Friday, March 21, 2008

I Have Nothing To Hide. So What?

When we first arrived in Paris, we had dinner with a British expat friend, Karel Beer, who has been in Paris for more than 20 years. He was curious why we wanted to leave the US, and move to Paris. We had many reasons for our move, but one of the reasons was our unhappiness with the Bush administration and the fact that we could see that our country was circling the drain. We weren't far off, it turns out.

As we talked to Karel about the detailed reasons, I mentioned the shredding of our constitution and our loss of privacy. He got impatient and said, "Oh that's a load of crap. If you don't have anything to hide, then what do you care if the government reads your emails or listens in on your phone conversations?"

At the time, I didn't have a great answer. That kind of question puts you immediately on the defensive, where you must first declare that of course, you have nothing to hide, but...and then it goes downhill from there.

When I first started this blog, I made it clear that I had been hiding under a corporate slave rock for most of my life, and had never been involved in politics. This blog was a place for me to begin having a dialogue, mostly with myself, about the things that made me sad, angry or just plain scratch my head, about US politics. I was in the learning and absorption stage when I first met Karel, and so, I didn't have my answer to his question.

It sounded weak to me to just say, "But it's not about me and whether or not I am hiding my international drug and prostitution ring from the justice department (that oughta get me some traffic, as will the previous paid post about fantasy baseball. Sorry about that, but I have to pay the bills. The prostitution ring wasn't as big of a money maker as I'd hoped. I'll just be interested to see how many war-hungry chicken-shit neocons are attracted to the words "dominate" and dominatrix and "nun outfit" and "whip" and land on this blog. Buhahahah!), it's the principle that matters, our right as human beings to privacy." A whining kind of argument, that.

So, I was glad to read a recent article in Truthout, entitled Wiretapping's True Danger, by Julian Sanchez of the Los Angeles Times. I realized as I read it that one issue is the keyword "warrantless" when it comes to wiretapping. It's my understanding that a check and balance in our system requires that the government prove that there is enough evidence of a threat or of criminal behavior, in order to obtain a warrant for wiretapping. It's now painfully obvious that the necons have a disdain for oversight, and are indignant that they should ever be required by any underling to justify their behavior. Get out of my way, they say. I have things to do that your honor's pea brain can't comprehend. We are your betters, now leave us alone and just obey.

I have a problem with that just in principle. It was like Dick Cheney when he was told by a reporter that a majority of Americans did not want the surge, but he and Bush did it anyway. Cheney's reaction was, "So?" What a dick. Then Dick-Licker Dana Perino, in a later presser, responded to press questions about Cheney's arrogance by saying that we the people got our chance to have our say, in 2004, when we re-elected Bush. What she means is, you guys voted in this administration, now get out of the way while we do what we want, with no oversight, because we are your betters and we know more than you.

Here's what Julian Sanchez says in the Truthout article:

But focusing on the privacy of the average Joe in this way obscures the deeper threat that warrantless wiretaps poses to a democratic society. Without meaningful oversight, presidents and intelligence agencies can - and repeatedly have - abused their surveillance authority to spy on political enemies and dissenters.

The original FISA law was passed in 1978 after a thorough congressional investigation headed by Sen. Frank Church (D-Idaho) revealed that for decades, intelligence analysts - and the presidents they served - had spied on the letters and phone conversations of union chiefs, civil rights leaders, journalists, antiwar activists, lobbyists, members of Congress, Supreme Court justices - even Eleanor Roosevelt and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

The Church Committee reports painstakingly documented how the information obtained was often "collected and disseminated in order to serve the purely political interests of an intelligence agency or the administration, and to influence social policy and political action."

Political abuse of electronic surveillance goes back at least as far as the Teapot Dome scandal that roiled the Warren G. Harding administration in the early 1920s. When Atty. Gen. Harry Daugherty stood accused of shielding corrupt Cabinet officials, his friend FBI Director William Burns went after Sen. Burton Wheeler, the fiery Montana progressive who helped spearhead the investigation of the scandal. FBI agents tapped Wheeler's phone, read his mail and broke into his office. Wheeler was indicted on trumped-up charges by a Montana grand jury, and though he was ultimately cleared, the FBI became more adept in later years at exploiting private information to blackmail or ruin troublesome public figures. (As New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer can attest, a single wiretap is all it takes to torpedo a political career.)

In 1945, Harry Truman had the FBI wiretap Thomas Corcoran, a member of Franklin D. Roosevelt's "brain trust" whom Truman despised and whose influence he resented. Following the death of Chief Justice Harlan Stone the next year, the taps picked up Corcoran's conversations about succession with Justice William O. Douglas. Six weeks later, having reviewed the FBI's transcripts, Truman passed over Douglas and the other sitting justices to select Secretary of the Treasury (and poker buddy) Fred Vinson for the court's top spot.

"Foreign intelligence" was often used as a pretext for gathering political intelligence. John F. Kennedy's attorney general, brother Bobby, authorized wiretaps on lobbyists, Agriculture Department officials and even a congressman's secretary in hopes of discovering whether the Dominican Republic was paying bribes to influence U.S. sugar policy. The nine-week investigation didn't turn up evidence of money changing hands, but it did turn up plenty of useful information about the wrangling over the sugar quota in Congress - information that an FBI memo concluded "contributed heavily to the administration's success" in passing its own preferred legislation.

In the FISA debate, Bush administration officials oppose any explicit rules against "reverse targeting" Americans in conversations with noncitizens, though they say they'd never do it. But Lyndon Johnson found the tactic useful when he wanted to know what promises then-candidate Richard Nixon might be making to our allies in South Vietnam through confidant Anna Chenault. FBI officials worried that directly tapping Chenault would put the bureau "in a most untenable and embarrassing position," so they recorded her conversations with her Vietnamese contacts. Johnson famously heard recordings of King's conversations and personal liaisons with various women. Less well known is that he received wiretap reports on King's strategy conferences with other civil rights leaders, hoping to use the information to block their efforts to seat several Mississippi delegates at the 1964 Democratic National Convention. Johnson even complained that it was taking him "hours each night" to read the reports.

Few presidents were quite as brazen as Nixon, whom the Church Committee found had "authorized a program of wiretaps which produced for the White House purely political or personal information unrelated to national security." They didn't need to be, perhaps.

Through programs such as the National Security Agency's Operation Shamrock (1947 to 1975), which swept up international telegrams en masse, the government already had a vast store of data, and presidents could easily run "name checks" on opponents using these existing databases.

It's probably true that ordinary citizens uninvolved in political activism have little reason to fear being spied on, just as most Americans seldom need to invoke their 1st Amendment right to freedom of speech. But we understand that the 1st Amendment serves a dual role: It protects the private right to speak your mind, but it serves an even more important structural function, ensuring open debate about matters of public importance. You might not care about that first function if you don't plan to say anything controversial. (emphasis mine)

Uh Oh.

But anyone who lives in a democracy, who is subject to its laws and affected by its policies, ought to care about the second. Harvard University legal scholar William Stuntz has argued that the framers of the Constitution viewed the 4th Amendment as a mechanism for protecting political dissent. In England, agents of the crown had ransacked the homes of pamphleteers critical of the king - something the founders resolved that the American system would not countenance. In that light, the security-versus-privacy framing of the contemporary FISA debate seems oddly incomplete. Your personal phone calls and e-mails may be of limited interest to the spymasters of Langley and Ft. Meade. But if you think an executive branch unchecked by courts won't turn its "national security" surveillance powers to political ends - well, it would be a first. (emphasis mine)
I need to call up Karel and give him my answer. A year later, he may not even know what I'm talking about. I'll just explain to him that I'm just a bit slow on the uptake. Then he'll ask me, "Who is this anyway?" Because, you know, the telephone can't be trusted.

Let The Beatings Begin: Fantasy Dominatrix

My first Internet job was working for one of the first online fantasy sports providers. I knew a lot about fantasy, but sports? Not so much. So they hired me to run their financial game channel, since I knew so much about investing and such. (Not so much.) I guess I was hired because I was a brainy girl, versus a brawny girl.

The boys were kind to me, considering. They spoke a foreign language - about Hail Marys and goal line stands, touch down conversions. It sounded vaguely religious to me, something I could dress up in my nun outfit for. They discouraged me from actual costuming, but allowed me to turn my cubicle into an (anti-)religious shrine. I had Nuns 'n Roses Christmas lights strung along the tops of my bookcase and cubicle walls. I had skeleton virgins and virgins in drag and black plastic Jesus's cavorting with sheep. I had a nun puppet who spoke for me in meetings. It got so religious that the boys started bringing in presents for me to add to my collection. I still have the copper rubbing that Taz did of the virgin and child when he was in 4th grade.

It was what I would refer to as "Back In The Day." When guys actually formed fantasy baseball or football leagues and met on Saturdays at somebody's house and manually tabulated all of the player stats to determine whose fantasy team was beating whom. Fascinating. It was before any of this was automated. Now, because of automation, nobody actually gets together anymore. Nobody tosses chips and salsa in chipped bowls and drags out a six-pack of beer or soda to throw on the packing crate "coffee table" in dirty-laundry-strewn man-boy apartments. No. They sit, alone, at their computers now, at home or at work, and text or chat all their insults to their fantasy team rivals. I don't know why this is better than meeting face to face, I mean, nobody was required to bathe then either.

Now, from what I understand, riding out your fantasy is now easier than ever, with sophisticated software that manages everything. Fantasy Sports Prophet's Fantasy Baseball software, for instance, can be the difference between hitting a home run or painting a big "L" on your forehead. Here's why:

  1. It's Web-based – you can access it from anywhere (probably even jail)
  2. Player rankings are based on Predictive Modeling by PhD scientists (man, imagine working to get that degree and then designing fantasy sports games?)
  3. It has the most advanced Draft assistance tool - all the data needed to make the right decision about any player (Do those PhDs also predict the probability of that player being sued for paternity or getting arrested for pet gambling? This might be a helpful feature.)
  4. Full season roster management including updated mid-season projections via artificial intelligence (If you are artificially intelligent, can you still play this game?)
  5. All stats, injury reports and major updates available from within the software. (Well, I would certainly hope so!)
Before you start thinking that this fantasy sports thing is a silly whim-like thing, well, just stop thinking that way. You can win mega prizes and cash. Plus, you can gain the prestige associated with being a good picker. And we all want that.

If you want to be a winner, instead of a big smelly loser, you can hop on over to Fantasy Sports Profit and take advantage of the $10 off membership special by using promo code BMC200.

Because, when I am in my nun outfit, fully immersed in my fantasy, trembling for the chance to beat anybody, anybody at all, with a whip in one hand, and my mouse in the other, I don't just win, baybee. I dominate.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Was Spitzer Nailed Because He Tried To Block Bernanke's Bank Bailout?

So, as the media salivates at their chance to titillate themselves about the sex life of Eliot Spitzer, and while Eliot's concubine has to open investment accounts to separate her incoming music, book and movie income from her outgoing criminal defense fund, and while millions of bored executives, mailroom clerks and C++ programmers view the concubine's MySpace page and the rent-an-expensive-gal website, much more important things seem to be going on.

But that's so boring, you know.

Please read Greg Palast's article entitled Eliot's Mess. I have not seen this covered anywhere else in the traditional media, except Asia Times Online for Buddha's sake. How much farther do we need to get away from America to get our news? Here's a stimulating quote from the Asia Times article, Why Spitzer was Bushwhacked:

Most recently, from his position as governor of the nation’s second largest state, home to its financial industry, Spitzer had begun making high-profile attacks on the complicity of the Bush administration in covertly arranging bailouts of its Wall Street friends at the expense of ordinary homeowners and citizens, all paid for by taxpayer funds.
But that was just foreplay. Here's where things start to get naked (What? I have to keep you interested, don't I?):

On February 14, Spitzer published a signed article in the influential Washington Post titled, "Predatory Lenders' Partner in Crime: How the Bush Administration Stopped the States From Stepping In to Help Consumers."

That article, laying clear blame on the administration for the development of the subprime crisis, appeared the day after his ill-fated tryst with the prostitute at the Mayflower Hotel. Just a coincidence? Spitzer wrote, "In 2003, during the height of the predatory lending crisis, the OCC invoked a clause from the 1863 National Bank Act pre-empting all state predatory lending laws, thereby rendering them inoperative. The OCC also promulgated new rules that prevented states from enforcing any of their own consumer protection laws against national banks."

In his article, Spitzer charged, "Not only did the Bush administration do nothing to protect consumers, it embarked on an aggressive and unprecedented campaign to prevent states from protecting their residents from the very problems to which the federal government was turning a blind eye."

Bush, said Spitzer right in the headline, was the "predator lenders' partner in crime". The president, said Spitzer, was a fugitive from justice. And Spitzer was in Washington to launch a campaign to take on the Bush regime and the biggest financial powers on the planet. Spitzer wrote, "When history tells the story of the subprime lending crisis and recounts its devastating effects on the lives of so many innocent homeowners the Bush administration will not be judged favorably."

With that article, Spitzer may well have signed his own political death warrant.
Now, if you're into the whole sex and death thing, you're way too kinked out for me.

Now, back to the boring part. This all certainly looks suspicious. But you can't really draw any solid conclusions unless you know more. Like, how long the investigation of the prostitution ring was going on and how long the FBI knew about Spitzer's involvement. The fact that the FBI wiretaps were LEAKED, let me just say that again, the fact that the FBI wiretaps- which offered the most salacious details of phone conversations between the prostitution ring, the prostitute and Spitzer - were LEAKED, and the fact that the Bush administration has a history of leaking classified information to try and destroy people's careers (think Valerie Plame - that should get you excited - she's pretty hot), well...

Is Spitzer's investigation into and exposure of the subprime rape going to be continued by his successor, David Paterson, or is Paterson too busy making sure that every affair he's had and illegitimate child he's fathered is made public in order to avoid the same fate as Spitzer? Based on an article in the Washington Post entitled, Spitzer's Successor Has Few Enemies, I doubt it. Spitzer had enemies in the Bush administration for a reason. And it looks like it was a damn good reason, at that.

BushCo Purposely Fomenting Trouble In Iraq?

I have been a fan of Karen Kwiatkowski since I read this article on Truthdig, where she paints a fascinating picture of the run-up to the war in Iraq. She was right there, in the Pentagon, following orders from Cheney's Office of Special Plans. These were the civilian neocons, Doug Feith's guys, who basically took over and just told everybody what to do. The interview was done in February of 2007, and it focuses on the new threat of war with Iran, which I still think (and so does Seymour Hersh) Cheney will try to do before he leaves office.

In a recent interview on Huffington Post, Kwiatkowski suggests something that I haven't considered. That the Bush administration wants internal strife in Iraq. They want and actively support fighting between different tribal and religious factions:

And this fantasy that the surge has improved things. The partitioning of Iraq - you have to wonder if that happened by design. Because certainly that's counter to everything that Saddam Hussein as a national socialist was working for. You know, he was turning people into Iraqis. And I think that's what we wanted to get rid of. You know, we didn't want a strong modern Arab nation sitting on top of the 3rd largest oil reserves in the world. You know, that's not justification for war; that's not constitutional.

That one got me to thinkin'.

Here's another good question from Karen:

Everything that has rolled out since that invasion has continued along the same politicized cover story in Iraq. And you know, where are the reporters in Iraq? They're in the Green Zone. If they're out of the Green Zone, they're dead. They're dead people. There's no news. It's all artificial. Unless of course, for the 4,000 dead soldiers and the 100,000 people with PTSD.

We really have no idea what's going on in Iraq, do we?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Consumer Rehab

I loved this article by Harry Fuller on HuffPo entitled Get Thee To A 12-Step Program. I've always been attracted to 12-step programs, even though I find it difficult getting past the second step, the one where I allow a power greater than myself to "restore me to sanity." This would imply that I am insane. I can admit that I'm powerless, but even if I'm drooling, naked in the snow, forgetting my name and address, I would still have a problem admitting I was "insane."

Of course, recognizing that there is some power greater than my big-assed important self is also a stretch. But I was able to get past the whole Higher Power/God concept by imagining some electro-static chi force that runs like a current through the air and through our veins (and through our light sabers), that possesses some uber knowledge that I can tap into for miraculous inner strength and forward moving, er, motion. As you can see, I've never been big on the whole God thing.

Be that as it may, I can agree with Harry (we're on a first-name, 12-step meeting basis, you see), that American consumers seem to be powerless over energy and other types of excessive consumption, and they need a power greater than (or equal to) themselves to restore them to sanity (or at least make them stop drooling).

I am very happy to report, since I quit my American corporate job and moved to Paris, that I have all 12 steps done. Finito. I'm cured. I probably could consume again, without experiencing any slips. If I find any money to spend, I'll let you know how I do. Here is my take on Harry's steps:

  1. I haven't eaten fast food in years
  2. I don't work in corporate anymore, so I don't do meetings
  3. Since I sold everything I own, I don't buy stuff anymore. But if I desperately need something, I buy it at the pawn shop down the street. That Guy finds the rest of what we need on the sidewalks or in the trash.
  4. I rent a furnished apartment that is full of antiques (myself included). No Ikea stuff to be found.
  5. I am very much aware of the dollar nose dive, each time I take money out of my American bank account at a French ATM: If I take out 100 Euros, $150 is deducted from my bank account. Think of it this way: If I want to buy an apartment for 200,000 Euros, it will cost me $300,000. Lovely.
  6. Paris neighborhoods have everything you need. I always buy local. Fresh bread from the baker. Vegetables and fruit from the greengrocer. Fresh butter and cheese from the local cheese house. Fresh and dried meats from the local butcher. I use leaves off the trees to wipe my ass. What else do I need? (OK, I'm lying about the leaves)
  7. I didn't read the book about the evils of corn, but my friend told me the whole story on a long drive from Dallas to Waco, Texas. I consider myself anti-corn now. Anyway, corn syrup is crap. Corn is the Big Brother of malevolent ingredients - it lures you in with the promise of something and delivers nothing of value, except weight gain. I read all labels and eschew anything with any form of corn in the ingredients. Seriously.
  8. In France, everybody has their own little rolling grocery cart (even though That Guy thinks ours is very gay) and reusable shopping bags, and everybody uses them, unless you are forgetful. Then you have to put up with the angry stares from the checkout girl and the other people in line at the grocery store, as you are grudgingly given one, just one, plastic bag. Believe me, after this experience, you won't forget your reusable bag or grocery cart again, no matter how gay it is.
  9. We walk everywhere. Or take the Metro if we go across town. My brother has to deal with the guilt of driving my gas-guzzling hot rod that I sold to him when I left.
  10. There are very few parking lots and no drive-up tellers here. Phew. Cleared!
Harry didn't give us steps 11 or 12. This is either because there are none, or he was on deadline and decided to end his article at 10, or...there are none. He says that we can make them up. So, here's my contribution:

  1. (pretend that says 11) Don't waste precious breath or ozone, discussing Reverend Wright. Just don't. I know it's tempting if you are a useless traditional media mogul, but with some help from your higher power (bloggers), you can be restored to relative sanity. (This does not preclude me from writing about Wright again, right?)
  2. (pretend that says 12) Women: Don't succumb to the lies perpetrated by fashion magazines and corporate, suit-wearing penises, that dictate you must be...a size zero and have huge tits and a tiny-but-bubble butt and no visible flaws, and own all the "latest" $1000 handbags (or Chinese knockoffs) and CFM shoes and throw your wardrobe out each "season" so you have the latest and greatest... in order to be fuckable.
I've discovered that, if you just close your eyes, everybody is fuckable. Insanely so.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

There Are Some Pissed Off People Out There

The Tibetans are rising up. Good for them. The whole world stood by and watched the Chinese take Tibet in the 1950's. And didn't do a damn thing. I guess there wasn't any oil or money there. So, this nice little man called the Dalai Lama has been in exile with a shitload of other Tibetans, in India for fifty-ninety-two freakin' years, hoping to get their country back. Maybe now that China is the host of the next Olympics, which attracts movie stars and our dick-wad president, where gabillions of Yuan in cheap trinkets made by blubillions of poor people at slave wages, will be sold to the enrichment of the few. Maybe then, a little light will shine upon the shame of China's rape and plunder of Tibet. Oh, and maybe on all those other human rights abuses too.

When Paul Abrams gets mad he's deadly, and to the point. In his HuffPo article Bush Screws America, Again: Economy Slips to #2, he talks about how Bush destroyed all the companies he ran before he destroyed our country, and was able to sell all his stock to foreigners just before the companies fell. I knew all this from reading Jim Hightower's book Thieves In High Places. But nobody else seems to know it. Now Bush gets to step away from America, and he'll do so with a little spring in his fratboy step, and a knowing smile on his slappable face, as he leaves the next president to figure out how to clean up the mess. I especially liked this part:

For the first time since World War II the United States is not the world's #1 economy. We have slipped behind the European Union. (This, according to Erin Burnett on CNBC, Friday, March 14th.)

The European Union? What and where is that? Of course, we all know a "European Union", but that has national healthcare, strong unions, high tax rates on the wealthy, sales' taxes, well-funded pubic transport, free daycare, paid maternity leave..... so there is no chance that this is the same European Union whose economy exceeds the US, because those policies make prosperity impossible.

Damnit! Aren't them Frenchies part of the EEEH EWE? I hayt to see them do anythang rhat!

Let's see...who else is pissed off...I am enjoying this. It's usually me jumping up and down red faced, alone in my room. Now there are people that wear suits and ties jumping up and down red faced. This could be good.

So, then there's Marty Kaplan. In his HuffPo article entitled My Goat Ate The Economy, he actually discusses the fact that the US economy isn't circling the drain, it's already been flushed down the toilet. Meanwhile, his cohorts in the press fall all over themselves watching every videotaped sermon of Rev Wright so they can nail him on just one more not-really-horrid horrid thing. How dare Marty focus on what really matters:

"Moral hazard" is how we got into Iraq. Colin Powell's Pottery Barn rule -- "you break it, you own it" -- is wrong. Bush broke Iraq, but we own it. Just as we, the taxpayers, are being forced to pay for the crockery broken by the Bush Party on Wall Street, we -- the taxpayers, the soldiers, their families, and America's reputation in the world -- are being forced to pay the price for the hubris of the neocon "freedom agenda." Is it too farfetched to compare Bush's pardon of Scooter Libby with Ben Bernanke's pardon of Bear Stearns? If you want to see why the insane risks of invading Iraq seemed so tolerable to the White House, look no farther than the unitary executive, the signing statements, and an opposition that would take impeachment off the table.

Tssssssss! I can hear that one stinging Nancy Pelosi's ass all the way over here in gay Paree.

And Michael Zweig spoke about using America's lower class as cannon fodder for this corporate war we're in, in an article on Truthout entitled, The War And The Working Class. This is an issue that has always rankled me. If you want to have your jaw drop, check out his Cost-O-War chart that compares the war industry CEO salaries to an army private, and shows how many services Cleveland's share of the Iraq war debt could have brought to the people of Cleveland.

Maybe you'll get pissed off too? I hope so. It's pretty damn lonely here in angryland.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Me n' Rev. Wright Havin' It Out: Round 1

I've been ignoring this recent controversy about Obama's pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, as I figured it was probably a bunch of crap, prodded into the spotlight by McCain's or Clinton's campaign (or both, as it turns out), and then hyped by the slavering fucking useless corporate press.

I want to take a little break in today's message to point out that in between bringing to the glaring light of day the failings of Obama's CHRISTIAN PASTOR, the wingnuttians and Clintonians discuss, ad nauseum, and send out spam emails, and hire telemarketers to make sure the slavering fucking useless American people keep Top-O-Mind Awareness (an expression I learned in much-despised-by-me Corporate America) that OBAMA IS A MUSLIM. This is why I ignored the pastor flap. Because I don't give a SHIT if Obama is a fucking Christian or a fucking Muslim. OK? Will anyone, at any time, have the BALLS to run for president as an atheist or as a None-Of-Your-Fucking-Business-ist?

Could somebody just decide what religion to use as a baseball bat against Obama once and for all? But I digress.

So. The flap is exactly that, crap. But, it keeps popping up into my feedreader, so I threw down my hands in exasperation this morning, and went off to find out exactly what Rev. Wright said. It was a little hard to uncover his words, underneath all the folderol.

I watched (and you can too) the entire video posted by Faux News. This isn't the ONLY transgression Reverend Wright made, but it's the first one I found.

First of all, you will have to take note of Rev. Wright's "uppityness." I mean, how dare he be so confident, so declarative, so sure of himself? I had no idea these black folks had these big-ass churches with balconies and shit. And that black preachers had shiny, embroidered robes and stood on big stages, like they had something they wanted to say. Somebody needs to put that guy in his place, dontcha know.

Here are some things Wright said that some people's kids might not like, and I am going to take it one phrase at a time because this is my blog and I can do whatever I want:

"...who cares about what a poor black man has to face every day in a country and a culture controlled by rich white people..."

I am assuming, based on what Wright says after this statement, about the fact that he is still in Jesus's country, he is still in the text of the bible (and he points down to the book on the podium), that Wright is referring to Jesus and Jesus's country at the time that Jesus was alive. But, if you were to take this out of context and assume that he's making this statement about contemporary America, then I would agree with the premise of his statement. Most Americans don't care about, or it might be more accurate to say, are not aware of, what a poor black man has to face day to day in this country. And, if you look at census details and demographic statistics on active political figures and corporate management in modern-day America, I would love for you to try and tell me that America ISN'T run by white men. Just fucking try. a couple of years, there will be more Hispanic Americans in the total population than white folks, which delights me, frankly. I can't wait. But it'll be a while before they inch their way into public office and start running corporations...especially if all those white men in charge have anything to do with it.

"Jesus was a poor black man that lived in a country and lived in a culture that was controlled by rich white people..."
"...the Romans were rich, the Romans were Italians, which means they were European, which means they were white, and the Romans ran everything..."

This is where me and organized religion had the parting of the ways. No blood ran. I just walked away. All this discussion about Jesus' origin. Was he a Jew? Oh, heyall no! That would blow Hitler right out of the water. Even if Mary was a Jewess, Jesus was conceived and born immaculately, so his sacred body never touched the nastiness of a Jewish pussy, dontcha know. Therefore, he could never be a Jew, for Yahweh's sake!

And then there was that Time magazine cover in 1996 showing Jesus as a dark-skinned man, versus the blond, blue-eyed Aryan white boy that contemporary Kreeshtians like to think about and pray to.

And I am too fucking lazy, and frankly don't care, but wouldn't be at all surprised, if the country in which Jesus was born, lived in, and died, was controlled by white men...swarthy, Italian, white men....with five o'clock shadow...and wife beater t-shirts...suspenders. Oh, I'm sorry, I just got carried away. Stereotypes can be such fun.

So, if I disagree with Wright, it's not because I'm so offended that he might be casting aspersions on the sacred cow called Jesus, and calling Jesus cullered. Or pointing his finger at those darn Eyetalians. No. Wright is just making shit up to back up his version, number 3,948.5, of the bible, you know, that absolutely, irrefutable, factual book, written mostly by, uh, white (??) men.

"...why so many folk are hatin' ol' Barack Obama. He doesn't fit the model. He ain't white, he ain't rich, he ain't privileged..."

Wright is, er, right about the fact that Barack doesn't fit the model. But I don't think it's because he's not white or rich or privileged. I would say that Obama is richer than me, and more privileged than me, at this time of my life. But I don't mind. He made his own way, and I made mine. I want different things than he does, and vice versa. Personally, his mixed race is interesting to me, as is his origin and upbringing. It makes for a good story.

But none of this is really the core issue. People like Karl Rove, Rush Limbaugh, and other neocon tools, hate Obama because he's empowering the American people. He's speaking directly to the trouble in our hearts and souls, and if he's actually sincere, he's talking about giving the country back to us, so that we can be involved, and take responsibility, and open up the government to the light of day. Imagine him standing up there on that big stage, with all those balconies full of people, wearing shiny suits, saying all those dangerous things, stirring us all up. How, well, uppity of him.

THAT's what pisses the neocons off. They see the American people as ignorant tools, that they can manipulate with easily-swallowed lies. They can threaten us, make us scared, make us pliant. And this Obama guy is waking us up, stirring us all into consciousness. Somebody needs to put that boy in his place, dontcha know. In fact, he needs to be stopped, at all costs. There's way too much pork at stake. And them Muslims like Obama, don't eat pork.

You see, all the race, gender and ageism issues that keep being offered as real issues, are just a smokescreen. Reverend Wright is playing right into it, by playing it up. He's just adding to the distraction that the neocons want to create. The more we argue amongst ourselves about stupid bullshit like whether or not Obama is a Muslim, or if he's a Christian, if he's a BAD kind of Christian, or if Hillary is a woman or a man, or if McCain is too old, or if Jesus is a Jew, or he's black or white, or whether or not he was poor or rich, or whether he was killed by the Jews or controlled by big bad whitey, IS NOT THE FUCKING POINT. If an Italian-German-Asian mixed, blind, 3-time governor, 2-time state legislator and 1-term senator, Rastafarian dwarf had a better voting record and better ideas for solving today's national and world problems, then I'd vote for HER.

I would like to jump up and scream right now. But I'm drowned out by the wanking, ignorant, high-schoolish press obsession with trivial bullshit. With the control-the-masses Rovian neocon press machine. It's the issues, stupid. It's the war, stupid. It's people dying, stupid. Fuck me. This is so frustrating!

OK, on with Reverend Wright's wrongs.

"Hillary fits the mold. Europeans fit the mold. Giuliani fits the mold."

Sorry, Rev. But Hillary, being a woman, doesn't fit the mold. It's the good ol' white boy's club that's running things. You just said that a few sentences back, remember?

"Hillary never had a cab whiz by her and not pick her up because her skin was the wrong color. Hillary never had to worry about being pulled over as a black man driving in a car in the wrong nei (I assume he was about to say neighborhood)"

This, I suggest, is the truth.

"I am sick of nigros who just don't get it. Hillary was not a black boy raised in a single parent home. Barack was. Barack knows what it's like to be a black man in a country and culture that is controlled by rich white people. Hillary can never know that. Hillary has never been called a nigger."

This, I suggest, is also the truth.

"Hillary has never had her people defined as non-person."

Reverend Wright is suffering, when he says this, from having a penis. Hillary's people - white, American women - couldn't vote a while back, remember? That qualifies us as former non-people. Some of us still feel like non-people. That is, until we started blogging.

"Hillary ain't had to work twice as hard just to get accepted by the rich white folk who run everything, or to get a passing grade, when you know you are smarter than that C-student sittin' in the white house."

Buhahahahaha! Although I love the reference to the "C-student sittin' in the white house" (you go, Rev.), I still beg to differ. Me and Hillary and all the rest of us women that are way smarter than most men, including you, Reverend Wright, have been working twice as hard for half the wages, and little to no credit, since the beginning of time.

"Oh! I am so glad that I have a God who knows what it is to be a poor black man in a country and culture that is controlled by and run by rich white people. He taught me, Jesus did, how to love my enemies."

Well Reverend, you just keep feeling that way, about your mythical God. If it works better for you for him to be poor and black, that's fine with me. And, I imagine, the wingnuts are making this out to be some call to the black hoards to rise up and declare whitey the enemy. To start stashing their blunderbusses in the hay stacks and at Reverend Wright's secret signal, to run barefoot through the fields to raid the plantation house and steal our babies and eat 'em.

I hate to tell the wingnuts this, but the white man has been, and some continue to be, the enemy to the poor and disenfranchised, to people of color, and anybody else that's a little different than them. We Have Met The Enemy and He Is Us.

But if there's anything I believe about the mythical Jesus, it's that his message was about LOVE. I'm just glad that Rev. Wright still loves us. And that he's telling his flock to love us too. Maybe we could all live up to that love.

Meanwhile, let's all rise above this smoke screen, shall we? Let us rise above. Let's focus on what counts. And let's hope upon hope, that Obama means what he says.

I have entitled this post "Round 1" because Reverend Wright has been saying even more stuff. I know, he must think he's a preacher or something. Anyway, I'd like to address everything he's said, at some point in the future. So, look for Round 2, as soon as I recover from Round 1.

Tie That Yellow Ribbon

My friend over at The Foothills Opinion Post posted this video. Nobody says it better than The Asylum Street Spankers (If you are viewing this post in an email, please click through to my blog to view the video):

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Paying For Sex In The Future

As a former high-class call-girl who worked my way up to $100 an hour during the entire week of my prostitution career, I am qualified to declare officially, that inflation has definitely taken its toll on the sex game since the summer of '76. I blame the republicans. Because I can.

Elliot Spitzer's lovely (and she is lovely) Kristen was pulling down $1000 an hour, plus expenses, and minus agency fees. Spitzer spent two hours with her. That's a whole lotta money.

But, then again, everything in New York is more expensive. Or, er, Washington, Dee Cee.

One thing that has not changed since ought six, is that men's penises still rise and fall in more or less the same way. And men still have the tendency to think with their penises. Having long ago decided that most men aren't worth taking the time to "figure out," I'm not going to wax on about the psychological forces that drive a man to pay for sex. Fuck that. Who cares. I'm just as bored with men and their wieners now, as I was long ago. "Can you beat me on my ass with hangers?" "Oh sure sweetie. Let me know when you've had enough." I'll be filing my nails. Yawn.

What is bothering me the most, and has not yet been covered in the press...that I know the fact that Mr. Spitzer prepaid for future sex. Does he get a refund?

Meanwhile, anybody who remotely blames Spitzer's wife for anything, is an ignorant dried up twat. Yes, that's what you are Doctor Laura. May the keyword linkage do you some good.

And, with all my man-bashing and irresponsible-doctor-trashing aside, I wish Silda Wall Spitzer and her daughters my condolences, my blessings, and many positive thoughts during this very difficult time. For what it's worth.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Isn't It Over Yet?

Man, I'm sick of this campaign. I really hoped Obama would cinch this primary on Tuesday, so we could just move the fuck on.

I wish Hillary well, but I don't want her to be the next president. If she ends up being the president, then I'll greet her warmly and hope for the best (while knowing I am bound to be hugely disappointed). If Obama wins, I'll pretend not to be too hopeful, while inside I'll be hopeful, and then when I'm disappointed, it'll be...huge.

These days, as I scan through hundreds of political headlines in my feed reader, I skip most of them. Few report on what is. Many are punditing ad nauseum about what may be. What could happen. There's a word for that: wanking.

I don't want to hear your predications of the future. I want intelligent discussion and analysis of our current local, regional and global problems. I want to read viable experts discussing the historical and social context of these problems, and offering creative ideas for solutions. That's what I want.


Healthcare Or Warfare - Take Your Pick

I hear this Neocon catch phrase often: "protecting our interests..." the Middle East, in Iraq, etc.

What exactly are "our interests?" Oil, I imagine. And all of the corporations that profit from oil. If I were to pretend I was a Neocon for a second (ugh, must I? Suddenly, my penis is, I would probably say, "No brown people in turbans are allowed to have the United States of Ameri-kuh by the balls! Nobuddy kin control the oil that is rhatfully arrz. We need lahts in ahr manshuns, n' ohl fer ahr heeturz, n' gas fer ahr black Ess-Ewe-Veez."

Oh, sorry. I got carried away.

I guess the point is that America is addicted to oil and so we have to invade countries and overthrow leaders and carelessly kill and displace millions of faceless human beings (hey, if we don't know them, why do we care?), in order to feed our addiction.

The interesting thing is that it's really THE EARTH that has us by the balls. Sooner or later, whether the brown people or The Great And All Powerful Whities are controlling the oil, it's still going to run out. So, our president at that time will declare war on The Urth and get all the rednecks to Hayt The Urth, and Congress will give the president 89 hepzibillion PesoDollars to wage this war against The Terrorist Urth.

One would think, if one had a fucking brain, at least somewhat evolved past the Neolithic age, that it might be a good idea to develop alternative power sources. One would think, that if Americans came up with the next amazing power source invention, that THEY could have the rest of the world by the balls, and become hepzibillionaires too!

But, then nobody could play General and buy big tanks and airplanes and have ships and rattle swords and bellow war cries and paint their faces and push people around and...and...shit like that. And there's always the chance that the next great power source involves the use of air, or gravity, or some easily renewable energy, and then nobody could have anybody by the balls.

Darn. I was so looking forward to holding somebody by the balls.

I guess I'm rambling on and on because I see such wasteful investment practices prepetrated by supposedly intelligent men. I see money and energy and time and lives being thrown at protecting something (oil) that, in the long run, is unprotectable. I see money spent on intimidation and destruction, in the name of protection. I see so little invested in building something new. I see so many things that are worthy of protection, like human health and human education and human lives, being dismissed. Or worse, being deprived.

It's too late to say, "If we had spent what we spent on this war in Iraq on health care for all US citizens..." because what's done is done. But...every single day that we stay in Iraq, we spend enough to care for millions of children. Every day.

It's time for us to choose. Healthcare or Warfare? What will it be? If you believe that healthcare is a better investment, please go to Progressive Democrats of America and sign the petition to call on members of Congress to bring the troops home from Iraq and to pass H.R. 676, Rep. John Conyers' bill which guarantees comprehensive publicly-funded, privately-delivered health care for everyone in the U.S.

Prior to the Democratic National Convention in Denver, this petition will be delivered to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, DNC Chair Howard Dean and your member of Congress.