Saturday, May 24, 2008

You thought I was kidding?

No, really. There is simply no way one can be too cynical about our politics. While I have long envisioned scenarios in which Hillary would become the nominee, it truly did not occur to me that she would call for Barak Obama's assassination.

This follows on the heels of Mike Huckabee musing wistfully about the skinny black guy getting his what for. In s'allah, eh Mike?

I now predict that if John McCain snags Lieberman as his vice-presidential candidate before Hillary, then Hillary will choose Huckabee as her running mate. They make quite a pair. Together, I think they could really transform American politics. No more tawdry attack ads and petty character assassinations for those two. They would just shoot any motherfuckers that get in their way.

Interesting chain of events, or, a slice of life in the age of the internets

I just read an interview with Exene Cervanka in the Village Voice. Apparently X has reunited and is playing a show in Manhattan tonight. I saw them in the early 80's and count that show as one of my favorite concerts.

Anyway, I was surprised to learn that Exene was married to the actor Viggo Mortensen. I originally had a bad impression of Mortensen because he was in those horrid Lord of the Rings movies. But then I came to respect and appreciate his work when I saw him in David Cronenberg's A History of Violence and Eastern Promises. Now I learn that he is much deeper than that. In addition to being married to Exene, He is a poet, writer, painter, photogorapher and musician. He has collaborated with guitarist Buckethead on 7 albums.On top of all that he runs a publishing house, Percival Press. Interesting as this little journey may or may not have been, it proved costly. I bought a picture book.


Children are the future, don't mind the broken toys

"Walk across any of the trading floors - they are full of 29-year-old kids," says Kenneth Griffin, billionaire hedge fund manager in the International Herald.

"The capital markets of America are controlled by a bunch of right-out-of-business-school young guys who haven't really seen that much. You have a real lack of wisdom."

On top of that, many chief executives of big universal banks, the ones that combine all sorts of financial services under one roof, "only understand a small part of the business," Griffin said, suggesting too many of them come from sales backgrounds. Put those two things together, the traders and the chiefs, and you have the making of an outright debacle.

So basically, the world is being run by sales guys and recent business school graduates. That should work out well. It already is, for a few at least:
Average compensation for the top 25 fund managers was $892 million in 2007, up 68 percent from the previous year. The minimum compensation included in the ranking was $210 million.

But what, if anything, should we do about it? Hey, I know, give them a tax break!
A simple calculation shows that this preferential tax treatment for the top 25 individuals alone costs the Treasury almost $2 billion.4 It serves to suggest that our estimates of tax losses are indeed conservative, as the losses from these 25 managers alone amounts to almost a third of our total.

...If the amount of tax revenue lost to private equity firm managers is equivalent to that lost with hedge funds, then the combined amount would be $12.6 billion. This forgone revenue stream could, for example, fully fund the five-year, $35 billion expansion of SCHIP, the public health insurance program for low-income children.

Health insurance for low-income children? Forfend! That would harm working families and low-income children alike. Fortunately public-minded lobbyists are on the case.
Defending this tax break are highly paid lobbyists such as Douglas Lowenstein and Grover Norquist who loudly and repeatedly make the claim that taxing hedge fund managers like everyone else will harm the average working family.

You see, we have to give the 29 year old recent business school grads and a few assorted sales guys billions or the working families and children of the poor gets it right in the choppers. Don't you care about the children?

And it's not all about filthy lucre or its cousin health care. These hedge fund managers do so much more good in the world. In addition to amassing vast fortunes while producing nothing, our young billionaires demonstrate their concern for working families though charity and, increasingly, political action.

For example, Mr. Griffin spends millions on his art collection and sometimes displays choice pieces where the public can see them. Right now he has a painting by C├ęzanne and a bronze sculpture by Edgar Degas on display at the Art Institute of Chicago. Working families everywhere feel the love. Isn't love worth more than mere money?

And as you would expect, the young billionaires overwhelmingly favor the Democrats, who are also well known for their devotion to working families and the poor.

Oh, I know, skeptics might conclude they are buying the Democrats (Republicans can be counted on to stay bought) to, as we say, "hedge" their bets. I don't know. I guess it's possible.

Friday, May 23, 2008

A clear and present danger

Jay Ackroyd at Eschaton comments on the right wing emails that permeate our small town culture and marvels that nobody in the mainstream press (and I'd add Democratic party) casts any kind of light on these pervasive hate memes or who creates and disseminates them. I've marveled at that myself, but realize that the Moose is not the Country Club and nobody with a college degree gives a fuck what they think. Well, no liberal anyway. The conservatives not only care what they think, they actively shape what they think.

I recently got two of those virulent emails that complimented each other. The first was about how all Muslims are scum. The second was about how Obama hates whitey. You can put two and two together. Just kidding. No math skills required. The authors are happy to do all the adding and subtracting, and thinking, for you.

The first is from one "Lieutenant General Chuck Pitman." The good "Lieutenant General" is sorry about a lot of things. But primarily he is sorry that Muslims are so evil and that we don't kill a whole lot more of them:

I am sorry that the U. S. A. has to step in and be the biggest financial supporter of poverty stricken Arabs while the insanely wealthy Arabs blame the USA for all their problems.

I am sorry that our troops die to free more Arabs from the gang rape rooms and the filling of mass graves of dissidents of their own making.

I am sorry we don't drop a few dozen Daisy cutters on Fallujah.

It goes on:
I am sorry Michael Moore is American; he could feed a medium sized village in Africa .

I am sorry the Barack Hussein Obama may be elected president of the United States when he doesn't have a clue on how to be a strong Commander-in-chief in a world filled with Muslim extremists who will do whatever it needs to do to destroy the lives of civilized people while killing innocent men, women and children in order to bring a change that is beneficial to all Islamic terrorists worldwide.

You get the picture. No? The second email elucidates:
From Dreams of My Father: 'I ceased to advertise my mother's race at the age of 12 or 13, when I began to suspect that by doing so I was ingratiating myself to whites.'

From Dreams of My Father: 'I found a solace in nursing a pervasive sense of grievance and animosity against my mother’s race.'
From Audacity of Hope: 'I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.'

We can laugh at this crap, but it has a ridiculous amount of influence on a significant number of people in this country.

And yes, the media should tell the story. And more importantly, the Democratic party, or some organization, should set up their own viral email network to counter it. It's not necessary to make up ridiculous shit about the conservatives. They really are a danger to both our national security and livelihoods. It's not a matter of conjecture. You can see it on the fucking scoreboard. Plain as day.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

From hell's heart

Astute readers will note that I haven't said anything about Hillary Clinton's campaign lately. That's because nothing has changed. I am still confident that she will be the nominee. I believe her argument that people should vote for her because the other guy is a nigger, if not a sand nigger, is one that resonates among Democrats and the American people as a whole. I believe that argument will eventually carry the day. And I'm still confident that even if her Klan state strategy fails at the Democratic convention, she will take it to the Supreme Court and the final tally that gives her the nomination will be 5 to 4. And I still predict that Joe Lieberman will be her running mate, and John McCain's as well.

You may think I'm way too cynical, and you may be right, but based on the last 10 years, I think it's difficult to argue that chuckling's humble predictions are beyond the realm of possibility. You would do well to convincingly argue that they do not simply represent the logical progression.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

In a serious moment, chuckling ponders the intellecutal changes that come with old age

Intelligent people become ever more cynical as they age. Those who lose their faculties or never had any to begin with turn conservative.

Of course the truly intelligent become saints, but their numbers are too few to merit more than a mention.