The Widdershins

More or less…

Posted on: July 19, 2013

Morning Widdershins. I hope this is a most satisfying Friday for you.Farm Bill Checkout

Have you ever witnessed an acquaintance who had an unquenchable desire? Someone so consumed, so competitive, that it wasn’t about winning, it was about everyone else losing? So insatiable is their desire, their cufflinks are engraved, “I don’t want much,“ on the left and, “I just want more,” on the right.

In their quest for more, under the immutable laws of physics and economics, there is going to be less for someone else. It seems as though there is a fringe of the fringe element comprised of 2010 improvidently elected Tea Party critters whose family crest should be intertwined tapeworms over the words, “Carpe diem et cras minus ab” (Seize the day and tomorrow from those who have less).

For instance:

  • A trillion dollars over ten years for corporate agribusiness with a guarantee of never earning less than 90% of what was earned the year before and making that a permanent law with no sunset provisions in contravention of 50 years of precedent — More of this they say…
  • Maintaining the food stamp benefit of $134/month for roughly 40,000,000 poor Americans, the vast majority of whom are poor women and children — Less of this they say…
  • Militarizing our southern border with fences, drones, tanks, and soldiers to the tune of $30 Billion a year in an effort to create a Platinum Curtain — More…
  • Embracing the children who have never known anything but an American home, honoring the Dreamers who have served in our Armed Forces, and offering a path to citizenship after 13 years of working and paying taxes — Less…
  • Government subsidizing private insurance companies for non-patient coverage and insurance administrative costs of 40 cents on the dollar — More…
  • Expanding coverage to 30 million poor Americans through the expansion of Medicaid — Less…
  • Onerous regulation of women’s healthcare, healthcare facilities, endangering women, and mandating needless, costly medical procedures — More…
  • Healthcare facilities for poor women’s healthcare, sex education for students, and contraceptive availability — Less…
  • Outrageous requirements to combat a nonexistent problem of voting fraud and making it more difficult to vote — More…
  • Opportunities for ease of voting through extended hours and weekends — Less…
  • Relaxing of gun law, proliferation of concealed carry permits to schools, bars, public places, and encouraging vigilante acts through legislation like, “Stand Your Ground” — More…
  • Sensible gun safety legislation — Less…

This recipe for reverse Robin Hood distribution is the handiwork of the Koch Brothers and their ilk who are a rogues Robbing from the Grandkidsgallery of dark-moneyed think tanks and political action committees. These interests have been successful in their true goal of stymieing governmental action and bringing a stultifying paralysis to sensible regulation. In their world, if your candidates can’t be elected just place the government in a permanent stalemate.

These actions have no direct effect upon the lives of these billionaires and millionaires, but it does do dramatic, irreparable harm to working class families and the poor. Honestly, reauthorizing the Farm Bill without the food stamp program, larding it down with billions more in agri-corporate giveaways and then after a year of record profit, guaranteeing these corporations 90% of their profit year after year — who does that?

We have become a nation divided between the lines of more and less. Conveniently, those with more are traditionally those with few immutable differences being white, affluent, and employed. Those with less are a tapestry of color, ethnicity, and often, single female heads of households shouldering the burden of providing for children.

In the truest sense, the disease has devoured the host. The “intelligentsia” of Conservatism are bowing to the blovinators of the Conservative media complex. They have decided to focus their electoral efforts on those representing the More and marginalize voting access of those representing the Less.

To prefer more at the expense of those having less is not inherently within our human nature. It is a learned behaviorScales Money outweighing Heart most likely borne from the fear of the future. Fear is one of the only emotions strong enough to cause us to abandon our innate nature of communal commonality, but fear is never enough to stop the ticking of time.

Those who would inflict suffering on those with less must learn to be at peace with living in fear — and fear, just like the thirst for more, is insatiable. This is a fate unworthy of us since we as a people have never reveled in the denigration, segmentation, and marginalization of our fellow Americans.

But more or less, that’s where we are.

This is an open thread.


37 Responses to "More or less…"

Well, I must be stuck in the hinterlands because I’ve heard nothing about a probably takeover of the Senate Pat. I did find this piece which shows that Zeke Miller apparently hasn’t done his homework in all the states that he mentions.

Lets do the numbers: Democrats currently control 54 seats in the Senate, counting two independents that reliably vote with them, while Republicans have 46 seats. After October’s New Jersey special election, which Newark Mayor Cory Booker will likely win, that margin will almost certainly revert to 55-45.

With Vice President Biden serving as the tie-breaking vote, Republicans need a net swing of six seats to regain the majority in 2014.

Republicans need to win three of four remaining competitive states with vulnerable incumbents — Arkansas, Louisiana, North Carolina and Alaska — to take the Senate. President Barack Obama lost all four states in 2012.

I’m still not convinced Mary Landrieu is in trouble in La. She two Repubs running against her in an open primary. They’ll split the Repub vote.

Prolix, do you know if the farm bill has gone through the Senate yet, or are the House and Senate going to have to go to committee to work out any differences?

Me above: Looks like the Senate is still working on their version.

@1, Pat, I’ve thought about which is the biggest travesty, voting for such mishegoss as the Tea Partiers did on the Farm Bill or the Dems sitting back and allowing it to happen so as to have a campaign issue?

This whole shooting match is a Koch Bros. wet dream — insulating congressional districts, having elected Tea Partiers in 2010 without so much as a whimper from Obama and the DNC, and then having stalemate for the next ten years until realignment through reapportionment.

And here’s another thing — 38 times and counting for the repeal of Obamacare — have the Dems not thought about a message that centers around this: If the Repubs are only focused on repealing Obamacare, either they are afraid of it or there isn’t anything else they can focus on — what about jobs?

@4, Fredster, no the Farm Bill — rejiggered to excise the SNAP program hasn’t even had committee hearings yet in the Senate, but strategically, herein lies the rub:

The Tea Partiers, with their sot soaked totem Boehner allowing them to do so, now hold the fate of 40 million Americans as a bargaining chit. With the SNAP program now stand alone in its reauthorization, it will be open season on cuts and holding it hostage once the debt ceiling is revisited.

The one good thing is this — the gov’t actually ran a $100+ billion surplus in June, biggest in history — that puts off the debt ceiling debate until later in the year. The behind the scenes juggling will be this: Trying to delay any debt ceiling debate until past October 1st in order to have to take up the SNAP program reauthorization prior to the Sept. 30th end of the fiscal year.

What is doubly bad is that if Boehner had merely allowed the Democrat’s compromise Farm Bill to come to a vote — reauthorization of the Farm Bill without the agri-corporate increases and no cuts to Food Stamps, it would have passed with Dems and 20 swing district Repubs. But no, Boehner caved to the Tea Partiers — which is anger-making for me — it’s okay to turn your back on poor people, but don’t you dare allow corporate agriculture to miss one year at less than 90% of profits.

Who does this sort of thing without a massive backlash?

And don’t think for a minute, it wasn’t done last week while the Zimmerman trial was occupying the full attention of the news media. That in and of itself tells me how shameful they knew this vote was.

@3: I haven’t heard or read about a probable GOP takeover of the Senate in 2014 either. I am optimistic or perhaps delusional ( take your pick ) that Democrats will maintain control of the Senate. And I am not surprised Obama is doing very little in his second term. That’s what I expected from him. He’s a lame duck who’s not inclined to push a strong agenda anyway.

On a different subject: I am hearing from gay and lesbian friends here ( professors and other professionals ) that they are seriously thinking of leaving Indiana to move to states that allow same-sex marriage. Talk about a brain drain!

States like Indiana should realize that outlawing same-sex marriage, limiting reproductive rights, imposing restrictive voter ID laws, and other conservative legislation is going to drive away “the best and the brightest” – both gay and straight. Over time, the economy is going to suffer in conservative states. Professionals aren’t going to want to live and work in backward places.

Moral of story: Liberal legislation is good for the economy!

Prolix said: The one good thing is this — the gov’t actually ran a $100+ billion surplus in June, biggest in history

Well that shuts ’em up on one thing.

Ya know I really have to wonder: how is actually running the House? Is it Boehner or is it really Cantor?

while the Zimmerman trial was occupying the full attention of the news media.

Wow is that cynical! And isn’t it a shame that the news folks can’t concentrate or at least cover, two things at a time.

@8, Beata, Dr. Richard Florida has done some remarkable work about this very subject — the creative class and its effect on communities and their economies. Florida is nothing if not prolific in his writing — he has legions of researchers and he turns out articles and books like hotcakes.

Here’s a link to the book site:

@7: There will be no massive backlash if Food Stamps are cut. No marches or rallies held or pro-Food Stamp t-shirts being worn. The poor are the forgotten in our country. Charity food banks will try to make up for the cuts but they can’t do it alone. So more children will go to school and to bed hungry. More elderly citizens will have to decide how to make their already limited incomes go further. The general population will neither know nor care that this is happening.

Beata@8: Same thing is happening at LSU, but for different reasons, it’s the funding of the school. No pay raises in 5 years, being promised lots of stuff but it never coming to fruition. interviewed one music professor who was leaving and he said I was promised this, this and that. I’ve gotten none of it. The school administration lied. But what do you do when the gov and the lege have cut over $500 million in the last few years?

@9 — As for who is really running the House — who runs a mob of torch-wielding pitchfork carrying Luddites? It is the one with the Bic lighter or given the proclivities of the Luddites, the one with a flint rock.

From the snippets I’ve read about the Repub caucuses (yes, I’m ashamed to admit I read such things) it seems as if Boehner gets up, lights up, mumbles and slurs, until one of the Tea Partiers jumps up and says, “Burn it down, someone got a light?”

The 70-80 Tea Party crazies have a mob mentality. Cantor works them with reacharounds every chance he gets and they suffer Boehner, but they are, in essence, an ungovernable mob whose intellectual depth is tested in dialing Limbaugh in on an AM radio.

@11, Beata — that makes my heart hurt.

@10: Thank you for that link, Prolix. I will check out Dr. Florida’s work. It is so short-sighted of states not to realize the effect these backward laws have on their economy and overall quality of life. Truly stupid.

I love my state dearly but I would leave in a heartbeat if I could.

The general population will neither know nor care that this is happening.

And that’s the fault of the *media* for not covering it and making it known! 👿

Look at this: lil Bobby Jindal has found a fix for the cost of medicare and social security.

@16, Fredster, this is a “down in the weeds” story — the first link in the post is about making the 90% guarantee permanent in contravention of 50 years of precedent. The symbiosis of tying the Food Stamp program to the Farm Bill was perfect from a policy standpoint, but that is now history.

The 90% guarantee, based upon last year’s record farm crop profit in the face of a 100-year drought, is paid for by crop insurance that is 60% subsidized by tax dollars. In other words, the insurance companies make out like bandits by setting the premiums, the government pays over half, the farmers are guaranteed 90% of their previous year’s profit, and for instance, corn is essentially three times as expensive as it should be.

There is no rhyme or reason to any of this from even a conservative’s point of view, but when you have 80 House members who are from Districts that are gerrymandered to be bad jigsaw puzzle pieces, this is what you get.

@17: I haven’t clicked on the link yet, Fredster, but let me guess. Does it involve ice floes?

Beata@19: Nope, no ice floes.

Here’s a clue:

Sixty-five-year-olds who live in Louisiana rank fourth from the bottom when it comes to the percentage of remaining years they can expect to lead healthy lives.

@19 — either ice floes or raging pyres where the ambient heat would be recaptured as a tax deductible solar credit to surviving heirs in the event of a will or escheat to the state in the event of intestacy.

Prolix said: The 90% guarantee, based upon last year’s record farm crop profit in the face of a 100-year drought, is paid for by crop insurance that is 60% subsidized by tax dollars.

While I don’t mind the subsidy so much (think flood insurance) I don’t see any reason to guarantee a profit. And the price on corn is such a joke because of ethanol.

Strong demand for ethanol production has resulted in higher corn prices and has provided incentives to increase corn acreage. In many cases, farmers have increased corn acreage by adjusting crop rotations between corn and soybeans, which has caused soybean plantings to decrease. Other sources of land for increased corn plantings include cropland used as pasture, reduced fallow, acreage returning to production from expiring Conservation Reserve Program contracts, and shifts from other crops, such as cotton.

Sixty-five-year-olds who live in Louisiana rank fourth from the bottom when it comes to the percentage of remaining years they can expect to lead healthy lives.

That’s behind several of the usual suspects: 50th ranked Mississippi, 49th ranked Kentucky, and 48th ranked Alabama and West Virginia, which are tied.

Keep gutting that health care Bobby, you’re on to something here.

This guy is soooo good when it comes to cuttin’ up lil Bobby.

Prolix@24: Oh that’s such a crock of sh!te! He’d be better off trying to claim a mental condition. Exactly what mental condition, I don’t know. Stupidity?

@26, I’m caught in some type of time warp — that whole story is deja vu to me — I could have sworn I read it months ago and was totally in sync with the actual facts of this case.

Prolix: Check the dateline:

Wednesday, November 28, 2012, 8:54 AM


@23: Die quickly or move to Hawaii! You people have options!

Beata@29: Good point!

@27: It’s okay. Sometimes when I’m writing a check, I start to date it with the year 19-something. Now that’s a time-warp.

Beata@31: I start to date it with the year 19-something. Now that’s a time-warp.

Better times back then?

@32: They were! I was beautiful, healthy, and young. I had my future ahead of me – where it should be. And Mike Pence wasn’t Governor.

@28, I had deja vu all over again.

Beata@33: Ah if we could turn the clock back.

@34: Hee-hee!

Prolix, you’re in Indiana aren’t you? Yesterday, Fredster and I were discussing Mitch Daniels being a disaster as Purdue’s new President. What do you think about it?

Beata: Prolix’s wi-fi spot may have shut down for the day. Not sure exactly what the hours are where he goes.

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