Cutting Through The Crap

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Horror...

When The Truth Spins Out...

For those who claim today's R party, in the thrall of teabaggers, isn't racist. Sometimes, without meaning to, politicians tell the truth.
Had he said simply that he was opposed to Obama, his racism might be just on him. But, maybe by an act of a fed-up god, he decided to reveal the obvious: today's Republican party is playing to the lowest common denominator of the wrongest of the right wing. (And, yeah: he didn't intend to offend anyone.)

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Take You Your Tired Your Poor

And now, your dead.

"There are many youngsters who only three days after they've been deported are killed, shot by a firearm," said Hector Hernandez, who runs the morgue in San Pedro Sula. "They return just to die."
At least five, perhaps as many as 10, of the 42 children slain here since February had been recently deported from the U.S., Hernandez said.

To R leaders, the kids at our border were liars and thieves. A threat to us all. Their claims of refugee status were lies.

Our country has lost its soul. Or, more properly stated, has had it stolen by teabaggers and those who manipulate them to their soulless ends.

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Let Us Count The Ways...

The ways in which teabaggers are being manipulated by the billionaire string-pulling deceivers behind the "movement" are legion. Most importantly they've been convinced (astonishingly easily) that all their needs will be met by cutting government, eliminating help for the needy, keeping wages low, and, most importantly, by handing government money to the very wealthy and to the biggest corporations. Why they believe that, against all the evidence of what happens under Republican control, is unimaginable; except to say that it's testament to the connection between selfishness, religious fanaticism, and gullibility. And to the tendency of the human brain of the conservative variety that's dominant today, to revert to scapegoating and denialism in the face of tough problems.

That much we all know, and agree upon, right?

But the above graphs, from here, are pretty breathtaking: in addition to the indirect ripping off they're suffering, by way of legislative malfeasance, teabaggers' money is being literally stolen from them by the most prominent of Tea Party fund-raisers and PACs. And -- surprise, surprise, surprise -- Sarah Palin about the worst thief of all.

Plenty of time has passed since the first seeds of astroturf were sewn. Clearly, the target audience (let's call them what they are: suckers) either understand and like being manipulated, or are too dumb to notice, or are happy enough with their anger and misinformation that curiosity doesn't enter into it at all. From conversations I've had, in person and online, I think it's door #3.

Monday, August 18, 2014

I'll Never Understand

What is their deal? Really. Do they actually believe that those things they want to cut are harming the economy in some way? If so, doesn't their continual aggregation of wealth belie that? The disconnect is beyond my understanding.

But much further beyond ken is the fact that so many of the very people most at risk, were the K brothers to get their way, line up behind them like marching elephants. Teabaggers, led around by their noses, funded by those guys, convinced that they have something to gain by losing everything.

It's gotta be some kind of mind control. Except, where are the minds?

Friday, August 15, 2014

Climate Reality

But, yeah, let's go with the deniers. It's cheaper.

Until it's not.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Let's Call It What It Is

From The Washington Post:
A comprehensive investigation of voter impersonation finds 31 credible incidents out of one billion ballots cast 
... requirements to show ID at the polls are designed for pretty much one thing: people showing up at the polls pretending to be somebody else in order to each cast one incremental fake ballot. This is a slow, clunky way to steal an election. Which is why it rarely happens. 
I’ve been tracking allegations of fraud for years now, including the fraud ID laws are designed to stop. In 2008, when the Supreme Court weighed in on voter ID, I looked at every single allegation put before the Court. And since then, I’ve been following reports wherever they crop up.
To be clear, I’m not just talking about prosecutions. I track any specific, credible allegation that someone may have pretended to be someone else at the polls, in any way that an ID law could fix. 
So far, I’ve found about 31 different incidents (some of which involve multiple ballots) since 2000, anywhere in the country... 
It's been clear for a long time that the problem of voter fraud of the sort voter ID laws are, so they claim, aimed at preventing, is entirely a non-problem. It's no coincidence that the states that have enacted those laws are, without exception, red states with teabagophilic legislatures. Their claims of loving America are as hollow as Dick Cheney's soul. If America isn't about extending the franchise fairly, to all citizens, it's about nothing. The America that those people claim to love has never existed on this side of the ocean, or, for that matter, on this side of the Iron Curtain.

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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

A Remembrance

I must have been around ten when my grandpa made the offer. Not remembering my age at the time it happened is only the smallest thing I wish I knew about him but was too self-involved to have asked when I had the chance. Like how, exactly, he made it to the U.S. from Poland while still a teenager, leaving his village in the night, alone, after the chief of police had warned his father, the rabbi, that he had orders to arrest my grandpa next morning. Grandpa had, the story goes, wafted in the anti-Tsarist winds of change while attending agricultural school in Moscow, returning to the shtetl full of enthusiasm for bringing power to the people.
Or something. The story was oft told but, as I’ve learned many times since, memory can bear little resemblance to reality. It’s true, though, that somehow Grandpa found a way from there to the Lower East Side of Manhattan, thence to the farm of a US Senator Flynn of Pennsylvania, and some time later to the wilds of California, by train, having read an advertisement offering work to ranch hands. The place, it turns out, was the ranch of the writer Jack London. Eventually he became livestock foreman, kept an eye on his wife Charmaine for him while the writer was drinking his way through Alaska, and rode the range with him, shooting coyotes to protect the sheep. Taking it from a drawer in his bedroom, Grandpa would open a shape-fitting leather case to show me the five-shot revolver London gave him; I recall fondling it with reverence, spinning the barrel, noting, as was the case with everything my grandpa owned, that it was immaculately kept, oiled, pristine.
Growing up, our home was only a few blocks away from my grandparents’ and my brother and I would ride our bikes there frequently, always encouraged by Gammy to have something to eat; a sandwich of homemade bread, slathered with homemade mayonnaise which I thought only came in jars. Grandpa would visit our house regularly, too, always heading first to our garage to oil my brother’s and my bikes, and the doors of dad’s car.
Mom said that grandpa rode a horse like he was part of it. He’d sit a quarter on his saddle and gallop off, returning with the coin still there. His bearing, his dress were always immaculate, even after his stroke. He walked erect, almost never without a coat and tie and always, when outside, a hat.
The offer he made that day, sitting in the breakfast nook between the kitchen and the dining room which I mostly remember for the Seders we had in there, using his highly edited and annotated Haggadahs, involved a piece of paper he handed me, promising a dollar if I memorized what was written and repeated it back to him without looking.
A dollar was big money for a kid back then. Several comic books with coins enough left over for a couple of Mountain Bars. So I took the challenge. Another mystery among those that’ll never be answered is who wrote the extended aphorism he handed me. I’m pretty certain it was he, though. His English was precise, with a barely perceptible Russian accent and conscientiously flowery. He’d forgotten all of his Russian except songs, which, along with favorite American ones, he’d sing for every occasion. It was the throaty and luscious Slavic sounds that led me to learn the language myself a few years later. I could sing you the songs, every one of them, if you asked.
So I memorized and recited it back to him. I assume he gave me the dollar. Who knows? It might have been more. And if there’s so much I’ve forgotten, and much more that I never knew and never will, I still remember, like a mantra and a weedy pathway back to Grandpa, more than half a century later, and only saying it to him once:
Whatever we dwell upon most, mentally, we bring ourselves in closest contact with. That is why it so often occurs that we get most of what we most dislike, because our aversions and fears occupy so much of our secret meditations, even when we keep them out of our general conversations. Concentration upon that which we most desire is the surest way to bring it to us; but there must be no excitement or agitation in connection with our anticipation.
Fewer words were never spoken. But that was Grandpa.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Read This

The best liberal opinionator there is has produced the definitive discourse on the Obama administration. I won't even paste a part of it. Read the whole thing.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tough Guys

It Begins To Make Sense

I've always assumed that the reason teabaggers, mainline right-wingers and their string-pullers support Israel is the evangelical view that it's connected to the return of Jesus. Silly me:
Israel has granted a U.S. company the first license to explore for oil and gas in the occupied Golan Heights, John Reed of the Financial Times reports.
A local subsidiary of the New York-listed company Genie Energy — which is advised by former vice president Dick Cheney and whose shareholders include Jacob Rothschild and Rupert Murdoch — will now have exclusive rights to a 153-square mile radius in the southern part of the Golan Heights... (Emphasis mine!)
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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Newspaper Screed

So the local newspaper published another of my rants today: 

It’s said, by whom I’m not sure, that the best contract is one in which both parties think they got screwed. By that measure, Barack Obama is surely among the best presidents we’ve had. He’s disappointed liberals by opting against single-payer health care, not closing Gitmo, continuing George Bush’s NSA abuses, doing too little to prevent Wall Street excess, letting certain war criminals off the hook, drilling too much, and more. Conservatives (nowadays I use the term advisedly) consider our president a power-mad dictator who’s also an ineffectual coward; a diabolical America-hater whose every action, no matter how moderate or previously advocated, deserves unrestrained, wild-eyed condemnation. Especially when he tries to get things done while they refuse to.

It’s hard to watch Congressional Republicans unfailingly defend corporate interests at the expense of regular citizens, or to see yet another expression of conspiratorial outrage at something President Obama said or didn’t say, did or didn’t do. And it’s not because I think people never have a point in criticizing the president. It’s that I see the mainstream anger on the right as carefully orchestrated, ginned-up by the same people who financed the Tea Party and convinced them to vote against their own interests. How else to get people to look the other way while their party protects tax cuts for the favored while ignoring the present and future needs of everyone else? The faster they take us to plutocracy, the more they misdirect voters to shiny objects. Prestidigitation. Worked for Houdini.

Barack Obama’s presidency has been far from perfect. People say he’s been in office long enough that he should take full responsibility for all outcomes. I don’t entirely disagree. But it’s inarguable that he’s faced unprecedented and unanimous obstruction from the other side. None of George Bush’s initiatives – none – failed to get at least some Democratic votes. Well, you say, that just means he was better at negotiating with Congress. And I might buy it, were it not for the fact that on the first day of Obama’s presidency, before the words of his speech had stopped echoing around the National Mall, even as those embarrassing inaugural balls were still bouncing, Republican leaders were meeting to plot destruction of his agenda before they’d even heard it, whatever it was, no matter the tax cuts he included in the stimulus, or the conservative origins of his health care reform.

But let’s forget that. I can’t, but let’s anyway. Let’s look at what’s going on today. The sad state of those children at our southern border is instructive. The only thing I know for sure is that it’s horrible, and that the solution, if and when it’s found, will involve much more than a bunch of even more horrible people shouting red-faced and righteous at busloads of frightened children; or Rick Perry sending a thousand Guardsmen to repel them; or Republican leaders claiming Obama is deliberately bringing them here, nevermind fleeing murder and mayhem, to achieve unspecified but definitely dastardly ends. Marco Rubio says the problem is the order Obama signed delaying deportation of some minors. Does he, does anyone who watches Fox “news” know that the order applied only to those that have been here since 2007? Or that it was George WMD Bush who signed the law preventing immediate deportation of children from non-border countries? How much easier to spin conspiracy theories, to create fear and resentment, than to do the hard work of finding real solutions. (Heroic Sarah Palin bailed on the hard job of governing in favor of more remunerative, consequence- and content-free bloviating and Foxidolitry.) 

Legislating, including the willingness, birthed in Philadelphia, to compromise for the common good, happens to be the job, much as they’d prefer to ignore it, of those legislators who’d rather rush to Fox “news” cameras than to their desks. Who are readying a vote-shopping lawsuit against President Obama for delaying implementation of a law they’ve voted fifty-some times to repeal, while ignoring the fact that their previous president did that very thing with his health care law. And demanding, without irony, that he not enforce the aforementioned immigration law that other guy signed.

I wonder if Republican voters will ever consider why and by whom they’re being motivated to scream at kids instead of legislators, or to believe there’s no climate change, or to ignore our crumbling infrastructure, to demonize teachers, demand spending on more wars, and who stands to gain from it. Not before it’s too late. Of that I’m certain.

Friday, July 25, 2014


Okay, I can see where some people might take exception to a couple of these, on some sort of principle of other; but for the life of me I can't understand why 95% of Americans don't consider virtually all of it to go without saying.

How, in other words, can anyone but a very wealthy and very selfish and very short-sighted person, one who fails to understand or figures he/she needn't care about the vital importance to a capitalist democracy of a vibrant middle class, vote for today's Republican party? For that matter, how can anyone who calls him- or herself a Christian; unless preventing same sex marriage, based on something Jesus never said, overrides everything else he actually did.