Saturday, February 28, 2009

Winner of the "Oops! I Spoke Too Soon!" Award, Dr. Francis Fukuyama

"The distant origins of the present volume lie in an article entitled “The End of History?” which I wrote for the journal The National Interest in the summer of 1989. In it, I argued that a remarkable consensus concerning the legitimacy of liberal democracy as a system of government had emerged throughout the world over the past few years, as it conquered rival ideologies like hereditary monarchy, fascism, and most recently communism. More than that, however, I argued that liberal democracy may constitute the “end point of mankind’s ideological evolution” and the “final form of human government,” and as such constituted the “end of history.” That is, while earlier forms of government were characterized by grave defects and irrationalities that led to their eventual collapse, liberal democracy was arguably free from such fundamental internal contradictions" --Dr. Francis Fukuyama, in his introduction to his book, The End of History and the Last Man, 1992.

Yes, what a moron he was and is, but that's a given. Fukuyama's been spreading the love since 1992. Would he really know democracy if it bit him?

But even at that time, it was becoming obvious through developments of the successful Zapatista uprising, the subsequent rise of the "anti-globalization movement," the "Battle for Seattle," the rise of an unending proactive antiwar movement, new forms of resistance and theory arising throughout the globe to neoliberalism (notably in South America in the last decade where it has been rejected almost entirely), and so on, that Professor Fukuyama couldn't have been more wrong. He still is wrong, as is his wont, and he isn't going to be satisfied until he has no reputation left but that of a laughingstock. Mission accomplished--time to retire along with George Lucas.

Fukuyama was defending himself even when his book version of The End of History was released, with the author even going as far as to use Marx and Hegel as a shield in the above introduction. That they posited some "end-point" to human social and political evolution--the evolution of ideology--is well known. On this point, he's correct, and he shold have enjoyed being right, at least for once. Yet, Marx and Hegel were never so brazen, ignorant or insolent as to claim when that end-point time would actually come, and it's clear from their writings that it would probably take centuries, if not millennia. Never mind all that: someone's paying the bills, and it's good business to agree with oneself.

No, Marx and Hegel weren't being paid by a bunch of rich capitalists (although the factory owning Engels could fit into that category, he was headed in another direction...) to be one of the shrill voices during the fall of a global power (the Soviet Union) lauding the invincibility of another global player (American style economics, themselves). People like Limbaugh, Gingrich, and Fukumaya were drunk on their short-lived "victory" over the ending of the Cold War and their plans to take Capitol Hill "permanently," if not the White House. Sober minds in the Kremlin warned, ominously, that the United States would fall as a power after the Soviet system. They were right, and now we find ourselves where they were twenty years ago: Afghanistan. The warning signs have been flashing for decades, but never so brightly as now. But power is tone deaf.

As should be common currency by now, power corrupts, and that was the voice speaking from the well-fed yob of Fukuyama back in the 1980s-90s. His utterances in the present historical moment don't show any sign that he, his class (academic historians of all sorts), or those he serves, have lost any of their lust for power for its own sake. That he's looking like even more of an ribald ass now than he did at the time of 9/11 is a given. When you don't have the truth on your side, you resort to jargon and jingoism, and that's about all that Fukuyama and the so-called conservative side of the fence ever had besides the willingness to use barbarous violence to impose neoliberal/Reaganist capitalism on the rest of the world. You lie, rhetorically, throwing out the words "Liberty, Fraternity, Equality," and other myths regarding our way of life.

What does any of that have to do with "liberal democracy"? Nothing, it's just rhetoric on their part, and the new president surely shares many of their assumptions. But things have changed.

Now that America's dominance is slipping--most importantly, on the economic side--it appears that history is far from over, not even by a longshot. At best, Fukuyama's writings on whether the historical development of ideologies have ended are political-philosophical tracts written by a conservative hack on the payroll. In the future--if we're left with one thanks to people like them--they'll make for a very humorous read.

If you've actually ever read Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations, you know that one of the central tenets of the book is that all nations have their time at the top, but that history deems there is a time when that dominance ends economically. Contrary to what many are saying, America doesn't have to suffer under this cycle--quite the contrary. Without all the unnecessary expenditures revolving around an empire, the average American will have lifted a very heavy lodestone from their neck. As a result of the ending of empire, illegitimate control over their lives by domestic elites will be severely weakened. The power structure in America is under serious threat, caused by their own hand.

What comes next is the groundswell of people demanding a better life, which isn't always a pretty or even tidy affair.

This is why we saw the passing of so much repressive legislation under Bush II and why most of it isn't going away anytime soon. Far from being a "coup," American elites are doing their best to hold onto power, and castles have a dramatic way of falling (watch your heads). History is over? Tell that to the people of Iraq and Afghanistan and tell it to the average American solidier or military contractor on the ground. They might point to the dead and ask, "What's that?" Dr. Fukuyama should be taken on a tour of our torture and rendition facilities to ask inmates whether they think "history has ended," and he might also take a tour of South America today and ask the leaders of those nations whether they think history has ended.

He isn't likely to get a positive answer, but probably more than a few laughs at his expense again. Laughter is the summation of his legacy. Fukuyama realized this--belatedly--in his boring and lie-ridden October 4th, 2008 oped piece titled, "The End of America Inc.":
All this suggests that the Reagan era should have ended some time ago. It didn't partly because the Democratic Party failed to come up with convincing candidates and arguments, but also because of a particular aspect of America that makes our country very different from Europe. There, less-educated, working-class citizens vote reliably for socialist, communist and other left-learning parties, based on their economic interests. In the United States, they can swing either left or right. They were part of Roosevelt's grand Democratic coalition during the New Deal, a coalition that held through Lyndon Johnson's Great Society in the 1960s. But they started voting Republican during the Nixon and Reagan years, swung to Clinton in the 1990s, and returned to the Republican fold under George W. Bush. When they vote Republican, it's because cultural issues like religion, patriotism, family values and gun ownership trump economic ones. ("The End of America Inc.," Newsweek, 10.04.2008)
In other words, the right has used cultural flashpoints as phony issues to sway a healthy chunk of American workers away from servicing their own economic and political interests. Europeans tend towards the left because of centuries of struggle by the average person, two devastating world wars that made it clear that a lasting peace could only come through social justice, better educational systems and traditional systems and networks of resistance that have no analog in the US, and because there was an incredible loss of faith coming from the fall of the traditional monarchies after the wars of the 20th century. America has experienced little of this, partly due to how young it is as a nation. If it's broken, don't fix it.

Like America's business class, the Monarchies had used religion as a weapon to control the masses, and they fell. Again, America doesn't have the same historical experiences, but these things have a way of playing-out similarly, these all being human systems of social organization rather than ones from Mars or Jupiter. Once the Monarchies were delegitimized, religion fell into disfavor throughout many parts of the European Continent. It's quite possible that the same could happen here, and for similar reasons.

In the 1980s and 1990s, it was the job of people like Dr. Fukuyama to drive people away from working towards their own interests by deceiving them with false invocations of patriotism, religion, "family values," and sundry other Shibboleths. That no longer works when the system crashes under its own in-built paradoxes, and the public correctly moves towards the left (or, more accurately, away from authoritarian thinking) because it's natural to do so in the "correction" part of this historical cycle. If there are no corrections, there is no recovery, a word to the wise who are wishing very vocally that President Obama's economic stimulus plan fails--then what?

Ultimately, the only thing Fukuyama could do in the fall of 2008 was to finally start covering his ass, and to do it as substantially as he could manage. How sweet it was of Newsweek to pay him for his services rendered. He might want to convert it into non-perishable foodstuffs and gold. Do he and his ilk really believe in anything at all besides power? Unfortunately, yes. We might find that at the heart of Reaganism there always contained more than a hint of the death wish and nihilism, especially when power isn't achieved, is under serious threat, or is lost altogether. False conservativism's implicit logic can be found in the writings of Dr. Fukuyama, a logic that offers no future at all.

"The End of America Inc.," Newsweek, 10.04.2008:

Songs from the Site Meter: Day of Reckoning for U.S. Attorney Jeffrey A. Taylor Coming Soon?

Ed.--I wouldn't be surprised if this is the "man" himself, the guy who probably authorized the leaking of the unsigned search warrant to Bill Bastone and The Smoking Gun, single-handedly creating the "DC Madam" scandal, and depriving the defendant of her rights. How many times did he do this (if he did)? How often does this occur on our behalf by U.S. Attorneys? There is the off chance that he's finally being investigated, but why fix something when it's broken in a way that benefits you?

Domain Name ? (U.S. Government)
IP Address
208.27.111.# (US COURTS)
Continent : North America
Country : United States (Facts)
State : District of Columbia
City : Washington
Lat/Long : 38.9097, -77.0231 (Map)
English (U.S.)
Operating System
Microsoft WinXP
Internet Explorer 7.0
Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 7.0; Windows NT 5.1; InfoPath.2; .NET CLR 2.0.50727; .NET CLR 1.1.4322)
version 1.3
Resolution : 1024 x 768
Color Depth : 32 bits
Time of Visit
Feb 28 2009 5:49:01 am
Last Page View
Feb 28 2009 5:52:58 am
Visit Length
3 minutes 57 seconds
Page Views
Referring URL
Search Engine
Search Words
jeff taylor washington dc
Visit Entry Page
Visit Exit Page
Out Click

Time Zone
Visitor's Time
Feb 27 2009 5:49:01 pm
Visit Number

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lament for Bobby Jindal

Louisiana--I think Governor's Jindal's speech-impediment after President Obama's stirring punk-out of the congressional GOP has brought something to my attention: Mr. Jindal should never allow himself to be pushed into a speech-impediment unprepared, especially when he had no chance to remove the chewing-tobacco from his mouth beforehand. That shit might float with rednecks and the Cajuns down there, but not with the rest of edumacated A'murka.

Seriously: if you were impressed or inspired by his speech, I have a dog turd in my backyard that you can stare at for a few hours.

Obama Justice Department ends raids on medical marijuana facilities

Washington D.C.--There's a new sheriff in town. Once again, we're seeing valid and significant change that we would never have seen under a Republican president and/or a Congress dominated by them. As Attorney General Eric Holder stated yesterday, it's "now policy."

For those who are cynical about the incoming administration (only in office now a little over a month, a bit premature and telling of the cynics), this is good news and a real change as well as a move away from wasteful government spending for law enforcement programs that do more harm to our society than good.

Marijuana drug pigs had their "last hurrah" at the end of January before the Obama administration could do anything to stop it, just three days after the new president's inauguration. Thirteen states have
now legalized the licensing of production, distribution, and use of medical marijuana. It's not going to stop there, and the ranks of the police are turning against past drug interdiction policies.

The last two states to recently legalize medical marijuana were Michigan and Massachusetts in November of last year during the national and state elections. In Massachusetts, the police union initially lobbied against the legislation but have been coming around to the new reality. Nobody said change was easy to adjust to, but they're doing it in Massachusetts right now, and in several other states.

As part of Drug War policy, appointed "Drug Czars" who run the ONDCP (Office of National Drug Control Policy) are supposed to lie--yes lie--about the properties, medical uses and beneficial or benign attributes of marijuana.
From Section 704 of the Reauthorization Act of 1998:
...[The Director of Drug Control Policy] ...(11) may serve as spokesperson of the Administration on drug issues; (12) shall ensure that no Federal funds appropriated to the Office of National Drug Control Policy shall be expended for any study or contract relating to the legalization (for a medical use or any other use) of a substance listed in schedule I of section 202 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 812) and take such actions as necessary to oppose any attempt to legalize the use of a substance (in any form) that-- (A) is listed in schedule I of section 202 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 812); and
(B) has not been approved for use for medical purposes by the Food and Drug Administration;...
Incredibly, federal drug control agents and officials can even use government funds to meddle in local and state elections to effect the outcomes of any marijuana legalisation proposition up for vote during elections, a clear violation of the Hatch Act, but we don't need no stinkin' badges anyway.

Remember that this was passed under a Republican controlled Congress at the time back in their salad days of 1998. The Clinton administration did little to oppose it, but they were trying to save themselves over a lie told under oath about a blowjob, it being a national priority and obsession of the GOP at the time. If you don't like the government meddling in your lives, and you want a government that does less of it in general, hitting rightist and reactionary advocates of these drug policies is a good place to start. The time is ripe since they're losing on all fronts.

Sitting on our laurels isn't going to be a smart move for anti-prohibition forces and the point will be to keep pushing (back) until significant victory and precedent are achieved. All this aside, this is a state's rights issue, period. The incoming Obama administration supports this contention and the legitimacy of medical marijuana for those with terminal illnesses who need it desperately, and this isn't even mentioning all the green uses (including the production of needed biomass, food, and energy) from the cannabis plant.
The Drug War is the finest and most obvious example of wasteful spending outside of the F-22 fighter and the failed "Star Wars" program, but in America, if it's broken, don't fix it.

But it really is a state rights issue. This is where I agree with Libertarians...but that's about it, and I'm hardly alone. For those who want to live in a police state, I advise relocation to Colombia or Russia, their authoritarian digs should be to your tastes. Our drug laws were originally crafted to legally harass people of color--Blacks and Hispanics in-particular. The support was bipartisan, but as is their wont, and when there are rights to be rolled back, the Republican Party tends to be leading the charge.

It's fitting that when we finally got a president of color, the walls began to fall regarding drug prohibition, ultimately race and class-based laws primarily for the purpose of arbitrary antidemocratic social control. Just over 75 years ago, the walls came down with alcohol prohibition in the face of an unprecedented economic crisis and sustained calls for its end. We live in similar times and in a much less "racialist" culture. There are other problems to address. Bluntly-put, we need the revenue. It's time to legalize and regulate (including taxation) of all psychoactive drugs, and a time to move towards treatment and away from the militarization of our police departments.

Cops Against Prohibition:

The Reauthorization Act of 1998:

AG Holder's statement yesterday in a Q&A:

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Why did the IRS bust Swiss Bank UBS?

Perhaps what we need is to go back to the first Bretton Woods, to go back to discipline. It's absolutely clear that financial markets need discipline: macroeconomic discipline, monetary discipline, market discipline.'' --European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet, October

Washington D.C./Zurich, Switzerland
--This isn't a difficult question to answer. We're seeing a reinstitution of some of the principles of the Bretton Woods system that was crafted primarily by US and UK officials (at the core of the process were economists John Maynard Keynes and Harry Dexter White) during WWII, laying-out the foundations for what the postwar reconstruction and the resulting economic order would look like and how it would function. Why Bretton Woods?

Western leaders didn't want to repeat the same mistakes that created the Great Depression and that definitely played a major hand in taking the world to war in the middle twentieth century. American and British financial leaders crafted an economic blueprint that--in its overall scope--was to leave the United States in charge as the world's banker of a generally global form of capitalism (whatever that means), but with other elements addressing the domestic fronts of participating nations that emphasized state intervention in those economies through the strict regulation of capital flight.

What is capital flight? There are several definitions, but there is a general agreement on its core features. Tax Justice Network, a federation of international and academic economists notes some of the basic features of capital flight:

  • Flight capital is domestic wealth permanently put beyond the reach of appropriate domestic authorities. Much of it is unrecorded due to deliberate misreporting;
  • Because no (or little) tax is paid on wealth that is transferred as capital flight, it is associated with a public loss and private gain.
  • Because tax evasion is illegal and subject to criminal sanction in most countries, the management of flight capital is a form of money laundering. Offshore secrecy arrangements play a crucial part in the laundering process by enabling the origin and ownership of the capital to be effectively disguised. ("Illicit Capital Flows and the Offshore Economy, Tax Justice Network, 2008)
Simply put: capital flight is the illegal transfer of enormous wealth to other financial markets to avoid legitimate and lawful taxation, to exchange one currency for another when one currency's value tanks (speculation), and occurs in the countries that the capital originates from over to the "receiving" nations. In short, capital flight is illegal money laundering. Under the current economic crisis where investment capital is lacking--even in the United States at this writing--the negative effects for development can become acute and long term.

This, surely, is a major factor in why the Obama administration's IRS are going after UBS Bank and 250-300 American tax cheats holding illegal accounts at the Swiss institution. Going after these depositors heralds an action that would never have occurred under Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, let alone Bush II. That it's happening at all suggest that there is no longer any choice but to enforce laws covering capital flight--with the caveat that the Swiss courts have been "pushing-back," undermining Keynes's original proposals that debtor and creditor nations do the enforcing and even be willing to alter their behaviors and laws to do so. Nothing succeeds like failure.

The UBS bust also signals that things are especially dire--even desperate--in the international financial markets thanks to decades of mismanagement that metastasized under Republican governance. There is worse: nationalist-based noncompliance by a "receiving" nation like Switzerland is possible, and is occurring right now.

A Swiss tribunal has barred financial regulators from handing over information of UBS bank clients to the United States Justice Department, which is attempting to break the country's banking secrecy laws. UBS, Switzerland's largest bank, reached a settlement with the US authorities on Wednesday. It agreed to pay 780 million dollars and reveal the names of between 250 and 300 US clients.

On Thursday, UBS rejected a new US lawsuit asking for the disclosure of the identities of some 52,000 US customers suspected of evading taxes. The populist Swiss People's Party has protested against what it describes as "foreign blackmail". ("Swiss court blocks bank data disclosure," Radio Netherlands, 02.21.2009)
The Great Depression lasted roughly twelve years, and we could be in for a similarly long run if things play-out the same as they did in the 1930s, namely from protectionism and general economic warfare. The next-step would likely be another world war. The recent developments in Switzerland do not bode well, but it's likely that Zurich will ultimately comply in the release of additional account information.But will other money laundering nations comply?
Swiss Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf travels to Washington on Monday for talks with her new US counterpart, Eric Holder, during which the UBS controversy is high on the agenda.
The Austrian chancellor, Werner Faymann, has defended banking secrecy, arguing on Swiss television on Tuesday that it did not stand in the way of punishing those who committed criminal offences. ("Pressure on UBS continues to weigh heavy,", 02.24.2009)
Before the New Deal and Bretton Woods, regulation of America's economy under the Republican Party (with Democratic enabling, like now) was generally nil. Additionally, the idea of an international monetary system was entirely new in 1944 when the meeting at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire occurred.
The advantage we have now is that we at least have these precedents, but the warnings went unheeded thanks to various forms of market extremism that have lost their lustre in the face of reality, sunlight. This is another plus, but some are going to hang onto these extremist beliefs to their detriment. Some of the keys to solving the economic crisis will be limiting the effects of these false values to their holders through the enforcement of existing laws. The Justice Department's February 19th release (here-in-full) undescores the problem of capital flight and why it's harmful to the interests of the nation:

United States Asks Court to Enforce Summons for UBS Swiss Bank Account Records

WASHINGTON - The government filed a lawsuit today in Miami against Swiss bank UBS AG, the Justice Department announced. The lawsuit asks the court to order the international bank to disclose to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) the identities of the bank’s U.S. customers with secret Swiss accounts. According to the lawsuit, as many as 52,000 U.S. customers hid their UBS accounts from the government in violation of the tax laws.
The government alleges in the lawsuit that of those 52,000 secret accounts, about 20,000 contained securities and about 32,000 contained cash. According to a UBS document filed with the lawsuit, as of the mid-2000s, those secret accounts held about $14.8 billion in assets. Court documents allege that U.S. citizens failed to report and pay U.S. income taxes on income earned in those secret accounts.
According to the lawsuit, Swiss-based bankers actively marketed UBS’s services to wealthy U.S. customers within the United States. UBS documents filed with the lawsuit show that UBS bankers came to the United States to meet with U.S. clients nearly 4,000 times per year, in violation of U.S. law. According to court documents, the government alleges that UBS trained its bankers to avoid detection by U.S. authorities. Court documents further assert that many U.S. contacts occurred through UBS-sponsored sporting and cultural events, designed to appeal to extremely wealthy Americans.
The lawsuit alleges that UBS engaged in cross-border securities transactions in the United States that it knew violated U.S. security laws. The lawsuit also alleges that UBS helped hundreds of U.S. taxpayers set up dummy offshore companies, to make it easier for those taxpayers to avoid their reporting obligations under U.S. tax laws.
"At a time when millions of Americans are losing their jobs, their homes and their health care, it is appalling that more than 50,000 of the wealthiest among us have actively sought to evade their civic and legal duty to pay taxes," said John A. DiCicco, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Tax Division. "It is time for those who are trying to hide from the IRS to rethink their actions. The Department of Justice is committed to do all that it can to aid the IRS in locating those who would seek to hide behind secret accounts and in holding them accountable under the federal tax laws."
"We are committed to moving forward with the summons enforcement process. This action sends a strong signal to taxpayers hiding their money offshore. The IRS will be aggressive in pursuing people who shirk their obligations under the tax law. These people owe it to their fellow citizens to pay their fair share of taxes," said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman. "As Commissioner, I am committed to bringing to bear the full arsenal of IRS resources to pursue egregious offshore tax abuse. International tax issues are a top priority, and we will continue to aggressively pursue people hiding assets offshore. For people who are hiding money offshore, this serves as a wake-up call that they need to get right with their government. Taxpayers should talk to a tax professional and come forward under our voluntary disclosure process. Having the IRS find you could mean a much heavier price than coming forward on your own." ("United States Asks Court to Enforce Summons for UBS Swiss Bank Account Records," DOJ Release, 02.19.2009)
And today, it's practically a foregone conclusion that capital flight is going to be found to be a significant underlying factor in the current global economic crisis. It already has. That the Justice and Treasury Departments are currently pushing for the records of 52,000 other American depositors is a very dramatic development and practically unprecedented in economic history. Corruption and rampant criminality in the financial sectors of the world are the untold story of the economic crisis, (not) brought to us courtesy of the best mainstream media that money can buy. Reform at the FCC can address this problem, partly through legislative remedies.
Sound minds have been calling for reform of IMF and World Bank policies in these matters for decades, but what have we heard since at least as early as Ronald Reagan? That, "Government isn't the solution--it's the problem." But how else are the markets to be regulated to prevent economic catastrophes that lead to a worldwide conflagration like WWII? Even now, according to most American Libertarians and Republicans, there should be little-or-no state intervention in the financial and business sectors, it's amazing and stunning in its irrationality.
"Bretton Woods System" (happy reading):
"Stop this timidity in ending tax haven abuse," Financial Times, 04.04.2008:
"Swiss court blocks bank data disclosure," Radio Netherlands, 02.21.2009:
"Illicit Capital Flows and the Offshore Economy, Tax Justice Network, 2008:

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The last word on the "9/11 Truth Movement"

WWW--I'd say these folks are stupider than the Republicans, but many of them either once were or are to-the-right of the self-destructing national party. What came into your minds that the Bush II administration were anything but corrupt and incompetent, the two being interchangeable?

Listen: are you stupid? Don't answer, we already know you all are. There's a mountain of empirical evidence to disprove any number of your stupid and paranoiac Sunday-go-to-meetin' speculations, you morons. Grow-up, wake up, and realize how incredibly foolish and silly you appear to the entire world (except a lot of the French who are also over-credulous about 9/11 conspiracies for nationalist reasons).

What's really interesting is the obvious arch-conservative theme in the notion that 9/11 was an "inside job." Your proof? How about going after something that's provable? Right, that would actually require effort, a well reasoned argument, and evidence and accountability for the accusers. Had there been any of this, we'd know about it, and everywhere, its dissemination would be unstoppable just by the sheer force of word of mouth. But it hasn't, and it won't. Why?

Because if you hadn't noticed over the last eight years, the Bush II administration wasn't capable of doing nearly anything right, not even cover-ups, not even firing nine U/S. Attorneys, and so on. I could literally go on for days about what they were incompetent at, it's staggering in its scope. So staggering, it seems, that when you're as paranoid as some people, you miss the elephant in the room that's standing on your toe.

Advice: stop clutching your intellectual cop-out and get serious.

Postscript, 02.20.2009:
With all of the obvious elephants in the room (the U.S. Attorney firing scandal, illegal wars of aggression in Afghanistan and Iraq, a runaway corporate crime spree that could only have happened through indolence and willful inaction, bribery, the outing of a CIA officer's identity, billions missing in Iraq rebuilding funds, stolen national elections, illegal warrantless surveillance, torture and rendition, cronyism and open corruption, ad infinitum), a 9/11 Truth Movement" only serves the purpose of wasting time, money, and energy that would be best spent of real issues and causes.

I would wager many of these wags would love to have a Big Brother telling them what to do.

From the perspective of some of them, it sure beats having to take a part of the responsibility for some of this mess instead of mounting real investigations and hearings that would accomplish something. I'm sure that if the Pentagon and State Department didn't have them around, they'd have invented these groups to serve the same function. These folks are (barely) closeted authoritarians. Nothing succeeds like failure. Pathetic. Cowardly. Foolhardy.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

My response to a friend about our current economic crisis

Ed.--I wrote this letter today to a dear friend down in Florida who came to me through this site. Say what you want about my writing, the content here, and its tone, but being able to connect to someone like this wonderful man has made it all worth it. All the sweat, all the frustrations, all the problems caused by Jeane--it's worth it if you make one friend, make one genuine connection with another human being who cares about others.

I'd also like to take a moment to apologize and correct my statements towards the exceptional journalist, Larisa Alexandrovna. The late Ms. Palfrey conveyed information to myself and others that was a lie and sent us on a trajectory of confrontation with Ms. Alexandrovna. Had I known at the time--and I did have my suspicions--none of the comments that came afterward would have happened. I retract them in-full, here, now, and I consider it a very heavy weight lifted. Best wishes to Larisa. Contrary to certain contentions, hope really is alive, and more than ever, not since January 1981.

...The current economic crisis: I'll write in more detail later, but in-sum, Lindsey Graham is just facing reality, which is amazing for a Republican, but now there's just no choice at all. The economy isn't going to get any better shoveling money into the banks as long as the CEOs in there now are allowed to run it, they blew it, they're corrupt and cannot be reformed except through criminal investigations and their removal one way or another.

America will never be the same, we know this, and a consumer economy as existed before is now extinct, it's just not sinking-in yet. I've gotten into it HARDCORE with former High School classmates and whatnot over this. They're about to suffer psychologically more than they usually do by being business worshipping turds and wack-jobs. The fact that they ascribed godlike power to these twits is going to be their emotional and psychological downfall coupled with their obsolete notions of the "rugged individual," that you--we--are 100% responsible for your own destiny. As you know, that's a double-edged sword that's going to cut them. Remember the stories of all the morons who blamed themselves for the Great Depression, for their own fallen lots? That's coming.

This shit about "the socialists are taking over" is going to die with a few loud gasps and rattles, but the kids don't remember the Cold War, the last brew was my generation, and the government is going to be forced by circumstance to run virtually the entire economy. People are already suffering, but it's a hard call to say how the suffering will be distributed, but for those who are being foreclosed on, it will be the worst, since they have lost their jobs in most cases.

The Obama plan is just a good start, that's it. This will have to be significantly bigger than the New Deal, more like the Marshall Plan, because the entire economy of the developed world is crashing. There will be significant changes as to what constitutes "work" "productivity," and whatnot, that's not going to be the same, but work might just become much more meaningful, it can happen, but we can only get it through demands. That's part of why Obama is backing the right to collective bargaining, he understands that he must get out of the way and let the public do a lot of the "correcting," not just the federal government. The private sector won't have many solutions to offer at all, but there won't be many of them around after all of this.

Expect: General Strikes, food riots, wildcat strikes, and more. This isn't to say there will be violence against the average American by other Americans--there will be some incidents of it--but do expect buildings, individuals, and symbols of established power to be assaulted, that's coming, it's virtually assured. CEOs are now more unpopular than Congress, a real shift. This is the end of this order and the beginning of a new one, a time of incredible opportunities. Have hope, I have more now than I have had in my entire adult life. If you had asked me in 1991, I would have told you we were completely fucked. I no longer feel this way anymore, there is now hope, real hope. It won't be pleasant, it won't be easy, but it will give us a real shot at saving ourselves from ourselves. That's a pretty big deal, eh?

your friend and ally, Matt Janovic

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Michael Phelps and bong hits

WWW--Yeah, I know, I know: we don't want to know anything about the smoking gun evidence regarding torture under the war on terror, it's too icky. I won't even go into the details of Phelps smoking dope a year ago, it's stupid and asinine of the mainstream media to keep this story alive. I'm here to kill it right now.

Phelps is a young man in his twenties who's in college. What else do you need to know? We know Sarah Palin's daughter rejects abstinence--we knew it well before she ever uttered it. Young people do these things and should be allowed time to screw-up since that's what learning is all about, that's how one grows-up. LEAVE HIM ALONE, THERE IS NO STORY.

Now, you journalists need to go smoke a fat one, you need it more than the rest of us. Imagining Phelps's lung-capacity just makes this writer cry... ;0)

Monday, February 16, 2009

The New GOP!

Now self-destructing faster than ever! Whoo-hah! Got you all in-check!

"Donwurahboutit" ™

My ex-wife forced me to invent a new word. Let your imaginations run wild, riot, on this one.

On the recent revelations surrounding profound torture and mistreatment at Guantanamo and around the globe by American authorities

The recent release of documents authorizing torture at Guantanamo and in prisons in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other parts of the globe by American operatives has proven that torture was authorized by the hierarchy of the former Bush II administration. It's now irrefutable and part of the historical record.

This week, we're getting some more corroboration in the form of an oral testimony that was posted by CSHRA (The Center for the Study of Human Rights in the Americas) on their website of Spc. (Specialist) Brandon Neely, a former U.S. Army MP who served at the detention facility in its first months. Neely's story account is a short one, but it indicates a compartmentalized bevy of horror that would shock and stagger the imagination of Edgar Allan Poe.

Neely's story corroborates previously released documents that state medical doctors, psychiatrists, and nurses were utilized in torture sessions on Guantanamo inmates on numerous occasions, and at various locations around the world. The use of physicians by the CIA for these purposes is not unknown, however, and is nothing new. But the solid proof of authorization by the executive branch is, and it's going to open a Pandora's Box that could hamper such methods. The Obama administration's recent comments on the issue aren't reassuring.

It should be a foregone conclusion in our culture that these methods are a direct threat to the liberties and human rights of almost everyone, especially our children. Children? Yes, children.

While it's doubtful that many of these physicians are working in the outlying society (we can presume that many are military physicians and medics), they are committing not only grievous actions that deprive these internees of their basic human rights, they are violating their oaths as practitioners. Where is the AMA and the rest of the medical and mental health profession over this? The suicides of three Guantanamo detainees in 2006 prompted action on their part.

On July 3rd, 2006, along with the American Psychiactric Association (APA), the AMA ruled that physicians couldn't participate in interrogations in any way of war on terror detainees.
The CEJA opinion also says physicians have a duty to disclose how much access interrogators have to prisoners' medical information and to report any coercive interrogations to authorities. If action isn't taken after they raise awareness, the opinion says, doctors are ethically obligated to report the offenses to independent authorities empowered to investigate.

David Fassler, MD, an American Academy of Adolescent and Child Psychiatry delegate who proposed a resolution on interrogation at the 2005 Interim Meeting, applauded the CEJA report. "Physicians should not design, participate in or monitor the interrogation of prisoners or detainees," he said. "Such activities are incompatible with our primary obligation to do no harm. ... I'm glad to see that organized medicine will now be able to speak with one voice on this issue." ("AMA adopts policy on interrogations," AMNews, 07.03.2006)

But the Pentagon's rules around that time allowed for psychiatrists to intervene in some cases "to monitor questioning," and presumably still do. What if laws are broken? Who reports them then? The key appears keeping certain personnel under military authority and control, ignoring civilian professional rulings when it comes to psychiatrists. While I don't entirely agree with journalist Larisa Alexandrovna's recent take (see link at the bottom) that these people could be treating some of our loved ones now (we don't really know, as she points-out, but we definitely should know, and soon), some of them will be.

The CEJA's recommendations were picked-up, and follow that physicians:

  • "Must neither conduct nor directly participate in an interrogation;"
  • "Must not monitor interrogations with the intention of intervening in the process, because this constitutes direct participation in an interrogation;"
  • And when physicians "have reason to believe that interrogations are coercive, they must report their observations to appropriate authorities. If authorities are aware of coercive interrogations but have not intervened, physicians are ethically obligated to report the offenses to independent authorities that have the power to investigate or adjudicate such allegations." ("AMA: Prisoner Interrogation Unethical for Physicians, Declares AMA Panel," Medpage Today, 06.12.2006)

I agree with Ms. Alexandrovna and others who contend that the physicians who violated their professional oaths should be stripped of their licensing--all of them, even military ones--for their participation in these activities that they agreed to engage in at Guantanamo and other locations. After that, they should be investigated for the commission of war crimes, human rights violations, and the violation of international and American law.

Spc. Neely's account offers some insights, and others who worked in these facilities are beginning to come forward. Additional details are emerging from documents that go as far as detainees being beaten to death, their genitals mutilated with a scalpel, and even the sexual abuse and the detention of the elderly and children, and there are more revelations to come. Authorizing torture techniques that result in death, even one, is a criminal act and a war crime.

No accountability means that these people--these psychopaths who broke their professional ethics and got involved in torturing human beings--are murders among us. Best to start prosecuting from the top, down. Ask yourself why the mainstream media isn't covering this. While you're at it, why not ask them directly some time? At the moment, the new administration isn't offering much change in this direction at all, but redress could be coming from certain quarters of Congress, two bills calling for looser state secrets rules have been proposed. The new president has a strange way of interpreting the constitution, being a scholar of it.

"AMA adopts policy on interrogations," AMNews, 07.03.2006:

"AMA: Prisoner Interrogation Unethical for Physicians, Declares AMA Panel," Medpage Today, 06.12.2006:

2002 Bush II administration memos authorizing torture (available since 2004):

"Unspeakable Abuse at Gitmo--We Need the Names of These Medical Personnel," Huffington Post, 02.16.2009:

"Newly Unredacted Torture Documents Reveal Deaths, Abuse," Blog.ACLU, 02.11.2009:

The ACLU's Page on National Security and Torture (lots of links):

"Two Bills in One Day-State Secrets Fix on the Horizon," Blog.ACLU, 02.13.2009:

Friday, February 13, 2009

Alex Jones makes coffee (A satire?)

It was one of those Pleasant Valley Sundays: He awoke to the sound of his motion detection sensors--all of them were going off. What could it be? More precisely: who could it be, and why were they coming for him, especially on Sunday?

He knew why, he had no illusions--only certainty--and the wimmen folks eat that shit up, jack, even when one is clearly wrong. He was used to being wrong, sure, but he never told anyone and never displayed it openly. This was part of his key to success. Since he was surrounded by paranoiacs, he wore his fear on his a swastika. OK, in fact it was a swastika. Like everyone, he had his own secrets, buried deep in a closet. What were they?

The fact that he had a small penis--hey, nothing doing pal! That off-camera Bohemian Grove incident still stung him like the clap, it was all some Fifth columnist plot that he'd hatched on himself, so he scratched himself and shivered, nearly gagging. This was a momentous moment every morning, like mounting D-Day. Yes, it was time to get out of bed. It could become problematic: there were unnamed legions of conspiracies working against him at every moment, even while he slept...especially when he slept. He used to cover all of his windows with blinds but he started suffering from Vitamin D deprivation so they had to go.

He itched all over. It must have been something that was purposefully slipped into his eczema cream by a faceless cabal of geriatrics, this was certain, he knew it, he knew it, he goddamned well knew it. What was he thinking about earlier? This modern life was too much for him, which is why he needed someone--anyone--to blame for his inadequacies, especially nameless, faceless ones who could never be identified, who could never talk or fight back. Jews weren't going to cut it anymore, and besides, they tend to give as good as they get. No, one can never have enough fictional enemies, it's true, he decided, patting himself on the back so hard he sprained his fat, flaccid American wrist.

Oh yeah, he remembered what came next: coffee. Shit. He trembled violently. This would mean walking across the room into the line-of-sight of Black Ops snipers. The blinds were gone now. One time he tried leasing a room in the highest building in Texas but saw a Black helicopter hovering outside of a window as the suspicious realtor showed him the apartment. She was clearly a operative working for Mossad, but he needed a new place so she'd have to do.

Instead, she found him a unit that was less elevated in (and than) Austin. He could see the tower that Charles Whitman shot dozens from where he was at, finally shrugging off the erection he get at the thought of that 1966 incident. He had no questions in his mind--Whitman was a victim of MKULTRA mind control experiments, and so was he. There was nowhere to run--he knew this--and accepted that when it was his know. He'd tuck his head between his legs and run like a pussy, c'mon people.

Over an hour had now elapsed since his first thought of coffee, and now he had to urinate badly. This presented other problems and conundrums. There were other windows open to the line-of-sight of other NWO snipers. How would he get to the bathroom? He had a plan...

He covered himself in an Army blanket but then worried that it might be tainted with smallpox, so he dropped it and started crawling on the floor below the windows. He was clever and wouldn't allow these forces arrayed against him to alter his life one bit, and they hadn't, no way, not even close. He'd always been like this, a paranoid. As a child, he was certain that the Boogeyman was coming to get him and had been through this drill before, he was a proactive kind of a guy. Coffee. Boogeyman. Crap. That was it: he'd have to call one of his assistants to come over, so he made a call, collect. There was no answer, dammit. Oh boy, oh Jesus Christ.

The time had come to be a man: he would walk upright into the kitchen and make a cup of coffee. This would mean putting his life on the line for millions who didn't even know his name, but he would make the sacrifice. He put one foot in front of the other, moving forward with great reluctance and spine-tingling fear. The kitchen grew nearer and his fear reached a fever pitch. He was quaking, but he had it under control and grabbed one of the NWO mugs he sold in the thousands on his website, grabbed the Guatemalan coffee from the freezer and was about to pour it into the filter when he realized he'd forgotten something crucial: the toxicology kit.

Great, now he'd have to run to the cupboard across the kitchen. He did, then got the coffee started. After twenty minutes it was ready. He felt something warm...he'd wet himself. Not again. Oh well, there would have to be another cover-up with the fans, but that was no-problemo, they'd swallow anything, even what was now running down his leg. By this point he couldn't control his laughing and abruptly stopped as he raised the cup of coffee to his mouth--he'd almost forgotten the toxicology test, how careless. It would take a few days for the results to come in, but he could stand the wait. It would be worth that good cup-o'-Joe...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Republican Rep. Steve Austria is perhaps the stupidest human being drawing breath on this rock called earth

Ohio--Is there something in the water in the state of Ohio? Is it a bad gene pool? Are human beings really this unimaginably--just wait, it can get worse--stupid? If you're a Republican who holds this utterly bizarre viewpoint that flies-in-the-face of accepted reality, you might be a victim of being an Ohioan and a Midwesterner who breathes through their mouth in public.

Austria doesn't have all of these excuses to hide behind, however, and since I assume that he can eat without stabbing himself in the face with his fork every time, so he must have been lying, the curse of the GOP, its wont.

The problem is, not everyone is as stupid as the GOP's core-base...well, what's left of it, meaning religious lunatics, racists, free market extremists, and others in the ranks of the hopelessly irrational and confused. Don't get me wrong, we have this kind of moron living in Indiana and other parts where completely irrational people live, right here in these here U-nited States.

Austria (not the country) spake:
"When (President Franklin) Roosevelt did this, he put our country into a Great Depression," Austria said. "He tried to borrow and spend, he tried to use the Keynesian approach, and our country ended up in a Great Depression. That's just history." ("U.S. Rep Austria blames Depression on Roosevelt," Columbus Dispatch, 02.10.2009)
What's astounding is that freshman Rep. Austria told this to the editorial board of the Columbus Dispatch. But really: does anyone believe that FDR caused the Great Depression...really? I don't think so, not really. They might say that they do, but they don't, just like the flat-earthers and liars trying to prey on the truly desperate and ignorant poor, the subproletariat. Illiterate rednecks and Oakies. This is odd, since most of them don't vote...

But that's why Austria back-peddled the very same day:
"I did not mean to imply in any way that President Roosevelt was responsible for putting us into the Depression, but rather was trying to make the point that Roosevelt's attempt to use significant spending to get us out of the Depression did not have the desired effect. Roosevelt did not put us into the Depression, but rather his policies could not pull the nation out of the recession." ("Rep. Austria gets right with history: FDR didn't start Depression," Columbus Dispatch, 02.11.2009)
Actually, he's wrong again--we were still in a Depression until we entered WWII. New Deal policies continued during and after the war, even after being under vicious attack from the Republican Party, the national Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, etc., during the immediate postwar era and McCarthyism.

LBJ expanded New Deal programs significantly during his time in office, and the American dream as we know it was able to grow under the Bretton-Woods system. WWII took us out of the Great Depression? Fine, but that's also Keynesianism, military Keynesianism. We know from decades of an already bloated military budget that that route isn't going to work, and that there is no one panacea that's going to fix things.

If we weren't one of the most powerful nations on earth, this would merely be laughable, a real hoot. To some extent it is, but this moron can actually vote on legislation that affects us all, including the authorization for war.

Small wonder that we're still bogged-down in the Middle East in pointless occupation, our economy is collapsing thanks to a lack of proper oversight and regulation of the financial and business sectors, our schools, bridges, roads, and health care system are collapsing, we cannot compete internationally in business like we once did, when ethically challenged morons elect ethically challeneged morons.
The mess we're in couldn't have happened without representatives like Steve Austria, the 6 trillion dollar man, a man barely alive.

The good news? These particular morons are becoming isolated demographically and by the objective, real world failure of their most cherished beliefs and ideologies. This is the end of Reaganism, the end of faux conservatism and neoliberalism. The game is over, and even a moral imbecile like Steve Austria understands that not only isn't history on his side, the facts aren't either.

This kind of desperation is symptomatic of a dying party, the Republican Party, a party without any identity, answers, or ideology left. But they all have one thing left from the good old days, after everything has been scraped-away by the events of this historical moment: bunch of hollow, self-serving arguments that a ten-year-old could deconstruct and dismantle in around 30 seconds flat.

If you don't like it in America, then go back to Austria, he'll steer you wrong. That'll learn 'ya.

"U.S. Rep Austria blames Depression on Roosevelt," Columbus Dispatch, 02.10.2009:

"Rep. Austria gets right with history: FDR didn't start Depression," Columbus Dispatch, 02.11.2009:

Monday, February 09, 2009

Barack Obama is Duane Jones and we're inhabiting the plotline of Night of the Living Dead

A'murka--The above statement is so true. We're faced with an unprecedented economic crisis--the zombies are crashing the doors down--and all these clowns can think of to do is to go hide in the basement because "it's safer."

These goofballs are as reckless and nuts as that bald Goldwater moron in George Romero's original "Night of the Living Dead," it's uncanny, astounding. It's life imitating art. Where's that post-9/11 bluster from all these "patriots," all those people beating their chests about how strong America is and displaying their "pride" with their "Support our Troops" bumper stickers? They're hiding somewhere, someplace, at some undisclosed location with Grover Norquist and some quaking Libertarians.

But you do this when you're out of your depth, when everything you held up as true was shown to be a dumb lie, and that you don't have any answers to the mess you've gotten yourself and your family into mainly because you're a pig-headed ass. Look at how scared the bald moron is in NOTLD sometime, it's almost as pathetic, fear-inducing, and hilarious to watch as the old man that rose up screaming, "There are socialists taking over!" at a 2008 McCain rally. Pathetic. Moronic. Ignorant. Dangerous.

Dangerous? Yes, dangerous. Dangerous because these clowns could take the rest of us down with them in their supreme idiocy and selfishness. They are little people, spiritual descendants of lynch mobs, just like the asshole who gets everyone killed in NOTLD--except Duane Jones--and he's killed by racist rednecks. Is that how we want America to end? Dr. King asked in the title of one of his books, "Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?" What's it going to be America? Are you going to hide in the basement--selfishly, in a cowardly manner--or go and face the problems reasonably and rationally? It's time to be Americans, the moment calls for it.

And thank God: at least we have Duane Jones at the helm and not a frightened, balding old conservative fool. It was a very close call, which is why the current misbehavior from the right should be no surprise at all.

Postscript, 08.02.2009: Hey, I had to give him a chance, but it appears he's decided to side with the crazy fucker in the basement--you know, that whole "go down in flames" meme appears to arouse him as it tends to when someone gets a taste of power and they have already have their head rammed fully up their ass. But hey, he's given me a new idea for a satire...

The Return of Throbbing Gristle, and the death of Reagan and Thatcherism

WWW--On April 25th, I'll be going to see industrial pioneers, Throbbing Gristle in Chicago. Not everyone knows who they are, but they are essentially the creators of "industrial culture" and beyond. For years-and-years all I've been able to do is read about them and lament that I never got to see them perform live since their last show was in San Francisco in May 1981.

But several years ago, they finally decided to put things from the past aside--all the slights, issues, and arguments--and regrouped, doing a few shows in London, then throughout most of Europe and parts of the rest of the globe.

It's hard to describe the sound of TG, but an old college acquaintance put it best when he wrote, "TG is like a either like it or you don't." I don't just like TG, I love them. Having seen PTV3 in 2004, this is going to be part of a surprisingly fulfilled wish list.

When TG broke-up in May 1981, the Reagan revolution was in its infancy. England was suffering under the same kind of marketplace fascism, and as they've been a virtual economic satellite of the United States ("51st State"!) since the late-1970s, we've had a shared fate as cultures. Groups like TG have been that much needed antidote to obsolete conventional wisdom and thinking, a genuine part of our Western counterculture.

TG ended where Reaganism began. Now TG begins anew as Reaganism ends, dies. As above, so below, so mote it be. The final show in Chicago will be in a Presbyterian church, it couldn't be more fitting. Welcome back.

On President Barack Obama's Town Hall in Elkhart, Indiana

Michiana--To say we're seeing a change and a change in tone from that of the Bush II administration would be an understatement, it's more than refreshing, it's exhilarating.

It's the feeling and knowledge that at least there's some genuine leadership in the White House and the Capital in general, a kind of civic feeling Americans haven't felt since before the Republican disgrace of Watergate. The paralyzing cynicism that has benefited the GOP and business sector for over a generation--for now at least--is abating.

69% of the American public approve of the route being taken by the Democratic majority in Congress and the White House, a majority. Obama's ratings on the same are 67%. But there are those who have decided to live in the past, to suggest doing little-or-nothing, and to insist on the same-old, same-old phony panacea of tax-cuts. But that's the minority of Americans today, it's not 2004, let alone 1928.

Yet the Republican minority still doesn't appear to have realized that they lost the elections in 2006 and 2008 and have reverted to their usual M.O. of obstructionism and the inaction of Herbert Hoover. If they don't relent in this behavior, 2010 appears to hold the same for them. America has bigger problems than this, but rather than pooling together with the rest of America to solve this economic crisis they're working to survive ideologically and politically thanks to the very crisis that was created at their strong insistence not just over the last eight years, but the last 28. The GOP exceeds in servicing the paradox and the illogical demands of unaccountable power, and the DNC has been their enabler until now, the reason they're throwing their tantrums.

However, this time, the obstructionism is occurring in the face of an unprecedented economic crisis, and predictably, they're not changing their stripes. Quite the contrary, but we knew it was coming. The Republican Party, rather than changing and adapting to an unprecedented crisis, is attempting to go further to the right, and it's a sign of their dysfunctional nature. This refusal to change is going to come at an incredible additional cost for a party that's already disgraced on the national political stage and throughout the world.

Granted, an utter failure of ideology has never stopped the GOP, but events do. During the deepest, darkest years of the Great Depression, President Herbert Hoover did virtually nothing in response to an unprecedented economic crisis, and the contemporary Republican Party are acting along similar lines. Hoover's inaction cost the GOP for over fifty years, putting them in an earned minority status. The public merely finished the job when they stopped voting for them as they had before October 1929.

While the GOP is openly admitting that there needs to be a stimulus package, they undermine what is a national effort to stem the tide of what could become a catastrophic crash if they continue to insist on the old rules of the game. Should there be wasteful earmarks in the stimulus bill? Of course not, and they should know full well that more tax-cuts for the wealthiest aren't going to do any good and aren't going to create any new jobs anytime soon either. It's truly the "end of an era," that of Reaganomics and neoliberalism, both essentially the same thing.

Trickle-down economic practices have bitten the dust, but you wouldn't know that from talking with a Republican or watching their hysterics on the mainstream news, C-Span, and through their echo chamber throughout the Internet and the mainstream media in general. This is a noise. It's just more "cut taxes," as though there's some magic panacea that's going to fix everything or that such practices didn't get us into the mess we're in right now.

Logic and experience tell us otherwise: The rich will hold-on to that money, hoarding it just as the banks have under the Bush II administration's poor stewardship of the banking bailouts. Why? Besides your basic greed, a lack of imagination and that inability to change in a rapidly changing world economy. That's nothing new, but the urgency of this crisis is.

Now, the congressional GOP are stalling and nit-picking over sections of the proposed stimulus legislation that covers public-spending, namely spending so that there is a future economy. Some of this is legitimate criticism, but holding-up this crucial legislation generally over social-spending is not, and just another indicator that the Republican Party has little to offer in vision or constructive action. When it comes to military-spending, the GOP are about as "conservative" as a sailor on shore leave after payday, no limits, no-holds-barred. We don't even need the F-22 fighter? No problem, we'll label it something other than "pork," that it's "vital to the defense of the nation," when the reality is that it doesn't create many jobs and doesn't make us any safer. The Democrats have problems in this area as well...

In addition, the GOP had no problem--John McCain and a few others in Congress notwithstanding--during the Bush II years in creating a grotesque distortion in our economy with a $1 trillion tax-cut for the wealthiest back in 2001, expected to sunset in 2010, but will likely be dropped as events in the economy take us into a deeper man made decline.

A new weapons system now? Fine, both parties can agree on that most of the time, but forget about cleaning-up the mess they created, it being primarily the GOP's mess. Breaking-up is hard to do, however, and the Republican Party has become accustomed to Democratic submissiveness to their agenda over the years since Reagan. Some so-called "centrist" Democrats in Congress also seem to have missed-the-fact that the old relationship is ending, but it doesn't matter. More political fallout for the GOP is coming and it's going to be a tidal wave coming from the public, especially if inaction clearly causes a deepening of this crisis. The time for political games is over.

Again: events are taking things down a specific and irresistible historical road that was created by the excesses of the business, financial, and political sectors. Deregulation made this not only possible, but inevitable at some point.

The plan President Obama outlined today was a breath of fresh air, and the skeptics are dwindling in a part of the country--the heart of the Midwest--which nobody would have thought would turn to the left anytime soon back in 2004, Elkhart notwithstanding. Events have a way of changing things, attitudes, and the way people view their lives. That means the economy, and our political process. The world is watching, and the world will be affected, almost immediately. They will not be pleased if we fail. It's time to set-aside petty differences and act as Americans by supporting immediate action by passing this stimulus bill now, within the next two weeks.

The President has warned that without acting now, we could have a "catastrophe" on our hands that could become irreversible for at least a generation. Credible economists are telling us this, not some political hack at the Heritage Foundation in their ivory tower office, but real economists, academic ones. This isn't about left or right, this is about rebuilding the economy of the United States of America. If we fail, we fail not only ourselves, but the rest of the world, and future generations of Americans. It's unacceptable.

Conservatives who claim government intervention isn't going to work are wrong (as usual): it's the only option left when over 25 banks have already failed in 2009--that's a situation in which the private sector is totally paralyzed--both by failed ideologies and by the fact that many of them have no capital left to spend...or borrow. Banks who have been given capital-infusions are hoarding previous bailout capital thanks to the flawed methodology (incompetence) of the outgoing Bush II administration's in expediting their bailouts.

Oversight and reasonable regulation would have fixed this proactively and it's just another example of how this mess began in the first place, and how it has perpetuated and expanded and deepened. It's also how it could become a much bigger crisis than the Great Depression. But for the GOP, nothing succeeds like failure, and their ideology has been tested and proven as such--a failure. The time for throwing fits is over, and it's time for America to grow-up and realize that the marketplace should never trump government ever again because it isn't sustainable.

The President has made it clear by inviting everyone in an unscreened town hall meeting in Elkhart that he is serious about the input of the public. This is new. He was asked critical questions and answered them, a situation that the last president was incapable of coping with his entire unfortunate duration in office with his hand-picked audiences.

This wasn't the case today.

There were no "loyalty oaths" to sign for everyone coming into the event as there were in the Bush II years, only a normal security screening. Nobody was thrown-out--unlike during the Bush II years--for disagreeing with the president, and Mr. Obama fielded them, he answered them directly, honestly, and reasonably. The entire process was informative in a way we haven't seen from a president in decades. Good job, Mr. President, you have my full support on this stimulus plan.

Will it work? Nobody knows, not even economists, not the GOP, and not the president. But we must try. We can come out of this with a much better America, and handily, but there are forces in this nation who would drag us down into the muck with them to save their petty privileges for just one more day.