Friday, April 30, 2010

Consider the source

So how long did you think it would take? Actually I'm surprised that Chairman Rush took so long to blame the oil rig disaster on "hardcore environmentalist wackos." He couldn't have been waiting for some evidence before making accusations of murder and terrorism since there hasn't been any and he's never let that bother him before. Besides he isn't actually making any accusations in the first place:
"I'm just, I'm just noting the timing here."

It happened on Earth Day of course. It's always so easy to say "case closed" when there isn't any case so I won't even hint that Halliburton, the recipient of unholy amounts of government subsidies, grants and contracts and with strong ties to Dick Cheney is handling the capping of the well. I'll just note who's getting rich from it.

It didn't take long either, for the "government can't be trusted" set to pledge their trust to the Arizona police never to define their "reasonable suspicion" in a way that lets them stop and harass American citizens of Hispanic origin or Hispanics with legal work papers. They don't have to worry at all, though they should be sure to have witnesses standing by, to never go out of the house without proof of citizenship and to be very, very polite to Sheriff Arpaio when he demands they stand and deliver.

There's simply no reason to worry about abuse except that the recently signed bill seems to have been drafted by Kris Kobach who is a lawyer from the Federation for American Immigration Reform , which the Southern Poverty Law Center has listed as an anti-immigrant hate group since 2007 and who was former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft’s top immigration adviser. Hey, I'm not suggesting anything, but Ashcroft isn't known for respecting the niceties of Constitutional law in matters concerning the Bill of Rights. So maybe it's constitutional, maybe it's not, maybe it's going to be hell for Hispanics in Arizona, maybe not, but I'll simply consider the source.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Desert Cross

"the Constitution does not oblige government to avoid any public acknowledgment of religion's role in society"
said Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy. The Cross may be an affirmation of Christian beliefs but it's also used to "honor and respect heroism." The cross he refers to of course is the one erected 75 years ago in the Mojave Desert to "honor" the dead of the First World War, including those without Christian beliefs; those whose own beliefs were inimitable to and lives diminished by those with Christian beliefs. Yes, Tony, there are and were atheists in foxholes: Jews, Muslims, animists, Unitarians and others -- and no Tony, that cross doesn't salute them be they heroes or clerk-typists: it salutes you and your religion at their expense and mine. It doesn't acknowledge that there are religious people in America, it tells you they're the ones who count most.

"Here, one Latin cross in the desert evokes far more than religion. It evokes thousands of small crosses in foreign fields marking the graves of Americans who fell in battles, battles whose tragedies are compounded if the fallen are forgotten"

continued Kennedy hoping apparently that in the passionate flaunting of murky emotional tropes we will forget that the most moving of war memorials contains nothing but names: hoping apparently that you've never been to one of those cemeteries in Europe and seen the graves marked by the Star of David and memorializing bones than didn't fight for or die to uphold Christianity or an allegedly Christian nation. The Desert Cross isn't designed to help us remember anyone but to remember Jesus of the Gospels. Waving a cross in their dead faces isn't designed to be a memento of them, but a proud rebuke toward others and another bit of puffed-up braggadocio in the same fashion as our traditional bully-boy patriotism. We're number one -- and that's because we're Christian.

What Judge Tony is saying here is that they don't matter, they don't deserve to matter; don't deserve the dignity of being buried without alien iconography. What America is hearing is that we can't spare a dime for Public TV but putting up and maintaining Christian symbols on public property is public duty because the United States of America would really be the Christian States of America God wants it to be if we hadn't allowed those people in.

"The cross is not a universal symbol of sacrifice. It is the symbol of one particular sacrifice, and that sacrifice carries deeply significant meaning for those who adhere to the Christian faith"

states Justice Steven's dissenting, and historically correct opinion, an opinion soon to retire from the bench. The symbol does not represent the United States, it does not represent all of us or describe what we're about. It does not remind us of the unnecessary and pointless slaughter of the Great War conducted by the Christian kings of Christian nations asserting Christian values. It does not remind us that we have a secular government and we designed it and maintain it to protect our individual beliefs and our right to practice our creeds and sects and religions without government interference and coercion, be it subtle or overt.

Once again we have been made aware of how precarious is our freedom of conscience, our freedom from interference in our private beliefs and our right to be included as Americans in a state that is under relentless religious pressure to be exclusive. We have a Court willing, it seems, to reevaluate and revisit many things we thought were decided and that would be a great many things indeed if next year's Court leaned more heavily toward giving our government a more religious stance when it comes to matters of morality. We can expect some serious fervor surrounding the next appointment. If you value religious freedom and indeed if you value religion itself, maybe now's the time to pray.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Drop that Chalupa, Pedro

When those cold war movies I grew up on wanted to let you know the scene was not in the land of the free, we were furnished with Angst ridden scenes where the protagonist was asked for his papers by someone in a leather trench coat on some dark street corner. Maybe his accent was showing, the cut of his clothes -- maybe it was just routine, but we were all grateful that back here, in "freedom" we could go about our business without worry and the government was on our side.

The strangest thing about Arizona's new knee jerk immigration law is that Arizona is the spiritual home of small-government libertarianism and the feeling that Government is a necessary evil; perhaps more evil than necessary. They don't want the government telling them when and where or if they can keep and bear and conceal weapons, what they can eat, smoke or drink or what they can do on their property. They don't trust public education or public radio and they sure as hell don't want to pay for them. I suspect they'd raise holy hell if the police were to stop them at random looking for contraband or illegal weapons or even a drivers license, yet they're apparently quite happy to demand that anyone "suspicious" in that state must keep proof of citizenship on their person at all times, display such proof to any cop that feels like demanding it, or face serious consequences. Of course, if you're white, you're probably all right, so never mind.

To any unbiased observer this alone would more than hint of a police state and unconstitutional government interference in private life.

Sure, if the Arizona police were perfect human beings there would be little concern, but they're far from that. Still, those self-styled Libertarians seem quite happy to give unprecedented and perhaps unconstitutional power to Law enforcement to stop people and demand papers. It's pretty hard to maintain the pose of strict constitutional limits on government when the power reserved for the judicial branch is given to a cop on the beat. The various issues surrounding protecting citizens from government powers of search and seizure were a cornerstone of our rebellion against British rule -- as I shouldn't have to remind anyone.

Dare I speculate that the Libertarian label might, for a great many people, sometimes be only the phony ID that authoritarianism carries?

Evidently fear of aliens overrides high principle and what Arizona really wants is a government that cuts a swath through the law to root out what they want rooted out -- and the Constitution be damned. What they want is a government that lays it's fingers heavily on people they don't like and lays completely off anything that stands between them and whatever they please. Sorry cowboy; when you add in the racist element, this situational Libertarianism is too much like Fascism to make it worth trying to find a difference.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Graham Crackers

Life is strange. Franklin Graham got himself into trouble by bragging about how moral we Christian Americans are as opposed to "these other countries."
"you can't beat your wife, you cannot murder your children if you think they've committed adultery or something like that, which they do practice in these other countries."

Of course there's some truth to it. Such practices do go on, but that they don't go on too often in the US, is hard for me to attribute to the ennobling influence of fundamentalist fire and brimstone Christianity of the Franklin sort. You've seen the statistics about the so-called Bible Belt and I think they show that such crimes are bred by ignorance and poverty and alcohol not by Sunday Sermons. I would challenge anyone to show that Atheists for instance, are more likely to murder their daughters - or anyone for that matter.

None the Less Franklin missed the opportunity to teach about the brotherhood of man and our universal failings and frailties as well, and chose instead the traditional tribal posture of moral superiority in an attempt to rally the Christian faithful by riling the Muslim faithful. He also missed the opportunity to speak at the Pentagon on the National Day of Prayer - when the Bill of Rights goes into hiding and we pretend we're back in George II's Merry Old Christian England, being told when, how and to whom to pray -- just like old Tom Jefferson wanted.

Some might find that puzzling since Billy Graham, famous for agreeing in a taped conversation with Richard Nixon, about how "the Jews" were ruining the country, that "the Jews" had a stranglehold on the American media, seems still to be in favor amongst presidents needing to show how Christian they are, including Mr. Obama and the randy Mr. Clinton. The Elder Graham did of course do a great deal of grovelling and talking about his record of not trying to convert Jews and being a friend of Israel and it seems to have worked. I'd have to take exception to the former claim, however, since I've met him and still have vivid memories of one of his associates pummeling me on the chest and insisting most sincerely that what I felt was Jesus trying to enter my heart. I'm not sure either that his "friendship" with Israel means anything but a thirst for the actualization of ancient political propaganda and I'm not sure he doesn't approve of the kind of theocratic Israeli politics I despise.

Anyway, this is the USA where things are felt first and rationalized later and Billy is still one of the most admired men in the country and Mr. Obama apparently seems to feel the need to be seen praying with the wealthy country gentleman. Maybe they make needles with camel-size eyes these days.

Perhaps that need is real since the viral, Republican generated e-mail hoax insisting that he's canceled the National Day of Prayer has achieved orbital velocity and doesn't seem to be slowing down even after colliding with the facts. We can't forget just how many Republicans and takers of tea insist he's a Muslim Fundamentalist either. I guess he needs to be seen on his knees with the right someone, grovelling to no one and not bending over too far to shake hands with non-Christian foreign dignitaries half his height. Frankly Mr. Franklin, I hate to see a president on his knees for any reason.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

It's all about Freedom

Yessuh, the Tea Party Right is all about freedom and keeping big government out of your private life so that big corporations can act like feudal robber barons or brown shirted beer hall bullies and do as they please to you without interference.

Take the Lizard for instance -- you know the fellow who does the voice-over for the Geico Gecko. Seems somehow he thought he had the freedom to leave a message of disapproval on the voice mail of FreedomWorks, one of those Tea Party organizations who tell you it's all about freedom while polishing their hobnail boots, cleaning the weapons and making misspelled signs.

A simple little lizard hardly has a chance against a TeaParty Tyrannosaurus and it's ability to intimidate Geico into firing him on the spot. Perhaps I shouldn't say forced, since Geico really had a choice here - just as I have a choice never to do business with them and recommend to everyone I know that they take 15 minutes to call Geico at 800-871-3000 and tell them that they just lost a potential customer. Here's your chance to be Dr. Ben Marble for a day. 15 minutes could save your country.

Retaliation -- that's what did to actor Lance Baxter. They published his phone number and asked their teabag terrorists to harass him and call his employer to demand his dismissal. Nice people! Just the kind of people you want telling you about what's wrong with America: too damned much freedom!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Your papers please

I admire Arizona's own particular brand of conservatism. Some would rather have it called Libertarianism but whatever you call it, I don't think it goes far enough. To give license to any policeman to assume probable cause to stop and search and demand papers of anyone who looks foreign is all well and good, but if it's confined to Arizona it just ain't enough. We need to follow Arizona's lead and make it national policy and any cop from Athol Massachusetts to Zebulon Georgia should be able to stop and demand papers of anyone below a certain level of blondness.

Because of Arizona's proximity to sources of ethnic pollution all cars with AZ plates should be stopped and searched and all air passengers arriving from Phoenix should be shunted aside for special handling. If even one leaf blower wielding, dish washing, fruit picking, leprosy carrying insurgent is stopped, it's worth the minor inconvenience. Of course there are those who need to be exempted from the rule - take New Mexico Governor Richardson or former Attorney General Gonzalez. We could have RFID transponders injected under their skin to identify them as trusted members of suspicious races so no celebrities, lawyers or politicians will be Tasered, beaten or otherwise humiliated in the process.

Again, Arizona leads the way in demanding that all candidates for President must present proof of US birth to be on the AZ ballot. Libertarians who profess to be strict constitutionalists may find a problem here, but I'm sure that the gravity of the problem will change their minds. It's also very important to define the nature of the proof lest the candidate furnish a state certified certificate attested to by the governor and director of vital records and attempt to fool State officials with it. It will take some work, but it can be done. In fact the bill gives the Arizona Attorney General discretion in the matter. According to the bill passed by the Arizona House on Monday, partisan or racial or ethnic suspicion alone is probable cause to reject the candidate and keep him off the ballot. Fortunately, House Republicans were able to pass the bill before Tuesday so as not to give Liberal terrorist supporters (if you'll forgive the redundancy) a chance to say it was done in honor of Hitler's birthday.

There are some Hitler loving, Maoist Liberal heretics in Arizona however. It's hard to believe but Phoenix Democratic Representative Kyrsten Sinema thinks all this is making Arizona a laughing stock, but that's easily countered by a sustained barrage of hysterical accusations of Communism, Fascism and palling around with terrorists. Works every time. It's like shooting Liberals in a barrel.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Fire in the sky

I'm a gettin' tired of Armageddon. Yes, the earth will become incapable of sustaining life some day and the sun will die and the Universe might just be torn apart by some sort of dark energy stuff. Sure sometime between Wednesday and 50 million years from now we're likely to get whacked by another chicxulub sized asteroid but if and when, it won't have anything to do with Giving America the same health care plan Communist enslaved places like Massachusetts and Switzerland enjoy.
"There has been plenty of fear-mongering and overheated rhetoric, and if you turn on the news, you'll see that those same folks are still shouting about how the world will end because we passed this bill. This is not an exaggeration, leaders of the Republican Party have actually been calling the passage of this bill 'Armageddon.' They say it's the end of freedom as we know it," said the President in Portland ME shortly after the bill passed. ""So after I signed the bill, I looked up to see if there were any asteroids headed our way. I checked to see if any cracks had opened up in the ground. But you know what? It turned out to be a pretty nice day,"

I think even the people who publish crazy stories for crazy people are a bit shy of endorsing the latest meteorite to be noticed as a sign that God really is going to destroy mankind and probably animal and plantkind because his own most special country in all this vast universe has been polluted by reigning in the insurance companies and is eventually to allow the poor, sick, underage and temporarily unemployed to have medical insurance. But World Net Daily did take pains to note that it wasn't such a nice day in China or and that all the other earthquakes and underground rumblings and ash clouds of the last few days might indicate that all has been foretold by John of Patmos, patron Saint of Psychotics.

None the less, WND was careful to point out the uppity nature of that comment and how that uppity president was very insulting to"Conservatives" who of course are the only ones likely to believe this medieval insanity about signs and portents in the sky - and in fact do believe it. What, of course, could he do that wouldn't insult them when the basic facts of history, Chemistry, physics, paleontology, geology, meteorology and cosmology make their hairy palms sweat with righteous anger and desperate denial.

Don't get me wrong. I put Conservatives in quotes because they aren't that at all. Some of them just play conservatives on TV and radio and in places like World Net Daily because they make a lot of money on the slander circuit. Others are just ignorant, bigoted, superstitious and misinformed -- and some are just substantially subnormal. If there are real conservatives about these days, they're in hiding, unwilling to be associated with the Idiot's Crusade and the few who remain, like George Will, for instance are sure to provide great entertainment in trying to rationalize their inevitable opposition to brokerage, mortgage and banking reform so they won't be called Communists too.

The rest won't try nor will they need to, pseudo-conservative memories being as short and malleable as they are. All they know and all they will need to know is that locking up Wall Street crooks must somehow be a danger to our "freedom," an offense to God and another bit of proof that the Liberals are leading us straight to a future of fire and brimstone falling from the sky.

Take Texas

Sometimes I don't know whether to keel over dead from laughing at the people insisting I think Barack Obama is a messiah and trying to force that sour confection down the throats of Democrats or to have a fatal stroke yelling at them about how they've been trying to shove messiahs of their own up the other end.

Of course America is always looking for a hero and wants one so badly we've made heroes out of some strange characters, but one man's hero is always the other man's Devil and nowhere more so than in the USA. Did FDR save us from complete economic collapse and a likely shift away from faith in the Capitalist economic model, or did he make it far worse because he was in fact only a puppet: like Truman and Eisenhower, a Quisling serving his Soviet Masters? As I said, one man's Messiah is the other guy's Satan. At least he and Ike and Truman didn't succeed in handing over the reigns to Stalin or Kruschev -- or did they? It depends on the definition of Communism and what looks like a free market to one person is obviously not to another. There will be no reconciliation until long after it becomes moot and the US is a distant memory to be made into an object lesson for propagandists yet unborn.

At any rate the longing for some kind of return to a past that didn't happen as described is alive and thriving like bacteria in some Texas bus station men's room and making it impossible for us to be a real nation rather than the loose confederacy of Hobbsian States they envision. Take Texas - please.

Newsweek says that the tenacity of Texas Governor Rick Perry tells us much about America in the age of Obama. I think it tells us a lot about America in the age of James Buchanan; divided irrevocably on issues that now seem morally and legally obvious to most of us.

The US in the mid 19th century was a cultural hodgepodge, filling up with immigrants speaking many languages, publishing papers and supporting theaters and associations using German Polish, Italian, Russian, Czech, French languages and more. Governor Perry thanks that "hodgepodge" sapping our "moral strength" today. It's strange to behold when in my lifetime civilization was on the brink of collapse because of the far right Utopian dream of ethnic and linguistic "purity." It's a strange kind of freedom that is allowed only to people of certain ethnic and religious backgrounds, but Texas is a strange kind of place.

Governor Perry worries that our country is run by government bureaucrats, instead of the Confederate model where it was run by wealthy landowners, and the current Republican model where free elections don't legitimize a candidate they don't like and where the country should be run by a confederation of wealthy Corporations and perhaps officially sanctioned religious leaders.

Am I making unfair comparisons to pre-Civil War era conditions? Keep in mind that Perry, when asked by Newsweek to explain his Capitol Steps talk about secession, only mumbled about long term debt and "what this administration is doing from an economic standpoint."

No the government is the enemy unless the Government is the enemy: "wants to be the epicenter and one size fits all. .. . . we have very, very different ideas about the structure of this country and how it should work" and as far as I can see, they're pretty much the same as those of Jefferson Davis and bear an uncanny similarity to the ideas of many America Royalists who quite liked the State religion and its forced conformity, heresy laws, witch trials and all.

"I don't care how hard you work. We are going to take more" are the words he puts in the mouth of the Democrat Demon. He needed to since it wasn't there in the real world he's such an alien to: the world where the Yankee president is going to take your slaves and let them whistle at white girls and where Obama is gonna take your guns even though he ain't. The Yankees are gonna make it hard for us to use public schools to teach far out fringe conjectures about a 6000 year old universe and magic creation of men out of mud. Of course if we taught them that Allah made us out of a blood clot, you'd soon hear the tune change from their "god given right" to teach our children to another assumed right to demonize other people's rights and lie about the data.

So how do you argue with someone for whom the truth is like silly putty; where you need absolute proof of some things and sneer about the entire idea of proof or even ignore evidence with other things: someone who believes in absolute authoritarianism yet decries absolute authoritarianism in Democracy? How can the smug insistence that huge debts and massive borrowing is just fine unless it's done by Democrats?

You don't.

How do you argue with someone who insists the Depression started with Roosevelt and not with Hoover's huge tax cuts: someone who insists that FDR's spending didn't end or ameliorate the depression but admits WW II did because of the huge government deficit spending? How can you make him tell you why we should be more patient about seeing results from trillions spent to do unnecessary nothings in Iraq than about seeing a complete economic turn around after 15 months. How do you argue with someone who will defend unto death, or at least until the Thorazine kicks in, that contradictions and unanswerable questions weaken an argument, that freedom is all about ethnic and religious purity, that orchestrated demonstrations of inchoate anger are an acceptable way of petitioning for redress of grievances and undoing elections?.

You don't and I can't and I'm tired of trying. I'm tired of listening to How Obama has squelched our freedom of speech, how the midwest meteorite and the earthquake in China are the result of health insurance reform and other totally imaginary, seditious things, many of which are the deeds of previous administration and even supported by Conservative leaders. I'm disgusted to live in a country that allows itself to be eaten alive from the inside and won't lift a finger to help itself.

This won't end well, if it ends at all. It won't end as long as we entertain ourselves with new and ever changing diatribes of just what liberals do and just what liberals did and just what liberals are. No one but the innocent are ever burned as witches, but moreover, we'll never be able to be constructive, we'll never be able to have a democracy that works and I have to believe that the people behind this insanity know it quite well and wouldn't have it any other way.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Kind of a blast.

Amongst the most common criticisms of President Barack Obama published in my local papers are that he has an "agenda" for taking away our guns. The few howlers offering any proof of this nefarious plan depend mostly on the fact that Obama is a Democrat and on redacted quotes from Rahm Emanuel or references to obviously incendiary articles with titles like "Rahm Emanuel to disarm America" and calling him things like "a Zionist gun-grabbing Communist." Even if we're to discount the Skinhead origin of much of this and ignore the supercharged, nitrous injected hyperbole so common to apoplectic extremists intent on portraying everyone else as extremely angry, we need to remember one thing: Rahm Emanuel is not the President of the United States, and has no authority in any way related to being able to do anything about Gun laws. That's the job of Congress and this congress seems unlikely to consider any such thing even if the President suggested it -- and he certainly hasn't. The Courts have ruled on the side of allowing private citizens to own and carry firearms, most of the legislators elected in the last election are pro-gun and that seems to be that.

Of course, just like the Tea people, out there howling about a tax increase they didn't get and death panels we've had all along and about taking back the country they never owned from the majority without any recognition of the blazing, neon lit irony -- my fellow gun owners and second amendment supporters are about, as I write this, to mount an armed protest against the gun-grabbing liberal commietyrantmarxistafrican, are unaware or are unwilling to be aware that Obama signed into law last year a bill making that demonstration legal by finally allowing firearms to be carried in National Parks. Thanks, Pres. As a Liberal, I approve of that.

I don't know whether it's too much of a strain on people from Stormfront to pass beyond the shoddy "democrats grab guns, Obama is a Democrat, he will grab guns" syllogism and into the world of real events. It doesn't matter however, since the supply of things real and imagined will always allow the kind of Storm and Stress they need. For those of us able do discern elitist things like irony however, it's a blast.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Mea Culpa

Hey, I'm a stupid lefty. I must be, since so many obviously intelligent people tell me so. After all, I don't think the health insurance reform bill is any worse than what's already been done by prominent Republican presidential candidates and neither does Mitt Romney so he must be a stupid lefty too.

The Cato Institute, obviously a bunch of lefties as well, has pointed out that Mitsky (let's give him his due as a Trotskyite) enacted a health care plan identical to Obama's while he was Governor of Massachusetts in 2006. Of course that Maoist/Islamofascist radical Romney won't admit to it and he was only trying to hide his Marxist/Maoist sympathies when he called the identical Democratic plan all those nasty names. Hell, he's probably right to do so since 2006 was so long ago we didn't even have Twitter and nobody remembers.

The Cato Institute remembers, stupid lefties that they are.
"As President Obama himself has pointed out, Romney is the guy who created the prototype for ObamaCare. How can he lead the charge against a health care plan that is modeled on his own?" said Cato's executive vice president David Boaz.
Well hell, he's a lefty and lefties do that and the Cato "cel"l is probably a front for North Korea. But the concept of "its only wrong when they do it" really requires more intelligence than I have so I'll just never cut it as a right wing "patriot." I really am not smart enough to get angry at the President for raising taxes when he lowered them or furious at his forcing his predecessor to put us into crushing debt, so the Tea Bag patriots won't accept me either. Who can blame them for suspecting a wealthy investor and fund manager of loving Stalin and longing for the worker's paradise?

So Mea Culpa -- I'm a stupid lefty and I'll go say ten Hail Reagans and pray for understanding.

Take the C train

Climb aboard the Republican crazy train, boys and girls -- we're going to Loonie Land! We're going to the Fox Fun House Hall of Mirrors where everything gets distorted to look Muslim, or Communist, or Fascist. Yes indeed the logo of the Nuclear Security Summit, can, if you squint your eyes and take another deep one from the paper bag of glue, looks like a crescent -- or if you're one of those sane elitist liberals, like an orbiting electron in the classical model of an atom.

But we're not sane are we? We're ConSERvatives and it's fun to be CRAZY! It's fun to sabotage any attempt to make the world a safer, saner place, it's fun to sabotage everything the voters (corrupted by socialism no doubt) do to restore sanity.

Yes, the latest attempt in the Logo Wars, to find crescents in everything Obama does and says started in Rupert Murdoch's New York Post "Now he's a crescent loon" and migrated to Rupert Murdoch's Fox News, which showed an array of Islamic national flags on Wednesday with the 2010 Nuclear Summit logo -- not that they're suggesting anything. They're just suggesting that since Obama is suspiciously "reaching out" to Muslims and thus is suspected of being a Muslim and since some Muslims are black -- well you decide for yourselves. We're not going to tell you what's true and what isn't. You decide.

I mean you'll note that Obama has pulled the plug on another mission to the moon and the moon you know, sometimes. . . well you get the picture -- not that we're suggesting anything, but looking at Space Shuttle mission patches you'll notice crescents all over the place and of course the shuttle orbits over Muslim countries constantly. Could be that Obama converted the Space Agency to Islam back in 1990! How sinister is that?
Of course since nuclear arms reduction was a particular dream of Ronald Reagan and George H W Bush, Murdoch may have wanted to pull back on the theme that arms control only weakens the nation when Democrats do it, or he may have been embarrassed by Insanity Hannity's being caught in a lie about what Obama's nuclear position actually is -- or perhaps he knows in his wrinkled Australian heart that it's just easier to get away with a totally insane innuendo than to play with dangerous facts. Nobody ever went broke after all, by underestimating the stupidity, gullibility and indeed the raw insanity of the American public.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Another new black

My local Tea Party is gearing up for another froth and drool session on tax day although at least half of them know by now they won't be paying Federal Income Taxes this time or at least less than they paid the year before. You can be damned sure there won't be any of the local Billionaires (there are quite a few) amongst the cracker crumbs.

The Dow is over 11,000 as I write this, investor optimism boosted by earnings reports and economic data. Inflation remains contained at one tenth of one percent, despite the solemn assurances of Weimar style runaway. Retail sales continue to climb more than expected as the economic expansion continues.

"The amount of diesel fuel bought using credit cards at U.S. truck stops increased in March to the highest level in more than a year, indicating the recovery is broadening beyond manufacturing "
says Bloomberg and truck tonnage, which accounts for 68 percent of freight transported in the U.S., increased on a year-over-year basis in February for a third straight month, as truckers benefit from inventory rebuilding, increased exports and stronger sales.

It's getting harder not to call this a recovery, but it would certainly be hard to associate the news with the kind of implosion into economic chaos, a Marxist economy and tyrannical Pol Pot killing fields some of the more extreme viewpoints have been forecasting.
"Bleak is the New Black"
writes Newsweek, but it's in the context of the increasing disparity between the sound and fury and the tale told by economic data.
"America is coming back stronger, better, and faster than nearly anyone expected—and faster than most of its international rivals."
and at present, the Dow is up over 70% in the last year. As to whether we would have turned around earlier if there had been no bailout, no stimulus package and a program of austerity and continued deregulation as the Republicans demanded after 1929 -- it seems harder still to believe that we would be talking about recovery as anything but a cruel joke just now. Even so, despair, panic, and even hysteria are the stock in trade of the Fox News doomers and gloomers - the same folks who blamed pessimist Liberals for "talking down" the solid economy of the Bush years. No, certainly a continued, uninterrupted recovery is hardly a sure thing, but more balanced Republican observers may be beginning to wish the fear mongering Murdoch would reign in his dogs a bit tighter before American voters realize that the last thing the Republicans seem to want is what they want: a recovery.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Inglorious bastards

I never thought the Confederacy would take health insurance reform lying down; accept it any more than they willingly endured integration, voting rights for women or their former slaves, equal rights and opportunities for "cullids" and Jee-Yews and anything else that interfered with good, old fashioned, plantation feudalism. They're against anything those Yankees do even if in the long run insurance companies will profit from it and undoubtedly show their gratitude to the Gucci shod rebels in Tallahassee and other red state Capitals.

Even though the ten thousand or so of my county's uninsured residents that now overwhelm the capacity of community outpatient clinics and emergency rooms are a liability and expense to me similar to uninsured motorists, the former are victims of Northern aggression while the latter do need to be forced to have liability insurance. Why? Well because a Yankee Democrat proposed it and Democrats did some of what the public elected them to do.

OK, it's not quite a volley of cannon fire at Fort Sumter yet, but that was then and today's attacks on the concept that the government has any function beyond shocking and awing third world countries and keeping the slaves in line are more insidious. What else would you call slipping a rider into an innocuous and popular Life Insurance bill that declares the new Federal Health Insurance legislation unconstitutional. I know, I know, that's hardly the job of the Florida Legislature, the same distinguished body of statesmen who last year balked at adding an exclusion to a bill outlawing the observation of and participation in animal sex if it was for purposes of animal husbandry, because -- wait for this -- some Representatives thought animal husbandry referred to women marrying animals. But the spirit of Southern freedom isn't about the government standing up for freedom, it's about leaving us alone in our fantasy of primitive self sufficiency where we can do as we please and damn everyone else.

Likewise the protection against being discriminated against by health insurers and protection against the public's indirect funding of health care for the uninsured must be about
"defending the rights of individuals"
as Rep. Ryan Nelson, R-Apopka told those assembled representatives of Florida Crackers, Swamp rats and toothless road-kill eaters called the Florida House of Representatives.
"every person within this state is and shall be free from governmental intrusion" in selecting health insurance coverage,
says the amendment. What nasty things might escape from that Pandora's box should this thing be passed into law! After all, keeping companies from dropping you when sick or weaseling out of legitimate claims by stalling until you die or your daughter dies is "intrusion." isn't it? Making you take responsibility for staying off the welfare rolls and clogging up the hospitals or walking around spreading TB is just egregious "intrusion." Let's give absolute immunity from the law to insurers and all in the name of individual freedom. Massa knows what's best and what's best is that you only shop at the company store.

What's more, the Florida Attorney General shall have the power to sue the Federal Government on behalf of any neo-Confederate who thinks I have to pay when his diseased ilk inflate the local hospital operating costs because he doesn't believe in health insurance - sue at the Taxpayer's expense, of course.

I don't like slippery slope arguments and I'm not saying that this will lead to revolts against mandatory car insurance or boat insurance or any kind of required liability insurance, but the principle is indeed the same: "Damn Gummint cain't tell us what to do" even if that government is elected to do what it's doing by a majority of voters who presumably still have the right to decide such things: a right not inferior to the right of corporations to do as they please. The principle is the same: government is about what we the people want, not what we the voters want. Upside down elitism and corporate feudalism at it's purest.

Yes, I'm surrounded by people who tell me that the 1861 revolt, or "the War of Northern Aggression," was about "freedom" without any sense of irony and they feel likewise about almost anything that requires any funding, except of course farm subsidies and special tax breaks for Exxon Mobil. Their revolt is about the same kind of "freedom" I guess. Sometimes that's my freedom, not theirs, since they're concerned about my heirs' inheritance taxes while theirs won't pay any, and a couple of percent more on my income taxes while more than half of them won't pay any this year. Of course their freedom to go about uninsured Makes my outrageous health insurance premiums more outrageous, but it's the thought that counts, isn't it?

Borrow and buy and blame it on the other guy

I hope I'm not hammering on this issue too hard, but as I keep hearing the argument that our growing debt is an isolated and dangerous problem only now to be addressed because we have a Democratic president and Democratic is another word for Communist insurgent, I can't be accused of beating a dead horse. No matter how smelly, the horse is still running and in fact, may be moving into first place.

I hope the data shown above will dispel some of the smoke clouds from our cold civil war. Of course data is data and interpretations will vary, but can't we tell that the steepest declines in debt Vs. GDP occurred, like economic expansion, during years when top marginal brackets were over 50% and as high as 90%? Doesn't it appear that the alleged expansion during Reagan's years was really only a manifestation of surging debt ratios? Doesn't it also look like anything one might call growth during W's terms was simply exploding debt which caused so much liquidity, so many dollars flowing into hot air derivatives and overpriced real estate and unregulated, over valued securities that the worst boom/bust cycle since the 1920's blew up in our face? Isn't it obvious that any apparent prosperity under Reagan fell hopelessly short of offsetting his profligacy in running up the debt? Isn't it obvious that the market boom under W. was the result of people like me having more money than they know what to do with and pumping up the markets to the point of the biggest bang in 14.7 billion years?

Isn't it hard, seeing the upward momentum to expect anything the current president could do would cause a 180 degree reversal in the time he's been in office?

Friday, April 09, 2010

Believing is seeing.

"I'm not in politics, I'm in ratings. We're winning"

-Roger Ailes, Chairman, Fox Television Stations Group -

It's remarkable and a bit sad that media outlets like MSNBC or NPR or the New York Times are so easily dismissed by the very people their job it is to expose as charlatans, liars, thieves, hypocrites and enemies of Democracy. There are so many possibilities to disembowel the people who are in turn disemboweling our values and our history and our nationhood and the very stability of our country, but bundled into a package like bad loans and labeled as Liberally biased, the non-Fox media simply give in, afraid to do what anyone who knows how to use Youtube can do they ignore the lies and emulate the deceivers or turn to celebrity gossip.

But of course in a different way, it's just as sad to see people like Newt Gingrich and Sean Hannity shown as naked and pathetic as the newly clothed emperor by one of the only news programs with nothing to lose by telling the truth: The Daily Show. I had tears in my eyes Thursday night as the scrolling text of President Obama's Nuclear Position Report was followed by the Foxed up report clothed as a conversation between the very god of hypocrisy and America's own Rasputin. Using someone's own recorded words against him makes it very hard, in theory to drown out the truth with the usual brass band of Obamahate or simply continue to lie and deny with brass balls. why sad? because it doesn't matter, because the people who want to believe won't willingly leave their fantasy faith and view the real, sad world and because there are a lot of them and because they're angry as hell that Democracy overturned their perceived entitlement. As with evolution deniers, no amount of proof is enough even to raise the terrible spectre of doubt. For reasonable people seeing is believing, for Teabaggers, Fox Folk and the vermin who write viral e-mails, it's the other way around.

Yes, indeed, The United States pledges never to make or threaten a nuclear attack against a non-nuclear enemy save for the provision that a chemical or biological attack could exempt an enemy from that pledge, but within seconds we see Gingrich saying that we're endangered because a chemical or biological attack could not provoke a nuclear response. Within seconds we hear Hannity affirm "yes, that's what he said." It's always quite an experience to see someone look you in the face and lie when you have proof positive that's just what it is. One feels betrayed, embarrassed, angry: one never wants to trust or listen to that person again. But not if you need that lie. Not if your entire life revolves around that lie.

Will MSNBC or CNN or the networks address the Fox crew's responsibility to report the truth? Would they risk running such dramatic proof that their competition is no more honest or reliable than the Legendary Iraqi Defense Minister? What will they say about Fox's assertions that our widely radical president will put us all in danger by reducing our huge stockpile of nukes, some over 40 years old, by a third, or by looking forward to a world without them? Will they, like Jon Stewart simply run clips of Ronald Reagan telling the world that he looks forward to a world without nuclear weapons and that we should reduce the count by one third as a first step? No, they won't. Reagan will remain right and Obama will, by being exactly the same be irrevocably wrong -- and a far left radical liberal trying to weaken our defenses. Truth is irrelevant.

According to Newt Gingrich, President Obama believes that words are a substitute for reality: he's referring to words the President never said, or words that the Hero Reagan also said. His smirking riff, only meant to perfume a pointless smear and to deflect notice that this is precisely what Newt is doing: knowingly lying about the President, creating a false substitute for reality and knowingly trying to enrage people against the elected government. As Roger Ailes said, they're about ratings.

Who in the "Liberal Media" is going to expose him as a seditious insurgent? Who on CNN is going to put together clips of McCain calling himself a Maverick and denying he ever called himself a Maverick? Clips of McCain telling us to avoid extremists like Jerry Falwell and then praising Jerry Falwell? McCain espousing views and then calling Obama an extremist for agreeing? Only an entertainment show, a fake news show. You won't often see such stunning journalism on a real news program or in a real paper or magazine, because it's quick, because it doesn't allow the concocted "balance" of dignifying a baseless lie as "another point of view," because you can't speculate and expatiate and flap your jaws hysterically about it all day and all night. That's not what journalism is any more. Truth isn't even what truth is any more and Journalism isn't journalism, it's entertainment, it's a Roman circus and we're not the lions.

Is it over yet?

Yonder stands your orphan with his gun
Crying like a fire in the sun
Look out the saints are comin' through
And it's all over now, Baby Blue.

At what point do I give up and admit it's all over? The anti-Obama hate cult permeates every waking hour of my day, from technical seminars between engineers about packet radio networks interrupted by someone handing out disreputable Republican figures showing what a spendthrift radical socialist Obama is, from e-mails and phone calls asking me to participate in tax protests from people who won't have to pay taxes at all this year to the constant snide comments about Obama not saluting to this or apologizing for that. There are e-mailed clips of Gingrich preaching about the "most radical president" e-mailed jokes about him firing "cattle guards" and just about every captious hoax you'll find at Fact or or The mad blood is pumping like it's 1861, and US Rte 1 as it runs through my county, sports shiny new billboards for gun shops and firearms training.

"But these are real numbers" said a friend I should have thought would question any estimates published by the RNC about what "Obamacare" will cost.

"Real from the same people who predicted the Iraq war would cost nothing?" I replied? He looked puzzled. One doesn't suggest any doubt concerning the Party of God in these parts. One doesn't mention that 47% of American families won't owe any Federal income tax this year to a sign waving teabagger or that Iraq has cost us as much as WWII and isn't nearly over yet, not unless you want to invite hate mail and stuff thrown on your lawn, put your job at risk and have no friends at all. Want to know how Dr. Mudd felt? Just suggest that George W. Bush had anything to do with the policies that allowed Enron to ruin so many people, precipitated the bubble and credit crunch, started the most expensive war we've ever had on false pretenses. I spent years being called a traitor for suggesting that what has come to pass would come to pass, but exoneration is going to have to wait for the second coming.

Local papers have become unreadable and dripping with foamy saliva in their raving about Obama's religious agenda, secular and Islamic and I suspect that like many papers today, the owners thereof are writing some of them to use the power of insane hate to boost circulation.

One doesn't mention that Fox News, the fair and balanced network that is run entirely by and for Republicans, doesn't employ a single Democrat and not only slants stories, it invents them and remains silent when their hoaxes are revealed by every other outlet on earth. The Acorn Hoax, the Climategate hoax, the "Two Planeloads of Democrat Lawyers descend on Wasilla" hoax. People think you're crazy, or worse yet a Liberal -- you know, one of those black clad bearded guys who carry bombs and hate America. No one here will even listen for fear of being branded a liberal and people who call themselves skeptics can't imagine the Republican version of anything might be biased. No one will accept that Obama was elected because of the failure of a long Republican administration and Republican controlled congress.

The fact is that Dwight Eisenhower took equal flack for implementing integration to the horror of people who called him a radical, FDR took worse for Social Security, Johnson for his war on poverty and support of civil rights legislation and of course Medicare. Jefferson was called a tax and spend radical, because in America you can't just be wrong, you have to be the Devil, even the irrefutable facts can be the devil or the work of his hand.

What's the use of opposing it? Could any amount of truth or blather have stopped the civil war or done away with the institution of Slavery? Can anyone save America from the metastatic madness?

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Internet neutrality and the Courts

Marconi was still a young man when the need for government control of communications became all too obvious. Newsmen using the new wireless telegraph began to jam each others' transmissions accidentally and on purpose and battles were fought over frequency allocations. Someone had to step in with some rules to allow the technology to develop, to prevent it being used as a weapon in restraint of free trade and to make sure that those using the public airwaves would use it without disregard for the public interest.

I can almost hear throats clearing at those last two words, almost see lips forming words like collectivism, socialism, Communism, but without it, the guy with the most money has the podium and the guy who owns all the podiums: press, broadcast and now the Internet, might just as well be the government with all that power. The difference between a fair trial and murder; between a Hockey game and a viking raid (if there is a difference) is the rules, so save your breath. I don't want to hear it.

The FCC was formed for these reasons, but during the last administration, it's been almost exclusively concerned with promoting the interests of power companies who want to use the power lines to get into the internet business, and sometimes to the serious harm of other users of the frequency spectrum. Whether or not this has changed under the Communist/Fascist Antichrist from Kenya seems to matter less than the current posture of the courts. The District of Columbia Federal Appeals Court decided yesterday in favor of Comcast and against the authority of the FCC in it's attempt to mandate "net neutrality."

The new administration has been in favor of equal treatment for all internet users; in favor of a policy that would prevent Comcast, for instance from slowing down and restricting the content they don't like and making content they approve of faster and cheaper. Yes, yes, I know all about free market competition, but I'm talking about the real world here and that's a world where corporations collude rather than compete. It's a world where a small group can control information to the point where no one can compete successfully. As I said, the difference between boxing and assault and battery or even murder is the rules.

It's too soon to make scary assertions about how this will work out, but as restrictions on how much of all media outlets can be owned by one person, real or corporate have been loosened along with restrictions on how much information they can restrict in their own interest, it looks to me like we're once again shooting ourselves in the foot, slow motion style. Our obsessive fantasy of a 'no holds barred' marketplace leading to peace and order, prosperity and a well informed electorate is, along with our phobic horror of phrases like "public interest" may be making corporate demagoguery a more valid vision of the future.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Freedom's just another word

Somehow I've never been able to understand why preventing enormous and hugely profitable insurance corporations from dropping you because you kid was born with a heart defect or not covering your leukemia treatments because you forgot to tell them you had acne in high school makes us no longer a free country -- or perhaps only a "mostly free" country according to the Heritage Foundation.

But more confusing and more difficult to reconcile than quantum mechanics and relativity is the idea that allowing warrantless wiretaps and other unconstitutional government abuses don't have the same effect. Seems that President Ford was comfortable with giving the FBI discretion on whether or not to seek a warrant for probable cause for wiretapping on the advice of his Attorney General William B. Saxbe. That's a long time before the Patriot act that cemented the "almost free" condition into law - a law that the Democrats haven't yet repudiated. Silly of me that this might have interfered with my freedom nearly as much as an extra 2% on what I might make over a net $375,000. Freedom's just another word for profit.

Is it the threat to monopolistic and feudalistic aberrations of free-market Capitalism that make us almost free or is it things like restrictions on civil rights? I think the answer is obvious. Freedom isn't at stake when Exxon-Mobil payed less in income tax last year than a minimum wage worker did, but the minimum wage itself is a threat to freedom and a harbinger of a Communist takeover. But don't ask me to explain. Ask some other millionaire from the kind of "think-tank" funded by the oil cartel.

Because that's exactly who is telling us what freedom means. That's who would rather you didn't think of it in terms of freedom from want, fear, privation - or the FBI rummaging through your life looking for anything they like. There's little profit in privacy -- in your privacy anyway. There is big profit in usury so our freedom hasn't suffered by finance companies that can charge 200% and ask for more, but it's damn near communist tyranny to ask Exxon to pay what my gardener pays.

No, Obama is a tyrant and he's made us less free, not for the things he's done or hasn't done to force responsibility on Wall Street, not for failing to undo constitutional infractions or abuses of executive power, not for actually give most of us a tax cut, but for giving some of the protection we've been asking for against financial ruin, against having to choose between feeding our kids or dying of a curable disease.

I'm glad we have people like the Heritage Foundation around to explain things like freedom to us. We might have gone on thinking that being able to vote, to use public facilities, to be served in restaurants and hotels, to buy property wherever we can afford it, to get a job if we're not white or protestant or male or young or to send our kids to school had something to do with being free -- all those things that such grand sounding patriotic spokesmen like the Heritage foundation assure us are nothing of the sort. Without them we might have forgotten how free we were years ago when we had slavery, segregation, race laws, male suffrage, restricted housing, poll taxes and lynching parties. I'm glad they continue to keep up the good fight.

Tennessee Tea

Some people might give them credit for never giving up and of course, like congenital stupidity and genital herpes, the Republicans never really go away.

Yesterday's e-mail viral outbreak flared up with another version of a letter excoriating Barack Obama for such inexcusable acts of treason as not placing a flower at the World Trade Center crater with a sensitive enough wrist action and of course referencing that old groaner, the photo of him singing without his hand on his heart. Both these things and more, insisted the weeping and wailing writer are proof of his Christian hating Islamic faith and his mission to destroy all that is held dear by the pretend conservatives who hang upside down in belfries and eat bugs.

Not that such people actually write these things. Virtually all of the phony celebrity letters libeling and threatening Michael Moore, Hillary Clinton and the Obama family are written by the same, easily recognizable hand, although the attributions change from day to day. The faux outrage and breast beating pretend patriotism are always the same.

The letter I got was attributed to Sherry Hackett, the wife of the famous and raunchy comedian although she didn't write it nor likely did the others it's been "from" in the last 6 months. The person who forwarded it to me was crying for our country or so she says. Actually I think she welcomes any scurrilous and seditious screed that oozes from the Republican cesspool. I think it just hasn't sunk in that far from shoving things down America's throat, democracy has shoved change down theirs.

The desperation seems to call for deliberate denialism and cultivated delusion. If Obama takes off his shoes, that means he's a Muslim and not a Christian was a sentiment presented by a small townTennessee Tea Party organizer along with a picture of a shoeless president. Frankly I wish he were, but even so, it's a statement that could only be applauded by people not likely to be found at a Mensa meeting unless they're simply dishonest exploiters of the traditionally stupid.

For a group whose meetings sometimes draw dozens of people, God willin' and the creek don't rise, it can't be hard to avoid the leaders knowing that it's a tiny minority cult representing a fringe Right element, yet their solution to the problems posed by an electorate that emphatically rejected the Right in the last election is to go further right. The Washington Post quoted David Nance, the founder of the Gibson County Patriots, in Jackson, Tenn as saying
"This effort is to try to get the Republican Party to try to give us more conservative candidates"
and he believes it's working, yet his choice of Stephen Fincher, gospel singer and cotton farmer from Frog Jump, Tennessee for the State's 8th Congressional District seems to have little to do with stated Tea Party goals of reducing the cost of government and eliminating "entitlements" what with Fincher raking in a cool, conservative $200,000.00 per annum in farm subsidies and being financed by others riding the same gravy train. He's pulled down over $2.5 million since 1995. Of course that' just all tea in the harbor and doesn't seem to matter as much as the president with his shoes off or the stories about flag pins and tardy salutes, a too small flag on his campaign jet and the laying down of a flower at the WTC with insufficient wrist action as discussed in the letter Sherry Hackett didn't write.

The shame of it all really is that Barack Obama, with his continuing support of some unpopular Republican policies may be too conservative for Liberals and perhaps even for some centrists while this collection of Beverly Hillbillies wants to tell us he's a Muslim version of Pol Pot while selling a faux populist version of Corporatism.

It's more of a shame we don't seem to have any genuine conservative opinion worth reading these days, and of course if we'd had it earlier, we might not have needed it so badly now.

Cruel April

I'm sorry Mr. Eliot, but for me, April is no more cruel than any other month, particularly in the large part of the world wherein it represents no particular change of season. Yes, the jasmine blooms in April, but something always fills the air with fragrant joy even if too many of us have had our cars repossessed, our homes foreclosed on and our assets ravaged by medical bills. Even the tired old Bunny had to walk home this year, or so I hear.

But hey -- In Western lands it's no longer open season for pogroms and persecutions and so far, Rupert Murdoch's dogs haven't got round to inventing the war on Easter they truly need to prop up their ridiculous fantasy about a war on Christmas. In April, people can still wish you a Happy Holiday weekend without stirring up one of O'Reilly's passion plays and even our Islamic Jihadist President had himself a sorta Seder, his ears sticking out from his yarmulked head like Mercury's winged helmet.

Still, this Easter, drunken bikini-boaters clogged the waterways with their springy-breaky recklessness and the Sunday morning roads teemed with ridiculously dressed people making their one annual excursion to the Church of their choice, but Captain Homebound in his bathrobe enjoyed his smoked salmon and Blue Mountain coffee at poolside in peace.

I hope yours was just as good.

Has anyone remembered that MLK was shot to death on April 4th? Yes that's cruel, but something did rise from that, didn't it? May something good arise from our troubled times and may everything bad pass your house by.

Om shanti om.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Let's pity the victim

There should be an emoticon for a dumbfounded guffaw or something less childishly vulgar than WTF? to express my reaction to Michael Steele's attempt to make himself a martyr instead of a hypocrite. It would save so many keystrokes.

It takes a desperate man and a little man to dismiss the scorn over his involvement with the kinky strip club incident GOP contributors unknowingly funded. There's something distinctly oily about his assertion that he has a "slimmer margin of error" as a black man, even though that might be true in general.
"It's a different role for me to play and others to play and that's just the reality of it. But you just take that as a part of the nature of it"

he explained on Good Morning America this morning.

Whether or not he actually is held to a higher standard than a non-African American in his position as RNC Chairman would be, that frisky business is certainly at a level where anyone would be condemned for it and above the level where a white Democratic president might be impeached for it.

Yes, it's true that an honest politician (we're speaking hypothetically here) has to walk on eggs, so to speak and it's true that one of a minority group has to have even more delicate toes, but that certainly doesn't apply to a gleeful romp in the slime bucket, does it Mr. Steele? Falsely posing as a victim doesn't help real victims either.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Twilight of the Godwins

I have to credit the rhetorical craftiness of self-anointed conservatives who often get away with dismissing inevitable and even necessary comparisons by invoking Godwin's Law. Yes, it's inevitable that when discussing sudden transitions from civilized societies, the implosion of modern, liberal democratic, constitutional governments into to absolutist and racist tyrannies and the techniques employed, Hitler will come up. It's just as likely that Albert Einstein will come up in discussions of relativity or Tomas de Torquemada in studying the Inquisition. Just try to study the Bush administration and not think of Orwell. Try it, I dare you. Invoking Godwin as though it were more than a humorous observation is simply a tactical diversion and it seems to work by embarrassing the one who brought it up.

Barack Obama is hardly the first President to be accused absurdly of tyranny, fascism or of being a socialist, for that matter. Lincoln's assassin called him a tyrant, both Roosevelts were accused of being socialists long before the current president was born and in my day, anyone who didn't think it worth millions of lives to keep Vietnam from holding free elections was simply a Commie. Remember when Ho Chi Min wanted Humphrey to win so Happy Hubert was a Communist?

Hell, anybody who Joe McCarty didn't like for quoting the Constitution or really any reason at all was carrying that invisible card and his name was on the invisible list. Too bad there wasn't an easily produced "law" telling us that the longer a right wing apologia goes on, the more likely that Stalin or Mao will come up. Too bad there still isn't one, since people likely to make such transcendentally hyperbolic comparisons between the pragmatic, cautious Mr. Obama and absolute tyrants who caused tens of millions of deaths aren't likely to listen to arguments that are factual or too long to fit on a hand lettered cardboard sign. It would be nice to shut them off with Fogg's Law, wouldn't it?

As of late, discussions of the president begin with or are preceded by the rather airborne assumption that he's Mao Zedong, Joe Stalin, Adolph Hitler and Pol Pot rolled into some bearded bin Laden burrito, but then his father was black. Bill Clinton's father was only a white drinker and perhaps a philanderer so one usually had to wait for a sentence or two before the comparisons were dredged up -- and dredged up they always were. Yes, Bill was not only a murderer, not only going to "force health care down our throats" but going to give control of our armed forces to the UN. Bill, who murdered Vince Foster and ran a Coke smuggling operation out of Little Rock was planting nuclear weapons underneath our cities while indulging in Communist free love and of course his socialist tax increase was going to bankrupt our economy within months and destroy capitalism forever!

But no, it was terribly wrong to bring up fascism when his successor made that office the most powerful it had ever been, with the power to override congress and the courts and the Constitution. Terribly wrong when his propaganda machine began to scapegoat real and invented enemies, terribly wrong when he demanded and got special emergency powers by invoking threats that were substantially imaginary if not fraudulent. Smile and say Godwin and we're done.

Obama? Of course he's Communist and Fascist and never mind the contradiction. Of course he's a tyrant for the same reason Lincoln was a tyrant, the same reason Teddy Roosevelt was and FDR and don't you dare bring up Godwin this time!