Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween from the Nocturnals

The one Halloween party I'm sorry I missed.

"I ain't afraid of no ghosts."

Sunday, October 30, 2011

George Carlin explained the 1% to the 99% in 3'15" long before any American cities were Occupied.

"...You have no choice. You have owners. They own you...."
"... The table is tilted folks. The game is rigged. And nobody seems to notice. Nobody seems to care ..."

"...because the owners of this country know the truth. It's called the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it." 
 Please watch the whole 3'15" of this video, because so much of George Carlin's linguistic beauty comes from the timing and cadences, but this speech would get a standing ovation at any Occupy gathering taking place across America tonight. It's too bad George isn't among us to enjoy this moment when the 99% are recognizing their voices. They would have recognized his.

"Real" Rick Perry versus BLR Rick Perry

Which makes less sense, the "Real" Rick Perry in New Hampshire on Friday night?
Or the Rick Perry as improved by Bad Lip Reading back in September?
I think it's a toss up, but he might want to consider hiring some of the BLR people as speechwriters and debate consultants.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Wedge Issue Update: Reaffirming A National Motto That Divides Us.

When I wrote 10 days ago "Which Wedge Will Win the 2012 GOP Primary?" I never thought that the wedges would start showing up so early in the race.  I mentioned "Birtherism" as my Wedge 1 as a joke, because I never thought any of the 2012 candidates would bring it up.  So, of course, in last Sunday's Parade magazine with Rick Perry on the cover, the Texas Governor did exactly that, with a wink, but brought up Barack Obama's birth certificate nonetheless, knowing full well which constituency he was speaking to.

But Wedge number 3 on my list, "In God We Trust", has also reared its divisive head.  This UPI article today, "GOP to Pass Bill to Affirm 'In God We Trust'" gives some details about the effort, led by Virginia Representative Randy Forbes (R) to reaffirm IGWT as the national motto and "supporting and encouraging the public display of the national motto in all public buildings, public schools and other government institutions."  The vote should take place this coming Tuesday, taking precedence over mere jobs bills. The following video tells a little more about Congressional Prayer Caucus leader Randy Forbes and the GOP effort to strengthen this sad relic of the McCarthy years.


Our longtime unofficial motto mentioned in the video above, E pluribus unum  (Out of the many, one) was put on the seal of the United States by Act of Congress in 1782, but it was never made the official "National Motto" so that left the door open to declare another, less inclusive, official motto in the McCarthy era.
IGWT was first put on a few coins in another divisive period, the Civil War, but the era of 1950s intolerance saw "god" rammed down America's throat officially with the words "under god" added to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954, the phrase IGWT ordered  on all coins and currency in the mid fifties, and IGWT finally made The National Motto in the US Code in 1956.  The new official motto -- forced through Congress in the time of the second Red Scare -- is not even as old as I am, so I'll go with E pluribus unum, which has served the nation well since the 18th century, rather than the recent one that excludes a significant percentage of our population that no longer trusts in old myths.
But causing conflict and excluding people who are unlike him is exactly what Randy Forbes is doing, isn't it?

Friday, October 28, 2011

"Frack, Baby, Frack!"

In case you needed any more proof that the hydrofracking process for extracting natural gas from shale formations was dangerous, dirty, and just plain evil, just look at this graphic from Rupert Murdoch's New York Post. "Frack, Baby, Frack!"  The source proves it's as wrong as anything you'd hear from Fox News, but it gains extra odiousness due to its intentional resonance with Sarah Palin's war cry, "Drill, Baby, Drill!"

You can read the article that accompanied this graphic by clicking here: "Anti-Drilling Hysteria: Spreading fear to halt progress".


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Rick Santorum gets his five inches of fame on TBL dot org.

Rick Santorum isn't actually in this Santorum video, but we just couldn't believe that Herman Cain is being damned for three minutes - and losing the vote of America's fetuses - just because Piers Morgan forced him to admit an obvious truth about how criminal it would be to have a government that would make the victim of a sexual crime carry a rapist's embryo.

When he finally calls it quits in his current role in the travelling clown circus, at least Santorum will always be famous for his one lasting contribution to the English language.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fox News does my thinking for me.

It's easy to be an internet activist when all you need to do is hit the Tweet button on every Fox News article, including this one about the Occupy movement being a product of one of Fox's bĂȘtes noires, ACORN, the group of community organizers that right-wing activists already succeeded in destroying in late 2010.
It's easy for both the left and the right to stay in our own little ghettos on the internet and on Twitter, but sometimes it's important to cross the line and look at what lies are being repeated loudly and often by the other side. This is how absurdities like the birth certificate questions about Obama and the Swift Boat lies about John Kerry seem to spring out of nowhere fully formed.

Restraint.

I personally don't know how these Occupy Oakland participants are able to NOT retaliate against this police violence by finding and throwing the heaviest thing they can find.

They need to be praised for their restraint last night, but if there is an escalation, we all need to remember who it was that started the violence.
Scott Olsen, the 24-year-old Iraq War veteran injured (and whose rescuers were attacked) by police in the above video is in the hospital in critical condition. He was never shot or injured in two years in Iraq -- he needed to come home for that. Send Scott your best thoughts, and support #OccupyOakland, because they are not giving up.

Fox News network discovers the source of the #Occupy Movement

My doctor has warned me that neither my heart nor stomach would survive more than a minute of the actual Fox News Channel, but I couldn't help surfing past their website right now. And what did I find? It seems that they have exclusively discovered the source of power behind the Occupy movement. Of couse it's that omnipotent boogeyman, ACORN (I think I'll dress up as an Acorn for Halloween and go to a Republican town -- BOO!). Though it could have just as easily been George Soros. Or Jeremiah Wright. Or the Easter Bunny.
The network that helped to engineer the 'spontaneous' Tea Party demonstrations in 2009 (see this MMFA summary of Fox's involvement if you need a reminder) understandably can't understand the making of a truly leaderless movement without corporate support (they find themselves unable to type the word 'leaderless' without quotation marks). But it's just as absurd to think that a small group of community organizers could build a movement in a month that has support from 43% of the American people (or 69% in Fox's own poll of October 7).

The Soundtrack of #Occupy (from 1980)

Seeing tear-gas clouds in Oakland last night put the voice of Joe Strummer in my head.
"They put up a poster saying we earn more than you!
When we're working for the clampdown
We will teach our twisted speech
To the young believers
We will train our blue-eyed men
To be young believers"
--The Clash, "Clampdown"


Some, like Rick Perry and his ilk in the quote we offered yesterday, would have you believe that your liberal idealism is a youthful folly you will grow out of.
"But, you grow up and you calm down and
You're working for the clampdown
You start wearing the blue and brown and
You're working for the clampdown
So you got someone to boss around
It makes you feel big now
You drift until you brutalize
You made your first kill now"

It doesn't have to be that way. We can take our youthful idealism and adapt it to the world of the Vietnam War, or No Nukes demonstrations (Clampdown was from the era of Three Mile Island and is mentioned at the end of the song), or our criminal invasion of Iraq, or against the excesses of rapacious capitalism. Just as long as you're not working for the clampdown.

A Primer on Hydrofracking That's Worth the Time

This presentation should be watched by New York's Governor Cuomo too. Even if he simply speeds it up and clicks quickly through the horrifying pictures, maybe it will cause him to reconsider opening up the Empire State to these polluters.

There is nothing "cheap" or "clean" about this extreme means of natural gas extraction and those of us who live in this beautiful state will NEVER forgive him if he allows this environmental crime here. The (D) after his name does not exempt him from criticism when almost every single one of his actions could be the actions of a Republican (gay marriage being the only exception I can think of).
The Catskills have been saved from corporate rape by one thing -- minerals were never found here in the past. The beauty on the surface and the pristine waters produced here are now far more valuable than anything that may be dug from below. I PROMISE to vote for the Green Party in the next gubernatorial election if fracking is allowed by the current governor. Maybe he should try harder to protect New York from corporate greed than to appeal to the Right - and corporate donors - for his possible future national political ambitions.

From Coast to Coast -- #OWS and #OccupyOakland

Back on September 24 when it was unclear whether Occupy Wall Street would last for another day, let alone another month, one man, more than any other, was responsible for growing the movement overnight, Anthony "Pepper-Spray" Bologna:
Tonight on the West Coast, it's the Oakland Police Department that is doing everything it can to make sure that the Occupy movement grows and lasts for years with this tear-gas barrage and other abuses:

Any violence or property damage taking place later tonight is the fault of the police, not the protestors, no matter what the corporate media may tell you in the morning.
As a veteran of a few anti-Vietnam War protests in D.C., Philadelphia, and New York in the early 1970s, I still can't believe the instant communication of these events available on Twitter and YouTube, but where are our famous "24-hour news cycle" outlets while the tear gassing is going on out West? They have canned shows to rerun (though CNN is showing Michael Moore talking intelligently about Occupy with Piers Morgan from earlier tonight) which will attract the same number of sponsors. It's well after midnight here in the East and I have to work tomorrow, but I'll be thinking of #OccupyOakland, where it's still early. Stay safe out there.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Herman "Borat" Cain starts his media drive with a bang

Every one of the Republicans deserves five inches of fame on True Blue Liberal dot org, so here's the only video that can do justice to the man with the 9-9-9 plan:

And the only explanation I found that can even begin to make sense of this official video starring Herman Cain and his campaign manager, Mark Block, is the one that I read earlier today from Doug Mataconis at outsidethebeltway.com:
"I’m not at all sure what to say about this. Except to repeat the theory I came up with last night that the Herman Cain campaign is Sacha Baron Cohen’s big follow-up to Borat."
I can't wait for the movie, when "Herman Cain" pulls off the mask and we all have a big bellylaugh at the gullible GOP voters who have made "Herman" their current front runner.

The Chair Recognizes Representative Bachmann (R-Minn)

It's become obvious to me that I haven't been equally spreading my attention between all the Republican Presidential hopefuls, so...
Sorry for the omission of Michele Bachmann so far.

The Quote of the Day from Rick Perry (... and a response from Pete Seeger)

John Harwood (NY Times/CNBC): You have this proposal to dramatically cut taxes for people at the top and you want to repeal Dodd-Frank, going back to the old system of regulation of Wall Street. How would you explain that to Occupy Wall Street? You think the previous regulation on Wall Street was adequate?

Gov. Rick Perry (R-Texas): Yes, absolutely, I think it was adequate. We had a bunch of regulators that weren’t doing their job. Here's what I would tell those young people — the old Churchill saying, you’re a liberal in your heart when you’re 20, and you’re a conservative when you’re 40. I hope what they will see is that America’s a fabulous country and it gives them the opportunity to go say your piece, go protest on the street. But at the end of the day America’s about having the opportunity to take care of your family. [Emphasis Added]

I could show the full video that accompanied this interview snippet, but who wants to see another Republican with a Texas accent displaying his greed, stupidity, and ability to kowtow to the people who pay his campaign expenses? I'd rather show something more hopeful, a video of someone who was liberal (OK, maybe Communist) at 20 and is still more concerned with human rights than the bottom line today, at 92, as he joins the Occupy Wall Street crowd in New York City. Most of Pete Seeger's friends at Columbus Circle singing We Shall Overcome seem to be past their twenties as well (as am I).

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Modern Nation Harbors and Cheers a War Criminal.

Late last week he left the country and there were calls for Canada to arrest him when he was there. But they didn't. Last night he made a public appearance in his home state, and was... well, I had to search for the video evidence before I would believe it.

George W. Bush was cheered at a World Series game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Texas Rangers, not the people guarding the southern border, but the baseball team that helped to make him rich in a web of crony capitalism at its worst.
A nation that not only harbors, but cheers its war criminals seems to be calling down karmic retribution on itself.
Is it too late go give this occupied territory back to Mexico? Or would that be cruel to Mexico?
Just Asking,

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Corporations are People, for Pete's Sake

Here's the quote of the day, from the Republican debate of two nights ago:
"So we went to the company and we said: Look, you can't have any illegals working on our property. I'm running for office, for Pete's sake, I can't have illegals. It turns out that once again they hired someone who had falsified their documents, had documents, and therefore we fired them." -- Mitt Romney
Meaning of course that if (for Pete's sake) you happen to be a mere private citizen working for a group that buys and breaks up companies, and you find yourself with a few hundred acres of shaggy bluegrass, then illegal aliens are a very cost effective means for keeping that lawn as impeccably groomed as your classic 1962 Brylcreem hairdo. The video here is important, because it shows how Romney can be pushed into saying what he really means.

Without Rick Perry badgering him, Mitt never would have come out with the admission that he is only forced into following the letter of the immigration laws because he has political ambitions.
This isn't the first time that we've seen Mitt say something revealingly unscripted in the heat of the moment. I've commented on the "Corporations Are People, My Friend," video from the Iowa State Fair before, but note how the hecklers get him to reveal his deep love for abstract legal entities...

My favorite bit of absurdity in this clip now is the sentence, "Of course they are [people]. Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to people." Following that logic, crime syndicates making money for criminal people are people, savings accounts earning 0.001% interest for duped people are people, churches collecting money for priests are people, marijuana plants growing in your basement that can be converted to cash that ultimately goes to people are people, everything is, ultimately, people, for Pete's sake. But that doesn't mean everything should be allowed to vote or influence our electoral process based on its monetary power.
So what's the next question that will knock Mitt off script? I'd suggest a customized version of Clinton's famous 1994 MTV Question. In Mitt's case it would be: "Boxers? Briefs? Or Magic Underwear?"

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

#ArrestBush for #Torture in British Columbia Tomorrow

The Canadian government probably doesn't have any more will to arrest America's most prominent war criminal than an Obama administration whose main concern is proving their bipartisanship (and continuing Bush's wars "with honor"), but the fact remains that both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have officially warned our neighbor to the north that a torturer and war criminal is on his way to Surrey, British Columbia tomorrow and should be arrested.
If you're on Twitter or other Social Notworking sites, please send your support for Bush's arrest.

The Visual State of True Blue Liberal dot Org on 19 Oct 2011

Anyone looking at the timeline in the right sidebar can tell at a glance that this blog has gone through long periods of inactivity since I started it in late 2004. For some reason I've been more active this month than I have been in a long time, so I felt a need to take stock. Here (courtesy of the great little tool at Wordle.com that I've used a few times before) is the current state of TrueBlueLiberal dot org at 9:30 am on 19 October 2011.

I love some of the random juxtapositions of words, especially "Huxley's Vehemently Government Abortion Sing-A-Long" down in the lower left. I was surprised to see WAR get the prominent primary position on this cloud, but I'm glad it did. We need to remember every day that we are a nation at war. I think the rest of the world remembers it far better than we Americans do.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

#OWS Occupy Wall Street Circa 1968

I needed to do something to partially purify my mind after watching a bunch of stuffed suit Republicans (and Michele Bachmann dressed like an admiral) clawing their way to the intellectual and moral depths at a CNN debate in Las Vegas tonight.
What better antidote to their ugly visions of the world than the Jefferson Aiplane on a rooftop in midtown in 1968 playing "House at Pooneil Corners" courtesy of Jean-Luc Godard?


You and me we keep walking around and we see
All the bullshit around us
You try and keep your mind on what's going down
Can't help but see the rhinoceros around us
and you wonder what you can be
and you do what you can to get balled & high...

That's better.

Which Wedge Will Win the Republican Primary?

When the dust settles from the debates and caucuses and primaries, we'll finally know which candidate the Republicans will be sending to face President Obama, but a larger question may remain. Which wedge issue will win? What phony peripheral concern will be the twenty twelve equivalent of twenty oh four's Swift-Boat idiocy? How will the GOP attempt to get millions of Americans to vote against their own economic self interest?
1. Birtherism?

2. Guns?

3. "In God We Trust"?

4. Flag Burning?

5. Evolution?

or 6. Abortion? or 7. Gay Marriage? or 8. "Illegal Aliens"? or 9. Dirty Filthy Hippies Occupying Wall Street (and elsewhere)? . . or something we haven't even been told we need to hate or be afraid about yet? Will Americans sacrifice Social Security and Medicare for assault weapons and prayer in the schools?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Friday, October 07, 2011

October 7, 2001 -- October 7, 2011 (and not over yet)

In an alternate universe, there is actually a recognition that today is the tenth anniversary of the start of our longest war.
However, in the military states of the USA, I guess it just seems normal to most of us to be a nation at constant war. I'm home today, and I'm flipping randomly through television news channels and there is no mention of Afghanistan that I've seen. There is more concern with Michael Jackson's doctor, the 2012 political horse race, Amanda Knox, a missing baby in Missouri ... the news channels might as well be the soma of Huxley's Brave New World, helping us to forget that we responded to criminal religious fanatics with daisy cutter bombs and met one day of extreme violence in the US with ten years of war (and counting) around the world.
I was at a loss on how to respond to today's significance and our collective amnesia, so I dug back into this blog and found one of my very first entries -- almost a mission statement. It doesn't go all the way back to October 2001. But even in December 2004, I was afraid that the MYTH of universal consent to the Afghan war was already being written by the powers that be and their corporate media:




Friday, December 17, 2004
Peace bloggers
It occurred to me as I started this process to look up Weblog on Wikipedia. I didn't realize how recent the history was, with the first use of the word Weblog only dating from the end of 1997 and Blog from 1999. So, even starting this blog at this relatively late date (16 Dec 04) might seem early in some later blogger's eyes. The Wikipedia article is also interesting in the role it gives to the "war bloggers" supporting the Iraq fiasco in 2002.

I don't want to leave any doubt that this will be a place for peace blogging. I was working in Manhattan on 11 Sept 2001 and not only was I out marching against the criminal invasion of Iraq on the streets of New York before and after the war started, but I still believe that Osama bin Laden would be in custody if we had NOT invaded Afghanistan -- if we had instead brought continued international pressure on the Taliban government, which showed some desire to bargain for its survival. War is NEVER the right answer to any problem, and we've started two of them (and the phantom fictional "war" on terror) in this first Bush/Cheney administration. AND WE RE-ELECTED THEM???!!! That's the real reason I felt the need to jump into this messy and overpopulated blog fray. Because the thing I truly thought was impossible, the fact that the American voters gave a vote of confidence to these criminals, has come to pass.

While it's irresistible to be vehemently Anti-Bush, it's not enough, we have to NOW start defining ourselves by our labels, rather than letting THEM use our words as a wedge issue to divide us. We are liberals and we're proud of all that stands for. They're conservatives, and they want to destroy the UN, Social Security, and every trace of FDR's fingerprints on this country & world. We can't let it happen.

- True Blue Liberal

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Steve Jobs 1955-2011

Here's a great video of the late Steve Jobs (strange to use that formulation, with pancreatic cancer just having taken him today) in 1984, introducing my first home computer, the original Macintosh.

It's been a long time since I've used MacPaint, played Alice Chess, or heard that Mac speaking voice (which I now associate with Radiohead's "Fitter Happier"), but this presentation and its reception bring back exactly how revolutionary it seemed compared to the gray business machines of "real" computer companies.
Rest in Peace Steve.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

"...many a year has passed and gone and many a gamble has been lost and won..."

The Guardian reports today that the "Nobel Prize odds a-changin' for Bob Dylan", with the chances of his winning the Nobel Prize for Literature dropping dramatically from 100-1 to 10-1. Bettors generally know more than I do, after all they're risking actual pounds sterling. I assume they received some sort of information from shady Scandinavian sources before rushing to their local betting shops.

I've tweeted on a number of occasions that I think this prize should go to Philip Roth, but I might -- no, I would -- be even more excited if Bob Dylan were recognized. His words and music have been part of the fabric of my life for more than forty years.

Here's a song of his that you may or may not know well, but which shows why Bob might deserve more than Grammys and Oscars. In Dylan's Visions of Sin, Christopher Ricks (also the author of books on Keats and Tennyson and editor of the most recent edition of the Oxford Book of English Verse) spends 15 pages comparing Dylan's "Not Dark Yet" to Keats' "Ode to a Nightingale". Hear the similarities?



Good Luck Bob!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
UPDATE October 5 @ 9:45am EST:
The Guardian is now reporting that Bob is the favorite to win the Literature Nobel in the UK betting shops, with odds of 5/1!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
UPDATE October 6 @ 8:00am EST:
The award from the Swedish Academy went this year to the Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Our Annual Liberal War on Christmas (LWOC) will start early this year

The Liberal War on Christmas is not (like Iraq) an offensive war of choice.



It's entirely defensive when you walk into a store on October 2 and it's already filled with Santas and nutcrackers and ornaments and candy canes and monogrammed red
stockings and aluminum Christmas trees in multiple unnatural shades. These pictures were taken by my phone at a Kohl's in New York State, but I'm sure that the same premature display of Christmas commerce is taking place all over the country, long before the traditional start date of Halloween (and I'm old enough to remember when you didn't see any Christmas crap on public display before Thanksgiving).

We're going to be sick of hearing Jingle Bells by Halloween.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

All the Way With BHO?







As we get further and further in time from the Presidency of Lyndon Baines Johnson, the parts of his legacy that stand out seem more and more impressive: Medicare, Medicaid, the Voting Rights Acts of 1964, 1965, & 1968, the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, the Department of Transportation, Head Start, the Higher Education Act of 1965, Bilingual Education Act of 1968, the Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1968 inspired by Ralph Nader, the Endangered Species Act of 1966, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and more. The list of programs falling under the umbrella of The Great Society read like a Teapublican's wish list of the main elements of America's 20th-Century liberal legacy that they are working so hard to roll back.


But I remember 1968, and Lyndon Baines Johnson for me was a symbol of everything that was old and illiberal and out of touch, bordering on evil. It was because of one issue that overshadowed EVERYTHING that he did on the domestic front: Vietnam. LBJ didn't start the war and he had wide bipartisan support for the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in 1964 (416-0 in the House and only Morse and Gruening voting no in the Senate) that gave the green light for his escalations (think "Surges" in 21st-Century Newspeak), but it didn't take long for that police action in Southeast Asia to tear the country, and the Democratic Party, in half.

There are major differences between LBJ and BHO, beyond the fact that the Obama's Affordable Health Care Act doesn't hold a candle to the domestic achievments of Johnson. First of all, the wars of Afghanistan and Iraq will always be Bush's wars and the crimes of waterboarding and Abu Ghraib will always belong to the previous regime. But the biggest change between the war of my youth and these endless wars of the 21st century is the lack of a draft. If the privileged children of the suburbs planning on peaceful futures saw those futures usurped by their birthday drawing a low number in a draft lottery, then there would have been millions of young people in the street against these endless wars no matter who was living in the White House. There are some rumblings of direct action against the current corporate-controlled power structure which supports the current wars and leans from center-right Democrats to lunatic Teapublican fringe, but "Occupy Wall Street" is never going to motivate millions to hit the streets the way the Moratoriums and other mass marches against the Vietnam War.


He has almost closed down the illegal war on Iraq, but with Barack Obama's failure to close Guantanamo Bay, his willingness to impose the death penalty by remote control on American cititzens this week, his surge in Afghanistan, and his acceptance of the Patriot Act and other assumptions of the so-called "War on Terror", it may not be too long before responsibility for these awful foreign policies starts sticking to his administration. And until the military stops draining our national treasure, he won't have the resources to accomplish even one hundredth of what LBJ did domestically during his brief time in the White House.