Thursday, October 31, 2013

McHammered


     Here's a suggestion to Adam Ozimek of Forbes: When trying to make your case, never quote a much better article by a much better columnist.
     Case in point: Ozzie's article entitled, "The Liberal War on Food Stamps." Obviously, this is a title that is designed to be provocative by going for the most ironic sentence and one wrenched 180 degrees from its polar opposite (that would be the truth). This pro-corporate fuckstick immediately goes for the jugular by writing,
I can’t remember a more misguided attempt at attacking corporations than the move to frame food stamps as corporate welfare. Clearly liberals clinging to this think they have found a new clever argument for the minimum wage, but instead all they’re doing is making food stamps look bad.
     Really, now? And how are we doing that? This is where he makes his first major mistake, by quoting an obvious truism about corporate welfare from The Guardian:
Perhaps I’m being unreasonable, but it seems to me that when Republicans are so vocal about how much they hate government programs like SNAP benefits (aka food stamps) and Medicaid and indeed anything that makes life a little more feasible for low-income or no-income Americans, they should surely be able to work up a small sweat at such a blatant example of the system being gamed. Just last month congressional Republicans voted unanimously to cut $39bn from the food stamp program, and I surely don’t have to waste words here outlining their opposition to any form of government subsidized healthcare. Why then, when they have made their objection to welfare programs abundantly clear are they seemingly okay with hugely profitable corporations exploiting these programs while they underpay their workers?
     You would think that logic and basis in reality would be unassailable to someone possessed of a brain superior to a slug's but you'd be wrong because this is a Forbes columnist we're talking about, a so-called economic savant who's obviously an acolyte of Milton Friedman and his ruinous Chicago School of Economics. He then goes on to say,
The McResource help line in question is designed to help workers seek assistance. Here is how the company describes the purpose of this on its website:
     He then goes on to cite as his source McDonald's own mission statement regarding its purpose, which says,

  • The McResource Line consultant will research your situation to give you current, accurate information and resources that fit your needs.
  • McResource Line consultants were able to direct an employee to a local energy assistance program and credit counseling after he was told his utilities would be shut off.
  • The McResource Line was able to find late night and weekend hour childcare solutions for a swing manager when her babysitter suddenly quit.
  •      Of course McDonald's McResource page isn't going to tell you that its reflexive answer to your concerns about keeping body and soul together is to go to the American taxpayer to get bailed out because the bloated fucks at the top don't think enough of your hard work to pay you a living wage or even one single penny above the federal or state-mandated minimum wage. After all, as Chris Rock reminds us, "When your boss pays you minimum wage, what he's saying is, 'If I could get away with paying you  less, I would.'"
         I'd already written about this a week ago on a post entitled "McDicking Us Over" that got linked by Jon Perr at Crooks and Liars. In it, I savaged the McDonald's McResource line for telling a single mother of two, Nancy Salgado, a ten-year veteran still making minimum wage, to go on public assistance as well as their budgeting page that tells workers if they want to keep their heads above water, all they have to do is take on a second job. In their sample budget, only $20 a week is earmarked for health care and not a penny for a heating bill.
         I'd also mentioned that a joint university study found that 52% of all fast food workers have to go on public assistance at some point or another. These facts are completely absent on Ozzie's little diatribe against liberals and our insistence that everyone, especially those who work hard, deserve to have enough to eat. And, I suspect, if Ozimek's even aware of these facts, he's decided to blow them off as mere liberal propaganda.
         This cruel brand of wingnuttery (check out the barely literate comments at the end of the article) would drive me crazy even if I wasn't on SNAP myself. Ozimek seems perfectly comfortable with the federal government bailing out bottomlessly avaricious corporations like McDonald's who long ago found a way to game the system and get the American taxpayer to assume much of the burden of their overhead expenses such as payroll and health care. He seems to have not the slightest problem with a person such as Nancy Salgado making minimum wage after a full decade with the company and that company telling her, "Rather than pay you even a penny more an hour, go on public relief."
         People such as Ozimek are bottom-feeding scum who for some inexplicable reason thinks it's their holy mission in life to defend corporations who would just as readily victimize him as it does its workers solely in the interests of making liberals look bad even if it involves telling outright lies and ignoring the truth.
         What Ozimek seems blissfully aware of is that it's the House GOP who've cut $39.9 billion from SNAP over the next decade. And, regardless of what happens with that farm bill (and food stamp funding or defunding has never been part of a farm bill before, which usually sailed through Congress with little to no opposition until Teabagger Republicans decided to make everything fair game), by tomorrow $5 billion will be automatically cut from the SNAP program thanks to the expiration of the 2009 Recovery Act, a piece of legislation we haven't heard too much about because House Republicans would like you to forget that it ever existed, let alone that it's set to expire in about 12 hours.
         And people like Adam Ozimek, when they scrawl their pro-corporate screeds, would also like you to forget that as well as the compact that used to exist between companies and their employees until about the Reagan era: You work hard, do your job and stay loyal to your company and we'll give you a living wage that'll actually enable you to pay your bills.
         Then right wing corporations found out they can simply freeze wages decade after decade, oppose any and all proposed increases to the minimum wage while bloating themselves with endless pay raises, perks and stock options then get the American taxpayer to assume the burden of what used to be their overhead expenses.
         I'd like to see how Adam Ozimek would like it if Forbes paid him minimum wage decade after decade for his pro-corporate jeremiads against liberals.

    Simply the Best


    Labels: ,

    Wednesday, October 30, 2013

    Assclowns of the Week #96: Treat or Treat, Kiss My Ass edition

         (Thanks to Tengrain linking to this during his turn on Mike's Blog Roll at Crooks and Liars, this posting will get some decent exposure. After making the rent on November 1st, Mrs. JP and I will be seriously wiped out. If 1000 people read this post and every one chips in even a dollar or two each, it would make all the difference in the world. With $800 in back taxes and the steady barrage of bills bearing down on us, we need all the help we can get as we stagger into the holiday season. So please kick in whatever you can to help keep this feature a regular one like it was before.)

         As one person on Twitter recently observed, "people are now acting as if Hell suddenly got air conditioning." That's especially true of the Tea Baggers who have been a hemorrhoid in the body politic since the White Man's Arab Spring of 2009. From fronting the special interests of the billionaires who've co-opted and financed their so-called populist uprising to cheering on the shutting down of the government and Republicans playing chicken with our creditors, the Tea Bagger movement seems to be comprised of every family's crazy brother-in-law or uncle that no one wants to talk about.
         But it isn't just the Tea Party that made the top ten spots this week. No siree. There's also Pat Robertson (9) for telling a caller that she doesn't know how to pray; Don Yelton (1) for providing a window into the antebellum South; Dick Cheney (Dishonorable Mention) who thought terrorists would hack into his bionic chest and Senate Democrats (3) who think cutting the social safety net will kill fewer people than raising taxes on the rich. So hop on board the hayride in this special Halloween edition as we harvest and  Boo! this week's bumper crop of assclowns and much, much more!

    10) Ted Cruz
    Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin morph into pod people versions of Bill Murray and Tina Fey.

         "We need 100 more like Jesse Helms in the Senate"?
         When Jim Piersall hit his 100th home run, he ran the bases backwards. After shutting down the government and driving us to the brink of a ruinous default, Ted Cruz is doing his own backwards victory lap around the country. Granted, Cruz said this in North Carolina a month ago, well past the week-long parameter of this feature but it certainly bears repeating. However, if you insist on a more recent example of wingnuttery to justify putting Cruz on this list, how's about him saying of Dick Cheney's hunting accident, "Look, it happens." He was hunting for Mexican children with Steve King in Iowa and King chimed in by saying of the 2006 incident, "Doesn't bother me a bit. The way I understood it, (Harry Wittington) was standing in the wrong place." Yes, these compassionate conservatives actually said that. This is not the Onion or Andy Borowitz. They. Actually. Said. That. It'd be real interesting to see how fast they'd change their tune if either of them were accidentally shot in the face with a shotgun.
         But to go back to my first point, by saying we needed 100 virulent racists like Helms in the Senate, Cruz forgot that he'd have to resign to make that happen. Unless he proudly counts himself as a racist of the magnitude of Helms.

    9) Pat Robertson
          Lord only knows why the 700 Club still pushes Pat Robertson out in front of the cameras several times a week. Lately, it seems as if he's bound and determined to insult every viewer who calls in. Last week, he told an old woman on a fixed income to keep tithing to her church despite the fact it hasn't made her husband a lick healthier. Earlier this week, Robertson insulted a mother who wanted to know why God was ignoring her and not healing her deaf child by saying, "I don’t know what you’re doing wrong. Why don’t you try that and if it doesn’t work, try something else."
         You know, like going to an EENT instead of calling in to a senile, blood diamond-grubbing huckster like Pat Robertson.
          
    8) Sarah Palin
     
          While declining an invitation to appear on Piers Morgan's show, Sarah Palin posted this bizarre picture on her Facebook wall of her posing with a bear she'd allegedly killed. Note the hi-powered rifle is resting on the animal's carcass pointed directly at herself, once again proving her ignorance with firearms. Apparently scrawled in White-Out, Palin's communique to Piers looks like something a serial killer would send to the police just before or after a conquest. This astoundingly heartless picture was accompanied with a heavily sarcastic, barely literate message that reads, "Oh dear Piers, thank you so much for all your invitations to appear on your shambolic show, including the adoring message you sent. But is it still any wonder why I’ve politely responded that I’m too busy doing, um, er… pretty much anything to accept the invite? (At least I didn’t tell you to “get stuffed”.) And to all our British friends: we ask, what did your friends across the pond ever do to you to deserve your Piers?"
         Yes, she coined another word: "Shambolic." Hard to refudiate the woman's wit and erudition, such as her retelling of the midnight ride of Paul Revere so he could warn... the British.... "with warning shots and bells."
         Thank you again, John McCain, for unearthing this EEG flatliner and troglodyte from the Alaskan scree.

    7) Rand Paul
     
    "Fret not, Vincent: You will always have more fabulous hair than Rand Paul."
         During a rally at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University ("The Finest Xeroxed Law Degrees Under God's Green Earth") for Gubernatorial candidate Ken Coochie Coochie, Rand Paul had this to say about eugenics:
         "In the movie Gattaca––In the not-too-distant future, eugenics is common and DNA plays the primary role in determining social class... Due to frequent screenings, Vincent faces genetic discrimination and prejudice. The only way to achieve his dream of being an astronaut is he has to become what’s called a ‘borrowed ladder.’"
         Problem: Paul or his researchers seem to have lifted his dystopian vision of the pro-abortion agenda virtually word for word from Gattaca's Wikipedia page, according to Rachel Maddow. In other words, plagiarism, like the kind that sank Joe Biden's chances to become president in 1988. But, Maddow aside, since the MSM typically won't touch it it, IOKIYAR. (Interesting aside: In the first line of the "Plot" section, the word "liberal" before "eugenics" has been excised.) By the way, this isn't the first time Paul has plagiarized from a movie's Wikipedia page.
         Perhaps Paul thought Gattaca's tale of the triumph of the human spirit was written by his idol Ayn Rand. Which, if it had, would've ended with Vincent colonizing another world and plundering its natural resources for the benefit of the corporation that put him there, thereby forcing James Cameron to send a crippled Sam Worthington and a giant Smurf to kick his ass.

    6) Nevada Assemblyman Jim Wheeler
         Three years ago during an interview, Nevada Assemblyman Jim Wheeler was talking to a right wing blogger and the latter asked him if he would vote, say, to bring back slavery if his constituents demanded it. Then he was stupid enough to publicly relay his answer during a town hall meeting last August. Wheeler frankly admitted he would. Because, you know, that's what a Republic is all about, enslaving people of color if it ever became the zeitgeist again. Because you can always count on Tea Bagger-backed Republicans to unfailingly listen to the vox populi. In fact, his exact words were, "If that’s what they wanted, I’d have to hold my nose, I’d have to bite my tongue and they’d probably have to hold a gun to my head, but yeah … if that’s what the constituency wants that elected me, that’s what they elected me for."
         Typically, when the video leaked out this past week, Wheeler was quick to blame "liberal operatives" (or Laura Martin, communications director for Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, who'd put the clip on Youtube) for smearing him with his owns words despite the fact his state's party has joined with Democrats in universally condemning him.
    5) Ted Cruz
          
         Leave it to a Brylcreemed NRA pimpstick like Ted Cruz to mansplain during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to Sabrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin's still-grieving mother, that Stand Your Ground laws aren't inherently racist. In fact, according to Tailgunner Ted, they actually benefit black people!
         As proof that this is true, Cruz pulled out of his ass like a magician pulling endless scarves from his sleeve misleading and cherry-picked statistics from right wing sites about Stand Your Ground that aren't even remotely grounded in reality and actual statistics. For instance, a white defendant who'd killed a person of color and invoking Stand Your Ground has a better chance of successfully using that defense than a person of color who'd killed a white person. And the rate of exoneration is much higher for white defendants than for people of color (less than 4%).
         Oh, and Canada's favorite Cuban shyster also claimed that Stand Your Ground wasn't considered in the Zimmerman trial, another falsehood in two ways: Zimmerman initially invoked Stand Your Ground as his defense before switching to self defense and the jurors considered while deliberating whether or not SYG was germane. In other words, Zimmerman didn't need to invoke SYG to benefit from it.
         But just try telling that to a guy who paralyzed the United States Senate for almost 22 hours while reading Green Eggs and Ham and talking about Duck Dynasty.
     
    4) Barack Obama & the NSA
         What's next? Checkpoint Charlie II?
         This week from Der Spiegel came the news, largely thanks to Edward Snowden, that the National Security Agency had been bugging Chancellor Angela Merkel's cell phone since 2002 (Apparently, when Bush was rolfing Angela Merkel during a G8 summit seven years ago, he was actually planting a bug on her). Once word broke out about this, Obama lied to Merkel's face and told her that if he'd known about it, he'd've stopped it.
         Oops. Problem: Obama not only knew about this since 2010, he also signed off on it and even ordered a dossier to be assembled about Merkel. And that wasn't the only revelation made by Der Spiegel: Apparently, the US diplomatic mission there seems to think they're living in a Sean Connery-era James Bond movie because the US Embassy in Pariser Platz is also what the magazine calls, "a nest of espionage. From the roof of the embassy, a special unit of the CIA and NSA can apparently monitor a large part of cellphone communication in the government quarter."
         Oh, and we've also been spying on 34 other world leaders. But, but, we've thwarted 54 terrorist attacks as a result! No, we can't prove it. You'll just have to trust us. Oh, and your wife reminded you to pick up little Cindy from her ballet lessons on the way home.
         So take heart Joe Sixpack, John Q. Public and Jane Doe: You're in good company. Thanks to our own Chancellor Obama and the NSA, we're all terrorist suspects in the second Golden Age of spying!

    3) Senate Democrats
     
        I'm going to play it straight for a minute and editorialize because what the Democrats are willing to do to us isn't a damned bit funny: After the government shutdown ended on the 16th, Democrats, especially those in the Senate, proved they didn't have to budge an inch when negotiating with mouth-foaming right wing psychos. The Democrats, for once, weren't the fractious, self-defeating Bozos they tend to be and it was a resounding victory over the Tea Party-dominated GOP.
         That's why it's both inexplicable and disturbing to hear that nine Democrats in the Senate are willing to make cuts to the social safety net for which Republicans have been slavering since time immemorial. Cutting Medicaid and Medicare benefits to those most in need of it will be like blowing spitballs against the raging elephant of the debt and deficit. And, as everyone knows, Social Security is not (and, yes, I'm looking at you, Dick Durbin), with its $2.6 trillion surplus, in need fixing because it's paid for 52 times a year in the form of payroll taxes. Obviously, the spineless Democrats are getting their cues from "Grand Bargain" Obama and are willing to put on the table social service programs they're never going to need so they can steal retirement benefits promised us decades ago and denying health coverage to seniors and low-income people. And even George Will is admitting both sides of the aisle "are talking entirely on Republican terms."
         All so they can show the Republicans they, too, can play nice. They didn't budge on Obamacare and they shouldn't budge on this because raising taxes on the 1% and increasing revenue is a far saner and more humane alternative than what nine Democratic senators have already proposed. Their names are:
         Dick Durbin (IL)
         Dianne Feinstein (CA)
         Patty Murray (WA)
         Mark Warner (VA)
         Max Baucus (MT)
         Joe Manchin (WV)
         Chris Coons (DE)
         Tom Carper (DE)
         Michael Bennett (CO)
         If any of these people are your senators, write them and let them know you will never forget this when they're up for re-election.

    2) Joe the Plumber
     
     
         Someone needs to take Joe the Plumber aside and tell him to stop taking his history lessons from Michele Bachmann. In a recent tweet, Joe was screaming his bald head off about Alan Grayson's spot-on fundraiser email and said, "I will not let the 'left' set the narrative. Democrats have a history of lynching Black Americans..." He then posted an audaciously derivative picture from a seriously misguided black Republican named Kevin Jackson, one using the same exact burning cross Grayson had used in his much more accurate picture.
          Meanwhile, we're supposed to ignore Joe's recent comment that wanting a white Republican president doesn't make you racist, it makes you an American or his insistence on calling African Americans "Black Americans". Likewise, we're supposed to ignore the ignorant right wing talking point that the Democrats of the 19th century are ideologically indistinguishable from today's Democrats and that he chose to use a picture that is incredibly unoriginal.

    1) Don Yelton
     
         Meanwhile, back at the plantations of the Tar Heel State, former Buncombe County, North Carolina (That's right, people. North Carolina actually has a county named after a synonym for PT Barnum bullshit) GOP chair Don Yelton was reminding folks that the Democratic Party didn't necessarily have the market cornered on antebellum racism. In an epic interview with The Daily Show's Aasif Mandvi, Yelton proudly pontificated on neo Jim Crow Voter ID laws as only an old, white, southern man still holding a personal grudge against Gen. Sherman could. Among the pearls of wisdom that dribbled from his jowls:
         "Now you have a black person using the term, Nigger this and nigger that, and it's OK for them to do it."
         "If it hurts the whites so be it."
         "If it hurts a bunch of lazy black people who want the government to give them something so be it."
         And when Mandvi pointed out the people who will be most victimized by North Carolina's racist voter ID law usually vote Democratic, he sarcastically said, "Gee!" (In case there's any doubt, the voter ID law, as The Daily Show pointed out, is designed not to hurt people of color but Democrats). Then he doubled down on his racist comments in the press and on NC radio.
         Well, before anyone knew it, despite having a token black best friend, Yelton was ousted from his chairmanship of the county GOP, not because he was so racially offensive but because he pulled a Ted Cruz and did an impromptu public reading from the GOP's own playbook. And, whatever their reasons for demanding his resignation, if you've lost the Republican Party of North Carolina, arguably the most racist in the country, then you know you've strayed off the reservation.
     
    Dishonorable Mention:
     
         In yet another example of Excrement in Broadcasting, Darth Cheney did a little pre-Halloween monster mash on Rush the Hutt's radio show. Before verbally fellating each other in some 69ing from Hell, Dick Cheney was pimping his new book, "Socialized Health Care For Me But Not For Thee, So Go Fuck Yourself." Then, after gobbling down Cheney's toxic man juice, Rush wiped his three chins and made it a point to tell us "leftists" that Dick Cheney was going out hunting.
         Oddly enough, after hearing the news, every Republican lawyer in Wyoming then suddenly booked flights out of the state.

    Friday, October 25, 2013

    Alan Grayson Was Right. Is This Really up for Debate?


    or, A Plausible Suggestion That Debbie Wasserman-Schultz is Huffing Styling Gel Fumes

         If I had to pick one Democrat to get primaried like a sacrificial lamb in my own version of political equality, I'd pick Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. As Chairwoman of the DNC (Defeat 'n' Capitulation), Schultz represents, to me, everything that is horridly wrong with the eternally and pre-emptively supine Democratic Party. In a statement recently, Schultz had this to say about Alan Grayson's inflammatory fund-raising email that hit a bullseye in comparing the Teabaggers to the KKK: “Obviously I am disappointed in the use of that imagery. Both sides need to dial back that kind of rhetoric and look to bring more civility into politics.”
         Yes, kiddies, we're back to this, "Both sides do it" mutual finger-pointing.
         Yes, kiddies, we're also back to this belly-showing of the dickless version of the Democratic Party that still insists, despite not a subatomic particle of evidence to support it, that if we finally start showing the Republican Party and Tea Baggers who've made that party their bitch, some civility why then, they'll show us some civility, too, and we can all sit by the campfire at the annual Congressional camping junket and sing motherfucking "Kumbaya" and have a 'smores, a Coke, a smile and a greasy thumb up our ass.
         As a fellow Jewish Representative out of Florida, a state that's had more than its fair share of cross burnings and lynchings, a state suffering through the most horrible Governor in its long, swampy history, one who'd denied Medicare expansion to his constituents because the dickless wonders of the Democrat Party allowed redneck states to opt out of Medicaid expansion out of respect for "states' rights", you'd think Wasserman-Schultz would know better in her ongoing whining about the deplorable state of immoral equivalence.
         And when Wasserman-Schultz finds herself on the same side of an issue as jar-headed psychopath and cordite huffer Allen West, you know something's rotten in the sunshine state of Florida.
    Allen West, former Congressman from Florida, is always right on target with his comments, we all know, and his recent Facebook post was exactly right. It’s the “white liberal progressives” who are the real racists in American society. It is obvious that liberals are the real racists here... Worse, they use racism as a tool to fool African Americans into voluntarily walking onto the liberal’s plantation.
         Yeah, a vicious Uncle Tom like West, a guy who was in favor of every voter suppression law and bill that would've disenfranchised his people and who used an exclusively white Hell's Angel's wannabe biker gang as his personal security during the 2010 election and solicited angry, white votes in some Bizarro World simulacrum of post-racism, is claiming liberals like Grayson is leading his forgotten people not to the Promised Land but "the liberal's plantation."
         Well, unless West is talking about Arianna Huffington's bloated blog, I have no idea what the fuck he's talking about. Fortunately, many people in West's district didn't either and they voted out this real-life Stephen of CandyLand after one term. And West is obviously too stupid or deluded to realize he's just a useful house nigger for every teabagger/Aryan Supremacist (but I'm being tautological) who thinks shoving West into the limelight to repeat their prejudices and conspiracy theories actually qualifies them for post-racial status.

         But Wasserman-Schultz's attempt to get her own belly rubbed by the Right Wing Powers That Be has absolutely no basis in fact. Let's pick just a few very recent examples of the Teabaggers' obvious and indisputable ties to the antebellum cross-burners of our day and age:
         White Nationalists Descend on D.C. for National Policy Institute Conference. (Which starts today)
         Steve King and White Nationalist CPAC Panel Warn that America's Greatest Threat is its Diversity.
         SPLC: Former Congressman Tancredo to Address White Supremacists.
         IREHR Report: Tea Parties - Racism, Anti-Semitism and the Militia Impulse. (To which maybe Wasserman-Schultz ought to pay strict attention)
         White Supremacist Stampede
         Steve Smith, White Supremacist, Elected To Republican Party Committee In Pennsylvania County
         "People & Power - White Power USA (Documentary)" (Tea Party)
         Neo-Confederate Behind Pro-Huckabee Flag Ads in South Carolina.
         Video: Ron Paul Gives Speech on Civil War in Front of Giant Confederate Flag
         Ron Paul Curriculum Launched by Reconstructionist Gary North and Neo-Confederate Thomas Woods
         The Ron Paul Institute: Be Afraid, Very Afraid
         Ron Paul to Keynote Catholic Traditionalist Summit with NeoFascist and Overtly Anti-Semitic Speakers.
         Meet the 'Southern Avenger'! Another Member of Rand Paul's Team Has White Supremacist Past.
         Mississippi Tea Party Senate Challenger Attended Neo-Confederate Gatherings



         And that's just a few examples I've found from the past two or three years. Obviously, this is just the tip of the iceberg or burning cross, as it were. (Just as a personal aside, it's interesting that Wasserman-Schultz chose to take Alan Grayson to task over a fundraising email and not Rachel Maddow, who recently weighed in on this and drew similar conclusions).
         And the indisputable, inevitable, incontrovertible conclusion a thinking person must make is that the Tea Party movement is hardly an original concept and they didn't just spontaneously appear on the scene in the spring of 2009, fully-formed like Athena from the skull of Zeus. These teabaggers are recycled, regurgitated and, until 2009, long since discredited and very politically-incorrect Birchers, KKK klansmen, neoNazis, skinheads and unaffiliated angry, southern redneck Republicans who cannot fathom why so many people could elect a biracial president when, in their razor-narrow world view, no black man should even be called "sir" much less "Mr. President." It was supposed to be the white man's Arab Spring, minus the Arabs and legitimate grievances. But something funny happened on the way to the cross-burning:
         The Koch Brothers and their ridiculously-named Americans For Prosperity ("1% at a Time, Anyways") and Dick Armey's FreedomWorks and various 527s and 501(c)3 groups cynically latched on, spoon-fed them their talking points about how evil arch liberals like Obama were and eventually the parasite seeking populism became the host, with the Tea Baggers being demoted to the role of parasites.
         And now we're seeing signs that the tea bagger fleas and ticks are being scratched off by the increasingly irritated host and they're not too happy about it. Now they're threatening to primary even the Republicans that, during Bush II, we thought were the worst of the worst, such as Mississippi's Thad Cochran, who's now considered too liberal and now has a primary challenger who makes Strom Thurmond look like Jerry Garcia after a brick of hash.
         The Debbie Wasserman-Schultzes and Jon Stewarts seriously need to get their heads out their asses, walk off their sound stages and climate-controlled offices and talk to real Americans (and by that, I don't mean the "real Americans" in Sarah Palin's rose-tinted clown car windshield), specifically liberals and progressives who don't feel the need to throw verbal brickbats and firebombs at the White House when they have legitimate grievances, people who don't throw bricks through the windows of Republican Congressmen who opposed the health care law (as all of them did).
         So, Debbie, do Dallas sometime. Or San Diego. Or Tampa. Or any other right wing cesspool of a city that proudly waves the Stars and Bars and Gadsden flags. Your attempts to get your belly rubbed will only get it kicked. Your genuflections and bowing and scraping before these inexplicably angry teabaggers will only get you curb-stomped.
         And maybe people like Thad Cochran shouldn't get primaried by cryptofascists and neoconfederates. Maybe it's Democrats like you who ought to get primaried so you can make way for the real thing.

    Thursday, October 24, 2013

    Tales From the Soup Nazi Kitchen

         Lou Landrum, Ex. Dir.
         The Spartanburg Soup Kitchen
         136 S Forest St
         Spartanburg, SC 29306

         (864) 585-0022

         Dear LuLu:
         I have read with eminent satisfaction your refusing the charitable efforts of some Godless atheists who have the effrontery and arrogance to volunteer their time and resources to the Spartanburg Soup Kitchen. I am, of course, speaking of those upstart atheists, Upstate Atheists, who seem to think charity can be freely handed out without first securing fealty to our Lord and Savior! As we all know, charity must be faith-based and withheld until allegiance to a God who has yet to get around to helping them (but no doubt will, some day).
         I am glad you amended your "No boundaries" policy in soliciting for volunteers because if you don't nip this atheist indoctrination in the bud, why then, anyone will be tempted to practice random acts of charity and we all know evangelicals should have that market cornered. For, as it says in Luke 6:38, "Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." And who do these heathens think they are trying to shake and pour like a vodka martini their godless manna in the shit and piss-encrusted laps of these poor?
         After all, does your mission statement not state:

    We Believe That:
    • Every human being should be treated with dignity and respect, therefore we treat all people that eat at the Spartanburg Soup Kitchen as our guests and everyone is welcome at our table.
    • Feeding a hungry person is the first step in addressing their needs.
    • People who are hungry may have broader issues and needs that should be recognized.
    • Our volunteers and supporters are a valued asset and we know that they are essential to our success.
    • We continue to strive to ensure every volunteer and guest has a positive and safe experience with our Soup Kitchen.
    • Everything we do is to glorify God.
         Nowhere does it say exceptions can't be made in the name of glorifying God and that preconditions don't apply. Hallelulu, Lulu!
         On your site's index page is this wonderful photograph of a groundbreaking ceremony using gold-plated shovels that would probably feed all of Spartanburg, South Carolina for a week. What a wonderful message this sends, that humble people of God are pretending to do actual work with gold shovels, symbolic of the riches that will await them. Praise South Carolina native Rev. Ike and Pat Robertson, if they but believe!

         Now, knowing what a humble, if overmade-up, servant of God you are, no doubt you would rebuff like atheist offers of charity any praise that would come your way but I say poppycock! But don't listen to me, your equally humble acolyte from afar. Let's listen, instead, to these wonderful testimonials from your Facebook fans:

         Not allowing atheists to help is wrong on any number of levels. Did you ever stop to think that you might be able to share God's love with the atheists who come to help?

    Lou Landrum is a hateful moron. Won't allow atheists to help the homeless - even though they offered to not wear their shirts (and why shouldn't they wear their shirts?). She is a moron because she somehow believes atheists hang out with the devil. LMAO Lou, you need to learn what an atheist is, and you need to keep your preaching to yourself and just help people, and let others help people. Your help is NOT freely given. Your help is dependent upon people sharing your religious beliefs. Oh, and you suck.

    Hello, I just read you refused the help of a secular organization, do you often refuse people who are only interested in helping feed people ? Jesus would be so ashamed of you.

    Gee, I'd donate but you don't want my atheist, gay money.
    Here is what the director of the Soup Kitchen, Lou Landrum, had to say about atheists: " “They can set up across the street from the Soup Kitchen. They can have the devil there with them, but they better not come across the street,” Landrum said."*** Landrum, your ignorance is only eclipsed by your hatred towards those who dont buy into your silly superstitions. You should be so proud of that lump of coal you call a heart.
    Except if those that want to help and volunteer don't share your beliefs, right? Then screw them and the less fortunate they want to help out, right? Actually helping others only matters if you get to preach and shove your beliefs down their throat because THAT'S what really matters, right?
    "Great news!!! We are now able to receive donations on-line!" Not `Great news, the free-thinkers/atheists are volunteering their time to help.`? I hope the hungry get mad at you when the money slows to a trickle.
    You better check Goodwill out also, though. It seems that most, if not all, of these "Christian" organizations are at least partly bizarre in the way they deal with people and reality. And some are truly bizarre.
         It was revealed years after WWII that when the Russians began liberating the Nazi death camps, they withheld food from the Jews who did not swear fealty to the Soviet Empire. It is heartening to know this selective, highly conditional tough love has not completely gone out of style.

         Yours truly in Christ, north, south, east, west and thereabouts,
         JP

    McDicking Us Over

         In the nearly nine years I've been blogging, I've almost never mentioned McDonald's, a corporation that's responsible for more obesity than sugar, polyunsaturated fats and cheese combined. This is because, largely thanks to Morgan Spurlock's Super Size Me, I would think that most of us already knew that McDick's represents the very worst in corporations and everything that is wrong with America. They slowly kill us with ersatz, corporately-generated food substitute and had strong-armed the House into passing the Cheeseburger Law that protects their bottom line from tort lawsuits even when it's indisputable their products are killing their customers.
         Their Gordon Gecko-class greed and avarice knows no bounds. Most of their employees are minimum wage earners who are directed to helpful websites set up by the corporation that are so divorced from reality, it boggles the rational mind. The most notorious example of this is the now-infamous budgeting page that tells employees if they want to make ends meet, why, all they have to do is take on a second fulltime job and simply not pay their heating bill.
         You would think this is well-known and that we wouldn't need one more voice to add to the growing chorus of discontent. When you're a corporation the size of McDonald's and provide a product and/or service that's addictive for a variety of reasons, then you don't give a shit if people quit their jobs in disgust or if their customers die. We're a nation of over 320,000,000 people, after all. There's always plenty more to take their place.

         But today, I saw highlighted on Twitter the plight of a Chicago-area McDonald's worker and, as usual, our completely worthless mainstream media won't cover this story. She's a single mother of two named Nancy Salgado and she's been working at McDick's for a decade now. Despite that and working fulltime, she's still making $8.25 an hour, minimum wage for Illinois and the only time she's ever gotten a raise is when the state or federal government raised the minimum wage.
         For some inexplicable reason, Nancy still loves her low-wage, clearly dead end job she's held since she was 16 but even she finally got fed up with making minimum wage year after year. When she found out the president of her corporation, Jeff Stratton, was giving a speech at the Union League Club of Chicago (which, ironically, didn't seem to attract many people who would be friendly to a union), she went to the speech and directly confronted Stratton about her plight. After saying she was still making minimum wage after a decade, she asked him if that was fair and the fat fuck's only response was, "I've been there for 40 years."
         For having the effrontery and audacity to publicly protest her impoverished plight before the corporation, Nancy Salgado was arrested and charged with trespassing.
         Undeterred, Salgado then called McDonald's own McResource hotline (Yes, even that has the endemic "Mc" prefix). When she asked her employer for help, they then suggested she go on welfare to make ends meet because, well, paying a living wage was simply out of the question. The McResource help desk person told her to go on food stamps and Medicaid. Because, you know, providing affordable healthcare benefits is also out of the question. Doing so may force Jeff Stratton to actually forego chocolate brioche during a board meeting. You don't believe me? Here's the recording of the call:
        

         In other words, please make it possible for the American taxpayer, which includes, ironically our own employees, to underwrite our bottomless avarice and sociopathic disconnect from the Dickensian economic plight of our own workers.
         Now obviously, McDick's isn't the only mega corporation guilty of forcing the American taxpayer to foot much of the burden of what ought to be their overhead expenses. Far from the Tea Bagger talking point of the working poor being the welfare queens, it's screamingly obvious to everyone else who actually has two neurons to rub together that corporations such as McDick's, Wal-Mart, Burger King and others are the real welfare queens. In fact, just to cite one statistic, the University of California Berkeley Labor Center and University of Illinois discovered over half, or 52%, of fast food workers, have to subsist on one public assistance program or another because their wages are so low.
         Compare that to McDonald's top management compensation, according to a Bloomberg report from last December that showed these executive scum raked in over $8.25 million a year while people like Nancy Salgado were making $8.25 per hour. Still not pissed off? Download this .pdf file of McDonald's profits for FY 2011 (Page 11 will really blow your top. Their Vice Chairman and CEO James Skinner, who retired June last year, made nearly $9 million in '11.).
         As Selena Kyle told Bruce Wayne in The Dark Knight Rises, "You're all gonna wonder how you ever thought you could live so large and leave so little for the rest of us."
         I can only hope to live long enough to see corporations like McDonald's, Wal-Mart and others hoisted by their own petard. If history teaches us anything, it's that evil always catches up to its perpetrators. Places like McDonald's poison us, bankrupt the Treasury and impoverish the very people who keep them in Bentleys and yachts. It's time we stopped footing the bill for their overhead expenses.
         And it all starts with boycotts. Your heart, your wallet and your soul will thank you for it.
    (Addendum: Since this got linked to at Crooks and Liars, if you could spare some cash, the missus and I would immensely appreciate it.)

    Tuesday, October 22, 2013

    The First Rule of 2016...

    (By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari.)
         ...don't talk about 2013.
         The beauty of doing mere commentary instead of actual hard news (and by that I'm not talking about the Brangelina or Kim Kardashian's well-hidden stretch marks) is you don't have to do a lot of hard research and provide, as Frank Rich used to do at the NY Times, a surfeit of corroborating links. And one of the beauties of having a liberal byline is you can always take it as a rock-solid, absolutely immovable article of faith that both political parties will do their damnedest to punch themselves in the face in a never-ending masochistic orgy of some perverted self-recrimination. They just go about it in different ways.
         Let's take the obvious example of this: The Republican Party essentially shut down the government for over two weeks, lost $24 billion, cost 125,000 jobs in October, furloughed 850,000 federal workers who still haven't gotten back pay, nearly drove us into default in violation of Section Four of the 14th amendment, nearly crippled our borrowing power and made the Dow Jones Average plunge nearly 900 points...
         ...all so they could, for the 43rd consecutive time, unsuccessfully overturn an existing, adjudicated law called the Affordable Care Act. And they did this at the expense of whatever little credibility and approval they had with the electorate, which historically has a dim view of Congress, and much campaign payola from dependable, longtime Republican donors. The GOP's approval rating, in contrast to Mr. Obama's steady 51%, has plunged to 8%, prompting John McCain to say, "We're down to blood relatives and paid staffers." And I wouldn't even count on the paid staffers, whose bosses tried to deny them subsidized health care. Democrats, as we now know, need to gain just 17 seats to retake control of the lower chamber and out of the 230+ Republican Representatives running for re-election, 22 are in vulnerable districts.
         Ted Cruz's coattails have proven to be as wide as the Rio Grande as many Republicans running for national and state office (Especially Virginia's AG, Ken Coochie Coochie, who now finds himself down 17 points to Terry McAuliffe 50-33, which is what you get when you run on an anti-blowjob platform) are seeing themselves dropping out of contention faster than Wile E. Coyote falling off a cliff with an anvil up his ass.
         To help sum it all up, a recent poll showed Republicans were less popular than hemorrhoids and herpes. Even Tom Donohue, the anti-Santa Claus and CEO of the US Chamber of Commerce said Ted Cruz should just shut up and sit down. And Cruz isn't doing himself any favors outside of redneck cities like Houston when he compares ObamaCare staffers to Nigerian bankers in some of the most nakedly vicious Republican dog whistle politics since Strom Thurmond and his segregationist platform in 1948.
         Essentially, we can sum up the GOP's antics by comparing it to Fight Club, in which Edward Norton's character finds out he's Tyler Durdin and is caught beating the shit out of himself while Wall Street financial institutions blow up around him. In order to restore order and make the delusions go away, he then shoots himself in the head (Far be it for this scribe to suggest such a drastic and horrible thing to Republicans except to say no one is responsible for actions taken after bylines go to press.).
         So here we find the Republican Party, bloody and on their ass after their self-pummeling, just coming to grips with the fact they were beating themselves up all along while the black guy saturninely stood back and let them. You'd think that would be the end of the story and that we could start licking our collective chops and look forward to another 40+ years of uninterrupted Democratic rule in the House, right?
        Wrong.

    The Blue-Clad Cavalry Once Again Comes to the Rescue

         During his brief run for President five years ago, Joe Biden said something alarming. While on the campaign trail, he said to a Republican audience that the GOP, which had suffered a stinging defeat in the '06 midterms and were about to get their asses kicked back to Jebus Land again, needed to get back up and fight for what they believed in.
         Here's the darker side of my Fight Club metaphor, the road far less traveled by our useless mainstream media: The Democratic Party's unfailing penchant for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. We've seen it countless times after the Republican Party took one massive, collective Buster Keaton-class pratfall after another only to see the Democrats lower a hand to help them up and get, as gratitude, their balls kicked into Vancouver, British Columbia.
         And we're seeing it again now. Now we're hearing about otherwise reliably-Democratic guys like Dick Durbin, Ron Wyden and Patty Murray dangling little strips of red meat to the GOP in order to coax them up off their shiny pants suit bottoms and those little pieces of red meat are "reforms" to entitlement programs that has nothing whatsoever to do with ObamaCare or the debt ceiling, the debt, deficit or anything else the GOP had almost single-handedly fucked up or tried to.
         And then the Democrats wonder who encourages the Republican Party to take hostages every few months until they can get their way.
         About a week ago as the clock's ticking got louder and louder, the GOP made smaller and smaller demands so they wouldn't have to leave the shower empty-handed. So the Democrats, after giving them the bird countless times, finally let them have a consolation prize, a provision in the health care law that was already in place. Clutching their cheap, plastic noisemakers in their pudgy little hands, the GOP psychopaths then ran home and crowed about their great victory over the Obama administration that had just proved it didn't have to negotiate with them to any degree.
         Now suddenly, the Democrats are signaling they're reading to cave on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid cuts for absolutely no reason whatsoever so they can be seen as negotiating in good faith with a self-professed band of Fifth Columnists who will stop at nothing to deny a black president whatever he wants, even if it was originally their idea (such as the individual mandate)?
         Why?
         Perhaps we'll never know the answer to this. As unsuccessful as this latest hostage-taking has been, one that had produced absolutely no Stockholm Syndrome love, especially among Wall Street types who have had to forgo that tinting on their third Bentley, this latest proposed and needless capitulation makes this upcoming battle over the government's funding on January 15th sound like a blackmail or extortion scheme. Maybe they found out FDR was banging Stalin during Yalta or maybe they have film of Kennedy boffing Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield and Jane Russell at the same time.
         Whatever the Republicans have on the Democrats, it must be a fucking pip. Because otherwise, to those us necessarily looking up at this latest clown show in our worm's eye view, this upcoming appeasement strategy to a party with no political capital whatsoever makes not the slightest bit of sense.

    The GOP's 10 Lesser Demands During the Government Shutdown

         On October 16th, Congress passed an 11th hour bill allowing the government to reopen and to raise the debt ceiling. During the 16 day shutdown, the Republicans submitted what Rachel Maddow called a "long, weird, ever-changing ransom note" to Congressional Democrats and the White House that was consistently and categorically refused. Among the ransom demands: Starting construction on the Keystone XL pipeline, delaying and defunding the ACA and denying President Obama himself ObamaCare. But those were merely the most visible demands submitted by a GOP desperate to save face and to not walk away empty-handed. What were the others?
  • 10) That Rachel Maddow undergo lesbian aversion therapy.
  • 9) An amendment making it a capital offense to laugh at any Bill O'Reilly book.
  • 8) "Your name is Toby, damnit!"
  • 7) Funding for a Ted Nugent-produced white version of ROOTS.
  • 6) A provision not allowing women to vote if they're menstruating, are hysterical or "are or appear to be afflicted with the vapors."
  • 5) Senator Elizabeth Warren, duct tape, staples, Rohypnol, you get the idea.
  • 4) Wendy Davis' gubernatorial campaign HQ must be at a Hooters.
  • 3) Annual Purge Day.
  • 2) The President must use Obamacare to make his skin whiter like Michael Jackson.
  • 1) For one year, Fox News gets to refer to Ted Cruz as a Democrat without retraction.
  • Monday, October 14, 2013

    Open Thread: RIP Jamie Hubley


         This is probably the last video uploaded by the late Jamie Hubley, a gay teenager who'd committed suicide two years ago today after being mercilessly bullied by homophobes in Kanata, Canada. Here, he's covering "Rehab" by another self-doomed soul, Amy Winehouse. Jamie would be 17 today, 18 next month. I wrote about him in a disjointed, rambling post two years ago when I first heard the news of his suicide on Facebook and, if anything, his death bothers me at least as much now as it did two years ago. In case you've never heard his story before, Jamie was the only openly gay boy in his high school and, to him, waiting a full year before the next Pride event in his area and enduring three more years of high school was more and more unthinkable and undo-able. While other Canadian boys were obsessed with hockey, Jamie was interested in figure skating. And he was bullied to the point where one day he stole a bottle of sleeping pills and went somewhere to do the unthinkable.
         Even in a year marred by a rash of teen suicides, many of them young LGBT people, Jamie's stood out because of his growing talent for singing, sheer magnetism and physical beauty. And seeing this video and others he'd uploaded, seeing the bubbly exterior and knowing he came from a loving, supportive family makes his suicide all the more intolerable, inexplicable and downright frightening. Two days before his death on Saturday, October 14th 2011, he'd pulled himself together long enough to appear with his high school glee club one last time. Jamie was seeing a psychiatrist, was on medications and had a loving circle of family and friends.
         And, before anyone knew what was happening, he was gone forever.
         Speaking as a male bisexual who understands all too well how isolated and unsupported we are living in a small community with no support network and afforded no easy answers or solutions for the angst to which society unfairly subjects us, I am heartily sick and tired of hearing about gay people, especially teenagers, who were victimized literally to death. I do not want to see any more Jamie Hubleys and Alan Schindlers and Matthew Shepards laid into the ground.
         Not long after Jamie's suicide, I bought five rainbow-colored bracelets from an organization in Ottawa that were manufactured in his memory, that say "Acceptance" on one side and "R.I.P. Jamie Hubley" on the other. I've never taken mine off for even so much as a nanosecond since the day they arrived in the mail out of respect for his memory but somehow that doesn't seem enough.
         And were we to forget Jamie's nearly unrealized legacy, one realized for all the wrong reasons, then we diminish our humanity, our human compassion for people like Jamie in particular and in the abstract. And all I have are my words, written in the most perishable of all mediums, to continue to honor this sweet but doomed child's memory.
         October 11th, this past Friday, was National Coming Out Day. We shouldn't need a special day to come as if it's a little more legitimate to do so than the other 364 days of the year. We shouldn't have to make "It Gets Better" videos that sometimes don't work (Jamie Hubley was proof of that) and congratulate our sons and daughters as they come out to their families and friends.
         One's sexual orientation should simply be a matter of fact, something with which we're born and least able to change than anything encoded into our DNA. We can change our hair, eye and even skin color, we can change our faces, our waistlines, even our very height. But while we can temporarily repress it or ignore it, we cannot change our sexual orientation.
         And it seems the human race collectively cannot change its reactionary bias and fear and loathing of people like me who are attracted to our own gender. We shouldn't need heroes and martyrs for doing what is right yet here we are.
         And, because of our stupid and ignorant bias against LGBT people, even the youngest of us who desperately need to be supported starting with their families, Jamie was a hero. You cannot possibly convince me he was the only gay boy in his school. There must have been others but they chose to live inside their cowardice and make him dangle out there alone. And they'll have to live with that for the rest of their lives.
         But if you're still in the closet and are young and reading these words either now or years into the future, take comfort in the fact that this deeply-flawed, long-closeted but compassionate bisexual guy has your back. I cannot promise you, as the ad campaign says, that it will get better. You shouldn't need October 11th to be courageous and a hero like Jamie was. But that is the definition of a hero, or at least, mine: Someone we shouldn't need but get anyway because doing the right thing is the only option. Heroes are what we get in spite of what society wants or dictates.
         No, sometimes it doesn't get better but sometimes it does. But unless you are true to yourself and your loved ones, those who will love you regardless, it never will get better.

    Sunday, October 13, 2013

    Great Moments in Republican Rebranding

         Jesus fucking Christ on a foam rubber crutch, Fat Jack Leonard and the Three Stooges had more gravitas than this bald-headed white separatist.

    Friday, October 11, 2013

    The Third Section's the Charm

         Granted, I'm not a Constitutional scholar like our President who wipes his well-toned ass with it every day of the year. But I've been rereading the 14th Amendment these days, the one the Obama administration has been loathe to invoke to avoid the debt ceiling implosion brought to a short fuse by the Teabagger Republicans.
         The 14th Amendment, to put in a nutshell, was ratified by Congress on July 9, 1868 as an aid to Reconstruction. It was bitterly contested by the southern states because they had to adopt it in order to be recognized in the Congress. It was primarily a civil rights amendment, among other things but it also contains other goodies.
         With the Civil War still very much in mind, the 4th section of the 14th Amendment explicitly states that Congress can't blow off the national debt and that it should be taken seriously. Of course, when the 14th Amendment was ratified over 145 years ago, there was no such thing as a debt ceiling but we can be sure the Congress that had contentiously ratified it meant all national debt, and that very much includes the latter-day debt ceiling.
         I can understand both sides that say the President should or should not invoke the 4th section of the 14th Amendment. After all, it states in its entirety,
    The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.
         Note that nowhere does it state it is the President's duty, obligation or even prerogative to unilaterally invoke it in the interests of national solvency. President Obama knows this, no doubt, which is why both he and the Justice Department are reluctant at best to use Section 4 before the debt ceiling crisis explodes on October 17th. Supporters of the President refusing to use Section 4 say the President cannot invoke it prior to the national debt coming due but nowhere does it say he cannot invoke it before.
         As with Lincoln and the 13th amendment of 1865, he knew the Emancipation Proclamation was a wartime act only and that, after the Civil War, the Supreme Court would have it for breakfast (hence the more permanent and unconditional 13th Amendment). Obama is obviously afraid if he invokes the 4th Section of the 14th, someone (Most likely some bomb-throwing Tea Bagger) will challenge it and the SCOTUS will overturn it. And technically violating the Constitution to promote the general welfare (as specified in the Constitution's Preamble) will give those same bomb-throwing anarchist teabagger House Republicans grounds to draft articles of impeachment against Obama.
         However, I think Obama should invoke it anyway just to avoid the debt ceiling collapse and us running afoul of our creditors and having our bond and credit rating downgraded for the first time ever. He can sort it all out later.
         But I'm not here to talk about Section 4 of the 14th Amendment. No, no, no, Constant Reader. I'm here to talk about the much more important and just as seldom litigated and challenged 3rd section. Section 3 of the 14th Amendment explicitly states in whole,
    No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may, by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.
         Invoking that would essentially wipe out the Teabagger caucus overnight, wouldn't you say? It also would've prevented Sarah Palin from running for Vice President because she and her husband Todd were buddy-buddy with a right wing secessionist group in Alaska (their membership lapsed right after Sister Sarah became McCain's nominee).
         So, instead of voting and trusting that heavily gerrymandered districts won't be as bad as we've been led to believe, why don't we kick them out of Congress by invoking the 3rd Section of the 14th Amendment for their Teabagger activities before, during and after leaving public office?

    Wednesday, October 9, 2013

    Thought of the Day

         I think we can all agree that Obama Care largely created the Teabagger majority in the House in 2010. It'll also cost them that majority in 2014.

    Tuesday, October 8, 2013

    Quotes o' the Day

    "This is something to keep in mind. Nobody wants children hurt. However, this is the guy that put a group together to take down a Kenyan shopping mall in an upper class neighborhood where those kids were tortured before they were killed. So if this guy’s next operation kills children of ours or kills innocent children in a neighboring country that happen to not be Islamic extremists, did we make the right decision?" Fox's Brian Kilmeade on SEAL Team 6 aborting a mission for fear children would get killed.

    "About half of the 232 House Republicans were elected in the last two elections, many with little or no legislative experience. Before winning seats, these Republicans who became congressmen included farmers, a car dealer, a funeral home director and a champion lumberjack." -Slate, Josh Vorhees.

    “FSIS is unable to link the illnesses to a specific product and a specific production period. The outbreak is continuing.” - US Dept. of Agriculture on a salmonella outbreak in 18 states.

    “I think, personally, [if the US government defaulted that it] would bring stability to the world markets." - Ted Yoho (R-LaLa Land)


    “The federal government doesn’t have the authority to tell Kansas what to do in Kansas elections.” Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach in trying to justify a two-tiered electoral system.

    Monday, October 7, 2013

    By the Numbers

         After last night's massive but completely-ignored post, over which I slaved like a coolie under a shotgun, I began taking stock this morning of what I've accomplished as a blogger over the last nearly nine years. Many of us have died, or gotten bored or discouraged and given up. Some of us, like the proprietors of the Cool Kid's Clubhouse, have gone on to bigger and better things.
         This is, I believe, my 1858th post, not including four drafts that never saw the light of day. Welcome Back to Pottersville has been around for close to four and a half years, with another three or so being devoted to its predecessor and the first lasting for, I believe, just over a year.
         This accounts, by my rough ballpark estimate, to about 5000 or more posts, not including exclusives I've written over the years for blogs like Brilliant at Breakfast and others. A conservative estimate on a word count, with an average of 500 each, would place the verbiage at somewhere between two and a half to three million words, or about 25 to 30 full-length novels. In all this time, nearly nine years, I've actually started and completed one novel (American Zen). The Toy Cop and the Misanthrope's Manual were started long before I got into political blogging. Everything else remains unfinished.
         To put this amount of largely-ignored work in perspective: If I could collect every single Assclowns of the Week I've ever written, including numbers 79 and 85 (the year-end retrospective of the top 50 of the year) and collected them in book form, it would be, with ,jpegs, a book totaling well over 1000 pages. I'm not even sure Create Space could publish a paperback that massive. And that's just one series out of many.
         Who'd buy it? Politics being very topical, none of those features save for the last, perhaps the last two posts, would no longer have relevance or even easily-accessible context. It's like, as I've said in the past, pouring water into a sand dune and waiting for the garden to spring up.
         But eight plus, nearly nine years in this mug's game, making me the IF Stone or Helen Thomas in blog years, makes me something of an authority on this unique but highly perishable literary discipline, including the rules, do's and don'ts, the history, trends and so forth. Over the course of two and a half to three million words, I've earned the right to speak my piece, especially as I have been almost from the start one of the most brilliant and savage political commentators this side of the Rude Pundit and d r i f t g l a s s (Does that sound arrogant and hubristic? I don't give a shit. I never believed in false modesty for its own sake. I know I know how to write and manipulate thoughts and feelings. And like the LGBT community says, "If you got it, baby, flaunt it.").
         Political bloggers are the internet's Anisazi. The Anisazi didn't completely disappear any more than certain Native American tribes. Dramatic conditions forced them to assimilate into other, larger surrounding indigenous populations and they were subsumed into a greater whole.
         As I said, some of us have died. Jon Swift, Andrew Olmstead (in Iraq), Steve Gilliard, Joe Bageant and others. Many others had simply quit (Such as the late-lamented Agitprop's Blogenfreud, who's still around and following me on Twitter) on account of boredom, outrage fatigue, real world responsibilities and, thanks to the A listers who'd decided a decade ago who would count and who wouldn't (Especially yours truly, despite a brilliant talent), the discouragement of being ignored.
         My research into 1888 London for my current novel, Tatterdemalion, reminded me of something I'd learned about 20 years ago when I was studying the same thing for my first novel. And it's pretty germane to my current situation. It was estimated there were approximately 6,000 prostitutes both professional and casual in the East End of London in the late 19th century. Many of these women, estranged or widowed or otherwise left to fall back on their own resources, became prostitutes. Largely being homeless (and so destitute of worldly goods they could carry everything they owned, often wearing three or four sets of clothes), they were ripe pickings for Jack the Ripper.
         But selling your body for tuppance (two pennies) was a brutal way to make a living. Yet the streetwalkers of Whitechapel were forced to risk their lives (and five lost them) just to keep a roof over their heads, not because they loved what they did.
         This is the same situation in which I find myself. My traffic, barring any linkage, which is rare and virtually nonexistent, is far below what it was in the beginning. I don't like doing this, haven't for years save for a spot of fiendish joy once in a great while. And, like those unfortunate "daughters of joy" in 1888 Whitechapel, since 2009 I've been in it solely for the money. I hate to say it but it's true. And, if you've been following me for any amount of time, I've always been about the truth no matter how painful or frightening it is. As proof of this, I made myself one of my own assclowns last night, for fuck's sake.
         But the traffic's not there, the money's not there like it used to be (save for two constant angels of mercy and you both know who you are, if you're reading this) and people have turned away in droves save for a few die-hard readers who've been with me almost from the beginning. Whether it's due to some glorified online stalker who's been spreading lies about me, my strident position and opinions about the current administration or the disinterest in citizen political journalism since Bush left office or a combination of many factors, the incentive to keep doing this, when, like everyone else, I have a real world life and responsibilities to attend to and a career to pursue, is diminishing with each passing day.
         Maybe the relative scarcity of content until very recently is responsible for the dwindling numbers. Maybe it's a synergistic thing. People will go elsewhere if they don't get it here and perhaps they'll even forget you ever existed. I'm at a crossroads right now: I need what little income this blog earns me but my dwindling energies pull me in another direction.
         This damned blog and its two predecessors have cost me so much, things all the money in the world cannot supplant (Although, The Rude Pundit's blog inadvertently got me my current fiancee but that's a tale I may or may not tell on another day. But when finances permit Barb and I getting hitched, I'd like the Rude One to drive five hours up here to be my best man, so consider this your wedding invitation, Lee.).
         Plus, it's getting harder with each day to justify blogging even on a very parttime basis when I've been out of work for going on five years. I set up the Paypal button largely as a courtesy to my readers when they kept asking for it. At the time, I had not one but two jobs. Then, when I lost those, I had unemployment compensation plus Barb's income. Now we're down to nothing and the cash flow's drying up at precisely the time we need it the most. Despite a generous gift recently from one of the angels on my shoulder, we're not going to make it until November 1st. The rent's barely covered as well as all my bills for the time being but many will be due again on the first and the rent will wipe us out.
         I know many of you have been victimized by this brutal economy and I'm not asking you for help. As with my two angels of mercy who have literally been the difference between solvency and homelessness, you know who you are. But I've sacrificed so much to get the truth out there, however unpopular or politically incorrect it is and I'm just asking for a little more crowd sourcing help. Keeping Pottersville updated daily or even weekly is an expense of time, energy and spirit that most non-bloggers cannot begin to appreciate. But, while I've largely succumbed to outrage fatigue, especially since January 20 2009, I could justify plugging away at this place a helluva lot better if I could depend on my readership to help us out until the clouds part.
         Yeah, there are a lot of blogs out there and many of them never ask for financial assistance (although some do, which, I'll remind my understandably anonymous critics, hardly makes me unique). But as with writing a book, one must ask themselves: "Is there anyone else on the planet earth who can write this like I can?" I can always emphatically say No. And the same goes for this political blog. Because I've always been an oddball with my own unique slant on things, nobody does it like I can and you all know that.
    (Addendum:  The mailman just brought pleasant news from both the IRS and the Massachusetts Dept. of Revenue that I owe them both a combined $800 in back taxes, meaning we're really screwed.)

    KindleindaWind, my writing blog.

    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.
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  • Top Ten Conservative Books
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  • Glenn Beck: Racist, Hate Monger, Comedian
  • The Ten Worst Music Videos of all Time
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  • Links to the first 33 Assclowns of the Week.
  • Links to Assclowns of the Week 38-63.
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  • #103: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Toilet edition
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  • #95: Monumental Stupidity double-sized edition
  • #94: House of 'Tards edition
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  • #92: Akin to a Fool edition.
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  • #89: Occupy the Catbird Seat/Thanksgiving edition.
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  • #(19)84: Midterm Madness edition.
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  • #77: ...And Justice For Once edition.
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  • Top 10 Facts About Tonight's New England/Denver Game.
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  • Top 10 Reasons Herman Cain Suspended His Campaign.
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  • Top 10 Ways Evangelicals Will Prepare for the Rapture II.
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