Roger Ailes Dead At Last

There is a quotation, oft misattributed  to Mark Twain but actually the product of Clarence Darrow.

I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.

It’s well worth taking a little break to savor the death of Roger Ailes, ousted former head of Fox News, tidings so glorious that they are but slightly diminished by knowing the end did not come with his head in a basket.

 

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Let the Factions Battle it Out

Last week, Bernie Sanders returned to the Lone Star State on a Democratic Party unity tour. Like clockwork, Clinton supporters were in meltdown as they continued their condescension, guilt-tripping, and misreading of Sanders supporters. What is even more annoying is their calling anyone who doesn’t bow to incrementalism as naive.

So is this their way to destroy the passion and involvement of those who have involved themselves in what has been called a political revolution; jealous and resentful of those that would replace the old guard, and diminish their influence and ability to still find an audience from their soapbox, or is it that the Clintonites still will not admit that their candidate and campaign were flawed, and will attack any and all that mention this?

What Sanders has been saying since the election is appropriate and needed because the party is continuing their centrism and Third Way. People can argue about the primary and the aftermath, but some don’t want to confront that Republicans control 32 state legislatures, 33 governorships, and the U.S. Congress. The Dems are almost extinct in the South. Bernie Sanders, Russian trolls, James Comey, and any number of excuses does not answer why this has happened.

Which brings up the DCCC. After forfeiting involvement in the Kansas special election, the committee spent more than $8 million for Georgia 6. The result is Ossoff drew only a slightly larger percentage of the vote than Hillary Clinton. 30,000 Democrats failed to turn out, of which if 5500 of them had shown up, he would have won outright, and now faces a runoff which he could lose. At this point, the committee is winless in the 2017-18 season. As an organization that has been in existence for 150 years, saying that all this is part of finding the right strategy leading up to the 2018 mid-term, speaks volumes about the lack of understanding the needs of voters. If their main plan is to attack Trump as a path to victory, hopefully this poll, that shows 96% of those who supported him in the election would do it again, will give them something to ponder.

The poll also states this:
“Still, the national survey also finds some brighter spots for the president –- chiefly in pushing for jobs and in foreign policy –- as well as deep popularity problems for the opposition party. Sixty-seven percent say the Democratic Party is out of touch with the concerns of most Americans, even more than say the same about Trump, and similar to the Republican Party (62 percent). That’s a steeply negative turn for the Democrats, 19 percentage points more critical than when last asked three years ago, including especially steep losses in their own base.”

Of course, this will not prevent Clintonites from blaming Sanders and his followers

As it stands, unity is overblown, let the factions battle it out. The debate itself between Sanders and Clinton supporters has very little to do with the mood of the voters. Surveys since the election that have asked people what concerns them have not seen any mention of this friction between the followers of both.

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Steve Bannon sucks dick so well that he can use his tongue on your balls while you’re down his throat.

Earlier today, the President said, once again, he was going to redo NAFTA which he’s been on about for a really long time. Too long, in fact, to have not already done something about it. He also needs to do something about Bannon being on the NSC because he doesn’t belong there. He belongs on his knees in a washroom, pulling a train.

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Thank you…

After what was a pretty horrible result on Tuesday in the Presidential election, it’s important to remember that not everything was bad news. Voters elected some new Democratic Senators in IL, ME, and NV. Nevada itself turned blue and the new Governor of North Carolina is likely going to be a Democrat. Here in Texas, Harris County joined Dallas and Travis Counties in the blue column and in the Presidential race, Trump bested Clinton by only 600k votes (in 2012, Obama lost Texas by 1.2mn).

In 2018, Texas can flip.

To everyone to who worked hard, from the campaign staff all the way to the volunteers who blockwalked and phone banked until they just couldn’t do it anymore, you have our thanks for all your hard work.

And to the candidates, those who won and who lost, you have our appreciation for putting yourself forward as a candidate for office. We are very proud of you all.

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JUST IN TIME FOR MEMORIAL DAY!!!

Show your patriotism and support for our men and women in uniform with this craptastic cement sculpture for only $41 and change at Wal Mart in Lewisville.

Creepy Warriors

IS NOTHING SACRED?

Posted in Calling Bullshit, Cultural Slumfest | Comments Off

We Are Doomed!

Haven’t got out much lately, but I keep hearing that since Uber and Lyft have left, Austin has descended into a Dark Age where chaos and anarchy reign, and every day is a battle with death.
Emperor Adler and his minions on the High Court, who have become billionaires from the largess of the ominous taxi cartel, have imposed more draconian and dictatorial sanctions on the citizenry.
Meanwhile, the glorious libertarian Silicon Valley gods are bewildered and have gone into consultation with their spiritual guides and yoga instructors to understand why the peasants have rejected their manna and gift of a bright utopian wonderland. The spiritual residue of Ayn Rand is livid.
Y’all be careful out there.

Posted in Austin | 1 Comment

Flowers, Rainbows and Pretty Things…

In 2004 I could not have been more derisive toward the campaign of Rep. Kucinich who, while being a nice guy, wasn’t ever going to win and whose supporters were really annoying. I viewed the whole thing as a colossal waste of time and by the time of the convention in Houston would shake a little when anyone mentioned the Department of Peace in a serious tone.

This, increasingly, is how I’ve grown to feel about the Bernietastic campaign of Bernie Sanders. Bernie, while being a nice guy, isn’t as a Bernieriffic as everyone would like to believe. He is, in fact, pretty doctrinaire and simplistic which makes something like this really irritating.

First, I don’t accept the premise that Hillary is serving the moneyed elite or that her voters are stooges of the Corporate Power Structure of America, Inc. That ship sailed long ago and to accuse liberals of being in league with corporatists is the height of hilarity. Corproratists long ago picked their side and it’s the Republicans. We want the same things many Bernie supporters want… we happen to differ on how we go about doing it. That’s the nice way of saying that Bernie is peddling a fantasy way of making things happen that involves:

1) Him being elected President (unlikely against someone like Trump who is likely to peal off more than 20% of Democrats in an economy based campaign)
2) Him proposing legislation to a, at best, recalcitrant Republican Congress filled with people who liked to set kittens on fire just to hear the screams.
3) The passage of the aforementioned legislation through some, as yet, unknown mechanism that may or may not involve magic. Or a unicorn.

For example, Single payer is what we all want… Tax policy created the modern health insurance industry and it can certainly dismantle it. But there isn’t going to be just one grand conflict at which we settle the issue. It’s going to be a series of battles over years as we drag the country, kicking and screaming, to something better. And the country WILL resist… because Americans fundamentally don’t like change until all other options have been exhausted. For most Americans, we’re not there yet. Americans are not going to just wake up one day and say, in unison, BERNIE IS RIGHT.

Second, if he can’t weather the attacks of the so-called establishment liberals who are so mean (so, so, so very mean!), what the fuck is he going to do up against the Republicans? Clinton, if nothing else, will never let up on them because after 25 years of constant attacks she knows never to expect something good. She will never be fooled into thinking that they will work out a deal on level ground. She knows and is prepared for pushing things down their throats in ways Bernie simply can’t because he’s never really dealt with it at that level.

Finally, I’m not voting for Clinton based on the difficulty of making Bernie’s dreams reality, I don’t buy into Bernie’s dreams. Admittedly, a socialist utopia is better than no utopia at all. HOWEVER, I don’t think utopia is possible as long as there are people in it. More to the point, Bernie’s solutions which sound good to so many are childishly simple and easy to pull apart (he and O’Malley are in the same boat on that one with regard to financial services/bank reform… I mean, if you’re willing to accept criticism from a known corporatist like Paul Krugman). And that’s what makes this so irritating to me… his solutions seem so perfect because they’re generated in a vacuum free of reality, where anything is possible. It’s only when you break the seal that you realize the solution is nothing more than vapor.

Bernie has a one dimensional view of the world that’s akin to cops and robbers played by four year olds. He’s the liberal equivalent of Ayn Rand, wholly unwilling to ever concede that reality is different from his skewed perception. Like Rand, he’s created a political narrative where people are absolutely good and absolutely bad… it’s maddening not because he’s done it but because so many have fallen, completely, for it.

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401k, IRAs, and Bernie’s plan for a ‘financial transactions tax’

Dear Team Clinton… kudos on your attacks on Bernie’s health care plan. They’ve done so well that you’ve turned almost every single media outlet into a real font of actual journalism by forcing them to point out just how disingenuous your attacks are. Maybe if we’d had that kind of analysis from the media, W wouldn’t have been re-elected in 04, but I digress.

Rather than attacking something the Secretary, in principle, supports, why the hell don’t you attack him on his financial services tax? That will actually have an impact on the lives of every American who will find their retirement a little tighter. It also neatly points out that Bernie’s plan for a half percent tax will also raise less revenue than a tenth percent tax since the higher tax rate will remove liquidity from markets. It’s the same old bullshit that says a 90% tax rate will raise x dollars… it won’t because people will find a way NOT to pay it.

Part of President Clinton’s genius was in realizing that maximizing tax income was more important than the absolute rate. Secretary Clinton knows this all too well. So let her talk about that, since it’s a clear difference between the candidates… thoughtless idealism that fails to ever achieve the goal vs real world pragmatism and actual leadership that results in improving conditions.

I’m the type of Democrat who wants solutions, not ideological bullshit that’s never worked in the real world. It’s time to remind voters that pragmatism matters.

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WTF Hillz?

While Bernie vols in Texas are making hundreds of thousands of calls (and this is confirmed from multiple sources) to voters in Texas, Hillary vols are making calls… to Maine and Delaware.

I don’t know what kind of delegate math you’re fucking using, but this is a fuckup like accidentally blowing up the sun. The campaign is making the same mistakes that were made in 2008 and you have someone running the western states whose last job was, what, working for a FL state rep?

Seriously, someone needs to get their shit together on field or this primary is going to look even worse than 08.

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I give you The Dumbest Thing You’ll Read In January On Wages

Andy Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants, wrote what has to be one of the worst counterarguments to increasing the minimum wage in the history of ever. Honestly CKE’s board should be looking to fire him with cause for

A) Being stupid
B) Putting it in writing (in the WSJ no less)
C) For then going on TV to defend his sloppy work

Let’s start here…

Generally, highly compensated employees contribute more to a company’s success than minimum-wage employees, who are often less experienced and entry-level workers.

Well, I’ve met everyone from entry level employees to CEOs at a variety of companies. There’s only one CEO who’s ever impressed me as exceptional and the rest have been underwhelming on a personal and intellectual level. Lower compensated employees usually don’t have a say in things so they CAN’T, by management’s design, contribute. When employees ARE able to contribute, it’s usually very productive since they understand the day to day operation of the business far better than, honestly, the CEO. I’ve never met Andy, but I have a feeling any member of middle management (or a damn line cook at any given CKE location) could do his job better, so let’s replace him and then use his salary to bump up the minimum wage paid out by CKE.

Then there’s his math issue…

At $12 an hour, the employee would make $7,410 more a year resulting in a loss per employee of $1,110, eliminating the employee’s entire contribution to the company’s success. At $15 an hour, the employee would make $12,090 more a year, resulting in a loss per employee of $5,790.

Yes, because prices would remain static. And if you believe that, I have this AMAZING insurance product to sell you! Seriously, research has already been done and the price increase to cover $15/hour is a little under 5% or 25 CENTS on a $5 burger, because the labor component of the price of fast food is REALLY low. That research didn’t really look into the cost savings realized from lower turnover and the productivity increases when someone isn’t constantly under stress about how they’re going to pay bills. It also doesn’t look at the broader impact of having tens of millions of workers with higher incomes and a history of spending those incomes, in the economy.

Now, I knew about the Purdue study and I have no investments in businesses directly affected by minimum wage increases… the big question is how the hell old dumb as a box of hair Andy missed it given that IT’S ABOUT HIS DAMN BUSINESS. I don’t know, but if I was a fancy fast food CEO like Andy, I would have a Google search set up for everything related to my industry from commodity futures to restaurant design trends. But I’m probably smarter than Andy so we’ll cut him some slack on that.

Finally, let’s address poor dumb Andy’s comments about Wal Mart. Wal Mart’s problem begins with a management culture that actually devalues hard work and decision making in employees. Now, I know management has been crowing about how much they’ve done to increase wages, but what they’re NOT saying is that they’re doing it to compete FOR EMPLOYEES. Apparently, paying the minimum wage left them understaffed and shelves untended. It’s poor operation which has already caused the loss of the middle market consumer, who are predisposed to thinking their stores sucked and that their food is sourced from China and filled with exotic poison. Wal Mart’s problems are DECADES in the making and you would need wholesale change within the management to overcome that. I shop at Costco, Tom Thumb and occasionally Central Market. I don’t step foot in a Wal Mart because I think of everything in it as Poisoned in China.

Change the culture and you’ll see profits rise even with higher wages. Until then, I would avoid Wal Mart stock like it’s an infectious disease.

Speaking of changes in culture, I think maybe it’s time to do the same thing at CKE. I know I won’t be eating a Chili Cheese Six as long as Dipshit Andy Pozner is the CEO… he could be sourcing melamine tainted produce from Wal Mart for all I know!

Posted in Economy, People are Stupid, Texas | Comments Off