July 2011

By Wink

We at the Winkest Link were stupid enough to believe that the House of Representatives would eventually see the light and just pass raising the debt ceiling. To all presidents of both parties this has always been a formality in the past. But now morons run the House, so we at W-L will have to delay the follow-up to our ‘Voter Fraud’ article to make time to beg for two-cents worth of maturity from the GOP. Here goes….

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Dear GOP: (I will address the GOP directly, and not the teabaggers, because teabaggers are to thoughtful discussion what Neanderthals are to aeronautics…. “Ugh… me not get joke”) This is so stupid. Just raise the debt ceiling already. Don’t attach anything to it, just pass it.

This is not a budget bill, this is just (to paraphrase Ronald Reagan) ‘housekeeping.’

Raise the debt ceiling already, we can argue about the budget later.

The debt ceiling is arbitrary and should be totally non-controversial. Only one other country on the planet even has one. It is a made-up number.

For this stupid “principle” you would trash the U.S. economy? Especially when we are trying to recover from this last recession?

The only reason it is controversial is because the teabaggers want all conflicts to go nuclear. They control about 80 of the 535 House seats, but they have John Boehner’s private parts in a vice. He cannot breathe without their approval.

Boehner must be the weakest speaker in modern times. He knows additional taxes are needed to help the budget, but he dare not whisper that….

Teabaggers don’t know and don’t care about our responsibilities to maintain our standing in the world/financial community. Don’t know, don’t care.

Interest rates will rise on everybody, including you and me and the small businesses the GOP so often claims to care about.

This is the REAL job-killer. If a business can’t afford to borrow money, they can’t grow the company, or hire people.

Raising the debt ceiling should be perfunctory. We must pay our bills. This is not the same as passing a budget, it is simply paying our bills.

Teabaggers want every issue with Obama to be nuclear war. That is not real governance. Certainly not MATURE governance.

Raise the debt ceiling already. And raise it to at least 2013 so we don’t have to go through this B.S. again during election year 2012.

 

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Additional Comments

By Kasson

Ostensibly (I like that word), the reason for Republican’s insistence on balancing the budget is to prevent economic and financial collapse in the future.  This is a noble goal, and that is why it works in the polls.But if the purpose is to prevent economic collapse, why would they flirt with it now?  Neither side is willing to take a bitter pill.

I think of it this way.  The United States has a cancer (the national debt).  Everyone agrees that in the short, medium, and long terms we need to deal with it to prevent it from metastasizing at least any worse than it has.  But I don’t feel the solution is to go on a murderous, suicidal rampage, taking out the global economy.  Sure it would “fix” the problem of debt.  But it is like curing an ice cream headache by shooting yourself in the head.  Solves the pain, sure, but it isn’t forward looking.  You need to look ahead and plan for the future.  Think of the consequences of your choices.

I am confident something will get passed, albeit it wont be a solution anyone likes.  They punted on the problem for too long, and now have to accept a less than desirable outcome.  You know it’s bad when NFL owners are laughing at the inability of congress to come to some sort of deal.

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By Wink

GOP legislators in 40 states have introduced bills to make it harder to vote. The stated objective is to stop ‘voter fraud.’ Many of these bills have already passed.

Why are Republicans doing this? Why not Democrats?

Isn’t voter fraud bad? Don’t Dems think voter fraud would be bad?

Yeah, they would think it was bad, if it existed anywhere. It does not. I will demonstrate that in our next column, but today let us discuss the logic behind making it harder to vote…

Conservative think-tanks (henceforth “CTT”) have made a horrible discovery: The more people who show up at the polls, the greater tendency for people to vote for the Democrat on the ballot. – Ouch.

The discovery that bigger turnouts favor Dems might persuade the GOP to make some adjustments to their programs. After all, they always tell us they are only ‘doing the will of the people,’

The will of the greatest number of people, apparently, goes against many of the things the GOP stands for.

Republicans could probably win back a majority by simply moderating the more extreme of their stances.

But, what if ‘the will of the people’ is only a GOP slogan? What if their only real objective is to help the wealthy? Then what?

Out the window goes ‘the will of the people.’

Remember, too many voters mean an advantage for Democrats.

Conservative think tanks (CTT’s) decided the only way to fight this is to reduce the total number of voters. Better than THAT would be to specifically reduce the number who tend to vote for Democrats.

I am guessing there was a HUGE contest at the CTT’s: How-how-how can we reduce the number of voters?

And the winning idea was … VOTER FRAUD!

The CTT then needed to get the message out that one of the biggest problems in America today is voter fraud.

Step one, as always, is to give marching orders to all the GOP voice-boxes… Rush, Beck and FOX. The new message: Fraud, fraud, fraud!

Nobody delivers like Rush, Beck & Fox. Fraud, fraud, fraud!

Beat that drum every day until people believe it…

“Gosh, there must be widespread voter fraud. I keep hearing it over and over.”

The same message is passed to Republican legislators in every state. “Wait until the mouthpieces have drilled the ‘fraud’ idea into the brains of their fans, then introduce bills to limit who can vote.”

Message received. Now go pass some legislation.

Here is a typical legislative example: You must have a photo ID, but not just ANY photo ID, it must be a state-issued ID. A student ID, even a state-issued student ID, is NOT acceptable.

Why would a student ID not be acceptable? Because students tend to vote for Democrats. Can’t have that.

The Republican governor of South Carolina (another state with new restrictions) downplayed the seriousness of the change, saying if anyone needs a photo id she would be willing drive them to get it.

She better hope gas process drop soon. There are 178,000 voters in SC without photo ID’s.

Among others, the elderly poor often don’t have a driver’s license because they no longer drive, or can’t afford a car anyway. Thus, no photo ID.

And so it is that 178,000 people who were previously eligible will no longer be able to vote in South Carolina. This is typical, and delights Republicans/CTT’s.

Limit blacks, limit students, even limit older voters who might want to keep getting their social security checks.

This is brilliant and sinister at the same time. It smells of the Karl Rove playbook.

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We are a democracy. A basic American tenet is: The more people that vote, the more democratic we are. Democracy. Freedom.

Republicans always declare they are the party of super-patriots. This is not patriotic. This is un-American.

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In our next column we will talk about HOW MUCH voter fraud has been discovered. Please tune in.

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By Wink

Amy Winehouse has been found dead. Very sad.

She was a Grammy winner. I knew that, but never really knew too much else about her. Okay, I knew that her reputation as drunk or drug-addled led her to being the number one comic punch line to describe someone as drunk or drug-addled.

And that would be all I would know about her until she died.

Due to her reputation, it would be easy to rip her as a bad example, but that would be unfair… so I looked up her music catalogue, and gave it a listen.

It turns out she had some singing chops, a nice bluesy voice with some soulfulness to it. I can see why she had a decent following. To her credit she was not easily categorized, blending R & B with soul and jazz. Sample some of her songs and you will see what I mean.

Sadly, she walked a self-destructive path, which led to an almost inevitable conclusion. Maybe she is at peace now…
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I am not at all in to numerology, but, as you know by now, Winehouse has joined a list of famous musical artists who died at the age of 27.

This list includes Robert Johnson, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain and Brian Jones.

(Hey, forget the numerology, look at how many of these people have “J” in their names. Coincidence? I think not…)

As gifted as she was, I don’t think the musical accomplishments of Amy Winehouse approach the others on the ‘age 27’ list.

It doesn’t matter what I think though, because publicity and/or notoriety have to be figured in, and Winehouse had those in spades…

Is being dead at 27 significant? Nope. There are lots of premature deaths throughout music history….

Mozart died at 35, Hank Williams at 29, Richie Valens at 17, Buddy Holly at 22, Harry Chapin at 38 and Jim Croce at 30.

If I had the time or inclination I could make a list of other famous people who died at 35 or 29 or 17 or 22. Those lists wouldn’t mean anything either.

Had Mozart, Hank, Valens, Holly, Chapin and Croce ALL also died at 27, we may have had something to discuss…

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By Wink

The GOP talking point to regain the House in 2010 was the following mantra: “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs.” Nothing else…just ‘jobs.’

It worked fabulously. They took complete control of the House and narrowed their deficit in the Senate.

What have their objectives been SINCE the election?

 

  • Embarrass President Obama.
  • Protect the extremely wealthy from a massive two-percent tax increase (back to what they paid in the 90’s)
  • Embarrass President Obama.
  • Cut Budgets (on social programs, and anything else that helps the poor)
  • Embarrass President Obama.

Notice what is missing? Jobs.

After the 2010 elections, the GOP’s first act when taking office was to ensure continued tax cuts for the very most wealthy. Priority number one.

Was anyone surprised?

In the ensuing 20 months they have done nothing to create jobs. Not a single bill. Do you know why? Because cutting tax for the wealthy is their only ‘jobs program.’

They keep beating this drum and it keeps NOT WORKING.

It didn’t work when the economy spiraled out of control under Bush, and it isn’t working now, after the GOP majority in the House forced Obama to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy.

Giving money to the wealthy does not create jobs. Didn’t then, doesn’t now. (Ironically though, it DOES increase deficit spending)

Know what would create jobs? Fixing things, like our roads and bridges. These would be real jobs, not the minimum wage jobs the GOP is so fond of.

Republicans will oppose any real jobs program, no matter how desperate our economy, no matter the crumbling state of our infrastructure, if an upsurge in jobs might make Obama look good. Republicans would do anything, including tanking our economy, rather than make Obama look good.

Balancing budgets is normally a great idea, but not when jobless rates are high. Excessive fiscal tightening does not create jobs, it slows job growth or, worse, creates more unemployment.

Budget cutting is not a solution to all problems, but the GOP (which is being driven by the tea-baggers) is laser-beam focused on budget cuts.

Tea-baggers know nothing, and care nothing, about economics or creating jobs, they just want to pay less tax. What this tells you is that most tea-baggers have jobs, and don’t give a damn about those that don’t.

Wanna know what the newest GOP legislative goal is? Jobs? Don’t make me laugh. They now want to repeal the law requiring government use of energy-saving light bulbs. Republicans are pro-choice when it comes to which type of light bulbs we use. God-forbid we should save millions of dollars in energy costs.

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If the budget is ever lowered to the satisfaction of the tea-baggers (and it never will be), then their next priority will be helping the jobless.

Ha!!! Just kidding! The only concern for these loons, after tax, is abortion.

They don’t care about the unemployed, and the ‘Highway and Bridge Fairy’ will probably take care of those problems.

But when election season comes around, they will TALK about jobs, like they did in 2010. And morons will buy it again….

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By Wink

Do you remember the days when Republicans were allowed diverse opinions?

Betty Ford did. In spite of the fact that her conservative Republican husband, President Gerald Ford, opposed the Equal Rights Amendment, Betty Ford supported it.

She didn’t just silently support it, she said so in front of microphones. She made public speeches in support of that issue.

She supported abortion rights. Abortion rights !!!! The wife of a conservative Republican president!! (Note: In a 1999 interview with Larry King, Gerald Ford admitted that he, too, was pro-choice.)

When others hid in needless shame, Betty Ford made known her troubles with alcohol and with breast cancer, opening the door for others to talk more openly about these subjects, and giving people the courage to get the needed treatments.

Regarding her openness regarding her mastectomy, she once said that because she was well-known, this honesty probably saved “at least one person – maybe more….”.

This may be one of the all-time understatements….

R.I.P. Betty Ford. Your spirit will be missed….

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By Wink

We sometimes make verbal misstatements or mistakes. All people do. Honorable people, when they say something stupid (or stupidly), will apologize and correct the error.

This is not an article about that. This is about lies. Lies are different from misstatements, because a lie has the intent to mislead people. In the political world people do not apologize for lies, and almost never do they correct them.

Some of our readers have the mistaken impression that our rants about Fox News have something to do with how conservative the network is.

Nope. Some of our all-time favorite people are very conservative: George Will, Everett Dirksen, Barry Goldwater, William F. Buckley, Milton Friedman, Chuck Hagel and, when he really was a ‘maverick,’ John McCain. These are just examples. There really are many more…

To our way of thinking, honorable conservatives (and liberals) will value their own integrity. A huge part of integrity is honesty.

We do not sense a huge effort at honesty from Fox, but you don’t have to take our word for it. The following are examples of lies, all perpetrated by Fox, and all debunked by politifact.com.

– Less than ten percent of Obama’s cabinet appointees have any experience in the private sector.

– The White House political director once served as the right hand man to the Acorn chief.

– The Texas Board of Education may eliminate references to Christmas and the Constitution from textbooks.

– The Muslim Brotherhood has openly stated they want to declare war on Israel.

– American troops have never been under the formal control of another nation.

– Florida governor Rick Scott’s approval ratings are up.

– The Massachusetts health care plan is wildly unpopular among state residents.

– There has been more debt under Obama than all other presidents combined.

– ‘Cash for Clunkers’ will give the government complete access to your home computer.

– The Democrats plan is the largest tax increase in history.

– Eric Holder was involved in the dismissal of criminal charges against the Black Panthers.

– Obama voted ‘present’ in the U.S. Senate quite often.

– White House advisor John Holdren proposed forced abortions and putting sterilants in drinking water.

– Labor Union President Andy Stern is the most frequent visitor to the White House.

– America is the only country with automatic citizenship at birth.

– Bill O’Reilly never called George Tiller a ‘baby killer,’ he was only reporting what others called him.

– Only Fox news picked up that Anita Dunn said Mao was one of her favorite philosophers.

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The following two examples earned politifact.com’s special ‘Pants on Fire’ rating, for especially egregious lies…
– Halting gulf drilling costs $8 billion per day in imports.
– Nobody at Fox ever said you would go to jail if you didn’t buy health insurance.

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And two more ‘award winning’ Fox lies……

Politifact.com’s ‘2009 Lie of the Year’
– The health care bill includes death panels.

Politifact.com’s ‘2010 Lie of the Year’
– Health care reform is a government takeover of health care.

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Will Fox win Politifact.com’s ‘2011 Lie of the Year’? Don’t bet against it…

It is of note that all of these lies, directly or indirectly, were aimed at Democrats, and President Obama in particular. This is what Fox calls “Fair and Balanced.” (Feel free to try to find some scurrilous Fox lies about Republicans…Good luck)

You can argue, if you wish, that some of these are inconsequential, but a lie is a lie. There is nothing ‘Fair’ in a lie. There is nothing ‘Balanced’ when all the lies are aimed at Dems.

** Many thanks to politifact.com and, especially, Jon Stewart **

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By Wink

People (guys) love stuff that goes ‘boom.’

I like stuff that goes ‘boom.’ I grew up with it.

Flashback……

When I was a kid every Fourth of July was filled with the bangs of lady fingers (1/2 inch firecrackers) or, for the older kids, the slightly bigger inch-and-a-quarter firecrackers. These could be pretty exciting because they combined a lot of pop with extremely unpredictable fuses.

 

You also had the sparklers, snakes and bottle rockets…

 

There was always one guy in the neighborhood who had a few cherry bombs, (and a few years later, M80’s).

 

A cherry bomb/m80 would go off about a block away…. BOOM. We were always jolted by the noise and vibration.  Then, about 30 minutes later, another big boom from the same guy. Maybe, maybe, there would be a third one later in the day. It was kind of  scary, but we didn’t mind.

 

On the night of the fourth you would light roman candles and send up however many ‘skyrockets’ as you had.

 

There was one kid who had an uncle with lots of cool fireworks. On July fourth this kid’s family always went to watch them at the lake, wherever ‘the lake’ was. I don’t know. I didn’t have an uncle like that.

 

Generally though, for the ‘cool’ stuff, you had to go to a park and watch whatever the city could afford….


Much has changed. You can still go to the city/county fireworks special, but now each neighborhood has an arms race.

Much of the neighborhood stuff that goes up in the air is pretty cool, just like the city stuff. Fun to look at…

Unfortunately, what is gaining popularity are aerial fireworks that just go ‘boom’ and do not emit a pretty shower of sparks. They just ‘boom,’ and each boom is roughly the equivalent of an m80.  Loud.

I was indoors on the fourth, but there was no escape. The whole neighborhood was being bombed with an aerial assault.

Still, I wouldn’t care if the booms were once per half hour, and mostly during the day, like when I was a kid.

Nope. We still have the M80’s, only many-many more of them, so they go off, during the day, constantly. Plus, we now have the aerial equivalent of the M80, both in single and multi-shot form. M80-level noise is no longer limited to the daytime.

Boom.

Boom again.

Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom.

Then repeat.

No pretty sparks emitting from any of it. Just noise. Very loud noise. Now my dog is a nervous wreck. I imagine every dog within 30 miles of this town is a nervous wreck.

I did not shoot any fireworks at my house this year. We celebrated on the 3rd, with fireworks, at a friend’s house.

In the aftermath I have to sweep my driveway. It, and the lawn, are carpeted with firework debris. Remember, I didn’t shoot anything at home.

All of this fell from the sky.

What also fell from the sky was bird I found on my driveway, one very real casualty of the aerial assault (other than my hearing and my dog’s nerves).

Am I some cranky old man who hates noise and all those bratty neighbor kids?  No. I love Independence Day. And the kids. And the firecrackers.

I could do with a little less of the ‘BOOM’ though.

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By Wink

Not too long ago (February 14 to be exact) we at Winkest Link expressed our displeasure about how often opponents just make up s*** to trash the president.

In the political arena we don’t mind a little hyperbole. Politics, after all, is hardball, so….

  1. GOP: Feel free to say Democrats spend tax dollars like drunken sailors.
  2. Dems: Go ahead and say the GOP are heartless bastards who only care about their rich friends.

It is okay to say both of these things because they have just enough truth to qualify as hyperbole. They are not outright lies.

‘Hyperbole’ is not how you would describe the statements by Michelle Bachmann in the attached article. These are lies. She is making up s***.

Ignore the John Wayne comments. She was in Iowa, John Wayne was born in Iowa. Close enough. (Okay, it is a LITTLE bit humorous that Waterloo, the town she was bragging up, was once the home of John Wayne Gacy).

But the rest of it is typical Bachmann, and comes from the GOP playbook.

Just make s*** up, repeat it and repeat it.

The GOP plays to an important axiom: A microphone in your face gives you the appearance of credibility. People will believe whatever you say as long as they would otherwise agree with you.

And never apologize. Apologizing is NOT in the playbook.

Democrats are not clean on this issue either. They too get snagged for specious statements.

But this is not a rare occurrence for Republicans. It is not a slip-up, it is a tactic. This is a scorched-earth strategy that makes people hate all politicians. They will even use it against fellow Republicans if they have to.

Let us examine a Carl Rove example, since he pretty much wrote the playbook on how to trash your opponent.

Early in the 2000 Republican primaries John McCain was gaining some momentum against George W. Bush. Rove, for Bush, “push-polled” South Carolina, auto-dialing thousands of people, telling them John McCain had a biracial child out of wedlock. (Yes, McCain has a ‘biracial’ child, an adopted daughter from Bangladesh.)

It worked. Bush beat war-veteran McCain in South Carolina, which eventually led to Bush taking the GOP nomination, etc.

The ‘biracial child out of wedlock’ story wasn’t hyperbole, it was a crass attempt to stir up racist sentiment in South Carolina.

Make up s***, scorched earth.

Nowadays there are outlets to double-check these statements, most notably politifact.com, but it doesn’t matter too much. People believe what they want to believe, in spite of documented evidence to the contrary. How else can you explain the high percent of Iowa Republicans who STILL believe Barack Obama was not born in the U.S.?

Make up s***. It sticks.

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