Wednesday, December 29, 2010

If this be tyranny. . .

The Republicans like to use the word Tyrant a lot. Perhaps it's the same sort of tendency you find in liars and cheats and thieves of other types who use those words to describe those who threaten to expose them. Perhaps not, but I've noticed of late that there have been a lot of calls for summary and extra-legal executions coming from Right wing writers and hate shouters like good ol' love thy neighbor Mike Huckabee or Foxboy Tucker Carlson who "personally" would like to have had Michael Vick put up against a wall and shot even though dear justice loving Tucker professes to be -- you guessed it -- a Christian. Pardon me, but I'm confused.

If you find it hard to reconcile what you think you know about Jesus and non-judgmentalism and forgiveness with summary executions for animal cruelty, perhaps you're unaware of the overriding moral imperative of the Values Party: anything we do to undermine Obama and the Democrats is patriotic and is justified through patriotism because our word is law, not your damned Constitution. Barack Obama praised the NFL's Eagles for giving quarterback Michael Vick a second chance and of course Barack Obama is the Tyrant Prince of Darkness so if he does anything, it's a bad thing. Vick must die, even if those animal rights people are bleeding heart liberals and even if you don't give a damn about dogs.

Last Wednesday in my local paper, I suffered through a tortuous justification of summary execution for treason of the fellow who leaked those diplomatic cables to Wikileaks, the essence of which was that: had he leaked different information under different circumstances at a different time, some terrible thing might have happened. That's the basis of Mike Huckabee's equally loathsome demand for twisting the treason definition to allow the Republicans to kill their critics for the crime of informing the public that our allies aren't our allies and the government doesn't know what it's doing.

Of course if someone were lying about the failures of our government, that would be different. They'd get a regular show on Fox like Huckabee and Beck, make the big bucks and none would dare call it treason. The truth is what makes it bad, you see.

Never mind that something is exposed that would cause us to hang a foreigner the way we did an Nuremberg for, if we do it, it's not a crime. A bit like saying that if your aunt had had wheels instead of legs she'd have been a bus and so she can be sued for not picking you up at the bus stop this morning even if you don't ride the bus and she has legs anyway -- and you'd see the logic of that if you weren't a damned Libtard lover of tyranny.

Pfc. Bradley Manning, the fellow who embarrassed the military with his Afghanistan videos of course should be put up against the same wall for revealing the incompetence of Government, the lies, cover ups and perhaps the slaughter of innocents because after all, anything that doesn't cover up our misdeeds is treason unless the deeds have political importance for Republicans -- then anything is fair game and lawbreakers are heroes and patriots. Are you starting to get it? Criticizing the government is treason because it helps the enemy and there's always an enemy, don't you know -- except when the elite does it, of course, and you know who they are.

Yes, the government is corrupt, incompetent and can't do anything and so we're against it as long as that's actually false. If it's true and you prove it, you're a traitor and should be shot without due process. That's not tyranny -- a middle class tax cut is tyranny, ending insurance company abuse is tyranny, taking deadly contaminated meat off the shelves is tyranny, ending bigotry against law abiding citizens is tyranny, addressing schoolchildren on TV is Tyranny as bad as anything Pol Pot ever did. Making BP pay for their incompetence is tyranny and if you don't agree, the unelected leaders at Fox want you dead and aren't embarrassed to suggest that you be killed. Sic semper tyrannis.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Leaking on the leaker

Sex by surprise? No matter what your feelings about Julian Assenge might be (mine are solidly into the Who Cares territory) you have to smile when information as to the charges against him are leaked to the public.

Was he sat up in a "honey trap?" I don't really care, but then his accuser did go on sleeping with him in her apartment for weeks and never asking him to leave. One has to wonder just where the "Surprise" was unless it was his in E-mails leaked to Assenge's lawyer suggest the quest for money was behind it, but then she may only have wanted the man to be tested for STDs, says The Guardian. Who knows, who cares?

Now can we get back to the war on Christmas?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Relief is just a leak away.

There's nothing like a good leak. No, I'm not talking about beer drinking or kidneys. Yes, it may still be all about indecent exposure, but exposure of a different kind of naughty bits. God bless the leaker.

Remember "Climate gate;" that clumsy journo-speak title for some e-mails between British Climatologists that after a bit of redaction seemed to be saying that the evidence for Global warming was fabricated by a great worldwide network of rogue paleoclimatologists plotting to be characters from a James Bond movie? Well the hoax may be on the other foot now, so to speak, but you won't hear it from the folks at Fox who spread it around the planet. You won't find the Fox admitting or mentioning that NASA data confirmed a rise in temperature quite independently and in irrefutable scientific rigor.

You won't find Fox admitting to error of any kind much less to deliberately lying, whether its hoaxing us about scientific data or showing the fake and fraudulent video that ruined ACORN. I admit, those e-mails had me going for a while but that was before the new data and the new revelations. Even Andrew Breitbart publicly washed the egg off his face, but Fox? Well, you decide.

It was all too easy to call Julian Assenge a "terrorist" or call for his summary execution, but I'm curious to see the outcome of some recent leaks showing just how Fox slants the news.
"Given the controversy over the veracity of climate change data... we should refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period without IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question,"
said Fox News Washington managing editor Bill Sammon in a leaked e-mail in response to correspondent Wendell Goler's report that that the United Nations' World Meteorological Organization data again confirmed that the 2000 - 2009 decade has been the warmest worldwide on record, not just warmer than the previous one.

Like anything Fox gets paid to misrepresent, conflicting data must always be impugned by the " some say" or "people say" trick as though those "critics" weren't simply Roger Ailes or Bill Sammon or a Fox sponsor or most of all the Republican party. When the data conflicts with the politics, always mention "the critics." That's unslanted journalism, Fox style.

And when something you don't like sounds good, change the name. Take the "Public Option," for instance. According to Republican pollster and Fox man Frank Lutz,
"if you call it a 'public option,' the American people are split, if you call it the 'government option,' the public is overwhelmingly against it."
Public sounds popular; sounds democratic; sounds like the people want it and polls show that they do, so let's call it "the Government option" said Sammon to Sean Hannity in another leaked e-mail. "Great idea" said Sean.

Let's also claim that the "government option" would be "sponsored by the government, although in fact, the proposed public option would have funded the program with the premiums paid by enrolees - just like private insurance. So we need even stronger language - let's call it the "Government run option" and drape it in the Soviet flag. Never mind that we're lying, whatever serves the Party, that's what we'll say. That's journalism, Fox style.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Waiter, there's a terrorist in my tea.

"In a free society we're supposed to know the truth. In a society where truth becomes treason, then we're in big trouble. And now, people who are revealing the truth are getting into trouble for it."

What is it about Florida? Is it as Frank Lloyd Wright once said, that since it's the lowest point on the map of the US, everything loose wound up down here?

We may be no more fatuous than the Rest of the country in blabbering about our "freedom" and how everyone in the world is jealous of it and how every military exploit is about freedom and every casualty is a sacrifice for freedom and that this freedom is the result of our foreign wars rather than our constitutional law, but we sure look strange to that supposedly jealous planet when we agitate that more and more of it be taken away from us -- in the name of freedom.

Speaking of loose things floating around in the bilges of America, Florida Representative elect Allen West, soon to represent the 22nd district, who identifies with that nebulous assemblage of misfits and nitwits called the Tea Party, seems to be all in favor of censoring the press despite all his tea soaked and treacly rhetoric about constitutional restraints on government power.
" . . . I think that we also should be censoring the American news agencies which enabled him to do this and also supported him and applauding him [Julian Assenge] for the efforts. So that's kind of aiding and abetting of a serious crime."
No, he's not talking about reporting troop positions or exposing covert agents, he's talking about embarrassing the administration as "a serious crime." That's the same administration Tea Party folks have been waving guns at and making threats at and calling tyrannical, Marxist and illegal.

Yes, it's been all too hard for most of us to tell exactly what message the Tea Party people are bringing to the party, and this message of government for government's sake; government by, for and of the Executive branch and military authority and damn the constitution, smells more like plain old exaggerated nationalism and authoritarianism than tea.

One of the ways "the terrorists" won, is that domestic authoritarians posing as libertarians can simply identify anything that threatens them: things like the truth, for instance, as "Terrorism" and make it a crime. Things like identifying high crimes and high criminals and the kind of lies and manipulations of truth that get people killed and bankrupt economies. Revealing a crime; a politically motivated burglary, for example, becomes, by the logic of Tea, "aiding and abetting a serious crime" and "terrorism" while actually aiding and abetting by hiding it or obstructing justice becomes. . . what, freedom?

Is West a moderate compared to Uncle Mike Huckabee who demands summary execution for Assenge? Palin, Gingrich, Mitch McConnell and even CNN are calling him a "terrorist" and telling us not only that we can't handle the truth - we don't deserve it and the government doesn't owe it to us. It's all about freedom of course - and all of this from people calling Obama a "tyrant." So whatever the Tea party is selling, I think we can dispense with the idea that it has anything to do with less powerful government, a government restrained by law; anything to do with a government of the people, responsible to the people and most of all, anything to do with freedom other than to garble it's meaning.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Glenn Beck admits to being a terrorist

Not that he admits to having admitted it.

We've all had e-mails insisting that some event hasn't been reported by "the media" because the media is so biased. every week brings news of stories the "liberal media doesn't want you to know." I recall one that proved the "liberal" media was biased in favor of, or at least opposed to revealing the criminal nature of Black people. I've had others insisting there was some cover up of the fact that Jews, Gay people, black people and others were trying to take over or already controlling things in some secret and sinister matter. Most of them these days have to do with covering up the essentially evil nature of Muslims as Muslims.

Many of these alleged omissions share a great deal with the lack of coverage of the invasion from planet Mongo in that there is no truth to them and many simply represent that age-old gambit of taking over by insisting someone else is taking over; lying, cheating and stealing by insisting someone else is lying, cheating or stealing.

You can't get away from the fact that Glenn Beck and his employers have become rich by creating the feeling that the United States is in great danger, often from things they recently denied could even be a danger, like the National Debt and international terrorism, for instance - even things hard to seriously criticize like meat inspection.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, the real media usually cowers and rarely challenges the absurd claims of the Right, for after all they're also owned and controlled by corporate interests of their owners and advertisers. When they do speak up, they often get beat down and portrayed as clowns or traitors, so I have to admire the courage of Fareed Zakaria in calling on Beck to stand behind his absurd lies. It's about goddamn time.

Beck the Bigot for hire, claims that nearly ten percent of the world's Muslims are terrorists. That, says Zakaria would make for 157 million of them -- a large number to keep hidden, even for a liberal entity like CNN, obviously out to support the violent overthrow of the US.
"Well, Glenn, again, maybe because it just isn't true," Zakaria noted on his CNN program yesterday. "I can't find any poll or study or shred of data that suggests that 1.5 million Americans, which is what that number would work out to, want to violently overthrow their government."
Backpeddling like PeeWee Herman on his Schwinn, Becks' mouthpieces, having done the math, fell back to saying that well, perhaps that many support terrorism, thoughtcrimewise even if they're not shooting at us -- which makes them terrorists. Big mistake.

"Does supporting such anger against the American government make one a terrorist?" he asked in a check mate moment.

Well if it does then what do we call Mr. Beck? What else is he? What do we call the guy who spends all his time railing about the wickedness of Mr. Obama, the evils of social justice, about the need for regime change, the need to override the election process in favor of some magic substitute for mob rule, the need to take action before it's too late.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Murdering Christmas

Make no mistake about it, what the insurgents are calling the War on Christmas is nothing but an assault on our religious freedom and like a dog with a bone, or a teenager on the telephone, they will not stop of their own accord.
"There are people out there who are rewriting history and people who are buying into it because they never learned history:"
said the fellow next to me at the bar, a former teacher whose wife is a Glenn Beck devotee. We nodded together like bobble head dolls although I knew full well we were envisioning the same people on the opposite side of the game. He wasn't talking about the Fox people, the Fundamentalists, the sinister bastards rearranging the sets and props and actors on the stage of history to further their lust for power. The TV Christianists doing it under the pretext of educating the public that real history is fake history -- and at this time of year, although there are many distractions, their tawdry tableau is arranged to display the fiction of the Christian Fathers who intended that this country, the United States of America, be a "Christian nation" in the same fashion as medieval Europe.

I'm not in a position to say that we ever had an educational system that didn't serve as political indoctrination. I do remember being 'taught' that the Civil War wasn't about slavery, which institution was, as it was related, moribund already -- and of course General Custer was still being presented as a hero in my youth in the segregation era, but a long standing tradition of doing wrong is hardly an argument for continuing it, to anything but a reactionary mind.
"Can you imagine it? Some people are actually offended when I say Merry Christmas!"
said the man on TV. I turned on my new battery operated portable flat screen that I just bought as part of my home hurricane preparedness kit this morning and was reminded of the fact that if one can only get broadcast TV in this area, at least half of what you can receive are Jesus channels. Note that I didn't say Christian. There's a difference. Frankly, I've never encountered offense at these words, although I have seen the Pavlovian reaction: "well you can't say that any more." Yes you can.
"Can you imagine it, some schools are having 'Winter festivals!' What do they say? Merry cold weather? I don't like cold weather, I like CHRISSSSSSSSSTMAS!"
Indeed some people look carefully in your face to gauge any hidden reaction when they say the formula. Merry Christmas, for the next week is a test, a shibboleth, not a wish. "Are you one of us?"

Yes, some people are rewriting history, making up stories about Christmas being made illegal, Christians being persecuted; about big-box home improvement stores ignoring Christmas and acknowledging holidays of nefarious, un-American religions. They're good enough at the game and we're gleefully gullible enough that we can stand in the middle of an acre of Christmas trees in the Home Depot parking lot, arms laden with the Christmas junk just purchased inside, and believe that the undoubtedly MuslimJewishAtheist owners thereof are trying to take away your right to worship trees and reindeer and a jolly fat saint. Merry Christmas -- say it often - say it ugly.

And they're not going to stop. They're not going to go away. They're not going to shut up until enough of us shout them down and make what used to be a happy season into the war they, in their sinister, apocalyptic insanity, so devoutly wish for.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Just say Noh

When is a journalist not a journalist? It's a simple question with a very complicated answer and that answer has little to do with credentials or degrees. It can have nothing to do with whether the reporter reports the news or creates it from air like balloon animals at some kids' birthday party.
"Mr. Assange obviously has a particular political objective behind his activities, and I think that, among other things, disqualifies him as being considered a journalist."
said assistant Press Secretary Philip J. Crowley to assembled reporters at a December 2nd press conference. You'd expect gasps and guffaws and whispered comments like "what about Fox?" but I didn't hear any. Perhaps the disturbing idea of objective reporting was a touchy and disturbing subject for the assembled employees of corporate entertainment interests whose jobs depend on the proper slant and the ability to make headlines out of flimsy and innocuous or even non-existent words and deeds. No, says the political actor, the presidential mouthpiece, under US law, he's to be considered a "political actor."

Welcome to quantum politics, where things that are said and things that are appear and disappear like virtual particles in a vacuum; where things are sometimes their opposites and truth is relative and ephemeral.

So when political actor Glenn Beck gets teary eyed and hysterical about the proposed ability of the FDA to take poisonous, contaminated food off the shelves because if they can control what you eat, they can control your lives: so when worn out beauty queen and political actress Gretchen Carlson can pose as a news anchor and get her botoxed and painted face twisted around her rehearsed outrage that a year ago, Tulsa exercised our American freedom of religion and started calling its annual December parade a "holiday" parade, just what the hell is this journalism that it could include this foolishness but be contaminated by a hatred of secrecy and the objective of exposing a government that has villainously smiled and smiled and smiled at one lie after another while millions died in consequence.

So truth, as we can know it, is political since the concept resides in the heads of humans and not in the stones and gas and vacuum of the universe and no one can see the truth but through the filter of his mind. Just who then can we call a real journalist and why not then just make it up as we go along and accept it all as improvisational theater.

Too many people have compared it all to Kabuki, with it's exaggerated expressions and dramatizations, but it's really Bunraku, where puppets are manipulated about a darkling stage by shadowy figures dressed in black. Figures that the audience is trained not to notice.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Amazon death watch

It's 10:57 Eastern Standard Time and I'm looking at the web page waiting for another salvo in what's being called a "Cyber War" by the media. Yes, them Wikileak bogey men are going to bring down Amazon, for some reason I can't imagine.

Three minutes until it's supposed to crash and I'm reading the news. Cyber Wars, bizarre sex crimes, intimidation of the public who might happen to read Wikileaks or express insufficient hate for Julian Assenge - and who is reading about the Citicorp bailout being paid back at interest to the substantial profit of the country? Who is reading about improvement in the job market?

11:00 and all is well at Amazon - and wow, that's a great price on that hand held GPS! Is it too late to update my Christmas wish list?

11:08 I hate to wait and I'm getting bored.

11:10 Hey listen, I know this is a Cyberwar and all that, but if I don't see some Shock 'n Awe I've got some other things to do.

11:13 You know what? Why don't I check back later. . .

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

If the condom breaks, it's gotta be rape.

Sitting in a doctor's waiting room for three hours yesterday morning, I had to listen to "Liberal" CNN chewing endlessly on the two stories of the morning: the terminal illness of Elizabeth Edwards and the sex crimes of Julian Assange. Whatever your opinion of the man and of Wikileaks; whether it's black and white or very mixed, as mine is, I think we have to disassociate the propriety of publishing government communications with what just might be another US government inspired crime of equivocation and slander.

CNN used the word rape, more times than I could count yesterday and true to their unjournalistic habits never once proposed to delve into exactly what acts, according to Swedish Law, the alleged rape of two " consenting" women consisted of, although they did establish the need to do so by repeating that both women had willingly had sex with the man from Wiki. A disturbing dissonance at least. It appears that in Sweden, it's rape, or more accurately even if more peculiar: "sex by surprise" not to use a condom, or even if the condom breaks, according to Swedish prosecutors. That's it and that means there are a hell of a lot of rapists out there, many of whom are gloating over the imprisonment of Mr. Assange for something that's a crime nowhere but Sweden. Even in that feminist paradise, it's only a $750. fine. So why is theUS so hell bent on extraditing him for something on the order of a speeding ticket and why are the media so intent on calling him a rapist?

So I'm going to suggest, in full expectation of the customary response, a conspiracy. It's not just that CNN and others are crying rape when it isn't, but CNN and others would have us completely oblivious to the identities of the willing but uncondomized women as though it didn't matter that they both may have ties to the US government, the CIA and organizations supported by them.

Is this another of the seemingly endless appeals to the end sanctifying the means and if so, can we call ourselves a free country when the laws are bent, spindled, folded and mutilated to create the crime? With all the synthetic furor in some conservative states, about applying foreign laws in the US, are the same conservatives gleefully doing just that in order to more readily conceal shady dealings? Can we call that rape too?

No, I'm not sure that Assenge was doing anyone a favor by revealing sensitive targets for terrorists, and if he was guilty of that, he's certainly no friend to the US, but the practice of trumping up charges and paying witnesses to make them is not new here and certainly not a foreign practice to political parties trying to cripple an opposing president, but there's a certain foul odor pervading the news reports and it's not just the smell of spilled beans. If one thing is sure, it's that we need some fresh air here and some real information before we can conclude that our "free" press is worth saving.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Pillars of wisdom

It seems to me that there are two kinds of Americans these days: the uninformed and the misinformed although one has to allow for considerable interbreeding. Is this more true than it used to be or are they just more self assured now that we have multi-billion dollar industries devoted to supporting both mental conditions?

At any rate, it's increasingly customary in the world of blogging in these latter days, to suffer unrestrained and personal attacks in proportion to how well one backs up one's thesis with facts and figures and of course the fury is loudest when one of the fragile pillars of the Republican temple are leaned upon. So let's have another go at it and see what happens. Having been subjected to the unending right wing Jeremiad about the massive public debt and the question of who bears responsibility for it, I thought it interesting to show what the U.S. Office of Management and Budget can tell us about where we are now.

First and most obvious of all is that we're nowhere near the level of debt we had by the end of WW II, although that may be as expected, but that debt fell sharply and almost uninterruptedly until Ronald Reagan established forever the two regnant principles of Republican policy: Debt doesn't matter and tax cuts pay for themselves by creating businesses and jobs. Looking above, it's hard to see the evidence. High marginal taxes of nearly three times as high as today's were in effect as the debt fell, Debt began to rise sharply in response to Reagan's tax cuts and what the chart fails to display is that unemployment during the Teflon years rose to 9.6%, essentially the current levels we have today. Neither does it show that no new private sector jobs were added during the years of the Bush II tax cuts.

Again, what you don't see is how expensive the S&L collapse under Bush I was or how quiet was the Right about Bush's bailout of an industry that collapsed largely because of deregulation. Uninformed? Misinformed or just hypocritical?

We can see elsewhere however, that during the Clinton years, characterized by hysterical outrage at the "confiscatory" tax structure of the Democrats, employment soared and the debt sank, not to resume it's climb until the Commander Guy outdid even Reagan in illustrating that, no, tax cuts don't pay for themselves, don't create jobs and do as they did in the 1920's precipitate bubbles, busts and recessions.

So, I'm waiting for the slurs about my parentage, defective IQ and the rest of the typical projectiles, or at least the catechism of unsupportable maxims we've heard from every Republican since the debt began to climb, but it's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Obama goes to bat for the bad guys

Well, I was there and I saw what you did
Saw it with my own two eyes
So you can wipe off that grin, I know where you've been
It's all been a pack of lies

-Phil Collins-

The truth can set you free, and it can get you hanged. It all depends on who you know and how much they owe you. Yes, we may live in a world of denialism, mythology and cover-ups but I hope truth still has a few teeth left. That's why I'm rarely the first to scream 'treason' when someone blows a whistle or leaks a secret. Sometimes it even gives me hope.

So people have been asking me, since my last post on the latest Wikileaks fatwah, just what we learned that was useful enough to warrant embarrassing our delicate diplomatic efforts. Well a number of things, in my opinion. For one, we now have cause to reflect upon the Obama administration's efforts to thwart international prosecution of Bush, Cheney et al, for using torture to extract confessions from suspects.

Spain has had a lot of experience with torture and gruesome treatment of prisoners from the Inquisition right up through the last of the Fascist dictators. I think they've grown a bit intolerant and perhaps touchy on the subject of right wing excesses. So perhaps when that country set out to prosecute the Bush administration for war crimes, our current administration had many reasons to worry about turning tables, embarrassing revelations and the repercussions of such an investigation on our future conduct. Without Assenge and Wikileaks, we might never have known that Obama and company had a rare bipartisan success in 'persuading' Spain to squelch the effort. It's nice to know and it sheds some light on the puzzling friendliness that Bush has recently shown the man his party has been presenting as something loathsome and dangerous.

We didn't need any breaches of state secrecy however to learn that Dick Cheney's vast ossuary of a closet still has occupants with inconvenient stories to tell. Nigeria is planning to charge him and his Halliburton cronies with bribery and to issue an Interpol warrant, says Bloomberg Businessweek. You may recall that the Right Wing US Chamber of Commerce has been pushing Congress to ditch The Foreign Corrupt Practices act which makes such practices illegal under US law. If you were puzzled as to why we needed so badly to do that so quickly, perhaps we now can answer the question.

Will Wikileaks make Obama think twice about protecting war profiteers and international criminals - maybe even think a third time about trying to portray leakers as dangerous traitors now that we have had a glimpse of what's been going on?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Boiling the Tea kettle

"The Government's power to censor the press was abolished so that the press would remain forever free to censure the Government. The press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of government and inform the people. Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government."

-US Supreme Court Justices Hugo Black and William Douglas-

Anyone in the US with more political awareness than a telephone pole knows that there's a whole lot of loosely related and sometimes contradictory stuff hidden under the camouflage blanket of "we're for smaller, less intrusive government," including the somewhat contrary and certainly not Libertarian opinion that that government may, at its own discretion, hide its actions, its statements and defend its deceptions and coverups, making the exercise of protected rights a crime. That so many who feel concern about paternalistic government can none the less defend it passionately and thus sanctify subterfuge is puzzling. That members of that government can ask that we treat the media and its sources as traitors and terrorists with all the extra-legal powers it possesses, is hardly puzzling at all. That the need to cover its ass supersedes any respect for the Constitution it pretends to worship: that government can be in terror of being exposed, hardly makes the case, in my opinion, for Terrorism. Perhaps the test of being a true and loyal Republican is not to think of Richard Nixon at this point.

So how do we feel about Wikileaks release of leaked State Department documents yesterday? Well at least one Republican congressman recommends that we move that organization under another one of those capacious and convenient camo blankets: the one we call terrorism, or 'terrism' in the dialect spoken by a great number of self-styled conservatives. So, by the gerrymandering of ill-defined symbols, we manage to expose -- or at least the horrifically hyperbolic Rep. Peter King (R-NY) hopes to expose Wikileaks and perhaps anyone revealing that which slithers through the wires to and from Washington, to the dire and drastic treatment we afford "foreign terrorist organizations." To expose embarrassing diplomatic cables showing many world leaders at their scurrilous antics, is "worse than a military attack" he said last night.

King, says CBS News, New York, has written to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Attorney General Eric Holder asking that Julian Assange of Wikileaks be prosecuted as a spy for publishing 'sensitive' information given him by a whistleblowing soldier, even though that's what the mainstream media does, is supposed to do and the Court has affirmed their constitutional right to do.

It will be interesting to see the Tea Party reaction to this -- if there is one. They'll be torn between maintaining support for the First Amendment and the role of a free press and the treasured myth of its untrustworthy liberal bias. I'd like to think that it might increase pressure to actually define what they mean by a smaller, less intrusive and more limited government, but as they say - a watched teapot never boils.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving turkey

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar and sometimes it's just what it looks like. Sometimes, when the fat man sucks on it, all hell is smiling.
"The true story of Thanksgiving is how socialism failed."
Said Rush to a caller and President Obama is hiding that fact behind an honest account of history. No, that's not just a cigar and of course we didn't get tobacco from the Indians - what are you anyway, a Communist?

Rush Limbaugh has long since run out of relevance, run out of ways to prove that president Obama is a Kenyan, anti-colonial (would he rather have him be a pro-colonial?) Muslim Christian extremist who hates white people and is an avowed communist, atheist, trotskyite, racist antiChrist ultraLiberal Fascist. He's exhausted every epithet of every stripe -- and it seems he's now reduced to the even more pathetic state of turning the most mundane acts of traditional presidential sentiments and statements into fuel for his bonfires. Lapel pins, terrorist fist bumps; leave that to the girl scouts. Rush Limbaugh is the Big League.

What would have been, to anyone else and by anyone else, a tepid, ritual recognition of the long standing American myth that the Plymouth colony was helped in adapting to the harsh climate and unfamiliar environment of 17th century Wampanoag territory by some of the native people living there has been taught to school children for at least a century and of course it's filled with inaccuracies and covered with a sloppy whitewash, but only in the cigar sucking mind of Mr. Limbaugh does that 3rd grade pageant constitute a damnation of Mr. Obama.

In the White House thanksgiving proclamation, the president says
" A beloved American tradition, Thanksgiving Day offers us the opportunity to focus our thoughts on the grace that has been extended to our people and our country. This spirit brought together the newly arrived Pilgrims and the Wampanoag tribe -- who had been living and thriving around Plymouth, Massachusetts for thousands of years -- in an autumn harvest feast centuries ago. This Thanksgiving Day, we reflect on the compassion and contributions of Native Americans, whose skill in agriculture helped the early colonists survive, and whose rich culture continues to add to our Nation's heritage. We also pause our normal pursuits on this day and join in a spirit of fellowship and gratitude for the year's bounties and blessings."

Jesus Christ. No, really -- Jesus Christ. this could be a Sunday Sermon preached somewhere in Middle America to a pastel congregation painted by Norman Rockwell. To The Palm Beach tycoon however, it's occasion for a racist sneer about casinos and
"So, we were the invaders, we were incompetent idiots. We didn't know how to feed ourselves so they came along and showed us how and that's what Thanksgiving is all about."

Tell that to every school kid who had to make Pilgrim and Indian costumes complete with anachronistic flintlock blunderbusses and buckled shoes -- the America hating little bastards.

"He says nothing about the Constitution in his Thanksgiving Day proclamation because he's got a problem with it,"

Limbaugh continues to rant and in the absence of any supporting information for it, fails also to tell us how a document written nearly 170 years afterward would be have any relevance to the Thanksgiving holiday other than one only obvious to a malicious, neurotic saboteur grasping for any wrench he can toss into the works of truth, honesty and human decency.

But of course thanking a long ago vanished tribe, acknowledging the cultural tributaries of our nation and being grateful to whatever name one attaches to providence that our country ever came to be, is no more a qualification for venomous condemnation than saying good morning or asking what time it is. Failing to mention the Constitution of 1789 means no more than failing to mention the Emancipation Proclamation and it says nothing about Obama or the United States of America founded so many years later and mostly by other people. The only uniting element in this or any Limbaughean argument is the desperate attempt to make Obama an "America hating" alien in order to make sure we continue making the same arrogant, ignorant mistakes we pridefully ignore. If the President came out against slavery and wife beating we can be sure Rush would show us just how this was the one-way door to communism and the terrifying notion that Rush may have to earn an honest living. But Rush reveals so much with every word.
"Somebody is toying with me. Somebody is seeing if they can get one past me. Somebody is trying to take advantage of me being not as focused on the day before Thanksgiving and falling for this prank."

That's right, it's not about an alliance of convenience between the Wampanoag and a ragged group of Englishmen who had suffered serious losses in the previous winter, it's about Rush. The President isn't following tradition, isn't being aware of history, isn't telling the truth, isn't being a general good guy in that love thy neighbor and let's work together, and can't we all get along mold. He's trying to trick Rush, take advantage of Rush and interfere with Rush's millions, with the profits of his betrayal of my country, the malignant, hyperbolic, fabrications intended to sabotage everything good and decent and true.

No, it's true Rush. You're right. The long, slow and erratic movement toward freedom and responsibility and justice you're trying to retard is only something designed to get around you and your mission. There's nothing else behind it but an attempt to "get around" you and Obama's not the only one. We're all trying to trick you and in fact history is trying to trick you, the truth is trying to trick you and come to think of it, Satan himself is trying to trick you into thinking that's just a cigar.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Don't touch my junk

I remember once, long ago, arriving at O'Hare airport well after midnight with a pair of hungry, thirsty, overtired and near hysterical pre-schoolers following a full day of airport delays and stormy air travel that began in Jamaica. The agony of enduring hours of waiting and seemingly microscopic baggage inspection is impossible to forget as was the large Orwellian banner demanding "PATIENCE - A DRUG FREE AMERICA COMES FIRST." From my point of view, it sure as hell didn't justify the trauma and I don't have to add that it wasn't and still isn't 'drug-free;' but those were the good old days. They didn't strip search my 5 year old.

Yes, sure, a majority of Americans are willing to put up with the ritual humiliations that now accompany air travel; those same people that don't worry much about driving their luxury trucks at 100 while talking on the phone -- at night -- in the rain. Odds are they haven't had to experience more than being asked to remove a belt or their shoes or having been chastised by someone in a too-tight polyester uniform and rubber gloves about which size Zip-Loc they put their shampoo and toothpaste in or even having 'terrorist tool' nail clippers confiscated. Of course many of us still haven't been through the full-body cameras and the rude, abrupt, "up against the wall" attitudes of TSA tyrants. Many have been and many are now fed up with what's being mocked as Security Theater. Fed up is a euphemism here of course but in this week of peak air travel, some of us will undergo an attitude adjustment and begin to use more direct words.

Some will elect to deprive some unseen gnome of viewing their nakedness, or that of their spouses and children and choose a "manual" search. It may be more 'manual' then they expected. ABC News producer Carolyn Durand claims that
"The woman who checked me reached her hands inside my underwear and felt her way around. It was basically worse than going to the gynecologist."
Raw Story reports that women have had to remove prosthetic breasts for Link"inspection." One man had a urostomy bag ruptured by TSA's claws and had to board an airplane while soaked with public humiliation and urine. Keep in mind, that no probable cause is involved here since profiling would be insulting. Keep in mind that you probably can't get there by Amtrak and driving to grandma's house may be more dangerous than flying.

Of course, to me, the Government's power to stick their fingers in your hooha is far more offensive than its power to prevent the bus company from making some of my friends sit in the back seats and expel them from the Woolworths lunch counter, but then I'm not a Tea Party 'Patriot,' I don't support Rand Paul's discomfort with anything infringing on absolute property rights and I'm not an oil company either. Neither am I like the troll who used Raw Story's comment section to rave about supporting the "Terrorist State of Israel." I'm just sick of arguable ends being used to sanctify extreme and offensive methods. I'm tired of losing my freedom to other people's fear and my country to the neurotic and fearful mob.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Glenn Beck, the mean spirit of America

I think I've come to some sort of decision this morning: this isn't a country for good men and good people don't embrace men who make millions by being ugly, lying hate mongers. This is a country where the real men, corporate men thrive on the destruction of other men, institutions and ideas and amongst the things they destroy are truth, justice and what I used to call the American Way.

Take Glenn Beck's assault on George Soros, veterans and -- oh hell, he grows rich assaulting damn near everything worthwhile including history itself. Listen to how he turns Veteran's day into an Orwellian hate session using his pantheon of bogeymen:

And in all this huge nation is there no one left to stand up to this evil other than Rachel Maddow? You, with your flags and patriotism - what about you?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Gagging the Web

What's a COICA? Not an anatomical term, but yet another government sponsored acronym for the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act. According to some, it's needed to protect intellectual property, a term which often provokes cynicism regarding the intellectual properties of some intellectual property, but I'll save that for another post.

According to others, like Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, quoted in Raw Story this morning as saying it's
"almost like using a bunker-busting cluster bomb, when what you need is a precision-guided missile."
As I read it, if any state AG finds something you wrote last year was insufficiently attributed or a thought or picture that belonged to someone else -- you're off the air along with everything else you've written. Is it just me, or does that sound as if it had been designed for misuse? Will any website critical of government or government officials or members of the same party as a State Attorney General be sifted for some infraction that can justify it's obliteration or postpone publication indefinitely? Is this bill far too broad to be safe? Were we all born yesterday?

The Senate Judiciary Committee passed this bit of poorly digested legislation yesterday. (there's a metaphor here, look for it) It was passed unanimously and yet it won't be hanging over the heads of bloggers like some bloody sword just yet and we owe it to Wyden who used his Senatorial option to place holds on pending legislation to force proponents to re-introduce the bill in the next session. I hope that by then the opposition will have made its case and shed enough light on the potential for politically based government censorship.

Don Wyden is a Democrat, but Democrats should perhaps avoid crowing about being the defenders of freedom of the press since the bill was co-sponsored by Vermont Democrat Patrick Leahy, who described it as a bipartisan effort to protect property rights. Obviously there's no lack of support for putting such things above freedom of speech by Democratic Senators.

A group calling itself Demand Progress is circulating a petition they hope will make a difference, and now that we have a brief reprieve, perhaps it will. Perhaps you will agree.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Saving our way to penury

many years ago, I worked for a 120 year old company producing industrial boilers. At it's apogee, it had over an 80% market share and a reputation for quality products.

Then came the accountants.

During the storm of leveraged buyouts in the late 1970's the profitable old company was bought by an accounting firm along with several related businesses by leveraging its assets. Within a very few years, it had a rapidly declining market share of 2% and a mountain of debt. In another few, it was gone and sold for scrap. Yes, I'm going to make a comparison between the fate of the boiler company and the fate of our nation.

Having been stripped of its reserves, the first of the fatal cost cutting practices so dear to the hearts of conservative accountants was maintenance of the aging production equipment. Soon, quality began to suffer. Advertising was curtailed: "we have to cut costs." The quality control department became overburdened with fixing problems caused by shabby construction caused by failing equipment. "We can't afford them. We need to be a 'leaner' company."

Bad welds, a dangerous thing, began to show up as welding inspectors, which for a short time I was, were eliminated. "we can't afford them." The problem of declining quality and the rising cost of redoing bad construction was blamed on the union although they were willing to bend over backwards to fix the problem and even volunteered for a wage freeze. Necessary design changes that had formerly been made in the quality control department in secret, were deemed "too expensive" although the dedicated guys in QC had been doing them by hand with parts bought at the hardware store and hand tools with their own money.

The quality control department was eliminated. "We can't afford them." We began shipping products that would not work. Field warranty repair costs skyrocketed. Our reputation nosedived.

People just short of retirement were fired to save on insurance and pension expenses "we couldn't afford." Management held the hard line on pricing. "People will spend more for our product because of the quality." Middle management was warned they'd be fired for showing that lower pricing would increase revenue.

Professional cost cutters and business school graduates with no knowledge of the equipment, its manufacture, its uses or the nature of the market were hired to fill the shoes of people who had led the company to its former heights. We had continuing optimistic reports from the new owners predicting that the cost cutting would soon turn things around.

Then came the bankruptcy, the sale, the quick demise, the economic collapse of the town surrounding the plant.

When I watch the antics of the far right, insisting, for instance, that we can't afford to stand up for equal pay for women, I can't help remembering. When we're given endless arguments about cost cutting and austerity being the way to prosperity, I remember. When we can't afford oversight, maintenance, pensions and health care and we deliberately neglect to do anything to improve revenue because it costs money, I remember.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

We lie, you decide

Keep saying it until it's true - that's Fox's other motto, the one you'll only hear in the board room, but you'll see it in action every day. President Obama is a far left socialist, repeats Roger Ailes to the Daily Beast. That's why his trade mission to the far East was an abject failure -- he's just too socialist for China.
"He just has a different belief system than most Americans”
said Ailes to Howard Kurtz. He's different, he's extreme, he's foreign. That's why he was elected by a majority of Americans, I guess. That's why his ratings are higher than Reagan's at the same point. He's the same, he's a conservative corporatist influenced by big business, he's no different. That's what so many liberal and non-liberal Americans are saying about him. Sorry Roger, you can lie report all you want, but we've decided.

Which Obama are we talking about?

" I literally never heard an Obama speech that didn’t blame Bush.”
says the Fox chairman. I guess I'm not listening carefully, but that's literally a lie and why isn't Bush to blame for what Bush did and why hasn't Obama come out and said it? Who else pissed away the surplus, spent the trillions shocking and awe-ing third world countries and was at the helm during the largest redistribution of wealth in our history? History blames Bush. The facts blame Bush and facts are what's missing in Ailes' endless accusations.

President Obama
“had to be told by the French and the Germans that his socialism was too far left for them to deal with."
What Socialism? The French and Germans are Socialists and Capitalists and they pay enormously higher taxes than we do. Under the current administration our taxes are at historic lows. Trying to reform health care in a manner far less socialist than any other country? Restoring a tax bracket to less that Reagan gave us? Asking for much less TARP money than George Bush, making it more accountable and lending money to Americans that's being repaid with interest? Being too much in cahoots with Wall Street, beholden to corporate interests, giving us a large middle class tax cut? What Socialism, you lying son of a bitch?

Sorry Roger, you're going to have to say it a lot louder and longer if you want to make it true and if you wanted to be something in the same galaxy as honesty, you'd just come out and use the N word. That would be even more of a boost to your oily profits, wouldn't it?

The Big Lie

Keep saying it until it's true - that's Fox's other motto, the one you'll only hear in the board room, but you'll see it in action every day. President Obama is a far left socialist, repeats Roger Ailes to the Daily Beast. That's why his trade mission to the far East was an abject failure -- he's just too socialist for China.
"He just has a different belief system than most Americans”
said Ailes to Howard Kurtz. He's different, he's extreme, he's foreign. That's why he was elected by a majority of Americans, I guess. That's why his ratings are higher than Reagan's at the same point. He's the same, he's a conservative corporatist influenced by big business, he's no different. That's what so many liberal and non-liberal Americans are saying about him. Sorry Roger, you can lie report all you want, but we've decided.

Which Obama are we talking about?

" I literally never heard an Obama speech that didn’t blame Bush.”
says the Fox chairman. I guess I'm not listening carefully, but that's literally a lie and why isn't Bush to blame for what Bush did and why hasn't Obama come out and said it? Who else pissed away the surplus, spent the trillions shocking and awe-ing third world countries and was at the helm during the largest redistribution of wealth in our history? History blames Bush. The facts blame Bush and facts are what's missing in Ailes' endless accusations.

President Obama
“had to be told by the French and the Germans that his socialism was too far left for them to deal with."
What Socialism? The French and Germans are Socialists and Capitalists and they pay enormously higher taxes than we do. Under the current administration our taxes are at historic lows. Trying to reform health care in a manner far less socialist than any other country? Restoring a tax bracket to less that Reagan gave us? Asking for much less TARP money than George Bush, making it more accountable and lending money to Americans that's being repaid with interest? Being too much in cahoots with Wall Street, beholden to corporate interests, giving us a large middle class tax cut? What Socialism, you lying son of a bitch?

Sorry Roger, you're going to have to say it a lot louder and longer if you want to make it true and if you wanted to be something in the same galaxy as honesty, you'd just come out and use the N word. That would be even more of a boost to your oily profits, wouldn't it?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The narcissism of Small Differences

Another day, another triumph for malignant stupidity. I have a filter on my e-mail program that deletes most anything that mentions the President. Odds are it's more crap about finding proof that Obama is a Muslim, whether it's in goat entrails, the arrangement of the stars, some spliced together video or some total fabrication by one of Fox's Friends.

I may add filters for the words Mosque, Muslim and Islam as well because like the voices in the madman's head, mad America sees Muslims everywhere and hates them: in any curved line -- even in NASA mission patches and most of all in buildings with Domes. You know those round arches found at St. Peters, on many Orthodox basilicas and even that cathedral of Democracy, the US Capitol building. If it curves like the new moon, like the orbit of an electron, the path of a rocket: if it has a dome, it's Muslim and it's evil.

Take The Light of the World multidenominational church outside Phoenix, Arizona. All truth, decency and sanity notwithstanding the mad morons of America want you to think it's a mosque and for no other reason that it's domed. Looks to the Demented Idiots of Arizona like a Mosque - must be a center of America-hating Islamic Jihad.

In response, there's a banner now waving at the construction site:
"If you think we are different you are wrong, we are building a Christian house of prayer."
Isn't that part of the problem? Are Muslims "Different?" What about Jews, Mormons, Secular Humanists, Buddhists, Hindus, Unitarians, Freemasons? DIFFERENT! BE AFRAID!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Thanks but no thanks, and I'll take it, but I didn't.

Got another e-mail this morning about how the Supreme Court is "quietly reviewing" those claims that Obama wasn't born in Hawaii. "This may have some discrepancies" but it's "still interesting." says the serial offender who forwarded it to me.

Is it time to leave the country? Because we have no real way of returning America to a body of informed and rational citizens. Still, as a lover of understated humor, I have to enjoy the way a libelous fabrication "may have some discrepancies," including the discrepancy of not having any basis in fact. It does seem to me that the flat Earth some on the right believe in is floating on a huge sea of malicious lies and has an atmosphere of pure hypocrisy.

Take Senator John Ensign, Senator from the Silver State and one of those dedicated public servants who thinks we can change our "reckless spending" by curbing Federal earmarks, which constitute a rather tiny fraction of what the government actually spends or as I see it; whittling at the whiskers and calling it a close shave. But that's just the basic background hypocrisy of the GOP. Ensign has his own to account for, because while railing at "Obamacare" and promising to undo the health care reform bill we elected a president to promote, he's out there actively soliciting - and getting - a million taxpayer dollars from that Affordable Care Act he so despises to spend on health care in his state. Perhaps there's a discrepancy there somewhere too, but it's still interesting.

Is this another "thanks but no thanks" moment for Republicans? I mean one where you take the money and say you didn't and blame the other party while you pose as a cost cutter? Maybe, I can call it the Palin Precedent, maybe it's better to call them liars and greedy little power hungry bastards.

Oh and please spare me an example of where some Democrat did the same thing. That's not the point and it isn't the Democrats trying to assert dogmatic policies that have failed each and every time to bring prosperity and have each and every time produced recessions -- as if we could keep repeating the past until it becomes a better future. The question of whether to leave the country is the point and that question is fast becoming moot because the country is leaving us.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thus spake Shimkus

Now, this atheist has been accused of having it in for Christians, but since I staunchly maintain I've never met one, I must deny it. What makes me the angriest, and it does make me angry, is not some abstract faith in an ineffable power, but the scriptural inerrancy epidemic spreading like a dangerous plague. It's not a Christian thing, it's a dementia thing and as far as Bible as the inerrant word of God cult goes, it's a stupid thing. All religions and much political thought is susceptible to the disease.

There isn't any God but the ones we make up, nor does he do anything we don't do for him, but if our definition includes honesty or coherence or lack of self-contradiction or even a 21st century child's knowledge of cosmology, he didn't write the books of Moses, the Gospels, the various different versions of Isiah found at Qumran or any of the rest of it, culled and selected and edited and redacted by generations of people from a wider library of books. For lack of space I simply can't cover all the territory, but for it to have been written by an all-knowing, it must describe an alternate universe, not this one.

But I digress. My point was that Jews like Representative John Shimkus (R-IL) have been turned into truth eating zombies far more dangerous than B movie producers ever imagined. It's not a Christian thing. He thinks that we shouldn't worry about climate change because God won't allow any dire consequences. It's not that I think we're likely to all be drowned and not about how accurate I think current projections might or might not be, it's that people of this ilk get people killed. Electing Shimkus is like hiring a blind chauffeur who drives by faith. He's like a general who tells his troops the other guys are firing blanks. Don't mind those bullets, our religion will protect you, said Jack Wilson and not one bullet was stopped and how many Indians died? If you're not dumb enough to think that's right, you're too smart to support Shimkus in seeking chairmanship of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

No, Shimkus believes in his version of his selected book and not in any other. If I could ask him why, he'd either have to do his own Ghost Dance or give me evidence for it's power to predict what will or won't happen with the weather, crustal movements, the evolution of microbes the outcome of battles and the flight paths of asteroids - and he can't. There's no test of reality it can pass. There's no way to show it more accurate than the Popol Vuh or the Quir'an or Bullfinch's Mythology, Aesop's Fables or a random number generator. Therefore the choice is his and it's a choice not based on evidence. What he calls God's voice is Shimkus' voice and thus spake Shimkus and Shimkus alone.

I'm always amused by people who call my logic arrogant. As people who tell you what God will or will not do and does or does not like, the title really belongs with believers, not with skeptics since we're not claiming anything special. The burden of proof to show that since there are an infinite number of words from an infinite possibility of gods, it's just your personal celestial ventriloquism at work? I don't have to, I'm not making assertions. The burden is on the believer. They proclaim endlessly about God's will as clearly set forth but when the predictions don't work, or contradict themselves, when life and death are random and there's no order or justice - well then they say we can't understand. Which is it?

It's your choice what to believe and your conclusions are no more divine than mine, although your knowledge may be superior and your reasoning better. It's still only you and me. God hates fags? Well no he doesn't, but I'm speaking of the true god Zog and I should know since I invented him and can invent as many more as I like all equally above question. Zog knows all about physics and mathematics and history and in fact everything I know, he knows -- and that's surely more than yours does. Zog says magic doesn't work, prayers fall on deaf ears, no danger will be averted lest you take measures and I know it's true because I believe and my belief can't be shown to be more or less well founded by any means I know of.

PalinWatch: Baked Alaska

Somebody's got to do it, distasteful as it may be -- and what's she up to now? Same old thing. Presented with the facts, she said "thanks, but no thanks."

We all remember when the song was that Obama was the most liberal legislator - ever and it's fun to remember it and more fun to listen to people try to reconcile that idiocy with the likelihood that he will imitate Bush in giving the 1% who own it all another tax break like the one instrumental in causing the First Great Depression and the more recent Bush Depression Recession. Obama is as liberal as Corporate America allows him to be, and that's to the right of Reagan.

But wait, there's more. Sarah's now slinging the one where Obama is the most pro-abortion president to occupy the White House and slinging it with the same, soggy, snickering spite and scorn for reality. "Obamacare" of course will fund abortions, said she yesterday at a half-full old Texas Vaudeville house, even though it won't, any more than there are death panels trying to kill your grandmother or that the President's trade mission to the far east is using up half the Navy and will cost billions. Behold the power of rumor over a willing audience.

But bullshit in motion tends to stay in motion despite any friction caused by the truth and maybe it's that strange "dark energy" but these days it seems actually to expand at an increasing rate.

"People do not process information in a neutral way. Their preconceptions affect their reactions. Biased assimilation refers to the fact that people assimilate new information in a biased fashion; those who have accepted false rumors do not easily give up their beliefs, especially when they have a strong emotional commitment to those beliefs. It can be exceedingly hard to dislodge what people think, even by presenting them with the facts."
Cass Sunstein, "On Rumors"

Exceedingly hard? Understated humor is so refreshing these days.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

So when do we start restoring sanity?

OK, so you think my last post was petty, or over the top and just plain silly? You think the country hasn't lost any connection with reality and we haven't turned into gap toothed, tattooed and camouflage clad Chatty Kathy dolls who squawk the same old tinny phrases when anything at all pulls the string? You think that objective, fact based and reasoned perceptions aren't more rare than raisins in some off brand breakfast cereal? is running a story today
about a countrywide Federal crackdown on sex traffic in underage girls. This Federal initiative began in 2003, but according to the kind of people who post comments, child prostitution is Barack Obama's fault. And not just that - Obama likes people to abuse young girls. You see, some of the culprits were from Somalia where most people are Black and nominally Muslim. Obama's father was from Kenya which is on the same continent as Somalia. Therefore Obama is a Muslim and a child molester who wants to protect child molesters.

I realize it's fashionable amongst liberals who aren't scientists to say that IQ means nothing, but it certainly does. If yours is above room temperature, you'll question the presence of "therefore" anywhere in that statement. You won't see it as the fair and balanced "other side" of the story.

The inability to see that this string of pronouncements doesn't even superficially resemble a logical or factual progression seems more than prima facie evidence of congenital and irredeemable idiocy. I'm sorry to sound all Democrat here, but there's something wrong in making it hard for a brain surgeon to get a green card while allowing massive political power to people who only resemble human beings in that they walk on two legs - and rising to power by riding their wave of idiotic anger.

This is absolutely Obama's fault. The Democrats want illegal's in our country, so they can get their votes. We need to unite and close our borders.

And to think.. This is what Obama wanted to protect and even proposed a law suit on Arizona to protect these monsters!.. Remove this man ASAP!

This still wont stop it. We must stop the Obamaism of protecting radical Muslims, Ilegal immigrants etc and remove all illegals from this country ASAP!

Isn't third-world immigration just great for our society? Our culture gets enriched with third-world customs like child prostitution.

These f-gg-ts should be put behind bar for life.

OK, so that's enough. I don't have to tell you ( if you're not a Republican dupe) that illegals don't vote, Obama isn't trying to support sex crimes, especially by arresting the offenders and isn't encouraging immigration by deporting half a million illegals every year. I just put in the last one to show the total disrespect for reality it takes to suppose that male homosexuals really want to rape girls. I left out the one suggesting that all people who have a pension [sic] for young girls should be executed because it's a form of murder even though the victims were rescued alive.

No, all the comments aren't insane, at least not completely, but some of the sane ones claim that the courts don't have mandatory sentencing, which of course is nearly as grotesquely stupid as blaming Obama because there were some Somali pimps involved while ignoring the demonstrable fact that the current administration is deporting half a million immigrants a year, which is far, far more than the Republican administration did. And then there's the fact that the current administration actually rounded up these folks, which makes it hard to wrap one's mind around the assertions that the federal government cannot do anything and should do even less.

No, Obama doesn't want to import and support foreign organized crime, isn't encouraging illegal immigration and in fact it's the Republicans who are protecting companies who hire them. No, child prostitution isn't a previously unknown import, although many of the victims are and if anyone insists that Obama is "protecting radical Muslims" by rounding up, prosecuting and jailing criminals, perhaps it's time to deport such folks or have them committed to mental institutions. But you know, there's a certain party who loves the insane zeal, loves the cognitive disabilities and yes, the insanity and, don't give me any more bullshit about Democrats are just as bad -- they're not -- and you all know damned well people who post comments like these call themselves conservatives.

Our founding fathers certainly weren't deluded enough to equate liberty with rule of the most manic. Where is the protest? And who is it shouting "elitist" when any shy suggestion is made that, despite the neo-Maoist sentiments of the tea baggers, dumb people say dumb things and make bad leaders and bad voters. And OK, lets be fair and ask who enables and encourages them by being all cute and not voting "in protest" because Obama didn't leave you the present you wanted for Christmas? Yes, you're damned right it's your fault too.

Pickin' on Paul, or Kentucky windage

Face it, it's become traditional for Republicans to declare that a Democratic election winner is a failure before he takes office, and in Obama's case, even before he was elected. Reality is no longer a prerequisite, if indeed, it ever was.

So why shouldn't I take this opportunity to declare that Rand Paul is a failure as the Senator from Kentucky and why not start off with a nasty, childish nickname like Runt Paul, to reflect his father's superior claim, in my opinion, to be respected for his views. Oh, come on, it's an American tradition and I'm not even claiming he was born in Nepal -- nee-Paul, get it? Of course we don't know for sure, do we? He's ignored my request for a birth certificate. By the way, isn't is suspicious that he want to an expensive, elitist Ophthalmology school? Who paid for it and why can't he produce board certification? Where is Orly Taitz when you need a nutjob attorney?

And look, I've even got a plausible story. Remember how cutting earmarks was the important part of reducing the cost of government both in Runt's rhetoric and that of the GOP in general? Well, that was then and now that we've put away the Punch and Judy puppets, he's now just fine with earmarks as long as they are earmarked for Kentucky. But of course he's still not going to let Washington - or reality - change him as he explained to the Wall Street Journal. I mean he still hasn't let the end of segregation change him. He still thinks it's a violation of property rights - kinda like freeing the slaves.

Of course the federal porkbarrel is not all that large when held up against the Supertanker of Federal spending, even though that spending as a percentage of the GNP isn't quite as huge as it appears when spoken of in dollars, but that sort of relativity sounds socialist or at least overly obscure to the public and we don't need to go into it. Besides, and to his credit, Runt accepts that we're going to have to look at the Massive Military Budget too. Good for him! but maybe that's just a Liberal Conservative ploy and if Kentucky is chosen to build some trillion dollar superbomber to win the cold war that ended before he started to wear a hairpiece, things will be different, so let's just assume, in the fine American tradition, that he's already gone back on his word - on all his words, actually. I mean, he might, so he already did. All's fair, right? If Obama raised taxes by lowering them, Rand Paul has already increased military spending - or maybe cut it. It doesn't really matter. It's all really about whose side you are on anyway so let's not get picky.

So did you hear that Rand Paul wants to make our country weak and is soft on Terrorism?

Monday, November 08, 2010

Oklahoma is OK

Says the tautological and largely meaningless slogan on their license plates. No, Oklahoma isn't an Apache word for xenophobia, but it may well become an English metaphor, and it certainly isn't OK with regard to having a clue about the consequences of their actions.

Yes, the strict Constitutionalist Nativists of the Southwest would love to be able to pick and choose what part of that document they feel comfortable with and ignore other parts that suggest that Oklahoma cannot set requirements for US citizenship all by itself nor can neighboring Arizona forbid certain kinds of employment to those with an accent that doesn't suggest Aryan "Abstammung," even though they did.

They're apparently also stupid enough to fear that Oklahoma judges will decide to opt out of Federal, State and local law and enforce Sharia, or Islamic law, since so many of them are Islamic fundamentalists in disguise or likely to spontaneously become one. You know, like some people just burst into flames or get abducted by aliens. You really can't trust any judge not to decide to enforce Liechtenstein law or that of France or Andorra, you know, and so they voted for the Save Our State amendment.

It may just work. It may save Oklahoma's free thinkers, Buddhists, Hindus and adherents to Native religions from being beat over the head with selected Jewish laws in the name of being a Christian nation. Sorry Tea folk, when you ban the courts from referencing "laws of another nation" that didn't apply in the first place, you ban the Ten Commandments as well as the other 603 Biblical laws you're not literate enough to know about. Mount Sinai wasn't just outside Muskogee, you know and Israel remains a foreign country.

Just as Sharia is binding only on Muslims, Jewish Mitzvot are only binding on Jews and if any are enforced in the courts, it's coincidental. Muslims have laws against murder and theft too, you know and some of theirs seem more liberal than ours. Sometimes ignorance opens the door to enlightenment.

Of course these landlocked Okies have forgotten that treaties the US Government enters into with foreign entities do have the force of law ( unless those treaties were made with the various Indian tribes without the slightest intention of good faith ) and so refusing to enforce them is unconstitutional and not good for international business, if there is any in Oklahoma.

Just can't win, can ya? So thanks for standing up for the first amendment, cowboy -- maybe you really are OK.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Cooling down the hotbeds

"Every word is a prejudice,"
said Nietzsche. That's why one man's pillar of probity is another man's "hotbed" of heresy.

"you know these colleges are hotbeds of Liberalism!"
said the man across the table.
"These kids just aren't old enough to be able to tell what they're being taught from the truth. They're not teaching both sides."

He's got an interesting point. High levels of education in our country do seem to be associated with high levels of free thinking and pragmatism and therefore must be caused by it as proved by the cum hoc, ergo propter hoc fallacy -- and whereas that's obviously bad and according to the divine doctrine of judging truth by what the less educated are comfortable with, it's therefore quite obvious that opposing viewpoints in other fields this Republican might be ignorant of disagree with are not being given equal or preferred classroom time or assigned reading: the voice of the people isn't being heard at Harvard.

Disciplines like mathematics, physics, biology, engineering and medicine? they only teach one side and that's elitist. Everything has two equal and opposite sides, the right side being, by definition -- right. You know all those things are best left to folksy opinion, anonymous blog commenters and to websites run and funded by Republicans who hold forth from country club and yacht club dinner tables all over America.

In history classes, we can be sure courses are not being taught about the secret liberal cabal ruining the world from its headquarters in Kenya, about the danger of subjecting corporations to the law rather than letting them write it, or that those poor women in Salem really were agents of Satan and why universal suffrage doomed the country to Divine wrath. Why, even Pythagoras and Newton and Einstein are treated as relatively established authorities and one hardly hears of the four elements or phlogiston or the aether or divine creation as acceptable differences of opinion at those hotbeds any more. And what of alternative cosmologies and opposing views in the sciences and history and literary criticism? Well, in fact they are being talked about and constantly tested, but we do have the other conservative doctrines of "if I don't know, nobody knows" and the inapplicability of past experience to the present time -- and that, dear reader, is that. It's a hotbed.

No, what they should be doing at Columbia or The London School of Economics and Political Science and other centers of Liberal propaganda and academic honesty, is reciting the catechism which includes such credos as: tax cuts pay for themselves and never, ever cause recessions; that massive concentrations of wealth and political power in the hands of a tenth of one percent of the population make for opportunity and "freedom" and that like a driverless car, the markets will always stay on the road -- and so government should stay out of business practices and move into the pulpit; as God and the Founding Fathers intended.

Face it; universities, public and private are hotbeds and that's cold comfort. Hell, why don't we do as that great Capitalist prophet, Mao Zedong did and simply close them down? The people know best!

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Mister, we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again.

Yes, those were the days Archie and Edith Bunker sang about and the man who led us from market crash and credit crunch into full blown depression by blaming the workers instead of the actual causes. Somehow we've forgotten that Archie the lovable, small minded bigot and ignoramus was supposed to be a joke.

I admit it, I went and hid my head in Caribbean sand for a week so I wouldn't have to watch the madness, the hysteria and the lies, or endure the Fox News fits and fables -- or most of all, witness the continuing spectacle of my country eating itself alive out of a desperation to keep doing what always produces everything we're trying to fix. Sooner or later however, and Hurricane Tomas argued for sooner, one has to come back and face the discord.

It isn't easy. It isn't easy to accept that Americans will support politicians that truly are nowhere near as smart as a fifth grader and that Americans will elect politicians who don't think the government has any business interfering with our "right" to abuse and exploit and segregate other Americans or to accept that Americans will just childishly stay home and let some 20% of the voters put a plutocrat affiliated with a billion dollar medicare scam in the Florida Governor's mansion out of contempt for "elitism" and because Obaaaaaaama and the 'Librils' haven't restored the Bush bubble, the Bush soaring debt, the Bush job loss, the Bush expansion of Federal size and power, the Bush redistribution of wealth, the Bush disenfranchisement of voters and infringements upon civil rights soon enough to please them. Yes, that's a hell of a long sentence, but how we sank this low is an even longer story and when it comes to telling it, it's not me whose head is buried in the sand.

No, after 8 years of job stagnation, job loss and declining earnings, all we'll be hearing about is about that 9.6% unemployment Obama created without any help from Bush's tax cuts and wars -- and we won't be remembering the 9.5% unemployment in Reagan's first term. ( nor his tax increases nor the effect they produced) We'll hear the gloating and bragging about the president's low popularity although Reagan's was lower at the same point in his career. We'll hear about profligate spending, but not a word about the payback with interest that tells a different story. We'll keep hearing about the debt, but not the policies that produced it and how it can only be solved by a policy that has produced the largest government sponsored redistribution of wealth in our history without creating a single new private sector job -- a policy that must be maintained for fear of Communism. Like Archie, we'll keep longing for that romanticized version of a Hobbesian hell with every white man for himself, minorities in the minority, stragglers will be shot and no prisoners taken. We'll keep ignoring reality and we'll keep repeating the slogans as we count our beads, fabricating facts and citing false history when we pay attention to history at all.

Meanwhile the sand is warm and the hurricane is moving out to sea. . .

Friday, October 29, 2010

High noon in Brooklyn

Waving a .44-caliber Magnum revolver, young Winston Cox ( allegedly) entered the Brooklyn, NY beauty parlor saying:
“This is a robbery. I will kill you.”

It was the wrong beauty parlor. It was the wrong beauty parlor because Ferris Jones was there to get her hair done, and being an off-duty police officer, she was packing heat. She mentioned that disturbing fact to Cox, who at age 19 already has a long rap sheet, but he preferred to answer with his revolver. Had I seen it in a Gene Autry movie, I'd have groaned, because that kind of shooting isn't easy, especially under the circumstances, but officer Jones shot the gun out of his hand and jammed the entrance door lock with another shot. The wounded man managed to kick out a door panel, but was soon arrested.

Everyone loves a story like this. The officer handled a potentially deadly situation without anyone being killed and no innocent party was harmed. But I have to wonder what would have happened if she were a civilian. In New York, it would have made her a felon, I believe and she would probably be sued by the "victim." Just ask Bernie Goetz.

Of course if as many Brooklyn women had guns in their purses as they do here in Florida, one might speculate that the would be robbers might think twice, but that's hard to substantiate. It's easier to substantiate that having the tools to defend your life is only illegal in a handful of states, whose statistics don't seem to show a benefit from that prohibition.

In my nine years in Florida, I've yet to read of anyone caught in that crossfire people who advocate against the ownership of firearms like to speculate about, but I regularly do read about home invasions and armed robberies being thwarted here in my area - and often by women. So although I continue to hear about "gun nuts" and the NRA and lobbyists, I have to think some of it is excessive and based on fear and superstition and old beliefs that cripple reason. But that's just me and your opinion could differ.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Corporate club

One hears about shadowy groups of people who run things from behind a screen. Some of it's crazy, some of it isn't and with some of it, you just never know. There never was anything like the group said to be behind The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and the book was actually re-purposed from an earlier anti-Napoleonic screed to vilify Jews. Rather successfully too.

There are, however uncountable but influential think tanks and other agencies pumped full of cash from the deep pockets of hidden global interests. There is a real Bilderberg group and you'll hear from some that it has all kinds of sinister purposes related to globalism and world government. Whether that agenda includes corporate feudalism or worldwide socialism depends on whose axe is being ground, and their guarded secrecy only invites speculation: but the most successful of secret groups would probably be invisible or apparently innocuous and would include entities quite a bit more powerful than effete European aristocrats and the selection of politicians and industrialists who attend annual Bilderberg meetings.

To me, the most likely home for such a group or groups would be right here in the USA and The New York Times' Jimmy Zuma gives us a candidate: the notorious industrial barons, the Koch Brothers who
"regularly convene secret conclaves of industrialists aiming to prevent government from regulating business."
Has the rightward tilt of the United States Supreme Court been facilitated and encouraged or even paid for by Oil money?

Was the Citizens United decision granting corporate ability to pump unlimited amounts of money into campaigns designed to repay that money, to influence elections and guarantee the allegiance of politicians bought and paid for? Despairing minds want to know. The decisions of Supreme Court Justices allowing corporations the power to slander and libel ad libidum, the decision eviscerating any attempt to influence elections and legislation with secret, untraceable Gigabuck contributions: did the attendance of Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia at Koch Brothers secret meetings about which the press never talks ( although it attends) have anything to do with the biggest handover of political power to the very, very rich in our history?
"Now that we know Supreme Court justices attended Koch’s political planning meetings, it is time to ask some important questions… "
Yes it is and now, while we still can.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Gays R Us

No, really, gays are us. No matter which stereotype one insists fits a group as disparate as mankind in general, it's impossible to separate it from one's own prejudices. If there's any appearance of unanimity, it may be that people tend to vote their own interests and support candidates that promise to advance those interests, but Gays are conservative, liberal, libertarian and any other blurry concepts we use to muddy the political waters. So when AP rattles our cage and asks us to worry that the dissatisfaction of gay Americans with the lack of progress the current administration has made with respect to protecting their equality will cause them not to vote at all or commit political seppuku by voting for Republicans, I have to wonder if they aren't trying to create a self-fulfilling prophecy here or at least cashing in on the fear of jumping back out of the pan and into the fire.

"Some fear that gay voters angry over pace of gains might sit out election"
blares the headline. Some fear the Andromeda galaxy will smash into us any day now. That's a cheap ploy more worthy of Fox than AP, as is the use of quotes from a handful of individuals to stand in for the voice of a huge group that doesn't speak unanimously anyway -- but still, we all know there is frustration.

Will that frustration provoke people for whom DADT is a thorn in the side or who advocate the right to marry one of the same sex to choose candidates in the same main stream that opposed voting rights for women and minorities, the right to marry outside one's race, to get a room at The Breakers or a seat in the front of the bus? Perhaps one of those right wingers who blame every storm, every shift in tectonic plates on allowing gay people the right not to be stoned in the public square?

Gay people also care, I would presume, about the economic charade that collapsed the economy, the lawless and predatory markets, the wars and the erosion of rights that they were meant to justify. They care about government intrusion into our privacy, government control by corporate interests and all the other things we all, rightly or wrongly care about. They care about pulling the economy out of the nosedive the previous pilot put it into as much as any American. If they have an "agenda" as the bigots assert, it sure looks like it involves life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as much as anyone elses and the agenda of those selling the idea that they are different and dangerous certainly has to do with something completely different.