Frontier Former Editor

March 17, 2009

Here’s another reason to major in history, or at least read it more than once every few years . . .

The Credit Mobilier scandal of 1872 – a good reason to hold big business’ s and elected government’s collective feet to the fire on a regular basis.

“Crédit Mobilier of America was formed by George Francis Train, the vice-president in charge of publicity for the Union Pacific Railroad. Crédit Mobilier of America was designed to limit the liability of stockholders and maximize profits from construction with the hefty fees being paid by federal subsidies. The company also gave cheap shares of stock to members of Congress who agreed to support additional funding  . . .

“It was claimed that the $72 million in contracts had been given to Crédit Mobilier for building a rail only worth $53 million. Union Pacific and other investors were left nearly bankrupt.”

Okay folks, and that was 57 years before the 1929 crash. Dubya, let’s go over the success of the “No Child Left Behind Act” again, shall we?

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March 13, 2009

Where have you gone, Louis Rukeyser? Our nation holds its lonely eyes to you . .

If anyone ever questions or trivializes the role of satire and humor in society, they should remember this 10-minute segment.

Especially in a time where Citibank is hosting conference calls – on our tax dime – to encourage union-busting and who-knows-what-else.

What Stewart did is in the best tradition of Petroleum V. Nasby, Herblock, Samuel Clemens, Mort Sahl, George Carlin, Tom Lehrer and hosts of other humorists – ridicule, embarass, shame, humiliate and destroy anything that would prey upon society.

This society needs a huge sweep to remind ‘big business,’ ‘Wall Street,’ and every other over-dominant segment of the American business and political scene that acting like Charles Keating did in the  years leading up the the savings and loan scandals of the 1980s may not be child molestation but is just about as legally and morally defensible as being a child molester.

And while we’re at it on a bleak Friday afternoon, please allow Rush Limbaugh to continue broadcasting and expressing his opinion. Part of a free society is having the right to express one’s opinions and having the responsibility to defend the logic and rationality of those opinions.

And please allow Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele the right to express his political views for the same reason – even if he lacks the intellectual weight to generate rational policy and philosophical positions.

By the way – even Louis Rukeyser got caught violating federal trading rules, so be thankful, Jim Cramer. Be very, very thankful.

June 9, 2008

Something more freakish than living-dead dog heads

 

namely, the man who would think he has even a snowball’s chance in the jet blast of an F-15 in afterburner of becoming Virginia’s junior U.S. senator. I give you . . . . . James Gilmore.

Yes, James Gilmore, whose administration gave me more than enough to do during my career as a reporter.

James Gilmore, whose political bright idea was to phase out Virginia’s local personal property tax on personal automobiles. It sounds good, until one realized that:

A) Gilmore’s bright idea included having Virginia replace the phased-out revenue with state tax revenues, so we could all pay for our lower car tax with our own state tax monies.

B) Gilmore slightly underestimated the cost to state coffers – he said $40 million in state revenue annually to pay for the phase-out. The actual cost? Try more than $100 million annually.

C) Gilmore’s vision of lowering the local tax burden on Virginia citizens would have qualified as legal blindness, since localities found themselves raising real estate tazes and other fees to meet the shortfall. Ergo, more local taxes on the hard-working Virginia taxpayer.

D) Less available state tax revenue meant less funding for things like education, transportation, public health, and teacher and state employee raises. (The last item always gives me a big chuckle, since one of my relatives goes on about how Gilmore’s Democrat successors as governor screwed deputies and corrections staff out of their raises. News flash: Gilmore spent damn near all the money on your raises on his goofy pyramid scheme to lower your car taxes).

And, to round out a fun-filled four years of Big Jim the Car Tax King, he managed to make enough of his own party mad enough at him so that two major Republican legislators came out today to support the Democratic candidate for Virginia’s U.S. Senate candidate, Mark Warner.

Yep, it’s in the Washington Post and the Roanoke Times

Warner, incidentally, succeeded Gilmore as Virginia governor and managed to work with most state Republican legislators to rescue basic services and the state’s bond ratings. The two Republicans – Delegate Vince Callahan and state Senator John Chichester – were the top overseers of the state budget legislative process and enjoyed the distinction of having Gilmore veto the budget plan they crafted in an attempt to clean up the mess he helped bring about.

I had the interesting experience of interviewing Gilmore and of observing his arithmetic skills. When asked to explain why he didn’t apply more of his own discretionary economic development fund to seducing businesses to southwest Virginia. Gilmore promptly countered with the fact that he had spent several tens of millions in that fund west of Marion – even after I gave him the out of asking if he meant Marion.

After a little fact checking with the state’s economic development arm, it turns out that he spent more like less than $10 million west of Roanoke. Roanoke, incidentally, is about 100 miles east of Marion.

This – among several other chapters in Gilmore’s four-year success story – leads me to believe that Gilmore’s map of Virginia west of Roanoke consists of a blank area captioned with “Thar be sea monsters beyond!”

It’s not that Gilmore is a Republican and his opponent is a Democrat. It’s that Jim Gilmore has to be one of the dumbest, out-of-touch people ever to be governor of Virginia. I could name three Republican governors of this state who, in their worst ever days each could show without effort the decency, grace and intelligence that would turn James Gilmore into a pillar of salt.

Please, Jim, take the advice of Biff from “Back to the Future” and just make like a tree and GET OUTTA HERE!

December 27, 2007

Amateur night at the White House and the State Department

You’ve probably heard the latest from Pakistan by now, so I won’t bore you with the details of that particular bloodbath.

But if anything will finally illustrate to the most know-nothing Bush and GOP supporters that we’ve had bipolar kindergarteners running this country’s foreign policy since January 2001, the fallout from Bhutto’s murder should suffice.

In a peanutshell (quite adequate to contain the substance of 21st century American foreign policy):

  • The spawn of Reagan-era U.S. policy toward Afghanistan blows up the Pentagon and the World Trade Center.
  • Bush (heavily under Cheney’s influence) declares global war on terror and extorts the cooperation of an already-unstable, nuclear-armed Muslim country (Pakistan, in case you haven’t read the news for the past 2.5 decades) in said GWAT.
  • Bush (or Cheney) orders the invasion of Afghanistan – probably a reasonable rat hunt since we helped spawn the rise of the Taliban as well as the other warlords  in that perverse Flanders Field of a rock farm.
  • Bush – channeling Cheney and a whole bunch of Nixon-Reagan era manifest destiny disciples – decides to bring democracy to the Middle East and to defeat terror by invading Iraq, thus distracting us from the Afghanistan rat-catching expedition.
  • While contributing to a rising Islamic radicalism and militancy by invading Iraq, the Bush administration is distracted (or bored?) from the Afghanistan expedition.
  • U.S. adventurism in Iraq and support of our man in Pakistan also help fuel a rising militancy in Pakistan while we engage in the schizophrenia of supporting Musharraf for his ostensible anti- al Qaida stance and criticizing him for his anti-democracy stance.
  • And after finally going through the motions of being a democratic society, Pakistan  one of its prime candidates shot and shredded.
  • And our fearless leader/decider’s response? He asks Musharraf to go ahead with elections.

Some may say that we have a bunch of psychotics running our foreign policy. I still subscribe to the theory that we have stupid amateurs who couldn’t figure out a Fisher Price shape and color box for ages 2 and under.

September 3, 2007

I’ve been mean to Larry Craig, and he deserves it . . .

Filed under: Editorial, humanism, I'm not gay, Larry Craig, politics, public restrooms — Frontier Former Editor @ 8:03 pm

but not because of what may be misconstrued remarks on my part.

In and of itself, one’s sexuality is not really a concern for me. Straight, gay, lesbian, bi . . . I’ve got other things to worry about. If I’m going to like or dislike somebody, there’s better reasons to do so.

If Larry Craig was gay and had been trolling for consensual sex in a bar or other appropriate social setting . . . the power to him.

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August 27, 2007

What’s one attorney general forced from office in disgrace?

Too goddamned late and not enough.

But, hey, you take what you can get.

So, without further ado,  the annotated news guide to Alberto “Heirich Himmler” Gonzales (and a not-very-smart Himmler wannabe at that) . . . .

By MATT APUZZO, Associated Press Writer 7 minutes ago

WASHINGTON – Alberto Gonzales, the nation’s first Hispanic attorney general (and a much bigger-haired version of Heinrich Himmler, Harry Daugherty and John Mitchell), announced his resignation Monday, driven from office after a wrenching standoff with congressional critics over his honesty and competence (there was no standoff over his honesty and competence – everyone knew that he was a dissembling, unethical, gutless mouthpiece with an anus big enough to have Karl Rove’s and Dick Cheney’s hands inserted to operate his eyes, head and mouth).

Republicans and Democrats alike had demanded his departure over the botched handling of FBI terror investigations and the firings of U.S. attorneys, but President Bush had defiantly stood by his Texas friend (and clinically-defined toady) for months until accepting his resignation last Friday.

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August 26, 2007

Nothing like letting the worms come out after a good rain . . . .

Wandering through the Washington Post, I found an interesting little crop of op-ed and news pieces on my favorite fat, slimy bastard, Karl Rove. Consider the source of each one . . . .

Grover Norquist

Robert Novak

Eugene Robinson

Post editorial

Harold Meyerson

 Anne E. Kornblut and Michael D. Shear

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