Wisconsin is making history today. Six Senate seats are up for recall and people are saying that probably at least three or four of them will go to Democrats. (They need three to take back control; personally, I’m hoping for all six.) The polls don’t close until eight o’clock, so we won’t know for sure until later tonight or even tomorrow. Let’s keep our fingers crossed, shall we? Governor Walker and his cronies spelled certain political death for themselves when they decided to fuck with the unions and the working people of Wisconsin.
Tim Pawlenty is still trailing in the polls—the only reason I bother to mention him anymore is because he is the former governor of Minnesota, which is where I reside. He’s already given up on the GOP straw poll in Ames, Iowa next Saturday, saying that he will be satisfied “moving up from back of the pack to closer to front of the pack.” As incredible as it seems, poor old Tim Pawlenty has consistently been whipped like a mule by the likes of Michele Bachmann, who has been described by some as the “batshit crazy candidate.”
Well, no one ever said that politics were easy. I have to give T-Paw a little credit, though; referring to climate change, he said, “The weight of the evidence is that most of it, maybe all of it, is because of natural causes.”
The Earth is billions of years old and climate change has been and still is a real concern—but it has little or nothing to do with us. Human beings have only been fouling the air for the last century or so, and our technology has been getting better, not worse. When I was a kid, I remember being driven around in the car and feeling sick because of the exhaust fumes; nowadays, I get stuck in traffic and never notice a thing.
Which is not to say that we don’t have a responsibility to protect the environment however we can. I’m a big advocate of alternative energies like solar, wind, wave, and geothermal power for a variety of reasons: they are clean, sustainable, efficient, cheap, etc. Do I think that cars are going to be our undoing? No … but why drive a car that runs on gasoline when you can have a solar-equipped electric model? These things exist, but the trouble is that they’re expensive—the big ugly secret though, is that they don’t have to be.
Here’s one that only sounds like a joke: the technology exists—today—to power cars using nothing but water; in fact, this shit has been around for years. Wanna know why you can’t buy one and probably have never even heard of such a thing? Three words: the oil companies. There is no profit in these alternative energies, and who is the real god? Why, the Almighty Dollar, of course. A crude test vehicle used only about four ounces to travel 100 miles; another one estimated a coast-to-coast trip would take 22 gallons. Don’t believe me? Watch the videos below, which are just a sample of what’s out there. Google it. Research it. The fact that we’re still paying four dollars a gallon for gasoline ought to have people rioting in the streets. What a fucking farce. It’s possible to convert your gasoline engine to H2O using what amounts to spare parts in your garage. There’s a project for this weekend. Expect to hear more from me on this topic in the coming days—I’ve found yet another subject to get hung up on.
Whatever. I don’t feel like getting into that mess right now. I just wanted to give Pawlenty a little bit of credit because most of the time he says such spectacularly stupid things. For instance, he told the Miami Herald that his one regret from when he was governor of Minnesota was not working harder to bust up the teachers’ unions. Oh boy.
In other news, Donald Trump’s television ratings have apparently slipped once again; he’s been sniffing and pissing around America’s porch like a stray dog, muttering that he might run for president after all. No one takes him seriously as a businessman or a reality TV star, so what makes this screwball think that the White House will be any different? Humoring yahoos like Trump is just about enough to drive a person bananas.
I’m set to finish Griftopia by Matt Taibbi sometime today. I would’ve finished it even sooner, but I’m the type of person who is usually reading something like a dozen books at a time, all the while trying to keep up with the news, this column, my own books, and everything else. One of the main villains in Mr. Taibbi’s narrative is Goldman Sachs, who paid only $14 million in taxes in 2008, which is an effective tax rate of just 1%. They paid out $10 billion in compensation and bonuses that year and made a profit of more than $2 billion, yet they only paid Uncle Sam less than a third of what they paid just one of their employees (Lloyd Blankfein, who made $42.9 million that year).
How is this possible? Well, according to Mr. Taibbi: “A Government Accountability Office report, in fact, found that between 1998 and 2005, two-thirds of all corporations operating in the United States paid no taxes at all.”
Jesus God! But we shouldn’t raise taxes on the rich; we shouldn’t ask the top 1.5% of earners in America to pay more—or in a lot of cases, anything at all. No, rather than spreading the burden among all U.S. citizens, we’ll just cut funding to vital programs and fuck the middle-class, the poor, and seniors while a few nasty old men sail off into the sunset with our money.
But what’s the point? Arguing about whether or not to raise taxes to offset the spending cuts is a little like debating whether it’s more effective to put out a fire with gasoline or with kerosene. Until we put the power to make and control our nation’s money supply back into the hands of the government—not the goddamned bankers—it doesn’t matter what we do.
Not in the long run, anyway.