Saturday, April 30, 2011

Part 1 - Most Serious Military Campaign in US History

Obama War Council In the News

The administration's reorganization of the "command structure" conducting the Bush 9/11 war in Afghanistan and the Bush oil war in Iraq made its way to the media this week.  Chastened by the President's remarks about the "silliness" of the over published birth certificate scheme, perhaps the media dug deeply into its cess pool of "approved" news to inform us about the changes.

Granted, it's hard to walk away from "The Donald" in favor of news beyond the intellectual capacity of most hill billies.  Rather than consider this momentary departure back to pursuing normal 4th Estate responsibilities as some sort of permanent change, MeanMesa sees it more as a "two day sulking" episode at best.

However, media cracks aside, the news is fascinating.  The President's new configuration of the Defense Department and the CIA management possibly reveals more than a casual "mid term" shift.  Yes, the retirement of Robert Gates may well have this re-design program loose, but the depth and nature of the proposed changes tells us more than a simple, quiet Gates replacement would.

Even Bigger Changes 
Than They Looked Like At First

So, what, exactly, is going on in Washington?  What is Obama's plan?

First, Leon Panetta moves from being Director of CIA to being the Secretary of Defense.

Second, General David Petraeus moves from being the commanding general in Afghanistan to being the Director of the CIA.


There were two more important nominations in the reconfiguring move by the President.  Although perhaps not as "media noteworthy" as the two mentioned above, both serve to "fill out" the Obama plan to finally extract the nation from  the "Death Grip" of the autocrat's swan song March to the Sea.

"Death Grip?"

Yes, once the W's Oval Office bunker had been thoroughly filled with the terrifying likelihood of not only losing the election but probably facing war crimes trials, every effort was made to leave absolutely nothing that still worked for the "next guy."  This meant two failing wars, the economy in shambles, the country divided and the entire Congress hiding in the cloak closet instead of helping with anything.

Back in those old, dark days no one expected much to get better very quickly.  Now, a few months later, everyone seems to be demanding the opposite.  Most semi-informed Americans had only the sketchiest grip on how grave things had become.

Well, now things have begun to improve, and the President is finally ready to start being Presidential, that is, doing something more besides gallantly trying to rebuild the damage.  These moves may represent the national equivalent of being wheeled out of intensive care.

First, the predictable replacement for General Petraeus in Afghanistan is Marine Lt. General John Allen.  Most of the substantial criticisms of the US effort in Afghanistan can be boiled down to a basic issue of the Marines and the Army.  Under the effeminate direction of the autocrat (Remember? No "enemies," just "evil doers" and "criminals...") the Afghan conflict literally staggered from "shake down" to "stand off" and back for eight years.

Once the combat tasks were redistributed to forces most competent at various specialities, i.e. Army "occupation tasks" and Marine "combat aggression tasks," coupled with the Gates' "surge," Afghanistan slowly began to make more sense.  The thing is still certainly not beautiful, but better management is showing results.  Allen should do quite well.

The second change reflects the first except in a diplomatic arena.  MeanMesa suspects that absolutely no one has any idea why Eikenberry was ever chosen as ambassador to Afghanistan.  On the other hand, we did see the W's tragic codependent streak, "don't trust any one competent, and if someone competent manages to slip through, continue to value loyalty above competence," in appointments such as FEMA's "Brownie."

Crocker, remarkably, is lauded by both sides of the fence as the most capable of all possible diplomatic choices.  He was previously ambassador to both Iraq and Pakistan.  Like Allen, he should do very well with Afghanistan.

The "Bigger Changes:" Petraeus and Panetta

Leon Panetta & General David Petraeus (Image ABC News)

To understand MeanMesa's estimation of this new organization, each element will need to be considered twice, once in the "frontal sense" of Obama's expectation of improved "day to day" operations, and once in the sense of each position's part in the President's over all national reconstruction plan.

First, Petraeus.  In the frontal sense, the General has had "hands on" experience with the daunting task of applying the kind of intelligence which has traditionally come from the CIA to his day to day mission in combat arenas.  The management of the CIA has, of course, been trying to move the things into the present day, but the results seem to have a troubling, inertial tendency to revert to Cold War methods and outcomes.

During the Cold War, the CIA became incredibly good at what it was doing.  Recognition and promotion became institutionalized.  If a CIA operative was able to scoop the Soviets on some technical issue or international political scheme, he was considered to be doing his job well.  Confronting the Soviets was no simple task, and the stakes were high.

However, shifting the behemoth from Cold War mode into Al Qaeda mode turned out to be more touchy than at first thought in early 2000.  Today, this conversion still remains far from complete.  Also interesting, there may be a few culprits in the mix, but MeanMesa thinks the problem is basically one of institutional inertia.

Petraeus will know what to ask of the Agency.  His boots are still dusty with Afghan mud.  Petraeus knows that collecting good intelligence from jihadists is a very alien, challenging new undertaking and a vital one, that is, very much a "new game" with "new rules."  The General also knows that lots of the high tech Cold War secrecy issues have worked against US national security, not necessarily by providing bad intelligence but by being misdirected.

CIA "screw ups" have not always had to do with "missing something."  Too often, nothing was missed, but the intelligence never got to where it needed to be.

Second, Panetta.  Yes, Gates' shoes will be hard -- if not impossible -- to fill.  No, Obama doesn't particularly want to simply refill them, at least not with another "up and coming" Gates.  The President will need an equally competent but differently directed replacement, Leon Panetta.

In the "frontal sense," Panetta will prove to be quite competent at the Defense Department.  Of course, the "frontal" side of the job has everything to do with defense.  In recent times (since the autocracy) it has become more and more clear that the Secretary of Defense is also, crucially, the manager of one of the two most expensive things our nation does.

Being the Secretary of Defense has lots of "moving parts," and, as both Rumsfeld and Gates know by now,  some of them are seldom smiling.

Now, Panetta has already been roundly criticized as "not having enough military experience."  Don't worry about that.  The Defense Department is remarkably capable of carrying out its mission, at least temporarily, essentially on autopilot.  In fact, MeanMesa wouldn't be particularly worried if "Brownie" himself somehow wound up with the job so long as he didn't have it too long.

However, Obama's ambitious plan is not to be measured in the currency of simply managing the military combat affairs of the country.  Of course the competent, experienced and dedicated Panetta can handle this side of the equation, but if that is the "frontal sense," what is the "second sense," that is, the national reconstruction part?

The second part of this two part posting will take it from here. Naturally, by way of trotting out some cheap, MeanMesa style teaser, everyone is encouraged to stay with us.  We had to go through this part before we could get to the "good stuff."




Thursday, April 28, 2011

GOPCon Town Hall? Forget Your Question, Bring Your Bail Money

How Do You Spell "Allen West?"
T-H-U-g

Nicole Sandler, known to MeanMesa because she occasionally sits in for Randi Rhodes, is a resident of Florida.  In fact, she is not just a resident of Florida, she is a member of Alan West's constituency there.  Because of this, Nicole thought that she would attend Congressman West's local town hall meeting.  She wanted to ask him about his vote for the "Ryan Death to Medicare Bill" which just sailed through the GOPCon majority at the House.

Congressman Allen West wants to 'grow up' to be Eric Cantor? (Huffington Post)


The tale is too bizarre to really benefit much from any sort of MeanMesa amplification, so it will be presented here directly from her post on the The Nicole Sandler, Radio or Not blog.  Take a few minutes to roll through the text and the short video of Nicole asking her question.

Nicole and Stephanie Miller
Visit the original article here.

It figures, my blog is the last place you’ll read about my arrest and subsequent incarceration after attending Allen West’s so-called Town Hall Meeting last night.

Since I spent last night in jail and, thanks to the sickeningly awful people at the Broward County Jail was subjected to three hours in solitary confinement in a 7×10 room, and then maced.  Nice, huh?

Anyway, I’ll have more on how it all unfolded on the show tomorrow, and then in a lengthier written piece after I get some rest, food and a shower.

But I do want to clear something up.  The video that’s floating around portraying me as a heckler doesn’t show the Medicare question that Mr. West was asked, the way he answered it, and my FOLLOW-UP question.

So, here’s how it actually happened:

Note: MeanMesa is technologically incapable of implanting the YouTube icon and other glitzy stuff  into this blog posting, so you will have to follow this link:


And Congressman West, if you call it a Town Hall Meeting, you must interact with your constituents.  Otherwise, it’s a speech, which is what you were attempting to deliver last night.  If I had know that’s what you were going to do, I wouldn’t have shown up.



Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Latest Freedom Works Email -- Oooops.

Naturally, progressives watched in glee as the "conservative base" voters had their "little chat" with GOPCon Congressional throwbacks in last week's townhalls.  The wing nuts were expecting a "hero's welcome" from the locals, but instead, "Medicare killers" like Paul Ryan were lucky to go home after the meeting without nails through their wrists.

After all, it WAS the Easter season.

Courtesy Huffington Post (image source )

Not to ever "take a second seat" to anything, Freedom Works stumbled up to the microphone for yet another tedious "flame session."  Out went the email -- most likely only a few minutes before the "media" got a hold on the town hall videos.


Attention Freedom Works:

This cow doesn't like it in the barn.

The email:







Demand a Vote on the "Save Our States" Act -- Halt Implementation of ObamaCare!

Dear MeanMesa,

There is legislation in Congress that would kill the ObamaCare health care takeover, but it needs your support NOW to have any chance of passing.

TAKE ACTION!

Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) has introduced the "Save Our States" Act. This bold legislation would completely halt ObamaCare's implementation pending a final ruling on its constitutionality by the courts, effectively stopping the President's socialized health care nightmare dead in its tracks.

This is exactly the reason so many conservative and independent voters flooded into election booths last November. Unfortunately, Senate Democrats under the leadership of Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) are leveraging their now razor-thin majority to prevent even holding a vote on this important reform.

It is critical for grassroots America to create a groundswell of support for hold ing a vote on the Save Our States Act. If we can reinforce how important holding a vote on this legislation is, even amongst conservative and moderate Senators, Reid will have little choice but to give in and at least schedule a vote on it.

This is step one - but an important step towards reviving this debate and putting lawmakers, many of whom will be vulnerable in the coming 2012 elections, on the record on what they really think about ObamaCare.

Click here to use FreedomWorks toll-free online phone tool to be immediately connected with your Senators' offices and deliver this important message: it's time to schedule a vote on Senator Hutchison's Save Our States Act and stop the implementation of ObamaCare!

Sincerely,


Matt Kibbe
President and CEO, FreedomWorks

P.S. Help support FreedomWorks' larger health care reform campaign to stop the ObamaCare health care nightmare with your generous donation - click here! Through the support of members like you we can reach more limited government activists with "calls to action" like this one that will ensure we keep up the grassroots energy against government run health care. Thank you!


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

"Birther!" "Birther!" Not With a Shrug, But With A Whimper

If You're Going to 'Drink the Kool Aide," 
It's Best To Start With Just A Sip

"Doesn't even require Glenn's Black Board" (image source)

This posting could, of course, be nothing more than another fun-filled opportunity to ridicule GOPCon "wanna be" Donald Trump, but such exclusivity would be a grave injustice to the other wing nuts who are expecting to ride the "Kenya Conspiracy" to the Oval Office.  Just like a flock of rabid locusts, the swarm of GOPCon "Birthers" are still circling mindlessly over the last few hill billies and bigots still able to reach the FOX News setting from their wheel chairs.

Further, as a grisly testament to the "depth of control" the oligarchs have purchased with their "wholly owned" media, any convincing contradiction to the "birther" paranoia has conveniently -- and convincingly -- moved beyond the "existential falsification" test.

At least, in the "nation grabbing" prospects of the smelly little business, that is, in the addled minds of Americans still willing to believe it, the saturation effort seems to be more durable than an unending toothache.  Every once in a while, it may simply have to "take a rest" amid the raucous laughter, but it comes back.  Whenever the GOPCon Galactic Talking Points Factory detects the slightest waning of interest from this embarrassing kernel of "Base Voters," the gas pedal hits the fire wall again.

The Billionaires and Corporatists, relentlessly infatuated with moving the Social Security Trust Fund to Wall Street, usually couldn't care less.  They consider the "birther" vote margin to be nothing beyond another little pocket of "low hanging fruit" as far as winning elections might go.

Countering the UFO Side of the "Birther" Movement

Naturally, at various times both the President's men and the Democratic Party have offered up a series of rational counter punches to dull the edge of the "birther" crazies.  However, to the delight of the oligarch masters of the media, nothing seems to work.  The insignificant little "birther cult" is utterly immune to any thought of questioning the "divine dogma."

Otherwise compelling evidence such as a State of Hawaii "Certificate of Live Birth" are brushed aside as nothing more than a Kenyan power grabbing scheme.  Rumors of a $2 million dollar White House conspiracy to bury the facts are a daily feature of the wing nut radio heads.

Even "The Donald's" bombastic claim of having sent "investigators" to the Islands of Aloha to "ferret out" the awful truth is routinely presented as somehow significant.  MeanMesa can imagine some staggering 1950's style, New York "PI" sobering up enough for a long distance "progress report" from his $20 per day Honolulu flop house.

The "UFO Side" of the "birther" movement?

Anyone who has watched the ghost chasers stumbling around with their night vision goggles in the abandoned meat packing plant can understand the carefully groomed "barrier" which has been constructed in the minds of this base.  The similarity between the "birther" experts and the wild eyed UFO believer leaning on the fender of his Cadillac Escalade in the Arizona desert cannot be over looked.

Facts mean nothing.  Especially when no fact can even be established as, well, a fact.


The "Ultimate Solution" from  MeanMesa

In one of the three fundamental elements in the Art of War, Sun Tzu suggests that one should not attack an opponent's area of strength, but instead, should address his area of weakness.  That ancient admonition should not be over looked in this instance.

If the "area of strength" is represented by the blind belief which has been so carefully crafted into the minds of the hill billies, what can represent the "area of weakness" in this equation?

Interestingly, the "area of weakness" derives from the same blindness as does the "area of strength."  It is precisely a case of identical "voluntary blindness" which opens this avenue of approach.

The hill billies, one might recall, were vigorously receptive to every denigration the wing nuts could put forth about Hillary Clinton while she was running against Obama in the 2008 primary elections.  The struggle was a long, tedious one, and animosity ran high, an opportunity not over looked by the reactionary forces constantly plotting on the other side.

"Constantly plotting?"

Well, okay.  That shot might be a bit over dramatic.  So, instead, let's characterize their opportunism as something less threatening, say, something more similar to the blissfully organic "opportunism" of cock roaches, busy little creatures who will not "walk by" any possibility which might hold even the most meagre chance of contributing something of value.

This "area of weakness," in the Sun Tzu sense, at  least, is the equally blind disdain for Hillary Clinton which has been so expensively engendered in the GOPCon hill billy base.  Hillary is imaged as a vicious, ravaging politico who would NEVER miss ANY opportunity which might serve her megalomanic drive to power.

So, if the "birther" conspiracy actually deserved any real traction, how could Hillary have missed it?  Most of the insane "Hillary haters" and the utterly blind "birthers" are elements of the same set.  The dwindling prospects of a rapacious, opportunistic Hillary ever possibly missing the opportunity to expose the Kenyan roots of her opponent should introduce an impossible paradox which even the low octane, addled minds of the hill billies should find intolerable.

So, the next time a MeanMesa visitor is confronted with the "birther" conspiracy, the reply is simple.

"If there is a shred of truth to that claim, 
how did Hillary miss it?"


Monday, April 25, 2011

How We Are Supposed to Hate Obama for High Gas Prices

MeanMesa has watched -- like most other Americans -- as gasoline prices have gone up, up. up.  Immediately behind the "up,up,up" story come the "reasons" why this is happening.  For MeanMesa visitors who have been out enjoying the spring weather (except those having the latest mortal dose of climate change...), we can review some of these "great" "reasons" which both make perfect sense and which absolutely explain not only the rising gasoline prices, but also the "wonderful" "failure to lead" problem the President has because he is from Kenya.

Some of the Really "Good" Reasons
for High Gasoline Prices

Libya

Although Libya produces less than 2% of the world's supply of petroleum, and, although Libyan production has not stopped but cut by half -- making that 1% of the world's supply, US market prices for gasoline have grown around 15% in the last two months.

A World Shortage of Petroleum

When the Libyan affair first began, the Saudis, employing their heavily US subsidized 5% world supply "buffer" increased production to meet the "shortage."  Then, they quit.  Why? Because there was a petroleum glut around the world which had full oil tankers languishing in harbors everywhere, waiting to unload.  Existing petroleum storage is full to the gunwales.

Unrest in the Middle East

Aside from Libya, Middle East unrest seems to be centralized in places which have no oil -- Yemen, Bahrain, Jordan and Syria, mostly.  The countries which actually do have oil are having unrest, too, but they are shooting the protesters in the streets -- thus, no production problems.

Increased World Demand for Gasoline

Most of the "gasoline buyers" in the US and Europe are either broke or terrified of becoming broke.  Prices are high (see title of this posting...)  and gasoline consumption has been curtailed even further.  This is one reason that there are oil tankers parked in harbors waiting for room to open up in refineries so they can unload.

The Other Reason Which Has Absolutely
Nothing to Do with the Price Increases

Oil Industry Corporate Greed

Now, who exactly can expect giant oil companies to simply "absorb" higher and higher per barrel oil prices and leave gasoline at some reasonable rate?  These behemoths are literally "orphaned waifs" of the capitalist system, trapped by higher crude prices on one side and torn by the "social terror" of higher gasoline prices on the other.

As if they cared.  The oil industry has to release profit reports next week.  They will be sky high.  For example, Exxon-Mobile's profits increased by around 50% in the last quarter.  You know.  "Orphaned waifs."

Okay.  "Orphaned waifs" may be a little hyperbolic, but "increased crude prices?"

The actual cost of petroleum to these giants is basically stable.  They own everything.  Producing a barrel of crude this week isn't particularly more expensive than it was last week.

However, even though the "cost" of a barrel of crude hasn't really increased, the "price" has.  The oil price on the "global market" (Ever notice that the phrase "global market" must be incorporated in every news broadcast at least eight times in every 30 minutes?) has gone up without any particular cause, although the "reasons" for the increase are "increased demand," Libya, the Middle East and the "global shortage."

Exxon-Mobile and her sisters get to raise prices when the "global market" prices increase even though their actual production costs don't.  This is how their "profits" can go up 50% pretty much any time they like.

Sewing "Gasoline Prices" to Obama's Thigh 
with Really "Good" Mathematics

Well, Petroleum's little sister, the Pharmaceutical Industry, has been spending a million dollars a week trying to sew "health care costs" (Remember, petroleum "cost" versus petroleum "price?") to Obama's thigh with mixed results.  In the wake of that faltering attempt to promote the latest "up is down" corporate fable, every right wing nut job who can hold a slide rule is now very, very busy trying to, you know, sew the oil prices to, oh whatever...

NBC News, Sunday April 24, had a great chart -- not the only one -- which "mathematically proved" that Obama was going to lose the 2012 because "gasoline prices were going up."  MeanMesa wasn't able to extract the NBC chart due to, uh, geriatric technical difficulties, but we did find a real doozey elsewhere on the Google.  There are plenty.

The "Real Doozey:" The "Mathematical" Chart "Linking" Obama's Approval Rating to Gasoline Prices

The Rove Chart Proves Obama Goes Down on High Gas Prices - source

Well, this about "closes the deal" on the wavering re-election prospects for the "failure of leadership" President from Kenya, doesn't it?

Oooops.  Wait a minute.  What exactly does this chart -- and all the thousands of others exactly like it -- prove about anything?

The, uh, "curves" certainly seem to match up in a "convicting way," don't they?  Not exactly.  In fact, not even "generously."  Mathematically, this baby is no more than a "screaming stink hole" one would expect from a numerical analysis student with a hang over facing a pop quiz.

The "curves" might look suspiciously similar, but the real problem is with the indices along the left and right sides of the graph.  The vertical "index" on the left for Obama's approval rating extends from 70% to 30%.  The "curve" of Obama's approval is contained between a high of roughly 70% at his Inauguration and a current reading of roughly 47%.

The gasoline price "curve" has its own, separate vertical "index" on the right which runs, upside down, from a high of $4 at the bottom to a low of $1 at the top.  

Between Friday, April 22, and Sunday, April 24, this "graph," accompanied in every instance by the "explanation" that Obama's popularity was "descending" in "lockstep" with the increase in gasoline prices, appeared on every news cast on every network channel - FOX, ABC, NBC and PBS.

So, what exactly is the problem MeanMesa is seeing in this "graph?" 

Even Though the Chart Means Nothing,
It's the Thought That Counts

Let's take a look "by the numbers," hopefully in a way which won't send MeanMesa visitors screaming off to find their old high school algebra text somewhere in the attic.

1.  The "scale" of the index columns on the left and the right of the chart have nothing to do with each other.

The data in the chart would have been just as "accurate" if the index columns on the left and the right had been prepared within rational limits instead of the artificial ones necessary to make the curves coincide. Further, by changing the height of each increment, shown as a difference of 5% in the approval rating and a difference of $.50 in the gasoline prices, the corresponding curves would  no longer have appeared to have some sort of functional correlation.

Obama's approval rating is spread across the entire gambit between 70% and 30% although the lowest it went in the period was above 45%.  The index scale had to be expanded to "include" an additional, unused 15% "buffer" at the bottom so the approval curve would "sit" on the gasoline price curve.

Likewise, the gasoline price curve also had to be indexed artificially with a range from $1/gallon to $4/gallon in $.50 increments, even though the actual curve would have required only the range between $1.75/gallon and $3.25/gallon.

By using the synthetic "scale" adjustments of the indices of the two curves, the chart was able to show -- or at least, imply -- a non-existent functional correlation between the two which doesn't actually exist.

2.  Obama's approval rating has both decreased and increased during the time of the greatest increases in the gasoline prices.  It is currently higher than it was when the gasoline price changes began.

Contrary to the accompanying narrative given on the news broadcasts, during the most precipitous increase in gasoline prices from $2.60 in September of 2010 to $3.45 in February of 2012, Obama's approval rating has increased from 43% around September of 2010 to 47% by February of 2012, with a high point of 49% in January 0f 2012.

After both the rebuttal of the Ryan economic plan and the announcement of an investigation into possible raw speculation on the gasoline prices, by now, Obama's approval rating has increased even higher.

However, the "narrative" offered as an interpretation of this chart always included the corporate media "instructions" to viewers that they were "supposed to believe" that Obama's political fortune was "collapsing" with the rising prices.

Now, MeanMesa visitors know better than to "take the bait."

As to the "Thought That Counts," enjoy a few excepts from the Rove article where we got the graph.  The entire article can be read here.

From KarlRove&Co, Polling News and Notes:

Presidential Approval and Gasoline Prices: The Energy Information Administration reports that the fighting in Libya has caused the retail price of a gallon of gasoline to rise to $3.52 this week.

Hmmm.  "The Energy Information Administration?"

Hmmm.  "...fighting in Libya?"

The graph below shows President Obama's weekly approval rating, as calculated by Gallup, compared against weekly average retail gasoline prices, as published by The Energy Information Administration.

Of course, these comments refer to the graph above in this post.  Further, the sentence is, perhaps when considered over generously, basically accurate.  However, the "compared" idea is deceptive.  No actual comparison is made in the graph, that is, no conclusion of a functional connection between the two curves can be taken from the information as it is presented.

Don't let them trick you. 

Get ready to do whatever is necessary to win the 2012 election, starting with "not losing heart" after being bathed with cheap shot GOPCon "media math."

MeanMesa's compliments to the President.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Republican Nightmare of 2012

"What could possibly go wrong?" (image source)


A MeanMesa Fiction
A Volunteer's First Day at the 
Hedge Fund Memorial Medicare Residential Facility

For the young college student volunteer, Bill, the trip to his first day at the old folks home was not so bad.  The ride from down town on the solar monorail had gone smoothly, and bike trail across the open spaces in the bright morning light and fresh air had been a joy, too. Thanks to universal health care, Bill was a healthy, well developed young fellow, actually rather athletic.

He was happy to have his new job, too.  Although it paid only the minimum wage of $18 per hour, the extra income would make it a little more comfortable as he made his way through graduate school.

As he approached the gate to the Hedge Fund Memorial Medicare Residential Facility he could see why his classmates had warned him not to be shocked by the lavish grounds or buildings.  The thing looked unsettlingly alien to the common sense Medicare installations he had seen before.  He knew that it was one of the special centers established after the economy had finally recovered, but the sight was beyond any preparation he could have made.

The facility was a grotesque mixture of photos he had seen of the old gangster mansions of the 1900's and his history book's treatment of the old Las Vegas glitter and glamor.  Yes, it was cheap and lavish, but the tasteless quality of the place was unnerving.  Every architectural feature of the scene had been grotesquely over done.  Cheap concrete statues of medieval gargoyles, angels and nymphs along with endless beds of stale roses gave a sort of funerary theme to the place.

After checking in with the staff, he found himself sitting in the Human Resources office with an overly positive woman who was explaining too rapidly all sorts of rules for new employees.

"Whatever you do, don't get any of these residents to start talking about the 'good old days' -- especially, not politics.  They get so excited that their meds have to be jacked up for a week before they settle down again." the woman droned.  

"This facility was built long after the 2012 election ended all these old geezers' dreams of the 'Big Take Over.'  Some of them have never gotten over the let down."

"But, doesn't the architecture of this place remind them of the oligarch period?  I mean, just the appearance of the grounds is enough to start someone thinking about the, uh, 'good old days' isn't it?" the young man asked.  

"In fact, why in the world did Medicare waste all this money building something so bizarre and ostentatious?"

"This is the setting that makes these particular patients comfortable.  Medicare built a string of these places after the common sense facilities turned out to just never satisfy these types." 

The woman continued, "They are closing them down and remodeling as these old Republicans die off, turning them into something useful.  Now, report to nurse Smith in the day room.  She's expecting you."

Nurse Smith was predictably busy when he found her in the gaudy, massive day room of the facility.  Looking over her iPad, she smiled broadly, "I'll be able to spend some time with you a little later in the day, but right now we need someone to sit with Mr. Babbit.  He's just had his lunch and he usually rambles a bit before he snoozes off for his afternoon nap.  Mr. Babbit ruminates about the past -- at least the parts he remembers or imagines that he remembers -- so don't pay any attention to what he's saying.  Just smile and act interested."

"Human resources may have told you to avoid politics with the patients, but in this case that won't be possible.  Mr. Babbit hasn't talked about anything but the 2012 Primary election for years." the nurse related as the two of them began the long walk across the day room.

"He was one of the GOP's largest campaign contributors back then.  He never got over what happened."

Nurse Smith escorted the young man to an older gentleman sitting alone by one of the floor to ceiling windows in the day room.  "Mr. Babbit, this is Bill, a new employee.  He's going to sit with you for a while.  Won't that be nice?"

The old man slowly turned his head.  "Why isn't he in a servant's uniform?  Isn't he supposed to be in a servants' uniform?  Who's in charge here, anyway?" he grumpily demanded of the charge nurse before his voice drifted away.

"Now, now, Mr. Babbit.  We all quit wearing those uniforms a year ago."  Nurse Smith glanced at Bill, winking quickly with her left eye. 

"Why don't the two of you just relax for a while and have a chat?"

Nurse Smith vanished across the room, leaving the rather perplexed young man and Mr. Babbit to themselves.

The old man began to ramble almost at once. "Damned servants knew their place before the 2012.  After that, civilization itself began to crumble."

"I was a Republican and a damned good one back in those days.  Why, I was on my way to becoming a billionaire.  I could call my Senator any time I liked and he'd do what I told him.  Times were good, boy.  Times were good."

"We were going to be rich and powerful! Everyone was going to be afraid of us, you know, take us seriously.  All we had to do was win the damned election."

"Then they screwed up the election.  That's right.  Just when things were really rolling along in the right direction, the damned Republicans screwed up the election.  Snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, they did.  What a bunch of losers!"

"Why, we were at the very edge of crushing Medicare and the damned health care plan, you know, freeing up all that money so the country could prosper.  Why, my broker, son, my broker was selling stuff right and left to Arabs and Chinamen.  Good American stuff like securitized mortgage packages and junk bonds.  Then, the damned losers ran that damned primary and everything went to hell in a hand basket.  That's what happened, boy, went to hell in a hand basket!"

"All the voters were supposed to forget about the looting, but oh no, the damned losers in the Republican Party had to trot out the damned freak show in 2012 primary.  The voters were forgetting, but when they saw all those crazy candidates in the primary, the damned voters started to remember again.  The whole thing went to hell in a hand basket after that.  Oh yeah.  Bunch of damned geniuses..." the old man wandered off for a moment.

"Can you imagine?  We had the hole thing under control.  The tea baggers were staggering around and the news stations were there every time.  Couldn't get enough of it.  It worked in 2010.  We took over the House, and we thought we were on our way.  Yeah, on our way...  And, we would've been if the damned losers in the Republican Party hadn't trotted out every freak in the circus and expected the voters to take it seriously.  Expected the voters to forget!"

"But, oh no.  Turns out that it was just too much to forget.  The damned losers in the Republican Party expected the voters to forget.  Nothing worked after that.  All those damned voters remembered the 'guns, gays and God' garbage from all the damned tea baggers in the House.  The damned tea baggers were doing that cheap crap instead of pretending to work on jobs.  The voters were supposed to forget about not having jobs, but oh no, the damned tea baggers started trying to cut their damned unemployment benefits and health care."

Old Mr. Babbit was getting agitated.  The young man considered mopping up a bit of the spittle drooling down the old man's chin, but decided against it.  Mr. Babbit would fall asleep for his afternoon nap soon enough.  After a momentary silence, the elderly right winger seemed to get a second breath.

"Oh yeah.  We had to have Sarah Palin debating Donald Trump on national television.  Sarah Palin and Donald Trump!  What the hell did they expect to happen when we had Sarah Palin debating Donald Trump on national television?  We were that close to taking over the government," the old man held two bony fingers up in the afternoon sunlight, "...that close!  Then the damned Republicans, of yeah, the damned Republicans... What in God's name were they thinking?"

"And if that weren't enough, that's right, if Sarah Palin and Donald Trump standing there totally bewildered for 10 minutes of dead air didn't wreck it, the damned Republicans had to keep going.  Out came Huckabee with his damned guitar and folk hate songs.  Right, the old Arkansas yuck, yuck. The damned voters were supposed to like that.  They were supposed to think 'Oh, what a good President he'd make,' but the damned voters were still remembering Palin and Trump. Palin and Trump!  God, what a disaster."

"Christ, the damned Republicans had so many health care frauds, car thieves, job exporters, wife cheaters and boy pinchers they couldn't even find enough chairs for them all!  But, out they came.  Oh yeah.  Out they came!  The damned Primary reminded all the damned voters all about the stuff that the damned Republicans were supposed to be hiding."

"Hell, they had Michelle Bachman and that drooling bigot from Mississippi debating on national television -- national television!  The damned Southerners couldn't even understand what that cracker was saying, not even the damned Southerners!  The only part the viewers could even understand was what Bachmann was reading, and that was the answers to the wrong damned questions.  God, what a bunch of losers and freaks."

"And, when they got to the Primary debates between Bolton and Bush's brother, Jeb, all that was missing was a fly over by a bunch of damned B-52's and another Enron scandal.  Hell, after that they interviewed Gingrich.  They wanted to know what Gingrich thought of the debate."  Mr Babbit was chortling and coughing all at once.
"Gingrich!  The fat guy that every woman in the country hates like fleas on fruit cake.  Gingrich!  Can you believe it?  Gingrich?"  The old man's face was turning red.  He didn't seem to be drifting off into a nap at all.

Explosively, Babbit continued.  "As if all that wasn't enough, out came the guy from Jersey that looked like a Mafia boss.  Oh yeah.  The 'Big Man' boss ass hole.  Who in the hell did the damned Republicans think was going to vote for him.  Right?  You don't have a damned job so you're going to vote for a mob boss from New Jersey?  What in the hell were they thinking?  Just because the guy roughed up a bunch of damned poor people, they think every one's going to want him to be President?"

"Before the polls could even hit the floor, out came the damned crackers from South Carolina, a debate by a pair of damned, deep South Republican Senators.  That's right.  Some throw back queer hating Baptist and the closet guy whose face has had sixteen plastic surgeries.  Trying to beat a black guy in the White House with a debate between two Senators from South Carolina?  Oh Sure.  The damned losers thought that stuff like this was going to 'fire up the base?'  What were they thinking?"

"And the debate between the damned Governor of Louisiana and some nobody from New Mexico?  A Presidential debate between some weird little guy who was already the laughing stock after his State of the Union rebuttal and some cowboy who wants to legalize marijuana and let faggots get married?"  Babbit chortled again. This time his eyes were beginning to wander. 

"National television, damn it, national television!  The creepy one wants to dump volcano studies and the other is ranting about Round Houses and wind storms while the damned poor people are sucking up food stamps and unemployment checks like there's no tomorrow?  No damned tomorrow!"

Babbit was finally beginning to wind down a little.  His eyes had taken on a frightening red color -- they had grown beadier and beadier throughout the entire tirade.  The old right winger now had the appearance of a long dead vampire in a cheap special effects movie staring at the wooden stake someone had just driven through his heart.

Babbit came back to life for one last crampy, breathless blast before he suddenly slid into his afternoon nap.  "By the way, why in hell aren't you wearing your damned servant's unif..."

Bill pulled the blanket up a little higher on the old man as he slept soundly there in the afternoon sun.  He went to find Nurse Smith for his next volunteer assignment.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Egypt - Tax Policy for a New Economy

Just a Few Words About Tax Policy
 Don't Make the Same Mistakes We Did

Scholarly books about tax policy are so numerous that a modern pyramid could use them for a foundation.  Likewise, tax experts with credentials as long as a corporate IRS filing are perched in droves, waiting to breathe their "magic" into tax policy for governments everywhere.

Confronted by this daunting expertise, the resolutely humble MeanMesa wouldn't even consider simply "jumping into the fray" as some sort of cheaply masqueraded authority on "good taxes" and "bad taxes."  Instead, what can be offered here is a view from the "Main Street" eyes of an American who is watching "tax policy" relentlessly wrecking what could have been, otherwise, a fairly healthy economy.

And worse, those same toxic tax policies, now seemingly a permanent fixture of American life, have moved into politics -- and, they are the politics of division

All these would be stiff, academic matters poorly suited for a post on Egypt if we were to find ourselves in better times.  But, given the conditions of this present moment, perhaps considerations such as these turn out to be nothing less than "the burning question of the day" when it comes to mapping the path forward, that is, when it comes to defining some basic principles which will structure Egypt's new economy.

Further, rather than "flitting" all across the possible spectrum of tax matters, this post will focus on a particularly destructive "habit" which is currently plaguing the US.  All this may be relevant here because the same tax "habit" will almost inevitably begin to show up in the form of an "absolute necessary" tax policy in the halls of Egypt's new government.

The Temptation of "Tax Expenditures"

This won't be a discussion about ways in which taxes are collected.  It will be a discussion of ways in which taxes aren't collected.  

Setting aside a "marching horde" of specifics and details, we see the US in the challenging throes of a revenue crisis.  The US government is simply not collecting enough tax revenue to fund itself in the general manner expected by its citizens.  Correcting this problem, although it might seem straight forward at first, turns out to be nothing less than attempting to "milk" a stampeding herd of dairy cattle.

That is, while they are still stampeding.

For a glimpse of what we are facing here in the US, let's take a look at a few representative examples which seem to lie at the base of the problem.  For this very limited discussion, we can consider an important feature of the "many headed monster."

First, three hundred of the most profitable corporations in the US pay no tax on their corporate income, that is, not a dime.  In fact, some of these behemoths such as Exxon-Mobile -- one of the largest and most profitable corporations in the history of the entire world -- not only don't pay taxes, they actually receive annual subsidies to help them "make ends meet" because it is "so, so, so difficult" for them to do business without a little "help from their friends."

Of course, US tax law requires that such corporations pay tax on their income, on the profits they derive from doing business here.  In fact, the corporate "tax laws" in the US very conveniently include provisions that such profits be taxed at around 35%.  

"Convenient?"  Well, yes and no.

If these taxes were actually paid at this 35% "top marginal rate" the US debt would be paid out rather quickly.  There is an immense amount of money "flowing" through this particular channel of the economic process.  The "convenience" angle comes not through government or corporate financial solvency but rather through public opinion opportunities.

Even though these profitable corporations never actually pay taxes at these rates, they can continue to complain that these "theoretical" rates are among the highest in the world.  Right away, they can begin "public relations programs" arguing that these rates must be lowered even further so the resulting "burst of business opportunities" will become usher in all sorts of economic benefits.

Further, these remarkable and costly  exceptions to the US tax code are not the product of some simple "happy coincidence" or the slothful oversight of a dozing tax collector somewhere in the IRS.  Each one of them is, instead, the outcome of a carefully crafted bit of legislation from some period in the past. 

Over the years, the US Congress has quietly passed one after another of these "tax expenditures," each one initially sponsored as a "really good idea."  Once in place, these "tax expenditures" tended to become far more permanent than anyone expected.  After enjoying such illicit advantages for a few years or decades, the public relations sections of the corporate receivers were able to characterize the elimination of these "loop holes" as "tax increases."

They are called "tax expenditures" because they are comprised, not of taxes collected then distributed to these "struggling corporations," but because they are taxes which are never collected in the first place.  

Similarities between Egypt and the US (image source)


They never go "through the books."

They amount to roughly $200 billion dollars per year.  Year after year.

What Does This Have To Do With Egypt?

Here, we must concentrate of the "really good idea" part of the US version of the phenomenon.

Egypt is already experiencing its own form of the same thing.  During the "Mubarak economy," not only did far too many "tax dollars" seem to simply disappear into the autocracy, in many cases they were simply never collected in the first place.  Anyone who had access to the government just seemed to wind up with all sorts of "special tax advantages."

In the US case, these advantages were each calculated to encourage some part of the economy in a necessary way.  They "sped up" and "lubricated" an otherwise "free market" response to some pressing problem. or desired result. 

They "encouraged" business to develop in some "vitally necessary" manner by adding the profitable benefit of the "tax expenditure" to the balance sheet.  Once the "tax expenditure" was in place, the then enhanced profit opportunities were supposed to become "great enough" to spur development and growth in the desired way.

So, what could possibly go wrong?

Theoretically, not too much.  In the "real world," of course, massive amounts of fraud and wealth redistribution began immediately.  Worse, these things not only "began," they kept going.  And, as they "kept going," more and more of the corporate profits could be directed at Congressional "campaign contributions" to "keep them going."

As the government of the new Egypt begins to form tax policy, a predictable "something" will emerge almost at once.  Some of the "otherwise tax paying" Egyptians will present themselves as some sort of "necessary exception" to the general laws for tax collections.  Their argument will be that, should they be required to pay the full tax on their enterprises, growth will be slowed and the overall economy will suffer.

This "rivulet of tax exceptions" may begin as a trickle, but in no time it will become a raging torrent.  Worse, it will provide an under carriage for Egypt's next oligarch class, folks already "waiting in the wings" for their chance to replace the old oligarch class.

Grand Pa's Advice

Although it will be important not to "throw the baby out with the bath water," MeanMesa is adding the "extreme caution" sign to these types of legislative proposals.

Absolutely, urgently unavoidably necessary "tax expenditures"
Should representatives in the new Constitutional government of Egypt seem to be passing out these "tax expenditure" favors right and left, each one validated by its immediate necessity for "jump starting" the "post-Mubarak economy," it might be time to consider some new representatives.

If the "tax expenditures" seem to be tilted too much toward being exclusive advantages to only a certain class of recipients, they should be considered suspicious.  Tax expenditures should provide benefits to all Egyptians, or they should not be passed.  The ones which are legitimate should have a concrete "sunset" provision, that is, when they are passed, their absolute end date should be part of the package.

Some tax expenditure plans really will help the Egyptian economy, but Grand Pa suggests erring on the conservative side.  Things in Egypt will begin to get better quickly, but tax expenditures only make sense when "quickly" still isn't "fast enough."

Once tax expenditures have been in place for a while, their benefactors seem to become more and more willing to do anything necessary to keep them in place.  If the new Egyptian economy racks up tax expenditure exceptions to the same extent that the US has, it will experience the same difficulties of huge debt, corporations which never pay taxes and the Egyptian equivalent of a US Congress which is beholding to its contributors and no longer interested in serving its people.

MeanMesa will continue this line of posting with an article about a "fellow traveler" to the tax expenditure idea, the "tax incentive."

Meanwhile, best wishes to the Egyptian people.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Gary Johnson - Just Say "Hello," Just Say "Good By"

MeanMesa has to ask.  Did you ever feel compelled to share one of those embarrassing stories about yourself?  Maybe it was an innocent impulse to "lubricate" the conversation at a cocktail party or even some suspiciously dark, inner yearning for a little cathartic humility, but there you went.

MeanMesa now confronts the same prospect.  Although a little self critical at first blush, we'll just forge ahead and see if some of the distress is relieved by this unexpected honesty.

A couple of months ago MeanMesa received an email from ex-NM Governor, Gary Johnson.  It was an invitation to subscribe to Mr. Johnson's political web site which already promised to, in practically no time at all, start throwing the pitch for his 2012 Presidential run. 

Normally, any "link" to a GOPCon political site would immediately be stowed in the gmail humor section of "all mail," but, amid the over flowing cess pool of GOPCon rhetoric,  Johnson's pitch had a strangely fascinating odor of rationality about it.  Curiosity piqued, the subscription was made.  At least, MeanMesa thought, if there were, actually, any of this rare substance, that is, if there were actually any sort of actual GOPCon revival of more or less objective thought to be seen here, we didn't want to miss it.

You know, for a Republican, Johnson was beginning to look, well, stable. The humility side of the question comes from MeanMesa's frantic, desperate, strange appetite to find something respectable in a Republican Presidential candidate, possibly some remnant of the "ghosts in the closet" desolation of MeanMesa's troubled childhood or something.

Here, we must pause for a tiny bit of explanatory background.

Years ago, the wonderful wife of one of MeanMesa's Fourth Way teachers, Mary, may God rest her soul, found it necessary, during the course of a routine conversation, to comment on some Germans who has just rented an apartment from MeanMesa in Anchorage.

Mary, a delightfully British woman, had lived through the Luftwaffe's relentless bombing attack on London during WWII.  However, years later, she had not only re-established her fundamental confidence in the "good of humanity" in general, but had also developed the habit of always encouraging both a positive thought and a constructive, good hearted comment about every possible foible of mankind which might surface in one of these conversations of hers.

So, responding so optimistically to the very casually mentioned news that these Germans had rented MeanMesa's apartment, Mary commented, "Well, they tend to be very clean, you  know."

What does this stiff old tale have to do with Gary Johnson's Presidential site?

Well, after "cruising through" some of the content to be found there, MeanMesa felt a strange, growing interest in something along the lines of "Giving him the benefit of the doubt" or "Let's reserve judgement until we know a little more" or even, in the wonderfully positive tradition of Mary, "Let's just try to think of something nice about what he's doing."

Of course, Johnson's "newsletters" kept rolling into MeanMesa's inbox.  They included an account of Johnson's pre-primary journey to all the "early states" which any Republican candidate must "soften up" before the real "bite and scratch" begins.  Remarkably, Johnson seemed to be continuing to, sort of,  "make sense," at least for a Republican, in all the fluff and feathers comments being reported in the "newsletter."

See MeanMesa post:  Gary Johnson, New Mexico Governor 1994-2001, Emerges

However, the inevitable once again proved to be inevitable.

Ex-Governor Gary seems to have grown, well, a little "thirsty" somewhere between New Hampshire and Iowa.  Stopping off for a quick, refreshing beverage at one of the many "Kool Aide" stands along the way, Johnson found himself drinking deeply from the local GOPCon well of "Health Care Hatred."

By the time it was necessary to "pay fealty" to the oligarchs in charge of the health insurance industry at his next "pre-primary" stop over, Johnson had become a full fledged "Health Care Hater,"  probably just in time to open a few nice campaign contribution checks from United Health Corpse.

So, in terms of "happy endings," Johnson has taken his place in line.  We can now expect those early hints at possibly being something different than the other GOPCon Vampires now eyeing each other's necks have been set aside.  Gary, equipped with every talking point from Kenya to Socialism, will now show his true colors.

Just as Gary is now "off" to the races for a choice seat in the GOPCon wet dream of another "looting festival," MeanMesa is now "off" Gary's Presidential Newsletter's mailing list.  

Yawn.  If this "de-subscription" makes Gary feel lonely, he can stand between Trump and Palin.



Wednesday, April 20, 2011

How To ReCapture Your Michigan Home Town

 Whew!  Wild, Free Spending Michigan Liberals 
Finally Brought Under Control by Tea Bag Governor

MeanMesa visitors all know about the sardonic little law that the Governor of Michigan has just implemented.  Basically, it provides for the Governor to decide that any Michigan municipality is in "economic distress" and then place an appointed (by the Governor, of course) "emergency manager" in charge.

The "emergency manager" carries with him the provision in the bill which "neutralizes" any significant action on the part of the elected commission which used to run the town. 

What commission actions are not "neutralized?"

The local commission retains the right to call meetings to order, read the minutes of the last meeting, and adjourn the meeting.  Everything else falls to the purview of the "emergency manager."  The new "top dog" viceroy of all the "emergency managers" in Michigan just signed the bill authorizing his new, uh, powers into law, that is, he just authorized his own "appointment" over his own signature.

For any visitors not entirely comfortable with such a thing, Google the term "autocrat."

Of course, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has only the best interests of his state in mind as he grabs all this power.  After all, someone has to move in to straighten out all these little towns who have been so, so, so very intent on wrecking Michigan's budget.  Further, we all know that, not matter how painful it might turn out to be, this means controlling every little dab of cash which might remain in the "city coffers."

The story gets worse.  

Once one of these "emergency managers" seizes power, not only the past performance of the little burg can be effortlessly usurped -- eliminating teacher and fire fighter contracts, local school budget "largess," modifying over indulgent city services such as garbage collection and dog catching -- but, future "fiscal errors" which the previously independent town might make can also be "redirected."

Egad!  Shades of the Cheney Secret Energy MeetingIs Michigan going to war?  Sort of... but not in the Iraq "WMD" model.  Maybe more like the Libyan "Attack Your Own Citizens" model.

Future city contracts can, of course, be dictated by the little town's new autocrat, also. After this process rolls along for a few months or years, we will see certain "uniquely qualified" outfits happily ensconced in "just the right places" to suck the last few drops of blood out of the little victim in one of Snyder's "Michigan Spring Vampire Festivals."

Nothing, Absolutely Nothing, Can Be Done

Although the community's total surrender and submission is probably what the newly elevated, ruling tea bag had in mind, there may be another option.

From the UK's The Telegraph 
Link to the whole article here.

Struggling US towns print their own currency

(image source)
Communities across America are bypassing the dollar and creating their own currencies in an attempt to help both consumers and businesses struggling in the recession.

The idea, borrowed from the Depression era when the currencies were known as "scrip", is designed to boost local spending and keep money circulating within the community.

Typically, a group of businesses print a new currency which shoppers can then buy at a discount – typically one dollar will cost 90 to 95 cents – and spend at full value with participating companies.

Some of the currencies have been around for years but the recent economic downturn has encouraged others to follow suit. According to some estimates, there are now more than 75 local currency systems across the country.

Others include the Ithaca Hours in upstate New York and the Plenty in North Carolina.
Under US law, small communities can produce their own currency so long as it does not include coins and does not resemble federally-issued money.


The currencies are not a tax dodge as the income to participating businesses is liable to tax.


In Traverse City, Michigan, more than 100 businesses accept Bay Backs, among them restaurants, B&Bs, a doctor, accountant and even a tarot card reader.


Around $2 million worth of BerkShares – the most established local currency – is circulating in the Berkshires, a rural area in southern Massachusetts.


The beautifully-illustrated notes portray local "heroes", including the author Herman Melville, the artist Norman Rockwell and a tribe of Mohicans.


"It reformed the way many business owners and residents think about their local economy and helped educate the community on why shopping locally matters," said Susan Witt, a member of the BerkShares board.


In Detroit, where unemployment stands at 22 per cent, three businessmen are distributing more than $4,500 worth of Detroit Cheers for customers to spend in any of a dozen shops.
"The world is just now reeling from economic chaos. In Detroit, that's how we always roll," Jerry Belanger, a local restaurateur and one of the trio, told the Detroit News.


"There's no question in my mind this has real value," said Billy West, co-owner of a furniture design company that accepts the Cheer.


"I can get a good meal, I can get a beer, I can help another Detroit business. That is money to me." Pittsboro, North Carolina, is reviving the Plenty, created in 2002 and now being exchanged by a local bank at the rate of $9 for $10 worth of Plenty.


"We're a wiped-out small town in America. This will strengthen the local economy," Lyle Estill, president of Piedmont Biofuels, which accepts the Plenty, told USA Today. "The nice thing about the Plenty is that it can't leave here."


Americans are not alone in creating their own currencies to cope with the credit crunch. Lewes, the famously independent-minded county town of East Sussex, created its own pound last year. There are now 31,000 Lewes pounds in circulation and more than 130 traders accepting them.


In the German city of Magdeburg, more than 200 businesses accept the Urstromtaler, one of an estimated 16 regional currencies in the country.


Economists disagree on the usefulness of local currencies but history shows that even the most bizarre can catch on.


Joshua Norton, a British-born San Francisco eccentric who proclaimed himself emperor of the US in 1859 and started issuing his own money to pay his debts.


Despite such dubious provenance, the notes became widely accepted currency in the city.

A Plan Emerges From Snyder's Tea Bag Brew

So, if you are one of these Michigan municipalities, and if you don't feel particularly anxious to plunge your town into Snyder's medieval looting scheme, there may still be a way out of the mess.  Follow the lead of the locals in the article.

Scrounge together $20,000 bucks, rent a one room "local bank," purchase a couple of used ATM's which can convert Snyder Federal Dollars into your own local currency and go for it.  It will take a couple days to contract the nearest, local print company to start cranking out bills with your own design on them, but after that, you'll be in business.

Let Snyder's new viceroy handle all the Federal Dollars, but institute your own local budget based on a currency you can actually control.

We should also note that, while the example presented here implies that Snyder's scheme will be primarily targeting small town which are unable to defend themselves, big cities will also be in the cross hairs of this tea bag's "emergency management" gun barrel.

Tiny little "Smithville" may be one thing, but cities such as Ann Arbor are an even richer prize.

The "Visigoth Tea Bag Horde" from Lansing may look unstoppable at first blush, but stick to your guns.  Like tea bags everywhere, once the talking points are all used up in the first volley, what's left will be confused "patriots" fumbling around in wheel chairs listening to FOX News.
Who knows?  Maybe you will be able to finance the Governor's recall campaign with "Smithville Freedom Bucks."

Want To Read More?

A previous post on MeanMesa
http://www.meanmesa.com/2011/03/handling-michigan-meanmesa-solution.html

And, from the Michigan State AFL/CIO
http://www.miaflcio.org/