Tuesday, July 31, 2012

'Kiss My Ass, This Is a Holy Site'

How I love the Romney Team quote machine. While team leader may use queer words to express himself, like his repeated creepy use of "entity," his team has mastered the art of pithy idiocy.

Nothing shows irreverence for a "holy site" better than petulantly cursing at folk just trying to do their jobs.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Romney In Israel

Mitt Romney is not racist. Actually he probably is, but his statement about how Israelis are better off financially than Palestinians because Israelis have a better culture is classic aristocratic classism.

I am better than you because I am richer than you equals I am richer than you because I am better than you.
To aristocrats the richer you are the better person you are. And by the same principle, poverty is proof of moral turpitude. It is called Prosperity Gospel and many American religions, including Mormons, subscribe to the theology that God rewards the righteous with personal wealth.

In Mitt Romney's religious beliefs the poverty of the people living in Palestine has nothing to do with the decades long economic blockade that Israel has imposed on the West Bank and Gaza. It is simply righteous punishment for their inferior culture.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Olympics on NBC: a Primer

After one night of NBC Olympics coverage I understand the rhythm of their broadcast.

Winners First
Everything on their prime time show is tape delayed so they can show the events in any order they want. The first events shown will have Americans, marquee Americans if possible, winning heroically. Any event shown after 11:30 will have Americans losers.

If a marquee athlete is going to lose a headline event ads featuring him will be run before the event.  If the marquee athlete wins a shitload of commercials featuring him will run immediately after the event. The advertisers pay extra for this prime placement.

NBC loves interviewing athletes immediately after the event when they are still desperately trying to catch their breath. The interviews consist almost entirely of random cliches punctuated by heavy panting. They also have....

Andrea Kramer
I swear to God I don't know how she got, let alone held onto, a job in broadcasting. Andrea is the queen of inane questions. However, when Lewis Johnson and Dwight Stones start interviewing track and field athletes they promise to make Andrea sound like a genius.

Not Chris Collinsworth (I hope)
This is the good news. Collinsworth was a grand waste of time with feature stories where a wooden personality tried to make one-dimensional full-time athletes sound interesting. The bad news is that he has been replaced with Ryan Seacrest and John McEnroe and as bad as Collinsworth was Seacrest and McEnroe are much worse.

Seacrest, apparently, also is going to have a nightly feature where he tells us what the hot Tweets were because, damn that's exciting!!!!!!!

As before, the best part of the Olympics are the athletics. The worst part is NBC putting us all to sleep with fluff.

Friday, July 27, 2012

What Do Romney's London Gaffes Say About Him?

It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt. ~ Mark Twain
He's Dumb. Romney met will Labour Party leader Ed Miliband but forgot his name and in failed fill-in-the-blank form, addressed him as "Mr. Leader." Even Sarah Palin was smart enough to write crib notes on her palm.

He's Ignorant. This is different than dumb. One can be ignorant yet smart or dumb but well informed. Romney is ignorant and dumb. He keeps referring to the United Kingdom as "England." That is like calling the United States "California." England is part of the UK, but so is Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales. Romney unnecessarily, and ignorantly, insulted much of the country.

He's Arrogant.  It takes a special kind of hubris to think you can fly into a country and fix problems with a wave of your hand. Yet, that is want Romney did with his critique of London's Olympics preparation. This trait comes from Romney's Bain Capital days when he would take over a company, flit in for a quick makeover, and leave. If the company succeeded Romney would take all the credit, if it failed he would blame everyone else.

And this doesn't even get into the Anglo-Saxon kerfuffle or his repeated need to grovel apologies. These are not rookie mistakes. Romney has been running for President for six years now, he should have learned the necessary lessons by now. Ignorant, dumb, and arrogant is the best Mitt Romney can be.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Romney and Anglo-Saxons

We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage, and [Romney] feels that the special relationship is special ~ unnamed Romney adviser
I've said before, I love the way Romney and his people have at generating stupid sound bites. This one is dumb on so many levels.

It's blatantly racist, insulting every American of Latino, Asian, African, Native American, Jewish, and Slavic heritage. It's grammatically childish - you're special because you're special. And it puts the rest of the world on notice that unless your are Germanic and speak English you are unimportant.
Then there is the whole completely outdated terminology. No educated person uses "Anglo-Saxon" to describe Britons any longer. The Angles, Saxons, and Jutes (everybody always forgets the Jutes) were Germanic invaders of Britannia in the fifth century AD. They were partially supplanted by Viking invaders in the ninth century and fully conquered by Normans from France in 1066.

In the 19th century the term was used in both Great Britain and the United States (and in early Mormon literature) to claim racial superiority and dominion over the dark skinned races. Mormons believe that Anglo-Saxons are a lost tribe of Israel and therefore have a special relationship with God. The term is also favored by the neo-Nazi British National Party.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Stealth Romney

One of the fascinating things about Mitt Romney is his firm intention to run his entire campaign without ever stating his platform.

His major foreign policy speech is mostly about how much better than President Obama he will be at keeping secrets and not at all about, you know, foreign affairs.

His economic policy is openly opaque, steadfastly refusing to mention any specifics. He does promise to get around to those detail eventually.

The two decades of his life when he ruled Bain Capital has been declared off limits by Romney. Such things are his "private life" and has no business in a political debate.

That doesn't mean we can't deduce Romney's true platform. In foreign affairs he is an old-fashioned Cold Warrior who believes Russia and China are our only enemies and the colored people of the world are of no consequence. His economic policy is cut the taxes on his rich friends who own NASCAR teams while raising taxes on the middle class - cut spending that benefits the non-wealthy while increasing spending on things bought from the companies owned by his rich buddies.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Murder By the Numbers

Guns per Person
The United States is the gun capitol of the world. We have 89 guns per 100 people. That's privately held guns, add in police and military and the United States is the only country in the world with more guns than people. Second place is Serbia (58 guns per 100 people). Forty percent of American households own guns, the highest in the world.  In Japan, only one person in 200 owns a gun.

Hawaii has the lowest percentage of its households owning guns, just ten percent. Montana has the highest, 63 percent of the state's households own guns.

Honduras has an extraordinary murder rate (thanks drug trade) of 82 murders annually per 100,000 people. Louisiana (thanks Bobby Jindel) is the worst US state but it is still only one-sixth of the Honduras murder rate. The fewest murders are in Japan, only 3.5 murders per one million people. The United States murder rate (4.8 per 100,000 people) is in the middle of the pack.

Do Guns Kill People?
Yes! Two-thirds of all murders are committed by people shooting guns, that rate is pretty consistent throughout the world. Second place (14%) is knives and other pointy things.

Gun deaths collate very closely with gun ownership. The states with the fewest percentage of gun owners - Massachusetts (3.1) and Hawaii (3.6) - also have the lowest rates of gun deaths. Both also benefit from not bordering states with lax gun laws. Montana (17.6) ranks behind only Louisiana (18.0) in the number of gun deaths per 100,000 people.

Growth Business
Kentucky by far has the fastest growing gun trade in the nation. Over an 18 month period (Sept 2010 to Feb 2012), there were 78,703 gun purchases registered in Kentucky per 100,000 population. The fewest was New Jersey, only 1,030.

Random Facts
In the US, 90% of murderers are men as were 77% of the victims. Only 24% of murders are done during the commission of another crime. Forty-one percent are the result of arguments. Murderers most often kill family members (24%) or acquaintances (54%).

Note: Numbers may vary due to dates surveyed.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

An Aurora Theory

Police are trying to discover the motive for the Aurora Massacre. They shouldn't ignore the possibility that James Holmes was hired by a consortium of gun makers and sellers to improve their businesses.

Take the AR-15, for example. This is a product that has only one practical use - the killing of human beings. The Aurora Event was a highly effective product demonstration proving that, even in the hands of a rank amateur, it can create an impressive display of slaughter.

It makes more sense than any of the other theories out there.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Aurora Weaponology

This, or something similar, was the main killing weapon for the Colorado movie theater attack. Apparently equip with a high capacity magazine (I found a 100-round mag available mail order), this gun was sufficient to account for all the carnage without the shooter needing the shotgun and two Glocks he also brought.

I've browsed gun-nut websites trying to discover why someone would legitimately want a weapon capable of killing an entire platoon of soldiers. They are not hunting rifles - the AR-15 is illegal in most states for hunting game. There was one guy who posted a comment that he keeps his AR-15 by his back door "to shoot varmints," although it was unclear from context whether the varmints were human or animal. Most people consider it a "home defense" weapon for those all to frequent times when the entire population of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club invade your home and you need to create a "killing zone" out of your second floor stairwell.

The AR-15 is extremely popular with the military, ex-military, and wanna-be military.

Remington 12-gauge shotgun
This gun is for blowing the shit out of something at close range. Favored by bird hunters, it's the gun you see in the front seat of many police cars. Eight rounds seems to be the maximum magazine. While a Remington will turn a person into mushy pulp they aren't a go to weapon for mass slaughter. Some 10 million Remington shotguns have been made.

.40 Glock
Famed in song and story, the Glock is really popular with gun nuts as the girl gun. The standard clip is 10 rounds but these larger magazines hold over 30 bullets. The Aurora killer was carrying two Glocks.

The Aurora Gun Club
Five and a half miles from the Century Theater where Holmes killed 12 people is the Aurora Gun Club. While I have no proof I would not be surprise if the suspect used some of the 6000 rounds he purchased to practice there before the big day. The day after the event the Aurora Gun Club has this wish to visitors

Friday, July 20, 2012

The God of Murder

Ker, the Greek god of violent death.
George Zimmerman has disavowed any personal responsibility for shooting and killing Trayvon Martin, stating it was "all God's plan."

Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert's comments about the Colorado shooting were significantly less coherent. As far as I can make out, Gohmert believes that wackos shooting up movie theaters is the natural consequence of Americans being insufficiently worshipful of the Christian god.

Me? I blame the fact that in this country any psychopath can get his hands on a gun.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Romney's Hidden Tax Returns

The threat is mightier than the execution. ~ Aaron Nimzowitsch
It's obvious that Mitt Romney doesn't play chess. If he did he'd know the above truism.  Romney's tax return gambit to keep his secret against all challenges has led pundits to speculate endlessly.

Instead of one, single embarrassing revelation there are now thousands of rumors ranging from the minimal (Romney is arrogant and stupid) to the criminal (Romney is hiding tax fraud). Every rumor sounds true, many are true, and the rumors are building a very ugly portrait of Mitt Romney. What is reality?
  • He is stupid. Romney believes he can get away with hiding what lesser politicians, including his own father, have revealed for decades.
  • There is something new. If there is nothing other than what we saw in his 2010 return then there is no reason to stonewall.
  • It's bad. There is no reason for secrecy if his tax returns show he was an extra generous donor to charities. The real question, and the root of all the rumors is, how bad?
My favorite speculation comes from BusinessWeek and suggests Romney paid zero taxes in 2008. Romney is a non-productive capitalist (He doesn't earn money by making something, he makes money by moving it around - kind of like a 3-card Monte dealer.) and 2008 was a very bad year for such capitalists. And he might have paid no taxes on a very big income due to Bain Capital.

Another possibility is that in 2009 Romney used the IRA amnesty program for fraudulent nondisclosure of offshore income (Remember those Swiss bank accounts?) and his tax returns would show criminal activity. He could test how well the "but I was forgiven" defense works in politics.

Of course, it may be nothing more than Charles Pierce's speculation. It is nothing but aristocratic arrogance. That Romney believes the peasant class has no business peeking at the family affairs.

The Bain [Capital] of His Existence

Bane (n) - A person or thing that ruins or spoils.
What's in a name? I'm guessing, had he the chance to do it over, Mitt Romney would have chosen a different name for the business that has defined his life. Maybe "Cute Puppy Investing."

"Bain Capital" just sort of shouts corporate raider raining down wanton destruction on innocents. "Bane" is also the villain in the new Batman movie.
 That name makes it easy to believe the worst.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Romney: Soundbite King

I've got to hand it to Mitt Romney and his crew. If there is one thing they excel at it is coming up with memorial one-liners.

Retroactive Retirement
It's alliterative, making it easy to remember while at the same time means absolutely nothing and requires a couple thousand words of explanation to even begin making sense. And it sounds kind of sleazy and crooked.

Corporations are people, my friend.
Mitt at his best. Heartless and dehumanizing while at the same time sounding like all of his best friends are corporations.

I should tell my story. I'm also unemployed.
That's because he keeps retroactively retiring.

I like being able to fire people.
Cruel. It's hard to say this line without cackling like an evil mastermind.

[Our campaign] is almost like an Etch-a-Sketch.
A great one-liner is descriptive while also creating a memorial visual image. Besides, the line was great for the economy, it sold lots of Etch-a-Sketches.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Modern Blood Sacrifice

This is a tricky subject because the sum of the Blood Libel against Jews is the false charge they use the blood on innocents in Passover ceremonies. Still, there are a couple of "civilized" religions that embrace the concept of blood sacrifice.

Specifically the "Dispensationalists" who believe the Rapture, the Anti-Christ, and the Great Tribulation are all in the near future. In other words, 41% of all Americans. Dispensationalists believe that with the Second Coming will come the return of all the ancient temple ceremonies listed in Leviticus including animal sacrifice.

Suppose you found your brother in bed with your wife and put a javelin through both of them, you would be justified, and they would atone for their sins. ~ Brigham Young, 1856
The notion of "Blood Atonement" was a staple of the early Mormon Church. God could forgive certain sins only by killing of the sinner in such a way his blood falls upon the ground. Both Joseph Smith and Brigham Young (Danites or Avenging Angels) had gangs who would hurry men to their salvation by murdering them. Modern Mormons claim such stories are myths. The concept of Blood Atonement survives within polygamist Mormon sects.

Kali Cult
In researching this I was surprised to discover that there was an element of truth in the movie "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom." The 5000 year old cult to the goddess Kali is not dead and results in the occasional human sacrifice in India. Whether it is just an excuse for mental illness or actual religious fervor is for you to decide.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Mitt Romney's Lies

Always tell the truth; it will amaze your friends and confound your enemies. ~ Mark Twain
It is a crime to make knowingly false filings to the SEC (This guy faces ten years in prison for doing just that). Did Mitt Romney committed a felony when he informed the SEC between 1999 and 2001 that he was "sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president" of Bain Capital?

Or, did Mitt Romney commit perjury in 2011 when he filed his Public Financial Disclosure Report claiming he "retired from Bain Capital on February 11, 1999?" Both statements cannot be true.

Additional evidence seems to indicate that the SEC filings may have been true while the 2011 filing was the lie. In 2003, Romney filed a Massachusetts financial disclosure form stating that he owned 100% of Bain Capital and had drawn a salary in excess of $100,000 for the calendar year 2002. (see also)

Why would Romney lie? The truth, that he was double dipping and drawing salary from and working hard for Bain Capital when he was claiming to be busy with the Utah Olympics, would tend to make him look sleazy. And his later years with Bain were filled with several embarrassingly evil investment decisions. Romney decided it was better to file false documents than be truthful.

Lying for the Lord
Also, there is a cultural bias towards lying among high ranking Mormons. It is an article of the faith that telling falsehoods to promote or protect the church and its leaders is a Godly enterprise. Basically, the Ninth Commandment is for suckers and not God's Chosen.

Mitt Romney believes, probably correctly, that his election to the Presidency would be the greatest single event in the history of the Mormon Church since Brigham Young founded Salt Lake City. As President, Romney would be a great apostle for his One True Religion. Any lie told to advance that goal would certainly be blessed by God.

And, of course, Mitt Romney is a politician and they lie more frequently than they breath.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Romney Punks the NAACP

Romney brought his own cheerleaders to the NAACP conference, of course. He has been using paid shills and Mormon lackies to juice his events since his very first primary speeches. There is nothing unusual about that anymore.

But Romney also deliberately seeded his speech with "boo" lines hoping for the reaction he got. You can see that because Romney followed up the NAACP speech with an all-white fundraiser in Montana where he called blacks "freeloaders."

Romney doesn't hate blacks.
I would not want you to believe that we bear any animosity toward the Negro. 'Darkies' are wonderful people ~ Joseph Fielding Smith (10th Mormon President and Prophet)
Romney does believe they are cursed by God.
Cain, Ham, and the whole negro race have been cursed with a black skin, the mark of Cain, so they can be identified as a caste apart ~ Mormon Apostle Bruce McConkie
Romney believe they are an inferior and unworthy race.
You see some classes of the human family that are black, uncouth, uncomely, disagreeable and low in their habits, wild and seemingly deprived of nearly all the blessings of the intelligence that is generally bestowed upon mankind ~ Brigham Young, Second President and Prophet
Romney believes in strict segregation.
Had I anything to do with the negro, I would confine them by strict law to their own species ~ Joseph Smith, Mormon Church founder
Mitt Romney is not just a Mormon, he is a high ranked bishop with his church. He could not have achieved that level within the Mormon church without subscribing faithfully to the teachings of his religions Prophets.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Christian Education

With Texas schools going full fundie it's a good idea to know what passes for science in religious schools.

Question Nothing
The base of science is to assume nothing and question everything. Religious driven education views critical thinking as a horror that "challeng[es] the student's fixed beliefs." In religious science education everybody has to believe the same thing. Appropriate scientific inquiry only looks to confirm the preconceived belief.

Young Earth
The core belief for Christian educationalists is that the Earth is 10,000 years old, max. Everything, the Grand Canyon, dinosaurs, and the Himalayas, have to be crammed into those few millennia. That doesn't leave any time for little things like the Ice Age, the Jurassic Period, Neanderthals, and most of the Stone Age. A lot of strange theories are needed to explain inconvenient facts. One is the claim that Neanderthals were the biblical patriarchs

Man and Dinosaurs Together
An entire of religious scientific inquiry is working to prove that man and dinosaurs coexisted. The belief is required as part of the universe is only 10,000 years old belief system. As proof they point to stories of dragons and the Loch Ness Monster.

Most people think this issue was resolved centuries ago (thank you Copernicus) but they would be underestimating the stability of uncritical thought. The notion that the Sun revolves around the Earth is still a rooted principle of religious science as is the notion that the entire universe revolves around the Earth.

Tiny Universe Theory
If the universe revolves around the Earth it can't be billions of light-years across, the stars on the outer edge would have to travel trillions of light-years per millisecond. Creation cosmologists solve that problem by claiming stars are not massive balls of nuclear fusion but tiny points of light suspended in a firmament, celestial goo if you will.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Profound Thought

Eighty years ago crooks robbed banks.
John Dillinger (wearing vest) palling around with his jailers.
Nowadays, crooks run banks and it's the banks that rob people.
And then the government gives the bankers free money so they don't feel so bad.

By the by, what are the odds that Bank of America didn't know they were laundering money for criminal gangs? Sure, they are claiming stupidity, and getting away with it, but the fact is they had to know and they just didn't care.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Mitt Romney - Tax Cheat

Mitt Romney's Individual Retirement Account (IRA) has $100 million in it. Through the miracle of compound interest, and assuming the maximum annual donations plus 10% annual investment growth, it would only take 78 years to accumulate an IRA that size. Mitt is only 65 and the IRA tax laws are only 41 years old.

So, how did he perform this feat?

One theory is he gamed the system. Romney would sell his Bain Capital investments to Romney's retirement fund for a fraction of their true value. Apparently this is "legal" in that if you are a middle class shop owner and try to defraud the IRS like this you'll spend your golden years in a federal penitentiary but there are loopholes for millionaires. 

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Heartless Republican - Florida

Mr. Bumble from Oliver Twist
Rep. C. W. (Bill) Young has not had a real job for half a century. He began sucking on the taxpayer tit in 1960 when he was elected to the Florida state Senate. A decade later he stepped up to the US House of Representatives where he has stayed for 42 years.

If there is anyone who doesn't know the meaning of the phrase "get a job" it's Bill Young. That's why it was heartless of him when a constituent asked him to support a hike in the minimum wage and he responded angrily with "How about getting a job." When told by the constituent that he already had a job but it just didn't pay a living wage, Rep. Young got angrier and repeated his command to "Get a job!"

Young is a duplicate for those callous characters Charles Dickens put into petty offices in his novels. Give Rep. Young a 6.9 on the Heartless Scale.

Friday, July 06, 2012

The Road to Hell Is Buckling

It has been so hot for so long in the American Heartland that the roads are failing. People are dying too but buckling pavement makes better pictures so that is what we see on the nightly news. Prolonged drought is killing crops in the Farm Belt.

The RSOP (Right Sort Of People) have declared the heat wave to be President Obama's fault, God's judgement for having elected a Democrat, and absolutely perfectly normal because the climate never ever changes so let's burn more fossil fuels because I need my air conditioner.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

San Diego Fireworks

I'm sure this is a metaphor for something. San Diego's grand fireworks display suffered the biggest case of premature ejaculation in history when all the pyrotechnics went off at once five minutes before the show was to start.
Big flash. Big boom. Big flop.

The company is blaming computers and not humans as if people are not responsible for computers. Maybe the computers thought they were part of a Skynet Judgement Day.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

The Peacock Princess

I've begun reading Sarah Vowell's "Unfamiliar Fishes" about the fall of the Hawaiian monarchy. It's depressing because it reminds me of the tragic story of Princess Victoria Kaiulani.
Kaiulani was the strikingly beautiful crown princess of Hawaii at the time American business interests overthrew the native government and took possession of the islands for themselves. She was eighteen at the time and studying in England. Kaiulani traveled to the United States to campaign for her people.

Imperialists denounced Kaiulani as a "half-breed," daughter of a savage (Princess Miriam Likelike) and a Scottish businessman (Archibald Cleghorn). However, Kaiulani was a persuasive young woman and she convinced President Grover Cleveland to oppose American annexation of Hawaii. His successor, William McKinley had no qualms about stealing the islands and annexation quickly followed his inauguration.

By then Kaiulani had returned home to Hawaii. Like all native Hawaiians, she mourned on the day the United States officially took possession of Hawaii.  Many say she began to die on that day. Just seven months later, Princess Kaiulani fell ill after being caught in the rain. She died on March 6, 1899 at the age of 23.
Kaiulani was known as the Peacock Princess because of her love for the flock of the those birds that lived on her estate in Waikiki. The last picture of the princess shows the then dying girl feeding the birds.
It is said that all the peacocks screamed at the moment she died. The beautiful home in that picture was torn down in 1955 to make room for Waikiki hotels. The only thing left of the 10 acre estate she loved is a tiny park with a statue to Princess Kaiulani.

Monday, July 02, 2012

JP Morgan's Income Source

Busy, so just a pass through. Three quarters of JP Morgan's net income for the past year has been from receiving free money from the federal government. CEO Jamie Dimon got paid $23 million dollars last year basically for cashing government welfare checks.