The Only Problem With Tax & Spend is the Tax Part

You find the strangest things online.For a moment, we thought that Sarah Palin copped a roach from Dana Perino:

Really? A tax on national defense? I hear liberal Congressional proposals and I, like most Americans, wonder if they’re serious. We’re going to put a price tag on security?

Like most Americans, we wonder whether Talibunny’s a sociopath, but that’s another topic. The issue here apparently is that Nancy Pelosi is considering a “graduated surtax on American taxpayers to finance the war in Afghanistan,” so that China doesn’t have to keep underwriting our empire.

And much to the amazement of most Americans, it seems there is a price tag on security:

By itself, the defense budget totals $680 billion for the fiscal year 2010. But veterans affairs, military construction and other military-related agencies will get an additional $133 billion, and the Department of Homeland Security will get $42.8 billion.

All told, that’s $855.8 billion – approximately $8 billion more than the Senate healthcare bill would cost Americans in ten years. And this is the defense budget for fiscal year 2010 alone.

Nobody doubts the urgent need to spend all that money, of course — it’s just paying for it that’s unconscionable. And for we few Americans who think universal healthcare is a pressing security issue, well we can just suck on it.

Congress Never Ceases to Amaze [Sarah Palin/Facebook]

Pelosi keeps door open on war tax [CNN]


Regarding China, someone recently and quite accurately pointed out that an old saying is now very true: If you owe the bank $10,000, then you have a problem. If you owe the bank $10,000,000, then the bank has a problem.

We don’t have a problem–China has a serious fucking problem.

@Original Andrew: I may have read the same thing: We’re too big to fail.

Apparently, freedom is not free.*

*note: yeah, I know the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have nothing to do with freeom, but I just couldn’t pass up the visual pun… or whatever it is.

Even the most hard-core libertarian types generally concede the need to pay taxes to fund national defense, if I remember correctly. Does this stupid bitch have NO CLUE as to what the first and foremost purpose of taxes has historically been? Apparently the curricula didn’t cover “wars” or any other history on her tour of fifteenth tier North American colleges.
And to think of the slobbering moronic hoards who agree with her. My head hurts. Must go look at pics of Shelley O’s dress again.

@Mistress Cynica: The stupid, it burns.

After looking at Shelley O’s dress again, this photo of Sasha at the turkey pardoning will crack you up. That child has the most expressive face, and I think we’re witnessing the birth of a vegetarian.

She’s raising the stupid bar to epic lows. I do beleive that when she heard the phrase “national defense tax,” she took that to mean not a tax to raise funds for defense, but rather a tax on defense spending, you know, like a special extra sales tax on tanks, guns, and bombs. Really, she is that stupid, and thats fucking stupider than stupid. Death panels, also, troops fightin’ for our freedoms, she probably thinks the troops will have to pay a tax for fightin’ for our freedoms now.

@Benedick: My essay is titled “USA A-OK.” “Only in America can a recent refugee from laos build an empire of 27 convenience stores in just 5 years. Or perhaps also Canada.”

Sarah’s outbursts of idiocy pretty much lost their effect after I realized that she (and her teabag supporters) was whining about “socialism”, despite the fact that she was governor of the only state in the US to have anything remotely near socialism (the distribution of oil $$$ in Alaska).

But this is pretty over the top, even for her.

@Promnight: I thought the same thing when I read her post last night: a tax on national defense?

Then again, I don’t think Halliburton is a 501(c)(3).

But while manifestly stupid, Palin (or her ghostwriter) is politically shrewd: “Death Panels” did work as a rallying cry, and she’s launching new memes as fast as she can. This one might have legs.

She is like Emily Litella, but lacks the humility to admit her mistake and say “never mind” when she is corrected.

Then there is stupid crap in the dee-fense budget like developing alternate engines for the F-22, the $17 billion extra the Joint Strike Fighter/ F-35 will cost (the only comparable craft are of extraterrestrial origin), fielding the Osprey helicopter-type airplane thingy, $0.5 billion cost overruns on Navy ships to be used close to shore rather than the high seas, scaling back of Rumsfeld’s future combat system that has pissed away beelions to find out that loading up soldiers with an Apple Store’s worth of extra crap (think the groovy electronics suite in Iron Man’s suit) to make war more like a video game was not working*, widespread employment of contractors, and even failures in the development of a universal camoflage pattern.

*”oper­a­tors will get a Soldier-​​worn com­puter packed with Army bat­tle com­mand soft­ware with an improved graph­i­cal user inter­face, a network-​​linked radio with an “over the hori­zon” capa­bil­ity — in other words the Special Forces vari­ant will have SatCom built in — “so that we’re not restricted to line of sight.” –

@redmanlaw: Well, FSM forbid we should spend the money on stupid stuff like body armor or up-armoring Humvees when we need essential items like “Soldier-​​worn computer packed with Army battle command soft ware with an improved graphical user interface”.

@redmanlaw: “so that we’re not restricted to line of sight” — isn’t that what artillery spotters are for? Napoleon had those, right?

@SanFranLefty: I’m betting on tears at the table tomorrow as she thinks about the fluffy white bird she petted today.

@Mistress Cynica: Sad-inducing trivia: Pat Tilman wanted to take off his armored vest before his patrol scampered up the hillside where he ultimately died. Because of the PR snafu back home, there were standing orders that you always, always keep your armor on. He took two, maybe three shots from an American rifle directly on his chest, which caused him to stand up and shout “I’m Pat fucking Tilman, what are you doing?” Of course the reply was a blow to the head that ended his life.

Those vests are really heavy, but they’re also really really useful.

@redmanlaw: I’m glad some Stinquer understands that stuff so I don’t have to. I’m sure it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

My baseline view of Defense is, if we didn’t feel the need to maintain an empire we could be like Costa Rica, just with better more satisfying pop culture.

@Just Nabisco: The vest didn’t keep my buddy from getting shot in tha ass, tho.

@Mistress Cynica: At least the new White House Garden can provide little Sasha with plenty of arugula. I’ll be thrilled when she comes out as a vegetarian terrorist plotting by any means necessary to end the suffering of factory farmed feedstock. I really will.

@Pedonator: She won’t be the first vegetarian in the White House. Chelsea already did that in 1993, m’dear.

@redmanlaw: Good point. We sat on the flak jackets they issued for flights into Sarajevo because it didn’t make much sense to wear the dang things when the projectiles were coming from beneath us.

@nojo: I was listening to Our Shared World or some such pablum on NPR yesterday on may way to lunch when I first heard of the proposed “defense tax”, and I must admit my first thought was, hey, a tax on defense spending? The DoD is gonna have to pay tax on what it buys? Bring it on!

(My first thought: nevermind the paradox of me paying taxes for wars I don’t support so the government can pay tax on its purchase of stuff to fight those wars…in order to support those wars.)

But I really can’t get behind this. The tax I already pay supports “Defense” entitlements enough. Do you want more of your hard-earned money to support welfare queens like Dick Cheney?

I really don’t think we need more money for that, we just need a new strategy; perhaps, to refute the idea that we need to DOMINATE THE WORLD! Nyah ha ha!

As for Afghanistan I agree there is no good option. But I do believe the least bad option is to just get the fuck out. Now. As with Iraq. It really is that simple, and the benefits to the Homeland™ could be so rich.

@Just Nabisco: Well, you wouldn’t have wanted the source of your little biscuits get all shot up, verdad?

@SanFranLefty: I question Chelsea’s vegetarian credentials (not that mine are pure), since she may be the only hedge-fund banker who doesn’t feast on carpaccio of under-contracepted-poor-folk-baby.

OK. Time for more important matters.

If you haven’t yet seen Every Little Step go Netflix it now. It is about the casting of the recent revival of A Chorus Line and it is terrific. The show itself is a thing of beauty and seeing so many brilliantly talented people chasing after so few jobs is intensely moving. You will also get to see Charlotte d’Amboise tear the place up and the kind of creative, dynamic America that is the envy of the world. You will also see what a free market really is.

This is the show that Bernie Jacobs of the Shuberts credited for literally saving Broadway. Not just the theatre but the real estate.

Pop Quiz: Why is there an ‘A’ in the title? Yes, there will be a prize.

@Benedick: To put it first in the newspaper listings, like AAA Wrecker Service or Aardvark Payday Loans?

@Pedonator: But I do believe the least bad option is to just get the fuck out. Now. De acuerdo. But it ain’t gonna happen, and it chaps my hide to think we are all sitting on the divan as the history books are re-written to say “BushObama’s War”.

BTW, is it bare-chested megalomaniacal leader day around here? Did I miss a memo? You do notwant to see Fidel shirtless.

@redmanlaw: I’m dranking dammit. A Bombay ‘tini after they let us out of the cattle pen early, a pot of black beans and rice with mango slices for desert (hey, I like to eat out of either a single pot or nothing at all when I’m on my own), now two gimlets to roar through a week’s worth of Daily Shows.

Ma Nabisco and the biscuits arrive tomorrow for a moveable T’day feast. I still have a shitload of cleaning to do, but I figured out how to open up the flue on the fireplace!

@Just Nabisco: I just realized I’d used Oscar for too long (and I saw some other cretin using it at The Onion) and noticed Benedick’s gleaming pecs and manly cellphone-handling and decided I needed to challenge Tone.

Oh, but with regards to Afghanistan, yeah, it will be remembered as Obama’s War. One of the few (the only?) campaign promises he’s determined to keep.

@Benedick: When are They going to make the Oscar-winning documentary/musical Temp Agency: The Typing Test?

(Sorry darling, between you and Tomm, I can’t hope to swim — or even tread — the treacherous waters of musical theater literacy.)

@Just Nabisco: are you in Dee Cee in a couple of weeks?

@Pedonator: I’ve questioned Chelsea ever since she abandoned her ambition of being a pediatrician to become another useless hedge fund “analyst.” You don’t major in HumBio at The Tree and not go to Med School unless a shitload of money is waved under your nose by daddy’s buddies.

@redmanlaw: Shit, I saw “bd” and I thought the worst, started calling hospitals and morgues in the NJ area, worried sick out of my mind, because I don’t always get these rapidly evolving acronymns. Don’t do that to me!

(BTW, what does “bd” mean?)

@Pedonator: Birthday. All is well.

ADD: I celebrated the way Prommie would want, with a large Jameson and soda.

@SanFranLefty: I wouldn’t be a doctor if you paid me, they are well paid, and in their own little doctor world they get to be like gods, but its no life. I can’t blame her.

@Pedonator: birthday.

@SanFranLefty: Yes! Weekends are back in ‘tucky but a mid-week get together would be great. I may be “shipping out” as soon as I get “orders”, possibly as early as mid-January.

ADD: @Promnight: My recent days spent with battlefield docs (they’re all called “doc” even though they’re nurses, just like the movies, and they are fucking rock stars) reminded me how much I loved that shit when I was younger. Give me another life and I’ll go to med school and do trauma med. The good ones deserve a shitload of respect, it’s not art vs. science, it’s using science to perform art.

@redmanlaw: Its my Birthday, motherfuckers, and I have had my Martinis before and during dinner, a nice spanish red with dinner, and I am going to have a fucking serious bloody mary now, hot as hell, with lime juice, black pepper, celery salt, and horseradish in it, Bloodies are a wonderful wonderful drink I only have a couple of times a year, and its my BD, goddamit, and I am having a late night bloody.

Join me with your drink of choice, freinds.

@Promnight: The port that’s not going into my strawberry tart.

Okay, just a day or so ago, I posted a paen to real parties, I posted my vision of a fantastic party, it takes place outside, there is a fire, there are tunes, we collaborate on a playlist, and we dance around a fire outdoors in the dark, conecting with traditions coursing through all cultures through millenia, a vision of bachanalian sheer exuberabance and celebration of the joy of being alive, dancing in the night around a fire to a throbbing beat, losing self to the physical moment of letting the music flow through you in a shared communal losing of all the everyday mundanities, and falling asleep under the stars, with memories and stories of it all, agreements and disagreements and silliness and stupidity, stories and tales to cement bonds of shared joy, and the beginning of a tradition of such celebrations.

Come on, now, when, where, do we do this?

@Mistress Cynica: Did anyone ever notice I’m a bit pessimist? Bad me. Bad bad bad me!

@Promnight: Only blame her for taking the easy way, using her fambly connections to conjure a fortune, educatedly joining the vampire class, etc. Not sure I wouldn’t have dunnit if I’d been in her position, but since I wasn’t and didn’t, fair game for criticism.

Oh and by the way, Happy “bd”. Glad you’re alive. You scared me there, for a minute.

@Pedonator: I think it’s better to be a pessimist than an optimist. When you’re wrong, it’s a pleasant surprise rather than a bitter disappointment, and when you’re right, you have the validation of being right to make up for the fact that things suck.

@Promnight: We’re starting the festivities with bloodies tomorrow AM. The Garlic Lady in PDX makes an amazing spicy Thai bloody mix. It’s a tradition at our house dating back to last Xmas.

@Mistress Cynica: Thank you. I take a perverse pleasure pragmatic approach in lowering expectations so I can outperform, especially in the “professional” realm.

What is possible is not probable, except when it may be possible, in which case it is probably not possible. It’s kind of like the known unknowns vs. the unknown unknowns.

I can haz Secretary of Defense appointment now?

@Pedonator: I can haz Secretary of Defense appointment now?

‘Cuz I can assure you, I would be awesome at that!

@Promnight: Got me a tempranillo now. Mmmm. Good just by itself for hanging around with the fam and a fire.

@Mistress Cynica: I’ve been working on this tendency of mine with my shrink for the past three months. Apparently it’s called “catastrophizing” (sp?) by the DSM-IV world. I call it being an open-eyed realist. Given some recent income cuts in the SFL household coming on top of income cuts six months ago, the luxury of seeing a shrink on a semi-regular basis is going out the window, even with my medical diagnosis that reduces the co-pay. As long as she re-ups my prescription every three months, I don’t know if I really need to see her.

Plus she seems to have an eating disorder and I want to intervene with her.

@SanFranLefty: I’ve been given that “catastrophizing” diagnosis myself, which I decided to take as an accolade. Thinking of all the things that could possible go wrong is really quite a useful skill to have these days. I get by on meds these days myself, and just vent to you lot rather than seeing a shrink. Haven’t noticed a big difference, frankly.

ADD: Im anxious to read Barbara Ehrenreich’s latest, Bright-sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America, mostly so I can feel smug and superior, which is my favorite thing.

@SanFranLefty: Plus she seems to have an eating disorder and I want to intervene with her.

I think you should cash in with a reality show of some sort, such as. Lifetime? Don’t take their first offer. You need to talk to the OWN people first.

(BTW, I feel your pain — or, ok, close friends of mine who work for the state of CA and/or city of Oakland feel your pain — about the furloughs, I mean. It almost (?) goes without saying that I think catastrophizing = open-eyed-realizing.)

@Mistress Cynica: Not to mention Ehrenreich is one of my favorite peeps in the universe.

And yes, the shrink, who is 10 years younger than I am, has reached an impasse with me, because I keep saying “But this is useful to think this way” and I don’t know if it’s because I’m a skilled linguist/attorney or she’s a new shrink, but she can’t argue with me any more on the topic. She now says “I see your point, you make sense.”

As long as someone with a script pad keeps me sane, I can do talk therapy on Stinque. And you won’t charge me a $25 co-pay – I’ll buy you a bottle of wine when I’m in PDX next week. (You free?)

@Mistress Cynica: Barbara Ehrenreich traces the strange career of our sunny outlook from its origins as a marginal nineteenth-century healing technique to its enshrinement as a dominant, almost mandatory, cultural attitude.

OFSM, I love me some Barbara Ehrenreich. She provides, like, the justification of my own cloudy outlook!

@redmanlaw: I just wish I were with you and all my stinque friends, in real life.

My life is lonely, I has spoken of my son’s problems, you live in your bubble and you don’t realize what it does to you, for 7 years now, Mrs. Prom and I have no social life, nada, because we cannot ever leave him, with anyone. And we cannot take him places, its so so hard. But I have forgotten about it, it has become just life to me, and I have not noticed how it has left me and Mrs, with no social life, none, none at all. A couple of you stinquers have come to visit, you might not realize, you stinquers we have met and entertained, you are the only people we have had to our house, ever. And in every case, it was wonderful and we loved you, you know who you are, we loved you and cherished that time of socializing, its all we have had. And I work at Dunder Mifflen and there is no meaningful social interaction for me at my small office, only 8 people work there, noone on my wavelength, not even close, a 3 hour commute, 12 hours a day, isolated, alone, and no social life when not at work.

I have no people in my life, none at all, you guys, none at all, who I can talk to the way I talk to you all.

I have been an asshole, I have been insensitive, I have been needy, and god that always awkward isn’t it, someone being needy on you, I have been arrogant, my therapist tells me I am arrogant, shit, I never want to be, I don’t think I am better than anyone, , my statements, my opinions, no matter how much I state them as arrogant cocksure statements, thats not me, I doubt everything, I doubt absolutely everything, I know nothing.

But I do love debate, it expands my mind, to argue, and I have a habit of making statements as if I believe them utterly, and believe anyone who disagrees is an idiot, but that is never, ever the way I feel, I live in my mind in which I regard all my statements as ironic hyperbole, and you cannot see my face, and the self-denigrating gestures that accompany my bold pronoucements, I never feel I am right, I just want to talk, to debate, to learn from others.

I get great joy and happiness from our conversations here, they are a very important part of my life, I would not have an intellectual life, if not for you all.

sad to say, you are my social life, you all talk about going to parties, I am so jealous, I have not been invited to a party in 10 years. Other than family.

RML, I know you and I would be friends if we were nearby, I worship nature as you do, so many other of you, I feel the same, Mellbell, you have no idea how much I and Mrs, Prom loved you, and Prom Junior, too, and nabisco, we are twins, and still, life is too complicated to make the connections with you and your family I so want to make. And just because I have not mentioned any of you, you stinquers, there is not a one of you I don’t wish I could sit down for a drink with. Benedick, you are the most polite, genuine, decent person I have ever met, JNOV, and SFL, Mrs. prom and I speak of you both between us as if you were close friends, we wish we could be closer. And there are 20 others I have not had the pleasure of speaking with privately, that I just know, I would enjoy your company and again, I wish I lived near you and we could get together. Chainsaw, I so want to meet you. And Nojo, you most of all, you are a wise soul. And those of you I have not mentioned specifically, please know, I would if I felt I had the right to mention you as someone I wish were my friend, I do know, how much I would love your company, this is said to many of you, we talk, we connect, its fleeting, I don’t feel entitled to call you friends, I only wish I could.

Stinque friends, you are the ones I am now spending my birthday with. Maybe its sad, that you are all I have, I don’t know, some people say I am doing wrong by seeking this friendship here, with people far away I do not know in person, but every time I have met one of you in person, it has been wonderful.

I love you all, you magnificent bastards.


Wait, are you saying that this isn’t real life? That can’t be right….

P.S. Happy Birthday, Prommie!

@SanFranLefty: I’ve been working with my shrink on some things that have blown my mind, it took 3 years to get there. Scary shit. Turns out that the parent I most try to protect, and perceive as the wronged one ( in the relationship between my parents), was the distant one, who turned me into the needy, doubting, unworthy-feeling person I am. It shocked me, when he finally led me to see it, it was the opposite of what I thought was going on in my life dynamic.

But suddenly, a month ago, during this one session, something he had been so gently hinting at for a year, struck me like an arrow in the heart, and I understood why, why I have never felt worthy of the love of a good woman, why I have pushed away lovers who were so good to me, and clung to those who were abusive. He led me to an insight, a deep one, about why I have had the pattern of relationships I have had, and thats scary, when it suddenly clicks like that.

@ManchuCandidate: Manchu, you are one of those not mentioned, that I wish were a friend. And I only say I wish, because I do not feel entitled to unilaterally claim you as a friend, just someone I wish were.

@Jamie Sommers: well, in this life, you are your avatar to me, what a beautiful woman she was and still is, and I am genuinely afraid to interact with you, in the same way I would be afraid to speak to a woman as beautiful as your avatar.

@Promnight: I doubt absolutely everything, I know nothing

From one magnificent bastard to another, Salud!

@Pedonator: Where are you located, you magnificent bastard? You on the east coast? I have made a very serious resolution, with this birthday, and that is that I will, I must, have a life, I must meet and be with and socialize with people I like and respect. You are one of those, people I like and respect.

Well, one of these days, I’d like to go to NYC/NJ and hang out. Depends on work and $ (or if I win the lottery–as if.)

@Promnight: I live in Nojolandia!

It is my grave misfortune not to have had pressing concerns in the East in many years since most of my close meat-world friends who once lived there have migrated back to the Left Coast. But if aeroplane travel, as a viable transport for the middle/upper-middle-class, somehow does not collapse in the near future, I will surely find reason to venture yon, and at that time make your acquaintance in the Real World.

@Promnight: So, also, if you ever get to Sandy Eggo you have a place to crash. Our guest room is unstoppable.

again, a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY to one of my favorite magnificent bastards.

your outlook reminds me of mark twain:

“i have had the most horrendous experiences in my life.
some of them even happened”

HAPPY TURKEY to all you magnificent bastards. i’m sitting this out with malia, as always. RB is in the kitchen right now handling a dead carcass.
i’m grateful not to be with my family this year and explain for the 24th time that i don’t eat animals and feel pitiful eyes and judgements upon me.
i’m thankful i know all of you. you are very real to me, as real as any other friends. i intend to meet all of you sometime, btw. have FUN today!

Well everyone had a good time last night. I had to get some sleep.

@redmanlaw: Winner! You win a trip to Cleveland with no questions asked. Yes, because the NT Times alphabetizes per the article. Yet one more reason to despise it.

@Pedonator: The docu film I mentioned isn’t about musical theatre it’s about the cost of doing something irrational over what might be considered safe. I find the show itself infinitely sad and its final image of them all kicking like automatons is very moving. Of course the casting for something like that production was particularly fierce but the film gives a pretty accurate picture of how it’s done by people who are not in the front rank of talent. And it’s heartbreaking to see so many talented people you know will never survive in the business which, it seems to me, closely mirrors the greater society; two or three people, whether by chance, accident, determination or, sometimes, talent, get it all while everyone else struggles for as long as they can. The show itself is a very effective vision of all of us trying to get by in a mad world where our own best qualities, what makes us individual, have to be hidden as we try to please people we don’t know and whose intentions we can’t guess at.

Anyhoo, strongly recommended.

@Mistress Cynica: The Ehrenreich book is very good and a quick read.

@Promnight: Hope you had a good b’day.

@Jamie Sommers: Is this the real life?
Is this just fantasy? Caught in a landslide, no escape from reality .

@Benedick: Hello, Cleveland!

@Promnight: Hang in there, bud. Tomorrow Son of RML and I go see la floresta (tha US Forest Service) for Christmas tree permits and then pop off a few rounds in the desert. I may do another firewood run this weekend, although the public radio station wants me live in the studio on Sunday for the Native American talk and music show. I think I’ll put them off for a month.

@SanFranLefty: I totally agree. Hope for the best, plan for the worst, be happy when stuff works out. What is really wierd is when you’re dealing with a smart person without a conscience and even that school of thought cannot prepare you for what can happen (opposing party in litigation. He was truly insane and lived in a parallel reality propped up for many years of being his tribe’s golden boy; also, an old school political hack we had to take down back home in another matter that involved petitions; a grand jury; lawsuits and bar disciplinary actions directed at me; and, finally, justice and my brief time in Big Time State Politics.)

I may be off on a mission of mercy to the Big City. Gobble gobble.

@Promnight: Hope you had a great birthday, Prommie. Are you going to update your food pron blog with your cooking today?

@All: Yeah, I think “Prepare for the worse, hope for the best” and having played out all the worst case scenarios in my head is a good way to go in life. It’s served me well so far. Of course, it’s also the reason I’ve taken bear spray to mediations and changed the locks on my door with more regularity than I change the sheets on my bed.

tj/note rec’d today from a client in a very difficult intertribal child custody action:

“Thanks for everything, this is one of the best Thanksgiving days ever. I never thought I would be with (my son) again, we are all thankful.”

@redmanlaw: That’s wonderful. Happy Thanksgiving, all!


Isn’t the more accurate word “infamous”?

Tj/ I am stuck commenting on my iPhone or I would go into rhapsodies of praise for each of you, old and new. Only I will shout.out OA, as I snubbed him last year. But for all of you, you are in my thoughts, and my thoughts are of good luck and great blessings, and of how thankful I am to have such good friends among the ghosts in the machine.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all. Even Benedick.

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