Friday, October 12, 2012

Squirrelly Ryan vs Tenacious Biden

Audience in London
And then there was the Vice President and the candidate for Vice President debating some of the issues.

Candidate Paul Ryan did his part by sticking to the script of the Romney campaign strategy.

Officials from the Romney Campaign had vowed not to be intimidated by the facts ("We're not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers" - Neil Newhouse), but that did not deter
Vice President Biden who pointed out excursions into Ryan fantasy both tenaciously and repeatedly.

It is as if Vice President Biden did not want the Romney Campaign to continue to convert conservatives into liberals, as Romney had attempted in the first debate, generating some consternation in President Obama.

So, the struggle to free the ship of state from The W Direction continues, a direction explained by one of candidate Ryan's fellow campaigners:
''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''
(Dumb & Dumber -> Bleak & Bleeker, quoting Karl Rove, emphasis added). Since they think they create reality, they get all stirred up, rogue, and mavericky when Vice President Biden tries to counsel them against using play pretend.

But Vice President Biden is not the only one to counsel that way, Sigmund Freud also explained how that works out:
Neurosis does not disavow the reality, it ignores it; psychosis disavows it and tries to replace it.
(The Loss of Reality in Neurosis and Psychosis, Freud, 1924, p. 185). I guess the only thing left to say is TGIF.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Deepwater Horizon Keeps On Killing & Drilling - 2

Are We In Good Hands With Oil State?
In the first post of this series, we listed some of the radical damage done by the greatest oil spill in U.S. history.

It seems like some sort of curse is on the Gulf of Mexico area, including Louisiana, Mississippi, and the other states around them.

And let's not forget that another hurricane hit New Orleans this year, as if hurricane Katrina was not enough, which caused levees to fail and allow greater New Orleans to flood again, in a terrible drought year no less.

Last year the Corps of Engineers were blowing up Mississippi River levees upriver, which flooded and devastated farms.

This year the water has been so low at times, because of drought, that no barge traffic could go through, or if they could go through, they were loaded half full.

To top it off, just recently this month an oil slick was seen over the Deepwater Horizon grave of 11 men who went down with the ship:
An oil sheen about four miles long has appeared in the Gulf of Mexico near the site of the worst oil spill in U.S. history, a Coast Guard spokesman said Thursday.

It was not immediately clear where the oil is coming from, said Petty Officer 3rd Class Ryan Tippets.

The Coast Guard found out about the oil sheen on September 16 after someone spotted it on a satellite image from the multinational oil and gas company BP, Tippets said. A Coast Guard response team went to the location to collect samples, and sent them to the Coast Guard Marine Safety Lab in Connecticut for testing. Test results are expected in a few weeks, Tippets said.
(CNN). And as unusual as it seems, if it were not for bad luck that area would not have any luck at all:
An oil sheen discovered last month in the Gulf of Mexico near the site of the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion matches samples from the 2010 BP Plc (BP/) oil spill.
“The most likely source is the bent riser pipe that once connected the rig to the well head, where a mix of oil, drilling mud and seawater were trapped after the top kill operation,” Brett Clanton, a spokesman for London-based BP, said in an e- mailed statement today.
(Bloomberg). All I can say is man, what is up with all that bad luck down Gulf of Mexico way?

I am hoping some good luck comes their way soon.

The previous post in this series is here.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

You're Doin' A Heckuva Job Browner - 4

Drill for the hell of it
On this date in 2010 Dredd Blog got upset with the mindless, mickey mouse, W, and now Obama lack of a concept of how serious the ecological crisis is, and the danger it poses to civilization.

Obama was in Alaska then, now he has helped Shell begin drilling operations in the Arctic Ocean not too far from his "green military" speech.

It was not long after he left until the Arctic Ocean had the least ice in history.

And that before Shell even had its safety, cleanup equipment there.

And to show how serious that place is, they had to stop drilling immediately because it got dangerous after one day of screwing around.

It is as if they are drilling to bring hell on Earth, which is certain to happen if they continue to risk the lives of so many people for no valid, lasting reason.

Here is the text from that 2010 post:

This blog was validated by certain Presidential Commission findings concerning the handling of the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe, as we reported recently.

That report concerned the aftermath of the event, so in this post we will discuss the validation of Dredd Blog's having gone ballistic prior to the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe.

We went ballistic the very day President Obama announced the lifting of the presidential ban on offshore, deep-water oil drilling.

That was about one month prior to the beginning of the disaster that continues to poison the Gulf of Mexico with the deadly carcinogenic toxins still there.

In the president's announcement photo-op, shown in the photo (Mickey Mouse ears and "W" added by Dredd Blog) was made at a military base in Alaska, the home of "drill baby drill" Sarah Palin.

Dredd Blog immediately posted an admittedly radical post, where we raked President Obama over the coals, specifically stating:
He made a pronouncement that drilling for oil in the waters near the coast of the Atlantic and other places is the right thing to do.

In effect, Sarah Palin and the oil barons are right he said, reversing yet another campaign talking point made not long ago.

Offshore drilling has been banned in those areas for decades, but is coming to an end, even though he said he would not do that when he asked for our votes.
(Extinction Clock Nears Midnight - 2). That is a serious charge, so this post will now back it up.

The New Yorker has a fabulous piece which validates these charges Dredd Blog has made, as it validates the title of this post:
In Barack Obama’s primary-campaign victory speech, in St. Paul, Minnesota, he said that his election would be a historical turning point on two pressing issues: health care and climate change. “We will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick,” he said. “When the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.” During the campaign, he often argued that climate change was an essential part of a national energy strategy. “Energy we have to deal with today,” Obama said in a debate with McCain. “Health care is priority No. 2.
(As The World Burns, emphasis added). One immediately wonders "how did that policy directive and campaign promise get turned upside down and inside out so quickly?"

We now have the answer.

First of all, that New Yorker article also explains that the climate legislation, which was to implement the campaign promise, was in reality only actor's make up for senators, Graham, Lieberman, and Kerry, who were pushing the legislation.

To them it was quite important for them to look good first, the Earth and life upon it seemed to be a distant factor in their "mind".

Thus, the typical, mindless, back-room trade deals ended up being the beginning of the capitulation of the democrats to the neoCon republicans, which led to a "strategy":
The strategy had risks, including the possibility that expanded drilling off America’s coast could lead to a dangerous spill. But Browner, the head of the E.P.A. for eight years under Clinton, seemed to think the odds of that were limited. “Carol Browner says the fact of the matter is that the technology is so good that after Katrina there was less spillage from those platforms than the amount you spill in a year filling up your car with gasoline,” the White House official said. “So, given that, she says realistically you could expand offshore drilling.”
(ibid, emphasis added). Wow, Browner had her facts about Katrina all wrong, because Katrina caused major oil and gas spills, destroying large numbers of platforms, damaging many others, as it broke oil and gas pipelines too:
113 platforms totally destroyed, and - more importantly - 457 pipelines damaged, 101 of those major lines with 10" or larger diameter. At least 741,000 gallons were spilled from 124 reported sources (the Coast Guard calls anything over 100,000 gallons a "major" spill).
(Sky Truth). Take note that Carol Browner is the Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change, and that she should be fired yesterday.

Now, not only do we have an ongoing, terrible soap opera As The World Burns, a sequel to Dumb & Dumber as the Earth gets Brown & Browner, but we have institutionalized criminal insanity.

Therefore, Dredd Blog will continue to point out how the federal and state governments are doin' a heckuva job using The W Compass, moving the nation closer to the day when climate change policy will be summed up with the word "triage".

The next post in this series is here, the previous post is here.

This is Carol Browner in a former life expressing her views on environmentalism:

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Has Romney Converted Conservatives into Liberals?

"Who Is That Masked Man?"
In a recent post Dredd Blog used the description "The Shape Shifter" to describe the positional morphs that Candidate Romney has gone through.

He is at once a "severe conservative" and a "kinder, gentler liberal" in one election cycle.

His political deceivers ("staff" and "political strategists") call this "reinventing the candidate" which we all know is another way of saying "flip flop", but never mind, what does reality have to do anymore with political discourse.

Anymore, it is a game of deceit.

What today's post covers is the reaction of "staunch conservatives", the Republican party today, to the "reinventing" of the candidate they selected in their primaries who was then a "severe conservative", but who, in the First Presidential Debate, showed up the first time with liberal positions.

In a script about a discussion between V.P. Biden and President Obama, a writer at Daily Kos had an interesting take on this matter, concluding that what we are seeing is the morph of the political party that is still supporting "The Shape Shifter" through all of these conflicting statements he makes:
I frowned again in confusion. "But then, Obama, where is the mystery?"

"The mystery, my good Biden, is in the reaction of conservative Republicans." He gave the page in his hand a shake. "You see, despite all the claims about the importance of their positions, conservatives were willing to renounce their beliefs in a trice when it appeared they might gain advantage." With a quick flip of his wrist, Obama sent the folded page spinning across the room where It landed quite neatly in a bin. "It's not Romney that revealed himself as having no positions worth noting -- that much we knew already.  It's the Republican Party that went missing on that stage."
(Mystery of the Stranger on the Stage, emphasis added). It is as if all their beliefs are mythology of a type that is easily morphed like clouds on a windy day.

What is interesting to me is that this is becoming a national characteristic, which evinces a willingness to detach from reality, but another writer at Huffington Post pointed out that it is not a good phenomenon:
Myths in politics, however, play a much different role. "Widely held but false idea" is one dictionary definition of myth in common usage. For reasons that are still unclear, myths abound in recent American political history. Perhaps the most glaring and consequential was the myth that Iraq under Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.

There are other cases in point. Barack Obama is a Muslim born in Kenya and therefore not an American citizen. These are myths, yet they are widely believed in certain circles. Poor people are poor by choice. A classic myth. A rising tide lifts all boats. Much more true when we were an industrial society and manufacturing products created jobs. Much less true when the economic tide is one of finance and money manipulation which lifts the gilded yachts but not the rowboats of the rest of us. Jobs are not created when crackpot financial schemes make hedge fund managers rich. Thus, a myth.
Myths in politics are dangerous. In an important speech at Yale University during the Cold War, John Kennedy said:
"For the great enemy of truth is very often not the lie -- deliberate, contrived, and dishonest -- but the myth -- persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Too often we hold fast to the clichés of our forebears. We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought."
He was speaking of the myths on both sides that perpetuated a Cold War in a dangerous way.
(Danger of Myths). We can at once see this if we contrast "invade Iran" with "don't invade Iran", or "bomb bomb bomb Iran" with "do not bomb Iran", because the two concepts are inapposite and contradictory to one another.

We have experienced this over the past years with the "WMD in Iraq" and "bringing democracy to the Middle East" myths perpetuated by the 1% warmongers which they used to plunder the U.S. Treasury again:
"We are divided, in America, into two classes: The Tories on one side, a class of citizens who were raised to believe that the whole of this country was created for their sole benefit, and on the other side, the other 99 per cent of us, the soldier class, the class from which all of you soldiers came. That class hasn’t any privileges except to die when the Tories tell them. Every war that we have ever had was gotten, up by that class. They do all the beating of the drums. Away the rest of us go. When we leave, you know what happens. We march down the street with all the Sears-Roebuck soldiers standing on the sidewalk, all the dollar-a-year men with spurs, all the patriots who call themselves patriots, square-legged women in uniforms making Liberty Loan speeches. They promise you. You go down the street and they ring all the church bells. Promise you the sun, the moon, the stars and the earth,–anything to save them. Off you go. Then the looting commences while you are doing the fighting. This last war made over 6,000 millionaires. Today those fellows won’t help pay the bill."
(The Universal Smedley, emphasis added). That was a speech given in 1933 by an American, one General Smedley Butler, expressing the ideology of Ayn Rand, Romney, and Paul Ryan ("the Tories") in contrast to the American Tradition of the 99% (General Butler evidently coined "the 99%" which is popular now).

Regular readers know that Dredd Blog has offered many hypotheses as to where this proclivity to swim in mythology comes from, one being that it is a result of generations of government and privatized propaganda (see e.g. the series going from Etiology of Social Dementia through Etiology of Social Dementia - 7, and The Ways of Bernays).

Another Dredd Blog series relevant to the issue goes from The Homeland: Big Brother Plutocracy through The Homeland: Big Brother Plutocracy - 7.

The bottom line is that injecting mythology where it ought not be can have catastrophic results, so let's reject the myths.

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Stark Truth - 2

The Honorable Pete Stark
Sometimes we wonder how we got into these endless wars and economic calamities.

These Highway 61 endless wars that are bankrupting the middle class and corrupting our governments, both state and federal.

Today we revisit a Dredd Blog post from this date in 2009 which sheds some light on the subject.

Back then in 2009 we remembered some of the people who voted against invading Iraq.

These were people in the congress, yes in the congress, who knew we were entering into a time of misadventure that we would, years later, find out was a colossal error, was a lack of foresight, yes, was even a danger to our national security and our liberties as our forefathers had said (The Greatest Source Of Power Toxins?).

They spoke up, they spoke truth to power, they faithfully represented their constituents and the best interests of their nation, but they were not listened to.

Give them honor as you read the text from a Dredd Blog post on this date in 2009:

There were Senators like Byrd, and House of Representative members like Pete Stark, in the year 2002, who had vision.

But vision was discounted as a kooky thing, and those that had vision were discounted by the dementia congress was suffering from then, and still is.

Where there is no vision the people perish, and the leaders supplant vision with "excuses" and whining.

The Honorable Pete Stark said this about the "AUMF Resolution" before the Iraq disaster happened:
Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to this resolution.

I am deeply troubled that lives may be lost without a meaningful attempt to bring Iraq into compliance with UN resolutions through careful and cautious diplomacy.

The bottom line is I don’t trust this President and his advisors.

Make no mistake, we are voting on a resolution that grants total authority to the President who wants to invade a sovereign nation without any specific act of provocation. This would authorize the United States to act as the aggressor for the first time in our history.

It sets a precedent for our nation - or any nation - to exercise brute force anywhere in the world without regard to international law or international consensus.

Congress must not walk in lockstep behind a President who has been so callous to proceed without reservation, as if war was of no real consequence.

You know, three years ago in December, Molly Ivins, an observer of Texas politics, wrote: "For an upper-class white boy, Bush comes on way too hard. At a guess, to make up for being an upper-class white boy."

"Somebody," she said, "should be worrying about how all this could affect his handling of future encounters with some Saddam Hussein." How prophetic, Ms. Ivins.

Let us not forget that our President - our Commander in Chief – has no experience with, or knowledge of, war. In fact, he admits that he was at best ambivalent about the Vietnam War. He skirted his own military service and then failed to serve out his time in the National Guard. And, he reported years later that at the height of that conflict in 1968 he didn’t notice "any heavy stuff going on."

So we have a President who thinks foreign territory is the opponent’s dugout and Kashmir is a sweater.

What is most unconscionable is that there is not a shred of evidence to justify the certain loss of life. Do the generalized threats and half-truths of this Administration give any one of us in Congress the confidence to tell a mother or father or family that the loss of their child or loved one was in the name of a just cause?

Is the President’s need for revenge for the threat once posed to his father enough to justify the death of any American?

I submit the answer to these questions is no.

Aside from the wisdom of going to war as Bush wants, I am troubled by who pays for his capricious adventure into world domination.

The Administration admits to a cost of around $200 billion!

Now, wealthy individuals won’t pay. They’ve got big tax cuts already.

Corporations won’t pay. They’ll cook the books and move overseas and then send their contributions to the Republicans.

Rich kids won’t pay. Their daddies will get them deferments as Big George did for George W.

Well then, who will pay?

School kids will pay. There’ll be no money to keep them from being left behind - way behind.

Seniors will pay. They’ll pay big time as the Republicans privatize Social Security and rob the Trust Fund to pay for the capricious war.

Medicare will be curtailed and drugs will be more unaffordable. And there won’t be any money for a drug benefit because Bush will spend it all on the war.

Working folks will pay through loss of job security and bargaining rights.

Our grandchildren will pay through the degradation of our air and water quality.

And the entire nation will pay as Bush continues to destroy civil rights, women’s rights and religious freedom in a rush to phony patriotism and to courting the messianic Pharisees of the religious right.

The questions before the members of this House and to all Americans are immense, but there are clear answers. America is not currently confronted by a genuine, proven, imminent threat from Iraq. The call for war is wrong.

And what greatly saddens me at this point in our history is my fear that this entire spectacle has not been planned for the well being of the world, but for the short-term political interest of our President.

Now, I am also greatly disturbed that many Democratic leaders have also put political calculation ahead of the President’s accountability to truth and reason by supporting this resolution.

But, I conclude that the only answer is to vote no on the resolution before us.
(Representative Pete Stark, October 2002, quoted on Daily Kos). Senator Byrd had said the same thing.