TBT: The Brutal Truth

Friday, June 30, 2006

Palast Interviews Hugo Chavez

It's all at The Progressive and it's a good smackdown:

Q: How do you respond to Bush’s charge that you are destabilizing the region and interfering in the elections of other Latin American countries?

Chávez: Mr. Bush is an illegitimate President. In Florida, his brother Jeb deleted many black voters from the electoral registers. So this President is the result of a fraud. Not only that, he is also currently applying a dictatorship in the U.S. People can be put in jail without being charged. They tap phones without court orders. They check what books people take out of public libraries. They arrested Cindy Sheehan because of a T-shirt she was wearing demanding the return of the troops from Iraq. They abuse blacks and Latinos. And if we are going to talk about meddling in other countries, then the U.S. is the champion of meddling in other people’s affairs. They invaded Guatemala, they overthrew Salvador Allende, invaded Panama and the Dominican Republic. They were involved in the coup d’état in Argentina thirty years ago.

Q: Is the U.S. interfering in your elections here?

Chávez: They have interfered for 200 years. They have tried to prevent us from winning the elections, they supported the coup d’état, they gave millions of dollars to the coup plotters, they supported the media, newspapers, outlaw movements, military intervention, and espionage. But here the empire is finished, and I believe that before the end of this century, it will be finished in the rest of the world. We will see the burial of the empire of the eagle.

He's right on the money. American empiracism and belligerence can not last much longer and I believe it'll crumble to dust between 2012 - 2018 simply because the Republicans have no interest in addressing the widening gap between the "haves" and "have-nots" and any solution by the Democrats will be too little, too late. Both parties are too compromised by Capitalism's dominion in our country. Thus, our current generation is on the precipice of not only witnessing their own "Great Depression" but also their own "Concentration Camp" moment as millions of poor, uninsured, jobless, former middle-class Americans are going to empower themselves by emerging from their imprisonment from within the alledged "safety" and "privacy" of their own homes and take it to the fucking streets.

(Tin Hat Tip: Brainers)


Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Mother Of All Ads

At Pandagon, Pam Spaulding shows us a very powerful advertizement from Faith In America. It's a must-see and speak volumes ...

(Tin Hat Twirl: Gideon)


SCOTUS To The Decider: "Think Again!"

In a Supreme Court decision where activist judges Scalia and Thomas dissented and Justice Freeper-A-Lito recused himself, the remaining 5 justice majority came out and smacked The Decider upside his fake Christian noggin regarding those military tribunals for Club Gitmo guests. Ripping from the WaPo:

The Supreme Court today delivered a stunning rebuke to the Bush administration over its plans to try Guantanamo detainees before military commissions, ruling that the commissions violate U.S. law and the Geneva Conventions governing the treatment of war prisoners.

In a 5-3 decision, the court said the trials were not authorized by any act of Congress and that their structure and procedures violate the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and the four Geneva Conventions signed in 1949.

Justice John Paul Stevens wrote the opinion in the case, called Hamdan v. Rumsfeld ...

The ruling, which overturned a federal appeals court decision in which Roberts had participated, represented a defeat for President Bush, who had ordered trials before special military tribunals for detainees at the Guantanamo Bay naval base. About 450 detainees captured in the war on terrorism are currently held at the U.S. naval base in Cuba. Trying them before military commissions would place them under greater restrictions and afford them fewer rights than they would get in federal courts or regular military courts.

But, before you get excited, the WaPo report tells us that although The Decider can't break the UCMJ and the Geneva Conventions using military tribunals any longer, The Decider can still break the Geneva Conventions and carry on with waterboarding Club Gitmo guests since SCOTUS is rather squeamish when it comes to revoking the ol' business license:

The ruling does not mean that the United States must close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility or free any of its detainees, including Hamdan.

Nontheless, there is one sweet taste in this ruling from the dissenting opinions of Scalito and Thomas and how they were totally smacked down by Justices Stevens and Breyer whom told the the Freeper-Boys that their precious "Unitary Executive Theory" can go straight to hell (hell being the rubber-stamp Republican-controlled Congress) and the Diebold voting machine it rode in on:

In a dissenting opinion, Scalia pointed to congressional enactment on Dec. 30, 2005, of the Detainee Treatment Act, which provides that as of that date, "no court, justice or judge" shall have jurisdiction to consider an application by a Guantanamo detainee for habeas corpus, challenging his detention.

Thomas said in another dissenting opinion that the Supreme Court "lacks jurisdiction" to consider Hamdan's claims because of that law and that "its opinion openly flouts our well-established duty to respect the Executive's judgment in matters of military operations and foreign affairs."

For the first time in his 15-year tenure on the court, Thomas took the unusual step of reading part of his dissenting opinion from the bench. The court's willingness "to second-guess the determination of the political branches that these conspirators must be brought to justice is both unprecedented and dangerous," he said.

Stevens wrote, however, that although the Detainee Treatment Act implicitly recognizes the existence of the military commissions, it "contains no language authorizing that tribunal or any other at Guantanamo Bay." Moreover, neither the act nor a congressional authorization for the use of military force against terrorists in 2001 "expands the president's authority to convene military commissions."

In a concurring opinion, Breyer strongly disputed the dissenters' assertion that today's ruling would, as Thomas wrote, "sorely hamper the president's ability to defeat a new and deadly enemy."

"The Court's conclusion ultimately rests upon a single ground: Congress has not issued the Executive a 'blank check,' Breyer wrote. "Indeed, Congress has denied the president the legislative authority to create military commissions of the kind at issue here. Nothing prevents the president from returning to Congress to seek the authority he believes necessary."

Speaking of Freepers, let's get their unhinged reactions:

sdilliard: Oh, the response to this is easy: find the guys on the battlefield; ask them the questions we need to ask; and them shoot the ones who don't answer. No trials. No fuss, no muss.


blitzgig: Bush should simply ignore the Court like Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln did.

goldstategop: The Court overstepped its bounds and encroached on the prerogatives of the Commander In Chief. He commands the military, not nine people in black robes.

curiosity: We should have tried and executed the terrorists immediately using the procedures that we used against the Nazi sabateurs during WW2. If they were dead, they wouldn't have been able to challange the policy in court.

longtermmemory: Message to soldiers, dead terrorists don't speak to the ACLU.

Patriotic conservative: The president's duty is to protect this nation, not to ignore silly conventions burocrats right. I hope he ignores this and continues torturing those lowlives and giving them what they deserve.

Yeap, their leaderhosen's all up in knots, so SCOTUS sure did something right.

Technorati Tags: , , ,



The link says it all:

PINKERTON: If we lose -- if we lose the war, that would be bad.

GABLER: But what if we lose all our civil liberties?

PINKERTON: Well, I'd rather -- I'd rather lose our civil liberties than lose the war.


Eric Burns should've told Pinkerton and Thomas to go shave their legs and roll on the leaderhosen after they lost their civil liberties ... but that would've been expecting way too much from Eric Burns. Of course, the resulting crusade by O'Rielly to get Burns fired (just like the Gabler/"War On Christmas" fatwa) might've given Roger Ailes the bump in the Nielsens he desperately needs but fuck him. Nice to know ol' Rupert's right hand hatchet man is freebasing Alka-Seltzer for the moment while just down the street Olbermann is laughing like Muttley ...


Tuesday, June 27, 2006

... Only Outlaws Will Have Guns Burn Flags

Go on, goddammit. I triple-dog dare you:

The Citizens Flag Alliance, a group pushing for the Senate this week to pass a flag-burning amendment to the Constitution, just reported an alarming, 33 percent increase in the number of flag-desecration incidents this year.


"I think of the flag as a symbol of what veterans fought for," Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) said as he opened the debate yesterday, "what they sustained wounds for, what they sustained loss of limbs for and what they sustained loss of life for."

Yeah, nevermind opening up tax-payer funded hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and counselors offices so that veterans can get the proper physical care, mental care, rehabilitation, and prosthetic limbs they lost in defending the rights of full-of-shit jackasses like Arlen Specter. Nah, instead we'll just cut taxes for to rich, slash VA funding, and give the vets a flag their limbless bodies can't wave let along fuckin' burn!

But Durbin and Dodd were in the minority in their inability to recognize the threat to the flag. Nearly two-thirds of the senators -- tantalizingly close to the number needed to pass the amendment -- are expected to vote for the flag-burning amendment this week, including Sen. Harry Reid (Nev.), the Democratic leader.

And the pro-amendment crowd is armed with powerful constitutional arguments. "Ever since the Boy Scouts first taught me how to care for our flag over 40 years ago, it has always held a special place in my heart," Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) said in a press release yesterday.

Such a fucking shame, Mr. Frist, that you care more about A SYMBOL than the brave men and women that died underneath it. Asswipe.

That's does it, folks. The reason I triple-dog dare these sonsabitches to ban flag burning is because if they do, I will be conducting weekly burnigs of the American Flag which will be recorded, YouTubed, and broadcasted right here on TBT. Afterall, once they outlaw flag burning, only outlaws will burn flags ... and I'm the fuckin' outlaw!

Ordinarily, my stance on flag-burning has been patriotically simple: if the American Flag was made right in here in the USA, wave the stripes off the bastard. If the American Flag was made by another country, torch the fucker. But since they want to ban all American Flag burnings, I'm gonna have to curtail that personal policy of mine and instead go Sherman on any American Flag period.

In order to for me to do this though, I'm going to need help -- flints and Zippo fluid isn't free and neither are the flags. So, I emplore TBT readers to either donate cash to fund "Sizemore's Weekly Outlaw Flag Burnings" in order to keep it going. Strapped for cash? No problem, padre ...

Jason Sizemore
3919 South Custer
Monroe, MI 48161

There is my easily Googled home address so if donating cash isn't an option, send me any spare American Flags, flints, and Zippo fluid you've got and, rest assured, I will torch them motherfuckers loud and proud right here on TBT for a YouTube loving audience to see. Dead serious here, folks. I'm tired of these grandstanding motherfuckers ...

NOTE: Attention Freepers, fake Rightwing Christians, and other assorted boneheaded Republicans: NO ANTHRAX OR PIPEBOMBS PLEASE! I don't get the mail because it's hard to cane myself down the long ass driveway to the mailbox. Instead, my mother usually hops in her van and drives down there ... and if she gets exposed to Anthrax or pipebombed from Milan to Luna Pier, I'll set your ass on fire ...

UPDATE: Fuckin' chickenhawks ...


Hilary Hires Daou

Peter Daou is one hell of an asset to the left blogistan and I wish him well. Clinton couldn't have picked a better person. Too bad Clinton herself is wrong, wrong, wrong for America and Peter has a lot of work ahead of him as Norman Soloman accurately blasts Hillary as anti-progressive:

But the people who "do consider Hillary progressive" could mostly be divided into two categories - those who are Fox News-attuned enough to believe any non-Republican is a far leftist, and those who are left-leaning but don't realize how viciously opportunistic Sen. Clinton has been. Today, in keeping with her political character, she welcomes the fund-raising support of reactionary media mogul Rupert Murdoch.

Unfortunately, the kind of confusion that sees Hillary Clinton as progressive is apt to get a boost from her appearance at a conference with avowedly progressive sponsorship - particularly because the person in the best position to dispel such confusion is not on the program. The "Take Back America" schedule set aside half an hour for a speech from Clinton but not a minute for any words from Jonathan Tasini, the longtime union activist who's running - on an anti-war and all-around progressive platform - against Clinton in this year's Democratic primary for senator from New York.

It's sad to see that the progressive conference has excluded from the podium the vigorous primary challenger Tasini while featuring a speaker who has stood against the progressive agenda consistently for more than a decade on issues ranging from NAFTA to the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Tasini points out that Hillary Clinton remains for the war in Iraq, for so-called "free trade" agreements and for the death penalty. She supported the notorious 2001 bankruptcy bill, "has never been for single-payer health insurance" and has worked hard to undermine a host of other progressive positions.

In the interests of truth-in-labeling, shouldn't Hillary Clinton be described as anti-progressive?

This isn't to say that Hillary doesn't have some truly progressive platforms such as The Privacy Bill Of Rights but how far is she willing to go in defining what that privacy is and how it pans out in that peice of legislation? It's gotta be more than protecting Americans from being spied on from a renegade Bush Administration or profit-seeking multinational corporations because, when I think of privacy, I think of total privacy and such issues as abortion and gay marriage are privacy issues specifically for the Americans it involves. Is she going to go that far or will she toss feminists, humanists, socialists, and the homosexual community under the bus if they come between her and electability? That remains to be seen.

There's also the issue about her grandstanding over the Grand Theft Auto "Hot Coffee" debacle where she felt is was prudent and necessary to follow Joe Lieberman's lead and blow another $90 Million into studying violent video games. Apparently $50 video games are more important than spending that money to medically insure all New York residents, especially when the gaming industry has no lobbiests yet takes alot of attention and disposable income from the 18-34 age demographic that the Hollywood entertainment industry (which has no shortage of lobbiests and owns the MSM) would love to have back in their pockets. Since Clinton herself, Take-Two Interactive, and the ESRB are all based in NYC, I doubt that her grandstanding and demogoguery was purely coincidental nor was it totally altruistic.

Nevertheless, good luck to you, Peter.

Both you and Hillary are going to need it.


Walking The Plank

Quite a few things have been happening in left blogistan while I was pre-occupied with (and still worried and depressed as all hell about to the point of total breakdown) other personal matters, one of which is a big fight between a few A-list bloggers and The Plank, the official blog of the fishwrapper known as The New Republic. The A-list bloggers in question are Kos and Jerome while a few others were mentioned in passing such as Gilliard and Jane.

While Greenwald, Billmon, and Ms. Shakes parses the whole flap overall, I also share their contention with TNR's Jason Zengerle whom posits the idea -- along with the greater MSM -- that all of left blogistan marches in perfect goosestep to Kos, including me. Nothing pisses me off more when somebody puts words in my mouth or claims to know me better than I know myself so it's with great pleasure to remind idiots like Zengerle and the MSM that Orange Incorporated (e.g. DailyKos) got whacked from my blogroll a long, long, time ago. I don't take orders from Markos anymore so than I would of John Aravosis or his hip-twin Atrios.

What I find rather heavy-handed in this whole affair is the exact the same thing Billmon does -- that the establishment Democrats, TNR, and their poster-boy Joe Lieberman have discovered just how threatening Kos and left blogistan is to their stranglehold of power and that they've decided to take a page out of Herr Rove's Betriebhandbuch (the Swift Boat Edition) and tapped Zengerle as their blogistan hatchet man with forged e-mails to boot.

Despite this idea of Kos being some online equivilent to R. Lee Ermey that whips the hides and bellows into the faces of his lesser Blog-Maggots has been thoroughly destroyed, that doesn't mean that other A-list bloggers and their henchmen (or former henchmen, as the case maybe) aren't trying to do just that and I'm not flogging the Aravosis/"Big Girl" dead horse again, either. I'm talking about Ezra Klien's guest blogger Neil The Ethical Warewolf that brought some food for thought to the table ...

What's scary here, for the purposes of netroots Democrats like you and me, isn't that Jerome broke the law. It's that he gave bad advice to people who trusted him, in exchange for secret payments from outside parties that benefitted from his bad advice. And it was bad advice. Take a look at Bluepoint's chart, and note that Jerome was touting Bluepoint on the far left side of that chart, just when it first hit the market. That's a pretty disastrous investment. I don't know whether Jerome knew, or whether he cared, that the advice was bad. (I was no genius in those days, but I knew enough not to invest in companies that went public by a reverse merger into a shell, which is what Bluepoint seems to have done. It's a very bad sign when the only way a company can go public is by merging with another company that has nothing to its name but a ticker symbol.) Even if he was trying to give good advice and just screwed up massively, there's the fact that he was taking secret money for doing so.

... only to attract Armando who proceeded to take a large shit in the comments section without even leaving a Wal-Mart smiley (consolidated from a comment by Petey):

Did you check with Ezra before you chose to post this? The site does bear his name. ... Your slimy post reflects on you and on Ezra. ... I know what I think I you after this. I think you are a piece of crap. ... Only a slimy idiot would make that type of argument - someone like Mr. Neil.

Is Armando using Freeper-esque strong-arm tactics via bringing up Ezra's name in order to silence or influence the content on another blog? Sure looks like it to me ... and if he is willing to do that, perhaps other like-minded people among the A-list blogs are pretty common. I mean, with my blasting of Aravosis lately, perhaps it wouldn't surprize me to find ... well, nevermind. Me and my big tin hat ...

But Armando's tune sure changed when Ezra responded, defending Neil to a degree:

Neil did not write this post. He wrote a different one.

This post is very good. I agree with it.

Only to turn around and take a swipe at Ezra, Neil, and Shakes when Amando wasn't getting his way as the debate progressed:

I don't know if Neil, Ezra and Shakespeare's Sister are trying to be cute or if they really do not get it.

If anyopne thinks Ezra's post resembles Neil's then they either are not being hoinest or are not very discerning.

I understand that froendship with Neil is leading them to be reluctant to criticize what Neil has done, and that is nice of them.

And ironic as all hell.

Amando using the word "ironic". Wow. And having the audacity to claim mutual friendship among Neil, Ezra, and Shakes as indicative of bias when it wasn't that long ago that the Kossacks were circling his wagons when he was "outed". Gimme a fuckin' break ...

Neil invited Armando to drop the personal smears and actually articulate his problem:

Second, I'd like to ask Armando to explain what exactly in my post is outside the space of argument that Ezra has established. I think that Armando misunderstood my argument from the beginning, felt some outrage (which would have been warranted if I'd been arguing what he thought I was arguing), and is now trying to justify attitudes he held while he was mistakenly outraged. To which I say -- don't worry, man, this happens.

Armando takes another shit:

Riiight Neil.

Listen I'll take it.

We agree. My apologies.

No more equating Markos with SEC violations, deal?

No more feeding the Right Wing beast - we on the same page.

No more inflammatory setups that smear people's integrity - right?

Ok, I apologize for misunderstanding your nuanced and subtle point - caveat lector - it was made so well.

Apologies are difficult you are right. so I'll apologize to you.

All better?

Sure doesn't read pretty contrite and humble to me. But Armando's implication that friendship among Shakes, Ezra, and Nail is indicative of bias made Ms. Shakes haul off and knock him senseless:

Hmm...I'm wanting to say, "Don't be an ass; if you'd ever read my blog, you'd realize that neither being nice nor not playing with matches near my bridges are not among my fortes," but I'd better wait and see if that's okay with Ezra and Neil before I do.

In the end, I agree with Billmon's overall assessment that this thing is idiocy but it's that special kind of idiocy that tends to attract bloggers into the mosh pit instead of either repulsing them or consigning them into sitting back watching the battle royal go on with a mirthful smirk. The latter is what I choose to do now because, it's becoming apparent that, as these blog wars go on and intensify into this November and into 2008, there's going to be no shortage of bloggers walking the plank -- be that a plank of TNR's and the MSMs own Swift Boating mendacity or the credibility plank jutting out from underneath the blogger's own eyelids.

I predict a mixed bag of both so keep the Jiffy Pop handy.


Monday, June 26, 2006

It's A Matter Of Principle

Appended to "The Purge of 9":

ERRATA: With the news of Jane Hamsher's mother passing away, there's a lot about the above that I can't agree with anymore. In fact, much of what write here actually embarrasses me. Rather than scrub the post and pretend that I never wrote such horseshit, I'd rather leave it here -- ugly warts and all -- and explain in a later post why I feel embarrassed by it. That post will come in due time ...

Just prior to my mother's heart attack last Thursday evening, I had my e-mail program open and composing an e-mail to Ms. Shakes because I had seen "The Ad" appear on her blog ... and I was torn. Her blog is about the best blog within left blogistan -- you can't toss a stone in the dark in her HaloScan without smoking a Socialist, the people there actually give a damn, and between Toast, Oddjob, Haikuist, and Dark Wraith, hilarity often insues. But "The Ad" was the basis of whacking 9 other blogs from my blogroll, so I really didn't know what to do.

The e-mail was going on two or three paragraphs when my mother pulled in the driveway. Within 10 or 20 minutes, she complained of chest pains. That's when I came in here and placed my computer into Hibernate mode, intending the finish the e-mail to Ms. Shakes later for Mom was preparing to drive herself to the hospital (I can't drive -- something that enrages me to this very day but that's a tale for another time provided I can remain calm at the this keyboard long enough to ever tell it).

She barely made it - by the time we passed the YMCA, roughly 2 miles away from the hospital itself, her chest pains were becoming intense and she was almost in tears. The red lights and rush hour traffic in downtown wasn't helping, either. When we were within blocks of the hospital, I told her, "Just pull the van up to the damn ER doors and leave it. Fuck parking the bastard!" After they wheeled her into the back, I followed and the page told me to register my mother at a desk near the ER's beds. Once I took care of that, I then made my way back to the lobby to the waiting room, grabbed the phone, dialed 9, then my sister's number to tell her where Mom and I were at and to move her ass.

That completed, the page had told me Mom was in Bed 5. I made my way back there and two doctors and a nurse were working on her, getting the necessary drugs to deal with the heart attack -- some of which were drugs she was doing without thanks to the Medicare/Medco finger pointing -- and her high blood pressure. After a brief talk with one of the doctors where he told me that the ECG is showing signs of a heart attack and they've given her Plavix and Nitro to deal with that and Catapress to bring her blood pressure down, I made my way back to the ER doors and outside to smoke a much needed cigarette (rolled from half-dozen butts) and wait for my sister to park the van.

She eventually showwed up, parked Mom's van, and we both made it back to Mom's bed. Over the next few hours, her pain was going away and her blood pressure was dropping. Since a heart attack guarantees 24-hour observation, Dawn and I were getting ready to leave and the doctor stopped us, "Actually, I want you to hold off because we hadn't gotten her chest x-ray or her blood work back so it's possible that things can turn worse and we'll have to fly her out of here." No problem there - we've forgotten all about those things with the worry and adrenaline. Hell, I had forgotten all about my back until I noticed my cane was still at home and I've been pacing the hospital floors without it. Another hour goes by and the doctor made it clear that she's stable and Dr. Amin (pronounced Ah-meen) has been made aware of the situation and want to do heart angioplasty tomorrow." Dawn and I said our goodbyes to Mom as we left.

By 9:30PM, my sister had dropped me off here at home. I was furious -- absolutely goddamned livid for I had just mentioned on this blog days ago that capitalism and bureaucracy between Medicare and Medco would end up trying to kill my mother before they stopped pointing the finger at each other but I never dreamed that it would be so sudden. Talk about deja-vu ... and it put me in one fuck of a foul mood -- a mood that hasn't gone away.

I fire up my computer ... and notice the e-mail to Ms. Shakes I neglected earlier. I deleted what I had typed, minimized it, and headed straight here to vent. From there, I went to Alternate Brain to e-mail Fixer, copy and pasted it into the mimimized e-mail to Ms. Shakes (making the necessary gender changes in the salutation), and sent them both off. Then, I stewed. Sat here chain smoking and stewed, trying my damndest to resist trashing the entire house for when I said, "Careers will end", I meant it and still do. After fuming for a few more hours, I shut down the computer and laid down hoping the TV would calm me down and I ended up sleeping.

The next morning, I get up and do my usual routine of firing up the computer, and while it tries to cram WindowXP, a virus scanner, WeatherBug, and everything else I use into 512MBs of RAM, I cane myself into the bathroom to drain my dick and then on to the kitchen to get a drink (and pop my breakfast pain pills if I've got them). Once I made my way to the computer, my fury returned ... and it focused on my Democratic Party representative John Dingell. Once that e-mail was rifled off (which he won't see until Tuesday, if he even bothers) I slogged through my usual online routine of places I hit while waiting for the painpills (if I have them) kick in so that, with any luck, the cane can go back to its usual place against the desk right by the trash can.

Within the confines of an hour or so, I made it to my blog, read the kind words left by Fixer and Shakes in my HaloScan, and then proceeded to make my blog rounds and research the Medicare/Medco situation further at the same time. By the time I made it to Shakes's blog (I save the best for last), that's when I learned of Jane Hamsher's mother passing away and that sucked the inferno right out of me, filling me with a vile sense of self-loathing I could hardly contain it -- self-loathing because of my holier-than-thou net neutrality stance that resulted in the great "Purge of 9" in the first place.

Firedoglake isn't a blog I read regularly but I've got immense respect for Jane, Christy, and the rest of the gals over there to basically come out of nowhere in left Blogistan and turn heads within a year's time. FDL is, I believe, a very young blog -- at least in terms of how long C&L, and Ms. Shakes, and I've have been around -- but yet they managed to come out of nowhere with both guns blazing to what Firedoglake is today: left blogistan's equivilent of the 50,000 watt flamethrower WJR-AM in Detroit just without the Rush Limbaugh (and thank god -- although I have no love for Rush, there is something seriously wrong about having him on such a blowtorch when a half dozen smaller 10kw-20kw stations around the Detroit market could use the revenue and ratings his audience generates without compromising coverage at all, allowing WJR to go back to covering issues that matter within metro Detroit).

The news of Jane's mother hit close to home with me because I'm losing mine, too, just at slower pace. I've allready lost my father and she's next and no matter how old you are, how successful you are, or even if you're able to make ends meet without any real hardships, once you lose both your parents, you realize within that instant that you really are on your own in the world to sink or swim and if some unfortunate things happen in your life that make living on your own an impossibility, there's no going back to Mom and Dad to live in a spare bedroom or basement for a while until you get back on your feet again. They're gone. Hopefully to a better place.

Rereading parts of "The Purge of 9" didn't make that sense of self-loathing disappear but made it worse because, for all I know, Jane herself could've been in a situation no much better or worse than my own. Driving that point home even further was a comment left here by Mommybrain:

The net neutrality ads at FDL have been a much-needed source of funding. We all know to click often and then close. We all know the ads are deceitful but if they can get our heroes some needed funding, well ... I'd much rather it came to FDL than, say, lgf or worse.

The point she drops on my lap reminds me something from a George Carlin special in the early 1990s:

We've got something in this country called NIMBY: NOT IN MY BACK YARD! People don't want anything near 'em as long as it'll help somebody else. It's part of that wholesome generous American spirit we keep hearing about. Pfffffft! Pfffffft! Pfffffft! Yeah, the wholesome, generous, American spirit. People don't want any kind of social help near them ... except military bases. They don't mind that, do they? Naw, give 'em an army base or a navy base and they like that. Why? JOBS! JOBS! Self-interest. Even if the base is loaded with nuclear weapons, they don't give a fuck. They'll say, "Welp, I'll take a little radiation if I can get a job!" Working people have been fucked over for so long in this country that those are the decisions they'll have to make.

What's sad about Mommmybrain (and George Carlin's) larger implication is that no matter how renegade the blogosphere claims to be, we're all still slaves in some form or another of the corporate coffer -- the same corporate coffers that buy off our politicans behind our backs; the same corporate coffers that syphon off our tax dollars to fund their own mirror-ball wishes and cavier dreams without lifting a single finger, spending a dime of their own fortunes, or enlisting one of their own spoiled brat children to die for the privilege.

If not slaves, then maliable pawns to either be moved about upon their chessboard or, in the off chance we grow willful and rebelous, to have our loved ones used as pawns instead as we watch in horror ... and an even more sad of implication of that is as long as that remains true, we are less likely to really give either the rich, monied elite or the large multinational corporations that fuck over the working people time and time again a serious run for their money or thier consolidated power.


Because that keeps us on some sort of leash, whispers to us to not rock the boat until given permission to rock the boat every quadratic November 3rd -- regardless of what we do on every single April 15th -- where we're then forced to choose between an allready bought-and-paid-for politican. And for that, we will always be the horse's ass to their jokes at every $1,000 dinner stag party or National Press Club gathering.

In the end, I'm still torn. Torn because, on one hand, I can empathize with the reasoning Mommybrain made and if the funding from the Blog-Ad in any way allowed Jane to help her mother in her final days, more power to her. If the roles were reversed, I'd have done the same damned thing (which is the primary reason Blog-Ads will never appear here). On the other hand, however, is the matter of principles -- principles that, despite any self-righteousness on my own part, defends the "Purge Of 9" because a blogopshere whose audience "knows that the ads are deceptive" and also "knows to click often and close" is a blogosphere whose principles can be as compromised as the sell-out Republicans, sell-out Democrats, and sell-out MSM, in which capacity the blogopshere (and its audience) can kiss gate-crashing goodbye. At best, the gate will only be rattled threateningly. At worst, it will be held open beforehand for the crashers to be invited on a tour of the large palace with its pristine ivory towers whom they'll be given the keys to for their own ascension.

The only winners are the capitalists.

The losers are their slaves and pawns.


Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Shit Has Hit The Fan ...

Just have a brief follow-up to a previous post below. My mother is currently in Mercy Hospital in downtown Monroe after having another heart attack at 6:30PM this evening -- days after being completely out of her medicine as a result of Medicare and Medco Health Solutions pointing the goddamned bureaucratic finger at each other!

Careers will end ...

UPDATE: FDL's Jane Hamsher has lost her mother. My heart goes out to her. With that news, all blogs listed in "The Purge of 9" will be added back into my blogroll at my earliest convenience.

UPDATE II: She's been transfered to Toledo Hospital this morning where, after heart catheterization, she became the proud owner of three new stents. This is her second heart attack since my father passed away in 2003. Her first was last summer and now this one. Some timing, eh? Two years before Dad died, his congestive heart failure episodes became closer and closer together until ultimately his heart said, "To hell with this shit!" Something tells me she won't survive the next heart attack or the next 1-3 years -- whichever comes first ... and I trust that feeling because it's the same feeling I had when the old man came home after quintuple bypass. He showed me the scars up and down his legs from where they used tissue to rebuilt his arteries -- legs that always had poor blood circulation to begin with. Poor circulation I've inherited from him (among other things).

FINAL UPDATE: She came home a half hour ago and seems to be allright. While in the hospital, her doctor told her, "You keep having heart attacks and we're going to run out of room putting stents in there!" More evidence (at least in my mind) that she won't survive the next one. Her first heart attack last summer was when she was mowing the lawn using the landlord's push mower. The handle was too high and she over exerted herself. Our riding mower has been out of commission for some time -- requires to be jumped off a 12V battery and won't stay running. This heart attack, however, was caused by stress brought on by a combination of not having any money coming in for the bills and her medicine, none of us can find any employment at all, losing our hot water for a while because the gas was shut off, the whole bureaucratic nonsense between Medicare and Medco, the bullshit between Talk America and AT&T, etc. It all added up and came to head last Thursday evening.

Thanks to those who made comments and donations. Every cent helps!

And now, I want to deal with that future post I talked about in the "Errata" portion of "The Purge of 9". That's been bugging me in between moments of worrying about my mother.


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Purge Of 9

Nine well known liberal blogs have been purged from my blogroll: Atrios, Crooks & Liars, Firedoglake, Digby, Ezra Klein, Jesus' General, MyDD, Steve Gilliard, and TPM.

The reason for their purge is all of these blogs have been running a Blog-Ad by the telcos in favor of abolishing Net Neutrality. In justifying the ad, C&L's John Amato simply says:

I think all my readers are smart enough to know what the truth is.

The truth is certainly not in the movie the ad itself promotes which you can see here for yourself without having to help generate Blog-Ad revenue to the above bloggers (which is something you might want to consider after you realize the dirty little secret behind it all). The movie and the ad, bankrolled by the phone companies, suggests that if Net Neutrality is abolished, the phone companies will built this awesome fibre-optic multi-lane super highway with initial speeds of 24Mbit and ultimately upgrading them to 100Mbit when all is said and done.

The problem, which I outlined previously, is that Americans are allready supposed to have this fiber-optic multi-lane super highway -- initially at 45Mbit speeds then going to 100Mbit -- because the phone companies were given over $200 Million dollars in tax-payers' money over the 1990s to built it and never did. Instead, they jockeyed for deregulation (which Clinton signed in 1996), took the money, gave it to their overpaid CEOs and other cronies, merged with other phone companies (thanks to Michael Powell being the head of the FCC), and pumped a pittance of it into tinkering with existing copper lines, thus allowing them to get away with filching even more money from Americans by offering inferior ISDN and DSL.

Now with Net Neutrality being debated, the phone companies hope to earn even more favorable legislation, promising once again to build that fibre-optic network we allready paid to them do so many times over. But the dirty little secret (which isn't so secret but just as dirty) is that via the Blog-Ad network, the above bloggers are getting paid by the phone companies for pushing those deceptive Ads. So the question isn't really about whether or not the bloggers audience know where the truth is -- it more of a question of how these bloggers have the gall to insult their readers by accepting revenue from robber baron phone companies via running that Blog-Ad.

After the past 6 years of the Bush Administration, the Republican culture of corruption, and the Democratic culture of complacency, I believe that the tax payers have been insulted enough and certainly don't need these above bloggers to pile even more insult by selling themselves out to the telephone companies by running that Blog-Ad. The insult stems from the very idea that if the telcos manage to become victorious in abolishing Net Neutrality, both these bloggers and the American tax payers lose big time. The only difference is the bloggers got paid by the telcos for losing only to turn around and bitch about losing ...

Does that sound like Democratic principals to you? It certainly doesn't to me. Sounds like they hocked their brains, their principals, and their politics for their wallets -- which is to be expected from Republicans and the rightwing blogosphere; not from the left. Hence the purge of these 9 bloggers from my blogroll.

ERRATA: With the news of Jane Hamsher's mother passing away, there's a lot about the above that I can't agree with anymore. In fact, much of what write here actually embarrasses me. Rather than scrub the post and pretend that I never wrote such horseshit, I'd rather leave it here -- ugly warts and all -- and explain in a later post why I feel embarrassed by it. That post will come in due time ...


Monday, June 19, 2006

Countdown To Nukalur

Recently, I announced that there would probably be some downtime to TBT because I anticipated Charter Communications technicians coming by the weekend to pull the plug here. On top of that, our phone service, provided by Talk America, has recently been shut off. Charter Communications never showed up that weekend but, as you can see with the above picture, Talk America was supposed to disconnect the phone on June 8th.

The pressing issue at hand is my mother's Medicare Perscription Card has not shown up yet. The above is a scan from a letter from Medicare she recieved on May 12th stating that she would be enrolled with Medco as of June 1st. It's June 18th, the card's not here, she's completely out of her pills, and no money. Without that card, she can't get her medicine unless she pays $1 a bottle but that's pointless without money. Even if she had the $5-7 to get her pills, she'll need even more money for gas-o-haul in her vehicle (a mid-90s Ford Aerostar) and price ranges that ammount to $2.65 to $2.72 a jug.

She needs a phone to call Medicare and find out why her drug card hasn't shown up but Talk America disabled the phone service over a "seriously overdue" balance of a whole $72. We still get a dial tone, mind you, but any outgoing phone calls get redirected to their Customer Service Dept. In other words, Talk America has yet to disconnect the phone line the above letter said would be disconnected on June 8th -- 10 days ago!

This is very important ...

Days prior to my "Possible Downtime" post, my nephew used an internet program called Skype to call AT&T and order their phone/DSL package they've been promoting on TV so we can dump Charter's internet service and Talk America. AT&T gave us the new phone number we'd have, said that the DSL modem would be shipped, and technicians would install the DSL line around June 13th -- 5 days ago. In order for AT&T to install this line, the old line has to be totally disconnected by Talk America.

Neither the DSL modem nor AT&T has showed up.

Why is this?

Domestic Economic Terrorism with side order of NSA Freedom Fries ...

Ever since my nephew placed the order with AT&T (over the Charter internet service the NSA is spying on), my mother has been doing a daily ritual of dialing out on the phone so her call would get intercepted and forwarded to Talk America's Customer Service (which the NSA is spying on as well) to demand to know why the phone hasn't been disconnected. After haggling over the $72 each time, Talk America would give her a new day for it to be disconnected. That day passes ... and the phone still has a dial tone because, I suspect, the NSA is using the information gleaned from spying on Americans for the deliberate economical benefit of purposely widening the gap between the "haves" and the "have-nots" by providing information to capitalistic business to do end-runs around each other, simular to Project: Echelon.

Talk America somehow "learned" of our wanting to turn our phone service over to AT&T and thus told AT&T that they're not going to disconnect the line until they get their $72 dollars -- even if it means my mother has to suffer -- even DIE -- of another heart attack or stroke without either her prescription card or her fuckin' medicine -- and AT&T has apparently said, "Okay!" and terminated the order for a new phone line.

In other words, thanks to the NSA, Talk America and AT&T's entitlement to rob, steal, pillage, pilfer, plunder, rape, and gouge in service to Mammon - the Great Balaam of Capitalism -- has TRUMPED my mother's entitlement to that LIFE, LIBERTY, and THE PERSUIT OF HAPPINESS! shit outlined in the U.S. Constitution! Crimony, if such an unmitigated injustice is happening here with my mother -- in a country of 200 Million people -- it's bound to be happening to someone else and their mother, especially if they're living in a county just like Monroe, Michigan with a whopping 5.9% unemployment rate and nothing but banks, gas stations, golf-courses, and Wal-Marts as far as the eye can see!

Like Kurt Vonnegut, I've lost all hope in people in general as I often times find myself sitting here convinced that the people in this country aren't only stuck in the 1980s but is playing Bobby "The Brain" Heenan to my Gorilla Monsoon. It's as if their monitor of America suddenly went fuzzy, blacked out, and they didn't see the yank of the tights, the illegal object, or the ref being distracted, and any other sort of lying, cheating, swindling, and I just want to scream, "OH, WOULD YOU STOP!!"

In the end, it looks like Talk America, AT&T, and $72 is all that's standing between my mother's life or death and, since that's the case, it going to take every fibre of my being and to NOT take the "War On Terrorism" to a whole new level by going on a mass torture spree myself ... and I don't have many fibres of my being left, anymore (and I'm not alone in that regard, either).

But all this trouble Talk America and AT&T is going through seems rather senseless. If these rich capitalist pricks want poor and elderly people to die so much, why not just outright fuckin' kill 'em. Shit, they know the address. Just book a flight, hee-haw on over here, hack her fuckin' noggin off, take a movie of it rolling down the driveway so that the Freepers have some fresh "Social Security Collecting Welfare Bitch" snuff to masterbate their Christian dicks off to, and call it a goddamned day, allready.

Nah, can't have that in Ger-Merica. Much better to have 'em die slowly in our Neo-Concentration Camps and what better concentration camps in America can there be but the alledged "safety" and "privacy" of ones own home under Bush-World -- all Schaivoed in their rocking chairs, concentrating their brain-dead rictus on any of the 4 Cable News Volkisher Beobachters as the overpaid teleprompter readers drill pointless "American Idol" results and rightwing punditry into them so that they're conveniently out of sight and out of mind in upper-middle class America?!?

UPDATE: While I was typing this post, my Mother used the remaining fumes in her tank to call Medicare from my sister's place. Medicare confirmed that she was enrolled with Medco and she should call them to find out why her card never came. She calls Medco ... and they have NO RECORD of her being insured at all and that her card is "Pending". Pending what, exactly?!? Pending CAPITALISM and BUREAUCRACY kills her just like 2,500 soldiers and the City of New Orleans?!?

This is madness and I'm about to go postal ...


Saturday, June 17, 2006

Analogies That Make You Go "......"

Jane at Firedoglake got into a steel cage match with NRO's Byron York. Of course, York was being a completely tool like always and I agree with Jane for the most part until she made this analogy in her defense:

It’s a "fixation" we use to "attract readers." Yes, it’s called capitalism. Free enterprise. The opposite of wingnut welfare. It’s what happens when you create a good product and people show up so advertisers want to pay you so you can keep the lights on. But Byron isn’t the only one at the NRO unfamiliar with the concept.


Capitalism?!? Free Enterprise?!?

No! Nein! Naught!

Consider this revised analogy:

Yes, it’s called HONESTY and INTEGRITY -- the opposite of Republican wingnut DECEPTION and EMPTY PLATITUDES. It’s what happens when an open minded and logical audience rewards you on the basis of your TIME, EFFORT, COMPETENCE, and CONTRIBUTION to a societal whole so that hopefully they'll tolerate capitalistic advertisers who'll pay me a pittance in order for me to keep the lights on. But Byron isn’t the only one at the NRO unfamiliar with the concept.

Sounds a hell of lot better because it's very humble, direct, and carries the denotion of the "Big Tent" all-inclusive nature of the Democratic Party's original core values. Capitalism is not an original Democratic Party core value -- the DNC adopted Capitalism as a core value (along with alot of greed inspired nonsense) because they were being led to the ideological defunct "center" by Clinton and the DLC, the results of which have been pretty damned tragic -- the "Republicanization" of the DNC. It's gonna take a hell of lot more than ridding ourselves of Lieberman, Biden, and a host of other "centrist" (read: capitalistic/corporate interest) Democrats and really fumagate the party.

As I've said plenty of times here, Capitalism doesn't give a rat's ass about people and never will -- whether it be belligerent Old Testament "Patriotically Correct" religious capitalism championed by the GOP nor meritocractic New Testament "Politically Correct" quasi-regulated capitalism championed by the DNC simply because Capitalism is top-down -- the richest Americans regardless of their political affiliation are always going to get what they want before the poor get what they need. In other words, when the horse shits, the sparrow eats.

Besides, all that pro-capitalistic "free market" zealotry is self-righteous horseshit. Why? What's the root word of "market"? Mark. And what's a mark?!? A victim, an idiot, a dupe, a cad, a rube, a schlepp, a schlub, stooge, a fool, a diabolical and unadultered SUCKAH!!!! In other words, in the realm of Capitalism, the only Gospel allowed and preached openly is that of P.T. Barnum.

And what do you get when you've got a market with no marks at all?!? An ET! And what do ET's do?!? Dey fone home to Washington D.C. and scream, "Haaaaalp! I screwed all my customers over, pissed off my shareholders, bilked the company out of billions, and raped the pensions of my employees! Come bail my ass outta here!!!" and, sure enough, the great Government mothership decends from the sky and rescues their asses. Interestingly enough, they're not the only ones that disappear without a much of a scrape from their Great Tribulation -- much of the free market zealots and venture capitalists are raptured as well just like Benny Hinn and Peter Popoff were when Terri Schaivo vegitated her last days away. Then they come back when the coast is clear.

Unfortunately ...

Semantical nitpicks aside, Rich Lowrey let his hair down ...

Because — let me be frank here — we lose money. NRO is a loss leader. And here’s what’s unfortunate — the print magazine is a loss leader too. We are surrounded by loss leaders. If we ever have ideas to further our mission, they are guaranteed to be loss leaders. If your business needs advice on how to develop a loss leader, come to us. We have it down. I assure you we can help you start to lose money almost immediately. It’s our specialty. We have been doing it for 50 years and hope to keep doing it for many more.

That last bit isn’t quite right. We’d prefer not to lose money. But there is something to the opinion journalism business that makes it inherently unprofitable.

... and Jane delivered a Ric Flair chop across his chest:

Remember that the next time they want to lecture you on their "fiscal conservatism." They’re privileged, white upper middle-class twits who want the right to shovel shit nobody wants to read and then be paid for it quite handsomely. They’re unwilling to compete in the free market. Always asking for a handout, expecting someone to take care of them.

The NRO quite proudly represents the party with their hands on the purse strings. No wonder the country is swimming in red ink.


Personal adversions to Capitalism aside, she's accurate -- Republicans definately don't want to compete in any kind of "free market" and never will. Instead, they prefer to compete in a stacked market because only Republicans can do a Drownie-esque heckava job in stacking bullshit so damned high and filching a shitload of Conservative Christians, racists, and bigots for bankrolling the entire endeavor.

P.T. Barnum, indeed ... (or Thomas Jefferson, at that rate!)


Friday, June 16, 2006

Net Neutrality Neutered

Dover Bitch at Firedoglake just made an oopsy:

The belief in an open exchange of ideas is a key thread in the fabric of our national identity. It is part of the competitive spirit that makes us world leaders in industry and technological innovation. It is a symbol of the faith our Founders had in us and the trust we have in ourselves to work collectively to overcome whatever challenges face us.

What I find offensive in this paragraph is that the buzzphrase "an open exchange of ideas" is usually a euphemism for "capitalistic marketplace" and it raises a red flag with me.

The second sentence entirely is just simply mindblowing at how factually wrong and misguided it really is. First, the "competitive spirit" is exactly what people believe Capitalism honestly champions when in reality Capitalism -- like religious fundamentalism and Microsoft -- loathes and absolutely despises competition because it views competition as a regulative measure against it's own self-righteous entitlement to not only exist but to hold dominion over everything in its craven pursuit of its agenda -- emassing large quantities of money. Capitalism hopes to bullshit the masses into thinking the "competitive marketplace" or the "competitive spirit" is actually a friendly, chivalrous, and civil environment when nothing can be further than truth.

As far as Capitalism is concerned, the ends always justifies the means, thus in a complete mockery of friendship, chivalry, and civility, it tries to KILL any and every sort of competition. Wants it all completely swept from the board, even if it means Capitalism itself survives and gets to stand tall and proud as a peacock at the end of all competition -- especially at the expense of America's leadership on the world stage and the expense of people's lives, careers, and families.

Capitalism cares not one whit for such things as ethics, national pride, and morality because, like competition, ethics and morality are also viewed as a regulative threat that either must be turned on its head (and thus have its definition turned around so that those traits are allied with Capitialism) or destroyed completely if it refuses to play the game by Capitalism's belligerent, sanctimonious, self-serving "rules" -- rules it gets to convenient make up as it goes along.

Therefore, it should not be a total surprise to embarrassingly discover that America are "world leaders in industry and technological innovation" that the UN's International Telecommunications Union (ITU) ranks us at 16th place and falling faster than a Hanson pop single:

Through most of the 1990s, the United States led the world in high-speed connectivity. Yet according to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the United States, despite having the most broadband connections, has stumbled to 16th in broadband technology and continues to fall.

This situation has directly harmed this country’s technology edge, and makes the U.S. a backwater compared to South Korea, Japan and even Slovenia.

America used be world leader, but since 1996, we've been swirling down the hopper and what happened in 1996 that marked the downward trend? A corruptive mixture of Enron-style highway robbery of the American tax-payers on the part of telcos with President Clinton's Deregulation Act tossed in for good measure followed by Micheal Powell (son of Colin) turning the FCC into a rubber-stamp corporate merger approval office instead of a regulatory commission it was always meant to be:

By 2006, according to telecommunication companies’ own documents, 86 million customers in the United States should have received 45 Mbps service. In fact, South Korea and Japan do even better: they routinely offer 100 Mbps connections in both directions, uploading and downloading, for around $40 per month. But in the United States, the best connections top out at 1/3rd this speed and cost 400% more — and very few places even have access to the new fiber-optic services being offered. The United States once led the world in Web technology. What happened?

The answer is, the merger of the phone companies that control the phone networks decreased competition. Instead of deploying the high-speed fiber-optic lines they promised, they were content to collect profits, tinker with existing copper connections instead of rewiring, and roll out inferior DSL services. The FCC defines anything above 200 Kbps as broadband (1000 Kbps = 1 Mbps), allowing them to claim that Americans have broadband access. However, this definition is a politically-driven embarrassment for technologists, the equivalent of two tin-cans with string.

Yet — and here is the most troubling part — the phone companies got paid anyway. Through tax breaks and increased service fees, Verizon and the old Bells reaped an estimated $200 billion since the early 1990s to improve subscriber lines in the United States. And what have American consumers received? The most common DSL Service over the old copper networks tops out at 768 Kbps in most areas—a hundred times slower than routine connections in other countries. (There are faster, more expensive versions of DSL, but most have a top speed of 1-3 mbps in one direction, and it varies based on how far a person lives from a network hub.)

In order to pay for these new networks, the phone companies lobbied state governments for financial incentives to upgrade their fiber-optic plants. The plans vary by state, but the methods used were similar: increased rates for certain services and tax breaks. In addition, “rate-of-return” regulation—laws which monitored phone-company profits—were replaced with either price caps or alternative regulations. The former cap the prices of certain products; unlike before, however, no regulator would examine the profits to see if they were out of line. While this provides benefits to customers, the price-freezes were accompanied by cuts in staff and cuts in new construction, allowing the companies to increase profits. Some services were also deregulated, including Call Waiting, which costs less than a penny to offer and yet earns $4-5 a month per customer.

About the promises of fiber-optic lines, there's been a collective amnesia. Few, if any, remember the decade-old promise of upgrades. In most states, customers funded the networks and the costs are still included in local service charges as a de facto broadband tax. Overall, using a 20-year analysis of major revenues and expenses, we found that once deregulation laws went through, the Bells became a cash machine.

Phone companies were once regulated like other utilities, under the “rate of return” model. Profits were essentially capped somewhere between 11-13% (as a percentage of revenues) and monitored by regulators. Under “alternative regulation” (i.e., deregulation), phone-company profits were no longer required to undergo the same scrutiny. Many services have very high profit margins and with a lack of examination, Bell profits (return on equity) jumped to 30%, more than double the original. The companies also received massive tax write-offs on the promise they would build fiber-optic networks (over $25 billion).

The next few paragraphs blow the lid on the whole mess, displaying a bait-and-switch not seen in this country since the passing of the Copyright Lawyers Forever Employment Act DMCA in which entertainment conglomerates -- including the same rotten, theiving, ambulance chasing bastards that own and control the entire mainstream media apparatus -- promised to deliver gigabytes and terrabytes of streaming content only to turn around and use the DMCA to silence academia from releasing reports that blew the whistle on Hollywood's anti-piracy copy-protection schemes and rootkits (even if they caused data damage or jeopardized security) and terrorize private citizens guilty of the evils of Napster:

The phone companies argued for deregulation in part because they said it would allow them to use the extra profits to construct new services, including fiber-optic lines. In fact, however, such “capital expenditures” dropped from 24% of Bells’ total expenses in the early 1980s to just 14% of expenses in 2004. Instead of deploying fiber-optic lines to homes, the money was diverted to everything from overseas construction to increased pay for senior executives to funding for long-distance service and DSL and wireless connections. If the phone companies had kept up their original capital expenditure rates, an additional $92 billion would have gone into new construction and thus, high speed networks could have been built.

The primary difference today between the United States and other countries is that instead of diverting funds away from upgrade commitments, Japan and Korea and other countries made sure the money went into ground wiring and other upgrades. The U.S. lacked the regulatory will for enforcing the agreements, and thus, the phone companies were able to simply spend less and not be held accountable.

They deliberately kept the price low in order to score the Deregulation win as well as gorge themselves on billions of tax-payer dollars. When the true price tag became known, they balked at the expense even if they could get away with hiring illegal Mexicans instead of Americans, and instead reneged on their promises of a 45 Megabit fiber optic network, poured a pittance of the money into xDSL, merged with other telcos, and gave the rest to their own cronies and lobbyists:

What ever happened to the networks? The dark secret was that the networks couldn't be built at the costs being quoted by the phone companies. The Bell companies submitted cost analyses to the public service commissions, such as the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, which were supposed to outline the actual costs of doing the upgrades. These “actual costs” models were intentionally kept low so the commission would approve. The original cost models showed costs of about a thousand dollars a customer; the actual cost in an installation in Dover, New Jersey, as reported by the New York Times, was $17,000 a line. The low figures ensured that the law would go through, by making upgrades seem more feasible.

DSL was a bait-and-switch. The service was considered inferior as far back as 1992, because it travels over the old copper wiring. In fact, providers originally rolled it out only as a stop-gap, since the Internet craze that had been raging since 1995 led to immediate customer demands for fast products.

More importantly, various mergers meant the death of fiber-optic deployment in 26 states. Upon merging, companies either wrote off or closed down many assets, including fiber optics projects. In short, the Bell companies gamed the regulatory system: after the state deals went through and the mergers were completed, they simply closed everything, even though they had commitments under state laws. SBC had promised to be competing in 30 states by 2002, while Verizon claimed that it would be in 24 cities in 18 months. Neither of those commitments was fulfilled. It is now clear that in most states companies did minimal work, and the public was scammed as a result.

After all this sordid and enraging history, we find the telcos and ISPs championing the idea of abolishing Net Nuetrality in favor of a two-tiered "pay-to-play" toll booth so that they can filch even more money - not from Microsoft, Google, or whatever the "Public Relations" excuse is, but from the end user. How? Simple: They oversold their nodes and capabilities, thus the network is being stressed by gamers and internet file sharers.

It wasn't that much of a problem early on when the fastest broadband speed was 1-2 Mbit down and 256k-512k upstream even though their infrastructure was capable of rolling out 6 Meg connections all along. They simply charged you $30-$40 for that 1-2 MB connection knowing full well nobody would be using all of their bandwidth constantly. The demand for faster speed kept coming and they slowly rolled their 3MB then 5MB and now 6-8MB packages but the prices have either stayed relatively the same or rose $10-$15. The network is now stressed to the hilt as people are daring to use what their paying for -- using their total bandwidth capacity at a near constant rate. But they're also demanding faster upload while cable companies keep offering faster downstream packages and keeping the upload capped at 256k-512k. This has caused people to dump their 6-Meg/256-512k cable service for slower 3-Meg DSL packages that give 1-2MB upload bandwidth. They're "lossing money" and getting piggish, hence the cry to abolish Net Neutrality.

Another reason for them filch the end user is the fact that cable-based ISPs such as Charter and Comcast want to roll out their own proprietary form of VoIP. If Net Nuetrality is abolished, Charter and Comcast will have to pay extra to AT&T for priority access, which means a rise in the monthly bill for subscribers. Charter and Comcast will then hammer smaller companies such as Vonage to pay extra, which Vonage will do to "remain competitive" despite the fact that Charter and Comcast will give priorty to their own VoIP solutions anyway, so Vonage turns around and raises their monthly rates. Thus, Charter and Comcast subscribers with Vonage will get hammered with a double whammy -- once by their ISP and again by Vonage.

This wouldn't be a problem if the telcos would've delivered the 45Mbit fiber optic networks they promised in the first place. And those A-List liberal bloggers that accepted "those Ads" by the telcos in favor of abolishing Net Neutrality are the epitomy of all unmitigated fools and gullible hypocrites. The revenue they collect from that Blog-Ad comes from the same $200 billion the telcos filched from them as tax-payers. In other words, they need look in the mirror and ask themselves how good it felt to essentially be used as pawns to take back a mere pittance that was stolen from them and they're readers in the first fucking place, and the American people's reward for it is to be ranked 16th by the ITU.

It should make them ashamed. It should make them guilty as hell. But ultimately it should make them as mad as Howard Beale having an epileptic fit on top of a nest of swarming hornets because -- once again -- the only winners in America's Capitalist society are the capitalists; specifically the capitalist telcos that fucked the American tax-payers out of over $200 Billion and a $20 a month 45Mbit fibre-optic network for over 10 years, and the capitalists within the Hollywood entertainment industry that owns all the movie studios as well as our sorry mainstream press since the lack of that 45Mbit fibre optic network (along with the DMCA) has granted them a virtual moratorium on any large-scale innovations in our internet superhighway in the near future.

Why is that?

Because their lobbiests will argue that if the telcos were forced to deliver that 45Mbit fibre optic pipe, it will only result in more piracy and theft. Our "centrist/Capitalist" Democrats will once again go along to get along, accepting their corporate bribes and selling us out once again, leaving America's spayed and neutered internet to lead nothing but the only two things we're good for anymore: imported flag-waving nationalism and exported self-righteous jingoism. At 6 megabit down and 512k up at $60 a month.

In other words, Jack and Shit ... and Jack left town.

Paddling up shit creek on top his $100,000 freezer.


Thursday, June 15, 2006

Watershed Nein

Peter Daou steps up to the plate and suggests that Coulter's whining about not being able to attack the 9/11 widows as she's attacking the 9/11 widows is a watershed moment where the MSM adroitly uses her to suggest that the Blogosphere has a pin dick:

Anybody who watched Ann Coulter's June 14th appearance on the Tonight Show had to realize that it was a watershed moment in the war between the establishment media and the progressive netroots, a community fresh off the successful YearlyKos convention (*). It was also a signal to Democrats that liberal ideology can be denigrated with impunity. Had the words "Jew" or "Christian" or "Conservative" been substituted for "Liberal" we'd be waking up to a national scandal.

Never mind that Jay Leno and George Carlin sat like trembling lambs while Coulter spewed gutter-level invective at millions of Americans - we've already seen the same obsequiousness from Larry King, Matt Lauer (who ended his faux-debate with Coulter by saying "always fun to have you") and others. The larger issue here is that despite an uproar from the progressive netroots, NBC saw fit to give Coulter a platform to continue her liberal-scapegoating and to slander women who lost their husbands on 9/11. (For the record, many rightwing bloggers denounced Coulter and several Democrats attacked her, but their focus was the substance of Coulter's words, not a criticism of the media outlets who continue to provide her a national forum.)

Before I address the meat and potatoes of Peter Daou's argument, I want to get one nitpick I have with it completely out of the way. That source of that nitpick appears in the next paragraph:

It's hard to deny that Coulter's words border on incitement. What she says is neither amusing nor smart nor humorous nor factual nor worthy of airing on a major media outlet. It treats a substantial segment of the population as sub-human, as creatures deserving of public scorn and worse (She said Jesus would say that "we are called upon to do battle" on liberalism). Careful not to violate Godwin's Law, I'll refrain from the obvious comparisons ...

C'mon now, Peter, if the comparisons are obvious, then go ahead and violate Godwin's Law. Afterall, Godwin didn't sign the Constitution so his "law" isn't really a law. It's only a "law" in a sense of "let's narrow the scope of the debate by censoring ourselves", which is basically nothing more than an extention of Political Correctness. Bah! At the end of the day, the people have a right to open and direct, honest and human truth, even if it means calling a spade a spade (or, in Dubya's case, calling a dictatorial decider ... a dictatorial decider!)

Now, as far as Peter's suggestion that the MSM is using Coulter to suggest that all of us in leftwing Blogtopia are all a bunch scrawny dorks swimming in Ol' Lake Flacid, I don't know if I'm ready to agree. In fact, I leaning heavily towards disagreement because, the way I see it, I don't think the MSM really needs to use Coulter to suggest the blogosphere is rather limp and impotent -- the A-List blogosphere is doing a fine enough job of it themselves for they are just as beholden to the Blog-Ad dollar as the MSM are slaves to the Corporate dollar.

And that's the essential circle jerk the A-list Blogosphere has been running on; the proverbial pink elephant sitting atop the ol' cable/DSL modem that nobody wants to dignify -- on one hand, they're screaming at the MSM, "Say no to power!" which is to say no to money and their corporate taskmasters and become a friend of the people once again, and the MSM accurately replies, "We can't!" since pissing off the shareholders is not good business (plus, it's against SEC law).

If the MSM were to ever drop Coulter as if she were a bad case of the clap, turn around, and scream at the A-List Blogosphere, "Why don't you say no to power" (e.g. delete the Blog-Ads, ixnay the contribution boxes, the CafePress accounts, and refuse those book deals), the A-List blogosphere will have to likewise respond "We can't!" since pissing off and alienating the hundreds of thousands of A-List blog readers (the majority of whom make an average $70,000 a year according to the most recent Blog-Ad servey) is not a good way to do business, especially among some A-List blogs that have become businesses such as Kos and TPM (they're both Limited Liability Corporations) or blogs that hope to one day have Blog-Ad revenue completely bankroll their respective endeavors.

But if they lose and alienate too many readers, they lose Blog-Ad revenue and there we have the  ultimate stalemate between Old School Vs. New School Media -- it's all about the bottom line in the end. Too many A-List blogs work overtime in trying to silence and minimize dissent by either relegating dissenting liberals as trolls, banning them outright, and removing their comments from their blogs or HaloScans in order to avoid other readers checking them out themselves and possibly agreeing with the dissenter, and possibly taking their wallet or eyeballs elsewhere.

Practices like these have been happening at DailyKos and AmericaBlog regularly. In fact, John Aravosis has banned an entire college campus of 22,000 people because one student dared to dissent with him. How is that different from what the WaPo and Deb Howell did when they shut down comments or even what the Bush Administration is doing by practically demanding loyalty oaths?!? Simple: it isn't. Damage control is damage control and, let's face it, as some A-List blogs have become successful, they've had to incorporate some of the most ridiculous and draconian commenting policies that practically ammount to a loyalty oath of some sort and I, myself, left and stopped commenting on much of these A-List liberal blogs long before I gave them the privilege of banning me.

This latest Coulter incident should be a wake-up call to the larger progressive community and to the Democratic leadership. Parading Coulter on national television is a statement from the establishment media that we don't matter, that our 'pressure' is meaningless, that our voices are worthless.

No, Peter, the MSM doesn't need to use Coulter to do that, but if they're going to, by all means don't get in their way because, by doing so, it would merely interupt the MSM as they're in the process of making a huge mistake.

What's the proper course of action in response to this challenge? For the netroots, it's to keep growing and organizing, to hammer away at those in the media who enable the sliming of 9/11 widows, to respond to such media transgressions with ferocity of wit and will, and to badger elected Democrats and progressive leaders about the media problem.

Well, I doubt the netroots can keep growing and organizing when the A-List blogopshere is pulling an MSM in attacking and mass-banning dissenting liberals for daring to put the A-List blogger's feet to the fire and exposing them just as they would the MSM. Markos Moulitsas, John Aravosis, and Armando have allready discredited themselves before the entire netroots audience for a number of infractions and other A-List bloggers seem intent on following right behind them. Other than that, you're right about educating and badgering our Democrats about the media.

However, I believe the proper course of action is the very same reason why I keep tuning into the MSM and turning on to some of these self-righteous A-List bloggers -- I'm eyeballing their respective advertizements and making note of them as things to avoid. From there, I tell my closest friends in the hopes they'll avoid them, too. And right there is the real answer to the MSM problem -- it's not neccessarily an issue of politics; it's an issue of economics.

The only way to get the MSM to really feel intimidated by the netroots is if the A-List Blogsphere were to take their activism to the next level and hit the MSM where it counts -- directly in the goddamned wallet, dragging their stockprices and their revenues down along with those of their advertizers. The netroots had plenty of opportunites to do so and failed each and every one because the A-List bloggers do not use their power to organize and choreograph picket lines and protests on the MSM's front porch along with massive letter writing campaigns to the MSM's advertisers within a moments notice.

Furthermore, some A-List bloggers are actually accepting Blog-Ads from the MSM and that's just unconscionable -- when NBC/General Electric gives people like Coulter a platform to spread her hatred and you're an A-List liberal blogger with Blog-Ads promoting NBC programs or General Electric products, and therefore collecting reveneue from their corporate coffers, you are part the problem, Corky!

Replace those Blog-Ads and tell NBC/General Electric to take a flying leap. The goal should be whenever CBS, NBC, ABC, or CNN gives people like Coulter a platform to run her mouth, the netroots should be well organized so that the stock prices of Viacom, General Electric, Disney, and Time-Warner are effected by heading straight south 10-15 points or more for days or weeks on end.

Until the liberal netroots can be that effective, it'll always be impotent and worthless even at the height of its power and influence and the MSM won't need to use Coulter (or anyone) to exploit it as a potential fact. But again, if the MSM wants to use Coulter for that purpose, it just shows once again how truly blind they are to the netroots in the first place, how they still don't get it, and remain their own worst enemy.


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Capitalism & Equality: America's Demonic Pact With Manatu Comes Home To Roost

I've been concerned over the past 6 months of so that esteemed bioethicist Dr. Gerry Lower hasn't written a single article this year that I'm aware of. Wherever you are, Doc, I hope you're hanging in there just as well. In his stead, however, I've discovered a civil libertarian by the name of Jason Miller who writes the following peice at AxisOfLogic:

After years of gains for the poor, women, minorities, and labor throughout the Twentieth Century, a champion arose for America’s White Capitalist Patriarchy in 1980. When Ronald Reagan took the driver’s seat, he wasn’t content to simply return justice and compassion to the back seat. He threw them in the trunk and left them there to rot.

Yeap, that's the Uncle Ronnie I remember, alright.

But wait -- it gets better:

Reagan’s successors, Republican and Democrat alike, have worked feverishly to refortify the Capitalist bulwarks of privatization, property laws, deregulation, cuts in social spending, and free trade agreements.

American Capitalism is a pyramid scheme shaped and forged over time to ensure that a small minority of principally White males garner a majority of the wealth. A few token minorities are allowed to “join the club” while some women enter the upper stratosphere (usually by virtue of their birthright and inheritance), but by and large, the White Patriarchy maintains its strangle-hold on choice properties like Boardwalk and Park Place. A majority of Americans wind up holding Mediterranean and Baltic.

Right on, and he then goes on to paint a bleak picture of military veterans that have me shaking with rage:

Representing a particularly searing indictment of America’s Capitalist constitutional republic are the 500,000 US military veterans who experience homelessness each year. Conscripted or manipulated by propaganda to fight in wars of imperial aggression (like Vietnam), homeless veterans were used by the elites and cast aside like yesterday’s garbage. The Veterans Administration only provides housing for veterans who are chronically ill, has severely neglected the needs of those with mental illness, and cut most Vietnam War Veterans adrift with no job training. Risk your life to expand the American Empire and you get to spend the rest of your days eating out of trash dumpsters.

While our heavily entrenched corporate elites and affluent decision-makers cut their own taxes, reduce spending on social programs, and lavish insane amounts of the working poor’s and middle class’s tax money on a military which exists to protect and expand their pecuniary interests, they offer the weakest members of our society, our homeless people, a quality of life that would repulse a sewer rat.

And with that, I hereby make an announcement -- I, Jason Sizemore, declare that my days of voting are over. I will not set foot into a voting booth until the voting machines are a secure as a one armed bandit in a casino, and probably not even then because I've also had it with voting for basically the same uber-rich capitalist liberal shitbags who justifies blowing tens to hundreds of millions for the privilege of a 6-figure job (and they are indeed the same -- regardless of name, they've got the same suits, dark tans, perly white veneers, and propose the same ridiculous plans that reward the Corporatocracy for outsourcing American labor in the first place such as Free Trade Agreements.)

Furthermore, not only am I done voting but, goddammit, I'm done paying taxes, too. No more. Done deal. Time to starve the machine. The IRS can take a number and stand in line to kiss my ass right behind all the fake Christian Capitalist Republicans, the spineless and complacent Capitalist Democrats, as well as the pretend activist A-List liberal bloggers who only wanted to crash the gate just to replace Hannity, O'Rielly, Coulter, etc. as Kos practically admited to Tool Time Timmy last Sunday on Beat The Press during one of the initial softball questions.

The rightwing pundits over the past 6 years (or more if you really want to get technical) have done nothing more than dumb down the American public by catering to the lowest common denominator via emotionalistic appeals to the popular, the cute, and the clever and that's all I can expect anymore from the Blogebrity pro-capitalist, liberal pundits that'll replace them soon enough. In two years time (4 years, tops), don't be surprized to see Markos, Jerome, Aravosis, and Anna Marie Cox appear on lunch pails and thermoses -- long before Katrina victims get their homes. I shit thee not, my fellow serfs.

Oh, and about my 5 year old daughter whose not even in kindergarten yet but owes $30,000 (or more) in back taxes, allready? She's not paying, either. I'll make damned sure to edjumacate her on in the ins and outs of how that came about and give her good, clean, logical, common sense advice on why she should tell the IRS and the Corportocracy to stick the invoice so far up their sphincter their cerebral cortex will suffer paper cuts.

Had enough?



Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Bourgeois Pig 4 -- More Shit Between Aravosis's Toes

Gonna go rapid fire here, kiddies:

First off, you know I'm not a big fan of the money-hating-left.

Reading John Aravosis say he's not a fan of the "money hating left" is like hearing Sean Hannity say he's not a fan of the "liberal media" because we all know by now they're willing to push the PAUSE button on their lack of fandom on payday. You know -- pretty fuckin' disengenous, so, what do you suppose happens when Aravosis comes across a "money-hating" lefty that ... *gasp* ... has money?!? Awww, he's is out there with his hands out like a fuckin' hobo, "Please support OrchidBlog 2.0 with a contribution." And after the "money-hating" lefty gives him some money, Aravosis's way of thanking them is to remove the dirty cotton fingerless gloves, the plaid hunting hat with earmuffs, and the tattered Navy peacoat to reveal the luxuriant tuxedo he wore when his picture was taken with Madame Cruella DeVilliage Idiot and say, "Good, I appreciate it ..... now GET THE FUCK OFF MY BLOG!!"

The day I get off his blog is the day he gets off my planet. My only wish is that someone would develope a plug-in for FireFox that kills Blog-Ads from loading up whenever you add a specific A-List blog to its dropdown filter. Not all of the A-List blogs; just the ones whose erm-talent are rapidly becoming too damned full of themselves lately ... such as Kos, Aravosis, and who know whose next for it seems like every month, an A-List liberal blogger discredits and embarasses his or herself before a global audience.

Anyway, a plug-in like that would be kind of cool and, if the fact that money-hating lefties hanging out on John blog doesn't ruffle his leaves, the idea of them not loading his Blog-Ads sure as hell would. Oh, that shit is liable to make him so mad, he'd douse himself with kerosene and light himself on fire on the next installment of his CableAccess-erm, I mean, PoliticsTV!

Second of all, Markos is correct: Don't whine about being ignored, THEN whine about being the object of affection.

Likewise, don't whine about the money-hating left wanting nothing to do with a bourgeois, borderline left, upper-middle class Capitalist pigs such as yourself (because, like the Republican party and their fringe, the Democratic party can't win without them, either) only to turn around and whine even more when you become the subject of the money-hating left's scorn. A-List liberal bloggers who take great insult when the MSM ignores or pokes fun at them has no room to bitch when the A-List liberal blogger turns around and ignores/pokes fun at their own readers.

Third, personally I was a bit Warnered-out by the end of the conference - he did kind of go a bit wild on the publicity. But that's not a money-is-bad issue, that's just a enough-of-Mark-Warner-I-get-it-already issue.

No, sounds more like a They're-Not-Talking-About-John-Aravosis issue ...

Fourth, some people are never happy.

No shit, Sherlock! Apparently, you found that mirror afterall and got a good eyeball or two of one really unhappy motherfucker reflected in it. I mean, Christ, man -- here you are some successful, upper middle class, former Republican stooge to Pat "Bridge To Nowhere" Stevens turned Liberal, Everday Activist, Gay Rights Blogger that collects 4-5 figures in Blog-Ad revenue and who knows how much in contributions and shirt/coffee mug sales, disappears to parts unknown whenever you feel like it, hopes to filch enough spare gasoline money from your readers to launch OrchidBlog 2.0 replete with new commenting software to make banning easier, and hopes to shower your co-bloggers with a salary ......... and yet you completely fall apart over the idea of a "money-hating" lefty reading your blog?!?

One word for ya: Atavan Lots of it.

Fifth, someone is always going to be unhappy, so sometimes you just have to say "whatever."

Exactly, so my question is, since you are obviously very miserable and unhappy to the point where you are becoming one of the biggest threats to Democracy outside of the Republicans and the Bush Administration, is why hasn't the majority of the A-List liberal Blogosphere taken a note of your public destruction and say "whatever" to John Aravosis? What exactly is it that your have to hold as leverage against other A-List liberal Bloggers like a Sword of Damocles over their heads?!? To what degree of arm twisting will you go to ensure other A-List blogs continue to link to your rapidly deteriorating hide?!? Judging by the length either you (or one of your cultists) went to shut down a parody of your blog, I suspect that if any A-List liberal blogger ever did decide to give you a "whatever", your true Republican colors will spring forth as you cravenly attempt to take them down with you.

Sixth, just because someone complains {loudly} doesn't make them right ... {nor} representative of anyone more than themselves.

Exactly, evidenced by your complaints about the Big Girl kerfluffle. Evidenced by your marginalizing of leftist socialists, feminists, and humanists as "money-haters". Evidenced by a shitload of complaints by Kos that haven't stuck the bullseye yet and never will. Evidenced by Armando's horseshit claim of being outed when he was merely the sloppiest fool to grandstand in front of the public since Jeff Gannon.

Let's get something really straight here about your "money-hating" left -- we don't hate money insomuch as the result -- the offshoot -- of money, which is POWER and the reason why we hate power is evidenced by over 40+ years of Capitalism's dominion over the American people which has today produced nothing but a trinity consisting of a compromised Republican party, a compromised Democratic party, and a compromised dumbed down American electorate -- A TRIANGULATION OF ABSOLUTE CORRUPTION.

Why does the richest Republicans and Democrats get to retain their tax cuts while Katrina victims remain homeless? Why does John Aravosis become entitled to shop for orchids while elderly people like my mother (or someone else's mother, father, or grandparent) isn't entitled to shop around for cheap medicine? Why do A-List liberal bloggers continue to use their power to repeat the same loop-de-loop over and over (e.g. Embarrass The Media, Own Republicans, Smack Democrats, Shill Shirts/Books, Cash The Check At End Of Month, Repeat From Top) when the entire edifice of the Republicans' corruption and the Democrats' complacency would crumble within a week -- a month, tops -- if the A-List liberal bloggers decided to instead post, "I can't do this in good conscience anymore so I'm going to surprise everyone by saying NO to power, shutting the blog down for a while, and take my activism to the MSM and the politicians' own front fuckin' porch and I hope you do the same"?!?

It's because that corruption of power as a result of capital (e.g. money) is starting to extend into the Blogosphere - Blog-Ad after Blog-Ad, book sale after book sale, mug after mug, and shirt after shirt and as a result A-List liberal bloggers are just as incapable of saying no to power than the prima-donna teleprompter readers and outsourced employees of the Capitalist Corportocracy in Washington are.

Reminds me of a comic I once saw ...

In any case, I'm glad Markos is done with his book tour.

Yes ... there is a GOD!

Now I don't have to be the only bitch of the blogosphere anymore.

Weeeel, I wouldn't have used the term "bitch", but you are what call yourself.


I used to think I was poor. Then they told me I wasn't poor, I was needy. Then they told me it was self-defeating to think of myself as needy, I was deprived. Then they told me deprived was a bad image, I was underprivileged. Then they told me underprivileged was overused, I was disadvantaged. I still don't have a dime. But I sure have a great vocabulary.

Jules Feiffer

The economic anarchy of capitalist society as it exists today is, in my opinion, the real source of evil. I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy...

Albert Einstein