Thursday, November 29, 2012

To every lie, there is a season

I may have to stop calling him Lyin' Bill because the word lie implies some knowledge of saying something that isn't true.  I think at this point we have to question his sanity. 

True, the need to divide the country with his annual War on Christmas fugue may have some purpose, like keeping the duller class enraged enough to make puppets and pawns out of them and since running in circles screeching Benghazi! Benghazi! doesn't seem to be quite enough to rally the demoralized dimwits Fox needs to keep in the GOP barnyard, they need something.  But of course dropping such a mindless, bullshit based annual exercise might make it seem as though they were giving up, like maggots leaving a rotting corpse.  So we're back to the War on Christmas season and if you were looking forward to some seasonal good cheer now that the economy is turning a corner, forget it. They're not giving up. Like Allen West, they're not conceding the loss. Old Bill is at it again: the 'Fascist' Atheists are stealing Christmas.  And the evidence of this is that some guy said. . . and of course what one unbeliever says is binding on all who don't believe in God or all the detritus that clings to every description of it.

Blind rage against some liberal minority has been a substitute for blind rage against the failed specter of World Communism and the dishonest conflation with socialism the batshit Right has been selling for a lifetime  It continues to weaken,  but there always has to be the rage, and a donkey to pin all those tails on. Secularism, Liberal thought and even some aspects of Capitalism being sold as something entirely different -- taxation as Communism, for instance just to have something to keep the rabble roused.  But with the obvious and manifest movement of Western thought away from the traditional nastiness and paranoia, Fox and O'Reilly and Rove and all the mad hatters at the Tea Party have a need for scapegoats that far exceeds the supply and no matter how pathetic and flimsy and obviously contrived the stories may be, fear and anger must be maintained.  Terrify and enrage or perish.

So yes, the Fascist Atheists (they'd add Jews if they thought they could get away with it) and of course the Muslims are trying to make Christmas illegal raves O'Reilly with a blindness to irony that can only come from stupidity and derangement  Capitalist, consumerist culture that's made the Holiday one of the supporting pillars of retail isn't the reason behind the season. Madness. A slap in the face to Capitalism and blindness to the fact that Christmas doesn't need to be, must not be supported or sold or paid for by public funds and government rules. Besides Christmas is bigger than ever and that's a good sign.

But backing themselves into the crooked corner of madness and mendacity, the fictions begin to become so absurd and obviously contrived that I'm waiting for the explosion that must certainly come -- and waiting.  Can Bill O'Reilly really bail himself out by insisting that Christianity isn't a religion, but a Philosophy?    Sorry, the idea that God, mating with a young girl and producing a hybrid offspring that needs to be killed so that this almighty and forgiving God can now, after thousands of years forgive mankind ( but only those who believe the story) for the sin they inherited of acquiring moral knowledge and the stray sexual thoughts one has from time to time is not a philosophy, it's a religion. Unlike a philosophy, it has no internal logic, it's self contradictory and has the necessity of creating endless entities to smooth over those contradictions.  A philosophy does not depend on faith to be true or false. It's a religion. It not only isn't dependent on facts, it can't allow itself to be tested against observable reality.  Kinda like every goddamn thing that comes out of Bill O'Reilly's mouth.

Rally the religious.  Tell them their God is under attack, is in personal danger or will be so angered by differences in gullibility that he will kill us all.  It works for the Taliban, and the Ayatollahs, but it doesn't work with and isn't compatible with a free society and it's not a philosophy, it's a religion.  God save us from it and God damn Bill O'Reilly and the Fox he rode in on.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Bye bye, Miss American Pie

Indications are that the Mayans were right and that 2012 is indeed the end of an era, not because of  some change in politics or religion and not because of anything cosmic or tectonic, but because a piece of America as we knew it has died. An America, exuberant in itself, proud, forward looking, confident.  Hostess bakeries died this week and not because of mismanagement but because of what America has become: timorous, ashamed of what it loves and afraid of being provincial.  Our sweet land of phony authenticity.  Of thee I sing.

The Twinkie, the Ho-Ho, the Snowball are gone now, along with the Oldsmobile and the Mercury; with Buddy Holly and the independent hamburger stand. You can't buy a Hostess cupcake any more for much the same reason you can't find anything like Hopper's Nighthawks any more. Your cupcakes have to be 'artisinal,' gluten free, in season, free range and come from a 'cupcakery' just as that cup of Joe is now an 'Americano' and served (artisinally) by a 'Barista.'  You're not à la mode enough though, unless you order something that sounds like Mississippi camp-meeting glossolalia and costs forty bucks for a "venti."  Good God, don't ask for a "large." America's rites of self detestation and the industries that thrive on it the way a tapeworm thrives on weakening it's host have us all scrambling for the plastic, made in Taiwan, European panache that we attribute to lands  that we otherwise pretend to loathe because, of course, they're 'authentic' and we're not. American means fake and we flee from it toward an imported synthetic authenticity.

The Authenticity industry with it's vast smoking factories churning out the local and seasonal and artisinal synthetic-reality products we crave and the flim-flam pseudo-scientist diet doctors selling us low 'carb' gluten free and without fructose and for heaven's sake, not 'processed' foods: we zumba and carb-count our way to South Beach to be fleeced.  In an age most noteworthy for the triumph of scientific method over superstition and fallacious conjecture, we have come more to trust 'alternative' information that comes from movie actors, comedians and people who get rich by insisting, contrary to all evidence, that gluten is poison, that miracle berries and magic beans will let you live forever, that cooking your food is bad and the fructose you get from corn is full of bad and fattening juju unlike the identical Furanose Sugars found in (organically grown, artisinally picked, local and seasonal ) strawberries.

Studies show. . .  I cringe when I see that and nearly always it means that tendentious conjecture based on selected facts might fool you into thinking. . . It nearly always means that there was no real study.  Large scale, double blind and randomized scientific studies that are repeatable and published in peer-reviewed journals don't have a chance against diet doctors, Oprah-backed pundits or miracle food and fake science purveyors, not in a country trained to favor faith over fact, trained to celebrate the notions of celebrities and mistrust scientists; trained to patronize diet doctors who tell us that studies show.

Twinkies have anti-oxidant  "preservatives" which everyone knows are bad because studies show. They contain things like gluten and fructose that everyone knows are bad because studies show.  Twinkies may be authentic, but they're authentic American and that doesn't count. We long for something Tuscan, even if we're not sure where that is -- something from Tuscany where it's all artisinal.  Hostess Snowballs -- they didn't stand a snowball's chance in the new America. Maybe if you called them gluten free Palle di Neve or Boules de Neige and opened chic little sidewalk places in Boca Raton and Park Slope and South Beach and had them served by Ballistas for ten bucks each. . .
Ah well, one can only dream now of  temps perdue.  Where? When? O lost, and by the wind grieved, ghost, come back again.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Rubio Slippers

Hey, I'm not a scientist, man,  says Florida's Republican Senator and neither am I, but then I'm not an imbecile nor like Marco Rubio, willing to prostitute that pale and slimy vestigial appendage which he calls his integrity for a few votes.  Integrity, that nasty noisome thing he uses like a mop to soak up the sticky, slimy, scummy votes from the peep-show floor of  Southern politics.

He's not a scientist, so how can we expect him to know that the entire universe wasn't created by a sentient entity called Yahweh in seven "days?"  Can we even expect him to ask why we can see further than 6000 light years if it's only 6000 years old?  No, he'd have to be a scientist, he says and even so, there are different theories, just as there are different theories about whether or not  the Earth is flat and the universe, as it says in the bible, has water above and below it and there's a layer a few hundred feet 'above' us where magic creatures live.

You'd have to be a scientist, and even then you'd be baffled by all the 'theories' that abound which although solidly bolstered by irrefutable evidence and buttressed with repeatable observation are -- only theories. 

“I’m not a scientist. I don’t think I’m qualified to answer a question like that. At the end of the day, I think there are multiple theories out there on how the universe was created and I think this is a country where people should have the opportunity to teach them all. I think parents should be able to teach their kids what their faith says, what science says.” 

I guess those would be parents of unsound mind or minds as lacking in scope and commitment to honesty as Marco's.  Honesty?  No, I'm not talking about the honesty that would require one to rank 'theories' according to their correspondence to the observation of nature, I'm talking about the dishonest assumption that parents are being prevented from telling their children that some god created us from a clot, a lump of clay or an ear of corn.  A polite person would call it hyperbole. I would call it a lie. I would see it as a continuation of the Republican libel and the war against modernity and science.

 The government has nothing to say about what you teach your kids, but it does have something to say about what I pay, what we pay to have them taught and face it, Rubio doesn't want them taught about 13 Mayan creator gods or Refafu, or Chuckwu or Osiris or Allah. He's simply trying to find support amongst the most ignorant, the deliberately stupid, the accidentally stupid and the demented. He's fishing for the Christian Creationists with fear as the bait. He's playing to the Christian Crusaders who want this to be a nation under God with an established religion.

There are signs that this brand of Christianism, this brand of Conservatism are weakening. Some see it in the entrails of this last election. There's evidence that blind belief is losing ground. That's what I want to believe, of course and that's why I'm not qualified to answer.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Takers take it back.

You don't have to have sensational hearing to hear the rustling in the woodwork as the reshuffling of the Republican hierarchy begins. The opening move for the hopefuls is to distance themselves from Mitt Romney and his sour grapes and his nonsense about Democrats having bought the election by giving gifts and his outright lies about half of us not paying taxes. "We have to stop being the stupid party" says Bobby Jindal and somewhere can't we hear a small voice crying "bingo?"  Let's hope it's the end of that error foretold in the gospel of the bumper sticker.

Making up a fake Obama, fabricating facts, cobbling together stereotypes about "Liberals" and using them like pawns to play fantasy chess with -- raging about God being against birth control, calling women sluts for wanting to have non-reproductive sex, insulting gay people, insulting immigrants of color, 10th generation Americans of color, using God's name in vain to back their every prejudice and snarling hate and all their ignorance. Nobody, particularly the struggling citizens working two jobs if they can find them and trying to keep a roof over their heads, likes to be told they're a "taker" a parasite by some silver spoon aristocrat. Nobody likes waking up and finding out he's been taken for a fool.

They've been the party of Stupid for a long time and more so for thinking it wouldn't end badly. The anti-science party. The delusional party, the party that shouts down the truth and punishes the truth tellers. The anti-education party, the contempt for women party. Perhaps you can fool enough of the people enough of the time, but you can't do it forever by belittling them, insulting them and telling lies without bothering to think some people might remember what you said last week or last year to a different audience. Fox news can only cover it up for so long. They can and did rave for hours about how women aren't put off by the war on planned parenthood, the rhetoric about legitimate rape and God's will that they give birth to a rapist's baby, but there's a limit to the effectiveness of telling women what their opinion actually is.

Telling  people who know damn well that they pay 28% of their income in taxes that they're not paying any taxes while Mitt himself pays 14% on the income we know about and refuses to disclose his tax returns. Telling Chrysler execs they're going to move the Jeep Division to China, telling millions of auto workers their jobs should have been trashed. Missing the point that selling billions of dollars worth of cars to China is a good thing - an essential thing. Telling us that high taxes cause recessions when taxes are at the lowest in a lifetime and our best years featured much higher taxes. Most of all letting people suspect that to the GOP Brahmans, we all exist on their sufferance and Noblesse oblige.
 The question remains -- how are they going to do it?  Or perhaps rather, the question is whether they're actually going to do more than look for a better salesman to market the same old platform.  How can they not be the stupid party while selling a failed economic plan?  While basing their vision on a tendentious work of fiction. Are they going to admit that 99.7% of climatologists aren't part of a liberal conspiracy or that we need regulation if we don't want oil platforms to blow up and poison the Gulf?  Are they finally going to examine the Bush legacy and accept blame for having ignored the warnings and shut down the anti-terrorism efforts right before 9/11? Admit that markets aren't perfect self regulators and that private insurers do have death panels and don't provide the best coverage to the most people at the lowest cost? Are they going to stop blaming the colossal Bush era borrowing and spending on Obama?

Fuhgettabout it!  It ain't gonna happen and if we relax and buy into it and think we've won at last, we're the stupid party.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Cycles of Life

I love a good laugh in the morning, don't you?  Especially on a gloomy and rainy one.  Looking at today the story of a "signed original Salvador Dali" showing up at Goodwill Industries not only made the sun emerge, but their golly-gee-whiz glee almost had me spitting coffee on the keyboard.  Somewhere the ghost of P.T. Barnum is sharing the mirth. An art business truism is "never buy because of a signature."  Doubly true for a Dali' print.

Look, the term original Dali' is a joke in the Art community because the term fake Dali' is considered a tautology.  There are so many fakes, most experts consider any Dali to be bogus unless proven otherwise - and maybe proven again.   Oh but it's signed, one hears. Sidesplitting, really.  Dali' was discovered back in the 80's signing thousands and thousands of blank pieces of paper and selling them to forgers who got  rich selling them to the gullible as 'original' Dali' work. Indeed sculpture made from drawings or paintings by Dali' are sold as "original" even though the artist never saw them and may have died before they were cast -- and yet some accept them as being "original Dali'" To me, the Dali' market is a bit like a mirrored carnival fun house. What you see may or may not be what you get and original is damned hard to define. Many people, some people I know, went to jail for Dali' scams and hearing "Original Dali' print" still makes any dealer or collector active in the late 20th century smile - or wince as the case may be.  OK, I admit to having one hanging here in my office as a reminder or the roaring 80's, but I bought it knowingly because I was madly in love with the dealer. Money well spent, but that's another story.

Look -- an etching, a wood block, a stone lithograph or even a silk screen  may be original, but a number of copies are made, sometimes by the artist himself, sometimes with a professional to do the final printing.  A photo-reproduction done with the artist's approval and cooperation is less original even if part of a limited edition, but faking a print with today's technology is easy enough even without the cooperation of someone like Dali'. Caveat Emptor and please don't confuse a limited edition print, as CNN is breathlessly doing today, with some $20,000,000 painting from the 1940's  that Sotheby's or Christie's may offer from time to time.  You can afford a Rembrandt etching, you can't afford a Rembrandt painting.

 Dali's were printed like overpriced wallpaper back during the art boom of the 1980's along with fake Miro's, Picasso's and Chagall's that the hyperventilating public hoped to get rich on -- and didn't.  A 1992 expose' by Lee Caterall  The Great Dali' Art Fraud  helped to deflate the Dali' madness for a time, but this is America -- who reads?  Time and gullibility march on and Iron Pyrites isn't called fools gold for no reason.

Much of the public is still unaware of the fake art industry, although the business all but collapsed in 1989 with the general collapse of the art bubble.  I hear there was a resurgence of Dalimania when peddlers began to clear out storage lockers and put the stuff back on the market in 2007.  Scams seem to go in cycles. They burn out but recur periodically as Mr. Barnum told us, when a new generation of suckers enters the market.  They never go away, sad to say and Fine Art fraud will always be with us. Even the experts get fooled.  Scammers can and often do take a photo-reproduction - a poster and forge a signature and edition number on it.  A few weeks ago I got all excited about a "signed" Wilfredo Lam painting -- a really beautiful one offered by a dealer in Peru, but thinking it through and carefully comparing the signature with a few in my collection, I decided it was a fake from the wicked 80's. Some other bargain hunter got burned, or perhaps turned it around and flipped it to some parvenu.  Caveat Emptor and if it's too good to be true. . . it is.

So I wouldn't be surprised if many Dali' prints showed up - Miro,  Picasso, Matisse are all common even fake Dali' with legitimate signatures, in charity shops.  Although I'm too lazy to look it up in a catalog raisonne' I think think the Goodwill item is as real as any Dali' from his declining years.  I doubt it could be worth nearly the $12,705 it's going for at their auction website, this Saturday morning.  It's from 1979, late in the artist's life when he was recycling bits of images from his iconic paintings from the 1930's and 40's.  I can buy a  Cycles of Life retail from a legitimate dealer I know for under $10k, but who knows?  Art is only worth what someone is willing to pay, but that truism obtains when they go to resell it as well.  Did I say Caveat Emptor?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The takers

You'd think George W. Bush was never born or had never been president, since you never hear from him or about him and are often accused of some kind of dementia if you mention his legacy.  To be sure, I'm grateful that he's keeping quiet and hasn't spent years making dire predictions of doom and accusations of treason like other parts of the still twitching corpse of his administration -- none of which have come to pass, by the way. Perhaps his quiet reclusiveness has to do with the GOP plan to redact him from the record so that they can't be accused of wrecking the country and a good part of the world with their drool-down economics, but I'll be kind since I'm grateful not to hear from him for any reason.

Mitt Romney however, is a sore loser; bleating about how Obama only won because of all the 'massive' handouts to the "takers" which is his way of derogating minorities without having to call them wogs and worse.  You'll notice that he prefers to name corporate takers who pay little or no taxes but get huge subsidies "job creators" and forgets that the demand for goods and services from the lesser elements create more jobs than Bain Capital ever did, but typically, he gives no examples of handouts that can be attributed to Obama and leaves it to the  prejudices of his piteous and self-pitying audience to fill in the blanks with the usual subjects. Those people aren't real, 100% Americans as the Klan has long told us.

What he does mention is the 'dream act' which would give an advantage toward legal residency to unwitting and accidental immigrants that have something to offer; an education, a valuable skill, military service: something more than or at least as good as Romney's own immigrant ancestors from Mexico brought here. It's similar to plans proposed by the invisible ex-president himself, but that was then, when Romneycare was a good thing to Republicans and we had a "commander guy" in the oval office bleeding the economy dry.

But as for the "takers" as the malphemism dubs most of us of lesser means than the Oligarchs, surely Romney isn't talking about whole states: states like Texas, Florida, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina which gobbled up nearly a quarter of all federal revenues allotted to the other 47 states.  Six of those seven states, incidentally, have gathered more than 25,000 signatures in petitions to secede from "the greatest country that ever existed since the Jurassic."  But don't call those states, those places where literacy and having front teeth are considered "elitist," takers

They're just sore losers and they want their Confederacy back; their culture of God, Guns, grinding poverty and degradation.  Don't call them takers, it's far too kind.  Don't call those companies who employ only foreign workers and don't pay taxes here takers.  Let's just keep sniping and snarking and snarling like sore losers for four more years.  Let's look forward to obfuscation and obstruction and the end of Obama in 2016 when we can put some rich, white Republican back in the manse where rich, white Republicans belong -- and laissez les mal temps rouler!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Swinging 'round the circle

Observing the American political process, do we really need a geneticist to tell us we're getting stupider?

  • Take the American Bigots Family Association -- please. We need to "clamp down" on immigration because those genetically inferior races Socialist immigrants always vote for Democrats says a spokesman who would never make anyone think of the Nazis.
  • Failed VP candidate Paul Ryan says he lost the election not because he's a dangerously unbalanced and stupid dirt bag but because the genetically inferior races 'Urban' voters turned out to vote.
  • National Disgrace Fox News exhumed that vicious Swift Boat ad after a Washington Post suggestion that John Kerry might be the next Secretary of Defense, continuing their tradition of smearing wounded combat veterans who aren't demented, neo-Fascist, psychopathic liars Republicans.
  • Demented, neoFascist psychopathic liar Grover Norquist told us all that the dynamic Romney/Ryan duo lost because Obama's "attack ads" called Romney a "poopy head." Whorequist ( sorry, that's a typo) maintained that his party has a mandate not to raise taxes even if it causes the destruction of the nation.
  • Ambulatory pustule Rush Limbaugh affirmed that the Republican loss was all about Rush Limbaugh and his grotesquely dishonest, racist, bigoted, misogynist, indecent, seditious Conservative commentary.
"I am, by the way, the primary reason the Republican Party will keep losing, until I am denounced by the Republican Party."

Unfortunately that grotesquely dishonest, racist, bigoted, misogynist, indecent, seditious Conservative commentary is just what the enemies of all things good and decent Republicans like about him

Monday, November 12, 2012


John Perr at Crooks & Liars today quoted Romney as having said about his wife Ann, back in 2007 "Her positions I do not think are terribly relevant to my campaign"   Hell, his own positions haven't been either! "Whatever you wish I would say - well I just said it" would be more accurate.

Almost as telling as the loser  Allen West's insistence that the frivolous law suits he keeps filing, trying to get recount after recount the law does not entitle him to, are "not about me" but rather about justice.  It's about you West and about time you got your "war hero" ass the hell out of town and be content that you weaseled out of an 11 year sentence at Leavenworth.

And of course Obama didn't win fair and square either.  People, you know, second rate people who should know their place, like Women and such voted for Obama because he lied and told them Republicans would march them into "rape camps" if Romney was elected, says Michael Graham, one of the Tea Party's maddest hatters.  You never heard of Rape Camps?  They're right over there next to the Death Panels and the filing cabinet where they keep Obama's Kenyan birth certificate and his Bin Laden autographed Koran.

What, you're just now noticing that the GOP is only a replica of a conservative party and probably put here by body snatching alien invaders who ate the originals?  What were you thinking and what were you thinking with?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Let them secede!

I wonder, should we classify the GOP as some sort of cancer?  A malignant thing that keeps creeping and metastasizing into your vital organs, coming back, time after time?  I could mention Allen West, former candidate for Florida House District 18 who having lost, refuses to concede and keeps filing suit after suit claiming election improprieties for which there is no evidence other than his amazement that people would reject a convicted war criminal posing as a hero and a gentleman. The recounting and the re-recounting continues today at the behest of a cadre of  GOP funded lawyers from Boca Raton.

And then there's a Texas Gopper who is calling for secession because Texas is just to special to be governed from Washington and by “baby-murdering, tax-raising socialists.”   Who ever heard of a cancer that tries to remove itself?  We're all "maggots" for having elected Obama he says: a man who has "apparent contempt for White people."  

Say, didn't the Bush Doctrine assert that we have the right to invade a country that we perceive to be a threat?  Nuke Texas!  Of course that's a joke, but I'm proposing it mostly to be able to giggle when some roaming Republican quotes it as proof that "Liberals" are dangerous.  Hell, let them go and put up a damned wall. We don't need that cancer infecting America. They're not even worth keeping as proof of the rank, dishonorable, despicable and disgusting nature of the tumor that replaced the Conservatives since, like Zombies, they're past persuasion and the normal people already know. Give Texas back to Mexico!

Friday, November 09, 2012

After the Ball was over

Drive down Florida's A1A in my town and you'd think the campaign was still going on.  The roadside is defaced with mile after mile of campaign signs, sometimes only a few feet apart, but you'd also think only Republicans were running.  The Democratic signs disappeared the day after the election but the Republican campaign workers, most of whom were bussed in from Texas at the expense of shadowy Republican campaign financiers (is there another kind?) seem either not to give a damn about the District they spent tens of millions to acquire, or are just not around any more.

But perhaps it's part of a pattern of abandoning anyone no longer immediately useful to Romney or the GOP after the ball is over.   When the attempt has failed, someone has got to walk home and it's not going to be Mitt.  We can dispose of our ten million worth of plastic signs on our own and those dedicated campaign workers who tried to settle up with their Boston hotel keepers after the victory party went sour found that their credit cards had been cancelled and they were on their own with some explainin' to do.  Wham, bam, thank you Ma'am, you've been Romneyed. Screwed by the candidate who cares.

No word about the fleet of huge Corporate jets parked at Logan, but I'm sure those credit cards were still golden and no CEO's were harmed or financially embarrassed in the making of this fiasco.

Kind of Blue?

Anyone who saw Karl Rove raging around the Foxhole in the moments after Fox News and all the others called the election for Obama -- and anyone watching him waving a tablet with numbers on it and squeaking madly yesterday; explaining why Obama beat the Great White Dope, might not suspect that this is all over now or that the nation has decided or will decide that the United States has now gone kind of blue

They might look to the past and not expect the far right will settle down and go along with the tide of the future any more than they did after the humiliation of Spiro Agnew and Richard Nixon.  Ask Bill Clinton about the revenge of the Republicans or their patience while waiting for retaliation.  Hell no, the fight is still on, and while Fox News broadcasts and there are people who watch it; while Limbaugh roars and while Coulter hisses and snarls like a syphilitic witch, it's still on. While money talks, it's not over.

Hell no, you can be sure that for the coming years, Obama will have won only  by "suppressing the vote," by enlisting the help of the Black Panthers or the Neptunian Trotzkyite Front -- or by any other means apparent only to the collectively paranoid psychotic Tea Party base. Their number one priority will not now cease to be the removal from office by any means possible, the blocking of every initiative and the unrestrained and unfounded vilification of Barack H. Obama.  To them, they are still the majority and when they lose it can't be their own fault.

Democratic urges to make nice and play well with others, and Democratic expectations of a sudden comity and cooperation may be dangerously premature. We're not facing a chastened and contrite enemy, newly motivated to re-examine its outmoded assumptions and tired tenets, we're standing next to a wounded and very powerful beast, and what beast has a conscience?  The Republican machine is hardly moribund and is still as red, still as rich and even more motivated to lie, cheat, steal and filibuster than ever.

The GOP may be a party in grief and shock, it may be acting out the first two stages of that Kübler-Ross hypothesis: anger and denial, but any expectation that we'll see an attempt to bargain honestly, much less to get to any kind of acceptance in the near or near-distant future -- or perhaps ever, is terribly premature, in my opinion.  Yes, we may have dodged a bullet this week and the next four years may be a reprieve from the GOP success in their war against human rights, liberty and Democracy and perhaps  the war against real Capitalism, but we have to temper our great expectations. 2014, 2016 are the numbers of the beast and there never will be an end of their era.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Wild America

  And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him

Genesis 16:12

Florida is one of those places where wild men, or more accurately from the Hebrew, "wild asses" have a lot of presence.  Looking, county by county, precinct by precinct, you can see how much influence place of residence has on one's voting choices.  In a sea of red, virtually any county having a university is blue, for instance, but life is more complex than that and there are many factors that affect what kinds of people vote in certain ways. But Florida is not much different than the US in general other than that Florida is usually quite near 50/50 in any election and so small differences have a big influence on elections. posted some fascinating data yesterday; the sort of thing that delights a Freakonomics fan eager to see correlations between things we don't ordinarily think about as well as those things we usually do.  Sure, some of the categories are tautological.  Conservatives and Republicans vote red. That white men tend to be red and white women only a bit less so, isn't surprising either, but the way income plotted against political leanings varies by income bracket surprised me, at least.  It's not quite true that more money makes for more red leanings.

But age is a very strong factor with those over 65 being substantially more Republican  and those under 30 being even more strongly biased the other way.  Not much surprise at all there, nor is racial identification Vs. politics surprising even if it's possibly the strongest correlation.  People identifying themselves as white are about 69% red Vs. about 7% for claimants to African-American status.

But the one of so many factors that screams for attention and doesn't get enough of it I think,  is that religion, or religious identification seems to be one of the most dominant factors of all and that if you want to predict how someone will vote, asking what group they identify with and how often they attend functions  will give you a good prediction. In terms of religious fervor alone: if you never attend services, you're 62% likely to be blue. Go more than once a week and that drops to 36%.

Call yourself Protestant and you're 42% likely to be blue, but Catholics, not surprisingly to me, are closer to 50% Liberal minded.  But lump Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and others together into "other" and any one of those others has a  whopping 74% chance of  voting blue.  Atheists?  Almost the same at 70%.  The name you call God, if you in fact believe in one, may have more influence on your choices than all the reasons you give yourself regarding economic or foreign policy.

No, there's nothing intrinsically weird about any of these many categories, but it's sometimes not what you would have thought and there are quite a number of things that obviously are factors in that complex equation determining what we perhaps not so accurately call our free choice!  We all like to think we make our choices independently and based on facts, but the numbers suggest strongly otherwise. They suggest that what we accept as truth and as facts has everything to do with our micro-cultural involvement. Whether we're skeptical or gullible, authoritarian or libertarian may have something to do with life experience but obviously not entirely.  We're tribal animals and although we're able and eager to find tribes to belong to, some of our illusion of free will may be just that.  Illusory.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012


Houston, the ego has landed

crash landed that is. 

If 2012 was the end of an error, it was Romney's error and the Republicans' error and although it won't be the end of their policy of taking us for idiots in order to take us to the cleaners, at least we won't have to listen to the nasty pastors predicting Antichrists and Apocalypses and the rest of their superstitious idiocies for a few hours.  We will get a rest from scurrilous fake economists telling us how tax cuts make us rich and pay our bills.  We'll have a few minutes peace from being told that Obama is responsible for the disaster that occurred before he was elected, for raising gas prices and all of those brainless and fraudulent claims that even the most idiotic and uninformed partisan has to strain to believe. We won't have to look at Mutt's  Botoxed and whitewashed face or listen to his ever shifting spectrum of lies and distortions and calumnies and complaints.   At least for a while.  They'll be back trying to bring down America within a day or so, or maybe sooner, like hyenas on a gazelle. They'll be back to make up ever more bizarre legends, ever more nonsense stories to fool the ignorant and bigoted and all designed for the benefit of a handful of people.

And we'll see them again in 2016, yapping about flag pins and the size of the flags on campaign jets and how the Democratic candidate eats Christian babies and was born on Mars and is financed by Commies from Kyrgyzstan, but their days do have a number as the population grows more diverse and younger, and angry, Bigoted, Southern white men go to sleep with their ancestors and their grandaughters date dark skinned men and have children more likely to piss on their Confederate ashes than to admire them.

Romney lost and he deserved to lose and the people who financed him and used him as a megaphone for their hate filled propaganda deserved to lose and to quote a favorite chant of  that androgynous and whining witch  Anthrax Coulter 

Liberals Republicans go WAH -- they go WAH, WAH, WAH.

Vox clamantis in deserto

It will soon be over, all but the tears and the long road toward oblivion and certainly the hate will not stop or the plotting to restore the Confederacy.  My unincorporated slice of the county is festooned with Fire Obama signs and Allen West signs and Connie Mack signs or signs of the Apocalypse if you prefer.  But here and there, braving the flaming cross or at least social ostracism, there is a voice crying in the wilderness:

Monday, November 05, 2012

It's all over but the eschatology

There's a point beyond which I can no longer pretend to be an open-minded or fair-minded person disposed to find reason in others' opinions, or at least to try to be tolerant of them.  I think I reached it today, shortly after a flurry of last minute political calls from ( supposedly illegal) robots delivering diatribes from Ann Coulter, Allen West and the NRA.  Gungrabber Obama?  War Hero West? Seriously?  Am I listed as Hatch, Booby in the phone book?

In another venue I joked today about inventing a Taserphone that one could use to zap annoying, if not felonious and even treasonous callers like these, but honestly that's only an attempt to cover up, to add mirth to the boiling volcanic eruption of rage that's been keeping me up nights; has been filling my dreams with violence and wondering if I really have enough ammunition in the house.  I also joked about watching the election returns from my boat so that if things go all to hell, I could be in international waters within half an hour and in the Bahamas in three.  But that would not be to protect me, it would be to protect others from a large, rude, green hulk stomping toward Washington in an uncontrollable rage.

But really, the level of criminal indecency to which the Republican Party has descended should sponsor far more rage than even this half mad writer can feel.  If it had come all at once rather than incrementally over a period of years, I'm sure there truly would have been blood in the streets.  Had we not had a multi-billion dollar industry soothing and rationalizing and reinterpreting the rape of reason and the murder of truth and the deportation of ethics, Republicans would have had to flee the country for their lives a decade ago, if not sooner. But as it is, stories like this one about an Arizona non-profit laundering eleven million for the GOP  which may be a true drop in the bottomless bucket of  corporate money, offshore money and other somewhat less than sanitary money being used for things like starving public education, sure, but perhaps the straw that broke this old back. As God knows, and has the GOP has stressed, an educated public is a "brainwashed" public, an 'elitist' and snobbish public less likely to buy into the raging idiocy they sell. So education is another beast the Tea Terrorists, the bar room brown shirts and the ruthless pirates of industry need to starve.

Will all these crimes ever be punished?  Not likely, no matter which candidate wins and if someone is prosecuted, their soulless, corpse eating associates will manage to make it seem all political and public opinion will turn against that damned liberal press all the more.

I'm not ready to say "you can't win" or that it's all lost, but I'm afraid it's none the less true.  Our debt problem isn't going to be repaired no matter who wins.  Obama or the Mutt, even if all spending were to cease, it may take a lifetime for the debt to go away, unless it's through massive inflation we haven't seen the likes of in our own history.  Think Zimbabwe, think Weimar Republic, think third world America.  My biggest worry isn't about the post-prosperous America, it's about the post-Liberal America; an oligarchy of entities deriving their power not from the consent of the governed, but of global financial interests, of religious demagogues and corporate feudal lords.

So no, I'll likely watch the circus from the local Democratic headquarters, at least until it gets late, but win or lose, the difference is, I fear only in the nearness to the abyss toward which we're inexorably headed and no, I'll probably not push those throttles forward and head for West End, no matter who wins Tuesday night, but I'm sure as hell not going down without a fight or go gentle into any Goddamned Republican night.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Vote the Bible!

I can hear the wailing and tooth gnashing all the way at the other end of the country from Texas.  Some woman is asked to cover up the "vote the Bible" T-shirt and it's like a wake up call to every stupid, seditious and  secessionist pervert in the Babble Belt to start howling that the request was because the Bible is "offensive."    Um, I guess that down in the dark heart A Texas, the illegality of campaigning or telling people how to vote in a polling place or its environs is neutralized if the deed is wrapped up in the Bible like a Burrito.  Wrapped up in the Christian version of course and served with a spicy ignorance sauce.  Show up at the polls in Bunghole, Texas with an Obama T-shirt and see how different the reaction is and who takes offense.

Look Tex, the Bible is all about obedience to an unelected, unaccountable and unquestionable authority that threatens to kill you and eat your children for the most ludicrously minor infraction like refusing to rape your sister in law. (Genesis 38: 8-10)  The Bible tells you to forgive debts after 7 years and forbids you to charge interest (which would make Capitalism illegal) if you "vote the Bible"  but that's OK I guess.  You have no idea how it works anyway, do you?  Or you can specify the Christian Bible wherein Saul of Tarsus tells you all those gruesome threats about eating your children (Leviticus 26:27-9) or those 613 Commandments mean nothing -- which makes the whole idea of voting the Bible meaningless. That should be a relief of course, thinking about the 42 children God murdered in hideous fashion for mocking a bald man. (2 Kings 2:23-24)

 Yeah, right, that's not what Pastor Pervy taught in Sunday School, or your idiot Attorney General  raves about and it's not what the Constitution allows if you want to get down to some basic literacy. The Bible is full of atrocities nearly all of us wouldn't want to exist in the world any more and besides, the Christian version says that following Jesus with love in your heart absolves you of those laws and threats of violence (Romans 8:2)  Why the hell can't you be content with that and stop trying to take over a secular democracy that allows the freedom of religion you take for granted.  Why the hell can't you practice the religion you claim to believe in?

Like we didn't all know that?

No shit!  Now say that with as much condescending and  snarky cynicism as you can manage and yet it won't be enough to fit the circumstance.  You see, the central tenet of Republican politics has been the idea that cutting the tax rates for the very wealthy will spur the economy and yet, as far as I can tell the evidence for that has been the repetition of the formula in very stentorian and hortatory tones. In fact all the evidence I can see, and many economists agree, suggest that quite the opposite is true and reduced sufficiently, the economy will at first experience soaring markets and catastrophic busts and recessions.  And of course we've seen some very prosperous times with 90% tax brackets for earned income and much higher rates on Capital gains. One can argue all day about what should happen according to one hypotheses or conjecture, but of course most people have learned in the last half millennium  that the outcome of experiment, of experience counts more than dialectic and endless repetitions of doctrine.  It wasn't politics that settled the question of how fast things would fall after all.

But it seems to be politics that has to decide for all time whether the very wealthy are "job creators" who will create more and better jobs if they have sufficient capital, because experience shows otherwise.  The numbers history gives us show otherwise and like so many battles involving politics and religion, those made powerful through those things have to resort to things other than honest numbers.  The other lesson of history is that denial, anger and retribution are the responses of  religious and political power, threatened by strongly supported truth.

So you're not going to be surprised  to hear that a report by the research service, a nonpartisan arm of the Library of Congress argues that the foundations of the Republican edifice are as solid as Lamarkian evolution, an Apache rain dance or the Heliocentric universe. Actually they've been far easier to refute.  Supply side economics is a crock.  No shit! Is this the first time you've bothered to seek confirmation of that whackadoodle gospel?  Didja examine entrails, consult the oracle, sacrifice a goat?   Well you know about those first stages of grief.  Denial and anger, right?  So withdraw the research and repeat the catechism sirs -- and do it loud!

Hate is in the blood, says Lyin' Bill

So lyin' Bill is still at it.  I don't go looking for his wisdom any more than I go around opening manhole covers looking for a pleasant smell, but sometimes you just stumble into it - like you might step into some dog shit on the sidewalk.  Anyway,  here we have him again running his foul mouth for his foul audience hoping to promote evil and ugliness and hate wherever he can -- and get rich from doing it.

So Barack Obama hates half the country, says O'Reilly -- the white half, of course, because even though the only family he ever knew was white, he must hate white people because he's black -- even though he's every bit  as white as he is black, unless of course, the old Confederate, Secessionist USA hating bigots like Lyin' Bill  are right that one drop of "black" blood means you're black and inferior. Old Confederate, Secessionist bigots like Lyin' Bill must think that "black blood" is mighty powerful stuff though, if one drop of it can pollute an ocean of whiteness and all the superiority it conveys. Lyin' Bill must believe in "black power!"  Whattaya know!

But Dennis Miller, that other Fox bastard who, back when he was funny and before he sold his soul for a buck thirty seven used to try to impress us all with his brilliance and erudition and vocabulary is reduced to making a living with pusillanimous persiflage for the amusement of the stupidest fraction of mediocre American minds by bantering with Bill would none the less opine that he seeth not the anger of blackness but the haughtiness of the educated.  Fox and grapes, Dennis? Nobody thinks you're smart or funny any more.

So they're back to this -- still at this, since every factual seeming accusation has been erased like grafitti under the blast from a power washer.  The face numbers, the fake stories, the false identification with George Bush's blunders misdeeds, blunders and frauds -- it all has a shelf life and perhaps the lies have gone past it and are beginning to spoil and so it's back to racists and Bolshevik class warfare:  he's a racist, he's a snob, he's consumed with hate (just like us.)

Thursday, November 01, 2012

It was the end of times, it was the beginning of times

I called God this morning after breakfast.  (You don't want to talk to him before he's had his coffee, ) but I just had to ask him about the Texas Problem.  I mean I have friends there and I'm concerned that if he applies the Sodom and Gomorrah standard of needing ten good people to be granted immunity from destruction, they're going to get blasted.  Hell, I think the place is long  overdue, but maybe my friends could be given a warning or something.  There's precedent.

But no, he says.  I try to be fair and Texas has a vastly larger population than those mud brick slums did and I have to grade on the curve. No problem if I only needed ten, but I figure I'd need about a million to keep me out of smite mode what with the population explosion and all, but one of the problems is corporate personhood.  I mean, do I consider Texaco to be a person?  Is ZZ Topp one person or three? (That would count on the plus side, like Janis.)  And of course I have to think about certain Texans as perhaps counting for more than one minus point on account of extreme douchebaggery and assholeness.  I'm thinking of certain current and former Governors.

I'l tell ya, those people who insist that they're my exclusive authorized agents really get to me and they sure as hell don't stick to anything like 15%  I don't see a dime out of any of them, not that I need it, mind you, but it's the principle of the thing and if anyone is going to give out the kind of conflicting and ambiguous commandments I enjoy, it's not going to be some pencil neck twit with a comb-over like Robert Jeffress.  The man is an insult to my authority and I can't believe I created somebody who can tell you that Obama is just like Hitler with a straight face.  Not that his face is all that straight, come to think of it and I have to wonder what's happened to quality control.  I don't recall having outsourced it to Dumbfuckastan like I was a Republican or something.

Anyway, sure, the dipshit is right.  Mormonism is a cult, just like any other followers of any of the other uppity pricks who insist I gave them some kind of exclusive commission or something.  Jesus?  Hey, I never touched that girl and that Saul or Paul or Raul or whoever he calls himself is full of shit.  Has been since he fell off his jackass, as if that were a coincidence.  So if you believe that mierda, you're no smarter than if you believe Joe Smith wasn't just trying to get laid by pretending he had my private number.  I don't have a private number as you well know. Ahem. You try taking 7 billion calls a day and see what it does to your mood!

Actually, I was just thinking about Texas myself this morning 'cause I read in the paper they banned wearing those fucking "Vote the Bible" T-shirts in polling places. They get some credit for that but how much do I subtract for them not stoning the cocksuckers* who insist I wrote that pile of political shit myself. Why the hell would I ban cheeseburgers but allow slavery?  Think I'm fucking stupid?

I'm thinking damnation is what I'm thinking and maybe some shitload of boiling brimstone as an amuse bouche and fuck y'all with this rapture-crapture. It's crowded as hell here and I closed the border a long time ago, what with Cousin Krishna pestering the female help and cousin Wotan stinking up the john every morning. That Ganesh is eating me out of house and home you know -- he has an elephant stomach to go with that elephant head.  Look - I don't need any more damn company, OK? Y'all can stay where you are and it was a damn decent place when I gave it to you and the warranty was up a long time ago. No deposit, no return. Live with it.

Anyway yeah, Texas is a pain in the ass, but not the only one in your part of the mudball planet. The way you treat each other and blame it on me has put me off my feed and the old lady is bitching about my temper and about how I'm not doing enough about that human infestation I started on her otherwise perfectly nice planet and I'm thinking smite night Fogg.  I mean it.  It's ass kicking time.  You either get rid of the trash yourself, or I'll jiggle the ballot box and give you Romney and Ryan and maybe Reverend Phelps as Secretary of State. Noah is long gone and no stupid boat is going to save your asses this time.  And by the way, stop calling me.  I'll call you, and that's all the warning you're gonna get.


*And by the way, about that particular practice -- I don't give a shit what you do as long as you don't do it in the road and scare the horses.  If I don't participate, it's because I don't have that appendage - or any other. Why the fuck would I want to look like you? What? In my image? Monkey's image, dude. Monkey's image. I told you I didn't write that book.