politics, hypocrisy and meanness in public affairs, alligators, anti-empire-ism, occasional personal stuff

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Strange Day

Two nitwit groups, claiming to represent freedom-loving patriots who love their guns, have scheduled anti-federal-government rallies (one, with guns) and they have scheduled these events on the 15th anniversary of Timothy McVeigh killing 168 people when bombing the Oklahoma City Federal Building.  Who are these "patriots?"  Why do they believe that honoring McVeigh is a patriotic act?  Why do they think that carrying their guns - remember, "When we say re-load, we mean take action with your vote!" - to D.C. is a good idea?

Maybe I'm just not made for this world.

From the blog of Tom Ricks -

Gary Anderson elaborates in SWJ on his comments here yesterday. Take away:
Some of the Green Zone dwellers think the post-election jockeying between the various political factions will be American style "horse  trading" as we saw in the health care debate; they have sold this line to the Washington Post and New York Times. This is bunk. Iraqi politics is a full contact sport, and blood will be shed. Nor will the battle be primarily sectarian. It will be a Shiia-on- Shiia affair. If it doesn't end up in a civil war, it will look like a Chicago gang war before it is over."

Wait a minute - didn't we create a haven of democracy in Iraq? What did I miss?

Just wondering ...

What if you were "a football family" in Texas, and you named your son "Colt" but he couldn't play worth a damn? He would have to live with that name - and his parents' expectations - for the rest of his life.

On was looking at a news site, and it had a questions, "Were you ever the object of bullying?  If so, tell us about it."  So, I started filling out the answer field - about a specific guy who bullied me throughout grades 4-7 - but I felt so humiliated - STILL - that I couldn't send it in. "What if HE read it, and wrote and harassed me, again?  What if people I know read it and thought I "should just get over it."  So, I erased it and clicked off the site.  This shit goes on and on ... at least, it has for me.

Is this a joke?

 These are goals - goals, not targets, not guarantees - of PepsiCo.  There was no explanation in the press about why it would be so difficult to achieve these goals that they were years away, or what impediments might make them unreachable.

"By 2015 the firm aims to reduce the salt in some of its biggest brands by 25%; by 2020, it hopes to reduce the amount of added sugar in its drinks by 25% and the amount of saturated fat in certain snacks by 15%. Pepsi also recently announced that it would be removing all its sugary drinks from schools around the world by 2012."

Let's see - it might or might not be able to stop pouring from the giant salt shaker BY 2015. It might or might not be able to stop filling up the ladle with sugar BY 2020! And, I guess it would be really hard - maybe not doable - to remove those Pepsi machines from schools in the next 2 and 3/4 years.  Right.  Corporate citizenship.

This is Morning Edition - oh, no; that's NPR's schtick.

It is a simple matter to make a difference by doing small things ... just do that.

I watch a lot of commercials - why are so many of them dishonest?  Is that who "we" are - people who must be sold stuff we don't need by people who are lying to us?  Is that the "Greatest Country in the World" that politicians are constantly telling us we are?  (And, why, exactly, are they constantly telling us that? What is it about "us" that requires this pounding and pounding of "We are the champions of the world?"  Are Tea Partiers "us?")

Why is it OK for Palin-nut to say, "Lock and load" and "Don't react, RE-LOAD" and then for her/it (maybe she is a robot) to say, "Oh, guys [giggle, wink], you know me; you know I didn't mean ... well, actual guns!  I meant "our vote."  And Michelle Bachmann (who ARE those people who elect her?) says she wants "my constituents to be armed and dangerous" ... and she gets a pass on that??  What if BO said that he wanted "his people" to be armed and dangerous, and had put his friend and neighbor Bill Ayers in charge of arming the folks?  Would he get a pass, or do we just wink at right-wingers who talk about violence?  Can we get any more psycho?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Rachel Maddow

I love Rachel Maddow. I have loved her for a long time. I love her more after she went directly after Senator Scott Brown tonight for lying, lying, lying and lying some more. She is right: politicians need to be confronted about lying, and shamed for it.  (Sadly, most politicians are beyond shame.)

Now, of course, religious leaders are showing us that they, too, are beyond shame - "Protect the institution, at all costs."

It's all over, now, Baby Blue.

Statistics have just come out, showing that Glenn Beck's show has 50% more viewers this month than in March of last year.  Yes, he is the one who draws diagrams on his blackboard showing the relationship between Jesus, Mao, Obama and Stalin.  Bill O'Reilly's show is the most-watched "news" show in the country, and his audience continues to grow.  Lincoln wondered how long a union of democratic states could last; it's nearly over, folks.

I can't help myself -

Time to round up the Christians, I guess.

So, we have priests covering up for priests who assaulted-raped-abused-ruined many children, and "Christian" militias - and this one is really weird - who apparently think they are good, law-abiding citizens ... and they want to kill police officers?  Say what? 

So, I say: Round 'em up, un-lock and un-load them, and send them to Gitmo. Be sure and torture them because - Who knows? - they may have information on other groups or planned attacks. Close down all those small churches (madrassas?); close down the huge churches that clearly are sucking the life and money out of the ignorant.  Put all those fancy pope-garments on display in the Smithsonian ... alongside the garments of popular former despots (or would that be, "formerly popular despots?").

Why do all political bullies say that they are "patriots?"  What are "patriots" - only those who like to say "RE-LOAD!"  If a person is born in a place that has a government, is that person somehow obligated to be a patriot - supporting whatever government happens to be in charge?  Is this real?  Is it that simple - support the boss?  Does anyone around here have a brain? "Pledge allegiance to the flag, whatever flag they offer." (Mike and the Mechanics, Silent Running)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Insurance companies

I had ONE MORE hassle with insurance  today, as a result of moving to a different state (from hide-bound, know-little Missouri to brain-dead, know-less Kentucky).  So, more frustration and expense falls on me, just because they can make it so, even though what they want is entirely pointless and gratuitous.  Reacting to this all day, I felt rotten and got next-to-nothing done.  Some days, it just feels like it's not worth it.

What a day ...

It isn't even noon, and already there is a scandal about a bill for $1,900.00 at a stripper-bondage bar that the Repugnican National Committee HAS REIMBURSED, and

Christian militia members who schemed to go to battle against the Anti-Christ but settled for attacking cops, instead.

You can't make this stuff up ... or the link between conservative, Christian militia crazies and conservative RNC members.

Andrew Sullivan post today

As I said, he has only one available psychological response at this point - denial:
The pontiff said faith in God helps lead one "toward the courage of not allowing oneself to be intimidated by the petty gossip of dominant opinion."
Solid evidence of covering up the rape of children is "the petty gossip of dominant opinion." He will not answer the relevant questions; and since he cannot hold himself accountable he cannot logically hold anyone else accountable. We are told, as the US government tells us with respect to torture, we should move on.
The Dish will not move on - either on full accountability for war crimes or on full accountability on child-rape. If we cannot hold public officials accountable for these most heinous crimes, then there is no accountability left.

Rick's addition: I think we have already shown that we do not hold public officials accountable; there is no accountability left - yet, we do not dispute our public officials' constant, repetitive statements that the U.S. is the greatest country in the world, the U.S. has the greatest health care system in the world, blah, blah, blah.

The Census; Karzai

Why are there already ads - paid for by us - on TV, telling people to TURN IN YOUR CENSUS FORM, as well as statistics already being gathered and distributed about what percentage of the populace has turned in the census form. The instructions are to answer the questions with information that is accurate AS OF APRIL 1. Is it April yet on your calendar?  It isn't on mine.

I am taking bets on how much Karzai and his cronies are laughing, now that the Prez has said his piece and flown away.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Paragraph from Sketches From a Life

"Life is too full in these times to be comprehensible. We know too many cities to be able to grow into any of them, and our arrivals and departures are no longer matters for emotional debauches - they are too common.  Similarly, we have too many friends to have any friendships, too many books to know any of them well; and the quality of our impressions gives way to the quantity, so that life begins to seem like a  movie, with hundreds of kaleidoscopic scenes flashing on and off our field of perception - gone before we have time to consider them."
[George Kennan, 1927]


I hope the Prez is on the way back; I don't see the point in his visit to Afghanistan, but I do see pointless danger in his visit.

Further wondering ...

Is Israel an ally ... or a client?  How many allies do we pay $2.5 Billion per year?  Why do we pay it, given the booming Israeli economy?  Is that the result of powerful lobbying by AIPAC?

Prez in Afghanistan - heart to heart with Karzai?  PR moments with troops?  Is this a valid and worthwhile expenditure of taxpayer dollars?  Tell me what it actually might change.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Wondering ...

If we are "at war," why are we charging enemies with crimes?  Isn't it the nature of war that those on each side attack and kill each other?  If we want to charge people with crimes, we have to acknowledge that we are not at war ... unless we are charging them with "war crimes," which we have not been doing.  Of course, when I think of "war crimes," I think of bombing villages and wedding receptions as much as I think of other bombings.  So, if we are discussing charging people with war crimes, then we have a certain disagreeable complexity in the discussion, don't we?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Just wondering ...

... whether Pam and I might be better off to just chuck it all and move to Florida. Or Costa Rica. Or Thailand.

More on the detestable Cantor

He is moving into the category "cretinous" formerly occupied alone by Saxby Chambliss.

It now has become known that (1) Richmond police have determined that the shot was fired into the air and hit a window in a building on its way down; it was not fired at the building; (2) the window, office and building did not have a sign that indicated any connection with Cantor; (3) the window was in an office occupied by someone else - never by Cantor; (4) the building contains an office that is sometimes - not currently - occupied by people doing fund-raising for Cantor; and (5) the building is not located in Cantor's congressional district (so, it is unlikely that an anti-Cantor gunman would have sought out this building, even if Nos. 1-4 were not applicable).

Yet, Fox Pretend News and Repug leaders are still going with this story. And we wonder why we have so much disturbance and distrust and incivility in our public affairs.

Cat on My Lap

Trying not to have flashbacks - Palin and McCain (whatever may be left of "the real" John McCain) sharing a stage to try to salvage his career in Arizona. Is it conceivable that he could lose his seat in the primary election?

MSNBC reported that our esteemed idiot ... I mean, Senator (McConnell - we also have the universally-not-esteemed Bunning) has applied for stimulus funds (remember, Repugs were and are against the stimulus act) to regrade bike paths in a park in the Bluegrass State!  If we didn't have hypocrisy, we wouldn't have any Repug politics.  (David Frum lost his "scholar" job at American Enterprise Institute yesterday because he actually had the nerve to blame Repug strategy (and its strategists) for the failure of the Repugs on the Health Care Reform Act.  The same day, AEI then hired noted ideologue Jonah Goldberg to be a new "scholar" at the "Institute.")

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Not the American Way?

Why do we keep hearing politicians say, "This is not the American way. We don't countenance violence."

Sadly, that is not true. We like - tell me "why," because I don't get it - to think our society is pure, sweet & reasonable, and peaceful. We like to believe that we respect democracy; I haven't seen it,

Eric Cantor

He has never been my favorite, but now he has become a parody of a responsible politician, and repulsive as a leader of a supposedly responsible political party.  In the face of numerous attacks on Democratic offices, and verbal and spitting assaults on several Democratic Congressmen, Cantor stated today that Democrats are fanning the flames of violence by speaking out against these attacks.  How do this guy and Boehner sleep at night?

I have one conservative correspondent; he says that the current Republican leadership will survive and remain the party's leaders as long as the Republican Party does well in this fall's elections - surviving as leaders does not depend on success in legislation, only winning elections!  That is the party that we are dealing with.

Post from James Zogby in HuffPo

A Republican talking point repeated ad nauseam during yesterday's debate pounded on the theme that they, and they alone, had the right to speak for "the will of the American people." This took different forms: "the American people have spoken," or "you (Democrats) are ignoring/imposing your views on the American people" or "the American people have sent a message," etc. All making the same point -- that the GOP speaks for the American people.

Of course, the American people have spoken, and in November 2008 elected a Democratic White House and Senate and House of Representatives. But, elections and the workings of our democracy including the idea that the losing party respect the outcome of elections appear to be alien concepts to today's GOP.
The idea that the minority party represents the "will of the people" (not some of the people, but "the people") is the seedling of a totalitarian mindset. In this mindset -- democracy doesn't matter, ideas are not to be discussed, and opposing views are not to respected. What matters is that they alone have truth, they alone are metaphysically connected to the "mind of the people" can interpret their will, and because they have truth and speak for the people, others represent a threat and must be silenced and stopped.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Attacks on Democrat Offices in Five States

Amazing how the Repugnicans are denying that their angry rhetoric, and the hate rhetoric of the right-wing radio haters had ANYTHING to do with the attacks in the past 24 hours - including the cutting of the gas line at the home where a Wingnut website said a Dem congressman lived.  Amazing coincidence of hate and violence, I guess.  You stir up rage; you question the legitimacy of the President and the Congress; you demonize the Prez - angry bigots sometimes act. But, no one is responsible.  Anyone want to buy a bridge?  Republican National Committee has one for sale.

More on consistency

Since the Repubs want to disengage the federal government from private affairs, is anyone else confused by their demand that the Prez concentrate on jobs, jobs, jobs?  Isn't job creation a matter for private enterprise?  Have I been dreaming all these years, when I thought I was hearing conservatives say this?

Logical consistency

How is it that right-wing wackos can, at the same time, say "America, Love It or Leave It," and urge people to clean their guns and get ready to fight the government?  And, if this movement does not have a foundation of racism, show me - I'm from Missouri - all those non-white members who make this "a broad-based movement."

President Obama

I fear for him going to Iowa tomorrow - there is so much anger out there among the crazies. Many are openly talking about armed attacks on officials.  Crazy Tea Partiers are raving and screaming that The Prez is not legitimate, and that he is a dictator (don't know where they studied history) and should be removed by any means.  Please, please calm down, even though you can't accept that a non-lily-white person is President.

Karl Rove??

Why does MSNBC have him on the air, right now?  Is there a requirement for equal time for war criminals and pathological liars?  Why is he treated as an author and a legitimate political commentator?  Who's next, the cheif strategist of the American Nativist, Screwball, Bullies Party?  Oh, that's him.  :(

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Watching Sen. Vitter & Congressmen Gohmert & Neugebauer

is enough to make one wonder if everybody with any sense has already left town. (Don't even get me started about MY OWN Rep. and Senators. I wrote to my Rep., yesterday, asking why he voted against the fixes to the HCR act - does he LIKE the Cornhusker Kickback???)


Just wondering - Since Palin is an expert on energy, why is it that none of those savvy energy companies have signed her up as a consultant and a lobbyist?  Just askin'.

Celebrating at our expense

Although I support the HCR bill, and look forward to its signing - if the politicians ever stop the speeches, congratulating themselves - I wonder how hundreds/thousands of public "servants" are justified in taking time off from work to go to the huge hall at the Interior Department to celebrate this afternoon.


Why MSNBC & CNN continue to report what right-wing radio haters spout. Why is that news? Why give the haters more exposure - they only gain?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Republican Leaders?

How can Boehner and McConnell keep their leadership positions?  But, then, how can "honorable" members of the house display banners encouraging the crowd of screamers?

How can it be "ramming through" and "authoritarianism" when Democrats pass a bill but not when Repugs pushed through the giant tax cuts under Bush?

And, finally, how can it then be OK for the Repugs to tell us that they will ram through a repeal as soon as they get back into power?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Reconciliation Bill - Cornhusker Kickback, Louisiana Purchase, etc.

So, after the HCR bill passed the House, the Republicans voted against the Reconciliation Bill because they FAVOR the Cornhusker Kickback?  I know they are bullies, and I believe they are fools and know-nothings; but this seems really stupid.  If they stop the Reconciliation Bill in the Senate, they will leave the actual LAW, just passed, signed soon by the Prez, un-amended, the worst of all possible worlds in their minds. Is this the act of a mature, responsible Opposition?

Congresspeople - insane or irresponsibly dishonest?

An "honorable" member of congress just stated that "the Senate bill has become known as the most egregiously pro-abortion legislation since Roe v. Wade."

I follow this every day, and I have NEVER heard anyone state that this bill has become known as "the most egregiously" anything. The televising of this debate should outrage citizens who can see clearly how their governmental system has been perverted.  (And, where are these "honorable" members who favor "life" when each of the thousands of people per year who die from no health care lay dying?)

David Frum, Republican and conservative calls it a loss -

This is part of his post from today. There whole post is here http://is.gd/aSbLv

"Could a deal have been reached? Who knows? But we do know that the gap between this plan and traditional Republican ideas is not very big. The Obama plan has a broad family resemblance to Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts plan. It builds on ideas developed at the Heritage Foundation in the early 1990s that formed the basis for Republican counter-proposals to Clintoncare in 1993-1994.

Barack Obama badly wanted Republican votes for his plan. Could we have leveraged his desire to align the plan more closely with conservative views? To finance it without redistributive taxes on productive enterprise – without weighing so heavily on small business – without expanding Medicaid? Too late now. They are all the law."

End of the Republic; End of the Universe; Boehner/McConnell lies

Amazing how far the Repugnicans will go in their exaggerations.  Now, Boehner - seeking to reach the "cretin" status of Saxby Chambliss - claims that the bill will pay for abortions.  It's beyond, "Have you no shame?" and reaching to "You can just say anything; no one pays attention except your Kool-Aid drinkers, anyway."  Go back to the tanning booth, John; your brain is already fried. THIS IS ESSENTIALLY A REPUBLICAN BILL FROM PRIOR YEARS, GUYS!

Representation by "honorable" members

I wrote this to our esteemed Senator McConnell today; it seems such a simple question:

"On Face the Nation today, you lamented/wailed/whined about taxes being raised in the Health Care Reform Bill; other times - constantly - you wail about the deficit and how Democratic bills increase the deficit. So, which is it - you want deficit reduction or political points?"

I wonder if the frustration level inherent in our hypocritical politics is greater than in other alleged democracies.

Recently, the World Health Organization ranked quality of health care per country - the U.S. ranked 37th.  Now, people can argue about whether a country is 37th or 33rd or even, say, 28th.  But you can't reasonably (take note, Republicans) argue that a country that is ranked 37th is really 1st; but Repubs continually spout that the U.S. "has the greatest health care system in the world."  So, what do we want - really good, comprehensive health care or not?  If tax increases are part of the package, do we want to cut/eliminate the deficit or do we want to wail and whine about taxes?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The People's House

Michelle Obama and the now-defrocked Social Secretary, Desiree Rogers, have proclaimed the White House "The People's House."  Why, then, did I not receive an invitation to the State Dinner?  And, whose, if not the people's, money paid for the State Dinner, where various big shots ate and schmoozed for free?  I guess it is The People's House when it comes to paying for the fun.

All administrations talk about cutting waste - how about stopping the practices of putting green dye in the White House fountain on Silly-Saint-Patrick's Day and printing a menu for the White House meals?  Those are small items, for sure; but, if this administration cannot even eliminate waste in these small matters, why should we have confidence that they are truly interested in doing so in larger matters? Barack needs someone who is not awed by the glow of his aura, someone who can sit back on the Oval Office couch with her/his feet on the coffee table, and say, "Barack [not "Mr. President], this is how things look to non-political people. When you ostentatiously roll up your sleeves during a speech, to show that you are going to work, people could rightfully ask why you have not yet been to work.  You say that you are one of the people, but you are always wearing a suit.  You say you are going to do things differently, yet you fly somewhere to give campaign speeches twice a week." I am on his side, but he isn't hearing enough from outside the Chicago group and the Beltway.

Speaking of waste - do "we" (We the People, of The People's House) really need to be paying a Social Secretary, whose duties include inviting people to an Easter Egg Roll?  Where did that come from?  Some President  (Hayes?) thought that opening the White House grounds to his friends would be a (politically) good idea; so, now we waste money on that every year?  Racing Easter eggs?  How come conservatives have not jumped on this?!

Don't even get me started about our public officials taking time - we have a few problems to work on, right? - to attend St. Patrick's Day events to build their credibility as people who really like Ireland? Say what?

Budweiser commercials

Is there any reason that Anheuser-Busch - with its history of ads that pander to underage male drinkers and ads that degrade women and girls - is considered a good corporate citizen? Just now, A-B unveiled a new, Animal House-like ad with a final scene gratuitously showing a woman caught in a shower by one of the "men" getting a beer.  Have they no shame?  [Rhetorical question - the answer has always been clear.]

Congressional Seats

We are told, over and over, that many Democratic Congress people are "risking their seats."  Risking what - "their" seats?  Whose seats are these?  It is a scandal that many people in Congress base many of their actions on the potential impact on their reelection chances.  It is a well-known scandal - why is it not a focal point of news, a big issue?  These are the people's seats.  It is a travesty of the idea of "public service" that we all know that people in public office are MOST concerned about keeping their jobs, not about fulfilling roles defined by our democratic system.  It is not good enough that public communication about this issue is confined to mild lamentations, followed by moving on with "the news."  THIS is the news - our government is poisoned by the lack of interest in our officials to actually perform PUBLIC service.

TDAmeritrade; Public Service; Clerical Sex Abuse

TDAmeritrade is hammering TV viewers with ads telling us that their clients will "no longer" put up with lack of information or hidden fees.  Are they telling us that - before the meltdown in autumn 2008 - TDAmeritrade was failing to provide information but WAS providing hidden fees?  Interesting ad strategy.
When career politicians/office holders announce their retirements, they tell us how they "dedicated" themselves to public service - they never mention how good it felt to have the power, to walk as a big shot in the halls of the Capitol, to have a sure shot at a big-money lobbying or book-writing or radio-talk or academic position immediately after they leave office.
How many more countries will experience priest-sex-abuse scandals? Can you imagine the outrage, and attacks, against Islam if all the clerical sex abuse scandals had been by Muslims?  How long, and against how much evidence, can the Roman Catholic Church retain its existence, its influence and its reputation?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Why - EXACTLY - is any U.S. money and governmental time & effort expended on the Israeli-Palestinian issue? Second question: Why is it our responsibility to try to bring peace in Israel-Palestine? (Trying to help bring peace is laudable and admirable, but that is different from "it is our responsibility.")  At this particular time, with plenty of problems, and limited diplomatic and military resources - not to mention financial resources - how is our time and energy justifiably expended here?
I am so-o-o tired of hearing politicians say, "The American people believe/want ________" or "The American people have spoken" (when the clearest thing the people have spoken about is electing an overwhelmingly Democratic Congress, along with a Democratic President, that the Repugnican talker refuses to recognize).

Isn't the whole point that the American (or, for some, Amurrican) people are not homogeneous?  Isn't more of the whole point that none of these (self-seeking) politicians knows or represents all or most of "The American people?"  And they don't care if they know, or represent - they only want to attack or be in charge, not actually represent, or deliberate.

How can  anyone trust a politician whose first priority appears to be his tan?