Monday, August 23, 2010

The Republican Area 51

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

Nazis don’t have the right to put up a sign next to the Holocaust museum in Washington.” - Erstwhile alternate historian Newt Gingrich in opposing the Cordoba Community Center on Fox

In a paraphrase of the old bromide against the Irish, it can be said that God invented Koolaid to prevent Americans from running the world for too long.

When people of other countries put their lives on the line in the act of defending their democracies and addressing real life or death issues, about the most I can expect of my fellow Americans is to color their Twitter avatars green and change their time zone to Tehran’s. At the end of the day, however, we find ourselves on the couch with a Red Bull in one hand and the remote in the other and tuning in to Fox “News” and ensuring that Rupert’s funhouse mirror dimension remains the highest-rated cable channel. And people wonder why I criticize my country so much.

Let me impress upon you one inescapable, incontrovertible, ineluctable fact: We are simply the stupidest and most willfully ignorant nation on earth. We’re the world’s biggest racial, national and religious melting pot yet the most bigoted. As Maureen Dowd reminded us yesterday, we panic in herds yet come to our senses, if we ever do, one at a time. Our eyes snap open like a doll’s when we’re alarmed yet when we awake from one soporific or another, we need to rub those eyes for a few minutes. Stupidity and ignorance has a much longer half life than truth and the facts. If stupidity was made of hydrogen and oxygen, our country would look like New Orleans the day after Katrina. And if racial or religious bigotry was gold, there’d be a rush of grubby Republican prospectors every year or so.

And need we look any farther than the biggest news story of the day, the “controversial” “mosque” at “Ground Zero” for a glimpse of how stupid we are? If you throw enough money for ink and pixels to convince an entire nation of something, even one as rich in colleges and universities as ours, you will sway public opinion at least temporarily. When the media blitz subsides, people slowly, very slowly, come to their senses. We see it with every election cycle because we depend on people to tell us what to think and for whom to vote as well as what buy, eat, drink and even how to fornicate. It’s hard to believe but it seems almost as many Americans are as ignorant as to what’s going on at Park51 as they are of Area 51.

Frank Rich also reminded us yesterday of the wildly vacillating poll numbers regarding the very religion of our president. A recent Pew poll showed that 18% of us still persist in believing that President Obama is Muslim, a number that was as low as 11% at his inauguration (long after McCain and RNC money stopped telling us what to think). Barely over a third of us know that Obama is Christian, down from nearly half in March '09. And the day after Pew published its results, Franklin Graham, who should never be put on television even to pitch juicers on QVC, told John King that Obama is both and "born a Muslim." This is not coincidental because it’s directly tied to the chief executive coming out two Fridays ago to support as he should’ve the Cordoba Community Center two blocks from Ground Zero.

The wingnut response was wearisomely predictable: “Well, if Obama’s all for it, should that surprise you? He is, after all, a refugee from a madrassa and a terrorist-coddling Muslim who wasn’t even born here.” Obama is Christian, is making progress on multiple fronts in the battle against terrorists and was born in the US. But the more stubborn and durable a lie is, the more it begins to resemble a truism because in this country, seniority equals legitimacy.

After we’d been pelted by catapulted propaganda, invading Iraq also seemed like a good idea as did Afghanistan a year and a half before that. Yet 31% of us still think we belong in Iraq and 38% of us feel the same way about Afghanistan despite trillions being thrown into these twin meat grinders that have produced hundreds of thousands of corpses, no real infrastructure providing even basic services to either nation, two corrupt Three Stooges parodies of democracy and no discernible enhancement of our national security.

But these shrill, strident Republican hate merchants like Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck and Newt Gingrich, without realizing it, find themselves in an absurd position: Smearing the name, character and allegiances of the same president who did exactly what they wanted him to do, which is to escalate the war in Afghanistan (and maintaining our crusade on Islam) and keep it going for years. Who cares that, after nearly a decade of trying, we can’t chase from one country a region-specific rump terrorist organization like the Taliban much less a global terrorist network like al Qaeda?

In the inevitable response to the outrage over Gingrich’s insanely stupid comments on Fox, he said in an email (emphasis mine), “Americans must learn to tell the truth about radical Islamists while being supportive of and inclusive of moderate Muslims who live in the modern world, respect women’s rights, reject medieval punishment and defend American laws and the American Constitution.”

One can surmise that Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the community center’s driving force, isn’t included in Newt’s short list of “moderate Muslims who live in the modern world”, even if this particular one has helped bridge the gap between Islam and Christianity and Judaism for both Republican and Democratic administrations. Yet what else can one expect from someone so hypocritical and insensitive to others that even while he screamed for impeachment proceedings against Bill Clinton over the Monica Lewinsky affair he was diddling his own (younger) aide while his wife was recuperating in a cancer ward? Just once I’d like to see anyone, anyone publicly challenge any of these Republican organ grinders and their 100,000,000 Capucin monkeys to unpack their arguments just to prove there isn’t enough in there to fill a change purse.

And, as Frank Rich points out, Afghanistan’s precisely what the “controversy” is all about: It’s not the so-called mosque at Ground Zero that’s the issue to them: It’s the one-two punch of Rolling Stone’s Michael Hastings and Wikileaks’ Julian Assange throwing the moral purity and efficacy of Afghanistan into a harsh light. We got back at Hastings for his article on McChrystal by refusing to embed him with the troops (his Republican critics should at least give the man props for wanting to go to Iraq, which is more than we can say for most of them). We got back at Julian Assange by hounding him out of America all the way to Sweden and calling him a rapist in a Rovian whisper campaign.

What is this, high school where we spread rumors about our petty rivals being homosexuals and scrawl on bathroom stalls, “For great head, call 555-…”?

But we’ll always believe the sensational over the factual no matter how disingenuous or ill-sourced it is as long as it appears to have a point, especially one that pushes an emotional panic button. In this case, the point is, “Muslims knocked down our big buildings now ten years later they want to cockwand about it and dance in our end zone by putting up a mosque in the deepest part of Ground Zero.” That would be like us nuking Mecca or Medina and erecting a 100 story flaming cross in the middle of either. Ask the Saudis how they’d feel about that.

(As a personal sidebar, it’s notable that not one person of any consequence has publicly said, “Even if the Cordoba Center was put in the middle of Ground Zero, so what?”)

And the anti-Islamic rhetoric emanating from Fox sound stages is so amplified it would be easy for Muslim and Arab countries to mistake that for national consensus and to react accordingly. Indeed, to anyone outside the US following our news, they’d most immediately read about California’s Proposition 8, Arizona’s SB 1070 and the bipartisan nation-wide hysteria beginning in the seat of our government over a proposed Muslim community center and come to the same conclusion that we in the reality-based community have: That we are still very much a nation of homophobic, xenophobic, white Christian fascists. This is the hopey changey thingie Sarah Palin was so scared about?

Those of us who actually graduated kindergarten know that there’s no mosque in the proposed Cordoba Community Center but a small prayer room, it’s going to be two blocks from Ground Zero and within the same perimeter are places that are more objectionable yet equally legitimate such as the New York Doll’s Gentleman’s Club (a strip joint, to the poor and middle class) pictured above. Putting up the Cordoba Center would facilitate the creation of a much-needed private pre-school for children of all faiths. Plus, its two block proximity could even be close enough to begin to heal the widening divide between Muslims and our nation’s other faiths and denominations, a schism that was perfectly delineated by the nine year-old gaping hole where the Twin Towers had once stood.

Conveniently not mentioned is jailbird Bernie Kerik’s little love shack overlooking the devastation, all but 12 Republican congressmen voting against aid to 9/11 rescue workers, George W. Bush’s casual dismissal of hard, specific and prescient intelligence warning him of the attacks to come or the militant, crusading Christian evangelizing of our military in direct contradiction to the Constitution so beloved of Gingrich and with belligerent disrespect to other religions and the choice of none.

Rich is right: If McCain was in office, the right wing would be just as silent about the Cordoba Community Center as it was in the first five months after news about it broke. But now that we have a guy with a Muslim/African-sounding name in the Oval Office, it’s an issue when the president was forced to elevate a neighborhood matter to a national one in an effort to reassert some common sense in our immature, stupid country.

And we need at all times a president who will honor in both word and deed the laws and principles that distinguish us as a country, not one who has to waste his valuable time reminding us what those laws and principles are.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Name That Tune

It's going to blow your mind when you find out who and what it really is. And no, it's not the Photon Wave Orchestra's "Echoes Across the Astral Wastelands" sped up or Vangelis on the Bladerunner soundtrack.

It's Justin Bieber's "U Smile" slowed down 800% so now it's a 35 1/2 minute, New Age epic. I wonder what else we could (re)discover if we were to do this to the millions of songs that have been written since the dawn of mankind?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

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?

Jill Hussein at Brilliant at Breakfast pretty much encapsulates the news story to which she links in three pithy words. I have another dimension to add: How come more of us in the reality-based community didn't also warn aloud that hysterical wingnut opposition to the Cordoba Center near Ground Zero could be used as a recruitment tool for al Qaida?

Towleroad provides us with a video of the day The Young Turks' Cenk Uygur covered the desk on The Ed Show and had Rep. Alan Grayson. The topic of discussion was the GOP being caught with its flaming pants down around their ankles and not having a plan for unemployment and lack of health care and trying to manufacture relevance by hoarsely screaming about the abovementioned Muslim center near Ground Zero. And, once again, Grayson is right: Fox is largely to blame for this in giving these Republican lunatics a million dollar megaphone. He calls Fox "Monty Python's Lying Circus."

The Rude Pundit gives a pretty bleak picture of the unemployment problem in this country that the GOP is trying its damnedest to pretend doesn't exist or isn't worth addressing. People with four year degrees showing up by the hundreds at McDonalds' out west and fighting for minimum wage jobs at 20 hours a week. Pretty soon, job interviews will be like the scene in The Dark Knight where the Joker snaps a pool cue in half, throws one half on the ground and says, "Let's have tryouts. Hurry up."

Friday, August 20, 2010

My Timing Sucks

What else is there to say about a guy who doesn’t discover that he’s bisexual until well into middle age, after he’s lost a lot of his hair and virtually all of his looks?

Consider this my coming out. I’m bisexual. There, it’s out. I said it. That closet was getting awfully claustrophobic. The only good thing about the closet is that you can only walk out of them, not in them.

For years, I’ve been wanting to tell you guys this but have been afraid to on account of certain former acquaintances here in town that would turn it into fun fodder (and for those of you ready to post homophobic comments, save your energy: They’re moderated and I will not tolerate anything that slurs the LGBT community.).

But then I realized that I shouldn’t let small-minded people dictate the depth, width and breadth of my self-expression, the yaw, pitch and roll of my thought. Like everyone else, I have no wish to be defined strictly by my sexual identity. But for years, I’ve been struggling with my emerging bisexuality and my desire to tell you guys this. I want to put it out there and then walk away from it and move on. It’s no different from declaring my liberalism or love for animals.

Without going into too much detail, let’s just say that when I first got an inkling of my real sexual identity, I was in even more of an uncomfortable spot than I’m now in. One person in particular would’ve been absolutely crushed and it would’ve been a devastating déjà vu. Up until a few years ago, when I first found out I was attracted to other guys, no one would’ve been prepared for such a bombshell. For the first 45, 46 years of my life, I was a flaming hetero who spent hours a day thinking about having sex with women. An ex girlfriend even uncharitably called me “a womanizer.”

And when I was actually worth looking at, I’d been approached several times by gay and bisexual men and I recoiled in horror. Whatever homophobia I had then is long since gone, trust me, but the thing I must remind myself is that only my emerging, increasingly powerful bisexual urges are responsible for that homophobia’s permanent retreat.

And when I say “bisexual urges”, I’m not talking about mere bicuriosity or just wondering “how the other half lives.” I’ve harbored romantic feelings for at least one guy in the recent past and that was the experience, brief and chaste as it was, that proved to me beyond a doubt that my soul craves more than just casual, anonymous gay sex. If I was single and I met my Mr. Right, you’re damned straight I’d take advantage of Massachusetts’ legal recognizance of gay marriage.

But Mrs. JP should not worry. Unlike some people I can name, I’m not the cheating sort. It’s really no different than being a pure heterosexual who’s still potentially capable of being attracted to the opposite sex but still knows enough not to touch.

But no one was more surprised by this than yours truly, who for the first four and a half decades of his life never felt the slightest attraction toward any male. There were no clues, no hints, no nothing to warn me about this looming crisis. After all, I still hold that in almost all cases, we’re born with our sexual identities. No one wakes up and decides to switch hit or simply turns gay or bi. It has nothing to do with morality aside from whatever conduct we adopt in our respective relationships and it’s not a lifestyle “choice” as the wingnuts are fond of insisting while we let them thusly frame the debate.

Yet my attraction to certain types of males was undeniable. Personally, I go for sweet, smart, younger, clean-shaven, long-haired guys with slender builds. But never in my callow, shamelessly heterosexual past was I ever in the slightest attracted to even those guys. I can’t understand it. It was like Kafka’s Metamorphosis as filmed by John Waters. And suddenly, I started seeing more and more gorgeous guys that made me turn my head. Some of them I saw only once and to this day, I still think about them.

Maybe it was my emerging liberal sensibilities, the ones that drove me to become a blogger, that helped put me in touch with my real sexuality. Taking up the good fights, especially gay rights, helped me to sharpen my self-awareness as well as my political and social acumen and IQ. It was a synergistic thing. The more outrages I saw being committed against the LGBT community such as Prop 8 and the brutal murder of Matthew Shepard, the more it personally outraged me because I knew that I was now personally involved. Their struggle became mine. Gay and bisexual characters began tip toeing into my fiction, starting with American Zen.

Sadly, since I am in a committed, heterosexual and still very happy relationship, my urges will have to continue to be sublimated for the rest of my life (the age difference between me and the guys I go for will help keep me honest, too). But Mrs. JP has caught me looking at one stunningly gorgeous guy in particular and I’m not as subtle as I thought I was. As she said to me a couple of nights ago, “Women always know when their men are looking at others.” I’ll never know what it’s like to kiss a handsome guy on the mouth or to be loved by one. But then again, I’ll also never get to bungee jump off Mount Rushmore or get to spit in George W. Bush’s face. It’s just one more regret I’ll have to learn to live with.

So there. It’s out. I said it. I’m bisexual and while I’m not necessarily proud of my true sexual orientation (as George Carlin said, it’s like being proud of being 5’ 10”), it’s nonetheless part of who and what I am. I’m a huge believer in full disclosure. And as long as I was keeping this under wraps, I felt I was being dishonest with you readers, hypocritical toward the LGBT community that I passionately champion and, worst of all, to myself.

But to any young gay or bisexual person reading this, please heed my words and listen to me when I say how very, very important it is to be yourself. Don’t prove George Bernard Shaw’s axiom of youth being wasted on the young. If you know what you are, be what you are while you still have youth, health and beauty momentarily on your side. And in the grand scheme of things, they are momentary, as briefly-lived as a snowflake on a 33 degree day or a petal on a dogwood tree.

Be yourself and love as hard, as passionately, as unconditionally, as bravely and as honestly as you can while the whole world is still yours to take.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Pay No Attention to the Blogger Behind the Curtain

These last 12 hours have been among the worst in my life. Last night, our new car died for good while we were 6 miles from home and I haven't the money to fix it with my major bills due in less than 2 weeks. This obviously puts a crimp on our job search and we may be looking at taking cabs to the store again. Even my black clouds have silver linings made of cheap tinfoil.

Then today, while my laptop was working (it's gotten some kind of a virus that slows things to a standstill), I got two form rejection letters from two different agencies for two different novels, queries sent so many months ago I'd forgotten about it.

Adding to this angst and pressure is a crisis in my sexual identity that I'm having and before you ask, No, it's not a typical midlife crisis that can be satisfied with a sports car and gold bling. It's a lot more complicated than that.

Just getting internet access requires walking into a cafe and buying overpriced coffee we can't afford to justify using the wifi. So I'm going to be hanging it up for a while and won't be posting much until I can get all this shit sorted out. I think it's important to once a while part the curtains and show the human side of the guy who runs Pottersville. You also deserve an explanation as to why I'm not posting anymore considering all the Paypal donations I've gotten over the last 16 months. But it's a struggle to come up with quality material to post every day especially when we lost our internet access at home (Comcast quoted us $60 a month just for internet). I just can't do it any more until something breaks and when something has to give, it's always going to be blogging.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

March of Teh Gay Penguins

So saith the Lord through True

Focus on the Fags is at it again. "The most vulnerable members of our society," claims Candi Cushman (a great stage name if you're a stripper), "are our children." But only the straight ones count because Cushman wants to eradicate programs and gay/straight alliances that help provide protection for gay, lesbian and bisexual students. That includes "homosexuality lessons" for students. Don't ask me what "homosexuality lessons" are supposed to teach. Good taste and hygiene? Show tunes? Empathy? Oh, horrors.

Only by respecting religious freedoms, sez Candi, can we achieve "true tolerance." Only Orwell could've possibly put it better.

Candi's contention and that of her frustrated ilk is that a "one-sided" acceptance of the gay lifestyle is unfair to the other side. The problem with that line of thinking is that they have been represented for far too long and so far it's resulted in ignorant fear-mongering and countless dead and injured gay people. Just ask Matthew Shepard and Harvey Milk.

If it wasn't for homophobic psychopaths like Dobson's FotF and other right wing fucktards, there wouldn't be a need for gay/straight alliances such as GLSEN and the GSA Network.

But the absence of any advocacy for gay rights and removing what relatively few protections there are for the LGBTQ community is the only way to achieve true tolerance and a bipartisan consensus. In short, hating teh gays is a true family value.

So do yourself a favor and go to this over the hill stripper's site and give her a piece of your mind concerning her twisted agenda and trying to get our kids involved with the ignorant hatred that's already claimed the lives of far too many gays and bisexuals.

The Top 10 Worst Album Covers... EVAH

Ah, the early 60's. Young people sitting around the turntable and encouraging the local "special needs" guy to make an even bigger spectacle of himself. And we wonder how and why disco came into being a decade later.

It's not the unfortunate name "Crusaders" for a Christian music group that bothers me. It's the fact that Hurley from Lost was in it.

Yep, I hear ya, Millie. It sucks when your foot falls asleep and tingles like crazy afterward after sitting on the toilet for too long. But what does that have to do with music?

No pun intended but Johnny's promising career was cut short when he pulled that stunt with a swamp gator.

If this is your idea of a really bad Christmas, you can keep Hanukkha and Kwanzaa.

Few remember Rob Reiner's brief flirtation with C&W prior to All in the Family.

And people wonder why the South has yet to rise again.

Even the greats of the music biz aren't immune to bad taste, as these examples show:

And one of them is that you never know when you'll come back from the bowling alley and find your 16 year-old daughter canoodling with Gen. David Petraeus.

I honestly don't know what legend Neil Young was thinking here but I suspect it somehow involved Timothy Leary and Wavy Gravy.

OK, the fetishistic emphasis on explosive devices is pretty typical for Nugent or any other inbred redneck psychopath. But the chick on the serving platter is a little beyond the pale even for ole Ted.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Perfect Eyeglasses

I have to admit, I almost deleted the first email I ever got from these people. The offer was simple: Send us your script and we'll send you a free pair of glasses if you write us a 300 word article as payment. Granted, this sounds like spam but I checked out's website and said, what can it hurt? I wrote to the outreach person who'd written me and felt out the deal to make sure it was all that. After assurances that it was on the up and up, I agreed.

I need glasses desperately but so did Mrs. JP. At the time, she was still working in the sign shop and, unlike myopic me, she's far-sighted. We don't have health insurance so this was my only chance to get her glasses she needed for cheap. It took a while to arrange but once we bought and put our car on the road, it was just a matter of getting a slot for an eye exam. So I paid the $75 for the exam for Mrs. JP and sent the script to Perfect Glasses USA that same day.

Within two weeks, we got the very same glasses you see above. They ground the lenses perfectly according to the doctor's prescription, the frames were what she'd ordered and they come with a sturdy carrying case and special eyeglass cleaning cloth. Even more surprisingly, the frames fit her face perfectly without any of the usual tweaking and adjusting.

But don't take my word for it. Look and see for yourself how perfectly they fit her.

I know our cynicism informs us that if it sounds too good to be true, especially if it's on the internet and the email comes into your spam inbox, the odds are about 110% it is too good to be true. But not in this case. So, if you wear glasses and need a new prescription, it doesn't make sense to spend well over $200 when you can get them from Perfect Glasses for as little as $19. The ones being modeled by Mrs. JP are the Classy model and are among the selection of $19 eyeglasses.

That's $19 as in $19 for both the frames and lenses. Yeah, great deal, huh? And you'd be crazy to buy your glasses at the store where you had your exam where they mark up the stock. So this is one case where an offer isn't too good to be true. These people are the real deal so if you're in the market for eyewear, give them a try. I'm glad we did.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Praise the Lord and Pass the Porn

(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari and ripping a page out of the Rude Pundit's playbook.)

What America needs is more war porn like the lead picture. We gave it a game effort. We knocked down Afghanistan, laid her down like a horny wallflower at the end of a singles' dance and have pumped that scrawny, scaggy, skanky bitch for going on nine years now.

In the beginning, we thought it was going to be Wham, Bam, Thank You, Ma'm. That it would be a nice little one month stand like our other great conquests during Operation Desert Storm and that other deep, conspicuous notch on the bedpost, Grenada. Alarmed but somewhat compliant, Afghanistan spread her thighs for us and we almost achieved instant orgasm. We cornered our prey in a tight little hole in Tora Bora, scattered the Taliban into the foothills...

...then lost our glorious red, white and blue tumescence. Where, O where is Bob Dole and Rush with their Viagra? The harder we try, the harder we pump, the more and more flaccid we get. Then we began sloppily fucking Afghanistan with someone else's dick, a bigger, longer, blacker dick and there would be no more talk of withdrawal with dishonor. No siree, we were going to stay in that dry, profitless cunt after all the time, energy and money we spent on this nine year-long date. "Trust me, bitch," we keep yelling, "we're gonna lower the boom. Now shut the fuck up and play Bolero or something by John Philip Souza! And you better tell me you love me!"

But even the big, black dick, lubricant, war porn and all, continues to accordion in and out, sometimes flopping on impatient Afghanistan's inner thigh. She's now already on her fifth cigarette and second hash pipe, staring at the ceiling and is already seeing other guys, especially those Taliban studs who are showing more respect for Afghanistan's needs and signaling more willingness for compromise than her old erectile dysfunctional date.

So Stan the Man McChrystal stands in the corner of this sad little love nest and mutters under his breath, "This dog ain't gonna hunt, not with these limp dicks from DC calling the shots." But the guy in the other corners overhears him and repeats this to the poor deflated bastard still heaving and laboring on the creaky bed.

Well, next thing you know, Stan is thrown out of the flophouse and replaced with a nerd with a track record for erectile dysfunction of his own. It doesn't matter that Trojan doesn't make rubbers small enough to fit him and that we stand a good chance of getting it lost in that huge bleeding chasm that is Afghanistan's snatch. At this point, trying to get off both literally and figuratively is like throwing a dandelion stem down the Grand Canyon and waiting for the echo. The nerd, this academic whose closest brush to war prior to Iraq was reading Tom Clancy, says we can lower the boom and take care of business.

Davey insists that we ought to fuck Afghanistan long and leisurely but tenderly and lovingly, insisting on a "graceful exit" that may or may not include protection from other rapists, car fare and a Kleenex or two. It doesn't really matter how much money we spend on this date or that we're draining our resources if not our balls into this disinterested bitch that's long since given up waiting for that hot, gooey spray.

Never mind that Afghanistan has proven to be the place where erections and long date rapes go to die or that the Rohypnol has long since worn off. The Russkie learned that back in the 80's. Genghis Khan learned it and so did that faggot Alexander the Great who wasn't so great in bed, after all. But we think we have the mightiest penis on earth and that, by God and Pfizer Almighty, we will squirt where others had withdrawn with dishonor!

But the guy owning that big Hawaiian blacksnake, the one who took over for the last fool who was content to just nibble the clit and labia a little bit, still hasn't learned that the COIN he's spent on this decade-long date won't buy him that elusive orgasm no matter how long he tries, no matter how many times he stops, rests and tries to restore some blood flow in that tired old cock.

Barry, will, too, wind up slithering off the bed, drenched in blood, sweat and tears, angrily zipping up his trousers and will be on his way to that bar where the Russkie and the ghosts of the other limp dicks await him.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


(Photoshopped pic courtesy of my sis Alicia Morgan of Hootersville.)

Now that a particular dingbat from Hudson, MA has annoyed me sufficiently, I have to annoy him back. So I'll be reaching out to some of my Nazi Skinheads, Aryan Nations and Ku Klux Klan friends and put together a . . . . . . field trip . . . . to Massachusetts. This ought to be fun.

We'll take pics to circulate after its ‘done’
.” – Hal Turner about yours truly, 2/2009

Thank goodness I didn’t hold my breath while waiting to come out of my Navy SEAL retirement.

It took Pat Fitzgerald’s people in Chicago long enough to get around to doing it but they finally succeeded in convicting professional turd and right wing, white supremacist psychopath Hal Turner of threatening three federal judges. At this point, about the most we can hope for is that the Federal Bureau of Prisons gives Turner the slipperiest bath soap on the market. It’ll also be amusing to speculate who in the general population will hate him more: The minorities against whom he hatefully inveighed or the Aryan Brotherhood who remember all too well his treachery against white people. May his dance card always be full.

For the most part, the media have been downplaying the Turner saga but from a sociological if not legal viewpoint, it ought to represent a watershed moment in American history. And for anyone in the media and any of us looking on as passive spectators who ever asked themself, “Why don’t we catch these psychopaths before they kill?” here’s Fat Hal gift-wrapped in a bright orange bow. We don’t see it often enough so you may not recognize it but this is what proactive pre-emption looks like. And, as the old adage goes, better late than never.

We really ought to appreciate Hal Turner. Because, while they historically lack, even eschew, intelligence and common sense, the higher tier of right wingers is nonetheless possessed of something that’s the next best thing to intelligence and that is deviousness. The likes of Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck and Turner’s old running buddy Sean Hannity are savvy enough to know when precisely to pull back and skirt with the agility of Fred Astaire the legal edge dividing opinion from outright illegal hate speech.

We ought to be fortunate that the right wing threw us a sacrificial pig like Hal Turner (with no help from the FBI, which prefers to pretend he never existed), a waste of trace elements who was intoxicated with his delusions of federal immunity and a huge audience of mouth-breathing social maladriots who abandoned him the minute they realized that Hal sold them up the river for an FBI paycheck. Stormfront, the pre-eminent racist website, forever banned Turner for betraying the Aryan cause and forbade any mention of him.

Turner claimed to manufacture since 2003 hate speech to draw out the crazies on behalf of the FBI. Yet that left the question of whose payroll he was on when he was spewing white supremacist rhetoric since the year before. It’s hard to believe the FBI would willingly subsidize to the tune of $20,000 a year a man who threatens one president after another not to mention federal judges, state lawmakers and 246 members of Congress, threatens to carry out a Joker-like scheme to break up President Obama’s inauguration and post instructions for how to make ricin.

But even if the FBI didn’t explicitly instruct Turner to do so, the fact remains they didn’t do anything to discourage him and didn’t bother to enforce the law even though Turner was openly doing all this and more on his blog and on other sites on the internet for over six years. Meanwhile, during those six years people were getting thrown off airplanes for arguing with flight attendants and small children, Senator Ted Kennedy and nuns were getting put on terrorist watch lists.

It could’ve easily exploded into one of the most damning scandals in FBI history, an adjunct to the Whitey Bulger clusterfuck here in Massachusetts. But why didn’t it, especially when well over half the House of Representatives, three federal judges and two presidents’ lives were threatened by Turner? Even the Bulger/Flemmi/FBI connection couldn’t boast of so many potential, high-profile victims.

The federal criminal justice system failed us (the conviction was preceded by two hung juries), federal law enforcement authorities failed us and the media, as usual, had failed us. Hal Turner could’ve achieved so much more mayhem than he did yet, despite his arrogance and stupidity, we kept giving him one free pass after another even while real right wing terrorists with more initiative were killing people by the droves.

Finally, after eight years, we pulled out of the ground a brain-damaged, worm-eaten mole named Hal Turner. Hooray. Meanwhile, the truly devious ones are still at large, ones who are just a little more artful, a lot more devious and possibly more efficacious in their exhortations to go out and kill elected officials. But unless we stop treating such hate speech as protected free speech, we’ll never know how efficacious right wing hate speech truly is.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Suffer Little Children

The president's defense of a mosque at Ground Zero was, in spirit, a good thing, even if the mainstream media in attendance didn't make note of the fact that they came on a Friday night just as the news cycle was winding down.

Too bad they came weeks after NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former Republican, essentially said the same thing only more eloquently and in the middle of the week, in the middle of the day.

Once again, Obama failed to rise to the aid of a people whose business addresses weren't on Wall Street. And, once again, Robert Gibbs was wrong: The fight over whether or not a $100,000,000 mosque and community center should be put up near Ground Zero is not "a local matter." The Republican racism, fearmongering and religious snobbery that's largely opposed it (no thanks to the redundant ADL) stabbed right into the heart of what America is: An all inclusive melting pot of a nation in which no man, and no religion, is better than another.

But then again, what can you say about a political party that's not only famous for being crybabies, but are even afraid of them?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday Cat Blogging: Pussy Whipped Edition

Meet Popeye. This is Popeye during the 30 or 40 minutes a day when he's actually conscious and alert.

The rest of the time he's waging a passive war on literacy, whether it's falling asleep on the laptop while we're still using it...

...falling asleep on the printer...

...or hogging the bed.

My cat runs my life, and thinks nothing of batting us around in bed when he wants ice cubes put in his spring water or fresh food in his bowl.

Quite often, I'm tempted to put to the ultimate test the old adage that cats always land on their feet and just when I'm about to open the window, he then looks up at me with an expression like this...

...and suddenly everything gets put in perspective.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Scholarly, Politically Scientific Explication and Treatise of Why Robert Gibbs Should Suck my Cock

Let me count the ways.

First, Doughboy, you are not Bill Moyers. You are not even Pierre Salinger. And you never will be no matter how many times over how many lonely nights you tent your bedsheets looking at pictures of Ari Fleischer with a flashlight under your cum-stained sheets.

Secondly, in squirting sewage recently at "the professional left", ironically insisting that we be drug-tested, you had perhaps unknowingly climbed into bed with the likes of Charles Krauthammer (he of the "Bush Derangement Syndrome"), Michelle Malkin and Ann Coulter. Not only that, you had made all but official the rift and Great Divide that had begun forming between we of the "professional left" and Barack Obama the minute he began back pedaling from his campaign promises and bumper sticker mantra of "hope and change."

Thirdly, perhaps without realizing it, when you wildly began swinging at all liberals and professional, bomb-throwing anarchists like us, you also knocked down those at Daily Kos, still among your man's most vocal supporters.

In swinging with both fists at the "professional left", you only jeopardized your man's chances of getting reelected in a little over two years (a proposition, as my readers know, that wouldn't result in an abundance of tears on my end). The very act of insulting the liberals and progressives, many of whom being "professionals" and, who worked their asses off getting your man elected, immediately reduced you to the level of party hack on a par with Fleischer, McClellan, Snow and Perino of the Bush junta, someone less interested in giving the press honest information and more interested in defending a single man and Dick Cheney's wet dream of the Unitary Executive. We saw and heard enough of that during the Bush years.

Perhaps you couldn't help yourself, now that Fox "News" occupies one of the neighboring front row seats in which the legendary Helen Thomas had until recently sat. But your loyalties are abundantly obvious, given your track record of hamstringing real Democrats like Howard Dean for being inexperienced yet, four years later, you had taken up the cause for a guy who also had zero military and foreign policy experience.

You waved your private parts in our general direction for our claiming that in some ways, this is a third Bush term. The evidence is irrefutable and inescapable, especially if you're an Iraqi or Afghan or Pakistani civilian whose home had been reduced to rubble and his family to worm food after yet another antiseptic drone airstrike was ordered by your man.

At least under Bush, there was no secret executive order authorizing the Unitary Executive 2.0 to hunt down and assassinate American citizens without due process. Under Bush, we never saw the tragic clusterfuck that is Afghanistan bloated to such cartoonish proportions. Bush never promised to do anything really cool like draw up an exit strategy for Iraq, close down Gitmo, release documents showing what atrocities have been done in our names and with our hard-earned money, prosecute traitors and war profiteers...

... then reneged.

Your man had. Many, many times, thereby immediately reducing him from the statesman you'd like to think he is to the level of just another damned political opportunist.

Mr. Gibbs, my dear, dear, pudgy Mr. Gibbs, we're not looking for "ideological purity" from our president. But since we gave tens of millions of dollars and tens of millions of man hours getting your man elected in spite of a Bushian lack of qualifications for the presidency, the least we expect is some moral purity.

But your man is in more pockets than Ford car keys. He had given BP and other oil cartels one free pass after another to pollute our ecosystem, kill marine life and destroy livelihoods. He allowed the HMO's and Big Pharma to write their own health care legislation that just turned nearly 300,000,000 of us into serfs. Your man turned his back on the neediest to serve the greediest.

Your man appointed a mummified maniac named Alan Simpson to co-chair his Debt Commission, appointed a crook named Tim Geithner to head Treasury, and let blue ribbon-award-winning fuckups like Robert Rubin and Larry Summers into the inner circle of his economic team. He kept on an ineffectual seat-warmer named Robert Gates as Defense Secretary and Afghanistan has only gotten worse.

The national debt is approaching $18 trillion, the official unemployment rate has remained stagnant at 9.5% for yet another month, health cares costs are still spiraling and the ARRA bill and stimulus packages, while small steps in the right direction, have been all but proven to be vastly ineffectual in curbing unemployment and getting our nation on the road to recovery.

He has done nothing about vulture funds, even though he can wipe them out with one presidential stroke of the pen. He has done nothing for Darfur, even though the genocide continues. He has done nothing for Iraq and Afghanistan, yet alone his own country, yet wants to give Israel $30 billion a year, ten times what they're now getting, and saturninely cluck his tongue at the slow-motion massacre in the Gaza Strip.

"Ideological purity"? How about some moral purity?

You know what the similarity is between the Bush administration and the one for which you work? Like your immediate predecessors (and a quality we admire in dogs), you're loyal to your man. The difference? Bushie returned unswerving loyalty even when they broke the law and committed treason and war crimes. Your man? The minute Andrew Breitbart twitches and spasms in his Tourette's fashion and starts screaming "racism!", or when some right wing snotnose right out of high school alleges criminal activity in ACORN, Obama lets the axe fall where it may and keeps his hands clean without losing any sleep over some of the few competent people in his administration getting railroaded by a pack of lies from right wingers with plainly malignant agendas.

Let's get one thing straight: George W. Bush is, simply put, still the worst President this nation has ever seen. Your man's got a long ways to go before he can assume that mantle. But he's catching up. Fast. We did not elect him so he could sandbag the GOP for the first four years then show us the good stuff in Years 5-8. We elected him to do this now.

And, yes, many of us are disappointed by being forced over a BP oil barrel and made to bite a stick. That's democracy, the right to criticize and disagree with the Powers That Be. That's the First Amendment in action. Get used to it.

And even though the White House may be soft-pedaling your vicious comments, it's all too obvious to those on "the professional left" and those of us like me, the amateur left, that you were not speaking out of turn. You were perfectly voicing the sentiments of an administration made up of other party hacks, seat warmers, hangers on and professional politicians, starting with Rahm Emanuel, who called liberal agendas "fucking retarded" while careerists like Joe Biden gave the Tea Baggers one free pass after another.

It's all too obvious that your man has spent infinitely more time and energy sucking up to not us but a rabid right wing that would sooner shoot him on sight then nominate the turkey he would've pardoned if they could think of a way to put an "R" after its name.

No matter what your man does from here on in, he's lost my vote and this is not coming from Jane Hamsher or Marcos or any "professional lefty" but an amateur liberal, an average voter and man on the street who fucking hates having to log on every day and to give the bad news that, yes, in some ways, this administration is worse than the last. I want to be proud of my president at least one more time before I die, to honestly believe without resorting to wishful thinking that my president actually cares more about our welfare than that of corporations.

And that, my dear Mr. Gibbs, is why, with all due respect and in the most sober and scholarly geopolitical and socio-economic terms, you can suck my rosy red, Irish cock.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Weird Scenes Inside the Salt Mine

Is anyone getting the feeling that David Lynch is writing the news lately? Indeed, it seems as bizarre as the news has been lately, our world has the capacity, like Lynch's filmography, to get even more bizarre.

Mrs. JP has been feeding yours truly with some bizarre news items and, believe it or not, they're even stranger than the serious discussions we've been hearing about privatizing Social Security and keeping the Bush tax cuts, especially with Congress gone all month.

Drill, Baby, Drill!

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement's kids' website features a fascinating game: Let's drill for oil, kids! (warning: 6.47 megabyte .pdf file) By using sticks and boxes and a little shoe polish, we can teach our children that drilling for oil isn't hard, dangerous, dirty work at all but fun!

It's real simple: Just take a wooden box, a stick, bury some shoe polish under the sand then put the stick into the sand. When the "drill" comes up black, you've struck oil! No mention of the real life tar that is buried by BP beneath the sand, the thousands of bags stuffed with dead marine life that's also buried beneath the sand, the dead 11 rig workers or the government's own complicity in letting BP and other oil companies recklessly drill, baby, drill without proper environmental impact reports or workable oil spill plans.

You'd never think that anyone could be so heartless as to grab a 17 month-old baby by the neck and repeatedly punch it with a closed fist until it was dead, would you? How about someone who did because the tot, a boy, was "acting like a girl?"

Yet, that's exactly what 20 year-old Pedro Jones did to his girlfriend's baby, Roy Jones on the Shinnecock Indian reservation. Said Jones to NY state troopers, "I was trying to make him act like a boy instead of a little girl. I never struck that kid that hard before. A one-time mistake, and I am going to do 20 years."

So how hard did he strike the baby (who wasn't his) in the past and why did the baby's mother let him get away with it? "He's my baby," Jones added. "I love him to death." Yeah, literally.

Speaking of homicidal lunacy, what would you think about a gay man being executed in Iran for sodomy? That would be brutal, right? Well, what would you think if you heard about a young man about to be executed in Iran for sodomy even if he was straight, there was no evidence of sodomy, his accuser recanted and the boy had no legal representation?

That's exactly what's happening in Iran right now. 18 year-old Ebrahim Hamidi, who's about to be executed in Iran for a "crime" he didn't commit and because of a loophole in the Iran criminal justice system called "judge's knowledge" (the Iranian version of Bush or Obama getting to subjectively decide who's an enemy of the state and to respond without due process).

So why is young Mr. Hamidi about to executed without legal counsel? His attorney, human rights lawyer Mohammad Mostafaei, was forced to flee the country after he tried bringing international attention to two of his cases. Mostafaei is something of a hero/villain in Iran and he's credited with saving the lives of at least 50 innocent people who otherwise would've been murdered by Iran's completely insane, 11th century criminal justice system. Mostafaei's wife was arrested recently and essentially held hostage because her husband had the temerity to publicly, and righteously, embarrass Iran. So the more attention we can give this boy's imminent execution, the better.

If I was a Floridian, I wouldn't exactly consider it a badge of distinction that my state is the only one that specifically bans gay couples from adopting. But I'd be even more embarrassed to come from a state whose Attorney General also wants to keep same-sex couples from becoming foster parents. "I really do not think that we should have homosexuals guiding our children," Bill "Gollum" McCollum said.

Yep, that's what he said in public. Now, you'd think that Gollum would give the homophobia a rest, especially in light of his part in the George Rentboy scandal that had cost Florida taxpayers $120,000. But apparently Republicans are as unconscious of irony as they are to the rights and suffering of others.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Plane Crashes in Alaska: Former Senator Ted Stevens Feared Killed

A small plane carrying nine people crashed sometime today in southwest Alaska. Among the passengers were former Alaska senator Ted Stevens, who was unseated in 2008 by Democrat Mark Begich, and former NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe. O'Keefe briefly became the face of NASA when the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated and crashed in Texas in early 2003.

Earliest reports state that five were killed and four survived. Mr. O'Keefe's and Senator Stevens' fates were unknown at this time.

Our thoughts, prayers and best wishes to go the victims and their families.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Princess Sparkle Moose Hits Homer. Homer Hits Back.

(Tip o' the tinfoil hat to Mrs. JP)

Kathleen Gustafson: You swore on your precious Bible that you would uphold the interests of this state, and then when cash was waved in front of your face, you quit.

Sarah Palin: OH, you WANTED me to be your governor! I’m honored! Thank you!

Kathleen: I wanted you to honor your responsibilities. That is what I wanted. I wanted you to be part of the political process instead of becoming a celebrity...

The Learning Channel signing Sarah Palin to a contract is sort of like Gandhi or Dick Gregory getting their own show on the Food Network. Yet, The Learning Channel saw fit to put Palin's puss on our televisions yet again by filming her in "Sarah Palin's Duh-laska" while she pretended to fish for halibut.

Shannyn Moore, Homer, Alaska resident, posted on the Huff Po the exchange between Palin and fellow Homer resident Kathleen Gustafson. (The cell phone video, typically, has poor sound quality, so a transcript of their brief conversation can be found here.)

Moore gives a pretty comprehensive account of the day's events but here are the abstracts: When Gustafson found out that Palin was going to be filmed in her hometown pretending to do something that Gustafson's family does for a living in real life, she decided to make and hang a 3 x 30' banner sign reading "WORST GOVERNOR EVER" so Palin and her TLC enablers couldn't avoid it.

Little did Gustafson realize that it would get Palin's attention so easily.

The exchange was testy on one side (Gustafson's) while the other side blathered on about our troops defending our constitutional protections that either her or TLC's goons were in the process of violating three-fold (1st, 2nd and 4th amendments) by having security pat down Homer private residents on a very public dock.

The epigraph above pretty much delineates the sheer distance between the two minds and the usual Republican aversion to any camera that doesn't belong to Rupert Murdoch is in evidence as Todd Palin continually tries to block the camera, walking around in circles like a peripatetic, brain-damaged bouncer at an Anchorage gin mill.

Despite the fact that the banner sign read "WORST GOVERNOR EVER", Sunny Sarah insisted on thinking, "OH, you WANTED me to be your governor! I’m honored! Thank you!"

As Moore points out by using Sarah Barracuda's latest Facebook dispatch, she's equally clueless about the halibut that she was pretending to fish for. Palin also rolled her eyes when she realized she was engaging in a war of wits with an armed person, namely a teacher (we all know in what high regard teachers and boards of education are held by Republicans).

Regrettably, the cell phone video doesn't show the banner sign being torn down by one of Palin's thugs nor the people of Homer, including those who actually do make their livings on the docks, getting patted down by private security.

Let's face it. At some point we all hated high school at some level, for some reason. There's someone in each of our pasts that we loathed and for me this Sarah Palin monster that John McCain created reminds me of every head cheerleader or Beautiful Girl who ever took a well-timed insult or appraisal into some positive that's unmoored from reality, someone who thinks that by merely repeating criticism with a sneering tone of voice is enough to defuse or deactivate it.

We saw it in her recent speech at Stanislaus where she insulted the liberal media for bringing up her bendy straw demands in a copy of the contract that was found in a dumpster. We heard it before that after "the liberal media" got a shot of her hand notes at the Tea Bagger rally in Tennessee.

And heard it again in Homer where Sarah tried to put words in Kathleen Gustafson's mouth and making it sound as if she wanted her to remain on as Governor despite the enormous 3 x 30' foot banner that said "WORST GOVERNOR EVER". Then, in a bizarre turn of mind, Palin seemed to deny being a celebrity in spite of being on the docks being filmed by TLC fishing for halibut with her well-manicured hands.

If you're not a celebrity, Sarah, then why did you show up at the gifting suites at the Academy Awards last March? Or did you think your as-yet-to-be-filmed spots on Fox and The Learning Channel qualified for some kind of television Oscar? What's with the demands for bottled water, bendy straws and, oh yeah, limousines, private jets/first class air fare and five star hotel rooms every time some idiotic right wing organization or celebrity-starved university ponies up 6 figures to hear you spew sewage for an hour about President Obama, Democrats and the liberal media?

Sarah Palin is helping to turn this country into one massive high school, which was, at best, an unrelenting popularity contest predicated not so much on academic achievement or talent as great hair, great skin, great teeth, sexual chemistry and a ruthless instinct for petty personal politics.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The News at a Furtive Glance

Pill-Popping Child Molester Listened to Yet Again

"As far as the media's concerned, Mrs. Obama deserves this. Look at the sordid past. Look at our slave past, look at the discriminatory past. It's only fair that people of color get their taste of the wealth of America too." - Unofficial Viagra pitchman Rush Limbaugh on Friday, sneering as he said it.

Can we please, once and for all, laugh Rush Limbaugh out of the public discourse for being the embarrassing racist fuck that he is? Because he thinks any perceived advantage that African Americans, even the First Lady, get from the media or anywhere else is a result of the Affirmative Action that Limbaugh loathes for its "discrimination" toward his downtrodden Aryan brothers and sisters.

Ten Medical Aid Workers Murdered by Taliban in Afghanistan

It's creepy when life imitates art. It's even creepier when it's the Sylvester Stallone movie, John Rambo, the fourth installment of the First Blood series. In that movie, humanitarian aid workers and doctors were slaughtered and held hostage by thugs in Myanmar.

This time around, ten aid workers were killed by Taliban militants who have already taken responsibility, claiming they killed the aid workers for spying for us and preaching Christianity, charges even the Taliban can't be stupid enough to believe.

It'll be interesting to see how Time treats this in their next issue, perhaps wondering aloud if this will happen if we leave Afghanistan. (Editor's note to Time's editors: Hey, assholes. We've been there for the last 9 years and the Taliban is doing this at will. Why do you think Karzai is negotiating with the Taliban and inviting them to run for public office? Because he's long since given up on any American solution.)

Republican Named After Lizard Leaves Comments Open After Hypocritical Post About Marriage

According to adulterer Newt Gingrich, marriage ought to be between a man and a woman. One man, one woman... at a time.

Suck my dick, Newt, and make it sloppy this time. Easy on the backstroke, too.

US Loses 131,000 Jobs Last Month

...because the federal government laid off all those census workers (maybe we can put them back to work counting all of Rush Limbaugh's, Newt Gingrich's and Rudy Giuliani's ex wives). But the Obama administration will, instead crow about the 71,000 jobs added to the private sector... which is exactly half what the government's "experts" predicted.

Meanwhile, chocolate rations will be increased by 40 20 10 grams next month. Doubleplusgood!

Republican Whackjob Mr. Rogers Advocates Executing, Soldier, Wikileaks Founder

Well, the article specifies only Julian Assange, not the Army private arrested for leaking the documents to Assange. Congressman Rogers says that Pvt. Manning aided the enemy by leaking those documents to Julian Assange.

But considering the stunning comeback of the Taliban these past few years, I don't think they needed any help from a previously obscure private. I think we ought to execute every Congressman for appropriating tens of billions more for Obama's inherited little war considering that God knows how much of it will wind up in the pockets of the Taliban and tribal warlords we're bribing for not killing us.

But that's just me...

Reservoir Dogs at BP to Tempt Fate, to Drill in Same Spot

"But... but... there's oil and gas down there! The money. Dear God, the money to be made!" BP says.

Well, yeah, we allowed them to drill without taking the proper safety protocols and without presenting an oil spill plan that didn't sound like something out of Saturday Night Live and they completely Katrina'd the Gulf coast for the next generation. So what makes them think it'll happen again?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Caption Contest

Andrew Breitbart prepares to write his next deathless screed against the Obama administration.

Disinherit the Windbags

"The court now determines that Blankenhorn's testimony constitutes inadmissible opinion testimony that should be given essentially no weight. Blankenhorn lacks the qualifications to offer opinion testimony and, in any event, failed to provide cogent testimony in support of proponents' factual assertions." - Judge Vaughn Walker

In the wake of Prop 8's dismissal and gay marriage being legal in California again, one has to ask two questions: What was the big fuss all about and what took so long?

Proposition 8 was a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution. The California State government did not defend Proposition 8 and its proponents, after having spent millions of dollars to ram Prop 8 into law, produced only two witnesses, one of them being David Blankenhorn, a lying, factually-crippled, fundamentalist baboon who was so spectacularly awful on the stand that Judge Vaughn Walker singled him out time and again in his ruling for special condemnation.

The defendants were so comically inept in proving their case that one is amazed and outraged that the trial ate up over a year and who knows how many millions of dollars that California couldn't afford to spend.

This is Blankenhorn advancing his personal values that, for over a year and a half, overturned state law and denied countless tens of thousands of gay people from getting married in California.

So, yes, a rational person must conclude it's a very good thing that gay marriage is now legal in California again and Prop H8's supporters have been sent packing and gotten their uptight asses kicked up and down Electric Avenue. But how could a faction so bereft of facts and expert testimony expunge from the books and keep off the books a law that essentially grants same sex couples the same marriage rights as heterosexuals?

Meanwhile, at the other table, the other guys produced psychologists, sociologists, historians, economists and other expert witnesses that conclusively proved to the court that, not only does gay marriage not endanger so-called traditional marriage but it can even benefit California's troubled economy. They proved that biological and adopted children can thrive in a family with same-sex parents.

Things any married gay couple with kids innately knows through experience and could've told us in far fewer words and for free.

Yet this took over a year to prove against a tidal wave of ignorant prejudice and ossified religious dogma. Where were the Mormons? Where were the money men? Where were all the fundies and Republicans who used to think this was the moral equivalent of Armageddon? And why aren't they raising a bigger fuss over their greatest victory being snatched and shoved back down the throat of defeat?

I read the entire 136 page ruling last night (not as imposing as it seems, once you close the gaps and remove the useless annotations in the document it's actually closer to 60 pages). And it struck me that, with a little bit of imagination, one can picture Judge Walker privately pinching the bridge of his nose and shaking his head at the lunacy he had to listen to for well over a year.

It brought to my mind the legendary battle between Drummond and Brady in Inherit the Wind, the film version of Jerome Lawrence's and Robert E. Lee's masterpiece. Inherit the Wind was actually a commentary on the McCarthy witch hunts of the early 50's but used as its backdrop the Scopes Monkey Trial in 1925 and the battle between Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan, the preeminent fundie windbag of his day.

On many occasions, Judge Walker had to point out that not only was the defense unprepared, they even contradicted themselves numerous times (such as admitting that gays and lesbians are subject to discrimination that is determined by political power).

The day after Prop H8 was ceremoniously tossed out, the Mexican Supreme Court upheld gay marriage in Mexico City. This in itself comes just three weeks after Argentina became the first Latin American country to legalize same-sex marriage.

It would be easy to pronounce the fundies down on one knee and to predict they will not be on their feet again by the end of the ten count.

But reconsider how long it took the LGBT community to get gay marriage in even one state and how easily the fundies were able to battle the California courts for well over a year armed with nothing but dogma, ignorance and bigotry. John Scopes and Clarence Darrow lost against a tide of religious fundamentalism and Scopes was later exonerated but on a technicality.

Today as then, we still have to battle against religious fundamentalists who insist that the so-called word of God trumps all human knowledge and hard, peer-reviewed science. We need to disinherit these windbags from the continuing evolution of the human race, to be able to completely disregard them as long as they insist on subtracting from the store of human knowledge and even to discriminate against their fellow humans in their quest for moral "purity."

But I don't see that happening any time soon.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Let Us Speak of Pheasants and Peasants

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

We’re killing children, we’re killing women, we’re killing innocent people.… Do we have the right here in the United States to say we are going to kill tens of thousands of people, make millions of people, as we have, refugees, kill women and children as we have?… We must feel it when we use Napalm or a village is destroyed and civilians are killed.” – Senator Robert F. Kennedy on US involvement in Vietnam, 1968

“A poem is a pheasant,” was how Wallace Stevens once defined poetry. Anyone who’s ever made note of or (like Dick Cheney, when he wasn’t shooting senior citizens in the face) hunted the pheasant know that the quail is an easily-startled bird. Wallace’s point was that if you abruptly come charging at a poem instead of sneaking up behind it, the poem’s meaning will flee.

The same can be said of the American people.

Now, we don’t like to think of ourselves as either physical or moral cowards. After all, our grandfathers and great grandfathers willingly jumped into the meat grinder known as Normandy on D Day and, before that, battled to keep the nation together at Gettysburg, Antietam and both bloody Battles of Bull Run. We dropped our plows and pens and fought almost 100 years before that to establish our independence from the tyrannical and seemingly invincible British.

But we’re also the same people, Reeboked and moussed palimpsests of our heroic forebears, who ran to the supermarket in our SUV’s and, inexplicably, gorged ourselves on duct tape and jugged spring water right before Y2K because very serious and trusted people told us to without explaining how duct tape or jugged water would counteract the effects of our computers’ time stamps going back to 1900.

A year or two later, when the Bush/Cheney administration cynically used 9/11 to take away our constitutional protections by way of rewarding us with unconditional and full-throated support, those same protections fought for and died for by those same heroic ancestors, we allowed these bastard sons of Adams and Jefferson to contort our thinking and even our belief and value systems so that indefinitely taking away those civil liberties was a good tradeoff for a little bit of safety.

Who cared if national security was never actually increased, and even weakened, as a result?

So, yes, we are a nation not of laws or even of men but pheasants: Easily-startled animals insufficiently removed from the animal kingdom as to be immune from the herd mentality seen every day on the midwestern plains and in the stockyards.

Those who do not fit the definition of pheasant can usually be classified as peasants too depressed and despairing to be frightened. This is what the right wing has reduced us to, true, but much of the blame can be laid like a dead wreath at the mausoleum door of what used to be liberalism. And what had survived of liberalism’s very likely final decline is sounding more and more like the right wing, the last chapter of Orwell’s Animal Farm coming true before our very eyes, in real time and beamed into our living rooms, sponsored by BP (“We’ll Make it Right!” they promise us in banner ads at the top of so-called liberal blogs whose proprietors apparently can afford to abandon their own moral belief system in their pursuit of bandwidth revenue).

A cursory look through some bylines just from the last few days tells or asks us what’s going on: How things have either remained static or gotten worse under Obama than under Bush II. But, in the case of the author of a grimly fascinating article entitled, “The American Left and the WikiLeaks Documents”, David Walsh asks how we can be so competently and calmly led astray by some of our most trusted liberal voices, particularly The Nation magazine.

The founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, is today living the life of David Kimble because he and his site refuse to accept the lies and heavily redacted documents dribbled to us by our government from time to time through a gutted FOIA and making these truths, as our forebears once wrote, self-evident.

Assange has been turned into the real-life fugitive for committing the unforgivable act of ripping off the humanitarian mask the last two administrations have put on our two wars and showing us the true face of our attitude toward the people we’re told we’re liberating. Thanks to Assange, we were given indelible, incontrovertible proof of how much contempt we feel for the Iraqi people and in our own voices speaking our own words. Thanks to Assange and his latest, 92,000 page scoop, we now know the true limitations of COIN in Afghanistan that, one would think, was already made self-evident by Rolling Stone’s landmark article on Gen. Stanley McCrystal and his team. But it isn’t just the Republicans who want to hunt him down like a rabid dog but the Democrats, too. The truth is, literally, samizdat.

I’m a Stranger Here, Myself

We the pheasants of the Disunited States of America, a massive herd of upholstered buffalo living in constant fear of the nonexistent bow, arrow and spear, are also a people who have to be beaten over the head with the cudgel of truths that alert us to the true danger. While we cowered from anyone who even looked Middle Eastern and smelled of falafel, no one told us about the dangers the PNAC neocons represented. While we reviled the working poor and medically uninsured, we let self-dealing HMOs and Big Pharma essentially write their own health care bill just as we let the banks and other lenders write their own self-dealing bankruptcy bill five years ago while we reviled the bankrupt.

While we spat at ACORN we completely forgot about the Andrew Breitbarts and James O’Keefes of the world and the Republican money men behind them. While we publicly pilloried the dispossessed as they were being evicted from their own homes, we conveniently forgot about the lenders and their pie-in-the-sky promises of low-risk loans until we found out we had to bail them out.

While we sneered not at Andrew Breitbart but at Dan Rather, we forgot about the Republican douchebags who funded the Swiftboat Veterans and suddenly George W. Bush’s spotty military record was more commendable than John Kerry’s well-documented one.

While we’re conditioned to snarl on cue at Hamas or the nuclear warhead-coveting Mamoud Ahmedinejad, we keep giving one free pass after another to the terrorist state of Israel and don’t seem to care that we’re paying them $3 billion every year to kill innocent Arabs, as if Israel is the only nation in the Middle East entitled to defend itself.

And while the entire government dumped on Shirley Sherrod without stopping to consider the source of the easily-debunkable rumors of her racism, we let the Winston Smiths of Fox “News” and, once again, Andrew Breitbart and his band of not-so-merry pranksters alter the face of our government (which is to say made it a bit whiter). While we hurl invectives at illegal immigrants who only wanted to work for meager wages, we tend to forget about the reason why they come here: Unscrupulous produce companies who’ve come to depend on that cheap, sub-minimum wage labor to harvest their crops for even larger corporations. We all too easily forget that these immigrants who will now be rounded up en masse under a nakedly fascist, extra-legal law known as SB 1070 will be making Arizona courts and CCA, the private prison corporation that’s enjoying bigger profits under Obama than they ever did under Bush, very wealthy.

We are a stupid, stupid, easily misdirected people who start at mice while remaining blissfully unaware of the elephant charging us from behind. And a viable liberal movement could’ve worked wonders in preventing this from happening. Martin Luther King would’ve set us straight on Van Jones, ACORN and Shirley Sherrod. Bobby Kennedy would’ve set us straight on Iraq and Afghanistan. But they’re long dead and the liberal movement, like Hamlet at Ophelia’s funeral, jumped in the grave with them.

Now, right wing mouth-breathers like David Horowitz and other conservatives in a perpetual state of mental spasm are no longer the bad guys: It’s university professors who are likened, not by Horowitz but so-called liberals, to the welfare queens we were taught to revile by our genially mean-spirited Dutch Uncle Ronald Reagan.

Now that Iraq is literally a Seven Year Itch, we’re smoothly informed by Obama that things are going along right on the schedule that had been denied both us and Iraq for nearly six years under Bush. And hardly anyone, not even those passing themselves off as liberals, are stopping to ask aloud, “But why did we invade Iraq, in the first place?” If Iraq and Afghanistan have produced some tangible results, it will be all worthwhile. And if I threw a hand grenade into a china shop, I’m sure the owner would be overjoyed that I hung up a couple pieces of dry wall and slapped some wallpaper over it.

But evil is still evil no matter its IQ. We couldn’t quite bring ourselves to fully embrace the reality that Bush was evil because he was a bumbling, inarticulate intellectual anorexic. We can believe even less that Obama’s policies are evil because, darn it, he’s so glib, intelligent and good-looking. In fact, the only true face of evil we’ve known these past ten years was Dick Cheney’s snarling puss but, officially speaking, Cheney wasn’t the President.

And the really bad news is, not only has liberalism been shifted to the right as only Joe Overton’s window can do it, we’re already so disgusted by this Bowdlerization of liberalism that we’re poised to give conservatism another chance. Liberalism, true liberalism and not its anemic cousin Progressivism, has become a forgotten utility player deep in the shadows of the dugout. We’re giving up on it before many of us in our lifetimes have had a chance to see it fully extend itself in the batter’s box.

And Obama is proving to be almost as much of a boon to the morally and intellectually overdrawn GOP as Bush was to the equally bankrupt Democrats. Too many of us still let Obama represent the so-called progressives and (pardon me while I snicker) liberals on the Hill rather than see him for what he is: A wet-legged centrist more prone to fire a competent official than incur right wing wrath. Liberalism had not failed us: Obama had.

But then there’s the sophomore jinx, the almost invariable rule that a first term president’s party will lose their majority in the House in the first midterm after his election. And I’m all for voting literally 99% of these Democrats out, provided we can find true liberals and progressives with which to replace them. But we’ve yet to learn that, since the 60’s, the Republican Party never has the answers nor the solutions for what ails this nation, especially the latter day GOP.

The Republican Party has made pheasants and peasants out of all of us and all we do is hold out our empty bowls and timidly ask, “Please, sir, may I have another?” And when the response comes, the liberals will be right behind the conservatives in the cruel chorus of laughter.

KindleindaWind, my writing blog.

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