Wednesday, December 29, 2010

If this be tyranny. . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Leaking on the leaker

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

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

Now can we get back to the war on Christmas?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Relief is just a leak away.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Waiter, there's a terrorist in my tea.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 13, 2010

Glenn Beck admits to being a terrorist

Not that he admits to having admitted it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Murdering Christmas

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

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

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

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

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Just say Noh

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Amazon death watch

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Pillars of wisdom

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Obama goes to bat for the bad guys

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

-Phil Collins-

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

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

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

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

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