Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Recess of Long Knives

OK, before we jump to conclusions and begin incoherently screaming that the Democrats are stabbing the President in the back, let's remember a couple of things: Demanding pro-forma sessions, or staying behind and keeping at least one person in the Senate to block recess appointments by the executive branch, is perfectly within the Senate Minority Leader's legal purview and Senator Mitch "Balls in Chin" McConnell is making full use of them. This move prevents the minority GOP from sending back to the White House any number of Obama's more "controversial" nominees like unwanted Xmas gifts.

So, we got that out of the way, now we can scream bloody murder.

This rarely-invoked Senate rule that demands pro forma was also in the purview of Harry Reid back when he was the Senate minority leader prior to the 2006 midterms. However, he did not invoke the pro forma rule, thereby allowing George W. Bush to appoint as our ambassador to the UN a group sex-loving UN-hating psychopath named John Bolton.

And perhaps "Give 'Em Head" Harry didn't bother to demand pro forma sessions because he rightly knew that the childish, obstinate, obstructionist and power-drunk GOP would never entertain for a second any deal with the Democrats and Reid simply never thought to send George W. Bush's often laughable nominees packing for the Rose Garden.

But it doesn't come close to passing the smell test. The simple fact is, when their President and standard-bearer for their party is criss-crossing the country stumping on their behalf, when their president is busting his hump trying to help them keep their jobs, the Democrats decide now is the time to stab that man in the back by playing ball with the minority GOP.

That's the only way to look at it. When Congressional rules give certain powers to the minority party, the Democrats never take advantage of it but the GOP will use any and every single sliver of leverage to continue being the Party of No. This is part and parcel to a wet-legged Democratic Party that is about to pay the ultimate political price for being perceived as by far the more craven, cowardly and conciliatory of the two parties.

If you can vote green, red, purple, rainbow or polka dot, do that. Do not vote for either party if you can at all help it. If you insist on staying alive in the political process, this is your only option. Send a message that we're tired of both Democrats and Republicans alike and that we're especially sick and tired of invertebrate Democrats who actually aid and abet the Republican Party in their usual obstruction of the President's policies and agendas.

I'm no fan of Obama, God knows, but acting against our President in a troubling election year when he's busting his hump trying to help you keep your job is just political Hara-kiri.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ronald Reagan is Dead... and We Don't Feel Too Good, Ourselves

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

"People need to shake off this lethargy. People need to buck up. Bringing about change is hard — that's what I said during the campaign. It has been hard, and we've got some lumps to show for it. But if people now want to take their ball and go home, that tells me folks weren't serious in the first place. If you're serious, now's exactly the time that people have to step up." - President Barack Obama

When I informed the missus yesterday that my next article would be a slam on the Democrats, she said, "That's like shooting fish in a barrel." I responded, "No. Fish have spines."

These days, Daddy Warbucks Barack is doing the same exact thing as George W. Bush four years ago: Hitting the campaign trail for his party in a non-election cycle while he ought to be running the nation. In both cases, their respective parties were expected to lose big in the midterms. Here's the one crucial difference: George W. Bush had the sense not to insult the party's base while trying to get votes for the Republicans. Obama, while he's slapping us on the backs with one hand is slapping us in the face with the other.

During an interview in Rolling Stone and a stumping stop in Wisconsin, Obama chided Democratic, liberal and independent voters under the guise of rallying them. Scared that he'll be faced with an even more hostile Congress than the one with which he's had to deal for the past 20+ months, Obama has made the huge mistake of talking down to the liberal/progressive base that had gotten him elected, treating justifiably disaffected voters as if they're petulant children who want their candy now, as if we have poor impulse control.

That's a characterization that's more befitting Republican/Tea Bagger voters. While the liberal/progressive base that elevated then-Senator Obama from a mere dark horse to the presidency of the United States may feel disenfranchised, at least we never made an issue of his religion, his birthplace or questioned his patriotism or political or ideological allegiances. Understandably, Obama has given up on the Tea Bagger/Fox "News" demographic.

But there are a lot of voters on both sides of the Great Ideological Divide that are deeply unhappy with the 44th administration. Many are going to be voting Republican. Many will be voting ultra Republican. And those voters who actually have their facts straight will be sitting at home on Super Tuesday. Those are the ones who realize two things: #1 That Obama's presidency is not (directly) at stake. And #2, it doesn't really matter which party they vote for. The only difference between the Democrats and Republicans is that the Democrats usually use lubrication and give us a sloppy reacharound.

Let's take stock of the Democrats' proud accomplishments of late:

In the biggest no brainer of the decade, a fat, slow-swinging piñata sans the blindfold, the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, the Democrats, while tokenly insisting on keeping them for the middle class, caved and put off a final vote because they know they'll cave in the face of the Republican minority yet again and extend them for their fellow Haves and Have Mores.

In another no brainer, the Democrats allowed the minority Republicans to scuttle the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

Larry Summers is leaving his post as the head of the National Economic Council so he can spend more time insulting women at Harvard and the rumors are flying that Obama will appoint a Wall Street tycoon to fill his post to dispel any lingering right wing impressions that he's "anti-business."

Stephen Colbert, the faux conservative and darling of the liberal base was openly insulted by John Conyers and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer after the comedian testified before Congress on the plight of immigrant migrant workers, thereby making them sound exactly like the Republicans. In fact, Conyers asked Colbert to leave and to submit his statement to Congress even before he had the chance to speak despite the fact that Mr. Colbert was there at the personal invitation of Conyers' subcommittee chairwoman Zoe Lofgren.

And Harry Reid recently tried to suck up to an unwinnable right wing base by wishing the Cordoba Cultural Center would be built elsewhere.

It's been 20+ months. Unemployment has not gotten any better since right before Bush left office, the deficit has grown, our national debt has grown. Anyone who honestly thought this hobbling by the Bush administration would be magically healed in 20 months deserves to get bitch-slapped by the President.

But the Obama administration, in many ways, is like that computer program that looked so great in the demo at the computer store than, once you install it, it crashes your system.

Not only did Obama install Ken Salazar, a man who never saw an oil cartel he didn't like, as Interior Secretary, he also put in charge of protecting the Interior a man overseeing a Minerals Management Service that allowed BP to pollute the entire Gulf Coast by not making them file environmental impact reports, to allow them to drill without adequate (and inexpensive) backup measures and to submit a laughable oil spill response plan that included dead men, non-working phone numbers and even a Japanese home shopping network. The health care bill is a joke and merely resulting in higher and higher premiums. Yet the only funny thing Obama saw during a recent $30,000 fundraiser were querulous liberals who couldn't get over the fact that Obama championed a public option during his campaign yet swept it from the table when the minority Republicans began grumbling about it.

Granted, it would be grossly unfair to blame Obama for all the ills that he'd inherited just as it would be grossly unfair to blame Bush for the same problems. Many of our problems began under Reagan and, in some cases, Nixon. But Ronald Reagan is dead and we're not feeling too good, ourselves.

Meanwhile, Gitmo is still open despite campaign promises to the contrary, pictures and videos of us torturing innocent people are closed to public scrutiny despite campaign promises to the contrary, Afghanistan has been ramped up to unprecedented levels, the illegal war in Iraq is still being fought only with less US troops, the number of contractors between Iraq and Afghanistan has literally swelled to 2-1 and bailed out corporate executives are paying themselves bigger bonuses than ever.

And, in probably the most egregious example of wet-legged Democratic cowardice, the Obama administration won't even address a UN Human Rights Council's finding that Israeli commandos murdered a US citizen execution-style.

It seems, for many reasons that seem pressing and unavoidable to him, Obama is bound and determined to continue kowtowig to the Chinese even while they're racheting up the trade imbalance and don't seem to care that their products are killing us, sucking up to the Saudis and practically lying prostrate before Israel despite their terrorist activities that are killing US citizens and innocent Palestinians and Lebanese.

This is a trend that began decades ago and, thanks to Obama, the once-proud and independent United States remains the Sick Man of North America. So why shouldn't we call in sick on Election Day?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Up Against the Wall, Mutha!

I swear, in my 51+ years, I've never seen things get this bad. To get a glimpse of a worse state, you'd have to ask people in their 70's or 80's what it was like in the Great Depression. The two epochs, our and theirs, compare favorably if "favorably" can be used in that context.

Our own government, the non-partisan Census Bureau, told us this month that about 44,000,000 of us are living at or below the poverty line. The Dept. of Labor said early this month that unemployment climbed to 9.6% with no end in sight. We're hearing from other organizations that the top executives of the 50 companies that shed the most jobs took home bigger salaries and bonus packages than ever. And continuing the Bush tax cuts for these same people is half the GOP's campaign platform.

It could be plausibly said that the only thing that keeps us from rioting on Wall Street and Pennsylvania Ave. is hunger and distracted desperation to find any work.

Mrs. JP and I are just two people who fell through the cracks. We're both skilled, hard-working people who'd much rather make our own way the way we're expected to. Yet the system's not cooperating. The MA DET's official website has been either down or slowed considerably since yesterday and I'm not getting the final check from my 12 week federal extension. Even with both of us drawing unemployment, we were pulling in less than $300 a week, which is insufficient for rent, food, car insurance, internet, gas, electricity, gasoline and whatever comes up.

Anything you guys could do would literally make all the difference this month. We're still about $300 short just for the rent that's due on Friday, which is the $300- we should have gotten by tomorrow. We're doing everything we can. Last Friday, we drove as far out as Concord, about 20 miles east of us, looking for work to no avail. Temp agencies call me for my resume, I give it to them then they don't call me back. Either people aren't hiring or the 9.6% unemployment rate gives them an excuse to shrink their strike zone down to the size of a molecule.

We really do want to be self-sufficient and to start paying it forward. We could cut down on our living expenses by going to the local food banks. But we've avoided them out of both pride and the realization there are other others who are hurting worse than us. But this is the closest we've come to facing actual eviction and there aren't even any homeless shelters in the area.

So, to any kind souls out there, the Paypal button is at the very bottom of the index page. Thanks in advance.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Email to a Friend About the Gay/Bisexual Experience

For some reason, my online friend Cossak at Ruminations seems to value my usually hysterical opinions on various topics. Sometimes he'll show me a post in draft or one that he's already put up and solicits my opinion. I guess he seems to think that my obscure, anonymous voice is more authoritative and worldly than his obscure, anonymous voice.

But today he sent me a draft of a post that, while I won't print it without his permission, made common sense without really grabbing the reader by the lapels. That's my distinction. In my impassioned, disrespectful and often obscene and outraged prose, I'll grab you by the lapels until you at least blink and look me in the eye.

Cos was right in his commonsensical take on gay rights but the only reason it appealed to me is because of my emerging bisexuality and passionately militant advocacy for gay rights. So, remembering my recent coming out post at Pottersville, he asked me for my opinion and what follows is my response. You can infer the content of his post by reading between the lines of what follows.

OK, I think this is one of your better posts although the common sense approach you're taking here is one that has already been adopted by many of us, including me, in the reality-based community. It's correct but it still doesn't stand out. Remember the early Willie Stark? He had all the right facts, figures and numbers but people weren't listening to him until he began to jazz it up.

To more succinctly sum up your first point, homosexuality is not unnatural, just uncommon. That's how one person put it and it stuck with me.

Secondly, you might want to drive home the point that the only thing that straight people, gays and we bis have in common is what we do behind closed doors, which is no one's business and makes for a piss-poor reason to judge someone unless they're violating their marriage vows, being hypocritical about their homosexuality or diddling little kids.

Thirdly, we keep losing and being made to look as if we're advocating an immoral lifestyle choice because we keep letting the right wing frame the debate thusly. It has nothing to do with choice and even less to do with morality. You telling me two gay men happily marrying and devoting their lives to one another in the strictest fidelity ruined Ted Haggard's marriage more than him sleeping with a male hooker for three years and doing crystal meth? Because Elton John or Mr. Sulu got married to other men, that endangered Eddie Long's marriage moreso than him fucking at least four of his male parishioners behind his wife's back?

The hypocrisy on the Far Right is staggering and we need to keep hammering away at the very hypocrisy that automatically undermines their specious arguments.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Colbert Retort

These videos have probably by now made the rounds all over the liberal blogosphere but Stephen Colbert's 5 minute-long performance/testimony on migrant workers before Congress is too good not to help disseminate.

This was the closest Colbert ever came to stepping out of character, when he told Congresswoman Chu, "I like talking about people who don't have any power...I feel the need to speak for those who can't speak for themselves....We ask them to come and work, and then we ask them to leave again. They suffer, and have no rights."

We unknowns in the blogosphere point out that contradiction every day and no one listens to us. Perhaps Colbert's celebrity will get them to thinking about that despicable contradiction.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Still Perfect

Anyone who's ever gotten their first pair of eyeglasses in years will know what it's like: You run outside and start counting leaves on trees, reading the license plate numbers of strangers driving by and seeing how far away you can stand from a calendar while still being able to read it. This is what today is like for me since getting my own pair from Perfect It's almost like having painless, outpatient eye surgery that restored my vision after years of blindness.

After Mrs. JP got her bifocals in the mail five weeks ago and they proved to be a smashing success, I had the temerity to ask my contact guy Chad Thomsen if I could get a pair of bifocals of my own if I agreed to write another article. He immediately said Yes. So I got another eye exam, submitted my script and order that day then sat back and waited a couple of weeks.

Some places give you your glasses in an hour but then again, that doesn't leave more than a few cursory minutes for a quality control check, does it? Take it from an old ISO 9001-trained QC guy, you cannot scrimp on quality, especially if you want to run with the big dogs. has a stringent quality control apparatus in place so they can ensure your script is exactly as the doctor specified. When you combine the value ($19 for mine had I paid for them) with the relatively brief wait (two weeks on average) plus the superior quality of the lenses and frames, waiting by the mailbox for a couple of weeks seems a small price to pay.

Of course, the drawbacks to getting new glasses is that I'm seeing for the first time how old and decrepit I am and exactly how bad of a housekeeper I am but there's nothing poor Chad can do about that.

What he can do for you, however, is give you affordable, timely high-quality eyewear that's literally 10% of what a lot of places in the meat world will charge. I got quotes a year and a half ago and what I was hearing was up to $200 for bifocals with progressive lenses. So, once again, if you happen to be in the market for eyewear, you definitely want to check out My style, in case you're curious, is the Live Wire model.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fox News at its Finest, Part XII

Fox: We Stay on Top of the News!

"What's that spell? RDGCGON, that's what!"

That's... that's horrible! Or, it would be if the two automakers in question, Tesla and Fisker were European as Fox claimed. They're not. They're American.

Yeah, but hitting the power button on the remote is still easier.

And if news of Goldman Sachs' bundled mortgage-backed securities can't sustain your interest, take a gander at these tronches...

Uh, I think I'll let Christine field this one...

Oh, no. Perish the thought.

"Tell us, damnit, or we'll fucking blow your brains out!"

"...and now, here's Jesus with the latest on the Lions vs Christians championship..."

Absolutely. Facts ought to reside in one skull at a time.

Until they go to prison, that's about the summation of a typical college Republican.

Oh, so that explains this and this, then?

Nah, we'll pass. But if Nazi Germany ever makes a comeback...

Ah, but is it still legal to be legal in Arizona if you don't have your papers on demand?

Look like Little Jack Horner's stuck his thumb in something worse than a plum pie.

Yeah, authors need teleprompters to sign their own names on invisible books during their book signings all the time. And your point is...?

Ah, yes, Whenever I think of national unity, the first decade that springs to mind is the 60's.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Richman, Poor Man

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

Democrats, just congenitally, tend … to see the glass as half empty. (Laughter.) If we get an historic health care bill passed — oh, well, the public option wasn’t there. If you get the financial reform bill passed — then, well, I don’t know about this particularly derivatives rule, I’m not sure that I’m satisfied with that. And gosh, we haven’t yet brought about world peace… (laughter.) I thought that was going to happen quicker. (Laughter.) You know who you are. (Laughter.) We have had the most productive, progressive legislative session in at least a generation. - Barack Obama at a $30,000 a plate DNC fundraiser, September 16, 2010

Perhaps Obama’s still deeply reading the words of his improbable hero Abe Lincoln to the point where he’s living a Lincolnesque paraphrase. Because when it came to the health care bill and so many other “reforms”, it was obvious that Barack “The Bitch of Wall Street” Obama was obsessed with pleasing all of the special interests all of the time.

Perhaps, also, the Obama/Wall Street administration is completely blind to irony. Or perhaps it’s likelier they’re going out of their way to find it, to manufacture it, even, so they can jab a thumb all the way to the first knuckle into the collective eye of liberal America.

Because what other conclusion can one arrive at when we see our President, one who’d cheerfully walked on our backs all the way to the Rose Garden to join the rest of the pricks, at a $30,000 a plate DNC fundraiser at a gated Connecticut mansion owned by a guy named (Jesus, you just can’t make this shit up) Rich Richman? As if that wasn’t bad enough, Obama said in his speech that critics of his criminally co-opted HMO/Big Pharma Welfare bill are just “pessimists” who see the glass as “half-empty.” (I guess we should see the glass as half full like eternal optimist Dick Cheney.)

Jane says, “The people in Connecticut who couldn’t afford $30,000 to attend an event that raised $1 million for the DNC might not see it that way.”

Those of us with political PTSD who can remember further back than NFL Opening Day will recall George W. Bush a decade ago in white tie and tails and looking like a brain-damaged emperor penguin saying at a similar fundraiser of the “haves and have mores”, “Some people call you the elite. I call you my base.”

The link that Jane Hamsher provides is to an article that said Connecticut “regulators” have allowed price increases by as much as 21%, price changes they wanted to put in effect in a little over a week… weeks before inundating the same “regulatory” agency with another tsunami of rate increases for 2011.

Jane also makes a timely mention of the fact that Obama had the bad taste to attend this swanky fundraiser of his own elite base the day after the Census Bureau announced that about 44,000,000 Americans are living below the poverty line and partly because some of them are losing their homes and filing for bankruptcy partly because of rapacious HMO’s and the lenders that have vastly benefited from Obama’s “reforms” in the last “productive, progressive legislative session in at least a generation.” (What's he's not saying, as if it isn't self-evident, is for whom this legislation is productive.)

Precious few of us (I number myself among the truthy elite) warned that if ObamaCare, as it’s come to be called, was passed it would be merely a macro-sized version of the health care “reform” Mitt Romney signed into law just before scuttling back into the corporate/political sector. When the Massachusetts health care bill went into effect, it took merely days for HMOs in the Bay State to jack up weekly premiums by as much as 75%. MassHealth, which used to be for the indigent on welfare, was suddenly co-opted by six of the state’s largest health care deniers and a person in their 50’s now cannot even get a quote for less than $80 a week.

Of course, that was the idea all along. This was the reason Obama laughed off a public option after championing one on the campaign trial. This was the reason why the even better universal single payer system was never even on the table and was made to look like a liberally radical and unpragmatic idea. That would’ve meant that HMO’s would’ve actually had to compete in the open market fairly and squarely with co-ops.

Socialist? Hardly. It’s more fascist than it is Socialist or Communist because two major industries have thus far benefited from the HCR far, far more than your average policy holder. Now, we’re all mandated to carry insurance under the very real threat of huge fines and up to five years in prison.

And in singling out Democrats (read: liberals who could read through the charade that was the HCR), it’s official that Obama wasn’t taking swipes at the Tea Baggers or the Republicans who have relentlessly and ignorantly demonized him for the wrong reasons over the HCR and are clamboring to repeal it for its tepid "reforms" but his liberal base who invested millions of dollars and millions of man hours to get this “agent of hope and change” elected.

When one adds up all the swipes Obama’s taken at liberals and progressives and Democrats not to mention the unions, one gets more than an uneasy sense that the Anointed One loathes those on the “professional left” perhaps even moreso than the lunatics who insist on holding up misspelled, racist signs, insist he’s a Communist, a Socialist, a Muslim, a terrorist, and a native Kenyan illegally occupying the Oval Office.

That means we’ve struck a nerve and you can’t do that unless you speak truth to power. Obama and Biden keep giving the Tea Baggers a free pass even while they call for Obama’s lynching and/or impeachment but we’re taking one potshot after another even while they make us indentured servants of the corporatocracy, are prepared to allow our Medicare to be gutted and our Social Security to be gambled away on the craps table of Wall Street, to be parted out and bundled like other assets.

If the DNC fundraiser, in which Democrats and liberals were literally laughed at by Barack Obama and his elite base of Haves and Have More, isn’t a ready-made campaign spot for a 2012 Democratic presidential candidate, I don’t know what is.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Going Rogue From K Street

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

"Combine the DNA of a flash mob, a news addict and a con­servative who feels betrayed by the spending excesses of George W. Bush, sprinkle in some anxiety and you’ve got my people." - Anonymous Tea Party Lobbyist

We've seen confessionals told from the inside. We're addicted to them like sin. And they will always sell provided the insider making a clean breast is either famous enough or well-placed enough to at least give the appearance of credibility and greedy literary agents will always flock to them like well-heeled dodo birds. Baseball had Jose Canseco. The world of finance gave us John Perkins, author of Confessions of an Economic Hitman. And of course, politics has given us scores of scorned insiders whom one can plausibly suspect of wanting revenge and/or a quick buck moreso than a clear conscience.

What we haven't seen too much are tellalls from the Land of Lobbyists. Until now. Playboy Magazine recently published a seven page article by "Anonymous", a guy who, by all rights, ought to be chased through the streets of Boston or Philadelphia, tarred, feathered, then drawn and quartered. He is a lobbyist from K Street and also bills himself as a "A Tea Party consultant." In fact, that's the subtitle of the article, "The Rogues of K Street."

Before one gets to page three or maybe even two, one will become aware of one startling fact: The thing missing from this revelatory tellall, something that distinguishes so many others, is remorse. Furthermore, when one spelunks further into the fetid sewer of this understandably anonymous douchebag's brain pan, one sees the unmistakable sneer of arrogance and hubris. This man is actually proud of the political terrorism that he's caused.

No mere mercenary willing to side with whomever waves the most number of greenbacks under his pig snout, this piece of shit openly admires the likes of Andrew Breitbart, the right wing smearmeister who to this day is still wiping yolk off his face months after the Shirley Sherrod incident. In fact, here's what he has to say about Breitbart:
Although it’s mostly uncoordinated, Andrew Breitbart is pursuing a similar mission through his new-media empire. He described himself in a 2007 interview as "Matt Drudge’s bitch," but he’s no intern. I met him at a Dupont Circle Starbucks in early 2009, where he couldn’t shake an entourage of well-wishers. The man is intense. Angry. My one-year-old has a longer attention span. But he’s so sharp you feel smarter just being in the same room with him. The best part about Breitbart is that he has a knack for making others—whether it’s the president, the press or others in power—sound like douches.

When Breitbart gestured to the print reporters at a Tea Party event in Nashville and said, "It’s not your business model that sucks; it’s you that sucks," he whipped Tea Party members into a frenzy unlike anything I’d ever seen. Breitbart is one of them, except smarter, better connected and angrier; compared with him, Palin is Las Vegas dinner theater. That’s why he is loved by Tea Partyers in a way Palin can never hope to be loved.

What Anonymous fails to mention is that Breitbart doesn't get out the racist lunatics and help candidates get elected and win primaries: Palin does. Give the bubble-brained bimbo from the Klondike her due: She brings out the parishioners and gets them to give her millions even though she's politically unemployed and is not officially running for office. Not loved?

The Nashville Tea Bagger convention, he also chooses to omit, went down in history for two things: Not attracting more than a couple of thousand people and Sarah Palin's palm notes.

Long before this amazing pronouncement, however, one is struck by his other disconnects from reality not to mention his bald-faced admission in his opening paragraphs to throwing the political and electoral process into disarray:
That’s when I realized (the Tea Party) isn’t an average fringe movement. This one is credible, legit and—for the first time in a decade—scaring the crap out of the left. In my years as a campaign hack and then as a consultant, I’ve created more than my share of fake grassroots organizations. Some were downright evil but effective beyond expectations. Did you get an automated call from the sister of a 9/11 victim asking you to reelect President Bush in 2004? That was me. Did you get a piece of mail with the phrase supports abortion on demand as a means of birth control? That may have been me too.

What he's not saying is that his acts of political faux terrorism is also scaring the shit out of the right wing establishment and is doing more to fragment any actual conservative movement than anything else. The Tea Baggers? We laugh at them and their misspelled signs. They may be the darlings of the mainstream press but the fact remains they are a fringe group, they're more incredible than credible and they're certainly not so much a majority as a serial flash mob. And we'll see how many of them there actually are this Super Tuesday in November, the first election ever held since the "rise" of the Tea Party.

He also holds these "credible" and "legitimate" tea baggers in contempt because he'd referred to their "reptilian brains" and acknowledged they don't have much of a attention span (an attribute, don't forget, that he'd rightly ascribed to Breitbart). This is another direct quote:
The exciting news for me is that the organization still needs someone who can deliver a message to the masses using traditional means. Even the most forward-looking political professionals know blogging and text messaging will get you only so far. That’s where I come in. I’m part of the team prepping to deliver the Tea Party message via traditional means.

A good piece of mail gets its message across in 10 seconds. Television gives you 30 seconds, maybe. We’re playing to the reptilian brain rather than the logic centers, so we look for key words and images to leverage the intense rage and anxiety of white working-class conservatives. In other words, I talk to the same part of your brain that causes road rage...

And when one descends further into the bowels of this man's mind one sees a genuine partisan making a very handsome living disseminating lies and making up grassroots organizations and 9/11 sisters for Bush out of thin air. He's no better than phone jammer James Tobin, Lee Atwater protégé Karl Rove and the pieces of shit working for Diebold, ES&S and Sequoia who stole at least three consecutive elections. Unsurprisingly, our anonymous tipster never once raises the possibility of rationally debating the issues and trying to reach a national consensus. It's a lot more entertaining for him and others such as Jailbird James O'Keefe and Hanna Giles, two scam artists also held up for admiration, to inspire the political equivalent of road rage.

Here's another "teachable moment" from this shit-smeared screed that would be more at home in Hustler's Letters to the Editor or Al Goldstein's Screw Magazine than Playboy:
Our candidate-interview process is pretty simple. The candidate is asked two questions:
(1) Are you a birther?
(2) Are you a truther?
If the answer is anything but "no" or "hell no," the conversation ends right there. If the candidate answers correctly, the conversation continues, looking at viability and whether we can have a worthwhile impact. The reality of this litmus test is as patriotic as practical. Donors don’t contribute to lunatics.

OK, we'll just wave aside for the nonce the absolutely batshit insane belief that "donors don't contribute to lunatics" like Sarah Palin, Sharron Angle, Michele Bachmann, Tom Tancredo, Christine O'Donnell and Steve King. Let's focus, instead, on this turd's "patriotic" insistence on lumping "birthers" and "truthers" in the same conspiracy theory category. There's absolutely no credible evidence to the contrary nor even a sliver of daylight between the facts of Obama's birth and the official narrative. There are, however, literally hundreds of unanswered questions and at least as many facts that dramatically depart from the official narrative of the terrorist attacks of 9/11.

They're willing to lambaste Bush for "his spending excesses" but are forbidden from entertaining the possibility that 9/11 was an inside job. What is an inside job is the runaway spending, the stimulus measure that has created hundreds of thousand of jobs and the bailouts and it's all Obama's fault, don't you know?

What our anonymous lobbyist failed to mention in his cockwanding session in Playboy is that the last Tea Party convention for next month had to be canceled due to lack of warm bodies even though it would've featured his heroes Andrew Breitbart and Sarah Palin as well as Sharron Angle and Lou Dobbs.

Friday, September 17, 2010

"A Nation of Shopkeepers."

The famed lexicographer Dr. Samuel Johnson once complained to his biographer James Boswell that England "was a nation of shopkeepers." It may have been an uncharitably elitist statement on the merchant class. After all, shopkeepers selling to the population goods and services is the backbone of any economy, the starter motor, if you will, of the economic engine that drives a nation.

But when a nation once as prosperous as the United States becomes Johnson's urban nightmare of "a nation of shopkeepers", when roughly a quarter of the working force is no longer in manufacturing but in retail, selling shoddy goods that are made in China and other third world countries, it becomes a very real problem.

The Census Bureau has released its findings from the 2010 census and the news is far from encouraging. According to the Census Bureau, the percentage of those Americans living at or below the poverty line is at a 15 year high. One in seven Americans is living in poverty, says our government.

That's 44 million Americans. But that's just the beginning of the bad news. If you're a person of color, your chances of living below the poverty line skyrocket by as much as 275%. 9.4% of whites live under the poverty level but 12.5% of Asians also do. 25.3% of Hispanics are in the same boat and 25.8%, the largest segment of the poverty-class, of African Americans live in poverty-stricken circumstances.

The poverty line had actually gone up in the last year or two. When Bush was leaving office, the poverty line for a family of four was at about $19,900 a year. It's been elevated to $22,050 yet 44,000,000 of us still qualify as being officially indigent. The Rude Pundit, in a relatively rare straightforward post, offers additional stark and bleak figures. More people are asking for help from soup kitchens, food banks, charities and their local churches.

Not only that, the Census Bureau hastens to add that the overall poverty numbers would actually be much higher if so many people didn't have anywhere to go after they were evicted from their apartments or foreclosed. If so many grown adults didn't move back in with their parents or siblings or friends, we'd have many more homeless than we do now.

Bill Clinton, for all his faults as a human being, nonetheless knew his national economics. Part of the reason why Clinton left office with a budget surplus is because he partly fixed the tax code and made earned income credit count again. Simply doing this, certainly a mere stopgap and compromising measure, almost immediately elevated roughly 2,000,000 American households (not people, households) out of poverty.

Yet the best Obama can do is appoint former Republican Senator Alan Simpson to head his Cat Food Commission and seriously entertain neocon ideas that involve axing Social Security and Medicare, two of the most important, effective and efficacious pieces of liberal/progressive legislation in our nation's history?

Why hasn't Obama appointed former President Clinton to his economic team? Why hasn't this administration learned to forgive the Clintons beyond making Hillary Secretary of State? Clinton was the only president in the last couple of generations to leave office with an honest-to-God budget surplus instead of a deficit. Less people were living in poverty thanks to Bill Clinton. One would think that, with his impressive economic track record, the 44th president would realize that, in lieu of any workable, commonsense ideas, the 42nd president could give him some timely, badly-needed advice.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Fox “News” is Not the GOP’s Network

They’re now the official network of the Tea Party.

There was a time when Fox “News”, as per any worthwhile propaganda operation, would’ve backed any establishment Republican to death over the slightest slight to his/her character. Anybody, be they Democrat, Republican, conservative or liberal, would've been lashed publicly by the falafel-speckled tongue of Bill O'Reilly for doubting that George Bush could walk on water.

It was just last April when Sean Hannity was pulled from the Cincinnati Tea Party Rally (that came with a hefty admission fee) because Rupert Murdoch and Fox executives were jittery about being perceived as Tea Party rallyers. This objection that came down from on high stood in stark contrast to Fox “News” supporting Tea Party events. All they needed to do was provide buses to them (although, Tea Party turnouts being what they usually are, they could’ve gotten off cheaply since a VW minibus could’ve provided all the transportation).

Because a year before this, in early April last year, before Barack Obama had memorized where all the smoking areas were in the White House, something even weirder than usual was beginning to develop at Fox. Without anyone outside the network consciously realizing it, they were becoming the Tea Party’s official network.

Bill Kristol, in the wake of the Hannity scandal, even ludicrously tried to make us believe that the Tea Party’s “Contract From America” was mainstream. Hell, Karl Rove in the first few seconds of the lead video is even the first to say that the Tea Party is not mainstream or “establishment” (neither is he, for that matter, according to Rove himself).

But a lot has changed since last spring, especially since whackjob Christine O’Donnell won the GOP senate primary in Delaware. Now, they had no qualms about sending John Stossel to a Tea Party event just last week. After all, the sons of Rupert Murdoch know what side their bread is buttered on.

It really all started late August 2008 when John McCain stiffly threw a dart into a national map and happened to hit Wasilla. The minute Sarah Palin opened her lipsticked mouth and made sleepy Republican voters cum in their pants, they knew they'd struck gold in the Klondike. Not long after the election, the Tea Party, bolstered by corporate influence, sprang up like herpes sores all over the country and screamed for the impeachment of a president who'd hardly had the chance to do anything good or bad. It was just enough for them to know that he was black.

So which came first, Sarah Palin or the Tea Party, the headless chicken or the rotten egg? Who cares? The fact is this tiny splinter faction of the grassroots conservative movement is now influencing elections and places like Fox "News" (and, to a lesser extent, all the major networks) are making them look bigger than they really are. Any more of this and we're going to start feeling sorry for the very same establishment Republicans who voted the USA PATRIOT Act into law and gave George W. Bush every penny he wanted and then some to fight terr'ism in nations that largely didn't have terrorists.

Now, they have no problem throwing their fellow Republicans under the bus, as we saw with the O’Donnell-Castle race in Delaware. Karl Rove shrinks from being called an "establishment" Republican. This would be the equivalent of some arch liberal network suddenly embracing Socialist policies, if there was such a thing as an arch liberal network.

Imagine a television network with hundreds of anti Howard Beales screaming the most batshit insane pronouncements simply for ratings and you have the current Fox "News" in a nutshell.

Fishkill: It's not Just a Town in New York

"What you see above isn't a rural gravel road. It's a Louisiana waterway, its surface completely covered with dead sea life -- a mishmash of species of fish, crabs, stingray and eel. New Orleans CBS affiliate WWL-TV reports that even a whale was found dead in the area, a stretch of coastal Louisiana hit hard this summer by oil from BP's busted Gulf well." - Yahoo Upshot News.

Now, that's what I call "progress." Not only are we meeting our oil needs in defiance of federal law but we're also simultaneously killing several forms of aquatic life instead of just one at a time.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Why is it When Some Teabagger Douchebag...

...wins a primary or manages to not completely alienate voters, it's a major news story? But when real progressives defeat middle-of-the-road Blue Dog Democrats (as was the case in New Hampshire last night), it gets short shrift, hardly meriting a yawn?

If you were to look at this morning's New York Times, you'll be treated to a breathless lead story, above the fold, of Tea Baggers like Christine O'Donnell winning the GOP primary against moderate Republican Congressman Mike Castle.

It's not even as if a Palin endorsement as one given to O'Donnell is an automatic guarantee of success. Brian Murphy got Palin's nod and still got his ass handed to him by fellow Republican Robert Erlich in the Maryland gubernatorial race. So what's the common denominator and why is the MSM treating this groundswell of opposition as if it's on a par with the populist movement that swelled around Obama three years ago? Especially since a typical nose count of Tea Bagger hatefests can be counted in the hundreds rather than the thousands (over 70,000,000 of us voted for President Obama, it ought to be noted).

First off, the only common denominator besides badly-spelled signs is dissatisfaction with the establishment GOP and government in general. What we're seeing is the emergence of a fringe group, the Michele Bachmann/Steve King feathers of an already insane right wing. And all the MSM are doing is magnifying the importance and scope of the Tea Bagger "phenomenon" at almost Fox "News" proportions and, in the process, creating the same echo chamber as the one that deafened us into submission in the 2002-2003 run-up to war with Iraq.

Secondly, I think it's still easy to laugh off the efficacy of a badly educated, willfully ignorant and criminally stupid and racist element such as the Tea Baggers because O'Donnell's primary victory last night came from just 57,000 voters. Even in tiny Delaware, that's just a small fraction of the entire electorate.

Therefore, one can conclude that the Tea Baggers are, #1 artificially embiggened by the MSM much in the way that outnumbered troops are instructed to make noise when approaching the enemy so as to appear twice their actual size and, two, their disaffection with government (if genuine, an understandable one shared by progressives) is actually little more than thinly-veiled racism. It wouldn't be much of a stretch to speculate that if Biden, Dodd or Hillary Clinton won the presidency the Tea Party would be small enough to stuff inside Newt Gingrich's mouth.

But the "vast left wing conspiracy" that is the "liberal media" is so enamored of the Tea Baggers, they treat them in a quasi-romantic sense as if they're so many Scarlett Pimpernels and that it's 1789 Paris all over again.

Let's also not forget one other thing: If the Tea Baggers are throwing out the so-called Old School Reagan Republicans, the New School Republicans are ready to school them as to the true nature of political scumbaggery. Scott Brown, another Tea Bagger favorite here in Massachusetts, gladly accepted their money and support then in the first vote he cast in the Senate, he sided with the Democrats and so far has been voting like a pretty moderate Republican. What makes them think it can't happen again?

Don't forget one more thing: When revolutionaries stormed the Bastille on July 14, 1789, there were little more than a small handful of drunks to free. The pundits and historians of the time got it wrong as they always do with historical events then and they're getting it wrong now. And George Santayana either weeps or chuckles.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Afghanistan: No Win, No Success, No Way

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

Last July, Richard Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, wrote an article outlining a drawdown of forces in Afghanistan, one starkly entitled, We’re Not Winning. It’s Not Worth It. A few weeks later, Stephen Biddle, a Senior Fellow for Defense Policy for that selfsame Council on Foreign Relations, presided over a conference call inexplicably held under the more or less official name, Defining Success in Afghanistan.

As recently as last month, Time Magazine published a cover story about Aisha, the teenaged Afghan girl who’d had her ears and nose cut off by the Taliban. It was announced by a cover that seemed immediately destined for iconic status. Unfortunately for Time’s editors and the article’s author, Aryn Baker, the iconic picture was used to drive home a rather unsubtle and misleading point: See what’ll happen if we leave Afghanistan?

Completely lost on Time’s staff was an irony of which they freely made mention in the first line of the article’s second paragraph, that Aisha’s abduction and mutilation “didn't happen 10 years ago, when the Taliban ruled Afghanistan. It happened last year.” So, after going on nine years, we still can’t stop a girl from getting mutilated even when she expects to get attacked by the very same people we swore to exterminate weeks after 9/11.

A Fox “News” blogger late last month posted a story entitled, “Success in Afghanistan Hinges on Country's Military Progress, Ability to Retain Soldiers.” On August 18th, a Washington Post editorial proposed, “Making the Case for Success in Afghanistan.” Late last July, USA Today informed us, “In Afghanistan, Success (is) Measured One Step at a Time.” In a 2009 editorial about as far from prophesy as one could get, the NY Times published, “Measuring Success in Afghanistan.” In the op-ed, the editorialist writes hopefully, “If General McChrystal can carry it off, he will have a far better chance of turning around a war America has not been winning — but must.” McCrystal, as with his demoted successor, David Petraeus nowadays, had been almost desperately looked at, as was Obama three years ago, as some magic elixir that would cure our Afghani ills.

Can anyone remember what the original definitions were for “success” and “winning” as regards the rash invasion of Afghanistan? Didn’t it have something to do with flushing out bin Laden, our ultimate blowback? Well, bin Laden, with more flair than Elvis, left the building or cave as it were.

If success was measured by how we've dealt with the Taliban, then the fact that they've taken back key cities and provinces, especially Helmand, ought to disabuse anyone of any delusions of American efficacy.

Afghanistan is still the 6th poorest country in the world (210th out of 227 nations in terms of per capita income, according to the CIA Fact Book), in which women are raped and mutilated to escape the abuse that often comes with sharia, little girls have acid thrown in their faces for daring to go to school and IEDs and suicide bombs go off with near complete impunity. And the crowning irony is that Afghanistan is, in theory, actually among the richest nations on earth in terms of undeveloped natural resources (a trillion dollars in minerals plus the recent discovery of 1.8 billion barrels of oil (which, at today's market prices, would fetch the impoverished nation close to another $140 billion over the coming years).

Yet developing the industrial infrastructure necessary to harvest these natural resources will have to remain a wistful fantasy as long as the political and social infrastructure remains too volatile.

Meanwhile, as if killing hundreds of innocents through Predator drone strikes wasn't bad enough, we're further inspiring anti-American protests with the news that serial killers American troops had murdered several innocent Afghans and cut off their fingers as trophies (Not surprisingly, the MSM that keeps insisting on success and winning has, by and large, ignored that stunning revelation).

The progress in Afghanistan has to be squinted at so intently that, as recently as this year, President Barack Obama was reduced to hailing “progress” as seeing the lights on in Kabul as Air Force One was landing. Nine years and nearly a trillion dollars, including a 30,000 troop buildup with no realistic end in sight and success and progress is meeting a basic need such as electric light (meanwhile, after the president’s self-congratulatory speech, Iraqi protesters had been shot over not having enough electricity from a grid for which we’ve paid billions over seven plus years).

The crowning irony is that, as with Iraq, no one has bothered asking the native population what their opinion is. We’re allowed to grade our own report cards, not the people who have to live through this hell before, during and after this latest failed occupation.

Whatever the old definition for success or winning, it seems increasingly obvious that success and winning in Afghanistan, as with Iraq, is predicated more on American pride than the visible elevation of the standard of Afghan living.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Meet Phil Davison

...although, after seeing this video, you may wish you hadn't.

This is an example of what we're supposed to be voting for to get back at the mean old Democrats for not fixing all our problems in less than two years? Yeah, I can see how electing meth freaks like this psychopath would be a preferable alternative.

You'd think this raving lunatic would've been led out in four point restraints or wheeled out on a Hannibal Lecter dollie immediately afterward, right? Well, Ohio's Young Republicans formally endorsed this guy. Uh huh. Maybe I'm just being overly cynical here but I wouldn't be comfortable knowing this sweaty, bug-eyed GOP tool would be managing my county's money as Treasurer.

But the Ohio Young Republicans disagree. In fact, their endorsement reads as follows:
Phil Davison brings a new energy to the table that Stark County’s Young Republicans Chapter has been waiting for. Remember, team, the only vote that doesn’t count is the one you don’t make!

"A new energy." Sure, like Ultimate Republican Ted Bundy brought "new energy" to Gainesville. If "new energy" is defined as screaming at strangers and turning colors usually associated with genitalia in porno films, then I'd say what Stark County needs is less energy and more Thorazine.

Despite the Konservative Kiddies' endorsement, Davison lost the nomination and is now out of work ever since he lost his last job as a courthouse bailiff.

I honestly can't imagine why.

Afterbirth of a Nation

(With apologies to Nirvana and The Maple Room)

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

USA... Ulcered Sphincter of rear end-erica, I mean what else can you say? Here was a country that had everything, absolutely everything. And now, 20 years later, is what? The world's biggest leper colony. Why? Godlessness. Let me say that again... Godlessness. It wasn't the war they started. It wasn't the plague they created. It was Judgement. No one escapes their past. No one escapes Judgement. You think He's not up there? You think He's not watching over this country? How else can you explain it? He tested us, but we came through… Immigrants, Muslims, homosexuals, terrorists. Disease-ridden degenerates. They had to go. Strength through unity. Unity through faith. I'm a God-fearing Englishman and I'm goddamn proud of it!” – Louis Prothero, “V For Vendetta”

I don’t recognize my own country, anymore. It’s as alien to me as Dick Cheney became to Brent Scowcroft and Larry Wilkerson.

We’re no longer a heterogeneous melting pot of all races, nationalities, creeds and religions. Instead, we’re a Frankenstein monster in which all the mismatched chunks of its cobbled anatomy are rejecting each other.

I blame the lily-white blood cells, the immune system that is immune not to disease but to truth, reality, tolerance and common sense. It’s this immune system of white antibodies that’ll eventually make the whole fall apart in a heap of pus-streaked limbs and organs, the body no longer greater than the sum of its parts.

It all began in earnest nine years ago today.

Once the story was established that Muslim jihadists attacked us on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, it was the first day of open season on anyone who was dark-skinned and wore cloth wrapped around their heads. It didn’t matter if they were Muslim, Hindi or Sikh. They all became “ragheads.”

Little pockets of retaliation began forming that same day as Muslims were attacked with little or no provocation by baffled and furious white Americans who were abruptly, violently and irrevocably disabused of their cherished delusions of invulnerability and impunity.

Then the Pretender to the Oval Office decided to invade and indefinitely occupy a defenseless, sovereign country that had, at worst, a tangential involvement with 9/11 and was run by a regional group of Islamic fundamentalists (and former business partners once hailed by Reagan as the moral equivalents of our Founding Fathers) with no involvement with 9/11. Our main rationale for invasion and endless occupation was seemingly legitimized by one man who never took responsibility for 9/11 and whom we let escape even when our French coalition partners literally had bin Laden in their sights not once but twice.

Less than a year and a half later, with little to no opposition from Congress, we then let this Pretender widen our crusade (while he literally called it “a crusade”) by invading and indefinitely occupying another defenseless, sovereign country without even a tangential involvement with 9/11 and was seemingly legitimized, once again, by one man.

And, as with Afghanistan, even though that single man in Iraq is long gone, we still have about 110,000 troops in both countries and well over 200,000 contractors. War profiteers are getting rich while we’re getting poorer at the expense of health care, education and infrastructure.

Yet, in spite of no credible evidence of the necessity of an unholy Crusade, we supported these invasions, shouldered the expense, sent our dearest flesh to these bloody fronts, endured and rationalized the necessity of torture and murder-by-collateral-damage even as our government stripped from us the freedoms our troops are allegedly protecting.

And some of us, believe it or not, still view Iraq as “a necessary war” just as many of us still view Vietnam, another futile effort to tame a home-grown insurgency, as necessary.

Keeping up With the Joneses

Virtually the only people who recall the anti-Asian fervor that swept the nation for several succeeding decades are our dead ancestors. It wasn’t merely a grassroots movement but one that was, as now, legitimized and mainstreamed into the national discourse by Congress and the Oval Office.

Nowadays, we in the dwindling reality-based community are joined by those whom we hardly usually consider voices of reason, namely Glenn Beck and even Sarah Palin (who nonetheless still believes that the “mosque at Ground Zero” is an act of provocation and reminds us that burning a Holy Book of a major religion is still his Constitutional right.).

Historically, as the Rev. Wright would remind us, our Republic may have been founded on tolerance but rather than a bedrock principle, that pious foundation for the Constitution has proven to be mere sand. For the entirety of our nation’s 234 year history, we have expelled, detained, robbed, marginalized, uprooted, murdered and otherwise have persecuted every single ethnic group and religion with the exception of WASPs. Be it Native Americans, African Americans, Asians, Hispanics, the Irish, Jews, Catholics and the LGBT community, everyone but white, heterosexual, Protestants has taken their place in the wooden stocks of white public opinion. Furthermore, when one of their own is criticized, however rightly, they’re the first ones to scream racism and of being persecuted.

Now it’s the Hispanics’ turn all over again and we’re throwing the Muslims into the roiling pot of intolerance along with them. We even have the audacity to use September 11th, arguably our second holiest holiday after Christmas, as a launching pad for our anti-Muslim hatred.

Terry Jones is yet another attention whore who's well-fed on several fronts for several reasons, not the least two of which being the audacity and recklessness of burning the Quran on 9/11 and the support and visibility he's getting from not only a mainstream media that doesn't think a message of peace and reconciliation is sexy enough of a lead story but also the racist psychopaths who now have achieved some legitimacy and tolerance for their long-suppressed views.

Please, Sir, Do You Want Another?

Let’s give the Devil his due: It was a stroke of genius on the part of the right wing to both make us simultaneously slaver and slave, victim and victimizer. When Republican screams for deregulation resulted in the 2007 meltdown of Wall Street, it was suddenly the fault of the liberals. When the Obama administration attempted some earnestly tepid reforms for health care, it resulted in an angry mob of Tea Partiers who had for decades been victimized by the very same HMO’s whose side they took.

And this brawling, fractious nation of ours, divided by the letters “D” and “R” and by religious denominations still have yet to realize these laughing jackals on Wall Street and their temp employees in the government have us exactly where they want us; Divided and with our energies and attention diffused in a thousand different directions. It’s likewise never occurred to us that the reason they need to control us is not because we’re powerless but because most of the power is, always has been and always will be invested in we the people. Without our ignorance, our apathy and our delusions, the Powers That Be would immediately become an endangered species.

Campaign finance, never a bastion of ethics and morality, had recently been made by the Supreme Court a free for all in which candidates can now take money with no strings attached from any foreign corporation that can easily rig an American headquarters. In fact, with billions now flowing from the spigots, they no longer need our money. They, however, still need our votes.

Later, that same SCOTUS decided that we need to break silence by reminding police officers of what our Miranda rights are, including the right to remain silent.

Somewhere along the way, JSOC, or the Joint Special Operations Command, became exempt from the 1878 posse comitatus law that used to prevent the President from putting federal troops on city streets. The USMC openly holds urban war games in our neighborhoods. At around the same time, we dropped out of the UN Human Rights Council. Private corporations now have the legal right to kill us while enforcing martial law through InfraGard. And this all happened during the last administration.

In this administration, we can assassinate American citizens capriciously deemed terrorist threats by the president and all without due process. We can try child soldiers for war crimes even when no war crimes have been committed. And Gitmo remains open, we’re still kept in the dark regarding our government torturing and murdering, the extraordinary renditions continue and the Dept. of Homeland Security and the USA PATRIOT Act remain in place. Yet in spite of all this, we’re still scared about terrorism suspects being tried in civilian courts even under extraordinary security. God forbid they should look us in the eye as we rattle our rusty sabers at them.

And our new president is being cast by the rabid right wing as the bad guy. Well, he is the bad guy, the most nakedly pro-corporate tool we’ve ever seen since the last boob. But he’s being cast as the bad guy for the wrong reasons. And those reasons are so incredibly based on race it's no longer worth debating on whether or not it isn't.

Yet, the hysterical screaming starting at the top isn’t based so much on race as pure, heartless economics. However much Obama helps Wall Street, BP, the automakers, Big Pharma, the HMO’s, the banks and the other leaseholders of Capitol Hill, they know with a white Republican like Bush, they’ll get the whole pie and not just the huge wedges served to them by Obama.

That’s why the credit card “reform” is too much, even though the lenders stand to make much more off us than ever before. Health care “reform” is too much even though it won’t kick in for a few years and the HMO’s stand to make much more off us than ever before.

With banks, HMO’s, credit card companies, oil cartels and even our own employers and government and other autonomous semi-monopolies squeezing us constantly as if there’s no end to the blood they can get out of a stone, we’re now hearing more serious talk than we ever did during the Bush years about the dismantling of the two biggest pillars of our retirement: Social Security and Medicare. Obama’s Cat Food Commission is getting closer and closer to saying that our nation’s seniors are becoming a drain on our financial infrastructure. Can Soylent Green be far behind?

September 11th was the day we lost almost 3000 lives, people from many religions, races, nationalities, economic strata and political beliefs, in a way, a good representative cross section of America’s people. But when I see what we’ve turned into since that bright, clear Tuesday morning, we may as well have lost 300,000,000. America, for good or bad, was until recently a great nation. But that status had been sold off to the Saudis, the Chinese and countless corporations. We’re not the nation we once were but the afterbirth of a once Great Experiment that ultimately failed.