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Truth To Power

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

Archive for May, 2011

Sarah, seriously?

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Tell me this isn’t just the bestest news evah:

Lights, Camera, Positive-Spin Action: Sarah Palin Is Back

Just when Republicans were starting to worry their 2012 presidential field would be too boring to bother with, Sarah Palin might be fixing to ride in like a movie hero just at the nick of time.

Be still my cynical heart. I was literally dreading another year plus of some sad sack GOP meat puppet sneaking around, attempting to look electable against Obama. Now Newt would have been fun to bash into the dirt, but alas, he decided to perform that task himself in the first week, robbing us of months of comedy gold. Mitt? Ha. It had gotten to the point that I felt that the GOP would go ahead and concede the election to Obama in actual fact, instead of by just not having a candidate. It would be great material for Sunday chat shows- “Look, we just saved the American people billions of dollars by not nominating a candidate…see ya in 2016!”

But this, this is good stuff right here:

Conroy reports Team Palin has yet to go looking for a campaign HQ, though they’re “operating under the notion that they are laying the groundwork for a future campaign, until they are told otherwise.”

Run, Sarah, run.

I have mentioned several times that I voted for Obama for one reason only- to watch the freaks come out from under their rocks so that we could deal with them face to face. And surely the biggest, most significant freak to slither out has been Governor Half Term, Sarah Palin. So please Sarah, answer the call of the 3,004,871 fans of your Facebook page, who slavishly refer to you as “President Palin” already, and run! Steer even more dupes to Sarah Pac, add to that Discovery Channel nest egg. Buy that house in Arizona…because if you had to pick the most obvious place for a person like you to relocate, it would be the State of Hate.

I honestly, sincerely hope Sarah Palin is the next Republican nominee. The good old boys of the party don’t want her- she’s toxic outside of Facebook and Fox- but on the other hand, what better way to completely remove her from the national scene once and for all by actually allowing her to run? Because unlike her current method of operation, where Sarah blathers only to carefully chosen minions who respond back with hugs and kisses, she’ll actually have to speak to people who actually have a clue. Thought Katie Couric was tough? Wait until you press that Grizzly Mama ass down on a chair at Meet The Press. Now, beholden as they are to power they’ll attempt to go easy on you, but its a hopeless task, since you have absolutely no idea on how the real world operates. Granted, you have the ability to be both bellicose and ignorant at the same time, but ask Herman Cain how well that works out.

No doubt she’d pump some life into this contest, which, since real candidates aren’t allowed to participate, is even more a sham facade than our usual electoral embarrassment, but I think Palin would discover right quick that she’s at 14.5 minutes on the Warhol scale, and any attempt to stretch that out isn’t going to be pretty. Barack Obama has been rumored to want to raise a billion dollars for 2012, but if facing Palin, he needs only to get his suit pressed for his single debate. It would only take about 30 minutes of airtime- real airtime, not the faux atmosphere of Fox “News” to completely shred what small amount of credibility she enjoys. Thought Newt looked stupid racing around smooching hiney trying to walk back his frankly logical statements on Ryan’s idiotic Medicare plan? Or Herman Cain amusingly befuddled by the Palestinian right of return? Imagine the effort Sarah Palin would have to make “clarifying” how the “lamestream media” played “gotcha” by asking the softball sort of questions you face in a debate? Got damn that would be great political theatre, dontcha think?

The reality is, a year and a half out, Obama leads Palin 53% to 35% in a straw poll. Obama could literally die before November of 2012 and still beat the stuffing out of that airheaded sock puppet, and everyone knows it. But since John McCain quixotically added her to the ticket, a fever of unreality has swept this nation. You can’t lay it all at her feet, certainly- she didn’t invent the birthers, or the Tea Party- but once some segment of this nation started taking her seriously, against all evidence, then it seemed as if all bets were off, and whatever gibberish some hillbilly from Georgia decided to yark up to the cameras gets repeated and discussed as if it was a serious statement from a serious person. That suspension of reality, that I lay at the feet of Sarah Palin.

If Palin runs, and I truly, truly hope she does, there will come a moment when the studio lights will be beginning to melt her makeup, and some media flunky will ask her a question about, say nuclear reactors, and it will take all of her bladder control not to spray fear down her leg in panic. We’ll see it in her eyes, and that will be the beginning of the end of The Quitter. Because otherwise, Mencken said it best:

“As democracy is perfected, the office of President represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

So Sarah, seriously? Run, and prove Mencken wrong. Because if the unreality-based freak show that is Sarah Palin is our inner soul, then…well.

Let’s stop right there, shall we?

Life on Maggie’s Farm

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more
No, I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more
Well, I wake in the morning
Fold my hands and pray for rain
I got a head full of ideas
That are drivin’ me insane
It’s a shame the way she makes me scrub the floor
I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more

Bob Dylan turns 70 today. He released his first album in 1962, the year I was born. And like Bob, I got a head full of ideas that are driving me insane. Like when I read something like this:

The Rich Are About To Get Very, Very Rich: Study Finds Global Millionaire Wealth Set To More Than Double By 2020

A new study by Deloitte confirms everyone’s worst fear (and every millionaire’s wettest dream): the wealth amassed by millionaire households is set to increase by more than 100% over the next 9 years. From a total of $92 trillion held by the world’s richest in 2011, by 2020 the world’s millionaire households will possess $202 trillion, or roughly 4 times current global GDP. Even though much of move up is attributed to the wealth surge in the developing world, the biggest beneficiary is, you guessed it, the United States where the millionaires (those with net wealth of at least $1 million), who currently account for $38.6 trillion of total wealth, will see their assets increased by 225% to $87.1 trillion!

And as has been the case for the last 30 years, incomes of the lower and middle classes will remain stagnant, and social services and infrastructure get further slashed, in order to fund more gimmies to the wealthiest among us. But that’s the thing, you see. They aren’t “among us”. They live behind walls in gated communities, drive expensive cars to private airfields- you don’t hear Warren Buffett whining about the TSA, do ya? Their children don’t go to public schools, or sit in emergency rooms with a cough.

I ain’t gonna work for Maggie’s pa no more
No, I ain’t gonna work for Maggie’s pa no more
Well, he puts his cigar
Out in your face just for kicks
His bedroom window
It is made out of bricks
The National Guard stands around his door
Ah, I ain’t gonna work for Maggie’s pa no more

The oft-quoted axiom that democracies survive until the public learns to vote themselves money frequently gets tossed into discussions about this, despite it not being an actual quote, nor it being particularly factual. Show me a society that collapsed because the majority of the citizens had the majority of the nations wealth, and it will be the first I’ve heard of it. In fact, in this country our darkest hours are generally the exact opposite. The majority of the wealth- wealth that should be moving around society, hiring people, building bridges, paying school teachers, is instead sitting in bank accounts off shore, waiting. Same as it was before the last Depression. So please explain to me how the rich of this country are going to get richer when nobody is working enough to buy anything? Start another war? We have enough of those, no more room to increase production to sate the war profiteers (make due with what ya got, Cheney and crew), and since taxes are at their lowest since the 1950s, and most large corporations have rewritten the laws to pay nothing at all, so where is the money going to come from? Are we going to wake up one morning with crude stitches where our kidneys used to be? Or all in jail on bogus drug charges, while private prison investors get a check each month for keeping us there?

Just how long you think this nation’s wealth can continue to be pilfered by those who write the laws until we’re just a bare husk of a nation? Until we have no teachers? No firemen? Until our food is nothing but masses of GMO poison, contaminated and uninspected? What will happen then?

This guy. Or this guy.

Just in case you thought you were human

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

“Cruelty, like every other vice, requires no motive outside of itself; it only requires opportunity”
George Eliot

Hospital visitation rights for same sex couples under threat in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R) this week asked a judge if the state may stop defending a law that gives citizens in same sex relationships the right to visit their partner if they’re in a hospital.

Passed by Democrats in 2009, the state’s domestic partnership registry was meant to give same sex couples more rights. While it succeeded in doing so, rights for domestic partners in Wisconsin do not rise to the level of special rights granted by marriage.

It allows anyone to register a domestic partner with the state, who can then visit them in the hospital, make key end-of-life decisions and inherit property in the event of one partner’s death.

Gov. Walker contends that this is unconstitutional. According to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel examination of the governor’s legal brief, he claims that allowing partners these basic rights does not serve “the public interest,” insisting that the state should not have to pay attorneys to defend it.

In a larger sense, Walker is right, the state shouldn’t have to “defend” the law- because there never should have been a law to begin with. The state has no business regulating the private actions of two people regarding anything that two consenting adults choose to do. It’s that simple. If they wish to wed, record it in a book and move on. If one wishes to die in the arms of their lover, who is so grotesquely swelled with power to think they have any input into that situation at all? We have a word for such people.

Sadists.

To inflict pain upon people for no reason save that you can, that is sadism. It is cruelty personified. It is an attempt to degrade and dehumanize another, simply because at some irrational, root level, you’re threatened by the very existence of someone different than yourself. Be it religion or environment, somewhere along the line ignorant, sadistic people got it in their head that they actually have an input into those most private of moments of other people, that somehow they are less than you.

Less than human.

Governor Walker has already proven himself nothing more than a corporate lackey, a whore to power who cares nothing at all for the people of his state, excepting those who installed him in power in order to rob the state blind and kill unions. And he’s been justly vilified for it, too. But here’s what I want Walker to do. I want him to visit any hospital in Wisconsin, find a gay couple, and I want him to sit with the partner who isn’t ill- in the waiting room, or the parking lot, wherever “such people” are “allowed” to sit, and I want him to listen to their pain. The pain they feel when a loved one is suffering. The pain of helplessness that grips us all when another is ill. And finally, to feel the pain they do when yet again, someone tells them that they aren’t quite human enough to merit dignity. Or love. Or, in the very least, tolerance. You sit there, Walker, and look in their eyes, and see their tears. I would hope it might change your notion of “public interest”.

It would help, I guess, if you were human.

The soothing warmth that is Doublethink

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

“The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them….To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies — all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth.”

George Orwell wrote that in 1984, and yet again we can thank him for stating things so plainly, and giving name, in advance, to the nonsensical behavior one must exercise to be a “conservative” these days.

To wit:

Florida Bill Will Come ‘Between Doctors And Patients’ By Prohibiting Pediatricians From Asking About Guns

…Scott is expected to soon sign a first-of-its-kind bill that does just that by forbidding doctors from asking their patients if they own guns. To prevent accidental injuries, pediatricians routinely ask new parents if they have guns at home and if they are stored safely. But the NRA and its allies in the Florida legislature see something more sinister at work — a radical agenda to curb the rights of gun owners.

Ok, hold that thought in your head while you read this:

Court Rules for Pharmacists on Morning-After Pill

Pharmacists with religious objections to “morning-after” emergency contraceptives cannot be compelled to sell the product, an Illinois Circuit Judge ruled Tuesday.

The Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act was passed in 1998 to shield health care workers from going against their own beliefs. In 2005, then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich issued a ruling to force “pharmacies to fill prescriptions without making moral judgments.”

So, let me get this straight. If you’re a conservative, you find it completely fine that the state prohibits the conduct of medical professionals in their duties for fear of offending the NRA and whackadoo gun owners, yet the pill filler at Walgreens, his morality trumps the medical needs of a pregnant woman? Sorry, my brain isn’t wired that way. I have guns, and while I can appreciate- to some extent- the actions of the NRA on behalf of gun owners, I really think you have to be some sort of, well, we’ll stick with whackadoo, to think that a doctor asking new parents if they have a gun in the house is a “radical agenda to curb the rights of gun owners“. Did the doctor refuse to treat the child until the gun was removed? No. Did he attempt to get the family to surrender the weapon? No. He simply stated, as any competent doctor would, the risks to be aware of when you have loaded guns around young children. Not exactly radical, I don’t think. Is it his business? Maybe, maybe not. Depends on how you take it, but as a gun owner, I wouldn’t be offended or feel threatened if a doctor asked me the question, but then again, I don’t see legions of jackbooted thugs behind every tree attempting to make me surrender my manhood, I mean gun.

Now, is it any possible business of the guy at Walgreens who gets what medicine or why? Absolutely not, and if the guy who reads the script, opens the jar and pours a few tablets into a bottle thinks differently, then he should have thought of that before entering the profession. That profession being dispensing pills. Not morality. It’s simply none of his business- unless he believes that some adults aren’t allowed to have more of a say in their own lives than he does.

That’s the comforting warmth that is Doublethink. As long as your pet agenda gets stroked, rights be damned. The “state” is a over-bearing monster- that is, until a woman attempts to exert some measure of control over her own body, and then “the state” must put it’s weight behind your efforts to refuse her medical care, because of your “morality”. For those of us not infected with the curse of holding dueling and contradictory notions in our heads, as well as those who value the rights of each person, regardless of their gender, we say screw your morality. Do your job.

And let the doctor do his. It really is that simple.

I love The Low Anthem because I love America

Monday, May 9th, 2011

I spent last Wednesday getting kicked around on Daily Kos for daring to ponder how the emperors new clothes fit. Now, I wasn’t expecting anything different- those folks would vote for Obama (or Clinton, or Kerry, et al) even if their campaign poster had a severed baby head on it. The regulars there apparently believe that anything not vouched for on the nightly news is a conspiracy theory, at least, if you’re speaking about Democrats. Their reaction, while not unexpected, was just another helping of the nonsensical, grotesque reaction this nation had to the supposed murder of Osama bin Laden. Cheerleading death is never tolerable to me, not to mention my inability to believe anything on the subject since oh, about 10:30 AM on 9.11.01. But as they said in Liberty Valance: “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend”. The legend has indeed been printed.

Thankfully I had something to take my mind off murder, at least for a while. Had the good fortune to see The Low Anthem play a tiny club in Santa Fe, New Mexico. For those not familiar, The Low Anthem are a band from Rhode Island who create the most intoxicating, organic music in America today. Four performers, dozens of instruments, they truly sound like nothing else you’ve ever heard. Sitting in a small room under the New Mexico night, I felt the tension leave me as song washed over me and I had a satori. Despite being labeled “… a conspiracy-theorist with abject hatred for his country and its government.”, I realized as I listened to the haunting, beautiful musical creation occurring before me, that I love America- because only here could these four people come together to invent something so wonderful, so magical, so American. Amid the wheezing chords from the WWII vintage organ and bowed banjo lives the true America. Not the blood-soaked hands of the couch commandos whooping “We did it!” when Osama was taken out, but the America of passion and heart, with talent beyond measure, born far from the plastic American Idol mediocrity of the masses, far from the partisan world of competitive politics, far from the gross distortions and unbelievable horror of America abroad- and at home. The Low Anthem are America, in all of it’s quiet, curious places. They speak to our dreams, our fears, our desires. The band rotates from instrument to instrument, one moment on clarinet, the next hammer dulcimer, followed by pounding garage rock. They adapt on the fly, they play a saw with a bow, they are, as Greil Marcus once said of the music of generations passed, “The old, weird America.”

This is the America I love, and I love it for many reasons. Only America could have invented rock and roll, destructed it, and rebuilt it a million times. No Predator drones or Navy Seals needed, no million viewers in sports bars barking in unison. This is the America worth fighting for, worth cheering. The America of creativity, of art, and taking chances. It is the America that provides hope despite our national depression, that can create a solace in sound that lightens our heart, and gives us a glimpse of genius amid the fools and know-nothings of a Daily Kos, or Redstate.com. The Low Anthem are America to me.

I hope you can find yours.

Scared yet?

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

On Sunday evening this man

had this man murdered.

Or not. In the same way 9/11, The Media Event was presented to the world, the assassination of Osama bin Laden was rolled out, full of conflicting details from our military and intelligence agencies, just like 9/11. The entire world is reacting to an event that may never have occurred, is unverifiable, regardless of the final decision to release a photo of the corpse. If you believe the worlds bogeyman existed as portrayed, then you’ll probably accept an image as genuine, and if you believe it was a sham all along, then you won’t. It makes no difference at all to the powers that be if you accept their reality or not.

So this caps a few weeks that saw Obama release his birth certificate- or not, depending – as well as his deft slaying of rival Donald Trump at the Correspondents dinner to the amusement of his base. The man is on a roll, to put it mildly. He’s assured re-election, not that it was ever in doubt, despite what cable media attempts to drum up, he faces no competition at all from a generally loathed GOP. Obama controls the narrative, and while it might be comforting to think that the death of bin Laden will in any way change our military posture around the world, its not realistic. The supposed computer and hard drives that contain a “treasure trove” of data gathered during the raids are reportedly being examined “at a secret location in Afghanistan,” and a ‘volume of other materials’ that would be “exploited and analysed” has already begun to arrive at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.

The key word being “exploited”. I’m quite sure that the material “found” on this mythical computer will contain enough “threats” to keep our military and CIA wrecking havoc on innocents around the globe- and at home- for generations to come. They only need the barest of pretexts, after all, because if the Congress of the United States is no longer allowed to vote on military action, We The People sure as hell aren’t. No, we only pay for them- via taxes, or with our lives, but beyond that, a tyrant needs nothing more from his subjects. And Obama, just as Bush before him, and whomever follows Obama in 2016, are assuredly tyrants, for sadly our system, and more importantly us, are too weak to combat them in any meaningful way. Short of a military revolt, we are locked into this narrative seemingly without end. Just as sports bars around the nation erupted in drunken shouts of “USA!” when bombs lit up the skies over Baghdad in 2003, the crowds in Times Square went nuts Sunday night, cheering an illegal targeted killing put into motion by a single man. If this doesn’t scare you, then you really don’t pay much attention to the realities of the world you live in. Or you have devised some sort of moral sliding scale that says that our President has the right to reach out and slay anyone in the world he cares to, as long as they are the bad guys. Bad guys as defined by him, of course.

So for now Obama is riding a wave of public approval- up 9 points post bin Laden murder. Who cares if the man controlling the world’s largest military- and economy- feels completely unrestrained by any silly notion like a rule of law or Constitutional government. He’s such a nice man, surely the most benevolent and intelligent tyrant we’ve seen in years. Ask Bradley Manning about that. So take a moment from your shouts of “America Uber Alles”, oh, sorry, “USA Fuck Yeah!” and take a look at what actually occurred- or didn’t.

Scared yet?

Thousands chant

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

Thousands chant
USA! from the couch
“We did it”
(Supposed) murder of a
(Supposed) murderer

The villain you feared is not dead
Always look inward
And please, stop clapping your hands
Thank you for not preempting the wedding
Another useless spectacle for the cheap seats