Sunday, September 30, 2012

Nov. 7th: What Will Anti-Obama Whackos Do After A Big Obama Win?

Above: A couple of the recent images posted by whacknut anti-Obama Reich wing bloggers. What will these fruitcakes do when their man Willard Mitt loses in 4 weeks? Hint: Likely commit themselves to insane asylums or be forcibly committed after they go bonkers!

After perusing the web only a short time it doesn't take a psych degree to witness the extent of the Obama Derangement Syndrome. One can witness it in full ugly throttle, just waiting to erupt after Nov. 6th.  I post merely a couple items from the blogs of these whackos above and readers can judge for themselves.

What appears to be the case, is as the polls more and more show this a shoo-in for Obama, Romney's Zombies are losing it big time. They are going off half-cocked in dozens of attack directions but can't make their fetid minds up on settling on one. At first it was the economy, then Willard Mitt had to play defense on that following the exposure of his paying only capital gains tax on his own rentier income and shipping millions of jobs overseas.

Then there was the Libyan attack which Mitt and his underlings attempted to parlay into political points to no avail. Most sane and temperate people saw the attacks on a sitting President trying to man the nation's defenses (and who did take out Osama bin Ladin) as unseemly.

But going over the warp and woof of the political landscape the past several weeks there were plausibly three turning point - or tipping point - issues, that led to Mitt's demise:

1) His convention was a debacle - no other words can describe it. Letting a senile blowhard like Clint Eastwood give the intro speech was particularly terrible judgment as it took the spot light off the Romney's propaganda to paint themselves as poor widdo ordinary folksies, no big wigs.  The Dem convention by comparison was a rock show.

2) On the heels of the convention and even before, the Dems were able to successfully paint Willard Mitt as an unsympathetic, arrogant vulture capitalist who cared little or nothing about economic small fry - other than to ship their jobs off to China or shutter their factories for his own profit after declaring bankruptcy. The Bain Capital travesties, indeed, still follow him like the lingering stench of a dead skunk.

3) His "47%" remark to a bunch of rich assholes in Boca Raton basically sealed his fate and proved that the Dems' painting him to be the out -of touch scumball he is as totally correct. That was the coup de grace.

The collapse of Romney's political -electoral capital has followed almost wholesale from that remark which dismissed nearly half the voting population as "victims" and "government dependents". The people have also seen those remarks now replayed so they don't forget them, on dozens of ads in Florida, Virginia, Ohio and here in Colorado.

Yes, Obama could still lose this election, but it would have to be via unforced as opposed to forced errors. If any occur they will likely be during the debates but I don't expect any. Obama knows that far too much is on the line not to be fully prepared. Besides, he has a 'sparring partner' in John Kerry who will be a good double for Romney even if Kerry's IQ is 50 pts higher.

Right now, I forecast an Obama victory in 4 weeks by 338-200. Plus or minus 20. Or fairly close to what he secured in 2008.

And the Romney Zombies and their lackeys? Watch for a mega-freak out of mass proportions. We just need to have the straight jacket and ECT machines ready!

The Longest Day...And Then Some...

Image result for HDR afterloader,
Shown here: A remote brachytherapy afterloader of the type that delivered my cancer radiation treatment last Tuesday. It's an electro-mechanical system by which 16 transfer tubes are inserted into catheters in a fixed template (stitched to the perineum) to deliver radiation directly to the prostate gland. I received a total dose of 1930 cGy (centigray), with bladder-rectal sparing contours, i.e. at 90 percent of the full dose..

The "longest day" - September 25th - last Tuesday, started for me at 8:05 a.m. in the Admissions Office of the Helen Diller Cancer Center at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF). There I had to complete yet another batch of forms, including consent forms for the scheduled surgery some two hours later. The form completion phase over (at least for now), I'm then directed to Room 309 where I'm greeted by an RN and told to remove all street clothes and get into a hospital gown, cap and 'booties'. My wife is there to help me - including making sure to bag everything for later recovery. Shoes and socks in one bag, clothing - shirts, sweaters, coats in another and belongings (including eyeglasses) in a small bag to be kept with the clothes.

All that finished, I have to assume my role as "cancer patient" and get into the prepared bed, where I am met by a series of nurses, the anesthesiologist (actually a young resident) and one of the oncology resident drs. Of course, even more forms must be filled out, pretty much asking the same questions: Any allergies? What is your medical history? Family history? Recent medical issues? Prescription pills? Etc.

By now it's almost 9.45 a.m. when the anesthesiology resident and oncology assistant enter. They need to know my selected method of anaesthesia, and the oncology resident tries to convince me to "just go under", i.e. general anaesthesia, but I told her 'No way!' I prefer to remain awake to see what's going on. I also convey this to the anesthesiologist who says she will use an epidural administered via spinal block, combined with some sedation administered intravenously.

That settled, I am whisked away on the modified gurney to the OR where the anesthesia is to be administered. This is a teaching hospital, of course, and one of the consent forms I signed acknowledged this and also the use and practice of residents, and becoming part of the teaching routine or model. I had no problem with this, firmly believing that no 'bozos' would have made it here or lasted long enough to do a number on me.

Alas, the anesthesia delivery by epidural took longer than usual because the young resident dr. had a difficult time placing the block (delivered via catheter) on my spine. She was therefore assisted by her superior and after some five "sticks" managed to find the 'sweet spot' - the place where maximum comfort and pain relief could be delivered to me, the patient, and with minimal spinal fluid lost or god forbid, spinal disc puncture leading to delirium or dura puncture resulting in severe headaches. (Often worse than migraines and which can last up to 6 months in a worst case scenario).

This is now 20 minutes after entering the OR, and it's delayed the next in line for treatment. Anyway, after some sensory tests using ice cubes and pressure, I am deemed ready to go for the template surgery. My legs are raised into what's called the lithotomy position, and a Foley catheter is inserted into the urethra since there is no other way I can urinate. An ultrasound probe then is placed into the rectum for imaging purposes, at least initial imagery which will later be refined by Catscan. Meanwhile, the oncology surgeon - Dr. Hsu - begins to suture the template onto the perineum using 8" long fine needles inserted through holes in a custom made template, and into the prostate gland. The idea here is to hold the needle positions in place, then insert hollow plastic catheters, through which the source transfer tubes will be threaded later.

The whole operation takes about an hour including checks on imaging of the needles in relation to the prostate, the bladder, the rectum and urethra. At various points I am asked by the attending anesthesiology resident if I am ok, or feel any kind of pain or discomfort. The answer at every point is 'No'.

The operation concluded, I am then wheeled into the Recovery Room upstairs where I am given some water through a straw to drink but not too much, to avoid barfing because of the effects of the epidural (your stomach - at least the bottom region has no sensation either).

After an hour I am taken down to the basement for the Catscan. This takes about 25 mins. and it's now nearly 2.15 p.m. Still to come is the Treatment Room and so I am next taken over there and must wait while the Catscan imagery is processed and integrated with the ultrasound imagery to develop a treatment plan. This takes nearly an hour, and includes the placement and checking of the transfer tubes for each hole in the template. This is critical because each transfer tube will deliver a specific dose for a given "dwell time" - entering the prostate, administering the radiation from the Ir 192, then leaving. I am told that once the actual treatment commences it ought to take 20 minutes.

The longest wait is for the final contouring to be done by Dr. Hsu, but he is held up in another operation, again triggered by the initial delay with my anesthesia. By now it's 4.45 p.m. and I am really getting antsy -also hungry (having been fasting since 6 p.m. the previous day) - while waiting on the treatment bed in the Treatment Room. The prolonged positioning is fairly uncomfortable and I end up getting a combo kink-spasm under the left shoulder blade (it's still aggravating me).  In addition, the epidural has started to wear off and I am starting to feel the Foley catheter in my urethra. However, I am loathe to take more pain medication or epidural because it might mean having to stay the night in the hospital when I am told I can leave if I am able to urinate. Also, I am starving hungry and if I get more epidural I might not be able to eat ....and that can't work. So I tough it out.

Finally, at 5:10 p.m. the contouring is completed, and the transfer tubes checked one last time before the outer door is secured and shut and all the personnel exit to avoid radiation exposure. The oncologists monitor me while I receive the treatment, and I listen to my Apple ipod. Before I know it the Treatment Room doors swing open and I am being wheeled to a waiting hospital room at Mt. Zion (the affiliate hospital) on the 4th floor.

The gurney isn't large enough to wheel me all the way in, so I have to see about walking to the waiting bed. I stumble because one leg (the left) is gimpy and still partially numb. I do make it to the bed with some help from an RN and wifey. She then knows what her first job is: to get a large sirloin burger for me at the downstairs cafeteria. She returns in 10 mins but with a large salami sandwich and diet coke - the burger station closed a half hour earlier. Never mind! What she brought was vastly superior to the hospital tray served up some twenty minutes later, consisting of a vile pea puree, a chicken breast that could have been anything, and a macaroni serving that was totally tasteless. At least the soup was ok and I had that.

After 25 minutes in the room, I had to urinate, but it was painful - extremely so- and mostly blood. The RN told me that when the ratio of blood to actual urine reached at least 50% I could leave. Ten minutes later, back again, and less blood this time. Finally, some 30 minutes later (it's now 7:15 pm.) and it's all clear.

Given the all clear I am discharged by 7:40 p.m. and we were elated as we got to spend the night in our own hotel room downtown, as opposed to being cooped up in a hospital with IV tubes hanging out.

This is now nearly 5 1/2 days later and the after effects are still around and I am told they might get a bit worse, mainly burning urine, and urine retention. I will ride it out and hope for the best, and ....if the kink-spasm in the shoulder doesn't abate in another two days...probably break down and go for a massage at my wife's massage therapist. All in all, I consider myself lucky.  Lucky to have received a treatment many others can only dream about and at the hands of some of the best cancer treatment specialists in the nation.

Here are kudos to both Dr. Joe Hsu and Physicist Jean Pouliot for his help in preparing the final treatment plan.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Blog Recess: Due to Radiation Cancer Treatment

This is probably what most blog readers, followers already know - but just to remind them, a blog recess will start from tomorrow. I've already left a number of different blogs which I hope people wil avail themselves of until I am able to blog again. When that will be I can't say for certain.

Reading up on the form of prostate cancer treatment I will be getting, the nature and intensity of the after effects seem to be all over the place. Scanning through dozens of sites, however, there appears to be a kind of general consensus that: a) the most acute effects start almost immediately and can last from 1-2 weeks, and b) the longer term effects may commence up to two months past the date of treatment to a year.

In terms of blogging it's obviously the acute effects one has to reckon in. Again, collecting information from many sites these span the gamut and include: dysuria, bloody urine, burning urination, frequency of urination (3-5 times per hour), diarrhea (one reason why patients are advised not to have any bulk or much fiber in their diets afterward, rely mainly on bananas, mashed potates, soft rice etc. And avoid spicy or fried foods at all costs. Terrific!

Also, bruising in perineal region meaning difficulty in sitting. Additionally, mentioned in a few sites, depression which sometimes results from the anesthesia. Oh.....there's possible memory loss as well.

Since the nature of the side effects is highly subjective, one can only go by general norms, symptoms and there's basically no predicting how any given individual patient will  react. What I am hoping is that I will back in fine fettle (or at least close to it)after a week or so, giving the conservos fits, and also calling out disinformationists and hacks where and when I see them.

Am I looking forward to this treatment? Hell NO! But then, the choices and options are slim. I take some consolation that the cancer was caught early, relatively so, and hence I had a wide array of treatment options. Once it's advanced, your options basically collapse.

For all those guys into using 'Androgel',  'T' or whatever testosterone injection to stay young, I advise them to stop it, unless they want to end up like me. (Not that I've taken it! I believe I was done in by too many animal fats, red meats - processed meats and likley potassium perchlorate and arsenic in the drinking water!)  A recent book, 'Invasion of the Prostate Snatchers' , indicates that in nearly 20% of prostate cancers excess testosterone is the No. 1 culprit, including from 'supplements'. Do so at your own risk!

Anyway, that's about all for now.......

"Brainiac" Goops Screw It Up Again on Antarctic Sea ice

Comparison images of Arctic (top) and Antarctic sea ice changes for summer minimum and wniter maximums. (From National Snow and Ice Data Center)

I think perhaps there ought to be a law of some kind preventing those who've never taken a physics course from commenting on climate science. It would be nice to have such laws, because then they couldn't use the "free speech" nonsense to justify spreading crappola.

I'm referring, of course, to some recent blogs which castigate "NPR" data (instead of  going to NOAA or the NSIDC) to claim that Antarctic sea ice is "growing" and hence global warming is a hoax or over-stated. Of course this is gibberish, because if one examines the actual data disclosing temperature increases globally, we are in deep doodoo - adding nearly 2.0 watts/m^2 per year to the solar insolation because of global warming.

Several common errors are made by these GOOPr naysayers:

1) They commit an error of omission, namely ignoring the critical land ice contribution and focusing only on sea ice. This is a common error made by those who rush into areas for which they have little or no preparation. In Antarctica, sea ice nearly entirely melts away during the S. hemisphere summer but is extensive in the winter.

2) They fail to distinguish the two forms of ice: Antarctic land ice is actually stored ocean water that once fell as precipitation. Sea ice, meanwhile, is ice which forms in salt water (sea water) mainly during the winter months.

3) They fail to distinguish Arctic from Antarctic ice cover and hence the relative importance of each. Arctic sea ice while its cover fluctuates, does remain all year round (so far anyway) and hence provides a reflective surface to increase albedo. (proportion of reflectance back into space).

This is precisely why ARCTIC sea ice is more important for Earth's energy balance because when it melts the albedo more rapidly decreases, exposing dark terrain which absorbs more solar radiation which is then trapped by the CO2 blanket.  By contrast, the melting of Antarctic sea ice each summer largely leaves the energy balance unchanged. Meanwhile, the accumulation of Antarctic SEA Ice - some 26 gigatons a year - is not enough to adjust the energy balance away from global warming or to compensate for lost LAND ice (see below)

There are two ancillary environmental factors that lead to Antarctic sea ice growing which have nothing to do with the idea that global warming is refuted:

i) Because of suppression of choloro-flourocarbons in the atmosphere, ozone levels have dropped over the Antarctic causing stratospheric cooling and fiercer winds which lead to more open water freezing.

ii) The Southern Pacific-Southern Atlantic (bordering Antarctica)  is experiencing increased rain and glacial runoff altering the pH and altering the composition leading to less mixing between cold and warm waters. As we know a decrease in sea water pH (from 'freshening' via melting ice from glaciers) decreases the saturation rate of sea water relative to CaCO3 - this can actually lead to the release of CO2 from the oceans (See: Eos (Vol. 83, No. 34), from August 20, 2002, ‘Progress Made in Study of Ocean’s Calcium Carbonate Budget’)

Let's return to the land ice issue: Recent studies by Chen et al, Wingham et al, Rignot et al, show Antarctic land ice losing from 100 to over 300 gigatonnes per year. Even reckoning in added sea ice at 26 gigatonnes per year, this is not enough to offset the net LOSS of ice, of at least 74-75 gigatonnes/yr. 

It certainly appears that the nattering conservo nabobs who're trying to use "growing" Antarctic ice as a cudgel to "disprove" global warming  either need to go back to school and take a physics course, or better yet leave material that they don't grasp out of their blogs!

Quality CME Forecasting Soon? Maybe!

An eruptive flare prominence photographed two years ago, which was accompanied by a powerful CME.

As I noted in an earlier blog:

CMEs or coronal mass ejections, are not to be treated lightly. Powerful CMEs of such magnitude that they merit the name "Carrington events" and originate at the solar central meridian (relative to Earth observers) are events we wish to avoid.

The "ultimate" CME then is that which smacks us broadside, knocking down power grids like tenpins, and - even if not engendering a situation like that depicted in the new series 'Revolution' - at least coming close, for maybe a few days or a week. Hence, it is of interest to attempt to forecast these plasma monsters.

But how? One method might be microwave bursts, radio spectrum energy signatures that tend to fluctuate before a CME spews out. DUuring intense solar activity observed in Oct.-Nov. 2003, Rodney V. Souza noticed that the Sun released microwave outbursts before each of 7 CMEs, out of 10 observed. (The other three coincided with the respective flare's eruptions from the solar surface. But for the other seven,  the microwave fluctuating bursts (fluctuating at seconds intervals) preceded the CME by 5-15 mins.  This admittedly is not a lot of time, but it's a start. Efforts are now being made to ascertain how often microwave bursts occur without a CME, which will provide crucial negative information to hone any predictions.

Let's also acknowledge that even a warning that comes minutes before CME eruption can help engineers prevent damage to satellites.

Another more theoretical, quantitative strategy revolves around the rate of increase of the poloidal magnetic flux associated with a flux "rope", e.g.

 dΦp(t )/dt

where the numerator denotes the increase in such flux and the derivative indicates it's taken instantaneously as a function of time. In a simple flux rope model, think of taking a 6-7 cm section of thin rope and twisting it. As you twist it the rope 'humps up'. In real solar cases the magnetic counterpart 'humps up' through the solar surface. It is the increase in the poloidal (as opposed to vertical or longitudinal) component which allows this.

For a predictive basis, one requires the related  function be adjusted for each CME to obtian a solution that best fits the observed time-height data. The function is usually given in terms of the electromotive force so that:

E(t ) ≡ −(1/c)dΦp(t )/dt

Hence, the preceding constitutes a prediction from the theory for each CME trajectory. This technique is what may be called a "theoretical forecast" compared to the empirical forecast described in terms of microwave bursts. Studies already done (e.g. The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 717, p. 1105, by James Chen and Valbona Kunkel) show the best fit solutions fit the CME trajectories within 1-2% of the CME height data and the temporal profile of the predicted derivative for φ _p(t).

More work remains but both theoretical and empirical methods in tandem may give us our best shot at forecasting the next big CME.


John Phillips: Bio-geneticist, nutrition specialist and astronomer from Barbados.

John Phillips, 66 years old (see earlier blog also) is perhaps the closest person Barbados has to a ‘Renaissance Man’. He is a bio-geneticist, nutrition specialist,avid amateur astronomer (who devised a method to measure the speed of light using Bajan landmarks), and a spiritual scholar. Most interesting to me has been a recent conversation concerning “GMO” (genetically modified organisms) and their role in producing human cancers. John is convinced, from his research, that up to forty percent of all cancers are GMO-based.

His view is also reinforced by a number of studies.

For example, there is Arpad Pusztai's study in which he fed lab rats potatoes that had been genetically engineered to contain lectin (from a snowdrop bulb to make them pest resistant). When he processed the results he found that the rats which consumed these high-tech potatoes showed evidence of organ (liver, stomach) damage and poor brain development. Pusztai's study went down as the very first independent study (i.e. one not sponsored by a biotech corporation) to examine the effects of bio-engineered food on mammals.

Tragically, Pusztai’s boss, the Director of the Rowett Institute, attempted to suppress the revelations in the GMO potato study. According to a report -article from In These Times (Jan. 10, 2000);

"He fired Pusztai, broke up his research team, halted the six other similar projects his team was then working on and seized his data"

Drastic? Maybe! But the results had to be kept concealed so American corporate interests – already battling the America “haters” who demanded labels on GMO foods – were not put in greater peril. At least their profits. Interested readers can read more on the expose of the PR muggers and their hands in the Pusztai debacle here

Then there is the study just released Wednesday which found that rats fed Monsanto’s genetically modified corn or exposed to the biotech giant’s herbicide, Roundup, developed tumors and organ damage. As Reuters reported,

“The researchers said 50 percent of males and 70 percent of females [in the test group] died prematurely, compared with only 30 percent and 20 percent in the control group.” The lead researcher of the French study is an outspoken Monsanto critic, which, according to Reuters, “may make other experts wary of drawing hasty conclusions.”

None of this surprised John. Some of his takeaways for those interested:

On the occurrence of cancers:

This should come as no surprise because cancer is a disease affecting cell –DNA machinery. In this case, the cells of an organ undergo too accelerated mitosis and result in abnormal growth that can threaten the organism. GMO foods are developed at the gene level which directs genes and their function. Most haven’t been adequately tested over the long term, for adverse impacts on humans. But that they can cause tumors or abnormal growths should not amaze anyone.

If you splice mouse genes into tomatoes and hence enable the mouse as "GMO tomato", with its attendant genetic impact on a widely used human food, why be surprised if there’s a deleterious effect? Why be incredulous if when these manipulated tomatoes meet the human digestion system (and metabolism) certain untoward consequences arise?

On the lack of GMO food labeling in the United States:

Again, no surprise since the GMO corporate monoliths like Monsanto dominate in the U.S. Their interest is in keeping Americans uninformed about what they’re eating, so they don’t make a fuss. “Just eat it and pretend it’s a real, organically grown tomato and shut up!”

They know product labeling would mash up their sales because then consumers would immediately see what was engineered and not buy the products.

On the argument that GMO critics are threatening food production for starving peoples

This is an old and hackneyed argument. They’re basically saying it’s better the poor be fed with these foods now, and take care of their liver, bowel, stomach, prostate and pancreatic cancers twenty years hence. But who’s going to pay for their care? Surely not the critics of GMO skeptics! The solution to the food production problem is not to create more GMO foods but to control population, using birth control – contraception.

On his own dietary regimen:

There’s much to be said for growing one’s own foods! I grow all my own, don’t use ‘Roundup’ or any other poisons, but rather the natural, biologically-based weed and insect repellers developed over two decades ago by Colin Hudson here in Barbados. I eat no meats, no animal fats. That’s why I look 30 years younger than I am!

On the use of supplements if one can’t obtain nutritious foods:

I’ve no problem with them especially if people can’t grow their own vegetables, fruits, because of the extent to which modern foods are diluted in vitamins, minerals. I suggest at least one B-complex a day, and something like magnesium, to balance calcium intake.

On the continued media attacks on vitamin supplements:

This should amaze no one. The U.S. corporate media as the primary communication arm of its Fortune 500 corporations (comprising its management boards), including health insurance companies, don’t want Americans living overly long because of the claimed “entitlement crisis” and deficits. If people follow their advice and leave out supplements, they know they’re more likely to die before they can collect social security or Medicare. Deficit problem half solved!

Advice to Americans who consume GMO foods:

Make sure you get regular cancer screenings!

Anti-Obama Racist Pigs Go Nuts

Well, it’s come to this, racist swine in Texas and Virginia hanging our president in effigy via the chair prop introduced by relic Clint Eastwood at the GOOP convention. Once more, “free speech” – the refuge of all scoundrels- was invoked to support these unseemly demonstrations. The pigs then had the nerve to hang American flags to their abominations, further mocking the flag the symbol of equal rights under the law for all.
Why haven’t these a-holes been arrested for terrorism or at least making mock threats to Obama? Shouldn’t the FBI at least investigate them as possible domestic terrorists, and lay off the medical marijuana raids?

Meanwhile, kudos to Lawrence O’Donnell for his exposure (two nights ago) of the racist filth and pig who also attended the Romney Boca Raton function. This turd got up, admitted to being an “old Republican” and then went off half-cocked on claiming Eric Holder was “the most corrupt Attorney General ever”.

Hey, moron, time to get some electroconvulsive therapy to jog those dessicated neurons! The most corrupt AG in history was a piece of shit named SPIRO AGNEW. A guy actually prosecuted and sent to the slammer! Check on it!

What Lawrence exposed was a blatant over the top racism endemic in the GOOPr party and exposed at this rich man fete where Willard Mitt blurted out his comment dismissing half the populace as needy parasites.

All of which shows we need to keep an eye on all these whackos, especially after Nov. 6 when Obama wins in a likely blowout. We cannot tolerate lynchings, beatings, racially –motivated muggings etc. such as occurred after the 2008 election! Police in every state and voting district need to have their SWAT expertise at the ready. Be sure also to keep those ‘True the Vote’ assholes out of precincts, interfering with black voters!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

'King James' Redux: Again, Why It Can't Be Trusted

Spiritual master John Phillips, whose research disclosed that the King James Bible was written using a minimal vocabulary of barely 10,000 words, so that even a child of moderate IQ could read it.
It is no coincidence that by far the most extremist, bigoted and refractory Christian sects and preachers place all their stock in one single book: the King James Bible. As I showed in many past blogs, however, this version is so rife with errors and contradictions, most of which are not even annotated for reference, that it's of essentially zero usefulness. Worse, the text is littered with gross transcription and deliberate translation errors that leave it one of the worst ever sources for exploring revelation according to the Christian tradition. This has led many to conclude that it is largely a bible for children or untutored adults with limited vocabularies, especially as it's written with a defined limit of 10,000 words.

One wonders why so many supposedly intelligent people, including Xtians, follow it to the letter, when there's no real upside, and one could as well follow a fairy tale. The only reason I can think of is the one a psychologist friend gave: that they require a security blanket. In this case the KJV provides a mental security blanket so its admirers are relieved of the burden of critical thinking. All they need to do is believe and it's true!

Perhaps the best authority on these issues is former evangelical and current Biblical scholar Bart D.Ehrman (‘Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why’, 2005).  Ehrman correctly notes that first, no stable extant versions of the bible existed before the invention (by Johann Gutenberg) of the printing press. This invention changed the whole game for the production of books, and for the Bible in particular. Before Gutenberg’s press, transcribers produced different copies of the same text by accidental and intentional variations. There was no standard format because obtaining any particular copy was a matter of the luck of the draw. If you were at the right place, and someone had a specific copy you might get one, otherwise you were out of luck. Thus tens of thousands of differing copies with different errors, translations etc. could make the rounds.

With the Gutenberg printing press all that mess became a thing of the past. By enabling the printing of books with moveable type one could finally guarantee every page of every book produced looked the same as every page of every other book- with no variations in wording. Essentially, what was set in print was set in stone.

The first major work to be so printed was Jerome’s Latin Vulgate Bible which required six full years to produce (1450-1456). In the next 100 years, some fifty editions of the Vulgate were produced by various printing houses in Europe. Not surprisingly, for well over 1,000 years, scholars throughout Europe had come to believe the Vulgate was THE bible of the church. (Somewhat analogous to current evangelicals believing the KJV is the “true Bible” and all others are pretenders or forgeries)

Meanwhile, as Ehrman points out (p. 76) the Greek Bible was thought of as “foreign in theology and learning”. Not until the intervention of a Spanish cardinal named Ximenes de Cisneros, was the Greek Septuagint NT melded with the Hebrew Old Testament, and the Latin Vulgate into one multi-volume edition of the Bible. This edition was also published in a variety of languages. The final edition was ready by 1517, but didn’t actually appear until 1520 since (as a Catholic version) Pope Leo X had to permit it. Distribution finally occurred ca. 1522.
Where does the KJV fit into this picture? It seems that as Ehrman notes (based on his extensive research) the King James is almost entirely based on assorted trsanslators transcribing or translating the wrong text. (op. cit., p. 209). As Ehrman observes (ibid):

“The King James version is filled with places in which the translators rendered a Greek text derived ultimately from Erasmus’ edition, which was based on a single twelfth century manuscript that is one of the worst that we now have available to us!”

As Prof. Ehrman goes on ibid;.)

The King James was not given by God but was a translation by a group of scholars in the early seventeenth century who based their rendition on a faulty Greek text. Later translators based their translations on Greek texts that were better…but not perfect

Now some historical context and backstory:

James VI of Scotland, who came to be King James I of England in 1603, also had a keen interest in religion and commissioned a enclave of experts to Hampton Court near London, in 1604, to arrive at a compromise translation to try to bridge the gap between the Puritans and the Church of England. (It was actually Puritan leader John Reynolds who proposed the new translation as a partial solution to the differences). Thereby the great task of "KJV bible ceation" began!

An immense advantage conferred from the outset (and likely why the KJV outpaced all other versions from the outset) is that the King's printers had a monopoly on printing bibles. And so, by 1650, the KJV had driven the rival Geneva Bible totally out of the market. Who says that monopolies can't work, and that it's always better to have competition?

Back to the project: the translators were all instructed not to translate "church" as "congregation", and to preserve as much as possible the Bishop's Bible of 1568 (then the official English Bible). The translators were also granted wide latitude in how they specifically formed different translations of the text, in many cases being allowed to use the Geneva Bible and some other versions "when they agree better with the text" in Greek or Hebrew.

Another startling historical fact: What eventually became the "King James Bible" by 1526-30 was in fact NOT the original, but rather 75% to 90% adopted from  William Tyndale's English New Testament, published in 1526. This version was actually published in defiance of then English law - so it is amazing so much of it was then incorporated into the original KJV.

Tyndale's tack (as my friend John Phillips earlier noted) was to render Scripture in the common language of his time to make it accessible even to a humble plow boy.  By basing his ms. on Hebrew and Greek texts he'd defied an English law from 1401 that forbade the publication of any English book without Church of England permission.

The putative objectives: the translation of the Old Testament from Hebrew, and the New Testament from Greek, were undertaken and respectively assembled by no less than 47 translators in 6 committees working in London, Oxford and Cambridge. The final results emerged seven years later, in 1611.(The exact date when the first edition emerged is uncertain but many celebrate the anniversary on May 2nd).

The point of the preceding historical exploration is to reinforce Ehrman’s key point (much as Oxford scholar Geza Vermes')  that all the differing versions of the Bible have been changed in ways large and small – including: the New International Version, the Revised standard version, the New King James, the Jerusalem Bible, and the Good News Bible.

All therefore bear some level of defect, and the trick is to find one which has the fewest defects or false translations, or mistranslations.

Clue one: the KJV is not that one! (But don't tell fundies that, they won't buy it!)

Note: Thanks to John Phillips to providing background information on the creation of the KJV.

Feds Need to Back Off on Colorado's (MJ) Amendment 64

On November 6th, Colorado voters will not only be casting their ballots for the next President of the United States, but also on Amendment 64, for the legalization of marijuana. Colorado could, in fact, be one of three states (the others Washingon and Oregon) to enable legalization of pot.

Sadly, the appearance of the ballot and its eventual citizen choice is being muddied by two factors: one the threat of ex post facto federal intervention, and the other by specious arguments concerning the 'threat to children". Both need to be considered, and let me take the last one first.  Perhaps no one lately has done a better job of disposing of it than one Denver Post letter writer two days ago:

"“There are many freedoms adults often enjoy that are illegal for kids, including gambling, drinking, smoking, investing, driving, getting piercings and tattoos, getting married, staying out all night, going to many concerts, working a double shift, etc. Granted, many of these freedoms could be considered bad for adults, too, but the “bad for kids” trope is nothing more than a cudgel designed to stifle honest debate. An unregulated black market is most assuredly more harmful to kids than a regulated honest market, and Colorado enjoys many economic advantages from the tax revenue these freedoms bring when adults enjoy them responsibly. And rest assured, adults most certainly do enjoy them.

Intelligent, evidence-based arguments against passing Amendment 64 are hard to find, so these folks fall back to the emotionally charged, false argument that it’s “bad for kids.”

This letter nails it spot-on since the "kid danger" argument, which has often been resurrected lately, relies on impairing intellectual judgment by appeal to emotionalism and hysteria.

The federal threat is also one that must be targeted given the adverse effects in previous state ballots. The classic example was when California voters also considered marijuana legalization in 2010 but went down to defeat after Attorney General Eric Holder (parents originally from Barbados, where I lived for 20 years) warned that the federal government "would not look the other way" i.e. in allowing a state market in defiance of a federal drug law. He also vowed to "vigorously enforce" marijuana prohibition.

One can examine this from many aspects, and though I happen to like Eric Holder, I believe he's what the Bajans call "wrong and strong". I also believe this federal stance is not adopted or sustained out of any morality or truly valid legal consideration or justifications, but merely to protect Big PhRmA and the Alcoholic beverages industries. (Btw this corporate protection didn't start on the Obama Adminstration's watch).

Imagine how the sales of alcoholic beverages, including wine and beer would crater if pot were legalized in even one state. Imagine how Big PhRmA's strangle hold on drugs would crumble if patients had a lot of latitude in selecting MJ for their ills instead of high priced prescription meds!

But let's get to the more fundamental issue of citizen rights. While some nabobs confront the Feds on the basis of "State's rights" this is actually incorrect.  As Prof. Garry Wills has noted in his landmark book, A Necessary Evil-A History Of American Distrust Of Government, Simon & Schuster, 1999, the debasement of discussion of rights has been enabled by consistent disparagement and ignorance in respect of the notions of rights - particularly 'State's Rights'- and the dismissal of the unenumerated rights of citizens under the Ninth Amendment.

As Wills observes (p. 109):

"The Ninth Amendment talks of 'rights enumerated' and says 'the people' retain unenumerated ones. The rights in the Ninth are not the rights of the state, which can- strictly speaking - have no rights."

Wills goes on (ibid.):

""Governments have prerogatives, people have rights - so Hamilton speaks of 'abridgments of prerogative' in the state to protect rights of citizens. What the Ninth says is that the rights enumerated as protected by The Constitution do not exhaust all rights inherent in a people. The states can retain powers, though not rights."
"So 'state's rights' is something of a misnomer, no matter how common its use. The states have no natural rights. Their powers are artificial not natural - since they are things made by contract. The equation "states are to the federal government as people are to the states" mixes apples and oranges. Citizens alone have rights, in relation to both the states and the federal government."

The last sentence is especially important, after settling the issue that states have no natural rights, only artificial powers. But by extension, the federal government as an entity has no natural rights either, only powers, made by contract. That contract, or those contracts CAN be broken if the citizen or citizens exercise their natural rights to do so! Such is the case with Amendment 64, or indeed any of the other state amendments which - through the action of citizen NATURAL rights - confer a benefit (perceived so to those citizens not a Nanny government) that it is legal within that state. Obviously then, the rights can only apply to that state.

If then a Colorado citizen (say having approved Amendment 64) were to go elsewhere and try to exercise MJ use in a non-complying state he would be subject to the full weight of the federal law. But not in his own state. Thus, if the federal government or any of its agencies seeks to intrude on that citizen exercise, once citizens have passed the law for their state, then it is effectively seeking to quash citizen natural rights using federal powers. This is no longer a democracy but ....I don't know what....maybe again a Corporatocracy if the effect is ultimately to protect corporate interests.

The fact is that alcohol is far more deadly and causes vastly more in the way of deaths (i.e. DUI manslaughters, accidents), hardship and addicton than MJ. It is time the feds realize that and stay out of these state ballot measures!

"America Haters?" Uhh.....NO! System HATERS!

Am I an "America Hater" for posting this cartoon of a bellicose Uncle Sam on the rampage - to provide a simple caricature for the Republicans' bellicose approach to international problems? Of course not! It's the SYSTEM I detest and want to expunge, not the country!

A pervasive trope making the rounds now that Romney and the GOP has been exposed on multiple fronts as the cradle of the rich and entitled is that we who do so are "America haters" and if we don't like it we need to leave the country. "America: Love it or Leave it!"

Not so fast!

Those who spin this crap and repeat it until they actually believe it are conflating the country which we love (especially as recent genealogy research has disclosed that I am a descendant of Conrad Brumbaugh, who fought in the Revolutionary War) with a corporatocratic system that we HATE. It is this system we wish to dispense with, not the country, hence there is NO reason to "leave the country". It is OUR country, we just want the system dismantled! The System which generates so much inequality that 1 in 6 of our countrymen remain in poverty (because of all the good jobs shipped out by the vampire equity capitalists) and allows an abomination like 400 billionaires to own one eighth of the country's net worth! No way in hell could such a System be moral or worth preserving!

Perhaps the pinnacle achievement of the false consciousness creators in the media, has been to conflate the corrupt Corporatocratic 'System' and its blood brother gangster state with America, the country. This enables the power brokers to cast all critics as 'anti-American', 'anti-government', 'communist' or worse. But - as author Charles Reich notes (p. 202, 'Opposing the System') this is totally and completely false:
"The System is not America. It is not the land we love, and indeed not a land at all. It does not merit our loyalty, affection or respect. However much the System may attempt to disguise itself in patriotic trappings, or set itself up as a source of authority, or cloak itself in the vestments of 'the community', it is none of these. We should always be ready to fire the System if it does not serve us well."

And indeed we must if, as Romney recently revealed when he believed himself in a cosseted environment, it insists nearly half the country can flush themselves down the toilet.  But since those of us who caught out Romney and his enablers, it stands to reason it is our duty to stay in this country and fight to defeat him and his billionaire enablers and sycophants. Hence, it would be absurd to LEAVE the country to go anywhere else!

This introduces the question of : Who buys these absurd tracts and books on the 'Left hating America'?  (as some right bloggers do). Well, clearly those who've had their brains jacked and minds manipulated. Those who've been convinced by the corporate oligarchic media that their interests  that half the country's citizens are "terrorist loving, god denying, socialist worshipping" freaks. Thereby true discord is sown while civil society is undermined.

Sadly, those who demand we exit the country we love have no interest or sense of past history, hence cannot gauge the present against it. They are fallow and willing pawns for mental manipulation by the corporate media, because they have no extant bank of knowledge or history (divorced from corporate shaping) to which they can refer.

Meanwhile, their manipulation of consent proceeds apace, because most don't read or obtain information outside the corrupt, co-opted corporate-congealed media axis (especially FOX News). No, they just sit there and imbibe the sound bites from Rush, O'Reilly, Hannity, Glenn Beck or whorever.  Anyone who speaks outside the 1-dimensional sound bite world is pilloried. They can’t make sense of his words, and the words themselves aren’t easily translated without being violated by PR-speak.

No wonder that the opinion polls for the most part record NO authentic thoughts or opinions - but merely the regurgitated and recycled claptrap spewed out by the right-o-centric corporate media. Who, even as Romney's video mouthings were exposed as his true feelings felt it incumbent on themselves to sustain a false "objectivity" by digging up an Obama tape 14 years  old and playing it. Will these vile corporate hacks and whores ever learn? Will they ever process false equivalene?  Meanwhile, the clueless Reich extremists pat themselves on the back, believing that what they write actually embodies original thought.

TO the corrupt System, meanwhile, civil society - not characterized not by profit or wealthy mandate, but civic choice, is totally expendable. THis explains why so many of the working class remain duped that they have to hunker down from "welfare queens" and Romney's  economic totalitarianism can save the day and deliver jobs. In the form of letting 'markets' run amuck and the social, societal chips fall where they may so millions more jobs vanish.

Civil society - the mediating domain between big (and often intrusive government) and private markets is exactly what the corporate media and right wing hate-baiters seek to destroy. Destroy by their own abandonment of civil causes, and a pseudo-moralistic 'us vs. them' virulence.

It is thereby left to us, the TRUE Patriots and Lovers of Country to do the hard work: of not only fending off the Toxic System that has become a malignant cancer, but to reclaim the minds of its victims as well!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Of Morons, Ingrates, Fools and Apparatchiks

Jeebus, you would think that in the aftermath of Romney's finally blurting out the unadulterated truth, people would finally figure out what side their bread is buttered on. But it seems FAUX News still has most of the hoi polloi brainwashed against their own interests. To be sure of that, I had to tune in to Shepherd Smith's program on FAUX to see what Reich Wing TV was spouting. (I have to do this occasionally to see the sort of poisoned rot being fed the delusionary minions who still support Mitt despite his admissions.)

Leading the hour were a host of re-broadcasts, including of an Obama 1998 speech about "redistribution" in which he said:

"The trick is figuring out how do we structure government systems that pool resources and hence facilitate some [wealth] redistribution -- because I actually believe in redistribution, at least at a certain level to make sure that everybody’s got a shot.”

Which is not significantly different from the view of JFK while he was president. This is why JFK vigorously sought 'top-down' redistribution via his proposed tax policies. These included (Donald Gibson , 'Battling Wall Street - The Kennedy Presidency', Sheridan Square Press, 1994, pp. 22-23):

- the elimination of all tax breaks set up in the form of foreign investment operations or companies

- the repeal of all tax advantages by corporations operating in low tax countries, such as Switzerland

- the repeal of the 100% charitable contribution write-off by the wealthy

- Withholding tax on the investments, dividends and capital of the wealthy

- to ensure revenues could not be lost by too many shelters or at the 'end point'.

- Tax on investment dividends so that all those earning in excess of $180 k would pay a much higher rate.

-Devices that would prevent 'high bracket taxpayers' from concealing income from 'personal holding companies'.

- An anti-speculation provision that would ensure property or investments were kept at least one year - else no benefit from existing capital gains rates would apply

-The elimination of special 'gift' transfers as well as repeal of the $50 dividend exclusion and the 4% dividend credit.

Resoundingly reinforcing the general perception of JFK as a 'statist' (pro dirigisme) were the withering criticisms from the financial press at the time. One of these, which appeared in Fortune accused him of an attempt to "manipulate the tax level against the business cycle". ('Activism in the White House', June, 1961, p. 117) Of course, ALL these reactionaries and corporo-fascists would have protested levelling the playing field so the wealthy couldn't amass wealth to use against the rest of us. This is all Obama was echoing in his 1998 remark, but the Neocon-Repuke Nazis have their panties in a twist over it.


It just depends on WHO is doing the re-distribution and where it's going to! The Repukes want redistribution for sure but DONE THEIR WAY. They want it to inflate the military -industrial complex to indirectly provide pork barrel spending on military bullshit - like here in COS to the tune of $1b, to support their special interests! The also want redistribution to the richest, and they've done that via tax cuts, especially over the Bush years, moving 1 dollar of every 6 upward to the rich from the bottom 95%, as Barbara Ehrenreich has observed (in Bait and Switch).

Thus, Mitt's recent comment, to wit:

"I think a society based on a government-centered nation where government plays a larger and larger role, redistributes money, that's the wrong course for America."

IS Horse manure. Hello, fuckwit! That's exactly what YOUR SIDE does every time it approves another multi-billion dollar pork barrel military project --- just to provide jobs for your minions in Repukesville districts. (E.g. to build 2,380 F-35 bombers at $ 0.3 billon each)You don't think we notice! That's also what you plan to do with your proposed TAX CUTS! But the brainless wonders who follow you come hell or high water can't figure it out. Can't figure out that those $4 trillion in tax cuts will have to come out of THEIR sorry asses! In other words, stealing from the less well off to help pay for caviar -stoked cruises, rose wine wraps and $100,000 golf trips to St. Kitts for the RICH! Oh, and $150,000 gold-embossed toilets with special butt -cleaners that can be activated via remote clicker! (So they needn't foul their dainty hands)


And then people wonder why the Gini coefficient, which measures inequality, has now fallen to the point that we're next to Mexico and the Philippines. In terms of practical applications, a Gini index of zero would denote perfect equality. In terms of western industrial nations, most developed European nations and Canada tend to have Gini indices between 24 and 36, the United States' and Mexico's Gini indices are both above 40, indicating that the United States and Mexico have greater inequality..In the whole panoply of criteria, and the full spectrum of research, the Gini coefficient (the prime indicator of income inequality) is the key factor.

The biggest howler of all from the Right's Romney zombies is that they believe some "Left Nazi" secretly recorded the Mittster's comments on camera phone, and now they are talking about "prosecution". This is because it was done at a "private gathering". Well, I hate to disappoint these ingrate bratskies, but I've since learned that it was one of THEIR OWN who recorded it then posted it on You Tube! Then, Jimmy Carter's grandson , James Carter IV, located it on the web, then managed to track down the source to obtain the whole tape, and made that available to David Corn of Mother Jones (Denver Post, today, p. 22A, 'Carter Grandson Arranged Romney Video's Release').

According to the account:

"Carter had watched countless hours of footage of Republican Mitt Romney and made it a habit to search You tube every few days for keywords like 'Romney' and 'Republicans'."

The piece goes on to note that on one day in August, one clip "jumped out"- according to CArter IV, it was "all blurred at the beginning and mysterious"

Something suggested there might be more than a brief clip, and sure enough with some diligence he found it! Carter then tracked down the source of the video and "convinced him that Carter could be trusted", i.e. in not divulging his name. Remember, this was one of the hotshots at the confab. One of the rich guys. Maybe he had guilty pangs, and felt like he had to take a shower after hearing and seeing the atrocity of which Romney spoke so cynically.

His way of getting his conscience clear? Giving the whole video to young Carter IV. After a "string of internet conversations" it then made its way to David Corn, an editor with Mother Jones magazine.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

And the Repuke babies keep on whining, because they can't handle the truth that their man is a thug and a RAT!

Yeshua May Have Had a Wife: Big Deal!

With apologies to Dan Brown and his 'Da Vinci Code', the latest brouhaha to strike orthodox Christianity is the uncovering of a 4th century Coptic script fragment (see image) in which Jesus (Yeshua) refers to "my wife" in a dialogue. Four words, evidently originally in Greek, and translated into "Jesus said to them, my wife" appear to provide evidence that Yeshua was married.

This is despite the fact that orthodox Christian tradition has long held Yeshua to be unmarried, despite there being no hard historical evidence to support it. We know, those of us who used to be Roman Catholics, that the Church was committed to the belief Jesus had no spouse. This was employed to support the view that the disciples also had no women (disproven by rigorous historical analysis, i.e. all the apostles were married except John) and that therefore RC priests had to remain "celibates". This amounted to a huge and stupid loss, given how we've seen so many priests waver and go to the dark side to prey on kids, altar boys etc.

Anyway, the Coptic fragment was presented by Karen King (an expert in the history of Christianity) to a 6-day conference held at Rome's La Sapienza University and at the Augustinanum Institute of the Pontifical Lateran University. Meanwhile, there was zero mention of King's discovery by any of the Vatican media, despite the fact they usually cover such conferences.

No wonder, they need time to think of a bunch of theological excuses or "explanations", i.e. "Christ was obviously referring to his Church, not a flesh and blood wife!" But if they tried that one they'd be instantly rejected since another line in the fragment reads: "She can be my disciple"

We know churches can't be disciples, only flesh and blood humans.

Other Christian apologists of orthodoxy haven't been so quiet. One (from Asbury Theological Seminary in Kentucky) arguing that "the language of intimacy is often used to talk about spiritual relationships". Huh?

He added that the fragment reflects a trend or practice embodied in the "sister-wife texts" of the Gnostics. These reflected a tradition whereby:

"They carried around a female believer who cooked for them and cleaned for them and did the usual domestic chores."

I'm sure modern women would be elated to read that, but most experts on the Gnostics (e.g. Elaine Pagels) don't buy it. Indeed, the Gnostics were amongst the most egalitarian of all early Christian groups. They'd never have reduced "female believers" to the role of chattel.

It would also not have been a big deal, in the Gnostic teachings, for Yeshua to have actually had a wife, since they didn't regard him as a special divine personage or "God man-Savior". It was instead the Pauline Christians who held him so. If he was no special divine creation or divine himself then marrying would've been no biggie.

As Pagels observes ('The Gnostic Gospels', 1979, Vintage-Random House, p.134):

"Whoever achieves gnosis becomes no longer a Christian, but a Christ."

In effect, in the Gnostic teachings, anyone - including females- has the capacity to become 'a Christ'. If one had to put Gnosticism's teachings in one summary phrase it would be:

"The relativity of Christhood"

Everyone, not just Yeshua, had full potential to become a "Christ" in his or her own right!

Pauline Catholicism, meanwhile, held there could be only one, on which all others had to depend for 'salvation'. This was the nexus for power and control over the masses. There would or could be no distribution of Christhood so if you wanted salvation you had to go through a rigid hierarchy and follow their magic recipes. As Christianity fragmented through the ages, these recipes became many and varied, until now one only had to "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ" as personal Savior and one is saved.

But this would've been the most abominable blasphemy to Gnostics, i.e. to select one personality and extol it over all others.

At the opposite end of the spectrum we have the strict Jewish view as revealed by Oxford biblical scholar Geza Vermes in his monograph ‘The Authentic Gospel Of Jesus’ . According to Vermes, the specialness of Yeshua in a spritual capacity was meant only for Jews, never Gentiles. In this sense Paul committed a great travesty and violation by taking Yeshua's role and extending it out to all Gentile Christians. As Vermes puts it (p. 415, op. cit.):

The religion revealed by the authentic message of Jesus is straightforward, without complex dogmas, mythical images or self-centered mystical speculation. It resembles a race consisting only of the final ‘straight’ – demanding from the runners their last ounce of energy and with a winners’ medal prepared for all the JEWISH participants who cross the finishing line."

Irrespective of any special role for Yeshua, again there'd have been no prohibitions against marriage per se.

We shall await the outcome of this latest revelation but my bet is that by next month, Christian orthodoxy will have decided it's all a "tempest in a teacup" and Yeshua had no wife, and one must impose a broader "spiritual" interpretation.

If Romney’s Class Warfare Comment Doesn’t Drive the Rest of the 99% from Him, Nothing Will!

I 've always been mystified, since Mitt Romney became the Repug nominee, how the polls could show such a tight race and minimal spread. I argued that if the “99%" meme actually existed (as portrayed by Occupy Wall Street and others) then Obama ought to have been blowing Romney away – by at least 20-30 pts. See, e.g. my April blog about one month before Romney made his “47%” remark at a Florida country club gathering of billionaires:

Now that the “cat is out of the bag” and Romney’s actual intentions and dismissive regard for the less wealthy is known, one wonders if we can expect a turning point in the polls and finally huge separation. (Some swing states, e.g. Wisconsin, are showing a 5-6 point separation.) This would indicate that those included in the 47% who are Romney followers – either receiving gov’t benefits, or expecting them, say in VA disability or Social Security- finally get it, that this guy is NOT their friend and couldn’t give a rat’s ass about their welfare. Do they at last get it that Romney’s made no pretense that he wouldn't be the president of all Americans, only the wealthiest? Or are they suffering so much from “Obama Derangement Syndrome” and just ditching Obama they don’t really care about their own well being?

Let us note that Willard Mitt made it clear in his comments (see link to video in previous blog) that “capital will come back and we’ll see — without actually doing anything — we’ll actually get a boost in the economy.” In other words, big time trickle-down economics in the 21st century.

This is exactly the “Judas Economy” so well described by William Wolman and Anne Colamosca in the book: The Judas Economy: The Triumph of Capital and the Betrayal of Work. Therein they described how, for example, private equity pirates and vampires (like at Romney while at Bain Capital) were responsible not for job creation but job destruction to amass vast wealth at the expense of ordinary people, like Joe Soptic. The mode of achieving this was varied but the results always the same: workers losing jobs and either not regaining employment or making such low wages they declined in income to the point they entered the 1 in 6 class of those in poverty. And thus, earning too little to pay income taxes. The very thing Willard Mitt railed against in his May polemic.

Methods of job destruction, to remind readers, included leveraged buyouts of companies then selling them off for a song (and taking tax writeoffs) or sending them into bankruptcy – as an excuse to ditch workers, as well as sending jobs overseas altogether leaving Americans with zippo and cat food to eat from dumpster diving.

THIS is what Romney would bring back and he felt safe enough to own up to it for once at the gathering of the wealthy. Let’s also bear in mind that his subtext is exposing more Americans to the perverse economics embedded in the Pareto Distribution which function is to magnify inequality over time, e.g.

What ought to really gall Romney –supporting working class citizens is the dismissive regard Romney has for them. They are dissed as de facto freeloaders and moochers “who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it.” It was not his job as a candidate OR as president if he is elected, “to worry about those people.”

In other words, go fuck yourselves. Or to use the “more elegant” parlance of Romney’s soul mate, Herbert Spencer,

They can avail themselves of whatever charity they might find” or ….if that fails, “If they are not sufficiently complete to live….. it is best that they should die."

Quite obviously, even the most rudimentary intellect ought to be able to process and see that any president who doesn’t acknowledge health care as a human right or having enough to eat, has to be fully prepared to let people die. Oh, unless they can secure charity aid, which tens of millions will surely be competing for if Willard Mitt goes ahead and cuts food stamps by one third, leaving starving kids from sea to shining sea.

By Romney’s own definition, the needy “victims” he bitches to his rich cohort about, include workers in low-paying jobs who don’t even earn $9,750 a year, the threshold level at which they would start to owe federal income tax. By definition, he also includes older Americans whose Social Security pensions are too low to be taxed , disabled veterans and people who were maimed on the job.

All of these folks can go fly a kite, suck sand or eat shit. Romney doesn’t give a flying fart in the wind. No matter his squirming now in the aftermath, he expressed his true feelings at that confab, feeling quite safe that only fellow rich farts would be able to afford the $50,000 per head dinner tab. Alas, for him, one of the attendees viddied the Romney spiel. Then, James Carter IV (grandson of Jimmy) tracked down a snippet of it on You tube, before tracking down the source and talking him into turning over the original tape under promise of confidentiality and the tape was later conveyed to David Corn at Mother Jones.

Corn's mission and that of Mother Jones was to try to show the not-wealthy who support Romney they are really digging their own graves. The problem is false consciousness, and we've no idea how many working class people or those getting gov't benefits are in this group. Cornell University's University's Suzanne Metzler's research has shown too many Americans receiving benefits from the government have no clue that they are. If this is so then people who'd otherwise be personally offended by Romney's crass remarks may instead think he's talking about “undeserving blacks and lazy welfare cheats". These people desperately need a wake up call that the Mittster is talking about THEM!

Make no mistake that by his blanket definition, the “47%” group also includes some middle-income Americans who make, say, $50,000 a year but are not required to pay taxes after they take advantage of child tax credits, marriage penalty relief and other breaks, many of which were originally part of the Bush-era tax cuts that Mr. Romney backs with a blind ideological fervor.

Would Romney ordinarily have spoken so cynically, so brutally, with so little compassion? Hell NO! Bear in mind Mitt was not talking to ordinary flesh and blood Americans but stratospheric wealthy capitalist pigs. These are the elites who make so much money that they’re able to use tax avoidance schemes to not pay any income tax at all or who, like Romney, are able to shelter their incomes in overseas banks.

Rachel Maddow last night exposed another facet of Romney’s own lies concerning his own taxes: showing a clip from a Republican debate in which he confronted Newt Gingrich . Hence, his reference two months ago to paying “13%” in taxes was not to income tax but for capital gains taxes after using tax loopholes. Had Romney been paying actual federal income taxes it would've been at the 35% level. This has enabled him to pretend that ordinary income comes from investment and thus lower taxes.

More than ever, therefore, we need to see ALL of Romney’s tax returns for at least the past ten years – which is exactly the same standard he imposed on his Veep running mate Ryan: ten years of back returns or we dump you! How about following your own standards that you apply to your VP nominee, Mitt?

Meanwhile, as I noted in the previous blog, Romney’s characterization of his mythical slice of victimized, mooching, shiftless Americans was flat out wrong. The vast majority of Americans pay SOME form of taxes: either federal income taxes, state income tax, property taxes or payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare — or both — as well as other federal fees. They also pay local taxes and sales taxes.

Thus, the Repuke meme that taxes need to be raised ON THE POOR – has no ballast. One can’t cut or squeeze blood out of stone. The poor have no more to give, can barely sustain themselves, and so the federal revenue problem does not pivot on the poor and needy and their level of taxes. NO, it hinges on taxing where the money is, on the richest. (And in my opinion at least the Bush tax cuts for the Middle class must also be sunset).

My opinion is that Romney’s candidacy, in the light of his contemptuous revelations, has put his campaign on the respirator, and now the plug merely needs to be pulled. Make no mistake that Barack will do that in the upcoming debates!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Romney to the 47%: You're all VICTIMS!

Romney screams at an OWS protestor to "Move to North Korea!" if he doesn't like Romney's economic plans. The guy must have been one of the "47%".

Leave it to Willard Mitt to dig his electoral grave ever deeper by shooting from the hip. Last week it was the politically motivated attack on Obama as an "apologist" and "appeaser" in the wake of the attack on the Libyan Consulate. It was unseemly, reeked of desperation and cynicism and didn't go down with the majority of sane voters.

Now, this week, the Mittster's imploded by making a derogatory comment against the "47%" who support Barack Obama in most consistent polls. (It ought to REALLY be at least 90% against this entitled, snot -nosed, 1 % doofus with hundreds of millions tucked away in Swiss Banks and the Caymans!)

Anyway, to cut to the chase, Romney was caught out by Mother Jones magazine, which published the Romney video capturing his derelict remarks, to wit, that "nearly half of President Obama's voters are dependent on the government" and "pay no income tax". Understandably this mind-fucked tommyrot elicited swift, hostile, and passionate reactions and not merely from the Left blogosphere or media.

One of the critics was conservative writer David Brooks of The New York Times who titled his op-ed column today "Thurston Howell Romney," a reference to the wealthy character from the 60s sitcom Gilligan's Island. In that delightful comedy series, you could always count on Thurston Howell to have no remote clue regarding the lives or needs of the other shipwrecked souls. Even in an environment of limited resources and means, where almost every manjack worked his tail off, there was Thurston, invariably reclining in a hammock stretched between two palm trees, demanding his Pina Colatas. This image fits Mitt to a tee, though his millions of acolytes will likely scream "Foul!"

In his op-ed Brooks writes:

"Romney's comment is a country-club fantasy. It’s what self-satisfied millionaires say to each other. It reinforces every negative view people have about Romney.”

Well, at least the negative views of sensible and intelligent people. Those of a different economic class from Romney's who aren't prepared to be used by his kind as toilet paper! (But I guess many working class folk, including those receiving gov't benefits, are!)

But Brooks is exactly correct, and why not? Romney is really articulating an embedded Social Darwinism that seeks to impose Darwinian natural selection within the milieu of social classes and economics. The very term "rugged individualist" reeks of this, the adjective "rugged" serving as an indicator that only "rugged members of the species" (i.e. fatass rich guys) are fit to survive and SHOULD survive.

This, of course, echoes the Social Darwinist pseudo-science of British philosopher Herbert Spencer. Richard Hofstadter, in his book: Social Darwinism in American Thought, (American Historical Association, 1955) observes that Spencer rejected all government services for the poor and disabled as encouraging a fundamental weakness in the society which "induced corruption, sloth and all the other vices". It was also Spencer, not Darwin, who coined the phrase "the survival of the fittest".

Author Susan Jacoby (The Age Of American Unreason, p. 70) noted:

"Spencer preached the gospel of laissez-faire economics as the only way to ensure that the fittest would triumph in society through a process of 'social selection' equivalent to Darwin's natural selection".

She adds:

"The British philosopher was unequivocally and fanatically opposed to all government programs that he viewed as obstacles to social selection, including public education, health regulations, tariffs and even postal service."

Just like Mitt Romney, he insisted on no dependence on any government services whatever. From Romney's statement about the 47% it is also quite obvious to me that he agrees with one of Spencer's favorite sayings:

"If they are sufficiently complete to live, they do live, and it is well that they should live. If they are not sufficiently complete to live, they die, and it is best that they should die."

In other words, the fucker prefers that the 47% of us who insist there IS a role for government to act as a positive bulwark against the incursion of corporate fascists, , die. No wonder Josh Barro, in a commentary for Bloomberg, called Romney's remarks "an utter disaster" for the GOP presidential nominee.

Indeed, Romney essentially doubled down on his ill-advised comments captured by Mother Jones! Romney stood by his comments last night, saying his message was "not elegantly stated." Yeppers, I guess when one effectively belches out "I wish those 47% Obama-backing motherfuckers would just die!" it's difficult to put elegantly! Romney in his double-down said:

"The president believes in what I've described as a government-centered society, where government plays a larger and larger role, provides for more and more of the needs of the individuals, I happen to believe instead in a free enterprise, free individual society where people pursuing their dreams are able to employ one another, build enterprises, build the strongest economy in the world."

This is typical entitled, rich man doggerel, and here's why:

- Romney makes not ONE mention that his own party and followers are as "government-centered" as any others in this nation, it's just that they opt for different government baubles. Indeed, the GOP House and assorted lackeys have been screeching that the approach of budget "sequestration" (Jan. 2) is "disastrous" because up to 20,000 or more defense jobs may be lost. These are mainly in Repuke districts, or governed states. The jobs are contract- based meaning the government doles out juicy contracts to support the workers. HOW is this not a form of corporate-worker welfare to those states?

- The recent TIME ('One Nation Subsidized') notes that corporations in this country still receive more corporate welfare by more than three times, than citizens receive via social welfare. So who are the Nanny -state teat suckers here? Really?

- Under Obama's presidency - following the disastrous financial collapse under Gee Dumbya - the government had to help out millions tossed out of jobs because they'd no where else to go! What? Mitt would have them drop dead on the streets like his pal Spencer, or beg at charities, when constant news appeared that all food pantries were running low?

- Mitt talks about people being "free to pursue their own dreams" and "build enterprises to employ one another" but this is only possible when aggregate demand supports it! It also presupposes ample money in circulation to be able to purchase what those enterprises produce. This is why as Matt Miller observes in The Tyranny of Bad Ideas, dissing the continuance of tax cuts in the U.S. as opposed to expanded social welfare programs as in Europe, that those nations (i.e. Germany) which didn't follow the U.S. low tax model fared much better because their strategy fueled aggregate demand, not supply side.

- Mitt's reference to "free enterprise", i.e. laissez - faire economics, shows clearly that he's a Social Darwinist. He believes every manjack -individual needs to make it on his own, despite the fact that corporations (including the multinationals) are all arrayed against the average citizen in whatever goal he seeks to achieve. These impersonal monied forces then, when the citizen is unaligned, can defeat his best efforts over and over....even in such a basic activity as stock investing....since the single citizen is no match for flash trade algorithms or computers.

- As for the "not paying taxes malarkey", the non-partisan Tax Policy Center, notes that about 46% of Americans paid no income tax in 2011. But the reason isn't that they're getting away with anything, but that their incomes are too LOW! More than one-third of those who don't pay income or payroll taxes have incomes of less than $20,000. I'd like to see Willard Mitt try to live on THAT for one year! Of the people who don't pay income or payroll taxes, according to the Center more than half are elderly. In other words, they ALREADY paid 40 to 50 years of income taxes and now are living off meager pensions or Social Security - not fat checks of $2 million per year from capital disbursements arriving from Swiss Banks in Zurich! Oh, and by the way, those seniors still have to cough up for property taxes - often thousands a year!

Mitt also said that citizens aren't entitled to health care as a right (which exactly shows what he will do to Medicaid and Medicare if elected), but he is wrong. The U.S. was actually a signatory to a 1994 UN declaration that health care IS a right! And if it is not to be such under Romney, then what might we expect?

Imagine we're some time into a Romney presidency and he's made all sorts of changes. You're in agonizing abdominal pain and it gets worse and worse. You are beside yourself and phone 911. The ambulance comes, and a resident quickly diagnoses appendicitis and that your appendix may soon burst. However, reps of the collection company that have taken over the hospital's ER descend on you and demand full payment - a tab of $13 thousand, before they lift one scalpel. (See e.g. The Economist, 'Work in Progress' under Mitt Romney's Economics, April 21st, p. 39).

What do you do? Cry boo hoo hoo. Or maybe BWAAAHAHHAHA! Wishing now that you had not voted Romney? Or what? (Understand again that under Obama's health care law such shenanigans will not be allowed, but Romney says he will shoot it down).

So what do you do? Well, how does one say this, repent at leisure? All we can tell the apparent half of the 99 percent determined to support this 1 percenter, is 'Be careful what you wish for' because those birds may come home to roost on your own head!Under a Romney presidency and with Reep help in the House and Senate and Obama's health care law repealed (possibly thanks to the Supremes), it is possible to envisage hospitals across the nation with Accreta Inc. employees "registering patients, taking down sensitive health info and championing aggressive bill collection" even as sickly patients (mostly working class and middle class) lay groaning in the halls begging for help. Think it can't happen? Think again!

If health care is not a right, and by that I mean an affordable medium to access necessary medical treatment, then what Romney is really asserting is that 'Death IS your right!' Hence, playing into the screams of the Yahoos at one Tampa, FL Repug debate where Ron Paul was speaking and asked 'What's to become of them?' (meaning desperately sick people) and the animals, swine in the audience yelled, "Let them die!'

DO you wish a nation immersed in self-seeking swine? Then by all means vote Romney. He will deliver in ways that Herbert Spencer could have only imagined!

Lastly, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus defended Romney yesterday in an interview with CNN, blabbering:

"The point of all of this is the size of the government is too big and if we don't do something about it we're going to really lose the very idea of America,"

Well, how's about putting your money where your mouth is, Priebus, and laying off all those fat, juicy PORK BARREL defense contracts? You know, the ones you want earmarked for your Repug districts? If the "government" is too big, then it has to apply to YOUR interests in the government as well, and that means MILITARY spending! In any case, both you and Mitt need to read the Preamble of the Constitution again and especially the words enjoining government to PROMOTE THE GENERAL WELFARE!

For those who'd like to hear Keith Olbermann's response to Romney's codswallop: