Monday, December 28, 2015

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Phil Ochs would have been turning 75 today...

...if he hadn't died at 35.

If any of the more warmongery participants in the last Republican debate becomes President, this 1965 Phil Ochs song from the Vietnam era could become a hit once again.

It's always the old to lead us to the war
It's always the young to fall
Now look at all we've won with the saber and the gun
Tell me is it worth it all

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Until today, this is what I thought about when I heard the name "San Bernardino"

From Frank Zappa and the Mothers' 1975 One Size Fits All album, this live version 'San Ber'dino' is from London in 1978:

"Oh Bobby, I'm sorry you got a head like a potato."

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

It Can Happen Here

I've been leafing through the 1940 flea-market reprint of Sinclair Lewis's It Can't Happen Here that I read during the Nixon years. I'm not re-reading the brittle pages of whole novel again now--80 years after its first publication in 1935 and more than 40 since I read it--but I couldn't help noticing some lines that seemed especially relevant right near the beginning, now that we have Donald Trump portraying a cartoon version of Lewis's Buzz Windrip:

"...Wait till Buzz takes charge of us. A real Fascist dictatorship!"
"Nonsense! Nonsense!" snorted Tasbrough. "That couldn't happen here in America, not possibly! We're a country of freemen."
"The answer to that," suggested Doremus Jessup, "if Mr. Falck will forgive me, is 'the hell it can't!' Why, there's no country in the world that can get more hysterical--yes, or more obsequious!--than America. Look how Huey Long became absolute monarch over Louisiana, and how the Right Honorable Mr. Senator Berzelius Windrip owns his state. Listen to Bishop Prang and Father Coughlin on the radio--divine oracles, to millions. Remember how casually most Americans have accepted Tammany grafting and Chicago gangs and the crookedness of so many of President Harding's appointees? Could Hitler's bunch, or Windrip's, be worse? Remember the Kuklux Klan? Remember our war hysteria, when we called sauerkraut 'Liberty cabbage' and someone actually proposed calling German measles 'Liberty measles'? And wartime censorship of honest papers? Bad as Russia! Remember our kissing the--well, the feet of Billy Sunday, the million-dollar evangelist, and of Aimée McPherson, who swam from the Pacific Ocean clear into the Arizona desert and got away with it? Remember Voliva and Mother Eddy?...Remember our Red scares and our Catholic scares, when all well-informed people knew the O.G.P.U. were hiding out in Oskaloosa, and the Republicans campaigning against Al Smith told the Carolina mountaineers that if Al won the Pope would illegitimatize their children? Remember Tom Heflin and Tom Dixon? Remember when the hick legislators in certain states, in obedience to William Jennings Bryan, who learned his biology from his pious old grandma, set up shop as scientific experts and made the whole world laugh itself sick by forbidding the teaching of evolution?...Remember the Kentucky night-riders? Remember how trainloads of people have gone to enjoy lynchings? Not happen here? Prohibition--shooting down people just because they might be transporting liquor--no, that couldn't happen in America! Why, where in all history has there ever been a people so ripe for a dictatorship as ours! We're ready to start on a Children's Crusade--only of adults--right now, and the Right Reverend Abbots Windrip and Prang are all ready to lead it!"...
[pages 21-22, Triangle Books 1940 reprint edition]

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Guess who the quote of the day is describing...

"His primary rules were: never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him [or her] for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it."





Surprisingly, this was not written about anyone currently running for President of the United States who is known for repeating big lies. It comes from the Office of Strategic Services Psychological Profile of Adolf Hitler written by Walter C. Langer during WWII. And no, it's no longer too early to raise the spectre of domestic fascism in the case of a candidate using nothing but lies, xenophobia, racism, and a cult of personality to build his campaign.)

Saturday, November 21, 2015

"J'ai dit que je préfère les fleurs"

I think one can watch and appreciate this follow-up to last week's best viral video even if one does not speak a word of French:

Friday, November 20, 2015

True Blue Liberal's Bible School for Conservative "Christians" Continues

Religion has become a theme in this year's Presidential Sweepstakes, so we might as well continue to speak in religious language here as well. This year we seem to be going beyond the normal hypocrisy; today, for example, Ted Cruz announced his "National Prayer Team" to pray his way into the White House.

This morning's TBL Bible Verse for Conservative "Christians" isn't only meant for Cruz's religious shock troops begging God for electoral success; it's for Trump, Bush, Carson, Fox News, and 289 members of Congress (etc., etc.) calling for anti-refugee measures. It's from the New Testament today, specifically Matthew 25:41-46 (using the 1611 King James Version, i.e., the REAL Bible for REAL Christians), and should be self-explanatory.

41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devill and his angels:
42 For I was an hungred, and yee gave me no meat: I was thirstie, and ye gave me no drinke:
43 I was a stranger, and yee took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sicke, and in prison, and yee visited me not.
44 Then shall they also answere him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sicke, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
45 Then shall he answere them, saying, Verily, I say unto you, inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternall.

{Hat Tip to @TheTweetOfGod who pointed me in this direction; as the author of the book, he should know the most relevant passages.)

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Today's Bible Lesson for our Anti-Refugee "Christian" Governors, Congresspeople, and Presidential Candidates

From Leviticus Chapter 19, with no further commentary needed:

33 And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him.
34 But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Happy Birthday to Neil Young.

Even as he turns 70 today, it's great to know that music, with the help of his analog time machine, allows Neil Young to travel in time.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

A Modest Proposal for the Next Presidential Debate.

Despite the predictable Fine White Whine about liberal media bias from Reince Priebus and Ted Cruz and others, the real problem with the debate questions, whether on CNBC or CNN or Fox, is the lack of follow-up questions when questions are evaded or the answers are obviously lies. Even conservative commentator David Brooks pointed this out on PBS NewsHour on Friday:
"I think the questioners were not prepared for the brazenness of the lies. [...] there was a certain brazenness to it. And that’s been true of this year, that you — somehow, there is no political price."
So here's my proposal. If the network questioners can't keep up and do the research on the lies and follow up in real time, or are scared that they will be accused of being (gasp!) "Liberal" if they do so, the least we can ask for is instant on-screen commentary from or

Friday, October 30, 2015

"...morning maniac music..."

Happy 76th Birthday to Grace Slick!

I visited the Museum at Bethel Woods for the first time last summer and there was one thing that shocked me. In one of the Woodstock Festival displays, the Jefferson Airplane's early Sunday morning set was described with the word 'uninspired'; it almost (almost) ruined the whole Museum experience.

Happy Birthday Grace.

Monday, October 26, 2015

A Banner Day in the History of America's Gun Culture

Marshal Virgil Earp, Morgan and Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday Meet the Cowboys--Three Men Killed and Two Wounded, One Seriously--Origin of the Trouble and its Tragical Termination.
[Tombstone Nugget, Oct. 27.]
The 26th of October will always be marked as one of the crimson days in the annals of Tombstone, a day when blood flowed as water, and human life was held as a shuttlecock, a day always to be remembered as witnessing the bloodiest and deadliest street fight that has ever occurred in this place, or probably in the Territory. ...

You can read the continuation of the detailed description of the event from 134 years ago that has come to be quaintly marketed as "The Gunfight At The OK Corral" in the October 30, 1881 issue of the Arizona Weekly Citizen (click here and start at the top of column 7). Three dead and two wounded? That might not even make the news in 2015, and if it did it would be a minor mass shooting (though the NRA would probably object to the use of "mass" as prejudical when used as a descriptive adjective for such an everyday American event).

Bad News for Bacon Lovers (and good news for pigs) from the World Health Organization

Click here for more details from The Guardian today: 

Thursday, October 22, 2015


In case you missed it on PBS NewsHour earlier this week, here's the great interview with Patti Smith about her wonderful new book, M Train, conducted by Jeffrey Brown.

The entire transcript is available here, but then you'll miss Patti's smile.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Kristol Oracle Works Again!

Because Bill Kristol has been proved wrong every single time he has opened his mouth -- or let his stubby little fingers plod across a keyboard or touchscreen -- anyone who checked Kristol's Twitter feed yesterday morning got advance notice of Vice President Biden's decision not to run for President this year.

Following the rules of The Kristol Oracle, his confirmation that Joe Biden was going to announce his presidential candidacy today was exactly the opposite; it was advance warning that Joe would be leaving the establishment-Democrat field free for Hillary Clinton to play in by herself.

I need to start following The Kristol Oracle regularly to find out which movies to avoid and which stocks to buy.

And to make this even stranger, he just tweeted a few minutes ago why he wanted Biden to run:

I want to become a falconer...

...just so I can train my hawk to take out drones:

Friday, October 16, 2015

Further Proof that Polls May Tell Us NOTHING in 2016

In some ways, this post is just a follow-up to the "Political Horse Race Polling Is Officially Dead" entry from last week, but I couldn't resist bringing up the subject again after seeing this "Majority say Clinton won debate" headline on The Hill today. The debate winner has been a topic of debate on Twitter since the debate ended on Tuesday night and the CNN crowd of talking heads all declared Hillary Clinton the winner while their live online poll showed Bernie Sanders maintaining at least a 50 to 60 point lead.
My screen grab of the CNN/Facebook online poll at 10:50pm on Tuesday, just before closing statements.
Bernie Sanders' 78%  was far from the largest lead he had, and I never saw it dip below 75%.
The CNN poll was not the only poll going on during the debate, and they all showed a Sanders lead far beyond any normal margin of error; I wasn't the only one grabbing screen shots during the debate.

And it wasn't only instant online polls, it was focus groups as well that were uniformly leaning in Bernie's direction. Here, for example, is Frank Luntz on Fox News with a group of 28 Florida Democrats, half of whom were for Hillary before the debate began:

"Poor Jim Webb." -- Megyn Kelly

So how did the "first scientific poll" about the debate reaction manage to come up with a 53%-33% Clinton win over Sanders? Well, first of all, unlike the screen grabs up above, it took place in the two days AFTER the debate, i.e., after the corporate media's barrage of pro-Clinton spin. Second, it involved "Survey Monkey" participants, so you KNOW it's correct.

If this were going to be the only debate, it might be to Hillary Clinton's advantage to have all the official spin spun in her direction, but with five more debates to follow, it may work against her; she may be expected to dominate the next debates just as she "dominated" the first.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

"Liberal" Cool? Of Course It Is (and always has been)!

In concert with this morning's post about an article in Salon about "The L Word," I also stumbled upon this story from Public Radio International's The Takeaway: "Is the Word 'Liberal' Becoming Cool Again in America?"

As with the article in the last post, both reassessments of the word were prompted by the Democratic Presidential Debate on CNN on Tuesday night -- a debate which was not (except for Jim Webb) running away from liberal ideals and chasing the Republicans toward the Right.

Restoring Lustre to “Liberal”

I found "The Resurrection of the “Liberal”: How the Right Tried to Destroy American Liberalism — and How It Came Back from the Dead" by Heather Digby Parton in Salon fascinating, but that may only be because this blog was started in 2004 in disgust at the way Kerry and Clintons and other Democrats were all running away from a proud label that they were letting conservative Republicans define.

Even if restoring lustre to "Liberal" is not your raison d'être, it's worth reading.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

It will be hard to top Ben Carson...

... for the most offensive and idiotic statement of this offensive and idiotic campaign season:
 “I never saw a body with bullet holes that was more devastating than taking the right to arm ourselves away.” 
--Dr. Benjamin Solomon "Ben" Carson, Sr., October 6, 2015
But how many bodies with bullet holes are necessary to protect our holy God-Given Second Amendment?

Political Horse Race Polling Is Officially Dead

Except for the poll on the sidebar of this blog (which currently shows Bernie Sanders with 83%, Hillary Clinton with 16%, and no other candidate with a single supporter), horse race polling is now obsolete. Official confirmation of this fact appeared on Politico today:

But after a bruising 2012 cycle, in which its polls were farther off than most of its competitors, Gallup told POLITICO it isn't planning any polls for the presidential primary horse race this cycle. And, even following an internal probe into what went wrong last time around, Gallup won't commit to tracking the general election.

Other old-line pollsters like Pew Research are also declining to run horse-race polls at this time, leaving the field open to those who are being paid by Donald Trump. It's probably not quite that insidious, but it's also unsurprising that in an age where no one with any intelligence answers a phone call from an unknown number, the favorite candidate of low-intelligence voters is "winning" all the remaining horse race polls.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Best States to find Humane Meat in the United States

Thanks to Vegan Street for all their hard work and hours of research in preparing this user-friendly guide to the best states in which to find humane meat:

Friday, September 18, 2015

It's Keef, innit?

There is still something to be said for the excitement of picking up a physical recording on the day of its release, hoping to get to the record store (if you are lucky enough to still have a record store) before they sell out of their first shipment.
So far I've only heard the song Trouble that was released online, but I'm expecting the hour in the car after work today to be more fun than usual. Because? Well, because it's Keef, innit? Author of one of my favorite books of the last five years, and not a bad guitarist either.

On the way to work, I was lucky enough to hear this interview with Keith Richards on NPR's Morning Edition. Following the Rules of Keith, even the stringent indoor smoking regulations of NPR and New York City were temporarily suspended for this humorous, informative, and touching conversation.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Did Donald Trump Just Attack a Fetus?

Earlier today NPR News posted this Trump quote from last night's speech about his courtship of the Nixonesque/Spirovian Silent Majority as "The 1 Passage You Need To Read To Understand Donald Trump's Appeal":
"The 'silent majority' believe me is back, and I think we can use it somewhat differently. I don't think we have to call it a silent majority anymore, because they're not silent. People are not silent.
"They're disgusted with our incompetent politicians.
"They're disgusted with the people who are giving our country away.
"They're disgusted when they tell the border-patrol agents, who are good people and can do the job — they're disgusted when they allow the people to just walk right in front of them, and they're standing there helpless, and people just pour into the country.
"They're disgusted when a woman who's nine months pregnant walks across the border, has a baby, and you have to take care of that baby for the next 85 years.[emphasis added]
"They're disgusted by what's happening to our country. And you're going to look around. You're going to remember who the people are that are here, because we're doing something special.
"This is a movement. We're going to make our country great again — believe me. We will make our country great again."

The tone of resentment is perfect for his target audience, but he should know by now that, according to the official Republican Manual of Cultural Warfare, you can attack anybody but a fetus.

I'd actually be more impressed than disgusted by a nine-month-pregnant woman able to walk across our southern border (although am I out of line assuming he means the Mexican border and not the Canadian border?).

Bernie in the Lion's Den

In case you missed Bernie Sanders' Rosh Hashanah speech at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University, here's the C-Span video in its entirety:

You can watch this as an antidote to the poison that will be spewed at you from tonight's CNN Debate between Donald Trump and the nine little anti-Trumps.

The Donald Trump Show Continues on CNN Tonight (this time with sidekicks)

The Fairness Doctrine may no longer be law, and the Republican Party has made a point of opposing it, but, simply to be fair to the other fifteen Republican Presidential candidates who are not on CNN 24 hours a day, Donald J. Trump should not be allowed to speak at tonight's CNN Debate at Saint Ronald Reagan of Tampico's Holy Library (and decommissioned Air Force One hangar).

I don't think I'm overstating it too much to say that CNN has become The Donald Trump Network in the past couple of months. I have not flipped over to that section of the dial in weeks without either seeing a live Trump speech, analysis of his latest inflammatory remark, or phone interview with the man himself.

It was all well and good to joke about GOP debates as clown circuses in 2008, 2012, and earlier in 2016, but now that the chief clown is driving the Republican bus, it seems a little more serious, and dangerous, than that. And with the Fairness Doctrine dead in spirit as well as law, the candidate standing in the middle of the stage tonight will continue to be the center of attention. I expect more questions about the horse race, and what the other candidates think about Donald Trump, than about today's good Obamacare news, or about the death penalty on a day when Oklahoma may be executing an innocent man.
If CNN wanted to talk about issues, they'd be showing Bernie Sanders' speeches.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

The Correction of the Day Concerns a Donald Who Was Worse Than Trump.

I just stumbled upon this correction to a July 14, 2005 Washington Post article about the use of Abu Ghraib tactics at Guanatamo before the low-level Abu Ghraib scapegoats for the widespread US torture program made the mistake of using a digital camera.

A July 14 article said that Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld approved the use of certain interrogation tactics against a detainee who the government believed was to be the "20th hijacker" in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Rumsfeld approved the use of aggressive tactics against Mohamed Qahtani, but he did not specifically approve attaching a leash to Qahtani's chains or forcing him to wear women's underwear on his head, tactics that were authorized and used by interrogators on the prisoner in late 2002.
Rumsfeld just said "underwear"; he didn't say "women's underwear."

Some free campaign advice for John Ellis "JEB!" Bush...

... from Mr. Lippman of Pendant Publishing: "Get rid of the exclamation points. I hate exclamation points."

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Donald Trump Finally Interviewed by Someone With Real Questions

As an interviewer, Sarah Palin may have set a new standard for the definition of softball sycophantic questions in this broadcast on something called "One America News" last night:

Is she looking for a spot as Secretary of State in the Trump Administration?

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Donald J. Trump's Lesson in Elementary Logic

If you have been unlucky enough to have watched American television over the last two weeks, it will have become immediately obvious that only one of the 22 major-party candidates is deserving of any air time:

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Bernie Sanders' Perfect Campaign Ad Was Already Filmed (in 1912).

Here is "The Old Way and The New." This 1912 film is the first known use of moving pictures in a political campaign. It promotes the new way of using small $1 campaign donors behind Democrat Woodrow Wilson against the old way of cartoonish oligarchs' $1,000,000 donations supporting Republican William Howard Taft and ex-Republican Teddy Roosevelt (Bullmoose).

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

No need to adjust your sound. This is a silent film.

Friday, August 21, 2015

I Just Stumbled On The Whitest Corner Of The Internet.

Jimmy Carter's cancer news this week got me thinking about his stellar post-Presidential life of service, which led me to muse about some of the less admirable roles played by recent ex-Presidential candidates (especially from the Republican Party). I knew that Mitt Romney's wealth had insulated him from the financial need host a Fox News show or sell boner pills or reverse mortgages, but I didn't know much about the Solamere Capital group he had formed with his son Tagg, so I visited and found the following three-page white on white on white website.

Shield your eyes.

You've been warned.

The complete home page featuring a white wall and
empty white desk on an empty white background.
The "About Us" mission statement highlighting nepotism and backscratching.

The White Leadership Team.

That's it. That, except for a disclaimer, is the entire website.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The GOP Alternative to the International Iran Deal

The Republicans have had an alternative to the complicated nuclear deal agreed to by the US, UK, Iran, France, China, Russia, and Germany all along.

It has never changed.

John McCain even made their simplistic strategy the semi-official 21st-century theme song of the Grand Old Party when he sang "Bomb Bomb Bomb, Bomb Bomb Iran" at a South Carolina campaign appearance on April 17, 2007.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

How Much of the Constitution Are GOP Candidates Willing to Change?

Thanks to Common Cause for pointing out on Twitter earlier this morning that today is the 95th anniversary of the 19th Amendment.
When I saw that celebration of the 19th, I couldn't help thinking about the current universal rage against the 14th Amendment being expressed by Republican presidential candidates and the right-wing media.

It makes you wonder at what point the GOP will stop thinking it's OK to mess with the Constitution (if nothing else we know they'll stop before touching the Holy And Sacred God-Given Second Amendment).

Friday, August 14, 2015

Happy 80th to Social Security!

On this 80th anniversary of Social Security today, let's not forget which party has never given up on destroying this cornerstone of American socialism.

Here's the official plank from the final 2014 platform of the Texas Republican Party.

The Republican plans to replace Social Security with a privatized system didn't end with their last President's failure to do so as his highest domestic priority in 2005. Ending this successful social program of FDR's will remain one of their highest priorities if they regain the White House.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Trump Campaign FINALLY Makes Sense...

The entity tweeting as @realDonaldTrump has been promoting its online store today, so I paid it a visit.
It immediately became clear that the entire "Presidential campaign" is just a scheme to sell the thousands of overstocked cheerleading and tailgating supplies left over after the demise of Trump University.

"GIMME A T! GIMME AN R! . . . .
Give me your VISA card!"

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Oligarchy By The Numbers

With billionaires trying to buy candidates and control election results in both major US political parties with the legal support of a pro-business Supreme Court, the word "oligarchy" is getting thrown around again as we approach the 2016 election. So I found these sentences relevant when I ran across them in my morning reading...
"So the long period in which towns prospered, in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, was also one in which the sense of urban community was most highly developed. In some respects the notion of a community is specious, however, since the richer townspeople known as 'the better sort' created an oligarchy of power concentrated in a small network of families. In Norwich 60 per cent of the wealth had devolved into the hands of 6 per cent of the population..." --Peter Ackroyd, Foundation: The History of England from Its Earliest Beginnings to the Tudors ["page" 139 of the Kindle edition]

Yeah, you say, but that was the 1100's and 1200's. That was medieval England. Everyone knows that medieval societies were based on hierarchies of extreme inequality, not like today when the top 1% are expected to control more than half of the world's wealth by 2016 and when the top 0.1% of Americans control as much wealth as the bottom 90% and all of these numbers are trending quickly toward even greater inequality.

So if 60% of the wealth being controlled by 6% of the people was defined as 'oligarchy' back in the 12th and 13th centuries, we may actually need a new word for our extreme 21st-century phenomenon.

Monday, August 03, 2015

The First GOP Debate, Brought To You First On TrueBlueLiberal.Org

I just finished watching some of the Voters First Presidential Forum on C-Span right now and it makes me glad that I no longer pay my cable company enough money to get the package that includes the Fox News Network. That gives me a great excuse not to watch the first "real" debate later this week; I'm left free to simply imagine the garish red, white, and blue flag graphics behind the row of red white, and blue podia, behind which will be standing ten men, all of whom will be dressed in dark blue suits, white shirts, and an assortment of red, blue, and TrumpGold® ties.

After the preliminary prayers, Pledge of Allegiance, singing of 'God Bless the USA,' 'God Bless America,' and the Star-Spangled Banner, there will be short introductions of the candidates and then the questioning will begin without opening statements so that all ten candidates will have the chance to respond to at least one question in the remaining thirty minutes of airtime.

Blond Female Fox Questioner: Gentleman, we'd like to begin with a few questions to establish the areas of broad agreement between you -- and in opposition to your Democrat opponents -- before we move on to the minor details of management style and policy nuance that may separate you. So first, by a show of hands, how many of you are committed to reducing the onerous tax burden on patriotic job-creating Americans like the Koch Brothers and Sheldon Adelson and ...

Candidate Trump: ...and me myself, the winningest and classiest multi-billionaire job-creator-like guy.

Candidate Walker: Yeah creating (inaudible) jobs in China.

BFFQ: Gentlemen Gentlemen. We know this is an issue near and dear to all your hearts, but you'll all get a chance to speak shortly. Now by a silent show of hands, how many of you are now willing to publicly commit to lowering the job-killing tax rates currently imposed on America's job-creating heroes?

[The camera will pan slowly across the stage to show each candidate with his hand raised. Governor Perry will have both hands up until he realizes that his nine companions are only raising their right arms; he'll lower his left hand and his microphone will pick up a soft "ooops."]

Male Fox Questioner with Brown Hair Combed in a 1930's Style: In another area that we feel may elicit broad agreement, please raise your right hand if you pledge to declare war on Iran as one of your first acts as President.

Candidate Paul: Everyone will know on Day One that Rand Paul is not a peacenik like his Dad!

Candidate Walker: Nuke 'em!

[The other eight candidates will also raise their hands enthusiastically, but silently.]

MFQwBHCia1930S: Thanks to most of you for following the instructions. For answering twice out of order, Candidate Walker has lost his chance at a closing statement.

Candidate Walker: What the fudge?

MFQwBHCia1930S: All the Candidates were given a copy of the rules, which featured the three-strikes rule, so give Candidate Walker the hook and hand his podium to Alternate Candidate number .... [MFQwBH will pull a ball from a velvet bag and read the number on it] ...three. Alternate three, Governor Jindal, come on up!

[The camera will follow Scott Walker raising two fingers on each hand into nixonesque V's and waving them to the crowd as he leaves stage left. In a split-screen image, we will simultaneously witness a goofily-grinning Bobby Jindal enter from the stage-right wings.]

MFQwBH..: Candidate Jindal, do you agree to cut billionaires' taxes and bomb Tehran?

Candidate Jindal: Of course. Of course I do.

MFQw..: OK, we're all caught up here. [MFQ will nod to his smiling co-questioner]

BFFQ: For our final group question, please raise your hand if you're demonstrating your opposition to so-called "Gun-Free Zones" and adherence to the Second Amendment by carrying a concealed firearm and a copy of the Constitution tonight.

[Eight of ten candidates will immediately raise their hands.]

Candidate Christie: A few of us [he will nod to Candidate Trump] have goons to carry our guns for us.

[Candidate Perry's raised hand will actually be holding a cute little pearl-handled Colt revolver, which he will accidentally discharge into some key electronic components in the ceiling. "Ooops" will be the last word heard as the screens across America go blank.]

Friday, July 31, 2015

Why Not Give the Winter Games to Qatar?

In its rush to become as disreputable as FIFA, that other grand international sports organization, the International Olympic Committee, has just awarded the Winter Olympic Games of 2022 to a city that has neither mountains nor snow, Beijing -- which will now become the first location to host both a Summer and a Winter Games.

Will Reporters Without Borders need to change the date and re-issue the following image as 2022 approaches, or will China be a freer nation by then?

The real issue is becoming the fact that no one in a free society right now wants to bid on these games. Boston just ended its 2024 Summer Games bid amid a popular uprising and people in Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Germany, and Poland rejected 2022 bids, leaving Beijing and Kazakhstan as the only options for the IOC.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Let's Get 100,000 of Us Out There Tonight to #FeelTheBern

When I signed up for mine, I was participant 50 of 50 at that location and many of my other local meetings were already full. As of 10:10am EDT this morning there are already 98,975 RSVPs to these historic meetings around the country.

UPDATE: At noon the RSVP counter was refreshed to show 100,196 RSVPs.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Hunter S. Thompson talks to Studs Terkel about outlaws (animated)

"I wouldn't just call the Hell's Angels in Oakland the only violent part of our society. I think Lyndon Johnson is, you know, would be a good Hell's Angel. The Angels reflect not only the lower segments of the society, but the higher and, you know, where violence takes a much more sophisticated and respectable form."
--Hunter S. Thompson, 1967 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

"This is the strangers’ case; and this your mountanish inhumanity." Shakespeare takes on the xenophobes among us.

On the drive home tonight, I had the pleasure of listening to Episode 621 of Marc Maron's WTF podcast, featuring Sir Ian McKellen. Listen to this fascinating conversation yourself, but I want to skip ahead to the little-known Shakespearean monologue with which Sir Ian ends the hour. Here it is again in video form from a few years ago:

Yes, everything that you or I or anyone else can think of has already been written by William Shakespeare; it's simply a fact with which we need to live (and for which we need to be thankful).

Here is a slightly longer version of the words that William Shakespeare put into Sir Thomas More's mouth in defense of an earlier generation of unwanted immigrants (text via
Grant them removed, and grant that this your noise
Hath chid down all the majesty of England;
Imagine that you see the wretched strangers,
Their babies at their backs and their poor luggage,
Plodding to the ports and coasts for transportation,
And that you sit as kings in your desires,
Authority quite silent by your brawl,
And you in ruff of your opinions clothed;
What had you got? I’ll tell you. You had taught
How insolence and strong hand should prevail,
How order should be quelled; and by this pattern
Not one of you should live an aged man,
For other ruffians, as their fancies wrought,
With self same hand, self reasons, and self right,
Would shark on you, and men like ravenous fishes
Would feed on one another.
Before God, that’s as true as the Gospel.
Nay, this is a sound fellow, I tell you. Let’s mark him.
Let me set up before your thoughts, good friends,
On supposition; which if you will mark,
You shall perceive how horrible a shape
Your innovation bears. First, ’tis a sin
Which oft the apostle did forewarn us of,
Urging obedience to authority;
And ’twere no error, if I told you all,
You were in arms against your God himself.
Marry, God forbid that!
Nay, certainly you are;
For to the king God hath his office lent
Of dread, of justice, power and command,
Hath bid him rule, and willed you to obey;
And, to add ampler majesty to this,
He hath not only lent the king his figure,
His throne and sword, but given him his own name,
Calls him a god on earth. What do you, then,
Rising ’gainst him that God himself installs,
But rise against God? What do you to your souls
In doing this? O, desperate as you are,
Wash your foul minds with tears, and those same hands,
That you like rebels lift against the peace,
Lift up for peace, and your unreverent knees,
Make them your feet to kneel to be forgiven!
Tell me but this. What rebel captain,
As mutinies are incident, by his name
Can still the rout? Who will obey a traitor?
Or how can well that proclamation sound,
When there is no addition but a rebel
To qualify a rebel? You’ll put down strangers,
Kill them, cut their throats, possess their houses,
And lead the majesty of law in line,
To slip him like a hound. Say now the king
(As he is clement, if th’ offender mourn)
Should so much come to short of your great trespass
As but to banish you, whether would you go?
What country, by the nature of your error,
Should give you harbor? Go you to France or Flanders,
To any German province, to Spain or Portugal,
Nay, any where that not adheres to England,—
Why, you must needs be strangers. Would you be pleased
To find a nation of such barbarous temper,
That, breaking out in hideous violence,
Would not afford you an abode on earth,
Whet their detested knives against your throats,
Spurn you like dogs, and like as if that God
Owed not nor made not you, nor that the claimants
Were not all appropriate to your comforts,
But chartered unto them, what would you think
To be thus used? This is the strangers’ case;
And this your mountanish inhumanity.
Faith, ’a says true. Let’s do as we may be done to.

Copyright © 2015 by
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Have we really fallen from those words to those of Donald Trump and Ann Coulter in only a little over 400 years?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Saturday, July 11, 2015

America's Proud Socialist Tradition

Why isn't Eugene V. Debs a universally-known hero in our American classrooms?

Why doesn't every American student know that our government sentenced Debs to TEN YEARS in prison for delivering this bit of wisdom about war and peace and class struggle in Canton, Ohio in 1918, and that his sentence was upheld by a unanimous Supreme Court?

Here's the short speech being read by Mark Ruffalo to an audience thinking about the Iraq War in 2007:

And here's an excerpt in print of the section beginning at the 1'30" mark of the video:
"Wars throughout history have been waged for conquest and plunder. In the Middle Ages when the feudal lords ... concluded to enlarge their domains, to increase their power, their prestige and their wealth they declared war upon one another. But they themselves did not go to war any more than the modern feudal lords, the barons of Wall Street go to war. The feudal barons of the Middle Ages, the economic predecessors of the capitalists of our day, declared all wars. And their miserable serfs fought all the battles. The poor, ignorant serfs had been taught to revere their masters; to believe that when their masters declared war upon one another, it was their patriotic duty to fall upon one another and to cut one another’s throats for the profit and glory of the lords and barons who held them in contempt. And what is war in a nutshell? The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and all to lose—especially their lives. They have always taught and trained you to believe it to be your patriotic duty to go to war and to have yourselves slaughtered at their command. But in all the history of the world you, the people, have never had a voice in declaring war, and strange as it certainly appears, no war by any nation in any age has ever been declared by the people. ... The working class who fight all the battles, the working class who make the supreme sacrifices, the working class who freely shed their blood and furnish their corpses, have never yet had a voice in either declaring war or making peace. It is the ruling class that invariably does both. They alone declare war and they alone make peace. Yours not to reason why; yours but to do and die. That is their motto and we object on the part of the awakening workers of this nation. If war is right let it be declared by the people."

Friday, July 03, 2015

The TBL Sidebar Poll Is Showing a Trend

I expected that the supporters of Bernie Sanders might make a good showing when I put up my first 2016 Presidential Poll in the sidebar, but I wasn't expecting him to open up a quick 80% gap over Hillary Clinton.
Does anyone see any excitement for the "inevitable" establishment candidate for the 2016 Democratic nomination?

(NOTE: If you're looking at on a mobile device, you'll need to scroll down and click on "View Web Version" if you want to see and vote in the sidebar poll.)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

This Post Would Get Me Arrested in China.

Fortunately I don't live in China, or in the occupied nation of Tibet, or I'd be in jail like Tsering Dondrub just for pasting this image of the Tibetan flag here on my blog.

Friday, June 19, 2015

What a loss the loss of Jon Stewart's nightly voice is going to be...

On Tuesday night Jon was shoot-milk-out-your-nose-because-you're-laughing-so-explosively funny when Fuckface von Clownstick joined the Presidential race, but on Thursday night he gave us this, the most succinct and truthful statement about the Charleston racial terrorism of the night before, and our predictable and insufficient response to it.

I'm going to miss him and I no longer even get Comedy Central on my television; I just watch (and share) these clips.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

"What transpired in Charleston, South Carolina last night was not just a tragedy, it was an act of terror." --Senator Bernie Sanders

I've been raving all day on Twitter about the fact that the terrorism in Charleston needs to be called terrorism. I'm not good at checking all my email boxes though, so I just found this email from Bernie Sanders from over six hours ago. I get a lot of political emails and I've never shared one before (honestly, I don't even read the vast majority of them). If nothing else, read this for Bernie's first sentence and the last. His first sentence is the clearest statement I've seen from a major politician that this was terrorism. His final sentence contains a link for donations to the Mother Emanuel AME Church (even though he needs the money as the only major party candidate rejecting money from billionaires and SuperPACs)...

Dear ------ -
What transpired in Charleston, South Carolina last night was not just a tragedy, it was an act of terror.
Nine of our fellow Americans were murdered while praying in a historic church because of the color of their skin. This senseless violence fills me with outrage, disgust, and a deep, deep sadness.
This hateful killing is a horrific reminder that, while we have made important progress in civil rights for all of our people, we are far from eradicating racism.
The Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church is one that has been attacked, burned, and rebuilt throughout its 200 year history. While their community mourns now, they will rebuild, and they will emerge stronger than before.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and their congregation. But we can add our actions to our prayers. The families and the community that have been hurt so very badly by this brutality need our help. Let us stand with them in their time of mourning.
Thank you,
Bernie Sanders

Clementa C. Pinckney, Pastor of Mother Emanuel A.M.E.

Rather than focusing on the terrorist who shot and killed nine people, including Clementa Pinckney, inside Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church last night, please watch this video from 2013 in which this Pastor and South Carolina State Senator tells the history of the church to a group of visitors...

Rest In Peace.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Jon Stewart Needs to Reconsider His Retirement

I'm trying to watch this at work with headphones and I can't view more than 20 consecutive seconds of video without disturbing my neighbors with stifled laughter.

Can't Jon stay at The Daily Show at least until the 2016 GOP Clown Circus finally folds its tent, or at minimum until the candidate known as Fuckface von Clownstick drops out?

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Time for Neil Young to Write a Cease and Desist Letter

I've asked this before about Paul Ryan and RATM and Chris Christie and Springsteen, but don't Republicans realize that songs have lyrics?

In the middle of this morning's meandering speech at Trump Tower, Donald Trump finished the sentence "I am officially running for President of the United States and we are going to make our country great again" and immediately looked up toward someone in the ceiling and gestured for music. The recognizable guitar riff from Neil Young's "Rockin' in the Free World" played for a few seconds before the Donald went back to scapegoating Mexico, Mexicans, and Obamacare.

We got a thousand points of light
For the homeless man
We got a kinder, gentler,
Machine gun hand
We got department stores
and toilet paper
Got styrofoam boxes
for the ozone layer
Got a man of the people,
says keep hope alive
Got fuel to burn,
got roads to drive.
Keep on rockin' in the free world...

Does he know the song has words other than those in the chorus? These kinds of misunderstandings have a long GOP history going back at least as far as Reagan praising Springsteen's "Born in the USA," but maybe Trump really is as smart as he thinks he is; maybe he is using Neil's lyrics to indirectly attack yesterday's new candidate, Jeb!, by going after his father's kinder and gentler thousand points of light?

UPDATE @ 8pm EDT: Not only has Neil Young's manager Elliot Roberts confirmed that The Donald didn't have permission to misuse Neil's anthem this morning, but that Neil Young has endorsed the anti-Trump, Bernie Sanders.
Here's the moment he points at the unseen minion in the ceiling to play Neil's riff:

Who says Donald Trump has no experience?

His run for President didn't begin with his announcement taking place at Trump Tower as I type this. Here he is trying to draw the cameras' attention to his famous baroque hairstyle with a "run for President" on the Reform Party ticket in 2000:

Just in case you forgot (I did), the ultimate Reform Party candidate in 2000 was Pat Buchanan (how could I forget the votes he got in Palm Beach County because of a bad ballot design that threw the state of Florida and the presidency to George W. Bush?).

Monday, June 15, 2015

More than a "Protest Vote"

Ben Shahn's classic McCarthy poster.
The following quotation appeared yesterday in a New York Times piece from Patrick Healy, "Bernie Sanders Can Take Heart From a Broadway Champ."

“Like Eugene McCarthy in 1968, Sanders will offer a way to cast a protest vote in a primary against Hillary Clinton, but I don’t expect him to register much support beyond that.” 

-- Douglas E. Schoen, Democratic Strategist 

A look at the Schoen Consulting website shows that Douglas Schoen has worked for US politicians, including both Clintons, Mike Bloomberg, Jon Corzine, and Evan Bayh; US corporations, including Walmart, P&G, and AT&T; and international politicians Tony Blair, Silvio Berlusconi, and three Israeli Prime Ministers. In other words, he's as Establishment as they come and his thoughts are representative of the "common knowledge" and "conventional wisdom" of the power elites. He's also wrong.

If you look at the support Eugene McCarthy got in 1968, he was far from being a fringe figure or a mere "protest vote." Peace-candidate McCarthy was not expected to do well against Lyndon Johnson in the first primary in New Hampshire, but his strong 42% second-place showing against the sitting President was at least one of the factors that led to LBJ's withdrawal (and RFK's entry into the race). McCarthy won the most popular votes in the 1968 primaries, but it was a time when party machines were able to give the nomination to the candidate who had received the fewest votes, LBJ's VP Hubert Humphrey, who had concentrated on the wheelers and dealers in non-primary states rather than attracting primary voters. There was a reason there was chaos in the streets outside the Democratic convention.

" learn really how strong the Establishment is, not just the political Establishment, but the business Establishment...the business community and the political institutions are all geared to the Establishment, and when they're really tested they're all militarist..." 
--Eugene McCarthy (at the 2-minute mark in the video
I felt I needed to capitalize "Establishment" when transcribing the quote pulled from the video, because that's the way we thought of that word at the time. It's a word that would serve the Bernie 2016 campaign well (I'm sure it's a word Bernie Sanders used very freely in his political past).