Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Exception to the Rule



By most indicators, and opinions, our democratic representative republic is on the down slide. As a rule, things aren't getting better for most Americans. Both the Left and Right seem to sense this, but for different reasons, of course.

Those on the Right will say we are being destroyed by “Big Government” regulations, social programs and safety nets. The GOP is now attacking Social Security, food stamps, minimum wage and unemployment compensation. Republicans are pushing to further unleash Wall Street from rules and oversight. Their base is also furious with marriage equality and their perception that we are losing our “values” as a nation.

Democracy and equality seem off their radar as part of those values.

Most Americans disagree, and again, as with the GOP takeover of the House, most Americans voted for a democrat senator. Such are the anti-democratic flaws of gerrymandering and disproportionate representation in both Houses.

Those on the Left say our nation is being destroyed by deregulated capitalism, militarism, militarized law enforcement, and the surveillance state. They see the corporatism built by corporate “personhood” and the dominance of  their “free speech” money. They see corporate written trade agreements becoming law of the land. This has done more for trickle up wealth and off-shore jobs than for the American people. Both parties are playing this game.

The divide and conquer tactics utilized by the economically powerful have been a great success. Both major parties are largely bought and paid for, as a rule.

This brings us to a curious exception to the rule.

Before 9-11 and the fear-mongering behind the “war on terror” shook Americans from reason and judgment, the war on drugs was doing the same damage to our basic freedoms.

Besides the futility and brutality of the war on drugs, we saw the encroachments on civil liberties through “no-knock” laws, passive acceptance of intrusive random drug testing, and more frightening of all, civil asset forfeiture. Law enforcement was granted the power of “legal” piracy. They could take your money and property without proof of wrongdoing. All they had to say was they suspected the money or property was related to drug dealing.

It is an outrage that has nothing to do with justice. That’s what police states do.

So as a rule, the police state is expanding. Now a curious and welcome exception to the rule is unfolding. Voices from diverse perspectives are joining the effort to end the piracy.

Two dozen civil liberties activists, legal specialists and Capitol Hill staffers from across the political spectrum convened Thursday to discuss reforms for civil asset-forfeiture laws, which allow local and state police to take cash and property from Americans without proving a crime has occurred.

Representatives of the Institute for Justice, the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Bar Association, the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation, along with congressional staffers from both parties, strategized on possible legislative remedies to curb abuses.

Imagine that. Addressing blatant corruption and injustice by law enforcement has become a common cause.
Now it has come to this:
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Friday barred local and state police from using federal law to seize cash, cars and other property without proving that a crime occurred.
Holder’s action represents the most sweeping check on police power to confiscate personal property since the seizures began three decades ago as part of the war on drugs.
But what about the elected officials?
Last Friday, Sens. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) and Mike Lee (R-Utah), along with Reps. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.) and John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), signed a letter calling on Holder to end Equitable Sharing.
A rare and stunning glimpse of bi-partisan sanity. 
Take a picture; it won’t last.
Unfortunately states still have asset forfeiture laws. The fact the revenue largely goes to a general fund instead of the law enforcement agencies is some disincentive for abuse.

It’s amazing what can happen when both sides see an issue unclouded by propaganda and corporate PR. This is what real progress looks like.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Republicans Retain Control Of Senate

The expected pattern has held. The opposition party makes the sixth year sweep. No surprise. 

The good news is is to found in the democracy part of the election, ballot proposals. They have met with progressive successes. The best example is voters have overruled the insane drug war by another increment, and legalized cannabis in Oregon and Washington DC.

One thing is clear, if the people want representation they can forget it. They need to get active and do it on their own. The Republicans and Democrats have show us again and again they do not represent the American people. Only the American people can do this now. 

In other news, same old, same old.

The Onion said it far better than the corporate media ever could:
---
 Republicans Poised to Retain Control of the Senate

WASHINGTON—With precincts reporting GOP victories in key midterm election races nationwide, Beltway sources confirmed Tuesday that the Republican Party is poised to retain its complete control of the U.S. Senate. “If current polling projections are accurate, it appears as if Republican lawmakers will hold on to power in the Senate chamber and will continue to steer the legislative agenda with little resistance,” political analyst Michael Barone told reporters, noting that the likely election results will preserve the GOP’s singular authority over the direction of the Senate, allowing Republicans to go on stymieing judicial appointments, derailing or neutering any legislation they oppose, and obstructing President Obama at every turn. 

“With the Senate still firmly under their control, Mitch McConnell and his Republican colleagues will persist in refusing to cede an inch of political leverage to their Democratic rivals and will continue blocking Democratic initiatives just as they have been. Yet again, the GOP is in prime position to carry on dictating the course of the upper house of Congress.” Barone went on to say that Republicans would finally relinquish control of the Senate only when Democrats captured the 100 seats they require to govern.
---
Hard to argue with that.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Latest Lesson on Free Speech

This seems to be a continuing learning process for those radical enough to believe free speech is not limited to corporate electioneering and lobbying cash. Americans better get with the program. Free speech is not free, and the price for the non-wealthy is steep.

An authoritarian personality, in a St. Louis area police uniform, decided to go after a woman's job because she dared to speak out against police brutality. This is what is seen as a threat to the authoritarian personalities in uniform, apart from being black, of course.  

The cop said she was "entitled" to her "opinion" against police brutality, but was not entitled to her job apparently, 

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

A woman who criticized police on Twitter says an officer called her boss in an attempt to get her fired, so she filed a formal complaint “to return the favor.”

Leigh Maibes, a real estate agent who tweets under the alias “Short Stack” and has been active on social media during the Ferguson protests, posted a link Wednesday to a YouTube video of a phone conversation with Officer Keith Novara.

It's good to know the corporate police state is on the job suppressing “bad speech” and protecting the interests and "good speech" of those who matter most to a corporate police state.

If you want to know who runs the place, notice the tolerance, and intolerance, to hate or criticism.


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Lessons on “Free Speech”

Did you dare to openly disagree with Bush’s invasion of Iraq? You would be accused of hating America and siding with the terrorists. Maybe even appear on a no-fly list.

Dare to protest the Military Industrial Complex and its powerful influence on our government and public policy that Ike warned us about? See above.

Dare to protest the corruption and immunity of Wall Street? Then you WILL be demonized and disparaged as a dirty commie hippy dropout, at the minimum.

So you dare to disagree with corporate person-hood and corporate money corrupting our elections and government?  Too bad. You will be accused of being “anti-free speech” and un-American.

Dare to protest and condemn the theft of land, occupation, and wholesale slaughter of innocents by Israel’s far Right Likud Party? You will be called an “anti-Semite” and maybe “pro-terrorist”.  You may even have the FBI at your door.

Dare to join hundreds of thousands of people demonstrating their concerns about pollution and climate change? Nobody cares. The “liberal media” will ignore all of you.

Hate Obama? Hate paying taxes? Hate liberals? Hate the Federal Government and its constitutional duty to tax for the general welfare and regulate commerce? Join the Koch/FOX (R) Tea Party and let your protest be amplified. Even if only a few dozen show up. You will find corporate PR and corporate media covering, if not cheering, your anger and hate.



If you want to know who runs the place, notice the tolerance, and intolerance, to hate or criticism.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Sarah, the Wise and Experienced Warrior and Stateswoman


Well, well, it looks like Obama has his war after all. Hey, that's what the job calls for. He wanted to be the manager of a militarist corporate surveillance state. 

He's got the perfect bad guys, too, custom made by the catastrophic failures of Bush's invasion of Iraq.

The renegade Islamic State thugs are succeeding in their efforts to draw the US into more war. Kill a couple journalists and let the American corporate media do the rest. “Freak out! NOW!. They’re coming to kill us in our sleep!"

Does anyone remember just before Bush launched his invasion of Iraq? We learned Americans are led to war like sheep. Let me show you how well the brainwashing worked:

Poll: 70% believe Saddam, 9-11 link
Posted 9/6/2003

WASHINGTON (AP) — Nearly seven in 10 Americans believe it is likely that ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the Sept. 11 attacks, says a poll out almost two years after the terrorists' strike against this country.

Sixty-nine percent in a Washington Post poll published Saturday said they believe it is likely the Iraqi leader was personally involved in the attacks carried out by al-Qaeda. A majority of Democrats, Republicans and independents believe it's likely Saddam was involved.

Yes, I'm afraid it CAN happen here. Good Americans are just like the Good Germans of 1939.

Couple that with the strategy that works every time:

All that we have to do is to send two Mujahedin to the farthest point East to raise a piece of cloth on which is written al-Qa’ida in order to make the generals race there to cause America to suffer human economic and political losses without their achieving for it anything of note other than some benefits to their private companies… So we are continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy. --- Osama bin laden

Remember when the Right used to lecture, "We need to listen to what the enemy says"?

IS learned something from old bin-Laden. The best way to hurt America is to draw it into ANOTHER futile military adventure in Iraq. It wasn't that long ago I predicted, quite easily, of course, an Iraq War III. It was inevitable after Bush’s disastrous war for crony profit and political capital.

Now Americans have been whipped into another frenzy of war fever. Two murdered journalists have stoked the public ire more than thousands of children shot in America. 

Yes, the Islamic State are evil and brutal fanatics. Yes, they need to be stopped. And no, the US isn’t the only country that should act. This is why we have the UN.

But some Americans want another war, and want it now. Perhaps we’d have more military support from other nations if they hadn’t made the mistake of believing the lies of Bush and Cheney the last time around.

So lucky for us, Sarah Palin has some military and foreign policy advice for President Obama, Oh, yes the Twit of the Tundra is sharpening her claws for war.

First thing first. Blame the black guy for the mess Bush created. Blame Obama that IS has seized American made weapons from the feeble Iraqi military that replaced the professional one Bush had dissolved.

Blame the black guy for the Status of Forces Agreement signed by Bush that removed troops from Iraq.

Throw in some far Right propaganda points about Obama “leading from behind”, or hating America,  or whatever toxic swill of hate they love to spew.

Palin knows just who to blame,“The rise of the animalistic terror group, ISIS, is the result of Obama’s lead-from-behind foreign policy.” I guess, this is how hypocrites “support the president” in a time of war.

“He had broadcast his war strategy for all the enemy to see in Iraq, so the enemy could wait us out and strike as soon as America turned tail and turned away from all we’d sacrificed there. Terrorists who we had under control got to regroup and grow after Obama’s premature pull out. Those are the facts, and some tough talking speech is still just talk.”

Yeah, Sarah, never mind the cult of the far Right was just this week accusing Obama of having no strategy. I suppose that would make sense to someone who blames Obama that, “America turned tail and turned away from all we’d sacrificed there”. Again, it was BUSH who signed the agreement to leave, under pressure from Iraqis sick of the occupation. Just blame the black guy, like a good racist, war mongering idiot. The RRBC Radical Right Bubble Cult is full of them.

She fumes, “Terrorists who we had under control got to regroup and grow after Obama’s premature pull out.”  Or would that also be false?

But what about the terrorists we created by invading Iraq? Damn, some of us got that one correct, too. 

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the head of the jihadist terror group was detained without charges by US forces, for reasons unclear, and confined in Camp Bucca. Although he was released into Iraqi custody in 2009, (Before, not after, the  alleged “premature pull out") former inmates of Camp Bucca say the military prison was a training ground for extremism.

Curiously, James Skylar Gerrond, a former US Air Force security forces officer and a compound commander at Camp Bucca in 2006 and 2007, also says that he believes Baghdadi's stay at the prison contributed to his radicalization—or at least bolstered his extremism.

So, Sarah, “Those are the facts, and some tough talking speech is still just talk.”

Yes, America, listen to the tough talking Quitter in Lipstick. She’s the “experienced expert” to guide our nation.

“War is hell. So go big or go home, Mr. President,” exhorts the woman who, AFTER being nominated for vice-president, needed to be taught who we were at war with in WWI and in Korea.

And all those "Good Americans" listen to her.


What. A. Country. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Robin Williams Tribute

Many blogs are featuring pieces memorializing Robin Williams, a one of a kind, genius of improv comedy. Sadly his depression and apparent suicide reflected the opposite side of his often manic humor. 

The bright side is he left us a legacy of laughter that will endure. We will miss him.

On the darker side we have Rush Limbaugh telling his authoritarian followers that Robin’s condition was due to his liberalism.  Yes, what a hateful authoritarian Asshole.

And speaking of assholes, one blog’s thread on Robin Williams was trolled by a far Right fanatic spewing about "Government run Health Care system by Liberal Fascists".

Yeah that’s what they do. They just can’t help themselves. It’s their far Right authoritarian personality, and as we know, theirs is the kind of hate that fuels fascism.

They truly deserve some serious, yet lighthearted, mockery and irreverence.

Wouldn't Robin Williams have a field day with their wild-eyed hysteria and derangement?

I can just picture it...

Robin announces the revelation to the audience:

"We learn from our friends in the Radical Right Bubble Cult that public health care and expanding health insurance is "fascism". (Audience chuckles)

Oh, yes, I’m serious. This is what they actually say….and believe….well, either that or they’re all liars. (Laughter) 

Let’s get real. Yes, reality, what a concept. Our friends in the RRBC have their OWN reality, of course,  because reality has a well known liberal bias. (Laughter)

This certainly is disturbing news.... It means every civilized nation on Earth is now fascist....and so are WE!!  (Laughter)

Everybody freak out!! All you "real Americans" better panic! (Loud Laughter) Strap on your military, I mean sporting, rifles and head for the hills!! (More Laughter)

And don't forget your Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck books! (Louder Laughter)

Yes, public health care and expanding health insurance is fascism. Obamacare, Romneycare, Medicare,…it’s ALL fascism. They wouldn't LIE, would they?? (Howls of laughter)

If that’s the case, we can only wonder what could describe starting a war in Iraq based on lies, for crony profit and political gain ...

Gee, didn't Hitler and Mussolini do that kind of thing? I bet they liked to call torture "enhanced interrogation" too.

Just like our "Good Americans". (Laughter and applause)

Thank you, thank you all. I hope our friends on the radical far right fringe understand we're just kidding. After all, they're the reasonable and understanding kind.......Right?"


(Wild Applause, cheers, whistles, and shouts of "WE LOVE YOU ROBIN!")


Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Hate and Blame Game


Iraq is unraveling and the far Right is blaming Obama. Who’s surprised?  Cheney, ever the hateful spewing liar, said, “Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many.”

 Classic radical Right projection.

It’s so easy for them to blame the black guy they hate so intensely. Not that they could possibly be racists, right? Ridiculous, they will tell us Obama and liberals are the real racists. 

More classic radical Right projection.

I have to laugh at the Obama Derangement Syndrome hysteria that has never died in the raving minds of authoritarian Bush/Cheney true believers. The cult blames Obama for everything bad in Iraq. It matters not that Bush’s war for crony profit and political gain destroyed the country, and left them a government aligned with Iran that planted the seeds of civil war. It matters not that the Iraqis demanded Bush to get the hell out of their country and he agreed to do so by treaty.

But what is astounding is even FOX(R) is not automatically defending Cheney anymore:

Megyn Kelly vs. Dick Cheney: An accountability moment for the ex-veep

Megyn Kelly came at Cheney hard in that Wednesday night appearance. She did not let him off the hook for what happened in 2003. It was an important moment for her, as a relatively new prime-time anchor, and for Fox.

Kelly began by quoting liberal Washington Post columnist Paul Waldman:

“‘There is not a single person in America who has been more wrong and more shamelessly dishonest on the topic of Iraq than Dick Cheney, and now as the cascade of misery and death and chaos, he did so much to unleash raises anew, Mr. Cheney has the unadulterated gall to come before the country and tell us that it's all someone else's fault.’ The suggestion is that you caused this mess, Mr. Vice President.  What say you?”

Cheney responded with his standard defense: “I think we went into Iraq for very good reasons.  I think when we left office, we had a situation in Iraq that was very positive… What happened was that Barack Obama came to office, and instead of negotiating a stay behind agreement, he basically walked away from it.”

Kelly came back hard: “But time and time again, history has proven that you got it wrong as well in Iraq, sir.  You said there were no doubts Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.  You said we would greeted as liberators.  You said the Iraq insurgency was in the last throes back in 2005.  And you said that after our intervention, extremists would have to, quote, ‘rethink their strategy of Jihad.’  Now with almost a trillion dollars spent there with 4,500 American lives lost there, what do you say to those who say, you were so wrong about so much at the expense of so many?”

Cheney stuck to his guns: “We inherited a situation where there was no doubt in anybody's mind about the extent of Saddam's involvement in weapons of mass destruction.  We had a situation where if we -- after 9/11, we were concerned about a follow-up  attack, it would involve not just airline tickets and box cutters as the weapons, but rather something far deadlier, perhaps even a nuclear weapon.”

Except there were no WMDs or nuclear weapons.

Thank you FOX(R)!

But the RRBC hate wagon rolls on.

One RRBC member revealingly asked, “Why is it ok for liberals to hate Bush but wrong for conservatives to hate Obama?”

This is the perfect frame of the RRBC (Radical Right Bubble Cult) world view. Hate.

For most enlightened liberals and other kind souls, hate is not ok. We understand it's dark, and ultimately self-defeating, nature.

If we hate, we try to “hate the sin and not the sinner”.

Not that war criminals Bush and Cheney haven't done anything to arouse hatred. Their building an unconstitutional secret surveillance state, and fondness for torture, also fuel the righteous anger of informed freedom loving Americans.

And there's no more effective way of spreading hatred than starting a war of aggression.

When their war was clearly for the benefit of crony capitalists and the political agenda of the war mongers, the aggressors invite hatred from more than their victims and enemies. Their fellow countrymen gifted with conscience will be enraged at the death, injustice and destruction occurring.

Astoundingly, our corporate media has featured neocons like Wolfowitz, Kristol and Cheney to spew their wrongheaded “expertise” on Iraq. Where else can those who have been proven so wrong be allowed to participate in the discussion? Especially when those who were correct and disputed the warmongers are nowhere to be seen. Only in a corporatist military empire is this possible.  Yes, the corporate media allow them on the air, and ignore the voices of sanity like censored talk show host Phil Donahue.

Some "liberal" media, eh?

Seeing many of the same liars and warmongers continue to profit, and be coddled by a complicit corporate media, and tolerated by an amoral government and justice system is enough to further anger and outrage all those with conscience.

What we hate more than the culprits is the utter lack of accountability and injustice for the torture, the warrantless surveillance, and deaths of hundreds of thousands. We hate seeing our nation transformed into a bellicose ugly beast, ruled by cold-blooded, belligerent, amoral corporate “citizens”.

If liberals hate Bush and Cheney it is because of the ongoing death, pain, suffering, and human tragedy that has unfolded from their evil lies and actions.

Many of the same liberals have grown angry at Obama for continuing too many of Bush's destructive militarist and surveillance state policies. Obama has been condemned for falling in line with Wall Street and corporate America, and for ignoring most progressive leaders and causes.. Many of his actions, or inactions, have been less than noble too. If I were emotionally immature and reactionary, I too could arouse some hate for Obama. I admit I hate his “looking forward” and away from accountability for the war criminals. 

So far I have yet to see one so-called conservative be that angry with Bush and Cheney. Yet the raving minds of authoritarian Bush/Cheney true believers know who to hate and blame, don’t they?

I've given my issues of contention with Obama; so what has Obama done to evoke the fierce and relentless hatred from the radical right? I don't mean conservative people like my grandmother. I mean the far right fringe of the RRBC true believers

They hate him for the mess Bush made in Iraq. They hate him for anything and everything, real or imagined. Just as they hate anyone who disagrees with their world view of corporate PR and Party propaganda.


Theirs is the kind of radical hate that fuels fascism. This is the face of fascism in America.