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January 13, 2011 / hoopersx

The Justification for Mediocraty

ignorance-is-bliss

This was a post made in response to Bob Cesca’s column on Huffington post about Sarah Palin’s reply today.

“Yep he nailed it ! with a heightened­, and pasty superiorit­y complexion !”

You can read Bob’s excellent post here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bob-cesca/sarah-palin-fumbles-and-f_b_808336.html

Here’s my relpy:

“Here’s something I really don’t understand about people who make comments like that:”

“What is so wrong with having people in charge of the country who are educated and well read? People who actually take time to research topics and make decisions based upon reason rather than emotion?”

“What I find really odd is that there is a segment of society that hasn’t gone on to college to learn more about the country we live in, will proudly suggest that those who won’t take the time to read up on current events and be educated about the important decisions that must be made should have an equal voice in our democracy. Now I am sure that I will get all kinds of grief for that statement but hear me out:”

“Who do we want making decisions to move our country forward? Those who have taken the time to educate themselves and stay on top of current events or those who think that having a decent perspectiv­e of history and current events are just elitists? I just don’t understand that mentality. It’s like saying,”I’­ve got a doctor with credential­s from Harvard Medical School who is telling me I need to have an operation to save my life. Yet I listen to some random, middle America person with no medical degree and no real understand­ing of the serious nature of my issue. He tells me, “Don’t get surgery. They’re all quacks!” It’s illogical.”

“When did this country go from a country that placed value on education and expanding one’s knowledge to a place where it is elitist and dirty to be smart?”
Please!!  If anyone can explain to me why it is better to listen to people who, by their own admission, proudly proclaim they don’t really know much about politics and just hate DC than it is to listen to rational, educated people on both sides of the aisle, let me know.
January 11, 2011 / hoopersx

And the YELLING continues….

Shhhhh

After this weekend’s tragedy, I had a sliver of hope that both Conservatives and Progressives could tone things down a bit.  I had hoped that, if  only for a day, everyone could just be Americans.  So much for hope.

I started over on Huffington Post to take a look at the comments.  On Saturday, for the most part, people were just expressing their grief and wishing the victims and the victims families their best.  We’ll come back to Huffington Post in a minute.

Then, for some strange reason, I was compelled to venture on over to Fox News.  Looking back, I probably went over there for the same reason everyone slows down to look at a car accident.  And let me tell you, it didn’t disappoint.  There were some level heads over there.  But HOLY CRAP!!  There was lots of complete insanity too.  I can’t say I was surprised but I had hoped.

Then on Sunday, after calls from nearly everyone to tone down the rhetoric;  Jan Brewer, Keith Olberman, John Boehner, President Obama, everyone, I went back to Huffington Post.  Oye!!!  What had been mostly well wishes had turned into an all out war on the Tea Party and Conservatives.  Angry Progressives talking about how they were going to start fighting fire with fire.  Making angry accusations and doing an awful lot of what they were claiming the Tea Party and Conservatives do.  I kept posting the question:

Is this any way to help tone down the rhetoric?  Can’t we put our anger aside for even 24 hours?

And I was pelted with angry replies.  I’m not going to repost comments from either site.  I don’t think it’s necessary and I don’t want to add life to their anger.  But I was really disheartened.  I had hoped that somewhere, cooler heads would prevail.  Nope.  In fact this just seems to have thrown fuel on the fire and turned a lot of Progressives I regularly communicate with on HP into left-wing zealots, at least for a day.  I hope when they have had a chance to step back and put things in perspective they will realize they had become the mirror image of that which they despise and do more to help change the dialog for the better.

Until then I guess I’ll just keep trying to remind them of something they have been arguing:

Many of them have been talking about how there is no moral equivalency between what the right does and what the left does.  In other words, they agree that sometimes the left goes too far but they contend that the left doesn’t go nearly as far as the right does and to compare the two as equal isn’t fair.  And I agree.  Harry Reid saying that people who vote against him are “evil” is nothing like Jan Brewer saying that if the Tea Party doesn’t get its way then they should look into “2nd Amendment remedies”.  Do my Progressive friends want to be morally equivalent?  They will be if they keep fanning the flames.

January 9, 2011 / hoopersx

Such a tragedy… Still feeling anger and hate even now.

Gabrielle-Giffords-2

I was completely ignorant of this until about 1:45pm PST.  Normally, I don’t watch cable news networks on weekends.  I’ve gotten my fill of Lockup:Raw and the assorted other contenders.  I was listening to the Saints-Seahawks game and during a commercial, I flipped over to KFI here in Los Angeles and was floored.  Seriously, when I heard the news, it felt like a gut shot.  That’s not meant to minimize what the real victims are going through.  But I just couldn’t believe my ears.

When I got home about 2 hours later, I turned on the TV and warmed up the computer.  As most of you already know, I am a frequent commenter on the Huffington Post.  That’s probably where most of you found me and were kind enough to click on a link and take a look at my ramblings.  As I watched, and read, I couldn’t hold the tears back.  It really touched me on two levels:

First and foremost, FUCK!! (sorry for the swear word but nothing else seemed to be right).  SO many innocents.  A 9-year-old girl?  WHAT THE FUCK DID SHE DO TO DESERVE THIS?  GODDAMN, I WANTED TO FUCKING KILL SOMEONE MYSELF!!!  Just typing this right now is bringing me to tears.  If I have been keeping track properly, 19 injured and 6 dead.  What did any of them do to deserve this?

Second, so I got home and watched the news on MSNBC and kept track of the comments on Huffington Post and the comments section on the FoxNews site.  It took about 2 minutes and I immediately grew ill.  On the one hand there was the Huffington Post with a strong network of community moderators.  For the most part, the comments there were decent with the odd exception.  Then there was the comments section for this story on the FoxNews website….  Can anyone here recommend a good hypnotherapist?  I really need to get that shit expunged from my head.  Some of the things that were being said there were beyond partisan politics, by both sides.  I went to the bathroom and vomited several times.

The truth is that in the first several hours after I had heard about all of this, I had a really hard time pushing a violent anger down and trying not to hate.  My first inclination was to lay waste to everything and everyone who wasn’t as smart or as rational as me.  Then I realized something….

This dialog has gotten out of hand on both sides.  I will say, in my honest opinion, that I believe the radical right tends to use words like socialism and throw around the nazi designation far too freely.  But the more I thought about it the more I came to realize that there aren’t really any degrees.  If I call you stupid and you call me a nazi, aren’t we both wrong?  There is no more right and more wrong.  There is only WRONG.  And today was a prime example of WRONG.

As I watched the comments on Fox, I have to say that it was pretty disheartening.  I realize that Fox doesn’t provide community commentators but I have to be honest, there were some things being said there that………  Christ, I can’t even begin to insult it in the way it should be. The right would yell the left was trying to pin this on them and then suggest that the neo-nazi party and skinheads are “liberals” and that the left should have understood that their agenda would lead to something like this.  Then there were the suggestions by the left that the hate speech being used as a matter of convenience by the right is just a smoke screen to forward their agenda.

I really don’t give a damn who is right tonight.  I find the continued debate on both websites over who is right and who is wrong to be offensive.  There are several people dead and many more injured.  FUCK….  I MEAN FUCK partisan politics.  It disgusts me that to radical lengths and to lesser lengths, even after a tragedy like this, there are people trying to shape the public opinion.

All I can say is that to be honest I am no religious man.  But in times like these, I really hope that if there is a God that he will be merciful to those innocent victims.

I’d like to say that I can be big enough to forgive the asshat that did this.  But I won’t lie,….  I’m not there today/tonight.  Maybe I will, maybe I won’t.  For today and tonight, can we all just be Americans and stop the saber-rattling on both sides?  If you want to be obnoxious, just thing about the life of that poor 9-year-old that is done.  Shut your mouth, the left and shut your mouth, the right….  At least for a few days.  Hopefully much longer.

I am still dealing with my anger so I hope if you are reading this that you will understand that the wound is fresh and raw.

What I can say is that I hope that neither the dems or the GOP come out on top from this horror.  I hope they all understand that this isn’t a moment to take advantage of a political opportunity.

Sorry for the dour tone.  I hope you all understand my point of view.  If not, I hope you will come tell me why I am wrong.

Either way, thanks for participating.

January 9, 2011 / hoopersx

New Theme

page_under_construction

Hello all!  I had to change the theme for the website because the old theme wasn’t doing what it was supposed to.  What was supposed to happen was everytime I wrote a new article and set a “Feature Image”, the image at the top of the page was supposed to change.  But for at least a couple of weeks now, it has been stuck on the 1st Amendment Part 1 image.  And I just couldn’t figure out how to make that stop.  So I selected a new theme and for at least the next few weeks this will be the format.

I have really wanted to write on the tragedy today.  But I was afraid that it would get buried on the page because of the problems I have been having.  Now that I found at least a temporary fix, I will be focusing my time on responding to this horrible event.

I hope you will all come back later tonight or tomorrow for my post.

Thanks again to all of you for being so kind as to read my blog.  It means an awful lot to me!

HoopersX

January 8, 2011 / hoopersx

Money may be the goal but it shouldn’t be the ends.

lotsofmoney

Free Market!!  Free Market!!!  Capitalism!!  Capitalism!!!

This seems to be the battle cry of the right.  When anyone dares to ask if the current system is right and perhaps suggest that there might be a better way all they will hear in response is Free Market!!  Free Market!!!  Capitalism!!  Capitalism!!!  It’s the last bastion of the heartless.

America is a representative democracy.  In other words, we find it too cumbersome to allow for everyone to vote on everything.  It was born of convenience back in the days before the phone, the fax and now the internet.  But that is another argument meant for another post.  My point tonight is that we elect officials to represent our ideals in DC.

It wasn’t so long ago that this country would work as a collective.  Democratic majority used to mean something.  But more importantly, instead of seeing everything from our own eyes, we took a step back and saw what was not only good for us as individuals but what was good for us as a nation.  It seems those days have long since passed us by.

Today, Democracy has been replaced by FREE MARKET!!!  FREE MARKET!!! and CAPITALISM!!!  CAPITALISM!!!  It’s no longer about “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”.  Today it’s all about accumulating dollars.  Own a small business that is making you a tidy profit?  Well, you should be making more!  Outsource jobs that can be done far cheaper overseas just to make sure you accumulate more wealth than you are ever likely to need anyway.

Here’s the thing…  I’m not suggesting that making money is a bad thing.  I’m not even suggesting that it isn’t a legitimate goal for everyone.  What I am suggesting is two things:

First, at some point you get diminishing returns.  Company A can’t possibly sustain quarterly profits from year to year without doing something devious and down right shady.  There is this crazy expectation these days that if you invest in a BofA or a Walmart that you will see a positive return on your investment EVERYDAY.  That is not only insane it’s delusional.  But that is the market we have created.  Investors expect positive returns on their investments.  But the reality is that if you are investing in a market, there are adverse consequences that exist.  Sometimes you might take a bath because one economic indicator or another doesn’t go your way.  But to hear the Wall Street crowd, they should be able to invest in anything, incur no risk and make huge gains.  That just isn’t sustainable.  And if that is the road we are going to pursue, there’s a much bigger crash waiting for us around the  bend.  Anyone here heard of a little thing called TARP?  That’s what happens when you let Wall Street dictate the terms.  They never want to lose and when they do they come crying to us to bail them out.

Second,and most importantly,  the general public have to get over the idea that one day, they too will be filthy rich.  Sure, they might and sure, they might be struck by lightning.  It’s a nobel goal to want to do well and be well off.  It’s self-destructive to vote for tax cuts that directly affect you while you are still part of the middle-class.  It’s like so many of the tea party are voting for their future selves…  Or more aptly the future selves they hope will be.  But the reality is pretty simple:

Most of you will never be truly rich.  Most of you will never have to worry about how much the top 2% are being taxed because you will never live in that rarefied air.  Yet you keep voting like you will be.  Here’s a crazy idea, how about you start asking for deeper tax cuts for the middle class before you continue to ask for tax cuts for a class you are never going to be a part of?

If the last 10 year haven’t shown us anything it should have shown us that Trickle Down economics are a joke.

Whatever happened to the country that my grandfather and his father enjoyed?  A country that came together in hard times and made sacrifices?  When the going gets tough….  Today the rich get GOING!!!  I don’t begrudge anyone the chance to be rich.  I just begrudge the people who profiteer off of bad times.  And it seems like there’s a whole lot of that going on these days.

January 4, 2011 / hoopersx

The Cult of Personality

Palin-Hilton

“Look in my eyes, what do you see?  I’m the cult of personality.  I know your anger, I know your dreams.  I’ve been everything you want to be!  I’m the cult of personality.”

2012 may or may not be the year that marks the end of the world.  But if not, here’s a date that wakes me at night:

February 17, 2016.

Unless my math is wrong, that is the day Paris Hilton is old enough to run for President of the United States.

Now I know what most of you are thinking….  Hooper has gone insane and even the best psychotropic meds and therapy won’t save him now!  Perhaps, but please hear me out:

We, as a society, more and more, are giving our trust and values over to the coolest kids in the class.  Qualifications like education and experience are quickly becoming irrelevant.  Today, we still hold some semblance of what is right and what is best for our nation.  But that is quickly losing its importance.

Sarah Palin is just the latest in a long line of hints that soon, very soon, we will all be living under the rule of reality stars.  It may seem absurd today but we are all walking down that path.  Let’s examine Palin:

Here is a woman who was a heartbeat away from being the Commander-In-Chief.  It’s my opinion that her selection as the GOP Vice Presidential candidate was what sank John McCain.  I’m not saying he would have won, but she did nearly everything wrong during the 2008 campaign and in the end McCain paid the price for such a random choice.

Then after the landslide defeat McCain and Palin endured she reinvented herself.  She was suddenly the reason for hope in the GOP.  In spite of the fact she was, by all accounts, the reason McCain lost, she was now the best, greatest hope for Republicans.  What changed?  Well, she quit as Governor, just two years into her term.  I can imagine that helped.  But today, she is spoken of as a legitimate contender for the GOP nominee for President of the United States.  How did that happen?

It happened because the GOP is so much better at selling a message, no matter how stupid it may be, than the Democrats.

Democrats have had public opinion on their side for years.  They just don’t know what to do with that support.  The GOP has been far better at recognizing what strikes at the heart of the average voter and have manipulated it to their advantage for decades.  Here are two truths:

  1.  Midterm elections are typically slanted toward the GOP.  The minority and netroots voters who come out for a presidential election tend to stay home for midterm elections.
  2. Without those two groups, the GOP will make huge gains because the lies they tell are looked upon as truth without a voice of reason to oppose their crazy rationales.

But back to my original point….  Palin and her ilk is a sign of end times we should all be taking seriously.  Progressives laugh at Palin and think she is nothing more than a sideshow.  Perhaps.  But I am beginning to believe that the cult of personality is going to play a much larger role in future elections than any of us would like to think.  Riddle me this:

How can a former GOP Vice Presidential candidate who was a complete and utter disaster by any standard now be considered a front runner for the GOP nomination for POTUS?  This is a person who QUIT her job as governor when it became obvious to her that she could make far more money as a private citizen than she could as Governor of Alaska.  I’ll tell you how, because in 2016, Paris Hilton will be of age and with the dwindling base of voters who actually think about who they are voting for, it isn’t a far stretch to believe that the hottest candidate will win.  Palin is living on the vote of people who aren’t looking for the smartest or best qualified.  She’s living on the backs of people who hate government and will accept anything that isn’t a part of the establishment, no matter how unqualified they may be.  “Anything but what we have!”

Perhaps I am wrong with my Hilton example.  But I doubt it.  We are just a few years away from being a country run by a reality TV star.  You can take your choice of which one.

January 4, 2011 / hoopersx

The 1st Amendment and Campaign Finance Reform Part 2

Bend_over

What most of the big corporations are doing is really simple:

They consolidate their losses here in America.  Then they post their profits to off-shore accounts.  This gives them two bonuses:

  1.  They take all their losses here and get tax breaks because they are showing a net loss on their books.  In many cases, they are actually entitled to a tax refund here in the USA.  And you can bet your ass they come looking for it.
  2. They park all their profits off-shore in places where there are little to no taxes to be paid.  They get the best of both worlds.

It is actually in the best interest of these “multinational” corporations.  Here’s why:

Say there was $1 billion dollars that company A had to invest in manufacturing jobs.  Let’s say that the company was an American corporation, like say GE.  So let’s say GE wanted to open a plant to build widgets…  The best widgets ever!!!  Now let’s say that GE had a choice between making those widgets here in the USA or in say, India.  And let’s even presuppose that both factories would cost them the same when all was said and done with wages and benefits.  On an even playing field, where do you think those jobs will go?

If you said the USA, God bless you!  But no, they will go to India for a very special reason:

Any money spent creating jobs in India or profits made in India, aren’t taxable here in the good old US of A until that money is brought back to the good old US of A.  But it never makes it that far.  GE gets to pay far less for the labor of making a widget that is sold exclusively in America, then gets tax breaks in America for having manufactured something in a far away land, using far away labor and all the while getting paid by the US government, in subsidies,  to create jobs, anywhere but here.  GE will never bring that money back home when they can park it in an off-shore bank account that pays little to no tax(opps, I meant NO tax and in most cases, they expect tax refunds… Keep reading) while it sits in the Cayman Islands or similar places.  Why would they?  The moment it reaches the American shore it is supposed to be taxed at a rate of 30% or more, just like us lower living scum are forced to pay.  As long as it stays in the Cayman’s(or wherever they park their money to get their tax shelter), they can avoid paying anything on their profits.  But that’s not the most egregious violation they have committed.  Here’s where it get’s really inbred and disgusting:

Most of the huge conglomerates get tax breaks for creating jobs…..  Anywhere.  In fact, they don’t get tax breaks, they get tax refunds.  Goggle it.  Your government is paying big money to corporate America to create jobs outside our country.

This all leads me back to my original premise:

Do we, as a country, really want to give a voice to corporations that is equal to that of the individual?  Equal to that of the living, breathing human being?  That is what Citizens United vs the FEC did.  It made companies human.  Just as you may have blonde hair, blue eyes and a lisp, so does GE get to enjoy the same designation without actually having to prove that it has a flesh and blood pulse.  CU v FEC essentially said, there is no distinction between a flesh and blood human being and a corporation.

To all of that I say BS!  One human, one vote!  Unless you are human, you don’t get a vote.  If a bunch of like-minded people want to get together, create a PAC and vote in a like-minded fashion, fine.  But making corporate America eligible voters is ABSURD.  When election day rolls around, do GE, Fox, Halliburton or Exxon-Mobil get to vote?  No!  The people who work for them do.  But I fail to see how CU vs FEC makes a lick of sense!  If you can’t vote, why should you be able to donate at all?  Elections are about giving a voice to the people, not about giving a voice to corporate America.  Frankly, corporate America has a voice so loud it drowns out everything in its wake.  That’s why Democracy is designed to even out the playing field.  It’s time that the PEOPLE came first and suggesting that corporations should have the same say as you or I is…  making me throw upa little bit in my mouth.

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