Monthly Archives: July 2011

Monster Truck Rolls Royce

I dreamt about a Rolls Royce monster truck last night. It looked very much like this car I found this morning on the Internet, but the catch was that this particular Rolls was featured on Top Gear.

The lads had added a PA system that blared out “Rule Britannia” on a constant loop and, of course, added the monster truck get-up as part of a test to make the Rolls as loud as possible on the outside to see if they could not hear any of it on the inside. An ultimate test of the cabin soundproofing, if you will.

I would love to see this as an actual episode. Therefore, I am posting this idea on my Facebook page and I hope it generates a fair enough share of interest to warrant a segment on some future programme.

Continuity of Government Debt

National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive 51/20 does what the Democrats claim the 14th Amendment can do, namely, give the President the power to raise the debt limit on his own and keep the government rolling. It’s all part of the “Enduring Constitutional Government” clause. So, thanks to George the Second, we are guaranteed continuity of government debt. Ain’t that just something?

Not that it makes me happy… it’s just that it takes a lot more than a recalcitrant Congress to exercise a check or a balance on the executive branch, these days. Congress passed that darn PATRIOT Act, and now we see it can effectively give the President dictatorial powers any time there looks to be a crisis, real or engineered.

Goodnight and good luck, everyone.

The 14th Amendment and the Debt

The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void. – Clause Four of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America

Sorry, Obama fans. This amendment does not empower the president to raise the debt limit unilaterally. Maybe it would if there was a different makeup of the Supreme Court. Given the current state of the court, it would rule 5-4 against the president – or anyone – raising the debt limit unilaterally.

It’s one thing for Congress to act childishly, but quite another for someone in government to act unconstitutionally. I’d hope that people would stop trying to encourage a constitutional crisis over the debt situation.

What, Again?

Boehner couldn’t even get his own party to vote for his bill, yet he’s trying to run it through the House today. To get his party together, he had to hand over concessions to the Tea Party that would guarantee that the bill would not stand a chance of passing any other house. Sure, you could pass it, Mr. Speaker, but that’s very passive-aggressive of you to insist that if it doesn’t pass the Senate that it’s not your fault.

The GOP has lost its party discipline, it’s plain to see. The radicals in the Tea Party are a party within the GOP: they are a coalition partner, an an unreliable one, at that. In a parliamentary system, Boehner would be up for a vote of no confidence and a snap election would have to be called to try and deliver a new makeup of the House – or he’d have to form a unity government with the Democrats and rule with them, having their votes replace those of the dissenting Tea Party votes.

Boehner has not sought unity, and that is why we’re seeing this wretched drama drag on another day. I have a feeling that some of those “red” politicians are holding their breath for so long, they’ll turn their constituencies “blue.”

This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

I know things have to be bad when I turn on C-SPAN to watch the House of Representatives. I did it to watch the debate on the Boehner budget proposal. One representative hit the nail on the head: this bill enshrines the mistakes of the Bush II era. The giveaways that administration made possible for big oil, big finance, big incomes, probably also big hair for all I know… If it was big, Bush’s policies benefited it. If it was too big to fail, Bush’s policies were a dream come true. And now that 21% of hardcore Bushites are doing the equivalent of a temper tantrum to make sure their Dear Leader remains an albatross around the necks of Americans forever.

The US Government created $16 trillion out of thin air to bail out big automobiles and too big to fail finance. Yet, it can’t find a nickel, it seems, to aid the poor. Citibank could have failed and AIG could have been blown away and the FDIC had the money necessary to make sure that no depositor would lose his or her money: the former head of the FDIC revealed that Greenspan, Paulson, and Geithner all told her, basically, to rescue the gamblers. The richest of the rich, in other words.

America has the wherewithal to run its affairs fairly and properly. The problem is that the richest of the rich are greedy and that they own enough politicians to keep the laws in their favor. Boehner’s budget is awful. Reid’s is laughable. All of these budgets, in some way or another, ensure the rich keep their goodies. Boehner’s benefits them the most, while Reid’s is essentially no real change, so it’s no loss to them.

The Republicans aren’t good for America. The Democrats aren’t as bad, but they’re still not good. The Tea Party is suicide. The richest of the rich have had their grip on the nation since the crisis of 1861, when the US plunged into war with itself. To finance that war, the bankers did not pledge their money as grants: they loaned it to the government on condition that the debt be perpetual.

We live in a plutocracy, with trimmings of a republic. There are charades enacted by the plutocrats to appease the masses, but the true power is in the hands of the richest of the rich. Every political faction with organization is manipulated with the money of the richest of the rich. Not every person: just enough in order to mess everything up.

As a nation, we are governed by a class that has no compassion for the poor. This is why we can’t have nice things.

Save the Gamblers?

Democracy Now! ran a story about the debt crisis and who will stand to benefit most from its resolution. Hint: it’s the same group of people that benefited from the bailouts. All these benefits, of course, come off of the backs of people that don’t sit on a bank’s board of directors.

This morning, the talking heads on Face the Nation were saying that if we don’t get a debt solution in place, interest rates will go up, and that’s going to be bad for the average American.

So let me get this straight: interest rates are bad when they go up.

Well, that’s what I’ve been saying for a while, with the addendum that interest rates are just plain bad. The only thing they do is move money from the poor to the rich, with concomitant social ills following in the wake of increasing income and wealth disparity.

And what we have now are the ratings agencies telling us that if the banks don’t get what they want, we’ll lose our national credit rating and we all suffer terribly for that. The Greeks are being told to sell off their nation so that foreign banks won’t have to sustain losses. Are we in a similar position? Or at least heading that way?

We are governed by our financial institutions. The Constitution exists now as a framework within which financial institutions must operate if they wish to increase profits. The Constitution has some brilliant ideas in it, but it has been perverted in its current application. This is not a sudden thing: it is a long process that has generated calls for alarm and attention for over two centuries.

What is a Christian?

Ainsley Earhardt tells me that, compared to Rick Perry, I’m not a Christian. Never mind, that, according to Fox News’ own segment, at 2:36 for those who care to use a slider, I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. (emphasis mine)

At 4:14, the host asks does it matter what other people think about us? Let me interject my emphatic yes: as a member of a religious denomination that faced an extermination order in 1830s Missouri, as a descendant of a man who was forced to flee the USA to seek religious freedom elsewhere, YES it matters very much. (emphasis mine)
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There is no American flag in heaven.

Whether you believe in heaven or not, there is still no American flag there. God is not an American, and neither is Jesus. I state this in a position contrary to one seemingly adopted by hard-right conservative Christian ideologues.

Neither God nor Jesus has signed any sort of trade deal, mutual defense pact, or even a treaty of goodwill with the USA. God, therefore, is not on our side. He’s on His own side and those who are not with Him are against Him.

Who is against Him? Jesus said one cannot serve both God and Mammon. Mammon is the Hebrew word for money, not some arcane Philistine deity. Mammon is money. Money is the world made to go ’round by money. Money is not love – it is cruelty, it is interest rates, it is moral hazard, it is corruption, it is that, when loved by man, becomes the root of all evil. To say otherwise is to lie.
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Goldman Sachs Hates You

Goldman Sachs hates you. Now that the BSkyB takeover is dead, thanks to revelations that Rupert Murdoch’s employees were the private-sector equivalents to the KGB, all the big brokerages that took up huge positions on BSkyB stock in anticipation of that merger are left holding a very expensive bag.

They thought the BSkyB stock would go up, but it is not going to do that anymore. They will take big losses on their positions unless something else happens to get that stock back up. Goldman Sachs just issued a strong “buy” recommendation to its clients in a naked attempt to prop up its bottom line by selling its stock to bigger fools than they. That’s why Goldman Sachs hates you.

The bigger picture is that lots of former GS executives are all over the financial side of the US Government, and they carry that hate with them. Given a choice between ruining 90-95% of Americans or letting the 1% that have been pillaging take a loss, the GS crowd and its cronies will take the first option, every time.