Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Turkeys & Corporate Oligarchs -OR- Giving Thanks 2011, American-Style

Updated 10:06AM 11/23/2011 with two additional images.

Another Dupont Circle nighttime rainy image here in Washington, D.C., 6:51PM, Nov. 22, 2011.


OK, I actually started this entry earlier and momentarily posted it (at 10:15PM) before it was completed in order for it to have a Nov. 22nd time stamp. I actually finally posted it until 1:00AM.

This is an early-to-mid week update on a Tuesday night, except the Thanksgiving holiday is just two days away and it basically will be a three day workweek.

I'm going to Quill's parents' house in Silver Spring for Thanksgiving. I'm working from home on Friday, although I actually have quite a bit of work to do, and then I'm supposed to meet my mom on Saturday at Union Station for my birthday dinner, but it wouldn't shock me if she cancelled.

The 1400 block of U Street, NW, on a drizzly, showery night, 6:27PM, Nov. 21, 2011 (this was taken last night).


As you may or may not know, I am not talking to my dad down in Florida (it has been about two weeks), and I'm not sure when we will again. Truth to tell, this is fine with me. I can't handle him or his insane behavior married to a complete cluelessness about how he is.

Tonight is a drizzly, foggy, rather mild evening (around 57F) and it follows a showery period the past 36 hours or so. As approximate numbers, DCA has had about 1/2" of rainfall today, Dulles about 3/4" and BWI just over 1.1". BWI is now over 51" for the year or over 13" above normal year-to-date. I'll post more detailed numbers in a subsequent entry.

The wet 1900 block of New Hampshire Ave., NW, Washington, D.C., with lots of fall leaves on the sidewalk, 7:29PM, Nov. 21, 2011.


Oh, yes, I should mention that I think last Saturday night (Sunday morning) as I was walking home on New Hampshire Ave. near R Street, the Cobalt Head Turkey Vulture (he with the peacock shrill) -- and part of the 17th Street gay mafia -- shrieked "Fuck you!" at me as he got into a cab. I am quite (but not entirely) certain it was he, although, honestly, I don't really care. 

What say you, Oooza the Unloved?

"My sentiments exactly! This is your notice!"

And mine to you.

(YES, this is ANOTHER Metro Weekly picture of him. That cocky grin really does remind me of Frank Sinatra -- albeit when Sinatra was skinny.)


Political Commentary with Links ...

Anyway, I don't have a ton o' stuff to say so instead I'll post some good reads and political commentary ...

I'm glad that the brutality of the Univ. of California, Davis campus police -- mirroring and mimicking the increasingly fascistic tendencies of our super-militarized police departments with their ever-expanding array of "non-lethal" weaponry used in an admittedly violence-prone society -- has gotten the notoriety it deserved. Increasingly this weaponry is designed to burn, poison, deafen, pierce, and whatever else corporate crooks, oligarchs, and banksters demand of their bought-and-paid for government.

Here Lt. John Pike of the UC - Davis campus police (and bribed tool) in full extra-extra-extra large-sized Gestapo regalia uses pepper spray chemical warfare against peaceful protesters in order to protect the forces of Reactionary Corporate Oligarchical Koch Brothers Intrigue while his similarly bloated and clad posse looks on approvingly and The Washington WhorePost / mainstream media look for "both sides" of the issue.

Ha ha

I'm not going to bother to post a clear picture of Lt. John Pike -- there are enough of those online to go around, and if you want to read about his larger pre-pepper spraying career, not to mention is uncanny resemblance to wrestling superstar King Kong Bundy, just go here.

In the end, it's just more of the corporate oligarchical overclass imposing a vaguely fascistic police state on a willing (or maybe just dazed) populace, while the supremacy of money-driven "Free Speech" is exalted -- as embodied in the Citizens United ruling travesty of the Supreme Court under Tony "Three Fingers" Scalia.

I think it's time to interview Wall-P. What say you, Wall-P??

"The Constitution clearly states from a Strictly Constructionist point of view that money equals protected free speech, and corporations under American jurisprudence meet the definition of a person for purposes of speech, and therefore, the more money, the freer the speech."

"That's crudely simplistic, Wall-P. As is said, money talks and bullshit walks..."

"Itiswhatitis and either go out and amend the Constitution or get over yourself and deal with it."

"This is why I don't like talking to you, Wall-P."

"Client call coming in." 


It is worth noting that the GOP Death Star has come up with its official VRWC-approved response to the pepper spraying (part of it overall response to the OWS protests): Pepper-spray is "a food product, essentially" -- that is, another GOP vegetable for purposes of public school lunches -- and therefore is safe and good to use.

This was what Bill "Ted Baxter" O'Reilly and his wholly interchangeable Fox News "anchor" mannequin-fembot (Megyn Kelly) agreed up last night.

TPM screenshot earlier this afternoon.

Now Teabaggers all across these United States can praise the use of pepper-spray as being what GOD and the Founding Fathers intended -- unless it is on them, of course.

Behold, this week's would-be Teabagger world-savior, a man whose very existence raises the distinct possibility that God's Sense of Humor is, well, warped.  


48 Years Ago Today in Dallas, Texas ... 

On this 48th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, I would like to recommend this interesting piece by Jefferson Morley, former WaHoPo staff writer who is now an editor for Salon. It's called The Holy Grail of the JFK Story and is linked here.

The part about the CIA and Operation Northwoods is quite fascinating and the part about how the CIA organized assassinations in the 1960s and 1970s is disturbing. I also agree with Morley's larger point about how an "articulate minority" in the mainstream media enforce a certain narrative that does not even brook other possibilities -- and in the end this just exacerbates the mistrust and doubt so many feel of The Official Account.


Michael Lind on the Failure of Both the Blue AND Red State Social Models

(Note: The fog images were sent to me by Chris T. down in Montgomery, Alabama, on Monday morning.)

What follows is a summary / excerpts of a a column by Michael Lind that appeared in Salon earlier today -- and it motivated my entry title.

He begins by noting that what he calls the "blue state model" of economic development and taxation is collapsing. That model is one in which local urban governments tax a small number of super-rich rentiers in the FIRE (Finance, Insurance, Real Estate) sector to fund generous public services for the urban poor.

On the economic development side, policy focuses on amenities for affluent professionals in trendy neighborhoods. Meanwhile, a combo of rising real estate prices and excessive environmental regulations drove productive businesses and the middle and working classes out to the suburbs or the South and West. 

But this social model collapsing both in the short-to-medium term -- due to "cratering" revenues from the FIRE sector -- and medium-to-long term -- due to software developments that threaten the high-paying job of the professional class that render them obsolete. The (good) idea of raising taxes on America's under-taxed super-rich is a good idea but won't change these longer term trends.

Having said that, he argues that the "parasitic" red state model is also unsustainable. To begin with, he recalls that 22 Republican states are net recipients of Federal money through agricultural and highway subsidies, and massive defense spending with related industries, while only 10 Democratic-leaning ones are. "Red" Texas alone is a donor due to its oil and gas industry.

He also notes, "Nor should we forget the tax-exempt status of evangelical Protestant megachurches, some of which own multiple buildings, schools, camps, bus fleets, TV and radio studies, and bookstore chains -- all tax-free..." that help red states disproportionately.

In addition, Southern economic development policy is based on stealing jobs from blue states, in particular through "smokestack chasing", which he defines as "luring away industries from the Northeast and Midwest, and, recently, Germany and East Asia, with offers of cheap, non-union labor, low environmental standards and bribes in the form of state and local government subsidies, paid for by higher regressive taxes on the poor."

My favorite excerpt:

"Don’t be fooled by talk of the 'libertarian' West. Red state America is really just the former Confederacy, including Texas, with some over-represented, low-population Mountain and Plains states thrown in. The social ideal of the neo-Confederate right can be summed up as follows: voters who don't work and workers who don't vote.

"Ever since the Federal government deprived them of their slaves, the Southern elite has sought to create the functional equivalent of slavery, by creating a low-wage work force stripped of bargaining power and voting rights. Until the civil rights revolution, the neo-Confederates did this on the economic side by creating unfree labor systems like tenant farming and the convict-lease system, as well as 'right-to-work' laws to stifle unionization in their region. Keeping welfare benefits low, and controlled by local elites, forces Southern workers to accept jobs on the terms offered by Southern employers. On the political side, Dixie's politicians used poll taxes and residency requirements to strip poor blacks and poor whites of the right to vote."

Today the Southernized GOP goal is to create "a neo-Confederate states' rights regime." But more to the point of the article, he concludes that both models depend on a swollen (and he has argued before, unstable) FIRE sector. The former uses it to fund local government, social welfare programs, and creation of a "Starbucksy neighborhoods with subsidized mass transit for credentialed hipsters in brick-walled lofts" while the latter uses it to "tap subsidies to red state soldiers, agribusiness and megachurches, as well as to red state governments that take advantage of subsidies from blue America to lower their own taxes."


Deep Thoughts by Nighttime Text

Speaking of Christ T, what follows is an excerpt of a text exchange between him and me tonight ...

Chris T: "You must have something in common or he wouldn't be so loyal to you. You both like to go out."

Me: "Wow. How great is that. ... It's just hard being friends with gay men."

Chris T: "Most straight guys don't have any male friends at our age. They get entombed in their marriage and children and suddenly they're 60."

Me: "True."

Christ T: "I don't think men are meant to get along that well. We're selfish and territorial."

Christ T: "And gay men don't have a woman to balance that out..."


OK, I think that's about all for now. My next planned update will be on Friday or Saturday.


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