Monday, July 28, 2014

Straight from The Warped, Psychotic, Brain-diseased, & Idiotic Mind of A Lunatic Libertarian Douche-bag

The Bowles-Simpson proposal has become a kind of short-hand in Washington for what a balanced, bipartisan deficit-reduction deal could look like. When given a closer look, the plan is anything but balanced. Bowles-Simpson is touted by inside-the-Beltway pundits who think that cutting benefits for seniors who have an average income of $22,000 a year is the type of "hard choice" we need to be making. We should not and need not reduce the deficit on the backs of seniors and others who survive on a low income ~ Jan Schakowsky (dob 5/26/1944) the Democrat representing Illinois's 9th congressional district, serving since 1999. The Congresswoman was a member of the 2010 National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (AKA Bowles-Simpson Comission). The Rep voted against the commission's final proposal.

Refuting lies about me in regards to past comments ("old bones" some might say) on another blog are why I have decided to author this commentary. Lies from the blog "Contra O'Reilly" put forward by one Willis Hart in a blog post from 7/12/2014.

Willis Hart: "On the Assertion that Bowles-Simpson is a Conservative Plan"... Only in the warped, psychotic, brain-diseased, and idiotic mind of a lunatic leftist douchebag would anything even remotely along these lines even be considered. The fact of the matter here is that the ratio of spending cuts to tax increases in Bowles-Simpson is only about 1.4 to 1, and the only reason that it's even this high is because of interest apparently having been included. Compare this to the ratios of the ACTUAL conservative debt consolidation packages which have consistently put forth a cuts to revenue ratio of approximately 5 or 6 to 1... or even to that deal which Obama almost had with Boehner which was pretty damned close to 4 to 1 and, if anything, Bowles-Simpson is probably a little bit to the left of center. Of course, if you yourself are so brazenly to the left that you actually consider people like Bernie Sanders, Van Jones, Francis Boyle, and Bill Ayers as mainstreamers, and even go as far as to quote Joseph Stalin, you're probably going to think that pretty much anything is "conservative", I would think. (7/12/2014 AT 12:32pm).

Yet another post from this doofus in which he, for some strange reason, makes it out to be that I alone in the entire world hold a position that is so incredibly ridiculous that all those negative adjectives are necessary. And he lies about people I view as "mainstream", none of which I really view as "mainstream".

I like Bernie Sanders, and I like Van Jones. Senator Sanders describes himself as a socialist. His voters seem to like him, although I will absolutely admit that Senator Sanders is to the Left of mainstream... although Bernie Sanders is the founder of the House Progressive Caucus, which is the largest Congressional Congress. Isn't being the largest a hallmark of being mainstream?

Van Jones I would describe as a Progressive that fights for the Middle Class. The Middle Class isn't "mainstream"? But he may be a little to the Left as well when compared to the Democratic Party at large, which I would describe as skewing Conservative. Bill Clinton described himself as a New Democrat, which means he considered himself a Democrat who was "economically neoliberal".

New Democrats claim to be "an ideologically centrist faction within the Democratic Party" but their adoption of neoliberal policies also advocated for by the Right makes New Democrats CONSERVATIVE Democrats.

New Democrats were more open to deregulation than the previous Democratic leadership had been. This was especially evident in the large scale deregulation of agriculture and the telecommunications industries. The New Democrats... were responsible for the ratification of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). (Source: Wikipedia/New Democrats/Bill Clinton as a New Democrat).

Also, under the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) the Democrats began (more) aggressively pandering to the business community (which the deregualting and free trading advocating was a part of) in order to secure more campaign cash (bribes). DLC/New Democrats viewed their past losses (losses that sent Reagan and Bush Sr) to the White House as being related to Republican campaigns being better funded. Better funded because GOP candidates had greater greater access to the Conservative Business (plutocrat) money pool.

The "New Democrat" movement was a response to this funding issue. Incorporate Conservative ideas in order to get Conservative business money. New Democrats are Conservative Democrats.

The Blue Dog Coalition "is a caucus of United States Congressional Representatives from the Democratic Party who identify themselves as moderates and conservatives". This caucus was formed in 1994 during the presidency of Bill Clinton. Wikipedia notes that "the term Blue Dog Democrat is credited to Texas Democratic Rep. Pete Geren... who later joined the Bush Administration.

Our current president, the fellow who appointed Bowles and Simpson to co-chair the so-called "bipartisan" commission tasked to produce debt reduction legislation, is a self described Blue Dog. Erskine Bowles is a Conservative Democrat [1] who served as Bill Clinton's Chief of Staff. Alan Simpson, a former Republican Congressman who "George H.W. Bush reportedly considered Simpson for the vice presidency in 1988".

So what we have in this "debt reduction" comission is Conservative Democrats partnering with Republicans. And, if that is not enough information to know for a fact that ANY "compromise" that MIGHT have come out of the commission would most certainly skew to the Right, there is also the fact that reducing the government's debt in response to a poorly performing economy (AKA austerity) is an ENTIRELY Conservative idea.

Keynesian economics - the economic theory subscribed to by TRUE Leftists and Left of Center Democrats - "is the view that in the short run, especially during recessions, economic output is strongly influenced by aggregate demand (total spending in the economy)". Talking debt reduction (austerity) in response to an economic downturn is a wholly Conservative concept.

Heck, the NAME of the comission was the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. "Fiscal responsibility" is code for "austerity". The idea that austerity is the answer to economic downturns is in complete opposition to the theory behind Keynesiansim.

As such, NO debt reduction (i.e. austerity) plan coming from such a commission could in any way NOT be Conservative! Now, if the Democrats had proposed a commission in which cutting waste and improving efficiency were components - but which focused on Keynesian stimulus and job creation ideas - THAT would be a plan truly befitting Democratic economic ideals.

But a plan of action that immediately concedes that the very ideals the Democratic Party is built upon are wrong and capitulates that the Republican austerity is the way to address an economic downturn? Such a plan is CONSERVATIVE from the get-go. It does not matter if "the ratio of spending cuts to tax increases in Bowles-Simpson is only about 1.4 to 1".

And there is also the fact that the spending cuts included items that would actually hurt our economy like using the (bogus) chained-CPI to take money out of the pockets of Seniors (and other Social Security recipients). Non-conservatives view the chained-CPI as a non-starter.

The Nation: [Bowles-Simpson and the White House] depicted [the chained CPI] as a "more accurate" formula that "will reduce deficits and improve Social Security solvency". ...but there’s no debating these simple points: Chained-CPI is both a benefit cut and a tax increase. (Top 5 Myths About Chained-CPI, Debunked by George Zornick, 4/11/2013).

In addition to the chained CPI, Bowles-Simpson wanted to "increase the early and normal retirement age to 68 by 2050 and 69 by 2075". But the problem with all these Social Security cuts is that the money in the Social Security Trust Fund has nothing to do with our national debt!

Truthout: [The Social Security trust fund is invested in Treasury Securities amounting to] $2.7 trillion... [This] came about not because entitlements are out of control and the government has been forced to borrow to meet retiree benefits, but rather because future retirees have paid more taxes than necessary to meet benefit obligations. Workers have essentially been prepaying into the Trust Fund in order to provide for their future benefits.

So it makes no sense to try to solve the supposed problem of too much government debt by cutting benefits for current and future Social Security recipients. (The $17 Trillion Delusion: The Absurdity of Cutting Social Security to Reduce the Debt by Marty Wolfson, 1/11/2014).

So, not only is the Chained-CPI a non-starter; ANY cut Social Security benefit cut is a non-starter (this includes raising the retirement age, which also is a cut). The ABSURD idea of cutting SS benefits to "reduce the debt" is CONSERVATIVE in nature.

Other "reforms" that would take money out of the pockets of ordinary Americans included cuts to all other "inflation-indexed programs... [such as] the military and civil service retirement system". Still other "reforms" included cuts to student loan programs and cuts that would increase out-of-pocket costs for Medicare beneficiaries. All which would be cuts in opposition to the theory of Keynesianism which says cutting (austerity) makes economic downturns WORSE, not better.

So, again, it DOES NOT MATTER that "the ratio of spending cuts to tax increases in Bowles-Simpson is only about 1.4 to 1" because it is a CONSERVATIVE idea that austerity is economically beneficial!

Now, I'm not saying that Bowles-Simpson had nothing positive in it at all. There were actually some proposals Democrats could get behind in the Debt Reduction plan (such as (reforming farm subsidies), but it absolutely did skew Conservative (for the reasons I just outlined).

Now, here I should note that Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky released an alternate proposal that actually did provide for balanced deficit reduction. A proposal that did not place so much of the deficit reduction burden on seniors, the middle class, and low-income families.

Rep. Schakowsky's plan proposes increased investment in jobs, infrastructure, education, and research and development to strengthen the economy and generate growth. The plan also calls for the protection of Medicare, Medicaid and Obamacare while proposing additional steps to bring down the cost of health care overall. The plan would raise the top tax rates on the wealthy and end tax subsidies for big oil and highly-profitable corporations that ship jobs and profits overseas. It would eliminate wasteful military spending and focus on modern threats. The plan proposes additional revenue opportunities to strengthen Social Security and achieve long-term solvency without cutting benefits. (Source: 9/12/2012 Press Release as posted to the Congresswoman's website)

The Schakowsky plan is considerably closer to what I was previously talking about a plan that included cutting waste and improving efficiency, but which focused on Keynesian stimulus and job creation ideas. The Schakowsky plan IS the Progressive answer to the CONSERVATIVE Bowles-Simpson proposal.

And, if I am "so brazenly to the Left" as Willis asserts, then so too must Jan Schakowsky, as well as other critics of Bowles-Simpson, including Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, who "criticized the deficit report for omitting a tax on the financial industry, as was recommended by the International Monetary Fund" and Paul Krugman, who wrote that "Simpson-Bowles... raises the Social Security retirement age because life expectancy has risen completely ignoring the fact that life expectancy has only gone up for the well-off and well-educated, while stagnating or even declining among the people who need the program most".

Lastly, I have to wonder why the hell names like Francis Boyle and Bill Ayers are added to the mix of people he THINKS I view as "mainstream". They aren't. And I've actually spoken against the views/actions of both of these individuals. Not that it matters, I suppose, as in the minds of the idiots who post/comment on the "Contra O'Reilly" blog disagreement by me somehow becomes agreement.

Hence the reference by Willis to me quoting Joseph Stalin, which he thinks I did to "butress my opinion"... a claim that is complete bullpucky. That I quoted Stalin (which I did) to "buttress my opinion" (I did not) was something Willis imagined happened.

And in regards to imagining things, commenter Dennis Marks added canards concerning me defending "Noam Chomsky's pro-Khmer Rouge views [and] Mao worshipper Van Jones [by equating] Maoism to ending police brutality".

The truth is these are both vile lies (although quite typical for the scumbag Marks). *If* Noam Chomsky HAD "pro-Khmer Rouge" views I would NOT defend them. And *if* Van Jones was a "Mao worshipper" I would not defend that either. Both assertions are false, however [2][3]. Also, Maoism has nothing to do with ending police brutality. Van Jone belonged to a group that read the writings of Mao AND advocated against police brutality. But these were two separate things. The advocating against police brutality did not come from the reading of literature by Mao (there is/was no linkage).

In any case, Mr. Jones has changed his mind in regards "world-views and philosophies" that he experimented with in his youth. Van Jones now firmly believes our regulated market system is the best way to achieve desired reforms that will allow the middle class and working poor to prosper.

    Footnotes & Supporting Articles
  1. "Like a lot of technocrats, Bowles is a conservative Democrat who has struggled to find a niche in elective politics". Source: Keep Erskine Bowles Away from Treasury By Timothy Noah, The New Republic 11/8/2012.
  2. The boring truth about Chomsky: he does not support Pol Pot by Michael Brull, The Drum 7/5/2011.
  3. Severe Conservative Delusions: Van Jones Maoist Edition by Dervish Sanders, SWTD #144 5/6/2013

SWTD #266. See also TADM #50.

Friday, July 11, 2014

On Willis Hart Lying About Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee Asserting that the U.S. Border With Mexico is Secure

...more than 30% of undocumented migrant laborers in the U.S. are victims of labor trafficking - or recruiting a person for labor through force, fraud, or coercion for involuntary servitude, debt bondage, or even slavery - and 55% are victims of other labor abuses ~ Quote via the Public Health Watch blog from a recent study published in the May issue of The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science by researchers Sheldon X. Zhang, Michael W. Spiller, Brian Karl Finch and Yang Qin. (Study Finds Shocking Rates Of Trafficking, Abuse Of Undocumented Immigrant Workers).

The following post; a commentary which is complete and utter bullplop, from the blog of the liar known as Will Hart...

Willis Hart: "On Congresswoman, Sheila Jackson-Lee, Asserting that the U.S. Border With Mexico is Secure"... I'll take, "Just One More Pitch-Perfect Example of Why We Need to Vote Every Single One of these Cork-Soakers Out of Office", for a thousand, Alex. (Posted to the blog "Contra O'Reilly" on 7/10/2014 at 4:56pm).

Problem is, Congresswoman Jackson Lee (Rep from Texas' 18th) did NOT straight up say the US/Mexico border is "secure"... and the following transcript proves it! (Transcript of a 7/10/2014 discussion between Sheila Jackson Lee and MSNBC Live anchor Craig Melvin).

Via the Breitbart website...

Jackson Lee: [T]hen on the other end, Craig, we have got to be able to deal with their care and then deal with our border. I disagree that our border is in devastating condition. Our border patrol agents are doing their job.

Melvin: Do you think the border is secure?

Jackson Lee: Craig, here what I think. I think you have not looked to this issue except for this rising migration.

Melvin: Congresswoman, this is - this is a very simple question, yes or no, are our borders secure?

Jackson Lee: I think our border with now 21,000 border patrol agents is under control. We need to give them more resources, more equipment and they can stand to have more support as it relates to the increasing of those numbers that may come through the supplemental. There's a large amount of money for increasing numbers of border patrol and ICE officers. But I would not cry fire to suggest that our border patrol agents are not on the job. They are on the job. I have spoken to them. I have been on the border, I have been on the Rio Grande. I have been on the border at night. ("Shelia Jackson-Lee: I disagree that our border is in devastating condition", 7/10/2014).

"Under control" and "not in devastating condition" is the same as saying it is "secure"??? I think not, Willis, you liar! In any case, I agree with The Economist, which says "The US-Mexico border [is] secure enough".

The Economist: Spending billions more on fences and drones will do more harm than good. ...border enforcement costs $18 billion a year, more than all other federal criminal-law-enforcement agencies combined. ... Most of America's 2,000-mile southern border is tighter than it has ever been. Greater use of surveillance technology may reduce crossings further. Yet the growth in numbers from Central America shows how strong the "push" factors behind migration remain. America's politicians may or may not find a way to declare the border "secure". But if Mexico's economy stutters, or violent crime soars again, the magnets of high wages, jobs and security across the border will prove too powerful for many to resist. (Excerpt from a 6/22/2013 article).

The article also notes that Republican Senator John Cornyn refuses to talk immigration reform until "the southern border is 90% secure", yet some estimates say it is already 87% secure. This "secure the border" meme is, in other words, a political ploy.

One that the Hartster has clearly fallen for. And I thought he knew better. I mean, the dude has argued for more immigration (to provide cheap labor for the plutocrats' factories, in order that they don't have to go overseas when they are desirous of exploiting workers).

The truth is, we spend way too much on border security. A much better use of these monies would be enforcement of laws that say you must be an American citizen (or have a work visa) to secure employment in the United States.

That is the reason people cross our Southern border... for jobs. No jobs; no reason to come. But wealth-worshippers like the Hartster know that is the LAST thing the plutocrats want (to cut off their supply of cheap labor).

That is why Republicans misdirect with baloney about "securing the border". And playing to the xenophobia of their base helps them accomplish their goal of keeping illegal workers illegal.

With a path to citizenship the illegal workers could come out of the shadows; the shadows where they have no choice but to tolerate being pushed around by employers who tell them they must accept low wages and unsafe working conditions or be reported to ICE.

The "secure the borders" crowd is a part of the deception designed to keep wages low for low-skilled legal workers, as well as aid those who traffick and abuse undocumented immigrant workers! And Willis Hart, with his dishonest commentary about Sheila Jackson-Lee aligns himself with these people! For that I say, shame on you, Willis!

SWTD #265

Friday, July 04, 2014

On The South, AKA the "Stupid States", Voting Republican

The question of why poor people vote Republican is not simply an issue of income but primarily race and partly region and gender. Poor people may be more likely to vote Democrat; poor white people are not ~ Gary Younge writting for The Guardian in a 10/29/2012 article, "Working class voters: why America's poor are willing to vote Republican".

The following is an excerpt from the Thom Hartmann Radio Program, 3/13/2012, which I edited for brevity and clarity. Have Right to Work laws made people in the Southern states stupid? Thom answers a caller's question.

Caller: I was wondering, what divides us intellectually from Mississippi and Alabama? Why are those states deemed as being the "stupid states"?

Thom: A lot of it has to do with the history of labor. During the industrialization of the United States, in the 1920s through the 40s... The Wagner Act (National Labor Relations Act or NLRA) was passed in 1935 and Union shops started, and the South started unionizing just like the North did. Although most of the industrial activity was still in the North. The South was still largely agricultural, although there was a lot of textile work going on in the south... a lot of clothing being made. And people were forming unions.

Then, in 1946 the Republicans took both the House and Senate for the first time since the crash of 1929. They only held the House for 2 years... they lost the House for over 30 years - they didn't get it back until the year Newt swept the House in 1994. So, during that 2 years they did a lot of damage.

Harry Truman proposed a bill that would give everyone in American free health care. It was Medicare Part E, basically... they shot that down. They then passed a bill called the Taft-Hartley Act (Labor–Management Relations Act) which said that individual states could opt out of the provisions of the National Labor Relations Act [Congress overrode Truman's veto]. If a majority of people in a workplace voted for a union, that was fine, but not everybody had to participate in that union. Which basically makes it real easy for employers to bust unions, and radically reduces the benefits, both to the union and the union employees, of having a union.

The Southern states were the first to jump on this bandwagon and they all became right-to-work-for-less states, very, very quickly. And so, since the 40s they've had lower wages... in the average right-to-work-for-less state people make 5 thousand dollars a year less than they do in a free bargaining state. They are also twice as likely to die on the job.

Now we're almost 3 generations away from this, and I would say that's the largest single reason. Because there was less [tax] revenue [because workers were earning less], there was less money for education and people were stuck in cyclical poverty. It's a genuine tragedy.

END Thom Hartman Program excerpt. If you are a subscriber to the Thom Hartmann program podcast, the location of this segment of audio can be found at 17:50 to 21:21 of Hour 2 on Tuesday March 13, 2012.

My Commentary: Keeping wages low for average workers is ABSOLUTELY the reason why the south is essentially a solid, grim block of poverty. I say this in agreement with a recent post on the excellent blog "Progressive Eruptions", a blog where the proprietor, Shaw Kenawe pointed out the following...

...the south is a solid bloc of conservative voting. This is what southern conservative leaders have done for the citizens who vote against their best interests by keeping those conservatives in office. And here is the result of their failed conservative policies. Nothing but misery has "trickled down" to these southern states. (H/T to Progressive Eruptions. Posted on 7/3/2014 at 7:25am).

And why is the South solidly Republican? The answer is slavery and the Civil Rights legislation signed by LBJ in 1964, previous to which it was the Democratic Party that supported Slavery and racism. But that all changed when Democrats flipped to support to equality and Republicans (several years later) took up the mantle of White racism in order to win the South.

Wikipedia, Solid South: ...beginning in the 1960s, Southern support for the Democratic Party started to decline given its national leaders' support of the civil rights movement, including school integration. The Republican Party began to make new gains in the South, building on other cultural conflicts as well.

In 1968, President Richard Nixon's Southern Strategy is credited with allowing either the Republicans or Southern Democrat George Wallace's independent campaign to keep much of the South out of the Democratic column at the presidential level.

The South continued to send an overwhelmingly Democratic delegation to Congress until the Republican Revolution of 1994. Today, the South is considered a Republican stronghold at all levels above the local level, with Republicans holding majorities in every state except Arkansas and Kentucky after 2010. Political experts have often cited a southernization of politics following the fall of the Solid South.

The South's history of slavery and racism and Republican Party's desire to pander to these voters is why the South is today solidly for the GOP. And the South is poorer than the rest of the nation due to the Republican Party being the party of the wealthy and big business...

From a business perspective... the loyalties of the parties did not really switch. ...the Republicans remain, throughout, the party of bigger businesses; it's just that in the earlier era bigger businesses want bigger government and in the later era they don't. ...earlier on, businesses needed things that only a bigger government could provide, such as infrastructure development, a currency and tariffs. Once these things were in place, a small, hands-off government became better for business. (excerpt from a 6/14/2014 post from the Soadhead blog "Why Did the Democratic and Republican Parties Switch Platforms". Authorship attributed to "Sharon" with quotations from Eric Rauchway, a professor of American history at the University of California, Davis).

So, the flipped platforms referred to in blog excerpt above is in reference to support for Big Government. The Republicans used to support Big Government and now they do not. But they obviously ALSO flipped on the issue of support for African Americans, going from supporting ending slavery to opposing equality/civil rights legislation.

And this is the same Republican Party that began as a reform party that initially opposed slavery. But the priority of pandering to the wealthy won out and the decision was made (by Nixon) that the racist White vote was needed in order to win elections, which is why the Republicans and Democrats flipped positions on the issue of racism; after LBJ signed the Civil Rights Legislation of 1964 the GOP became the new home for America's racists.

And the South is decidedly poorer and dumber as a result. Poorer because big business does not want to pay as low of a wage as possible to workers, and with Republicans in control, they get what they want (Right-to-work legislation). Dumber because, as research has shown, poverty makes people less intelligent.

Image Description: This map shows U.S. poverty rates, which are highest in the south. Red-shaded states indicate poverty rates between 17.9 and 22.8 percent. Orange is 15,9-17.8 percent. Light orange indicates 12.2-15.8 percent, and yellow indicates 9-12.1 percent (source: These Nine Maps Show How The GOP is Destroying Southern States by John Prager from Americans Against The Tea Party, 3/6/2014).


SWTD #264

The Irrational Hypocrite Strikes Again; Breaks Own Rule & Discusses "Old Bones"

Because hypocrisy stinks in the nostrils one is likely to rate it as a more powerful agent for destruction than it is ~ Rebecca West (12/21/1892 to 3/15/1983) a British author, journalist, literary critic and travel writer. A prolific, protean author who wrote in many genres, West was committed to feminist and liberal principles.

A blogger who (ironically?) calls himself "Rational Nation" has a STRICT policy against discussing what he calls "old bones". What is in the past should stay in the past, given that it is over and done with and we can therefore do nothing about it. Discussion on said topic is pointless.

Or that might be one rationale for someone to call a topic "old bones" and chastise those who bring it up. Or it might be a defense mechanism designed to prevent conversation on a topic the objector does not like. In the case of the "rational" individual that topic is any criticism of former preznit bush and his illegal wars launched while our nation was in shock after 9-11. A shock the former criminal administration used to steal from the American people via war profiteering.

I recently brought this up on the rAtional oNe's blog and was immediately shot down. My comment and the "rational" response as follows...

Dervish Sanders: The Bush Family profited greatly as a result of the war with Iraq. Yeah, I know that's an "old bone" according to RN and one other who comments here, but why, simply because the former prez is no longer prez should no one be outraged by this? (6/28/2914 at 01:30:00 PM EDT).

"rAtional" nAtion uSA: It is old bones and GWB is not a war criminal which I know you have proffered in the past. Having said that O I have no problem putting into motion such actions that would make that impossible in the future. (6/28/2014 at 02:20:00 PM EDT).

Huh. Mr. Nation has "no problem putting into motion such actions that would make that impossible in the future". But why would Congress do this? Given that the rAtional oNe wishes everyone to not discuss any transgressions of the bush administration, which involves any discussion of war profiteering that took place. Why put anything into place when there is no reason (no reason that we're discussing, in any case).

Those who don't remember the past are doomed to repeat it. Perhaps that is what the rAtional oNe desires? Who knows. Also, who brought up bush's war crimes? I didn't mention them. I didn't use the term "war criminal" in any case, although war profiteering might be considered a war crime. I'm not sure. Surely I would deem it to be highly immoral.

But whatever immoralities or war crimes those in the former bush administration might have indulged in are "old bones" and thus not worthy of discussion. Which is why you'll NEVER see the rAtional oNe mention them, except to chide anyone who might do something as pointless as bring up anything that might have anything to do with such things.

Nope. No way Mr. Nation would write and submit a comment like this one...

"rAtional" nAtion uSA: GWB, elected to office twice. Playing to the fears and reality of 9/11 he was able to advance rather idiotic agenda, Afghanistan excepted of course. Although he. couldn't even get the job done there cause he had to turn to Iraq. Big scare over phantom WMD and all.

Yep, historians are going to have a blast with the dude's legacy down the road. Oh, did I mention his poor (very) economic and fiscal policies? I hate say it, but GWB indeed managed to screw up his wet dream. (7/1/2014 at 7:58pm).

But this is a genuine comment (from the blog Contra O'Reilly). The rAtional oNe actually wrote it. I wonder if he "hates to say it" because it makes him a hypocrite? No, that couldn't be it. And he's largely correct, excepting Afghanistan, of course (both wars were illegal). But this is ALL "old bones", as the rAtional individual would say. Discussion of this nature is strictly verboten. On his blog as well as on ANY blog that this rAtional dude might view... and that includes MY OWN BLOG!

On 9/28/2013 I authored a post for this blog in which I offered my thoughts on a discussion with one of the liars who sold us the Iraq war. The commentary was my response to an airing of the Thom Hartmann radio program in which Thom interviewed bush war criminal Douglas Feith.

In response to this commentary Mr. Nation scolded me due to my foolishness in bringing up a topic that nobody cares about.

"rAtional" nAtion uSA: Do you think Mr. Sanders that anyone is concerned with this any longer other than yourself? Inquiring minds want to know. (10/01/2013 at 10:17pm).

Ok, if nobody cares, why did this supposed rAtional person author a comment on Willis Hart's "Contra O'Reilly" in which he brought up "old bones" like bush exploiting the fear that gripped the nation following 9/11? SURELY the rAtional oNe would not let me get away with such a comment... on his blog or on any blog where he comments. Not even on my own blog. "Old bones" would, withOUT a doubt, be a phrase included in a reply Mr. Nation would be sure to submit if he saw me make such a comment.

And if the rAtional guy reads this... he KNOWS I speak the truth. Also, in regards to the "phantom WMD", I know another commenter who would object to that narrative. That person wouldn't be me, of course, but another that frequents the "rAtional" blog. This is a person who is absolutely convinced that Saddam had WMD and the invasion NEEDED to happen in order to "disarm" him. This fool even goes so far as to claim that it wasn't bush who started the war (with his invasion) but Saddam!

In any case, I don't know why someone who is supposedly so rAtional would concern himself with things he deems to be old bones while believing others should not discuss them. I'm going with hypocrisy. No, make that astounding hypocrisy that stinks in my nostrils (a stink that I've reported on previously).

But I'm guessing that this rAtional mAn only objects when CERTAIN people bring up such topics. I know I'm in that group. Others are likely added (or excluded) by the rAtional hYpocrite as he sees fit.

SWTD #263

Thursday, June 19, 2014

On The Lunkheadedness Of A Wealth-Worshiping Koch-Loving Prevaricator

...what makes us angrier? 25 million dollars from conservative business owners who fix elections, suppress voters and shape policies which negatively impact million of Black folks nationwide? Or the fact that our schools can't afford to tell the Koch brothers' where to shove it? ~ Jarrett L. Carter, in regards to a Koch Brothers donation to the United Negro College Fund. (Quote excerpted from his 6/11/2014 article, "Koch Brothers' UNCF Gift Is Worst Symptom of HBCU Financial Crisis".

A lie about me from the blog of one "Will Hart" is what I will be addressing with this post. Because if he's going to specifically mention me on his blog - and interject a big fat whopper about me into a post that would otherwise have nothing todo with me - well, I've got no choice but to author a response. Regardless of whether or not he reads it (and I am quite positive he will not).

Will Hart: "On the Koch Brothers Donating $25,000,000 to the United Nergro College Fund"... By my count that's approximately $24,999,999 more than wd and the rest of those lunkheads (aka experts at spending other people's money) have ever donated to the thing. (6/16/2014 AT 5:03pm).

Apparently a "lunkhead" in the dictionary of Will Hart is someone who does not worship wealth as he does. So what if they donated a ton of money to whatever charitable group? That hardly makes up for all the evil they do. By "evil", I mean, fund causes (think tanks, campaigns, etc) in an attempt to steer our government in a more Libertarian direction. So they can pay workers less, pollute more, pay less in taxes, etc.

Everything I, as a Democrat on the side of hard working Americans, am opposed to. So they spend some of their vast fortune in an attempt to buy some goodwill? Lunkheads like Will Hart lap it up. In their minds "we the people" shouldn't be deciding what causes are of value to society (and should receive funding). Those decisions should be left up to the wealthy people he loves and worships (metaphorically, not literally).

In regards to the LIE, I never said a damn thing (on the blog of Willis or elsewhere) about how the Kochs should spend "their" money. "Their" in quotes because - If the country were run the way I believe it should be - they'd be forced to pay workers more and to contribute more in taxes.

Or, they wouldn't exist because we wouldn't need them. Wouldn't need them because a lot more businesses would be co-ops. Businesses owned by workers so that the majority of the profits go to the people who actually do the work and not parasites who benefit from the labor of others.

That said, I'm a believer in capitalism and certainly do not wish to flip us to any kind of communist system. The Koch brothers are free to do with "their" money as they see fit. That I've EVER said one word about me spending their money is a complete and total fabrication. Although the dishonest Hartster refers to taxation. But tax monies, once collected, no longer belongs to whomever it was collected from... you idiot!

Also, in regards to Rusty Schmuckelford saying "you wont see [other Lefty bloggers including] WD... give any credit to the Koch brothers... they will just try to denigrate them" - I say... damn straight.

Rusty also lumps "Rational Nation" (the blogger I oft refer to as "Lester") into that group, and in response to that Lester posted the following...

Lester Nation: ...reason tells me their philanthropic endeavors are carefully selected to serve their interests. IOW, where they get the biggest bang for their millions. Not much different than Soros actually. (6/17/2014 AT 5:28am).

I actually agree with Lester. Although in the case of George Soros, he is on the side that wishes to raise the taxes of folks like him... quite UNLIKE the Koch Brothers. So Lester is WAY wrong in that regard. He isn't, at least, as naive as Willis or Schmuckelford.

It should be noted that the UNCF President/CEO - who DEFENDED accepting the gift that will go to historically black colleges and universities) - said the purpose of the Koch donation was to "to give the impression of support for Black people without the troublesome task of directly doing so".

Indeed.

So, does that mean I think the UNCF should have told the Kochs to shove their donation? I surely wish they could have comfortably done that (because they did not desperately need it). But I'm not going to say they should have rejected the money (not my decision to make in any case). I am, however, going to agree with the criticisms of the Kochs by Jarrett L. Carter (as quoted at the top of my commentary).

The Kochs are the worst of the worst when it comes to plutocrats bribing our politicians and spending their ill-gotten gains to corrupt our political system in their favor. And the Kochs most certainly are in favor of suppressing votes and shaping policies which negatively impact millions of Black folks nationwide. Given that, there is no way in hell I would even think of praising them (even to a tiny degree) for this attempt to buy goodwill.

Although it clearly worked in regards to gullible lunkheads and stooges like Willis and Schmuckelford.

SWTD #262

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

On "Their" Being Something Missing From An Idiot Blogger's Healthcare Free Market Magic Argument

Thirty-two of the thirty-three developed nations have universal health care, with the United States being the lone exception ~ quote from True Cost, a blog on American policy, economics, and social issues, as examined through the concept of "true cost".

Lester Nation, an individual I frequently disagree with recently made a comment on the blog of Will Hart which I believe has some merit to it.

Lester Nation: I'm wondering if their is something missing here. I recall seeing an actual bill for childbirth back in the day. Total cost just over 300 dollars. Ever shopped for health insurance on the private market? It's interesting that prices for comparable plans Don't vary much and prices never seem to come down. (6/10/2014 AT 7:42 PM).

This is in response to a Will Hart Libertarian-bullplop "the free market can solve all our problems" screed... as follows...

On the Idiotic Assertion that Competition Won't Bring Down the Cost of Healthcare Because Healthcare is a Necessity... This is an easy one to refute, folks. All that you have to do is compare healthcare spending as percentage of GDP prior to Medicare and Medicaid with that of what it's been since these programs. And here's the evidence. For the first 180 years or so of the republic, healthcare spending as a percentage of GDP was consistently in the low to middle single-digits, and it wasn't until government got massively involved (in the 1960s) that the numbers started skyrocketing. And the reasons for this are obvious. Whenever government gets into the business of subsiding something, the cost of that something invariably escalates. That, and the third-party payment system acts as a disincentive for folks to shop around and be better consumers, take better care of themselves, etc.. I mean, I know that the phrase, "getting rid of the middle man", has gotten a little clicheish over the years but in this instance I gotta go along with it. (6/10/2014 AT 7:23pm).

Like the Word Salad Man I am also wondering if "their" is something missing. Scratch that... I'm positive THERE is something missing... because I know what it is. Missing from Will's analysis of the healthcare market is the fact that other industrialized nations have Single Payer insurance. And THEIR subsidization is very high. However, their costs are much lower. But Will foolishly overlooks this fact to make his magical "free market" argument.

Turns out it is Will Hart's nonsense that is easy to refute. We really SHOULD get rid of the "middle man" and costs really would come down. Except we should replace the middle man who greedily desires huge profits (the private HC insurance companies) and replace them with a middle man that will do the job for no profit. That would be Single payer, a middle man insurance setup (and we do need to do this via insurance) where everything is under the control of We The People.

So, REALLY, why did health care costs being skyrocketing in the 60s? Will Hart blames government subsidization, and foolishly says it's "obvious" that "whenever government gets into the business of subsiding something, the cost of that something invariably escalates".

Sorry, but no, that was NOT the reason. As Forbes points out, in an article titled the "capitalist case for nonprofit health insurance", the reason for the costs going up was because we switched from a nonprofit to a profit model.

financial writer John Girouard: If you want to know what went wrong with our healthcare system and the best way to fix it, all you have to do is look back a few decades to a time when health care was a community concern, considered as essential as any public utility. ... Blue Cross, the most recognizable name, began in 1929 as a tax-exempt insurer covering a community of teachers in Dallas. Blue Shield was started as a tax-exempt insurer to cover employees of mining and lumber companies in the Pacific Northwest, with a group of local doctors providing care through a service bureau. We lost the positive aspects of affiliation health insurance starting in the 1960s and through the 1980s when Wall Street discovered there was money to be made turning nonprofit health insurers, hospitals and nursing homes into investor-owned companies. (Link to the 10/12/2009 article).

The greed of Wall Street is why the United States did not go the route of the other 32 developed nations. By the way, the "True Cost" blog says "the US will have universal health care in 2014 using an insurance mandate system" but this is not true given the SCOTUS decision that individual states could refuse the Medicaid expansion. Those too poor to afford HCI in those states still are without access. As a result 5.7 million Americans in 24 states that could otherwise qualify for Medicaid have been left behind - that is according to the White House website.

In addition, a transition to Single Payer is at least feasible, unlike the foolish Hartster's idea of getting rid of HCI altogether (except for catastrophic coverage). I guess he thinks Congress will be able (and willing) to pass a law getting rid of insurance companies... then what? Some people die during the transition period as people "shopping around" begins to drive down prices.

More likely quite a few people would die before the HC providers realized they had to make due with less profit. Although I imagine a lot of hospitals would close their doors. Yeah, I think a LOT of people would be onboard for this brilliant plan of action... NOT.

And I guess he thinks that when everyone is "shopping around" for the lowest prices, the HC insurers won't gouge for that catastrophic coverage because... who the f*ck knows?

A better idea? Transition to Single Payer by allowing people to buy into Medicare. Slowly the HC insurers would go not for profit or go out of business.

Finally, the assertion that competition won't bring down costs because healthcare is a necessity is not "idiotic", it is TRUE.

Joe Flower, author of Healthcare Beyond Reform: Doing It Right for Half the Cost: For the most part, people do not access health care for fun. Recreational colonoscopies are not big drivers of health care costs. In some cases, such as cosmetic surgery or laser eye corrections, the decision is clearly one the buyer can make. It's a classic economic decision: "Do I like this enough to pay for it?" But for the most part, people only access health care because they feel they have to.

[Also]

Risk has no relation to ability to pay. A poor person does not suddenly discover an absolute need to buy a new Jaguar, but may well suddenly discover an absolute need for the services of a neurosurgeon, an oncologist, a cancer center, and everything that goes with it. And the need is truly absolute. The demand is literally, "You obtain this or you die".

A person can shop around for the lowest price, but for a market to be "free" a person must be able to decide NOT to buy at all. Supply and demand drives a free market, and, obviously, when the demand is such that people must buy your product or die, the supplier can charge more. The only thing idiotic here is that someone would be deluded enough (by Libertarian free market fantasies) to believe this is not the case.

SWTD #261. See also CCOR #19.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

On The Libertarian Idiocy of Equating Taxation With Armed Robbery

Taxation with representation ain't so hot either ~ Gerald Barzan*.

My response to the Libertarian idiocy of equating taxation with armed robbery, as articulated in the following commentary from the blog of a democracy-distrusting and State-hating (and fearing) paranoid... Specifically in regards to the following delusional rant...

Will Hart: "Yeah, Maybe We DO Need Some Gun-Control"... Holding a gun to Stan's head and making him pay for Phil's hip replacement seems like such a morally untenable position and, yet, that is exactly what the socialist thugs have been advocating for close to a century now. Running out of other people's money, indeed. (Jun 7, 2014 AT 10:23pm).

Pure stupidity, as well as vehemently anti-government and anti-reality. All governments employ a certain degree of socialism in order that vast swaths of people are not denied the necessities they require to live. Health care is one of those necessities of life. Wealth under a capitalist system tends to concentrate at the top. No economic system is perfect, and THIS is capitalism's big flaw.

Yet Libertarians DON'T consider it any kind of theft at all when the rich and powerful use their power to steal from workers (by paying them LESS than the value of their labor) in order that they can accumulate even more wealth.

Because of this flaw The People in this representative democracy have decided (via voting) that we need Progressive taxation. In our REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY THE PEOPLE DECIDED THIS BY VOTING! We may be a nation of individuals, but society has needs as well, and it is the job of government to see to it that those needs are met.

Only total morons would refer to the meeting of these needs as "theft", especially given the fact that we all have a vote! What other way SHOULD we see to it that the needs of society are met in the addled brains of these Libertarian idiots?

Run out of "other people's" money? Yeah, that really is something that we should be quite concerned about... much more so than our poverty problem... NOT.

"Wealth, Income, and Power" by G. William Domhoff, Excerpt: In the United States, wealth is highly concentrated in a relatively few hands. As of 2010, the top 1% of households (the upper class) owned 35.4% of all privately held wealth, and the next 19% (the managerial, professional, and small business stratum) had 53.5%, which means that just 20% of the people owned a remarkable 89%, leaving only 11% of the wealth for the bottom 80% (wage and salary workers). In terms of financial wealth (total net worth minus the value of one's home), the top 1% of households had an even greater share: 42.1%. (from the website Who Rules America).

No sane individual, in my strong opinion, would spend most of their time worrying about rich people RUNNING OUT of money when the top 1 percent own 35.4% of it. This type of a mindset is a kind of mental illness, I believe, and this Will Hart fellow suffers from it GREATLY, writing post after post on his blog in which he ruminates on the plight of the wealthy and imaginary "socialist thugs" who want to steal all that they have.

As someone who worships at the altar of the wealthy, the story put forth by Mr. Hart (Stan being forced at gunpoint to pay for Phil's hip replacement surgery) illustrates his serious lack of perspective. This fool is more concerned about the rich Stan "running out of money" than he is that Phil, without that surgery, might end up an invalid lying in his bed - unable to work and contribute to society - and be unable to provide for his family too.

Me, I'd rather get Phil that surgery so he can get back to work and provide for his family - who will have to go on public assistance in order to LIVE otherwise. I mean, unless this idiot's suggestion is that we let Phil live in excruciating pain and he and his family lose everything and become homeless - which course of action will actually cost less? (this is an EASY one folks). And it BY FAR the more morally untenable situation as well.

Most people (rich or middle class or in between) realize that paying taxes is a necessary to live in a civilized society. Only a very small number complain and falsely equate taxation to armed robbery. We know them as "Libertarians" (and Republicans, to a lesser extent). This (Libertarianism) is an selfish ideology that says the greedy rich person has little to no responsibility to society as a whole.

Taxes in a democracy are NOT robbery, armed or otherwise... they are what we have all agreed (via voting) is necessary. Taxation with representation might not be so hot either (when you're the one paying), but all rational people acknowledge it's necessity... and they don't moronically suggest "gun control" for federal agents come to collect the taxes of people who refuse to pay.

If you believe that taxes should be lower vote Republican... or Libertarian (which very few people actually do). In regards the various method by which society can be run, democracy is the fairest, so complaints about "robbery" when we're doing things as fairly as we can is beyond ridiculous.

And by "as fairly as we can", I mean within an imperfect system (as there is no such thing as the PERFECT system). Sure, there will always be room for improvement, but (in my strong opinion) people complaining about "robbing" rich people (who have a LARGE percentage of the wealth) when we've all agreed (via elections) to the level of taxation we need... well, I think the term "total moron" might apply to these worshipers of wealth.

*Note: Who is Gerald Barzan? Apparently, aside from him being a humorist, nobody knows.

SWTD #260

Saturday, June 07, 2014

World Nut Daily (WND) Sez "Impeach Obama For Aiding Terrorists" (Re Bowe Bergdahl Prisoner Swap)

This is something that I would do again and I will continue to do wherever I have an opportunity, if I have a member of our military who's in captivity ~ President Barack Obama talks about his decision to do the right thing (6/6/2014).

The Extreme Rightwing publication known as World Net Daily, or WND (or "World Nut Daily") has a petition up on their website calling for the impeachment of President Obama. The reason? The Bowe Bergdahl prisoner swap amounts to Obama aiding terrorists (and is the last straw)!

WND is, by the way, the Obama-hate-site that generates a lot of traffic by pandering to racists in a BIG way... being a publication that ruminates NOT infrequently on the danger of "Black mobs" (although WND sez they "consider it racist not to report racial abuse solely because of the skin color of the perpetrators...").

According to the "expert" opinion of one ex-military man scumbag named William Boykin, President Obama is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors in regards to the Bergdahl swap (among other things). Boykin, a crayZee Conservative "Christian" who was caught on a hot mic saying "Jews are the problem" and the "cause of all the problems in the world" and "that President Obama identifies with and supports Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood", is quoted in the petition as saying Obama ignored federal law in pursuit of an administration goal.

A Slate article by Emily Bazelon says the problem is that Obama "didn't tell Congress about the prisoner release 30 days ahead of time, as a recent federal law requires... [although] to justify this omission, the administration has invoked Obama's signing statement, which he added to the law for certain circumstances, like negotiating over detainee transfers, in which it would violate constitutional separation of powers principles to consult Congress".

Emily Bazelon refers to this as Obama's "Gitmo Fail" (the title of the article), but frankly I don't give a shit. LET the Repubs TRY to go after Obama on this. The truth is that they are all fking hypocrites in regards to the stink they are currently raising, as MANY Cons criticized the President for not doing enough (previously) to bring Bergdahl home.

"Lawmakers Change Their Minds After Demanding Every Effort Be Made To Free Bergdahl" (ThinkProgress 6/3/2014, excerpts) ...many of the administration's loudest critics have previously demanded that it do more to bring Bergdahl to safety. ...John McCain told Anderson Cooper in February that he "would be inclined to support an exchange of prisoners for our American fighting man", like the one Taliban officials had offered in 2012. He has since labeled Obama's deal "ill-founded" and a "mistake".

Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) also thinks that "the administration's decision to release these five terrorist detainees endangers U.S. national security interests"... But since 2011, Ayotte has issued multiple press releases and public statements calling on the Obama administration to "redouble its efforts" to find Bergdahl. "I renew my call on the Defense Department to... find Sergeant Bergdahl and return him safely to his family" she wrote just one week ago.

Sen. Jim Inhofe - the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee - has also said that the U.S. "must make every effort to bring this captured soldier home to his family". But appearing on Fox News just days after Bergdahl's release, Inhofe criticized the administration for agreeing to free "people who have killed Americans, people who are the brain power of Taliban". (article by Igor Volsky).

I don't know how bringing home a US serviceman, especially given that we were going to release five Taliban Gitmo prisoners anyway, could possibly be a "mistake". OBVIOUSLY the motivation for the Repub criticisms NOW over the deal that brought Bergdahl home - when they were critical of the administration NOT DOING ENOUGH previously - is ENTIRELY political in nature, and SHAMELESSLY so.

"Why The Five Taliban Detainees Had To Be Released Soon, No Matter What" ThinkProgress 6/2/2014, excerpts) The US is engaged in an armed conflict in Afghanistan against al Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated forces authorized by Congress under the 2001 AUMF. It remains controversial whether this armed conflict extends beyond Afghanistan and the border regions of Pakistan, but what is not in doubt is that of the enemy forces party to this conflict, the Taliban is confined to Afghanistan and Pakistan. President Obama recently announced that the combat role for the US in the armed conflict in Afghanistan will end this year and all participation will completely cease by 2016.

When wars end, prisoners taken custody must be released. These five Gitmo detainees were almost all members of the Taliban, according to the biographies of the five detainees that the Afghan Analysts Network compiled in 2012. None were facing charges in either military or civilian courts for their actions. It remains an open question whether the end of US involvement in the armed conflict in Afghanistan requires that all Gitmo detainees be released. But there is no doubt that Taliban detainees captured in Afghanistan must be released because the armed conflict against the Taliban will be over.

In traditional conflicts, both sides would release their prisoners at the conclusion of hostilities. This is not a traditional conflict, however, and the Obama administration rightly had no expectation that Sgt. Bergdahl would have been released when US forces [left] Afghanistan. As that date neared, any leverage the US possessed would have been severely undermined. (article by Ken Gude).

Furthermore, the ThinkProgress notes the following (IMO) pertinent facts...

Conservative critics... refuse to appreciate the cunning maneuvers that secured the release of the lone American soldier taken prisoner in Afghanistan at little risk to the security of the United States.

...the evidence demonstrates that the Obama administration has been remarkably successful at preventing detainees it has released from Guantanamo from engaging in militant activities against the United States.

Statistics from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence show that only 6 percent (5 in total) of Guantanamo detainees released during the Obama administration have been assessed to have potentially engaged in militant activities.

That compares with a rate of nearly 30 percent under the Bush administration. (Attribution same as above).

The issue of whether or not Bowe Bergdahl is a deserter is separate, and can addressed in full now that he is in our custody and can present his side of the story. What we absolutely should not have done was to deem Bergdahl guilty and that the "punishment" would be to allow him to remain a Taliban POW (and possibly be executed by them).

(Although there are some who say they have "never argued that we shouldn't have tried to repatriate Bergdahl", but now that we have him, he should be given a trial as a "formality" and then put to death. And with the putting to death there are some who agree).

In regards to the desertion charge, obviously that is something that a soldier absolutely can NOT do. Surely Bergdahl could have objected in another manner if that was his inclination (and it is my understanding that it was). However, according to the Libertarian Reason Magazine (a 5/6/2014 article by Sheldon Richman) "[we] shouldn't blame Bowe Bergdahl for deserting in the fog of endless war".

Reason article excerpts... The "fog of war" is a reference to the moral chaos as well as the rampant confusion on the battlefield. Individuals kill others for no other reason than that they are ordered to. Things deemed unambiguously bad in civilian life are authorized and even lauded in war. ...Bergdahl seems to have been plagued by this question [his responsibility in regards to the deaths of innocent civilians].

The author of the Reason article goes on to quote Anand Gopal, author of No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War through Afghan Eyes.

By mid-2002 there was no insurgency in Afghanistan: al-Qaeda had fled the country and the Taliban had ceased to exist as a military movement. Jalaluddin Haqqani (whose "network" held Bergdahl captive) and other top Taliban figures were reaching out to the other side in an attempt to cut a deal and lay down their arms.

[However], driven by the idée fixe that the world was rigidly divided into terrorist and non-terrorist camps, Washington allied with Afghan warlords and strongmen. Their enemies became ours, and through faulty intelligence, their feuds became repackaged as "counterterrorism".

So, death for Bowe Bergdahl, a soldier with a conscience who questioned his role in combat that lead to innocents being killed, but no repercussions for those at the top who got us involved in this pointless war (the war criminals in the bush administration)?

That, I've got a huge problem with. I've also got a huge problem with our current president keeping us involved in said war... and even foolishly "surging"... based on the dishonest idée fixe that surging worked in Iraq (when it did not).

An article by Jean Mackenzie of Global Post (via the Salon website) notes that "Bergdahl was a troubled young man, with naive and very unrealistic views on his service in Afghanistan [who] thought he was joining the Peace Corps with guns, going over to help Afghans".

So, who is responsible for the soldiers who were killed while looking for Bergdahl? Obviously Bergdahl bears some responsibility, but what about those who made the decision to involve us in this unwinable conflict? And why the hell did we think we could prevail when the Soviets did not?

Yes, those deaths were regrettable, but Bergdahl obviously shouldn't have been there to begin with. Or he should have been removed from that situation as soon as those around him realized he was "troubled". In regards to that point, I'd place some of the blame on the stigma that is attached to the mental health issue... and in regards to that the same Global Post article I just quoted notes the following...

...journalist Matthieu Aikins, who reports regularly from Afghanistan, tweeted: "Does running unarmed into Taliban terrain seem sane to you? Maybe Bergdahl's act should be seen through PTSD/mental health prism".

Maybe. Surely I would not be so stupid/uncaring as to say the "dude is going to be just fine", or that "I have no concern for Bergdahl per se, [instead] my concern is the principle of the matter"... when we're talking about a job (being a soldier) that involves KILLING people. Surely only a moron could not see that this might affect a person's ability to think rationally.

So, yes, I do have some concern for Bergdahl. I've also got concern for the war criminals who stupidly decided to get us bogged down in a pointless and unwinnable war - especially given the fact that the Taliban offered to turn over bin Laden prior to our invasion but bush refused to negotiate (as the author of the Reason article points out)... concern that they will never be held accountable for their actions. And I've also got concern for the Obama administration that let the bush war criminals off the hook.

But assholes like William Boykin and those at WND who are calling for impeachment while citing the fake Benghazi and fake IRS scamdals? And the hypocrite asshole Repub politicians who are criticizing Obama for bringing Bowe Bergdahl home when the previously criticized him for not doing enough to bring Bowe Bergdahl home? F*ck them. And f*ck the idiots and racist bigots who are signing the petition too.

I'm not going to say f-you to whoever created a petition at the White House site to punish Bergdahl, however. He did break the rules and these people - the creator and the 19,156 individuals who signed to thus far - are entitled to voice their opinion on the matter.

I surely am not going to sign it, however. I found the petition after doing a Google search looking for a White House petition in SUPPORT of Bergdahl. Apparently there isn't one. In any event, my f-you is reserved for, as Grung E Gene of the blog Disaffected And It Feels So Good puts it, the "dishonorable conservative hypocrites [who] piss on the troops, veterans and Bowe Bergdahl".

Well said, Gene. I must say that I agree completely that these evil individuals hate our servicemembers. For the record, I added the word "evil", and if you think that is too harsh, keep in mind that the definition of evil is something that is "morally wrong or bad".

Is it morally wrong or bad to use service members as political cudgels - by first calling for an administration you seek to destroy to "free Bergdahl by any means necessary" - and then attacking the administration when it does just that... well, that is most certainly morally wrong and bad in my strong opinion.

(By the way, the Taliban has never been designated as a terrorist organization, so the Obama administration did not "negotiate with terrorists". Finally, I was very disappointed to see the WND impeachment document quoting Jonathan Turley who "says Obama's deserter-for- terrorists deal proves that 'what's emerging is an imperial presidency'". And he said this on Sean Hannity's program for crying out loud. Ugh).

h/t to Infidel753 for the word "scamdal" in reference to the fake Obama administration scandals.

h/t to Grung E Gene for the link to the story concerning the "by any means necessary" January 2014 petition created by the conservative opinion and commentary website PJ Media.

See also: A Total Moron Ruminates On Securing the Release of Bergdahl.

SWTD #259. See also CCOR #17.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

On "Arming" Oneself with "Facts" Dissembled By Gun Nut John Lott

I think we need more of what I would call evidence-based discussion and not merely people pulling things out of their hats ~ Dr. Sripal Bangalore, coauthor of a study that found that more guns do not make people safer. (quote from the 9/19/2013 ABC News article "U.S. Has More Guns – And Gun Deaths – Than Any Other Country, Study Finds" by Sydney Lupkin).

Apparently there is absolutely NOTHING that can be done to curb gun violence. That is, according to Libertarian blogger Will Hart, a non-gun-owning-gun-nut who frequently proclaims that he might support some type of gun legislation, but that such laws would be for "solace only".

Will Hart: "Armed With the Facts"... According to the University of Maryland's John Lott, there were more than 1.8 million right to carry permits issued in the state of Florida from 1987 to 2010 and only 167 of these individuals ever had their permits revoked - .009% (with the vast majority of these instances being misdemeanors). I really don't think that we have all that much to worry about when it come to the lawful gun-owners of America (you know, those who would actually consent to a background check), folks.

And I'm not necessarily saying here that I'm opposed to background checks, just that they're probably much more for solace than they are preventative and that we really shouldn't be expecting much once they're instituted. (MONDAY, JUNE 2, 2014 AT 8:25 PM).

John Lott, huh? That would be the John Lott who is a gun rights advocate, formerly employed the American Enterprise Institute (a conservative think tank), and who is currently a Fox News opinion contributor... right?

Lott is also the author of More Guns, Less Crime and The Bias Against Guns. Newsweek dubbed him "The Gun Crowd's Guru". Sounds like a good non-biased source for information on guns, no?

Criticisms of Lott's study include there being "problems with [his] model" (it "contained significant coding errors and systemic bias") and that he "failed to account for several key variables"... and for these reasons Lott's "model was flawed".

The National Academy of Sciences conducted a review of current research and data on firearms and violent crime, including Lott's work, and found "no credible evidence that the passage of right-to-carry laws decreases or increases violent crime" (excerpts from Wikipedia).

Even more damning, there have been "charges that gun makers or the NRA have paid for Lott's research".

In 1996 when Lott's research first received media attention, Charles Schumer wrote in the Wall Street Journal: "The Associated Press reports that Prof. Lott's fellowship at the University of Chicago is funded by the Olin Foundation, which is associated with the Olin Corporation, one of the nation's largest gun manufacturers.

[Also]

...in a debate on Piers Morgan Tonight on July 23, 2012, Harvard Law School Professor Alan Dershowitz claimed: "This is junk science at its worst. Paid for and financed by the National Rifle Association".

Makes one wonder how factual these "facts" are that the Hartster is arming himself with.

[Media Matters reports that Lott's 2013 book] At the Brink: Will Obama Push Us Over The Edge?, is filled with inaccurate claims about guns and firearm policy. Lott makes a range of misleading or blatantly false statements, including that the worst school shootings in the world have not occurred in the United States and that concealed carry laws help prevent mass shootings. (3/12/2013 Media Matters article).

Media Matters reporting (and debunking of) the lies in Lott's book include the following; which they deemed to be the "nine worst claims about guns...

  1. Claim: establishing gun-free zones actually make mass shootings MORE likely. Truth: this is refuted by statistics and the fact that most recent mass shootings have occurred where guns ARE allowed.
  2. Claim: Obama supported a ban on handguns in 199. Truth: Politifact says FALSE.
  3. Claim: assault Weapons inflict the same damage as small-game hunting rifles. Truth: A study of soldiers killed by high-velocity rifle rounds found that "the nature of internal tissue injuries from rifled firearm weapons depend greatly on the velocity of the missile", and "that rounds with a velocity exceeding 2,500 feet per second cause a shockwave to pass through the body that caused catastrophic injuries even in areas remote to the direct wound".
  4. Claim: Mass shootings are often prevented by civilians carrying firearms. Truth: an analysis of mass shootings over th epast 30 years shows that "in not a single case was the killing stopped by a civilian using a gun).
  5. Claim: LEOs support legislation to loosen concealed carry rules. Truth: Various law enforcement groups signed a letter in opposition to H.R. 822, a piece of proposed legislation that would force states to recognize the validity of concealed carry permits issued in other states.
  6. Claim: Germany, despite having some Of the strictest gun-control laws anywhere, has been the scene of two of the 3 worst school shootings in the world. Truth: the two worst school shootings occurred in the US.
  7. Claim: the "vast majority" of studies have found concealed carry reduces homicide. Truth: A John Hopkins Center For Gun Policy And Research says "concealed carry laws [have been] linked to [an] increase in aggravated assault".

The final two "facts" rebuked (8+9) are Fast and Furious consipiracy theories, including the loony tunes assertion that F&F was "an Obama Administration plot to implement further restrictions on gun ownership". This is a conspiracy theory that says, after allowing a buttload of guns to cross the border, the administration could then "depict Mexico as awash in American guns" and that would "build pressure in the United States for gun control".

That, right there, says to me that this Lott fellow is a certifiable gun nutter. And I say that the same applies to people who might cite him as a credible source. They too are gun nuts, even if they do not own any guns.

(Please note that the list above is my condensing of the Media Matters information. See the Media Matters article linked to above for the uncondensed version).

As for the Will Hart assertion that he "really can't find all that much evidence that gun control works", I'd say that is due to him looking in the wrong places. I mean, if you're primarily reading studies/papers/books by people like John Lott, I would not expect you'd find evidence that gun control works.

John Tepper Marlin, the chief economist for the NJ Institute for Social Justice, says it does work.

Gun Control Works: ...the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) [has] just-released [a] 10-year review of the UK Peace Index, [and it shows] violence in the UK is down 11 percent [which the IEP attribute to Britain's complete ban on handguns]. [The proof is that while] 2 out of 3 US homicides are committed with guns ...in the UK the figure is only 1 out of 13. ... In 2012-13, Britain had 87 gun deaths, more than half using shotguns; of them, 45 were suicides, nearly two-thirds of them using shotguns. Firearms offences have been brought down from 25,000 in 2002 to fewer than 10,000 in 2011.

[Also] whereas gun violence occurs all over the US - east-west, urban-rural, north-south - more than half of all gun-related offences in the UK occur in just 3 police jurisdictions, namely Metropolitan London, Greater Manchester, and West Midlands (Birmingham metro area). This suggests that gun use has largely been suppressed everywhere except in the hard-core anonymous big cities.

[Conclusion?] ...this is on the face of it a compelling argument for gun control and should be thrust in front of the U.S. Senate. (Excerpts from Mr. Marlin's 5/06/2013 HuffPo article).

So, Mr. Hart WAS able to find the writings of Mr. Lott... a gun nutter whose "evidence" has is either highly disputed or been outright debunked (because it is complete BS), but he has NOT been able to find evidence (actual evidence) like that presented by Mr. Marlin. (Both Lott and Marlin are economists, btw).

Why might that be, I wonder? Possibly because one finds the evidence one wishes to find? At least in this case I think that is EXACTLY what is happening... despite claims of "trying to be empirical". I mean, it isn't if Mr. Hart actually found this conflicting information but discounted it (and gave his reasons why). He says he didn't find it AT ALL! Or he did and he believes it to be not "all that much evidence" (an out of hand dismissal).

Who knows and who cares. Point is we all know this is a person who listens to researches on the fringe that tell him things he wishes to hear. How else could one conclude that global warming is a hoax, that green energy is bad, or that gun control legislation (of ANY variety, apparently) would be for "solace" only?

Hey, Will, what about stopping people who wouldn't pass a background check buying firearms at gun shows? Would stopping them be for "solace" only too? I wouldn't be surprised if he said YES. Remember he did say that if expanded background check legislation should be passed that "we really shouldn't be expecting much".

Hey, Will, what about stopping people who wouldn't pass a background check buying firearms at gun shows? Would stopping them be for "solace" only too? I wouldn't be surprised if he said YES. Remember he did say that if expanded background check legislation should pass that "we really shouldn't be expecting much".

What a dope.

SWTD #258

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Exciting New Literary Work From Novice Historian Willis Hart!

Now, there are some who would like to rewrite history - revisionist historians is what I like to call them ~ George W bush (dob 7/6/1946) 43rd POTUS (unelected) and starter of 2 illegal wars (via lying).

Announcing an exciting new work of historical revisionism by novice history revisor Willis Hart...

Willis Hart Pontificates on the War of Northern Aggression: A Dissertation in 1,001 Parts, Volume 1 (Where the History Books are Right and Where the History Books are Wrong).

Anyone going to be lined up at Barnes & Noble on the day this is released to get his or her copy personally autographed by Willis Hart?

Published by "The Crazy Southern Conservative History Revisionism Press" (Copyright 11/28/2014). Makes the perfect Christmas gift for your crazy Rightwing history-revising-enthusiast relative!

Rejected (unread) by more than a dozen major publishers due to Willis' REFUSAL to use paragraphs. Although, if he had used pargraphs they likely all would have rejected it anyway, due to it's major historical innacurracies ("innacurracies" some might refer to as canards).

Note: This post in response to a commentary from Willis regading my "new Netflix series". See below for links to some more commentaries in which Willis Hart discusses (insults/lies about) Dervish Sanders (as the subject/headliner or in passing)... as well as posts written in response to comments submitted by me to his blog (published or not). From 8/1/2014* (in reverse order) back to the January of 2013 (I didn't go farther because the list was getting so long)...

    Willis Hart "wd" Posts
  1. A Quick wd Update (7/28/2014) Name calling from Willis including foul language.
  2. Bergdahl for wd (6/20/2014) Now THAT would be an equal trade; one lacking in stability weasel in exchange for another.
  3. On the Koch Brothers Donating $25,000,000 to the United Nergro College Fund (6/16/2014) Kochs donated more than wd, who donated $1. Spells "Negro" wrong.
  4. On wd, Octopus, Tao, Shaw, Jersey, Sue, Etc (6/7/2014) They blog with honor and distinction (or at least that's what Susan Rice says). Willis' enemies list.
  5. Note to wd (6/1/2014) Willis is so scared of my comments he has to shield himself from them by holding up a cutout to his computer screen.
  6. wd's New Netflix Series (5/23/2014) a post by Willis Hart on my supposed new Netflix series.
  7. Channeling wd if wd was a Character in "Apollo 13" (5/14/2014) If I had been in the movie I would have said "failure is definitely an option"... according to Mr. Hart.
  8. wd as Burt Gordon in "The Hustler" (4/19/2014) Apparently if I had gotten the role in this 1961 film (despite the fact that I was not yet born) I would have talked about how many people owe me money. But I've never seen "the Hustler" and don't know if Willis is rewriting lines to put those words in my mouth. Did "Burt Gordon" talk about people owing him money? Damned if I know.
  9. wd's Only Lines From "Spartacus" (4/1/2014) Again, I wasn't born, so I don't know how I could have been in this 1960 movie. Yet, apparently I said "I'm not Spartacus. That guy over there - he's Spartacus"... and those lines were cut from the film.
  10. On the Prospect of Clowns Like wd and Jersey Volunteering to Fight in the Civil War (3/23/2014) Because I disputed Willis' assertion that the Civil War was fought over tariffs Willis assumes I would have advocated war if I had been alive during the era... and he says I'm a cowardly "Chicken Hawk" who would have "run like the wind". This, despite me never saying I thought the Civil War needed to be fought.
  11. On the Idiot and Libertarianism 2 (3/1/2014) More on how I don't understand Libertarianism because wd (me) "seemingly lives in his own little black and white universe/crawl space".
  12. On Buttressing Your Opinion Via Quoting Joseph Stalin (2/25/2014) Willis claims I quoted Joseph Stalin to "buttress my opinion", despite the fact that this never happened.
  13. On the Lunatic Left and War Criminals (2/25/2014) Willis claims I quoted mass murderer Joseph Stalin to underscore his good 'ol common sense, despite the fact that this never happened.
  14. The Constant Pattern of the Ignoramus True Believer (2/23/2014)
  15. This one does not mention me specifically, but Willis says that one of the things an ignoramus/true believer does is to "scour the bowels of the Internet", and that is something he accuses me of constantly. Obviously a post inspired by yours truly.
  16. Drew Griffin Versus David Brock, Addendum (2/4/2014) Will says I am a "sick son of a bitch".
  17. Drew Griffin Versus David Brock (2/4/2014) Willis slams David Brock because I submitted a link to his book The Benghazi Hoax in response to a Willis comment on the supposed Benghazi conspiracy that involves President Obama "lying" to the American people.
  18. Think Insanity (2/2/2014) Willis calls me "insane" because I dispute his assertion that India underwent a significant economic liberalization in 1991.
  19. On the Idiot and Libertarianism (1/28/2014) Willis claims that I fail to comprehend something regarding Libertarianism (and it is a long standing problem with me). This despite the fact that I do comprehend it.
  20. On Willis Hart Being Referred to as a "True Believer" (1/14/2014) Willis is not happy when I refer to him as a "true believer". He says he can't be because he is a "registered independent" (among other reasons).
  21. wd and the Devil Had a Kid (12/26/2013) Willis claims that the Prince of Darkness and I got together and had a kid... which we named "Moochifer"... implying that "mooching" (accepting public assistance) is the ULTIMATE evil.
  22. On Morons Who Use the Race-Card as Readily as They Breathe (11/2/2013) Willis says morons use the "race card" because they "only have so many quivers at [Their] disposal. Post written in response to a comment I submitted to another post by Will in which he talks about the "learned helplessness" of Black people. I refer to the "learned helplessness" due to welfare programs as Willis "venturing into racist territory". An assessment I stand by. I used this "quiver" because it was the CORRECT one.
  23. On the Crazy Person's Assertion that Ed Schultz ISN'T a Radical, Ignorant, Leftist Version of Glenn Beck (10/13/2013) A commentary written to a reply I left on the blog "rAtional nAtion uSA" that I stand by.
  24. On wd Saying that He's "Not going to bother composing a serious comment if it isn't going to be published" Over at Les's Site (9/25/2013) Willis writes this in response to a comment I made on the "rAtional" nAtion blog. See here (9/25/2013 8:33 PM comment) for my response.
  25. This is Your Last Warning, wd (9/15/2013) Willis says he is going to "file a complaint with the server on grounds of harassment" if I do not stop submitting comments to his blog. Read my response here (@ 9/16/2013 11:01 AM)
  26. I Am Going to Put this Into Words that Even an Imbecile Can Understand (9/8/2013) Here I am the imbecile and what I've got wrong is that Willis was against the Iraq war but that he understands that a "humanitarian case could have been forth [for overthrowing] Saddam Hussein". Or, at the time he wrote this post he was against the Iraq war. He has since changed his mind stating (2/14/2014) "I've gone from being completely against it to now recognizing that Saddam in fact did have to go".
  27. Competing Biographies Pertaining to wd (9/7/2013) Willis Hart titles the first fictional biography of me was "Diary of a Madman" and the second was "The Idiot".
  28. On Rich Leeches and Sour Grapes (8/28/2013) A post by Willis in response to my use of the term "rich leeches".
  29. The Cutting of Some Slack (8/25/2013) Willis says "I can't really blame wd for not wanting to debate Mr. Lindzen". Richard Lindzen is a climate change denying oily bedfellow who is wrong on the science, despite what Willis says. My ability to debate (or not) does not change the facts.
  30. On the Concept of "White Hispanic" (8/11/2013) Willis says "this was in response to an idiotic assertion by wd that Zimmerman IS in fact a white Hispanic"... although the assertion isn't idiotic at all. It is, in fact, true.
  31. Alright One More - On the Idiot's Assertion that Zimmerman's Injuries were "Minor" (8/2/2013) Willis lies about me being an idiot when both the cop who took the lead in the investigation and the medical examiner thought GZ's injuries were minor (see here, subhead #10).
  32. wd Lies AGAIN 2 (8/1/2013) Willis says "he's still insisting that Zimmerman said, fucking coons. But I did not lie. That is what Zimmerman said (see here, subhead #7).
  33. Trayvon's Texts (7/29/2013) Willis says that "according to wd" George Zimmerman "trips a lot". But I never said any such thing.
  34. This One's For You, Russ (7/24/2013) Willis Hart says that "wd's explanation for Zimmerman's injuries - HE TRIPPED! HE FUCKING TRIPPED!!", but Willis lies (see above).
  35. On wd's Idiotic/Fully Refutable Assertion that it was Trayvon Screaming (7/21/2013) Willis lies about the assertion being "fully refutable" as voice expert Alan Reich says it was Trayvon screaming (see here, subhead #6).
  36. On the Idiotic Assertion that Zimmerman "Got Away With Murder" (7/20/2013) Willis lies again, as this is exactly what happened. Juror B-29 says so (see the video at the botton of this post).
  37. wd Lies Again (7/20/2013) Willis says "the idiot claims that it was Zimmerman's friend who gave the testimony relative to ground and pound. WRONG!! It wasn't Zimmerman's friend. It was the former neighbor and PROSECUTION WITNESS, John Good" and concludes that "Trayvon was on the top and pummelling Zimmerman. End of report". Absolutly wrong on the "end of report" assertion (see here, subhead #3). As for labeling Good as a friend, I THINK I said that (because I read it somewhere), but I might have been wrong. Being wrong (or misremembering something read) isn't a "lie".
  38. George Zimmerman's Uncle, Jorge Mesa (7/17/2013) Willis says "The idiot, wd, hasn't been paying attention... Mr. Zimmerman's uncle and mother are ONE FOURTH BLACK!!!!!!!" But the truth is that Willis didn't pay attention. If he had he might have heard of witness 9.
  39. On Sharyl Attkisson (6/18/2013) Willis refers to me as a "low-life and unemployable degenerate" because I am guilty of "denigrating her", when all I actually did was dispute her computer being hacked as being proof of an Obama plot against her due to her being right about Benghazi (which she isn't). In any case CBS News says "to be clear, the federal government has not been accused in the intrusion of Attkisson's computer"... but Willis was strongly implying this. I said he was wrong and he EXPLODES... as usual.
  40. An Extreme Paucity of Perspective (6/11/2013) Because I submitted a comment to Willis' blog saying "Between JFK and RWR the wrong president survived being shot" Willis concludes that there is a risk I could shoot someone (a politican, perhaps) and that I should "seek psychiatric help immediately". Although I only meant that if one had to die, then the wrong one did. That does NOT mean that I wished RWR dead. That would be a pointless wish. This was in response to a "joke" from Rusty in which he said "[JFK] wanted to be a professional boxer [but] the only drawback was he couldn't take a shot to the head". A joke Willis defended
  41. On Richard Lindzen (6/7/2013) Written because I refered to Lindzen as an "oily bedfellow" (due to his Big Oil ties) in a comment submitted in response to a post by Willis slamming the Matt Damon movie "Promised Land".
  42. On a Moron Who Knows Absolutely Nothing About Climatology Referring to the Reasoned and Well Thought Out Works of Richard Lindzen, Roy Spencer, John Christy, William Happer, And Freeman Dyson as "Stupidity" (5/10/2013) "Life is wondrous, isn't it?" is the text of this post. I don't agree, given that someone can make an assumption that is completely wrong, yet not care at all. I clarified what I meant (with the comment I submitted to this post), but Willis never bothered to look.
  43. On the Assertion that Mises and Cato are "Right-Wing" Entities (2/28/2013) Willis never mentions me, but I was the one who called them "Right wing". An assertion I stand by, at least in terms of where they come down on issues of a fiscal nature. They are certainly not "Left wing".
  44. On Plutocrats (2/22/2013) Willis does not mention me, but in response to a dmarks comment asking "Is this in response to a deleted troll comment?", Willis says "Yeah, the one about me loving plutocrats more than guns". dmarks refers to me as a "troll".

Update 8/1/2014: The list of Willis Hart blog posts about yours truly was updated.

SWTD #257. See also CCOR #13.