And I thought I was the only one...
Found through The Alien Trucker
I felt like that little girl in a bee costume
Cept with better Tejas muzak...
More about the - ahem -ever less reclusive Redneck Liberals out there...
I found a book (Liberal Rednecks Read!Yeehaw!)
In it, they describe the Conservative Redneck-
ill-dressed, surly... unintelligent and slinking... the sort of people that lynch Negroes, that mistake hoodlumism for wit, and cunning for intelligence, that attend revivals and fight and fornicate in the bushes afterwards. They were undiluted Anglo-Saxons. They were the sovereign voter.
Sounds 'bout right... at first flush. But with a second look, I do take exception at several things-
Making fun of the way rednecks dress is pretty elitist. They were poor and hard working. What little clothing they had was stained with the evidence of their labors. Putting food on the table came in way above "How do I look?" in prioritization. And they were not lackin' in intelligence so much as they were in education. The things that the affluent take for granted often reveal their innate bias. "Just look at them. You can tell they have no breeding." No, what they didn't have, that the "well-bred" did- was bread.
The description in italics above reminds me of how average whites often look down on black folks. The "slinking" bit in itself is particularly damning. Shit, when you are poor, grew up poor, and have been raised busting your ass and having the notion kicked into you every single day that those who had money were better than you- "slinking" sort of came natural. You weren't allowed to look a man with money in the eye. That was arrogance and jealousy, don't you know.
If that description is apt- concerning poor black people and poor white people alike- well, it seems to me that you can take the color description right out of it. Why, to the well-to-do, we are all ni**ers, that is of a certainty.
Another question comes up, in light of this - Why does the racism even get worse, louder, and more obvious, as you go down the financial food chain of white men?
Several reasons. The desire to be one of "You" the affluent- made us disregard what we had in common with the black working class and strive to adopt your own prejudices against them as mimicry. Another- was the fact that our community, within the poorest of the poor, was in direct competition with the black families. If you hired one of us, we tried to get you to hire others in our family, our extended family. Every job, every dollar that a black man got instead of one of us was one we didnt get. And vice versa.
And finally, a big driving factor was shame. We were told that blacks were less than whites. We were told by our "masters" that whites were better. We were told that is why whites ran everything. And deep inside, faced with this line of thought, we asked ourselves- how did we, white that we were, end up poor like just another black man? How worse were we, white people who were no better than our black neighbors? We were told we were innately supposed to be in a higher echelon. Yet here we were- all at the bottom. No matter what our color.
And that just couldn't be right. The rich said so. So We poor whites couldnt be at the same level as the poor blacks. It was impossible! So, armed with the knowledge of our 'betters'- we decided that the blacks must be cheating us, must be stealing from us, must be tricking us, to 'drag us down' to the same level.
And how could we prove that we were above them? The only way we could. We put them in their place. "Shit rolls downhill". We took out our misplaced anger on the black people. We pushed, we insulted, we degraded, we killed. We made sure they understood the "difference" between a poor white man and a poor black man. Which was- that our rich masters exonerated us of our crimes. They used us and rewarded us for our dirty deeds. After all, poor or not, we were still white. But, at the end of the day, our color didn't really matter to the rich, after all. We still were poor dirty white trash- must be because we were lazy and stupid. White or not, we were still subhumans to those "god had rewarded" with the benefit of good birth and good family.
This ain't no excuse for our actions. In fact, it's the opposite. It's a conviction of our ignorance. We WERE ignorant fools and in our ignorance we allowed ourselves to be divided and conquered once again.
But some of us woke up.
Some of us finally figured out we had more in common with the black man than we did the rich man.
And a redneck liberal was born.
"And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your ass"
Okay, that's all I got for now... Thoughts? This is more emotion writing for me than it is conscious thought. But its how I see things. I could be wrong.
Back to the music- On a ZZ Top kick right now...
Love the older bluesy stuff..
My Favorite late-night-hand-me-the-last-beer-and-by-the-way-shut-the-hell-up-so-I-can-hear-the-music song... (Number 136 on the Jukebox at the Sand trap...)
And with that, I think I'll call it a night.
Feb 29, 2008
And I thought I was the only one...
Feb 27, 2008
What about that oil?
What's in a name? Barack Hussein style
Dr. Ben Marble (the guy who told Dick Cheney to go fuck himself) sent me a link to his new music vid - Go FU Cheney music vid
Texas - the CO2 State
Israeli Minister threatens Palestine with Holocaust
Watching Bill Maher's program the other day, with Kingston and Frum, I really wanted to reach through the tv and knock the shit out of Kingston. The guy is a total lying sleazebag and the people he's really lying to the most are his own supporters, republicans. He was pimping the flag pin/pledge of allegiance bullshit. This video I found at Americablog pretty much refutes this new pile of steaming republican lies. I have noticed Dan Abrams has been taking it to the liars pretty well lately, ala Olbermann. He's like the anti-Joe Scarborough.
And last but not least, Olbermann dissects the Bushspeak ....
Random observation: Going through my sitemeter and reviewing some of the hits I got through google searches DOES NOT give me any faith in my fellow man... There are some sick fucks out there.
A great and generous blog lord gives freely to his vassals...
May the peace and love of the Ape-Human Renaissance continue unabated.
Dr. Z at home, listening to Irene play Skynrd and perusing the papernet blogs...
Thank you for the accolades. Carry on your valuable research, good sir.
Feb 26, 2008
CJ lets us know lets us know what Diebold is up to
Buck at Blue Herald lets us know what Bush Thurston Howell III is up to
George Washington lets us know what our friends our trying to tell us (Hat tip : Liberality)
PZ lets us know about the Encyclopedia of Life
Tomdispatch lets us know who the world's most wanted really are
Truthdig lets us know lets us know that Anonymous is not only fighting Scientology, but Ralph Nader too
Mr. Fish lets us know how the Republican party looks to the American public:
After reading this account of our soldiers in Afghanistan, I am reminded that the situation there is no less fucked up than in Iraq.
Fixer at Alternate Brain , who like me, is not one to mince words, posts today that we could have already won in Afghanistan if we would've have been more merciless. I understand the sentiment, really I do, and I always felt that Afghanistan was different from Iraq. I believed they deserved it. Why? Because Osama was there right? He was in charge, with the Taliban, right? Well, whatever. But also, I thought Afghanistan deserved what they got because, if nothing else, they seemed to be celebrating the 9-11 attacks. So, fuck em, right? But years past that knee jerk kill em all feeling- the one that also told me that sending our troops there was justified- I don't seem to believe my simple minded revenge horseshit anymore. Alternate Brain is one of my favorite spots- and I respect Fixer and his opinion on this matter, even though I disagree. He certainly isn't some neocon gasbag postulating emptily on this matter. It's understandable to wish "the enemy" was all dead so our soldiers could come home and get some relief from the never-ending hell that the Republican party has inflicted on them.
Here's a brief excerpt from "Wanna go to war?"-
And thinking about it, I think I should explain.
According to the narrative we've heard since 11 September 2001, the nation of Afghanistan harbored Osama bin Laden and facilitated the attacks on the US. Fine. Why did we go in there saying 'we'll take out the Taliban, but we're gonna go over there and win hearts and minds'?
Let me explain something. You don't go to war worrying about winning hearts and minds. You go to war to break the enemy, pound him far enough so he surrenders. War is ugly, dirty, and a last resort but if you're gonna go, you have to go ugly and dirty. Why in Hell do you think they call it 'war'?
We should have blown Afghanistan to shit, period. Fuck the innocents, fuck everything and kill 'em all. Worry about building hearts and minds later. There should have been a horrible price exacted from them for attacking America. Instead, we have the mess we do now. We have guys in Hindu Kush getting killed using the same tactics the Mujaheddin used against the Russians. You don't go in to a war worrying about offending sensibilities. It's war for crying out loud.
My reply in the comments there:
The sentiment that you can "kill them all" is some Neocon John Wayne Bullshit. You can't kill them all. You could send in fire missions til we run out of bombs, you can kill every civvie you see every day for the next year, and you won't Kill them all. The Afghani people didn't do 9-11. Saudis and Bin Ladin did. Going all Rambo/Ace of Spades wouldn't do anything but make America a genuine Nazi nation, and make us a hell of lot more subject to global ridicule and retaliation. As long as we have the benefit of the doubt, even the barest shred of illusion that we are doing the right thing, we won't be held accountable as much as we would if we went in with a true scorched earth policy. So, sorry, but I think that the notion of killing every woman and child in Afghanistan only does one thing: Gives the psychos their jollies. "Do we get to win this time?" It's pure bullshit. And the soldiers who came back from the mass slaughter of truly innocent villagers this would involve- would be forever fucked in the head. Be careful what you wish for.
(Update: To clarify- the reference to 'gives the psychos their jollies' is in no way directed at Fixer, but at the macho neocon chickenhawks that always use the kill 'em all argument)
And I recalled having posting on the Kill em all mindset before, at the Old House. Here is the full post from that day, July 14 2006 (during Israel's assault on Lebanon)
How many times have you heard your neighbor or co-worker say something along the lines of "We ought to kill them all!" ?
As much as Republicans want to distance themselves from any comparisons to Nazi-like tendencies- GENOCIDE - was a tool used by the Nazis. And to seriously discuss Genocide, as if it were some possibility or tactic- is to court the absolute worst crime of the 20th century and make yourself an easy target for comparisons to the Nazi party.
Since this topic was initiated by my employer, (an Ex Army Officer, veteran of two tours in Viet Nam, a helicopter pilot who was awarded several medals) I will address the genocide solution to Palestinians- whom he was blaming for all terror acts as we watched Israeli shells blowing Lebanon to bits while the Lebanese Army, hopelessly outmatched, stood aside and simply did damage control against the Israeli onslaught.
I noted to him that blowing up innocent civilians, whether you do it with a homemade bomb OR a shell from a tank that America sold Israel- was still an act of terror to the civilian population.
"One of these days, we're going to- have to kill them all, kill all of these ... Palestinians. Don't you think?" He asked, probably a little less forcefully than normal because he knows I have intricate opinions on world politics. Now I suppose the standard Texan's response is "Hell yes. Kill them before they kill us." But that's simplistic propaganda of the lowest common denominator.
I replied that I didn't think we can eradicate a "people". It's just not possible. And if it was, the results would be horrendous and America WOULD be considered the new Nazis around the globe. He quickly changed the subject to the price of oil, spiking during Israel's invasion. It was the end of the day and nothing more was discussed about it.
Later I thought about all the times I have seen some otherwise humane and thoughtful American spouting Genocidal nonsense as if it WERE A SOLUTION. It is not.
But, since this idea is constantly running through the backs of so many Americans' minds- let's take a look at the simple realities of those who supposedly love freedom and democracy to entertain the mass murder of millions:
"They all want to kill us". No. They don't. There are 1.5 billion adherents to Islam on the planet- If they all wanted to kill us, there would be MUCH MUCH More strife than what we see. Those jihadists, like American genocidists, are very much in the minority. And it's a good thing- because it is insanity to believe you can destroy billions of people in their entirety.
If we want to eradicate all the worshippers of Islam- that's a lot of killing. Short of a massive nuclear war that would kill more than two thirds of the people on the planet, it's NOT going to happen. And if you want it to, you belong in a loony bin.
Okay, you say, you're not advocating killing ALL the muslims- that's crazy. You KNOW that- but killing all the terrorists- Yeah, that's the ticket. Well, who are the terrorists? They are NOT Entire nations. We cannot label every Palestinian a jew-hating terrorist just like we can't label every Israeli a Haji-hating terrorist. I know pro-peace movement people on both sides- who have the hardest job of all- convincing their own people that the solution to unending violence is Not More Violence. Sounds like a no-brainer, but the hate stops brains from working properly.
Well, okay- I get it- but still, the Palestinians MAINLY hate us all and so we should kill them all, man,woman, and child. Then there would be no terror.
Okay- well let's examine it. Let's say in a joint Israeli/American operation we do just that. We kill every Palestinian in Israel/Palestine. Well that's 5.3 million. How we are expected to just kill them all, I will leave the details to the vivid imaginations of the Genocidists. Gas chambers perhaps? But after those 5 million are dead, theres another 4 million in other countries. I suppose we can root them out with the aid of the other countries.
Now once we have killed those 9 million "terrorists" we're good, right? That will solve everything? Do you think that the 1,491,000,000 muslims left in the global population would stand by and let America commit genocide? Would Christians stand by as 9 million of their people were systematically slaughtered?
No one would- The world would rise together, aghast, as we did in response to WWII and America would be finished as a world power.
So, please - PLEASE - put away your scorched earth armchair quarterback fantasies- because that mentality can lead to the ruin of America. And more to the point- this type of mentality allows the American people to tacitly approve of other evil useless insanity such as torture and secret prisons. This mindset is THAT OF THE JIHADISTS. Do you hate EVERYTHING the terrorists believe in and what they stand for? Then stop supporting it, in the guise of supporting America. It's wrong.
The only solution is diplomacy, peace and empathy. Oh you damn hippies!
That notion doesn't sit well with the scorched earth crowd who say that No peace-spouter ever solved anything. Is that true? Really?
Ghandi didn't? Jesus didn't? Jesus is a prophet to Muslims as well as christians. Bet the average christian doesn't know that. You might as well throw your bible away if you aren't going to at least attempt to follow Jesus' teachings. Countless others have fought against taking the easy path, to War- and persevered.
So if we can't kill everyone who disagrees with us, can we work to GET ALONG?
It's not as hard as some of the haters want you to believe.
Can't you stop bleeding from your bowels and start bleeding with your heart like some of us who realize the answer is PEACE?
We have seen the alternative in Ireland, in Palestine, In Iraq. In every country on the planet at one time or another. PEACE is the ONLY solution.
UPDATE: Taibbi has more on McCain and America's love of "the good wars"
Feb 22, 2008
Votes cast by Democrats in the recent primaries in Maryland, Virginia and Tuesday's Wisconsin primaries have greatly exceeded those cast by Republicans in each state. In fact, if you combine the total of votes cast for Senator McCain and Governor Huckabee in Wisconsin they don't equal the number of votes cast for Senator Obama (and come nowhere close if you add in those cast for Senator Clinton.)
Feb 21, 2008
I never thought I would live to see the day when more Lubbockites participated in the Democratic Primary than in the Republican Primary in the second most conservative city in the USA. Let’s hope the trend continues through election day (where, for once, the Democratic precinct conventions will get the nice big rooms in the voting locations!).
This is an exciting time to be a Democrat!"
Tom Hayden returns to Vietnam
As I walked through the busy Christmas streets, however, I was gripped by the question of why the Vietnam War was necessary in the first place. Why kill, maim and uproot millions of Vietnamese if the outcome was a consumer wonderland approved by the country's still-undefeated Communist Party? The whole wretched American rationale for the war, that Vietnam was a dangerous domino, a pawn in the cold war, seemed so painfully wrong. Was there any connection between destroying so much life and causing the Vietnamese to go Christmas shopping? Would the same outcome--a one-party socialist government leading a market economy--have occurred in any event, without the destruction? Now that US naval ships were paying peaceful visits to Da Nang, this question nagged at me: is it possible that Marxism and nationalism won the war but capitalism and nationalism have won the peace?
Just Another day in Iraq
5 US Troops Killed;
25 Dead, 70 Wounded in Violence;
Turkey Bombs Iraq
Siegelman story freed
The Siegelman story will air on 60 minutes this Sunday, after all... Watch it or DVR it if you can.
Scott Horton has been on top of this issue.. .
Siegelman was sentenced in June 2007.
Trial Sentencing article
It appears that Siegelman was guilty, was sentenced and went to jail. I don't have a problem with that. But what has been discovered is that Karl Rove ordered Siegelman's prosecution via Republican agents in order to take the Alabama GOP back from Democrats. And this was all done while ignoring the Republican crookery going on at all levels of George Bush's pyramid of cronies...
So, I can't say I feel sorry for Siegelman, he's a crook. But the way Bush's officials and appointees apply the law to only their political enemies is exactly why the Attorney scandal is so very important. This is why we need to prosecute Karl Rove, Alberto Gonzales, Dick Cheney, and President Bush, along with their army of corrupt political creatures. This is not democracy!
They are picking and choosing which of their political enemies to destroy, while ordering their subordinates to ignore their own criminal actions.
Is there anything these animals won't do to dismantle our country? Is anything at all in America sacred to these powermad thieves and charlatans?
These men are traitors. We are witnessing the lowest, vilest, most unpatriotic actions by government officials in our lifetimes. President Bush signs signing statement after signing statement that say he does not have to abide by the laws of this land. His criminal toadie, Karl Rove, says that if people don't like it, they can take him to court. Of course, this is a court system that George and Karl have carefully weighted with attorneys, judges, and prosecutors who are merely Republican sycophants. These are men and women who have been bought and sold all the way up to the Supreme Court. The rule of law and our constitution is thrown out the window by these greedy treasonous bastards.
This IS Treason. Our country is going down the drain- It is time to put away ALL the criminals, not just the ones who Karl Rove picks off his enemies list. Time to take a bite out of crime- starting at the top. Crime is crime, but crime against our entire judicial system is no less than a traitorous act by the worst of men.
UPDATE : Winter Patriot has a recap of the Alabama "Blackout" of the 60 minutes Siegelman portion, and how the Republicans who spoke out about Rove were threatened and attacked.
Feb 19, 2008
Edwards Meets Obama - From John Nichols at Common Dreams (and The Nation)
So Barack Obama jetted out of Wisconsin, where he is battling for a big victory in Tuesday’s primary, for a Sunday meeting in Chapel Hill with John and Elizabeth Edwards. The Illinois senator left reporters behind to make what he hoped would be a secret trip, but a North Carolina television station was tipped off and got footage of Obama leaving the home where he met with the Edwardses.
Obama asked for an endorsement. But he also provided the former senator and his wife with detailed arguments about why he would be a stronger Democratic candidate in November, and an outline of how he would seek to implement progressive economic reforms as president.
A key part of the discussion focused on a priority of John Edwards: writing a Democratic platform that outlines a genuine change agenda.
“The meeting with John, we just wanted to talk about how we can move the party in a direction that focuses on middle-class issues, relieving poverty, reducing the influence of special interests in Washington,” Obama acknowledged Sunday night.
Obama has framed his Wisconsin campaign against Clinton as a fight over trade policy, but Obama’s record is not a whole lot better than Clinton’s on this issue. Edwards, who ran for the Democratic nomination this year as an ardent advocate for fair trade policies, has earned credibility with key unions — especially the United Steelworkers and to a lesser extent the United Auto Workers.
If an Edwards endorsement were to help break loose endorsements from those two unions, which remain powerful players in Ohio, it would be a dramatic boost for Obama.
Additionally, Edwards remains a particularly popular figure in rural and southern states. In Oklahoma, for instance, the former senator took more than 10 percent of the vote on February 5, after he had withdrawn from the race.
Parts of Oklahoma are a lot like parts of Texas, and Obama would love to have Edwards take a swing through the Lone Star state before the March 4 primary.
Will it happen?
I notice my No-Civil-War post hasn't made anyone more civil by the way... More political name-calling by progressives on both sides. Bushbots, and Hillbots, and Obamabots, oh my! From Kos to No Quarter, there is some ugliness out there. I was going to link the specific posts, but I decided not to give the divisiveness any more publicity. Forward, not backward, guys and gals...
Again, progressive posts that viciously attack Obama OR Hillary and insult the people who support them with derogatory terms are just self-defeating. And to use the "Repubs will say this, too" defense is ignorant, as well. Watch where you guys are chucking those stones, after all, we all have to live in this big glass house in the end.
Keep your eye on the prize, people- Hillary AND Obama are both iffy candidates that could mean a close election in what should be a landslide. What makes either of them electable is that the Republicans have destroyed their credibility on the economy and the war (two matters intrinsically tied together, by the way...) and being all attack and no substance, time and again.
Namecalling Obama and Hillary supporters isn’t going to help your chosen candidate, it just demeans the Democratic side as a whole.
This is the only real chance Republicans have to win in 2008: that the Progressives fall into infighting. I hate to see this shit on No Quarter, from people who have seen firsthand just how bad the Repubs are, and what lengths they will go to. I can't say much about Kos, I rarely visit that site...
Hillary isn’t some super liberal, as you well know. Neither is Obama. But both are better than the alternative. The more attack posts there are among progressives, the closer we are to having McCain as a President. Please, PLEASE focus on the positives on the candidates, if you can, and refrain from attacking the Democrats who have thrown their support to 'the other side'.
If the only “support” you can dredge up for your candidate are these attacks - then you will end up helping another piece of shit Republican get elected. Please, take a minute before you go into attack mode. If you are just mudslinging on another Democrat, who you don't like as much as your candidate, - or worse, ridiculing progressives and liberals who support the other Dem, then maybe it's not worth posting.
Feb 15, 2008
C&L has the video from Keith Olbermann's newest Special Comment:
President Bush is a Liar and a Fascist
Logan Murphy also has the full transcript there...
I officially apologize to Keith Olbermann for doubting him recently...
Thank you Keith Olbermann- one of the few journalists left.
Mr. Bush, you say that our ability to track terrorist threats will be weakened and our citizens will be in greater danger.
Yet you have weakened that ability!
You have subjected us, your citizens, to that greater danger!
This, Mr. Bush, is simple enough even for you to understand.
For the moment, at least, thanks to some true patriots in the House, and your own stubbornness, you have tabled telecom immunity, and the FISA act.
By your own terms and your definitions — you have just sided with the terrorists.
You got to have this law or we’re all going to die.
But practically speaking, you vetoed this law.
It is bad enough, sir, that you were demanding an Ex Post Facto law, which could still clear the AT&Ts and the Verizons from responsibility for their systematic, aggressive, and blatant collaboration with your illegal and unjustified spying on Americans under this flimsy guise of looking for any terrorists who are stupid enough to make a collect call or send a mass e-mail.
But when you demanded it again during the State of the Union address, you wouldn’t even confirm that they actually did anything for which they deserved to be cleared.
“The Congress must pass liability protection for companies believed to have assisted in the efforts to defend America.” Believed?
Don’t you know?
Don’t you even have the guts Dick Cheney showed in admitting they did collaborate with you?
Does this endless presidency of loopholes and fine print extend even here?
If you believe in the seamless mutuality of government and big business — come out and say it!
There is a dictionary definition, one word that describes that toxic blend.
You’re a fascist — get them to print you a t-shirt with “fascist” on it!
What else is this but fascism?
Did you see Mark Klein on this newscast last November?
Mark Klein was the AT&T Whistleblower, the one who explained in the placid, dull terms of your local neighborhood I-T desk, how he personally attached all AT&T circuits — everything — carrying every one of your phone calls, every one of your e-mails, every bit of your web browsing into a secure room, room number 641-A at the Folsom Street facility in San Francisco, where it was all copied so the government could look at it.
Not some of it, not just the international part of it, certainly not just the stuff some spy — a spy both patriotic and telepathic — might able to divine had been sent or spoken by — or to — a terrorist.
Every time you looked at a naked picture.
Every time you bid on eBay.
Every time you phoned in a donation to a Democrat.
“My thought was,” Mr. Klein told us last November, “George Orwell’s 1984. And here I am, forced to connect the big brother machine.”
And if there’s one thing we know about Big Brother, Mr. Bush, is that he is — you are — a liar.
“This Saturday at midnight,” you said today, “legislation authorizing intelligence professionals to quickly and effectively monitor terrorist communications will expire. If Congress does not act by that time, our ability to find out who the terrorists are talking to, what they are saying, and what they are planning, will be compromised…You said that “the lives of countless Americans depend” on you getting your way.
This is crap.
And you sling it, with an audacity and a speed unrivaled even by the greatest political felons of our history.
Richard Clarke — you might remember him, sir, he was one of the counter-terror pro’s you inherited from President Clinton, before you ran the professionals out of government in favor of your unreality-based reality —
Richard Clarke wrote in the Philadelphia Inquirer:
“Let me be clear: Our ability to track and monitor terrorists overseas would not cease should the Protect America Act expire. If this were true, the president would not threaten to terminate any temporary extension with his veto pen. All surveillance currently occurring would continue even after legislative provisions lapsed because authorizations issued under the act are in effect up to a full year.”
You are a liar, Mr. Bush, and after showing some skill at it, you have ceased to even be a very good liar.
And your minions like John Boehner — your Republican congressional crash dummies who just happen to decide to walk out of Congress when a podium-full of microphones await them — they should just keep walking, out of Congress and if possible, out of the country.
For they — and you, sir — have no place in a government of the people, by the people, for the people.
The lot of you, are the symbolic descendants of the despotic middle managers of some banana republic, to whom “Freedom” is an ironic brand name, a word you reach for, when you want to get away with its opposite.
Thus, Mr. Bush, your panoramic invasion of privacy is dressed up as “protecting America.”
Thus, Mr. Bush, your indiscriminate domestic spying becomes the focused monitoring, only of “terrorist communications.”
Thus, Mr. Bush, what you and the telecom giants have done, isn’t unlawful, it’s just the kind of perfectly legal, passionately patriotic thing for which you happen to need immunity!
Richard Clarke is on the money, as usual.
That the President was willing to veto this eavesdropping, means there is no threat to the legitimate counter-terror efforts underway.
As Senator Kennedy reminded us in December:
“The President has said that American lives will be sacrificed if Congress does not change FISA. But he has also said that he will veto any FISA bill that does not grant retroactive immunity.
No immunity, no FISA bill. So if we take the President at his word, he’s willing to let Americans die to protect the phone companies.”
And that literally cannot be.
Even Mr. Bush could not overtly take a step that actually aids the terrorists.
I am not talking about ethics here.
I am talking about blame.
If the President seems to be throwing the baby out with the bathwater, it means we can safely conclude… there is no baby.
Because if there were, sir, now that you have vetoed an extension of this eavesdropping, if some terrorist attack were to follow…
You would not merely be guilty of siding with the terrorists…
You would not merely be guilty of prioritizing the telecoms over the people…
You would not merely be guilty of stupidity…
You would not merely be guilty of treason, sir…
You would be personally, and eternally, responsible.
And if there is one thing we know about you, Mr. Bush, one thing that you have proved time and time again… it is that you are never responsible.
As recently ago as 2006, we spoke words like these with trepidation.
The idea that even the most cynical and untrustworthy of politicians in our history — George W. Bush — would use the literal form of terrorism against his own people — was dangerous territory. It seemed to tempt fate, to heighten fear.
We will not fear any longer.
We will not fear the international terrorists — we will thwart them.
We will not fear the recognition of the manipulation of our yearning for safety — we will call it what it is: terrorism.
We will not fear identifying the vulgar hypocrites in our government — we will name them.
And we will not fear George W. Bush.
Nor will we fear because George W. Bush wants us to fear.
Feb 14, 2008
Happy VD! Valentine's day, that is-
The Grinch who shanked Cupid (Batocchio) lets us know how he really feels about the manufactured moment that is Valentine's...
Here's a little love for some bloggers I recently rediscovered. I think Blogtopia (SKIPPY owns the copyright on that term) is a lot like living in a small town- sooner or later you run into everyone you may have lost track of ... I love my fellow blogtopians, so if I haven't got you linked or you've gotten kicked off the blogroll during my frequent brawls with blogger layouts, let me know-
Here are a few bloggers who I ran back into recently-
Bob at Mad in the Middle
CJ of Current Jam
And I don't link thepoetryman of A Poetic Justice (who I'll always think of as MP from back in the day) as much as I should- but surfing randomly around his blog is never wasted time...
So, enjoy your manufactured moments today!
Feb 13, 2008
Followers of both sides of the the Democratic Civil War:
Whether you like Clinton or Obama- (or Kucinich, Edwards, Richardson, Gravel for that matter)
This is a public service reminder -
This IS our REAL (the really real) Enemy: REPUBLICANS
Try to keep this in mind, while you pimp (oops did I say pimp?) your favorite candidate
This is how Republican minds work:
This is their idea of a great leader:
They support these troops:
Not These troops...
They believe that Sept.11 is an accessory, not an atrocity
Their idea of "fair and balanced" is waaaayyyy off
Even their women don't want women to be able to vote
And here's the Republican platform. They support a whole lot of this:
Never Ending War
Ancient Fundamentalist Dogma
Hypocritical Sex criminals
So whoever you vote for in 2008, just make sure it's not THIS Guy:
And things will be okay. Or at least you won't be entertaining hopes for the Rapture or fears of the Apocalypse on a daily basis...
Remember, back in 2000, some liberals were saying that Gore was as bad as Bush. I think, well I certainly HOPE, that we have learned our lesson. They may not be Progressive messiahs, but Obama or Clinton are light years ahead of the competition.
UPDATE: Dcup gave me some link love at American Street - Give the site a visit-
UPDATE2: Hi to all my friends visiting from C&L and Mike's Blog Round up!
Nelson Hultberg has a rebuttal for the Pollyannas...
The Fed is not a "swift and decisive captain at the helm of the good ship Gibraltar." It is a mafia gang of ideological thugs who have been handed a printing press that pours out green pieces of paper because 70 years of sham economics in the school system have bamboozled Americans into believing paper money is wealth if we call it wealth. But as any economist knows, money itself is not wealth. If money was actually wealth, then the government could just print up a million dollars for everyone and wipe poverty off the face of the earth. Money is just a substitute for wealth, a store of value for it. True wealth is the goods and services that we have produced. It can never be created with a printing press.
So are things really that bad?...The Fed has shown that it is willing to act quickly to reverse course and hike interest rates once it is clear that the economy is through this bout of weakness.
Yes, the Fed may be able to whipsaw us again into another bout of "boom times," and then whipsaw us back to higher rates. That's the plan, I'm sure. But I doubt it will work this time around. The mortgage mess, the derivatives overload, the insidious termites of debt, the plague of protracted foreign wars, the cerebral decadence and fraud of our intellectual class all add up to the Lilliputians not just tying Gulliver down, but poisoning him in the process to keep him down for a long time. I would say the Fed is going to be whipsawing us into a long bout of "stagflation" rather than "boom times." And since the Fed will not want to assume responsibility for bringing on such fiscal insanity, it will cover its connection to the bad times with a lot of doubletalk and sophistry. The boys at the Fed are good at sophistry to cover up the ideological criminality that launched their cartel back in 1913 and which is the cause of this long train of monetary debasement promoted as "new economics." Unfortunately our establishment media are very bad at deciphering sophistry.
Here lies the real nature of the Keynesian economic paradigm. It is a grandiose endeavor in SOPHISTRY and IDEOLOGICAL CRIMINALITY. This, in a nutshell, is the economic history of the 20th century. A band of collectivist ideologues (with the philosophical prescience of John Law and the moral compass of a pack of wolves) hijacked Western civilization. They have not guided our airplane bravely through the treacherous storms of reality. They have created the treacherous storms themselves. This is what human beings get when they attempt to extract more from life than they are willing to put in.
One man's recession is another man's goldmine. Invest accordingly. See you at the real bottom.
Feb 12, 2008
What the Fisa?
What the Fisa?
Crooks and Liars
Obama showed, Hillary didn’t.
Hillary didnt voice a word about this, and her silence is deafening.
She could have put her leverage to work. She didnt.
Any Hillary Progressives should hang their heads in shame. Any women who want better rights- will this woman sell you out the way she did Progressives?
Edwards is out, so she might as well run back to the right.
and almost 20 cowardly/bought and paid for Democrats joined the completely sold out Republicans.
Goddamn it all to hell, are you fucking fed up yet?
Actor212/Carl is way more in the know than some piddly ass Redneck liberal like me... He's backing Hillary, all the way. And I just want to know how blowing off our freedom helps us.
"Cuz I'm just a simple motherfucker, here, and I guess I don't get it"
Feb 11, 2008
Arthur Silber is back and with a little help from Matt Taibbi , tells us, again:
Any individual who rises to the national political level is, of necessity and by definition, committed to the authoritarian-corporatist state. The current system will not allow anyone to be elected from either of the two major parties who is determined to dismantle even one part of that system.
I love Arthur's writing. I love his passion and his fire. After reading this article, however, I wondered if people sometimes read my rants and have the bitter taste left in their mouth that Arthur's rant left in mine-
Shorter Arthur: The system is fucked. All Progressives are fucked. You are probably a hypocrite for not noticing. But even if you do notice, you will still just eat shit and die.
Arthur's writings have had their own effect on me. I sometimes believe that if just enough people could see the truth or if they only believed what I do, that the country would change overnight. People would suddenly comprehend what Arthur says and what I say and what a thousand others are saying and we would rise up and force the politicians to change as a result.
I don't see Arthur leading a rebellion with his cats, his sickbed mounted on a tank. I don't see myself leading a crowd of veterans to storm the Rush Limbaughs and Sean Hannitys, even though I truly believe these lying, self-serving propagandists are destroying all that is truly patriotic in our country. I can't see Keith Olbermann calling Bush a traitor to his face. I cannot see the leader of a superchurch that says "Enough is Enough. Torture and murder is un-christian, we have sinned in this war". I can't see a few good millionaires standing up against the crowd in the whitehouse looting the treasury. I can't see a nation that rises up against a system that is self-destructing in a full rebellion against this 2 party corporatocracy.
That's a lot of pain to inflict upon ourselves for a nation that is still only partially broken. It will get worse before it gets better. It is bad now, but it hasn't quite fallen apart yet. We still do have options, even though they are not as pure, as perfect as we'd like them to be. From this high ground of self-awareness, nothing seems to be a good idea but to completely remove the ranks of politicians and fill it with our clones. Everyone else is just an appeaser to the system that has failed us.
At the end of Arthur's article, I get nothing but a world of eternal shit. It isn't that bad yet. It may get there. Arthur's writing has done me a service, over and over, by helping me understand the everyday hypocrisy that we all have had a hand in, as citizens of a nation that is responsible for a million deaths- and barring protests, have done nothing to stop it. Nothing really. We haven't sacrificed anything to stop it. Nor will we. Until it gets worse. Not for those damn Iraqis, of course, but worse for ourselves.
Arthur believes that Americans are fooling ourselves more than I believe we are. Look, we know the score, and deep inside, as a people, we just don't give a shit about those dead people half a planet away. Even the worst neocon anti-environmentalist understands that the world's resources are limited, and that we all will die, and that in order for some to prosper, others will have to die sooner. There is predator and there is prey. As long as the American people don't feel the full-fledged bite of the predator, then we will remain content. As long as we are the top predator in the food chain, we will not be overly concerned with the plight of the prey. We are animals. We are chattel, too.
If our "hope", in the form of Obama or Clinton, offers nothing in reality, then we will sink further into excrement. We will be one step closer to being prey instead of lead predator as a result of our gross depletion of everything in sight.
There is a place for balance. If we can find that balance, we can be self-sufficient and survive. In order to balance we must sacrifice efficiently and effectively against our consumption.
If not, the shit we eat and die from will be our own.
UPDATE: The link to Taibbi's piece has a lot of interesting comments as well.
UPDATE 2: Winter Patriot has a comprehensive post on Iraq
But, but the rich people pay all the taxes, right? right? And the rich finance all of America's financial growth, right?
Bush: If they’re going to say, oh, we’re only going to tax the rich people, but most people in America understand that the rich people hire good accountants and figure out how not to necessarily pay all the taxes and the middle class gets stuck.
The subprime mess (details below) was enabled by the mythological big taxpayer at the top of the foodchain. The underlying "logic" was that big business, big financials, and the Daddy Warbucks 1%'ers of the American multimillionaires were paying the lion's share, and as such, well, it would be okay to cut them a little slack... Their money went back to America investitures, financing most of the growth of American business. This was true up until a certain point. But as Daniel Gross of Newsweek points out, when the transparency and accountability disappeared, and with it- the profitability, these 1%ers quickly began shifting their money out of the U.S., which had become, largely due to their own machinations, a losing bet.
The latest investment trends similarly lead me to think you may not be acting in the national interest. America's private-equity firms are plowing into India, China, Asia and Latin America, and private bankers are urging clients to drop the home bias (don't think condos in Palm Beach and ski chalets in Aspen; think beachfront property in Thailand and ski resorts in the Alps). A Spectrem Group survey of people with more than $500,000 to invest found that 31 percent are putting more capital to work internationally than in the past. "The rich are investing a larger share of their capital overseas," says "Richistan" author Robert Frank.
Just when the economy has started to take on water—and we don't know if we've just sprung a leak or we've hit an iceberg—it seems like the wealthy are piling into the lifeboats. So consider this a plea not to abandon us. Ski at Sugarbush instead of Gstaad. Invest in P.F. Chang's China Bistro instead of China. It might not be as rewarding, financially or psychologically. But your country needs you now, more than ever. And after all we've done for you, it's the least you can do.
I am afraid that a plea to the rich to help the country surely falls on deaf ears. Patriotism falls a distant second to personal profit. Capitalism trumps National pride. Their sense of duty to the so-called "Free Market" is more powerful than any duty to our country and a real Democracy. It's the poor people's fault they're poor, after all. And as these rats jump from a ship they are helping to sink, they can only blame everyone else.
These multi-millionaires, who are running the country, and lately, running it into the ground, talk a big talk about what this country was built on. Underneath their loud bluster, the truth comes out of the sides of their disingenous mouths... Their constitution is a prospectus, their bible is book of tax exemption codes, and their savior is a savvy investment adviser who raises his hands and exhorts "Buy China!" from the mountaintop. Buying America is as foreign to today's billionaire as the concept that all men are created equal. They can spout the virtue of a Global economy all that they want: Their rush to fill their own pockets at the forefront of whichever economy they talk up only hastens the demise of the American economy.
The thought that they, the self-appointed American aristocracy, knew what was best for the country by simply filling their pockets as fast as they could seems so outlandish that you wonder how these people got rich in the first place. But most of them didn't make this money, they inherited it. Their predecessors (the people who made the bulk of the money for these inheritors of America's riches) seemed to understand the concept of an economy that perpetuated its growth. You gave back and pumped some of your profits into the system, from the bottom up, in order to keep your cash crop coming in. By failing to comprehend this key principle in their gluttony, they are dooming the American economy.
The Subprime situation and Asset Securitization is, as F. William Engdahl puts it- "The Last Tango" of the dance of the American assetmongers on their own graves...
(Excerpts from Financial Sense)
The New Finance was built on an incestuous, interlocking, if informal, cartel of players, all reading from the script written by Alan Greenspan and his friends at J.P. Morgan, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and the other major financial houses of New York. Securitization was going to secure a “new” American Century and its financial domination, as its creators clearly believed on the eve of the millennium.
Key to the revolution in finance in addition to the unabashed backing of the Greenspan Fed, was the complicity of the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches of the US Government right to the Supreme Court. In addition, to make the game work seamlessly, it required the active complicity of the two leading credit agencies in the world—Moody’s and Standard & Poors.
It required a Congress and Executive branch that would repeatedly reject rational appeals to regulate over-the-counter financial derivatives, bank-owned or financed hedge funds or any of the myriad steps to remove supervision, control, transparency that had been painstakingly built up over the previous century or more. It required that the major government-certified rating agencies give their credit AAA imprimatur to a tiny handful of poorly regulated insurance companies called Monolines, all based in New York. The monolines were another essential part of the New Finance.
The Federal Reserve, the world’s largest and most powerful central bank with what was arguably the world’s most liberal market-friendly Chairman, Greenspan, would back its major banks in the bold new securitization undertaking. When Greenspan said risks “which seemingly challenge human understanding,” he signaled that he understood at least in a crude way that this was a whole new domain of financial obfuscation and complication. Central bankers traditionally were known for their pursuit of transparency among banks and conservative lending and risk management practices by member banks.
Not ‘ole Alan Greenspan.
Most significantly, Greenspan reassured his Wall Street securities underwriting friends in the Securities Industry Association audience that November of 1998 that he would do all possible to ensure that in the New Finance, the securitization of assets would remain for the banks alone to self-regulate.
Under the Greenspan Fed, the foxes would be trusted to guard the henhouse.
In the United States, between 1980 and 1994 more than 1,600 banks insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) were closed or received FDIC financial assistance. That was far more than in any other period since the advent of federal deposit insurance in the 1930s. It was part of a process of concentration into giant banking groups that would go into the next century.
In 1984 the largest bank insolvency in US history threatened, the failure of Chicago’s Continental Illinois National Bank, the nation’s seventh largest, and one of the world’s largest banks. To prevent that large failure, the Government through the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation stepped in to bailout Continental Illinois by announcing 100% deposit guarantee instead of the limited guarantee FDIC insurance provided. This came to be called the doctrine of “Too Big to Fail” (TBTF). The argument was that certain very large banks, because they were so large, must not be allowed to fail for fear of the chain-reaction consequences it would have across the economy. It didn’t take long before the large banks realized that the bigger they became through mergers and takeovers, the more sure they were to qualify for TBTF treatment. So-called “Moral Hazard” was becoming a prime feature of US big banks.
That TBTF doctrine was to be extended during Greenspan’s Fed tenure to cover very large hedge funds (LTCM), very large stock markets (NYSE) and virtually every large financial entity in which the US had a strategic stake. Its consequences were to be devastating. Few outside the elite insider circles of the very large institutions of the financial community even realized the doctrine had been established.
Once the TBTF principle was made clear, the biggest banks scrambled to get even bigger. The traditional separation of banking into local S&L mortgage lenders, large international money center banks like Citibank or J.P. Morgan or Bank of America, the prohibition on banking in more than one state, one by one were dismantled. It was a sort of “level playing field” but level for the biggest banks to bulldoze over and swallow up the smaller and create cartels of finance of unprecedented scope.
J.P.Morgan thereby paved the way to transform US banking away from traditional commercial lenders to traders of credit, in effect, into securitizers. The new idea was to enable the banks to shift risks off their balance sheets by pooling their loans and remarketing them as securities, while buying default insurance, Credit Default Swaps, after syndicating the loans for their clients. It was to prove a staggering development, soon to hit volumes measured in the trillions for the banks. By the end of 2007 there were an estimated $45,000 billion worth of Credit Default Swap contracts out there, giving bondholders the illusion of security. That illusion, however, was built on bank risk models of default assumptions which are not public and, if like other such risk models, were wildly optimistic. Yet the mere existence of the illusion was sufficient to lead the major banks of the world, lemming-like, into buying mortgage bonds collateralized or backed by streams of mortgage payments from unknown credit quality, and to accept at face value a Moody’s or Standard & Poors AAA rating.
Very soon after, the new securitizing banks such as J.P. Morgan began to create portfolios of debt securities, then to package and sell off tranches based on default probabilities. “Slice and dice” was the name of the new game, to generate revenue for the issuing underwriting bank, and to give “customized risk to return” results for investors. Soon Asset Backed Securities, Collateralized Debt Securities, even emerging market debt were being bundled and sold off in tranches.
On November 2, 1999, only ten days before Bill Clinton signed the Act repealing Glass-Steagall, thereby opening the doors for money center banks to acquire brokerage business, investment banks, insurance companies and a variety of other financial institutions without restriction, Alan Greenspan turned his attention to encouraging the process of bank securitization of home mortgages.
Former Secretary of Labor, economist Robert Reich, identified a core issue of the raters, their built-in conflict of interest. Reich noted, “Credit-rating agencies are paid by the same institutions that package and sell the securities the agencies are rating. If an investment bank doesn't like the rating, it doesn't have to pay for it. And even if it likes the rating, it pays only after the security is sold. Get it? It's as if movie studios hired film critics to review their movies, and paid them only if the reviews were positive enough to get lots of people to see the movie.”
Reich went on, “Until the collapse, the result was great for credit-rating agencies. Profits at Moody's more than doubled between 2002 and 2006. And it was a great ride for the issuers of mortgage-backed securities. Demand soared because the high ratings had expanded the market. Traders didn't examine anything except the ratings…a multibillion-dollar game of musical chairs. And then the music stopped.”
The raters under US law were not liable for their ratings despite the fact that investors worldwide depend often exclusively on the AAA or other rating by Moody’s or S&P as validation of creditworthiness, most especially in securitized assets. The Credit Agency Reform Act of 2006 in no way dealt with liability of the rating agencies. It was in this regard a worthless paper. It was the only law dealing with the raters at all.
Moody’s or S&P could say any damn thing about Enron or Parmalat or sub-prime securities it wanted to. It’s a free country ain’t it? Doesn’t everyone have a right to their opinion?
US courts have ruled in ruling after ruling that financial markets are “efficient” and hence, markets will detect any fraud in a company or security and price it accordingly…eventually. No need to worry about the raters then…
That was the “self-regulation” that Alan Greenspan apparently had in mind when he repeatedly intervened to oppose any regulation of the emerging asset securitization revolution.
The securitization revolution was all underwritten by a kind of “hear no evil, see no evil” US government policy that said, what is “good for the Money Trust is good for the nation.” It was a perverse twist on the already perverse saying from the 1950’s of then General Motors chief, Charles E. Wilson, “what’s good for General Motors is good for America.”
None of that would have been possible without securitization, without the full backing of the Greenspan Fed, without the repeal of Glass-Steagall, without monoline insurance, without the collusion of the major rating agencies, and the selling on of that risk by the mortgage-originating banks to underwriters who bundled them, rated and insured them as all AAA.
In fact the Greenspan New Finance revolution literally opened the floodgates to fraud on every level from home mortgage brokers to lending agencies to Wall Street and London securitization banks to the credit rating agencies. Leaving oversight of the new securitized assets, hundreds of billions of dollars worth of them, to private “self-regulation” between issuing banks like Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch or Citigroup and their rating agencies, was tantamount to pouring water on a drowning man.
(full article "The Financial Tsunami Part IV, by F. William Engdahl here
Which leaves us where we are now. And I hope that this will leave you with the FUNDAMENTAL knowledge that:
A "Free Market" does not regulate itself at all.
Greed is not a virtue. It is not a creator of wealth.
Capitalism without proper oversight destroys the many at the benefit of the very few.
Feb 9, 2008
But would not change my free thoughts for a throne...
Barstools and damned fools
with nuthin better to do
Shufflin up and sitting down
Forget the day with another round
Darkened walls, Dirty pool halls
the less seen the better
Blur this world to a murky grey
And let me drink this fools' life away
Hell is waiting, so I do, too
Bide my time until my Judgement Day
And God knows, I've had plenty of time to think
All these days in this bar, nursing my drink
Maybe he'll give this fool credit for his long regrets-
And, if not, the Devil will collect my debts-
Either way, I guess you can see,
In this old bar is where they'll find me
Scattered descendents of coherent thoughts
Not exactly lost, but too wrapped up in the moment-
Decisions, Decisions- too much to bear
Circle back around - let's try this one more time-
Traps that are of our own devising
A past that magically, we are constantly revising,
The only things we want, are what we can't get
And demeaning what we can, is this really it?
Just another fleeting Accessory
To a life full of junk food accomplices
Let me be your mediocre happenstance
Let me be your unused, forgotten toy
Nothing better to do, than to want to be wanted
And when I'm on my knees is when I need you most
And when I'm on my knees is when you don't want me at all.
The Only Ones Who Burn
I’ve seen Fire and I’ve seen Rain
I’ve heard the Choir, and still felt the pain
No Gods to Touch, No Dreams to Feel
I’ve lost the desire, but Never lost the Will
Found myself in the most unlikely of places
And the love that warms me is the empty spaces
Clear my head, greet the day, look deep outside
And I find, its not from me, I’d like to hide
I look around at this world I sometimes hate
And I give up on that crazy notion called fate
You've got to give if you want to live
And you'll never live if you've not the time to give
Sacrifice it all, it doesn’t matter what you try to keep
The more you let go, the more you will reap
If you don’t give it all you will never learn
That those who hold back are the only ones who burn.