Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Notes From the Fringe

Mother Superior Jump the Gun. Forty years after the Beatles’ breakup, the Vatican says “never mind” to its decades-old condemnation of the group. Said the Vatican’s official newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano:
“It's true they took drugs; swept up by their success, they lived dissolute and uninhibited lives. [You must mean pederast priests?] They even said they were more famous than Jesus. But, listening to their songs, all of this seems distant and meaningless. Their beautiful melodies, which changed forever pop music and still gives us emotions, live on like precious jewels.”
Ringo Starr was not impressed:

Waiting for Benedict. The Vatican has issued a directive that requires bishops to report sexual abuse to the police. Wow. There’s a novel concept. Here we are, well into the 21st century, and the Vatican must be dragged kicking and screaming into the 20th.

Teabaggers and Oklahoma Legislators Plot Sedition. They want to “create a new volunteer militia to help defend against what they believe are improper federal infringements on state sovereignty.” State senator Randy Brogodon, who is running for governor, said the Teabaggers spoke to him and he believes the Second Amendment authorizes such a militia. I must have missed the part where the Constitution gives citizens the right to take arms against the government.

What are the crazies afraid of? Is it the healthcare law? Is it the President’s birthright? Perhaps they need a refresher in civics –- the Constitution provides for three branches of government, elections, the right to keep and bear arms, etc, etc. To hear Gerhardt describe it, they’re just a law abiding gathering of armed citizens. His idea is to start 20 or 30 such state militias so that there will be no need for action against the feds. In other words, they plan to intimidate the federal government and citizens who do not agree with this lunacy with the threat of armed violence in order to make the feds bend to their demands. In a word: SEDITION.

There is historic precedent for this. A similar thing occurred on the eve of the Civil War when the party in power was accused of diverting improperly obtained federal funds to Southern states “to arm militias for an insurrection against the government over the slavery issue.” (Lincoln for President – Bruce Chadwick) Somehow, healthcare reform, majority vote rule, the stimulus bill, and the financial bailout do not rise to the level of unconstitutional secession. Not for most reasonable people.

The rise of right wing extremism in this country is real. The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks these things, says there has been a 240% increase in anti-government groups, militias, and organizations this year alone. To the extent Republicans, at the state and national level, right wing hate radio and Fox “News” encourage the militias and Teabaggers, they should be held responsible for any violence that results.

Can the Teabaggers Be Any More Ignorant? They follow an idiot carney crier who profited off their dwindling funds by $12 million this year. If that’s not an obscene transfer of wealth from the needy to the slothful I don’t know what is. Sister Sarah incites, inflames, and laughs all the way to the bank. They fall prey to cynical Republicans whose hubris and arrogance knows no bounds. Frank “Goebbels” Luntz, the bad-complexioned propagandist who does all the thinking for Republicans is back at it, putting talking points in Mitch McConnell’s mouth. Time Magazine did a great job deconstructing McConnell’s words side-by-side with the Luntz propaganda memo to defeat financial reform on behalf of their corporate puppet masters. Can’t McConnell think for himself? Does he need a little punk of a self-important political consultant with rosacea to tell him what to say? After all, he is the Senate Republican leader.

Mitch McConnell is shameless. After soliciting contributions from Wall Street bankers, McConnell took to the Senate floor to oppose any and all Democratic attempts to impose strict regulatory reforms on financial institutions so that the Bush financial meltdown will not happen again. Paul Krugman called “Orwellian” McConnell’s charge that re-regulation would lead to another “too big to fail” bailout, as the regulation explicitly forbids future bailouts. McConnell was cynically playing to ignorant Teabaggers for support in propping up the Wall Street status quo with the slogan “too big to fail.” The Luntz-McConnell-Wall Street calculation is the Teabaggers are really REALLY stupid corporate tools. They might be right. Cynical, as always -- but right. Polls show that most Teabaggers watch Fox “News.”

Fire and Indict. If corporations are considered “persons” for purposes of buying elections and literally getting away with murder, why can’t CEOs be criminally charged for the corporation’s crimes? Or can he? It seems nervous shareholders are calling for Massey CEO Don Blankenship to be fired. They see bad things (for them) coming in the wake of the worst mining disaster in decades, which claimed 29 deaths and could have been avoided. Those of us who believe in calling a spade a spade call Don Blankenship a murderer. Period.

Not With OUR Tax Dollars! Students at California State University, Stanislaus found a speaker’s contract in a school dumpster detailing Sister Sarah’s demands for speaking at the university: First-class Lear jet; deluxe hotel suite; pre-screened questions; and, of course, bendable straws. The students and a state legislator want full disclosure from the university on who is paying the right wing Diva’s hefty $100,000 speaking fee -- they charge documents have been shredded -- at a time college students are struggling to pay ever-rising tuition costs with draconian state cutbacks in education. Attorney General Jerry Brown (like old wine, he gets better with age) has pledged to investigate.

No comments: