Saturday, November 13, 2010

30 Rock Holds a Tea Party

The scary part is fake candidate "Steve Austin" is tame compared to the REAL Teabagger candidates, like "Westie" here:

Friday, November 12, 2010

Glenn Beck’s Monstrous Anti-Semitism Reveals The Quality and Character of His Target

Sometimes the most malignant of intentions result in unintentional good outcomes. From the moment he took to the airwaves, Glenn Beck has been a malignant cancer on our body politic, a self-styled racist, hatemonger, and conspiracy theorist who, together with far right fringe elements, has incited disturbed listeners to commit acts of violence. All of this is true and extensively documented.

Today, the hatemonger doubled down (if that can be possible for Beck) with the most reprehensible kind of anti-Semitic Holocaust revisionism by falsely accusing liberal philanthropist George Soros, who was a 14-year-old boy in Nazi-occupied Hungary, with collaboration.

Yet Glenn Beck’s paranoid obsession with the man he calls the “puppet master,” George Soros, was revealing in another way. While George W. Bush traipsed around the country, seeking refuge mostly in the right wing echo chamber (which provides employment for Beck) in a vain book tour attempt to wipe from his name the stain of history, Glenn Beck chose as a source of his Soros sliming a talk the Hungarian-born philanthropist gave at his Open Society Institute on September 16, 2003, on foreign policy, Iraq, and America’s role going forward.

At that moment in time, the U.S. invasion of Iraq was less than six months old, by the end of September 2003 U.S. and coalition force deaths in Iraq would number 374, and four months earlier George W. Bush had declared “mission accomplished” in a triumphalist speech on the deck of the carrier USS Abraham Lincoln.

It would not be until 2004 that the first accounts of “physical, psychological, and sexual abuse, including torture, rape, sodomy, and homicide of prisoners held in the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq (also known as Baghdad Correctional Facility) came to public attention,” with official sanction at the highest levels of the U.S. government. In recent interviews, Bush shrugged off the torture and admitted to authorizing waterboarding with a “damn right,” secure in the knowledge he will not be prosecuted for war crimes by the Obama administration.

In response to this brazen admission, the ACLU joined other civil rights groups in calling for a special prosecutor to investigate whether the former president violated federal statutes prohibiting torture. (It’s not gonna happen; for more information, read Family of Secrets by Russ Baker. The current adminstration is sitting on a pile of dirty laundry it would just as soon keep a lid on.)

Seven years later, Bush is unrepentant about the cost of the war in blood and treasure, claiming with the certainty of the religious fanatic with a private line to God that he kept America safe. As of November 3, 2010, the number of U.S. and coalition forces killed in the line of duty in Iraq was 4,746, and the cost to the Treasury of the war has added upwards of $1 trillion to our spiraling deficit.

And yet the remarkable thing about that address by Mr. Soros back in September of 2003 (see it here) was (1) the clarity of his foresight concerning the dire consequences to the nation of the path we were on (described in raw numbers above), and (2) his inability as a private citizen to affect the ultimate outcome that we see today, or to change in any appreciable way the disastrous course Bush and Cheney had set for the country. Despite Glenn Beck’s paranoid anti-Semitic screeds about the “puppet master” George Soros, the liberal philanthropist was not pulling any strings. Quite to the contrary, he was the proverbial and prophetic “voice in the wilderness.” Here is what Mr. Soros said:

We can’t impose our will on the rest of the world, as we are now finding out at great cost in, for instance Iraq … little can be done in the way of international cooperation without American leadership.

We are now being led by people who follow a false and dangerous ideology, that is a danger to open society in this country and globally. They are normally referred to as neoconservatives, or NeoCons. I call them American supremacists, and the ideology basically holds that international relations are relations of power, and international law basically follows power — power accomplishes international law; legalizes it. Since we are very powerful, we are in a position to impose our views, our interests, our values on the rest of the world. And I think that is a very dangerous ideology.

There was the difficulty of who’s our enemy. And to start with, North Korea could serve as the enemy for the first phase. And in fact, when the President of South Korea, Kim Dae-Jung came here to get President Bush to endorse the sunshine policy, he was rebuffed because we needed North Korea out in the cold to justify the first phase of missile defense.

September 11 changed all this, because suddenly we had a real, very real, enemy. And President Bush declared war on terrorism and gained an overwhelming mandate for that war. I think, waging war is not the right way to deal with terrorism.

The terrorism was a crime against humanity and it requires being treated as a crime. It requires police action. It requires awareness, it requires information, you need to track down the terrorists and you have to deal with them, capture them, and bring them to justice. And for that you need the allegiance of the populations and the support of the populations where terrorists live.

When you wage war, you have to have an enemy that you can identify, preferably a state. And this is what has led us to pursue the war against states that are supposed to harbor terrorists, rather than pursue the terrorists themselves.

The invasion of Afghanistan was fully justified because that is where Bin Laden lived. When it came to Iraq, the connection became much more dubious, because we justified the invasion of Iraq by weapons of mass destruction that Saddam was supposed to possess, and a connection with terrorists and weapons of mass destruction.

This was necessary because the mandate that the President had was to fight terrorism. So he had to connect the invasion of Iraq with terrorism. Now I think that Saddam was a heinous dictator, and it’s wonderful to get rid of him, and there are very good reasons for moving against Saddam.

But those other reasons were not discussed at all. And, when we now did not find again any weapons of mass destruction, and the connection with Al Qeda at that time was never properly established.

We fall back on the idea that we were bringing democracy to Iraq, which I think is a highly desirable objective. But this is an activity in which I personally have been involved over the last 20 years — building democracies, open societies — and Iraq would be the last country that I would choose for a demonstration site (laughter).

The real issue that agitates me is the Bush Doctrine, which I consider a very pernicious doctrine. If you examine it, basically it is built on two pillars. One, that we will do everything to maintain our military superiority, which I think is a very worthwhile and desirable objective. And the second, that we claim the right of preemptive action. And that, if you put the two things together, you basically establish two classes of sovereignty: the sovereignty of the United States, which is not subject to any international constraints; and the sovereignty of all the other states, which is subject to the Bush Doctrine.

It’s reminiscent of George Orwell’s Animal Farm. All animals are equal, except some animals are more equal than others. And of course the Bush Doctrine is in fact buried in a lot of Orwellian doublespeak. But this is what it boils down to.

And it is a doctrine that is basically both contrary to American values, contrary to the principles of open society, and it is an unattainable goal. And it cannot possibly be accepted by the rest of the world. And in fact what has gone wrong is that the rest of the world had an allergic reaction to the Bush Doctrine.

What is happening in Iraq is demonstrating, it’s the proof that this approach of American supremacy is the false approach. The United States does occupy a dominant position in the world. But it has reached this dominance exactly by not abusing its power, but by being concerned with the opinions and interests of others, and allowing a world order, which basically assured freedom for those who sought it.

So we now have a situation where we have achieved the opposite of what we were aiming at, because not only are our soldiers endangered, but also our ability to project power has been greatly diminished because our armed forces are engaged in pursuing the role of policeman, role of occupation, whereas that has never been the strength of our military forces, its always been to project power to bring overwhelming force to bear and now we are bogged down in a quagmire in Iraq. So I think that this is now the moment of truth, that we can see that this is a very dangerous approach, and we need a different one.

On Republicans: one of the structural weaknesses of our democracy today is that the Republican Party has been captured by extremist forces, and the moderate Republican is an endangered species. What we need most of all is actually the revival of a moderate Republican Party, a better balance in the Republican Party. I would say that I could well be a moderate Republican myself.

The NeoCons: I think that there is a lack of understanding of the first principles of an open society, namely that we may be wrong, that democratic values are not necessarily American values, that if you liberate the Iraqis from Saddam’s oppression it doesn’t mean that they will have a pro-American government, unless you impose it on them send in some émigré who is closely allied with the Defense Department.

Bush’s “Cowboy Diplomacy”: By going it alone and imposing our will and riding roughshod over the opinion of the rest of the world we are disqualifying ourselves from playing [an active role as part of the international community] and the failure of the policy may well lead the American public to want to withdraw. We’ve always been flirting with isolationism so this is what I’m really concerned with; that by going about it the wrong way we are destroying our chances of being a constructive leader of the world.

Civil Rights: The first step is for us to recognize that we are going in the wrong direction. September 11 was such a traumatic experience, it has been exploited by the administration posturing here and maintaining that everything has changed after 9-11, that standards of behavior that previously were not acceptable have become acceptable because this is an emergency and we are threatened in our very existence. This is where we are endangering our position in an open society.

Iraq: we are at the moment of truth. I draw a parallel between what is happening to a stock market bubble. A stock market bubble has always a basis in reality but then there is a misconception that carries it far from equilibrium grounds. The reality is that we are in fact the dominant power in the world. The misconception is that we ought to use that dominance to further our dominance and to impose our will on the world, whereas in fact we have become dominant exactly by not using it in that way.

And so we have gone off the rail, we have gone from normal conditions to abnormal conditions. And September 11 played a very important role in getting us into that state. And I think September 11 has been misused by our leadership to lead us in a direction that they wanted to take the country.

Human Rights: The Patriot act really deprives us from the high moral ground that we had before in advocating human rights abroad. It has weakened our position because the other regimes that defend themselves by dubious means can rightfully claim that they are doing it to defend themselves. So if we are now abandoning our standards, we are weakening our case, our standing for advocating human rights abroad. It’s a very sad outcome.

The Media Inhibiting Awareness: That’s actually one of the remarkable aspects of the current situation, because we do have freedom of speech and we do have a diverse media, and it has been a great surprise to me how the media have been carried on a wave of patriotism to suspend their critical role that they ought to be playing in an open society. I think balance is sort of coming back, and we do have diverse media, and I think we can see the sea change now since we got mired in this Iraqi quagmire.

The UN and International Institutions: The UN is a very useful institution, but it has its own limitations because it is an association of sovereign states, and sovereign states generally look after what they consider their national interest rather than looking after the common interest. So when I advocate international cooperation, I don’t necessarily mean that it has to be within the confines of the UN.

I would advocate forming a community of democracies, let’s say, form a caucus within the UN among other institutions and, instead of the group of 77, you would have a caucus of democracies, which would effectively form a majority and would ensure that nondemocratic countries are not elected to the Security Council, that the Human Rights Commission is not headed by Libya, and so on. So I think that there is room for improving the way the UN functions.

The Role of Business: Business is conducted for profit. The first obligation of the manager of a business is to produce profits. And therefore you can’t look to the business community to solve the problems of the world. There are some very decent businessmen, but they are limited by what they can do because of their responsibility to the shareholders, and if they don’t fulfill that obligation they’ll be kicked out from the management of the company. So while enlightened businessmen can make a contribution, the idea that you can leave it to business, or you can leave it to markets to take care of the collective interests, I think is an idle dream.

On Reversing Course: I think that just as in a bubble you have a moment of truth and afterwards you have a twilight area where you still go on, but you lose the conviction and the forward drive. And then you reverse course. I think that this is the moment of truth and I think that the people, we are living in a democracy, this is an open society, we can speak out, and I think people will listen and will draw their conclusion from it, and there will be a reversal. I’m very hopeful on that.

Eventually the TRUTH will out, Mr. Beck.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Deficit Reduction Commission Preliminary Report May Be DOA, But at Least It's a Start

One of the clichés, as certain as night follows day, about a president’s budget to Congress is that it’s “dead on arrival.” The same can be said about the draft proposal by the chairmen of President Obama’s deficit-reduction commission. Even for it to be considered for a vote in Congress, 14 commission members would have to approve it, which will not happen.

While flawed, at least these are serious proposals to reduce our long-term structural deficit, which should be given serious consideration. Placed in contrast to Republican privatization schemes and massive transfer of wealth to the super-rich, the commission proposals respect the character of  landmark New Deal and liberal Democratic programs. Social Security is the single most successful retirement program ever devised by the mind of man. As the New York Times said:
“What is important is that the proposal preserves the system’s basic character and successful design: the young support the old via payroll taxes and the rich help the poor via a benefits formula that favors the neediest.”
There are three areas, at least, that I agree in principle with the commission:

First, before these midterm elections, I might have thought differently on this topic, but no longer. The spectacle of senior citizens voting in overwhelming numbers for Republicans who want to (a) privatize Social Security, (b) turn Medicare into a voucher program, and (c) repeal healthcare reform, utterly disgusted me. Especially since these seniors rely so heavily on Medicare and Social Security.

Their ingratitude and hypocrisy should be rewarded with immediate means testing of Social Security and Medicare. If they’re wealthy enough to afford it, drop them from the government rolls. Immediately. They voted Republican, so now let them pay the consequences with a nice letter from the SSA saying “we regret to inform you that given your income bracket you no longer qualify for Social Security benefits.”

Perhaps it’s a pipe dream, but how cool would it be (sorry if this is harsh, but their betrayal is outrageous) to serve all those white Teabaggers riding around in their scooters at the Glenn Beck rally and screaming at Obama their walking papers from sucking off the government trough, thanks to rigid Tea Party principles and bipartisan deficit-reduction commission recommendations. It would be justice served to the rich, selfish, and greedy croakers who clung to their entitlements while voting to throw everybody else under the bus.

The concept that rich seniors should pay more for their benefits makes sense. Social Security and Medicare have helped millions of seniors to retire in comfort and health. Now, for the richest seniors among us, it’s time they gave something back.

But of course, even in a decimated state on the House side, Democrats will get out there and defend the integrity of the program for all Americans of every generation. Republicans will demagogue the issue and bribe selfish and greedy seniors into supporting them by promising to slash benefits in Social Security and Medicare for everyone under the age of 40. That’s a fact and that’s their strategy to protect seniors and screw the middle class. It gives a whole new meaning to the term of art, grandfathering.

Second, it is interesting in light of the incessant chatter by Republicans of their intention to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act, which they contemptuously call “Obamacare,” that the commission preliminary report has recognized the new healthcare law as a key deficit reducer, by hundreds of billions, especially in the out years after 2014. This is what the nonpartisan CBO calculated early on regarding a law that is paid for (i.e., deficit-neutral) and extends the life of Medicare for many years into the future, while providing insurance for 95 percent of uninsured Americans.

Further, and most significantly, the commission reinstates a version of the Public Option. It was dismissed somewhere as a “bone” to progressives, but I disagree. The Public Option is perhaps the single most effective mechanism to keep private insurance costs down. CBO has estimated it will save upwards of $100 billion over ten years, and even more into the future. That it was included in the commission’s draconian preliminary report validates what progressives have been saying all along.

More broadly, the commission has affirmed the rationale and urgent necessity of the sweeping reforms enacted by the last Congress. As the petulant Tea Party children were yelling and screaming about healthcare reform, and now angrily and ignorantly demand its repeal, the adults have spoken, and said basically, you’re all a bunch of dumbasses who don’t know the first thing about this. Setting aside the wonkish deficit-reduction components of healthcare, the fact the commission is not prepared to scrap or defund this law is huge.

Finally, defense cuts. The defense industry is a self-perpetuating monster that consecutive Democratic and Republican administrations (mostly Democratic; the Republicans presided over massive increases in defense) have been unable to tame ever since President Eisenhower warned us to beware of the “military-industrial complex.”

We can begin by recognizing that the Cold War is over, and we no longer have a Soviet threat to contend with. The Russian military is more preoccupied with quelling uprisings in its former republics, and no longer constitutes a credible threat to Western Europe. Its navy is largely in mothballs. The most immediate military issue between Russia and the U.S. is  containing the spread of nuclear weapons and reducing the overall number of warheads and delivery systems.

As a draft proposal to reduce the deficit the commission report may be DOA. But at least it’s a serious initiative put together by adults. That alone sets it apart from all the screaming and shouting infants, mostly on the Tea Party/Republican side.

TEA PARTY Remedial Education: GOP Sandbags Teabaggers on Earmarks; What's Next?

Here's your first test, Teabaggers. Whatcha gonna do about it? Give it the old college try and walk away from the country club Republican leadership? (Who, by the by, would only let you in the service entrance to their exclusive clubs; the entrance reserved for illegals who landscape their lawns.)

Senator Jim Inhofe, the old science/climate change denier in the pocket of the oil industry, actually admits consulting the GOP punky Goebbels propaganda message guru, Frank Luntz, a proud and proven LIAR, who advised Inhofe to defend earmarks with the "brainwashed by liberals" line. So you see, back before the Tea Party became an acute problem for the GOP, Inhofe and his pals were blaming liberals for pushing earmarks, with shapeshifter Frank Luntz's blessing. Now that the Tea Party is making noises, whatever lie works best, given changing circumstances, which in the wingnut playbook means blaming liberals.

The Tea Party Patriots have called for a GOP moratorium on "earmarks" with some initial support from newly elected members. But Rand Paul, the supposedly rigid libertarian and deficit hawk, is already speaking out of both sides of his mouth after a talking-to from his Leader and fellow Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell. (Ayn) Rand Paul hasn't even been sworn in yet and he's already capitulated to the ways of Washington! 

So what's it gonna be Teabaggers, now that your candidates are actually in a position to make policy instead of scream and shout like "petulant children?" They're already caving and being co-opted by the Republican leadership, like petulant children. My guess is, the Teabaggers will allow themselves to be sandbagged like petulant children. After screaming and yelling a lot. Like petulant children.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Please resume all normal activities. FULL STOP.

Dear boys and girls: Do you believe in coincidence? Zeitgeist? I didn’t think so. How about mind control? Ah, now we’re getting somewhere.

We hadn’t planned on it coming to this. We prefer to manipulate our TOOLS, our PATSIES, our PUPPETS in secret. From behind the curtain. In the shadows.

But Glenn Beck is a cunning adversary. He has been resistant to our mind probes. He has tossed out a lot of brain chaff to misdirect us. Confused and deflected our mind control waves. But the Fox Carney Crier was only postponing the inevitable.

We were at the gates! Then inside! GlennDavy Beck Crockett retreated screaming to the inner sanctum of  his Alamo. But it was a rearguard action. The vast leftwing progressive assault of Generalíssimo SantSorosAnna Aliena overran the final redoubt of Glenn Beck’s diseased brain. ZAP. Ahhh … relief. Was it real or was it Zanax?

And it was done. See, lately we’ve been turning the screws on Glenn Beck. You can run Beckster, but you’ve got nowhere to hide. We found out how to lock into your brain frequency. Mess with your psychotic mind. Would you like a referral to a psychiatrist? We have a network of physicians who hunger to treat you.

Here’s the AMAZING evidence — On 11-9 (reverse the numbers ... Oh my.) our blog posted this astonishing PROPHECY:
“Glenn Beck piously opened the show by playing the victim, whining that “the floodgates of progressive hell open up” on Beck and his followers. He claims they are being “demonized for defending anything you hear on this program” (fair comment), complains of being described as “a guy who’s just full of hate, a racist, a conspiracy theorist” (all true, provable facts!) “who’s trying to create another Oklahoma City, that’s the latest from the Soros clan.” Full stop. No idea what Beck means by the “Soros clan,” although delusional conspiracists always need a puppet master pulling the strings to make their conspiracies work (it’s the nature of the beast). But yes, inciting violence and “revolution” in a demented follower is a fact. Fortunately, this disturbed individual, Byron Williams, was captured in a wild police shootout before he could carry out his killings. Beck admits it: (1) We also say things that others may be thinking …”
Then we mixed in a dose of  fear and loathing with this headline:

And this frightening graphic of Tides Foundation headquarters. They have the POWER, Glenn, THE POWER! (Get a grip, Beck. STOP SOBBING.) Here’s another anti-psychotic drug; now go prepare your (OUR) show.

Here it is, boys and girls. A message from the Left through the brainwashed bloviations of Glenn Beck. Enjoy! Oh, and in case you still doubt us, Beck mentioned this too:



When All Else Fails …

As the last political argument lost to Glenn Greewald (from beautiful, sparkling Rio de Janeiro, Cidade Maravilhosa) reverts to steering viewers to “the nice juxtaposition you‘ve set up on your website about my actual video and what I said and what you‘ve summarized I said”… the final refuge of Fabian Socialist Lawrence O’Donnell is to call up a clip of his old TV screenplay for West Wing, in which Jimmy Smits playing Latino presidential candidate Matt Santos, proudly proclaims his principled and historical liberal credo.

Outside the make-believe West Wing White House of actor Martin Sheen, a.k.a Ramón Antonio Gerardo Estévez, a.k.a ‘Jed’ Bartlet, who also has played JFK and RFK, the real Matt Santos is a Cuban-American Latino winger named Marco Rubio, newly elected senator from Florida.

Matt Santos or Marco Rubio? Hmm ...

The hot, hot, hot Latin Republican property is El Señor Grizzly of Sarah Palin’s eye. Mama Grizzly  envisions late-night ‘strategy sessions’ with running ‘mate’ Marco as she sails into her hotel room “wearing nothing but a towel, with another on her wet hair.” Hubby Todd is up in Al-ask-Uh taking care of the kids. Sarah dreams of her perfect running mate:  “I look at Marco … I look at him and I think, you know, we kinda started a whole bunch of this stuff. So …”

Ted Rall: We Need a Revolution

Cartoonist Ted Rall sounds off on the tenor of these pre-revolutionary times and presidential leadership: "We need an FDR." Or an RFK. Although Woodrow Wilson was a racist, I've sometimes wondered whether President Obama's temperament, his practical idealism, if not his somewhat passive leadership style well-suited to an ivy league college professor and intellectual, bends in Wilson's direction. Interestingly, both presidents share the unique bond of being Nobel Peace Laureates while in office.

Woodrow Wilson could have been speaking directly to President Obama when he said, "If you want to make enemies, try to change something," and "I have long enjoyed the friendship and companionship of Republicans because I am by instinct a teacher, and I would like to teach them something." In the first instance, both leaders underestimated the difficulty of adopting sweeping change: Wilson, in his failed attempt to get the Senate to ratify the League of Nations, and Obama, in his "miscalculation" of the degree of opposition to healthcare reform. Perhaps President Obama has overlearned the lessons of history in his implacable quest to find "areas of common ground" and compromise with Republicans, given that historians polled in 2006 "cited Wilson's failure to compromise with the Republicans on U.S. entry into the League as one of the 10 largest errors on the part of an American president."

However, the areas of disagreement would not have compromised core principles of either party, unlike today's Republicans, that are polarizing, righ-of-center to extreme right wing, and ideologically disciplined to vote NO en masse on any policy initiative of the President's. This crop of Republicans has found a winning strategy in opposition to anything short of total capitulation by this President, whose stubborn insistence on seeking to compromise has contributed to a mangled Democratic message and historic losses in the House. Now, as former Senator Russ Feingold said, "It's on to 2012!" If we don't break out in revolution between now and then:

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Message to Glenn Beck: We're Coming For You

In the wake of Glenn Beck's latest contemptible rant against the Tides Foundation, showing no sense of remorse or responsibility for having nearly triggered a terrible tragedy with his hate speech, I came upon this article in the Tides Foundation home page. It seemed especially appropriate, under the circumstances.

Pictured are officers of the California Highway Patrol, who were responsible for stopping Byron Williams from carrying through with his planned killing spree against Tides and the ACLU, organizations frequently targeted by Glenn Beck. The Tides Foundation donated $10,000 to the CHP 11-99 Foundation, an organization that helps provide scholarships to the families of CHP and steps in to assist when an officer is killed in the line of duty, or when a family is in crisis. "The officers were greeted by spontaneous applause and a very emotional staff," the Tides story notes. "For all of us they are heroes — from the dispatchers who help guide the officers, to the officers who sustained injury in a prolonged battle that closed Highway 580 for almost a full day."

This isn't some kind of paranoid joke, Mr. Beck. There were CHP officers who sustained injury in a prolonged gunfight with Byron Williams, the disturbed individual who was inspired by your hate speech to commit an act of gun violence. So right back at ya. We're coming for you. Progressives are targeting your shows on radio and TV for termination. And the advertisers who continue to support you and Fox will pay a steeper price in loss of business and bad publicity for patronizing the Beck franchise. As long as it takes, pal. As for the Glenn Beck followers, you have no more excuses. You know exactly what this huckster's about. SHAME on ALL of you for tuning in and listening to anything this hatemonger has to say.

The Last Gasp of Aging White Power: But Time Is Not on Your Side

By Tim Wise, AlterNet
Posted on November 5, 2010, Printed on November 9, 2010
This essay by Tim Wise is the most compelling and poetic piece I've read about the last election, or the politics of our day, for that matter. I'm posting it here because I love it, I love great writing, and I hope the readers of this blog enjoy it as well. - Carlos
For all y’all rich folks, enjoy that champagne, or whatever fancy ass Scotch you drink.

And for y’all a bit lower on the economic scale, enjoy your Pabst Blue Ribbon, or whatever shitty ass beer you favor.
Whatever the case, and whatever your economic station, know this…
You need to drink up.
And quickly.
And heavily.
Because your time is limited.
Real damned limited.
So party while you can, but mind the increasingly loud clock ticking away in the corners of your consciousness.
The clock that reminds you how little time you and yours have left.
Not much more now.
Tick, tock.
Tick, tock.
I know, you think you’ve taken “your country back” with this election — and of course you have always thought it was yours for the taking, cuz that’s what we white folks are bred to believe, that it’s ours, and how dare anyone else say otherwise — but you are wrong.
You have won a small battle in a larger war the meaning of which you do not remotely understand.
‘Cuz there is nothing even slightly original about you.
There have always been those who wanted to take the country back.
There were those who, in past years, wanted to take the country back to a time of enslavement and indentured servitude.
But they lost.
There were those who wanted to take us back to a time when children could be made to work in mines and factories, when workers had no legal rights to speak of, when the skies in every major city were heavy with industrial soot that would gather on sidewalks and windowsills like volcanic ash.
But they lost.
There were those who wanted to take us back to a time when women could not vote, or attend any but a few colleges, or get loans in their own names, or start their own businesses.
But they lost.
There were those who wanted to take us back to a time when blacks “had no rights that the white man was bound to respect,” – this being the official opinion of the Supreme Court before those awful days of judicial activism, now decried by the likes of you – and when people of color could legally be kept from voting solely because of race, or holding certain jobs, or living in certain neighborhoods, or run out of other towns altogether when the sun would go down, or be strung up from trees.
But they lost.
And you will lose.
So make a note of it.
Tweet it to yourself.
Put it on your Facebook wall and leave it there so you’ll remember that I told you so.
It is coming, and soon.
This isn’t hubris. It isn’t ideology. It is not wishful thinking.
It is math.
Not even advanced math. Just simple, basic, like 3rd grade math.
The kind of math that proves how your kind — mostly older white folks beholden to an absurd, inaccurate, nostalgic fantasy of what America used to be like — are dying.
You’re like the bad guy in every horror movie ever made, who gets shot five times, or stabbed ten, or blown up twice, and who will eventually pass — even if it takes four sequels to make it happen — but who in the meantime keeps coming back around, grabbing at our ankles as we walk by, we having been mistakenly convinced that you were finally dead this time.
Fair enough, and have at it. But remember how this movie ends.
Our ankles survive.
You do not.
Michael Meyers, Freddie Kreuger, Jason, and that asshole husband in that movie with Julia Roberts who tracks her down after she runs away and changes her identity–they are all done. Even that crazy fucker in Saw is about to be finished off for good. Granted, he’s gonna be popping out in some 3-D shit to scare the kiddies, so he isn’t going quietly. But he’s going, as all bad guys eventually do.
And in the pantheon of American history, old white people have pretty much always been the bad guys, the keepers of the hegemonic and reactionary flame, the folks unwilling to share the category of American with others on equal terms.
Fine, keep it up. It doesn’t matter.
Because you’re on the endangered list.
And unlike, say, the bald eagle or some exotic species of muskrat, you are not worth saving.
In forty years or so, maybe fewer, there won’t be any more white people around who actually remember that Leave it to Beaver, Father Knows Best, Opie-Taylor-Down-at-the-Fishing Hole cornpone bullshit that you hold so near and dear to your heart.
There won’t be any more white folks around who think the 1950s were the good old days, because there won’t be any more white folks around who actually remember them, and so therefore, we’ll be able to teach about them accurately and honestly, without hurting your precious feelings, or those of the so-called “greatest generation” — a bunch whose white members were by and large a gaggle of miscreants who helped save the world from fascism only to return home and oppose the ending of it here, by doing nothing to lift a finger on behalf of the civil rights struggle.
So to hell with you and all who revere you.
By then, half the country will be black or brown. And there is nothing you can do about it.
Nothing, Senõr Tancredo.
Nothing, Senõra Angle, or Senõra Brewer, or Senõr Beck.
Loy tiene muy mal, hijo de Puta.
And by then you will have gone all in as a white nationalist movement — hell you’ve all but done that now — thus guaranteeing that the folks of color, and even a decent size minority of us white folks will be able to crush you, election after election, from the Presidency on down to the 8th grade student council.
Like I said, this shit is math, baby. And numbers don’t lie.
Bottom line, this too shall pass.
So enjoy your tax cuts a while longer.
Go buy whatever you people buy when your taxes get cut: a new car or two, a bigger house, an island. Whatever.
Go back to trading your derivatives, engaging in rampant financial speculation that produces nothing of value, that turns the whole world into your personal casino. Whatever.
Play your hand, and for the love of God play it big. Real big. As in, shoot for the moon big. As in, try to privatize Social Security, and health care, and everything else. Whatever.
At least that way everyone will be able to see what you’re really about.
We’ve been trying to tell them, but nothing beats seeing it with your own eyes, so “Go big or go home,” Bubba.
“Git ‘er Done.”
“Cowboy up,” or whatever other stupid-ass catch phrase strikes your fancy.
Just promise you’ll do more than talk this time.
Please, or as one of your celluloid heroes might put it, “make my day.”
Do whatever you gotta do, but remember that those who are the victims of your greed and indifference take the long view.
They know, but you do not, that justice is not for the sprinters, but rather for the long distance runners who will be hitting their second wind, right about the time that you collapse from exhaustion.
They are like the tortoise to your hare.
They are like the San Francisco Giants, to your New York Yankees: a bunch that loses year after year after year, until they finally win.
You have had this confidence before, remember?
You thought you had secured your position permanently after the overthrow of reconstruction in the wake of the civil war, after the elimination of the New Deal, after the Reagan revolution, after the Republican electoral victory of 1994. And yet, they who refuse to die are still here.
Because those who have lived on the margins, who have been abused, maligned, targeted by austerity measures and budget cuts, subjected to racism, classism, sexism, straight supremacy and every other form of oppression always know more about their abusers than the abusers know about their victims.
They have to study you, to pay careful attention, to adjust their body armor accordingly, and to memorize your sleep patterns.
You, on the other hand, need know nothing whatsoever about them. And this, will surely prove fatal to you in the end. For it means you will not know their resolve. Will not fear it, as you should.
It means you will take their greatest strength — perseverance — and make of it a weakness, called losing.
But what you forget, or more to the point never knew, is that those who lose know how to lose, which is to say they know how to lose with dignity.
And those who suffer know how to suffer, which is to say they know how to survive: a skill that is in short supply amid the likes of you.
You, who could not survive the thought of minimal health care reform, or financial regulation, or a marginal tax rate equal to that which you paid just 10 years earlier, perhaps are under the illusion that everyone is as weak as you, as soft as you, as akin to petulant children as you are, as unable to cope with the smallest setback, the slightest challenge to the way you think your country should look and feel, and operate.
But, surprise…they are not.
And they know how to regroup, and plot, and plan, and they are planning even now — we are — your destruction.
And I do not mean by that your physical destruction. We don’t play those games. We’re not into the whole “Second Amendment remedies, militia, armed resistance” bullshit that your side fetishizes, cuz, see, we don’t have to be. We don’t need guns.
We just have to be patient.
And wait for your hearts to stop beating.
And stop they will.
And for some of you, real damned soon, truth be told.
Do you hear it?
The sound of your empire dying? Your nation, as you knew it, ending, permanently?
Because I do, and the sound of its demise is beautiful.
So know this.
If you thought this election was payback for 2008, remember…
Payback, thy name is…

© 2010 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
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Bravo, Madam Secretary! A Delightful Side of Hillary Clinton

Maybe Hillary is just now getting comfortable in her role, but if this is the result, we'd love seeing more of America's most charming Top Diplomat:

Beck-O’Donnell Feud Chronicles Startling Revelation: Two-Thirds of Beck’s Followers Are Socialists!

When a dopey but dangerous guttersnipe like Glenn Beck smears Lawrence O’Donnell — admittedly, Lawrence can well defend himself (tonight), it’s good for his ratings, and he opened himself up for it — I should say a word or two on his behalf.  Yes, I know, Lawrence loves being targeted by Beck, who called him “Larry,” MSNBC’s new “loverboy.” O’Donnell proudly mentioned the “millions of people who hate me,” so get out your popcorn for the continuing Beck-O’Donnell Chronicles tonight.

“Larry” needs no defense from me, but it’s the Christ-like thing to do (“Christian” has been given a Satanic meaning by the Right), and I would not pass up an opportunity to school the Teabaggers. Beck has whipped them into a “wake up! The ‘Event’ [NBC show on Mondays … this huckster grabs his material wherever he can find it] is near” frenzy. Without putting words in his mouth, I understand where Lawrence O’Donnell is coming from when he says he’s a socialist. He’s being honest. If they were honest, two-thirds of  Glenn Beck’s audience who rely on government pensions, Social Security, or Medicare would come to the same realization: they’re socialists too!

In a perfect world, this would be one of Oprah’s “lightbulb moments” in which people come to understand that when government and the people formally agree to advance the greater good it is not a bad thing nor inconsistent with our founding principles. We, the people are the government. And there is empirical proof of the benefits of Social Security lifting generations of seniors out of poverty into a dignified retirement, and Medicare providing government healthcare in their golden years. Ironically, the fact that Medicare (which the Republicans want to turn into an every person for him or herself voucher program) has enabled seniors to live longer and healthier probably gave Republicans their demographic winning margin at the polls. If you listen to Republicans carefully, they talk of slashing Medicare and Social Security for those under the age of 40 — the demographic that voted for Barack Obama. It’s ‘us against them’, ‘divide and conquer’, balkanize the electorate into little digestible chunks to give the white minority Republican/Tea Party an electoral majority.

The core mission of  Republicans is not, as one naïve Tea Partier said, to “stabilize the economy.” If it were, they’d listen to David Stockman, Ronald Reagan’s trickle-down guru who has since recanted and warned a few days ago that the GOP plan to extend tax cuts for the rich will “bankrupt the country.” There is no empirical evidence to show that giving the rich tax cuts creates jobs. None. It was done under George W. Bush with less job creation in eight nightmare years than in less than two under Barack Obama. Stockman’s point, conceded by all sane economists, is that extending the current tax cuts will create a four TRILLION dollar hole in our deficit.

The core mission of Republicans is to stage a frontal assault on FDR's New Deal and eliminate, once and for all, the policies and programs that created the Great American Middle Class. 

So much for the Tea Party sophistry regarding balanced budgets and spending cuts. Their argument is well, “it’s the people’s money.” Not quite. First of all, Democrats propose extending the current tax cuts for 95 percent of Americans, just not for the top 2 or 3 percent, who do not need it. That’s a conversation on prudent, constitutional tax policy that We, the 95 percent of Americans would like to have. And polls indicate we, the people support the Democratic position of not giving multimillionaires a deficit-busting gift. When I brought up this inconvenient truth to a Tea Partier, a good person whom I happen to like, she punted big-time. Yes, it’s a problem, a contradiction, for those of us who are conservatives and believe in smaller government, etc. Sorry, but that’s not good enough. It’s what’s called a rationalization. It’s dishonest.

So what if Lawrence O'Donnell says he's a socialist? Here's Media Matters:
... O'Donnell has explained that he is a "socialist" in the way that "we all are" because Social Security and Medicare are "socialist program[s]," not as an admission of being a "radical revolutionary," as Beck suggests. In a September 17, 2010, interview with The Hollywood Reporter (via Nexis), O'Donnell described himself as "A practical European socialist which, as it turns out, we all are, if you know that Social Security ... is a socialist program, and that Medicare is a socialist program and that all economies of the world are mixed with some capitalism and some socialism and they just vary in their degrees."
Paul Krugman noted:
Europe is often held up as a cautionary tale, a demonstration that if you try to make the economy less brutal, to take better care of your fellow citizens when they’re down on their luck, you end up killing economic progress. But what European experience actually demonstrates is the opposite: social justice and progress can go hand in hand.
And as Media Matters noted ominously, while Beck is distracted by an old video from the Communist Party USA, the real threat to America, with 4.4 million hits on YouTube is Maru the Cat! "We have to ask: Why is Glenn Beck ignoring this threat to all we hold dear?" Shocking video of the subversive adventures of Maru the Cat follows:

LUNATIC Watch: Beck Deflects Incitement of Violence, Smears The Left With HIS VIOLENCE

In his continuing and relentless campaign to incite violence against the Left, Glenn Beck piously opened the show by playing the victim, whining that “the floodgates of progressive hell open up” on Beck and his followers. He claims they are being “demonized for defending anything you hear on this program” (fair comment), complains of being described as “a guy who’s just full of hate, a racist, a conspiracy theorist” (all true, provable facts!) “who’s trying to create another Oklahoma City, that’s the latest from the Soros clan.” Full stop. No idea what Beck means by the “Soros clan,” although delusional conspiracists always need a puppet master pulling the strings to make their conspiracies work (it’s the nature of the beast). But yes, inciting violence and “revolution” in a demented follower is a fact. Fortunately, this disturbed individual, Byron Williams, was captured in a wild police shootout before he could carry out his killings. Beck admits it:
(1) “We also say things that others may be thinking, but (2) we verify them and we get it right.”
1. On Byron Williams, the cause-and-effect Beck-to-Williams incitement to armed violence is unquestionable. Beck attacked Tides 29 times on his Fox News show in the year-and-a-half leading up to the shooting:
Williams sought to defend Beck from "Obama and the liberals," whom he said are afraid of Beck "because he often exposes things that are simply forbidden in news." Williams said that Beck advocates non-violence and that he had already researched the conspiracy theories that informed his alleged plot — before seeing them "confirm[ed]" on Beck's show.

Similarly, Williams tells Media Matters that "Beck would never say anything about a conspiracy, would never advocate violence. He'll never do anything... of this nature. But he'll give you every ounce of evidence that you could possibly need."
2. On the “verify and get it right” thing, absolutely false. This is Beck's take on the damning and dispositive evidence of his violent language:
“According to Drummond Pike, the founder of Tides, I will be the one who causes the next Oklahoma City. This is in a letter, an appeal to advertisers of  Fox, uh, Dear Fox advertisers … read this part of it: No one, left, right, center, wants to see another Oklahoma City. The next assassin may succeed. If so, there will be blood on many hands.”
Guess who the first assassin was — Byron Williams. The “blood on many hands” cited by Mr. Pike clearly refers to Glenn Beck, Fox, the advertisers, Beck followers, and not to some delusional conspiracy to foment violence from leftwing revolutionists. In the normal world about 60 percent of us live in, this is preposterous. But in the paranoid world of Tea Party Beck followers his outrageous and irresponsible attacks are all true, a warning of an imminent uprising on the Left, that we need to “wake up,” etc. Classic case of delusional, paranoid-induced projection. Context is everything. Here is the full text of Mr. Pike's letter. It's self-explanatory.

Beck reads snippet of Pike's letter; makes specious link to Oklahoma City.
Then, outrageously, Beck pivots from reading the “blood on many hands” snippet (he even enlarged the text, with sourcing to mimic a legitimate news organization such as MSNBC), to turn Mr. Pike’s warning to advertisers into a demented, psychotic tirade targeting a nonexistent threat of violence from the Left:
“They (the Left) are setting up another Oklahoma City. They are claiming that one is coming and they’ve already marked the one (BECK, THE ‘VICTIM BEING CRUCIFIED' BY THE GODLESS LEFT) who caused it!” (Beck pointing to himself.) Then he pivots to the REAL BECKISTA TRUTH: “Don’t you miss Wednesday’s show (can’t wait) when I show you VIOLENCE and the pressure from below. It will boggle your mind. I tell you, as a pollster that sounds like a great idea: what’s a few hundred lives when you can win the House back in 2012?”
This is UN.FUCKING.BELIEVABLE. How can any normal, rational, thinking person actually believe that the Left is planning another Oklahoma City in order to win back the House in 2012?

Glenn Beck is a very sick person. Crazy. Demented. Psychotic. Repulsive. Dangerous. SICK. Glenn Beck incites violence against specific targets on the Left daily with total impunity, and it has got to stop. What Mr. Pike did was fight back in a time-honored American tradition of seeking peaceful and lawful redress when he had been continually wronged by an out-of-control media huckster. He wrote an open letter to his colleagues in the business community and asked them to withdraw their advertising dollars to pressure Fox into dropping Beck's show. Why? Very simple. Because the next target of a demented Beck listener may not be so lucky as Pike was, when the cops chanced to capture Byron Williams before he carried out his assassination plans. And then the blood of that act of Beck-inspired violence will be on the hands of every responsible adult who could have stopped it, by forcing Beck off the air, but failed. Then it will be too late.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Capitulator-in-Chief Responds to Critics of His 60 Minutes Surrender Interview ... in Song!

Headline Equivalent of The Freudian Slip

Can't say that I disagree with the spirit of this headline from the wingnut rag, DC Caller. Can it be that someone over there has a sense of humor?

Missing Link - A theoretical primate postulated to bridge the evolutionary gap between the anthropoid apes and humans. 
Not in scientific use:

Keith Is Back! Griffin Capitulates to 300,000 Progressives Petitioners

Phil "Empty Suit" Griffin quickly capitulated after our petition drive gathered 300,000 signatures demanding Keith's return. Of course, he was much more accomodating upon learning that Phase Two was called "Operation Grab Your Pitchforks and Torches." Seriously ... here is the message of thanks from to all who signed to get Keith Olbermann back on the air:
We did it! The president of MSNBC just announced that Keith Olbermann will be back on the air on Tuesday night!

This is a huge victory for the whopping 300,000 of us who signed the petition, which was delivered directly to MSNBC's president and reported on by many top news outlets.

It's clear MSNBC took notice of the public outrage. Progressives proved that when one of our own is targeted, we will fight back.

And Keith Olbermann knows what an important role his supporters played. He posted on Twitter: "Greetings From Exile! A quick, overwhelmed, stunned THANK YOU for support that feels like a global hug..."

Sign the national congrats card — and tell Keith what he means to you. We'll deliver your message directly to Keith.
Griffin waves white flag of surrender after 300,000 signatures demand Keith's return.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Musical Interlude: Dado Villa-Lobos

Dado Villa-Lobos was the guitarist of Brazil's most influential rock band, Legião Urbana, led by the late Renato Russo. This sinuous, atmospheric song with a lovely blend of music and vocals provides a glimpse into Dado's musical talent. He has the pedigree, being the nephew of Brazil's famous classical composer, Heitor Villa-Lobos. The beautiful blonde is Paula Toller, who co-wrote this song, Jardim de Cactus. (Lucky guy.)

MSNBC's Katzenjammer Kids: Old Mischief-Making, New Realities

Salon columnist Glenn Greewald affirmed what this blog has been saying for some time now: An inchoate and incoherent MSNBC narrative that if there is blame to be laid for the Democratic Party’s historic losses, place it at the doorstep of the Left. “Bullpuckey!” as Rachel Maddow would say; or, as I’ll translate for those constrained by the standards of infantilism that control private corporate media, unlike BBC-UK or Canadian public broadcasting: BULLSHIT.
[A]lmost every time I had MNSBC on, there was Lawrence O'Donnell trying to blame "the Left" and "liberalism" for the Democrats' political woes.  Alan Grayson's loss was proof that outspoken liberalism fails.  Blanche Lincoln's loss was the fault of the Left for mounting a serious primary challenge against her. Russ Feingold's defeat proved that voters reject liberalism in favor of conservatism, etc. etc
I’ll second that. This was my reaction to O’Donnell’s rant about Blanche Lincoln, in case he unfairly blames Greewald for what others have said — To Lawrence’s “I asked questions!” disingenuous rationale:
Memo to Lawrence O'Donnell: Lost in that longwinded gas attack of his is the fact Blanche Lincoln was (a) polling exactly the same as her final election numbers v. Boozman, while Lt. Governor (hardly an unknown) Halter was super-competitive; (b) the public option was also a poll winner in Arkansas; (c) it was whole series of positions by Lincoln, including a very public and disgraceful objection to raising the liability limits for lawsuits against BP and the Gulf corporate polluters. It was not lost on progressives, Mr. O'Donnell, that Lincoln was the biggest recipient of corporate oil money among Democrats.

The answer to O'Donnell's rant masquerading as a question is, absolutely, progressives would have done it again. Double down. The real question is, would the Clintonite party elders be forward-looking and realistic enough to dump a Democrat who had done practically nothing to advance the Democratic agenda, and support Halter, a candidate whose race would likely be much more competitive and winnable.

By the way, Lawrence, all these pompous predictions based on your vast bureaucratic experience in the Senate — yawn. Your understanding of process and political currents comes off as clunky and kind of rusty. On the bright side, you've got an inside track on the Idiot Punditocracy.
So I totally get what Greenwald means here:
It sounded as though he was reading from some crusty script jointly prepared in 1995 by The New Republic, Lanny Davis and the DLC.
Whenever Lawrence pontificates with off-the-wall predictions about what Congress will do in this case or that, he comes across existing in a 1995 bureaucratic time bubble, which then quickly transforms itself into a 2010 time warp. O’Donnell’s opinions touting his “experience” as a high-level staffer in the Senate at that time are, well … dated. Invariably when I listen to Lawrence’s pompous affirmations that X will happen, and Y will not, my first reaction is — “not likely”— and my second is ... (rolls eyes) paging Ezra Klein, or Howard Fineman (gotta respect the old pros who actually have their ears pinned to the ground, at Keith’s “Listening Post”), or Glenn Greewald himself.

MSNBC's Matthews and O'Donnell get their sails trimmed by the PROFESSIONAL LEFT ... and me.

Thankfully, I missed much of the MSNBC O’Donnell rants taking point from Chris Matthews, dean of the Idiot Punditocracy, to risk entering the Greewald killing zone. O’Donnell seemed to relish the combat, although he exposed his Left flank with a feint admission he is “a socialist.” Nice try, Lawrence. You and Chris must think we’re really stupid — (“Must be those netroots people,” snarls Chris under his breath ... Priceless!) Which is a laugh and a half, but explains much about the beltway media, Politicos, WaPos, i.e., the Idiot Punditocracy — or that there is more than semantics separating Liberals and Progressives. Here’s a hint, Lawrence: Liberals and Progressives are cousins. Get it?

Joan Walsh, Salon’s Editor in Chief who doubles as Chris’s nanny on Hardball, also noticed the blame-the-Left beltway narrative:
I watched Democrats including MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell try to blame the blowout on whiny progressives.
Chris was rather muted on election night, perhaps chastened by Rachel Maddow’s intimidating presence or Keith’s cutting one-liners. But Chris can be volatile and ideologically erratic, too. He will literally change his stripes from day to day. So he got his irrational anti-Left jab in when he thought no one was looking. As he said in one of his promos, “I nailed him” in the Dumbass corner. I’ll do it again, too, if Chris is a glutton for punishment. Nothing personal. I like Chris. But he and Lawrence seem to have difficulty shedding their old skin.

What Lawrence and Chris are so exercised about is that the numbers behind who went down on the Democratic side, and why, tell a different story from the absurd DLC narrative they're pushing, to blame the Left. Greewald debunked it in his column, his appearance with comrade Lawrence on Morning Joe “Stalin,” and his follow-up column.
O'Donnell's refusal to cease speaking for any longer than a few seconds at a time — the standard form of adolescent cable-TV behavior — caused the segment to degenerate into one of those cable scream-fests which was ultimately more headache-inducing than enlightening.
What’s next for MSNBC’s Katzenjammer Kids? Who knows! They’re well nigh incorrigible … Here’s my suggestion: The MSNBC mischief-making Kids would be more useful to the cause of moving this country forward if they turn their ire and pranks on Republicans and the Tea Party. Just saying.