Friday, February 28, 2014

Bruce Rauner like all Plutocrats is a Vandal. Illlinois Public Pension insolvency is his and other Capitalists fault

Bruce Rauner is running for Governor of Illinois. He'll have to win the Republican Primary for a chance to square off against Governor Quinn in the general election. Rauner's sole remaining competition for the Republican Primary is Kirk Dillard after Rauner's Squad eliminated Dan Rutherford's chances with allegations of Sexual Harassment and a homosexual relationship with an intern.

Billionaire Bruce Rauner is an implacable foe of Working people in Illinois. Besides vowing to reduce Illinois' Minimum Wage to make Illinois workers more appealing to Corporate Wage Slavers, once he wins, a Governor Bruce Rauner will do to the State and citizens of Illinois what he and other Capitalists have done to Illinois Public Pensions, they will cart off all the assets in a legislative orgy of Vandalism.

Because that is what Bruce Rauner is; A Vandal, in the most ancient sense of the term. Rauner's entire fortune has been made from identifying previously existing wealth charging in and looting it.

Bruce Rauner worked for 30 years at "Wealth Management" Firm GTCR, the R for Rauner was added during his tenure. Rauner's firm "managed" Public Pensions for nearly two decades. Now, after Rauner and other Vandal Capitalists have had access to Pensions, surprise Illinois is facing a massive Pension Crisis.

By Rauner's own estimate 2/3rds of GTCR funds were supplied by Public Pensions. Here in Illinois
GTCR has "managed" money for the Illinois Teachers' Retirement System (TRS) and the Illinois State Board of Investment, the state's largest and third-largest, respectively. Additionally, GTCR had access to state and municipal pension plans from the San Francisco City and County Employees' Retirement System to the Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Management Board. 

For this "work" GTCR, takes a 20% or more slice plus consultation and management fees. Rauner got paid no matter what the funds he "managed" did.

So, it's not surprising that Illinois and other Public Pensions began to go into insolvency once Vandal Capitalists got their hands on the funds. In fiscal year 2009, TRS lost $4.4 Billion (22% of its' value) in 2008 TRS lost 5% of it's value because of the Management of their Portfolios by Rauner-types.

The Wall Street-Hedge Fund-Wealth Management Implosion of 2007 and on-going Republican Recession was the end result of unchaining Capitalism and opening up the gates to the Vandal Capitalists like Rauner. The Vandals took the secure Public backed funds from dozens of states, hundreds of municipalities and Unions and stole them.

Bruce Rauner's not alone in the Vandal Capitalist method. It's the method de rigueur of the 1%.
"The problem is that the world and this country should not talk about envy of the 1 percent. It should talk about emulating the 1 percent. The 1 percent work harder. The 1 percent are much bigger factors in all forms of our society." Sam Zell, in defense of Tom Perkins who compared the Working Class to Nazis.
The 1% do work hard. It takes a lot of gall for the Vandals to raid, loot and plunder and call themselves Job Creators.

Chris Hayes summed up Zell's "business" model,
Let me tell you something about Sam Zell. He bought The Tribune Company in 2008 for $8.2 billion, an extremely highly leveraged deal. It was widely regarded. I reported on it at the time as an unsustainable debt structure that would implode in on itself.  
Well, guess what? Less than a year, the company went bankrupt, listing $7.6 billion in assets and $13 billion in debt. More than 4,200 people lost their jobs. But despite the company`s troubles, executives received tens of millions of dollars in bonuses. 
Sam Zell is like the action movie hero who throws the lighter behind him not bothering to look back at the explosion. That`s Sam Zell.
Zell bought the Tribune Company and loaded them up with debt ($13 billion) as he drained the companies assets then had them claim bankruptcy and sold off the Chicago Cubs to the semi-odious Billionaire Rickets Family.

Loading debt onto companies in highly leveraged deals is a classic technique Zell and Mitt Romney have profited from immensely. This is the Hard Work that Zell, Rauner, Romney, Steven Cohen, Paul E. SingerStephen Schwarzman, Clifford S. Asnessthe Koch Brothers, and Tom Perkins demand to be lauded for, deferred to and praised.

The Vandals have already sacked the Public Pensions. With the help of Republican Governors, like Koch Brothers controlled Scott Walker in Wisconsin, several states have fallen to the rapacious hunger of the Vandal Capitalists.

If Bruce Rauner makes his way into Springfield as the Governor of Illinois, another gate will be thrown open to his Looting brethren and Illinois will be Sacked, just as the Vandals have done to other States.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Fracking is Wonderful unless it threatens the property of Rex Tillerson CEO of Exxon Mobil

Ah NIMBY(Not In My Backyard) is an old acronym. But, everything old is new again.
Update (02/27): 
Chris Hayes interviewed Lou Allstadt a former Executive of Exxon (pre merger) who has been fighting Fracking for over 5 years.
As Oil Companies push Hyrdaulic Fracturing (Fracking), the literal cracking and destruction of the earth's subsurface in order to extract petrochemicals, the Petroleum Pigs ignore the Thousands of Americans being harmed, the toxic fouling to the water table, and the political efforts of local communities and municipal governments to curb their reckless and rapacious behavior.

Unless! It threatens the Property of a Rich Man.

Rex Tillerson the CEO of Exxon Mobil has joined a lawsuit to stop the construction of Hydraulic Fracking Tower next to his 83-acre horse ranch.
The tower, being built by Cross Timbers Water Supply, would rise 15 stories, the Journal says. It's adjacent to Tillerson's horse ranch and not far from an 18-acre homestead. Tillerson is devoting considerable time to the matter: he sat for three hours in the lawsuit last May and attended an all-day mediation session in September, besides his Town Council appearance. 
Among the others opposing the project are those who are not exactly known for environmental crusading: former U.S.House Majority Leader Dick Armey and his wife are the lead plaintiffs.
See, Fracking like the Koch Brothers Petcoke piles is something done to Poor People.

But, for years duped and gullible Conservatives have been saying Fuck the EPA and all Regulations because Republicans have convinced them that it is only by lawsuits, and not by evil government regulation, issues like Fracking, Petcoke or other gross violations should be stopped or addressed. 

Of course when Real Americans realize they don't have a few spare million dollars lying around to bring a powerful lawsuit? Well, that's just what you get in conservative America. Justice and Government is reserved for the Rich. One of the main missions by the modern Republicans Party is to let Working Class Americans know They have no Friend in Government.

Conservatives idolize the Rich and hate the Poor that's why when local municipal governments have tried to stop Petroleum Pigs from Fracking them, Republicans and Conservatives swoop in with the awesome power of government to thwart the will of the people, to harm as many Americans as possible and to transfer money into the hands of the rich.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Michael Dunn, like all "responsible" Gun Owners, is the True Victim

"I’m the victor, but I was the victim, too."
Michael Dunn was not convicted of murder of Jordan Davis. Dunn was convicted of several lesser related homicide charges and will serve some time in prision.

While there are many similarities between the murder of Jordan Davis and Trayvon Martin the one that most starkly places the Firearm Fondlers and Gun Nuts view of the Second Amendment, Stand Your Ground and Open/Concealed Carry into doubt is this;

Dead Men tell no Tales.

Justice can not be served if killing the other person involved in an incident means you are free to go.

If Jordan Davis' friends had not escaped with Dunn shooting at their fleeing vehicle, then Dunn would have been free to spin any bullshit harrowing tale of his near murder at the hands of 3 black Thugs which he thwarted because of his trusty firearm.

And conservatives in the Right-Wing Internet Fart Bubble would have spent the last 16 months scrounging around for anything and everything to smear the murdered victims as well as inventing massive fantasy tales of what had happened to justify the murders, as they did with Trayvon Martin.

Perhaps, if Dunn had appointed himself a "Neighborhood Watch Captain" he'd be free today to set up a "boxing" match with DMX.

Even so at the trial Dunn testified he felt threatened and injured because he had previous eardrum damage as the result of scuba-diving and the loud "thug music" was causing him physical pain. So he ordered them to turn down the music and when they disobeyed him he retrieved his firearm and enforced his will; the will of a murderer.

There is a confluence of events going on in America. It's often attributed to the demographic and culture changes sweeping across America. Conservatives who have been standing athwart history yelling stop are seeing their efforts lose at the ballot box, Courtrooms and overwhelmingly in the court of public opinion. So they are increasingly turning to the Bullet Box. As perpetrators of violence and oppressors, conservatives are seeing the slow tide of civilization pass them by and they are getting frightened and angry.

Angry and Frightened people lash out.
"[B]ut you know I was thinking a lot about this today and I was like I’m, I’m the victim here. I was the one that was being preyed upon and I fought back. I got attacked and I fought back because I don’t want to be a victim and now I’m in trouble. I refuse to be a victim and now I’m incarcerated." Michael Dunn.
Now, Dunn probably wouldn't have gone in for this confrontation if Florida didn't have a Stand Your Ground Law but, he definitely would not have began this confrontation if he didn't have a gun to back him up.

Stand Your Ground, whatever the intentions of the people who crafted it and the politicians who voted for it, is being used to justify murders and overwhelmingly are used to by white defendants to kill minorities. And despite the lies foistered by World Nut Daily, American Stinker and other conservatives in the Right-Wing Internet Fart Bubble, African Americans do not benefit from Stand Your Ground laws

An Armed Society isn't a Polite Society it's an Aggressive, Paranoid Society with in which everyone from gangbangers to aggrieved doughy middle-aged white men view certain areas as Free Fire Zones.

I'm more than a week late on this issue as most everyone in the "on-line" community has moved on to the Ukrainian Crisis, Arizona's attempts to legalize discrimination, or the antics of the Chicken Hawk, Child Raping, Draft Dodging, Racist Coward, Conservative Rock Star Ted Nugent.

Eugene RobinsonTa-Nehisi Coates, Tonyaa Weathersbee and other African-American writers have voiced their much more pertinent views and covered the ramifications of Dunn's verdict for themselves and the African-American community in general.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

What's Climate Change got to do with it? Climate Change Denial is a Conservative Psychosis

"I’m tired, I’m really tired of this attack on drilling. Because my little mom and pop drillers, all they want to do is if they don’t hit the well, they want to record that as an expense. That’s all this tax break for big oil is. If they don’t hit, they don’t count it as an expense. You can write it off as a business expense if you drill and you don’t hit the oil. That’s all it is. 
Now multiply that to a multinational corporation and it’s the same thing. If they go deepwater drilling and they don’t hit, should they not write that off as a business expense? Sure they should. Just like my mom and pop should do it locally." (from 2012) Republican Representative John Shimkus of Illinois believes American Gothic was painted with oil dug up by the farmer and his wife.
As Chicagoland digs itself out from yet another massive snowfall the 2013-2014 winter stands as the 5th heaviest snowfall since 1885 with a total accumulation of 66.8 inches thus far.
These blizzards have been preceded or followed by The Polar Vortex which has sent temperatures deep down into negatives nearly 50 degrees below freezing.
By, far this is the harshest winter in Chicago in my memory and the snowfall and deep freezes back me up. But, this is America and in the United States evidence and observation are trumped by Conservative Outrage.
First, it should be noted, snow plowing is Socialist. I'm sick and tired of conservatives stealing my tax dollars to plow roads for them to use. Instead of mooching off of me, why aren't conservatives buying winter radial tires and snowshoes and getting to work by themselves up out of the snow by their own bootstraps?
But, leaving aside right-wing hypocrisy, the reason Conservatives deny the evidence of Climate Change Nationwide and Worldwide is two-fold. One) Conservatives idolize the Rich, Adulation of the Plutocrats is a core component of conservative dogma, and; Two) conservatives would rather win an "argument" than help people. Seeing people suffer or be harmed is the favorite activity for right-wingers.
From 2001-2010 climate change denalism rose in the US. This coincides with the Bush/Cheney "victories" in 2000 and 2004 and the ascension of the Angry White Conservative Male.
Since then the Republican Party has engaged in full scale war against the American People, destroying protections for the poor, underfunding agencies designed to stop rapacious businesses, stealing Trillions of Dollars and channeling it to off shore and Swiss bank accounts and sending Americans to far away lands to die for the Egos of a group of Chicken Hawk Cowards.
But, while theft, rape and murder are always the end results of the election of Republicans it is not their end goal. Because the Modern Republican Party was created for the aggrandizement, protection and defense of the upper 1% who control the government and oppress the American people.
Thus, the real driving force behind Climate Change Denial is Massive Profits for the Big Pollution Industry.
Corporations, like BP, Patriot Coal, Freedom Industries, Tesoro Logistics, Duke Energy, the Koch Brothers, Massey Energy and others have been enjoying massive government welfare and non-existent regulation, while they literally gouge the World and kill people for profit.
Their profits come from destroying the Nation and the Planet while also passing on any incurred costs of their pollution to the rest of us. Besides the massive criminal negligence we've seen with the Koch Brothers petcoke in South side Chicago and Detroit, BP massive spill in the Gulf of Mexico and from their Whiting Indiana plant into Lake Michigan, and the massive toxic spills into rivers in West Virginia and North Carolina the amount of oil spilled in the U.S. in 2013 surpassed the last four decades combined;
Altogether, 800,000 gallons spilled from US railroads in the years from 1975 to 2010. That data, which comes from the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration, does not include records of Canadian spills, some of which are thought to surpass one million gallons spilled on their own. 
In part because of major derailments in Alabama and North Dakota, over 1.15 million gallons of crude oil seeped from train cars.
Corporations are people but, personal responsibility ends when Corporate-hood begins... 

There's big money being made by the Pollution Industry and that money might end if Climate Change and anti-pollution regulation is adopted or enforced. So they've paid off the Republican Party and Pro-Business Democrats to protect them and rhetorically poisoned the already sick minds of conservatives to defend the Rich as they literally poison and destroy the planet.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Volkswagen threatened by Republicans. Boeing screws its' Employees. Conservatives hate Unions and Freedom.

Three years ago, I wrote about Boeing turning to the Republican Party to aid them in their quest to destroy their Union.
Chicago* based Boeing, in retaliation against their Union Workers, has decided to move a 787 plant to South Carolina, a so-called Right-to-Work State. This is because South Carolina outlaws Unions. Can't have workers gettin' all Uppity and shit! 
S. Carolina also has Nikki Haley, a Teabagging Governor. Haley had this to say, when the National Labor Relations Board took up the Union complaint to stop this move, "If this is checks and balances, God help our country."
Ever since Ronnie Raygun, the Right-Wing Hero of a Thousand Myths, obliterated PATCO he signaled to Businesses across the Nation that it was Open Season on Unions and they can rely on the Awesome Power of the Government to back them up as they grind the Working Class into dust.

Well, a new struggle in Tennessee is illustrating once again the Republican Plan to obliterate Unions and ensure Americans are reduced to Wage Slavery.

"The members of the Tennessee Senate will not view unionization as in the best interest of Tennessee." Tennessee State Senator Bo Watson said at a news conference. He added that a pro-U.A.W. vote would make it “exponentially more challenging” for the legislature to approve future subsidies. 'That's an awfully nice plant yous got there... Be a shame if somethin' were to happen to it...'

Now we also have an admission by Tennessee Republican Senator Bob Corker that he's gotten special assurances the Union vote will be defeated. Corker didn't further explain if this would be accomplished by importing Pinkerton's to crack Worker's skulls or if Republicans would just make voting illegal.

"I’ve had conversations today and based on those I am assured that should the workers vote against the UAW, Volkswagen will announce in the coming weeks that it will manufacture its new mid-size SUV here in Chattanooga," Senator Corker said, without saying with whom he had the conversations. 

Well, previously Corker has boasted about his deep involvement in VW's hierarchy, "I know [VW Chairman Martin] Winterkorn really really well. We're in constant contact with Volkswagen at every level. Seriously, I don't know a public official that's been more involved with Volkswagen."

Governor Bill Haslam added his concerns about being able to attract other business to Tennessee without the prospect of wage slave labor, "I think that there are some ramifications to the vote in terms of our ability to attract other suppliers..."

Senator Corker, Governor Haslam and other Tennessee Republicans have held multiple special press conferences given several interviews to make their hatred of Unions and the UAW known while reiterating threats to harm Volkswagen and the people of Tennessee whom they ostensibly represent.

In truth, Republicans represent Corporations and are the enemy of Working Class Americans.

The situation is so dire that Grover Norquist, Staunch enemy of Working Class People everywhere, descended upon Chattanooga with his army of plutocrat worshipping acolytes to rent 12 billboards to tell the people of Tennessee that if the UAW unionizes the VW plant, ALEC will work to destroy their State just like they've done in Michigan, Indiana and elsewhere.

Conservatives love this because conservatives ardently believe the Awesome Unique Power of Government should be used to help Corporations exert total dominance and control over Americans. Conservatives hate when the Power of Government is used to help people, especially the poor, women, or minorities.

But, conservatives also hate when regular Americans organize and fight for rights on their own as the Union organization in Tennessee illustrates.

"We are in a battle with Mexico on where this new product goes," said Mike Burton of Southern Momentum, an anti-UAW group, "and it stands to reason that the union will add costs. We need to keep costs down to fight for that new product."
See, anything which helps the Working Man is anathema to Conservatives, who love Wage Slavery and want to shackle Americans with the chains of Corporate Bondage.

Mike Burton's "Keep costs down" equals lowering the wages of Americans and destroying the American Dream.

As such, once Business knew they could rely on the wholly owned Republican Party and Pro-Business Democrats, the American Dream has been brought to the brink of extinction. Over the last 35 years of Neo-Liberal Ultra-Reactionary Republican leadership the Middle Class has been ground into dust and the Working Class has been driven into near penury.

Briefly back to Boeing, who succeeded in dividing the Machinist's Union this year. Boeing threatened its' employees that without an end to a defined pension benefit they would move operations out of the area as they had previously done in 2011 with the threat to move to South Carolina. Well, the Machinists caved to the pressure from Boeing, Washington State Politicians and the Media and despite having a contract through 2016 agreed to end defined pensions, which will be frozen in 2016 and allow all new hires to be shafted under 401(k) non-retirement plans.

The vast majority of Boeing contracts come from the US Government. They also routinely receive special tax-payer funded welfare from Washington State, Kansas, Illinois and DC. Last November, Olympia agreed to let Boeing flout paying their fair share of taxes for 30 years, Boeing was given a package of $8.7 Billion in taxpayer assistance.

Boeing is a Corporation which would collapse without Government contracts and tax assistance. Boeing also engages in routine criminal overcharging of the Government (acts which would be called stealing if you, I or former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell did it) for all the contracts they sign, while flagrantly reneging on their side of the bargains with workers whenever they feel like it.

One of the goals of the Republican Party and Pro-Business Democrats is to make the Working Class understand that they have no friend in Government. They represent Corporations.

All across America we've seen defeat after defeat of Unions as Republicans advance the cause of the Plutocracy and and with it the Rise of a Billionaire Class, a group of 400 people which controls more wealth than over 150 million Americans. As Unions retreat so does the Middle Class and the American Dream.

Already we've seen Generation X and the Millenials, the children and grandchildren of the Baby Boomers, deal with a lower standard of living than their parents, soon their children and grandchildren will wake up and see Republicans and Conservatives have sold them into Corporate Bondage and they've lost the Freedoms past generations fought and died to win.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A Good Guy with a Gun. No really, off-duty Cook County Deputy wins gun battle

"I had to kill him," a pained Kevin Costner looking forlornly at a dead Capone gangster.
"Oh yeah. He's as dead as Julius Caeser..." Sean Connery who notes Costner's torn expression. "Would you rather it was you?"
"No. No I would not."
"Well, then, you've done your duty. Go home and sleep well tonight." from The Untouchables (1987) 
During the Bill Nye- Ken Ham "Debate", the best moment for Science came when the question was asked what would change your mind on your respective position.

Bill Nye explained that "evidence" would change his mind while listing several examples, Ken Ham said that because of the bible there was "nothing" which would change his position.

In the Gun Control Debate, Firearm Fondlers are like Ken Ham absolutely convinced of their position and totally unwilling to allow any evidence to penetrate their warped ideas of the Second Amendment.

On 02/10/14 an off-duty Cook County Sheriff Department Sergeant was approached by three young black males while filling up his car at a Citgo station at 103rd Street and Cottage Grove Avenue. One of the three, 16-year-old, Deonta Dewight Mackey, pointed a gun at the Sergeant while a second began going through his vehicle and the third lolled around to his far right.

The Sergeant bladed off, his concealed weapon side back while he fake fumbled trying to get his wallet out. Then ready, he batted away the offenders weapon with his off hand, and shot the robbery suspect Mackey in the head.

The two other offenders fled the scene, while the Sergeant secured his position and checked for additional threats and then kicked the weapon away from the downed Mackey.

The gas station video captured Mackey's death...

Now, Mackey may have been a gang-banger or a a wanna-be but at 16 while we could get into the Socio-Economic Discussion about why Mackey turned to crime at such a young age that's sure to be glossed over or over emphasized depending on ones point-of-view and will bring us far afield of the topic I'm addressing here

Now, it's incidents such as this which make me reconsider my position on guns. 

However, let's look at knowns of the Sergeant and the incident. Off-duty officers have been authorized to concealed carry because of the 2004  Law Enforcement Officer Safety Act. 

But, he's also required by law to requalify with his primary duty weapon and any weapon he carries off-duty at least once a year. His weapons serial numbers are kept on file with the Department, in this case the Cook County Sheriff Police (CCSPD), and he has to prove or at least affirm every year he has positive control of his weapons. Additionally, the CCSPD, did a criminal history check and at least a cursory background investigation of the Sergeant before he was hired and his activities while working are well known and subpoenable.

Would every gun owner be willing to put themselves through this minimum level of background investigation, training and records keeping?

Despite the fact that, 90% of Americans support a strong thorough Universal Background Check, the NRA, the Money and Political Coercion Arms of the Firearm Manufacturers still oppose it. 

Additionally, 2/3rds of Americans seem to support a Federal Firearm Database. However, the NRA paints a dystopic Stalin/Hitler future if registration to create a federal database is undertaken, repeatedly asserting that Registration is the first step to Confiscation.

I believe this is a paranoid delusion, though I will admit that oppressive governments have employed people to confiscate weapons in the past. But, those situations are not analogous to 21st century America. The Great Sword Hunts of Late Feudal Japan and the Tokugawa Shogunate of Japan, for instance, were accomplished because of a number of factors; including social stratification, resistance to Western Imperialism, changing technologies, and religious friction.

Nonetheless, it would be dishonest of me to not acknowledge that this incident is one in which the good guy won.

But, Firearm Fondlers often ignore basic facts, such as the level of training, background investigation and stored data about the off-duty Sergeant and Mackey's use of the weapon in this incident, and shamelessly invent incredibly absurd statistics, such as the Larry Pratt invented claim that guns are used 2.5 million times a year in defense of life (or roughly 6850 times a day or 5 times every minute).

Monday, February 10, 2014

Allow me to be Blunt, Roy; Republicans want you to Work until you Die

The Congressional Budget Office re-evaluation of the PPACA (Obamacare) has revealed to a larger audience something I've known for a while.

Republicans want you to work right up until you die. They'd actually like you to die on the job before you retire because then they can steal all the money you've contributed into your Pension, Social Security and Medicare.
"And I think that raising the retirement age... and eventually getting the retirement age to 70 is a step that needs to be taken." - Speaker John Boehner in 2010.
Yesterday, Republican Roy Blunt of Missouri was on Faux Sunday Morning complaining that Obamacare was going to "discourage people from working" while trying to push the Republican lie.

Hey, were you looking forward to slowing down and enjoying time with your wife? Or raising your children or grandchildren? Or moving from frigid Chicago to Fort Lauderdale because your knees, back and lungs can't take the cold? Or traveling to the land your grandparents left to come to America? Well, too bad if Republicans get their way they'll make sure you die at work.

This is one reason the Republicans hate Unions. Unions allowed Americans to retire and live a long time not working. And this is why the CBO report about Obamacare allowing Americans to be able to not die at work angered Republicans.
No, you're not supposed to retire when you're 55. You sound to me like you are totally capable of still working. People are retiring now at 50 and 55 and so forth when they are still capable of working. According to the tables at 55, you've got 22 years left... - Rush Limpbaugh, (Crooks and Liars)
Anything which allows Americans the ability to not work is hateful to Republicans because they represent Corporations and the very Rich. Republicans and their Owners see the American worker as nothing more than an expensive cog in the gears of Industry or War.

This is why no Conservative or Republican Alternative to Obamacare has every been offered. The Republican Healthcare alternative remains Don't Get Sick and if you do, Die Quickly.

Republicans don't want retired people around. They want you to work hard throughout your productive years after which they'll discard you when you get injured, sick or old.

Republicans want to Work you to Death.

Amanda Marcotte the Pandagon highlights how conservative Ross Douthat has tried to massage the Republican CBO lie by claiming that working yourself to death is for your own good, "people we should want to be attached to the workforce, for their own long-term good and the good of the economy as well.” He didn’t tell us who that was, but we suspect if someone told Douthat himself to shovel coal 50 hours a week for his own long-term good and the good of the economy, he would swiftly preclude himself.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

A Duke Energy Toxic Spill threatens the lives of thousands of Americans

"Once is chance, twice is coincidence, three times is enemy action," attributed to Ian Fleming, creator of Bond, James Bond...
A corporation would never, ever do anything wrong, immoral or illegal just to boost profits because of the principle of enlightened self interest they axiomatically look out for the welfare of consumers.

Once again we have a toxic spill a magnitude which if attributed to Tear-A-Wrists would necessitate a full on invasion of an unconnected oil-rich Nation and the Impeachment of President Obama

Yet because it's due to the rampant negligence of a "Romney Person" (i.e. a Corporation) no punishment will occur and no prison time will ever be served.

Late Monday Feb. 03, Duke Energy dumped 82,000 tons of coal ash and 27 million gallons of contaminated water into the Dan River in North Carolina. Like petcoke, coal ash is a toxic mixture of heavy metals and corrosive poisons, but in this case the by-products of coal-fired power plants. (Read the follow-up Ecowatch articles about the levels of Arsenic in the Dan River.)

Duke Energy, of course, waited more than a day to alert the authorities because Fuck the EPA and all regulations!

The town of Danville, VA draws drinking water just 6 miles downstream from the site of the spill.

Duke Energy has been spewing forth the coal sludge and flouting regulations from all its' 14 coal fired power plants for years because Fuck the EPA and all regulations! The site of the Dan River spill has been closed since 2012 but the toxic retention pond hadn't been properly disposed off and even basic maintenance has obviously been neglected. But, it's North Carolina Duke runs the State.

So, once again we are faced with a Corporate Monstrosity which could not care less about people in North Carolina because fuck the poor and Fuck the EPA and all regulations! No Corporation will ever self-regulate. 

Enlightened Self Interest is a myth like the invisible hand and free markets. It has never existed and will never exist but, it's tool to keep people voting themselves into bondage while Corporations exert more and more control over Government until the day when Americans awake to find themselves re-enslaved and it's only too ironic that Duke Energy whose entire existence and fortune were built from Slave Labor will once more be a Slave Master.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

If the NRA and Gun Owners of America truly care about the Second Amendment

then, they need to grant me membership, acknowledge and advocate for my views on the Second Amendment without me paying any Dues.
Every gun owner should be an active member of the NRA. Every gun owner should be sure that every member of his or her family is an active member. - Wayne LaPierre, Feb 2013
Of course, Larry Pratt's Gun Loons and Insane Wayne's National Firearm Fondlers Association don't actually care about the Second Amendment or Americans for that matter and are not in business to protect the rights of Gun Owners.

Their job is to be a Lobbyist Group for Gun Makers and as such their member dues are used to buy political favors and clout and work towards making Guns ubiquitous in society while making gun laws extinct.
When the NRA spends money on political advertising, we have to raise those funds from you—$20, $50, $250, or $1,000 at a time. - again Wayne LaPierre
The NRA and Gun Makers are involved in an incestuous relationship as detailed by the Violence Policy Center Report, BloodMoney II: How Gun Industry Dollars Fund the NRA.

The Freedom Group and Smith & Wesson both have donated at least $1 million to the NRA, and both are members of the NRAs Golden Ring of Freedom. 6 other Gun Industry related Corporations are in the Golden Ring of Freedom having donated at least One Million.

So besides their accomplishment of rolling back laws, making the Country demonstrably less safe and not giving a shit how many people are sacrificed upon the Holy Altar of the Firearm, the NRA and Firearm Manufacturers are feeding the money made off the deaths of thousands back into the political machine to make deaths by guns more likely.

As for the Gun Owners of America, it would be easy to attack Larry Pratt personally especially after his American Blacks need to be happy like blacks in Africa. The level of ignorance from a man whose most assuredly never been to Africa and whose only trips overseas have been to argue that Protestant Irishmen should be armed to kill Catholic Irishmen is astonishing but, let's demolish his argument that Gun Free Zones are to blame for Gun Deaths.

If that was the case no Police Officer in America would ever be killed because at every interaction with a suspect, witness, victim or bystander there is a gun present and most times very visible. Yet, LEOs are, in fact, still killed by perps.

Additionally, these Firearm Fetishizers dream about encountering an active shooter and then placing two rounds center-mass and one to the head and being lauded a hero. This doesn't happen.

Unlike, the Death Wish movies where the writer literally shows you who the bad guys are and 1st Person Shooter games where a floating red circle indicates enemy and green circle indicates ally, in the chaos of shooting how do you distinguish between friend and foe?

The retort, from Pratt and numerous gun loons, has often been that if more people, especially teachers or concerned parents, were concealed carrying at the school a gunman would think twice about going there because he won't know who will and who will not be packing. This argument is undercut by the fact that after every school shooting, Firearm Fondlers declare the gunman crazed or insane. An insane person by his very nature or illness can not logically be deterred by rational arguments. He's not engaged in a cost-benefit analysis of the outcome of his attack or fear of encountering armed resistance.

And if the situation is one ala the D.C. Naval Yard shooting or the infamous LA Bank Heist shootout, where the shooter(s) can be seen from a distance, I don't fancy your odds with a Glock vs. a semi-automatic rifle.

The massive number of arms, broad appeals to ignorance, obliterated social safety net, mistaken or malevolent laws, and cowardly or craven politicians are leading us down a dangerous path. A path which, sometimes, results in the fragmentation or destruction of a Nation.

But, the NRA and Gun Owners of America do not care. All they care about is making sure the cycle of money keeps flowing and the cycle of gun violence and blood which flows from it?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

NRA tells Gun Owners to Stop Snitchin'

The Stop Snitchin' Movement was begun in Baltimore* as a way for gang bangers and criminals to get away with their crimes.

The NRA is now advising their so-called law-abiding responsible gun owners to not aid Police Officers. "The next thing I think will be a warning about not volunteering information if you get called because your gun turns up at a crime scene," said Chuck Michel, one of the National Rifle Association's top attorneys said.

Because your gun turns up at a crime scene...

It should be incumbent on Firearm Owners to have full, total and positive control of their weapons. Proving you know where your guns are should be required by Law at least twice a year. But, the NRA is against all laws on Guns simply because it's good for business to be against all laws. And the consequences be damned.

In 2011, House Republicans in direct opposition to the health and safety of their constituents, voted to put guns in the hands of Terrorists: 
Republicans on the House Judiciary panel shot down a proposal Thursday to prevent weapon sales to suspected terrorists. 

In a party-line vote of 21-11, the committee Republicans killed an amendment from Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) that would have blocked firearm purchases by those on the FBI's terrorist watch list.
In 2013, House Republicans again rejected an amendment giving the Department of Justice the ability to block gun sales to suspected terrorists.

"And the effort is resulting in gun owners not being able to trust the police..." Chuck Michel again. You know who else doesn't trust the Police? Hitler, errr, criminals.

When 40 Open Carry Texas (OCT) Firearm Fondlers showed up to threaten the Moms Demand Action, right-wingers rushed to defend the Texas domestic terrorists (terrorism can be defined as the use or threat of use of violence to effect political change) but, before this incident a couple members of OCT were arrested for breaking the law. In response the OCT Firearm Fondlers sounded more like the Weathermen than so-called law-abiding gun owners,
"Supporters of OCT called a police officer a "piece of garbage," a "fucking scumbag," a "worthless piece of shit," a "worthless waste of life," and a "traitor." One man repeatedly shouted "Fuck you, pig."
Last October, North Carolina Republican Representative Renee Ellmers had her AR-15 stolen. "Gun safety is of the utmost importance in their household," Thomas Doheny, communications director for Ellmers. Obviously! That's why the loaded weapon was left leaning out in plain sight, up against a gun safe, in a garage with the door left open.

But, to many "responsible" gun owners knowing where their guns are is as difficult to accomplish as not shooting their friends in the head,
Michael Burdette said John Philip Thompson accidentally shot him in the head while he was showing Burdette his handgun, but then only gave him a towel while he lay bleeding.
In the NRA's never-ending Quest for Unrestricted Gun Violence, The Firearm Fondlers have changed the definition of "Good-Guy" to simply mean anyone who has a gun. So the ownership of guns conveys goodness and moral righteousness upon its' owner.

"We should be praying that we will all be able to go around armed, because that will be one outward indicator that we have God’s blessing,” Larry Pratt of Firearm owners of America said last year.

Pratt believes guns are a biblical thing and while you might think Christ taught Pacifism, Jesus wants you to pick up your sword-gun. 

Gun owners consider themselves responsible and law-abiding including after they've loosed a Negligent Discharge or when they've used their gun to kill or cause serious bodily harm to another.

Thus we are living on hope. Hope that the "law-abiding" gun owner hitching up his pants over his giant belly doesn't drop his improperly secured Glock.

That the music isn't too loud for the law-abiding gun owner who runs over and threatens everyone with her jesus approved biblical sword-gun over their lawless loud music.

In 2005 George W(orst President Ever) Bush backed by the Republican Controlled House and Senate passed Legislation making Gun Manufacturers immune to Lawsuits for their Negligence.

Wayne LaPierre stated the Republican Congress 2005 law was the "No. 1 legislative priority of the National Rifle Association". Of course, the NRA "lobbied lawmakers intensely for it". Sickeningly 59 Democrats joined in the House to pass it a vote of 283 to 144. 

Therefore, because the Republican Party is owned by the Firearm Manufacturers and the Democratic Party is cowed we must always be prepared to Fight or Flee. Because this Nation is awash in Guns, and there vast coda of evidence shows that an Armed Society is not a Polite Society and Gun Owners believe they are above the Law.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Uh-oh Dan Rutherford just got caught breaking 1 of the 2 Political Sexy Time no-no's

Don't get caught with a dead girl or... a Live Boy.

Politics is a mean, nasty business. Allegations that Illinois State Treasurer and Republican Governor Candidate Dan Rutherford engaged in "official misconduct" have lead to revelations about Rutherford's relationship with a male employee of the Treasury Department.

The Chicago Suntimes is reporting that Dan Rutherford has taken multiple overseas trips with his 28 old year male personal assistant, Josh Lanning. Dan and the young Josh have taken trips to Australia, Israel, China and South Korea.

During each trip, Rutherford received his taxpayer-funded salary, as did his executive assistant, Josh Lanning. The Chinese People’s Institute for Foreign Affairs paid for Rutherford’s trip to China. The Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago paid for the trip to Israel, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Korea, paid for Rutherford’s trip to Korea.

The previous Treasury Secretary Republican Judy Baar Topinka, who served 12 years as claims she never travelled overseas, nor has she as Illinois State Comptroller.

Rutherford denied the trips were vacations saying they served educational purposes.

There are numerous photos of Rutherford and Lanning relaxing and taking interesting day trips and the two repeatedly shared a room on all of these unusual overseas excursions.

Personally, I hate this. Dan Rutherford has always denied being gay. I hate that Dan Rutherford is going to go down because of his personal life choices. If he is or is not gay shouldn't matter. But, being gay is a terrible sin to conservatives. To me the only way that Rutherford's sex life is at all relevant is if he made political decisions against equality or used his political offices to support homophobic positions. 

Rutherford is opposed to gay marriage on religious grounds, although he was the only Illinois Republican to vote for civil unions. So, I could understand people whom Rutherford has harmed by virtue of his office being okay with his outing.

As details have not be released I'm theorizing the case against Rutherford hinges on him sexual harassing members of his errr, staff and/or giving preferential treatment/special favors for his "personal assistant" Josh.

Of importance is what kind of quid pro quo Rutherford promised these foreign governments, who paid for these trips, if he became the next Governor of Illinois? Sweetheart trade deals? Taxpayer assistance and infrastructure to any foreign business which moves an operation here? Passage of Right-to-Work-for-Less Legislation?

Whatever the outcome, Rutherford's gubernatorial aspirations are most likely done.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Bruce Rauner's crimes make him a Quintessential Republican, as the Illinois Governor's Race heats up

Republicans Dan Rutherford and Kirk Dillard have alleged that the latest revelations about GTCR Nursing Home negligence make the Billionaire Bruce Rauner unfit to be the Republican Candidate for Governor in Illinois.

Quite the contrary, Bruce Rauner's willingness to kick old people to the curb and swipe their savings are in direct accordance with established Republican Orthodoxy.

Conservatives and Republicans love criminals; especially as their Governors. Chris Christie, Bob McDonnell are just the latest caught abusing their office for personal gain or vendetta.

Now, Bruce Rauner is a special case. Here in Illinois, the Plutocracy sees a chance to install one of their henchmen in the Governor's Mansion in Springfield.

His career reads much like Mitt Romney's in that he used accounting gimmicks and vulture capitalism to make money. Rauner's firm has been managing the largest Illinois Public Pensions since the 1990's consequently we now have unfunded pension crisis as Rauner has been steadily swindling the Pensions.

When the Nursing Home Industry came within sights of Vulture Capitalists in the late 1990's and early 00's, Bruce Rauner's GTCR firm saw another spigot of taxpayer funds they could pilfer. Which, just like with public pensions, is exactly what Bruce Rauner and his Wealth Management Fund did. They stole millions of Medicaid Dollars marked for Nursing Home Care and provided worse services.
From 1999 to 2003, GTCR and THI began acquiring nursing homes with funding from GECC, Ventas and other lenders. THI became one of the nation’s largest health care operators with more than 220 facilities and more than a billion in revenue at that time. 
When Medicare money for residents’ rent flowed into the THI account, GECC and Ventas took their share before monies were available to cover payroll, supplies, utilities, etc. for the hundreds of nursing homes, according to evidence presented at trial. Insider operators and former employees began suing GTCR/THI over poor management, as did nursing home residents and their families because of what was described as abysmal care.
Rauner's firm then engaged in active negligence, in order to run their 200+ facilities into insolvency because who cares what happens to the senile old people families can't afford to look after because they were working two jobs each to try and stay afloat during the Ultra-Reactionary Piss Down Your Back Reaganomics era?

Republicans are not in Government to help people, unless you mean Romney People (i.e. Corporations) they are in Government to ensure that wealth is transferred upwards and regular Americans are shackled into Corporate Bondage.

There's nothing fresh, innovative or helpful for Illinois residents coming from Republicans. Illinois has seen their Republicans on the federal level defend taxpayer welfare going to Oil Companies while they also vote to eliminate the Clean Air and Water Act, so those self-same Companies can then dump petcoke or other toxic byproducts into Lake Michigan or where ever they please.

Now, after these latest despicable revelations about the thieving Bruce Rauner came back to the forefront of the Illinois Governor's Race, Dan Rutherford has suddenly found himself in trouble from allegations made by a former attorney who worked for Bruce Rauner.
Rutherford announced — during a hastily called news conference — that a treasurer's office employee who has made "allegations of misconduct" against him was being represented by an attorney who had been on Rauner's payroll. Rutherford said the attorney demanded $300,000 on the employee's behalf to "walk away and keep it under wraps."
Dan Rutherford has also said the issue involves "allegations of personal misconduct" which was looked into by an internal Illinois Treasury Department investigation. The general counsel for the treasurer's office Neil Olson, said outside counsel and a consultant firm had been retained for an independent probe because the treasurer is the accused.

I haven't and won't speculate about what the allegations against Dan Rutherford are because going through people's underwear drawers looking for smut and sniffing crotches is a Republican tradition.

As for Kirk Dillard, I've had personal contact with the man during a fundraising dinner for a State Representative Sandy Pihos. I suppose I could set the scene but the gist is when a person with juice,a DuPage County Judge, walked nearby Dillard pivoted his big belly away and turned a cold shoulder towards myself and someone else who had been asking him difficult questions regarding the Pension crisis.

No matter what Republican wins the nomination for Governor in Illinois we are going to be faced with the prospect of a rapacious servant of the Rich who will be an implacable foe to the Working Man and will use the Awesome Power of Government to transfer as much wealth as possible into the coffers of the Vulture Capitalist Class.