Saturday, February 25, 2012

Posts Today

My WISP must have been blown away by yesterady's storm.  So, until it returns, I will not be posting much if anything--dailup sucks.

Friday, February 24, 2012

The vest is pure santorum


Federal Elections Part III


I accept as a given that any attempts to limit the amount of money people want to spend on elections is futile.  We cannot effectively limit cash.  It’s even been declared speech by the Supreme Court.  I am surprized that any rules still exist.  I’ll be patient.  They will all go by the board.  
I also accept as a given that pols accept two basic kinds of money, large money and small money.  Small money, for example, is no more than $250 annually to all of a candidate’s campaign funds, PACs and whatever else a candidate shills, is clean money.  No single contribution makes or breaks a candidate.  Large money is when donors give the max and encourage their friends to do likewise.  That is money the talks, it says, “Here, and in return…”  
Large money is the source of government ineffectiveness and government corruption.  I’ll let others argue that it’s not.  I accept that it is.  Money buys things.  Pols are things.  Pols are bought.  I wonder if Goldmans has figured out a way to securitize pols and sell them to investors?
We cannot beat money per se.  We cannot limit its flow. However there a few reasonable things we can do to mitigate the effects of the cash.  
First, why don’t we trade existing law that limits campaign fundraising for a bit of calendar and a bit of geography?  It’s a small thing to ask to gain unlimited cash.  I’m sure our pols will not object--they will be able to collect more cash.
A calendar is imposed on donations.  We suggest a modest rule.  Donations can only be collected during the calendar year in which a pol is running for election.  During that year, from January 1st to December 31st, unlimited amounts of cash can be collected.  The cash can be spent any way the candidate wishes to spend it.  The cash can be carried over to the next election.  The cash belongs to the candidate, period.  However, as we made a trade on election administration, both trades call for a return of comprehensive accounting.  
Pols have to say who the money came from, how much was given, when it was given, how it was given, where it was received and by whom.  Names and addresses have to be collected.  The donations have to be reported within 24 hours or less of receipt.  The reporting will be made into a public database.
Since we all know that corporations are really made up of people, when a corporation makes an unlimited donation, the name of the company, plus the names of the CEO, Chairman of the Board and CFO must also be reported.  Similarly with any organization that donates, the names of those who make financial decisions must be reported.  It’s a small price to ask for unlimited cash.  Give your money, give your name and address.  Who can object to this? 
As money flows in, it also flows out for one year.  Election cycles are one year long.  Money can flow for 365 days.  Then the flow ends.  It awaits the next election cycle.  Campaign money is just that, campaign money.  Oh, those odd little fund raising groups like the RCCC and DCCC have to follow the same rules.  They get one year a term to be as greedy as they may.  Then it stops.  Ditto the Prez.
For example all the House members and their PACs during an election year go bonkers.  They rake cash in, they spend it, and they bank it.  As the year ends, they become deaf dumb and blind vis a vis campaign funds.  For one year, they try to govern.  For one year they behave as they do today.  We receive a 50% improvement in our Representatives. 
In the Senate the same obtains.  However we have to remember the Senate is elected in thirds.  The one-third that is elected in a cycle, has one year to grab all the fiscal gusto they can.  Then, upon victory, they end all campaign cash activity.  The winner have five years to SenatorialIn the sixth year it would be grab every gold ring you can.  
In the Senate, this would allow every other year to be a year in which all 100 members could live up their oaths of office since no one would be running for office.  In the other on years, one-third would be running.  With this change the Senate might again becomes the world’s greatest deliberative body instead of enjoying it’s status as the world’s greatest debilitative body.  We would receive a 33% improvement in our Senators.  
I almost forgot.  Remember that public database that documents the money pols collect?  It’s also used to account for every expenditure.  Every penny in has to accounted for.  If a penny is spent it has to be accounted for, in detail.  How much detail, well have you ever had to deal with an accountant from hell?  We can discuss the accounting at another time.  
As unlimited money comes in and it accounted for election years we also have to bring in geography.  Elections are local events.  We have House Districts and States.  Representatives serve Districts of about 708,000 people.  Senators serve entire states.  I have never understood anyone raising money outside their district or state.  
I bet you have anticipated the next exchange.  A pol can collect unlimited cash during an election year as long as it comes from within the jurisdiction he serves.  Reps are restricted to funds from any entity in his district.  Similarly Senators are restricted to donors from his state alone.
Obviously, the President is a national office.  Hence a candidate to the top slot can take cash from anyone in the United States.  His reach is limited but his hands can hold as much cash as folks want to give him.  It’s all his.  Of course, that means the first three years he’s in office, he can be presidential since campaign finance cannot begin until January 1 of his election year cycle.  Gee, a 75% improvement in the presidency!
Let’s Review.  As We the People use the Presidential Election Fund and the FEC to fund all elections, We expect all candidates will be treated fairly.  We change how and when we have elections.  Granted this is driven by federal elections.  I assume states and localities will follow the same rules in all of their elections, both those timed with the federal and the off years.  It’s a small price to pay for all the money that will be granted to states and localities.  It’s a reasonable swap, isn’t it? 
We also trade away existing finance laws.  In exchange for unlimited campaign cash, we ask for a bit of accounting, a calendar, and some geography.  We expect campaign cash to be fully accounted for, in public.  Similarly, we ask for a bit of calendar and geography based rules.  These rules not to limit the how much cash can be accepted, but merely the when and where is can be banked.  It seems to a fair trade.  It might make things better, I doubt it could make things worse.  
Now about the advertising...

Where Was Darwin When We Needed Him?

Someone bred these dolts.

In Orlando, another crowd riots over ... a pair of sneakers

My, My

Tuesday's "debate" allowed the Trogs to strut their stuff on TV.  They did.  Oh, Santorum appears to have unloaded some santorum on the stage.   Michiganders now find he's a bit too frothy for their tastes.   Post "debate" polls show Willard up and the other guy down.

Michigan polls show Romney gained after GOP debate

Enjoy Your Tax Expenditures?

What are they?  Oh, they are deductions and loopholes that reduce taxable income.  For example, one a lot of taxpayers use is the home mortgage deduction.  It's a tax expenditure, it's tax spending.  They're all good, right?  Well,

Tax spending vs. government spending

Didn't She Bring It On Herslef?

I guess as she dished it out, she didn't expect any blowback.  Dim bulb?  You betcha!

Emails show Palin wanted to leave Alaska governor’s job months before she resigned

Annals of Self-Loathing

Rick Santorum winning more support from Republican women

Oh, it's not just that they are backing Santorum, but that they are Republicans in the first place.

Strategic Victory Watch -- War #1

Gee, we could use the Afghan outrage over a book being burned to get the hell out of their Rubble.  Instead of a verbal apologize, let's really apologize and leave.  What we cannot take out, we destroy.  We cut off all U.S. tax dollars going to Afghanistan.  We're sorry we came.  We're sorry we blew the crap out of your rubble.  We're sorry we killed  a lot of you.  We're really sorry about the book, we know that's more important to y'all than anything else, so adios and we've closed your checking account.

Afghans resume protests over Quran burnings

Ponder This

I didn't expect any large number of people in this nation to live on $2 a day.  To the extent we tolerate this, we're dysfunctional as a people.  We're more dysfunctional than I thought.  Maybe we're not really a people after all.

More than 1.4 million families live on $2 a day per person

It's Still The Old Dumbshit State

After getting an understanding what they were really endorsing, the Gov. of Virginia and some of the Trogs who supported the vaginal probe ultrasound bill backed off.  Gee, they did not have any knowledge of what they has said "yes" to?

I think the only reason any of the legislative twits changed their mind was because they were showing the world that they and their constituents are dumbshits.  The governor was just trying to be popular, he goes where the votes pile up.  Come on, have you forgotten he's a Pat Roberson educated shyster.   I'd be embarrassed to be a GOP Delegate.

Nitty-gritty knocked Va. abortion bill off the fast track

New Weekend Bobble-Head On MSNBC

Melissa Harris-Perry has a gig, Saturdays and Sundays, on MSNBC.  Her show opened last weekend.  She has a two hour slot following Chris Hayes' show, "UP."  I see it from 10a.m. to noon, EST.  I enjoy Chris Hayes' show, Ms. Harris-Perry was a regular guest.  I found whenever she was on a panel, it was a better show.  I understand why MSNBC took a chance on her.

I watched both of her opening shows.  They were, for the most part, very good.  She is worth listening to.  I'll keep the DVR set to record her show along with all the others I wade through on the weekend.  It was nice to have good, quiet, polite, but engaging discussion of politics and life.  She almost runs a discussion as well as Fareed Zakaria on CNN.

Here's more on her show--Melissa Harris-Perry of MSNBC gives new face to cable news

The Land of Reason Expands a Skosh

Actually, one more state has decided that human rights cannot be denied by government to any group of people.  The Jesus jockeys are going to pout, but who really cares about them. They keep forgetting god made us all and gave every damn one of us the same unalienable rights.   I used to think "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers," was a good idea. Now, I may have to modify Shakespeare, "The first thing we do, let's kill all the prelates."  Hm, in addition to prelates would it be a good idea to add in Republicans?  That may be extreme.

Maryland Senate passes same-sex marriage bill

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Well it has bugs

Medicare has rolled out it's fraud busting computer system.  They've spent about $100 million so far.  They turned the crank and the system saved taxpayers $7,500 since last Summer.  Now that's some bodacious fraud prevention.

Oh, Virginians, note the prime contractor is Northrop Grumman--that's the same group that has been "improving" the State's computer systems for the past few years.  It appears they have used the same management skills with CMS that they have used in Virginia.

Any bets on how much the system will cost before someone says "kill it" or "it's done, live with it?"  It's going to be at least a $450 million system and will be accepted in three years.  At that time they will go after a new state of the art system.  Northrop has a 75% chance of being the new system vendor.  Life on federal teat is sweet.

INSIDE WASHINGTON: Slow start for Medicare’s new fraud-busting computer disappoints lawmakers

Einstein still rocks, speed of lightwise, that is

CERN gave the world neutrinos zipping along a whole lot faster than a speeding photon.  A lot of folks thought it might be a good idea to look at the results, the methods, and the machines before we dethroned Albert.

Uh, now CERN suggests that a couple of little problems means the neutrinos were going even faster, the same as or slower than the speed fo light.  They don't know.  They will have to re-run the test but will first have tighten up a few nuts here and a couple of bolts there.

CERN neutrino shock may be down to faulty connector

The Financial Mess

I think it's fairly obvious our economic collapse was enabled by Congress and various White Houses over the years.  After systematically deregulating Wall Street and the Banks, by 2008, they saw the fruits of their governance.  The bottom fell out of damn near everything.

Our pols created the environment.  Our pols invited the greedheads in.  Our pols collected campaign donations.  Our pols may have even been aghast, I'm not sure.  In the face of a return to 1929, they decided to re-regulate the finance industry.

It scored political points to be for regulation.  They passed Dodd-Frank.  That was a mistake.  It's impossible to implement and will not do the regulatory job.  There was a simpler solution, all they had to do was repeal the repeal of Glass-Stegaell.  They did not.

I think our pols do not really want to return to a decently regulated financial industry, such regulation would cut into donations, hence Dodd-Frank.   I might be too cynical.  Am I?  

Federal Elections Part II


In Part I, I came to the conclusion we cannot get money out of politics.  It does not matter how we try, money will find a crack, a loophole, a hole and flow to pols.  A small stream seems to become a torrent within one election cycle.  No one can stop the tide.
Since we cannot stop the flow, we need to end any pretenses that we can.  The presidential election fund, in particular, needs to be stopped.  We don’t actually end the fund, we merely redirect the money.
The agency that administers the fund does not even need to be renamed since the Federal Election Commission will take over the funding of all election operations in our states and localities.  The FEC will distribute money to pay for the people, places and stuff needed to administer an election.  
The Federal Government, We the People, will pay for all of our elections.  States, counties, and localities will be given money by the FEC.  It will take a bit more than the current check off of $3.  Perhaps, $10 a year for every tax filer is a reasonable amount.  If more is needed, that’s okay.  It’s a sensible expense that benefits us all.  
States, counties and other jurisdictions spend a small mountain of money to run elections.  In the interest of fair, uniform elections from coast to coast, We the People, will pay for them all.  We will pay money to each organization that administers and runs elections.  We will not merely cut 50 checks, akin to a block grant, to cover each State’s costs.  I’m sorry, I do not quite trust the States to insure that the money will be spent as intended.  Hence, many more than 50 payments a year will be made.  
As we do this, we ask for a return on our national investment in elections.  This is only fair.  It’s akin to the return expected by large donors to political campaigns.   We pay.  We demand.  So what should we demand? 
We demand ownership of the entire election apparatus.  We buy the voting process from A to Z.  We buy the voter registration laws.  We buy the voter ID laws.  We transform voting into one uniform process in every jurisdiction in our nation.  We set the rules and let the states implement them, but it’s more of a fully funded mandate than not.  Our goal is to fully realize the idea of one person, one vote.  It will take time, but we will have one standard to become a voter, and one standard to cast a vote.  It will be the same in every jurisdiction.  
We buy the elections proper.  We pay for the primaries and general elections.  As we pay for them we expect a few changes in their structure.  Political primaries will be restructured.  
We will require that all primaries for any office follow a set of standards for ballot access and follow the same calendar of events.  In other words, primaries, become a series of nationally scheduled elections.  States and localities use the same calendar for state and local only elections.  The election process will be a multiple part annual event.  
The mechanics of elections will become uniform.  Similarly ballot access is also standardized.  Elections, the primaries, become series of runoff and general elections.  We open the ballot to anyone who wants to run for an office as long as they meet a couple of requirements.
To become a primary candidate an individual must pay a filing fee.  This needs to be small enough to encourage people to run for office, but large enough to deter frivolous pursuits.  Perhaps in the $100-$1,000 range, perhaps more.  Oh, filing fees are sent back to the FEC and are not retained at the State, local or party level.  
Along with the filing fee, potential candidates will have to demonstrate that they are serious candidates.  They will have to submit petitions signed by registered voters in their jurisdiction who approve of the individuals run for office.   
By accepting the funds to run elections, States and localities agree to a runoff primary structure with reasonable ballot access requirements.  If this sounds as though it might challenge the current two party structure, well, it might, but it might not too.  
After candidates get on the ballot, when do we have elections?  First, we end Tuesday elections.  All elections become weekend activities.  People may vote on Saturday or Sunday.  Polls will open late, say 10 a.m. but will stay open late, say 10 p.m.  We hope this will increase voting participation.  It would be delightful to see at least 75% turnouts for every election.  We might hit 85% for presidential elections.  
Besides changing ballot access and when we vote, we increase the number of elections by one.  The first election, is the runoff primary election.  Any number of people can be on the ballot.  It is open to any qualified candidate.  That means there might be multiple Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, etc.  The ballot is composed of people who met the ballot access rules.  There is no party qualification per se.  There is will no longer be any government sanctioned party primaries.
If parties wish to privately convene to qualify people for the ballot, that’s great.  However, it’s all party money that is involved.  No tax dollars can be used to assist a party in any way.  Nothing in kind can go from the state to a party.   Some states use variations on runoff primaries already, we can, as we go forward see how well they have done and learn from their experiences.
Now that we have a ballot ready for weekend voting, what weekends will become national voting weekends?  The first primary is the elimination runoff vote.  The next election will be the runoff that establishes the final two or more candidates who go on to the general election.  To borrow from sports, it’s similar to having quarter finals, semi finals and the championship game, but it’s elections for public office. 
The first primary, or quarter final, election be held on the weekend preceding April 15th.   Given that the 15th is tax day, it may make folks a bit more sensitive for whom they cast their ballots.
The first primary candidates are winnowed for the next runoff elimination election.  There will need to be some rules that determine how many go forward.  At least half and no fewer than four seems reasonable.  However, if half is a number such as fifty, sixty or more, we will need a way to keep it sensible, 4-15 candidates or so seems manageable.  
At any rate, the winnowed slate will continue to a run-off, the semi-finals.  The run-off will yield the final two (or three if you’d rather) that head to the finals or general election.  The second run-off election should occur about July 4th.   A weekend before or when the 4th is on a weekend seems to be a good date.  The run-off yields the candidates for the general election.
The general election is still helped in November, but it’s on the first full weekend in November.  Two days of voting to select a Senator, a Representative, and a President seems eminently reasonable.  
I assume the same benefits that accrue to federal elections following this process would also accrue at the local level.  In essence, through the structure of our elections we empower ourselves to be responsible citizens and vote. That’s not a bad thing.   
Oh, one last item.  I accept that we cannot limit money.  It’s a losing proposition.  Perhaps we can set a timetable for both running and funding races.  Campaigning and fund raising should begin before January 1st of a given election year.  Along the way we have eliminated all the rules restricting money in our politics.  We eliminate all the explorations, committees to assess and such.  However as money flows it will have to be transparently and completely accounted for.  That seems to be a reasonable trade.  Effectively, Reps will have one year to live up their oath of office and one year to fund raise.  Ditto with the Senate (1of 5) and the President (1 of 4).  
I think we will need to think a bit more about the money though. 
      

Once a Trog, Always a Trog

Well, that's true unless the Trog is not really a Trog, but a cranky old libertrian.  The Trogs who want to control spending, cuts deficits, and reduce the debt have plans.  However, their plans are really anti-plans.

Budget watchdog: Most GOP hopefuls would increase debt

Originalism Rocks Tour

The Supremes are hard at work.  They have to decide if it's not only a sin to tell a lie, but whether it's illegal too. Roberts and the Robes, in all matter judicial defer to what they intuit ditties a forefather might have crooned.   Technical note:  they do do a lot of peyote in that antechamber.  Damn, it will become illegal to lie--Washington said he could not tell a lie....

Supreme Court conflicted about prosecuting those who lie about military valor 

If public utterances had to be true, after politicans, which occupations would lose all their current incumbents?

Strategic Victoryish -- War #2, The Legacy

Freedom.  Liberty.  Democracy.  They each have chapters in "Nation Building for Dummies." by George, the Shrub, Bush.  There is even a chapter on Terrorists.  The Shrub highly recommends that when terrorists strike, you go offensive.  Yes, you strike back at those countries which give the terrorists  safe harbor.  You get all preemptively proactive   Therefore, the Iraqi government has decided to invade Iraq.  They have decided to shock and awe themselves.  Oh, they will use the oil to pay for it. This is very strange, but what did you expect, it's a nation built by a Shrub.

More than 50 killed in wave of bombings across Iraq

It's not the Old Dominion Anymore

Virginia's Repubs in the legislature and State House have shown themselves to be total dickwads.  However they have seen themselves depicted on TV.  They have looked in the mirror,  They have seen dickwads looking back.  They will make amends.  However we must remember, try as they may, we know dickwads are like leopards, they can't change their...

McDonnell, Virginia Republicans back off mandatory invasive ultrasounds

Until the Repubs lose power, Virginians will have to refer to their state as "the Old Dickwad."

Post Yak

The Trogs met in the Mesa, Arizona zoo.  This time they sat behind cute little Lucite desks.  It was the 20th group Yakoff, a.k.a. "debate."  Questions were asked and for the most answered.  Of course the answers were framed in the language of baboons.  Oh, baboons have comprised 95% of GOP primary voters ever since  Tricky developed his southern primate enfranchisement strategy.  One other point, batshit happens to be the gourmet dish of choice for baboons.

Baboons come in tribes.   Tribes do not tolerate each other.  Did the baboons on the stage win over any of the other baboon tribal members?  No.  Each left the cage with his tribal size unchanged.  We'll have to wait until next Tuesday to see how many tribes will screech on.  My guess is, four will enter on the 28th, and four will exit to go on to the next round of baboonery on super Tuesday.

Mitt Romney attacks put Rick Santorum on defensive in GOP presidential debate

It's Alive!

There's science and there's fiction.  When we put them together, we have science fiction.  Sometimes the blend makes for a fantastic read.   Can you tell me which influences the other in what ways?   In the popular mind is it science or fiction that inform  the way we see and understand science?  Quick Igor, give me the wrench....

The science fiction effect

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Mr. Stewart, Welcome to Virginia

I Guess Satan Has A New Target

Back in 2008, why that's so far back I hardly remember anything that happened that year, Satan was targeting good old number one.  How do I know?  Santorum told me so.  Hey, I also learned that the mainstream protestant religions had been taken over and become Devil cults.  Ditto on the source.

Of course, Santorum does not think those points have much bearing today and should be ignored.  Uh, of course he thinks that way.  The past, in conjunction with what he's recently said on the campaign trial, leads any casual listener to one conclusion--the man is stark raving mad.

Santorum Pressed on Satan Remarks

Who Owns Whom?

Rich folks collect pols.  Who are they?

25% of super PAC money coming from just 5 rich donors


Super PAC donors revealed: Who are the power players in the GOP primary?

Since rich pricks already own our all of pols, why does anyone bother with a small donation at all? Instead of giving your $5, $10, or $50 to a pol, give to a local group that will do some good. Hell, give it in your favorite pols name if you must. Pols are not charities, they are all subsidiaries of the wealthy. Make the rich pay even more, give your small donation to a worthy cause instead.

Religion is strange

As a child I, for the most part, did what I was told.  Once a year I would go to church during the day on a Wednesday (I even got out of school to do so).  The funnily dressed guy in charge of the church would  stuck his finger in an ashpot and then smear ashes on my forehead.  I was told it was a sacred thing.  Of course no would could provide a good definition of sacred.  I did note that if I  did the same to myself, it was just dirt and I'd be told to "go wash your face."  It seemed a very odd thing to do.  Needless to say my attitudes were not conducive to a life of devotion.  I have lost touch with annual ashes assembly.

I am surprized to learn, the god squad will now come to you.  They are out on the streets and if you want they will transfer ashes from their pot to your head and bless you to boot.  No church is needed.   It's convenient.  It's strange.

Episcopal priests offer 'Ashes to Go' as Lent begins

I don't think I ever wondered about the ashes as a child.  I think I thought is just so much dirt.  I did not ponder their production.   Now I learn there are ash merchants.  Be careful with that first word, ash,  if you change one letter we've on a very different topic.

Ash Wednesday: Churches make last-minute calls to ash merchants

Yak Off

Romney's first test of the week comes Wednesday night as Republicans debate for two hours in Mesa, Ariz., starting at 8 p.m. EST. CNN will televise the debate, the 20th of the long primary season and the first since the candidates met in Jacksonville, Fla., on Jan. 26.

S.S.D.D., Gas Prices

Been there, had it done to us before.  It's back.  Once again, uncontrolled commodities trading in oil has spiked gas prices.  The price has little to do with supply and demand.  These bums can be regulated out of business.  However these bums do donate big bucks to election campaigns.  Why is gas going to hit $5 s gallon?  Oh, an easy question to answer.  It will hit $5 a gallon because your Congresstypes and Obama  value their campaign cash more than anything else.  Remember job #1is getting reelected, it's all for sale.

Once again, speculators behind sharply rising oil and gasoline prices

We Should Not Sanitize War

War is diplomacy by other means.  War is death.  War is destruction.   Our soldiers die.  Their soldiers die.  Anyone near a battle area can be killed.  Children are killed.  Adults are mowed down.  Soldiers keep themselves alive to fight another day.  When the shooting starts, until it stops, anyone not in your uniform is the enemey.  Soldiers are trained to shoot, period.

We do not see war.  It's cleaned up.  If we go to war, the battles, should be on TV.  We need to know exactly what we, via our soliders, do everyday in a war zone.  Right now, I expect most Iraqis feel the urge to spit when they see someone in a U.S. uniform.  I guess that's better than running for fear of their lives instead.  War is profitable, but at what cost?  See the documentary and think about war a bit.

‘Incident in New Baghdad’: What happened in Iraq?

Strategic Victory Watch -- War #1

After the Koran burning in Rubbleistan, the Rubbles remain rather rowdy.  They are offended.  Horrors,   their holy book was burned.  More of them are protesting.  Look, most of them are illiterate and unemployed,  After 10 years of occupation, this is a great way to earn a buck, get together with friends, have something to do, and poke the occupiers in the eye.  It's expected behavior.  Our evangefundies, demographically comparable to the Rubbles, would and have behaved in the same manner here at home.  It's religion being used for very secular purposes.

The occupiers could use this as a way to end the bungled, wasted war.  We could apologize and as an act of contrition leave the place as quickly as possible.  It's their rubble, let them have it.

Several reported killed in second day of Afghan protests over Koran burning

What, Gov. McDonnell May Not Eat Batshit?

Oops, that unconditional support dissipates as Virginia becomes a national joke over the Ultrasound bill.  The Gov. may not sign the bill, now he thinks it might be flawed.  Yeah, it's flawed, it never should have been written in the first place.

I do not understand how any woman can be a Repub in this state (or anywhere for that matter).  The Legislature attempts to render women second class citizens.  It's damned odd how the Repubs love to talk liberty but then uses the state to restrict the liberty of women and minorities.  So much for the Constitution.

In their hearts you know that Virginia Delegates and Senators want to restore the antebellum South.   Someone elects these clowns.  The state must be blessed with batshit as food aficionados.

Virginia governor no longer fully supports ultrasounds before abortions

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Still Think Repubs Don't Eat Batshit and Go Mad?

Only a Repub could come up with one.  He must has just finished eating--

Girl Scouts ‘Radicalized Organization’ Promoting ‘Homosexual Lifestyles’, Says Indiana Republican

Why do we spend more on health care?

Duh!  It's because we eat a whole lot more than we used to.


Federal Elections Part I


We’ve publicly funded presidential elections since 1976.  We tried to get the money out of presidential races.  The idea was to give presidential candidates public money that they, in turn, would use to advertise themselves and win the voter’s attention and votes.  Leveling the playing field is a great theory.  It was just a nice idea.  Money never quite edged out of presidential races.  
As a result of Obama’s fund-raising in the 2008 election, the idea of public funding may have been killed.  We’ll have to wait and see what happens in 2012 and 2016.  Obama discovered he could rake in amounts that made the public funds look puny.  He raised a lot of cash.  He won.  
Should we continue to use tax dollars to fund presidential races?  Should we bag it as one more good idea that failed?  Perhaps we’ve been cheap, should we increase the amounts?  Instead of a $3 tax check off, how about $5 or $10?  For that matter, should we just shut down the FEC, end all accountability and  let the money flow?
If we persist in an attempt to control money in politics, we are trying to beat a dead horse to death.  People with lots of money will contribute to candidates (in any other setting we’d use the verb “buy”).  Politicians will accept money.  Most pols will play by whatever rules exist.  Yes, given the rules most pols are ethical.  However, some will break the law.  Some will come within a millimeter of committing a crime but remain merely ethically challenged.
Today, our pols are lush with big donor money.  When has it been different?  I’m not sure it’s ever been that different,  However, this this time around, courtesy of the Supreme Court, pols can benefit from unlimited spending. Now we have to concern ourselves with the pals of the pols.  Pals put together Super Pacs.  Pals spend as much as they want and as they  see fit.
We’ve already seen the effects of Super Pacs.  Gingrich learned that non-coordinated attacks from Super Pacs can sunk his U.S.S. Iowa.  Of course, others who are friends of Newt, returned fire in South Carolina.  Miracle of miracles the good ship Mitt foundered on the shoals of unspent funds.  Money and politics will not be separated.
The problem with the money, is simple.  People who donate large sums of cash, expect something in return.  There may be one donor who is just interested in seeing a candidate win and nothing else, but he’s in the 1% of big donors.  The 99% of donor whales want a return on their investment.  That’s when money corrupts our politics and our government.  
Elected officials do favors for a donor.  A tax break here or a regulatory exemption there does yield a significant return on an investment.  Perhaps a bit of restraint of trade is needed to keep foreign products out, perhaps a donation is made. I understand domestic sugar remains quite profitable.  I think you understand how this works.  It’s all so much Quid pro Quo.  Oh, that’s illegal.  
Our pols and their donors have figured out how to put the quo, the deed, antecedent to the quid or cash.  That’s legal. It works especially well if pols run for reelection.  A deed done in one Congress is compensated for when the pol runs to be a member of the next.
The longer a pols stays in office, the more money he or she collects.  The longer a pol stays in office, the more owned and operated by donors he or she becomes.  Their loyalty transcends parties, which is one reason Congresses have done less and less as more and more money has been collected to stay in office.  Congress is a confederation  of wholly owned to partially owned defenders of interests.  Members of Congress really should be attired akin to NASCAR drivers.  As least we would know all of their sponsors, patrons, and owners.     
Money cannot be beaten head on.  Pols will not change what they have.  They may not like the current system, but it’s a “devil you know” situation.  Expecting them to control donations and limit money is like expecting a junkie with the shakes to give you his last fix.  
One thing we usually overlook when we assess the relationships between politics and money, is votes and voters.  That is surprising, since all that money is collected for one  reason.  Candidates need to be elected.  The candidate who receives the most votes wins the election and can run for reelection.  Money is used to advertise candidates.  Do note incumbents have one additional edge, they may have bribed voters by “bringing home the earmark bacon.” Incumbents try to return more tax dollars to their home states than were collected in taxes.  The states of the former Confederacy does very well on this score.  
As increasingly more money is spent on elections, the elected do less and less governing for the electorate.  We have to wonder why we don’t change any of the practices associated with pols, elections, and reelections? The current practices are what they know, what they understand.  If one thing is changed, then incumbents might lose and one party might become over or under represented in the next Congress.  It really does come down to it’s “the devil you know.”    Is there any possibility of change?  Pols accept the current system.  Wouldn’t you retain a system that yields a +95% assurance of keeping your elected job for all long as you want? 
Is there anything that can be done?  Well, I have a suggestion.  We don’t go after money.  For that matter, we could also decide to back unlimited spending on any aspect of elections, provided there is strong transparency on who gives how much to whom.  That seems like a fair trade.  We allow unlimited money for total transparency.  Why not?
We don’t demand that pols change behavior either.  We don’t even get rid of the presidential election fund, however, here is my suggestion, we quit using the money to fund presidential campaigns. 
Instead, we use the money to finance the operations of running elections in our States and their localities.  Right now, states, localities and political parties pay the freight for the polling place, the machines, the personnel.  We will use the presidential election fund to become a simple election fund.  The federal government will cover up all of those election costs.  We, the people, will become a kind of large donor  Oh, as we pick up the election costs, we will expect a return on our investment.  

He's less frothy today

Willard is re-gaining ground.  Too many Michiganders have been hit with a load pure santorum.  They have decided it stinks.  Willard, a local boy, stands for whatever he stands for, but he's not as stinky.

Poll: Santorum, Romney in dead heat in Michigan GOP primary

Looks good, but...

If Greece does not tank, we don't over react to Iran,  and gas would go back to about $2 a gallon, the DOW look even better.  The economy is improving, yes, but for whom?

Dow breaks 13,000 for first time since '08 crisis

Sadly neither the Democrats nor Republicans will do a damn thing about the economic parts of everyday life that affects most Americans.  Pols in both parties are all talk and no walk on this.  Most of us make less than $100,000 a year.  Most of us don't have good pensions.  Most of us are stretched to live lives the way we thought we would be able to.  Most of us are a bit unsettled about our future, and frightened for our children.  Most of us are in the 85%.  Yet, most of us are too damned dumb to use the one thing we own that the 15% desperately needs--our votes--for our advantage instead of theirs.

Gingrich Changes His Name!

As soon as the check for $100 million clears the bank, Newt will become  known as Mr. Adelson de Toy.  A judge has approved the name change.  He tried to have it changed to "His Subsidiary," but the judge, unlike him, could not be bought and denied it.

Gingrich backer Adelson: Could give '$10M or $100M'

Strategic Victory Watch -- War #2, the one we kinda won

Let's see if I understand this.  Violence is down in Iraq because al Qaeda Iraq is now in Syria.  They have decided to join the freedom loving and fighting Arabs in Syria.  They want to help bring down Assad.  Wow, Iraq may have to foment more freedom fighting locales just to keep the terrorists away.

Why didn't we think of that instead of surging?  Surely the aces in the CIA could have started a civil war in Syria.  Ooops, I said CIA, sorry, we had to surge.

Iraq officials: Violence drops as al Qaida group moves to Syria

Let's End the War on Drugs

Come on the bad guys are drilling complex tunnels to get the dope into the country.  Legalize the shit.  Control it.  Tax it.  End the damn stupid war.  It was dumb from day one.  Who started it?  Oh, Tricky Dick kicked it off, that should tell you something.

Pot-smuggling tunnels in Tijuana grow more elaborate

Will 2012 Be The Year of the Birth Control Moms?

Who would have expected birth control to be a presidential political issue this year?  The Repubs are really desperate and begin to talk about what they actually believe.  They are reactionary and want to take the country back to 1850 or earlier.  Note, if you are not white the Repubs do no think you are a person.  if you are a female, the Trogs know you are not a person.

It makes no sense,  especially when you consider that the ObamaCo decision to require all employers to include birth control in their health insurance policies was then and is now quite constitutional.  That a chruch might have to do something it does not like is not, in itself, an infringement of religious liberty or any violation of any part of the the Constitution.  The noise is ponderous, but it's just Repubs who have nothing to say.


Birth control as election issue? Why?

Keep Your Fingers (and toes) Crossed

Geece has not defaulted yet.  If it does, it will make $5 a gallon gas seem quaint.

After months in which Greece teetered on the verge of bankruptcy, European officials agreed Tuesday to give the country a second massive bailout in exchange for harsh austerity measures, as grim new estimates about the country’s economy pushed off a resolution until what some officials called the last possible day to reach one.

Officials reach bailout deal for Greece

And Now To The Really Important News--

Stephen Colbert returns to his Comedy Central show

Strategic Victory Watch -- War #1

And the winner is--The Dumbshit of the Month Goes to the Afghan Command

USANato troops or their hired guns (no one really knows who is whom anymore) apparently burned and trashed some Korans.  Thousands of unemployed Afghans, spontaneously and simultaneously,  decided to gather outside Bagram Air Base and express their displeasure by shouting and throwing rocks.   The improper disposal of Islamic materials will be investigated.  Hm, it appears it's safer to dispose of Muslims rather than their religious materials.  Theists of any flavor are strange.

Afghans protest burning of Koran at U.S. base

Before anyone thinks the Afghan's turbans are on a bit too tight, consider how a bunch of evangefundie crackers from Mississippi would react to a bit of improper Bible and other Jesus paraphernalia disposal.  Of course, they'd all get gather, get drunk, shout, throw rocks, and then start shooting at themselves and those who offended them.  Theists=Strange.

Monday, February 20, 2012

How much do things cost?

To replace a 1968 dollar with a 2012 dollar you'd need about $6.50.  Somewhere in the Watergate info I've read over the years, there a was a bit of about Tricky and his henchmen rewarding a donor with a good ambassadorship.  The guy gave them $250, 000, I think he got England or a comparable spot.  What I wonder is has the cost of buying an ambassadorship stayed even with, lagged or exceeded inflation.  How much did Bush charge?  How much has Obama charged?  They should be going for $1,500,000.  Do they?

Good headline and good article

We can do no Moore: a transistor from single atom

How do people get santorum on them?

They go to a rally.  Santorum stands on the stage, he speaks.  He can't help himself.  He has to spew.  That's how people get santorum on them, that's how it's spread.  Yep, when they take the time to listen to Frothy, they flee from the santorum and head back to the guy who defecates in terror, Romney.  Go ahead and google "Romney."  Willard is coming back.  Trogs remain so damned strange.

Poll: Romney gaining ground in Michigan

$5 A Gallon By July?

I wonder it all the hawks who have taken us into wars, large and small, since 9/11, own oodles of stock in oil and related companies?  Their actions seem directed more at raising the cost of oil than insuring wide spread peaceful trade amongst increasing numbers of market driven nations.

Oil jumps to 9-month high after Iran cuts supply

Here's a dumb question for you.  Would you allow Iran to join the nuclear club ( like Pakistan, India, Israel, North Korea and others) in exchange for say a minimum 10 year guaranteed price of $1.50 for a gallon of gasoline?  Okay, no?  Then how about 50 cents?    

A Modest Mind Warp

In our current culture/society it's estimated that 1 in 10,000 children have gender identity disorder.  That appears to mean 1 in 10,000 boys think they are really girls and 1 in 10,000 girls think they are really boys.  Sex change treatment is more common for kids than I thought.  Four years old seems a bit young, but then I'm not the kid or one of the parents.

I wonder if we had a bit broader range of acceptable male and female attributes and behaviors, would the surgeries  be needed at all?   Could we live in a world of with four heterosexual genders:  male-males, female-females, male-females, and female males?  That might be a more tolerant place or would it?  If that's a bit confusing, add in same sex to the mix.  Like I said, modest mind warp.

Sex-changing treatment for kids: It's on the rise

Repubs Consume Extra Batshit!

The Trogs will sound crazier and crazier over the coming months?  Why?

Charts That Make Them Shit Bricks (that's why they seem so angry, it's really pain, corners on turds really hurt, then to top it off your asshole slams shut, ouch).

It's President's Day

So, enjoy five facts you probably don’t know about George Washington

Stuff Yourself Like A Slob -- Taco Bell Mob

Get ready for new whatever it is they serve at whatever a Taco Bell is.  Actually, I stopped at one once.  I bought something there once.  If was supposed to be food, perhaps it had been, once.   So far, I have made sure that was a once in a lifetime experience.  However, if you like Taco Bell, are you ready for a Doritos Taco?

Stuff on--Taco Bell comes out of its shell to ring in a new menu


Will it be Wilard?

Willard may be in bit of a bowl of lime jello (it's real popular in Utah).  The Michigan primary has become a challenge.  What happens if he loses by skosh?  What happens if Frothy blows santorum all over Willard?  Does that mean that Frothy will then take Ohio and some other states in Super Tuesday?  I've heard that Willard has to win by 49% in all the remaining primaries to hit the magic number of 1,044 by the first part of June.  If he loses Michigan, will it Santorum?  Gingrich?  Or will the dark overlords of the GOP find a black knight to save the party from itself?  Oh, that's black as in a white guy in black armor, not black as in Obama.  A non-white candidate will never be the a GOP presidential nominee.

Dolt Watch II

Santorum defends remarks on Obama's faith

Dolt Watch I

Rick Santorum: Prenatal testing encourages abortions (VIDEO)

Do You Read History?

If you do not and you listen to any public person wax on about what the founding fathers said and meant, you will be taken down a political garden path.  Every time you hear "founding forefathers" if you think, "oh, yeah, Larry, Moe, Curly and Shemp" you will check your uninformed gullibility.  Don't listen to the public twits--they merely want you money and your vote.  Until you come well informed, they can say about anything they want and get away with it.  Get informed.  Read about this nation's history.

As Franklin observed, “admiration is the daughter of ignorance.” Watch who and what you admire."

 GOP presidential candidates bring Founding Fathers back into political spotlight

If you want a good book to begin understanding our past and how it has led to today's American culture, then there is no better beginning than "Albion's Seed" by Fischer.  From there find solid histories, not fringe crap written by idiots.

Another decent book is "Freedom Just Around the Corner" by McDougall. Oh, to lay the religious claptrap to rest give "Moral Minority" by Allen a read.

In all cases work the author's bibliographies. Read, enjoy, and quit listening to public blowhards who have their hands out. Oh, once you get a solid foundation in American history then you can read and listen to the idiots, then you will see them as the comedians they really are.

Think About It

Returning military members allege job discrimination — by federal government 

Every year, more than a thousand National Guard, reserve and active-duty troops coming back from Iraq, Afghanistan or other military duties complain of being denied jobs or otherwise being penalized by employers because of their military obligations. 


 The biggest offender: the federal government.

They should not have had any expectations about their futures in the first place. For the most part, soldiers are meat--cannon fodder. If they survive, they did their job and made it out alive, beyond that it's damned stupid to think those who fanned the patriotic fires give a rats about anyones future but their own. Too bad it happens, but maybe the patriots will wake up and realize that their government is not of the people, not by the people and definitely not for the people. Well it is that way, until the people decide to take charge. Hm, if the people had been in charge, do you think we'd have been in two 10 year long wars, added a half dozen other small ones, and be using drones to kill anyone who disagrees with our empire?

Strtegic Victory Watch -- War #2, We Kinda, Sorta Won

Do you remember the Green Zone?  The Shrub had his army take it away from Saddam.  Then he had them expand it a bit and fortify it beyond Saddam's wildest dreams.  Of course, as part of making Iraq a democratic, liberty loving bastion of purple fingered freedom lovers in the middle of Islam central, he gave Zone back to the Iraqis (actually the UN thing that let us in, expired).  Now it's, as before, all Iraqi.  Bets on how much longer it will take Iraq to find a new Saddam?  Now that's a legacy?  Did we really elect that Bozo? Twice?

Green Zone empties out under Iraqi control

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Obama in 2012

Today, it appears that Obama has a good chance of beating Romney if Romney becomes the GOP nominee.  Even if Willard swings back to the middle from the right wing lunacy he'll have spewed to win the nomination, Obama will probably win.  Of course the economy could tank and give the win to Willard.

Oh, Gingrich and Santorum, without an economic downturn, would see Obama massively crush either of them.  With a downturn, Obama would merely crush them.  Hm, what's Obama done to be in such a good position?

Well, actually he's done nothing, the GOP has done all the heavy lifting for him.  Between the GOP nutjobs in Congress and the batshit crazy ones on the campaign trail, Obama hasn't had to lift a finger.  Obama is successful because of today's reactionary GOP.  I hope the Trogs keep up the good work.  

The Post Office and The Tubes

I was reading this piece "Post office closings may increase rural isolation, economic disparity,"  and as I thought about the lack of Internet access in this nation this struck me.  REA (now RUS) wired this country for electricity in less than five years back int he 1930s.  They're still around doing something.  Give them a new mission that matters, broadband for every damn burg everywhere.  Use those small post offices as a beginning point to house the servers needed to bring access to rural areas.  The post offices would need a bit of improvement, but that's jobs that will matter to rural America.  IT jobs would be created to give all citizens access to the the future.  Quit wasting time and tax dollars on private sector deals.  Give the USPS and REA the mission, give them the budget, and get out of the way.  Hell it would keep those post offices open too.  Could the Tubes become a revenue stream for the USPS?

 

Old Dominon, Living up to 1660

Charles II gave the sobriquet "The Old Dominion," upon his restoration to the Crown, to the Virginia Colony as an expression of his pleasure with their loyalty to the monarchy during the Cromwell captivity. The 2012 House of Delegates has paid homage to Charles II in at least three ways:

Women, in particular, take note--

1.  Ultrasound.

2.  Abortion Restrictions.

3.  Personhood.

If you think these bills are a bit over the line, did you help elect any Repubs to the Va. Legislature?  If so, why?  Remember a vote for the GOP is a vote to have another restoration--1660 in Va.!   Life was good then, if you were very male, very white, very rich, and very well propertied (members of the aristocracy). Now who will be king?

At least we know who is Newt's pimp!

Casino mogul Adelson donates another $10 million, boosting Gingrich

It's a lot easier if you didn't bash gays in the first place

In the GOP, when a gay Republican comes out of the closet, he or she thrashes and bashes themselves so the rest don't have to.  Trogs are damned strange folks.  I wonder how Willard feels about this.

Romney’s Arizona co-chair resigns in wake of explosive allegations

Note to the GOP adults, gays are just folks.  Don't believe me?  Then ask your kids.

Myths

The Presidency

Question?

As I've followed the GOP nominating race, I've had a devil of a time figuring out what they are running for.  Who are the people they appeal to?  The candidates and their supporters do not seem to be from this country.  They seem to live in rarefied fantasy world that goes beyond reactionary politics.  They spend most of their time making idiotic statements about Obama or each other as each tries to go prove that he will take us all back to to some golden age in the past.  They are all bizarre.

As I look back over my years of political awareness, I ask you this, could any past GOP president be able to become the GOP's 2012 nominee?  Would any of them make it through the current primaries and have over 1,044 delegates?  Would any even get on a ballot anywhere?  Ike?  Tricky Dick? Ford? Reagan?  Bush the Elder?  Oh, go ahead, add in the Shrub too.

Well?

Place Your Bets

As we get into October of this year, who will pander the most on tax cuts?  Will it be Obama or the other guy?  Who will duck?  Who will wobble?   Will either of them just say "let it be" and bring on

TAXMAGEDDON?

Strategic Victory Watch -- War #2, We kinda Won

The Shrub's legacy continues to keep on giving to the Iraqi people.

Iraq officials: Suicide bomber waiting for recruits outside Baghdad police academy kills 18

Uh, do you think they'll be erecting statues of the Shrub any time soon?

Deficit Owls?

The economy is still more in the tank than not.  5,000,000+ people has quit looking for work, why do you think the unemployment rate is down, they're not used in coming up with the 8.4%.  The nature of work has changed.  How many people are stepping into secure long term (if they want to hang around) jobs with traditional benefits (defined benefit pension)?  Oh, those jobs exist, at the top of the pile.  It's not a 1% v. 99% thing, yet.  I guess its about a 60/40 split, where 40% work in what used to be normal.

Okay, lurking behind the mess is our dear federal government.  People we've elected over the years have racked up about $15 trillion in red ink.   Those aces, they are our aces since we keep reelecting them, have done our bidding--spend more than comes in.  It's only recently that some of us have gotten upset about debts, deficits, and spending.  We call the most vocal of the worrywarts Teabaggers.  They are a loud, mostly offensive, unschooled lot.  Their thoughts are as informative as a sun-dried spent tea bag.  Unfortunately, their ire has risen more as a result of one trait of Obama's than economics.  They  have been well used and played by GOP Trogs.

Our economy and it's problems are being examined by many groups.  Proposed fixes are abundant.  By now, it should be intuitively clear to a casual observer that no one really knows what they are talking about.  The politics does get in the way.  To contribute to the noise, here's a piece on MMT, the owls of modern monetary theory.  Funny none of these guys have to meet a payroll in a real business setting (not finance, banking or investment sectors).  How would a real business type address the economy?  Funny, pretending he was still with us, it  might interesting to ask what would George Romney recommend?

Modern Monetary Theory, an unconventional take on economic strategy

If you hanker to know more about Willard...

I don't know why anyone who lives in a factual world would want to, but he still is a candidate for something.  In the, decreasingly so, off chance that he does become the nominee for something and does beat the other guy, then this article might give you an idea of what he'd be like when he is sworn in to be something.  What are the limits to the guy's use of facts, reason and logic?  It's one thing to be a technocratic vulture capitalist but another to run a government.

Personally, I don't support anyone who baptizes dead people.  That's bizarre.  To be fair, I don't support anyone of faith.  Faith is just a convenient way to avoid saying "damned it I know, let's find out.  What are the facts?"  The problem develops over time as the faithful's avoidance of seeking factual answers to questions leads them to a permanent proscription of knowledge.  Facts wind up becoming the basis of heresy and we see a new manifestation of the Inquisition take hold -- not so much Willard, but Gingrich and Santorum yes.

Mitt Romney, as a student at a chaotic time for BYU, focused on family, church

I have to correct my opening line,  I have to learn about Willard.  He is of the enemy.