Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Adventures of Big Daddy Pimpstick and Alternate History Boy.

It must totally suck having to serve two diametrically-opposed masters. On the one hand, John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison from Hispanic-laden states such as Texas have to tread carefully and carry a small axe handle lest they incur a blowback from both their Latino voters.

On the other hand, they also have to be careful not to alienate Big Daddy Pimpstick Rush Limbaugh and his sidekick Alternate History Boy Newt Gingrich. It's an amusing linguistic balancing act, watching the GOP try to craft language with the care and deliberation of so many Alzheimer's-afflicted Doctors of Divinity: They're trying to tone down their own racism and misogynism yet just can't seem to distance themselves too far from the Talking, 300 lb. Sweat Stain from Missouri nor from the man with the biggest unused cranium in the Deep South.

What makes this partnership of common hatred between Limbaugh and Gingrich comical is just last March this dyspeptic duo was publicly trading potshots over Rush's gut-wrenchingly despicable desire to see Obama fail. But in Bizarro World, partisan harmony is only possible when at least two have a common enemy like Sonia Sotomayor.

So now we're watching the political Lilliputians of the GOP trying to tie down Gulliver yet again despite not having enough thumb-sized warriors or thread to hold down Gulliver. This has every bit to do with grudges as new animosities. Republicans who weren't even within hailing distance of Capitol Hill way back when are still grinding axes over the rejection of Robert Bork and the downfall of Richard Nixon and perhaps even the serious grilling that Clarence Thomas got from committee Democrats during his own confirmation hearing. What's the harm in a little sexual harassment and pornography?

Of course, completely lost on the irony-deficient Republicans of today is their seeming obliviousness of Sam Alito's former Princeton affiliation with CAP or Concerned Citizens of Princeton, a racist, misogynistic organization that was dedicated to the proposition that women and minorities ought to be banned from that Ivy League campus. Alito was so proud of his association with these David Duke wannabes and so eager to suckle at the withered teat of Ronald Reagan that Sammy had put his CAP membership on an application for deputy assistant Attorney General.

But in Republican World, that's a lot less egregious, a youthful indiscretion at most, when compared to Sonia Sotomayor's opinion that her racial background may make her a little more sensitive and insightful regarding discrimination than a white male judge and former CAP alumnus like Alito. We ought to be reminded here that if Sotomayor tried matriculating at Princeton in 1973 as an 18 year old, the year after CAP was founded, Alito's former running buddies would've been doubly inspired to keep her off campus.

I'd love to see committee Democrats bring that up the minute Newt or Rush's surrogates bring up the racism angle, however delicately. But we all know the timorous Democrats won't because we're all one big happy family, a family in which irony is politically incorrect and way too partisan.

Update: This is what happens when you're rushed (as in Limbaughed) and don't do your research. Sonia Sotomayor did, in fact, matriculate to Princeton in 1972, graduating with high honors in 1976. There's also no validity to the rumor that, unlike Clarence Thomas, she ever benefited from Affirmative Action. Sorry for the incomplete and slipshod research. I'll try to avoid making that mistake again.

Big-Ass Rainbow

After a (typically for New England) unexpected thunderstorm, I saw this big-ass rainbow just seconds before it disappeared. To get a better look at it, click on the image for the larger size. It's the biggest, or closest, rainbow I've ever seen. It was actually more vivid in real life but this ought to give you a sense of how large this one was.

Then, pfft! it was gone, like a lot of the best and most precious things in life.

The Self-Killing Fields

In the first 131 days of the Obama administration, we’ve played witness to an impressively ambitious and manifold agenda that has spanned gender equality in the workplace, an economic stimulus plan, the banning of torture, the closing of Guantanamo Bay, a phased troop reduction in Iraq, the passage of an extended childrens’ health care bill. And this is just the beginning. It isn’t so much a liberal/socialist agenda as the sneering jocks of the GOP are saying but merely a more law-abiding, humane one that our government ought to always pursue. At this point, the Obama administration is still, and will continue to be, in damage control mode. Yet the first signs from Mr. Obama are relatively auspicious.

However, there are still issues on which the president could speak out yet has not. There’s the problem of contractor abuse and outright fraud in Iraq and where’s there’s contractor corruption in Iraq, then surely it exists in Afghanistan (although in the nearly seven years of that conflict, we haven’t heard a word of any such thing going on). The president should also continue his campaign mantra of not letting lobbyists influence government to the degree that they have. There are vulture funds, which the president, as per his Constitutional prerogative, can eliminate with the stroke of a pen. He could also ban the Clinton-era Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, which has been responsible for more suicides among closeted gay servicepeople than we’ll likely ever know.

And that is something on which the president could be taking a more proactive stance yet has not: The problem of the rising suicide rate in our armed forces is getting so serious that even Republicans are getting concerned. Last February 4th, Rep. Zach Wamp (R-TN) said during a House Appropriations subcommittee on military construction and veterans affairs hearing, “This suicide rate issue is the canary in the mine, in a sense.”

Predictably, the problem isn’t restricted to the Army- the Navy and Marine Corps have also seen a rise in their suicide rate last year. The smaller, elite Marine Corps alone suffered 41 suicides in 2008. The much larger US Navy also saw an increase to 39, a figure that brings that of their sister branch in the Corps into conspicuous relief. The US Air Force lost 38 airmen to suicide in ‘08.

What is especially tragic is that the disturbingly high Army suicide rate also includes National Guardsmen who’d originally signed up for two weekends a month and never thought they’d be deployed for two, three or four ever-lengthening tours of duty that would separate them from their families, see them lose their civilian jobs and face foreclosure as a result.

While it’s true that only two thirds of last year’s Army/National Guard suicides deployed to either Iraq or Afghanistan, 85 or 86 of the ones who did deploy and kill themselves is still an unacceptable figure. The problem got so bad in Ft. Campbell, Kentucky, the home of the Screaming Eagles 101st Airborne, that they had to shut down normal operations for three days earlier this month after two soldiers committed suicide in the same week. As alarming as the 128 confirmed suicides from last year are, the Army has already lost exactly half that many to self-extinction and we’re still nowhere near the end of June.

So why is the suicide rate climbing even though a full one third never deployed to either war? Part of the theory as to why is the stress of selling homes, moving to a new city and the toll it takes on families. Yet, speaking as a former Air Force brat who had to pull up stakes every 2-3 years, I can tell you that’s part and parcel of being a military family.

The root of the problem, aside from the stress of deploying and redeploying into two quagmires overseas, is the General George S. Patton mentality that’s still endemic in the armed forces. Base commanders such as Brigadier General Stephen Townsend of Ft. Campbell and Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mike Mullins have appeared to make serious and sincere inroads toward tackling the problem.

Yet somewhere in the middle, from the highest levels of command down to the boots on the ground, there’s still a prejudice against those who openly ask for help. The reluctance to do so only exacerbates their pre-existing condition of suicidal ideations. And speaking of pre-existing conditions, word almost surely has spread of the perversion of the Chapter 5-13 clause: More and more military doctors examining shell-shocked and wounded soldiers are diagnosing their wartime injuries as pre-existing. The DoD does this primarily for one reason: to save money on disability payouts and VA assistance (which isn’t even part of the Pentagon’s annual defense budget).

And the subtraction of funding for veterans with PTSD has resulted in longer waits for treatment, if it comes at all, and after being made to pay a Bush-era $230 registration fee. As far back as 2006, nearly 100,000 veterans appealed to the Veteran’s Administration for help with their post traumatic stress syndrome even though the VA had been funded by the Bush administration and Congress for perhaps a quarter of that number.

So, for many disturbed and suicidal soldiers, it’s just easier to say nothing. While military suicide rates have historically climbed during wartime, it would be all too easy to blame the current spike on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In fact, while no one person has tied it all together, I think it would plausible to say that the steadily climbing suicide rate in our armed forces is synechdochal of much else that plagues our nation: Home foreclosures, joblessness, a high divorce rate, etc.

While a civilian suicide of any number is just as tragic, when we’re talking about a military number that officially reaches 246 a year, it’s especially tragic and begins to impinge on our military’s ability to vouchsafe our national security.

Outreach programs within the military are a good start but it ought not be restricted to the beleaguered boots on the ground. Sensitivity classes, behind the door asskickings, whatever works, also need to be implanted between the ground troops and the command level until this tragic problem is seriously addressed and the prejudice against those in serious need of psychological treatment is eradicated once and for all.

The Obama administration has not mentioned the rising suicide rate in our military since it was the Obama campaign when then-Senator Obama one year ago last Friday mentioned a report on military suicides. It’s a pretty sad day in the neighborhood when Congressional Republicans who waffled, made excuses and even blamed the troops for the Water Reed Hospital scandal are more vocal about this suicide problem than the seemingly oblivious administration.

Therefore, I think it would be a good idea to contact several veterans’ advocacy groups and to petition them to petition the president and Secretary of Defense Dr. Robert Gates to address this deadly serious problem from the highest levels of our government. We cannot help these tortured souls unless we can gain their trust.

You can start by going to Vote, John Soltz’s organization. Then, there’s the National Gulf War Research Center, which specializes in helping veterans and active duty servicepeople alike in dealing with the problems that arise from the present war in the Gulf. is also another good place to start as they target PTSD in the military.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

We Should All Trust

I have seen flowers come in stony places
And kind things done by men with ugly faces
And the gold cup won by the worst horse at the races,
So I trust too.
-John Masefield, English Poet Laureate

This is a political/social blog. Therefore it should come as no surprise to anyone that all this time I've effortlessly avoided mentioning Susan Boyle, the singing sensation from the UK's Britain's Got Talent. Every other day for countless weeks, Susan Boyle's frightening puss would be the lead story on my Yahoo index page and the more that was written about her the less I wanted I read about her or hear her sing.

Then I read tonight that she'd lost after the world entertainment press had been fawning over her as if she had already won Britain's Got Talent, American Idol and the Nobel Peace Prize at the same time and I was surprised to read that Boyle had lost. Well, now that the show's finale is a matter of historical record, I took a look at her debut on the show.

I have to admit, I was floored by her voice. For the judges and audience alike, it was an object lesson as to the danger of cynicism, a cynicism that hadn't been so effectively thrown out of the theater since the audition of Clay Aiken. Hearing Susan Boyle's voice was akin to seeing beautiful, perfect cherubs flying unscathed and unharmed from a horrendous wreck.

How could such a voice come out of such a puss, from a woman with all the muliebrity of an Albanian truck driver? It was the mismatch of the ages. Beautiful voices are supposed to come from beautiful people like Jennifer Lopez, Mariah Carey and Rihanna, not from frumpy 47 year-old single, unemployed women with cats. Susan Boyle, after her ambitions to make it big were met with mirth, was supposed to sing offkey and be booed off the stage in her 15 seconds of infamy.

She's not supposed to make us cry. She certainly wasn't engineered by nature to inspire yet that's exactly what she did.

So I'm writing about Susan Boyle tonight and her courageous bid for the biggest prize on Britain's Got Talent. The press hasn't always been nice to her. She'd had her share of critics and scandalous headlines even after she'd proven her chops and earned her right to stay on that show from the second she first opened up her mouth in song.

Susan Boyle proved to be an inspiration to people who don't fit the mold, don't look, act or play the part, a latter-day Ugly Duckling turned into a somewhat more aesthetically-pleasing if not beautiful Swan with the magic of a makeover. On a deep, psychological level, her homeliness and its improbable marriage to an amazing voice gave a weekly lesson to those who couldn't help but tune in that many of our preconceptions are wrong, that the public is almost always, if not always, in the wrong.

That sometimes the ugly and the weird do bring more to the table than the beautiful people, the 2009 Miss Californias of the world, that sometimes we have to rethink our notions of what ought to succeed in life.

Susan Boyle brought millions to tears perhaps because they saw in her their own failed aspirations, those who were convinced to give up because they didn't fit prefab molds made by cosmetics conglomerates, public image consultants and our own largely superficial and idiotic notions of what perfection and desirability is. Susan Boyle had gone much farther than nature had originally intended and didn't listen to those who said "You're too ugly", "You're too ungainly" or "You're not our type."

Boyle had been under tremendous pressure and almost walked off the show because of our stubborn stupidity as a species even when her talent was undeniable. But through it all, she'd met adversity with good humor, grace and aplomb, as should we all, and ultimately gave her critics the finger. By doing so, she gave many of us who'd despaired of finding love, success or just a baseline of acceptance of our idiosyncratic weirdness the chance to draw one more firm breath and hope that we, too, will buck the odds.

Meet the Old Boss, Same as the Older Boss

About the only difference between George W. Bush and Bill Clinton during their mutual hand job in Toronto last night was the color of their suits and ties. In a way, it resembled that final climactic scene in Animal Farm in which the pigs and humans morphed into one another and became indistinguishable.

It had appeared that in the first major appearance Bush would make since slithering out of the White House would be to come out swinging against President Barack Obama for reversing his executive orders or for officially condemning torture or for closing Gitmo or beginning a multiphase troop withdrawal from Iraq according to a strict 16 month timetable.

Instead, Bush made his first major public appearance since January 20th a public circle jerk involving the 42nd president and moderator Frank McKenna. If the crowd of 6000 expected a post-presidential debate involving Arkansas razorback pig shit and shoes, they were deluded.

I'm not one who's much for partisan bickering for its own sake. It needlessly throws sand in the engine of the omnibus of the democratic process. Yet one would think that after all the Republican monkey feces that for eight years had been flung at Slick Willie during their own Clinton Derangement Syndrome, after all the lies told about his wife during her presidential campaign, a level of persecution that went far and beyond the pale of political gamesmanship, that Bill Clinton wouldn't have been as gracious as he was. Of course, both men could afford to be gracious: Bush and Clinton split a $300,000 honorarium for their live sex show.

Perhaps, like two Dutch Uncles, they were trying to teach Barack Obama a lesson in bipartisanship that he doesn't really need. Yet the differences between the style and results of each man leading this nation are so stark and obvious, it boggles the mind at how they could have bitten their tongues for as long as they did.

Instead, it merely gave the appearance to the 6000 in attendance who paid anywhere from $200-$2500 to listen to this bilge and for those many tens of millions more reading about it this morning that there truly is no difference between the two parties except for two capital letters, rhetoric and strategy. This was not two former American presidents putting country above all else and showing bipartisan unity as much as it was a lesson in the indistinguishable nature of the two rotten wings of our two party system.

There were differences of opinion, sure, such as Clinton insisting that more attention should have been paid to Afghanistan and that we shouldn't have let ourselves get diverted by Iraq, that the UN weapons inspectors should have been given more time. And Bush, predictably, said, "Not so, neener neener. We didn't get diverted from the war on terra."

And it was all said with perfectly molded smiles and casually dismissed as if they were two fair weather baseball fans disagreeing on who stands the best chance of winning the World Series. Who cares if the shocking difference between competence and incompetence was several millions of deaths, maimings, personal economic ruin and displacements, that our top military commanders in Iraq are still saying we could be there for another decade and that we still haven't any solid assurances that this recession has touched bottom and that it still couldn't turn into a worldwide depression?

For $300,000, they sure could pretend the countless hundreds of millions of lives largely ruined through the actions, misactions and inactions by the Bush administration weren't even worth bringing up (Although McKenna didn't mind asking Clinton about the hundreds of thousands who died through his own inaction and indecisiveness regarding the Rwanda genocide. No such questions were asked of Bush about either Iraq or New Orleans. At least Clinton took the blame for Rwanda and offered no lies or excuses.).

Meanwhile, Canadians both inside and out were seething and there weren't nearly as many Bill Clinton protest signs as there were those of Bush, including several of him in effigy wearing an orange jump suit. Sure, Junior was the most Republican president since Ronald Reagan and it's been said by Michael Moore that Bill Clinton was the most Republican Democratic president we've ever had, so there was already a lot of room for common ground.

Like Bush and Cheney, Clinton and Gore tried sounding the alarm and telling us that Iraq had WMD that we all know were fictitious. We're now saddled with the Defense of Marriage Act that had long since been signed into law by the most notorious two-timer since Jack Kennedy and we're also afflicted with Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Like Bush, Clinton had cozied up to murderous tyrants such as Suharto and corporations of dubious reputation. Who among us outside of Arkansas had even heard of Bill Clinton 18 years ago until he began circle-jerking with the Powers That Be at the Bilderberg Group? And let's not forget under whose watch and with whose blessing the CIA launched their extraordinary rendition program. And, regarding the global economy/New World Order midwifed in part by Clinton, I have five letters for you: N-A-F-T-A, a poverty-inducing travesty even his own wife will no longer support.

Gore Vidal once said that were no longer any political parties and that there was just the Corporate Party with Republican and Democratic wings. You want to know how thoroughly corporatized the parties have become even in retirement? The picture above of Clinton and Bush was released by TD Bank. The circle jerk's moderator, former Canadian ambassador to the US Frank McKenna is also TD Bank's vice chairman, the corporate entity that had underwritten the event.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Twenty Bucks, Same as in Town

Blogwhoring. You do it, I do it, we all do it. What have you been up to?

Looks like George W. Bush is the guy who put the "mental" in fundamentalism. Clive Hamilton at Counterpunch passes along a highly disturbing story recently confirmed by former President of France Jacques Chirac. According to Chirac, when Bush was forming the Coalition of the Willing prior to the invasion and occupation of Iraq, Bush cited his reason for going to war was dictated by the story of Gog and Magog. The then French President was "said to have been stupefied and disturbed by Bush’s invocation of Biblical prophesy to justify the war in Iraq and 'wondered how someone could be so superficial and fanatical in their beliefs'."

In other words, Bush's apocalyptic millenarian fundamentalist beliefs regarding Gog and Magog left Chirac, well, Agog.

The Rude Pundit has, predictably, some salty words for the GOP regarding the Sonia Sotomayor nomination. Let's hear what he has to say:
So Roberts and any Republican who might want to vote against Sotomayor are automatically lumped in with the titanic assholes who are hogging the microphones of America like a Nebraska twink hogs sailor cock on his first trip to Fleet Week in New York.

Oops, that wasn't very PG-rated. Let's see what else he says...
There's something viscerally thrilling about watching the GOP die not with a bang, but a whimper. In attacking Judge Sonia Sotomayor for her ethnic identity and her education, the Republican Party hasn't just gone over a cliff. Oh, no. They plunged off that craggy fucker in 2004 like Wile E. Coyote on a sputtering rocket, landing on the canyon floor with a cactus shoved up their ass and their bones broken.

Uh... Let's try this, instead:
By the way, the other story here is the huge influence of bloggers on the process as it plays out in the media. Out here in Left Blogsylvania, we immediately hit our Nexis bookmarks and went to searching, finding how utterly inane and/or hypocritical the attacks on Sotomayor have been, whether it's digging up the context for her quotes, finding out how Republicans overlooked the very same things she's said when spoken by or about Republican-nominated justices, and more. Everything they put up, we can hit down quickly. It's damned impressive.

Indeed. As a whole, the better side of the tracks has been doing at least as impressive a job analyzing Sotomayor's past rulings as the MSM, who insist on giving the GOP freakazoids opposing her nomination tons of air time.

As well as traveling through time and posting 24 hours before any of us, d r i f t g l a s s has reached a milestone: His 2000th post. Sir Drifty, an alumnus of the Group New Blog, started out as a commenter until the late Steve-O told him to shut the fuck up and hang his own shingle. He did and the rest, as they say, is hysterics. So go on over and give Uncle DG a pat on the head for a job well done and that we look forward to the next 2000.

William Grigg at Pro Libertate brings up an excellent point that I myself have been meaning to bring up, namely,
We need to dispense immediately with the idea that releasing the second batch of photos depicting torture and other abuse at Abu Ghraib and six other installations would create an unacceptable danger to U.S. troops in the region.

Though it seem callous of me to point out as much, we should recognize that people who enlist in the military are paid, trained, and equipped to confront danger.

Uh, huh, uh huh. What he said.

Rounding out the list is Stardust at God is For Suckers, who passes along the news that France has taken the first official steps to ban L. Ron Hubbard's Scientology cult from of their country. Despite the blog's moniker, Stardust asks whether or not any nation has the right to ban a religion.

Of course, the first question we should ask ourselves is, is Scientology a religion at all or a cult? It's obvious from Hubbard's own words about forming his "religion" was really all about money. But the cult's problems aren't restricted to France: They've already been banned from Wikipedia, as well.

Gentlemen, Unsheath Your Knives...

...and bust some moves because the Republican version of West Side Story is coming to the Senate!

President Barack Obama has seemingly done the impossible: In nominating Judge Sonia Sotomayor as the first Hispanic to the Supreme Court, he appears to have simultaneously made both a safe and a controversial choice. Of course, Judge Sotomayor is neither. She deserves a fair confirmation hearing and seems to deserve a place on the highest judicial bench in the land.

But that's not how Republicans both in their guttering power grid and outside see it. Newt Gingrich and Karl Rove have been Twittering like the demented bird brains that they truly are in trying to paint Judge Sotomayor as a racist. They've been demeaning the linguistically correct way in which the president announced his nominee (Soto-my-OOR). They've already called her a socialist, a legislating jurist, in short, everything but a slatternly whore (but the confirmation hearings have yet to begin so just give them time).

Even before Ms. Sotomayor has taken a seat before the Senate Judiciary Committee we're seeing a renewed racheting up of the Obama Derangement Syndrome that's been sweeping the dwindling red states, a sneering, immature middle school brand of jock-like pessimism of anything the president says and does in spite of Mr. Obama having more intelligence, articulateness and integrity in his pinky than you will find in the entire GOP. As with Attorney General Eric Holder during his own confirmation process, Republicans on the Judiciary Committee are scared shitless of what Judge Sotomayor may rule on a future case regarding the Unitary Executive that's so crucial to keeping the principles of the Bush junta out of the docket at the Hague.

Judge Sotomayor is an unknown quantity, an X factor regarding the Unitary executive and the limits of executive privilege. And the GOP's official and unofficial flaks leveling charges of racism ring about as hollow as Dan Quayle's skull. Especially when one recalls that the Republican party has never successfully fielded an African American senator from the south since reconstruction and only one in the whole country since that time. Their outreach programs toward African Americans pulled back a bloody stump when only one of the ten Republicans running for president last year bothered to show up at an NAACP-sponsored GOP debate.

So why all the preemptive charges of racism when another Hispanic, Judge Alberto Gonzales, was offered only token resistance from timorous minority Democrats in early 2005? Like Gonzo, Judge Sotomayor was also born into near-poverty and had to work hard to climb the judicial food chain. The difference, of course, between Judge Gonzales and Judge Sotomayor (aside from the obvious, which is about 75 IQ points and a complete independence from the Obama administration to date) is that the latter never signed off on torture memos. And, also unlike her male analog, she will never be a shiftless, cheap activist party hack.

But Republicans can, will and must fight Judge Sotomayor to the death because... well, because they're Republicans and they live to bring knives to gunfights. And, to make a final comparison, unlike our Chief Executive, Republicans are disciplined except in one regard: An ability to wisely choose their fights.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Propaganda H8

...and now, thanks to the California State Supreme Court, the restrictions will apply.

What stings is that 52% of the people who voted for Proposition 8 last November were upheld by all but one of the conservative seven member California high court. And, to add pressure to this already needlessly explosive issue, two attorneys who had previously squared off against each other in 2000's Bush v. Gore are joining forces on behalf of two same sex couples who were denied the right to get married because of Prop 8.

The filing in federal court has been met with jitteriness by same sex marriage advocates, who do not see the current Supreme Court as being ready to rule on what is ostensibly being viewed as an abrogation of the 14th amendment. In yesterday's ruling, the state's high court allowed the 18,000 pre-existing same sex marriages to stand and basically punted the issue back to the voters. If it gets on the next ballot, California's voters will have another crack at it.

Personally, I would rather see it go that route. Both gay marriage advocates and opponents are loath to get the federal government involved. The last time that had happened, Bill Clinton and Congress inflicted the Defense of Marriage Act on us. But virtually every one who has weighed in on this issue is in agreement on one thing: The federal government should not get involved on what is widely viewed as a state issue.

While it would be nice and the social equivalent of a hydrogen bomb for the gay rights movement if the federal government made gay marriage legal across the land, it would be immediately met with countless lawsuits in both federal and state courts. Putting an anti-Proposition 8 measure on the next California state ballot makes sense when you consider that outfits such as Focus on the Family literally went broke trying to kick gay marriage out of the state.

I say kill them through attrition. Wear the bastards down. Gay rights advocates should match what the other side is putting up dollar for dollar and then some. Get out the youth vote, as younger voters are either in favor of gay marriage or don't care enough about it to vote against it. Push back and push hard and insistently, push the bigoted bastards back into the primordial ooze from which they originate.

There is no reason why my state of Massachusetts or Iowa, New Hampshire, Connecticut or Maine deserves gay marriage more than California.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Pottersville's Memory Lane: Supreme Court edition

On May 26th, 2009, our nation's first African American president nominated Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, the first hispanic to be so honored. Centrists and progressives seem to applaud the judge's nomination. However, not all presidential nominations to the Supreme Court had started out much less finished so promisingly. Here's a look at some of the most forgettable and regrettable nominations to the Supreme Court:

  • 1803 Infuriated and stymied by Marbury vs Madison, President Thomas Jefferson then threatened to fill the next vacancy on the high court with a donkey from his plantation, which ironically later became the genesis for the latter day Democratic Party.

  • 1904 President Teddy Roosevelt nominates the big game hunter who killed those two scary fucking male lions later depicted in The Ghost and the Darkness. The nomination never got out of committee.

  • 1937 Franklin Roosevelt, disgusted by the Supreme Court torpedoing the New Deal, then fired the entire bench and tried to pack it, instead, with the New York Giants football team plus their water boy. The original Supreme Court was, instead, swiftly reinstated by the Senate.

  • 1973 William Rehnquist is nominated by President Richard M. Nixon but only after being told that his original choice, Judge Roy Bean, was dead.

  • 1983 At a birthday party for Barry Goldwater, Bozo the Clown is nominated by President Ronald Reagan, who later unsuccessfully tried to pass it off as a joke that was "suggested by Mommy's astrologer."

  • 2005 President George W. Bush nominates for the Supreme Court Harriet Miers, who wasn't even a judge and was even incapable of filling out questionnaires given to her by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

  • And Now, on the Flip Side...

    It was a very promising day in the legal world when moments ago, President Barack Obama nominated to the Supreme Court federal appellate circuit judge Sonia Sotomayor. Her previous rulings show that she is a centrist, fair-minded judge who, far from being a mere safe choice, seems to be concerned primarily about the sanctity of the Constitution and observing the rule of law. Judge Sotomayor has a depth and breadth of experience unmatched by any sitting Supreme Court Justice.

    But even as Sotomayor's impending nomination was making the rounds, the California Supreme Court had to fuck up the rest of the day by upholding Proposition 8, the measure that banned gay marriage in California.

    I never thought I would ever see the day when Iowa, New Hampshire and Maine (Iowa, New Hampshire and Maine, for God's sake), would be more progressive regarding same sex marriage than California.

    Proposition 8 proved, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that even the most liberal-leaning and progressive-minded voters in what used to be the most progressive state in the union can be dissuaded from voting their conscience and would instead overturn existing state law if enough money and propaganda is catapulted at them by all manner and sundry religious nut jobs like Focus on the Family, cultists like the LDS and even Blackwater Worldwide.

    And the "prop" Prop 8 ought to stand for just that: Propaganda. It was propaganda aimed at tens of millions of voters who were convinced that they ought to vote their way into the bedrooms of thousands of same sex couples who married when they legally could a year ago and countless tens of thousands more who had hoped to marry.

    While resisting the bitter, bile-smeared propaganda leveled against Barack Obama, California voters in their very finite wisdom were convinced they were given the right to dictate to gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered people whom they could not marry.

    It was a ballot measure that, by rights, never should have been put on the ballot, since Prop 8 never passed either chamber in the California state congress. Even Republican Gov. Schwarzenegger refused to get involved, content to leave it in the hands of others.

    This wasn't the way it was supposed to be scripted. This was supposed to be a blow against hatred and bigotry against the LGBT community. This was supposed to be California's moment to come back into the light and join Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Iowa and Maine in the growing community of states that allow same sex couples to exchange holy vows under the eyes of the god of their choice. This was supposed to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots that gave birth to the latter day gay rights movement.

    But the California Supreme Court locked the closet door and themselves behind it, keeping what was once the most progressive state in the union in the feared darkness.

    The Shitstorm Will Commence in Three... Two... One...

    According to an anonymous source within the administration, President Barack Obama is about to formally nominate Judge Sonia Sotomayor to replace retiring Justice David Souter.

    Judge Sotomayor will bring far more experience to the High Court than any other nominee in the last 70 years. As a centrist judge, Sotomayor got her start in the federal judiciary in 1991 when she was elevated by President George H W Bush and later given a bump by President Bill Clinton in 1997. So throughout her federal judicial career, Judge Sotomayor has enjoyed broad bipartisan support.

    Until now. Right wing groups have been huddling in the shadows during conference calls strategerizing to pre-emptively oppose everyone and anyone that Obama could possibly nominate short of their beloved Robert Bork. Expect Republicans like Jeff Sessions to try to paint Judge Sotomayor as a wild-eyed liberal and activist judge just like the GOP tried to paint Obama as terrorist-loving Muslim socialist.

    If nothing else, the Sotomayor nomination, which ought to get out of committee for an up and down Senate vote, may prove to be the lightning rod that at last draws attention to a GOP that is shrinking, baffled and embittered by their current minority status. It ought to expose them once and for all as the obstructionist saw horses that they truly are.

    It will also expose their hypocrisy. Much was made during Alberto Gonzales's nomination in early 2005 of his Hispanic ancestry. Republicans, nervous about timorous questions from Democrats on the Judiciary Committee regarding his torture memos responded by charging the Democrats with racism. How dare they question Junior's choice to make as Attorney General a guy who had worked for no one else but George W. Bush since passing the bar? Affirmative Action is for Republicans only, doncha know?

    I would hope that the Democrats on the Judiciary Committee have enough sense to play the same race card when Republicans inevitably begin flinging their poo at Judge Sotomayor. We may even see Harry Reid show enough backbone to hint for purely entertainment purposes at invoking his own nuclear option and taking the filibuster away from the minority party.

    So get your ponchos and rain hats on, people, because this is going to be a scatalogical Blue Man Group/Gallagher show.

    Monday, May 25, 2009

    A Balancing Act

    The lead picture and the one beneath is of the Memorial Day parade here in downtown Hudson, Massachusetts. It's a typical parade out of thousands that are no doubt transpiring across America today. Mixed in with the somberness of remembering our war dead are 18 year-olds happy to begin their vacation before getting ready for college and people already looking forward to going to the beach on this, the unofficial first day of summer.

    Some sense of celebration and spectacle is necessary, I guess. After all, we figuratively appear in sackcloth and ashes only at funerals and about 5000 families have already had enough of that these past seven and a half years. The local high school band made up of children much too young to enlist will strike up tunes, their jingoistic military marching music Dopplered into tuneless cacophany. Local politicians like my boss march behind military personnel of which he was never a part just to put in a pre-emptive campaign appearance as joggers struggle to ignore and trot past them during their strutting and speechifying. A strategically-parked ice cream truck does a brisk business.

    So many want a piece of the war dead that they're almost an afterthought.

    A Memorial Day parade by necessity has to strike a balancing act, in mixing the somber with the joyful, the military with the civilian and true respect for our war dead, living veterans and active duty personnel with blind glorification of the death that these men and women in uniform are occasionally asked to risk and even deal.

    Parades, however, as with wakes, funerals and memorial services, were never intended for the dead but the living. We use Memorial Day as a way of assuaging our muted guilt for not thinking during the other 364 days of the ultimate sacrifices that countless millions of men and women had made and will continue to make to help found, defend and perpetuate our nation and its ideals.

    Bloggers, especially the progressive and liberal kind, keep the troops in our thoughts year round yet somehow even that doesn't seem to be enough. This, I theorize, is why we blog. We blog in the most transient, topical and perishable of mediums because it is all we have to ensure that these brave men and women are not forgotten, that those still alive and in one uniform or another will be treated right. That they will not get sent into a proxy or oil war based on a pack of lies and then criminally underequipped and disrespected. So we do not have to burden our already overburdened memories and failing throats by reading aloud that many more names in cemeteries.

    We had made much since Shock and Awe began on March 19, 2003 about George W. Bush never attending the funeral of a single soldier or Marine killed in either Iraq or Afghanistan. This was by design because the White House wanted the luxury of waging reckless, irresponsible war without showing us civilians the consequences of war. The ignoring of our war dead was so complete and inflexible that the flag-draped coffins coming off the transports at Dover AFB in Delaware were not allowed to be photographed and then Senator Joseph Biden was not allowed to be present to comfort the families.

    At the same time, we'd heard stories about our war dead being brought back home not on military transports but as freight in order to save costs, a revelation that made then Senator Hillary Clinton livid.

    Therefore, on Memorial Day we need to do more than to, at best, dimly and vaguely keep in mind sacrifices made long ago without context or the facts. We need to also keep in mind what we're continuing to do to these honored dead and their families. We need to do as both the netroots and the real world grassroots to continue holding this new administration's feet to the fire, to remind our 44th president that he will not get a free pass just because he is a Democrat and that once in a while we expect him to attend the funeral of a fallen soldier or Marine. That he is willing to show us, unlike his furtive predecessor, that even a just war does indeed have consequences.

    Memorial Day, 2009

    Some of the other people whom we'd liberated from an oppressive dictatorship as well as from their families...

    So, when will you go to the funeral of one of our war dead, Mr. President?

    Sunday, May 24, 2009

    The Party of Dr. No

    This is how the Republican National Committee has been spending its dwindling time and money.

    James Bond has a license to kill. Don't we voters have a license to vote out?

    Saturday, May 23, 2009


    Wingnut radio host Erich Muller thought he could last 60 seconds or more of waterboarding. He thought it would be a walk in the park, no worse than being dunked in a tank at a summer carnival.

    He thought wrong.

    "Mancow" lasted a total of six seconds before throwing aside his little inflatable cow, his safe signal for, "Get me the fuck out of this!"

    He had to admit that waterboarding is "absolutely torture" and that if he'd known it would be that bad, he would've wussed out. This is pretty typical for big, badass Republicans who so lack empathy, who are so incapable of putting themselves into other peoples' shoes that it warps their perception. Muller must have known what waterboarding entailed. He must have known the head is tilted back and that the water runs down the mouth and the nose.

    Once again, it is not simulated drowning. It is interrupted drowning. A mere description of the process tells me I would not wish to be subjected to such torture. I already know it is torture. It's worse than that- it's attempted murder. And Muller had to experience it firsthand before reality rudely invaded his sinus cavity.

    So I imagine we'll be seeing Sean Hannity following in his footsteps, no? Sean? Sean?? Bueller?

    Friday, May 22, 2009

    GI Joe Boxer

    "Any soldier who goes into battle against the Taliban in pink boxers and flip-flops has a special kind of courage." Secretary of Defense Robert Gates

    God bless this guy, who was singled out for attention by Defense Secretary Robert Gates. This was taken in Afghanistan and when his unit was attacked, this soldier, 19 y/o Zach Boyd of Ft. Worth, TX, who was wearing "I Love NY" boxer shorts and flip flops, rushed to join his fellow troops without paying heed as to how utterly ridiculous, albeit endearing, he looked.

    Thursday, May 21, 2009

    Peckerheads of the NYPD Blotter

    This is the kind of overreaction that we'd expect during the Bush years, not these days.

    Four peckerheads, at least one of them intellectually challenged, attempted to buy bombs and explosives from someone who was a heavily supervised informant. They thought they were buying Stinger missiles on the streets of New York so they could shoot jets out of the sky and bomb two Jewish synagogues. One of them even regretted not being able to take down the World Trade Center.

    Yet they never came close to acquiring either missiles, bombs or any explosive material and one of them didn't even seem to understand the arraignment proceedings.

    Yet listen to the people in the second half of this video. You'd think that the FBI just busted up an actual al Qaeda sleeper cell. This is how paranoid we've gotten as a nation and, while terrorists should shoulder much of the blame for this, you also have the fear-mongering Republican party to blame for their color-coded terror threat levels, mushroom cloud campaign videos and stump speeches that basically come down to, "Elect me or die."

    The very mention of the word "terrorism" and four half-wits trying to buy explosives to carry out a half-baked plan at best makes international news. Yet everyone's heaving sighs of relief and giving eachother high fives for capturing four idiots who appear to be even stupider than the other half-wits who planned to blow up JFK airport and the ones who almost got lost trying to fly a plane into the Liberty Tower in LA.

    The foiling of that plot in 2002 was thanks to intelligence extracted through torture of KSM after he was captured in 2003, doncha know?

    Meanwhile, the real guys are skulking around in virtual freedom hatching their next plot while we're mopping our brows and passing out commendations and promotions for catching four guys who combined sport an IQ about as high as Richard Reid's shoe size.

    Caption Contest

    As many of you know, back in the day before I got bitten by Michael Moore and became part of the political blogging undead, I was part of a group that captioned pictures and we called ourselves cappers. I still belong to one of the mailing lists, one run by an old pal of mine and fellow leftist blogger Generik.

    We caption pictures once a week or whenever the "Will Cap For Food" mailing list offers one up and this is last week's picture and my caption. So let your imaginations run wild and prove to me that hardcore conservative Republicans don't have the market cornered on humor.

    Air Force One, circa 2008: "See, Mr. President? The Statue of Liberty's head is still on. Don't believe what you saw in CLOVERFIELD."

    It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

    Especially when you've just chatted with Eric Boehlert over at John Amato's site, Crooks and Liars (who linked to me today, so a tip o' the tinfoil hat to Mike Finn).

    Eric just published a new book entitled, Bloggers on the Bus, which is a followup of sorts to Robert Crouse's Boys on the Bus. It picks up where Crouse left off in the mid seventies and Boehlert offers an interesting analysis of not only how technology shapes campaign strategies but also goes into the enormous effect that the netroots, or blogosphere, had on the 2008 presidential campaign.

    Yes, my fellow pajama-wearing, Cheetos-crunching losers: We helped change political history by helping to elect, pushing back against the lies and spin and to clarify the positions of our nation's first African American president. Mr. Boehlert is saying you can give eachother high fives and terrorist fist jabs for a job well done.

    So if you have a few bucks to spare, amble on over to and check out Eric's book, which, largely thanks to us (again), is debuting at #2069, which isn't bad considering that Amazon has a couple of million ranked book titles. I bought one. Why don't you?

    Wednesday, May 20, 2009

    Why Doesn't Dan Brown Write About Shit Like This?

    Out of Dublin, Ireland comes this report that's over 70 years in the making of thousands of Irish children being raped, sodomized, beaten and humiliated by priests and nuns. It's a 2600-page report that reads like a cross between Dickens and NAMBLA's manifesto.

    An investigation conducted by tax-sponsored schools produced a five volume report conclusively proving not only priests that ran reform schools and orphanages regularly abused these children but that the Roman Catholic Church knew about it and did nothing for decades. In fact, many of them were actively shielded from investigations and were moved to other venues where they were allowed to freely indulge in abusing more children.

    Sort of the same thing we saw here in the Boston area but on possibly a much more massive scale.

    Amazingly, the report failed to name the names of any of the abusers and church officials when questioned even had the nerve to say... Well, I'll let the AP article speak for itself:
    But when questioned, their leaders indicated they would continue to protect the identities of clergy accused of abuse — men and women who were never reported to police, and were instead permitted to change jobs and keep harming children.

    Thereby putting a new twist on the phrase "recovering Catholic."

    For years, I've been an avowed enemy of the Roman Catholic Church, surely a matriarchal religion dressed up in men's clothes, whereby effeminate priests lord it over helpless children and refuse to allow women to attend seminaries.

    Like any good Republican organization, they are quick to brand the victims as avaricious liars while their own ranks are filled with child molesters and Nazis and will go to extraordinary lengths to deny their crimes or the crimes of their brethren, allowing them to continue gratifying their perversions.

    Why there are over a billion idiots who still seriously entertain this megacult is absolutely beyond me as it is run without a doubt by the most assbackwards, out-of-touch, inflexible sexist assholes the world has ever known. It's perhaps no surprise that they list among their most vocal apologists slavering, ecumenical junk yard dogs like Bill O'Reilly and Wild Bill Donohue of the Catholic League, both of whom will no doubt be quick to denounce teh gays for infiltrating their beloved, party hat-wearing megacult.

    And people of other religions marvel at the Catholic propensity for guilt and why they're so adept at living with it.

    Pardon Me If I'm Mistaken, But...

    ...aren't elections over for another year and a half? They are?

    Then can someone please tell me why President Obama and Dick Cheney are going to deliver "dueling speeches" tomorrow for the hearts and minds, if not the collective soul, of America? And why is it being framed as a "national security" debate when it's been pretty much proven that torture has not enhanced our national security one bit but rather weakened it and jeopardized our troops?

    Let's take stock of what a moral horror show in which we now find ourselves:

    The Obama administration, promising change for two years and seemingly honoring the campaign promise of openness and transparency in government, of putting an end to torture, then had to reverse itself earlier this month on two key issues. One of them was the president's decision to not release some 2000 photographs that depict torture of detainees at American hands. The president's official reason is that it would inflame Muslim and terrorist wrath all over the world.

    Let's parse that very carefully, boys and girls: The Obama administration is so hamstrung by the towering, flaming, Mordor-class evil of the Cheney administration that it now has to reverse itself on its stance on openness and transparency and is afraid of what the Muslims will do to us if these photographs ever see the light of day.

    This time it's not the Republicans that have the Democrats shitting in their tailored trousers but al Qaeda terrorists.

    Looks as if they've won.

    Furthermore, Obama's reversal seems to signal that this new administration cannot control the Muslim terrorist threat any more than did the Bush administration.

    Meanwhile, torturers of the past, present and future will see this as a precedent that the greater the evil, the greater the need for secrecy and will continue to turn the thumbscrew and pour those pitchers of water over hooded faces with complete impunity and anonymity.

    Now we have banjo-playin' Dick "B for Banjo" Cheney, grinning idiotically from his catbird seat playing a damned good counterpoint to our latter-day Ronnie Cox, played by Barack Obama, and both men will sound as if they're advancing reasonable, perfectly-balanced positions. Adding to the lunacy of this counterpoint, you'll have Cheney calling for transparency in releasing those two documents that purport to prove that waterboarding of KSM was beneficial to national security and Obama saying, "Hold on, now, not so fast, you string-picking savant!"

    It'll almost come off as looking like Obama-McCain IV with Dick Cheney thrown in at the last minute to second his game but aging buddy from Arizona. And even if our JSOC death squads are continuing to kill in Cheney's name just as we did for Reagan and the CIA in the good old days, we must remember that Cheney is not in power any longer. When those retired generals came out against Rumsfeld in 2005, the White House responded by saying that we couldn't take them seriously anymore because they were no longer in the loop.

    The same should apply to Cheney, who actually seems to think that he can change through sheer force of will national security policy.

    What's frightening is that he's doing just that.

    The 2005 Bankruptcy Bill Takes a Knee...

    ...which, of course, isn't the same as knocking it out. And it's pretty depressing that dismantling pieces of the sweeping bankruptcy bill of four years ago requires such Herculean effort on the part of the same Congress that had voted it in, time that would be better put to use on non-counter legislation.

    Yesterday by a 90-5 vote, the US Senate passed a credit card bill that's already being touted as tough on the same predatory lenders that helped craft the 2005 Bankruptcy Bill, as well as the 2000 version that President Bill Clinton had pocket-vetoed. But how tough is it?

    Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), noting the same restrictions on credit unions, had wanted to cap interest rates at 15% but a week ago was shot down faster than John McCain over Hanoi. Therefore, interest rates will not be capped nor will it "prevent lenders from finding new ways to drain customers' bank accounts or keep consumers from spending money they don't have."

    Which were really two of the biggest reasons for passing the Senate version of the bill. And it doesn't look as if the House version that may be voted on today, and will surely pass, will contain either of those two features. All it does is force the credit card companies to be more devious and crafty in plundering our bank accounts in the name of keeping credit liquidity flowing.

    It's kind of like passing an anti rape law that doesn't exactly ban rape but would impose a slightly more stringent set of conditions for the rapist before the act becomes legal. Like, say, if the victim wore a red dress above the knees showing more than two inches of cleavage and whose blood alcohol count was at a certain level.

    Now, when those criteria are satisfied, can you both make the two-backed monster on one leg while humming "Bolero"? Then, by all means, proceed, my lusty young gentleman.

    This version of the credit card bill just leaves smaller loopholes for the credit card companies but they're loopholes, nonetheless. And given enough incentive even the most bloated of rats can squeeze their way through the smallest of holes.

    Tuesday, May 19, 2009

    My First Photobucket Slideshow

    This is sort of a rough draft of a music slideshow that I'll eventually complete by next month (hopefully) in time for the G Man's second birthday. Enjoy.

    Shorter Dick Morris:

    "When the elephants all jump off the cliff like bloated lemmings and the one skinny guy straining at the end of the rope eventually gets pulled off after them, that's the moment the disaster becomes his fault." - Professional Full-Bodied Penis Impersonator Dick Morris.

    Prehistoric Misanthrope Tamed by Love

    Everyone who's known me for five minutes knows that I'm a marriage-minded guy. After all, I was raised in a loosely Catholic household, therefore it only follows the idea of being a hubby to a loving wife is the most appealing thing in the world. But the question remains: Is he husband material? Well, one gal in Vero Beach, Florida thinks so and she's agreed to marry me.

    We've been sitting on top of this for some time and I know what some of you are going to say. It's too early. You're rebounding. You must be crazy for marrying someone you've never met. All good points and duly noted.

    But I don't look upon this as being a rebound relationship because I've proven to be more emotionally disentangled than I'd hitherto believed I'd be. And, since the monastic, celibate life was never for me, it just makes sense to recruit from within the ranks, so to speak.

    Therefore, I take great joy and pride and announcing that my girlfriend Barbara Peters and I are getting married. She's one of my longtime readers and I was hardly even aware of her until early this past spring when life was so chaotic and thick for me. When things began settling down, we'd begun corresponding every way we could and very quickly fell very deeply in love. I guess she had a head start because she's been an admirer of mine for years.

    Barb's unforgivably liberal, is frequently tempted to visit violence on stupid, willfully ignorant right wingers (but I'm being needlessly tautological here) and fully intends on defending her man to the death if need be. She could easily wind up as a contributor here at Pottersville Central, even though she hardly leaves comments.

    Long story short, it was virtually love at first byte and at some indeterminate time in the future, Barb will be moving up to live with me (for the first few days after she gets here, posting will be nonexistent to no fucking way, hee hee hee). We're probably looking at an August/September wedding at the earliest. So if anyone will be in the central Mass area around that time, my baby and I would sure love to have you.

    So, bottom line, this old dinosaur's pussy-whipped for good, so my future wife's carnal affections ought to take the edge off my characteristically nasty screeds...


    Tuesday Morning Video Blogging


    Monday, May 18, 2009

    Elephant Tipping

    By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari.

    As a useful force in American politics, the Republicans have been dead for awhile now. But in the seven months since Sarah Palin's nomination, they have taken on an intriguing new role: providing much-needed comic relief during dark times, serving as the unofficial rodeo clowns of the Financial Crisis Era. - Matt Taibbi, "The Class Clowns."

    Someone has been fatally tipping elephants and we all know who's to blame. It has been the elephants themselves.

    It only makes eminent common sense that when finding a dead animal in a stream or any vital source of water to immediately remove it by any means necessary. We have found the dead animal time and again in the stream of the nation's political discourse and it is the metaphorical mascot of the Republican Party. Yet we keep drawing from the once purer waters without having the heart or the fortitude or the strength or even the inclination to remove the carcass before we're fatally stricken with intellectual cholera.

    Dick Cheney, obviously, springs to mind. After having spent the last eight years as the torture aficionado's J. D. Salinger of Casper, Wyoming, suddenly Dick Cheney lifts his trunk and trumpets old pachyderm calls to arms ranging from embracing waterboarding as a legitimate interrogation tool to saying that Barack Obama is Mapquesting detailed directions to al Qaida terrorists as to where they can strike next if they so please.

    Yet no one in the MSM has ever once thought of removing Cheney's ample political corpse from the stream bed or the tracks despite the fact that some members of his Republican Party at least see the political expediency of changing to stop the hemmorhaging of votes over the last two elections.

    At least the Sunday talking head circuit has an excuse to keep trotting out John McCain in between tapioca feedings and naps: Technically, he's still in office and still alive. But they haven't a leg to stand on when they also keep McCain company with the likes of Tom DeLay, Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin and other superstars of Republican fuckuppery.

    And where else but in our deeply-divided country can we be treated to tabloid news of a hitherto obscure Alaska teenager's out-of-wedlock birth that was almost as ubiquitous and endemic as any coverage of the new Obama administration? Who cares if our homes are being foreclosed on, who cares that we're bleeding out jobs by 650,000 every month? I want to know why Levi Johnston broke up his engagement to Bristol Palin, Goddamnit! They were the Rob and Amber of Alaska and looked like such a good couple!

    The problem is that the puppet masters of the corporate mainstream media, as evidenced during their election coverage, are all too aware that people will not tune in to see a one horse race. It is vital and necessary in their minds (and indeed, for the sake of our two party system of government) that both parties be represented and that both make viable points.

    The problem with this is, the tipping point on the elephant side was established long ago and despite the fact that the Democrats have run roughshod over the Republicans in the last two successive elections and we now have a young, exciting, articulate Democrat in the White House, nothing has changed. More often than not, when one tunes in to the political talk shows every Sunday morning you will still see at least a 2 to 1 if not 3 to 1 ratio of Republicans to Democrats or conservatives to liberals. And as more and more Republicans get hauled off to jail, the pickings get slimmer and slimmer until you see Dick Cheney on TV more often than an offseason Peyton Manning.

    The main trouble with this is that no one in the MSM still has the cajones to tell these fucking maniacs that they're wrong, wrong, wrong, that their ruinous policies ought to not only be soundly, roundly and loudly ridiculed by every news person, every blogger, every good American but that said policies ought to be listed side by side with Adolph Hitler's and Nero's flaming legacies as to how not to run an empire.

    Now we're seeing the elephants tipping eachother. We're seeing the 97 year-old Roberta McCain go on Leno to blast Rush Limbaugh after he'd blasted her son and granddaughter. We're seeing Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele denigrate and dismiss Limbaugh as a mere entertainer (only to take it back 52 minutes later when he realized he wasn't wearing his brown pants). We're seeing Arlen Specter fling his cancer-riddled body from one ship to another with the grace and skill of a bloated rat. We're seeing the Titanic orchestra of the remaining GOP playing jeering songs in Specter's dishonor.

    And yet, the only time when they're all on the same page is when they unite during roll call votes to block key legislation that could help millions. They can't pass ruinous legislation like they used to but, by god, there's still a little Mitch McConnell in all of them and they can sure block progressive legislation.

    Maybe three's the charm. Perhaps Senator Jim Bunning's tea leaves are correct and the GOP's presence in the Senate will further shrivel to 36 after the 2010 midterms. Perhaps it will take three consecutive elections of being told No, No, NO by the American voters who have said in countless individual ballots and in countless exit polls and other polls that they do not want more of the same.

    But even though the vox populi has spoken, the pundits and power brokers on Capitol Hill are still not listening and as long they continue ignoring their constituency, readership and viewership, then I for one don't want to hear any shit from any of them about how unhinged bloggers are and why we need to be regulated if not hounded out of existence.

    In the meantime, the pachyderm carcasses continue piling up on the railroad tracks and the streams while we pretend that we still have a two party democracy.

    As a personal favor, please donate whatever you can to Pottersville considering my old pal JP's getting married to a great gal later on this year. The Paypal button's at the top right hand corner in case you missed it when you came in. TIA. - MF

    Happiness is Being Old, Male and Republican.

    I guess they can afford to be, considering what we've given the old fucks.

    His Own Private Pentagon, Part II Updated

    National Security Advisor Fran Townsend: “I want to know if the president knows what a fucking asshole Don Rumsfeld is.”

    White House Chief of Staff Andy Card: “It isn’t you, Fran. He treats Condi the same way. Me, too. He’s always telling me I’m the worst chief of staff ever.”

    Robert Draper’s article, “And He Shall Be Judged” kicks off with perhaps the most startling revelation of all, one worthy of an exclusive treatment of its own. Beginning in the spring of 2003, Donald Rumsfeld began hand-delivering the top secret Worldwide Intelligence Update to the White House. The WWIU was nothing new. But the ones that Rumsfeld was spoon-feeding to George W. Bush were festooned with warm and fuzzy color pictures of all the fabulous, humanitarian work being done in Iraq and were headlined with quotes from the Bible.

    This is disturbing in a number of ways and on a multiplicity of levels. First of all, it conclusively proves that Bush referring to our actions in the Middle East as a crusade wasn’t a careless slip of the tongue but a true Freudian slip. The invasion of Iraq and of our actions in perhaps the most violent and unstable region in the world really are motivated by religion. Pentagon officials at the time were jittery that if these Moonie Times Meets the Bible Worldwide Intelligence Updates to the Oval Office were made public, it “would be as bad as Abu Ghraib” would later prove to be. On some level, to some degree, when Bush administration officials were vehemently denying that the invasion and occupation of Iraq wasn’t about the oil, they were perhaps being honest.

    But on a deeper level, it’s harrowing that our Commander in Chief was having propaganda catapulted at him on a daily basis just as we were. All George W. Bush was doing was giving us his own spin on the spin that the Pentagon was giving him: That we had liberated the Iraqi people from an oppressive dictator and were giving them the chance to enjoy democracy, that Iraqi children were kissing our troops for fixing their bikes and throwing candy at them.

    I would expect a Chief Executive of adequate intelligence to not solely go by such warm and fuzzy intelligence updates backed up with the words of the Biblical prophets who no doubt would’ve been horrified were they alive to see our actions in their homelands. But as long as Bush’s prefab notions of the righteousness of our mission in Iraq were confirmed by Rumsfeld’s propaganda, the politically naïve and sociopathic Bush could afford to remain in his bubble.

    Back in 2005, about a dozen retired generals came out swinging at Rumsfeld when even White House flaks couldn’t dispel and spin away the suspicion that not all was well in the shining new hub of democracy and capitalism in the Middle East. To be sure, George W. Bush played his part even if only in signing off with near-complete ignorance the very policies that have crippled the Iraqi people to this day. But Donald Rumsfeld, Draper avers, is more responsible for how badly south things had gone in Iraq than even the most cynical of us had thought. Problems began cropping up two weeks into Shock and Awe and these generals bided their time and waited until their pensions were safely ensconced into their bank accounts before publicly criticizing their old boss.

    It had been alleged of Rumsfeld that he was so hostile to the idea of nation-building in Iraq that he had reportedly threatened to fire anyone who even mentioned the phrase “nation-building.” Rumsfeld, I hope we all remember, walked into the Pentagon briefing room and told the press the day before the September 11th terrorist attacks that we were essentially going to outsource everything we possibly could to the private corporate sector from which he and Cheney had freshly emerged. During that speech, Rumsfeld actually said, “Some might ask, how in the world could the Secretary of Defense attack the Pentagon in front of its people? To them I reply, I have no desire to attack the Pentagon; I want to liberate it. We need to save it from itself.”

    Shorter Rumsfeld: “We have met the enemy. And it is the Pentagon” just as Republicans keep insisting that government is the enemy. In ironic ways they couldn’t have imagined, they were both right.

    During his all-too-long second tenure as DefSec, Rumsfeld had adopted a curiously bifurcated style of managing the Pentagon: While being ferociously defensive of his massive fiefdom, treating National Security Council advisors, high-ranking generals and even the White House Chief of Staff with utter disdain, regarding many of them as a threat, in micromanaging and overseeing every detail, Rumsfeld was also disengaged.

    The complete lack of interest in nation-building was just one instance. The stubborn refusal to send the regular Army into the devastated Gulf Coast was another (Let’s not forget, the uninvited Blackwater was there long before our own military and wound up bagging over $70 million in post-Katrina contracts). One former National Security Advisor was quoted by Draper as saying, “Rumsfeld was more interested in being perceived to be in charge than actually being in charge.” Perhaps this is partly why Bush had felt a kinship with Rumsfeld: Our heavily-vacationed Decider obviously had a similar view of his presidential duties.

    It ought to be noted that virtually all of Draper’s sources refused to divulge their names for fear they would incur the displeasure of their former boss, George W. Bush. Frighteningly, the loyalty to Bush is still there if theirs to Rumsfeld isn’t.

    Far from being a partisan hit man, Draper also tried to show Rummy in a kinder, softer light to the point of disingenuousness:
    Donald Rumsfeld demanded much of others, but also of himself. Even the commanders who loathed him appreciated how he stood up for them in wartime, especially during the pitfalls at Fallujah and Abu Ghraib. He did not whine. He did not capriciously fire—and, if anything, was too slow to fire those he found wanting. Quietly yet frequently, he visited the hospital beds of those he had sent into battle.

    What Draper’s obviously forgetting is Rumsfeld not personally signing the letters of condolence to the families of troops killed in Iraq, preferring to have his signature rubber-stamped on them, instead.

    Forgotten by Draper is Rumsfeld blaming for losing the Vietnam war on the low quality of recruits, which he’d referred to as intake getting sucked into a jet engine and slapping the collective face of his fellow Vietnam veterans. And also forgotten by Draper is Rumsfeld’s response to a soon-to-be Swiftboated soldier who’d asked him why they didn’t have enough body armor. Rumsfeld’s now infamous rejoinder of “(Y)ou go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time” suggested that he had no hand in the shoddy and slipshod planning of the Iraq invasion.

    It’s only fitting that at a time when he’s going on his Albatross Around the GOP’s Neck tour that Dick Cheney would say at Rumsfeld’s Viking funeral that he was the best Secretary of Defense this nation ever had. Cheney has been wrong about everything under the sun, from deficits not mattering, to the OVPOTUS being detached from the Executive branch to everything Iraqi. Why shouldn’t he be wrong about his old friend Don Rumsfeld, a man who crippled an illegitimate administration already hobbled by hubris, arrogance, and laziness?

    KindleindaWind, my writing blog.

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