Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Fucking Christmas

Okay, I take it back. I will wish you all a "Merry Fucking Christmas", courtesy of South Park:

See you all next week. Or next year. I'm kinda getting used to being totally lazy...

Friday, December 16, 2011

Still Alive

I had lunch today with my usual "Friday Posse", one of whom is a faithful reader of this blog. He was concerned by my previous post and wondering if I'd even show up today.

Well, you can all relax. I'm still alive. I'm just taking a break from posting. This will likely last until after the Xmas holidays.

Have a great holiday everyone. And no, as a dedicated foot soldier in the phony Faux News "War on Christmas", I will not wish you a Merry Christmas...

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

I'm Still Here

I've more or less recovered from the "chill on my liver", but it's still freakin' cold here...

I've got some "family dynamics" issues going on, so it'll be some light posting for a while.

Again, thanks for reading.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Occupying A Chill on My Liver

"A chill on my liver..." Film buffs will recognize that funny phrase from the delightfully quirky 1953 film Beat the Devil, directed by John Huston and starring Humphrey Bogart, Jennifer Jones, Gina Lollobrigida, Robert Morley (playing the role that Sydney Greenstreet would have played had he still been acting), Peter Lorre and Bernard Lee (who would go on to widespread recognition with his appearances as "M" in the James Bond movies). If you haven't seen it, rent it from Netflix, or better yet, buy it from Amazon. I guarantee you'll want to watch it more than once.

I was out all day Monday at Olympia's Capitol Campus for the massive protest by the Occupy people, many of whom had come down from neighboring Seattle for the event, and I even saw one guy from Michigan there. It was a cold day and I stood outsideway too long, with the result that I caught a chill on my liver and haven't felt good since then.

I did of course manage to miss the arrests -- some 40 in all -- that took place, having been on the steps of one of the legislative office buildings some distance away from the excitement while many of my cohorts stormed into a revenue meeting being held by some legislators. I didn't go in myself because of some residual claustrophobia which I brought back from Vietnam and which rears its ugly head whenever I get surrounded by a large number of people in a confined space, like a hallway, even if they are largely people who are on my side. Hiding for your life while hunkered down in a very narrow sandbagged bunker full of fat and hungry rats while mortar rounds and rockets are landing next to where you are can do that to a guy...

Our issues? The usual things, the banksters, the 1%, the disparate income and wealth distribution, etc. etc., but there were also a massive number of teachers protesting the proposed cuts to education, home health care workers protesting the proposed rollbacks to their programs, union workers protesting calls by Republicans to do an Ohio-and-Wisconsin-like dismantling of collective bargaining, and many more, including a bunch of others like me, who don't have any particular dog in the fight (I'm retired and the state can't really do much to me over my retirement pay or my non-existent working conditions...) but who wanted to stand up and be counted anyway.

It was a long day and I got tired and, as I say, chilled by being outdoors in the cold when I wasn't used to it. I can't imagine those poor people having to bear up in it while they are living in those flimsy "occupy" tents down by the water.

Anyway, I'm not feeling so good now; I think I am coming down with something. I'll likely take some more time off to rest and recuperate. See you back here in a few days.

In the meantime, keep up the good fight! Find an Occupy event near you and join it. Make your voice heard against the deafening roar of the Police State pepper cannons and the inane prattling of the bubbleheaded cheerleaders on Faux "News".

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Enough Whining Already

Jeez, you can't go through a day, it seems, without being hit alongside the head by this or that "Christian" group whining about being an oppressed minority that is systematically "persecuted" for their beliefs. Shut the fuck up already. You are enabling this culture of victimhood for yourselves without even knowing what a true victim is. Jews in Nazi Germany? True Victims. College-educated professionals in Pol Pot's Cambodia? True Victims. You American Christians? Uh, not so much...

Rob Boston, of Americans United for Separation of Church and State (of which I am a proud member) has a great piece over at Alternet which discusses why, in more reasonable terms than I can muster when it comes to these people, the Christian Right needs to just STFU:

1. Of the 10 largest religious advocacy groups in Washington, seven take the Religious Right line on most issues.
Five of the top-10 groups (Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America, Home School Legal Defense Fund, Focus on the Family’s Citizenlink and the Traditional Values Coalition) are Religious Right organizations.
. . .
2. These organizations raise a ton of money.
The Pew report lists budget figures for each group examined. The numbers are staggering. In 2008, the Family Research Council, which, since the demise of the Christian Coalition has become the leading D.C.-based Religious Right group, took in more than $14 million.
. . .
3. These organizations enjoy incredible access to legislators.
Most advocacy groups woo lawmakers with money (through allied political action committees) or by implying that there are votes to be had among their respective constituencies. Some far-right religious groups can offer both.
. . .
And there's more. Go read the entire article and get up to speed on the Religious Right's false equivalencies when it comes to "persecution".

You'd think they'd be ashamed.

But once again, you'd be wrong.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday Music Break

Here's our Monday Music Break for this week, Zoot Suit Riots from 1997, by the singularly-named Cherry-Poppin' Daddies:

The historical Zoot Suit Riots took place in 1943 mostly in greater Los Angeles. Racially-motivated attacks by sailors and Marines against young Mexican-American males led to social unrest and rioting, and the whole thing might have become a forgotten part of history were it not for things like this song, and the play and subsequent 1981 film Zoot Suit, both productions featuring the great Edward James Olmos, which examined the "pacheco" culture and milieu of 1940s Los Angeles.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Monday Music Break

Here is the great Leonard Cohen's "Democracy". Once again, it just feels right. And with this post I'm off for a week for the holiday. See you all next week.

Friday, November 18, 2011

A Salute to Dorli Rainey

Here's Keith Olbermann's Wednesday interview with Dorli Rainey 84 year old pepper sprayed by Seattle cops:

This is amazing and appalling. She is a Holocaust survivor who can remember Joseph Goebbels.

I noted this week when the Seattle cops sprayed her. Here's the rest of the story.

Are we really turning into a police state? It's sure starting to look like it...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Torturing Bachmann

After mouthing off that she wouldn't have a problem with waterboarding someone, Michelle "Crazy Eyes" Bachmann was asked by the Des Moines Iowa Register's editorial board if she would be willing to go through waterboarding so she could speak about it more knowledgeably.

Ha, like that's gonna happen. You already know the answer. Bachmann replied that it "would be absurd to have the President of the United States submit themselves to waterboarding"...

Okay, despite the obvious grammatical error there, something else more important is going on. I hate to break the news to her since she apparently considers the election in the bag (after all, god told her to run), but she is not the president.

And never will be. So the question is still a valid one. Is she willing to undergo the "discomfort" of being waterboarded?

Not so absurd now that she's just plain US Representative Bachmann, is it?

Here's Navy veteran, former professional wrestler, erstwhile movie actor, and ex-governor of Minnesota, Jesse Ventura -- who appears to know something about waterboarding:

Another example is the eccentric former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura, who has discussed how he was waterboarded as part of his Navy SEAL training (which the military does in order to teach its elite troops to resist torture techniques). Ventura famously declared: “I’ll put it to you this way: You give me a waterboard, Dick Cheney and one hour, and I’ll have him confess to the Sharon Tate murders.”
Jeez, I'd pay money -- a lot of money -- to be able to watch that.

Speaking of money, Michelle is missing out on the chance to raise a lot of it for her flagging campaign. All she'd have to do, in the interests of truth, i.e., proving her point that waterboarding is only "uncomfortable", is to host a pay-per-view event on cable television of her actually being waterboarded.

Even I
would donate to her campaign in those circumstances.

What about it, Michelle? You've been torturing the American people long enough. Now it's your turn.

Think of the money.

Eat Your Vegetables

Everyone remember when Saint Ronald declared that ketchup was a vegetable? There was outrage on both sides of the aisle over that stumble (back when some RepubliCONs still had a soul).

Well, move over ketchup. There's a bigger gun in town:

Your congress, for lack of having anything better to do than say, reaffirm our stupid national motto, like maybe working on something for the economy and creating all those jobs that John Boner promised us nearly a year ago, has decided to declare that pizza is a vegetable!

The upside? Now I can happily sit in front of the tube and munch down on my giant extra-cheese-meat-lovers pizza (see photo) and tell She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed that I am eating my vegetables. And with a couple of bottles of Full Sail Amber (after all, what's pizza without beer?), I'm drinking them too!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Crush the Occupy Movement: A City-by-City Breakdown

Here, from the UK's The Guardian, is a breakdown of the police actions to crush the Occupy movement in six US cities, New York, Portland OR, Oakland, Salt Lake City, Denver and Atlanta.

Read the whole story, which expertly gives a little history and a brief but incisive description of police-state actions to shut down each of the protests.

And then ask yourself why our own CPM/SCLM* has not done something similar to this, to bring into focus the fascist actions of the uniformed minions of the wealthy.

One more thing: Seattle was not mentioned in the UK story, but last night Seattle cops indiscriminately peppersprayed a crowd and attacked a 19-year-old pregnant woman and an 84-year-old woman.

Is this really the kind of country we want to be?

[*CPM/SCLM = Capitalist Pig Media/So-Called Liberal Media]

Olbermann Nails It to Bloomberg!

I always love it when KO launches into one of his crazy-seeming rants, and today he absolutely cuts no slack for NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg. He gets in high dudgeon and it is definitely worth a look:

Jeez, get 'em champ!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ever Wonder if You're a Fascist?

No, probably not, since my literally dozens of readers are all smart people who are the correct side of history.

That IBIL* of yours, though? The one that's coming over to wreck your Thanksgiving Day dinner yet again for the tenth year in a row? Ever wonder about him being a fascist? Come on, you know you have.

Well, thanks to the always valuable Addicting Info, here's a checklist to see if someone's a fascist.

1. You are obsessed with national power and pride and believe your country doesn’t have to follow the rules and shouldn’t ever apologize for doing things that are wrong. You think your nation can do whatever it wants.
2. You believe in the rule of the few, election rigging, political decisions being made by a select group of officials behind closed doors, embrace the informal and unregulated exercise of political power, arbitrary deprivation of civil liberties, and little tolerance for meaningful opposition.
3. You believe in survival of the fittest, an every man for himself mentality that causes you to believe that poor people and sick people are weak and must be punished. You think rich people are strong because they are wealthy and that they should rule us. You also your race in superior to all others.
4. You use the media as a political propaganda machine to target a specific audience and to push your agenda on others. You make sure the media demonizes your opponents and takes your side on nearly every issue. You use your propaganda machine to play on the fears of others.
5. You are obsessed with security, and war. You feed this obsession by spending trillions of dollars building up a large military force and are willing to sacrifice domestic programs your people count on to keep your military huge. You start unnecessary and costly wars and you are paranoid of other nations.
And that's just the first five! Go read the entire list of 18 items, and when that dude asks you to pass the potatoes, you can scream, "YOU INVADED POLAND YOU NAZI PIG!!!"

No, wait. That's likely not such a good idea in the long run... Better to just mash the entire bowl of mashed potatoes into his face.

No, wait. That's probably not good either. Maybe you should just pass the fucking potatoes and at your first opportunity escape into the next room and the television set that will undoubtedly have a football game on to calm you down...
[*IBIL -- Idiot Brother-In-Law]

Does Anyone Really Believe This?

In the latest event of "victimhood" a waitress at a suburban Chicagoland Outback Steakhouse has prompted some Teabagger "outrage" over the weekend because she was allegedly fired for wearing a Tea Party "Don't Tread On Me" bracelet to work.

Here's the Huffpost story on this poor girl:

Tea Party members gathered outside a suburban Chicago Outback Steakhouse over the weekend after a waitress at the restaurant claimed she was fired for wearing a Tea Party bracelet to work.

Megan Geller, 23, claims a couple dining at the Crystal Lake, Ill. steakhouse was offended by her "Don’t Tread On Me" bracelet in early October. They allegedly complained to management, and she was fired shortly after, Geller's mother told the Northwest Herald.

Tonya Franklin, Geller's mother, told the Herald that she gave her daughter the yellow bracelet after receiving it at a Tea Party event. Franklin joined protesters in calling the firing a violation of Geller's free speech.

“They stirred up the wrong hornet’s nest and messed with the wrong mama,” Franklin told the Herald. “When mamas get mad, mamas get to work.”
"Free speech"? Really? You're gonna try to go with that?

I'd like to wake little Megan -- and especially that shrew of a mother of hers -- up to the fact that this is not a "free speech" issue. Sorry, girls. Only the government can be guilty of suppressing free speech. Not an individual, not a business, and not even the worst imaginable management.

Little Megan needs to suck it up and understand that when you sell your time to an employer in this society, you are little more than a paid slave. Absent any kind of union protection (which I am sure that she doesn't have and, given her mother's Teabagger proclivities, shouldn't even want...), you work at the pleasure and the will of your employer, and if the Outback Restaurant doesn't want you wearing something that could prove disruptive to their business, you'd better do what they say and take it off.

But of course Outback has a different slant on things:
Company officials, however, told the Associated Press that Geller was inattentive to to diners at two tables, and that if the bracelet had been an issue, they would have asked her to take it off. Management also said that Geller yelled at them when they spoke to her about complaints from diners.
Ah ha!

Now I've never been one to carry a brief for national chains of any kind, but it only stands to reason that management would have asked her -- told her -- to take it off before they fired her. But this seems to me to be a clear case of a whiny-assed little girl who won't do what she is told, doesn't pay attention to her work and is rude to her bosses. I don't care what business you work in, you can't do that and expect to walk away from it without consequences.

Another case of fake victimhood. I call bullshit on it, and I call bullshit on Megan and I call bullshit on her mother.

Brilliant Short Films

Hey, as much as I try, it can't all be political snark and angry diatribes. Here are a couple of terrific YouTube videos of short films to get Tuesday off to a good start. Both of these won several prestigious cinema awards, and deservedly so.

First is the brilliant 2002 film, Ten Minutes. Watch that long take in the middle, and don't get confused when it suddenly looks like it's a different movie. It isn't...

And the second is Spain's heartwarming The Story of a Sign from 2008. Guaranteed to make you smile, even if you think that you've had a bad day.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Monday Music Break

Here's Buffalo Springfield in 1969 singing their noted 60s anti-war youth anthem, For What It's Worth:

Once again, it just seems right: Cops are beating up on #Occupy_Everything protesters all across the nation. It's wet and it's cold and these people are being scooped out of their tents and getting their heads smashed with police batons. They are being depicted in the CPM* as being an unruly mob, a bunch of louts with no real goals.

Meanwhile take a look over at College Park Pennsylvania at the Penn State students rioting -- actually rioting -- in the streets over the firing of the serial-child-molester-enabling football coach Joe Paterno, an asshole who ought to go to fucking jail for not turning that dirty dickwad prepubescent-boy-butt-fucker into the police immediately!

You didn't hear those complaisant lickspittle corporation Koch-sucking media assholes bitching about a real riot, with actual and substantial property damage, did you? Yeah, I'm mostly talking to you, Faux "News" but you're not the only target of my scorn. Everyone in the mainstream media seems to yapping the same meme.

Jesus. It is a funny world.

Yeah, "there's somethin's happenin' here", all right. And it isn't good
[*CMP = Capitalist Pig Media]

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Why I Still Hate Richard Nixon

You all remember Tricky Dick Nixon, the only US president to resign in disgrace. Well, it wasn't for nothing that he was called "Tricky Dick".

Now we learn, by kind of a roundabout way, what had only been hinted at for the last 43 years. In the last days of Nixon's ultimately successful 1968 campaign for the presidency, he opened some back-channel communications with the Republic of Vietnam's then president Nguyen van Thieu,with the aim of keeping Thieu away from the Paris Peace Conference, then in full swing with a good possibility to finally bring a negotiated settlement to the Vietnam question.

If Lyndon Johnson had been able to complete that "hail mary" pass and get a peace accord in the last few days of the campaign, Vice President Hubert Humphrey would likely have been able to capitalize on the resulting boost for the Democrats and won the election. As it was he lost by only 500,000 votes, which was barely a whisper on the vote meter.

But no, Tricky Dick and his evil crew could never allow that. All they had to do was delay Thieu for three days or so, no peace accord, and no bumphrey for Humphrey.

And that's what happened. I'm not saying that Humphrey would have been a great president. Hell, I could barely stand the guy myself, but anything would have been better, as it turned out, than Richard Fucking Nixon.

I will admit that, to my everlasting shame and chagrin, I actually voted for Nixon myself, from Vietnam. I was young and stupid in those days (as opposed to what I am now, which is old and stupid) and, for some unknown reason, I actually thought that he really did have that "secret plan" to end the war.

Turns out he did. It only took another five years and twice as many dead Americans -- and who knows how many dead Vietnamese? -- for it to come to fruition.

And I have never voted for a Republican since then.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veterans Day

Time out from my regular snark to wish all of my fellow veterans a happy Veterans Day. We are the REAL 1%.

Thank you for your service, my brothers and sisters. Welcome home.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Back from Americans United

I'm back but feeling kind of look-what-the-cat-dragged-in. It seems to take a lot out of me any more to make those transcontinental plane trips. One of those inevitable signs of becoming a "Wise Elder". Plus it didn't help that on the Denver to Seattle leg, I was forced to sit in a middle seat, my least favorite spot on a crowded airliner. Fortunately that's what they make Xanax, $8 drinks and iPods for...

My trip to DC, which you may recall, was for the annual meeting of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, an organization which I am proud to be a member of and whose praises I have often sung on this blog. As always, I come away reinvigorated after spending a couple of days with Barry Lynn, our executive director, my counterparts (i.e., other chapter leaders and regular members) from across the country and with my fellow members of AU's National Advisory Council.

A special high point of this year was meeting and listening to Mikey Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, who was there to receive AU's Person of the Year award for all the work that he does in furthering the cause of church-state separation in the military. I was astonished to learn a couple things about Mikey and the FFRF. The first is that his organization is so small in terms of actual people doing the work, and second, which is even more astounding, that they currently have over 25,000 active cases in the four branches of the military service. That means that over 25,000 active duty or recently separated service members have complained to the MMRF about the illegal proselytizing activities from not only chaplains but also their chain-of-command superiors.

Mikey is a hard-charging in-your-face kind of guy, and that's a good thing because he said that it usually takes only a phone call to straighten a lot of these issues out. He's not afraid to make threats to the offenders, including lawsuits, and that most-feared tactic, publicly calling them out. Nobody likes bad publicity, not even the Jesus Freaks in the military. Given that, it didn't come as a surprise that he regularly receives some serious death threats and that he travels with a group of security guys -- bodyguards, really -- who look as stern and alert as any Secret Service agent as they constantly scanned the room as he spoke.

Another high point was being able to meet, listen to, and honor recent high school graduate Corwyn Schultz, who led the fight against school prayer at his Texas high school. This case was taken up by Americans United and is still working its way through the appeals process, with the likely result that it will eventually end up on the US Supreme Court. It was an honor to meet him and hear his inspiring story of the "lone wolf" standing up to the forces of religious fascism.

Why did he keep at it in the face of what you can imagine was some Big Time peer pressure and ostracization? In his own words: "I'm stubborn."

Corwyn received AU's new Religious Liberty Award, which will be an annual award to a young person who is willing to make a principled stand for what he or she believes is right.

See the story of the awards along with photos on the MMRF page.

Pardon me if I launch into another "commercial" -- If you are already a member of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, good on you. If you are not, please consider becoming a member. It's fast, it's easy, and it's inexpensive. As little as $25 will get you a year's membership along with our mostly-monthly publication, Church and State. If you live in an area with a local chapter, you can always contact someone there for more information and an opportunity to meet with like-minded people where you live.

Don't delay. Do it today. With three presidential candidates claiming that god told them to run for the office, we have to push back. (For the Republicans who read this blog, I know you don't believe in simple arithmetic, but trust me, the odds are really stacked against at least two of them actually getting The Word from that abstract old man in the sky.)

Thursday, November 03, 2011

A Congressman With Guts

A congressman with guts. Given the current bunch of rethugs who are running the country like something out of the Three Stooges meets the Rocky Horror Picture Show, that's what we need. And that congressman with guts would be Florida's Alan Grayson, who has just launched his bid to return to congress next year.

Here's a video of Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva asking for help for Grayson:

Please drop by Grayson's A Congressman With Guts website and kick loose a few bucks for the campaign. We need more strong progressive voices in congress, and Grayson is exactly the kind of kick-ass-and-take-names guy we need in there.
- - -
Sidebar: I'll be gone to DC for the annual meeting of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, so I won't be posting again until the middle of next week. In the meantime, keep the faith and hang in there.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Coulter: Our Negroes are Better Than Your Negroes

mAnn Coulter is at it again. Check this out:

Did you know that Coulter has a new book out, so she's making the rounds of the Wingnut Media to flog it?
“That’s why our blacks are so much better than their blacks,” Coulter said. “To become a black Republican you don’t just roll into it. You’re not going with the flow. You have fought against probably your family members, probably your neighbors, you have thought everything out and that’s why we have very impressive blacks in our party.”
“Our blacks?” ….oops, sorry. Thought the calendar just rolled back to 1861.
. . .
Perhaps Coulter would like to debate a fellow Republican on this. How about former Republican Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice — herself on book tour. She was asked about Cain in an interview to be broadcast Wednesday on CBS’ “Early Show.” Her advice: Don’t play the race card.
Go ahead and read the whole story and come away shaking your head at the over-the-top musings of the Republican Party's only known transexual yapping mouth.

Jeez, I'd love it if she just went away, and took Herman "I Don't Know" Cain with her.

"Don't Be the Weird One"

That's the advice given to the speakers at this year's so-called Value Voters Summit, put on by the über Religious Right wackjob-controlled Family Research Council. When you have an overload of speakers such as Rick Perry, Michelle Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney and Ron Paul haranguing the Pavlovian-dog-whistled crowds to froth their mouths over the horrors of secular society, "humans evolved from monkeys", the need to put god back into the public square, and the requirement that the next president to be a "born again" Christian, I think that the "don't be the weird one" admonition got wadded up and punted out the window on the Wednesday before the meeting.

In the grand scheme of things, those of us out here on the secular frontier tend to look at clowns like these with a measure of humor, as a source of fairly harmless amusement. But it could take just one ginned-up "October Surprise" for one of those wackjobs to spring to the presidency, and if they drag a republican majority in both houses of congress with them, then it suddenly wouldn't be all that amusing.

The Washington-based staff of Americans United for Separation of Church and State regularly attends these things, and I have to give them kudos for sticking their necks and their hands into a den of rabid wolverines for a couple of days each year. They probably feel like a handful of popsickle sticks in a room full of chainsaws. But good on them for doing it, and bringing back the word on what the Religious Right is really up to.

It's not pretty.

Barry W. Lynn, an ordained minister, is the Executive Director of Americans United, and he had this to say about this year's fest:

I used to believe that as I got older and gained more and more life experience, fewer things would bother me. Maybe I’m not aging after all, then, because going to the Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit here in Washington was bothersome – as well as bizarre, boggling of the mind and baffling.
...“Government should not get between a patient and his doctor.” Right on! And, in predictable fashion, the speech would move later into an anti-abortion message with speakers vowing to stop every abortion or virtually every one.
But wait – couldn’t this be construed as government, the criminal law even, getting between a patient and her doctor? Perhaps the pronoun really does matter, or the level of hypocrisy is stunning.
Here’s another ironic twist to the essential message of this group: They talked about fealty to the “Constitution” (a version they apparently found in their sock drawer) constantly, but went into the stratosphere with glee when U.S. Rep. Ron Paul announced that all of his positions come from the Bible – military policy, tax policy and (of course) abortion policy. Some weird interpretation of constitutional rights is secondary to the belief that all policy matters need a biblical basis.
Read the whole thing. It's Barry's current monthly commentary for November in the organization's publication, Church & State, which is available on the website in its entirety at

Be sure to read Assistant Editor Rob Boston's Bombast, Bigotry and the Bible and Unholy Harangue: Summit Speakers Hit New Heights of Extremism;
U.S. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) ...also freely rewrote American history. According to the congressman, the Declaration of Independence was written under divine guidance, and God “moved the Founding Fathers around like men on a chessboard. I believe this country was planned and built by his hand.”
Glenn Beck, former Fox News personality. Beck unleashed a bombastic tirade that careened wildly from ominous claims of societal conflict due to the Wall Street protestors and an ongoing “race war” to assertions that politics doesn’t matter as much as service to your fellow Americans.

It is difficult to characterize Beck’s rant or summarize his main themes – there weren’t any. A few sips could be taken from his stream of consciousness, however: Beck dislikes it when young people take out loans to pay for college and then complain because they experience difficulty paying them back. He mentioned this more than once. At one point, he recommended that if young people can’t afford college, they should just go to “the free public library. It worked for me.”
Doomsday prophesies also littered the Beck rant. He conjured up a veritable zombie Apocalypse involving hordes of advancing Wall Street occupiers.
“The violent left is coming to our streets, all of our streets, to smash, to tear down, to kill, to bankrupt, to destroy,” Beck told the crowd. “It will be global in nature and global in its scope. I said these things two years ago, and I was mocked and ridiculed.”
Again, read the whole thing. AU is the one organization whose entire goal is to maintain the wall of separation that exists between churches and government.

I am proud to be a member and I encourage you to become one as well. Study the Americans United website, read some of things we do and the things we stand for, and please consider joining us. Dues can be as little as $18.00 per year, you won't have to go meetings unless you want to, you won't have to take any actions if you don't want to, but no matter what level of participation you want to engage in, you will be helping a terrific organization as it fights back against the dark forces of the religious right.

I have been a member for many years, and this coming weekend I will get to go back to Washington DC for our yearly meeting. It's always a time to get some great new training, meet some great fellow AU members from all over the country, meet some of the outstandingly excellent people on the staff of the national office, and mainly have a lot of fun. After the sessions, there's a lot of "hanging out" time with a bunch of smart intelligent people who are in complete agreement with me on the topic of the separation of church and state.

I had to miss it last year, and the fact that I didn't go felt as though I'd torn an important piece of fabric out of the seat of my pants.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

An Embarrassment

Heeeere's Perry! Take a look at this video and you'll see a rambling and semi-coherent Rick Perry at a speech in New Hampshire.

Is this really the person we want to represent the United States? At least Bush was a dry drunk. Perry looks like that guy you meet in a bar, who is just over the edge of inebriation and thinks he's the life of the party when he's just another dipshit with dipsomania.

Stick a fork in him. He's done.

The Daily Show and Rightwing "Science"

It's a full episode on the Daily Show website, but I couldn't find a shorter and embeddable one.

It's the Oct 26 show with guest Lisa Randall. Watch it in full if you like (it's worth it), but do be sure to watch the Aasif Mandvi segment starting at about 05:38, wherein he tongue-in-cheekily demolishes a moronic woman who is pretending to be intelligent and educated.

Aasif: "So it's not fair that surgeons are the only ones who get to perform brain operations, then?"

Idiot Woman: "That's right, now you see the problem with science."

Farnsworth: "Aiyyyyyyeeeee!" Hits forehead with palm smack, raps head on keyboard.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Monday Music Break

Since it is Halloween, I thought I would do something themed, but everything seems like a predictable cliché. Bobby "Boris" Pickett's The Monster Mash. Michael Jackson's Thriller? I mean come on. Been there, seen that.

That's why today's Music Break Monday is something really scary: The Archies' Sugar Sugar. What is scary about it is that it made it to Number One on the Billboard Top 100 for 1969. It's scary that such great songs as The Rolling Stones Honky Tonk Woman was only #3, and Creedence's Green River and Bad Moon Rising came in at only #35 and #36.

This was 1969. Nixon's first year as president. The War in Vietnam claimed 11,616 American lives in 1969. The word about the terrible My Lai Massacre got published in 1969, and the prime perpetrator, Lt. William Calley, got not no more than a slap on the wrist. October saw the massive and nationwide Vietnam Moratorium war protests.

What's scary is that the most vapid, the most insipid song in the history of music was able to come in at Number One on any list except maybe one identifying the most annoyingly cloying bubble gum music of the last hundred years. And it came from a fuckin' CARTOON SHOW on television, and was performed by working-for-scale studio musicians who no doubt hide cringing under their beds when Casey Kasem plays their retrospective on American Top 40.

So, without further ado, here it is, the Number One song of 1969:

A Storm is Coming

Here's Kieth Olbermann at the top of his game. Watch it.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Seven Republicans Who Would Not Be Welcome in Today's Party

Thanks to 50 Quotes Americans Should Remember, here are some telling words from some prominent Republicans from the past, in more or less chronological order. In this list are five former US presidents, one presidential candidate and one Supreme Court justice.

"Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration."
-- Abraham Lincoln

"We all agree that neither the Government nor political parties ought to interfere with religious sects. It is equally true that religious sects ought not to interfere with the Government or with political parties. We believe that the cause of good government and the cause of religion suffer by all such interference."
"We all agree that neither the Government nor political parties ought to interfere with religious sects. It is equally true that religious sects ought not to interfere with the Government or with political parties. We believe that the cause of good government and the cause of religion suffer by all such interference."
-- Rutherford B. Hayes

"I like to pay taxes. With them, I buy civilization."
-- Oliver Wendell Holmes

"The supreme duty of the Nation is the conservation of human resources through an enlightened measure of social and industrial justice. We pledge ourselves to work unceasingly in State and Nation for … the protection of home life against the hazards of sickness, irregular employment and old age through the adoption of a system of social insurance adapted to American use."
"I believe that there should be a very much heavier progressive tax on very large incomes, a tax which should increase in a very marked fashion for the gigantic incomes."
"It is essential that there should be organization of labor. This is an era of organization. Capital organizes and therefore labor must organize."
-- Theodore Roosevelt

"Only a fool would try to deprive working men and working women of their right to join the union of their choice."
"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."
"We will bankrupt ourselves in the vain search for absolute security."
"Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes that you can do these things. Among them are a few Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or businessman from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid."
-- Dwight D. Eisenhower

"While I am a great believer in the free enterprise system and all that it entails, I am an even stronger believer in the right of our people to live in a clean and pollution-free environment."
"Today's so-called 'conservatives' don't even know what the word means. They think I've turned liberal because I believe a woman has a right to an abortion. That's a decision that's up to the pregnant woman, not up to the pope or some do-gooders or the Religious Right. It's not a conservative issue at all."
"Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they're sure trying to do so, it's going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can't and won't compromise. I know, I've tried to deal with them."
-- Barry Goldwater

"Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost."
"We establish no religion in this country. We command no worship. We mandate no belief, nor will we ever. Church and state are and must remain separate."
-- Ronald Reagan

[emphasis added]
Can you imagine any one of the Pathetic Clowns in the current roster of presidential hopefuls saying anything remotely like these ideas? Well, maybe John Huntsman, the only one of them who seems even a bit rational, and you know how far he's gotten in the political dogfight for the hearts and minds of the Rethug rank and file.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

George Soros and Gun Control?

Jeez, it just never stops. Regular readers know that I have a wackjob cousin who insists on sending me the worst kind of crap imaginable. But I don't cut her off because they are invariably entertaining. Plus I can almost always count on them to provide fodder for the OPOVet gristmill.

Here's today's example:

Don't know if this true or not ! Worth checking out .
Subject: WOW! This is scary!
For the last several years a company called "The Freedom Group" has been buying up American gun and ammunition manufacturers.
Some of these companies are:Bushmaster,
Dakota Arms and
DPMS Panther Arms
Dakota Arms
LC Smith
Barnes Bullets
Some people worry that Freedom Group is going to control most of the firearms companies in the United States. Of course, If you control the manufacturers you can decide not to sell to civilians, or, you can raise the prices to rediculous levels or you can make the supply of guns and ammo scarce - all sorts of logjams.
What a perfect way to control America's guns!
If you do some digging you will see that The Freedom Group is owned by a Wall Street investment company called "Cerberus Capital Management".
"Cerberus" in the epic book "The Inferno" by Dante Alighieri, is a three-headed demon hound (from Roman mythology) that guards the Gates of Hell to prevent those damned souls who have just crossed the river Styx, from escaping back to the world.
Investor GEORGE SOROS owns Cerberus!
Please pass this on to all your freedom loving friends. This needs to come out - and quickly! Why have we not heard about this in the "mainstream" media? I would think this would be BIG news.
The absence of big media coverage on this important subject should be BIG news to you, too!
You'd think that an email that starts out with "Don't know if this true or not! Worth checking out" would normally be followed by the person actually, you know, checking it out. But in this case you would be wrong.

Here's what I found with a minimal amount of actual effort. Yeah "BIG news", and it's also big news to Snopes:
As the National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) notes on their web site:
Recently, an old rumor regarding Cerberus — the private equity firm that owns Freedom group, a holding company that in turn owns a number of firearms manufacturers, including Remington, Marlin, Bushmaster, and DPMS — was in some way tied to George Soros.
This rumor is completely false and baseless.
NRA has had contact with officials from Cerberus and Freedom Group for some time. The owners and investors involved are strong supporters of the Second Amendment and are avid hunters and shooters.
In reality, at no time has George Soros ever been a part of the ownership group of Freedom Group or Cerberus, and as a privately traded corporation, there is no possibility that he will be in the future.
This unsubstantiated rumor has caused a great deal of unnecessary concern for gun owners. NRA-ILA urges our members to take great care before repeating baseless rumors found on the Internet.
George Soros appears nowhere on the Cerberus list of senior executives, unlike such other notable socialist-communist-fascist gun control freaks as ... Dan Quayle and Baby Doc Bush's former Treasury Secretary John W. Snow.

Sometimes you gotta laugh. Sometimes you gotta cry. And sometimes you gotta do Andre Breton's ultimate surrealist act: "...dashing down into the street, pistol in hand, and firing blindly, as fast as you can pull the trigger, into the crowd." --Second Manifesto of Surrealism, 1929.

Okay, all you wingnut pantywaists, don't flame me over this. I'm just fucking kidding!!!!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Koch Sucker Product Boycott

Thanks to my post on Tuesday, Three Things You Can Do, Constant Reader The Yellow Fringe provided us with this list of Koch-Sucker products to boycott. Many thanks to YF for posting this list.


Antron Carpet Fiber
Stainmaster Carpet
Quilted Northern
Platinum Plywood
International Brands
Demak Up
Nouvelle Recycling
Damn, there goes my new car, the Lotus Evora. But... we all have to make sacrifices.

Of course we are already refusing to buy stuff at WalMart and Home Depot, aren't we?

Bring the bastards to their knees.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Thousand Clowns

A thousand clowns. No, I'm not talking about that terrific 1965 movie starring Jason Robards.

I'm talking about the original thousand clowns that would come pouring out of that impossibly small car at the circus.

The Federal Elections Commission maintains a list of people who have officially filed papers as presidential candidates, and as of today there are -- ready for this? -- a total of 255 of them.

The list includes the usual suspects, Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, et al., but it also includes such household names as President Emperor Caesar, HRM Caesar St. Augustine de Buonaparte (presumably these two will split the Royalist vote), Jonathon The Impaler Sharkey, and even a guy named Verl (no relation) Farnsworth.

These are not just political dilettants. The bar is set high enough to weed out the merely frivolous:

  • The individual has received contributions aggregating in excess of $5,000 or made expenditures aggregating in excess of $5,000; or
  • The individual has given consent to another person to receive contributions or make expenditures on behalf of him or herself and that person has received contributions aggregating in excess of $5,000 or made expenditures aggregating in excess of $5,000 (11 CFR 100.3(a)).
It makes me wonder how The Impaler (who is running as a Republican, naturally) and the President Emperor were able to con anyone into coughing up that five grand. Watch the list and we'll see who else files. It's still a long time until the election, so we may just make that Thousand Clown goal before it's all over.

Ten Reasons to Dump Bank of America

Over at Truthout news analyst Nomi Prins has an incisive list of ten reasons you can't back on -- or with -- BOA.

Here are the ten reasons, but be sure to check out the full story since she provides some great analysis of each one of these points:

1. B of A rejects the right of customers to protest.
2. To recoup ongoing losses from its stupendously dumb acquisitions of Countrywide Financial and Merrill Lynch, B of A pillages its customers.
3. B of A's other fees are just as bad.
4. Bank of America takes gross advantage of the military.
5. Bank of America is officially rated the biggest, scariest bank.
6. B of A's derivatives position keeps rising.
7. Bank of America got the most AIG money of the big depositor banks.
8. Bank of America leads the big bank fraud lawsuit settlement tally.
9. Even after lawsuits, B of A would still rather please investors than customers.
10. Bank of America, despite having been buoyed up by the government, did not pay taxes, and, given its glorious ineptness, will be laying off 30,000 workers.
[emphasis added]
As I said before, I am currently in the process of dumping my mortgage with BOA, and after all this I won't even park on the street in front of my local branch because someone might think I'm a customer. Screw 'em. If everybody takes action, and all the money flees the coffers of the bank, we'll see then who is "too big to fail"...

Ten Things You Can Do To Help Occupy Wall Street

Over at Huff Post there's an article written by Michael Kieschnick, who is the President of Credo Mobile (full disclosure, that the mobile phone service I use and I urge you to switch to it as well) talking about some things we can do to help Occupy Wall Street:

  1. Get information about what's really going on from truly independent media like Democracy Now.
  2. Show up -- if there is a local Occupation visit personally. Form you own opinion about the people you meet.
  3. Ask local occupiers if there are ways you can offer support -- from delivering food and blankets to participating in the General Assemblies or related marches and actions.
  4. Sign our petition on police misconduct against Occupy Wall Street here.
  5. If you have extra money, consider supporting lawyers defending various Occupy efforts at the National Lawyer's Guild here.
  6. See if the New Bottom Line coalition of unions, congregations and community groups is active in your area in confronting banks over foreclosures and evictions, and join in. Check them out here.
  7. Check out local member-owned credit unions to move your money into your local economy.
  8. If you are politically active, ask politicians you know to return any contributions from banks or Wall Street.
  9. Put up "We are the 99 percent" posters in your community. Make your own or download one from or
  10. If you are a parent or an educator, turn this into a teachable moment. Find resources here.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

1968 Again Anyone?

By all indications, 1968 was one of the most divisive and violent years in our civil history. The infamous Chicago Police Riot at the Democratic convention was the low point, and you'd think we'd learned something in the last 40+ years.

But apparently not. Not when the Oakland Stasi police thugs use tear gas to break up a nonviolent protest, not when the uniformed minions of the 1% will rain destruction onto the head of an Iraq War veteran, giving him serious -- critical --head injuries.

From all accounts (except those by the police themselves, of course) it is evident that the attack was completely unprovoked, completely unwarranted, and completely unconstitutional.

Notice that it occurred in the early hours, around 4 AM. There was a reason for that. That's the time when the human body is in recharge mode, when its defenses are down and its energy at a low ebb, and its mind is all cobwebby and easily confused.

That's the time of day when the air is full of noisy floodlight helicopters criss-crossing over the Black ghettos and Latino barrios of East Los Angeles. That's the time of day when the Gestapo made its raids on unsuspecting German citizens. That's the time of day when the Stasi made its brutal attacks on East Germany's "enemies of the state".

In short, that's the time of day when every fascist authoritarian government in the world makes raids on its own citizens.

Something stinks in the city of Oakland. It also stinks in Atlanta for the same reasons as Oakland. It stinks in Maine because some fascist would-be assassin threw a chemical bomb into Occupy Maine's kitchen area, and before long it will likely stink in every city that has been "inconvenienced" by The People, who are taking the constitution seriously enough to try to exercise some of those rights that are given lip service by the system and its mouthpieces but are really held only in the abstract. When it actually comes down to someone exercising that right to peaceably assemble and petition for a redress of grievances... Uh, not so much.

This will get worse before it gets better. And what kind of crank are the cops smoking, to think that stomping on the protestors will do anything except create more protestors. And will it take an American Tiananmen Square with unarmed demonstrators facing down tanks before the rest of the 99% "get it"?

I hope not, but all indications are that we are going that way. I urge everyone to find an Occupy site near you and head on down. First learn how to protect yourself against tear gas, and then take some supplies (cash, food, blankets, warm clothing and toilet paper are always good) for the people, hang around and talk to them, join the movement. We can't all spend the night in sub-freezing temperatures, but we can help those who can.

Let's all go do it this week, next week, and every week after while The People are there.

Oh, and one last thing. If a cop starts hassling you, be sure to get his badge number. If he starts hitting you, repeatedly scream out his badge number so others will know who is hitting you.

Jeez, these are skills I kind of thought I wouldn't need after the 60s were over. Guess I was wrong.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Three Things You Can Do

Over at Politicus there's a piece on the three steps you can take now to help stop the cancer-stage-of-capitalism corporatists from their ever-expanding death grip on the American economy.

It's a fairly long article, and if you are like me and having old-age-attention-deficit-disorder creeping up on you, here's the short answer:

Move your money out of a big bad bank, stop shopping at big box stores like Wal-Mart and Home Depot and stop buying Koch Brothers products.
Yeah, that's it. I have a mortgage with BOA (I would never have approached them myself but I was a victim of their buying up the bank that bought the bank that held my mortgage) and I am shopping around for another bank that I can allow to steal my money. And I already don't shop at WalMart and Home Despot Depot.

If you have an account in one of the Big Banks, I suggest that you move it to a local credit union. And wait until November 5th to do it. That's the Big Day for people to withdraw their money and close their accounts. You might have to wait in line, but you will be there with like-minded progressives and others who have fucking had enough of Wall Street and the Banksters.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday Music Break

We're finally getting out of Iraq.

The Constitution? It's Just a Piece of Paper

Remember when Dubya made that statement? His actual words were "Stop throwing the Constitution in my face! It's just a goddamned piece of paper!", an appalling statement that I wrote about at the time.

And that's evidently what current Rethug front-runner, former pizza chef chief and full time cynical manipulator of the low-information voter Herman Cain thinks as well. He's a little more slick than Baby Doc, but he is either woefully misinformed on exactly what is in the constitution, or he's pandering to the Rethug base.

Why else would he make so many egregious constitutional errors in his speeches, in his off-the-cuff remarks, such as these:

  • Pledging to “sign” a constitutional amendment outlawing abortion if he is elected president: Actually, presidents have no duties at all when it comes to amendments.
  • Confusing Founding Documents: In his speech announcing his candidacy for the presidency, Cain lectured the nation to “reread the Constitution.” Rather than take his own advice, however, Cain quoted the Constitution as saying that “when any form of government becomes destructive of those ideals, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it.” Those words are not in the Constitution, although a very similar phrase appears in the Declaration of Independence, which, in case Cain is not aware, is actually an entirely different document than the Constitution.
  • Banning Worship: As part of a wide-ranging campaign of hate against Islam, Cain claimed that local communities have a right to ban mosques. The Constitution disagrees. It forbids laws restricting the “free exercise” of a person’s faith.
  • No More Medicare or Medicaid: During his time as a talk radio host, Cain claimed that absolutely every single line of the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional. One problem with this radical view is that if Congress cannot subsidize health care — one of the key functions of the ACA — then Medicare and Medicaid are also unconstitutional.
  • Unrepealable Laws: Cain doesn’t just support a radical tax plan that would create the largest deficits since World War II, slash taxes on the wealthy and jack up taxes on the poor, he proposed effectively locking that plan in place permanently. The Constitution forbids lawmakers from preventing their successors from repealing new laws.
  • Letting Arizona Start A War: Cain also wants to give each state the power to set its own immigration policy. The Constitution, however, leaves immigration almost entirely up to the national government because immigration policy is so closely tied to foreign policy. Nations have gone to war over another nation’s treatment of their citizens, so no one state should have the ability to force the entire United States into this kind of conflict.
And I believe that this is just the proverbial tip of the iceberg when it comes to that vast but empty storehouse of knowledge residing in the brain of Cain. But, since there is virtually zero chance that he will actually become president, I think we can relax.

Actually the Cain campaign is nothing more than a public relations tour designed to sell more books and get higher speaker's fees from the frothing wingnut morons who are willing to pay this joker for the privilege of being snookered by his moronic but undoubtedly charismatic snake oil.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

New Logo for the 2012 RepubliCON Convention

This week the Rethugs announced the official logo for next year's convention. Take a close look at it and you will see that it appears to be a semi-rampant rogue elephant taking a shit on the American flag -- a flag with only three stars because, I presume, they can't count any higher than that...

Okay, I'll admit that I did do a little freehand addition to the original; the pile of crap was added, but only because I thought that the graphic looked a little ... unfinished.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Just In Case You Wondered About the Teabaggers

It seems as though the Occupy Wall Street movement has kind of sent them to the back of the bus, but don't worry. They are still with us, doing their level best to ruin the economy and bring down the president.

The latest is that they are going on "strike" this year. As business owners they are "striking" from hiring anyone, not a single person in the next year.

We all knew that the RepubliCONs were up to no good in trying to keep the economy in chaos until the election next year, and here's actual proof of how they are doing it.

I think that that vast army of unemployed are going to be more than a little pissed off when they find out that they could have been working at a job that was there except for the pissy-ass whiner of an owner who would rather drive his own business in the ground and become unemployed himself than allow Obama to "win". I can't be held responsible for what might happen to that owner's business when the word gets out.

Jesus, were can we find a list of assholes who have signed on to this farce? I'll be perfectly happy to never set foot -- and more importantly set money -- in their stores. For the rest of my life.

Everyone join me and then let's see how you like them apples, Mister I'm on "Strike" business owner.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Return of the Chickenhawks

I see that the neocons lost no time in calling for yet another war, this time against Iran.

As you might surmise, it's the usual suspects: Sean Hannity, William Kristol, John Bolton, et al., none of whom have actually worn the uniform of the US armed services, even though they all had a significant opportunity to do so.

In short, chickenhawks, whose motto is "let's you and him fight -- I'll hold your coat". I haven't done my due diligence on all of the names mentioned in the Common Dreams article, but I'm willing to bet good money that not a single one of them has served in the military.

But that inconvenient fact has never stopped them before.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Monday Music Break

Somehow it just seems right:

The Rapture? Again? Yawn...

In our semi-regular segment, The Rapture Will Not Be Televised, I note that religious rapture professional Harold Camping (wrong in 1992, 1994, and last May) is once again claiming that The Rapture is gonna happen -- yeah, this time for sure, really! -- next week.

Jeez, when will this demented old geezer finally just GTFU ("give the fuck up") on this shit?

Still, though, I am willing to spend some good money on attorneys who will draw up letters of transfer for the personal and real property of those who think that they will be "translated" to that Higher Plane come next week. After all, they aren't going to need those cars, houses, clothing and personal effects after they shuffle off this mortal coil, and those of us who are Left Behind are going to need some creature comforts which will aid us in the long night ahead.

Anyone want to show some Christian charity and that spirit of sharing that Jesus (the "real" one, not the one that totes the M16 and is willing to smite mightily his enemies) preached about? Just contact me here.

I'll be waiting...

Hypocrisy Much?

Occupy Olympia

I managed to drag my old and tired bones down to Olympia's Sylvester Park on Saturday for the Occupy Olympia rally, and it was well worth it. A bit chilly, but it didn't rain, and a terrific crowd that spanned all the demographic, from children happy to be outdoors to teachers to fellow veterans to one feisty ninety year old(!).

I didn't get arrested. But neither did anyone else. The Olympia bunch are pretty laid back, and I really didn't see any of those rightwing agents provocatuers who seem to have popped up in other locations. I heard a guy on the radio this morning talking about Fox News "coincidentally" setting up their equipment right next to a sketchy group of big-talking violence-pushing "smash the state" people. Unfortunately I didn't get the city, but if you don't smell setup in this, then you need a sinus transplant.

As demonstrations go, this wasn't huge, just a couple hundred people or so, but the enthusiasm was infectious and the speakers were inspiring.

Here's a video with some of the people and the signs from Saturday:

There are also more videos on YouTube of Occupy Olympia, and here is my favorite sign from Saturday:

The other side said "If corporations are people, why hasn't Texas executed one?" Great stuff.

Of course the hard core of wingnuttery right here in Olympia has been burning up the comment section of the local newspaper's online account of the movement. Read it here and look for some comments by some leftwing rabble-rouser who posts under the name of "farnsworth68".

Friday, October 14, 2011

Charts Tell the Chilling Story

Okay, this is verging off into some pretty wonky stuff, but here are a couple of telling charts from the oddly interesting Portal Seven.

The first is the unemployment rate from 2000 to 2011 showing exactly what damage was done by the Baby Doc Bush Maladministration when it comes to putting people out of work:

Click on either image to view it in a larger format.

The second is the count of monthly bank failures for the period of 2008 through 2011:

And the War in Afghanistan is now officially in its tenth year of boots-on-the-ground boondoggle, and the generals are saying that they still want the chance to "win" it. Excuse me, but this is where I came in 40 years ago. They wanted the chance to "win" in Vietnam, too, and we all know where that got us.

WASF. Indeed...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Simple Declaration

Here is the Declaration by the Occupy New York City crowd:

As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together. We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies.

As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known.

  • They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosure process, despite not having the original mortgage.

  • They have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to give Executives exorbitant bonuses.

  • They have perpetuated inequality and discrimination in the workplace based on age, the color of one's skin, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation.

  • They have poisoned the food supply through negligence, and undermined the farming system through monopolization.

  • They have profited off of the torture, confinement, and cruel treatment of countless animals, and actively hide these practices.

  • They have continuously sought to strip employees of the right to negotiate for better pay and safer working conditions.

  • They have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right.

  • They have consistently outsourced labor and used that outsourcing as leverage to cut workers’ healthcare and pay.

  • They have influenced the courts to achieve the same rights as people, with none of the culpability or responsibility.
  • They have spent millions of dollars on legal teams that look for ways to get them out of contracts in regards to health insurance.

  • They have sold our privacy as a commodity.

  • They have used the military and police force to prevent freedom of the press.

  • They have deliberately declined to recall faulty products endangering lives in pursuit of profit.

  • They determine economic policy, despite the catastrophic failures their policies have produced and continue to produce.

  • They have donated large sums of money to politicians, who are responsible for regulating them.

  • They continue to block alternate forms of energy to keep us dependent on oil.

  • They continue to block generic forms of medicine that could save people’s lives or provide relief in order to protect investments that have already turned a substantial profit.

  • They have purposely covered up oil spills, accidents, faulty bookkeeping, and inactive ingredients in pursuit of profit.

  • They purposefully keep people misinformed and fearful through their control of the media.

  • They have accepted private contracts to murder prisoners even when presented with
    serious doubts about their guilt.

  • They have perpetuated colonialism at home and abroad.

  • They have participated in the torture and murder of innocent civilians overseas.

  • They continue to create weapons of mass destruction in order to receive government contracts.*

  • To the people of the world,We, the New York City General Assembly occupying Wall Street in Liberty Square, urge you to assert your power.
Exercise your right to peaceably assemble; occupy public space; create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone.

To all communities that take action and form groups in the spirit of direct democracy, we offer support, documentation, and all of the resources at our disposal.

Join us and make your voices heard!

*These grievances are not all-inclusive.
Sound familiar? It ought to. It mirrors the Declaration of Independence.

You'd think the Teabaggers would be all about it. But no, they are not true American patriots, unlike the folks at Occupy Wall Street, and unlike the folks at Occupy Everything.

There are Occupy events across the nation this weekend, including right here in Olympia, Washington. I plan to be there.

What about you?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Looking More Closely at Herman Cain

Now that Herman Cain's star has, kind of by default, started to rise, I think a closer look at him is warranted.

Especially that 666 999 tax plan of his.

Bruce Bartlett, a senior Republican economist and long-time associate of the likes of Ronald Reagan, George Bush I, Jack Kemp and Ron Paul, has some impressive credentials to bring to the discussion, and he recently had a column in the NY Times, Inside the Cain Tax Plan:

Little detail has been released by the Cain campaign, so it’s impossible to do a thorough analysis. But using what is available on Mr. Cain’s Web site, I’m taking a stab at estimating its effects.
First, the 9-9-9 plan is actually an intermediate step in Mr. Cain’s plan to overhaul the tax system and jump-start growth. Phase 1 would reduce individual and business taxes to a maximum of 25 percent, which I assume means reducing the top statutory tax rate to 25 percent from 35 percent.
No mention is made on the site of a tax cut for those now in the 10 percent, 15 percent or 25 percent brackets. This means that the only people who would get a tax rate cut are those now in the 28 percent, 33 percent or 35 percent brackets. According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, only 4 percent of taxpayers pay any taxes at those rates.
. . .
This means that the 47 percent of tax filers who now pay no federal income taxes will pay 9 percent on their total income. And elimination of the payroll tax won’t even help half of them because the earned income tax credit, which Mr. Cain would abolish, offsets both their income tax liability and their payroll tax payment as well.
Additionally, everyone would now pay a 9 percent sales tax on all purchases. No mention is made of any exemptions from this tax, so we may assume that it will apply to food, medical care, rent, home and auto purchases and a wide variety of other expenditures now exempt from state sales taxes. This would increase their cost of living by 9 percent while, at the same time, the poor would pay income taxes.
. . .
And here’s the kicker in the Cain plan. Phase 2 is merely a transition to yet another fundamental tax reform. In Phase 3, the United States would adopt the so-called Fair Tax, which would replace all federal taxes with a 30 percent [!!!] sales tax on all goods and services.
At a minimum, the Cain plan is a distributional monstrosity. The poor would pay more while the rich would have their taxes cut, with no guarantee that economic growth will increase and good reason to believe that the budget deficit will increase.

Even allowing for the poorly thought through promises routinely made on the campaign trail, Mr. Cain’s tax plan stands out as exceptionally ill conceived.
Got that? THIRTY percent tax on all goods and services. Memo to Herman Cain, who as a "business executive" pizza vendor, ought to know this: Our capitalist society is based on buying stuff, and if you put in place a tax that increases the price of that "stuff" by one third, then people are going to buy less of it. And there go the jobs (and this time they just disappear, instead of being outsourced to some Third World country), along with any chance of recovery, along with the very fabric of our society.

This is not rocket surgery. I learned this fifty years ago, way back in Econ 101. The real question is why didn't Herman Cain learn it?

Sunday, October 09, 2011

My New Religion: Dudeism

I've toyed around with different "mock" religions over the years, including Church of the Sub Genius, the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and the Church of Reality, but now I've finally found one that most exactly represents my personal beliefs, attitudes and the need for slack.

And that is the Church of the Latter Day Dude, based on the character of "Dude" as played by Jeff Bridges in The Big Lebowsky:

Come join the slowest-growing religion in the world – Dudeism. An ancient philosophy that preaches non-preachiness, practices as little as possible, and above all, uh…lost my train of thought there. Anyway, if you’d like to find peace on earth and goodwill, man, we’ll help you get started. Right after a little nap.
. . .
While Dudeism in its official form has been organized as a religion only recently, it has existed down through the ages in one form or another. Probably the earliest form of Dudeism was the original form of Chinese Taoism, before it went all weird with magic tricks and body fluids. The originator of Taoism, Lao Tzu, basically said "smoke ‘em if you got ‘em" and "mellow out, man" although he said this in ancient Chinese so something may have been lost in the translation.

Down through the ages, this "rebel shrug" has fortified many successful creeds – Buddhism, Christianity, Sufism, John Lennonism and Fo’-Shizzle-my-Nizzlism. The idea is this: Life is short and complicated and nobody knows what to do about it. So don’t do anything about it. Just take it easy, man. Stop worrying so much whether you’ll make it into the finals. Kick back with some friends and some oat soda and whether you roll strikes or gutters, do your best to be true to yourself and others – that is to say, abide.
You can even get yourself a more-or-less legitimate ordination as a priest of Dudeism.

Dude, am I wrong?

In the meantime, The Dude abides...

Friday, October 07, 2011

You Go, Zach!

My good friend Debby, who has made several appearances on this blog, has a son named Zach.

Zach was a student in Denver studying Labor History with the idea of becoming a college professor in the field. He is also a "white card" (i.e., "on call") longshoreman, and the son of a longtime longshoreman, so labor issues are in his blood. As is political activism. Here's a definite case of DNA not falling far from the tree, as it were.

He decided to come home to Washington state and get involved in the longshore dispute in my "home town", Longview. He figured, rightly so, that in the long run it would be better to be involved in history rather than just studying it.

Day before yesterday he managed to get himself arrested at the Occupy Seattle demonstration. Debby was a little apprehensive about it (after all, he's her "baby"), but I assured her that at worst he would be locked in a bare holding cell with his other demonstrators and wouldn't go into "general population" and the most they could charge him with would be a misdemeanor. Plus it will greatly enhance his "street cred" when he carries this arrest with him as a badge of honor.

Sure enough, they held him and three others in that holding cell for two hours with their hands cuffed behind their backs and then cut them loose.

At last notice, he was back in the tents at Westlake Center, doing his part to bring attention to the crimes of the banksters.

It's so refreshing -- so liberating -- to see young people willing to put themselves on the line for something that they so deeply believe in.

You go, Zach! Don't let the bastards grind you down.

You Might Be... Addendum

One that wasn't on the original list but ought to have been.

You believe that government can't do anything right, except in cases of capital punishment, wherein each and every person executed had a completely fair trial with evidence presented by the government that was incontrovertible and an appeals process that was fair, even and balanced.

If you agree with me on the barbarity of the death penalty, please check out The Innocence Project and do what you can to eliminate this appalling practice by the governments of the various states.

Another thought: If capital punishment is such a deterrent, why does Texas have such a high rate of capital crimes?

Why Ronald Reagan Would Never Make it in Today's GOP

Here's a video clip from 1985. RepubliCONS, watch it and weep.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Sarah Palin Out -- Say It Ain't So!

It is with great regret that I note that Sarah Palin is dropping out of the race for the White House, a race that she was never in to begin with.

Only in America could this be headline news. My personal regret is that it will probably drive down the readership of this blog.

The one page on this blog that has gotten, according to Blogger Statistics, the absolute highest number of hits (by a factor of 2-1!) is my post from November 2008, Sarah Palin Camel Toes, the vast majority of those hits coming from Google Search for the phrase "Sarah Palin Camel Toes". Do the search yourself and you will see that this blog occupies the top four slots in the Google rankings.

What does that say about the Internets, about the users of those Internets, and about the public at large? And what does it say about the media in this country that of all the possible stories they could cover on a given news day, the non-story of a non-candidate dropping out of a race that she was never in gets top billing?

It's a sad commentary on our times, for sure.

Still, I'm going to miss her. She was easy, a ready target every time she opened that pit-bull-with-lipstick mouth of hers and said something stupid. My biggest regret is that I didn't slam her more than I did.

Shit. See, I'm doing it myself... Damn you, Sarah Palin!

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

You Might Be a Conservative If...

I just love this stuff. Here's a terrific list of "warning signs" that may prove you are a conservative, including:

1: You’re irate over the president taking so many vacation days on the taxpayer’s dime (61 thus far), but you thought George W. Bush earned every minute of his leisure time (196 days at the same point in his presidency).
2: You’re happy with your 40 hour work week, paid vacations and company-provided healthcare, but you’re strongly anti-union, because those commies haven’t done anything for you lately.
. . .
13: You accuse president Obama of raising your taxes to the highest point ever, even though they’re lower today than at any time since 1950.
. . .
22: You believe that no matter who’s in the White House, the office, if not the man himself is deserving of your respect. The only exceptions to this rule, are if his middle name sounds Muslim, and if he’s not at least as white as that black guy who works down in the mailroom at the office.
There are lots more. Go ahead and read them and shake your head in sad-but-funny disbelief.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Sure, Good Idea! Invade Mexico! It Worked Before!

Whenever you think that the Rethugs just can't get any worse, you will always be in for a surprise.

Now Rick Perry wants to invade Mexico!

Why not? We've done it twice in our history, first in the so-called-by-white-people Mexican War, and once more in 1916 when General John "Black Jack" Pershing made an incursion -- a "punitive expedition -- into Mexico allegedly in pursuit of the "bandit" Pancho Villa.

As you can well imagine, the native Mexicans were less than happy to see us there each time. As in Baghdad, troops were not met with flowers and open arms. Nor will they be so welcoming when General Perry leads his wetpants troops across the Rio Grande this time around.

But you still gotta hand it to the Rethugs. They will do almost anything, go almost anywhere, to fight a war.

Just so long as they are fighting it with someone else's children.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Goddam that Arab Spring Anyway!

So Michelle "I'm Not Crazy I Just Act That Way" Bachmann is decrying President Obama as an unindicted co-conspirator for everything that the so-called "Arab Spring" stands for, huh?

Yeah, okay...

Of course she's just fine with the US propping up brutal dictators (Shah of Iran anyone?), just so long as they continue to mouth the "I'm pro-American" platitudes while torturing, butalizing and murdering their own people.

Jesus wept.

God help us if that fucking wacko-assed bitch actually gets the nomination. As I've often said, whichever inept wingnut crazy-ass motherfucker actually becomes the nominee (and the official odds are 9-2 for at this point for Bachmann), we are still just one "October Surprise" away from her actually becoming president...

Jeez, Costa Rica is looking more attractive every day...