A Strongly Political Week…

I don’t know what’s worse about this: the fact that the most Democratic State in the Most Democratic region of the United States went for a Republican, or if we’re about to see a sudden, complete crumpling up of the Democratic Party. Never mind the issue of health care, how about the near-immediate implosion of Social Security? From 10 years to maybe days before we pay more out than we take in. And it wouldn’t surprise me that once the nations-states we sell our bonds to find out we’re unable to take care of our own (never mind what we owe them), we’re in deep doo-doo. They’ll stop buying, because any nation unable to take care of its own will collapse sooner than later, and more violently than people care to think (or, for those who follow Glenn Beck, hope). For an example, read on the French Revolution…not the revolution itself, but what brought people to revolt against the kings.

I was also going to wonder whether Massachusetts had found her inner Republican, but it seems more that a sizable portion of the Democratic base stayed away and didn’t vote. Whether it was because they didn’t care for either person (or the sad imitation of a third party known as the Libertarians, who would probably be Republicans if they didn’t want their own sandbox to play in) or because they were too busy to vote (it is a non-presidential election year) or whatever reason (including too disillusioned to care about going to the ballot box), it seemed the Republicans showed up and the Democrats, to a degree, didn’t.

Never mind imagining ExxonMobil buying the senate, or TV rates rising as attack/support ads flood out the actual campaigns. How about…say, Comcast and ATT paying CBS, NBC and ABC to NOT put up advertisements supporting net neutrality or candidates who supported net neutrality (FAUX NEWS would refuse to support net neutrality out of self-interest).

Remember, you can not only buy noise with your bucks, you can also buy silence. Buy up enough space at enough $$$, and you can shut out your opposition, and since corporations can gather more money under their power quicker than any person, (and at a steadier rate), it gives corporations the benefit of acting without constraint.

Up until this point, politicians knew the possible power of corporations if they were allowed unlimited access and speech, and were ready and willing to put limits on their efforts whenever they found possible loopholes. And until this most recent Supreme Court Decision, the limits were able to stand up.

Remember that this is the Roberts Supreme Court, Dubya’s crowning achievement: Rolling back labor and individual rights, rolling ahead Corporate powers.

I was never a fan of this radio network. I thought that they tried to get instant traction by bringing together a collection of big names and have their name recognition roll over Rush Limbaugh. It didn’t succeed, and its original plan ended up biting them in the ass by making them constantly desperate for funding, thereby shifting around.

As it turns out, there’s a group of liberal/progressive chatters who’ve made their way without the Air America Brand, and they should be able to keep a decent amount of space on the airwaves at whatever stations are still broadcasting them after this.

The big question is: How many stations will stay Liberal Talk? While many liberals make it a point of pride not to become absorbed in politics day-in and day-out, there are those who listen on a regular basis. One wonders whether Clear Channel, who owns many of these LibTalk stations, will continue with the format or shift over to another format with these stations…or just shut them down, as a lot of radio companies have money troubles. And while the movement seems to have been more and more radio stations, it wouldn’t surprise me if this would be a good excuse to shut down some of the weaker stations that were given LibTalk formats so they would be used in a way so as not to directly compete with the other Clear Channel stations…and if nobody has the money to keep running them, the time may come when they’re shut down.

We’ll see. But I can say I hadn’t had much trust in Air(head) America. I won’t necessarily miss them.

State Of The Nation One Year After Obama’s Inauguration

Three hundred sixty-five days of Obama, and what do we have? Well…

  • A revitalized vigilant right-wing. They now have people showing up at every Democrat’s “home town meeting” to raise hell, and try to get into fights. Not only that, but they’ve learned how to use the internet to their benefit (more than the left ever seemed to want to) and have become self-organizing. Much like the Nazi Party in Germany from 1923 to 1931 (During which time the Left was cleansed and forcefully removed from the party, may I remind my rightward leaning readers).
  • The full, true measure of the pussification of the left. Think of it: Poll after poll shows strong support for the Public Option (and Single Payer as well), yet Obama buries that as soon as he can get away with it. There’s constant support for the various tenants of the left, yet everyone’s preparing for what seems to be the final rollback of all that stuff. And the guys in the Democratic Party echo that, from the POTUS to the local representative.
  • Proof that single party rule stunts everyone it touches. Remember, Obama claims to come from Chicago. Chicago is a single-party town as its elections are “non-partisan.” Of course, everyone who runs is a Democrat, as that’s the only party in town. You can’t even ride a bus if you’re a registered Republican. And I believe that this lack of a loyal opposition means that the guys don’t know anything about fighting back…they’re used to following orders from on top and covering their asses when the light shines their way. When Daley dies, I wouldn’t in any way be surprised if Chicago fell into gang ownership and gang violence, as the gangs are the only people in the city who know how to fight against others. If I were the Democratic Party, I’d make a rule that nobody from Chicago will be able to gain national office until they have to fight against a second party that has a chance to win a mayoral election there.
  • The Rich stopped hiding their thieving ways and started doing their thefts openly, complete with a Greek Chorus of sycophants doing their bidding. Throw the economy into a deep recession that threatens depression? Have billions thrown at you by the government (the true government, not the idiots voted in by the people). Having trouble with former suppliers? Let your case rise into the supreme court, then redefine it so that you get dictatorial power over your workers if you win (let’s pray that the courts keep it narrow and have it only about the original complaint). Need to save money for your stock owners? Lower the wages you pay to your workers (and let the state help when you can). Meanwhile interest rates on credit cards blew up on everyone (granted I actually don’t mind that, but it’s still a travesty what they did before the changeover).
  • Health Insurance Companies look to have become victorious in their cutting off health insurance reform at the knees. Things went from a near-mandate for single-payer to watered-down version of “public option” to a situation where certain well-hated (and well deserving of that hatred) corporations were going to be handed the power of declaring who were citizens (insured) and who were illegals (uninsured), complete with government agents at their disposal. And while I’m glad THAT’S been cut down, I wonder whether the cost of failure will be AT LEAST another fourteen years of Republican rule, with this time being the more vengeful, unforgiving version that will threaten to mutate into something worse. The last fourteen years were rough (with the last eight getting vicious on everyone not part of the banking/CEO elite).
  • Government Economic Statistics are now officially divorced from reality. It’s sad when you listen to business show and they have to spend fifteen minutes explaining why the main unemployment number stayed the same when the economy lost 50,000 plus jobs last month. And the CPI? Now known as the Corporate Price Index, and about to drop as wages drop, never mind show the real prices as they get ready to hyperinflate.
  • The Right is demanding much more, and wanting it now. Probably because the economic right has been able to get health insurance to go more fully their way than they ever dreamed (either die or give them powers without the responsibilities of governance) their wish list has grown more vicious and wider-ranging. Dropping prices for houses yet the debts held sacred, wages dropping like a rock while food and fuel prices rise, Privatize everything, export all jobs to China – who needs to revoke the 13th Amendment when everlasting debt and the impossibility of upward mobility do the job better than laws ever could?
  • Race relations have gotten colder, if my observations are anything to notice. In the month after Obama took the Oath of Office I get verbally torn into by three black women, each one of them including racial comments in their ripping of me…which equaled the number of verbal tearing-into by white people in the five and a half years before then. Thankfully that shit stopped (at least with the folks I took around in the van), but I’ve noticed a definite low-lever war going on. Twice I had to deal with people not only getting into my van but doing stuff so as to intentionally bar someone else who was in need of my services buy wasn’t the race of the people already in the van (one involved whites keeping blacks out of the van, the other involved blacks keeping whites out of the van; so know that it went both ways). Didn’t deal with ANY of the above before Obama.
  • BTW…anyone hear about what’s going on with Social Security? We went from a 10 year cushion to a five-month warning in three months in the middle of last year as employment dropped and many oldsters decided that Social Security was their birthright. I remember when the complaint was that the oldsters were refusing to step aside, now the other shoe has dropped and Social Security is about to become a drain on the government. Seems that the spending sins of our past are now coming due, much sooner than expected.

The fact is, while I voted for Obama/Biden I thought I was voting for health reform that would allow people to buy health insurance and eventual de facto single payer, not the farce of wheel-spinning this has become. I also expected someone who understood how things went and was willing to talk to us about paying for stuff.

But then we’d be talking about single payer, would we? Young helping the old, rich helping the poor, the healthy helping out the not-so-healthy who need a push, the lucky helping the unlucky – and of course, in the land of Libertarianism (Republicanism for the young and invincible) and Tea-baggers, the it’s the poor, unlucky and unhealthy who have to give their tithes to the rich, lucky and healthy in the nation. And besides, a nation without a safety net can’t do socialized health care, as that requires a social contract, not a Social Darwinist understanding of economics and politics.

Seems I’ve gotten to the class war late. Where’s the guns and ammo?

False Advertising and Some Interesting Variations On Soda Pops Now On The Market:

I had an earlier posting involving Pepsi Throwback and Mountain Dew Throwback. Well, they’re back…sort of:

They also come along with Heritage Doctor Pepper.

The thing is, we’re not talking about the same Pepsi and Mountain Dew Throwbacks that came out last year. Last Year’s throwbacks had the old ingredient listings, this year’s throwbacks have the same ingredients as the main releases, only putting in regular sugar instead of HFCS.

Of course, everyone knows about how Pepsi changed their formulation for their flagship brand a few years ago to include a bit of sugar alongside the HFCS to cut what I had forever called that dirty taste at the back of the throat that I got when I used to drink Pepsi. This version of the Throwbacks envisions the two flagship brands (Plus Dr. Pepper) as HFCS-free versions of themselves.

And they do hold up.

The Mountain Dew Throwback holds up best. That bitter taste down the back of the tounge that’s part of the HFCS-sweetened pop doesn’t show up in the sugar-sweetened version…and I’ve tried to suss it out quite a few times. The Dr Pepper Heritage version also betters its HFCS version, with the flavors more able to stand out above the sweetness.

And the Pepsi Throwback? It’s better than the HFCS version, but I think the original throwback version is better.

Still, these pops are better than anything from the Coke side of the aisle (YES, THERE I SAID IT). As much as I’ve liked and grown up with Coke, Sprite, Fanta, Mello Yello, Mr. Pibb, Tab and all the other brands from the soda folks from Atlanta, I now find their stuff hard to swallow. Literally. My throat rebels against letting the Coke label’s elixers down it. The Throwbacks (and Dr Pepper Heritage) goes down my throat readily, and greedily in some cases.

I do hope that Pepsi considers using these throwback formulations as their main formulations, and change the other pops to include sugar instead of the noxious HFCS. I honestly think people will chose them over whatever Coke decides to put out today.

Welcome to 2010; Let’s not speak of 2009.

As this year grinds down to a halt, I have to say the main impression I have of it is disappointment. Consider the following:

  • I didn’t vote for a president so that he’d readily betray the interests of everyone who voted for him for those who probably didn’t. Banks saved while homeowners dumped out on the street, Wall Street “saved” while Main Street gutted…you do the math.
  • It also bugs me that whenever the Democrats get a victory the Neocon agenda doesn’t so much keep going but fuels up and shoots into overdrive on the expressway. All those republicans who cheered Bush when he ran up 1T/year deficits came around a’shouting in time to remake “health care reform” into “Privatizing Health Care For All.” Don’t be surprised to find out that there WILL be prison time for those who “forget to get health insurance.” Especially when the health insurance companies start canceling plans (or making them so expensive that they can’t be afforded, and the government conveniently runs out of money to subsidize others’ insurance).
  • In the “As Above, So Below” file: My housemate now lives day-to-day, ready to feed on Valium when her wealth (real or imagined) goes down by more than a certain amount. Worse yet, she’s offloaded health care problems onto yours truly.
  • And finally, two funerals I went to in the past month morphed into some ugly shit. The one not involving someone directly related to me was followed up by a email telling the person I’m with to “f*ck off and die, you god-damned c*nt” (let’s just say I finally learned how to read between lines of text – after forty years of avoiding that nasty skill) and my Grandmother’s funeral left me wondering why anyone would have mourned such an angry cuss (Okay, so she turned into that only late in life. Still, I wonder what would have happened had she been lucid when they started this swine flu vaccine drive, what with memories of her husband dying a slow death after dutifully getting his swine flu vaccination shot in 1976.).

Anyway, I just finished off a year of passive effort, working mainly to clear up stuff. And while I can’t say I’ve cleared up what I wanted to clear up, I can say I’m much further along than I had been before.

Anyway, here’s my resolutions and plans for 2010:

  1. Step out of the lethargy of habit, seek out better things
  2. Get in the position where the answer “no” can be said
  3. Learn how to say “no”

And here’s to hoping things will allow the above to stay true.