Stop me before I torture someone

Now let’s get this straight: the former Bush administration openly admits to having tortured prisoners, only it wasn’t really torture because the Fat Man says it wasn’t and Dick Cheney thinks it was so nice that it got good information for the U.S. (which is odd because it wasn’t torture) and in fact it was so nice that the Fat Man thinks Nancy Pelosi should undergo waterboarding, which raises the question why he doesn’t volunteer to try it himself.  It might be even better than Viagra, after all.  Now, is that because waterboarding isn’t torture, or because it is?  I lost track.  So, apparently,  has everyone else.

Anyway, I am no fan of Nancy Pelosi.  But I’m not a fan of this bullshit, either.

Nancy Pelosi is currently being blamed by the Right because she failed to stop the Bush administration from torturing prisoners, which they say they weren’t doing, or that waterboarding isn’t torture, or that they were getting good information they wouldn’t have gotten otherwise because they were regularly giving the prisoners these nice, horizontal showers.  And of course, after a certain point no one could stop the Bush Administration from doing whatever the hell they wanted to, because they just went ahead and did it anyway.  In the name of God, of course.

So what the hell is Nancy Pelosi being blamed for?  (5/18/09 update: maybe it’s this — apparently the Republicans now want Pelosi to apologize to them because she said the CIA lied to her; either that, or she has to prove that the CIA lied to her…and then apologize to the Republicans.  Oh, excuse me.  Now they’re not only the paragons of perfection, but also judge and jury.  And here I was thinking the Republicans should apologize to us for all the crap they’ve put us through since 1980 or so.  I suppose I should beg their pardon, but I won’t.)

I’ve never blamed Pelosi for anything more than being a giddy liberal who is about as helpful to her country as is Newt Gingrich.  Both are bought-and-paid-for corporate pawns.  They just express themselves differently.  Gingrich, for example, might by some stretch of the imagination be guilty of actually approving torture — he’s that sort of wild and crazy ultraconservative wingnut guy — but the same thing is definitely stricken from bleeding-heart tree-hugger Pelosi’s uniform.  Which just makes all this finger-pointing an even more a stupid, shameful waste of time.

So, are you sitting there scratching your head?  Good.  Because so am I.

Like I just said, the only torture going on right now is this twisted, illogical crap that’s being foisted on the rest of us while as usual, nobody in Washington D.C. gets anything done.

My only wish is that they shut up and get on with their lives.  We can’t be concerned specifically about torture anymore because the people who were responsible for it — the Bush Administration — are tongue-twisting their way out of being held responsible, which robs us of the satisfaction of seeing them held responsible for anything at all.  They are attempting to add waterboarding to the lost list of disasters that they weren’t responsible for that, oddly enough, happened between 2000 and 2008.   That was an era when, if I remember correctly, there was a Republican administration in the White House and for a long time a Republican majority in Congress, and the Democrats were a minority party stumbling about in utter disarray, much as the Republicans allegedly are now.  Yet only the Democrats were responsible for anything bad that happened during the Bush administration– and it seems like most of what happened in that period was very, very bad.  Interesting.

Which is to say that the current scheme of blaming Nancy Pelosi shouldn’t be allowed to fly.  If they weren’t torturing anyone, no one is to blame — not even the Ultimate Liberal herself.

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Credit Card Holders’ Bill of Rights Revisited

Okay, I finally read the thing.  I’m happy to report that as usual, the media did a lousy job reporting on it, and I did a lousy job researching it.  On the surface, at least, it sounds very good in that it actually addresses some major problems I remember having with credit card companies — that is, problems that are real.  From what I read in the media previously, it sounded like…well…COBRA.  So I am a bit relieved.  But only a bit.

Read a synopsis of the bill here.

The one thing that still gets to me, outside of the nagging question of whether the bill will actually do any good, is the same question one of the comments at the end of the article asked: “how did the credit card companies get to be such crooks in the first place?”

All I know is that things started to change, slowly, during the late 1990’s.  Prior to that, credit had been straightforward and relatively easy to deal with: you got your bill and if you paid it on time, you were okay and your balance went down a bit.  Eventually you could look forward to having no balance at all.  It was possible then. 

But slowly, during the 1990’s, I started to notice that the balances were going down less and less.

The problems lurched into hyperspeed fairly early on in the present decade, when my own personal credit-card dilemma finally got scary enough for me to take fairly drastic measures.  I found I simply could not keep up trying to pay the cards off the old-fashioned way, because there was no longer an old-fashioned way; there were only tricks and pitfalls.  The credit card companies were either on speed or crack, or perhaps both along with some LSD thrown in.  There was no sanity or clarity.  Alice in Wonderland was probably less befuddled than I was. 

My bills were always paid on time, but increasingly I was being treated like a slacker.  The interest rates did not actually soar, but there was interest on top of interest, it became impossible to avoid further fees and interest charges by meeting the due dates because the interest had by then started accruing before the due dates.  Long after — in fact, a few years after — I stopped using the cards, my balances kept increasing in spite of the fact that I always made the payments on time.

That was just plain wrong.  Thank goodness I found a way out of it.  But the thing is, it never should have happened in the first place.

And so we have this plaintive question: how did the credit card companies get to be such crooks? 

There seems to be no answer.  And I have a sinking feeling that they are addicted to their crooked ways, and will not give them up without a fight.

The interesting thing will be to see whether they are willing to fight to the death — their death — to keep being crooks.  Would they rather close their doors than play it straight?

We’ll soon find out.  All I can say is, I’m glad I’m out of this fight.  It ain’t gonna be pretty.

MUSTARD?

The economy’s in a shambles.  Our heathcare system is in ruins.  The weather sucks.  Gas prices remain a bit high.  Amphibians are perishing in droves from the chytrid fungus.  Bees are disappearing.  A few of us have swine flu..

..and the wingnuts are getting upset about freaking MUSTARD?

Well, it depends on what kind it is.  You see, if it’s a chemical unrelated to mustard like mustard gas, then it’s okay, except that the last bit of that in possession of the U.S. military has apparently been destroyed — darn.  Wingnuts are such fans of this type of thing.

But if it’s Grey Poupon and Barack Obama uses it on a hamburger…watch out!  It’s freaking UNAMERICAN!

Too bad for the dimwit crowd that it’s made by Kraft, in North America (which I assume means Mexico) out of mustard seeds likely grown in Canada.  This makes it as American as any manufactured item gets these days, thanks to Mr. Bush’s ‘global economy.’

I like dijon mustard (which is what Grey Poupon is) too, only I eat the horseradish version licenced by Jack Daniels, which has as much to do with France and being anti-American and “elitist” as does Grey Poupon.

While I’m at it, I should mention that a now-deceased relative of mine, a hyper-patriot who performed a solemn flag-raising ritual every morning at dawn (and flag-lowering ritual every dusk) and fancied himself a WWII hero and actually did see combat in Europe, referred to regular ‘American’ mustard as “that yellow stuff,” (see “chemical unrelated to mustard” above) and would only eat Grey Poupon.

So here’s to hoping that the inbreds get over it and try to think for a change.  Maybe some Jack Daniels and a Kraft cheese sandwich with friggin Grey Poupon will help them calm down enough to do so. 

If that doesn’t work, I hope they don’t forget to wear their fluffy bunny slippers while watching Fox News.

Multiplying Stupid

A job applicant told me yesterday that she earns $10.00 an hour at one of those jobs where if you don’t punch in, you don’t get paid.  Now faced with the spectre of the “Make Work Pay” program, her employer is slashing her hours and cutting the wages of others because “our employees are now earning more because of the Make Work Pay program**, so they don’t need the money,” and, “if we don’t do this, our workers will be in a higher tax bracket.***”  And oh yes…after all that came the inevitable, “the economy is bad.****”

I don’t have time to write much more today, but maybe I don’t have to.  However, to clear up any confusion, see the asterisks corresponding to the statements above and here *****.  I did this to help make the reader aware of how stupid multiplies.  It’s kind of like a herd of rather silly rabbits.

**According to my information, the Make Word Pay tax credit doesn’t actually go into effect until June of 2009.

***People earning $10.00 an hour are unlikely to have to worry much about being in a higher tax bracket.

****It is my understanding that employers are not actually paying their employees more as a result of this tax credit; the government is.  That means that this claim, however accurate, has absolutely nothing to do with anything regarding the Make Work Pay tax credit.

*****An aside to those who are still befuddled by this post: I am not faulting the Obama Administration’s idea here.  I am faulting the moron(s) who employ that poor woman, because I suspect that this is just the start of attempts by wingnuts to discredit the program and get people mad at Obama.  Sorry for any confusion.

Open Mouth. Place Foot. No wait, it was already there.

Karen Ignoramous, the gaping mouth of the health insurance industry, has shown her hand.  Or rather her foot, which is always prettily pedicured and in her mouth. 

It turns out that the insurance companies’ answer to the healthcare crisis is simple: mandate that everyone in the country get health insurance, and then offer them government aid if they can’t afford it.  The industry need not change its practices at all except that it will have a slightly harder time sending out reject letters.

That means that you’ll have to pay out of pocket for mandatory health coverage at current rates (or quite possibly much higher rates, since the industry will no longer be able to reject anyone for merely sneezing, and paying the costs of medical help for sneezes is likely to eat up about 2 cents of all that money the industry is paying Karen to be their shill).  The government will likely tie you up in so much red tape that you’ll be lucky to see 5 cents on the dollar on your $600.00 a month premium (per person) — and then only if you earn less than something like $20,000.00 per year (per family).  That’s the way secondary government aid usually works out: it isn’t very helpful.

And of course you’ll only see that at the end of the fiscal year when you’re so broke that you can’t even afford aspirin anymore.  Gee, that will help curb medical bankruptcies.  NOT.

As for the health insurers, it’s not going to be their problem.  They, after all, will be in compliance with the law and getting an ongoing government bailout at the same time.  What could be better?

(An aside to anyone the Fat Man has frightened into believing that “socialist” government healthcare plans would dole out healthcare like crumbs from a table: the private health insurers have already been doing that for years, moron.  This mandated-purchase plan will do nothing to improve that situation and listening to the Fat Man is doing nothing to improve your IQ.)

At least now we know what to fight against, and what its ugly face looks like. But if anyone is still wondering what the flapping jaw of health insurance actually looks like, here’s a photo.  (Actual name: Karen Ignagni. )

And here’s an excellent blog that explains at length why this freak is so dangerous to the rest of us:

The Health Care Blog

Oh. Joe.

Someone pointed out to me recently that I’ve never mentioned Joe the Plumber, and that “it can’t be a blog without Joe.”

Okay.  Joe the Plumber.  Now what?

Actually, on a more serious note, there used to be only one thing I could never forgive John McCain for: Sarah Palin.  Now I guess there are two.  Add Joe to the list.

But not really.  I mean, the guy’s simply exercising his right to be a dumbass.  The only thing I can’t forgive McCain for is giving him a public forum in which to do so.  But really, the media — addicted to trivia after being officially forced to ignore reality for 8 years — are the ones who continue to do that.

I guess yesterday or today or whenever Joe said something about never allowing queers near his kids.  So I assume he never lets his kids out the door?  Whatever.  It was not a comment worthy of anyone’s time.  In fact, I can’t find a situation where this person has uttered anything worth wasting time on.  Then again, neither has Ann Coulter, and I’ve wasted way too much time on that.  The Fat Man is another matter, because Republican Party is so scared of him that they may even abandon their rebranding effort.  (BTW what the hell is that all about?  They’re not selling toothpaste.  Or are they?  If they are, I’m sure it’s the mystery-chemicals-plus-flouride type with the warning label that says to call a poison-control center immediately if swallowed.)

Whatever.  I guess it’s a blog now.  I mentioned Joe. 

So….Now what?

Allstate’s Stand?

First, read this (apologies in advance because it’s in PDF format, which I realize that many home computers still do not have): http://www.allstate.com/content/refresh-attachments/FedReg_Tornado.pdf

While I applaud the words, I’m going to have to do further research before I comment on this much.  But for an insurance giant like Allstate to admit to being part of the problem is, on the face of it, extraordinary.

There’s a link to a proposed Insurance Czar bill here: http://www.allstate.com/content/refresh-attachments/Advoc_NICPA.pdf

I couldn’t get through the whole thing without my eyes glazing over, but while I skimmed it, one thing jumped out at me: there didn’t seem to be any mention of health insurance.  I wonder why.  Whatsa matter, Congress, does Karen Ignoramous got your tongue?

If nothing else, I’m sure the Fat Man will be howling with outrage any minute now.  A Federal Insurance Czar?  SOCIALISM!  The system was working just fine the way it was!  No problem!  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, you Nazi!

Imagine that — Allstate has become a nest of socialist Nazi’s!

Ah, that big, fat dumbass.  What would we laugh at without him.

While I can’t wait to hear the inevitable feigned outrage, misdirected anger, and just plain stupid blubbering of Mr. Pro-Elitist, I also can’t wait to see what happens with the re-regulation movement.  It just seems to me that there’s a war going on above our heads and we are all huddled together, powerless to do anything about it.

Allstate admitting that there is a need for “clarity” may be a start.  But I suspect that there is a Karen Ignoramous-like ulterior motive lurking somewhere here, just as there is in the health insurance industry.  We are, after all, living in an age where if a problem’s fat ass gets cut off, it just sprouts two or three new ones.  Liposuction doesn’t seem to work; that fat just won’t go away.

So I can’t help wondering what’s behind the altruistic facade.  I suppose only time and a good investigative blogger or two will tell.