Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Occupy DC -- April-May 1971

Amazing what you can find on the internet.  This video is from the first national peace march I went to on April 24, 1971. I was fifteen -- I went on a bus from Philadelphia organized by the Student Mobilization Committee with a 16-year-old girl I really liked (more than she liked me) and her very cool parents, leaving Philly very early in the morning and coming back that night.
I vividly remember Peter, Paul, & Mary taking the stage that day (I didn't know from my vantage point that they had been joined by the less cool John Denver) and singing Dylan's "Blowing in the Wind" and Lennon's "Give Peace a Chance". They brought a connection to a famous earlier march in 1963 that made a very strong impression on this young peacenik.

This mass march on the weekend was only part of a much bigger couple of weeks in late April and early May that bore more than a passing resemblance to the current Occupy movement. In the days before the mass march, the Vietnam Veterans Against the War  conducted their "limited incursion into the country of Congress" that included camping, demonstrations, throwing medals back over the walls around the Capitol, and Lt. John Kerry's famous testimony in front of the Winter Soldier Investigations -- "How do you ask a man to be the last to die for a mistake?" -- that announced this young veteran as a political figure on the national stage.
The days after the mass march saw planned acts of civil disobedience around the Capitol by the Mayday Tribe that led to the arrest of over 13,000 people between May 1 and May 4 (one year after four were killed by the National Guard at Kent State). These events deserve a larger space in our collective memory.  The public reaction against the mass arrests is one of the many events in the late sixties and early seventies that helped turn the mass of the American people against the war in Vietnam.  I wanted to be one of those Mayday demonstrators blocking avenues, running from tear gas, and being penned up with my fellow radicals behind fences around RFK Stadium. I guess I understand now why my parents didn't let a high school sophomore take that extra step.  I'm glad they let me take the bus for the one-day demonstration. It was one of the highlights of my life.
Thanks for sharing this moment of nostalgia with me.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

"... there'll always be someone with the same button on as you ..."

Sorry to break the mood here, because you're about to watch one of the most beautiful songs and singers (I hope you haven't seen this before, so you can experience Melanie for the first time), but I have to rant for a minute, because I just watched this for the first time in decades and I was struck by the loss of our innocence. Fuck the Republicans and the businessmen and the 'serious' volk everywhere who have tried to tell us for the last forty years that the sixties and hippiedom and love and peace and beads and buttons and Woodstock were anything other than a high point in American civilization. We've been on a long slide from that zenith into a nadir of materialism and militarism and an endless parade of men in dark suits (their lapel-pin flags do NOT count as "buttons".)
Enough ranting. Please watch, and be transported back to 1971:

Beautiful people
You look like friends of mine
And it's about time
That someone said it here and now
I make a vow that some time, somehow
I'll have a meeting
Invite everyone you know
I'll pass out buttons for the ones who come to show
Beautiful people never have to be alone
'Cause there'll always be someone
With the same button on as you
This is the best thing about the Occupy movement. It has nothing to do with policies and politics. It has to do with the drum circles and the new sense of community and the beautiful people recognizing each other by the buttons they're wearing. Moving back to a beautiful time we've seen belittled for most of our adult lives.

I hope Melanie's song is stuck in your head.
It's stuck in mine (that may be all you really need to know about me).
Peace.

The Word of the Week is "Draconian" for the performers in America's favorite clown circus

Yesterday, Newt Gingrich brought this word to our attention when we read about his infatuation with Singapore's "draconian" (and deadly) approach to the drug war. (Information Liberation)

We then stumbled upon an article posted yesterday about Michele Bachmann's draconian plan to deport all 11 million undocumented immigrants at a cost to our economy of 2.6 trillion dollars. (ThinkProgress Justice)

So then we had to do a search for "Draconian" in connection with all the other performers in the circus.

Rick Santorum was quoted back in mid-November as saying that he would support “the most draconian sanctions that I could think of” against Iran, even if they hurt the United States. (Des Moines Register)

Back in late October, Ron Paul explained to David Gregory that "Draconian cuts after World War II ... stimulated the economy" (transcript on Project Vote Smart)

Here's an article from October 25: "Why Mitt Romney's Medicaid Cuts Are Even More Draconian than Paul Ryan's" (ThinkProgress Health)

From early September we have Amanda Marcotte's "Pushback on Draconian Rick: Stay Out of Women's Sex Lives" about Rick Perry and radical anti-abortion laws in Texas. (AlterNet)

Herman Cain, who may be leaving the circus soon, opening up a spot for Sarah or Donald, was asked the meaning of "Draconian" for this article and he thought we were concerned with the secondary definition, "resembling a dragon, dragon-like". He adamantly denied that he had ever been a follower of Sauron.

Jon Huntsman only seems to use the word when he is disparaging the more radical clowns in this circus. He's still trying to paint himself as the more cultured and quiet -- and boring -- Marcel Marceau in this troupe of Bozos.

Monday, November 28, 2011

President Newt Gingrich will be coming after your Doublemint gum next

From my trip to Asia's friendliest police state in 2010.



When liberals point to the more humane and equitable healthcare systems in other nations we're accused of all kinds of unpatriotic sins and politely asked (or told) to leave the country if we like someplace else better than we love the U.S.of A. But Newt Gingrich has no problems telling us that we need to be more like the autocratic city-state of Singapore in his doubling down in the so-called "war" on drugs.

Q: "In 1996, you introduced a bill that would have given the death penalty to drug smugglers. Do you still stand by that?"
Newt: "I think if you are, for example, the leader of a cartel, sure. Look at the level of violence they've done to society. You can either be in the Ron Paul tradition and say there's nothing wrong with heroin and cocaine or you can be in the tradition that says, 'These kind of addictive drugs are terrible, they deprive you of full citizenship and they lead you to a dependency which is antithetical to being an American.' If you're serious about the latter view, then we need to think through a strategy that makes it radically less likely that we're going to have drugs in this country.
Places like Singapore have been the most successful at doing that. They've been very draconian. And they have communicated with great intention that they intend to stop drugs from coming into their country."
In this same interview with Yahoo from last Saturday, he talks about mandatory drug tests before collecting unemployment insurance or food stamps, "aggressively" undermining the Cuban government (using the word aggressive 4 times), undermining Social Security with private accounts for young workers, and flip-flopping on his pro medical marijuana stance of 1981, having decided now that it is wrong to be "compassionate toward a small group at the risk of telling a much larger group that it was okay to use the drug."
In short, he's trying hard to outflank his opponents on the right (or at least prevent them from outflanking him by pandering more effectively to the nutjob base). If necessary, he'll extend the Singapore model to all illicit substances and start ranting about the dangers of gum chewing soon.

The Quote of the Day ... from a GOP candidate for President

TrueBlueLiberal dot org has given five inches of "fame" to a number of the clowns running for the GOP nomination for President, so why not do the same for the man who was first to announce his candidacy, but is being widely ignored.
"In one concise document, they manage to condemn gays, single parents, single individuals, divorcees, Muslims, gays in the military, unmarried couples, women who choose to have abortions, and everyone else who doesn't fit into a Norman Rockwell painting."
--Gary Johnson

It could be taken as his assessment of the rest of the Republican field, but that's Gary Johnson's statement about the Family Leader's Marriage Vow signed by Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum (Newt  Gingrich is waiting for it to be amended to allow serial monogamy). Click on the link and read the fine print to see what some of our "serious" GOP candidates are willing to commit themselves to.
Other candidates have declined to sign the pledge that desires to become the social conservatives' version of Grover Norquist's tax pledge. But Johnson was the only notable deletion from the Iowa debate in August. And when the time came for the CNN/TeaParty debate in September,  the former two-term Governor of New Mexico was still polling higher than Huntsman and Santorum. They were invited to debate, but he wasn't.
I just read this article about him in GQ that was forwarded to me a little while ago. I recommend it. Even if I might not vote for Gary Johnson, he seems like I guy I'd like to know and hang out with -- not something I'd say about any other GOP contender (and not just because he's more widely known as the Legalize Pot candidate).

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Your #OWS Soundtrack for the Night comes from 1967

Here are the Buffalo Springfield singing (or at least lip syncing) "For What It's Worth":
  
What a field-day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly say, hooray for our side
It's time we stop, hey, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down
Good Night. And Good Luck to everyone sleeping outside tonight in Occupy encampments.

The Biggest Difference Between Liberals and Conservatives in 140 Characters

On this Thanksgiving weekend I was thinking about an uncle who's been gone for a while. He was the first person who gave me my archetype of how a conservative person's mind works. Over a Thanksgiving dinner table, his biggest complaint (before he had kids) was: "Why am I paying school taxes? I don't have any kids!"


Remembering that statement reminded me of a tweet I made a month or two ago. I think I remembered it word for word and just tweeted it again: "The biggest fear of liberals is that someone might starve.The biggest fear of conservatives is that someone might get something for nothing." It was a spur of the moment statement, and it still feels very true to me. When the first draft of a tweet turns out to be exactly 140 characters long, it also seems to me to have a special quality of 'truthiness.'
But we see the conservative's dislike of paying for other people's needs in more than Uncle X's hatred of paying for the education of other people's children. We see it in the predictable GOP opposition to paying for any health or welfare program, or extension of unemployment benefits, or infrastructure, or investments in mass transit, or green energy, or even giving disaster aid without taking that money out of some other social program.
But there is more than just greed at work. There is resentment of anyone who gets a government "handout" or "free lunch". The resentment is summed up in Ronald Reagan's fictional 1976 caricature of the "welfare queen" that made him a hero among the conservative uncles of this nation:
"She has eighty names, thirty addresses, twelve Social Security cards and is collecting veteran's benefits on four non-existing deceased husbands. And she is collecting Social Security on her cards. She's got Medicaid, getting food stamps, and she is collecting welfare under each of her names. Her tax-free cash income is over $150,000."
Of course their resentment of "getting something for nothing" does not extend to resentment of those who get a free ride by being born a Trump or a Rockefeller or a Kennedy or a Bush. That's the only way that money for nothing is acceptable in their world view, and they are doing everything they can to make the passing of wealth between generations easier and tax-free.
But why don't they feel the same resentment about the money that gets poured down the rathole of military waste? Why the cheering of wars and the death penalty and military tribunals and police brutality and almost any other form of state violence? I think they see this violence protecting their property rights, but it's still the part of American conservatism I have the hardest time understanding.

Happy Sunday. Imagine your world without Republicans.

It's a beautiful Sunday morning in November in Woodstock, New York, and I'm about to go outside again.
Even though the song in this Jefferson Airplane segment from Woodstock (the movie, not the town) is "Won't You Try / Saturday Afternoon," I always think of it as a Sunday morning song, hanging out in the park on a beautiful Sunday morning (even without your fellow hippies, and with or without acid, incense, and balloons), because the Airplane opened the Sunday portion of the Woodstock concert very early with this "morning maniac music".
Please go outside today and imagine your world without Republicans for a few hours.

Saturday afternoon
Yellow clouds rising in the noon
Acid, incense, and balloons
Saturday afternoon
People dancing everywhere, loudly shouting I don't care
It's a time for growing and a time for knowing love
Saturday afternoon
I sense some of this joy in the Occupy movement that I haven't seen in politics for a long time. And I also can't watch this video without falling in love with Grace Slick all over again.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

"If Woody Guthrie were alive today, he'd have a lot to write about..."

"... high times on Wall Street and hard times on main street." These words are spoken by Bruce Springsteen in the intro to this version of "The Ghost of Tom Joad". He's joined by Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine and The Nightwatchman with his guitar that reads "Arm the Homeless" (the 21st century version of Woody's legendary "This Machine Kills Fascists" guitars).
I was just watching this performance on Palladia, and I was thrilled to be able to find it on YouTube so I could share it here:

Now Tom said "Mom, wherever there's a cop beatin' a guy
Wherever a hungry newborn baby cries
Where there's a fight 'gainst the blood and hatred in the air
Look for me Mom I'll be there
Wherever there's somebody fightin' for a place to stand
Or decent job or a helpin' hand
Wherever somebody's strugglin' to be free
Look in their eyes Mom you'll see me."
Tom Joad and his creator John Steinbeck would understand the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Fracking and the Delaware River Basin Commission

I know this video is from a few days ago, but I just stumbled on it now. This segment from Keith Olbermann's Countdown with Josh Fox (Gasland) and Debra Winger (playing Eeyore in this clip) does a great job of summarizing the recent victory of anti-fracking activists in the Delaware River basin:

It's worth listening to Josh Fox's explanation of where hydraulic fracturing for shale gas falls in the larger context of "extreme fossil fuel development" where more and more harmful means of extraction -- mountaintop removal, tar sands, deepwater drilling, fracking and more -- are being used because we delayed our switch to renewables and alternatives and have run low on the easily accessible fossil fuels.
(Of course, if you're a right winger who has stumbled on this blog, you can dismiss all these arguments because some of them are being made by successful Hollywood actress.)

The "War on Christmas" explained by a Grand Wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan

Daisy, Bo, and Luke Duke's disreputable cousin David Duke explains who is really behind the Christian right's imaginary "War on Christmas".
The Jews.

Friday, November 25, 2011

I hope someone said Merry Christmas to these shoppers!

This seems to be fairly representative of the Black Friday videos from earlier today:
I guess America didn't get my message to boycott this traditional day of sanctioned rioting that begins the Christmas season, but the real question is, Were all these shoppers wished a very adamant "Merry Christmas" as they pushed the greeter to the ground on their way through the front door? If not, that was the real crime in the eyes of America's Christian Extremists.
If you find yourself being greeted with the anti-Christmas "Happy Holidays" or "Season's Greetings" or "Welcome" between now and December 25th, please report the store to the Christianist Christmas police (with details) to their email address at christmas@afa.net (but don't clog up their mailbox with your spam or your unchristian liberal thoughts). Your report of insufficient Christianity in the marketplace will then be used by the American Family Association to adjust the following Naughty and Nice list, which informs their fellow Christianists where they are allowed to shop during the holiday season:

Wedge Issue Update: The Liberal War On Christmas 2011

When Americans vote for President less than one year from now, there will be people voting on each side who have totally different pictures of the nation, the world, and the candidates based on which news sources they are consulting. As I write this, the mainstream NBC News is showing the President's wife and daughters welcoming the Clydesdale-driven 2011 Christmas tree at the front door of the White House, but in right-wing media outlets, there's a big story that none of us watching mainstream media or leftish blogs have heard about.
Murdoch's New York Post, Fox Nation, The Daily Caller and numerous conservative Tweeters, are reporting about the outrageous anti-Christmas agenda of President Obama's fundraising schedule. It seems that he has the audacity to hold his fundraisers in New York with LGBT supporters at the same time as the holy appearance of Justin Bieber at the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting. An accident of scheduling? Not according to the three most recent commenters on the Fox Nation article.

americanazalea
And? He seems to "pick" these days with increasing frequency. All planned across the board.

A_10_Thunderbolt_II_warthog
This Kenyan musIim executor dictatorship has no Christmas sprite

usafemale
Sounds like something a Anti-American potus would do...... block what he can of any American tradition... Sad lil man.... throwing sand in every bodies eyes in the American sand box..... Despicable indeed
Like my anti-American Kenyan muslim executor potus, I also find myself lacking in Christmas "sprite" this time of the year.

"... and you never ask questions when god's on your side ..."

No, the title of this blog post isn't taken from the literature of the god-chosen Bachmann, Santorum, or Perry campaigns (I wasn't the one to make this up, but if a god did tell them to run, it proves s/he wants Obama to win re-election). No, the title of this blog post comes from the Bob Dylan song that's stuck in my head this afternoon, here in an interpretation of Joan Baez's from 1965:

On Thanksgiving I watched a younger relative play a disgusting millitary recruitment vehicle called "Call of Duty, Modern Warfare 3" on a widescreen television. Have any of you seen this bloody spectacle? This thing is a bestseller, so I assume I'm a little out of the gamer loop. Is there any doubt that the Pentagon, if not specifically supporting such crap, loves that young Americans are being desensitized to killing by these products -- many of which will be under America's Christmas trees next month?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wedge Issue Update: #9 Dirty Filthy Hippies (with a bullet)

Back in mid-October I mused about which wedge issue might ultimately pop up as the centerpiece of the 2012 Republican attacks. Down near the bottom of my possibilities I placed "9) Dirty Filthy Hippies Occupying Wall Street (and elsewhere)".
A month later, I would place this wedge issue right at the very top. On Fox News this exchange between Sean Hannity and Sarah Palin on November 17th described an Occupy Wall Street movement that bore no relation to any reality outside the Fox News studios:

HANNITY: All right. We see the violence there, one police officer I think had 20 stitches and a gash, things thrown in their face. You see the violence. This is really just a culmination, though. We have seen rape, we have seen arson, destruction of property, sex, masturbation in public, defecating in public, anti-Semitism, anti-American rhetoric, drugs, open-air drugs markets. Well, what do you make of this and the Democratic Party support for this?
PALIN: It is amazing that President Obama, Vice President Biden and former Speaker Pelosi along with many other Democrats have actually embraced this movement and actually, you know, patted these folks on their back as they have engaged in these -- some really atrocious activities. I think it speaks to what part of that mission is on the left, and that is disruption, it is distraction. It's very misguided and these are folks who are ill-informed, not understanding really who and what it is that they should be protesting. If they truly want free men and free markets in this country, then they should be, you know, making their voices known at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and letting Barack Obama know that they disagree with the crony capitalism that he has been so engaged in and allowed to perpetuate. These folks are misguided and I think it's just atrocious what is going on.

Read or watch the whole segment here if you're feeling a little masochistic.

On November 19th Newt Gingrich got rousing applause in Iowa with his instructions to Occupy Wall Street delivered to Frank Luntz and a pumpkin centerpiece: "Go get a job right after you take a bath." It could have been Nixon rousing the Silent Majority against the hippies.


Continuing in the old strategy to rouse the Silent Majority, we have Americans for Tax Reform President Grover "Rat Head in a Koch Bottle" Norquist, the most powerful man in America according the Alan Simpson, the strategist who has tied up the entire Congress with his no-tax pledge, giving us the final proof that #OWS will be used as a wedge in 2012 when he said, “The Occupy Wall Street is a tremendous asset and it’s a movement that I think will be very helpful [to his GOP clients and paymasters] in the 2012 elections, and I think it’s a mistake to interfere with them continuing to annoy middle class Americans." An annoyed middle class can then be manipulated to vote against their own economic interests.

"... it's pathetic. Being a meme used to mean something ..."


And if for some reason (such as being on the International Space Station) you don't know what "Hitler" is raving about in the subtitles to the above video ... if you don't know what's happened to turn UC Davis Police Lt. John Pike into an explosive internet meme in a record amount of time, then you have to visit Pepper Spraying Cop:


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
UPDATE (4:40 on Thanksgiving Eve): after the initial posting of this, I think I stumbled on the aesthetic reason for Lt. "Pepper Spray Cop" John Pike's popularity as a meme. His nonchalance in his act of violence is that of a readymade Banksy stencil.

Paul Motian 1931-2011

Paul Motian died yesterday at the age of 80. Here he is playing in Germany in 1972 as the drummer in a very talented trio:

He has a solo at the 7'50" mark of this video, but the real beauty of this tribute is his great conversational skill in interacting with Keith Jarrett and Charlie Haden. He had millions of great musical conversations, many of which were recorded. I'm going to put At the Deer Head Inn on the stereo now (with Keith, Paul, and Gary Peacock in 1992).
Doesn't politics seem intensely trivial in the face of a great trio?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

"...and my sister talks to Bigfoot, who's her neighbor..."

I finally found a video starring Michele Bachmann that makes a little bit of sense (with some help from the folks at Bad Lip Reading):

I poisoned my mind by watching almost the entire CNN/Heritage Foundation/American Enterprise Institute Foreign Policy debate from the inner sanctum of the DAR building earlier tonight and I needed a blast of humor to clear some of the militaristic jingoism from my head. They even exhumed the zombies of Ed Meese and Paul Wolfowitz to ask "questions" along with a selection of other stiffs from Heritage and the AEI.
When they showed the crowd, you could play a version of Where's Waldo that involved searching for any non-white or non-constipated face. Everyone there strictly followed the dress code (business uncasual).
If you watched the debate too, maybe faux Michele can help erase the memory.

Every Munition is Sacred. Amen.

It sometimes seems as if every GOP position can be illustrated by a scene from a classic comedy. Today's video comes from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The following scene popped into my head while driving to work and thinking about the dangerous intersection of massive American militarization combined with primitive god-talk that dominates so much of our national conversation.

You just know that if there were an Arthurian Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch in the bloated US arsenal of death (and who's to say for sure that there's not one buried in a black project somewhere), that every candidate in tonight's episode of the travelling Clown Circus (on CNN tonight at 8) at would be calling not only for its retention, but for expanding the stockpile of such cool weapons of leporine destruction -- and priests and monks trained in their proper usage.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Lowlights from this week in the GOP Clown Circus

Rick Perry wants to end civilian control of the military. (Think Progress)

Herman Cain shows a similar lack of understanding of the Constitution by pledging to 'overturn the Supreme Court' if they rule that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. I guess there were minimal checks and balances for the CEO of Godfather's Pizza. (Raw Story)

Newt Gingrich not only says that child labor laws are 'truly stupid', but he suggests a job for the kids, having them perform janitorial tasks after breaking up the school janitors' union (LA Times)

Michele Bachmann is not waiting to be elected President before giving orders to the Pentagon to begin making plans to go to war with Iran. (msnbc.com)

Rick Santorum told us that gay marriage will make our country fall, whatever that means in his indecipherable world view. (Huffington Post)


Jon Huntsman tells the voters in New Hampshire that he doesn't care what the rest of the country thinks, and GOP voters in the rest of the country return the sentiment. (cnn.com)

The other Mormon, Mitt Romney, gave a confused speech in front of a defense contractor, telling his receptive audience that the budget for the bloated militarized police state of America should not be cut. Where should the money come from? We can take it away from healthcare for the poor. And he's the "moderate" in this group of clowns. (Raw Story)



There's certainly no room to cut anything here:

Sunday, November 20, 2011

American Exceptionalism.

The GOP is very fond of using the mantra of "American Exceptionalism" (a term created not by their god in the 18th century, but by Marxists talking about the special problems of bringing Socialism to America in the 20th) and the Democrats have been afraid to call the concept bullshit for the same reason they are cowed on any other issue where they might be accused of insufficient god-and-countryism.
"American Exceptionalism" doesn't mean that we are allowed to do things that other countries aren't. It doesn't mean that torture is wrong for everyone but us. It doesn't mean we should ask Egytian authorities to show restraint against protesters while Americans concerned with economic inequality are beaten and sprayed with chemical agents.
You can read Barack Obama's full statement and video to the Egyptian leadership from January 28, 2011 here at WhiteHouse.gov, but here's the gist of the statement in relation to America's current events:
"As the situation continues to unfold, our first concern is preventing injury or loss of life. So I want to be very clear in calling upon the Egyptian authorities to refrain from any violence against peaceful protestors. The people of Egypt have rights that are universal. That includes the right to peaceful assembly and association, the right to free speech, and the ability to determine their own destiny. These are human rights. And the United States will stand up for them everywhere. [...] Around the world governments have an obligation to respond to their citizens. That's true here in the United States; that's true in Asia; it is true in Europe; it is true in Africa; and it’s certainly true in the Arab world, where a new generation of citizens has the right to be heard. When I was in Cairo, shortly after I was elected President, I said that all governments must maintain power through consent, not coercion. That is the single standard by which the people of Egypt will achieve the future they deserve. Surely there will be difficult days to come. But the United States will continue to stand up for the rights of the Egyptian people and work with their government in pursuit of a future that is more just, more free, and more hopeful."
The President needs to bring this concern home and address this issue of police brutality and the Occupy Wall Street movement now! You can help bring this issue to his attention by signing this petition: Tell Obama to Condemn Police Actions Around the Country.
PLEASE SIGN THIS.
Brutal police -- and those politicians or college administrators giving them carte blanche -- need to be prosecuted.

Black Friday Strike and Shop Local Saturday

I'm not even sure if I should be spreading this word, because it will be no skin off my nose. My office is closed and as a longtime foot soldier in the Liberal War On Christmas, there was no way that I'd be shopping with the hordes on the day after Thanksgiving. But I'm 100% behind these two drives.

1) Don't work, shop, or do anything else next Friday, the 25th. You can click here at Black Friday Blackout (or Adbusters' more traditional Buy Nothing Day) for more information or promotional materials.
2) When the Strike is over on Saturday the 26th (if you must shop), please shop locally, if the chains and online retailers haven't already driven all the local businesses off your Main Street. Do your own search for shop local Saturday in your own area, because there are a lot of local offers out there on the internet.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

"How can I trust you with power if you don't pray?"

Newt Gingrich finally gets his five inches of fame on TrueBlueLiberal dot org while he's basking in his Warholian fifteen minutes at the top of the GOP Presidential polls. The short video here from which the quote in the post title was taken comes from a month ago in Las Vegas

But I was prompted to run this video now because of a disgusting spectacle this evening called the Thanksgiving Family Forum hosted by Frank Luntz and attended by all the non-Mormon GOP candidates (I don't know if Huntsman and Romney were disqualified by their non-traditional form of Christianity, or if they just saw this as a trap that would force candidates to express their batshit craziest ideas before a rabid audience whose biggest cheers were for banning gay marriage and nuking Iran). The intolerant ideas expressed by Gingrich last month were only the starting point tonight in the general agreement of Santorum, Gingrich, Bachmann, Cain, Paul, and Rick Perry that Jesus Christ was their true leader. It made me immediately change my profile on Twitter so that the first word of description after my name is "Atheist". Those of us who aren't using myths to guide our lives need to come out of the closet. This is a secular nation, but it's under attack by Christianist extremists who want to enshrine their religious beliefs in the laws that govern the rest of us.
If we let our fellow citizens know that we can live our lives without following Jesus or Zeus or Thor, it may be that sometime in our lifetimes, we'll even see an openly rational President living in the White House.

WOW! You're Watching a New Generation Get Radicalized

Please watch the entire video, because the end is as inspiring as the beginning is depressing. This may have been UC Davis yesterday, but it could have been in any of the fifty states. It seems like I saw this exact same trasformation in America when I was in high school and Nixon was in the White House.

If you've watched this entire video, ask yourself. Does this video illustrate the problem of too few militarized police in America? Or too many?
If you don't get chills when the human mic starts repeating "We will give you a brief moment of peace" at the 6'20" mark, you're on the wrong side of the Occupy movement (and you'll probably get a 99% on the Republican test).

(Update: The main asshole's name is UC Davis Police Lt. John Pike. In their defense, look at how embarassed some of the other police look to be associated with him as the video goes on.)

I have a 2% taint. How pure are you?

I am:
2%
Republican.
"You're a complete liberal, utterly without a trace of Republicanism. Your strength is as the strength of ten because your heart is pure. (You hope.)"

Are You A Republican?

Friday, November 18, 2011

say the secret word and the duck will drop from the rafters and give you the gop nomination!

Wouldn't it be great to see one of the many upcoming GOP debates hosted by Groucho Marx in You Bet Your Life format? The clowns on stage would finally be treated in the manner they deserve, with wisecracks rather than unearned respect.

The Marx Brothers came to mind while I was thinking of Herman Cain's videotaped brain freeze last week when asked a simple question about Libya, and the deeper hole he is digging every time he's asked another foreign policy question. I wondered if any interviewer was going to ask him a question about a fictional nation to see if he might simply make things up to avoid another uncomfortable silence. I tweeted a couple of hours ago that I would ask him about the hostilities between Freedonia and Sylvania, the war declared by Groucho's Rufus T. Firefly in the Brothers' 1933 classic, Duck Soup.
Little did I know that Spy magazine already pulled this trick in 1993. The writers asked incoming members of Congress about the ethnic cleansing taking place in Freedonia, and 20 of our new Representatives responded with opinions or expressions of concern about the imaginary atrocities in the imaginary kingdom.
The idea of making people look silly with questions about Firefly's fictional Freedonia wasn't new with Spy either. Thirty years earlier, Candid Camera's Woody Allen asked victims what they thought of Freedonia's bid for independence. I wish I could find a video with which to end this post...

I couldn't find that video, but basic film literacy should require Americans, whether politicians or not, to know the source of the Freedonian references (if only to avoid tricky questions from comedy shows and magazines), so I'll end with this clip from the original source:


Thursday, November 17, 2011

"...you better start swimmin' or you'll sink like a stone . . ."

My favorite quotations about the Occupy Wall Street movement are the ones that go something like this: "Of course I agree with the ideas of the Occupy movement, but I don't agree with the tactics." You hear it all the time, and the #OWS movement has succeeded every time that sentiment is voiced.
When the first few occupiers started in their occupation in the first city, New York, exactly two months ago on 9/17/2011, nobody in the media or government was primarily concerned with the growing American economic inequality. The only economic issue being discussed by "serious" commentators was the debt, and how much more pain was going to have to be doled out to those already suffering from the vagaries of a "free" market skewed to help those at the top (and by those at the top). The range of debate two months ago went all the way from the center right to the far right (and then farther right once the Tea Party got involved).
You won't see Andre Cuomo wearing
one of these anytime soon.
The Governor of my state, a man with national political ambitions, New York's Andrew Cuomo, has firmly planted himself in the center of that limited frame of reference. But he needs to be careful, because the Occupy movement has reopened the curtain on the left-hand side of the political stage, and a large portion of the electorate has finally seen a set of views and arguments that they can relate to and agree with. Cuomo is all for letting the Millionaire's Tax in New York expire at the end of the year and he's taking the corporate side in the contentious debate over hydrofracking for natural gas, but the center has moved. This is the wrong side of both issues within this state and within his party. In a raucous fall meeting of the Democratic State Committee, the party leaders wouldn't let either issue come up for a vote, knowing that our Governor had staked out the Republican positions for himself on both issues. “Go to hell!” yelled committeewoman Lori Gardner after the fracking resolution was tabled. “The party leaders pretty much protect the governor, they were appointed by the governor, and here, they pretended they won.”
To get back to my original point, you can't separate the ideas of the Occupy movement from the tactics. Without the tactics, the overreactions of law enforcement, and the constant presence in the streets of all fifty states over the past two months, those ideas never would have found their rightful place in the national dialogue. Andrew Cuomo is not the only politician who needs to recalibrate (or flip flop) in order to keep his national political ambitions alive. He needs to be listening to the Occupiers in Albany rather than trying to arrest them every night (even though Albany County District Attorney David Soares refuses to prosecute them).
Here's the song about clueless politicians I can't get out of my head tonight:

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside
And it is ragin'.
It'll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Songs for #OWS for Tonight

CSN&Y's "Find the Cost of Freedom" and "Ohio" brought back to life by Gov't Mule with Grace Potter:

At 4'35", note how the lyric becomes "Tin soldiers and Dubya comin', We're finally on our own..."
Good night.

"Moral Disaster of Monumental Proportion Reconciliation Act" Part Deux?

If the SuperCommittee does emerge from its SuperHideout before next week's annual celebration of turkey genocide with a deficit-reduction act that pays for private-jet tax breaks with cuts to services for the poor, sick, and elderly, then I suggest that the task of naming this SuperTurkey be assigned to Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ).
 Six years ago, in November 2005, the Republican Congress was pushing its "Deficit Reduction Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 2005", which proposed paying for Hurricane Katrina and Rita expenses by... (do I even need to finish this sentence?)... cutting "entitlement" programs for the old and sick. Like many Democrats in Congress, Lautenberg was appalled, saying, "Let's call this bill what it is -- a moral disaster. This bill would close the door of opportunity and cut critical services to the poor, elderly, sick and hungry."  He proposed an amendment to the Reconciliation Act, an amendment that renamed the entire piece of legislation with a more memorable moniker:

"Moral Disaster of Monumental Proportion Reconciliation Act"

While closer to the truth than the original 2005 act's name, I'd suggest that Senator Lautenberg propose something even more honest for the SuperCommittee's 2011 legislation if (as feared) the six Democratic members of the committee give more in cuts to vital programs than they gain in increased revenue from the so-called "Holy Job Creators".
"Payback to Our Benefactors for Their Long Years of Contributions Act"






Monday, November 07, 2011

How the Magic of Temple Garments Will Win Mitt Romney the GOP Nomination

Now that "front runner" Herman Cain is being exposed as a sexual harasser by a fourth woman today, it is Newt Gingrich's time for a bump in the polls until ... well, until we all remember he's Newt Fucking Gingrich.
It seems clearer and clearer that the only person who will be able to avoid campaign-ending scandals will be one of the two candidates who is protected from out-of-wedlock shenanigans by the embarassment of exposing his Magic Mormon Underwear to the eyes of the uninitiated.


There are, incredibly, two Magic Mormon Underwear wearers in the GOP Presidential Sweepstakes. However, one of them, Jon Huntsman, refuses so far to toe the orthodox Teapublican party lines on global warming and evolution, so the nominee will be malleable Mitt Romney (unless Sarah and The Donald decide to jump in at this late date to "save" the party and the nation [please!]).