Tuesday, August 2, 2011

An Exploding Kicked Can of Toxic Soda

Bullet Passing Through Soda Can (Andrew Davidhazy, Rochester Institute of Technology)

The "Super Committee" (a dozen Congress members to be tasked with cutting  a trillion-odd more from the budget as its Scroogean Christmas present to the nation later this year)  is more than just another kicked can of rancid cat food.  Since the last Cat Food Commission failed to agree on how to cure the deficit, the second commission will operate with some built-in triggers.  This kicked can may well explode into more crazy pieces than a fictionalized memoir by a junkie.

"Passage of a supersonic .22 caliber bullet through a soda can causes the fluid to expand outwards through the hole created by entry and exit and the bullet also drags a certain amount of fluid along with it. This photograph is a microsecond slice of time during this explosive event" according to the recent RIT lab experiment so vividly documented above.

Failure of the New Austerians to slash and burn an already deciminated social safety net even more by Thanksgiving will result in the equally vivid event of automatic cuts to Medicare providers.  But Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi sure did save the Medicare program itself, didn't they?  You will not be required to tear up your Medicare card at all!  You, personally, will not be affected.  If your doctor won't treat you for free, just blame your doctor.  And be sure to eat your peas for the roughage and Vitamin C.  If you cut yourself, don't go wimping out to the emergency room. Slap on a bandaid and then tear it off yourself, you wusses!

Economics writer Catherine Rampell has a cogent take on the "Committee" on today's New York Times.  She quotes a Brookings Institute fellow who compares the proposed body to a previous Congressional panel deciding which military bases to close:

“Expedited procedures count for a lot, and triggers count for a lot, if they can get them to work,” Professor (Sarah) Binder said. “All these delegated panels involve kicking the can down the road, but this one tries to make that can explode if gets kicked.”
The phony Debt Ceiling Armageddon and the austerity it enabled will give birth to a multitude of very real Armageddons in the near and distant future. Politicians have fixated on the deficit as the disease, rather than the symptom. They have mixed up cause and effect. Wall Street greed and government deregulation caused households to lose trillions in wealth, causing unemployment and foreclosures, causing lost revenue, causing the government deficit. Yet, as Paul Krugman explains, Washington is just like the medieval physician who bled patients to cure them, making them ever sicker. And come to think of it, the Plutocracy is even worse than a healer from the Dark Ages: it not only bleeds the patients dry, it drinks their blood.  I hope they all choke on it.


Janet Camp said...

Something that doesn't get mentioned here when talking about cuts in the social safety net is the view of Republicans (and more specifically T-Bags), that these cuts don't much matter because only useless, lazy, dirtbags will be affected. Especially useless, lazy, dirtbags of color (for whom they harbor a deep-seated fear that a President of color will try to coddle and placate).

I would once have thought that what I'm about to say is radical or conspiratorial, but I think we are witnessing the revenge of the Confederacy (and the Civil Rights Act and the Women's Movement and any other efforts that seek to make democracy available to all).

Denis Neville said...

Compare today’s news from Austeria with the letter below from 1978…

In his 1978 resignation letter from the President Carter’s Labor-Management Group after the defeat of labor reform legislation, Douglas Fraser of the United Auto Workers, wrote,

“I believe leaders of the business community, with few exceptions, have chosen to wage a one-sided class war today in this country - a war against working people, the unemployed, the poor, the minorities, the very young and the very old, and even many in the middle class of our society. The leaders of industry, commerce and finance in the United States have broken and discarded the fragile, unwritten compact previously existing during a past period of growth and progress… The latest breakdown in our relationship is also perhaps the most serious. The fight waged by the business community against that Labor Law Reform bill stands as the most vicious, unfair attack upon the labor movement in more than 30 years… Corporate leaders knew it was not the "power grab by Big Labor" that they portrayed it to be. Instead, it became an extremely moderate, fair piece of legislation that only corporate outlaws would have had need to fear… At virtually every level, I discern a demand by business for docile government and unrestrained corporate individualism. Where industry once yearned for subservient unions, it now wants no unions at all… Our tax laws are a scandal, yet corporate America wants even wider inequities… The wealthy seek not to close loopholes, but to widen them by advocating the capital gains tax rollback that will bring them a huge bonanza. Even the very foundations of America's democratic process are threatened by the new approach of the business elite… For all these reasons, I have concluded there is no point to continue sitting down at Labor-Management Group meetings and philosophizing about the future of the country and the world when we on the labor side have so little in common with those across the table. I cannot sit there seeking unity with the leaders of American industry, while they try to destroy us and ruin the lives of the people I represent… I would rather sit with the rural poor, the desperate children of urban blight, the victims of racism, and working people seeking a better life than with those whose religion is the status quo, whose goal is profit and whose hearts are cold.”

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

Amen. I am totally aghast at the events unfolding in Washington and the shredding of the social safety net. The powers that be don't even bother to hide their contempt for middle class and poor Americans these days. And with the President for whom we voted with such hope looking more and more like a GOP Trojan Horse... the situation looks very dire, indeed. What's scary is so many middle class Americans have drunk the Kool-Aid and still uphold GOP goals and principles to destroy the lives of all of us average citizens. Maybe Janet is right about the conspiracy of the old Confederacy!

jhand said...

Great post, Karen. Same to you, Janet. I would add that Congress' failure to deal with the debt ceiling on a stand-alone basis, mis-diagnose the problems with the economy, then create another body to solve their mis-diagnosed problem tells us that all 535 of them are either unwilling or incapable of performing the duties for which they were elected, i,e, governance. What a pathetic group, masquerading in fancy suits and well-coiffed hair, with a gaggle of adoring post-teen staffers kissing their wrinkled butts.

Janet Camp said...

@Dennis Neville

Thank you for finding and sharing this letter.

Mr. Fraser's words are stirring and eerily prescient.


Thank you for the thumbs up but let's remember that 95 in the house and 26 (I think) in the had the guts to vote against it.

Denis Neville said...

Excerpt from Keith Olbermann's Debt Ceiling Special Comment last night on Current:

“Where is the outrage over these Great Hypocrisies? Do you expect it to come from a corrupt and corrupted media, for whom access is of greater importance than criticizing the failure of a political party, or defending those who don't buy newspapers, or can't leap website pay walls, or could not afford cable tv?

Do you expect it to come from a cynical and manipulative political structure? Do you expect it from those elected officials who no longer know anything of government or governance, but only perceive how to get elected, or how to pose in front of a camera and pretend to be leaders? Do you expect it from politicians themselves, who will merely calculate whether or not it's right based on whether or not it will get them more contributions?

Do you expect it will come from the great middle ground of this country, with a population obsessed with entertainment, video games, social media, sports, and trivia?

Where is the outrage to come from?

From you!

It will do no good to wait for the politicians to suddenly atone for their sins. They are too busy trying to keep their jobs, to do their jobs.

It will do no good to wait for the media to suddenly remember its origins as the 'free press,' the watchdog of democracy envisioned by Jefferson. They are too busy trying to get exclusive DETAILS about exactly how the bank robbers emptied the public's pockets, to give a damn about telling anybody what they looked like, or which way they went.

It will do no good to wait for the apolitical public to get a clue. They can't hear the clue through all the chatter and scandal and diversion and delusion and illusion.

The betrayal of what this nation is supposed to be about did not begin with this deal and it surely will not end with this deal. There is a tide pushing back the rights of each of us, and it has been artificially induced by union-bashing and the sowing of hatreds and fears, and now this ever-more-institutionalized economic battering of the average American. It will continue, and it will crush us, because those who created it are organized and unified and hell-bent.

And the only response is to be organized and unified and hell-bent in return. We must find again the energy and the purpose of the 1960's and early 1970's and we must protest this deal and all the God damn deals to come, in the streets. We must arise, non-violently but insistently. General strikes, boycotts, protests, sit-ins, non-cooperation take-overs - but modern versions of that resistance, facilitated and amplified, by a weapon our predecessors did not have: the glory that is instantaneous communication.

It is from an old and almost clichéd motion picture that the wisdom comes: First, you've got to get mad.

I cannot say to you, meet here or there at this hour or that one, and we will peacefully break the back of government that now exists merely to get its functionaries re-elected. But I can say that the time is coming when the window for us to restore the control of our government to our selves will close, and we had damn well better act before then.

Because this deal is more than a tipping point in which the government goes from defending the safety net to gutting it. This is wrong, and while our government has now declared that it has given up the concept of right-and-wrong, you and I… have not, and will not, do so."

Janet Camp said...


I sent a link of this broadcast to Karen and I think she's going to do something with it. It's available at HuffPost if anyone want to see the whole thing.

Denis Neville said...

Wisconsin Demobilization?

There are some who worry that Our Incredible Folding President’s surrender to Republicans will have a chilling affect the Wisconsin recall efforts.

Amy Fried at Pollways points outs that “we've got a Democratic party in Wisconsin that's doing exactly what people want their Democrats to be doing.” By distinguishing themselves from OIFP, the recall efforts could be enhanced.

Wisconsin has been a role model of what Keith Olbermann calls for in his Debt Ceiling
Special Comment.

Valerie Long Tweedie said...

Denis! I am so glad you are back to commenting on Sardoncky! You bring such good quotes and points into the discussion.