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When Rich People Whine

Chrystia Freeland writes about the bellyaching of the SuperRich in the latest edition of the New Yorker.  In it, some rich people think they can’t get no respect and Al Gore gives some really, REALLY bad advice:

In the letter, Cooperman argued that Obama has needlessly antagonized the rich by making comments that are hostile to economic success. The prose, rife with compound metaphors and righteous indignation, is a good reflection of Cooperman’s table talk. “The divisive, polarizing tone of your rhetoric is cleaving a widening gulf, at this point as much visceral as philosophical, between the downtrodden and those best positioned to help them,” Cooperman wrote. “It is a gulf that is at once counterproductive and freighted with dangerous historical precedents.”

At the dinner, Al Gore was diplomatic when presented with the letter, and asked Cooperman if he would accept higher taxes. Cooperman said that he would—if he was treated with respect, and the government didn’t squander his money. Cooperman asked Gore what he thought the top marginal tax rate should be. Gore’s reply was noncommittal, but he pleased the group by suggesting that no matter who wins in November the victor should surround himself with advisers with experience in the private sector.

No, no more private sector advisors from the MBA management class.  They’re absolutely the last people who need to give more input.  Instead, the winner should solicit advice from people whose careers and industries have been wrecked by those private sector parasites.  At least get both sides of the story.

But it’s this bit that’s bound to get the most attention in the blogosphere:

During another conversation, Cooperman mentioned that over the weekend an acquaintance had come by to get some friendly advice on managing his personal finances. He was a seventy-two-year-old world-renowned cardiologist; his wife was one of the country’s experts in women’s medicine. Together, they had a net worth of around ten million dollars. “It was shocking how tight he was going to be in retirement,” Cooperman said. “He needed four hundred thousand dollars a year to live on. He had a home in Florida, a home in New Jersey. He had certain habits he wanted to continue to pursue.

“I’m just saying that it’s not an impressive amount of capital for two people that were leading physicians for their entire work life,” Cooperman went on. “You know, I lost more today than they spent a lifetime accumulating.”

Most of the people I worked with had more education under their belts than physicians, worked just as hard to make life saving discoveries and never dreamed of being able to sock away $10 million bucks.  The didn’t go into it to get rich but they still have to live in their retirement after working a lifetime in America where their vacation and leisure time is minute compared to the rest of the developed world.  I swear, these people won’t be satisfied until we agree to work for nothing and are grateful for it.

And what’s with this crap about how we need to treat Mr. Cooperman and his buddies with more respect?  WE’RE the ones who deserve more respect. Paying your taxes is not a favor.  It’s a responsibility. And if Cooperman gets to call the shots to make sure his money isn’t squandered, we should all have that same right.  No more expensive wars, no more faith based initiatives, no more oil subsidies and no more bank bailouts. Has Mr. Cooperman seen how the French show respect to selfish piggy rich people who sit on piles of cash?

That last gesture simulated a knife cutting open the throat.  The French have a history, you know.  They don’t fuck around.  We could learn a lot from the disrespectful French.

 

#opBlackout January 23, 2012

Most of you have probably seen this by now.  Internet giants Wikipedia, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, AOL, PayPal and others are contemplating an internet blackout of their services for January 23 to protest proposed SOPA legislation to be voted on January 24.

Companies including Google, Facebook, Twitter, PayPal, Yahoo! and Wikipedia are said to be discussing a coordinated blackout of services to demonstrate the potential effect SOPA would have on the Internet, something already being called a “nuclear option” of protesting. The rumors surrounding the potential blackout were only strengthened by Markham Erickson, executive director of trade association NetCoalition, who told FoxNews that “a number of companies have had discussions about [blacking out services]” last week.

According to Erickson, the companies are well aware of how serious an act such a blackout would be:

“This type of thing doesn’t happen because companies typically don’t want to put their users in that position. The difference is that these bills so fundamentally change the way the Internet works. People need to understand the effect this special-interest legislation will have on those who use the Internet.”

The idea of an Internet blackout should seem familiar to anyone who’s been paying attention to the debate so far. In addition to a blackout already carried out by Mozilla, hacking group Anonymous proposed the same thing a couple of weeks ago, suggesting that sites replace their front pages with a statement protesting SOPA. That suggestion itself came a week after Jimmy Wales had asked Wikipedia users about the possibility of blacking out that site in protest of the bill.

I think they’re serious.  Holy hemiola, we’d have to look stuff up and talk on the phone.  I know it sounds trivial but I think about how I use each one of these services each day and how without them, I would feel disabled.  We would have to relearn how to do things all over again.

Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google said:

The bills “give the U.S. government and copyright holders extraordinary powers including the ability to hijack DNS (the Internet’s naming system) and censor search results (and this is even without so much as a proper court trial),” Brin wrote last month on his Google+ page as Congress was considering the measures. “While I support their goal of reducing copyright infringement (which I don’t believe these acts would accomplish), I am shocked that our lawmakers would contemplate such measures that would put us on a par with the most oppressive nations in the world.”

That CNN article also writes that:

When contacted by CNN, none of those companies would confirm that such a drastic move had ever been considered. By Friday, the advocate whose comments had fueled the speculation appeared to back away from claims that a Web blackout was still likely to occur.

“Internet and technology companies will continue to educate policymakers and other stakeholders on the problems with the (legislation),” Markham Erickson, director of Web trade associationNetCoalition, said in a statement. “An ‘Internet blackout’ would obviously be both drastic and unprecedented.”

Or maybe they’re just not going to tell us what day or hour.  Sort of like Armageddon.

Al Gore appears to oppose SOPA as well.  In a recent speech, “the ex-veep warned that proposals to levy an Internet death penalty against allegedly piratical Web sites “would very probably have the effect of really shutting down the vibrancy of the Internet.”” and  “anything that would serve to threaten the vibrancy and freedom of the Internet in the future, I’m against.”  There was a youtube video of Gore’s remarks on the subject but somewhat ironically, it was deleted from the internet.

I hope they go through with it.  Enough with the copyright smokescreen.  This is a great way for media giants to shut down, well, whatever they want to shut down.  It’s not in their best interests to have people making snide and unpleasant remarks about them.  They’ll be like the whiny billionaires and make our stuff disappear. Oh, they won’t mean to delete your occupy videos and tweets because of alleged copyright violations.  But if you can’t use the internet to file a complaint, you’re kinda stuck, right?

So, black them out for a day and plunge us back to 1992 when no one had ever heard of a browser and we were all just thrilled to death that we could ftp the soda machine in the Computer Science building at CMU to see if the cokes were cold yet.  I hope WordPress, Typepad and other hosting sites follow suit.  But google is going to be a real problem because it affects so many businesses and industries.  I use google to find free scientific software, look up papers and unknown terms, as well as for mail, addresses and phone numbers.  I don’t even know where my phone books are.

This should be good.

And here’s a video from Anonymous on #opBlackout.  It’s pretty heavy on the ominous.

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

In other news: Ron Paul gave a speech in NH.  His buzzword appears to be “liberty”.  Has anyone ever sat down with Paul and asked him to explain just what liberty means to him and whether it applies to all American Citizens equally or just 49% of them?  You can hear a lot of cheering in the background.  It sounds like a bunch of guys.  It has to be guys.  I’d just like to point out that, once again, the so-called liberals are willing to sell out their sisters just so they can say they stopped a war.  And let me add the disclaimer that I opposed these stupid wars from the very beginning when many on the left were supporting them.  I have a brother over there, a brother who was stupid enough to be all enthusiastic about us kicking ass in Iraq 8 years ago and over which we had the kind of argument over dinner that leads to siblings referring to their relationsip as “estranged”.  (Betcha he wishes he’d listented to me now) I want the wars to stop sucking blood and money from us as much as Noam Chomsky.  But getting us out of a mess that Bush deliberately chained us to is not going to be easy and I don’t want to get saddled with Ron Paul for four years.  I want an FDR style Democrat in the White House who will not sacrifice women to score political points with the religious and who has enough foreign policy experience to not trigger Pakistan to go off on a hissy fit.  Enough of the female sacrifices and the economic inertia.  Get Obama out of the White House and replace him with someone who will act like they give a f^*&.  And if you can’t think through this problem long enough to abandon Paul and his Dickensian worldview, you’re no progressive.

BTW, I’d just like to note that if this is some kind of reverse psychology strategy to get us to vote for Obama as the lesser evil, it won’t work for me.  I will never vote for Obama because 1.) he’s been a lousy president and responsible for the livelihoods ruined and families made homeless by his finance industry backed policies, 2.) if he did a lousy job for the first four years, he sure as hell won’t stand up to congressional Republicans in the second four and 3.) our right to vote is our one sacrament and he and the DNC violated that right for 18,000,000 of us in 2008.  That is unforgivable for a politician.  So, if you’re a progressive male, and they’re almost always men, and you are playing some political game of chicken with us, be careful because you might just get stuck with a hardass Republican.  This is not the way to win friends and influence people.

Anyway, here’s the speech.  You be the judge.

Beta-testing “Hope”

Here is Deval Patrick beta testing the Obama message in the Massachusetts governor’s race in 2006;

Yes, Hope and Change are commonly used words but when they are used in virtually the same way by a different transcendent African-American politician, and not only that but he lifts whole segments about the power of “just words”, then what we have here is a case of “Well, it worked so well in Massachusetts, why not with Obama?”

And what the heck is it with all of Obama’s ties to Massachusetts anyway? Kerry, Kennedy, Patrick, it seems like some kind of rich little northeast cabal. Did the old boys club in Massachusetts get all freaked out that a woman might not win (well, a woman vould win. Just not *this* woman.) that they got together to make Obama the inevitable nominee? Is that what this is all about? These wimps, especially Kerry, who were bitch slapped by the Republicans in 2004 and who are still running scared are prepared to do another capitulation to them rather than stand up to the media narrative, defy it and once and for all put them back in their place? Are progressives being thrown under a bus by the hereditary establishment?

Sure looks like it to me. Where did all of Obama’s money come from? It wasn’t all small donations. No one starts out of the gate with that much cash. The whole Kerry endorsement now looks like a sham. He gave Obama his donor lists a year ago, I’m betting.

I always liked Al Gore. I thought he could extrapolate. He can see what’s coming up next. Kerry always struck me as a bit pedantic compared to Gore. So, I have to believe that Gore can see that if Hillary wins the nomination, she will have gone a long way towards breaking the spell and stranglehold the media has on picking our candidates. It is the GOP-media complex that sets up these contests and then tears down our candidate. They are the perception managers. Encouraging the voters to pay no attention to them would be the patriotic thing to do.

Ya know, I don’t know what was up with Gore and the Clintons. Yes, there have been stories but none of it made a whole lot of sense to me. But as much as Bill has been accused of being Hillary’s ventriloquist, she runs circles around Obama on policy in debates. It’s clear that she really knows this stuff. It’s not robotic. She does variations on a theme. You can’t fake it and she doesn’t. She’s wheathered some of the worst media possible. I don’t think either Gore or Kerry ever had it this bad. She *is* solidly progressive. We don’t really know what Obama is, but we know he’s not necessarily channeling his own inspiration when he speaks.

If Gore was waiting for her to earn it, I think she’s pretty much done that. Surely the Goracle can see who is the better candidate at this point. Here’s a hint: It’s not the one who was given the Deval’s campaign by David Axelrod in the hopes that rhetoric would mask a lack of real substance. The mask is off.

And for you Obamaphiles who are angry because Clinton’s campaign has finally exposed Obama for what he is, well, better late than never.