Friday, April 30, 2010

A MeanMesa "Quickie" - Tax Cuts or Photos From Space?

Senator Barney Frank once commented "I have never seen a tax cut repair a bridge."

Well, all the cash we Americans spent repairing and maintaining the Hubble Space Telescope has certainly produced momentous results.  Just think, instead of getting this "bird's eye" glimpse of a distant nebula cranking out new stars, we could have cut taxes!

Not to get too political amid such galactic beauty, we can still remember that OUR Hubble telescope could have been completely paid for with the tax subsidy we gave to Exxon in a single year!  

Don't get "sideswiped" by all the neo-con drivel about money wasted and money well spent.  Plus, pictures of nebulae aren't really worth that much when one believes that the Earth was created six thousand years ago.

The photo -

Courtesy of Scientific American:

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Wall Street Slams Main Street - Who Will Pay and Who Won't?

The charts and graphs of the Republican Recession of 2007 tell all sorts of stories, yet all those stories have a certain nauseating commonality.  They were comfortably detached, theoretical disasters.  You know, on Wall Street and in the stinky back rooms of investment banks and hedge fund offices.  In fact, during the early stages of the crime, the only real screaming was coming from Dubai, the Peoples' Republic and London as a few select billionaires experienced a bit of "road rash."
MeanMesa watched along with the rest of the United States -- and, after a couple of weeks in 2008 while the rest of the planetary economy "caught up" -- the rest of the world, as the crippling impact of the "missing money" slowly descended through the various "levels of Hell."  The Death Cloud gobbled up home mortgages, bond values, stock markets and pension funds as if they were no more than tantalizing snacks.

Meanwhile, those of us comfortably insulated by personal financial positions far below the poverty line looked on with furtive hope that we might remain "under the radar" of the approaching maelstrom.  Our fleeting hope was that the monster would somehow realize that we had nothing to steal.

That was then.  This is now.

Even a quiet, modest haven such as Albuquerque, New Mexico, for a month or two, breathed a little more freely.  It seemed that only the great and magnificent would suffer after all.  This little town had been fairly frugal with its income, a reflection of the essentially agrarian, common sense roots of its citizens.  However, that was not to be the case.

The poverty ridden State of New Mexico found itself trying to accommodate a budget shortfall of hundreds of millions.  The City of Albuquerque found itself facing a budget shortfall of tens of millions.  The State government, very shortly after that, found itself populated with, well, New Mexicans.  Likewise, the City government found itself populated with Commissioners who had no "fast and loose" brokerage experience which might provide any comforting "slight of hand" tricks to meet the problem.  Or even delay it.

Out came the hack saw.  The budget would be cut.  The calamity had officially arrived.  Of course, New Mexico was not alone on this dark hill of self-realization.  In fact, as states go, New Mexico was not as far down in the hole as many of our neighbors.  Still, there remained the, uh, "hack saw."

The State government in Santa Fe and the City government just down Lomas a few blocks from MeanMesa's Galactic Headquarters had become President Obama's Main Street.  We finally understood what he meant when he spoke of Wall Street and Main Street.

For a relaxing and "fun" interlude (courtesy of Huffington Post) visit Most memorable quotes from Goldman-Sachs CEO.

So, let's look at the blood.  Who will be paying and who will be "delivered" from the hack saw?

We can look at a few local developments, but they will also serve as examples.  The same kinds of difficult decisions are being faced routinely by most states in the country.  Further, at such moments of decision, it turns out that almost everyone's "ox will be gored."  However, there are exceptions, and those excepted from the thrumping turn out to be just as illuminating as those who aren't.

The main corporate health insurer -- spelled "m-o-n-o-p-o-l-y" -- doesn't intend to have their "ox gored."  Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico just applied for the State Insurance Commission to allow them to raise rates by 25%.  Of course, these overly made up clowns danced into the Insurance Commission offices with the recently passed health reform bill clutched in their greedy little hands.

The mortgage bankers, when confronted with the prospect of reducing loan principals to reflect plummeting house values, adamantly insisted that, "No, the home owners must be skinned first.  As bankers, our profits are sacred!"  

Folks trying to live on Social Security checks were placed in the "pay" category.  There would be no cost of living increase for this year.  Of course, there was actually a cost of living increase, but that fact carried little weight in the bargain fest where everyone -- again, with a few exceptions -- would "suffer equally."

 The Republicans had carefully planned for such an encounter.  The "cost of living" included no concern for the cost of food, gasoline, natural gas or medicine.  All those prices went up.  The "cost of living," as modified by corrupt neo-cons in the Congress would be based on the price increases of V-8 pick up trucks and flat screened, plasma televisions from China.

One interesting exception was the "first responders" crowd.  Protected by a powerful union, no wage cuts or trimmed benefit packages would be extracted from the police and firemen.  Apparently, no matter how grave the city's deficit became, everyone else would suffer first.  Those suffering would include the public schools and the teachers.  They would pay.

MeanMesa watches the news reports from Greece.  The public employees there are the ones who, refusing to countenance even a modest pay cut to save the country, are presently rioting.  Could Albuquerque be another Athens?

So, MeanMesa visitors, keep an eye on just where your local and state governments are cutting costs as they try desperately to "make ends meet."  All of this is being settled now -- at least "hack saw-wise" -- but it will rise again just as certainly as tomorrow's New Mexico sun when the "gored oxen" show up for the mid-term elections this November.

All the "non-payers" will continue to insist that the jobs they do are so important that no pay cuts will be tolerated.  So far, they have done fairly well with that approach, but the "times, they are a'changin' "

Oh, lest we forget.  The "Masters of the Universe" on Wall Street will be included in the "non-payer" category.  Miscreants such as the pirate hooligans running Goldman-Sachs, having been frightened ever so slightly by the Security Exchange Commission's law suit for corporate fraud, are willing -- finally -- to say "What we did  was not illegal.  It might have been wrong, but it was not illegal.  However, we intend to keep the money, so screw you!"

We all know that the exact reason that Goldman's business practices are not illegal is because they purchased enough Republican Senators during the autocracy to make sure such a law was never passed.  Never discussed.  Never considered.  The only consideration regarded just what such an oversight might be worth.

When the "hill billies and the bigots" begin to bleed a little, they will become even more racist than before.  The attack on Arizona's Mexicans is only the warm-up.

A Post Posting Script: (PPS)

In the middle of this post, MeanMesa went downstairs to catch the local weather forecast.  New Mexico enjoyed a fairly normal day of spring-time wind -- the highest gusts were 99 mph.  Of interest, however, was not the weather forecast but an unusual commercial.

It was Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico!  Naturally, there was no time to mention the 25% rate increase.  Instead, the message was:  "We don't care about Wall Street.  We care about you."


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A MeanMesa "Quickie" - Elections: Dare We Learn From England?

MeanMesa watched the news this evening (BBC World News, 6:30PM, 28 April 2010, Ch. 5, KNME, Albuquerque) as a magnificent row was presented.  The English Prime Minister, Mr. Gordon Brown, after a campaign conversation with the people, had inadvertently left his lapel microphone on as he left in his entourage.

His presumably intimate comment referred to his final, well publicised campaign "photo op" as a conversation with a "bigoted woman."  The gaff was immediately followed by a return trip to the scene of the crime, a heartfelt apology -- conducted in tasteful, British privacy, and, afterwards, a cheeky resumption of his Labor Party's campaign activities.

The precise details of the entire affair are, of course, available on dozens of internet sources for anyone interested.

However, the purpose of this post strays a bit from that single, revealing episode of English civility.  Instead, MeanMesa would like to emphasize some observations of the British election when considered in a larger sense.  A promising point of departure might be to compare the British Parliamentary election to our own most recent effort.

In 2008 the United States saw the final denouement of a multi-billion dollar "slug fest" which had lurched forward for more than a year.  During the campaign, the respective sides of the political debate here had plummeted to even more discouraging depths of divisiveness, misrepresentation and a troubling exposure of the dangerous credulity of the American voter.  

This sorry fact is the predictable result of severe under education,  lack of interest and the formidable abilities of professional manipulators whose efforts are so extremely well lubricated with special interest cash and well controlled corporate media frauds.  Each of these disadvantages "grew legs," given the duration of the campaign's conflict until what might have, otherwise, been generously dispatched as mere political discourse became an unsettling "seed germ" with the capacity to initiate a civil war.

Meanwhile, as our wounded Democracy staggered forward, those most interested in such a deathly, grave repetition of what had happened before dismissed the seriousness of the matter with a troubling, sterile detachment.  The strife, once having been founded so mindlessly, continues to this day, enjoying its own inertia of inflamed suspicions and the unexamined willingness of a bunch of overweight civilians to "theoretically" sponsor such a fray.

That "fray" they are imagining would not, of course, be the actual "fray" of a civil war.  It would be firmly anchored on the prospect of a "civil war" movie.  Anyone who has ever been close enough to such an actual conflict knows far too well that civil war has an unusual odor -- one with a haunting permanence.  Every shell which blows its way through the flesh of another human unavoidably scars both parties, that is, the one hosting the "successful" trigger finger and the violently mutilated mess on the "receiving end."

In most cases, the precise political affiliation of the participants means less and less as the days proceed.

This dismal outcome seems to have been a central ambition of the loudest voices in the campaign.  An equally false bravado marked the incredible charges so routinely vomited out during the contest.  In the end, the American democracy found itself too "exercised" to settle back into its traditional egalitarianism. It remains in this agitated state even now, more than a year later.

Now, MeanMesa has experienced too many decades of our political reality to boldly present some flimsy ideal which might constructively eliminate this unfortunate development.  However, the idea of an American election with a British style "one month" duration emerges as a very attractive alternative,  indeed.

Given the results of our most recent national election, that is, its increase in the dogmatic division of the country rather than its potential to, once ended with a corresponding victory and defeat, reunite us, some exuberant, some  even more determined for the next election, a penetrating question arises.  "Why would we conduct such a thing?"

Worse, why can we not consider any alternative which might bring the process back to some state which we might find more constructive?  The unabashed eagerness of the quiet players in the conference rooms and the executive clubs to gleefully sacrifice the sacred democracy hosting such contests in favor of their personal gain reveals the real nature of "...enemies both foreign and domestic..." some of us have solemnly sworn to repel in the defense of our democracy.

Exaggerated?  That decision will reside with you.

Thanks for visiting MeanMesa.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Republican Strategy: Opportunity from Chaos

Watching the Republican Party mindlessly continue in its plunge to ever more complete irrelevance, one unavoidably wonders if some sort of larger plan lurks below the gaseous frenzy of the synchronized "talking points," unchallenged, deceptive comments in interviews and the flat out zaniness of the tiny fringe dramatics of Tea Baggers, militias and other drooling Southerners.

MeanMesa feels obliged to present some possible generalizations which might touch on the common ambitions represented in such a maelstrom apparently disassociated "cannon fire."  No matter how disorganized the immediate "big picture" might seem to the casual observer, there are, indeed, some common themes coursing through the smoke which might reveal a larger plan.

Of course, the observation that a daily ration of highly coordinated terms and "talking points" emerge, seemingly based on an impressive "lock step" continuity of zombie-like homogeneity of thought, is suspicious enough.  How can the objective observer think that these highly specific, inflammatory terms just simply "came to mind" spontaneously to anchor literally dozens of comments from different speakers on a given day?

Is there an underlying strategy which will reveal this unexpected, unsettling and unlikely singleness of expression?

Most likely, there is.  MeanMesa will avoid any speculation as to the source of  origin for such a questionable synchroneity.  That would entail yet another plunge into conspiracy theories which might dilute the intended focus.  There will be plenty of time for such postings later.

The Republican Strategy

1.  Sustain and enlarge the uninformed tantrum of the Republican base

Although this priority might, at first, seem to be central to the over all theme of the "divide and conquer" operation going on amid the GOP, their "straw men spokesmen" and their highly effective -- and unchallenged -- Congressional liars in interviews, it actually serves only as a minor distraction.

Of course, it is important to retain the fury of the marching horde of "hill billies and bigots" to plump up what would otherwise be far less notable affairs such as Tea Bagger rallies, health care hating festivals and other small gatherings of eschatological doom sayers.  However, Republicans know that these little pockets of truly purified medievalism will never represent a foundation for a working majority when it comes to election time.

For these groups, an on-going state of "out of control" frenzy will be suitable  enough.  All these wing nuts must fit in somewhere, and the party circuit of overly publicized "news" coverage is both a convenient and a relatively safe political cul-de-sac where they can be stored for use later if they are needed.

2.  Take Your Lumps, but Drag the Democrats Down With You

Public approval of the Congress is at an historic low already.  The Republicans have correctly gauged this bad reputation to be one of the few common opinions remaining in an exhausted electorate which is actually bi-partisan. 

The PR problem the Republicans seem have "sewn into their seams" arises from the image of relentless corruption.  The PR problem the opposing Democrats seem to have in "their seams" stems from perceptions of inaction.  Because the neo-cons have fastidiously concentrated on the purchase and ownership of all commercial media, these lingering public opinions have been carefully manipulated.  In the absence of contradictory information, the innuendoes craftily inserted at the most fundamental "word selection" level have been discouragingly effective.

Using the broad term "Party of No" has worked to some extent to reveal Republican obstructionism in the most glaring cases, but even that populist concept loses too much "octane" to present the gravity of the whole effort.  Voters can see and understand GOP obstructionism in spectacular examples, but, an objective view of how destructively thorough-going that effort has been  in hundreds of other, less salient cases continues to elude them.

The GOP Party Leadership has clearly adopted the idea that it can emerge a winner, although an admittedly "wounded" winner, by simply making every effort to stop the progress of every tiniest tid-bit of Democratic proposals for legislation, thus reinforcing the "inaction" criticism.

Further, this effort has a definite time-line.  The "inaction" idea must be constantly promoted at any cost right up to the mid term elections this November.  This explanation accounts for the continuous pleas to "slow down" all Democratic  legislation for "more debate."

It also helps to explain that when legislation makes its journey too quickly, it becomes slightly more difficult to loot it.

3.  Create Suspicion Then Constantly Reinforce It

At the ground level, the "dust cloud" constantly raised by the true crazies is effective enough to camouflage both some of the impact of the outrages of hypocrisy and some of the more flagrant criminality of the hyper greedy within the Congressional GOP.  However, as mentioned before, the "dust cloud" will never serve to swing elections.

No matter how distasteful it might be to radical neo-cons, elections are still won and lost by the perceptions entering the booth with the voter.  The most egregiously flamboyant antics always serve as "good cover," but there remains the troubling centrality of the mind of the voter who will be pulling the level on that ballot.

If the thoughts of that "voting mind" can be contaminated with suspicions inserted over time by "toxic capsules" of deception and mis-information the lever's product might migrate to become a Republican advantage.  Advantage?  Spell that "p-o-w-e-r."  Eagerly discharging any thought for the good of the country, the entire Republican priority system is comprised of politics, and that "political" obsession has absolutely no meaning beyond simply winning elections.

4.  Disguise the Legislative "Yard Sale" as Thoughtful Caution

A conventional understanding of the legislative process goes a long way in explaining why such matters always seem to take more time than we would like.  There are discrete cycles in the journey a bill must make to reach the all important "floor vote" we see on C-Span.

We are "lulled" into a remarkably compliant acceptance of the necessity of "negotiating" delays all along the course of a bill's development.

However, it is becoming increasingly clear that one of these routine "tasks" -- as seen by the corrupt neo-cons in the Congress -- is to carefully examine every aspect of each piece of legislation to relentlessly extract even the smallest possibility of exactly what is contained there which "might be sold" to a, uh, campaign contributor.

Once those "opportunities" have been detected, the "negotiating" can begin.  The goal of the "negotiations?"  The goal will be presented as some sort of ideological purification to provide the necessary cover to disguise the more pedestrian, "campaign contribution" possibilities of such a change.  If some advantage can be extracted from such "negotiated changes" to a piece of legislation, that same advantage can be sold at the neo-con "Yard Sale."

All that need to be added is a willing buyer, and, believe MeanMesa here, the neo-cons have lists of them.  K-Street and C-Street, Pharma, Big Oil and Defense Contractors -- for starters -- make certain that the "return address" list is perpetually plumped up, current and ready to go.

MeanMesa's message is the same.  Find good news sources, inform yourself about these issues, then talk to every fellow citizen and voter who will listen to you.  Find out what your Congressman -- regardless of party -- is doing.  Then get involved.  Elect people you can trust to look out for your interests.

There are 6 months between now and the mid-terms.  MeanMesa is determined to make sure that voters in this neighborhood aren't suffering from any short term -- or long term -- memory loss when they enter those voting booths in November.

Monday, April 26, 2010

An "Adjustment" to the Map of the, uh, 49 States

MeanMesa visitors are accustomed to viewing the old style US maps where the states of the CONTINENTAL US, along with Alaska and Hawaii, were clearly shown in various colors.  For the education-challenged "hill billies and bigots," Alaska and Hawaii are not actually located in the South Central Pacific or, as they are sometimes shown, as a part of Mexico.

Because of this acquired habit of constantly referring to the old "50 states"  as comprising the States of the United States -- even accommodating the confusing placement of, as we mentioned, Alaska and Hawaii in a more convenient location providing a graphic "shortcut" which allowed the resulting maps not to be fifteen feet across East to West, MeanMesa felt obliged to "jump into the fray," as it were, to provide a new, adjusted map.  After all, not to "toot our own horn" too loudly, MeanMesa enjoys a notable reputation as a formidable graphics expert.

So, with a mere flick of our expert graphics capability, we have produced a replacement map.  The title of the new map will be "The 49 States of  the Constitutional United States," and this wonderful new map will show all the Constitutional States which are left after the old State of Arizona opted out of the Constitutional group.

Feel free to download the new map.  It can be "pasted" right over the old version which might be hanging in public school classrooms or US Post Offices.

To make the "modernization" easier to understand, a now obsolete version of the old map is included in the MeanMesa graphic.

Friday, April 23, 2010

A MeanMesa "Quickie" - Looking at Obama

Here in the spring of 2010 we have had a chance to take a look at the President we elected.  Although every drawling Southern Senator is still pumping out more "trash talk" in chorus with the high paid, wholly owned fat heads on AM radio and the cable channels, there remains the prospect to size up just what has been accomplished.

A Brief MeanMesa Account of History -- 
Not Opinion, History

To start, try to remember where we were in November of 2008.

Unregulated Wall Street maniacs, often acting in concert with other unregulated banksters, had managed to write up around $60 TRILLION dollars worth of their special financial derivatives, phony securitized mortgage packages and other stinky little scams.  The unelected autocrat was borrowing money from every country stupid enough to loan it to him to pay for war time tax cuts for the richest Americans, a Part D pharmaceutical plan written by Big Pharma lobbyists and hundreds of billions of dollars in tax payer paid subsidies to every big oil company whose CEO could pick up a phone.

Meanwhile, the little draft dodgers in the Oval office were losing a war in Afghanistan and sub-contracting huge amounts of another war in Iraq.  After the Iraqi Hydrocarbon Treaty was signed by that unfortunate country, the autocrat lost interest in anything but contracted oil field service profits and the war profiteering saturating every opportunity Halliburton, the unelected Vice President's corporation, could find there.
The richest 400 Americans saw their net worth mushroom by $630 BILLION dollars during the W's eight year looting festival.

Unemployment had been exploding for seven straight months while the bankers running the Fed and the Treasury Department did nothing, spending their time  instead scheming on how to finally destroy their competition.  The Republicans in the House and Senate, after already scratching every dollar possible from their chicken coop, were turning to their "campaign contributing" friends to elect a war mongering old man to the Presidency.

Who, exactly, was happy in 2008?

Well, the middle class wasn't particularly happy.  Their wages had remained frozen for most of two or three decades since the Reagan Administration.  The cost of living had gone up.  So had middle class tax rates.

On the other hand, Big Pharma was having a wonderful time.  Part D was shoveling tax payer cash into their pockets like the Mississippi River in a spring flood.  There was to be no negotiating.  Just pay the price and shut up.

The health insurance companies were also having a great time.  They found that the monopolies they had set up under cover of the Republicans in Congress could arbitrarily raise premiums as much as they pleased.

As mentioned before, the banksters and their Wall Street cronies were having a good time, too.  They were creating cash out of thin air making phoney financial instruments, having their back room buddies rate them sky high then selling them to every Arab and Chinaman with any money in the bank.

The draft dodging autocrat was flooding more tax dollars into every Cold War weapon system that made it off the drawing boards -- for example, the infamously useless and expensive F-22 fighter bombers.  Total cost?   Initial program estimate $62 Billion.  Original number of aircraft: 750, production beginning in 1994; then, 648 beginning in 1996; then 442 beginning in 2003; then, 277; then 183.  Price per plane?  $361,000,000.

The same ridiculous largesse was going on with new destroyers, new air borne refueling tankers, IED armor for HumVees in Iraq -- you name it.  Halliburton subsidiaries were building showers which electrocuted soldiers and selling bottled water for $8 a pop to our troops in the desert, all the while "landing" one emergency no-bid contract after another, year after year.

The corrupt cronies of the autocracy were soon enjoying a $1.2 Trillion dollar tax cut.  The national debt -- under control at the end of the Clinton Presidency -- was mushrooming at $500,000,000,000 per year or more.  Yet another tax cut followed the first one!  The unelected government borrowed the cash necessary to make good its promises to its "friends" by selling Treasury bonds so fast the ink was still wet when they arrived in Bejing.  BTW, those "friends" were neither nice people nor good citizens.

The stock market tanked along with the rest of the economy.  Terrified bankers stop lending to anyone -- not even other bankersBusinesses ground to a halt.  Housing prices plummeted into a rancid swill of wounded home-owners and waves of foreclosures.

This systematic looting went on for eight years.

Internationally, the unelected draft dodgers lied their way into the Iraq War, then they began almost daily threats of bombing Iran with nuclear weapons.  When the lies fell apart, they turned the problem over to professional liars like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.  The illiterate "hill billies and bigots" were swayed into supporting them almost immediately.  Any one who hesitated or criticized was castigated by 100,000,000 watts of neo-con broadcast power every day.

Here, MeanMesa will avoid the ulta-shaky 9/11 reports and the unchallenged fear mongering of an unelected President who shamelessly frightened the hell out of the country with tales of being H-bombed by Iraq.

This gut-wrenching tale has a point.

It is now about fifteen months after the Obama Presidency began.  The "hill billies and bigots" have been convinced that all this damage -- and more, the  entirety of the known list is far too long to be included here -- should have been rectified by now.  The Tea Baggers have been saturated with outright lies from the neo-con monkeys secretly pulling the strings on that tiny "puppet" outfit (i.e. Dick Armey of Freedom Works).  The intensely greedy and fickle Independent voters are, allegedly, drifting back to the Republican Party en masse.

Screaming breathlessly with a wounded 401K earnings report in one hand and a foreclosure notice in the other, the citizens still refuse to learn about what actually happened to them...  who actually has all their money...  who are still planning to -- once and for all -- take over the entire country...

Enter Obama

Unemployment has finally decreased for the first time since the plummet began.  The Dow Jones is up 3,000 points.  Housing prices have begun to stabilize.

Many of the 3 billion Muslims in the world no longer think that the US is "waging a war" on Islam.  Our troops are withdrawing from Iraq.  95% of tax payers have had a tax cut.  Goldmann Sachs and other crooks are beginning to be investigated and sued by a restored SEC.

It's beginning to look like Afghanistan won't be another Viet Nam after all.  European leaders are no longer afraid to appear in a photograph with the American President.  Our national GDP is actually showing growth.

The auto giants are paying back their TARP loans -- so are the banks.  Obama says that we should get back almost all the money that the W packed out the door in the last days of the autocracy.

Presidential briefings are conducted in understandable, literate English.

Is he a perfect President?  No.  Has he delivered all his campaign promises?  No. 

Has he interrupted the writing of the last chapter about the American Democracy?


MeanMesa's compliments to the President.

As for all you visitors, join me in his defense!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Latest MeanMesa Bumper Sticker!

Since MeanMesa visitors have had such a hoot with the "Palin Beck - 2012" bumper sticker, we are pleased to present the equivalent for the upcoming mid-terms in November!

So -- fire up the old printer and create your own special message for the neo-cons who are watching you slide through traffic with your Obama sticker.  Granted, it may confuse them, but having them "up close" and puzzled beats the hell out of having them making fools of themselves at some dismal Tea Bagger luncheon!

It's FREE! 

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Part Two: "Chatting" It Up With Baggers

Although this post is directed specifically at domestic MeanMesa visitors, perhaps our international readers may also be interested.  Our national "mid-term" elections will  be rolling in on us this November, and that means it is very likely that MeanMesa visitors will be engaged in pre-election discourse with our fellow citizens from the uninformed "hill billy and bigot" crowd.

Now, MeanMesa relishes such brutal little tete-tetes.  Each encounter is yet another opportunity to confront these throw backs on their own ground.  Such "matches" add a wonderfully fulfilling, interpersonal "condiment" to the vital spark of life.

However, although these conversations can be considered "good ole' boy fun," there may be a few suggestions which can make your "bigot baiting" even more successful.  So -- this posting will cover a few possibilities which could help you make your point.

1.  The Bagger will want to avoid any argument which is based on facts.

The neo-cons, already starving from the drivel they are fed by the likes of FOX "News," Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity are quite averse to ever discussing politics which has arisen from factual material.  We are not talking "secret conspiracy theories" or some kind of arcane, esoteric political philosophy here.

No, a referral to even the most pedestrian sort of information one might consider readily available to the "man on the street" will cause panic among the  Baggers.  Given this premise, you can expect absolutely no conversational bout the facts involved in any issue whatsoever.  Instead, your neo-con conversational partner can be expected to immediately dispute the source of the facts, never the facts themselves.

2.  Always present your own progressive position in the most immediate and personal basis possible.

Remember:  "Generalizations mean nothing to the Bagger."  The parents of the "bite and grab" crowd have taught their off spring that cash in the pocket "right now" means everything.  Possible future events  mean nothing.

The neo-cons have been listening to half-wits such as Sean Hannity trot out their famous "most people think..." or "it is widely accepted..." authentications for a relentless collection of  trailer park conversational gambits.  In fact, the sort of repartee you will encounter from this type will almost always include citing a specific case which is supposed to validate a much broader conclusion.

For example, "Mah neighbah gits them food stemps, and his kids gotta a damned cell phone."  Such an introduction will only be able to "grow legs" if it can be, somehow, associated with "Some people say..." or "Most Americans think..."

3.  Always ask the Bagger "reasonable" questions which are always based on your immediate personal positions and not facts. 

Any question which elicits an alternative to the Limbaugh/Hannity line instead of more bitching -- "Ah want mah liberty back!" -- will immediately confound the Bagger.

Here we can indulge in a few examples.

Bagger Premise:  I hate Obama.

Response:  "Who would you like to be President instead of Obama?"

Bagger Premise:  I hate Obama's policies.
Response:  "Exactly what policies do you think we should be following?"

Bagger Premise:  Obama's wrecking the economy with a giant deficit.

Response:  "I'm still walkin' bow legged after that butt ponding that last bunch of your friends gave me."

Response:  "George Bush borrowed every nickel anyone would loan us."
Response:  "George Bush borrowed money to make his cuts."
Response:  "George Bush borrowed money to pay for his Medicare Program."
Response:  "George Bush never included the expense of his wars on the budget.  Obama has."
Response:  "George Bush quadrupled the national debt in eight years.  The deficit was a $130 billion in the black at the end of the Clinton administration.  It was more than $4 trillion in the red after Bush Jr."

Bagger Premise:  I hate Obama's bank Bailouts.

Response:  "George W. Bush made the bailouts.  His Treasury Secretary used to be the CEO of Goldman Sachs."
Response:   "Goldman Sachs is being sued by the Security Exchange Commission for fraud."
Response:  "Goldman Sachs' biggest competitor, Lehman, was sent to bankruptcy -- no bailout.  One year after the bail out, Goldman Sachs is making record profit."

Bagger Premise:  Obama is raising taxes.
Response:  "You, and 95% of all other Americans have had a tax break by Obama.  Your 2009 taxes would have been much higher under the Bush tax policy."

Bagger Premise:  Obama's a socialist.

Response: "George Bush allowed his Wall Street cronies to privatize their profits while  socializing their losses.  That means, they got to keep their 'profits' and we had to pay back their 'losses.'  That is socialism."

Bagger Premise:  Obama isn't doing enough to reverse unemployment.

Response:  "Job losses began seven months before the end of the Bush administration.  He did nothing.  Obama's policies are now showing the first job growth since then."

Bagger Premise:  The Obamacare entitlement will bankrupt the country.

Response:  "Not changing health care policy would have bankrupt the country in ten years.  When the Republicans were in charge, they did nothing."
Response:  "The entire cost of Obama's health care reform is on the budget.  It is deficit neutral.  He said that he would not sign a bill that increased the national debt.  He didn't."
Response:  "The word 'entitlement' is a neo-con talking point.  The Americans insured under the Obama policy will pay for their health care -- the same as now."

Bagger Premise:  Obama's health care policy is not free enterprise.

Response:  The existing health care is not free enterprise.  Americans wanted to buy what everyone else has.  It is not free enterprise when the government won't allow Americans to buy what they want."

Bagger Premise:  Obama is a Communist and a Fascist.  He is doing what Hitler did.

Response:  "According to the dictionary a Communist is the exact political opposite of a fascist.  Which one will you choose?"
Response:   "No one can be either a Communist or a Fascist just because someone said so.  What other reason do you have to think whatever you think?"

Bagger Premise:  Obama is spending our children's future.

Response:  "Obama has required the Congress to pay for all money they spend.  Your man Bush didn't.  Bush borrowed the money he spent and signed your name to the note.  Your children's future will be paying back Bush's loans."

Of course, MeanMesa urges all visitors to add their own gaseous, zany to the conversation.  Although the variety of topics available for chit-chats with these information starved citizens may seem limited at first blush, a bit of traditional American "stick-to-it-iveness" will, in time, fill out the "bouquet." 

Have fun, but be safe.  FOX "News" has made these Baggers unpredictable and violent.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Part One: Meet The Tea Baggers - Who Are They?

Now, MeanMesa has already spent "plenty of typewriter ink" discussing just how important it is to the corporate media frauds to sell every issue as a two-sided "burning question of the day."  Their grotesque inflation of the tiny Tea Bag "movement" to what they feverishly hope will come to be considered a Potent Third Party should not surprise anyone.

After all, it is precisely these same sham artists who encourage unchallenged statements from their Republican Party Masters during interviews -- you know, Senator McChinless screeching out that "Thu 'Merican people has spoke!  They hate this thing!" and the like.

Well, CBS and the New York Times have taken the effort to conduct a fairly rational opinion poll -- one in which Tea Bag opinions have been explored even more fully than they possibly deserve, given their miniscule demographics.  Naturally, MeanMesa, an incredibly objective seeker of all things possibly interesting (Oh, all right.  We can add "for the inquiring mind..."), felt obliged to present their poll's findings.  They are cited here  (below) directly from the report.

However, first, please enjoy an anaesthetic moment of comic relief.  The photo of the autocrat in all his insipid, smiling splendor is provided from the Huffington Post.

George W. Bush is billboard form. Hovering over I-35 near Wyoming, Minn., is an ominous/how'd-anyone-take-him-seriously pic of the former president with the question, "Miss Me Yet?"
There have been no reports as to who is behind the billboard. For all we know Bush put it up after finding a picture of himself as he was about to catch a hamburger at a barbecue. (via NPR)
UPDATE: is taking credit for the billboard claiming they spent only $1,200 for the ad space.

Read the whole Huffington story here.

Read the entire story of the CBS/NYT poll here.

For release: Thursday, 
February 11th, 2010
6:30 PM (EST)
February 5-10th, 2010

Americans who call themselves supporters of the Tea Party movement express strong levels of anger toward Washington generally, and great personal antipathy toward President Barack Obama specifically. They are more likely to call themselves Republicans than independents.

Despite those strong views, for most Americans the movement remains relatively unknown: most haven’t heard of the Tea Party, and those who have are still unsure about its stances.

Americans who call themselves “Tea Party members” in this poll:
• Mostly consider themselves Republicans – not independents - and most view the Republican Party favorably (62%).
• Are overwhelmingly negative about President Obama personally (80%); Americans overall are more favorable.
• Are more likely to think President Obama is working mainly on behalf of the poor, and not the middle class.
• Express nearly three times more anger toward Washington (45%) than Americans overall (17%).
• Are more likely to believe President Obama has already raised taxes, while most Americans do not.


Tea Party identifiers hold an overwhelmingly negative opinion of President Obama, while Americans overall are slightly positive about him personally, even if not all of them approve of his job performance.


............................All       Tea Partiers......
Favorable..........39%          11%
Unfavorable......34             80
haven’t heard...25               9

Tea Partiers also express much higher anger toward the government in Washington. Compared to Americans overall, nearly three times as many say they feel angry about the government.

............................................All        Tea Partiers 
Enthusiastic/satisfied......29%               9%
Dissatisfied.......................53                46
Angry.................................17                45

One-third of Tea Party identifiers think the Obama administration favors the poor, compared to just 18% of all Americans. About half of all Americans think President Obama is working for the middle class or all classes equally.


..........................................All        Tea Partiers
The poor..........................18%             33%
The middle class............24                10
The rich............................22                24
Treats all equal...............25                17

Most Tea Partiers hold favorable views of the Republican Party (62%); they are nearly twice as positive as Americans overall (35%). And Tea Partiers are much less favorable about the Democrats (9%) compared to Americans overall (42%).


................................................................All         Tea Partiers
Favorable view of Democrats............42%                9%
Favorable view of Republicans........ 35                 62

Tea Partiers are not enthralled with Congress -- they rate it as badly as Americans overall do.


                                                               All        Tea Partiers
Approve                                               15%              18%
Disapprove                                          75                 77

Even more so than most Americans, Tea Partiers overwhelmingly think the government generally is run by special interests, not for the benefit of the people.


                                                               All       Tea Partiers
By a few big interests                         78%            92%
For benefit of all people                     18                 4

While Americans blame the Bush Administration for the deficit, Tea Partiers don’t; they’re more likely to point to the Obama administration or Congress.


                                                   All        Tea Partiers
Bush admin.                             41%             16%
Obama admin.                           7                 19
Congress                                 24                  33
All                                             10                  15

And Tea Party identifiers are more likely to believe President Obama has already raised taxes this past year. Most Americans think the President has kept them the same.


                                                All             Tea Partiers
Raised taxes                         24%                  44%
Lowered taxes                      12                        2
Kept taxes same                   53                     46

In one difference on economic policy, Tea Party supporters (and many Republicans) express greater opposition to the idea of more bank regulations, while most Americans are in favor of increased regulations.


                                              All               Tea Partiers
Yes                                       56%                    42%
No                                         36                       48

Americans who identify themselves as Tea Party members are more likely then Americans overall to live in the South, and are older (59% say they are over age 45, compared to 50% of Americans.)


                                           All Americans        Tea Partiers
Northeast                                   23%                        16%
South                                          32                            37
Midwest                                      22                            19
West                                            24                            29

Tea Party identifiers are overwhelmingly white -- 95% are white, compared to 77% of Americans.
Tea Party members’ income and education is comparable to that of all Americans: they are as likely to have college educations (26%) and earn over $50,000 per year (51%) as Americans overall.


A majority of Americans still say they do not know much about the Tea Party movement; more than half say they have heard not much or nothing about it.


A lot                                   18%
Some                                 27
Not much/none                55

Even among those Americans who say they have heard about the Tea Party, four in ten still admit they don’t know much about what it stands for.

(Among those who’ve heard of Tea Party)

A lot                                 19%
Some                               41
Not much/none              40

The Tea Party movement gets mixed reviews from those who have at least heard of it, but more than half are still unsure. Republicans who’ve heard about it have favorable views of the Tea Party movement, but even many Republicans aren’t sure.

(Among those who’ve heard of Tea Party)

                                              All          Reps        Dems      Inds
Favorable                            26%        42%           3%        30%
Unfavorable                        20              2             47           14
Undecided/unsure             54            56            50            56

Among those who’ve heard of the Tea Party movement, only a third thinks it reflects the views of most Americans. 21% aren’t sure.

(Among those who’ve heard of Tea Party)

Yes                          33%
No                            42
Don’t know             21

However, 36% of those who’ve heard of it say they generally agree with the Tea Party movement’s positions on issues; including 60% of Republicans.

Overall, less than one in five Americans considers themselves a “member” of the Tea Party. (This is a self-identification not related to whether they have attended any rallies or events.) Tea Party ranks are dominated by Republicans: one-third of all the Republicans in this poll identify themselves as Tea Party members, as do one in five independents.


                                                 All        Reps        Dems       Inds
Yes                                         18%       35%           2%         19%
No                                           39          26            52             37
Don’t know/
Haven’t heard of it                43          39           46              44
This poll was conducted among a random sample of 1084 adults nationwide, interviewed by telephone February 5-10, 2010. Phone numbers were dialed from random digit dial samples of both standard land-line and cell phones. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points. The error for subgroups is higher.

This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.
The Tea Party Movement
February 5-10, 2010

q11 Do you approve or disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job?

                             Total         Tea Party Supporters
Approve                15%                    18%
Disapprove          75                        77
DK/NA                  10                          5              
("DK/NA" = "don't know /or/ no answer")

q14 Is your opinion of Barack Obama favorable, not favorable, undecided, or haven't you heard enough about Barack Obama yet to have an opinion?

                                                       Total         Tea Party Supporters
 Favorable                                    39%                      11%
Not favorable                               34                          80
Undecided                                   19                            8
Haven't heard enough                 6                             1
Refused                                         2                             0

q29 Which comes closest to your feelings about the way things are going in Washington -- enthusiastic, satisfied but not enthusiastic, dissatisfied but not angry, or angry?

                                                       Total         Tea Party Supporters
 Enthusiastic                                   3%                        2%
Satisfied, not enthusiastic          26                            7
Dissatisfied but not angry          53                          46
Angry                                            17                          45
DK/NA                                            1                             0

q30 Would you say the government is pretty much run by a few big interests looking out for themselves, or that it is run for the benefit of all the people?

                                                        Total         Tea Party Supporters
Few big interests                           78%                     92%
All people                                       18                           4
DK/NA                                              4                            4

q36 Who do you think is mostly to blame for the federal budget deficit -- 1. the Bush administration, 2. the Obama administration, 3. Congress, or 4. someone else?

                                                       Total         Tea Party Supporters
Bush administration                     41%                      16%
Obama administration                   7                          19
Congress                                      24                           33
Someone else                             10                             8
All of the above (vol.)                 10                           15         
("vol" = "voluntary response")
Combination (vol.)                        7                             8
DK/NA                                            1                             1

q40 In general, is your opinion of the Republican Party favorable or not favorable?

                                                     Total         Tea Party Supporters
Favorable                                    35%                       62%
Not favorable                              57                           34
DK/NA                                           8                             4

q41 In general, is your opinion of the Democratic Party favorable or not favorable?

                                                     Total         Tea Party Supporters
Favorable                                    42%                         9%
Not favorable                              51                          89
DK/NA                                           7                             2

q62 In general, do you think the policies of the Obama Administration favor the rich, favor the middle class, favor the poor, or do they treat all groups equally?

                                                   Total         Tea Party Supporters
Favor the rich                            22%                       24%
Favor the middle class            24                          10
Favor the poor                          18                          33
Treat all equally                       25                          17
DK/NA                                       11                          16

q67 So far, do you think the Obama Administration has increased taxes for most Americans, decreased taxes for most Americans, or have they kept taxes the same for most Americans?

                                                  Total         Tea Party Supporters
Increased                                  24%                      44%
Decreased                                12                            2
Kept the same                          53                          46
DK/NA                                       11                            8

q77 When it comes to government regulation of banks and financial institutions, which comes closer to your opinion: 1. The government should increase regulations on these institutions now to help prevent more financial crises from happening again in the future, OR 2. The government should NOT increase regulations on these institutions now, because that will discourage private investors and slow down economic growth.

                                                                      Total         Tea Party Supporters
Should increase regulations                     56%                       42%
Should not increase                                   36                           48
DK/NA                                                            8                           10

q88 How much have you heard or read about the Tea Party movement -- a lot, some, not much or nothing at all yet?

                                                Total       Rep      Dem       Ind
A lot                                          18%       20%      19%      17%
Some                                        27          28          25         27
Not much                                 21           22         19          22
Nothing                                    34           29         37          34
DK/NA                                        0            1            0            0

q89 How much do you know about what the Tea Party movement stands for -- lot, some, not much or nothing at all?

                                            Total       Rep       Dem        Ind
A lot                                     19%        20%      16%       22%
Some                                   41           47          42          36
Not much                            28           28           27          28
Nothing at all                     12              5          15           14
DK/NA 0 0 0 0

q90 Is your opinion of the Tea Party movement favorable, not favorable, undecided, or haven't you heard enough about the Tea Party movement yet to have an opinion?

                                                  Total       Rep       Dem        Ind
Favorable                                    26%       42%        3%        30%
Not favorable                              20             2         47           14
Undecided                                  18           25         12           17
Haven't heard enough              36           31         38           39
Refused 0 0 0 0

q91 Regardless of your opinion, do you think the views of the people involved in the Tea Party movement generally reflect the views of most Americans, or not?

                                                    Total       Rep       Dem        Ind
Reflect most Americans           33%        51%        6%        38%
Do not reflect Americans         42            21         69            38
Both/Some (vol.)                         4            10           2              1
DK/NA                                        21            18         23           23

q92 Do you think the Tea Party movement has too much influence, too little influence, or the right amount of influence in the Republican Party?

                                                    Total       Rep       Dem        Ind
Too much                                    21%        5%        47%       15%
Too little                                      21          31             9            23
Right amount                             29          39           15            31
DK/NA                                        29          25           29            31

q93 Do you think the Tea Party movement will make the Republican Party stronger, will make the Republican Party weaker or will it have no effect on the Republican Party?

                                                  Total       Rep       Dem        Ind
Stronger                                    30%       51%       15%       26%
Weaker                                     16             7           24          16
No effect                                   30           25           34          32
DK/NA                                      24           17           27          26

q94 From what you have heard or read, would you say you generally agree or disagree with the Tea Party movement's positions on most social and political issues?

                                       Total       Rep       Dem        Ind
Agree                                      36%        60%        9%        39%
Disagree                                 34           16         64            26
DK/NA                                     30           24         27            35

q95 Do you consider yourself to be a supporter of the Tea Party movement, or not?

                                               Total       Rep       Dem        Ind
Yes                                          18%      35%         2%        19%
No                                            39         26          52            37
DK/NA/Haven’t heard           43         39          46           44 


Total Respondents 1084 3 pts.
Tea Party Supporters 214 198 7 pts.

NOTE:  The last portion of the poll presented above has been abbreviated to include only  some of the more interesting responses.  For example, the "q95" notation indicates "question 95."  

Please "stay tuned" for Part Two of this series which should be posted very soon.  In the meantime, just consider the prospects of what might happen if this crowd can actually dupe enough "information challenged" voters into electing their candidates.

Thanks for visiting MeanMesa!