Archive - Jan 27, 2012

Pieces Of Dividends

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Memo to Mitt Romney, Warmongers, and Libertarians: YOU ARE DUMB.

Right. Let's get right into it. An assortment of trivia and updates that usually ends a long, stupidity-filled week. No theme to speak of, just regular old SPASTIC TOPIC MONKEY FRIDAY!

First, a quick update to yesterday's column about Mitt Romney being an obscenely wealthy asshole. Funny story. His tax return lists a shitload of off-shore accounts in various tax-sheltering countries where rich people keep their money. This money, and these accounts are strangely missing from the mandatory financial disclosure forms Mitt filled out in August of last year.

In other words, Romney lied. But the funny thing about campaign finance law is that it's written by, well, campaign finance recipients, and enforced by the employees of campaign finance recipients. So Mitt gets to say "whoops", and make "technical amendments" to these "few trivial inadvertent issues" and, of course, he'll get away with it even though we all fucking well know why they weren't on the disclosure form and why Mitt didn't want to release his taxes.

I'd feel better about getting the "best government money can buy" if we actually got the best government money can buy. All this corruption, and the government we've got is the functional equivalent of a blindfolded shopping spree in a post-hurricane, post-looting dollar store. It's just sad.


In other news, the sky is falling, the sky is falling. Having ended nearly 50% of America's wars, the Obama administration has decided that we only need 90% as many soldiers. The defense cuts were announced by Leon Panetta, who of course has been on record for months saying that any defense cuts would mean DOOM FOR AMERICA. Shockingly, the right has in fact seized on these defense cuts as DOOM FOR AMERICA. But take heart! We're going to buy more drones! Which is good news if you're a warmonger, and bad news if you live in Pakistan and like going outdoors. John Cornyn was typical.

"Taking us back to a pre-9/11 military force structure places our country in grave danger," he said. I'm not sure exactly what he means by that. I mean, with the military force we had before 9/11, a smaller military than we'll actually have after these cuts, mind you, we were still able to exact mindless, bloody revenge against a country where a guy who sent a bunch of guys from another country to knock down a couple of our buildings lived for a few years. And the subsequent occupation took so long that there was plenty of time to hire and train more soldiers for that war, a second decade-long war, and a relatively short bombing campaign in the general vicinity.

All, by the way, without any significant, much less "grave", danger to America being present before, during, or after any of this. I think the only "grave danger" the United States is actually in is our missile-shaped dick looking 10% shorter in the eyes of, say, Iran, the only country we keep waving it at anyway. But they were already pretending to be unimpressed.

And as much as I hate to see more government layoffs during a recession, I'll take a peace dividend when I can get one, even if "peace" is a very, very, very relative thing right now.


And finally, libertarians. There are two schools of American libertarianism - one secretly pragmatic, both publicly delusional. Both schools say that if the government stops doing stuff, the private sector and charity will take over. Only one of the schools actually believes it (This is the school, for example, Penn Jillette lives in.) They figure that since they've got money and are willing to help people they know are in need, all people in need... need is to find a rich libertarian and ask them for some help. And since the poor and unemployed have all that free time on their hands, they can work out the pesky logistics of scaling that to a national level in their spare time.

Honestly, I much prefer the callous libertarians who know they're gonna let people starve, but throw out the "charity will handle it" line so as not to seem like complete monsters. They're lying to one fewer person than Penn Jillette is.

Anyway, the reason I bring this up is that a few weeks ago, a story that seemed sort of like anecdotal evidence in support of libertarian philosophy cropped up, and I figured I could nip that right in the bud. See, remember the D.C. earthquake? Well, it caused millions of dollars of damage to the Washington Monument. But lo and behold, a philanthropic one tenth of one percenter, billionaire David Rubenstein, stepped up and handed over seven and a half million simoleons to get the spire fixed up.

A triumph of philanthropy! Now the government doesn't have to "steal" seven and a half million dollars in taxes from the people to fix that thing that broke. Why not do that all the time? Because, well, it's the Washington Fucking Monument, that's why. A one of a kind, world-famous phallic symbol in the middle of the nation's capital. Philanthropy's easy when you see a unique national treasure with some earthquake damage, but you notice Rubenstein wasn't in the news for giving ten grand apiece to 750 poor people in D.C. so they could, you know. Eat stuff.