Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Man Of The Year: Grad Student Who "Monkey-Wrenched" Give-Away Energy Auction

(image above: Bryce National Park, Utah. Photo by Ron Niebrugge)
On Friday, December 19th, the BLM kicked off a hotly disputed oil- and gas-lease auction of public lands in Southern Utah near Arches, the White River, the Desolation/Green River region, Canyonlands, Nine Mile Canyon, the Book Cliffs, and Deep Creek Mountains. It had been organized, and pushed through as a parting gidt to the Busheviks' loyal owners and managers in the energy industry.

One man decided to screw it up. He's the recipient of

Barack Obama's election ends an eight-year nightmare, but progressive change will only occur if individuals make change happen from the bottom up.

Tim DeCristopher did just that when he threw a monkey wrench into an anti-conservation U.S. Bureau of Land Management auction of federal lands for oil and gas development in Utah. In fact, DeCristopher is just a university student, but he decided that it was time for creative action.

So he registered as a bidder and managed to win the rights to 10 parcels and bid up other leases to cause chaos on behalf of preserving Southwestern unspoiled public desert land.

For his efforts, DeCristopher is facing federal charges -- and a large bill for the parcels that he was the highest bidder on.

But he's not repentant: "I decided I could be much more effective by an act of civil disobedience," he said during an impromptu streetside news conference during an afternoon blizzard. "There comes a time to take a stand."

Yes, indeed there does. Sometimes the talking has to stop and the innovative "doing" has to begin. Mahatma Gandhi knew that -- and so does Tim DeCristopher.

For that, DeCristopher merits this week's BuzzFlash Wings of Justice Award, and our best wishes as he squares off with potential prosecution for his act of civil disobedience.
Even the MSM were impressed, though cautiously so. Here's the Salt Lake City Tribune:
Taking a stand
Bidder's act wrong, intent honorable
Tribune Editorial
Updated: 12/29/2008 01:44:12 PM MST
"I think a lot of people are going to become very angry and they're going to resort to illegal methods to try to slow down the destruction of our national resources, our wilderness, our forests, mountains, deserts. What that will lead to I hate to think."
-- Edward Abbey, author and conservationist, in a TV interview, December 1982
We're not going to call Tim DeChristopher a hero.

When the 27-year-old University of Utah student disrupted a Bureau of Land Management sale of drilling leases on 149,000 acres of public land in Utah, he probably was acting outside the law, or at least outside federal rules governing such sales. We don't condone illegal actions.

Still, we understand DeChristopher's frustration with the way the lease sale was planned and conducted. We share his outrage over the promises made by President George W. Bush to open nearly all public lands -- including parcels in sight of national parks, in wildlife habitat, in fragile deserts, archaeological sites and wilderness-quality forests -- to thumper trucks, drilling rigs, bulldozers and constant truck traffic.

We've been critical of the BLM's rush to put thesejavascript:void(0) parcels on the auction block without giving the public adequate opportunity to comment or time for those comments to be thoroughly considered. DeChristopher said he took the only effective action that seemed open to him in the brief time left before the BLM sold off the drilling rights.
There's more, most of which is adulatory. Meanwhile, another blogger put it this way:
Despite my cynicism toward contemporary activism, a University of Utah student has temporarily restored my faith. 27-year-old Tim DeChristopher infiltrated a controversial land auction (i.e., Christmas present from the Bush Administration), in which oil and gas drilling rights were being sold to nearly 150,000 acres of Utah wilderness. DeChristopher had seen environmental activists protesting outside of the auction, but decided that something more needed to be done. After finishing a final exam, he found his way into the auction, grabbed a paddle, and started to bid. Before federal agents had the chance to intercept, DeChristopher had purchased over 22,000 acres of land.

A vanilla version of the story was published in the New York Times, but for the real deal, check out DeChristopher’s interview with Democracy Now!.
By ALL MEANS, read/listen to the Democracy Now interview! DeChristopher still faces Federal charges. A fund for his defense has been set up here.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Via PZMyers/Pharungula:
Perhaps you have been pondering the meaning of the new traditional greeting, Happy Monkey! (important usage note: it is not Merry Monkey, nor is it Happy Monkey Day. It is simply "Happy Monkey", full stop. Trying to change the phrase means you are waging war on the Monkey, and you know how they will respond.) I haven't. I've been bogged down in the end-of-semester grind for the last week, writing tests, giving tests, grading tests, and there has been little room in my brain for deep philosophical thought.

But then, just a few minutes ago, I reached an end. The exams and papers were all marked and graded, and I filled out the forms and submitted them to the registrar. And I had an epiphany. Happy Monkey is not a day, not a greeting card, not just a phrase. Happy Monkey doesn't come from a store. Maybe Happy Monkey…perhaps…means a little bit more. And what happened then…? Well, my small Monkey grew three sizes that day!

Happy Monkey is any moment that you feel the burdens lifted, that you feel a lightening of the mood, that you feel puckish and prankish and like kicking your heels. Happy Monkey can strike any time, any day!

So Happy Monkey, everyone! And may you have many Happy Monkeys in days to come!
Ps: If men were trained from childhood to auto-fellate, it would solve a LOT of the world's problems, cuz we'd never leave the house...


Monday, December 29, 2008

KARMA! BeYotch...

Susie on C&L today had this heartening report on the fortunes of a certain discredited, but still incredibly wealthy financier-cum-bunko artist with the apt moniker, Made-off:
Bernie Stashed His Cash Offshore
By Susie Madrak Monday Dec 29, 2008 1:00pm

My, this just gets better and better, doesn't it?
Investigators believe that Bernard Madoff has stuffed hundreds of millions of dollars in Ponzi profits into offshore tax havens from which they could prove tricky to recover.

In the weeks since his Dec. 11 arrest, forensic accountants have been scouring Madoff's books as federal officials ready an indictment against the hated hedge-funder, who remains under house arrest in his $7 million Upper East Side penthouse.

The accountants believe Madoff regularly sent bundles of money to offshore accounts in the Caribbean and Europe, the Observer newspaper in London reported yesterday.

[...] The tax havens are designed under local laws to be nearly impervious to subpoenas or other investigative inquiries, making it notoriously tough for US officials to seize or even see what's there.
So, now here's the 'karma' part:
Rumor has it that Bernie's stashed a fair bundle of his ill-gotten boodle in Israel. So, after he gets away with it--which he will--and either avoids prison altogether, or serves a ridiculous, short, and easy sentence in some Club Fed, like where Boesky and Millkin went, he gets out and rejoins his sons--who HAD to have been in in it from the start--and they all emigrate, with Bernie who absconds after his billions to Israel, and there they all get blown up, victims--the only victims--of an accidental, pre-mature car-bomb blast on the very day, within hours of when he lands to retrieve his swag...Clouds of blood-spattered $100 bills swirling around the Negev inside a dust-devil...
Now THAT'S Karma!

Addendum: Pure Story-board! I TRULY expect this plot summary to be picked up by one of the "Law & Order" franchises for the new season...I'd betta buck there's a Bernie-Madoff character who gets snuffed SOON, like the Murder on the Orient Express...

Sunday, December 28, 2008

FIRE Sale, Part 3: The Real Estate Fat Cats Get "Theirs"


Finance, Insurance, & Real Estate, that is: Those have been the 'fundamentals' of the economy since that drooling, cretinous, diseased, vicious, batty old fucktard Raygun and the Pukes (with the occasionally enthusiastic, but always reliable support of the 'globalist' Dims) started to deismantle USer industrial power and move it (and the jobs--take that, pesky middle class!--which went with them) overseas where wages were lower and margins were higher. Clinton's 6-year orgy of "free-trade" initiatives was an instrumental and vital contribution to the whole trend (e.g.).

"Finance" (Citi, AmEx, Goldman-Sachs) and Insurance (AIG, e.g.) have gotten their piggy-faces deeeeep into the trough of Congressional largesse. Not to be out-done, the commercial Real-Estate speculators are now lining up for their slops from the Trillion$$$$ Handout, according to a report up now on the invaluable and incisive Calculated Risk:

Sunday, December 28, 2008
NY Times on Possible CRE Bailout
by CalculatedRisk on 12/28/2008 08:54:00 AM (EST)

From the NY Times: A Wish List for Commercial Real Estate
Commercial real estate groups have been meeting with members of Congress, the Federal Reserve, the Treasury, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation as well as Mr. Obama’s transition team, to press their case. And they say they have a compelling one.
This is similar to the WSJ article I covered last week. The answer is there is no reason for a CRE bailout:
[T]his is really about property investors who bought commercial buildings at the price peak and are now underwater. But say the owners default and the properties are transferred to the bondholders - what is the risk to the economy? None.
The NY Times article claims CRE is in pretty good shape:
Although commercial real estate remains in better shaper than some other industries — there is a good balance between supply and demand, vacancy rates are modest and loan default rates have so far hovered at a rock-bottom 1 percent, according to trade groups — industry leaders warn that the sector faces significant problems.
Default rates are low - but starting to rise. However the balance between supply and demand is poor and vacancy rates are rising rapidly
Clearly, there are STILL some really wealthy constituents of the Dim-Tards and GOPukes who have not yet benefited enough from the going-away gifts being doled out by the departing Bushevik cabal which is draining what's left of the Treasury to repay and reward it's loyal donors, supporters and acolytes,a nd they're in a hurry, cuz there are only around 20 days (15 working days) til they can't anymore.

So the heat is on.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Why "President Obama" Could Disappoint On Issues of Justice & Equity

"I greeted Obama's electoral victory with very little enthusiasm but much relief that the lying slime- bag right-wing John McCain was defeated. I think Obama will be another Bill Clinton, perhaps not as bad. Some people see his accession to the White House as a great historic victory for African Americans and for democracy. But I am not all that impressed. When the victory is extended into social democratic policies that have a salutary effect on millions of struggling impoverished African-Americans and other working poor, then I'll start dancing in the streets."
--Michael Parenti, long-time, left-wing, media/social critic, speaking for an indeterminate, but I suspect large number of people, in an interview posted on MLW today.**

Parenti alludes to a question that I have considered for a while, at least 6 months: Will Obama disappoint? If so, why? And whom?

This is how it appears to me: As President, Obama will naturally excite fairly high--albeit likely tacit-- expectations from that segment of the culture which, because he is "of" it, makes his ascendancy such an historic event. Questions of equity, class, justice, fairness, equality would --one might think, SHOULD-- be high on the agenda of a member of the group which most frequently and consistently experienced them. People so afflicted could be forgiven if they expected some greater measure of justice, etc., when one of 'their own' rose to the highest office in the land.

Yet, exactly BECAUSE Obama is, de facto, the avatar of the Civil Rights/Social Justice/Economic Equity movements (no matter/despite his own personal or political propensities, he cannot avoid being linked with them, if only subliminally), any act or program enacted by "Pres. Obama" intended to extend justice to that population --"his 'people'", i.e., poor, disenfranchised, marginalized, people of color--of which he's REGARDED as a/THE paradigmatic representative (again, whether he is or not is irrelevant), will inevitably be regarded and portrayed by his GOPuke/Rightard critics' as 'pandering' and/or special pleading for "his" people, the charge of which contains the implicit criticism that such acts are 'unfair' as not meant for the benefit of "all the people." In order to be "President to ALL the People, he will be required to act towards "his people" in almost exactly the same ways they will have grown discouragingly accustomed under "white" authority.

No small irony: Obama's regime will NOT be able to advance the causes of social justice, economic equity, or civil rights, precisely because if he did pursue such an agenda, the flying monkeys would portray him as helping "his" people at the 'expense' of 'others' (i.e., themselves, hegemonic 'whites') who, under a regimen that was truly dedicated to social justice and equity, might be required to eschew or forfeit certain ("social") privileges they had enjoyed as a legacy of their former "superiority."

So, I do not look for much activity from an Obama regime in advancing the claims for fairness, equity, or social justice from the 'marginalized' communities of America. Indeed, I expect him to steer as clear of them as he can, for as long as he can, and to act reluctantly--if at all--if he's cornered.

(**: Parenti has been an always astute, severe, sometimes vitriolic, reliably controversial, but seldom inaccurate, cultural observer for at least 30 years. I first encountered him in journalism grad school in '84, but he already had achieved and admirable degree of notoriety by them, when he presented a paper at a conference I helped to organize.)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry SolstiFestiChrismaHanukKwanzEid!"

Scenes From My Santa Stints This Season:

The Mariachi, in their specially designed Holiday costumes, played accompaniment to the annual Albuquerque Special Olympics "Posole Ole'" gathering at the Balloon Museum, where Santa led the 'Walk-a-thon' fund-raiser's first lap, as well as being there for photos--and some of the best posole that ever goes down your food hole. This is my third year helping there.

The fotos below were taken at a local "family fun&pizza/pasta" joint called ItZ!, where I did Santa on seven days, Wed & Sat, since Dec. 3 (a paying gig!)

I consider my "Santa" as an 'acting role,' or a 'stand-up' (well, really a "sit-down") routine, and my resume reflects this fact.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The World According to Dick, Via The NYTimes

Sometimes the old Gray Lady finds the courage and stands up on her hind legs and lets fly. Case in point (EMPHASES SUPPLIED):
The World According to Cheney
Published: December 22, 2008

Vice President Dick Cheney has a parting message for Americans: They should quit whining about all the things he and President Bush did to undermine the rule of law, erode the balance of powers between the White House and Congress, abuse prisoners and spy illegally on Americans. After all, he said, Franklin Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln did worse than that.

So Mr. Cheney and Mr. Bush managed to stop short of repeating two of the most outrageous abuses of power in American history — Roosevelt’s decision to force Japanese-Americans into camps and Lincoln’s declaration of martial law to silence his critics? That’s not exactly a lofty standard of behavior.

Then again, it must be exhausting to rewrite history as much as Mr. Cheney has done in a series of exit interviews where he has made those comments. It seems as if everything went just great in the Bush years.

The invasion of Iraq was exactly the right thing to do, not an unnecessary war that required misleading Americans. The post-invasion period was not bungled to the point where Americans got shot up by an insurgency that the Bush team failed to see building.

The horrors at Abu Ghraib were not the result of the Pentagon’s decision to authorize abusive and illegal interrogation techniques, which Mr. Cheney endorsed. And only three men were subjected to waterboarding. (Future truth commissions take note.)

In Mr. Cheney’s reality, the crippling budget deficit was caused mainly by fighting two wars and by essential programs like “enhancing the security of our shipping container business.”

Well, no. The Bush team’s program to scan cargo for nuclear materials at air, land and sea ports has been mired in delays, cost overruns and questions about effectiveness. As for the deficit, the Congressional Budget Office has said the Bush-Cheney tax cuts for the wealthy were the biggest reason that the budget went into the red.

Some of Mr. Cheney’s comments were self-serving spin (as when The Washington Times helpfully prodded him to reveal that even though the world might have seen Mr. Bush as insensitive to the casualties of war, Mr. Cheney himself made a “secret” mission to comfort the families of the dead.)

Mr. Cheney was simply dishonest about Mr. Bush’s decision to authorize spying on Americans’ international calls without a warrant. He claimed the White House kept the Democratic and Republican Congressional leadership fully briefed on the program starting in late 2001. He said he personally ran a meeting at which “they were unanimous, Republican and Democrat alike” that the program was essential and did not require further Congressional involvement.

But in a July 17, 2003, letter to Mr. Cheney, Senator John Rockefeller IV, then vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said he wanted to “reiterate” the concerns he expressed in “the meeting today.” He said “the activities we discussed raise profound oversight issues” and created “concern regarding the direction the Administration is moving with regard to security, technology and surveillance.”

Mr. Cheney mocked Vice President-elect Joseph Biden for saying that he does not intend to have his own “shadow government” in the White House. Mr. Cheney said it was up to Mr. Biden to decide if he wants “to diminish the office of vice president.”

Based on Mr. Cheney’s record and his standards for measuring these things, we’re certain a little diminishing of that office would be good for the country.
(A version of this article appeared in print on December 23, 2008, on page A28 of the New York edition.)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

How Shall I Fuck Thee? Let Me Count the Ways

How Do I Fuck My Base? Let Me Count The Ways.
A poem by Barack Obama

How do I fuck my base.
Let me count the ways?
I fuck them by reaching out to homophobic pastors
and the bigoted throngs they represent.
I fuck them by embracing war-mongering apparatchiks
and the neo-con wet dreams they blindly followed.
I fuck them by allowing war-criminals and torturers
to escape the punishment they so richly deserve.
I fuck them by endorsing domestic spying
and allowing the telecoms to profit from their complicity.
I fuck them and smile
as I reach out to everyone but them.
From the always reliable, always manly "Jesus' General" blog.

"Weather" or "Climate": It's NOT Rocket Science!

Yeah, baby it's cold out side. And snowing! Throw another chair on the fire, and let’s put this Rightard/Fundie/anti-science shibboleth--that "more local snow means there’s no global climate change"--out of its misery, once and for all, shall we? "Weather" is not "climate."

Fact: Average, distributed global temperatures are increasing. Check!
Fact: Rising average temperature does NOT mean that cold weather goes away. Check!
Fact: A warmer climate, world-wide DOES means more evaporation. Check!
Fact: More evaporation means more precipitation. Check!
Fact: Precipitation doesn’t care if it falls as rain or snow; but, if it’s cold where the precipitation happens, there will be snow. (Duh!)
So: The current extreme "winter weather" storm situation is the result of standard mounts of cold winter air engulfing greater than usual amounts of (global) evaporataion, with consequent increase in precipitation which, because it is winter, and cold here in the Northern Hemisphere, means more SNOW!
Rocket science, it's not, I know. But I wasn’t home-schooled, so I get it...

Monday, December 22, 2008

Pastor Warren: The Embarrassment That Keeps On Giving

Mr.O is still disappointing.

Not that I am surprised.

I have felt (and, unpopularly, frequently said) pretty much since the beginning that that would be the case. Starting with Rahm Emanuel, but followed closely by the financial team (Rubin/Summers clones), the defense team (Gates, Jones, McConnell), Salazar for Interior (Richardson would have been both a better pick and a better use of is talents, such as they are), and the naming of corpoRat clone Arne Duncan to Education, the list of Mr. O's picks is a litany of disappointments to anyone of a liberal/progressive bent who thought Obama actually meant to change the direction of the government.

But what the fuck is he thinking, naming Rick Warren, the multi-millionaire author and pastor to a homophobic Southern California congregation (and self-indicted liar), to "preach" the convocation at the Inauguration?

By naming (p)Rick Warren, the president-elect confers legitimacy on attitudes that are deeply contrary to the all-inclusive love of God. He is courting the powerful at the expense of the marginalized, and in doing so, he stands the Gospel on its one believer recently put it.

I guess he's trying to get everybody over it before the inauguration.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Scott-Free? Yessiree!

With now fewer than 30 days until the scheduled exchange of power between the out-going and the incoming regimes, speculations about, and passion for, prosecution of the Busheviks for their near-decade of of excruciatingly documented predations upon the Constitution, the People of the USofA, and the rest of the nations of the world, are raging across the Tubez.


I bet I been sayin for the last year that nobody in the Bushevik regime would face justice from an Obama one. (I just checked. I intimated it in January, and in July declared it a done deal.) Sez me: "No President, of any party, persuasion, or predilection, will EVER set the precedent of prosecuting her/his predecessor, no matter what crimes, mal- and misfeasances in office scum-sucking fuckweeds did commit."

Why not, you ask? Why the fuck not?

Short answer: Wouldn’t be prudent.

There’s NO precedent for it–though since Nixon, at least, there certainly has been ample reason. The reasons in the case of the Chimp and his psychopathic satraps and minions are cumulatively more damning than perhaps any other gang of miscreants to ever run the place.

But to aggressively pursue the departing criminal perps would be counter-”productive” for Mr.O. Doing so would do nothing more than to invite his own ‘examination’ by hostile interests upon his own cessation from power. The quo ain't worth the quid. Along with setting himself for as bad or worse, any prosecution by the new regime would smack of–would certainly be portrayed by the Busheviks, and their allies as--"political payback." The Rightard punditry would scream bloody murder, and they would get LOTS of attention, and the Sisters of Sarah-Cooter will take to the streets with their babies and their bibles clutched to their heaving breasts, and the lap-dog SCUM (So-Called Unbiased Media) will scarf it up like Fido at the catbox…

The next refrain will be, “We have to bind the wounds.” And "There's so much work to do ahead, there isn't time for recriminations." They get a choir of castrati (from Dims in Congress) to sing it. In some ways, that's right, too. The clusterfucks upon clusterfucks--the international and domestic shit and blood stains--left behind by this pack of nauseating parasites present more than enough of a challenge to occupy the Nation's attention and resources. So, absent the kind of intervention that brought down Paul Wellstone and several other threats to the military/industrial/security "community," they'll all likely live long and prosper.

A commentor on another blog bemoaned the fact that "Our nation does not learn from history."

But that misstates the problem, as I explained:
This is a People who do not believe history guides them. That’s the problem with what’s called “American Exceptionalism.” It is a HIDEOUS national ideology by which American enterprises are elevated ABOVE the fray of ‘normal’ morality or rationality or behavior. Jusat as for Leona Helmsley, laws were for little people, so for American Exceptionalist orthodoxy, history was for losers. And America WINS!!!!

“We” do not learn from history because we deny its existence. “We” write history, and live by the lessons we thereupon transcribe. Exceptionalism--the dispensation (attributed variously to God and our own marvelous natures) from the normal laws--is, in an essential way, the root 'belief' of USer nationalism. It is what our "patriotism" celebrates.

Is there an organ or node of the “corpoRat media” which does not relentlessly promote this theme? Is there a curriculum in any school anywhere that does not revolve around that central belief? Is there a church anywhere in America from the pulpit of which you will NOT hear that ‘faith’ eternally promoted, its glories and wonders extolled--and praises unto the Lord in thanks for which be delivered? Is there an advertizement for anything from cars to carpet to condoms that does not require that assumption to make the sales pitch comprehensible--i.e., that it is YOUR distance from that Exceptional state which the product being hawked can repair?

Short answer: No…

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Government Of The People, By The People, FOR The People? Fuggeddabodit!!!!

The "American Experiment" testing whether popular sovereignty is feasible--whether, as Franklin warned, a 'republic' can be sustained--is finished. The 'null hypothesis' is secure.

I have alluded to this in previous posts, but with a mere 30 days left in which the Busheviks can complete their agenda, it deserves repeating:
The whole, sole, and only raison d'etre of the Bushevik regime, their explicit instructions from their bosses and handlers in CorpoRat Murka, upon taking office, was to do demolish, undermine, subvert, and otherwise reduce to the fullest extent possible the capacity of the people to appeal to any institution of democratic self-governance to resist or roll-back the wholesale privatization of the People's 'commons,' and to trivialize, marginalize and if possible utterly remove any instrument that might abet appeal of those actions.

Mission: Accomplished.
Neither the Mocha Messiah, Mr.O, nor all the King's horses will put it together again. Mainly, of course, because it is soooo much easier to govern this way. Do NOT look for Mr.O to relinquish many, if any, of the powers arrogated to the presidency by the Bushies, at least until the "current" emergency passes.

What? You say the "current DISASTER" likely will NEVER pass?

Well, gosh, I guess NOBODY could ever have anticipated that, could they?

When Business Fails, Management Usually Is At Fault

But when schools "fail," it's the teachers and the students who get blamed.

What is wrong with this picture?

EJ Dionne, on his very best days, is a reliable hack for whatsoever the reigning status quo he can discover to adovcate, hasn't got a fucking clue.

Obama's choice for Ed. Sec. is just another of the disappointments I have come by now to expect from this saintly "changer."

What it ratifies is the long-standing--but ill-understood albeit widely distributed--practices by which USer Schools avoid 'education,' and specialize in 'training.'

Jonathan Kozol, way back in his first or second book, in the '60s, noted that that those who believe USer schools are failures do not understand the true purpose of the schools. American schools function to ensure that as few children as humanly possible are able to escape the socio-economic niches for which they were born. The true purpose of schooling in Murka is to imbue students with 'virtues' of obedience and passivity, while extirpating as completely as possible any inclination toward critique, skepticism or even mild curiosity. As another noted education scholar, Joel Spring, put it (albeit somewhat harshly or indelicately) around the same time, USer schools are part of a national sorting system by which children are assessed according to their abilities to meet the needs of elites for manpower. School provides evidence, a posteriori--by means of grades, scores, and the dreaded permanent record--to justify and rationalize decisions made, before a child ever steps foot in the door of a classroom, regarding the eligibility of any child to 'succeed.'

A symptom: There's a world of literature about 'drop-outs.' But that term blames the victim. What the term far too often describes is the phenomenom in schools by which kids are informed, usually informally, that they are not "our kind." They really are "push-outs," because the school administration makes it clear they are not wanted or needed, and that the heroic efforts of dedicated teachers are being wasted on 'em, so they might as well go get a job, cuz they ain' going nowhere.

"Coach" Arne Duncan is an all-too-predictable avatar of perpetuation of all those trends and tendencies. The best choice Obama could have made for the position, philosophically, was probably the man whom the Rightards chose to muddy the waters: Prof. Bill Ayers. Failing him, Linda Darling-Hammond was mentioned, and would have been a good choice, too.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Speaking of Sickening Over-Indulgence

The 20 Worst Mall-Foods in America
The U.S. food industry has declared war on your waistline. Here's how to disarm its weapons of mass inflation
By: Matt Goulding
20. Worst Fast-Food Chicken Meal
19. Worst Drink
18. Worst Supermarket Meal
17. Worst "Healthy" Burger
16. Worst Mexican Entree
15. Worst Kids' Meal
14. Worst Sandwich
13. Worst Salad
12. Worst Burger
11. Worst Steak
10. Worst Breakfast
9. Worst Dessert
8. Worst Chinese Entree
7. Worst Chicken Entree
6. Worst Fish Entree
5. Worst Pizza
4. Worst Pasta
3. Worst Nachos
2. Worst Starter
1. The Worst Food in America
It’s that time of year again, when you’re logging more hours than ever at the mall. Blame stress, blame shopping fatigue, or blame the irresistible smell of food-court treats slamming your senses from the minute you walk in the door—whatever the reason, you’ll probably end up chowing down at the mall during your shopping trip.

Here’s the danger: Studies have shown that the more temptation people resist, the harder it becomes to continue resisting. That means after hours of being surrounded by last-minute sales, special offers and life-changing, one-time deals, your ability to resist the enticing edibles of the mall food court may be severely compromised. And considering the industrial-strength calorie bombs we uncovered while researching the Eat This, Not That! series, a lack of willpower in the presence of mall eateries can be a very dangerous thing.

Sure, a turkey burger sounds healthy. But is it, really? Not if you order the Bella from Ruby Tuesday, which packs a whopping 1,145 calories. (And yes, that's before a side of fries.) Fortunately, there exists a guide to help you navigate the nutritional pitfalls that pollute nearly every mall food court in America. That list above, of the worst foods, the authors discovered in their scramble to save shoppers serious calories in the holiday season.

To further enlighten you on the prevalence of preposterous portions, we spent months analyzing menus, nutrition labels, and ingredient lists to identify the food industry's worst offenders. Our primary criterion? Sheer caloric impact. After all, it's the top cause of weight gain and the health problems that accompany it. (As you read, keep in mind that 2,500 calories a day is a reasonable intake for the average guy.) We also factored in other key nutritional data, such as excessive carbohydrates and fat, added sugars, trans fats, and sodium. The result is our first annual list of the worst foods in America.
I don't think I've ever consumed even one of these delectables. I never tried to eat the 60 oz. steak at tht restaurant on the east side of Amarillo, either (Free, if consumed within one hour). My major extravagances in this area are a double green-chile/cheese Lota Burger with fries and a choc shake. Mebbe every 6 mos? But I have a tendency towards indolence, and that can be accompanied by a propensity towards corpulence, too, so I gotta watch my weight pretty closely (Height: 6'; Weight: 220 lb; Waist: 39")

While we're on the subject: Two Triple Cheese, Side Order of Fries, anyone?

Bernie Madoff's "Twinkie" Defense: BPD

That's "Borderline Personality Disorder" for the psychologically unaffiliated.

And that--not a deep, persistent, pathological dishonesty--was what made Bernie Madoff a crook.

He couldn't help himself.

I've always loved how, if you're high enough in the hierarchy, you can be forgiven anything at all.

Sure, people who invested in his scheme had to ignore the old maxim--that if it seems too good to be true, it probably IS--and by doing so, brought their fate on themselves. Still, it takes a thief...

NEW YORK: Bernard Madoff, the New York financier who the authorities say has confessed to a $50 billion Ponzi scheme, will not be going to jail even though he failed to meet the original terms of his $10 million bail agreement.

U.S. government prosecutors said they had modified the terms of Madoff's agreement so that he would not need to find four people to co-sign his bond. Madoff was unable to meet that condition, prosecutors said. Even his sons, Andrew and Mark, were apparently unwilling to help. A lawyer for the sons said they were unaware of the scheme and were cooperating with the authorities.
This invites the next question: Why does the thieving, lying motherfucker have any resources left at all? Why haven't they all been peremptorily confiscated?

And in that foto (courtesy Shannon Stapleton/Reuters), he sure doesn't look too contrite, do he?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Daily Dis-Appointment: Ken Salazar, Interior

Yesterday, it was Arne Duncan, a corpoRat shill for the Chicago oligarchy, and 'proud' school privatizer (via "charter" schools)--but long-time baskabaw buddy of the P-E--to lead the Dept. Of Education. Described as a "reformer," Duncan may be expected to advance the agenda of "corporatization" of schools: To be a school “reformer” is to support:
* a heavy reliance on fill-in-the-bubble standardized tests to evaluate students and schools, generally in place of more authentic forms of assessment;

* the imposition of prescriptive, top-down teaching standards and curriculum mandates;

* a disproportionate emphasis on rote learning—memorizing facts and practicing skills—particularly for poor kids;

* a behaviorist model of motivation in which rewards (notably money) and punishments are used on teachers and students to compel compliance or raise test scores;

* a corporate sensibility and an economic rationale for schooling, the point being to prepare children to “compete” as future employees; and

* charter schools, many of which are run by for-profit companies.

Today, it's Ken Salazar, the Blue-dawg/DINO Colorado Senator with close, deep and tight ties to corpoRat agriculture and mining interests. The Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management controls oil and gas production on federal lands while the Minerals Management Service controls offshore petroleum and renewable energy production in federal waters. The Office of Surface Mining controls coal and metals mining and the Fish and Wildlife Service administers the Endangered Species Act, a major determinant of energy companies' access to natural resources.

The Center for Biological Diversity, a group that's suing the Interior Department over its Endangered Species Act designations, has reservations about Salazar's appointment.

"While Salazar has promoted some good environmental actions ... his overall record is decidedly mixed, and is especially weak in the arenas most important to the next secretary of the Interior: protecting scientific integrity, combating global warming, reforming energy development and protecting endangered species," said Kieran Suckling, the Center's executive director.

Suckling pointed to Salazar's support for Gale Norton as one of Bush's previous Interior secretaries, whose tenure was marked by scandals probed by the Inspector General, and endorsement of William Myers to the federal bench. Myers, a former Interior solicitor and ranching lobbyist, was regarded poorly by many in the environmental community for much of his work at the department.

The best thing about appointing Salazar to DoI is that it gets him out of the Senate, where he would have (and already has) been one of the very unreliable "Dim" votes on important issues such as appointments (He opposed Alito, voted for Roberts). His record in the Senate is very MUCH like that of his new boss: Pro-FISA, he voted to allow firearms in the national parks; he's voted for offshore drilling several times; voted against requiring the Army corps of engineers to consider climate change impacts in planning water projects; voted against raising fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks. So getting him out of the Senate might be a net plus--depending on whom the (Dim) CO Gov appoints in his place.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

WahnHunnert Dollah?My Bail-Out's Finally Hyar!!!

This is what A'hm Tawkin' 'Bout: Mah Piece o'de Pah!

You know, I keep recommending all y'all check in occasionally with the folks at Calculated Risk? Well, just so you don't think I'd let you leave money just lying there on the table, here's one of today's featured items.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Get your own piece of the TARP!

by CalculatedRisk on 12/16/2008 11:31:00 AM

Click on Ad for larger image in new window.

WaMu is offering $100 when you open a checking account. (hat tip John)

Note: John removed the promo code.

You too can get a piece of the TARP!

This is better than a toaster ...
A Toaster? Hell! This is better'n STAMPS!!!!

Bernie Madoff with the gold ... BWAHahahahaha

Investors inquiring about their money, and others, gather in the lobby of where Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, have their offices Friday, Dec. 12, 2008, in New York. Bernard L. Madoff, the founder of Madoff Securities, was arrested on a securities fraud charge Thursday, accused of running a phony investment business that amounted to nothing more than a "giant Ponzi scheme." Federal prosecutors said he told employees Wednesday that it had been insolvent for years, losing at least $50 billion. (AP Photo/Diane Bondareff) - AP
Has there EVER been a more aptly named schemer/scammer?

Col. Ponzi made his name for himself.

Madoff = Made-off.

Bernie had the name going in...

Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha (gasp) Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

The 'funniest' part? Apparently, the folks with whose gold he "madoff" were overwhelmingly his co-religionists. He INVITED only certain people to share in his system. Seems like he TARGETED them at the fancy, exclusive country clubs where they all richly and exclusively circulated: Clusterstock has a comprehensive list of all of Madoff's victims. Check it out...

A philanthropist, too, he 'invested' for funds and foundations, too. He even ripped off Elie Wiessel's charity.

Some folks had misgivings, but as long as the money kept rolling in, they were able to keep their suspicions at bay.

Of course, the propaganda press is busy, putting lipstick on the pig: Barrons (the financial rag) follows on with the announcement that, practiced honestly (BO-WAHAHAHAHA), Madoff's 'strategy' is functional. No, really...

Who can avoid the impression that Madoffs's bogus plan was nothing more or less than a microcosm of the whole derivative 'economy' which is still catastrophically collapsing around us? Wanna bet he's a philosophical radical 'free-trader' GOPuke?

The irony notwithstanding, it should go without saying that this has nothing to do with the fact that Madoff and most of his clients were Jewish; it's true this scheme isn't "Jewish" in any essential way. It's just dishonest, and no 'group' holds the franchise on rapacious mendacity. Just as the 'settlers' on the West Bank do not represent a fundamentally "Jewish" attitude toward ethnic cleansing. It's just that the thugs trying to ethnically cleanse Palestine advertize themselves as Jews.

During the 19th Century, "We" (the USofA) used immigrants--the Irish and the Germans, especially--the same way, pushing them west into indigenous lands; violently, fatally genocidally dispossessing the natives, advertizing ourselves proudly as "Americans" acting out and driven by "God's" Manifest Destiny, and shriven by our exceptionality of any moral duty to our victims! There weren't a lot of Jews in that bunch; mostly Catholics, but also Baptists, Methodists, and Presbyterians, iirc...

It seems to me that waht Madoff's "success" story illustrates primarily is the dangers of thinking 'tribally': i.e., "I'm Jewish, Madoff is Jewish, so surely he'll do the right thing with my money." *That's* essentialist, parochial thinking. And *that's* what got many of his 'investors' into trouble. The fact is that he traded upon that kind of thing. I'm guessing neither Naom Chomsky's name nor Naomi Wolf's names are gonna be on Madoff's client list.

BTW: This, of course, has it's proper analogue in 'identity politics.'

Monday, December 15, 2008

Steve Benen: Google, Others', Support for Net Neutrality in Congress Dwindling?

That's a distinct "Yup," according to the Washington Monthly blog this am: NET NEUTRALITY LOSING KEY SUPPORTERS?.... The Wall Street Journal has a front-page report this morning on the apparent trend of net neutrality "quietly losing powerful defenders."
Google Inc. has approached major cable and phone companies that carry Internet traffic with a proposal to create a fast lane for its own content, according to documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. Google has traditionally been one of the loudest advocates of equal network access for all content providers. [...]
Separately, Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo Inc. have withdrawn quietly from a coalition formed two years ago to protect network neutrality. Each company has forged partnerships with the phone and cable companies. In addition, prominent Internet scholars, some of whom have advised President-elect Barack Obama on technology issues, have softened their views on the subject.
The elimination of "net neutrality" is the first step toward the 'end of the world as we know it' on-line. I am astonished that it has lasted this long. I have long anticipated that the hegemons would get around to focusing on 'denaturing' the Net. I was surprised that it lasted through this election cycle. I doubt it will endure to the next one, at least in the present condition of openness and democratizing discourse...

ADDENDUM: Sometimes exercises in futility are the only kind of exercise I get. Here's another one: Remember that, during the campaign, Mr.O promised to be "second to none" when it came to advocacy of net neutrality? Yeah, he did. But now, with support for NetNeut softening in the part of his constituency he pays closest attention to--the corpoRats--he may not be as attentive to such promises. So, there exists a web-page on which you may inscribe a petition and remind the P-E of his (rash) promises.

Work OUT!!!

Funny! : Ripped Off From Comments At C&L

Christmas Carols for the Disturbed

1. Schizophrenia --- Do You Hear What I Hear?

2. Multiple Personality Disorder --- We Three Kings Disoriented Are

3. Dementia --- I'll be Home for Christmas (Probably)

4. Narcissistic --- Hark the Herald Angels Sing ff Me

5. Manic --- Deck the Halls and Walls and House and Lawn and Streets and Stores and Office and Town and Cars and Buses and Trucks and Trees and.....

6. Paranoid --- Santa Claus is Coming to...Get Me

7. Borderline Personality Disorder --- Thoughts of Roasting You on an Open Fire

8. Personality Disorder --- You Better Watch Out, I'm Gonna Cry, I'm Gonna Pout, Maybe I'll Tell You Why

9. Attention Deficit Disorder --- Silent Night, Holy Ni...Oooh look at the froggy, can I have a chocolate, why is France so far away?

10. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder --Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle ......

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Party Politics Does NOT "Promote The Public Welfare"

Via Harper's, Joseph Schumpeter on Political Parties:
A party is not, as classical doctrine (or Edmund Burke) would have us believe, a group of men who intend to promote public welfare “upon some principle on which they are all agreed.” This rationalization is so dangerous because it is so tempting. For all parties will of course, at any given time, provide themselves with a stock of principles or planks and these principles or planks may be as characteristic of the party that adopts them and as important for its success as the brands of goods a department store sells are characteristic of it and important for its success. But the department store cannot be defined in terms of its brands and a party cannot be defined in terms of its principles. A party is a group whose members propose to act in concert in the competitive struggle for political power. If that were not so it would be impossible for different parties to adopt exactly or almost exactly the same programme. Yet this happens as everyone knows. Party and machine politicians are simply the response to the fact that the electoral mass is incapable of action other than a stampede, and they constitute an attempt to regulate political competition exactly similar to the corresponding practices of a trade association. The psychotechnics of party management and party advertising, slogans and marching tunes, are not accessories. They are of the essence of politics. So is the political boss.
Joseph A. Schumpeter, Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy p. 283 (1942)
This passage from Schumpeter, one of Kapital's foremost acolytes and advocates, points to why many political science and economics classes include the requirement to read "The Godfather."

He also argued that some kind of state socialism was probably inevitable because of the 'immanent' contradictions (though he didn't call them that) would cause the eventual collapse of the conditions of possibility for kapital. A biographer writes:
Schumpeter was a historical determinist who, like Marx and Engels before him, thought that socialism was inevitable. As Schumpeter put it: "There is inherent in the capitalist system a tendency toward self-destruction" (p. 189). This, along with the theme of capitalism and innovation, was the most recurrent idea in Schumpeter's work.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Ever Hear Of A Fellow Named Jim Ramstad?

He's under consideration for a position in the Mr. O's "new" administration. His name has been heard in connection with jobs either as head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) or head of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

One had to know that, with his background, Obama professed 'faith. One could then only hope he'd keep it in his pants, since it's nobody's bidness but his own. Offering Ramstad a position in the Cabinet, among the top (drug) advisors, is akin to unbuttoning his fly. Via Despatches From The Culture wars, Ramstad's connections with a proselytizing Xian addict-'reclamation' program called "Teen Challenge" can be seen as 'troubling.' Teen Challenge is a "christian discipline" outfit, a kind of boot-camp for jesus-freaks looking to transfer addictions from (expensive) drugs to (free) 'belief.' (Probably they get laid a bunch, too. Nobody talks about it, of course, but that has to be one of the attractions of cult-hood, innit? You KNOW there aren't any virgins in THAT program.)

Ramstad rammed through a big ear-mark for Teen Challenge in Minnesota this year:
Earlier this year, Ramstad sponsored a $235,000 earmark for the Minnesota Teen Challenge (MNTC), an Assemblies of God drug treatment center with a history of controversial therapies and overt religious indoctrination.

MNTC is part of a national network of drug treatment and "discipleship training" centers called Teen Challenge.
More info on Teen Challenge:
Teen Challenge programs across the country typically describe themselves in these terms:

"Being a Christian discipleship program, it endeavors to minister to the whole person, helping them to become mentally sound, emotionally balanced, socially adjusted, physically well, and spiritually alive through a relationship with Jesus Christ."

Teen Challenge's overt Christian message is extends to outright conversion -- at least according to its leaders. During a congressional hearing in May 2001, Congress members challenged the ability of Teen Challenge and other faith-based initiatives to offer government services without overt religiousness. Rep. Mark Souder (R-Ind.) asked Teen Challenge Executive Director John Castellani if the organization hired non-Christians. Castellani said no. When asked if Teen Challenge takes non-Christian clients, Castellani said they did and he then bragged that some Jews who complete Teen Challenge programs become "completed Jews."
(Jesus' General, where I first got wind of this, asked pointedly if the "Doctors" at Teen Challenge were gonna restore the foreskins of circumcised Xian addicts, but that's probably food for another essay...

Acute, frequent readers of this site (both of you) will recall that your 'Ob't Sv't' has been skeptical since Mr.O first surfaced as a serious candidate that he would be the best President to mend the wall of separation between the Church and State, the breaches in which had metastasized under the Cheney/Bush regime. He gave ample evidence in both his primary and general election campaigns that he planned to do nothing to reverse the Chimperor's blatant efforts to fund 'religious' organizations through subterfuge.

The installation of Jim Ramstad in ANY position in the Obama government should be read by anyone with the intellectual acuity greater than a sea urchin as a cave-in to the radical, fundie, "faith-based-initiative' crowd, and NOT any kind of a progressive move...

More "Change"?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Remember Those 533,000 Jobs Lost Last Month?

A mere drop in the bucket. The new month's numbers are out.
Initial Unemployment Claims Increases Sharply to 573 Thousand: The Labor Department reports this morning show new claims for unemployment benefits hit 573,000 last week, the highest level in 26 years. The number of people continuing to claim jobless benefits also “jumped much more than expected, increasing by 338,000 to 4.4 million. Economists expected a small increase to 4.1 million. … The increase in continuing claims was the largest jump since November 1974.”

by CalculatedRisk on 12/11/2008 08:38:00 AM

The DOL reports on weekly unemployment insurance claims:
In the week ending Dec. 6, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 573,000, an increase of 58,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 515,000. The 4-week moving average was 540,500, an increase of 14,250 from the previous week's revised average of 526,250.
The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending Nov. 29 was 4,429,000, an increase of 338,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 4,091,000.
The current recession is already worse than the '01 recession, but still not as bad as the '90/'91 recession (weekly claims) - although continued claims are at the same level as the '90/'91 recession.
Ooops...That CAN'T be good.

A half-million jobs this month, a half-million last month, another half-million next months (and so on), and purdee soon, it's gonna get tough finding gainful employment, innit?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The War On X-Mas, Part VIII: The Battle for the Washington State Capital

The Xian wackloons are up in arms about a display at the Washington State Capital building which rebuts the message of the Manger. Plus there's a poll but you gotta sign up to play, or even to see the results...So I din't...Via Portland (OR) station KGM:
The display stands next to a nativity scene. It has a sign that says "there are no Gods" and that religion is but a myth and superstition.

Outside, the protest included an opposing sign that portrays Governor Christine Gregoire as the Grinch. It also shows a balloon featuring Bill O’Reilly punching the governor.

When asked what the poster was supposed to mean, the protester carrying it said Jesus Christ was “spiritually” knocking the sense of God into the governor.

The display inside the Capitol, which went up last Monday has sparked nationwide attention.
Gregoire and the state’s attorney general responded to criticism by citing the First Amendment and releasing this joint statement:

“Once government admits one religious display or viewpoint onto public property, it may not discriminate against the content of other displays, including the viewpoints of non-believers."
What's "atheist/agnostic-speak" for Hallelulia? Right the FUCK on???

Rumor Confirmed: The Chimperor's a "Dry Drunk."

Last night, PZ Myers featured a posting from AOL on which there were a handful of polls regarding individuals' agreement with the BOOSH on matters of faith.

PZ's been having fun lately finding and "freeping" on-line polls tolling the ignorance of the Murkin People on matters of faith and science.

The present polls ask: 1) Do you believe the Bible is literally true? (51% of respondents say yes); 2) Which explanation about the origins of life on Earth do you believe in? (Creationism 47%, Evolution 35%, Intelligent design 12%, None of the above 6%); 3) How close are George W. Bush's views on religion to your views? (Not at all 43%, Somewhat 34%, Very 13%, Not sure 10%); and 4) Do you think Bush's religious views affected his policies as president? (Yes, and that bothered me, 41% Yes, and that's fine, 34% No 25%).

The result are creepy enough:
Almost 60 the people answering the poll believe some form of 'divine intervention' --'creationism' or 'intelligent design'-- best explains human development? WTF izzat about?; and 75% didn't mind that the drooling moron conducted the business of the People under the influence of idiotic delusion? CHUY!--but I digress)
But if you read through the accompanying story there is revealed the truth about one of the long-held speculations about the Chimp-in-Chief, his past experiences, and his present performance: Is he a 'dry drunk?' He's bragged a LOT about his recovery from alcohol abuse, but there always remained a great deal of interest in this point, as much of his "presidential" behavior seemed otherwise inexplicable.

From the lips of the simpering, scampering, smirking simian himself:

"It is hard for me to justify or prove the mystery of the Almighty in my life," he said. "All I can just tell you is that I got back into religion and I quit drinking shortly thereafter and I asked for help. ... I was a one-step program guy."
Speculation: CONFIRMED

Monday, December 08, 2008

Now THIS Is What I Call "Subtle" Analysis!

"The Worse, The Better"

Turns out, from the point of view of folks opposing USer hegemony in the world, the last four years of Bushevism, at least, may have been worth the pain, since the arrogance, heavy-handedness, insensitivity, and hubris of the Busheviks makes CERTAIN that the USofA emerges from Bushevik era substantially weakened in the very arenas--international alliances--which had cemented its power since 1945.

Bush--that is, the Bush/Cheney/PNAC neo-con ideological idyll--will have had exactly the net deleterious effect on the prominence and prowess of the country and the nation, the prevention of which might have rationalized their excesses--had they not, a priori, determined to raze the village to save it.
Like I said, subtle:
Jeet Heer on the Bush legacy: The most damaging president since Herbert Hoover
Posted: November 28, 2008, 10:00 AM by Kelly McParland
Jeet Heer, Full Comment. U.S. politics

In 2004, the left-wing historian Gabriel Kolko, shocked many of his long-time readers by arguing that it would be better for the world if George W. Bush were reelected. Kolko’s arguments were unexpected because the historian, a professor emeritus at York University, was known as one of the leading academic critics of American foreign policy, a writer whose work was often cited by fellow dissidents like Noam Chomsky. In books like The Politics of War (1972), Kolko pioneered the revisionist school of scholarship which argued that the United States and the Soviet Union were equally culpable in starting the Cold War.

Kolko’s reasons for supporting Bush are worth examining for anyone interested in judging the president’s achievements. Kolko began by observing that “the United States’ strength, to a crucial extent, has rested on its ability to convince other nations that it is to their vital interests to see America prevail in its global role.”

Through its ham-fisted and bullying foreign policy, the Bush administration alienated all of America’s major allies and undermined the system of consent and consensus that made the United States the globe’s dominant power. Desiring to see the United States weakened, Kolko worried that if the Democratic contender John Kerry was elected, these frayed alliances would be repaired.

“As dangerous as it is, Bush’s reelection may be a lesser evil because he is much more likely to continue the destruction of the alliance system that is so crucial to American power,” Kolko argued in 2004 in the radical newsletter Counterpunch. “One does not have to believe that the worse the better but we have to consider candidly the foreign policy consequences of a renewal of Bush’s mandate.” (In using the phrase “the worse the better” Kolko was alluding to the venerable Leninist doctrine that badly-administered regimes are easier to overthrow than well-functioning states).
With the economic crisis, the energy crisis, the food crisis, the climate crisis, the security crisis, the terrorist crisis, the ocean crisis, the ozone crisis, the urban crisis, the homeless crisis, the drug addiction crisis, the starvation crisis, the HIV crisis, the border crisis, it's beginning to look as though Lenin and that old crowd were right: We've finally bought enough rope to hang ourselves.

There is MUCH more to savor and enjoy at the original link, the excellent National Post.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Sarah ("GILF") Palin: Pinochet in Pumps

If Matt Taibi isn't the wittiest writer trolling the political seas, he's in the top "zero point zero zero zero five" percent of them. In this week's cover story in the 'Stone, he flenses the carcass of the McCain campaign right down to the mascara on the viscera.:
McCain's shtick wasn't exactly that, but it was close. He was a war hero who married an heiress to a beer distributorship and had been in the Senate since the Mesozoic Era. His greatest strength as a politician had up until this year been his ability to "reach across the aisle," a quality that in the modern Republican Party was normally about as popular as open bisexuality. His presence atop the ticket this year was evidence of profound anxiety within the party about its chances in the general election. After eight disastrous years of Bush, they thought they had lost the middle — so they picked a middling guy to get it back.

Which made sense, right up until the moment when they stuck him with Pinochet in heels for a running mate. Sarah Palin would have been a brilliant choice as a presidential nominee — and she will be, in 2012, when she leads the inevitable Republican counter-revolution against Obama's presidency. She's a classic divide-and-conquer politician, an unapologetic Witch Hunter and True Believer with a gift for whipping up the mob against the infidel. In a way that even George W. Bush never was, she is Karl Rove's wet dream, the Osama bin Laden of soccer moms, crusading against germs, communism, atheism and other such unclean elements strictly banned by American law.
Thar she bloats!

Well to consider in this context too, the warning of another of the shrewdest commentators on the passing debacle, Naomi Wolf, who espied Palin during the campaign for the Murikkkan Right's aspiring Evita. She's not going to go easily away, that one. She could prosper under a rubric of "Even retards deserve a voice!"

I concur with Silent Ppatriot on the C&L blog that you owe it to yourself to read the whole Taibbi piece. Perhaps the intro, reeking of schadenfreude, and rollicking with relief will provide a tempting taste:
Election night at the Biltmore in Arizona is a hilariously dismal scene, like a funeral for a family member nobody liked, who died owing everyone money. The rats here are already bailing off the ship with lightning speed, like L.A. Dodgers fans leaving a playoff game to catch the latest episode of Entourage. The exodus, in fact, begins about eight seconds into John McCain's concession speech, which incidentally starts off on the classiest of notes: with the remaining crowd cursing the name of the new president.

"A little while ago, I had the honor of calling Sen. Barack Obama," McCain begins.

"Boooooo!" bellows the crowd. Outside the hotel, a wine-drunk young woman in a fluffy white ball gown probably last worn at a Liberty University frat mixer angrily flings a would-be celebratory pompom she has been clutching into my face. "I can't listen to this shit!" she yells, scooting away.

I peel the plastic pompom bits off my face and stick them in my bag, where they are soon joined by a McCain-Palin "Victory 2008" Election Night T-shirt — bought for gloating purposes at a rapidly plummeting discount. Republican-souvenir prices haven't been this low since Watergate.

By the time McCain finishes his short, commendably gracious speech a few minutes later, almost all the Republican revelers have begun to flee the premises. The few who stick around are trying to suck the last value out of the meals and cocktails they so willingly overpaid for earlier in the night, when there was still a chance they'd end up with something to celebrate. At the hotel exit, a pair of Arizona State students are grumbling about the food.

"We paid, like, 10 bucks for a burger," says 18-year-old Emily Zizzo.

"We were outraged," agrees her 20-year-old friend Dori Jaffess.

I ask them why they think McCain lost. Dori says a big reason is that "a lot of big movie stars came out for Obama." I ask her which ones.

"Um, Puff Daddy?" she says. "Although I don't know if Puff Daddy came out for Obama."

"There's Oprah," adds Emily.

"Yeah, Oprah," says Dor
Yeah, Oprah...That's the ticket...

That's about as close as you're gonna get to the epitome of schadenfreudian snark, that is, right there, folks. Go read the rest...

Mike Braves The Voidoids So WE Don't Have To

Mandating "Merry Christmas"...Vatican told bishops to cover up sex abuse...Wingers, like Jesus, only appear to be losers...Faith and the Uniform... Pastor who got 'God' in pledge dies...Ordination doesn't lead to enlightenment...Mormon Church comes under scrutiny...Fundamentalism sucks...The Atheism Song...Vatican wants gays to be criminals...First duty of KY Homeland Security Office...Faith-based time bomb...God and suicide prevention in the military...Holiday gift ideas

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

RailRunner Begins Daily Commuter Service To Santa Fe Dec. 17

The Gov and the bigwigs will take the inaugural trips in Dec. 15. Commuter service begins Dec. 17. Round-trip fares will be less than $10. You can't drive from Abq-Sfe-Abq, and park when you're in Santa Fe and spend less than $20.

This is going to become one of the State's most popular public ventures. Already they claim more than a MILLION trips since it started running in 2006. I'll be taking the trip on the 18th. Lunch with friends at Tomasita's in the Rail Yard. Drink as many Margaritas as I want, and they can pour me onto the returning train. I'll be sober by the time I get back to Abq...

Now, if they'd install a station at the Airport and a tram from the arrival gate to the RoadRunner stop, and increase the number of trains...

The "Sarah-Cooter" Ain't Going Away, Friendz!

Reeking, dripping, feculent former Colorado Congresscritter Marilyn Musgrave has broken her post-defeat, post-rejection, post-humiliation silence in a robo-call endorsement of that scummy, sleazy, vile, filthy dickhead, Saxby Chamblis, in the Georgia Senate race.

A match made in heaven. Musgrave's blame-frame should tell you all you'd ever need to know about her politics: Pro-abortion radicals and liberal activists cost her her seat, who poured millions into the race supporting the eventual winner, Elizabeth "Betsy" Markee. And Saxby, who defamed triple-amputee, multiple medal-winner Max Cleland by juxtaposing his face with that of Saddam Hussein to "win" his seat in 2002 in what was arguably the dirtiest State race in the nation that cycle; the man who video evidence showed fondling a pre-teen girl.

But the point to which the hed points is made clearer in a subsequent part of the post: Chambliss' surrogates recruited Sarah Palin to campaign for him in Georgia (via RightWingWatch):
The incumbent never conceded defeat or called Markey to congratulate her. Musgrave hasn’t given an interview since the election.
The robo-call was made on behalf of “Team Sarah,” which was created by the Susan B. Anthony List to build “a coalition of women dedicated to advancing the values that Sarah Palin represents in the political process” … Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, said she contacted Musgrave on Monday about recording a robo-call for the Georgia race and Musgrave agreed.
This coterie of Sarah-fems was only a very marginal actor in the past election. But I predict we're gonna hear a LOT more about "bible-study Moms." Palin's becoming an iconic figure in prole-Amerikkka, folks. She's gonna be around longer than Phyllis Schlafly's Dependz...

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Pussy Comin' At Us? Wah' Pussy? Ah Don' See No Pussy!!! Wheyitat?

Via YouTube, obviously:
The plans to implement martial law in America have been taking shape for decades, hidden behind "Continuity of Government" contingency planning. Now, with public outcry over the banker bailout bill at fever pitch, all of the pieces are in place for the U.S. Army to start policing American citizens.

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