Friday, September 30, 2011

Rant of the Day

A passionate Dish reader on the Occupy Wall Street demonstration:
When you can't answer what you're for and against and you want everyone else to fill in the blanks and you do nothing to keep your message from getting muddled by the very people you're opposing and it happens every time, then maybe you should get out of the protesting game altogether. Oh, and by the way, presentation matters. Nader's Raiders knew that. They knew you had to get your haircut, wear nice pants and a nice shirt. You needed to look sharp and respectable and unquestionable on issues of adult-hood. Guess what, wearing a camo-wife beater doesn't make you an individual. It makes you someone who won't make basic changes for a cause.

It's simple: dress better. Stop with cardboard signs. Have a specific message. Have goals both attainable and not. Refuse to move. Participate in active, targeted civil disobedience. Censor those from outside of the movement who are seeking to confuse it. I know you're uncomfortable with all of that, but I'm uncomfortable with having our dear corporate masters be able to point to white college kids with dread-locks, and sleeveless shirts as evidence of these 'godd*mn hippies.' We need to be unimpeachable in terms of character and approach. And we're not. We're just waiting to be co-opted by men like Cornel West who just want to be part of a moment.

But this isn't about moments. If you want something done, you can get something done. But you have to be willing to do that. You have to be willing to drop philosophy. You have to be willing to shave and cut your hair and wear a shirt and pants and shoes. If you want this to work, then a Midwestern mom has to look on her television and see young kids, nice kids and adults that aren't all too different from them in terms of attire or temper with a clear message. Every interview they give should be about a kid whose mom and dad lost their house to a bank foreclosure that was put forward illegally on a house that had a loan on it that was evaluated at sub-prime rates even though they qualified for something better. Every interview should be the saddest, most direct story and it should reinforce that these are people with families and a stake.

You know who else got the message on "presentation matters"?  Martin Luther King, Jr. and the black civil rights movement.  Few things can turn me off more than an unfocused rant about EVERYTHING that's wrong with leveled by someone whose appearance undercuts every articulate thing he/she might say.  I'm all for a demonstration by well-meaning American citizens who want to change the way things are done, but no one who would otherwise agree with you is going to give you a moment's attention when you remind him of all the stoners he knew in high school and college.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Christie: The Republican Obama?

Well, he sort of sounds like him, don't he?  Check out this tidbit from a video of his speech Tuesday night at the Reagan Library:
The United States must also become more discriminating in what we try to accomplish abroad. We certainly cannot force others to adopt our principles through coercion. Local realities count; we cannot have forced makeovers of other societies in our image. We need to limit ourselves overseas to what is in our national interest so that we can rebuild the foundations of American power here at home - foundations that need to be rebuilt in part so that we can sustain a leadership role in the world for decades to come.

There's no way any Republican would have clapped his hands at hearing Obama utter these remarks, yet they're positively gushing over Christie's having said it.

They Got Plenty o'Nuthin'

A Facebook friend posted a link of a chart which showed exactly how much, percentage-wise, each of the last five presidents increased the national debt.  Of the three GOP presidents, GHW Bush was the best performer, adding only 55% to the national debt.  Reagan was the worst performer, who in eight years raised the debt ceiling 18 times and added 189% to the national debt.  Clinton added only 37% to the debt over eight years, aided by the largest peacetime expansion in US history.  Barack Obama's contribution to the debt has been only 16% in his three years.

To be fair, when Obama took office and inherited the Bush43 mess, the debt was $11.9 trillion, and after the Aug. 1 bipartisan debt ceiling agreement, the debt is now raised to $16.4.  However, thanks to bipartisan compromise, this is one of the only debt ceiling increases that was accompanied by an even bigger cut in spending.  That's an increase of 38% and it's quite a bit of dough.  But, in Reagan's first three years, the debt went from $1.9 trillion to to $2.7 trillion, an increase of 42%.  During Reagan's first three years, there was also a steep 14-month recession which saw 10.8% unemployment and a nearly 3% decline in GDP.  And what did the daddy of all supply-siders do to prop up the economy?  Why, spend and spend and spend (and raise taxes), which is what the government is supposed to do when the free markets don't perform the way they're supposed to, when people are out of work, and when interest rates are high.

So, in the comment thread to my friend's post, a couple of people (friends and former friends) made some pretty telling comments.  The first, a former Los Angeles-based waiter (read: aspiring actor/writer) named Jason who now lives in "Whitebread," Idaho (read: failed actor/writer) tried to point out that Obama's contribution has been 35% (this is actually low, see above) and he'd only had three years to do that (see above again), and how facts just will bear out how awful Obama has been.  Another, an HVAC contractor named Rod who lives in Los Angeles, wrote, "I am sure we will cure this subversive leadership plot in November 2012."

Uh, yeah right.

Let's look at that field again, shall we?
  • Rick Perry -- TX governor.  Three miserable debate performances after his much vaunted candidacy announcement, the shit-kicker has dropped in the polls, losing a lot of ground to Mitt Romney.  He has never polled higher than the president, and if the trend continues, will lose the nomination to Romney.
  • Mitt Romney -- former MA governor.  He of the perfect hair and smile polls well against the president, but has so far not been able to overcome a general feeling of meh when it comes to his electability.  He certainly will have trouble convincing the Christianist base that he shares their values, and if elected, will have major difficulty trying to walk a razor's edge between appealing to the base and actually governing.  Plus, all that tripe about Obama's apologizing to the world for America is just utter bullshit, ain't it?  Finally, his Mormon background really rubs the bible-thumpers the wrong way.
  • Cain -- Angry pizza executive (and morning wine drinker). The winner of the Florida Straw Poll is a certifiable loony-tune.  He has virtually no support from the GOP establishment, who are putting their energies into Perry and Romney.  Should either of those two fail between now and the convention to ignite the GOP base, perhaps you'll see Cain taken more seriously.
  • Huntsman -- former UT governor, former Obama ambassador to China.  Another Mormon (although one quite a bit less orthodox), Huntsman has the attention of many small-c conservative pundits and establishment types.  The problem is, his ties to Obama (which he may have effectively disavowed by now), his faith, and his inability thus far to appeal to anyone except the sensible types who are a weak minority in his party, make him unelectable at this point.  Look for him to be a dark horse should the Mitt/Rick juggernaut run aground.
  • The rest -- please, spare me.
As of today, the Christie boomlet has fizzled out -- he will not be a candidate (Update: apparently the press is having a field day with a speech he gave where he compared himself to Obama).  Sarah Palin, the Democrats' wet dream of a Republican candidate, will be too busy trying to figure out a way to sue Joe McGinniss and "refudiate" the assertions in McGinniss's book that she is a floozy and adulteress with a taste for non-Alaska types (read: black basketball players).  Unfortunately, if she does sue, McGinniss's lawyers have every right to require Palin to submit to blood tests to prove she is Trig's mother, to call her doctors to the witness stand to testify as to her bizarre pregnancy story, and to have her husband and older children testify as to the goings-on in the Palin household.  Yeah, like that's ever gonna happen.

The press and the right wing propaganda machine are fucking desperate.  Even Perry's fundraisers are in a near panic.  They have no one with both the broad-based appeal and intellectual rigor of the president, no one who is going to convince people to cross party lines and vote for him/her.  This is what happens when a political party becomes a religious organization, when one of their major candidates pretty much launches his bid at a prayer rally, and when another has trouble with voters because he is the wrong religion.  The GOP wants this election to be a referendum on their brand of conservatism, but we already experienced a less-egregious version of it from 2001 to 2009, and we fucking didn't like that either! 

We may have had too much time spent on healthcare reform and Afghanistan, and we may have gotten too cozy with the same Wall Street banks that created this mess in the first place, and we may have too little time spent on trying to stimulate job creation, but if McCain had won -- and if a Republican wins in 2012 -- what we will get is more global recession, more collapsed economy, more corporate welfare, more deregulation of business, more economic hardship for the middle class, more war, more torture, more religious and ethnic intolerance, more government secrecy, less for public schools, less for college students, less for small business, less government transparency, and less for the arts.  We will see the international goodwill Obama created after GW Bush completely undone.  We will see US policy actually follow Israeli policy in the middle east instead of the other way around.  And we will see greater restrictions on our freedom and access to information.

Folks on the left, like Cornell West, have floated suggestions of a primary challenger for Obama, but if they don't fall in line and get with the program, their worst nightmares will come true.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Good News on the GOP Front -- Another Loser in 2012

Sullivan compiles some punditry on the current GOP horse race and the consensus is that Perry's got it very difficult at this point if he continues to show up like the blow-up doll he is, and that Romney will be the default go-to guy even though he has a very poor track record of winning elections.

Perry is so bad that even his undefeated electoral streak isn't going to overshadow his shortcomings.  Hell, let's be honest.  His election victories have all come in TEXAS -- not exactly a difficult place for a Christianist, white-bread, aw-shucks-ma'am cowboy to notch some wins.

Let's look at the rest of the current field:
Cain: Bat-shit crazy, electable
Gingrich: Angry, bull in a china shop, smart yet arrogant, unelectable
Huntsman: smart yet unknown, great ideas but no connection to the base, unelectable
Bachmann: Bat-shit crazy, unelectable
Santorum: Oblivious to how unelectable he is
The <1% rest -- seriously?

Now, how about the ones we think might still want to run?
Palin: So bat-shit crazy not even the Republicans want her to run
Christie: The one.  He steps in and the establishment on both sides re-calculates.

The Democrats can only hope it's Palin or Perry.  Romney polls well against Obama (and the base will vote for him given no other choice), and Christie's so plain spoken and fair-minded he'd give Obama a real run for his money.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Cauldron of Crazy

I did not watch the last GOP candidate debate that took place last week in Florida, but read recaps and the transcript in part.  My impression was that Romney had solidified himself as the most electable Republican in the field, that Huntsman had made progress, and that Perry had done so poorly that his standing as the GOP frontrunner (and the presumptive nominee) had faded badly.  I also came away thinking that Gingrich, Paul, Santorum, Cain, and Bachmann had failed utterly to vault themselves out of second-tier territory.  But I was wrong, at least about Herman Cain.

The former Godfather's Pizza executive easily won a straw poll in Orlando Saturday, capturing 37% of the roughly 2,600 votes.  Perry came in a distant second with 15%, while Romney came in third at 14%.  Bachmann, who won the Ames, Iowa straw poll just a few weeks ago, could barely make it above 1%.

That Republican voters in Florida have chosen Herman Cain, who benefited greatly from Perry's poor debate performance by being the backup choice, speaks volumes about the cauldron of crazy that the party has become.  This bunch of wing-nuts have no idea how to articulate a message to the nation about how they want to lead.  Other than canned platitudes about tax cuts for "job creators" (which were proven ineffective, thanks to George W Bush) and a bunch of scary warnings about social issues, the best they can come up with is to boo a gay soldier, cheer about 234 Texas executions, and proclaim that a 30-year-old uninsured man should be left to die if he's too stupid to buy health insurance.  And if you think the talk of Obama being a socialist, a Marxist, a fascist, a Nazi, a Jew hater, or just an uppity black man has largely disappeared, just you wait.  We haven't even seen Sarah Palin enter the race (and she will, just before Iowa).

This is going to be the ugliest campaign of my adult life.

Friday, September 23, 2011

"Jesus Loves Nukes" Yanked from Air Force Training Curriculum

Truthout writer Jason Leopold reports on a top Air Force commander who released a memo this past Tuesday with guidelines that call for "leaders at all levels" to maintain the church/state separation guaranteed in the Constitution.

It's been well known for years that command in the Air Force, and much of the military, has been infiltrated by Christian Fundamentalists, who frequently use biblical passages and religious imagery to further their religious dogma on their subordinates. 

It's a great thing that this is coming out, better late than never!  I do not want the soldiers in our military believing that there's a crusade against Islam and that we have biblical basis for doing what we're doing.

Related story: the FBI was exposed for one of its instructor's having delivered a lecture where he declared the only way to stop terrorism was to "attack Islam."  While I wouldn't say this story is directly about the influence of Christianity on yet another arm of the federal government, sure wouldn't surprise me if there were some strong tie between FBI leadership and influential Christian groups and individuals.

The Deafening Sound of ... What?

Park 51 Islamic Community Center, dubbed the Ground Zero Mosque by Islamophobes and right wing politicians alike, opened Wednesday to absolutely no protest at all.

Will the real Pamela Geller please, once and for all, eat shit?

So Six Weeks Ago...

Pete Wehner over at Commentary  exposes the fickleness of the right wing punditocracy.  Money quote:
I hope Governor Rick Perry enjoyed his six week run as the front runner of the GOP field, because it’s now over.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Quote for the Day... Yesterday

I meant to get this one out yesterday, but got delayed... this is one of the best in recent memory.
I hear all this, you know, 'Well, this is class warfare, this is whatever.'  No. There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own -- nobody.... You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear: you moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for; you hired workers the rest of us paid to educate; you were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did.

Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea? God bless. Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.

Elizabeth Warren, former White House financial advisor and Democratic Senatorial Candidate from Massachusetts.
Not to be outdone, the head asshole director of communications for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Brian Walsh, stuck out his tongue and blew a raspberry in Warren's general direction.  Just kidding, but his verbal retort was pretty damn close:
Given the Boston Herald’s recent revelation that Professor Warren was paid almost $200,000 by a major insurance company to help in their legal battle against asbestos victims – on top of her $350,000 salary at Harvard – it sounds like she’s speaking from experience when she says ‘there is nobody in this country who got rich on his own.’

Here's video of Warren at her appearance in Andover, MA as part of her senate campaign.
If more politicians spoke like that, perhaps we'd finally have some integrity return to DC.

"I Am Innocent"

Such were the last words of Troy Davis, executed today in Georgia for a crime there is every reason to believe he did not commit.  Will Wilkinson over at bigthink so eloquently laments the moral travesty of capital punishment:
We punish to deter. We punish to acknowledge the harm brought to the victim, to their loved ones, to their community. We punish to shame and to publicly dishonor the criminal. But the way we do it should embody ideals of humanity, magnanimity, and improvement. Punishment thus should be as light as is consistent with the requirements of security and harmonious society. We must learn, against the grain of our vengeful retributive instincts, to find satisfaction in justice that leaves the thief with his hands, the murderer with his life. ... The folks at the GOP debate in Tampa who cheered for Texas' record of execution under Rick Perry showed just how indecently uncivilized America remains. But sooner or later enlightenment will dawn and we'll stop perversely killing in the name of justice.

As optimistic as I can be at times, I do not share Wilkinson's hope that enlightenment will dawn in America.  We are a bloodthirsty, vengeful people, deeply steeped in the traditions of the Old Testament ("eye for an eye"), and hungry for an over response whenever we are wronged.  You flip someone off on the freeway, you might get shot at.  You smoke a joint, you serve years in prison.  You tweet a picture of your dick to some random woman, you lose your congressional career.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fred Phelps is a Mainstream Conservative

You might recognize the name Fred Phelps as the leader of the Westboro Baptist Church, the small, but virulently anti-gay congregation in Kansas which shows up at military funerals with vile placards reading "God Hates Fags" and "Thank God for AIDS."  It's very easy for anyone, progressive or conservative, to point to him and his followers as an example of "fringe" thinking on the right.

But one read of this post from John Guardino, lamenting the right-wing's failure to defend Don't Ask Don't Tell, which ended for good on Tuesday, and you can see that Phelps' church expresses what most Christianist conservatives wish they had the courage to express.  Money quote:
I am not optimistic that conservatives and traditionalists can prevail against the awesome political and cultural power of the gay lobby. Our political challenge lies in distinguishing between tolerance and acceptance on the one hand, and affirmation and approval on the other hand.  In our rights-based political culture, that's not an easy distinction to make.  And it's especially difficult to make that distinction when you are afraid to explain why anyone has legitimate reason -- rooted in morality, aesthetics, and public health -- not to put homosexuality on a legal and social par with heterosexuality. Yet, that is something which conservatives seem unwilling or unable to do. Consequently, they (we) are losing big time politically.

My emphasis.  It's that section which gives the whole movement away.  Christianist conservatives truly believe that gay men and women do not deserve legal and/or social equality anywhere on the planet.  Witness the efforts of some American Christianist individuals and organizations who are quietly working with the powers that be in Uganda to make homosexuality a crime punishable by death.

I'm not pretending to be surprised.  I'm just pointing out that, in this upcoming election, the choices are going to be extremely clear.  You can vote for an incumbent who actually undid 18 years of institutionalized discrimination, carefully and pragmatically and with the help of the US military's senior leadership; or you can vote for a candidate who wants to reinstitute that discrimination, tear apart families, stigmatize, criminalize, and deny all equality to a large segment of our population.  Yes, I know: it's the economy, it's jobs, it's debt, it's spending, it's taxes.  But ask yourself: are you willing to ignore the largest civil rights issue of our era over money?  If you don't have a problem with gay marriage or gays adopting children, or gays openly serving in the military, then why would you vote for a candidate who would, if he had the courage, step up to a microphone and tell the world that gays are a vile, evil, and immoral threat to the public health of this country?  Are taxes more important than the rights of your fellow human beings?  If you truly would rather save on your taxes than defend the humanity of your fellow citizens, have the decency to step up and say so, the way Fred Phelps does.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Real Christianity Watch

Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite blogs on WaPo about right wing attempts to label Obama's plan to raise $1.5 trillion in new revenue by raising taxes on millionaires and letting the Bush tax cuts expire "class warfare."  Money quote #1:
Let me be clear as I can be.  We need to understand the so-called "Christian" underpinnings of the anti-tax, anti-government, anti-the-poor, "let him die" approach to economics and public policy today as completely un-Christian, as well as un-American.  What we need to do is re-establish our national values of fairness, equality and opportunity for all, value that I believe are actually the core of the Christian faith, (as well as of other religious traditions and of humanist values).

Money quote #2:
Capitalism isn't "God's Plan," it's an economic system that runs on the human desire for more, our own self-interest.  This is not necessarily evil.  It can actually be a very productive system, but it is not beneficent.  In order for there to be good value in our economic life, capitalism needs to be regulated so it does not wreck the whole ship with unfettered greed (as happened in the banking industry starting in 2008), and it needs to be supplemented with social safety nets and tax policy to achieve an approximate (not absolute) "freedom from want" as in Franklin Roosevelt's wonderful phrase. 
Let's just dispense with the notion that those who call themselves Christians and who support Republican economic policy are really Christians.  They are charlatans, hucksters, and manipulators of public opinion serving their own self-interests.

Picture of the Day

Courtesy of MoveOn.

Hat tip: Sullivan.

Ignoring Poverty Makes it Go Away

So suggests Jonah Goldberg:
Charles Murray, my colleague at the American Enterprise Institute, notes that the most remarkable drop in the poverty rate didn't come after President Lyndon B. Johnson declared war on poverty but when President Eisenhower ignored it. Over a mere 12 years, from 1949 to 1961, the poverty rate was cut in half.
Well, I tried to do a little fact-checking by going to Charles Murray's blog where he actually makes this claim.  He cites the US Census Bureau, but I couldn't find the data online to corroborate his claim.  But let's say it's true, that poverty rates dropped from 41 percent to 21 percent during that time.  What was going on in the nation during this time?  GDP increased an average of 3.67% from the start of Truman's second term to the start of Kennedy's term.  That would explain things somewhat.  Decent GDP growth means more money flowing through the system, probably more people working.  Unemployment rates dropped during Truman's second term to 2.9% from 4.3%, but during Eisenhower's two terms, unemployment actually rose all the way to 6.6%!  That's an unemployment increase of 128%. (Incidentally, the rate during Obama's first three years, on the tail end of the worst recession in US history, rose from 7.8% to 9.1%, an increase of 17%.).  On top of this, there were three recessions during the Eisenhower administration, lasting a total 28 months, during which unemployment rose to over 7.5%.  So, while Eisenhower ignored the poor, as Murray states, more people were out of work.  Think about how the economy might have fared had steps been taken to put the unemployed to work or to support the poor by helping them have more money to spend.

So then I took a look at the Johnson administration, from December 1963 to January 1969.  During this time, the poverty rate started at about 17% and ended at about 12.5%.  Not a 50% reduction, as during the Einsenhower administration, but still respectable. Let's look at some underlying data here.  The growth rate of GDP averaged over 5.1% during that time, which is phenomenal.  There were no recessions, and unemployment dropped from 5.5% to 3.4%.  So, in a stronger economy, did Johnson make all that much of a difference spending billions on fighting poverty, if during the 1950s povery levels fell dramatically during worse economic times?  The answer might be in the rate of inflation during these respective times.  During the 12 years Murray cites, inflation rose at an average of 2% per year.  During the Kennedy years leading up to Johnson, inflation rose only During the five years of the Johnson administration, it rose 3% per year, an increase of 50%.  I'm not an economist but it seems to me that a higher rate of inflation means prices rising faster.  That would make it more difficult for people to keep up with rising prices, which would have an effect on poverty.

Bottom line, however, I kinda disagree that Eisenhower ignored the poor.  It was Einsenhower who continued all major New Deal programs, especially Social Security.  It was Eisenhower who rolled Social Security into a newly-created cabinet level agency, the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, while extending benefits to 10 million more workers.  It's that last part that suggests to me that the plight of America's poor was not absent from his mind.


Sullivan blasts Walter Russell Mead for suggesting that American Evangelicals (what Andrew and I call Christianists) will not ever be the religious group to create a theocracy in this country:
Has he been conscious since Roe vs Wade? The point here, it seems to me, is that Focus on the Family is no longer necessary. Its positions - once radical - are now litmus tests for every GOP candidate save one. It controls the party on social issues so completely the likeliest nominee began his campaign at a prayer rally. The winner of the Iowa straw poll is not just anti-gay, but actually has a business "curing" them. Criminalizing all abortion is now not even up for debate within the GOP, and blind, faith-based support for Greater Israel in a global war against Islam is also de rigueur. Mead can dream on ... but you don't need a religious right when the GOP has itself become synonymous with it.
My emphasis.  Any non-evangelical person who identifies as a Republican is employing wishful thinking that his/her party is not rooted in Christianist, Dominionist dogma, or is holding his/her nose while drinking their Kool-Aid.

Monday, September 19, 2011

"Smart" Republicans

Of course, by putting smart in quotes I am just joking.

Matt Lewis over at Daily Caller comments on Jennifer Rubin's WaPo piece calling for Republicans to be "smart."  He warns that appearing too smart on the right hasn't worked electorally for quite a while.

But it is true that Republicans ought to try being smart for a change.  For one thing:
Americans are becoming more sophisticated. ... As much as we decry the state of America’s modern educational system, our society is becoming more urbane and highly educated (we are also more skeptical — and less likely to fall for trite bromides). Additionally, technology has made it possible for voters to learn about the issues and “fact check” politicians in a manner that was unthinkable a generation ago. At some point, being anti-intellectual becomes a liability. At some point, this becomes a mathematical and demographic issue.
He concludes that being smart will be the only way for Republicans to enact the kinds of changes they want.

I agree.  While philosophically I disagree with nearly everything uttered by a Republican since 1984, I do concede that it helps that the person on the other side truly wants to win the argument and not hold onto populist positions for fear of losing the vote.  The more heels are dug in, the less things get done.  In DC things got done even with Boston liberals like Tip O'Neill running the House and Ronald Reagan occupying the White House.  The ascension of anti-intellectuals like GW Bush made it very popular for Republican politicians around the country to adopt a sort of "aw shucks" likeability while leaving the hard work to be done by the brain trusts behind the scenes.  Problem is, when a hick like Rick Perry says that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme and then tries to undo the wildly popular program in order to comport his idiotic rhetoric to a done deed, the backroom intellectuals end up being and acting stupid too.  So for Lewis to assert that Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio "embody the cosmopolitan conservative vision," he's forgetting that they're advocating politically untenable and pragmatically unworkable solutions.  The failure to compromise with half the country's voters and their representatives isn't intellectually honest; it's just hypocritical class warfare.  In this case, it's the dumbshits vs. those who don't eat at Cracker Barrel or watch Faux News.  But I jest (a little). 

So I say let the GOP keep trotting out these idiots who make Obama look like a grown up.  It might work for a while to drum up their voters, but sooner or later, those on the fence are going to pick the guy with brains instead of the guy who can drink him under the table (or perhaps pray better).

"Fire the First Shot"

Andrew Breitbart admits that when he's feeling stressed and not thinking clearly, he thinks it would be just fine if the right-wing in this country just opens fire on the liberals.  "We outnumber them in this country, and we have the guns....I'm not kidding."

His disclaimer that he only thinks this shit up when he's not thinking clearly is bullshit.  Watch the video.   He's not just expressing frustration at all the crap he has to put up with from the left.  He loves the idea of knowing that the military would back him up.  As if the military would defy the commander-in-chief (well, Andrew would probably wait to do anything until a Republican were in the White House, so that he could be the bully).

I'm posting the video that someone put up on YouTube because his dark side needs to be revealed.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

New York Daily News sports columnist Flip Bondy just tears Sarah Palin a new one over revelations in the upcoming Joe McGinniss book The Rogue.  Here's his money quote (and I LOVE IT!):
The next time Sarah Palin complains about her treatment by any media member, that reporter might want to inform her that at least he or she is not literally sleeping with sources. Because according to a new book, Palin violated the most basic of journalistic tenets, bedding college basketball star Glen Rice in 1987 when she was a young TV sports reporter for KTUU in Anchorage....
This is the stuff that drives legitimate women reporters nuts, makes members of AWSM (Association for Women in Sports Media) furious because it tears at credibility and plays to false stereotypes. Palin had learned her ethics the previous fall and spring as a journalism major at the University of Idaho - her fifth college in six years ...


Not sure if any of this would translate into a falling out between Palin and her Tea Party idolators, but I'm sure there will be a fair amount of tongue-clicking at the thought of that nice, white Christian girl shtupping a black dude with a legendary jump shot.
Take it away, Steve Miller...

Jungle love, it's drivin' me mad
It's makin' me crazy...

Yup, Nailed It!

Andrew Sprung, a fellow blogspot blogger, just eviscerates Rick Perry's latest interview with Time magazine.  His delicious conclusion:
Perry's rules of rhetorical engagement boil down to 1) constantly impugn your opponents' motives by insinuation; 2) shamelessly misrepresent their policies; 3) tag existing federal programs and functions with inflammatory and manifestly inaccurate labels; 4) eschew presenting any specific reform programs for "broken" programs; and 5) when you do offer policy prescriptions, ignore any likely obstacles to their success.
A democracy that allows such a candidate to get anywhere near consideration for its highest office is in danger of not remaining a democracy for long.
As if we'd never thought that about GW Bush.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Irony of the Day

Courtesy of Salon's Steve Kornacki, you see how Rick Perry's greatest weaknesses with likely GOP primary voters would be among his biggest strengths in the general election.
[I]mmigration and the HPV vaccine are probably two of Perry's best selling points as a prospective general election candidate. In the fall of 2012, he wouldn't need to apologize to swing voters (as he did to Republican primary voters Monday night) for trying to reduce the incidence of cervical cancer, or for believing that every child who graduates from high school ought to have a fair chance at going to college. These positions would help him combat Democratic efforts to paint him as an extremist ideologue. But within the Republican Party, he's vulnerable on them.
Ha!  Do you hear what I say? Ha Ha HA!

Pro-Life and Pro-Death? Easy!

Tom Flynn at WaPo blogs about how some Christians can be against abortion but for the death penalty at the same time.  For me, this is the money quote:
How can so many Christian conservatives prioritize abortion above social causes that seem, objectively, far more urgent? Abortion is unique in that it cheats the fetal soul of its one shot to earn salvation, making it quite literally the fate worse than death.
I've long held the position that abortion doesn't cheat the unborn fetus of salvation, but that it cheats the church of a shot to bring that soul to the church.

Not that I don't understand the idea that life begins at conception.  I recognize the work of something infinitely intelligent, divine even, in orchestrating the many trillions of successful biological and chemical events that have to take place between conception and birth.  I can even agree to some extent that God enters that zygote at conception.  But where I fall on the side of choice is that the so-called rights of the unborn do not trump the rights and choices of the born -- that is, the mother -- in order to have its "one shot to earn salvation."  I do not subscribe to the notion that the mother's life becomes forfeit, should such a moment present itself, in order to preserve the life of the unborn.  I also do not subscribe to the notion that a mother, who has the ultimate responsibility of hosting those trillions of chemical and biological events inside her body for nine months, cannot make the choice not to have those events happen in her body under any circumstances.  The reason why Roe vs. Wade has not been overturned in nearly 40 years is not because social conservatives lack the right mix of justices on the Supreme Court.  It's because there is no constitutional or moral justification for a country to legislate what is a very private matter for a woman.

I knocked up my then-girlfriend in 1987 and she immediately aborted the pregnancy.  There was no discussion, there was no accompanying her to the clinic where, in her mind, I might have tried to talk her out of it.  In her mind, I simply had no say in the matter.  And I was fine with that.  I was not emotionally mature enough to be a father, and she had absolutely no desire to have children (ever, as it turned out, which led to our divorce 10 years later).  That child would have been 23 years old today, and I think about that sometimes.  But I would never want my government telling her or me that that pregnancy could not be terminated.  The government has no compelling interest in that microscopic collection of cells, even if "God ensouls" it at the moment of conception.

Now, to hold the view that all life is precious must include the view that even the lives of the post-born who have committed terrible crimes are precious.  To be selective about which lives are precious and which lives can be forfeit is to play God.  Seems logical then, that Christian conservatives can want to save babies but kill killers.  But it is a flawed theology that has less to do with God's eternal grace than it does with the need of a church for power.

Uh, Yeah Right Moment of the Day

Rick Perry carrying the Latino vote?  Hah!

When the GOP is dominated -- dominated -- by the Tea Party ideology, when questions get asked about how to get rid of the illegals in this country, Perry the nominee would have to tread a very fine line indeed.  Anything he says to pacify the Tea Party will be seen as just that: pacification.  As such, it would just piss them off, not get them to settle down.  They're purist, racist nutjobs, remember?  An any attempt to pacify the Tea Party would be see by Latinos as insincerity on Perry's part that he actually cares about them.  He may have, as governor of Texas, coddled Latino immigrants by providing in-state tuition, but a "few practiced lines" about how he has helped Latinos in a state whose people couldn't give a shit about them will fall on deaf ears.

Better to concede the middle to Obama, because he's already won it.  Perry has no choice but to run on his conservative bonafides and hope that there are enough disaffected moderates who will hold their noses and vote for him.  When the GOP's rhetoric since November 2008 has been that they lost because they weren't conservative enough, when their actions over the past three years have been to obstruct a pragmatist, centrist, conservative president at every conceivable turn, that NOW they'd suddenly go all commie-compassionate-moderate on their followers?

Obama Hates Israel So Much...

... that he arranged for Egyptian commandos to enter the Israeli embassy in Cairo last Friday night, at the request of Benjamin Netanyahu, to rescue six trapped embassy workers who were the last remaining people at the embassy, which was under seige by Egyptians.  Former Mossad Director Efraim Halevy, speaking at the Israeli Policy Forum's Symposium entitled, "Security and the New Middle East," lauded Obama's actions:
I think that this decision by President Obama was a unique decision in many ways. Because I don’t have to tell you, and this was just said time and time and over again this afternoon/this evening, that the United States is not in a position the way it was many years ago in the Middle East, it has its problems, it has its considerations, and rightly so. But I believe the leadership that the President of the United States showed on that night was a leadership of historic dimensions. It was he who took the ultimate decision that night which prevented what could have been a sad outcome—instead of six men coming home, the arrival in Israel of six body bags.

Emphasis from the original piece.

What an anti-Semite Obama is.  He could have stayed out of this mess, let the six Israelis be killed by the Egyptian mob, and let Netanyahu take unilateral action against Egypt (starting with the suspension of diplomatic ties) and perhaps Palestinians (Israel's ever-present punching bag).  This would have resulted in further Israeli isolation, and perhaps a declaration of Palestinian statehood in the UN, which the US would have vetoed but suffered serious diplomatic setbacks.  But instead, he was able to persuade the leadership in Egypt to send their best troops onto Israeli territory to rescue Israelis from certain death.  An act like this could actually lead to an expression of gratitude from Netanyahu towards Egypt for putting their soldiers in harm's way to protect Jews, and could improve American relations with Arabs and Muslims, not to mention the Jewish state, whose relationship with Obama has been characterized by some serious nose-thumbing and arrogance.  What a hater!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


If the Republican debates have shown anything, they have revealed just how low and hateful and disgusting a level the Tea Party has dragged the party.

This bit in last night's debate, where CNN's Wolf Blitzer is asking Ron Paul about what, if anything, to do for a healthy 30-year old man who, having opted not to buy health insurance, suddenly has a life-dependent need for health care?  Paul's answer -- that freedom is all about personal responsibility -- intimated that the man would be on his own and would have to live with the consequences of his decision not to have health insurance, and that the government ought not to step in to pay for his care.  The Tea Party audience cheered him on, but that was just the beginning.  When Blitzer asked Paul if we should just let him die, you will hear people in the crowd shouting, "Yes!" 

I think it's a perfectly valid argument to have about whether there should be laws protecting individuals who are sick and unable to afford health care.  If Republicans like Paul (and his son), Bachmann, and Paul Ryan want to leave the decision with each individual on whether or not to buy health insurance or deal with the cost of it on his own, then let's see Republicans go all the way with it.  Propose a repeal of the emergency room care law on top of the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.  Repeal Medicare and Medicaid altogether.  Send everything related to health care back to the wallets of the consumer, and let the market and competition take care of the pricing and access.  Sure, there are going to be some people who will just not be able to afford being in the system.  If some people who can't afford cancer-detecting MRIs, or HIV medication, or kidney dialysis, or life-saving surgeries, have to die to ensure that we have a free market, so be it.  Maybe, just maybe, that's one way to keep illegal immigrants from infiltrating our borders, eh?  America is the land of the free, the land of opportunity, not the world's biggest welfare state.

Exactly how many elderly seniors who belong to the Tea Party, and who currently receive Medicare, really want government to give their health care insurance to the private sector?  Yeah, I thought so (go ahead and click on this one!).

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Neocon Orgasm

Stephen Green's ultimate war porn scenario.  I imagine he had to wipe off his keyboard after rubbing this one out:
Imagine instead that Bush had actually waged the war in accordance with his own (correct) formulation of the Axis of Evil. The major sponsors of state terror were North Korea (chiefly as an arms merchant), Iraq, and Iran — and Iran’s junior partners, Syria and various Palestinian groups. North Korea, as a non-ideological foe, could be safely isolated by taking away its customers. Israel can — and mostly does — keep the Palestinian problem a local one.

As for the rest? An ultimatum, mid-2002, after ejecting the Taliban, to turn over all records, funds, and materials related to terror. If not, a long, rapid march from the beaches of Syria to the streets of Tehran, destroying all government buildings — and any military forces stupid enough to stand in the way. Then get our soldiers back on their ships in the Persian Gulf, with the stern message: “Don’t make us come back here again.”

The GOD Party

For a long time, I've freely interchanged the word Republican with the term Christianist. To me, today's Republican Party is completely indistinguishable from the Evangelical Christian church (by this I mean those hard right Evangelical churches who see America as a Christian country and believe in the church's dominion over all levels of American and global society. It is the movement that spawned Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry today, or Pat Robertson and Ralph Reed in decades past. It has its roots in the earnest but misguided influence wielded by Billy Graham (witness this ditty about apocalypticism from Graham's daughter remembering 9/11):
But the alarm did not fade away. Instead, I have heard it reverberating throughout the past 10 years: from Hurricane Katrina to the record-breaking floods, forest fires, tornadoes, droughts, and snow storms; to the collapse of our major financial institutions; to the economic recession; to the inability to win the war in Afghanistan. The alarm keeps resounding because so many people have not heeded, or even heard, the warning.  
And what is the warning? Simply this: It is five minutes to midnight on the clock of human history. Judgment is at the door. Jesus is coming! It's time to wake up and get right with God! Are you listening?

Contrast that with Bachmann's earlier exhortation about divine signals:
I don't know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We've had an earthquake; we've had a hurricane. He said, "Are you going to start listening to me here?"

Or the fact that Rick Perry hosted a "non-denominational" gathering in Texas prior to entering the presidential race to pray for the future of America. That he and Bachmann are furiously courting the Evangelical vote, and how that vote would bolt in a second to Sarah Palin if she declared, tells you just how powerful the Christianist right is in the GOP, and the country.

Sullivan has a powerful blog post on the matter today, pivoting off a TruthOut essay by Mike Lofgren. Andrew's money quote:
[Today's GOP] can only think in doctrines, because the alternative is living in a complicated, global, modern world they both do not understand and also despise. Taxes are therefore always bad. Government is never good. Foreign enemies must be pre-emptively attacked. Islam is not a religion. Climate change is an elite conspiracy to impoverish America. Terror suspects are terrorists. When Americans torture, it is not torture. When Christians murder, they are not Christians. And if you change your mind on any of these issues, you are a liberal, an apostate, and will be attacked.... 
My fear - and it has building for a decade and a half, because I've seen this movement up-close from within and also on the front lines of the marriage wars - is that once one party becomes a church with unchangeable doctrines, and once it has supplanted respect for institutions and civility with the radical pursuit of timeless doctrines and hatred of governing institutions, then our democracy is in grave danger.

The only hope -- for all Americans, not just Republicans, or Democrats, or Independents -- is for the GOP to formalize the schism that already exists within its ranks, between the radical religious fundamentalists and the socially moderate but fiscally conservative old-school Republicans, whose worldview is "rooted in an instinctual, but agile, defense of tradition, in a belief in practical wisdom that alters constantly with circumstance, in moderation and the defense of the middle class as the stabilizing ballast of democracy, in limited but strong government...."

Something I've been writing about for nearly three years.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

How Does He Sleep?

Apparently, Perry sleeps very well, thank you, despite the fact that Texas has executed 234 people since he took office, including one likely innocent man, Cameron Todd Willingham.

The audience's cheering the statistic of Perry's death penalty accomplishments appalled some commentators, like Steve Benen.  But make no mistake: it's not a surprise at all.  Americans overwhelmingly support the death penalty, and we Americans are a bloodthirsty bunch. 

Amazing how the Republicans can call themselves the "pro-life" party when they have built a very tidy cult of death: war, abortion, guns, and capital punishment.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

We Are All Descendants of Abraham

No, this is most definitely NOT a plea to the choir of my dozen or so readers to work together to achieve (metta) world peace.  This is a personal awakening to the fact that religious fundamentalism, whether it be expressed by people who wear yarmulkes or keffiyehs or crucifixes, is a clear and present danger to world security.

We've all seen the footage of 9/11 a thousand times, mourned the nearly 3,000 dead (including my good friend, Christopher Cairo Newton, who perished in the crash of Flight 77).  We know the atrocities perpetrated by Muslim.  We've also seen, from the Crusades to the Inquisition to the murders of George Tiller and Bernard Slepian, what fanatical Christians can do.  We also know, to some degree, that there have been Jews, like Menachem Begin and Baruch Goldstein and Meir Kahane, who have embraced guerrilla-like or terrorist tactics to exert political influence and to kill innocent people.  As a Jew, I have struggled with the reality of other Jews who have committed or sanctioned horrific acts in the name of Zionism.

Now comes this article in Tabletmag by Elizabeth Rubin about the education of Israeli teenage girls to become warriors for Gush Emunim, a messianic political movement that inspires the ultra-orthodox, extreme right wing to settle the West Bank.  It's a frightening piece on several levels: first, the way the patriarchal orthodox movement has indoctrinated these girls to "initiate" the coming of the Messiah rather than wait for God to bring them redemption; second, for utterances like this to describe these girls:
“Aren’t they beautiful?” a psychiatrist and playwright from Jerusalem asked me, of such girls. “Pure faith mixed with youth. It’s the most erotic thing.”

Third, this:
When [the Jewish settlement in Gaza] Gush Katif was evacuated, Ben Zimra, like many radical rabbis at the time, practically severed his ties not just with the state—because “this is not a state loyal to the laws of the Torah”—but also with the Yesha Council, which represents the West Bank settlements. In an interview shortly after the evacuation, he said, “What the Yesha Council should have done, when the evacuation from Gush Katif took place, is say to all the rabbis and soldiers and officers in the army that the expulsion is against the Torah, and refuse to be a partner to this crime.”

He knew that what he was saying was revolutionary and he took it a step further. “The religious Zionist person says there is a state and I’m part of it. We say the opposite. We are the state.”

And, finally, this:
A senior I met at Ofra’s high school named Shachar was eerily articulate about exactly what defined this generation of girls. “Our life has more meaning than kids brought up in America,” she said. “We are brought up not to waste our time. We can’t go on Facebook at school. We volunteer in our free time because what matters is not me, it’s the nation,” she said. Politically too they were fairly united. “Two states, two lands is not an option. This land is ours. We don’t close our eyes to the fact that Palestinians are living on the other side of the fence. But our parents come from the United States. We grew up in this situation. It’s more burning for us.”

So there it is.  It's pretty hard not to draw parallels between this kind of thinking, and the radicalized thinking that compels a young Arab man to strap on a bomb and kill himself in order to take out as many non-believers as he can, or the unhinged Dominionist thinking among the New Apostolic Reformation that believes America is a Christian nation and that Christian are compelled by the Bible to dominate all levels of society.  It's the thinking that is borne out of being a True Believer.  Whatever the religious text, a True Believer cannot be reasoned with into accepting that their way of thinking is flawed, is contrary to human nature.  To the True Believer, faith in the word of God trumps all reason.

Disgusting Suggestion of the Day

On the heels of Matthew Vadum's awful quote about how un-American it is to help the poor register to vote, comes this from The Drudge Report:


They can't even hide their racism anymore.  Should be an interesting year.

There are No Words

Well, maybe just one: cocksucker.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sharia Law Watch -- in Germany

Sullivan posts about a piece covering the emergence of "sub-state" justice systems in Germany.

Without setting foot into the batshit crazy right-wing's fear of the US becoming a Sharia state, it's scenarios like the one profiled in the article that has me worried that a sort of black market justice system is probably thriving in this country amongst some religious communities.

Presumably our law enforcement and justice systems would root out someone who committed an honor killing, and of course bring the full weight of local, state and federal laws to bear in the case. But what about non-lethal matters, like minor domestic disputes, apostasy, or the like? Does a "closed-circuit" religious community, like Muslims or Orthodox Jews or the Amish, have the right to administer justice in its own community when there might be secular laws to handle such matters? Is it a First Amendment matter to let people practice their religions as they see fit? Does a Christian Scientist parent have the right to let his/her child be "treated" by a spiritual healer rather than be treated by traditional medicine, especially if withholding of such care would likely result in the child's death?

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Disgusting Quote of the Day

From Matthew Vadum at American Thinker:
It is profoundly antisocial and un-American to empower the nonproductive segments of the population to destroy the country -- which is precisely why Barack Obama zealously supports registering welfare recipients to vote.... Encouraging those who burden society to participate in elections isn't about helping the poor. It's about helping the poor to help themselves to others' money. It's about raw so-called social justice. It's about moving America ever farther away from the small-government ideals of the Founding Fathers.
Some on the right are apparently not even trying to hide their racism.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Bruce Bartlett Got it Wrong

One of my favorite true conservatives, Bruce Bartlett wrote a column a few weeks ago about former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, which he re-ran Thursday in response to comments Michele Bachmann made comparing herself to the legendary conservative Thatcher.

In the third paragraph, Bartlett writes that Sarah Palin's requested meeting with Thatcher fell through because of Thatcher's physical condition (she suffers from dementia). Well, this is one place he was wrong. It fell through because those who take care of Mrs. Thatcher didn't want an attention whore like Palin creating an unrealistic photo-op, as if there's some relationship between the two women.

As reported in the Los Angeles Times in June, a Thatcher ally said that she would not meet Palin because "that would be belittling for Margaret. Sarah Palin is nuts." Now, of course, a more official response was made by another Thatcher ally, who said her failing health was the primary issue.

Well, Bartlett may choose whichever response he likes, but I like the more unguarded version and always tend to believe those sorts of outbursts are more truthful (and more delicious!).

Now, as for the Bartlett piece as a whole, it brilliantly highlights just how far from the conservative examples of Thatcher and Reagan today's GOP have strayed. As Bartlett quotes Martin Wolf, a columnist for The Financial Times, Thatcher was "far more concerned about fiscal stability and deficit reduction than lower taxes, and the idea that a debt default 'would have been sensible would, to her, have been insane.'" Nice little stab in the GOP throat there.

As Dennis Miller used to say (when he was funny), "Now I don't wanna go off on a rant here," but the thing that still amazes me about politicians of all stripes is that there's this collective denial (or willful ignorance, or both) that in this age of the internet, we can't immediately call up things a politician once said or wrote that completely contradicts something they're saying today. It's the sort of thing that Jon Stewart has built a career on -- uncovering and roasting the unabashed hypocrisy, the bald-face lying, that goes on in the name of keeping citizens informed about what's going on in this country and around the world. Depressingly, we Americans take it in but don't process it, don't form opinions that mean anything to us. Instead we retreat to our favorite media outlets to find out what they're saying about it and then parrot it with enough passion to convince themselves that it's their opinion too. There's no sincerity, no effort, and no real intelligence. To me, true intelligence is looking at all sides of an argument and synthesizing something that speaks to you and about you. We are none of us all one thing. Dick Cheney has no problem with gay marriage, but Barack Obama does. My rabbi, who is progressive in many, many ways, gets fairly militant and right-ish when it comes to Israel. I struggle with a lot of what I read on liberal blogs, such as the way Glenn Greenwald continually faults the president as a failure on every progressive yardstick imaginable. Of course, anyone who reads this blog (and I know there are at least three of you) knows that there's one place where I have no doubt: excoriating the right wing for being hypocrites, monsters, and tone-deaf about how real Americans think and feel. You can't just watch Fox News and know enough about the world, no more than you can do that by watching just CNN or MSNBC. You need to create the balance, because any media outlet that claims to be fair and balanced is neither.

Now THAT'S a Road Trip!

College students either work jobs, or internships, or travel, or stay in school during summer break. And they always party!

Not so Chris Jeon, 21, who attends my alma mater, UCLA. No, he fought alongside the rebels in Libya instead. "It is the end of summer vacation, so I thought it would be cool to join the rebels. This is one of the only revolutions" in the world, said he.

Money quote (and it's KILLER):

As with most students, money is a concern. He did not buy a round-trip airplane ticket, he explained: “If I get captured or something, I don’t want to waste another US$800."

Not only is this the ultimate road trip, does anyone believe for a second that this experience won't find its way onto his resume? Under "Other Experience," it could say "Armed Civilian Rebellion Against Violent Dictatorships, Libya 2011. Stormed into Al Nawfiliyah to liberate city. Did not die."

I love this kid. We need more people like him: more adventurous, more zen, more frugal.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Dangerous, Not Just "Different"

Zack Beauchamp, an intern at Sullivan's The Dish, understands that Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann are one small step away from advocating that we convert the U.S. into a theocracy.

Think he's crazy? Well, that would make me crazy too. Think I'm crazy? Check this shit out:

Perry: I think we're in a great time of revival in this world...and I know there's a lot of concern, there's, there's, y'know we got this economic recession that's goin' on, ya got all o' these...uh... the Middle East is in turmoil. I mean, ya turn TV on and ya really get concerned about what yer seein' happen to think that our, our greatest days are ahead of us.... I think in America that, uh, from time to time we have to go through some difficult times, and think we're goin' through those difficult economic times for a purpose and that, uh, to, to bring us back to those biblical principles of, uh, ya don't spend all the money, ya, ya, ya work hard for those uh, those six years and ya put up that seventh year, uh, in the warehouse to take ya through the hard times. And, and, and, not spending all of our money, not askin' for Pharaoh to, to, to give everything to everybody and to take care of, of folks because at the end o' the day, uh, it's slavery. And we become slaves to government...
My italics, but his emphasis. Danger aside for a moment, Perry is saying that people who receive government assistance are slaves to government. People who ask for government financial assistance are slaves. In other words, don't be a slave, don't ask for government money. Work hard, save that money, and it'll get you through the hard times, as long as you follow bibilical principles.

In 2009, the state of Texas was the recipient of about $6.4 billion in federal stimulus, which it then used to plug most of a $6.6 billion budget deficit. That allowed Texas to avoid using its $9 billion "rainy day fund." Atta way, Rick! Ya still got that seventh year money in the warehouse to take ya through the hard times!

Uh, but just so ya know: this makes you a slave (not to mention a fucking hypocrite). Don't like bein' a hypocrite, Guv? Well then, to borrow from Aaron Sorkin's seminal West Wing episode, where President Bartlett is debating the GOP nominee, the governor of Florida, who basically said the same thing as Rick here did: "Can we have it back, please?"