Intravenous Caffeine

Totally Unfair and Completely Unbalanced

Barrie Antoinette: “Let Them Eat Catfood…”

L'Ancien Régime. "Let them eat catfood."

"Life Among the Nobililty: The Swing" by Gregonard...

Well, Barrie Antoinette–excuse me, President Barry Obama, delivered his proposal for a budget and yes, indeed-y, there was the much hated-by-the-constituency-but-loved-by-Wall-Street “chained CPI”. According to one writer, Barry has called the Republican bluff–they have said they will brook no tax increases unless something is done about “entitlements”–you know, the money you’re entitled to because, well, you GAVE it to the Fed to invest throughout your working career! Well, the Prez has proposed chained CPI–the cost of living mal-adjustment that assumes that if you can’t afford steak, you’ll buy chicken and everything is still jake. Or if you can’t afford Chicken of the Sea, you’ll buy canned skipjack mackerel. And if you can’t afford canned mackerel, you’ll just go to Friskies.

The theory is that the Republicans will be so scared of losing their seats that they will do anything to avoid agreeing to this proposal. Except for one thing–who’s REALLY gonna get the blame for this? Why, the guy who proposed it, of course. President Obama. You know, the guy who DOESN’T HAVE TO RUN FOR ELECTION AGAIN?

Why all this “save Social Security” nonsense when it is solvent for the next 30 years? Why all this “entitlement reform” bullshit when Social Security has nothing to do with the budget? For that, we have to go back eight years (and actually more) to when President BUSH proposed “privatizing Social Security.” That’s right, this one has a long history–and the reason for privatizing SS was? So the money boys, the banks, the oligarchy, the plutocracy, could get their hands on that money and drain it from our senior citizens faster than any drug addict by stealing your Grandma’s Social Security check.

But wait–how does the chained CPI do THAT? Remember back then–the seniors, the AARP, everybody and their brother decided that the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) was good enough to keep them going so please do not do us the favor of letting us make bad investments, please. So the money boys–whom Barack Obama is as beholden to as any Republican, any blue dog Democrat, hell, almost every “progressive” Democrat as well–said to themselves, “If the COLA is good enough, then let’s screw the COLA. Then they’ll be clamoring to let us invest the money for them.”

And that, kiddies, is how the sky turned blue. So remember, when Grandma, when Ma and Pa, when YOU start having to eat catfood, it wasn’t just Congress, it wasn’t just Obama…

It was the banks, too big to fail, too big to jail, who wanted your money.

“Allons enfants de la Patrie, le jour de gloire est arrivé!”

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The No-Compromise Compromise, or, 3-D Chess finally works out

Spock/Obama wins a 3-D chess match

Chief Science Officer Obama's 3-D chess playing pays off -- Fascinating.

How often have we heard the following statement about President Obama: “Oh, you don’t understand–he’s playing a 3-D chess game. You couldn’t possibly follow his strategy!” If you were a progressive (or, in hushed whispered tones, a “l-i-b-e-r-a-l”), probably a lot. Why was single payer health insurance taken off the table before the negotiations even began? 3-D chess move! Why no public option? 3-D chess move! Why no investigation into the Bush era torture policies? 3-D chess move! Bank investigations? 3-D chess move! Fascinating!

An astute observer might have noticed that all these 3-D chess moves appeared to variations on the Nimzovich strategies–instead of fighting for the center of the chess board, you concede it and allow your opponent to get overconfident so you can rush in and take advantage of his over-extended supply lines! Of course, it’s hard to overextend your supply lines on an 8×8 chess board so these openings seem to have fallen into obscurity. Nonetheless, our chessplayer-in-chief appears to be devoted to showing that they can work.

The only problem was, while Spock was playing 3-D chess, the Klingons were playing poker. Ah-HAH! I take your knight! Big deal, Full House beats one of a kind! Whoopsies!

However, we’ve finally had a situation where Obama’s chess playing has finally paid off. The brouhaha about Obamacare forcing poor religious zealots from denying women the choice of contraception. Why that’s against the freedom of religions to force their moral standards on people who need not even be members of said religions. Specifically, Catholics, the largest single church in the US–who usually vote Democratic. How quickly the Republicans rushed to their defense! I wonder how quickly they’d rush to the defense of Muslims objecting to universal health care based on Shariah law?

So Obama compromised. The church run hospitals would not have to provide contraception coverage. The health care companies would do it instead. GREET! Oops, many Catholic hospitals are self-insured! Too bad!

Mitch McConnell is furious and threatens a vote … on something. Problem is–the Catholic BISHOPS are against the idea, but Catholic women seem to applaud it. Oh, well. It gets interesting, don’t it?

On personal notes: I will be running an artists alley table at Katsucon at the Gaylord at National Harbor Friday through Sunday this coming weekend. And being as it’s a Monday holiday, there will be no cartoon until the next week. My dental problem is in the middle of recovery (I needed an extraction and implant) and it’s good not to feel the pain that has been with me for many months now. And finally, there is a very sweet kitty cat who is very ill and needs your best wishes. Thanks :)

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The National Health Care Soap Opera Hits a Curtain–Intermission or Climax?

Making believe they are the true Amaricans, teabaggers hurl racial and other epithets at the Congress ...

Teabagging's true colors--and I don't mean red, white and blue

After a year of deals, compromises, debates, broken promises, lies, protests, counterprotests, Health Care Reform(?) is passed. With all the incredible rancor and venom, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have to be congratulated for actually getting SOMETHING done. There are about 32 million people who will have them to thank for actually having some kind of health care, and countless others who will not be denied coverage for “pre-existing conditions” or other BS. Is it a perfect bill? Hell, it may not even be all that GOOD a bill. It strengthens the stranglehold of the health insurance industry–that mandate for all citizens to buy health insurance can be seen as nothing less than a bribe to get the parasites to give up denial of coverage and if anyone thinks that the insurers are going to keep rates down and risk lowering executive salaries and bonuses, I’ve still got that bridge in Brooklyn I’m offering on eBay.

But let us be generous and think of it as a first step in what is likely to be an arduous journey. Real Reform for the rest of us lies further ahead. Let us be thankful for the people who won’t be forced to die for lack of medical care.

You would think the votes wouldn’t be so close. But all you have to do is look at the demonstrations over the weekend to see the bitterness that poisoned the hope of better legislation. Teabaggers running through the House offices, banging on doors and shouting. Hurling racial and other insults at Representatives as they prepared to vote. Spitting on them. One person in a wheelchair was mocked and told his “free ride” was over.

It wasn’t because of the sweeping nature of the plan. It kept to guidelines established by Republicans decades ago. This bitterness arose because some people in the US could not abide the thought of a black President and wanted to do anything in their power to destroy his tenure in office. They were whipped into a fury by Fox News and demagogues like Rush Limbaugh. Responsible Republican leadership has been out to lunch. They excuse this behavior instead of telling the teabaggers to stop acting like children. And they did this because the teabaggers were pulling the stunts they themselves knew they couldn’t get away with. Finally, after the vote, Boehner told everyone to start acting like adults.

But the genie’s out of the bottle. This is not the end of the teabaggers, I betcha. I hate to see what will happen next.

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What Would It Take For A President to Say “The State of the Union Ain’t Very Strong”?

Two Hookers critique the state of the union address: Good oral, now let's see a little bump and thrust.

Or maybe a little slap-and-tickle on the right side of the aisle?

I mean seriously, what WOULD it take for the President to start out, “The State of the Union isn’t very strong”? Massive depression? Naw, even Herbert Hoover said the SOTU was strong. Open rebellion? I bet even Abe Lincoln said the state of the union was strong. And it was, if you didn’t count the 11 states that up and left when he was elected. Perhaps alien invasion? “Let me remind you, you still have two out of three branches of the federal government and that ain’t bad,” as the President said in MARS ATTACKS. Actual unemployment and underemployment is around 20%, we’re in debt up to our yinyangs to China because of a double recession during the Bush presidency, two wars that we shouldn’t have been in in the first place, tax cuts for the people who didn’t need them and a massive bailout of banks that had been holding a craps game with our money, credit card companies charging 30% interest, 30 million people without health insurance, BUT–The State of the Union is strong.
We did get one moment of high comedy tho–thanks to Chris Matthews of MSNBC. Forgot he was black for an hour, Chris? Way to GO! Only one month into 2010 and you already have the gaffe of the year! But wait–maybe you can outdo yourself–you have 11 more months to do it in!
President Obama gave himself a number of pats on the back, waved his finger at the right side of the aisle and outlined an ambitious agenda to get us back on track–well, not all that ambitious, there were a lot of half-measures–i.e., we need to increase jobs, but we need to keep the budget under control, so hey, let’s just do a little of both. He pointed the finger at the Bush administration for getting us into this mess more forcefully than he had since…his inauguration. You told Justice Roberts where to get off (and Stephen Colbert brought up a great point about how Roberts is willing to overturn precedent if he has only two dissents to do it on–and just where WERE Scalia and Thomas last night anway?). And he wants to see things on his desk! Well, Barry, let’s hope that you tell people exactly what you want on your desk this time around the calendar and that you knock some heads together to do it.
The problem is that we’ve heard all this before and we haven’t seen enough action on it. As my hookers say in the cartoon, you’re good at oral, now let’s see a little bump and thrust. You told us bank presidents weren’t going to get away with things and then you turn around and let them get away without showing up for their meeting with you. LEAD! Stop taking things off the table before you start negotiating. Get rid of your bad advisers. Rely more on Joe Biden than on Rahm Emanuel–Emanuel’s been advising you to give away the farm for nominal victories but Biden knows where the bodies are buried. Get rid of the financial cronies and slap around those bank presidents like you did the auto manufacturers. And for god’s sake, stop going on expensive dates with Michele while your middle class is going down with the ship–at least look like you have a bit of empathy. You said you’d rather be a good one-term president than a poor two-term one. Well, we don’t want you to be a good one-term president–we thought we were voting for a GREAT president. So stop futzing around and be what you promised.

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2009? I’m outta here…

Three scenes--Obama foisting a knockoff Christmas gift on his daughter, Lloyd Blankfein wishing happy holidays as he drinks champagne and eats caviar, and Fred'n'Bert harvesting Christmas lights...

Man, I'm tired of this year

This is one year I’m glad to be leaving–hell, it’s a whole decade I’m glad is over. And what a decade–starting with the Supreme Court deciding that ANY President is better than the elected President when it’s too annoying to actually have a legally mandated recount, through 9/11, not capturing Osama bin Laden when he was less than a handful of football fields away, attacking Iraq because they might have horrible weapons while their army barely had shoes, setting up concentration camps to house interrogations fueled by torture, having the country’s transportation held hostage by the oil companies who were given carte blanche to raise prices anytime they saw fit, watching one of the great cities of the US be destroyed by storm and flooding due to inadequate levees built by the Army Corps of Engineers, having a damn over-a-year long Presidential race, electing the first black President who offered us a vision of hope while the economy tanked and then seeing those hopes tarnished by a first year in office that seemed like nothing less than more of the same BS we’d been through for the first nine years of the new millenium.
President Obama grades his performance as worth a solid B+, but if he were to be graded with regards to his success in the most important issues of his first year, tougher regulation of banking, staving off unemployment, delivering a health care reform that actually helps Americans, a C would be the best he could be given and then only from a professor who didn’t give out D’s. What Obama lacks is leadership. He’s an inspiring speaker, but in terms of actually getting things done, he’s been too focused on trying to reach a consensus with an opposition party that would say no if he said the sun rises in the east, and a renegade faction of his own party that is more intent on making sure their bread gets buttered rather than achieving something of value to the country. At times, it seems like Obama is not running the country but has delegated that task to Rahm Emanuel filling in as America’s Chief Operating Officer. We are on the verge of legislating a “health care reform” whose principle accomplishment is mandating that all Americans buy insurance from the same pack of parasites that has driven American health care into one of the worst in the world. Instead of taking the tough love route he took with the automobile companies, Obama has been mollycoddling the bank industry and not even blinking when he gets flipped the bird by the three CEOs who just couldn’t make the meeting he called. Not to mention an unemployment rate over 10% and a lackluster mortgage relief program that has failed to stem the rising tide of home foreclosures.
President Obama, the time to get tough was yesterday. You’d better make it one of your New Year’s resolutions or you’re going to find yourself with a hostile Republican-led Congress come next November. Stop thumbing your nose at the progressives who elected you because, if you think it was tough reaching across the aisle when you had a majority, just think how tough it will be when the people who want to impeach you for existing hold the reins.
So Goodbye 2009. I’m going to forget about politics for the next few weeks. May all my readers have happy holidays no matter what holidays they have to suffer through. Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, whatever you say for Kwanza, we’ve already passed Eid, Happy New Year, Gode Yule, blessed solstice and my personal choice, Sated Saturnalia–the holiday designed to offend EVERYONE. We’ll see you again on January 11.

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