Who IS this guy?!

'Niceguy' Eddie

Political Talk Show Host and Internet Radio Personality. My show, In My Humble Opinion, (original, huh?) airs on Tuesdays at 10:PM and Saturdays at 8:PM, Eastern time on RainbowRadio.

Feel free to contact me at niceguy9418@usa.com. You can also friend me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, and Tumblr, and support my Patreon. Also, if you don't mind the stench, you can find my unofficial "fan club" over HERE. ;)

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Gold Star Awards, September, 2011

It's the end of the month and that (usually) means two things:

1) I get paid tomorrow.
2) Time for more Hall of Fame inductees!

It's the year of Boston's Impossible Dream - fitting, or ironic, seeing as how they blew their 2011 Season last night in final game after pissing away the biggest lead in history (9 Games) every to be blown in September - but we've got one Gold, one Silver and one Revision from a previous month.  Here we go:


The Red Ruffing GOLD STAR #39: Laughing in Purgatory

While I've been focusing more on the Economy and anti-Corporatism lately, I haven't entirely lost site of the second biggest part of my political agenda: the Separation of Church and state.  Laughing in Purgatory is a blog about raising children in an atheist household in a (*wink*) Christian Nation. It is delightfully irreverent, and anti-religious and does a fantastic job of poking the nose of organized religion and singing the praises of raising our children to be rational, critical and free thinkers.


 
The Lloyd Waner SILVER STAR #37: The Bleacher Report
 
They're kind of like the Cracked.com of online Sports Magazine, with all kinds of top-10, top-50 and even top-100 lists spanning all major sports - Baseball, Football, Basketball, Hockey,Soccer, Golf, Boxing... you name it, they cover it all.  Their writing style is fairly informal (even someone like me catches several typo's in each post) but it gives the feel of having a conversation with a well-informed amateur, rather than a high-and-mighty sports writer.  It always makes for an interesting read, and it should be a regular stop for any sports fan.
 
 
And finally, a revision...
 
I'm hereby officially stripping Netflix of their Silver Star.  (See me previous post for more info.) So...
 
 
 
The NEW Frank Chance SILVER STAR #13: The Chive
 
"Possibly the best site in the world." ~The Chive
 
They've got humor, sports, videos, pictures of girls... What's not to love?  Cracked.com links to their stuff fairly often.  Worth checking out.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Class Warfare, Math, Macroeconomics and Fairness

OK, so  by now I'm sure we're all aware of President Obama's judgement that the [curiously named] "Buffett Rule" is NOT class warfare... It's MATH.

Bravo, Barry. It's about time you started calling out the Right on their bullshit.

I would like to give him (and everyone) one piece of advice though, when discussion taxation: Avoid the discussion of "fairness."  I know, I know! And I've made fairness-based arguments in the past, linking multiples of the median income in this country to various levels on Mazlow's hierarchy of needs, for example. And these arguments are very effective at convincing people who already agree with you that you're right. They are not very persuasive with anyone who's not already on board.  And I'm not conceding the fairness point - I do happen to be of the opinion that the rich in this country do not, in fact, pay their FAIR share of the tax burden.  BUT... that's my opinion.

And there's the rub:  One cannot objectively quantify "fairness." Whether or not something is "fair" relies entirely on the parties involve FEELING that it is fair.  If someone FEELS or is OF THE OPINION that they're being cheated?  Well guess what? That's one person who BELIEVES that "it" is not fair!

Fairness is an entirely subjective phenomenon.

Now... I will happily raise my hat and tip my glass to fellow working-class warrior, Elizabeth Warren.  SHE got it right.  And Conchobhar included some of the best parts of her speech a few posts back.  It's truly great stuff but, alas, I fear the "Social Contract" may yet be a little bit too high-brow for the Average American these days.  I heard a very well educated man trying to explain it the trainer in the Gym the other night - a black man, who definitely makes only a working-class wage, and yet was attacking the idea of taxing the rich! - and I could see that the argument was not the least bit persuasive.  In fact, it came sounding like the kind of namby-pamby Liberal whining that the Right has so effectively charactarized ALL of the higher moral aspects of civilization as over the past 30 years or so.

And besides, I think there's a much better way to put it, and it comes right from the comments section of this very blog...

In response to Tax/Deficit post back in July, Steeve put it absolutely perfectly:


Raise taxes on everyone until they feel the tiniest pinprick of pain.



So you raise taxes 0.001% on most people and they feel immediate pain. Raise taxes 60% on the rich and they feel no pain at all. That's not my problem. Hell, it isn't anyone's problem.

And there you go. 

The reason we tax the rich? Because we can do so without impacting their daily spending decisions.  And thus it cause no further economic pain, despite the Right's constant bed-wetting about it.

THIS is why you will inevitably end up taxing the rich.  Because doing anything else, including significantly reducing spending, is economic suicide.  The Right might want that, and Fox News might want that, but the American People do not.

So... STEEVE in 2012?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Lessons from Solyndra

Right Wing screech-monkeys who haven't idea-one to offer with regards to the deficit, the economy, the environment or any other social problem (other than rich people in America not having enough money) find it easy instead to take advantage of those times when those who try inevitable stumble.  And the most recent flavor of the week of this tactic comes to us compliments of the crack management team at Solyndra.  Again, I'm a week behind on this, and many of you have probably already moved on, but for those who don't know, here's the short version: The Federal Government loaned Half a Billion Dollars to Solyndra, a solar panel maker. Two weeks ago (?) they filed for bankruptcy and that Half-Bil is now "up in smoke." 

Cue the screech-monkeys:
  • It's Obama's fault
  • It shows [the Obama team] doesn't have any business sense
  • We need investigations of this rampant cronyism
  • This is why Gov't shouldn't get involved in business
  • This proves green-energy is a bust
Well... in the words of the REAL Niceguy Eddie Cabot, "OK, First things fucking last!"

Does the failure of Solyndra demonstrate the shortcomings of Green Energy?

Well... let me put it a different way...

Did the failures of Stanley Motors or Studebaker prove that the whole "horseless carriage" craze was just a passing fad?

Did the failure of Pets.com (and many, MANY other .com's) prove that this whole "Internets" thing Al Gore kept harping on about was just a flash in the pan?

Well... If you're reading this now, and/or happened to DRIVE ANYWHERE this week, you know that these statements are patently absurd.  But there IS still an important lesson to learn here!  In Climate discussions, there's always one of these same screech-monkeys claiming that we "can't even predict the weather TOMORROW, so how do we know what the CLIMATE will be DECADES from now?!"  (And yes, despite its grammatical structure, that's a CLAIM, not a QUESTION.  It's only a question if you're looking for an ANSWER. And screech-monkey's questions are ALWAYS rhetorical.)  And I liken tomorrows weather to the climate (or the local weather to the global climate) as a single company's performance to that of the entire economy.  That's very apt here.

As was the case with Automobiles or the Internet, there is little doubt that the TECHNOLOGY is going to be around for awhile, and that at some point will be a booming industry.  That's relative easy to foresee.  What's difficult? Is predicting WHICH COMPANIES will succeed in bringing that industry about.  Consider Cars: Just after the turn of the last century, there were over 100 Companies making automobiles in this country alone.  Today there are THREE. (And although I do recommend checking out the fine work being done by Tesla and Fisker, they aren't even a grain of sand on the mountain of the Big-3 yet. So, we'll stick with three.)  So... back in ~1910, if you wanted to invest in the Auto Industry, despite being pretty sure that the INDUSTRY would thrive, you would have a damned hard time picking which COMPANY would.  Same goes for the Internet: There was never any doubt that it would change the world and be HUGE.  But who bought Yahoo! instead of Google?  Who bought Pets.com?  Who bought into any one of a thousand other .com's that rose and fell in the late 1990's and early 2000's?

What's my point? Well... I'm sort of conceding the next couple of points up the list, actually:

1) The gov't shouldn't get this involved in business, because 2) It smacks of cronyism and (as I've laid out) it's nearly impossible to consistently pick which COMPANY will succeed, even if you know that the INDUSTRY is growing - Warren Buffet not withstanding, but 3) he's not Obama's economic advisor!  (That's three of their points conceded, in a post where I disagree with them! Dang!)

But hey: I'm a pretty green guy.  I'm no eco-warrior, but I do believe that Global Warming is a legitimate threat and that we need to seriously get away from what I call the "burning shit" model of generating energy.  So what do I suggest we do, if not directly support fledgling green-power businesses?

Well... there are a few things, and some of the philosophy borrows from Free-Market Libertarianism.  And the rest runs precisely counter to it!  Here's what might have been done instead:

1) Instead of making a Half-Billion dollar LOAN, why not put up a contract - FOR BID - for half a billion dollars worth of Solar Panels?  Then let companies compete to see who can come up with the scratch to support it and deliver.  Worst case? (They fail?) You don't pay a dime.  Best case? You've got economic stimulus, new technology, competition, etc... (All those things the Right says they want) and at the same time, you're helping the environment: Use the panels at all federal buildings, military bases, state buildings, etc...  And spur growth that way.

That's the Libertarian way, and I believe this is one instance in which their way is the better one.  Here's another way:

2) Raise CAFE Standards, sign and ratify Kyoto II (or whatever the latest climate treaty is), pass Cap and Trade... or better: just penalize those companies that don't meet the new, stricter emissions and Carbon standards.  Then? Go right back to the Libertarian way and let industry sort out for themselves how to make it all happen!

Why do I think this would work?  I'll go back to my example of Cars and the Internet...

In the late 1960's, Ralph Nader started a national campaign to improve automotive safety.  One of the things that came out of that was something known as FMVSS 209, aka: WHAT I DO FOR A LIVING. (I'm an automotive seat belt engineer. So... Thanks for my job, Mister Nader, but you can still GFY for giving us George W. Bush.  And the thing is, while you can't pass FMVSS 209 Testing without a seat belt (after all the regulation is FOR seat belts) it doesn't tell you HOW to make one. (Or WHO can make one.) Likewise, we have NCAP testing - this is where those 4-Star and 5-Star safety ratings come from.  Now... you can't get a good Star-Rating without airbags.  But the regulation does NOT tell you WHAT airbags you need, where to put them, or how to design them. And what we DO, as engineers, is to come up with better designs. We compete amongst our various companies to deliver BETTER safety restraints, and to do it CHEAPER and FASTER than the next guy.  And today we have fewer automotive fatalites annually that we did in the 1950's.  Not fewer per capita, mind you, or per mile driven, that's fewer OVERALL, despite having something like 10 times as many people on the road, each driving many times as many miles on average as they did way back when. 

This approach? (Set a target and let industry figure out to meet it?) WORKS.

Now consider the Internet.  When you consider the version that the legislation sponsored by former Vice President Gore helped bring about, it's fairly utopian: No one "owns" it, users generate their own content, all voices are equal, and anyone can use it as they see fit and as the technology they develop themself allows.  And that's what been the key to it's success: At no point in time did the Government, or a company step in to decide exactly HOW things would run, or WHAT it could (and could not) be used for.  No one pick and chose, and it wasn't managed. 

And the way this applies to Solar Energy?

Well... Who's to say that Solyndra's designs were the best, or that they're the company that will succeed?  Why pick and choose?  Set the target and let the ENGINEERS do their work.  Some companies will fail, but the TECHNOLOGY and the INDUSTRY isn't going away.  In the meantime, there's no reason to start placing bets on individual firms with tax-payer money.

As for it all being Obama's fault?

Well, shoot... EVERYTHING is Obama's fault, isn't it?

;)

Monday, September 26, 2011

I support David Lewis!!!

LOL. No, not really.

And again, having been out of circulation for awhile, I'm sure this clown is old news to y'all by now, but I HAVE to put my two cents in.  For anyone who doesn't know, David Lewis is (apparently?) throwing his hat into the ring as a primary challenger to Speaker John Boehner.  And if you want to laugh / cringe / feel sorry for a Conservative, you've got see to see this asshat's interview with Neil Cavuto - arguably one of the most sycophantic Conservative interviewers in the biz. Here's the link that I put up before. There are others. You can Google.

And the amazing thing to me was NOT this guy's absurd talking points.  I mean, yeah, Planned Parenthood are a bunch of Nazi Babykillers, blah... blah... I did choke on my tea a bit when he called John Boehner a Socialist... That was new.  Of course... if Speaker Boehner is a Socialist that only drives the last nail into the coffin of the word having any meaning at all, but it was interesting to see this guy go so far to the Right that even a Right Wing Bootlicker like Neil Cavuto felt compelled to make him look stupid...

...Which, as it turned out, wasn't all that hard.

Because, like I said, it was not so much about Right-Wing talking points that were too absurd for even Fox News.  It was more about the way he DELIVERED them!  Oh may God... Describing him as "cardboard" would insult the memories of the trees who gave their lives that we might have cardboard!  Do you see that dull, vacant expression he's wearing in that picture (if you followed the link)?  Yeah, I saw the interview when it aired and let me assure you, he wore that blank look the entire time.  And "stilted" doesn't even begin to describe this fool's speaking style (or speech impediment, I'm not sure which.) It was like watching someone, who didn't actually speak English, read words - and even pronounce them correctly - having no idea that they were meant to link together and form sentences. The man's words were so disjointed, Cavuto seemed to have trouble even figuring out when to interrupt!  It was painful.

In fact, if you'll pardon the archaic reference, I haven't seen someone look so shell-shocked, camera-shy and both mentally and emotionally unprepared for something since I watched Calvin Schiraldi pitch the last two games of the 1986 World Series. And if you saw that and remember it, you'll know what I mean. If you didn't/don't... It was like watching a middle-school student give a presentation, after forgetting the assignment and deciding to wing it... badly.

It was brutal.

And the whole time I'm thinking:

1) Only Fox would give this fool the time of day. And...
2) There is NO WAY that Fox will continue to give this fool air time!

...for the exact reason that I FULLY SUPPORT HIS CANDIDACY FOR SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE!

Because he makes the Right, and the Republicans and the Tea Party look not only like Fascists, but MORONS.  And I don't just mean to the people who know the difference. (Liberals.) Remember: This guy lost NEIL CAVUTO!  This guy would make the Right look stupid TO THE RIGHT.

So you know what?  I seriously propose that we on the Left enthusiastically support David Lewis for Speaker.

1) Any distraction for the Republicans is good.
2) John Boehner spends too much time in the tanning booths. It's not healthy. This might get him out of the House a bit.
3) By forcing these guys to debate, either the mainstream Republicans will be forced into accepting and acknowledging far more common-sense positions than they currently do (to distance themselves from this clown) or finally be revealed publicly as the whack-jobs we accuse them of being.
4) In the worst case (this idiot wins) he is too bloody incompetent to do any real harm to the country, but he would bring down the entire Republican Party along with him.

So PLEASE... JOIN ME in making DAVID LEWIS the NEW FACE of the REPUBLICAN Party and the TEA PARTY!!!!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Fuck Netflix

Sorry. I've been away, so this is pretty much old news by now, but 've got to put my two cents in about the recent price hikes at Netflix.

Now... Let me assure you that this is not about the mere fact that they raised priced.  That's cool, and it's hardly the first time. (Thought they've never been this dramatic!) But I'm all for companies doing whatever they need to to make as much money as possible.  That's Capitalism, after all. That's the free market. And as Liberal as I am, excepting those few services that I do not believe should be influenced by a profit motive (medicine and incarceration leap to mind, for example) I have seen no other economic system that will bring us the goods and services that we was as efficiently and effectively as Capitalism. (Call me a Free-Market Liberal, I guess.) And this was a company that at one time impressed me enough that I put them in my Hall of Fame!  So if they need to raise a little more revenue? Hey: Who am I to complain?

Well...

I'm a customer, for starters.

And one who was at one time so impressed with them that I put them in my Hall of Fame!

Now... WHY did I do that?  What made them different from so many other companies that I've had satisfactory dealings with over the years?

Well... for starters, like I said when I originally inducted them, they slew big blue: The Bankrupted Blockbuster.  And I HATE, HATE, HATED Blockbutser with a seething passion!

But it was the WAY that Netflix evolved that was what really impressed me.  It was the changes they brought about that really made me believe they could be different.  For one? No bricks and mortar, at all. And they came about at a time when very few companies managed to pull that off successfully.  eBay and Amazon managed it, as did a couple of search engines, but overall, even today, a large portion of online commerce still happens at the websites of stores that still actually have stores.  They proved that there was yet another business sector that could succeed as an entirely online company. That's an accomplishment worth acknowledging.

Another way in which they were different was in the amount of customer focus they had... at least... up until about six months ago, or thereabouts.

Netflix.com allowed Netflix MEMBERS to write reviews for movies.  Sure Amazon did this as well, but Netflix created what felt like a close community. A group of people who were ranked according to their similarity to your own tastes in an effort to help you discover movies that you might not otherwise had, and to steer you towards those that should hold a particular appeal to you.

What's more, they relied on this community to drive their content. Not just on their website, but in their inventory. It is because they realized just how wide and varied people tastes were that they built the largest selection of titles anywhere in existence - at one time 50% larger than Blockbuster online's, and FORGET about the Blockbuster STORES.  You think you could walk into a Blockbuster and find any Kurosawa Movies? Or European Films? Or obscure classics? Or Anime? (Other than fucking Dragonball?) The only thing I could ever find at Blockbuster was a series of shelves with hundreds of copies of the same handful of new releases, with every single one of them out. Yaaaay!

Netflix realised the potential that can be tapped when you truly consider the desires of your entire customer base, rather than just following what the bean counters in the boardroom would consider a wise investment. ("Why should get this movies that only 100 or so people would even want to see? Who the fuck is this Kobayashi guy, anyway?!)  Blockbuster made us wait for the latest Hollywood garbage. Netflix DELIVERED fims and series that we wanted to see.

And that is what this latest move by them so perplexing.  They say it's about new technology, and the digital future and all that, but... Well, I just don't get that.  It seems to me that their not only ignoring their customers to an almost George Lucasian extent, but it seems they've thrown out ALL boardroom logic as well!  I wish I could just chalk this up to greed, but I can't. This is just... stupidity.

Lemme splain...

Remember that whole thing about bankrupting Blockbuster?  Yeah, you see that's an impressive achievement even putting aside my boiling, acidic, venomous hatred for them.  It impressive because I can think of no other industry that had been so dominated by a single company that the home video industry had been by Big Blue.  Sure there were still the occasional mom-and-pop stores, and Hollywood Video, but nothing and nobody could hold a candle to Blockbuster's market share or profitability.  The were a giant. No: They were GODS.

And along comes some kooky little company that has nothing but a websites and a focus on their customer base of film geeks and they BANKRUPTED THEM.  So, let me ask you something: If you have a business plan that successful enough to knock off one of the most dominant monopolies in the history of American Commerce... WHY THE FUCK WOULD YOU EVER CHANGE IT?!

And yeah... predictably their customers are PISSED. And they've lost millions of subscribers. Not me. Not yet.  But show me some who offers the same thing for less? Shit, I'll leave in a heartbeat now. And I've not only been a loyal customer, I've been a CHEERLEADER for them!  I've advertised and advocated for them! They've been my absolute bloody HEROES and I have not been shy about telling people about it!  And I don;t only feel ripped off, I actually feel BETRAYED, as these Red Bastards start acting like the very same Blue Bastards they knocked off!  And WHO am I to go to?

Well, I don't know.  There's nobody that's really there yet. (I'll cut my own leg off before going back to Blockbuster!)  Netflix achieved something close to a monopoly, and they KNOW it.  But here is where some of that Boardroom mentality might have come in handy.  Not only do their higher prices drive away their current customer base, but hey help bring about the very competition that will eventually bring them down, they way they did to Blockbuster! They are becoming the engineers of their own royal screwing!

Consider this...

You want to start an online movie rental business.  But the current going, market rate for this service is $16-$18 for three movies out a time as well as streaming.  And you're thinking, "No way. Without that massive, existing customer base, I could never get my infrastructure off the ground at that rate!"  And no doubt a lot of people were thinking that. Otherwise, it stands to reason that someone other than fucking Blockbuster would have been creeping up behind them by now.  But if that going rate, for that exact same package, is suddenly raised to $28 a month?  Holy shit, did they just do you a HUGE favor!  Because THAT? Is a price you can beat!  And if you can beat and get even close to that $18 (say... $20?) and offer movie rentals AND streaming?  Well now your kicking all ass, because they only offer these services separately now, for anything close to a reaosnable price: 2 movies at a time from "Qwickster" -OR- streaming movies from Netflix. (Or pay $28 dollars a month to keep both!)

And that's what so STUPID (not greedy, stupid) about this: It's not only pisses off their customers but it throws a life-line to any potential competition out there! WHY would you EVER want to do that?!  How can you seriously expect to make MORE MONEY taking that path?!

So... for their blatant stupidity in these matters,and so blind a disregard for the will and voice of their customers, I'll be taking Netflix out of my Hall of Fame.  It's really an embarrassment now to have it there.  I can defend eBay more easily than I can defend Netflix, and that's saying something!  So when I get around to doing the Gold Star's this month, they'll be out.  I'd take them out now, except that I haven't figured out who to put in their place yet.  If they return to sanity sometime in the future?  Meh... maybe they'll go back in.  But I doubt. I don;t think I'll ever be able to see them as anything but just another blind and stupid corporation anymore.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Been away...

Had a family-related scare on 9/12 and have been out of town.  There's some stuff I'd like to get into, though it will hardly be timely by the time I get around to posting it.  I just figured I'd check, say that everything's OK for the time being, and that I'll probably be back to posting on Thursday and over the weekend, both here on IMHO and on Utopia as well.

Coming up...

- Netflix (BOO!)
- David Lewis (ROTF, LMAO!)
- Solyndra, Taxing the Rich and "Class Warfare"

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Good Speech

Heard the President's speech tonight, while working out at the gym.

Leaving out any of the accumulated baggage, and forgetting for the moment about the last two and half years?  It was a good speech. A damned good speech.  A GREAT speech, even. Diplomatic, yet pointed. Practical but passionate.  Statesmanlike, but also partisan the best possible way: He called out Republicans mainly by reminding them of the truly great things that they once stood for.  He made the case for eliminating the Bush tax breaks for the richest Americans, pointing out that it's not partisan, nor is it class warfare, but rather a case of simple math.  He pointed out that the proposals in his Jobs Plan are (again) things that Republicans and Democrats alike believe in. And yet, this time his calls for bi-partisan action came off not as him being weak, but rather as him shaming Republicans, and managing to do so without sounding preachy! Tonight he had strength. Tonight, he had spirit! THIS was the man I voted for!  (I don't know where he's been for th past two and ahlf years, but... I'll get to that.)

It came as no surprise that there were several moments where the Left Side of the chamber was brought to their feet.   What DID surprise me were the numerous times that two or three on the Right side of the chamber had the courage to stand up as well.  And one time (not including when he was finished (LOL)), he had the entire chamber on its feet.

Save for one man...

And that might have been the best part of the whole speech: Watching that great, bronzed cocksucker Speaker John Boehner twisting uncomfortably in his seat the entire time, looking like he had a bad case of hemorrhoids throughout the whole address, and KNOWING that Obama was winning with his audience...

...And I don't mean his audience in the chamber.

Remember that whole, stupid pissing match they got into over whether the speech was going to be last night or tonight?  Well... Obama looked weak (again) and Bohener looked like a dick (again) over the whole stupid thing. But they way it worked out? Most anyone who would have thought it was to the Coppertone Man's credit that he was sitting on his ass all night, looking like a fool?  WERE THEMSELVES MOST LIKELY OFF WATCHING FOOTBALL!!!  The people most likely to have seen John Boehner looking like he was sitting in a chair that someone had peed in beforehand were the ones most likely to hate him for it!

So top marks...

...for the speech.

We'll see (and more likely, we won't) if this translates into action

And once again, we are reminded of what ClassicLiberal so aptly refers to as "the tragedy of Obama."

Because, Mister Presdient, the time to put your boot-heel to the necks of the Conservative movement was just over two and a half years ago. The opportunity to suffocate the life out of the Right, turn this country around and start moving FOREWORD again was handed to you 32 months ago on a polished silver platter and you squandered it.  And perhaps the greatest example of why he has failed, and why this too will also likely fail was offered by Orrin Hatch beforehand:
“If (the payroll tax cut) is standing alone, I think that might have some success,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. “If it's lumped in with a whole bunch of big spending programs that builds Washington at the expense of the rest of the economy he’s not going to have much support from me or any other Republican.”

In other words:

"We'll take whatever you're going to give us for free, but don't expect anything in return."
And that's the rub isn't it? That has been the issue fro day number one - though I've never heard any Republican say it quite this plainly...

...Oh wait, YES I HAVE!

"The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”

Sen. Minority Leader Micth McConnell, October 25th, 2010
And AGAIN...

 “Well that is true, [making Obama a one-term President is] my single most important political goal along with every active Republican in the country."
Sen. Minority Leader Micth McConnell, July 10th, 2011 
Mister Obama, they will NOT stop playing politics, for the simple reason that they want you to fail  more than they want the COUNTRY TO SUCCEED.  You will never have their support.  You will never see anything from these traitorous scumbags other than their best efforts to sabotage your Presdiency, and progressive politics by extension (even though you haven't actually ever USED any). They will never be honest. They will never do right.   They will never stop trying to make you fail, and no sacrifice is too great for them! 

And I don't think it's all about race.  In fact, I don't think it's about race at all.

Their behavior over the past two years is because they recognized the threat to their party's future and to their entire philosophy that you and your popularity represented.

The tragedy here is that YOU never recognized the threat that THEY represented to you, to your presidency and to your country!

Still...

I won't have it be said that I don't give credit where I think it's due.

It was a good speech.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Democrats could learn from this...

At some point in the 1984 campaign, Ronald W. Reagan was quoted as saying that he'd like to arm-wrestle Walter Mondale.  IOW: He called out Mondale's manhood.

Mondale replied that "The American people would rather hear about arms control, than arm wrestling."

Good one, poindexter!

See... Most Democrats just can't talk trash!

Look at the 2004 campaign, with the Swift-Boat veterans spreading all kinds of slander and insult, and John Kerry did not once call them out on it! As close as that election was (the closest RE-election of all time!) if instead he had come out swinging? I truly believe  he would have won. But they just don't get it! I believe it was that same year that Saxby Silver-Spoon  Chambliss was talking the same smack about Max "I left three of my limbs in Vietnam" Cleland.  But did Cleland get up and kick ass? (OK: remain seated and kick ass?) No more than Kerry did.  And this was a guy who could have kicked the shit out of Saxby Fairyboy Chambliss from his fucking wheelchair!

And go figure that both men lost

Because in America? We'd rather have someone who [looks] strong and is stupid than someone who appears weak, but is smart.  I can't imagine what else might be behind the popularity of Governor Robert E. Perry and Congresswoman Loony Bin Bachman (who look to be next year's answer to 2008's McCain / Palin.)

But seriously... The Democrats just don't know how to talk smack!  Obama especially!

"Yes, we can!" he said...

...and "Yes! Weak hand!" they realized!

So it is with that in mind that the following Cracked Article is recommended as required reading for all Democrats:


The 10 Greatest Uses of Trash Talk in the History of War


My personal favorite?

In the Third Sacred War, when Philip II of Macedon (father of Alexander the Great) sent the following warning to Sparta:

"You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army on your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people and raze your city."

The Spartan's official reply was:

 "If."
Now THAT'S bad-ass!

Who can blame Philip and Alexander for spending the rest of their lives fighting wars as far away from Sparta as possible?!

A little research goes a LOOONG way...

This goes for both Progressives and Regressives alike, the difference being that we're actually willing to DO a little research from time to time, rather than just blindly posting and linking to every email that hits our in-box. And, yes, I am aware that I have made some mistakes here as well. Again, the difference is that when someone points them out to me, I'm far more likely to say "Huh, yeah, good point!" or "Thanks for the tip" than I am to go off on on a tirade, asking why people are "defending the enemy" or some such thing.  IOW: It's is important to me to get it RIGHT. First and foremost, I want my arguments to be based in fact more than I care about whether or not they're Liberal.  So, seriously: If someone sees something here that's bullshit, by all means: CALL ME OUT ON IT!  (You don't usually get that offer from most Right Wing Bloggers!)

So... What's this all about? Well... a couple weeks back I came across a blog called The Economic Collapse. And by what I can only describe as blind luck the first two articles I came across blamed [the economic mess du jour] largely on Republicans and the Democrats that went along with them.  So I though 'whoa-hey! Another liberal blog!'  And I was all set to put it up for a Gold Star.  Yeah... Um... Good thing I dug a little deeper. LOL. The first tell-tale sign was all the ads for Silver, Gold and Platinum Coins and 'Emergency Food' across the top.  That's... a little bit too Glenn Beck-ish for me.  So I read further, and... Yeah... This one's a hall of SHAMER, big time. 

Hoo-boy... 

Article after article of intellectual dishonesty, writ large.  And don't get me wrong... Some of these? DO manage to make some good points!  But these are lost in a sea of blaming Liberals ("Socialists," actually) and distorting the claims just enough to take them beyond the realm of 'interesting examples' and right into the territory of the truly absurd.  And there is one such post that I want to use to show you just how low-down and intellectually dishonest they are.  This is from "Suffocated By Red Tape - 12 Ridiculous Regulations That Are Almost Too Bizarre To Believe."  I'd like to take this on, point by point, to show how they operate and display exactly what the author is NOT telling you.  Because... if you're making a "good point" there should be no reason to be intellectually dishonest about it!  If you're RIGHT, you shouldn't have to LIE.  Also, I'm going to *star* some of these. The ones that get *starred* I'll have a little more to say about at the end.  And remember: These are all (supposedly) the fault of LIBERALS, those damned Socialists!

#1 The state of Louisiana says that monks must be fully licensed as funeral directors and actually convert their monasteries into licensed funeral homes before they will be allowed to sell their handmade wooden caskets.
(*) This is a prime example of a BARRIER TO ENTRY.  I'll explain what that is at the bottom.  Is it bullshit? Usually, yes. Is it LIBERAL? Oh, hell no! But, more on that farther down.

#2 The city of Philadelphia now requires all bloggers to purchase a $300 business privilege license. The city even went after one poor woman who had earned only $11 from her blog over the past two years.
(*) This also falls under the 'barrier to entry' category, but there's some intellectually dishonesty thrown in for good measure.  See... take a good look at the story he linked to.  First of all, it's $50 per year or $300 for life. Second of all, it's not a tax on BLOGGERS, it's a licensing fee for BUSINESSES.  Is it excessive, when applied to bloggers?  Well... sure USUALLY.  But how much money do Arianna Huffington or Matt Drudge make from their blogs?  If you're GOOD AT IT, then it might not be so excessive.  And? If you don't want to pay? Just don't sell ads. No big deal there - especially if those ads only net you $11 a year! In Google's AdSense's terms, it would take you just over NINE YEARS to get paid AT ALL at that rate! So why even bother? (Disclosure: I should make my first hundred, and finally get paid, after 2 years of blogging, in about a month or so.)  Just take the ads down and your "Free Speech" is completely untouchable. (Remember: It's "free" speech, not "paid" speech!)  And, OK, fine... Do I think it's a dumb law? Or one that needs to be altered or amended? YES. Yes, I do. But if you're going to argue that - and I think it SHOULD be argued - WHY do you have to be dishonest about it?  The law is absurd enough on its own!  If you have to distort the reality even more to make your point, MAYBE YOU DON'T HAVE A POINT!

#3 In the state of Massachusetts, all children in daycare centers are mandated by state law to brush their teeth after lunch. In fact, the state even provides the fluoride toothpaste for the children.
Nanny-state bullshit? Perhaps.  (Although after recently going through crown-extension surgery, and getting three different holes drilled in the same tooth by a guy who I thought was being pretty chincy with the Novocaine?  Man: BRUSH YOUR TEETH, KIDS! Because that SUX!)  Here's the thing... If the STATE provides the toothpaste? And the kids (presumably) own toothbrushes?  HOW, exactly, is this "suffocating" the day-care businesses?  Seems to me that this is actually a GOOD program, that works JUST FINE, and it's the John Stossel Conservatives who are whining over nothing. And considering that Medicaid covers dental, it would seem this is a good cost-savings measure as well. But.. you know... never let facts get in the way of a good story, right?

#4 If you attempt to give a tour of our nation's capital without a license, you could be put in prison for 90 days.
All I can say is, one: (*). And two: The sentence is absurd, but the motivation behind ALL of the (*)'s entries is hardly a LIBERAL one.  (I'll get to that at the end.)

#5 A reader named Gene recently shared his regulatory horror story with us....
I'm not going to dignify "Gene's story" with a response, other than to say that "anecdotal evidence sure is convincing, isn't it?"  I can't verify ANY of these claims, nor do I know ANYTHING about "Gene" or his "Business." If there's any legitimacy to this, maybe they should have found an example from a verifiable source, no? Just sayin'. 

Also? (*)

#6 Federal agents recently raided an Amish farm at 5 A.M. in the morning because they were selling "unauthorized" raw milk.
Damn! I'm never even UP by 5 O'Clock in the morning! Although... I suppose that's what makes it a such a good time to have a raid!  OK, putting aside that the link provided is to the "World Nut Daily," I was able find this story elsewhere, so we can assume it's legit.  First of all: You can sell Raw Milk, if you slap a warning label on it. DID they? I don't know. It doesn't say. They say they don't sell to the public, but it's unclear if that's true or not.  (And the fed's had to find out SOME HOW, right?)  And while I'm all for letting people make their own choices - bad as those choices may be - I'm going to take on these "natural food" whack-jobs (many of whom are Liberal, yes, I know) right now and recommend that they look up a guy name Louis Pasteur, and learn a little bit more about what the world was like before he came along.  Raw milk, unregulated, is dangerous. Period. And arguing otherwise is the closest thing Liberals have to dogma. (Actually, I'll come right out and say it: Vegan, Organic, Gluten-Free, All-Natural, etc...? Is nothing more than Un-Scientific Liberal dogma. And it's every bit as full-of-shit as Conservative Dogma is.) But whatever. Maybe their milk wasn't germ infested. OK, fine. But what about everyone else's? Folks, these regulations are in place for a GOOD REASON: Public Health.  Do I have a problem with some aspects of the corporate dairy industry? You betcha: The use of Hormones, for example. But PASTEURIZATION is not one of my qualms. (And the "raw eggs" example is just stupid, because pretty much everyone COOKS their eggs before they eat them.) In any case, this is a perfect example of a regulation that a LIBERAL GROUP (crunchy vegan's, whole-food hippies) would be perfectly happy to strike down!  (But which this liberal would disagree with them on.) And that shows two things: (1) "Liberals" are an intellectually and philosophically diverse bunch, unlike the single-minded Conservatives. And (2) You can therefore hardly blame Liberals, in general, for this regulation no matter how you feel about it!  There's COMMON GROUND here between Libertarians and certain (somewhat extreme) Liberal Sub-Groups! (Although this is one time I'm thanking God that they haven't bothered to find it!)

Also? (*)

#7 In Lake Elmo, Minnesota farmers can be fined $1,000 and put in jail for 90 days for selling pumpkins or Christmas trees that are grown outside city limits.
(*). Just... (*). 

(That's a *star*, BTW, not an asshole! The asshole is they guy who wrote this drivel!)

#8 A U.S. District Court judge slapped a 5oo dollar fine on Massachusetts fisherman Robert J. Eldridge for untangling a giant whale from his nets and setting it free. So what was his crime? Well, according to the court, Eldridge was supposed to call state authorities and wait for them do it.
This the one that REALLY pissed me off.  $500 fine, just for being a good guy, huh? No good deed goes unpunished, huh?  Well, buried deep down in this more honest story about what happened is a little detail that the Right-wing blogger left out: Far from freeing the netted whale properly, he found that he was unable to do this and merely cut his lines, letting the whale swim away still tangled in the nets!  Hmmm... It seems to me that if the guy couldn't do the job PROPERLY, maybe, just maybe, he should have, oh... I don't know... called state authorities and waited for them do it!  Also not mentioned? The fact that the fine was reduced from $100,000 (holy crap!) down to $500. So, again, far from this being a case of the State Bureaucracy running amok, it is actually an example of the use of discretion to make sure the laws don't get applied inappropriately. Can we have a debate about the necessity of these laws? Sure we can.  Can we have a debate about the appropriateness of the penalties? Absolutely. But WHY can't we at least have an intellectually honest one?!
#9 In the state of Texas, it doesn't matter how much formal interior design education you have - only individuals with government licenses may refer to themselves as "interior designers" or use the term "interior design" to describe their work.
Another classic case of (*).
#10 Deeply hidden in the 2,409-page health reform bill passed by Congress was a new regulation that will require U.S. businesses to file millions more 1099s each year. In fact, it is estimated that the average small business will now have to file 200 additional 1099s every single year. Talk about a nightmare of red tape! But don't try to avoid this rule - it is being reported that the IRS has hired approximately 2,000 new auditors to audit as many of these 1099s as possible.
Part of me would love to say, "See? The stimulus worked! Thousands of new jobs!"  But, I'm afraid that some asshat from another other blog might come by and read what I have to say, and I'd hate for them to use that [throw-away joke] as an example of "how Liberal's think." (But watch someone do it anyway!) And another part of me would be perfectly have to concede this one single point and agree that it's bullshit.  And yet another part of me wants to say "boo-frickin-hoo..." A little bit of paperwork, "oh my farquing guard!" 

But we're right back to classic intellectual dishonestly, writ large.  A few points, from that very same story they linked, that were left out? (1) This this really all started in provisions under the 2008 GEORGE BUSH budget. (That damned liberal!)  and (2) There's a floor that leaves out the smaller retailers.  As usual, this is another classic case of them exaggerating the effects of something that BUSH did, and then blaming it on "liberals."  And fine... maybe Obama contributed to it further. Fine. But again: Why can't we just be honest and tell the whole story if we're going to debate it?! WHY DO THEY HAVE TO LIE?!
#11 The city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin makes it incredibly difficult to go out of business. In order to close down a business. Milwaukee requires you to purchase an expensive license, you must submit a huge pile of paperwork to the city regarding the inventory you wish to sell off, and you must pay a fee based on the length of your "going out of business sale" plus a two dollar charge for every $1,000 worth of inventory that you are attempting to sell off.
Finally a point I might concede.  This one does seem a bit stupid.  Unfortunately I wasn't able to find much else on it, so I guess I'll just have to leave it at that. I am left wondering, however, how this can possible be enforced.  My lease is up, I close my doors, I walk away.  If that's really a crime? The yeah, I'll give them this one.  But hitting 1 for 11 (.091) won't keep you a roster spot in any league that I'm aware of! (And tongue-in-cheek I might quip that this might keep some business from going under!) (Sorry, couldn't resist.)

#12 The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is projecting that the food service industry will have to spend an additional 14 million hours every single year just to comply with new federal regulations that mandate that all vending machine operators and chain restaurants must label all products that they sell with a calorie count in a location visible to the consumer.
First, the joking: LOOK! The Stimulus is working!  All that overtime!  (And in all seriousness? This WOULD have that effect. And that's not necessarily a bad thing!)

Second, all kidding aside? Why do these people have a problem with their customer's being able to make an informed decision?!  I mean... back in the disease-infested milk example, they though people could make informed decision on their own.  So fine: I can choose to eat crap out of a vending machine.  Or... maybe I won't...  If I know how many empty calories are in that shit!  This isn't about the overtime, or the regulations. This is about business doing less volume if people start making MORE INFORMED CHOICES. That is why this is a problem for the Right. 

Sorry folks, between the overtime and cost avoidance by getting the obesity problem under control, I'm filing this under the "DAMNED GOOD IDEA" category.

And thirdly: Every single year? I seriously doubt that.  The calorie count of the Snickers Bar has been a universal constant since 1947. (Yeah, I just made that up.)  I don't think they'll ever offer that much variety.

He goes on to say that "no matter what changes are made a lot of companies will still not want to set up shop in the United States until something is done about all of these ridiculous regulations."  Umm... My company does business in Europe, Japan, the Gulf Coast Countries (GCC) and China. And I can assure you that ALL of them have just as many regulations as we do and then some.  (Socialist Europe? Communist China?) India's 10 times as bad as we!  The only places with LESS regulations?  Africa and South & Central America.  IOW: 3rd world shit-holes where the people largely get screwed over by the utter LACK of regulations! And yeah, I'm generalizing, and there are lots of very nice places in those regions as well.  But the overall standard of living is MUCH LOWER than it is in the U.S., Europe, Japan and even China and India.  And - as I work in the field of automotive safety - I can tell you, as a matter of absolute, verifiable fact - that the cars sold in those markets are a LOT LESS safe that they are in the U.S. or Canada.  They sell shit in Mexico that would fail FMVSS regulations big time. I know of cars there that are guaranteed to severely injure or kill you in the case of a crash.That's something else these John Stossel types will never tell you!

OK... so what's the deal with all the (*)'s?

Well... Licensing and fees and professional requirements and regulations are something that B-Schools call, "Barriers to entry."  (MBA, University of Michigan, 2006, with Honors - if you're wondering.)

Now... are these Liberal? Well... the Right wants to tell you they are because most of them are revenue streams for Cities and States.  Plus, supposedly, no Liberal ever saw a piece of Red Tape (or a tax) that they didn't like.  And I suppose... from a certain point of view... in some instances, there might be some validity to that. (You know, in the binary world of the Right Wing Conservative.)

But ask yourself this: Why does a Liberal care about how many interior decorators there are in Texas? Why does a Liberal care about how many tour guides operate in Washington D.C.? Why does a Liberal care about how many sources there are for hand-made caskets?

Really? WE DON'T. 

Liberals don't have a shit to give about where the Pumpkins and Christmas Trees in Lake Elmo, Minnesota come from.

Seriously.

These are nothing more than BARRIERS TO ENTRY.  These are things that BIG BUSINESS sets up to deter potential new competitors from entering the market!  $300 (or whatever the licensing fee is) is nothing to an established firm.  But if it prevents a new firm from starting up? THAT could be worth big money in terms of decreased completion.  (Less advertising needed, higher prices can be charged, etc...)

But... But... Isn't that PROTECTIONISM? And isn't protectionism a LIBERAL thing?

Yes, I suppose it could be called protectionism.  But if you call it that, then you've already disproven that protectionism is something that's engaged in only by Liberals!  And keeping smaller competitors out of a given market is night-and-day next to to trying to keep jobs from going to China. NAFTA? Not Liberal. (Global) Free Trade? Not Liberal!  These are anti-protectionism measures that screw over American Workers and they were written by Republicans, backed by Big Business!  Clinton may have signed them into law, but who ever accused Bill Clinton of being a Liberal?! (Other than the same idiots who call Obama one?!)

And remember the Right's own narrative: Liberals hate Big Corporations, right? We hate Big Business!

Then... Why is it our fault when Big Business pushes for licensing fees and regulations that keep smaller competitors out of the market?

Answer? IT ISN'T!

And if these fools would get their heads out of their asses for just two seconds and turn of Fox news, they might realize that there are plenty of Liberals who would be more than happy to GET RID of a lot of these regulations!  (Save for those that protect consumers, but that still leaves a TON of common ground!)  See.. By blaming LIBERALS, more and more Conservatives get elected.  And (remember our narrative) those are the pro-Big Business types. And contrary to what this Right-Wing blogger is telling you, these "absurd regulations" are mostly things that deter competition for Big Business.

Now is that bullshit? Yes, it certainly IS.

But is it LIBERAL? Um... NO FUCKING WAY!!!

We want to STOP big business's influence on the Government!

No one wants to disentangle Corporatism and Corporate Interests from Government more than LIBERALS do!  And you don't hear the big companies complaining about these things! It's always the LITTLE GUY!  Well, you know how we always say that 98% of America is voting against their economic interests? Well, this is a perfect example of that! Big Business backs Republicans. Republicans talk a good game, but do NOTHING to eliminate the regulations, and the Little Guy gets screwed because he's so convinced that LIBERALS are behind all this!  SINCE WHEN DID LIBERALS START RULING THE WORLD?! (Especially the parts of it called "LOUISIANA" and "TEXAS!") Blaming Liberals is just propaganda by those same Big Businesses trying to prevent the very people they're screwing over from ever electing the right people to fix the mess!  As long as the little guy keeps thinking the Democrats are against him, he'll keep voting for the Party who's REALLY against him!

Some of the regulations actually make sense, and were merely misrepresented, as I pointed out.  But the rest of them are barriers to entry, nothing more.  They're things that mostly benefit Big Business. Again: To a huge company the cost is minuscule.  But keeping out smaller, nimbler, cheaper competitors? THAT'S key to their very survival! Yet they try to blame these anti-competitions measures on the OPPOSITION of the very Party that Big Business generally backs! And to the extent that Democrats do this too? Shoot... That's just Democrats acting like Republicans! And we hate them just as much!

And don't let some Right Wing Liar (or Fool) try to tell you otherwise!