Monday, December 31, 2012

A New Beginning? What This Blog Is, & What It Isn't.

It's been a few years since I posted here. I've been writing elsewhere, and quite frankly, blogging began to bore me. But I think I just figured out why.

Nitwit Planet was born with the idea that it would cover news stories that I thought needed to be told, but weren't. It would include some commentary on my part, but the main focus was reporting the news that I thought went under the radar.

I discovered that while I enjoyed telling others how I see the world around me, I disliked the job of unpaid journalist. That's not to say that I disrespect the profession. I have grown a new respect for it. But it's not for me.

So, going forward, I was thinking of posting my thoughts here from time to time. How I see the world. My thoughts on current events. If anything, it'll give me an outlet to vent. If you enjoy reading my venting, cool. If you want to vent to me, that's cool too, I just ask that you remain civil.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

"We Didn't Start The Fire" Done To GOP Scandals.

A few months before the 2008 election I was listening to Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start The Fire". I always dug the song, it was so catchy. But when I sat down to read the lyrics I thought it was well, shitty. Not that it's really Billy Joel's fault, writing lyrics in that way is really freaking hard.

But suddenly an idea came to me...I'd bet you could rewrite the lyrics to this song, and have them refer to some of the many scandals from the Bush administration. After laboring for several days, this is the result. For kicks, try singing along with the song to these new lyrics.

Scooter Libby, Neal Horsley, Tom DeLay, KKK
Shell, BP, and Amoco, Halliburton
Judith Miller, New York Times, Jesse Helms, Phil Gramm
Ken Lay, Kissinger, and Berlusconi

George Bush, Pretzels, wiretap, Abramoff
Billo, Geraldo, torture in Guantánamo
Reaganomics, privatize, global heating suicide
PNAC, Trent Lott, Cialis on my TV set

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
Well, we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

Wal-Mart, AIPAC, The IMF, World Bank
Negroponte, death squads, occupation
9/11, bomb blasts, tax cuts, getting rich
Anthrax, Saddam, and free speech zones
Al Qaeda, My Pet Goat, SAVAK, “Stay the course.”
Fallujah, Lebanon, Mussolini’s here again
New Orleans photo-ops, TSA sippy cups,
Gonzo, Karl Rove, blacks kicked off the voting rolls

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
Well, we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

Yellowcake, Tim McVeigh, Downing Street, CIA
Diebold, black box, Honey bees are dying off
Columbine, Virginia Tech, the SOA, the deficit
Terri Schiavo, Bill Frist, health care is getting sick

Fox News, culture war, Faith based, Goss’ whores
Lieberman, Safavian, Falwell kicks the can
Free trade, Katrina, FEMA, treason
Russert, Tobias, Cheney shot someone in the face

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
Well, we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

Downing Street, Hardball, Osama, Panama
Rumsfeld, Enron, Rush Limbaugh’s on heroin
Robertson’s diamond mines, It’s Giuliani time
Randy “Duke” Cunningham, Condi’s buying shoes again
Stem cells, landmines, Bolton’s at the UN,
Mumia’s locked away, what else do I have to say?

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
Well, we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

Consolidation media, Bechtel’s in Bolivia
Darfur, Dubai, Walter Reed, Swift Boat
Foley and Gannon, Claude Allen’s stealing
Clear Skies, doughnut holes, Tillman killed in Afghanistan
Shia-Sunni genocide, vets committing suicide
Chalabi taking Iranian bets, color-coded homeland threats
China exporting everything, Arms race is back again
Never ending terror wars, I can't take it anymore

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
But when we are gone
Will it still burn on, and on, and on, and on...

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
Well, we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it
We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
Well, we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Useless Democrat Double Whammy.

Some people have sent me angry e-mails after I posted an entry in which I said I now refuse to vote. To which, I point out today’s useless Democrat double whammy.

First, the backstabbers in the Democratic Party in the Senate voted to couldn’t even bother to press Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) not to vote to confirm Bush Attorney General (read Torturer-In-Chief) Nominee Michael Mukasey, even after he said he could not give an “opinion on the legality” of waterboarding.

Not to be outdone by the backstabbers in the Senate, the House then voted to kill a move by Representative Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) to launch impeachment hearings against Vice President Dick Cheney for lying and distorting intelligence to take the United States to war in Iraq.

Again, I ask: Why do I even bother to vote? Here’s a better question: Why do you?

Monday, October 29, 2007

I Ain’t Voting Anymore.

I never thought I’d say this, but I’ve decided to finally join the real majority of my American brethren…the ones who don’t vote. I’ve decided that I ain’t gonna vote no more. No way, no how, period.

My first introduction to this idea came from the great funny man George Carlin. Ten years ago, when I heard his wonderful Back In Town album, I was kinda shocked to hear the only comedian I truly idealized say he favored not voting. This, of course, was in 1996. I was an young and idealistic adult and I eagerly waited to cast my first vote ever in my life.

I knew Bill Clinton was useless, and he royally pissed me off by being the cowardly spineless Democrat he was, but I figured he had to be better than Bob Dole. I stood in that voting booth for a long, long time, looking at Clinton’s name. Finally, I said to myself, “fuck this asshole,” and voted for Ross Perot instead. Why did I vote for Perot? Just so I could flip the bird to Clinton.

Then we got Bush. I gleefully supported Nader over Gore, and I never apologized for it. Even after these 7 long nightmarish years of Bush, I still don’t regret it. You know why? Because Nader didn’t cost Gore shit. Hell, if Gore had bothered to run as a candidate for the Presidency instead as a spineless worm to replace another spineless worm who got a blowjob, then maybe he would have gotten enough votes in Florida that would have made it harder for the Supreme Court to steal the election.

Then came Kerry. I would have loved to have voted for someone like Dean. Really, I was holding out for Kucinich. Of course, that didn’t matter because we got Kerry, thanks to the right wing attacks on Dean. And like Gore, Kerry would have won in Ohio if he’d had enough spine to say, “yo, stop stealing the election in Ohio.”

Then came 2006, where every progressive in the country worked their asses off to get a Democratic Congress. I was one of them. We put in long hours and lots of money to get two things: an end to the war and Bush impeached. A year later what have we gotten? We get spineless cowards like Pete Stark apologizing to Bush for telling the truth.

I could blame the Republicans and their supporters for being nutcases and jackasses who are ruining the country. But that’s like blaming a snake for biting you. I could blame the Democrats in Congress for being cowards, but that’s like blaming worms for being invertebrates. The reality is that the politicians are just puppets. Dangling like marionettes for all to see. Meanwhile, everyone ignores the puppeteers, best known as The Fortune 500.

So I’m done with the great American Illusion. I’m staying home on election day. When Americans are ready to do something about the puppeteers, let me know. I’ll bring a rifle.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Bush’s World Bank Pick Is Delusional.

The Washington Post is reporting that President Bush’s pick to head up the World Bank is concerned over growing economic troubles in Venezuela under President Hugo Chavez’s leftist government.

“It’s a country where economic problems are mounting and we are seeing [that] on the political and press side it’s not moving in a healthy direction,” Robert Zoellick told a news conference in Mexico City.

Chavez’s critics say that his policies have hindered job creation and are scaring businesses. Chavez drew further criticism recently when refused to renew the broadcast license of a television station that had publicly encouraged an overthrow of Chavez in a US-backed coup attempt in 2002.

Despite Zoellick’s criticism, the Venezuelan economy grew by 10.3% last year, the fastest in the region, and poverty rates in the country has continued to decline. Furthermore, when one actually look at the numbers coming out of Venezuela, they do indeed look far more rosy then Chavez’s critics claim.

In the 6 years prior to Chavez coming to office, total GDP growth in Venezuela was just 2.1%, averaging 0.4% per year. Since Chavez took office in 1999, the GDP growth rates in Venezuela is up a whopping 30.3%, or nearly 4% a year. In comparison, under the first term of the Bush Presidency, growth rates in the United States averaged 2.10%.

Zoellick’s “concern” over the Venezuelan economy may be affected by Chavez looking into withdrawing Venezuela from the World Bank. Chavez has said that the World Bank is a tool of the United States to keep poor countries poor. Chavez is looking into setting up an alternative economic institution to the World Bank that he says will free poor countries from high interest rate loan strangulation.

One thing not mentioned by The Washington Post is Robert Zoellick’s history. After all, who is this guy that Bush has nominated to head the World Bank? What makes him qualified for the position he has been nominated to?

As it turns out, Robert Zoellick is one of the founding members of The Project for a New American Century, the neo-conservative organization whose members include John Bolton, Donald Rumsfeld, and former World Bank head Paul Wolfowitz. Zoellick was one of the signers to a letter to President Bill Clinton in 1998, encouraging him to launch a war with Iraq.

So what would you expect from the Bush administration? Replacing one short-sighted neo-con who disgraced the World Bank with another short-sighted neo-con who has yet had the chance to disgrace the World Bank?

A note to Mr. Zoellick: To avoid being completely discredited, you should avoid criticizing third world countries for having “economic problems” when their growth rates out pace the growth rates in the United States under Bush. Just a thought.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Is “Legally And Peacefully” Still An Option?

When I look back on the past two years I wonder if I should have bothered to be an activist. I wonder if I should have given money to the DNC for the 2006 election. I wonder if I should have bothered to go to peace protests. Maybe instead I should have been considering other options.

On the right there are primarily two major elements in their base. The Christian nutcases and the business elitists. In the last 6 years the GOP has given their base everything they’ve asked for. But what about the DNC?

Despite that 75% of the population supports “Democratic” positions such as ending the war, raising the minimum wage, protecting the environment, and establishing national healthcare, what has the Democratic party delivered? They have said impeachment is off the table, and don’t even have the gumption to push a meaningless “no confidence” vote on Gonzo.

The Dems were elected for 2 reasons: ending the war and impeaching Bush. On the later they have steadfastly refused, and on the former they have shown the kind of spinelessness I thought that was humanly impossible.

Instead of refusing to fund the war as 70% of the US population demands, the Dems have instead funded the war so they won’t look “weak” to the 25% of the country still supporting Bush.

So I have to wonder...when are the Dems going to stop trying to win over Reich wingers by being Republican-lite and start working for OUR interests? Suppose for a moment that Bush declared himself dictator for life and the barricades went up. How much opposition do you think you can count on from the Dems?

I don’t think jumping ship to the Greens will help any. I don’t think getting “better” Dems into office will help. What we are looking at is the complete breakdown of the representative theory of government.

In short, the overwhelming majority of the American populace has just been spat upon by the very people we just put into power just a short 6 months ago. I think we need to figure out some way to get the Dems to represent and work for OUR wishes and OUR demands. And I’m beginning to wonder if there really is a legal and peaceful way to do that.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Cheap Labor Conservatives.

When you cut right through it, right-wing ideology is just “dime-store economics” – intended to dress their ideology up and make it look respectable. You don’t really need to know much about economics to understand it. They certainly don’t. It all gets down to two simple words.

“Cheap labor”. That’s their whole philosophy in a nutshell – which gives you a short and pithy “catch phrase” that describes them perfectly. You’ve heard of “big-government liberals”. Well they’re “cheap-labor conservatives”.

Once you understand the general concept, you will frequently find yourself in debate over specific issues, like healthcare, social security privatization, public school vouchers, the “war on drugs” and of course the war in Iraq. What better way to put your conservative opponent on the defensive than by exposing the true motivation for his position – “cheap labor”. Can you really find the “cheap labor” angle in every conservative policy initiative, and every conservative position on any particular issue?

Yes, you can. Here is a catalogue of some of the major issues on the national agenda. In every single one of them, the conservative position advances the cause of “cheap labor”. I defy any conservative reading this to show me one single conservative position, belief, principle or policy that has any tendency to boost the earning power of labor.


Twenty years ago, cheap-labor conservatives claimed that tax cuts would stimulate the economy, and lead to balanced budgets. They don’t even bother spouting that crap any more. Now they say that deficits “aren’t so bad”, they don’t drive up interest rates, and they don’t create inflationary pressure.

Here’s the real skinny. The purpose behind tax cuts and budget deficits is to bankrupt the government.

Conservatives hate “social spending”. That’s what they mean by “big government”. They want you naked in as harsh an economic environment as they can create. But here’s the problem. Most ordinary people aren’t so ruthless. Most people think life is for living, not working your ass off until you drop. So if we the people can provide some basic social infrastructure for things like a basic retirement, assistance for higher education, unemployment compensation to get you through those Republican periods of high unemployment – well, most people support all of that stuff. Conservatives lose elections when they talk about undoing it.

So the manipulative sons of bitches – who don’t really believe in your right as a citizen in a democracy to establish institutions that do you any good – have come up with a “stealth plan” to get rid of our entire social welfare infrastructure. It’s called “bankruptcy”, and it is not an accident that the first thing Dubya did when he took office was bring back the deficits Bill Clinton had eliminated.


This is obviously directly related to “cheap labor” and doesn’t require much further explanation. In fact, the heading serves as the “One Sentence Response” – and I would stress the “every improvement in US history”, all the way back to abolition of slavery, and such obvious reforms as child labor laws. Cheap-labor conservatives have never been the friend of working Americans. Ever.


Health care costs are outrageously expensive, and threaten people with financial ruin. Also, health insurance is primarily provided by employers through “group plans”. So if you lose your job, you lose your health coverage. This is not quite as a big a problem, since the passage of COBRA – which was opposed by guess who? That’s right, the cheap-labor conservatives.

In short, national health insurance would provide a huge measure of security for working Americans from potential financial catastrophe – which catastrophe is therefore no longer a force keeping you suitably intimidated by your employer.


Way back in the late nineteenth century – where the cheap-labor conservatives are trying to take us – conservatives opposed universal public education. You can go to “Freeper” right now and find cheap-labor conservatives who still oppose it. And the reason is simple. Ignorant and illiterate people have fewer options in life, making them fit subjects for “industrial serfdom”.

In other words, an ineffective public education system is necessary to create a semi-literate workforce of “industrial serfs”, which accounts for cheap-labor conservative opposition to increased teacher pay, smaller class sizes, improvements in physical infrastructure, and anything else that might actually work.

Let’s just propose a simple thought experiment. Suppose we had 95% functional literacy, with similar high school graduation rates, and vast numbers of those high school graduates going to college, or receiving specialized technical training. When everybody is properly educated, who is going to ride on the back of the garbage truck? Who is going to pick tomatoes? Who is going to digger footers on construction sites? And what kind of wages are such workers – who are in short supply and smart enough to know it – going to command?

But wait, there’s more. Let’s consider your average dittohead “wannabe” living in the suburbs. Does he really want his children competing with those “brown” children for a seat in the university? What interest does he have in universal education that actually works? And you know how conservatives are about their “self-interest”.

Well, he can’t very well advocate “resegregation”. So here’s what the cheap-labor conservatives came up with. “Vouchers”. Some of those “brown” children can escape from failing schools – but not all of them. As for the one’s that are “left behind”, well there’s a garbage truck with their name on it – assuming they don’t wind up in jail.


According to cheap-labor conservatives, the only legitimate function of government is to protect the fortunes and privilege of the “haves”. Economic progress like “full employment”, living wages, and first rate education system, all improve the living standards and prospects of the “working poor” – and the “cheap-labor conservatives” can’t have that, can they. So that leaves prison as the only “social program” the conservatives support. They say we “throw money at every problem”. Well “cheap-labor conservatives” throw prison at every problem.


They say they are defending American “culture” – but that “culture” is the culture of the corporate “middle class”. It features conformity, hierarchy, “respect for authority”, regimentation and other “values” of the industrial work place. In fact, America was founded by a group of decidedly undisciplined nonconformists. But that won’t do at all, if you want a docile workforce who will work cheap.


This one is amazingly easy to understand. Dividing working people against each other along racial, gender and ethnic lines keeps them from uniting along class lines. Consider the following example. In 1990, the nation was suffering under yet another period of Republican high unemployment. That was the year that Jesse Helms ran his famous “angry hands” commercial against Harvey Gantt, former African-American mayor of Charlotte. “You needed that job, but they had to give it to a minority.”

This gambit is 150 years old. The cheap-labor conservatives produce a high deficit, high interest rate, “structurally sluggish” economy – then tell struggling white wage-earners that the “problem” is “unqualified minorities”. It was classic “scapegoating”, when the real culprits were the cheap-labor conservatives who liked that sluggish economy.

And in case you doubt whether they liked the sluggish economy, consider the eight year tantrum they threw as President Clinton undid the deficits, brought interest rates down, and fueled an eight year economic boom, bringing unemployment to a 30 year low. Naturally, throwing a wrench into that economy was the first order of business after Dubya’s inauguration.


Since prison and punishment are generally ineffective to reduce crime, and since the “cheap-labor conservatives” will hear of no economic improvements that are effective, “self defense” is about your only protection from crime. Instead of better schools, full employment and other improvements in social conditions, the cheap-labor conservative solution is “buy a gun”.


Maybe you don’t see the cheap-labor connection. It’s there. The “libertarian” position on this is that what you choose to voluntarily ingest, is your business. And of course, marijuana isn’t nearly as bad for you as say, alcohol abuse. But cheap-labor conservatives don’t give a rat’s ass about you’re health, anyway.

What they do care about is delegitimizing the “counter-culture”. If they could do it, they would outlaw deviations from the conformist culture of the “corporate middle class”. They can’t do that directly, so they have come with a “back door” method. They find cultural practices – like smoking a joint – and punish those. Today, they deny education benefits if you have any drug conviction – even for simple possession. They have also encouraged this “privatized” harassment of corporate workers through drug screening, etc. in an effort to economically marginalize the “counter culture”. It is really an exquisitely efficient means to keep the industrial work force intimidated.


Answer this question, why don’t we have efficient cost effective renewable energy systems? Why didn’t we follow Jimmy Carter’s advice in 1979, and undertake the “moral equivalent of war” for energy independence. The technology has been around for decades. In the case of hydrogen fuel cells, the first one was invented in 1843 – that’s “eighteen forty three”.

Energy is like labor in its central importance to the economy. But while conservatives want “cheap labor” they want “expensive energy” – in sources they can monopolize and control. Unfortunately, sunlight is like air. It’s kind of hard to “corner the market” on it. Meanwhile, the biggest beneficiary of “cheap energy” is the work force – who pay a larger portion of their income for energy. Well, we can’t have that. Lowering a wage earner’s “balance of payments” is just like giving him a raise. The same logic, by the way, motivates a “high interest rate” environment.

Now you know why conservatives bad mouth “renewable energy”, and claim that the government “has no business” subsidizing R&D into this technology – as if the government hasn’t subsidized R&D into virtually every piece of high tech gadgetry in your house. Meanwhile, there is one form of “alternative energy” they like. Nuclear power. Why? Because nuclear power is horrendously expensive, and can be monopolized by the huge corporations selling it.

Meanwhile, they support destruction of pristine habitats like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and unlawful invasions of sovereign nations – sitting on a “sea of oil” to use the words of Paul Wolfowitz. All of which proves that the cheap-labor conservatives will do anything – and I mean anything – to prevent any improvement in the wage earner’s economic circumstances, including making sure he doesn’t have access to “cheap energy”.


Perhaps, you thought this should be first – since it is highest on the national agenda right at the moment. Actually, the War in Iraq is an aggregate application of a number of simpler “cheap-labor” policies. First of all, Republican “demonization” notwithstanding, Saddam Hussein was a “target of opportunity”. Paul Wolfowitz said so. Saddam sat atop a really odious regime, in a country sitting atop a “sea of oil” – to again quote Paul Wolfowitz. As for global opposition to the US invasion, that was not an “unforeseen complication”. It was another ”opportunity”. In fact, one of the objectives was to demonstrate to the world that the US can do whatever it wants.

But what about the “cheap-labor” angle, you ask. The invasion of Iraq is the first step in establishing a US led global corporate empire, with a wealthy corporate elite living off of a global pool of “cheap labor”.

Don’t’ believe it? Go to and look at the National Security Strategy of the United States. This remarkable document lays out the “cheap-labor” foreign policy of the United States. In addition to the doctrine of “pre-emption – which is nothing new, we’ve been doing it for fifty years – there is the general strategy of “forward deployment” of US forces in the middle east and east Asia, along with the express goal of “discouraging” the emergence of a military rival.

But the National Security Strategy doesn’t stop there. It goes on to discuss which internal policies of other nations the US will “encourage”. Guess what those policies are? The very same policies they are promoting here, including “free trade”, “flattening” tax rates, shifting taxes away from passive investments, reducing the “public sector”, and generally paving the way for corporations to dominate other societies.

The US military will be the “police force” for this global “corporate order”, and Iraq is nothing more than the start of establishing the “military pre-eminance” of that “global police force”. Notice that the neocons are specifically intent on destabilizing international organizations that don’t promote corporate dominance. The conservatives don’t like the World Court, the United Nations or similar organizations. But GATT, the IMF and the World Bank don’t bother them a bit – since those organizations undermine the ability of third world nations to establish anything like our “New Deal mixed economy". And don’t forget, the cheap-labor conservatives are busy destabilizing our own “New Deal mixed economy”, in favor of an economy that strongly resembles present conditions in say, Argentina.

In short, the invasion of Iraq has nothing to do with any “threat” of weapons of mass destruction. Neither do the cheap-labor conservatives really care about a “dictatorial regime” – since they prop plenty of them up, and even supported Saddam Hussein in years gone by. The real purpose of the invasion of Iraq is to provide a demonstration of American military “pre-eminance” – which will ultimately translate into global corporate “pre-eminance”. If you want another word for this “cheap-labor” foreign policy, try “corporate feudalism”.

These aren’t the only examples of “cheap-labor conservative” policies and positions. While I will be supplementing and expanding this list from time to time, you should be getting the idea. Anytime a cheap-labor conservative takes a position on anything at all, take a look at the details. See if somewhere in those details there isn’t some way the wage-earner loses out. I have not yet failed to find the connection. Either the conservative position undermines the bargaining power of the wage earner, limits his economic options, harasses the wage earner in some way, raises his cost of living, increases his economic vulnerability or accomplishes some combination of the above.

Now you can see how, in specific examples. More importantly, you have new tool to use to analyze cheap-labor conservative rhetoric, ideology and policy.

This piece originally posted at: Conceptual Guerilla.

It’s Interesting To Note Who Still Supports The Iraq War.

ABC News is reporting that “Al Qaeda’s No. 2 Mocks The Iraq War Debate”. Which is interesting to note, because it is false on two fronts.

For one, the Egyptian-born pediatrician Ayman al Zawahiri isn’t Al Qaeda’s No. 2 man. He is, in fact, the mentor of Osama bin Laden.

And secondly, al Zawahiri isn’t mocking the Iraq War debate in the United States. He is, in reality, a full and complete supporter of the Iraq War.

Al Zawahiri stated in his latest video release, “This bill will DEPRIVE us of the opportunity to destroy the American forces which we have caught in a historic trap.”

It is suspected that the latest video release by Al Zawahiri was made after the passage of The Iraq War supplemental which included pull-out language in the bill. But was made prior to President Bush’s veto of that bill.

Al Zawahiri continued saying, “We ask Allah that they only get out of it after losing 200,000 to 300,000 killed, in order that we give the spillers of blood in Washington and Europe an unforgettable lesson.”

So the mentor of Osama bin Laden wants us to STAY in Iraq so that his supporters will have the “opportunity” to kill thousands of American soldiers. Isn’t it strange that Reich wing nutcases find a lot of common ground with Islamic nutcases?