Saturday, July 31, 2010

Razing Arizona

First of all, Im neither Republican or Democrat. But it amazes me that you say the GOP got everything they wanted as far as the immigration law. You say Arizona is going to get whiter??? You're an idiot. If you and others fully understood that our country has a damn problem from immigrants coming here illegally. It dont matter what country they come from, they're a drain on our economy and finances. They also bring diseases to our people! We can't afford to take care of them and their taking of jobs that Americans could have!!! I wish all states followed Arizona's lead and told the Feds to fuck off!!! - actual email sent to my inbox on OpEd.

It's like a penis parade with electric vuvuzelas amplified by 100 watt Marshall amps. And, once again, JP has brought them out of the woodwork without even trying.

My last article, crossposted on Op-Ed News, the hard-hitting liberal, progressive news and opinion site that's become my summer home this month, has been promoted to headline status. If you go to their index page, you'll note that "The (Republican) Terrorists Have Already Won" is the story that's second from the top, well above the "fold."

The reason for this is the number of hits it must have gotten (although I have no way of tracking that) plus the comments it's generated (47 57 to date). As well as pieces by citizen journalists and bloggers like me, it features original pieces and crossposts by luminaries such as OpEd founder Rob Kall, Danny Schechter and Robert Parry. You'll note that articles far better than mine go, half the time, without generating a single comment. The other half of OpEd's articles get single digit comments.

My 391 word article, which started off as a rambling series of off-the-cuff comments said to Mrs. JP at a coffee shop, eventually crystallized into a brief blog post that I decided to cross-post on Rob Kall's site. It was grabbed more rapidly than anything else they ever accepted (within a half hour) and got linked on Buzzflash almost as quickly. The comments started pouring in immediately, especially when Rob Kall decided to immediately front-page it.

It got to the point where I was spending all my preciously limited internet time reading and responding to the comments. This morning, I found dozens more. I still haven't read them all. But I will make some observations:

If one is adventurous enough to regard this response as a bellwether of what issues will be hot during the midterms, then one will conclude that immigration suddenly just got very, very sexy. But what else can account for this massive (and surprisingly negative and critical) response to my post on SB 1070? Am I the first person to have written about immigration or SB 1070 on OpEd News? Uh, hardly.

Then again, it may have something to do with the provocative title, "The (Republican) Terrorists Have Already Won." Ah, there's the rub and the rub goes the wrong way. Now I know how Janet Napolitano felt when Homeland Security released their report on the rise of right wing terrorism and she was assailed by every Republican bed sheet-wearer in the land.

Now, my comments are being flagged for being partisan (on a liberal, progressive site) and abusive. I've been called a racist (someone with two biracial sons) and I even have a concern troll who presumes to tell me, me of all people, how to write and respond to others. Rob Kall responded by not only front-paging my crappy little article but elevated it to the top of the index page. It's bringing traffic to his site. I've done my job.

But it's not only notable that it took a post about immigration to elicit such a response but one that, justifiably, charges the Republican Party and its apologists with racism. It's brought out all the crazies that troll OpEd News more regularly than I suspect even Rob Kall knew.

And all because I spoke the truth. Not an opinion, but the God's unflyblown, ineluctable, incontrovertible truth: SB 1070 is rooted in racism, something every Latino schoolchild can see with one eye closed. If it wasn't about racism and fear of people darker than us, then how come the immigration debate is completely about the southern border and not the northern border near Canada, through which far more national security threats have been intercepted than Mexico?

The response that my post has gotten, with some people actually sympathetic to the Iowa Republican Party's laughable attempt to strip President Obama of his citizenship just for accepting the Nobel Peace Prize, is a microcosm of what Glenn Beck said about Obama being a racist who doesn't like white people.

Well, neither do I. My people have been a locust swarm, a pox, pestilence and plague on the planet earth. I loathe stupid white men with a burning hatred and resentment for turning our world into the fetid cellpool of oily, polluted opportunism that it's become. I am living in, literally, a different nation than the one in which I grew up in the late 70's/early 80's. Manifest Destiny, obviously, isn't aimed at just dark-skinned people, anymore.

And the racist scumbags who wrote, ratified and signed SB 1070 into law, are also largely stupid white men who pontificate about Mexicans taking jobs that white people don't want to do. But taking harvesting jobs away from respectable white folks like us isn't what SB 1070 is about. It's not about driving away the illegal immigrants who nonetheless pour billions each year into the Arizona state economy and still pay taxes without getting what they're paying for.

It's about driving out the legal ones who vote Democratic, as Greg Palast reminded us last April. And, as I stated yesterday, SB 1070 had worked beyond their wildest dreams: Tens of thousands of Mexicans, even ones here legally, have been forced to leave a land that had once belonged to their ancestors until we stole it from them in the early 19th century. And they're taking their votes with them.

SB 1070, among other things, requires everybody (meaning those with dark skin) to carry papers on them proving citizenship. Even if one is a legal immigrant, not having those papers on them is in itself a crime.

How is this in any way, shape and form not reminiscent of the Jewish ghettos of Nazi eastern Europe? How comes we're not so concerned about Swedish immigrants in Minnesota or the Dakotas or the Polish immigrants of Michigan? Or Italian immigrants in the North End of Boston or Rhode Island?

It's aimed at Hispanics and, audaciously, Native Americans who were here before everyone else. And we're supposed to believe this is a debate about economics? If that was true, they would've thought twice about passing a law that was guaranteed to crater a state economy by depriving it of much of the $29 billion poured into it by Latinos and other immigrants (about 8% of its economy).

If it was about what was legally viable or not, they wouldn't have passed a racist law that requires dark-skinned people to carry citizenship papers with them 24/7 (do you?), one guaranteed to be challenged and struck down in federal courts. If they wanted to remain true to the spirit of the law, they could've continued with 287g, that allows the federal government to deputize state and city law enforcement agencies to round up illegal immigrants.

Oh wait. That was taken away from Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the racist scumbag whose tent city in Maricopa County had become a national disgrace, a place in which the almost exclusively Mexican Americans die and suffer from lack of medical care.

Yet to hear the scumbags who are commenting on my article, whatever horrors we can visit on these people or allow to happen to them they brought on themselves. Because they broke the law.

Well, so did Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Karl Rove, Alberto Gonzales and thousands of other crooks, liars and war criminals and you don't see those douchebags getting deported to the Netherlands to stand war crimes trials. No, they're richer than ever and are getting signed to one book and TV deal after another.

So spare me your fucking pieties about what's legal and who deserves what.

Friday, July 30, 2010

The (Republican) Terrorists Have Already Won

(Crossposted on OpEd and Brilliant at Breakfast.)

If one looks at SB 1070, Arizona's Gestapo-esque immigration law that went into effect yesterday despite a federal judge striking down key components of it, with clear eyes and takes note of all the fallout that's resulted, one realizes that the Arizona GOP actually got everything they ever asked for and probably a good deal more.

True, this explosion of hatred toward Latinos legal or otherwise, has had some less than salutary effects on the state's economy. But those repercussions will not be felt by the state GOP lawmakers but the average small business owner and landlord.

The benefits that the GOP is already seeing is the mass exodus of Latinos both legal and illegal, who have been leaving Arizona by the thousands. Who will actually suffer from this? Democrats who have come to rely on this same Latino voting bloc's reliably Democratic votes.

They also succeeded in making Arizona a lot whiter in a big hurry and without placing much of a burden on the state's limping economy and the state's penal system.

When SB 1070 was ratified in the Arizona legislature, 11 other states followed suit and either ratified or introduced legislation that would enforce similar measures against immigrants. The Arizona Republican Party is metastasizing.

Hell, even Judge Susan Bolton's highly critical ruling of SB 1070 has been hailed as a "huge victory" by the same whackjobs who'd co-authored it because Bolton couldn't or wouldn't completely eviscerate it.

And if you want to know how insanely xenophobic white Republicans have gotten, Iowa Republicans, I shit you not, want to strip President Barack Obama of his citizenship, hence get him thrown out of the White House, just for winning and accepting the Nobel Prize. They're basing this on a proposed amendment (the original 13th amendment, not the one that banned slavery) that failed in Congress exactly 200 years ago.

This is their platform, people, and we're letting it pay dividends. There's really no downside to the GOP's starkly batshit insane and irrational fear of brown people. Like the Bush administration was fond of saying, if we give in to fear, then the terrorists have already won.

Then they scared the shit out of us and it paid billions in dividends to war contractors. We let them steal our constitutional protections, our civil liberties eight years ago and we still haven't gotten them back.

Well, the terrorists have won again and they triumphantly rode in on a snow-white elephant.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

You're Never Too Old to Fail

...or to be scammed.

As further proof that, aside from Mrs. Jurassicpork and a handful of kind readers, there is literally no one on the planet who has any use for me except as a source of income. Whether it be my landlord, utility companies, my kids' custodial family, literary agents, temp agencies and the like, my personal worth to them is directly proportionate to my potential for putting cha-ching in someone's pocket.

Take Cambridge House Books, for instance. Some of you may remember that, last May 25th, I wrote a post lauding these people after I got one of their emails and checked them out. The first one or two emails I got from one of their so-called editors, Rachel Trusheim, only further encouraged me.

Then I got around to telling Rachel that, even though I was a blogger, my daily readership could be counted in the hundreds and that, oh yeah, I'd been unemployed for 13 months. Call it coincidence or not, but the enthusiastic letters exhorting me to submit American Zen suddenly got briefer, cooler, terser and far less frequent when Cambridge House Books got wind of my insolvency.

Eventually, when I badgered Trusheim into giving me some resolution regarding AZ, I was told in no uncertain terms that, since I didn't have the marketing potential of a Bill O'Reilly (whom she'd used as an example), I would have to underwrite half the publishing expenses if they chose my book. Otherwise, I was too big of a "risk."

I never got anything resembling any resolution regarding whether Cambridge House's editorial board ever decided on it but perhaps news of my pecuniary state helped speed along their non-decision. By this time, I'd already sent them a proposal for another novel that, officially speaking, still hasn't been acknowledged much less decided upon. That was in late May when I sent it off. I sent Trusheim an email a month later wondering aloud if the fact I was living on unemployment for the second year had anything to do with the fact that her communiques got less frequent than Osama bin Laden's. I'm still eagerly awaiting her response.

Basically, Cambridge House Books (I refuse to link to these con artists and I removed the link in the referenced post) is a scam organization, a gussied up vanity press looking for people who either have money to defray their overhead expenses or have a national audience that will guarantee sales so their publicity department won't have to do as much work.

In other words, they're no different from publishers and literary agencies except for this one crucual difference: Publishers underwrite 100% of the publication expenses and virtually all of the publicity expenses and legit literary agencies get paid by you only after they sell your book. Cambridge House will charge you thousands up front if they arbitrarily decide you're too big of a risk to take on as an author, especially a first time novelist whose name isn't Glenn Beck.

Now, it would be easy to make this a personal gripe but this is an experience that many of us, writer or not, share. My experience is only synecdochal of that of many others. What set me off today on my latest rampage was the email I got from these predatory, opportunistic cocksuckers asking me to give them another chance to help them help me to help them.

My response was so vitriolic, I hesitate to recount even here to my veteran readers what I told them in response this morning but it involved tender orifices and rough sticks.

It's bad enough when literary agents and editors have turned the publishing business into a giant glorified vanity press. It's more self-serve than ever before and, as with temp agencies, they demand experience, education, credentials and a track record that very few of us in the real world actually have.

A couple of decades ago, I sold a slogan to a button company that read, "Fortune Favors Those Who Have One." I was barely out of my 20's when I wrote that but my youthful cynicism had proven to be more justified and timely than ever. Fortune does favor those who have one, as if wealth and or power ought to be self-sustaining, as if one's personal manifest destiny ought to snowball despite limitations of talent and a propensity for prevarication and moral putrefaction.

The bottom line is, if you're poor and obscure, your chances of succeeding at anything in this world is limited to the point of guaranteed futility. Millions are spent troweling out crap like Going Rogue or The Overton Window, books attributed to right wing racists and ghost-written by right wing racists, as long as you have a national platform.

Never mind the fact that their "authors" got rich and are getting richer by scrawling the absurdest conspiracy theories on blackboards and saying "Drill, Baby, Drill!" and "hopey changey" to millions of drooling idiots. The fact is that Beck, Palin and other no-talent brain transplant candidates have gotten the attention of millions of mouth-breathers. That automatically gives them about 100 more legs up in the business than anyone like me. Talent isn't even secondary.

Now, in order to be "qualified" to be a novelist, you have to either have a massive presence on the web, be an acknowledged expert in one profession or another or be a celebrity. Talent is no longer a qualifier. In fact, once editors and agents find out you've never been put between covers, that's usually strike one. The current, short-sighted business models governing publishing and job careers requires spontaneous history despite no one wanting to take a chance on the uninitiated and inexperienced. Temp agencies and actual employers, for instance, are making an official/unofficial policy of ignoring the unemployed just as literary agencies are ignoring the unpublished.

Look at our current political structure. Sometime during the 80's, some fucking genius got it into his head that we should allow millionaires to run for Congress and the White House so they won't be tainted by campaign money.

How's that hopey changey thing worked out for us? The system simply got more corrupt than ever and, thanks to the Supreme Court, will get more corrupt than Tammany Hall's wildest, wettest dreams. Now, Congress and one White House after another is overrun by out-of-touch robber baron sociopaths who don't have any clue what it feels like to have to decide between food or health care, people who have never touched a snow shovel or rake in their lives or had to literally count out pocket change or had to hold back groceries at the store checkout.

Audaciously, we're then blamed for finding ourselves in this hole even when these same naysayers and detractors are the ones who pulled up the rope ladder.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

For Your Personal Amusement...

I'm picking up a novel I started late last year then dropped for about 6 months to work on other projects. It's entitled Romanov 12:19, after Romans 12:19 in the Bible. The daughter of a Wall Street tycoon is kidnapped right after she arrives at her private school in Westchester County.

Desperate for answers and frustrated with the NYPD, the family's Russian chauffeur Vasiliy recommends Josef Romanov, aka Joe Roman, former NYPD and Moscow militia detective. Joe occasionally does work for and sometimes against the Russian mob of Brighton Beach. Vasiliy was his partner in the Moscow Militia police.

The trail leads them to the CNMI (Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands), once infamous for its sweatshops and now infamous for its child prostitution rings. Roman and the father fly to Saipan on the tycoon's private jet and Roman brings with him two Russian hit men, a disgraced FBI agent and his former partner, Vasiliy. The six are guided around the island by Norma Campo, the director of the real-life Guma Esperanza shelter for battered and exploited women.

One of the leads they find on the island is a right wing radio host who goes to Saipan every November for "special visits." Any relation to Cecil Humphries and the fat fuck pictured above is strictly intentional. These are the Humphries chapters.

Chapter 36
Cecil Humphries walked down the folding steps of the Learjet that he’d leased. “Why do they have to make these fucking things so narrow?” the obese man muttered under his breath. “What do they think, we’re all anorexic?” There was no brass band, no dignitaries, no politicians, no reporters or photographers, no red carpet, no one there waiting for him which, if he was still stateside, would be unusual. Here in Saipan, having no one waiting for him was exactly what he wanted. No sense in taking chances, he thought, and pulled down the front of the brim of his trademark white Panama hat and put on his Ray Ban sunglasses.

Putting down his carryon luggage, the fat American took out a gold-plated Zippo lighter embossed with the GOP national symbol and lit up a Cuban, putting the empty aluminum tube back in his coat pocket. The little girls liked to play with them afterwards and he chortled when he thought of the times he’d used them as dildos and they’d complain about them being cold.

Now 58, Humphries was sleek, bloated and ruddy with good health and he was in a mood for celebrating. The syndicated radio network for whom he’d been working as a conservative iconoclast for 11 years had just signed him to a 10 year contract estimated to be somewhere in the neighborhood of $400 million. The day after he’d signed the contract, he devoted his entire five hour-long radio show to bragging about it and merrily hit the kill button every time some jealous Al Franken wannabe liberal pinhead would call with outrage.

He was the new face of the Republican Party in the minds of not just the conservative grassroots but also to the new Obama administration. He’d achieved a new level of celebrity when he openly wished for the new president to fail and to get impeached. What angered a lot of people, including some turncoat moderate Republicans, was that he’d said this last November on Election Night.

No doubt those same liberal pinheads would make a lot of hay over why he was here just as they did when it was revealed after his arrest 9 years ago for being in possession of illegal pain killers to which he’d been addicted. Humphries’ attitude was that they could all take a flying leap off Banzai Cliff. It wasn’t anyone’s business what a grown man did in his free time, especially when he was on vacation.

Still, leftist fathead bloggers would create a conspiracy theory out of whole cloth if they found out that he’d secretly or without fanfare traveled to the same island that he’d ceaselessly fought to keep exempt from US Immigration laws. Since customs quotas, minimum wage and tariff laws didn’t apply to Saipan and Guam, why should the immigration laws?

He’d railed against Bush from his bully pulpit when in May of last year he’d signed the Natural Resources Act of 2008 (or S. 2739) into law. That was why he’d decided to abruptly take a vacation here on Saipan mere days after signing the largest contract in American broadcasting history. Later on in the month, the federal government would be handed over complete control of the CNMI’s immigration laws. He wanted to see the island’s precocious new talent before INS put a clamp on it.

Humphries hailed a cab just like any ordinary tourist and made his way to the same five star hotel where, unbeknownst to him, a group of dangerous-looking men from the United States had checked in the night before.

Chapter 39
Cecil Humphries dispatched the bellhop with a ten dollar bill and a grunted approximation of gratitude. He lit up another Cuban with his famous gold lighter, his only concession to his celebrated identity, and serenely exhaled the smoke through the open sliding glass door. The spacious, tiled patio overlooked the beach and he lowered his Ray Bans to look down at the small, colorful figures lounging, swimming or running on the sand.

Of course, Humphries wasn’t there to openly enjoy the surf, work on his tan or look for seashells. He could do that in Ft. Lauderdale where he lived year-round. No, what he was here to do would be frowned upon by his countrymen, especially liberal fathead bloggers quivering for a Gotcha moment.

He’d just taken a Viagra and was beginning to feel the effects. The pundit’s penis stirred as he looked at the children on the sand in their bathing suits. He turned around, took out his cell phone and dialed a number from memory. Humphries was smart enough not to put it in his contacts list and every time he’d called this number in the past, he also deleted the phone’s memory of the call. Of course, it would still be on record with his cell phone provider but that wasn’t an issue as long as no one had any reason to go looking through his call history.

“Rodrigo. Guess who? That’s right! I’m back and just in time to head off Eliot Ness and his damned Do Gooders. Is my favorite girl available? What?! Well, that sucks. Who would do such a thing? OK, who else have you got for me? I have to be on a plane by tomorrow night and I don’t have much time. Really? You sure she’s 12 and not 18 who looks like she’s 12 but really 12? You know how young those Filipinas look. No, I know you never let me down. I trust you. I’ll see you at the usual spot at 6.”

Humphries folded the phone and walked back onto the patio, eyeing the little girls in their skimpy bikinis and enjoying the effect the Viagra was already having on him. He’d been saving up for a long time and he planned on using up every one of the six condoms he’d brought with him.

Chapter 41
Fat, sleek men are lining up for your daughters and they all have lots of time and money. To them, they are just a couple of tight orifices and a ponytail to pull in pursuit of their long-lost adolescence and activities that polite society denies them. You call them pedophiles. I call them my accomplices.

Cecil Humphries, America’s most recognizable political pundit, was dressing down before his big night. Considering the tender age of the young lady he’d be entertaining tonight, it didn’t pay to draw attention to himself. Wearing generic sunglasses, plain khaki slacks (44 waist), cheap Panama hat sans hat band or any adornment, and a stereotypical, flowered print shirt (size 18 neck), the colorfully-attired Humphries was hiding in plain sight by masquerading as what he fancied the typical American on vacation in a tropical paradise. While packing in Florida, he’d briefly considered a fake beard but nixed the idea. Even considering the embarrassing Cialis incident, he hated the thought of plastering his puss with spirit gum. The hair would make his face itch, too.

He’d been to Guam on several occasions on behalf of the Armed Forces Radio Network that had faithfully carried The Humphries Radio Show for over nine years to the tacit exclusion of everything to the political left of the radio dial (the frequency on his flagship home station was 1700 AM, about as far to the right as one could turn the knob). Al Franken’s Air America and pinheaded liberal talk show hosts had come and gone in the last decade but Cecil Humphries went proudly marching on where ever our troops were sent (in spirit, anyway). The ultra conservative pundit was, if anything, more concerned about the troops being exposed to liberal propaganda than that of al Qaeda’s or any other terrorist network. Acting as a filter or antidote to such subversiveness was, to Humphries, less of a job as it was a calling.

Tonight, he’d be going to Guam, dealing with the US Navy yet it wouldn’t be to entertain the troops but himself. He needed to make contact with just a handful of men and officers who were expecting his clandestine visit. Rodrigo, as always, had set up everything on his end but the cash payments to smooth his safe and discrete arrival on shore and back was still up to Humphries.

He counted out 50 crisp hundred dollar bills, $5000, for the five men who’d get him on and off Guam before the sun shone on him. He didn’t know if the men were aware of the true nature of his special visit or if Rodrigo provided him with a cover story. It didn’t matter. They wouldn’t talk unless they cared to explain the thousands of dollars that passed hands while allowing an unauthorized civilian into a US Naval installation.

The cash was withdrawn from a Saipan bank this morning out of a secret slush fund that he’d maintained for years. He could have taken the bribe money out of any of his several Florida-based accounts. But doing so would’ve left an easily-discovered paper trail. His Saipan account was in the name of a dummy corporation (Friedman Capital, named in honor of the conservative economist, Milton Friedman). His deliberately illegible signature on the withdrawal slip would’ve foiled any but the most dogged investigator. Mama didn’t raise no fools although she sure slept with more than her fair share of them.

Satisfied for the third time that all five grand was there (one can’t trust the hired help of even five star hotels), he tapped the edges of the bills on the dresser and slid them into his Gucci calfskin billfold. Humphries then took out his cell phone to ensure that Rodrigo had chartered the boat and was already waiting for him at the most isolated point in the harbor a mile from the hotel. Humphries insisted on making the others wait, especially during these special visits, so he wouldn’t be left waiting and exposed to scrutiny for longer than necessary. He wanted to duck in and out of the cab and slip onto the boat.

Humphries’s go-between, whom he’d stubbornly refused to acknowledge as a pimp, was actually a surprisingly urbane Filipino who spoke English with hardly a trace of an accent either way. Always impeccably dressed in a white blazer and matching slacks and Fedora, Rodrigo had an infallible instinct for being able to spot the officers and men most susceptible to the irresistible siren call of several Ben Franklins.

“Rodrigo? It’s me,” Humphries quietly announced in his famous Indiana twang but not using his equally well-known, bombastic radio voice. Who knew if the walls had ears and how sensitive they’d be? “Are you at the harbor? OK, are you sure you’ve never used this captain before? Outstanding. You’re the man, Rodrigo. I’ll be there in 10 or 15 minutes.”

He clapped his cell phone shut and looked out the window, satisfied that dusk had sufficiently deepened so that no one could possibly recognize him in the gathering dark. He used the phone in his room to alert the desk to have a cab waiting for him by the time he got to the lobby. With a little luck, he’d be having the time of his life within two hours. The six condoms in the right pocket of his Bermuda shorts dryly rustled as he walked to the door.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

How's the Yachting in Russia?

You want to know how horrible of a CEO Tony Hayward was for BP? Not only did the corporation's board of directors fire him as their Chief Executive Officer, they even banished him to a Siberian outpost. It's kind of an executive version of a fuckup in the Nazi army getting sent to the Russian front. Or think of D. B. Cooper getting away and living happily ever after.

Because even though Hayward got shitcanned, he still gets to keep his $1.61 million salary plus his $17 million in stock options (Curiously, BP has just announced it's lost $17.2 billion in this quarter, mainly if not entirely attributable to the Gulf oil spill).

Hayward fucked up because he was perfectly OK with his corporation skirting the law and not giving a shit about the environment. He fucked up yet again by whining about wanting his life back. Then when the criticism got to be too much he washed his hands of the whole thing and went yachting at the Isle of Wight.

Hayward is the 2nd consecutive BP CEO to be shitcanned for killing people and polluting the environment.

If there's anything we've learned from this pathetic clusterfuck that's heavy on faux accountability and light on actual solutions and actual justice, it's this: Crimes does pay. Handsomely.

Tell your kids because it's the God's unflyblown truth.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Will the Real GOP Psychopath Please Stand Up?

(Image courtesy of Stan the Man Banos at Reciprocity Failure.)

Who are the Magnificent Seven?

Granted, it's a little early to be speculating as to who will be the standard bearer for either party in the presidential election of 2012, especially as the midterms aren't until November. But it's always tempting to prognosticate on such matters just to see how accurate our predictions were when the moment comes.

So I got to wondering this morning who's likeliest to be the GOP's man or woman in 2012 when all the other psychopaths have gone by the wayside. Thus far, it seems that, depending on what straw polls you read, there isn't a single Republican in the land that seems to have any mainstream appeal. In a way, they're in the same quandary that they were in 2008.

So let's play a little What's My Line, shall we?

1) Newt Gingrich

The GOP's Ross Perot or Lyndon Larouche, Gingrich seems to revel more in the attention of being a quadrennial candidate for president than in advancing any new ideas for the conservative movement. In fact, Sensico likens Gingrich's angling and wrangling for support as so much attention whoring. An exploratory committee put together by Gingrich a few years ago showed that he couldn't fit the people who'd vote for him into Scott Brown's little pickup truck.

Then again, as Sensico opines, maybe Gingrich is less concerned about a contract with America as he is with a contract with Fox "News." After all, if Sarah Palin could get one TV deal after another thrown at her well-shod feet, anything's possible. Which takes us to...

2) Sarah Palin

Tea Party Candidate Zero. Clueless in Wasilla. Call her what you will, Sarah Palin's main appeal seems to be less as a potential presidential candidate and more in giving Tea Baggers an excuse to vent their racism and unfocused fury in their corporately-sponsored Two Minute Hates. Giving a brief bump to the McCain campaign in early September 2008, the Palin/McCain ticket quickly went more flaccid than Bob Dole's de-Viagra'd dick when more pragmatic conservatives heard Palin actually speak and were gradually more and more terrified at the prospect of having at the helm of the nation a person who was utterly incapable of constructing a grammatically correct or coherent sentence and thought foreign policy experience could be gleaned through osmosis by dint of sheer proximity. I mean, faced time and again by William Shatner? William Shatner???

Undaunted, Palin then resigned the only nationally visible office she'd ever hold halfway through her first term with the intention of "fighting" for Alaska's... well, something that Alaska seems to hold dear. Another attention whore, she's captured the tabloid imagination far more than any politician/ex politician/wouldbe politician. Yet, poll after poll shows her with far less support than she would need to justify running for Grand Marshall of the Iditarod.

3) Mitt Romney

The former MA governor, who at least finished his gubernatorial term, exudes a vinyl vampiricism that may go over well with the plastic zombies of Wall Street and the US Chamber of Commerce. But outside of the financial district, Romney's Mormon religion will forever keep him from becoming president, which would be a shame if Romney's religion wasn't a thoroughly bogus, Marvel Comics megacult that didn't require believing in galactic heroes and super villains.

Oh, and the Black Jesus vs White Jesus thing doesn't help, either.

4) Rand Paul

Whether or not Rand Paul makes it into the Senate on a tide of red tea, one doesn't have to squint too hard to see that Ron Paul's ophthalmologist offspring has gotten a taste for national politics since winning the Kentucky GOP senate primary. Paul is best known for being intellectually eviscerated by Rachel Maddow for his tacit support for lunch counter managers' refusal to serve black people, surely the biggest hot button issue south of the Mason Dixon line.

One is at a loss to see why Paul would even hint at repealing a landmark civil rights bill that was signed into law when he was a year old or how he thinks that corporate autonomy should trump basic civil rights is a good campaign strategy. But it seems to resonate with those who think that outgoing Senator Jim "Jersey Barrier" Bunning was a bit too soft on liberals and them uppity negroes.

5) Rudy Giuliani

Maybe if Rudy stays in drag 24/7, people will forget that he's male and he may get the nomination by beating Palin at being the first female GOP presidential candidate to break the bulletproof glass ceiling. Lord knows Rudy didn't fare too well two years ago after briefly leading the rat pack of Republican presidential candidates.

Rudy thought it was a good campaign strategy to Super Glu himself to 9/11, the day of the first and most colossal failure of the Bush administration. It was the day when a lame duck mayor became our president for a day because our so-called President was being flown here there and everywhere like a lost piece of luggage while Dick Cheney was doing his job for him. Maybe in time voters will also forget about Hizzoner's rock solid association with his police chief, convicted felon and future jailbird Bernie Kerik. But those of us on the left side of the tracks will not forget his antiquated radios getting hundreds of policemen and firefighters killed on the day with which he loves to associate himself.

6) Ronald Reagan's Rotting Corpse

Don't laugh. This is what they really want, for the Gipper to make the greatest comeback since the 2004 Red Sox. This political Rapture would be unquestioningly accepted by frustrated conservatives who are sick of the hot dog water pot of ideas that the latter-day GOP offers. Tax cuts for the rich! No more unions! Unrestrained capitalism! No more social service programs for the poor! And, best of all, since Reagan is deader than Ben Franklin, the 22nd Amendment wouldn't even apply.

Of course, it would make far more sense, if we were to go the Herbert West/Reanimator route, to revive Dwight D. Eisenhower but the 34th President's quietly gone out of favor in the half century since his retirement from public service. And it's not hard to see why: After all, the wealthiest Americans were socked with a 90% tax rate and Ike warned us about empowering the military/industrial complex that's apparently taken over our foreign policy. And we can't have a lib'ral like Ike back in the White House, now can we?

7) Michele Bachmann

Granted, Reagan's putrifying corpse has a better chance of making a comeback than Michele Bachmann getting a toehold in even the primaries. But remember that she comes from a state that elected Norm Coleman as a senator and Schwarzenegger sidekick Jesse Ventura as their governor, so anything's possible.

As much a darling of the Tea Baggers as Palin, Bachmann rallied the masses last summer by encouraging her followers to slit their wrists to protest the "socialist" health care bailout and seriously suggested on TV that certain members of Congress be investigated for "unAmerican" activities. And still, Minnesota saw fit to re-elect her. At just 54, Bachmann's young enough to be a herpes sore on the body politic for a couple of more decades.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Potemkin Command Center

John Aravosis likens BP's spate of faked photos of its command centers on its official website to Capricorn One. But I'm thinking more along the lines of the so-called Potemkin Villages allegedly built by Grigory Potyomkin in 1787 to fool Catherine the Great as to Russia's conquests.

A more modern-day example of the kind of chicanery that we're now seeing with BP can be found in the Stalinist era of the Soviet Union, where people who had fallen out of favor with the paranoid Stalin would suddenly be airbrushed out.

At around the same time, Chairman Mao was doing the same thing to his disappeared political enemies- disappearing them again.

In the age of Adobe Photoshop and digital manipulation, you'd think that BP's own revisionist history would be a little more sophisticated than the inept airbrushing and crude artist reconstructions of Chairman Mao and General Secretary Stalin. Yet look at the two examples shown below of the kind of ineptitude shown by BP in the Photoshopped pictures below (which they blamed on their photographer). Click on the images for a more expanded view and look closely at what doesn't belong (John Aravosis did a more thorough and exhaustive analysis. Click on the permalink to ABlog at the top to see his analysis).

This one doesn't require such a discerning eye. Note the guy on the right with what looks like either the world's worst toupee or a chipmunk that suddenly decided to die on his head.

In the picture above you see people in the command center with images, once again, Photoshopped behind the workers. This one was taken of the "top kill" effort about a month ago.

If you but go to BP's official website and look at their travelogue photographs, you'll never know what you'll find.

This unbelievably inept Photoshopping job is of the Discoverer Enterprise and Helix Q4000 flaring. This is supposed to represent a normal function aboard any rig, otherwise known as "sky dumping". But even looking at the large thumbnail I noticed that something didn't look kosher. Look at the two flares, especially in the blown-up version.

Kinda looks like a flame decal that you'd just stick on your car, doesn't it? Considering the risible incompetence of this particular Photoshopping job, I'm actually amazed that the amateur who did this remembered to try to load the reflection of the flares on the water.

One of the most enduring mysteries of the Obama administration will be why they're allowing BP to continue taking point in the response. They're dumping sand on top of tar rather than cleaning it up. They have an unofficial policy called "Ponies and balloons" and showing fake cleanup efforts for the benefit of elected officials. Now they're Photoshopping pictures to make BP look busier than they actually are.

So remind me again why BP is still in control of this disaster?

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Sign of Things That Have Already Come (With update)

Last night A week ago today, Mrs. JP became one of the latest of America's working wounded. She got shitcanned for an indeterminate period of time from the sign shop at which she was working for almost a year (the right wing assholes put her and everyone else out of work for a week last week when they went to the Cape, meaning we didn't even have anything to deposit in the bank today. Unlike her bosses, she still didn't qualify for a paid vacation.). With my unemployment benefits crapping out last month and the Senate doing diddly regarding an extension, that means we have zero money coming in for the foreseeable future. They claimed business has slowed. Mrs. JP says she's been as busy as ever, which was very busy.

(Update: The Senate finally passed its version of the UI extension bill. Yet when they finally get around to passing the reconciled version and Obama signs it into law, it'll still take up to three weeks for the benefits to be implemented into the state system. I'll get them retroactively in one lump sum but probably not until the middle of August. Mrs. JP filed for UI benefits yesterday but, once again, it'll take about 2-3 weeks for her benefit claim to kick in. Until then, we'll have nothing coming in.)

It wasn't exactly heaven in the workplace: She was making minimum wage as a graphic designer, a job she's been excellently doing for almost two decades. She literally cried and begged to continue working. Her right wing bosses were completely unmoved.

I perfectly understand how she feels. I experienced it for the latest time last April 27th, exactly a month after getting the old heave-ho from my home of 15+ years.

There's the feeling of guilt, of shame, as if you did something wrong. Then you get angry with yourself for feeling guilt because your memory informs you that you did all the right things: Got up for work every morning, showed up on time every day, did a quality job, hardly missing a day, often going above and beyond the call of duty. You played by the rules and got kicked in the sack for it.

Then your anger at both yourself and your former employer is suffused with fear and you find yourself spending more and more time and energy trying to keep incipient panic at bay. It's a very draining, very demoralizing experience.

I've been running myself ragged looking for a job and burning up a lot of gasoline we really can't afford applying to as many as nine places a day (or three times the MA Department of Employment Training's weekly minimum for job search contacts). Hopefully, I should hear something by Wednesday, the same day Mrs. JP has to call her job to see what's going on. In the meantime, we have exactly zero chance of paying the rent August 1st, much less feeding ourselves and paying off our new auto insurance premiums. The prospect of eviction, at the exact same time our lease is up for renewal, is doubly terrifying when you realize you have no place to store your stuff and there are no homeless shelters in the area.

I know a lot of other people are hurting, a lot of news outlets like Truthout, Buzzflash, RSN, The Smirking Chimp and others are asking for donations at the same time. I feel bad for them and for individuals who are also hurting because I understand what it feels like to live with that panic that moves into your life like an unwelcome house guest. So anything you can do to help would be very, very greatly appreciated, as our backs are really up against the wall this time.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Night the Light of Truth Went Out in Georgia

"How many times can anono-blogger @allahpundit write same piece in which he raises specter of me falling on face while I stand in end zone? - Andrew Breitbart on Twitter

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

Jim Marshall of the Vikings also danced in the end zone. Only, in his famous wrong way play in 1964, he scored a couple of points for the opposing team because, after recovering a fumble, he ran into the opposing team’s end zone. In that respect, We are Marshall. It can happen to any of us. This time around, it’s Andrew Breitbart’s turn to wipe the yolk off his face.

But Marshall’s blunder was an honest mistake. Breitbart’s was the more egregious because it was patently dishonest, needlessly changed the face of our government and it certainly wasn’t a mistake. And there are many lessons that we could and should take away from this latest fuckup of Breitbart’s, the MSM’s and the Obama administration, once again asking, “How high, massa?” every time some vacuum-skulled, right wing douchebag like Breitbart or Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck snap their fingers.

First off, we need to ask ourselves why Breitbart settled his crosshairs on Shirley Sherrod, a low-level USDA bureaucrat in charge of rural development for Georgia, someone who had 49 other counterparts, over a speech given a quarter of a century ago when Obama was half his present age, a previously obscure bureaucrat who just happens to be African American?

Indeed, it seems every time Breitbart, James “Superfly” O’Keefe, Beck or someone wants to prove racism or a stereotype (such as black ACORN workers giving sympathetic advice to a pimp and his ho’), the subjects of their baleful ken always seem to be African American.

And if the white-dominated press didn’t have such a reliable track record for passive racism (missing children grabbing headlines or lead stories are guaranteed to be white), it would be as big a mystery as to why they’re as easily and gullibly led astray by right wing bloggers and media sites like the Drudge Report as so many unwitting Adam Walshes.

The MSM are, once again, unforgivably negligent and/or naïve for not sourcing its material and for not openly wondering why these very same right wingers consistently target people of color while, audaciously, charging them with nonexistent instances of racism against the poor, persecuted white majority. What were they thinking, or were they, in assuming that Breitbart did his homework for them? And, after this debacle, I don’t want to hear any snooty, elitist dismissals of bloggers by this very same easily-fooled mainstream media.

How could the NAACP be so easily Klan hood-winked by a person with an equally reliable track record for chicanery when its own top officials were in live attendance for Ms. Sherrod’s 1986 speech? Wouldn’t they have had the full tape and not have to rely on a fuzzy, carefully edited version given to them by a Republican mainly noted for his witch hunts of African Americans? Had they learned nothing since Larry Johnson’s phantom video of Michelle Obama’s “whitey” speech?

And why isn’t President Obama himself apologizing for, once again, allowing another fellow African American administration official to get thrown under the wheels of his Bipartisan Express and how come he’s content with letting Robert Gibbs and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack do his apologizing for him, in letting them keep him safely removed from the PR fallout? Or did I just answer my own question?

It’s Van Jones/Glenn Beck all over again, only with a more overt racist overtone and impetus behind it all. In fact, mentioning the Nazi-loving/Nazi-hating Glenn Beck is very appropriate at this time.

Profiles in Cowardice

(Resign), because you’re going to be on ‘Glenn Beck’ tonight.” – USDA Deputy Undersecretary Cheryl Cook to Shirley Sherrod.

The only reason I’m linking to the Wa Po’s article is because they “privileged Breitbart’s lie” according to Media Matters. As Media Matters points out, it took Karen Tumulty and Krissah Thompson 15 paragraphs to get around to admitting that Breitbart’s video was far from a complete document of Ms. Sherrod’s speech. It took them an additional two paragraphs to admit that she did, indeed, help Mr. Spooner, a struggling farmer. The speech was about owning up to mistakes and prejudices and learning from making those mistakes. Still, despite the Washington Post reporters coming clean, they never took it upon themselves to mention that Ms. Sherrod went on to save the family’s farm but rather to let Mrs. Spooner say it for them. They chose, instead, to focus more on her “inelegant” delivery instead of how inelegant it was for a major metropolitan newspaper to trust that a right wing douchebag with an axe handle to grind would kindly do all their sourcing for them.

Perhaps it’s too tempting to be seeing too much into USDA Deputy Undersecretary Cheryl Cook’s incredibly craven comments by way of justifying why Ms. Sherrod should’ve needlessly fallen on a sword that was perhaps put into her hands by the Obama administration, certainly by the USDA. But this wetlegged attitude and almost atavistic, antebellum dread and terror of incurring white, right wing wrath had been a hallmark of the Obama administration since it was the Obama campaign.

Say whatever you want about the Bush era government, but you’ve gotta give them this: They never gave a rat’s ass what the press or the people thought of their war crimes agenda and they certainly didn’t give a shit about what a liberal blogger might write about them let alone a walking, talking bladder like Glenn Beck.

Yet a senior USDA official thought it more expedient for that organization to divest itself of a valued and competent official than to be mentioned, O horror of horrors, on Glenn Beck’s show on Fox. Sen. Dick Durbin was wrong. It isn’t the banks that own the place; It’s the momentarily powerless right wing and Fox “News”, with the right wing a rectum loaded with methane and Fox the amplifying flat wooden bench.

As further proof of the Obama administration’s cowardice, the Wa Po article did us the favor of reminding us of Joe Biden’s incredibly fallacious and out of touch recusal from calling the tea party movement what it is: A semi-literate, gun-clutching, glorified serial flash mob organized under false pretenses by right wing money men and rotten to the core with racism. In fact, this is what Biden said:
“The president doesn’t believe that the tea party is a racist organization. I don’t believe that. Very conservative, very different views on government and a whole lot of things. But it is not a racist organization.”

It’s the kind of comment made by someone who, on seeing a Klan rally walk past their home, would say to their spouse, “Looks like Macy’s is having a white sale.”

Despite having thrown one African American after another to the wolves of the Great White, Right Wing Blogosphere, the Obama administration remains under an inverted microscope, pinned in place under the lens by a glass ceiling through which it can never hope to break.

Van Jones was thrown out of a job despite Glenn Beck not providing a single shred of proof of him being a Socialist to justify it (and would that be so bad? We have an open Socialist in the Senate in Vermont’s Bernie Sanders). The Rev. James Wright, glory-seeking blowhard though he was, was essentially fired as Obama’s home town pastor in spite of speaking the truth about our nation’s racist, terroristic roots. ACORN, dedicated to the empowerment of inner city residents who happen to mainly be ones of color, was hysterically defunded by an almost all-white Congress without apology. Meanwhile Obama, who was elected largely through its GOTV efforts, serenely looked on after Breitbart’s protégé, James O’Keefe, misrepresented himself and “exposed” a “murder” “scandal” that was eaten up uncritically by Fox and other media outlets.

Later, O’Keefe and three other Republican activists were arrested and charged with attempting to break into Senator Landrieu’s office with the intention of tapping into her phone lines. He got off with a slap on his lilly-white wrist.

Yet, in spite of Breitbart’s unbroken track record for being a feloniously fallacious Republican fuckstick, these people of color were pilloried without being given the benefit of any doubt, no chance of proving their innocence while professional prevaricators such as Breitbart, O’Keefe, Glenn Beck and others are not asked to assume the burden of proof in the slightest and were given every benefit of seemingly no doubt.

All things considered, it’s surprising that Obama didn’t throw future Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor under his already blood-slicked bus wheels when right wing bloggers, Rush Limbaugh and several white Southern GOP senators tried to tar Judge Sotomayor with the brush of racism just for belonging to La Raza and being informed by cultural upbringing (Once again, as with Ms. Sherrod, right wingers went back into the mists of time to dig up a ten year-old speech that Sotomayor had delivered). Years before, not a word was uttered by either they or the utterly worthless MSM when it was learned that Samuel Alito, also a Princeton alumnus, belonged to CAP, a racist, misogynistic organization devoted to keeping minorities and women out of Princeton.

But perhaps Obama held onto her like a hot potato because it would’ve projected badly on him and his judgment for turning his back on such a high profile nominee. Van Jones and Shirley Sherrod had no such prestige in their respective jobs that they could use as career armor.

So who’s really being racist again? Is it the Obama administration? Oh, absolutely. But the targets of their intolerant, misinformed discrimination are the same as Breitbart’s and Beck’s: Innocent and largely competent people of color, people with whom, on those two counts alone, Obama has absolutely nothing whatsoever in common.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Calling a Spade a Nigger

Since I don't have internet access after 6 PM, I haven't the time to write at great length about the Sherrod/Breitbart scandal but I do have to say this:

Every major news outlet in the country ought to be screaming a la Howard Beale from their rooftops, How the Fuck Did Andrew Breitbart Acquire Such Credibility? Especially after the James O’Keefe brouhaha and Three Stooges version of Watergate involving Sen. Mary Landrieu?

And how could the White House, mainstream media and even the NAACP, that was there in attendance during Sherrod's speech, be so easily snookered by such a transparently inept, criminally stupid and genetically dishonest and racist snake oil huckster such as Andrew Breitbart?

Meanwhile, Dan Rather's still out of a job and a laughingstock in news circles...

Senate Unemployment Extension Reaches Cloture

...yesterday by a 60-40 vote. The Senate votes on its final version today.

It was the closest you could get to a hard line party vote without actually having one. Maine's Republican Senators Snowe and Collins voted to extend benefits and were joined by both independents Joe Lieberman of CT and Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Ben Nelson of Nebraska did as Ben Nelson of Nebraska usually does and sided with the Republicans knowing fully good and well the opposition didn't have the votes to deny cloture.

Once the extension bill passes in the Senate, all that remains is for Congress to pass the reconciled bill and for President Obama to sign it into law. That should be a mere formality as both the House (which passed its version before the week-long summer recess) and Senate had drafted stripped-down versions of the bill that doesn't include provisions for job creation or tax incentives for businesses.

While Republicans were dicking around and affecting faux outrage over red ink, approximately 2,000,000 people (or 182,000 people a week) had lost their unemployment benefits since early April's eight week-long extension expired on May 1st. The current bill will reinstate benefits for many for at least 16 weeks at a weekly average of $309.

Since it can be reliably posited that virtually every penny of the money that will be disbursed, hopefully, by this week will make a bee-line straight into the economy, that means Republicans and a handful of Blue Dog Democrats like Ben Nelson deprived the American economy of over $6,000,000,000 since the unemployment bill was stalled.

Assuming that 182,000 people per week had lost their benefits, let's multiply that by 11 weeks, prorated by those 182,000 unemployed workers and subtracting $56,238,000 each week (what their $309 in weekly benefits would've come to) and that comes out to $6,179,383,000 or almost 6.2 billion starved from the national economy since these benefits expired week by week.

This, in turn, places additional burden on the states and districts they represent. Local food banks, city shelters, welfare agencies are also feeling the pinch from being asked to take up the slack. Utility companies, their bills going unpaid, were also deprived from operating revenue. The local economies of districts and municipalities with high rates of unemployment have also taken a beating because consumer spending had been sharply curtailed during the freeze.

Think about that on election day this November. In most cases, the Democrats have been a miserable failure but it was still them, with two independents and two Republicans, who gave us that money to put back into the economy and gave millions of us breathing room. The Democrats, not the Republicans.

Those who've lost their benefits during the dry spell ought to get what was due to them retroactively meaning that some long-overdue bills will finally get paid. But long-unpaid bills also come with penalty fees for being paid late, meaning that more of that meager $309 per week will get spent on late fees and penalty surcharges to their creditors instead of going for food and other necessities.

So the temporary damage the GOP did to their states' and districts' economies will be fixed in time but to the people who've been waiting months for these benefits to kick in, they will be the losers since they will not be reimbursed for committing the crimes of being indigent.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Big People vs The “Small People”

"The nine scariest words in the English language are, 'I'm from the government and we're here to help'." - President Ronald Reagan

Maybe the Republicans are on to something.

The possible variants of what BP actually stands for are virtually limitless. Their Balloons and Ponies fake clean up strategy is one and Beyond Prosecution is another. Now we can offer “Big People” to the growing list.

It seems every single day since the Deepwater Horizon blew up on April 20th, we news consumers read some other way in which BP or its countless flaks slap in the face the “small people” of the Gulf whose lives and livelihoods have been lubed and sodomized with the energy and efficiency of a prison shower rape. This story by Truthout’s Dahr Jamail on is just the latest.

It was discovered by Jamail that the money earned by Gulf coast fishermen in the ongoing cleanup effort is actually being deducted from the $20,000,000,000 federally-mandated claim fund. And, according to citizen activist Kindra Arnesen, relief payments were arbitrarily shortened by BP if the fishermen devastated by BP’s negligence and greed refuse to work in the cleanup effort. That’s outrageous enough, especially when you couple these whoppers with the realization that many of these fishermen-turned-cleanup workers are getting low-balled and even go unpaid by BP by arbitrarily changing their payment system.

Add this to the shocking but underreported news that BP had been laying off these same cleanup workers for over a week. BP earlier said that they would do nothing of the sort and that cleanup income and settlement claims would be kept separate. But Kenneth Feinberg, Obama’s BP settlement czar, announced yesterday that their wages are being deducted from whatever settlement they get from BP for lost wages. In other words, it isn’t just BP fucking over the little people, the Obama administration is helping them do it. For all we know, this was probably agreed upon in advance between administration and BP officials at the White House. No wonder BP didn’t even so much as squeal when Obama made them set up the escrow account.

In other words, not only are the cleanup workers helping to reduce BP’s legal and PR exposure, they’re actually getting penalized for going to bat for BP and for trying to keep themselves from immediate financial catastrophe. And Obama’s own settlement czar seems perfectly fine with this.

Something else for voters to think about come Super Tuesday 2012.

Twenty Bucks, Same as in Town

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

Stan the Man Banos at Reciprocity Failure passes along a link to a petition that essentially says reacharound is fair play. The petition would seek to ban divorce in California, which ought to be real popular with the straight-laced God fearers who banned gay marriage with Prop 8. This is their golden opportunity to prove that if they're serious about protecting the sanctity of marriage, then sanctimoniousness begins at home.

As my longtime readers know, Digby has always been a favorite of mine for years. Yesterday, she put up a long post about the Tea Party movement that starts with an alarming bit of news that the House Admin Committee approved Michele Bachmann's request to form the House Tea Party Caucus.

Digby references heavily from other sources to make her points but perhaps she missed a very important one from June by Mark Ames, another of my favorites, when Ames essentially ripped the mask off the Tea Bagger Movement and exposed it for the fraud it's always been from the start.

Michael Whitney of Firedoglake has been toiling in obscurity in FDL's The Seminal (where any registered user can post) until he began reporting on the BP disaster in the Gulf. In fact, Mr. Whitney just came back from the Gulf coast and reported what he saw on GritTV.

Yesterday, Whitney's latest was front-paged on Jane Hamsher's site and delivered yet another eye-opener: "OSHA Sitting on BP Coverup Firm’s Worker Health Data." That alone ought to make you want to run over and read it. Yep, as Michael says, BP really is calling the shots in spite of what the Obama administration's telling us.

Who's your Daddy? Aleister Crowley the father of Barbara Bush? Say it ain't so, Woody!

Steve at No More Mister Nice Blog points to a recent generic poll result that shows when Democrats pass even the middling progressive legislation such as the financial reform bill, their approval rating spikes. Imagine how much it would skyrocket if they actually passed Grayson-class reformist legislation for a fucking change instead of being Vaseline-smeared, bouncing, squeaking love dolls of Wall Street.

Finally, some unemployed liberal moonbat at Jill Hussein's Brilliant at Breakfast bloviates about immigration and religion.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Mel Gibson's Advice for the Lovelorn

"Dear Mr. Gibson:

My girlfriend and I are having problems. She's already met my family and they like her well enough but she says 'it's still not the right time' for me to meet her folks. Should I read something into this or am I just being paranoid?

Signed, Ron in Tempe, Arizona"

Dear Ron:

Is she a Jewess with big fucking tits? You may want to ask the bitch if her massive hooters are real and furthermore, I'd check your credit card statements just to make sure you didn't pay for those ridiculous honkers. Her family doesn't want to meet you because you're a respectable white gentile. You know how they are.

"Dear Mel:

Big fan, firsttime writer.

Anyway, I wanted to know if it's OK for my girlfriend and I to have sex. Actually, she's my fiancee and we're getting married in 10 months but we've been dating for 5 years and we're both feeling the pressure. Any advice you could give would be deeply appreciated. Thanks!

Stan in Seattle."

Dear Stan:

Don't tell me: She's a n*gger with more plastic than Cher, right? Yeah, they just wanna do it all night long and live in your house. Do yourself a favor: Sign a prenup agreement whether you're married or not. Best thing I ever did. God knows how many times her huge hooters and those tight clothes she wears got her raped by a gang of n*ggers.

"Dear Mr. Gibson:

I'm in the 6th grade and I just met a girl I really like. I've never felt this way about a girl before and I can't get her to notice me. What should I do?


Timmy in Boston"

Dear Timmy:

Oh, lemme guess: Is she one of those JAPs? Figures. They think their shit doesn't stink. And by JAPs, I don't mean those slopes that your grandaddy waxed in the South Pacific. My advice: Keep fucking your fist. That's what it's for when you're not punching Jews or blacks.

I'm too old for this shit, Rog.

Mel Gibson is an Academy award-winning filmmaker and actor whose advice column is syndicated in over 800 newspapers.

The Disappearing Liberal

Yesterday Steve Burns posted a disturbing article on Oped News (my new venue, by the way) that called for the execution of liberalism, one that seems to conflate liberalism with progressivism.

He used as his jumping off point a recent Gallup poll that seems to suggest that American voters are already losing faith in a progressive agenda of which we’ve hardly seen a trace of evidence since perhaps the Carter administration.

Here’s how Burns sums it up:
A recent Gallup Poll showed widespread uncertainty about the "progressive" political label, with the majority of those responding (54%) saying they are unsure what "progressive" means. 31% felt they knew enough about "Progressive" to say that it doesn't describe their views, while 12% said that they were themselves progressive.

The reason why so many of us can’t seem to distinguish “liberal” from “progressive”, and I count Burns in with this confused majority, is that we’ve seen so little evidence of anything even remotely resembling either a liberal or progressive agenda. As Burns himself admits, our nation’s youth have never known an America that hasn’t been ruled by corporations just as surely as all children about to go into the 4th grade this September have never known an America that hasn’t been at war.

A July 9-12 Bloomberg poll released just yesterday gives some news that should make a lot of Democratic lawmakers and the President pace the floor at night: 6 in 10 Americans in their national poll say that Afghanistan is a lost cause and about as many people feel our nation’s headed in the wrong direction. Now, we’re hearing ominous rumblings that, in spite of the huge gains made by Democrats in the last two elections, control of Congress is at stake. As we all know, this November 36 Senate seats and, of course, all 435 House seats are up for grabs. Our once-infallible president’s approval ratings, while still much higher than that of most Democratic lawmakers, are at an alltime low.

It isn’t just teabaggers and mainstream conservative voters skewing these numbers. Many of those people still accuse Obama of being a Socialist, fascist, Muslim, illegal alien who wants to take away all their guns and money. Many Democratic voters, including the aforementioned 12% of us who supposedly align ourselves with the so-called progressive “movement”, are similarly disenfranchised, albeit for completely different reasons.

This disenfranchisement was no better exemplified than during the 14-15 month-long debate on health care “reform” that was doomed from the start. Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus made it plain from the gitgo that single payer advocates would not have a voice in the national discourse and Obama was hardly any more sympathetic toward them. The health “reform” bill, really just a thinly disguised corporate bailout for Big Pharma and HMOs designed to create a mandated, built-in customer base, outraged many liberals and progressives as it did ignorant teabaggers and their misspelled signs who construed it as a Socialist government takeover of our health care industry.

But what’s a progressive and what’s a liberal and do the classic definitions apply today in a world that’s virtually unrecognizable from the one in which I grew up 30 years ago? From the time I first came up as a liberal blogger in early 2005 midway through the Bush administration, I saw progressivism as some genteel palimpsest of what used to pass for liberalism. The very word “liberal’ had become a four-letter word starting with the Reagan days and was immediately associated by the national kneejerk consciousness with the phrase “bleeding heart”, someone who wanted to keep welfare people on welfare and would’ve done anything to the detriment of national defense.

Of course, liberalism is much more pragmatic than that. FDR proved it and Kennedy proved it again in the early 60’s. Liberal thought gave us the New Deal that eventually pulled us out of the Depression. Liberalism gave us the Peace Corps, the Clean Air and Water Acts, OSHA, the labor movement and virtually any progressive legislation in the last 75+ years.

But the liberal movement’s been dead since about 1968 when Dr. King and then Bobby Kennedy were assassinated. The first signs were the wind that was taken out of the sails of both the Civil Rights and the antiwar movements.

The Overton window constantly shifting incrementally to the rights has certainly done its part to move liberalism out of the public consciousness so that even the more pragmatic Progressive movement looks positively Socialist and radical by conspicuous relief. Before we knew it, by the past decade we were ferociously debating, and still are, the merits or faults of spying on US citizens, torture, invading foreign countries that had never threatened us, the stripping away of our Constitutional protections and civil liberties and whether or not gay couples in love should legally get married.

By 2005, we were conditioned to believe that virtually anything to the left of the neocon agenda was treasonous, radically and dangerously Socialist and as far from pragmatic as one could get. Only those of us with any sensibility toward history will realize with a start that the 90% tax rate on the wealthiest Americans and the EPA, which would be considered radical by today’s standards, were in place during the Eisenhower and Nixon administrations, respectively. In fact, the late Hunter S. Thompson reminded us in 2004 that if Nixon were running for president, he’d be branded a wild-eyed liberal.

Burns and I differ on what ought to get a thumb up or a thumb down. What’s commonly referred to today as “progressive” is actually a pale, timid pretender of what liberalism used to be and can be again. Progressivism as a noun, by the strictest interpretation of its root word, means “progressing” toward a certain liberal goal. In other words, progressing with slow, incremental change. Which is the very cautious, flinching policies of Barack Obama that have disserved us so well.

We need to remember that liberalism, not progressivism and certainly not conservatism,, is what gave America many of its greatest and proudest moments. Progressives sit with business leaders in climate controlled rooms in order to extract watery concessions and compromises. Liberals will take to the streets and demand change like the feminists, antiwar student protesters and the Black Panthers. Speaking just for myself, I know of no other distinction.

KindleindaWind, my writing blog.

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