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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

WEASELS ON PARADE, VOLUME #3


HI again, everybody! It’s TUESDAY, so it must be time for another issue of WEASELS ON PARADE. Wow, and this week, the environment is really, REALLY target-rich! (SIIIIIIIIIIIIGH) So many, MANY weasels, so little time.

Weasel of the last TWO weeks, and a returning champion: Eric “IF YOU CAN’T FIGURE OUT HOW TO PAY FOR IT YOURSELVES, FUCKING FORGET IT” Cantor. I really pity the people that elected this brain-dead “calls himself a man”. I really, REALLY do. First thing, last week, there was an earthquake whose epicenter was located in his home district. He said Wednesday that he intends to look for offsets if federal aid is needed to help areas of his Virginia district that were damaged in an earthquake Tuesday. On Monday, after the worst set of disasters in over 70 years – a Cat 1 hurricane and the flooding which will be continuing for the next several weeks – he said Monday that whatever bills the federal government racks up paying for the recovery efforts will have to be offset with spending cuts elsewhere. "This is a time, an appropriate instance, where there is a federal government role," Cantor said on Fox News. "We will find the money if there is a need for additional monies. But those monies are not unlimited, and what we've always said is we offset that which has already been funded." While I believe that he’s partially right, the unstated threat is pretty plain: Find the money yourselves or fucking FORGET any FedGov help. I guess that means the FedGov flood insurance program as well. There’s more of this weasel’s wriggling here: http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-pn-fema-budget-20110829,0,5537241.story?track=rss

WEASEL OF THE WEEK: Our own home-grown Texas chucklehead, GovGoodHair. I swear, that boy is not only all hat and no cattle, I personally think that the hat’s about 6 sizes too small. He has stated, with no equivocation, that middle-class folks don’t pay enough taxes. He also stated, again with no equivocation, that Social Security is a “Ponzi” scheme that isn’t going to pay for itself past 2025 (economists do not agree; according to Paul Krugman and Senator Bernie Sanders, the system is solvent through 2037). Basically, he’s another in a long line of “aw, shucks, ma’am” Cooperesque Texas politicos – which isn’t to say that they have all been morons (Sam Rayburn certainly wasn’t, and neither was Lyndon Johnson), and he’s all about proving that he’s more than a pretty face. Folks, this is the man that refused 8 billion in stimulus monies, and then begged the President for at least 5 billion in aid because of the wildfires and the drought. This is a man that believes in creationism, and thinks that science is something to be afraid of. I’ll add that he’s got a degree in veterinary medicine, which is all ABOUT science.

WEASEL OF THE MONTH (AND a new contender for WEASEL OF THE YEAR): Representative Michelle “I’M RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT AND I’VE GOT MY HUSBAND’S PERMISSION TO DO IT” Bachman. This is the woman that has publicly stated I don’t know how many times that a woman should submit to her husband in all things. I somehow do NOT think that that mindset will play in Peoria, let alone in Washington, OR in the real world. She hates women who are in favour of women’s health initiatives, AIDs education and treatment, evolution, free school breakfast and lunch programs for the pre-K to 8th grade children, allowing anybody that isn’t white and rich to vote, and any and everything else that the Tea Party is in favour of that retros this country back to the Eisenhower Era of the 50’s. Her latest chuckleheaded remarks would be funny if they weren’t so disgusting: She publicly stated during a campaign rally, that the earthquake and the hurricane were her personal version of her god’s attempts to get the politicians’ attention. The direct quote is as follows: "I don't know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We've had an earthquake; we've had a hurricane. He said, "Are you going to start listening to me here?" Listen to the American people because the American people are roaring right now. They know government is on a morbid obesity diet and we've got to rein in the spending." Rep. Bachman is also in favour of drilling in environmentally sensitive land areas, to wit: she wants to get rid of the federal Environmental Protection Agency, but said she would rely on experts to determine whether drilling can be done without harming the environment, the Associated Press reports. Uh-huh. WHOSE experts, and how much attention? “Whether that is in the Everglades, or whether that is in the eastern Gulf region, or whether that's in North Dakota, we need to go where the energy is,” she told her very carefully hand-picked audiences in Florida over the weekend. “No one wants to hurt or contaminate the earth. We don't want to harm our water, our ecosystems or the air. That is a minimum bar,” she told her audiences. “From there, though, that doesn't mean that the two goals have to be mutually exclusive. We can protect the environment and do so responsibly, but we can also protect the environment and not kill jobs in America and not deny ourselves access to the energy resources that America's been so blessed with.”

LEADING CANDIDATES FOR WEASEL OF THE YEAR: #1: The racist, homophobic, whites-for-the-most (99.999%)part Tea Party. ANY member of the Tea Party, starting with Ron Paul. #2: Eric Cantor, for obvious reasons. #3: GovGoodHair. #4: Michele Bachman. #5: Sarah “CARIBOU BARBIE” Palin.

As I said, so many, MANY weasels. So very little time.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My SHAMEFUL Secret

I hate to admit it, but I've got a shameful secret. A VERY shameful secret. Since I finally came out to my mother-in-law and WonderWife, it's now my responsibility to share that shameful secret with all of you as well. Make sure you have your smelling salts firmly in hand, and please be sure you're sitting down.

Here it is: There's a Republican candidate for President that I like. Yeah. I know. Unashamed, unabashed liberal that I am, there is a Republican candidate for President that I like. Unbelievable. I scarcely believe it myself. And that person is John Huntsman. Yeah, yeah - I know. Mormon, member of the "magic underwear" contingent, 8 kids, family values, loves DOMA, etc ad nauseum. And yet, while he's not the man for my vote, he is someone that I think would make a very good President some day.

So, who is John Huntsman, and why would I like him? Well, first of all, he is neither a religious fanatic nor is he an extreme fiscal conservative of the kind that would rather let the country default than compromise his principles. He is a Mormon, sure, but he's the kind of Mormon that is more concerned with following the teachings of Jesus regarding the poor, the fatherless, the halt, blind and lame and the hungry than he is in laying up public acclaim for his ideals. He has had a distinguished career as a dedicated public servant, who has always striven to do more good than harm. He is, in other words, a very good man.

He was the 16th Governor of the state of Utah, and he's been very active in public service for a good many years. He served as a Mormon missionary for two years in Taiwan, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor's degree in international politics. He worked as a White House staff assistant for Ronald Reagan, and was appointed by George H.W. Bush as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce and later as United States Ambassador to Singapore from 1992–1993. Mr. Huntsman served as Deputy United States Trade Representative under George W. Bush, launching global trade negotiations in Doha, Qatar in 2001 and guiding the accession of China and Taiwan into the World Trade Organization. Mr. Huntsman was elected Governor of Utah in April, 2004 and won re-election in 2008 with nearly 78% of the vote. During his tenure, then Governor Huntsman cut taxes by more than $400 million (the largest tax cut in the state's history) while still maintaining a budget surplus, and Utah was named the "Best Managed State in America" by the Pew Research Center. While he was serving as governor, he also served as chairman of the Western Governors Association and as a member of the Executive Committee of the National Governors Association. On August 11, 2009, he resigned as governor to accept an appointment as the United States Ambassador to China.

His political philosophies are clear-cut and very well defined. Mr. Huntsman is a Republican, with conservative fiscal credentials and a mixture of positions on social issues. He has been described as "a conservative technocrat-optimist with moderate positions who was willing to work substantively with President Barack Obama." As governor of Utah, Mr. Huntsman listed economic development, health-care reform, education, and energy security as his top priorities. He also oversaw large tax cuts, and advocated reorganizing the way that services were distributed so that the government would not become overwhelmed by the state's fast growing population. He also proposed a plan to reform health-care, mainly through the private sector, by using tax breaks and negotiation to keep prices down. In 2007, when asked about a healthcare mandate, Huntsman said, "I'm comfortable with a requirement, call it whatever you want, but at some point we're going to have to get serious about how we deal with this issue." In a 2008 evaluation of state governors' fiscal policies, the libertarian Cato Institute praised Huntsman's conservative tax policies, ranking him in a tie for fifth place on overall fiscal policy. He was particularly lauded for his efforts to cut taxes, where he received the highest score on tax policy of all 50 governors. The report specifically highlighted his reductions of the sales tax and simplification of the tax code. However, the report concluded that: "Unfortunately, Huntsman has completely dropped the ball on spending, with per capita spending increasing at about 10 percent annually during his tenure." He defines his taxation policy as "business friendly".

Mr. Huntsman is also a signatory to the Western Climate Initiative and is a strong supporter of Israel. On foreign policy, Mr. Huntsman has repeatedly stated, "We need to continue working closely with China to convince North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program." He has also named Taiwan, human rights, and Tibet among the "areas where we have differences with China" and vowed "robust engagement" on human rights if confirmed. The governor, who lived in Taiwan as a Mormon missionary, said he felt "personally invested in the peaceful resolution of cross-strait differences, in a way that respects the wishes of the people on both Taiwan and the mainland. He has said that current US policy "supports this objective, and I have been encouraged by the recent relaxing of cross-strait tensions."

OK, I can hear y'all saying this now: "WOW, Wils, this is really exciting. (YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAWN) so, why should I care?" Good question, and one that I asked myself over and over again. John Huntsman is getting to be a person of interest to me because he is the only person in the race for the Republican nomination that isn't either a loon or a flip-flopper. Yeah, Mitt Romney isn't a loon, but he's also not a person that has consistent views from one day to the next. Mr. Romney is trying to be all things to all people. Mr. Huntsman (and Mr. Pawlenty, who is no longer in the race) aren't concerned with being all things to all people. Mr. Huntsman might be a politician, but he doesn't act like one. Mitt Romney IS a politician, just like Rick Perry (with an "E"), and both of them are consistent in only one thing: they both want to be President, and they both put that goal ahead of anything else. Or, in other words, a more extreme than usual case of "HOORAY for me, and fuck YOU".

Mr. Huntsman warned, on ABC's THIS WEEK this Sunday past, that his opponents' stances on the "extreme end" may make them "unelectable" in the general election. In an exclusive interview on "This Week," Huntsman said "there's a serious problem" with comments made by Perry in New Hampshire last week calling man-made global warming "a scientific theory that has not been proven and from my perspective is more and more being put into question" while claiming scientists have "manipulated data" on the issue.
"The minute that the Republican Party becomes the party - the anti-science party -, we have a huge problem," Mr. Huntsman told ABC News Senior White House correspondent Jake Tapper. "We lose a whole lot of people who would otherwise allow us to win the election in 2012." "When we take a position that isn't willing to embrace evolution, when we take a position that basically runs counter to what 98 of 100 climate scientists have said … about what is causing climate change and man's contribution to it, I think we find ourselves on the wrong side of science, and, therefore, in a losing position," Huntsman added. (The article can be read in its entirety here: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/jon-huntsman-swinging-gop-rivals/story?id=14349989)

How can you NOT love a candidate that tweets something like this? "To be clear, I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy." He has also said that, "We've found ourselves at the extreme ends of the political spectrum and people are crying out for us to get back to some level of sensibility."

Mr. Huntsman is a man of intellect, consistency and good will. He has been a good and a dedicated public servant for most of his career. He is NOT a lunatic, nor is he a Religious Reichian©. He is a centrist, with good ideas and the political stature that will - I hope - eventually lead folks to listen to him. He's not talking pie in the sky; everything that he is putting forth as ideas that will really help the economy and the country are things that he did in Utah that proved to be successful, like the flat tax that is still in force today. Frankly, he's scary. He's SANE.

As I said, not the man for my vote this cycle - but a good man that would make a good President. I'm just sorry that he's running right now, when he won't be taken seriously and doesn't have the proverbial snowball's chance of even getting taken seriously.

And that, gangers, is my shameful secret. I've found a Republican that I could cheerfully support and whose campaign I would be more than happy to work for - if he just weren't running NOW.












Thursday, August 18, 2011

Project Kilimanjaro

Hi, all:

BOY, do I have something wonderful to share with you all tonight. Was watching the local ABC affiliate and saw this: http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/story?section=news/local&id=8312350. To say that I was both humbled and awestruck is really NOT overstating the case.

The first link is to the video and the print story. The second link: http://wechoosetoclimb.com/ is to the group of women that are DOING the climb. This is one of those little stories that I find from time to time that make me ashamed of my grizzling about having an chronic and incurable illness. I'm not going to say anything other than that.

Please read the article, watch the video, and then go to their website. This will really, REALLY uplift your day. 


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

THE NEW ADVENTURES OF GOVGOODHAIR, CHAPTER II

Cuz’n Anne Richards once remarked about TheUnAnointedWishesHeWereKing, Georgie-Porgie Bu$hit, “Poor George . . . he was born with a silver foot in his mouth.” After the last 3 days, I’m beginning to believe that he was FAR from the only one. Witness the statements made by GovGoodHair on Monday and Tuesday of this week.

Mr. Perry spoke in Iowa on Monday, and had some nasty words for Ben Bernanke. Perry told supporters at the end of his first full day campaigning in Iowa that he wasn't a big fan of the head of the Fed, and suggested that Texans would probably beat Bernanke up if he prints anymore money before the next election. Just so y’all will know, GovGoodHair doesn’t want to “beat Bernanke up”. The punishment for treason is capitol punishment. Therefore, as Gawker's Max Read puts it, "Rick Perry Wants to Execute Ben Bernanke”. NEVER MIND that Mr. Bernanke is a Bu$hit appointee. Mr. Perry really, REALLY doesn’t like him, to wit: “If this guy prints more money between now and the election, I dunno what y’all would do to him in Iowa but we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas. Printing more money to play politics at this particular time in American history is almost treasonous in my opinion.” Wow. Just ALMOST treasonous? And playing politics with money is also ALMOST treasonous? Is that anything like being kinda pregnant or slightly dead? Just what in Hell’s name does GovGoodHair THINK has been going on with the debt ceiling debacle these past few months?

Oh, WAIT – I forgot! That was the Republican/ReThug/TeaPartiers following what passes for their own consciences and “principles” regarding allowing the United States to default rather than do something positive and proactive, and that’s HIS party, so it’s OK to play politics with money. Thanks to Republican brinksmanship, our country now has an AA+ credit rating instead of an AAA credit rating.

GovGoodHair went even further in his criticism of what passes for monetary policy in MY country at this point: “We’ve already tried this. All it’s going to be doing is devaluing the dollar in your pocket and we cannot afford that. We have to learn the lessons of the past three years that they’ve been devastating. The President of the United States has conducted an experiment on the American economy for almost the last three years, and it has gone tragically wrong and we need to send him a clear message in November of 2012 that new leadership is coming.”

Wow. REALLY.

Trust me, after this, I seriously doubt that you, GovGoodHair, will be either that candidate or that leader. Takes more than a pretty face and tough talk to be a leader. Even Karl “TurdBlossom” Rove is against him. ‘Course, the two of them have a feud that goes back a good many years. GovGoodHair didn’t much care for then Governor Bu$hit, and he also wanted to be SenatorGoodHair instead of Lt.GovGoodHair. Kay Bailey Hutchinson was the one that got the blessing, the candidacy and the money to win that Senate seat. She also got the blessing/money/backing to run for Governor (which she didn’t win, didn’t even finish.)

And then, of course, there are the remarks that GovGoodHair made about the President during his first campaign swing in Iowa. At his speech before Iowa Republicans Sunday night, he said, "One of the reasons, one of the powerful reasons, that I'm running for the presidency of the United States is to make sure that every young man and woman who puts on the uniform of this country respects highly the president of the United States." NBC News' First Read wonders, "Does that mean he doesn't think the U.S. military respects its current president? That's quite a charge from someone who isn't the commander-in-chief." Perry served in the Air Force from 1972 to 1977; he flew a C-130 in the U.S., Europe, and the Middle East. Perry called the aircraft "trash haulers," as he told the Abilene Reporter News' Sarah Kleiner Varble, describing his service as one in which he had to expect the unexpected: "There was no telling what you were going to haul around on any given day, from high value cargo like human beings to the colonel's kitty litter." (President Barack Obama has decided to forgive Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry for his not-so-nice remarks about the current administration, such as calling the President too big of a wimp to act as commander in chief, just this one time, because after all, GovGoodHair is new at this whole running for president thing. "This isn't like running for governor, running for senator, running for congress, but I'll cut him some slack, he's only been at it a few days now," the President told CNN's Wolf Blitzer in an interview today.

Wow. I know, I’ve been using that word a LOT this time, but it’s the only word I know that really covers the subject. TALK about an administered slap, PLUS an extremely condescending pat on the head! GOT to love the finesse.

GovGoodHair didn’t mention getting shot at, because one of the places he did not fly was Vietnam. As a military man, this clown surely knows that the Great American Manly Man Contest is not merely between those who went to boot camp and those who did not. There's a manliness hierarchy within the military, too. IF GovGoodHair is going to be stupid enough to argue that a wartime commander-in-chief must have military service, couldn't the case also be made that the commander-in-chief must have had that military service in a war? And, furthermore, if he just has to have served in a war, shouldn't he have been combat arms? And if he's combat arms, shouldn't he have been in the infantry, to understand what it's like kicking in doors?

Well, gangers, there is this: Flying a plane, or a cargo plane, doesn’t prove anything one way or the other. Being a pilot of any kind of plane doesn’t make you an action hero. Being an “action hero” doesn’t qualify you to be President, either. Look at Dwight Eisenhower, as a prime example of why military men don’t always make the best or the most effective Presidents. Dwight D. Eisenhower was a nice man who was also a ruthless, cold-blooded killer, as is usually the case with upper-level military people. There is nothing wrong with being that way. Remember what General George Patton had to say about that? Being a military man who is also the Commander-in-Chief might be a good idea during a time of war, although FDR (as much as I despise that parlour pinko and idea thief) was probably the best man for the job at the time of WWII. Having a military man as the President can be, and in Eisenhower’s case, was in a good many ways, an absolute disaster.

You see, democracy is not a black and white proposition, such as the military hierarchy, with a manual to cover every contingency. Democracy is not capable of being squished into a military mold, because that military mold is very straight-line and rules-dominated. A true democracy is messy, and it’s loud and opinionated, plus it’s all about compromise and shades of grey. Politics is the art of the compromise, and if everybody is unhappy about the outcome, then the compromise is usually a good one. Nobody gets everything they want, but they all get SOME of what they want. That’s what most career military men can’t seem to understand: you cannot ORDER Congress to do anything. You can suggest, you can advise, you can even threaten, but you CANNOT order Congress to do anything that they aren’t inclined to do in the first place.

So, I’m not nearly as worried about GovGoodHair’s running for the Presidency as I was a couple of days ago. Yes, I think he’s going to get the nomination. No, I don’t think that he’s going to win. About the only way that he could truly give the President a run for the money would be to have Mitt Romney on the ticket with him. Kinda like Clinton/Gore. One pretty, charismatic leader, and one handsome, solemn backup. GovGoodHair didn’t create all the jobs that he’s taking credit for. The state economy has just been that good.

Later on this week, I’ll tell you all about what I would make talking points and platform planks if I were running for either party’s nomination.

Happy Wednesday, all!



Sunday, August 14, 2011

HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND ENBRACE THE NEW REVULSION: THE NEW ADVENTURES OF GOVGOODHAIR


I’m not a conspiracy theory nutzoid. Really, I’m not. I’m always up for a good conspiracy theory, like what’s promulgated on Jesse Ventura’s show. It’s fun to speculate, theorize and enjoy some of the crazier ravings that come out of some of these theories. I honestly do NOT see the boogieman under the bed, and I also don’t check in the closet or under the bed to see if there really ARE boogiemen there. Unfortunately, there’s a new conspiracy theory out there that seems to be the truth, and it scares me to death. The boogieman might actually be real.

Those of you that read my blog posts and columns on a fairly regular basis know that I’ve got about as much use for the fundie pastors as I do for most critters of their contemptible ilk. I have opined, in the past, that it’s a damned good thing that none of the fundies running around loose can get over their differences long enough to form one united front to the country, because that’s about the single most dangerous thing that I can think of that could happen here in this country. On 9/13/01, during a broadcast of The 700 Club, both Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell categorically stated that the atrocities that were perpetrated on 9/11/01 were OUR FAULT as a country, that their version of god was raining fire down upon us and killing our citizens because we weren’t following strict Old Testament rules of law, and that the Muslims were all satanic. They called for an end to religious sectarianism, and ordered the country to go back to being the Christian nation that we’d been set up as in the first place.

Commentary as follows: Pat Robertson said “we have sinned against God, that the Supreme Court has insulted God over and over, that we (America) have allowed rampant pornography and secularism, taken God out of the schools, taken away the Ten Commandments, legalized abortion. We have insulted God at the highest level of our government" and that "this happened because we lost God's protection and now we're vulnerable...". He admonished us to humble ourselves, pray and turn from "wicked ways", and that "we must come back to God as a people". He said, "If you're not right with God, get yourself right with God" and that "it happened because people are evil but it also happened because God lifted his protection of us...we must have a spiritual revival". He also blamed "sexual perversion", evil and the "pervading secularism" that is exported through the Internet and through our films.

He also talked with Jerry Falwell. Mr. Falwell said "the Lord has protected us the past 225 years...I fear that this is just the beginning...this could be minuscule if God continues to lift the curtain and allow our enemies in. He also said that "the ACLU's gotta take a lot of blame for this" for "throwing God out of the public square" and out of schools.

Mr. Falwell also said, "The pagans, abortionists, feminists, gays and lesbians...the ACLU, People For the American Way and all those that tried to secularize America -you helped that happen" to which Mr. Robertson replied, "I concur".

Further commentary by folks opposed to this silly and egregious nonsense: "As if our country has not suffered enough at the hands of religious fanatics with the recent terrorist attacks, we are now treated to even more hatred cloaked in the mantle of religion, courtesy of Jerry Falwell," said Ed Buckner, Executive Director of the Council for Secular Humanism. "I can't help wondering how the family and friends of David Charlebois, the gay co-pilot who lost his life on the American Airlines jet that crashed into the Pentagon, feel when they hear Falwell's hateful remarks," said D.J. Grothe, Field Director for the Council for Secular Humanism. "We are all grieving at this time. Some of us take comfort in the solace of their religious beliefs, but many others of us are able to express our compassion without recourse to religion. Everyone, religious or nonreligious should be respected at this time," added Grothe.

These two (Falwell and Robertson) apologized (sort of), BUT once the idea of playing the “blame game” was out there, well, it never really went away. Look at the anti-gay laws that were passed in Uganda. If you’re gay, or even accused of BEING gay, the Religious Reichians© of that country have the legal right and the legal mandate to arrest you, harass you and kill you. Guess where that idea came from? The C Street religious barracks owned by The Family. A little background on this bunch of vile opportunists, called The Family: Family men are more than hypocritical. They're followers of a political religion that embraces elitism, disdains democracy, and pursues power for its members the better to "advance the Kingdom." They say they're working for Jesus, but their Christ is a power-hungry, inside-the-Beltway savior not many churchgoers would recognize. Sexual peccadilloes aside, the Family acts today like the most powerful lobby in America that isn't registered as a lobby - and is thus immune from the scrutiny attending the other powerful organizations like Big Pharma and Big Insurance that exert pressure on public policy.

The Family likes to call itself a "Christian Mafia," but it actually began 74 years ago as an anti-New Deal coalition of businessmen convinced that organized labor was under the sway of Satan. The Great Depression, they believed, was a punishment from God for what they viewed as FDR's socialism. The Family's goal was the "consecration" of America to God, first through the repeal of New Deal reforms, then through the aggressive expansion of American power during the Cold War. They called this a "Worldwide Spiritual Offensive," but in Washington, it amounted to the nation's first fundamentalist lobby. Early participants included Southern Sens. Strom Thurmond, Herman Talmadge and Absalom Willis Robertson (Pat Robertson's father). Membership lists stored in the Family's archive at the Billy Graham Center at evangelical Wheaton College in Illinois show active participation at any given time over the years by dozens of congressmen.

Well, OK, and so what? I can hear you all thinking. And this ties up to GovGoodHair and HIS run for the Presidency how? GLAD you asked.

Many of the pastors that were invited to GovGoodHair’s PrayAThon on Saturday, August 6th are part of a little-known, very specific religious and political movement: The New Apostolic Reformation. Pastors in the movement believe themselves to be modern day prophets or apostles, directly linked to God. Their aim is "to infiltrate government, and Rick Perry might be their man." (The rest of the article can be viewed here: http://www.texasobserver.org/cover-story/rick-perrys-army-of-god).

Are you starting to see a pattern here? GovGoodHair hosting what can only charitably – VERY charitably – called “men of god”, GovGoodHair getting into the Presidential race ONLY after praying over his participation and getting the green light from his version of god, GovGoodHair doing exactly what the Bible specifically exhorts AGAINST, making a public show of his “piety”, GovGoodHair specifically stating that we all must turn back to god – HIS version of god, that is – and BEG for forgiveness for whatever it is we’re supposed to have done wrong as a country.

That means that all of us, female AND male, that support women’s health issues, the social safety net being left the fuck alone, free and equal voter registration, and a host of other social initiatives including getting rid of DOMA, DADT, and including marriage between same-sex couples, plus the right to be left the fuck ALONE by the nascent American Taliban are in some seriously deep trouble. This country was NOT founded by christians. It was founded by a polyglot group of folks that were all determined to NOT have a state ruled by religion – ANY religion. Of the 55 delegates to the 1787 Constitutional Convention, 49 were Protestants, and three were Roman Catholics (C. Carroll, D. Carroll, and Fitzsimons). Among the Protestant delegates to the Constitutional Convention, 28 were Church of England (or Episcopalian, after the American Revolutionary War was won), eight were Presbyterians, seven were Congregationalists, two were Lutherans, two were Dutch Reformed, and two were Methodists. A few prominent Founding Fathers were anti-clerical Christians, such as Thomas Jefferson (who created the so-called "Jefferson Bible") and Benjamin Franklin. A few others (most notably Thomas Paine) were deists, or at least held beliefs very similar to those of deists. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Founding_Fathers_of_the_United_States)

We have never had a Taliban-like religious movement in this country – until the last 3 years, when we overwhelmingly elected a black man to be our leader. That’s where a lot of this nonsense is coming from. We have, for the first time, a woman running for office who has publicly stated that a woman MUST submit to her husband in all things and in all ways. Wonder how that would play if she were elected President? I somehow do NOT think that Dr. Bachman could do as good a job or be as unobtrusive as Nancy Reagan or Edith Wilson.

As for GovGoodHair: Even the Republican strategists here IN TEXAS despise the man, and so do most of his constituents. He isn’t a flip-flopper, even if it seems like he has been flip-flopping on his entry into the Presidential arena. All of his pretended hesitancy in that particular area has served the same purpose as CaribouBarbie’s nonsense: they are both branded quite nicely, they are both or are both perceived as religious fundies, and they are both the darlings of the ReThugs/TeaPartiers/ReligiousReichians©.

Rick Perry is pretty much all hat and no cattle. He is, as are most Texas politicians, a consummate liar with as many faces as he needs to convince folks that he really is all things to all people. He’s shrewd, he’s cunning, and he has charisma. He is what Mitt Romney wishes he were.

Know what scares the shit out of me? A Perry/Palin Presidential ticket.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

IF IT AIN’T BROKE, WHY DO *THEY* WANT TO FIX IT? (OR GET RID OF IT)


It seems that every 10 or so years, when the Republicans/ReThugs/TeaPartiers are in power, they attack our very much tattered and worn social safety net. The Paul Ryan Budget with its Medicare voucher system is just the latest (and the most egregious) in a very long series of attacks. The ultimate goal, of course, is to completely privatize all the social welfare programs so that the private sector that has bought and paid for most if not all of the “elected” officials can make even more obscene amounts of money for themselves and their shareholders. Let’s take a look at what that’s going to entail, shall we?


I did quite a bit of research on Social Security when the pResident Bu$hit started making noises about privatization early on in his first term, and the numbers that I came up with really surprized me. For one thing, Social Security pays for itself, and usually has a cash surplus. The funds are invested in what are known as “special” Treasury securities, which simply means that, unlike the rest of the world, the Social Security Administration can redeem them whenever it wants to, if it needs the money to cover unexpected expenses, and this will be done at full face value. That’s 100 cents per dollar. Average interest on the reserve is at least 5 – 7 points over market value. While this isn’t a whole lot of money in the general scheme of things, it’s a fairly hefty chunk of change, which is held in trust, and, supposedly, is completely untouchable by anybody except the Social Security Administration, and the FedGov.

Unfortunately, when the pols on either side of the aisle start blabbering on about “balancing the budget”, they are actually slobbering over the prospect of being able to get their greedy little hands on the excess Social Security taxes that are being collected and held against future need. From what I was able to find out, this money is being double-counted, once as reserve, and once as revenue.

Don't FedGov accountants have FUN?

I actually don’t have a problem with privatization, up to a point. I believe that all of us in our 50s and 60s that are looking toward the future when we can retire, and when all we’ll have for the most part is the little bit of money that the FedGov helped us save over the years, should get full benefits as they are currently set up. I also believe that, IF a company such as The Hartford, which is basically a company that manages annuities and pensions were to take over half of the Social Security accounts of everybody that’s, say, 45 or younger and managed the money while allowing the owner of the account to withdraw said monies after a 10 year investiture while leaving the rest of the Social Security safety net firmly in place, that this MIGHT be a good thing. Set up each account like a trust fund, for example, where after that 10 years (or whatever period of time is set up) the owner of the account can draw a quarterly check for the interest that’s accrued in the account IF THEY WANT TO DO SO. The other safeguard MUST be that the owner of the account cannot draw against the account other than the quarterly interest payments for any reason whatsoever. Period. Otherwise, we’d have the housing mess all over again.

I do NOT believe that, under any circumstances, all of a person’s Social Security money should be turned over to that person to do with as she/he pleases. Trust me on this one, gangers; some folks would do great, most would do OK, and at least 20% would lose every penny. Which, incidentally, is why I say that only HALF of the Social Security monies collected would go into the personal account. There would at least be a little something for the individual to collect, even if it wasn’t a lot.

We don’t need a balanced budget that is predicated on doing away with our social safety net. We don’t need a balanced budget amendment, either. I agree that there is a lot of waste and duplication in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and that reforming the system to get rid of the waste and duplication would result in a lot more money being available. I do NOT agree with the chuckleheaded notion that the minute that the three programs are made into Six Sigma versions of themselves and all that extra money is available, that said money needs to immediately be taken out OF the systems and spent. It should, rather, go into the trusts that were set up to handle it where it will earn interest and provide a hedge against the future.

There are other problems with privatization as well that I haven’t heard anybody talking about at all. One of them is the generational one: Who is going to pay for TWO systems while the privatization is being phased in? I’ll tell you who: the younger generation, people in their 40s, early 50s and younger. So, where’s the benefit in making these folks into poverty-stricken peons? The answer is simple: there IS no benefit, either to the folks that are supporting the systems, plural, while impoverishing themselves, or the folks that are already drawing benefits from the systems, plural.

The real tragedy is that, given sufficient impetus, the TeaPartiers/ReThugs and even a few Republicans of the old school really WOULD rather that people starved to death in the heat and the dark. After all, what good are all these old people? Or the people that get SSI because they’re disabled. Again, what good are *THEY*? And why are they hanging around, taking up space and wasting money and resources that they really shouldn’t be getting? Yes, I’ve actually heard that argument made, and so has everybody else. Listen to what Paul Ryan says, for example, or Michele Bachman. Problem is, we’re just not dying off fast enough. I’ve long thought that the Republican Party and its various permutations didn’t really give a shit about the people that they were elected to serve; with the TeaPartiers, it’s not a thought any more. It’s a fact of life that should serve as a reality check for us all.

We’ve wasted tens of billions of dollars in two wars, rebuilding the infrastructures of two countries that would rather see us all dead. Leon Panetta bluntly told the President the other day that he (Panetta) would not allow the defense budget to be cut. Period. Yeah. Right. Take 20 billion out of the defense budget, and we could pay for every bit of infrastructure repair that is needed in OUR country, incidentally putting a minimum of 6 million people to work. Take 2 trillion dollars of the money that is currently being wasted in Afghanistan and Iraq, and apply that to our country’s social safety net. Shoot, we could fund Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid for the next 100 years, even with a 1000% increase in benefits, if we did something like that. Here’s another way to save at least 2 trillion MORE dollars: Get rid of the paper checks; put EVERYTHING on line. Use check-chasing cards for the folks that are used to dealing with that permutation of the financial network, and educate the rest of the people in how to use them.

Of course, that’s not ever going to happen. After all, why should it? Goodness, if we as a country did something like that, we’d be able to pay for the social welfare network. We’d also be able to fund universal health care – but that’s another column.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

BEEN A BUSY COUPLE OF WEEKS HERE

Hi, all:

Sorry that I haven't been keeping up here with the blog lately. It's been a busy couple of weeks here at the casa Bennett - all good, but BUSY.

First of all, WonderWife has a new job. She's actually working NORMAL HUMAN HOURS. From 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. In an OFFICE, with strange things like air conditioning, and hot and cold running water - and an INDOOR flush toilet. I swear, it's amazing what folks come up with nowadays! Plus a kitchen where she can actually use a real, LIVE microwave to heat her lunch. OH, and an office staff that actually likes each other, and who seem to like her as well. Not as much money, but enough to at least pay the bills and take us out to eat a couple of times a month. She's happy, so of course I'M happy.

Secondly, been trying with all my might and main to get FEATHERED LIZARDS OF THE DAWN finished, edited, SpellChecked, beta-read and ready for (drum roll) my debut as an indie author. I thought that I had a contract with a publishing house, and they certainly ACTED like they were interested. Had an editor, and there was a lot of talk back and forth for about 2 months - until there wasn't any talking at all, and they started to back off. Didn't get offered a contract. Silly ol' me, I didn't have any HOT SEXXY whatEVERS in the book. Instead, I had two pairs of GLBT folks in committed relationships who actually loved their partners. I was told that same-sex stable relationships were boring without all the sex that (presumably) goes on in the bedroom, or in the kitchen, or outside on the picnic table, and of course the four people just HAD to be having secret adulterous sex with each other's partners, and so on and so forth, plus of course going out to the clubs every night, screwing around with anonymous partners, and STILL having the energy the next day to be veterinarians. Well, gangers, that's just not realistic. Sorry, but it isn't. Most of the GLBT community settles down (and in most cases a lot longer than our heterosexual counterparts). Don't get me wrong; WonderWife and I have a very active sex life, but it doesn't include screwing around outside our marriage (yes, we are legally married, in the state of Texas, with a legal Texas marriage license, which is a tale for another time). Oh, and I was also told that my characters were too old to be interesting and that they had to be 20-something, beautiful and accomplished. I asked them how they thought that vets were actually going to be through with school and veterinary school before the age of 25, to which they answered Well, this is fantasy, so make it happen. I didn't, and they decided that I wasn't an author that they were interested in either working with or publishing. C'est la vie.

Thirdly, my brother-in-law recently died, and we've been dealing with THAT as well. I liked Les, what little I knew about him, and what little time we spent with him, and I'll miss my bridge partner. My wonderful mother-in-law is having a hard time dealing with his death. Parents aren't supposed to outlive their children.

Finally, the heat here in Texas has caused a nasty flare-up in my stupid chronic disease, and I haven't been able to work up anything except a hard sweat. You KNOW you're in trouble when you've got the A/C set on 84 degrees, and the A/C runs continuously without cycling. We bought a couple of window units, and I usually turn the central unit off at 1:00 PM and don't restart it until WonderWife gets home at around 6:00 PMish. With the window units, we at least have puddles of somewhat cool air. I am really, REALLY tired of this drought, which has dragged on now for almost 2 years, ever since Hurricane Ike blew through here. I guess that we're going to have to get another hurricane through here to end the drought and bring down the temps.

We DID get out last Friday to eat dinner and go to a movie, though. Imagine that: we actually went to a MOVIE. The popcorn was AWFUL, but the movie was well worth the price of admission. I'll unreservedly recommend it to anybody that wants to listen. COWBOYS AND ALIENS, go see it. It's well worth the price of admission. I'll warn you now, you'll be completely confused until the last about 20 minutes of the show, when everything comes together and it all makes logical sense. Go see it! I mean, Harrison Ford AND Daniel Craig (who is wasted as James Bond, in my humble opinion)? In the same movie? AND it's a Western adventure, with killer aliens? GO!

Oh, and one other thing: If any of y'all out there are interested in beta-reading my effort, please let me know. I really need folks that are going to read the book and tear it apart if it warrants it. I SO don't want to be one of these folks that isn't interested in anything other than the "hip hip hoorays" that they get from their friends and family members.

Y'all have an interesting weekend, now. Y'hear?