Thursday, December 29, 2011

Photographic proof that parties were much gayer in the 1960s.

A new book coming out by Don Fulsom, "Nixon's Darkest Secrets: The Inside Story of America's Most Troubled President," publishes a rumor that Richard Nixon had an affair with Bebe Rebozo (always one of my favorite names from that era), putting every photo of our 37th President with his old friend in a new light.
In retrospect, the poodle should have told us something.
Bebe Rebozo with J. Edgar Hoover, Richard Nixon, dog, and a mystery shoe.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

"... give all the toys to the little rich boys ..."

I'll be off the computer for a few days, but here are The Kinks to help you celebrate the winter holidays with "Father Christmas" (the British version of our American god, Santa Claus). The song's  from 1977, but it seems the most appropriate Christmas carol in 2011, this year of Occupation and its discussion of the 1%:

Have yourself a merry merry Christmas
Have yourself a good time
But remember the kids who got nothin'
While you're drinkin' down your wine
Father Christmas, give us some money
We got no time for your silly toys
Father Christmas, please hand it over
We'll beat you up, so don't make us annoyed
Father Christmas, give us some money
Don't mess around with those silly toys
We'll beat you up if you don't hand it over
We want your bread, so don't make us annoyed
Give all the toys to the little rich boys

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Language Matters: The Iraq-War Recession and Iraq-War Deficit (a Marxist Perspective)

The simple Marxist insight into the nature of war, taxes, and language in tonight's blog post comes to us from Groucho and his brothers, not from their distant cousin Karl.

"War would mean a prohibitive increase in our taxes," the uniformed Freedonian functionary warns Groucho Marx's Rufus T. Firefly at the 8 second mark of this video from Duck Soup.  

Everyone knows that if the leaders of  Freedonia decide they need to attack Sylvania -- or the United States government needs to attack Iraq -- then those leaders need to raise taxes to pay for their war. Or almost everyone knows that basic fact of responsible governance. The Bush/Cheney administration slashed taxes on their rich friends and benefactors as they began multi-trillion-dollar wars throughout the Islamic world.  Of course some true-blue-liberal cynics might point out that their goal was to bankrupt the nation with their unfunded wars and unnecessary military spending so that they could roll back New Deal achievements like Social Security and Great Society programs like Medicare.
All they (and we) ended up getting for their troubles (besides the unnecessary deaths of Americans, Afghans, Iraqis, Pakistanis, ...) were a massive recession and an astronomical deficit.
According to the True Blue Liberal style guide, the so-called "Great Recession" should always be referred to as the "Iraq-War Recession" and the multi-trillion-dollar deficit created in the Bush/Cheney era is the "Iraq-War Deficit."  Period. We should use those terms as single-mindedly as  conservatives who use the "job-killing" prefix before any mention of  environmental regulations.

Willard "Mitt" Romney's Shadow Cabinet (or ghosts of Christmas past)

Does anyone else find this picture much more disturbing than pictures
of other youthful indiscretions with drugs or fashion or hairstyles?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I promise this will be the last anagram for the day...

... but my promises aren't worth the pixels flashing across your screen.
Click on the Box to Reveal the Troll's Name.
The same person who can use the letters of his/her own name to reveal an inner trollishness, can also use those same letters to comment on the current status of the GOP Presidential Sweepstakes: "Trail my idol, Mr. Newt."

Sorry John, but I woke up anagramming ...

... and the anagrams of the morning are for SPEAKER BOEHNER -- HE, BARKEEPER SON (or HE'S NO BARKEEPER).
Please Click on the Box to Bring It to Life!
Share these with him if you know @SpeakerBoehner.  I'm sure they will make him cry like a baby.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Anagrams are addictive (and sometimes weirdly appropriate)

Is WILLARD ROMNEY more appropriately anagrammed as WEIRDLY NORMAL or as NORMALLY WEIRD?

Liberal War On Christmas Anagrams of the Day

Newt Gingrich = Grinch Twinge = Grinch Get Win!
Callista Gingrich = 'Tis Glacial Grinch

Inspired by this:

Happy Chanukah my true blue liberalites!

If I ever were to throw off my atheism for a set of beliefs in the irrational, I might very well choose to be led by Matisyahu.
If you don't know these two live versions of  "King Without a Crown," you're in for a treat (and I hope they lead you to look for others on YouTube).  These sure beat one more repetition of Adam Sandler's "Hanukkah Song".
Like a King without his Crown 
You keep fallin' down 

You really want to live but can't get rid of your frown 

You're tryin' to reach unto the heights and wind up down on the ground 

Givin' up your pride - then ya heard a sound 

Out of night comes day, out of day comes light 

Nullified to the One like sunlight in a ray, 

Makin' room for his love for a fire gonna blaze,
Make room for his love and a fire gonna blaze. 

Happy Chanukah!
And to all my Christian brethren out there? Season's Greetings!

Did Mitt Romney attempt to commit a Class C felony in Des Moines?

ABC News/Yahoo Iowa Republican Debate
Time and Place: 10 December 2011, Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa
Perry: "... I read your first book and it said in there that your mandate in Massachusetts, which should be the model for the country — I know it came out of the reprint of the book, but, you know, I’m just saying, you were for individual mandates, my friend.”
Romney: “You know what, you’ve raised that before, Rick. and you’re simply wrong.”
Perry: "It was true then, it’s true now…”
Romney: (extending his right hand) “... Rick, I’ll tell you what, 10,000 bucks, 10,000 dollar bet.”
Perry: (no hand extended) “I’m not in the betting business...”
I'm not in the betting business either, so I don't know if the offer of a high stakes bet is the same, in the eyes of the Iowa legal system, as actually shaking on that bet, but wouldn't the drug dealer who offered to sell you $10,000 worth of cocaine be guilty of something even if you said, "No thanks"? 
If Rick and Mitt had exchanged palm sweat on this "friendly" wager, would they have both been dragged off to a Des Moines hoosegow by the local constabulary on felony charges? Probably not, but it seems they would have been guilty of breaking the following Iowa law:

Iowa Gambling Laws
725.7 Gaming and betting -- penalty.
  1. Except as permitted in chapters 99B [bingo] and 99D [racetracks], a person shall not do any of the following:
     b. Make any bet.
  2. A person who violates this section is guilty of the following:
     d. Illegal gaming in the first degree if the sum of money or value of other property involved exceeds five thousand dollars. Illegal gaming in the first degree constitutes a class "C" felony.
Reading farther down in the gambling laws to section 99B.12 "Games between individuals" there is an exception for bets when "a. The gambling is incidental to a bona fide social relationship between all participants."  Provided that: "g. No participant wins or loses more than a total of fifty dollars or other consideration equivalent thereto in one or more games or activities permitted by this section at any time during any period of twenty-four consecutive hours or over that entire period. ..."

I would love to see the trial where Willard "Mittens" Romney tried explaining to an Iowa judge that $10,000 is exactly the same as $50 to a man of his means.

UPDATE at 10:15am on 12/20:
I probably should have Googled "Romney Class C Felony" before I posted this, because it seems that EVERY liberal blog beat me to some variation of this post on December 11 or December 12 when I was on vacation from TV and computers. Sorry. I didn't watch the 12/10 debate live and I'm just catching up.  I'll leave this up because I like my last line.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Party of Big Government Is .... ?

Rachel Maddow just ran this ABC clip on her show tonight, so I found the video on YouTube and am posting here on Watch as Barney Frank makes it very clear to an uncomfortable George Will and Paul Ryan that they -- the conservatives and Republicans -- are the real party of big government.

"It's a great embarrassment to the conservatives that they want to tell people who they can have sex with ... this is big government. Who can I have sex with? Who can I marry? What can I read? What can I smoke? You guys on the whole -- not all of you -- but it's the conservatives that want to intrude on personal liberty there."  
-- Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.)
Not that he's ever had a problem with speaking his mind, but now that Barney Frank has announced his intention to leave the House in 2012, he may feel he's even freer to speak the truth no matter where it leads him. Seeing as how he just made an live appearance later on the Rachel Maddow show from the Capitol rotunda in a blue t-shirt, he's showing signs that the fetters are completely removed. That's a good thing.

Language Matters: Liberal Environmental Hysteria!!!

It really struck me during the most recent debate of the GOP presidential candidates that there is no surer way to throw red meat to a Republican crowd than to attack those who would defend the environment against drillers and miners or any other business interests.  Here, from that Fox News Sioux City debate, was temporary-frontrunner Newt Gingrich in the middle of a rant about opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline:
"... and the president of the United States cannot figure out that it is – I’m using mild words here – utterly irrational to say I’m now going to veto a middle-class tax cut to protect left-wing environmental extremists in San Francisco, so that we’re going to kill American jobs, weaken American energy, make us more vulnerable to the Iranians and do so in a way that makes no sense to any normal, rational American." sidebar  12/19/2011

Newt's "left-wing environmental extremists in San Francisco" came to mind just now when I was looking at my blog and ran across the attached selection of articles with the keyword "liberal" selected by Google for the sidebar. "Liberal Insanity on Light Bulbs" from the Washington Examiner and "Keystone XL: Liberal Histrionics Answered" from Forbes are not at all uncommon uses of  "liberal" as an adjective in the center-right press. Look back at Newt's quote and see how he ends his rant with an appeal to the common sense of  "any normal, rational American."  You don't have to search far in the right-wing and mainstream media to find the same opposition between "insane," "hysterical," "histrionic," "left-wing," "liberal," "extremist" defenders of the environment and those level-headed, normal, rational, mainstream defenders of the bottom line and real (i.e., monetary) concerns over anything that might seem squishy or fuzzy-headed.

We can all see how the GOP is purposely using and abusing the language in a Luntzian manner (and being parroted by a lazy press), but I still can't -- on any emotional level -- understand why anyone, even Tea Partiers, would have the same visceral reaction against environmentalists that the Occupiers have against the billionaires hanging onto their low tax rates as a birthright. I don't have a lot of understanding for other red-meat conservative issues (executions, torture, anti-gay prejudice) either; maybe it's just because I don't eat red (or any other color of) meat.   And that's an environmental issue too.

Strange Things Come in Sevens

Strange things come in sevens. The seven samurai, the seven words you can't say on television, the seven chakras, the seven deadly sins, and, of course, the seven dwarfs and the seven survivors left on clown island. 

Can you match the correct dwarf with the correct clown?
Bashful.......            .......Rick Santorum
Doc.......                 ........Ron Paul
Dopey.......              .......Rick Perry
Grumpy.......             .......Mitt Romney
Happy.......               ....... Jon Huntsman
Sleepy.......                ....... Michele Bachmann
Sneezy.......              ....... Newt Gingrich
I know, there should be more than one "Dopey" and more than one "Grumpy" in order to make approriate matches, but that's where the fun comes in. Who's the Dopiest? And who's the Grumpiest? Answer those questions and you'll have the winner of the GOP primaries!

Christmas Week in the GOP Clown Circus

Be sure to wish "Happy Holidays" or "Season's Greetings" to your favorite conservative teabagger this week.  Chances are 95% or better that they'll respond to you with a "Merry Christmas" that has an edge to it.  But back to the clown circus  updates . . .

Michele Bachmann and her spouse disputed the Kinsey Report research on the percentage of gays in the American population because it doesn't agree with their views on the subject. Disagreeing with mainstream science is always a winning position when dealing with the GOP primary voters. (via

Newt Gingrich has a novel solution for federal judges who would rule against mentions of religion in public school ceremonies: Arrest them.  (Wonkette)

Rick Perry chose to emphasize the dynastic nature of the North Korean leadership when he referred in a campaign email to the recently departed "Dear Leader" as Kim Jong II (the second) rather than Kim Jong Il (eye-el). Might seem a minor typo, until you realize that if he made such an error as "The Leader of the Free World" when referring to the unstable leader of a nuclear power ... well ... (via ThinkProgress)

Mitt Romney the flip-flopper has picked up a flip-flopping semi-endorsement from Ann Coulter. (via Fox Nation)

John Huntsman, who sometimes tries to appear moderate in this crowd of clowns, gave an interview to RedState today in which he parroted every right-wing talking point. When asked if he would veto any Federal budget that contained funding for Planned Parenthood, even if he agreed with all its other particulars, he answered with a resounding "Uh, yes I would." (via RedState)

Ron Paul wants to restore America's "right to drink raw milk anytime you like!” (via Bloomberg Businessweek)

And all the gods are lining up behind Rick Santorum, who just got the endorsement of Thor, a thriller writer named Brad Thor. (via Politico)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christopher Hitchens 1949-2011

"The only position that leaves me with no cognitive dissonance is atheism. It is not a creed. Death is certain, replacing both the siren-song of Paradise and the dread of Hell. Life on this earth, with all its mystery and beauty and pain, is then to be lived far more intensely: we stumble and get up, we are sad, confident, insecure, feel loneliness and joy and love. There is nothing more; but I want nothing more."
Christopher Hitchens (The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Non-Believer, 2007)
With attacks on everyone from Saddam Hussein to Mother Teresa, Christopher Hitchens was able to make enemies everywhere he went. I considered him an enemy starting in 2002 and 2003 and as long as the Iraq War raged.  He was one of the most dangerous supporters of the war because of his background in literature and the Left and he seemed to have given the subject of attacking Iraq more than a second's thought. Leaders in the US and the UK were able to point to his arguments as justifications for their aggression. Maybe only Judith Miller and the New York Times are more guilty of providing 'liberal' intellectual cover for war criminals. 
I would comment on the significance of the fact that he died on the day that the US was formally ending the war in Iraq, but we know (and he would agree) that such juxtapositions are purely random and coincidental.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Property is Theft

It's amazing, but the clearest video representation I've ever seen of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon's famous slogan, "Property is theft!" (of course, first formulated in French as "La propriété, c'est le vol!") is found in a John Wayne classic, Red River.
The movie ends with John Wayne a large-scale landowner, rancher and all-around asshole.  Here he is very early in the film beginning his Texas real-estate and cattle empire with the theft and murder pictured in the minute and a half between 5'30" and 7'00".

The video attached to this 2011 post has gone black, but click here for an updated 2019 post with a live video of the scene.

Fight Night On Fox!

I was TV free during the last GOP Presidential Debate, but I hope to be watching Fox News tonight with the anticipation of a NASCAR fan hoping for a violent track-clearing conflagration (that is why they watch those rolling billboards driving around in circles for hours, isn't it?).

I want to see Willard "Mittens" Romney and James Richard "Rick" Perry coming to physical blows over who stole who's hairdo. I want to see Richard John "Frothy Mix" Santorum and Michele Marie "Crazy Eyes" Amble Bachmann arguing over which of them will create the most inventively medieval method for imposing the death penalty on abortion providers. I want to hear the crowd singing (Beach Boys style) "Bomb Bomb Bomb / Bomb Bomb Iran" when Newton Leroy "Newt" Gingrich rails against President Obama for not "taking out" our stray spy drone or the nuclear facilities Newt imagines in Iran's mosques. With any luck Ronald Ernest "Grandpa" Paul and Jon Meade "John [sic]" Huntsman, Jr. will be the only survivors of tonight's carnage, leading to a long-lasting and endlessly-entertaining clown circus all the way to the Republican convention.

I'll probably be live tweeting over at @TrueBlueLiberal, so if you're on Twitter, I'll see you there at nine using the #GOPDebate hashtag.

Now that we're finally out of Iraq . . .

Click here to find out how many US troops are left in Afghanistan.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Fracking Made Simple

This video made by children in Ireland makes more sense about hydrofracking for natural gas than any propaganda spewed by the oil and gas corporations:

Thursday, December 08, 2011

"... and it's 1,2,3, what are we fighting for? ..."

While some neocon chickenhawks like Bush and Rove and Cheney and Gingrich and Qualye will be happy to tell you exactly what great causes the US Government was fighting for in Indochina forty years ago, the only answer to the bipartisan American war that made any sense to anyone I knew was simple: FUCK IT.
Few people expressed that profound meditation on war and peace better than Country Joe McDonald with his "Feel Like I'm Fixin' to Die Rag" (preceded with the Fish Cheer) as performed here at Woodstock in 1969. I didn't have the pleasure of singing along there, but I vividly remember chanting and singing along with Joe and another very large crowd on the National Mall on 4/24/1971.
 "Gimme an F!"
"Gimme a U!"
And, of course, like all the best sixties protest music, there's a great tie-in here to the Occupy Wall Street movement:
Well, come on Wall Street, don't move slow
Why man, this is war a-go-go.
There's plenty good money to be made
By supplying the Army with the tools of the trade,
Just hope and pray that if they drop the bomb,
They drop it on the Viet Cong.
Have fun following the bouncing ball. And singing along.
If you don't know this song by heart already, the American educational system is to blame. This is as important a part of our common cultural legacy as knowing the words to The Star Spangled Banner or Take Me Out to the Ballgame.

The Middle Class Tax Increase Calculator

Check out this White House calculator to see what the inaction of John "Tangerine Tango" Boehner's GOP Congress will cost you.   And please spread the word.  I don't think that many Republicans will be pleased with their representatives either if they see what this means for them in dollars and cents next year:

2012 is Officially the Year of Trump and Boehner

Pantone has just officially announced  that their 2012 color of the year has been inspired by the skin color of Fred Trump's little boy Donald and the weepy Speaker of the House.  They've given this shade inspired by these impressive Republican leaders a clever alliterative name that pays tribute to their  impressive tans, "Tangerine Tango." 

I hope that we'll be seeing a lot of  tear-stained ties and dresses dyed in Pantone 17-1463 at GOP concession speeches next fall.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

"... and we all shine on ..."

John Lennon and the Plastic Ono Elephant's Memory Band live at Madison Square Garden in 1972.

Instant Karma's gonna get you
Gonna knock you right off your feet
Better recognize your brother
Is everyone you meet
Why on earth are we here?
Surely not to live in pain and fear
And why on earth are you there?
When you're everywhere
Come on get your share
But we all shine on
Like the moon and the stars and the sun 

This Week in the GOP Clown Circus

Rick Perry has upped the Culture-War ante by claiming in his new ad that President Obama has not only declared War On Christmas, but has declared War on Religion. (Washington Post)

Michele Bachmann has been helping the Democrats in the general election by calling Newt Gingrich an "influence peddler" and Mitt Romney a "chameleon" this week. (Miami Herald)

Jon Huntsman has shown he's finally serious about seeking the GOP nomination by showing that he can be a climate-change skeptic. Can doubts on evolution be far behind? (ThinkProgress)

Newt Gingrich, the front-runner of the week, hasn't made any new child-janitor proposals this week, but his speaking contract rider has been published online, asking for (along with the normal first-class accoutrements of a first-class celebrity speaker) two bathrooms in his hotel room. (The Smoking Gun)

Ron Paul has started marketing himself as a Ford F-150 to the pickup truck crowd. (Mother Jones)

Rick Santorum criticized President Obama for revealing that our military had killed Osama bin Laden. (Talking Points Memo)

Mitt Romney would probably like us to forget all of President Obama's foreign policy successes by accusing the President of "appeasement" and doing so on Pearl Harbor Day. (LA Times)

We were sad to see Herman Cain leave the circus this week, but there's hope for an even more entertaining replacement...

Donald Trump has said once again that "I would certainly think about running as an independent candidate" if he's not happy with the GOP nominee. (Wall Street Journal)

I can't wait to see who ends up showing up at The Donald's debate on December 27. He may try to anoint the winner and avoid that whole primary/caucus thing that begins in Iowa on January 3.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

April 22, 1972 -- John & Yoko in Bryant Park

Last week I was thrilled to find that one of the key moments of my youth was posted on YouTube. Now here's a video from almost exactly a year later in New York when I was marching again with the same friends from Philadelphia at another large National Peace Action Coalition march and rally.
John Lennon and Yoko Ono came out on the rainy stage set up at the march's end at Bryant Park and led us in the same song, "Give Peace a Chance," that Peter, Paul, and Mary (w/John Denver) had covered in DC on 4/24/71.

It's hard to believe that this moment happened almost 40 years ago.

Even harder to believe is that in two days we'll be marking the 31st anniversary of the murder of John Lennon a little farther north on Manhattan Island. It just doesn't seem that long ago.

Two Americas

I'm rarely at home on weekdays for Presidential addresses and I'm even more rarely tuned to Fox News to watch those speeches, but I happened to be doing both today when President Obama gave a major speech in Osawatamie, Kansas, that will probably be referred to as his "Teddy Roosevelt Speech".

CNN and MSNBC showed the entire speech, but while Fox News showed the first fifteen or twenty minutes of the speech, they cut away to Michele Bachmann's rebuttal less than halfway in, conveniently leaving the speech just as he was getting into the nuts and bolts and dollars and cents of income inequality in the 21st Century USA. Were they afraid that their viewers might start agreeing with the Kansas audience that was responding so positively to the President's remarks?

While viewers of other cable networks received the unfiltered speech, the Fox viewers were hearing Rep. Bachmann calling the President an unpopular class warrior, followed by commercials, Fox attacks on Nancy Pelosi and Jon Corzine, and updates on some crimes of the week.

Here's part of what Fox viewers missed in the President's speech as their network left for more important news and commercials:

So far, most of the Republicans in Washington have refused, under any circumstances, to ask the wealthiest Americans to go the same tax rates they were paying when Bill Clinton was president.

Now, keep in mind, when President Clinton first proposed these tax increases, folks in Congress predicted they would kill jobs and lead to another recession. Instead, our economy created nearly 23 million jobs and we eliminated the deficit. Today, the wealthiest Americans are paying the lowest taxes in over half a century. This isn’t like in the early 50s, when the top tax rate was over 90%, or even the early 80s, when it was about 70%. Under President Clinton, the top rate was only about 39%. Today, thanks to loopholes and shelters, a quarter of all millionaires now pay lower tax rates than millions of middle-class households. Some billionaires have a tax rate as low as 1%. One percent.

This is the height of unfairness. It is wrong that in the United States of America, a teacher or a nurse or a construction worker who earns $50,000 should pay a higher tax rate than somebody pulling in $50 million. It is wrong for Warren Buffett’s secretary to pay a higher tax rate than Warren Buffett. And he agrees with me. So do most Americans - Democrats, Independents, and Republicans. And I know that many of our wealthiest citizens would agree to contribute a little more if it meant reducing the deficit and strengthening the economy that made their success possible.

This isn’t about class warfare. This is about the nation’s welfare. It’s about making choices that benefit not just the people who’ve done fantastically well over the last few decades, but that benefits the middle class, and those fighting to get to the middle class, and the economy as a whole.

Language Matters: So-Called "Anchor Babies"

The Right has been very active and organized in using language to focus issues within their frames, but it's encouraging to see a growing recognition of this attempt to control the debates by controlling the language of the debates. Immigration, with the dueling camps being easily identified by their language -- "illegal aliens" vs. "undocumented immigrants" -- is one of our key linguistic battlefields.
When The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language recently added a definition for "Anchor Baby" to its new edition, it did so in a neutral way, without pointing out that the so-called "anchor baby" is a concept advanced by the most draconian anti-immigrant groups, those that advocate repealing or otherwise altering the 14th Amendment -- taking away American citizenship from those who were born in the United States to undocumented immigrants. The original definition read:
"anchor baby n. A child born to a noncitizen mother in a country that grants automatic citizenship to children born on its soil, especially such a child born to parents seeking to secure eventual citizenship for themselves and often other members of their family."
This neutral definition of a politically-loaded term by the Dictionary was noted by the American Immigration Council on December 2.  After being pointed out to the Dictionary, they have altered the definition (with key changes underlined here):
"anchor baby n. Offensive. Used as a disparaging term for a child born to a noncitizen mother in a country that grants automatic citizenship to children born on its soil, especially when the child's birthplace is thought to have been chosen in order to improve the mother's or other relatives' chances of securing eventual citizenship."
It pays to pay attention to the language being used by activists on the Right and the media (and lexicographers) who sometimes blindly or lazily follow them.

Wedge Issue Update: "Liberal Hollywood Using Class Warfare to Brainwash Our Kids!"

In an election year in which the right does not have the high ground on any issue that really affect Americans, winning a majority of voters will require the GOP to peel off enough voters from President Obama and his party with a combination of wedge issues. Here's one that I didn't include in my original list, but it's an old chestnut in the right-wing arsenal, since the pre-cable conservatives railed against the unfair Liberal Hollywood portrayals Mr. Henry Potter and the 1% of Bedford Falls in "It's a Wonderful Life." Liberal Hollywood is at it again with the Muppets' nemesis, oilman Tex Richman. And Fox Business News (courtesy of Media Matters for America) is all over Liberal Hollywood's crime.

Speaking about (or should I say "screeching" in honor of the tone of this video?) brainwashing, someone needs to talk about the constant brainwashing in which we've been bathed since birth in America. We have every mainstream voice telling us about nothing but the wonders of capitalist consumerism supported by patriotic militarism. And this time of year we expect the non-stop cries of "" to reach a crescendo (with a subtext that if you don't, you obviously don't your family). But if I start complaining about that, I'm into another wedge issue, The Liberal War On Christmas.

I still think that the current front-running issue in the GOP Wedge-Issue Race is "Dirty Filthy Hippies", but there's no reason to think that the race between Republican wedge issues will be any less volatile than the one between their stellar cast of candidates (which is being led at this moment by Newt Gingrich?).

Monday, December 05, 2011

Language Matters: Redefining "Eco-terrorism"

Why should we just sit back and let Fox News, the American FBI, and the Japanese Institute of Cetacean Research define "eco-terrorism", when it's obvious that the real eco-terrorists are those who would poison our pristine Catskill water with fracking fluids or hunt endangered marine mammals or contaminate the Gulf Coast with millions of barrels of oil or ... well, the prize has to go to those who would remove entire mountains in West Virginia to get to the coal underneath.
The following ABC News story is from last July, but it presents this barbaric eco-terroristic practice of mountaintop removal in a concise horrifying summary.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player
Note that mountaintop-removing Representative Nick Rahall (D-WV) is a prime example of why I am NOT a registered Democrat, and fracking profiteer Dan Boren (D-OK), who made this recent appearance in the Times is another. While the GOP may be more predictably anti-environment, many -- if not most -- representatives of both parties are consistently more interested in "serious" issues like money and cost-effective energy procurement than in the "frivolous" issue of protecting our earth.
Despite government-sanctioned definitions of eco-terrorism, ask the next generations looking at a flat "reclaimed" West Virginia landscape of toxic ponds, Walmarts, and Waffle Houses if the real eco-terrorists were the short-sighted people in suits who removed the mountains, or the people of ELF and ALF who torched the occasional Hummer and released lab rats.
"Eco-terrorism," in the TrueBlueLiberal dot org Style Guide, is used to describe those who would HARM the ecosystem, not those who attempt to protect it.

" long, if this theft goes on, will this country still be here?..."

Jackson Browne and Dawes live and unplugged at Occupy Wall Street asking in song, "Which side are you on?"

Thursday, December 01, 2011

"There is no 'why'."

Language Matters

Frank Luntz met with the Republican Governors Association this week to give them advice on how to use language to frame arguments, especially now that the Occupy movement has widened the frame of political discourse in this country. Yahoo News was there and they gathered a list of ten key talking points presented by Luntz. You can click on the previous sentence for more details, but know that if you hear a GOP governor saying "I get it" to the Occupiers, or using the words "Job Creators", "Hardworking Taxpayers" or "Taking from the Rich" (while avoiding the words "Capitalism," "Compromise," "Sacrifice," and "Taxing the Rich"), you'll know that they've been schooled by Luntz.
We need to have a few rules of our own.  Being in no way comprehensive, here are a tiny fraction of my pet politico-linguistic peeves:

1)  "War" on anything other than another nation upon which we have issued a formal declaration of war. The Style Guide requires that the "War on Terror" and "War on Drugs" must be placed in quotation marks and preceded by the words "so-called".
2) "Obamacare".  Show me the piece of legislation with this name and I'll start using this word.  Until then, if I hear this perjorative moniker for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 being used, I'll know that the person using it is a Republican partisan or one of their linguistically-lazy stooges in the press.
3) "Democrat" as an adjective. If you hear anyone say "the Democrat Senate" or "that Democrat bill" or "the Democrat liberal rat from Taxachusetts," then you are listening to a student of Luntz speaking (or someone who has only a rudimentary understanding of  English grammar).  The adjective form is "Democratic," whether you are talking about the Party or the form of government.
4) "Job Creators". The correct term is "The Rich" or "The 1%", i.e., those to whom all the benefits of GOP tax policies have flowed since the Reagan era. In the Republican Style Guide any person who makes up part of the scum that floats to the top of the cup is given this title, even if their coupon clipping and hedge-fund managing has never created a single job.  In the Style Guide, "Job Creators" (as with so-called "wars" on things or tactics) must be placed in quotes and preceded by "so-called" modifier.
5) Don't even get me started on the so-called "Death Tax." Maybe the Democrats should follow the Holy Founding Fathers' lead and double or triple the Estate Tax with a new name, The Patriotic Aristocracy Eradication Act.
Do you have a "favorite" Republican twist of speech?
Maybe this "Language Matters" heading needs to become a recurring feature here at, because I know I have some of these linguistic manipulations annoying me every day (watching a single GOP debate generally brings dozens of them to the surface).