Monday, March 31, 2008

Constitutional Calculus

I have always thought it was kind of nuts that it's always Leap Year when we have the Olympics and the Presidential Elections. It must be that we need an extra day to deal with Calculus of Events that occur at such times, and this year is no exception.

A required element for the Calculus of Events is irony, to wit:
"All hotel rooms and offices are considered to be subject to on-site or remote technical monitoring at all times," the department's Bureau of Consular Affairs advised on Thursday. "Hotel rooms, residences and offices may be accessed at any time without the occupant's consent or knowledge."

The warning was part of an Olympics "fact sheet" that also said the threat level for terrorism against Americans in China remains low, although recent violence in Tibet is an example of how potentially dangerous events can occur in the approach to the Olympics in Beijing and other Chinese cities". Any large-scale public event like the upcoming Olympic Games could become the focus of terrorist acts or other forms of violence," the bureau said.
I find it ironic because all overseas transmissions to the US during the Olympics will be subject to FISA, and exactly under the thumb of what Russ Feingold describes here:

(Thanks to Matt Stroller et. al. from Open left for recording that.) If the Olympics were here in the US this year, every other participating country would have to issue the same warning in their fact sheets.

So far Constitutional Calculus states that "4 goes into 1." That's right. The Fourth Amendment definitely goes directly to the First. Unfounded Search and Seizure will definitely undermine your Right to Free Speech and Assembly.

But for the rest of this Calculus Lesson, the problem/question is will "2 go to the well?" You see, neither Kang nor Kodos stuck around last December to help protect the 4th amendment.

Both candidates should show up in the well of the Senate and SPEAK about how crappy warrantless surveillance is. Ditto telco immunity. And then actually vote against both. In my opinion, now is the time to get the Dem candidates to really distinguish themselves from McCain, because whoever survives the meat-grinding of the Democratic Primary season is going to run back to the center pronto. And the center these days includes not being "soft on terrorism." It's all about vote getting. Notice that they're both really in the center or right already as far as health care is concerned. Both Kodos' and Kang's programs take care of payments which you will make to for-profit coporations, not actual care you need to recieve.

Neither PA or NC primaries are all that far from DC, and based on past actions and experience, the Senate will work with all the candidates to make sure they won't be logistically screwed over as far as opportunities are concerned for being in the Senate or in the locales where the primaries are to be held. It will be by choice if neither show up and defend against these constitutional blasphemies.

Call Kodos and Kang. Tell them to show up and vote, and that you understand both Constitutional and Event Calculus. 4 goes into 1, and 2 go to the Well. After all, your and my 4th and 1st amendment rights are more important than any candidates shot at the presidency.

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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Frank to Propose Decriminalization Bill

guest post by Skip from El Paso.

Last week on Real Time with Bill Maher Massachusetts Representative Barney Frank announced that he would introduce a bill to decriminalize pot. The name of the bill is priceless. It's called the "Make Room For The Serious Criminals Bill".

“It's time for the politicians to catch up with the public on this [issue],” Frank said. "The notion that you lock people up for smoking marijuana is pretty silly."

Frank's pending bill seeks to eliminate all federal penalties prohibiting the personal use and possession of up to 100 grams (3 1/2 ounces) of marijuana. Under this measure, adults who consume cannabis would no longer face arrest, prison, or even the threat of a civil fine. The bill also eliminates all penalties prohibiting the not-for-profit transfers of up to one ounce of pot.

NORML Legal Counsel Keith Stroup, who worked closely with Frank's staff to draft this legislation, said, "If passed by Congress, this legislation would legalize the possession, use, and non-profit transfer of marijuana by adults for the first time since 1937." The bill incorporates the basic recommendation of the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse (also known as the Shafer Commission).

Oh please, please, please, let it work!

When I watched this my first thought was to laugh it off because there's no way this will ever work. Was he high when he said this? I thought. I was high when I watched it and I even knew he had to be high to think this will work.

But after a little more thought I realized that he wasn't just talking out of his bong. This is a brilliant long term strategy. Getting this through the House will be tough--and it won't even get a vote in the senate--but it would be the first significant progress on drug law reform in ages.

Even if it doesn't get a vote, I love the sentiment. Thank you Barney Frank. If you ever come to El Paso, I'll pass you one.

Edit: I would like to add a few things. Like alcohol, marijuana should not be used by children. Also, like alcohol, it shouldn't be used by adults, unless they need it for medical purposes and a doctor prescribes it. But, like alcohol, it's a decision adults should be allowed to make without risking incarceration. Driving while high is stupid and should remain just as illegal as drunk driving. I left these caveats out of the post because I thought they were well established stipulations all parties presume when debating decriminalization.

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Friday, March 28, 2008

Wal-Mart: Cheating kids out of a paycheck. Always.

This is low, even by their low, low standards:

Wal-Mart prides itself on cutting costs at home and abroad, and its Mexican operations are no exception. That approach has helped the Arkansas-based retail giant set a track record of spectacular success in the 16 years since it entered Mexico as a partner of the country’s then-leading retail-store chain. But some of the company’s practices have aroused concern among some officials and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that Wal-Mart is taking advantage of local customs to pinch pennies at a time when its Mexican operations have never been more profitable.

Wal-Mart is Mexico’s largest private-sector employer in the nation today, with nearly 150,000 local residents on its payroll. An additional 19,000 youngsters between the ages of 14 and 16 work after school in hundreds of Wal-Mart stores, mostly as grocery baggers, throughout Mexico—and none of them receives a red cent in wages or fringe benefits. The company doesn’t try to conceal this practice: its 62 Superama supermarkets display blue signs with white letters that tell shoppers: OUR VOLUNTEER PACKERS COLLECT NO SALARY, ONLY THE GRATUITY THAT YOU GIVE THEM. SUPERAMA THANKS YOU FOR YOUR UNDERSTANDING. The use of unsalaried youths is legal in Mexico because the kids are said to be “volunteering” their services to Wal-Mart and are therefore not subject to the requirements and regulations that would otherwise apply under the country’s labor laws. But some officials south of the U.S. border nonetheless view the
practice as regrettable, if not downright exploitative. “These kids should receive a salary,” says Labor Undersecretary Patricia Espinosa Torres. “If you ask me, I don’t think these kids should be working, but there are cultural and social circumstances [in Mexico] rooted in poverty and scarcity.”

In a country where nearly half of the population scrapes by on less than $4 a day, any income source is welcome in millions of households, even if it hinges on the goodwill of a tipping customer. And Wal-Mart did not invent the bagger program that, as a written statement from the company notes, pre-dates the firm’s arrival in Mexico, nor is it alone within the country’s retail sector in benefiting from the toil of unpaid adolescents. But in Mexico City, for example, the 4,300 teenagers who work in Wal-Mart’s retail stores free of charge dwarf similar numbers laboring unpaid for Mexican competitors like Comercial Mexicana (715) and Gigante (427). Although Wal-Mart’s worldwide code of ethics expressly forbids any “associate” from working without compensation, the company’s Mexican subsidiary asserts that the grocery baggers “cannot be considered workers.” The Mexico City government’s top labor official dismisses that contention as so much corporate hogwash. “To my mind, that is not an accurate description because the bagger is providing a service on the store’s premises that benefits the company by serving the customer better,” argues Federal District Labor Secretary Benito Mirón Lince. “In economic terms, Wal-Mart does have the capability to pay the minimum wage [of less than $5 a day], and this represents an injustice…”

The rest here. (H/t to Working Life.)

An "injustice." Yeah.

Geez… they actually claim to have a “code of ethics”?

PS: WalMart Watch has a petition you can sign to force Wal-Mart to allow the Shank family to keep their own money. You can sign it here.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Fix Social Security - Opt Out

Back in 2005, when Bush couldn't stop yammering about his damned Ownership Society, I published a plan for opting out of social security. Now, with Treasury Secretary Paulson once again warning us about the dire state of the trust fund, it seems like a good time to revive that screed.

You see, all conservatives want to do is privatize the system, thereby creating enormous profits for Wall Street in the form of commissioned 'busy-work'. Liberals, in contrast, don't have the balls to attempt any meaningful reform because 70 million baby-boomers (of which I happen to be the last) will go ballistic at the mere mention of benefit cuts. Indeed, we're all about to have the biggest fraud in human history perpetrated against us, and there's not a damn thing we can do...except: 1) Save for retirement like there will be no social security--because there won't! And/Or... 2) Pay off the boomers now. Because if we don't, that generation will suck the dollars from Gen-X, Gen-Y, Gen-Next, Tweeners, Millenials, and whomever comes after like vampires sucking blood from a maiden.

And how do we pay off the Boomers? Here's how:
  1. Starting with our next paychecks, nobody pays another dime into social security. Moreover, the employer's portion is given to each of us in the form of salary. In return--and this is the kicker--each one of us takes responsibility for making our own parent's social security payments.
  2. Every dollar that we pay to our parents is used to reduce our pre-tax income, 1-for-1.
  3. In addition, over the next 15 years, the Federal government arranges to divert what we've already paid into the system into a retirement account that each of us controls (1/15 of the total amount each year).
  4. The Feds get no say--nada, didly, bupkis--about how we invest, or don't invest, that money, as long as it's held until retirement. And in return we let the Feds keep what our employers have already paid into the system to cover existing retirees.
Will this be a financial loss for post-Boomer Americans? Maybe. But it will pale in comparison to 20 more years (well...20 for me, at least) of contributing to a system that will never pay us a dime. Not to mention the value of never having to hear another administration hack whine about the social security trust fund when we know, WE KNOW, they don't have the cojones to do anything about it.

Basically it boils down to this: I will do what's necessary to make my parents whole, but when they're dead, I want out!


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Inherit the What?

Where to begin? OK how about at the beginning? Of the World and frikking everything?

As it turns out I learn from Tristero at Digby's blog, that wingnuts are abusing my fabulous Denver Science Museum to actually teach anti-facts and anti-reason. I could just barf, as this last fall, I along with many education oriented taxpayers I agreed to increase taxes upon myself to continue these great facilities who bring science to the people.

It's still money well spent, on science, yet I find I must point out a few things about these anti-reason-nut-wingers, so here we go. First, let's start with the footage ABC takes in the Denver Museum.

[From PZ Myers Blog, Pharyngula] ...Right there on the wall is a description of radiometric dating methods, for instance, and they turn their back on it.

Yes. They're out there, and frightening as far as I'm concerned.

There's this whole other world thing going on where religious belief is not a big deal as far as raising folks who are science, technology and results oriented, with no creepy cultural Western Bible bias. [Watch it later if you don't have the whole 8:19 to watch it right now, but it's entirely worthwhile and eye-opening]

The above video may come as a shock to some.

But there are those who color themselves under a rubric of common ground to whom the reality of 2020 and beyond is going to be far more harsh. That would be these folks who call themselves Religious Tolerance :
Believers in a young earth might argue that God created our galaxy less than 10,000 years ago, complete with light rays going in all directions from each star, in order that the galaxy would appear to be more ancient than it really is. That is, God created the universe as if it had a history at the time of creation. Also, the above indicator assumes that the speed of light has remained constant. There is no proof that this is true. [Emphasis mine.]
Um, not so fast. By one definition, and others, much less the fact the current physics, space travel, satellite management and chip manufacture depend on the constancy of the speed of light, well, there you go. Dump your internet connection, if you don't believe in it. But if you keep it, how come it works? Riddle me that.

The funny thing about scientists, with which I happen to agree, is that they do not need "tolerance" or "Tolerance Websites" on their side. They have these pesky little things called "facts" which really are not amenable to fading into the background. The Chinese and the Hindi nation states won't ignore scientific or engineering facts like these hidebound, religiously blinded American folks will.

Here are some exerpts of one of the comments from PZ Myers blog which pretty much says it for me:

This is what we're dealing with. This kind of crap, peddled as God's Honest Truth, coming out of the mouths of thousands of pastors, parents, and yes, teachers, all over the country. And hundreds of thousands of kids are soaking it up, well along their way in training to ignore science any and every time it suits them. Antibiotic-resistant diseases? Don't exist. Global warming? Scientists don't know what they're talking about.
It's all part and parcel of the same problem. That's why we get so upset. There are people in this country actively eroding science at every turn in this country, and they have been growing more numerous and more powerful for the last 30 years, and it needs to be stopped. [Emphasis mine.]
And how can this be stopped? That's the actual question that must be answered.

First, "Science Deniers" must be shown to be what they are; igorant of the real world and the way it works.

Second, People Of Orthodoxies must inform their bretheren. By that, I mean people who profess a faith rooted in any orthodoxy, must acknowledge that what they believe transcends what their scriptures say when there is confilct with absolute fact. Any religion informed by science, rather than contradicting it, can only prosper among its faithful. The "Earth Goes around the Sun" is a good place to start for some. It can be augmented by "The Sun Ain't The Center Of The Universe Either." You get my drift.

Getting to Evolution will be difficult for many. Tough.

But the Enlightment of Evolution needs to happen for any intelligent person of faith, of any kind of faith. Evolution is an ongoing fact, and devotees of the orthodoxies, regardless of sect, simply must face the facts and get comfortable with evolution under their skin.

Because that's exactly where Evolution is transpiring, whether you like it or not.

Under your skin.

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Fire 'Em First, Ask Questions Later

The article's title is:

New federal push to fire illegal immigrants

But the Feds know this isn't how it's going to play out. Unions know this isn't how it's going to play out, and US District Judge Charles Breyer knew when he placed an injunction on DHS' new rules for the handling of social-security "no-match" letters.

And what are these letters? These are DHS notifications sent to businesses when an employee supplied social-security number doesn't match Social Security Administration records. Prior to DHS' changing the rules, it was sufficient for a business to investigate the issue without fear of federal reprisals.

No more. The new rules (currently under injunction), specify that the employer has 90 + 3 days to resolve the situation with a new, verifiable, SSN. And after that? The employee must be fired for the business to avoid prosecution and imposition of fines and other penalties.

"So what's the problem?" you might ask. "These tactics are needed to find and eradicate illegal workers." Well, for starters, DHS sends out "no-match" letters all the time and many are the result of clerical errors. Judge Breyer knew this and cited it when he imposed his injunction. Second, DHS is rewriting the rules to get around the injunction, and third...if DHS is successful, businesses will adopt a "Fire 'em first, and ask questions later" policy just to keep the Feds off their backs.

But then...maybe this is what DHS wants. Welcome to the brave new world of employment folks.


Grandmothers for Peace Get Busted!

(Subtitled “Post-arrest thoughts from a 57 year old ‘grandmother for peace.’“)

By Susan (that’s her in the picture)

[Note: On Monday March 17, ten Atlanta Grandmothers For Peace were arrested for trying to enlist. Susan was one of them. Below she tells her story.]

I went into this act of civil disobedience primarily to bring the Iraq war back into the corporate media spotlight-and we have been somewhat effective in reminding people that there is a war still going on in Iraq, people are still dying and coming home damaged. And although i knew there was another war here at home that was never in the news, it was never made so clear to me as it was in the fulton county jail on Monday-what one of the guards said was a “light” day. All of the grandmothers talked to the other women sharing the “blue benches” with us. We were an anomaly here, being mostly white and decades older than most. People were curious about us, guards and prisoners. So when we were asked why we were here and responded that we were arrested trying to enlist in the army so younger people would not have to go, the conversation inevitably changed to the sharing of stories of their relatives who had gone to iraq and come home damaged… physically and mentally, or not come home at all. And then the thank-yous for doing what we did - from the employees and the inmates alike.

There was a common thread to their predicaments: A few minor things considered “wrong”, but it is easy to get caught in the web once you step over “the line.” Just miss a court date (too bad if your kids get sick or your baby sitter falls through), or be in the wrong place at the wrong time. And many of these young women have no choice BUT to live in “the wrong place” - there is no decent affordable housing here anymore. These are not bad people, not the criminals you would think they are by the depiction on the evening news-they are just people trying to survive in the hostile environment they have been handed to live in - an economy devastated by greed with no affordable housing or childcare, and jobs paying so little that no one can survive on just one anymore. There is a war going on right under our noses-and it was clear to me that we should bring it into the light and try to do something about it. It was easy for us-we knew we would walk away in a few hours and go back to our somewhat comfortable circumstances. But not for the ones still in the system. One of the guards (who had been to Iraq) asked us to please try to do something about this broken prison system. He knew that we saw it was totally flawed, and he thought we might have some connections to others who could help. Just by being there 10 hours we learned so much - a lot of it from the other women waiting with us. Their knowledge of the “justice” system was amazing-they could really be of service to others trying to navigate the system. We have a lot more work to do here, and we won’t forget the people we met at the Fulton County Jail that day (and night).

Our prison system is a profit making industry which benefits the wealthy few, at the expense of many. This is very very wrong. We have lost our way.

- Additional pictures from the protest can be found here.

- More media coverage here. (Zoom in to read it.)

(Here's the video. Thanks, Artemis.)

God bless these grandmothers. They act in the great tradition of non-violent civil disobedience.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Deport Me or Kill Me; You Decide

Evidently Pam of Pam's House Blend started reporting this, then TeddySanFran did, which is where I got wind of this today.

I'll just go right to TeddySanFran who encapsulizes my reaction:

We who warn stridently that the right-wing's private army squads might sometime come for any of us in the night are often mocked: "That can't happen here!" Somehow, we are reassured, American values wouldn't allow it.

But who defends values loudest in America? Who do the media go to when looking for values validation? Who does the White House invite in for chats? Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council.
Watch these words come out of his mouth yourself:

"...I would much prefer to export homosexuals from the United States than to import them into the United States because we believe homosexuality is destructive to society... "

While "Bomb Bomb Bomb, Bomb Bomb Iran" is a little higher on the Wingnut Top 40, the above little gem ain't far behind. TeddySanFran rightfully goes on in his post at FDL to challenge McCain, to which I say bravo. But when I dug a little further, I found SlapUpsideTheHead, who informed me of a Canadian deportation of a gay-man political asylum case, a little over 2 weeks ago. Alarming to me.

I mean, really alarming.

I have recently brought up that political science concept of the "Overton Window" and I see it at work all the time and every day these days. Small, tiny nibblings at the whole truth, so that only a part of the continual political shifting is seen. A small Overton refresher so you needn't have to click out:

The degrees of acceptance of public ideas can be described roughly as:

- Unthinkable
- Radical
- Acceptable
- Sensible
- Popular
- Policy

And someone who describes the entire process of forced gay deportation and the ultimate gay holocaust is Pierre Seel. A portion of a review of his book:

After years of anguished silence, French-born Seel came out of the closet in 1981 at the age of 58 to bear witness to the Nazi deportation of homosexuals during WWII. In this brief, powerful memoir, he recalls the details of his arrest and torture by the Gestapo and his horrific experiences at a concentration camp in Alsace, where homosexuals were the most despised of prisoners. Inexplicably released in 1941, he was drafted into the German army, saw action on various fronts and managed to survive the war. Convinced by a priest that he was in a state of mortal sin, Seel set out to eradicate his homosexuality, keeping silent for years about his "pink triangle" past. But in 1981, outraged by a prominent bishop's characterization of homosexuals as "sick," he became inspired with a sense of obligation to obtain recognition for what had happened to some 350,000 homosexuals during the war, and his public statements became a cause celebre in France. Seel remains active at 72 in his personal crusade, publicly airing the long-overlooked tragedy of the homosexual holocaust. His account of his suffering and his plea for justice are heartrending in their dignified restraint.

Need more hearts be rended, no matter to whom they belong?

I say, that the logical and following step from deportation is death. That is exactly what the most reprehensible fascist regime ever known, the Nazis, did in WWII. Start here at page 54 "The Curbing Of Nazi Deportation Plans, January - February 1940" until you read enough to see that since mere deportation was expensive, futile, and a nuisance that outright murder was better, and ultimately the final solution. Applied equally to everybody who was not wanted by that regime.

But today, exactly how do they know who is gay, and who should be deported? It is by violating our privacy rights, of course. That's why I am so passionate about FISA, aside from the obvious First Amendment connections.

Regarding FISA, none of the remaining candidates for president are really good. None of them. None are on record as voting against this current nasty regime's position. None of the 3 have voted against FISA with immunity or basket warrants. By their official vote record, none have opposed the machinery of the state to violate YOUR privacy, whether you're gay or not.

Which brings me to Niemoller, who long time readers of this blog will recognize his words if not his actual name:
When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn't a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.
So deport me or, if you find it too expensive or futile, kill me. If by chance, you become unpopular with the next regime, no matter to which candidate it belongs, you could be next.

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Sunday, March 23, 2008


The story speaks for itself:

BAGHDAD (MSNBC, 10:30 EDT) March 23 - Four U.S. soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb in southern Baghdad late Sunday, raising the death toll for American forces since start of the war to 4,000, according to the Pentagon.

The grim milestone was reached less than a week after the fifth anniversary of the U.S. invasion to topple former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and coincided with a spate of violence across Iraq on Sunday that left at least 61 people dead.

The attacks included rockets and mortars fired at Baghdad's U.S.-protected Green Zone and a suicide car bomb detonated at an Iraqi army post in the northern city of Mosul.

The latest violence underscored the fragile security situation and the resilience of both Sunni and Shiite extremist groups as the war enters its sixth year.

The attacks in Baghdad probably stemmed from rising tensions between rival Shiite groups — some of whom may have been behind the Green Zone blasts. It was the most sustained assault in months against the nerve center of the U.S. mission.

Late Sunday, four U.S. troops were killed and another injured after being attacked with an improvised explosive device while conducting a vehicular patrol in Baghdad, the military said.

The military said the soldiers were from Multi-National Division but gives no other details about their identities.

The deadliest attack of the day was in Mosul when a suicide driver slammed his vehicle through a security checkpoint in a hail of gunfire and detonated his explosives in front of an Iraqi headquarters building, killing 13 Iraqi soldiers and injuring 42 other people, police said.

Iraqi guards opened fire on the vehicle but couldn't stop it because the windshield had been bulletproofed, said an Iraqi army officer. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not supposed to release the information.

Mosul, Iraq's third largest city about 225 miles northwest of Baghdad, has been described as the last major urban area where the Sunni extremist al-Qaida group maintains a significant presence....

The rest is here.

Now pardon me, as I must stick my head out of the window so as to begin screaming BLOODY MURDER!

Blog Against Hypocrisy

1. a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess, esp. a person whose actions belie stated beliefs.

2. a person who feigns some desirable or publicly approved attitude, esp. one whose private life, opinions, or statements belie his or her public statements.

Arabic: مُراءٍ، مُنافِق
Chinese (Simplified): 伪君子
Chinese (Traditional): 偽君子
Czech: pokrytec
Danish: hykler
Dutch: hypocriet, huichelaar, schijnheilige
Estonian: silmakirjateener
Finnish: tekopyhä
French: hypocrite
German: der, *die Heuchler(in)
Greek: υποκριτής
Hungarian: képmutató
Icelandic: hræsnari
Indonesian: orang munafik
Italian: ipocrita

Japanese: 偽善者
Korean: 위선자
Latvian: liekulis
Lithuanian: veidmainis
Norwegian: hykler, skinnhellig person
Polish: hipokryta
Portuguese (Brazil): hipócrita
Portuguese (Portugal): hipócrita
Romanian: ipocrit
Russian: лицемер
Slovak: pokrytec
Slovenian: hinavec
Spanish: hipócrita
Swedish: hycklare
Turkish: ikiyüzlü, *riyakâr kimse

There are more languages but you get my point. Every culture understands hypocrisy, and has a word for it. What I think is an interesting question is that, if the people of the world were actually as religious as they claim, shouldn't the world be a more harmonious place than it is?

One would think so. But the damn hypocrites screw it up. If you call yourself a religious person, you should back it up with your words and actions.

The Hypocrite-in-Chief needs to particularly hear this message. But it applies equally well to any and all little petty dictators you may have in your life.

You probably know one of the following species in greater number than the other; to every hypocritical potentate in your life, give 'em the finger. To every angel in your life, give them your heart. I'm sure you can tell the difference, and in both cases, it feels good.


Saturday, March 22, 2008

Asshole of the Week - Dana Perino

Washington (f-A-ke. P.) -

At today's White House press briefing, a testy exchange between f-A-ke. P. correspondent Kvatch Kopf and Press Secretary Dana Perino highlighted the disconnect between the wishes of the American people and an increasingly out-of-touch administration:

Dana Perino - White House Press AssholeMr. Kopf: Ms. Perino...Ms. Perino...

Secretary Perino: Yes Kvatch?

Mr. Kopf: Polls now show a solid 66% of Americans in favor of a speedy withdrawal from Iraq. Will the President accelerate his plans for a troop 'draw-down'?

Secretary Perino: Well Kvatch, as I'm sure you are aware, the President doesn't craft policy to please the American people. That would embolden the terrorists and endanger the nation.

Mr. Kopf: So are you saying that the President does not, in fact, work for us? That he has no responsibility to consider the American people's wishes?

Secretary Perino: The American people have input every four years, and that's the way our system is set up.

Mr. Kopf: But 2006 was an election, wasn't it? Isn't tossing Republicans out of both houses of Congress input that the President ought to listen to?

Secretary Perino: I shouldn't have to answer that question. Congress has no authority over the President during wartime.

Mr. Kopf: Gee Madame Secretary... That makes you sound like an arrogant asshole.

Secretary Perino: It's been said Kvatch. But then, look at the people who preceded me.

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It Just Might Work?

I want to follow up on a recent thread that got me thinking about diversity, dissent, and debate in America: RevP's, "A Call to Lament and Repent: Guide Our Feet to the Path of Peace." (And for those of you who enjoyed it or found the discussion about our own disagreements interesting, I offer this musical interpretation. Stick with it, it gets there.)

I am reminded of Richard Dreyfuss's discussion of civics and the fact that, "It is be dissenters...we owe ourselves and the United States that we will pass off to our children to relearn the tools of reason, logic, clarity, dissent, civility, and debate...the nonpartisan basis of democracy, and without them we can kiss this thing goodbye." I am reminded that Democracy isn't a state, but a process. It's more of a mechanism than endpoint, move a verb than noun. Democracy isn't something we did, but something we are doing, and we have to keep doing it or we will lose it, and Naomi Wolf has forewarned us in, "The End of America." So we need to know how to disagree.

I would be remiss if I didn't take the opportunity to note the catastrophic effect the neocon Bush administration has had on our ability as a nation to engage in civil discourse. He's a uniter, fellow patriots, and we are united, indeed, in how bitterly we are divided. I liked Kos' "With Us or Against Us" piece:
Reasonable people, including progressives, can disagree on many of the big issues we face today -- from which candidate to support in the primary, to whether impeachment is the best way to hold this administration accountable, to the merit of gun control or free trade agreements, to how to handle immigration, to whatever else faces our nation.
And together, we should be holding our misleaders accountable, and talking about the things we agree about, and also, the things we disagree about.

The opportunity to speak one's dissent is something I find myself valuing in new ways. Last year, a family member lost his larynx in a battle with cancer; talking politics with family hasn't been the same. I miss his voice, even though I disagreed with his election predictions.

Speaking of unruly voices in America...
It was Wesley Clark who said that, "We need an America where debate and dissent and questioning your leaders and holding them accountable is the highest form of patriotism."

And it was J. William Fulbright who said that, "In a Democracy, dissent is an act of faith."

And it was Ari Fleischer who said that, "People just have got to watch what they say and do."

I guess I'm not so good at watching what I say and do...

I appreciate the following depiction of America. It reflects the challenges of our inclusiveness as we struggle together, as we recognize our failings, and keep trying to fix them, daring to believe we might actually pull it off. A wild mix of everyone and everything, together, trying to make it work, a little like some of our threads.

A dream, yes, but a crazy dream that just might work.
"Keep working."

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Yahoo! and MSN: partners in oppression.

Yahoo! and MSN are helping the Communist Chinese dictatorship track down Tibetan protesters, who, if caught, face terrible consequences at the hands of the regime:

From The Observers (France 24): Yahoo China pasted a "most wanted" poster across its homepage today in aid of the police's witch-hunt for 24 Tibetans accused of taking part in the recent riots. MSN China made the same move, although it didn't go as far as publishing the list on its homepage.

The "most wanted" poster has been published on several Chinese portals like and It reads "The Chinese police have issued a warrant for the arrest of suspected rioters in Tibet" and provides a phone number for informants to use in total anonymity. Along with the text are photos of Tibetans taken during the riots. Of the 24 on the list, two have already been caught.

Yahoo's human rights values have been under fire since it was revealed that the company helped the Chinese police in its inquiry over the journalist Shi Tao, who had an email account with Yahoo. He was sentenced to ten years in prison in 2005 for "divulging state secrets". After that case, it was also found out that Yahoo had provided evidence against at least three other Chinese dissidents. Following the allegations, the company had to offer an explanation to the American congress. It defended itself by explaining that the management of its operational arm in China had been delegated to Alibaba.

China, which has blocked access to YouTube since the beginning of the riots, is known for having a sophisticated censorship system when it comes to the internet. This event shows that the Chinese authorities are also using the web to root out their opponents, and once again,with the help of a foreign company.

This is outrageous stuff. But typical. Google has been kowtowing to China for years now, allowing their search engine to be cenosred. Be truly UnRuly. Don't use them. Ever. Again.

And while you're at it, can somebody lead us (me) to a search engine I can use with a clear conscience?

Thanks for the Support

In honor of the 5th anniversary of our national commitment to supporting Bush's foreign (oil war) policy, a moment of song...

I'm a fan of Roy, and it's always nice to hear people put music to things that have been on my mind; it's something else to hear it done so well.

Just this morning, I learned that in 29 Palms, California, a SUPER BOOSTER military town, there is a growing peace movement. Now there's a little bit of reality I'd like to see broadcast far and wide, it sitting next to the largest marine corps base in the world and home to hundreds of retired military officers. I mean, this is a town where only a few years ago, stating that "Bush is killing our troops" made local news coverage, caused one's car to be vandalized, and resulted in the loss of employment with the city.

Speaking of broadcasting anti-war movements, thanks to the corporate media, I never realized that...

We've already, in both the lead up to this war and since the war in Iraq has been going on now for five years, we've already had demonstrations that equal in size all but perhaps one of the anti-war demonstrations during Vietnam, and that was April 24th from 1971.
And since we don't see it broadcasted by corporate media, it's as if it never happened...

I confess, I liked Zimmerman's jab at the Democratic led congress, which has given more support to Bush than I had dreamed possible. Got me thinking about the way congress has failed to support the very Constitution that our military is supposedly dying to defend. Nice rub there.

And, I've been ruminating on the way the Bush Beasts stage, film, and broadcast whatever reality they want us to consume, props and all. "You showed up on Thanksgiving with a turkey and a camera crew." They keep dishing it up, and we keep eating it.
During this election season, I think we must all be on the lookout for more acts of the Ministry of Make Believe, forever glamorizing, patriotizing, codifying, godifying the "war" in Iraq.
We need to see reality clearly.

Who is going to open the windows and let the smoke clear?
Who will break the mirrors?

Let us find those people and give them support. Let us be those people.

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Kvatch's Kommandos Take To The Rails... protest 5 years of Bu$hCo lies!

Click the photos for a larger image and check out some additional photos posted at Ragebot! and Kommandos Project.

Last Wednesday's Lottery; Don't Bogart That Park, My Friends

The last time the Convention was held in Denver was 1908 - yep, 100 years ago. It's a very different town today.

So much demand, so little space. That's the position that the City of Denver finds itself during the days of the Democratic National Convention, Monday August 25th- Thursday August 28th.

It's truly an International event, and with the Convention itself tying up many resources there's a stiff competition for the remaining venues. In order to make it as fair as possible, the City decided on a lottery process vs. making selections on its own. So this past Wednesday, there was the lottery-that-was-not-PowerBall, and lo and behold, it turned out to be controversial.

Jared Jacang Maher was at the lottery itself, and I encourage you to read his take. Here's a snip that I want to draw attention to though:

When it came time for the Civic Center drawing, the R-68 representatives became noticeably edgy. Their group’s relevancy as an umbrella organizer for leftist protests hinges on their holding park permits. Central to their plans is the Civic Center, which they hope to fill with booths, food, demonstrations and a possible free concert toe entertain the tens of thousands of protesters that they insist will show up. But when longtime activist Barbara Cohen marched up to the table to inspect the cards, she found R-68’s missing from the line-up. Officials insisted that it was a simple mistake, and scrambled to search their records. (Emphasis mine)

You know why they appeared, and probably are, edgy? They already assume that Civic Center park is theirs.

Here's the location under discussion:

View Larger Map

It's worthwhile to keep 2 things in mind; 1 - the Park, for all applicants, is only available the 25th and 26th, 2 - it's SMACK IN THE CENTER OF TOWN. It's literally a choke point for the entree to Downtown.

I think Recreate '68 is up to no damn good. I think if they were awarded 1 day, they still want to bogart that park, my friend. That's just my opinion/hunch.

Anyway the Convention should have protesters. It should be free, fair and peaceful for everyone. Somehow, I'm thinking that it's not going to work out that way. The do-over for the lottery is today, and I'll update this post when there is news.

The madness starts 158 days from today.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A Call to Lament and Repent: Guide Our Feet to the Path of Peace

“By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” —Luke 1:78-79 (NRSV)

Sign the statement

This season of Lent, we are truly living “in darkness and in the shadow of death” as we mark, on March 19, 2008, the fifth anniversary of the war with Iraq. It is a war that is being waged by our country, financed by our taxes, and fought by our sisters and brothers. As U.S. Christians, we issue a call to the American church to lament and repent of the sin of this war.

We lament the suffering and violence in Iraq. We mourn the nearly 4,000 Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who have died, the unknown numbers of both who are wounded in body and mind, and the more than 4 million Iraqis who are displaced from their homes. With the families of U.S. soldiers torn apart, our families are also torn apart.

We lament the effects of this war on our country. The war has undermined our religious and national values. International perceptions of the U.S. church’s support for the war have hurt the cause of Christ. The abuse of prisoners and use of torture have damaged the U.S.’s moral standing in the world. The war is squandering billions of dollars that are urgently needed for other domestic and international needs.

We repent of our failure to fully live the teaching of Jesus to be peacemakers. Some of us believe our faith leads to a rejection of war, while others affirm just war principles—but after five years of conflict, we are convinced that continuing occupation and war in Iraq cannot be reconciled with just war teaching, and it is the obligation of Christians to help bring unjust wars to an end. The U.S. occupation must end; a transition to an international solution to Iraq must be found. A peaceful resolution is possible and must be pursued. Our country should end this war, not try to “win” it, and we must help the Iraqi people build a safer and more peaceful country.

We believe repentance means more than just being sorry. Repentance requires a change of heart and a commitment to a new direction. Repentance means transformation—breaking out of our conformity to a foreign policy based on fear and war to a policy that is rooted in seeking justice and pursuing peace. There is a better way—and the U.S. church must take the lead.

We dedicate ourselves to the biblical vision of a world in which nations do not attempt to resolve international problems by waging war on other nations . We believe the followers of the Prince of Peace should be the hardest ones, not the easiest, to convince to go to war. We are not utopians—we acknowledge that human beings and nations will have conflicts. But given the toll that the habit of war has taken in our violence-torn world, we must begin to learn to resolve our inevitable conflicts by learning the arts and skills of conflict resolution and a new international approach to just peace-making and law enforcement. We must seek a world in which we allow our Lord “ to guide our feet into the path of peace."

As a sign of repentance and commitment to lead our nation toward a new path, I pledge to:

● Pray for our nation to learn lasting lessons from th e tragedy of the war in Iraq and commit to greater wisdom in the future.

● Help heal our nation by talking and listening to our fellow Christians, finding better ways to resolve conflicts—by seeking the reconciliation of our divisions and working together for a more peaceful world.

● Reach out to the veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, who often, after making terrible sacrifices, feel abandoned.

● Urge our elected representatives to:

● pursue a foreign policy consistent with moral principles, wise political judgments, and international law

● ensure that veterans and their families are provided with the medical, psychological, financial, and spiritual support they need

● fulfill our responsibility, working with the international community, to stabilize and rebuild Iraq, provide humanitarian support, and resettle those displaced by war.

Repentance requires a change of direction and a new commitment to follow Jesus, who tells us very clearly, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.”

Sign the statement


The Iraq News

Fifth Anniversary Edition

Ten shy of four thousand members of the American military have lost their lives in Iraq. The first 3,990 of those did not have to die and the ten more that will soon die and bring this total to a mindblowing 4,000 do not have to die either. The ones that will likely die on the way to 5,000 and beyond do not have to die. The untolled masses of Iraqis that will be killed, do not need to be. All it would take to end this is a few words spoken into a telephone by George W. Bush. Just a few words. But, instead, the words we hear from him are "it was worth it".

The democratic majority in Congress ruthlessly squandered the opportunity to defund the OCCUPATION, so now, Congress can only end it with the impeachment of Bush and Cheney. These things sound impossible. They are not. They can happen right now. Today. It's a matter of will. Waiting another year is obviously a tragic mistake.

We continue to be told that a we just need to hold out for political reconciliation. It's never going to happen. Never was that more obvious than yesterday at a national reconciliation convention in Iraq that was boycotted by some of the most important political players in the country.

Here's the Iraq News:

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

End War Now! (Blogswarm)

5th Anniversary. WHY? The results are horrid. Should there be a 6th Anniversary? Not only NO, but HELL NO!

The last major Peace Rally here in Denver was a little less than 5 months ago.

We need more and to keep the pressure up on the Candidates and the Government. It sounds banal to say but the shear COST! In lives and money they are both too much to bear.

Let's all do our part and make sure there isn't Anniversary #6.

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Happy anniversary.

As you read this, on the fifth aniversary of the launch of the Bush regime’s immoral and illegal war of empire against Iraq, we are almost half-way through yet another week where another $5 billion will be spent on this apparently endless debacle.

Other costs to date:

Americans dead: 3,990

Americans wounded: 29,000 +

Iraqis dead: At least 100, 000, maybe closer to 500,000

Iraqis wounded: Unknown

Iraqis displaced: At least four million

That’s all I have. There’s not much more to say.

Monday, March 17, 2008

LIEberman to Attend GOP Convention

Shades of Zell Miller!
Joe LIE-berman is going to attend the Republican National convention this summer, as one of Yawn McSame's policy advisors.
(From the Stamford Advocate:)Lieberman, who calls himself an independent Democrat, still caucuses with Senate Democrats who need him to maintain a 51-49 majority.

Friday, Lieberman said he will attend the Republican National Convention this summer, "if Senator McCain thinks it will be helpful to be there in some capacity."

Lieberman is co-chairman of McCain's campaign in Connecticut with U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Bridgeport.

"I am not going to attend the Democratic Convention for obvious reasons," Lieberman said.
Lieberman had his superdelegate status stripped earlier this year, and his 'obvious reasons' for not attending the Democratic convention would probably include things like, oh, I don't know ... being flayed alive maybe?

He must have seen George W. Bush win Kvatch's coveted Asshole of the Week Award on Saturday and thought to himself, "Gee - I want one of those." Giving an athletic 110% to the effort, he also gave indications that he would support Shays, his co-chair in McCain's campaign.
Asked whether he will cross party lines again during the fall Congressional election to support Shays over his Democratic challenger, Jim Himes of Greenwich, Lieberman hinted he would once again sway toward the GOP.

"I am going to wait and see, but let me just say Chris Shays is a great congressman."
After all, there are a lot of assholes out there, and if you want to win you have to give it that extra effort.
Lieberman's support for the U.S. senator from Arizona has been the last straw for many Democrats in the state reeling from his successful independent run against Ned Lamont, the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate, in 2006. His critics say the Stamford resident has abandoned the Democratic Party and say he remains a member in name only.
They couldn't have figured that out before the election? We here at Les Enragé had Lieberman's entire career pegged as a false flag operation even before he was challenged by Ned Lamont, a REAL Democrat. If they could have figured it out it would have saved us all a lot of trouble. Six years worth to be exact.

Hat-tip to Think Progress for the story.


Saturday, March 15, 2008

George Bush - Asshole of the Week

Two weeks ago, after Bush vetoed the joint resolution banning the CIA's use of torture on 'high-value' suspects, I thought hard about giving him my 'Asshole of the Week' award...but didn't.

I should have. Because, after 5 years of feigned indignation at the use of term 'torturer' in reference to the United States, this waste of a man, this preening jackass, confirmed what the whole world already knows: Yes we do use torture and yes the mother-f*cking Bush Administration isn't going to stop using torture to get what it wants!

Asshole of the Week (Most Weeks)But then, Bush followed up with a display of monumental hubris. Drawing himself up with importance, he once again proclaimed how America must wean itself from its dependence on foreign oil just before shooting that sentiment in the foot with a lame reference to the 20 car motorcade that brought him to the Washington International Renewable Energy Conference. Gee George, thought that stupid joke up all by yourself did ya? You miserable tool!

However, in the end, it was a little discussed headline this last week that pushed me over the edge. You see Bush demonstrated that, despite all his feigned sympathy for the little man, he actually doesn't give a crap what happens to Americans. In fact, by personally (and illegally) interfering in the EPA's strengthening of seasonal ozone limits, Bush is essentially signing the death warrants of thousands of Americans, all so that his paymasters can have a bit more dinero in their pockets. Because that's what additional smog-forming ozone kills people—the young, the old, the infirm—just as surely as if Bush himself had gunned them down himself with a legally obtained assault weapon.

So there you have it, enough stuff to make it worth declaring George Bush 'The Asshole of the Week' fact, the most monumental of assholes.

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Weekend Open Thread.

Matisyahu: "Jerusalem."

Friday, March 14, 2008

Good News on the FISA front!

No Immunity for Telcos, and Greater Oversight of the Administration! Here's the vote via Jane Hamsher: 213-197-1

emptywheel and mcjoan deserve a ton of credit, along with Glenzilla and Kagro X. Here's how it played out:

Kagro X on procedure:

The House passed an immunity-free bill, H.R. 3773

The Senate passed a bill with immunity in it, S. 2248

The Senate stripped out the text of H.R. 3773 and substituted in the text of S. 2248, then sent the amended H.R. 3773 back to the House

Conyers and Reyes have an amendment to H.R. 3773 (as amended by the Senate) that would strip out what the Senate put in (the text of S. 2248) and put in its place the new, immunity-free language.

CORRECTION: I originally wrote "Long story short that means it's the end of the line. This bill does not go back to Conference or the Senate. (This needs clarification; Glenn says it must go to the Senate.) Chimpy signs it or not. Either way, immunity is GONE." Evidently this bill does have two more steps; back to the Senate and then another Conference Report to reconcile any differences.

Marcy and mcjoan both note that some Blue Dogs who were typically going to vote with the Republicans, came back and voted the right way!

Glenn sums up nicely what I also have some hope for; a sea change:

It's hard not to believe that there's not at least some significant sea change
reflected by this. They have seen that they can defy the President even on
matters of Terrorism, and the sky doesn't fall in on them. Quite the opposite:
an outspoken opponent of telecom amnesty, warrantless eavesdropping and the Iraq War was just elected to the House from Denny Hastert's bright red district, and before that, Donna Edwards ousted long-time incumbent Al Wynn by accusing him of being excessively complicit with the Bush agenda.
Also via Glenn, the youtube of Rush Holt

and some fine talkin'

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Kabuki and Behind the Curtain

ka·bu·ki - popular drama of Japan, developed chiefly in the 17th century, characterized by elaborate costuming, rhythmic dialogue, stylized acting, music, and dancing, and the performance of both male and female roles by male actors.

An alternative definition in Greater Left Blogsylvania - elaborately staged responses and accompanying rituals of Lamestream Media Pundits and Politicians in response to issues or people of the day, to generally hoodwink the population that those actors really care, when they don't. They just want their way, their sense of outrage or opinion to prevail, really. See also "SHAM."

There are two major kabuki plays going on right now. I call the first one "The System of Dr. Tarr and Professor Fether." (If you like, you can hear the song of the same name here.)
The kabuki goes like this: one Dem candidate cannot win the primaries without (recoil in disgust) SUPER DELEGATES! The Horror! That candidate should quit for the good of the party! Behind the Curtain: since Super Tuesday, no candidate wins without SUPER DELEGATES.

And frankly, more of the Blogosphere is playing into this than the MSM. Unless one of the candidates bows out of the race (highly unlikely in my view) imagine the shock most folks (read non-bloggers) in the country will have when they actually wake up and read in the paper or see on their teevee one day "BROKERED CONVENTION - SUPER DELEGATES BREAK TIE!" And that's a generous enough. Surely the kabuki will kick in, and it will more along the lines of "CANDIDATE STEALS NOMINATION!"

The candidates stated policy positions are about within 90+% of each other, and I think that's why the race is so close. As of today's writing, they're around 100 pledged primary delegates apart out of more than 4,000 total available, and less than 1 Million popular votes apart out of about 130 million folks of eligible voter age, with millions more expected to participate. A reason that it's important to ordinary schlubs and the pundits is the need to feel that their person won! It's a horse race after all, and dammit my pony better win! My pony is shinier and nicer than your pony. But when the Super Delegate fix comes in, tons of people will be outraged and pissed off.

What makes the difference to me is that neither candidate has true progressive values. They are both centrist pragmatists and politicians of the species politicus normalus, vulgaris. In the last eight years, neither has blazed any truly bright trail, and in some cases have been part of the damage done. They both have a notable absence on the final FISA vote. Restore the Constitution much? Evidently not.

Which brings me to the second kabuki, that plays after Dr. Tarr etc. I call it "Circumstances - Plus ça change, Plus c’est la même chose"

Once we get past poo-flinging primary season, the outrage etc. and there's a solid contest set up for November, barring anything totally and cosmically breathtaking, I'm of the opinion that the country will repudiate Republican rule. As commenter Dave of the Jungle often says "Prepare for the Landslide Punitive Election of 2008." There will be some predictable kabuki running up to November like the "Dems Are Weak On Terra" play, and the "Dems Will Tax You To Smithereens, Including Taxing Your Death" play among others, but since we've seen that on cable so many frikking times, I think folks will turn the channel.

This kabuki is still a little foggy in the Unconventional Crystal Ball, since anything can happen and who knows who the next Democratic President will be, but let me make a few guesses in the form of question. And you have to apply a little theory tool called the Overton Window.

...Delivering rhetoric to define the window provides a plan of action to make more acceptable to the public some ideas by priming them with other ideas allowed to remain unacceptable, but which make the real target ideas seem more acceptable by comparison. The degrees of acceptance of public ideas can be described roughly as:

- Unthinkable
- Radical
- Acceptable
- Sensible
- Popular
- Policy

The Overton Window is a means of visualizing which ideas define that range of acceptance by where they fall in it, and adding new ideas that can push the old ideas towards acceptance merely by making the limits more extreme.

So think "Bell Curve" and move whatever you think the Overton Window limits are around the distribution of people's current political thinking since the electorate has been quite conditioned by the Overton Window. Think of any past President ever being able to get away with saying "The Constitution is just a goddamned piece of paper." See? By the use of rhetoric according to the Overton Window theory, that behavior moved from Unthinkable to Acceptable. Is it on the way to sensible? I digress.

Behind the Curtain: April 30th, 2009 will mark the new President's 100th day in office. (Harken back to the heady days of re-taking the House and Senate Majority, and remember those first 100 days for a comparison.) How many troops will have been withdrawn from Iraq? After all the 6th anniversary of occupation will have passed by then. How many Executive Orders by Bush will have been withdrawn, or for that matter, any of the previous legislations signing statements? How stalled will any health care legislation be in Congress? And by the way, both candidates plans are sweetheart deals mandating coverage, not actual care. Will there be any criminal investigation into former administration officials? Insert you own list of questions, for that is what the candidates chould be asked for in detail. What day for beginning withdrawals, which EOs will you rescind, which signing statements and by when?

But none of those lines of questiong are acceptable in kabuki. This is the most powerful kabuki that they have going, because it's true: the more that things change, the more they stay the same. You have to remember, kabukis are plays. And plays need producers and production money. They're called Lobbyists and Special Interests. There's no budget for a pony for you. I know. I asked the Magic 8 Ball.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Mission of Religion?

Die Aufgabe der Religion: die Menschheit zu trösten, die zum Galgen geht. Die Aufgabe der Politik: Sie lebensüberdrüssig zu machen; die Aufgabe der Humanität: ihr die Galgenfrist zu verkürzen und die Henkersmahlzeit gleich zu vergiften.

The mission of religion is to comfort humanity on its way to the gallows. The mission of politics is to make her weary of life; the mission of humanity: to shorten her appointment with the gallows, and then to poison the executioner’s last meal.

*Sprüche und Widersprüche in Die Fakel, Nos. 261/62, p. 4 (1908)(S.H. transl.) Karl Kraus

The above is brazenly borrowed from the Harper's" site, 'No Comment.' It struck me because I'm working on something tying certain overwrought morality czars to Mr. McCain - who has received some major campaign dollars from the companies tied to the current subprime mortgage 'crisis.'

And, lest we forget - there's alway our Chief Christian in Charge to remind us where he stands in the grand scheme of things.

Of course - there's always Lewis Black to explore the facets of evil on a new show premiering on Comedy Central tonight. First up - Next on Root of All Evil: Oprah vs. The Catholic Church.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Reason why I say that is, presto, change-o, the Super Delegates will come to our rescue! That's right. In a race which has done it's job, i.e. trounce the chances of true progressives (Kucinich, Dodd, Edwards) the race fixers have another card to play, and I ain't talking the race card.
It's the Very Serious Grownup Card. The Party knows what to do, since you hicks can't get further than 600,000 or a 1,000,000 popular votes apart (depending on who you ask)
So I offer this little bastardized ditty:
Could be anti-democratic and abomination
just the frikking sound of it does give me constipation

(Um fiddle fiddle fiddle, um little lie
Um fiddle fiddle fiddle, um little lie)

One candidate was doing well but he was just lad
The other had some baggage but was really not so bad
In races they came very close, so we shall now be had!
The Dems will tell you who you'll have, just like your Mom and Dad!


Could be anti-democratic and abomination
just the frikking sound of it does give me constipation

(Um fiddle fiddle fiddle, um little lie
Um fiddle fiddle fiddle, um little lie)
I just hope Ms. Poppins is around to clean up Denver after the wreck that it could concievably be post-Convention.
One more thing; don't you think that it's time to substitute the Village Elders' wisdom for our own? Once this damn contest is over, Democratic party reform is most definitely in order, and I think we should start with the Speaker Of The House.
UPDATE: Not on this blog's current thread, but from others I am reading there is a LOT of misconception out there.
A - Some folks are calling out for Super Delegates to endorse already. Well, why should they? If they do, they could have the effect of disenfranchising folks who haven't voted in a primary yet. And if I was John Edwards in particular, there is NO WAY I would wade into this fray. He can't be right for about most of the folks who are calling for him and other past candidates to endorse.
B - Lots of folks are claiming that the prevailing wisdom is that SDs will vote along the popular vote trends, OR that the Supers could put an end to this "tearing the party apart" crap now if "they had the balls." DOH! Wrong! Supers were made to REVERSE the popular will if the aforementioned Village Elders think that the populace has been hoodwinked by populism for starters. So calling all Rahm Emmanuels, keep your motor running! Secondly, the critters ain't voting, just endorsin' until the Convention. So literally, just keep your pants on.
Unless you're in the Mob's comment section. Pants are optional, and the pant rack is on the LEFT, on your way in the door. Long live Sans-Culotte!

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