IT’S ALIVE.

 Posted by at 1:45 PM on May 27, 2016
May 272016
 
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It's Alive

Etch A Sketch Drumpf (UPDATE)

 Posted by at 12:01 AM on April 26, 2016
Apr 262016
 
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Etch A Sketch Drumpf

Understanding the Republican mind-set with the Drumpf Etch A Sketch

Four years ago in Etch A Sketch Romney, we quoted Mitt Romney’s senior aide and communications director, Eric Fehrnstrom as follows:

“Well, I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It’s almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all of over again”

Then six weeks ago in our post Is Donald Drumpf the Lord of the Flies?  we warned about “his recent threat to start acting presidential.”  It appears that the threat is now being realized, via implementation of a next generation upgrade to the Romney Etch A Sketch: The Drumpf Etch A Sketch, whose specs promise his transformation from a malignant narcissistic bigot into a candidate who can win a general election. (If you believe that, then please contact our Alchemy Division, where we promise to transform Republican shit into presidential gold.)

After his crushing defeat of Ted Cruz in New York last week, Drumpf actually referred to him as “Senator Cruz” instead of his standard “Lyin Ted.” Naturally, this caused a thrill to shoot up the leg of the punditocracy who were falling all over themselves to declare that Drumpf was changing his evil ways; that he was following through on his promise to be “presidential.” (Quick! Someone get conservative apologist David Brooks a fainting couch!) Well, that lasted less than 24 hours when Drumpf repeatedly referred to Cruz as Lyin Ted in a subsequent campaign appearance. No surprise there, as Drumpf has spoken out of both sides of his mouth so many times that the media doesn’t even notice or comment on it anymore (assuming they ever did).

For example, last week an audio tape of a closed-door meeting between new Drumpf campaign director Paul Manafort and an assemblage of top GOP officials surfaced in which he tries to reassure them Drumpf is just playing to the most bigoted part of the GOP crowd, and that “the part he’s been playing is evolving.” (Of course, this is a tacit admission that his followers are loyal devotees of Teh Stupid Cult.) In other words: “Don’t worry. Be happy. The Donald  will drop his boorish behavior in the general election and act like the statesman and unifier he really is.”

Manafort also dismissed accusations by Cruz that Drumpf has lied about his policies on immigration to “fool gullible voters.” Well, there certainly is no shortage of those voting Republican this year. Cruz himself has proven that with his own Etch A Sketch act. How many of his supporters know that he opposed the Wall Street bailout while using a $500,000 loan from his wife Heidi’s employer, Goldman Sachs, to launch his senate career, all the while bragging that he had risked everything to self-finance his up-by-his-bootstraps campaign?

In addition to last week’s revelation of the Manafort audio tape (reminiscent of the leak of  Romney’s disastrous 47% recording), another piece of essential GOP technology was exposed recently that proves its connection to, and collusion with ― wait for it ― the Bizarro universe! You know, that parallel reality where up is down, bad is good, war is peace, and tax-breaks for the rich trickle down to the poor. We speak here of the “Parallel Universe Self-Oscillating Fuzzy Reality Projector.”

Parallel Universe Fuzz Machine

Notice the button options. There is Starve, the GOP’s policy towards the “welfare state” and its safety-net-is-really-a hammock-for-the-takers meme. Bypass, which is their answer to Obamacare, as in: individuals unable to afford the extortionate demands of the for-profit medical industrial complex can just By-Pass Go and not collect $200,000 to pay for a critical medical procedure. And finally, OSC, which stands for “Overtly Stupid Conformity,” the button they push to get under-paid Southerners to support the Wall Street banksters and K Street lobbyists to support policies that militate against their own economic interests.

For the GOP’s sake, it better still be under warranty, as it is obviously malfunctioning. As the GOP presidential campaign has unfolded, whatever light that the GOP might have once emitted has been sucked into the black hole at the center of the Bizarro universe where their evil twins reside. Those tremors in the Force you’ve been feeling of late is proof that the rupture between the two parallel worlds has already occurred, resulting in the time-space manifold between them being turned inside-out, vomiting forth their dopplegangers into our every day political reality.

By way of analogy, its kinda like what happens when you open a spacecraft’s airlock and everything in the cargo bay gets sucked out the door. (Think of the scene from the movie Alien, where Sigourney Weaver flushes the evil alien out into the vacuum of space ― “Where no one can hear you scream”― as the film’s classic tagline has it.) Of the 17 original GOP presidential candidate crew members, 14 of them have already entered the earth’s atmosphere and are now toast. Two of the remaining three, Ted Cruz and John Kasich, are even now skimming along its edge and showing that characteristic warming glow.

That leaves Donald Drumf, who might have to wait until November to read his own political obituary, assuming he doesn’t spontaneously combust before then.

Spontaneous Human Combustion

The fate of Donald Drumf, according to a visionary named “Reality”

UPDATE 4/27

Seems That Politico had adopted the parallel universe, Bizarro alternate reality metaphor, to wit:

The parallel universe where Cruz is beating Trump; 04/27/16 12:12 AM EDT

And

Ryan’s GOP tries to create Trump-free alternate reality; 04/27/16 08:09 PM EDT


Graphic credits:

etch-a-sketch: http://www.democraticunderground.com/101479062

parallel universe http://www.experimentalistsanonymous.com/stuff/paralleluniverse/]

 

MONEY TALKS

 Posted by at 7:00 PM on April 22, 2016
Apr 222016
 
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Van Gogh 55Don’t expect to see a “Starry Night” 55er in your wallet—or in your lifetime;  and not just because you’re poor and apt to stay that way.

 

Money, it’s a crime
Share it fairly but don’t take a slice of my pie
Money, so they say
Is the root of all evil today
But if you ask for a raise it’s no surprise
That they’re giving none away
Away, away, away

—Pink Floyd

 

TubmanTwenty

Somebody’s mock up of the new “Harriet”— guaranteed to make your trip to the strip club awkward.

Finally. The long overdue depiction of putting a great American woman, Harriet Tubman, on the face of a United States twenty dollar bill—even though it’s said it will take more than ten years to get’r done— oh and five other women— Susan B. Anthony, Lucretia Mott, Alice Paul, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Sojourner Truth— will eventually be on the greenback of a new $10 bill, (but will still have Alexander Hamilton on the front).   While this shows we can eventually do something right, it also exposes the moldy archaic lameness of the rest of our currency.

Like so many things in life, the velocity of change has simply smoked a large part of our historic culture, including just about every aspect of our ideas about money, wealth, and the economic reality we face as good little cogs in the capitalist wheel.  Or bricks in the wall.  Or middle class wage slaves in an open air debtor’s prison.  So it’s not all that strange that the way our money looks is just as dodgy and tired as the way it’s made and distributed among our people.  But.

We all learned to count by fives when we were young.  Too bad we can’t count greenbacks the same way:  Five, Ten, Fifteen, Twenty, Twenty-five, Thirty, up to say, $250,000.  Think of all those great American faces we could carry around in our purses and pockets;  that is if we had any to carry around.  And think of all the new money that would be out there for the making.  I knew that you could.

 

Money Talks: Jackson Pollock 25er

The “25er” puts Jackson Pollock and his “Shimmering Substance” across the front; yyeh, he’s smokin’.

“Dead Presidents,” a euphemism of American money, (not excepting Hamilton and Franklin), perfectly characterizes our inability to keep up with our own culture.  Clearly Dead Presidents aren’t the only ones who’ve helped make America what it is today.  There are plenty of Dead Musicians, Dead Painters, Hollywood Stars, Writers, and unsung heroes who are worthy of remembrance on a bit of currency.

 

Money Talks: Dude 5000Give us deh munneh, Lebowski!

Sadly, unless something amazing happens— like a Democratic Socialist becomes president— don’t expect you’ll be able to collect many any of them anytime soon, even if they made them;  because the unequal distribution of wealth in this country and the world isn’t going to change under the reigns of a Drumpf or a Clinton.

Money Talks: Chase Greenback

And if you think that sounds fishy, then you probably don’t know that it was Salmon P. (Patty) Chase who introduced the modern system of banknotes, uh, and having the humongous balls to put his own image on the first “greenback” dollar bill, while he was the sitting secretary of the Treasury.  He also had his mug on the $10,000 bill printed from 1928 to 1946, and was “instrumental” in placing the phrase “In God We Trust” on United States coins in 1864.

And speaking of trusting in God, that brings us to banksters, the wealthy, the “one percenters”;   and their money, the root of all evil.  It brings us to the time when we need, we must call a spade a spade, and give credit (no pun intended) where credit is due, and maybe be done with money, once and for all.

MONEY TALKS: Lucifer $1

VOTING FOR THE LESSER OF TWO EVILS IS SO TWENTIETH CENTURY

 Posted by at 9:28 AM on April 15, 2016
Apr 152016
 
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Two Evils: Ready For Hillarity

You can’t hide your lyin’ eyes
And your smile is a thin disguise
I thought by now you’d realize
There ain’t no way to hide your lyin’ eyes
—The Eagles

:

There’s been a gleeful sense of schadenfreude in the coverage churned out by left-leaning outlets in particular. How lovely it has been to watch the conservative movement’s house of cards fall into shambles!

The problem, of course, is that Republicans aren’t the only party facing an historic rift. Over the past two weeks, it’s become increasingly obvious that grassroots liberals are thoroughly disgusted by their own party establishment.

Yes, the Republicans are unconditionally fucked.  They must swallow their own vomit and nominate a rapacious pig of a candidate, or watch their rabid base literally burn their hypocritical asses to the ground.

But even as Bernie surges, the simpleton Dems (and they are legion) still look likely to nominate their very own One Percenter,  a shrill establishment harpy who is increasingly despised by the growing throngs who are championing her insurgent foe.

The reason [Bernie] keeps beating Hillary Clinton is because a huge portion of the electorate—particularly young voters—is yearning for the kind of explicit social justice he’s prescribing. To put it bluntly: he’s articulating a moral vision, not an electoral path to the White House.

You know— what the Democratic Party did when Franklin Delano Roosevelt offered voters a compassionate and responsive government that stood against the corrosive values of a capitalist theocracy, not to mention global fascism and a world war which killed 50 million people.

What does the modern Democratic Party offer? …  The modern Democratic Party …  has chosen to enable— and in many cases sponsor— policies that have allowed capitalism to act like a giant centrifuge, concentrating wealth and power in the hands of the few to the detriment of the many.

This is why a majority of Democratic primary voters not only identify as liberal, but believe that socialism has a (gasp!) positive impact on society.

Queen Hillary

I’d just like to know who’s balls are decorating that throne.

The wave that senior statesman Bernie Sanders is trying to surf flows from a possible majority of democrats who no longer believe in capitalism as a guiding root of our economy or our politics.  And they can plainly see that Hillary Clinton is the Empress of the status quo—  and that she represents the democratic minting of crony capitalism.

The logic isn’t terribly subtle. If you raise funds from the financial and fossil fuel industries, or collect millions in personal fees for speeches to Wall Street executives, you are beholden to them.  As a rule, politicians don’t police their patrons.

And this.

In squaring off against Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton never had to face such stark questions about her own integrity, because both of them were willing to exploit the corruptions of the campaign finance system.  They passed for liberal, because they were the only options.

For the first time since the Great Society, a candidate has staked out authentically progressive positions:  bleeding private money from politics, reforming our criminal justice system, insuring education and health care as rights.  And paying for these programs by rolling back the massive tax breaks of the past few decades, and closing the corporate loopholes.

These solutions aren’t new, they’ve been intentionally obscured by an enormous cloud of corporate money and propaganda expressly intended to hide just how compromised our political discourse has become in the past four decades.

And one of the main reasons Bernie appeals to so many young voters is precisely because they have the most to lose by tolerating this Orwellian miasma of misinformation.

They are not victims of the Stockholm Syndrome that afflicts so many so-called “pragmatists.”  What young voters see is one party hell-bent on ravaging government so that plutocrats can run the show, and another devoted to a pattern of moral acquiescence.

To put it more affirmatively, Bernie Sanders hasn’t moved the Democratic base to the left. He’s revealed a base that has always been there, one that is tired of accepting “the lesser of two evils” as an electoral argument.

Berners— Sanders supporters— don’t just want somebody who can stand up to the greedy nihilistic bullies across the aisle, the very same white homophobic corporate lackies who’ve been cockblocking our first black president for the last seven years.  They want a leader who rejects the evil of moral decay embraced by the Democratic Party itself.  They want a leader with a clear vision of commitment to uncompromising moral and ethical truth.

Despite that appetite for change and hunger for truth, Hillary Clinton may still be the Democratic nominee, and may even manage to squeak by Donald Trump in what promises to be the ugliest fucking nightmare of an election you can imagine.  But beating a racist right-wing lunatic will do next to nothing to fix the moral fabric of our democracy, nor will it win the fight for the soul of our nation.

It’s going to take nothing less than a spiritual awakening for that.

 

Loathsome Ted

 Posted by at 8:00 AM on April 8, 2016
Apr 082016
 
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F U TED

Ted Cruz provokes a round of Bronx cheers from natives with “New York values”

An AP/GFK poll released yesterday shows that presidential candidate Ted Cruz has a net unfavorable rating of 33%.  That’s 10 points less than Donald Drumpf (with whom he shares a mere 26%approval rating), and 20 points higher than Hillary Clinton (40% positive rating).  Drumpf and Clinton are two well-known commodities with substantial history and exposure.  Drumpf ‘s negatives are as much a feature as they are a bug of his strategy to appeal to the lesser angels of certain demographics he needs for a core constituency.  The Clintons spawned an entire cottage industry of conservative haters during the nineties, which waned after Bill Clinton left office.  Now that Hillary is running for president, it is back in full force.  In contrast, Cruz, with the exception of his success at shutting down the US government in 2013,  has been on the national stage for only a year since he announced his candidacy. What, then, makes him so loathsome?

When he tries to be personable, or God forfend, humorous, Cruz somehow comes across as creepy; or at least unauthentic. His reading of Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham to his daughters on the Senate floor during his filibuster of Obamacare had all the charm of a dentist doing a root canal without anesthesia. With a face made for radio, we can chalk up Senator Sourpus’s electoral successes, not to the appeal of his personality, but to the professionals running his campaign.

His fellow Republican Senate colleagues find him even more loathsome than does the general public. In addition to calling Senate Leader Mitch McConnell a liar for bringing the Export-Import Bank back to life, he called him “a puppet for Democratic leaders and a foe of conservatives” for refusing to add a rider defunding Planned Parenthood in the 2016 budget bill. He pressed his attack on McConnell by forcing a procedural vote that was, in effect, a backdoor referendum on his leadership. McConnell, no shrinking violet when it comes to playing political hardball, blocked him from speaking on the Senate floor, cementing Cruz’s reputation as persona non grata on both sides of the aisle. (Karma alert: Cruz is now courting his estranged Senate colleagues for support in winning the GOP presidential nomination.)

All of which pales in comparison to Cruz’s success in actually shutting down the entire government in 2013 for not defuning Obamacare, Ted’s greatest achievement in the eyes of his loyal followers.

After dropping out of the presidential race, Cruz’s fellow Republican senator Lindsey Graham announced his support for Jeb Bush. When Jeb’s campaign cratered ($130 million dollars just doesn’t buy what it used to), and the field of contenders shrank from 17 to 3, poor Lindsey found himself hoisted on the horns of a dilemma: Who to support now?  Drumpf or Cruz? In late January, he announced his choice, lamenting:

It’s like being shot or poisoned. What does it really matter?

Graham put the disdain of his Senate colleagues into even greater relief when in February of this year he told the Washington Press Club Foundation’s 72nd Congressional Dinner crowd:

My party’s gone bat shit crazy…If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, nobody would convict you.

Good one, Lindsey. With a record of statements like that, one could be forgiven for assuming that you would support the only other candidate with a path to the nomination, Donald Drumpf. But so great is the GOP’s fear that Drumpf would lead it to utter ruin,* that a mere three weeks later, I see you steadying yourself with one hand on your fainting couch, clutching your pearls with the other, raising money for Cruz. Must really suck to be you.

In close, a question for Cruz: How’s that whole sneering “New York values”  dis of Drumpf working out fer ya?

Cruz rotten apple_big

Senator Sourpus really knows how to make an impression

*The same AP/GfK poll found that “two out of three people now have an unfavorable view of the party. The 67 percent negative rating is up from the 58 percent who viewed the GOP that way in October 2014. Just 30 percent of Americans now have a favorable view of the GOP…”

 

WHY BERNIE MUST BE PREZ

 Posted by at 4:44 PM on April 1, 2016
Apr 012016
 
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RollingPwned: Why Bernie Must Be PrezDon’t let those punchy headlines fool you;  it’s the black and white Bernie who’s telling it like it is.

 

My twenty-one year old car is old enough to vote, and like Bernie Sanders, is time-worn and tested to go whatever distance.  Like anything worthwhile it requires occasional maintenance, so it was off to Mike the mechanic today for a checkup.  I spent some time in the waiting area, and what I found there, totally hot off the press, was Bernie on the cover of the RollingPwned™.

I heard that, “The what??”  Now I’m no RollingStone subscriber or reader.  I just bump into it more or less irregularly in the circles I travel in, thus I’m a longtime fan of Ralph Steadman and Hunter Thompson in the past and Matt Tiabbi in the present.  But it’s a total coincidence that I learned of the recent endorsement of Hillary Clinton in a recent edition of RollingStone by co-founder, Jann Wenner;  a few days before I discovered this RollingPwned™ in the wait room of an auto repair shop today.
Wenner shorter:  I’m not impressed by multi-millionaire Wenner’s idea of what constitutes his “reality of modern America.”  Like so many other Americans, he’s willing to be told by Clinton what is possible and what is not.  And his dolorous “I have been to the revolution before— It ain’t happening” shtick is pathetic.

So.  I’ve gotta spend a few good hours with this mag, even though I already know why Bernie must be Prez; and the other articles promise to be more than entertaining.

—Matt Tiabbi

The new Democratic version of idealism came in a package called “transactional politics.” It was about getting the best deal possible given the political realities, which we were led to believe were hopelessly stacked against the hopes and dreams of the young.

For young voters, the foundational issues of our age have been the Iraq invasion, the financial crisis, free trade, mass incarceration, domestic surveillance, police brutality, debt and income inequality, among others.

And to one degree or another, the modern Democratic Party, often including Hillary Clinton personally, has been on the wrong side of virtually all of these issues.

Because:  You’ve been to one party, you’ve been to them all.  It’s time to surf. Because every few seconds, another wave washes towards humanity, and if he will catch it, he will ride reality anew.

*prez |prez|
  noun
  informal term for president.

HILLARY CLINTON: The Tip Of The Iceberg

 Posted by at 6:06 AM on April 1, 2016
Apr 012016
 
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Tip Of The ClintonOriginal inset illustration by Roberto Parada

OpenSecrets.org - Center for Responsive Politics

     TOTAL   •   INDIVIDUALS   •  PACS

Emily’s List    $939,881  $930,961  $8,920

Citigroup Inc $883,547  $875,547  $8,000

DLA Piper       $847,930  $820,930  $27,000

Goldman Sachs $821,031  $811,031  $10,000

JPMorgan Chase & Co  $771,111  $768,111  $3,000

Morgan Stanley $754,538  $749,538  $5,000

University of California $608,858  $608,858 $0

Time Warner $591,524  $566,524  $25,000

Skadden, Arps et al $522,688  $518,188  $4,500

Corning Inc $492,750  $474,750  $18,000

Paul, Weiss et al $427,062  $427,062  $0

Kirkland & Ellis $443,420  $426,420  $17,000

Greenberg Traurig LLP $411,640  $403,540  $8,100

Sullivan & Cromwell $396,625  $396,625  $0

Akin, Gump et al $393,531  $390,031$3,500

21st Century Fox $363,899  $363,899  $0

National Amusements Inc $366,640  $363,640  $3,000

Lehman Brothers  $362,853  $359,853  $3,000

Harvard University $359,451  $359,451  $0

Ernst & Young $360,127  $340,127  $20,000

$11,069,106

So Yeah, you probably heard it’s “what they offered.”  Um no*.

 Bloomberg says that the fee that Goldman Sachs paid isn’t “what they offered” – it’s what she charges.

Bloomberg

Her fee for delivering speeches is at least $200,000, according to people familiar with the payments who weren’t authorized to talk publicly.  Clinton received payment for at least 27 addresses.  Some of her fees, including all of those for college campus appearances, have been donated to the family’s nonprofit foundation.

“All of the fees have been donated to the Clinton Foundation for it to continue its life-changing and life-saving work. So it goes from a foundation at a university to another foundation,” Clinton said in an ABC News interview last week.

Her contract with the University of Buffalo for an Oct. 23 speech stipulated that her $275,000 fee be paid to her speaking agency, Harry Walker Agency Inc., and then remitted to the foundation.

Clinton retained the right to approve her surroundings — from the moderator to the set.  She also banned recording or broadcasting of her remarks, and required the school to pay $1,000 for a stenographer to transcribe Clinton’s remarks for her records.

Her husband was paid for 544 speeches between 2001 and 2012 with fees ranging from $28,100 to $750,000, according to financial-disclosure reports.

Since then, Bill has given more than 40 more speeches, including one for the Peres Academic Center in Rehovot, Israel that earned him $500,000. That’s correct, it was donated to the Clinton Foundation.  And the Republicans already have their lines of attack on Clinton for her post-government earnings, and Willie‘s too.  However.

Her earnings represent a fraction of the Clinton family’s total income and yet were large enough to rank her not only in the top 1 percent of the nation’s earners but in the top one-hundredth of the 1 percent.

“Bill and I have worked really hard and we’ve been successful,” she said last week in an appearance on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show.” “We believed we could pretty much make our way up the ladder. Now, I think a lot of young people don’t believe that anymore.”

(my emphasis)

She’s right.  A lot of young people don’t believe that anymore—  that a 1 percenter has got their backs.  It’s a lot to swallow.

 

Trouble ahead, Lady in red,
Take my advice you’d be better off dead.
Switchman’s sleeping, train hundred and two is
On the wrong track and headed for you.
—JEROME J.GARCIA /ROBERT C. HUNTER
THE GRATEFUL DEAD

 

* Hillary Clinton is represented by the elite “Harry Walker Agency,” which bills itself as the “world’s leading speaker’s bureau. ( Her page  on their website;  she’s “exclusive” to the agency.)