Saturday, September 30, 2006

Only Cool Reason Is Going To Save The Republic from the Republicans

Any action that the left takes in October and November of 2006 has to have as its goal the result that George W. Bush has less power in February 2007 than he does today. That means that the Republican Party has to hold fewer seats in the House of Representatives and the Senate. Anyone who can look at the actions of the Senate and the House and not see that is not only deluded, they are as great a danger to democracy as the Republican fundamentalists who in a supreme act of irony just took the greatest leap in the history of the United States towards the destruction of the Republic.

We are so used to thinking of Julius Cesar as being a Shakespear Play that we don’t remember that it was a real, historical event from which came the great but less than historically rigorous piece of theater. It was the watershed moment from the Roman Republic to the Empire, the moment that went from rule by the Roman Senate to rule by the Emperor. What we are living through is not theater, it isn’t some everyday adjustment of goverment to be shrugged off as a routine act as the utterly corrupt media has done. What the Senate did, especially in its attack on habeas corpus and judicial review placed imperial power in the hands of George W. Bush. The parallels to the death of the Roman Republic has been made in a number of places, it isn’t a personal conceit, it is an obvious fact.

The left has exactly one tool available, it is not as good a tool as could be hoped for but it is the only tool we have. The Democratic Party has to be supported and voted for. I will anger some people by saying that but it doesn’t matter, what matters is that we do nothing that will hamper the destruction of George W. Bush’s imperial power grab. I will go further and say that anyone with a D after their name must be supported, even those who in an act of despicable cowardice voted for the bill. Why? Because if there is a Democratic majority in either or both bodies the absolutely corrupt leadership put in place by the Republicans in both houses will be removed from those positions. They are the ones who have given George W. Bush everything he wanted. Frist, Hastert, Bohener, Specter,... Anyone who is a Republican who wins an election will support them for the leadership, their winning a close election will give them more power than ever.

The Republicans under George W. Bush are looting the treasury of the United States and stealing everything it is borrowing in addition on the Peoples’ account, they are pillaging the democratic infrastructure of the country as well. If they and the judicial hacks they are appointing aren’t stopped now it will be increasingly impossible to do so. Bush vs. Gore was a decisive moment in which five Supreme Court Republicans appointed a Republican prince who lost the election as President. We were set on this ruinous course when the polite Washington DC establishment enthusiastically accepted that act of supreme piracy. And as the details are revealed by scholars we are finding out that it actually started when John Ellis at FOX, on the phone with Jeb Bush called the election for his cousin setting into motion the clamor of the elites for their Cesar.

We are on the steps to the Senate. But this isn’t Shakespear’s story. Unlike the conspirators in the play we have the tools to destroy the Republican assassins bent on destroying the republic and the democracy that depends on it. It isn’t a sword we need it is a decisive vote against the conspirators inside the building. They need to be removed. The corrupt Senators and Congress who have voted to give their Party absolute power in the form of George W. Bush are as stupid as they are traitors to their oath of office. They will continue to hand him power. They are obviously hoping for their own enrichment, they don’t care about the good of the country, certainly not of the world. They have to be stopped. Real life isn’t a play, it is as real as can possibly be. This is a time for cool and effective action, not theatrical catharsis.

Those calling for punishment of the Democratic Party are angry and their anger is justified by the failures of some, but certainly not the majority, of Democrats. But they aren’t thinking straight this week. As much as I sympathize with their position, here in the fall of 2006 they are as much a danger to democracy as Frist and Hastert. Their advice has to be rejected if we are going to save the American Republic. We have to use cool reason, not righteous and justifiable anger, to save ourselves.

This editorial from Buzzflash does as good a job as any to quickly lay out what the Senate did on Thursday.

Friday, September 29, 2006

For Those Who Don't Want To Believe That Suspending Habeas Corpus Is Just The Beginning

Low-Income, African American, Elderly, and Rural Voters at Special Risk
By Robert Greenstein, Leighton Ku, and Stacy Dean

On September 20 the House passed a bill (H.R. 4844) that would, starting in 2010, effectively deny the vote to any U.S. citizen who cannot produce a passport or birth certificate (or proof of naturalization). Although the bill’s supporters present it as a measure intended to prevent non-citizens from voting, the bill’s main impact will be on U.S. citizens themselves. A national survey finds that approximately 11 million native-born citizens currently lack the required documents. A substantial number could have difficulty obtaining or affording them.

The national survey, conducted in January 2006 by Opinion Research Corporation and sponsored by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, also indicates that the bill would affect certain groups disproportionately (see Figures 1 and 2) — including people with low incomes, African Americans, the elderly, people without a high school diploma, rural residents, and residents of the South and Midwest. Substantial numbers of these and other citizens could potentially be disenfranchised by the bill.

Sen. Olympia Snowe R-Maine, was absent.

Yes, I am disgusted with the Democrats who voted for the bill in the end, yes I am disgusted that the Senate Democrats didn't mount a filibuster, even as I know it wouldn't have worked. But the fact is that unless the Democrats win this election the Republican-fascists have won and will be impossible to defeat. In 2006, after six years of Bush II misrule anyone who can remain in the Republican Party is an enemy of democracy and everything good about the United States. The defeat of Specters pathetic show of "saving" habeas corpus is just one of a long list of reasons to give up any illusions that the Republican Party isn't in fact a fascist party. That it's taking them some time to destroy the Bill of Rights and the Civil Rights amendments and even the rule of law is no reason to keep denying the obvious.

Friends, this is what the end of a Republic looks like, destroying freedom in a trade for "safety". Jefferson knew his history, he could see this coming, Franklin too. We have exactly one hope, to defeat the Republicans at the polls in November. It is in fact the last chance to save Democracy.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

An Appeal to My Friends In The South

The Republicans and their media take the South for granted.

This is the footnote to a piece I posted last Saturday:

"Wilson, Johnson, Carter, Clinton, Gore, and arguably Truman are Southerners who the Democratic Party has nominated as President within the past century.

Other than Lincoln I’m hard pressed to remember a real Southerner who has gotten the Republican nomination for President. George I and II are the Republican Party’s idea of Southerners to give their Presidential nomination. These products of New England Yankeedom always seemed to me rather more in the tradition of carpetbaggers than genuine Southerners. I’ll tell you, they tend to lose their Southern accents when they’re here in Maine. If Southerners want to overlook their provenance that’s their business, but why the exception for the Bush clan?

Since Southerners are the primary target audience of this Republican regionalist garbage they might also wonder why are the Southern contenders for the Republican nomination in 2008 so completely ignored by the media in favor of McCain and Romney. That’s Governor Romney from Massachusetts. Now that he’s decided to not be from Utah where he was also considering running. Maybe the media is quite atypically just going on history to decide who has a chance in which party. Mark Warner of Virginia and John Edwards of North Carolina are certainly getting a lot of attention for the Democratic nomination as is Al Gore."

So, why the media and the Republican establishment are taking Southerners for granted is an excellent question to ask in this run up to the Presidential campaign, don’t you think?

Please ask this question of other Southerners, especially Republican Southerners. Please point out that other than these two retrofitted New England Yankees the Republican Party hasn’t run a Southerner as President. You can look at the list. They’ve, in fact, not run a single Southerner that I can identify. If you want to go out on a limb and count Abraham Lincoln of Springfield Illinois as a Southerner they’ve not run a single one in about a hundred-fifty years.

The Republican Party has courted the South starting in 1948 and it’s gotten the Southern vote in most of the recent Presidential elections, but they know they can count on the Southern vote and so they take it for granted. Maybe Southerners would like to show them they can’t make that assumption.

I’m counting on you, friends. You can clearly see the advantage of Southerners being convinced to not put up with this situation, you can get the job done.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

CNN’s “Quick Vote” Phony Poll

Here is today’s CNN phony insta-poll question:

Should governments regulate whether restaurants cook with artificial trans fatty acids?
Created: Wednesday, September 27, 2006, at 06:28:07 EDT

Here is the CNN phony insta-poll question of nine days ago:

Have you changed your eating habits because of the E. coli outbreak linked to fresh spinach?
Created: Monday, September 18, 2006, at 12:08:19 EDT

Notice that though both questions deal with food safety there are some important differences in the questions and one interesting similarity. The trans-fat question asks if the mean, overbearing goverment should regulate restaurants cooking with “artificial trans fatty acids”. The question about spinach asks YOU if you have changed YOUR eating habits to protect your own health.

I’m guessing that unlike the trans-fat chain restaurant industry, the fresh spinach industry doesn’t do much advertising on CNN. Not that in either case an industry that may endanger your health or your life is even mentioned as bearing any responsibility for your safety. They’re only selling you the stuff to put in your mouths, afterall.

Suspecting that most people, when they think of “restaurants” aren’t thinking of ones that might kill them but ones they like, I wonder if just using the word might prejudice the results. People don’t tend to go places they don’t like. But if I start down that road who knows where it will end. Ah, the problems you get into when you enter into “opinion”.

There are questions that might shed some light on the dismal situation. Do you think that CNN would have ever asked, “Should chain restaurants stop using trans-fats to protect the health of their customers?” Or, “Should the FDA inspect fresh produce more effectively to prevent the outbreak of potentially fatal E. coli infections?” I’m betting that you’d see the second before you ever saw them ask the first. And notice which question mentions a specific health risk associated with the product, it’s spinach, not “artificial trans fatty acids” something that has absolutely no known health benefits as a part of an imbalanced diet. If they mentioned the health risk by name in the question, I’m 100% certain that the phony lard wouldn’t be nearly as popular as it seems with the CNNits.

And there are some things that are entirely certain in this. The clearest is that these phony polls are not “conducted” to find out anything about the general population, the methods are so entirely fraudulent that they couldn’t tell you much except how successfully CNN has propagandized their audience share. And that would only show them the segment of their audience dumb enough to participate in these phony surveys. The questions are phrased to yield the result they want, they play their suckers like a scratch ticket with a guaranteed payout.

But, since they’re going to keep doing this sewer level “journalism” we might as well have a little fun with it. Look at these other actual “Quick Vote” questions.

Would you donate your body to medical science?
Why? So they could study the arterial effects of trans-fat consumption at your sponsors’ regulation-free restaurants?

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is disputing former President Bill Clinton's account of who did more to pursue Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda. Which administration do you hold accountable?
What if they pointed out that Bill Clinton was disputing the Bush II regime’s account? Do you think that phrasing could skew the answer a different way. This way it looks like that infamous sex pervert going after the Princess Condi. Oh, will Obi Wan get there in time?

Do you believe it is right for the Thai military to investigate the assets of ousted leader Thaksin Shinawatra?
What do you think the chances are that two days from the story going old that five percent of CNN’s viewers would have any idea what the hell this was about? I wonder what would happen if CNN did a quick poll next week that asked if the goverment should regulate whether restaurants served Thaksin Shinawatra. I’m betting that an impressive size of the response would agree with the statement, “No bureaucrats’ gonna keep me from getting my daily minimal requirement of Texan Shiny Water,”. They’ll have to pry the bottle outta my cold stiff hands first.

This Could Be the Most Important Story Ever Mentioned Here

Calls for 'Contingency Paper Ballots' in States, Counties this November to be Paid for by Feds!
Co-Author of HAVA is Co-Sponsor of New Bill Answering Our Call for a 'LET AMERICA VOTE ACT', Makes Paper Ballots Optional to States Rather Than Mandated…But We'll Take it! Sources Say House Bill to Follow Soon!

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) introduced emergency legislation to amend the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) this afternoon to offer funding to states and counties who make 'contingency paper ballots' available to voters to be used at the voter's option instead of electronic voting systems.

The so-called contingency paper ballots are intended to be counted as normal ballots, as opposed to Provisional Ballots which must be vetted first to determine the integrity of the voter's registration. Provisional ballots are frequently counted only several days after Election Day, and often, not at all. The Senate legislation as filed, however, does not spell out the intended difference between "contingency" and "provisional" ballots specifically.

The BRAD BLOG has learned from a source currently working on similar legislation in the House, said to be filed there shortly, that the House version will include such specific language if possible to ensure such contingency ballots are counted as normal ballots on Election Night. Several Capitol Hill sources have confirmed that such legislation is currently in the works. We hope to have more details on the House version later today.

The inclusion of Dodd as a co-sponsor on the Senate legislation is no small coup, as he was one of the original co-sponsors of the HAVA legislation of 2002 which this bill would amend. Until now, he and the other bi-partisan co-sponsors of that original legislation have been reluctant to open HAVA to amendment.

This legislation has to be supported NOW

Anyone Want To Argue Republicans Aren't Destroying Democracy?

Lott threatens the Dems

Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) is threatening to punish Democrats for using an Appropriations Committee room for an unofficial hearing on Iraq oversight if it happens again.

“They better stop this,” the Mississippi Republican said. “This will be the last one or there will be retribution.”

Lott suggested that Republicans could hold GOP-only hearings or seek other forms of payback.

But if he is looking for a culprit in abetting the Democratic Policy Committee’s (DPC) hearing yesterday, he need look no further than fellow Mississippi Republican Thad Cochran, chairman of the Appropriations Committee, who controls the Dirksen Building room that Democrats used yesterday and have used for past hearings.

“We just call and ask,” said DPC spokesman Barry Piatt, a fact confirmed by Senate Appropriations Committee spokeswoman Jenny Manley.

The DPC has held similar hearings on several issues such as Iraq reconstruction and the government’s response to Hurricane Katrina, during the 109th Congress.

But Lott and other Republicans are upset that Democrats have gone outside the committee process to highlight the Iraq war before the November election.

“They’re abusing the system,” Lott said.

The use of committee rooms could be moot, as Democrats plan to take future hearings on the road.

When You Hear This Story Will It Mention This Part of It?

Hours before the terrorism report was made public, Democrats seized on the political ammunition. Sens.
Hillary Clinton of New York and Carl Levin of Michigan both said release of the key findings alone wouldn't give Americans enough information, and they accused the administration of selective declassification.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., sought a rare secret session of the House to discuss the report's classified findings. Her request was rejected — 217-171 — on a nearly straight party-line vote. In an interview, she said the intelligence estimate "is not a corroboration of what the president is saying. It is a contradiction of what the president is saying."

If the cabloids mention any of this more than once I'll eat my right sock. The Buzzflash link says: How Long Can the Republican Party Prop Up This Dangerous, Idiotic Man?

I'll ask, how long is our allegedly free press going to prop him up. When they lie to cover up for corrupt Republicans they are putting all of our lives at risk. Do we need a press like the one we've got?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Most Controversial Thing I Ever Posted On the Internet*

Posted last spring on several open topic threads on different blogs.

I really would like to like the movie “Akeelah and the Bee”, if for no other reason than it isn’t another one of those mystico-macho football movies that have proliferated over the past ten years. I would like to like it if I expected to see it, which I do not. But reading a review of it in this mornings Boston Globe, the premise of the movie troubles me.

What, you might wonder, could this old, white, crackpot find to object to in a movie about a poor, black girl overcoming her poverty and stereotypical ghetto background to find glory in the world of elite spelling? Does his heart run so cold that he could overlook the heartwarming story because it isn’t agitprop? Would he rather that Akeelah read Angela Davis and become a revolutionary? To this I would answer no, after pointing out that it is a make believe story, that Akeelah doesn’t exist. And that she could do worse than Angela Davis if she did.

What I’m worried about are the other children in the girl’s school who do not possess an inborn talent for sight memory which is all that a skill for spelling English comes down to. In short, I’m worried about children of my own kind. Well do I remember the first years of school, of discovering that despite the ease with which I learned to read words on a page that when it came to writing them down, amid the myriad possibilities of spellings of vowel and consonant sounds, the mysteries of silent letters which appear and disappear according to rules too complex to apply and the entirely unsystematic use of double, unpronounced letters, I was hopeless. The hours of frustrating work memorizing my speller, hours that could have been put to use learning math or history. Memorizing spellings for a few hundreds of the tens of thousands of words I knew perfectly well how to use and then having the memories grow immediately vague in the choppy water of possible spellings of short e or long i made me want to chuck it. And, believe it or not, I was rated as an average speller.

No, I am worried about the real Akeelahs of this world and am always happy when they find achievement. But I would wish that they could find self respect with something more useful than developing this one, minor skill. And even more than that, what about the other children who don’t possess this mysterious ability? What about the 30 or more children in her class room who will find the English language their enemy, who will give up in trying to use it to improve their lives, who will stop trying to organize their thoughts on paper? Does her moment of glory at the spelling bee make up for their blighted lives?

Some people here will have absolutely no idea of what I’m talking about. You have the ability to use standard English spelling without trouble. But you, like it or not, are in the minority. Most people do not use English spelling with certainty. I also know that many, no, most, of the people who would know exactly what I mean aren’t reading this because they have gotten the message. The written English language is a private accommodation with a selected clientele. They are unworthy, they are dross, they are stupid and lazy, they are not welcome because they stink and have cooties. Those are the children I worry about just as much as I worry about Akeelah. As long as the present absurd standard English spelling is the turnstile through which you have to pass to gain respect, including self-respect, millions of English speakers will be doomed to a half life, never really believing that they are capable of intelligent thought, never trusting people who think for a living. Standard English spelling is a fundamental danger to democracy and freedom.

A better model for a feel-good movie is the one about the math teacher who brings along a whole classroom of children. Now, that’s one I like. It isn’t exclusive, it doesn’t sacrifice anyone for the greater glory of one person, it assumes the worth of everyone, it is, in the end, democratic. And also, whatever else it is, math is orderly and understandable with a beautiful and elegant written form. It is made for use. Like the standard spelling of Spanish.

You want to know what happened to the champion speller of my class? He dropped out of college and married into the fringes of organized crime somewhere South of Boston. I won’t go into details because he knows where I live. Though I’m certain that his shake down letters are impeccably spelled.

* It really was, based on the hostile reaction and heated arguments it generated. Those champion spellers, talk about your touchy people

It was shortly after this, while listening to the radio program “Saysyou”, that I heard the essential question, “Why is the word phonics spelled un- phonetically”?

The Only Thing That is Really Funny About Ann Coulter

There is a sort of humor around Ann Coulter, not what she says which is the product of a diseased mind but the spectacle of alleged news media treating her as anything but a psychotic, paranoia spewing liar who will say anything on cue.

That phenomenon is based on her being well paid for her psychopathia drecksialis and the envy by media whores, which is sort of funny in a black humor way.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Too thick for thought

Too plump for speedos

Cause we all know

Trolls work for Cheetos


Hostile Takeover

Posted on Echidne of the Snakes last Saturday

Isn’t it clear that you own your body? That is if we are foolish enough to allow something so personally intimate to be regarded as having the degraded status of mere property. If someone insists on raising the question of ownership isn’t it clear that your body belongs entirely to you? And if it doesn’t belong to you at least it doesn’t belong to anyone else. The difference between you owning your body and someone else owning it is the difference between freedom and slavery. You can’t be free if some other entity can exercise a claim on your body.*

If your own body doesn’t belong only to you and if you don’t have an absolute right to it, what concept of property makes sense? What thing can be as inseparably and essentially a part of you as your physical body? Your business, stocks, money, real property, home, clothes, food, water? Maybe food and water. Our bodies are made of food and water, it needs clothes to survive, we mostly being primates outside our natural flora. And we also need housing. Maybe those things can be considered necessary extensions of our bodies. But fungible assets start getting a bit afield

For women staring down the barrel of the Bush era court, this question of ownership of their bodies is about to become a lot less of an abstract consideration. Unless the Republicans lose the Senate in November it is certain that Roe will be hollowed out just as Alito plotted during the Reagan years if not overturned entirely. Barring a miracle, Bush will get another Supreme Court Appointment, the Republicans will confirm them after a pageant of perjury called a confirmation hearing. Arlen Specter and the rest of the Senate Republicans now relieved of having to answer to the voters will do what they have done, confirm whatever other right wing zealot Bush sends them. The state will own a piece of you, and since no part of your body is unattached to the whole of it, the government will have ownership rights over you for at least as long as you are able to conceive. I’d guess that none of that is news to you.

At the same time Republicans are preparing to nationalize your bodies they are loosening restrictions on the ownership and use of just about every kind of property. The absentee owners of land, businesses, etc. could have just about an absolute right to exercise control over them as you lose your control of your body. The “property rights” movement, financed by development interests, is a major part of Republican strategy in the Western states and elsewhere. There will be no governmental regulation of the most destructive and irresponsible use of property, no matter how many people or how much wildlife is harmed. Allowing the destruction of the environment effectively makes the entire biosphere the property of corporations and their owners. You not only don’t own what you need to live, your body, the entire range of vital necessities are owned by the corporate state.

And it isn’t just within physical world that the Republicans are making corporate and private ownership rights absolute. Vaguely similar trade marks, “intellectual property”, market share, DNA sequences, etc. Nothing is beyond the reach of Republicans on the frontiers of corporate consolidation and profits. The legal profession, ever eager to prove what an ass it can be, will leave no word untwisted to aid them.

This wacky situation needs to be addressed in the most basic terms. Republicans think you can own just about everything except your own body. So far it is your body, a woman's body. That belongs to the state. After the sodomy ruling of a few years back similar laws concerning men’s bodies are less intrusive.

For one growing up in the worst of the cold war it is curious that the heirs of those who condemned Stalinism’s view of state property are those who are going past the Stalinist's theoretical limits of state ownership, but only in so far as women’s bodies are concerned.

* Children ‘own’ their bodies but are not yet competent to exercise their rights. That’s one of the fundamental assumptions of the difference between adulthood and childhood. It is the responsibility of parents or guardians to exercise necessary rights on behalf of a child in their care. That responsibility isn’t the same thing as the child’s right to the integrity of their own body and there are times when it is the responsibility of the state to step in and enforce rights and responsibilities when there is a problem.

Adults who can’t exercise their rights need people to take responsibility to make decisions in their interest. Anyone who has had a severely mentally ill family member knows that the state has given up any responsibility for their protection and treatment. Such families are now on their own with all the horrors of responsibility and no rights, no ability to do much except pay and suffer. It’s a really bad idea to mix up responsibilities and rights through sloppy language. The muddled thinking that results from it can have a devastating effect in real life.

(!*! dope slap ) Now Why Didn’t I Think of That in the Beginning

The blog war continues but now it doesn’t have to junk up this blog. In a flare up of hostilities over the weekend I felt compelled to mount defenses here, much against my will. How to defend myself without boring the serious people this blog is written for? The answer is so obvious that serious damage almost resulted from hitting myself in the head. A dedicated blog where I can move all of the war junk clogging up things here.

So, here it is. You can ignore the blog war as easliy as not looking at it.

Anything I have to say in my defense will be put there so you don’t have to read it here. All of that past junk will be moved there where it can be seen by the tiny handful who care. I’ll post some really incendiary stuff there too, so the flamers will have somewhere else to vent. Any and all flamers who come here will be deleted and banned. I will not have the Jr. High Venternet interfer with the effort to overthrow Republican fascism.

Sunday, September 24, 2006


The opposite to the adult internet are the VENTERNET.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

No Not the Defense of New England The Defense of the United States

Regionalism is a septic sore that spreads over this country at the most opportune times. Opportune for conservatives. At such times it’s been my practice to issue a challenge.

This time it is David Broder who threatens infection with a bit of columnage about Gore and Kerry being snobs who rubbed his fellow heart-landers the wrong way. “ Bush was elected twice, over Democrats Al Gore and John Kerry, whose know-it-all arrogance rankled Midwesterners such as myself.” First note that this is a question of Kerry and Gore being too pompous for David Broder. For that unlikely feat both should be memorialized in some form of too, too precious metal. In ascending order, more royalist than the King, more Catholic than the Pope, too pompous for Broder. When Broder uses a cliche like that it’s time for it to be sent to a sealed landfill or a botox facility for processing.

Passing over Broder’s actual home for most of the last fifty years, Virginia, the electoral vote in his home state of Illinois and several of its bordering states went for both Gore and Kerry. Maybe this is just Broders way of saying that in his heart he knows he’s a Hoosier. With his demonstrated research skills, if Broder wants to get into a fight with Illinois, Michigan Minnesota and Wisconsin about their “heartland” status it might be a more productive use of the nation’s time than his thoughts on national politics.

I’m tempted to defend Gore here but it is the other target who serves my purpose. Based on a liftime experience of this kind of thing I suppose the Kerry bit was because he’s from New England. We certainly heard enough about his typical New England arrogance during the last campaign. It’s always so interesting how New Englanders morph from being the salt of the earth in February of election years to being effete New England Blue Stockings the rest of the time. Talking about chestnuts of the punditocracy gone bad in the jar. Those stuck-up, smarty pants New Englanders always looking down on every one else. Well, as to my fellow New Englanders being parochial, regional snobs here comes the challenge.

Maine’s last governor was Angus King from Alexandria Virginia. While he was governor the Majority Leader in our legislature was a great Democrat, Libby Mitchell who came from South Carolina and who sounds wonderfully like it. I won’t go into the not unfounded rumor that while holding one of our senate seats William Cohen actually lived in Florida most of the time.

Our neighboring state, New Hampshire, for most of the seventies and into the eighties had a governor, the far less than wonderful Meldrim Thomson, who though born in Pennsylvania was very clearly reared in the South and sounded like he could have given lessons in speaking Southern to the late Howell Heflin.

And Massachusetts, that epicenter of alleged hatred of all things Southern and scorner of all things non-New England and not only Massachusetts but the Democratic Party of Massachusetts, the party of Kennedy, Dukakis* and Barney Frank**, ran John Silber, very much from Texas, as its candidate for governor. And he might have won if he hadn’t gone completely nuts and savaged Natalie the local anchorwoman so ballistically right before the election. He’s not you’re A-list candidate for Mr. Wonderful either.

Add to this the fact that New England gave Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton their big jump starts from relative obscurity in their presidential campaigns. And New England has quite consistently voted for Southerners for President.*** I’ll bet that New England has a much better record of support for Southern presidential candidates than many Southern states do these days. We have a good record of support for candidates from Broder’s fabled heartland too.

The challenge is to find states in the South and “Red” Mid-West which have a better record of electing and supporting obvious New Englanders for such important offices. New Englanders who don’t actively pretend to be anything else.

You know what? If you can meet or exceed the challenge I will be thrilled. I hate regionalism. I hate the cheap Republican political game of division on the basis of manufactured regional resentment. I hate it so much that I’d love to find evidence in the South or any other region of the country that can prove it’s another destructive political lie of Republican media.

My experience with New Englanders, and the record would tend to prove it, is that we generally aren’t regionalist snobs, certainly no more than others. There is a problem with New Englanders being favored by the first in the nation primary but that’s true of any place in the country and is in the process of being fixed. There are bigoted idiots everywhere and there are great public servants everywhere too. This isn’t an exercise in regional self-congratulation but to kill the myth. Maybe that can be sent to the toxic waste dump with the rest of Broder’s foetid crock of exercised at a distance, more common in the punditocracy than in the People, pseudo- heartland, self-satisfaction.

* The one Loretta Lynn wouldn’t consider voting for because she thought his Greek name was too weird.

** There is no more solid example of a Massachusetts politician, from New Jersey if I remember correctly.

*** Wilson, Johnson, Carter, Clinton, Gore, and arguably Truman are Southerners who the Democratic Party has nominated as President within the past century.

Other than Lincoln I’m hard pressed to remember a real Southerner who has gotten the Republican nomination for President. George I and II are the Republican Party’s idea of Southerners to give their Presidential nomination. These products of New England Yankeedom always seemed to me rather more in the tradition of carpetbaggers than genuine Southerners. I’ll tell you, they tend to lose their Southern accents when they’re here in Maine. If Southerners want to overlook their provenance that’s their business, but why the exception for the Bush clan?

Since Southerners are the primary target audience of this Republican regionalist garbage they might also wonder why the Southern contenders for the Republican nomination in 2008 are so completely ignored by the media in favor of McCain and Romney. That’s Governor Romney from Massachusetts. Now that he’s decided to not be from Utah where he was also considering running. Maybe the media is quite atypically just going on history to decide who has a chance in which party. Mark Warner of Virginia and Edwards of North Carolina are certainly getting a lot of attention for the Democratic nomination as is Al Gore.

Friday, September 22, 2006

In a, no doubt, futile effort to increase readership through pandering to a lower denominator:


"Sharon" no, I won't ever get over having the presidency of my country stolen by the most successful crime family in the history of the world. I suspect that I'll still be holding the torch for clean elections while Republicans are still pretending they care about Clinton acting like an old fashioned gentleman and lying about a short-lived affair when improperly asked about it during testimony in a case in which the judge allowed an entirely non-germane and improper question obviously asked for purposes of humiliating him.

It comes down to a matter of priorities. For me those include the United States not supporting the illegal overthrowing of the legitimately elected leaders of oil rich countries.
olvlzl the Obscure

Though cheering war

The Repub boy has

Not voluteered.

They’re chicken eyas.


Winning Leftist Politics the easy way

Do you want “them” with you or against you? “Them” are people you can get on your side.

Some people won’t ever be on your side and [them] you don’t have to worry about.

How do you get “them” with you? Find out and you win.

You don’t have to be best friends, just don’t make “them” your enemy.
You think mocking “them” is fun? You like to lose? You lose, [them] win.

You need allies to win, a coalition, listening, give and take.
It’s not always fun. But winning is always fun.

Making fun of [them]? Ask Miss Manners.

You don’t care if you win? If you aren’t trying to win you’re wasting your time reading this.

More Evidence That Zippy The Clown Is The Most

significant work of surrealist art in history.

Heard on a cable TV commercial c. 12:40 edt

“American homeowners have a love affair with

Renewal Replacement Windows....”

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Why not with Jenna

Or Jen-not

Could Bush could fill one

Recruitment slot.


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Pope’s Big Mistake

Someone says that my recent controversial post on religious mockery puts me in a hard place over the matter of the Pope’s ill advised quote.

Why? The Pope is able to say things about religion that aren’t helpful. He’s just another guy with too much power. This proves it. I’d have thought it would be more difficult for some of my critics since they will, no doubt, be tempted by their desire to slam the pope on this. But if they do that they will be slamming him over something they claimed as their right when they do it, slamming religion. And The Pope was at least trying to make some kind of point, as bad an idea as that turned out to be. It wasn’t just a bunch of stupid, repetitious junk meant to annoy people without entertainment content.

As for the controversy itself, it being “just a quote”? That’s certainly not relevant to its being a bad idea. If he meant anything by it or not, who knows? The intentions matter to the Vatican they aren’t likely to matter to rioters. Based on the experience of similar information and gossip generated rioting in the past several years, this is exactly the kind of thing that could lead to violent consequences. Those blow up like Aunt Marge.* The Pope has enough of an information collecting infrastructure around him that he should have anticipated that.

I have a deep dislike of Joseph Ratzinger based on his past activities but I don’t think he would have tried to cause the violence that has broken out. He certainly should have guessed this kind of thing could be used by those who would like to incite a mighty sensitive population for their own gain. Will he learn to submit his self-written speeches to people who are in a position to see problems with them and who won’t hold that back? Or will he rely on his own Vatican insiders with every reason to tell him what they think he wants to hear? Maybe that’s the kind of thing that always happens when you have an absolute monarch whose approval can make or break you. Look at what happens around George Bush.

No, the Pope’s blunder isn’t a time to hold back criticism. It's important. This kind of thing not only calls for a critique, it makes it mandatory. That’s a job for thought, not canned snark.

* If he’d read the third Harry Potter he’d know how thoughtless comments can balloon. He should read it to a group of his courtiers as penance.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Pass up troll lies

And silly scribble

Don’t answer they’re



He lied for war

The Sec. of State

"I take it back,"

But it's too late


Not Everything That Is Really Important Is Sexy But Getting The Ballot Right Isn't Hard Either

There is no alternative to taking the stealing of elections seriously. Without clean elections there is no democracy. And a government that takes power dishonestly will probably reinforce those measures that allowed them to steal the election to begin with.

aving clean elections with a paper record are the only way to have an elected democracy. There has to be some actual, physical record that is an unambiguous record of the voter's decision - not preference, this isn't a matter of choosing strawberry over chocolate but that's another part of it.

s important as the material the ballot is printed on is the fact that it has to be clear and familiar to the voter who has to mark it and check it. Anyone who has ever delt with anything that relies on the general public knows that even the simplest unfamiliarity can cause a significant number of them to "choose" what they didn't intend to. The ballot has to be in one clear and entirely familiar form, as familiar as a Lincoln penny, someone once said.

ithout a reliable ballot that the voter can see and understand elections can be stollen even with a paper ballot but it would be a lot harder than with any form of machine voting that doesn't clearly show the voter and anyone who has to do a recount how the vote was cast.

he vote is no place to pinch pennies, it is more important than the facade of the Capitol, it's the only reason the Capitol is there. A democratic government wouldn't have to be reminded of that fact.

Monday, September 18, 2006

What Makes Them Tick?

Don't Have a Guess.

But Flight Suit Bush

Makes Them Tumesce


Ignore troll posts

They’ll fuss and groan

The time they waste

Will be their own


Instant Improvement on the recipe

And rule no. 1 is DON'T copy their name in your response (if you must respond). They hate not seeing their names.
Agent Orange


Smoked Troll a recipe

Trolls come to waste our time. You know that. They won’t change their minds, trying to change them is a waste of time. I used to argue, now I’ve learned.

Beating trolls is easy. Don’t read past the second line and they waste their time writing more.

If we don’t read and don’t answer they have wasted all of it. Use the first two lines if you can argue to make them waste more.

Make it funny, have some fun, they will fume.

E-mail Spam Etiquette Question

"sluts await you"

They've been writing to me for months and months and I've been keeping those "sluts" awaiting all this time. Should I tell them to stop awaiting for me and get on with their lives?

They Can Hold Their Breath Long As They Want That Won’t Turn The Country Blue
Single issue politics

Note: When the comments came in on this piece at Echidne's this weekend there were some interesting assumptions that I hadn't considered. First people didn't seem to realize that the size of the groups subtracted could be very small or could be effectively all the voters a politician could hope would support them. A politician might lose a handfull of votes on a minor bill or they could turn their entire pool of supporters away based on a real killer of a bill.

More disappointing a lot of comments missed the last paragraph in which more successful stratgeies are suggested for single-issue people. Some single issues are very unpopular but also too important to waste on unrealistic strategies. There is a piece about assumptions and their dangers to be posted sometime in the coming days.

When it comes to who wins and who loses in our winner-takes-all political system you have to look at the electoral price of issues. You just do. There are a few absolutely basic issues that we have to risk losing it all over. Those can’t be defined by a rule. But there aren’t anywhere near as many as single-issue voters insist. Issues beyond compromise generally involve life and liberty since without those any pursuit of happiness is impossible. And even with those a compromise is sometimes the best that can be gotten in the short run.

A secondary issue can be mildly liked or disliked or it can be the be-all and end-all for a voter, either way. It depends on the voter and it depends on the issue. Anyone who insists on their particular issue being the most important shouldn’t be surprised when other people look at them as if they’ve got rocks in their head. Just try telling another single-issue person that your issue is more important than theirs if you need an illustration.

What holding out for an unpopular issue costs a politician and their supporters.

This is an experiment, it needs tweaking . It’s just a matter of subtracting.

You start with the entire voting population, 100% of the people who will actually vote.

You subtract those who will never vote for you under any circumstances, R.

This will give you 100 - R = D, the percent of people who might vote for you. D is the first number you need to determine voters who you can keep but who you might lose over a given issue.

Taking D, subtract those who will not vote for you if you support an issue, D - O = S. O stands for definitively Opposed to the issue S stands for Stalwarts.

S allows you to go on to determine how many of your most reliable voters will Peel off over a more controversial issue. Even stalwarts have their limits.

S - P = B or Stalwarts minus P equals the voters whose support a politician has Bought with his support of their issue.

The Cost of B is the number of voters that support for the issue in question turns away. B are roughly single issue voters, those who you will definitely lose if you don’t buy them what they want. You might enjoy thinking of other meanings for “B”.

Or maybe we need to go one step further.

B is usually smaller than vocal one-issue proponents claim since other people identified by them as members of their group don’t agree with them. There will almost always be members of the group B claims as supporters of their issue but who are actually members of all of the groups above. Call this number W for the unknown number claimed by B but who really think they’re all Wet.

The real number you need is B -W = G. G is what you might Get for what you spent. It can be fairly large or minuscule depending on the size of the variables. On many single-issue issues it will not be very many.

This isn’t exactly science but it gives you an idea of what supporting a massively controversial single issue can cost a politician versus the tiny number of supporters that issue has. And, given experience, that tiny group of single-issue people can turn on a dime and stay home on election day. Single-issue folk sometimes aren’t notable for their maturity.

From the standpoint of supporters of an issue, they should fully expect politicians who have to win elections to make these estimates because they have to. There is no other way to win an election but to get the most votes. If a group of single-issue voters is small enough they should fully expect to be left out of real politics because they will be, due to their own insistence. This happens either because politicians who might agree with them can’t do what they want or because friendly politicians will lose to their enemies. They will lose to politicians who will never support the single-issue in question.

Single-issue people should also keep in mind that their insistence on losing elections over their issue will win them the hostility of other people who they might have won over to their cause if they didn’t insist on being spoilers. These are costs to the single-issue voters in these calculations. You can look at it that way too.

Of course, supporters of even the most guaranteed loser of an issue could choose more intelligent ways to pursue it than holding a rubber knife to the throat of a politician. Those ways don’t involve elections, they involve convincing the People, a far harder thing to do but often the only way to move those really tough agendas. That can cost lifetimes of work and not just talk, a price that only real supporters of issues are prepared to spend. They might start their job of convincing other people by sacrificing their single-issue status and entering into coalitions. But that comes with other costs.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

What’s Worse It Isn’t Funny

In memory of S. H.

It was in the racist, sexist, homophobic, and deadly tedious Andrew Dice Clay that I first noticed that phenomenon of the Reagan era, comedy that isn’t funny. After noticing him I began to see a lot more of it about. Maybe it was bound to take those of us brought up on Imogen Coca, Sid Caesar, and Eve Arden longer to understand that this was supposed to be comedy.

That it was Clay, a man whose consciousness is firmly grounded in that moment that puberty struck him, who first called it to attention isn’t surprising, thinking about it. That is if thinking about something so devoid of content can be called thought. Children who are suffering the derangement of puberty are usually confused about the difference between something that is embarrassing and something that is actually funny. Puberty being what it is, the topic is bound to be sex, anything generally “down there”.

Once the ability to get attention by saying or doing things that are embarrassing is discovered and reinforced by “Stinky” and “Turd-head’s” wet-their-pants level of appreciation, the bathroom humor habit can become ingrained. Even achieving the traditional age of majority might not ensure that the habit of early adolescence gives way to an adult level of amusement.

Moving up in years and perhaps having finally experienced sex himself he needs new material. If the cultural milieu hadn’t already provided the budding stand-up man with these, the jerk moves on to racism, cultural and religious stereotypes, and other edifying topics that can shock without the exertion of thought. And thus we have the media careers of Rush Limbaugh and other up-and-comers now beginning to populate the news divisions of our networks. Can the “towel head” level of hee-haws be far behind on the Evening News?

The problem of whether it is to be regretted or rejoiced at that the bigoted creeps don’t have the intellectual maturity to sustain that most challenging of all creative activities, to come up with a good joke, I haven’t been able to crack. Having a president who thinks gas jokes are the height of humor does worry me quite a lot.

At exactly the same time that these unfunny people began flourishing, the war against ‘political correctness’ was starting. The effort to make it possible for the fellows at the club and office to tell racist and sexist jokes without fear of an unamused reaction was interesting only for one thing. It was joined in so quickly, so vehemently and in such numbers by what passes as our intellectual class that I’ve got to think there’s more there than just a matter or freedom of expression. People who had never, in decades long careers as public scribblers ever been anything but Watch and Ward* men were now flaming free expression men. Notice, that was free expression, something they had always vigorously distinguished from free speech as a matter of principle. Not that they’d ever spoken up for those of us who want to speak on the topic of a living wage before. Ah, but I’ll get off-topic if I go there just now except to speculate that the coincidence was no coincidence.

By chance Rusty Warren, who I hasten to mention wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, also came to mind this week. Most famous for her “Knockers Up” routine she shocked and titillated many a staid and buttoned down man of the 50s and 60s with her energetic sex comedy. Mae West on uppers. That’s what they were watching while we were watching Ernie Kovacs and That Was The Week That Was. It wasn’t my taste but she could be funny.

Suspecting she might not be with us anymore I was surprised and a bit nostalgic to find she has a web site which I haven’t had the nerve to look at**. The one comedy record from the early days of her career which I was exposed to didn’t exactly make me a fan. Though that one song entitled with a word that I will not use was very funny in context. It can’t really be called shock comedy in today’s sense of the phrase. Brash it was and in those days, a brash woman talking about sex was shocking to her audience. I hope that in an effort to up-date her act she hadn’t given in to Reagan-Bush era style shock jockery and I’ll bet she didn’t. Unlike Clay, she could be smart and funny and she wouldn’t be afraid of vaginas.

* Anti-smut campaigners of a bygone era.

** I looked at it last night in the interest of research and discovered that she does, indeed, have a sense of humor, if one not to everyone’s taste. Wikiing her I found out that one of her songs is used as the theme for the Randi Rhodes show. The Air America station here comes in about as well as an old ship to shore so I didn’t know.

I make no judgement over whether her material is feminist, not being the right gender to do that. Her bawdy humor, while rooted in an earlier sensibility, doesn’t strike me as self-hating. It was my old friend S. H., a lesbian, who in a “You won’t believe what my father listens to,” demonstration, first subjected me to one of Warren’s LPs. The one with “I’m Gonna Get Some” on it. We’d gotten drunk on his wine that afternoon

{{{ Locked In the Heritic’s Confessional! }}}

Posted on Echidne of the Snakes last Friday

Well, I guess there is no covering that hole with the piano. I set off a bomb here last weekend. And me, a houseguest. Always putting my foot in it. I was, only trying to blend in with the decor.

When answering the casting call for a weekend fill-in here I knew it would be a challenge. First there was the fact that it would be a man filling-in on a feminist blog. Being well past the age where anyone could keep a straight face with me playing Ophelia, I knew it would have to be a pants role.

But that was only the first hurdle. There was the high standard to get over. Everyone knows that Echidne’s is a place where the interesting and unexpected is always happening, no cookie cutter angst here. And I did make an effort to blend in. I know that it’s rude to stick out like a sore thumb. My mother raised me the right way. You mind your manners and don’t come out of the bathroom complaining about your host’s taste in ornaments. Echidne’s are divine, by the way. As I said I made an effort, a really serious one. I can prove it. Didn’t I learn another language? I had to. Everyone knows that Echidne writes in ESL, if you don’t know, that stands for English as a Sensible Language. It might not be something that everyone gets but it’s the house standard here.

Blogging has been a learning experience in many ways, editing, condensing, not running on past nine-hundred words or you stupify instead of enlighten. And the reader response, I mean, just full of surprises. In the past month alone I’ve been accused by a straight man of being a homophobe, I’ve had someone considerably to the right of me accuse me of being a moderate. A communist called me a fascist and the very next day an anarchist accused me of being a communist, how many of you can say that? I’ve had Republican trolls call me “batshit crazy”, stupid. You’d hardly know yourself.

But last week, to have a congregation of atheists first make that unfounded accusation that I was a Christian and then to raise fingers en masse and pointedly accuse me of heresy for visiting the temple of a minor Greek goddess, that really was the topper, I’ll tell you. It was like being publicly denounced for sorcery in 1506.

And it was so confusing, not only being called something I hadn’t called myself, a Christian, something which any number of Christians would happily tell you is impossible. But to be called not just a Christian but a Christian heretic, now that really shocked me. To have these people, these - no, THESE people file a charge of heresy! I’ve always been under the impression they approved that kind of thing.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Sólo le pido a dios

Sólo le pido a dios
Que el dolor no me sea indiferente
Que la reseca muerte no me encuentre
Vacía y sola sin haber hecho lo suficiente

Sólo le pido a dios
Que lo injusto no me sea indiferente
Que no me abofeteen la otra mejilla
Después de que una garra me arañó la suerte

Sólo le pido a dios
Que la guerra no me sea indiferente
Es un monstruo grande y pisa fuerte
Toda la pobre inocencia de la gente

Sólo le pido a dios
Que el engaño no me sea indiferente
Si un traidor puede más que unos cuantos
Esos cuantos no lo olviden fácilmente

Sólo le pido a dios
Que el futuro no me sea indiferente
Desahuciado esta el que tiene que marchar
A vivir una cultura diferente

Sólo le pido a dios
Que la guerra no me sea indiferente
Es un monstruo grande y pisa fuerte
Toda la pobre inocencia de la gente

León Gieco

From Letters to an Adolescent Flamer

I've always said that I'd rather have fifty readers who were likely to take effective political action than thousands of do nothing venters and attention grabbers. Given your level of maturity and reading ability you're not my target audience. You can go back to that blog you so obviously prefer and vent with the rest of the kiddies.

Wonder If It's Ever Been Done

"We will bury you." As if the Commies would take a very active part in that process instead of a passive one." blog troll comment

I wonder if anyone has ever done an experiment where a person, listening to a long speech in their own language through headphones with a mouthpiece, has been required to paraphrase it in their own language simultaneously.

Now, wouldn't that make an interesting experiment. Imagine how much harder simultaneous translation into a second language or from a second language is.

Simultaneous translation is dangerous.

"moderate" Republicans are the Biggest Danger To Democracy, Expose Them For What They Are Not What They Say They Are

From this story about the charges Democrats from effected states are bringing against Christie Todd Whitman over endangering relief workers at ground zero, I noticed this:

Former Sept. 11 Commission chairman Thomas Kean, also a former Republican governor of New Jersey, said it was troubling that the Democratic congressmen "would misuse the heroic service of thousands for their political gain in an election season."

Ah, yes, that nice Mr. Kean, so measured, so reasonable. Now who could ever think that that nice man, former Republican governor of New Jersey, co-chair of the 9-11 commission with the ineffective what's his Hamiliton, could use his position to aid his party.
Oh, I left out his role in the ABRNC crockudrama. Wouldn't want to leave that off of the resume of such a moderate voice in the Republican Party now, would we?

"moderate" Republicans are the most dangerous type. They should be exposed for the party hacks they are. Anyone with the mildest inkling of the truth in 2006 who is a Republican has to answer for the Bush II Junta in every way. It's hardly surprising that Kean would be carrying water for Whitman, after all, she's a "moderate" too.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Clowns Are OK For a Children’s Party But You Don’t Want Them to be The Face of the Left

Barbara Jordan was a great legislator, her brilliance at doing the most she could with what she had at hand is well summed up in her obituary by Molly Ivins (1). She wasn’t just that great voice and commanding presence, those were only the tools wielded by a master politician. She was more than a show. She never lost an opportunity “ to make government work”. Superficial people will remember the voice, less superficial ones what she said, serious people also remember what she accomplished when she took those opportunities.

Another point from the obituary hands us one of the keys to political success. Barbara Jordan never wasted a minute on a hopeless cause. To look at the situation from the viewpoint of the possible, to leave aside the impossible and to never, ever lose sight of the goals that are achievable. No matter what transient personal satisfaction, no matter what issue of lesser importance, no matter what goal dearly wished for or even worthy but not achievable, never waste time or resources on the futile. Certainly don’t waste them on pointless, self-destructive, self-indulgence.

Barbara Jordan’s serious and absolute dedication to the goal of progress led her in at least one instance to make an attack on people allegedly within the movement. She warned against people using “kamikaze” tactics(2). You don’t forget the word “kamikaze” as pronounced by Barbara Jordan. She warned about words and actions that looked flashy, gained their user abundant attention but which would damage the movement for progress. Listening to her in the context of the times, as soon as I heard those words I had little doubt who they might apply to. I thought “ K.” [See Author’s Query at the bottom of the post.]

K. was at the crest of her own personal wave back then. A 60 Minutes spot, all over TV, her act was the predominant picture of a black, lesbian, feminist as the corporate media were targeting all three movements for irrelevance. A black woman who could be counted on to declare her love for insane dictator and mass murderer, Idi Amin, because he was a powerful black man who was “bad”(3). I used to watch her amazed that she couldn’t see the indulgent smirk on the faces of the media hit men who were egging her on to say the next outrageous thing.

I must have wondered what happened to K. in the past twenty-five years but not enough to go look her up. Maybe she had done what she so melodramatically said she was going to do back then and commit suicide as soon as life had stopped being “a ball”(4). She largely disappeared from the TV screen, at any rate. Perhaps she had served her purpose and needing her no more, the corporate media dumped her on the same scrap pile as other media figures of the left fallen into desuetude.

K. did do some important work in her earlier career as a lawyer. I won’t deny that. She said some memorable things too. As late as the early seventies she was associated with serious people such as Shirley Chisholm and Gloria Steinem but by the late seventies her primary function was to become a set character in the cartoon of the left that the media was producing. She loved that role (5). Like a number of other camera hogs of the left, she had become a tool to damage it. If Barbara Jordan didn’t mean K., she certainly filled the role.

The left doesn’t have resources to waste on indulging the attention seeking, superficial and self-promoting characters for whom the lime light is more seductive than actually achieving power and working to change laws. If they want to get attention, make them earn it by producing something. If they want to keep it they should keep producing. We can’t indulge those who did something decades ago but who, by their own actions, become destructive to progressive change. It doesn’t matter who has fond memories of them or enjoys their company. You can keep them as friends, just keep them off camera.

The media will chose people to call leaders for the left, they will chose those people who they can use as a tool against us. We should be suspicious of anyone who is regularly featured in the corporate media, they don’t ask people back unless they say what they want to hear.

Anyone who the media asks to appear should be suspicious of their motives and keep their eyes open for being used. Insist on seeing the final edit before it goes on air or into print.

The left doesn’t have time or resources to waste on the superficial. You can be funny, Barbara Jordan certainly could be. And there are few people who are funnier than Molly Ivins. But for the left only funny isn’t nearly enough anymore, being only outrageous is less. The merely funny might waste time, merely outrageous is a gun in the hands of irresponsible children and that gun is always pointed left. We don’t have time or resources to spend on flash in the pan junk, we need to have the best. The left fully deserves it and should accept no other.

1. You Got to Dance with Them What Brung You ISBN: 0679754873

2. Does anyone know of a transcript? See Author’s Query below.

3. Said during that 60 Minuted interview. If this doesn’t suffice as self-immolation of someone’s seriousness what would? Idi Amin had already murdered thousands of Ugandans and he was still very much in power but that apparently was less important than making a splash on TV.

4. According to Wikipedia K. died in 2000. The account of her activities stops abruptly in the period I’m talking about here. I don’t know of any illness or health problem that would account for that, if so then none of the sources I checked mentions it.

5. They had tried to fill a similar slot with Bella Abzug ( I so well remember that rotten Time cover story) who certainly had a disposition and a way of her own, but, a serious person more resistant to the lure of the camera, she would have none of it.

Author’s Query
I have a quote important to this piece and the name of the person who said it. However, I can not find the citation which would be an interview on the program 60 Minutes in the late 70s. I believe Mike Wallace conducted the interview. I have serious limits on my mobility and access to only a small public library these days. The information I need is in that odd period of electronic media which appears nowhere on the internet.

Without the citation I don’t feel that it would be right to identify the person who said it although I know for a fact she did. She was an infamous figure used by the media at this time for the purpose of painting the left as a joke. I am sure that many people will remember who I am referring to. If you could supply me with the reference I will publish the name in full and be very grateful. I will identify her only by her last initial until then.

Tell ABRNC To Correct The Lies They Told

Contact them through John Conyer's site.

They might correct the lies if we turn up the heat, but they're not going to stop lying out of a sense of fairness or honor.

Danny Schechter Is My Hero

I'd say one of my heros but it doesn't scan as well. One of the few great media critics. I used to wonder if he might be "The Horse".

Read him here about the ABRNC filthy, mouse nest of a crockudrama.

And also read here for a Swiftboat connection.

"Rather than try to defend their own failed record, Republicans have resorted to the desperation politics of fear," said Pelosi, D-Calif.

The headline at Buzzflash says the Deomcrats came out swinging. Isn't that enough to get your blood going? Democrats came out swinging. And we can be sure the media whores will start wringing their hands and saying that they're in danger of going too far. But as it says below the Democrats came out swinging in 1964 and


This is An Outrage Palast and Pascarella Charged

while filming Bush Junta interment camp where victims of Katrina are incarcerated.

On August 22, for LinkTV and Democracy Now! we videotaped the thousands of Katrina evacuees still held behind a barbed wire in a trailer park encampment a hundred miles from New Orleans. It's been a year since the hurricane and 73,000 POW's (Prisoners of W) are still in this aluminum ghetto in the middle of nowhere. One resident, Pamela Lewis, said, "It is a prison set-up" -- except there are no home furloughs for these inmates because they no longer have homes.

To give a sense of the full flavor and smell of the place, we wanted to show that this human parking lot, with kids and elderly, is nearly adjacent to the Exxon Oil refinery, the nation's second largest, a chemical-belching behemoth.

So we filmed it. Without Big Brother's authorization. Uh, oh. Apparently, the broadcast of these stinking smokestacks tipped off Osama that, if his assassins pose as poor Black folk, they can get a cramped Airstream right next to a "critical infrastructure" asset.

So now Matt and I have a "criminal complaint" lodged against us with the feds.

Go to the link for more information on how to lodge a complaint of your own. Who wants to say "first person to say fascist loses" now? The up side is that Greg Palast has never seen a government action that he can't turn into a news story, they might have wished they'd let him off on this rap by the end of it. But he really might need some help.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

When The Left Aids Its Enemies Why Should It Expect To Win?

Note: This piece is an answer to some people who questioned some of the points in this post, one of the first I did. This response was written for Echidne of the Snakes and first posted there last Saturday. I hope it clarifies some of the earlier piece.

It isn't free speech that I deny for fascists and Nazis, I believe that everyone has that as a matter of their having been born, "are endowed by their creator...", this piece is about the response of leftists, particularly the free speech absolutists such as Nat Hentoff to it.

The left has no obligation to do anything that could politically benefit our enemies. Not one thing. Our resources are very limited. We are always making choices in what we have the time and money to do. I don't follow their activities as much as I used to but I know that the state chapter of the ACLU here only took on a small number of cases due to lack of resources.

Fascists, Nazis and the right in the United States all explicitly work to deny people rights as innate as their right to free speech, they have huge resources at their disposal. I say that their advocacy for the abridgement and destruction of other peoples' and groups' rights, with increasing support on the Supreme Court, places their rights outside the area of our concern.

The pose of absolutism, re Skokie, has a politically damaging effect on the left. The Phelps citation was made because the issue was coming up and I imagined the self-defeating words coming out of the mouths of our defenders of the first amendment in support of people who would take away every one of my rights, likely including that to life itself. If my rights and my life mean less to a free speech absolutist than the rights of fascists who would rob me of them, then what other stand am I to take? Why should members of any group targeted by fascists sit quietly while they are aided by leftists?

In doing this I am far more generous than either group, fascists or absolutists. I only call for the deferment of the Phelps’ ability to make their hateful demonstration until it won’t impinge on the rights of people who have no choice about burying their dead, their right to speak would reman intact. If the fascists got their way someone would lose all of their rights and there would be no ACLU to file so much as an amicus brief.

The rumored plans for the Phelps to come to my home state of Maine to assert what we all know they assert at that time also influenced the writing of this. Just the threat had the family of a dead serviceman, his entire community and my state in termoil. Then the Phelps announced that they wouldn't be coming afterall. They got massive attention for themselves , the goal of a demonstration, afterall, without even bothering to show up. The family and community got a kind of pain no decent person would not try to prevent.

I hope no one missed that the piece didn’t call for leftists to take anyones speech rights away nor for the government to do it. We, dear fellow leftists, are not a court of law, we are not a legislative or executive branch, we are not even an unpaid government consultant we are not under any obligation to be even handed in OUR activities. We aren't now. We pick and choose as a matter of the most basic necessity. Let’s choose more intelligently is all I’m asking.

If someone doesn’t like the tone, I kind of get worked up about people who advocate stripping me of my rights and killing me.

Oh, the Folly of the Young

Oh, you little flamer. You think you invented everything don't you. Well, honey, I had transexual friends old enough to not be your grandmother. Now who needs to get over themselves.

I have no intention of putting up with those kinds of things, you do not have a right to junk up my blog and I will delete you.

September 11 Didn’t Make America An Orphan So Why Did They Try To Make Bush Our Daddy

As they study the rise and fall of America as an empire, scholars should consider that as they dishonestly spoke the word “democracy” the political and media elites had no faith in it. They fight against any possibility of it rising up out of interest in their own wealth and power, but they also don’t even believe that its necessary precursor can exist.

One of the most characteristic assumptions of the American establishment is that the American People are high-strung and nervous children who have to be protected from even the most important realities. That’s their line. The same conservatives and their media mouthpieces who whine and complain about any program to aid the down-and-out as paternalism turn around and, when it suits their purpose, say that the entire American People are babies.

They pretend this because it allows a string of the most criminal administrations in our history, all of them Republican, to escape investigation or punishment. They have no such inclination during Democratic administrations, doing those the favor of inventing lurid and sensational crimes to be most publicly investigated at the cost of tens of millions of dollars when real crimes weren’t forthcoming. And that doesn’t include the fictitious impeachment porn that the religious right, Ken Starr and Henry Hyde pitched in most educational detail on the public airwaves. On Sunday morning, even.

The excuse of the Nixon pardon, that Americans couldn’t stand the indictment of a president, assumed that the American people lacked the maturity to see justice done. There was no reason to believe this was true. By that time, Nixon had accepted that resigning and having his hand-selected successor pardoning him was his only hope of escaping impeachment and prosecution. Nixon, who insisted on law and order for everyone else, accepted a pardon before he was even charged.

The majority of the American People would have listened to the evidence and let justice be done. It was our elites who couldn’t stand to see the Constitution come to life, not the People. And even if the People hadn’t been prepared to watch, when did that become a legitimate issue in law enforcement? The crimes of Richard Nixon included the extension of the Vietnam war into Cambodia, a crime which over its course was as bad and then worse than the invasion of Iraq today. Even the House committee which adopted articles of impeachment thought the American People were too childlike to face what its government had done to millions of people in that one. If you can find a transcript read what Congressman Robert Drinan said in favor of their adoption.

Perhaps, as proven in their inability to sway the public with their fully aired “evidence” in the Senate trial of Bill Clinton, their real fear is that the American People are fully able to judge evidence and to draw logical conclusions from it. If you don’t get that, let me point it out plainly. They put Clinton ON TRIAL over phony, rigged up charges - after refusing to try Nixon over some of the most serious crimes an American President has ever committed - and they lost with no resulting social disruption whatsoever.

Letting Nixon be pardoned set the stage for pardons by other Republican administrations, perhaps most infamously* in the Bush I pardon of the unindicted Caspar Weinberger. Wineberger’s handwriting put Bush the father “in the loop” of Iran-Contra and likely under perjury for denying that he was. The media shrugged. The Nixon pardon put Republican Presidents above the law. The excuse effectively said that the Constitution was impractical due to insufficient maturity of the American People. Despite that honor given to Gerald Ford at the Kennedy School, the Nixon pardon was one of the more injurious acts done to this country in the past half century.

What was, one hopes, the nadir of this coddling of the People was the post 9-11effort to present them with George W. Bush as a surrogate daddy. How desperate does an imperial establishment have to be to instill George W. Bush with preternatural paternal powers? And at the same time, they were trying to install him as first-frat-boy, first-drinkin’ buddy, top gun and a raft of other, would be, endearing personas. Flight-suit, Matthews, you know what I mean. The post-September 11th glorification, even deification of George Bush is a sign that our media has reached that stage of eutrophication that produces abundant methane and no clarity. The Press Corps wanted Bush to be their daddy, you wonder what their relationship with their natural fathers could have been to allow such a perverted idea to gain currency. Yes, let’s make it reflect back on to the media who say these things, they’re the ones who are saying them, afterall.

We've got to fight against this attack on the maturity of the People. It is an put-down given for the most dishonest purposes, to cover up imperial crimes, the kind of crimes that it takes grown-ups to detect, punish and prevent. By remaining silent as they treat us like children we allow them to be unaccountable.

Children exposed to war and tragedy often grow up too fast, it is heartbreaking to see them robbed of even what little childhood they might have had. Seeing an attempt to turn Americans into babies over one day of attacks is not sad, it is monumentally insulting. Roosevelt didn’t do it after Pearl Harbor. He knew he would need all the maturity that Americans had to win the war against fascism and Naziism. Americans won’t take to being called babies once it has been pointed out to them that is just what the corporate media has been doing for the past five years.

* After the fall elections watch a flood of pardons come down from Bush II. If the Democrats take back one or both houses it will be a deluge. If this is done it should not stop Democrats from fully airing the crimes of this regime. If Democrats do begin investigations watch for the press to increase the attempts to quash them with this and similar tactics. They will reach levels of insane frenzy surpassing those poor monkeys whose terry-cloth and chicken wire mother substitutes were taken from them.

In the mean time watch the exact same ersatz journalists’ defacto campaign for Republicans. They are already warning that if Democrats win they will do exactly what they, themselves, were encouraging Republicans to do to Clinton, impeach a president. Impeachment has gone from being a moral imperative under Clinton to being an unthinkable catastrophe that the country couldn’t survive under a Republican.

First posted September 10, 2006 on Echidne of the Snakes

Monday, September 11, 2006

I Am Told That This Is A Blog War

Now, what am I supposed to wear? As the attacks continue, the distortions, the blah, blah, blah. I intend to try to keep things at an adult level here. Actually, I've got a feeling that people who read my blog probably don't read their blogs and given their reading level the opposite is guaranteed. I don't think it's going to be too much of a problem unless one of my pieces is attacked again. That will provoke an answer. As for the slurs, it's kind of interesting to have a certain shady, dangerous persona constructed for you, out of your area of perception. All the benefits of being demi-monde with none of the discomforts. I wonder what evil lurks in the heart of olvlzl entirely unbeknownst to him and his friends. And what the hell difference does it make? What are they going to do, drive my advertisers away?

As you see, I'm having a real problem trying to stay calm. Really.

Some Things I Learned This Weekend

I guess the posts I did at Echidne’s blog caused a little bit of a stir. In the process of reading and answering the responses, disagreements and outright fabrications of what I was alleged to have said, there have been some lessons to learn.

1. A shocking number of people do not pay attention to what is written. Some of these pick up cues from what is written and plug them into a pre-existing picture of a role model or a stereotype. Once plugged in they find it hard to deal with what was actually written, they ignore that and react to their stereotype.

2. This stereotyping extends to a sort of “the whole package deal” assignment of ideas. If you do not repeat the expected lines then it is assumed that you didn’t buy that package but you bought its one alternative. If you say something reminiscent of a part of a package you will be immediately assigned that whole deal. That you don’t say that you accepted any of the other junk in the package is beside the point. Even saying that you didn’t buy the package deal isn’t enough for hard cases. Both types of stereotyping are too clumsy to do much real thinking with.

3. People who read and write sloppily tend to think sloppily.

4. Some people on leftist blogs are no more honest than what you find on your average LGF style blog. This one wasn’t a total shock but being reminded of it was kind of a wake up jolt.

5. There is nothing like a good, reasoned, well thought out disagreement for enlarging your understanding. Thank you, A. L. and some others.

I am beginning to think this is a bigger problem than I’d first thought. It could produce disadvantages for the left, which depends on clear, independent thinking. These wouldn’t be a problem for the right, delta-epsilon zombis, don’t think they just need to react. They don’t make very successful leftists. Being on the left requires breaking these manacles of the mind and looking at things as they are, not as they are handed down by any orthodoxy, not even one that is reputed to be unorthodox. Reason is a good solvent for those, reason and the maturity to see things as they are not as you expect them or wish them to be.

The Shorter olvlzl
much shorter

This is the first response on the comment thread at Echidne's blog to my You Don't Have To Believe It post below. It truely does say exactly what I meant in two lines.

My wise former cow-orker,
Steven Alexander, once gave me advice
about a rather inflammatory memo I
was writing — advice so trenchant
that I remember his exact words some
25 years later. I think of it as
“Alexander’s Law”:

You cannot simultaneously influence and antagonize; you have to choose which of these two goals you’re pursuing. You can either change peoples’ minds, or tell them off, but not both.
Joel Hanes | 09.09.06 - 3:25 pm | #

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