04.30.15

Wrestling with the problems of WhiteManistan (part the 1000th)

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, WhiteManistan at 2:20 pm by George Smith

Predatory economics. The American gulag, all non-whites and poors given advance ticketing. The biggest military in the world used to destabilize the weakest and most destitute countries in the world. Uncontrollable expansion of the national security infrastructure. Police militarization for the purpose of clampdown on legitimate grievance. Repression of non-violent protest. Exacerbation of rioting through military-style intimidation tactics begetting even more heavy-handed responses. Inability to envision human beings except as soggy meat bags capable of buying useless services and luxury goods. If the soggy meat bag lacks purchasing power, it’s marginalization and/or industrialized prison. Promises of change as propaganda hooked to domestic paralysis and backsliding. Cruel and extraordinary punishments, loss of any ability to make a living and death at the hands of the law as the systemic answer for domestic problems.

It’s called inverted totalitarianism by academics of social science.

I call it “the problems of WhiteManistan,” a beat the New York Times confronts every day.

This week, the United States is at the bottom of the heap in almost all measures of civil life when measured against the other advanced nations of the world.

No surprise:

“On nearly all indicators of mortality, survival and life expectancy, the United States ranks at or near the bottom among high-income countries,” says a report on the nation’s health by the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine.

What’s most shocking about these statistics is not how unhealthy they show Americans to be, compared with citizens of countries that spend much less on health care and have much less sophisticated medical technology. What is most perplexing is how stunningly fast the United States has lost ground …

Three or four decades ago, the United States was the most prosperous country on earth. It had the mightiest military and the most advanced technologies known to humanity. Today, it’s still the richest, strongest and most inventive. But when it comes to the health, well-being and shared prosperity of its people, the United States has fallen far behind.

Pick almost any measure of social health and cohesion over the last four decades or so, and you will find that the United States took a wrong turn along the way …

What [sets] the United States apart — what made the damage inflicted upon American society so intense — was the nature of its response [to global labor markets that destroyed middle class income gains over the few decades]. Government support for Americans in the bottom half turned out to be too meager to hold society together.

The advanced countries of Europe faced the same problems. But they have not destroyed themselves in the manner of the United States.

For the last fifteen years Americans have been told again and again that small bands of piss ant terrorists in the Middle East pose an existential threat to the country. Specifically, white America.

“The bloated incarceration rates and rock-bottom life expectancy, the unraveling families and the stagnant college graduation rates amount to an existential threat to the nation’s future,” reads the Times.

Black Americans, the working poor, have born the brunt of it.


And then there’s Ted Nugent, rock and roll’s kleagle, delivering one classic white person’s response: prison, blows or bullets for all those unwilling and too lazy and or evil, stinky and subhuman to be all they can be.

Don’t be a thug:

Be good. Obey the law, the Ten Commandments, the Golden Rule …


Stay in school and, in spite of our embarrassing overpaid anti-education system, discipline yourself to learn how to talk properly, read, write, add, subtract, multiply and divide. There are simply no opportunities for anyone who fails basic human skills and intelligence. Everyone who has these basic skills combined with a good work ethic have [sic] unlimited opportunities…


Stay clean and sober. Drugs, alcohol, tobacco and garbage food will turn you into a stumbling, stinky zombie. Only stumbling, stinky zombie stoners don’t know this.


So don’t fall for all the whining, lying, excuse mongering and BS’ing that is coming out of Baltimore, Ferguson, the president,
the Democrats, your loser friends, much of the media, and every other crybaby scam artist out there.

04.29.15

Facts of life in the corporate dictatorship

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle at 2:58 pm by George Smith

Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor during the Clinton administration, has been deservedly glum most of this year. And he should be. Reich knows the country he lives is in nothing more than the world’s foremost corporate dictatorship.

Reich can’t call it that. So he writes columns like “Why So Many Americans Feel So Powerless” in which he annotates the comments from people he’s met and adds: “[I’m] struck by how utterly powerless most people feel.”

More:

A large part of the reason is we have fewer choices than we used to have. In almost every area of our lives, it’s now take it or leave it.

Companies are treating workers as disposable cogs because most working people have no choice. They need work and must take what they can get.

Although jobs are coming back from the depths of the Great Recession, the portion of the labor force actually working remains lower than it’s been in over thirty years – before vast numbers of middle-class wives and mothers entered paid work.

Which is why corporations can get away with firing workers without warning, replacing full-time jobs with part-time and contract work, and cutting wages. Most working people have no alternative.

Consumers, meanwhile, are feeling mistreated and taken for granted because they, too, have less choice.

The word rigged is perfect. The giga-company country is rigged for the wealthy. Everyone else be damned. All against all. Root, hog or die.

And despite his great success Reich would have to concede the country doesn’t really work for him, either. While he doesn’t appear powerless, he does have a public voice from the left, he has been. And it started the day he left the Clinton administration because he realized it didn’t care about any of things he did and wasn’t listening to him.

Which brings us again to one of his close friends and someone he still advises, Hillary Clinton.

Hillary Clinton is the best presidential candidate for the corporate dictatorship. Paradoxically, if Reich sincerely believes everything he’s written over the last year or so, and I believe he does, he knows it, too.

Hillary Clinton is not the collection of of white supremacy predators and madmen from America’s tribe of fear. Clinton is someone you’re already thinking you’ll hold your nose and vote for solely to prevent an immediate Biblical catastrophe from taking over the government.

And despite today’s speech centering on the systemic problems of racism, lack of opportunity, policing and the incarceration state, I’m betting Clinton will phone it in as she always does. She’ll get by on the overwhelming power of odious, but not as odious as Republican, things: gargantuan sums of money, the political machine and being super-famous for being super-famous.

There is substantial evidence accumulated that the only thing she and her husband recognize implicitly are galaxy-sized sums of cash.

With Bernie Sanders now in the running, he’ll only make this fact that she is someone who fakes it after consultation with multi-million dollar advisers more glaring.

It’s simple reasoning.

Bernie Sanders is a person who speaks in a blunt and populist way. He’s not cut from the cloth of the corporate dictatorship. Hillary Clinton is. She’s entire warehouses of it.

Clinton was a name nobody among name nobodies as a Secretary of of State. In could not have been otherwise. In our lifetimes, the position has always been nothing more that a rubber stamp for war and America’s foreign policy of the hammer.

She was not as horrid as Colin Powell but, surprisingly, even John Kerry has been better in the role.

And then there’s this today, in the news, summed up by a columnist from the Tampa Bay Times: “Spiro Agnew would be proud of the Clintons.”

“Hillary Clinton has not had one word to say addressing the optics of a secretary of state who [has created an impression of foreign contributions in exchange for policy], if she wasn’t on the take, was more willfully oblivious as to what was going on around her than Sgt. Schultz,” Daniel Ruth. Since she’s very smart, there will be no firm traces in the records, he continues.

For a moment of thoughtfulness, let’s dismiss this one as another instance of the shabby way the Clintons are treated in the media.

Instead, turn to another Clinton analysis by Rolling Stone’s politics and economics writes, Matt Taibbi.

Taibbi has contempt for Hillary Clinton but it’s detailed in its flavor.

He leads off:

Hillary Clinton ran onto the playing field this week, Rock and Roll Part 2 blaring in the background, and started lying within minutes of announcing her entry into the presidential election campaign.

“There’s something wrong,” she told a crowd of Iowans, “when hedge fund managers pay lower taxes than nurses or the truckers I saw on I-80 when I was driving here over the last two days.”

Oh, right, that. The infamous carried interest tax break, the one that allows private equity vampires like Mitt Romney and Stephen Schwartzman to pay a top tax rate of 15 percent while all of the rest of us (including the truckers Hillary “saw” – note she didn’t say “hung out with Bill and me over chilled shrimp at the Water Club”) pay income taxes …

Raise your hand if you really think that Hillary Clinton is going to repeal the carried interest tax break.


At launch she talked a streak of anti-elitist rhetoric that was taken seriously for a few days, until the punditry took the temperature of her populism and declared to it be the right kind: the fake kind, the purely strategic kind.

The [cognoscenti] even seemed to applaud Clinton for sounding enough like Elizabeth Warren to preclude the necessity of the actual Elizabeth Warren running for president, Warren being the wrong kind of populist, the real kind.

I didn’t include the finer parts of his reasoning. Go read it, they’re sound.

As for Hillary Clinton’s recognition that something ought to be done about the profound inequities of mass incarceration in America?

Jerry Brown and the people of California have been way ahead of
her. We passed law that downgraded drug possession for personal use to misdemeanor crime. It’s already released a lot of people from jail, reduced sentences and stopped mass police arrests, disproportionately on the poor and non-white, for the smoking of methamphetamine and crack cocaine.

Nationally, though, who was responsible for the national shift to getting tough on crimes, escalating the war on drugs, building prisons and locking more people up forever? The Clinton administration.

Many will have already noticed that Hillary Clinton, regardless of her speech recognizing the national stain as a significant problem, made no concrete suggestions on how to stop the war on drugs and mass incarceration of poor non-white people nationwide.

Sounds like the same formula used in talk of repealing the carried interest tax break for the rich.

“Pundits say her idealist porridge is not too hot, not too cold, but just fake enough,” reads the subhed at Rolling Stone.

Local friends! See DD this week

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Rock 'n' Roll at 1:49 pm by George Smith

Stuck to the top until Saturday.

If you’re in LA County, come on by.


“On song after song, Dick Destiny and drummer Mark Smollin
discover the joy in creating a racket, in the high hat, in song, in raising your voices,” said RockNYC about our first record – Loud Folk Live.

You and your friends are welcome to attend the Dick Destiny Band Spring Party at Artscape Gallery in Pasadena, Saturday, 16 May 2015 @ 7:30 – BYOB … Light refreshments will be provided. Special door-prize goes to the most progressive fan. Maybe their will be a bottle of Thunderbird with it. Or maybe not.

The music. Here and here.


Or just check under the Rock n Roll tab and do some PageDown. It’s all there, tunes perfectly written for our Culture of Lickspittle.

04.25.15

Presidential Healing Salve

Posted in Bombing Moe, Bombing Paupers, Culture of Lickspittle, War On Terror at 12:28 pm by George Smith

From the New York Times:

He praised the intelligence professionals for their work even as he reflected on the costs. “This self-reflection, this willingness to examine ourselves, to make corrections, to do better, that’s part of what makes us Americans,” Mr. Obama told them. “It’s part of what sets us apart from other nations. It’s part of what keeps us not only safe but also strong and free.”


Leon E. Panetta, who served Mr. Obama as C.I.A. director and then as defense secretary, said the president was especially engaged in counterterrorism operations and wanted regular briefings, always asking about civilian casualties. “You hit some of these targets, and you get a lot of people in a shot, and what you wind up doing is asking yourself, ‘Is every one of those guys you get a bad guy?’ ” Mr. Panetta said.

I bet. Bad guys. Always with the good guys and bad guys thing.

“We came, we saw, he died,” Hillary Clinton joked about Mo Ghaddafi after B-2 bomber strikes took out the rivets holding his military together.

Now Libya is a failed state with a local chapter of ISIS. But we bombed the paupers and got the bad guy.

04.24.15

Line up the Pro Lickspittles

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Shoeshine, War On Terror at 3:30 pm by George Smith

“Mistakes happen, says William Banks, a professor at Syracuse University’s Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism” on the drone strike that killed two humanitarian aid workers, one American and one Italian, in Pakistan.

That’s a quote from the BBC, courtesy of one of many scholars flacks for the forever wars devoted to dropping bombs on the poor people of the world. “Even if you’re up close and personal, it can be difficult,” Banks adds. It’s difficult to tell the “bad guys from the good guys.”

This is what passes for pithy comment, scholarship and critical thinking from the American academy on our many wars in 2015. That’s because the American system virtually wiped out everyone who wasn’t attached to the payroll of the Department of Defense or the national security infrastructure after 9/11. Experts on the matter, you see, are only necessary as fonts of simple-minded justifications, suitable for public consumption, for whatever it is the war machine is doing around the world.

What does Syracuse know about national security and terrorism? Nothing. Its “institute” didn’t exist until 2003.

A visit to its homepage (laugh at it’s unintentionally hilarious acronym) shows it to be almost all middle-aged and older white guys. Like most of these things, funded and fertilized by national security money, it’s a dumping ground for lawyers, military men from the wars still wearing their uniforms for their bio pictures, and lower and middle tier officials from the Pentagon. Plus, they can’t even hire someone to keep their web links working correctly.

“At times mistakes occur because of poor judgment,” continues the BBC. (No link, I won’t do it.)

Then the Beeb White House reporter digs up still another lawyer from the University of Houston to furnish yet one more upper class servant-of-the-military to white-mansplain how it is the war on terror is fought. For the one times ten to the sixth power time.

“There was ‘faulty intelligence,’ says Jordan Paust, an international law professor at University of Houston.” But the target site appeared to be “lawful … despite the unintended deaths,” he tells the Beeb.

“Someone’s got to make a choice …. That’s not necessarily a war crime.”

Faulty intelligence. Hard time telling the “bad guys from the good guys.” Even if you’re up close and personal it’s difficult.

A sack of potatoes could have thought this stuff up.

Do the war flacks passed off as scholars know how bad they sound? Certainly some of them do. But that’s why they’re paid. We need people to convincingly pretend they’re serious and thoughtful so that the news doesn’t veer dangerously into discussions of systematic callousness, inequities, blood and long-term consequences.

And there’s nothing that can be done about it. Except write something supercilious on a blog, something no one will like or share because … why, exactly?

Well, what to like? There’s no appropriate social media reaction widget.


The New York Times editorial board gets to the Bombs of Hope and Renewal matter:

The Obama administration has helped the Saudis with intelligence and tactical advice and by deploying warships off the Yemeni coast. Now it is wisely urging them to end the bombing. The White House seems to have realized that the Saudis appear to have no credible strategy for achieving their political goals, or even managing their intervention.

Seems baldly disingenuous, does it not? There are smart people at the New York Times. When they say “the Saudis appear to have no credible strategy” they certainly know it’s a strategy cooked up and targeted by the US Africa Command after it was surprised by the eruption of revolution. (Google US Africa Command and “stability operations” for a bleak laugh.)

“The deployment of the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier and other warships to the Arabian Sea this week was intended [to help the war effort], writes the Times. “American officials said they were prepared to intercept a nine-ship Iranian convoy headed for Yemen and believed to be carrying weapons for the rebels. Fortunately, the Iranian vessels turned around, avoiding a possible confrontation.”

Yes, an entire nuclear carrier surface action group is needed off one of the poorest countries in the world, just in case.

Perhaps the President or the Times ought to concede that letting Special Operations Command and the East Africa Air Pirates drone crew give Yemen the business for a few years hasn’t done the world any humanitarian favors.

Yemen has almost always teetered close to being a failed state. In 2013, the country’s electrical production was 850 megawatts, down by almost half of what it was the year before.

By contrast, the cities of Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena consumed 962 gigawatt hours of electricity in 2012 for residential use alone. Pasadena, by itself, it’s probably safe to say, has indescribably more electrical production capacity at its disposal than the entire country of Yemen.

Yemen, then, is patently one of the worst off places in the world, it’s deteriorating electrical production capacity only one measure of its very weak and fragile structure.

The US government, or its military, surely cannot say with any straight face (although they may try), that unleashing a vigorous anti-terror campaign upon the country did not significantly contribute to its current terrible condition.


More national security servant whitemansplaining on assassination campaigns in the poors regions:

“Core Al Qaeda is a rump of its former self,” said an American counterterrorism official, in an assessment echoed by several European and Pakistani officials.

The Pakistanis estimate that Al Qaeda has lost 40 loyalists, of all ranks, to American drone strikes in the past six months – a higher toll than other sources have tracked but indicative of a broader trend. Now, they say, Qaeda commanders are moving back to the relative safety, and isolation, of locations they once fled, like the mountains of eastern Afghanistan, and Sudan.

Yet militancy experts caution that it is too early to sound the death knell for Al Qaeda’s leaders, for whom patience and adaptability are hallmarks, and who, despite the adversity, remain the principal jihadist militants focused on attacking the West.

“People always want to know when the job will be finished,” said Michael Semple, a militancy expert at Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland. “I don’t think we can talk about that. They’re on the back foot, rather than being eliminated.”

The job will not be finished. That would mean the need for so many facile “militancy experts” might come into question.

Militancy experts. Say it again. Sounds delicate, like something for which you have to have brains.

Is there a metric, a “militancy quotient,” used to measure countries we’re working over because terrorists? What’s the quotient of Yemen? Pakistan? Iraq-Syria-Libya?

The newspaper does sort of glumly concede al Qaeda men are has-beens next to ISIS, though.


“A Nobel Peace Prize laureate’s [Barack Obama’s] embrace of drones, partly on humanitarian grounds, is sure to increase their legitimacy as instruments of war in the future,” reads the New Yorker. “But how can Obama’s choice be squared with the accumulating record of mistakes?”

In 2014, Camp Lemmonair in Djibouti (or US Africa Command’s home) was the launching pad for 16 drone sorties a day, most of them into Yemen.

Mark Fiore on Death & Destruction, Inc.

04.22.15

Decisive bombs of Renewal and Hope!

Posted in Bombing Paupers, Culture of Lickspittle at 2:43 pm by George Smith

You will appreciate the perverse twisting of language employed in the US military’s proxy war in one of the most desperate places on the planet. Naming a bombing campaign Operation Renewal and Hope is something that could only spring from the secretive US Africa Command, running America’s many special operations and Predator assassination strikes against Yemen out of a base in Djibouti. Only freedom-haters and the patently insane could find fault with the claim that bombs, made in America, generate renewal and hope wherever they are dropped on poor people in the world.

From the New York Times, yesterday, a story on how international condemnation had caused a halt to the Saudi bombing campaign against the Houthis in Yemen.

For years, Yemen has been the prime target of US Special Forces operations and drone bombings run out of Camp Lemmonier in Djibouti. Eventually, giving the country the treatment in the hunt for terrorists set off a civil war.

So the US’s toady in Yemen was overthrown when a tribe called the Houthi took over the capital. The Houthis continued their assault and now control most of this very poor country.

Subsequently, we have used the Saudis and a couple other little slimy US-equipped militaries from the southern side of the Persian Gulf to crank up bombing campaigns.

“Why, would one say, are we obviously behind it?” is the question.

Because the Saudi air force, trained by Americans, flies American-made planes, drops American-made bombs and is aimed using American targeting.

The NYT reports:

Saudi Arabia said Tuesday that it was halting a nearly month-old bombing campaign against a rebel group in neighboring Yemen that has touched off a devastating humanitarian crisis and threatened to ignite a broader regional conflict.

The announcement followed what American officials said was pressure applied by the Obama administration for the Saudis and other Sunni Arab nations to end the airstrikes. The bombing campaign, which has received logistical and intelligence support from the United States, has drawn intense criticism for causing civilian deaths …

When asked why the bombing campaign had been momentarily stopped an anonymous American official told the newspaper: “Too much collateral damage.”

Civilians, as it were.

The operation is called “Decisive Storm,” informed the newspaper.
It sure sounds familiar, something an American military command would come up with. I bet they almost broke their arms patting themselves on the back over the coinage.

Yemen’s “health services had collapsed,” added the newspaper helpfully.

The bombing halt seemed to have lasted not even 24 hours.

Because today:

Warplanes from a Saudi-led coalition conducted airstrikes Wednesday in the southwestern Yemeni city of Taiz, hours after Saudi officials had announced they were ending a nearly monthlong military operation against the Houthi rebel group in order to focus on a “political process.”


It was unclear whether the new strikes represented a resumption of the original operation under a different name — the Saudis are now calling it “Renewal of Hope” — but there was little evidence of change in the nature of the combat on Wednesday.

Personally, which do you prefer? Operation Decisive Storm? Or “Renewal of Hope” for a bombing campaign built, trained, engineered and guided by the US Africa Command.

Who knew 2000-lb. bombs, made in America, were filled with so much compassion?


A made-in-America guided bomb of renewal and hope smashed this building in Sana plus some of the neighborhood, probably crushing people under the rubble.


Another rhetorical question that arises: How do the New York Times reporters cover these stories without becoming physically sick?

The Song remains the Same

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Ted Nugent, WhiteManistan at 1:06 pm by George Smith

Every week, the words are the same, and so the song is, too:

[The GOP’s political message] is divorced from coherent policy. Take the central issue of inequality. Republicans like to say that the problem is disparity of opportunity, not disparity of wealth. But the two are increasingly one and the same, with federal budgets and inheritances playing a major role in both.

The Republican budget plans, for instance, obviously tilt the economic playing field in favor of the wealthy by cutting tax credits for the poor while leaving intact tax breaks for the wealthy.

From the Klassic Rock bigot:

Do you believe in the death tax? You know, stealing from families that have worked hard all their lives and created hard-earned savings, then thieves like you actually think you have the right to snatch it away from them.


If you truly want to know if a person is good or bad, simply ask them if they believe in the death tax. If they do, then they admit that they are thieves and reside solidly in the liability column of America. Case closed.


Until everybody does indeed earn and pay their fair share and we eliminate the legal thievery of the anti-American death tax, America will never be the best that we can be. The current system is actually bribing people to not produce.

From economist Dean Baker:

It’s repeal the estate tax season, which means we are hearing all sorts of nonsense about how the tax forces people to sell their family farm or business. It should be self-evident that this is nonsense since no one owes a penny of tax on an estate worth less than $5.4 million …

But if you still think that families are losing their farms because of the tax, then it’s worth going back to an old NYT story by David Cay Johnston. Johnston called the American Farm Bureau, a major lobbyist against the tax, and asked to be put in contact with someone who had lost their farm due to the estate tax. The Farm Bureau could not produce a single family anywhere in the country who had lost their farm as a result of the tax.

In short, families do not lose farms or businesses due to the estate tax. They lose them because the next generation doesn’t feel like operating them. This is just one more story that politicians tell in order to justify reducing taxes on the very wealthy.

And from me. Sing it! I demand it. Are you people crazy? We got a hit single here! It should easily be over 1,000 plays (wow!) by now!

Hang around and notice Youtube’s autoplay feature lines up Atlas Shrugged, Part III, for your enjoyment.

I watched it. It recommends home schooling because public schools are crap. John Galt is tortured by the American president for not sharing his machine that makes electricity out of air. But he is freed by the libertarian rich people’s resistance movement, escapes and wins in the end. Dagny Taggart shoots an unarmed guard because he can’t decide to obey her fast enough. And Dagny and Francisco D’Anconia rejoice and hug on the waterfront on the news that her bridge has collapsed, presumably killing thousands!

‘Effin great stuff.


On Ted Nugent at the NRA’s annual convention in Nashville:

The NRA exists so that regular freedom-loving Americans can carry guns to protect themselves. We all can’t be liberal elitists with our own armed security team, I was told. But while the NRA raged on about those liberal elitists with their own private security, the NRA VIPs were given armed security. Ted Nugent’s booth had three uniformed Metro Nashville Police officers standing guard, while multiple plain-clothed security guards stood closer to Nugent.

Nugent wasn’t the only VIP with security details. As I walked around the convention center, there were many with their own phalanx.

Nugent used his speech at the convention to talk about shooting Harry Reid.

Livin’ in America furnishes so many inspiring stories about how being a public disgrace is virtuous, your head will explode.

04.16.15

Hated in WhiteManistan, inspiration to target the working poor

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Extremism at 3:06 pm by George Smith

In 2013, Fox News and the American lunatic right put a world-class hating on southern California surfer and foodstamp recipient Jason Greenslate. And through 2014 they made him the poster boy inspiration for a subset of Republican Party cruelty laws targeting the working poor.

Jason Greenslate’s sins? Two, both fairly minor. First, being foolish enough to let Fox News into his life. (He wanted publicity for his heavy metal band). And, second, using the occasion to buy lobster and sushi with his EBT card. Which probably took a decent-sized hit in one buy for that month.

During the years of Barack Obama red state legislatures have moved relentlessly to craft allegedly legal attacks on those they despise. This includes the poor, non-whites, Muslims, gays, Hispanics and, generally speaking, everyone not-deemed to be wealthy white purity Christian Republican. It’s a tribe of nihilistic obsessions and hatreds.

The psychology is the need to rain punishments down on the impure and sinful, the execution of petty revenges, usually rationalized as being for the purposes of building character, the preservation of the cash of hard-working Americans who resent parasites, or something a white American Jesus would prescribe.

This has resulted in, among many other things, a rolling progression of red state laws, often in direct contravention to federal administrative rules, to oversee what the working poor can and cannot buy with foodstamps.

I mentioned the inspirational power of Fox News, which turned southern California surfer Jason Greenslate into a demon, when he was merely a goof.

Today I went back to the current news food to see citations for Jason Greenslate.

The GOP’s drive in Missouri to curb alleged posh buying of steak and lobster is currently stalled but the potential reasoning behind it is explained by one person.

And the reasoning is Jason Greenslate and Fox:

Missouri state Rep. Rick Brattin (R) introduced HB 813 in February with zero co-sponsors. The bill has not been referred to a committee, no hearing has been scheduled and there are no plans to take it up before the Missouri House of Representatives adjourns for the year in May.

And yet HB 813 is one of the most notorious pieces of legislation in America right now …

Brattin’s one-page bill would prohibit Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients from using their benefits to buy “cookies, chips, energy drinks, soft drinks, seafood, or steak.”

“I have seen people purchasing filet mignons and crab legs with their EBT cards,” Brattin told The Washington Post, referring to the electronic benefit transfer cards used to distribute SNAP benefit …


There’s at least one big obstacle to Brattin’s bill, aside from its apparent lack of support in the Missouri legislature. Try as they might, states aren’t allowed by federal law to make up new restrictions on who can get SNAP benefits or what they can buy. If Missouri tried to implement Brattin’s legislation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture would probably threaten to take away the administrative funding the state uses to run the program. That’s what happened last year in Georgia, where lawmakers almost incorporated a drug test into the state’s SNAP requirements before Gov. Nathan Deal (R) backed down.


“Maybe it’s because there’s been so much attention to that surfer dude and other things like that on the Web,” [the representative of a Missouri anti-poverty advocacy group] said, referring to Jason Greenslate, a lobster-loving food stamp recipient from San Diego whom Fox News profiled in 2013.

From Media Matters:

Fox News’ campaign of misinformation surrounding food assistance programs may be continuing to influence GOP legislation, as lawmakers in both Missouri and Kansas consider measures addressing “fake problems” within their state’s benefit programs.

Republican lawmakers in Kansas recently introduced legislation restricting where recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF, formerly known as “welfare”) can spend their money and what they can buy. The bill would limit the daily spending allowance to $25 and ban recipients from using benefits at psychics and tattoo parlors…

Fox News has spent years denigrating food assistance programs and recipients, with its campaign coming to a head in August 2013 when the network aired a misleading special titled, “The Great Food Stamp Binge.” Their shoddy report focused on Jason Greenslate, “a blissfully jobless California surfer” …


In an April 7 article for the Daily Beast, Eleanor Clift wrote that the only evidence to back up claims of fraud used to justify food stamp and welfare restrictions in Kansas and Missouri is the “widely broadcast Fox News interview two years ago when a brash young food stamp recipient boasted about buying lobster and sushi with his government assistance.”

In 2015 you can’t find anything about what Jason Greenslate has been up to since Fox News assassinated his character. Every search on his name is dominated by the hate campaign Fox brought down on him.

By using this search term, Jason Greenslate -Fox, you can uncover his band’s website and his Twitter account. Both went dead in 2013, turned to virtual stone by the Gorgon stare of Fox and the American right in social media.

Greenslate was run off the web by the success of Fox News’ and the America right wing’s campaign to portray him as a leeching monster before a significant portion of the electorate. Before Greenslate disappeared from the record, he gamely said he thought he shouldn’t be used as an example to discredit the system and punish others getting the benefit.

It’s the political right at the state level and its closed media at its worst. It crucified one foolish man and makes use of the distortions that arose from act to forge legislation attacking the working poor.

What happened to Greenslate? We know what’s being done to foodstamp recipients in red states. But you’d have to dig to find out the former, or maybe ask Jon Ronson.


If you search current news for examples of foodstamp fraud, the information that is returned has nothing to do with poor people buying food the GOP thinks ought to be off limits.

Instead, the fraud is usually centered around schemes in which a variety of businessmen/criminals rip off the foodstamp benefit for hard cash in their establishments by preying upon the poor.

04.15.15

Enjoy this fine song for Income Tax Day!

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle at 9:58 am by George Smith

It’s Wishful Thinking Day, as it has been for the last eight in our country where nothing changes, ever, except for the piles built up by the wealthy and corporate America.

Senator Bernie Sanders has written The Corporate Tax Dodging Prevention Act of 2015, introduced by Jan Schakowski in the Senate.

“Cuts to programs that help Americans get ahead and stay ahead have been significant, while tax breaks have been handed out like candy to captains of industry and the behemoth corporations they run … It’s time that we end that skewed system,” she said in a press release.

Nice rhetoric, but the news buried it. This year, timely outraged squawking about corporate wealth, the oligarchy and legal tax evasion is so last year!

The New York Times, on the other hand, made a grand gesture, inviting an editorial bemoaning all the regular citizens who don’t pay their taxes.

Seriously!

Their lede:

IN 2006, according to an estimate by the United States Treasury Department, Americans underpaid their taxes by about $450 billion. For that year, that’s roughly equal to Pentagon spending, and more than the gross domestic products of Sweden and Switzerland.

A good chunk of the missing tax revenues comes from underreporting income, or tax evasion.

Oh, Jesus H. Christ on a pointed stick!

“Some people are hard up and can’t afford to pay their taxes,” they admit, a bit sullenly.

But the authors have an answer: Public shaming!

“We believe that shaming policies are an effective tool and should be part of the effort to make citizens pay their fair share,” they conclude.

Great stuff, so much better than the Corporate Tax Dodging Prevention Act! And it’s written by someone from Microsoft Research.

Why, that’s just another great inside joke, in and of itself!

In the meantime, enjoy and share, share, share this great song for Income Tax Day.

And remember to sing along:

“Woe, the rich man’s burden to pay too much tax! The poor don’t pay enough! They spend it all on liquor! And if we stopped it all right now we’d get rich a whole lot quicker!”


And this, just in e-mail from Senator Sanders:

“On April 15, the income tax deadline for most Americans, Bernie introduced a bill to stop corporations from avoiding their fair share of taxes by stashing profits in the Cayman islands, Bermuda and other tax havens. He spoke at a Capitol news conference in front of a photo of the notorious Ugland House, the Cayman Islands office that is the registered address of more than 18,000 companies. Yes. There are supposedly 18,000 companies doing business in one small building. Needless to say, it’s all a scam to avoid paying taxes to the U.S. government.”

And what will be done tomorrow? Nothing. But not because he didn’t try.

Woe, the rich man’s burden to pay too much tax; going to leave to Grand Cayman if he don’t get it back.

04.14.15

Wrestling with the problems of WhiteManistan

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Extremism, WhiteManistan at 4:31 pm by George Smith

And still losing, mostly.

The New York Times continues the beat, that of which the identity cannot be specifically named:

On April 3, Colbert King, a Washington Post columnist summarized a series of actions by Republicans attacking the president’s authority in areas that most Americans thought had been settled by the Civil War. Arizona legislators, for example, have been working on a bill that “prohibits this state or any of its political subdivisions from using any personnel or financial resources to enforce, administer or cooperate with an executive order issued by the president of the United States that has not been affirmed by a vote of Congress and signed into law as prescribed by the United States Constitution.”

The bill sounds an awful lot like John C. Calhoun’s secessionist screed of 1828, the South Carolina Exposition and Protest. Laurie Roberts of The Arizona Republic wrote that it was just “one of a series of kooky measures aimed at declaring our independence from federal gun laws, from the Affordable Care Act, from the Environmental Protection Agency, from the Department of Justice, from Barack Obama.”


If this insurrection is driven by something other than a blend of ideological extremism and personal animosity, it is not clear what that might be.

Not clear what it might be. Savor that one. What a buncha jokers.


And from the state of Idaho:

Fear is never the right reason to make law, or in this case, to unmake it. Yet fear – decidedly unfounded according to agency staff and legal experts including Idaho’s Attorney General and lawyer-legislator Rep. Luke Malek – is driving the Legislature’s undoing of state participation in a multi-state (and occasionally, multinational) system which protects children, especially children in low-income families.

While unrelated to the bill in question, the fearful utterance of one word – “sharia” – in a key committee caused reason to fly out the Capitol window. Assurances from officials who work with, and more fully understand, the Health and Welfare laws in question failed to revive the bill, which among other things is necessary for Idaho to continue to collect child support from certain less-than-willing noncustodial parents, necessary to follow them out of state if they’ve moved.

Single parent having a tough time making ends meet? Too bad. That support and other aid you depended on may soon be effectively uncollectable. All because certain lawmakers are ignorant about both Idaho’s law, and sharia, and imagine a connection between them.

Population of Idaho: 1.63 million. Population of Los Angeles County: somewhat north of 10 million.


WhiteManistan’s taste for cruelty laws targeting the unfortunate, the weak and the allegedly undesirable continues apace.

If you follow the first link, you see that legislator’s in red states are still simmering over Fox News’ coverage of Jason Greenslate of southern California, who was occasionally using his EBT card to buy lobster on special at the local market.

The blog mentioned him here last year.

Because Greenslate lives in the hated California, specifically San Diego, the Republican Party cannot have its revenge upon him.

And there’s nothing that motivates them more than being thwarted, a fact everyone is being taught the hard way.

So in not being able to strangle Jason Greenslate out in nemesis California, they’ve done the next best thing. They’ve turned their rage over the food stamp program into legislation that claws only the people they can get at — those living in the states where they control the legislatures and governors offices.

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