Guess whats next on the chopping block before tax cuts for the super-wealthy…

….this is going to be a long series, I would guess.  Once you put yourself on an unsustainable path (and without new revenue, we’re on one), it’s just a matter of time until everything gets the ax. 

First up…those guys that fought in that war we cut taxes on the wealthy to pay for (and then just borrowed a bunch of money from them to pay for it…at interest….Genius W. Bush…I’ll tell ya what…anyway…).

WASHINGTON – The military retirement system has long been considered untouchable – along with Social Security and Medicare. But in these days of soaring deficits, it seems everything is a potential target for budget cutters. A Pentagon-sponsored study says military pensions are no longer untouchable – they’re unaffordable.

CBS News investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reports high-level, closely-held meetings are taking place at the Pentagon regarding a radical proposal to overhaul retirement for the nation’s 1.4 million service members – a bedrock guarantee of military service.

The proposal comes from an influential panel of military advisors called the Defense Business Board. Their plan, laid out in a 24-page presentation “Modernizing the Military Retirement System,” would eliminate the familiar system under which anyone who serves 20 years is eligible for retirement at half their salary. Instead, they’d get a 401k-style plan with government contributions.

They’d have to wait until normal retirement age. It would save $250 billion dollars over 20 years.

Douglas Holtz-Eakin,

I’m going to stop right there.  Douglas Holtz-Eakin is a douchebag, so if you want to read what douchey things he said, click on the link.  Note how he said this is more important than *ever* looking at a single cent in tax increases, because those are simply Un-American!!   However, screwing over our military is “very important” to look at.

The proposal leaves a lot of blanks to be filled in, including whether to exempt current service members so their plans won’t change.

CBS News spoke to some active duty troops who agreed costs must be cut – but worry the number of experienced soldiers will dwindle with no incentive to stay enlisted for 20 years.

RobotPirateNinja has also spoken to an active duty troop near retirement who this directly affects.  They agree that costs must be cut, but worry about the effects such action might have and to what degree contracts will be re-written. 

RPN also has a number of friends who this will directly affect, but hasn’t pestered them yet with questions.   While RPN does feel military spending is something that needs to be reduced as we go forward (AHEM!!!) , this talk of screwing over my friends makes me rather unobjective on this issue.   This is bullshit, and is the first in a looong line of bullshit to come.   

This is one of many ideas that will be “floated” in the media to see how strongly the public reacts.      Let’s see what our readers think…

Ed note: As I too, gear up for the 2012 election (if you haven’t guessed yet, I do a lot of  Presidential politics…I’ll be doing a LOT more…trust me), I’ve decided to cut off the talking points that the MSM puts out unless I’m planning on debunking them.

Advertisements

He does have to resign first, yes?

m.guardian.co.uk http://m.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/aug/12/rick-perry-climate-sceptics-president?cat=environment&type=article

But plugging your ears and going “la la la la” doesn’t make global warming disappear. Perry’s state is getting absolutely hammered by heat and the worst one-year drought in its recorded history. The hot, dry weather in Texas is desiccatingrivers and lakes, devastating farmers and ranchers, and driving wildfires that have burned up millions of acres.

In the face of these crises –which are just what you’d expect in a climate-changed world –Perry proposes neither adaptation nor mitigation but rather supplication. He’s been praying for rain and calling on other Texans to do the same. So far no luck.

Perry also prays for a rollback of EPA regulations: “Frankly I pray for the president every day,” he recently told CBN News. “I pray for his wisdom. I pray that God will open his eyes. I wish this president would turn back the health-care law that’s been passed, ask that his EPA back down all these regulations that are causing businesses to hesitate to spend money.

Blessed are the polluters, err, I mean job creators, for their reward is the sludge of death.

What Happens When I Get Really Angry

This is probably just a coincidence, but I realized my frustration with the current debt ceiling debate, which had been building for months and finally bubbled over the past week or so, has had some severe consequences.  Sorry about that.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, has put together this animation of the phenomenon with their quickly dwindling funds.   There will come a time where we remember, as Americans, when our government was capable of doing such things (and back when we had, I shit you not, “space shuttles”.  This was all back before the Tea Party bankrupted the country…my…those were the days) routinely.

Here’s the gist of what’s going on in response to my annoyance. (and check out the animation, it’s integral to my argument presented below). 

 

Heat Wave Sweeps Across the U.S.
A shroud of high pressure has taken a foot-hold over the U.S. from the Plains to the Northeast, and with it has brought temperatures well into the 90’s and 100’s for half of the country. This animation shows the predicted daily high temperatures from NOAA’s high resolution North American Model (NAM) from July 13-21, 2011.

As evidence that it’s me causing this, well, I offer to you the same amount of evidence as is currently required for a “solid, fact-based argument” in an Idiocracy like mine…coincidence.

I am angry.  I live in Dallas, TX.  It looks like, if you watch the animation….the heat is centered on, and perhaps even emanating from, Dallas.

‘Course, could be all the bullshit around here…which the proximate cause of my anger….and the heat ain’t helpin’ neither…

I dunno…it’s hot…not stopping…cool animation.  Figured I’d link it both figuratively and literally to my personal interpretation of reality, that’s what blogs are for, after all.

Stay frosty, my friends.

And pass the damn debt ceiling.   I’ll cool it off if you do.  Promise.

UPDATE: Videoe evidence…

* and on a 100 point scale no less.

FBI details surge in death threats against lawmakers

http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/20100525/pl_politico/37726/print;_ylt=Aoof3wZr80p4TN8LPdxvX7PCw5R4;_ylu=X3oDMTBvajZzaTFyBHBvcwMxNQRzZWMDdG9wBHNsawNwcmludA–

In February 2009, a man left voice mail messages for Stabenow in several of her Michigan offices.

“We’re gonna [expletive] get you,” he said in one message. “We’re gonna get you with a lot of [expletive] bolt action. Like we did RFK; like we did MLK. We know who you are. We’ll get you.”

FBI agents tracked the calls to a 54-year-old Texas man who lived alone — and who at one time had owned a 20-gun arsenal of handguns, shotguns and rifles. According to the documents, he told officers that he was “really, really drunk” when he made the calls. He said he was just “venting” — taking out his frustrations after hearing a discussion of the Fairness Doctrine and becoming concerned that the government would attempt to abolish the radio shows of Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh.

I call this the “Tea Party” effect. Way to make a mark on the country, folks.

UPDATE:  What’s going to be really interesting (i.e. scary) is when these nuts absolutely fail to resonate with voters at large in November.  There will be much gnashing of teeth and firing up the hoverrounds when it becomes apparent most of the sound and fury of the TP is created by the echo chamber of a small group of radicals (led by Sean, Rush, and Beck) all loudly agreeing with one another.

The History of the United States (Tea Party Version)

I was luckly enough to find this bit of sage wisdom from some respectable negroes (not the other kind).

You can read the full thing here.

Some real gems there.  I never knew our history was so proud. 

1660-1800–Triangular Atlantic trade continues to bring wealth and prosperity to America while giving opportunities to new immigrants.

1776–War for Independence against the tyrannical, evil British empire. Colonists suffer oppression that is unprecedented in human history. Minutemen singlehandedly defeat the evil British Empire in 1783.

1788–The United States Constitution is signed as a document to stand for all time, inspired by God, and never to be changed.

1917–America enters and wins World War 1 singlehandedly because the French are cowards.

1929–Great Depression begins. Tens of millions unemployed because of FDR’s failed economic policies. His New Deal introduces the nanny state, prolongs America’s economic collapse, and weakens the economy until Ronald Reagan renews America.

1941–Patriotic Japanese Americans volunteer to place themselves in gated communities so that America will be safe from Imperial Japan.

1941-1945–America enters and wins World War 2 singlehandedly because the French are cowards. Out of necessity, the United States drops atomic bombs on Japan.

1945-1965–A high point in U.S. history, as freedom and prosperity reign over all Americans.

Great stuff.  I can’t wait until it comes out in book form.

A swipe at Obama from the far left over assassination authorization.

The Left comes at Obama for assassination authorization.

The statement, published as a paid advertisement, accuses Obama, who was elected in 2008 with the enthusiastic support of US liberals, of continuing Bush’s controversial approach to human rights in Iraq and Afghanistan, and in domestic security.

It takes aim especially at Obama’s decision — reported by US officials — to authorize the killing of a radical Islamic cleric and US citizen Anwar al-Awlaki, who is accused of ties to Al-Qaeda in Yemen.

“In some respects this is worse than Bush,” the statement says. “First, because Obama has claimed the right to assassinate American citizens whom he suspects of ‘terrorism,’ merely on the grounds of his own suspicion or that of the CIA, something Bush never claimed publicly.”

Funny that the most fact-based, substantive criticisms of Obama come his left.

It’s also funny there at the end when it goes “somthing Bush never claimed publicly.”  Which is true.  And it’s also true that Bush authorized the assassination of American citizens.  So it goes. 

I saw an interesting comment about this situation in another forum (on a fark thread, no less) stating that, perhaps, one of the reason the Obama administration hasn’t gone after some in the Bush administration for war crimes is simply that O’s people have continued some of the programs that would come up in any real, big, public, trial.  Hence opening themselves up to later prosecution by the people of Administration X.

On the facts of it, I’m a bit conflicted.  On the one hand, being against the death penalty, I certainly don’t like it being handed down to one of my fellows citizens without trial.  Then again, the guy very publicly calls for me and many others like me to die and actively was recruiting folks to do that very thing, and convinced at least one to do so in Ft. Hood.

So I’m going to spin this as Obama sticking with his “openest” admin in history thing, and he’s just let us know the name of the a top target.  If Bin Laden for some strange reason was a U.S. citizen (by some quirk of fate say), I’d have little issue with the extra-judicial assassination.  It’s part of the Texan in me.

Clearing off the desktop…

…sometimes I fall behind.  So to catch up, I just dump a lot of stuff with short commentary and reboot the browsers so my computer can think again.

Here goes…

First up is an acknowledgement of the change to Arizona law.  This took away the worst of it, but I’d expect the rest to be bad enough to fall on its own.

Here’s some of the local reaction to the immigration law.  The march took place before the changes.

Some Fox revisionism.  Seriously, WTF.

The smoke monster gets lose in the gulf.

They caught some guy who doesn’t know how to make a good bomb.

Who did what now?  You don’t say.

Federal money is only *sometimes* evil.  How very Hindu of you

No need for that extra $130 for a 3G iPad.  $99 3G iPhone works fine.

Some speculation by a sci-fi guy about Jobs hatred of flash.

More on the immigration law change in Arizona.

Tattle tales!  How silly.   I say let people strip in the name on art, like that.  This’ll get tossed.

The global warming witchhunt continues in VA via the Cooch.

A good Street Fighter movie? Unpossible.  Possible…

It’s like a cliche now.

The Tea Party takes the Republicans to a new dimension, and beyond.

The alternate question about who “introduced” nukes to the Middle East.

Wonderful reading about the longest living organism(s).

Holy Shit, I Still Have a Website.

My lord, I’ve been spending too much time on Facebook.

I’ve neglected my role here, as RPN. My deepest apologies.

To catch you up to the story quickly (this would be Chapter 12 for those reading at home), our hero in the story has taken to walking the Earth in order to save it.

Which sounds all grandiose and shit, but is actually much more mundane and all work-like in this our Real World.

There are so many problems to fix you see, and only so much time in which to do so. What to do first? Where should I focus my talents *now*.

And so I picked one, as so many do in these days, off the List of Craig. A truly wondrous resource, which once again reaffirms the fact that we are wondering into a new Age of human civilization (the Information One).

So in order to continue the trend of outputting so much information at once onto the Interwebs at once, and blasting it off into the ether of other’s minds, I shall continue my story about my current job.

I’m walking the world to save the world (mainly because I like vague self-referential loops, as illustrated in Chapter something or other).

Now I’m doing so literally. With an organization that focused on a problem near and dear to my heart, electronics.

I’ll let the New York Times update you on the solution that many states have adopted.

This month, Edward Reilly, 35, finally let go of the television he had owned since his college days.

Although the Mitsubishi set was technologically outdated, it had sat for years in Mr. Reilly’s home in Portland, Me., because he did not know what else to do with it, given the environmental hazards involved in discarding it.

But the day after the nationwide conversion to digital television signals took effect on June 12, Mr. Reilly decided to take advantage of a new wave of laws in Maine and elsewhere that require television and computer manufacturers to recycle their products free of charge. He dropped off his television at an electronic waste collection site near his home and, he said, immediately gained “peace of mind.”

Over the course of that day, 700 other Portland residents did the same.

I have been working, for the last three months of so, on legislation in Texas, of all places, for similar services.  This being Texas, and not Maine, our effort ultimately failed thanks the diabolical pen of one James Richard “Rick” (a.k.a “Jimmy Dick”) Perry.   And his fabulous hair.

More info on that here.

So I spent three months walking the earth, talking to folks, telling them to write their Representative, and their Senator.  And after the bill passed the House and the Senate, I asked folks to write to Rick Perry, and tell that [redacted] they supported the bill.  And they did.  Hundreds of them. Personally, for me, I picked up and delivered over 200 letters.   I know Perry got many, many thousands more.

And then one man with one pen erased that effort.  Or so it would seem, and so it did seem for the week or so after it happened.

Then one day, around last week, as we began to focus our attention on another aspect of the electronics recycling problem (and it is one, don’t kid yourself.  Each American consumes and shits out about five pounds of it a year, and someone has to eat that shit, if we don’t deal with it ourselves) I got my first real achievement in my walking the earth thing.  Rick Perry’sPen had nothing to do with it, and affected it not in the least.

I didn’t say how much would help, or really much more than how much it meant to me that he do something.   The organization with which I am working has an Ultimate Membership Level.   The way the walking the Earth thing works, in the Real World, has a lot to do with talking to people out on the street.  Or, more directly, in their homes.  Hence, there’s a good bit of walking the street, and a good bit of knocking on doors, and some sweet, sweet (and sometimes bitter) bits of talking to folks.  Good, Texas, Folks.  About the Environment and Electronic Waste (which is oh-so-sexy as cause, I know…).

A challenge, to say the least.   As our group is a political lobbying organization, we ask people who agree with what we are doing to help out with the campaign financially.  We have an Ultimate Membership Level.   So to finally continue the real story, I didn’t say how much to help.

I just left a thought, and a pen.   And he used it to erase Rick Perry’s slight, and I realized one pen can’t stop the world from turning.  Not with with so many people walking on it in the same direction.

The direction I walk is toward one of our many possible futures.  The one I aim for is a sustainable future, where we get to have our electronic toys and don’t have to eat them too.

Walk with me, if you would…

….

Anyway, in case anyone is wondering (Hi Mom!) I’ll be walking the Earth tomorrow.  We should hit 100 degrees or so, which is like, boiling, in metric.

peace,

Wah

It’s Time to Turn, Turn, Turn and Look at Rick Perry’s Hair

So I heard from the Byrds (via the Bible) that things turn, turn, turn.

Here’s the Byrds…

And here’s the Bible…

16 ¶ And moreover I saw under the sun the place of judgment, that wickedness was there; and the place of righteousness, that iniquity was there.
17 I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.
18 I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts.
19 For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.
20 All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.
21 Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?
22 Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion: for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?

That’s some pretty good Bible, eh?  It’s the next verse after the Byrds sing.

This is the situation we are facing now, as a culture.  I mentioned it previously.

One of the big problems facing our country now is the internal division in the choice of directions to go.   This causes a problem, as in times of crisis NOT ACTING is an act, and it is an act that can cause many more problems than acting (even if that act turns out to be foolish).   And BTW, we are face more than just an economic crisis.  That’s a big one, but there’s a few more coming along in the next little bit that we still need to deal with (social security and the retiring boomers, the global climate change that simply refuses to act like isn’t solid science, a global war on cave-dwellers wondering why they keep getting bombed (and the few people who run the show who know), and some others, that’s just off the of the head.)

So there’s a bunch of stuff, big stuff, going on.  Quite frankly, it would take a “Messiah” to see us through this thing.  I think we are pretty lucky to have the team at the top we do, but I have no illusions about super-powers in human beings.  Obama is mortal, and will make mistakes.  He already has, and has owned up to them.  This is a useful trait for a leader, IMHO.  Particularly one faced with as much, as quickly, as Barry.

So anyway, I voted for the guy, so I’m going with it.  The problem with the opposition here is that there is no sense, yet, that we need to act, and soon.  There is some soul-searching that is headed right back to the same place we spent 20 of the last 28 years.  We are seeing more generally empty rhetoric about “fiscal conservatism” which, after 20 years of watching it, seems to be cutting taxes, and increasing spending.   The only question is about which spending to increase.

No sooner had I posted my last post than I ran across this story.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. congressional Republicans, having vowed to return to the conservative ideals of limited government, denounced President Barack Obama’s $3.55 trillion budget on Thursday as excessive and misdirected.

“I have serious concerns with this budget, which demands hard-working American families and job creators turn over more of their hard-earned money to the government to pay for unprecedented spending increases,” said Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.

Umm, I’m sorry, but the only people getting a tax increase are the rich.  And it’s not even a tax increase, it’s letting Bush’s tax cuts (the ones he made to pay for the war…wait…what?) lapse.   Only in the rhetorical realm does a temporary decrease expiring equal “OMG, HE’S RAISING THE TAXES ON THE RICH?!  Honey, do we clear a quarter million a year?”   [From the other room comes laughter.  Loud, continuous laughter].

“Hard-working” and “hard-earned” money, no doubt.  However, I have yet to see anyone who makes that money simply by standing there and working hard.  Most people who clear that kind of dough on a regular basis worked on Wall Street.  Ya’ll remember them, right?  Hard-working, no doubt…but working hard at what?

My building is currently being torn apart and rebuilt (long story, involving rotting wood and water), and there are 100 or so hard workers out there each day, firing up the powertools the second the clock strikes eight.   They are earning hard money, and they get to keep every bit of it (many of whom quickly send it south, but that’s another story).  Under the tax plan as I am aware of it, it is the workers on main street that get the help, and the folks with deep ties to Wall Street (either through direct action, banking work, or just having assloads of money to give to investment bankers) get to pay for it.

O.k., sorry, got off on a rant there about deregulating the credit industry and how we can try to fix the country.  The whole derugulation kick used to be part of the “fiscal conservative” model, for some reason, but now it’s been dropped…I think.

Regardless, let’s continue with the reaction…

“I think we just ought to admit we’re broke. We can’t continue to pile debt on the backs of our kids and grandkids,” said House Republican Leader John Boehner.

I’m sorry, what?  Where was this attitude when it was Repbulicans spending like mad on a war?  And cutting taxes to pay for it?  I mean, I hate to sound like a broken record here, but we’ve been running huge deficits for a while now, and it was the Republicans pushing it.

“The budget outline shows a half-hearted attempt to reduce the trillion-dollar deficits we face, largely through more tax hikes that will only hurt the economy, when it should take this opportunity to exercise aggressive spending restraint,” said Gregg, the top Republican on the Budget Committee.

Right!  No money for Americans, but we’ll spend like drunken sailors on killing folks.   Unfortunately, “aggressive spending restraint” isn’t what gets an economy moving. The economy is money moving around, people busy, buying, selling, shipping, making things happen.  Not spending slows things down and sometimes they stop.

This is why I brought up the Byrds and the Economic Apocalypse.  We really are that close, folks.    We need to be working together here to get this thing re-started.    Even the “fiscal conservative” Democrats realize that.

A group of 49 fiscally conservative House Democrats, whose commitment to deficit reduction has at times put some of them at odds with Obama’s economic program, hailed Obama’s budget for presenting what they called an honest fiscal picture.

“To begin to set our nation back on the right fiscal track, we must first understand and acknowledge how big of a hole we are in,” said Representative Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, a leader of the Democratic “Blue Dog” Coalition.

And we’re in a damn, big, hole.

Reuters nails it on the head with this next statement.

Republicans have long touted themselves as champions of limited government, but surrendered that claim in approving a series of big-deficit budgets during the administration of Obama’s predecessor, Republican George W. Bush.

We got big government left, right, and center with Bush.  And somehow that spending was o.k.  One thing Obama is doing that Bush did not (and part of the reason the Wars are going to cost us so much) is putting the War Budget in the actual budget.  Bush went through a special spending rigamarole that added another $150,000,000,000 or so a year on the ole company credit card.    It’s a big part of our big hole.

The problem with military spending, and it is a problem, is that at the end of the day you end up burning that million dollar missile.   Every loss of life is tragic and I don’t mean to downplay that side, at all, but we train the ever-living shit out of our soldiers.  We have the best trained army in the world, no doubt, and each loss has a human side and an economic one.  Sorry to be cold, and I’m trying not to be, but the cost of war is dramatic and not over when the guns stop shooting.

We’ve had a time for war, and now is a time for peace, and rebuilding.  It’s a time for coming together.   We can argue about it in a few years, if we are still talking, and have not become the Beasts of Ecclesiastes.

And just a quick primer, for those that don’t follow human nature…it’s a beast when things gets rough.  If you can feel it at the top, trust me…they feel it at the bottom, multiplied be each economic ladder you move down.   It’s kind of a primal thing actually.

Luckily, we can vote on things and don’t have to settle them in the schoolyard like they did in the old days.   The votes, BTW, have already been cast.  Trust me, my internet friends…those not on this wondrous network, have been feeling the pangs of the economic downturn since it first happened (generations ago), are about ready to burst.   There’s a lot of them, and they have hope now that change is on the way.

Let’s keep it that way, and keep the beasts at the gate.   Republicans shoud be like canyon water now, giving, fast, and learning.  Going with the flow a bit, but always remembering that during a downpour, it doesn’t pay to be ice.  The time for a change in course will come, but not next week, and not even next year.

There comes a time for everything, and given the economic and political situation, Obama is now a juggernaut.  It’d be best to get out of the way for a bit.  Rick Perry, I’m looking at you and your hair.

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama singled out Texas on Friday as a state that could lose out under the newly enacted $797 billion economic stimulus package because Gov. Rick Perry hasn’t totally ruled out rejecting some funds.

[another story]

Rick Perry and His Hair

That’s what they call a pimp slap on K Street.  Obama wields the bully pulpit, and he actually knows where that term came from.  Watch yo’self.

A’hem…

The huge stimulus bill includes a provision that allows legislatures to override governors and accept funding even if a governor objects.

“I haven’t spoken to the governor about it, but I hope that all Texans, regardless of politics, will make sure we maximize the use of federal funds available to the benefit of our taxpayers,” said Houston Mayor Bill White, a Democrat.

And that, boys and girls, is why the thing is 1,000 pages long.   The long arm of the pimp slap, in legislative reality.