Tuesday, July 31, 2012

American Inceptionalism

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

Perhaps we would've been better off sending Don Rickles abroad- At least he's funnier.

After Mitt Romney left Poland, Polish people starting telling each other American jokes. Yes, Willard was that bad and, no doubt, even liberals began thinking of that now infamous poster of Dubya waving goodbye above the caption, "Miss me yet?"

In Poland, it all started with his antiunion comments at the 2012 National Meeting of the Associated Builders and Contractors:
One of the first things I will do, actually on day one, is I will end the government’s favoritism towards unions and contracting on federal projects. I will fight to repeal Davis-Bacon…and I will fight for right-to-work laws.

Solidarity, obviously, was not amused and publicly distanced itself from the man who essentially vowed to wage war against, among other things, a federal law requiring federal contractors to pay a fair, living wage to its laborers, the same Davis-Bacon Act, by the way, that George W. Bush tried to get around after giving Halliburton a post-Katrina cleanup contract.

It's also not clear how the Obama administration shows "favoritism towards unions" when its track record regarding organized labor shows otherwise (Note: Obama refused a one-on-one meeting with former leader Lech Wałęsa, who hasn't even been involved with the labor movement since leaving Solidarity over policy. So, obviously Wałęsa was also exposing his own foreign policy naïveté by resorting to sour grapes diplomacy in supporting a guy who would've gladly stood shoulder to shoulder with the similarly antiunion Soviets.).

Then, one of Romney's flaks, Rick Gorka, showed how much he respected one of Poland's holiest sites by telling the press to "kiss my ass" and to "shove it." It makes one wonder what Romney was thinking in #1 showing up at the Gdansk shipyard where the Solidarity union movement began and #2 in thinking, as do all Republicans, that resurrecting the Cold War and using Cold War symbology is even remotely relevant over three decades after Solidarity began and over two decades after the Soviet Union fell. Using the Cold War mindset is what made us lose in Iraq and what will make us lose in Afghanistan.

Before this, we learned another revelation not picked up on by the corporate MSM, from the centrist Israeli newspaper Haaretz:
Romney apparently accepts instructions from Netanyahu who succeeded in getting him to cancel a scheduled and meticulously planned meeting with MK Shelly Yacimovich, the leader of the Labor party.

As Sarah Jones put it in PoliticusUSA,
Is this American exceptionalism, Romney style? He criticizes Obama for “apologizing for America” – something President Obama has actually never done – implying that Obama is a weak person, and yet Obama as a young senator was able to meet with opposition Netanyahu on his visit to Israel. He didn’t let anyone else dictate his policy, let alone his meetings.

As a result, I half expect the President to announce a whirlwind world tour apologizing for Mitt Romney and his whirlwind world tour.

No, this is not American exceptionalism. It's what I call American Inceptionalism: A United States in a permanent slumber and mistaking geopolitical reality for whatever fantastically distorted images it conjures up. Romney has, essentially, been sleepwalking his way across the world like a polymer-based somnambulist and ensuring he will not be woken up by barring the press, keeping it at bay or ignoring it outright.

At a recent fundraiser in Israel, heavily guarded by machine gun-toting Israeli troops and attended by American right wing Jews such as former Newt Gingrich sugar daddy Sheldon Adelson, who's currently being probed by the Justice Department for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, Camp Willard tried barring the press from attending then slightly relented by letting in a few Romney-friendly outlets when the outcry was too loud to ignore.

Bottom line, while Romney was trying to burnish nonexistent foreign policy credentials (aside from choosing which foreign bank will get him the biggest interest rate for his offshored fortune), he managed to alienate if not outright piss off everyone he met and those he didn't meet (including the Palestinians) and gambled away his campaign's last shred of credibility and gravitas to net $3,000,000 and perhaps half a dozen new voters during one fundraiser.

It's become all too obvious now that Willard Romney's one saving grace, the one big thing he has going for him is racism and evangelical primacy among those who will vote for anybody who's white just to get the Kenyan, Muslim, terrorist-coddling interloper out of the White House. Fortunately for us, unfortunately for Willard, there are far fewer of those wackadoodles than there are Obama supporters.

I'm sure come November, we'll see just how many Americans are comfortable putting a man with judgment like that near the big red button.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Open Thread

Still working on the real one. What's new?

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Island: Prologue

The Honorable John Quincy Adams
United States Minister to Russia

Dear Mr. Adams

I have just now received your curious correspondence from Russia, which took close upon two months to reach me. Perhaps Russia should more diligently oblige itself to emulate the postal service created by the late Doctor Franklin, one what would ensure the timelier arrival of missives. But I digress.

You enquired after the progress on that island off the coast of Virginia. Alas, there is nothing substantial to report in the area of artifacts save for a curious and tragic anecdotal instance what, whether or not related to the island, had transpired thirty five years ago in the autumn of 1775.

One of the laborers seemed to have been afflicted with a feverless ague, one what inspired him to attack his family back on the mainland at the end of his labors. His poor wife and children were peacefully sitting at the family table eating their dinner when a Mr. Augustus Abernathy, father of one of the two discoverers of the island, suddenly but calmly arose from his chair, picked up a club and beat his entire family to death, including his oldest child Erasmus.

In spite of the catharsis of swift justice in the form of the wretch being hung for his heinous crime, this, as you can imagine, had plunged the entire village into inconsolable grief and any and all efforts to extract anything useful from the island in the way of treasure, artifacts, et cetera, had been immediately and forever suspended.

Again, I have no idea if this senseless and wanton slaughter was connected in any way to the island but I had regrettably come to the conclusion the elders of the village had arrived at a sensible action. Investing what little I had was a folly I have not repeated. Whatever is buried beneath that island perhaps ought to remain buried.

In a chilling post scriptum, it ought to be mentioned what in less than five years, the entire village’s inhabitants, as with Roanoke Island in the late 16th century, vanished seemingly from the face of the earth, its reasons remaining shrouded in mystery. However, the surrounding Indian tribes in the ensuing generation or two have featured half breeds sporting Caucasian features in their physiognomies, supporting my personal theory the surviving inhabitants fleeing from heaven knows what were absorbed by the indigenous peoples. At the site of the abandoned village was but one word that remains undecipherable as it was and carved into a door, written in the same alien script as the flagstone and branch at the island’s excavation site.

It is perhaps no coincidence that during the third year of my presidency a mass grave containing the bones of several hundred humans was unearthed upon the reservation sold by the Nansemond tribe. You might know, sir, the Indians do not bury their dead in such a disrespectful or expeditious manner.

As for those artifacts, when I’d learned of the mysterious fate of the village, I was obliged to bury them beneath my property here on Monticello.

The more I set my mind to thinking on it the more I am convinced perhaps the people responsible for the original excavation were not trying to raise whatever is down there but were attempting to bury it.

My dear Mr. Adams, I think it unnecessary to say here that while I have devoted the entire sum of my existence to the pursuit of knowledge, I have attained enough years to know there is knowledge that is better left untouched. Think of the story of Adam and Eve in the Book of Genesis, perhaps the best parable extant on the corrosiveness of forbidden knowledge.

This is why I cannot fathom the Russian monarchy’s belated interest in this tragic affair, nor how Alexander I and the House of Romanov had even learned of it. I must prevail upon your kind discretions and beg your forgiveness when I ask you to tell St. Petersburg not a word of what I have told you and to feign ignorance. Furthermore, I must ask you to divulge the contents of this letter to not one soul, in public or private correspondence nor in private discourse.

Your father enquires after your health and well being and frequently complains he does not hear from you often enough. Please remand my kindest thoughts and affections to Louisa.

Your humble and obedient servant,

Th. Jefferson
Monticello October 27, 1810

And so the latest ordeal of Joe Roman, latter day descendant of the Romanovs, begins in The Puppet Children. Enjoy.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Most Honest 3 1/2 Minutes of Television

This is the opening scene of the debut episode of Aaron Sorkin's HBO series, The Newsroom. It's been derided for good reason for being overly didactic and beating viewers over the head every four minutes with the lesson that we need a fair, unbiased press that actually does its job. Frankly, the series took a nosedive after this debut episode but that's just me.

But Jeff Daniels' rant in this scene when asked why America is the greatest country in the world is exactly like something I would've said: America is not the greatest country in the world. First off, the question is idiotically jingoistic in the extreme, being a nationalistic type of "When did you stop beating your wife?" question.

Daniels' character tells it like it is and easily rattles off statistics and mercilessly shines a harsh sodium light on how this generation is vastly different from its predecessors, the last generation before the baby boomers.

Secondly, he says, without calling out conservatives or even mentioning the word, "You want to know why no one likes liberals? Because they lose. If they're so fucking smart, why do they Goddamned lose all the time?"

We could debate this point and try to answer this question until the cows come home but perhaps the writer of this scene had his finger on the pulse of the question and answer. It could be argued that liberals are so despised because those who cannot think for themselves (that would be most conservatives and independents) have been conditioned to believe that liberals and anything we stand for are Godless, unAmerican Commie pinkos who want to take away your money and put everyone on welfare while robbing America of its exceptionalism and demonizing success.

It never occurs to these mouthbreathers who believe this pap that fewer and fewer of us actually are succeeding, that "American exceptionalism" and "success" these days refers not to American ingenuity but our capacity to fuck over each other and those of other countries with the friendly aid of not liberals but murderous corporations that now own everything from the whole United States to other countries to the Olympics to entire wars.

And this corrosive bigotry against everything liberal expands to everything even loosely associated with us so now we're at war against Charles Darwin, Pell Grants, Big Bird and Elmo, proper spelling and punctuation, paying your taxes and anything and everything that even smells vaguely like Panama Red and patchouli oil and moderate, nonpartisan or bipartisan entities such as Hollywood and the media are pejoratively branded as "liberal."

The cruel and stupid have taken over this country and have plunged us into the real-life prequel of Idiocracy, a movie in which people with IQ's below 80 are prized and have become the status quo. And the reason why the cruel and stupid have taken over this country and are metastasizing is not because they have a genius for organization but because they're easy to organize by those who have Machiavellian gifts for exploitation. Because it's always easier for humans to loathe and hate in large numbers than it is to love in equally large groups.

Even when they gather in large groups to show love for one god or another it inevitably gets mutated into hatred and prejudice against those who disagree with them. There's Godwin's law and then there's God's law: If Thou Dost Not Stroketh My Ego and That of My Lord, Thou Shalt Surely Goeth to Hell. It never occurs to these people that if their God was a human being living among us, he'd immediately be put in four point restraints and fed a steady diet of multi-colored pills (although it's just as likely he'd have a commentary show on Fox "News").

Liberals are too smart and fractious for their own good. Our all-inclusiveness and willingness to allow for all viewpoints to share space under our tattered tent (and I'm thinking of Blue Dog Democrats and craven, undeclared apostates such as Joe Lieberman) is what will prove to be our undoing.

So watch this three and a half minute-long video and if you're old enough, if you're in your early 50s like me, think of what America used to be, what it used to stand for back when we really were the greatest nation on earth. We're falling further and further behind European and Third World countries in education, health and life expectancy because we've allowed ourselves and this rotting carcass of a country to be taken over by right wingers and corporations.

And in light of Romney's overseas trip, I cannot express in words (and I'm quite possibly the best unpublished novelist in America) how much I loathe what this nation has turned into, a nation where reaction has supplanted thought and reason, in which ignorance is prized far above erudition.

40 years ago, we used to walk on the moon during 500,000 mile round trips. Now we can't even stroll on the beach in a Gulf Coast state.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Visitation Rights

In the midst of an ongoing battle between Mitt Romney and the IRS over the custody of his fortune (I'll give you a guess who's winning that one and it ain't Uncle Sam), Willard decided to visit his money overseas and, oh yeah, try to squeeze in some time for world leaders too embarrassed to be seen in public with him in order to burnish nonexistent foreign policy credentials that not even Sarah Palin would cop to.

Willard's invasion of the Court of St. James has been, let's euphemistically say, an unqualified clusterfuck in every sense of the word. First, he sniffs that the London Olympics' progress regarding security and other matters had been disconcerting and, let's face it, he's right. The private security firm that the Olympic Committee contracted to do the job waited until a few weeks before the opening ceremonies before fessing up to the fact that they. oops, don't have as many people as they promised. Adding to the fascist element unseen since 1936, Great Britain had to import 1200 military troops to make up the shortfall. Furthermore, they had to resort to an injunction to stop a threatened airport strike. And in perhaps the most despicable turn of all, not that Willard would have a problem with this, 286 "brand police" are fanning out across England during the Games looking for vendors who are violating copyright laws for simply using the words "Olympics", "summer", "2012", "gold", "bronze" and "silver."

And these copyright protections were put in place by an Act of Parliament way back in 2006 to protect the 40+ official sponsors for the Games. In short, the Great British, to quote W, who also embarrassed us with his drunken antics in Beijing four years ago, cared more about copyright security for their corporate employers, and got it years in advance, than they had the security of their people.

Sure, the London Olympics is a squeaking, cum-smeared, fascist clusterfuck, designed to simultaneously enrich and coddle already obscenely bloated corporations, thereby turning the actual sporting events into an afterthought, the dried out, stale little square of bubble gum that used to come with the trading cards. We all know this.

But you don't walk into a host country and insult your hosts even if it is the truth.

And this was just the first many, many faux pas committed by Camp Willard. He'd also admitted to, perhaps hoping to catch a glimpse of John Cleese, meeting with the head of MI6, which is never publicly discussed and, whether or not he actually said that our "Anglo Saxon heritage" puts us more on the same page with the British, unlike that darkish guy in the White House, one can perfectly imagine Willard saying it and that's his problem.

His very racism, enhanced by the occasional "you people" balcony pronouncement from his wife Queen Ann, makes such a statement, however apocryphal, very plausible. If he were actually possessed of any discernible human qualities, Mitt Romney would be the very personification of the rich white man who has thoroughly and completely ruined this planet in their never ending viral quest for riches, dominion and primacy.

And his arrival in London just prior to the Opening Ceremonies (in which we'll be prancing in ridiculous costumes made by Chinese sweatshop laborers, not that Willard would have a problem with that, either, since he probably gave them those jobs while retroactively at Bain) isn't a coincidence. Basically, Mitt's acting like a man who's on the 51st year of the best four years of his life by trying to blow his trumpet and steal England's thunder by saying, "I managed an Olympics, too, you know!" then insulting his hosts for their relative lack of security. Something else I'm sure Willard never mentioned were, after promising transparency, the shredding and disappearance of all the Salt Lake City records at the hands of his right hand man and former Bain henchman Fraser Bullock (all after his non-retroactive resignation). Or how he denied free tickets to the surviving families of 9/11 victims and gave the ducats, instead, to several well-connected right wing Utah politicians.

Gee, I can't imagine why Cameron snubbed him and refused to be seen with him at the famous door at #10 Downing Street, leaving Romney neglected and alone to plastically preen at the entrance looking like a Fuller brush salesman who just got told to piss off by the 86th homeowner that day.

Perhaps he'll get a better reception in Jerusalem, although it's hard to see how he'd be able to establish anything other than a right wing political alliance since Judaism and Romney's cult have less than zero in common.

Essentially, Romney, in a few short hours, had already embarrassed our nation abroad for the first time since before 2009 when You Know Who was allegedly in charge. Romney made us look like the loud, arrogant, Ugly American and one has to wonder what his foreign policy would actually be as president when he cannot even resonate with his fellow Anglo Saxon rich white men.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Open Thread

Being in the teeth of a great novel's first draft plus job hunting and running errands has made blogging today a virtual impossibility. But never let it be said I don't think of my readers so here's a demotivational poster I've had sitting in the can (I have dozens I haven't shown anyone, yet).

I really hope that Rmoney ignores Jeb and passes over Rubio for this Biblical-class twit.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Bloody Bath

"Criminals are made, not born." - Andrew Kehoe's last message, stenciled on a board at his farm.

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

These days, I'm thinking of Andrew Kehoe of Bath Township, Michigan and after a bit, I'll tell you why.

It was May 18th, 1927. The Wall Street crash was still two and a half years away and many people were well off. The Yankees were in Detroit, where the day before Babe Ruth had just hit his 9th home run of the year off the Tigers' Harry Collins, well on his way to the major league's first 60 home run season. In two days, Charles Lindbergh was about to begin the first solo transatlantic flight.

Bath Township had just built a new consolidated school and, to pay for it, the town government had decided to raise property taxes a little. This enraged school board treasurer Andrew Kehoe, a true right winger who would get angry and insult people who disagreed with him. Kehoe was such a mean man, he once beat a horse to death. Still, no one had realized there was a monster in their midst.

After unsuccessfully lobbying the township's governing body to not implement the tax increase, things settled into an eerie calm. Kehoe, who was known to be something of a handyman who regularly worked with electrical systems on his farm, volunteered to do all the wiring in the new school free of charge. Their old foe suddenly turned into a good guy and they accepted. And since Kehoe was the school board's treasurer, no one ever questioned his presence at the new school that was still being built. Two days before the 18th, a school teacher asked Kehoe if she could use his property for a school picnic and Kehoe answered ominously that if she wanted to have a picnic, she'd better have it immediately. To a school bus driver to whom he'd handed a paycheck just days before, he said, "My boy, you want to take good care of that check as it is probably the last check you will ever get." And still, no one had realized there was a monster in their midst.

Over the next year, investigators found, Kehoe had been quietly stockpiling dynamite and a new explosive introduced during WWI called pyrotol. In all, well over a ton of munitions was purchased a bit at a time but no one thought it strange because farmers such as Kehoe had frequently used pyrotol and dynamite for excavation, stump removal and so forth. In fact, Kehoe's answer when people asked about the occasional blasts on his farm was that he was removing stumps. And still, no one had realized there was a monster in their midst.

During the school's construction, Kehoe was in and out of the basement, squeezing between walls and so forth but he wasn't only wiring the school for electricity. He was strategically placing much of the two boxes of dynamite and ton of pyrotol he'd bought since the summer of 1926 throughout the building.

Kehoe had flown into a towering rage over the township's council to raise property taxes. Throughout his years as a minor official in Bath Township, Kehoe had ceaselessly advocated for lower taxes like a pint-sized Grover Norquist. When the council couldn't be budged on the property tax hike, Kehoe blamed his farm's failure on the additional taxes.

So on the morning of the 18th, he murdered his wife who had for years been battling tuberculosis and burned her body in a wheelbarrow. He then immolated his own home and farm buildings, burning alive all the horses inside that he'd bound in place with wire. When neighbors called the local volunteer hook and ladder, they arrived at the scene to see Kehoe about to leave for the school. He told the firemen, "Boys, you're my friends. You better get out of here. You better head down to the school." And, believe it or not, no one still had realized there was a monster in their midst.

No, no one still had realized there was a monster in their midst even after an alarm clock detonator went off, setting off the first explosion that collapsed part of the north side of the school at 8:45, right after children had arrived and gathered for their morning classes. Lacking the manpower or heavy equipment to lift the roof off the bodies of dozens of children, one farmer drove to his slaughterhouse to get the heavy rope he'd need and passed Kehoe, who waved and grinned so broadly the witness could see both rows of teeth. And no one still had realized there was a monster in their midst.

Andrew then swerved to the right and pulled his pickup truck right in front of the partially collapsed building, his actions indistinguishable from the dozens of frantic parents who'd had children registered at the township's only school. He called over the school superintendent whom Kehoe had constantly accused of financial mismanagement and said, "I'm taking you with me." Still, no one had realized there was a monster in their midst.

Kehoe then aimed his bolt action .30 caliber rifle at the back seat of his truck where prior to the 18th he'd stashed a large cache of dynamite. In the flat bed of his truck he'd loaded scrap metal, anything that would make for shrapnel and he killed himself and four other people. An eight year-old boy who'd survived the building's collapse was wandering around and was pierced in the abdomen by a bolt that had shot from Kehoe's truck and he died hours later. Kehoe's own body was almost completely shredded and a large chunk of his torso was found in someone's front yard.

Finally, only after so many dozens were killed, did they realize they'd had a monster in their midst. And all because some right winger didn't want to pay his taxes. Prior to his killing spree, Kehoe had stopped paying his mortgage and homeowner's insurance and the lender had begun foreclosure proceedings against his farm.

Appraisers sifting through the remainders of Kehoe's estate estimated that if he'd sold off his remaining equipment, he could've easily paid off the remainder of his mortgage. No one knows how much money he'd spent on the explosives.

While the Michigan state police were sweeping through the building, they'd found an additional 504 pounds of munitions in the basement beneath the south side of the school that had thankfully not gone off. Otherwise, the death toll would've surely been higher than it was.

In all, not counting himself and his wife, Kehoe had inflicted 101 casualties. He'd taken 43 lives and wound up injuring 58, exactly the number James Eagan Holmes had wounded at Theater 19 in Aurora, Colorado last Friday morning. Like Kehoe, who had left dynamite in a corner of his farmhouse, Holmes had also booby-trapped his own home with explosive and incendiary devices. Maybe he'd even read of Kehoe's exploits on the last day of his life and was inspired by them.

In spite of having been treated for years to Kehoe's arrogance and ill-tempered behavior, the people of Bath had no way of knowing how dangerous he truly was, let alone knowing he was capable of murdering so many children. At the coroner's inquest that was held to see if anyone in the Bath school system could be held accountable for Kehoe's actions, they found that he
...conducted himself sanely and so concealed his operations that there was no cause to suspect any of his actions; and we further find that the school board, and Frank Smith, janitor of the school building, were not negligent in and about their duties, and were not guilty of any negligence in not discovering Kehoe's plan.

That's very important to remember. It's vitally important to remember because James Holmes, another odd bird, nevertheless hardly had given anyone to suspect he could kill men, women and children in a murder spree of his own. Which is why David Brooks' latest opus, More Treatment Programs, is such an ignorant pile of horseshit. In the final paragraph of what was obviously a typically well-meaning article, Brooks states,
The best way to prevent killing sprees is with relationships — when one person notices that a relative or neighbor is going off the rails and gets that person treatment before the barbarism takes control.

The problem with human nature is that whether a person suddenly snaps or spends a year deliberating and planning a mass murder, often they do not present symptoms, especially to the almost always untrained eye of those in their circle. But even if one were perspicacious enough to spot said symptoms and see them for what they are, Brooks is careful not to mention his beloved Republican Party's ceaseless efforts to undermine health care, to privatize it all with no government oversight and to the point of repealing the Affordable Care Act without any thought as to what to replace it with (it's easy to speculate they just want to return to the same bloated, dysfunctional status quo it was before the ACA).

Mr. Brooks is also careful to not mention the Republicans who march practically in uniform lockstep to the tune of the NRA that spent $2.9 million on lobbying last year to continue thwarting bans on assault weapons such as the kind Holmes used in that theater.

We don't know what Holmes's political ideology is or even if he has one and, besides, that's not the issue. The issues are this: Much more often than not, we'll unfortunately not even come close to spotting a human mind about to snap and to effectively intervene before tragedy runs its course. But we'll have an even worse time thwarting disaster without the social safety net that's far from perfect but still far better than nothing. And as long as Republicans keep demanding the cutting of funds for Mr. Brooks' "treatment programs" and pulling out from under us the ACA that would make these services available, as long as the GOP and Blue Dog Democrats keep giving the NRA what they want and for what they so handsomely pay, we'll never be able to get a realistic handle on what is becoming an epidemic and an almost uniquely American one: The spree killing and mass murder.

And we will be no closer to spotting the monsters in our midst as those poor people 85 years ago in Bath Township, Michigan.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

It Ain't National Talk Like a Pirate Day

...but that doesn't mean we shouldn't be talking about the pirate class that's socked away $21 to $36 trillion in offshore accounts to avoid paying taxes. And, as if we need Thom Hartmann to remind us, one of those parasites happens to be the presumptive GOP nominee for President.

This is about all the time I have for now on account of a QA job interview I have lined up. In case you missed it, there's a new Assclowns of the Week just below this devoted to the wingnut reactions to the Aurora shooting massacre.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Assclowns of the Week #91: Aurora Moronealis edition

"With a few keystrokes, the suspect, James E. Holmes, ordered 3,000 rounds of handgun ammunition, 3,000 rounds for an assault rifle and 350 shells for a 12-gauge shotgun — an amount of firepower that costs roughly $3,000 at the online sites — in the four months before the shooting, according to the police. It was pretty much as easy as ordering a book from Amazon." - Jack Healy, The New York Times, July 23, 2012.

Last Friday morning in Aurora, Colorado at about 12:39 AM, James Holmes allegedly threw a pair of smoke grenades down the aisles and opened fire inside a crowded movie theater during The Dark Knight Rises. A dozen people, one as young as six, were killed and at least 58 were wounded. Word quickly spread that Holmes had bought 6350 rounds of ammunition and tactical gear exclusively online because it required no background checks or waiting period. Naturally, this prompted a, well, fast and furious reaction from the right wing that immediately politicized the shooting out of sweaty, bug-eyed panic that the pacifist liberals were trying to take away their guns.

On account of the sober and tragic subject matter, this edition of ACOTW will not be going for cheap laughs at the expense of the scores of families that were touched by this horrific, senseless violence. Yet it's also important that we keep in mind what we're up against when right wingers seek to exploit human tragedy on a massive scale to score political points.

10) Alex Jones

Libertarian conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has a fascinating theory about why the Aurora shooting took place: It was a joint UN/Obama plot so the UN can take away our guns. Oh, and Fast and Furious (which began under Bush) and the Gabrielle Giffords shooting was also Obama. In case you don't believe me, here's a video of Jones advancing his theories:

I liked him better when he was a harmless gadfly at Bilderberg Group meetings.

9) Louie Gohmert

Texas' congressman from the 1st district was one of the first to weigh in on the shooting, claiming just hours later that the mass shooting was brought about by "ongoing attacks on Judeo-Christian beliefs".

Gohmert also apparently shares a fantasy with other right wingers that seems to involve a reverse Die Hard scenario: A bunch of armed people going after one and firing with pinpoint accuracy to save the day. Because on Heritage Foundation radio, he openly wondered why more people didn't show more guts by blasting away at a black-clad man in a dark, smoky, crowded theater with children and babies. Which, believe it or not, was what the next crackpot said.

8) Russell Pearce

Anti-immigration activist and SB 1070 architect Russell Pearce wrote something on his Facebook wall that echoed Gohmert's sentiments by asking (with typical misspellings), why there was no one “[b]rave” enough to stop the atrocity. Where were the men of flight 93???? Someone should have stopped this man... All that was needed is one Courages/Brave man prepared mentally or otherwise to stop this it could have been done.” And the shooter reacted to all the stringent gun control that's taken over this country. This is the full text of his FB post before he took it down.

Then when he was called on this lunacy, the former Arizona state senator then wrote the next whiny, defensive screed as if he was one of the shooting victims:

Within hours, that was taken down.

7) Conservatives

Conservatives are in a lather today over President Obama visiting a Colorado hospital and meeting with some of the Aurora shooting victims because the White House released a single photograph of the meeting for inspirational purposes. Despite the fact the press wasn't allowed and the president went in without a script, right wing rag Mediaite pissed and moaned about it and Fox Nation's flying money squadron that made a diversion to Mediaite pulled shit out of their ass before flying off to shit all over Red State's comment section. If you can stomach it, this is Michelle Malkin's latest spastic Twitch on the subject.

I guess these same people who have a problem with a black president showing some compassion had no problem with this idiot 11 years ago doing this after 3000 people were killed...

...or this after 1800 drowned in the Gulf Coast and grounding rescue choppers in the process.

The moral? Coddling black people, exploiting mass murder and withholding pictures of American war dead works for white Presidents but black presidents aren't allowed to comfort white people and release their pictures. Gotcha.

6) Joe Scarborough

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Maybe Joey Scar thinks he's former FBI profiler John Douglas. Or maybe he's channeling Bill Frist by diagnosing the alleged shooter, James Holmes, from videotape footage. But today on his show, Scarborough said,
I hear about this shooting, I knew who it was. I knew it was a young, white male, probably from an affluent neighborhood, disconnected from society -- it happens time and time again. Most of it has to do with mental health; you have these people that are somewhere, I believe, on the autism scale.

I suppose we have to take Joey's fortune cookie wisdom at face value simply because he has a son with Asperger's Syndrome. But, really, considering the type of guys who've carried out some of the worst mass shootings in US history, is it really a stretch to predict the perpetrator is a white guy?

But how many people with autism shoot up movie theaters or anything else? I think it's time for Joey Scar to replace his Morning Joe with a tall, steaming mug of Shut the Fuck Up.

5) Brian Ross

Speaking of conspiracy theorists, Brian Ross didn't do progressives any favors by breathlessly reporting that Aurora gunman James Holmes was a member of the Tea Party. Sure, the Tea Baggers have a James Holmes, just not that one. In doing so, Ross's ABC became the only network to try to tie the theater shooting together with the Tea Party. Oops.

Brian Ross never represented liberals and never will but his colossal fuckup that was made possible by looking at a single page on a Tea Party website and not even double-sourcing it opened up the left wing to all sorts of accusations from ignorant right wingers. That would be those who were not only comfortable with Breitbart's and Fox "News'" serial lies, they accept them as facts. Oh, and speaking of Breitbart...

4) Breitbart.com

The childish mouth-breathers at Breitbart.com thought they showed us lib'rals something after Brian Ross's SNAFU and decided to present to the world another James Holmes, one who who also happened to be a registered Democrat. Forget the fact he lives about six hours from Aurora, CO and was the wrong age. In fact, this is how the sons and daughters of Breitbart explained away these pesky little discrepancies in their final update:
Update (12:49 EDT): Newly-released information on the suspect's birthdate (which, as indicated in our initial report, was a slight mismatch), combined with new details Breitbart News has obtained about the suspect's likely addresses, together suggest that the suspect may, in fact, not have been registered to vote.

"(A) slight mismatch". Sure. Just chip a few more points off that square peg and eventually we can hammer it into the round hole. Fucking morons.

3) Celeb Boutique

In what has to be the scummiest, most shameless and reprehensible opportunism of modern times (which is saying a lot), Celeb Boutique thought it would be a corker of an idea to exploit the worst mass shooting in the US since Virginia Tech to sell Kim Kardashian's new dress by using the #Aurora hashtag.

After the backlash reached them, they released this piecemeal apology in a series of tweets:
We didn’t check what the trend was about hence the confusion, again we do apologise[.] We are incredibly sorry for our tweet about Aurora – Our PR is NOT US based and had not checked the reason for the trend, at that time our social media was totally UNAWARE of the situation and simply thought it was another trending topic – we have removed the very insensitive tweet and will of course take more care in future to look into what we say in our tweets. Again we do apologise for any offense caused. This was not intentional & will not occur again. Our most sincere apologies for both the tweet and situation.

So, even if we were to take this at face value (which never once even attempts to apologize to the victims or their families nor even acknowledged that Aurora is now linked to a tragedy), it still reveals a shallow, opportunistic mindset whereby any trending topic is ripe for a selling op. That makes them about as stupid and careless as the NRA and their now-defunct Twitter account and Brian Ross.

2) The Westboro Baptist Church

Death inevitably attracts two things: Maggots and the Westboro Baptist Church. I'll leave it to you to decide which is more necessary, efficacious and less loathsome.

As expected, Westboro is on its way to Colorado to protest the memorial service for the shooting victims and had already begun a #thankgodfortheshooter hashtag on Twitter. Because, as we all learned from having countless fallen soldiers' funerals picketed at the expense of grieving relatives, the Aurora tragedy was all about George Takei butt fucking his husband.

What Westboro's inbred congregation obviously has yet to consider is maybe the deaths of innocents isn't God's way of punishing us for homosexuality but that Fred Phelps and his family is.

1) The National Rifle Association

The NRA can now be defined as the nation's deadliest lobby. Whereas lobbyists from other industries merely seek relaxations in regulation that would gradually kill their fellow Americans, the NRA has for decades been lobbying the Hill to do the same regardless of the fact that the virtual lack of regulation is getting people killed immediately and often, as with Aurora, CO, in large numbers. Their ongoing successful efforts to buy industry-friendly votes is getting innocent people killed and making the job of law enforcement officers harder at the greater risk to their own lives.

Last year alone, the NRA spent nearly $3,000,000 on lobbying, the greatest recipients of that largesse being, typically, Republicans. Among those in the top 10: Mitt Romney and Eric Cantor (Opensecrets.org has a page devoted to the NRA's lobbying efforts, complete with some eye-opening charts.). The NRA's Thomas Tetrick alone has, since 1990, donated nearly $220,000 to political campaigns, every penny going to Republicans.

In fact, three and a half years ago, CBS News did an expose, "In Gun Lobby's Pocket", of how corrosive the NRA was to our collective safety and political system. Among other things CBS found were these statistics:
Thirty-two of the 34 senators who supported the NRA on each of four key gun control votes received money for their last election from the gun industry lobbying group.

And only two of the 38 senators who opposed the National Rifle Association on the same four votes received contributions from the group.

Campaign contributions from the NRA are proving to be an accurate barometer of how individual senators would vote on gun control.

Because peoples' lives always pale in comparison to corporate interests and a paranoid sense of entitlement based on a vastly misinterpreted 2nd Amendment and a wholly unproven theory that more guns=greater safety (such as Five Points, NY and Deadwood, South Dakota, for instance). And leaders on both sides are to blame for refusing to hold a substantive and sustained dialogue on nationwide gun control instead of the patchwork quilt of state laws we currently have. The right wing loves the NRA's money and what passes for the left wing fears its influence. So, in the NRA's world view, we're supposed to allow guys like this...

and like this...

...to buy as many guns and bullets as they can afford with no restrictions, no background checks and no waiting period other than shipping delays and with no way for an arms dealer to personally gauge your mental and emotional fitness to own a gun, so they can remain free to pursue their God-given right to inflict collateral damage such as this...

And why should you wait if you're mad now?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

George Bush's Real Reason for Running for President

This is a short clip of George Bush speaking to another CBS sock puppet at (appropriately enough) the Hoover Center. Bush says that he no longer desires "fame and power." Now there's nothing left to this walking, soulless husk but a reflexive desire to make millions of dollars spewing bullshit and lies before adoring right wing audiences and for books he never even wrote.

This was Bush's entire rationale for running for the White House: Fame and power, the exact wrong reasons to run for any elected office, especially the presidency. Had anyone accused Bush in 2000 of running for President out of a maniacal desire for fame and power, he would've barred them from the campaign trail and probably would've had a piano wire-gripping Karl Rove or G. Gordon Liddy come up behind him in a dark alley.

So to you Moms and Dads out there, before you try to teach your kids that crime doesn't pay, just remember they may find this and a million other videos of this cretin, Cheney, Rove and Rumsfeld, whereupon you'll have to explain to them how crime doesn't pay. Because not only does it pay, it pays stock dividends, a hell of a pension, a huge stipend for staff and franking privileges and even enjoys Secret Service protection.

Theater Security Theater

Maybe James Holmes hoped Hollywood would, ironically, make a movie about him and perhaps one day it will once they get some backing, an insurance bond and a decent treatment from a screenwriter. Someone's bound to write a book about it. No doubt, publishers and equally opportunistic literary agents are already licking their chops and rubbing their hands.

Who knows what Holmes' motivation was and who of any consequence should care to which political party or ideology he'd attached himself? Bloggers and pundits on both sides will always find the spiritual and mental fortitude to stop thinking about the 70 victims and their families as they scour the internet for any evidence whatsoever, circumstantial or otherwise, that will finally reveal his political party. And the mudslinging and deadcatting in this contentious election year will commence over the weekend while no real substantive and sustained dialogue on gun control will result from this latest gun massacre.

The New York Times will do what the mainstream media typically does and give house room to morons like Louis Gohmert and Luke O'Dell of the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (whoever he or that is) and quoting them as if they have a valid alternative to the gun control crisis in this country. Unchallenged quotes such as this gem from O'Dell, who's on the same exact page, chapter and verse, with Gohmert:
“Potentially, if there had been a law-abiding citizen who had been able to carry in the theater, it’s possible the death toll would have been less.”

Heaven forbid the NY Times should editorialize or use the Gray Lady's grey matter for even a second to call out such a statement, as if shooting at a black-clad man in a dark, crowded theater full of children is a perfectly acceptable alternate scenario.

Then there's this chilling bit of detective work:
In the last 60 days Mr. Holmes had purchased four guns at local gun shops, Chief Oates said. And through the Internet, he bought more than 6,000 rounds of ammunition: more than 3,000 rounds for the assault rifle, 3,000 rounds of .40 caliber ammunition for the two Glocks, and 300 rounds for the 12-gauge shotgun. The guns were all bought legally, a federal law enforcement official said.

Here's an idea that would no doubt be dismissed by gun-clutchers as a liberal wacko harebrained scheme designed to steal peoples' guns: If a $10,000 deposit is enough to get the attention of the IRS and Homeland Security, how about a person buying up that many guns and that much ammo in such a short period of time tripping a red flag in the BATF and Homeland Security?

Oh, but we can't do that. "The guns were all bought legally." And here's where the inherent evil of the NRA comes into play.

I'm not talking about morons on Twitter who post then delete stupid shit like this but the NRA and their army of lobbyists on Capitol Hill that do everything in their power to hamstring the prevention of massacres like this from ever happening, the same NRA that went to Littleton 20 miles from Aurora to hold a rally just days after Columbine.

That would be an NRA that cows legislators on both sides of the aisle and effectively putting a permanent wet blanket on any meaningful dialogue regarding gun control, an insidious influence that seems to have even extended to the Oval Office since Obama has never mentioned the need for gun control even once in all his years of federal public service.

Instead, what we'll see is theater security theater that will give us yet another place to be afraid of, waiting for those stupid enough to bring guns they've already bought to a movie theater rather than making it harder for nut jobs like James Holmes to acquire those guns and 6300 rounds of ammo, not to mention the incendiary and explosive materials he'd also somehow invisibly acquired to booby-trap his apartment so thoroughly that even the Aurora Bomb Squad gave up trying to defuse them and sent in a robot.

The National Rifle Association is turning America and the firearms industry into a massive Fast and Furious, one in which we let the bad guys acquire as many guns and as much ammo as they want, then deal with the aftermath. And after every large-scale massacre, we pretend to have a meaningful dialogue but our elected officials, the NRA and the people know it's all theater, shadow-boxing.

We were supposed to have a sustained, substantive dialogue after Ruby Ridge but didn't. After Waco, in which four federal agents were killed. After Columbine. After Ft. Hood. After Tuscon. But we never did and never will until our craven, wet-legged elected officials (and yes, I'm looking especially at you, Obama) finally reject the NRA's money and constant veiled threats of withdrawing support for their next campaigns.

12 people are now lying on slabs getting their corpses torn apart before getting crudely reassembled so they can be processed by funeral homes, 12 innocent people, many of them young, who a little over 37 hours ago just wanted to see a highly-anticipated summer blockbuster.

The Brady Report (.pdf) lists all the mass shootings that have happened in the US since just 2005. Written before the Aurora shooting, it is 62 pages long. As of this writing, the Brady campaign's website gives us two horrifying statistics: This year alone 54,675 people in the US have been shot, 135 so far today (presumably not including the massacre 37 hours ago). Every year, roughly 17,000 of us commit suicide by gun and in 2007, 284 Americans were killed or wounded by gunfire... each day. Compare that to 173 people killed in Canada in all of 2009 due to gun violence.

Maybe Hollywood will base a movie on the Aurora shooting, maybe not. But if they do, I doubt they'll think addressing the very real need for gun control is any sexier than do our elected officials.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Top Ten GOP Reactions to the Aurora Shooting

Last night at the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises, gunman James Holmes, a PhD student of Neuroscience, fired into a crowded theater, killing 12 and wounding over 50 before being apprehended by Colorado police. Conservative reaction was swift, with Texas Rep. Louis Gohmert claiming it was in retaliation for attacks on Judeo-Christian beliefs. Congressman Gohmert further stated on Heritage Foundation radio that he didn't know why more people in the theater didn't shoot back to minimize the casualties. But there were other reactions by top Republicans. What were the the top ten?

  • 10) OH-9 Congressional candidate Joe the Plumber: "They should've waited for the DVD."

  • 9) Atlas Shrugged blogger Pamela Gellar: "Anders didn't do it. He has an alibi."

  • 8) NJ Governor Chris Christie: "With the price of f*cking concessions, I'm amazed this didn't happen sooner."

  • 7) Arianna Huffington, honorary Republican for Life: "But dahlings, what did you think of the movie? My unpaid bloggers have a deadline to meet!"

  • 6) Sen. Tom Coburn: "Dear God, I can just see it now: Columbine posters everywhere to harass the NRA when they go to Aurora, Colorado tomorrow to drum up support for the 2nd Amendment."

  • 5) Ted Nugent on Facebook: "When I heard what Holmes did, I nearly shit my pants. Would've hated doing that again."

  • 4) Sen. Jim DeMint: "Louis was wrong. This is God's revenge for Pee Wee Herman and Fred Willard."

  • 3) Former Sen. Fred Thompson: "If I was the shooter, I would've done it during Gigli's premiere but that's just me."

  • 2) Rep. Michele Bachmann: "What really disappoints me is why Batman didn't jump out of the screen to save them."

  • 1) @MittRomney on Twitter: "Mine and Ann's thoughts and prayers go out to the families of Warner Brothers studio executives and their shareholders for this embarrassing spectacle."
  • Thursday, July 19, 2012

    Ann Romney is the Genuine Article

    (By American Zen's Mike Flannigan on loan from Ari Goldstein.)

    Romney can’t even be mean with any honesty. Even when he’s pandering to viciousness, ignorance and racism, it comes across like a scaly calculation. - Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone, July 13, 2012

    In "Romney's 'Free Stuff' Speech Is a New Low", my colleague Matt Taibbi at Rolling Stone hit upon an important observation about just what a reptilian triangulator Mitt Romney truly is. It's easy to think he's hit the bottom of the barrel and gotten as fundie/corporate/racist as an alleged human being can get before autonomic reflexes shut down to preserve the rest of the species. That is, until you peel back the onion as Taibbi had done and realize that at the bottom of Romney's excuse for or presumption of a soul, underpinning all that faux outrage and viciousness is nothing but empty ambition, an overmastering desire to be something instead of doing something.

    As the old mob saying goes, "It's just business. Nothing personal." The same could be said for Romney's recently extended time at Bain Capital, the private equity vulture firm he'd founded that he simultaneously wants us to look at as proof of his fitness and qualifications to lead America yet from which he's trying to retroactively run like a whipped cur to the point of quite possibly falsifying reports to the SEC regarding the length of his tenure and then lying about that. When Romney laid off tens of thousands of workers and sent their jobs to sweatshop countries like China, I'm sure it wasn't personal, either. In fact, it's perfectly plausible that Romney never took the time to learn the name of a single one of those employees that he and his firm had victimized by cutting their pay and benefits or outright outsourcing their jobs. It was cold-blooded avarice.

    Ann Romney is something different altogether. Ann Romney is also ambitious, someone not content with having etched on her tombstone just, "First Lady of Massachusetts, 2003-2007." She's already measuring drapes for the White House just as surely as Willard's calculating where to put his framed portraits of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young in the Oval Office. Yet, while Willard comes across as the ultimate empty suit, his wife Ann is the genuine article: A truly vicious and calculating Republican wife who would make Mamie Eisenhower and Pat Nixon look like Michelle Obama or Jacqueline Kennedy by conspicuous relief.

    One could merely look into her shark-flat eyes, at the arrogant set of her mouth to know that she's perfectly aligned in her absolute, utter contempt of the poor and middle class with her husband's supporters, one of whom recently telling an LA Times reporter,
    I don't think the common person is getting it... We've got the message. But my college kid, the baby sitters, the nails ladies -- everybody who's got the right to vote -- they don't understand what's going on. I just think if you're lower income -- one, you're not as educated, two, they don't understand how it works, they don't understand how the systems work, they don't understand the impact.

    (Understandably, that Marie Antoinette wannabe preferred to remain anonymous, as did many of the other Romney supporters skulking into a Hamptons fundraiser in their SUVs and BMWs. Another said of Obama, "He's just a politician, an emperor with no clothes." So, essentially we're left with a choice between an emperor with no clothes and his exact analogue, a vulture capitalist who's nothing more than an empty suit.)

    Ann Romney proved once again her perfect alignment with this, "Let them eat me" mindset by telling ABC News recently, "(W)e've given all you need to know" about the Romneys' finances. In other words, there's nothing to see here, peasants, so go back to your foreclosed homes and homeless shelters.

    If ISO had a standard for rich assholes who synonymize wealth with education, intelligence and awareness, Ann Romney would share it with her husband's supporters. This is a woman who not only owns dressage horses for "therapeutic" purposes, but her husband who's a quarter of the way to becoming a billionaire is such a grasping, avaricious scumbag that he squeezed another $77,000 out of the American taxpayer by getting the IRS to somehow qualify the horse as a tax writeoff (the horse also enjoyed better health care than the average American).

    Besides siphoning even more money from other privileged sociopaths, Ann Romney will not sway the outcome of this election one bit. But not enough people are calling Ann Romney on what is obviously a viciously defensive mindset toward anyone who dares to criticize her ill-gotten wealth and the fact that her dressage horse had more money spent on its health care than the average American can afford to spend (and in America, we pay more for health care than any other nation on earth). And that's because wealth is always more prone to be a spectator sport than it is a ripe target for the 99%.

    Willard Romney seems to have found himself in both an enviable and unenviable position. To liberals and progressives, Romney has become a loathed venture capitalist who's bankrupted companies, put people out of work or, at the very least, cut their pay and benefits. But it doesn't matter what the unwashed liberals think to Romney any more than it did to Obama when nearly two years ago he took swipes at us from a $30,000 a plate fundraiser at a gated mansion owned by some guy named Rich Richman.

    The enviable part is because Willard Romney is so corporate, he embodies capitalism and the free market so perfectly that pro-corporate people like Obama and influential Democrats get the dry heaves at the thought of taking devastating body shots at Romney's Bain past because that would be like poo-poohing capitalism itself. And what red-blooded American would do that? Hell, even the guy who'd produced, "When Mitt Romney Came to Town" for Newt Gingrich is now having pangs of remorse for starting a trend that he fears will continue.

    Willard Romney is retroactively whatever he wants his demographic of the day to believe he is: A retroactive civil rights marcher, a retroactive gun enthusiast and hunter, a retroactively retired executive. Everything about Willard Romney is retroactive.

    Ann Romney is the exact opposite: A true blue-blooded cunt in every sense of the word proactive.

    Wednesday, July 18, 2012

    Open Thread

    Hey, indeedy. Rock on. Or however Duncan Black gets thousands of comments at Eschaton while contributing absolutely nothing for the tenth time each day to the national discourse.

    Tuesday, July 17, 2012

    Our Mr. fucking Brooks

    In a reverse meritocracy like the latter day United States, a nation of right wing hacks and other assorted and sundry intellectually astigmatic spastics and assclowns, one would be hard-pressed to find a more myopic pea brain than David fucking Brooks. His last road apple dropped on the disinformation superhighway, one in which he claimed the 1% were more culturally refined than we (ugh) working class proles because they work while their impeccably groomed children were taking piano lessons, was more than your prehistoric political porcine could possibly bear in an election year. His latest one in today's NY Times, The Capitalism Debate, betrays once again Brooks' reputation for partisan tomfoolery and selective myopia and yours truly cannot remain silent.

    I say, "selective myopia" because Brooks, in an unusually straightforward article that puts away the smoking jacket and dispenses with the brandy and cigars in the richly paneled Masterpiece Theater den, gets Obama dead to rights when he says,
    Over the years of his presidency, Obama has not been a critic of globalization. There’s no real evidence that, when he’s off the campaign trail, he has any problem with outsourcing and offshoring. He has lavishly praised people like Steve Jobs who were prominent practitioners. He has hired people like Jeffrey Immelt, the chief executive of General Electric, whose company embodies the upsides of globalization. His economic advisers have generally touted the benefits of globalization even as they worked to help those who are hurt by its downsides.

    Unfortunately, the 20/20 vision then immediately degenerates into Mr. Magoo territory when he gives Romney a free pass by then saying,
    Romney is going to have to define a vision of modern capitalism. He’s going to have to separate his vision from the scandals and excesses we’ve seen over the last few years. He needs to define the kind of capitalist he is and why the country needs his virtues.

    Let’s face it, he’s not a heroic entrepreneur. He’s an efficiency expert. It has been the business of his life to take companies that were mediocre and sclerotic and try to make them efficient and dynamic. It has been his job to be the corporate version of a personal trainer: take people who are puffy and self-indulgent and whip them into shape.

    That’s his selling point: rigor and productivity.

    I suppose this shouldn't surprise anyone who's similarly come to the realization that all throughout his "writing" career going back beyond when he worked for the Weekly Standard, our Mr. Brooks has been carefully cultivating a reputation of being Wall Street's resident cock-gobbling apologist and standard-bearer for the Overtonian Age of Centrism and Moral Equivalence.

    Heavens to Betsy he should display that same Joe Louis pinpoint accuracy that took stinging jabs and body shots to Obama to a fellow right wing sociopath like Romney.

    It's hard to see where and how "rigor and productivity" should be synonyms for a man who'd outsourced, as far as we know, over 100,000 jobs overseas, saddled acquired companies with massive debt, made those same companies file for bankruptcy then lay off in some cases over 1000 workers at a time as they were kicked out of their workplaces under the watchful eyes of armed guards.

    To Mr. fucking Brooks, Mitt Romney is nothing more or less than the Dutch Uncle of Capitalism, "the corporate version of a personal trainer: take people who are puffy and self-indulgent and whip them into shape." Only to a spooge-hungry lick-jism like David Brooks could American jobs and benefits qualify as "puff(iness) and self-indulgen(ce)."

    Only companies that "were mediocre and sclerotic" would have the audacity to bring jobs into an American community when they could be translated to millions by simply being offshored or outsourced or however Romney defines the Nanking-class raping of the American workforce to China, India or Mexico where the cheap labor is as good as finding lumps of gold in the streets.

    Well, the fact is, Mr. fucking Brooks, the companies that Bain Capital (which Brooks was careful to mention exactly once) took over weren't all "mediocre and sclerotic". Many of them, such as Ampad, were doing fine until Romney and his vulture squadron descended on them like carrion and immediately began to load the company with debt through obscenely bloated management fees until the company finally had to file for bankruptcy and close its doors.

    And Brooks is also eliding with all the adroitness of a one-legged cowboy trying to sidestep turds in a cow pasture that Romney just happened to make a personal fortune of a quarter billion dollars on peoples' pain, misery and the bad fortune of having their former employers open the door to Bain fucking Capital.

    But all Mitt has to do in David fucking Brooks' funhouse mirror world is simply to tell people who've been living in a capitalist society what latter-day capitalism means. that if it's all explained to us by Uncle Mitt, then we'll look at our millions upon millions of outsourced jobs and millions upon millions of homes that have been repossessed in a more kindly and gentler way and we'll all come to realize that risky speculation with other peoples' money and rate-rigging is really just a genial way of doing business and that Occupy Wall Street really had them all wrong, those judgmental little hooligans.

    He’s going to have to separate his vision from the scandals and excesses we’ve seen over the last few years. He needs to define the kind of capitalist he is and why the country needs his virtues.

    Yes, Constant Reader, he actually said "virtues." Those dubious virtues include, among other things that Mr. David fucking Brooks refused to mention, owning companies such as Stericycle that go against the agenda of the right wing evangelical nut jobs Romney's been trying to court since 2007, refusing to release more than one year of his income taxes (while providing 23 to the McCain campaign that eventually went to a mouth-breather they obviously didn't vet as well as Romney) and even lying about when he actually left the company (his tenure at Bain has now been all but established as having lasted until at least 2002, the year he took control of the Olympics).

    Only to a political mole like David fucking Brooks can these instances of Romney's inherent sliminess be considered "virtues" while Obama's own crony politics and rewarding big donors with sinecures is done only in the president's adopted home city of Chicago, the same city that hosted Milton Friedman and, by extension, David fucking Brooks, the economic policy that has all but doomed this country to neverending indentured servitude.

    Monday, July 16, 2012

    Retroactively Speaking...

    There's been much merry-making on the intertubes over former RNC chairman Ed Gillespie's hilarious claim on Face the Nation yesterday that Mitt Romney "retroactively" retired from Bain Capital three years after the official narrative that he left Bain for good in February 1999 and had no part in the decision-making process. What follows are a few demotivational posters using the retroactive meme.

    KindleindaWind, my writing blog.

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