Saturday, January 29, 2011


Remember that campaingn ad by Arizona Senator John McCain with a sheriff from the next county over, 115 miles from where the ad was filmed, because the local border lawman might tell 'The Mavrick' "his ten-point plan is a waste of time and resources"? The Senator's famous line was "complete the danged fence."

Well, after watching this TRMS report on the utter breakdown of the most basic kinds of gun safety  regulations, specifically closing the insane reporting loophole on the sale of AK-47s and other lethal man-, woman-, and child-killing automatic rifles favored by the Mexican drug cartels, it occurs to me that the Senator would better serve his constituents building that electrified around the Lone Wolf Gun Shop and adding to his plan stiff sanctions for gun-running: from the U.S. to the other side of the  border, including criminal penalties for arming the Mexican drug cartels. 

Have any of these the-Constitution-is-about-2nd Amendment-"remedies" wingnuts who obsess with fantasies of our so-called "tyrannical" government ever paused for a moment to consider the nihilistic consequences of their insane no-regulations gun culture? Have they thought through the implications of U.S. gun manufacturers arming Mexican drug cartels, and that all this firepower may be turned against U.S. border patrol and enforcement, if it hasn't already?

When Dick Cheney says we should limit the number of rounds in a magazine, it signals that the time to reopen our national conversation on gun control has come. At least considering a return to the status quo ante before jelly-spined Democrats allowed the assault weapons ban to expire. For all the self-reinforcing talk that Democrats have "shifted" on sensible gun control, it's fair to conclude that in the wake of the Tucson massacre the "shift" is swinging back the other way.

Musical Interlude: Brazilian Rock Classic - "Minha Menina"

This song was written by the great composer Jorge Ben Jor and popularized by Os Mutantes back in '68. They're still touring, too. Played a few dates here in the States last year. This, though, is one of my favorite versions of this song, featuring a REALLY SIMPLE but totally INFECTIOUS guitar hook. The band is Relesp├║blica, real journeymen, been around since 1989. Enjoy!

Friday, January 28, 2011


(i.e., The Idiot's Guide to Sputnik)

Olbermann Fallout Continues …

First, the cheap shots:

How do you allow a misogynistic racist pig to spew his bigotry with professional impunity? Fox zombie retread Don Imus showed the way. Imus doubled down on his former employer by pretending to defend Keith Olbermann as a pretext to viciously smear Rachel Maddow.

First, let’s not forget why this scumsucking bastard was properly fired by MSNBC: He referred to the Rutgers-NJ women’s basketball team as “NAPPY-HEADED HO’s.” Okay?

For this wingnut piece of shit to take issue with Rachel’s guarded response to Keith’s departure is nothing but an ill-disguised excuse to vent his suppressed hatred of women (particularly, I suspect, gay women) in a politically correct repercussions-free context. (Not that there would be repercussions, now that he’s a Fox employee.)

To hurl vicious epithets at Rachel not knowing what she knows or doesn’t know is the classic definition of an Imus smear. Rachel’s reaction was completely understandable. Keith himself signed a nondisclosure agreement. When it comes to such dicey contractual issues, there’s no reason to doubt Rachel. The Legal Dept. probably had a word or two to say about overall confidentiality. Moreover, Rachel has a responsibility to her show, her staff, who depend on her for their livelihood, and lastly the viewers. None of us expected her to go off half-cocked on a tear about Keith’s departure. That’s absurd.

As for Imus and his scummy talentless groupie sidekicks, WHAT I SAID.


How STUPID is it for THE MAN upstairs to drop PSYCHO TALK from the Ed Show? Very, VERY STUPID. Despite the irreverent title of the segment, a “cousin” to Keith’s WORST PERSONS, both these segments served an extremely important function: INFORMATION. What they did, night after night, was to shine a light on the most EXTREME statements and actions of the Right wing and condense them down to the three most egregious. Yeah, this information is available to progressives on the net; provided they have the time to surf a half-dozen websites, beginning with Media Matters, through TPM, the Huff Post, Think Progress, Crooks & Liars, Alternet, etc. That's what the MSNBC production research staffs are there for!

If the viewers and listeners aren’t made aware of  the extremism that goes on daily in the Right wing echo chamber, they will continue to view the Republican and Tea Party Right as benign players. Covering stories that go national is nothing CNN isn’t already doing. Just as important is exposing the “psycho talk” of Paul Ryan and his insane scheme to raise taxes across the board on the poor and the middle class, privatize Social Security, and turn Medicare into a a voucher program.

That’s extreme radical. Sure, Paul Ryan’s insanity might be covered, but the psycho talk of lesser luminaries will not. What about Rep. Broun calling President Obama a “NAZI” and a “socialist” and refusing to watch the SOTU speech in the House chamber? There’s a dude who belongs in the now-defunct ‘PSYCHO TALK’, hands down. No doubt, SERIALLY. What about them, the repeat offenders, the SERIAL psycho talkers? These are EXTREMISTS who should properly be marginalized in the minds of the American voter. Now that the segment is gone, that’s the end of it. Finito. Kaput.

The corporate NBC News crowd now running the show, the Brokaw-Gregory-Williams axis, are corporate news elitists who look down their noses at the products of progressive talk radio, such as it is, like Rachel and Ed. They hated Keith because they couldn't control him. The sclerotic Tom Brokaw once referred to Keith, contemptuously, as "he is what he is." Brokaw meddled with MSNBC's excellent  GOP  Convention coverage by getting them to drop Keith as anchor and put teacher's pet David Gregory in his place. It was infuriating. Verne Gay, media critic for Newsday, had it down:
“Steve (Capus) [THE MAN] is very close to Tom (Brokaw). he has Tom’s ear — obviously Tom has great antipathy for the kind of the sort of commentary that Keith’s involved in. There’s a new sheriff in town, and that town just can’t hold Steve Burke, CEO of course, of COMCAST and can’t hold Keith — it’s too small a company, even if it’s gargantuan size.”
Dropping PSYCHO TALK and WORST PERSONS (for a time, until Keith left, then of course, permanently) is a perfect example of this mentality. Brokaw and the new boss man are tight. It was too easy to predict PSYCHO TALK would be deep-sixed. That’s like, Howard Kurz territory. Ed said he doesn’t “call the shots” over there. Very True. We shouldn't get down on him for things he cannot control. Better to have Big Eddie at a subdued 60% (as in the clip below) without the fire, the passion, the fight and combativeness, the in-your-face outrage, than not at all. Or maybe he was just under the weather. Not buying that, though.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


The Thinker has uncovered evidence of what progressives long suspected — that fascist AgitProp punkster and Nazi worshipper Glenn Beck enjoys a far more INTIMATE connection with NAZISM, specifically Adolf Hitler's LOVER, Eva Braun. Braun's LOVE IN THE AGE OF NAZISM was shared only with a few close friends and family members. Now, a stunning link between Braun and fascist agitator/Nazi sympathizer Glenn Beck has emerged.

The startling SIDE-BY-SIDE photographic evidence, disclosed below EXCLUSIVELY by The Thinker shows EVA BRAUN in a carefree, happy moment at Hitler’s mountain retreat, Berchtesgaden, also known as THE EAGLE’s NEST. The time frame is probably LATE 1930s, shortly before or right at the ONSET OF WORLD WAR II.


Now observe the photo of NEO-FASCIST GLENN BECK in his FOX’s LAIR (Hitler’s command center was known as the WOLF’s LAIR) taken ONLY HOURS after President Obama’s State of The Union speech. WHAT IS GLENN BECK HOLDING IN HIS HANDS?



Meaning of Teardrop Tattoo:
 A teardrop tattoo may symbolize the following:
  • Death of a loved one
  • Being a prisoner
  • Gang member
  • Murder
  • Pain, suffering
WHAT DID THE NAZI REGIME SYMBOLIZE? DEATH: Of loved ones, by the millions. Concentration camps and mass MURDER, PAIN and SUFFERING. And lastly, Hitler's personal guard, the SS, was the most savage, criminal, murderous GANG of all, with its black uniforms, silver skull symbols, and history of unparalleled atrocities.

FOX "ANCHOR" Megyn Kelly in a publicity shoot for her "journalism portfolio" has denied any FOX hosts' references to NAZIS.

Not so fast, Megyn ... Intrepid TRUTHSEEKER Jon Stewart DENUDED your denial garment by garment to arrive at the larger truth and the ultimate question: ARE THEY REAL?

DEVELOPING ... So what is Glenn Beck up to? Why was he pictured with a chainsaw in addition to the bunny? His message was ANYTHING BUT SUBLIMINAL! If Eva Braun's photo hadn't been discovered by our investigation, we could not have CONNECTED THE DOTS. Glenn Beck reached back into the distant NAZI past to the very NEXUS of NAZI power and FERTILITY to make an emotional connection with Eva Braun using as a prop an innocent but unusual house pet, a bunny rabbit, the same one wielded by Eva Braun displaying the GRIM, VIOLENT SYMBOL OF THE BLACK TEARDROP.

One theory holds that Glenn Beck is sending a SECRET MESSAGE to neo-NAZI and fascist originalist cells lying dormant throughout the world to ARISE and activate the 4th REICH insurgency for world domination! Those of us who read the book, "Boys From Brazil," or saw the movie with Gregory Peck, took it as a warning that the threat of a NAZI revival is real. Well, it's a thought ...

Glenn Beck is like a one-man numbers station, hiding in plain sight .... For those who don't know about them, numbers stations are mysterious shortwave radio broadcasts that come from often unknown transmitters. The transmission is "typically some sort of identifying sound, tone, or song, followed by a series of numbers. To add to the creep factor, sometimes the numbers are read off by a man, or a robotic voice, or (creepiest of all) the voice of a small child." No one knows for sure, but numbers stations are how coded messages are sent to spies, with operational instructions that can be anything.

UPDATE ... Glenn Beck's conspiracies are paranoid delusions, but ... YOU NEVER KNOW. Numbers stations, on the other hand, are the real thing. Prepare to be creeped out by this recording of one with a child's voice reading the numbers in German (?) accompanied by the lilting sounds of a music box:

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Cynic's State of The Union: What Shameful Stat Does Your State Excel At?

Check it out. This map is accurate inasmuch as it is based on the latest statistics compiled from the U.S. Census Bureau and America's Health Rankings (unless otherwise noted). Curiosity: Ohio's ranking as the "nerdiest state" based on highest number of library visits per capita (6.9) isn't exactly a negative stat in my book. In fact, Ohio, a bellwether political state with a solid blue collar working class rep should be rightly proud of this honor, beating out hoity-toity states like New York and Massachusetts.

Hooray for the Great State of Ohio, gallant savior of America's honor!

It Was a Good Speech; Now It's All About The Follow-Through

To stretch the sports metaphor a little bit more, the President is great at hitting the three-point fadeaway game-winning shot at the buzzer. But you can't stay in the game making miracle shots off your back heel. You've got to sink those two-pointers with proper technique and follow-through. Otherwise the bad guys will run away with the game. They kept chipping away — fouling and flying elbows — drawing blood. Even though the bad guys were down at the start, they came roaring back with violent play and rough blocks. The bad guys had us back on our heels, then they made a run late in the first half, scoring 68 unanswered points.

So the President rallied, with one three-pointer after another. His crafty, one-man onslaught turned the weak bad guys' bench into a lame duck congress. First, the President turned it into a single-digit game with his tax compromise, then took the offense, with a series of three-pointers: START Treaty, swish. DADT repeal, swish. Food Safety overhaul, rimshot and in. Child nutrition, swish. Healthcare for 9/11 first responders, rimshot, and in, foul, 3-point at the line. Unemployment insurance, minor tax benefits for the middle class, rimshot and in. Which brings us to the SOTU. President Obama has surged ahead in the polls. The game still hangs in the balance. Time remaining: 20:12.

Progressives and liberals urged the President not to back down on defending the New Deal, protecting Social Security and Medicare. He listened. President Obama made not one single rhetorical concession to the Republicans on this:
"I recognize that some in this chamber have already proposed deeper cuts, and I'm willing to eliminate whatever we can honestly afford to do without. But let's make sure that we're not doing it on the backs of our most vulnerable citizens.

To put us on solid ground, we should also find a bipartisan solution to strengthen Social Security for future generations. (Applause.) We must do it without putting at risk current retirees, the most vulnerable, or people with disabilities; without slashing benefits for future generations; and without subjecting Americans' guaranteed retirement income to the whims of the stock market.  ... And if we truly care about our deficit, we simply can't afford a permanent extension of the tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans. (Applause.) Before we take money away from our schools or scholarships away from our students, we should ask millionaires to give up their tax break. It's not a matter of punishing their success. It's about promoting America's success."
This is a HUGE win for progressives and liberals. ALONE. PERIOD. Eat your heart out, all of you in the Idiot Punditocracy (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE) who said this wasn't possible, that progressives, liberals, the netroots, we're all a bunch of starry-eyed idealists spitting in the wind, while you sit around your Beltway echo chamber feeding at the Georgetown cocktail party trough. Believe us, we fought tooth and nail to get the President to turn on this; and it's like turning a goddamned aircaft carrier. OKAY?!

The President even invoked Bobby Kennedy. Not Jack, not Ted. Bobby. Anyone who reads this blog knows that Bobby is iconic to progressives. He is our North Star, our liberal ideal, the one who inspired us to fight for justice and a better world, a better future. So when the President said this:
"The future is ours to win. But to get there, we can't just stand still. As Robert Kennedy told us, "The future is not a gift. It is an achievement." Sustaining the American Dream has never been about standing pat. It has required each generation to sacrifice, and struggle, and meet the demands of a new age.

And now it's our turn. We know what it takes to compete for the jobs and industries of our time. We need to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world. (Applause.) We have to make America the best place on Earth to do business. We need to take responsibility for our deficit and reform our government. That's how our people will prosper. That's how we'll win the future."
My reaction, as a proud liberal and progressive, was to pull a De Niro: "You talkin' to me? YOU talkin' to me?!?"

It's hard not to like this President, even after all those initial concessions to the Right. For the first time in his still early presidency, President Obama sounded like the Barack Obama of the 2008 campaign. After all the Idiot Punditocracy talk of "triangulation" and "moving to the center" and using liberals as a "pi├▒ata" to compromise with Republicans, this President delivered a progressive SOTU speech in almost every respect. Sure, it was short on specifics, and his defense of Social Security could have been stronger. But we'll take it, considering the alternative. To speak in the most cynical of political calculations: By going out on a limb, taking our hits and holding the President's feet to the fire, progressives actually gave President Obama political cover to do the right thing.

Question for the Idiot Punditocracy: Do you really think the President would have delivered this speech were it not for the fierce pushback from progressives against the findings of his deficit commission proposing draconian cuts to Social Security, against the tax cuts for the rich compromise, against his healthcare compromises — even after he whined this was like the "public option debate" all over again — and we did not give an inch?

If you think this President would have delivered the same progressive speech absent the intense pushback from progressives and the netroots — and let us not forget Bernie Sanders standing on the Senate floor for eight hours straight fighting for liberal values — then you're bigger fools than we thought.

This is one BIG win for progressives. But it's only one battle in a wider war against an implacable, and yes, EVIL opponent. We cannot let up, we cannot let our guard down, we've got to press forward. But we know that. The question is, to stretch the sports metaphor to its logical conclusion, does the President know it's all in the follow-through?

Tea Party Remedial Education: Chris Matthews SCHOOLS Teabaggers On Slavery And The Founding Fathers

I give Chris Matthews a hard time on occasion, but like the guy (wouldn't waste my time if I didn't) because of moments like this. Chris knows his history and understands the importance of reminding his viewers of  the dark side of American history (we've been pressing this point from the very beginning), particularly when a Right wing populist uprising, the Tea Party, is manipulated from within by those who would scrub that "stain" clean and put in its place a set of historical assumptions based on lies.

So long as it was an abstraction for future generations, Thomas Jefferson had an inkling of what was in effect the "politically correct" thing to say. Jefferson understood the stain of slavery on his historical legacy, and so said things like this:
"[T]here is not a man on earth who would sacrifice more than I would, to relieve us from this heavy reproach [slavery]... we have the wolf by the ear, and we can neither hold him, nor safely let him go. justice is in one scale, and self-preservation in the other ..."
The view that slaves were not "ready" for citizenship was common at the time and persisted through the Civil War, when even Lincoln entertained deporting slaves to an African free state as a solution. The moral taint of slavery, for Jefferson and his contemporaries, was tempered by the racist view that to free African American slaves and accord them the full rights of citizenship would unleash the "wolf" which the white slave owner cannot "safely let [him] go" or imperil his own "self-preservation."

In a word, this is RACISM. It is based on FEAR. Fear of the black man (our President, today), fear of the "other" (a Muslim, an illegal immigrant), fear that the white man's history is being usurped by that "other" and must therefore be whitewashed with idealized revisionism. Glenn Beck earns his millions peddling fear, revisionist history, and racism. This guy's no dope. When he said President Obama was a racist against white people, a seemingly absurd notion in this day and age, Beck was tapping into that fear expressed by Thomas Jefferson almost two centuries ago, that the black man (substitute the slave for Obama) imperiled the white man's "self-preservation."

Expressed deficit and tax concerns within the Tea Party insurgency are mostly sugar-coating, because these people were nowhere to be found when the economy tanked under George W. Bush and deficits exploded, nor did they raise a protest when President Obama extended tax cuts for the rich, ripping  another $700 billion hole in the deficit. It was only when a black man became president of the United States that, suddenly, the Tea Party insurgency sprouted.

Coincidence? Hardly.

Having said this, Thomas Jefferson, imperfect vessel and RACIST though he was, still remains my favorite Founding Father. Thomas Jefferson was a man of his time. His place in history is assured as the author of the Declaration of Independence. But if slavery had to be ended by bloody Civil War, it took another hundred years for the Civil Rights Act to be passed, granting African Americans the full rights of citizenship.

Thomas Jefferson and the slave-owning Founding Fathers are not absolved of their greatest sin.

Yet, we must endure libertarian fools like Rand Paul, who would deny the state the right to prohibit racism in interstate commerce when at one time in our history human beings were trafficked commodities — three-fifths of a person — in interstate commerce. And we must endure blowback from ignorant fools infesting the racist Tea Party insurgency, with their silly colonial outfits, their guns and their hideous signs, flashing pocket copies of the U.S. Constitution which they never bothered to study in high school and hardly understand today.

So KUDOS to Chris Matthews for reminding us all that history, our history, is not to be romanticized and idealized beyond the harsh reality of it, or trifled with to serve a larger political propaganda purpose. That's what the Nazis did. Really.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The President Almost Put Me to Sleep A Few Times ... I Guess That's Good

If we want to "tone down the level of political rhetoric" the place to start is at the top. This SOTU was most unexciting, but, considering the degeneration of our national political dialogue, it was what was needed from our President. In Tucson, President Obama gave an inspirational and moving speech to begin the healing. Tonight, at the SOTU, Mr. Obama closed the circle with a boring speech. It may seem dissonant, but a boring, slightly wonkish speech is exactly what the country needed in the wake of the shooting of Rep. Giffords and against the backdrop of extreme partisanship. And the President delivered.

Rep. Paul Ryan gave a slash and burn reply filled with LIES (here is point-by-point factual rebuttal) in which he laid out his fantastical Ayn Rand libertopia with the most interesting line, a Social Security and Medicare declaration of war against the younger generations of future retirees: Only "people in or near retirement will be protected." For everybody else, say 55 and under, Ryan plans to turn Medicare into a voucher program and hand our Social Security retirement over to Wall Street bankers, in what would become the largest transfer of wealth in American history since Bush and Obama cut taxes for the super-rich. Paul Ryan is an ideological criminal, picking the pockets of the middle class to destroy the New Deal and feed Wall Street bankers. This punk will not get away with it. Ryan's scheme is about as popular with the American people as his bible, Atlas Shrugged.

Paul Ryan, Republican Tea Party VAMPIRE, Delivers INSANE Ayn Rand Response to The SOTU
Finally, Ryan delivered a laughable line: That the American free enterprise system did "more to help the poor than any other system designed." BULLSHIT. President Lyndon Johnson's Great Society achieved the greatest drop in the poverty rate in the U.S., by cutting it in half with his "War on Poverty." Tragically, those amazing gains in ending poverty altogether in the world's richest country were rolled back in 30 years of Reaganomics, ravaging the middle and lower classes. It's not about helping the poor; it's about ending poverty and giving poor people the dignity and opportunity to rise above their station, into the middle class. And that WAS NOT achieved by the American free enterprise system, but by the European social democracies. That's just a fact.

Monday, January 24, 2011

I'll Believe It When I See, And Hear, It

No one will convince me that our President has more than just a passing fascination for the ruling classes, in particular the business interests. He's kind of an elitist. It's kind of a dicey thing for President Obama to be a "man of the left" as Charles Krauthammer falsely claims, and an elitist at the same time. But here's the thing: You cannot — CANNOT — be a Democratic President and throw the New Deal under the bus. It's HERESY. So reports that the President has at long last desisted from this particular line of betrayal, of sucking up to the rich and powerful class to which he belongs, and kissing Wall Street's ring, is encouraging.

But still, I'll believe it when I hear him say he will NOT cut Social Security or RAISE the retirement age to give his privileged class more tax cuts. Better to not get too high on this President because he's sure to betray progressives in some other policy concession to the Right.

America's Sheriff, Clarence Dupnik, Tells It Like It Is

When is the COMCAST corporate so-called "liberal media" going to DIRECTLY CALL OUT Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, the Fox network, and all of the principals for INCITING VIOLENCE WITH THREATS AND INTIMIDATION FROM WINGNUT FOLLOWERS? SHAME ON ALL OF YOU.

Rush Limbaugh is giving out Sheriff Dupnik's address and email ON-AIR. This is the result:

“Our computer system almost came to a halt, because Rush Limbaugh says, ‘Send him an e-mail, here’s the address, tell him how you feel.’”

“Just vile things in addition to threats.”

“The problem is with politics. It’s politics that feed the flame throwers.”  
Glenn Beck's latest TARGET, a university professor, has been receiving DEATH THREATS as a result. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, ALREADY. When does it become your professional responsibility to take specific action against Beck and Limbaugh for inciting DEATH THREATS, VIOLENT LANGUAGE AND INTIMIDATION?


Oh, I forgot. Rachel says these NAZIS are "off limits." Fascists, proto-fascists, THUGS, their hate language is posted daily on the Beck and Limbaugh sites, as you wring your hands impotently and say, 'oh, this is so terrible.' DOES ANYONE HAVE THE BALLS TO DIRECTLY HOLD BECK AND LIMBAUGH ACCOUNTABLE?

Because it's not funny and it's not entertainment. SUCH THREATS CAN GET PEOPLE KILLED AND INJURED.

Big Eddie Tells Rachel What A Wonderful Opportunity The COMCAST Merger Is

(As interpreted by Donald Sutherland:)

Jay Cutler's "Phantom" Knee Injury

The viral whispers have already begun in the Twitterverse. Big Ed Schultz, apologist for sextKING Bret Favre, is all but calling Cutler a heartless quitter. As if he didn't have more important things to worry about, like for example, whether his independent liberal voice will be respected by new MSNBC owners COMCAST. Athletes don't ordinarily play through a knee injury. Bumps and bruises, a bloody nose, elbow, chin, yeah. The knees, the head. NO.

And as is said very well here, it's not as if Cutler has shown himself to be a quitter. He played 15 of 16 games. He was out with a concussion on the game missed, after taking a beating, 52 sacks this season, the most by any quarterback. Some reports are insinuating that Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher said something about it to Cutler on the sidelines. Sports Illustrated’s Peter King inferred Urlacher “said something to Cutler on sidelines. Cutler, caped, walking around. Bizarre. Cutler is going to have a lot to address.”

So? It was such a cheap shot, among many others, that Urlacher spoke out in defense of Cutler:
"Jay was hurt. I don't question his toughness. He's tough as hell. He's one of the toughest players on our football team. He doesn't bitch, he doesn't complain when he gets hit. He goes out there and plays his ass off every Sunday. He practices every single day, so no, we don't question his toughness."
Breaking News: JAY CUTLER HAS TORN MCL. So maybe the armchair critics and couch potatos ought to cool their criticism until all the facts are out on the extent of Jay's injury.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


More Teabagger remedial education in this Anti-Tea Party sign ... which reminds me of a song ...
Thanks to Telemann for this ~

By a GREAT Chicago band, Wilco, from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, my favorite album of theirs:

... And LIVE: