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Rocking horse people eat marshmallow pies © Robert Sommers 2017

Friday, May 6, 2016

Free spooling


You remember back in junior high when you maybe read Flowers for Algernon? Perhaps you saw the excellent movie rendition, Charly? Who was in it again, was it Cliff Robertson? A dumb guy gets smart and then it wears off and he gets real stupid again. That's sort of how I feel right now, cognitively impaired. My brain is even free spooling a little bit, throwing out nonsensical idle bits of chatter like so many spare widgets. Or zeros and ones. Of course the conundrum for losing cognition is that you also lose the capacity to know exactly what has been lost.

I went to the doctor, got a couple shots in the ass of some unknown potion, put me on antibiotics. Still feel like shit.

And my brain is sort of on an automatic pilot course at present. One plus one equals a fish flying through the tulips. While on PCP. Of course I have always prided myself on my mental acuity, the narcissistic bravado that says that I can still slay the world with half my brain tied behind my back and all that.

We played cards last night and I was able to win a few games against the shark so I must not be totally deficient yet but I really can't wait until I am back to full brain power and conceit.

I will try to keep the blog moving along but it is tough when I am feeling this rotten.

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Of course the state of our society right now can make anybody feel sick. And I think all sides could do with a little soul searching. I think that I have done a pretty good job focussing on policy and positions rather than personalities and partisan politics but feel a little bit of verbalizing on the subject is necessary.


When I was a kid, the son of a onetime history teacher, we read a lot of history and one of my favorite subjects was the French revolution, don't ask me why. Liberté, égalité, fraternité and all that. I am mildly embarrassed but must sheepishly admit that my family nickname was Robespierre, I kid you not. But I wasn't really on the side of Georges Danton and cutting off the heads of the aristocracy, it was more of an academic exploration.

When I hear Bernie Sanders say that you can be on the side of workers or Wall Street I have to shudder a bit. What was it that Bill Clinton said the other day?
"One of the few things I really haven't enjoyed about this primary: I think it's fine that all these young students have been so enthusiastic for her opponent and (he) sounds so good: 'Just shoot every third person on Wall Street and everything will be fine.'" 
I kind of side with Bill on this one. Bernie sounds good if you are a utopian kid who wants to stick it to the man but what would be the real upshot of his policies of turning us into the new Norway if he actually got elected? Not sure I have the intestinal fortitude for a class war at my age.

He backs what some estimate to be $18 trillion dollars of new spending and debt and has figured out a way to pay for about a third of it, by taxing people that make over $250,000.00. Really?

An analysis by the non partisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) has estimated that Sanders proposals would add $12 trillion to $15 trillion to the national debt.
The group found that Sanders major spending initiatives would cost from $17 trillion to $28 trillion, depending on health assumptions and without including net interest. However, his tax plan would only raise about $15.7 trillion.
When including net interest, Sanders would cause debt to rise from 86 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2026 under current law to between 93 and 139 percent of GDP by 2026, CRFB said.
Maybe I am indeed old but this sort of talk scares the shit out of me. I know that looking at budgets and numbers and stuff is icky but the real world implications of such an economic course would lead to certain disaster. Dodd-Frank has curbed some of the excesses of the evildoers and we certainly need to reverse the income inequality in this country but I think we should be real careful before we pull the guillotines out of storage.

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On another Bernie note, I am right there with him regarding his being against going after gun manufacturers whose products are used in crimes and murders. You don't sue Ford and Chrysler when their vehicles run somebody over.

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I have a friend who is voting for Trump. Several friends, many won't quite openly admit it. B said that the politicians have had their shot, time to let a businessman run the show. Which would be fine but this businessman seems to have a serious problem with the truth. He will say anything, quite teflon really, and concoct fantasies that have nothing to do with reality. I am no Ted Cruz fan but the last minute attack on Cruz's father and the alleged link to Oswald was beyond the pale.

If Hillary is smart, and she is, she will sit back and let the guy dig his own grave. Because he will. Get the popcorn ready, this will be good.

And speaking of Hillary, maybe she is somewhat shrill but where did this meme come from that she is in anyway more dishonest than the next politician? I had major reservations about Benghazi but my ire was directed at Susan Rice, not Hillary. Rice seemed to be leading the spin. An Ambassador died, a terrible tragedy occurred. Perhaps if Republicans had not cut embassy budgets things might have turned out differently?

Or is the ire pointed at Clinton just normal misogyny from people who still have a problem with the idea of a woman President? I could give a rat's ass about her email server, Colin Powell did the same thing and I never saw the vultures go after him. Get over it.

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9 comments:

Douglas Keller said...

What do you call 5,000 Wall Street bankers at the bottom of the sea? -- A good start.

Jon Harwood said...

Six months of the "Hillary and Donald Show", it is hard to imagine anything much more depressing outside of full scale war in Korea--or the Middle East every day for the last decade or so. The country has its issues and problems but really kids: Is it really that bad? Blame the villain of your choice but a lot of people are getting something out of being Cassandras. The whining is going to escalate into a mighty roar and din. Earplugs and blinders sound more sensible every day.

Kerr A. Lott said...


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/24/crfb-corporate-funds_n_2545878.html

"...historical documents raise questions about whether the CRFB — which is also the primary vehicle advocating private equity billionaire Peter Peterson’s debt reduction agenda, including cuts to social safety net programs —- has allowed corporate donations to influence its work on budget issues.

The organization was used in the early 1990s to create a front group for tobacco companies during the battle over President Bill Clinton’s health care reform proposal. That group, called the Cost Containment Coalition, presented itself as a civic-minded coalition of those interested in finding the most responsible solution to the health care crisis. The corporate interests funding it had entirely different motives, according to documents collected by the Public Accountability Initiative, a public interest research nonprofit."

Blue Heron said...

Seems like quite a slam piece, Kerr. They seem pretty bipartisan to me. Sanders himself acknowledges a huge increase in entitlements and tax increases.

Here is another perspective on the various candidates' spending:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/beltway/2016/05/03/finding-a-politician-who-would-pay-for-what-she-promises/#4007c5cd1e1d

Douglas Keller said...

Problem is that it's the wrong discussion. Right now, the big problem is that innovation (technological/scientific) is being held back by the usual conservative forces. We need to unleash the Kraken! Think about the simple math -- if the size of our economy increases 10-fold...then what is currently a debt equal to 100% of GDP...will then be one that's a meager 10% of GDP. Game over! Then we can all grapple over how we'll apportion the goods. Cut the work week, etc. Think big, gentlemen....or become irrelevant.

Blue Heron said...

As Levon Helm once sang, a drunkard's dream if I ever did see one...Supply side in reverse, Jack Kemp would be so proud! They pitched the same stuff in Kansas, cut taxes and everything is going to be so swell, didn't quite work out.

Douglas Keller said...

No, not "supply side" in reverse...but "trickle down" in reverse: "trickle up"...or rather, "pour up!" Instead of muckin' around in the Middle East, spending all of our tax dollars on wars...why not a new Manhattan Project?...but this time one that tackles new cheaper, cleaner, decentralized sources of energy? Free education with huge govt grants to students who excel in this area? Then use the current massive tsunami of information flows...that are steadily and finally democratizing our society's political system....and turn them to raising awareness (a la Bernie Sanders) that frees us from the traditional conservative baggage (aka, "parasites")...that keep drugs illegal...gambling illegal...prostitution illegal...and who are total "supply-siders" when it comes to handing out corporate welfare like subsidies to big agra, big oil, etc.

Kerr A. Lott said...

It's time to cut some spending fat. Reduce the size and power of the military industrial complex. Take legally sanctioned money grubbing out of government and politics. Side line 90% of retired-congressmen and high ranking military lobbyists. Eliminate health insurance companies and their lawyers, and go to a single payer 'medicare' system. Etc., etc., etc.

As far as taxes ? America did just fine with Eisenhower's tax structure including a 90% max tax. Reagan started with a max tax of 70%, and over time reduced it to 28%, but, in spite of his "read my lips" promise George the first was forced by the economy to raise the max tax to 35%. After that Clinton had to raise it to 39.6%, where it is now.

Billionaires can afford a 40% tax rate... not that they ever actually pay that much.

I agree with Bernie 100%... so tired of our corrupt government of by and for big corporations. Off shore tax havens a la Panama Papers must be eliminated. Loopholes need to be closed.

Why do we pay more than any other country for health care and get worse results than countries like Denmark?

From The Commonwealth Fund:

New York, N.Y., October 8, 2015— The U.S. spent more per person on health care than 12 other high-income nations in 2013, while seeing the lowest life expectancy and some of the worst health outcomes among this group, according to a Commonwealth Fund report out today. The analysis shows that in the U.S., which spent an average of $9,086 per person annually, life expectancy was 78.8 years. Switzerland, the second-highest-spending country, spent $6,325 per person and had a life expectancy of 82.9 years. Mortality rates for cancer were among the lowest in the U.S., but rates of chronic conditions, obesity, and infant mortality were higher than those abroad.

“Time and again, we see evidence that the amount of money we spend on health care in this country is not gaining us comparable health benefits,” said Commonwealth Fund President David Blumenthal, M.D. “We have to look at the root causes of this disconnect and invest our health care dollars in ways that will allow us to live longer while enjoying better health and greater productivity.”

Why do we jail more of our population than any other country, including China? The United States has less than 5 percent of the world's population. But it has almost a quarter of the world's prisoners.

From the New York Times:

"Indeed, the United States leads the world in producing prisoners, a reflection of a relatively recent and now entirely distinctive American approach to crime and punishment. Americans are locked up for crimes — from writing bad checks to using drugs — that would rarely produce prison sentences in other countries. And in particular they are kept incarcerated far longer than prisoners in other nations.

Criminologists and legal scholars in other industrialized nations say they are mystified and appalled by the number and length of American prison sentences.

The United States has, for instance, 2.3 million criminals behind bars, more than any other nation, according to data maintained by the International Center for Prison Studies at King's College London.

China, which is four times more populous than the United States, is a distant second, with 1.6 million people in prison. (That number excludes hundreds of thousands of people held in administrative detention, most of them in China's extrajudicial system of re-education through labor, which often singles out political activists who have not committed crimes.)"

Fuck GE and Wall Street. Fuck the health insurance companies, their lawyers and the wanna-be millionaire physicians they collude with. Fuck the 1%, especially The 1% of the 1%. Especially the fucking Walton family, who are wealthier than the bottom 40% of the US population.

Kerr A. Lott said...


Saul Goodman asks : "What do you call twenty lawyers buried in mud up to their chins ? Not enough mud."