Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Modest Book Proposal

(I could see myself having to write a book proposal like this to an agent if things had turned out differently.)

Darren McConnell
McConnell Literary Agency
120 5th Avenue, NY, NY

December 31, 2012

Dear Mr. McConnell:

Please find enclosed my chapter synopsis for my speculative fiction novel, "Our First Black President."

Imagine, if you will, if the 2008 presidential election was won by Barack Obama and Joe Biden instead of the late John McCain and Sarah Palin. Imagine how different the world would be.

Sincerely yours,
Robert Crawford

January 29, 2013

Dear Mr. Crawford:

While I and my agency generally don't represent alternate histories, or speculative fiction if you will, I might be moved to make an exception largely on the strength of your proposal.

Please send at your earliest convenience a two-page synopsis, 50 sample pages and your Citizen ID number (laser stenciled on your forearm) so we may access your Homeland Security Criminal record (if applicable).

Long live the Hunter Empress.

Patriotically yours,
Darren McConnell

Feb. 1, 2013
Dear Mr. McConnell:
Please find enclosed under same cover the first 50 pages of "Our First Black President" as well as my two-page synopsis.

No doubt, both your agency and the Ministry of Literary Correctness (praise be to Empress Palin) will be intrigued by the creative liberties that I've taken under the tantalizing scenario of an Obama presidency (As you'll note, in my fictional world, they're still known as presidents, not emperors or Grand Imperators).

Note the difference between our current blessed government and my antiquated but interesting United States (Yes, I've also kept the old name before it became the United Collective Farms of Red China) that's still a nation of laws and not men, where global warming was actually addressed in time and public waterboardings would've likely been frowned upon.

As for my Citizen's ID number, I do not see how my past as a dissident, blacklisted political blogger is germane to my saleability as an author.

Praise be to the fertile Empress,

March 3, 2013
Dear Mr. Crawford:
Both MiniLitCor and I agree that your proposal has merit, even though the Ministry's Grand High Exalted Censor had deemed it too inflammatory. The notion of a man in a resurrected slave class (Praise be to the Hunter Empress for her infinite wisdom), especially one who died in the Hal Turner/Franklin Graham Purge of 2010 rising to the title of Emperor President is, admittedly, far-fetched.

Likewise it would require tremendous suspension of disbelief on the reader's part to imagine a world that still has dry land and when the former state of Alaska still had ice. Driving to work this morning in my armored speedboat I was thinking how implausible your fictional work sounds.

Therefore I and the Powers That Be regrettably have to pass on this otherwise intriguing project.

May you live in interesting times.

Patriotically yours,

March 6, 2013
Dear McConnell:

Please find enclosed in a separate encrypted email detailed instructions on how to find my entire manuscript in an encoded, zipped Word file, placed in a secure and as yet undisclosed location by a special ninja courier.

I'm afraid that you're unfairly basing your good judgment on a book of which you have read less than 10%. Of course we all remember that Emperor McCain died of apoplexy during his inaugural when President Bush's black suit made him hallucinate a Vietcong soldier (Inaugurating Empress Palin on the spot saved the taxpayers many yuan). It was a shocking day exceeded only by the assassinations of Senator Feingold, Congressman Kucinich and Michael Moore on Ronald Reagan's birthday (or National Alzheimer's Awareness Day).

However, truth is not always stranger than fiction and it may be entertaining, perhaps even instructive, to reconstruct from unrewritten histories (Such as the late Howard Zinn's A Serf's History of the United Collective Farms of Red China) a United States of America that used to be, before the stars and stripes were replaced with hammers, sickles and pink stripes.

MiniLitCor be damned. I no longer care what they think. I no longer care what our Supreme, Fragrant Empress thinks. You are prejudging me. Please reconsider.

Sincerely, etc.

April 21, 2013
Dear Shithead:
Boy, you don't take No for an answer, do you? Three words and follow the bouncing ball: Try. Another. Agency. Don't ever darken my encrypted inbox with your word processing ever again.

On a personal note, your last novel, American Zen was a pompous, pretentious, pseudo-literary piece of shit written by a pompous, pretentious piece of shit. Its subversive liberal and homosexual element would've gotten you sent to Fox's prime time executions were not such subversive "literature" graciously grandfathered and exempt from the MiniLitCor's guidelines (Praise be to Empress Palin).

Contact me again and your name will be submitted to the Ministry of Witchhunts for possible investigation.

Patriotically yours (and Praise be to the Bastard Prince Johnston),

Who is Roland Burris?

The fight over whether or not Rod Blagojevich has the right and political capital to shoehorn a lobbyist into the United States Senate is not just a battle over President-elect Obama's seat but a battle for the soul of Washington.

It's reminiscent of George W. Bush's recent rescinded pardons of two men who'd contributed money to both his campaign and the Republican National Committee. The NY Times, as with so many other MSM outlets, has shied away from using the word "lobbyist" in connection with Roland Burris, preferring to call him a "consultant" but the fact is Burris' "consulting firm" had benefited to the tune of $290,000 in contracts from the Blagojevich administration. He'd also contributed $20,000 to the current Governor's last campaign.

If this was a crime scene (and it could very well prove to be one) this would be considered the perfect delineation of Locard's Exchange Principle, the theory that, in the commission of a crime, some minute evidence is passed between perpetrator and victim. It also goes to show the sheer rot and cynicism that seems to define Chicago politics even moreso than politics at a federal level.

That level of cynicism reached its apex when, at Blago's press conference announcing his appointment of Burris, he'd trotted out another black man, Bobby Rush, an Illinois lawmaker and former Black Panther to not only endorse Burris but to even use inflammatory language such as the word "lynch."

No, no race card being drawn here, folks, unless the flip side of that card is shown when Senate Democrats oppose Burris' attempted appointment. In other words, the ball's in your court, Washington. It's the very height of hubris and immature political gamesmanship and Blagojevich should be mounting his legal defense instead of playing chicken with the United States Senate.

So who is Roland Burris?

Burris had just two and a half weeks ago suggested himself for the Senate while at the same time united with Madigan in calling for Blagojevich's resignation.

Yet since then he has no problem accepting a Senate seat from the same man whom Burris had said at the time faced evidence that was "appalling." Sorry, Roland. I would think, as Illinois's former Attorney General and a career politician, that you'd know having a relatively clean record (if such a thing is even a remote possibility in Illinois) in a unique case such as this simply isn't enough.

And if the United States Senate doesn't successfully oppose this attempted appointment, it will send a clear-cut message to the people that monetary incestuousness really is the way things are done in Washington, that if enough money exchanges hands enough times it will eventually solidify into a seat in the US Senate or a pardon from the President. That it's perfectly acceptable to force into the higher chamber a lobbyist registered in both Illinois and Washington, DC.

Which is, of course, true enough. But they ought to at least take the pains to make it look less obvious.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Those Who Ignore the Lessons of History...

From Dexter Filkins of the NY Times:
Taking a page from the successful experiment in Iraq, American commanders and Afghan leaders are preparing to arm local militias to help in the fight against a resurgent Taliban.

The successful experiment in Iraq?

More like the successful experiment in Afghanistan from 29 years ago.

Failing Toward Success

(President and Mrs. Kennedy greet members of the 2506 Cuban Invasion Brigade, 29 December 1962. Picture and caption courtesy of the JFK Presidential Library.)

Sometimes failure is almost synonymous with success. By that, I don't mean a William Kristol/Dick Cheney/Donald Rumsfeld failing upwards kind of way. I'm speaking of failure as a legitimate learning tool for success. In short, learning from one's mistakes.

The incoming Obama administration will be looked at in two ways, depending upon your political stripe.

Liberals and progressives, used to fetishistic secrecy, snarling hostility and neverending incompetence will view any dilution of failure as a great success by conspicuous relief. Until recently, people were wondering where to fit Bill Clinton's face on Mt. Rushmore mainly on the strength of the Bush bookends on either side of his presidency.

Conservatives will view any action that deviates from Bush's greatest failures both foreign and domestic as a betrayal of their pet causes. Obama, of course, is not Alan Keyes and they should already know that.

But there's a third school of thought, those of us who are hypervigilant to anything that smells like Bush. We're already piling on (and yes, I'm also guilty as charged) the future president just for tapping for a ceremonial honor of delivering the inaugural invocation a homophobic pastor in the interests of "diversity."

And as troubling as it is for Obama to tap Rick Warren to give the invocation on January 20th, passing off Warren's intolerance toward an oppressed minority as a legitimate competing viewpoint, it's still an ultimately ceremonial function and a controversy that will blow over by January 21st. The incoming president will have far more challenging decisions to make that will surely age him as the strain of the presidency ages all who have held the office.

But Obama will surely fail, as surely as Kennedy had failed his first months in office. And we will need to be patient and to continue supporting him as he takes over a nation that is infinitely more troubled than the United States that Kennedy had inherited in 1960. After all, if we could support George W. Bush after 9/11, then Obama certainly deserves at least as much (as a point of historical fact, when Kennedy took the blame for the Bay of Pigs, his approval rating actually shot up to 83%, a lesson obviously lost on the current resident of the West Wing).

The Bay of Pigs was cold water thrown on a presidency that was untroubled by Vietnam and East Berlin, before US Steel went on strike, before missile bases were discovered by U2 spy planes over Cuba and was blithely ignorant of the emerging civil right unrest.

Unfairly stigmatized by the Bay of Pigs, which was an Eisenhower/Nixon production, Kennedy was presented with the proposed invasion by the Joint Chiefs and the new president was already feeling political pressure to overthrow Castro and to re-establish American influence in the Caribbean. To not do so would be to look weak against Communism.

On April 17th, CIA-armed and trained Cuban exiles launched an attack on the south shore of the island. It was, to quote one CIA official, "a perfectly-planned failure." Things had gone so far south that Kennedy was forced to deny air support to the Cuban exiles that he'd already promised them. Afterwards, Kennedy wondered how he and the "best and brightest" minds could've been so stupid.

A year and a half later, Kennedy was faced with another Communist crisis when Russian missile bases were discovered on Cuba. Secretary General Nikita Khrushchev took a dangerous gamble and Kennedy was under greater pressure than with the Bay of Pigs to oppose the Soviet threat. The Joint Chiefs that had once had their way with Kennedy in the spring of 1961 were now putting enormous pressure on the freshman president to invade Cuba for the second time. Kennedy settled for a blockade.

No doubt, when reasonable and pragmatic proposals were given to him by four star generals and admirals eager to overthrow Castro and humiliate Khrushchev, Kennedy must have thought, "Well, I've already invaded Cuba once before and look how well that worked out."

Without the 1961 Bay of Pigs, perhaps Kennedy would've invaded Cuba in 1962, which almost surely would've brought us to thermonuclear war with the USSR. Kennedy's prior failure could very well be thought of almost as a safety valve or a fail safe mechanism for what would come a year and a half later, an object lesson of how to not invade a nation occupied by a nuclear superpower.

The same could happen with Obama. Obama could make a blunder that could prove to be a valuable lesson later in his presidency. It could involve Iraq or Iran or Pakistan. And while Obama's record on gay civil rights is lukewarm at best, let's not forget that Jack Kennedy, a white child of privilege from Cape Cod, seemed completely oblivious to the Civil Rights movement until it could no longer be ignored. Kennedy was also reluctant to embrace civil rights because his agendas depended largely on southern Senators even more reluctant to right wrongs to blacks.

By the time of the Cuban missile crisis, John F. Kennedy had finally become the president that Americans had deluded themselves into thinking he already was. He became the rare example of a president who actually grew into the expectations of a nation.

Barack Obama will inherit an infinitely more troubled nation than the one inherited by Kennedy in 1961. There will be many opportunities for failure, such as making rash tactical decisions so as not to look weak against terrorism. So before we begin criticizing him for every perceived misstep, let's wait and see how well he learns from those inevitable mistakes and whether he embraces controversial issues before political expediency. Let's also remember how instructional constant failure over eight years was for his predecessor.

Monday, December 29, 2008

I Feel So... So... Dirty!

Horror of horrors. I've been linked on Jon Swift's blog, the most notorious conservative on the Internets, the tubes and the Google. I guess he's one of those rare conservatives who actually gives those of us on the other, more elite side of the tracks a fair hearing.

So hop on over and give America's favorite conservative blogger some love and attention and read his year-end roundup. There are a lot of disrespectful, foul-mouthed liberals represented there. You know, people like me.

Where Can I Get One of These? early February? It's not what you think. Trust me, I have a good reason for asking.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Assclowns of the Week #74: Dropping the Crystal Ball Edition

The crystal ball in Times Square won’t be the only one dropped in 2008, as the GOP once again saw their rosy predictions defied by the will of the people. As 2008 draws to a close, we’ll be bidding a not-so-fond adieu to several Republican assclowns in both Congress and the White House. No doubt, on January 20th, Washington, DC street sweepers will be cleaning Pennsylvania Avenue of discarded shoes that were riotously flung to salute the end of our third Bush term (hereafter referred to as the Third Reich) that ended not with a bang but a wingtip.

Many, alas, are still among us and will continue to be even after Inauguration Day, such as J. Kenneth Blackwell (9), who, like Rodney King, wonders aloud why we can’t all just get along; scumsmuggler Chip Saltsman (10), for passing along to RNC HQ good-spirited racist humor; SEC Chairman Christopher Cox (7), who thought the password was “obliviousness” and the world’s most revered terrorist state, Israel (1) for reminding us once again that one Israeli life is worth over 200 Palestinian lives.

So let’s ride that Republican crystal ball down, down, down until it shatters to smithereens as we review these assclowns to round out 2008 and much, much more!

10) Chip Saltsman

I don’t know about you but when I hear about a song set by Republicans to the tune of “Puff the Magic Dragon” and retitled “Barack the Magic Negro” accompanied by other titles such as “Ivory and Ebony” and “The Star Spanglish Banner”, the very last thing I’d think of is racism.

Former Huckabee campaign manager and Republican National Committee candidate for Chairman Mark “Chip” Saltsman thought it would be a good idea to get in the good graces of the racists of the GOP by passing along a two year-old CD that valiantly attempts to lampoon liberals, one written by Tennessee redneck and former house cleaner-pest exterminator Paul Shanklin.

The title song, “We Hate the USA” (who says Republicans don’t have an attraction to irony?) starts off with this chorus:
If tomorrow all of this were gone
The American way of life
And I had to start again
I'd be sure to ditch my wife

The 41 track CD was sent to Rush Limbaugh, which he gleefully played on his radio show on March last year. Which I guess is a step up for Limbaugh, who isn’t above using a 10th grader’s 12 year-old essay to attack Obama.

What was originally thought to be a coal sludge spill in Tennessee actually turned out to be Chip Saltsman leaving his house to deliver “We Hate America” to Republican National Committee HQ.

The RNC has since repudiated the CD and was appalled, appalled, I tells ya… about 22 hours after Saltsman delivered it. Yeah, you read that right. They’re pillorying Saltsman, the fat redneck slob who merely passed the CD along instead of Shanklin, the other fat redneck slob who’d actually wrote and sang the songs.

If you don’t mind washing your eyes out with sulfuric acid afterwards, here are the lyrics to “Barack the Magic Negro.” Saltsman’s African American rival for the RNC’s chairmanship, Michael Steele, has been unavailable for comment. His other African American rival? Well, that’s another story altogether…

9) J. Kenneth Blackwell

J. Kenneth Blackwell, has defended Saltsman, thereby officially making himself the self-loathing token Uncle Tom in this Republican minstrel show.

And we all know, especially since the 2004 election, that Blackwell’s no believer in Affirmative Action or even giving his fellow blacks the right to vote. But that’s all right because, as with Barack Obama and his insistence on using Rick Warren to deliver the inaugural invocation, Blackwell prides himself on reaching out and embracing those with differing viewpoints, such as when he spoke to the Council for National Policy, a super secret organization made up of homophobes, xenophobes, neonazis, Klan leaders and other right-proper, right-thinking folks who half a century ago would’ve lynched Blackwell just for looking at one of their women.

Still, Blackwell’s sermon of tolerance of racially-targeted humor seems to be in direct contradiction to a speech he’d given in 1990 during Black History Month at the Heritage Foundation, in which he’d blasted the GOP for not communicating a more positive message to the black community from whom he would later take back the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Then again, what can be more positive than humor, even if it targets blacks and other minorities?

8) George W. Bush

“Hey, how’re ya doin’? Sorry to call ya’ll durin’ dinner but, boy, have I got an offer for you or anyone in your family who’s been convicted of a crime that’s given money to the GOP…!”

What’s worse? Rod Blagojevich selling a United States Senate seat or the Bush White House circumventing the DOJ’s pardons attorney to give clemency to Republican money men?

Julia at Firedoglake perfectly deconstructs what has got to be the most awkward of George W. Bush’s 191 pardons, one that seemed to have been greased with a piddling $28,500 given to the GOP until the public outcry got too loud for even Bubble Boy to ignore. The man in question, Issac Toussie, had close to eight years ago pleaded guilty “to using false documents to get mortgages insured by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.” And who’s Toussie’s mouthpiece?

Bradford Berenson, a former running buddy of David M. Barrett. You remember him, right, the Republican spendthrift who not too long ago blew 21 million taxpayer dollars so he could prosecute a former HUD Secretary over his mistress to get $10,025 in fines out of him (Patrick Fitzgerald, by the same token, spent only $611,491 in FY 2004.)? Berenson also worked in the WH Counsel’s office for a couple of years during the early years of the Bush administration, even helping Cheney ramrod a memo claiming that the administration could indefinitely detain terrorism suspects without charges.

But even without using this angle, Julia ties it all together with a nice Christmas bow:
So Mr. Toussie, who has confessed to defrauding HUD, hired a lawyer who's pretty much spent his career investigating a Democrat for allegedly defrauding HUD to get him a pardon for admittedly defrauding HUD.

And she sticks the landing!

Alan Maiss got off even more cheaply until Bush revoked his pardon, too: He’d given Bush $1500 for his re-election campaign. Tony Fratto said, “We do not look into political contributions…We think it would be inappropriate to do that. They should have no influence over our decision-making.”

Issac Toussie’s father Robert and Bush. One’s the president. The other one’s obviously the client.

Which decision-making would that be? The ones that pardon criminals or the ones forcing the overturning of pardons when the pardoner was slipped money by the pardon-ee? Either way, maybe it would be very appropriate if they did look at money and pardons.

7) SEC Chairman Christopher Cox

Cox suckered. Film at 11.

Chairman Chris Cox is a modest man, a humble man, a self-effacing man. Either that or a very stupid and lazy man. Because this man that Bush installed to head the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to his official SEC biography,
has made vigorous enforcement of the securities laws the agency's top priority, bringing ground breaking cases against a variety of market abuses including hedge fund insider trading, stock options backdating, fraud aimed at senior citizens, municipal securities fraud, and securities scams on the Internet.

Yet in an interview with the Washington Post, Cox said that regulating these fat, greasy hedge fund managers “wasn’t the SEC’s job.”

In fact, it is, because the first paragraph of the SEC’s own mission statement states,
The mission of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is to protect investors, maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and facilitate capital formation.

And that, children, is how Chairman Cox got sucked into the howling maelstrom of the current economic meltdown, obliviously presiding over the $50 billion Madoff/Ponzi pyramid scam, one of the most massive and destructive frauds in American financial history. You know, the one that bilked investors, did not maintain a fair, orderly and efficient market and did the opposite of facilitating capital formation.

So why was Chairman Cox so “restrained” in regulating these captains of industry? Again, I quote from his official SEC biography:
From 1978 to 1986, he specialized in venture capital and corporate finance with the international law firm of Latham & Watkins, where he was the partner in charge of the Corporate Department in Orange County and a member of the firm's national management.

Oh. That’s why. Apparently, this former Password champion’s word of the day is “pro-corporate shitheel.” OK, so that’s two words. Maybe three.

6) Ann Coulter

Ann Coulter gets the Cloven Hoof in Mouth Disease Award of the Week for her recent column that not only extolled Sarah Palin by making the failed VP candidate “conservative of the year” but for this:
Palin was a kick in the pants, she energized conservatives, and she made liberal heads explode. Other than his brave military service, introducing Sarah Palin to Americans is the greatest thing John McCain ever did for his country.

Can’t fault her there because Palin proved to be McCain’s biggest road block to him doddering into the White House. Good call, Ann. I agree that putting Palin on the GOP ticket was more courageous than enduring 5½ years of torture in a North Vietnamese POW camp.

Elsewhere in her sadistically long screed, Coulter ascribes to Obama several gaffes, finally coming clean and saying, “As you probably know -- or guessed by now -- none of these gaffes were uttered by Palin. They are all Obama gaffes.”

In truth, Obama didn’t say half those things but by some of his campaign people and the rest were taken out of context. Besides, Annie, you don’t want to go there after all the gaffes that came out of both Palin’s and McCain’s pieholes. Such as stating, over and over, that Czechoslovakia still exists. Such as claiming, over and over, that Iran is helping al Qaida. Such as saying that Iraq and Pakistan border. Such as not knowing what the Vice President does. Such as thinking that living so close to Russia naturally gives one foreign policy experience. Such as… well, you get the idea.

So Sarah Palin’s single biggest contribution to America, in Ann’s addled mind, was in making liberals gnash their teeth (in fact, we welcomed her on the GOP ticket with alacrity, while her fellow Republicans grew to loath her, starting with Karl Rove).

Yes, that’s certainly a consolation considering that the GOP’s odious presence in Congress just shrank even more and lost the White House in the same election. Who needs to reach out and develop solutions to our nation’s problems, right, Annie? And as proof of Palin’s magnetism among those who obviously sport metal plates in their heads…

5) Team Sarah.Org

When you read the comment sections of Team, a new blog that supports Sarah Palin’s political metastasis outside of Alaska, you get the uncomfortable sense that, no, Virginia, Ann Coulter may be among the sanest of Palin’s supporters. The HuffPo’s Geoffrey Dunn, God bless his intrepid soul, gave us a glimpse into the twisted collective mind of true madness, one that may actually be as toxic, if not moreso, than the cellar in Freeperland.

The Team Sarah blog is a product of the Susan B. Anthony list and access is strictly regulated, confined to only the most batshit insane conservatives (One of the questions asked during the sign up process is, “Do you love Sarah Palin, or what? What do you like the most about Sarah?” To which my response was, “She's got the kind of face you gotta stick your cock into.” I haven’t heard back from them with any confirmation email. Maybe my proposed screen name “Mandingo” tipped them off.)

So until I get confirmed as a BFF of Sarah, we’ll have to go by what Dunn had gleaned on his own as to the kind of element Team Sarah attracts. They seem to be at their best when discussing the Inaugural ball:
Wendell: I just can't wait to see the Inaugeral ball... I heard the Presidential Waltz will be replaced by Barack and Michelle "Crumpin".
tami: I am sure michelle will dance like a horse
Wendell: followed by the new cabinet break dancing...
Christopher: Not trying to get too racial, but I have never met a black woman who could not dance.
tommykb3grz: the 4th of july watermellon roll on the south lawn
Wendell: a 4-inch diameter Presidential Seal in gold hanging from Obama's neck

The site also attracts the most politically and socially astute, not to mention those who revere political correctness:
And negroes are pretty conventional when t comes to values. Most are rather conservative, which is why I can't understand for the life of me why the vote for democrats.

Yes, every now and then they forget Obama and extol the virtues of Sarah Palin while glorifying the name of Susan B. Anthony, a champion of women’s suffrage who’d earlier fought tirelessly against slavery and racial discrimination against African Americans.

Once again, folks, these people have the right to vote. Which is why you need to exercise yours.

4) Dick Cheney

In an interview with Wyoming’s Casper Star-Tribune, Dick Cheney was asked to explain his low approval ratings. His answer? “I don't have any idea. I don't follow the polls.”

I have to agree with Cheney. I’m at a loss to understand his perennial unpopularity after authorizing torture, was involved in the outing of a covert agent, funneled money to Sunni insurgent groups, ordered power to be turned back on for the post-Katrina Gulf coast refineries instead of hospitals, told Sen. Patrick Leahy to go fuck himself, declared the OVPOTUS separate from the executive branch, practically took point in invading a country with no WMDs, enriching in the process his “former” company Halliburton beyond even their wildest dreams of avarice.

So why is Dick Cheney the most hated man in America?

Once again, I’m as stumped as Cheney.

3) Condoleeza Rice

Luckily, Dick Cheney isn’t the only one who doesn’t religiously swear by polls. Take Condi Rice, who thinks that George Bush’s “Let’s Ignore Them Until They See Things Our Way” style of foreign policy deserves an A+.

Uh huh. It seems every country in the world can’t wait until Bush gets out of office, if this video from the last G20 summit is any indication. Note how many world leaders shook Bush’s hand.

(Yeah, I’ve seen CNN’s “debunking” of this incident. According to them, Bush had met with all the other leaders yet the leaders hadn’t had a chance to meet earlier. That doesn’t explain why Bush got snubbed when everyone else shook hands. It also doesn’t explain why Bush would ignore these world leaders after meeting them the day before.)

According to Rice, “In two of the most populous countries, China and India, the United States is not just well regarded for its policies, but well regarded.” Sure we’re well-regarded by them- We’re shipping all of our skilled jobs to them so corporations can get around the trade unions and laws and we’re borrowing two billion dollars a day from the Chinese while they’re benefiting from the most massive trade imbalance ever between any two countries. Bush had also devalued the dollar by allowing China to revalue its yuan.

Why the fuck wouldn’t they like us?

Except almost 60% of China still views us unfavorably, according to this Pew poll. Hmph! And we call the Iraqis ungrateful after everything we also did for them.

Then again, when you start two wars and slowly lose both of them, putting a strain on the economies of the Mouse That Roared countries that made up almost all of the Coalition of the Willing, they tend to view you as less than favorably, Condi.

2) Chris Ortloff

Here’s another bifurcated Republican for you: A tough, no-nonsense, law-and-order politician and parole board member who was tough on sex offenders (as was Mark Foley) but who was nonetheless open-minded enough to skulk on the other side of the law to see how the other half lives.

Last October, former Republican New York Assemblyman Chris Ortloff was arrested in a sting operation at a hotel hoping to have sex with two little girls aged 11 and 12. Ortloff, while trolling online, thought he was talking to the mother of the girls when it was in fact an undercover officer.

A few days ago, Ortloff admitted to police to having had sex with underaged children in his own neighborhood.

Hopefully, he’ll find in prison not inspiration from Jesus but from fellow child molester John Atchison.

1) Israel

Here we go again.

It only follows that after the bread is served, the circus begins. On the 27th, Israel, after making a pretense of opening up the borders and allowing humanitarian supplies to come into Gaza, began a bombing campaign that so far has claimed over 200 lives. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert called for Palestine to stop the bombing that has claimed exactly one Israeli life. It’s strongly reminiscent of the bombing campaign in South Lebanon in July of 2006 that supposedly started when two Israeli soldiers were captured there.

Palestinians lift a wounded woman to a vehicle after Israeli air force attacked Gaza City December 27, 2008. (Photo and caption courtesy Suhaib Salem/Reuters.)

The Bush administration that exists only in a constitutional sense roused itself from its Christmas vacation in Crawford long enough to call for a ceasefire, even though they seem to be blaming the Palestinians for the whole affair. In fact, Gordon Johndroe, an NSC spokesman, said, “These people are nothing but thugs, so Israel is going to defend its people against terrorists like Hamas that indiscriminately kill their own people.” Not surprisingly, Israel seems to be completely ignoring Junior, vowing to widen the attacks “if necessary.” Forget the fact that behind the “thugs” are impoverished people who are eating grass in order to survive.

And what kind of a comment is it on Israel when Palestinians, in a free, Democratic election three years ago, entrusted their defense against Israel to Hamas terrorists?

Clowns to the Left of Me...

...jokers to the right, there I was, stuck in the middle of them.

Actual joke heard today about Barack Obama at a Danish luncheon:

"What's the big deal? It's just another black family moving into federally-subsidized housing."

See what I have to deal with during family functions?

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Serial Killers vs Bush

Update: the answers are below. Bet you were stumped at some point, eh?

“I will in all probability be convicted, but I will not go away as a monster, but as a tragedy.” – Joel Rifkin

Below are actual quotes from serial killers, along with some corresponding ones by George W. Bush. Try to guess which are which. The answers will be posted tomorrow.

“I wish I could stop but I could not. I had no other thrill or happiness.” - Dennis Nilsen
“(T)hat happens to be my last choice -- the use of force.” - Bush

"I don't lose sleep over what I have done or have nightmares about it." - Dennis Nilsen
"I must tell you, I'm sleeping a lot better than people would assume." - Bush

“I carried it too far, that’s for sure.” - Jeffrey Dahmer
“I think that in retrospect I could have used a different tone, a different rhetoric.” - Bush

“It wasn't as dark and scary as it sounds. I had a lot of fun...” - Albert DeSalvo
“We’ve had a lot of fun in this experience.” - Bush

“We all go a little mad sometimes.” - Ted Bundy
“I am mindful that we're all sinners...” - Bush

“I could have done it without knowing it. I am not sure if I did it.” - Kenneth Erskine
“If you're like me, you won't remember everything you did here. That can be a good thing.” - Bush

“From my earliest years my recollection is of my father saying: 'Do no' or 'Thou shall not'. Any form of sport or light entertainment was frowned upon and regarded as not edifying.” - John Haigh
“Sometimes when I sleep at night I think of "Hop on Pop.” - Bush

“I was only following God's orders.” - Joseph Kallinger
“God told me to strike… and I struck them…” - Bush

Friday, December 26, 2008

Bush is Number Two

...literally as well as figuratively.

The annual USA/Gallup poll asking just over 1000 people whom they admire the most offers results both predictable and amazing. President-Elect Barack Obama was the runaway favorite, with 32% of respondents saying they admire him more than anyone else.

What's astounding is that Bush finished second. A distant second, at only 5%, sure, but I'm having a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that after everything he's done to this country, to the world at large and all with a shocking lack of humanity he still finished second. What's even more amazing is that he was first during the last seven years of the poll, even after the economy began tanking, long after Iraq turned into a nightmarish, never-ending quagmire, long after news broke that he was spying on us and that he ordered the detention and torture of human beings.

Finishing behind Bush were other champions of progressive causes, with John McCain showing, trailed by the likes of Pope Benedict XVI and Billy Graham, who, except for when his wife Ruth died last year, hasn't been in the limelight since the Nixon administration. Rounding the pack of the top five was Bill Clinton, whose own sloppy return to the limelight was marred and marked by bitterness, nastiness and even racism.

You have to wonder who Gallup is calling and why they keep voting more often for the guy who's either in the White House or about to enter it.

What's even more amazing was that Sarah Palin, who wasn't even known in GOP circles until two months before the election, finished a fairly close second to Hillary Clinton (20%) with 11%. Michelle Obama? A mere 3%. Condoleezza Rice finished way ahead of her with 7%.

I guess I shouldn't be too hard on the good ole boy as he's moving his boxes out of the Oval Office because Obama did beat him by 27%. But it's just amazing to me that a war criminal and economic and environmental terrorist like Bush even placed, to be followed by an Alzheimer's candidate, a homophobic pederast-protecting papist and an anti-Semite when there are so many other worthier candidates.

No Al Gore, who in rapid succession earned an Academy Award then a Nobel Peace Prize, someone who has done more to raise our awareness about the very real dangers of global warming than any other single human being on the planet. No Dennis Kucinich, who was one of the very few people in Congress who didn't get dry heaves at the thought of impeaching Bush and Cheney. No Cindy Sheehan, who for at least a brief time gave the antiwar movement a face and a story and who courageously ran against the same Nancy Pelosi who'd stonewalled Kucinich and Wexler during their own impeachment resolutions.

I suppose we ought to take what we can get and breathe a sigh of relief that Dick Cheney didn't crack the top five but you have to wonder about the collective long and short-term memory and powers of rational thinking of our people when 50 out of a 1000 of us still admire George W. Bush more than Barack Obama after his historic capture of the Presidency.

(Update: Go to my diary of this post on DKos and take the poll.)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

And What Did You Get For Christmas?

I think the coolest present I got this year was Jeff Herman's Guide to Book Publishers, Editors and Literary Agents. If you're a serious writer or even a halfway serious aspiring writer, you'll know who Jeff Herman is and how valuable his book can be to your future marketability as a writer. This edition is what I've been hankering for ever since before it came out this past September 30th. Moreso than the Writer's Digest series, including their own guide to lit agents, Herman's book, written by a practicing agent, is more valuable in terms of cross-referencing. It can put you in touch with exactly the people you need to reach and it also provides informative articles on the book business that you won't get anywhere else.

If you're me, someone who's trying to get a damned good property placed with a reputable agency, it's a very cool fucking present. The only thing that worries me is the only agency to whom I've submitted sample chapters of American Zen isn't listed. That isn't necessarily a bad thing. As Herman says in the foreword to the literary agent listings, some of his favorite agencies aren't listed for the simple reason that they don't want to get swamped with new submissions. Only 10% of DGLM's client list are new authors. But their official website still invites submissions and I submitted three weeks ago. One of my novelist friends (Michael Prescott) is repped by them and Barack Obama is also on their client list.

But if you're not a writer, then I'm just farting in the wind. So, what was your favorite present this morning?

Hope you have a safe and happy Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa or however you observe the holidays.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas from Mercenary Jesus

JP will be out for the rest of the night so if I don't get back online till after Thursday, have a safe and happy holidays (Yes, that goes out to you, Bill O.).

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Pope Karloff Sez...

...everytime a man sucks a cock, a snowball melts.

Leave it to right wing blowhards like Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly to seize upon the holidays as an opportunity to spout their ideological idiocy. Last month, Limbaugh commemorated Thanksgiving by reminding us of how the white man was screwed over by the red man regarding the sale of Manhattan Island or another screed extolling the virtues of supply side economics and its impact on the first Thanksgiving (the Injuns had nothing to do with it, see, since Squanto is just a liberal myth).

And of course we can always count on Bill O'Reilly to smear egg nog war paint on his sneering puss so he can stalk by proxy holiday light displays that go out two hours early and whoop and wail that it's another salvo in the War on Christmas.

But Pope Benedict XVI (R-Castle Frankenstein) takes the cake for pronouncing from his ultimate bully pulpit at St. Peter's Basilica that defending heterosexuality is at least as important as saving the rain forest.

That's right. The Pontiff is going green with "an ecology of man" campaign, which essentially likens homosexuality and bisexuality as spiritual pollution. In other words, when Ellen Degeneres married her girlfriend, that punched a hole in the ozone layer. And Lord only knows how much damage Richard Simmons has done to the Amazonian rain forest.

Essentially, it's a cowardly, veiled assault on not only the GLB communities, but the following passage could very well be more of a slam on the transgendered community:
"What is often expressed and understood by the term 'gender' is definitively resolved in the self-emancipation of the human being from creation and the Creator," he warned. "Man wants to create himself, and to decide always and exclusively on his own about what concerns him."

In other words, if God made you a man, live like a man. If a woman, live as one. Deal with it and don't fuck with mother nature.

The Catholic Church in England is now trying to say that Benedict never meant to imply that gay sex was being targeted simply because he never used the word "homosexual." So if he wasn't referring to the GLBT communities, then who was he referencing? The Dr. Moreau human/animal hybrids of George W. Bush's fevered imagination?

I tell people I'm a recovering Catholic but the fact is that religious zealots piss me off at least as much, and often more, than secular Republicans. I have been an enemy of organized religions since I was too small to dip my hand in those little bird baths they put at the entrance of Catholic churches. Back then, I could see through the supernatural tomfoolery and elaborate playacting and dressing up that's part and parcel to all religions.

Recognizing the dogma that depends entirely upon enormous gaps in knowledge and blind, closed-minded faith, the inevitable fairy tales intended to be consumed literally and the hypocrisy and intolerance came with maturity.

And this Boris Karloff-looking motherfucker scuttling through the cloistered shadows of the Vatican makes me twice as glad that I'd rejected all those decades ago with a mighty psychic shudder the effeminate, misogynistic, sexist, child-molesting, hypocritical, homophobic Roman Catholic Church and its Bi-Curia.

Dressing up homosexuality and gender reassignment as a spiritual illness on a par with global warming and using the Christian holidays as a bile-delivery system aimed at the GLBT communities is very possibly the vilest, most despicable thing any Pontiff has ever done since Pope Leo X murdered several cardinals and bankrupted the Vatican with his bloated lifestyle.

This position is remarkable considering that both Ratzinger and his predecessor did their level-headed best to shield from public criticism and punishment a pederast named Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legionaries of Christ. The prevailing story is that Pope Ratzo removed Maciel from the priesthood but the reality is that the investigation into his past was authorized by Pope John Paul II just before his death. When Joey the Rat took over, he "carefully" vetted the results and decided, solely because of his advanced age and health, Maciel should live a dignified life of penitence.

But gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people trying to live normal lives in a baffling and hostile world? Bad, bad, bad. Good will toward all men, indeed, except those who contribute to the world's pitifully short supply of love by loving each other.

Monday, December 22, 2008

I Am Mr. Ed

Former RNC chair Ed Gillespie is at it again. His "fact check" of George W. Bush that purports to separate fact from myth has got to be the longest sustained Koolaid gargle in Internet letters.

On that fine, fine bastion of clear political reporting, RealClearPolitics, Gillespie valiantly takes it upon himself to singlehandedly clean the Augean Stables of the Bush legacy by setting the record straight for the benefit of those in the reality-based community.
Myth 1: The last eight years were awful for most Americans economically and President Bush's deregulatory policies caused the current financial crisis.

President Bush's time in office is ending as it began, with our economy under stress. The recession President Bush inherited as he entered office ran through the attacks of September 11, 2001, but during the recovery that followed, and due in no small part to the tax relief President Bush worked with Congress to provide, this country experienced its longest run of uninterrupted job growth - 52 straight months, with 8.3 million jobs created.

Such a mastery of the facts and what better source for his assertions than from TV interviews given by a man who cares more about burnishing his legacy than he is in running the country?

So, according to Mr. Ed, Bush is the economic oasis in the middle of two evil, libr'al, Democrat administrations who handed him a recession (and a sizable mirage of a surplus) at one end and will, conveniently, turn into dogshit again the minute Obama takes over.

Despite the country losing 533,000 jobs last month alone and nearly 2 million in 2008, Bush's streak of creating jobs remains intact for over four straight years. Or would that be in producing jobs for other countries such as China and India?

More insanity follows so let's go to some fresh insanity to...
Myth 2: President Bush's tax cuts only benefitted (sic) the wealthy and were paid for by sacrificing investments in health care and education.

There are not 116 million "wealthy Americans," but that's how many taxpayers benefited from the President's tax relief. The across-the-board tax cuts provided tax relief to every American who pays income taxes, created a new bottom 10 percent bracket rate, doubled the child tax credit to $1,000, and actually increased the share of the Federal income tax burden paid by the top 10 percent of individual earners from 67 percent in 2000 to 70 percent in 2005. Furthermore, this Administration removed 13 million low-income earners from the income tax rolls completely.

If by "benefit(ing) from the President's tax relief" Gillespie means low- and middle-income people getting a whopping $50 extra dollars a year which they can blow on a double feature (without refreshments), then, sure, we've benefited enormously, as "Enormous" Dick Cheney would say.

Of course, why should we listen to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office when they willfully disagree with a Republican stooge like Mr. Ed?

And what anti-Randian maniac would ever try to claim that corporate executives, left to their own devices, have not been responsible stewards of the environment, that they do not lovingly coddle us and have practically bankrupted us through neverending chicanery and corruption? Why, when the Big Three automakers arrived in Congress, gleaming beaverskin hats in hand, to ask for tens of billions, they publicly fretted that not getting that bailout would result in job losses (upon which GM had already decided three and a half years ago). And did the lenders not also publicly wring their hands and plead with Congress for a protective TARP for America because it would cost us hundreds of billions down the road?

Of course they did, because, as we all should know, even after your friends and family forsake you, you can always count on the tender love, unconditional charity and angelic ministrations of unregulated corporate executives.

Onward, Christian soldiers...

Mr. Ed Gillespie and a young George W. Bush in happier, less misguided days.

Myth 3: The President's "go it alone" foreign policy ruined America's standing in the world.
Rarely can one see revisionist history occurring in the present, but this charge is nothing short of that. The United States acted with a multilateral coalition of partner nations to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq after he failed to comply with the will of the international community, including numerous United Nations Security Council Resolutions. To ignore this fact is not only a distortion of history, but it is also an insult to the service members of our coalition partners who sacrificed their lives to contribute to the success we are now witnessing in Iraq. And in Afghanistan, approximately forty countries are currently deployed with American forces, including every one of our NATO allies.

Yeah! You tell him, you big, beautiful blonde bastard! Who could forget the fearsome Coalition of the Willing that was composed of the island of Palau, Afghanistan itself, Estonia, Eritrea, Monaco, Narnia, Moronika and other superpowers?

It was also Bush, you might remember, who defied the misguided will of the UN Security Council who insisted that we make a stronger case of war for Iraq (Thank God for Secretary Powell and his cartoon slide show of mobile weapons labs).

And Afghanistan is turning into such a smashing success that we're also looking at sending 30,000 more troops, which will triple the number of troops we've had there since 2001. Huzzah!
Myth 4: The war in Iraq caused us to "take our eye off the ball" in Afghanistan and with al Qaeda.

Iraq and Afghanistan are two fronts in the same war, and while the success of the surge in Iraq has been visible, we have also had a quiet surge in Afghanistan. The U.S. has continuously and aggressively fought side-by-side with Afghans and our allies to defeat the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan. The United States has provided nearly $32 billion for security, political, and economic development assistance and the international community has provided more than $55 billion to Afghanistan since 2001.

Sure, since we all now know that Iraq was a major staging area for al Qaida terrorists before after the invasion. And $87 billion is a damned small price to pay for toppling a bunch of illiterate, technologically-backward sand fleas and to keep them more or less toppled OK, untoppled, for over seven years. Don't blame Bush because nobody told him that Taliban terrorists are like Weebles: You can topple them but they don't fall down.
Myth 5: This Administration has been bad for the environment and ignored the problem of global warming.

(Ed. OK, Mr. Ed may've been off his feed and may've had a soured stomach when he wrote this part, but luckily he recovers) Given the liberal media's failure to acknowledge this Administration's true record on alternative energy, conservation, and climate change, it's not surprising this charge has stuck. But here are some irrefutable data points: From 2001 to 2007, air pollution decreased by 12 percent, and fine particulate matter pollution is down 17 percent since 2001. Ethanol production quadrupled from 1.6 billion gallons in 2000 to 6.5 billion gallons in 2007, wind energy production has increased by more than 400 percent, and solar energy capacity has doubled. In 2007, solar installations increased more than 32 percent and the U.S. produced 96 percent more biodiesel (490 million gallons) than in 2006. The Administration also provided nearly $18 billion to research, develop, and promote alternative and more efficient energy technologies such as biofuels, solar, wind, clean coal, nuclear, and hydrogen.

I guess Bush's Clean Air Act was so strong that he decided to slack off a bit and weaken it just to be sporting and relax air quality standards, pissing off three Republican traitors (Governors Jodi Rell of Connecticut, Donald Carcieri of Rhode Island and James Douglas of Vermont). And who needs clean air in our national parks, anyway, since those big brown and green thingies make oxygen, anyway?

And ozone? Didn't we lick that ozone layer hole problem a long time ago?

And that Stephen Johnson. He's soooo dreamy, with his EPA working in concert with the Bush administration paving the way for industry to turn the sky all those pretty colors at sundown and all.

And Bush's ethanol proposals are certainly bold, deciding to go with the much more wasteful, costly and labor-intensive corn-based ethanol instead of the cheaper, more easily-produced sugar-based ethanol made by Brazil because, well, America loves a challenge and Brazilians are known for their laziness when they're not playing soccer and dancing the samba.

And who needs the Kyoto Protocol, anyway? Georgie, if all the nations on earth embrace the Kyoto Protocol, does that mean you'll also embrace the Kyoto Protocol? No, Pops. Good boy!

Now, I don't know what Mr. Ed hopes to gain by burnishing Bush's legacy, unless Georgie is taking applications for butt boys or people to cut his brush for him but it's notable that our favorite horse's ass never took on that nasty libr'al meme that Iraq is less than a shining success. I guess he decided to fold that into the larger libr'al lie that Bush's go-it-alone foreign policy has been less than a success in the war on terror or the one that claims Bush took his eye off the ball to topple an aging dictator of a country that just happened to have lots of lots of oil, whose most potent WMD was his own ass after a spicy dinner.

Hitler took the easy way out in his bunker and, in cowardly fashion, committed suicide when he realized the end (and the Russian leftists) were near. Our Dear Leader would never do that because the skies will always be blue (or red, if the now-freed chemical companies have their way) and every black cloud of dissent will always have a silver lining. And every great leader needs a friendly, sympathetic chronicler. Every Dr. Johnson needs his Boswell, every Hitler needs his Albert Speer.

The News at a Furtive Glance

Doctors at Walter Reed Army Hospital conducted an MRI on President George W. Bush’s shoulder today. He also underwent minor surgery to remove the chip on it that had been implanted since cracking up the family car as a young man and challenging former President George H.W. Bush to a drunken fight.

Five radical Islamists were convicted today of conspiring to kill soldiers at Ft. Dix, NJ. Says Bloomberg,
The government learned of the impeding attacks after the group asked a Circuit City Stores Inc. employee to transfer a video of them firing weapons and shouting “Allah Akbar” to a DVD. The phrase is Arabic for “God is great.” The employee tipped off FBI agents about the video.

Praise be God that such sly, discreet homegrown terrorists with no connection to the still at-large Osama bin Laden, a man who controls a terrorist organization that has mastered digital technology without any help from American corporations are now going to be supported by we taxpayers for the rest of our lives!

20% of people polled by CNN said Dick Cheney is the worst Vice President in all of American history. Vice President Cheney’s office expressed its glass-half-full optimism by concentrating on the 1% who thought that Cheney was the best one ever.

Of course, that one respondent may be biased in Mr. Cheney’s favor. Cheney’s office called that vote of supreme confidence his “1% Mandate.”

Also in Vice Presidential news, Mr. Cheney recently told Chris Wallace on Fox that a military aide follows Bush around with a “football” containing launch codes for nuclear missiles. Added Mr. Cheney,
He could launch the kind of devastating attack the world has never seen. He doesn't have to check with anybody. He doesn't have to call the Congress; he doesn't have to check with the courts. He has that authority because of the nature of the world we live in. It's unfortunate, but I think we're perfectly appropriate to take the steps we have.

Ah haaaa…

Suddenly, the complete lack of terrorist attacks since 9/11 is all starting to make sense.

I Blame Congress

I don't really blame the people who have accepted $700 billion in bailout money and have squandered it. They're executives. That's what they do. That's all they do. I blame Congress, especially Democrats, for capitulating to them as spinelessly as they've capitulated to the Bush administration that'd asked for this bailout.

So it should come as no surprise that our tax dollars had fallen into a black hole from which nothing escapes, especially accountability. Because, Lord knows, accounting for money by accountants within the banking industry is a bit too much to ask for.

The AP did a survey recently, asking banks that have received bailout money how they're spending the money, whether they're loaning it out, etc. Not a single bank responded with concrete answers. One bank spokesman even complained about being cited for its total lack cooperation. Another wanted to respond anonymously and when AP refused, they sent a curt email refusing to participate.

Does this honestly surprise anyone considering that Congress imposed no restrictions or conditions whatsoever (and of course the Bush administration insisted on none) before handing out a sum of money equivalent to the economy of Holland?

That's why we're now hearing about billions being handed out for executive bonuses and corporations refusing to stop using corporate jets and going on executive junkets costing almost half a million dollars, all on the taxpayer dole.

So I think it's kind of hypocritical when Congress started yip-yapping to auto executives and demanding that they restructure over what amounted to a tiny fraction of the 700 billion they'd already handed out with no restrictions or conditions whatsoever. The bailout money to banks was supposed to free up liquidity within the credit market, it was supposed to help out homeowners struggling to pay their mortgages.

Yet Paulson has refused to hand out a penny to help homeowners and it seems as if the largest banks are hoarding the money or blowing it on executive compensation rather than lending it out. Goldman Sachs, Paulson's own former company, even had to get bailed out despite record revenues last year. This is their laughable line:
Goldman Sachs' tab for leased cars and drivers ran as high as $233,000 per executive. The firm told its shareholders this year that financial counseling and chauffeurs are important in giving executives more time to focus on their jobs.

That's their whole rationale for refusing to let go of their money managers and luxury corporate jets. They need professional money management to manage all the billions they're getting from the taxpayer. Jets are mobile offices, doncha know? They have important shit to do, like steering us into one iceberg after another like the Titanic-class captains of industry that they are. They also need country club memberships for... what?

Well, I can think of millions of travelers who fly commercially who also work in first class or coach. I can think of millions more who can do the same thing on buses or even cars. It's a bullshit response, they we need to continue bloating and pampering these executives in order to keep them doing the wonderful job they've been doing.

But these banks and lenders got the money with no strings attached because they didn't have to actually beg for their money from Congress like the automakers. And when a cynical and angry Congress couldn't or wouldn't give them their bailout money, the Bush administration, typically, acted autonomously and gave them a $17.4 billion bridge loan, punting the next installment, and the fate of the auto industry and hundreds of thousands of jobs, to the Obama administration.

So if you want to blame anyone for this crisis, blame Congress, especially the Democrats for falling for financial alarmism. Blame the Bush administration for insisting on it with no preconditions and blame the Treasury Dept. for creating a despotism. Executives by and large are greedy, selfish and unconscionable fucks who hold the rest of us in complete disdain and contempt. Our elected officials, on the other hand, are not naive babes born just yesterday and ought to stop acting as if they are when they shovel down Wall Street countless hundreds of billions of the Treasury's money.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Obama's John Hagee

It's hard to see who's more perplexed: Progressives and liberals or Barack Obama tapping Pastor Rick Warren to deliver the inaugural invocation. And the President-Elect's befuddlement at our outrage only compounds our own befuddlement.

Obama keeps falling back on his "diversity" argument, saying on CBS last week, "That dialogue is part of what my campaign has been about."

The "dialogue" on which Obama insists is an intolerance of gay marriage and gay rights in general that is so rooted in cowardice that Warren himself falls back on the risible response, "I have many gay friends. I've eaten dinner in gay homes. No church has probably done more for people with AIDS than Saddleback Church." Yes, Warren tied gays with AIDS within the same breath. You know, because gays and AIDS are still synonymous.

(As a personal aside: During research on HIV and AIDS while writing American Zen, I discovered from several sources that since 2002, 19.9% of people who contract HIV are heterosexuals, which is the fastest-growing demographic.)

There isn't a single major issue on which Warren and widely acknowledged whack job James Dobson differ. He once told a Jewish woman that she was going to Hell just because she was Jewish. And, of course, his support of California's Proposition H8 is all too well-known.

But the shoehorning of Warren into the inauguration, sort of like dropping a gift-wrapped turd into a crystal punchbowl, is part and parcel to an incoming administration that has given zero Cabinet appointments to gay people. This insistence on admitting intolerance as a legitimate opposing viewpoint and keeping qualified gays and lesbians out of the Obama Cabinet makes a mockery of the Change We Deserve and Diversity platform on which Obama ran.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Assclowns of the Week #73: The Twelve Assclowns of Christmas Edition

(Photo courtesy of The Onion.)

Ho, ho, fucking ho, yo. And why is your prehistoric porcine so merry these days when our housing bubble has burst, our credit and lending institution in tatters, the car industry about to collapse, with hundreds of thousands facing job loss, millions facing foreclosure and us spiraling more and more deeply into a recession that’s seemingly more inescapable than a black hole?

Because not only had Providence (as well as Wasilla, New York and Washington, DC) provided yours truly with an assclown for every one of the twelve days of Christmas, but these past two weeks have given us so many villains on such a colossal scale the question isn’t who to include in this week’s list but who should occupy the top spot.

But as miserable as the economy is, let it not be said that our government doesn’t understand the spirit of giving. Otherwise, why would the Big Three automakers and every other company larger than the next door kid’s lemonade stand be standing in line waiting for their handout from Uncle Samta Claus?

There’s Illinois Governor Rod Blowjob Blogger the guy with the fabulous hair (2) for allegedly trying to gift a Senate seat to the most qualified highest bidder; George W. Bush (4, 12) for magnanimously laughing off the gravest insult in the Muslim world; former NASDAQ chairman Bernard Madoff (3) for bringing Charles Ponzi out of obscurity and Dick Cheney (1) for giving us a ringside seat into the nuclear meltdown of a human mind.

So hop aboard the sleigh, Pottersvillians, and let’s take a bird’s eye view of 2008’s last crop of jolly assclowns and much, much more!

12) George W. Bush

Leave it to a zipperhead like Bush to have a pair of shoes thrown at him in an Islamic country without knowing what a grave insult that is among Muslims or what an equally vicious burn it is to be called a “dog”.

Add to that Bush being genuinely perplexed why a single Iraqi didn’t show him the proper gratitude after all the things he’s done for his country. But I know who is grateful: the Egyptian guy who's offered al Zaidi his daughter's hand in marriage. Now, that's gratitude!

11) The New York Times

If you heard that Muntather al-Zaidi, the “shoeder” who took a couple of potshots at Bush, was a Saddam Hussein sympathizer in an attempt to isolate him from a national populace who’s supposed to love Bush, you’d think it was a disinformation campaign designed and carried out by the administration. But you’d be wrong because this is being spearheaded by the liberal New York Times.

Less publicized by the NY Times or any other major outlet is the very real possibility that al_Zaidi perhaps has a broken hand and is being tortured, according to many people, including the investigating judge.

By the way, Mr. al Zaidi is being kept out of reach of his legal representation. Then again that shouldn't surprise anyone considering that Iraqi detainees don't get legal representation any more than our own people.

10) Frank Gaffney

Shorter Frank Gaffney: Even when neocons are wrong, we’re right. 4200 Americans had to die even though we were wrong. Put it on the CIA’s tab, not ours.

To Chris Matthews on Hardball, neocon puppet Frank Gaffney defended Dick Cheney’s statement on ABC that the administration still would’ve invaded Iraq even had it been known it had no WMD’s. When pressed by the Mr. Hyde side of Tweety, who pointed out that 4000 troops died as a result of Bush’s lies, Gaffney backed up Cheney’s ridiculous belief that a nation with no WMD’s was still “a mortal threat” (which amounts to a 0% Doctrine) to the US and that 4200 “had to die.”

Forgotten by the Gaffe Man was the fact that many of those men and women died needlessly due to a lack of adequate body armor or no body armor at all, no steel plating for their Humvees and an almost complete lack of protection from IED’s.

I guess they had to die because the Pentagon short-changed the troops in order to free up billions to tamp down the throats of war profiteers, soldiers that died looking for WMD’s that, after barely over a year, had become a punchline and fun fodder for Bush.

Some people drink the Koolaid. Heartless pricks like Frank Gaffney drink it, mainline it, freebase it, snort the crystals and get it in an enema.

9) Senate Republicans

Granted, folding the Big Three automakers' stopgap bailout (with at least another required later) into the $700 billion TARP is a bitter pill for taxpayers to swallow. However, it's a necessary evil in the minds of Democrats who may legitimately fear for tens of thousands of jobs currently held hostage by auto executives now suddenly concerned about the welfare of their proletariat.

Enter the GOP, putting the skids to the Democratic Senate's attempts to save those jobs and impose some regulation and reform of executive compensation. Southern Republicans, led by the intrepid Mitch McConnell, a human sawhorse who never saw a progressive and populist omnibus under which he's refused to valiantly throw his body, as an opportunity to deal a body blow to the UAW.

Because this sticking point, demanding that the UAW actually negotiate for lower wages, has become the mantra for a GOP that seems bound and determined to torpedo their diminished standing in Middle America, their one remaining stronghold. The UAW, which has spinelessly capitulated to the Big Three for years with the industry of Democrats, is to blame for this latest crisis, doncha know?

And you know you're hitching your Wagoner to a falling star when Bill "Wrong Way" Kristol says on national TV that the Democrats have the right idea and that southern Republicans shouldn't be allowed to determine the future of the GOP.

For a quick, cheap laugh, see what John Boner and Michelle the Merciless had to say about Bush agreeing to loan the auto industry $17.4 billion, quite possibly the last passably decent thing that Bush will ever do in his last month in power.

8) Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice

"Oh, Georgie, you make my piping throb."

It's so refreshing when a high-ranking administration official takes pride in their work.

It's all too noticeable, especially since the shoe-throwing incident in Baghdad, that one neocon flak after another, including Bush, has engaged in a furious spin campaign designed to wrench public opinion of the Iraq War back to 2003 levels.

Doing the time warp again is the perennially clueless Condoleezza Rice, who, speaking "not as Secretary of State, not as National Security Advisor" but as a political scientist that she is "absolutely... so proud that we liberated Iraq."

It's almost unimaginable that our own top diplomat could have a view of the invasion and occupation of Iraq that's so diametrically opposed to reality.

Then again, we've been there before.

The invasion of Iraq, far from providing geopolitical stability, had resulted in lawless barbarism fueled by sectarian hatred, corruption, economic hardship and anarchy. Iran had been empowered. Al Qaida completed the flypaper effect by flocking to Iraq after the invasion. Yet 4200+ troops won't be spending any more Christmases with their families so we could hang an aging dictator and jerry rig a dysfunctional, deeply divided and corrupt puppet democracy.

In the balance, we may actually be better off that Condi Rice became a political scientist and not a nuclear scientist.

7) Dennis Prager

Fuck pride: What about minority shame, asks Dennis Prager?
I read a news report that because of the objections of one kindergartners mother, a public school in North Carolina had banned the singing of Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer because the song contained the word Christmas. I blame the school officials first and foremost for this craven and foolish decision. But when the news report noted that the woman was Jewish, my heart sank. Just as I had read the Beevor report and felt a surge of Jewish pride, I read the North Carolina story and felt a surge of Jewish shame.

So there's his entire impetus for writing this article. One of his own waged her own little war on Christmas, a holiday that his people don't celebrate, and that made him ashamed to be a Jew. So why shouldn't we all march in the shame parade? What about black racists, gay economic terrorists, etc?

The article starts off with this picture of a newlywed same sex couple in Los Angeles, another minority that's supposed to apologize and express shame for threatening the Mormons or whoever they're supposed to be blacklisting.

So, I suppose we should expect an apology from black people for teeming our shore for 450 years in manacles and littering trees in the American south with their bodies? I suppose Matthew Shepard should come back from the grave and apologize for being mistaken for a scarecrow when his near-dead body was found on that barbed wire fence in Wyoming and they should also express chagrin for having their right to marry whomever they want taken away from them by a minority religion that's also got a shitload to be ashamed of.

I'll make you a deal, Dennis: You can ask these people to apologize for their persecution when you first apologize for acting like a bloated, flaccid white penis and playing the accordion in public.

6) Sherry Johnston

I wonder how long it'll take John McCain to shake her hand, too.

Sherry L. Johnston, the mother of Levi Johnston, the mullet-headed, hockey-lovin' redneck who doesn't want kids, was arrested on charges of making and selling illegal drugs in her home that's smack dab in the middle of Sarah Palin's "real America." The Alaska State Police is being tight-lipped about it but a spokesman for the state police said the drug involved was Oxycontin.

It was inevitable, I suppose, that the amateur spin meisters of right wing sewers such as Newsbusters to take this as an opportunity to slime us for "sliming" Palin. It's a response that's eerily similar to El Rushbo's bellowing when he was charged with Oxycontin abuse. Sez this particular Newsbuster,
Now, it is beyond me why a person who is not yet even an official in-law by marriage of a public official is a major news story for a low-level drug bust. I can see where it might interest local media for a brief minute, but for this story to have spread all across the wires and the Old Media with nearly 1,000 stories on the national scene... well, it is rather silly, really. Evidence of the worst in tabloid maneuvers.

It's silly, of course, until one realizes that it is just another lame attempt by the Old Media to slime Governor Palin, even if it does have to be guilt by association. And it isn't even association by color of official government business, either. It is family business.

Uh huh. Well, first she's not a member of the family yet in the next paragraph it's "family business."

So was the Clinton affair. That was a family matter that involved no drugs and broke no laws, was it not? A family matter that became an impeachable offense.

We're talking about six felony counts involving illegal drugs that's directly connected to the Palin administration, a drug bust that does nothing to dispel the perception that the people surrounding the Palin family are hillbillies who reproduce out of wedlock and keep illegal stills in their backyards.

If Chelsea Clinton's boyfriend's family was somehow involved in a drug bust, how much you wanna bet the blowhards at Newsbusters would be singing a different tune regarding family privacy?

5) President-Elect Barack Obama

”Nope, your breath doesn’t smell like cock. You’re clear.”

Never thought you’d see him on this list, eh? Well, that was before Saddleback Mountain.

It took a lot of progressives by surprise when Barack Obama announced that he’d tapped Rick Warren, who can best be described as Pat Robertson Lite, to deliver the invocation at his inauguration.

Obama’s talking point regarding this controversial invite, frankly, sickens me. Yeah, it’s one thing to agree to disagree and no one person associated with the Obama administration will be in perfect concert with everyone in the progressive blogosphere. But Warren is so far to the right that it leaves one scratching their head as to what Obama was thinking. After all, this is a guy who once called himself “Rupert Murdoch's pastor and had sent out a letter to 150,000 pastors to “get out the vote for Bush.”

Like Pat Robertson, Warren has it in for gays, likening gay marriage to incest and is for the assassination of elected heads of state, once uniting with Sean Hannity when he called for the assassination of Iran’s President Ahmadinejad because stopping evil “is the legitimate role of government.” Gee, who does that remind you of?

4) George W. Bush

The truly miraculous thing about George W. Bush is that the man never ceases to amaze the most jaded, to intrepidly continue pushing the envelope every time one is confident that he cannot possibly spelunk to any greater depths of moral putrefaction.

The day after he had shoes thrown at him by an Iraqi journalist, George Bush sat down with ABC’s Martha Raddatz and began trotting out the old talking point of al Qaida being the reason we invaded Iraq. When corrected by Raddatz that al Qaida didn’t infiltrate Iraq until 2003, the year of the invasion, Bush said, “So what?”

Yes, he actually said that. Not only did a reporter have to correct him about a very big, very basic and very important distinction between al Qaida being in Iraq before or after the invasion, Bush said, “Yeah, that’s right. So what?” Classy and a workaholic married to his job, I see.

Just for good measure, comrades, Big Brother also boasted of 52 consecutive months of job growth, despite the fact that last month alone, the US lost 533,000 jobs and nearly two million in 2008.

But the truly horrible news is that after January 20th next year, the most chronically underemployed man since John McCain will also be a victim of unemployment. O, the horror, the horror. No wonder he’s crying a lot, these days.

3) Bernard Madoff

The man who Madoff with 50 billion dollars.

It’s shocking enough that, almost 90 years after the Ponzi Pyramid scheme was unmasked for the massive fraud it was, that $50 billion worth of investors could still be duped by essentially the same swindle and at the hands of the former NADAQ chairman.

But, really, how much surprise are we permitted when Madoff once boasted to the same watchdog group who was supposed to be watching him (the SEC) about how much loot he was bringing in? And what does that in itself say about the state of government regulation?

It also doesn’t augur well when one of the victims is a charity run by one of our lawmakers, you know, one of the guys who’s been bailing out other con artists like Madoff. That would be the same guy who’d advised that same easily-duped Congress in how to stop swindlers and crooks like himself. But that’s OK, since he kicked a little back to Lautenberg, as well as Hillary Clinton, Charlie Rangel, Vito Fosella, David Obey, Ron Wyden and his favorite boy toy ever, Chuck Schumer.

2) Gov. Rod Blagojevich

Unless the usually reliable Patrick Fitzgerald is totally fabricating evidence, then Rod Blagojevich has got to be the stupidest fucking politician since Dan Quayle.

Because how much brain damage does it require to try to sell a Senate seat to the highest bidder while #1 knowing damned good and well you’re the subject of a federal probe since 2004 and #2 doing so on Patrick Fitzgerald’s turf?

Blagojevich is George Bush’s only serious rival for the Stupidest Man of 2008 for the simple reason that trying to sell Barack Obama’s seat casts a taint not only on any choice he could still make but cast suspicion on any Democratic Governor charged with the task of filling Biden’s, Clinton’s or Salazar’s seats.

Late this week, Blago said that he couldn't wait to prove his innocence and that he would fight, fight fight. Which is pretty much the same thing that Ted Stevens said just before his own conviction and ouster from office.

About the best thing you could say about Blago’s alleged fire sale was that he didn’t try to sell Obama’s Senate seat wholesale.

1) Dick “Twister” Cheney

This is Dick Cheney among friends at CPAC. Can you imagine what he looks like when he’s among Democrats?

Watching a Republican, especially a neocon like Dick Cheney, give an extended exit interview involves a morbid curiosity factor not unakin to watching an imminent train wreck involving a freight car full of nitroglycerine barreling toward another full of cow manure.

Dick Cheney gave an interview to ABC this past week that perhaps exceeds any lunacy ever uttered by him since his last CPAC conference this past winter.

Regarding Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's interrogation, Cheney said, "There was a period of time there, three or four years ago, when about half of everything we knew about al Qaeda came from that one source. So, it's been a remarkably successful effort. I think the results speak for themselves."

Of course, deleted from Cheney's memory as was KSM's redacted transcript was the fact that the CIA had kidnapped his seven and nine year-old sons and interrogated them. Also forgotten by Cheney was that Mohammed had confessed to all sorts of stuff just to make the waterboarding stop (which it did when the wild goose chase he'd sent them on had begun). In the words of one CIA official, "90 percent of it was total fucking bullshit.” And an ex-Pentagon analyst adds: "K.S.M. produced no actionable intelligence. He was trying to tell us how stupid we were."

But waterboarding isn't torture if our neocon shysters tell us it isn't nor is abducting small children kidnapping when the CIA does it. And bullshit is still gold if Vice President Midas says it is.

There's a special place in Hell for people like Dick Cheney and it's a small cave filled with microwaves that play havoc on defibrillators.

KindleindaWind, my writing blog.

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