April 17th, 2012

Godzilla, default

A curious thought:

In the last thirty years, the Presidential Administrations have been as follows: eight years of Ronald Reagan followed by four years of George Herbert Walker Bush, then eight years of Bill Clinton, followed by eight years of George W. Bush. Then the current Obama Administration. During this same timeframe, the GOP under Reagan kept control of the Senate until that nest of traitors paid the Iranians with guns to finance their nun-rapers, at which point the Senate and the House went to the Democrats until 1993, at which point with the one interregnum of Bush's first two years the GOP had control of both the house and the Senate. During this time 20 of the last 30 years saw the GOP holding the Oval Office. There was an entire timespan in Bush's Administration where the Republicans had control of the Presidency, the House, and the Senate all at once.

But during all this time the Republicans still relied on the hoary old myth of the stab in the back from the all-powerful conspiracy out to poison the precious bodily fluids of Americans. Even when they had command of all three nationally elected branches of government. If during this 30-year timespan when the GOP controlled both houses of Congress for a total of 10 years and the GOP for 20 of those 30 the GOP is still subject to this phantom liberal conspiracy, there are only three conclusions:

1) Liberals are too powerful to ever be overtaken, and thus need to be universally obeyed. Control of both houses of Congress and even both houses of Congress and the Presidency is not enough for the GOP, thus it can't accomplish anything with anything regardless. To waste votes on a party of feckless incompetents is a poor use of time better constructed to handling the factions within liberalism and the Democracy.

2) Republicans are too stupid to organize their way out of a wet paper bag at the federal level, thus leading to the same conclusion as statement the 1st.

3) Republican statements of cutting government are blatant lies and anyone who believes them is welcome to invest in my Saharan Cruise Line. Because a party with ample opportunity to accomplish its own goals and representing a peak of political success still needs to resort to conspiracy theories to unify a base composed of a hodge-podge of previously marginalized extremist movements. But again I have a great investment in a Saharan Cruise Line to offer........

But that's how I see it. How do you see it?

Edit-Altered a sentence to reflect factual accuracy. Apologies for any confusion.

This Time It's Personal


And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country. – John F. Kennedy

Personal Responsibility – To be accountable for one’s own actions toward a society as well as being productive within the common support system upon which that society depends.

[Recent examples]

The right claims it as their battle cry. To oppose it is perceived as horribly infringing on the personal liberties of others. It should not be a goal or a pursuit to be achieved. It is something that is expected of everybody from the time they leave their momma’s care until the grave.

I used to be the same way, but to a lesser degree than appears to be the hue and cry of modern times. I had a general sense that it was the duty of the nation to take care of their own. We ask this of other countries. We should be doing this a matter of principle and example.

Those that seem to be most vocal about this never seem to be the ones that have suffered financial devastation, the destruction of an entire career, catastrophic loss and misfortune or hopelessly insurmountable odds due to a lack of resources. There are anecdotal success stories in the face of adversity; our President is one. Nobody, however, reports or highlights the pain of failures suffered despite Herculean efforts to overcome loss.

That is why I have been surprised to see there have been a couple surprising occurrences in recent times that have contradicted the principle of personal responsibility.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – commonly referred to as Obamacare™. This has been the target of the right since it was passed. Although it is perceived as government run healthcare, it is built on a solid business model that avoids adverse selection. The Medicare and Medicaid programs that are designed to protect the most vulnerable of Americans, are government run healthcare.

Oddly enough, the biggest target of the entire legislation is the portion that demands the most personal responsibility. This would be the portion tagged as the personal mandate. Although Romney’s personal mandate stood unchallenged in Massachusetts, States Attorneys and Republicans immediately went up in arms as an affront to the Constitution. The jury is still out about that, literally.

Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, who has been heralded as master of Occam’s razor type arguments, appeared to have faltered in the defense of the individual mandate. Simplicity within an argument is a good idea in a trial before a jury, but precision is critical when addressing Constitutional experts like the Supreme Court. The oral arguments have been presented. It looks very much like the individual mandate is in Constitutional jeopardy, but the ruling is pending and time will tell.

SOPA, PIPA and other intellectual property protections – This appears to be another AstroTurf™ style rebellion initiated by internet profit-making interests to claim impairment of some God given right to pirate and steal intellectual property. The unavoidable opening line to this is invariably “I don’t support piracy, but….” and then feeble arguments that support piracy maintain why intellectual property should not be protected.

Strangely, despite its corporate underpinnings, these arguments seem to oppose personal responsibility predominately from the left. This is simple law enforcement. When a studio invests over ¼ billion dollars in a movie like Avatar with no guaranteed return on investment, principles of business command that this investment be protected from infringement by unregulated international profiteering.

Conclusion – Over all, I’ve been able to determine the overall essence of the personal responsibility argument. Personal responsibility is your job, not mine. Mine is the pursuit of freedom to dodge personal responsibility. Personal responsibility – it’s apparently just another stupid bumper sticker.


Game of Islands


Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara is interested in using public funds to buy the Senkaku Islands, whose ownership is disputed by China, a Tokyo Metropolitan Government spokesman said.

Ishihara, 79, has begun talks to purchase Uotsurijima, Kitakojima and Minamikojima, all in the Senkaku island chain around 140 kilometers (87 miles) north of Japan’s Ishigaki Island, between Taiwan and Okinawa. He would use funds from the municipal budget to buy the real estate from a Japanese citizen, spokesman Motoyuki Nakazawa said, citing comments Ishihara made in a speech in Washington April 16.

Now what's interesting here is that he not only made this announcement in Washington, but did so at an event hosted by the notorious rightwing think tank the Heritage Foundation. Where was a guest of honor no less. Ishihara's history as a grade of no love of foreigners and being a right wing whack job of the first order in Japanese politics so it's not as odd a team-up as one might think. Especially if the goal here is Japan being used to block Chinese expansion. Anti-China plays well politically in both the US and Japan.

Frankly, I'm pretty wary of this sort of unholy alliance. I, like many expats in Japan, hated Ishihara when I lived there since he loves to blame just about anything on foreigners. And if you know US politics there's a mountain of complaints you can level at the Heritage Foundation. Guys like this should not be meddling at the international level.