Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Republican Party Hates Veterans

I keep telling people that the Republican Party hates Veterans, and I think this message is finally starting to gain some traction.

The Republicans want to disenfranchise Veterans because they tend to be consistent with their voting patterns. Many of them are already Republicans, and vote Republican no matter what, so they are a safe voting bloc. Angering them does not automatically lead to defections, in other words.

The Democrats who can be identified as Veterans know that their benefits are under siege from Republicans. They know that the Republicans don't want to foot the bill for their foreign policy misadventures--to do so would be to acknowledge that they made a horrible mistake by invading Iraq and by creating so many wounded warriors. It was all about patriotism when it was time to vote for defense spending five or six years ago; now we hear about austerity and budget cuts when it comes time to figure out what we need to spend on rehabilitating and taking care of Veterans.

Naturally, they want to purge the voter rolls of anyone who even remotely sounds foreign. The fact that Mr. Internicola happens to have been awarded the Bronze Star for his service means nothing to these people; follow the link to the article and you'll see comments from the wingnuts who think that this man is probably an illegal alien, despite a lifetime spent in this country since returning from World War II.

If there's one thing that should have earned this man his citizenship and his dignity, it would have been his service. That means nothing to Republicans. They don't know what service is, and when they see a person who has served and who now identifies themselves as a Democrat, their first instinct is to disenfranchise that person and identify them as being un-American.

That's how it is in America right now--if you're a liberal, a Democrat, or someone who thinks that there is a progressive view of this country, then you have to be a socialist or a criminal. What a dismal state of affairs.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A Short Sale and an Object Lesson

This is an interesting story because it demonstrates just how out of touch the Congress is with what is going on in America.

If you're Senator Mike Lee, dumping your home in Alpine, Utah isn't about being caught up in a bad housing market. It's about getting rid of a property that is dragging you under before the lucrative paydays of being a United States Senator can start arriving.

Read this part of the article and try to keep from guffawing:
The state’s newest senator ended up in a "short sale" — in which a mortgage holder and bank agree to take a monetary hit to sell the home — after Lee was elected to the Senate and left his law firm, Howrey L.L.P. 
Lee said he knew he had to sell his home if elected because he went from a salary of several hundred thousand dollars a year to the Senate payroll of $174,500. But he thought improvements to the home and a rebound in housing prices would help. Failing that, he was owed a large sum, he says, from Howrey that could provide a "cushion." 
But then a neighbor’s home went through a short sale, dropping home values on the street, and Howrey filed for bankruptcy, leaving Lee with little option other than to persuade the bank to take a loss.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but going from an income of "several hundred thousand dollars" to $174,000 doesn't exactly mirror the American experience right now, does it? Those are choices people are certainly faced with in a few rare instances, but how many of them are looking at the potential earnings of having their fingers on the levers of power?

Lee obviously had a choice as to whether or not to maintain ownership of his dream home; he chose to dump it because it was losing value. How he believed that "improvements" to the home would help him pay his bills is beyond ludicrous to believe. How does improving a property lower the mortgage? That sounds like a sad-sack lie in order to make people ignore the fact that he calculated that a Senate seat would propel him out of Utah and far beyond what he could have achieved as a lawyer.

Lee ran for the Senate and bailed on his law firm because being a United States Senator is one of the most lucrative scams going. He, literally, grew up amongst Senators and was raised in McLean, Virginia amongst the politically connected (his father served in the Ford and Reagan Administrations). It's that simple. He knew several years ago that he would end up taking a hit--but he probably also knew that his law firm was on the ropes and he needed to find something else to do in order to maintain his cash flow. I don't know--but it sounds suspect to me. So, why not return to Washington D.C. and cash in on being in Congress? Sounds like a smart move to me. Dumping his "dream" house was smart as well. Who needs a money pit back home when your real home is in the leafy suburbs of Washington D.C.

Communities all over America are vulnerable to the housing market and it's not just about short sales. Abandoned homes litter the American landscape. Empty, blighted properties are driving down property values everywhere. The people who live there are seeing their incomes remain stagnated and their lives are on hold because they cannot unload the properties (and get a sweet deal like Lee did and have the bank and the mortgage holder take a voluntary loss) and move on. 

Well, Senator Lee has moved on. The object lesson here is, sucks to be you if you don't have a Senate seat to fall back on when things go south. He has four more years to start making deals and to start raising millions in campaign contributions. His connections guarantee him this payday. If his Senate career survives past his next re-election campaign, he can look at being a millionaire with as many homes as he wants when his twelfth year in the Senate is up. I'm sure he's crying like a baby over all of this.

Do you think Senator Lee is going to start writing legislation that will make things easier for people in his situation? No, he's from the party that thinks that your problem with your mortgage is because you're a lazy sinner who is getting what you deserve, so pull yourself up by your own bootstraps and win your own Senate seat, sucker.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

They Should Let Him Go

They should just let him go.

In America, when someone takes your money, you have the full resources of the courts and the rule of law to back you up and allow you to maintain your wealth.

In many countries, the legal system favors the government, or the power structure of the elites in that country. There are no protections. This is why, in Russia, for example, you can have a massive fortune and find yourself sitting in prison on trumped up charges and your fortune parsed out amongst Kremlin insiders.

Mr. Saverin doesn't understand how overseas banks can fail, and fail without notice, and how he can run afoul of the wrong bureaucracy and lose everything. In America, you have recourse. Anywhere else? Forget it.

The real outrage should be directed at corporations that pay no tax whatsoever while enjoying the protections of doing business in a country that has the rule of law. Those same people are sending a little coin towards Senator Schumer, however, so maybe that's what Saverin is really guilty of--failing to make a few timely donations to a handful of re-election campaigns.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Maid Has a Million Dollars?

Dominique Strauss-Kahn is probably not counting on collecting the million dollars:
Dominique Strauss-Kahn is suing the hotel housekeeper who accused him of sexually assaulting her, saying she seriously damaged his reputation with what he calls a bogus allegation. 
The former International Monetary Fund leader and French presidential hopeful struck back at maid Nafissatou Diallo's lawsuit against him with denials and a $1 million defamation claim of his own Monday, exactly a year after she told police he tried to rape her in his Manhattan hotel suite. He says whatever happened was consensual. 
He was arrested, resigned from the IMF, and spent several days behind bars and three months on house arrest before prosecutors dropped the case, saying they'd lost confidence in Diallo's trustworthiness because she'd lied about her background and changed her account of what she did right after leaving Strauss-Kahn's room. Although prosecutors didn't say they believed she misrepresented the encounter itself, Strauss-Kahn's court papers blast her claims as intentional lies.
What does he hope to gain? His future in French politics is gone; his place in history is wrapped in the sordid lies of his personal life. His name is never going to be restored to respectability. Burying this woman in a costly lawsuit is a neat tactical move. Once the money on her end dries up, DSK can walk away from the legal jeopardy of a U.S. court decision.

Suing this woman misses the real target. Whoever "set him up" should be sued, or at least investigated. I am of the belief that DSK was set up in New York City; but the reason why he was set up is obvious. His personal habits and practices left him vulnerable to being smeared in this way.

Oh, and where is his BlackBerry? That should be the real issue here.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

More Garbage From the Daily Caller

Yet another piece of nonsense from The Daily Caller. In an attempt to gin up some phony outrage, the "blogger" invents a phony story about how people who have trouble urinating is suddenly going to cost people billions of dollars.


As signed into law, there was, indeed, an update to the Americans With Disabilities Act. It was passed by Congress and signed into law by President George W. Bush on September 25, 2008. It took effect on January 1, 2009, some nineteen days BEFORE the Obama Administration.

The scope of disability covered under the law has been broadened, and you can thank President Bush for that. But, by implication, this fact is missing from the story posted above.

You gotta love how these dishonest clowns frame non-issues in such a specific and ignorant way. It's all Obama's fault, even the things signed into law by George W. Bush.

Which is to say, business as usual for the Daily Caller. The most pertinent piece of information is usually missing from a story that, by implication, makes this President Obama's fault.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Are These Stories Linked? You Betcha

 The economic problems facing the world are well documented; we are in an extended period of economic trouble and uncertainty. Dealing with these issues has put a tremendous strain on people all over the world.

The story posted above is about Italy; the one posted below is about a disturbing trend in Minnesota:

The coincidences are not readily apparent, however. Suicide is, many times, the result of mental illness. The first article details how the business downturn in Italy has driven many to desperation and suicide. The second article gives anecdotal evidence that there is an uptick in the number of people committing suicide by either jumping in front of a moving vehicle or by lying on a road.

I'm curious if the Minnesota suicides are driven by economic reasons. Stress and loss are factors that can drive suicides; my thinking is that there is some universality in these two stories and that they are driven by economic hard times and a vanishing safety net.

You see, destroying the safety net is not really about material things. It is really about dignity and hope. Granting people meager benefits--and not stigmatizing them and making them the subject of ridicule in our society--is one way to ease the stress of hard times and give people a reason to get on their feet again. I don't think it is natural to accept a handout and just stay there. It might be that way for some, but not for all. Our society isn't built that way. And if we were extending a little help and assistance to people who need it, maybe they wouldn't feel the absence of hope and possibility.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Mitt Romney's Arrest Reveals a Disregard For Public Safety

Mitt Romney and the hired help enjoy a day of boating

When Mitt Romney was arrested by a park officer in 1994, it revealed more about his character than I think people are willing to admit. It also revealed that there are more than few wingnuts who have no respect for public safety or park rangers.

With regards to Romney, you can't read this and not conclude that the man believes himself to be above the law. Simply saying, "I'll just pay the fine" ignores the instructions given to him by law enforcement. Yes, that park ranger or park official is a law enforcement officer. Disregarding his instructions is breaking the law and he was well within his rights to put Romney in handcuffs and take him in.

I think it is a wonderful touch to throw the boys out there, once again, and hope for sympathy and understanding. This is called deflecting attention away from the fact that he acted like a rich, entitled jackass in front of a law enforcement officer. Romney isn't Joe Sixpack, out on the lake for a good time. He's someone who ran for the U.S. Senate in the year that he was arrested. You'd think that a guy running for the Senate would have a little better judgment than that.

The law in question is pretty clear on this (granted, the law may have been updated since 1994):

Any state that goes to the extent noted here to spell out how an identification number should be properly displayed on a recreational boat isn't fooling around. My experience is with the State of Minnesota, not Massachusetts. Where I'm from, you wouldn't dream of going out on the lake in a boat that doesn't have the proper numbers displayed. And you certainly wouldn't disregard the instructions of a park official.

Our wingnut friends have what is, apparently, a limited acquaintance with common sense and recreational boating.

Here's a typical response:

Yes, Rick Moran is a complete and utter idiot. "Give lip to a cop?" Really? Does he have any idea how dangerous it is to be a park official? On the national level, being a park ranger is more dangerous than being a special agent with the FBI. You are twelve times more likely to die in the line of duty as a park ranger than an FBI agent.

Here's another one:

Poor Tom Maguire. The complete and utter extent of his reasoning capability is to make an Obama comparison. Talk about carrying water.

Not to be outdone, here's Hot Air:

Disregarding a police officer is no biggie? No wonder these people love them some George Zimmerman. Disregarding a law enforcement officer and launching a boat without visible identification numbers isn't technically breaking the law. It's breaking the law.

All of these responses gloss over the fact that Romney threw his weight around, bullied his way out of being held accountable for his disregard for law enforcement, and basically acted like a jackass in public because he can afford to pay fines and do whatever he wants to do. The rest of America doesn't live like this. The rest of America doesn't tool around on a boat like Richie Rich, flaunting power, wealth, and prestige. And I'm pretty sure the rest of America doesn't hide behind the fact that having five sons in the car is reason enough to do whatever you want and to hell with what some park ranger says.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Unethical Practices From the Travel Channel

In order to raise revenue and defraud their readers, the Travel Channel's website features this neat little item.

When you follow a link from an affiliate, you end up on the Travel Channel website. The "video" above promises a beautiful woman will "frolic" before your eyes and thus give you a softcore porn fix.

The problem is, when you click on the video to make it work (ha! how did I get this far? well, uh...there's something shiny over there! look!), it takes you to an ad for going RV'ing. At least, that's why I get here overseas. You might get a different ad or result when you click on the video in the continental United States. All I know is, when I followed the link from an affiliate, I ended up looking at a pop-up ad. And that's clearly a dastardly crime of unexpectedly evil proportions. Or no big deal. Take your pick.

This is the sort of thing websites do to survive now. They bait and switch, lie and deceive, and risk losing their credibility. It would be nice if Google would downgrade to a zero rating and stop sending them traffic in exchange for this unethical little turd. But, that would be shrill, wouldn't it?

Well played, Travel Channel. Well played, indeed.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

CREW Makes a Move Against Fox News

CREW has the right idea here. By going after the FCC licenses, they will keep this story alive in the United States. There is a criminal aspect to what News Corp was doing and it should be investigated and prosecuted in the United States. Hounding Rupert Murdoch is something everyone should welcome. He used his enormous power against people for decades. Now we're seeing some measure of payback.

The problem is, there is no FCC. It is a paralyzed, toothless agency. It cannot move swiftly against anyone or anything, unless they accidentally expose their boobs on network television.