Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Conservative Humor

Here it is, Christmas Eve Eve, and I was pondering comedy - as in why are there so few conservative comedians that are actually funny? There are a few - Drew Carey and Larry Miller spring to mind - but very few. Then there's Dennis Miller - funny moments at first but cringe-inducing now that he's gone full rightie. And consider, the cons actually consider Ann Coulter to be a humorist and know, like Rush Limbaugh the entertainer.

What got me going on this was a posting on the excellent blog The Political Carnival - in particular, a quote about the health care reform debate that she posted about:

"I can assure you the vast majority of the Republican conference was on my side
saying we've had all the fun we're going to have."

-- Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), quoted by the Oklahoman,
noting most Senate Republicans were willing
to concede
they no longer needed to delay a final health care vote until 7
p.m. on Christmas Eve.

Now, what an odd thing to say. Delaying health care reform for millions of Americans was fun for the Republicans?

Not surprising when you go about the web and find what conservatives think is funny.

Conservative "humor" seems to fall into these categories:

  1. Nasty remarks about someone's personal appearance, i.e. "Hillary has fat ankles", "Rosie O'Donnell is fat", "Streisand has a big nose" get the idea.
  2. Anything they can do to work in 'bad words' like socialist and commie.
  3. Death is a real kneeslapper too - one rightwing 'satirist' thought it'd be the height of jocularity if terrorists attacked Las Vegas when Harry Reid didn't tow the George W. Bush line.

Here's where I probably should put in a bunch of links to demonstrate this, but do a search on "conservative humor" and you'll see how correct my list is.

Gee, nasty people who's lives are based on hate and fear think nasty, hateful and fearful jokes are funny.

No one could have ever foreseen that.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

How to get your Representative and Senators' attention

I'm hearing a lot of frustration coming from my fellow liberals and Democrats - currently about the health care reform bill but the song pretty much goes the same no matter what the issue. The tune goes along the line of how futile it all is - there's no way we can overcome the lobbyist and corporate dollars that's bought Congress.

Buck up, little camper - sure there is. Here's why:

The first and most important thing to remember when dealing with your Representative and two Senators is one cardinal rule: they like being where they're at and want to stay there. Sure, corporations and such contribute tons of money to their campaigns but that just buys TV time - not a seat in Congress or anywhere else. Go ahead, ask President Forbes about that and while you're at it ask Governor Corzine how that worked in getting him a second term.

Nope, the awful truth is that even corporate CEOs who give candidates lots of moola only get one vote on election day. Just one. Money in politics serves one purpose and one purpose only: it helps candidates and incumbents get their message out to voters. The message boils down to simply presenting the argument why they should be elected or re-elected over their opponent. Money just sees to it that more voters see their arguments and hopefully agree with it enough to get them in. That message may be printed in slick mailers and broadcast in smooth TV ads but if the voters ain't buyin' they lose.

Of course, the problem arises on the flip side of that coin. Contributors rarely give the money they give just because they believe in good government - they see it as an investment and they expect their investment to pay off. Like that member of Congress voting their way on a bill when one comes up.

Even that can be overcome through that pesky voting thing.

Here's how to make that work for you when dealing with them.

This may be a little difficult - you are going to have to get off the computer and go out to do this. It plain doesn't work with a phone call or an email - even though both help in preparation.

First, find out where your Representative or Senators' local office is located. Make an appointment to see someone there in person - a staffer will do but this works best if you can get in to see the actual Congressperson.

Once you've done that, get three or four friends who agree with what you want to say to the member to go with you to the meeting.

Once you're all there, state your case. Be polite but firm - no one likes to be yelled at and when they are they tend to shut you out. Now, they'll nod and make affirmative noises but remember, they are just making nice and may or may not agree with a word you're saying.

Once the case is made, now go in for the close. Remind them about that thing with the corporate CEOs - you know, that one vote they get thing. Then have them look at the 3 or four of you and ask if there was an election with the Congress member getting that CEO vote and somebody else getting the three or four of your votes who they think would win.

The member of Congress will get the point.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Billo's Bellow

(I get these essays in my email from Zepp and since I don't know if he has his own webpage to visit, I share this with you.)

Yule be home for the holidays

© Bryan Zepp Jamieson
December 5th 2009

We're coming up on the Yule Season – you may have noticed one or two ads mentioning it on the TV – and Bill O'Reilly is on his annual campaign to save Christmas.

That would be the Republican Christmas, of course. It's sort of a strange holiday in which Jesus urges everyone to go out and buy lots of shit for the kids, so they will worship. If lots of money is all it takes to get American right wingers to worship Reverend Moon and Kangarupe Murdoch, then lots of money and gifts ought to bring those little sucks into line, Jesus-wise.

Billo spent a few minutes whining about the “coal-in-your-stocking crowd,” which would include such groups as the American Humanist Association and the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Billo's ire was raised by signs on buses that read, “No God? No Problem! Be good for goodness sakes!”

The funny thing is that you'll find a lot of members in both groups celebrating the holidays in various ways later this month. A lot of Humanists celebrate the Solstice, New Years', or both. And a surprising number of people in Freedom from Religion are, in fact, religious. They just understand how important it is to keep religion and government separate, because each will horribly corrupt the other.

But it's not Republican Christmas, an event that includes plastic trees, artery-clogging eggnog, huge credit card bills, and an endless agony of sending and receiving cards, and putting names in databases so you don't forget to send a card next year. All this is combined with copious amounts of sanctimony, even though none of the activities listed actually involved the putative religious aspects in any way.

Billo is riding that sanctimony, saying that not believing in God means there's no point in celebrating anything. As he says, “The question is, why bother? Why spend money at Christmas time to spread dubious will among men?”

If you were hoping for a heartwarming homily right out of the pages of Reader's Digest about family and love and peace and goodwill toward men, that just isn't the Republican Christmas.

The reason people don't celebrate Billo's Republican Christmas, according to Billo, is “atheists are jealous of the Yuletide season. While Christians have Jesus and Jews have the prophets, non-believers have Bill Maher. There are no atheist Christmas carols, no pagan displays of largesse like Santa Claus. In fact, for the non-believer, Christmas is just a day off, a time to consider that Mardi Gras is less than two months away.”

I bet more Jews celebrate Bill Maher then celebrate Christmas. Even among Republican Jews. It's not because Maher is, technically speaking, Jewish (He was raised Catholic, now a Humanist, but his mother was Jewish), nor because, technically speaking, so was Jesus. It's just that if you send a letter to Bill Maher, you have a chance of getting a reply. Plus Maher doesn't go for smiting fruit trees because they aren't bearing fruit out of season, or demanding that followers forsake their families to follow him. Maher's pretty mellow about that sort of shit. So it makes more sense to celebrate him.

I fell down laughing at the statement that there are no pagan displays of largess like Santa Claus. It's true. Republican Christmas has Santa showing up at the stable fashionably late, singing, “Yo, ho, blow the man down” and giving the baby Jesus a yarmulke and season tickets to the Rams. Humanists don't have anything like that. Nor do Christians. But the pagans do. Santa may be loosely based on a Christian saint, Nicolas, but the figure actually dates back some 3,000 years. Odin, a figure also known as Jólnir (Old Norse "yule figure") who was celebrated from Solstice to early January as a part of the ancient Nordic lunar calendar, was the first Santa figure. Nuthin' pagan about THAT, nosireebob! Later versions, based on the fourth century Saint Basil, and the sixteenth century Saint Nicklaus, came later. The modern Santa is based on nothing more than an illustration by a political cartoonist, Thomas Nast. Nast almost certainly drew from pagan lore, combining Mōdraniht, (Mother's Night) with Saturnalia.

Billo, characteristically, shifted to a vaguely threatening posture, noting that 78% of people in the US like to say “Merry Christmas” and only 22% say “Happy Holidays” and noting that all those Merry-Christmas babblers aren't going to have much goodwill left over for people who disparage their eggnog.

Most people are a little fed up with the holiday. The Guardian had a poll for favorite Christmas movie, and Billy Bob Thornton's “Bad Santa”, a cynical and depraved satire, was leading. I voted for it myself. If there's a movie the wife and I watch every Yule, that's it. There's just something about the sight of a drunken Billy Bob Thornton sprawled in a plastic Santa throne whilst a dark stain spreads across the front of his red Santa pants that proclaims the true nature and joy of Republican Christmas.

Most people just sigh and deal with Christmas. They do it for the kids, although it has never been clear to me how teaching kids utter absurdities such as the Santa legend, and then pulling the rug out from under them when they get to be about eight, fosters trust and reverence for equally absurd religious stories. If Santa's a fake, then why believe the Bible? To me, it makes a lot more sense to explain the gift giving as a custom in which people reach out to one another, and show they care. That's a lesson and a rationale that doesn't go away when a child is eight.

The only groups that actually oppose Christmas are Christian. Most of them have pretty valid reasons, as seen from their perspectives. Some groups recognize that Christmas is basically just superimposed on ancient pagan holidays, and are literate enough to know that Joseph and Mary weren't going to be walking around half the middle east in the dead of winter, and that such an odyssey would been in late summer. It doesn't help that none of the mentioned events have any historic correlation. No big bright stars appearing out of nowhere. There was a Herod, and there was a big Roman census, which did occur—10 years after Herod's death. Herod died four years before Jesus was supposedly born. That only two of the four gospels have any of the elements of the nativity at all is further cause for concern.

As a result, most Christians treat the nativity as an allegorical fable. This includes the Catholic Church, which realized many years ago that it was impossible to reconcile the irregularities and flat-out contradictions in the gospels. They believe that Jesus is the son of God, but they recognize that the fable that he was born in a manger on December 25th with three wise men, shepherds and so on was pure malarky.

Most just go ahead and enjoy the holiday, mindful of the fact that it's more a commemoration of an idea than any actual events. And they don't go around demanding that people believe fables that they don't believe themselves. They celebrate Christmas in their own way, and leave others to celebrate it – or not – in their way. This always struck me as a sensible approach.

But oddly, the strongest opposition comes from the folks who insist that the bible is literal, and that the nativity occurred exactly as described in the two gospels, and loftily ignore the contradictions between the two. However, they admit that nearly all the elements of Christmas are of pagan origin, and the commercialism is an abomination.

Billo likes to pretend that atheists get upset when people say “Merry Christmas” to them, but the fact is that few do. Some of them will even say “Merry Christmas” right back, especially if it's someone they care about, and whose beliefs they respect. Atheists don't dig in their heels and get surly unless someone forces them to say “Merry Christmas.” And Billo, who can't understand that he lives in a country where no person may impose religious observance on any other person, is flabbergasted that employers aren't willing to force employees at malls to chirp “Merry Christmas” at customers who are already fed up with the patent emotional phoniness of the commercial celebrations.

The fundamentalists are the only ones who get upset about the term itself, because they realize that the vast majority of people, when they say the phrase, don't mean it in the biblical sense. The fact that there is no coherent biblical sense makes it even worse.

Some like to pretend it's their holiday, and nobody else has any business appropriating it. In fairness, that isn't limited to fundamentalist Christians; I've heard similar grousings from Wiccans and other Pagans.

But it's pretty much a secular celebration, the tinsel and the gifts and Santa and all of that, and in any event, everyone in America is free to observe it or not, as strikes their fancy. And it is that freedom that so upsets Billo, who wants to force people to observe a holiday he doesn't even believe in himself.

Happy Yule, and if you see Billy Bob Thornton up on Santa's pagan throne, surrounded by mythical pagan creatures such as elves, think twice about plopping the kids in his lap.

They might splash.

Now THIS is how you handle Climate Change Denying Teabaggers

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) defends itself

There is a lot of push back going on by those who work on climate change and those in the media and government – in other countries that is. If you live in the USA you would think that the evidence for climate change has been well and truly debunked and that Al Gore is the biggest con artist in history.

The IPCC are not holding back re their thoughts on the motivation for release of the emails:

Professor Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, vice-chairman of the IPCC, said it was no coincidence the information was released in the run-up to the summit.

He claimed unnamed conspirators could have paid for Russian hackers to break into the university computers to steal the e-mails.

He said the theft was a scandal and was “probably ordered” to disrupt the confidence negotiators have in the science.

Gordon Brown, the British Prime Minister uses language to describe the deniers that Obama would do well to adopt:

He said: “There is an anti-change group. There is an anti-reform group. There is
an anti-science group, there is a flat Earth group, if I may say so, over the
scientific evidence for climate change.”

So there is resistance to the uneducated lemmings, the deniers, who insist they know better than people who have studied a subject for years if not their entire working lives. They also fail to grasp the significance of the fact that hundreds of scientists think that man’s actions are accelerating climate change and the number that disagree is proportionally tiny. More importantly though, a quick bit of research unearth’s the fact that the ones who are in the mainstream have no dog in the fight, the ones who oppose are invariably financed by industries who lose money every time an anti pollution or fossil fuel law is passed.

The fact that the Teabaggers think that they have enough information on this topic to even begin to form an opinion is very scary.


Now that's how you handle the know-nothing Teabagger morons! We need to be hearing this from OUR people right here! Stop wimping out in the face of these idiots!!

Uncle PL's Guide to Handling Rightwing-Nuts Online

I enjoy Twitter a lot - so much so that some days I will be on it for literally hours. I mean from morning until very late at night. Like I said, I am retired and do have lots of time on my hand and the internet sure beats a lot of what's on TV. I have email groups I participate in too - most of them I call slow motion chat rooms because most of the emails from them tend to be a sentence or two.

This Twitter thing is most fun though. You're forced to get your point across in literally 140 spaces that includes spaces between words. There is one basic rule about Twitter though - it's only as good as who you choose to follow and who chooses to follow you.

However, as they say on talk radio, this isn't what I writing about.

What this post is about is what I've learned when deciding to debate the far right online. Some people who take this on are new at it, some old hands but here are some suggestions that work for me. Let's call these rules for the sake of this essay....


Remain calm. Be aware that the person you are debating has been told by their leaders (Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, etc.) that if they say such and such, that will "annoy liberals" and by doing so that is a victory for them and the conservative movement. Two things to keep close to mind and heart as you post to them - you have facts, they have only what Fox News and their radio hate shows tell them is so. When they make their admittedly aggravating claims that they heard on their radio and saw on their TVs, keep repeating those facts you have.


Do not ask far rightwingers questions. We on the left are actually pretty nice folks and we tend to view other humans in a good light. We approach the far right with the Socratic approach as in if we ask them the right questions we will guide them to the Truth. Sorry, but that plain doesn't work with the fringe right. You cannot use reason with the unreasonable. Instead, say what you need to say in simple, declarative sentences. No "Don't you think blah blah blah?" No, they don't think. They are authoritarians - they get told by other authoritarians and they repeat it the same way they are told. Do it right back at them.


"Don't you think if we had healthcare for all the country would be better off?"


"The country would be better off if everyone had healthcare."


You get the idea.

But Uncle PL, what if they stick with what they are saying and ignore the facts that I give them?

Then you go to....


The most potent weapon to use against the far right is ridicule and laughter. Don't get angry and going all ALL CAPS at them - they want that. The far righters, as much as they bluster and act macho, are really an insecure lot. They need two things most of all: attention and validation. They want to be the star of your email group, chat room or Twitter postings and pay attention only to them. You may be doing the online equivalent of shouting at them and calling them rude names but attention is attention. This is also validation of their viewpoint - since they consider liberals awful people who only trade in falsehood, your anger is only proving to them the righteousness of their positions.

However, this falls apart for them if you start to ridicule their stories and laugh at them. Call it snark or sarcasm, it's devastating to them. You just knocked their supports out from under them - not only are you not accepting their claims, you are not taking them seriously. They get told that only they are the serious ones with serious positions - undermine that and they get all flustered. Combine this with RULE #2 and count the seconds before they run away - something they are also told to do if it gets too hot for them.

But...Uncle PL! That's being mean, just like them! We can't do that - how are we going to change any minds that way?


Understand this simple fact - there is little to no debating online. Once in a while you'll hit someone who is genuinely on the fence on some issue or some thinking conservative who has real opinions and the information to back them up. These are so rare that they are to be treasured when found. What you are dealing with an overwhelming majority of the time are right wing ideologues who are looking to score points against you. As I said, they want you to get upset and they will use any and everything at hand to do so. They are the convinced and nothing you say to them will get them to shift a single position they've been fed - and trust me, fed is the right word here. Creativity and independent thought need not apply - what you're dealing with most of the time are followers, not leaders.

So, what do we do with them? We defeat them. We beat them down. We stick to our guns. We outlast them. We run them out of the cyber room with their tails between their legs, crawling away whimpering from the red ass we just gave them.

As James Carville said once, "I don't want to be friends with the right. I want them defeated."

Now, in a perfect world, none of my rules would be necessary. Most of us on the left don't log on with the idea of looking for a fight - we want to test our ideas and get some good information so we're better informed citizens. All comers welcome: who knows - a conservative might have a good idea that we haven't considered and be worth a look.

There once was a time in America when doing all that was possible.

Those days are gone.

Our friends on the right don't want discussion - they want to do to us what I said we should do to them. We're not people with a different point of view who share their wishes to make America a better country but just disagree with how to get there, to them we are the enemy. Read and hear what they say. They say we hate America and want to destroy it. They don't accept that we support a woman's choice in reproductive matters - to them, all we want to do is murder unborn babies. To them, we support terrorism because we don't fear all of the adherents of a particular religion since a few of them want to do us harm. We don't oppose the war on Iraq because we think it was unnecessary and sold to us on a stack of lies - to them, we want to destroy the morale of our military and cheer when they are maimed or killed because we think it bolsters our position. To them, what's our position? Surrender always because we are spineless, pacifist wimps who think the United States is an evil country, unworthy of defending.

What a load of crap.

I don't have to refute any of this - my friends on the left have already done that, early and often.

So, they want a fight? We're their huckleberries.

I say we make the far right into a club sandwich. And we've got the clubs to do just that.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Let me say from the outset that I was on the fence on Afghanistan. I saw the arguments from both the "stay" and "withdraw" camps and I wavered from one to the other. I both supported going into Afghanistan and participated in protest marches against it (for me it was not against why we went, I protested the general "Bomb it all" approach of the Bushies).

Then the President made his case on Tuesday, December 2nd. My response immediately after the speech was, "OK. He sold me."

Boy, did some of my fellow progressive tweeters give me hell for that. Some even said they felt "betrayed" by the President because he announced more troops for Afghanistan and didn't say "OK, we're outta there starting right now."

Well, better look at this then: Obama Campaign Promises: Afghanistan

What he said in his speech is what he ran on in 2008.

Now, about why we need to be in Afghanistan - first, remember this?

The right says we forgot all about it and we don't care about terrorism anymore. Well, I certainly do remember and real terrorism threats matter to me. Same goes for the President.

It doesn't matter that the terrorists who did this were Saudis or anything else - what matters is that they trained and were sent out to do that from.....Afghanistan.

Here's the deal, folks. A lot of the criticism from the left is saying that what Obama is doing is exactly what Bush did and the Soviet Union before him and will fail just like they did. Sorry, but I don't see it. I've put this challenge out before and it's still out there: I'll give you that point.....the second you've shown me anything President Obama has said about regime change, taking Afghanistan over, occupying it or anything else Bush and the Soviets did.

OK, it's a trick question: Obama never said anything like that, either when he was campaigning or now. If and when that changes, I'll jump right over to the Withdraw Now camp. Right now, I'm still with the Prez.

Now, it's a given that if Bush had finished the job I and every Democrat in the Senate and all but one in the House supported, Obama would never have had to have given that speech or send 30,000 more troops into Afghanistan. However, this doesn't mean we can now leave the job he failed to do undone.

That's just not acceptable.

The President also said on Tuesday that Afghanistan is not in imminent danger of falling to the Taliban and the number of Al Qaeda there now number between 100-200. Also true...right now. If we just packed up and left, that'd change in a hurry.

Imagine a restored Taliban-controlled Afghanistan giving Al Qaeda the green light to re-open their terrorist training camps then turning their attention to gaining control of a nuclear Pakistan as well. Then look at the picture above and imagine that happening again in America, maybe much worse. And no, this is not the same "excuse" the right used for staying in Iraq. There is a major difference that needs to also be remembered: there were no terrorist groups in Iraq before we invaded and occupied it. There most certainly were and still are in Afghanistan. Imagine them rubbing their hands in glee at the thought of getting their safe haven back.

Withdraw now and you won't have to imagine it for very long. It'll all be very real and in a very short time.

I understand some of this reaction - Obama hasn't been in office for even a year quite yet and we haven't quite gotten that nasty Dubya taste out of our mouths yet. You can see that in the reaction to the fact that non-SuperObama hasn't changed all the bad things and made America a paradise on Earth yet and it must mean that's because HE'S JUST LIKE BUSH!

Oh please. We did not elect a photo negative version of W - not even close.

This also means that the way Obama will conduct the war in Afghanistan will be anything but JUST LIKE BUSH! We're there to do two things militarily - make sure that terrorists don't come back in and set up business and tamp down the Taliban to a level where the Afghanis can handle it on their own. Then we get the hell out. Diplomatically and financially, we'll supply the aid to repair the country and establish a stable government there that was promised by the Bushies then promptly forgotten in their urge to get into Iraq.

Iraq was an unnecessary war sold by lies - this doesn't mean that every war we do is the same. Sometimes, even with the terrible costs that go with it, a war is necessary. Afghanistan is that war. The threat coming from inaction isn't the ravings of a Rush-driven neocon after a day of Fox Noise lies, it's real this time.

President Obama may have inherited this war but he'll end it after the job is done.

I stand with our President.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Some musings on global warming and other things.

As happens from time to time, I recently went through some arguments over the validity of climate change science. The anti's just got a new weapon in their arsenal - a series of stolen emails between scientists that seemed to show that the eggheads were yakking it up over the fakery they were getting away with. Oh, the gloating of the climate change deniers was thick enough to cut.

The scientists themselves, besides being livid over private emails being spread about publicly, tried to explain that some of the phrases that appeared to be admitting to fraud was just the language of scientists being misunderstood.

We on the left did our usual thing - tried to reason with the unreasonable and show them that science doesn't stand still to bring the deniers into the light.

Won't happen - this isn't about science, it's about ideology namely the 'MUST PROTECT MASTER" variety and that doesn't allow for nuance. If you allow the possibility of man-created global climate change then you can't defend your 'betters' profits because then it becomes a matter of personal survival instead of an ideology that says the more money you have means that you are more good than those with less. Fortunately, this ideology is in decline - out of power, discredited and rejected by a majority of Americans.

'Greed is good', if not dead, is very sick and very much alone. That's all they've got left too - this isn't disagreement this who is basically right and wrong, bad or good. They have become their own club, their own fringe and they can't make arguments for their positions. In order for them to be good, they have to make us and everyone else bad. Doesn't matter what gender you are, the color of your skin, whether you speak with an accent, what you call yourself or even if you're in the same party they are - if you don't know the secret handshake, you're evil.

OK, so what. I'm old enough to remember when people who espoused ideas like that were considered nuts and crackpots to be laughed at for their seeing communists every place they looked.

Short version: Who cares what they believe about climate change or science. All they can do is rant and foam at the mouth - the American voters took away their ability to do anything about it. Make no mistake about this - they are angry over one thing and that's it.

Forget Global Warming, Sarah Palin, forget Gore, Michael Moore, ACORN, Soros, the ACLU, forget even Obama - one way or the other they are all means to dress up that sore loser-ism and anger over the loss of power they think they have entitlement to so to make it more acceptable to themselves if no one else.

Let me be clear here - I don't paint all conservatives with this brush or want them all to go away either. Genuine conservatives are as necessary as genuine liberals to America as no plane flies with one wing. Genuine conservatives slow down the admitted over-exuberance of liberals for change just as liberals speed up conservatives when they take their natural tendency to slow things down too far and make it too slow.

What we're dealing with now are not genuine conservatives. These are people in the South still angry they lost. These are whites who feel threatened and confused because the status they got simply because of the color of their skin is vanishing. The few people of color they get tend to be people rejected by their own communities, desperate to be accepted in something and seeking revenge on those like themselves who didn't take them in. These are rural people angry at city people because urban is considered hip and rural isn't. Things are changing and they don't want them to. Basically, they want the world to stay put or return to how they think things should be and the world is rotating and evolving despite them.

Will we get past this and back to a more stable and deliberative way of doing things? I really don't know. I see the Republicans in the same position we McGovernites were in the early '70s. We had taken over the party, certain in our righteousness and goodness, and did our best to push the moderates out of the Democratic Party. We did all that and got our asses handed to us when voting time came around. One difference between then and now though - that run probably would have lasted longer if we'd had the financial backing not to mention a slew of talk shows and our own cable channel to cheer us on like the right does today.

Historians say this isn't really all that new - the extremists of one side or the other coming into prominence that is. They say something like it happens pretty much at the start of every decade and it really gets going at the turn of the century. Those are big, scary events for a lot of people and we are just now about to finish the first decade since the triple whammy - change of the decade, change of the century, and change of the millennium. Throw into that mix something that's never really happened in this country since the Civil War - a major attack on an American city with the even worse insecurity that followed the fact that the attack didn't come from another recognizable country, but a shadowy group of international terrorists - and it's extremist Disneyland.

The thing that sustains me and gives me hope is that the extremists aren't anywhere as large a segment of the country that they think they are. Sure, they get more press but there's also more press and pseudo-press to give them that attention. On top of that, we have the greatest platform for corner soapbox speechifying that's ever existed in the history of man. Of all of the inventions that science fiction writers foresaw for the future, this one they missed completely. It's Hyde Park cubed. It's also noisy, crowded and anyone and everyone gets their say.

What is this boon to the airing of the opinions of man and woman kind? If you're reading this right now, you're on it. The internet. The web. It's a great resource if used properly, and can send a lie around the world faster than and well before the truth can even get it's shoes made, let alone on and tied. It's also highly segmented and customizable - set it up right for yourself and you never have to see a contrary word to your opinions, ever. That's also a very difficult way to be able to win converts to your point of view regardless of what that is. Most of us aren't only preaching to the choir, we're preaching to hundreds if not thousands of them.

So, what's to become of us with all this? Well, let's bring things down to earth here. The person writing this and the people reading it are also a minority. We're politics junkies. Geeks. Wonks. Freaks. Tell people you did what I did last Saturday night - listening and watching CSPAN on a Saturday night, excited over a procedural vote in the Senate and commenting on it as it went along on Twitter or a blog - and watch them smile and back away from you, slowly. Politics is our sports, primaries are our playoffs and general elections are our Super Bowls. We battle over arcane policy differences and people the general public are oblivious to. And oh my, the things we call each other would have us at dawn holding dueling pistols and ready to shoot the other down back when the country was getting started.

What's the bottom line here? We've gone through tougher times and more real division in our history than we are doing now.

We'll be just fine.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

To the Teabaggers with love from Bartcop

You didn't get mad...

You didn't get mad when the Supreme Court stopped a legal recount and appointed a President.

You didn't get mad when VP Cheney allowed Energy company officials to dictate energy Policy.

You didn't get mad when a covert CIA Operative was revealed.

You didn't get mad when the Patriot Act was passed.

You didn't get mad when we illegally invaded Iraq looking for WMD'S that didn't exist.

You didn't get mad when we spent over 600 Billion dollars(and counting) on Iraq War.

You didn't get mad when over 10 billion dollars just disappeared in Iraq.

You didn't get mad when Bush was illegally wiretapping us at home and work.

You didn't get mad when Bush borrowed money to give to the oil companies.

You didn't get mad when we didn't catch Bin Laden.

You didn't get mad when you saw the horrible Conditions at Walter Reed.

You didn't get mad when we let New Orleans drown.

You didn't get mad when Bush got 4,500 soldiers killed.

You didn't get mad when the deficit hit the trillion dollar mark.

You finally got mad when---- The government decided that people in
America deserved the right to see a doctor if they are sick.

Illegal wars, lies, corruption, torture, giving your tax dollars to super-rich, are all OK with you? But helping other Americans is the last straw?

Seven presidents have tried to pass a Health Care Plan of some sort and have failed. None have had the "hate filled" opposition of this president.


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The 2009 Elections

Well, here we are after the great Tea Party "referendums" on President Obama.

Or not.

It looked to me to be a push. There were things for the Republicans to celebrate and there were things for Democrats too. What it never was, according to various state exit polling, was a vote up or down on Mr. Obama. Even where Republicans won, exit polling showed that Mr. Obama was little to no influence on the voters.

Let's take a look at the results, shall we?

In Virginia, it looks more and more like the Democrat - Creigh Deeds - screwed the pooch big time when he decided to run against, then with, the President. He ran ads against health care reform, cap and trade...very Republican Lite stuff sure to excite the Democrats in VA to vote for him. *cough* Then when that approach wasn't working out he called out for Obama for help, too late. He went down hard and took several state Democrats down ticket with him.

In New Jersey, Governor Jon Corzine looked to be having him some Gray Davis-itis. (Gray Davis was the Democratic governor of California who was recalled with now-Gov. Schwarzenegger replacing him). What is Davis-itis, you ask? Well, what helped along the Davis recall in CA was the fact that the guy wasn't very well liked, even among Democrats. Word is that Corzine wasn't very well liked in New Jersey either and Democrats weren't real enthused about giving him another term. Both had reputations of being kind of nasty folks to be around and in Corzine's case, add in the factor of a independent candidate appealing to those unenthused Democrats and down he went too. The good news out of this is that he didn't take many with him - Democrats were able to hold on to their majorities in the state legislature.

Add the historical factor that both states have a habit of making their Governor a member of the opposing party to the President, and you have a HUGE WIN FOR THE REPUBLICAN RIGHT!!

Ummm....not so much. Governor's races are state races, not national ones. Definitely local issues rule with them. About the only time that a Governor's race makes any difference nationally is when someone new is elected Governor of California (because of the state's size and economic clout - well, pre-GOP that is - they are usually "mentioned" as a possible Presidential candidate in the future).

Republican wins to be sure, but about Obama? No.

OK, let's look at a couple of races that could have had something to do with the current President.

There were two special elections to fill seats formerly held by Republicans, one in New York and one in California. The New York one got the most attention - mainly because the news media could cover it with little travel time, it had been a GOP district since the 1800s, and the candidate who got the most out-of-state money (95% of his campaign war chest came from outside of New York) and endorsements was not the Republican. The candidate the tea party-ers and luminaries such as Sarah Palin and Dick Armey was pushing so hard was a member of the New York Conservative Party.

I'm not all that familiar with New York politics, but I do recall that the chance of a member of one of the NY minor parties winning an election was not unheard of. In 1970, William F. Buckley's brother James was elected to the US Senate on the Conservative Party ticket and served one term (brother Bill tried unsuccessfully to be elected to the Senate too as well as Mayor of New York). However, James Buckley did not get national Republicans to help out his campaign.

The Conservative Party candidate for the House in upper New York state's district 23 was going to be where the tea party, birther and hard right of the conservative movement was going to show both President Obama and the leadership of the GOP a thing or two. Make no mistake, their candidate was definitely one of them too. The actual Republican in the race had seen her support dwindle away so she withdrew her candidacy. The Hitler=Obama sign waving, "socialism" in the health care bill opposing far right was going to show their strength with this one.

Then a funny thing happened. The Democrat won. This hadn't happened in that district since the days of the cotton gin.

This election was supposed to show the nation that the tea party movement wasn't just some angry-at-something wingnuts getting together to vent over losing in 2008. It was supposed to show that the demonstrators were a REAL MOVEMENT, reflecting the secret majority just waiting to toss out that Socialist Fascist non-white Commie in the White House right out the door after being magically fooled into voting for him last year. THIS WAS THE WAKE-UP CALL!!

Oops. Guess not.

Out in California, another traditional Republican district went (D) as well. That race certainly didn't have as much drama to it, but it flipped nonetheless.

Oops again, teabaggers.

So, to recap:

The Republican right won in two Governor's races that have little to no impact nationally.

The Democrats won the two races for House seats that gives them an even bigger majority in Congress.

And Barack Obama is still President of the United States with a majority of Americans giving him thumbs up on most of the job he's been doing.

Bottom line: Not a great night for anybody, but definitely a bad night for the teabaggers.

I can live with that.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Stepping on my last nerve

I have just about had it.

Up to here.

You might guess what I've had it with, but here's a little backstory if you haven't yet:

In 2000, George W. Bush was elected President. By the Supreme Court. 5-4. If you are a rightwinger reading this, don't bother giving me the old song and dance. This and This tell the tale. OK, we who voted for the actual winner that year should have been doing an Iran and hitting the streets demanding that the person we elected President be sworn in.

Didn't happen. OK.

Still not on my last nerve yet.

I'd always wondered why, given all of the elections for President in our history, it was so important that George W. Bush become President no matter what you had to do to put in the fix. It struck me as very strange. Then I found out why. 9/11 happened. We were attacked and even diehards like me were giving the new guy in the White House a chance. Now, don't put me in with the "Bush did 9/11" crowd - give me a second to make my point. We had the country as united as it ever is when faced with an external threat - even those outside of the US who were supposed to be against us were horrified at that act of mass murder and offered their sympathies and condolences. We were all pretty stirred by W's speech to Congress too, as well as when he stood in the rubble of the World Trade Center and promised that the ones who did this would be hearing from us soon.

I'm going to stop rehashing history here. We all know what happened next with Iraq and the lies told to us to get us to support going there. Bush's presidency survived a strong challenge for a second term then it all went to shit.

We could hardly wait to replace the Bumbler and Liar in Chief.

We did with an intelligent, eloquent man from Illinois and made history. Our first black President! My God, I never thought it would happen in my lifetime and was in tears on election night both in relief of finally getting rid of Dubya and the Neocons and in sadness that my late wife hadn't lived long enough to see it with me.

Ah, there's that word. Finally. Oops on me.

I think a lot us were a bit too full of hope that election night. We never saw Obama as a "Messiah" like the far right liked to pretend, but we also didn't see him first as a black man. The tears in Obama supporters wasn't us seeing him as the Second Coming, it was joy that we didn't have to deal with daily scandals and outrages presided over by a semi-literate party hearty "good ol' boy" from Tex-onnecticut. The tears during the inauguration was because not only did we get a very good man elected, we showed the world that we'd moved beyond racism and hate.

Or, we thought we had. Our mistake.

First mistake: we thought that the over the top rhetoric from the fringes of the right really didn't run the GOP. OK, yeah we poked and teased them over it but we didn't really didn't think that the regular Rpublican party was personified by Rush Limbaugh and Mann Coulter. Saying that was just to get the goat of the people who had rubbed our noses in Bushit for 8 years. Then out came the crazies, blaming the new President for all the bad things the previous one actually did and more without his being in office even a year yet. We said to ourselves, "Oh crap, we were really right about the Republicans?"

Getting close to that last nerve now.

Mistake #2: believing that we'd finally staked that old monster Racism in the heart and it was gone for good. OK, for a far right party these aren't necessarily racist. Tea Parties. Obama as Hitler....well, OK, not that one so much - let's be honest with ourselves here, we did do it to Bush first. Whatever the right considered "bad" they said Obama was one of them. Shouting matches at town halls over health care reform (that was a strange one).

OK, that could all be put down to partisan overzealousness as much as anything else.


Postcards of the White House with watermellons on the front lawn.

Photoshopping Obama into a stereotypical African witch doctor, complete
with a bone through his nose.

Buttons saying, "If Obama wins will we still call it the White

Bumperstickers saying, "Do we really need a black man begging for CHANGE in
the White House?"

"Obama Bucks" with pictures of watermellons and fried chicken along the

A stuffed monkey in a suit with "Obama '08" on its lapel.

Try Googling "Racist Obama images" and see what pops up - the above is just a small list of examples.

If that ain't flat-out racism, I don't know what is.

Closer to that last nerve...not quite there yet......

The kicker to all of this? The racists aren't even trying to hide it anymore. Oh, they'll do their usual shuffle to avoid being called what they are. You know, if you talk about race issues at all you must be a racist...especially if you aren't white. Say some anti-Obama people are racists then start screaming "You called us ALL racists!!" The usual male bovine excrement.

However, it's not just that. The people who send this stuff out will stand there before God and a TV camera and not only not deny they sent it, they claim they didn't realize it was offensive.

What? WHAT?!!

Do you all think that when Obama was elected the heat was off and you could let that racist freak flag fly?!!!

Were you all hatched yesterday and have no clue what is racist and what isn't after all this country has gone through because of it?!!


NOW we hit that last nerve!

Alrighty then. That's how you want to play it, eh righties?


You are total ignorant assholes. I have no interest in what you think or what you say. I will no longer argue with you over what's true and what's not. I don't care what you believe in or don't. I'm not your friend and you are no friend to my country. I will not debate you. I will barely acknowledge your existence. I will not indulge in a shouting match with you. I don't care what Rush or Glenn or Sean or FOX told you to think today. You are a danger to the Republic. You are traitors to the real America. You are just enough to rate a derisive laugh.

The only thing that interests me about you is seeing to it that your empty head is beat down so far that your ass is a planter in China. I can't defeat you enough. Kick you when you're down? I'll be running a steam roller over you.

You want a war? Bring it on.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Wouldn't it be fin-ah to hate on Mr. Obama in the mooooorning?

Ah those teabaggers, what a bunch huh? Here we are a few days after their Two (Three? Four?) Hour Hate on the President in Washington D.C. and I am still laughing.

And what's not to laugh at? Here they are, complaining mightily that they aren't tools of insurance company lobbbyist front groups like Dick Armey's "Freedomworks" and just look at the DC podium. Full of signs from Freedomworks. Featured speakers from, you guessed it, Freedomworks. My sides are splitting here.

Then there's those signs! Nasty things about sending Obama "back" to Kenya as if he ever came from there. Those "Bury Obamacare with Kennedy" ones were real classy. I sure hope the passing of one of their relatives becomes a political slogan - it'd only serve them right. Not that they'd get them, of course. And talk about all over the map! They make protest marches from the left look unified and on message!! SOCIALIST!! COMMUNIST!! NAZI!! HITLER!! OBAMA!! ACORN!! SOROS!! THE CONSTITUTION SAYS WHAT I SAY IT SAYS!!


I'd love to take them up on that one. Fortunately for them, President Obama is much nicer than I am. Then again, I'm not President so I don't have to be. I'd happily cut them loose from the good things that health care reform will do for us. Send these townhall screamer and nasty sign waver jerk-offs out in the streets to beg once their Insurance Company/Rightwing Masters take every penny they've got when they get real sick and they find out how some of their policies weren't so great after all. Hell, you don't believe in helping yourself out, great! Just don't come whining and crying to us when you find out we were right all along. Again.

But that's just me.

If that wasn't pure comedy enough, during and after the Nut-em-berg Rally they had to go and LIE ABOUT HOW MANY PEOPLE SHOWED UP!! I saw people writing that it was about 30,000 - others said 70K. OK, that's a fair to middlin' number or people to make the effort to be there and protest....whatever made-up nonsense they were protesting. I think they were mostly protesting that they lost in '06 and '08 and that Obama is black. OK. Waste of time since none of that will change because they want to loudly weep about it but still OK.

This is America and you can protest any damn thing you want to - right or wrong.

I support that.

Been there, done that even.

As they are wont to do, they had to go and blow it, claiming 1.5 MILLION people were there. The said ABC NEWS said so! They showed PICTURES proving it! What the assembled crackpot-ic folks have yet to get is that the fastest way to become marginalized and disbelieved is to lie about something. And the number of people who show up to your event is kinda a big thing to be lying about.

Anyhoo - I'm positive this won't be the last time this happens. I do have a word of advice that I know that my friends on the orbiting Saturn far right will ignore.

You have at least 3, if not 7, more years of Obama to go.

Pace yourselves.

You'll be all worn out come 2010.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

On the health care reform bill(s)

This is the response I wrote on an email group about the health care bill(s):

Well, let's see - first of all, the supposedly 1000 page bill is from the 4 different committees in the House's versions that hasn't been settled with the two committees in the Senate's versions. What will consolidate those versions is something called "mark up" - meetings of representatives of each house of Congress' committees where they decide what goes and what stays in the final bill - and that won't happen until Congress goes back into session next month. When that is done, then there will finally be an actual bill that will be voted on by Congress. Again, that hasn't happened yet so there is no final bill yet.

As for what you all have been claiming, well that would be the cherry-picked demonstrated and refuted distortions and fever dream lies put out by the health insurance companies and their Republican friends who want to see to it that are no reforms of health care at all. The people showing up at town hall meetings and screaming are the ones who get their news solely from Rush and his radio hate clones as well as Fox "News" - in other words, the willingly or otherwise misinformed minority of reactionary and plain crackpot Americans who are information resistant and thoroughly indoctrinated by rightwing talking points.

Obama is not going to force you into socialism - he's not even writing the law, Congress is doing that. There are no death panels in any of the bills. No one, elderly or not, will be encouraged to end their lives. There is no socialized or government control of medicine in any of the versions of the bill. You can keep the insurance you've got if you choose to and the bill will see to it that you're not dropped by your employer and forced into the public insurance plan to save your employer money. You will have the choice to keep that insurance even if you change jobs. You will not be dropped from your insurance when you most need it. If needed, you will be able to buy insurance and not be turned down because you were sick in the past. If you don't have the money to buy insurance you will get help to do so. No insurance company will be forced out of business and no one who makes under $250,000 a year will have their taxes raised, including small businesses. You will receive insurance coverage no matter what political party you belong to. No illegal alien will get free healthcare.

Those are the facts, folks.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The crazies' days of August

Well, I did promise to post more but this last month has caught me flatfooted and jaw dropped.

By now, I'm sure you're all aware of the health care town hall shenanigans of the far right. Screaming inanities, shouting down members of Congress, carrying guns to these meetings, etc. - OK, I admit it, this is a new one on me. I know, I expected the sore loser/sour grapes Republican Party of Rural Areas and the South to take defeat badly. That the man who beat them was at least half black would make their whining even louder was a given. Bill Clinton nailed it back when he was the popular Democratic President. He was asked why the Republicans/cons hated him so. His answer was simple and devastating: "I won."

President Obama won too but at least he doesn't have to deal with an orchestrated hunt on him financed by Richard Mellon Scaife that goes back to his days in Illinois. With no sex scandal in the offing or the prospect of the Republicans taking control of Congress any time soon there won't be another phony, trumped-up impeachment circus for him to deal with either. All he has facing him is a shrinking, shrieking opposition party and the cranks, crackpots and nutters that make it up now.

However, as callers to talk shows like to say, that isn't what I wrote this about.

I'm retired, have a lot of time for emails and email groups (mostly political of course), and at least three of them are a mix of left and right. Fortunately for me, this makes it so I don't have to watch Fox Noise or listen to rightwing hate radio for even a second to get the day's line for the sheeple of the far right - all I have to do is read the posts from the righties in these groups and it's all right there, faithfully repeated for me.

Now that the "conservatives" are out of power (and even when they were in), there's always been weak defenses of the GOP when they get caught doing something bad. For years it was the "BUT...WHAT ABOUT CLINTON?!!" line which was supposed to let the Republicans off the hook by summoning up charges, real or imaginary, about the former President and extending out his flaws to the entire Democratic Party. After it became impossible to blame Clinton for everything the Republicans did, that line morphed into "BUT....THE DEMOCRATS DID IT TOO!!" - the idea being that if they found anything even remotely something similar to what they did being done before by any Democrat, anywhere it was supposed to protect them by invoking the correlary, "AND IT DIDN'T BOTHER YOU THEN!!"

The result of all that whining and crying from the right? A Democrat in the White House, Congress controlled by Democrats, more registered Democrats than Republicans, polls giving the Democratic Party around 56% approval and giving the Republican Party approval numbers in the 20s.

You'd think they'd figure out that their line didn't work and they should try something else. But, alas for them, this is not to be.

Now we have the birthers/deathers/crackpots and racists screaming their little lungs out and thinly-disguised threats of violence during this month's health care reform meetings by Representatives in their districts. This is getting pretty bad press for the Republicans and insurance companies who've urged the freaks on, told them where to go and even gave them a list of things to do once they're there. The latest Gallup poll says people are sypathetic to protestors going to the town halls and having their say (something I have no problem with either) but also say that the tactic of shouting people down at these meetings is an abuse of democracy by a good sized majority. Oh, and the President's approval number went back up to 63% in the Gallup poll too, and they say it's because of the town hall yellers.

Oh my, this isn't good for the righties at all. What to do, what to do.....

Wait, I know! Morph the old GOP defense one more time!!

Which they have, to wit: "BUT...THE LEFT DID IT TOO!!"

For this one, they're not only going for the Democrats. They're tossing in everything from the e-vil ACORN boogeyman, CODE PINK and SEIU "union thugs" to (mainly) the student radicals who protested the Vietnam War 40+ years ago to try to sell this version. There are some similarities - those student radicals were pretty rowdy back in their day. ACORN, CODE PINK, SEIU, etc.? Not so much.

As always, there is a big problem with this argument as well. Student radicals in the 60s may have been disruptive at meetings back then and did their own shouting down but they didn't do it with guns either concealed or strapped to their waists. They may have waved the North Vietnamese flag but they didn't carry little homemade signs saying death to anybody. They didn't attend a member of Congress' meet-and-greet and "drop" a gun at it. They also didn't stand 75 feet from where the President was about to enter a meeting place with a gun strapped to an ankle and a sign that referred to Jefferson's quote about the tree of liberty being fed by the blood of patriots and tyrants by saying it's time to do that again.

Do I sense another MAJOR FAIL for the latest version of the conservative pat excuse for what they are doing coming up?

I think I do.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

My, My - some last few days, huh?

Where to start? I think I'll do a list (no particular order of importance) :

1) Michael Jackson passed away

That was a shocker - a few years younger than me and gone just like that. I did have a weird reaction to his death though. I never thought I was much of a fan but as I watched the reports of his passing I was brushing tears out of my eyes. No matter what you thought of his private life, the man was one hell of an entertainer and that's how I choose to remember him. Still not watching the all-day coverage of his memorial though.

2) Farrah Fawcett passed away too

This one was expected, and still too bad. I remember her as the poster girl phenom from TV's Charlie's Angels but I remember her later work too. The lady definitely had some acting chops to go with the looks.

3) Governor Sanford and the Road to Appalachia

OK, this one was plain weird. Did the guy really think he could ditch his governor job for a week, lie about where he was so he could be with his Argentinian mistress and no one would notice? Of course, he has asked God and his constituents to forgive him so he won't be resigning since it's all good now. I'll bet he's glad he's not a Democrat and can get away with that. I read that he spent the 4th with his wife and kids - that must of been one relaxing weekend. I thought that was the height of Republican weirdness until....

4) Caribou Barbie resigns as Governor of Alaska

OK, this one caught me all unprepared. I'd just written in a post to one of my email groups that I thought she wouldn't run for re-election next year when the breaking news came across my email box (I don't watch much TV anymore). Now normally this would mean that a possible future Presidential candidate who quit without even completing one term in office was DOA, but according to what I'm seeing from the Party of Crazy that's not always so! Some of the really hard right GOPers think she has a chance at the White House still and are urging her to go for it!! That might work with the 73% of 22% who still like her but if they ever wanted to hand Obama his second term on a silver platter, that's going to do the job just fine.

And finally, the good news from the last few days.....

5) Al Franken is finally declared the winner and is sworn into the Senate

I've always been a fan of Franken's comedy and was a faithful listener to his radio stint with Air America. I'd hoped he'd run for something, having heard quite the undertow of a serious thinker and policy wonk under the laughs so I cheered when he announced for the Senate from MN. I'm thankful he didn't pull a Gore and go "oh well, guess I lost" when the Republicans tried every thing in their bag of tricks to hand his close win over to Coleman and stayed in to fight for it. I think he will be a fine Senator in the Minnesota tradition of Humphrey, Mondale and Wellstone. The gravy here is his win is also driving the far right even crazier than normal, just like Obama's did. Hurray and welcome, Senator Franken.

Monday, June 22, 2009

What the cons wish weren't so...

Namely, this part of the ABC/Washingon Post Poll:

The state of the Republican Party remains grim. Just 22 percent of those surveyed identified themselves as Republicans, near April's decades-long low point. Only 36 percent said they have a favorable impression of the GOP, with 56 percent saying they have an unfavorable impression. (Fifty-three percent said they have a favorable view of the Democratic Party.)

Obama has greater than 20-point leads over congressional Republicans in public trust on dealing with health care, the deficit, terrorism and the economy. The margin on the economy has slipped since April, but still remains a hefty 55 percent to 31 percent over GOP lawmakers.

And after all those efforts to make Obama look bad and to convince themselves that Obama was just a fluke since people really did like Bush's policies but they were hypnotized or something.

Bummer for them.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The ongoing real apology tour

They are making me mad again.

And no, I'm not talking about David Letterman caving to the far right's victim princess attention whore...twice. Although I think Letterman had nothing to apologize about, I understand a bit about television. The apology fits when you understand that TV is all about selling you stuff, making money and wrapping programming around that to accomplish those ends. Television - especially broadcast TV - tries to be edgy and controversial but not so much of either that they lose advertisers and income over it. Hence, the apology to the Alaska hillbilly sluts.

What is getting my goat now is yet another Democrat apologizing for telling the truth. Latest installment is the comment from the Democrats' CIA director about Cheney's increasing nonsense-spewing media tour:

"It's almost as if he's wishing that America
would be attacked again, in order to make
his point. That's dangerous politics."
-- CIA Director Panetta on Dick Cheney

Sounds like that to me too, Mr. Panetta. Way to a second. I spoke too soon!

CIA Director Leon Panetta doesn't really think former Vice President Dick Cheney wants to see his country attacked, the intelligence agency said Tuesday.

The CIA, through spokesman Paul Gimigliano, walked back a controversial statement Panetta recently made to The New Yorker while arguing that his quote was misinterpreted in the first place.

"The director does not believe the former Vice President wants an attack. He did not say that," Gimigliano said. "He was simply expressing his profound disagreement with the assertion that President Obama's security policies have made our country less safe. Nor did he question anyone's motives."

What the hell? The CIA felt the need to apologize to freakin' DICK CHENEY????

What is wrong with these people!

As Bartcop says, Why is my party so full of wimps?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Maybe it's time for something else

The blogs and news reports are buzzing with reports about how the anti-abortion women controller wannabes are still dancing with glee at the assassination of Dr. Tiller. The line essentially is The murder was wrong (politically correct part) but the guy deserved it! Even the brave "baby-saving" murderer Roeder, when he's not whining about how he's being treated in jail, basically says he'd do it again and others are planning on doing what he did too.

What's coming through loud and clear here is this:
They. Won't. Stop. Ever.

It just might be time to make them.

I know, I know....we can't be like them! That would be bad!

Screw that.

I'm getting my inspiration here from a program I watched on the History International Channel. Turns out that after the Civil War, the South didn't just quietly go off, accept their defeat, lick their wounds and cry into their mint juleps over their "lost honor and civilization."

Nope, a lot of them kept on killing US soldiers and blacks even after Lee's surrender. They even organized into terrorist groups to keep them nigras in line and not voting (something Southern blacks had the right to do after the Civil War and the ratification of the 14th Amendment) - they even had a kewl name for it, the Ku Klux Klan. Historians refer to this period of American history as the Second Civil War. I'd heard of the Klan, but this Second Civil War thing was news to me.

Oh, and this "terrorism doesn't work" bit? Well, it sure did then and even now - blacks stayed away from the polls in droves back then and so did the "yankees." Now, the family of the murdered doctor just announced that his clinic will not be re-opening. That leaves only two clinics in the entire country that are available if late term abortions are necessary.

Let me repeat that: That's TWO clinics for the whole United States of America.

What struck me most about the program was what worked as the best and most effective way it was responded to. People who wanted to talk and reason ended up dead. Blacks who tried to peacefully exercise their voting rights - dead. Oddly enough, when there were people who were just as willing to make the terrorizers as dead as their victims, only then did the killing stop.

Hmm, are we missing a lesson from history here? Might be!

If you really want the extremist anti-abortion terrorists to quit, start using their tactics against them. Picket their churches. Picket them at their homes. Show up at their rallies with pictures of dead Iraqi kids - most of the anti-abortion nuts think that's just peachy. Shout down their speakers. Disrupt their meetings. Show them there's a price for calling for murder and terrorism.

Peacefully, of course. God forbid that I should suggest that when they take down one of ours, take two of theirs. Got bullseye, Randall Terry? No, I wouldn't do that - that would be bad.

But they would deserve it.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Two Attacks on Americans

Yesterday there were two attacks on Americans on American soil that dominated the discussion, at least online in the email groups. One, of course, the assassination of 67 year old Dr. Tiller as he was handing out bulletins at his church in Kansas on Sunday, the second was the attack on a Navy recruiting station by a man who covnverted to Islam that killed two sailors and injured another. Two killers - one white, one black and both looking to be part of networks that urged them on to do what they did.

We don't know for sure about the networks - the terrorist doctor murderer looks to have been at least surrounded by people who thought killing a doctor who, among his other duties as an ob/gyn, did abortions was a good thing. The Navy attacker was being watched by the FBI on his return from Yemen, where he had been arrested. We don't know for sure if either of them were directed or even given the suggestion to do what they did by others but the possibility is there and strong.

Before anyone goes ballistic on my use of terms here (terrorist for the doctor killer, attacker for the Navy recruiter murderer), I suggest whoever that might be go to and look up the word "terrorism." It basically defines the term as violent attacks on civilians for political aims. Dr. Tiller matches that criteria, members of the United States Navy who are members of the US military do not. 9/11 was a terrorist act, the bombing of the USS Cole was an attack on a military target - both were attacks on Americans.

I'm not going to rehash the arguments about both here - they are more than available across the web. The real question is where do we go from here.

What's going to happen to prevent either or both of those attacks?

Unfortunately, not much.

The Obama administration will send out US Marshalls to protect healthcare providers and clinics but they won't be there forever. The anti-abortion extremist Christians will still call for attacks on "abortion doctors" and as long as they aren't directly involved in those attacks, they get to do that here under the First Amendment. It's been said that freedom of speech protections were put into the Constitution not to make it safe for speech we like - it was put in to protect speech we hate. The good news here is if the government can't outlaw speech we don't like, we have the option of using our right to free speech to condemn and shout the haters down.

In the case of the attack on the Navy recruiting station, I think that was a matter of time before that happened. Not because of what the Navy is - it is because of how easy it is to get the explosives, guns and ammo to commit such an act. Muslim extremists will still preach hatred against us and urge attacks on us regardless here and around the world.

We can discuss the motives and beliefs of both attackers, but the bottom line is that they were done by two guys with guns.

As a country, we can keep an eye on these people and hope we catch them before they act. We can speak out to see to it that the beliefs that ended in three deaths aren't given a free ride and are roundly denounced. Otherwise, we hope that works and wait for the next time it happens. Damn it.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Got to enjoy this

The Republicans can't figure out what to do with Sotomayor - do they keep their 22% or less 'base' or keep the minority of the Hispanic vote that they have left? The usual far right drumbeaters (Limbaugh, Newt, Malkin, etc.) are doing their usual thing - hating on any and everything done by Democrats - while, as much as they want to agree with them, the Republicans who actually have to face voters are trying to have it both ways.

Good times.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

This says it all when it comes to Obama SCOTUS pick

I was going to write something about Judge Sotomayor and how unsurprising that a centrist President would pick a centrist for the Supreme Court - even how unwise it would be for the Republicans to filibuster her - then this came through my email:

Please, Please Filibuster Sotomayor

At the gym this morning I could not help but notice that corpulent right wing fuck Karl Rove (that's actually his official title) on Fox "News" going on about the possibility of a filibuster against Sonia Sotomayor.

To which I say, paraphrasing the words of Mr. Rove's former boss, bring it the fuck on.

Please GOP, filibuster a woman of Puerto Rican descent, who grew up in the projects in the Bronx, yet managed to attend Princeton and Yale Law School. Sotomayor worked as a federal prosecutor and corporate attorney before getting appointed to the federal bench by Bush 41, and then served on the Court of Appeals for ten years after Clinton elevated her to the Second Circuit. She is clearly well qualified and her appontment would be a milestone. But hey, filibuster away.

This is just what the Republican base wants and I would hate to see them deprived of the opportunity of denying this woman a seat on the high court.

Let this happen and then Obama should make a priority of passing comprehensive immigration reform. The Republicans can then spend the next twenty years seeing if they can crack the 40% mark in presidential elections.

Posted by Sir Charles at 07:24 AM

Monday, May 25, 2009

A word to Democrats: Leave the GOP alone

One thing I and I'm sure other Democrats, in email groups and from (D) leaning pundits, have been guilty of is giving the Republicans advice on how to bring their party out of the political wilderness. Our message: be more like us. Well, that stops right now for me and I hope for anyone else passing that along.

First of all, in the interest of full disclosure, I have never seen a reason to vote for any Republican, ever, and I doubt that's going to change. However, my very first time volunteering for any campaign was when I was 14 and who I backed then was Richard Nixon - of course, at the time I thought he was the peace candidate when it came to Vietnam and bought his "secret plan to end the war" line. Little did I know his "secret plan" was to keep the war going until we "won," but I figured that out soon enough and became a lifelong Democrat because of it. I do vote for the person and their positions - it's not my fault they're all Democrats. And blah blah blah.

Back to the original point, I think that we need to stop giving unasked for and sure to be ignored advice to the GOP on how to run their party. After all, think back to when it was us Democrats who were the minority, couldn't get a presidential candidate elected, and the slew of articles from Republicans who were giving us advice about how to revive our party. You remember, how we should be more conservative and what a really good Democrat Joe Lieberman was and how he would save the Democrats. I'll wait for the gagging to subside. Didn't like it much, did ya?

Well, the upshot was that we didn't take their advice and finally started winning again. This may work the same way for the Republicans. We got the same questions back when we were on the outs that we're tossing at the GOPers now: Who's your leader? Are you just running on what you're against or do you actually stand for something? Can you tell us what it means to be a member of your party? I recall we had as much of a problem answering those questions back then as the Republicans do now too.

When it comes down to it, I don't know what the Republicans need to do make a comeback. It may happen by default if Obama stumbles badly, the Democrats in Congress could lose it by continuing to act like they are mewling little cowards in the face of the currently outnumbered GOP...who can say for sure. Who's correct in the GOP ranks - the ones who are saying their party needs to go further right or the moderates like Colin Powell that says they need to moderate their positions and allow more voices to be heard? Who knows right now. Can't say that I much care either, to be honest. Right now, I'm more than enjoying being a member of the party in power finally and I hope that doesn't change for quite a while. The cons enjoyed rubbing our noses in it when we were down and I'm not so pure of heart to say that giving it right back to them now isn't one hell of a lot of fun.

I do, however, caution strongly about taking the fact that we hold the reins now to mean that we'll hold them forever. I don't want to start seeing in print - online or otherwise - how our wins means we will have a permanent majority. Look how well that worked out for Karl Rove when he said that about the Republicans - and he was making the case that the Democratic Party was essentially the party of the coasts and big cities, just like I'm seeing the case being made that the Republicans are essentially a regional party based mainly in the South.

Besides the awfulness of the Bush years, we are also enjoying the pendulum swinging our way (given the temporary push the other way post 9/11). That swing actually started in 2000 when, if you combine the votes for Democrat Al Gore and Green Party Ralph Nader, marked the first time in 20 years that the majority of voters voted center-left. Had there been no terrorist attack on 9/11 (and a stronger Democratic nominee in 2004 than John Kerry) I daresay that George W. would have joined his Dad in being a one term President. That pendulum can keep going our way or turn around on a dime too.

Admittedly this is all from the viewpoint of the member of a party who even it's most conservative members would be considered ultra-liberal in the other party but the point still stands: don't completely count out the GOP quite yet. And stop trying to tell them the way out of being the minority is to be more like us - that's advice they soundly reject and rightly so.

Just askin'

Is it appropriate to wish someone a Happy Memorial Day? It just doesn't sound right to me.

The President and the time he needs

I supported President Obama before he even announced for the job, but I am noticing a disturbing trend among other erstwhile supporters - I'll call it the "right now" syndrome.

Why hasn't Obama done more for gay rights? When is he closing Guantanamo? Why is he continuing some of Bush's policies? Why isn't he doing everything he said he would RIGHT NOW?!!!

Take a breath folks and remember how our government is set up - we just aren't configured to do things real fast. Let's remember a couple of things too, Obama has been President for less than a year. Heck, most new Presidencies haven't even filled their cabinets this early in the first term - at least he's done that much, not to mention getting passed and signed into law some important legislation like the stimulus bills that at least slowed if not stopped our slide into another Republican Great Depression.

This is in no way meant to give Obama a free ride on everything he does - I don't want us to become the Democratic version of the Republicans agreeing to everything (but immigration, of course) that Bush wanted either. The lean to keep some Bush policies going is particularly troubling, but if you read deeper into the news stories that report this there are two words that are strongly implied but rarely written: "for now." I'm willing to allow that ending everything in place from the Bush era with nothing to replace it with yet may not be the best idea in terms of actual governing so I'll give a little bit of slack here. Remember too that the Obama version isn't exactly the same as the Bush policies - there have been tweaks to make them a bit more palatable.

I think the criticism is fair about the need to really change Bush's policies when it comes to the treatment of detainees and just what are we going to be doing in Afghanistan. What's unfair is the left going on that Obama has failed us and he's just like Bush. Oh puh-lease. Give the man some time - they are working on it. As for Afghanistan, with all the moanings over how Obama is going to stick us with another quagmire I have a challenge to the moaners: Show me where Obama or his administration has ever said that they plan on staying in Afghanistan forever like the Rush Republicans want to do in Iraq. Now, if these Bush-like policies are still essentially in effect a year or more from now, I'll be joining the folks on the left that are decrying the fact that Obama hasn't done everything they wanted right now. But not quite yet.

There's a couple of things to remember as well when it comes to President Obama. First of all, after 8 years of having to deal with who lied and what outrage was going on today when the Republicans were in charge, I find myself and others still stuck in that mindset. Tell me that you haven't cringed at first when you hear that the President is giving a speech, a press conference or whatever then having to stop and remind yourself just who is the President now. That's also a function of how little time Obama has been in office - it's taking us some time to adjust as well.

There's something else to remember as well as the new administration goes forward - it's being headed by a man who actually tells us the truth. He said he wanted to hear all sides of an issue and and be less driven by ideology and more run by what is going to work and he means it. The man has actually changed direction when it's been pointed out to him that a policy idea of his is a bad one - twice so far. He's met with people on the right and the left who disagree with him - he may not agree with their analysis or positions but he did give them the chance to have their say right up in his grille as it were.

Will President Obama be a great President? Hard to say right now, but I will say this: so far, mostly so good and only time will tell. Don't let up on him but give him the time he needs to get it done.

About time!

OK, so I'm retired now and wondering what to do with myself soooo....I figure I'll keep my hand in writing-wise and blog away! I'll be putting my two cents in and sharing some good posts from my various email groups as well. Wish me well and I hope you'll be with me. COMMENT COMMENT COMMENT!!