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      (MANDOS POST MANDOS POST MANDOS POST MANDOS POST) In a weird twist of fate, American liberals and (some) leftists are finding themselves in the non-traditional position of standing in the “hawk” corner, while (some) American conservatives under Trump are in the position of wanting to cut deals with so-called traditional enemies of the USA.  Whether […] […]
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Ponderables

Just random stuff I think about:

What did everyone see in A Fish Called Wanda?  I’m a sucker for anything with Monty Python members in it but that movie just wasn’t that funny.

For that matter, why is Avengers such a monster hit this summer with all of the angsty discussion about superheros coming to terms with their egos?  Generally, I love superhero action adventures but this one bored me to tears.  In fact, I might have fallen asleep half way through.

Anyone want to offer an opinion on those two?  I promise not to disagree with you or bite your head off.

Ok, here’s more:

Are wine growers getting the hang of making good cheap wine?  Because I’ve had some really good bottles under $10 lately.  The one I’m sipping tonight is an Alsace White called Now and Zen from France.  $7.99/bottle.  Oh sure, it isn’t going to win any prizes but it’s a not too sweet, full bodied wine with a hint of effervescence.  Have you tried any good ones lately?

I finally got some questions on ResearchGate that I can answer with some degree of expertise, which is pretty cool.  But now I really miss my job.  😦

Has anyone been following the LIBOR scandal?  Matt Taibbi has a series of posts on it and here’s Matt talking to Eliot Spitzer about it.  This one might be the biggy that brings the bankers down.  Yep, provided we actually have someone in office who will hold them accountable.

Taibbi says that a friend of his on Wall Street says that this makes the whole global financial system look like it’s founded on quicksand.  Isn’t that special?  One thing I’m curious about though is why the banks are able to fix their own interest rates but AIG wasn’t able to cancel all those credit default swaps it issued.  I mean, if it’s that easy to cook the books, why not just wipe out all the debt?  It was all digital money anyway, except for the pension funds and 401Ks.  But my biggest question is why it is we feel so obligated to make sure that the traders and shareholders suffer no ill consequence but we’re not allowed to look after our own interests.  I mean, if rates are so fungible, why can’t we set it up so everybody who does not work on Wall Street, including the government, gets the money they need?  And why are Republicans so hell bent on making everyone else’s lives miserable?  Is this a new manifestation of the Stanford prison experiment?  As long as they have the power, they’re going to dehumanize the rest of us?

And I’ve been thinking about Brooke in Nuremberg.  70 years ago, it was at the center of Nazi propaganda.  But the Germans purged themselves after the war and now they are on their guard.  Americans are completely vulnerable because they’ve had no direct experience with rule by mass insanity or a governmental/financial infrastructure that is blatantly criminal.  So, roughly half of our population is now insane.  Except for the pogroms and deaths, how is Birmingham, Alabama different from Nuremburg, Germany circa 1940? How are we supposed to deal with that?

Woah, that was deep.  Gotta lighten it up.

Here’s an interesting factoid: The Tasmanian Echidna has a penis with 4 heads.  Zoologists still don’t understand why it needs a four fold redundancy but imagine what a bris would be like.  Well, there goes the intelligent design argument.

(Wiki says that during mating, one side of the penis shuts down and only 2 of the 4 heads are active.  What I want to know is how they know this?  That must have made one heck of a paper)

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Recap

You could have had a V8.

Update: I don’t agree with Digby’s latest post that it’s all the Republicans fault that we’re stuck at 8.2% unemployment.  Yes, all of the things she lists the Republicans definitely did.  They’re bastards and they have a vested interest in seeing that Obama is a one term president.

The problem with her argument is that in the first two years of the crisis, it was Democrats who had the power to ram through any damn thing they wanted to.  They could have played hardball and stuck together and presented a united front.  I’m even betting that Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman could have been leaned on to get their asses into line.  But there was no political push to do this.  It was an emergency and yet, the incoming Obama administration had no plans when it came into office.  It didn’t do its homework.  There has been plenty of evidence that Obama and Geithner totally blew it in the first two years and that’s why we’re stuck.

But the worst thing is that they seem to have just thrown up their hands and are are like, “Well, what do you want us to do about it now??  This shit is getting old.”  Let me just remind you that this is the same campaign tactic that Jon Corzine took and it didn’t work for him.

Let’s face it, the Democrats did this to the country when they decided to put a complete novice, bought by Wall Street, who had almost no legislative experience, in charge of the most important nation in the world in the midst of the worst economic downturn in 80 years.  There is no getting around it.  Obama’s lack of legislative progress reminds me of JFK’s and that was primarily self-inflicted because the Kennedy crew refused to use LBJ to muscle arm people into line.

Obama wasn’t dealing with a 100% hostile Congress in 2009.  He had almost a mandate and he could have used his political capital at that time to demand just about anything.  Instead, he spent an awful lot of time preening for the camera during the first two years and I know this because his face was on TV in the company cafeteria every fricking day during lunch.

I don’t know what is wrong with this batch of Democrats but I don’t trust them.  They’re too friendly to bankers, too dismissive of working people and they don’t do their homework.  Obama and his crew did not come to Washington with a plan to save homeowners and preserve jobs.  They just didn’t, Digby.  There is no evidence that they even made those items a priority and plenty of evidence that they bent over backwards to save the financiers from the consequences of their bad behavior.  You can blame the other side all you want but the lack of plans is very telling and you can’t blame that on Republicans.  No one should get blamed for the lack of planning but Obama and the Democrats.  They let us all down and this particular batch does not deserve four more years.

As long as the Democrats refuse to change their lineup, that leaves us with Mitt, who we also don’t want.  I’d like to think there was a difference between the parties but I’m looking at a party of almost criminal incompetence vs a party of insanity.  As far as choices go, this is as bad as it gets.  We can’t do anything to change the crazy Republicans and as long as Obama is on the ticket, we will have to expect more of the same lassitude for four more years.  It is only by changing out the top of the ticket do we push the election into a new energy state and have a hint of a possibility of recapturing a mandate.  At this point, working people on both sides need something to look forward to.  There’s only one person who could potentially pull this off.

Otherwise, we continue on in our lost decade, the rich get stronger, the voters continue to be disenfranchised and any hope that we will regain our footing will be lost for a long, long time.

*************************************

Let’s recap where we are leading up to this election, shall we:

The economy added a lousy 80,000 jobs last month.  The unemployment rate is stubbornly stuck at 8.2%.  Expect the assholes who are sitting on the money to stay sat until they get what they want, whatever that is.  In Ron Suskind’s book, Confidence Men, he describes a proposal by Christina Romer, chairwoman of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors, that $100 billion would go a long way to putting many unemployed people back to work.  There were still Democratic majorities in Congress at the time. Obama passed on it.

Frankly, I’m finding this election to be really boring.  I don’t care how many frogs Mitt Romney blew up when he was a child or that Ann likes dressage.  I. Don’t. Care. Please don’t waste my time telling me how awful Republicans are, as if I didn’t already know.

Tell me why the Democrats aren’t just as awful from the standpoint of the unemployed.  You know what?  You can’t.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton is on a marathon trip around the world putting out multiple fires, likely without much help from the National Security advisors who seem to like putting her in tight spots and then hanging her our to dry all by herself on the world stage.  Nice way to support the State department.  Way to go, Obama administration. Oh, and we haven’t gone to war with Iran yet, which all of the anti-Hillary Democrats were *convinced* she was going to do.

So, you know, there’s that.

Plus more people are losing their homes, yada-yada-yada…

There’s still time.  If the impending catastrophe in November is starting to look like the end of the world as we know it, and more voter suppression and internet censorship will surely follow, NOW would be the time to register your concern with your local Democratic party apparatus.

It ain’t over until the balloons drop in Charlotte.

Trust me, Democrats, you do not want to bore your voters.  And right now, there are a lot of us out here who are less likely to vote for your candidate with each new revelation about his administration.  The peer pressure tactics may not work nearly as well this year.  What makes me furious with the Democratic party is their insistence on ignoring voters and acting all parental about what candidates we are allowed to choose from.  Then comes the pressure tactics where you’re made to feel guilty if you don’t choose one of these horrible people.  You know, f^*( that sh^&.  It’s not up to me to make this right for the Democrats.  It’s up to the Democrats to make this right for me.  I’m sick of voting for the lesser evil, especially because I can’t tell anymore who that person is.  Don’t roll your eyes at me.  It’s not obvious to those of us who are losing our standards of living, watching Obama stand by while Rome burns.  He doesn’t take any pains to disguise his ennui for people losing their houses and everything else they worked so hard for.  And his crowd suppression tactics of the Occupy movement tells me all I need to know about whether he intends to do anything about our grievances.

So, shove it, D’s.  Get him the f&(* out of there or YOU will be responsible for what happens next.  The authoritarian strain is strong in this one and I refuse to participate in the destruction of the Democratic party any longer.

***************************

Here is the current Obama attitude as interpreted by Lilly Von Shtupp: