When I think of Republicans running this country, I nearly romney myself.
Even if I were the type to vote for Romney, this story alone would be enough to make me vote for someone else. It just boggles the mind. Rachel Maddow played a clip of an interview when this story broke the first time during his last run for President. His response? He laughed and said, "The crate was completely air tight. He loved riding up there. He got up there all by himself." A quick aside: Have you ever noticed how everything is a joke to him?
- Air tight? Really? You didn't even poke holes in the top so Seamus could breath? Nice save. NOT.
- Diarrhea is a sign of distress. It doesn't have to be the stomach flu. Dogs, and even people, will develop gastrointestinal distress during times of high anxiety.
- Most dog breeds are all about pleasing their owners. Irish setters are farther along the "What can I do to make you happy?" scale than others. How do you know Seamus "enjoyed" it up there? How do you know he wasn't just doing what was expected...since this obviously wasn't the first time.
- Even granting Ronmey's assertion that Seamus liked riding on top of the car, did Romney really think a twelve-hour drive was the same as a jaunt to the park? I like riding roller coasters, but I think it would cease to be fun long before twelve hours had past.
- I like what the reporter who wrote the original story for the Boston Globe four years ago had to say (as quoted by Rachel). He thinks people are missing the boat. The story isn't that Romney put the dog on top of the car. The story is that even after irrefutable evidence that Seamus was in distress, Romney just hosed Seamus off and put him back on top of the car. Don't you think most people would probably have relented and let the dog cram in with the rest of the family?
Think about it people. What does this say about how Romney treats those he deems beneath him? And if you think Romney doesn't look down on everyone who isn't in his immediate family…you're not paying attention.
No, these are not the symptoms of some new medication to control cholesterol. These are the symptoms of prolonged exposure to Michelle Bachmann and her unapologetic idiocy. According to the news spot on the radio this morning she says she knows how to create jobs: cut corporate taxes, eliminate capital gains taxes and rollback EPA regulations. "...she says voters 'must make a bold choice if we are to secure the promise of the future'" (NPR). I have to ask, "Secure the promise of the future for who?"
This spot came right on the heels of another spot talking about the sluggish economy and how we've definitely hit a "soft spot." Can we please stop blaming gas prices? What is the problem with the economy? It depends on middle class spending and nothing anyone is doing right now is inspiring confidence in the middle class. In fact, everything that is happening now is doing exactly the opposite.
First of all, the rich and large corporations do not need more money. Period. They have plenty. Newspapers aren't dying because they're being smothered by taxes. Corporate taxes and taxes for the wealthy are at their lowest in U.S. history. So where are the goddamned jobs? Why hasn't that translated into higher wages? Because the whole premise of trickle down economics is a complete farce. American's know this. Forty plus years of lowering taxes hasn't helped them one bit. Republicans and their wealthy friends are no longer satisfied now with a slow transfer of wealth. Now it's an all out assault on the fortunes of the "little people." How do we pay for tax cuts to the rich (since our previous strategy of borrowing from China isn't working now)? By cutting services for everyone else. How do we solve the budget problems of the states? By hamstringing unions and making it easier to balance the budget by...wait for it...cutting salaries and benefits for the middle class and the working poor.
A friend of mine posted this propaganda piece to his Facebook page saying, "This video is an interesting look about what would happen if we taxed the rich and large corporations to help us pay for the $3.7 Trillion budget we are going to spend in 2011." First of all, no, it's not about taxation. For crying out loud, the video is titled "Eat the Rich!" Nothing like a little blood spatter to distract from the fact you're making a completely irrelevant point. No one has ever said the rich should bear sole responsibility for the deficit. But there's a flip side to this argument as well. The rich can't spend their way out of our economic mess either. They simply do not have the spending power. Ironic isn't it?
Let's face it folks, the current state of our economy is directly related to corporate greed. It's directly related to the very rich and narcissistic idiots like Bachmann for whom entitlement issues is just barest surface of personal failings that make them believe that $100 million will make them happy if $10 million hasn't. The banking industry didn't engage in risky and unethical practices in order to pay their taxes. And who has borne the brunt of consequences of this behavior? The middle class. Those who haven't lost their homes have seen their equity evaporate and are so far underwater their homes have no value. Pensions and retirement savings are gone. And we wonder why spending is stagnant and why Republican calls for decreasing taxes on corporations and the very wealthy all the while cutting benefits and services for everyone else aren't inspirational.
I must admit I have been extremely frustrated with the apparent lack of Democratic will and ability to take back the debate, to point out the blatant misinformation that is being perpetrated as fact, to do more to let the middle class know, "Hey. We've got your back." Sometimes, though, I wonder if this isn't a fairly accurate metaphor for what is going on on Capitol Hill.
Don't you dare give me any crap about "family first." That was nothing more than a narcissistic stunt designed to let everyone at the game know he is super duper important. If it were really family first, you'd adjust your schedule around your son's ballgame. If that's not an option, you do what every other parent does who can't get time off for a game/play/concert. You suck it up and you miss it.
His spokesman said there was "nothing inappropriate" about the Governor's use of the State helicopter. Only if the cost of that little stunt went onto his personal credit card. What are the odds of that, do you think? About nil? I wonder how much that ended up costing tax payers? Fiscal responsibility my ass.
Easily the most stressful part of my day. Twice daily I am angered and frustrated by the number of people who are driving with their head up their ass, or driving with their phone glued to their ear, which amounts to the same thing.
From a behaviorist perspective, people need immediate feedback that this behavior is unacceptable. George Carlin once proposed everyone have a gun that shoots those suction cup darts. Whenever someone drives ignorantly, you shoot them with a dart. Police would know that someone driving around with multiple darts on their car needs to be pulled over and ticketed for driving while stupid.
My fantasy is the ability to teleport them to the top of a large building or put them in a big tree. This would accomplish two things. First, it would immediately remove them from the milieu and allow the rest of us to get home without further hassle. Two: It would horribly inconvenience them and introduce immediate, severe financial penalties for not paying attention while on the road. The other part of the fantasy is they wouldn't be able to just teleport themselves down. They'd have to hire a crane to retrieve their vehicle. OK, three: I would feel a whole lot better.
You want to see the photos? Really?
People demanding that photos of the deceased bin Laden be released are up to one of two things.
Either—They are either questioning the integrity of the Obama administration. I must admit that was my first thought, mostly because after 10 years it seemed such an outrageous claim. It only took about two seconds of reflection to realize that would a pretty untennable lie to perpetrate. All it would take would be one video of Osama doing the jihadist version of "neener neener," and there wouldn't be enough Comet on the planet to get the egg off of Obama's face.
Or—It's some sort of obsession with the macabre; some way of personally gloating over the corpse of an enemy.
Either way, Obama is absolutely correct to not release the photos. He's absolutely correct that this is a somber time for reflection and not a time for gloating or celebration. I realize that's contrary to Christian principles of turning the other...oh, wait. It's time for his critics to STFU and get back to the economic mess we're in.
Captain Whackadoodle strikes again.
Yesterday on the radio Orrin Hatch was talking about some statistic that says around 50% of American's paid no taxes or even got a refund last year. I can only assume with a refund on the table, we're talking about whether or not you had to write a check on April 15th. Hatch was blithering on about more people needing to pull their weight. Was he talking about the wealthy? Of course not. Was he talking about the poor? Oh, no. Even Hatch is smart enough to know that talk of raising taxes on the poor is political suicide. He was talking about the middle class.
Let's just set aside for a moment any kind of demographic sanity check on the income levels of these supposed slackers and take a moment to give Hatch a lesson on how taxes work. Obviouly Hatch has never had any experience actually doing his own taxes and/or lives in a fantasy world that has no bearing on reality.
As a citizen of the United States, you have two options: either you are self-employed or you are W-2. People who are self-employed are required to make quarterly tax payments. The rest of us working sods have taxes automatically withdrawn from every paycheck. So no matter what, we are paying taxes. If we get a refund, it's a return on an overpayment of taxes. No one ever gets a check from the government if they haven't paid taxes in the first place. And no one gets interest on the money the government borrowed from us for that year either.
There's no charity here you idiot.
So the Republican won in MA. Sad. I'm really starting to lose faith in the people of this country. If I had a dime for every politician who decried "business as usual" on the campaign trail, I'd have a lot more money to my name than is currently the case. Why aren't the American people saying, "Yeah. Yeah. Heard that before. What else ya got?"
Everyone's talking about The Nebraska Health Care Deal. Business as usual, blah, blah, blah. Folks, that is the business of politics. It's never going to change. If you think congressmen are there to do what's "right," think again. They are there to broker influence and votes to get money for themselves and their campaign contributors.* The "good" politicians are actually working for their constituency, you know, like getting them a sweet deal on something that really matters to them. It is the favored tactic of the minority party—regardless of which one it is—to cry foul when "business as usual" doesn't work in their favor. Just wait until the shoe is on the other foot.
Mitt "I don't have anything meaningful to say" Romney is crowing about the repudiation of liberal arrogance. Who is he kidding? Anyone remember the Bridge To Nowhere? You going to tell me Coburn's little stunt and subsequent fall wasn't hubris? Get real. Eight years of Republican non-leadership got us into the mess we're in. One of the primary planks of the Republican party is "Leave big business alone to do whatever it feels like and let the market decide." Well the market has decided and is correcting itself. Everyone happy now?
From the day Obama took office Republicans have done nothing but whine "we need to keep doing what we've been doing." And apparently the American people are buying it. They are freaking out about spending money on health care, but have no problem shoveling cash into the money pit that is the Middle East. We have spent billions in the middle east since 9/11. We are no safer than we ever were. The Middle East is no more stable than it ever was. I don't know if being shredded by a car bomb is better than torture at the hands of a despot. You'd have to ask an Iraqi about that. Even if we somehow manage to off Bin Laden, do you really think Al-Qaeda will just shrivel up and die? Puhleeze. But we keep shoveling. Isn't that what's called a bad investment?
Business as usual indeed.
*I like Jay Leno's suggestion that congressmen should have to wear their sponsors on their suits just like Nascar drivers.
Saturday evening I got a phone call. It's from an 866 number so I let it go to voice mail. Well, it's AmEx saying they've made an important change to my account and I needed to call them back right away.
Curious, I log into my account to find that my available credit had gone from something over $10,000 to $15. Needless to say, I was pissed. It wasn't so much that they had cut my credit line (again), but they had cut it so low that the next month's interest charges (in the neighborhood of $30) would have pushed the account over the credit limit and ding! over limit fee! and ding! penalty interest rates!
So I called them to find out what the hell and demand they at least raise it $200 to cover coming interest charges and some charges I had made that day. (Did I mention the call came at 5:25pm?) They insisted my only recourse was to make a second payment this month to cover the coming charges. Never mind that I had already posted a payment for this month (a week early). Never mind that it was 10x more than the required minimum payment. Never mind that it was almost 2x more than charges I had actually made to the account this month.
To add insult to injury, they tried to blame me. "We have concerns about your ability to repay the balance." Bullshit. Since when have credit cards of any kind been about repaying the balance? As long as you make your monthly payments and don't go over your limit, they don't care. In fact, that's the f---ing business model! This is not about me. This is about them throwing a credit card at every Tom, Dick and Harry with a mailbox and following up with "convenience checks" to what? Encourage people to run up a balance. This is about them making bad investments and shitty business decisions and suddenly not having the assets to cover all the loans and generous credit limits they've been handing out for the last ten years.
I get it. They have their balls in a vice and they need to get their outstanding loans more in line with the current value of what assets they have left. I get that a credit line counts against their balance sheet, even if it's not currently in use. If they had cut a few grand off my limit like they did last year, or even if they had only left me with a few hundred dollars, I would have just rolled my eyes and gone on paying off the card. If they had been willing to listen to reason from a customer who has a long and excellent payment history, I would have been fine. If they had even taken the time to tell me the available balance stated on the web site included authorizations that had been made on the account, but which had not yet cleared (ie. the charges I had made that day) and a small payment of $20 would be sufficient to keep my account from going into penalty status, I might have been mollified. But no. Not only did they try and get me to pay off half the balance of the card (if I could afford to do that, don't you think I would??), they deliberately set up a situation that would have pushed my account into penalty status if I hadn't been paying attention, or hadn't received the phone call, or had been away from the Internet or for any other reason been unable to make an extra payment.
They also didn't choose me because of their "concerns about my ability to repay." They chose me because they knew they could probably squeeze me for some extra cash. If my credit rating was already in the toilet, I'd have nothing to lose by telling them to go to hell. If I didn't have an excellent payment history, they wouldn't have risked my not being able to make future payments. Essentially, they did this precisely because I'm a reliable customer.
Saw this today in a comment thread on Facebook:
...expanding real competition by allowing insurance companies to issue health policies across state lines, changing deductables[sic] and coverage to encourage people to only go to the doctor when they need to, and to pay more of their health costs themselves directly.
First: I'm no insurance industry expert, but I'm a bit confused by the first statement there. So Blue Cross/Blue Shield only operates in one state? Cigna? Humana? You're telling me the legal hoo ha that creates separate business entities per state prevents these three (and all the rest) from competing with each other on a national level? Really? I'm not sure how that's even relevant. My understanding is the industry is driven more my local markets than national ones.
Second: The only people who talk about consumers bearing more of their health care costs directly are the people with insurance coverage good enough that they pay for very little themselves. As someone who has one of these "consumer health plans" and who often wakes up in pain from a bum shoulder that needs some kind of medical assessment, but who can't do anything about it because he can't afford a $100 office visit—assuming the doctor doesn't order an x-ray or (god help me) an MRI, and we'll just try to not contemplate the possibility of surgery—I have two words for you. Bite me.
Third: The same people who think consumers should bear more of their health care costs are the same people who are freaking out because they think Obama is going to "take away their health care." So what they are really saying is "Someone needs to bear the costs of health care, just not me." Self serving bastards.
The amount of health insurance premiums I can deduct from my taxes because I am self-employed...
That won't happen again this year since my premiums have jumped by 50%. The rate of inflation for 2008 was higher than it's been in a long time. 5%. Are you seriously telling me that medical costs jumped at 10 times the rate of inflation? Or that going from 40 to 41 doubles my risk for health related expenses? Yeah, right.
Anyone else see W's address to the nation this morning? The longer this goes on the angrier I get. "$700 billion is a significant amount of money." Really? I had no idea! "We have a wide range of tools at our disposal and we are acting aggressively to stabilize our markets." How's that for a non-answer?
How stupid do you think we are? Why do you think the promise of $700 billion hasn't stopped the slide of the economy? (Indeed the Dow droped 107 points just in the time it took W to blow his sunshine.) It doesn't have anything to do with the fox guarding the chicken coop does it? The Bush administration is more on the side of business than the consumer. The government is handing out billions of dollars to the same bastards that squandered our money in the first place! A condition of getting a single dime of the bailout money should have been that board of directors be fired and replaced. Why are we rewarding them for malfeasance?
Does anybody really believe the taxpayers are going to get that money back? Hell no. Am I going to see any return on my investment? Are we going to see any dividend payments? Tax rebates? No. Is the market going to rebound as fast as it tanked? Of course not. All it's going to do is allow CEO's to keep their mahogany desks in offices that are larger than most people's apartments. It's going to let them keep having "retreats" at high priced hotels and conduct their business on a golf course. It's entitlement and narcissism gone awry and all our precious government is doing is feeding it.
"We'll get through this together." Who's he kidding? Is his home in jeopardy? Is his retirement in jeopardy? Any of his ranches in Texas going on the market to shore up his loses? Idiot. How insulting.
You can talk about shoring up credit markets all you want. Based on the continued slide of the Dow and other market indicators, no one is buying it. Not even the people who supposedly understand it.
700 billion dollars? No questions asked?? Good lord, if this happens, it will probably be the greatest abuse of power since the days of the robber barons. And people still don't think Bush is consolidating power in the executive Branch? Un@#$@()real.
And if one single penny goes to corporate executives, there needs to be a rebellion. They have millions in personal wealth, unlike all their employees who will join the ranks of the unemployed. Shouldn't there be some penalty for failure? You run a company of long standing reputation into the ground and expect to walk away with a bonus? Congress has been talking about limiting executive pay. Limit their pay? Hell, dock their pay! They can work for free until the economy is back on its feet.
"But the middle class needs credit!" What kind of a stupid ass statement is that? The middle class needs to be in debt to corporate America? No they don't. They need to live within their means and they need energy, gas and food prices to come down to make that at least theoretically possible. Why don't you just take the $700 billion and divvy it out? That's roughly $2300 for every man, woman and child in the U.S (roughly 303 million by latest estimates). I know this household wouldn't mind an extra $4600.
HT: Greg Prince