Expect More of the Same

Even an outrageous lie that is easily disproven and so absurd that no rational person would believe it can be a useful tool to the corporate oligarchy that owns the GOOP. Thus the tale of the President’s Birth Certificate. Who is to blame? There is a cartoon in today’s paper that makes Donald Trump look like a complete buffoon for having said what he said. That appears to be where everyone wants to go with this. Hang it all on Donny.

Little Donny Hairball deserves all manner of opprobrium for being the asshole that he is. (This was true before he ever started his run for President.) But Little Donny is merely the last kid holding onto the bag of Birther shit, not the one who kept the game going for so long. Someone was paying Orally Tait and that group of whack jobs to make something of this and keep it alive. The mainstream GOOP hierarchy helped it along by continuing to insist that there were legitimate issues raised about the circumstances of the President’s birth.

More importantly, the Birth Certificate story had legs because the main stream media continued to cover it as though it was real news. Had the media simply ignored the story, it would have been relegated to the dark corners of cracked-brain reality occupied by the likes of Orally Tate and Michelle Bachman. Moreover, any time the media was confronted with the issue, it failed to point out the truth. Official, certificated evidence of the President’s birth was available for anyone to inspect. People who believe otherwise are crazy.

If the media wants to hang the fool cap on anyone for taking this story seriously, it should start with itself. Jon Stewart, the best journalist on television, pointed out the foolishness is still going on. Not only did the main stream media treat the release of the birth certificate as an official “bombshell,” it also continued the story buy asking “will the main stream media now let the story rest?”

As Stewart noted, wouldn’t a “bombshell” be if the President admitted to being Kenyan? And as to whether the media will let the matter drop. Who is in charge of that?

The birther crap is an invention intended to discredit the President and keep him off balance. It is the Whitewater of this Presidency, the Monica Lewinski in the President’s closet. Every president who is not completely owned by the Oligarchy will be assaulted by lies like this one.

Of course, this assault only works if the President is black. No one would ask John McCain for his birth certificate even though he was not, in fact, born in the United States. Likewise, no one would question what kind of grades that moron George W. Busch got in college, even though it is widely known that he only got into Yale because he is a legacy. Now they are asking for Obama’s transcripts. Was Obama an “affirmative action” student?

This thing is not over.

The Arrogance of True Believers

Proving once again that “Christians” have no respect for the rule of law… or individual rights … a Tennessee preacher helped kidnap a child in order to keep her away from her lesbian parent. The child is the offspring of a lesbian marriage, effected in Vermont, and terminated when the natural mother of the child found Jesus.

Initially, the Vermont court granted the natural mother, Janet Jenkins, custody of the child with liberal visitation rights for the other parent, Lisa Miller. Ms. Jenkins absconded to Virginia with the child and refused visiting rights to her former partner. The Vermont court then granted custody to Ms. Miller. To avoid process, the Preacher, Timothy David Miller (no relation) helped Ms. Jenkins and the child flee to Nicaragua, where they are being kept by a rich evangelical with ties to the ironically named Liberty University, a madrasa established by Jerry Falwell.

There is some good news here. The preacher has been arrested and is being held on federal kidnapping charges. In addition, the Virginia Supreme Court ruled against lawyers from the Liberty Madrasa when they claimed that Vermont law had no effect in Virginia, and upheld the Vermont custody decision.

The real picture here, however, is one we are seeing with increasing frequency from the “Christian” right. Arrogant and self righteous people who believe they are above the law and can trample the rights of others with impunity. It is the same attitude that guided Scott Roeder and the Army of God to murder George Tiller; the same arrogance that propels Fred Phelps and his band of whackos to believe they are chosen to annoy and intimidate families laying their children to rest. It is no different from the force that caused Timothy McVeigh to murder hundreds of innocent Americans.

True believers are dangerous. No different I might add, from Mohamed Atta or the host of Al Queda thugs and hitmen bombers. The curse of religion is the belief that religion empowers people to trample the rights of others and raises the acts of zealots above the law.

Plato tells us that Socrates was condemned to death for not recognizing the local Gods and for corrupting youth. Still, he accepted his death sentence because it was imposed by the duly constituted government. He declined to avoid his fate, even though he could, because he said it was his duty to respect the decisions of government. But nobody teaches Plato any more.

Gravity!

Happy Easter to everyone. Today, I understand, is the celebration of the hallowed day when Jesus Christ himself was resurrected from the dead, and then a bunny rabbit crawled out of his ass and laid eggs that tasted of peanut butter and chocolate. And then Jesus made ham and sweet potatoes out of a single one of those eggs and fed a whole bunch of people.

Right?

What the heck do I know about it? I was reared as a heathen. I mean, try being seven years old and you’re at a friend’s Sunday school class, and this old lady starts talking about some asshole who built this big boat and stuff? Not only do you not care about the story, but you have absolutely no context for it because this is the first time you’ve even learned that there’s this book called The Bible. It is quite an awkward sensation, believe you me. But that’s where I sit.

I mean, since then, I have taken some time to read the thing. I took Bible as Literature in college. Yada yada yada. In 42 years, not much has been able to budge me from a position of I just don’t believe that shit and I don’t think it’s necessary for me to talk to an imaginary force of nature in the sky.

But. I think that if you want to talk to a make-believe friend in the sky, you should be allowed. And, not only do I think that, but there’s this thing called the Constitution that requires that you should be allowed to talk to whatever make-believe friend in the sky that you want to.

So on this occasion, “Easter,” also known as the blogswarm known as “Blog Against Theocracy,” I says what I says every year, that you either keep Jesus Christ and God and Thor and Satan and all the rest of the imaginary friends out of the public square or you have to vote for one of them instead of for your local congressman. The only thing that keeps us allowed to talk to whatever imaginary friend in the sky we want to is the fact that there’s no government telling you which one you gotta talk to. It’s pretty simple.

I would also say this: If freedom to talk to whatever imaginary friend in the sky is a high priority for you, and if you’re voting for the GOOP, then I would like to suggest that you’re voting wrong. It’s we non-believers who give a crap the most about whether or not you get to choose which imaginary friend in the sky you get to talk to. Why? Because when the Fascist Theocracy decides to start cracking heads about which imaginary friend in the sky people get to talk to, who are the people you think they’re going to come after first?

The Jews, of course. Then the queers. Then the heathens. So we rather think that this freedom of religion shit is pretty important. Even if we think it’s all bullshit.

So I have little new to say about this. If they can make you post the Ten Comandments at a courthouse, they can make you post Zabibah and the King or lyrics to Three Dog Night songs. Do not get comfortable and assume that your faith won or is the right one. The minute you do they’ll vote in Mitt Romney and he’ll have us all wearing magical underpants.

Which gets me down to what I think is the really important thing to write about here: Cussing.

I am on a mission to weed the GD word out of my vocabulary. I believe I’ve discussed this here before, but while I’m retreading topics for the blogswarm, what the heck.

If you don’t worship God, why do you blame him for stuff?

If you drop your keys or fall down or if you spill your beer, why in New York are you blaming a Lord you don’t believe in?

I say that when you’re reaching for a cuss word, you ought to blame the real culprit. The nice thing is that it’s a universal force as well, and probably 80 percent of the time it actually is what’s to blame: GRAVITY!

I’m telling you. Gravity as a cuss word. It’s the way to go for us secular humanists. GRAVITY!

Bah! Humbug!

Today is Earth Day. When it comes to Earth Day, I am a Scrooge.

The logic of this observation simply escapes me. See, it occurs to me that, in actuality, Mother Earth is actually rather ambivalent as to whether or not humans crawl around on her. Her systems will be go in some form or another whether or not we manage to destroy her precious atmosphere and die en masse with all of our hairs on fire. The cockroaches and Dick Cheney will still inhabit her new hellish terrain. The real concern as I see it is not the “Earth” of Earth Day. It is whether or not or how long our lease of this real estate will last.

Even if you are inclined to plant a tree or dance around a maypole or to do whatever the hell you do on Earth Day, you’ve got to know that even the Earth has a life expectancy. In about five billion years, give or take, the sun will die. First, it’s likely to blow up, and being as we’re the third stone from it, this place here is likely to get stuck in its fiery demise. Things change and die. As a devout Frisbeetarian*, I accept that this is the way it is. So is the way of the world.

I mean, look. You can drive a hybrid car, you can change your light blubs out, you can unplug everything in your house every night, but the fact is that there are a few core things you can do that will achieve an 80/20 ratio of environmental goodness, things that most people do not do. Eat lower on the food chain. Don’t reproduce. And, of course, stop mowing those god-damned medians. (PB would have had my hide if I didn’t mention the median thing.)

This is where I get a little weird and conspiratorial about the whole thing. Because the fact is that world population has increased exponentially and continues to do so, and I think that, truly, no other factor has had a more pronounced effect on the environment. And more and more of them are developing a taste for cattle meat. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But meat-eating and prolific breeding have more of an impact on this environment thing than your cute little light bulbs that are supposed to last forever but usually don’t.

And, as science stands on the precipice of making it possible for humans to live to be 200 years old, which is what I am convinced will be the next big development in human evolution, and I am also convinced this is why you’re seeing the wealthy elites working so hard to hoard as many resources as they can, especially in regards to health care, because they know that the unwashed masses will be clamoring at the gates for their share of the new fountain of youth—sorry, did I leave the path a bit? I do believe, though, that one day there will be a class of humans with superhuman life spans, causing an even more pronounced effect on the heightened world population, causing an even greater draw on the world’s resources and leading us to have to find new places to put more of our poop.

I know this sounds bleak. But Scrooge was a pretty bleak guy for most of the story.

Bah humbug.

*Frisbeetarians believe that when you die, your soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck.

Generally Unforgiven

Something possessed Tea activist and OC County GOP official Marilyn Davenport to send out a really clever e-mail.

The e-mail contains a picture of chimpanzees posing like they’re a family. There’s a papa, a mama, and a little baby, and they’re all lined up and dressed really nice like in their Sunday best. Except that some Photoshoppe wizard has placed a cutout of the face belonging to the President of the Untied States of America over that of the baby chimp.

It’s captioned, “Now you know why no birth certificate.”

Get it?

Me neither.

At first, Davenport offered the typical non-apology apology. Here that is, in full:

I’m sorry if my email offended anyone. I simply found it amusing regarding the character of Obama and all the questions surroundin­g his origin of birth. In no way did I even consider the fact he’s half black when I sent out the email. In fact, the thought never entered my mind until one or two other people tried to make this about race. We all know a double standard applies regarding this president. I received plenty of emails about George Bush that I didn’t particular­ly like yet there was no ‘cry’ in the media about them. One only has to go to Youtube or Google Images to see a plethora or lampooning videos and pictures of Obama, Bush and other politician­s. That being said, I will NOT resign my central committee position over this matter that the average person knows and agrees is much to do about nothing. Again, for those select few who might be truly offended by viewing a copy of an email I sent to a select list of friends and acquaintan­ces, unlike the liberal left when they do the same, I offer my sincere apologies to you—the email was not meant for you. For any of my friends or acquaintan­ces who were the recipients of my email and were truly offended, please call me so I may offer a sincere verbal apology to you.

Geez. I’m sorry, you assholes. FU. And I have lots of black friends. Why just last week I tipped that boy who handled my bags four dollars. So there.

Well. Things must have gotten really bad for Ms. Davenport. Because the update is that she has now submitted an ACTUAL APOLOGY. One enormous order of crow, served up to order, Ms. Davenport. Eat up:

“I humbly apologize and ask for your forgiveness of my unwise behavior. I say unwise because at the time I received and forwarded the email, I didn’t stop to think about the historic implications and other examples of how this could be offensive.”

In the statement, Davenport also quoted the Bible and said she was “an imperfect Christian” who tried to “live a Christ-like honoring life.” “I would never do anything to intentionally harm or berate others regardless of ethnicity,” she said. “I will not repeat this error.”

I say that when a person screws up and offers a sincere apology, you do your best to accept the apology and to forgive. So. Okay, Marilyn. Apology accepted.

Except.

Except, except, except. Can you guys please stop with the fake outrage and the Margaret Dumont “well, I NEVER” when it’s pointed out that there is a streak of racism in the scrotum nuzzler—sorry, I meant to say “tea bagger”—”movement” that’s more pervasive than the fat and connective tissue in a chunk of beef deckle?

Face it. “Birthers” cannot STAND that these Untied States of America finally broke that ceiling and elected an African-American as President. They’re a bunch of bald-faced racists. That’s at least 65 percent of what motivates them.

All Marylin Davenport did for us was to allow us a peek behind that not very opaque curtain.

Enough!

Once upon a time, there was a candidate for President of the Untied States of America who knew how to give a hell of a speech. It was pointed out at the time by his opponent that giving great speeches might not be enough, but despite those warnings, this candidate became the President of the Untied States of America. When he accepted his party’s nomination, the candidate said the following and gave the lot of us goosebumps:

Tonight, I say to the American people, to Democrats and Republicans and Independents across this great land – enough! This moment – this election – is our chance to keep, in the 21st century, the American promise alive. Because next week, in Minnesota, the same party that brought you two terms of George Bush and Dick Cheney will ask this country for a third. And we are here because we love this country too much to let the next four years look like the last eight. On November 4th, we must stand up and say: “Eight is enough.”

These were not the most powerful words the candidate ever spoke. But it may have been one of the most powerful rhetorical devices he had ever employed. This “ENOUGH!” rang through the air, defiant and righteous, a powerful FU to the status quo of bufoonery that had wrecked this country. Barack Obama could have put his fist in the air and bowed his head, it would have been just as much as powerful a gesture.

And then he took office. And that guy went away.

They brought him out last week to give a powerful speech, a speech where he essentially laid waste to the failed, shitty notion of voodoo economics. The speech was awesome in that it delivered that one basic purpose, to actually say out loud in front of people and stuff that the ideas that are generally espoused by the Republigoat party and the ball-suckers—sorry, I meant to say “tea baggers,” same thing essentially—are terrible ideas. He said out loud that giving away the store to the richest Americans wasn’t a good idea, that the Bush tax cuts are not a good idea, and that turning your back on investing in American infrastructure is not a good idea.

But it is the first time in my memory of this presidency that he has explicitly said these things. What he’s said more often than not has been, “Okay, Republigoats. You want X? Tell you what. Let’s make a deal. I’ll give you X + Y, and I’ll throw in a little Z and we’ll call it even, k?” To which the Republigoats have usually retorted, “No deal, you butthole, we want Q and W, too.”

In other words, to steal from one of my favorite political writers, Obama’s usual response regarding domestic issues has been something along the lines of “I’m not not licking Republicans!”

I am well aware of what the purpose of Obama’s budget speech this week was. It was the Democratic candidate’s first volley in his campaign for President 2012. For the first time in a long time, this guy has decided that it’s important to speak to his base again. He and his staff have ignored his base and in fact have insulted them and taken them wholly for granted throughout this administration, and now, when it’s time to go into campaign mode again, they’ve decided to talk to us. Well, I can tell you what about that.

I am likely to go vote for this candidate again in November 2012. I am not likely, though, to reach for my wallet again for him nor to knock on doors for him as I did previously. I suspect that Obama will find that the wave of enthusiasm and of peoples’ willingness to contribute time and money will not be what it was in 2008. I think that labor is not likely to turn out in droves for him either, especially considering that organized labor is under systematic, brutal attack these days and he’s not done a thing to address it.

This candidate had resources in 2008 that were unparalleled in American national politics. I predict that, due to the lackluster performance of this presidency on behalf of his base, his campaign will have to tighten its belt a bit now. Thank goodness for incumbency; it may be Obama’s greatest tactical advantage.

How Firm is the Line in the Sand?

Nothing makes me happier than seeing the Confederacy of Dunces steaming mad about something the President said. This is particularly true when what they are mad about is that, for the first time in my memory, the President actually took a tough position consistent with the fundamental principles of the Democratic Party.

Word is that John Boehner and Co. all felt that President Obama snookered them into attending the first rally of his 2012 campaign. Maybe so. I think they are also pissed because they are so used to the President asking, “how high” when they say “jump.”

I heard two pretty laughable claims by the GOOP noise machine that are worth mentioning. The first that The President’s speech was just a political statement and unnecessarily politicizes the budget debate. Duh! As though Paul Ryan’s proposed budget was a reasoned, well considered analysis, merely a suggestion intended to solve a real problem. Yeah. Ryan’s proposal is a mish-mash of silly GOOP theories and fake math that makes a clear political statement… the GOOP favors fat cats and screw everyone who is not rich.

The second GOOP claim was more of the same, but sillier. It says that Obama did not offer a real budget. That, of course, depends on what the standards are. If you mean a real budget as in 2,000 or so pages with numbers and spread sheets and such, this was not a real budget. So where is Ryan’s real budget? Now, if you are looking for a proposed approach to the budget that states positions on revenues and targets places where the budget can be cut and tells you how much deficit fixing you are looking for, this does a pretty good job. Certainly it is in the same ball park as the thing that the GOOP has been calling a budget, except that it includes no Voo Doo economics and the numbers are actually based on real math.

OK maybe one more point. As Brady pointed out recently, it’s not about spending, it’s about revenues. Unless, of course, your goal is to kill the federal government. Then it’s not about spending either, it’s about how quickly you can get the lights shut out and go home. It’s about how quickly you can turn everything over to the Corporate Masters so they can run your lives, pay your grandchildren slave wages and destroy the environment so they can make more money. Goodby American Democracy, Hello Corporate Plutocracy. That is what the battle is really about.

So I am happy the GOOP is pissed off, and I am happy the President is actually taking a stand on grounds I can support. Next question is how long will this stand last. How much is he willing to give up for the inevitable compromise. Maybe we can replace Medicare with a better voucher program than the one that the GOOP is offering. Maybe we can get rid of the EPA in exchange for keeping the Department of Education… minus Pell Grants (named for a Republican Senator from Rhode Island).

I am at this point most skeptical about the President. He drew a line in the sand this week.  Does he intend to fight it out on that line until the war is won?

Airplane! The Senator!

Via TRMS via The Smoking Gun comes the funniest thing we’ve heard of at least since Charlie Sheen said “Duh! Winning!” (I am giddy to note that TMS’ coverage of this includes a photo homage to North By Northwest.)

Let’s first remember who James Inhofe is. Senator from Oklahoma. Favors a Constitutional amendment banning marriage rights for everyone. Originator of the phrase “God, guns, and gays” as a phrase used in an electoral campaign. Has said that the United States should base its policy regarding Israel on the Bible. Outspoken advocate of the notion that climate change is a hoax. Has compared the EPA to the Gestapo. Trained as a pilot by the United States Navy, Inhofe is a commercial pilot.

Now that we recall who Inhofe is, we can kick back and enjoy the story. Check this out.

Newly released Federal Aviation Administration documents and audiotapes shed a scary new light on a bizarre incident late last year during which U.S. Senator James Inhofe landed his Cessna on a closed runway at a south Texas airport, scattering construction workers who ran for their lives as the politician’s plane hopscotched over them and six vehicles.

The FAA material, provided in response to a TSG Freedom of Information Act request, details how Inhofe, 76, chose to land on the main runway at the Cameron County Airport on October 21 despite being aware that it was closed and had a large ‘X’ on its threshold.

The politician, the FAA investigation determined, “still elected to land avoiding the men and the equipment on the runway.” In a bid to avoid “legal enforcement action,” Inhofe, who has a commercial pilot’s license, agreed to “complete a program of remedial training,” according to an FAA letter sent in January to Inhofe, a third-term Republican senator from Oklahoma. Inhofe is pictured at right.

Because it is so god-damned funny, I have stolen the audio directly from TSG and am posting it here. Please go “>see the full story at TSG here.

This is a recording of a phone call from a construction supervisor to the FAA regarding Inhofe’s little stunt:

And from a second call:

Now, let’s hear from FAA quality assurance specialist Marshall Reece:

Wow. What an asshole.

You’re Doing It Wrong

Rachel Maddow, ever brilliant though overtly redundant and also she repeats herself a lot and says the same thing over and over again as well also, really had an excellent piece last night about how “conservatives” seem to have an ultimate hard-on to bring back the Confederacy. If you ain’t watched it yet, g’head:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

She’s right. These fuckin’ guys do seem obsessed with reviving one of the most failed, seditious, cruel, and generally horrible historical moments in American history. Six Hundred Thousand Americans died during the Civil War, and many Republigoats are just frothing at the mouth to go right on back to it. When these assholes in this clip are at the microphone espousing secession, it’s all one can do not to yell out FINE. GO AHEAD. SECEDE, YOU ASSHOLE. WE DON’T NEED YOUR STUPID STATE ANYWAY. MAY YOUR SHIT COME TO LIFE AND KISS YOU. GHEY KHAK AFEN YAM*. FUCKERS.

But the Confederacy is not the only horrible idea that “conservatives” hold close to their hearts. They yearn for the days of the Articles of Confederation, which was the first system of government we had in these Untied States of America, which gave the states considerable autonomy, including the rights to print their very own munnies. This was such a disasterous system of government that we had a SECOND constitutional convention and created a SECOND Constitution and a SECOND form of government with a stronger central government that had the right to tax and to print munnies. But now, as Rachel points out in her piece cited above, “conservatives” are wet in the crotch to return to those days. The AOC were utterly ruinous financially and politically, but these assholes just can’t wait to return to it.

Embracing horrible ideas is apparently what “conservatives” are all about.

For instance. When the Great Depression took hold and Roosevelt started to address the issue by spending government munnies, and then things started to get better, the “conservatives” went hey, hold on there, Charlie, and Roosevelt caved to that political pressure and started efforts to tighten up the federal budget. And guess what happened? The economic recovery fell right on its ass. Then Japan saved us by bombing the living gravity out of Pearl Harbor, and the government was allowed to spend lots of munnies again. But budget tightening during a recovery touted as what a country needs? Sound familiar? It didn’t work then, and it ain’t gonna work now. But “conservatives” walk around with their dicks out regarding this notion.

How about the mythical animal known as the “free market?” How about deregulation? How about the notion that cutting tax rates leads to higher returns? How about The 1/2 Hour News Hour? Back-alley abortions? Privatizing Social Security? I’m telling you, these assholes never met a horrible idea they didn’t want to please orally.

And we keep listening to them like they actually have something to say.

Yes, Mr. “Conservative,” that’s very interesting. Yes, I agree. Tejas should absolutely seceed, and wimmens shouldn’t have no access to safe and legal abortions or anything else; keep those broads barefoot and pregnant and tell them to STFU. That’s right, Mr. “Conservative”, we don’t have a revenue problem; we have a spending problem. Nod, nod, nod. Why does America so consistently listen to a band of thugs who has been so consistently wrong about so much?

Hey. “Conservatives.” You know what was also a great idea? LAWN DARTS. Throw them straight up in the air and don’t move from that spot. K?

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

*Yiddish. It means “Go shit in a lake.”

Worth Repeating

In Sunday’s New York Times a spirited former public official and real Republican… the principled kind, not a GOOPer…wrote in a Letter to the EDitor a brilliant explanation of why Corporations do not have a right to be endlessly greedy. He said it better than I could. Here it is:

In “Who Could Blame G.E.?” (column, April 5), Joe Nocera says America’s corporations have a fiduciary duty to maximize profit for their shareholders. Who says so? This has become the modern mantra of business-school professors and chief executives. But the corporation is not chartered by the shareholders. It is chartered by the state. The state charters corporations because it believes they may provide benefits to the society and not just to the shareholders.

It is interesting to note that as recently as the 1980s, the Business Roundtable’s chief executive mission statement asserted that the chief executive had a duty to care for customers, employees, communities and the nation (the stakeholders, in other words) as well as the shareholders.

This mission statement was changed in the mid-1990s to conform to the present shareholder value fetish. General Electric and other corporations that practice this fetish do so at their own and the country’s long-term peril.

CLYDE PRESTOWITZ
Potomac, Md., April 5, 2011

The writer, president of the Economic Strategy Institute, a nonpartisan public policy think tank, was counselor to the secretary of commerce in the Reagan administration.