On one hand, you have Geraldo Rivera admonishing the dead kid about wearing a hoodie because it looks too “gangsta.” And then you have New Gringrich admonishing the President about noticing the kid was black. No two ways, Fox, it’s either racist or it ain’t. Add to this the “stand your ground” fans backing up shooter Zimmerman saying that he was only doing his job–self-appointed and told by the 911 operator not to pursue–and you start to wonder if their heads are in so far, will these guys ever see daylight again?
Fortunately, Melissa Harris-Perry took care of Geraldo, and the electorate looks like it will be taking care of Newt. And Paul Krugman reveals the truth about American Legislative Exchange Council, the corporate shills behind the “stand your ground” laws.
Which leaves us Dick Cheney. The sight of all the people wishing him well with prayers for a speedy recovery—including those who’ve accused him of being a war-profiteer, a war criminal, and responsible for the sinking of the US reputation to historic lows by ‘OK’ing tortures the Japanese were hanged for after WWII—warms my heart. This is the mark of a civil society. We do live by the Golden Rule: Do not do unto the previous Administration as you would not have the next Administration do unto you.
Now a churlish man would be making comments about Mr. Cheney’s heart transplant like “Where’d they find one that small?” Or, “This one is perfect, Igor, MWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!” Or, “Wow, the old one really was made of stone–this will fetch a high price on EBAY!” But we won’t do so. Instead, we’ve decided to honor Mr. Cheney with some verses of a song:
Dick had to have heart,
Cheney really needed heart.
They kept saying that you didn’t have one.
But here’s one for a fresh start!
You never lost hope,
When they kept on saying nope,
Like with those weapons that could never be found,
Those visions were sound, your critics dopes.
Don’t you think of Halliburton,
And the profits from the war,
You will only feel some hurtin’,
And who knows what you’d outpour
to an enhanced interrogation!
So pick up the phone,
And when you hear the dial tone,
Tell your friend that you are sorry you graced
with buckshot his face,
it wasn’t smart,
Now you’ve finally got heart.
No applause please, the patient is convalescing.
In the meantime, one national crisis ended–we actually decided to pay our bills–and another began. After months of wrangling over whether or not we’d actually pay the money we owed people, Standard and Poors decided we couldn’t be trusted to actually pay our bills when the invoices arrived. Duh! No brainer there. If you loudly complain about how you’re not going to pay your bills, won’t your landlord get a bit antsy about whether or not you’re going to pay the rent? Same as our landlords. The Chinese.
Of course, we’re incensed that S&P actually downgraded us. Hey, we complained, but we’re paying–aren’t we? And what about that 2 TRILLION dollar error in your calculations? Huh? Hey–aren’t you the guys that said Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers were good risks?
Well, S&P fessed up that this was more of a political decision than an economic one. Ooops, never mind that profit-taking by the bear market over there (I’m sure that THAT was more than a bit of consideration as well). But you can’t fault the political judgment. We spent months in a virtual standstill over whether to pay our bills because a minority in Congress is holding our government to ransom. Give in to our demands or we’ll shoot the dog. Ahh, patriotism!
Buried on page 4 of the S&P apologia–which no one seems to have read besides Louise Hartmann–damn liberals, flaunting their literacy!–”Republicans in the Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues.” Now while this does not actually reference the reason why we were downgraded (to forestall the fish-shaking by the one or two conservatives who might actually read this), but it DOES state why we’re in a deficit crisis. We’re losing money because we refuse to raise taxes, especially to raise taxes on the people who might actually have the money to pay them! What a concept–it’s positively Newtonian in scope. Maybe someone in S&P has actually READ Adam Smith instead of simply bowing at his statue in the halls of Capital.
As long as we are held by this insane up-is-down notion (based on the appropriately named–and discredited–Laffer Curve) that somehow lowering taxes will raise revenues–and by the solemn oaths taken to Grover Norquist, whose avowed goal is to drown government in the bathtub–we’re going to have problems with out-of-control deficits. Unless we cut every government function except the Defense Department–and we’ll have trouble there too as we continue to farm out the legions to the auxiliary barbarian mercenaries (based on the notion that for-profit armies are somehow cheaper than the government-sanctioned one). And we’ll deserve a less-than AAA rating. Hey, I have an idea, why don’t we eliminate the salaries of elected officials as well? That way, only people who could afford to hold office could actually run. We could call them, I don’t know, the nobility?
I’m afraid Paul Krugman is wrong–we’re not going back to the Gilded Age. We’re headed back to feudalism.