Friday, May 29, 2009

Raping for Freedom

Somebody must be running a little bit scared since the Commander Guy has put away his toys and has entered the stage, making excuses about torture. It's legal and I did it to protect you he said in Michigan last night and perhaps many of those people who decide they're "conservatives" and therefore trust whatever the Republican government says, will buy the story despite their pretended anti-government stance. "I'm from the government and I'm here to inspect your hamburger meat" scares the hell out of them, but "I'm from the government and I rape and murder women and children to protect you" slides down the throat as easily as the Flavor-Aid in Jonestown.

To be up-front about it, I think the experiment is over and democracy lost, but as a cynical observer of our national hypocrisy I'm anticipating a great deal of entertainment if and when the statements of General Taguba and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) are graphically depicted to the public as irrefutable proof. I truly want to see the Decider reduced to justifying the sodomy of little boys to "protect" us. I want to see him justify his love of war and conquest with unscrupulous cowardice. I want to hear Cheney justify shoving light sticks and batons up the rectums of crying and screaming teenagers as "saving lives." Of course they've already done that, but they've portrayed it only as making horned and bearded terrorist devils "uncomfortable" and the man who delights in shooting tame birds laughs at our squeamishness. I want to hear Rush and Ann tell us that American prison guards were justified in forcing oral sex on captured Muslim women "because they might know something" and we all know they wanted it. I want to hear the lot of them giggle at these pictures. I want to hear them tell us that Iraq was not justified at rising up against us for these acts alone, costing us thousands of lives.

No, we didn't torture anyone, but when we did it was legal because we make the law and the Geneva convention doesn't apply because old women and boys don't wear uniforms and besides Geneva is in a foreign country when the men are all girly Liberals and Festus, Missouri would long since have become a Taliban stronghold if we hadn't. You may laugh or cry or sputter like a Republican, but that's been the argument.

Did Bush and his henchmen actually save my life in his chambers of horror? If so, my life is worth nothing and your life and your honor is worth less than nothing if you defend it.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Citizens United against democracy

Some days it doesn't feel like it's worth getting up. I was hoping to sleep late this morning, but I was awakened at 8:01 by the phone and being too groggy to check the caller ID which would have told me it wasn't anything I should answer, I picked up.

Of course it was yet another seditious Republican hate group calling itself Citizens United trying once again to vilify the president by conducting a "brief poll" which of course consisted of a minute's hysterical rant by David Bossie ( who brags about having investigated the Clinton Administration and has written vituperative and not too factual books on Al Gore and John Kerry) about how Obama is destroying America and heaps praise on Limbaugh and Fox News. A fulsomely perky female voice returned and asked me which is more damaging for America:

  1. Obama's massive tax and spending increases,
  2. or his inexperienced, naive and weak foreign policy agenda?
Well, I won't mention my reaction to the cheerful little twit . I was not my usual kind self, and there were questionable expletives amongst my lecture about forced choice questions and dishonest polls and dishonest politicians attacking Democracy, I must say, but I'm sure she had me down as choosing one of the above despite my tirade about Bossie being a seditious enemy of all I hold dear.

Like everything else about the Republican sleaze machine, it's based on deception anyway and their "polls" have no actual validity. Of course I wasn't my usual kind self to the folks representing Newt Gingrich or his "poll" of leading questions last week either. Fake polls seem to be the way to get us, exhausted by the 18 months of hysterical telephone opinion shouting, to participate. Everyone wants his opinion heard: not everyone is smart enough to realize he's being used.

Newt, surprisingly, is no friend of Bossie. According to the Washington Post, when he was fired from his job as an investigator working for Representative Dan Burton (R-IN) on the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee in 1998, Speaker Gingrich said to Burton of Bossie's behavior:
"I'm embarrassed for you, I'm embarrassed for myself, and I'm embarrassed for the [House Republican] conference at the circus that went on at your committee."
Indeed, even George H. W. Bush said of Bossie:
"We will do whatever we can to stop any filthy campaign tactics"
and W, himself no stranger to sleazy campaign tactics and not known for his sense of shame, asked his supporters not to support him.

But such is the fever of Obama Derangement Syndrome that this turd has again floated to the surface of the cesspool and who knows, perhaps will emerge from your telephone while you're trying to catch up on your sleep or eat your dinner or watch TV of an evening. But why wait?

If you have time on your hands today, try calling 866-635-8661 and ask Citizens United about their opinion of people who try to undermine our government "in time of war" or perhaps throw any of their other nauseous accusations back at them. Tell 'em Fogg sent ya. Tell them you're taking a poll.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


The Jeffrey Toobin article at CNN was only 55 seconds old when I read the comment claiming she
"is just the person to carry this administration’s water when it comes to re-writing laws from the bench."
Gentlemen, launch your swift boats, fire up the all-purpose pejoratives, let the sleazewars begin. Why look for real-world examples when we can invent them and have them now?

Her resume is impressive and she was appointed to the Federal Bench by George H.W. Bush, but any Obama appointee will be treated as an opportunity for the reactionary turkey coop to air the same old "farleftliberal" gobble.

Whether she is indeed a far left Liberal, whatever that means, or a moderate Liberal, if you can sum up anyone that easily: even if she is "carrying water" for the administration, if you'll pardon their cliche', she isn't likely to be carrying all those sacks of reeking fascist shit that have been piling up in the halls of justice during the Republican Dark Ages and that, to me, means far more than gender, ethnicity or any label the pinheads Republicans can pin on her.


Fox has announced their verdict. Sonya Sotomayor is the “most liberal” of any of his candidates and was chosen to “appease the far left.”

Still no word on why the "most Liberal Senator in American History" has yet to prove he isn't a conservative, or why a liberal would have to appease the liberals, but hey - it's Fox, how wrong can they be?

Kiss our American asses, world!

I haven't posted in a while, having been preparing for and then recovering from a rather ill-conceived and harrowing nautical excursion over the weekend. I was hoping to be far away and in another country and thus to avoid what has become, like the War on Christmas, another contrived anti-American battle. But the sea pays no attention to our ambitions and acts of arrogance and there was no escape for the old captain this time.

The war on Memorial Day is a bit different, but no less insidious than our religious wars. We're long since used to being chastised for our lack of piety in not spending the event in self flagellation and the worship of the American messianic mission that some would pass off as appreciation for those who have died in Military service. We've never been asked however, at least not to my knowledge, to express our ritualized regret for the premature deaths of the 60 to 70 million who died in WW II alone, only for the US soldiers who won it without assistance from the unappreciative world -- and I've long suspected that the War on Memorial Day has become the sole reason for the holiday itself. If it were an expression of the wish that no more people would die in wars, it would be more likely to please the dead, could they be aware of it, but what it is supposed to be about has been, at least to those who write viral e-mails, a celebration of soldiering; the glory, the rituals and all the self worship and vainglorious bluster America can muster. It's the day of unmitigated, unalloyed arrogance, unrestrained by fact or reason and often not even by sanity or decency.

Of course in these latter days, when we have a President whose rationality and lack of shamanistic display require that we simply make shit up in order to preserve our military/religious complex, the War on Memorial Day is become the war that is Memorial day. It's now a war against Obama and Obama's honest assessment of what we have done, what we are doing and what we should do beyond waving flags, setting ourselves up as the world's sole and only begotten savior, puking up beer and burgers and getting discounts on foreign made goods at the big box stores.

Apologize for what? asks the e-mail. What follows is a sequence of pictures of US military cemeteries in Europe all entitled "We apologize." It ends with
"Apologize to no one. Remind those of our sacrifice and don't confuse arrogance with leadership. And we have to watch an American elected leader who apologizes to Europe and the Middle East that our country is "arrogant"! HOW MANY FRENCH, DUTCH, ITALIANS, BELGIANS AND BRITS ARE BURIED ON OUR SOIL, DEFENDING US AGAINST OUR ENEMIES?? WE DON'T ASK FOR PRAISE ... BUT WE HAVE ABSOULUTELY [sic] NO NEED TO APOLOGIZE!!"

No, it's not just the typical American arrogance about the world needing to kiss our feet every day. It's not just an illustration of our stunning ignorance of history, it's just another rabble rousing attack on a president who had the honesty to say that we have often of late been perceived as arrogant and we've often been unfair to those who disagree and that others have likewise been unfair to us. It's actually one of the best things Obama has said, in my opinion, and they're not going to let him get way with such heresy; not while there remains one pitchfork wielding and furiously ignorant psycho-patriot to arouse.

American Patriotism is a large and dense forest in which more scoundrels than we can count have taken refuge. I'm afraid there isn't enough Agent Orange and enough napalm to force them out or do away with them. I'm afraid that soon enough, Memorial Day will be the day some of use remember that there used to be an America that stood for something; something that contained a lot of good before the bastards flushed it down the toilet.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Show me the money

Sometimes I think Ron Paul's ideas may be too simplistic. This isn't one of them. In a Forbes editorial last week, Congressman Paul called for an audit of the Federal Reserve Bank. Paul of course, doesn't buy the idea that the Fed is necessary to keep inflation low and to promote growth. Truth be told, I've been of the opinion that it has played a part in all but eliminating the 10 - 15 year cycle of boom, panic and collapse that has plagued our economy since the Washington administration. Maybe it has but maybe, as the Congressman claims, it's been the cause of inflation and a drag on growth. Maybe there's a better way and I'm the first to admit I don't know.

The idea of an independent Fed is a fallacy, says the man from Texas. The allegedly independent Fed has
" far too much authority to make agreements with foreign governments and central banks, or create temporary liquidity facilities"
and of course the Chairman and governors are appointed by the President and will reflect his politics, but the question of whether it is a good solution, a bad solution and more importantly whether we should have a Federal Reserve Bank at all isn't easy to answer and it isn't easy to discuss because of the political passions and partisanship involved. Everyone thinks he's an economist these days. Of course, supporter or detractor, we really don't know exactly what the Fed is doing anyway, not even today with the huge amounts of money being moved around in the dark.

'Let's have an audit' is Ron Paul's simple suggestion and one would think that at a time when the government has the power to audit anyone; to investigate, spy on, wire tap, seize assets and records, imprison without charges and even pour water up your nose, the answer would be "why the hell not?"
"What possible arguments exist against this bill? Who opposes an audit of the Fed's activities and why?"
asks Glenn Greenwald in "It would interfere with the Fed's independence" says Forbes in rebuttal and stresses that monetary policy is too complex for simple minded congressmen. Maybe it is, but maybe it's too complex for the Fed too and more than maybe; the lingering appearance of impropriety, if not incompetence, can finally be confirmed or dispelled by a little bit of transparency.

I wouldn't dare pass myself off as an economist and I'm not going to see this along party lines because I don't trust either side, particularly in this atmosphere of secrecy, but if an "independent" Fed means a Fed that operates in the dark, according to its own rules and politics, I'm with Congressman Paul. I want to see the books and you're going to have a lot of 'splainin to do to talk me out of it.

Perhaps I can use the words of surveillance supporters against the government for once: if you've got nothing to hide, you've got nothing to fear.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Whoever it is, we're against him.

Do we know who's on president Obama's short list for the Supreme Court? Short list or long shot, the swift boats are taking on fuel and ammunition in preparation to oppose whomever might be nominated. It's more than an attempt to obfuscate and embarrass and delay and sabotage however; while Democrats may see another and hopefully last gasp of the medievalists, Republicans are hoping for some yet unsullied flag they can rally around; something of overriding importance. No, not war or peace or prosperity or freedom, but ancient religious taboos; the neo-Christian American religion and its obsession with reproductive rights and sexual freedom.

That they don't have the votes to actually block an Obama appointment seems obvious, but they do hope to have the opportunity for sufficient demonization and hysteria to loosen the purse strings of newly parsimonious traditional supporters. Needless to say, the Christian Right is demoralized, as financially strapped as the rest of us and most importantly, no longer in the drivers' seat. Focus on the Family has had to cut at least 200 jobs of late. As usual, the sturm und drang is about "Christian values" but it's really about power and money and how to get it back.
“It’s an immense opportunity to build the conservative movement and identify the troops out there. It’s a massive teaching moment for America. We’ve got the packages written. We’re waiting right now to put a name in.”
said conservative fund-raiser Richard A. Viguerie in the Times today. Whoever it is, if Obama likes her it's slime time and they can't afford to be "gentlemanly."
"By doing that, they will not only lose an educational moment with the public, but they will risk driving the base of the Republican Party to once again be frustrated”
said social conservative advocate Barry Bauer. Indeed any kind of cooperation might be construed as weakness; a common obsession of the coward. Whomever, whatever -- they're going to raise hell. They're going to make vague and oversimplified accusations that will anger but not inspire the public to look at the particulars. “Willing to expand constitutional rights beyond the text of the Constitution” is a typical description of a judge deciding that a foreigner has the right to contact his embassy - something every American hopes to do if arrested abroad.

Of course some judges seem to be more palatable to the Party of God than others. potential nominee Judge Wardlaw for instance denied an appeal in a death penalty case, allowed a Ten Commandments monument on public property and allowed a police officer to be fired in wanton disregard of his freedom of speech: all good stuff to the party whose decay conservative Judge Richard Posner so eloquently and clearly outlined a week ago.

There is no longer an intellectual Right. There are idiots with bloody dolls in baby carriages in the streets, there is Palin and the Plumber, Pastor Muthee and his witches, professional media ravers and a host of uneducated schoolyard bullies that the shabby remains of the movement are trying to herd into the party corral. It doesn't take a lot of people to make a big stink, it only takes a few very stinky people and that, I'm afraid, is what remains of the GOP.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

No presidents need apply

"It is clear that Notre Dame didn't understand what it means to be Catholic when they issued this invitation."
The invitation in question was From the University of Notre Dame to President Obama to give the commencement address tomorrow, May 17.

The opinion of Cardinal Francis George, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, must be understood to be then, that it is not in the interest of maintaining orthodoxy to allow American Students to hear the thoughts of an American President who does not vow to follow the Roman Catholic Church's proclamations regarding abortion. More simply, the graduates are to be considered as Roman Catholic first, and Americans second -- at best. What it means to be Catholic is to obey, to surrender. What it means is not to listen to unapproved opinions or tolerate the holders thereof simply because they represent our country and our laws.

The Cardinal Newman Society has prepared a petition calling for Notre Dame president Father John Jenkins to tell the President of the United States he, as a non-catholic, tainted with the sin of heterodox and heretical ideas, is not welcome -- and tells us that the streets of South Bend Indiana have been invaded by wild-eyed crusaders like as Alan Keyes and Randall Terry carrying blood covered dolls while Cardinal James Francis Stafford, one of the highest-ranking Americans at the Vatican, asserts that the President of the United States should not soil the sacred ground because of
"an agenda and vision that are aggressive, disruptive and apocalyptic."
There is no information about whether the aggressive, disruptive and apocalyptic Stafford managed to say that with a straight face.

It's difficult to know just what the official "agenda" of the Vatican might be as concerns the Obama Administration as a whole or in relation to his relaxing of restrictions on stem cell research and his lack of requisite intransigence on the subject of abortion and Time spends more time speculating on it than I will, but is the day over when a candidate for high office in the United States can assure us (and be believed,) that he is an American first and a Catholic second? Indeed, can the University of Notre Dame assure us that it has any commitment to Democracy as opposed to religious authority?

Of course, as Abdon Pallasch at the Chicago Sun Times points out, such things are nearly standard procedure at the Catholic University. It's happened before; many times. Clearly, however, there is a persistent and durable movement of consequence amongst American Catholic leaders that seems to play well to those neo-Know-Nothings with anti-Catholic sentiments. This is a movement that reminds one far too much of the Church of earlier days and makes the ecumenical, tolerant sentiments of past Popes seem more like an interlude that's now over.

Of course it's not only the small mindedness or religion in general that divides America. Arizona State University, refused to confer the customary honorary degree on commencement speaker Obama on Wednesday, explaining that his "body of work" was insufficient even though foreign dignitaries whose BOW's were of lesser bulk had been. I suspect the Arizona libertarian/anarchist movement amongst the University administration here, but if The Daily Show's roast of U of A students was close to the mark, a good number of their students lack the brains to get a job sweeping Sesame Street and therefore don't think Obama has the right stuff; even for a fake Arizona Degree. Harvard will just have to do.

From all accounts however, the President was received well by the students and I have a feeling he will be at Notre Dame as well. The American People, particularly the younger ones, aren't the ones trying to tear the country apart for fun and profit, it's the same, cranky, closed minded and anti-democratic institutions and leaders who have been with us since the beginning. Soon may they disappear so that we can start to respect ourselves and our country once more.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Yes we can

But no we won't. Really nobody expected Barak Obama to bring about the Kingdom of God, or even a Democracy of justice. That his supporters did, is just another of the straw men ambling down the yellow brick road from GOP headquarters. What we really wanted is somebody not actively trying to destroy our country in every possible way, but from day one we've been giggled at because he hadn't done in 24 hours what Jesus Christ hasn't done, lo these 2000 years and largely because his followers are Christians.

One of the things I have been hoping for is for an end to the persecution of gays in the military. It's a small thing in the greater picture of our corrupt, superstitious and furious country, but had somebody done something to block the summary discharge of Lieutenant Daniel Choi from the US Army because he prefers men to women, it might have been reassuring, at least, to those who hope for something of a saner, more secular America. Alas he has chosen not to "interfere." He has chosen to allow the crusaders one more victory in taking over our military.

It's only one of many stories, but the sad lack of Arabic translators in our service has something to do with the fact that we place such great value on their private sexual thoughts that we are willing to risk the lives of our soldiers and perhaps our nation by firing them and negating their years of study and service and indeed their valuable expertise. Choi was the 54th translator to be discharged for unclean thoughts.

I'm waiting for our allegedly Liberal Press to say something and perhaps for the "traditional values" side to be hypocritical and call them hypocrites, but so far, It's only the bloggers and the ever vigilant Daily Show that are willing to point out that our Christian friends in God's Army are allowing their superstitions to weaken us in yet one more way.

Religious bigotry doesn't require a beard or any kind of headgear to be the enemy of freedom, or does stupidity for that matter. Take Kim Hendron, a member of the Arkansas State Senate, and currently a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate who told us recently that he believes in the traditional values of the Andy Griffith Show, not like "that Jew" Chuck Shumer. Now most of us remember that no, John Wayne never really was a soldier and Andy Griffith never really was a sheriff of that non-existent fantasy town that had no Jews or Catholics or Mexicans or folks of African descent, but Hendron isn't going to let any damned New York Jew tell him otherwise any more than the US Army of God is going to let any damned sodomite translate any damned Arabic messages even if we have to have New York blown up all over again. Of course, when his foot was extracted from his Arkanas blow hole, he had to admit that he did actually like maybe a couple of Jews like Jesus and Lieberman, neither of which it's likely he's ever listened to with much understanding.

So maybe if we want to get an idea of what's really going on here, we need to turn off our inner Arkansas and listen to some damned Jew like the one that told us to shut the hell up and be nice to each other a long time ago and the one on Comedy Central who seems brave enough to tell off the Army and Obama and our hate-based community that we've had enough of this. Waterboarding may make them talk, said that Jew Jon Stewart, but it won't make them talk in English.

Shame on you Mr. President.

Bring it on, trolls

We see the same thing over and over. We "Liberals" are hate mongers for criticizing Ann and Rush or virtually any of the malicious and malignant dragons who make a living breathing Republican fire. They're justified because we're just as bad, even though they're really not that bad because they're criticizing "Liberals" after all. Confusing? Never mind, just understand that there's a Liberal culture of hate and slander and all that stuff -- as I am sure some Limbaugh Limbo dancer will say when he shows up to lower the bar of decency even further. Go ahead -- I dare ya.

None the less it's hard for someone with my "Liberal" bias to understand that people like Mark Levin aren't really acting like sociopathic adolescent bullies in need of some swift corporal punishment before they move on to careers of leg breaking and arson. Can you feel the slime, smell the funk?
“Perez Hilton, who I am now terming a vile sodomite . . . yeah, Perez, you’re a vile sodomite - doesn’t that word have a ring to it - sodomite — and vile - vile sodomite - it just sounds so good to hear in my headphones - vile sodomite . . . . I’m not sure whose idea it was to have an overweight homosexual . . . What do gays constitute? They could announce the cure for AIDS on Logo and nobody would know for two weeks . . . And again, Perez Hilton, you’re a vile sodomite . . . and then this vile sodomite . . ."
said Mark Wilcow on Levin's very popular "Conservative" talk radio show Tuesday night and again about Rachel Maddow, perhaps the nicest, least confrontational talking head on TV:
"You, the idiot taxpayer, are paying the salary of that nice little boy, Rachel Maddow . . . Keith Olbermann’s nephew, Rachel Maddow . . . .”

No, I won't speculate about the man's problem with homosexuality, I won't go on one more time about how the word "conservative" has come to mean possessed of an ill defined, immoral and uncontrollable malice toward every manifestation of decency. It doesn't have an effect on these commercial demons anyway and their supporters always have some false and contrived equivalence to pin on their targets to show that Levin is a victim, Rush is a victim, Ann is a victim and them "Liberals" just don't have a sense of humor.
"What kind of people would listen to something like this and react with anything other than pure repulsion, a desire to remain as far away from people like this as possible?"
says Glenn Greewald on Come back in a while and I'm sure you'll hear from at least one smart-ass, condescending nobody with a spelling problem, telling me I'm an idiot who thought Obama was Jesus Christ. What kind of people? Just wait.

No, there's no point I can make that's more illustrative of what's left of the hard core Right. I'm just going to report and you're going to decide; and if you can't denounce Levin and Limbaugh, history isn't going to vindicate you any more than then it vindicated slavers and night riders and segregationists who are your ancestors. In fact, you'll be lucky to be a footnote in a world embarrassed to admit you were ever part of it.

Must be a slow news day

Best and worst lists are a bit like kidney stones. Some magazines are prone to having them and they keep coming back at inoppertune times as painful as they may be. Perhaps is taking a breather from stories about airhead beauty queens and governors and its other obsessions, but for whatever reason, they've launched into another one of their short sighted, opinionated and irrelevant exercises: 50 worst cars of all time, 10 biggest tech failures, etc.

It's fun to go back a few years and read about the things journalists rave about that eventually seem to have had little merit other than advertising revenue, but it's less funny to endure the spectacle of a journalist imposing an ill informed, narrow minded view of history on people who know more and know better. The phonograph, for instance, must be a crude and laughable thing because it isn't an iPod, you see.

Of course there are always enough people who submit to critics to allow them to make a living, but that that brings up my second opinion of the day: nobody likes critics, not even other critics and that's probably the reason so many of them make a career out of being vindictive.

So what's the first car on the 50 worst of all time list? The 1909 Ford Model T. "A piece of junk" says Dan Neil, Pulitzer Prize-winning automotive critic and syndicated columnist for the Los Angeles Times.

It was also the best selling car of its day, being ideally suited to the roads of America and the budgets of Americans. Faster, lighter, more efficient, vastly easier to drive and priced at a small fraction of the competition, it changed Western culture.That in itself is a negative to Neill who thinks we'd be better off without cars at all, it seems.
"with its blacksmithed body panels and crude instruments, the Model T was a piece of junk, the Yugo of its day."
That hardly fits with the fact that it was an unprecedented commercial success, produced for 20 years and that Ford sold 15 million of them, nor with the fact that the body panels in 1909 were in fact made of wood and that in the absence of speed limits, you didn't need a speedometer. Of course it engendered such an aftermarket that you could purchase countless accessories if you really needed them. In truth, its monoblock 4 cylinder engine was more advanced than cars that cost many times as much but had one or two cylinders or even bolted together two twin cylinder blocks to make a four. Its semiautomitic transmission was the ancestor of today's automatic -- nobody else had one for many years afterward.

Was the Edsel one of the worst cars ever because it didn't sell well -- or did it just not sell very well because people like Neill made it a giggling point? They're worth a fortune today and are no more bizarre looking than other cars of the day. Was the 1934 Chrysler Airflow a terrible car, or was it that aerodynamic efficiency wasn't selling any better in 1934 than it does in our box obsessed era? Again, they're worth a lot of money today.

So what then do we make of Time's ten most "collossal" tech failures? Not much in my opinion. To be listed, a product had to clearly miss the mark of living up to the potential that its creators expected, and that the public and press were lead to believe was possible. Nice, so we're looking at things that are failures because tech editors with journalism degrees didn't really understand what it was all about or that disappointed the inventors. If we used these criteria universally, the printing press and the telephone were failures and nearly everything else from Velcro to radio was too.

One has to wonder whether or not the entire print media would fall prey to some future "worst failures" list when Time's time has past. Everything is crude in the beginning, few things become immediate successes and immediate success is no indicator of continued success and the opinions of critics, including this one, mean very little in the long run.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Ugly is as ugly thinks

This is still America, the discomfiture of the Republican Party notwithstanding, and so no triviality, no irrelevant, inconsequential or plainly idiotic dispute is going to go away without the final word being had by our ad hoc committee on the meaning of everything. The current committee heads seem to be Sarah Palin and Charlie, Joe the Plumber" Wurzelbacher.

As the swells slowly die down on that limitless sea of Who Gives A Shit, we can hear the voice of Mrs. Palin (perhaps all the way to Russia) telling us that:
“Our Constitution protects us all, not just those who agree with the far left.”
Saving the discussion of just what, to her, constitutes the "far left" for another paragraph, it might be worthwhile to wonder just what protection it offers from the superstition and bigotry or those who listen to psychotic monsters like Pastor "death to witches" Muthee. We won't get an answer from her, I'm afraid, but her feelings are clear. The Constitution protects her religious views against the "Liberal" onslaught.

It doesn't, of course -- and I have a hard time seeing the First Amendment as protecting someone's standing in a private, for profit beauty pageant, else we'd be hearing a lot of court cases from ladies with big noses, large bottoms and A cups, but that's the Procrustean bed Palin would like to strap the sad case of Carrie Prejean into, as poor a fit as it may be.

Does Sarah care who wins a contest designed to facilitate the commercial self-objectification of young women? I would guess that she is only interested in portraying her as a noble victim of people so un-American as to assert that the Constitution protects everyones rights, including the right to enter into a contract with another, regardless of race, creed, national origin or gender. That's being a farleftliberal, of course; the catchall term for anything that stands in the way of going back to the days when a real estate broker (we didn't have Realtors back then) could refuse to show you a house in a white neighborhood, a Jew couldn't book a hotel room in Palm Beach, schools, restaurants, public parks, drinking fountains train stations and city buses were segregated, marrying someone of the wrong race could land you in jail and non-missionary position sex was a crime -- and all was well with far right neanderthals like Sarah the moose killer and her Cave Christians. All was right with Sarah's Grizzly God.

No, “the liberal onslaught of malicious attacks” as Sarah growled from her wilderness den -- or in other words, the disgust with people like Prejean, Palin and the Plumber dude who want to have the law interfere with private and personal relationships and strip us of the right to determine just who our families are: the Liberal assault is what what we should be concerned about, or at least the losers who run and watch and participate in beauty pageants should be. It's a "onslaught!" We shouldn't notice that in fact nobody is censoring anyone and Sarah the Idiot is confusing equal protection under the law for all citizens with some kind of an outrageous affront to her primitive religious beliefs.

So it seems like Sarah's "far left" is actually the core of American values, at least the values the constitution was meant to be a means to facilitate. It seems like Sarah's center lies in a culture that died out with the "onslaught" of the Age of Enlightenment, if not with the disappearance of woolly mammoths. Far Left Liberals like me feel little more than sad, queasiness at the ugly programmed responses of would be beauty queens, and that's about it. Some may be outraged at her, some might hate her, but they are a subgroup as small as Palin's witch hunters. Most of us care more about how our representatives vote and how well our freedom is protected against its atavistic enemies, but ugly words make people ugly, and this is a beauty contest, isn't it?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Say no to drugs!

I guess I've been doing drugs all my life and I'll bet you have too. My thanks to the FDA for letting us all know. Take Oats for example, there's evidence that eating oat cereal helps keep your bad cholesterol low and that's something the health howlers everywhere have been telling us to do 24 hours a day for decades. Cheerios are, of course, made with oats and General Mills is happy to tell you they provide a good way to eat those oats that seem to be good for you. Our friends at the FDA however, you know those guys who always seem to have been looking the other way when the e-coli, melamine and rat turds got into our food supply aren't about to tolerate promoting a healthy diet without their permission.

Cheerios are drugs because they can help treat a medical condition according to the Food and Drug Administration. Of course if nobody told you that broccoli or spinach or exercise or a good night's sleep -- or oats -- were good for you, that would be all right with the Feds. Health benefits, no matter how credible can only be talked about with their approval it seems. So never mind what your mother or Sanjay Gupta or the Surgeon General tells you about a healthy diet and lifestyle, don't listen to those damned drug pushers, listen to the FDA.

Of course you can apparently sell almost any placebo or stimulant as a weight loss drug that has been proven not to work or in some cases to kill you. We can't go half an hour without some machine or pill or diet plan being shoved in our faces on TV, but fruits, grains and vegetables as part of a heart-healthy diet? DRUGS!!!!

Hey, last thing I want to do is be a druggy - so I'll have a double bacon cheeseburger with extra mayonnaise and a big Bucket O Super Sized Fries and a milk shake too of course -- it's all FDA approved!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Should a black dog wear a white dress?

If you allow this, then you will not be able to disallow it and it will lead to that which will inevitably lead to that and then that. Got it?

Therefore if we allow women to vote, we'll soon have to allow inferior races to vote and then who is to say we won't have to allow dogs to vote and then chickens and down all the phylae to protozoa. Imagine having to design a voting machine for an amoeba? Those stupid Liberals!!

In a Slippery Slope Argumant, a sequence of increasingly unacceptable consequences is offered as stepping stones to hell. You'll find it listed under Fallacies of Distraction and you'll find it on the tongues of Fox opinionators like Bill O'Reilly and without the slightest embarrassment, it seems.

So of course allowing (as though you had the right to disallow it) people of the same sex to enter into a marriage contract will absolutely and inevitably lead to people demanding to marry earthworms. It's a testament to American stupidity that anyone would fail to see this as an unfounded assertion, but then, the foundation of American Stupidity Culture and Fox News' prosperity, is this very inability.

Of course, just as Zeno can be invoked to prove we can't get there from here, the Slippery Slope can be invoked with similar illogic to prove we will all go to hell without guidance from traditional things like Bigotry and Bill O'Reilly.

The fool asks why, if human beings can enter into a contract without prejudice as to their gender, why not animals? The wise man simply tells him he's an idiot because animals are not human beings, cannot enter into any contracts at all, and the constitution guarantees equal protection under the law only to humans in the first place. The fool doesn't understand and turns to Fox and the Churches who make him feel better by telling him God loves fools and all those other people are heretics and Liberals.

Bill is there to tell the bottom third that if we allow gay marriage, you'd better buy a white dress for your parakeet and they would rather believe that then to believe they're ignorant idiots a parakeet wouldn't want to marry in the first place. I'm tempted to think that in some cases, it might actually help the gene pool.


Enough is enough, but when it comes to hearing about big and bony Miss Prejean, there doesn't seem to be an "off" button. My utter contempt for her God infested opinions about denying freedom to others is on record, but she has as much right to stuff her head full of jiggly and gelatinous non-Newtonian fluids as she does with her breasts. What is obvious is that people like Donald Trump and those who run these sad enterprises want to use their winning contestants the way Disney uses Mickey Mouse and Goofy; plastic and perfect as any Miss California and that includes a dialog written by others. It doesn't allow for being a free citizen.

Well she's not perfect, and neither is anyone else, whether it involves a body not in total, emaciated and blond conformity with pop-culture imperatives, the desire to succeed sufficient to cause public display of nipples, painful plastic surgery (paid for by the pageant apparently) or stupid, offensive and freedom-hating personal opinions. She has and we all have the right to be idiots with idiotic biases and offensive personalities.

The final power to "fire" her belongs to Donald Trump and the dead raccoon attached to his scalp, but the pageant has decided to bypass her and her anti-gay agenda in favor of first runner-up Tami Farrell as "our official Beauty of California ambassador." Let me ask America how many other jobs should be denied someone for having a political or religious opinion?

They are, of course, furious at the evangelicals for making her a spokesman for their religious interests instead of a spokesman for Trump's enterprises, and the public wavers between many disparate feelings including titillation ( pun intended) apathy, disgust, outrage and pageant fatigue.

I don't watch these cattle shows and I wouldn't be aware that this fiasco had occurred other than for the media saturation. I'm hoping that the rest of us will become tired enough, after another glimpse into the seedy world of pageants, that they fade away and allow us poor admirers of women to like what we like in peace.

Monday, May 11, 2009

He must be wrong -- he's Obama.

It seems to me that if one is dedicated to thwarting president Obama's health care reform before one knows what it is, then one has to admit that either he's out to thwart anything Obama does, or any kind of health care reform.

Multimillionaire Rick Scott is one of those people who can't wait to hear what the plan actually entails before putting on the Drum Major costume and strutting about the streets twirling his baton in ostentatious outrage and ornate opposition. He has put together a group he predictably calls Conservatives for Patients Rights rather than a more honest "The I've Got Mine and F*ck You Club."

"Before government rushes to overhaul health care, listen to those who already have government-run health care,"
says Scott as quoted in today's Washington Post. Of course since we don't know that Obama is actually talking about Government run health care, at least not in the same sense that Scott would like us to fear he is, the mendacity begins with the first words. Then too, he doesn't want you to ask Americans who have government run health care either. By all accounts our politicians have it pretty good and the VA system was a model of efficiency, at least until the privatization pirates attempted to board that ship. He doesn't want you to listen to countries with successful and popular health care plans, he wants you to listen to a carefully selected and edited group of Canadians and Brits and their anecdotal horror stories and so enter CRC Public Relations and another round of captious TV ads.

Did I mention that Scott made his money as CEO of a private hospital business?

Scott is contributing $5 million from his own piggy bank and has, according to WaPo, got $15 million more from other people who support the status quo most Americans feel is in need of reform. The funds will be put to good use by CRC Public Relations, the same firm that gave us the "swift Boat Veterans" campaign that convinced the weak minded and no-minded that John Kerry was not where he was, didn't do what he did and proved it with testimony from people who didn't know him and were never near him.

Did I mention that CEO Scott was ousted from Columbia/HCA, the largest private U.S. health-care company at the time, that pleaded guilty to fraud? He defends this by telling us that other private hospitals were committing fraud too. Think about that when the argument comes around to the part where private is always better than public.

If you took logic 101 in college, you probably remember it being called the Slippery Slope Fallacy, but Scott's target audience didn't go and doesn't remember and so Scott can employ the argument that any step toward reform will accelerate down hill without evidence. He can tell us he isn't necessarily opposed to Obama's plan, even before he knows what it is, but that
"The bottom line is that this is happening fast, and there is not much of a debate going on about what will happen if we go down this path"
but what he means by "debate" is to obfuscate -- and that's obvious. We have had decades of debate; decades of millions spent on sleazy ads and slimy lies and distractions and Scott thinks we need to continue the gravy train he's on as long as he can keep it going.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

What are we going to do about Newt?

Just for the record, and in case you've forgotten, the forced resignations of Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew had nothing to do with burglary, arson, bribery and extortion: it was all political, unlike the $50,000,000 investigation of Bill Clinton's sex life and a real estate deal in which he lost money. That was about law and principle, like ignoring Newt Gingrich's serial affairs and tax frauds while he accuses others was -- a matter of principle.

Welcome to Republican Bizarro World where everything is its opposite. Newt reminds us that calls by some Democrats for investigations into Bush administration torture and secret imprisonment without trial practices amounts to a partisan attack reminiscent of the McCarthy era.
"The degree that they’re putting specific people at risk for prosecution is unprecedented in modern America,”
he said to Chris Wallace, without any foundation in fact of any kind. Of course he hopes you won't remember how unprecedented it was to prosecute a president for a private consensual affair or for testifying falsely about something that wasn't a crime or related to one.
“They haven’t passed a law making water boarding illegal. They haven’t gone into any of these things and changed law,”
although since the US has already prosecuted people for water boarding as a war crime it would seem to indicate they didn't need to make it redundantly illegal. We also have to ask why, if it was legal, and publicizing it terrorizes the terrorists, Bush denied having done it.

No, Virginia, Theater of the Absurd didn't go out of fashion in the 1960's, it simply became a wholly owned subsidiary of the Republican Party. What else would you call it but absurd if Bush didn't do anything illegal, because it's not illegal if he does it? What else would you call an argument stating that murder wasn't illegal because since the murderer got caught, nobody bothered to make what already was illegal, illegal again? And after all nobody, says Newt, ever put anybody at risk for prosecution like the Democrats are doing, just because they committed a crime -- or didn't which is the same thing you see, depending on whether it was done by a Republican or not.

And then, of course there's the danger of seeming to be "soft on terrorism" which of course nobody actually is unless we make it legal to torture through legislation or through precedent (and according to Ann, far more vicious.) By Newts logic, the US was soft on the Nazis and the Empire of Japan because we didn't torture them. It must have been coincidence that we weren't conquered.

Really, is it that they hope to wear us down or perhaps to erode logic so much that opposites will become the same and judgment will be simply a matter of doing what we can get away with? We have voted them out of office, but they still have the ability to scream endlessly in our ears.
History proves that there are always enough supporters to make any demagogue dangerous if we let it go on too long, so what do we do about them?

The most ____ president in history.

"Be warned - - Obama has started!!!!" screams the e-mail.
The boundary between hyperbole and hysteria may be blurry and undefined, but those who make a career of ferrying the lost souls across that murky river are calm, cool and professional and know just what they are doing: delivering us all to hell.

The smallest and most obscure incident will be elevated to a breathless diatribe against the pandaemon of targets in the Republican shooting gallery and so when, after a series of accidents, one fatal, involving Fort Campbell soldiers owning private firearms and living off-base, approximately 110 out of 29,000 of them were asked by a company commander for information about what kind of weapons they owned, with the objective of providing proper training in their use. The letter was rescinded almost immediately.

With blinding speed the letter was scanned and embedded in a bogus and highly irate letter about how "the most anti-firearm president in history" was trying to disarm our own military.
"The big hush, hush is not only to take away our missile defenses, but Obama is going to disarm the public as well. He is starting with the military and then the public. The country will then be totally defenseless."
How quickly we move from memo to madness. It goes on and on about Liberty and a "Free people" and how "something really nasty is blowing in the wind here." Indeed it is, or at least in the electronic wind and it smells Republican.
"It just seems a little coincidental to me that within 90 days: the most anti-firearm President in history is inaugurated, some of the nastiest anti-firearm laws are put on the table in Washington"
Do I need to point out that to be a coincidence, two events have to be true?

I could almost hear the thud of it arriving in my in-box -- or perhaps the thud was the sonic boom caused by the Commander of Charlie Company transmogrifying into maniacal Barak Obama.

Obama, formerly "the most far-left Liberal" in the Senate is now confounding the Liberal wing of his party with his decidedly not far-left Liberal views on many things, but no matter. Even if he proves not to put further gun control legislation on the table, Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank, Rahm Immanuel are waiting, like cartridges in a magazine and any one of them can be the next "most ____ in history." Like Leggo Blocks, they're interchangeable.

Now I wonder with what blinding speed some troll will decide that I am very angry and therefore demented and from that go on to point out that all Democrats are not only hate filled, but deranged hate mongers; perhaps the most deranged in history. I'm counting the seconds.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Just what it looks like

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar

-Sigmund Freud (attributed)-

Sometimes not

"So I always believed that if we’re going to have a recession, just don’t participate."

said Rush the other day at the President's Club Dinner, to appreciative guests like Justice Clarence Thomas, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) and other self-satisfied plutocrats who thought it was funny that Clear Channel has had to lay off 12% of its work force while Rush has a $400 million dollar contract with them. Business for Rush has never been better and he's never had a better time either with his 51,000 square foot Palm Beach palace on the ocean, his $54 million dollar private jet and his "populist" radio program where he can tell the boys down at the corner bar why the Liberals are out to get them and then fly off to have dinner with the other plutocrats smoking cigars and laughing their heads off at his jokes about homeless children sleeping under bridges.

That's right Doktor Freud, sometimes it's a cigar, sometimes it's not, but with Rush it's always a way of saying "I've got mine and f*ck you!"

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Violins on television?

"I suppose, Gorgias, that like me you must have been present at many arguments, and have observed how difficult the parties find it to define exactly what the subject is which they have taken in hand and to come away from their discussion mutually enlightened; what usually happens is that, as soon as they disagree and one declares the other to be mistaken or obscure in what he says, they lose their temper and accuse one another of speaking from motives of personal spite and in an endeavor to score a victory rather than to investigate the question at issue; and sometimes they part on the worst possible terms, after such an exchange of abuse that the bystanders feel vexed on their own account that they ever thought it worth their while to listen to such people."

Said Socrates, at least according to Plato. For those Americans under 40: both these men lived long before the internet, but how well the description fits the arguments we read on the web every day!

Raw Story ran a somewhat cooked story the other day about a gift of an "assault rifle" to Sarah Palin and as usual, the article treated the gun in question as "military style" without mentioning that it is not, in fact, military in anything but appearance. As is customary, the righteously wrathful posted a frenzy of caustic comments about Palin, machine guns and the wholesale slaughter of innocents and wolves that we are experienceing because the NRA wants everyone to have a machine gun.

As usual, both the author and the audience had no common terminology and no more real clue as to what they were talking about than the late Emily Litella. When the public hears "assault Rifle" they hear "machine gun" and hardly anyone is interested in correcting them since to insist that we talk about reality instantly identifies one as the enemy, the gun nut, the NRA controlled devil.

Even a combat veteran chimed in, telling us his experience with fully automatic military weapons showed that machine guns are too dangerous for the public. Others proudly proclaimed that they were hunters and didn't need machine guns to kill a moose, still more that nobody has a legitimate need for "assault weapons." Would any of them stop and say "never mind" if they were reminded of these three facts?

  • Automatic weapons have already been effectively banned since 1934
  • The difference between a legal "military style assault rifle" and a hunting rifle has to do with the shape of the stock and not the rate of fire or the type of ammunition. Legal assault weapons are not machine guns.
  • The now expired "assault weapon ban" didn't actually ban these look-alike weapons if they were made in the US, nor did it remove the millions of them from the market or prevent the sale of those made before the ban.

Which of these two is an assault weapon? Both or neither is the answer, the only difference between them is the stock. The rifle given to Sarah and the many she already has are essentially the same but phobia is, by definition, not rational and with such money being spent on panicking the phobic as well as the obsessed, we have the entire country talking at cross purposes, with undefined terms, completely failing to understand what the other side is talking about and making fools of themselves with their hollow passion.

I think Socrates is still laughing, but for my part, I'm just tired of the endless ranting about misperceptions.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Fox Nation - are you man enough?

Fox Nation -- do you have the stomach for it?
"It's Time to Say NO to Biased Media and Say YES to Fair Play and Free Speech."
is the curtain behind which they spew out biased interpretations as freely as Fox News ever did. Fox Nation is a month old "Conservative opinion" site that is by their own description " for those opposed to intolerance," and of course intolerance means that gagging sound one makes when trying to swallow the allegedly conservative outrages against the misrepresentations they perpetrate -- just like Fox News itself.
"Why aren't white males being considered for the Supreme Court?"
asks this fine publication today. Of course the court always has been and still remains mostly white male, but it's good for readership to get the skinheads and Aryan nation idiots in an uproar about their being persecuted. I really don't have the stomach for it, but I'm sure they're opposing intolerance here in some obscure fashion.
"attempts to monopolize opinion or suppress freedom of thought [and] expression,"

are what they oppose as long as those thoughts don't include any objection to pointing an M1 Garand military rifle at Barak Obama and Jesse Jackson.

Coincidence? Only their psychiatrist knows for sure. Of course I've been thoroughly excoriated on right wing sites for suggesting that "heads should roll" in the hate radio business and it was interpreted in fair and balanced fashion that I was calling for the murder and ritual decapitation of Rush Limbaugh, so I really don't feel any inhibition in asking whether this is a subliminal thing, meant to make the bigots giggle and their trigger fingers wiggle -- or pure accident. It could be that, certainly and I'm being fair and balanced about it.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Let's all torture like it's 1499

I know, I know, you're going to tell me that I'm obsessed with Ann Coulter and I should just ignore her until she goes away. Well, I'm not and she won't of course, but it's just that every time I think I've identified the craziest or most repugnant, evil minded, nasty and dishonest humanoid resident within the US borders, Ann, like one of those sea cucumbers that extrudes its intestines in order to gross out predators, gives us another and bigger load from her oversized colon.

Yes, of course Rush Gassbaugh is already on record as stating that the beatings, the attachment of electrodes to testicles and worse at Abu Ghraib were something only a girly man and liberal would object to, but Abu Ghraib is old news. It's all about Guantanamo and it's Ann's turn to tell us that waterboarding someone 189 times is just like a carnival ride people would actually pay to experience and that "the Muslims" are laughing at our weakness because we don't torture them enough. Only a hundred have died, after all. What we do is to put an "adorable little caterpillar" in someones cell, said adorable Ann to Sean "insanity" Hannity -- kind of like Monty Python's Spanish Inquisition using soft pillows and comfy chairs. We're "Wussies" for having any sense of morality greater than a jackal's says Ann while lounging around her luxury Palm Beach estate drinking a glass of human blood and munching on some child's barbecued leg.

Of course she's referring to our playing on some prisoner's phobias and to some, being trapped and unable to prevent an insect crawling up their leg is worse than pain. We all have some secret fear, after all. Imagine being trapped in an elevator with Coulter and Limbaugh, for instance, on the day you forgot to take your gun with you.

So I guess what the Arm Chair warriors from Palm Beach would like to see, is an America so utterly depraved and devoid of conscience as to make the world shudder in horror as we torture, maim and kill for pleasure -- you know, like real men like Ann and Rush do. Well they don't actually do anything, but they do giggle and laugh and snicker and mock decency while telling us we're "godless" for not torturing more people in more horrific ways and that we're suffering from "derangement syndromes" for criticizing evil.

Anyway, the dishonesty, the depravity, the malignant personality of laughing Ann doesn't need me to criticize it. Someone who makes a living lying, insisting that concerns of right and wrong, good and evil are for weaklings and that only cruel and inhuman leaders who make us safe by terrifying and disgusting the world can be supported -- while ridiculing liberals for being without religion isn't going to listen, and those who support her will simply read inexplicable hostility into my words and claim she's the victim.

We don't burn these people at the stake any more -- perhaps that's the danger of being Godless, but I'm just as happy that he's dead or gone or never was at all, since this is the kind of thing that would provoke any deity into raising the sea level once again.