Friday, March 27, 2015

Forbidden Jokes About Our Dear Leader

Ronald Reagan once remarked about the great sense of humor Russians had about their Soviet government.  

While looking at some of these great asides, I realized that you could plug Obama for Stalin in some of them, and the joke still worked!

Here's a collection of classic remixed Soviet Union jokes.  Commit them to memory; it will ease your time in the future gulag!

* * *

Q: How does every Obama joke start?
A: By looking over your shoulder!

* * *

Q: Why do ex-NSA officers make the best taxi drivers?
A: Because you only need to tell them your name and they’ll already know where you live!

* * *

Knock, knock.
Who’s there?
Ronald Reagan!
Reagan, who?
That, comrade, is the right answer.

* * *

Q: Is it true Rush Limbaugh got 20 years in Leavenworth for libel on calling Obama a liar and an idiot?
A: No. The sentence for libel was six months. The 19 years, 6 months were for leaking out classified information.

* * *

A mummy was found in Egypt. The archaeologists could not determine its origin. Then an American FBI adviser offered his help. The mummy was delivered to the American embassy. In two hours, the FBI adviser appeared and said:
“His name was Amenhotep the 2nd.”
“How did you find out?”
“He confessed,” the adviser said.

* * *

What is the difference between a traditional American and a Soviet-American fairy tale?
An American fairy tale begins “Once upon a time...”
A Soviet-American fairy tale begins “CNN today reported...”

* * *

A man walks into a gun store with a notebook.
"Do you have any AR-15's?"
He makes a note.
He makes another note.
"DHS could have shot you for making notes like that!," says a woman waiting in line.
"No bullets either," he writes.

* * *

"Comrade Obama, is it true that you collect political jokes?"
"And how many have you collected so far?"
"Three and a half Federal Prisons full."

* * *

Q: Is it true that Obama's America is the most progressive country in the world?
A: Of course! Life was already better yesterday than it's going to be tomorrow!

* * *

Two guys were walking down the street in Washington D.C., one turns to the other, says “Do you think we’ve finally achieved perfect socialism?”
His friend says, “No Bob, it will get much worse”.

* * *

An old lady asked the President whether Obamacare was philosophy or science. Obama thought for a moment and answered, “A philosophy”.
“I thought so,” exclaimed the lady, “Scientists would have tried it on animals first!”

* * *

Obama decides to go out one day and see what it's really like for the American people, so he puts on a disguise and sneaks out of the White House.

After a while he wanders into a cinema. When the film has finished, the Anthem plays and a huge picture of Obama appears on the screen. Everyone stands up and begins cheering, except Obama, who smugly remains seated.

A minute later a man behind him leans forwards and whispers in his ear: "Listen Comrade, we all feel exactly the same way you do, but trust me, it's a lot safer if you just stand up."

* * *

A man left his bedroom window open one night, and his pet parrot escaped. He went to DHS to report the missing parrot.
"Why are you bothering us with this? Couldn't you have reported it to the local police?" they asked.
"I just wanted you to know I don't agree with a damn thing he says about Obama!"

* * *

It's so difficult to make a joke about Obama - he kills satire wherever he goes.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Less BushObama, more Cardinal Richelieu

The BushObama Project for a Better Middle East is a Failure

We knew it all along: Absent a brutal non-sectarian dictatorship, Iraq is not a viable nation.

Baghdad and Southern Iraq are now de facto "part of a greater Iran."

Iranian and Iraqi Shia forces liberated the southern region of Sunni Tikrit from ISIS, but then went on a looting spree.

Meanwhile, we are providing intel and air support for Iranian Forces.

Add to this the confusing mish-mash of wanting Assad (an ally of Iran and Russia) gone, while also wanting to defeat the Islamists arrayed against him; wanting Iraq to succeed, even as it falls into the arms of Iranian Shia terror-masters. Kurds, Turkey, Muslim Brotherhood, Shia, Sunnis, etc...

Toward a More Rational Middle East Policy

Into the fray steps Greg R. Lawson. As Mr Burns would say to Mr. Smithers in a Simpson's episode, "I don't know who this Lawson fellow is, but I like the cut of his jib."

Lawson believes our Middle East strategery, such as it is, is all wrong and must be overhauled, with copious cribbing from the very Machiavellian Cardinal Richelieu of France.   All quotes are from his essay, Divide and Conquer: Richelieu's Playbook for the Middle East.

His nuance-over-brute-force approach should appeal to libs and cons alike:
"Richelieu understood this in the geopolitical context of his day and thus he is understood to have defended his nation’s national interests effectively. Ultimately, this is what a statesman does rather than pander to transient, emotional, and often misguided, public opinion. It is well past time for the United States to reconsider its entire approach to the Middle East. It is time to look at our core national interests and take actions in accordance with them, rather engage in dangerous illusions that the present tragedy in the Middle East can some how be avoided if only we show leadership."
The cornerstone of Lawson's model is the Red Eminence's divide and conquer strategy that guided a weakened and outnumbered France through the 30 Years War:
"If the Middle East is actually involved in a generational conflict that is, at least somewhat analogously, like the Thirty Years' War, what role, if any, should the United States play?"
Three Stipulations

First, he concludes that there is no immediate hegemonic threat to the region. Yes, China is ascendent, Russia is an influential player, and Iran is a regional powerhouse with influence in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, but no nation or group is positioned to make an immediate move.

Second, he stipulates that oil is no longer the factor it once was. The US is not energy independent, but we are energy secure enough to no longer fear an oil embargo from the Middle East.

Finally, what about "fighting terrorists over there so we don't have to fight them here?"

Fight Smarter, not Harder
"Cleavages exist and should be exploited. Further direct American intervention allows these competing factions to paper over their differences and temporarily align in order to fight off the “Crusaders.”

"The Middle East is burning literally and figuratively. It is difficult to envision how this situation would end without the scarring or outright destruction of a whole generation. Large scale, direct Western actions to ameliorate this inherently tragic situation are not likely to work. Rather, they place our interests at risk in the midst of another civilization’s civil war."
So how do we go after the bad guys?
"Make no mistake, a dovish or isolationist response is naïve. engagement, fighting in the shadows, and using naturally embedded conflicts between our enemies makes far more sense than headfirst assaults."
All I can add is, Amen. Can we elect this guy secretary of state, or force the next president to hire him?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Congressional Letter on Iran: Where's the outrage?

Another day, another treasonous act from congress. This time it’s a letter to the president from the House of Representatives, warning him that congress has the final say-so on any Iran agreement his JV Team negotiates.

WARNING, Obama Fanboys and Fangirls!

This letter contains even more treasonously stern language than Senator Tom Cotton’s:
"Should an agreement with Iran be reached, permanent sanctions relief from congressionally-mandated sanctions would require new legislation. In reviewing such an agreement, Congress must be convinced that its terms foreclose any pathway to a bomb, and only then will Congress be able to consider permanent sanctions relief.”
The dangerous insurrectionists under the dome also scalded the president with sharp accusations:
“Even during the period of negotiations, Iran has illicitly procured nuclear technology, which your Administration quickly sanctioned.”
Stern Stuff! 

The cool kids at Moonbats Snorting Nothing But Communism must be going hysterical over the almost certainty that this will blow up President Obama’s careful negotiations, give aid and comfort to Iran’s hard liners, spark World War III, cause fluffy kitties to perish in a circus tent fire, prevent the return of the unicorn, cause more global warming, etc…

But wait! There’s more!!!

From that same perfidious, criminal, stinky cheese, anti-American letter to the President...
“Iran’s record of clandestine activity and intransigence prevents any trust in Iran. Indeed, a top State Department negotiator has told Congress that, “deception is part of [Iran’s] DNA.”
And then they double-down, then triple-down on the insults to Obama’s Iranian friends!
“Given Iran’s decades of deception, negotiators must obtain maximum commitments to transparency by Iran.
[…] it is critical that we also consider Iran’s destabilizing role in the region. Iran is boosting Assad in Syria, supporting sectarian elements in Iraq that undercut hopes for a unified and stable country, and providing assistance to Hezbollah, which continues to threaten Israel. And last month, an Iranian-backed militia displaced the government in Yemen, a key counterterrorism partner. Iran’s Supreme Leader has also called for an expansion of his country’s ballistic missile program, yet another dimension of the potential threat posed by Iran.
Iran’s role in fomenting instability in the region—not to mention Iran’s horrendous repression at home—demonstrates the risks of negotiating with a partner we cannot trust.
So why aren’t nutball Obama voters and his gargoyles in the press who wanted Cotton prosecuted under the Logan act screaming themselves hysterical at congress and demanding the signers of this letter be arrested?
Washington (CNN) A veto-proof, bipartisan majority of House lawmakers have signed an open letter to President Barack Obama warning him that any nuclear deal with Iran will effectively require congressional approval for implementation.

The letter, which was signed by 367 members of the House and released Monday by the House Foreign Affairs Committee… (CNN)
Democrats signing the letter include liberal luminaries Chaka Fatah, Diana Degette, Jerrold Nadler and Sheila Jackson Lee.  I wonder if Crazy Uncle Joe Bite-me will call them reckless and irresponsible?

See also:

US House – Signed Letter
Walter Russell Mead – Captain Obama & the Great White Whale

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Should Everyone Have the Right to Vote?

Photo: Martin Olsson

Yesterday's post raised some interesting questions regarding secret ballots and mandatory voting, here's another:

We all know the circumstances under which conditional voting was imposed in the context of post civil war reconstruction, but it wasn't until the passage of the 24th amendment in 1964 that poll taxes in federal primaries and elections became unconstitutionalIt wasn't until 1966 that the Supreme Court reversed it's previous decision that poll taxes were constitutional in Breedlove v. Suttles (1937) with it's decision in Harper v. Virginia State Board of Elections that they weren't (under the 14th Amendment).  Currently other conditions placed upon voting would technically be constitutional, although most would be illegal under the 1965 Voting Rights Act, e.g literacy tests deemed constitutional in Lassiter v. Northampton County Board of Elections (1959).

So the question is, should everyone be allowed to vote?

The Constitutional requirement is that all persons be treated the same under the law yet 15 states and DC bar persons under guardianship or or adjudged mentally incompetent or incapacitated from voting.  20 states have laws that bar people from voting only if they have been adjudged specifically to lack the capacity to vote, three states bar those who have been deemed non compos mentis, nine states bar "idiots" and "the insane" from voting yet the laws are seldom enforced due to the ambiguity of the terminology, 11 states have no requirements at all.

Yes, in Colorado if you have the mental acuity of a house plant you still have the right to vote. If you're incompetent to stand trial in North Carolina... you still have the right to vote.

Legally, only a court can take away your right to vote yet a study of Philadelphia nursing homes determined that staff was deciding who was competent to vote and who was not... in Pennsylvania, which is one of the eleven states that do not have voting competency requirements.

In 2008 it was estimated that 2.5% of potential voters (5.3 million) could not vote due to felony disenfranchisement, in 2012 that number had climbed to 5.8 million.  The Supreme Court held felony disenfranchisement constitutional in Richardson v. Ramirez (1974) under the 14th amendment "shall not be denied... "except for participation in rebellion, or other crime"It is left up to the individual states to decide.  Maine and Vermont have no felony restrictions on voting, 13 states allow voting after release, four states allow voting after parole, 20 states allow voting after probation, eight states have circumstantial rules, and three states require the convict to petition for restoration.

I'll start the conversation with this Robert Heinlein quote:

“Both for practical reasons and for mathematically verifiable moral reasons, authority and responsibility must be equal - else a balancing takes place as surely as current flows between points of unequal potential. To permit irresponsible authority is to sow disaster; to hold a man responsible for anything he does not control is to behave with blind idiocy. The unlimited democracies were unstable because their citizens were not responsible for the fashion in which they exerted their sovereign authority... other than through the tragic logic of history... No attempt was made to determine whether a voter was socially responsible to the extent of his literally unlimited authority. If he voted the impossible, the disastrous possible happened instead - and responsibility was then forced on him willy-nilly and destroyed both him and his foundationless temple.” 

Monday, March 23, 2015

What Secret Ballot? A Progressive Dream

Three Easy Pieces:  Fundamental Progressive Transformation

#Automatic Voter Registration
#Mandatory Voting
#The End of the Secret Ballot

Automatic Voter Registration

Oregon broke new ground again.  The Department of Migratory Voters (DMV) will pass on the names of all individuals getting drivers licenses to the Secretary of State's Office where government workers will register them to vote and send them ballots in the mail.  Ballots by mail has already been shown to be ripe for fraud, and this makes it worse.

Here in Colorado, a 2012 voter rolls audit uncovered hundreds of non-citizens registered to vote.  The Secretary of state sent letters to the non-citizens, and the ones who responded apologized, saying they did not know they had been registered by over-eager Democrat operatives who minted their drivers license.

Automatic voter registration is about expanding the Democrat voter base, as is the President's suggestion we make voting mandatory.

Mandatory Voting

Why not?  A government that can compel you under penalty of law to purchase a service from an insurance company can surely make you vote.  Justice Roberts could easily find a way to uphold the President's vision if some rightwing crazy happened to get through the concentric rings of judicial courts protecting the Supremes and charge into their august chamber waving a copy of the constitution.

Oh yeah.  The Federal Government could totally do it.  Their biggest challenge would be coercing compliance from the states.  Harvard Law Review has an excellent summary of the issue, with Section III discussing the constitutionality of mandatory voting.

An added bonus? With everyone theoretically required to vote, but many shirking their newly-minted progressive duty, that leaves a lot of vacated ballots ripe for the filling in, and the math will all add up. 

Secret Ballot:  Not Guaranteed by the Constitution

Think the secret ballot is a constitutional guarantee? It's not, and there are people on the left who want to do away with it now that they feel the social debate tipping in their direction.

What follows flows from the red ink pen of Martin (yes, only one name), a "cute and perky" self-described "InterSexNonBinaryCisGyn who refuses to be gender-typed."  She wrote a sprawling piece in Workers World that was subsequently picked up by such esteemed publications as The Nation, Vanity Fair and Democrat Underground.  It's long and rambly, so I serve you up some snippets...
Fidel Grijalva of the Chicano rights organization La MeCHa and urban activist La'Quaysha Shabazz are on a quest:  To kill the secret ballot.


I met Grijalva and Shabazz in a south side eatery.  Fidel takes my hand and escorts me to their booth.  He hooked a thumb to the picture on the wall behind him and grinned mischievously.  "I did that."

It is a picture of George Washington from the one dollar bill, but the Father of our Country sports a tasteful soul patch below his lower lip, and the name "Washington" on the scrolly thingy below his name has been replaced with "Jorge Vato-Man."

"Look," Grijalva insists, his smile and perfect, accented English both charming and convincing, "it's time we shame the people into doing the right thing.  You want to vote for a slate of hateful, racist, greedy Republicans?  Great!  Wonderful!  But it's going on record.  Actions have consequences."

Shabazz jumps in, and she speaks with the deliberateness of a teacher tired of a student's crap, her eyes made angrier by the severe black frames of her designer glasses.  "We are a community.  But there are some who think they some kind of cowboy, or little house on the prairie family, all independent.  Meanwhile, they drive on public roads, use public utilities, police protection, and they never stop to check their white privilege." 

Grijalva jumps in.  "Yes.  They benefit from corporate welfare, government subsidies to big oil and big pharma--"

"Um Hm," Shabazz picks it up and lays it down.  "So whose side are you on?  We got whities talking a good game about equal rights, but Barack Obama only beat the Mormon cracker by 5 million votes.  Five Million!  People be talkin' outta both sides o' they mouth."

Then she leaned back and allowed herself a satisfied smile.  "You know," she shifted effortlessly from street slang to college professor English, "states don't even have to allow their people to vote for president.  Did you know that?  Certain people in this country love to talk about the constitution and quote the founders,"  she paused and laughed out loud, "but they don't realize that every time they cast a vote for president, their civic duty,"  she laughed again, "they are contradicting the founders' wishes!"


I went looking for someone to explain the constitutionality of all this, and Professor Channing Hemple, an imposing man in his 60's with his hippie's hair still long, but gray and thinning.  He holds a doctorate in social ethics of justice and jurisprudence, and he was eager to help me out.  I sat in a student's chair before his large oaken desk in his  book-lined office overlooking Harvard's greenery and asked my opening question:  "Doesn't the constitution guarantee us a secret ballot?" 

The professor lurched forward, almost climbing over his desk. "What?  What?"  he demanded, then a wry smile slipped across his face and he settled back in his chair, combed his hair back with his fingers, and assumed an air of almost condescension as he set me straight.

He cleared his throat and begins.  "Denver U.S. District Judge Christine Arguello ruled in 2012 that there was no no "fundamental right" to a secret vote in the U.S. Constitution."  He does the two-fingered quote thingy with both hands when he over-enunciates the words "fundamental right."

"We didn't even have the secret ballot in this country until the 1880's!  It was called the Australian ballot when it was first introduced in Kentucky.  It's not a constitutional guarantee, man.  It's a social contract.  Go tell that to the tea-baggers and watch their tri-corn hats droop."  He leaned back in his chair and laughed, and I had to laugh with him.

I ended up learning from Professor Hemple that all kinds of things we take for granted are not in the constitution:  Corporations have no rights to their greed, contracts are not mentioned, public assistance, unemployment, food stamps, right to immigration.  A rightwing fascist GOP state could really tear up our social fabric.  Did you know there is nothing stopping them from making a national police force?  

Before I left, he told me that the states and their "constitutions"--again with the finger quotes--were all that stood in the way of killing the tyranny of the secret ballot.  But then he brushed away his own comment, saying all it would take was a strong president to lay down the law and threaten to withhold highway funds.


Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Elephant in the Room

Liberals like to point out that Republican President Eisenhower warned us about the Military Industrial Complex.  Face it, the problem isn't the M.I.C, it's the M.E.C, the Medical Entitlement Complex.

Problems with International Affairs?  Perhaps you can look to the narrow 1% slice of the budget we spend on it.

Slipping educational performance on the world stage? College graduates with Master's degrees that can parse a sentence? Look no further than the 2% we spend on education.

Being outstripped in technology by the Chinese?  Hmm... 1% on Science.

The military is down to less than 1/5 of the budget, yes still an enormous sum yet we seem incapable of doing anything to stop ISIS, genocide, or Iran from getting a nuclear bomb.

60% of the US budget goes to the Medical Entitlement Complex, you tell me what the elephant in the room is.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Japanese Beatles

More popular in Japan than America, Cheap Trick still managed to be voted 25th on VH1's 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock.  They were one of the popular bands when I was in Junior High School... middle school for you young whippersnappers.

Now that brings back memories...
Go Bears
And no, it's not 90210

Friday, March 20, 2015

"People aren't Commodities"

The greedy vampires from Wall Street, the US Chamber of Crony Commerce and the Silicon Valley Billionaire Boys Club are begging Uncle Sam for more imported cheap labor, and the Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings this week to consider it. There is strong bipartisan support for cutting the legs out from under the working men and women of America and stabbing them in the back, but there are a few politicians want to limit the H1B Visa Program.

Here is what Senator Jeff Sessions had to say.  Working people everywhere should adopt this verbatum as their manifesto:
“People aren’t commodities. We compare labor to commodities, but they’re not commodities. They’re human beings. They have families. They have hopes and dreams. They want stability in their life. They would like to have a good job at a company like the biggest utility in California—California Edison [where hundreds of Americans were laid off and replaced with guest workers]… We have no obligation to yield to the lust of big businesses… Mr. Zuckerberg is worth $27 billion, I guess he is 27 years old, I’m not sure. So he wants more foreign workers. I would like to think he might want to pay his employees more and maybe not have quite so many billions, if he’d like to be helpful, and maybe he could get more local workers.” (Breitbart - Sessions)
Democrats and Republicans in Congress are eager to help businesses undercut American workers, using the big lie of jobs Americans won't do or are not qualified for, but Jesse Jackson, God bless him, calls BS:
“We need to get rid of H1B workers,” Jackson said in a recent interview with Fortune Magazine. “There are Americans who can do that work, and H1B workers are cheaper and undercut wages.” (Breitbart - Corporate Greed)
Government favors to corporate America hurts real people

This is what congressional cupidity conspiring with corporate greed does to real people:
Several employees have come forward recently saying that SoCal Edison had used intimidation tactics such as telling them they would replace one worker with 4, 5, or 6 foreign workers on H1B visas, in an attempt to pressure them into taking a pay cut. Lavin, however, contends that these were lies and that the reality of what is happening is that SoCal Edison is replacing $95,000 annual wage earners with foreigners who will take $60,000 to $65,000 instead.  (Breitbart - Corporate Greed)
Here is what the Congressional-Corporate Axis of Evil is doing to working people:
“We were told if we wanted our severance that we were required to train our replacement,” a multiple-decades long-veteran employee of SoCal Edison who spoke with Breitbart News on condition of anonymity said in an interview. She was terminated this year from her IT position and replaced with an H1B worker.
This employee invested years of her life working for SoCal Edison but this year found herself jobless, like hundreds of her peers who were ordered to train their foreign replacements in a process dubbed as “knowledge transfer.” SoCal Edison stonewalled her and used her severance package as collateral against her. “You’re going to train your replacement if you want your severance,” she was told.  (Breitbart - Corporate Greed)
"Pure Greed."
According to a recent consulting report commissioned by SCE, the typical SCE IT worker is earning $110,000 while government records show Tata pays its H-1B workers $66,000 and Infosys pays $71,000. The savings go beyond just wages. H-1B workers have very limited bargaining power since the employers control their work permit. It should come as no surprise that H-1B workers are easily exploited. Those significant cost savings far outweigh the one-time H-1B legal and administrative fees of about $5,000 per worker. (The Hill - Outsourcing in America)
See how they rig the game to screw American working men and women?  Senators Chuck Grassley and Dick Durban do:
Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) have been working for a decade to fix the program. They propose: raising the H-1B wage floors to the average wage; ensuring that American workers have a first and legitimate shot at jobs; and, ensuring that American workers aren't being replaced by H-1Bs. This would mean the H-1B program is being used for truly skilled workers and not simply cheap labor."  (The Hill - Outsourcing in America)
Do we have a shortage of STEM graduates?  A smart nation would come up with some scholarship programs. We have way too many lawyers and political science majors, so swing the money away from them and use it to provide scholarships for STEM degrees.

Better yet, cut off this corporate welfare to the squatting globalists, the world-citizen corporatists, Mark Suckerturd and the rest of his Silicon Valley America haters who use our great nation like a cheap whore. Not enough servile, low-wage workers here? Then pack up your shit and get out. Go set up shop in South Stinkistan, and turn in your passport on the way out.

See also:

Immigration Lobby Hammers US Tech Workers
H1B Battle Takes Center Stage
Unchecked Expansion of H1B Program won't build a Better Economy
I Squared Act is a Job Exporting Machine