Friday, August 31, 2012

Can you pass this short quiz?

So with all the political stuff that’s going on, I’m going to ask you to name two people.

But first,  I’m going to redact some place names so as not to give away the answers. That said, please read the following quote.
“I speak differently in _________ than I do in ______, and when I speak in _______, I say different things than I say in the ____________ Hall. That is a matter of practice, not of theory. We do not want to be a movement of a few straw brains, but rather a movement that can conquer the broad masses.”  
In other words, the person who said this was talking about Etch-A-Sketch politics and the technique of making flip-flopping statements. The theory is, say whatever it takes, lie if necessary, tell one audience one thing and another audience another, so long as you manage to fool lots of people into following you.  
So who was it? It was….
Well, let me give you a hint that may give it away. The speaker delighted his boss, who himself said, 
But the most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly and with unflagging attention. It must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over. Here, as so often in this world, persistence is the first and most important requirement for success
I guess you’ve guessed by now. But in case you haven’t:

The first guy was Joseph Goebbels, the propaganda minister of Nazi Germany. And the one who urged repeating a the few points over and over again, the guy who praised persistence, was Adolph Hitler.

Hey, I’m not accusing anyone presently living of anything. I’m only pointing out what Goebbel and Hitler said. You’re grown up enough to draw your own conclusions.

Monday, August 27, 2012

A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you're talking pocket change

From a blog piece by Henry Blodgett on Yahoo's Daily Ticker, explaining a jury verdict under which which Samsung pays Apple a billion dollars:
The monetary damages here, though large, are almost irrelevant. Apple already has more than $100 billion of cash, and Samsung will barely miss $1 billion.
And I still see homeless people stooping in the gutter to pick up a nickel.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Is we Americans stoopid enough yet? Not if Republicans have their way!

A few posts back I wrote about the amazing move in Texas to outlaw lessons in critical thinking in Texas schools. (That’s stuff like clear-headed logic, seeking out and evaluating the sources of information, not confusing symbols with actual things, and parsing language.)

I mentioned Wonkette’s right-on comment, “Texas Republicans promise they’ll nip that thinky-learny shit right in the bud.”

But Republican stupidity seems to have grown with the advent of Todd Akin of Missouri’s brilliant discovery that raped women can’t get pregnant, unless, of course, they was askin’ for it, or really wanted it, or something. At least that’s the implication of what he said when discussing whether women can get pregnant because of a rape.

“It seems to be, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, it’s really rare," declared Akin. "If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down.”

Yeah right. That was so stupid it resonated around the the nation. More and more people are beginning to notice that Republicans seem not only to be stupid, but also that Republicans want to promulgate national stupidity.

Having developed an extremist culture that encourages figures such as Akin to seek legislative office, GOP leaders should hardly be surprised when idiotic and reprehensible remarks spill from the mouths of their candidates,” comments the National Memo.

“On matters of basic science and peer-reviewed knowledge, from evolution to climate change to elementary fiscal math, many Republicans in power cling to a level of ignorance that would get their ears boxed even in a medieval classroom. Congress incubates and insulates these knuckle-draggers,” observed Timothy Egan, a New York Times columnist and blogger.

Republicans don't want to educate you. They don't want to educate your children. The less education you have, the more they can manipulate you. The more they can get you to believe that money in the pockets of their choice somehow benefits you, the better for them,” said Isa Lee Wolf from the Yahoo Contributor Network.

Then there was this bundle of razzle-dazzle self-contradiction from Mitt Romney, who plainly must have been hoping that his fast-babble approach to explaining himself would confuse all us rubes:

Mitt Romney in 2002: ''I respect and will protect a woman's right to choose.'' 
Mitt Romney in 2007: ''Look, I was pro-choice. I am pro-life. You can go back to YouTube and look at what I said in 1994. I never said I was pro-choice, but my position was effectively pro-choice. I changed my position. And I get tired of people that are holier-than-thou because they've been pro-life longer than I have.''

The Republican dumbing down of America has made Americans and the United States the laughingstock of the world. The question is, will we vote out every one of these pro-idiocy Republicans – from Congressioal candidates to the White House candidate?

Or are we already way too stupid to get rid of these idiots?

Monday, August 20, 2012

This post courtesy of the Communications Workers of America

First, a full disclosure: I own Verizon stock. Its dividends are part of my income. That said, I'll be damned if I'll passively put up with a few greedy SOBs at the top taking multi-million dollar salaries, bonuses and stock options while their (and my) employees get shafted.

If you, like me, own Verizon stock, I encourage you to vote no on every stock holder ballot that asks for approval of a compensation plan, a bonus plan, approval of new Board of Directors members nominated by the company, or so much as putting a dried turd in the CEO's pocket until the Communications Workers of America have an agreement they feel they can sign. Want to know why? Over to you, CWA:

Stand Up to Verizon
August 20, 2012
News for supporters and allies

Every Verizon Job, A Union Job!

This month—more than a year after Verizon workers’ contracts expired—representatives of CWA and IBEW and the company are in round the clock mediation sessions in Washington, DC, in a process being overseen by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. If that process breaks down, workers could be locked out or on strike within 7 days.

We need your support now more than ever.

With livelihoods and futures on the line, workers and supporters across the country have launched a massive mobilization to demand that the company bargain fair contracts that support good union jobs
Thirteen Months On, Verizon Still Demands Deep Cuts
After a year of stalled negotiations with workers in Verizon East, it is clear that the company’s strategy is to destroy middle-class jobs and roll back benefits earned over decades of hard work by CWA and IBEW members at the bargaining table and on the streets. The cuts to wages and benefits that Verizon is asking for are shocking and represent an all-out war on the middle class. For example:
  • Wages that don’t keep up with the cost of living
  • Higher health care costs and fewer benefits for current workers and retirees
  • Pensions gutted for those currently covered and no pensions at all for new hires
  • Job security becomes a thing of the past
  • More outsourcing of good union jobs
And the fight for fairness is not restricted to the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. CWA members in the Southwest began bargaining in July and are facing the same demands by the company. Workers in the West are preparing to bargain in early 2013 and are expecting the same attacks by the company they now call Verigreedy.
"It's flat out bullying and it's disgusting."
Nearly five thousand workers and supporters rallied at the Verizon offices in downtown Philadelphia on Saturday, August 11, to demand a fair contract. One of the heroes among the sea of red CWA shirts at the Workers Stand for America rally was a woman fired by Verizon after she stood up for fairness.
Jennifer Travis, a CWA member who helped run a repair call center in Pittsburgh, was fired last fall after 15 years of service to Verizon. She told her story to thousands of brothers and sisters in Philadelphia. Her situation, sadly, is not uncommon. Verizon fired or disciplined dozens of union activists after last year’s strike in what many believe was an effort to intimidate workers who would stand up for fairness and exercise their union rights.

During the Verizon strike, Travis took her husband and two of her three kids to the picket line. She wanted to pass on the pride of being in a union to her children.
We were loud and boisterous, but peaceful. The company says that I assaulted a manager as he escorted a scab across our picket line. Those are outrageous and false allegations. And, together with my union, we are fighting back.
But mine was not an isolated incident. Several of my brothers and sisters were fired or disciplined last August for similarly trumped up charges. What many of us have in common is our highly visible status as union leaders and activists. It makes me wonder if the company retaliated against us in an effort to intimidate other members who would consider standing up for their union in the future. If that’s true, it’s flat out bullying, and it’s disgusting.
Workers have the right to exercise their union rights without fear of intimidation and harassment by the boss. We know: Workers’ rights are human rights!
Watch this emotional video of Jen Travis talking about Verizon's intimidation tactics, then share it with everyone you know who cares about fairness. Corporate bullies like Verizon rely on our silence. Stand up to Verizon and show your support for Jen's bravery--watch and share today:
Thank You to Our Allies!
Jobs with Justice activists helped the cause on Tuesday, August 7, by delivering thousands of postcards to Verizon board member Joseph Neubauer demanding that he step up and help remove the roadblocks the company has put in the way of fairness.
Justin Harrison, a splicing technician for Verizon in Philadelphia and Unit 1 President of CWA Local 13000 explained:
Mr. Neubauer and all the members of the board share responsibility for the way Verizon treats its workers. . . . It's time that people like Neubauer stand up and take responsibility. My co-workers and I are going to be standing up to Verizon and those who support its job-killing policies today and every day until we win a fair deal.

Religious Leaders Decry Verizon's Lack of Good Faith

The Clergy Community for Social and Economic Justice, an organization representing more than 2,000 faith communities in New York state took a public stand with Verizon employees by sending a letter to CEO Lowell McAdam on August 1. The group declared that Verizon’s “failure to negotiate with workers in good faith” and its overall business plan “represent a fantastic race to the bottom,” that is “extremely detrimental” to the community.

In another bold move, almost 100 religious leaders from many faiths signed a letter to McAdam on August 2, asking for a meeting to discuss the plight of workers at the company.

“Working people deserve fair wages and adequate health coverage, safe and nonthreatening work environments, and time off to care for themselves and their families,” the letter declared. These leaders called on McAdam to bring the negotiations to a just resolution—honoring the dignity of workers.

Let's Stand Up to Verizon Together

Thursday Rallies
Verizon is a $100 billion company that made $10 billion in profits last year and rewarded top executives with millions in raises and bonuses. Verizon’s limitless greed embodies the 1%.

We must STAND UP TO VERIZON together. Our future, and the future of our families and communities, is on the line.

Workers are inviting union brothers and sisters and other allies to join them at selected sites for Solidarity Rallies every Thursday until they get a contract. To find out about an action near you, go to and click on “Find an Action Near You”.
Workers and allies also continue to organize weekly actions at Verizon Wireless stores, Darden Restaurants, and Popular Community Bank branches nationwide.

For updates on the campaign for good jobs at Verizon, text STANDUPNOW to 69866 right now.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

REVEALED! The Romney-Ryan campaign strategy

Just razzle-dazzle the voters with lies.

If you're trying to destroy Medicare, say the Democrats are trying to destroy Medicare. If you're raising taxes on the middle class while giving their money to the rich, say the Democrats are bankrupting the country and that rich people deserve everybody else's money because they're "job creators."

Whatever evil you're up to, claim it's the Democrats that are up to it. Claim Romney and Ryan have the same budget. Then say they have different budgets. Then repeat that they have the same budget.

On talk shows drown out the truth by talking over it so that Democrats can't be heard. Just razzle-dazzle 'em.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Beaver bites scoutmaster, turtle attacks human bride, kangaroo busts out of zoo, Romney picks Paul Ryan.

There must be a full moon out somewhere.

In Pennsylvania, a Boy Scout leader set out to swim across the Delaware River and got bitten by a beaver that turned out to be rabid.

In London, a pair of aquarium keepers wearing full wedding regalia and scuba gear decided to get married underwater in a giant fish tank.”Not in my backyard!” was the reaction of a sea turtle, which attacked the bride and her wedding dress.

In Berlin, a kangaroo, evidently assisted by a fox and a wild boar, who dug holes under the fence confining them, busted out. Last heard, the two carnivores were hunting for Bratwusrst while the ‘roo was devouring lawns.

If you missed all this, it may be because, since the weekend, the news media have focused laser-like on the other piece of weird news – Willard Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan as a running mate.

Until now, Willard hasn’t seemed to have much of an economic plan, save to “undo Obamacare” — a move that would drive up health care costs while leaving many citizens essentially bereft of the financial means for hospitalization or surgery. They'd simply have to get out of the way and die.

Now Ryan has a “solution” for Medicare, too, not to mention a "fix" for a Social Security system that doesn't need fixing. It involves gutting Medicare and crippling Social Security, while cutting what’s left of the taxes that the rich pay. The loss to the government from cutting the taxes of billionaires would be made up for by slashing the Social Security income and medical care of the old and poor.

This is not likely (I hope) to endear Romney and Ryan to senior citizens and middle-aged folks. Maybe not even to their children, who will have to start paying for their parents’ care, once Social Security and Medicare become nothing more than bad jokes.

Did I mention I think there must be a full moon out?

Well than, how about the latest conspiracy theory that a weather balloon in Antarctica is really a flying saucer?

Thursday, August 02, 2012

“Fokes Ar Dum Where I Kum Frum” — but how did I miss the news that Texas Republicans are fighting to make sure it stays that way?

It’s been all over the blogsphere, but somehow I’ve missed until today that Texas Republicans are seeking to outlaw teaching “higher order critical thinking” in that state's public schools.

In case you’re a bit surprised, too, I want to emphasize that you read it right. They want  a law that teachers can’t help students think clearly and rationally. See, in Texas, clear thinking  – the ability to distinguish between facts and opinions, for example, or the ability to think logically –  is perceived as dangerous. So why haven't I noticed this before?

Perhaps I’ve been comatose. Or perhaps the major news networks, and the New York Times, (which kinda-sorta mentioned the brouhaha in its opinion pages, like here, but not, that I’m aware of, in the news pages, much less the front page) ….perhaps they’ve all been snoozing. 

However, you can read all about it here, here, here, and here, for openers. Read it and groan. For those of you who simply prefer a sound bite, let me commend to you the last line on this topic from a blog post on Wonkette:

“Texas Republicans promise they’ll nip that thinky-learny shit right in the bud.”