Monthly Archives: August 2013

Republicans LOVE Military Spending! Except For All This Green Energy Crap

It’s a fundamental law of the universe that Republicans love any and all military spending. They would rather cut $10 billion in school lunches to malnourished kids than cut a penny from the insanely bloated Pentagon budget. The reasons for this are pretty straightforward:

  • More spending on the military means less for everything else, especially social programs
  • Military spending makes a small number of people (who happen to be good friends of Republicans) rich and does relatively little for the overall economy (unlike infrastructure spending)
  • They can pretend they’re macho tough guys

But the problem with giving the military an unlimited budget (from the GOP’s perspective anyway) is that they are free to invest in all kinds of research. Research that the GOP really REALLY doesn’t like:

Last year, the fight over the NDAA got stuck on the Pentagon’s plans to make the military’s operations greener and more sustainable. Republicans in particular went after Navy Secretary Ray Mabus’ plan for a “great green fleet” powered on alternative energy — a play on Theodore Roosevelt’s vision of a “great white fleet” that would circumnavigate the world and define the U.S. as a key international player. Mabus’ goal is for his forces to draw 50 percent of their energy from alternative sources by 2020.

The military has also made it clear that their sustainability programs have another potential strategic benefit: Blunting climate change is of grave concern to America’s national security community. For the last few years, the Pentagon has put significant resources into examining the likely effects of climate change on global stability.

I wrote about the same thing last year but little has changed in the equation. While the military does have a bloated budget, the research carried out or funded through the Pentagon includes little things like GPS, microwave ovens, duct tape and more obscure inventions like, I dunno, computers and the internet.

If the military cracks the riddle of sustainable energy, and with an unlimited budget there’s no reason to think they won’t, the GOP will be perfectly fucked. It will be impossible for them to suppress it and they will lose all that juicy fossil fuel industry bribes donations.

Boo. Hoo.

Germany Still Leading The Way On Solar Power

I’m embarrassed to be an American sometimes.

Germany just broke its monthly solar power generation record once again. In July, the grey-skied country logged 5.1 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity from solar power, slightly better than the 5 TWh of electricity generated by wind turbines it produced in January.

Germany. GERMANY! A country known for being cloudy and dreary, Germany has the average sunshine of Alaska. You know Alaska, right? The state that has so little sunlight that the inhabitants need tanning booths so they don’t develop Vitamin D deficiency? Yeah, Germany is that dismal.

And yet, they are on track to produce 80% of their electrical needs from renewables.

“Oh but Justin! Germany is so smalllllll!”

Yawn. The United States has over 200,000 square miles of desert (some of it extending into Mexico). Let me think…what is the desert best known for? Sand, rock, little rain and something else that’s relevant here….oh yeah! Sunlight. We can literally fit the entire country of Germany inside of our sun-drenched deserts. And that’s not even including the rest of the country, almost all of which is far superior to Germany in average yearly sunlight.

Set up a smart power grid and we could stop burning harmful fossil fuels in just a few years. Will it be more expensive? Not if we lavish the kind of subsidies on solar power that we lard on to coal and oil. That’s something the dirty fuel industry always seems to forget to mention when whining about how green energy will bankrupt the country. And when you add on the savings from less pollution, reduced health care costs (asthma, cancer, etc.) the price is far lower than fossil fuels.

But then how will the Kochs make more money to buy our government with? And that’s the REAL reason we’ve let Germany kick our ass in green energy usage. This from the country that went to the Moon and back. Pathetic.

Fox And Friends Wants Women And Their High Maintenance Lady Parts To Stop Stealing From Men

Riiiiight. The right has no problem whatsoever with women.

“Look, it’s not bias, I’m not saying this as a man,” Fox News Medical A-Team contributor Dr. David Samadi told the hosts of Fox & Friends. “They go through a lot of preventive screenings, they give birth, they have the whole mammogram, the Pap smear. Guys, we don’t like to go to doctors, right? Seventy percent of health care decisions are made by women. In my own practice, I see it’s the women who bring the guys, who say, go get screened.”

“Yeah, but shouldn’t that earn us a discount?” Fox News host Gretchen Carlson interrupted. “Basic fact that we are responsible for getting our men to come to the doctor? And what about the fact that women, because they do all this preventative care, maybe their health issues end up costing less than men’s, who don’t go to the doctor until it’s a crisis and a big deal.”

“Yes, that’s a good point, except that, you know, women live longer,” Samadi asserted. “Women live until age 81 and men live only until 76. So, we’re using the health care system much less.”

“Women’s greater attentiveness to their own health likely also contributes to their longevity,” she wrote. “After all, women may reap the benefits of this behavior by living longer lives; they should also take on the costs.”

You damn niggers poor people Mexicans women! Stop trying to steal money from decent hard working Whites job creators REAL Americans men!

The groups change but the narrative is ALWAYS the same: I got mine. Screw you.

George Zimmerman Is Quietly Becoming A Right Wing Icon

Poor Joe Scarborough. He can see the inevitable and he knows it’s bad news:

George Zimmerman’s recent visit to a gun factory had Republican MSNBC host Joe Scarborough concerned on Monday about him being taken in by his party.

“This is not a man that Republicans should embrace as a hero,” Scarborough said of Zimmerman, who was found not guilty of murder in July 2013 in the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. “He is anything but a hero.”

Scarborough told his panelists that members of the far right would be tempted to align themselves with Zimmerman, who was criticized by his own lawyers after photos surfaced of him visiting the factory that made the gun he used to shoot and kill Martin.

Of COURSE the right is going to idolize Zimmerman. He shot himself a Negro and got away with it! Even better, he wasn’t defending himself in a home invasion or from a mugging, he took the fight to that no good thug, Trayvon, and got’er dun! It’s the dream of all right wing racists to defend White America by gunning down a vicious (black) animal and have the courts legitimize it. That liberals and black people are disgusted is the icing on the cake.

Oh? That’s bullshit? Allow me to introduce you to The Birth of a Nation, an extremely influential film on the psyche of right wing America:

Yes, that’s the KKK riding to the rescue of a white town under siege by black soldiers looking to rape and pillage. If you don’t think this is a deeply held dream of racists on the right, you haven’t been paying attention for the last 150 years.

The Bubble Of Unreality Conservatives Live In Has Never Been Clearer

A few days ago, PPP took a poll of Louisiana Republicans on what, on its face, seems like a stupid question:

Who do you think was more responsible for the poor response to Hurricane Katrina: George W. Bush or Barack Obama?

In 2005, then Senator Obama had been a Senator for a whole whopping one year. Actually only eight months since he was only sworn in on January 4 and Katrina hit Louisiana on August 29. Yet, somehow, 29% of respondents said they felt Obama was more responsible and 44% weren’t sure. I’m sure you’ll be simply stunned to learn that the ideological breakdown of those polled broke down in the following way:

Very liberal: 3%
Somewhat liberal: 5%
Moderate: 11%
Somewhat conservative: 38%
Very conservative: 44%

There are only two reasons for this: First, that the majority of conservatives in Louisiana are so blinded with rage for Obama that they will literally blame anything bad that has ever happened on him and, second, that the majority of conservatives are so ideologically rabid they cannot admit that a Republican president fucked up in a major way. The reality is probably a mix of both but no matter what, it’s a very clear picture inside the mind of the right wing and it’s a very disturbed place with only a tenuous grasp on reality.

Texas Republicans Are Taking Their State Backwards In Time

This is from a few days ago but could there be a more perfect example of the Republican desire to move the country backwards?

“Since paving roads is too expensive and there is not enough funding to repave them all, our only other option to make them safer is to turn them into gravel roads,” spokesman David Glessner told the Texas Tribune.

What makes it even better (or worse depending on your irony appreciation) is that the widespread damage to the roads is because “the oversized vehicles and overweight loads used by energy companies has had a devastating impact on many roads.” So, again, we see how corporations use (and abuse) public infrastructure to do their business. Yet, many of these companies shirk their responsibility to pay for infrastructure by using loopholes to avoid taxes. I’ll bet my left kidney (I like the right one more) that if someone were to suggest a tax on the energy companies to pay for the extra wear and tear, the screams of outrage would be heard far and wide.

It’s the same old story: privatize the gain, socialize the loss.

Right Wing Rag ‘Daily Caller’ Attains New Pinnacle Of Race Baiting

I think they might have taken the idea of “racist dog whistle” a bit too literally:

With the addition of Sunny, the Obamas now have two black Portuguese water dogs.

The Obamas do not have any white dogs.

Please, I’m BEGGING conservatives to explain to me why the Obamas not having a white dog is relevant in any way whatsoever other than race baiting. Make sure you find me the article highlighting that former President Bush didn’t have a white dog, either.

I wonder why the color of THIS dog wasn'../../wp-content/uploads/2013/08/barney.jpg

I wonder why the color of THIS dog wasn’t important…

Here Comes The GOP Rewrite Of Healthcare History

Is there no lie too transparent for the right to employ? This is a serious question and I think the answer must be “No.”

“What’s the alternative to those who now find that their pre-existing conditions don’t matter, they can still get insurance?” Crowley asked. “What do you say to the 25-year-old that still needs to stay on his parents? What happens to them if Obamacare goes away?”

“Pre-existing conditions can be covered,” Amash replied. “In fact, they are covered by some insurance policies.”

That’s like saying the Titanic didn’t need more lifeboats because it already had “some.”

The desperation of the right is becoming palpable. The longer Obamacare does what it is supposed to do, the more people will understand it and realize that, actually no, they do NOT want it repealed, delayed or weakened. So now the GOP has taken to claiming that, oh, they didn’t really want to get rid of the parts people like! Why, we love that insurance companies can’t deny coverage for pre-existing conditions! We love that the practice of rescission is illegal now! But you’re old insurance was just fine and we really just want to get rid of all the other parts! Except for closing the Medicare donut hole that saved seniors billions last year. Or throwing your college age children off of your insurance. Or forcing insurance companies to spend 80% of the money they collect on actual health care costs. Or DAMMIT STOP TALKING ABOUT ALL THE GOOD THINGS OBAMACARE DOES!

Once the public sentiment firmly turns against the GOP and repealing Obamacare becomes another one of their fringe beliefs that only a small but frothingly vocal segment still care about (like the birth certificate) we’re going to start hearing the REAL objection to it coming out of Teabagger mouths: They don’t care if it lowers costs  and saves lives, it’s a collective effort to provide health care to everyone and that’s just evil! Better to have people to go broke and die than rely on each other! Watch for it.

Nailed It!!!

Back in June, I said that the GOP would come to rue the SCOTUS decision to gut the Voting Rights Act.

Liberals must make a huge deal about every newly enacted voter restriction scheme of the right. All of them. We must paint a vivid picture of the concerted effort Republicans will be making to block Blacks, Latinos, students and the elderly from voting.

Democrats have a different but equally vital role to play. Since Section 5 is intact, all they have to do is introduce a new formula to determine which municipalities will require regulation. They need to make it as clear as possible that it is fair and equitable and be as loud and vocal about it as possible. The GOP will absolutely reject any and all legislation to this effect without fail. They will never, in a million years, agree to a single formulation that will keep GOP dominated legislatures from disenfranchising as many people as possible.

The Washington Post wrote this yesterday:

Last week, operatives tied to the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee launched what they call a 50-state initiative to promote voting reforms that would make it easier to cast a ballot. The effort is being run by American Values First, an outside group organized under Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code and run by Michael Sargeant, the DLCC’s executive director. Democrats will push legislation similar to a Colorado measure signed into law earlier this year that requires all elections to be conducted by mail.

Legislators in at least seven other states will propose bills that would tweak election laws in other ways. In some states controlled by Democrats, the measures have a good chance to pass. In other states with divided control or that operate under Republican control, Democrats plan to use the measures as political cudgels, painting the GOP as opposed to basic voting rights.

Tadaaaaa! The Democrats have seen the small thermal exhaust port right below the main port. The GOP must know what’s coming as well and it seems like they’re so overconfident in their ability to suppress the minority/youth/elderly vote that they’re standing on the bridge of their Fox News battle-station boldly declaring, “Compromise? In our moment of triumph? I think you overestimate their chances!” Which is just what they said before last year’s election.

Use the force (of voter outrage), Democrats! Use the force!

When Libertarian Fantasies Meet Reality, The Results Are Always Ugly

I never get tired of popping the bubble of utter delusion that is libertarian economic theory. The rationale for less regulation and oversight is “The free market will punish corporations that misbehave!” This, of course, is the single most ignorant statement about corporations one could make next to “Corporations are people, my friend.”

Corporations USED to be accountable to the public because because their charter could be revoked if they went off the rails. They also only existed for a specified purpose and once it was fulfilled, the charter would end and the corporation would disband. However, corporations in their modern incarnation are immortal. Their charter can be revoked but good luck with that. Further, they exist for the sole purpose of making money. Period. That’s it. Nothing else. Ethics and morality do not play a part in their decisions. Why? Because it’s rare for the people who decided that poisoning children for a profit will ever go to jail. It wasn’t their fault, you see. They were just doing their job! Once personal responsibility is removed from the equation it becomes incredibly easy for corporate executives to do stuff like the following:

A drug company refuses to sell lifesaving drugs because the profit margin is only healthy instead of obscene:

When South Korea’s Ministry of Health, Welfare and Family Affairs valued a year’s supply of Fuzeon at $18,000 — essentially setting the limit Roche could charge for the drug within the country’s borders — Roche balked and refused to sell the drug there any longer. Because of the lack of alternative drugs, the company effectively withdrew treatment for South Korea’s HIV patients, despite the fact that the company still would’ve realized a profit from sales, even at the $18,000 price limit.

When the decision was challenged, the head of Roche’s Korea division reportedly said, “We are not in the business to save lives, but to make money. Saving lives is not our business”

Saving lives is not our business. Nice. Or how about price gouging the military and then knowingly delivering spoiled food to the troops?

Halliburton employees revealed the company’s policy of delivering spoiled and out-of-date food to U.S. troops stationed in Iraq. In some cases, the food was spoiled enough that it would be refused at camp. In this case, said Halliburton delivery drivers, the food would be taken to the next camp until it was accepted

Libertarians HATE Obamacare! Apparently they would prefer this:

Under WellPoint’s policy, a breast cancer diagnosis meant a woman’s policy was flagged for investigation. It would be searched for any type of error, including clerical errors, which would then be used to revoke the patient’s insurance coverage

This practice is now illegal but it went on for decades. Where was the invisible hand of the free market? And speaking of the “free market” there was this gem from Wall St.:

So investment banking house Goldman Sachs created Abacus 2007-ACI, a fund of mortgages it sold to investors. What Goldman didn’t tell Abacus fund investors was that the mortgages they were betting would succeed had been handpicked by a favorite Goldman investor to actually lose. The favored investor, John Paulson, was allowed to compile the mortgage-backed securities (meaning subprime) that he thought would lose so he could bet against them. It was up to Goldman to sell the fund to investors who would bet on them [source: Nocera]. Paulson won the bet, making $1 billon from the fund.

Libertarians love the idea of caveat emptor or “Let the buyer beware.” If the seller cheats you, that’s too bad but supposedly, the bad guys will be punished somehow. But time after time, no one goes to jail. No one gets into any real trouble and if the banks had not choked on their own greed in such a public faction, no one would have even known about this particular scam. The rich get to prey on the less rich at will because that’s how they designed the system. Without the government regulation and watchdogging that libertarians cry about so often, there’s nothing stopping the rich from cheating us, stealing our money or even flat out killing us for a profit. They already do this and there are laws against it and the nominal threat of jail.

What kind of idiot thinks that they would suddenly stop all of their disgusting, inhumane and sociopathic behavior if they DIDN’T have the government watching them? Keep preaching about the free market and the use of force to “steal” taxes you jackasses. The rich love you for your hard work ensuring they can profit from your misery later. They rest of us will pool our resources and have our government look out for our best interests. You can go live in Somalia. Let us know how awesome your freedom is.