Archive for December, 2012



John Boehner

When credit card companies or whatever call me to ask why I haven’t paid my bill I wish I could just give them some long-winded crap about how I’m trying to reach a compromise with other parties and come to a common sense solution. And then tell them that I appreciate their concern and feel their pain but I have to stick to my principles regardless of the political consequences. Well, in all honesty, I have done that. But, I’m making a point so whatever.

The reality is I’m pretty powerless against corporations and large business entities. Especially when they feel that I owe them something. And they’re entitled to their opinions I guess. Hell, everyone’s entitled to an opinion no matter how devoid of reality it may be. It’s what makes America pretty awesome.

“House Speaker John Boehner told rank-and-file Republicans that they should consider a “Plan B” on how to avert automatic tax increases and spending cuts known as the fiscal cliff.

House leadership sources say the option would be for the chamber to pass a plan letting top tax rates increase on income over $1 million only.” – THE ATLANTIC

As with most delusional people they can actually sound quite sane at first. For example I think this “Plan B” is pretty palatable. People making just less than a million a year are still wealthy by any measure. But, they’re still bottom feeders in a fish tank gobbling up whatever shit is left over from the bigger fish swimming around above them. So, I’d be cool with letting them go on this one. But don’t take the corks off the forks just yet.

“But Boehner added: “The White House just can’t seem to bring itself to agree to a ‘balanced’ approach, and time is running short. Taxes are going up on everyone on Jan. 1. They’re baked into current law. And we have to stop whatever tax rate increases we can.”

Few details were provided on what the House would do on other items, such as the scheduled billions of dollars of cuts to defense and domestic programs known as the sequester. One House Republican source said that the chamber would seek to push those into next year, and freeze some other programs into the new year.

“We’re going to keep the door open in hopes the president can find a way to support a balanced approach,” he told members.”

You know, I may not be good at math. In fact I’m terrible at it. To me math is like trying to decipher ancient cave paintings or the lyrics to a SIGUR RÓS song. But, here is one equation I do understand: The Republicans pretty much got beat in this last election. They saw their majority shrink in The House. They didn’t retake the senate or the White House. And Americans more or less said “no” to most of their platform.

That being the case, I’m thinking that the definition of a “balanced approach” in this case is one in which the people who did win in November get pretty much everything they want. And if Republicans are lucky they’ll get thrown a bone. Like, you know, we’ll pay some lip service to abstinence in sex education or build more tanks or something. This idea that you’re still half the equation derives from some kind of conservative math that I just don’t understand. Like, for example, the kind they were using to predict that Mitt Romney! would win in a landslide. Or at all.

The rich need to pay more taxes. And none of the arguments to the contrary make any fucking sense. And Mr. Boehn himself seems to think he’s still carrying a big stick politically when it’s actually more of a small tree branch. But, I suppose if everybody in government did things that made sense and weren’t crazy I wouldn’t have a whole lot to write about.



Wild Rice

I had this post written on Friday but never put it up. And I almost feel like today still isn’t the day for my schtick. On the other hand I’m not going to let some asshole who lights up an elementary school keep me from changing the way I do things. The goal of a terrorist is to terrorize and, frankly, the only thing I find terrifying are those drunken 2 AM phone calls from Hillary Clinton. Seriously, lady, that was like five years ago. Get over it. Bill and I both did.

Speaking of Hillary Clinton being drunk and falling down our outgoing Secretary of State is recovering from a concussion this week. There were the usual explanations of “exhaustion” and “dehydration” but we all know what that really means. Just like when rock stars and actors crash their cars or get kicked off of airplanes for being “exhausted” and “dehydrated” when in reality they were just shit-stinkingly drunk. I’d be boozing it up too after four years in the relatively thankless job of being America’s top diplomat. Of course the battle to succeed her has been underway for some time now and it recently saw its first casualty.

“The decision by United Nations ambassador Susan Rice to withdraw her name from consideration as President Obama’s next Secretary of State sent shockwaves through Washington Thursday evening.

Rice, as anyone watching the political battle over her potential nomination knows by now, had come under fire from Senate Republicans for comments she made earlier this fall on Sunday morning talk shows about the attacks in Benghazi, Libya. Sens. John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Kelly Ayotte seized on the issue and promised a difficult confirmation for Rice to the job of chief diplomat. In the aftermath, Rice chose to withdraw her name, saying in a letter to the president that “I am now convinced that the confirmation process would be lengthy disruptive and costly—to you and to our most pressing national and international priorities.” – THE WASHINGTON POST

Rice herself took to the op-ed page of the Washington Post to explain her decision. And while I agree that it’s unfair she didn’t at least get to interview for the job she shouldn’t get too wounded about it. Secretary of State is a position for people who are, you know, already famous. Colin Powell. Condaleeza Rice. Hillary Clinton. You’re going to be America’s top diplomat. Best that people know you better than just as “that Benghazi woman”. And yeah, anybody with a brain in their skull knows this whole Benghazi thing is just bullshit. Republicans at this point would make hay out of THE HOBBIT if it gave them something to feel good about.

For now it seems Senator John Kerry is heading for that job. Rice being upset at not getting it is like some runner-up from American Idol getting mad because Paul McCartney is fronting the upcoming Nirvana reunion and not them. And yeah, that is happening. And no, I can’t picture Paul jumbly jangling his way through RAPE ME or TERRITORIAL PISSINGS either. But he’s Paul Fucking McCartney. I’m sure he could be part of a Public Enemy reunion if he wanted. And now I can’t stop doing PE lyrics in his voice. Christ, my whole day is shot.


The Desk of Magnus Greel

I’m sitting here trying to be funny and clever and so forth. Then I see the breaking news that some crazy fuck went and shot up a kindergarten in Connecticut. Kind of puts all my cutesy bullshit into perspective I guess. As a parent myself I am both horrified and outraged. And as a parent who has lost a child I am only too familiar with what many of those parents are about to go through. And as an American I’ve become so accustomed to these types of incidents that I can already tell you what is going to happen over the next few hours, days and weeks:

The asshole who did this will be famous. His picture will be everywhere while the names of the dead, injured and traumatized will be forgotten if they’re ever even mentioned to begin with. Hours of media time will be devoted to talking heads trying to analyze and dissect him like he’s fucking Da Vinci or something. Hell, they’ll probably do a goddamn documentary about him and it will probably win all kinds of awards.

Everyone who knew the gunman will claim to be shocked and horrified that he was capable of such a thing. Even though we’ll discover that he routinely ran around naked with swastikas on his body screaming about the United Nations or had a police record a mile long for making terrorist threats or whatever. Oh yeah, dollars to donuts he’s seen at least one court-ordered shrink to whom he confessed that voices were telling him kindergarteners were really the Illuminati. Or whatever.

People on the political left will point to this as proof that we need to ban all guns. As if passing another law will somehow, magically, remove all the weapons and dangerous people from our world. Because that kind of thinking has always served us well.

People on the political right will point to this as proof that every man, woman and child should be armed at all times. And wear body armor. And own a tank. And listen to Sean Hannity. Because, frankly, they ran out of realistic ideas a long time ago.

The process of trying to figure out exactly how this happened and how to realistically prevent it in future will devolve into a series of lawsuits and political attacks. Then, the people we elect and hire to make decisions and protect us will simply blame each other or hide behind lawyers. And nothing will really change. And then it will probably happen again one day.

I will have to spend the weekend talking to my own kindergarten age son about what happened. There won’t be any hiding it from him because it will be everywhere. All of his classmates will be talking about it. And while I should be teaching him how to play soccer or read his Curious George storybook I’ll instead have to try and explain to him why a grown man would do something like this to children his own age. And even though I will assure him that he’s safe and there’s nothing to be afraid of when he goes back to school on Monday he’ll still somehow understand that I don’t know that for certain. And in that moment his childhood will be one step closer to being over.



Google and Microsoft

I spent most of the weekend reading up on the “fiscal cliff” situation in Congress right now. It amazes me how countless hours of media coverage are devoted to an issue which can be summed up fairly succinctly: corporations need to pay more taxes. But probably won’t because, unlike people, they play golf and fuck hookers with our elected officials. Yeah, they’re buddies.

American news coverage is distinctly oblivious to everything going on outside this country. We act like we’re the only ones dealing with this situation. In fact we should be paying very close attention to what’s going on financially in other countries. Take Britain for example. Because, if we don’t force them to pay more they won’t. In fact they’ll probably get away with paying less or nothing. Like fucking Google.

“The American internet giant, whose company motto is “Don’t be Evil”, swept $9.8bn of revenues from international subsidiaries into Bermuda last year. The figure, which is equates to around 80pc of its total pre-tax profits, is nearly twice as big as it was three years ago,according to Bloomberg.

The documents, filed last month in the Netherlands, show that Britain is Google’s second biggest market generating 11pc of its sales, or $4.1bn last year. But the company paid just £6m in corporation tax. Overall, Google paid a rate of 3.2pc on its overseas earnings, despite generating most of its revenues in high-tax jurisdictions in Europe.

The company reportedly uses complex tax schemes called the Double Irish and Dutch Sandwich, which take large royalty payments from international subsidiaries and pay tax in low rate regimes.“ – THE TELEGRAPH

If I don’t pay my taxes I get the working end of a shit sandwich shoved down my throat. I don’t have any Double Irishmen or Dutch Sandwiches… whatever the hell those are. Just call them what they are: Lies and Sneakiness. Of course it would help if I had an army of lawyers and accountants working for me day and night looking for ways to get away with shit. And a catchy motto that gives the impression I’m somehow benign. “Don’t be evil” indeed. Hey, my own personal motto is “Don’t drink, illegally download movies or engage in acts of depravity”. And nobody buys that one either.

But, in the business world it’s a different culture than the one you and I live in. There, getting away with shit is up there with fooling people into buying crap they don’t need as legitimate marks of success. The people at Google are probably toasting each other with champagne and high-fiving. Of course if they’re happy at Google then they must be downright semen-spewingly ecstatic over at Microsoft.

“At the weekend it emerged that Microsoft pays no UK tax on £1.7bn of online revenues. Although it pays full corporation tax on its other units, the US technology group is understood to be channelling online payments for its Windows 8 operating system and other downloads of software through Luxembourg and Ireland, where corporation tax is lower than the UK.

As a result, Microsoft’s Irish registered company, Microsoft Ireland Operations Ltd, reported £1.7bn of revenues from the UK on which the company has paid no UK corporation tax.

Microsoft has denied any wrongdoing in the US and said that it complies with tax laws.”

Oh, I’m sure Microsoft denied any wrongdoing. What are they going to do? Put out a press release with a picture of a middle finger on it? With the caption “Ha ha ha! Fuck you, limey idiots!” Of course not. Although let’s face it, we’d probably get a good chuckle if they did. And the honesty would be refreshing. Just like that year all my Christmas cards featured a photo of me with a hooker and the caption which said “Thanks for all the shit you gave me that I turned around and hocked so I could get laid!”

Truth be told, nobody chuckled. And I can tell you that none of my family members found my honesty refreshing. Which, in turn, completes my entire argument that it really kind of blows to be a person and not a corporation.



Grover Norquist

Grover Norquist is rich. Like, really rich. I have no idea why but he is. I think he was a pirate or something. Nonetheless he is filthy stinking rich. And you know what that means? It means he really enjoys telling the rest of us what to do. But with a name like Grover it’s honestly hard to take anything he says seriously. Or, you know, pay attention at all.

“The vote President Barack Obama wants this month to extend middle-class tax cuts may violate Republican lawmakers’ pledge against tax increases, depending on whether it’s a “throwaway vote” or part of a plan to raise rates for top earners, said Grover Norquist, author of the pledge.

Obama is urging Congress to extend tax cuts for individuals’ income up to $200,000 a year and married couples’ income up to $250,000, separating those provisions from the rest of tax cuts that expire Dec. 31. Some Republicans, including Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine and Representative Tom Cole of Oklahoma, say Republicans should allow that vote and work in 2013 to reduce top tax rates.

Such a vote wouldn’t appear to violate the pledge, which calls on lawmakers to reject rate increases and oppose limiting tax breaks without matching rate cuts, because it would only extend tax cuts. The arbiters will be voters, Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, said at a Bloomberg Government event yesterday.

“It’s not only what happens now,” he said. “It’s what it smells like two years from now.” – Bloomberg Businessweek

What it smells like? Well, hopefully it smells like rich people paying more in taxes. Being that I’ve never been rich, and most likely never will be, I just can’t get my head around why people who make millions and billions every year get all girly and pissy about paying a little bit more in taxes. So you get to buy one less mansion or Cadillac. You’ll have one less butler on your staff or one less nose job. So what? I’d love to pay more myself but I hardly make any money because the rich people have all of it.

Also, and this is kind of important, but giving a stupid idea a happy sounding name is politics 101. Advertising too. It’s why the carton of eggs or the chicken breasts you just bought have a pretty picture of an old rustic farm on the package even though they actually came from some industrial cesspool of piss and shit. Likewise, “Americans for Tax Reform” sounds great. Who would be against that? Never mind that it’s actually just a bunch of rich white dudes who don’t want to pay taxes and are closet homosexuals who do lots of cocaine. But hey, in America the ability to fool people is actually considered successful capitalism.

Hell, this is actually brilliant. I don’t get falling down drunk I have “Adult Beverage Time” and then I respectfully disagree with gravity. I don’t fart in elevators I follow the tenets of “Mammalian Pressure Equalization”. I don’t gawk at college girls walking to class I’m a member of the American Ocular Stimulation League. Oh boy. I just opened a big ass can of worms here. Sorry, I mean a container of euphemistically named bad ideas.



Little Boy Man

And for some odd reason George Bush is still talking. And not, you know, hiding somewhere in shame for pissing and shitting all over our country and the world for eight years. I’m actually surprised Bush hasn’t just snuck out to the garage by now, locked himself in the car, put on some Foghat, fired up the engine and taken a slow ride to oblivion. But, no. Like an aggressive foot fungus he keeps popping up when you least expect it. Christ, this asshole will probably live to be 100.

“Former President George W. Bush says as the U.S. debates immigration policy, he hopes “we do so with a benevolent spirit and keep in mind the contribution of immigrants.”

Bush on Tuesday opened a conference on the benefits of immigration hosted by the George W. Bush Institute and the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

One of the Bush Institute’s focuses is economic growth. The conference is part of an institute initiative to find ways for the U.S. to achieve 4 percent gross domestic product growth.

Bush notes that a book the institute released over the summer on achieving 4 percent GDP included chapters on the importance of immigrants to growth.

Bush says immigrants come with “new skills and new ideas” and also “fill a critical gap in the labor market.” – THE WASHINGTON TIMES

A guy who started two completely pointless wars is the last person to be talking about a “benevolent spirit” with regards to anything. And I have no idea what in the hell the George W. Bush Institute for kids Who Can’t Read Good and Want to Do Other Stuff Good Too is but I’m sure it’s retarded. I mean, look who we’re talking about here.

Bush’s comments are, taken by themselves, fairly grounded in reality. Immigration is a positive thing when it comes to economics. But, hey, every now and then even my five-year-old makes a good point. And I love him beyond words. But, I’m still not going to ask his advice when it comes time to balance the checkbook or pay bills or plan for a financial future. Because that would be silly.

I understand that conservatives, who are still reeling from a major electoral defeat just a month ago, would want to go back and study their last success as a way forward. But I think they’re barking up the wrong tree here. I mean, Hitler and Mussolini were successful politicians but you don’t see Germany and Italy going back to look at them for ideas on how to run a country. Just saying. And yes, I know that when Hitler is mentioned the legitimacy of the discourse pretty much goes out the window. But, if you’re coming to this site for anything even vaguely resembling legitimate discourse then I actually kind of feel sorry for you.