Archive for January, 2012

January 28, 2012

by Ben Hoffman
January 27, 2012

Defense Contractors File For Bankruptcy

by Ben Hoffman

A Belcamp defense contractor has filed for bankruptcy protection about a month after a Harford County judge ordered it to pay $2 million to a subcontractor in a legal dispute over a pair of lucrative military deals.
Stem International Inc. filed for Chapter 11 protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Baltimore on April 28, listing assets of between $1 million and $10 million and liabilities of between $1 million and $10 million.

The contracts with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency at Fort Belvoir in Virginia and with the Environmental Chemical and Biological Center are potentially worth as much as $110 million.

Advanced Solutions for Tomorrow, the Georgia-based firm whose president has been charged in an alleged $10-million kickback scheme, filed for bankruptcy Tuesday.

The defense contractor, which also operated in Middletown, filed for voluntary Chapter 7 liquidation in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Georgia one month after laying off all its employees.

The company’s founder and president, Anjan Dutta-Gupta, of Gerogia, and Ralph M. Mariano, a civilian program manager with the Naval Sea Systems Command who has residences in Warwick and Virginia, were arrested in early February and face federal bribery charges.

You’ll never see a Republican complaining about war profiteering or other abuse, though. They only express “outrage” when clean energy companies fail so they can use it for political gain. And the military industrial complex is a big source for their campaign funding.

January 27, 2012

Monthly Change in Total Private Employment: January 2008 to December 2011

by Ben Hoffman
January 26, 2012

Richard Dawkins: Education is the only antidote to religion

by Ben Hoffman

Always Question Authority

Richard Dawkins believes that education is the only ‘antidote’ to religion. “We need to protect children from being indoctrinated. It goes on to the next generation and then they see that their children get indoctrinated.”

“If children are taught, however moderately, that faith is a virtue, they are taught that they don’t need evidence to believe something; that they can believe something just because it’s their faith. . .

He believes that atheism will soon become a more popular framework for people. “There seems to be a correlation with education. It’s certainly true within the US — the more educated people are more likely to give up religion.”

Read more . . . 

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January 25, 2012

Obama’s State of the Union Address

by Ben Hoffman

Obama needs to learn how to frame his comments a little better to penetrate America’s “bumper sticker” mentality. There are two central issues facing our country right now: high unemployment and high deficits.

The Republican “solution” is to fire government workers, allow businesses to pollute our environment, and allow banks to gamble with our money. And then when disaster ensues, they just blame it on the Democrats! Yeah, that’s good for our country!

Obama outlined his plan, which includes higher taxes on the highest incomes, which would help balance the budget and have little (if any) negative effect on the economy. Our infrastructure is in dire need of repair, and this is the ideal time to put people to work repairing it. We need huge cuts in military spending. The war on terror isn’t fought effectively with bombs; it’s fought with intelligence, which only requires a small fraction of the money required for traditional wars. We also need to repeal the Republican deregulation that caused the near total collapse of our economy, which means restoring Glass-Steagall.

If his SOTU speech was truly a political speech (as right-wing pundits claim), he would have called out Republicans on all the damage they’ve inflicted on our country. Republican deregulation resulted in the near total collapse of our economy. They allowed us to be attacked in 2001 and responded by invading and occupying two countries at a cost of thousands of American lives and trillions of dollars. It took intelligence to finally get Bin-Laden — not wars. Republican tax cuts (the Republican stimulus) did little to create jobs but more than doubled the national debt. Obama’s Stimulus was 1/3 tax cuts, so why all the whining about spending?

January 22, 2012

Boycott the Koch Brothers

by Ben Hoffman

The Tribune of the People

These products are owned by corporations owned by the Koch Brothers — the fascists that began the whole Tea Bagger movement. Boycott these products.

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January 20, 2012

14 Elements of Fascism

by Ben Hoffman

Dr. Lawrence Britt analyzed the following regimes: Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Franco’s Spain, Salazar’s Portugal, Papadopoulos’s Greece, Pinochet’s Chile, and Suharto’s Indonesia. While, they constitute a mixed bag of national identities, cultures, developmental levels, and history, they all followed the fascist or protofascist model in obtaining, expanding, and maintaining power. Further, all these regimes have been overthrown, so a more or less complete picture of their basic characteristics and abuses is possible.

Analysis of these seven regimes reveals fourteen common threads that link them in recognizable patterns of national behavior and abuse of power. These basic characteristics are more prevalent and intense in some regimes than in others, but they all share at least some level of similarity.

  1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism.
  2. Disdain for the importance of human rights.
  3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause.
  4. The supremacy of the military/avid militarism.
  5. Rampant sexism.
  6. A controlled mass media.
  7. Obsession with national security.
  8. Religion and ruling elite tied together.
  9. Power of corporations protected.
  10. Power of labor suppressed or eliminated.
  11. Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts.
  12. Obsession with crime and punishment.
  13. Rampant cronyism and corruption.
  14. Fraudulent elections.


January 10, 2012

Public’s Views of Political Terms

by Ben Hoffman

Perception is everything. If we provide an actual description for these terms, the ratings would change dramatically.

  • Socialism. Our military is the largest socialized program in the U.S. If you asked right-wingers if they support the military in its current form, you’d see about 100% approval. The negative view would come from many on the left and even some libertarians. But many on the right have become convinced that any government intrusion into the free market is socialism and therefore is bad.
  • Libertarian. After it was obvious that Bush’s policies were disastrous, many people decided to call themselves libertarians instead of Republicans. There really is very little difference between the two in most cases. The extreme libertarians are the militia groups and various weird cults who don’t want the government telling them that they can’t be weird.
  • Capitalism. The term “capitalism” can be interpreted in various ways. Right-wingers who claim to be capitalists are referring to free-market capitalism. When some on the left voice opposition to capitalism, they’re also referring to free-market capitalism. Well regulated capitalism tends to work pretty well, but we’ve gotten away from smart regulation because of the vocal anti-government segment of the population who function under the facade of patriotism.
  • Conservative. “Conservative” in the political sense is a radical ideology: aggressive foreign policies, economic policies based on theories proven to be erroneous, and embracing religion over science. If they used the political meaning of conservatism in this poll, only the die-hard right-wingers would admit to embracing such an ideology.

What’s missing from the equation is corporatism (or fascism), which is what you get with the Republican party. We were on the path to fascism with the Bush administration in 2006 when enough people woke up and voted overwhelmingly for Democrats in the congressional elections. But people have short memories, and with the flood of right-wing propaganda and the birth of the corporate sponsored Tea Party movement, Republicans were able to regain control of the House in 2010.

If you were to ask right-wingers how they felt about the tax cut legislation passed during the past dozen years, the vast majority would say they approved, yet those same people are apposed to the Stimulus bill, which was 1/3 tax cuts. Right-wing propaganda defined the Stimulus to be a massive spending bill with no reference to the tax cuts. Propaganda is the primary tool used to promote fascism, and the overly emotional, scared, hate-filled, religious population is easily manipulated into voting against their best interests.

January 6, 2012

Bad News For Republicans and Right-Wing Sheep – The Economy Added 200,000 Jobs Last Month

by Ben Hoffman

The United States added a robust 200,000 new jobs last month, the Labor Department said Friday, in a sign that the long-awaited economic recovery has finally built up a head of steam.

The nation’s unemployment rate fell to 8.5 percent in December, from a revised 8.7 percent in November, the government said. The Labor Department revised the number of new jobs added in November to 100,000, from 120,000.

The employment report built on a flurry of heartening economic news in December, when consumer confidence rose, manufacturing came in strong and small businesses showed signs of life. It was the sixth consecutive month that the economy added at least 100,000 jobs — not enough to restore employment to pre-recession levels, but enough, perhaps, to cheer President Obama as he enters an election year.

Read more…

Republicans have done all they could to block a recovery, purely for political gain. Their “solution” is to fire government workers and allow companies to destroy our environment.

January 3, 2012

The Iowa Caucuses: Which Turd Will Rise To The Top?

by Ben Hoffman

Mormon Turd

It’s been a long battle for top fly in the garbage can that is the Republican party, but tomorrow, the people of Iowa will decide which candidate’s lies have been most effective. It’s impossible to defend conservative policies without lying, and they know Obama is better for America than they would be, so all they can do is lie.

January 1, 2012

Personal Growth and the New Year

by Ben Hoffman

I’ve gained two pounds already, just since yesterday morning!

Oh… that’s not what’s meant by personal growth? Never mind.

January 1, 2012

Live Music Sunday – “T” For Texas by Lynyrd Skynyrd

by Ben Hoffman

Start the year off with some goosebumps. 🙂