Monday, January 30, 2012

Banana Republic

In the video below a man attempts to flee from the police but finds himself trapped. So he lays on the ground to surrender. The police officer, George Fierro, then kicks him in the head. That is followed by pepper spray and additional blows from the next police officer. The K-9 unit sicks the dog on him.

The DA won't prosecute the cops because the suspect is "positioning himself to attack." And we are dealing here with a "highly dangerous and unpredictable criminal."

What America needs more than anything is a restoration of the rule of law. We need a country where the rule of law applies to everyone, not just the weak and powerless.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Scott Ritter Knew

A lot of people know about how Scott Ritter forcefully made the argument that the Bush administration in fact did not have convincing evidence that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction prior to the invasion. Yes, weapons inspectors were withdrawn by the US in 1998 and Ritter admitted that it was possible he had developed weapons since then. But he also pointed out that the development of these weapons should still be detectable. We can't rule out that he has succeeded in developing these in an undetectable way. But we shouldn't leap from "He could possibly have developed weapons" to "He probably developed weapons."

But as war approached Ritter was able to draw firmer conclusions about the weapons programs. Inspectors were allowed back in. They were actually able to inspect the various sites that the CIA and US government had identified as locations where prohibited weapons were being manufactured. They turned up nothing. So there was a very brief period before the war where we really knew. Ritter forcefully tried to communicate that. Obviously to no avail. Watch a program below that offers some of his analysis prior to the war.

Ritter is now making the case regarding Iran. What he's saying is a less controversial now. We know they aren't making nuclear weapons. But those with truly thick skulls still want to pretend they are. They want to listen to the Krauthammers and the Kristols and O'Reillys and all the other pundits that were so colossally wrong before. They'd have zero credibility in a media dominated by pursuit of truth. In a media owned by entities in pursuit of short term profit maximization however they still are treated with respect.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The History of Compulsory Education

Interested in understanding how and why compulsory education in the US came about? I stumbled upon an interesting source. If you are curious about this topic watch the 10 minute clip from below.

If that is enough to whet your appetite for more, the book by this author is available for free online. I'm not advocating everything within it, but I thought it was very enlightening (I've read about half so far).

Monday, January 23, 2012

Why Jesus Was Pretty Awesome

Jesus would have been a product of his time, so naturally there are some things about him that a liberal atheist like myself would object to. But set aside his opinions on slavery or eternal hell fire, views that he probably held more due to culture than conviction. Take a look at what really made him different. It's pretty damn impressive.

Who is it that is subjected to Jesus' most scathing criticism? It's the Pharisees. Read Matthew 23. It's an absolute tirade. Woe to you scribes and Pharisees. Hypocrites. You give money to the temple and neglect justice and mercy. You travel the world to make converts and they become twice the sons of hell that you are. You are whitewash tombs, beautiful on the outside but inside full of dead men's bones. You snakes. You brood of vipers. You kill the prophets sent to you to help correct your ways. How can you possibly escape hell fire?

Here's what's amazing about this tirade. There are plenty of people in the world worth criticizing. How about pagans? How about the Roman leaders? Jesus never criticizes them. From Jesus' perspective they are awful people worthy of hell fire. Jesus says virtually nothing of either. He's repeatedly asked to weigh in on Roman matters, like the legitimacy of the Roman tax or the restriction Rome imposes on Jewish religious practice. He sidesteps it. He doesn't care. Why?

Because he understands something that Republicans today don't get. Who cares what the pagans do? Who cares what the Romans do? I am a Jew. I care what Jews do. I care what our leadership does. That is what I will focus on.

Turn on Bob Dutko today and all you hear is "Muslims are bad. Oprah is bad. Atheists are bad." And when you even try to get Bob, an American Christian, to talk about American atrocities, he says "I don't want to talk about it. That's bashing America. That's unpatriotic. What about Ahmadinejad? What about Fidel Castro?"

That's probably what the Pharisees told Jesus. "But look at the pagans!! Look at Rome!! You are anti-Israel. You are unpatriotic. You shouldn't criticize us."

That's probably what they said to Elijah or Jeremiah. "How dare you bash Israel!! That's unpatriotic. You shouldn't shine light on Israel's mistakes. You should only talk about the crimes of enemies of the state." Jesus knew that these people who stood up to the Jewish leadership at the time were the real heroes. They were hated for standing up against wicked Jewish behavior. They were killed for it. And that persecution was enabled by the prophets that flattered the king and told him he was so great. They probably told him that he was right to kill that prophet on his own authority, as Dutko praises Obama for killing US citizens on his authority.

I've seen the most committed Christians express extreme revulsion at the idea that we should follow the Golden Rule, just as Ron Paul was booed for suggesting we follow it as well. Republicans literally find Jesus' teachings repugnant and outrageous. That's because Jesus seems to have really cared about the poor and weak. He also seems to have recognized that if you really want to improve the world you should talk about what your own people are doing wrong. Those are the ones you can influence. Because this is actually effective it is demonized by totalitarians. The Soviets called dissidents "anti-Soviet" and those that take Jesus seriously in the US are called "anti-American." And we are called that by the very people that pretend to follow Jesus.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Doing My Part

I was disappointed reading articles in the Toledo Blade about the new I-Phone 4. It reads as if it would be reasonable to drop a few hundred dollars upgrading from a 3 to a 4. You can talk to the phone and ask questions. It's got a dual core processor. Blah, blah, blah. Aren't commercials supposed to be for the advertising section? An I-Phone 3 is a lot more than the phone I have. Where I stand I wasn't even going to go out and get a 3. And yet it's reasonable for people to consider upgrading from a 3 to a 4?

Why is it even considered rational to make such a move? I'll tell you why. Because our economy is structured such that we must consume more and more, even if that means disposing of perfectly good stuff. And so we are bombarded by propaganda that tries to convince us to make this irrational choice. And that propaganda works.

Is this sustainable? Absolutely not. We are going to have to figure out a way to have an economy that doesn't rely on this kind of thing. Right now we extract the equivalent of 112 Empire State Building's worth of material from the ground EVERY DAY to meet our consumptive needs. This can't continue. Don't fall for the propaganda. Do you really need a new phone or computer every year? Most people don't.

It's probably bad for the overall economy to fail to consume. But it's good for you personally. And it's good for the environment. Here are a few of the ways I try to resist temptation and keep my old crap working.

This is what I drive. A 1995 Ford Windstar. About 160K miles. Does the A/C work? No. Passenger window? No. Washer fluid pump? No. How about the heat? Not really. That's my own fault. I put the wrong thermostat in it. In fact the speedometer is a bit flaky. OK, this is maybe pushing it. I should make sure it's safe. My wife doesn't drive it. But let me tell you. I love this vehicle. Why? It's paid for and it works. Monthly insurance is nothing. It gets me to work every day. I don't need a new car even though a new one would be nice. But why waste the money and resources?

1995 is a long time ago and there's a lot of technology that this van lacks. But that can be remedied. For me GPS and an ability to plug in an audio device via an aux jack is nice, so I've added that as you can see. Not done in an especially pretty way, but it works. There's something about just continuing with this POS that gives me a thrill. I love parking it at work. A lot of people where I work are well paid. Most drive nice, newer cars. I'm paid decent. I make enough to get something nicer. People that make less than me and have more debt than me drive nicer cars. But I don't want to because I don't need it.

I splurged and bought an ipod touch on my birthday. Two and a half years ago. It works just exactly as it did when I bought it. Just as fast as it ever was. You can watch Netflix on it. Youtube videos are crystal clear. Do people think they need a new one to replace something like this every time an upgrade is released? The phone next to it does need to be replaced. It's 2 years old and apparently the processor can barely handle the OS. I've literally had the phone fail to ring because the processor can't keep up. So I'll get a new one shortly. But if in fact it worked now as it did when I got it I wouldn't replace it. It's a really great device.

Recently I was concerned that I'd need to get a new desktop computer. That kind of annoys me because I would think it should be easy to just buy components and upgrade. But it seems they are designed in a way that encourages you to discard them.

I bought mine in 2007 and it runs Windows Vista, which is flaky. I just had to wipe the HD 2 months back, and it's already acting strangely again. I was afraid I'd need to get a newer one. Five years is probably a typical lifetime for a desktop computer. But I was pricing new ones and to get one that has the kind of hardware I have was still going to be $400. I realized I can just buy Windows 7 for $120 and I think it should be good to go. This hardware can last a good length of time. But you do need to keep it clean. Every now and then take off the side panel and use the vacuum cleaner to get the dust out of there, especially in the CPU area. My CPU fan was kicking on constantly trying to keep the CPU cool. Now that I've cleaned it it never turns on.

My laptop is the same story. I have a Sony Vaio. I bought it in 2002. It has a 1.2 GHz processor and 256 meg of RAM. Not enough to run a modern Windows operating system. But an OS can be upgraded. Like with Ubuntu, which is not too processor intensive. As is the case for the desktop I think you can keep it running for a long time if you keep the dust out of it. Here's my processor fan prior to cleaning. It had been shutting down because it was overheating. Now it runs full tilt indefinitely. So now I can use this 10 year old laptop and it can still do most of what I need a computer to do.

This is my old GPS. Bought it in May of 2007. Still runs great. See the little USB port? That connector broke. I'm really not particularly good at fixing stuff like this, but a friend of mine happened to have access to the right connector for the board and another friend pried the thing apart and soldered the new connector on. Some of the trim broke in the process, but that doesn't bother me a bit. It's still going.

I hear a lot of people say "I'm the kind of person that really likes to have the latest and greatest, so that's why I've spent money on this upgrade." Yeah, you are that kind of person. And so are most people. And the reason we are that kind of people is because we are bombarded with advertising that is just really good at convincing us that we want and need the latest and greatest. Even when upgrading is not really necessary. We're subjected to this because it's profitable. But it's not good for us or for the environment.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The So Called Liberal Media on Nuclear Iran

An interesting catch from FAIR. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta explains in an interview on Face the Nation that Iran is not trying to build a nuclear weapon. PBS clips that sentence, adds some commentary, and leaves the viewer with the opposite impression.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Suppression Is Encouraging

On capitalism there are going to be a lot of people that make money not from working, but from owning. That's really not legitimate. But obviously it's something that these rich people really like. Who wouldn't want to collect most of the money while doing none of the work?

The major threat to that gravy train is when workers figure out that they don't really need that owner. They can do it themselves, distribute that money to the people doing the work, and tell the owner to pound sand. If you are an investor this is absolutely frightening. So when other countries have tried it, like Cuba, Vietnam, Nicaragua, Iran, etc, we know what happened to them. Investors in this country and in the target country used their corporate tools, like the media and politicians, to try and frighten the population into thinking these countries were a danger. Then these places were attacked.

So far US residents haven't suffered as much suppression and violence. We live in a very open society. The law says we have a lot of freedoms. But like Frank Zappa pointed out, these are freedoms that are permitted only so long as they aren't used in a way that threatens the gravy train of the rich. As soon as you start exercising these freedoms in ways that aren't profitable, out come the billy clubs, pepper spray, etc.

There may have been no Occupy movement if not for the internet. I watched the development of Occupy very closely. I watched when the initiated a trial run at Wall St just to see what the cops would do before it was officially launched. I saw them be ignored in the main stream corporate media. I wouldn't have been able to see without the internet. And if I and others hadn't seen, it may have fizzled. How badly do the rich wish it had fizzled? Did it have an effect?

The answer is found in SOPA and NDAA, acts that could serve to block Occupy type action in the future. Our free and open society has now dispensed with the fifth amendment of the Constitution, which grants people a right to have charges brought against them openly adjudicated by a third party. Now you can literally be thrown in prison indefinitely based on the decree of an anonymous panel appointed by the President. SOPA gives the government broad authority to block the internet, preventing the kinds of activities needed to organize and question some perceived injustices.

This is kind of a bummer obviously. On the other hand, what do you expect illegitimate wealth to do when you present a real challenge to them? Are they just going to lie back and let it happen without pushing back? Is that what they did in Vietnam, Cuba, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Iran, Panama, Iraq, Brazil, Haiti, Chile, Argentina, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, El Salvador, Italy, and on and on it goes? The suspension of freedom means what the people are doing is really scaring those in power, which means it's working. This is an inevitable step in the process toward progress. It will probably get worse before it gets better. That's how progress usually comes. We just need to keep doing what we are doing.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Republican Audience Boos the Golden Rule

The so called Christian party apparently objects to the most famous rule Jesus ever offered. At Youtube here. If you don't support the principle that the rules that apply to them ought to apply to us what do you offer in its place?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Drug Legalization Is Laughable

Obama was asked about legalization of marijuana, and I guess he thinks the suggestion is kind of funny and doesn't merit much by way of response. For Obama extremely popular positions are laughable.

Why is this laughable? For good reason. It has nothing to do with protecting Americans from damaging health effects. Setting aside marijuana, which kills about nobody, all hard drugs combined kill relatively few people. If we really cared about the health of Americans we'd decriminalize drugs, since that would be expected to improve things.

There are two other major factors at play. First we have a for profit prison industrial complex, which is pumping millions of dollars into Washington as part of lobbying efforts to keep incarceration rates high. That's profitable. The additional issue is that the CIA needs money to run covert wars. Better to sell drugs than ask Congress for money, since that is more likely to bring the wars to light. Ron Paul discusses these issues back in (I believe) 1988.

For a discussion of the centrality of CIA drug trafficking in the Nicaraguan Contra terrorist war directed by the US, watch Iran Contra Coverup.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Colbert SuperPAC's First Presidential Ad in SC

Cobert is running for President and now has an ad, which is apparently on television running all the way from Charleston to north Charleston.

If you want to see bravery, watch Colbert at the White House Correspondence dinner in 2006. Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. Incredible. During the Helen Thomas skit there is a separate video that captures Bush's reaction. I don't think he's happy. Apparently Colbert was booked by the outgoing president of the White House Press Corps Association. He'd probably have been fired if he weren't already leaving after this. A Wiki overview here.

Friday, January 13, 2012

This Hurts Romney Badly

I'm no political strategist, but I just watched this 28 minute documentary about Romney's exploits at Bain Capital. I'd known of this for a while ever since Colbert covered it. This guy is about the worst caricature you could imagine of a cruel and abusive Wall St tycoon, gutting profitable and solvent companies for short term gain that lines his pockets with millions while thousands of poor lose their jobs. It's awful. But now there's a documentary, I understand put together by some Gingrich supporters, that lays out these facts interspersing interviews with real people that were on the receiving end of the hardship. It's a heart breaker. Watch below.

It's no mystery how the right wing will reply. This focuses on the down side of creative destruction while ignoring the upside. Prosperous economies must remain dynamic. Etc, etc. Setting these bogus arguments aside, just consider how this plays to white middle class and poorer class people. Pregnant women fired. Parents fired that now lack health insurance and must endure a child with leukemia. An older married couple, both of whom work at the plant, are fired and lose everything. Are people watching this really going to accept this libertarian theory which allowed Romney to pad his fortune? As he bulldozes a 3,000 sq foot home to build maybe his tenth home that is instead 12,000 sq feet? In this economic environment? It's an absurdity that only a completely out of touch right winger could justify.

And it's not like Obama is doing the heavy lifting here. He's got Gingrich doing it for him. Who but the most ardent right wing dogmatist is going to cast a vote for Romney knowing that this is how he treats the non 1%?


Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post offers a corporate shot across the bow for Gingrich. Stop criticizing our economic destruction for the benefit of the rich or we'll pull the plug on your funding. Rush, Hannity and other corporate right wing sources are also demanding that Gingrich snap into line and continue to support polices that harm the poor at the expense of the rich. So though this hurts Romney with normal people it may help him with CEO's and venture capitalists.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

I Debate Peter Schiff

Sort of. I called up and argued with him on his radio show. It's in two segments because first I called and he had to go to interview a guest, then I called back. Segments 1 and 2 are below. You can also download the whole show at Peter's website here, at least for now. It's the January 11 show. Or download segment 1 and segment 2.

Update-Yanked embedded audio because it wasn't working.

Didn't quite work out as well as I'd have liked because I never really got rolling. I think he misunderstands me as if I'm claiming that there should be laws against breaking up a company, which is not at all true. China blocks short term speculative capital flows as I understand it, and this removes some of the incentive for a Bain Capital to come in and dismantle a solvent company in the interest of short term profit. Anyway, it's OK. Just getting my feet wet a bit. Next time I'll need to try and be more concise and hope that works better.

Bryan Caplan's Advice for More Equality

You'd think it's a joke, but it isn't. He's serious. Here's the advice.
If you really want a materially more equal society, stop beating up on the 1%. Do a complete 180. Smile upon them. Admire them. Praise them. Sing songs about how much good they do for the world.
He's got some tortured logic for why this really is how you do it. Additionally he wants to undermine democracy.

More advice for the poor. The key is to give the rich more of the money.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Another Iranian Nuclear Scientist Assassinated

Get the story here. This despite zero evidence that they have a nuclear weapons program, as I discussed here. This is scary stuff because it's obviously provocative, as are the sanctions. We're talking about a theocracy here. Who knows what kind of retaliatory action this could prompt. Our government obviously sees corporate profits as a greater priority than the safety of Americans and the world.

Gingrich wants Iranian scientists assassinated covertly as does Santorum. Apparently they are getting their wish.


Here's video of Santorum saying that the assassination of these scientists is wonderful.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The First State Secret

The state secrets privilege was established in a US Supreme Court case from 1952. United States vs Reynolds. A B-29 crashed in Georgia. On board secret military tests were being conducted. The families of the victims wanted to view the accident report, but the government didn't want to release it. They argued that this would jeopardize national security. The government petitioned the court to dismiss the case without looking at the report. Just trust us. The court agreed. This decision has set the precedent for many subsequent court decisions, like the decision to deny detainees at Guantanamo a right to a day in court. Disclosure of evidence related to their detention puts US national security at risk supposedly.

The report related to the crash of the B-29 was finally released in 2000. Guess what? Nothing revealed in the report was in any way a threat to national security. The report did reveal negligence regarding the maintenance of the aircraft. That was about it.

So why did the government do this? The daughter of one of the men that died in the plane believes it was in fact to establish a precedent that allows the government to act with impunity. We can do whatever we want and never be subject to scrutiny.

Wikileaks and Guantanamo show that this is often the real purpose of secrecy today. Take a look at some of the Wikileaks revelations. The real enemy is not the terrorist abroad. It's the domestic population. Secrecy is intended to prevent Americans from knowing what the government and corporations are up to.

Cut The Working Week to 20 Hours

That's the recommendation of the New Economics Foundation, a left leaning think tank.

10 years ago that would have sounded really bizarre to me. And I'm sure it sounds bizarre to a lot of people.

But for reasons I've discussed here I've come to understand that in fact this is going to be necessary at some point. We're always producing more with less. We're always improving our productivity. So on our system to sustain employment it is absolutely necessary that we consume more and more. But that can't go on forever.

There's plenty to go around. We make more than what we need. But because of the way we distribute what we make not everybody gets what they need. We fight over the limited resources. We destroy the environment. It has to change. It will change. Will it change in a catastrophic manner or not? The recommendation is the non-catastrophic change. I like it.

Monday, January 9, 2012

What It's Like to be Muslim in America

I was talking with a friend at work about how we've lost the fifth amendment and there's no longer due process of the law for Americans or others. Sad and ridiculous. But keep in mind that it's always been pretty bad. It wasn't that long ago women couldn't vote. It wasn't that long ago that blacks de facto couldn't vote. Yeah, the law said they could. But the reality was they couldn't. The powerful are pushing to take away more freedoms, but they're always doing that. You just have to keep pushing back.

My friend asked if I was concerned because I always express so much hostility to status quo power structures. Nah. I'm a white guy and I'm not a Muslim. I'm not really in any danger.

But if I were non white and a Muslim I'd definitely think differently. My friend from Pakistan is in this position. He says that he's talked with his brother on the phone, who lives in LA. If he so much as says "As-Salāmu `Alaykum" (peace be upon you), his brother will hang up the phone. Don't say that. Don't so much as say Allah. He literally says that if he says Allah his brother will hang up the phone. He's come too far, worked too hard, to do anything that could even lead to him being mistakenly targeted as an enemy by the US government. He refuses to discuss politics or anything that approaches issues related to terrorism on or off the phone.

You might think that's too paranoid. I don't. Within this article from Glenn Greenwald you can hear harrowing tales of innocent Muslims shipped to Cuba and tortured for years on end. And without a shred of evidence. Possibly errors, possibly other reasons. And these are the lucky ones that through an almost random series of events managed to get a day in court and be ordered released. There are others that sit there today with no recourse.

I imagine many Muslims silently derive much encouragement from non-Muslim people that object to this treatment. Non-Muslims can speak out without too much fear. We are the best hope for justice, which I think will come eventually. But we have to press on.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Is The Wealth of the Rich Legitimate?

A highly recommended series of posts addressing arguments used to justify the wealth of the rich:

Part 1-Is the wealth of the reach due to the fact that they are compensated based upon their contribution to productive capacity?

Part 2-Is the wealth of the rich their just reward for having taken bold risks?

Part 3-Is the wealth of the rich legitimate because it comes about through free, voluntary exchanges?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

What You Don't Know About Iran

Lots of saber rattling regarding Iran lately. This is on the heels of an IAEA report which suggested there's risk Iran still has a nuclear weapons program. There's a great interview on Democracy Now with Pulitzer prize winning journalist Seymour Hersch here explaining how these claims are all just not remotely believable. But I saw an interesting list of claims regarding Iran that may surprise you (via reddit).

Evolution is taught in Iran. Iran has the fastest scientific growth of any country. They have an excellent progressive program dealing with drug addicts, including a needle exchange program. They have free access to contraceptives (the only condom factory in the region), free and mandatory pre-marital counseling with family planning, government assistance for gender re-assignment surgery, and a model sustainable population growth program. Literacy gains since the Islamic revolution are excellent. Iran is the 12th largest automotive producer in the world and they've built 3 million that run on natural gas, which is more than the US, to go along with other green energy programs. Substantial public housing, AIDS prevention programs, and massive rural healthcare programs. Employment of women is expanding. Women make up the majority of university graduates. They are doing important scientific research, such as cloning, stem cell research, and nano technology.

Iranians do support their government. Their government has repeatedly offered peace concessions to the US, including a willingness to recognize Israel, a willingness to completely abandon a nuclear weapons program, and a desire to have a nuclear weapons free zone in the region. Iran does need nuclear power, and started their nuclear program with the encouragement and assistance of the US and others. And while the assertion that Ahmadinejad called for Israel to be wiped off the map is completely false, Iran has been repeatedly threatened with annihilation by leading government officials (the threats themselves violate international law), as well as by prominent, right wing, religious extremists.

As mentioned above there is literally zero evidence that Iran is developing a nuclear weapon, and yet Iran is subjected to severe sanctions, bombings, and sabotage, including multiple murders of nuclear scientists. There is much to criticize about the regime in Tehran. How about the insane idea that Ramona Amiri should be in a hijab? However in relation to the various other despots in the region, particularly those that large amounts of US military assistance, Iran looks pretty good. Why is our government so aggressive and adversarial? It would seem to make no sense.

But of course it makes perfect sense when you set aside the pretexts and understand the real motivation behind the hostility.

This Media Coverage is Revolting

What a spectacle the media coverage is of the primary process. This is the first time I've watched an election unfold with Chomsky's media insights in the back of my mind. It's pretty amazing watching it play out as he describes that it is designed.

One function of the media it so just marginalize people. Get them away from issues so they have no say. So talk about a two headed baby. People who are famous for being famous. Act like athletics is the most important thing in the world. These keep people distracted and marginalized on real issues.

You might think political coverage would have something to do with issues. Does it? I'm at the gym the other day and rather than listen to corporate news, which you can get with your headphones on devices attached to equipment, I'll listen to Democracy Now on an mp3 player. Or maybe listen to an audio book. That way I'm learning something. You don't learn much from corporate news. But I have 10 screens in front of me when I'm on the treadmill and I see one of Ron Paul's spokesmen is coming up on CNN. So I pause my audio book and listen in.

"What do you think of Santorum's surge? Is Ron Paul too old to be President? Ron Paul said that Santorum isn't conservative enough. Wow, what an alarming thing to say!! Can Ron Paul win Iowa? What strategies is he employing to steal a few more votes from one candidate or another?" What is called "politics" has little to do with whatever issues voters might be concerned with and how preferred policies could be implemented. It's about the horse race. Who said what of whom? What about a recent haircut? Has anybody been offended?

Have I learned anything about the candidates here or issues? No. I've wasted my time discussing the horse race. I should have just continued listening to my audio book. In fact the book I'm listening to is by Scott McClellan called "What Happened". It's about his experiences during the Bush years. He objects to the media's constant obsession with the horse race which he says they focus on to the exclusion of issues.

Remember how Michelle Bachmann won the Iowa straw poll a while back and how this was a big deal? Why does that matter at this point? Why was it such a big deal? It's basically a non-issue. Like Kim Kardashian or whoever won the Sugar Bowl. It's useful in that it's a means of preventing people from focusing on things that matter.

It's just plain revolting at this point to watch this charade. We'll get a couple of candidates, both of whom are approved by the 1% and have no interest in the rest of the country, except to placate them and shut them up while they continue to serve the needs of the super rich. And we'll get media coverage that pretends that the differences between Romney and Obama represent substantial differences.

For more on that topic, here's a good article from Matt Taibbi. For brief commentary on how political coverage in the corporate media is not really political coverage at all, read this from Pink Scare.