So Be It: On Republican Priorities (Poem)

Over the last two years, the federal government has added 200,000 new jobs.  And if some of those jobs are lost in this, so be it.  — John Boehner

We’ll cut the budget to the bone,
We’ll slash and burn like Al Capone,
We’ll make this place a no-spend zone.
So be it!

We’ll trim the evil wasteful WIC,
Whose origins are Bolshevik.
If children starve or come down sick:
So be it!

We don’t believe in high-speed rail.
Our mascot is the humble snail.
To those who say we’re doomed to fail:
So be it!

The future may look dark and bleak,
But only to the poor and weak.
Our friends are rich. For them we speak.
So be it!

 From my blog


The Master Plan (A Play)

Scene: The Oval Office. October 2008. President George W. Bush is nursing a Diet Coke. Vice President Dick Cheney sips a Cutty and water. A nervous-looking aide brings in a plate of soft pretzels, along with two copies of the latest internal polling numbers.

BUSH: This doesn't look good, Dick. McCain is going to get his ass kicked.

CHENEY: I'd say that falls under the category of his problem, Mr. President. Besides, I think the man has lost it. An Alaskan bimbo for a running mate? He obviously spent too much time in the sun at the Hanoi Hilton.

BUSH: Heh-heh -- You and I sure don't have to worry about that, do we, Mr. Five Deferments? Good thing, too. Our country needs us right now. Henry's scared shitless the goddamn geniuses on Wall Street are going to take the whole friggin' economy down the tubes. And fuck-all if I don't get blamed for it.

CHENEY: Don't worry, Mr. President. You're going to come out of this just fine. Do you remember that lecture I gave you in '03? When I told you that deficits don't matter?

BUSH: Sorry to say I don't, Dick. That was the day Laura got fed up with my pissin' and moanin' about my presidential workload and ordered the White House kitchen to slip the Jim Beam into my sarsaparilla. That whole week's a blur.

CHENEY: Well, Mr. President, let me give you the Cliff Notes version: Basically, American business runs itself. Successful Republicans have neither the time nor the inclination to get lost in the weeds of economic policy. And successful Republicans must never display any weakness when the middle-class losers start whining.

BUSH: You mean like when Dad went into that fancy new grocery store and tried to pretend he gave a shit about the peons? What a joke! Mom still rides him over that one.

CHENEY: Exactly, Mr. President. You can't be wasting any precious war-fighting hours worrying about people who can't cut it in the free market. It takes your eye off the ball. Republican economics is simple: Our friends tell us what they want, and we try to give it to them.

BUSH: That's it?

CHENEY: That's it.

BUSH: But what happens when our friends all get richer and everyone else gets the shaft? What do we say then?

CHENEY: "A rising tide lifts all boats."

BUSH: What if that doesn't work?

CHENEY: Then we say, "We believe Americans should be allowed to keep more of their own money."

BUSH: And if people are still bitching?

CHENEY: Too bad. We're done talking. We've done our job. We've taken care of our friends. That's all we're going to do.

BUSH: I don't know, Dick. That sounds a little harsh.

CHENEY: Life is harsh, Mr. President. It's up to each individual to try to try to scratch and claw his way to the top -- to where you are. Economic good times come and go. Our friends are forever. Things may look bad now, but that's actually a blessing in disguise. John McCain is a loser. Fuck him. It's just not his year. Hell, it's not our year. But Henry's going to do what it takes to save the system. And believe it or not, you're going to be a Republican hero.

BUSH: How's that gonna happen? You sound like Turd Blossom when he's kissing my ass.

CHENEY: Don't take this wrong the wrong way, Mr. President, but here's the plain fact: You've screwed up the economy so royally that nobody -- least of all this Obama character -- can fix it in two or even four years. If Republicans play their cards right, Mitt or Haley can waltz into the White House in 2012.

BUSH: I think I get it, Dick. The shitty Bush economy now falls under the category of Obama's problem.

CHENEY: Fuckin' A, Mr. President. Fuckin' A.


(From my blog



The Case For Speaker Boehner

It's always better to win than to lose, but I'm coming around to the belief that it wouldn't be so terrible if Democrats lost the House in November.

Why?  It's simple.  Voters don't particularly care for Republicans right now (two words: Bush-Cheney).  They'll really start to dislike them if they get a full-frontal, in-your-face, round-the-clock dose of John Boehner and his colorful gang of pissed-off teabaggers, brazen corporate bagmen, arithmetically challenged troglodytic Social Security privatizers, hypocritical Christian gay-bashers, FOX-fueled Obama-trashing unreconstructed southern-fried Klan-sympathizers, Medicare-gutting Gingrich-recalling school-lunch-slashing budget balancers, paranoid Kenya-obsessed Hawaii-pestering birthers, gun-toting Hispanic-hating immigrant-dissing Minuteman wannabes, draft-dodging chickenhawk warmongers, smooth-talking Gordon Gekko-admiring regulation-ignoring blow-dried Wall Street errand boys, brain-dead George W. Bush-era-defending supply-side-Kool-Aid-drinking Laffer Curve leftovers, bloodsucking backbench Congressional time-servers and pharmaceutical industry lobbyists-in-training, Glenn Beck-reciting Sarah Palin-quoting Michele Bachmann-following wingnut publicity hounds, straight-up stone crazy lunatic after-hours-special-order-delivering right-wing speechifiers, and (of course) mealy-mouthed talking-points-spouting Republican "leaders" who know full well that their Party's true agenda is so loathsome (when it's not simply ludicrous) that they dare not speak of it publicly.

And that's only a partial list.

Democrats haven't been very good at pointing out that the Republican Party is beyond the pale.  Maybe the GOP circus needs to come to town.

(From my blog:

The Shirley Sherrod Template

Republican "free market" economic policies are explicitly designed to concentrate the nation's wealth in as few hands as possible.  As collateral damage, the middle class will necessarily be ground into dust.  Hence, in a democratic system of government, the only way the GOP will be able to hold on to power is by attempting to exploit divisive social issues.

This is because, in economic terms, Republicans have nothing to offer their struggling foot soldiers except slogans.  And -- to paraphrase Hillary Clinton -- you can't eat a slogan. 

Filling the void, slick right-wing operators like Andrew Breitbart stand ready to serve up double portions of cultural red meat -- but on their own timetable.

Shirley Sherrod scenarios will arise, in myriad forms, for years to come.  Sometimes they will seem to benefit Republicans, sometimes they won't.  In either case, GOP politicians will be powerless to control them.  They'll simply have to ride the tiger and try to spin things to their political advantage.

"Flashpoint" racial politics will be a major part of the conservative playbook going forward.  Progressives need to be ready to combat it.

(From my blog



"Paranoia Polytechnic" (Glenn Beck Poem)

Offered exclusively to Insider Extreme subscribers, Beck University is a unique academic experience bringing together experts in the fields of religion, American history and economics.  Through captivating lectures and interactive online discussions, these experts will explore the concepts of Faith, Hope and Charity and show you how they influence America’s past, her present and most importantly her future. -- Glenn Beck's Website

I could have gone to Boise State,
Or maybe MIT;
I might have been a Volunteer --
The pride of Tennessee!

I took instead a less worn path
(As young men often do) --
Against my better judgment
I enrolled at Glenn Beck U.

My first few days were anxious;
I was feeling quite alone.
I rang Dean Beck for counsel,
And he screamed: “Get off my phone!”

Dean Beck was touchy, that’s for sure:
He seemed a bit defensive,
As if he knew his knowledge base
Was less than comprehensive.

His lectures were confusing,
And his chalkboard made me squint:
His arrows, lines and word balloons
Looked like a Pollock print.

He saw conspirators at work
Behind each rock and tree,
As “secular progressives” schemed
To steal his liberty.

By Christmas I had heard enough --
I bid Dean Beck adieu.
If paranoia’s what you seek,
Then go to GBU.

I don't think Glenn Beck will be satisfied with just offering a few ludicrous online "courses" for teabaggers.  I think he wants to be another Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson and have his own actual school.  With buildings and everything.  Yikes!

(From my blog



Presidential Zeitgeist: A Timeline Of Public Opinion, 1998 to 2010

1998:  "Bill Clinton may not be husband of the year, but he sure knows how to be president.  His enemies are impeaching him for no good reason, and he's still getting the job done."

2000:  "The cold war is over.  The budget is in surplus.  The economy is okay.  How hard can it be to be president these days?  George W. Bush looks harmless enough, like his old man.  Let's put things on cruise control for a while.  Besides, Al Gore is such a know-it-all."

August 2001:  "Bush got his tax cuts passed, and now he seems to be on permanent vacation. How much brush can there be on that 'ranch' of his?  You know, this guy really is a lightweight.  I wonder if we can do better next time around. . ."

September 2001:  "Did you see Bush standing in the rubble with his big bullhorn?  Now there's a man who won't back down from the terrorists.  So he's not the sharpest tool in the shed.  That's why he hired guys like Donald Rumsfeld."

2002:  "There are so many people in the world who want to kill us!  Bush is keeping us safe.  He'll get bin Laden one of these days.  We just need to trust him."

2003:  "Did you see Bush on that aircraft carrier?  Now that's a president.  He kicked Saddam Hussein's tail all the way to Bagdad.  After we mop up a few more terrorists, we'll be back on Easy Street."

2004:  "This Iraq war isn't going very well, but John Kerry won't even defend himself, let alone the rest of us.  I'm holding my nose and voting for Bush again.  Politics is beginning to give me a headache, anyway.  What's on cable tonight?"

2005:  "George Bush wants to do what?  Privatize Social Security?  I don't think so.  Why doesn't he just get us out of Iraq?  Oh, that's right -- he hired 'Brownie' to manage hurricane relief.  Well, what do you expect from a guy who slept through a tsunami?"

2006:  "Only two short years till we send Bush's ass back to Texas.  In the meantime, let's see if the Democrats in Washington can make some changes.  By the way, what does their party actually stand for?  'Reply hazy,' says my Magic 8 Ball."

2008:  "I'm voting Democratic this year -- period.  After eight years of Bush, what choice do I have?  And if Barack Obama wants to 'change the tone in Washington'?  Whatever, boss.  Knock yourself out down there.  Just make sure you fix the damn economy and act presidential.  And by 'acting presidential', I don't mean putting on a flight suit like Bush did.  I mean doing your job -- like Clinton did."

2009:  "I kind of like Barack Obama, but what does the man really stand for?  He seems to think Republican ideas are just as good as Democratic ones.  Maybe he's right. . ."

2010:  "Do I want to see a Republican in the White House?  Not really.  But somebody needs to get a handle on things.  I'm keeping all my options open.  One thing, though -- no teabaggers.  They're crazy."

From my blog:



Mitch McConnell's Rand Paul Kentucky Nightmare

Once upon a time there was a man named Mitch McConnell. 

Now Mitch, more than any other politician in his province, knew how to win elections.  He would ask rich people to give him lots and lots of money.  He would then take the money and use it to trick poor people into voting for him.  After he won, he would help the rich people make even more money.  The rich people were very grateful, and Mitch was very happy.

When Mitch's friends in other provinces saw how happy Mitch was, they asked him to be their leader.  "Help us win elections and be happy like you," they said.  So Mitch became their leader.  Sure enough, the rich people began giving Mitch's friends lots of money, and Mitch's friends won lots of elections.  They were all very happy.

Then, one day, everyone in the land suddenly stopped making money.  The rich people soon made all their money back, but the poor people grew even poorer.  They became angry, which frightened the rich people.  "The poor people are misguided," they said to Mitch.  "Don't they know that if it weren't for us, they wouldn't have so much as a crust of bread?  Help us help more of your friends get elected, so we can make more money, so the poor people can have a crust of bread."

Now it so happened that in Mitch's province, one of his old friends -- his name was Jim -- had gone funny in the head.  Mitch knew that no matter how much money the rich people gave this man, the poor people would not vote for him anymore.  So Mitch ordered one of his newer friends -- his name was Trey -- to take the rich people's money and use it to get himself elected.

Meanwhile, the poor people in Mitch's province were still very angry.  They were so angry that a few of them went almost as funny in the head as Mitch's old friend Jim.  They were called "Teabaggers", and they didn't like Trey.  They liked a man named Rand. 

Now Rand talked crazy talk, and Mitch knew that no matter how angry the poor people had become, they would never, ever vote for Rand.  He was too crazy.  Nevertheless, the Teabaggers were persistent, and they used Mitch's own rules to make Trey go away so that Rand might try to get himself elected.

So, in the end, Mitch had to ask the rich people to give Rand money, even though Rand couldn't win.  And Mitch had to pretend he liked Rand, even though he didn't.  And Mitch had to defend Rand's crazy talk, even though he couldn't.

And that's why Mitch had nightmares for months and months and months.  It was all because of Rand and the Teabaggers. 

It got so bad that Mitch almost forgot that he looked like a turtle.  But that's another story.

From my blog



Deficit Politics In A Nutshell

Republican economists like to quote Milton Friedman:

Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon.

I submit that the following is more truthful:

Government deficits are always and everywhere a political phenomenon.

Depending on which interests control the debate in a particular society, conventional wisdom will hold that deficits are either benign or apocalyptic.  In the United States, the corporate media takes its cues on this issue from the Republican Party. 

The corporate right-wing wants to roll back the New Deal in order to make it easier for economic elites to run the country as they see fit.  Republican politicians are their employees.  Fear of the deficit is used to manipulate voters into supporting policies designed to dismantle the government programs that mitigate the inequities of unchecked capitalism.

Thus endeth the lesson.

(From my blog



Barack Obama's Health Care Summit: A Play In Two Limericks

The Scene: Blair House, Washington, D.C. 

Since we can't let Obama succeed,
It's "a clean sheet of paper" we need.
We'll hem and we'll haw --
He'll change not one law! --
And the voters will say: "He can't lead." 

McConnell must think I'm a dunce --
I've already passed this thing once!
I'll pass it once more!
In November the score
Will embarrass that "genius" Frank Luntz.

Exeunt. Curtain.

(From my blog:

Happy St. Patrick's Day!



Why The Tea Partiers Are Wasting Their Time

Before there was a “Tea Party Nation” there was the “Christian Right”.  These two conservative movements share one fatal weakness: Both are held in utter contempt by the corporate interests that run the Republican Party.

Here’s an oldie but goodie from the Dubya Administration:

Top White House political advisers embraced evangelical supporters publicly to get their votes while mocking them privately as “nuts” and “goofy,” according to a new book by David Kuo, the former No. 2 man in President Bush’s so-called “faith-based” initiatives program. . . .

Asked if White House officials really mocked conservative Christians, Kuo told Lesley Stahl, “Oh, absolutely. You name the important Christian leader and I have heard them mocked by serious people in serious places.”

Specifically, Kuo says people in the White House political affairs office referred to Pat Robertson as “insane,” Jerry Falwell as “ridiculous” and that James Dobson “had to be controlled.” President Bush, he wrote, talked about his compassion agenda, but never really fought for it.

Today’s teabaggers can expect similar treatment from the Boehner-McConnell Gang: fulsome expressions of support in public, and nothing but ridicule and condescension behind the scenes.

The Tea Party movement, to the extent that it’s “about” anything at all, is supposed to be about “liberty” and “smaller government”.  But corporations don’t care about that stuff.  Corporations don’t even care about capitalism.  They care about tax giveaways, market share and higher profits.  Period.  The astonishing naiveté of the teabaggers — their wide-eyed willingness to be used like Kleenex by Republican bagmen — dooms their noisy movement to substantive irrelevance.

Republican politicians have been spewing empty rhetoric about “limited government” and “individual freedom” for thirty years.  It hasn’t stopped them from piling up huge deficits and expanding the powers of the national security state to snoop on Americans — all with nary a peep from conservatives.  (As Ross Perot used to say, it’s good dog food if the dogs will eat it.)  The GOP doesn’t need a bunch of angry wingnuts dressed up like Paul Revere to tell them how to regurgitate Ronald Reagan’s tired old platitudes.  It’s all fake anyway!

Teabaggers are simply the latest in a long line of grass-roots suckers.  They need to find a more discreet social outlet for their rage before they embarrass themselves into political oblivion.

[From my blog:]




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