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Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Young Republicans

My parents moved me and my next-oldest sister from Philadelphia to Arizona around 1971. I was just starting my freshman year in high school and my next-oldest sister was starting her first year in college.

A third sister graduated from college and moved into our house in AZ to start her job search. Since she was in a new state, she joined the Young Republicans to get connected and meet people in Arizona. She ended up meeting two men in this organization, one who stalked her and another one whom she married.

Good for her. Except for the fact that her husband was, well, a freak. Here is a bulleted list of the reasons why:

  1. He decided I was a communist hippie (I was 13 years old) who loved cats; so he liked to tell me stories about torturing cats when he was a boy
  2. As a boy he was given a chemistry set with which he grew bacteria and then put the bacteria in the sandwiches of children who had taunted him about his religion, hoping to make them very ill
  3. He had not then and has never since, served in the military
  4. He regularly talked about starting his own army and the first person he was going to kill would be Jane Fonda (glance in my direction to gauge my reaction). "Who the fuck is Jane Fonda?" I wondered. (I swear to Buddha, I just looked up and there was Jane, on French TV, speaking French, on a L'ORÉAL commercial.)
  5. In his back yard, he invented an underwater "shark gun" which he was trying to sell to the US Navy and was angry that they had no interest
  6. He was the #1 sales guy, many years in a row, for a major computer peripherals manufacturer, but when my sister divorced him, he claimed disability, left his job, and never paid my sister one red cent of child support for their daughter
  7. Since his declared disability and divorce, he has flown to the Cayman Islands 2-4 times a year for over 20 years
You may understand now why I might have a feeling of, uh, distaste for those Young Republican freaks of yesteryear. It looks like things have not changed one iota in over 30 years. Max Blumenthal of The Huffington Post decided to be a video journalist at the College Republican Convention Tour. (article link) The video is priceless. Full of clueless collegians reiterating Bush Administration talking points and full of excuses for not serving in this war that they support so fervently. Take a gander:

No End in Sight - In Theatres July 27

Winner of the special documentary prize at Sundance 2007, this film has some surprising stars:

The first film of its kind to chronicle the reasons behind Iraq’s descent into guerilla war, warlord rule, criminality and anarchy, NO END IN SIGHT is a jaw-dropping, insider’s tale of wholesale incompetence, recklessness and venality. Based on over 200 hours of footage, the film provides a candid retelling of the events following the fall of Baghdad in 2003 by high ranking officials such as former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, Ambassador Barbara Bodine (in charge of Baghdad during the Spring of 2003), Lawrence Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff to Colin Powell, and General Jay Garner (in charge of the occupation of Iraq through May 2003) as well as Iraqi civilians, American soldiers, and prominent analysts. NO END IN SIGHT examines the manner in which the principal errors of U.S. policy – the use of insufficient troop levels, allowing the looting of Baghdad, the purging of professionals from the Iraqi government, and the disbanding of the Iraqi military – largely created the insurgency and chaos that engulf Iraq today. How did a group of men with little or no military experience, knowledge of the Arab world or personal experience in Iraq come to make such flagrantly debilitating decisions? NO END IN SIGHT dissects the people, issues and facts behind the Bush Administration’s decisions and their consequences on the ground to provide a powerful look into how arrogance and ignorance turned a military victory into a seemingly endless and deepening nightmare of a war.

Their website rocks. It's amazingly cool. Here's the trailer:

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Chris Kelly at HuffPo: David Vitter - Party Pooper

OK, Chris Kelly's article on the Huffington Post is the funniest article I've read yet about the Senator (and I use that term loosely) Vitter/Hooker scandal.

I have not yet seen the original reporting about Vitter's fetish for being diapered, but having been a hooker myself (for one whole week - it was enough for a lifetime), I will say that the guy who begged me to beat his butt with hangers (while his fat, droopy, white ass was on all fours), helped me immensely later in my career. I learned that, underneath those suits, men were pretty, well...I'll be nice and say, fragile.

This insider's knowledge helped me put Lou Dobbs in his place (well, in front of the camera that is) when I filmed him for a few segments of a stock market trading game CD. I just looked at his fat orange pancake-makeup face as he lorded around the CNN news room in New York City, intimidating everyone, and thought, "Hangers."

When he finally finished throwing his weight around, he bellowed, "Who is the director for this thing? I will only listen to them!"

I stepped up and replied, "The camera is rolling. Just put your feet on top of that quarter on the floor and start talking." (Or I'll beat your ass with hangars until you like it!)

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Bill of Rights and Roosevelt

I came across this great image on the Library of Congress website and it inspired a little research.

What happened in 1791? The Bill of Rights was introduced into the Constitution.

What happened in 1941? Theodore Roosevelt was elected for a third term as President. (please, oh great and wondrous Flying Spaghetti Monster, tell me Bush can't do the same thing?) In his State of the Union address he articulated the "Four Freedoms." The entire text is worth reading. He talks about the current threat of "aggressor nations," and asks the American people to sacrifice in order to support other nations in fighting those aggressor nations and changing the US manufacturing function and mindset into war production. It's hawkish, yes. But there's a difference...the bad guys were invading other countries. So these efforts of which he speaks were dedicated to defense, not peremptory offense.

Here are some interesting quotes:

"Those, who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."
...
Let us say to the democracies: "We Americans are vitally concerned in your defense of freedom. We are putting forth our energies, our resources and our organizing powers to give you the strength to regain and maintain a free world. We shall send you, in ever-increasing numbers, ships, planes, tanks, guns. This is our purpose and our pledge."
...

In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.

The first is freedom of speech and expression--everywhere in the world.

The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way--everywhere in the world.

The third is freedom from want--which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants-everywhere in the world.

The fourth is freedom from fear--which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor--anywhere in the world.

That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation. That kind of world is the very antithesis of the so-called new order of tyranny which the dictators seek to create with the crash of a bomb.



Sunday, July 15, 2007

1952 TMan Comic Predicts Neocon Future?

I love graphics. I especially love vintage comics. But when they predict the future, I love them even more. This 1952 comic I found on BoingBoing (via cartoonist Jay Kinney) predicts the Bush/Cheney Iran policy. (Why do we bother adding Bush's name? We all know it's just Cheney's presidency.) It's a little chilling actually...The quote "Take it up with Washington and see how far you get!" echoes the attitude of Tony Snow and the rest of this administration. They are thumbing their noses at us (and the Senate Judiciary Committee) while they do whatever the hell they want. Including trying to get their mitts on a big chunk of the Iraq's oil. Oh and the act of throwing a pig at the Muslim while calling him a rag head echoes our abuse and torture tactics at Abu Ghraib.

Click on the image for an enlarged view.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Quote of the Day: Gordon Brown's Message to the US

I haven't researched Gordon Brown and don't have any idea yet who he is and what he stands for. However, in relation to my recent cogitating on how to put positive energy towards world change versus standing around and complaining about the Neocon Cabal and the Ineffective Democratic Response, this CommonDreams.org July 13 article about a speech by Gordon Brown's new trade and development secretary Douglas Alexander caught my eye:

In what will be seen as an assertion of the importance of multilateralism in Mr Brown’s foreign policy, Mr Alexander said: “In the 20th century a country’s might was too often measured in what they could destroy. In the 21st century strength should be measured by what we can build together. And so we must form new alliances, based on common values, ones not just to protect us from the world, but ones which reach out to the world.” He described this as “a new alliance of opportunity”. He added: “We need to demonstrate by our deeds, words and our actions that we are internationalist, not isolationist, multilateralist, not unilateralist, active and not passive, and driven by core values, consistently applied, not special interests.” With some neocons in the Bush administration nervous at the direction of Mr Brown’s foreign policy, following the appointment of the former UN deputy secretary Lord Malloch-Brown as foreign minister, Mr Alexander went out of his way to underline the special relationship, but challenged the US and its partners “to recognise the importance of a rules based international system”.

So the bold emphasis is mine. I like that quote. I've been thinking that positive world change occurs when attitudes and perspectives change. I may be in LaLa Land when I think that world attitudes can shift from the military industrial power viewpoint to the collaborative let's-help-each-other perspective. And I'm not talking about cronyism or the elite helping the elite so they can all remain elite. I'm talking about a greater-common-good perspective. In Jungian terms, it's a shift away from ultra-masculine to more-feminine energy. This is a shift that I believe the world needs to take. (I'm so glad so few people read this blog right now. I can just hear the sharpening of right-wing teeth over the feminine energy thang. Edwards' haircut would be mentioned, I'm sure.)

Another thing he said that interested me was about the recognition of an international rules-based system. This is in sharp contrast to the Neocons completely blowing off the Geneva Convention, the United Nations and oh yeah, our own Constitution.

We'll see if this new viewpoint can gather strength even though the money and power are behind the militaristic viewpoint.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Why I Won't Vote for Hillary - Unless I Have To

If she's the only Democrat left standing in the 2008 election then I will be forced to vote for her. But I don't like the fact that she and Bill have their hands in too many corporate tills, including arch enemy and I-Want-To-Control-The-Earth's-Media Rupert Murdoch. Here's an interesting fact from the Sicko website:

SiCKO: Hillary Clinton became the second largest recipient in the Senate of health care industry contributions.

  • "As she runs for re-election to the Senate from New York this year and lays the groundwork for a possible presidential bid in 2008, Mrs. Clinton is receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from doctors, hospitals, drug manufacturers and insurers. Nationwide, she is the No. 2 recipient of donations from the industry, trailing only Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, a member of the Republican leadership." Raymond Hernandez and Robert Pear, "Once an Enemy, Health Industry Warms to Clinton," New York Times, July 12, 2006.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Bush's Latest Libby Lagniappe

From Answers.com:

Lagniappe derives from New World Spanish la ñapa, “the gift,” and ultimately from Quechua yapay, “to give more.” ... It is still used in the Gulf states, especially southern Louisiana, to denote a little bonus that a friendly shopkeeper might add to a purchase. By extension, it may mean “an extra or unexpected gift or benefit.”

So I admit I was looking for an "L" word to make a fun little title for my post. I've decided I need to have much more fun with all this politics stuff. Otherwise, I'll be apoplectic and dead soon and then who wouldn't be reading my blog? huh? Most of the country, that's who.

So you might think that Bush has given Scooter Libby a little "gift." But what I really think is that this Latest Libby Lagniappe is Bush's gift to himself and particularly to Cheney, who threw ol' Scooty under the bus. Scooter obstructed justice to protect Cheney. Fitzgerald knew this, and referred to it in his statements as a cloud over the White House. I don't think that Fitzgerald is finished investigating this, it was just the only thing he could prosecute so far. (Am I in La-La land about this? Hoping that Fitz is still on the case? I hope not.) Anyway, I agree with Joe Wilson, that Bush's action constitutes obstruction of justice (via ABC news):

In commuting part of Libby's sentence, Wilson says, President Bush is complicit in Libby’s crimes. "He is an accessory to the obstruction of justice in this commutation of the sentence," Wilson told ABC News. "He, himself, is now under a cloud."

So I was not surprised that this happened. It was just the timing that sort of surprised me. I figured there'd be a pardon, after Libby had served some time and before Bush left office. That's how it's usually done. But WTF do I know? (There's that anger again, tsk tsk.) And besides, should any of us be surprised anymore at what these guys do?

So I like Mark Twain's explanation of Lagniappe in his book Life on the Mississippi. It seems to fit this situation more accurately:

If the waiter in the restaurant stumbles and spills a gill of coffee down the back of your neck, he says 'For lagniappe, sah,' and gets you another cup without extra charge.

It's like Bush spilling coffee down all of our necks and saying with that little sarcastic smirk of his, "That one's on the house...sah."

Image courtesy of:

Mark Twain, 1835-1910 Life on the Mississippi. Boston: James R. Osgood and Company, 1883. Documenting the American South. Library of Southern Literature. 2004. University Library, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The Borowitz Report: Making Me Laugh Every Morning

I've been pondering all of my angry political angst. Especially after Bush's Latest Libby Lagniappe. I can rant and rave, rail and ravage, but it's kind of like that one hand clapping thang. You know, "Does a hand clap in the woods?" I think that was the question.

Anyway, one thing I do know is that humor can be very powerful. Think about Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. I think those guys have done a huge service to their country by just being smart asses. They are in the category of seriously funny. Serious stuff, dished up with a laugh. Every week or so, since I'm in France and can't see those boys on TV, Bart and I huddle in front of my computer and we play videos of the show.

In the same category is Andy Borowitz. I don't remember how or where I found him, but I've been getting his daily Borowitz Report in my email box for over a year, and what a way to start my day. Like this morning's headline:

Cheney Declares Himself National Monument
Latest Attempt to Dodge Subpoena


And here's a little snippet:

Perhaps in an effort to control the crowds, Mr. Cheney announced today that the admission price for seeing him would be set at $75,000. White House spokesman Tony Snow defended the $75,000 price tag, saying that it was an appropriate price to see a national monument of Dick Cheney’s stature. “Seventy-five thousand dollars is what it costs to see Dick Cheney,” Mr. Snow said. “Just ask any lobbyist.”

hehe. Nice.

In addition to his daily Borowitz Report, Andy is a stand-up comic and public speaker. You can hire him to tell your employees all about "Who Moved My Soap? The CEO's Guide to Surviving in Prison."

I also bought his book, The Republican Playbook, and loved it. It was published in October of 2006 though, so based on the shenanigans of the Republicans since then, I hope there's an update or maybe even a sequel in the works.

Anyway, if you want really quick laugh therapy every morning, sign up for his daily report. You won't regret it.

Meanwhile, I will ponder turning my anger into smart-ass humor and perhaps then I will feel like I'm making some contribution to or maybe I'll even get an exclusive invitation to join the Secret Liberal Communist Terrorist Agenda. Perhaps then I will find my other hand, somewhere out there in the woods, waiting to be clapped, again and again and again, until it's red, and hurting, but satisfied.