Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Stewart/Colbert Rallies in Pictures

It only stands to reason the three major differences between a typical Tea Bagger rally and one of ours is A) Better-spelled signage, B) a surfeit of actual intelligence and awareness and C) We tend to be much more numerous. What follows below are all the pictures Mrs. JP and I took of the rally today. Much of the signage was hilarious (Click on the images for bigger versions).

Hey, who's that handsome devil?

Tony Bennett and you just missed him.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Memo to Teabaggers: You Can't Tread on Us, Either

The two questions that first spring to mind are, why isn't Rand Paul campaign coordinator/professional thug Tim Profitt in jail for curb-stomping a defenseless woman and why does he think she owes him an apology? An apology for what, putting her head and shoulder under his jackboot?

Another question I'd like to add is, considering that Profitt is not only still a free man and that there are no pending assault charges and nothing worse than a criminal summons against him, how come Democrat Jon Taylor was arrested, wrestled to the ground and charged with three crimes just for peacefully appearing at an Eric Cantor event with an invitation?

And, while I hate to side with Tim Profitt on this issue, how come Kentucky police let things get so out of hand that a woman was openly assaulted when they were certainly within range to do something about it if not prevent it?

It would be easy to dismiss these random acts of violence visited on Democrats and liberal activists on campaign staffers and supporters but the one fact that no one had addressed is why the police are letting them get away with it? Anyone keeping track of the rise in right wing violence as the midterms approach will see an unmistakable pattern of the police aiding and abetting such violence if not not actually taking part in it. After all, why would Jon Taylor get tossed from a coffee shop when he had an invitation to the Cantor event? It seems to more than suggest that if you're a Republican, you have the right to create your own little (Sorry, Ms. O'Donnell) witch hunt. Just point your finger at a Democrat, tell lies such as him disturbing the peace and the local constabulary will be only too glad to do your bidding. It seems for every Victor Phillips, there are 100 Tim Profitts and Alan Wests.

So, what's going on? Is police protection only for Republicans in spite of the fact that they and they alone are calling for "2nd amendment remedies" and hiring bikers and other camera-blocking, unlicensed thugs to do security at a middle school?

Well, I have had enough. Mrs. JP and I are going to be at the rallies from start to finish. And to anyone out there planning on organizing a counter rally to the Stewart/Colbert counter rallies, I have one thing to say to you:

Try and start trouble, I'll step on you like I would an over ripe grape. Just try to disrupt this rally with your right wing thuggery and you'll be outnumbered probably by at least 1000 to 1 and I'll be right at the vanguard taping the whole thing. It's a public event and anyone can come but that doesn't give you the right to start violence. You start it, I'll finish it if I have anything to say about it.

Because I've had it with us being the nice guys and I think we all know what Leo Durocher said about nice guys. You don't want to be treaded on by our big, bad Socialist government? Fine.

But you can't tread on us, either, starting with me.

Trying to Keep Fear Sane and Rational

Mrs. JP and I will be leaving in a little over 12 hours to drive down to the rallies in DC. If anyone knows the area well, please tell me where the wifi hot spots are on the Mall or between 3rd and 7th streets since I'll be bringing my Dell and will try to videotape and live-blog the event both here at Pottersville and at my new place.

And if you'll be there, too, look for the screaming lunatic wearing a Jason hockey mask, an official rally tee shirt and a black leather jacket. Mrs. JP will likely be standing a respectable distance away pretending not to know me.

If Robots Could Vote...

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The French Disconnection

We have been disconnected from France for a long time. Right wingers have been largely responsible for that and the meme of how cowardly the French really are started long, long before they wisely took a pass on Iraq.

And that's a shame, that we've swallowed wholesale these lies about the French as mindlessly and indiscriminately as we do Freedom French fries at McDonald's. It's a shame because the youth and leftist movement of France is carrying on its fourth round of riots (this last one lasting ten days and still going strong) since Sarkozy was elected. The third round was after a rioter was killed by French police last July. The second round was in early October 2006. The first round of riots was in late 2005 or right after Sarkozy was elected.

As is typical with right wing police states such as Sarkozy's, the crackdowns resulted in several protesters losing their lives. But that's a trade-off the French seem willing to make in order to make their voices heard. And the rewards for this latest round of protests is staggering: The nation has ground to a standstill through protesters blocking major roadways, stopping oil shipments and halting production at refineries. (Note worth remembering: When the Grandpuits refinery was virtually shut down by rioters, it also grounded air traffic since they're the major supplier of fuel to De Gaulle International airport.)

When oil companies import oil to our shores through blowouts and leaks, we wind up going to work for them for substandard wages, no health care and allowing them to publish their propaganda ads even on liberal blogs who don't care where their advertising revenue comes from.

Yet, in the five years since the French began the first of what would prove to be four rounds of riots, the United States has not had one major protest that resulted in anything more damaging than the occasional arrest to tarnish one's reputation. As it is, with many reasons to take to the streets with pitchforks and torches, brushes and buckets of hot tar, ropes and shotguns, we Americans, especially we so-called liberals, tremble at the thought of a preemptive Republican charge of "class warfare" at the merest whisper of elitist corporate genocide.

The French government has proposed raising the retirement age from 60 to 62. In our own country, Republicans have somehow managed to propose with a straight face raising Social Security eligibility from 62-65 to 70. France is rioting in the streets over their retirement age getting raised a modest two years. In our country, a Republican majority would all but guarantee a nation of septugenarians working as greeters for Wal-Mart so they can at least have a shot of financing their own funerals after they drop dead in their little blue vests.

The funny thing is, France, according to the CIA Factbook, enjoys the 8th highest life expectancy on the planet at almost 81 years while the United States is a dismal 49th, or barely over 78 years (which neatly sandwiches us between Albania and Wallis/Futuna). That means, according to world actuarial tables, the French would still be able to enjoy almost 20 years of retirement while Americans can look forward, under a Republican plan, to a mere eight years (without factoring in how older workers working until well past age 62 could detrimentally have their health and life expectancy affected).

So why are the French rioting and how come our asses are conforming to the seats of our Laz-E-Boys while watching Jon and Kate and the latest Jackass movie on DVD?

And where did this meme come from that the French are nothing but cowardly, elitist Gauloise-smoking malcontents wearing berets and sipping bitter little cups of coffee in outdoor cafes while spitting even bitterer diatribes against anything smelling of the bourgeois?

The French, while historically being one of the easiest nations to conquer, nonetheless enjoy a reputation of being one of the most perennially difficult to govern. Napoleon found that out after a revolution that beheaded a king. The French obviously have never forgotten their classist roots and are always ready to light up the streets if they see their government is shortchanging them.

And it always seems to be the leftists, the Socialists and the young who are at the vanguard. In this country, with no draft, our own youth would be disconnected from more than just France were it not for the fragile tether to the world provided by Apple iPhones and Dell laptops.

Unlike France, our nation doesn't even have a actual culture as much as a ruthlessly bottom line-driven hyperactive consumerism let alone have a backbone worth straightening. And while Jon Stewart may be putting together a rally on the 30th that preaches bland temperance and civility, such a call would fall on deaf ears in the land that gave us the very symbol of our liberty.

It also ought to be mentioned that raising the retirement age from 60 to 62 in France affects the country's retirement pension plan. In this country, pensions outside the government sector have gone the way of doctors that make house calls and mail delivery twice a day.

We Americans have had so much taken away from us, from pensions to actual interest on interest-bearing accounts, that if we had the sensibilities of the French, Wall Street and Pennsylvania Avenue on any given day would look like downtown Baghdad in late 2006. But we are not like the French. We have been disconnected from them and the lessons they gave in vain of the value and efficacy of civil disobedience.

Instead, liberals write blog posts railing about the status quo and not progressing beyond the manifesto stage. Right wingers and tea baggers rail about the government for completely different (and invariably erroneous) reasons and congregate in anemic little mobs so they can be ridiculed by the liberals.

Mike Whitney (not to be confused with the Mike Whitney of Firedoglake) in his latest article "Thank God for France" brings up some very good points and rightly excoriates our impotent and complacent cuntry (and yes, that is deliberately misspelled). He also brings up the excellent point that force is the only language tyrannical governments understand. That is a geopolitical truism that crosses all national boundaries. We ought to retest that theory sometime. It worked pretty fucking well against the British in the 18th century (although, to play Devil's advocate, we wouldn't've stood a snowball's chance in Hell were it not for the aid of, you guessed it, the hated French).

I'd say "thank God for France", too, were it not for one painfully obvious truism: We can only thank a good influence if we take those lessons to heart. But when we choose not to heed those lessons in brutal efficacy, we only doom our wouldbe mentors to irrelevancy as well as ourselves to repeat the less palatable lessons of history.

Looks Like We Do Body Counts, After All

...despite what Rummy once told us.

If nothing else, the new Wikileaks release, while it may not contain any revelations that would be shocking to those of us in the reality-based community, at least tells us that the real story is actually, hold on to your hats, worse than we've been told. As has always been the case, if you want a sense of what's going on in Iraq, all you have to do is use "Iraqi bodies" as a Google image search.

If you index your wikileaks search to just murder, you'll get almost 25,000 incident reports filed by both Iraqi and American forces. With each page containing ten entries, you'll have to wade through dozens of pages using a general search just to get past January 1, 2004.

These 391,000+ incident reports, which often make for dry reading (and about half of the particulars are obvious, such as GSW [gunshot wound] to the ___. Virtually all execution-style murders are gunshots to the head), still provide a more comprehensive overview of what the Pentagon and the press have not been telling us.

It shows that not only are we guilty of killing innocent Iraqis but that so is the Shi'ite government that we'd installed in the wake of de-Baathification. The newest Wikileaks disclosures show that we'd relied on private "security contractors" such as Blackwater far more than had been previously admitted. No matter who did the killings, the blood eventually spatters on us because we put that bloody sham of a puppet government in power and we're the ones who'd invaded Iraq on blatantly false pretenses. You have to wonder how many hundreds of thousands of Iraqis would still be alive today had we not.

And, above all, even a cursory reading of all the documents shows that far more Iraqi civilians have been killed overall than had been previously admitted by the Pentagon, which claimed years ago to not bother itself doing body counts.

The Pentagon has, indeed, been keeping track and Wikileaks' latest coup shows us why they had not released this information to us.

Plus, you have to laugh and shake your head that the NY Times, with their super-serious-sounding War Logs series, is following the lead of a guy who isn't even a journalist. This is part and parcel to the problem, to begin with: If Judith Miller and the rest of the Times had just chosen to do its fucking job for a change instead of helping the Bush administration beat the war drum, then perhaps Julian Assange wouldn't have had to make this massive revelation and perhaps, just perhaps, we would've left Iraq already if we'd known way back then just how bad the situation really was on the ground.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Read the Writing on the Wall

This is what passes for political discourse in this country and the internet isn't much better. This was taken above the urinal at our local coffee shop. I didn't realize there was someone in the stall next to me and that my phone's shutter sound could easily be heard. Perhaps he thought I was pulling a Brett Favre. Anyway, it reads, "Obama is like crack. Both set African Americans back 2 decades." Beneath it is written, "Ahmen."

So it is written. Being the first African American president set civil rights back two decades, not using a racial stereotype by comparing the president to a drug to which anybody can get addicted.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Brief History of Political Douchebaggery 2001-2010

This is my first virtual video courtesy of It'll be the first of many.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Iraqi Government Still Paying al Qaeda to Kill Our Troops.

(This al Jazeera piece was broadcast the day after Obama pronounced combat operations were over in Iraq)

So says the NY Times in today's lead story, above the fold. Here's the opening paragraph:
Members of United States-allied Awakening Councils have quit or been dismissed from their positions in significant numbers in recent months, prey to an intensive recruitment campaign by the Sunni insurgency, according to government officials, current and former members of the Awakening and insurgents.

Which is followed up a little later with this money shot (emphasis mine):
Although there are no firm figures, security and political officials say hundreds of the well-disciplined fighters — many of whom have gained extensive knowledge about the American military — appear to have rejoined Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia. Beyond that, officials say that even many of the Awakening fighters still on the Iraqi government payroll, possibly thousands of them, covertly aid the insurgency.

Bottom line: Not only have we done a complete 360 and wound up back to where we started at the start of the invasion and occupation in March of 2003, we taxpayers had once paid al Qaeda in Mesopotamia double agents to attack our troops and some of them are still being paid by our man al-Maliki to use our own troop positions, strength, strategies and tactics against us.

(Read the rest here.)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Enthusiasm Gap: An Open Letter to Young Voters

While the Huff Po's style section has been breathlessly reporting on the week-long flight and eventual crash and burn of the Gap's new logo, they're also telling us that the new logo has been so unpopular that complaints about it have their own Facebook page. Considering the Gap's typical target demographic (a not unreasonable guess would be 16-30), then it only follows that the people most passionate about the Gap's new logo, which is something Mondrian would've done on a lazy day ("Fuck 'em. One square is all they get today!"), would be young people.

OK, fair enough. My three year-old grandson Gavin could've come up with something more creative in five minutes flat and for free. It also sucked a little that the company just foisted its shitty little logo off on their online customers without even soliciting input. But in 100 years, who'll give a shit? 50 years? One year?

What counts and what will ripple throughout history is what our generations do today and that starts with who we elect and throw out of Congress. Where's the outrage from you young people about who's in Congress? How many of the kids who tweeted and texted complaints about the Gap's new logo will actually wind up at the polls on November 2nd?

Priorities, kids, priorities. We've passed down shitty priorities to your generation but that doesn't mean you have to take our cues. We get more emotionally engaged over who the next American Idol will be than we do who will be our next president or Senator or Congressman.

You are the real silent majority, the ones who can put the kibosh on the GOP's pre-election boasting about taking back our government. And think about those words, "take back." Doesn't sound very democratic, does it? Well, Republicans don't believe in winning anything fair and square, as is evidenced by the fact that they stole three consecutive elections between 2000-2004. When they know we won't give them something they want, like a neocon president or a Congressional majority, they just take it. It's really that simple. Ask Al Gore or Max Cleland or Cynthia McKinney. And they're largely able to get away with it because the people who are now your parents and grandparents showed more balls in the 60's than you generally do on your best day. We put our lives on the line for women's rights, gay rights, civil rights and protesting Vietnam.

You protest the Gap's new logo.

We know that those of you who were old enough to vote for Obama two years ago are suffering from sticker shock and for many, many, many good reasons. But the fact that you were largely instrumental in turning a dark horse candidate who four years earlier was an Illinois state senator and making him the first legitimate President of the United States since Clinton was nothing short of a miracle. You did that.

And you'll have your say two years from now when you go decide if Obama deserves to stay in office. But right now we have the midterms to get through and if the Republicans take back even one chamber of Congress... Well, you see what the Democrats have done (or rather, not done) because the pygmy Republican party calls them bad names. Imagine how tough it'll be for Obama to get anything done if even just the lower chamber gets taken over again by right wing Tea Party psychopaths.

And if you don't want to vote Democrat, that's fine, too. How you vote is an intensely personal choice. But the important thing is that you get out there and do your damnedest to keep the Republicans out of power. Remember reading about the GOP's "Pledge to America"? They basically said, "We are already planning on fucking you over for the next three lifetimes if you give us the majority." They will take your Social Security and put it on the craps table of Wall Street. They will take away your Medicare. They will eradicate whatever few good things there are about the health care bill.

And they're the ones who got us into this mess, in the first place. If you're 18 and just about to vote for the first time, keep in mind that since you were in third grade, we have been perpetually at war with one country or another. You have an all-Republican government to thank for that, especially Iraq. If you couldn't get that minimum wage summer job earlier this year because your Dad's out of work neighbor grabbed it, you have Republicans to thank for that, too.

And too many of us working class slobs are all too ready to hand the reins of power back to the same psychopaths that got us into this mess and for what? A few more dollars on our tax returns while many of them will get back more than you likely will make in half a lifetime?

Get out and vote and stop worrying about the Gap's new logo. Everything, regrettably, begins with politics down the quality of the water you drink, the food you eat, the air you breathe, how much you'll get back on your taxes, how safe your work place and first car will be or what you're taught at school. We already have an enthusiasm gap that's threatening to put this country back into the Dark Ages from which we haven't even begun emerging.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Doing Our Best to Keep Fear Sane.

"Oh, shit, JP's going." "There goes the neighborhood..."

Mrs. JP and I decided that, while it would have been cheaper to take one of Arianna's buses all the way to Assclown Central (aka Washington, DC) to the Stewart/Colbert rallies, ultimately we'd prefer to take our new car and to drive back at our leisure. We'd briefly thought about inviting people to go down with us but we'll be spending the 29th and 30th at a friend's house in Arlington then head back up on Halloween, stopping in Mrs. JP's old haunts in Cranston, Rhode Island. Shame. It would've been cool if someone came along to help with the driving and gas money. However, if anyone in the Massachusetts/Connecticut/Jersey area (Jill?) wanted to hook up en route and form a little caravan, we'd certainly be open to the idea.

So if anyone reading this is going to the Sanity/Fear rallies on October 30th, leave a comment or email us at and let us know where you want to meet. We can even exchange cell phone numbers and meet on the mall if not on the road. Seize yaaaaaaaa!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Assclowns of the Week Midterms, #(19)84: Midterm Madness edition

¡Hola, amigos! Just when you thought things couldn’t get more bizarre on the seedy right side of the tracks, Sarah “I Said No to Phonics” Palin, Tea Partiers and the Republicans who love them shove our addled heads deeper into the rabbit hole of human lunacy. And really, folks, what did America truly need more than Karl Rove in a red dress?

There was a time when we all thought George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and the PNAC lunatics who loped across Capitol Hill like the upholstered jackals they are represented the worst that humanity had to offer. But then we elected an African American as our President and suddenly America regressed into an antebellum melodrama as written by George Orwell.

Now, successful and promising Republican campaigns are being waged not only against Democratic incumbents who apparently have never once thought to respond with competence, compassion, common sense and civility toward their base but also mainstream Republicans judged to be not cruel and heartless enough. So your porcine powerhouse thought it was high time he did a special election edition of some of the most notable psychopaths currently running for public office during the midterms. So hop aboard the Tea Party bandwagon and review some of the conservative darlings who will replace some Democrats and much, much more!

The rest can be found here.

KindleindaWind, my writing blog.

All Time Classics

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