the Iranian underground bunkers, the US would have to do it.

The military realists also say that such an attack would delay Iran’s centrifuges spinning only temporarily. And the realists also argue that Iran would move rapidly to develop military nukes if it is attacked.

Obama said yesterday that we have Israel’s back…whatever that means.
Is that a covert signal that Israel should go ahead and attack Iran?

What would Iran do in the Middle East if it is attacked?
Wouldn’t it solidify the hardliners in Teheran?
It would help the apparent more hardliner, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Khamenei now has a super majority in the Iranian Parliament, and will move to eliminate the position of the Presidency, now held by the apparent wacko Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The unintended consequences of an Israeli/US attack are hugh, and mainly negative.

A good read on containment of Iran’s nuclear ambiitions, rather than a new war, is in the current neo-liberal Washington Monthly:

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

(“I think we can also unanimously conclude that Mitt Romney, for all of his good qualities, is a dork.”)

geek: both tech. and social savy
nerd: tech savy and no social skills
dork: lacking tech savy and social skills

Mitt does not appear to be a dork.
Perhaps somewhere between a geek and nerd.

"..The former Massachusetts governor won all 29 delegates in Arizona, a rare winner-take-all state. Romney and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum each won at least 11 delegates in Michigan, with eight delegates left to be awarded.

Texas Rep. Ron Paul and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich were shut out.

Michigan awards 28 of its 30 delegates based on results in individual congressional districts. Candidates get two delegates for each congressional district they win. The final two delegates are awarded proportionally, based on statewide results.

Results in four of the congressional districts were too close to call on election night...."

Yes, the Michigan results were very close, but Mitt won the state, and likely the majority of delegates.
But drilling down in the exit polls, 6 of 10 voters in Mich. were Republicans; and Mitt won these voters by 10 points...47-37%.

one in ten of the voters were Dems., engaging in mischief; and encouraged by the liberal web site daily kos and Michael Moore.
Santorum apparently beat Mitt among the Dems. by 53-17%...and these mischief makers added about 3.5 points