Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Stunningly Superficial

I know this is old news, and I only just now watched this video to get the pleasure of seeing Joe Scarborough put in his fluffy, airhead, GOP-talking-point-parrot place by Zbigniew Brzezinski. But when I finally watched it, I learned something about the problems between Israel and Palestine from Brzezinski, so I thought I'd post this for anyone who hasn't had a chance to watch it yet.

(If you are receiving this post via email, please click through to my blog to watch the video.)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I joined iPeace...

So can you!

How To Love Israel, But Not Support Violence Against Palestinians

My friend Arthur forwarded an email from JStreet, an organization that I joined a few months ago, because they are Jewish people who offer a sane viewpoint and non-violent, non-aggressive solutions for peace between Israel and Palestine. But in the midst of my hilariously stuffed and unread inbox, I missed JStreet's email. So, in case you don't know anything about JStreet, or missed their email too, I want to post the entire email, plus this link where you can sign a petition to show your support for immediate and strong US intervention to renegotiate a meaningful ceasefire in Gaza.

Please sign the petition, even though BushCo is still pretending to be in charge and doing nothing. By doing nothing about this dire situation, they are doing great damage. The message still needs to be sent though, and your state representatives are still in office and still want to be re-elected. So it's important that you send them the message that the Israel/Palestine issue is not black and white, good versus bad, it's a nuanced situation that needs careful consideration and peace brokering.
Here is the email JStreet sent, in full (any emphasis is mine):

Gaza: Stop the violence

Twenty-four hours ago, Israeli Defense Forces struck the Gaza Strip, leaving hundreds dead and wounded - pushing the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict further down a path of never-ending violence.

At this moment of extreme crisis, J Street wants to demonstrate that, among those who care about Israel and its security, there is a constituency for sanity and moderation.  There are many who recognize elements of truth on both sides of this gaping divide and who know that closing it requires strong American engagement and leadership.

Neither Israelis nor Palestinians have a monopoly on right or wrong. While there is nothing "right" in raining rockets on Israeli families or dispatching suicide bombers, there is nothing "right" in punishing a million and a half already-suffering Gazans for the actions of the extremists among them.
And there is nothing to be gained from debating which injustice is greater or came first.   What's needed now is immediate action to stop the violence before it spirals out of control.

The United States, the Quartet, and the world community must not wait - as they did in the Israel-Lebanon crisis of 2006 - for weeks to pass and hundreds or thousands more to die before intervening.  There needs to be an urgent end to the new hostilities that brings a complete end to military operations, including an end to the rocket fire out of Gaza, and that allows food, fuel and other civilian necessities into Gaza.

The need for diplomatic engagement goes beyond a short-term ceasefire.  Eight years of the Bush Administration's neglect and ineffective diplomacy have led us directly to a moment when the prospects for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict hang in the balance and with them the prospects for Israel's long-term survival as a Jewish, democratic state.

Following a renegotiated ceasefire, we urge the incoming Obama administration to lead an early and serious effort to achieve a comprehensive diplomatic resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian and Arab-Israeli conflicts.

This is a fundamental American interest.  We too stand to suffer as the situation spirals, rage in the region is directed at the United States, and our regional allies are further undermined.  Our goals must be a Middle East that moves beyond bloody conflicts, an Israel that is secure and accepted in the region, and an America secured by reducing extremism and enhancing stability.  None of these goals are achieved by further escalation.

Even in the heat of battle, as friends and supporters of Israel, we need to remember that only diplomacy and negotiations can end the rockets and terror and bring Israel long-term security and peace.  American politicians are already hearing from those who see only one side.  Help us give voice to the large number of Americans who recognizes that justice will only be served when the rights and grievances of both sides are recognized and a peaceful two-state solution to this long-running conflict is put in place.

We know that many policy makers agree with us privately, but hesitate to express their views publicly because they hear only from the partisan extremes.  This is our moment to show that there is real political support for shedding a narrow us-versus-them approach to the Middle East.

The situation in Gaza could not be more urgent. Who knows how many more lives will be lost before this round of violence is over?  When it ends, will we look back and say if only we had spoken out sooner, more lives could have been saved, more damage avoided?

Thank you so much for joining our efforts at this difficult time. Together, we can achieve an end to this round of violence, a resumption of the ceasefire, and a serious move toward peace between Israel and the Palestinian people.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Israeli Attacks On Palestinians In Gaza

The foreign minister of Israel just said on Al Jazeera English TV that "there was a coup in Gaza and Hamas took over." Isn't that a big fat lie that she told bald faced right on TV? Am I mistaken in the fact that there was a Democratic, free election and Hamas won its rightful place in the government, legally and by the people's choice?

Coup, my ass.

She also said that before Israel attacks anywhere, they send a message to civilians, ahead of the attack, to leave the area. Am I mistaken, or is there nowhere for Gaza citizens to go? The borders are blocked by Israel and nothing or nobody can get out, or in. No medical supplies, no fuel, no food, and no innocent civilians. Egypt has refused to open its borders to civilians caught innocently in the attacks.

So, where the hell do they go?

And George Fucking Bush is vacationing at his ranch and has no statement to make. While Gaza burns, while children suffer and die. Some flunkie sub-sub-sub White House press flack stood up and stuttered at the podium and said that it was Hamas' fault that they're getting slaughtered by Israel.

No. We, the United States of America, have a financial interest in helping Israel start this war. We sold them the jets. We sold them the cluster bombs. We want them to use all that shit up, so we can sell them some more. We won't protest against this crime by Israel. We'll stand by and read a book about a pet goat.

Robert Fisk trashed a nameless neocon on Al Jazeera a few moments ago. (Where and why do they dig these guys up for a counterpoint? I mean, really.) When Al Jazeera asked the neocon this question - there were 8 rockets launched by Hamas into Israel. Israel has responded with a full-out war - planes, bombs, guns, tanks. More than 300 people are dead and 1500 wounded in Gaza. Isn't this completely out of balance? - the Neocon replied. NUMBERS ARE MEANINGLESS.

Yeah, as long as those "numbers" aren't your fat kids safe at home in Uh-mer-i-cuh. As Robert Fisk said in response, "Palestinians are meaningless to you."

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The World According To Ronald Reagan

From the lovely blogger YouGrowGirl , who took this picture in San Francisco back in April at the University of San Francisco. (I wasn't able to drag and drop the image so go to YouGrowGirl's Flickr page to see it.)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Put Your Arms Around This

Via Matthew Good (I haven't researched these figures - just putting them out there for your consideration):

In the end, running guns is lucrative and a powerful political tool. It’s a win – win. Therefore, it probably should come as absolutely no surprise to anyone that the crowned champ of gun running is the United States, who in 2008 made $32 billion dollars in foreign sales alone – up from $23 billion in 2007. Research the Canadian defense budget in its entirety to place that figure into context.

US arms and military training and assistance were fundamental elements in twenty of the planet’s twenty-seven major conflicts in 2007. The United States has also signed over twice the number of transfer agreements in the last eight years than its closest competitor, Russia. While it might come as a shock to some, America’s most lucrative customer is currently Pakistan, which has purchased more arms from the US of late than Israel, Saudi Arabia, and even the Iraqi Armed Forces.

Friday, December 5, 2008

I Almost Don't Want To Know

I realized recently that I've been avoiding political news. I watch the headlines, but I'm not clicking through. There might be two reasons for this...

One: I know that the economy is heading for the shitter. Bailout. No bailout. It doesn't matter. There's a ripple effect in place. A breaking news banner on CNN online right now says 533,000 jobs were lost in the US in November -- the most in 34 years. That means there are more than half a million people who will no longer be paying taxes, who are curtailing their spending, who may be extending their revolving credit (living on credit cards), who aren't buying houses or will lose their house because they can't pay their mortgage. In turn, their local grocery stores, gas stations, dry cleaners, hairdressers aren't going to see the same amount of cash coming in, and may go under, or at least lay off some of their workers too.

Two: Obama is either a genius, or a fool. There can be no in between. The problem is, he has proven to be nobody's fool. Over and over again. So, does that mean he's a genius? Or maybe we are the fools for having voted for him. But the alternative? If "that woman" had clickety-clacked her Manolos in the direction of the VP's office, I think I would have renounced my citizenship on the spot. The fundie fox would be licking her lips right inside the hen house. All non-fundie hens (Jews, Muslims, Atheists, Agnostics, YouNameists) and their chicks would have been fox meat by now, while the cocks would have been fighting over her poisoned feed just to see if they could gain the fox's favor. I watch announcements about Obama's cabinet picks and groan. When Karl Rove is happy with Obama's picks, I get sick to my stomach. When a murderer like Kissinger praises Obama, I mutter curse words to myself.

I hold out on the slim hope that Obama has a mind of his own. I'm praying to The-God-I-Don't-Believe-In that corporate America doesn't already own his ass; that he won't listen to the war mongers' beating drums. Is he really, seriously, honest to Buddha surrounding himself with his foes because he believes in not surrounding himself with yes men? Could this even be possible?

Then I read an article about his meeting with US governors and how he asked for their opinions, and listened to everyone...very carefully. And everyone, from Republicans to Democrats, felt heard. It was the first time any president had done such a thing. This is the kind of leader I always wanted to follow. It's the kind of leader I want to be in my personal and professional life.

I can't stand the suspense. And if I don't start breathing soon, I might be out of my misery sooner than later.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Who Wouldn't Vote For Al Franken?

I first heard about Al Franken when I read his book Rush Limbaugh Is A Big Fat Idiot and Other Observations. I read the book way before I started paying attention to politics, so I'm not sure how or why I picked up this book. I was probably in an airport on some corporate jaunt, and needed a book to read. I had heard Limbaugh a couple of times because my family just loved (and probably still do love) him. My sister once had a conniption fit because her VCR failed to record Rush's show. I was fascinated by her reaction, but remained silent, as usual.

I remember reading the book in front of the rough rock fireplace in my "hovel" (my brother's term for my rented desert shack) in Cave Creek, Arizona in the late 90s. I was alone in that hovel, with pack rats scurrying around in the ceiling above me, chewing the wires to bits, as I surreptitiously giggled about Rush being a cheetos-eating couch-potato welfare recipient. Delicious!

The part of the book I remember best was in the introduction, where Al got the go-ahead from the publisher for the book and then realized that in order to write it, he actually had to listen to Limbaugh. Horrors! So, he pawned off the listening to an intern. I completely understand. I always criticized my parents for only reading right-wing books, but here I am, only reading left-wing blogs. It's because I can't stomach the loony right. There are some sane voices, but not many.

Anyway, my question is, who wouldn't vote for Al Franken after seeing his amazing rendition of Mick Jagger? Hat tip for this video to my friend, and new Skype buddy, Arthur.

Enjoy! (If you are reading this post from an email, please click through to my blog to view the video.)

Obama Bites The Poisoned Apple

Via Truthdig:

Barack Obama’s decision to increase troop levels in Afghanistan and leave behind tens of thousands of soldiers and Marines in Iraq—he promises only to withdraw combat brigades—is a failure to rescue us from the status of a rogue nation. It codifies Bush’s “war on terror.” And the continuation of these wars will corrupt and degrade our nation just as the long and brutal occupation of Gaza and the West Bank has corrupted and degraded Israel. George W. Bush has handed Barack Obama a poisoned apple. Obama has bitten it.

I voted for Barack Obama, knowing that he was still a misdirected hawk. I cry when I watch him have direct eye contact and hold the tiny hands of little black kids in Chicago on Thanksgiving day. And then I cry again, when he vows to continue an illegal and immoral occupation in Iraq, and start anew a war in Afghanistan. How can he do one kind, local deed, and not the same in a far away land? Because he does not bother stooping down to his knees and holding the tiny hands of dead or dieing Iraqi and Afghanistan children, or look their grieving mothers and fathers, grandparents, brothers and sisters, directly in the eye.

Go there, Barack Obama, and witness the devastation we, the American people, have wrought. Go there, and touch the bodies and souls of our destruction. Then see how cavalier you can be, within your golden not-yet-white-house walls.

Exposed: NBC's Brian Williams & General McCaffrey's Secret Affair

Sorry about the headline. I'm just very pissed off that these two putzes are in bed together, with McCaffrey gaining huge financial benefit from his military investments while he talks up BushCo's wars on American TeeVee. Americans watch this medal-clad retired military guy and give him undue respect, and believe everything he says. Meanwhile, Williams and NBC, swimming in a slavering, war-mongering, General Electric-owned carnal bliss, have absolutely not one iota of shame.

Will anyone else?

Meanwhile, as soon as, or probably before, it became evident that the terrorists in Mumbai might be from Pakistan, the US media started the war drums at a fevered pitch. On CNN's front page there was the headline "Tensions High Between India, Pakistan" and a poll question: "Are you worried that the Mumbai attacks could lead to a new conflict between India and Palistan?"

At that very same moment, I'm watching the Indian news channel NDTV 24x7 (live feed), and they were interviewing Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi. The interviewer was tough, asking pointed questions about why the Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT) (who may have trained the Mumbai terrorists) are allowed by the Pakistani government to operate openly in Pakistan. But Qureshi was willing to answer the questions of a journalist, and impress upon him that Pakistan will do everything it can to assist India in the investigation. They were already sharing intelligence, and both sides, while saying tough things, were separating the fact that although the terrorists may have come from and were trained in Pakistan, that it was not the Pakistani government who specifically sent them to terrorize Mumbai. There was a dialogue in place, at the highest levels, and openly in the press. What a concept.

Pakistan is responsible for controlling terrorist groups who launch attacks from their country. No doubt about it. But until it is proven that the Pakistani government personally ordered those attacks, no discussions of India attacking Pakistan should be entertained.

Unless you are the US media, who lusts for war, and profits from it.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


I found this today and really loved it. It's a film and book by Andrew Zuckerman. You can find out all about it here. Below is the trailer and the making of video. Both are worth watching. (If you are reading this post from an email, click through to my blog to view the video.)

Friday, November 21, 2008

My Message To The Health Insurance Industry

Dear America's Health Insurance Plans:

I am not so much interested in reforming you, as I am in eliminating you as the middle man between my health, and my health practitioner. Health insurance has been a big ponzi scheme since its inception. Your profit motive is and has always been in direct conflict with a human being's right to health care. A government-managed, universal health care program may inherently lack efficiency, but at least it will not exclude or obstruct people from accessing care, when they need it. Under the guise of "managing costs," you are really focused on managing your profits, at the expense of the American people. YOU created this problem by your own greed and irresponsibility. YOU need to get out of the way.

With millions of the American people's hard-earned dollars, your industry lobbyists will continue to try and control the government's efforts in health care reform. You will continue to pretend that you are dedicated to protecting the needs of your policy holders, but more and more Americans know that this is a big fat lie.

I hope that the new administration will stand up to you, and finally eradicate you.

Go find some other way to bilk people out of their money in return for bad service. And don't let the door hit your butt too hard on the way out.

You too can tell off the health insurance lobby. Click here to tell 'em what you think. There's copy provided for you, if you don't feel like making up your own. I just had a certain bone to pick, so I picked it.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

In The Eye Of Newt

Newt Gingrich thinks that anti prop 8 demonstrations are "gay and secular fascism in this country that wants to impose its will on the rest of us, is prepared to use violence, to use harassment. I think it is prepared to use the government if it can get control of it. I think that it is a very dangerous threat to anybody who believes in traditional religion."

Check out the fear language. And the purposeful lies.

Here in France, people protest at the drop of a hat. That's because they have a tradition for making their voices heard. Because they believe they have the right to dissent, and to peaceful protest. They actually believe that the government serves the people, and not vice versa. These darned socialists and their democratic ways. Sheesh.

If you happen to live in Sacramento, please join this peaceful protest. Or any of the protests that are happening nationwide. Whether you are gay or straight, this is about standing up against discrimination and hate. Take action to make all of our voices heard (Hat tip to my friend Lori over at Hahn At Home):

Obama's AG Pick: Eric Holder

This is a recent speech (Friday) made by Eric Holder, Obama's pick for attorney general, at the American Constitution Society. It is music to my ears. He starts out kinda dorky funny not-so-ha-ha, but seconds later, he gets serious - about torture, about the rule of law. Definitely worth watching all the way through. Sorry I couldn't figure out how to embed it.

Click here to go see the video.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

John Bolton Gets His Ass Kicked

And by an Iraqi woman, no less. And then again by a righteously wrathful Tony Benn. And then again by Syrian Ambassador Dr. Sami Khlyami. And then one more time by Tony Benn, who recited the UN charter, which he obviously knows by heart.

Nice ass kicking. Couldn't have happened to a better guy... (If you're reading this post in an email, click through to my blog to view the video.)

I've been trying to figure out when this aired. It was posted on YouTube in March of 2007, which makes sense because it looks like Benazir Bhutto is on the panel, although she doesn't speak in this clip. I would have loved to have heard what she had to say too.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Price Of Gas

Priceless... (If you are reading this post from an email, click through to my blog to see the video.)

(Hat tip to After Downing Street.)

UC Berkeley Study: Guantanamo And Its Aftermath

UC Berkeley Human Rights Center and International Human Rights Law Clinic, in partnership with the nonprofit Center for Constitutional Rights, released Guantanamo and Its Aftermath (PDF). This in-depth, two-year study "opens a window onto the plight of detainees, from arrest and imprisonment to the return home." From the press release:

The report ... reveals in graphic detail the cumulative effect of Bush Administration policies on the lives of 62 released detainees. Many of the prisoners were sold into captivity and subjected to brutal treatment in U.S. prison camps in Afghanistan. Once in Guantanamo, prisoners were denied access to civilian courts to challenge the legality of their detention. Almost two-thirds of the former detainees interviewed reported having psychological problems since leaving Guantanamo.

Of the more than 770 detainees who have endured Guantanamo since it opened in 2002, more than 500 have been released without formal criminal charges or trial. So far, of the 250 or more who remain in detention, only 23 have been charged with a crime. Two have been convicted and one has pled guilty.

The authors warn that such a commission should not be undercut by the issuance of pardons, amnesties, or other measures that would protect those culpable from accountability. President-Elect Barack Obama has called for the closure of Guantanamo. The UC Berkeley report asks for even broader remedies.

"We cannot sweep this dark chapter in our nation's history under the rug by simply closing the Guantanamo prison camp," Stover said."The new administration must investigate what went wrong and who should be held accountable."

That's what I'm talkin' about. Been talkin' about. Go Bama Close GitMo.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Feck Yoo (And The Rest of BushCo Too)

Ever since the horrors of Abu Ghraib were made public, and then conveniently pinned onto the chests of the underlings who were carrying out not just an implied tone, but an actual White House abuse and torture policy, I marveled at how the American people could remain unmoved.

Even more, the fact that the revelations of Abu Ghraib were made public before Bush ran for his second term, but did not stop the American people from voting him into the highest office in the land for the second time, has alternatively made my blood boil and my stomach churn.

All of the evidence is there, and has been there, for the eyes to see, if you have the will, and the capability, and the inclination to view it. But I have come to realize that Americans, at many levels, are incurious, and certainly infantile in their world view.

You may take exception to my generalizations about the American public. You may say that you, as an American, were disgusted and horrified. Yet Guantanamo, an American gulag that will end up being, as a wise person said in the following documentary, the Nuremberg of our time, is still open for business. We Americans sit complacently, and allow this crime to be committed day in and day out, without rising up and demanding its closure.

We are all guilty of abuse and murder (of those who died in US custody, and of those that are somehow "missing" from US custody), and should be collectively ashamed.

I have some theories as to how this evil can persist, in broad daylight, without protest from not just Americans, but from the world. It only takes a little listening to the neocon rhetoric of the Bush administration to get a hint of what they believe is the psychology of the American people. Karl Rove, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, John Yoo and the rest of the neocon legal cabal are experts in scripting the type of code speak and propaganda that is effective in steering the American public towards supporting their heinous acts, or at least ignoring them with the idea that our leaders "know better" than we do, as to what is best for our country. (Just listen to Sarah Palin talking about "those teeruhrists" and you'll know what I mean.)

The first key talking point is the sneering, derisive statement that we should not "coddle" prisoners, especially these terrorists who "wish to destroy America." So, in the face of actual photographs of a pile of naked and chained human beings struggling on the ground, surrounded by beefy male and female guards, exposed, filthy, terrified and humiliated human beings, the American public says, "But those people want to kill all of us. So they don't deserve the respect that we, the better people, deserve."

There are many problems with this simplistic viewpoint, not just the incredible moral injustice and for those Christians out there, the completely non Christ-like behavior of these acts. First: many of those "terrorists" were SOLD to the United States by people who read the leaflets dropped on their village and who wanted to capitalize on the incredible amounts of money offered by a sadistic US administration hungry for retribution (in the case of those who actually believe in all this horse shit) or for human examples to parade around as images of evil so as to keep the fear machine, and thus the incredibly profitable war machine, in motion.

This means that the odds are very high that there are innocent people incarcerated, with no hope of proving their innocence or being freed. There are people in Guantanamo STILL, who have not yet been charged with a single crime, but have been held in terrible conditions, with torture, for periods of up to seven years.

The second problem: The reference to "coddling" prisoners, or jokes like, "What do you want a prison to be, a country club?" serve to dehumanize a group of human beings and simplify and minimize the serious impact of violating the Geneva Convention, primarily the negative impact on the safety of our own troops, the very troops that BushCo claims to be protecting. It is a fact that if we torture, then it gives license to our enemies to torture us as well.

If your son or daughter, brother or sister, mother or father, or next door neighbor is taken as a prisoner by an enemy, you can no longer expect them to be treated fairly, or humanely. BushCo has sealed the fate of our soldiers in the case of capture. Will you protest then? Will you remember how you failed to protest over the last 8 years?

The third problem: I am not exactly sure that there was a big group of people out there that wanted to "destroy America." That big group full of Arab boogie men, who are supposedly out to git us, each n' every one of us. But I am positive that if there was one, the group is MUCH BIGGER now. When you watch the film below, just think about how many people you would hate and want to kill after you got out of US custody. Just think about all those relatives of those prisoners at Guantanamo who hate the living shit out of America now. We've been busily manufacturing fresh new jihadis all by ourselves, just by our own behavior. 'Nuf said.

Once upon a time I learned an important lesson about interviewing potential employees to work for my teams in corporate America. My ability to create a warm, welcome and respectful environment during the interview, gave me more information about the candidate than if I had approached the interview in an intimidating, controlling or authoritarian style. I didn't need to exert authority. I needed information. I needed to get an idea of what this candidate had accomplished in his or her career that could benefit my team, and I needed to see if their style, demeanor and attitude would fit into my team's environment. I had one candidate tell me about a prior arrest for drug posession. He volunteered that information. I didn't have to beat it out of him.

This example is not even close to the practice of interrogation in a time of war, but the more I read from interrogation and legal experts about the inefficacy of torture for obtaining information, I know why this is true. Because I have experienced getting information out of people in my own little way. Yet, Americans, for some reason, LIKE the idea of torture. Otherwise, a TV show like 24 would not be such an amazing success. Americans have this naive little sexual fantasy about spies and torture. At least the Brits made 007, the guy himself, sexy, instead of making what he did sexy. Of course, 007 had a lot of sex, ate a lot of good food, drank the best booze and looked great in a tuxedo, so he was romantic as a spy character, but he didn't fucking torture anybody. At least the 007 production teams kept the line pretty clear between the good guys and the bad guys, and only the bad guys tortured.

Torture, and the support of torture, no matter what kinds of softened, vague euphemisms the bastards in the Bush administration come up with to describe it, is depravity. But, contrary to George W. Bush's repeated lie "We do not torture," we, America the beautiful, DO torture and that liar ordered up the torture. Unfortunately, like it or not you flag wavers out there, we Americans are now the bad guys.

As a shining beacon of freedom and democracy, we have utterly failed. Currently, we are a third-world country, run by insane power- and money-hungry despots. When a friend of mine who had been cynical about Obama read the recent headline that Obama plans to close Guantanamo, this friend of mine, a grown man in his fifties, stood in front of his computer and cried like a baby. He still welled up the next day, and the day after, every time he spoke of that news. He was the one who said to me, "How could this have taken so long? How could America have been publicly running a gulag without anybody doing anything about it?"

I feel like I'm pissing in the wind writing this. I'm calling out to a largely deaf American public. Those who read this blog already agree with me, so I'm singing to the choir. There are also many people who have written and produced much more compelling articles and films than I could ever produce in my tiny little circle of influence. Yet even with all the facts available, America is still unmoved.

If you could, as a tribute to those whom we have harmed by allowing BushCo to perpetrate these crimes against other human beings, please watch the powerful documentary created by The National Security Archive Project at George Washington University, called Torturing Democracy, available online in its entirety (3 segments). Please pass it on via any means you have, to as many people as you know. It was supposed to be aired on PBS but the Bush administration threatened to slash PBS funding, so PBS said they would only air it after January 21st. When The Daily Beast busted PBS on this and the New York Times subsequently also challenged PBS, they actually said that the timing of January 21st, the day after the end of Bush's term, was "a coincidence." Fuckers.

If you can spare some change, please also donate to Amnesty International's "100 Days" campaign, which calls on President Obama to set a deadline for closing the prison at Guantánamo Bay, issue an Executive Order banning the use of torture, and end impunity for human rights abuses in his first 100 days in office.

Somehow, I want to believe that we can get through to the American public about the gravity of this situation. Somehow, I want America's eyes and ears to clear, and their brains to start thinking again. And I want Bush, Cheney, John Yoo and all the rest of those bastards to be tried and convicted of war crimes. And I want reparations to begin. Somehow.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Once So Maligned

The effects of the election are still bubbling up in my mind, and have colored my perception of life as it pulses around me. As I meet with students from all over the world - Russia, Bulgaria, Cote d'Ivoire - I feel better about being an American. We have interesting conversations about politics instead of covering the subject at hand. One student said, "They are treating Obama as a God. But he is just a man. Nobody can clean up that mess quickly." So true. But in my mind, he isn't a God. He's a skilled, competent campaigner, and a man who will make mistakes, as all men do. But he is also a historic figure, a powerful symbol, not just of "hope" but of the much more important dream of self actualization for all people who have ever felt they were powerless because of something they could not control, such as the color of their skin, or the circumstances of their birth.

As I walked home this morning from guiding some new Canadian friends to the taxi stand, I passed a restaurant that had taken all of the French newspaper coverage of the election and taped each page to the inside of their windows. I could walk along the sidewalk and gaze in at huge headlines and photos of Obama, his wife, their children. There were pictures of people celebrating all over France. That's right, French people. Last night at dinner, there was a short lull in the conversation, and the two lovely ladies whom I had just met a few hours earlier after watching their beautiful performance on stage, picked up their wine glasses and said, "Can we just say this now...Cheers to Obama." We clinked our glasses and smiled as we talked about our mutual relief at the imminent end of the reign of terror. There was nothing to fear, it turns out, but that smirky little enfant terrible and his skulking dark lord Cheney.

But one of the events of election night has remained in my mind, nudging me for attention. I was alone on election night. I had been nervous with expectation for days. Tuesday morning dawned here in Paris, and I knew that Americans were still tucked into their beds. I would have to wait until 4:30 pm, when finally Los Angeles awakened at 7:30 am and started voting. I had my Mac set up with my RSS news feed updating constantly, then my browser windows with the Google electoral map, MSNBC live TV coverage, CNN and the Huffington Post.

I had Twhirl open and heard the little bell each time someone twittered some news about the election. I was watching the incredible organizational skills of the No On Prop 8 team in San Francisco and Los Angeles. As soon as anyone saw any Yes On Prop 8 signs, they twittered the location and there was a general call from HQ to get people out to that location with No On Prop 8 signs. They worked their asses off and still lost, which really broke my heart. I was also following several websites that were tracking and responding to voter suppression stories. I was so worried that there wouldn't be enough of us to overcome Rovian dirty tricks, and the neocons would steal the election one more time.

Then I fell asleep! It was 3 or 4 in the morning my time, and I couldn't stay awake. My cat woke me up at 8 and for the first time, I wasn't grumpy with her when she stood purring on my chest and daintily plucked my lip with one claw. Darling thing. And by then, Obama's win had been announced. I was awed and felt all quiet inside. Then on MSNBC, I watched Juan Williams speak. There he was, a black man in an expensive suit, behaving his damn self. Of all things. He was the consummate professional journalist. But then, in the midst of a measured dialogue, he said the word "maligned," and it was just afterwards that I heard his voice break. It was that one word that broke the façade that he wore, the same one we all wear, to cover up our humanity. Here's what he said (full text is here):

This is truly an incredible moment of American history. I can't think of another country in the world where you could have a significant minority that was once so maligned and so oppressed finally have one of its sons rise to this level. This is ah...

There is a wound in our hearts. We put superman bandages on it, in hopes that we can grow a new fragile skin over the top of it. But it festers, even with our ministrations. We try to ignore it as we dress ourselves up, and go out and meet the world. We put on a smile of confidence and worth, and we don't allow ourselves to entertain any doubts. There's a dull, almost imperceptible pain from our collective wound. Even if we are people who, by circumstances of our birth, have never known prejudice, some of us have been abused in other ways that create similar scars. Or we carry the wound in our genes, from the pain passed down by our parents or grandparents. Nobody gets away scott free. We, or someone before us, or someone we have helped along the way, were "once so maligned."

Juan Williams didn't crack until he pulled the bandaid off and let some air hit that wound. One word became the key that unlocked Pandora's box. It was then that his costume fell away. All he had done, all he had achieved, all the symbols he wore, became unimportant for a few seconds. And I felt his humanity. It touched my own. THIS is the power of Obama's win. It isn't about one guy. It isn't just about black people. It's about all of us, with our festering wounds, being one. It's about prevailing, when we were once so maligned. And no matter what Obama accomplishes, there is no turning back. This win can never be taken away from us, and the wound is absolutely on the mend.

BY THE WAY: I'm just a middle class, middle-aged, white girl, born in the Philadelphia burbs. I went to a private Catholic girls school in wealthy Merion, Pennsylvania. There was one black girl in the whole school. I still remember her name: Winnie. And Winnie's father dropped her off and picked her up at school every day in the limo that he drove for a living. The only other time I ever saw black people was when I'd lie to my mother and take off with my friends to 69th street in Philly, so we could smoke cigarettes and wear our contraband hippie clothes and hang out in the record store. I can't pretend to know what it feels like to be black in America. But this post, entitled The Happening, is an insightful, beautifully written chronology of election night in New York City, written by LOWERMANHATTANITE in the Group News Blog. I urge you to hop on over there and read it. It's a story about regular life, and some wounds healing, and I thoroughly enjoyed being a fly on the wall.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Black Guy Gets The Shit Job Again

I just had to laugh out loud while I was reading a blog, The Skeptic, to see one Egyptian's viewpoint on the Obama win. This is how small the world Egyptian blog directed me to an Onion article entitled, Black Man Given Nation's Worst Job which said: "As part of his duties, the black man will have to spend four to eight years cleaning up the messes other people left behind." I assume Obama will also be responsible for sweeping up after the inauguration parade too. And I hope Aunt Jemima will be appointed to the White House kitchen so she can sing while she makes massuh his waffles on the morning of January 21st.

Meanwhile, I read that gun sales "soared" just before and just after the Obama win. It reminded me of my Dad, years ago when I was a freshman in high school in Arizona, when he told me he had two shot guns hidden and loaded in his bedroom closet. I asked him why and he said, "Because when those niggers decide to rise up, there will be nothing stopping them from just kicking down our front door and coming into our home. I'll be ready for them."

About five or six years ago, my Dad ended up selling those guns to one of my boyfriend's cowboy friends. I guess my Dad figured he was safe.

Until now. I bet he regrets selling those rifles.

The New York Times article about gun sales decided to package that news as if the people buying the guns are worried about Obama taking away their right to bear arms. Bullshit, and bullshit again. Didn't you see all them niggers on TV getting uppity after the election? Hootin' n a howlin' in the streets like animals? Any minute now, they'll be kicking down all of our doors, you just mark my Dad's and Sarah Palin's words. Suddenly, they'll "get" that they have power now, and they'll be after us all.

I'm sorry, but if Obama were to change the law about arms bearing, it would take time. There would be debate about it. And you'd have plenty of time beforehand to stock up. So, the gun buying "surge" wasn't about gun ownership. It was about defending our homeland from them angry black people.

Oh. But it's been five days and I haven't read any news of the Great Kill Whitey Uprising. But I did read about the "surge" in death threats to Obama that correlated with Palin's campaign speeches about pallin' around with terrorists. And those two white supremacist guys that got busted who had a plan to go on a shooting binge and finish it off with an assassination of Obama.

So, who should we be afraid of now? I'm confused.

Withdrawal: Stop The Pleasure Now!

Juan Cole has posted his brilliant Ghouls Glossary 2008. Here are some of my favorites:

Iran: A largely Shiite country that would attack the United States and impose Sunni Bin Laden rule on us if only they had Bin Laden or any weapons.

Iraq: A largely Shiite country that would attack the United States and impose Sunni Bin Laden rule on us if only they had Bin Laden or any weapons.
Pakistan: A largely Sunni country that does have Bin Laden and nuclear weapons, but which declares itself an ally of America in the war on terror and allows itself to be routinely attacked by the United States.

You have to go to his post to see more. OK, I can't resist just adding one more:

Withdrawal: A way to avoid the worst consequences of a moment of pleasurable conquest, which, however, often comes too late to avoid years of support payments.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Our Work Has Just Begun

As a little girl, I followed my mother on the campaign trail for Barry Goldwater. She was the head of the Pennsylvania Republican Women, and later on in her political life, she and my father attended the inaugural ball for Richard Nixon. Three Christmas cards from Nixon are still framed and hanging proudly on her wall. Although she despises what Goldwater became, and referred to him as "that old drunk," she still somehow thinks that Nixon was framed.

My mother changed her Canadian citizenship in order to work and vote for Goldwater. Her political roots came from her father, who was a sugar broker in Detroit during the depression, and thus was able to buy a new car every year. He was a staunch Republican, and a Catholic. Meanwhile, my British grandmother, apolitical and Protestant, fed poor men who came to her back kitchen door, and I once found her hiding behind my brothers' bedroom door, sobbing at the death of our pet parakeet.

My grandmother was probably not as apolitical as she appeared. From her position on the couch, with an apple pie in the oven and crossword puzzle on her lap, she sometimes risked a strong opinion or two. She never approved of what she saw as my mother's desire for status, luxury and intellectualism. She was happiest having a simple meal at home or an inexpensive meal at Horn and Hardart's counter, versus my mother's preference for fine dining and shopping at John Wannamaker's or Saks Fifth Avenue in Philadelphia. The gifts she gave me were focused on teaching me how to make things with my hands. She was outnumbered, surrounded by Republicans, as I am now in my own family. And as my mother dismissed her own mother as childish and naive, so she does the same to me now.

I think I was born a Democrat. And I was a stranger in a strange land. But there were also things that attracted me to old-time conservatism, such as fiscal responsibility. I agreed with Republicans of the time, that our elected representatives should be cautious and wise in how they handled "our" money. But as we have seen from 8 years of Neoconservatism, if any party could be the standard bearer for fiscal waste, it would now be the Republicans. The "tax and spend" label they have slapped on Democrats, has lost its glue and just won't stick anymore. With billions poured down the drain in Iraq for an illegal, immoral and completely mismanaged war, with unbridled corruption in no-bid contracts for such behemoths as Dick Cheney's Halliburton, with corporate regulations slashed to the point that greed grew like Kudzu in Alabama, the Republicans have destroyed what once was a conservative standard for their party.

In my early observations of politics, I listened to my parents rail against welfare and so-called entitlement programs. Their vision was always of the shiftless, ignorant poor who did not deserve the elite's hard-earned money. "Get a job!" was not a joke in my family, it was an angry, resentful cry. Even though I know there are lazy human beings, and uneducated human beings the world over, I felt at the time that it was unfair to paint all those in need, with the same broad brush. Even though I had never met any poor people, I couldn't imagine that they were all, each and every one of them, so bad. There had to be people out there that through their own mistakes, or perhaps even through no mistake of their own, had fallen into dire straits. And if my parents' religion was true to its calling, we should be kind and generous to all of those in need, whatever the origin of their circumstances.

"Let the churches and charities take care of those people" was a common dismissal of my questions. And today, as then, churches and charities have played a heroic part in a war against poverty and misery. But a bigger question began to eat at me. Doesn't our government also hold some responsibility for the needy? We can argue this question on economic, philosophical or moral ground until the cows come home, but I believe, statistically, that when government aid is generously funded, and there are fewer desperate, starving or ill people, the overall economy is strengthened and crime is lessened. I don't have the stats, but I believe in my gut that this must be true. And, in my readings about the roots of terrorism, I often see that poverty, frustration and the feeling of impotence when it comes to managing their own destiny, is what makes young men and women ripe for the lure of the destructive power of terrorism.

For, as the saying goes, a hungry man is an angry man.

I have watched and commented on this campaign with intensity. If I had voted the issues, Dennis Kucinich would have been my man. But I knew, as a marketer, that Kucinich didn't have "it," all the surface image traits that Americans need in order to be comfortable with their vote. No matter how hot his wife was, he would forever be labeled as a kook, as many passionate people often are. What I don't think he could have accomplished, nor could any of the Democratic candidates for that matter, was the incredible skill that Barack Obama has for inspiration and unity. In the tiny microcosm of my own life and work, I've seen how powerful this kind of charismatic leadership can be. It has the power of shifting the consciousness, not just of this nation, but of the world.

I am thrilled that Barack Obama will soon be the president of the United States. And I am also aware that it is my continuing responsibility to stay on top of things, to bitch and blog, to hold Obama's feet to the fire. I want this consciousness shift to take root. I want it to become concrete, with legislation, foreign policy, and global results. I want to see a shift away from our debt-inducing addiction to consumerism, that focus on the never-fulfilled emptiness of the self, to a more other-centered world view. Although my grandfather, the Detroit sugar broker, would disagree with me, we don't need a new car every year. Instead, we as individuals, and we as a nation, need to be a lot more like my grandmother, Elsie McIntire Mitchell, and open up our kitchen doors, to share our bounty with others.

On this historic day, I am not finished with this thing called politics. I hope that all of you, no matter your political leanings, are not finished either. Now is not the time to relax and become complacent. Now is the time to work twice as hard, in any way that we can.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Monitoring The Vote

Simon Owens of Bloggasm just published a great article on PBS entitled Citizens, Media Use Social Media to Monitor Election. He emailed me and asked me to post a link and I was happy to do so. I also actually read his article (smile) and ended up learning about and hooking up to more vote-related sites, like the Twitter Vote Report.

So, if you are voting today, please Video Your Vote (it might be the ONLY PROOF we have of anybody's vote) and hook up to any of these vote monitoring sites, especially any of them that use Twitter, to record any problems you have or observe during your vote.

I voted by absentee ballot a while ago, and I had a moment when I considered making a copy of my ballot for proof, but I got distracted and never did. I wish that I had!

If you are as interested in the results of the California same-sex marriage ban proposition as I am, you can track their progress on Twitter @noonprop8.

If you want to keep up with any and all Tweets about the election, you can go to Politweets, a little website that constantly updates with any tweets that have the candidate names or parties in them. (Hat tip to my pal in Palm Springs, CoffeeSister and her twittering self.)

I don't know about you guys, but I am both excited and nervous about this election. So many things in the balance. I woke up at 5ish this morning to a blue sky Paris and a prediction of 60 degrees (it's been cold and rainy for the last few days). A great omen? Perhaps. I'll be inside, glued to my Mac, wandering out on the balcony once in a while to have a smoke. Unfortunately, you are all going to sleep right now, and I will be sitting here twiddling my thumbs. At least I got to see the very first results, pouring in from Dixville Notch. Obama won 15-6. It's a small town. But it looks like at least 15 of them must not be real Americans. Hmmm.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Mormon Church Chooses Bigotry Over Charity

It boggles my mind that any religious organization who claims to follow Christ will spend 20 million dollars to block same-sex marriage (California proposition 8) instead of spending 20 million dollars to feed the hungry, house the homeless, comfort the desperate or heal the sick. It's despicable. And when all those fake Christians keel over and ascend to their fairy land in the sky somewhere, I hope their fantasy saint at the golden pearly gates slaps the shit out of every single one of them.

Please Californians, vote NO on prop 8. Even if you don't live in California, please donate to stop this kind of discrimination.

Update: Read Mormon Church on Prop 8: We Oppose Civil Rights (but don't tell) on HuffPost.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Does 1994 Torture Law Apply To Bush?

This just in via CNN:

Federal jurors convicted the son of former Liberian president Charles Taylor Sr. of torture and conspiracy charges Thursday, said a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office in the southern district of Florida.

Charles "Chuckie" Taylor Jr., also known as Charles McArthur Emmanuel, was found guilty on one count of torture, one count of conspiracy to commit torture and one count of possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime, said Alicia Valle, special counsel to the U.S. attorney.

Taylor's case, tried in Miami, Florida, was the first brought under a 1994 United States law saying those accused of committing torturous acts overseas can be tried in a U.S. federal court.



American Express to cut 7,000 jobs
Qwest to cut 1,200 jobs
Yahoo to cut 1,500 jobs
eBay to cut 1,600 jobs, or 10 percent of its workforce
After taking over Lehman Brothers, Barclay's will cut 3,000 jobs
Whirlpool will cut 5,000 jobs
Chrysler will cut 5,000 jobs
Time Inc. Plans 600 Layoffs

Exxon Mobil: Biggest profit in U.S. history: Largest U.S. oil company surges past analyst estimates to post net income of $14.83 billion.

When will somebody other than me say that this is criminal?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

One More Time: Voting Psychology Survey

I posted this last week and was asked to post it again. It's an interesting survey, so check it out:

A research team from the Psychology Department at New York University, supported by the National Science Foundation, is investigating voting behavior, political preferences, and candidate evaluations throughout the course of the 2008 U.S. Presidential election. This stage of the study focuses on the information people use to inform evaluations during the last few weeks before the election. They seek respondents of all political leanings from all over the country (and from the rest of the world) to complete a 15-minute questionnaire, the responses to which will be completely anonymous.

Learn more by going to the survey link:

At the request of the survey authors, I have closed comments only for this post.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Obama Middle East Adviser Dennis Ross Wants Iran War

As we get closer to election day, I try and maintain my hope that Obama the man will trump the industry lobby money he's accepted. I know this is naive. I know from his FISA vote that he can be swayed to vote for industry interests over what is best for America. He voted for immunity for an industry that broke the law invading our privacy at the behest of the criminal BushCo administration. His stance on adding troops to Afghanistan clearly tells me that he is way more into war than I want him to be. I don't like his Iraq withdrawal plan either (in that it is not immediate), since he has succumbed to neocon goading to make sure he always uses adjectives like "responsible" when he discusses withdrawal of our troops. Like it's even close to responsible to leave them in there for one day longer.

I keep praying that Iraqi resistance will continue to balk at signing the security forces agreement, even as BushCo yanks at Iraq's balls by threatening to cease "vital services" if they don't sign it. I hope they call BushCo's bluff. I've never, ever believed that if we exit Iraq, the whole place will go up in flames. Instead, I believe our presence there is what creates and foments violence and our game of playing one faction against another has achieved the results the neocons desire: to create enough insurgency and instability so that it appears that US troops must stay in order to control the insurgency and stabilize the instability. Al Queda never existed in Iraq until we got there, but now we say we can't leave because Al Queda is in Iraq. Total bullshit.

Last night I read an article "A Bright Shining Lie: Dennis Ross And The Run-Up to An Attack On Iran" and realized I had never heard of Dennis Ross, a member of Obama's Middle East team. Here's some evidence of his troubling influence:

It was during the question and answer period that I brought up a prominent report in the Israeli press which said former member of parliament and former cabinet minister Ephraim Sneh, speaking for his government, sent identical memos to both Senators Obama and John McCain. The memos declared that Israel would attack Iran in 2010 unless the “Iranian nuclear threat” is negated by a US attack or a regime change in Tehran.1

Subsequent to having received the memo, Barack Obama was asked at a campaign stop in Iowa if Israel felt it had the “green light” from the US to attack Iran. Obama chose not to answer the question directly, claiming any answer would be speculation. Instead the candidate responded, “my job as President would be to try to make sure that we are tightening the screws on Iran… before Israel feels its back is to the wall.”2


Last week Ross wrote that the Bush administration is failing in regard to Iran, opining that we cannot afford “four more years of US policies that are tough rhetorically but soft practically.”3 In a recent Wall Street Journal article4 co-authored with Richard Holbrooke and James Woolsey, with whom he has founded the group called United Against Nuclear Iran, Ross and his colleagues beat the drums for war with the usual exaggerated warnings of imminent danger and a dubious list of past and future Iranian transgressions.

In an article in the Financial Times5, Daniel Dombey and James Blitz wrote that Ross, working with the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington think-tank, has produced a report calling for the Americans and Europeans to bypass the United Nations and impose tougher sanctions on Iran. In addition to the sanction campaign, the report, which is titled “Meeting the Challenge: US Policy Toward Iranian Nuclear Development,”6 recommends taking military steps such as “pre-positioning additional US and allied forces, deploying additional aircraft carrier battle groups and minesweepers [and] emplacing other war materiel in the [Gulf] region.” The report further urges that these military actions should be taken by the new President on his first day in office!

I didn't like what I read in the article, but needed to get more information before I got really worried. So, I went to my own Middle East advisor, Juan Cole, and well, now I'm really worried. I entered Dennis Ross as a search term on Cole's website and got this results page.

Here are some troubling quotes:

August 28, 2004:

WINEP has largely followed AIPAC into pro-Likud positions, even though its director, Dennis Ross, is more moderate. He is a figurehead, however, serving to disguise the far right character of most of the position papers produced by long-term WINEP staff and by extremist visitors and "associates" (Daniel Pipes and Martin Kramer are among the latter).

WINEP, being a wing of AIPAC, is enormously influential in Washington. State Department and military personnel are actually detailed there to "learn" about "the Middle East"! They would get a far more balanced "education" about the region in any Israeli university, since most Israeli academics are professionals, whereas WINEP is a "think tank" that hires by ideology.


It was these WINEP and AIPAC-linked US Likud backers in the Defense Department who had the Iraqi army dissolved as soon as Saddam was overthrown. This step threw Iraq into chaos and led to the deaths of nearly a thousand US servicemen so far, since an Iraq without an army would inevitably depend on the US military.

December 13, 2007:

Farideh Farhi has more on the lack of an Iranian nuclear program. She shows that remarks of Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani to American scholars and politicians have been distorted by propagandists such as Dennis Ross. But it does turn out that Rafsanjani frankly told the Americans in 2005 that Iran had no weapons program, and did not need one, but that it did want to close the fuel cycle.

Perhaps since Ross is just a member of Obama's Middle East team, and not its leader, and perhaps if there are other advisers on the team to counter Ross's influence, we may have some hope. Although, he helped Obama prepare for his Middle East trip and traveled with him, and Obama's quotes above, in regards to Iran, reflect Ross's viewpoint.

As I researched this post, I came across an American Thinker article, railing against Obama's radical leftist anti-Israel advisors. The most heinous evil doer on the team, according to AT, is Robert Malley, lawyer, political scientist and specialist in conflict resolution (God forbid we should need somebody who knows how to do that) and Program Director for Middle East and North Africa at the International Crisis Group in Washington, D.C. This seemed to be a good sign. Of course, the American Thinker article was still stating as a fact that Obama is a Muslim and attended a Muslim Madrassa school.

Here's an article on the Council on Foreign Relations website, with backgrounds on some of Obama's advisers. Ross is not listed. Here's an interesting perspective from the Socialist Worker.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

An Orgy Of Positive People

My friend Arthur sent me an email with a subject line that said "Inspirational news..." The only thing inside the email was a link. When I went to the page, I started to say to myself, "Oh I have to blog about her...and about him...and him!" Until I realized that there are 50, count 'em, 50 stories of human beings who are doing amazingly positive things. Every single one of them is worth reading about and listening to.

So, please take a look at Utne Reader's 50 Visionaries Who Are changing Your World. You will get lost in an orgy of positiveness from which you hopefully won't have to ever return.

(Hey, that blog post title will bring in some traffic, won't it? hehe)

Friday, October 24, 2008

What The Scientists Have To Say

There's a great YouTube site that is in the process of compiling and uploading videos of scientists who talk about who they plan to vote for and why. Have a geeky look-see.

Don't Let Anyone Stop You From Voting

Bring your cell phone to the polls and record any problems you see. Then post them at VideoTheVote. You can also check out the Voter Suppression Wiki. It's a great resource for local info.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Me And Joe Don't Care How Much Sarah's Clothes Cost

Even though I shudder at the thought of a fundamentalist Sarah Palin in the white house, I have to say that I wasn't as shocked and horrified about the $150,000 makeup and wardrobe spending made by the RNC on Sarah's behalf. Yes, she's supposed to be speaking for and to Joe Six Pack, and I guess also Joe's wife (but the jury's still out on that one), and so the thought that she spent $75K in Neimans alone, where Joe and his unnamed wife would never shop, is hypocritical. But it's her attractiveness that got everybody all excited. All the Republican teevee and radio boys were drooling over her. Republican male voters fell in love with her. And it surely wasn't because of her experience or her brains, so sorry to say.

So...any good marketer/packager would capitalize on Sarah's strengths and do their best to support and enhance Sarah's image. If I were in charge of her image for that campaign, I would have done the same thing.

Besides, the Jane Six Packs of the world don't expect Sarah to dress like them. They expect her to be gorgeous so they can aspire to being just like her. This "big disclosure" isn't going to shock or horrify Sarah's "base."

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Exclusive: Riot Police Ready For Young Republican Unrest After Elections

I don't want to unfairly place the spotlight on one segment of our society, but somebody has to say what most people are just too darned afraid to say. And that brave somebody is, well, me.

It's about all those Biffs and Bryces, Jessicas and Jennifers out there in middle to upper class land, who are quietly seething underneath their cabled wool sweaters and white oxford cloth shirts. You all know who I'm talking about, those agitators, those sons and daughters of mostly white people, who are angry, underneath their bow ties and please-don't-CFM low-heeled pumps. They're angry about how marginalized they are. How they are so often discriminated against. How many jobs they lose every day to affirmative action. How difficult their parent-funded lives are. This gang, known as the Young Republicans, may sound effete, maybe even girly-manish, but in truth, one small event, like McCain's loss of the upcoming election, could unleash a violent torrent of unused sexual energy, and send them into a rage that could precipitate a cataclysmic end to peace as we know it.

If you're not afraid, then you darn well should be. Because if their hero John McCain doesn't win this election, these Young Hooligans, these Commandos of a war they'll never have to fight directly, these Commandos who would never be caught dead going commando, will take to the streets, by golly, and run about in their penny loafers. In deep solidarity they will march (hope somebody brings some bandaids!), raising their French manicured fists, their pasty white hairy knuckled fat fingered man hands high into the air, as their Righteous Republican voices shout Gosh Darnit! with all the spoiled brat rage they can muster. They might even use their Blackberries so much, texting such things as "All our voter caging efforts for naught!" and calling each other to cry off their Lancome mascara, that the whole cellular infrastructure will collapse.

It will be, well, a riot. I don't know about you, but I think they could do some serious damage.

And I hope their white socks don't get dirty.

If they are at all worried about getting soiled though (riots can be so icky!), they can send their illegal immigrant gardener or maid ("don't ask, don't tell" is the unofficial Republican immigration policy) into the foray as their proxies, while they gather at Starbucks to drown their sorrows in a Double Chocolaty Chip Frappuccino® Blended Crème (accent not mine). Whether they join their fellow bank-bailing socialists on the filthy streets to fight against the dawn of Obama's communist, baby killing, whale coddling era, or they meet in the vaunted golden high rises of their bank-owning daddies to plan for victory in 2012, they will make themselves known. "Whatever it takes!" they always say, "Just Git 'er Done!"

But seriously, you don't have to be afraid this coming election day. Our brave police state has been thinking ahead, as they are wont to do. Cities across the nation have the situation under control. They are doubling up their police presence, so that they can patrol America's streets on election day, to make sure that all the poor voters, the black voters, the Hispanic voters, the voters with foreclosed homes, the know, all those Democrats...will feel safe while they stand in line at the local high school or town hall. That's what they'll be doing, yeah.

I applaud their efforts, these peace keepers dressed in black boots and riot gear, and their incredible courage. They will somehow pull off the impossible task of protecting people, all the while actually looking like they plan to arrest or kill them! And I also want to commend them on their boldness in coming straight out in the press and saying what only I have had the balls to say, that there's just one group of people we should all be afraid of on election day. Joe The Officer, that fearless symbol of something or other, will face the fearsome, fuming crowd of Young Republicans, with the kid gloves they so deserve.

I sure do feel safe, now. Don't you?

(My thanks to digby over at Hullabaloo for alerting me to this great news.)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Nir Rosen: Embedded With The Taliban

Hat tip to Mathew Good for this interesting video of Nir Rosen being interviewed by Democracy Now's Amy Goodman. (If you are reading this post in an email, please click through to my blog to view the video):

Tell A Story: How Science Trumps Creationism

From RadioLab:

This spring, Robert Krulwich gave the commencement speech at California Institute of Technology. He called it “Tell Me a Story.” And commencement speech it may be, it gets at the heart of what we do here at Radiolab. It’s a treat to hear his passion. We enjoyed it. And we thought you might too.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Obama Is Cheating By Being Right About Everything

I am very happy with Colin Powell right now. (Two videos follow. If you are reading this post in an email, click through to my blog to watch the videos.)

I don't think anybody could have nailed it so perfectly as he did. Nothing was sacred. FINALLY somebody said, "What's wrong with being a Muslim?" on the dessicated and verbally flatulent MSM. Somebody is finally serious enough not to give three shits about how "hot" Sarah Palin is(n't). All these drooling teevee common-taters and fat wingnut radio pawns and redneck Palin supporters who hurl racial epithets at black cameramen and assault reporters, are yuckin' it up about her religious hotness, and we have two fucking wars going on and our country is in the final financial flush down the big bog toilet. Do we have time to talk about Sarah Palin's hotness? Or about a crusty old domestic terrorist named Ayers who's now a boring teacher? About a voter registration organization that has zippo zero to do with actual people showing up and committing voter fraud?

Fuck no. Fuckity fuck FUCK no.

It's time to get serious boys and girls. The General has spoken.

Now that I've said that...I want you to enjoy a laugh or two with the comedic blow-by-blow rendition of Brokaw's show with Powell, written by The Bobblespeak Translations. I love this guy. He told me he sits there during these shows with a beer and cigarette and just types away. If you look at his URL, it says Moonshine Patriot. I don't know how he does it as well as he does, but it's just peachy.


October 19, 2008
Host: Tom Brokaw
Guest: Colin Powell

Brokaw: America and the whole world are facing a nightmare of crises like we have never had before

Powell: yes it's almost as bad disco

Brokaw: indeed

Powell: we've got that crazy economy, wars all over the place, and we got to reach out to our friends like Pakistan and our enemies like Spain

Brokaw: daunting challenges!

Powell: we need an articulate guy

Brokaw: a novel idea

Powell: there's going to be a crisis on January 21st 2009

Brokaw: what is it!?

Powell: i can't tell you

Brokaw: wow!

Powell: we need a president that calms people down and that people like and trust

Brokaw: i smell an endorsement coming!!!

Powell: we need leadership with greening, energy, poverty, for needy people

Brokaw: you hate America, don't you?

Powell: I will endorse someone smart, ready, well-informed, patriotic, with good ideas-

Brokaw: spill the beans handsome

Powell: Ok - i know and like John McCain and I've met Barack Obama and I admire John McCain although the GOP is increasingly evil...

Brokaw: out with it buddy

Powell: okay i've given a test to them both and McCain has been ranting like a crazy person - he's an erratic possibly insane loony and frankly a jerk

Brokaw: but but but.....

Powell: Sarah Palin - i wouldn't hire to walk my dog without fucking it up

Brokaw: none of us would General - hell she shoots wolves

Powell: turns out Obama on the other hand is smart, inclusive, hopeful, reaching out, not dividing America

Brokaw: well there is that

Powell: then you have McCain, running a hateful, racist, evil, divisive, mean, nasty, dishonest, pathetic, shitty campaign

Brokaw: hey whatever works smoothie

Powell: Let's face it I didn't leave the GOP - the GOP left Planet Earth

Brokaw: but Obama might be a muslim

Powell: So what? So what if he were? How come no one ever says it's fucking racist and wrong to say a President can't be a Muslim???

Brokaw: they’re swarthy?

Powell: a 14 year old kid joined the army and died a hero under the Crescent and Star

Brokaw: maybe we can harness their fanaticism for our own ends

Powell: Obama is who we need NOW

Brokaw: but he has no experience!

Powell: he is a brilliant man, a snappy dresser, and a transformational figure, and a campaign genius

Brokaw: well you would say that - you are black

Powell: his race might help with the rest of the world

Brokaw: the world! Pheh!

Brokaw: will you beg Obama to please stay in Iraq?

Powell: hey if they Iraqis want us to leave we should leave

Brokaw: but it's been such a fun war to cover

Powell: Get over it Tom

Brokaw: Let's talk about William Ayers

Powell: [ smacks Brokaw ]

Brokaw: ow!

Powell: [ rolls eyes ]

Brokaw: Ayers is worst person in human history

Powell: i don't truck with no motherfuckin’ Weathermen and neither does Mister Obama

Brokaw: Lessons from Iraq?

Powell: Look I tried diplomacy but Bush was stupid and he was the President - in my defense the CIA lied to me

Brokaw: uh huh

Powell: Let's not argue about who lied about what - the real mistake was not killing more

Brokaw: true

Powell: we goofed - it's happens

Brokaw: Who care what you think then

Powell: Do you how many white people consider me their Black Friend?

Brokaw: no

Powell: Millions

Brokaw: You said Bush would be moderate and optimistic

Powell: Yes look at Liberia

Brokaw: [ head explodes ]

Powell: Tom your brains are all over my suit

Brokaw: sorry about that general

Powell: The Bush administration had a decent 5 minutes from 12:06 to 12:11 pm on Jan. 21 2001

Brokaw: Good times

Brokaw: Apologize to McCain!

Powell: We need a man younger than 100 years, a smart man, and reasonable man, a clever man, a sane man, a non-psycho-

Brokaw: okay you've made your point

Brokaw: you're black - do you think americans are racist?

Powell: yes

Brokaw: you're black - would you be Ambassador to Africa?

Powell: that's a continent Tom

Brokaw: Whatever

[ break ]

Brokaw: C-Todd gimme the polls

Todd: Ohio is an unmoved tie - but Obama has Wisconsin

Brokaw: hoh mai

Todd: Obama getting close in West Virginia

Brokaw: oh my gowd why

Todd: The economy - otherwise it's baffling

Brokaw: indeed

Todd: Obama's winning in Charlotte cause of banking and in Montana and the United States of Brokejaw

Tom: warble

Brokaw: can McCain win?

Todd: yes - if he can wheel people age 75 to 100 to the polls

Brokaw: can terry schiavo vote?

Todd: yes but she has endorsed Obama

Brokaw: Colin Powell - wow!

Scar: Obama is cheating by being right about everything

Tom: Florida?

Scar: Powell will help - he's a respected military dude

Brook: the Republican party left me and went into Ga Ga Land

Mitchell: I'm very worried about this - the GOP has become a hate filled looney party - a problem with centrist Republicans

Brokaw: both of them!?

Parson Meachem: this is like a Seal of Approval from Morgan Freeman playing God

Brokaw: how so?

Meachem: he's a stand alone brand he stands for 'Military Uprightness'

Brokaw: is that it?

Meachem: Understand that Powell has been America's Magic Negro for over a decade and a half

Scar: I want to warn the Obama campaign to focus on the states you must win - McCain closes strongly - forget N. Carolina and just take Florida and win this thing

Brokaw: what the fuck is wrong with John McCain Brooksie - what's his raisin detter?

Brooks: They made a decision not to run a likeable moderate maverick candidate and decided to run a hate-filled divisive mean campaign

Scar: now wait just a second - we all laugh at Sarah Palin now - but McCain will lose by less than he was in July

McCain: i hate President Bush!!!!

Crowd: Booooo Buuuuuuushhh!!!!

Obama: Buuuuuuuullshiiiit!!!

Mitchell: the fact is Obama is running a very sad nasty ad campign - on national television

Brokaw: what sleazy thing are they doing?

Mitchell: running a video of McCain talking in his own words

Brokaw: that's below the belt

Brokaw: this is not fair

Mitchell: indeed Obama is cheating by being popular

Tom: John Lewis said a mean thing

Parson Meachem: John Lewis is literally a Saint - They call him Bleeding Gums John

Brokaw: he gave his life for the cause of gingivitis

Meachem: McCain was likeable this week because he has conceded the election in his mind

Brokaw: Obama is going to win big with a Democratic Congress

Scar: this is a Republican country

Brokaw: it's bad news for liberals

Brooks: why have the liberals given us a huge debt and big spending!!!???

Brokaw: indeed those fucking liberals I already hate the failed Obama administration

Alaska Is Shaped Like A Crown; So It Has A Destiny To Lead The Nation

As an appropriate update to my post below, this is a fascinating, but frightening documentary produced by Max Blumenthal, about Sarah Palin, her extreme religious views, the real reason behind her "inquiry" into banning books at the library (to block a book written by local pastor Bess who came out as a gay man), and the violent speech at her church ("...we put our feet against the heads of the enemy"). If you are viewing this post in an email, please click through to view the video:

Thanks to for posting this video.