Sunday, August 31, 2008

Ladies and Gentlemen...

...your next vice president.

This is an honest-to-God 1988 clip of Alaska Governor and Republican Vice Presidential running mate Sarah Palin as a 24 year-old sportscaster on Anchorage's KTUU.

Ah, that brings back memories. Remember when we were all in our cross-eyed Marie Antoinette phase?

I can't wait until the Republican party seizes on this as proof positive that Sarah Palin represents the Second Coming of Ronald Reagan.

Freedom Meatballs, Anyone?

Sen. John McCain announces at Mississippi's Emergency Management Headquarters that the GOP national convention's opening speeches will be cut short. In the background, Tony Bourdain silently thanks God.

Has anyone else been getting the impression that the upcoming Republican National Convention is either cursed or heralds the End of Days?

Minnesota police have been busy this week arresting and charging leftist anarchists who have been found to be possessing dangerous "weapons" such as slingshots and urine.

Talk about pissing off the GOP.

Today in a highly-symbolic and -calculated speech at Mississippi's Emergency Management HQ designed to put humanitarianism above politics, John McCain took belated potshots at the Bush administration over Hurricane Katrina three years ago. In the act of putting politics in the back seat, McCain said, "This is a time when we have to do away with our party politics and we have to act as Americans... I have every expectation that we will not see the mistakes of Katrina repeated."

Then, to show what a regular guy he is, McCain will not be accepting his party's nomination on the convention floor but via satellite on the Gulf Coast. Seriously. So I trust we won't be seeing repeats of this or this, for instance.

Perhaps the Republican Party is on to something by planning on cutting the opening speeches from 7 hours to 2 1/2: Hurricanes feed off hot air.

In order to show the Republican Party's compassionate conservatism, disgraced ex Congressman Kurt Weldon has taken a proactive stance against Hurricane Gustav by calling for the Congressional Cafeteria to change the name Swedish meatballs to Freedom meatballs.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Back-Pedaling We Can Believe In

(Today's blog posting was written by the infamous Mike Flannigan. Mike, writing from Denver's convention floor [or "the killing floor of liberalism", as he put it in his email], works for an old and venerable liberal publication that shall remain nameless. The only reason his dispatch from the Great White West is appearing here in Pottersville and not his home pages is because, quoth Flannigan, his editor in chief, Ari Goldstein, "isn't quite the liberal he was when he provided fun fodder for a Life Magazine photo spread in 1968 when he pissed on a burning American flag. Ari can't do that anymore because of prostate issues."

Btw, don't tell Mike but in a few months he'll be going on a road trip all over the eastern seaboard and will chronicle his adventures in a first-person narrative called American Zen.)


Fear And Loathing of Liberalism on the Campaign Trail '08, by Michael Flannigan.

The Pepsi Convention Center, Denver, CO --- The Choice of a New Generation, indeed.

To be sure, we won't be seeing as many idiotic senior moments in Denver as we'll play witness to in the miniseries version of the DSM IV in Minnesota next month (Just a limo ride from Larry Craig's abortive tap audition).

But the Democratic convention, that great American renewal of democracy that prefaces the debates and election with alcohol and cattle prods in elevators, as with the recently-dismantled dog and pony show of the Beijing Olympics, nevertheless has to be viewed in its true pink, white and perriwinkle blue colors.

We got an indication during this tightly-scripted and ruthlessly choreographed event when Michelle Obama had to tell America that she's proud of it, after all. Doing so, a naked repudiation of GOP talking points about the Obamas' patriotism, was the unspoken but final severing of any remaining ties with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who rightly said that the America of which she's now proud was founded on racism and terrorism.

Anyone who ever saw that episode of the Simpsons in which the Kennedy/Nixon debates were sponsored by Duff beer would've and should've seen in Budweiser heiress Cindy McCain's reaction Richard Nixon, after Kennedy, offering his own tepid and insincere endorsement of Duff. Within minutes of Michelle Obama's conveniently-timed resurrection of national pride, Cindy McCain, too, found God in a red, white and blue top hat and proclaimed her pride in a nation in which 99% of its population is poorer than her and 99.99% wouldn't be allowed within 100 yards of her.

Even more hideously-timed was the convention organizers' decision to pull Teddy Kennedy's foot out of his grave in Hyannisport , trotting him out to give America a last, misty-eyed, nostalgic glimpse of what Democratic liberalism used to look like.

Of course, what was gleefully elided over was the fact that Kennedy's own one candidacy for president, which was kick-started when Mommy Rose told him to run, was before the 1980 convention deader in the water than Mary Jo Kopechne.

Rather than stick a fat stake in the black heart of the Reagan era that is still very vigorously beating, they misjudged their aim by a foot to the left and impaled the barely-beating heart of the liberalism that gave us our greatest social triumphs of the 20th century.

As with the upcoming carnival of the cruel and stupid next month, everything so far has been scripted with Hollywood precision. There will be no give and take with Obama, the biggest talking head on TV this week who might as well be the animatronic bust in those fortune-telling machines along the boardwalks on Atlantic City or Coney Island (the GOP will be only too glad to supply the turban, I'm sure).

We'll turn on our tee vees, put in a quarter and get one open-ended fortune after another on a pristine card. Cha-ching!

"Change you can believe in!"


"Iran is a threat we need to deal with now."


"Social Security has a problem we need to deal with now."

But conventions are never press conferences and we're not permitted unscripted give and take. In this antithesis of the Town Hall meeting, we will be told only what the Powers That Want to Be want us to hear, to think what they want us to think. We will never be permitted to ask Obama why he's bowing and scraping to the Likud-controlled AIPAC and doing almost as good a job as Bush and Hillary Clinton on selling Iran as a WMD threat.

We'll also never be able to put his feet to the fire to ask him why, in spite of his well-publicized opposition to Iraq's invasion, he'd made statements that were conditionally supportive of said invasion (in other words, testing the political winds). I seem to recall, “There’s not that much difference between my position and George Bush’s position at this stage.” Then there was this gem: “We’ve got to do everything we can to stabilize the country to make it successful because we’ll have too much at stake in the Middle East.”

Instead, we'll see Obama, red, white and blue balloons and confetti raining on him, his arm around the waist of an old white guy who voted to go to war with Iraq, the Democratic ticket looking more and more like the Republican's with the sneakiness of the pigs and humans morphing into eachother at the end of Animal Farm.

Because McCain, too, has been BFF with another small state senior senator whose name is also Joe, one who also voted for the war as well as for cloture on the same bankruptcy bill that Biden not only voted for but helped midwife (surely not because his home state of Delaware holds the papers of incorporation of the same lenders who'd written the bankruptcy bill 8 years before it finally passed, could it? Say it ain't so, Joe!). That would be the same pimp stick of a bill that's currently making it more difficult for homeowners to dodge the specter of foreclosure.

And when Obama and Biden stand together, the age gap of 18 years will not only make Biden look older than Pompeii (or maybe even McCain) but Obama look like he's posing for pictures in his parents' driveway on prom night.

Because, as with his wife feeling it necessary to address and repudiate GOP talking points, Barack Obama will feel it necessary to do the same to the GOP talking point that he's too inexperienced in foreign affairs. Biden's very presence says not only, "I said the same thing about him, too, guys but what're ya gonna do?" but also, "I am a novice in foreign affairs despite my successful presidential road show and I need this old foreign policy wonk to help me navigate those dangerous waters."

Which is also to say that said old policy wonk, who was wildly non-catalytic to Democratic voters, will have a more active role in foreign policy than is appropriate for the OVPOTUS.

Which is what we're seeing now in the secret little shadow government/star chamber in the Naval Observatory.

The anointing of Biden from a purely electoral map standpoint makes no sense since Biden's standing in Delaware (the other Rhode Island) does not in the least help Obama's notably sagging support in the corn belt. From that viewpoint the most logical choice would've been Kansas Governor Kate Sibelius, a real liberal and a fighter who, as a true liberal Democrat, nonetheless was able to get herself elected chief executive of a state that's only slightly less backwards than pre-Cambrian Albania and latter-day Alabama.

Plus, putting a smart, accomplished lady on the ticket couldn't exactly hurt when fighting for the affections of Hillary supporters still baffled and furious that destiny, this one time, didn't favor their gal Hillary.

The Obama brand of liberalism is a merely bleached-out, nonthreatening form of liberalism that we need, a dead-center heading when we really need is a hard-to-port wrench on the wheel to get us back on our true course.

Obama's brand of liberalism is bland, safe, as mindful of Republican criticism as his colleagues in Congress, a shade of liberalism as comfortingly muted as the mulatto color of his own skin.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Guest Blogger

Since I still have only intermittent intertube access to the Google and am in the teeth of American Zen's rewrite, done around a 40+ hour a week job and endless domestic responsibilities, I'll have to bite the bullet and use a guest blogger who's actually embedded at the dog and pony show going on in Denver this week.

It'll be a pleasant surprise and, despite what's going on, I could really use a vacation from blogging. If anything, this bird's got an even sharper tongue than me and he's been in the business a lot longer.

He's also a pretty kick-ass guitarist and has a rock-and-roll attitude to go with his notorious liberal bias that has made him at least as big a pariah among so-called liberals as your's truly.

So tune in sometime tomorrow night after 5 EST for my political alter ego's weigh-in from the convention floor.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Accidental Prometheus

Another Coyote Story by Minstrel Boy. I'm not sure how many more hits the Group News Blog will get as a result of my failing and now suddenly erstwhile blog but Minstrel Boy's coyote stories are, understandably, fast becoming a hit on the GNB.

This is how Stevie prefaces this story in a CC'd email he sent to his friends:
this one is pretty dense. there are several stories contained within it.

"Coyote Turns Himself Blue, Marries His Own Daughter, Becomes Ga'an, Steals Fire By Accident"

still, it seems to be getting buried in all the hoopla surrounding the convention. (just a curmudgeonly aside about the fucking convention, is there anything going to happen off script? i will probably pay less attention to the conventions than i did to the opening ceremonies of the olympics)

any and all linky love would be greatly appreciated. also, as always, your comments are treasured.

because these are stories that come from my own experience of oral tradition i am trying hard to keep my writing voice conversational. i would love to know how well i am succeeding, or not succeeding. i'm hoping that as they read these stories people can get a sense of what a winter night with everybody gathered around to listen to a nagoni'ili (storyteller or historian) were like.

for me, they were magic. like when buffy was all first runs. i hope i can convey that here.

Stevie never comes right out and says whether these are actual Apache folk tales of antiquity or if he makes them up. Either way, they make for some entertaining and informative readings.


Friday, August 22, 2008

It's Our Constitution, Too

Politicians of all stripes, regardless of party or ideological affiliation, have demonstrated a disturbingly proprietary attitude toward the Constitution. Our elected officials in both the legislative and executive branches seem to think that they and they alone are the sole stewards of said document and that they, because they and not us, are sworn to honor it, can parcel out the civil liberties like tiny food pellets into an endless rat maze.

Far from it. What the arch and clueless demagogues in Congress have clearly forgotten is that We the People of the United States of America, are, too, stewards of the Constitution and exercise that stewardship every election day. We elect, according to pre-Diebold political theory, those officials whom we feel and think would be best-suited to directly uphold and protect the founding document of our republic.

Or, as it says in the heavily-referenced Article One, section two of said Constitution,
The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.

However,. what we've seen in two successive Congresses (the 109th and 110th) has amply demonstrated this perplexing and alarming paradigm shift in legislative thinking.

Far from safeguarding the Constitution and Bill of Rights, which is identical to vouchsafing our civil liberties, we're instead given back with virtually every bill passed copies of the Constitution with so many big bites ripped out of it that it might as well read, "this Constitution for the United States of America... shall... be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. "

Beginning with a back door version of the virtually unchallenged USA PATRIOT Act, a massive knot of draconian laws that in spirit is absolutely indistinguishable in spirit from Hitler's Enabling Act, and continuing through the Consumer Protection Act of 2005, the condemnation of, Jane Harmon's HR 1955, plus stealth legislation that guarantees dictatorial powers to the one man on earth the least competent to wield them, it would be farcical to think that we have as many or more constitutional protections than we did prior to 2001.

We've been screaming our heads off over the endless piracies, rapes, pillages, subversions, perversions and scandals of the criminal enterprise aka the Cheney/Bush administration. But the screamingly obvious fact is most of those evils wouldn't have been possible without the incessant enabling acts of the wet-legged invertebrates of the Vichy Democratic party.

And one would think, were the old constitutional rules still applicable and not left to twist in the winds of political change in this Twilight Zone version of democracy, that there would be enough of a preponderance of evidence against the Cheney/Bush administration to make articles of impeachment not only timely but actionable.

It's not as if we're talking about artful deception. Republicans and their neocon lunatic fringe don't always bother to cover their tracks or to do so in grossly obvious ways because 1) they think the rules don't don't apply to them and use the so-called War on Terror as a fig leaf to commit their high crimes and misdemeanors. And 2) they know they can count on interference being run for them by a Democrat party that had supplanted the actual Democratic party like dowdily-dressed pod people.

The Overtonian window has shifted to the right of where our democracy used to be that the Speaker of the House, under the laughable excuse that it's for the common good, holds the Constitution in contempt by 1) Not honoring Article 1, section 2 and 2) showing active disdain for the constitutional rules of succession.

In short, this is what we're hearing from Speaker of Everything But Impeachment Pelosi:

"How unusual is it that both a sitting president and vice president be considered for impeachment by a tiny handful of Democrats? Why, it's so unprecedented, that if I were to pursue that avenue (especially Pennsylvania Avenue), it would look opportunistic. So better to let the guilty off scot-free than to look partisan.

"So, instead of enforcing the rule of law, we'll just busy ourselves making up new laws that will also look opportunistic and partisan should we try to enforce them, if the minority GOP sees it that way.

"Ergo, you peasants ought to be satisfied that we're at least giving you the appearance of looking busy. Vote for me in November!"

And Pelosi was actually stunned when she ran into one protest after another when she left the Ivory Tower of the Capitol Building long enough to go on her book signing tour. No doubt, news that Congress also has an approval rating of 9% would also stun her.

"Know Your Power", indeed. More like "Know Your Place."

The Importance of Not Being Earnest

And it can't be said that the Democrats' perpetual program of appeasement of the Republicans (a payoff that always seems to be beyond the horizon) is done so in the interests of party supremacy. If there's another way in which the Democrats fail as miserably as they do in staying on message and closing ranks, it's their self-destructive refusal to take the ruthless steps renowned of Republicans to ensure their party's supremacy.

To illustrate what I mean by this, we need look no further back than 2005 when Paul Hackett was running for Congress out of OH-2.

Running in what for a quarter of a century had been a solidly red district, Hackett sent a wakeup call to both parties when he gave Jean Schmidt a run for her dirty money by not only bringing out OH-2's democratic voters but even amassing a national following and a potent netroots support network.

The DNC, on the other hand, considered Hackett's candidacy dead in the water and were all too happy to concede that seat to a corrupt Republican in the most corrupt Republican state party in modern times, one still under investigation for corruption.

Then the results came pouring in from Daily Kos.

Only then when the sons and daughters of Dr. "50 State Strategy" Dean saw what Hackett was accomplishing did they step in and add to the $400,000 raised on the internet.

True to form, the Democrats were a day late and several hundreds of thousands of dollars short.

The following winter, Hackett set his sights on the higher chamber and ran for the Senate out of Ohio, challenging Republican incumbent Mike DeWine. The buzz was starting again and early polls were saying he had a fighting chance against the weakened DeWine.

As with 2005, Hackett was saying all the right things with the credibility of a battle-tested officer who'd served in Iraq and the money began pouring in.

But then a funny thing happened on the way to the forum.

Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer, so-called Democratic leaders, contacted Hackett barely after he'd announced his candidacy. They even contacted Hackett's donors and told them to stop contributing to the Hackett campaign. Here's how the conversation went (my bullshit filter is clogged but nonetheless still on):

"Paul, we admire you and all, so don't get us wrong. You're handsome, dynamic, you've acquired a national following because you take the right positions that we, too, would love to take. And Lord knows you can get the parishioners to kick in to the collection plate until it hurts.

"And, while you may be a Democrat, you're... not our kind of Democrat. We have someone else in mind, a well-oiled Beltway insider. You may've heard of him. His name's Sherrod Brown and he's already in Congress. He's our man.

"So, while we admire you for bringing out the vote and helping turn a red district bluer, let's just say that even if you win the Democratic primary, don't count on our support. So go back to shaking sand out of your boxer shorts in Baghdad, OK, sport? Thanks and have a nice war that we fully intend to continue funding forever."

(I know what the Great and Powerful Kos said about Hackett's betrayal, that it didn't exist, but the problem with that is in order to believe Kos's line of naive bullshit one first has to call Paul Hackett a liar.)

So Hackett did the graceful thing and stepped aside for the good of the Democrat party infiltrated by aforementioned pod people. In fact, Hackett was so graceful about it that he walked away from politics entirely. Brown won the election.

And what, over the last two years, has Brown done for you, my darling liberals?

A fuck of a lot less than Hackett likely would've done, if avoiding stepping on well-shod toes doesn't count.

And while we're still in Ohio, let's talk about Zack Space. It could be that Space, recently elected to OH-16 when former incumbent Bob Ney crash-landed in flames like a pudgier Icarus into prison then a halfway house, doesn't belong in Congress. But Space was asked something of the Democratic leadership once he got in: He was expected to become a cash-cow by spending valuable time at fundraisers and given a goal to achieve in his abbreviated term: $600,000.

To anyone who'd been acquainted with politics more than a day can tell you, s/he who does not meet their fundraising goal cannot and will not count on the help of their party. No one will ever admit that and you won't even see it in print. That doesn't mean it's not an unspoken reality.

The Republicans? Well, we all know about the unctious relationship between Karl Rove and Mark Foley (R-AIM) and how Rove kept his cash cow in for as long as he could under threat of sabotaging Foley's lobbying career.

The Democrats? They'll damn you with faint praise and/or let you twist in the wind simply for not meeting your fundraising goals even if you represent a largely hostile district, thereby letting any unqualified Republican douchebag sleaze their way into Congress (see Schmidt, Jean).

In summation, while I would never advocate actions that would aid and abet the GOP (like some I can mention and have), it's obvious that we need to do some weeding out of certain incumbents, starting with the pod people at the top of the Democrat party's food chain so we can get back to having the kind of Democratic party that our parents championed. So think about that before you touch that screen or pull that lever on election day. It's time to let them know that the Constitution belongs to a lot more than just 535 self-absorbed tycoons.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

One by One...

...the rats scurry off the world stage only to be replaced by new ones.

The guy Bushie had referred to as "General" quit as President of Pakistan yesterday when it became obvious that he couldn't beat impeachment proceedings. Basically, he ended up like another right wing tyrant named Richard Nixon, another rat who waddled off the world stage when the cats were encroaching.

Now, that leaves the problem of the Taliban and al Qaeda who were given safe passage and even protection in North Waziristan, the security of the nukes that Nixon paved the way for them getting, the fragile and tense peace between them and India...

...none of which it can be said President Junior did diddly about all these years. So when counting up all the shiny legacies of the Bush administration, toss into the hated haversack Pakistan along with Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, New Orleans and possibly Iran.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

"Justice Delayed is Justice Denied."

The Washington Post reports today that six Blackwater mercenaries connected to the Nisour Square shooting that senselessly slaughtered 17 innocent Iraqi civilians September 16th last year have received target letters from the Department of Justice indicating that a grand jury is close to indicting them.

Elsewhere, ABC also tells us the sunny news that a complaint originally filed in federal district court in the District of Columbia has been amended and expanded to include former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and former WH liaison Monica Goodling in connection with the politicized hiring process at the Department of Justice.

On the face of it, this sounds like America is finally getting back on track and once again observing the rule of law. However, being the cynic that I necessarily am, two questions immediately come to mind:

What the fuck took so long and why does accountability and comeuppance only come in an election year in which we're seeing the last days of power of an administration that not only aided and abetted these high crimes and misdemeanors but even ordered them?

And, more importantly, why are these looming indictments and complaints stopping short of the men at the top?

On the face of it, it would seem that real progress is being made by naming Alberto Gonzales in the complaint but it ought to be understood that 1) It is a complaint filed by several victims of a corrupt and unforgivably politicized criminal justice system, not a federal indictment nor even inherent contempt. It is a complaint that could easily go nowhere.

And 2), Alberto Gonzales was a stooge, a glorified mob lawyer in less expensive suits who never worked for anyone else but George W. Bush after law school. Gonzales had said time and again that he was completely oblivious to the hiring criteria being implemented by Goodling and her minions and one begins to suspect that Gonzo may be telling the truth for once in his bootlicking life.

Regarding the impending indictments against Blackwater for its mini genocide in Nisour Sq. in Baghdad last year, one has to wonder why accountability for that even more serious crime is being choked off at the thug level.

In spite of massive quantities of evidence that was being assembled by American and Iraqi military authorities plus the FBI in its parallel investigation, Erik Prince gave the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee a testimony that would've done Hannibal Lecter proud. In spite of photographs having been taken of bullet holes in the roofs of the Iraqi cars that were obviously strafed from above, Prince calmly denied there being any Blackwater gunships anywhere near the one-sided firefight.

The only acknowledgements that Prince and his own minions ever made to those murdered Iraqi men, women and children was to say that shit happens in a war zone, to quickly whisk his killers out of Iraq and then to bribe the surviving family members into silence through third parties (these same families rejected the bribes and, instead, sued Blackwater Worldwide).

As a flourish, Prince then at the end of his testimony, stole right out from under Henry Waxman's nose the nameplate with his name on it. It was pure sociopathic theater that was engineered to say, "Anything that belongs to this government is mine to take and you can't do a damned thing about it."

So why isn't Erik Prince also being named in this possible indictment?

Impeachment of Bush and Cheney is now a wistful memory inspiring daydreams of what might have been. It's obvious that 99.9% of Congress never had the slightest intention of impeaching Bush and Cheney. Even if we're to take Henry Waxman's recent admission at face value, that impeachment and observing the rule of law could and would be called "partisan politics" by the minority GOP (that will see its numbers shrink even further come this November), then it still augurs very badly.

However, one suspects that Pelosi's refusal to impeach Bush and Cheney for high crimes that far, far exceeded a blow job lied about under oath, even exceeding the excesses of power in the darkest, most paranoid days of the Nixon administration, involves a deeper, darker agenda than a mere fear that the Republican party will call them names with schoolyard bully tactics.

We're seeing a choking off of accountability that's reminiscent of the Abu Ghraib scandal. Yeah, they toppled Janice Karpinski, demoted her to Colonel, but what about Rumsfeld? Lynndie England, Charles Graner and Sabrina Harmon was a good start but they're not Rumsfeld nor the top brass that institutionalized if not ordered the torture and murders of Iraqi citizens in Abu Ghraib prison.

Karpinski, like Gonzales, also claimed ignorance of what her underlings were doing.

Criminally clueless though these hacks are, accountability should not be limited to them. For every blithely oblivious idiot like Alberto Gonzales and Janice Karpinski, for every cruel and stupid stooge like England and Graner, there are at least five or ten neocon puppet masters pulling their strings who will not be held accountable for any high crimes and misdemeanors no matter what year is on the calendar.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

RIP JP's Compaq September 2006-August 14, 2008

So I come home after a ten hour day and find that my recently slow laptop has been slowed down to a standstill. I can't even open a browser window, a word file or anything. I reboot and the piece of shit doesn't reboot at all but gives me a cycled message in DOS telling me that my configsys file is either missing or corrupted. Hit "R" when you get the next screen. Trouble is, the next screen never comes and I have no recollection of a boot disc when I bought said piece of shit two years ago.

So until the boot disc materializes out of thin air or if God improbably intercedes on my behalf, posting will be sporadic to nonexistent because wifey's computer (on which I'm writing this) is her's.

And just when I started making headway on American Zen's rewrite. This cannot be fucking happening.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Speaking of Hitmen…

Sometimes right wingers can’t wait for God to get around to doing their dirty work for them so they do things according to their busy schedule.

According to the NY Times:
Bill Gwatney, the chairman of the Arkansas Democratic party, was shot and critically wounded in his office in Little Rock Wednesday morning, police officials said.

The officials said a single gunman fired three shots at Mr. Gwatney, a former state legislator, in his office a few blocks from the state Capitol and then drove away.

A friend of the Gwatney family, who asked not to be identified, said Mr. Gwatney was near death at the medical center of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, and that doctors considered his wound inoperable.

The article doesn’t go on to say whether Mr. Gwatney, who is also a super delegate, pledged support for either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton but the Arkansas superdelegate list shows that he’d endorsed Hillary Clinton earlier this year.

That would at least seem to indicate that this wasn’t Obama-related.

Why did this as unnamed assailant shoot Mr. Gwatney three times, perhaps fatally? We’ll likely never know the exact reasons but I’m going to break from tradition and assume that this was a right winger before the facts start coming in. Because whenever something like this happens and I hang back out of fairness, it’s always shown that a conservative was behind it. As with the Unitarian church shooting in Tennessee earlier this summer.

But since Hillary’s now out of the race, with nothing but fast-fading hopes of getting into an Obama administration, this shooting doesn’t make any sense. But if this guy that the Arkansas police killed was a right winger as I suspect, don’t expect much sense to emerge outside of a four page manifesto written in blood, feces and crayon.

Update: The same article from the NY Times informs us that Mr. Gwatney just passed away. Deepest condolences go out to his family. Is the partisan divide really this deep?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Caption Contest

"Oh, shit, GEICO's never gonna believe this."

God is My Hitman.

(Tip o' the tinfoil hat to Mr. Sully at The Atlantic.)

In Boston back before the Braves went to Milwaukee, there was a saying: Spahn and Sain- Pray for rain. But James Dobson's Focus on the Family isn't resurrecting the rain dance for Boston's former aces Warren Spahn and Johnny Sain. They're literally praying for rain during the weekend at the Democratic convention in Denver late this month.

Yes, it's true. The GOP's long arm of Christ has gotten so desperate that they're asking their flock to bother God for "rain of Biblical proportions" (which still doesn't somehow explain how this bozo can ask for rain that doesn't flood people out of their homes. After the last Biblical flood, everybody on earth had terminal basement damage.).

It wasn't too long ago when Pat Robertson prayed that a hurricane headed for his Virginia headquarters be diverted to, say, a place rife with teh gays. Even more recently, Robertson said that Hurricane Katrina was God's way of saying "Thou Shalt Not Hireth Ellen Degeneres to Hosteth Yon Emmy Awards" to New Orleans (I guess His holy triptych didn't have lavender-colored indicators telling him about San Francisco, Provincetown, and Fire Island.). Then again, Robertson almost outdid himself mere weeks later when he warned Pennsylvania residents to not go crying to God when disaster strikes because it'll be God who'll do the striking because evil science-lovin' lib'rals chose to vote off the Board of Education the eight God-fearers who espoused Creationism.

So there you have it: God is my Hitman. And He will kill you if you're near the Democratic convention.

When called on this, the FOTF said the video was intended to be "mildly humorous." Like John McCain's attack ads on Barack Obama were intended to be humorous. Like every lame Republican attempt at humor with mortal, even murderous subtexts are just "jokes."

Sure it was. Very, very mildly humorous. So mild, in fact, that the video's been jerked off the FOTF's website but not before it went viral when, of all people, other Focus on the Family members objected to God's name being invoked by Christopaths who seem to think that He's their personal hitman.

"We're sorry, delegates. The Democratic nomination for the presidency of the United States has been called on account of rain, so McCain wins. Sorry to bring ya'll out here."

That's what these peckerheads envision. Seriously. I can smell the flopsweat all the way up here in Massachusetts. And my sense of smell sucks.

So, since rain's out, what other desperate plans does Focus on the Family have to derail Obama's chance of getting the nomination?

Well, there's this old standby:

Floodwaters would come in handy, hint hint.

Then there's this mildly humorous way of wasting the Almighty's time:

Hell, we'd even settle for a little more Mad Cow disease.

Then there's this trick that's always popular at birthday parties and exoduses:

But then again, praying for locusts is kind of redundant, anyway, since the Republicans will be flocking to Minnesota next month.

Monday, August 11, 2008

You've Been Barack-rolled

(Tip o' the tinfoil hat to Jill @ B@B.)

While John McCain dismisses his attack ads on Barack Obama as mere fun, some enterprising Youtuber redefines fun by making this video that's also a redefinition of "Rickrolling", an irritating practical joke that directs people to a certain vile 80's video by a one-hit wonder who shall remain semi-nameless.

But this is a cool and funny video that makes ingenious use of Obama's speeches and press conferences.

Update: If you really want to test out your manual dexterity skills, go to

Lowered Expectations

Did you all know that, like Teh General, Pottersville has its own dating service and that it’s free? It’s true! And, ladies, have I got a guy for you!

He’s conservative, great-looking in a vulnerable, ambiguously Brokeback Mountain sort of way and, best of all, he’s a college boy whose father Bob is in the US House of Representatives and is on the fast track to the US Senate! Say hello to Justin Schaffer, the future of America!

Justin’s original Facebook page, which contained some heartwarmingly nostalgic notions about race and gender relations, has been preserved in all its glory on a mirror site before this humble son of Republican America takes it down in deference to his ambitious but equally humble father Bob.

Here’s a brief sample of the admirable political activism of Justin Schaffer:

Ah, ha ha ha! And people wonder where all those hilarious young Republican comedians come from! And, finally, not to be outdone by The manly General, there’s this take on Republican Jesus:

Now, lest you liberal ladies out there think that young Justin’s head is good only for stockpiling product, guess again. It ought to be noted that in addition to his college studies, Justin’s also a member of ROTC whose Facebook nickname is “Cap'n Bootyplunder”, no doubt a moniker that’ll be kept when he finally gets that coveted little gold bar on his epaulets. Until recently, Justin was also a proud member of “Pole Dancers For Jesus” and still belongs to “Hey, My Name’s Justin”, a thriving Facebook forum devoted to other young conservative McCain supporters who share his first name.

With typical Republican fairness and balance, Justin also, despite his hilarious anti-Obama, anti-black polemics, features a paid ad for Obama buttons on the top leftist side of his page. Republican principles be damned, this is money we’re talking about, meaning he’ll be a great provider, ladies!

Ah, but the apple never falls far from the tree as dear ole Dad can and has added to his Senatorial resume, “Supported America’s removal of Saddam Hussein in the war against radical totalitarian Jihadism. (H.J.Res. 64, RC Vote #342, 9/14/01; H.J.Res. 114, RC Vote #455, 10/10/02).” All of which being votes that, no doubt, will pay dividends as soon as we find those darned elusive Hussein/al Qaeda connections, weapons of mass destruction and some tangible evidence of Saddam making jihadist threats against America.

So who wants to be the one to pop this concupiscent conservative’s Republican-red cherry?

Never Take Anything For Granted...

...such as Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman knowing what inherent contempt is, something long since known and understood by every parttime A-Z list blogger like me who didn't study government and constitutional law in college nor serve in the halls of government for decades.

We make old people take driving tests sometimes to prove they’re still competent behind the wheel. We make doctors, nurses and therapists take CEU's (Continuing Education Units) to keep their knowledge and skills up to date. How come we don’t give Government 101 pop quizzes to lawmakers, especially Congressional committee chairpeople? Considering the stakes, why isn't incumbency conditional?

If anyone out there reading this had an ounce of decency, they'd mail me a buttplug 'cuz I'm sure sick and tired of bending over and biting a pillow for these ignorant idjits running our government.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

One Possible Reason Why Dick Cheney Thinks He Has a Dog in the Russia-Georgia Fight

"A proposed alternative pipeline would skirt Russia and run through Georgia, as an oil pipeline now does. 'If Georgia collapses in turmoil,' Mr. Goldman notes, 'investors will not put up the money for a bypass pipeline.' And so, he concludes, Mr. Putin has done his best to destabilize the Saakashvili regime." - James Traub, The New York Times

Then there’s this little-reported news item that no doubt got Dick Cheney’s attention a lot more quickly than the news of 1500-2000 Georgian civilians getting killed:
Russian fighter jets targeted the major Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline which carries oil to the West from Asia but missed.

Finally, we’re getting beyond the How Dare They Do This to a Sovereign Nation?! bullshit that we’ve been hearing from Bush to McCain to Obama.

The BTC pipeline, for anyone who doesn’t follow the news or hasn’t at least read Jeremy Scahill’s book about Blackwater, bypasses Russia entirely and runs straight through Georgia. A look at the map above reveals that the alternative pipeline, which has been a thorn in Putin’s side from the beginning and a bone of contention between the US and Russia, runs straight through Georgia’s capital of Tbilisi.

Of course, Iraq was all about liberating them from another brutal dictatorship that just happened, by sheer coincidence, to be sitting atop the second biggest oil reserves on the planet earth. So I certainly trust in Cheney’s and McCain’s pious bromides about standing up for a democratically-elected government that just happens to be one of three hosts to a US-backed oil pipeline under attack from a Russia that can only, by coincidence only, be hurt by it.

Yeah, it’s all about democracy. That’s it.


There’s never been a bigger maverick in this town than John McCain.” - Rick Davis, John McCain’s presidential campaign manager, to Fox’s Chris Wallace

Maybe he’s calling Paris Hilton too much. Or maybe he’s been accidentally making phone calls to Europe when he falls asleep on his gold-colored cell phone on the campaign trail. Whatever the reason, over 40% of America is about to vote for a sleepy old boob who had to have his cell phone privileges curtailed by those who don’t consider tapioca one of the five food groups.

McCain also can’t keep up with the strain of the campaign trail, even though he seems to have completely forgotten why we’re paying him almost $170,000 a year. I’m sure that Americans working two and three jobs because of McBush’s economic pyramid schemes will be able to sympathize with McCain’s pissing and moaning about not getting his beauty sleep because he’s too busy gadflying Obama with lying attack ads.

Psst, hey, Johnny boy: The presidency doesn’t allow you to punch out at 5 and leave the running of the country to the swing shift manager when you fall asleep hours before Conan O‘Brien.

Since it’s obvious that McCain probably can’t even wipe his own fat, pasty ass, you have to wonder who’s going to be waging these “other wars” on McCain’s behalf.

Oh. Never mind.

One World, One Nightmare

Am I the only person in the world who is completely indifferent to the Olympics and thinks it is vitally important to not forget the hypocrisy that hums in the background?

First there was the news that Todd Bachman, the father-in-law of the men’s volleyball team's coach, was stabbed to death at the ancient Drum Tower the night of the opening ceremonies. Bachman’s wife and their translator were also stabbed before the man who carried out the attack committed suicide by jumping off the second story.

For an idea of how much responsibility China is taking for this wanton act of murder, read this article from the Peoples’ Daily Online and tell me how many times you read the words “fault”, “responsibility” or even “guilt.” Sure, they’re expressing “condolences” and “sympathy” but most of that seems to be reserved for George W. Bush, who at least had the common decency to address the murder the day the Olympics started.

True, this is an isolated incident and this lone maniac who’d attacked the Bachmans for no apparent reason is not connected to the Chinese government. Yet this attack is symptomatic of the porous nature of the much-ballyhooed “security” of which we’ve been hearing all summer. Further proof of this is the fact that a small group of protesters also managed to slip security and stage a brief pro-Tibet protest in Tiananmen Square, the scene of 1989's student pro-democracy protests and a highly symbolic place that, one would think, would be heavily monitored to suppress and prevent such dissident activity.

This followed on the heels of the slaughter of 16 Chinese policemen, which has been followed up by a string of bombings in the Xinjiang region that have claimed at least another five lives. So not only can China not handle Muslim extremist terrorists, they can’t even seem to protect or prevent minor problems like peaceful protesters. To their credit, however, they were able to hose down the streets and dispose of the blood days before the opening ceremonies.

Technologically, we’ve come full circle from the 1936 Olympics in Nazi Germany, to which these Olympics have been fairly compared. Back in 1936, there was no television and people had to wait weeks and even months before seeing the exploits of Jesse Owens in newsreels shown in movie theaters. Today’s Olympics, as with the Sydney Olympics of 2000, features no live footage whatsoever on the west coast and even footage shown in the east coast is mostly canned, narrated by “sportscasters” who merely loop in dialogue and desperately trying to make their “commentary” sound spontaneous.

We’re also seeing the return of the corruption that ended the ancient Olympics, which was also overtaken with ringers. We’re sending more and more tycoons to the Olympics, athletes who already make millions of dollars a year in NBA salaries, tennis purses and highly lucrative commercial endorsements. If I’d bothered to watch the Opening ceremonies, it would’ve made me sick to see Kobe Bryant, fresh from an NBA championship final, walking with our delegation knowing that a college player should’ve been marching in his place.

From the time basketball entered the Olympics until the rigged finals at the Munich Games in 1972, the US featured only college players, amateurs who never failed to bring home the gold. After 1996, when we began sending mercenaries already covered with money and honors, the Dream Team has brought home one gold medal (in Greece we won a bronze) and our chances of winning a gold this year are suspect, at best. Meanwhile, men like Jim Thorpe and Paul Anderson can’t get back their gold medals because they made twenty or thirty bucks on the side.

The mantra we’re hearing is that politics and sports don’t mix yet it’s this tension that made the 1936 Berlin Olympics so compelling. It’s become part of American historical folklore that Jesse Owens and the rest of the American delegation so infuriated Hitler that he stood up and walked out of the stadium (which isn’t true- Hitler’s advisors informed him he had two choices: Either congratulate all the gold medalists or none. Hitler chose to congratulate none).

However, this time around, there’s no major America-China matchup in any sport, no Democracy vs. Communist rivalry because the mantra is “One World, One Dream”, the best marketing gimmick and slogan that money can buy by those who are salivating at the thought of a single global union that would surely spell the end of individual freedom across the planet.

In 1936, only Prescott Bush and a handful of other right wing industrialists were financing Hitler’s war machine but this time around the world’s premier dictatorship is being subsidized by not only American industry as a whole but the government itself. It’s already common knowledge that the US borrows two billion dollars a day from Red China just to temporarily fill the hole created by Prescott Bush's grandson’s neverending tax cuts for the wealthy and the equally endless war in Iraq.

Back in 1936, America was still between two world wars, battling a depression and was in no shape whatsoever to be entering another major military campaign as it would have to in five and a half years. Still, we had no problem standing up to Nazi aggression. This time around, American politicians starting with George W. Bush seem to be so jittery about China calling in the massive note that they already hold over our heads that one suspects Bush will apologize to Hu Jintao for every gold meal we win.

People are still dying in China through terrorist bombings, Tibet is still occupied, Georgia is still under attack from Russia, Musharraf is avoiding Beijing under threat of impeachment, we're now losing more troops in Afghanistan than anywhere else, Iraq will still be occupied come 2013, our trade imbalance with China was $256 billion as of last year and Todd Bachman is still dead. The massive dog and pony show of the Opening ceremonies, around which the Bird’s Nest was actually built, now lives on only in videotape. Before we know it, the Olympics will be over in two weeks. It would be nice to think that the world can take a 16 day-long vacation from senseless murders and endless occupations of small nations by brutal dictatorships such as China’s and our own.

But don't be fooled by Bush and Hu Jintao kicking back in Beijing. If nothing else, Berlin taught us that oppression and despotism doesn't take a break even for the Olympics.

Tom Friedman: Flush With Energy

(Sure, we all know he's an idiot, someone whose fate as a useful idiot for the GOP has forever been sealed with Atrios's coinage of the term Friedman Units. But every once in a while, Friedman is a useful idiot for the progressive side and this article, written from Copenhagen, Denmark about that country's advances in energy production, is extremely interesting when you contrast how Denmark responded to the Arab oil embargo in 1973 with our response. While we were engaging in fist fights at the pumps to the delight of rag-headed Arab dictators and bloated oil executives, Denmark banned driving on Sundays and slowly began enacting systematic and longterm measures to ensure their energy independence for what appears to be forever. Click on the title to read the rest of the article. The last line of Friedman's op-ed is a pretty sobering one.)

Unlike America, Denmark, which was so badly hammered by the 1973 Arab oil embargo that it banned all Sunday driving for a while, responded to that crisis in such a sustained, focused and systematic way that today it is energy independent. (And it didn’t happen by Danish politicians making their people stupid by telling them the solution was simply more offshore drilling.)

What was the trick? To be sure, Denmark is much smaller than us and was lucky to discover some oil in the North Sea. But despite that, Danes imposed on themselves a set of gasoline taxes, CO2 taxes and building-and-appliance efficiency standards that allowed them to grow their economy — while barely growing their energy consumption — and gave birth to a Danish clean-power industry that is one of the most competitive in the world today. Denmark today gets nearly 20 percent of its electricity from wind. America? About 1 percent.

Saturday, August 9, 2008


I had visions, I was in them, I was looking into the mirror,
to see a little bit clearer, the rotteness and evil in me,

finger tips have memories
mine can’t forget the curves of your body,

And when I feel a bit naughty
I run it up the flag pole and see,
who salutes but no one ever does,

Been around the world and found that only stupid people are breeding,

The cretins cloning and feeding,

And I don’t even own a tv.

put me in the hospital for nerves and then they had to commit me.
You told them all I was crazy,

They cut off my legs now I’m an amputee,
Goddamn you

I’m not sick but I’m not well,

And it’s a sin,
to live so well,

I want to publish zines,
and rage against machines,

I wanna pierce my tongue
It doesn’t hurt it feels fine,

the trivial sublime

I'd like to turn off time

and kill my mind,
You kill my mind.
My mind...

Paranoia, Paranoia everybody's comin’ to get me,

Just say you never met me,

I’m running underground with the moles,
digging holes,

Hear the voices in my head,
I swear to God it sounds like they’re snoring,

But if you’re bored then you’re boring,
The agony and the irony it’s killing me!

I’m not sick but I’m not well,

And I’m so hot
Cause I’m in hell....

I’m not sick but I’m not well,
And it’s a sin,
to live this well.

KindleindaWind, my writing blog.

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