Thursday, April 30, 2015

70 Years Ago

It's best that we don't forget things like this: seventy years ago today, after precipitating the deaths of 50 million people, Adolf Hitler took his own life.  I won't add anything to the endless words that have been written on the subject- what could anyone have to add, anyway?

I've Got a Bridge I'll Be Happy to Sell You

Is there a person on earth (other than the staff of the Washington Post, of course) that believes that Freddie Gray broke his own back and crushed his own larynx in the back of a police van?

Now that the Baltimore Police Department has been caught "leaking" a story which is as improbable as The Hobbit, let's see what has to be done to make this outrage disappear.  Because you know what the final outcome is going to be.  After all, there was no one in the back of the police van filming things on their phone, so it never happened.

Update: Well, surprise, surprise.  Even the Baltimore Police realized that they could never get anyone to believe their fairy tale of Freddie Grey's self-destruction.  Now let's see if we ever find out the circumstances under which this ugly lie was released to the press, what was offered to the other prisoner to collaborate (for a day at least,) and if anyone will be held accountable for it.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Man Who Should Have Been President

If both the Republican and Democratic parties hadn't conspired to destroy him when he had a real chance, because neither one of them likes the truth that much.



From Think Progress:

"On Wednesday morning, four-term California Governor Jerry Brown issued an executive order that aims to reduce California’s greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. Brown called it the most aggressive GHG target by any North American government to date."

Oh, and did I mention that he turned the Republicans' giant budget deficit into a surplus within two years, without savaging education funding and without making poor people bear the cost?  And he has seen a dramatic turnaround in the business and jobs climate in California, despite Republicans' endless whining that high taxes are driving all our jobs to Texas?

Oh yeah, this is Governor Moonbeam, the guy who is just too wacky and out in left field to be trusted to run things.  Imagine what this country would be like today if he had been President from 2000 to 2008, instead of you-know who.  Or don't- it's really too depressing.

More Baltimore

So, last night, while I was cooking dinner, I tuned in to MSNBC's coverage of the Baltimore "riots," and caught the three news hosts that we are supposed to cherish as the liberal end of the news spectrum; Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes and Lawrence O'Donnell; spending an endless amount of time praising the Baltimore Police for the way they did away with any more protests.  Of course, that's not the way the three "liberals" put it- no, according to them, the police were keeping the peace and showing that the system works.

Has it already become established fact that whatever annoying things happened in Baltimore were the fault of those inferior Black people?  Has everyone forgotten that this one night of rioting was the result of years of vicious abuse of the citizens of Baltimore by thugs in blue uniforms?  And has everyone forgotten that this sort of police misbehavior seems to happen almost daily, in cities across this country? Has everyone forgotten that this night only happened after weeks of peaceful protests were totally ignored?

Let me be clear here:  the violence in Baltimore was generated by the police.  They are by far the biggest malefactors here.  Having them get out in the streets in their riot gear and pretend to quell a "riot" that they deliberately provoked , and then to praise them for it, is an obscenity.  The Baltimore Police Department has no more business acting in this role than the Gestapo would have been if they had been appointed to police Germany after World War II.

The police are the problem, in city after city across this country.  And if there is no other way to strike back at them than to go out and smash a few windows and loot a drug store, that is what is going to happen, and it is going to happen more and more, until the white power structure faces up to its abominations and does something about them.

We've heard for years, from the militia members, the "Patriots" and teabaggers, how they are going to rise up and "take the country back," whatever the hell that they mean by that.  Their claims have proven to be hollow boasting every step of the way; but right alongside of them there is a real movement rising up.  We've seen it in Ferguson, we've seen it in New York, and in Baltimore.  And it exists in every city in this country, just waiting for the fuse to set it off.  And some day, an action of unrepentant brutality by police will inevitably set them all off at once.  At that point, decent people around the world will be siding with the "rioters," not the fascists.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Baltimore

Ta-Nehsi Coates:  "When nonviolence begins halfway through the war with the aggressor calling time out, it exposes itself as a ruse."

You see, here is the side we are supposed to meet halfway:

And here's our side:
So, this seems to be the well established rule:  They get to kill us whenever they feel like it, and then when we don't like that, we are supposed to meet them halfway, by doing nothing that is likely to change their current status.  If we do decide that this deal isn't good enough, they get to beat and kill a few more of us, to which the proper response is some prayer vigils, or maybe a petition.  Then, we bury our dead, the police cross their fingers and promise for the thousandth time not to act like thugs, and everybody agrees that the system worked.

Well, to hell with that.  I've lived in Baltimore, and I've seen the hopeless slums five minutes walk from streets of magnificent eighteenth and nineteenth century buildings, and only a little farther from a vast tourist development in the harbor that the city paid hundreds of millions to build, and which is just about useless to the residents of the aforementioned slums.  My attitude: if they burned it all down, it would be no more than the city of Baltimore, and a lot of other cities in this country, deserve.

Monday, April 27, 2015

The Clown Car Rolls On

Republican public comments lately have spun so far off the rails that I have trouble keeping up with them via normal posts.  So, I want to try something a little different here: a sort of Wingnut Wrapup of allegedly responsible voices from Republicans and the mainstream press, which are as idiotic as the stuff I find at right wing websites, but far less forgivable, since they come from people who actually have the power to see to it that their vile agenda is actually enacted; as well as a little miscellany that is related to the subject.  All of this is from today, collected by me in a half hour or so.  So, let's get on with it.  I'm bookmarking a lot of it, as opposed to my normal practice with wingnut blogs.  I don't want to give the blogs the hits, but these people need to be held responsible for their behavior.

Ted Cruz:  "Today’s Democratic Party has decided there is no room for Christians in today’s Democratic Party"

Ha ha, caught us.  We're going to build an electoral majority in the U.S. made up exclusively of Muslims, atheists and Buddhists.  We'll be taking back the White House some time around, say, the year 2310.  But boy will things be great then.

And this vital news, from the people who really know how our democracy is supposed to work:

"Religious leaders are calling on members of the Supreme Court’s liberal wing to recuse themselves from the blockbuster gay marriage case that the court will begin considering on Tuesday."

Because if you don't agree with me you don't have a right to an opinion.

And here's an interesting map, from Fixr, via Daily Kos, of each State's largest import:



I was interested in that whole swath through the middle of the country and the South, of heavily conservative States whose main import is oil.  And, if you can believe it, the biggest import to Wisconsin is (!) sweaters.  I guess Governor Walker has damaged the economy there so much, people can't afford heat any more.  And here's an item that could serve as the basis for a good (and possibly true) conspiracy theory: Utah's main import is gold.  Also, I can't help but wonder if the statistics for Nevada's main import, chemicals, includes crystal meth.  If so, it would all make sense.

And this, from the New York Times:

"Ian Reisner, one of the two gay hoteliers facing boycott calls for hosting an event for Senator Ted Cruz, who is adamantly opposed to same-sex marriage, apologized to the gay community for showing “poor judgment.”
“I am shaken to my bones by the emails, texts, postings and phone calls of the past few days. I made a terrible mistake,” wrote Mr. Reisner."

Like, you couldn't have figured out that supporting Ted Cruz was a terrible mistake all on your own, Ian?  What you did was not a mistake, it was a grotesque, self serving betrayal of not only your fellow gays but of all Americans.  So, apology not accepted, until you apologize for what you really did.  (Hint: readers, don't hold your breath.)

And, a reminder of why a black guy won the Presidency:

George W. Bush:  “In order to be an effective president ... when you say something you have to mean it,” he said. “You gotta kill em.”

Which worked so well.

And now this horrible news:

"Baltimore police issue warning: credible threats gangs are going to target and 'take-out' officers"

Of course, police officers have actually been taking out black males for years, but no one cares about that, I guess.

And finally, this important item from Scientific American:

"Lenin's Body Improves with Age"

If only we could say the same about Dick Cheney.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Wingnut Wrapup

Well, here's what the next year and a half are going to look like:

All Hillary all the time! Bet you can't wait, huh?

Matt Towery, Town Hall:  "Major Opinion Index Might Be Warning of Big Changes in Markets and Economy...let me be clear, I am not suggesting that such a meltdown is imminent. But a study from the research firm Opinion Savvy gives real cause to wonder if the wild bull run on Wall Street might finally be coming to an end later this year."

Of course, there is no sign that the economy is going to melt down between now and the election, but a Republican can always dream, right?  Because there is nothing that these patriots want more.

Mike Larson, Town Hall:  "Years of economic propaganda, dishonest accounting and lies have led to this"

Conveniently illustrated with a picture of Barack Obama, just so you get the idea of who is doing the lying.  And what might "this" be?  Well, "this" is a free opportunity to put your name on a mailing list where you will be bombarded until doomsday with crooked investment offers, and to subscribe to a very expensive investment newsletter from investment "advisors" who seem to make most of their money selling the newsletter.  And the thing is pretty much presented as a news story at Town Hall. Sort of shows what they are really up to over in wingnut world.

Christine Rousselle, Town Hall:  "FLASHBACK: "Hippies Crying Over Dead Trees" 

They are so short of anything real that they have to watch a video from 2008 about some people who are sad about dead trees.  I guess it's just ludicrous, by the way, to care about dead trees.

Katie Pavlich, Town Hall:  "Reminder: Earth Day Co-Founder Killed and Composted His Girlfriend"

And now back to the 1970's when someone who participated in an earth day rally (not an earth day cofounder, needless to say) killed his girlfriend.  Which proves...something.  By the way, he didn't compost her, he hid her in a trunk.  They can't help lying even when they have something real to talk about.

And just in case you were wondering:

Chris Walker, Red State:  "Forty-five years ago, 22 million Americans celebrated clean air, clean water and a clean environment on the very first Earth Day.  The day itself was created by Republican (gasp) President Richard Nixon.  He signed the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requiring all federal agencies to prepare environmental impact statements and commemorated the very first Earth Day on April 22, 1970."

Nixon, not a hippie with a tenuous grasp on the concept of dating.  Who knew?

Brad Jackson, Red State:  "Jonah Goldberg on Morality in Politics and the 2016 election"

Oh God, not that.  No way.  Green Eagle has some principles.

Streiff, Red State:  "Bill Clinton sold us to the ChiComs; Hillary sold us to the Russians"

ChiComs.  Isn't that cute?  I haven't heard that since Barry Goldwater lost.

Ed Driscoll, PJ Media:  "You’ve Won Against the Gun Bullies"

Funny, the gun bullies turn out to be the ones without the guns, not the ones with them.  Interesting perspective, I guess.



And while we're on the subject of guns:

Paula Boyard, PJ Media:  "Here’s a Video of Ted and Heidi Cruz Shooting a Full Auto Tommy Gun"

Oh boy.  Yes, I did look at it, and no, I'm not going to embed it here.  It was really stupid.

And Paula has been a busy girl today:

Paula Boyard, PJ Media:  "Michigan Lawmakers Want Homeschooled Children Registered Like Dogs"

Michigan seems to be one of only eleven States that do not require this already.  So I guess homeschooled children are already nothing but dogs in the other 39 States.  Well, I'll tell you what:  I don't try to teach my dogs that the earth is 6,000 years old and the President is a Muslim terrorist, so I guess homeschooled children are actually treated worse than dogs, and by their own parents.

Bryan Fischer, Renew America:  "The Supreme Court will turn the Bible into Mein Kampf"

Good trick.  Sort of like water into wine, huh?  Here's more of Bryan Fischer's prognostication:

"The Bible will be classified as hate speech from beginning to end, and it will not be long before efforts will be made to ban it in school and public libraries and to forbid the study of it anywhere on college campuses. Most German libraries today carry only heavily redacted versions of Mein Kampf, and it won't be long before pressure is brought to bear to do the same with the Bible."

And this:

"If homosexuality is deemed by the Supreme Court to be the equivalent of race, all sincerely devoted followers of Christ will immediately be accused by definition of being as racist, mean-spirited, and bigoted as (Bull) Connor."

And you know what, Bryan, that would pretty much be true, at least as far as "sincerely devoted followers of Christ" means people like you.

Tim Dunkin, Renew America:  "Why do we put up with liberals?"

Don't worry.  Tim and his friends aren't planning on putting up with them for long.  Then, BLAM! -Problem solved.  I mean, it worked in Germany.

Larry Klayman, Renew America:  "Impeach the traitor now!"

Just in case you thought they had all moved on to Hillary.  Larry has a lot to say:

"Indeed, if Obama were a white man, a la President Nixon, he would have been impeached and forced to resign by now. (And Nixon was at least a patriot.) But Obama and many of his henchmen, like Attorney General Eric Holder, a true fellow criminal and racist, know well how to play the so-called race card. Criticize him in any way and this amounts to an attack upon not just him but his "people.... The President of the United States is an insidious traitor, plain and simple. He is worse than Benedict Arnold during Revolutionary War days, particularly since more is at stake, and we have even more to lose in today's nuclear and terrorist age."

Okay, enough.  We have more to lose than not even being a country at all.

Now, let's not forget that World Net Daily can top them all when they put their minds to it:

World Net Daily EXCLUSIVE!   "TEXANS BLAME SECRET MILITARY TAKEOVER FOR WALMART CLOSINGS...Rumor: Shuttered stores to be entrance for network of underground tunnels. 

Thousands of tweets, dozens of online publications and plenty of Chron.com commenters sounded the alarm of an impending military takeover.  Now the virtual world of alternative news has added a new twist to the tale: Walmart is in on it, and there are secret underground tunnels."

WalMart is in on it.  Why, of course.  Why did that never occur to me?  Checking this  out, I found this equally plausible story at one of WND's sources:

Susan DuClos, All News Pipeline:  "Has Google Found The Loch Ness Monster?"

Well, okay, then.

James Lewis, American Thinker:  "Who authorized Obama to kick over the nuclear balance?"

The American voters, James.  Deal with it.  And just in case you might wonder why Obama would "kick over the nuclear balance," the answer is obvious to Conservatives:

Jeannie De Angelis, American Thinker: "Surely the president is well aware that U.S. government computer models predict that even a small nuclear war anywhere on the planet could trigger “unprecedented” global cooling.  With global warming the culprit, cooling, however it’s accomplished, would provide a quick fix for the guy in need of a boost in the polls. 

Sure, a small-scale nuclear war would cause global cooling, further reduction of the ozone layer, and harmful ultraviolet radiation.  That, in turn, would usher in death, disease, and drought due to things like lack of rainfall.  

But ultimately mass starvation and plague could deliver positive results"

Positive results.  Well, at least he has a plan to deal with global warming.  That beats the Republicans, I guess.

Newsmachete, American Thinker:  "Let's stop paying for space pork-How "essential" is the Hubble Telescope?"

Because that money could go right to the Koch Brothers so they could spend more lying the American people into electing a Republican President.  After all, knowledge is nothing but pork.

Guy Benson, Town Hall:  "A Glimpse Into President Bush's Kindness and Character"

Oh God, no, no, no, no, no.

Kaitlin Collins, The Daily Caller:  "Here's What Kim Kardashian's Little Sister Thinks Is Appropriate To Wear To Dinner-You've got to see it to believe it"

Oh no we don't.

And this, from Hot Air:

Hugh Hewitt:  "You’ve had a chance to read the Jo Becker/Mike McIntire New York Times piece today about the cash flowing into the Clinton Foundation from the Russians as they got control of Uranium One. What’s your reaction to this story?"
Mitt Romney:  "You know, I’ve got to tell you, I was stunned by it. I mean, it looks like bribery. I mean, there is every appearance that Hillary Clinton was bribed to grease the sale of, what, 20% of America’s uranium production to Russia..."

Listen, I'm not going to dance around here. You wouldn't want to see Green Eagle dance anyway- he's dead clumsy.  What Mitt Romney says here is a complete lie.  Of course, coming from someone who demonstrated himself to be one of the biggest liars in history during his Presidential campaign, that isn't surprising.

Michael Walsh, PJ Media:  "Dead Candidate Walking...Place your bets: What will be Hillary!'s last day as a candidate?"

Let me guess:  Election day 2016.  The day after that, she will be President elect.  Deal with it, sucker.

Jim Hoft, Gateway Pundit:  "HUNDREDS OF PATRIOTS Turn Out to Support US Flag at Valdosta State"

Well, isn't that special?

Tim Dunkin, Renew America:  "Honest observers in this country have to admit that we have a police problem that is increasingly growing more serious. While some of the stories that have come out about police brutality and police overreach have clearly been invented or exaggerated by the Left for the purposes of inflaming racial tensions and undermining American civic stability, there are nevertheless a large number of incidents in recent years which cannot simply be wishcast away..."

Ah, at last, an honest conservative.  And what might those real cases be?

"This is apparent from the news we see coming out of Wisconsin about the "John Doe" investigations conducted by hyper-partisan opponents of Scott Walker."

Not Michael Brown or Walter Scott or any of the other black people gunned down in cold blood by police, no.  That is just left wing propaganda.  The real victim of the police is Republican governor and Koch Brothers puppet Scott Walker.  You didn't think that a Conservative was about to face a real problem in this country, now, did you?

Okay, with that thought, we will leave you to enjoy the rest of your day.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Good News for Republicans

It just never ends.  Today, this piece of vital information from Yahoo:

"Clinton polling well but it may spell trouble...The former Secretary of State is a favorite among Democrats, but some fear her dominance could lead to her downfall."

Will it surprise you that the rest of the article fails to identify a single one of the "some" who believe this?  In fact, it never refers to this claim at all.  It does, however, manage to find room to mention Republican claims that she is untrustworthy, again, however failing to provide a shred of evidence for those claims.

Get ready for it- Election 2016, as brought to you by our mainstream press, which seems to be just panting at the thought of a replay of the Bush-Cheney administration.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Why I Haven't Been Posting Much Lately

In the words of George Packer, in the New Yorker:

"the forest of names on the Republican side, “two figures—Jeb Bush and Scott Walker—have quickly moved to the head of the pack. Perhaps only Mr. Rubio has a good chance to join them at the top.” The reasons have to do with fundraising, positioning, √©lite support, broad acceptability—that is, with the roles spelled out in the piece. The author, Nate Cohn, concluded, “It will be fun to watch.”

That was when he lost me.

It might not be wise for a sometime political journalist to admit this, but the 2016 campaign doesn’t seem like fun to me... If this is any kind of fun, it’s the kind of fun I associate with reading about seventeenth-century French execution methods, or watching a YouTube video of a fight between a python and an alligator. Fun in small doses, as long as you’re not too close. 

American politics in general doesn’t seem like fun these days. There’s nothing very entertaining about super PACs, or Mike Huckabee’s national announcement of an imminent national announcement of whether he will run for President again. Jeb Bush’s ruthless approach to locking up the exclusive services of longstanding Republican political consultants and media professionals far ahead of the primaries doesn’t quicken my pulse."

Thee's lots more where this came from too, but it's all so depressingly familiar to me.  Now we are going to get this:

"The New York Times, The Washington Post and Fox News have made exclusive agreements with a conservative author for early access to his opposition research on Hillary Clinton, a move that has confounded members of the Clinton campaign and some reporters, the On Media blog has confirmed."

Every one of us knows that this book is going to be a right wing Swift Boat smear, but the New York Times and the Washington Post, supposedly the two best newspapers in the country, have "made exclusive agreements," i.e. are going to pay for the privilege of carrying these Republican lies; i.e. once again, as they did with Gore and Kerry, they are going to collaborate with the Republican party to see to it that any Democratic candidate is crushed in an avalanche of hatred.

 And while we are on the subject, how about this news?

"Jeb Bush demands donors pony up six figures to get in the door... 

Want to be a donor Jeb Bush actually cares about? No piddling one percenters need apply at this Super PAC-driven stage of the not-yet-official campaign. It takes a 0.1 percenter's money to matter to Jeb these days, and the people giving what was seen as good money as recently as 2012 are being downgraded...Last month, Bush’s campaign held a breakfast fundraiser in Florida that required $250,000 simply to get in the door, said one Republican strategist who has worked on multiple presidential campaigns. The strategist said that some attendees who normally attend GOP campaign events balked. One invitee joked about the high cost of entrance, said the strategist, asking, “Can I do coffee?” 
A pair of March fundraisers for Bush -- one that included his former president father and another that included his former president brother -- required couples to raise $100,000 to attend. Jeb Bush also held a Wall Street fundraiser in February, which demanded an “eye-popping” $100,000 per ticket."

That's right, you guys out there who could pony up $25,000 or $50,000 for one candidate, out of your multimillion dollar incomes:  I bet you thought you were rich.  No more.  Now that a few dozen people are capable of financing whole political parties on their own, who cares about pikers like you?  You just got kicked off the bus.  It's not the 1% any more, or the 0.1% or even the 0.01%.  Guess what?  You guys aren't in the inner circle any more.  You are as necessary to the process as the bums that live in the park a few blocks from your $10 million dollar New York condos.  The system isn't for you any more.

And what's more, in a few more years, even the Romneys and Bushes, guys with $250 million or so, are going to find themselves outside the circle, once the Koch brothers and the few dozen more of their ilk have so gorged themselves on our national wealth that neither they nor their tools like Scott Walker need to give a God damn about the rest of us.

That's the inevitable end of our nation's progress, and I see nothing that can stop it.  I guess that is why I don't find it much fun any more.

Monday, April 20, 2015

The More Things Change...

For those of us that are horrified with the behavior of Conservatives today, and might be tempted to see this as a temporary reaction brought on by the successive campaigns of a Black man and a woman, consider this, from Richard Evans' three volume work on the rise of the Nazi party, about the Social Democrats in Germany before World War I:

"By the eve of the first world war, the (Social Democratic) party had over a million members, the largest political organization anywhere in the world.  In the 1912 elections, despite an inbuilt bias of the electoral system, in favour of  conservative rural constituencies, it overtook the Centre party as the largest single party in the Reichstag... 

Combating the Social Democrats became the business of a whole generation of judges, state prosecutors, police chiefs and government officials before 1914.  These men, and the majority of their middle- and upper-class supporters, never accepted the Social Democrats as a legitimate political movement.  In their eyes, the law's purpose was to uphold the existing institutions of state and society, not to act as a neutral referee between opposing political groups."


Sound familiar?  A political majority achieved by reliance on small rural districts full of right wing citizens, despite the popular majority actually being far more left leaning; a refusal to accept the opposition as even a legitimate party; the misuse of the law for partisan purposes- all taking place in an empire far far away, and long, long ago.  Nothing really changes, does it?  I guess humanity is doomed to spend eternity fighting against these sickening, loathsome people.


And I just want to add another comment to this:  Remember, it only took ten years and a disastrous lost war for Germany to go from this to absolute murderous hatred of the left, culminating in World War II.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Shooting at N.C. community college investigated as possible hate crime

According to Reuters.  Gee, you think so?  Here's the shooter:


The article continues:

"...detectives also were looking into whether the former student with no prior criminal arrest record had any affiliation with white supremacy groups."

What could have ever made them think that?  The 88 on his cheek?  the iron cross on his throat?

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Greatest Republican Idea In The History of the World

From ABC's This Week with George Stephanopolis:

"STEPHANOPOULOS: One final question for each of you, who is the most promising Republican candidate not in the race yet? […] 

BILL KRISTOL: If they get to nominate Hillary Clinton, why don't we get to nominate Dick Cheney..."

Bill, please, please, be our guest!  There is no one in the Democratic party that would have any problem at all with your nominating Dick Cheney to run for President. He is the very apotheosis of what it means to be a Republican, in every way. And what a record, both in economics and foreign policy.  And what a great campaigner, what with him being such a likeable guy.  Let's all see how many people in this country want that.  Really, please go for it.  Please!
I mean, everyone wants to look at that for the next eight years.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

FDR

Today is the seventieth anniversary of the death of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  I'd like to take the opportunity to remind people what a real Democratic President sounded like.  If you have never heard this short clip, please take a couple of minutes to listen to it, and try to remember the last time you heard a living Democratic leader talk this way:



I've been to Warm Springs, Georgia, to the "Little White House" where Roosevelt was so content to be.  Here's a picture of it:

Roosevelt was born to wealth and influence, yet he didn't need car elevators and all the rest of it to be happy.  This humble little structure was all he wanted, and I think it says it all.  We can't seem to be able to have Democrats like this any more.  Too bad, huh?

Republicans- A Challenger Appears

We have seen how the Republican party has been controlled totally by the rich for a century, and how, for at least a half century, no one has been nominated by the Republicans to run for President who is not the choice of the rich- primarily the investment bankers and hedge fund managers, who include among their members the Bush family (dating back to Prescott Bush, who was an investment banker) and Mitt Romney.  These people have generally had net worths (in today's money) in the hundreds of millions of dollars, mostly extracted from other, semi-rich dupes, but much of it also gained by destroying jobs or (in Prescott Bush's case) supplying the Nazi war effort.  Based on this phenomenon I have been confidently predicting that Jeb Bush had a total lock on the Republican nomination.

I'm beginning to think of hedging my bets, so to speak.  For a new power has emerged in the Republican party- a few dozen people who are not merely disgustingly rich, but who are hyper-rich; people whose net worth now allows them to dwarf the entire rest of the country in campaign expenditure, and whose political behavior is so despicable that it even may make a compulsive liar and sociopath like Mitt Romney look not so bad in comparison.  These are the Kochs, Sheldon Adelson and their few compatriots, people for whom no political expenditure is too great, and no dirty tactic is too low.  And they have their candidate too: a man who has proven to them that he will do any damage to the people he was elected to govern, if it serves their interest.  That man is, of course, Scott Walker, who has been willing to cripple his State's ability to function, and callously cause any damage to its people, if instructed to by the Koch brothers.  Walker is still a cypher to most people, and in the face of a billion dollar plus campaign of lies, both about Walker himself and whoever stands in his way, who knows if the truth will ever emerge?  The mainstream press certainly saw to it that the truth never did about George Bush, or Mitt Romney, and with a little help from them, the Kochs will be able to present Walker to the country as a rational businessman making the necessary choices for the country; choices which always involve taking from the rest of us and giving to these few dozen rich thieves.

So, there it is: the potential of a war between the merely rich and the hyper-rich to control the Republican party and then move on to savage the country for their own benefit.  At this point, I still have to favor Bush to get the nomination, just because of political inertia, but this could truly be a watershed election, in which the pretense of the Republican party to be working for the good of the country is abandoned once and for all, and they begin the rush to their long-intended goal of a land in which rigged elections aren't really even needed to hide the reality of a nation totally owned by a few dozen families, because there will be nothing that the rest of us can do about it.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Appomattox

Maybe not that important, but I think it is worth remembering that today is the 150th anniversary of the surrender of Robert E. Lee at Appomattox, thus effectively ending the Civil War.


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

How Ugly It Is Going to Get

You just watch how the right wing narrative about the police murder of Walter Scott in North Charleston is going to develop, if you want to see just how determined right wingers in this country are to license themselves to commit whatever atrocities they want to.

Here it is, only a couple of days later, and it has already started.  Here are a couple of excerpts from a site called "Charleston Thug Life" which seem to be along the lines of the famous saying, "who you going to trust, me or your lying eyes."

"Let’s deal with some new developments in the case of the horrendous officer involved shooting in North Charleston. Yes, we know reasoned analysis is racist, but what the hell, let’s do it anyway. 
First and foremost are the actions of James Johnson, Al Sharpton’s racist in training, who levied his usual unfounded allegations of racial profiling against police. He may tell you he doesn’t want riots, but he’s secretly longing for them so he can continue his time in the spotlight and he doesn’t mind slipping in those sly references in order to stir up the public to facilitate his dream. 
The death of Walter Scott is tragic and was caused by a chain of bad decisions made by all involved. Unfortunately, it also gives the hustlers exactly what they have been trying to get by lying about events in other cases – a dead black man with empty hands shot in the back by a police officer."

Because as we all know, 3 day old Mercedes so often have broken tail lights, and white people in 3 day old Mercedes get hauled out of their cars and tasered all the time for broken tail lights.  Scott was perfectly justified in fearing that he was about to be subject to unprovoked violence at the hands of a Southern cracker policeman.  And he was right.

"Next up is the contention the officer planted evidence, to wit, the Taser. Immediately after handcuffing Scott the officer trots back and picks up the Taser from the spot where it fell, or was dropped, as Scott turned to flee... 

What the media fails to show you are the images of the officer picking up and holstering the Taser at about the 2:00 minute mark...The video...shows there was no planted evidence."

Well, whoopee.  The minute the cop picked up the taser from where it fell, and put it by the victim, which can be clearly seen in the video, he had materially damaged the crime scene, which he knew perfectly well.  Maybe he had second thoughts about whether he could get away with that, but in any event, he had already committed a serious felony when he rearranged the evidence at a murder scene.

"Any claims that the officer lied in his statement are just that – claims with no basis in the evidence currently available to the press or the public. Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t."

Maybe the video is a quick CGI job by Hollywood liberals.

"As much as certain people try to avoid reality, Scott’s poor decision making also contributed to his death. His bad decision to run from and struggle with a police officer was compounded by the officer’s poor decision to shoot him in the back as he fled. If you are going to assign blame honestly you cannot deny both are responsible for Scott’s death."

Because, you see, running from a policeman who, as you correctly feared, is on the point of murdering you for nothing is exactly as bad as gunning an innocent person down in the back, so Walter Scott is equally at fault for his own murder.  I am sure that some right wing racists will soon be pointing out that Scott actually was not innocent- he may, for all we know, been guilty for driving with a broken tail light on his new car, which is, as we know, just as much a capital crime as jaywalking or selling someone a cigarette- if you are black.

I promise you, just as with the other cases that have been in the news recently, this will be the sort of twisting of the obvious truth that we are about to be buried in.  All of it will then be cited when the local prosecutor sees to it that the cop gets a dead minimum punishment, or is very likely let off altogether.  That's justice American style.

My Reaction to the North Charleston Police Murder

I guess everyone has heard about this disgusting incident, and I usually don't like to just repeat what others have already said, but in case there is anyone who hasn't seen this video, I think you should watch it, to really understand what is going on in this country.

Before reproducing it here, I think it is important to be clear about what the North Charleston police department had to say about this incident, when they didn't know the video existed.  They claimed that the officer felt a threat to his life, and that the victim had taken his taser away from him and was trying to use it on him.  And please remember, this all involves a police stop of a 50 year old man for a broken tail light on his Mercedes- not even a misdemeanor; at most a citation, and normally a warning if this is the first time he was stopped for it.  I leave it to you to determine how likely it is that a police officer would actually feel in fear for his life from, and use a taser on,  a 50 year old man stopped for a broken tail light.

Of course, then the video showed up, and here it is:



As can be seen, the victim did not take the taser.  At most, he tried to knock it away, as, given the circumstances, he had every right in the world to do, as no policeman has a right to use a taser on a person for a broken tail light.  You can then see a black object, presumably the taser, fall to the ground.  The victim then runs away, correctly perceiving the threat to his life from this evil policeman, at which point, the policeman fires numerous shots into him, when he clearly was no threat at all to the policeman, and who then proceeds to pick up the taser and place it by the victim's body; his first thought being to manufacture evidence for the story he already intended to tell.  Neither he nor another cop who appears in the video seem to be interested in doing anything at all to aid the victim.

What we have here is deliberate, first degree murder, with callous indifference to the welfare of the victim, combined with an immediate attempt to fabricate evidence.  And all of this would have been totally successful if it had not been for this video.

In the last month, one hundred Americans have been killed by police, who are always, it would seem, "in fear for their lives."  How many of those deaths would, if we had similar videos to this one, prove to be cold blooded murder?  And how many of the perpetrators would, like Darren Wilson in Ferguson MO, be aided by their fellow policemen and corrupt prosecutors to escape punishment?

Well, here is what I am suggesting:  When a police officer kills someone with the weapons which we allow him to carry around in public, it is not enough that he claims to be "in fear for his life;" like any other citizen, he had damned well be prepared to prove that the threat to his life was real.  If he can't live with this, then he needs to get another job that doesn't involve being licensed to carry a firearm. And secondly, when a police officer kills someone, we can no longer afford to grant his story any more credence than we would to any other murder suspect.  Haven't we seen clearly by now how often people are killed, beaten, harassed by out of control police officers?  Isn't it time that, for our own safety, they must be stripped of the benefit of the doubt about their behavior?

And furthermore, if any case calls for the death penalty, this is it.  If this man is given any lesser punishment, in a State that loves the death penalty, it will be one more travesty of justice in favor of the authorities (and, of course, in favor of a white man's right to kill a black man without consequences.)

And I repeat, Mr. neighborhood cop: if you can't live with this, get another job.



Update:  Well, it sure hasn't taken Southern States long to figure out the appropriate reaction to incidents like this.  From Crooks and Liars:

"New Texas Bill Would Prevent Bystanders From Recording Cops"

Well, that'll solve the problem. There is absolutely no way to exaggerate the cynicism and contempt for human decency that exists in these States today.


But Wait, There's More!  I have just read that the car Mr. Scott was driving was a brand new Mercedes Benz that he had purchased only three days before.  What are the odds that a new Mercedes Benz would have a broken tail light?  Will someone even check to see if this part of the officer's story was true, or as is far more likely, Mr. Scott was pulled over and murdered for the crime of being a black person in possession of a  Mercedes in North Charleston, SC, where such things are patently not allowed?


Notice:  Just for the record, I worked on a TV series in Charleston, during which we filmed a lot in North Charleston, often no more than a mile from the site of this shooting.  So I am pretty familiar with the area.  If you are ever around there, DO NOT MISS an opportunity to eat at Bertha's Kitchen, the home of the best pork chops you will ever eat.  

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The California Water Crisis- A Proposal for a Necessary Step

I live in California, which probably gives me a little more motivation to follow the story of its water crisis than most people, but by now, I am sure you have all heard something about ours record breaking drought.

One of the facts you may have picked up is that 80% of all the water used in California goes to agriculture.  It surprised a lot of us, therefore, that the recent action by Governor Brown (a great governor, who I have always supported) left the agricultural sector totaly untouched.

Since even Jerry Brown, not noted for shrinking from hard stands, can't bring himself to deal with this issue, I would like to propose a solution of my own.  It is something that I started thinking about last July, when I read an article in the New York Times, some of which I'd like to quote now:


"His boots were caked with mud when Thomas S. T. Gimbel, a longtime hedge fund executive, slipped in a strawberry patch. It was the plumpness of a strawberry that had distracted him. 

Mr. Gimbel, who once headed the hedge fund division of Credit Suisse, now spends more time discussing crop yields than stock or bond yields. 

He is the man on the ground for a group of investors — including New York’s biggest real estate dynasty, two Florida sugar barons and the founder of a multibillion-dollar investment firm — who have been buying up farms across the United States through a real estate investment trust called the American Farmland Company. 

Hedge funds are not new to farmland. For nearly a decade they have scoured the corners of the globe for cheap land as food prices have soared, positioning themselves to profit from the growing demand. Hedge funds now have $14 billion invested in farmland...
The latest wave of interest was generated by the 2008 financial crisis...Investors were wary of the exotic sliced-and-diced securities that had contributed to the crisis, and farmland seemed more tangible."

Now, I understand the need to keep agriculture economically feasible in this country.  We all have to eat, so we all have a vital interest in seeing that farmers can make a living growing crops, and that disruptions like the current drought do not make food prohibitively expensive.  So, the Central Valley, the largest food producing area in the country, needs its water, or we all will suffer.  But let's get serious here: hedge fund managers are not farmers, they are human parasites who have found one more area of our economy to plunder in order to support their private jets and homes in the Hamptons.

Since when did the government enter into an agreement to shelter investors from the consequences when their investments don't pan out?  Well, okay, that's exactly what happened in the 2008 Bush Administration bailout of Wall Street, and in fact that is what happened in the 1920's too, when the response of three successive Republican administrations to the ongoing agricultural depression was to do nothing for the farmers, but to pay the banks back for the bad loans they made.  This behavior was part of a pattern of serving the rich which led to the Great Depression; meaningful efforts to set our agricultural sector back on its feet had to wait until the inauguration of a Democratic administration in 1933. In fact, I guess that bailing out rich guys and letting everyone else rot is pretty much standard operating procedure for Republicans.

But the State of California is not run by Republicans.  These hedge fund managers made a bad investment when they put their money in water intensive crops before global warming caused a massive drought.  Well, too damn bad for them.  It is not our responsibility to protect them, or to suffer ourselves to supply them with water in order to guarantee that they can make a profit on their investment- I thought that the free market was supposed to work this way; you take a chance, and if it works out you get to keep the private jet.  Otherwise, it's off to a duplex in Staten Island with you, and you can start working on some new scheme to bilk the nation.

And that is the basis of what I propose.  Let the State determine what real farmers need to continue their production, which benefits all of us.  And let the profiteers, who made a bad investment, lose it all.  It's time to stop coddling them at the expense of the rest of us.  Cut their water off, and use it for something we really need.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Sea Change In Republican Politics?

Over the last few months, I fear that I have begun to detect a serious change in Republican behavior.  I have noticed, in States like Wisconsin, Kansas and Indiana, less and less concern for any effect of their behavior, except as is either serves the hyper-rich, or contributes to keeping the blinders on the 20% or so of the electorate needed to run grassroots electoral campaigns.  In these States, as well as in the other usual right wing States, there seems to be a new attitude of open disregard for the disastrous effects that they are causing to the environment, the economy, or anything else, as they rush to either satisfy the inextinguishable greed of hyper-rich psychopaths, or to pass a bundle of deliberately offensive, hate-filled legislation, to satisfy the also inextinguishable ocean of anger that they have synthetically generated to preserve their "base" of people who are willing to work to destroy their own lives, if only it hurts someone else.

This is what I fear:  The Republicans, through decades of corrupt behavior, have now reached the point where they simply do not need anything like a majority of voters to support them, in order to capture and retain power.  The tsunami of funding coming from no more than a couple hundred people is now greater than the political resources of the entire rest of the country, and other than the "base," which they need to maintain the illusion of democracy, they can simply stop any pretense that they give a damn about the rest of us.  And you can count on this: another few years and they won't need the suckers who go out and work for them any more; the electorate will be so reduced and rigged that those couple of hundred rich guys can do it all on their own.  At that point, perhaps only a couple of electoral cycles away, all pretense can be abandoned, and they can institute the government that has been their clear goal for decades now:  one in which not one percent, but a thousandth of one percent, or a ten thousandth of one percent of the American people will run the country for their own private benefit, and the rest of us will be nothing but serfs.

I think they are already at the point where many of them don't even feel the need to hide their intent any more; they are convinced that they have won, and their dreams of an American Fascist oligarchy are just around the corner, with the rest of us helpless to do anything about it.  And they may very well be right.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Iran- Let's Not Forget the History

You just can't appreciate what a great accomplishment Obama's successful negotiation with Iran has been, without remembering a little of the history between our two countries.

Particularly the story of Mohammed Mossadegh.


Mossadegh was the head of a democratic government in Iran, elected in fair and open elections.  This was too much for the United States to bear, so in 1953, he was removed from power in a coup orchestrated by the CIA.  He spent the rest of his life in prison or house arrest, for the crime of having been chosen by his people to lead their country.

The result?  The Iranians suffered through decades of rule by Shah Reza Pahlavi, a vicious, brutal dictator easily as bad as Saddam or Khaddafi.  His secret service, the SAVAK, was responsible for the torture and murder of thousands- the exact number will never be known.  And through all of this, the Shah was maintained firmly in power through US military aid.

And the consequences of that aid?  No one in the Middle East had the power to unseat the Shah except the well-organized and financed Islamists, so, to add insult to injury, our pet dictator ended up being replaced by a government of religious fanatics, which has plagued the Iranian people, formerly quite secular, ever since.

American warmongers, naturally, expect the Iranians to just forget about this sixty years of misery at our hands. These are the same Americans, of course, who still cannot forgive the Federal government for taking away their right to own other people, which happened a century and a half ago.  Well, it's hard for Iranians to forget about things when they are still happening, so it really is pretty amazing that Obama so far overcame their understandable and legitimate contempt for our country, as to get them to go along with this agreement.

And once again, right wing warmongers cause us untold misery, and then count on Democrats to undo the damage, while attacking them every step of the way.

Remember the Iraq War?

"I can't tell you if the use of force in Iraq today would last five days, or five weeks, or five months, but it certainly isn't going to last any longer than that."--Donald Rumsfeld, November 14, 2002

Remember the Iraq war?  Well, here are a couple of comparisons for those who are planning our next cakewalk in Iran:

Population:
Iran:  78.47 million
Iraq 2003:  25.96 million

Armed Forces:
Iran:  Army: Frontline and Reserve Personnel:  2,345,000
           Navy: 397 ships
           Air Force: 471 aircraft
Iraq 2003:  Army: 375,000 troops
           Navy: virtually totally destroyed during 1991 Gulf war, and never rebuilt
           Air Force:  Estimated 90 flyable planes

And this time we will be going in with absolutely no allies.  As in the last two wars in the Middle East, Israel will have to stay out, or we will risk a unified Muslim front against us, stretching over a third of the world.

The fools that think we can go halfway around the world and defeat an army that is vastly larger than the one next door that made total idiots of our government- well, of course, they are the same fools that think we can go on ignoring global warming, and somehow the mess will get cleaned up; the same fools that think the free marked fixes everything.  Greed, not reality, is their guiding light, so don't be surprised if they actually find a way to start a war with Iran.  Just don't have any illusions that we will win that war.  It will be a military blunder that will make even the Iraq war look like a minor incident- it will be more like the Austrian invasion of Serbia in 1914, which not only made the Austrians look like one of the most pathetic military powers on earth, but managed to start a world war that killed 20 million people.  And the next world war killed 50 million.  How many do you think we could go for this time?

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Let the Screaming Begin

Over this development, of course:
"LAUSANNE, Switzerland — After marathon negotiations, the United States, Iran and five other world powers announced an agreement Thursday outlining limits on Iran's nuclear program to block it from developing atomic weapons and directing negotiators toward a final accord this summer. 
The United States and Iran each hailed the framework, reached by weary but upbeat diplomats after a week of intense diplomacy in Switzerland that capped 18 months of negotiations. Speaking from the White House, President Barack Obama called it a "good deal" that would address concerns about Iran's nuclear ambitions."
Of course, there will be two immediate Republican responses:  First of all, Obama is a traitor who has sold the security of the country out to his real friends, the Muslims.  And second, that this agreement is all the result of the Republicans' tough stance on Iran, exemplified by the notorious Senate traitor letter, so the Republicans deserve all the credit, while this just proves once again why Obama needs to be impeached.

Because only war is a valid foreign policy option for the United States.  No one that contributes to Republicans can make money off of diplomacy.

And probably they will come up with a couple of responses that are so piggish that even Green Eagle can't imagine them.  Don't worry, I'll be back to let you know soon enough, why a great diplomatic triumph proves that Obama isn't up to being President.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Republicans Come Up With Sure-Fire Way to Destroy Hillary and Obama!

Yes, fellow liberals, I am sorry to tell you this, but an absolutely fool-proof plan to eliminate both Obama and Hillary has been revealed, by Wayne Allan Root, one of the staff writers at Town Hall. As painful as it may be for you, Green Eagle must now reveal this masterful scheme, so that we can all prepare ourselves for the Presidency of Ted Cruz, and the great rebirth of America that will follow.  So, strap on your seat belts and let's go for a Cruz!
"Here is how Republican donors can sink the ships of both Obama and Hillary. 
It's time to use capitalism and the power of greed (the things Democrats claim to hate so much) to save America."
Because what could be more likely to unseat Obama than the most noble American emotion of all, greed- the thing (other than hate, of course) that has kept the Republican party afloat for the last hundred years?  And it's all so simple once you think about it:
"Here is how we save America:
1. Offer $50 million to implicate Obama and top WH aides in the Obamacare fraud. 
We already know from Jonathan Gruber's lips that Obamacare was total fraud, deception and misrepresentation. Gigantic lies were made up to sell it. Like Watergate the crucial question is- who knew and when did they know it? 
This was a classic criminal conspiracy. Everyone involved needs to go to prison. This was the world’s first trillion-dollar scam."
Except maybe the Iraq war, or maybe when Reagan made corporate criminality legal, or when the Republicans conspired to turn the Social Security trust fund over to Wall Street, but let's not quibble here.
"$50 million should get people talking. Maybe Jonathan Gruber himself would take $50 million and immunity from prosecution versus spending the rest of his life in a prison cell?"
Obama, of course, didn't "sell" Obamacare, he got the Congress to pass it into law.  Since then, Republicans have spent tens of millions of their own money, and taxpayer funds, to try to create some narrative about how it was passed in some gigantic con job.  Result: nothing, because like Benghazi, the IRS "scandals," "Fast and Furious," the birth certificate and all the rest of it, there was nothing to be found.

But the answer is so blindingly simple, when you look at it through Republican eyes!  Just provide a bribe that is so gigantic that people will be lining up to tell any lie you want!  One little bit of perjury, in front of a Republican Congressional committee that won't question its truth for a second, and you are set for life!  If, of course, the Republicans actually pay you off once you've sold them your soul, as unlikely as that would be, once they get what they want from you.

And, assuming that works, let's move on to the next step:
"2. Offer $50 million to any IRS official or officials who come forward to report on who in the White House gave them their marching orders to target, intimidate and persecute Obama critics and opponents (like me). 
Obama himself is in this criminal conspiracy up to his neck. We know the Chief of the IRS officials practically lived at the White House during Obama's first term- far more than any other Obama official (or even Cabinet member). We know Obama met with the head of IRS employees union the day before the IRS targeting started. If you can tie Obama or his closest aides (like Valerie Jarrett and David Axelrod) to the crime…$50 million is yours. With that kind of money, you don't have to worry about going to prison for a year or two, or losing your pension."
$50 million to any IRS agent who will "come forward to report" something that, again, Republicans spend millions to try to prove, only to completely fail, because it wasn't true. But with that kind of money riding on it, we will be flooded with "reporters" who will say just that and add that Obama stole the bathroom fixtures from the Lincoln Bedroom too, and we can then finally have that impeachment we have been dreaming of ever since Obama won the election with too many votes to cheat him out of it, the way Bush did to Gore.
"#3) I've saved best for last."
Lucky for you too, because so far, you haven't come up with much.
"Here's where you offer the really BIG money. Offer $100 million to any hacker in the world who can recover Hillary's 32,000 deleted emails. 
Knock Hillary out of the race NOW. She is badly wounded and bleeding in the ocean, with sharks swimming around her."
I.e. beating every single potential Repubican opponent by double digits, despite the Republican Clinton Smear Machine having been in full gear for over twenty years now.  I guess that fact reveals why you think it would be a good idea to just pay someone $200 million to lie about her.
"The Democrats have no Plan B for the 2016 race. It's Hillary or they are up the creek without a paddle. 
I guarantee you there's a reason she deleted them."
And whose guarantee could be worth more than a writer for Town Hall?
"The words on those emails would not only end her political career, they could send Hillary to jail. And if I'm right, the messages she sent about Benghazi will end Obama’s presidency too. Hillary wiped her server clean for a good reason- she was hiding the criminal cover-up of a massive foreign policy blunder that makes Watergate look like a ticket for jaywalking."
And also the selfies she took of herself and Bill shape-shifting into their original alien reptile form.
"This is how we save America"

By suborning the greatest orgy of perjury in the history of the United States.  And don't kid yourself: think back to the last few Republican campaigns and tell yourself that their electoral strategy will not be to spend hundreds of millions spreading lies and smears about their opponent.  The only thing this idiot doesn't realize is that they don't have to make huge new payments to get people to lie. They've spent decades creating a huge cadre of people that are willing to do it for nothing, and a few people like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck that are already getting paid tens of millions to tell these exact same lies.
"It’s three for the price of one- for the bargain price of $200 million."
Whereas, as you have just proven, Wayne, the Republicans already have people telling their lies for nothing.  Why buy the cow, when it's willing to moo out your smears for free?