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Friday, December 23, 2011

Hitchens on Kissinger

Not only is this post dedicated to Christopher Hitchens, it is dedicated to Deb, a good friend whose shared respect and admiration for his writings prompted me to endeavor to read his long essays, arguably some of his most important works.  It would be impossible to thank him enough for these invaluable works; the best we can do is honor him by reading them.  They will at once open your eyes, make you question why what he reveals is not much more well known and piss you off to no end.  He would appreciate the latter very much.
Before we get to that though, I would like to share the BBC tribute to Hitch that aired shortly after his passing.

I'm not sure whether I'm going to do one of these each time I read one of his long exposes -- that is my intent -- but I'll share a link to a collection of the best of them (courtesy of The Daily Beast) so that you'll have them in case I fail to follow through.
This first installment is regarding the essay(s) Hitch wrote indicting Henry Kissinger as a war criminal for his hand in sabotaging the 1968 Paris Treaty talks and, therefore, extending the Viet Nam War, leading to the unnecessary deaths of thousands of U.S. troops and hundreds of thousands of human beings in total.  (Side note:  As a result of the 1973 Paris Peace Accords, Kissinger and Le Durc Tho were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, which Tho refused.  Know this before you read Hitch's essay and make sure you have a pail handy to puke in)
The very short version is that Kissinger as a liaison for Richard Nixon, the Republican Nominee for President, secretly had meetings with the South Vietnamese government in the late summer and early fall of 1968, telling them that they could get a better deal in peace talks with them once Nixon was elected than they were currently getting with the Johnson administration or with a potential Humphrey administration -- private citizens undermining the peace negotiations between the U.S. Government and a foreign government.  Now, there's no guarantee the 1968 peace talks would have succeeded in ending the Vietnam War or that, if it had, the war wouldn't have restarted; but the terms of the 1973 Accords are practically identical to what was on the table in 1968.  So I and Hitchens would make the argument that if it succeeded in '73, it would have succeeded in '68.
So what did Nixon and Kissinger have to gain by doing this?  Obviously making the Johnson Administration and its heir apparent Humphrey Administration look inept and, therefore, giving the election to Nixon, only at a cost of thousands and thousands of lives, a small price to pay when you're right.  Right?

It will take you an hour or so to get through that first long essay but I couldn't encourage you more strongly to take the time to do so.  Have a glass of scotch in honor of Hitch while you do so, the time will pass quickly and you'll be ever so glad you did.
I'll leave you with the last two paragraphs of his essay regarding Kissinger and Viet Nam:

When the unpreventable collapse occurred in Cambodia and Vietnam, in April and May 1975, the cost was infinitely higher than it would have been seven years previously. These locust years ended as they had begun--with a display of bravado and deceit. On May 12, 1975, in the immediate aftermath of the Khmer Rouge seizure of power, Cambodian gunboats detained an American merchant vessel named the Mayaguez. The ship was stopped in international waters claimed by Cambodia and then taken to the Cambodian island of Koh Tang. In spite of reports that the crew had been released, Kissinger pressed for an immediate face-saving and "credibility"-enhancing strike. He persuaded President Gerald Ford, the untried and undistinguished successor to his deposed former boss, to send in the Marines and the Air Force. Out of a Marine force of 110, 18 were killed and 50 were wounded. Twenty-three Air Force men died in a crash. The United States used a 15,000-ton bomb on the island, the most powerful nonnuclear device that it possessed. Nobody has the figures for Cambodian deaths. The casualties were pointless, because the ship's company of the Mayaguez were nowhere on Koh Tang, having been released some hours earlier. A subsequent congressional inquiry found that Kissinger could have known of this by listening to Cambodian broadcasting or by paying attention to a third-party government that had been negotiating a deal for the restitution of the crew and the ship. It was not as if any Cambodians doubted, by that month of 1975, the willingness of the U.S. government to employ deadly force.
In Washington, D.C., there is a famous and hallowed memorial to the American dead of the Vietnam War. Known as the "Vietnam Veterans Memorial," it bears a name that is slightly misleading. I was present for the extremely affecting moment of its dedication in 1982 and noticed that the list of nearly 60,000 names is incised in the wall not by alphabet but by date. The first few names appear in 1959 and the last few in 1975. The more historically minded visitors can sometimes be heard to say that they didn't know the United States was engaged in Vietnam as early or as late as that. Nor was the public supposed to know. The first names are of the covert operatives, sent in by Colonel Edward Lansdale without congressional approval to support French colonialism. The last names are of those thrown away in the Mayaguez fiasco. It took Henry Kissinger to ensure that a war of atrocity, which he had helped to prolong, should end as furtively and ignominiously as it had begun.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Oh yes, they did

How can someone as successful and, therefore, intelligent as Donald Trump be so delusional.  And with Trump it isn't your entry-level delusion like he could win the Republican nomination (which he did say actually) or that he could win the Presidential election as an independent but it's how he says he'd doing well with "the blacks and unions and Latinos."    See for yourself below, starting at the 3 minute mark.  Please run for President, Donald, please! That I would love to see.

Next we have Millard Romney talking about, of all things, the entitlement society. In his case I think he's so out of touch he truly doesn't know that these "entitlement programs" couldn't be further from entitlements. We pay into Social Security, unemployment, etc, so that they'll be there when we need them; something that someone who's inherited his worth and, therefore, has enormous wealth would never understand the need for.
No video this time, just a reason to get you to read yet another spot-on article by Robert Creamer, from which I'll share a few quotes to lure you in.
It really takes chutzpa for a guy who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth to rail against an "entitlement society." Here is a guy who got his start in life the old-fashioned way -- he inherited it.
No, Romney is much more interested in privatizing Social Security and Medicare so his Wall Street buddies can get their hands on the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds -- even though that would eliminate the guaranteed benefits that are so critical to the health and welfare of America's seniors.
In fact, he seems to agree with the Republican leaders of the House who say that unemployment benefits discourage people from looking for work. Guess Mitt has never been one of the five people competing for every available job. Oh, I forgot, Mitt says he is "unemployed" too. Talk about out of touch.

And then thanks to my friend, Lady A, for pointing out the clip below. You can read her at Thoughts From 16th Avenue. It's always nice to see the Faux News vetting system fall short.

RJ, you'll be glad to know I decided not to steal your "They Said It" idea. :)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Creating false enemies

Sparked by another seemingly innocent graphic going around Facebook, I feel the need to point out the blind, ignorant, one-way thinking of the further-to-the-right-everyday crowd, the war-against-Christmas crowd, the war-against-the-poor crowd.  The graphic at issue simply has an arrow pointing to the poster with a holiday theme and the words "This person DOES NOT say Happy Holidays; this person says Merry Christmas...get over it!"  This is a perfect example of creating an enemy, creating something bad that doesn't really exist as a way to be divisive and as a way to rally one side (the goodie goodies of the right) against the evil liberal elitist, god-hating heathens of the left.  It's the same ploy they use to try to make you think there are people who are against the troops when they say things like "Support the troops...there are far too many people who don't," when in fact neither they nor you know a single soul who doesn't believe in supporting the troops.  As it relates to the Christmas versus Holiday War, the same rebuttal applies -- you don't know a solitary soul who has a problem with someone saying Merry Christmas but the Merry Christmas crowd surely has a problem with you NOT saying Merry Christmas.  "You MUST say Merry Christmas or else we're falling into a godless society or worse."  Whatever happened to free speech and freedom of religion?  Being told you must believe and observe the way they do is quite the opposite, yet they like to use your lack of agreement with them as a sign that you're oppressing them, when in fact it is they who are trying to oppress you.  You have to admit it's brilliant and it works, unfortunately, over and over and over.

There are correlations with the above to an outstanding editorial comment by Rachel Maddow last night.  I don't want to be too wordy.  I'll just invite you to watch this 12 minute clip and pay attention to things like voter fraud, farm dust, In God We Trust and drug testing people who are on unemployment or welfare and look for the ulterior motive. I couldn't more strongly urge you to watch this clip. It is one of the best essays I've seen in some time. Thank you, Rachel. It's important we all realize what the true motives and ideologies are of these people.

Which is a nice segue into a very brief discussion regarding Ayn Rand.  What these people really want is a society like the one envisioned by Rand in books like The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, one that goes against the progressive value of togetherness and replaced by a simpler dog-eat-dog model.  I would encourage you to read The Real Attack on the Spirit of Christmas Comes From the Right Wing, the latest article by one of my favorite writers, Robert Creamer, where he outlines very well the endgame of this ideology and how it contrasts not only with our progressive ideology but quite often with the same people who support it, another example of the hypocrisy of the love thy neighbor religious right.  Below is my favorite quote:
Progressive values: that we're all in this together, not all in this alone; unity not division; hope not fear; equality not subjugation; the premise that if each of us is better educated all of us will be wiser; that it is not true that for me to be richer you have to be poorer -- but rather that if each of us is more prosperous, all of us will have more opportunity; that our success comes from cooperation and mutual respect. These progressive values are the most precious assets that will give human beings the ability to make it through that gauntlet -- and to create a truly democratic society.
I would also encourage you to read my friend RJ's review of The Fountainhead, "Another Selfish Manifesto Ending, at Heels N Martinis.

If we don't talk again beforehand, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, my friends.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christopher Hitchens

From those of us who are boring and irrelevant, a toast of scotch to you, Christopher Hitchens.  It'll have to be Johnny Walker Green, since I have no Black and don't really care for it; but we can still use your term, Mr. Walker's Amber Restorative.
He was an atheist (or more accurately by his definition an antitheist) and an asshole (two of my favorite traits), an enigma, a provocateur, a satirist, an intellectual elitist, a bon viveur; he was someone I disagreed with nearly as often as I agreed but he was always eloquent and interesting and relevant. As he said, he was friends with Salman Rushdie, was nearly scratched by Mother Theresa and nearly spanked by Margaret Thatcher.
 My own opinion is enough for me, and I claim the right to have it defended against any consensus, any majority, anywhere, any place, any time. And anyone who disagrees with this can pick a number, get in line and kiss my ass.
To those of us who wish we could be writers, he is both a goal and the reason we don't even try.  Why bother if your best isn't even half as good as he was at his worst?
True, he was an egomaniac -- how could anyone who condemned Bll Clinton, Henry Kissinger and Ghandi, amongst many others, not be?  But he was conversely very modest.  You couldn't help but be fascinated listening to him argue a point as eloquently as anyone ever, much like his idols Paine and Jefferson and Orwell, even a point or issue that you vehemently disagreed with.
Hitchens is very, very high on my list of people who are the answer to the question, "If you could 'come back' as anyone who ever lived, who would it be?  That is due in large part to his success as a philosopher and provocateur obviously but in equal measure due to the way he lived life and approached his intellectual discoveries and defense thereof...he didn't give a shit whether you agreed or not.  Where we almost always agreed is the subject of anti-totalitarianism, which includes religion.
From The Wiki:
Identified as a champion of the "New Atheism" movement, Hitchens described himself as an antitheist and a believer in the philosophical values of the Enlightenment. Hitchens said that a person "could be an atheist and wish that belief in god were correct," but that "an antitheist, a term I'm trying to get into circulation, is someone who is relieved that there's no evidence for such an assertion."[17] He argued that the concept of god or a supreme being is a totalitarian belief that destroys individual freedom, and that free expression and scientific discovery should replace religion as a means of teaching ethics and defining human civilization. He wrote at length on atheism and the nature of religion in his 2007 book God Is Not Great.
 Anti-war British politician George Galloway, on his way to testify in front of a United States Senate sub-committee investigating the scandals in the U.N. Oil for Food program, called Hitchens a "drink-sodden ex-Trotskyist popinjay",[155] to which Hitchens quickly replied, "only some of which is true".[156] Later, in a column for Slate promoting his debate with Galloway which was to take place on 14 September 2005, he elaborated on his prior response: "He says that I am an ex-Trotskyist (true), a 'popinjay' (true enough, since the word's original Webster's definition is a target for arrows and shots), and that I cannot hold a drink (here I must protest)."[157]

There are many video interviews of Hitchens on shows like "The Daily Show," where you can get glimpses of the large intellect, ego and humor of the man; but where you really get insight into who he was and what he believed was in the many interviews he did with Charlie Rose.  Unfortunately, the Charlie Rose website does not offer embeds.  So I'll invite you to this link, which is the last of the 13 appearances by Christopher Hitchens with Charlie Rose, a whole hour from 2010.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Are liberals never satisfied?

In a word, no, which is a good thing in the sense that it keeps things going forward, another reason we're also called progressives.  Obviously it's a "bad" thing when it makes you always look at the glass as being half empty instead of half full, which is paradoxical to me because I feel liberals overall are optimists, not pessimists.
This discussion is prompted by Jonathan Chait's provocative article in New York Magazine, Debunking Obama's So-Called Leadership Failure.  While the article is not completely taking liberals to task --
Okay, so if Obama openly endorses a bipartisan plan, he’s killing it. And if he keeps his distance, he’s also killing it. What if he tries to directly negotiate a deficit reduction plan behind closes doors? Well, Obama did that, too, this last summer. Republicans opposed it as well.
-- it does most certainly do that.  "Various fiscal scolds have been scolding President Obama for failing to use his mind-control powers to force Republicans to accept a tax hike."

And it is true that many liberals look too fondly at historic Democratic Presidents, seemingly forgetting the warts and the fact that at the time we were just as critical and not satisfied with that President as we are with President Obama today.  Now, to be fair, that particular predilection is not owned by Democrats.  Republicans too have a tendency to view past Republican Presidents this way.  The difference is they view current Republican Presidents with the same rose colored glasses.
I think what's useful about this discussion is an effort in determining whether it is overall a good thing or bad thing that liberals are generally never satisfied.  I don't think there's much debate about whether we are, in fact, never satisfied, though you're certainly entitled to disagree.  What results from our tendency to view things the way we do is a much more accurate view of reality.  We tend to care very little (especially us Independents) whether there's a D or an R in front of your name; we will scrutinize your words and actions about as fairly as possible, given that all human beings have a lean towards their personal biases.

Also Jonathan Chait was interviewed regarding his article by Chris Matthews on Hardball along with Salon's Joan Walsh; and Joan Walsh makes a very good statement regarding our values about 3/4 of the way through this interview.  It's a lively and fun poke at ourselves, well worth watching.  (Chris doesn't interrupt as much as he usually does)

So I agree, we're never satisfied but I don't think that at all means we're not mostly reasonable.  Everyone's unreasonable sometimes.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Disgusting, ugly Americans

By now I'm sure most of you, even if you're not Nascar fans, have heard that an audible portion of the crowd at Miami/Homestead Speedway booed Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden yesterday.

They were there as Grand Marshals, which in Nascar speak means you get to say "Gentlemen, start your engines."  The First and Second ladies were there to honor the troops and get out the word about their troop related causes, which is what First Ladies do.
Now, I know all about free speech and don't even try to sidetrack the discussion.  If you can picket a soldier's funeral, you can certainly boo the First Lady.  That doesn't mean that these "expressions" are not classless.  Since when do we as a country boo the First Lady?  Well, since Hilary Clinton was First Lady, that's when.  When the right boos the First Lady, it's a free speech issue; but if the left were to boo a First Lady, which I have never heard happen, then it would be unAmerican, unpatriotic, disrespectful.  Well, I submit to you that booing the First Lady is all of those things.

Now, let's be clear that I have nothing against Laura Bush.  I'm just using her as an example.  If it isn't alright to boo someone who negligently killed a young man in an auto accident as a teenager but wasn't punished due to her family's political influence, then it isn't alright to boo this First Lady just because she's a Democrat at best and, at worse, black.  Can't we in this country at least show enough class to not boo the First Lady?  President George W. Bush's policies, actions, lack of actions and words made the left in this country every bit as angry at him as the right is at President Obama but I never once heard his wife booed.  Why?  I can only mostly speak for myself but it's because we recognize who's The Decider and who isn't.  And honestly,  on the right there is no limit, no guideline, no civil restraint, no modulation.  Name five of the nastiest, most hateful political pundits you can think of, and they're all on the right and have enormous followings.

Lastly, I want to challenge Nascar to come out publicly and denounce this as unAmerican.  They won't because they'll claim to be apolitical but they're anything but apolitical.  If the same sanctioning body that shoves the American flag, the invocation and Pledge of Allegiance down your throat at every race doesn't come out and call this unpatriotic, they'll be showing you just exactly where they stand.  Again, these ladies were there to support the troops (supporting the troops, something the right claims to own exclusively) and yet they boo her.  As someone said to me, "They might as well have pissed on the flag" because booing her in this instance is booing her cause, the troops.

And an added note to the right, now that I've searched the net in an effort to see whether Nascar had condemned this and seen the internet exploding with a disgusting display of the right, in typical fashion, lying about how if it's fair to boo George Bush or Sarah Palin, it's fair to boo Michelle Obama.  Listen fucknucks, look at yourselves in the mirror and see what you've become -- how nasty, ugly, disgusting, trivial you are.  You'll say anything to defend your ugliness.  Booing someone who is running for public office is NOT the same thing.  And I won't even begin to address and certainly not give examples of some of the name calling directed at the First Lady that I saw on some very high profile right wing blogs.  Thank you for continuing to scratch a big ugly scar into what once was the most envied country on the planet.  You should be ashamed of yourselves but I know it's not in your DNA.  Good people have the capacity to look in the mirror and fairly judge their actions and feel remorse accordingly.  All I see from the right these days is a never-ending capacity for ugliness and hate in response to being called out.

UPDATE:  And now one of the ugliest Americans of them all has weighed in, saying the reason they booed the First Lady is because she's uppity and they don't like uppity.  That's not very well disguised, Rush.  I'm surprised you just didn't say the N word because that's exactly what you meant and exactly what your dittohead listeners heard.

Class Warfare it is not

Pointing out that the policies and laws of this country favor the 1% over the 99% is not class warfare, no matter how many times Republicans and their paid wagging tongues say it. And kudos to the Democrats in Congress who FINALLY seem to be growing a pair, though to be honest they wouldn't be so bold (and never have been) if the American public wasn't overwhelmingly demanding it.

Another great article by Robert Creamer on this point:

Long-term, widely shared prosperity requires that the incomes of everyday people increase in proportion to their increasing productivity. If it doesn't, they simply won't have the money to buy the increased number of goods and services that they themselves have the ability to produce. That is the formula for economic stagnation and the end of the American dream.
The inability of the Super Committee to reach an agreement is not a reflection on the "intransigence" of both sides and "unwillingness" to compromise. The far right that now dominates the Republican Party insists on positions that fall far outside of mainstream views of everyday American voters. They want changes in the American social contract that will destroy the middle class.
To me it's not a coincidence that the rise in the U.S. deficit coincides with the rise in the corporate money influence in our politics through the Super PACs and lobbyists. Why is that? Look at the fall of the tax rates for corporations and billionaires over the same period. We would not be having the deficit problems, the rotting of our infrastructure, the cutback in education and services to the truly needy if those tax rates were even half of what they once were.  Fighting for something even remotely resembling fairness, a level playing field for all Americans, is not class warfare.

If you're not into words but would like to see things in a more graphical form.  This excellent article is just for you.  It lays things out for you pretty clearly.

And a report released just last week shows that the middle class in this country is shrinking.  Now, that would be a good thing if it meant those leaving the middle class were joining the upper class.  That is hardly the case though.  Those leaving the middle class are joining the lower class.  Being poor must be really popular because more and more Americans are choosing to be poor, at least according to the dimwits of this country who feel that people are poor because they're lazy and choose to be.

So standing up for ourselves is not class warfare.  What is class warfare is calling the opposite class warfare so that you can hide the class warfare that exists.  It's a tried and true tactic but I'm hopeful that the American people will finally see an issue at a better percentage than 60/40.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Who's Got Your Back?

That's a very good question that unfortunately doesn't have a good, strong answer.
We do know, however, who has the Republican Party's back and vice versa.  Check out this scoop by Chris Hayes
It's always been about power, influence and control.  These people have never cared for a nanosecond about the vast majority of us who don't have money or power or influence individually, but watch how they react when we gather together to exert what power we do have.  They will do anything and stop at nothing to keep what they have, much of it earned dishonestly; and they'll lie to your face in an effort to keep you on their side, while they're picking your pocket again.

Also, these folks talk like they have your back but everything they do, if you're really paying attention, says quite the opposite.I'm going to ask you to watch another video clip because I can't figure out how to do a screen capture from a web video but this clip is only three minutes long. It's from The Rachel Maddow Show from the other night talking about the obviously sick young man who shot a rifle at the White House. What makes me want to vomit though is what you'll see starting at the 1:15 point of this video, where she's showing the subtitle that Faux News used to tell this story, calling him the "Occupy Shooter." There is zero evidence that he has anything to do with the Occupy Movement or any movement. When is the 40% of this country that watches Fox's criminal behavior finally going to wise up that this outfit never has and never is and never will be about facts or news? They're only about keeping you scared, misinformed and on the side that pays them to do what they do.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

This N That

Or That N This, if you insist on being disagreeable.

How is it that Congressman and Senators dramatically increase their wealth while being paid by us to be public servants?  One way is the Newt Gingrich way, selling your status for money when all that money buys you is potential influence.  Another way is through insider information on stocks.  Watch this 60 Minutes episode and become upset that it's not illegal, even if we all recognize it as very unethical.

If you didn't already feel they weren't working for our best interests, this ought to seal the deal.  The more outraged we get about this stuff, the more we publicly demand change with our voices and our votes.  Are you outraged yet?

While we still don't have a jobs bill, Congress found the time to decide that pizza is a vegetable.  Why would they do that, you ask?  Because they were lobbied to do so by the companies that make money from pizza being served in our kids' school, whether it's healthy for them or not.

Dorli Rainey is my hero.  Who's she?  She's the 84-year-old woman who was pepper sprayed at Occupy Seattle.  She was interviewed by Keith Olbermann, who asked her how she was doing.  Her reply is priceless, "I'm feeling great," she said. "I'm so energized. It's amazing what a little pepper spray will do for you."  Watch the complete interview below.

This letter, written in response to yet another of those pictures you see with the fine young American's face and a letter held up next to it explaining how hard they work and everyone else should shut up and do the same, is the best and most thorough and completely logical response I have yet seen.  It's perfect, except it's too long; but I guess it has to be to explain thoroughly what shouldn't have to be explained at all.  If you have not read this response, whether you're inclined to agree with the 99% or you think the whole thing is bullshit, I beg you to read the response that's linked at the beginning of this paragraph.  Here's a very small sample:  "Do you really want the bar set this high?  Do you really want to live in a society where just getting by requires a person to hold down two jobs and work 60 to 70 hours a week?  Is that your idea of the American Dream?"  I'm also starting to wonder about the veracity of these letters supporting the 1%.  I smell a PAC, maybe even a Super PAC.

Did you hear about the reporter and camera person for The Daily Caller (yes, the right wing rag that's been overly harsh and unfair and inaccurate about OWS) being knocked down by police at Occupy Wall Street?  Guess who came to their aide?  Yup, the very same protesters Michelle Fields had been demonizing.  Read the story here.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Dishonorable Mention

What happens when one party doesn't care about deficits until the opposing party is in the White House?  What happens to deficits when one party only asks the working class to pay off the debt that that party helped build by giving tax breaks to the richest one percent and to corporations who pay no taxes?  What happens when one party convinces its base that deficit reduction at a time of zero growth is more important than creating jobs?  What happens when one party represents the 1% percent at all cost and at the peril of the 99%?
What happens when the other party doesn't have the balls to stand up against that first party and for the people they claim to represent?
You get a gridlocked, do-nothing Congress, an economy that's working great for the 1% and failing the 99% and a Super Committee proposing benefit cuts like these:
 If you hadn't yet realized that the Republican Party's mission of doing anything to make sure Obama was a one-term President was being done counter to what was in the best interests of the country as a whole or that "anything" was meant literally, then you should know it now.  Semper FU indeed!  If that doesn't piss you off and make your blood boil, nothing will.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Messrs. Duplicity, Grabass, Flipflop & Oops

Too bad this isn't the law firm that it sounds like.  Unfortunately it's the best Republican candidates, at least based on the tastes of the voters,  for President.of the United States.
Newt Gingrich, Inc, is the worst of the lot, if you can imagine that.  The best you can say about him is he's the smartest one of the bunch but smarts has not been a prized attribute of Republican voters, and in this instance he's the type of person who's always used his smarts for personal gain.  He's not exactly a flipflopper but more like a spinning top that's always saying whatever is convenient and convincing.  Unfortunately for Newt, he's been around a long time and his record will catch up to him and in very short order.  He is the epitome of the word politician when used in its most derisive form.  Good thing he's a "history professor" because he's soon to be history.
Where to start and end with Mr. Ubekibekibekistanstan?  He's right, you don't have to know anything to get the Republican nomination or to even be elected President, sadly.  He "doesn't know anything about foreign policy"; his fiscal policies at best came from a video game; he didn't try to have sexual relations with those women and he's the leading man in the latest Koch Brothers movie release.  Many people on the left have found him to be charming and harmless (I suppose he is harmless from the standpoint that he won't get the nomination) but his smarmy nature is starting to show through his charm or perhaps what was seen as charm was always smarminess hidden by a nice, clever smile. "Gotcha!" says Herm.
From a moderate standpoint, Romney is the most palatable of these candidates but that's like saying sardines are more palatable than rotten fish.  True, he would likely govern from the center right, something you can't say about the rest of the candidates; though ask me tomorrow and I might change my mind, if necessary.  At best he's bought and paid for, and at worst he's bought and paid for.
Poor Governor Perry, doesn't he strike you as the guy who had the best of everything handed to him, guided and steered the whole time, who suddenly finds he has to do and think on his own and has no real experience in doing so?  He really should be the Republican frontrunner since most of his positions are in lockstep with the far right he covets.  The problem is that he's done a few nice, humanitarian things as governor; his jobs record is based on Federal funding and there's that rock in the front yard.
So now that we've covered the senior partners, the junior partners are waiting for their turn -- well, other than kooky Michelle Bachmann, who started out at the big table and quickly got demoted.  For someone who needs to say outrageous things to get noticed, to me she's actually been rather sensible lately.  That's because to point out the obvious errors of the frontrunners makes her look smart because she's saying things that are actually true for a change.
Ron Paul?  Honest, stable and truly not electable, even in this historically weak field; and that would be against the Republicans, say nothing about running against a moderate Democrat.
John Huntsman?  Eminently qualified, very smart, very personable and yet you've hardly seen him because in the eyes of the Republican voters he's more a Democrat than a Teabagger.
Then there's the guy who's name when searched on Google makes your butt cheeks pucker and a few others you never get to see.
Thanks for the laughs and the great theater, Republicans; but most of all, thanks for doing a hundred debates and showing America the many faces of the Republican Party, thank you so much.

After I wrote the rough draft last night, Stephen Colbert helped me out with a fitting skit. Unfortunately, they split it into two videos.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Call to Action

The discontent of the American people regarding their ineffective, wasteful, corrupt big-money-owned government has been simmering for some time, boiling over at times with the rise of the Tea Party and then again with the Occupy Movement. Now I'm not saying these two divergent sides believe in the same things but they do, despite not realizing it, believe in some common things. One of those things happens to be the biggest threat to our democracy, the fact that our government more and more everyday is bought and paid for.
It takes an enormous amount of money to get elected to almost anything these days. To get the money necessary, it means you've obligated yourself to return the favor; and then those same power brokers spend millions on lobbyists to continue to manipulate the system in their favor. Once a person is elected to high office, the money and power become a drug, effecting their every decision.
Well, it may have taken far too long to happen but the American people are wising up, as it were, and they're mad as hell. As a result, we're starting to see a pushback and recently that pushback has started to produce organizations with the means to fight back with media exposure and organization.
Which brings me to the logo and link above. At last count over a quarter of a million people have joined this group and signed the petition to get behind possible Constitutional amendments to get the money out. I would encourage you to follow the link to Get Money Out and at least learn what they/we're about, and hopefully you'll be as impressed as I am and want to also sign the petition.  They may have the money but we have the power of numbers if we act.  The time is now.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Those of you who know me personally or have read enough of my writing know that I am nothing if not fiercely independent.  That means that not only do I not always vote for one party in elections, it also means that I strongly support maintaining my right to be independent, not affiliated with any political party; therefore, not having pressure from my chosen party to go along with something I disagree with.
Sometimes I find it important to vote for Independents to make a point, although usually I vote for Independents because I believe in what they stand for, and always support issues that make it easier for independents to get involved in politics or make it easier for all of us to vote, such as open primaries.
Aside from voting for an Independent, it can often be difficult for an independent like myself to find organizations to support who stand for the same things.  Well, there is an organization now here in Maine called OneMaine, founded and chaired by Eliot Cutler, who you'll remember I wrote about and supported during his run for Governor last year (very nearly winning and becoming our third Independent Governor).  He founded this organization to attempt to bring under one roof all the people in Maine who are of like mind about having less partisanship and more cooperation in our politics for the benefit of the people of Maine.  From the OneMaine website:
OneMaine provides a rallying point for people who think for themselves, who believe that our politics need to be more effective and less partisan, and who care less about parties and more about common interests and shared purpose. We are not a political party, but rather a big tent in which Mainers of all stripes – Democrats, Republicans, Greens and unenrolled, independent voters – can collaborate, share ideas and move Maine forward.
Mr. Cutler helped establish this organization following last year's gubernatorial election to try to take advantage of the independent momentum of that campaign and to provide a place for disparate people with a common goal of the best interests of Mainers.
I would encourage you to support OneMaine (you can start at the link above or like them on Facebook) or to look for like organizations if you live outside of Maine.  There are many of you out there like myself who have always been independent and have looked for a place to get involved without joining a party.  Now you have that place.
The other day I sent an email to OneMaine asking if they'd be so kind as to give me a progress update on OneMaine that I could share with you.  Kaitlin LaCasse, the media relations director, was gracious enough to get right back to me with the following:
"So far, the response to OneMaine has been fantastic. When we launched in Bangor a few months ago, over 75 people attended to learn more about OneMaine and to have a conversation about how to best move the organization forward. Since then, we've held events all around the state, and the enthusiasm for OneMaine continues to amaze me. At our Portland event (where there were over 100 people!), an older gentleman came up to me after and said, "thank you, I've been yearning for something like this." The best part is that the man hadn't ever connected with us before - he had read about the event in the paper and decided to come check it out! So, OneMaine continues to grow and mature and we're excited about the potential."
 Thank you!
 Cross-posted at The Hankster

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran's Day open forum

On this Veteran's Day I'd like us all to remember the sacrifices of so many in all branches of the United States military, and supporting organizations; sacrifices big and small.  Patriots come in many different forms.  Remember especially that those who wore the uniform wrote a blank check to the people of this country, a check payable up to and including their lives.  It is because of that unselfish sacrifice that we have this great country and the freedoms it holds.

Today I'd like to open this blog up to the readers to say in their own words how appreciative they are of our veterans.  Leave in the comments of this blog a little anecdote, a remembrance of someone close to you, what it means to you to live in this country because of the sacrifice of our veterans, or just the names of veterans that are important to you, whether they be serving currently or in the past, whether they be your ancestors, friends or just someone you look up to.

I'll start it off by remembering my Great Grandfather Stanley Basford Sr, who served during WWI in the Army, and my stepson Timothy, who served on active duty in the Army and is still in the National Guard.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Happy Birthday, my band of brothers

 Happy birthday to all the Marines out there; those who are no longer with us, those who are retired, those who are currently serving and those who will some day serve.  But most especially a great big oooh rah, Semper Fi and a toast with my glass of scotch to those very special Marines who I had the great privilege to know and become friends with, who welcomed me into this very special group with open arms and who I still have a special bond with to this day.  You have some idea, I know, how it feels for me to be one of you but let me just say that feeling resides in a place in my heart and soul that no one else has ever entered.

Now enough of the mushy stuff and back to the scotch, a gentleman's drink offered in friendship and camaraderie, cheers as I share with you this video message from the Commandant of the Marine Corps.

I don't know whether, if you're not a Marine, that brings an ear-to-ear smile coupled with a tear like it does this Marine but I suspect it does.  But there is another feeling that only we feel.  Now, I never served in combat and would never act like I know what it feels like but I do feel like I'm there with them and I "bleed" when they bleed.
One final thing, since I'm reminded of this watching that video and being a proud native of the State of Maine, is to give a toast and an ooh rah to the fine people of Bangor who welcome all those troops, every one of them, when they arrive back home.
I would encourage you to leave the name of a fallen Marine in the comments, like a permanent honor roll.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

In Support of Unions

I can honestly say there was a time when I thought labor unions had worn out their usefulness because they were cocky and arrogant and too powerful.  Well, now that pendulum has swung drastically in the other direction and hopefully organized labor has learned from this.
Did unions go too far sometimes and go after worker rights at the expense of fairness and reason?  Yes.
Have there been union employees who have rested on their laurels and taken advantage of that system to get much more than they deserved?  Absolutely.
Have there been workers who should have been fired the first time for an offense but yet got three more bites at the apple because they were part of a union?  True again.
But if you think for one moment that you're not much, much better off today because of the sacrifice of union organizers and workers, you're the fool those who are trying to take away the right to organize hope you are.
I know it's easy to say things that sound purely American, like he who works hardest and smartest will get ahead and unions keep that from happening.  Well, you forget your history.  Before organized labor you weren't paid nearly what you were worth.  It mattered not if you were twice as good as the person next to you; you both got paid the same, next to nothing.  All of the things we take for granted in the workplace these days are there because of the sacrifices of labor unions -- word day length, breaks, benefits, child labor laws, you name it.
Now you have people on the right trying to pit you against your fellow worker in the middle class, getting you to believe that his decent wage because he's a member of a union is somehow unfair.  Look, all the while that you're believing that nonsense, the average standard of living of the working person has stayed the same, at the same time the monied interests in this country are giving more and more breaks to the people who are trying to take your rights away.  How foolish can you be not to see what is really going on?
More and more people are falling out of the middle class into poverty, more and more of us are accumulating insufferable debt that our wages can't pay, the jobs that are available don't pay a decent wage.  Your friend the union worker is not who's to blame for the fact that in real terms you make less than you used to; it's the fat cats who pay lobbyists to buy politicians who lie to you to get you to perpetuate a system that benefits those at the top and steals the rest of us blind.
And congratulations to the people of Ohio for fighting back and winning last night.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

What a great day to vote

It almost felt like a summer's day when Todd and I struck out for the Town Hall to vote today.  They wouldn't let me register Todd...something about concerns over me influencing his vote.  I wonder why?
But the point of my post today is just to simply tell you how good it feels every time I go to vote (and to me it's a much more enjoyable and personal thing to do in person) because of what it means to be able to do this, and to also mention a few of the voting obstacles and restrictions of that freedom that we as a country have overcome simply by getting out there and exercising that most precious of all rights.
This ties in to Question One that we are voting on here in Maine.  Voting yes would overturn a law the Legislature enacted requiring people to register at least two days before voting day.  I can tell you that that would have impacted yours truly today because I moved less than a year ago.  Under the new law I would have had to make two trips, one of them completely unnecessary, just to be able to exercise my right to vote as a United States citizen and a resident of the State of Maine.  The more difficult they make it for you to be able to vote, the harder it is for you to use your vote to keep them under control.  Don't EVER let them start because it's always been difficult for some reason, here in the Land of the Free, to ensure that we all have our rights.
A couple of things that I am not quite old enough to have experienced but my mother, just one generation older than myself, did experience; and those things are:  You used to have to be a land owner before you were eligible to register to vote and there used to be such things as poll taxes, having to pay to exercise your rights.  Now why do you think those things were in place?  So that the wealthy would have control and the ability to yield power over those who were not so fortunate.  It is no different with Question One; they want to be able to keep the undesirables from voting, mostly because those undesirables tend to vote differently than those who want to restrict voting rights.
Let us also not forget that it was not all that long ago that certain segments, shall we say, of our society, even though they were citizens, did not have the right to vote and, therefore, were not fully vested in our democratic system; those people being women and people of color.   So just remember that the right to vote is precious and it is what gives all of us the power to not be controlled by the few.  They are always trying to weaken us; example being trying to restrict the rights of workers to organize.  They have the power of money, therefore influence; our power is in numbers and they know that.  Don't let them fool you into thinking it's in your interest to have the rights of individuals restricted.

Postscript:  After voting, Todd and I drove over to the Maine Store for a breakfast sandwich, personally made for yours truly by my cousin.  Yes, Todd got a smidge.  And we said hi to Unc and Auntie as well.

Second Postscript:  I'm lucky that I didn't have to drive back home before registering.  You need to have something with you that says you live in the town you're registering in.  Well, my driver's license isn't up for renewal, so it has my old address; and if I had remembered to bring a copy of a bill with my address on it, I would've been hard pressed to find one since I pay all my bills online and have gone paperless.  Luckily, I had already registered my car in town and they were able to verify that, saving me a trip home to look for something with my address on it.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Repeat the truth (over and over again)

Unfortunately in this echo-chambered modern world, it is very easy for lies to be layered upon lies and built into a seemingly-reasonable truth.  This is done over and over again by those who are always willing to put their self interests above the common good.  They are also cowards unwilling to stand up for their mistakes and take their medicine.  It's much easier to go to their issue-friendly echo chamber and say whatever they want to say because they know it will be supported by more lies and more lies, and believed by those who want to believe their side, until it becomes this massive entanglement of lies, half-truths, lies of omission and cherry-picked facts that not even the smartest and most dedicated person could untangle it.
It also means that it's very difficult to counter this nightmare with simple truth.  Put forth the truth in the form of facts and they'll counter-offer their own cherry picked facts.  They're willing to go further than you because they have more on the line -- their character is at stake -- whereas all you have going for you is truth; and that's a heavy, burdensome thing to carry around.  It gets very tiresome banging your head against the wall; doesn't it?  It seems as though they'll never get it.

This excellent article by Barry Ritholtz in the Washington Post, "What caused the financial crisis? The Big Lie goes viral," attempts to fight back against that echo chamber on the topic of what caused the financial crisis of a couple years ago.  You can sense his frustration in having to point out the same facts yet again that everyone should already know (and probably do if they were willing to examine it honestly.)
This political cartoon is a good illustration (pun intended) of the point I'm trying to make.  One complete segment of the country still doesn't realize this is the truth because so many out there don't want them to know who really ran up the deficit.
Every day we're being told by one segment of society that the people protesting in the Occupy Movement want a handout, when the reality is simply that they want to no longer be robbed by those in power; that they just want a more level playing field.  And what frustrates us so much is that we don't understand how a significant percentage of people are still being taken advantage of because they still don't want to believe their side has lied to them and stolen from them.  It also means they would have to admit that they've been complicit to some extent by continually voting for people who've made this possible and by echoing their lies.

So we'll just have to keep hammering the truth back at them until MAYBE some day we get back to a country that's more open to truth and fairness, instead of being interested in their side winning no matter the cost.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Vote Yes on Question 1

It shows just how far to the right the Republican Party has moved in 40 years when you consider the law that gives Mainers the right to register and vote on election day was sponsored by the Republican-controlled Maine Legislature in 1973 and that now it's a vastly different Republican-controlled Legislature that threw that right aside last year, using the fear of imaginary threats to the system in so doing.  (Have you ever noticed that there's seemingly always fear behind their tactics?  Why?  To mask their true motives...POWER.)
Just recently in ads bought and paid for by out-of-state interests and money, they're using the term "election ethics law," which is a term nonexistent in the law passed last year nor found anywhere in the minutes of the debates surrounding its passage, to try to define the need for suppressing voter turnout as a way to keep out-of -staters from somehow voting in Maine elections.
You're not so dumb to not see the hypocrisy here, are you?
There is not, nor has there ever been, any evidence of voter fraud in Maine.  So why do Republicans want to suppress voter turnout?  For the very same reason that in some voting districts in this country that are heavily Republican they want to make it easier for people to vote -- because it benefits the Republican Party and the Republican Party only.  They know that more liberals, Democrats, moderates and independents are new registrants than are Republicans and conservatives.  So if you make it harder for the opposition to vote, you lessen the power of the opposition.
I thought the point of having votes was to hear what ALL of the people have to say on an issue.  Remember, our democracy was designed as a democracy by and for the people; but when you let one party suppress the wishes of the people, then it is no democracy at all.  Vote yes on Question 1 on Tuesday.

I would encourage you to go to this page at Protect Maine Votes for a wealth of links to great articles and information on the issue.  There is also an excellent article by Bill Nemitz in today's Portland Press Herald on this topic; much more thorough and well written than what I've done above.  I'd strongly encourage you to read that article.

Make sure you get out there and vote on Tuesday.  The is one of the most important elections perhaps in my lifetime because to not answer the anti-democratic laws that have been instituted in the last couple of years means we agree, right?  And we most certainly do not.  This is not the only important issue being decided in this country Tuesday but it is the most important.  Without our vote, they can do anything they want whether we like it or not.  Remember, a democracy is only powerful if you exercise your right to vote.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Smoke and mirrors

Today Congress reaffirmed that this country's motto is "In God We Trust." Isn't that already our motto? Don't we need jobs more than reaffirming what already exists and isn't being challenged?
See, that's what they do:  ("They" being the ones who are always telling you what a real American is)  They tell the gullible portion of this country that there's a threat to America, even when no such threat exists. It's like these things I see shared on Facebook all the time about supporting the troops and that far too many people don't. You don't know a soul who doesn't support the troops; no one does. But we hear it all the time. It's a divide and conquer tactic. "Those liberals out there are trying to take your guns (while gun ownership and ease of ownership continue to rise); they're trying to take God out of the motto; they don't support the troops." If they don't create an enemy, then even the reasonable people on their side of the aisle will have time to start questioning some of the things their side stands for.
It's all class warfare. They're the ones who are out their echoing that the Occupy Movement is using class warfare, when in fact it's a retaliation to policies of the right that have created class warfare against the middle class. But if you tell your gullibles that the Occupy people are trying to steal from hard working people, you distract them from the truth.  It's been a very successful tactic by the likes of Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, et al, for years; tell conservatives what liberals think and want and stand for instead of asking one yourself.  When's the last time you, Mr. and Mrs. Conservative, asked a liberal what they stand for?  Try it, you're very likely to get a big surprise.  We stand for the same things a lot more than they want to you realize.
So the next time you start to nod your head in agreement when someone suggests to you that there are people who don't support the troops, who use their welfare checks to buy crack, etc, ask yourself if you know anyone that that's true about.
UPDATE:  This Daily Show clip from November 3rd fits perfectly, plus as always it's funny as hell.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Get the big money out of our politics

While I believe corporations should have a way to stand up for their interests, what the policy decisions of the last 30 years have resulted in is a situation where corporate money is seemingly behind every decision that is made, to the benefit of large corporations and the ultra-rich and against the middle class.
Are you tired of being robbed? Then get involved.
I strongly encourage you to read the article at this link at Huffington Post and to watch the video below. Let's see if that doesn't fire you up.

I would also strongly urge you to go to their website and get involved. You can sign the petition here as well.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Link Day

I'm just sharing some links, with comments, to articles and videos that I've found to be well written and informative in the last few days.  I hope you get something out of these as well.

First is this link from a Washington Post  article by Eugene Robinson regarding the results of a recent study by a scientist that the skeptics (more like deniers looking for any excuse to disagree) had been relying on.  Here's a salient quote from that article:
"When we began our study, we felt that skeptics had raised legitimate issues, and we didn't know what we'd find," Muller wrote. "Our results turned out to be close to those published by prior groups. We think that means that those groups had truly been careful in their work, despite their inability to convince some skeptics of that."
I also agree with the author regarding how much this article will change the minds, or more appropriately the position, of the political far right.
"But Muller's plain-spoken admonition that "you should not be a skeptic, at least not any longer" has reduced many deniers to incoherent grumbling or stunned silence.Not so, I predict, with the blowhards such as Perry, Cain and Bachmann, who, out of ignorance or perceived self-interest, are willing to play politics with the Earth's future. They may concede that warming is taking place, but they call it a natural phenomenon and deny that human activity is the cause."

This Politico opinion piece by Joe Scarborough, who is a Republican and a former U.S. Representative (though I'm sure the far right calls him a RINO, especially since he has a show on MSNBC), that fairly points out one of the constant issues in our political dialogue -- lying to make your point.  While I don't entirely agree with Joe's use of examples, I most certainly agree with his point.  To say that since Democrats supported Clinton's agenda of regime change in Iraq, they can't disagree with Bush actually doing it, is disingenuous but it's still a good article.  Here's the opening line of that piece to give you an idea what issue he's specifically talking about:
"Republicans spent the past decade being shocked and stunned by Democrats who dared to question their president’s motives for going to war in Iraq."
For those who still don't understand the rage of the middle class, maybe this Politico piece will help. And even this piece soft pedals the issue to some extent, but it is a fine article about the influence of money in our political system.

This excellent article from The Daily Beast reminds us that the NeoCons are still out there and that their motives and money influence and scare factor are still there.
"They’re back! The neoconservatives who gave America clueless, unpaid-for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, plus a near doubling of military expenditures, during the Bush years have risen from their political graves. Someone, maybe a media tiring of President Obama’s interminable plight, pulled the stake from their heart. Now they’ve returned to the op-ed pages, the talk shows, the think-tank discussions, and the advisory ranks of Republican presidential candidates."

Finally, I'm remiss in not consistently watching the best show on television, "Charlie Rose."  What follows is classic Charlie Rose, a half-hour, in-depth discussion on an important topic, in this instance the Occupy Wall Street movement.  Unfortunately, they don't have embed links there.  So you'll have to follow this link to watch the video.  The whole 24 minutes is very much worth watching and listening to but in particular listen to Chris Hedges starting at the 20:20 mark and see if you agree with me that it's as well said as I've heard regarding the absence of the liberal media and how he describes the Tea Party being different from Occupy Wall Street.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Semper Fi, Shamar Thomas

As a Marine, I couldn't be prouder.  Another honorable face of the Occupy Movement.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

More thoughts on the Occupy Movement

Above is an excellent interview with Ellen Schultz regarding another way large corporations are ripping off the middle class.

The Clueless Generation article in The Daily Beast.  I disagree with his premise in part.  He states that the Baby Boomers had it so good that they don't understand the current plight of the middle class.  As someone who's at the end of the Baby Boomer Generation, I and many like me can attest to feeling affected all along the 30 year ride of policy changes that got us here -- rise in education costs, deregulation, runaway debt and a flattening of wages to name just a few.  This didn't happen overnight.

Opinion piece by former Labor Secretary Robert Reich addressing the seven biggest economic lies
I don't know how many times we've stated these exact statistics and truths but they haven't sunk in enough yet.  So we'll keep on pointing them out.

From this excellent Vanity Fair article on Elizabeth Warren:"In those speeches, sometimes using slides filled with numbers and graphs, she would, as she did at a speech in Manhattan in early June, outline the impact on middle-class Americans of rising health-care costs, burgeoning debt, and the depletion of not only their savings but also, with the rise in joblessness, their confidence. She spoke of “the Wild West” conditions deregulation had created, where banks could sell virtually any product they wanted, on any terms: mortgages they knew consumers could not pay off, credit cards whose rates they could raise at whim, products that came with a mind-boggling array of penalty fees, many of them not fully disclosed. But it was her final remarks that brought down the standing-room-only house in June. “We cannot run our country without a strong middle class. We cannot run a democracy without a strong middle class,” she said, her voice quavering slightly. “If we hollow out the middle class,” she said, “then the country we know is gone.”

Did you know that Warren was originally a Republican?  (You must read this Vanity Fair article)  But to quote the article again:
It was in 1979 that Warren had her Damascene conversion—the experience that would lead her to become the nation’s top authority on the economic pressures facing the American middle class, and trigger her passionate advocacy. In 1978, Congress had passed a law that made it easier for companies and individuals to declare bankruptcy. Warren decided to investigate the reasons why Americans were ending up in bankruptcy court. “I set out to prove they were all a bunch of cheaters,” she said in a 2007 interview. “I was going to expose these people who were taking advantage of the rest of us.” What she found, after conducting with two colleagues one of the most rigorous bankruptcy studies ever, shook her deeply. The vast majority of those in bankruptcy courts, she discovered, were from hardworking middle-class families, people who lost jobs or had “family breakups” or illnesses that wiped out their savings. “It changed my vision,” she said.

The only way we're going to change things for the better is to continue the momentum of the Occupy Movement by being angry and unafraid to stand up for the truth, and then to vote.  The moderates and the liberals outnumber the right in this country; and if we all show up at the polls, it doesn't matter how much they lie and how much they spend or who's on the dole.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Apparently we're just a country full of lazy whiners

If this were being used to applaud someone who's overcoming a rigged system, that would be one thing; but it's being used to tell people who are speaking up against a rigged and unfair system that they're just a bunch of lazy whiners. The fact that any child in this country (the country that was established for and by the people) has to go to these extremes just to break even is not something IMHO to be applauded. It serves to continue to enable those who take our money in tax breaks, bailouts, etc, and reward us with crappy, low-paying jobs
If we, the 99%, had that attitude about things, then the Wall Street banks would not have gotten their bailouts and the system would've crashed. Then anybody who was hurt from that crash through no fault of their own , it would've been their fault because they're just lazy losers? There are good elements in that piece but overall it's basically calling everybody who complains about unfairness is a lazy whiner. Bullshit.
What about the people who worked hard, saved their money, invested wisely, didn't go into debt but yet lost their retirements in the crash?  That was their fault too?  
So the young mother of two who decides to leave her abusive husband, she should stop her whining and stay?  If she leaves and can't find a job that will pay enough for her to put a roof over their heads and food in their bellies, that's her fault because she's just lazy and looking for a freebie?  It has nothing to do with the fact that the median income in this country has hardly risen in 30 years while the cost of everything necessary to survive has gone up at a much higher rate?  It has nothing to do with the fact that the biggest corporations in this country are paying less taxes than ever before, are making much larger profits than ever before and yet not creating new jobs with the tax breaks we're giving them?  It has nothing to do with the fact that Wall Street owns the Government of the United States, the government that's supposed to be "by and for the people."
Did you know that now corporations can spend money on elections just as if they were people?  But if you're a corporation, you can hide behind your corporate status and not be held libel for the decisions made by the people who make up that corporation.
As William Buster says in this interview with Charlie Rose, (sorry, there's no embed but I highly recommend you watch) "Occupy Wall Street has been depicted as anti-business.  We're not.  We're not anti-business, we're not anti-banks, we're not anti-government...we're anti-corruption and we're anti-systemic corruption."
I always get a kick out of the right always using personal attacks on the messenger without even trying to understand the message...whatever garbage Fox News puts in front of them, they swallow.  They use things like the note above to try and divide us.  If you want to know what class warfare is, that's as good an example as I can imagine.
This quote from the Vanity Fair article on Elizabeth Warren (that I'll do a post on shortly)  may sum it all up as well as any, “There’s been such a sense that there’s one set of rules for trillion-dollar financial institutions and a different set for all the rest of us. It’s so pervasive that it’s not even hidden.”