Archive for May, 2011

“Crazy Days? Straight Ahead!”

May 26, 2011

“Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
Those days of soda and pretzels and beer.”

Nat “King” Cole — Summer 1963

— and Romney and Ryan and Boehner and Newt —
and Trump and Palin and Bachman to boot ! ”

We are entering a mean season.

Citizens of New York’s 26th Congressional District elected Republican Christopher Lee to office in November of 2010 (only seven months ago) with an astounding 76% of the vote over his Democratic opponent. Then Representative Lee took off his shirt and trolled for trollops on Craig’s List, a career move with public revelation leading to panicked resignation. Thank goodness for Republicans that New York’s 26th is traditionally known as one of the safest G.O.P. strongholds in the entire country. But, wait! What do we see?

Thanks to Wisconsin’s Paul Ryan, “Murderer of Medicare”, last week’s special election in the 26th saw Democratic candidate Kathy Hochul engineer a stunning defeat over Republican Jane Corwin by an amazing 47% to 42%. Every poll taken indicates without question that the House-approved attempt to kill Medicare as we know it, enthusiastically endorsed by Ms. Corwin until the last minute, was the singular deciding factor in an historic and virtually immediate, quake-like voter swing resulting in Ms. Hochul’s election.

Ryan’s Path to Prosperity = Political Suicide.

And yet Jeff Denham and every other Republican representative of the House, along with 40 similarly configured, ideologically driven Republican Senators, appear locked in a mindless, lemming-like march off a cliff of horrifyingly ill-conceived conviction, powerless to defy their invisible puppet masters.

I just don’t get it.

Back in that lazy, crazy summer of 1963, the top rate for personal Federal Income Taxes for the fortunately blessed was 91%, now slashed over time to 35%. All in all, Federal taxes for 2011 are the lowest in sixty years — since the end of World War Two.

The rich have not only gotten richer in recent decades. Elected surrogates have been brilliantly successful in blaming “Big Government” for the prolonged economic execution of America’s Middle Class. Even more sinister is the ever accelerating abolishment of social programs by the score and abandonment of any affirmative recognition of hard-won, long-accepted, time-honored commitments to a prosperous collective future in a thriving, vibrant, national union.

I would hope our President will now display the same courage, confidence and conviction which won him unparalleled praise from even his harshest critics in the bin Laden finale by — taking on the takers. They have a lot to give back. Let’s boogie with these bullet points:

* Any retreat on maintaining and bolstering Medicare/Medicaid as we know it will be unforgivable.

* Federal taxes must be increased by a full 10% on all net personal income above $250,000.

* Capital Gains should be moved upward to 35%.

* Investment in social programs curtailed by or eliminated through “budget cuts” should be restored at the soonest and increased thereafter as circumstances allow, i.e., when the rich again start paying their full fair share.

* Let’s bring home our troops from Iraq, Afghanistan and all those other places where American ground presence has become, in this age of deadly drones, an expensive, outmoded, completely unnecessary anachronism.

* The Republican Party of 2011 has been hijacked by precocious pretenders funded by an oligarchical cabal seeking eventual repeal of the whole New Deal. Then they’ll get serious. This threat should be met with the responsive severity it deserves.

* Washington lobbying should be enormously curtailed, if not completely eliminated as a formal enterprise. Why not? In most civilized societies, prostitution is illegal. Let’s write that up NOW. Then it’s on to “Medicare for All.”

* A Constitutional Amendment should be initiated aimed at overturning the Supreme Court’s horrid decision in “Citizens United” granting corporations “person” status in matters of free speech. Right now, it’s open season with major money ever more bold to keep us controlled.

* Under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, Federal legislation should be drafted and approved eliminating bidding between states offering competing, ever escalating tax breaks for corporations and other “divide and conquer” opportunities for the insatiable elite.

And let’s not be shy about sharing our concerns with others, particularly those beginning to realize that cries of “taking our country back” has been leaving out the last two words:

“To 1900!”

“Just Days and Counting!”

May 13, 2011

Howard Camping is an 89 year-old civil engineer who says we have just a few days days left. Then it’s Armageddon — the end of the world. Don’t start packing. He’s been wrong before.

Mr. Camping, heard regularly on Christian radio station 91.5 FM with a tower on Deadwood, claims Judgment Day will commence at 3 PM Pacific on Saturday — May 21, 2011. He says he’s getting that straight from God as revealed in the Holy Scriptures and promises he won’t screw up like last time when he swore the Apocalypse would kick off on September 6, 1994. That day came and went without much happening at all — except actor Jackson Pinckney was awarded $487,000 for being partially blinded by Jean-Claude Van Damme during filming of “Cyborg” and Aerosmith, Lisa Marie & Michael Jackson shared top honors at the 11th Annual MTV Awards, both events evidently not referenced in biblical prophesy.

Mr. Camping insists on his “Family Radio Network” that great earthquakes will shake the Earth that Saturday and continue through Oct. 21st as believers will be called to the heavens and the unrepentant will be thrown to the ground and shamed. Like in Ultimate Fighting.

Most faithful Christians dismiss Camping as embarrassingly errant, even as the Morning Order of Prayer in ancient Roman Catholic liturgy clearly states, “As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.” But this hasn’t stopped Camping and his happy Campingers from putting up billboards coast to coast proclaiming May 21st is Doomsday, adding that “The Bible Guarantees It!” Camping has tens of thousands of true believers, but some folks will believe anything. Anything at all –even the wildest of truly whacky ideas.

As of today, May 19, 2011, here’s what I consider —

This Week’s Top Ten Craziest Notions Floating around the Central Valley:

(1) The world will end Saturday. Nope. It won’t even slow down on its 60,000 mile an hour trip around the Sun. Get out your stop watch.

(2) “ObamaCare” exists. There’s no such thing — just changes in Federal law falling far, far short of health insurance for all. Keep your eyes on the State of Vermont. The legislature there has approved Universal Health Coverage, i.e., coverage for all. In 1791, Vermont was the first State in the Union to outlaw slavery. Vermont was also the first State to mint a copper penny (1785), first to see victory during the Revolutionary War in
the Battle of Fort Ticonderoga (1775) and first to photograph a snowflake (1885). I thought everything cool started in California.

(3) Taxing the rich kills jobs. But it might kill idle financial speculation that’s costing us four bucks a gallon for gas — a fortune with every fill-up.

(4) An increase in the Federal Debt Ceiling will be treasonous without slashing programs for the poor and powerless. I agree with the late Kurt Vonnegut. He wrote, “I despise Social Darwinism.”

(5) Social Security is broke. It’s not. Social Security is entirely solvent and will pay full benefits at least through 2042. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office even projects that Social Security may pay all benefits through 2052 with no changes whatsoever.

(6) Medicare must be replaced with private insurance purchased from “for profit” corporations. Or, yeah? Not if seniors have their say, especially our “seniors of tomorrow.”

(7) Abortion Rights, Same Sex Marriage, Collective Bargaining, Gays in the Military and other social issues, many thought to have been long since resolved, are a more important pressing priority than jobs, the economy and bringing our troops home. D’oh!

(8) Even though bin Laden is as dead as disco,”The War on Terror” stays alive and well. Osama sleeps with the fishes. GAME OVER!

(9) Like Fox News, our current U.S. Supreme Court is fair and balanced.
Can you say “Citizens United?” Corporations are legally complete human beings with the same rights, protection and privileges as any of us? Except maybe jury duty? Or military service? Or paying taxes?

(10) The Great Wall of Coarsegold will be fixed to everyone’s complete satisfaction so not a single soul will remain concerned about the whole darn hill crashing down on Highway 41 at the height of rush hour traffic. Hmmmmm. Maybe that’s something NO ONE believes. Not even Howard Camping.

With the world ending, why worry?