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There is this something that has been knocking around in my head these last few weeks. It’s a question, really, of dissent. Or, better said, it is a series of questions regarding dissent. What is dissent? And, are we lacking in it? How much is enough? Is there such a thing at too much?

Is it the belief that Barack Obama is the Great Satan? That his coming is the end of us all, of all we know and all we’ve ever stood for? Is that dissent?

No, that would be crazy talk. See image to the left for some of that action.

If not Satan, well, how about Socialist? If the shoe, fits, right? The Devil or the Joker. Or, both. Go for it. Is labeling Obama as the Joker dissent because the Joker is, after all, a comic book villain? Is President Obama a comic book president?


How about Obama with a crown of thorns, drinking champagne with a unicorn, and a couple of angles flying around overhead? Where some see a hallmark card in the making, I see a full back piece that promises to be more regrettable than any tramp stamp on the planet.

I find the concept of evil in both Satan and the Joker to be equal. And, the presentation of their character in the great play of life as equally fictitious. Good v. Evil. Up as compared to down. Left as the opposite of Right. Darkness as the absence of Light. Batman’s arch nemesis.

There is, after all, no Joker. He exist only in the printed pages comic books and, what would have once been mere celluloid film stock, but is now a series zeros and ones in our digital age. The Satan and The Joker. They are, truly, an embodiment of that requisite opposite to the Great Hero. For you cannot have the Good Story without the Bad Guy. What else would mankind triumph against, if not for evil incarnate? For our cause to be right and just, it follows that Obama’s must be something else entirely. His must be unjust. His must be wrong.

And, yes, Satan acts in opposition to God’s great design. I can say that as an Atheist because, although I may not believe in the existence of a Supreme Being (or his or her requisite personality), I can see the need for both yin and yang for the story to work in balance. He is the fallen angel who forever angles to prove his point – man is fallible. And, he is right in that regard. Man is, most certainly, fallible.

Back to art; does it imitate life? Or does life imitate art? What if life is art? Does it follow that art is therefore life? Oh, the wonders of a Sunday morning free of the encumbrances of case briefing.

And just whom do I think I’m kidding – I’ve got miles to go before I sleep. My casebook weighs a ton. The river keeps flowing. Well, you get the idea.


I read an article a while back, and it is basically where this trainwreck of a thought process got started out the station. It is The Artist Formerly Known as Dissident, and it was in the link dump at some point. I remember first coming across it back when the Barak as the Joker concept was making a splash.

Personally, I think it’s great. Baroker. Jarack. Social-cali-fragilistic-expi-alido-cious and then some. We need more of the same. Stir the pot. Knock ’em around. Vote. Participate. Talk about it. Yell about it. Yell it from the roof tops.

Even if your “yelling” is really nothing more than the gentle hiss of an aerosol can. just do something. Apathy is death.

Dissent is a requirement in our system if representational democracy. I shall refrain from missattributing a quote to Thomas Jefferson here, I think it was actually Howard Zinn. No matter, point is well made regardless of whom it originated from; “Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.”

From the article:

[I]it feels to me, as it did during the campaign, that the art community is not meeting its duty of always questioning those in power. And I say duty because the art community, as a counterpart of the press, has been given special rights written into the Bill of Rights, known broadly as freedom of the press, for the explicit purpose of keeping power in check. Id.

What is an “artist”? Are we artists? We, in this instance, being the sorted lot that posts our drivel here on Drunkcyclist. We do create something, do we not? What do we owe in the way of dissent?

I’ve been challenged as “taking it easy” on old Barry O. Bama. Well, that may be true to a point. I must say, aside from the whole “Satan” thing, he ain’t nothing like Bush/Cheney on any measure of evil. I don’t care what metric you apply. But, neither is he perfect. No, no, I won’t be calling him the Black Jesus on these pages. (Well, maybe in jest. It’s just too funny. Born in a Kenyan manger? He can walk on water? I’m dying over here! I digress… again)

I’ll leave such admiration to others, however misguided it may be. Back to the article:

It’s time for the art community to return to its historical role in political affairs, which means speaking to power, not on behalf of it. Which leads me to the second case where art enters politics on a mass scale. The power of art, in combination with the suppression of free speech or a free press, has been used as a tool by authoritarian governments to control their citizens. From Hitler, Stalin, and Mao to Saddam Hussein and Kim Jong Il, art has been used to deify leaders while preserving the position of the ruling class. Most artists would not want to be referred to as tools of the state, but in the case of Obama’s administration, that’s exactly what they’ve been so far. Id.

I’m not sure we are anywhere near the “art community.” It may be, well, completely presumptuous for me to even go there. And go there I have done. Yes, Snake Hawk does paint and have gallery shows. Yes, Gnome does have that degree in graphic design, and his designs have been paid for, printed and sold many times over. Yes, I write a lot. And, I have had my crap published. We’re about as close to it now as we’re ever going to get it seems.

Whatever we are, we have a voice. And, we intend to use it. We have always intended to use it.

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About big jonny

The man, the legend. The guy who started it all back in the Year of Our Lord Beer, 2000, with a couple of pages worth of idiotic ranting hardcoded on some random porn site that would host anything you uploaded, a book called HTML for Dummies (which was completely appropriate), a bad attitude (which hasn’t much changed), and a Dell desktop running Win95 with 64 mgs of ram and a six gig hard drive. Those were the days. Then he went to law school. Go figure. Flagstaff, Arizona, USA

72 Replies to “Dissent”

  1. So can we disagree with the man’s policies now, based on the facts as related to the issues without someone throwing the race card?

  2. That fact that you brought that up…means only one thing.


    If you disagree with someone in/about politics it is ALWAYS because of some more sinister reason than stated on the surface.

    Or at least that is what the other side will probably insinuate…

  3. Dave,
    Disagreement was always possible without the race card. That has been played from both sides of the deck enough already.

    Muslim, friend of terrorist, lazy community organizer, not really all that smart, not really a professor, afirmative action benefitter… It all stink of racial undertones.

    Yeah, we get it, he’s got a permenant tan. So what? Can he run this place for a few years? Will we be better off in 2012 than we are now?

    Dave, light it up baby. Light it up.

  4. Did you just write that, dave? Of course we can. Are you in a fugue when you write 90% of your stuff? You’re the one that goes into the fact free zone at every turn.

    There are a few very vocal people here who seem to think that in not accepting outright lies about Obama (or politics in general), some of us must blindly support him. If they would actually read what people write, they would see that that it isn’t the case.

    As for me, I’m done. I’ve gotten sucked into dave and schulzy’s stupidity too many times. They don’t want a discussion, they want to win a yelling match. You can spew your crazy all you want. You can continue to ignore facts. You can believe all the convoluted conspiracy theories you want. You can live your lives being afraid of everything. It’s Jonny’s site, if he wants to give you a platform for it, it’s his deal. I don’t like lies. I don’t like racism. I don’t like homophobes. You each have at least two out of three. Go be the warts on the taint of society that you always wanted to be… I’m putting my energy where it matters, and it’s no longer discussing politics here. Time to go buy a new bottle of Woodford…

  5. Jonny, I just don’t see for the life of me how, in an economic downturn, you can blow the billions of dollars from the “stimulus” package, increase taxes and take over the entire health care system, modeling it after the failed socialized systems in other countries and not cripple the economy. Cap in trade will cripple industies including agriculture, and will cause sharp increases in food and energy prices. The government just keeps spending as fast as they can print ti which can only lead to runaway inflation. That, and the numerous radicals in key positions (the former green jobs czar comes to mind)-I just can’t imagine how all of this could end well.

    I’m sure there are plenty of folks on these boards that will tell me I’m full of shit. I’d like nothing better than for the next few years to prove me wrong. But I don’t see a good outcome if we continue as we have.

  6. I’ll try. I need a break from what I’ve been reading.

    1) Blow the billions of dollars from the “stimulus” package.

    Isn’t the point of stimulus money to increase short term spending? Whether it’s buying a new car or putting folks to work building roads and dams, it puts money into the economy.

    2) Increase taxes and take over the entire health care system, modeling it after the failed socialized systems in other countries.

    I disagree on two points; 1) what other countries are doing is actually “socialized” medicine, and 2) that it’s failing. There are a lot of success stories out there. And we should be one of them. We are not.

    3) Cap and trade will cripple industries including agriculture, and will cause a sharp increase in food and energy prices.

    I think we’ve been hiding the true cost of energy production for a long time. Those costs are real, and they should be on the front end.

    4) The government just keeps spending as fast as they can print it which can only lead to runaway inflation.

    My understanding of all of this is admittedly limited, but more money in circulation would seem to lead to increased inflation. (see http://economics.about.com/cs/money/a/print_money.htm) The how and why’s in the current debate are all over the web, nightly news and Sunday news roundups. I’ve heard it, seen it and read it. But I don’t really understand it clearly. From what I do understand at this point, there was a decision that, on balance, the risk of increased inflation was worth it. And, the risk/reward factor is looking pretty good at the present time. (see generally http://www.reuters.com/article/ousiv/idUSTRE5815H820090902, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125193069297181241.html)

    5) The numerous radicals in key positions (the former green jobs czar comes to mind)

    Van Jones, right? He just resigned. (see http://slatest.slate.com/id/2227516/entry/1) I don’t know much about him, really, other than he liked to say dumb shit. But, I must remember to be careful when tempted to condemn such actions – I say dumb shit a lot too. Was he anywhere near as inept as Michael Brown’s handling of Hurricane Katrina? (see http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/02/10/katrina.brown/) Did he cause any real lasting damage while employed as Green Job Czar (or whatever his title was)?

  7. Dave,
    Scandinavia would like to have a word with you about your mis-characterization of their helathcare system.

  8. hector, people are suffering and dying in Great Britain because their government health care ain’t cutting it. Folks routinely come here from Canada for otherwise-unavailable life saving treatment. Scandanavia? How’d Iggy Pop say?
    “I wish life could be
    Swedish Magazines…”

    Whatever. I’m gettin’ a beer.

  9. Jonny, I heard somewhere that Michael Brown ain’t in charge of jack shit these days. Could we maybe concentrate on those who are?

  10. I just want to chime in on the stimulus angle.

    We listen to all the “economic indicator” from the media, hard to say what is really happening.

    What I do know, for fact, is that a business I am affiliated with has seen higher than expected orders from some key auto manufacturers, like Ford. This has resulted in said company hiring additional people. I don’t think there is much debate whether that is a good thing.

    Short term surge or the beginning of a turnaround? Who knows, but for now it is a positive.

    Ok, two things. As far as radicals, what is so wrong with having some “radicals” involved in things once in a while? One person’s radical could be another person’s revolutionary, no?

    And finally…this ice cold beer is tasting really good…


  11. Dave, people are suffering and dying here because our private healthcare system ain’t cuttin’ it.
    Case in point: my best friend’s mother-in-law. Yes someone I actually knew, who would most likely still be with us if we lived in the UK. Not some random “people.” Tuesday will be six weeks since she died.
    Another friend of mine had to move back to Canada because she couldn’t afford to treat the complications from having MS. Had she and her husband stayed here, they would have had to file for bankruptcy and take whatever they could get. I hear she’s doing well back home in Canada, after spending almost a year in the hospital there. Luckily for her, she had the options that most don’t have.

  12. Uh, Dave, you might want to do a little research. According to the World Health Organization statistics, the UK has a longer life expectancy than the USA, as do dozens of other countries in the world. And that, despite the fact that of the roughly 3.3 trillion dollars a year spent by the entire world on health care, USA spends 1.6 trillion (48.4%) Not exactly a bargain, I think.

    By the way, would any of you mind doing a little editing? Your writing doesn’t exactly argue for the superiority of the American education system!

  13. Jonny-“Czar” sounds pretty in charge to me. The guy comes off like some racist loon. Goofle him if you doubt me.

    And my point is that a man is known by the company he keeps. Obviously the disgraced and deposed czar was an embarassment.

  14. pirata, you can have all the radicals around you that you want. That’s your business until you become President of the United States of America. Then it becomes the peoples’ business. It has always been so.

  15. Jack, I’m sorry for your friend’s loss. For real. And I’m glad your other friend is doing well.

    And I’ll grant you there are improvements to be made right here. But set aside your life expectancy figures for a moment and look at U.S. vs U.K. cancer survival rates. There’s a drug used to treat breast cancer, available here but banned in the U.K. The government won’t pay for it. Or look at the number of expectant mothers in the U.K. who are giving birth in hallways, elevators and even bathrooms.

    I’d LOVE to see alot of the things that are wrong in our system get fixed. I’ve been layed off and left without insurance in the past. Making COBRA payments deductible would be a start. And allowing insurance companies to cross state lines would get costs more in line. There’s ALOT of room for improvement. But scrapping everything and bringing in universal government-paid health care is not something I want to see.

  16. Mark, I’m sorry; the comments I directed toward Jack regarding U.S. vs U.K. cancer survival rates were meant to be in response to your post. You might check them out.

  17. Oh, and Mark? Edit-shmedit. It’s called DRUNKcyclist for a reason. Typo, dontchaknow. Meant to write CRAP and trade.


  18. I guess my point was that your argument about people suffering and dying because of a flawed healthcare system is useless. People suffer and die everywhere. All healthcare systems treat patients selectively. Ours, the UK, Canada, everyone’s. My problem with ours is that it selects who it’s going to treat based on how much money someone has, and not much else. Our country was founded on the principles of inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I know those words are not in the constitution, nor are they a law. But since Lincoln, at least, those principles have guided and informed our country. I think healthcare falls somewhere within those inalienable rights.
    So in short, please don’t ever use the argument about other healthcare systems shortcomings again. It’s useless.

  19. The miss information that the extreme right pounds into their blind followers minds through propagators like Rush, and Beck piggy backs on the success of the 1935 and 40’s efforts of Joseph Goebbels to mislead the masses. Many European countries now prohibit the broadcast of none factual information as news. But in the US somehow the spreading of false information is protected by the first amendment but is it not like running into a theater and falsely yelling fire.

  20. I’m so glad that no one in the US has ever died from inept health care like in those barbaric countries.

  21. KG, tell me that’s your desk in that photo.

    Then explain this:

    The first clear indication that Obama is not, in fact, a socialist, is the way his administration is avoiding structural changes to the financial system. Nationalization is simply not in the playbook of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and his team. They favor costly, temporary measures that can easily be dismantled should the economy stabilize. Socialists support nationalization and see it as a means of creating a banking system that acts like a highly regulated public utility. The banks would then cease to be sinkholes for public funds or financial versions of casinos and would become essential to reenergizing productive sectors of the economy.

    The same holds true for health care. A national health insurance system as embodied in the single-payer health plan reintroduced in legislation this year by Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), makes perfect sense to us. That bill would provide comprehensive coverage, offer a full range of choice of doctors and services and eliminate the primary cause of personal bankruptcy — health-care bills. Obama’s plan would do the opposite. By mandating that every person be insured, ObamaCare would give private health insurance companies license to systematically underinsure policyholders while cashing in on the moral currency of universal coverage. If Obama is a socialist, then on health care, he’s doing a fairly good job of concealing it.

    Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/13/AR2009031301899.html

    If you don’t like what Obama is doing, fine. If you don’t like Socialists, fine. But I still fail to see how Obama is a Socialist.

    Because he taxes people? Taxes are a “new thing” under Obama? You want a flat tax rate? Sounds great. Let’s talk about it. But, remember that the tax rate has been graduated for years. That is nothing that came about under Obama.

    Why can’t people condemn him for things he’s actually done?

  22. Mark, I think you may want to research the WHO statistics on longer life expectancy as they relate to this conversation – health care. I think the WHO stats include all deaths, such as auto accidents, murder, etc. which are much higher in the US. So, while life expectancy in the UK may be greater than in the US, it probably isn’t due to their health care system.

    In my opinion, the US has some of the best health care in the world it’s just ridiculously expensive. And I think a lot of that has to do with insurance/pharmaceutical greed and doctor/patient apathy. Maybe we need to start questioning the cost of our heath care. Why not, we do with everything else we buy, by shopping around for the best price.

  23. Jack, I don’t understand why this is so hard for you to understand. If a person has a lot of money, that is proof-positive that they are a worthy person. God, aka the invisible hand, has blessed them and wants them to live longer, which is why He invented the American Health Care System along with the money to pay for it. If a person does not have any money, well, that’s a pretty good indication that God wants that person to die, and is using the free market system to accomplish his will and blessing. Simple as that. Those socialist countries like France are trying to undo God’s will. It’s just terrible.

  24. It’s art, interpret it as you will. 500 little pieces of art to be spread around.

    You know why Van Johnson had to resign, not because of what believes, but because he said what he believes out loud. BO appointed him because they share those beliefs.

    I said before, ‘misslabled’ images didn’t seem to bother you with the bush/hitler or bush/terrorist photos of the past.

    I hope you see a few distributed around AZ soon. They definitely will be showing up at Vegas for Interbike.

  25. KG, dude, I think sometimes you forget who you’re talking to. Of course Van resigned because of what he said rather that what he believes. That has always been true. See Trent Lott on that one. The idea is that those not smart enough to measure their language don’t stay around. We all know that already.

    But, seriously, Obama is a socialist? Because he wants a national health care plan? Help me understand what you’re saying here, because I ain’t getting it. I think the stickers are funny as hell, but I don’t see how they advance your cause. Do you realize that almost half the insured people in the country are on a national plan already? Medicare, Medicaide and the VA. Seriously. See http://www.philly.com/inquirer/opinion/20090825_Public_option_not_the_enemy.html.

    Have fun with your stickers. And enjoy your new health care plan.

  26. He’s a socialist because he wants the federal government to take control of more and more of….. everything. Again.. back to Van… he made the mistake of saying it out loud. Van was self stated communist who’s ideals are very inline with BO’s. But again… just because BO doesn’t say it out load, like Van did, doesn’t mean he doesn’t believe in it and isn’t trying to lead the country in that direction.

    BO has surrounded himself with hard line radical leftists from the beginning. Look at his boyhood mentor, his preacher, his appointees, his political benefactors, the list goes on and on.

    I think the stickers are funny as hell and I don’t want a new health care plan, I have a great one that I pay for myself.

  27. Mr Johnny, nice bit there. I don’t have nuf time to sneak into DC much lately. (um, I may have LOTS of time in the near future)

    Here, have some charts. The Stimulus isn’t, nor could it be, big enough. But it’ll help.


    Would it make the R’s happy if O reads My Pet Goat during school tuesday?

    If you think O is a socialist, you either don’t own a dictionary, your’re nuts, or you are a bigot. Take your pick.

    IF US per capita health spending is 50% over the norm for advanced economies, AND 20% here are NOT covered, or receive very little care, AND another 20 to 30% is undercovered (less than half their needs) what you have is half, or more probably 1/4 of the population consuming 3/4 of the medical care. Is feudalism capitalism? What the Fox/Drudge/Beck/Douchbag group thinks is capitalism is actually kleptocracy. They may as well be burning your houses down and coming after your children. (i’m a little too harsh when I work late, I’d take it down a notch if I’d had an easier day)

  28. He ain’t no JFK. JFK was setting up real changes for the better, BHO is just a really good actor. I guess he wants to see his daughters grow up. BHO is turning out to be a huge flop in my opinion, but maybe he only rose so high so fast because he is just a simple yes man.

    Every channel on TV is on the Goebbels train. Have you ever watched the Today show? Holy fuck. How about Mad Money? Are you fucking kidding me? We’re talking pure criminal here. How about the BBC reporting tower 7 fell while it was still standing there in the background over the shoulder of the dumbass reporter. Hello?

    These are not lies or misinformation on my part. What I state is true to the best of my knowledge. If you want to rip on me like el jefe, I think we’ve all seen the consequences of that. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but if you want to start an argument with me based on your shitty outlook, get ready for a shit storm from hell, motherfucker.

    You want to do whatever some cock sucking bureaucrat tells you, or believe what you heard on mainstream TV last night that’s your business, but don’t push it on me.

  29. Wish I could pay for a health plan myself. Can’t even though I spend my work days as an independent contractor taking care of you poor bastards.

    Easier / more profit available to just sat -N/A-, pre-existing condition. If you don’t see are current system as socialistic with controls and cost sharing but also huge profit taking; you aren’t paying attention.

  30. Bloomberg Financial reports that the actual stimulus robbery so far has been over $23.7 trillion. This would pay off EVERY mortgage in the country nearly three times over. Not just bad mortgages, every single mortgage. Or it could have put thousands of dollars into the pockets of every man, woman, and child in this country.

    That is not socialism. Socialism is the redistribution of wealth. That is robbery or piracy. It is hijacking the monetary system.

    We are responsible for the debt from this “stimulus”, and we will not reap the benefits of it. Maybe we will get $500 here and $500 there, but that is peanuts compared to the massive amount that has been heisted from us before our eyes.

  31. Just checked FOXNews.com to see how they could possibly spin the “stay in school” message and noticed that AARP has bought up virtually all the advertising to promote the pro-reform message. Will FOX retaliate against an advertiser?

  32. BJ,

    Now you are provoking me, man!


    Ok, that is one country where I have personal experience. Lived there.

    Had occasion to need emergent care. Even though I was not a citizen (and did not pretend to be), they gave me medical care. A French doctor treated me. Joker, he was. Took a look at me, leaned out in the hallway, and yelled, “somebody bring me a rusty knife!” Literally. Despite my apprehension at the upcoming procedure, he made me laugh.

    On another occasion, I needed a check to make sure what seemed a severe cold wasn’t something worse. Emergency room was not necessary, so I had to find a doctor. The only one that would see me was a private practice physician operating outside the scope of national health care. He took one look at me and said, “You have a rare virus. Here is a scrip.” He didn’t swab my throat or take any sort of culture. Just proclaimed it a virus. By the way, this gentleman was of some sort of Indian ethnicity. Which is of really no moment except that in Sweden, which has a world class medical and research facility in the Karolinska Institutet, I was not treated by a Swedish physician. Curious, that.

    What price Swedish national healthcare?

    At the time, the highest tax bracket was 90% of Gross Income.

    90% of gross income.

    That is why anyone who makes significant jack, such as Bjorn Borg, Ingmar Bergman (in the day), Ann Margaret, and any other Swedish athlete you can name, chose to make Monaco their residence. Monaco has no personal income tax, you see.

    To finalize the point: let’s consider the Government sponsored entities — i.e., governmental corporations, to evaluate how they perform.

    U.S. Postal Service: Loses billions annually. If it were a private enterprise, it would have disappeared long ago.

    Compare USPS to other mail delivery services — UPS, FEDEX, DHL, etc. They can do it cheaper than USPS and make a profit.

    Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: Literally trillions of dollars in liabilities. Each.

    Veterans medical care: Obama proposed requiring private insurance to pay veteran’s medical bills in early 2009, then later switches and says everyone should be on a government plan.

    I trust that Obama’s first position on health care was correct: leave it to private enterprise.

  33. Lest anyone take potshots because I wasn’t spot on re: Swedish taxes, currently for individuals it works thusly:

    Individual payroll taxes: 32% withheld. In addition, Employer has to pay 31.42% “social fee” For all ya’ll running the math, to pay Bjorn 100 kronor, Employer coughs up 131.42 kronor. Employee receives 68 kronor. That friends, is 48.3% personal income tax on the bike mechanic’s meager wages.

    When you go to buy Swedish shit at Domus, you pay 25% VAT (value added tax) (except on food). So, to buy that cateye spedometer for 50 kronor, you would pay 62.5 kronor after tax.

    Put another way, to spend your 68 kronor, you pay 17 extra kronor in tax. 25% plus 48.3% = 73.3% is confiscated by Sweden for the privilege of living there.

    FYI, Professor Pol Pot won his way to power in part by promising health care for the masses. Of course, about 3 million of the population got their final health care in the form of a bullet to the head in the killing fields, but isn’t that a small price to pay for health care for all?

    Tell me, was Pol Pot a French quasi-educated Marxist or raging capitalist?

    Right, you don’t like labels.

    Ok, El Jefe, you are a phd candidate. Teach us. What is the form of Obama’s apparent economic practices — free market capitalism or something else? Economic collectivism?

    For all of you who believe that national-socialized health care (what else would you call it?) will save costs, tell us, how are the costs of administration going to be made more efficient in government than without the profit motive of private enterprise?

    Instead of tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of health claim administrators in private enterprise, there will be tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of health claim administrators to be employed by government. The friction of processing paperwork will not go away whether government owned or privately owned. Who will pay the cost of the greater inefficiencies? Which is indifferent to running deficits — government or private enterprise?

    Since tax revenues do not exceed government expenditures, at some point the printing press will spew dollars, spurring inflation. Although this will not be a direct tax, when your dollars are worth less, the difference is a hidden health care tax. You will pay for your own healthcare in the form of diminished buying powers from bike shop wages.

    Tell us, how is that adminstration of cash for clunkers program running? Claims paid on time? Ahead of schedule? Behind schedule?

    Let’s not call it national-socialized health care. Let’s call it DMV Obama care.

    Facts are stubborn things.

  34. This just in: McCain supporters indicted for voter registration fraud in Florida. Not exactly.

    In point of fact, it was 11 ACORN employees in Florida registering such names as Paul Newman. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/09/09/acorn-turns-florida-workers-voter-fraud-charges/?test=latestnews

    If it were GOP or conservative organizations pulling that act, you all would be going apeshit. Where is your outrage now? That’s right, since it was in support of your guy, well, kids will be kids.

    And the White House is contracting with ACORN to conduct the 2010 Census.

    Nothing could go wrong with that.


  35. It’s all fiat (based in trust) and rule of law, sometimes a model doesn’t explain reality.

    Capitalism ends with a cake eating revolution.

  36. Dude, you are being an idiot. ACORN hired people to register voters. Some of the people it hired were shysters who registered non-existent people — people who would never case a vote, because they were fictional — under names like “Paul Newman” and even “Mickey Mouse.” They then turned the forms in to ACORN to collect their money.

    ACORN, according to the article you link to, then turned their asses in to the authorities.

    The point is this is not voter fraud. This is straightforward fraud fraud against ACORN. ACORN hired people to do shit and those people cheated them.

    It has nothing to do with voting. Paul Newman wasn’t going to go cast two ballots because some homeless dude put his name on a ballot application that, in any event, was never going to get turned into a voting card anyway. Same for Mickey Mouse.

    Which is why, Smarter, I would not be going apeshit as you say if the GOP was doing it. The GOP isn’t doing it because the GOP has nothing to gain from registering voters. If they did, they would face the same problems.

  37. SFB— you are wrong in so many and such fundamental ways that it beggars belief. This of course raises the question: why do you say the things you do? Surely not because you believe them yourself. What remains…? hm.

  38. I know a bunch of Swedes and they are all pretty damn content with their little country. Couple of them have had opportunities to make good money elsewhere and ended up back in the motherland, which must mean something is working.

    Maybe they are happy and they pay a lot for it. Kind of simple idea, really.
    Alcohol is obscenely expensive though.

  39. All of you SOCIALIST screaming maniacs need to get over it. Seriously, I know it is the current war cry of the Right, but we live in a country where the government has many controls. That is not socialism. A country with no governmental controls, is that a good thing? Yeah, lets let big business run the show, that will certainly be in everyone’s best interest. Oh, wait, do they already?

    Socialist has now surpassed “facist” as the most inappropriately overused word around, in my opinion. Get it right or don’t use it. If you use it, justify it.

  40. “nate Says:

    Bloomberg Financial reports that the actual stimulus robbery so far has been over $23.7 trillion. ”

    Nate, get your facts right you pinhead. Bloomberg did NOT say that AT ALL you moron. The 23.7 trillion number is the absolute maximum the bailout could theoretically cost assuming every single bank in the nation fails, every fed-backed home goes into default, treasury notes become worthless, etc. It’s a fictional worst-case scenario, and Bloomberg reported it as such, but you never read Bloomberg, you read some batshit right-wing extraordinary rendition of Bloomberg and now quote it as gospel on account of you are unconcerned with facts.

    Heres what the NYT http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/21/business/economy/21bailout.html had to say about your 23.7 trillion:

    “[the 23.7 trillion figure] also assumes that every home mortgage backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac goes into default, and all the homes turn out to be worthless. It assumes that every bank in America fails, with not a single asset worth even a penny. And it assumes that all of the assets held by money market mutual funds, including Treasury bills, turn out to be worthless.

    It would also require the Treasury itself to default on securities purchased by the Federal Reserve system.”

    Jesus you guys, can we try to keep it together just a little bit?

  41. Hey Mikey @ 47….don’t ya mean STY? Or are you really that offended with my admittedly inane remark from earlier? ;)

  42. SFB, I’m pretty sure he meant STY…

    STY, I’m still on a bit of school and self imposed break from things political here, but you’re doing some of that new math. I don’t know how they add things up in Sweden, but you’re making some false assumptions. You’re assuming Bjorn spends all his money on taxable goods and not on housing and food. Is it still high? Probably. Is it truly another 25% on every kronor? No.
    As for pay, in the US, we do pay lower income tax rates. Assuming you’re right about the 35% in Sweden (Is that income tax alone, or does that include health insurance, and their equivalent of workers comp. and social security?), in the US it’s about 15-25% for most people, and up to 35% for over about $200K/yr (I don’t have the exact numbers in front of me). As to what that bike shop employee actually costs the shop, it’s about a 40-50% “tax”. So pay BJ or myself $10/hr as a mechanic and it actually costs the business $14-15/hr. That includes legally mandated stuff like SSI, Worker’s Comp, Unemployment Ins. and market required stuff like leave and health insurance (if we’re lucky). Applying your calculations here: Pay BJ $100. (We’ll assume that he is at the lower end of the tax bracket…) 15% in income tax he’ll take home $85 (not counting his portion of social security (7%) and health insurance, which is probably another 8%), plus 40% on the employer end, and you’ve got that costing $140. By your math that’s approximately 40% in total “taxes” either paid by the employee or employer. That’s real close to 43%. Again, there’s lots of missing information out of your calculations, but if I’ve mis-applied your math, I’m sure you’ll let me know…

    If UPS or FedEx delivered mail instead of just parcels, it wouldn’t cost just $0.44 cents to mail a letter…. just saying.

    “In America, crazy is a pre-existing condition” – Rick Perlstein

  43. “Hey Mikey @ 47….don’t ya mean STY?”

    SFB— sincere apologies. You’re absolutely right, I meant STY. Man, that’s sloppy work on my part.

  44. And just to be clear, STY sounds too intelligent to actually believe what he writes. This leads inevitably to the question, why? The uncomfortable inference that must be made is that he has a completely separate agenda, most likely based on his own personal monetary gain, and is willfully propagating ignorance. Unsportsmanlike, to say the least.

  45. Crazy can be addressed. Apathy in the face of encroaching government is inexcusable.

    Notwithstanding the confiscatory tax system, Sweden absolutely rocks. Gothenberg and Stockholm especially.

    El Jefe,

    When I was in Sweden in the 80’s, the highest nominal tax bracket was 90%. An acquaintance was a psychologist who complained about the 90% rate. I haven’t tracked income tax changes in Sweden since then, and after I posted my bit, decided to do a quick fact check just in case. As a quick and dirty reference, I checked wikipedia, which was the source of the withholding, employer social fee, and VAT percentages.

    If my math is off a percentage point or two, WTF. What is rock solid is the 48.3% on wages, withholding and employer contribution, and 25% VAT on everything but food and a couple of other minor exceptions. You would be ok with that heavy tax burden in the U.S.?

    Your math is wrong. Assuming you land a cushy job teaching French Lit at a community college, you’ll take home about $50k. Your effective federal tax rate on that would be about 10%, state about 5%, FICA 6.9%. You and the scholl would probably pay a total of $600 per month for insurance, which is about 1.5%. I don’t remember if Texas has sales tax, but assuming you teach at Salt Lake Community College, you’d pay 7% sales tax on everything. So, all in, approximately 23.4% for taxes and medical care (excluding employer FICA 6.9%). Include employer fica and your at 30.3% cf Swedish 73%.

    I don’t give a shit whether Sweden has a graduated tax bracket. In my myopic world, I would pay taxes in the highest bracket, so that was my point of reference. Bjorn bike wrench might pay less and certainly would be entitled to more social benefits. Nevertheless, I’d rather keep my own jack and decide how to spend it rather than turn over all of it to government and wait for some to be returned in the form of government services a la DMV.

    On another note, PBO promised to pay for national socialized healthcare from savings in Medicare and Medicaid plus greater efficiencies. I read today about incredible stupidity and waste at the Federal Energy Department. “The Energy Department wastes millions of dollars a year by failing to use thermostats that automatically dial back the temperature when nobody is around, according to an inspecto general’s audit of 55 buildings at four department sites. The report said the department could save more than $11.5 million a year with setback controls that adjust the heating and air conditioning at night and on weekends. The New York Times reported noted that such thermostats are already installed inmost locations but aren’t being used. Cathy Zoi, an assistant energy secretary, said that if the report could motivate officials to start using the thermostats, “then it’s fantastic.”

    If your retort is that such waste is a hangover from the Bush era, then you prove my point: government is inherently, terminally wasteful.

    Put complacent federal dumbshits in charge of medical care. What could possibly go wrong?

    El Jefe, the point re USPS is that not even USPS cannot deliver mail for $0.44 per letter! It costs a hell of a lot more than that! Instead of fixing the problem by stopping the fiscal bleeding, USPS continues to lose billions. AMTRAK loses billions. Private railroads are profitable, and thus pay income taxes that fund AMTRAK losses. That is insanity!

    You can be sure that some greedy bastard is going to wring every wasteful dollar out of private health care. What incentive exists for a government drone to do the same?

    That GOP politician speaking into the hotmike — is an amoral dumbass. Makes me long for the headline days about D.C. mayor coke smurf Marion Barry. Oh wait, we only have to look back to July 2009: On July 4, 2009, Barry was taken into custody by the Park Police after political consultant Donna Watts-Brighthaupt, his ex-girlfriend, claimed he was stalking her.[52] Barry was arrested and charged with “misdemeanor stalking”.” Charges were dismissed.

    Ahh, Democratic Presidential contender (pretender) Senator John Edwards — there’s a paragon of virtue for you. Illicit affair, pregnancy, pay a staffer to claim the child was the staffer’s, dump cancer stricken wife. Is that “it takes a village to raise a child” in action? Pres Clinton and Dick Morris receiving blowjobs from their whores while they converse on the phone…moral or not?

    Is it only wrong when a GOP does it?

    No wonder you libs are in favor of abortion — what would you do without it? Watch out for the mob of angry baby mama’s!

    That said, I must say, after reading Freakonomics, I, too, am in favor of abortion. Legalization of abortion caused crime to drop nationwide, which is a good thing. I always suspected that Rudy Guiliani was full of shit for claiming credit for the drop in crime in the 90’s. Instead, babies that would have grown up to be criminals were aborted instead! Rather than kill eachother on the streets, mom and the doc did that for them before hand! So, hat tip to you libs for that successful public safety campaign known as Roe v Wade!

    And on a final note, why is PBO campaigning for national-socialized health care when he already has the votes??? What was the point of going on TV last night to complain about Rush, Beck, and Palin, other than to just whine on national tv?

  46. My info is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/ecec.nr0.htm

    Tax brackets were from MoneyChimp: http://www.moneychimp.com/features/tax_brackets.htm. 15% is a bit high. For $30K the effective tax rate is about 13.8%. At $50K it’s 17.4%. (Assuming no deductions)

    I’ll be the first to admit that I’m lucky. I own a home, and I’m in school, so my current effective rates are much lower (I’m also on a fellowship which pays an actual living wage, so I can afford insurance). Texas has no state income tax, but we pay between 6.25% (the state base rate, which I’ve never seen) and 8.25% sales tax (the only rate I’ve ever experienced, and it’s on labor too…), and property taxes are high (I believe we are 2nd, 12th, or 15th in the country depending on how you rank it. Up there with CA and the land of Yankees…)

    If the Republicans had once in the past 30… no 40… no 50 years come up an idea for improving social programs that wasn’t based on screwing the poor, I might listen to them. How does it hurt me that someone less fortunate than me has a safety net? I won’t get AS FAR ahead based on my education and skin color? I work my ass off and I deserve everything I get, but I am not going to deny that I have half a leg up on a large part of the population and I believe we have a responsibility as a society to provide basic care to everyone. Not gold dust enemas. Basic care. Republicans have been against Medicare, minimum wage, environmental protection, industrial safety regulations, etc… Now they are against reforming our health care insurance system, so that almost everyone has a chance for decent health care. Something that will reduce societal costs in the long run, and that is actually good for the economy. Jesus titty fucking Christ. They’re not retarded they’re “minimally exceptional”…

    I’ll say it again for the deaf: Obama is not the second coming. He’s got too many banking industry economists around him. His fascination with bipartisanship allows the nutjobs on the right to bleat away and act like they are worth hearing. But, it is offensive how the whole “my country, right or wrong” crowd are suddenly worried about things like the economy and the national debt. Well, no they’re scared the president is a… negro. Wait, that’s not the word they use in private…

    Edwards lost me when he had the affair and still ran for president. He knew it would come out. Fuck him.

    Barry? Well, he’s a fuck up. You won’t get any argument from me. As Rick James said, “Cocaine, it’s a powerful drug…”

    The GOPers? Well, if they weren’t the ones championing “good Christian family values”, I wouldn’t care so much about the affairs. It’s not the affair, so much as the lying and the hypocrisy. Combine it with Republican buffoonery, and yeah it’s worth deriding.

    Fuck, I’m getting sucked in again… Laters…

  47. “In my myopic world, I would pay taxes in the highest bracket, so that was my point of reference.

    Bjorn bike wrench might pay less and certainly would be entitled to more social benefits.

    Instead, babies that would have grown up to be criminals were aborted instead! Rather than kill eachother on the streets, mom and the doc did that for them before hand!”

    STY— wrong again for several dozen reasons,but let’s hit the highlights:

    1) your personal financial gain drives your entire world view? What a surprise.

    2) The rich receive the greatest benefit from government, not the poor, which is why the rich properly pay more taxes. This is commonly and correctly referred to as “progressive” taxation.

    3) It’s not a criminal, it’s a fetus.

    You’re a lying sack of shit. Keep the rubber sides down, dude.


  48. Mikey the douchenozzle:

    FYI, I was not born with any sort of silver spoon. Paid for school working nights and and weekends and student loans. I paid full tuition while a half-hispanic, wealthier friend had a full ride through the same accounting school and same law school. Her grades sucked. Mine excelled.

    Providing for my wife and kids drives my world view. I coach little league football. I take the daughters to piano. I am on the brink of establishing the businesses so that my kids will have a choice whether to work nights while they accomplish college and grad school. I bust it 60-70 hours a week. My sixteen year old is visiting campuses and taking practice SAT’s so he can be admitted to an out of state school. He’s busting it because he wants to do it on his own without asking me for help.

    My second daughter came down with meningitis at 10 months of age. No insurance. I paid the freight, which at the time was a financial back breaker. What was up? One of my clients took up 90% of my practice. Then the guy filed a strategic chapter 11. He screwed the pooch and the end result was that I lost a year’s worth of full time legal billings.

    And it was the best thing that could have happened to me. Because of that, I landed a job in a legal area that had nothing to do with my experience. Now I have my own businesses from what I learned on that job.

    You can kiss my ass. I don’t walk on water and am certainly not the smartest (nevertheless, still smarter than you). However, what intelligence I have is put to productive, profitable use. Not scheming to see how I can live off welfare.

    Rich benefit more than the poor. Bullshit. You have no empirical evidence for that empty liberal justification for taking resources from someone else to spend on liberal, morally-bankrupt and corrupt programs. You libs want to stick a dick up some guy’s hairy asshole, go ahead, but don’t take my money so you can afford to preach the virtues of analingus, Hep C and AIDS to elementary school kids.

    I obey the same laws and enjoy the same protection as anyone homeless person in the U S of A. You have no empirical evidence that I enjoy greater benefit from government than the poor. To the contrary: I carry a greater burden than the poor who are recipients of government largesse procured from me through a corrupt and wasteful government.

    Why should I have to pay welfare and healthcare for someone too lazy to pay their own freight? (The mentally incapable and physically infirm are worthy recipients of societal support. The poor will always be with us. I serve such people with my personal time and personal financial resources to the extent I am able. I don’t need Barack Obama or George Bush stealing cash from me to serve their own ends.) Those slackers should have studied and taken advantage of a public education and gone on to college and further.

    Thomas Sowell did it. I did it. There is nothing stopping any child from doing the same.

    You liberal bastards had Congress for 40 consecutive years and poured trillions at welfare and federal education, and you all fucked it up because the poor are still here, uneducated, and having abortions.

    Privileged, my ass. I made it. So can anyone willing to work.

    Look at BJ. He’s not wealthy and clearly not Einstein, but with a wife and kid he’s humping it through law school. He’ll prosecute parking tickets for the first 10 years of his career, then go on to handle immigration applications until he dies a divorced alcoholic. Beats sweeping up at McDonald’s. I guess. Your argument is that because he is sacrificing bike time now, nights with his daughter, and a life with his wife while he’s buried in unbelievably tedious and boring casebooks, he should have to pay for milk, cheese, and healthcare for your lazy ass?

    Hey BJ, through Mikey a Benjamin, he’s hungry for some Night Train and porn while you’re studying! And he’ll need a scrip for the clap he’ll catch from his bitch. Then he’ll need a few bucks to pay for the abortion. BJ, you privileged bitch, cough it up!

    Mikey, try cracking a book or listening to someone other than Joe Biden or Al Franken. Start with Freakonomics — it is extremely well-written. So well-written that even you might understand.

    And if you are so anxious to help out society, why don’t you take half your earnings and give it to the first beggar on the street you meet tonight. You might have to forego that nice little fixie you’ve been coveting, but what the hell. It’s your turn to pay up bitch.

  49. STY said: “I obey the same laws and enjoy the same protection as any homeless person in the U S of A.”

    I’m glad you are not practicing law anymore, sty. You are petty and bitter. Plus, you are a braggart. All costly to both clients and, more importantly, the profession.

    The worst students always thought the casebooks were boring. The better ones never did.

    And the worst ones always bragged/lied the most about their grades.

    I have to assume you have heard the timeworn quote about the majestic equality of the law? http://quotationsbook.com/quote/31495/

  50. Is it really considered bragging when he is simply stating his accomplishments?

    BTW…this is one of the best “discussions” this site has seen in a while…great reading for sure.

    Now, where’s Dave?

  51. “Privileged, my ass. I made it. So can anyone willing to work.”

    STY— Ah yes, the old “I got mine, so fuck you” philosophy. Charming.

    You are dead wrong in every single way possible— from your erroneous assumptions to your misstated facts. That’s why I remain skeptical you even believe the crap you spew. If you knew me, or actually considered my views, you would know that I too paid my own way through college, living in unheated houses and eating rice and beans. Big fucking deal. I started from scratch and have paid off both homes. Again, big fucking deal. I cast as many R votes as D. I own guns and am permitted to carry concealed. I don’t play golf because it’s gay.

    This point remains completely obvious: the rich benefit more from the government than the poor. The rich are only rich because the government maintains the status quo for them. Rich guys drive fat-ass “luxury sports” cars on wide, smooth roads; poor guys take the bus. Rich guys play golf; poor guys carry rifles in Iraq. Rich guys live in ostentatious McMansions; poor guys spend 12-hour days hanging the sheet rock. Who is benefitting? Don’t be an idiot.

    PS— had an awesome fifty-mile ride yesterday, I’m out the door for thirty more and this evening the wife and I are heading out for a weekend of mountain biking. Enjoy the ride, maybe it will mellow you a little.

  52. “BJ…clearly not an Einstein…” Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Think I’ll have another Bourbon.

  53. Smarter –

    are you completely against welfare? What do you propose we do with people who can’t/don’t support themselves?

    What constitutes being born with a silver spoon? What demographic, income, family structure, religion is necessary for one to be declared privileged? Is it IQ based?

    Just because you aren’t rolling in wealth doesn’t mean you don’t have it better than some. What about the low income single parent families, no dad, mom works two jobs so you can have the basic necessities. You come from something like that? We can argue all day about how easy or tough it was growing up, how hard we work and deserve what we get, but we can’t speak for everyone.

    I agree that work ethic is a critical need, but that alone or coupled with the intelligence and desire to succeed does not level the playing field.

    Heres a question for you, what do you propose we do with the true dumbass, no intelligence, lazy bastard who has no desire to do anything? Obviously you don’t want to support that person. I don’t either. So what do we do with them? Wait until they commit a crime, get caught and then lock them up?

    What about the hardworking person who has no buffer, no family, only desire? Would you favor not helping them get ahead so they can get further in life, make more money, pay taxes…or do we just say fuck you, bad luck, shit happens and leave them to fight a major, odds against them, uphill battle?

    It is easy to bitch and moan about how much this policy or that sucks, but humor me anyone who reads this far, what do you suggest is the fix?
    I suspect sitting on our collective, socialist/fascist high horses e-arguing all day won’t quite do it.

    There are truly stupid people in this world, so what do we do with them? I don’t know.

    Lets hear some ideas from some of the vocal forces here.

  54. “Life ain’t fair. Get over it.”

    People who are capable of seeing the world from other perspectives, or at least capable of trying to do so, will quickly see how inane and vapid that statement is. Go to a country without a stable government and let that statement comfort you while someone lops off your head just because you are in the way and they are bigger than you.

    The more you really think about those words, the more you see how totally non-functional the phrase is. I mean, it sorta works for when your kid is pissed off at some minor vexation. But as a political ethic/governmental paradigm, it’s just stupid.

    Or worse — “life ain’t fair, get over it” has after all actually *been* the operating governmental ethic for the most psychotic and cruel political systems in history, from ancient Rome to modern-day Sudan.

  55. “Life is not fair” is a useful and meaningful description of the human condition, though not the only one. But follow it with “get over it” and use the two phrases together to respond to a question about whether or not a country should take care of its disadvantaged citizens is a pretty good indication that the speaker is an amoral and ignorant dick.

  56. E, no. “People who are capable of seeing the world from other perspectives” will probably have braions enough to know that my statement cuts two ways. You can winge a namecall and generally bitch piss and moan like some trolling internet commando, or you can truly GET OVER IT and DO SOMETHING about the situation. That’s how my family and I do it anyway, through charitable donations, voluteer work, and the high calling of our daily lives. Well it beats the fuck out of doing nothing, anyway.

  57. dave; are we forgetting that your boys spent billions on a war to know here?

    Are we forgetting that nearly a year ago your boys proposed the single greatest stimulus to date in an election year? (enter you broad definition of the misused term Socialism) If you wish to remain consistent, which is you only escape here, then your definition of socialism includes the GOP. They tax and spend therefore they must be socialists too. Correct? Or is one just more social and one just more moral? which is it? It doesn’t matter because they are both false and do not exist.

    Read your above statement. attacking people not problems. It’s what you do. hit repeat when you get a question you can’t answer. It is what the GOP does best

    Let’s see…. you are a charitable donor now? You volunteer your time to the community? what a hypocrite. Not long ago you were calling Obama’s challenge to society to contribute time to their communities a “form of slavery”. errr socialism, maybe Nazi…..

    the real problem you have and white people in your tax bracket/mind bracket (which BTW the GOP gives 2 shits about) is that you cant deal with smarts and logic and you can’t just can’t stand the idea that someone ‘beneath you’, be it race or income, might stand to benefit from something politically. You just don’t want anyone you don’t like to have what you have and that is the standing M.O. of the GOP anyway. Which is ironic because How in the hell the GOP appeals to someone in your tax bracket is beyond me. How someone in your tax bracket assumes they are elite is beyond anyone.

    The appeal is simple. You like the fact that the GOP makes you feel morally better than ohters. YOu are easily persuaded by the class war that is hidden in all this. It is a false class war because there are only 2 classes now and you fear that you will fall on the low end. With the black man, or the brown man, or people not a christian as you. but alas you are there and that is what pisses you off.

    now I say to you get over it and do something about it. Charity is more than giving your family’s used bed sheets to good will.

    Now you ask what kind of charity is that I might give back. Well yesterday I went to the shelter in Laguna Beach CA and handed out free condoms. What is the difference between you and me here? Well I didn’t tell them how to wear them and with whom or even put them on for them like you might at your local church

    get over it and do something indeed

    you stupid fuck