Oso Politico: Mano a Mano with Shawn Otto

Note to Dear Readers:  This blathering screed has so much wrong with it that it will be impossible to deconstruct it entirely – my profound apologies…


Franken, Whitehouse Expose Climate Deniers on Senate Floor


Shawn Lawrence Otto  Posted: 12/19/11


The United States was founded by scientists, based in large part on the principles of science, and science is why we have become the world’s leading economy. So it is shocking to see mainstream politicians denying the validity of science for political reasons — a practice long associated with authoritarian regimes, not the United States.

[Hey, right off the old bat:  Shawny Boy cites himself.  Looking up the citation we find…uh…nothing about the US being founded by scientists.  So, we have this syllogism with unfounded premises leading unfounded conclusions.  And then we have this association of ‘denying science’ with the ‘practice long associated with authoritarian regimes’:  Another ex cathedra statement – I can see that this is going to be a long day.]

Two U.S. senators rebuffed that troubling trend on the floor of the United States senate, in a move that may signal the beginning of a new thaw in the paralysis the United States is facing on climate change and a host of other issues.

[I thought Warmistas were against thaws, ‘new’ or otherwise.  Well, that is neither here nor there in this mixed bag of analogies.  Wondering minds do wonder about the ‘host of other issues’ though…]

Al Franken (D-MN) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) argued that science is the best basis for public policy, a view we haven’t heard a lot of in Congress lately, and they blasted fossil fuel industry-funded propaganda on climate change as a major cause. The two senators emphasized the ridiculousness of climate denialism, and the patriotism of science-based policymaking.

[‘Science is the best basis for public policy’:  Let’s see – ObamaCare is obviously ‘science-based’ as is the decision to bomb the shit out of anyone who doesn’t agree with our Dear & Glorious Leader.  And yes, when you claim it, it is science, and when the other side claims something else, it must be propaganda.  I wish we had some links to this invidious effort on the part of the fossil fuel industry.  But here is the good part:  Scientists never question anything that is settled.  Otherwise one is an unpatriotic, cheese-eating denial monkey.  (OK, Shawn didn’t actually say that, but just maybe he might perhaps could have said that…)].


Franken on why this is important

“I asked Sheldon to do the colloquy because I saw that too many of my colleagues were either ignoring the science on climate change or flat out dismissing it,” Franken told me.

“As a society, we have to understand that science is a way of understanding the truth about the way things actually are in the physical world independent of how we wish they would be, and if we want public policy that actually solves problems we’ve got to start by basing it on what we know from science.”

[Yes, we need more scientists telling us not to permit toys to be given away with our Happy Meals.]


Scientists are our best alliessaid

Franken began by reminding colleagues that scientists are their best allies. “Scientists are the people who gave us antibiotics, for example,” he said. “Do you like being able to use antibiotics? Well, then, thank scientists.”

If we are to progress as a country, he told senators, “we better put science right at the center of our decision-making. Yet, right now, foundations and think tanks funded by the fossil fuel industry are spreading misinformation about the integrity of climate science.” Franken said that “Ignoring or flat out contradicting what climate scientists are telling us about the warming climate and the warming planet can lead to really bad decisions on national energy and environmental policies here in Congress.”

[Yes, and scientists gave us nuclear bombs and deadly viruses too.  Just what are ‘climate scientists’ telling us?  I see no links here.  For all I know they might be telling us to turn up the air conditioning, or buy more blankets, or both.  Congress certainly is no slackard when it comes to making bad policy decisions.  Maybe scientists can help them make even more bad policy decisions…]


Climate change is real, despite the Twinkie Doctor

Franken and Whitehouse both scoffed at the idea that there was any real doubt about man-made climate change, which at least 97% of climate scientists say is occurring. Imagine, Franken said, that you went to a doctor who said you’re horribly overweight, you have to start exercising and lose 300 pounds or you’re going to die. You say thanks, but I want a second opinion. The next doctor tells you the same thing, and the next and the next. Finally you have, ridiculously, gone to 24 doctors who all say the same thing. “The 25th doctor says ‘It is a good thing you came to me, because all this diet and exercise would have been a complete waste. You are doing fine. Those other doctors are in the pockets of the fresh fruit and vegetable people.’ He says ‘Enjoy life, eat whatever you want, keep smoking, and watch a lot of TV. That is my advice.’ Then you learn the doctor was paid a salary by the makers of Twinkies, which, don’t get me wrong, are a delicious snack food and should be eaten in moderation. Am I making sense here?”

[‘At least 97% of climate scientists’? – as long as we not providing any proof, why not go for 99% (a popular number these days) or even 101%?  Personally I would rather have a cold beer than a Twinkie, but there is no accounting for tastes.]



Whitehouse listed corporations and phony-science front groups that have been spending billions of dollars to influence congress and public opinion with phony science and propaganda.

“As Senator Franken has pointed out,” Whitehouse said, “despite the efforts to mislead and create doubt, the jury is not out on whether climate change is happening and being caused by man-made carbon pollution; the verdict is, in fact, in, and the verdict is clear.”

[Well, they are certainly right about the billions of dollars.  I couldn’t even begin to list all of the grants, loans, salaries, outright gifts, etc, that support the swarming hoards of Warmistas.  Money, I might add parenthetically, that is extracted – coercively – from taxpayers.  By the way, if they want to claim that CO2 causes global warming, ok – but to call something that is a necessary molecule to life itself pollution is nothing less than obscene.]



The senators attacked what they called “climategate-gate,” the illegal hacking of thousands of private emails of climate scientists. Climate deniers posted them on the internet in an attempt to confuse the press and draw attention away from the peer-reviewed science of fifty years that shows the climate is warming and human greenhouse gas emissions are the principle cause.

[‘Climate deniers’?  Did you hear anyone deny that the Earth has a climate?  And now we have 50 years of peer-reviewed science.  Let’s see, that would take back us to 1961 or so.  So, Shawn, my boy, give us an example.  And what happened to that interlude in the 70’s when our scientists were warning us to get out the down-filled jackets?  As to the illegal hacking, all bets seem to be on an inside job.  And ‘private emails’?  I thought these guys and gals were working on the public dime, or pence, as the case may be.  Oh, I almost forgot the line about the press.  We certainly wouldn’t want to confuse them with some facts, would we?]

One famous email from climate scientist Phil Jones referred to his using climate scientist Michael Mann’s “Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years to hide the decline.” Deniers claimed that showed scientists were trying to “trick” the public and “hide the decline” in world temperatures, a claim many media outlets parroted uncritically.

“That sounds very bad,” said Franken. “Trick’ and ‘hide the decline.’ That went viral in the conservative media — evidence that the scientific consensus on climate change was a giant hoax. We had a member of this body who said the science behind this consensus ‘is the same science that, through climategate, has been totally rebuffed and is no longer legitimate, either in reality or in the eyes of the American people and the people around the world.'”

But Franken pointed out that by using Mann’s “trick” Jones meant he was going to use the most accurate data available. Scientists correlated tree ring density with global annual temperatures, and then used very old trees as a record of temperatures going back 1,000 years. This was the basis for the “Hockey stick” graph Mann and colleagues published in Nature magazine — “Mike’s Nature trick.” But after about 1960, because of changes in the atmosphere, the tree ring density was less reliable, so Mann did what any reasonable person would do: he substituted in actual thermometer measurements instead, indicated below in red.

[‘But after about 1960, because of changes in the atmosphere, the tree ring density was less reliable’.  WTF?  I wonder what an unreasonable person would have done?  Only a true believer would say something like that.]

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Just outside the entrance to La Cueva del Oso, Oso El Ingeniero Social is sitting at the small table he has set up, in order to enjoy a breakfast of bacon – lots and lots – and a few dozen eggs.  Needless to say, he is as hungry as a bear…

As an exercise in masochism, as he downs his third or fourth pitcher of Juan-Valdez-personally-picked coffee, he peruses – as his wont – the electronic pages of the Tired, Old Grey Lady.  The limp photons scarcely jump off the screen, and barely penetrating his thick skull, hardly make an impression on his unimpressionable mind.  ‘Hmmm,’ he sagely hmmms.

‘The world seems to be going to hell in a hand-basket, as they say,’ he says.  ‘Just look at this,’ he mutters, more to himself than to anyone else who might happen to be passing by.  ‘Troubles everywhere you look, and even where you don’t look.’

He scratches his head, too lazy to get up and scratch his ass.

‘Wars here, there, and everywhere.  Debts and bankruptcies; greedy corporations and rich folk picking at the bones of the poor (and mighty slim pickings at that, we would guess).  Greedy corporations corrupting innocent young politicians barely out of kindergarten.  Dear and glorious leaders brought to their knees by recalcitrant legislatures.  And the Koch Gang, once again arisen from the grave and up to its old tricks.  And hot – it’s so fucking hot we can barely breathe!  We are choking on our own gases (with this thought, Oso El Ingeniero Social manages a slight smile, as he lets a ripe one loose).

And so he is forced by his own bodily ingenuity to rise and seek another spot in which to reflect upon disturbing world events, as chronicled by the Grey and Tired Old Lady (or something like that).  And where better than the Pool of Deep Reflections?

He – Oso El Ingeniero Social – lies down beside the still waters, and in spite of the several gallons of coffee and because of the 112.372 pounds or so of bacon, begins to drift off into a late morning siesta.  And visions begin to appear:

‘If we were a Dear & Glorious Leader – if we were all-powerful and omnipotent – if we ran the world, here’s what we’d do…we’d send all the bad guys down to the zoo…

If we were a Dear & Glorious Leader, we would stand over the land and command:  And the sick and the infirm would be made whole again; blathering idiots and AGW deniers would be turned into Krug-like intellectual giants; and the 99% would arise again – as if from the grave – lifted from their Koch-induced state of desperation and poverty, shouting Hallelujah and heaping praises upon the Great Black Hope:  We are saved – we are saved at last!’

Suddenly, he brought out of his pleasant reveries by a dose of reality, as a passing owl lets fly a big, wet dump, right onto on his face.  ‘I’ve been droned!’ he growls out.

And as he washes off the bird shit in the Pool of Deep Reflections he reflects:  What is it that they say about power?  It corrupts?

‘And what else is it that they say:  There are many ways to skin a cat – assuming you wanted to skin a cat – and have a cat to skin…

‘And there are many ways to power – that holy grail of those who would Command & Control.  And Social Engineering is but one of those ways…’

Oso El Ingeniero Social rises up on his two hind legs and stretches.

‘This is a difficult matter and will require more than just some reflection.’  With that he decides to head up to Ponderation Point.

He ambles along in no apparent hurry to get to the Point (and all that bacon still making its way through his gut).

‘No doubt all of us conscious and sentient beings would like to see a better world:  But a better world for whom?  The squirrels would like all of the trees in the forest to be oaks.  Trout would like a world full of flies.  The cows want meadows, and the mountain goats want more mountains.  And the vultures – what if the ruling class were composed of vultures?  What kind of world would we have?  (Yes, we know, we have posed a merely rhetorical question to ourselves…)’

With that he leans back against his favorite rock and looks out over The Forest of a 1000 and One Names.

‘Let’s see, how does that go:  To the victor go the spoils?  History is written by the winners?  I am from the government, and am here to help you?  Hmmm?  Help – yes, that’s it – in order to help we have to break a few eggs.  And if we break a lot of eggs, we will need a lot of help…’

  • ·       Cuo Bono? – That is always a good place to start when attempting to understand people’s motivations.
  • ·       The State – It is like the Terminator, single-minded and unstoppable in its quest to command and control, always seeking Obedience and Submission to Authority from its subjects.
  • ·       The ParasitesThe Bureaucrats, The Lawyers, The Experts and The Economists, The Crony Corporations, like vast armies of greedy rats feeding off the living carcass of Civil Society.
  • ·       1001 CrisesAGW, for example, can induce the proper amount of Fear in the populace.
  • ·       Rights & Entitlements, Social Justice and Victimology – Rationalizations of action leading to Moral wrongs.
  • ·       Statutory Law – Every law is an attempt at Social Engineering.
  • ·       The Common Good – The raising of the chimera of The Collective over the Sovereign Individual.
  • ·       War – Every war is a bloody project in social engineering.

From some hidden orifice Oso El Ingeniero Social draws out his laptop, the newest model Sophocles 1001, and firing it up, begins to write:

‘Even before the advent of social engineers there was social engineering.  War is a violent form of social engineering, one might say, a de facto form of engineering:  Behave or die.  Taxation, duties and tariffs were and are a de jure form of social engineering, forcing individuals to act against their own self-interests, or be fined or imprisoned.

With the advent of the ‘modern’ Nation-State, came the advent of the modern social engineer, hard on the heels of the physical engineers:  If man can design a locomotive, then he surely must be able to design a society where they – the locomotives – run on time.  And if the perfect society depends on perfecting the perfect individual – an individual mechanical in nature:  A robot – then so be it.  Carlos Marx was the genius inventor of his day.

That famous progressive, Bismarck introduced social engineering into German society in order to help his subjects by increasing their dependency upon the State.  And Statists have been chugging along, full steam ahead, ever since.

The twentieth century saw such eminent social engineers as Lenin, Stalin, Mussolini, and Adolf Hitler:  All of them using their superhero powers to drag their subjects out of the dreck, kicking and screaming into modernity and The New World Order.’

More contemporary New World social engineers were Teddy (no relationship), Woody (no relationship), and the traitor – to real engineers everywhere – Hurlbut Heever.  And the Mother-of-all-MFing social engineers:  Frankie the Roo.

It is no small coincidence that all of these characters, from Bismarck to Frankie and Joe were the Summum Ducem of their respective kingdoms.  (What was that again – about power?).

And unfortunately, in these modern times in which we are privileged to exist, things haven’t changed much.  Those who wield power must continually demonstrate to the populus just who is in charge.

And the intellectual parasites that rationalize these massive public works programs, domestic and international? 

What are the effects on the subjects of these experiments in social engineering?

Independent individuals become domesticated.  They are no longer accountable for their own actions.  The State assumes the responsibility to assure the common good.  None shall go hungry.  None shall go without shelter.  None shall sicken and die.  None shall be ignorant.  None shall suffer the insults of bigots and louts.

As there is no such thing as a free lunch, all of the above is purchased for the insignificant price of Loyalty & Obedience to The State.

But promises of free lunches are easy to make.  Can they be easily kept?

We ask ourselves – apart from the question of ‘should’ – can The State provide all of these things.  Can it create jobs for all?  Can it plan and construct highways and bridges and super-duper fast trains?  Can it successfully pick and finance the technological advances of today and tomorrow?  Can it control the climate?  Can it decide the economic decisions of millions upon millions of individuals?  Can it make a health care system (‘system’?) run on time?

And internationally, can the State change other States from sows’ ears to silk purses by dropping humane bombs on them, invading them, destroying their infrastructures, their cultures and their populations all in the name of progressive idealism?

What is ‘social engineering’ but interventionism in the affairs of private individuals?  What is the prohibition on smoking weed but Mr. Politician telling you that he knows better?  What is the prohibition on discrimination but some people – with the force of the law – telling you with whom you must associate and do business?  Ah, but discrimination per se is not immoral if The State does it, passing legislation favoring Industry X over Industry Y.  But who should expect consistency from power-grubbing politicians?

We know why politicians love social engineering:  It is a good excuse to exercise power.

We know why the parasites love social engineering:  To plan, from top to bottom, the new society; for status, to be able to advise, and associate with the powerful, to obtain lucrative grants, government jobs, and academic positions and honors. 

We know why the media love social engineering:  It creates infinite possibilities for social and political conflict, and therefore, creates the news.

We know why corporations love social engineering, especially of the bellicose kind:  Money.

But what of the idealists who simply want a better world, a peaceful world, a world devoid of poverty, disease and hunger.  Why do they love social engineering?

Perhaps it is because they see the world through the eyes of children:  There is day, and there is night.  There is rain and there is sunshine. There is good and evil.  It is all very simple – simply wave a wand and all the bad things will disappear.  Pass a law and the broken will be made whole.  The right leaders will make the right decisions, for all of us, for the common good.  And then we will all be able to out and demand our free lunches, as is our right.

[From behind his curtain in the Great White House in the Great Imperial Capital, the Great Black Hope gives a sardonic grin:  If it weren’t for useful idiots I would be back on the streets of Chicago, hustling and conning…]

Oso’s battery is starting to run down, as is Sophocles’.

He realizes that he is now faced with a difficult decision:

‘I am faced with a difficult decision.  How should I file my essay on Social Engineering – under ‘Screeds, Oso’ or under ‘Blatherings, Oso’ or under ‘Blathering Screeds’ or perhaps even Screedy Blatherings?’

He gets up and gives a big bear sigh, scratches his ass and starts to head for home:  ‘I need a beer, or maybe even two or three…’



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Oso Politico: Mano a Mano with Joe Klein

More on Rand Paul

By Joe Klein Thursday, May 20, 2010 | 207 Comments

·The latest–an update from Michael Scherer’s smart post below–is that Rand Paul is now saying that he regrets the appearance with Rachel Maddow, not the ridiculous statements he made in favor of a private business’s ability to discriminate according to race. I suspect that this will be the first of many such disasters for the Tea Party libertarians. They are about to find themselves faced with actual political rivals who will be more than happy to expose the utopian foolishness of their ideology. This will be a rare moment of public education for an electorate that doesn’t pay sufficient attention to even the most important aspects of democracy.

[Oh ho, ho, ho – private property, the progressive progressive’s bête noir. Klein really elucidates with the word ‘ridiculous’. It makes for a very strong argument. And that third rail of all political discussion: ‘Discriminate’. Who would ever discriminate? And here we have the almost perfect phrase consisting of five words, three of which are loaded with negative connotations: ‘Utopian foolishness of their ideology.’ And we haven’t yet finished with ex cathedra pronouncements using the words ‘rare’, ‘sufficient’, and ‘important aspects’. We are most certain that Captain Joe will educate us in the following paragraphs as to the meaning of these words.]

If Democrats play their cards right, by November most Americans will know that Medicare is government health care, that social security is a government pension service, that all the bank bailout money either has been paid back or will be covered by a modest tax on too-big-to-fail banks, that the Obama stimulus package mostly consisted of tax cuts for them and support for necessary local government functions like schools and cops–and that the jobs-creating aspects of the stimulus package have been remarkably free of corruption.

[One wonders what will happen if the Democrats don’t play their cards right. Perhaps the answer lies below. Sigh, the November to which he is referring is but mere history now. The electorate certainly took Joe’s advice to heart and elected a Republican-dominated House. On the other hand, what the hell does this all have to do with Rand Paul? Obviously, discrimination by private businesses can be worked in here somewhere. And we are certainly gratified by the fact that the stimulus package has been ‘remarkably’ free of corruption – but apparently not totally.]

If the Republicans play their cards right, they will step away from the brink and recognize that a certain don’t-tread-on-me libertarian spirit has always been close to the heart of the American dream, but that libertarian extremism has always been a loser–and that even Ronald Reagan found that he couldn’t put a dent in the liberal social safety net because it was too popular.

[At least Joe keeps pretty much to one analogy: Playing cards, and presumably gambling. ‘Stepping away from the brink’ might mean folding your cards, being a generous interpretation. We wonder as to which ‘certain’ don’t-tread-on-me libertarian spirit Joe is referring – as there are so many. Maybe below, Joe will inform as to what is the ‘heart of the American dream’. And invoking Ronnie is a sheer stroke of genius that would not occur to just any old pundit. We guess that as he couldn’t put a dent in the liberal safety net, he must have folded his cards.]

Most extremist moments in American politics are passing fevers. Glenn Beck’s ratings are down; his paranoid act is wearing thin. Balance will eventually be restored–which, in this case, will probably mean fewer Democrats in Congress (because their 2010 levels were unnaturally high, given past history), but it will also mean that more Republicans will understand the downside of demagogic extremism.

[We wonder how many ‘extremist moments’ there have been in American politics: Barry G. or George McGovern? Speaking of paranoid acts, how did Beck wind getting into this discussion? What happened to the extremist Rand? Maybe we should check out some numbers here and give this screed some gravitas. And so, November has come and gone and we wonder: Do more Republicans understand ‘the downside of demagogic extremism’?]


Oso is very confused. Was this screed about Rand Paul and libertarianism, or was it about something else – like demagogic extremism’? Or is Joe slyly implying that that Rand and libertarianism are, at the same time, foolish and extreme?

Well, foolishness and extremism seem to have been a part of American politics long before Rand. Whether or not Rand is a libertarian we will leave for others to debate. But self-defense is certainly a part of the principles, if not the ‘ideology’, of libertarian thought. And private property is of primary importance to the concept of self-defense (which in itself is a moral obligation).

While we cannot speak for Rand’s actual intent, we doubt that it was ‘to discriminate according to race’. Rather, the discrimination referred to is much more general: Restaurants discriminate against the shirtless and shoeless; the sport of basketball discriminates against the height-challenged; politics discriminates against principled individuals; Joe Klein discriminates against the neighbor who asks to borrow Joe’s toothbrush (It’s mine – my private property!).

Discrimination is the sine qua non of an individual human being.

Otherwise, we would be but mindless sheep herded by the Shepherds of Political Correctness.

And as to ‘property’ we wonder if Joe is attempting to create a new definition of ownership somewhere between ‘public’ and ‘private’? It is your property – but – it is not, because of some concept called ‘public accommodation’. So, a restaurant can refuse service to the shirtless and the shoeless, but a Catholic couple cannot refuse to rent an apartment to a couple of queers*? Gidda-outa-here!

At last, after much arduous travail, we arrive at the phrase ‘utopian foolishness of their ideology’. This is a good one, and we congratulate Joe. Hitherto, we were under the impression that this phrase referred to Marxism. Now, at last, we understand that belief in individual liberty and responsibility is not only foolish, but also utopian. And somewhere, the idea of ‘principles’ seems to have been lost along the way: Now we are left with mere ideologies, and doctrines and dogmas.

As tedious as it may be, we are forced by ineluctable circumstances to discuss the ultimate sentence of the initial paragraph: ‘This will be a rare moment of public education for an electorate that doesn’t pay sufficient attention to even the most important aspects of democracy.’

The bitter disdain of Joe’s contempt for the hoi polloi dribbles from his mouth. Here is the voice of the intelligentsia speaking to the cognoscenti. Tell us, oh Master, what are the most important aspects of democracy – obedience to our betters?

And so we come to the second paragraph of this screed which is in intent and fact but one long sentence about a certain political party playing its cards in such a manner that the ungrateful hoi polloi will understand all of the great and wonderful things the Obama Administration is doing for them (the hoi polloi) and that indeed social security is a secure pension system based upon (but no – Joe is too busy with other matters to explain how it is financed) and supporting local cops who cannot extort tax enough from the locals to pay their salaries and pensions and therefore have ask the Supreme One to help them keep their jobs by means of a remarkably free-of-corruption stimulus package.

We think that is the gist of it – but feel free to deconstruct it for yourselves.

And by this time we have wandered well off the reservation, and Rand and the libertarians are practically forgotten and forsaken, except in spirit: For the Republicans, who, if they play their cards right will avoid stepping off of the brink and avoid the American Dream of being a loser. And poor Ronnie, ever to remain a punching bag for progressives everywhere, was unable to put a dent in the net of social safety, and no doubt intended to leave that chore to future politicians.

(We do wish that Joe would elaborate on the phrase ‘libertarian extremism’ as it is difficult to argue with a non-argument).

All good things must come to an end, as they say, and here we find ourselves deconstructing the last, ultimate, paragraph of Joe’s informative and lucidly argued screed. We begin with this sentence: ‘Most extremist moments in American politics are passing fevers.’

That’s it. No further explanation is offered, nor – apparently – required. The use of the word ‘most’, though, begs the question: Which extremist moments were not passing fevers?

At this point we do some channel switching and for a brief moment Glenn Beck appears, as a cameo?

And finally we reach the inevitable conclusion: ‘More Republicans will understand the downside of demagogic extremism’. This is undoubtedly true, as Joe has stated that it will be so.

However, it may actually be a prediction of the future – and as Yoga Bear once said: Predictions are difficult, especially about the future.

Well, November, 2010 has come and gone, and presents become pasts, and futures become presents. We will leave it to history to decide if the Republicans understand the downside of demagogic extremism – but we do have a question.

The title of this blog was ‘More on Rand Paul’. And so we feel a bit cheated as we have actually learned a lot about Joe Klein and very little about Rand Paul and are therefore inclined to rebrand the blog as: Joe Klein and His Fears.

*BTW: We have nothing against queers – why, some of our best friends behave very queerly indeed.


‘…even Ronald Reagan found that he couldn’t put a dent in the liberal social safety net…’

If corporations and the Koch brothers are today’s favorite contemporary punching bags for progressive pundits, Ronnie is the favorite ‘historical’ punching bag. No, not even the mighty Reagan could dent a net.

We wonder also what the context is here. President Ronnie was certainly no libertarian and the intent seems to be to conflate everything with extremism of one sort or another.

BTW, is it mere coincidence that Joe uses the word ‘dent’ here? See this. Do we detect quite a bit of incest amongst progressive discourse?


‘…will probably mean fewer Democrats in Congress (because their 2010 levels were unnaturally high, given past history…’

Here Joe seems to have left his fact checker in the dumper. Of the last 50 congresses (the House), 68% have been controlled by the Democrats, and of those congresses, 62% have had majorities of 59% or greater. Of course, he might be referring only to the last 4 years of history, in which case we offer our sincere apologies. (Or may it was Joe himself who was ‘unnaturally high’ when he wrote that…). It might behoove young Mr. Klein to do some research before shooting off his mouth, or giving free rein to his fingers, or whatever he uses to hold his tool.


This screed is obviously written as red meat for the choir. Unfortunately, it has no meat to it. It is a rambling, illogical discourse beginning with Rand Paul – one mention – and going on to wander aimlessly over the typical progressive boogey man territory. If Klein believes that individuals should not be allowed to discriminate on their own private property he should have developed an argument to that effect, rather than sloughing it off as a ‘ridiculous statement’.

He also misses another opportunity to develop an intelligent argument with the statement: ‘This will be a rare moment of public education for an electorate that doesn’t pay sufficient attention to even the most important aspects of democracy.’ We are still waiting to learn what those aspects are.

Seguing from racial discrimination to Democrats’ favorite social programs is quite a feat and we are overwhelmed by the ‘remarkably free of corruption’ aspects of the stimulus, and wonder why he even uses the ‘corruption’ word. Did someone accuse anyone of corruption? Again, Joe leaves us up in the air.

And this – ‘Most extremist moments in American politics are passing fevers.’ Which extremist moments were not passing – the War of Independence, perhaps?

And even though it was Joe’s intent, apparently, to merely bloviate, is there anything that we can learn from this? Well, perhaps we should just leave it at that – a mere rhetorical question.


We doubt that Klein is much informed as to libertarian principles.

The Tea Party has no fixed ideology and its participants cannot be said to hold any kind of consistent philosophy and certainly not libertarian principles.

He makes no effort to support his statement ‘utopian foolishness of their ideology’ as if the mere act of uttering those words makes them true.

Furthermore, we have this statement: ‘…libertarian extremism has always been a loser…’ We await with baited breath the gory details.


Klein’s screed follows in a long and proud history of illogical and meandering discourses on things and people that bother him. There are no premises, no development of argument and proofs, and no conclusions. We have the usual non sequiturs and ex cathedras. There is only the prediction (or hope) that ‘more Republicans will understand the downside of demagogic extremism.’

We do congratulate Joe on the minimal use of invective and ad hominems, and for keeping mixed metaphors to a minimum.

We give this screed a good solid C.

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Oso El Economista: THE EVIL SCIENCE

In a deep, but secluded glen within The Forest of a 100 and One Names, Oso El Economista mumbles and grumbles to himself as he reads yet another column in The Gray and Tired Old Lady by his favorite economist – Paul ‘The Seer’ Krugman. He lets go another one of his famous bear sighs, and thinks: ‘What another load of typical Krugshit.’

Oso then scratches his ass and wonders – has the Krug ever said or written anything that has proven to be true? But then, maybe the problem is not with economists, but with the concept of Economics. Is it a Science? Noble indeed is a ‘science’ that has no testable hypotheses.

He – Oso El Economista – decides to climb up to his favorite thinking place: A high, flat-topped hill, overlooking the forest, which he calls ‘Ponderation Point’. He settles down against a warm rock. Hmm, Economics – what do we ‘know’ about economics? How does it relate to other topics?

· The State – for those who would command and control, economics is but a Means to an End: Top-down, Social Engineering.

· Authority, Obedience & Submission – after all, Father Knows Best…so just pay them taxes and STFU.

· Parasites – the faith of Economics engenders any number of professional parasites known as Experts. Achieving status as an expert is a sinecure that allows one to live off the public tit unchallenged, and receive lots and lots of $$$.

· Terrorism – formulating public policy and resulting legislation requires intervention in Civil Society and leads to disastrous results of impoverishment, and subjugation for the affected populations.

· Faux Reality – economic models serve for exactly three things: Nada, nada, y nada.

· Numbers, Statistics & Liars – as they say, ‘numbers don’t lie, but liars do statistics’…

· Magic – no doubt potions and incantations can create wealth and health, but wisdom?

· Open-Ended Objectives – how much debt is required in order to save the village?

· Unintended Consequences – who would have guessed that a house in every pot could and would lead to financial disaster?

‘What was that I seem to remember?’ mulls Oso El Economista. ‘Oh, yes – the “line of demarcation” – that Popper fellow, yes? Are propositions from economic theories falsifiable? Can they be tested against observable facts or events?’

‘How do you test human beings? Are they things? Are they fungible? Are they mere collections, like so many bugs or molecules of CO2? Can they be tested in such a way that irrefutable results obtain? Can grand theories be erected based on those results? Or are these grand theories erected and propounded in the absence of any verifiable experimental evidence?’

‘Well, that’s a Krugshit-load of questions,’ concludes the insightful bear. ‘Maybe the economists could mount some gigantic Petri dish experiment, and control society variable by variable until we all understand what makes us tick – hmmmm, control, means to whose ends?’

‘Well, we will see what can we find on the internet.’ Grabbing his Blackbearry, he does a quick check: ‘Well, there is this, and this, and this.’

‘Let’s see – oh yes – here it is, their methodology: Pull this switch, open that valve and push the green button, and wait for something to happen. If predicted results fail to resultate, then repeat the above, only more so.’

‘Hmmm, no wonder Kruggy won a Nobel Prize…’

Oso El Economista meanders on down to the Stream of Consciousness to partake of the waters. Having slake his thirst after such heavy thinking he decides that it is an appropriate moment take a siesta. Quickly slinging the hammock he is soon in peaceful sleep.

A bit later, as they say, Oso arises with a big bear yawn. Opening the thermo, he takes a swig of hot, black coffee. ‘There, that’s better,’ he thinks. ‘Things are much clearer now.’

As he makes his way along the winding path that leads to the Peak of Profound Wisdom, and considers the following:

‘Let’s consider that brouhaha a few months ago over the national debt, and all of these arguments about stimulae and “quantitative easings”. Are these reasoned scientific arguments, supported by proven results from years of testing? – if so, I must have been hibernating when the evidence was presented.

‘More likely it seems to me, based upon many long years as a skeptic and cynic, is that this is all mere political circus.

‘If Economics is a science, then Economists must be scientists. Why is it then that it is all so politicized?’ (Quantitative Easing: Why does that sound like a Bowel Movement?)’

‘Is the Krug a scientist?’

Oso El Economista pauses to scratch his ass.

‘If, in fact, economics is not a science, then what is it? Is it alchemy, magic and sorcery – turning dross into gold? Is it a pseudo-science; is it just plain old smoke and mirrors, a con game? All of the above?’


As the path twists and turns as it makes its way upwards it occurs to him:

‘It is always nice to have confirmation of one’s pet theories and prejudices. Receiving international recognition and Nobel Prizes, accompanied by fame and money is rewarding. So, too, is creating your own personal computer models, thereby changing the dross of theory into the gold of hard and fast results. After all, numbers don’t lie, as they say.’

‘But if each of these models yield different results, how is a poor bear to know which is correct? Just maybe they are, all of them, wrong. Well, we are certain that the politicians don’t give a damn, as long as they have an expert or two to blame when things go south. (…and no one ever got docked a day’s salary for being wrong, anyway…after all, taxpayers pick up the tab in any case…)’

Up ahead, Oso sees a flock of buzzards ripping away at the dead flesh of some unfortunate animal. ‘Could that be the body of John Q. Public,’ wonders the bear?

Oso El Economista has climbed well above the tree line and can now see clearly how things are (…and with some help from his faithful companion, the Blackbearry):

‘All cults and covens have leaders, and amongst the leadingest leaders of the Cult of the Economist are the following notorious characters:

Paul Krugman– the Nobel Prize-winning Krug has contributed to human knowledge with such gems as why consumers prefer a variety of goods and services – that is, rather having a choice than: Being able to buy a car in any color, as long as it is black – and explaining the arcane intricacies of the economies of scale in the production of goods, and demonstrating to us illiterates why certain patterns of trade develop.

Nowadays, Paulie spends his time telling us why governments should bankrupt themselves (Us) in order to save the village.

Robert Reich– here’s another fellow who has never held an honest job in his life. It’s not clear what he has done to be mentioned here. He probably should be coaching basketball at Podunk High.

Alan Blinder– An ivory tower type, between stints as a political lackey. What we need to know about young Alan: He advised both Gore and Kerry during their respective presidential campaigns (they both lost) – and was ‘an early advocate of cash for clunkers’.

Joseph Stiglitz – another layabout. He apparently has made numerous contributions to something or other, is listed as a ‘lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’ – no doubt wielding a mean hockey stick and elucidating us as to the feedback effects of CO2 on clouds. Money quote (from Wiki): ‘He is a member of Collegium International, an organization of leaders with political, scientific, and ethical expertise whose goal is to provide new approaches in overcoming the obstacles in the way of a peaceful, socially just and an economically sustainable world.’ BTW – how does one gain ‘ethical expertise’?

Jeffrey Sachs– here is another really intelligent guy who has learned how to game the system. He has been on just about every board for any cause you care to mention and is globally recognized as a Really Important Person. No doubt he is a good talker, too, but if he has actually ever done anything substantive, only El Supremo knows.

Robert Kuttner– an exception to the rule, he appears to have actually labored in private industry. He wants Obama to transform American politics, and apparently his wish is coming true. Bobby, too, has had his stints working for the State. In terms of contributions to economics he seems to believe that Marx got it right.

‘Where did I read some opinion about economists? Oh, yeah, in the Manifesto.

(He, Oso, does a quick search).

‘Yes, right there it alleges that economists are:

Quacks; charlatans; fakes; fakers; fakirs; frauds; hoaxers; humbuggers; mountebanks; phonies; pretenders; shamsters; deceivers; dissemblers; dupers; feigners; tricksters; poseurs; cozeners; scammers; scamsters; sharpies; swindlers; confidence men. (and women, too, I suppose)

And that they are experts in the following activities:

Fraud; deceit; double-dealing; trickery; chicanery; legerdemain; skullduggery; subterfuge; artfulness, caginess; craftiness; cunningness; deviousness; foxiness; oiliness; shadiness; shiftiness; shrewdness; slickness; slipperiness; slyness sneakiness; treachery; underhandedness; wiliness; crookedness; deceitfulness; deception; deceptiveness, dishonesty; dissimulation, dupery; duplicity; guilefulness; hypocrisy; insincerity; fakery; humbuggery; imposturing; quackery; dirty tricks; designing, plotting and planning; scheming; secrecy; stealthiness.

‘Well, at least that is what the Manifestosays.

‘Humbuggery seems like a pretty serious charge, but I am certain that none of those appellations apply to those honored and esteemed gentlemen mentioned above.’

A mist arises in the south, from the Swamp of Lost Illusions. It slowly envelopes The Forest of a 100 and One Names.

Oso turns his attention an ant colony in a nearby bank, exposed to the elements:

‘What if I were a globally recognized expert in ants – a formicidologist, so to speak? I would spend years and years studying the little critters and finally become Dr. Oso the Formicidologist, PhD. I would have to find a bigger cave with more walls, on which to place all of the awards, honors and certificates I have received, and open a new bank account at a big, big bank – big enough to hold all of the money I would now get for being an expert on ants.

‘But, you know, it is a bit boring just to observe the objects of one’s interest. Being the expert I would be, I would detect the many and various ways that ants could improve their short, brutish and meaningless lives.

‘First of all, I would force them to relocate. This point of the mountain is too cold, and the pickings must be slim, except for the queen and her greedy circle of sycophants and parasites, deep within the nest – living the Life of Riley, while the poor and hungry workers attend to them.

‘We would equalize all of the duties and responsibilities. We would teach them how make a better nest. We would teach them how to forage, working together for the greater good…

‘Well, we would do a lot of things if we were interventionists…’

Oso El Economista stands up. There are no trees about on which to scratch his back. He shrugs his bearish shoulders and moves on.

The afternoon sun is warm on the peak, and Oso curls up against his favorite rock and continues to consider the objects of his contemplations:

‘Now it is not so much that economics and economists have reached such honored status and elevated positions both in government and in academia based upon the hard-earned merits of their intellectuality and the benefits to mankind in general with which they have endowed us. No, it is because they are such useful idiots – witting or unwitting Agents of the State. They are but tools for those who would command and control. It is ironic that they then become the means to the ends of those in power, those who are the State. (Blessed indeed is the tyrant who brooks no economist in his palace).

‘But the word ‘idiot’ is used here only in a metaphorical manner of speaking. Krug and his ilk are by no means stupid. They, too, have their Hidden Agendas.

‘And – to change the pace a bit – where the Diablo did this plague of economists come from? And why?? And what for???

‘Ahhh, from the swamps and miasmas of academia, no doubt. Why, because they were too good to be automobile mechanics, but not smart enough to be mechanical engineers? ‘Yes, why not find a sweet job in government or in that very same swamp of academia from which we arose?’ And what for: La dolce vita far niente.

‘Ahhhhhhh, Academia – where, in countless file cabinets in countless basements are found countless doctorate theses, yellowed and forgotten. Who amongst you can recite but one – just one tiny little one – phrase from one these papers with as much consequence to human kind as F=ma? (Indeed, we are reminded of the apocryphal story of the cleaning of the Augean Stables of Marxist academia of all of those treatises, articles, thesis and books about the triumph of the Proletariat, after the fall of the USSR).

‘Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh, society – where it is indeed a wonder that for centuries and centuries economies survived without the advice and counsel of not even one tiny little economist, not even one as tiny as Robert Reich. Trade, commerce and industry flourished without even one pearl of wisdom from the Council of the Wise. How was it possible that economies could even function, let alone prosper?

As the sun starts to make its way down towards the western horizon, Oso, too, thinks about making his way back down the Peak of Profound Wisdom. It is starting to get chilly.

Oso El Economista gives a shudder and is reminded of the Warmistas:

‘It is no small coincidence that the issues in economic policy making parallel those of Los Warmistas, and Cult of AWG.

‘Both deal with complex, unknown systems. Both love models – but not of the Playboy kind. Both are useful to the State. Both breed a plethora of angry bees ready at any moment to sting any lurking doubters, deniers and skeptics. We have mentioned the Krug, but from the warmista side we have James Hansen, and they both have their numerous Igors, such as Ezra Klein and ‘Chicken Little’ McKibben.

‘Both economistas and warmistas have replaced science with politics and social engineering.’

Oso is reminded of the novel, At Play in the Fields of the Lord. ‘Are economists the new priests and missionaries of our age? Do they even understand or care about the unintended consequences of their roles as wise counselors to kings and presidents?’

Back at the Cueva del Oso, he begins to grill a dozen steaks or so. It has been a long day, and so much deep thinking causes one bear of an appitite. He takes a swig of home-brewed beer and concludes thusly:

‘Each and every individual is an economist in his or her own way. Each has to decide how best to use the resources available, including the most valuable and scarce resource of all: Time.

In so far as the State intervenes and prevents people from maximizing the use of their own individual resources – the personal means of self-defense and a moral obligation – the State and it’s minions, it’s lackeys, it’s parasites, experts and useful idiots are nothing less than terrorists.’

Oso turns his attention back to the steaks and other matters of great import.

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The Oso Manifesto: HAVE YOU SIGNED UP YET?



Reynaldo and His Tale:

It was a hard scramble, but Reynaldo the Squirrel and his traveling companions managed to climb to the crest of a ridge of hills, blissfully ignorant of the events on El Risa.  They looked out, and below them was a small and peaceful-looking village surrounded by bucolic fields and pastures.  As unwanted fugitives, they always took care to give ‘civilization’ a wide berth, even to such an insignificant piece of civilization as that village appeared to be.  Reynaldo pulled out his S&W 500 and checked the chambers.  You can never be too careful, as they say.

They proceeded carefully down the hill and began to cross what seemed to be an abandoned pasture.  But there, amongst the tall bushes and over-grown weeds they came across a small herd of goats.  But goats of such desperate appearance Reynaldo had never seen in his life.  They had little fur, and their ribs could clearly be seen; they were covered with festering boils and surrounded by large and noisy flies.  Even their horns (the goats) were broken off, or missing.

He paused before the nearest one and asked her very politely:  Excuse me, madam Goat, but I couldn’t help noticing…

But Madam Goat didn’t let him finish:  ‘I know, Master Squirrel, that we must look like Krugshit.  But that is the price we must pay for our life of grateful service to our community and our fellow citizens.’

The squirrel looked perplexed.  ‘Say what?’ he replied.

‘You see, we are too old and just plain milked out.  So here we are, munching on thistles and thorns until we drop, and the buzzards or the wolves come for us.’  She went on:  ‘But we don’t mind.  We are herd animals by nature, and we have done our duty to our fellow beasts.  And it is only now, as we approach the end, that we are given some peace, if only a piece of this weed-ridden pasture.  Truly, life is good when you can sacrifice your life to the well-being of others.’

The squirrel looked truly perplexed:  ‘Say what?’

The travelers bade farewell (and good luck) to the sacrificial goats, and proceeded up the other side of the valley.  As they expected (and as was foretold by the Seeress in the 17th Dynasty of the Andeluviods), it was not long before Reynaldo began to tell this tale:

Once there was, in the not too distant future, a very progressive planet controlled by very progressive leaders (Would that all Leaders be so progressive).  Now this planet was, is, and will be, very similar to other similar planets throughout this Cosmos and the next.  On this progressive planet, let’s call it Sour-Eaus, there was, amongst many progressive countries, the Progressive Republic of Yerlava:

It was with no little satisfaction as Bob the Bureaucrat made his way to the hospital, briefcase in hand .  Not only was Bob a bureaucrat, he was a loyal and happy bureaucrat.  He loved his work (and, of course, was paid well for it).  His official title was 1st Assistant Registrar for State Social Contracts.  He expected soon to be promoted to 33rd Senior Registrar for State Social Contracts.  Life was good.

And as Bob the loyal and happy bureaucrat neared the entrance to a National Hospital, he thought to himself just how privileged he was to serve the State.  And, under the Social Contract, such service was his duty and his obligation.  He hefted his hefty briefcase.  ‘I hope I have brought enough contracts along with me today’.

You see, for the Progressive Republic of Yerleva was one of those advanced countries seldom found on this side of a sometimes unprogressive universe.  Not only had it established a social contract for all of its inhabitants, it had taken the progressive measure of putting the contract into writing (all the better to avoid those bothersome critics who, at one time, called the Social Contract illegitimate, simply because there was no signed written contract between the subject citizen and the State).

And now there was.  And what a contract!  It was over 250 pages long, and this in fine print.  The contract consisted mostly of a list of obligations each citizen owed the State.  Bob the Bureaucrat (happy and loyal that he was) liked the last section the best: 

I, _____________, being on sound mind and body, do hereby renounce all pretensions to my being as an individual.  I recognize and will honor all of the duties and responsibilities of a loyal citizen of the Progressive Republic of Yerleva, as described in this the Social Contract.  However, such duties and responsibilities are not limited to the Contract, but may be amended by legislation or decree as the State deems necessary.

(signed): __________________________________________

He entered the hospital and cheerily greeted all those he met.  The elevator doors opened on the 13th floor:  Obstetrics.  There he would find his clients – newborn babies, as yet ‘un-baptized’, as he thought of it – tiny little beings, anxious to become loyal and responsible (and, no doubt, patriotic) citizens of the Progressive Republic of Yerleva.

He set himself up in his office, next to the new-born care unit and his first client was soon brought in by a nurse.  The routine was just that – well-practiced and quickly and efficiently accomplished.

Bob started the voice recorder (just in case, in the future, our newly minted citizen should deny the proceedings), and read out in his deep and official sounding voice (one of the reasons he was hired for the job):

Do you, ___________, solemnly swear, on pain of punishment to… (And there he read out the last statement of the Social Contract)

Hearing no response he gave little baby X a light pinch, and thereby received a positive answer.  ‘I hereby declare you a loyal citizen of the Progressive Republic of Yerleva, congratulations.’  The nurse applied ink to the baby’s right foot and Bob the Bureaucrat pressed it against the last page of the Social Contract.

Smiling to himself, he thought:  One less troublesome individual for society and one more obedient subject for the State.

‘That’s heavy Krugshit, Reynaldo, but what does it mean?’, said Chuck the Chimp.  ‘I mean, why didn’t Bob the happy and loyal bureaucrat read the baby his Rights, too?’

The others were too lost in thought to make a comment, even Oscar.

And Reynaldo – he thought the story was quite clear enough for even a moron from the Planet Kroywen to understand (And we all know how incredibly dense they are!), and required no further explanation.

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Oso El Guerrillero: THE PROMISED LAND

Even deep within the Forest of a 100 and One Names, Oso El Guerrillero can hear ‘them’ beating the Drums of War – once again.  He gives a deep bear sigh.  War, he thinks:  War, that multipurpose tool of States and Statists everywhere.

Extraordinary wars – or just plain old kinetic action:  What is the difference?  Hot wars?  Cold wars?  Warm and cool wars?  Ah, yes – cool wars:  Now that does sounds cool.  Hey, boys and girls – be cool – be a real Patriot and sign up for the latest Cool War.

Plopping himself down in a convenient spot, he continues his cogitations: 

Is not war like a Pandora’s Box? 

·       Unintended Consequences – just look at the consequences of WWI.  Better said, we having been fighting that same war for almost 100 years now.

·       Open-Ended Objectives – think of the fool’s mission of Social Engineering to plant Democracy in the infertile soil of Iraq (and many other countries).

·       Hubris & Arrogance – see the point above.

·       Terrorism – terrorism begets terrorism and bombs beget more bombs.

·       Fascism – war brings out the worst – not the best.  The nationalist fervor of Patriotism, of Oaths & Pledges, of Secrecy, leads only to an empowered State, Corporatism, and the loss of Individual Sovereignty.

·       Moral Principles – when individuals follow not their own consciences but rather become the means to others’ ends, when blind obedience to orders from those who would command and control is the order of the day, then morality becomes immorality, and the immoral will truly rule their immoral subjects.

As he gets up, Oso asks himself:  Why is war so beloved?  Is it for power, for money, for the glory of dying?  Cui bono?

Oso grumbles to himself as he rubs his back up against a barky tree:  I wonder what it is this time?  ‘They’ certainly call it the Exceptional Nation for good reason – or is it the Indispensible Nation?  (The Exceptionally Indispensible Nation – EIN?, or nein?)  Well, it certainly seems to be exceptionally bellicose, and certainly indispensible when extending the power of the State. 

He – Oso – holds up his paws and starts to count:  Hot wars – Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen and Pakistan – hmmm – and those wars against Terrorism, oh, and drugs, and poverty and ignorance and poor health.  Well, dropping a bomb on someone certainly solves the poor health problem.  And oh yes, isn’t war a Krugsure cure for recessions, depressions and other economic woes?

As he makes his way up the mountain (all the better to hear the drums) he wonders:  What kind of Hidden Agendas can these war mongrels have?  Haven’t they ever learned the Moral Principles?  Several hundred meters above the roof of the forest he listens intently:  The drums say nuke ‘em before they nuke us.  Sounds like they forgot about Unintended Consequences also.

Now Oso has been around the block a few times, so to speak, so he knows that the first casualty of war is truth.  Actually, truth is mortally wounded long before bombs begin to drop and bullets begin to fly.  He sniffs the air.  Yes, there is a conjunction of events which is particularly unfavorable to the health of Santa Verdad:  Those pesky People-Who-Aren’t-There are complaining again about their status as sand niggers, and the EIN is once again embarking upon the process of selecting a Dear & Glorious Leader – and not to mention the various opportunities for kinetic actions among and against the Infidels.

Of course, the Infidel has already had an opportunity to enjoy the exceptionalism of the Indispensible Nation and is no doubt expecting more of the same.  When Liberty and the pursuit of happiness are at stake, what do a few dead ragheads matter?  They – the ragheads – will just have to accept that no one fucks with the Jesus Exceptional and Indispensible City/Nation on the Hill.

‘Nuke ‘em’ say the drums.  Nuke who, wonders Oso El Guerrillero?

And so, according to the deterministic laws of inevitable destiny, we return to the question of ‘them’.  It is crystal clear, and as subtle as a sledge hammer, that it is no mere generic ‘them’ that is being referred to.  Rather, ‘them’ is the usual suspects:  Krauthammer (here, here, and here, amongst too, too many references to cite); Kristol, Bolton, Boot, Feith  (“the fucking stupidest guy on the face of the earth” – TF).

And as the war pimps sit comfortably, beating the drums, the useful idiots are up in their furious dances about the fire, shaking spears and clashing shields.  And amongst those useful idiots are some of the pretenders to the throne and the cherished title of Dear & Glorious Leader.  Oso El Guerrillero shudders at the thought.

Just what country do they intend to preside over, and just what country are they sworn to defend, wonders he? 

And with the great powers of vision and understanding given to him – Oso – with some help from the Oso Todopoderoso, comes to understand that the object of all this bellicosity is the Islamic Republic of Iran.  Now Oso, being the curious animal that he is, wonders at this.  And being technologically with it, he checks the internet and finds that over the last 100 years, Iran has always been the victim of aggression and not the initiator.

Could it be that they – the Rug Riders – have aimed their 1000’s of ICBM’s with multi-nuclear warheads, at the heart of the Indispensible Nation.  Perhaps they still hold a grudge over that Mosaddegh thingy.  Perhaps they still don’t understand that it was for their own good.

Oso shakes his head.  Nahhh, that can’t be it, because, in spite of the drum beating, they don’t have thousands of nuclear warheads to aim at anyone – not even a teensy-weensy little one.

So, using the logical capacities he has been endowed with, Oso El Guerrillero tries to figure out why Krauthammer and company want to obliterate the Islamic Republic of Iran using the very real nukes that the EIN has in bountiful supply. 

Maybe they just want to give the economy a good Keynesian Krugfuck.  Some say war is good for that, and reduces the unemployment too:  Maybe out of sheer avarice and greed, as stockholders of a plethora of defense aggression industry corporations.  But no, that can’t be it, otherwise why not attack China and really churn out the war toys?

Just what could be on their minds, and agendas, wonders Oso.

Could it be that they have a not-so-secret love?  Have they all been seduced, and entranced, by that little feisty bitch, Israel?  Israel?

What was that other name?  Oso El Guerrillero grabs his laptop and does a bit of googling.  Ah, yes, ZOP.

But aren’t these Neo-Cons citizens of EIN?  Why are they trying to drag EIN into more wars?  Isn’t it involved in enough wars?  Apparently not…

Maybe they are really ZOPis in disguise.  Just maybe…

And just as Oso lies down by a swift-running stream he hears the War Mongrels howling in the distance:  MEK, MEK, they seem to be yelping.  Once again he googles:  MEK.

Hmmm, this, this, and this.

What a strange confluence of events:  EIN and the Neo-Cons, ZOP and The-People-Who-Aren’t-There, MEK and the Islamic Republic of Iran.  MEK and ZOP – here, and here.

Is it mere coincidence that the Neo-Cons have discovered the MEKs who are attempting to overthrow the duly-elected government of Iran?  Inquiring minds ask:  Who is financing all of this?  And what is in it for the ZOPis?

Well, bethinks Oso, it seems like Country Joe all over again:  And it’s one, two, three, what are we waiting for?

He – Oso – gets up slowly and meanders over to the stream.  Strange indeed, he thinks, as he contemplates his reflection in an idle pool.  Wheels within wheels, agendas within agendas.  Cuo Bono?

Now let’s see if I’ve got this thing right – The ZOPis have a problem with The-People-Who-Aren’t-There occupying land the ZOPis want.  The government of the Islamic Republic of Iran apparently doesn’t love ZOP as much as the Neo-Cons do, and may be giving material support to The-People-Who-Aren’t-There who don’t particularly like being driven from their homes.  What to do, ask the ZOPis and the Neo-Cons?

Oso reflects on the ZOPis’ options:  The status quo will not hold.  We want the land, so the Two-State solution is out.  For obvious reasons the One-State solution is out, as The-People-Who-Aren’t-There are so prolific.  So what is left:  The-People-Who-Aren’t-There will just have to find some other place not to be.

Now the ZOPis could just round up The-People-Who-Aren’t-There and shove them over the nearest border.  But that would be in bad taste and just too obvious.  Some cover is needed, something like a good war – a big war – where we can get the EIN dupes to do most of the fighting and dying (and spending – $$$).

It all makes some sense now, says the enlightened Oso to himself (who else?).

·       The-People-Who-Aren’t-There are no longer there.

·       The ZOPis and their EIN allies get to create a Greater Israel.

·       MEK gets to pick over the bones of a defeated and destroyed Iran.

·       The War Mongrels of EIN get to whoop and yell even more.

·       The Evangelicals can hope that the Rapture is at last at hand.

What is there not to like?


Quite a bit, when you think about it – as Oso thinks about it.


Why does the EIN have dog in this fight?  It doesn’t.  Why not just let the ZOPis and The-People-Who-Aren’t-There fight it out between themselves?  Why not MYOB?

Maybe it has to do with all of those corrupt politicians who seem to have been paid off by the ZOPistas:  For instance, the three stooges – Bomber John, Joker Joe, and Loco Lindsay.

And yes, it occurs to Oso:  ZOPi-Occupied-Territory, and friends.

And Oso ponders on this state of affairs as he slowly makes his way back to where ever he is going:  WTF!  At this point, as we attempt to wind down this little tale, his Blackberry sends a message:  ‘Be afraid, be very afraid.  See this for more information.’

But our peace-loving ZOPistas would never let the rug riders get away with obliterating the EIN.  After all, they are our friends (The ZOPistas, that is).

And bears don’t shit in the woods.
















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Oso Politico: Mano a Mano with Stephen Herrington

Stephen Herrington

The Monday Morning Economist

Posted: January 23, 2011 02:04 AM


The State of the Union Is: Appalling


After the infantile red meat offering to the Tea Party base of repealing the “Job Killing Health Care Reform Act” was passed by the Republican House of Representatives of the 112th Congress, the dirty work of looting America for profit will resume in earnest. After the brief interlude of four years of semi-competent Democratic House control, you may sit back and observe the Republican professional politicians at work. Lobbyists have been sharpening their knives for this feast since November.

[‘Infantile red meat offering’:  What is this supposed to mean?  We have the image of babies crying out, and that of baby carnivores wanting a piece of the dead carcass.  Well, some might compare Obama Care to a dead carcass.  We change gears and go to looting, dirty looting at that, and for profit, no less.  Who would loot for non-profit?  That question goes unanswered.  And we have professional politicians who are Republican.  Thank goodness there are no professional Democrat politicians.  And the lobbyists – they are very careful to pay off only those nasty professional Republicans, as no upstanding principled Democrat would ever take money from a lobbyist.  And returning to ‘job killing’:  Is that the purpose of Obama Care, to create jobs?  Or perhaps it was to ‘Save the Children’?  BTW:  ‘Semi-competent’ democrats, and the Senate and the Obama Entity?]

Before they start officially carving up what’s left of the American middle class, it might behoove them to think about the actual state of the union and it is this: Americans are broke and job prospects are the lowest they have been in 80 years. That’s it. Nothing else matters and public opinion polls bear this out.

[There is no base line established here to decide what is the middle class from what point, and how much it has been reduced (‘carved up’). ‘Officially’ carving up – that’s a nice touch – as opposed to all of the unofficial carving up.  We do like the word ‘behoove’.  Here’s a nice ex cathedra:  ‘That’s it’.  And ‘nothing else matters’ – nothing else?  We won’t dispute that people are worried about the job situation.  Maybe even those evil red meat eating Republicans might agree about that, heaven forbid.]

No matter what the President says this Tuesday, the destruction of America will continue if the track of public policy remains the same as it has been over the last three decades. Reagan set us on a track that corporations and the rich like. That track will ruin the country and destroy the world’s most powerful economic entity. It will do so by mindlessly following the conservative dictums of small government, deregulation and free trade that Washington seems to have absorbed into it’s DNA. The alleles of this genetic political disease are explained as follows:

[So, inquiring minds ask:  Why is he saying anything at all?  Inquiring minds also wonder why just the ‘last three decades’?  Oh!  It was Ronnie.  Now we have identified the villain.  Well, he says that it was Ronnie’s fault, so that must be.  And now we come down to the three horsemen of the Apocalypse:  Small government, deregulation, and free trade.  Not so certain about the regulation part, but I am pretty certain that government grew under Ronnie babe, and free trade?  When has the U.S. ever had free trade?  And ‘dictums’ – that is a nice touch, not principles or guidelines but dictums.  And here we waft off into some biological analogy.]

a) Deficit reduction is the new code for the conservative grail of small government. Small government was code for tax cuts which traces back to Reagan’s “voodoo economics”. What’s different now is that Republican profligate spending has put the country deeper in debt than it has been since WWII. Therefore the deficit reduction small government model has regained traction with the public. It is widely speculated that the Republicans ran up the debt on purpose to produce just such a debt crisis. Some of the more candid of them will admit it, brag on it.

That the debt crisis is Republican in origin is easily provable, it is no conspiracy theory. Taxes were cut while massive new expenses were incurred, two wars, Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D. These are bloated wasteful Republican undertakings, all. Now that we have renewed the Bush tax cuts we either repeal that particular stupidity, run up the debt further or cut spending. It will be small government by threat of bankruptcy and the grossest misconduct by a political persuasion since the war over slavery.

[We somehow thought that the idea of less government was a Constitutional thingie.  Now it is a Holy Grail.  And now it becomes a bit confusing:  Is spending bad – or is it good?  If Ronnie was a big spender, how does that equate to smaller government?  Side note:  We like the word ‘profligate’ and may discuss this further at our discretion.  And we have here the lovely phrase ‘it is widely speculated’.  Unfortunately we must ask:  By whom, when, where and can you please provide, in this age of miraculous links, citations?

We love conspiracy theories, regardless of their political coloring.  Amongst other effects of war, no doubt spending went up.  We wonder how many Democrat hands went up against these wars and the medi-programs mentioned.  Bankruptcy – we can only hope.  As to the slavery reference, here the good author has lost us completely.]

b) Deregulation is at once a purist libertarian movement, from which it gets popular support, and a craven exploitation of that support by unscrupulous businessmen. Yes, there are unscrupulous businessmen although a guilty plea is hellish hard to extract. Unscrupulous businessmen are the peril against which regulation of business is meant to protect us. Reagan ruthlessly exploited the hyperinflationary oil price shocked economy of the eighties to proffer that government (and unions) was the problem and not the solution. He opined that deregulation of business would unfetter the natural entrepreneurial heroes of capitalism to create vast wealth and it would trickle down to the public, if we de-unionized too.

Deregulation, beginning in 1999, created a series of stock market bubbles that burst creating the worst performing stock market since the Great Depression. It also created the housing bubble and the fraudulent securitized mortgage debt, and the derivatives there from spun it into, when it collapsed, a financial disaster that crippled the world economy. Since we refuse to deal with that legacy of fraud in any meaningful way, ways that might negatively affect the ledgers of banks, it still drags us down.

[Here we have the unsupported statement that ‘deregulation’ created all of these problems.  We note that he says ‘beginning in 1999’ which, if memory fails me not, was during the Clintonite Reign.  And shouting out ‘Fraud!; fraud!’ doesn’t necessarily make it so.  After all, the law is the law – not so?]

c) Free trade is synonymous with outsourcing of labor to foreign labor markets. All but the most invested of free marketers can see that the U.S. labor force can never, ever, compete with China or India on price. U.S. education initiatives already trail the emerging market countries by a decade. Retraining in specialized skills is as vulnerable outsourcing as was semi-skilled labor in the recent past. Free markets are a code word for deregulation of America’s trade, the objective of which is to make profit on the differential between America’s labor costs and cheap foreign labor. Given the current Washington policy climate, the only limitation on the exploitation of that differential will be when Americans can no longer afford to buy anything. It will rank, if there is a future in which anyone cares about history, as the dumbest policy failure in the history of mankind.

But wait, there’s more. The U.S.A. has given wholesale permission for private companies to give American technologies to foreign powers and even transfer manufacturing of strategic materials to countries that are competing with us economically. The U.S. government has effectively given China every possible assistance in defeating us in economic competition and even war. We did so at the insistence of American companies for their profit. And that profit they now hoard out of the U.S. economy for investment in countries that are our competitors. At the same time, they will fight to deny us every farthing of taxes that would help us compete in turn. Business is betting against us and stacking the deck! In a more principled age it would be denounced as treason. In the Reagan age it is called good business.

[Well, how about a bit of autarchy, everyone?  And while we are at it:  To hell with them damn furreners.  They should go back to their forests and fields as we don’t want what they manufacture.  I am not certain why education gets slipped in here.  Doesn’t the U.S. spend more on ‘education’ than just about any other country in the world?  And we believed that ‘free markets’ were code words for ‘consumer choice’ and liberty and even freedom.  Not that anyone around here cares about history, but isn’t ‘the dumbest policy failure in the history of mankind’ a bit overboard?  After all, trading and commerce between peoples is one of the oldest professions in the history of mankind – no?

And we have to love that word ‘hoard’.  Where do they keep all of that profit, under the CEO’s bed?  How, exactly, would paying more taxes make ‘us’ more competitive?  And talk about mixed analogies:  Gambling and treason.  And we are back to stomping on Ronnie’s grave.  Aren’t we presently subjects under a Obamian Régime?]

Business is pouring investment dollars into China, India and other “emerging markets” because growing markets are more likely to produce growing revenues than are declining markets. Growth in revenues drives stock prices and that motivates executives. The U.S. consumer market has been written off as not being able to produce growth of revenues and therefore stock prices. So investment of profits on sales to Americans is increasingly destined to build factories and R&D in China.

[And this is a bad thing?  Aren’t businesses supposed to function as profit-making enterprises?  Why shouldn’t those poor souls in India have IPods also?]

It seems that business does not comprehend the inevitable result of sucking money out of the domestic market on which they depend to resell foreign made goods for profit. The result will be the destruction of the domestic market. It might be that they presume that the consumer economies of China and India will pull abreast of the U.S. in time to save their profit growth curve. But if they employ the same labor busting policies abroad that they do at home now, that will never happen. Maybe they think the U.S. government will step in to save them, a belief that they may have cause to harbor. On the other hand, if they break both the government and the people, there will be no one to bail them out or defend their assets from hostile foreign government takeover.

Of course business doesn’t care about the peril. The money is too good right now.

[Ah, here we have this monolithic ‘business’ doing all sorts of nasty things, liking sucking money.  We don’t quite comprehend the logic here of ‘sucking money out of the domestic market to resell foreign-made goods for profit’.  But then, there probably is no logic intended here.  And now we segue into ‘labor busting policies’ and perhaps the kitchen sink, also.  As to takeovers, we are probably pretty much down that path already, given the amount of foreign-held debt.  (and ‘peril’ – as in the ‘Yellow Peril?).]

If you care about family values that’s one thing. If you care about personal liberty and the Constitution that’s another. Both count toward the quality of life. But the economic track on which we have locked our wheels will make a shambles of both in short order. No significant job growth will be created in this country without a complete rejection of the conservative principles that got us into this appalling state of our union.

So the state of the union is appalling, and so is the state of our ability to deal with it.

[Sorry, but I missed out on the reasoning for the apparent contention that one believes ‘in family values’ or in ‘personal liberty and the Constitution’ but not both.  And here we put on the brakes as we once again segue into another analogy about tracks and wheels and the shambles of family values and personal liberty ‘in short order’.  We wonder how short is ‘short’ – one day, one week or even one year from now?

And now the grand finale, as after the tightly argued premises above we come to the inevitable conclusion that it is ‘conservative principles’ that ‘got us into this appalling state of our union’.  Did I miss something?  Where were ‘conservative principles’ discussed?  Oh – dictums:  Small government, deregulation, free trade, and the holy grail of deficit reduction.  

And it seems that we have to give into fate as we seemingly have lost our ability to deal with the ‘appalling’ situation’.]



As far as we can determine any logical argument here, it seems to be that ‘Americans are broke and job prospects are the lowest…’ and that ‘no significant job growth will be created in this country without a complete rejection of the conservative principles that got us into this appalling state of our union.’

[A good deal of this screed seems to be merely a vehicle for invective.  We encounter such words and phrases as ‘infantile red meat’, ‘dirty work of looting America for profit’, ‘officially carving up’ (not just carving up, but doing so in an official capacity?), ‘mindlessly’ (so this dire situation was not done intentionally, but rather mindlessly?), ‘craven exploitation of that support by unscrupulous businessmen’, ‘ruthlessly’, etc.]

[And the mixed bagged analogies must set a record for such a short exposition:  ‘infantile red meat offering’, ‘dirty work of looting America’, ‘Lobbyists have been sharpening their knives for this feast’, ‘track of public policy’, ‘The alleles of this genetic political disease, new code for the conservative grail’, ‘Business is betting against us and stacking the deck’, ‘the economic track on which we have locked our wheels will make a shambles’ (‘locking wheels’ and ‘shambles’?)]

Our esteemed author seems to believe that all this evil history began with the ruthless Ronald Reagan administration:  ‘Reagan set us on a track that corporations and the rich like’ and he ‘exploited the hyperinflationary oil price shocked economy of the eighties to proffer that government (and unions) was the problem and not the solution. He opined that deregulation of business would unfetter the natural entrepreneurial heroes of capitalism to create vast wealth and it would trickle down to the public, if we de-unionized too.’

And this leads us to those ‘conservative dictums’ (certainly not principles) of small government, deregulation and free trade, and that holy grail of debt reduction.  Perhaps it is the appropriate moment to look at some facts.  And one sad fact is that Ronnie was all hat and no cattle, or in keeping with our mixed analogies:  A straw cowboy.



His actual budget (not proposed) for 1982 was $745,800,000,000, and for 1989 was $1,144,000,000, or an increase of about 53%.  Reference. 

Using 1982 as a base year the debt was $1,142 trillion and in 1989 it was $2,857 trillion, or an increase of about 150%.  Reference.

As for the number of regulations, here are the adjusted page counts:  1982 – 53,104, and 1989 – 50,501.  So Ronnie stands guilty as accused.  Reference.  But after four years of Bush I, the count was up to over 57,000 pages.

Now ‘free trade’ is a whole different ballgame.  We will address that eventually, somewhere down below.

So, as can be seen from the numbers, Reagan was no paradigm of conservative blood-letting.



Esteemed author:  ‘job prospects are the lowest they have been in 80 years’.  Assuming that he is referring to unemployment figures, the official current figure is 9.1%, or thereabouts, under the current (Obama) administration.  Now 80 years ago would be about 1931, give or take a few days:  The perfidious Hoover administration.  Unemployment was 15.9% – certainly higher than 9.1%.   But wait – we don’t have to go back 80 years to find unemployment figures higher than 9.1%.  In 1938, after 6 years of the Roosevelt Revelation, unemployment was 19.0%.  (Reference).  And under King Ronnie, the figure was 9.6% for 1983.  (Reference).  Let’s do some arithmetic:  2011 less 1983 = 28.  Hmm, 28 years seems to be less than 80 years.

Esteemed author:  ‘That the debt crisis is Republican in origin is easily provable, it is no conspiracy theory.’  (Well, this is the first I have heard of a ‘debt conspiracy’ but be that as it may).  Our author seems to conflate conservative with Republican.  Bush II was no conservative.  And he did a lot of mean and evil things including wars of the non-declared type, and social programs such as Medicare Advantage, Medicare Part D and even No Child Left Behind.  But give us a break here:  How many democrats voted against these wars and those programs?  And how many democrats are against them right now.  Not many, we will wager. 

Esteemed author:  What’s different now is that Republican profligate spending has put the country deeper in debt than it has been since WWII.’  We are not certain as to what is the meaning here.  After all, ‘Deficit reduction is the new code for the conservative grail of small government.’  How does profligate spending lead to the grail of small government?  In any case, back to the debt:  The debt in 1945 was about $258 billion.  It has been climbing steadily since then under all administrations, republican and democrat alike.  As we have been using 1982 as a baseline, the debt in that year was $1,142 billion and rose to $2.602 billion in 1988.  2008, the last full year of the Bush II administration, the debt was $10,024 billion and after three years of Obamanomics, it is $13,562 billion.  You do the percentages and tell me who the profligate spenders are.  (Reference).

Esteemed author:  Deregulation is at once a purist libertarian movement, from which it gets popular support, and a craven exploitation of that support by unscrupulous businessmen.  To be a bit uncharitable, I doubt that the author has any idea of what libertarian principles are, as there is no such thing as ‘a purist libertarian movement’.  Do libertarians support deregulation?  Short answer:  Yes.  Do they also support small or smaller government, decreased spending, lowering national debt and free trade?  So, rather than wrestle with the Republican Conservative straw man, perhaps our author ought to be attacking all of those evil and terrible libertarian presidents who have legislated our great country into penury.



This subject deserves a few paragraphs on its own.

In the 220 years or so of United States history there has never been a régime of ‘free trade’, under any administration, republican or democrat or whatever.  Never.

All exterior commerce has been ‘managed trade’.  A discussion of free trade versus managed trade is beyond the scope of this encounter, but suffice it to say that the issue is a straw man as presented by our esteemed author.  As a suggestion, we would recommend that he inform himself of the opposite of free trade – autarchy – and would ask him how like would be if he, himself, had to manufacture everything that he wanted.

We were under the obviously mistaken impression that Adam Smith had resolved this issue, say around 1776. (Reference)



If the purpose of our esteemed author was to prove that the Republicans and their conservative ‘dictums’ are the cause of the present dire economic situation, and that the solution is (apart from abandoning all hope) to grow government, spend like a drunken sailor and regulate everything that moves (Good Reagan quote:  If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.), then we would have to conclude that he has failed miserably.

Now this is not to denigrate him, as we know he is a smart guy (his bio informs us that he is a member of Mensa), as he has given us a paradigm of a screed.  That is to say, an opinion piece of invective, full of inflammatory rhetoric, elusive analogies, non-sequiturs, empty of any apparent structure, dense or non-existent logic, devoid of any supporting data and links, and replete with ex cathedra pronouncements.



As a screed this one is pretty good.

It was a particularly difficult one to deconstruct due to our esteemed author’s devious form of argumentation:  No stated premise, wandering declarations of opinion, no development of argument and no explicit conclusion.  This is a Huffington Classic.

We are going to make a wildass guess that our esteemed author is of the progressive persuasion.  This is apparent in his infantile belief in facile solutions, his contempt for other opinions, incapacity to state a logical argument, belief in government (ie, I want my mommy and daddy), perception of society as composed of collectives rather than of individuals, playing the ‘blame game’ and looking for scapegoats, etc, etc, etc.

For a bit of added hilarity here are some reader comments:



E pluribus unum

949 Fans

09:15 PM on 1/24/2011 Scathing commentary on our last 30 years. Simple and easy to follow. Unfortunately our public has somehow become immune to the truth and we continue to backslide into the darker days of our history…




Inventor and Innovator

312 Fans

10:20 AM on 1/24/2011 Yes, you are correct. And there is every indication that the destruction of our country is what they want. This will enable a world business coalition to take over all the nations of the earth. Since there is no global government to restrict them, resistance will be hard but not futile. Their original charter, maybe an honorable one, was to eliminate world poverty while making tons of money in the process. All you need to do is read the charter of the Trilateral Commission­, started in 1972. National autonomy is to be sacrificed to achieve their main goals. Free Trade? Yes, another word for loss of national autonomy.




Enjoying life in West Ohio

1339 Fans

09:50 AM on 1/24/2011 The ghost of Reagan haunts us. His magical triad of blaming the government­, deregulati­on, and “free” trade has brought us to the brink. We’re now a consumption based economy with no consumers. The “bottom” 99% have fallen behind for 30 years. Reagan effectivel­y launched the right wing counter-re­volution against 20th century progressiv­e reforms. The reactionar­ies now own the media; ergo, they own the message. Their paid stooges spew propaganda 24×7 to a credulous public, 40% of whom are so ignorant that they want to keep the government out of Medicare.

These facile theories cannot be rebutted without skills at critical thinking and a menu of facts currently lacking in the “marketplace of ideas.” Instead we have the right wing Wall of Sound” braying, scapegoating and inciting the public. Lies and hysteria are considered entertainm­ent. In the amoral world of entertainm­ent making money transcends the search for the truth. How else explain Beck and Limbaugh’s hold on the airwaves?

The left has been pushed into a corner, lacking a cohesive ideology to combat the reactionar­ies and too dependent on leaders who themselves are captives of media culture and members of the ruling class. Short of the complete collapse of our economy there is little that can reverse right wing momentum. Even then the Republicans’ paymasters relish the thought of another Great Depression­. Their money is protected. They will destroy the unions and buy up America at a 90% discount. Corporate oligarchy here we come. Sic transit gloria Americana

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