Saturday, June 30, 2012

Cher Tweets About Magic Underwear. Mormons Outraged!

Mormons were up in arms today because Cher made reference to the ridiculous underwear that Mormons undergird themselves with, perhaps to make sure that they are as white as possible.  Well, excuse me, but if there is one thing that Cher knows, it's underwear, since that is what she wears as outerwear most of the time.  If Cher thinks your underwear isn't sexy, she's probably right.

Mormons were quick to play the victim card referring to her "magic underwear" as a "slur".  Yes, they are comparing that to racial slurs.  This from the church that only recently allowed black people to serve as priests.  This is from a religion that has racism written directly into their holy book, such as the claim that American Indians had their skin turned permanently red by God as a form of punishment.  Curiously, they didn't care to much about the actual bona fide racial slur she made where she commented that Mr. Rubbermask would be the "whitest" person in the White house.  Then again, by convention, since Cher is white, maybe it's OK for her to make fun of her own race.

However, by the just now made-up convention that Mormons twitters have laid out, if you refer to their idiotic underclothes as anything other than "celestial undergarments" then this is on par with treating them the same way that they treated black and red-skinned people until about five minutes ago.  Sounds like Mormon's have some pretty massive chips on their shoulders.  Not that they would hesitate for one second to mock anyone else's religion.

Here's the deal.  If you don't want people to make fun of your long-johns then you can (1) not wear them because that nonsense was only recently made up or (2) explain why the apparently ridiculous-looking garments are not so ridiculous.  Of course, they don't want to do either.  They want option (3), loved by all religious fanatics, which is "Demand that everyone else automatically respect any stupid thing we say, do, or wear if we declare it is part of our religion".  Of course, the reality is that fellow religious fanatics don't respect each others claims anyway.  This option is just a cry-baby tactic that is intended to work in one direction when the "offended" party wants to have something to flap his or her gums about.  Sorry, respect must always be earned, and you guys haven't even come close to earning respect for your garb.  FWIW, many catholics still make fun of the Pope's funny hat and the dresses that they make priests wear and they've been doing that a helluva lot longer than you guys.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Universal Healthcare Upheld. Fundies Outraged

In a 5-to-4 decision the Supreme Court upheld universal health care for Americans, known as the Affordable Care Act, or derisively by opponents as ObamaCare. Naturally, the most publically self-righteous religious fanatics members of the court, such as Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Antonin Scalia were automatically opposed to it before the first word of deliberation began. They clearly and unavoidably contradict their alleged Christian convictions, which claim that a "right to life" exists, when they insist that the right to medical care does not exist. To paraphrase Scalia on another ruling, it "boggles the mind" to see them insist that this so-called "right to life" exists but that the same government which guarantees this right is under no obligation to provide for access to medical care necessary to preserve life for its citizens. Fortunately, their form of insanity is still being rejected by slender margins in the current court makeup.

Even more outraging to knee-jerk religious right-wingers will be that John Roberts, a man they counted as a fellow koolaid drinker, actually stayed consistent to his sworn convictions to exercise "judicial restraint" and not "legislate from the bench".  His roundup of usual right-wing associates, with whom he usually sides, had no such qualms, as when they reaffirmed their Citizen's United ruling, invalidating campaign contribution limit laws in Montona and elsewhere.

Friday, June 22, 2012

"Moral values" is clumsy, backwards logic

All the time one hears phrases like "moral values" strung together, even those these words mean quite different things, and often make little sense when strung together.  Most of the time, the person using the phrase just means "morals", and "values" is simply a space-filler hitching a ride.  See, a value is something like "bacon is delicious".  It is the feeling one has, based upon inherent properties of oneself and the bacon.  Morals, on the other hand, are codes of conduct, often coming from tradition or cultural standards and decrees.  They are things like, "God commands that thou shalt not to eat bacon", which he did in fact command under Kosher food laws (Kashrut) in the Jewish Old Testament.  Those concepts are not at all the same thing, though some people go through contortions to try to act like they are.  

It's easy to see why they are different, because you will notice that Kosher food laws do not say, "bacon tastes bad".  It is a moral, but it is not necessarily a value. It technically doesn't matter how the bacon tastes, or if it might be of value for various different purposes.  Bacon can (and does) taste AWESOME (a value), but it can still be forbidden to eat (a moral).  A moral does not necessarily depend upon a value, nor is a moral a type of value.  

Note:  You may say that you value the rule itself (the moral), but this makes it a "valued moral", not a "moral value".  Moral is an adjective that describes value, not the other way around. In any event, "a value" (noun) is different than something upon which we may attempt to impose value (an action).  In other words, when I say "I love bacon" that is a value (noun) that I have, but when I say "this bacon costs a dollar", I am attempting to assign a monetary value or more formally to valuate (a verb) a product.  The monetary context speaks of values in a different way, because things can still be valuable, even with no monetary value, and things with high monetary value may have no value at all.  In the last case, think of junk bonds or certain financial "derivatives".  In any event, lets get back to talking about values in a more abstract, non-monetary sense, as they traditionally are in a religious or ethical framework.

So what would a true "moral value" look like. In this construction a "moral value" must be a kind of value which happens also to be a moral.  They're not as easy to come up with as one might imagine.  Can we say, for example, "God commands you not to like the taste of bacon?"  Is that an example of this elusive "moral value" of which some speak?  Sadly, no.  Commanding someone not to like something does not mean that he or she will not actually like it, even if this person wants to be obedient to the command.  One need look no further than homosexuals, many of whom try to be good Christians by denying their attractions.  

This brings us to a central issue in the values versus morals dichotomy.  Many moralists start with the moral rule, and then say "Since I know it's wrong (morally)" I must convince myself and others not to like it.  This would be like saying, "Because God forbids me to eat bacon, I must convince myself and others that it tastes like sh1t".  It would certainly be easier if one could reprogram oneself to revalue things based upon one's moral rules.  It would make it a lot easier to keep those rules.  Many young people value excessive drinking and promiscuous sex, for example.  But Christianity (and other religions) says that this is morally wrong.  So the notion is, to help these young people keep the rule we must teach them not to like sex and/or getting drunk.  Of course, this seldom works for long -- just ask alcoholics and sexaholics.  Sure, they can make you feel guilty about it, but they often cannot, through sheer willpower, change the way our bodies react to alcohol or the chemical attractions of sexuality.  

The problem is that this is a backwards way of looking at behavior to begin with.  It says, "God tells me not to eat bacon ... so I better learn not to like the taste".  Instead, the natural way to proceed is to start with values and allow these to guide our conduct, instead of making the rules and then trying to change our desires.  One starts with a value, such as "bacon is fan-FRICKEN-tastic" and then moves to a behavior, "Ima get me a bacon sandwich".  Now, assuming that, at this point, God does come down from the sky and say, "Put that bacon sandwich down, FATBOY", perhaps one would be obligated to comply, but one still doesn't have to pretend to not like the taste.  

Now you may be thinking, I've got an example of a true "moral value".  What about "Murder is bad"?  Well, murder is just the name we use for "the bad kind of killing", in the first place.  Murder already has a judgment smuggled into the word itself.  If we approved of the killing we wouldn't call it "murder" but "justifiable homicide".  Of course, we would have to invent separate criteria for saying that this was "the good kind of killing that I like", versus "the wrong kind of killing that I don't like".

Don't get me wrong:  I'm not saying it's impossible to formulate some kind of thing that may be a value that is also a moral.  Perhaps something along the lines of "All life is too valuable to take".  I don't agree with it, but it may express both a value proposition about life and suggest a code of conduct as well.  Yet most people are not talking about this when they talk about "moral values".  Note also that, for this approach to work one would still not be able to say "This is only valuable to me because (I believe) it is valuable to God".    This would be like claiming "I like the taste of broccoli only because I believe God wants me to like it".  It would not be convincing that wanting to like broccoli could, though force of will, definitively alter the data from your taste buds.

A final issue is a possible hierarchies of values.  Perhaps one can argue that, sure I like sex, and booze, but I like other things, like living addiction-free, even more.  Religious people could argue, as many do now, that they value obedience to what they believe is God's will more than they value the temptations of the flesh.  But, in the end they sure seem to succumb to those temptations often times, so it is not clear that they are really being honest about their values...and it is still a lot more clear when you just talk about morals and values separately.  Thanks.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Stop writing sob stories about poor sez GOP hopeful

In yet another example of Compassionate Conservatism, modeled on the teachings of Jesus, GOP senatorial candidate Eric Hovde of Wisconsin said that the press should really stop writing about the struggles of poor people during this recession that his party created through financial deregulation and tax cuts for the rich.  Mr. Hovde says he is sick and tired of reading stories that say, "Oh, the person couldn't get, you know, their food stamps or this or that."  Unsurprisingly, Hovde then indicated that he supported more tax cuts for corporations, and the contradictory position that we need to reduce the cutting taxes on corporations who can afford to pay more.  I know, I know, voodoo economics 101 says that cutting taxes for a corporation magically creates jobs, but this falsehood has been repeatedly rubbished in this recession and the previous ones, all the way back to when Trickle down economics was first proposed.  The fact is that many corporations already dodge most of their tax liability anyway.  They don't need any help, and they are certainly not going to use their latest windfall to "create jobs" when they know that their customers don't have any disposable income to spend.  What would "create jobs" would be for middle class people to have more disposable income, which requires that we cut their taxes, not the taxes of the wealthy who already have more disposable income than they need, by definition.  For more discussion on this point see Why Trickle Down Economics Never Worked.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Teacher of the Year Laid Off...Thanks, MITT! MITTsion accomplished

Michelle Apperson was named Teacher of The Year in Sacramento, California.  However, this did not prevent her from being laid off due to massive budget cuts.  I'm sure that So-Full-Of-Mitt Romney is already getting the Mission Accomplished (MITTsion Accomplished) banner ready after this news, because he is on record as saying that the "message of Wisconsin" is that we need to fire more teachers, fire fighters, and police officers, because we need "smaller government".

Mitt Runs Like a Little Girl from Protesters in Quakertown, PA

The Mitt Romney campaign, for some strange reason, had planned to give a speech at a WaWa gas station in rural Quakertown, Pennsylvania.  But there were actually some protesters there so Chicken$hit Mitt started Quaking in his boots and ran away from them like he ran from being drafted during the Vietnam war. He eventually stopped running like he stole something when he got to another gas station about two miles down the road.  He then gave his speech to great applause from the gas pumps and the empty parking lot and then disappeared back inside his tour bus so that Romney, Incorporated could practice being So Full of Mitt for his next gas station visit.

Did Mitt Romney's Face Rob A Bank or What?

One wonders when the media will finally get around to asking the question that has surely been on everyone's mind since Mitt Romney began his presidential bid.  "Dude, is that your real face, or is that the mask you just used to rob a bank?"
Perhaps the so-called mainstream media can get around to asking it, just as soon as they can stop kissing the a$$ of the latest corporate fat cat, like Jamie Dimon for five seconds.

I mean if the thing on Mitt's head is actually his real face then it would still make a good bank robbers mask anyway, considering that he has robbed many bank accounts of the corporations he bankrupted.  It would be a good bank robbers mask for the many bank accounts of the workers whose pensions he stole and whose wages he cut, before shipping their jobs to India.  

But Mitt thinks that corporations are people, and this inclines me to think that his face is not real.  It causes me to think that Mitt's face was fabricated, down to the last strand of plastic hair, to be the virtual face of the animatronic people that Mitt believes corporations to be.  

After all, when Mitt proclaimed "Corporations are people, my friend", betraying his dual ignorance of the law and his ignorance of the fact that nobody likes him, people should have asked him, "Ok then where is the body of this person that you say a corporation is?"  Of course, even first semester business law students at a community college know that a corporation is a "fictitious person".  Perhaps Mitt doesn't know what the word fictitious means.  He might have missed that day at Harvard.  Possibly he was out robbing a bank with his fake face, and couldn't be bothered to crack open a book and do some reading.  Maybe that is what gave birth to entity we know today as Mitt Romney, Incorporated that walks around like a human inside of his suits.  

Friday, June 15, 2012

Obama takes high ground on immigration...not deporting the good kids

Team Obama has definitely outmaneuvered Romney again on the immigration issue.  To play to his base, Mitt Romney, who's grandfather was born in Mexico, had to take an irrationally hard line on immigration.  This made his hopes of attracting Hispanic voters on social issues a bit harder.  Now there is yet another reason for Hispanics to favor Obama.  He won't deport young people (under age 30) who are the children of undocumented immigrants, so long as they have not been in legal trouble, and don't present any security risks.  After all the children often didn't have a choice about whether to come to the US, and now they have grown up in the US they may not speak Spanish or know much of the culture of the country from which their parents came.  It is a lot hard to vilify young people than it is to vilify all immigrants. 

This policy stands in sharp contrast to the extremist tactics adopted by Arizona and some other states with respect to immigration.  This also plays well with Obama's base and potentially defends him against attempts to make in-roads into the Hispanic voting block.  Not that republicans were too adept at that, as when the GOP created a "Latino" website where the kids pictured there were actually Asian.  With competence levels like they might as well write off that demographic (Latinos and Asians). 

Apple iOS6 includes gay emojis

Icons called "emojis" can be embedded in emails sent from the iPhone or the iPad.  However, the latest operating system update, iOS6, will include emojis that include images of homosexual couples holding hands or even kissing.  I have an android phone, and though I use my iPad2 quite a bit still, I don't recall ever adding an emoji to any email.  Since I'm straight, however, presumably it never would have been a problem for me to find one representing me or my wife.  So I'm glad to see that Apple is trying to include more people.  Now if they would just include some humanist or even atheist emojis.  As it turns out atheists are still one of the most unjustifiably reviled and mistrusted minorities in the US, even compared to homosexuals. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The right to be "offended"

If person A walked up to person B and said "Hello. It's a nice day isn't it?", and person B responded by saying "Your statement offends me", how would you respond? Most reasonable people would probably respond by saying, perhaps in slightly more diplomatic terms, "f@ck off, you have no right to claim that statement 'offended' you.". After all, it was not meant to be an attack on person B, requiring a defense, and we cannot simply take person B's word that "offensive" means anything B arbitrarily declares it to mean. In other words, there is some expectation on the part of person B to make a reasonable argument demonstrating why a particular statement constitutes an attack or "offense". We will certainly listen to that person's argument, and evaluate whether it is persuasive, but we cannot, contrary to the beliefs in some quarters, automatically says that something is offensive, just because someone else asserts it to be so. Yes, that person may have a feeling, and perhaps, more accurately, the person can claim, "I feel offended by X". But there is a difference between feeling that something is the case and actually showing that ones feeling is true. Yes, you may feel a certain way, but feelings can be wrong. Nobody is saying that you are wrong that you feel it, but it is possible to feel that something is true, which is actually false. I realize that is a very long prologue to introducing my point. However, it is likely necessary, because every one of those objections comes up in the discussion that follows, and therefore it is necessary to dispense with those ahead of time, or the conversation bogs down and becomes impossible to continue. Now then, imagine that, instead of the person saying, "Hello. It's a nice day, isn't it?" person A instead said, "Hello. I'm not convinced that God exists". I know a number of people who would hear this alternate statement and claim it was "offensive". Fortunately, we have just established, for every reason listed above, that such a person is not entitled to make this claim. To begin with, the statement is not clearly an attack or "offense" that requires a defense to it. It is an opinion, to be sure, as is "It's a nice day", and perhaps it seems to come out of nowhere, but that is certainly not sufficient to make it offensive. At the very least an argument still needs to be made that this constitutes an attack on the other person, or that it is an unreasonable topic to express publicly. After all, religious people often express the opposite sentiment, "I am absolutely convinced that God exists", and it is seldom even proposed that this is "offensive". Perhaps some people may feel put on the spot, or feel that they must express the opposite point of view immediately. Perhaps some people even resent that the other person has created a situation where such reactions may arise. But that would be true of many other topics, and that doesn't automatically make the expression of any potentially controversial view to be "offensive". Now, perhaps an argument could be put forth which would establish that this particular statement is, in fact, offensive. But, as it stands, in the absence of an argument being advanced, our response to that statement as well should be, "f@ck off, you don't have the right be offended by that statement".

Islamist Parliament Abolished in Egypt

The Egyptian Supreme Court has ruled that the nation's parliament is invalid due to fundamental problems with election laws that swept Islamic radicals of the Muslim Brotherhood into power.  The Court has returned emergency legislative power to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, who took over interim control after the ouster of former strong man Hosni Mubarrak.   They have vowed to write a new constitution for Egypt.  One of the chief criticisms of the new dissolved Parliament was that it had been operating for over 4 months, but was utterly dead-locked on how to proceed with writing a new constitution.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Mormons Are Not Christians, Says Prominent Mormon

Mormon writer and professor David Mason has finally spilled the beans on Mormonism, admitting that Mormonism is not Christianity -- indeed, he says it is no more a form of Christianity than Christianity is a type of Judaism.  That is, just like Christianity came from Judaism, Mormonism came from Christianity (and Judaism).  However, Christianity is not Judaism, despite its origins, nor is Mormonism a type of Christianity.  Mason notes that this argument is also advanced by Richard B. Land of the Southern Baptist Convention who argues that Mormonism is a "fourth" Abrahamic religion, separate from Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

Of course, Mason notes that most Mormons vehemently insist that they are Christians.  They often do so because they believe that Jesus is divine in some sense.  However, Mason points out that Mormons do not accept the Trinity, which is central to most forms of Christianity, except Unitarianism, and therefore reject the Nicene Creed's formula that Jesus is also to be identified with "the Father" and "the Holy Spirit".  Therefore, while Mormons "believe in Jesus", the Jesus that they believe in is radically different than the one that almost all Christians believe in.  By the way, many Christians do not consider Unitarians to be legitimate Christians either.

Mason points out that, once Christians finally came out and admitted that they were not actually authentic Jews, it allowed them to establish their own identity, and they ended up being quite successful there.  Likewise, he feels that Mormons should just admit that the religion they practice is not authentic Christianity of the form that has been practiced for almost 2000 years and move on.  I am not sure that they will be lucky enough to share in the accidents of history that catapulted Christianity so far up the social ladder.

I suspect that Mormonism, as prudish as it presently is, will either be forced to undergo radical change, or it will radically decline, just as we are seeing in many ultra-traditionalist sects of Judaism, Islam, and Christianity.

Embryonic Stem Cells To Restore Vision

New research out of Japan, where stem cell science has not languished under religiously and politically motivated bans, such as that imposed for eight years by former president George W. Bush, suggests that human EMBRYONIC stem cells can be vital for helping to restore sight.  Researchers successfully coaxed these embryonic cells to produce a component of the eye called the "optic cup" which is the portion of the eye, including the retina, which senses light and allows us to see.  It is suggested that this lab-grown material might be transplanted, at some point, into the eyes of patients to help restore their vision.  Perhaps if Bush had not effectively banned embryonic stem cell research in the US for almost a decade then this research would be coming from the US, rather than Japan.  With eight additional years of research it might even have reached the stage where it was out of the lab and helping people to see right now.  Unfortunately, in a very literal sense, religious extremists have a blind spot, when it comes to technologies like this, and would rather keep people in permanent darkness, than allow them to see the light. 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Romney sez cut teachers, fire fighters, and policemen

Mitt Romney would like to pretend Obama is "out-of-touch" for the "out-of-context" remark that "the private sector is doing fine", since it has been growing jobs for 27 weeks, compared to the public sector which has consistently lost jobs.  However, in the process of trying to to make hay of that remark by Obama, Romney mocked the idea that we need to hire more teachers, firefighters, and policemen saying of Obama, "Did he not get the message of Wisconsin?"

Hummm.....first off, in Wisconsin, firefighters and police unions were exempted from the ridiculous union-busting tactics applied to teachers in Wisconsin.  So that doesn't fly, but even Walker was not trying to fire a bunch of teachers or saying that we need a lot fewer of them.  He was just trying to cheat them a little on their pensions and nickel-dime them on wages.  I think Romney's big mouth just lost him the police and fire fighter vote.  Granted, teachers probably weren't going to vote for him because they're educated and all, but there are a lot of republicans in the police force and fire departments who don't believe that they are all a bunch of "worthless government bureaucrats", as Romney seems to see them.  

So I think that's a lot more damaging than some out-of-context statement where Romney basically complains that the economy could be better, despite the fact that he and his Republican cronies opposed any stimulus, and basically advised doing nothing, except giving more tax cuts to millionaires. Obama had to force them, kicking and screaming, every step of the way to accept any stimulus at all, and then a number of Republican governors refused to even spend the stimulus money that the federal government had given them.  In fact a great deal of the unemployment in the public sector comes from a handful of southern Republican states where they refused to spend stimulus money and then laid off a ton of public workers.  They have some nerve to turn around, after actively standing in the way of economic recovery, and whine that things didn't clean up the George Bush recession of 2008 any faster.  

Besides, the actual message of Wisconsin that they cannot avoid is that "UNIONS INCREASE WAGES".  Walker would not fight so bitterly against unions if they did not get better wages and better benefits for their members.  In the minds of people like Romney and Walker this is a BAD THING and is why unions must be destroyed -- because they will not accept minimum wage slavery for their members.  In the minds of sane Americans this is why we need more and more unions, and not the fake public workers unions who are prohibited from even striking, no matter what kinds of bad-faith deal someone like Walker tries to force upon them.  Despite outspending his opponent 10 to 1 in Wisconsin Walker only won by a few points.  If twice as many people had been in unions there then he probably would have lost and he would have had to find a way to balance budgets without stealing money out of the pockets of teachers.

It is always possible for unscrupulous people like Walker to find some minority to rob.  He could have just as easily declared that any adult under five feet tall had to contribute an extra $1000 as a "state short-person tax".  After all there is a crisis, and surely short people have something to do with it.  Furthermore, most adults are five feet tall or above, so it won't affect them.  Besides, if short people complain about it, then it should be easy to have them beaten up, because they're short and all.  That is precisely the mentality that prevailed in Wisconsin, only instead of "short people" they choose "teachers".  

Taxed Enough Already? RU Sure? How Do You Know?

The so-called right-wing Tea Party was an anti-tax movement originally modelled on the Boston Tea Party.  They later adopted the backronym that "T.E.A" stood for "Taxed Enough Already".  However, one has to wonder, since tax rates/deductions have changed considerably in the decades since it was founding, and both state and federal budgets change from year to year, how these people know that, no matter what, they are always being taxed enough.  Have they really done studies to figure out how much taxation is "enough"?  Or are they just admitting that they hate having to pay even a single penny of taxes, because they have no concept of civic responsibility.  As noted, that is doubtful, since that would change on a regular basis depending upon factors like the budget, the economy, wars, recessions, etc.  Yet these victims insist that they are being taxed too much,, regardless of what the tax rate is.

This is just further evidence that Republicans are not serious when they talk about smaller government.  They are intentionally vague about what smaller government even means.  They have no agreed upon way to measure  how small is too small or just right.  They often try to soothe their critics by assuring them that they still want massive military spending, and a large police apparatus.  After all, someone has be their to defend the property of all those Tea Baggers so that they can keep hating the government from the privacy of their homes.  But outside of supporting unlimited defense spending, and a large police state, so long as the police are only used against their political enemies, there is no agreement on what else should be part of small government.  Some want to abolish the public school system, the federal reserve, social security, the EPA, and the NEA.  Others just want lower taxes or a flat tax, ala Herman Cain.  Remember Mr. 9 9 9?  Of course, they would still be "taxed enough", presumably, even at 9%, I am sure.  Otherwise the party would be over and they might have to get real jobs and find some other excuse for dressing up in wigs and skirts and screaming about things they don't understand.  If they want to do that, perhaps they should just go join a local theater company.

Obama Is Pro-Choice, Romney is Multiple-choice

Back in 1994 when Mitt Romney was busy losing his senate election to Ted Kennedy the issue of abortion came up in a debate.  Mitt Romney (version 1994) claimed that he was pro-choice, at the time, because Romney's mother had been pro-choice when she also ran for and lost her bid for the US Senate.  Teddy Kennedy responded that people knew where he stood on the issue because he had a record that was clearly pro-choice, whereas he noted his opponent (Romney) was "multiple choice".  
If you go over to you can see many of his other multiple choice flip flops on matters financial and social.  

Why Trickle-Down Economics Never Worked

You still have some hard-core Republicans insisting that millionaires and billionaires need more tax breaks as the sole way to “stimulate” the economy, create jobs, etc.  There are a lot of reasons that this self-serving , trickle-down theory has never worked and will never work. 

To begin with, rich people, by definition, already have more money than they need, or they would not be called rich, would they?  So they don’t need an extra “tax break” in order to afford to hire another butler or limo driver.  Rich people don’t sit around saying, “I hope the government passes that tax break so that I can afford to pay those illegal immigrants to mow my lawn”.  Poor people are the ones who sit at home hoping that there will be a little extra in this month’s check to be able to afford to go to the beauty parlor or get a massage. 

So, generally speaking, rich people can already afford to hire additional servants, or purchase additional goods and services, but they don’t want to.  I mean, after all, there are limits on what a person can consume, and when you’re already rich and have already satisfied all your basic appetites, giving that person a little bit more money will not make it any easier to eat or drink or party more.  When your belly is already full, money will not make more room inside of it.  It won’t make you hungry when you’re already stuffed.  It won’t make you party hardy when you’re already partied out. 
Just to reiterate, since rich people already have more money than they need, giving them additional money on top of what they are choosing not to spend right now, logically speaking, doesn’t seem like a good formula for changing that behavior.  Especially for billionaires, who may not even notice the excess funds, the idea that a small additional pittance from the government will inspire an avalanche of consumption is na├»ve, to say the least.

See, there are plenty of things that rich people can do with money rather than spend it.  Classically speaking, they can always afford to just hoard it.  It might not be logical to sit on it and do nothing, but psychologically, it may give a sense of “security” to hold onto that money for a “rainy day”.  As the Bill Gates character on the Simpsons said, “I didn’t get rich by writing checks”.  Rich people are still human and, even in their yachts, they too must worry about running aground on unexpected financial shoals.  In fact, in the words of a rather well-known rich person who goes by the notorious initials B.I.G., when you have “mo’ money”, you often also have “mo’ problems”, since you have mo’ to worry about losing. 
After all, it’s actually work for a rich person to hire someone and then have to manage that labor.  If you suddenly give a rich person more money for doing nothing, why should she want to immediately run out and expend a lot of time and effort figuring out what to do with it.  Where is the urgency when you already have plenty, and, for that matter, why work hard when you don’t have to?  Again, this might be what poor people do when they get an extra $50, but it is not necessarily what rich people do, even when they get an extra $50,000.  It is almost as if trickle-down economics is a poor-person’s misconception of how they think rich people are supposed to act. 

Of course, some of the slightly more sophisticated tricklers may be thinking to themselves that only rich people will have enough concentrated money to invest it in things like purchasing a factory, and increasing the “supply side” of our economy.  However, there are such things as stock markets, or a business partnerships, or even crowd-source funding, which allow people to pool their money.  So one does not have to be a single, wealthy individual in order to invest money in ways that grow business production.  For that matter, most businesses do not need to be big.  The vast majority of American businesses are not only small, but micro.  Whereas a small business is often defined as anything up to a couple million dollars, many businesses are started with far less than few million dollars. 

Alternatively, there is a much stronger case to be made for giving tax breaks to non-wealthy or “po’ people”.  Even poor people who might be tempted to save some money for a rainy day often do not have enough money to do that, and are therefore are not in the habit of doing it regularly, just based on necessity.  In the same way that we defined a rich person has having more money than he or she needed, a poor person generally has less money than needed.  Therefore, when a poor person gets money, it is a safe bet that this money will already be spoken for in any number of different ways.  There will be past due bills to pay, and repairs put off, and needs that are crying to be met.  The sense of urgency which was found lacking on the part of wealthy people will be found in abundance among the poor. 

For that matter, there is likely to remain a sense of urgency even among the middle class.  People often live up their means, so people who make more tend to quickly spend more, and may feel as strapped for excess cash as the poor.  It is only after people reach a certain level of affluence, which some have estimated at $80-90 thousand / year in present US dollars that people find they can pretty much afford all the basic wants and needs, and excess money becomes of diminishing importance. 

However, for most middle-class people they had to work their way up and they know what it is to be poor, either as struggling college students, or due to temporary layoffs and unemployment experienced in the past.  Try as some might, many cannot forget where they come from, because they are only one pink slip away from returning to poverty.  Thus, many middle-class people carry with them the mindsets of their impoverished days, perhaps explaining the rampant consumerism, and “live for today” credit card sprees that are all too common, instead of savings, and investing. 

Yet, I would argue that this does not mean that we must only count on the rich for savings and investing.  Indeed, many in the upper-middle class, where all their basic needs are being met, have to do something with that excess money, and they are the ones who are likely to start looking for places to put that money which cannot be easily spent right away.   Furthermore, most middle class people have pension plans which come with their employment, in the form of 401Ks or the equivalent.  The more affluent end of the middle class can probably also afford supplemental plans, Roth IRAs , and a variety of additional investments, including stocks and bonds.  Thus, we do not need to rely on the millionaires and billionaires to shoulder that burden either. 

There are also other reasons that trickle down would be questionable.  Since the time of Pareto, wealth disparities in the 80:20 (wealth to population) range have given way to 90:10 and higher.  This suggests that wealth has not been trickling down for quite some time, and, in fact has been moving the other way.   Even if a poor person gets some money, he or she runs out and spends it at Walmart, owned by some of the wealthiest individuals on the planet.  Even among the rich there is stratification where the wealthiest 1% owns far more than the rest of the top 10%.  The point is not to make any judgments about these people, but merely to suggest that money is more likely to suck up than to trickle down.  

Romney Ain't Reagan, He Aint Even Bush...41

Are there any conservatives who really love Romney the way that they loved Reagan?  Of course not.  It takes more than a haircut to do that.  
Are there any conservatives who even love Romney as much as Bush?  Either Bush?  Of course not.  
Romney might be a little more charismatic than Bush 41, but he is certainly no Bush 43.  Hell, he's not even McCain or Palin.  Right-wingers would probably much rather have Mrs. YouBetcha as their nominee than old square as a Picasso pear Mitt Romney.  

Plus he's a Mo..Mo...Mormon.  Many Republicans will swear on a stack of Holy Books which are coincidentally not the Book of Mormon that they don't care about that at all -- yeah right.  They're Republicans, not hippie-dippy progressives who hold hands and sing Kumbaya.  They are not exactly paragons of open-mindedness.  

They might grit their teeth and accept him since they effectively have no choice and are stuck with him as the nominee, but the idea that they really love this guy is laughable.  Can you imagine right-wingers sitting around the radio and listening to Romney the way they listen to Limbaugh, or Hannity, or Savage is beyond absurd.  To borrow a phrase from Mark Twain that he used to describe Mormonism in his day, Romney's speeches are "chloroform in print".  

Liberals might have been a little disillusioned by Obama after 4 years, but they can still find things to like about him.  Right-wingers are at a real loss to find things they like about Mitt Romney.  Back when Bush was running against Kerry the metric for likability was who you would rather have a beer with.  Well, considering that Romney is a Mormon and therefore doesn't drink, I guess Obama automatically wins that one too.  

Bush claimed that God choose him to be president, but if Romney is elected would that mean that God approves of Mormonism?  I think right-wingers need to think long and hard about that before they cast their ballot for him.  They might do better by just putting up with Obama for another 4 years instead of effectively legitimizing and boosting Mormonism on the national stage.