Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Bone Bridge- Chapter 18 is Up


...right here.

Where Will the Next Fort Sumter Be?







(By American Zen’s Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari.)

How many times do we have to hear people say that 'somebody' is going to make an attempt on this president's life before we start wondering, 'Why do you keep saying this? Are you trying to convince people to do it? Do you have any information?’” – Glenn Beck on his radio program

Here’s a possible answer to our economic woes: Maybe we ought to start a pool taking guesses where the first official shot will be fired when the second Civil War is begun. My guess is it will once again be the hilariously dysfunctional state of South Carolina.

As Civil War buffs and historians can tell you, Fort Sumter was, simply put, the birthplace of the first War Between the States. Located off the coast of South Carolina, on April 12, 1861 the Union Army fort was bombarded by rebel forces and the Union Army was forced to surrender it to the fledgling confederacy. Five days later, Virginia, the largest and most powerful of the southern states, seceded from the Union. President Lincoln regarded the attack on Fort Sumter as an act of civil war and confederates likewise accused Lincoln of the same when he called for volunteers to join the Union Army to help take back the fort.

So it’s only fitting that the first verbal salvo launched in this brewing civil war that will be fought not between state lines but across a growing, invisible ideological divide was launched by an obscure, pudgy South Carolina redneck named Joe Wilson who became a hero for the conservative cause by clearly breaking Congressional rules of behavior on international TV and refusing to publicly apologize for it.

A couple of days ago, Newsmax, the tabloid print version of Fox “News”, published an article by one John Perry entitled, “Obama Risks a Domestic Military 'Intervention'.” (The article has since been scrubbed since Logan Murphy’s expose of it on Crooks and Liars.) In it, Perry opines that eventually, the military will launch an insurrection against Obama. Until a cached or captured version of this seditious screed comes back to light, we’ll have to content ourselves with what Logan bothered to reproduce, such as this:
There is a remote, although gaining, possibility America's military will intervene as a last resort to resolve the Obama problem. Don't dismiss it as unrealistic.

America isn't the Third World. If a military coup does occur here it will be civilized. That it has never happened doesn't mean it wont. Describing what may be afoot is not to advocate it. So, view the following through military eyes:

Top military officers can see the Constitution they are sworn to defend being trampled as American institutions and enterprises are nationalized.

They can see that Americans are increasingly alarmed that this nation, under President Barack Obama, may not even be recognizable as America by the 2012 election, in which he will surely seek continuation in office.

They can see that the economy ravaged by deficits, taxes, unemployment, and impending inflation is financially reliant on foreign lender governments.

Granted, this John Perry character is either an obscure hack or the nom de plume de poison of someone better known. But it’s not the identity or lack thereof of the author that’s disturbing as much as the sheer reach of Newsmax.

Newsmax is so endemic on the internet that you will commonly see their ads even on the biggest liberal blogs, one usually featuring Obama wearing doctor's scrubs (such as Crooks and Liars, for instance, which, as with so many other blogs hungering for bandwidth revenue, conveniently and immediately forgets their partisan principles when Newsmax’s cash is dangled before their faces).

Newsmax is partly owned by Republican sleazemesister Richard Mellon Scaife, the publisher of the Pittsburgh Tribune and the one who funded the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth and different smear campaigns against the Clintons, most notoriously the Arkansas Project, that alleged a federal employee was murdered to keep him quiet about the Whitewater scandal (arriving as an eerie counterpoint is the recent murder of a census worker who was found, ironically, on September 12th in southern Kentucky hanged naked with the word "Fed" scrawled across his chest. Luckily, the authorities are keeping an open mind and entertaining the possibility that the gagged victim whose hands and feet were bound could have committed suicide).

Newsmax boasts some 300,000 readers and, whether or not that’s accurate or typical Republican puffery, one fact is clear: Its tentacular reach is such that their message in some way gets on even the biggest and most influential liberal blogs, even if those who go there never click on the banner links and openly scoff at it.

If “Perry’s” piece, which in itself borders on treason, was an isolated peak (or low), we could afford to continue laughing at the perennially misinformed right wing rag that is Newsmax. However, Perry’s rhetoric takes the growing ideological divide to the next level. Now, Perry is theorizing, if not covertly proposing, that our military stage a coup “to resolve the Obama problem” in a manner akin to various banana republics such as Latin American countries overrun by tinpot dictators such as Chile and El Salvador, ones typically favored by Republican presidents.

The only difference, as Perry optimistically hopes, is that we’re not a third world country (despite 37.3 million of us living as if we are, as of 13 months ago and there’s no reason to think that number’s gone down since then) and a coup will be “civilized”, sort of like the bloodless coup carried out by another right wing tinpot dictator, this one in Pakistan, one favored by another Republican president.

Of course, it’s those 37.3+ million Americans who will be called upon to fight in the front lines of such a “civilized” coup. We learned that much when Bush’s grandfather, future US senator Prescott Bush, tried to enlist the aid of impoverished WW I veterans in his own attempted coup of the US government.

And another thing that is lost on Perry: If, in the event of a military coup that will unseat our democratically-elected president, we’d be admitting to ourselves and the world that our electoral system, the very foundation of our democracy, really doesn’t work, after all, and that the voice and will of nearly 70 million people, or over one third our population, can’t be trusted.

Congressman Patrick Kennedy, (D-RI) was quoted, ironically, by none other than the aforementioned Newsmax that the rhetoric we’ve been hearing all year, particularly this past summer, could lead to one or more assassinations.

So what other conclusion are we supposed to arrive at when Republicans such as Trent Franks call President Obama “an enemy of humanity”, and Joe Wilson calls him a “liar” on international television? Franks made his remarks last Saturday at a gathering called “Take Back America”, a conservative event whose very name is hostile and undemocratic, as if regaining a majority in Congress and control of the White House is something that has to be “taken back” by force instead of won, much the same way in which Fort Sumter was taken back by the confederacy.

So if those of you who are still employed want to start up office pools guessing where the next Fort Sumter will be, the smart money says it’ll come full circle in South Carolina. The place where civil wars, family values and educational standards go to die.

Update: Tip o' the tinfoil hat to TexasShiva at AmericaBlog for leading us to this .pdf file of the original post, courtesy of Media Matters.
Update II: It seems John L. Perry has had a throbbing, oozing hardon for Barack Obama since he first entered the US Senate. Interesting that Media Matters quotes Newsmax as reminding us that he used to work in the Carter administration and that he's now downgraded to a mere "unpaid blogger" when in fact he's been writing a regular column for Newsmax for the last decade. What Newsmax doesn't realize is that you can still step on your dick even while you're walking backwards.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Poll Position


And, to think: Earlier this month, the President was warning kids about the dangers of Facebook. Now the tables have turned.

Above is an actual screengrab courtesy of Paddy and Laffy at the Political Carnival (click on the image for a blown up version). It's a poll that was just taken down thanks to fast action by Facebook, the United States Secret Service, the Political Carnival and readers like you who'd called the Secret Service in droves.

It was an actual poll that asked, "Should Obama be Killed?" Fortunately, 90% of the respondents voted "No". But that means about 10% of them said Yes.

Gottalaff goes on to say:
The only things long and hard about these blowhards (no pun) are their mics. You get rid of those, and these chest-thumping cretins are nothing more than overgrown, uncontrollable, whiny, screeching little toddlers trying to clomp around in grown-up shoes, shoes that they'll never be able to fill. They'll never be men. They are wounded, damaged animals.

Yep, that pretty much says it all.

Except to say that, as with virtually all Republican/conservative talking points, the health care debate is fueled by racism. Health care is about racism. Immigration is absolutely about racism. The government's response to natural disasters (especially after Katrina) is about racism. State's rights, in dog whistle Republicanese, is about racism. Miscreants such as the asshole who put that death poll on his Facebook account cynically use race as a motivator then despicably won't even stand up for their virulent racism and deny it.

Even minorities use racism, such as alleged funny man-cum vicious GOP prick Paul Rodriguez who just last May told a bunch of white Republicans in between cock sucking,
We're using this race card in a positive manner, a cloak. You know everybody's welcome to this. The reason why we call it the Latino Water Coalition [is] because it gives them a pause. 'Better not attack these Latinos, we don't know.' If we call it the Caucasian Coalition, you bet they would already be attacking us. Because Caucasians, sadly to say, who is defending you? I am. You know, just to put that to rest, there's no division.

But it's all good, clean fun, pulling the race card in a positive manner, don't you know, and you liberals have no sense of humor whatsoever (which, however, doesn't explain how we're being taken to task by these selfsame organ donors for having made harmless but uncivil jokes about George W. Bush).

They're openly soliciting for Paypal donations and if this wonderful catch doesn't deserve a little cha-ching in their collection plate, I dunno what does.

Conservatism: The 5th Estate, Chapter Two (cont.)







Chapter Two
The Second Estate: The Nobility


According to Jeremy Scahill, one third of Iraq's Reconstruction Budget at one point was earmarked for security contractors such as Blackwater. Essentially co-opting a function ordinarily fulfilled by State Department security professionals, Blackwater USA (aka Blackwater Worldwide, aka Xe, aka the defendants) were handed billions in cost plus, no-bid contracts guarding State Dept. officials in Iraq. The crown jewel of this contract, guarding L. Paul “Jerry” Bremer, was as prestigious as the Secret Service’s presidential detail, in which mercenaries making at least $950 a day.

As was the case with virtually every one of the 1,100 or so contracting companies we’d fanned out across Iraq, Republicans who controlled Congress and the White House would guarantee that Blackwater would not be hampered and victimized for its countless crimes by Congressional or legal oversight.

For an indelible illustration of how untouchable Blackwater was even months after the Nisour Square massacre of September 16th, 2007 that left 17 Iraqi civilians dead, try this on for size:

Before Blackwater CEO Erik Prince’s dog and pony show testimony before Henry Waxman’s Oversight and Government Reform Committee, it was already understood by the bipartisan panel that Prince’s well-documented and iron-clad allegiance to the Republican Party not even be addressed. (Even so, during the testimony GOP Rep. Darryl Issa reminded the rest of the panel about their gentleman’s agreement, prompting his fellow California Congressman Chairman Waxman to say that no one had until Issa opened his big mouth.)

But Prince’s impressive facsimile of a testimony was good for window dressing only, to show America they were on the ball even if Blackwater and the White House never let Congress catch it. For several hours, Prince sneered and smirked at Congress as if he was one of their sons who just got pulled over by a rookie Sheriff’s deputy for speeding. He told outrageous lies about the Nisour Sq. shooting while Waxman and the OGR’s Democrats could only yip and snap at him from their short leases. Congress has neither the power to grant nor to revoke contracts, only to allocate the tax dollars and Prince knew this.

At the end of his testimony, Prince looked at Waxman and pocketed the name plate with his name on it as a souvenir, essentially telling Congress that he could take anything owned by the government and the people and there wasn’t a damned thing anyone could do about it.

Infuriatingly, Prince was right. Even after the Nisour Sq. massacre and several other wrongful death incidents, allegations from credible sources came trickling out like blood under a door about murder, gun running, pimping, using illegal ammo and directly engaging the enemy. Blackwater to this day is still getting multibillion dollar contracts to work in Iraq despite the Iraqi government kicking them out by May ’09.

George W. Bush’s silence on the whole matter in itself spoke volumes. Despite repeated requests to publicly call out Blackwater for its many war crimes, Bush refused. Instead, he’d fall back on the standard, “I won’t comment on an ongoing investigation” line without once realizing the irony that there were many investigations that focused on such crimes. The three investigations conducted by the American and Iraqi militaries as well as by the FBI (who didn’t arrive until two weeks after the massacre) all found Blackwater responsible for at least 15 of the 17 civilian deaths.

Instead, Bush extolled Blackwater’s dubious virtues and good work, essentially winking at their sociopath CEO and saying, “You’re doing a heckuva job, Princey.”

By 2005, Blackwater was able to take Uncle Sam for granted in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Within hours after the storm made landfall, Blackwater had beaten FEMA there by days. Erik Prince had redeployed his mercenaries from Iraq to New Orleans before the government could do the same with the Louisiana National Guard.

By the beginning of September, Prince’s hired killers were patrolling the water-logged streets of the French Quarter, fully automatic weapons at the ready, looking for evidence of looting and all under the guise of a humanitarian mission done pro bono. (Meanwhile, unaffected Algiers Point became a killing field for white racists who were gunning down African Americans with complete impunity.)

The free part soon became academic because Blackwater USA eventually got $73,000,000 in post-Katrina contracts while local workers charged with the cleanup almost got the Bacon Davis Act, which guarantees a fair, prevailing wage, pulled out from under them. Yet, in terms if suspicious dispatch, corruption and sheer, heartless incompetence, Blackwater’s biggest rivals were Halliburton and its former subsidiary, Kellogg, Brown and Root.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Three New Bone Bridge chapters


It was a busy weekend, with almost 10,000 words of new material written. Chapters 15, 16 and 17 are up. Some feedback would be nice for a change.

Update: I've also uploaded almost a thousand words of new material for the just-completed Chapter One, which for the sake of convenience, I've posted in all bold.
Update II: I've noticed that all my latest comments have been disappearing from this blog. Has that happened to anyone else or is that common with Blogger's comment management software? It's kind of irritating not to mention worrisome because if it isn't a Blogger issue and if only my comments are vanishing that means someone's found a way to hack their way into this place. I've changed my password just in case but if anyone could give me some insight into this, I'd sure appreciate it.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Curiouser and Curiouser


Note to federal prosecutors: If you're trying to tamper with evidence and beat to death innocent suspects of domestic terrorist bombings, make sure their brothers aren't attorneys. It tends to come back and bite us on our red, white and blue asses.

Jesse Trentadue, an attorney out of Salt Lake City, recently obtained security footage of the building surrounding the Murrah Federal Building bombed by Timothy McVeigh in 1995. But on inspection of the tapes, Trentadue made an amazing discovery. Namely, they were edited so that the van bomb parked in front of the federal building by McVeigh at 9:02 that morning wasn't visible. In fact, nothing was visible; They were blank. The tapes were culled from 4 different sources and they were all edited for content.

It's somewhat reminiscent of the 9/11 security tapes that were eventually relinquished by the Pentagon. I say "security tapes" with advisement because the so-called footage actually consisted of 4 or 5 frames of a silver projectile streaking toward the Pentagon at just above ground level, a trajectory that, for a passenger jet, would be virtually impossible given all the obstacles.

It ought to be brought up at this time that the surveillance tapes of every building, including gas stations and C stores, that had cameras trained on the Pentagon that day were immediately confiscated and have since disappeared.

Now where does Trentadue come in? His brother Kenneth, a convicted bank robber who'd been picked up on a parole violation in San Diego later that year, died in police custody. He'd been in the Oklahoma City Federal Transfer Center where he'd been beaten to death when investigators "mistook" him for a Murrah Building bombing suspect. His autopsy revealed 41 wounds and contusions.

It was officially ruled a suicide, probably by the same hack who'd done the first autopsy on LaVena Johnson.

But this isn't actually the most curious aspect of this case. Because just yesterday while doing research into psychotronics for my upcoming novel The Bone Bridge I read a very interesting article by Mark Bond on a humanities blog named News Finder. Far from being a conspiracy theory rag, News Finder's writers cite hard, documented evidence and scholarship when covering the wide rage of topics they do.

And in Bond's long but absolutely fascinating article, "Electronic Mind Control", comes this equally fascinating bit about Timothy McVeigh:
While visiting friends in Decker, Michigan, Timothy McVeigh complained that the Army had implanted him with a microchip, a miniature subcutaneous transponder, so that they could keep track of him. He complained that it left an unexplained scar on his buttocks and was painful to sit on. McVeigh was convicted of the 1995 bombing of a US Government building in Oklahoma City.

Miniaturised telemetrics have been part of an ongoing project by the military and the various intelligence agencies to test the effectiveness of tracking soldiers on the battlefield. The miniature implantable telemetric device was declassified long ago...

It is also interesting to note that the Calspan Advanced Technology Centre in Buffalo, NY (Calspan ATC), where McVeigh worked, is engaged in microscopic electronic engineering of the kind applicable to telemetrics. Calspan was founded in 1946 as Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory, which included the Fund for the Study of Human Ecology, a CIA financing conduit for mind control experiments by emigre Nazi scientists and others under the direction of CIA doctors Sidney Gottlieb, Ewen Cameron, and Louis Jolyn West.

There is nothing secret about the biotelemetry chip. Ads for commercial versions of the device have appeared in national publications. Time magazine ran an ad for an implantable pet transponder in its 26 June, 1995 issue ironically enough opposite an article about a militia leader who was warning about the coming New World Order. While monitoring animals has been an unclassified scientific pursuit for decades, the monitoring of humans has been a highly classified project that is but a subset of the Pentagon’s nonlethal arsenal...

It may be a bit of a stretch to suggest that McVeigh was an economy-sized Manchurian Candidate whose mind may have been completely controlled and even directed by electronic forces within our own government.

Still, the connection to McVeigh, the biotelemetry chip industry and the obviously tampered videotapes immediately is starkly at odds with the official narrative. Even the worst catastrophes from Pearl Harbor to the assassination of JFK to the Waco standoff to the Oklahoma City bombing to the 9/11 attacks to Hurricane Katrina still have its secrets despite their very public spectacle and powerful men who will pay anything and do anything to keep those secrets from coming out.

And the Oklahoma City Bombing is certainly no exception.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Bone Bridge- Chapter 14


(My internet connection has been wonky all day and I could barely get into my template here on blogger much less access email, comments or anything else. So I'm just going to post Chapter 14 right here while I can and hope that I can later get into the template for the Bone Bridge's dedicated blog to post it there. As always, comments, complaints, suggestions, whatever, are always welcome and appreciated. Since there was about a four and a half month layoff between the last chapter and this one, you might want to reread Chapter 13 at the other blog in order to get back up to speed.)

Chapter Fourteen

“OK, Adam, same rules apply. This better not wind up on your Facebook page. No one would believe you, anyway.”

“Sis, gimme some credit, OK?”

“Anyway, I’m fresh out of training and I get assigned to just my second case. You ever hear about Soviet experiments in the paranormal?”

“Sure. I watched every documentary about the paranormal that I could find the first time I got out of the hospital.”

“OK. So my second assignment involves safeguarding this Russian who was seeking asylum. She was a very highly-prized asset of the Soviets and their psychotronics division…”

“What’s psychotronics?”

“You’ll find out soon enough. Don’t interrupt.”

“OK, OK.”

“So she comes here ostensibly attached to a Russian delegation for a chess match taking place in New York City. But they’re not there for chess. Somehow, she slips her handlers and reaches the State Department requesting asylum. Pretty soon, Justice gets involved then, finally, the CIA.

“Now, the CIA’s position on paranormal research isn’t just an official one. They really underestimate the advances that were made by the Soviets in that field. So they handed it off to us. That’s what we do.”

“Wait a minute. You’ve only been working for the government for a few years. Didn’t the USSR, like, collapse about 20 years ago?”

“Yes but that doesn’t mean the Russians didn’t continue their research in these parascientific disciplines. It continued straight through during Gorbachev, then Yeltsin all the way down to Putin. And this woman was part of the proof why. They weren’t about to throw away all those results and discoveries when they could still be used to tip the balance of world power.

“So this woman, whose first name was Galina, approached us, asking for political asylum. She’s all freaked out about some project the Russians were working on, something having to do with remote assassinations.”

“Remote assassinations? You mean like snipers?”

“Well, no, not exactly. This woman, and our agency tested her, had the ability to affect organic matter from a great distance. All she needed was a picture and little else and by using remote viewing, she was able to home in on that person no matter where on the planet they were.

“Then she would go to work on them. We still don’t completely understand how she was able to do it or what she used to key on these people. Even she didn’t pretend to understand it. All she knew was that she could do it and how to do it. Back when she was a teenager, they placed a frog in front of her. It was tied down so it couldn’t move. They had an EKG hooked up to it so they could monitor its heartbeat. Without touching it, she concentrated on it and was able to actually slow down or speed up its heart rate. Eventually, she stopped the frog’s heart entirely. We actually saw the file footage after the Soviet Union fell and read copies of the notes that were taken.

“So she was trained to do this to people at greater and greater distances until finally they honed and somehow amplified her abilities to the point where she could actually kill someone from thousands of miles away. It required a hell of a lot of effort. It would take her hours just to track the person down. The further away they were, the more time and effort it took. Then, when she got a lock on them, she would have to rest for about half a day.”

“Suppose the person started moving again while she was resting?”

“Didn’t matter. She had a lock on them, just like a laser-guided missile locks on a moving target. She just developed some connection to them that only she could break. Anyway, she’d done a couple of remote assassinations for the Russians until she realized she couldn’t do it anymore. That was the reason they attached her to that Russian delegation. They wanted to get her in the head of the Russian dissident who was the reigning world chess champion. Remember Vasiliy Tochilkin, the Russian expatriot?”

“Uh, sounds familiar.”

“He was the guy they wanted to lose. If she killed him by bursting a blood vessel, so much the better. For political reasons, they didn’t want him beating the Russian champion. But she slipped away before the first match.”

“So we vetted her, tested her, took down all the information she knew about the Russians’ psychtronic research. She was the real deal, Adam. We brought in federal prisoners and had her tested on them and she could do to them everything she claimed she could.”

“You used human guinea pigs??”

“Adam, they were violent prisoners with no chance of rehabilitation. This was their one shot to do something positive for society.”

“Did she kill any of them?”

“No. That would’ve defeated the purpose of her defecting. But she fucked up their heart beats something fierce. Some of the inmates were complaining of PVCs or irregular heart rates months after the experiments.”

“So where do you come in?”

“My job… My job was to guard her physically, and to look for signs that someone else with her abilities couldn’t reach her psychically. As far as Galina and our agency knew, there was no one who came close to having her abilities. Still, we kept a close eye on her. Or we thought she did.”

“What happened?”

Elle sighed and looked down at her interlocked fingers.

“Someone did reach her. On my watch. Just because she was a prized asset in their psychic research and development program doesn’t mean she was privy to classified information involving other subjects any more than a lab rat knows what’s going on in the next cage. They had someone who was at least as deadly as she was.

“She…collapsed one day while we were testing her in what we thought was a safe lab. Galina was dead before she fell out of the chair. The autopsy revealed that her heart literally exploded or came undone. The ME said he’d never seen anything like it before. She died right in front of me, Adam.

“To Oliver’s credit, he didn’t blame me. He couldn’t. After all, I’m what the adepts at the agency call a gentile. How ironic is that?”

“A gentile?”

“That’s what they call those of us who don’t have paranormal abilities like telekinesis, psychic, or psychotronic powers.

“So, that was how my second assignment ended up. She’s still the only one I ever lost and while I don’t blame myself for Galina’s death, there’s still this… stubborn sense of responsibility that I can’t shake, as if I should’ve or could’ve done more.”

“Sis, you couldn’t do more.”

“I know that, Adam. But that woman died literally on my watch. It was all so… sudden.”

“So she was killed by another remote assassin?”

“Well, that’s what we thought at first. But then when we reviewed the security tape we realized that things weren’t adding up. First, when a subject is the victim of a remote assassination, there are warning signs. It doesn’t happen all at once. The subject will complain of headaches, being distracted, chest pains, whatever. With Galina, there was none of that. But she didn’t have a simple heart attack. Her heart literally exploded from inside. That just doesn’t happen in real life, Adam.”

“What did kill her?”

“We still don’t know. But she managed to get out one word: Jodl.”

“Yodel?”

“After some research, we realized that there was a Nazi doctor named Heinrich Jodl who did experiments in vivisectioning during WW II.”

“Wait a minute. Isn’t that like carving up people while they’re still alive?”

“Exactly. But Jodl committed suicide when the Russians liberated the Buchenwald concentration camp in 1945.”

“Good.”

“Well, here’s the kicker. A guy we’ve been tracking for about two years now, some East German prick named Hans Dietrich, former secret policemen, went to Buchenwald a few years ago on a ghost safari, paid for by the unified German government. There’d been reports that Jodl was still haunting the place and actually hurting tourists. After Dietrich did his thing, there were no more Jodl sightings. That was the year before Galina defected.”

“So you thing this Yodel guy did this to the Russian chick?”

“Can’t tell you. How can you prove something like that? But if that is the case, it’s pretty frightening on a couple of levels.”

“Yeah. It means you have an East German Commie who’s using ghosts to kill people for whatever Commies may be left in Russia.”

“Exactly. And that’s why we’re so interested in what happened at the Ritz Carlton in Boston on Halloween night. Several of the victims died the same way Galina did.”

“You mean…?”

Friday, September 25, 2009

Forget ACORN


Now, even your paper ballots aren't safe.

Harvey Wasserman on the Smirking Chimp delivered some horrifying news that will no doubt dredge up PTSD among those who remember the '00-'04 elections all too well.

Republican-connected ES&S has just bought up Diebold's electronic voting machine division. The United States is the only industrial country in the world in which virtually all of its voting tabulation systems are controlled by corporations inextricably tied to one political party.

The sale of Diebold's voting machine division to ES&S will hopefully be blocked by Attorney General Eric Holder on the basis of anti-trust violations but it would be a pyrrhic victory at best. As Wasserman states:
For even if Holder does void this purchase, ES&S and Diebold in tandem will still control four of every five votes cast on touchscreen machines. As the US Supreme Court seems poised to open the floodgates on corporate campaign spending, the only difference could be that those who would buy our elections will have to write two checks instead of one.

That includes optiscan and other machines that still electronically tabulate paper ballots for the few states who still use them (including Massachusetts). The implications would be catastrophic during not just the upcoming midterms but the next general election of 2012. The Republican Party could easily steal back control of both houses of Congress not to mention the White House, a ballsy move that's been supported by both the Supreme Court and lower courts that allow companies such as Diebold from revealing their proprietary source code.

With the advent of HB3 and the removal of over 1,000,000 voters (no doubt most of them Latino and African Americans) in Ohio, getting coverage from the judicial system who insist that proprietary knowledge is more important than the democratic electoral process, we could be in for some rude surprises courtesy of a Republican Party that has the audacity to make claims of voter fraud on the part of ACORN.

But, as always, the news gets worse. For Wasserman goes on to remind us,
The merged ES&S/Diebold now also controls the electronic voter registration systems in many counties and states. With that control comes the ability to remove registered voters without significant public accountability. In the 2004 election, nearly 25% of all the registered voters in the Democratic-rich city of Cleveland were purged, including 10,000 voters erased "accidentally" by a Diebold electronic pollbook system. So in addition to controlling the vote counts on touchscreen and optiscan voting machines, the merged Diebold/ES&S and sympathetic hardware and software companies that service computerized voting equipment will control who actually gets to cast a vote in the first place.

All this means is that GOP-connected ChoicePoint, the scumbag company in Alpharetta, GA that had purged over 150,000 Floridians from the voter rolls in 2000 on the dodgy claim that they were ex felons (most of them weren't) will be out of a job.

Diebold or ES&S? ChoicePoint or Diebold and ES&S? Paper or plastic? Does it make a difference? All we're seeing is one fox relieving another one at the end of his shift at the henhouse. And, like Wasserman says, only a very vocal grassroots uprising will prevent massive electoral fraud on the part of the GOP and can save the '12 elections. But with the '10 midterms coming up, it's already too late to avert what may be a massive, artificial sea change in Congress.

And I don't count on us taking to the streets in protest of the tainted results as Iran, Afghanistan and Mexico did.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Open Thread


Because Lord knows the A list blogs don't give us nearly enough of those.

I know what's going on out there but I can't bring myself to read beyond the headlines much less respond to it in a coherent fashion. My life has turned into a Rodney Dangerfield night club routine and everyone's telling me I'm largely powerless to stop the madness. I can't catch a break and I have less than zero interest in blogging. Maybe it's depression, maybe it's outrage fatigue, maybe it's being driven to distraction, maybe it's everything.

So tell me what else is going on out there or what's going on in your lives and don't forget the links. I'll be poking in once in a while.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

(Sniff) And What About the Executives?


Give generously. Forever and ever.

Open Letter to the Dying


What follows below is part of the text of what was originally a private email to a friend of mine in the UK who's dying of a brain tumor. He's a sweet boy, a college-educated John Ruskin scholar who somehow had become one of my erstwhile readers when he has the strength to read my often manic, semi-hysterical polemics.

Then it occurred to me that many of the things I was saying to him should have also been said to those who've made my life the most miserable. So, with my friend's permission, I've decided to turn this screed into an open letter so several other people who used to be loved ones know my state of mind and so you the readers at work and home know something about what's been going on behind the hilarious and fun-filled scenes here at Pottersville.

I knew that the letter I actually wanted to directly write my ex would surely result in yet another trip to the police dept, during which she just as surely would've disingenuously claimed fear of her life. Who knows, she might even succeed in getting the same hack jurist who phoned it in last time to phone another restraining order in. Maybe that one would stick. Either way, it never ceases to amaze me to what degrees our local criminal justice system and constabulary will go to feed this obviously insane woman's unfounded and undocumented delusions.

So I'm counting on her ongoing stalking of my online activities and that of her associates to get wind of this. And let the chips fall where they may. This is still America, this is still my place and I refuse to suffer in silence, anymore. This ongoing situation is eating away at my soul like the cancer eating away at my English friend. It's affecting my relationship with my new g/f, I lost my last real world friend when I told her I was sick and tired of her taking that harpy's side time and again and, as always, my few remaining friends and Pottersville are my only outlets.



D****:

I'm so sorry that things are sliding downhill for your family. I've been thinking about you every day and worrying every day, of course, that I don't hear from you. My life's taken some horrible turns since last winter but nothing to compare with yours. Sometimes, we all need to hear real horror stories so we can get some much-needed perspective and to realign and reappraise how persecuted we truly are in the universe.

Yet, that said, the presumption of guilt until innocence is proven turns on its head something we got from you chaps called the Magna Carta, something that became a quaint notion under the Bush regime. Her restraining order got overturned about 15 hours after she took it out when the judge found no merit to her claim of being in danger of her life. She acted like a bawling idiot when the judge made his ruling. The judge whom the police dept. called the night before literally phoned it in without learning anything about my own past (which contains no history whatsoever of domestic or any other type of violence). His signature wasn't even on the restraining order.

Then, later that day, undeterred, she goes out and gets a No Trespassing order barring me from going to her house. It's like a restraining order except that, unlike the previous order, there's no chance for appeal, no evidence is needed to justify a barring from the premises and it remains, I'm told, in effect in perpetuity (restraining orders have to be renewed once a year). If I go on her property, I can still get arrested.

And she's doing this for no reason other than keeping me from her grandson, something she's been piously telling me she's not doing nor will ever do. It utterly doesn't faze her how much he loves me (The day before she got the restraining order, she likened me to the neighbor's dog, downplaying his feelings for me). She's become so sick, twisted and ugly for some unaccountable reason that she and everyone else is willing to take the love, joy and happiness that that little boy derives from spending time with me.

Yet the self-centered, right wing, two-timing, racist psychopath who began dating my 17 y/o step daughter as a 21 y/o man gets a marriage license and marries into that same family while I got a restraining and No Trespass order as if I'm the dangerous one, as if I was the one stalking around that house threatening with violence anyone who even looked at me cross-eyed, as if I cheated on her with two women and then went after a third that didn't even exist. If I live to be a million, D**** boy, I will never, ever be able to wrap my fucking mind around that.

Anyway, keep me in your thoughts as much as your distracted mind will allow. You know I love you and worry about you.

Robert

Monday, September 21, 2009

Reasons Why the Republican Party is Optimistic About 2010


#1.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Assclowns of the Week #77: …And Justice For Once edition







Heigh ho, neighborinos, and welcome to a very special 77th edition of Assclowns of the Week. And why is this one so O, so very special? Well, let’s just say that for years, your old porcine powerhouse has been feeling kind of blue these past four and a half years having to write about Republican and Democratic assclowns giving facials to the collective face of America with complete impunity.

Well, no more. The tide is turning. So, in a belated nod to Constitution Day, this edition is targeting people such as Joe Wilson (6), Orly Taitz (5), Fox “News” (4) and Gale Norton (10) getting their just desserts or about to as the true vox populi, the voice of reason, is finally clearing its throat and saying Shut the Fuck Up.

So as our hearts are uplifted with the aroma of long-delayed justice, let’s all let the wing also lift our winds, as George W. Bush would say, and also shit on this week’s top ten assclowns and much, much more!

10) Former Interior Secretary Gale Norton


Norton? Norton?! Where the fuck are my oil shale leases?

In a very encouraging development, former Interior Secretary Gale Norton is now the focus of a Justice Department corruption probe. The DOJ’s investigation more than suggests that Norton, while head of the Dept. of the Interior, steered shale acquisition rights to a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell PLC.

Within months, Norton quit her job at the Interior and went to work as a legal counsel for… Royal Dutch Shell PLC. No, no conflict of interest there. Strictly coincidence, as usual, folks, that Norton was more interested in the interior of one of the five largest oil companies on the planet because there are Republicans involved. Well, Attorney General Eric Holder disagrees. The investigation, hopefully the first of many, marks the first time a high ranking official of the Bush administration has been the focus of a federal investigation.

Instead of kowtowing to Shell, Norton, instead, would’ve been better off investigating the Caligula-like antics going on at the MMS office at the Interior Department during her tenure.

9) Teabaggers
























Teabaggers? Racist? Oh, heavens to Betsy, no!

8) Barack Obama, Harry Reid and Arlen Specter


”By the way, Mr. President, thanks for writing that note to Senator Reid for me.”

Well, isn’t that nice? President Barack Obama last Tuesday attended a fundraiser for Senator Arlen Specter’s re-election campaign and helped him raise $2.5 million. The fundraiser for the new Democrat, which took place on September 15th, featured… Waitaminnit. Wasn’t September 15th on a… lemme check my calendar. Gee, that was on a Tuesday. Why, O why was Arlen Specter in Philadelphia on Tuesday afternoon when he should’ve been on Capitol Hill doing his job?

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review explains why:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid performed some disgraceful maneuvering to provide Sen. Arlen Specter with political cover so he could attend a campaign event.

Reid, D-Nev., announced that the Senate would hold no votes after 3 p.m. on Sept. 15. The reason? So that Specter wouldn't miss voting on any legislation while he was holding a fundraiser in Philadelphia attended by President Barack Obama.
The move was intended to shield Specter from allegations of hypocrisy. Specter has hammered U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Delaware County, for missing a handful of House votes.

Said Sestak: "Can Arlen Specter -- or anyone in this fundraiser -- explain why it's OK to hold up the entire U.S. Senate to benefit his political campaign, but it's -- in Arlen's words -- a 'court-marital offense' for missing a few primarily procedural votes"?

The answer, unsurprisingly, was no.

Bottom line: Harry lets Arlen play hookie so he can vacuum up legalized bribes. President leaves Arlen’s opponent Rep. Joe Sestak to twist in the wind because he wants to keep “Democratic” insiders in the Senate and, lastly, Harry shows himself for the hypocrite that he’s always been after making a fuss about John McCain not voting in the Senate during his own race.

7) The Hyatt Hotels


Leave it up to a corporation to say with a straight face, “Times are tough so to protect ourselves from extinction, we’re going to lay off 100 of our lowest-paid employees and further weaken the local economy. But, hey, better them than us.”

The Hyatt Regency Boston, Hyatt Regency Cambridge, and Hyatt Harborside Hotels here in Massachusetts just did something classy: Firing 100 housekeepers and replacing them with people from a Georgia-based staffing agency, Hospitality Staffing Solutions… after lying to them and telling them they’d merely be replacing them when they go on vacation. The Hyatt employees were getting paid little as it was. The move is designed to not so much shore up but fatten up Hyatt’s bottom line because the new employees will be getting paid $8 an hour (minimum wage here in MA) and no benefits whatsoever.

This isn’t the first time the Hyatt chain has shown itself to be the scum of the earth that they are: In January 2006, their executives tried to force these same housekeepers to clean 30 rooms per eight hour day instead of their usual 16-17. MA Gov. Deval Patrick, along with several Congressmen and state senators, have been making a big stink about this. Fortunately, the media are covering it as well as A list blogs such as AmericaBlog. Let’s keep the pressure on these scumbags and help these people get their jobs back.

6) Joe Wilson and Democrats


Alright, so Joe Wilson became only the second congressman to be rebuked by Congress this decade. What we’re talking about, essentially, is the House saying, “Bad Congressman, bad! No Freedom Fries!” Sure, Wilson deserves to make a second consecutive spot on this list for thinking that a private phone call to his old colleague Rahm Emmanuel would pass for an apology for insulting the President and refusing to do so on the House floor so we could all hear it.

Yet Democrats starting with Obama and Emmanuel all the way down to Nancy Pelosi and Barney Frank also deserve the spotlight because these were the very same people who, once upon a time, refused to censure let alone impeach Bush and Cheney. “Oh, let’s not look back in anger,” they said, “but forward with hope and optimism.” Then a year later, these same Democrats busted their spineless backs to get Barack Obama elected on a platform of hope and optimism.

Then the white House blew their first big chance to support their man in the other White House when a cracker racist like Joe Wilson violated House rules by interrupting the President’s speech on health care. Now the endless loop is starting over again and this is what we’re hearing after they left the President out to dry: “Oh, let’s not look back in anger but forward with hope and optimism.” Because maintaining the delusion of bipartisanship and civility in a pit bull sport like politics is easier than actually observing much less enforcing the rule of law that they themselves write.

5) Orly Taitz


Foot of Clay Lands on birther with feet of clay. Film @ 11.

It’s one thing when astroturfers willingly become unpaid shills for a health care racket that’s been rear-ending them for years. It’s another thing entirely when cowardly birthers seek out other birthers to represent them in court to dodge a draft that doesn’t even exist.

Capt. Connie Rhodes is a surgeon who refused to ship out to Iraq on account of her belief that Barack Obama is not the lawful President. So it only follows that she’d hire the dubious services of one Orly Taitz, the Queen of the Birthers. Judge Clay Land, the federal jurist who presided over Taitz’s suit had had enough and threatened to impose sanctions on Taitz the Tooth Fairy for bringing such frivolous lawsuits into his court.

A real attorney, one who didn’t prepare for the bar exam by reading Perry Mason novels, would say “Thank you, your honor” and slink away but not Taitz. Instead, she filed a belligerent motion that read,
(T)here is increasing evidence that the United States District Courts in the 11th Circuit are subject to political pressure, external control, and, mostly (sic) likely, subservience to the same illegitimate chain of command which Plaintiff has previously protested in this case, except that the de facto President is not even nominally the Commander-in-Chief of the Article III Judiciary.

In other words, You’re out of order, the White House is out of order, your president is illegitimate and you better change your mind.

Judge Land didn’t see it her way and put his foot down, giving Taitz 14 days to show the court why he shouldn’t bitchslap her with a $10,000 fine. No word, yet, on whether Taitz has heard of the real political pressure put on the Justice Department and the fact that, if Barack Obama is a fake, then George W. Bush is even less legitimate. Plus, Conscientious Objectors, when filing their own suits to avoid deployment in Iraq for legitimate reasons, never once called George W. Bush illegitimate, although they could have. But then again, they had real lawyers who would’ve advised them against doing so.

Perhaps Taitz ought to stick to cleaning other peoples’ teeth and avoid federal judges for a while.

4) Fox “News” and The Washington Post



CNN’s Rick Sanchez is my new hero. Why is Rick Sanchez my new hero? Because all month last August, we could see Sanchez winding up when reporting on stories about disrupted town halls and people bringing guns to Obama speeches on health care. Then finally, Sanchez let loose and hit one out of the park.

It seems Sanchez, for some reason, had a problem with Fox taking out a full page ad in the Washington Post, reputedly also a news organization that should’ve known better, claiming that CNN and all the other networks never covered the tea baggery in Washington, DC on the 12th. In fact, Fox spent good money crowing that they were in fact the only one to cover the demonstration.

However, the fact is they weren’t. ABC covered it, giving us more realistic attendance numbers than Fox shills such as Michelle Malkin were offering. Another fact: CNN, Sanchez’s network, also covered it. Extensively. With four correspondents. And Fox’s Bill O’Reilly even said so. And the kicker? In using the high altitude shot in the full page ad, they were unknowingly using a screengrab from CNN’s customary pole camera.

Rick Sanchez became that all-too-rare news anchor besides Keith Olbermann to call Fox for what it truly is: A factual quadriplegic, the bastard spawn of Winston Smith and Goebbells. Now, if only we can get the other news anchors at CBS, ABC and NBC onboard and to similarly put Fox in the news for being stupid enough to become the news through partisan and corporate cheerleading.

3) Max Baucus


The new Max Baucus Love Doll, now with 25% more orifices! Order your’s now!

I suppose we should have the Republican Party to thank for showing up Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus as the non-polymer love doll for the health care racket that he actually is. When Baucus finally unveiled his “health care” bill, it was greeted with a universal loathing that we haven’t seen since Bush’s proposal for immigration reform. Why Baucus was allowed to take fixed point on this bill when there were four other committees in Congress that still had to weigh in is anyone’s guess.

The usually-reliable Ezra Klein hasn’t exactly fallen in love with the raucous Baucus bill and it’s obvious why: It’s a treasure trove for the health care industry that’s been so good to his campaigns (specifically 3,900,000 times over the last two decades) while tossing a bauble or two our way. Small wonder that senior Democratic senators such as Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) are dead-set against it.

But Republicans have themselves to partly to blame for the co-opted piece of shit the Baucus bill is. The bill, despite Baucus’ “courageous” show of partisanship by freezing out Republicans at the last minute, is a morass of compromises to mollify the GOP and his employers in the health care racket. Small wonder the Republicans hardly raised a whisper about being left out when the bill was unveiled last week.

2) Troy Dale West and Cousin



Aw, now, ain’t that a shame? And just ‘cuz Mr. West defended hisself ‘gainst a colored woman getting’ all uppity an’ all, now he’s banned from Cracker Barrel for the rest of his life, which is redneck Purgatory. Thank the good Lord there’s still Denny’s.

However, what Sanchez and CNN didn’t show us was the unedited footage of our Georgia Peach on the swing:


See now, them there Cracker Barrel crackers ain’t all bad.

Now, can we all agree to refight the War of Secession and to let them win this time?

1) Republicans


Salon.com’s Joe Conason finally laid out the GOP for their hypocrisy and idiotic shrillness in their jihad against ACORN. Apparently, Joe had had enough with Republican operatives entrapping ACORN activists by illegally taping them giving advice about getting housing subsidies for brothels. They also swallowed hook, line and sinker a shaggy dog story told to them by an ACORN employee who claimed to have murdered her ex-husband (and trumpeted by Fox as fact after Andrew “Not So” Breitbart posted the video. I guess they couldn’t wait for Drudge to weigh in.) and he gave these wingnuts a jolly rogering.

The Republican Monica-esque hysteria over ACORN has reached such proportions that LA Gov. Bobby “The Exorcist” Jindal and MN Gov. Tim Pawlenty ordered that their funding be cut off … despite the fact that ACORN gets no funding from either Louisiana or Minnesota. Despite this, the Louisiana Republican Party still has not taken down its online press release crowing about Jindal’s “coup.”

These aren’t just isolated peaks of stupidity. This is a nationwide Republican effort to defund ACORN that actually started in Congress. House Nutters pulled together the GOP ACORN Rapid Response Committee, or Grand Old Party Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now Rapid Response Committee (I know, but they’re still working on the name). John “Weepy” Boner even called on Nancy Pelosi to call a vote to pull federal dollars out from under ACORN’s feet.



Of course, unhinged lunatics such as Michelle Malkin have been trying to tie Obama to ACORN since the election, even going as far as to smear the organization for working to protect lower income families from foreclosure. True, the GOP could take some sincere steps toward winning ACORN’s beneficiaries to their side by making itself a party worth voting for instead of trying to hamper ACORN’s efforts to register these two million largely minority people to vote. But that would be too hard. And it’s much easier to just be racist touchholes about it.

It’s a sad change of heart, really, considering that not too long ago Republicans and ACORN used to be bestest buddies.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Why Rush Limbaugh Ought to be Ganged-Raped by a Herd of Viagra-Engorged Male African Black & White Elephants That Arrive on Integrated Buses, Part One


Exhibit A.


Exhibit B.

So how come El Rushbo, the nemesis of melatonin, isn't talking about this, an act of overt, virulent racism that was so extreme the FBI has to investigate it as a hate crime?

Feel free to consider this Exhibit C.

A Blast From the Past


Nine years ago, Phillip Seymour Hoffman filmed a documentary about the 2000 presidential election. Called "The Party's Over", watching it with the benefit of hindsight, seeing what's happened over the last eight years, gives it an extra fillip. With the help of luminaries such as Michael Moore, Willie Nelson, Noam Chomsky, Susan Sarandon, Bill Maher, Scott Weiland, Eddie Vetter and others, we see that many of the hot button issues that were being discussed nine years ago have still remained unresolved and are still not being resolved even with the Obama administration.

The feeling one gets is that it doesn't matter which party comes to power. The only difference is, as Ralph Nader said, is the velocity with which their knees drop to the floor when lobbyists comes knocking on their office doors.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Mad Man of the Year


If Time’s David von Drehl had his way, he’d have us believe that all Glenn Beck is is a harmless entertainer on a par with Michael Steele’s dismissive appraisal of Rush Limbaugh, some polemical magnet who draws out the sweaty liberal kooks with their mimeographed paranoid conspiracy theories as well as the madding crowd of passionate conservative activists who unconditionally love him. Von Drehl doesn’t actually avail himself of the bromide but his obvious intention is to lead us to the conclusion that, between both the haters and lovers of Glenn Beck, the truth is to be found somewhere in the middle.

Admittedly, under normal circumstances, when dealing with fairly normal subjects, that’s exactly where the truth usually resides. And it’s a very safe position to take when dealing with (what do they euphemistically call people like Glenn Beck? Ah, yes, an “iconoclast”) controversial subject matter. Unfortunately for von Drehl, and even more unfortunately for his readers, there’s absolutely nothing normal whatsoever about Glenn Beck or the effect he has on self-styled conservatives.

Indeed, if you could get a pictorial image of what goes on in the mind of Glenn Beck a la The Cell, you would likely get a restless, howling panorama of a Hieronymus Bosch/Salvador Dali painting come to life. Indeed, the same could be said for other fellow conservative “iconoclasts” such as Ann Coulter, who in April 2005 had benefited from the same kid gloves treatment as Beck, courtesy of John Cloud.

The first paragraph set off warning bells in my head:
On Sept. 12, a large crowd gathered in Washington to protest ... what? The goals of Congress and the Obama Administration, mainly — the cost, the scale, the perceived leftist intent. The crowd's agenda was wide-ranging, so it's hard to be more specific. "End the Fed," a sign read. A schoolboy's placard denounced "Obama's Nazi Youth Militia." Another poster declared, "We the People for Capitalism Not Socialism." If you get your information from liberal sources, the crowd numbered about 70,000, many of them greedy racists. If you get your information from conservative sources, the crowd was hundreds of thousands strong, perhaps as many as a million, and the tenor was peaceful and patriotic. Either way, you may not be inclined to believe what we say about numbers, according to a recent poll that found record-low levels of public trust of the mainstream media.

Note here how von Drehl is quick to use the tactic of last Saturday’s actual numbers as being somewhere in the middle. Liberals are deliberately downplaying the number to undermine Beck’s spectacular success while conservatives may have been a little guilty of padding the numbers a bit. In truth, it wasn’t liberals who’d arbitrarily chosen the number at 70,000 (firefighters in DC had said that 30,000 was “a bit generous”) but virtually every mainstream media outlet, including Beck’s own network. Also, the likes of Michelle Malkin weren’t saying the crowd was a mere million but bloating their estimate to 2,000,000, citing as evidence deliberately misleading pictures that were taken years ago of a Promise Keeper's march on DC.

Undeterred by facts or any appreciable proportion of what’s true and actual, von Drehl offers up what seems to be a representative of Beck’s camp: A portrait of a cheerful, church-going, economically hard-hit Alabaman who is legitimately concerned about the health care debate. She and her congregation even held up signs saying "We ♥ G-l-e-n-n B-e-c-k." All that's missing are the brownies and hot chocolate served on doilies.

Then von Drehl says in the next paragraph, “Between the liberal fantasies about Brownshirts at town halls and the conservative concoctions of brainwashed children goose-stepping to school, you'd think the Palm in Washington had been replaced with a Munich beer hall.” Uh huh.

And I suppose we were imagining things when astroturfers beat up SEIU members during a St. Louis town hall or when gun enthusiasts were kept under close surveillance by the Secret Service at Obama town halls in New Hampshire and Arizona. I suppose we were all just being needlessly paranoid when Rev. Steven Anderson said repeatedly from his pulpit and on the radio that he wanted President Obama to die. I suppose we all jumped the gun a bit when Democratic congressmen were tarred, feathered and hung in effigy and when town halls presided over by these same Democratic lawmakers were disrupted time and again by incoherent screaming.

Von Drehl then offers this appraisal of Beck as if he's some kind of prognosticating, benign Rasputin:
No one has a better feeling for this mood, and no one exploits it as well, as Beck. He is the hottest thing in the political-rant racket, left or right. A gifted entrepreneur of angst in a white-hot market. A man with his ear uniquely tuned to the precise frequency at which anger, suspicion and the fear that no one's listening all converge. On that frequency, Frankowski explained, "the thing I hear most is, People are scared."

The problem with this is that Glenn Beck doesn't represent the vox populi anymore than did Cindy Sheehan for the progressive movement. To present Glenn Beck as some infinitely perspicacious social observer who has his finger squarely on the pulse of what's ailing America and who can sound the warning bells in time is, frankly, potentially dangerous. It's reckless, irresponsible and dangerous because it would give Beck and his army of screaming zombies the impression that something evil is truly afoot.

In the next section, "Fears of a Clown", von Drehl states,
Beck is 45, tireless, funny, self-deprecating, a recovering alcoholic, a convert to Mormonism, a libertarian and living with ADHD. He is a gifted storyteller with a knack for stitching seemingly unrelated data points into possible conspiracies — if he believed in conspiracies, which he doesn't, necessarily; he's just asking questions. He's just sayin'.

Again, von Drehl is feeding the delusion of Beck's and that of his audience that he can "(stitch) seemingly unrelated data points into possible conspiracies" with the genius of a John Nash breaking secret codes hidden in plain sight. Except that, his prodigious mathematical skills notwithstanding, John Nash was almost completely insane. And like Nash, Beck actually believes in the conspiracies he weaves out of gossamer. Anyone who saw his breathless performance seeing Communist iconography in the bad reliefs of Rockefeller Center and NBC headquarters saw not a man calmly proposing a valid theory but a sweaty man with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder breezing his way with breakneck speed through a conspiracy theory that was almost as insane as he is.

Indeed, "(I)t is Beck — nervous, beset, desperate — who now channels the mood of many on the right." Von Drehl obvious never entertained the thought that perhaps Beck doesn't channel a national mood as much as he's creating it just as Hitler didn't merely "channel" German nationalism. The paranoia on the downtrodden right may be a pre-existing condition but it's Beck who's largely responsible with rubbish about death panels, killing grandma, Obama's birth certificate and Communist (Communist?!) bas reliefs on public buildings. These are not the musings of a sane man.

And Glenn Beck is indeed insane to even the most casual yet impartial observer. If you cry on national TV more than John Boehner and if you're wrong more often on as many issues as Jerome Corsi, Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Dick Morris and Bill Kristol combined, you have serious issues, period.

Later, von Drehl asks, "What's this rich and talented man afraid of? He is afraid of one-world government." Let's just leave aside for the moment that Glenn Beck is talented at anything besides breathing and defecating and go for the author's implication that Beck's fears of a one world government are legitimate. The notion of one world government, especially one run by Jewish bankers and papists, has been a rallying call and a favored conspiracy theory of right wing activists ranging from the KKK, neonazi white supremacists to militia groups to nativists who'd devoted their entire lives to kicking out the Japanese, the Chinese and other ethnicities. The one world government/New World Order has been a favorite conspiracy theory of every right wing lunatic fringe outfit in the last 80 or so years and if von Drehl would read David Neiwert's The Eliminationists or any other book that dealt even tangentially on the subject, then perhaps he wouldn't be holding up Beck's paranoid ravings about it as legitimate and justified fears.

"He is afraid that Obama 'has a deep-seated hatred for white people' — which doesn't mean, he hastens to add, that he actually thinks 'Obama doesn't like white people.'"

Yes, von Drehl writes this apparently with a straight face without once calling attention to Beck's reversal of himself mere seconds after saying that Obama had "a deep-seated hatred for white people."

There's a lot of things that Beck has said over the years that von Drehl blithely likes to pretend Beck never said, such as Beck saying, "It took me about a year to start hating the 911 victims' families." (Later in the clip, he also famously referred to the Louisiana victims of Hurricane Katrina as "scumbags.")

So what does von Drehl choose to remember? Not Glenn Beck calling hurricane flood victims "scumbags" or hating 911 victims' families but this inspirational moment:
On the recent anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Beck grew afraid that Americans may no longer be the sort of people who cross mountain ranges in covered wagons and toss hot rivets around in bold bursts of skyscraper-building. Tears came to his eyes (they often do) as he voiced this last fear. But then he remembered that the fiber of ordinary Americans is the one thing Glenn Beck need never fear. So he squared his quivering chin to the camera and held up a snapshot of ground zero, still empty eight long years after the World Trade Center was destroyed.

Poor Glenn Beck, lower lip trembling, tears standing in his beautiful blue, far-seeing eyes, pining away for a better and past America and fearing that we are no longer that country.

In fact, Beck went on to say during the aforementioned segment:
I believe that if it were up to you or me, just regular schmoes in America, the Freedom Tower would have been done years ago. And it wouldn't have been the Freedom Tower; it would have been the Freedom Towers — because we would've built both of these towers back the way they were before! Except we would've built them stronger! We would've built them in a way that they would've resisted attack. And you know what? My guess is they would've been 25 stories taller, with a big, fat 'Come and Try That Again' sign on top.

In other words, "Bring 'em on, especially since I didn't have to build it, pay for it or lose anyone in it."

Space and respect for my sanity forbids me from writing any further but I will say that von Drehl, predictably, makes the inevitable Howard Beale/Glenn Beck connection without once stumbling across the irony that Howard Beale, insane as he was, nonetheless told the unvarnished truth about ourselves.

In summation, David von Drehl's article is horribly-written, completely bereft of irony and admits absolutely no respect for the truth or of the opinions of liberals and progressives (because they are liberals and progressives, i.e. partisans who automatically cannot be trusted) who see Beck for what he is: Glenn Beck is not Howard Beale, but the very antithesis of him.

David von Drehl is a worthless hack and a borderline partisan hack at that, someone who should not be allowed to write eye exam charts or even spray paint directions on the street for city workers, a hack who makes the hiring of fellow Time scribbler Joe Klein look rational and pragmatic by dint of conspicuous relief.

All Time Classics

  • Our Worse Half: The 25 Most Embarrassing States.
  • The Missing Security Tapes From the World Trade Center.
  • It's a Blunderful Life.
  • The Civil War II
  • Sweet Jesus, I Hate America
  • Top Ten Conservative Books
  • I Am Mr. Ed
  • Glenn Beck: Racist, Hate Monger, Comedian
  • The Ten Worst Music Videos of all Time
  • Assclowns of the Week

  • Links to the first 33 Assclowns of the Week.
  • Links to Assclowns of the Week 38-63.
  • #99: Dr. Strangehate edition
  • #98: Get Bentghazi edition
  • #97: SNAPping Your Fingers at the Poor edition
  • #96: Treat or Treat, Kiss My Ass edition
  • #95: Monumental Stupidity double-sized edition
  • #94: House of 'Tards edition
  • #93: You Da Bomb! edition.
  • #92: Akin to a Fool edition.
  • #91: Aurora Moronealis edition.
  • #90: Keep Your Gubmint Hands Off My High Pre'mums and Deductibles! edition.
  • #89: Occupy the Catbird Seat/Thanksgiving edition.
  • #88: Heil Hitler edition.
  • #87: Let Sleeping Elephants Lie edition.
  • #86: the Maniacs edition.
  • #85: The Top 50 Assclowns of 2010 edition.
  • #(19)84: Midterm Madness edition.
  • #83: Spill, Baby, Spill! edition.
  • #82: Leave Corporations Alone, They’re People! edition.
  • #81: Hatin' on Haiti edition.
  • #80: Don't Get Your Panties in a Twist edition.
  • #79: Top 50 Assclowns of 2009 edition.
  • #78: Nattering Nabobs of Negativism edition.
  • #77: ...And Justice For Once edition.
  • #76: Reading Tea Leaves/Labor Day edition.
  • #75: Diamond Jubilee/Inaugural Edition
  • #74: Dropping the Crystal Ball Edition
  • #73: The Twelve Assclowns of Christmas Edition
  • #72: Trick or Treat Election Day Edition
  • #71: Grand Theft Autocrats Edition
  • #70: Soulless Corporations and the Politicians Who Love Them Edition
  • Top 10 Secret Service Security Breaches
  • Top 10 LA Radio Shows That Are Rated Higher Than Rush Limbaugh's
  • Top 10 Reasons Operation American Spring Went Flat
  • Top Ten Facts of the MH370 Air Disaster
  • Top 10 Tips for GOP Congressmen Running Against Women
  • Top 10 Signs Walmart's Mistreating its Workers
  • Top 10 Diversions John McCain Found During Syria Hearing
  • Top 10 George Zimmerman Excuses for Speeding.
  • Top 10 Reasons Paula Deen Got Fired by the Food Network
  • Top Ten Ways Pope Francis is Deviating From Convention
  • Top 10 Reasons For the Pope's Resignation
  • Top 10 Emails Hacked From the Bush Family's Email Accounts
  • Top 10 Lies Told by Mitt Romney at the 2nd Debate.
  • Top 10 Examples of How Hard the Campaign Trail is on Ann D. Romney.
  • Top 10 Ways to Tell The Boston Red Sox Are Finished.
  • Top 10 Things Mitt May be Hiding in His Tax Returns.
  • Top 10 Events at the Romney Olympics.
  • Mitt Romney's Top 10 Wild & Crazy Moments.
  • Top Ten Reasons Why Dick Cheney Got a Heart Transplant.
  • Top 10 Facts About Tonight's New England/Denver Game.
  • My Top 10 Resolutions.
  • Top 10 Rejected Slogans of the Romney Campaign.
  • Top 10 Reasons Herman Cain Suspended His Campaign.
  • Top 10 Trending Topics on Twitter During #OWS Eviction.
  • Top 10 Herman Cain Pickup Lines.
  • Top 10 Changes Since Anthony Weiner Decided to Resign.
  • Top 10 Inaccuracies re bin Laden's Death.
  • Top 10 Ways to Prevent a TSA Patdown.
  • Top Ten Things Not to Say When You're Pulled Over.
  • Top 10 Reasons Why Donald Trump Bowed Out of the Presidential Race.
  • Top 10 Ways Evangelicals Will Prepare for the Rapture II.
  • Top 10 Revelations in Today's Parliament Inquiry into News Corp.
  • Top 10 Reasons Why There Was No Vote on the Debt Ceiling Last Night.
  • Top 10 Revelations in Dick Cheney's Upcoming Memoir.
  • Top Ten Ways Americans Will Observe the 10th Anniversary of 9/11.
  • Top Ten Advances in Women's Rights in Saudi Arabia.
  • Top Ten Inaccuracies in Bill O'Reilly's Book About Lincoln.
  • Top Ten Suggestions From the Cat Food Commission.
  • Top Ten Worst Moments in George W. Bush's Presidency.
  • Top Ten Facts in George W. Bush's Memoir.
  • Top Ten Reasons Terry Jones Postponed His Koran Burning
  • Top 10 Causes for Dick Cheney's Congestive Heart Failure
  • Top Ten Ways That Jan Brewer Will Celebrate Cinco de Mayo
  • Top Ten Demands in Sarah Palin's Contract
  • Top Ten Whoppers in Karl Rove's New Book
  • Top 10 Items Left Behind in Rush Limbaugh's Apartment
  • Top Ten Things Barack Obama said to Rush Limbaugh in the Hospital
  • Top Ten Bizarre Promos Offered by the New Jersey Nets
  • Top 10 Bush Executive Orders Labor Wants President Obama to Repeal
  • George W. Bush's Top Ten Lesser Achievements
  • Boolean Bozoism

  • #19
  • #18
  • #17
  • #16
  • #15
  • #14
  • #13
  • #11
  • #10
  • Empire Of The Senseless.
  • Christwire.org: Conservative Values for an Unsaved World.
  • Esquire's Charles Pierce.
  • Brilliant @ Breakfast.
  • The Burning Platform.
  • The Rant.
  • Mock, Paper, Scissors.
  • James Petras.
  • Towle Road.
  • Avedon's Sideshow (the new site).
  • At Largely, Larisa Alexandrovna's place.
  • The Daily Howler.
  • The DCist.
  • Greg Palast.
  • Jon Swift. RIP, Al.
  • God is For Suckers.
  • Hullabaloo, Digby's place.
  • The Rude Pundit.
  • Driftglass.
  • Newshounds.
  • William Grigg, a great find.
  • Brad Blog.
  • Down With Tyranny!, Howie Klein's blog.
  • Wayne's World. Party time! Excellent!
  • Busted Knuckles, aka Ornery Bastard.
  • Mills River Progressive.
  • Right Wing Watch.
  • Earthbond Misfit.
  • Anosognosia.
  • Echidne of the Snakes.
  • They Gave Us a Republic.
  • The Gawker.
  • Outtake Online, Emmy-winner Charlotte Robinson's site.
  • The artist formerly known as Politits. The politics are still liberal.
  • Skippy, the Bush Kangaroo
  • No More Mr. Nice Blog.
  • Head On Radio Network, Bob Kincaid.
  • Spocko's Brain.
  • Pandagon.
  • Slackivist.
  • WTF Is It Now?
  • No Blood For Hubris.
  • Lydia Cornell, a very smart and accomplished lady.
  • Roger Ailes (the good one.)
  • BlondeSense.
  • The Smirking Chimp.
  • Hammer of the Blogs.
  • Vast Left Wing Conspiracy.
  • Argville.
  • Existentialist Cowboy.
  • The Progressive.
  • The Nation.
  • Mother Jones.
  • Vanity Fair.
  • Salon.com.
  • Raw Story.
  • Citizens For Legitimate Government.
  • News Finder.
  • Indy Media Center.
  • Lexis News.
  • Military Religious Freedom.
  • McClatchy Newspapers.
  • The New Yorker.
  • Bloggingheads TV, political vlogging.
  • Find Articles.com, the next-best thing to Nexis.
  • Altweeklies, for the news you won't get just anywhere.
  • The Smirking Chimp
  • Don Emmerich's Peace Blog
  • Wikileaks.
  • The Peoples' Voice.
  • Dictionary.com.
  • CIA World Fact Book.
  • IP address locator.
  • Tom Tomorrow's hilarious strip.
  • Babelfish, an instant, online translator. I love to translate Ann Coulter's site into German.
  • Newsmeat: Find out who's donating to whom.
  • Wikipedia.
  • Uncyclopedia.
  • anysoldier.com
  • Icasualties
  • Free Press
  • YouTube
  • The Bone Bridge.
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