Monthly Archives: January 2009

The Tattlesnake After Blago the Deluge? Edition

“How many legs does a dog have, if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.”
— Abraham Lincoln

Last Thursday, Illinois Speaker of the House and state Democratic Party Chair Mike Madigan finally managed, with the help of Patrick “Spotless Mind” Fitzgerald, the bankrupt Chicago Tribune editorial board, and their cohort in the national Big Media, to get rid of Gov. Rod Blagojevich on 14 articles of impeachment that are quaint and laughable compared to the blatant offenses of Bush and Cheney. Among the horrible crimes Blago committed were abusing his power by making it easier for senior citizens to get their drugs at cheap Canadian prices; bringing health care to uninsured kids, and helping poor women get regular mammograms and cancer treatment. Seriously. Since Blago bypassed, apparently legally, the corrupt lead-asses in the state General Assembly, they called this an abuse of power. Of course the main charge that he tried to sell the US Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama was based entirely on Fitzgerald’s lip-licking public readings of excerpts of wiretapped tapes the actual full tapes have yet to be released — and remain unproven in a court of law. Here are a few things the BM, in its haste to bury Blago under ridicule, have missed:

— I live in Illinois and have known for years that Blago was not popular with the state Power Elite comprised of corporations, wealthy country-clubbers of both parties, the mortgage-lending industry, the bankers, the conservative Chicago Tribune, and the for-profit health insurance creeps. In fact, these various groups, through their mouthpieces at the Trib editorial board and elsewhere, have been trying to impeach ‘The Rod’ for years, but they needed the supposedly bias-free imprimatur of Fitzgerald’s bizarre press conference on December 9, 2008, following Blago’s arrest he had yet to indict Blago, and hasn’t to this day — to bring it to a head.

— I also know a trustworthy woman who has worked for various organizations for more than two decades to bring health care to uninsured Illinoisans. She claims Blagojevich was the first Illinois governor to listen and take action, action that would have resulted, eventually, in universal health care for every Illinois resident. This alone, she says, made him a pariah among most IL politicians who rake in campaign contributions from the for-profit health care industry and he had that industry shaking in its boots universal health care in a state the size of Illinois? It would be the beginning of the end of for-profit insurers across the land. This had to be nipped in the bud before it got out of hand.

Speaker Madigan is an Old-School Chicago machine politician who has amassed immense power in Springfield and committed every public vice he’s imputed to Blago. (If you think Blago has a foul mouth on him, spend a few minutes off camera with Mike or any of Daley’s Army this is the way pols talk in Chicago.) He also wants his daughter Lisa, currently the Illinois Attorney General, to be governor and Blago stood in the way. Make no mistake, Pat Quinn may have been sworn in as governor on January 29, but the real power is Madigan who controls the purse strings, both in state government appropriations and Dem party politics. That’s how he got many of these State House toads to go along he no doubt threatened he would throw official Dem party support to another candidate in the next primary, thereby guaranteeing they would lose their cushy seats in the legislature. (Some of these slack-jawed monkeys aren’t fit for much else; a good portion of them might drown in a rainstorm if they looked up.) Of course, he didn’t have to convince the Republicans they all needed drool cups at the prospect of impeaching Blago.

— You’ve heard the old line that a Grand Jury will indict a ham sandwich. Illinois’ rules of impeachment are so lax you can be removed from office for just talking about that ham sandwich on the phone.

— Just in case, as is likely, Fitzgerald isn’t able to prove his corruption charges in a court of law (he may even quietly drop the charges now that the mission has been accomplished), Illinois lawmakers added an extra fillip to the impeachment indictment Blagojevich is now barred from holding elective office in the state for life, so he won’t be in the hair of the health care apparatus and Corprocracy ever again, even if he’s cleared of corruption charges in court. They thought of everything.

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Suggestions, and decisions. Now is the time to speak up.

I am sure that a lot of you’ve noticed that over the past few months, I have not been around here much. I come by once in a while, drop a comment or two, maybe even a post, and then I am gone for the next week or so.

Why?

Mostly because of my health — I am undergoing a treatment that saps most of my energy, so that by the time I get home from work, all I want to do is veg in front of the TV. I no longer have the fire to argue politics — not even over at Misha’s site, where they can give a person an argument.

But this site has never been about ME. I am just the guy supplying the bandwidth and a functional platform for others to provide the content. Content and promotion thereof should be up to the contributors and their readers.

Last year, Liberaltopia was getting an average of 55 hits per day. But that has been dropping over the past few months, and now the average for January is a whopping 28 hits. That is pretty dismal for a group of people who won the last election.

For a comparison, my personal site — a non-political music and humorous video site — is getting an average of 16,423 hits per day — and all I do is pick one song per day to post and one funny or interesting video. It never brings in many comments, but I do see the traffic and the referrals.

The domain renewals for Liberaltopia.org, Liberaltopia.com, and Liberaltopia.net are coming up soon, and I am trying to justify the expense. I already supply a server that I am using for a couple of other sites — two of which are actually paying me to host their sites. Subsidizing, actually, but at least they are offsetting the cost.

I took over the operation of Liberaltopia about three years ago because Grouchy was having some issues and couldn’t do it himself any longer. Back then, the traffic was still pretty strong, with about 300 hits per day average.

Right now we have a couple of VERY good writers, but nobody is bothering to come read them. I don’t know why, except that unless the site gets promoted more than it has been in the past year, nobody is going to know it is here — or care.

So I have to decide what it is I am going to do about this place. Like I said, I don’t really have that kind of energy to do much at the moment, and I won’t until August, when my treatment is over. (The treatment is working great, by the way, it is just tolling on my energy levels)

So I need some suggestions. Some help. Something more than what we have now. I mean, I could continue to provide server space because it is already here. It would be nice if someone could take this whole site up off of my hands and devote a lot of energy towards it themselves. It would be even BETTER if Grouchy were to suddenly show back up and take it all over again.

So I open the floor to your suggestions. Not having any suggestions would tell me something also…

Time to freeze them out

Okay, Obama went the extra mile to include the truculent House Republicans in the adult stuff — and they proved once again why they are now the minority party by voting against the stimulus bill.

Even after Democrats made a series of concessions to the Republicans by taking out some key provisions and including some tax cuts that the Republicans wanted, they chose to vote against it.

Even though they knew Obama was coming over to talk to them, their leadership instructed the rank and file to vote against the bill before they gave him the courtesy of hearing him out.

Fuck them.

There is a reason why 53 percent of the voters chose Obama over their candidate — the majority of people in this country don’t want what the Republicans are peddling. In fact, polls are saying that 71 percent of the American public are all for this stimulus bill — as originally written.

I say, go back to the original bill — before the concessions, and vote the whole thing in. Leave the Republicans to just sit there and whine. We have the votes — we simply don’t need them.

It isn’t like they wouldn’t just shut the Democrats out if they were in power — they did that already.

Democrats need to take a page from the Republican playbook and be tough with them. Do not back down, and don’t take any shit from them. If they open their mouths, jam their words down their throats. Point out their deceits and lies.

If they want to start participating in the process as honest brokers, then fine. But if they want to be part of the problem instead of the solution — just freeze them out.

Same with the Senate. I don’t want to hear filibuster again. Get rid of it. There is too much at stake right now for these fuckweasles to be playing politics.

The thing is, the Republicans have been doing some math here. They know that if they vote for the stimulus bill and it works, then they are literally through as a party — because everything they’ve been peddling all along will have been proven to be wrong.

If they vote against it and things continue to go bad, then they can claim the high ground. If they vote for it, and it doesn’t work, then they lose also.

But voting against it and seeing it work, they can still move the goal post by saying that it COULD have been better IF ONLY they had been listened to.

Any way you look at it, Democrats need go grow a large pair and ACT like they won a major victory in November 2008.

The Tattlesnake It’s Worse Than You Think Edition

MSNBC reported this morning that the Peanut Corporation of America yes, someone actually named a company that knowingly shipped out products contaminated by salmonella. (So much for the market policing itself.) The FDA alerted the PCA of the contamination last year. Did some exec at PCA decide, ala the Ford Pinto, that it would be cheaper to handle food poisoning lawsuits than recall its products? Stay tuned. (They’re just lucky that the salmonella wasn’t one of the new drug-resistant strains.)

BTW, we’ve been losing approximately 500,000 jobs a month, or 6 million annually, for some several years now. That means that the Bush Labor Department’s employment figures were skewed and actual unemployment is much higher than the government has been reporting. (But you knew that.)

Quick — try to think of the difference between the way Stalin ran the USSR and the way the average American CEO runs a multi-national mega-corporation. Those at the very top prosper, everyone else suffers, and the system is completely corrupt and immoral. (And don’t fool yourself that the stockholders are any more effective at controlling Comrade Chairman than were the Politburo; as in the old Soviet Union, the deck is stacked against the ‘little guy’ investor.)

On the other hand, Corporate America, and the world economy, are collapsing of its own weight. Read The Financial Times — the vipers in finance and investment no longer trust each other — no honor among these thieves — and the current corporate structure can’t make money for the stockholders nor even themselves anymore. Like any large beast doomed to extinction, they have greedily gorged themselves to the point where there are no more suckers left to fleece and they can’t fleece each other since they all play the same tricks. The bailout is their last desperate gasp before the final curtain. The diversified multi-national mega-corporation of today is finished, although its slow-motion fall will take a few years and there will be some further suffering on our part. The practitioners of Disaster Capitalism have finally seen the catastrophe dumped on their own heads and they don’t have a clue as to how to dig themselves out, since most of their inbred management, buzzing with the erroneous free market lingo of the transient MBA, are only slightly smarter and more adept than Bush the Younger. When your heroes are utter monsters like Al ‘Chainsaw’ Dunlap, or sleazy film characters like Gordon Gecko, your demise is predictable and well deserved. Fortunately for us, it seems President Obama is smarter than to go down with this sinking ship.

‘Zell’ — It Rhymes with ‘Stink’: “[T]he Tribune Company. This media conglomerate, which owns some of America’s top newspapers and television stations, was bought a year ago by a Chicago real estate baron named Sam Zell.
“This fellow didn’t have anywhere near enough money to pay the $8.2 billion purchase price, but, hey, that’s no problem for a striver. Zell simply got the company’s CEO to let him use the employees pension fund as collateral for bank loans to buy the Tribune. Even though their money was put at risk, the employees had no say in the deal, nor in how the company was run. It was run badly. Less than a year after Zell’s takeover, the Tribune has had to declare bankruptcy, and employees are likely to lose jobs, severance payments and pensions.”

— Jim Hightower, “Pirate Ethics,” Dec. 18, 2008.

“Sam Zell never really had much skin in the game. Last year, when he purchased the Tribune Company… he put up $315 million of his own money and paid the balance of the purchase price, $8.2 billion, with the employee stock ownership plan — a move in which Tribune employees had no say whatever. But that actually overstates the amount of Zell’s investment. Of the $315 million he sunk into the company, it turns out that $225 million was simply a promissory note. Due to the vagaries of bankruptcy law, writes business analyst Mark Lacter on LAobserved.com, that means that Zell has better protection for his stake than all his employees.”
— Harold Meyerson, “The Worst CEO,” Washington Post, Dec. 8, 2008.

The Zell-owned Chicago Tribune has been at the forefront of the relentless media attacks on Gov. Rod Blagojevich for corruption and demanded his impeachment even before Fitzgerald arrested Blago. Now, that’s entertainment.

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Inspection- Why Does God Blame Me?

I’ll bet almost everyone has experienced the family where one child is blamed for everything, or winds up being punished for what isn’t his fault. Maybe even a relative, like in my family… a cousin… he has an older brother who was treated as if he “can do no wrong.” Usually the older brother winds up a nit who does a lot of bad things and borders on evil in a very sadistic way. The younger brother winds up a mirror reflection of his older brother, though underneath it all; somewhere, exists the little kid who only wanted to do what was right, be loved and be treated fairly.

Maybe the parents are having problems and they take it out on the child, or there are outside influences that destroy the couple… sometimes, but not always, “influences” within the family. There’s quite a bit of truth to the son or daughter who goes out and has a wildly successful life but when they come home: nothing they can do is right. The old, sick, demented family dynamics reassert themselves. That’s often why it’s best for some people to move away so they can have a bloody life instead of always being the “failed son,” “wayward daughter, “the one not worth listening to,” the _______. (Fill in the blank with whatever asinine, convenient accusations, or conveniently misapplied label, you wish.)

That’s why, if the person sticks around, and sometimes even if they leave, they eventually become the very person they never had to be. That’s why moving away as soon as possible… sometimes; not always, is the best solution.

But we can’t move away from God.

I believe this is one of the reasons a few atheists become as strident and as obnoxious as their overly dogmatic theist counterparts. Even if you’re an atheist you can’t move away because you will always be viewed with disdain: as the wayward daughter; the failed son, when living in an overwhelmingly theistic society.

So, since I am a rather odd mix of theist with agnostic tendencies, that makes me a good candidate to offer a few standard Christian concepts of the more fundamental type; and ask a few questions like…

A. Why should I be punished for what some super-great mom and Dad; “Adam and Eve,” supposedly did eons ago?

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