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    • UK Seizes Iranian Tanker So Iran Seizes UK Tanker
      That’s the news, basically. Well, Iran also seized a Liberian flagged one one, not sure why (may be operating for a British company.) Also not sure why the UK seized an Iranian tanker in the first place. The UK has said it supports the Iranian nuclear deal, and the US sanctions it was operating based […]
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Bribing North Korea

It looks like Karl Rove and his Crossroads GPS group are in a heap of trouble.  Very wealthy people gave mucho dinero to Karl and all they have to show for it is pretty much the same thing they had before the election.

But these guys didn’t get to the top by playing pattycake.  There’s a reason why many industries committed genocide against their employees.  They don’t want to be tied down.  They want to be “weightless”.  All the pension, social security and health benefits costs were keeping their hard earned money out of their own pockets.  So, they went on purges and listened to consultants from McKinsey and Boston who made them believe that they could get much of what they wanted by stressing the superstars to the breaking point and outsourcing everything else.  And what they couldn’t produce themselves, they could license in from the desperate startups.  Right?  You know I am.

Of course, that won’t really work out for many reasons that are unfamiliar to them.  If you’re a scientist, you’re better off developing your hobby for photography or serving tables in a restaurant than in an insecure startup or the crazy world of the corporate lab where all your hard work could get you laid off at any moment.  Or relocated to an expensive area of the country.  And then laid off again. As a lifestyle, it sucks.  But at some point, they’re going to have to hire some of us back.  Maybe there will be some nasty superbug that will need an antibiotic that no one has been working on or maybe the “Christians” will need medication to help them adjust to reality.  Social Security is still out there weighing the wealthy down.  They find it profoundly irritating.

Anyway, regardless of the sturm und drang on the Republican side and the fact that they are just now getting around to asking whether they made the “Christians” too hard assed, self-righteous, condescending, rigid, judgmental, mean-spirited, sex-crazed, irrational, willfully ignorant and just plain unbearable to be around, they aren’t going to give up trying to gut social security while they still have a lame duck session.  And when they have so many legislators retiring or leaving involuntarily, the billionaires still have a few tricks up their sleeves.  For instance, if those newly liberated reps and senators don’t do this one last favor for them, they’ll never work again.  How’s that?  You think you have a posh office at some K Street lobbying firm waiting for you when you get out or a nice Board of Directors appointment or financial industry position?  Think again. They can make all of that go away and leave you with nothing but a rented U-Haul for you to cart your papers back to Indiana.

Maybe there’s an opportunity here for the rest of us.  This situation reminds me of North Korea in the Clinton years, always threatening to go nuclear if they didn’t get what they wanted.  The answer to ratcheting down the threat was to pay them off.  We fed them during a famine, if I recall correctly and sent them oil.  If it kept North Korea from behaving badly, it was a small price to pay.

So, maybe we can offer to pay these retiring and defeated legislators to go away and do it without hurting anyone.  And anyway, if they gut social security to save their cushy jobs, they might have a fat bank account but they may never be safe again from the raging grannies and people from New Jersey who will break their knees (metaphorically).  It would be an ignominious demise, heaped with utter shame and disgrace.  They might have to leave the country.  But if they’re willing to take the money from the rich and powerful to cast a final vote in favor of the people who already have too much money at the expense of the ones who will soon have none, then shame might not be a problem for them.  You might as well take money from the middle and the left.  Our money is good.

So, name your number.  How much will we need to collect to make you go away without touching Social Security or changing Medicare?  We can all chip in and put the money in an escrow account called the “Retired Legislators and Mashie Niblick Lifestyle Readjustment Fund” or something like that.  We promise not to invest in mortgage backed securities with it.  Then, after you leave office and your successor is sworn in, we will dispense the funds to you.  Consider it our parting gift, a nice little nest egg for you to start the next phase of your life.  (Sorry, no Obama Phone.  We’re talking about serious payoffs here.)

No, don’t thank us.  WE will thank YOU.

Whaddya say?  Get back to us ASAP because I think there are some people in New Jersey who are doing practice swings with their lead pipes.

{{KIDDING!! Just kidding!}}

So, here’s a poll for all of you who want to retire someday on the money that you pre-paid for decades:

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Olympia Snowe retiring- Ruh-Roh

This was just announced.  Snowe is retiring, which means this is a good opportunity for a Democrat, or other party politician, to pick up a seat in the Senate.  But why now?

Snowe says:

In announcing her plans, Snowe, 65, emphasized that she is in good health and was prepared for the campaign ahead. But she said she was swayed by the increasing polarization in Washington.

“Unfortunately, I do not realistically expect the partisanship of recent years in the Senate to change over the short term,” Snowe said in a statement. “So at this stage of my tenure in public service, I have concluded that I am not prepared to commit myself to an additional six years in the Senate, which is what a fourth term would entail.”

Something about this sounds ominous.  I thought Snowe was the Republicans’ secret weapon, always looking so damned reasonable until she started getting all Columbo on some detail in the bill she wasn’t happy with.  We could always count on Snowe to renege on any agreement.

So, which partisanship is she most afraid of?  I’ve heard some rumbling today that Steney Hoyer is going to try to push through a grand bargain during the lame duck session.  Does that have anything to do with it?  Screw the Democrats one last time before she gets out of Dodge?  Or does she see something even worse coming up and wants to get out of the way while she can?

I’ll take a stab at this: She is perturbed by the recent turn her own party has taken and doesn’t like what they are asking her to sign on to.  They’re being very uncompromising and inflexible and maybe even Olympia Snowe has a line she isn’t willing to cross.  So she’s bailing and throwing the seat to the Democrats.  That’s what it looks like.  It sounds like what’s coming is so significant that even Snowe won’t play Lucy with the football this time.  She’d rather hand over her seat to the opposition.  It’s happened before with those damned New England Republicans.  Remember Jeffords and Chafee?

I’m guessing that they’re going for either Social Security or abortion.

Any hints? Allegations?  Suspicions?

And is Chellie Pingree going to go for this seat?  Losing another woman from the Senate, even if she is a Republican is one we can ill afford to lose.