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Jack Rabbit

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Sacramento Valley, California
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 42,569

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Playing the fascist card will only run into a wall of moral equivalency

The most obvious feature of the Russia/Ukraine conflict is a former empire is attempting to reassert authority over what was once a subject nation under that empire. Naturally, the former subject nation is resisting.

That is a recipe to bring ultranationalist thugs out from under the rocks. So we have Russian ultranationalist thugs going into Ukraine and demanding Ukrainians get "on their knees" and Ukrainian ultranationalist thugs burning the Russian ultranationalists out of occupied government buildings. Is anybody surprised? If one side tries to play victim to the other side's fascists then the other side will points to the other side's fascists and proclaims "we are the victims of your fascists." That kind of dialogue only serves the interests of those who benefit from conflict.

This isn't a B-western. Stop looking at it like one. It's a Dostoyevsky novel.

Cosmos, episode 7: Submitted for the discussion of political implications

Am I the only one here who doubts that all, or even most, climate change deniers really think that climate science is a hoax?

The pattern of the dissemination of the climate-science-is-a-hoax hoax fits the pattern of other corporate fights against science in the past. Does any one think that tobacco company executives really believed that there was no linkage between cigarette smoking and heart or respiratory disease? They may have sent their lawyers to argue that in court, but that was part of a long term strategy aimed at delaying government regulations to discourage tobacco use.

In Episode 7 of Cosmos, Dr. Niel deGrasse Tyson takes his viewers through the petroleum industry's fight against scientists researching environmental harm from use of lead in gasoline.

Part 1:


Part 2:


Part 3:


I invite you to watch episode 7 and consider the similarities between this and corporate sponsored war on climate science. There's a reason that climate change deniers are funded by environmental polluters who manufacture fossil fuel.

On a video in this forum several weeks ago, a thoroughly brainwashed right wing caller got hold of Sam Seder for a general discussion of the world according to the Koch brothers. The caller warned that people should not trust scientists from the US government or the United Nations, but should rely on information from "private scientists." Does he mean the scientists who work for the industries who push the products being studied and found to be harmful by government scientists. Surely, that man was joking.

I partly agree with Scalia on a tax revolt, but he won't like why

Many on the right like to make the American Revolution out to be a tax revolt. British taxes on the colonies weren't the only grievance the colonists had against Britain, but it was no small part of the colonies' irritation the King and parliament.

Today's right goes on to complain about "taxes, taxes, taxes" as if taxation is in and of itself a form of tyranny. The worst way to characterize the levying of taxes in general is that it is a necessary evil. Turn everything over to the free market and people won't benefit from public services if they live in unprofitable areas. No one should expect mail delivery, garbage collection or to be able to send his children to school if one lives in some remote backwater area. Don't expect police protection if you live in a neighborhood without the funds to support it, which sounds like the kind of neighborhood that has a high crime rate in the first place. A neighborhood like that is likely to get a cop on the beat like George Zimmerman. Of course, libertarians who think this is a bright vision of the American of tomorrow will answer the critique that such a vision is flawed with "well, nothing's perfect." I agree, so I would rather keep the imperfect system we already have where everyone gets mail delivery, everyone gets his trash collected, everyone gets fire and police protection (and the expectation that the local cop is better trained than George Zimmerman) and all children go to school. The proper question is whether taxpayers are getting enough bang for their buck, not whether taxes are an unnecessary government intrusion into our lives.

Let's not let the Koch brothers and their allies rewrite history. The colonists weren't complaining about British taxes per se. They said, "taxation without representation is tyranny." American colonists had no representation in parliament, yet parliament used the colonies as an ATM machine. The colonists didn't seem to complain about it, but that's because there was no MP from Virginia or Pennsylvania to raise a stink in London and suggest to their fellow MPs that they get the money by taxing the the landed aristocracy.

Since eighteenth century transportation made it impractical for the colonists to send representatives to parliament, the colonists demanded independence and, having achieved that, set up their own governments with their own system of taxation and let voters choose their own representatives. At first, voters were wealthy white males, but soon the franchise was extended to all white males, then to males who weren't necessarily white and in 1919 to women.

America is a democracy, perhaps not always in the political sense but always in a cultural sense. Democracy is what Walt Whitman praised in free verse and what Woody Guthrie and later Bob Dylan celebrated in song. Democracy is what Martin Luther King marched for and willing went to jail many times. Democracy was in the blood of the labor movement, fighting for a decent wage and safe working conditions. Those who claim America is not a democracy but a mere republic are just wrong, and we are not going to let them take it away from us.

Today, the Koch brothers, through their organization, ALEC, have crafted model legislation and sent it to the states to deny poor people the right to voting by requiring they show ID before voting. The ID required by this legislation is usually not a drivers' license but something more expensive and tailored to be biased to Republican voters. For example, in Texas it is valid to show one's firearms permit for voting, covering gun owners, which studies show to be a predominantly Republican voters; on the other hand, a college student body card is not valid for the same purpose. College students are a predominantly Democratic demographic. In this way, the state of Texas is deliberately barring Democrats from the polling place in greater numbers than Republicans.

During the past decade there have been proposals from the right to continue and expend tax cuts for the wealthy and pay for it with higher taxes on the poor and middle class. If the poor, who are more likely to vote for Democats, are barred from the polls in greater number than others, and then have their taxes raised to benefit the rich, then how is this not taxation without representation?

It's bad enough to claim that the rich are "job creators" when after 30-plus years of Reaganomics there is only one job being offered for every three unemployed Americans. The rich certainly haven't earned a tax cut from the government nor, for that matter, a pay raise or a bonus from the board of directors. But even if the economy were in better shape than it is, barring the poor from participation in the process of choosing elected representatives and raising their taxes to cover the shortfall from revenue lost by cutting the taxes of the wealthiest Americans is simply outrageous.

Taxation without representation is still tyranny. We, the people, should revolt against it, just as the colonists did 240 years ago.

Let me see . . .

You are basing you assertion that Nacchio is crooked by citing a conviction engineered by the Bush Administration Justice Department that happened after he refused to allow the NSA to get information about his customers for nefarious purposes.

Remember, please, that the Bushies played hardball, didn't play fair and, for them, the Constitution was just a piece of paper -- as in toilet paper. This was a Justice Department that fired US Attorneys who did not pursue trumped up charges against Democrats and kept on those that did. It was that Justice Department that engineered the railroading of Don Siegelman. That's only the most high profile case of many.

I resent your characterization of "Firebaggers" hating CEOs indiscriminately "unless those CEOs are crooks." I suppose you think Pretty Boy Lloyd and Legs Dimon are upright, outstanding citizens. I suppose you think Dave and Charlie Koch are positive influences on American politics. When I talk about CEOs, I'm usually taking about the Wall Street Bankers who crashed the world economy, were bailed out by the taxpayers and haven't changed the way they do business or right wing billionaires who want to destroy American democracy. That covers a quite a few more people than the aforementioned, but they are giving all business people, even honest ones, a bad name. If we can bring capitalism back to a state where it is regulated to prevent capitalists from abusing to their employees, polluting the environment, defrauding their customers or buying the people's representatives in state or federal governments, then I'll be very happy. Our problem is simply that we do not have a functioning economic system of any kind. If you want to know what an unregulated free market looks like, ask the kid on the corner dealing dope or his customers about it.

Perhaps Nacchio really belongs in the slammer, but I wouldn't take the result of a case of a man who crossed the Bushies and was prosecuted by a Bush-appointed US Attorney who survived the Frat Boy's mid-term purge at face value. Anyone who would has no claim to being a member of any reality based community.

Why go through the adminstration?

The former chief prosecutor at DOJ who made the decision not to prosecute is now making millions with an infamous Wall Street firm. The Attorney General makes lame excuses to a Senate Committee for not prosecuting Wall Street criminals, seeking only civil actions with relatively light fines. The government isn't working for us. It's been bought by bankers and industrialists.

The administration may as well be not standing between us and the Wall Street criminals. If this is a facade, it's made of papier-mâché. It creates only an illusion of justice because it is only an illusion of a government.

Wall Street banks are not too big to fail. They're too big for their breeches. The banks and industrialists own all three branches of the government and commit mortgage fraud with impunity. It's time for direct action against the criminals. Get your torches and pitchforks and go to the Bastille on Wall Street. Tear it down, brick by brick. Build a better world in its place.

It's time for a mass campaign of civil disobedience directed not at government, but at finance and industry. Organize! Agitate! Don't listen to their propaganda. They say these policies will create jobs. Horsepucky! After thirty years of Reaganomics, there is only one new job for every three unemployed workers. Heckovajob, job creators!

To the so-called job creators and Wall Street criminals: You've thrown us out of work and now rob us of everything we've earned. We're going to shut you down. We're going find ways around your economy, create our own and lock you out of it. We won't pay taxes to support the government you've taken from us. We won't patronize your banks or buy the products, mostly unnecessary, you make with cheap labor in China. We'll even, if necessary, create our our currency and let you keep the dollars that your own acts of "quantitative easing" are undermining as we speak. You can keep it and we'll let you suffer the hyperinflation that today's irresponsible fiscal policies are making. If you get your servile villains in Congress to pass laws against us, we'll ignore them. What part of civil disobedience do you not understand? You are finished!

Thirty years ago, I referred to President Reagan with the exact same epithet

"Snake oil salesman" was an often-used variant.

So, what does that make me? It can't make me a racist, since my ancestors and Mr. Reagan's came from pretty much the same places: north of the Alps and west of the Rhine, to include the British isles.

President Obama is not above criticism. I don't like the trade deals he's pushing one bit, I don't like NSA spying, I don't like drone strikes, I don't like the kid glove treatment his justice department has given to Wall Street criminals and I think his administration has been in some ways as opaque as his predecessor's, not what would be expected of one who campaigned on a platform of transparency and accountability.

I believe that the above is a fair statement, not at all like something out of the mouth of Darrell Issa, a partisan hack, or Steve King, a partisan hack who also really is a racist. Unlike some Tea Party congressman who can't speak for sixty seconds without impugning the President's religion, birth place, patriotism or without bringing up a manufactured scandal, I try to keep the criticism fair and free of personal references to Mr. Obama. Calling him a "used car salesman" (I didn't see that post and don't have any idea who wrote it) is pushing it and is something that really should be toned down. However, it isn't necessarily racist.

In addition to Democrats, this website also promotes democratic (with a small d) values. To that end, what should be unacceptable on this website is an attempt to close down open discussion with nonsense like a blanket charge of racism against those with an opposing point of view.

Criticism of the President's actions should be in context and directed at the specific policy, program or proposal. One should explain what is wrong with the what the President is doing, not with the President himself.

ON EDIT:

I have found the post, that being an OP from Will Pitt. Few DUers would ever suspect Will of being a racist. I have been on DU almost as long as Will, since 2001, so I speak with some authority. Perhaps ProSense knows something about Will that I don't, but I think this is nonsense.

This context of the post is a ruling Mr. and Mrs. Pitt (who suffers MS) got from their ACA provider rejecting coverage for medication under the ACA. I think I would be upset over that, too, and, furthermore, that I and most others would not be at all charitable toward those we hold responsible, rightly or wrongly, under similar circumstances. I suspect Will of being a grieved husband wondering what to do next, but not of being a racist. If the Pitts have no recourse, then I think we can all agree that this is something about the ACA that needs fixed. Given that, it would seem that the notion that Will is a racist who shouldn't be posting at DU is something more to be expected of a rank demagogue pushing an ideological agenda than a cool, rational poster at DU. It's just nonsense.

Obama will have have a better reputation to posterity if he fails at this

I don't mean just fast tracking this thing, either. It would be an act of treason to approve this deal. I certainly would not want to go down in history as the President who negotiated and signed away the government's ability to regulate commerce and assure product and occupational safety for the sake of a presumed right of corporations to profits.

Right now, President Obama's signature work is the Affordable Care Act, but under the TPP it would be possible for Health Insurance Companies to do an end run around the US Government and take the United States to a commission set up by this agreement to force the taxpayers to fork over to health insurance companies a fine to compensate for lost profits. Does this sound undemocratic? That's exactly what it is. There's a reason the TPP was negotiated in secret. Government of the people, for the people and by the people will parish from the earth.

Perhaps this is what corporate whores like Ted Cruz and Paul Ryan mean when the say that Obamacare will cost the taxpayer billions. The CBO can refute everything they say now, but the CBO isn't factoring in the consequences of approving the TPP and making CEOs as powerful in our time as the landed aristocracy was before the French Revolution and subsequent events up to the final collapse of empires in the twentieth century.

It's time to stand up for democracy and say no to corporatism. Grab you torches and pitchforks, everyone. This is the most serious threat to freedom and democracy since the failure of the French Revolution after Napoleon's coup d'etat in 1799 or the re-imposition by the reactionay Congress of Vienna of the Bourbon dynasty on the people of France after Waterloo. We must be resolved not to obey corporate tyranny. We must overthrow it before it takes root.

Amazing what happens when corporate whores are driven into splinter party status

We still remember energy deregulation here. Who was to blame? Corporate whores in the state legislature. Today, the GOP doesn't hold enough seats in either house the state legislature to sustain a gubernatorial veto by themselves. If corporate big shots come to Sacramento looking for whore in the state legislature, they have to buy a Democrat. The Koch brothers don't come to these parts looking for some too often.

The thought for the day is that capitalism really wasn't such a bad thing back in the days when it existed, before it was replaced by corporate fascism, something that goes hand-in-hand with that dreaded institutional disease, corporate elephantiasis. Today, it easier for corporations suffering from elephantiasis to strangle upstart competition in the crib than compete with it. Without competition, corporations do nothing that justifies their existence, like innovate and keep their prices reasonable. There was a time, before corporate elephantiasis became a pandemic, that corporations would have been tripping over each other to solve environmental problems. Now, they deny there is a problem ("climate change is a hoax, so is peak oil and America only needs to tap its own energy resources to become energy independent forever"). This followed a period where the problem was minimized. Remember when Donald Hodel, a corporate whore who became both Secretary of Energy and Secretary of the Interior in the eighties? He said the solution to global warming was more sunscreen and hats with broader brims. Remember that matinee idol who became a corporate whore who appointed Mr. Hodel Secretary of Energy in 1982 and Secretary of the Interior in 1985. Yeah, that's right, him. The Sally Stanford of corporate whores. Remember when, while successfully running for President in 1980, he said that trees cause more pollution than automobiles?

Now the elephantiasis sufferers' favorite corporate whore is Jim Inhofe. He says "Problem? What problem? Environmental pollution is a scientific impossibility." Of course, Inhofe not only disbelieves climate science, but he doesn't believe in evolution, either. He's got a better reason not to believe in evolution than most people who don't. After two or three million years of human evolution, Inhofe is still an ape.

Another favorite corporate whore is Mitch McConnell. Like Inhofe and many other corporate whores, he can be found in the House of the Senate. Unlike Inhofe, McConnell is a firm believer in evolution. He not only believes that man evolved from a more primitive animal that also became monkeys, chimpanzees and gorillas, but he thinks we're still evolving. He says that corporations are people. Not only are corporations people, but those that suffer from corporate elephantiasis are the highest form of human being yet evolved. A real Nietzschean Übermensch. They should have rights that we mere homo sapiens don't. Like the right to rule over the rest of us and the right to collect the wages on our labor for us, because they are wiser and would know better how to use our money than we do. McConnell is consulting the scientists at a Koch funded think tank to understand how, if corporations with elephantiasis are such smart people, how they crashed the world economy in 2008.

Cowan is full of baloney

If the last fifty years demonstrate anything, it is that the third way program is a failure. Deregulation, austerity and a government catering to the whims of the rich, to include tax cuts, brought on the world wide economic collapse of 2008, from which we are still suffering mainly because the trends of Reagan/Bush/Clintion/Frat Boy have not been adequately reversed.

First, we must revoke the Bush tax cuts on the wealthy. They don't need the extra cash and, after mismanaging the world economy, they certainly don't deserve it. Whoever said these people are rich because they're smarter than the rest of us must be one of their paid stooges. It is difficult to believe that if the common autoworker was asked to design a car that he would like to drive to work that it wouldn't look anything like an SUV. But that is what they auto executives foisted on the American consumer. Instead of Henry Ford's "America can have any color car it wants, as long as it's black," the auto executives of the late twentieth century proclaimed that America could have any kind of car it wanted, as long as it guzzled gas. Then they wondered why we fell in love with Japanese cars. It shouldn't have taken an Ivy League-educated scion of America's best families to figure out what was going on, but they were the only ones couldn't figure it out. We should get our money back. Tax 'em. Get the money out of their pockets and put it to better use, like building schools and roads like we used to do. That's better than bribing politicians or putting billions into public relations to convince Americans that climate change is a hoax.

Second, we need to phase out fossil fuels and replace them with renewable energy. Let the oil executives and the coal barons whine. They've had their way long enough, and all we have to show for it is dirty air and undrinkable water. Pretty soon, we'll have even more undrinkable water, right after the polar ice caps melt.

Third, we need to re-regulate industry and the financial markets. We've had decades of deregulation and the only thing it's proved is that there is no such thing self-policing markets. All the bankers and industrialists want is more freedom to steal our savings, cut our wages and pollute the environment. I don't know who they think is going to buy their useless, tacky products after they've reduced the human race to serfdom. Am I the only one who thinks there's something wrong with not paying workers adequate wages, getting them to go on public assistance to make ends meet and then electing politicians who will cut or eliminate that same public assistance, like Mr. Cowan suggests?

Let's look at some realities that Mr. Cowan doesn't see. We don't have too big to fail banks and industries; what we have is billionaires too big for their breeches. We don't have a problem with funding the social safety net, we have a problem subsidizing unsustainable businesses.

Finally, I see no reason to raise a white flag and meekly approve the TPP/TTIP. This is no time to give up on democracy. Why? Because the common man is one hell of a lot smarter than the common billionaire or a corporate shill like Mr. Cowan, that's why.

I don't mean this in a good way, but . . .

. . . Karl Rove is a real professional. Of course, his profession makes him an occupational liar. For lurking Freepers who think I'm just being partisan, so is James Carville. In addition to political campaign consultants, who are just a special class of public relations agents, prime examples of occupational liars are salesmen, lawyers and politicians (who, perhaps not coincidentally, usually start out as lawyers).

The point is that the Rover is an exceptionally good occupational liar, or EGOL. After all, he made Bush the Frat Boy into an attractive enough candidate to get him within stealing distance of two national elections. That was no easy task.

The first part of being an EGOL is to know what sells and what's an what doesn't. The Monica Lewinsky caper was never a good selling point in the first place. How many of us knew that President Clinton (another EGOL) was just asking for trouble when he said "I didn't have sex with that woman" instead of "On the advise of an attorney, I have nothing to say about that topic"? The problem with the matter of Mr. Clinton and she and his fellow consenting adult, Ms. Lewinsky, did together, was that nobody cared except ESAPPs (exceptionally stupid and partisan politicians). Fifteen years later, the only people who still care are ESAPPs like Senator Paul.

Another reason the Lewinsky caper doesn't sell is that there are better examples of politicians who don't level with the American people than Bill Clinton or even Chris Christie. For example, Richard ("I am not a crook") Nixon, George W. (Saddam has Weapons of Mass Destruction) Bush and his sidekick, former Vice Premier Cheney were much bigger liars than Clinton, and lied about matters of greater consequence than a tacky blow job.

What are the Republicans to do in 2016? One might think that they could point to President Obama. but they can't do that. It's not that President Obama hasn't lied to us. This is the same president who tells us that mass surveillance of American citizens saves lives and isn't a violation of the Fourth Amendment and that the TPP and TTIP will create jobs. Unfortunately, any Republican president will say the same thing and it won't be any more truthful than saying he threw a silver dollar across the Potomac River. All they can do is holler "Benghazi," but that is even less attractive as a selling point that what down in the Oval Office closet in the nineties. Well, no one ever accused Darrell Issa of being an EGOL. It's a rare man who can be both an EGOL and an ESAPP at the same time.
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