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.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Masters of mendacity

Sarah Palin says that the Constitution tells us that our "Unalienable rights" come from God. They don't, nor does the Biblical God deviate from the endless list of things he'll incinerate you for long enough to get into life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Ask the Amorites. We're commanded to kill their children or be destroyed by old God-O-love. Ask Job. "Shut up or I'll kill you along with your wife and kids" is far more typical. Freedom to worship or not worship your own gods after your own custom? Freedom to choose your own government? Fughettaboutit. That the authority of Government comes from God and not from the governed is as antithetical to our constitution as an electron is to a positron and as Palin is to Jefferson.

But it's more than just stupidity on her part. It's more than ignorance. It's more than the will to power and the lack of conscience that might prevent a better person from playing upon the passions of the ignorant rabble who listen to her, it's a slap in the face to those who after mankind's long struggle with God appointed kings and heresy trials, the persecution of variant religions, divinely justified genocide and slavery, managed to found a government free of the notion that only God or his self appointed agents can found a legitimate government. Far from being behind the 1789 Constitution, religious conservatives who hadn't already fled to Canada and the Bahamas or back to England, opposed it for Biblical reasons. To oppose George III, rex Dei gratia, was to oppose the will of God and the Bible is the source of that idea, not the enlightenment philosophers of the era.

Sharon Angle says the constitution isn't even about government. "Government isn't what our founding fathers put into the constitution" she says. dumb questions are hardest to answer and dumb assertions of this magnitude are virtually unassailable and those who make them are ineducable, so why try?

But if it's a race for the Master of Mendacity degree, Glenn Beck is ahead of the pack. Commies like Franklin Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson separated us from our history -- were trying "to separate us from our Constitution and God" he tells us -- hoping, I suppose that putting the words next to each other will generate the illusion that a document banning state recognition of religious institutions is somehow the product of religious belief. Are we trying to separate anyone from the law, by interpreting it as supporting freedom of religion, freedom of speech, the freedom to protest and petition and discuss? Are we trying to invent a new history by reading the source documents? Are we trying to separate Beck from whatever bizarre religious beliefs he has or from the magic underwear he wears? Only in his paranoid fantasies.

We're trying to keep him and his cronies and his bronze age taboos out of our religious lives, which although that may be a slap in the face to his imagined God, it's what mine approves of. It's hard to know whether such conniving, power seeking serpents truly believe the apple they offer us is good to eat, but the audience of both these creatures is uneducated, opinionated and as chock full O' nuts as a New York coffee shop. What they don't know is dangerous. What they think they know is calamitous.

What the constitution is about, what it says, what it was meant to accomplish and what the motivations for it were is not a mystery. It's meant to be flexible; to be able to change to suit changing times, but none of the claims made by the dime store revolutionaries in tricorn hats are remotely true. Their concept of freedom resembles the tyranny Jefferson was so passionate to oppose. Their concept of history is a mythology written by enemies of freedom.

I'm just sayin'

I know a country that one would think was a Capitalist paradise. No income taxes. No property taxes. A weak central government. Restrictive, nativist, immigration policies that effectively keep minorities from working legally or getting citizenship. There's a "Christian Values" clause in the constitution. Banking regulation is extremely lax.

It's the Bahamas and it's a third world country. Most of the nation's wealth is owned by a small handful of people and the obligatory multinational corporations. Nothing trickles down but the rain and there's little of that in the dry season. There's not as much reason to invest when it can just sit there and accumulate tax free. The basics like food, water and shelter are quite expensive, unemployment is tremendous.

I'm just sayin'. . .

But of course they do have a certain level of government backed health insurance for those who aren't privately insured and a Social Security like program, so that must be why they're an underdeveloped and poverty stricken country, right? I knew I'd find a reason.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The biggest problam facing America today. . . .

. . . is pornography. Well at least it has been according to orators at several Republican national conventions in recent memory. It's possible that such things are motivated by a Christian analogue of another right wing obsession: Sharia law, and it's possible that it was a smokescreen to divert attention from other core policies like borrowing on the promise of self funding tax cuts. One thing is clear, Politicians tend to be a randy lot, but Conservative males love porn the way they love money and women: they want it all for themselves.

Remember Ken Starr who wanted to make it a crime to use the word "breast" on the Internet but spent millions and wrote endless words, even on the Internet, about Bill Clinton's penis, Monica Lewinsky's cigar and related subjects? Yes, I know, Democrats like porn too and cheat on their wives and are hypocrites and all that as I'm sure someone will assure me to obscure the fact that they haven't been on a moral crusade for those nebulous but normative "family values" for decades. I've had all the contrived and deceptive equivalences I need for now, thank you.

Which brings me to Clarance Thomas. It was the equivalent of a lynching, said he when accusations were leveled by another conservative that he'd offered her a Coke with pubic hair on it, even though she had little reason to lie and had complained to the FBI only in private. Anita Hill was branded a Liberal, although she wasn't and isn't, in a fashion far more evocative of a lynching than the sworn testimony against Justice Thomas. It seems now that Lillian McEwen, a former girlfriend of the distinguished Justice says he was "obsessed with porn," and often made inappropriate sexual comments about and unwanted advances toward women in his office and she's kept quiet until now. She confirms, for instance, that he asked women about their breast size when at work.

McEwan was, in fact, given as a character witness by Thomas, to show that he had a regular relationship and wasn't the rude, sex-obsessed, predatory little creep he was alleged to be by more than one accuser. Too bad she wasn't called to testify under oath because, as we read in the Washington Post: in her soon to be published memoir, she confirms our suspicions.

Perhaps it was knowledge that the book contained such damning information that prompted his wife's odd early morning call to Anita Hill, but I don't think she need fear that he'll lose his job or reputation when the accusation of LIBERAL still carries the power that the accusation of WITCH used to have in centuries past. We're stuck with an overgrown adolescent and liar on the highest court. We may all have his pubic hair in all the wrong places and we don't have a hell of a lot of choice but to drink from the can.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The recovery will not be televised

Throughout the rule of Dubya, the game was about denying the cancer eating at the economy: the lack of job growth, the exploding debt, the declining revenue. We saw articles proving that it was the "Liberals" who were endangering the economy with their gloomy predictions. Fox told us that the predominance of negative economic reports was proof, not of negative economic implications, but of the Liberal bias of the media. When a certain amount of reality was unavoidably showing through the flimsy screen, it was Bill Clinton's fault.

As with the 11 year sunspot cycle, each resurgence of activity arrives with a reversed magnetic polarity and of course the game now is to show that any signs of recovery that can't be ignored, repressed or misrepresented will be buried under hyperbole and deceitful numbers. Since employment levels only begin to fall long after a recovery, we will hear no end of talk about it from the fair and balanced folk and of course we will hear about reckless government spending -- as we always do under a Democratic administration, even when the budget is balanced. The recovery will not be televised, if it's acknowledged at all.

The bulls are loose on Wall Street following increased consumer spending and investor confidence in the recovery. Banks are beginning to lend to small businesses again. Leading indicators are up for three consecutive months now, the wild and reckless TARP program is returning a profit while the folks who brought about the nosedive are still howling about Nancy Pelosi's Job Killing Bill, making fictitious claims about spending levels and other hypertrophied hyperbole as though we hadn't lost more jobs and shipped them overseas when they last had the reins and were telling the Liberals to stop 'whining.'

They're never going to admit that a catastrophe has been avoided, that we could have had 25% unemployment again or a decade of deep depression and a poverty level we haven't seen since the 1930's. No, not until they get back into power, that is and we can return to administrative bloat, runaway defense spending, borrowing against the fatuous promise of increased revenues from top bracket tax cuts and giving Wall Street and banking pirates, mining, drilling, food and drug and insurance companies free reign. Things will be all right then and we can be sure that doing what caused 1929 crash and the more recent crash will not happen again even if we do the same things that caused both. Only a stupid liberal would believe such a thing.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

No matter how you party, it's still 2010.

When Reagan bailed out Chrysler, although it may or may not have been the best thing for the auto industry in the long run, it wasn't Communism, because Reagan wasn't a Democrat and because the Republican technique of calling things their opposites wasn't employed against him. And of course the loan was repaid, with interest. Jobs were preserved, a small disaster was prevented, or at least postponed for 30 years. Of course principle was involved, which means it was contrary to the doctrine that must not be tested, since it always seems to fail in predicting outcome.

Bailouts and secured loans you see, are not quite the same as nationalizing the means of production, but certain parties having had so much of a good time waving warning flags over the years, cries of COMMUNISM come as naturally to the lips as an obscenity might when you stub your toe at 4:00 AM.

When the Democrats do it: when Democrats do anything including winning an election, it is of course Communism because -- well because you win elections saying idiotic things like that and popularity is the test of truth, is it not? Value perceived is value received and if something succeeds, and there's no Republican there to insist it didn't, it never happened.

Anyway, I digress. What I wanted to mention this morning was an article in that Lefty web site Bloomberg.Com (or is it a Righty site?) telling us that the Wall Street Bailout that self taught economists who slept in a Motel 6 last night tell us was an example of extravagant Government spending, has so far returned an 8.2% profit: a cool 25 billion, 200 million bucks. Sure, the long term consequences are not certain. Most long term projections are not, but
"Two years later TARP’s bank and insurance investments have made money, and about two-thirds of the funds have been paid back."
says Bloomberg and although you can consider the source, you must in turn consider the sources screaming about Communism, demonic possession, masturbation, moose hunting, grizzly bears and Kenyan tribal politics -- and their nearly 100% failure to predict what we've been through in the last three years even with all those "liberal" voices prophesying doom.

I'm not trying to make too much of this, but it seems that reality differs quite a bit from the boiler plate hyperbole, which makes semantic sense if nothing else, since that's how hyperbole relates to objective reality. But Citigroup has payed back $33 billion of the $45 billion it received, leaving the Treasury with a profit so far of $8.2 billion, or 18% payback, mostly as a result of selling its stake in the lender at a higher price, according to data analyzed by Bloomberg. Bailouts for Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have returned 14% and 13% respectively. Not the Promised land, really, but not communism; not a "Government takeover." It certainly isn't the Great Depression redux it certainly would have become had we elected to let it all fall down, blame the country for laziness and wanting something for nothing and recommend austerity like old Herbert Hoover.

In terms of harming the country it can't compare with the swashbuckling spending on invasions and hugely inefficient government agencies of record size and the wild borrowing on the promise of big revenue increases from tax cuts to millionaires that never appear no matter how many times we're promised it will.

Again, I'm not trying to call it a recovery, but I'm not trying to call it any of the things the Tea Partyers and those riding their coattails are calling it, even the very, very few who have the slightest idea of what's going on. If they do know, they're careful not to pass it on to the "party like it's 1773" crowd who still think their taxes went up and their guns are going to be confiscated and the masses must arise to shake off the chains of democracy. It would interfere with the program of making them think they're smart and knowledgeable as they dress up as an overweight John Hancock, making asses of themselves.

No, what it is, is waking up in the wreckage after you disregarded the advice of your friends not to let your drunken big brother drive; blaming them for the wreck, blaming the air bags for your injuries and blaming the EMT's for not instantly repairing your broken ribs - with no cost to you.
How's that same old shit working out for you?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Stop the Universe, I want to get off

So Stephen Hawking tells us there may be a nearly infinite number of universes. I had to wake up in this one, this morning.

Illegal immigrants should be shot on sight, says one Republican. It's like Stopping Hitler, you know -- worth the price.

President Obama looks like a Demon, says Rush.
"And I don't say this lightly. There are a couple pictures, and the eyes, I'm not saying anything here, but just look."

Of course there's no separation of Church and State, says Constitutional Scholar and former witchcraft dabbler, Christine O'Donnell, who in spite of her publicist's best efforts, isn't me.

Nancy Pelosi is a puppy killer says the GOP.

O'Donnell isn't a nut job, says John McCain -- because she won the Republican primary.

You know, I'm not even going to comment on all this. Too busy packing my bags.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Quantum mechanics, immigration and the elite.

So who's really the softie on the subject of illegal immigration? As with all things in America the answer will be found in the alternate reality you prefer and not necessarily the one in which 'is' means 'is.' Being elitists (because some of them are rich) the party of the working man is usually accused of being "soft on immigration" although what that means is hard to tell, but I'm taking the words of the other side for it, because they and their corporate sponsors can't have all that money and be wrong.

Those corporate sponsors however are pouring large sums of money into Republican candidates who may be expected as quid pro quo to go along with their requests that immigration quotas be substantially increased or dropped entirely. Sponsors such as --you guessed it -- Rupert Murdoch who according to the propaganda from the party he gives millions to and those who believe it, isn't a Republican or an elitist. Then there are the Barons from Marriott, Texas Instruments, Hilton, and Intel and many, many, others who want to bring in more immigrants too. Some might be persuaded by the fact that they're universally Republicans who donate to the GOP and to their think tanks and own propaganda outlets for Republican viewpoints that they are Republicans. Welcome to America. Here we do not address such things as facts -- we take polls and the polls, even when they contradict each other tell us Rupert Murdoch is not a Republican or an elitist.

To be sure and to try to keep in touch with sanity as much as possible, I have to say that Republicans differ on the issue of quotas and there is resistance in those quarters to the idea of increasing them. Both skilled and unskilled workers in sufficient quantity will depress wages and more surely because the idea of a minimum wage is also under attack from the same parties that want to open the gates further. Owning all the money and wanting much more at the expense of the struggling classes hardly makes them elitists though, nor is it class warfare -- not if the polls say otherwise.

I guess that favoring the welfare of the corporations at the expense of workers isn't considered elitist any more, while advocating a decent minimum wage is, but that being true, the word becomes awfully hard to define unless those tiny curled up dimensions mathematicians like Calabi and Yao assure us probably exist, come into play here. Reality is a very complex thing. After all if a particle can be both wave and solid and if as Dr. Feynman said, with a nod to Messrs. Bose, Einstein and Heisenberg, that photon has been everywhere in the universe along it's path from the sun to you, perhaps one can be an elitist regardless of one's position as long as one other disagrees with him. Then too, things are relative as Einstein proved, Jewish elite liberal that he was. If you skipped school like Ms. O'Donnell, it's probably just as much a myth as evolution and who is to say she's wrong? That would be elitist which is much worse than being right.

Certainly being for 'smaller governmen't means being in favor of more agencies and more employees and more interference with private matters and morals while covering it up with Orwellian equivalences. Wasn't a farleftliberal and potential antichrist president the only one to actually shrink government amidst overwhelming protest from the small government howler monkeys? By the way, if they evolved into Obamahaters, are they still doing it? I don't know for sure, perhaps Eisenhower did too, that lefty, but as Reagan and Cheney, amongst others, said: Debt doesn't matter and perhaps as has been demonstrated with photons, there is no unique history. Everyone's right, left, liberal, conservative and yes, elitist depending on your framework. The same goes for smart. Even the suggestion that the guy with Doctorates makes a better doctor than someone not quite qualified to be a Union plumber is elitist although the perception is that being elite themselves, the smartest guys in the room have the least credibility. ( are you getting all this, camera guy?) That makes everybody else the real smart people, doesn't it? People like Christine O'Donnell and Sarah Palin and the host of Tea Party "experts" on history, economics, paleontology and nearly any other discipline that is supplied by matriculating through a night at a Holiday Inn Express. They must be the real smarties because the polls say so.

In the history that seems apparent from my viewpoint, the people with the most and most expensive lobbyists and creative propagandists want more green cards issued and want to pay the lowest wages possible. I should probably state that the other way around because that's the way the vector of causation points, from my elitist point of view. One might be expected to think that the guys ( and most of them are guys) with the lion's share of the nation's wealth would be elitists and likely to view the "masses" as little more than customers to be milked and the labor they use as a commodity to be bought as cheaply as possible. One does know that they view having to pay more in taxes as a result of the privileges that allowed them the power to get so rich is Communism although Adam Smith advocated it and Marx did not. That doesn't make them elite though, since the less than scrupulously washed sign carriers out in the street who just had their taxes cut are demanding even lower levels for Mr. Marriott and Mr. Murdoch, so again, we can't really assign an absolute value or definition to the term, leaving it to be used ad libidum and as it appears in the vernacular, it simply means anyone you're jealous of. Republicans tend to be a jealous lot. They struggled for everything they have, you know, while others had it handed to them: lazy shiftless others - and elitists.

Of course this is a populist, mob motivated culture, isn't it? Polls determine what is true and truth is opinion -- even if the opinions of that mob correlate more heavily to the opinions they're required to have to expedite their oppression and build the wealth of Marriotts and Murdochs, friends to the common man. So if the mob believes that the Democrats are "elitist" by dint of having just as much money and perhaps a less tenuous connection with education, so it is. It's a relativistic world. It's a quantum world. the history and nature of what we call reality will always have been what it needs to have been to maximize power and wealth. If the Republicns win the presidency again, it will always have been some other way. The uprising of the oppressed masses will be both Marxist and Free Market fundamentalism, the underdog the elitist, the Czar and the peasant indistinguishable, hard and soft, yin and yang: it all blends together in some uncertain, cimmerian mist and quantum foam.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

An unbalanced truth.

Seems like yesterday when criticizing George Bush was close enough to treason that the police would get involved. I remember people walking out of a Jon Lovitz stand-up routine when he made some mild crack about Bush's garbled English. I remember tirades on TV when Streisand aired her opinions of the president. I remember grumbling in the movie theater lobby after a showing of "W" about how "you shouldn't criticize a president like that." There were the Dixie Chicks, and there were the Radio bloviators out there bashing liberals as though freedom of speech were some Marxist plot. The word treason, the accusation of "emboldening" and giving aid and comfort to some amorphous enemy was given enough air time to warm the climate for real.

I remember audiences for Bush's town hall meetings being vetted to make sure flattering questions were the only ones asked. I remember protesters being herded into "free speech" zones behind barbed wire and miles from anywhere the President might be. I remember people being escorted from the premises by armed policemen simply because of a bumper sticker on the car they arrived in.

Many people persist in telling us that such things are common on "both sides" yet I do not remember anyone being escorted away from the current president for carrying signs advocating killing "his ugly wife and stupid children" nor for carrying guns. It's perhaps the most false of the false equivalences that constitute political dialogue today.

Of course if you want to tell me the courts share the blame, I'll agree. According to the Christian Science Monitor, the US Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal of two Colorado residents who were excluded unwillingly from a speech by President Bush in 2005 because White House aides saw them arrive in a car with a bumper sticker that proclaimed: “No More Blood For Oil.”

Do we attribute this slap in the face for the First amendment to the Bush Police State? Certainly it wasn't the only one, but Bush is gone and the highest court seems to think we won't care that they don't care enough to hear the case.

So is it now that the freedom to have a bumper sticker on your car -- that is the freedom to criticize the government, to petition the government, to print your opinions for all to read can simply be washed away by a government that can't be bothered to listen to it? Stare decisis?

I don't know about you, but no matter how conservative, libertarian or just plain ornery you are, I don't see a way to pin this one on Obama or to try to pull a fast one with the "both sides do it so its not so bad" sidestep. If you agree that this kind of presidential power is inappropriate, you'll have to agree that getting away with it because the courts don't care is worse. So can we shut up about "liberal active courts" and recognize that this one at least has come down on the side of the police state and the Liberals had nothing to do with it?

So where's the anger? where's the admission that yes, we supported this administration and its policies and WE WERE WRONG!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Fox is Republican? That's crazy!

Well, there you have it. There is no center any more and objective reality is defined as a manifestation of insanity. Bill O'Reilly says people who think Fox News supports the Republican party are "Crazy left wing loons" because although the corporate owners are all Republicans, save those who are Saudi Royalists; because Fox stages rallies for the Tea Party, publicizes and and funds them along with Republican think tank and propaganda groups; Because Fox gives million dollar contributions to Republican candidates and nothing at all to others; because virtually all important employees there are lifelong Republicans, because much of the editorial staff have worked for Republican presidents and even such lefties as Karl Rove can and will be publicly browbeaten into supporting promising to support any and all Republican candidates including Christine O'Donnell -- only a loony would think they're Republicans. No, that's not the gutter, that's right down the center. No, that's not Thule Greenland, that's Paris. That's fair and balanced. Crazy as a Fox.

It's only another word for "you're in my way" in O'Reilly speak. So in response to President Clinton's mention that Fox's rhetoric was whipping Republicans into a "white heat" Balanced Bill replied with:
"What he's trying to do is demonize Fox as carrying the water for Republicans. That's a theme Democrats have been using for months."
Months? You sure are right on top of things Mr. O'Reilly. And of course if Democrats use it, it can't be true, because they're not fair and balanced like you: they guy whose obviously not a Republican. Demonize? Are Republicans horned and forked tongued demons then? Is that why you don't admit to it?

You're the guy that invented a story about Saginaw Michigan banning red and green because they were God hating Liberals at war with Christmas. That was five years longer ago than "months." Fox is the News Network that twisted a story about a small town using cumulative voting for village trustees into an Obama communist campaign to give extra votes to illegal aliens and disenfranchise white people.

Mr O'Reilly, you've excused every Republican action from starting a war under false pretenses, to torture, to warrantless spying, to libertine and deviate sexual excesses and called everyone who ever disagreed with your hyperbole a pin head, an idiot and insane. You're a Republican, you support Republicans exclusively and your network will punish anyone who deviates from utter devotion to any Republican candidate no matter how grotesquely unqualified. Why are you afraid to admit it?

You lie sir. You lie a lot. You're a radically extreme extremist with a total disregard for truth and Fox pays you a fortune to balance your farcical contradictions and concocted stories on your nose like a trained circus seal. You reported, the world has decided. You lie.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

New signs of the same old thing

I believe it was the Architect Frank Lloyd Wright who once griped that Florida, being the lowest part of the United States, everything loose had slid down into it, but whether he did or didn't, there are many unsavory things down here in America's bilges. Not that we're all that unique. One can turn over rocks anywhere and find the same sort of things that turn up in the Sunshine state, but here they're more likely not to bother hiding.

So I'm leaving the local car parts store yesterday, coming up empty handed in my search for a transmission shift cable bushing and right next door in the seedy strip mall containing a barbecue joint where the ancient, blackened smoker sits in the parking lot and a pawn shop in front of which a weathered 1950's pickup truck has been moldering since I moved here 9 years ago.

These times are good for the pawn shops and I happen to be a fan of History Channel's Pawn Stars featuring a shop in Las Vegas operated by some funny characters and stuffed with real treasures, so I decided to have a peek. I'd been there before. It was about 6 months after President Obama took office and the two men seated inside in front of a large screen TV where Fox News was raging away were declaring that that damned Commie in the White house had had 6 months to fix the economy and had failed miserably. Little has changed, except for the worse. Same two men, same TV, same dark, gloomy, mildewed interior filled with the seedy detritus of sad lives and one hell of a lot of guns. Same suspicious glower. All that was new was a sign saying "I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction." underneath which was the name Barack Hussein Obama - "from his book Audacity of Hope."

There's been a rash of newspaper comments about such things appearing in stores all over town and of course, that quote is gross misinterpretation of what the book really said.* Other stores have offended customers with entirely fictitious quotes by the First Lady. The real quote of course showed his promise of support for American citizens if such things as the internment of Japanese-American citizens should happen again.

I have to admit that the sheer firepower displayed there made me decide to vote with my feet and not shoot my mouth off and I simply left. But of course, to the devotees of the Obamahate religion, such heresy as any bit of truth I might have offered would not have been well received or credited. What's the use? No newspaper editorials debunking this disgusting garbage are effective, since newspapers are "Liberal" as we all know. The religious symbols of Obamahate are becoming as widespread as those chrome fish and other religious declarations scrawled on Mom's dump truck. It's not new, it's just a new sign in the old pawn shop.

Of course they can't find enough real criticism, even though there is plenty. That would require more in terms of intelligence and education than they possess -- nor can they simply say what they really mean, thanks to what they call "political correctness" which to me, is a cynical name for common decency: decency, at least as it relates to the cult of nativist and racist bigotry, being a Liberal affectation rather than a virtue. So they make up stories about the president. Easier than discussing the likelihood that TARP 'spending' will prove to be a net gain or whether financing a war on the prospect that a disproved scheme will generate sufficient revenue. Call him a Kenyan tribesman, a somehow Communist Muslim fanatic. Call his wife a gorilla. Safer than using the N word and revealing what you really are.

*They have been reminded that the history of immigration in this country has a dark underbelly; they need specific assurances that their citizenship really means something, that America has learned the right lessons from the Japanese internments during World War II, and that I will stand with them should the political winds shift in an ugly direction."

Monday, October 11, 2010

Scare Factor

It's been many decades since I read Mark Twain's Life on the Mississippi, but I remember his description of the man up in the bow of the riverboat measuring the depth with a lead line. When the line wasn't long enough to reach down to the river bed, he'd call out "nooooo bottom!"

I could hear that call yesterday when I read about the latest from Sharron Angle and David Vitter's campaign ads fincluding a picture of a trio of Mexican men used to imply that if their opponents were elected, these scary, swarthy, hostile and decidedly non-Aryan aliens would be sneaking about your back yard leering at the womenfolk, giving Marijuana to your toddlers forcing you to pay them social security benefits our of your contributions and spreading leprosy. The oldest of ploys, really and I'm trying like hell not to invoke that jerk Godwin and his damned laws, but of course everyone uses it from biblical prophets to today's iteration of the 19th century Know-Nothing party.

That the picture of three Mexican farmers taken in the far south of Mexico -- that's Mexico, not New Mexico -- and back during the Bush administration, may have been illegally used and do not actually portray aliens, illegal or otherwise, means nothing to these candidates or their supporters since anything they do in the name of the cause, even if they have no idea what that is, is justified. That is, of course, the very policy they attribute to Islamic terrorists, but never mind, only liberals would make an issue of it, you know. Liberals ( and that means anyone who opposes them) are "soft on illegals," love illegals, want more illegals and want to pay them Social Security benefits ( says the ad) and that makes Lou Dobbs a liberal along with that arch liberal George W. Bush who even speaks a few words of Mexican or whatever scary and incomprehensible-to-regular-folk language it is they speak down there. Of course that claim is as misleading as the photograph filched from the Getty Archives, but my experience proves that teabag zealots would rather pass along any lie than bother to check the facts.

There's no bottom to this muddy river. There never has been for any extended time in our history. The dream of a country run by white Protestant, preferably Anglo-Saxon males with guns (God and Guts) and their subservient families is still strong and apparently well armed. It's rapidly becoming a smaller minority and that of course only makes it an angrier bunch of dreamers with an ever greater number of unscrupulous opportunists and yes, idiots and the logically impaired. Few of them are smart enough to understand that their increasingly irresponsible extremism, the incompetent, morally unscrupulous tribe of candidates they support, harms the ability of rational conservatives -- and yes, liberals and even Libertarians -- to control the immigration rate, deal with the undocumented in a decent, American way and most of all to end the support they have from American industry as well as individual hypocrites like Dobbs and Whitman.

At first glance, it may appear that with the rise of the neo-Know Nothings, Liberal principles are under renewed assault once again -- and they are, but the real danger, in my opinion, is the death of principled conservatism and a dedication to efficient, honest government rather than one that looks good in theory but fails every test.

I have a certain amount of faith that the public will recognize the danger of the Christine O'Donnels and the Sharron Angles, the Pallidino's, DeMints and Vitters, but I have far less faith that we'll ever be able to survive the ability of Global corporations to steer us in any way they want, particularly since they are so good at keeping us fighting ourselves that we don't notice.

Friday, October 08, 2010

The Angle of reflection

A significant part of the Republican "message" has been that our secular laws derive from a largely mythical "Judeo-Christian" system of values. Yes, the adage about strange bedfellows is true, but politics and religion, being in bed together, tend to spawn strange offspring and to dress them up as reason and decency.

Of course it's true that a great number of our laws do reflect religious prohibitions, biases and attitudes and those laws often criminalize behavior that involves no harm to people or property and interferes with personal liberty, but those taboos seem to be shared by a great number of cultures which adhere to religions from Animism to Confucianism. There's little that's unique about our alleged Christian values and from the start, many of those values were at odds with our independence and our freedom. Yes, it's hard to think of a religion of any kind that has no rules of behavior but we're talking about Americans -- the people at the center of the universe who don't really think much about thinking or the necessity of reason.

So when we pass laws forbidding dancing on Friday, the observation or rejection of Christmas, the reading of certain books: when we make laws concerning who may live together, have sex together and in what way, we have illustrations of religious law intruding into secular life in America. Such things are slowly eroding and always changing, of course, but the prospect of a group that has always composed a small minority in the US: The Muslims, supporting certain religious rules within their own congregations and amongst their adherents seems to have all the bells in the national belfry ringing in discord.

Islamic religious law, says Sharon Angle, is "taking hold" in some American cities and that's a "militant terrorist situation." No, really. I suppose it's wildly different in a terrorist sort of way for Jews to forbid Pork and Lobster or cheeseburgers or to require prayer at certain times and even to mandate beards or distinctive clothing. I suppose it's not the same thing for Catholics to forbid divorce and require celibacy of certain people and distinctive clothing for the clergy. The special Mormon underwear? Prohibitions against alcohol and coffee? Is the Church of Latter Day Saints "taking over" Utah and the constitution taken to the shredder? No, there's no militant terrorist situation there. Is there really a chance that the constitution will be supplanted by the Amish Ordnung even if an area has a majority of that peaceful faith? So why are we afraid and what are we really afraid of? Why does Sharon Angle say:
"It seems to me there is something fundamentally wrong with allowing a foreign system of law to even take hold in any municipality or government situation in our United States?"
Well, of course we wouldn't pay any attention to such a person as she if she weren't outrageous, but if we were a nation that could notice that these religious rules are in no respect taking hold of municipal governments and in fact are optional personal choices in a nation that allows us to make such choices freely, perhaps Sharon Angle would be all alone in some little room raving at the walls and not on national TV farting out her fallacies, misrepresentations and hysterical lies -- and God help us, running for the US Senate. Sure there would be something fundamentally wrong, but more certainly: it isn't happening here. Religion, say the courts, gives no license to break the law whether that faith demands we strangle a wayward daughter or drag a gay man behind a pickup truck or poison our congregation with cyanide.

The key word here is "Foreign." Although virtually all our religions are imported and many religious groups immigrated simply so that they could have communities with their own religious rules, Angle wants to reinforce the chauvinism of a certain kind of self-styled Christian who would be quite happy with a massively powerful government intent on substituting their own 'Christian' restrictions for our secular constitution. She is, most ironically, the best example of what she wants us to fear. Muslims and certain other people will always be "foreign" and most of us will never pause to reflect upon the horrible consequences that xenophobic, nationalistic bit of European bigotry had in the last century.

But we're not a nation of critical thinkers; at least not enough of us to give reason or even common decency a fighting chance. Bigotry, our real national religion, forbids it after all and we make demons out of people who don't want to participate or worst of all, don't want any religion forced on them.

Angle would like to pass on her contagious nightmare and indeed I know too many people who share it and who will refuse to be persuaded that even if we someday have an Ayatollah of Texas, he's not going to be able to use force to punish reprobates and infidels or have any more secular authority than an Archbishop or TV evangelist. They refuse to remember when Roman Catholics were a "foreign" religion to be feared for inquisitions and foreign rule over Americans. Somehow that "hopey-changey" thing did work our fairly well for them and for the many others who have had to contend with the Know-Nothing nativists and the Sharon Angles of their day.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

What's in your wallet?

The prospect of foreclosure is frightening enough to the many people who are having trouble making mortgage payments and who fear losing their homes. It's frightening enough without the prospect of strange men crashing through the back door in the middle of the night.

Even worse for some people here in The Sunshine State, folks who are simply a bit behind in payments but who are not in foreclosure have been treated to a surprise breaking and entering by representatives of one of those banks that love to advertise how they're on your side. Listen to the 911 call from one frightened woman and put yourself in her position and ask yourself what you would do if the man in black kicked in your door. I certainly know what I would do and what the law allows me to do to a possibly armed unannounced midnight caller. It would involve more than an angry letter to J.P. Morgan.

The hired thugs of our friendly banking industry have done worse than frightening people half to death in a way Pauly Walnuts could only envy. There are stories of home invasions at wrong addresses and one Jason Grodensky from nearby Ft. Lauderdale, Florida with the good fortune to have no mortgage at all had his house foreclosed on by Bank of America. What's in your wallet?

The publicity has been bad enough that major banks are curtailing foreclosure viking raids or freezing foreclosures entirely for the moment. Nancy Pelosi and some 30 Democrats in the house are calling for an investigation in their typically socialist way and Attorney General Eric Holder has announced he will be looking into it. Bloomberg News reports that some 7 states are investigating charges that false documents and signatures have been used to justify hundreds of thousands of possible fraudulent foreclosures and their attendant Viking raids against surprised and terrified homeowners.

So it's all going to be taken care of right? The Democrats are on the side of the people and against those huge, ugly hordes of corporate Visigoths and their paper battering rams, right? They control the Senate and the House and they'd never let the Republicans rubber stamp the right of Corporate Huns to lie, cheat and bypass every code of human decency since the Code of Hammurabi and the Proclamation of Telepinu -- right?

Don't be too sure, because a bill that may do just that now sits on President Obama's desk that somehow oozed through our lefty, anti-business, death-to-Capitalism Congress. Stalled in the Senate Judiciary Committee, Democratic Senator Robert Casey used some obscure procedure to take the bill away from the Senate Judiciary committee and the Senate then immediately passed it without debate and by unanimous consent. There was no one in the gallery to sing Whose side are you on.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Blame yourself

Was Tom Daschle (D-SD) telling the truth when he said that the health care public option Obama campaigned on was:
"taken off the table as a result of the understanding that people had with the hospital association, with the insurance (AHIP), and others,"

or was he telling the truth when he said the President really did fully support what he promised to support and that:
"The President fought for the public option just as he did for affordable health care for all Americans. The public option was dropped only when it was no longer viable in Congress, not as a result of any deal cut by the White House."

Does it really matter? Were some people right on the money in telling me that either party would, in time, do just about the same things if elected ?

While I'm not sure that "I'm a maverick/I was never a maverick" McCain wouldn't have buggered up the economy beyond recovery by caving in to every moneyed interest as he always has done, I'm not sure that Obama really ever had the ability to be the kind of People's hero his supporters dreamed of and that he presented himself as. I'm not sure anyone could have been or can ever be, because our government has become a conduit rather than a barrier between the interests of Global power and the perceived wants and dreams of the public -- and we like it that way. We want what they want. We see the government as the enemy rather than those entities behind the government which the government can no longer even desire to control.

We're out in the street supporting tax relief for the billionaires who got that way by taking our jobs abroad and importing foreign workers, legal and otherwise. We support the party that tries to block a tax cut for the vast majority and insist on keeping it for those whose wealth has grown exponentially as ours has faded away or stagnated. Hope itself has become the butt of a thousand jokes.

Since the dawn of supply side economics nothing much has trickled down but debt, no private sector employment was created and all those massive profits that were supposed to translate into more and better jobs simply trickled into hedge funds, tax shelters, fraudulent investments designed deliberately to fail; grossly inflating markets and tempting us all into massive debt. We've supported every false characterization, every fabricated and fanciful bit of data, every promise of future glory as well as every scurrilous slander designed to keep us dancing in stage managed anger on the ends of our puppet strings -- dancing to a tune we think is our own.

Lack of oversight and lack of responsibility cause one disaster after another, yet we keep insisting we need more of the same and any attempt at standing between us and rapacious global profiteers and pirates can handily be dismissed as Communism or Tyranny or Godlessness and "too much government interference." Safety inspections, food inspections, even rules against selling worthless commodities are "government interference with profits," but we're quiet about every increment of additional government power to snoop on us, track our movements, our finances and to interfere with our privacy whether it's the government itself or corporations wanting to sell us more and sleazier things. Cows want to be milked no less than we do, but only we two legged cattle see it as freedom.

It doesn't seem like "socialism" to the fellow who gets his hip replaced at the VA hospital and for far less than he could even if he were employed and had insurance that didn't pass it off as "pre-existing." -- yet he thinks it is "Obamacare" when Big Brother tries to keep United Health Care death panels from denying coverage for his grandson with cystic fibrosis. He oozes platitudes like " well insurance companies have to make a living too" and he doesn't see the difference between making a living and unlimited, government protected rights to make as much as possible without a moral scruple about exploiting human suffering -- and the land, water and air that make life possible. The common good? That's Communism.

No, it's too easy to blame Government, blame Liberals, howl about socialism, 'redistribution' of wealth, chortle about Nancy Pelosi and weep idiot tears with Glenn Beck until we don't notice the shackles. Or maybe you're one of those bumper sticker bozos who think that that hopey changey stuff is just hilarious compared to the same old despair and we ought to keep on staging unfunded wars and ignoring the bill because as the Maverick said: "Debt Doesn't Matter" until, of course, it does and then you can giggle and blame it on somebody else.

Did Obama sell out? Did Congress sell out? Was it the media who told us to walk toward the light when the light was over a cliff? No, you sold out, you bought into it, you gave it all away because otherwise it would be Communism and Fascism and Tyranny. Either that or you thought a new figurehead could steer the ship on a new course. Happy now?

Monday, October 04, 2010

Graham Crackers, part two.

Franklin Graham knows what Muslims want and because they all speak with the same voice and have identical ideas, he knows that what they want is to build as many mosques and cultural centers in the US as they can, so that they can convert as many "regular" Americans to blind obedience to Sharia law as possible.

It's not fair, he proclaims, with the lie barely showing on his face, that Muslims do not allow churches in their countries, although now that we've bombed secular Iraq back into primitiveness, exiling or killing it's Christians, there may be one less Muslim country that does allow freedom of religion.

This of course, even if it really were possible to assume that those buildings weren't to serve the many Muslim faithful in the US, I'd be hard pressed to say that the many towns and cities in the US where there are more churches than Libraries, Schools and Gas stations weren't there to convert as many people to "Judeo-Christian" Bible based law and the obedience to higher fathers we hear about on the countless Christian TV channels and Fox News. Is it projection on the Younger Graham's part or a guilty conscience -- or perhaps both since he's made his fortune and career on "saving souls" as the process of badgering and threatening people into joining his "Crusades." That, in my observation, seems not to be the case for all Christian churches who will welcome most anyone but don't necessarily harass people on the street or insist that the country forbid divorce or outlaw masturbation much less demand the death penalty for working on the Sabbath (Exodus 35:2.)

Of course the crusade to interpret the US Constitution as a Christian document, as contrary to its history as it may be, still doesn't forbid us to go beardless or eat shellfish or wear clothes sewn with a cotton blend or to approach the altar of God if we wear corrective lenses. Christians generally don't require stoning for Bible Belt proclivities like sleeping with an in-law (you can relax now, West Virginia) and frown on selling their daughters into slavery either. I cn't think of a single Christian who's ever advocated stoning anyone for planting two crops in the same field -- but it's there! Yes, I'm sorry to say, Mr. Graham, that your favorite book is as much of a little shop of horrors and depravity as any other scripture; human sacrifice and all -- and you don't have much of a place to stand on when trying to slander over a billion people.

Perhaps it's as unlikely that very rich men like the Grahams will pass through the eye of a needle as that they can tell us what "the Muslims," most of whom don't live under fundamentalist, theocratic regimes are up to. Yet they keep trying and keep profiting by scapegoating and damning and hate mongering -- and lying. Sure Father Billy, 'Jews are ruining America' Graham and Son-of-Billy Franklin don't come near the lunacy the fringe elements that are campaigning for Christian supremacy: people like Brother Nathaniel " A Christian America, not a Jewish America" Kapner. I won't like to that bastard, you'll have to look it up yourself, but such an underground exists and one would be hard pressed to prove that it represents Christianity less than Wahabbist extremists represent Muslims. Graham doesn't even try, he just pretends they're all alike, all evil -- as power and influence grow and the dollars come rolling in.

Yes, it may be true that a fundamentalist adherence to the Qur'an would seem to allow the so called honor killings, As Franklin is eager to point out, yet it's quite apparent that a literal reading of the Bible allows all kinds of violence and indeed appears to demand slaughtering women and children, stoning, slavery, prostitution and all kinds of things nearly all Christians and Jews abhor - and that includes honor killings.