Monthly Archives: September 2012

LUV News on Poverty and Empire

The government of France, under pressure to balance its budget after the global economic downturn from the bankster scams, has come up with a painless way to do it:  tax the rich and corporations.

US corporate media will not allow so much as a discussion of this, on their knees as they are before their owners, board members and advertisers to promote corporate greed at any cost to the public interest.

“The budget is expected to introduce a fiscal reform taxing capital gains, interest and dividends as regular income, as well as a populist move to impose a 75 per cent tax rate on incomes above one million euros.” This is what we’ve described as true wealth, at LUV News, over the years, primarily in the hands of the 1%.

French protesters do like to bring out posters depicting the guillotines of the revolution to remind the rich what happened when the under-taxed reigned before. These protesters point out that the guillotine was kinder than what the royalty did to the peasants, who were subjected to the suffering of a slow death from starvation. Such knowledge is sobering—most wealthy French accept the tax increases as inevitable.

Those of us opposed to violence and capital punishment feel we should also point this out here in the USA, because we will not be able to stop such violence if hunger and homelessness continue to grow in the Land of the Free, where masses kept ignorant by a controlled mass media may be expected to explode at some point, bringing a government nothing better than what we have today as they set fire to the cities. As Bob Dylan explained, “A man who’s got nothin’s got nothin’ to lose.”

* * * *

It is not difficult to explain why some nations are wealthy and others are poor if one looks objectively at history. It is nonsense to accept the American mass media view that it is because some peoples work harder than do others.

Northern India was quite prosperous before the British took it over and forced workers to produce opium, which it traded to the Chinese, addicting them and sending ever more opium into that unfortunate country to enrich the British Empire. Under British rule, every part of India became impoverished. Similarly, wealth was extracted from Africa through European colonialism.

The same may be said of the US Empire, which has extracted wealth from the North American arctic to the southern tip of South America, including the Caribbean, leaving massive poverty in its wake.

There are several means, not just military power for doing this, although nations not submitting to US corporate whims have often been attacked, their leadership replaced by sycophants.

Cuba is still being punished by the US Empire for having the audacity to overthrow its puppet US dictator, Batista. In a UN speech, Bolivian President Evo Morales said, for this, the US is the real terrorist state (Cuban news this morning).

In the modern world it has been through the slight of hand of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund that wealth has been transferred from poor nations to wealthy transnational investors.  —Jack Balkwill

Humor: The Borowitz Report

Apple Advises Maps Users Not to Go Anywhere

Posted by
 

 

CUPERTINO (The Borowitz Report)—Apple C.E.O. Tim Cook apologized for the ongoing problems with its Apple Maps app today, recommending that until it is fixed customers “should try not to go anywhere.”

“Until we get this straightened out, I strongly urge you to stay at home,” Mr. Cook advised iPhone users. “That’s your best bet for not getting lost.”

Even as he apologized, Mr. Cook downplayed the number of Apple customers affected by the Maps glitch: “This only impacts Apple customers who have someplace to go. From what we can tell, most of our customers just go back and forth to the Apple Store and that’s pretty much it.”

The Apple C.E.O. also advised customers whose iPhones consistently drop calls to “try using a land line.”

 

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Image via The Amazing iOS 6 Apps.

Mario Piperni’s Illustrated Late-Night Humor

Late Night Political Humor

September 28, 2012 By

Friday’s collection of the week’s late night political humor from  Political Humor will now double as an open thread so feel free to rant or rave about whatever issue, political or not, that’s pushing your buttons.

Happy Friday.

“The latest Quinnipiac, New York Times, CBS, TCBY poll has Obama up by 10 points in Ohio, 9 points in Florida, and 12 points in Pennsylvania. I don’t get it. How could Romney be behind? He’s so popular, fans are releasing bootlegs of his speeches.” –Stephen Colbert

“A new poll found that Mitt Romney is behind in Florida by 1 percent. Which is weird because if there’s one group that loves Romney, it’s definitely the 1 percent.” –Jimmy Fallon

“Clint Eastwood’s new movie, “Trouble with the Curve,” opened in third place this weekend after making only $12 million. Of course, when he saw a movie theater had so many empty seats, Eastwood was like, ‘Look at these crowds!’” –Jimmy Fallon

“Even republicans are now tiptoeing way from Mitt Romney. They’re very upset about this video. They say it shows Romney doing something very stupid: expressing the core beliefs of the Republican Party publicly.” –Bill Maher

“At this point he kind of has to own it. His new campaign slogan is: ‘Get out of my sight, America, you make me sick.’” –Bill Maher

And here it is…

“Republican parties don’t last long once the black guy shows up.” –Stephen Colbert

“Mitt Romney on Friday released his 2011 tax returns, which showed he paid 14 percent rate, so just a little less than what restaurants add on for parties of six or more.” –Seth Meyers

“The 14 percent tax rate Romney paid is less than the 20 percent paid by the average American. How does he pay such a low rate? He claims 47 percent of Americans as dependents.” –Seth Meyers

“In an interview Thursday, Ann Romney responded to criticism of her husband’s presidential campaign, saying, ‘Stop it. This is hard. You want to try it? Get in the ring.’ In response, the interviewer entered the race, and is leading Mitt Romney by five points.” –Seth Meyers

“The president of Iran is in New York today. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is visiting the U.N. He’s been in America one day and he’s already surged past Mitt Romney in the polls.” –Craig Ferguson

“Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is always angry. Yesterday he said, however, that in fact he does not hate gay people. He went on to say that Iran is on its way to developing one of its own.” –David Letterman

“The president of Iran is in New York today. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is visiting the U.N. He’s been in America one day and he’s already surged past Mitt Romney in the polls.” –Craig Ferguson

“It’s gotten so bad for poor Mitt Romney that Tim Pawlenty – he was the co-chair of Mitt’s campaign – he resigned. Isn’t that kind of the ultimate sign that your campaign is in trouble, when Tim Pawlenty is afraid you’ll make him look like a loser?” –Bill Maher

“I saw a guy today scraping a Romney bumper sticker off his car. It was Paul Ryan.” –Jay Leno

“A lot of people are commenting that Mitt Romney is looking extremely tan lately. In fact, if Romney gets any darker he’s not going to vote for himself.” –Conan O’Brien

“A new poll says 75 percent of Americans feel little or no personal connection to Mitt Romney. And it gets worse. The poll was of his family.” –Craig Ferguson

“A new book claims the reason Texas Gov. Rick Perry did so terrible in the debates and forgot everything was due to a sleep disorder. Apparently the disorder was he slept through grade school, high school and college.” –Jay Leno

Something about Leno that irritates me and I try to use as little of his material as I can. I’m contemplating banning the weasel permanently from this Friday feature.
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Andrew Sullivan: Catholics Favor Obama

Catholics Flee Romney-Ryan-Dolan

National Catholic Reporter finds something remarkable in a new poll from Pew:

On June 17, Obama held a slight edge over Mitt Romney among Catholics (49 percent to 47 percent), according to the Pew Research Center. Since then, Obama has surged ahead, and now leads 54 percent to 39 percent, according to a Pew poll conducted Sept. 16. Among all registered voters, Obama leads Romney 51 percent to 42 percent, according to Pew. Obama and Romney are essentially tied among white Catholics, which some pollsters call the ultimate swing group.

But Obama’s current even status among white Catholics now is an improvement over 2008, when McCain beat Obama among white Catholics by 52 – 47. Obama’s total Catholic vote against McCain was where he is now: 54 percent. But Romney has only 39 percent compared with McCain’s 45.

A small word of thanks to Cardinal Dolan, Robert George and K-Lo for helping shift the Catholic vote massively toward Obama with their summer campaign for religious liberty. And special thanks to Paul Ryan. No actual Catholic could ever find anything but puerile cruelty in the works of Ayn Rand, or rally to the idea that home-care for the elderly should be sacrificed to reduce tax rates for the super-rich. Paul Ryan believes that the basic principles of Rand can be compatible with Catholicism. American Catholics are just not that dumb or confused about their faith.

One other small point. The poll, though just released, was conducted on September 16. The polls have shifted slightly in his favor since. The 47 percent tape – about as anathema to Catholic social teaching as is possible to express in its contempt for the poor – cannot have helped. I wonder also about white Catholics and Romney’s Mormonism. There may be some conservative Catholics leery of what some regard as a cult.

Mario Piperni and the Lost Party

Sorry Erick, But the Rooster Has Crowed

September 27, 2012 By

Erick Erickson:

What we are seeing now on the political landscape is a growing consensus among opinion makers and average voters that Mitt Romney cannot win the election. It is not true. He can, in fact, still win. The election is, in fact, exceeding close. But the Romney campaign is a victim of a perception it itself has helped foster. Like John McCain before him, Romney seems more at ease punching other Republicans than his Democrat opponent. The public is picking up on this and perceive him unwilling or unable to fight for victory. The public is, mentally, beginning to grow weary of this campaign and Romney must work to change perception if he is to win

Mitt Romney can win. He needs to hone his message. He needs to focus on the failings of this administration. But there is time and he can win

What delusional crap. There are seven weeks left in the campaign and because we’re talking about politics here, anything can happen. So yes, Romney can still win…but it won’t have anything to do with honing his message. The main reason polls indicate that Romney is losing ground on Obama has to do exactly with the message he and Ryan are pushing – the Republican message.

That’s the message that speaks of things like…

  • repealing the Affordable Care Act and ensuring that 50 million Americans remain uninsured
  • privatizing Social Security
  • turning Medicare into a voucher program
  • cutting taxes on the wealthy at the expense of the middle class
  • deregulating Wall Street…again
  • a foreign policy that is likely to get the U.S. involved in yet another war
  • oppressive immigration policies
  • a war on women and a return to pre Roe v. Wade legislation
  • a Tea Party mindset that has poisoned any hope of compromise and a bipartisan approach to governance

If Romney hones that message any better than he has, then there is NO chance of victory in November for Republicans. The only reason Romney still has a fighting chance in this election is because of the bit of success he and Republicans have had in hiding their true intent. Lies, deceit, voter suppression and a willing conservative media does wonders in masking the truth from low-information voters.

Why has Romney not been specific about policy? Easy. Because he knows that should the American electorate ever become fully aware of what Republicans really have in mind for them, this election would have been over months ago.

Surprisingly, people like Erickson and other conservatives still don’t get it. They honestly believe that if people really understood what it is that Republicans have in store for them, and given the Obama record over the last four years, a Republican victory would be a lock.

Dumb…and so wrong.

There is no denying that Romney is a horrible, awkward candidate but the reason he can be categorized as so is not because he’s not articulating the conservative message as well as Erickson would like him to. It is because Romney cannot hide the conservative message as well as some other candidate might have done. The video that came out of Romney disparaging half of the population was a serious blow to Republican hopes only because it revealed the party’s true feelings toward the poor, the middle class and every American struggling in difficult times. It revealed that the Republican party is the party of intolerance and divisiveness and, most of all, it revealed that the Republican party truly is the party of the rich, the bigots, the wingnuts and no one else. Not the poor. Not the middle class. Not women. Not the young. Not the old. Not minorities.

The problem is not Romney. The problem is an entire Republican party that has lost its way.

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Greg Palast on Voter Fraud and Unicorns

Bad Habits: Nuns Nixed over No Voter-ID

With Supreme Court blessings, voter ID laws are taking the nation by storm, or storm troops.

Thursday, 27. September, 2012
by Greg Palast | For The Progressive

Stop me if you heard this one. See, these ten nuns walk into a polling station in Indiana and the guy in charge says, “Whoa, Sisters! What do think you’re doing?”

“Voting,” says Sister Mary.

“Well, not here, ladies; not without your ID!” He demanded their driver’s licenses, but the ten quite elderly Sisters of the Holy Cross, including a 98-year-old, had long ago given up cruising.

“Scram, Sis!” said the man, and kicked their habits right out of the polling station.

I may not have gotten the dialogue exactly right, but I got the gist of it and the facts: the ten nuns who’d been voting at that station for decades were booted out in 2008, just after the state of Indiana’s Republican legislature imposed new voter ID laws.

The reason for nixing the nuns? To stop voter identity theft. There wasn’t exactly a voter identity crime wave. In fact, despite no photo ID requirement, there wasn’t a single known case of false identity voting in the state in over one hundred years.

About four hundred thousand voters (9 percent of Indiana’s electorate) are African American. Nearly one in five (18.1 percent) lack the ID needed to vote, according to Matt Barreto of the University of Washington.

That’s twice the number of whites lacking ID. Therefore, as many as 72,000 black voters will get the boot when they show up to vote this November. Coincidentally, that’s three times Barack Obama’s victory margin in that state in 2008. Coincidentally.

And who are the white folk lacking ID? The elderly, like the sisters, and students like Angela Hiss and Allyson Miller, whose official state IDs don’t list their dorm room addresses and so can’t be used to vote.

Black folk, the elderly, students, poor whites blocked from registering and voting—a federal judge didn’t think it was all that coincidental. Justice Terence Evans could see a pattern: “The Indiana voter photo ID law is a not-too- thinly veiled attempt to discourage election-day turnout by certain folks believed to skew Democratic.”

But Supreme Court Justice is blind. The Indiana law does provide a voter the chance to obtain an ID from government offices. The average voter’s distance to the office is seventeen miles. By definition, the folks that need the ID don’t drive. And the ninety-eight-year-old is pretty darn slow in her walker.

A lawyer for Indiana voters told me that the average bus trip back and forth, requiring two changes, takes an entire work day. They tested it. But Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia ruled that the law was fair and provided “equal protection” to all voters because “seventeen miles is seventeen miles for the rich and the poor.”

Our investigative team decided to check that assump- tion. Justice Scalia drives a black BMW. No kidding. What he meant to say is that whether a poor person or a rich person is driving a BMW, it takes the same time. And whether the BMW is black or white doesn’t matter either.

With Supreme Court blessings, voter ID laws are taking the nation by storm, or storm troops.

Apparently, the idea came to Karl Rove while buying his pampers. He told the Republican National Lawyers Association, “I go the grocery store and I want to cash a check to pay for my groceries, I have to show a little bit of ID. [So, why not when] it comes to the most sacred thing in our democracy?”

(Actually, Karl, you don’t have to show ID to swallow the Eucharist or matzo. But if by “most sacred thing” in our democracy you mean making donations to American Crossroads, you don’t need ID for that anymore either. If you mean voting is sacred, then it shouldn’t be dependent on taking a driving test, should it?

Anyway, I’d love to see Rove actually cashing a check at a grocery store, especially one written by the Ice Man. But I digress.)

Santiago Juarez sees some truth in Rove’s remarks. I met with Santiago in Espanola, New Mexico, where he was running a registration drive among low-riders, the young Mexican Americans who cruise the street in hopping, bopping, neon-lit Chevys. He says, “And who’s going to give these kids a credit card?” Of course, you can always get ID from a state office . . . if you already have ID.

Voting-rights lawyer John Boyd, who works for both parties, is alarmed by the “thousands and thousands” of poor people in each state that will lose their vote because of new ID laws. “I don’t have any doubt this could decide the election,” he told me. “People don’t understand the enormity of this.”

People don’t. But Karl does.

And so does the Brennan Center. The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School brings together America’s most prestigious scholars in the field of voting rights who are widely ignored because of their unquestioned expertise. The Brennan Center reports that the ID laws are racist, ageist, classist, and the stupidest way to stop “fraud.”

Here’s the Brennan Center breakdown of those without government photo ID:

  • 6.0 million seniors
  • 
5.5 million African Americans
  • 
8.1 million Hispanics
  • 4.5 million 18-24 year olds
  • 
15 percent voters with household income under $35,000 a year.

Now, don’t add them up because there’s a lot of double-counting here. “Poor,” “black,” and “young” go together like “stop” and “frisk.”

But let’s cut to the chase: the draconian ID law and other voting and registration restrictions passed in just the year before the 2012 election, according to the Brennan Center, are going to cause five million voters to lose their civil rights.

Overwhelmingly, the changes were made in twelve “battleground” states, with the most radical exclusion laws adopted in Florida and Wisconsin. The cheese-chewer state will require government-issued IDs to vote. But the IDs issued by the state itself to University of Wisconsin students won’t be accepted. That’s okay because, as a New Hampshire legislator, hoping to emulate Wisconsin, points out, “Kids, you know, just vote liberal.”

Using a formula provided by the Brennan Center, we can calculate that 97,850 student voters were barred, turned away, blocked, challenged, or given provisional ballots (left uncounted) on recall Election Day in June. No US paper listed Wisconsin as a “swing” state that month. Well, it swung.

Altogether, the 2012 changes in Wisconsin law were sufficient alone to account for the victory of Republican Governor Scott Walker in staving off that recall vote in June 2012. Walker did have the popular support of $31 million (versus $4 million raised by his Democratic opponent).

…Read the rest in Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: How to Steal and Election in 9 Easy Steps.

Mario Piperni and the Stench of Romney

Paul Ryan – Going Rogue (Also – Win a Personalized Illustration From Me Contest!)

September 26, 2012 By

Trouble’s brewing in River City and it starts with a capital R.

Paul Ryan has gone rogue. He is unleashed, unchained, off the hook.

“I hate to say this, but if Ryan wants to run for national office again, he’ll probably have to wash the stench of Romney off of him,” Craig Robinson, a former political director of the Republican Party of Iowa, told The New York Times on Sunday.

Coming from a resident of Iowa, a state where people are polite even to soybeans, this was a powerful condemnation of the Republican nominee.

Though Ryan had already decided to distance himself from the floundering Romney campaign, he now feels totally uninhibited. Reportedly, he has been marching around his campaign bus, saying things like, “If Stench calls, take a message” and “Tell Stench I’m having finger sandwiches with Peggy Noonan and will text him later.”

The wheels are falling off the Romney bus as the campaign flounders from one disastrous week to another. It’s gotten so bad that I’m actually starting to feel sorry for Mitt. Check out this clip from a campaign stop yesterday where the crowds chant, “Ryan! Ryan!” which has Romney embarrassing himself in the most pathetic of ways.

When Romney feels forced to inform the crowds whose at the top of the ticket, well, he better start hoping that the GOP’s voter suppression effort pays off because he doesn’t have much else going his way.

This tidbit from the Politico piece made me smile as it gives greater relevance to an illustration I created last week.

Dan Senor, one of Romney’s closest advisers, has kept a tight grip on Ryan, traveling with him everywhere and making sure he hews to the directions of the Romney “brain trust” in Boston. (A brain trust, rumor has it, that refers to Ryan as “Gilligan.”)

Perfect.

Even the lyrics from the Gilligan’s Island theme song applies to some degree.

Just sit right back
And you’ll hear a tale
A tale of a fateful trip,

So this is the tale of our castaways,
They’re here for a long long time.
They’ll have to make the best of things,
It’s an uphill climb.

So join us here each week my friends,
You’re sure to get a smile,
From seven stranded castaways
Here on Gilligan’s Isle!

Hey, just got an idea. Let’s have a little contest. Adapt the Gilligan lyrics to the Romney/Ryan fiasco. A minimum of eight lines is required. First prize will be a personalized illustration of yourself or anyone of your choosing in the style of the iconic Obama ‘Hope’ illustration. You can find the lyrics to Gilligan’s Island here.

Feel free to share the contest with family and friends. If it turns out well, we might have regular contests of this type. So get the creative juices flowing and show us what you come up with.

Also, if you have ideas for political illustrations, send ‘em over. If I use it, a personalized illustration or photo enhancement is your gift from me. The Willard illustration above was suggested by our one and only, E.A. Blair. He receives a personalized illustration.
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Humor: The Borowitz Report

Poll: Romney Ahead in Presidential Race, Say Replacement Refs

Posted by
 

NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report)—G.O.P. Presidential nominee Mitt Romney finally got some good news today as he found himself ahead of President Obama in a poll of N.F.L. replacement referees.

The survey, which immediately lifted the spirits of the Romney campaign, was taken among replacement refs on the field during N.F.L. games that they were supposed to be officiating last Sunday and Monday.

According to the poll, if the election were held today the replacement refs would have Mr. Romney beating President Obama by a score of 14-12.

By a wide majority, the replacement refs “strongly agreed” with the statement, “I’m pretty sure I’m right about this but I need to talk it over with some other people first.”

 

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Photograph by Joel Auerbach/Getty.