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Truth To Power

the strong do as they wish, and the weak suffer as they must

Archive for January, 2010

Palin an overpriced dud at Tea Party

Friday, January 29th, 2010

Sarah Palin’s Latest Disaster: Tea Partiers Demand Refunds for Palin Speech

Sarah Palin gets paid over a hundred thousand dollars to show up places and tell people all about human nature and Milton Friedman and the future of conservatism. Next month, Palin will collect $115,000 exploiting the momentum of the Tea Party movement at the first National Tea Party Convention in Nashville, according to internal documents obtained by Mother Jones magazine. Attendees are expected to shell out $549 for the privilege of hearing Palin say things she’ll say on Fox News all the time.

But as a Mother Jones investigation reveals,

… the tickets for the Palin banquet aren’t selling—and some conservative activists who have already paid to attend are now demanding refunds. With the controversial event shaping up to be a potential flop, some Tea Partiers are urging Palin to cancel her speech to avoid a humiliating public relations disaster.

An activist who quit the organizing committee in protest over the price of attendence told reporter Stephanie Mencimer that most of the tickets to hear Palin speak have not been sold. Mencimer tested that claim by trying to buy tickets for the convention; she had no trouble obtaining 10.

In the past month the convention has sparked division among Tea Partiers. Not surprisingly, the organizers’ decision to charge attendees $549 to celebrate a movement whose identity centers on victimhood and anti-elitism proved unpopular.

The convention was decried as more proof that the GOP is hijacking the movement. Revelations that the organizer planned to turn a profit, in part by exploiting Tea Partiers’ infatuation with Palin, didn’t help.

What, you thought it was a legitimate organization? You probably think guys in caves attacked us on 9/11, that Bush “won” the elections, and that using “commie pinko” as a slam has meant something since say, 1950?

Murray Hill PR firm to run for Congress

Friday, January 29th, 2010

Corporation Runs For Maryland Congressional Seat To Protest
SCOTUS Campaign Finance Decision

Last week, “all five of the [Supreme] Court’s conservatives joined together…to invalidate a sixty-three year-old ban on corporate money in federal elections,” a move that Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) said “opens the floodgates for the purchases and sale of the law” by big corporations. While progressives were outraged by the court’s judicial activism, many Republican politicians applauded the decision, with RNC Chairman Michael Steele even calling the ruling nothing more than “an affirmation of the constitutional rights provided to Americans under the first amendment.”

The progressive PR firm Murray Hill Inc. has announced that it plans to satirically run for Congress in the Republican primary in Maryland’s 8th congressional district to protest the Supreme Court’s disastrous decision. A press release on its website says that the company wants to “eliminate the middle man” and run for Congress directly, rather than influencing it with corporate dollars:

“Until now,” Murray Hill Inc. said in a statement, “corporate interests had to rely on campaign contributions and influence peddling to achieve their goals in Washington. But thanks to an enlightened Supreme Court, now we can eliminate the middle-man and run for office ourselves.”

“The strength of America,” Murray Hill Inc. says, “is in the boardrooms, country clubs and Lear jets of America’s great corporations. We’re saying to Wal-Mart, AIG and Pfizer, if not you, who? If not now, when?” […]

Campaign Manager William Klein promises an aggressive, historic campaign that “puts people second” or even third. “The business of America is business, as we all know,” Klein says. “But now, it’s the business of democracy too.” Klein plans to use automated robo-calls, “Astroturf” lobbying and computer-generated avatars to get out the vote.

Murray Hill Inc. plans on spending “top dollar” to protect its investment. “It’s our democracy,” Murray Hill Inc. says, “We bought it, we paid for it, and we’re going to keep it.”

Laugh now, but its coming.

Oz: No small breasted porn

Friday, January 29th, 2010

Australia bans small breasts

The Australian Sex Party (ASP) said Wednesday that the Australian Classification Board (ACB) is now banning depictions of small-breasted women in adult publications and films.

The National Classification Code dictates that anything that describes or depicts a person who is, or appears to be, a child under 18 (whether the person is engaged in sexual activity or not) in a way that is likely to cause offence to a reasonable adult is Refused Classification.

State Crime Acts are also similar. Victoria’s Criminal Code includes the ‘or appears to be’ clause in its definition of child pornography and it doesn’t need to cause offence to a reasonable adult for it to be illegal.

Even if you are 18 years old but you look younger, taking a photograph of your breasts and uploading it to the Internet could land you or someone you know in serious trouble.

Keep in mind it’s highly unlikely that a naked photograph of a 30, 40 or 50 year old woman with small breasts would ‘appear’ to be child pornography on the basis of her breast size alone. Small breasts do not automatically mean something will be banned or is illegal.

Damn, those are some folks with WAYYYY too much time on their hectoring little hands, ain’t they?

Goodbye Howard Zinn

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Howard Zinn, dissident historian, dead at 87

Howard Zinn, an author, teacher and political activist whose book A People’s History of the United States: 1492 to Present (P.S.) became a million-selling leftist alternative to mainstream texts, died Wednesday in Santa Monica, Calif. He was 87 and lived in Auburndale, Mass.

Published in 1980 with little promotion and a first printing of 5,000, “A People’s History” was — fittingly — a people’s best-seller, attracting a wide audience through word of mouth and reaching 1 million sales in 2003. Although Zinn was writing for a general readership, his book was taught in high schools and colleges throughout the country, and numerous companion editions were published, including “Voices of a People’s History,” a volume for young people and a graphic novel

“I can’t think of anyone who had such a powerful and benign influence,” said the linguist and fellow activist Noam Chomsky, a close friend of Zinn’s. “His historical work changed the way millions of people saw the past.”

At a time when few politicians dared even call themselves liberal, “A People’s History” told an openly left-wing story. Zinn charged Christopher Columbus and other explorers with genocide, picked apart presidents from Andrew Jackson to Franklin D. Roosevelt and celebrated workers, feminists and war resisters.

I always liked this quote:

“There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.”

Even more crazy!

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

GOPer: NH Selling Children To Gay Couples For $10,000

Democrats are calling on New Hampshire State Rep. Alfred Baldasaro (R) to resign over his remarks that the state “sold” children for $10,000 each when “they said that homosexual couples, not married, can adopt.”

Baldasaro is one of the main sponsors of HB 1590, which aims to repeal a New Hampshire law allowing same-sex couples to marry.

In his testimony before the state’s House Judiciary Committee on January 20, Baldasaro offered his objections to gay marriage, first insisting that it’s “not normal.”

He elaborated with some choice metaphors:

So because I disagree on something that’s pushed down my throat, I’m supposed to roll over because, representative, you think it’s normal? I’m sorry you got the wrong person.

Then things got really bad: “I wanted to make sure everyone understood here, that this legislature sold the rights of $10,000 per kid under title four, when they said that homosexual couples, not married, can adopt.”

“So we sold each kid to a homosexual couple that’s not married for $10,000,” Baldasaro said.

One day this guy and his ilk will be dead.

Good.

Today in crazy

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

What’s Obama’s Birther Legal Bill?

Is President Barack Obama spending millions of dollars to hide the truth about his citizenship?

During Obama’s 2008 run for the White House, his campaign and a host of other credible sources repeatedly debunked the conspiracy theory that Obama was born in Kenya, not Hawaii, and was thus ineligible to serve as president. But this failed to quell the “birther” movement, whose acolytes have filed more than 60 civil lawsuits challenging the president’s citizenship. None of these suits have gone anywhere in court. But birthers say that’s because Obama has unleashed a phalanx of powerful lawyers to silence them—spending $1.7 million in the process, according to WorldNetDaily (WND), an enthusiastic online promoter of the birthers’ cause.

Given the sheer number of cases, it seems plausible that the president and the government may have been forced to devote real resources to their defense. But in fact the opposite may be true: The birthers’ own copious legal bungling could wind up costing them more than Obama will have to spend defending himself.

Most recently, birther attorneys have represented car dealers who charge that Obama is a phony president who lacked the authority to order a restructuring of Chrysler that they say cost them their businesses.

WorldNetDaily has noted that FEC filings show that Obama’s presidential campaign has paid out more than $1.7 million since the election to the law firm of Perkins Coie. Until recently, that firm was home to Obama’s campaign lawyer, and now White House counsel, Robert Bauer—the very same DC lawyer, says WND, who has defended Obama in many of the birther lawsuits. Ergo, WND concluded, Obama must be devoting that entire $1.7 million to crushing birthers in court. This is a ridiculous claim: Even after an election is over a presidential campaign has plenty of need for lawyers as it winds down operations and meets campaign finance law requirements.

What a bunch of crybabies.

A tale of two headlines

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

So, yesterday we learned this:


Fox News Devastated Over Arrest Of ACORN Pimp, Says The Story Probably Needs ‘A Lot Of Context’

James O’Keefe on Fox and Friends Fox News has been one of the biggest supporters of James O’Keefe, who is infamous for dressing up as a pimp and videotaping ACORN staffers offering to help the supposed pimp and his prostitutes secure funding for a brothel. The network constantly replayed coverage from his operation. In September, Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace named O’Keefe his “Power Player of the Week,” calling him an “undercover reporter” and a “fascinating character.”

Yesterday, the FBI arrested O’Keefe and three others — “charged with entering federal property under false pretenses with the intent of committing a felony” — saying that they were plotting to wiretap Sen. Mary Landrieu’s office (D-LA). One of the other men, Robert Flanagan, is the son of William Flanagan, the acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana. Two of the men “dressed as telephone company employees” and showed up to Landrieu’s New Orleans office, saying they had to “fix phone problems.”

And we saw this:

Poll finds Americans trust Fox News more than any other network

“The only one getting a positive review is Fox News.”

An essay from a conservative media critic? A GOP blogger trumpeting the ratings of the allegedly “Fair and Balanced” news network?

Nope. A poll of 1,151 registered American voters, who were asked whether they trust each of the major television news networks. Ranking number one: Fox News Channel.

People tend to gravitate toward things that reinforce their already existing beliefs, and avoid that which challenges them. Which is why you don’t see Howard Zinn or Noam Chomsky on cable news. They watch despite the fact that its proven, in the case of Fox, that the more you watch it, the less informed you become.

This isn’t by accident. I find it not surprising at all that Fox is ranked as “most trusted”, since the vast majority of the adults in this country have no clue as to what is done in their name or why. They like it that way. Since the installment of George Bush by a kangaroo court in 2000, people have grasped that reality is no longer an absolute, but rather something to which there is two sides.

Facts don’t have sides, which is why Fox rarely if ever shows them. If you got your news solely from Fox you are told to believe that our President – who is in bed with the largest banks and financial fatcats in the world- whom all apparently overlooked that he’s a socialist dedicated to destroying the capitalist system.

You “believe” that America has the greatest healthcare system in the world- not the 37th, as the facts show. And at Fox’s urging, you’ll march in the streets to maintain business as usual for the insurance companies- the same companies that raised your premiums, slashed your coverage, and refused to honor a valid contract when it became unprofitable.

You listen as Glenn Beck spouts insane nonsense of fascism and sinister plots involving ACORN, but absolutely refuse to ponder that our government attacked us on 9/11, or that Israel is practicing terrorism and genocide in Palestine- with your taxes.

What Fox is doing by broadcasting the propaganda of its corporate masters is creating a national mythology. Who cares if it falls apart at the merest examination, that’s its built on bald faced lies and unprovable innuendo, as long as we all wink and accept that its fiction, that fiction will protect us.

When in fact, its going to kill us. Our nation is a gutted shell of used to be, it’s bones picked clean by Wall Street, in cahoots with the War Party (D or R, makes absolutely no difference), deficit spending its way into second-class nation status. We spend more on “defense” than the entire rest of the world, yet we sit in fear around the TV when supposedly some jackass lights his underwear on fire on a plane. Not that it happened remotely as reported, of course, but that doesn’t matter- what matters is, instead of looking at why someone would want to hurt us, we turn into frightened victims and rush to anyone who can sing us a soothing homily of bullshit and myth that reinforces our mistaken notion that America is exceptional, alone among the nations of the world in receiving gods grace, and that is why “they hate us”.

I read this book in high school. I imagine that after a passage of time, people will view Fox news in much the same way- a fabric of lies about people who never existed, created to explain a cruel and unforgiving world to a frighten populace.

The only question is, how long will that passage of time be?

“Dr. Strangelove” was a remake? Yikes!

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Era of ‘Dr. Strangelove’ produced a recently unearthed Air Force film

“Well boys, I reckon this is it: nuclear combat, toe to toe with the Russkies.”
— Maj. T.J. “King” Kong

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — More than 45 years ago, actor Slim Pickens delivered those words in “Dr. Strangelove,” a seminal Cold War black comedy.

In the film, a rogue Air Force general, Jack Ripper, convinced that fluoridated water is a communist plot, orders a nuclear attack on the Soviets, triggering Armageddon.

It’s a tad late, but the United States Air Force has more to say on the matter.

“SAC Command Post,” an 18-minute film made in 1963 belittling the possibility of such an unauthorized U.S. nuclear strike, has been unearthed at the National Archives in College Park, Md.

The film includes a tour of the Strategic Air Command’s underground control center near Omaha and mentions that several measures have been taken to allow control center operations to continue even during a nuclear attack. Special air conditioners, for example, would filter out “nuclear contaminants.” The “gold phone,” which would be used to receive the orders triggering a nuclear attack, also is shown.

The film also went to great lengths to emphasize that procedures were in place so that, in the narrator’s words, “World War III can’t be triggered by an unauthorized launching of a nuclear bomb.”

Can’t wait to see it. Is it on Youtube yet?

Look for aliens on Earth says prof

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

The search for aliens should start on Earth not outer space, says scientist

Professor Paul Davies, a physicist at Arizona University will tell a meeting at the Royal Society that the best way of proving that extra-terrestrial life exists elsewhere in the universe is to use evidence from earth.

The meeting at the Royal Society, which will include representatives from Nasa, the European Space Agency and the UN Office for Outer space Affairs marks the 5th anniversary of the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) programme. Lord Rees, President of the Royal Society will also lead one of the sessions.

Prof Davies said: We need to give up the notion that ET is sending us some sort of customised message and take a new approach.”

He suggested that the search could focus on deserts, volcanic vents, salt-saturated lakes and the dry valleys of Antarctica – places where ordinary life struggles to survive – to find “weird” microbes that belong to a “shadow biosphere”.

Nice to see a story about aliens that doesn’t involve that dbag from Arizona Arpaio. No intelligent life form there!

Lilith Fair goes yeehaw, adds Loretta Lynn

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Loretta Lynn Added to Lilith Fair 2010 Tour

Country music legend Loretta Lynn has added to the recently announced lineup for Lilith Fair 2010. Billboard reports that the revived music festival spotlighting female acts in all musical genres, will also add 15 cities to the already announced tour stops.

“I’m happy they wanted me on this Lilith tour,” says Loretta. “I have never done shows just with other girl singers before. When I first started out, they said girl singers couldn’t sell records or concert tickets. We’ve come a long way since then and we’re gonna have a big time out there!”

Country acts previously announced to be participating in the tour include Miranda Lambert, Emmylou Harris and Sugarland. A Nashville date has been added to the touring fest, which is returning after an 11-year hiatus. Lilith Fair was created by Canadian singer-songwriter Sarah McLachlan and originally ran from 1997 to 1999.

Excellent!