WTF Sean Hannity

Sean Hannity says his audience of Tea Party protesters are “Tim McVeigh wannabees” on his TV show today. Tim McVeigh, the guy who blew up the Oklahoma City Federal Building–the most lethal terrorist attack on this country until 9/11. I’m sure he and his audience will say Hannity’s just being sarcastic, describing his audience as the “left” and the MSM would, and that he actually thinks they are American patriots, not American terrorists. Or maybe this is Hannity’s idea of an April Fool’s type joke. But it’s still a dumb thing to say if you don’t “put it in context”.You can watch the video in the sidebar on this blog. Or go here.

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The Public Option is back. . .and its smoking hot.

Never underestimate the power of a beautiful blond showing some tasteful cleavage.  Go Public Option, GO!

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Total War Against the Unions–Begin.

As a union worker, the common refrain the past five years has been, “let’s keep the status quo.  Let’s not ask for anything, but let’s not give up anything either”.  It’s worked for the APWU the last ten-fifteen years.

A post by Numerian over at  The Agonist lays out the final assault against unions:  Public resentment of union wages and benefits in an era of stagnant private sector wages, Glenn Beck style “common sense” and globalization, coupled was massive deficits in the budgets of States in an era of severe economic recession, is about to destroy all gains unions have made in the last 150 or so years.  The final battle against unionism has began, and it’s going to be a David vs. Goliath battle, except this time David doesn’t even have a rock while Goliath has a M1 Abrams Tank.  While not publicly-funded like teachers, fire fighters and police, the postal unions faces the same scenario as they do.  Mr. Numerian makes it very clear in the post that he or she sees unionism’s demise as a foregone conclusion.

It is not too difficult to determine the outcome of this fight. States and localities have no choice but to close their deficits, and the taxpayer has no appetite for greater taxes. Therefore the unions will have to accept cutbacks in salaries, wages and benefits; reductions in pension plans (amounting to an outright repudiation of legally-agreed payouts); and the loss of job protection, so that government officials can fire workers much more quickly. There will be nasty strikes over the next few years, and lawsuits aplenty as these cutbacks are enforced, but there simply isn’t the money to continue to pay union workers in government anything like what they have received in the past.

The deflation that has ravaged the pay and benefits of the middle class private sector worker is about to work its damage on the public sector as well. The middle class in the US will shrink even more, as one of the last bastions of protection against rampaging globalization and Republican market orthodoxy succumbs.

Numerian sees past this coming fall of unionism to the eventual campaign against the true “last bastion” of socialism in the US of A:  The armed forces.

We can say “one of the last bastions”, but there is still one left, a sector of the economy that isn’t even unionized. That is the pay and benefit programs for the military, especially the officer corps who can retire at 50, slip into a well-paying job in the industrial complex, yet also take home generous retirement benefits. The costs of supporting tens of thousands of these retirees is galloping forward year after year, but this is so far a sacrosanct area that no politician will touch.

Even the Department of Defense may not be able to hold out forever, if economic conditions get really bad (and that is likely to be the case). If so, the concept of retirement with a fixed pension payment will be obliterated in this country, as the US continues on its path of erecting third world standards of pay and benefits for all its workers.

In an era of unbridled, atavistic “free market” capitalism for you and me and fascistic corporate welfare for those deemed “too big to fail” this scenario is increasingly realistic.  Time to gather stones and swinging the bolo.

Read the whole post here.

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Much more convincing than Bob Barker

Help control the pet population, stare at my butt (not my butt–her butt.  you get the idea)

After my last 2 “it’s the end of democracy” rants, I needed this.

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“One Dollar, One Vote”

I didn’t say that, Thomas Friedman did.  It’s in his “Lexus and the Olive Tree” book.  It illustrates the idea among the rich and powerful that they rule; that they, by virtue of their wealth, own our political system.  5 knuckle-dragging, boot-licking sycophants on the Supreme Court of the United States of America agree.  You and I can throw $25 to help our favorite candidate, they can spend $2.5 million making sure he loses and their boy wins.

With the recent Supreme Court Citizens United v. FEC decision, it just got easier for corporations–even foreign corporations–to buy elections.  Remember the cries and whispers about B. Clinton getting laundered Chinese money in support of his 1996 re-election campaign?  Imagine that times a million, and all 100% legal, or at least legal enough, and you can see the danger posed to our republic by this ruling.  Unlimited cash flowing into the election process from here on out.  One dollar, one vote.  100 million dollars. . .  And picture this: with some creative accounting, Citibank, AIG and Goldman Sachs can probably even use taxpayer-supplied bailout money to buy more politicians through unlimited campaign spending.  And those bought and paid-for politians can engineer even more bailouts for their corporate masters once in office.

Here’s the heart of the majority opinion (you can read the whole thing here), written by Anthony Kennedy:

Distinguishing wealthy individuals from corporations based on the latter’s special advantages of e.g., limited liability, does not suffice to allow laws prohibiting speech.  It is irrelevant for First Amendment purposes that corporate funds may “have little or no correlation to the public’s support for the corporation’s political ideas.” Austin, supra, at 660.  All speakers, including individuals and the media, use money amassed from the economic marketplace to fund their speech, and the First Amendment protects the resulting speech.

Huh?  You know, it’s actually very easy to distinguish between a person and a corporation.  A person lives and breaths, eats and excretes, sweats and toils, ages and dies.  A corporation is a stack of legal documents consisting of ink on paper.  It doesn’t live and breath, and is immortal unless legally dissolved.  How is it that a non-person was given “free speech” under the first amendment and “due process” under the 14th amendment?  Perhaps it’s time for some legal experts to challenge the constitutionality of “corporate personhood” altogether.

God bless our wise judges.  God save America.

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41 is NOT > 59

I hate this post at TMP on just how all-powerful and awesome the dreaded Senate filibuster is.  Here’s my “favorite” paragraph:

Filibusters aren’t exactly difficult to keep rolling, either. As Ryan Grim pointed out last year, Majority Leader Harry Reid’s office has studied the issue and concluded that a filibustering senator “can be forced to sit on the [Senate] floor to keep us from voting on that legislation for a finite period of time according to existing rules but he/she can’t be forced to keep talking for an indefinite period of time.” And only one Republican at a time would have to monitor the Senate floor. The rest, it seems, could all go on vacation while a lone member of the minority sat there “filibustering” quietly.

Democracy in action?  How about instead of caving in whenever some Republican (or, to be fair, some Democrat) threatens to do this, how about you just let them do it and then when you got that 1 Republican “sitting” on the floor–probably asleep–you videotape him.  Then you follow around the “vacationing” Republicans and videotape them eating at fancy restaurants and on their power boats and ogling bikini-clad staffers in the Caymans and visiting sweatshops.  Then you take that footage and make a damn good campaign ad with the tag line “While we were working hard to pass health care reform, our counterparts were sleeping, whoring, shaking hands with a-hole outsourcing execs in their third-world factories, etc, etc, etc”

Why is it so hard for these pansies to craft  a message and get it out there?

I’m beginning to believe that the Democratic party just talks a “we feel your pain–we want to do the right thing” talk while quietly advancing the interests of large, multi-national corporations while the Republicans talk a “we love God and guns, hate the lazy poor minorities, gays and terrorists” talk while loudly advancing the interests of large, multi-national corporations.  In the end all us “folks” stay divided and get the shaft while the big corps get pretty much anything they damn well please.

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AFL-CIO and SEIU: “Fight like hell” for meaningful reform

Two countries 2 largest unions are united in their opposition to the current watered-down health care reform bill.

Sam Stein, Huffington Post, “Change Health Care Bill or else”:

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in a statement to reporters that without a public option for insurance coverage or an employer mandate – and with a tax on high-end insurance plans that some union members get – the health care legislation supported by Senate Democrats falls far short of meeting his group’s standards.

“[For] this health care bill to be worthy of the support of working men and women, substantial changes must be made,” said Trumka. “The AFL-CIO intends to fight on behalf of all working families to make those changes and win health care reform that is deserving of the name.”

Earlier in the day, Andy Stern, president of Service Employees International Union (SEIU), sent a letter to his Lieutenants expressing his displeasure with the status of health care reform.

“President Obama must remember his own words from the campaign. His call of ‘Yes We Can’ was not just to us, not just to the millions of people who voted for him, but to himself. We all stood shoulder to shoulder with the President during his hard fought campaign. And, we will continue to stand with him but he must fight for the reform we all know is possible,” Stern wrote.

“Our challenge to you, to the President, to the Senate and to the House of Representatives is to fight,” Stern continued. “Now, more than ever, all of us must stand up, remember what health insurance reform is all about, and fight like hell to deliver real and meaningful reform to the American people.”

Stern, like Trumka, called for Democrats to make changes to the legislation as the process moves forward. And his rebuke of Obama – a staunch personal ally – was a telling sign of the growing frustration within the labor movement.

Both labor leaders were particularly incensed over the concessions made by the Senate’s Democratic leadership to Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), the 60th member of their caucus. “The public option is declared impossible. Americans cannot purchase Medicare at an earlier age. The health insurance reform effort we have needed for a century is at risk,” Stern wrote.

Lieberman’s a convenient scapegoat, but there are alot of ways to get meaningful reform with him, one way being reconciliation.  If I was a dem in congress, I think I’d pass a flawed health care bill before Christmas, one that conforms to the morons wishes but doesn’t go into effect for at least 18 months, and then spend as much time as is needed to fix it before the 18 month window “closes”.  Overseas, “shake every tree” and overturn every rock until you find Bin Laden or his bones, then declare victory in Afghanistan and get the f@%k out of that hell hole.  Find a safe spot where you can insert your drones and special forces groups into AFPak and keep whacking bad guys on the QT as needed.  While I’m pipe dreaming, why not make some deals with the corps and countries drooling over Iraq’s oil and let them clean up the mess while we get the f@%k out of there too.   Then focus on the serious business of rebuilding our infrastructure, our economy, and our manufacturing base with an emphasis on conservation and alternative energy.  Lastly we all sit in a circle smoke reefer and sing kum-buy-ya (everything up until the last part is doable).

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