Thursday, October 30, 2008

Fear of a Barack Planet (UPDATED)


If I had Googled the phrase "Fear of a Barack Planet" before knocking together the above image, I would have learned that some clever "street culture" cats over at a place called The Hundreds, working with some other clever cat named Kenyon B. got the first crack at it. They didn't do what I did, but rather made a shirt that looks like the picture on the right. I suppose you can buy one somehow, but I haven't been able to find a link anywhere. So, since I'm not trying to make any money from this image, I just want to let them know, should any of them happen upon this blog, that I acknowledge that you got there first. So, sell, sell away.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Stupid as she Looks

Remember Victoria Jackson from SNL about ten years ago? She's surfaced, and she as stupid as she seemed on camera (h/t C&L):

I don't want a political label, but Obama bears traits that resemble the anti- Christ and I'm scared to death that un- educated people will ignorantly vote him into office.

You see, what bothers me most, besides being a Communist, and a racist (Obama writes in his book, From Dreams of My Father, "I found a solace in nursing a pervasive sense of grievance and and animosity against my (white) mother's race.") (Obama's "religion" of the last 20 years is Black Liberation Theology. What is that? "It is simply Marxism dressed up in Christian rhetoric. But unlike traditional Marxism, Black Liberation Theology emphasizes race rather than class. It's leading theorist is James Cone who says Jesus was black, African-Americans are the chosen people, and whites are the devil. Cone says, "What we need is the destruction of whiteness, which is the source of human misery in the world." The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor), is that he is a LIAR. He pretends to be a Christian and he incriminates himself everytime he speaks about Christianity. To lie about being a believer in Christ is very dangerous. Lightning could strike him at any minute! But seriously, he doesn't have a clue what the Bible says and yet he pretends to be a church- going Christian to win votes. That is sooooo evil.

When Charles Meets Barack

This is why politics matters.

Politics matters not just to corporations and to the military, and not just corporations and the military deserve to have its interests addressed by effective government, because that is fascism. It matters to people, to individuals, and who does it and the way it is practiced matters, too, in a democracy.

Politics matters.

Just watch this video. It's called "When Charles meets Barack":

Down to The Wire

Thanks to my video iPod & iTunes, I have been able to finally watch and become a fan of "The Wire". I was always a fan of "Homicide: Life on the Street", which is also set in Baltimore. The connection point is David Simon, who wrote the book Homicide was inspired by, and who became the producer of the The Wire. Because The Wire was on HBO, though, Simon was able to explore content and situations the network format of Homicide wouldn't allow.

When Mrs. Joe & I went to Baltimore last year on a weekend getaway, we took pics of each other on the steps of the station house used on Homicide -- which is an actual working Baltimore police station -- in the beautiful Fells Point area. We also stopped to eat at the bar and grill across the street that served as the Waterfront Bar on the show. In all, I found Baltimore to be a very charming city and not at all the waking civic nightmare depicted on not one but two first-class TV dramas. Has any city's PD (besides New York or LA, I guess) ever benefited so much from two different, top-notch TV shows?

At the time of our trip, though, I hadn't yet watched any of The Wire -- which had just been canceled -- so I didn't have any fan locations to check out because I didn't know of any. Now I'm halfway through Season Four and a huge fan, though I don't think a return trip to Baltimore is in the cards anytime soon.

So, to me this YouTube video featuring some of the cast from the show is pretty damned cool:

Saw something similar on the inter-webs...

... and I thought I'd put something together myself because I had a lot of free time this afternoon:

Monday, October 27, 2008

Remember, guns don't kill people...

...though I must point out that this wouldn't have happened if he'd been using a bow and arrow.

Boy, 8, shot to death in Mass. gun show accident

The police are calling it a "self-inflicted accidental shooting." Self-inflicted. He was eight. And he was firing an automatic weapon, an Uzi submachine gun. Sort of like how, in statutory rape, the adult is always criminally liable because a child cannot form consent, to my bitter partisan elitist liberal dirty fucking hippie way of thinking, a child firing a high-powered weapon cannot be responsible for whatever happens. Ruling his death self-inflicted and accidental makes it his fault. It makes it a "shit happens" event that is just part of the price we pay for freedom, or some such bullshit.

Well, "shit happens" isn't good enough because somebody put the gun in his hand or otherwise made it available. "Mistakes were made" is the official, passive-voiced, Rumsfeldian manner of expressing the same sentiment. Who made them? Mistakes happen.

Fuck that.

Jail time for the proprietor who made the gun available and jail time for the instructor who agreed to it and jail time for the parent who allowed his child to have the gun in his hand ever at all.

That boy was murdered.

That damned liberal media

I hadn't actually watched before tonight.

Gawddam those people are stupid.

Down the Tubez

Senator Ted "Series of Tubes" Stevens is found guilty.

It is obvious to anyone that this is both good news for John McCain and it is non-controversial that it is a liberal conspiracy to embarrass him via Sarah Palin because she is also from Alaska.

Or something.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Can this be true?

Got it from and, considering how cock-eyed our electoral system is as a result of the Electoral College, it looks like a doozy.

Indiana? Toss-up?

Nevada? Blue?

Montana, North Dakota & Georgia, soft on McCain?

I hope this is true. It will depress my father beyond measure and will potentially cause my mother to lock herself in the basement (if they had basements in Texas) in quivering, FOX-induced fear of the rampaging brown hordes that will surely be roaming the streets with unchecked impunity in B. Hussein's America looking for soft, white female faces to carve letters into.

Well, I must get my marching orders from Hussein HQ, so I'm heading down there tomorrow. So much defiling to do, I need clarification where to start.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Toxicity of Demagoguery

Even apart from the violence and threats of violence at McCain/Palin rallies, the vandalism at offices of the demonized ACORN, the eliminationist rhetoric spewing from the puke-holes of Limbaugh, Hannity, et. al., we must all say again and again and again that the ugliness of the politics of the last forty years, particularly the last twenty, has real consequences.

Very real consequences.

My parents won't come visit me here in New York City because a spread-the-wealth communist/islamo-fascist/terrorist-loving/elitist celebrity/muslim "fake" christian/inner-city Chicago Harvard-educated thug like Obama will be our next president and they can't bear to visit me in such an "anti-American" part of America where so many people can and do support such a person. The subtext? Such a "negro" person who will "bring back all those problems from back then, after they had been getting so much better these last few years." That is a direct quote.

I wish I was kidding.

When I asked my mother if she thought I was a traitor, she said (after a very long pause) that she thought I was "misguided." Maybe sometime after January 20th, she said, but they were depressed about all of it and scared about what was going to happen when "that person" took office. They probably couldn't bring themselves to visit me even then, and maybe not ever again.

So, in order to garner votes, in addition to all their other crimes, the Republican Party is also guilty of destroying my relationship with my parents.

Sorry for the online therapy session, folks, but politics isn't the mere game the Karl Roves of this world take it to be.

Thusly, I quote driftglass at length to describe what has happened to my parents:
The last lie a junkie tells himself isn't "I’m not an addict."

The last lie a junkie tells himself is "My being a addict doesn't matter."

And in the Conservative Crack House of Many Doors, Ronald Reagan was that first cocktail. The first line of coke. The first needle. The first "Holy Mother of God!” WOWGASM that shotguns right through the blood/brain barrier, reformats your entire ethical hard drive, and scrimshaws a brand new Prime Directive on the inside of your skull.

Listen to any aging wingnut sighing and jerking sadly off to a tattered photo of Saint Ronnie -- despite the fact that the catastrophes we are now reaping were sown by his ruinous ideology -- and you can hear every addict who ever lived pining for that first Perfect High. The one they spend the rest of their days chasing, regardless of the size of the debts they run up or the ruined lives they leave in their wake.

Clinton? Objectively, Clinton qualifies as the greatest Center/Right President in history, and with balanced budgets, GATT, welfare reform, NAFTA, DOMA, record surpluses, foreign and domestic terrorists brought to book, and an actual military victory, he arguably delivered to the wingnuts more of everything they ever said they wanted than anyone else.

And they hated him for it.


Because Clinton was mere addiction maintenance delivered in measured doses under adult supervision: all policy-wonk that wasn’t cut with that industrial-waste-grade bigoted, psychotic bloodlust that gives Conservatism its wild, freebasing edge. Clinton was methadone, and for the hardcore lifestyle junkie, that shit is for babies.

And Dubya? Dubya was meth with a ketamine chaser delivered hammer-and-anvil directly to the lizard brain.

Dubya was 40 million Pig People tired of the hard, fussy job of being a tolerant, powerful democracy finally once-and-for-all blowing America’s family inheritance on an eight-year, blood-drunk bender.

Dubya was the United States crawling through dumpsters at our national soul’s midnight, killing anything that moves, licking out the contents of random baggies, hoping the little white flakes clinging to the plastic is crank and not rat poison, and waking up the next day -- that horrible, horrible sun-also-rises morning after -- broke and twitchy, arguing over what more they can sell off to keep the party going and who they can blame for their gone-to-shit lives.

So what is the last lie a Conservative tells himself? The last lie that the junkies and their suppliers both fight like hell to keep alive and twitching?

That, whether or not their ideology is depraved or deluded, it doesn’t matter because:
“Both side are always equally wrong about everything all the time.”
Doesn’t matter the who or what. The when or how. Doesn’t matter who was driving the bus towards the cliff and who was waving the red flags, throwing their bodies in front of it, trying to make it stop. Doesn’t matter who was trying to douse the conflagration with hoses shredded by 20 year of Reaganism, and who was lobbing milk cartons full of jellied gasoline onto the bonfire.

It is the lie the hagged-out Cokie Roberts pushes week after week after week on “This Week…”

It is the lie that David Fucking Brooks pushes in the pages of the New York Times.

It is the lie that made David Broder the “Dean” of the Villagers; the lie on which the quarterly profits of the entire Murdoch media empire now rests.

Because these people and thousands more like them are not journalists or “pundits” or expert who offer facts or interpretation or a philosophical framework for illuminating and contextualizing the events of the world.

They are pushers, selling that last, nihilistic lie to the junkies on the Right who will pay any price and cut any throat to escape the fact that they are personally and specifically responsible for the destruction of the country they claimed to love in the name of a God they claim to believe in.

Which is why November 4th is so much more than an election.

November 4th is an Intervention, because the junkie-pusher spiral of the Republican rank-and-file and their leaders has finally hit bottom: we need to heal this country or lose it, and arguing -- "reasoning" -- with wingnuts and their enabling shills and hacks is as pointless as trying to reason with addicts and dealers.

The only way this country is going to be saved is by taking it away from them, school board by school board, city council by city council, congressional district by congressional district, state by state, election by election until they are driven back into the political sewers from whence they came.
My parents are hate junkies and, like any junkie, if you can't save them you have to be willing to cut them out of your life. This has been a long time coming. I didn't name this blog Expatriate Thoughts in a fit of pique. I meant it then and I mean it now.

Another victim of George W. Bush's America.

I am an expatriate.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

McCain = Asshole...

...first name not withstanding.

(via the Oxdown Gazette)

Joe McCain (John's brother) called 9-1-1 because he was stuck in traffic. No kidding. And when the operator called him back to tell him not to use emergency services to lodge complaints about traffic but got his voicemail, the asshole called the operator back to bitch about being scolded.

I'm usually not one to hold the behavior of siblings and other relatives against anyone (those of you who know my family will understand why), and especially when it comes to politicians and other celebrities, being that people get weird around money, fame, power and privilege. Family members will begin to think they own a piece of said person, that reflected glory gives them some special status.

This is, of course, bullshit but the victims of it can't be held responsible for the stupidity of uninvited hangers-on.

Nevertheless... heh-heh

9/11Ru9/11dy G9/11iul9/11iani9/11

I'm of two minds about this.

One, I don't think a bunch of elected officials (with a HUGE conflict of interest in deciding the issue) have any right to overturn a decision made by a public vote about whether or not they are able to continue in their jobs. If the public installed term-limits, only the public can rescind term-limits. You can't just decide that the law which doesn't operate to your advantage simply no longer applies. It smacks of cronyism and the kind of corruption for which New York politics is famous. After eight years of gleeful, cackling, sociopathic GOP law-breaking, though, I guess I shouldn't be surprised that even a mild-mannered billionaire with a Napoleon complex figured he'd just vote himself an extension.

Two, however, I think Bloomberg has done a fine job overall. Were this law not already in place I wouldn't think twice about re-electing him for a third term - I just don't like the precedent this will set vis a vis other laws the city council doesn't like. In fact, he will likely be re-elected and that will mostly be OK, despite the fact that I am one of those bitter partisans. As another hizzoner, the late great Fiorello LaGuardia, once said of being a mayor: "There's no Democratic or Republican way to pick up garbage."

But, if Bloomberg gets a third term, I mostly just love the fact that it will be a huge FUCK YOU to Rudy Ghouliani who couldn't get the law overturned and thus himself a third term as "America's Mayor" - EVEN in the wake of September 11th.

Hey, guess what, you miserable little fuck? We just didn't want you. Now go crawl back into that coffin you sleep in and quit walking among the living.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Vote for Hope

Props to Mrs. Joe for pointing me to this:

Monday, October 20, 2008

I did it (and you can, too!)

One day following a storm, a man was walking along a beach. The beach was scattered with clams – all victims of the storm. There must have been thousands, if not tens of thousands of clams just on this stretch of beach. The man felt bad – but what could he do?

Farther down the beach, the man saw a young boy – running, bending, and throwing. As the man got closer, he saw that the boy was picking up one clam at a time and throwing it back into the ocean.

As the man got close to the boy, he stopped him and asked -

“What are you doing?”

“I'm saving them” - the boy responded.

“There's far too many to make a difference”

The boy reached down and picked up another clam, hurling it as far out into the water as his young arm could throw. He smiled, looked back at the man and said:

I just made a difference to that one
I volunteered for the Obama campaign yesterday. I went to their offices in lower Manhattan and made phonecalls to the good people of Pittsburgh. Cold-calling people who might yell at me or call me an ugly name was WA-A-A-A-A-A-AY out of my comfort zone, but I did it because it needed doing.

Please consider doing the same.

If you live in a state that is fully "in the bag" for one or the other, then spend some time calling another state that may be at a tipping point. What possible difference could that make? Well, because I called yesterday, an 83-year old woman named Frances who just had surgery and "don't get around so good anymore" but really wants to vote for that guy named Obama is going to get a ride to the polls on election day.

How 'bout that?


We can't let the thieves, thugs and sociopaths who've been running this country for the last eight years have four more to finish stripping the place bare.


Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Wheels Come Off...

OK people, one more time...
-- Sinclair Lewis
We no longer live in a free country. The fruitloops, wingnuts, cornpone nazis, Bible-thumping demagogues, race-warrior rednecks, fat-cat plutocrats and sundry ruling elite have the levers of governmental power firmly in their greasy hands and they aren't even being subtle about using them to maintain power over the rabble. The cops at the GOP convention in St. Paul were just a flicker of this ugly statism. The NYPD acting like Gestapo or the NKVD on behalf of our GOP overlords four years ago were another mere flicker. The Secret Service is keeping the press away from the crowds at Palin rallies and publicly denying that cries of "Kill Him" and "Off with his head" are happening at them, even though video evidence is widely available to the contrary. Taking a cue from Moose-a-lini's declaration that we have pro-American and anti-American parts of, urm, AMERICA, we now are treated to the sight of elected public officials denouncing other elected public officials in Congress as un-American:

(why is there never a damned HUAC around when you need one!)

We have the GOP actively trying to create their own Sturmabteilung in Wisconsin. In California, the R's are not even trying to hide their racism with "Obama Bucks" nor their moral degeneracy in advocating the torture of their opponent. The wingnut Rightie hate-radio bloviators are so determined to make their paranoid listeners join them in seeing a conspiracy under every rock that one of them accuses Obama of creating his own Obama-ized version of the American flag when he saw pictures of Obama in front of flags with a big "O" on them, even though Ohioans would be surprised to learn that he'd adopted their fine state flag for his dawning dictatorship of one during a speech in Toledo, Ohio. Speaking of conspiracies, the attorney scandal (remember the why's and wherefore's of Alberto Gonzales' departure from public life?) is an actual conspiracy ongoing, as we now learn that not only is the FBI investigating ACORN for vote-fraud, just weeks before the election but several US Attorney's offices are proceeding with their own investigations in the wake of McCain's hyperbolic screech in the last debate that ACORN is a threat to the very fabric of democracy. In the wake of that accusation, the GOP brownshirt brigades in Seattle and Boston vandalized ACORN offices, while ACORN officials in Cleveland and Providence, RI received death threats. I'm certain that it's all a coincidence.

This is no longer just the whimpering of a few disaffected ex-hippies and assorted leftist student groups. The country is disintegrating after 40 years of Rethuglican "leadership" and the foot-soldiers who enabled and reinforced the Nixon/Reagan/Bush I & II regime are reverting to type as the failure of all their most-cherished tropes and assorted other lies bespeaks their own personal failure and it makes them angry and prone to seek a scapegoat. Like Germany in the 1920's & 1930's. McSneer and Moose-a-lini are doing everything they can to solidify the racist, persecution-complexed middle of American society. Note that I didn't characterize it as "underbelly" or some such. It isn't. This putrescent hatred is interwoven in the very fabric our national character. It is the legacy of a nation built on genocide and human chattel slavery.

I'm not sure what they think will come of it, but the way I see it, McCain is a rich, grumpy, entitled old man who doesn't understand why the world won't just give him what he wants by dint of his gender, skin color, pedigree and resume and if he has to dip his widdle-footsie into the stinking, sulphurous, seething pool of evil that bubbles in the heart of the political right, then so be it, it can't possibly stain him because so doing furthers his ambitions and thus must be for the greater good; not the greater god of all Americans, mind you, but the greater good of the good Americans, the pro-Americans, his friends & family & business partners. His denials of the actual ugliness of his campaign's behavior stem, I think, from his pathological inability to see the wrongness of the underlying worldview that drives the behavior. In other words, the rabble who advocate violence are only doing so in the name of defending John McCain's America. As another senator from Arizona said at the beginning of the Right's nightmarish march to political hegemony (just before going down in defeat to the last Democrat to preside over a national consensus):
"I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!"
Which, in light of how utterly without principle or scruple they've conducted their political affairs since reads now like marching orders for a movement. Rethuglicans have seen every action through that lens and John McCain is no different, which is why the souring tone of his rallies doesn't phase him and the preposterousness of his distortions of fact and outright lies simply don't compute for him. His moral compass is broken, his internal ethical radar calibrated to different priorities.

Sarah Palin lies on the other side of McCain's cynical political calculations. She is a dimwit and a demagogue, but she is not a leader, good or bad. She is just another slack-jawed, Kool-Aid drinking rabble who got herself fast-tracked up the ranks through sheer pluck, luck and a total absence of core principle. If she were smarter, she'd be like Karl Rove - a collaborating member of the proletariat who knows his place on the food chain and instead assists the plantation masters in keeping the other slaves in line to earn favors, priviledges and access. Sarah Palin, on the other hand, is too stupid to know that she isn't one of them, but rather is the type of manipulative social-climber who takes any apparent lack of social status as merely a failure of perception to be remedied by MILF-y charm, will to power or a well-timed shivving. She is the shiny new face of the same old blood-thirsty, Dixie-anchored rump of an electoral coalition McCain's approaching defeat will reveal.

By "Dixie-anchored" however, I don't mean geographically, although that will be true as well. The Solid South will remain so, even if the city-fied transplants from DC and other dins of iniquity further up the Eastern Seaboard make Virginia and North Carolina swing back and forth over the next few election cycles. No, I mean the mindset and values of The South, the mythical south of the redneck NASCAR "Lost Cause" Sunbelt sprawling cookie-cutter suburb & mega-church popular imagination. THAT South, the one that gets weepy when Lee Greenwood sings "Proud to be an American," is nationwide. And the policies of the ruling class over the last 40 years - enacted through the vigorous machinations of their pet political party, the GOP - have made their lives immeasureably worse through regressive taxation, crony capitalism, a self-justifying military-industrial war-making complex , industrial sell-off, rigging of the financial system and a relentless culture war. These are the ways that a greedy, pernicious ruling class maintains its power not just in America, kiddies, but everywhere in the world. They create a politics, through violence or bribery or both, that will eventually come to resemble the political Right in any country anywhere at any time in history for they are all the same in their fundmental desire to protect power & priviledge and supress the masses for fun & profit. Sometimes this is called monarchy, sometimes a dictatorship or a banana republic or a fascist state, sometimes it is "The People's Republic of..." and the plutocrats mouth communal doctrines of the "for thee not for me" variety, but the desire to constrict, restrict and suppress is an impulse of the political right.

Billmon, who vanished for a few years before re-surfacing recently back over at Daily Kos, wrote about the American variety of this eternal theme on his now-defunct blog (hence - no link):
If I had to boil our modern kulturkampf down to two words, they wouldn't be blue and red, they would be "traditionalist" and "modern." On one side are the believers in the old ways -- patriarchy, hierarchy, faith, a reflexive nationalism, and a puritanical, if usually hypocritical, attitude towards sexual morality. On the other are the rootless cosmopolitians -- secular, skeptical (although at times susceptible to New Age mythology), libertine (although some of us aren't nearly as libertine as we'd like to be) and less willing to equate patriotism with blind allegiance, either to a flag or a government. . . .

Rapid social changes often produce cultural reaction, which in turn spawns angry political movements. Post Civil War industrialization and financial colonization produced the Populists -- both good (Mother Jones) and bad (Tom Watson and Pitchfork Ben Tilman). The waves of 19th and early 20th century immigration spurred the rise of the Know Nothings and the modern Klu Klux Klan. The New Deal and the civil rights era incited the John Birch Society and Goldwater conservatism. And now the blowback effects of globalization (what conservative ideologues sneeringly deride as "multiculturalism") coupled with the patriotic and xenophobic passions unleashed by the war against Al Qaeda, have turbocharged the traditionalists into declaring something close to all-out war on the modernists -- as symbolized, at the moment, by the traitorous New York Times. . . .

The right, in particular, needs the culture war like a paralytic needs his iron lung. It reinforces a simplistic sense of tribal identity (us against the other) that is essential to the paranoid political style -- as Richard Hofstadter dubbed it -- but that increasingly doesn't exist in American society as a whole. The reality (and this brings me to my second point) is that there are not two cultural camps in America but three: the traditionalists, the modernists, and those in the middle, who may be pulled in one direction or another by their ethnic backgrounds, religious faiths, personal life histories or any or all of a thousand other factors.
A running topic on his blog was the Spanish Civil War, which he persuasively argued was a strong analog to the type of war we're going to have when our Civil War 2 breaks out. The Spanish Civil War was a brutal affair that pitted neighbor against neighbor, neighborhood against neighborhood. It was not a matter of armies blue and gray (or is it blue and red?) ranging against each other across open fields. It was fought with meat cleavers and clubs in alleyways and in the streets. The Nazis helped out with planes and guns, which gave us "Guernica", but that conventional 20th Century-style warfare was the exception. The rest of the war was vicious and rife with atrocities.

Touching on that idea, I wrote about it over at my old LiveJournal site:
I think this time in our history is comparable to the years leading up to our previous civil war in the hostile balkanization of the political camps. Back then, it was about slavery. BTW, never let anyone argue that our Civil War was ever about anything else but whether or not we would be a nation that allowed the ownership of human beings. Anyone who does argue thusly is a southern apologist merely muddying the waters to dilute their own reflected regional culpability.

So, I think we are barreling toward a civil war, something like the Spanish Civil War, a war lacking in front lines, where neighborhoods fielded partisan gang armies against the gang armies other neighborhoods, where neighbors hacked their next-door neighbors to death, where not even churches could offer safe harbor against murderous mobs. I fear for this country because predominant regional political differences as expressed by congressional representation belie deeper cultural differences that have more to do with religious affiliation, level of education and line of work and union affiliation and exist everywhere all at once apart from larger political culture. I am thinking, for instance, of true-blue Austin, an island of education and cultural sophistication in deep-red Texas, a sea of menacingly willful ignorance, hostility to cultural diversity and easy violence. I am also thinking of the fact that the police force in this bright blue city (to say nothing of the firefighters, or even blue-collar union members in general - the number of IATSE stagehands who LOVE George W. Bush is both sickening and shocking - and the entire Borough of Staten Island) are a bright shade of scarlet because red-ness & blue-ness is not an expression of regional difference, but rather of deep-seated cultural impulse. Police in general, NYPD in particular, are always on the side of authoritarianism. As metaphive once pointed out to me - for the police the whole civilian population is divided into two groups: perps and sheep. For police it is not about "protecting and serving" but rather maintaining order first and protecting property second, and serving people only insofar as it reinforces the first two items.

When the shit hits the fan, in Austin I would fear for the safety of the community that has grown up around the University at the hands of an armed and culturally resentful wider population with a collective chip on its shoulder - the animosity between Texas A&M and UT-Austin is only good-natured to a point. In New York, the police are also armed and deeply sympathetic to the racist, violent, and culturally resentful impulses normally attributed to the dark side of Jeff Foxworthy's America. Up to this point, NYPD and their blue-collar fellow-travellers have reached a kind of truce with the liberal forces that dominate this city, but unleashed by widespread social unrest, who knows what kinds of ugliness could ensue.

That is why I argue that the next Civil War, as murky as the lines of our previous war of brother against brother were, won't be even as well-defined as that one.
And, sadly, the fascists won in Spain. They were never defeated and Franco died in his bed of Parkinson's on November 20, 1975. If Obama wins this one, I fear an epic outbreak along all the traditional social and cultural and class lines in this country that could escalate, spurred on by rhetoric from the hate-spewers on talk radio, into a gradually-escalating civil conflict. Their side doesn't view any Democratic administration as a legitimate governing body. Add to that the racial component brought on by Obama's skin color, intensified by the cultural bigotry of his odd-sounding name, amid an economic crisis and a deeply unpopular war abroad, and you have the Ruling Class' Frankenstein's monster going off the rails in a likely violent national social upheaval.

I fear for the health of the candidate and that of our nation.

More on this topic later.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Bully Pulpit

From Mahablog:
“The absence of effective State, and, especially, national, restraint upon unfair money-getting has tended to create a small class of enormously wealthy and economically powerful men, whose chief object is to hold and increase their power. The prime need is to change the conditions which enable these men to accumulate power which is not for the general welfare that they should hold or exercise. We grudge no man a fortune which represents his own power and sagacity, when exercised with entire regard to the welfare of his fellows. … We grudge no man a fortune in civil life if it is honorably obtained and well used. It is not even enough that it should have gained without doing damage to the community. We should permit it to be gained only so long as the gaining represents benefit to the community. This, I know, implies a policy of a far more active governmental interference with social and economic conditions in this country than we have yet had, but I think we have got to face the fact that such an increase in governmental control is now necessary.”
Teddy Roosevelt, 1910
The more things change, folks...

Conservatism's creed, simplified

From driftglass:
  1. “The common good” is an evil delusion
  2. Looking out for "the least of these" is a Socialist plot.
  3. Looking out for Number One is next to Godliness.
  4. And therefore the rules of courtesy, reciprocity, tolerance and prudence are strictly for suckers.

The Jokes Don't Always Write Themselves

Sometimes they need a little help

(h/t to Michael Demmons at Balloon Juice)

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Mr. McCain, your best just wasn't good enough.

Get used to that thought, Maverick.

Get used to it and, for gawdssake, please leave the national stage now. Your sneering, angry old-man visage makes me cringe on sight. I can't imagine looking at that wrinkled, yellowed-teeth crypt-keeper face of yours for four years. By the look of the polls, I'm not the only one. I don't know how I'm going to make it until November 5th. OK, I know the election is on the 4th, but I'm going to have to see his picture (presumably in some kind of a red frame) on my Tee-Vee next to (delightfully!) low percentages for the entirety of that night, until some news anchor finally calls it for Barack Obama and McSnarl's campaign is finally euthanized. After that, or at least until after his concession speech, I won't have to look at Angry McMavericki-ness anymore.

And that will be a good day. Even if his scorched-earth campaign will leave in its wake a rage-filled and highly-motivated (to say nothing of ARMED) rump of a voting bloc with a persecution complex that could and likely will remain a threat not just to Obama's effective governance in the form of a rejection of his legitimacy (due to party affiliation or regional identity or educational level or race - specifics don't matter anyway, 'cuz he's just plain different - I mean LOOK at him!) but in fact to his physical person in the form of some crazed, racist loner out there - it only takes one and a gun - nursing a life-long grudge now ginned-up to red-line levels by Moose-a-lini's accusations of him being weird, strange, foreign, a traitor, in cahoots with our stated enemies in the most important and significant threat to civilization in the history of all human conflict called the War on Terra.

Whatever. McSnarl and Moose-a-lini will lose.

Congratualtions, America. Meet President Obama.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Longhorns #1

Rock on, 'Horns.

UT-Austin ranks Numero Uno in all four major football polls. Texas Tech ranks an average of 6.5 across all four polls.

College football RAWKS!

Smart & Angry

Matt Taibbi is truly a journalistic rock star. He is a latter-day Hunter S. Thompson who is angry and sharp-witted and can basically out-argue pretty much anyone.

And his prose style is vicious. I love this guy.

He writes for Rolling Stone magazine as well as at The Smirking Chimp and below is what he had to say about Moose-a-lini. I meant to highlight this a few weeks ago but got side-tracked until a conversation with my sister yesterday reminded me about it:
Here's the thing about Americans. You can send their kids off by the thousands to get their balls blown off in foreign lands for no reason at all, saddle them with billions in debt year after congressional year while they spend their winters cheerfully watching game shows and football, pull the rug out from under their mortgages, and leave them living off their credit cards and their Wal-Mart salaries while you move their jobs to China and Bangalore.

And none of it matters, so long as you remember a few months before Election Day to offer them a two-bit caricature culled from some cutting-room-floor episode of Roseanne as part of your presidential ticket. And if she's a good enough likeness of a loudmouthed middle-American archetype, as Sarah Palin is, John Q. Public will drop his giant-size bag of Doritos in gratitude, wipe the Sizzlin' Picante dust from his lips and rush to the booth to vote for her. Not because it makes sense, or because it has a chance of improving his life or anyone else's, but simply because it appeals to the low-humming narcissism that substitutes for his personality, because the image on TV reminds him of the mean, brainless slob he sees in the mirror every morning.

Sarah Palin is a symbol of everything that is wrong with the modern United States. As a representative of our political system, she's a new low in reptilian villainy, the ultimate cynical masterwork of puppeteers like Karl Rove. But more than that, she is a horrifying symbol of how little we ask for in return for the total surrender of our political power.


[Sarah Palin] appeared to be completely without shame and utterly full of shit, awing a room full of hardened reporters with her sickly sweet line about the high-school-flame-turned-hubby who, "five children later" is "still my guy." It was like watching Gidget address the Reichstag.


Barack Obama might be every bit as much a slick piece of imageering as Sarah Palin. The difference is in what the image represents. The Obama image represents tolerance, intelligence, education, patience with the notion of compromise and negotiation, and a willingness to stare ugly facts right in the face, all qualities we're actually going to need in government if we're going to get out of this huge mess we're in.

Here's what Sarah Palin represents: being a fat fucking pig who pins "Country First" buttons on his man titties and chants "U-S-A! U-S-A!" at the top of his lungs while his kids live off credit cards and Saudis buy up all the mortgages in Kansas.

Lest you think he can only function in front of a word processor and not really think on his feet, check out this exchange with Byron York of the National Review (h/t John Cole at Balloon Juice):

M.T.: What a surprise that you mention Franklin Raines. Do you even know how a CDS works? Can you explain your conception of how these derivatives work? Because I get the feeling you don’t understand. Or do you actually think that it was a few tiny homeowner defaults that sank gigantic companies like AIG and Lehman and Bear Stearns? Explain to me how these default swaps work, I’m interested to hear.
Because what we’re talking about here is the difference between one homeowner defaulting and forty, four hundred, four thousand traders betting back and forth on the viability of his loan. Which do you think has a bigger effect on the economy?

B.Y.: Are you suggesting that critics of Fannie and Freddie are talking about the default of a single homeowner?

M.T.: No. That is what you call a figure of speech. I’m saying that you’re talking about individual homeowners defaulting. But these massive companies aren’t going under because of individual homeowner defaults. They’re going under because of the myriad derivatives trades that go on in connection with each piece of debt, whether it be a homeowner loan or a corporate bond. I’m still waiting to hear what your idea is of how these trades work. I’m guessing you’ve never even heard of them.

I mean really. You honestly think a company like AIG tanks because a bunch of minorities couldn’t pay off their mortgages?

B.Y.: When you refer to “Phil Gramm’s Commodities Future Modernization Act,” are you referring to S.3283, co-sponsored by Gramm, along with Senators Tom Harkin and Tim Johnson?

M.T.: In point of fact I’m talking about the 262-page amendment Gramm tacked on to that bill that deregulated the trade of credit default swaps.

Tick tick tick. Hilarious sitting here while you frantically search the Internet to learn about the cause of the financial crisis — in the middle of a live chat interview.

B.Y.: Look, you can keep trying to make this a specifically partisan and specifically Gramm-McCain thing, but it simply isn’t. We’ve gone on for fifteen minutes longer than scheduled, and that’s enough. Thanks.

M.T.: Thanks. Note, folks, that the esteemed representative of the New Republic has no idea what the hell a credit default swap is. But he sure knows what a minority homeowner looks like.

B.Y.: It’s National Review.
Because they are all stupid.

They have no core principles or ideas beyond easily regurgitated catch-phrases and when pressed for actual facts, they inevitably choke because they cannot summon any answers more intricate than the GOP-HQ-issued talking points. So, I can easily say to our dear friend Byron York, nice try but...


Saturday, October 11, 2008

Something Political

OK, so I have to say something about this. First, Broadway Carl has a wonderful post up right now that pretty neatly echoes my feelings about Obama's emergence as a viable candidate and what that has meant to me, so go read it and - may I say across the deafening roar of the inter-web "conversation" - hear, hear!

No, really, go read his post before continuing here. Go ahead. I'll wait.

OK, so now that you've read it, I have feelings about this:

What I see in his eyes is defeat. I see a man who has been not been sober in while, drunk on ambition and rage or doped up on Ambien (who knows?), finally seeing with his own eyes the horror he has wrought and knowing that he can do nothing about it.

Maybe he understands now and feels bad. Right now, I don't think so because I think he's got ambition and part of me even hangs this on his Barbie wife. Her money has paid for his political career and I have no doubt that they have had more than one conversation that went something like "What the fuck have I been paying for all these years!? I have underwritten all your crappy campaigns for all these years and godammit I want me a president!"

Or words to that effect.

I don't mean to deflect blame from Mavericky McMaximum-Maverick-ossity. He's a douche. Not as big a douche as The Quisling from Connecticut, but close. Barbie-doll McCain and how she got to be Ms. McMaverick is proof enough of that, but I think he does have shreds of decency in him, they've just been swamped by his Macbethian ambition to the point of irrelevance.

After the election, though...

When Congress is out of session and he is at one of his houses with a pissed-off Cindy and no one is calling him and he has hours and days to putter around the house and review his life, thinking back on flight school and Hanoi and the Keating Five and the South Carolina GOP primary in 2000 and all those ugly rallies he whipped up to solidify his base as some kind of revenge for what happened to him there... so many thoughts... so many regrets...

Especially if something should now happen to Obama. How could such an outcome not be blamed directly on the toxic sewer of the rhetoric of the last few weeks of his campaign, a stretch that has begun to resemble nothing so much as a political rally in Bavaria circa 1924 or 25?

How else to describe it? John McCain sold his soul. We know it. We've all known it for quite a while. His friends and loved ones know it, too, but I think they are too in love with his status and how it reflects on them to tell him, if any of them have even admitted it to themselves. He definitely hasn't admitted to himself yet.

But he will.

And that will be a dark, dark day in a lifetime of dark days for John Sidney McCain, who has so proudly held his honor as his greatest treasure to know that he sold even that. Maybe such a day will come, but then maybe he will simply slide into senility without ever having admitted to himself how very, terribly wrong he has been.

The man in that video will someday be able to admit it, perhaps even out loud and to other people if not just to himself, but such a man is having an ever harder time swimming out of the mental sewer of drugs, senility and bad advice in which he is now adrift.

It is a scary time in America and The Maverick is to blame if things get any scarier. If he were a true man of principle, wouldn't be here.

I leave the last word to a very eloquent post over at Bob Cesca's place (h/t Broadway Carl)
In recklessly stoking the fires of bigotry and hatred to near-maelstrom temperatures and then refusing to carry the torch himself, John McCain has surrendered legitimate political responsibility for their anger and yielded the floor to those whose rage now has no champion. In goading them on, planting seeds of doubt and sewing acres of hate while bravely promising to take the good fight to Obama’s door, McCain played to a Base -- and baseless -- fear for which he himself was the conquering Hero, a role he has no trouble imagining for himself. But this gutless little man, finding his own house burning after feckless arsonists in his employ set the Obama barn ablaze, has found he cannot stand the heat; with no lawful political means to control the burn, this is a fire that may spread without sense or sensibility, feeding on its own hot futility.

If those cowardly masses that saw a strong and righteous John McCain as the sole arbiter of their rage now find him a paper tiger frightened by his own swaggering shadow, they may appoint themselves Heroes in this contrived battle between Right and Wrong, Blue and Red, Black and White. A vigilante, after all, acts out of the perception that The System has failed, its leaders too cowardly or corrupt to take up the sword. They say politics abhors a vacuum. But this may be a fire that burns hottest when starved of McCain’s hot, fetid air.

Hook 'Em (UPDATED)

I've changed my background color to burnt orange to commemorate them University of Texas at Austin Longhorns (No. 5) beating those fucking OU Sooners (No. 1 - but not after today!)

Boomer Sooner this, losers.

Second-half surge carries Texas over No. 1 Oklahoma

Oct. 11, 2008 wire reports

DALLAS -- Mack Brown can finally say he's done something in the Texas-Oklahoma game that Bob Stoops hasn't -- pulled off an upset. And it's a big one.

Brown's Longhorns grabbed some second-half momentum by foiling a fake punt Saturday, then Colt McCoy and the defense built on it, carrying No. 5 Texas to a 45-35 victory over No. 1 Oklahoma.

The Longhorns outscored the Sooners 25-7 after stopping the trickery, and their half of the record crowd of 92,182 fans loved every bit of it. At game's end, the folks in burnt orange enjoyed the biggest postgame celebration in the 103-game history of this Red River Rivalry.

With the win, Texas (6-0, 2-0 Big 12) grabs the inside track in both the conference and national championship races. History shows the Longhorns should think big. The last two teams to come out of this game unbeaten -- Oklahoma in 2004, Texas in 2005 -- went to the national title game. And the last time the Longhorns knocked off the Sooners when they were No. 1 was 1963, which turned into Darrell Royal's first national championship.

Brown and Stoops have brought their programs back to prominence over the past decade. Stoops has been credited with outcoaching Brown, primarily because of two blowout wins. But the higher-ranked team had won every matchup. In fact, this was the first upset in this series since 1996.

Oklahoma (5-1, 1-1) sure didn't seem headed to defeat when Sam Bradford pulled off another quick scoring drive on his first series of the third quarter, putting the Sooners up 28-20. But Texas answered with a touchdown. And when OU's next drive stalled just shy of midfield, Stoops gambled.

So, it was for my money almost a perfect college football day. Texas beat Oklahoma, Texas Tech won and Texas A&M lost. The only thing sweeter would be if the Red Raiders could be the one to beat A&M. Goddam I hate me some Aggies. Even more than Sooners.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Stupid, The Deluded & The Corrupt

I've been using that phrase to describe the membership of the GOP for years. In the video seen below, I think we see examples of all three (and they overlap, sometimes completely). The scrawny blonde low-rent Coulter-geist you'll see is almost worthy of a fourth category: the functionally retarded. The jokes would write themselves, except these people are rightly, truly scary.

They are dim-witted, mean and largely armed. I am afraid for Renegade. With the tone of the rhetoric coming out of the McSmiegel/Moose with Lipstick ticket deteriorating almost hourly as The Ring slips from his grasp, their gatherings are beginning to resemble a Nuremburg rally.

Be afraid

Be VERY afraid

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Humor by analogy

From The Great Orange Satan, via AMERICAblog:

Wild Thing, you make my heart sing...

So, I don't know when this happened, but I am now among driftglass' "Wild Things." As Strong Bad would say: "Check me out. No really, check me out!"

I got some traffic from driftglass, which I found out when morris b. clued me in in a comment from a post I wrote several weeks ago. I may be slow on the uptake, but I did let d.g. know I am grateful. FWIW, this is what I wrote in a comment -
I'm writing to you here because it's your latest post, so sorry for being off-topic. Thank you for adding me to your Blog Roll. I don't know when you did, but I got some traffic from you and I am much obliged. I'm a huge fan of your work so I consider it quite a honor to be counted among your Wild Things.
This has been an Expatriate Thoughts Special News Bulletin. You may now resume regular blogging and political junkie inter-web surfing.

Layout for morris b.

Made some changes for reader morris b., who not only complimented me on my similarity to the ever-impressive driftglass (if only my crayon-on-indian-pad scrawl was even in the same universe as d.g.'s fiery eloquence - but thank you for the props, morris), but in so doing offered some pointers for improving his Thoughtfully Expatriating Experience.

Happy to help, m.b.

So, readers, you see how suggestible I am? Keep 'em coming. I can't promise money or sexual favors, but just about anything else is yours to be had for just a little attaboy.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Funny, he doesn't look like a type of cotton fabric

Via SadlyNo, from Central Florida's CBS News 13:

That One, part 2

John Sidney McCain is a racist. He is a rich, white, entitled, contemptuous racist who can't believe that he has to go through the motions of acting like Barack Obama is somehow his equal as a candidate, much less sharing a stage with a black man who is actually beating him in the polls.

As the Pig With Lipstick might put it: "Gollygeewillakers, what has the world come to?"

First, McSnarl said this last night at the debate:

Which gave us this less than 24 hours after he'd said it (goddamn I love me some inter-webs):

Which I think is awesome for incorporating in a mocking & humorous way the Freudian racist gaffe of a stupid, bumbling, short-tempered, muddle-headed old man who doesn't know or understand how the world around him has passed him by, only dimly comprehending (as a barnyard animal dimly comprehends a change in the weather) that for some reason the world is refusing to conform to his will and that as a result he isn't getting what he wants RIGHT NOW and GODDAMMIT HE WAS A P.O.W. (haven't you heard?) and that uppity n*gger is not showing proper respect for the white man!

Or, as the Rude Pundit put it after Grandpa McSimpson refused to make eye-contact with Obama during the last debate:
John McCain looked like nothing so much as a plantation owner just after the end of the Civil War forced to have a conversation with one of his freed slaves. There's no way he was gonna look that nigger in the eye and allow him to think they're equals. Used to be you could lynch a darkie for addressing a white man by his first name. Now, they think they can talk to you like they're humans.
Refusing eye-contact? How about refusing a handshake! (h/t Broadway Carl)

Grandpa McSimpson is a racist motherfucker.

Fuck him and vote for That One.

That One

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

#4 - The Last Word on the Economic Crisis

Three in One Sitting...

One last post of the day, this time to quote the ever-more-articulate-than-me James Wolcott:
My rooting interest is less about Obama himself than about how big a hurt he can put to the Republican Party. I don't want the Republican Party simply defeated in November, I want to see it smashed beyond all recognition, in such wriggling, writhing, anguished disarray that it can barely reconstitute itself, so desperate for answers that it looks to Newt Gingrich for visionary guidance, his wisdom and insight providing the perfect cup of hemlock to finish off the conservative movement for good so that it can rot in the salted earth of memory unmissed and unmourned in toxic obscurity.
Hear, hear, Mister Wolcott.

I Love Political Cartoons

Found this one over at Bob Cesca's place, (created by Kevin Kobasic)

One final, monstrous smash-and-grab

What else to say?

How else to characterize it?

The bailout, which is SOOOO last week I know, is (as Mr. Sideshow wrote a couple of weeks ago), long before Hank "The Donald Rumsfeld of Economics" Paulson's "Give-Me-All-The-Money-And-Don't-Fucking-Ask-Me-Any-Questions-Or-The-Economy-Gets-It" three-page plan was scuttled in The House - the People's Chamber - by the "Tru-Believers" in the Rethugli-bot coalition (before being rescued by The Senate - The Plutocrat's Chamber) because - weaned on the poison milk of the Reagan Revolution as they are - they never understood that all that free-market rhetoric was just so much malarky spread by the Ruling Class to get their signature pet policies package-dealt with all those the Culture War rostrums that get the shrieking wingnut brigades nice and agitated for the end result of election victories that translate via Abramoff and Delay and the like into more money in the pockets of the Monied Class. The poor dears, those useful tools, willing pawns in a game they are too stupid or stubborn to understand (h/t to Lance Mannion):
One final, monstrous smash-and-grab raid on the treasury before they leave office
That about sums up the entire Bush Administration, don't it? W has been the very culmination of that vaunted "Reagan Revolution." He is the distilled essence of all that is ugly, greedy, simplistic, violent and mendacious in the entire intellectual (if that's even an appropriate word for this willfully ignorant bunch of hate-spewing know-nothings) underpinnings of the modern GOP.

We can all see that now as Grandpa McSimpson gets snarling and ugly at the uppity n*gger who dares challenge his white priviledge, as he sics Ms. Spunky McBeauty-Queen on him like some racist Alabama cop in a black & white newsreel from 1965 would sic a German Shephard on a black man who didn't know his place, but this time with lipstick. Sarah Palin is a racist. And the crowds who attend her speeches are, too.
In Clearwater, arriving reporters were greeted with shouts and taunts by the crowd of about 3,000. Palin then went on to blame Katie Couric's questions for her "less-than-successful interview with kinda mainstream media." At that, Palin supporters turned on reporters in the press area, waving thunder sticks and shouting abuse. Others hurled obscenities at a camera crew. One Palin supporter shouted a racial epithet at an African American sound man for a network and told him, "Sit down, boy."
Because McCain was never radical enough for the fruitloops who run the GOP, he has been kept away from the heavy machinery. Only now, after the entire Rethugli-goon ascendancy of the last 30 years has been revealed to be the massive power and money grab that it was way back when Nixon Went A-Courtin' the racists in Old Dixieland, when the press let Saint Ronnie of the Ray-Gun's senile brain just make shit up and they smiled and called it cute, when all our Defenders of the First Amendment marched lockstep into the panty-sniffing abyss to tsk-tsk about dalliances as the cackling wingnut gremlins of the rightwing impeached a lawfully elected and popular president of the opposing party just for spite and then pivoted 180ยบ to poo-poo the so-called howling moonbat liberals and other assorted Dirty Fucking Hippies who didn't think that maybe launcing headlong into a land war in the Heart of Arabia for the sake of cheap oil - while lead by a shifltless moron the shitkickers in fly-over country wanted to have a beer with - was necessarily the wisest and (as that shiftless moron's corrupt daddy would sputter) "prudent" action to take in the wake of an attack by men who had arisen from the educated middle class of a different country who was ostensibly one of our allies and whose iron-fisted ruling family is a well-known and well-documented friend to the entire clan of that aforementioned shiftless moron who would lead that kamikaze charge.

Only now, after Junior has wrecked the whole machine, run it aground, burned up the pistons and ripped out the radio (in case he can hock it on his way back to Crawford), have they let McSnarl have the keys.

Do what you can with it, Grumpy. Vroom, vroom.