Monday, March 31, 2008

Da Kine Diesel, Braaah

I was listening to a program on the local community radio--it also is NPR, and it is aggressively expanding, and I am of quite mixed mind about it, because had a show on the station 40 years ago. They ran a feature on the (inevitable) forthcoming commercial conversions to alternative energy sources as oil becomes more expensive and less plentiful. Bio-diesel has many advantages (over ethanol), the main one of which is that it does not require any retro-fitting of the oil-transportation infrastructure.

They were discussing the most productive plants for theose purposes. Did you know Herr Rudolph Diesel originally designed his wonderful engine to run on.......

Fuukin WAIT FER IT!!!!!
The cannabis sativa plant produces more protein, oil and fiber than any other plant on earth. Hempseed, for example, was an essential part of our ancestors' diet and is the source of "gruel," the porridge that is referred to in countless stories and books written before this century. However, when new technology in the 1900's made mass processing of hemp possible, certain petrochemical, wood-based paper, and cotton-fiber industries protected themselves from competition by recasting hemp as "marijuana."

Carl Sagan, famed Cornell University astronomer and producer of the television series Cosmos, speculated in his book "The Dragons of Eden" that marijuana might be the very first crop grown . . . the root of the agricultural revolution and civilization as we know it today.

Hempseed oil

Dr. Udo Erasmus' recently-revised doctoral thesis, Fats and Oils, (which has been used as a college text book at many univesities) states that "hempseed oil is the most perfectly balanced source of plant nutrition available".

Rudolph Diesel invented the diesel engine to run on hempseed oil because any diesel engine can run without modification on unrefined hempseed oil, and hempseed could be among the most productive seed-oil crops by a ratio of perhaps three-to-one in comparison to the most productive alternatives, according to reports from Notre Dame University.

The cities of Spokane, Washington; Kansas City, Missouri; and St. Louis, Missouri, all run their mass transit buses on a blend of one-part vegetable oil (biodiesel - sunflower, soybean, and safflower oils) with four parts petroleum diesel. They claim this lowers particulate emissions by 75 percent. Kansas City, Missouri airport also runs all its vehicles on pure biodiesel (vegetable oil). Vegetable oils are a major fuel of the next century, just like they were until this century.
I know this may (with some justification) be regarded as a species of special pleading, but nonetheless....

Thursday, March 27, 2008

On Cognitive Dissonance

When I find myself in the throes of incipient cognitive dissonance, has happened so often over these last almost 30 years, I have a mantra I invoke for help in resolving the rampant, apparent contradictions.
I ask: "Given what I know, under what circumstances would these phenomena or events which seem so senseless to me now make sense?"

Nothing's off-limits. Nothing's too crazy.

There is always some set of imaginable circumstances under which the senseless resolves itself into 'reason.'

It can take quite a while. One must be patient.

I'll give an example.

I was in 'education' for quite a while--15 years, mas o menos.

Much of what I saw made no sense to me, especially in light of all the claims that were made about its importance, its downright centrality in the discourse of prolonging the American experiment. So much of 'schooling' seems to fly in the face of the very proclamations educators make about their business.

But, as I studied these matters, it gradually became clearer and clearer to me that the proclamations about the importance of education were a smoke-screen behind which there was a machinery explicitly designed to ensure that as few as possible children escaped the socio-economic niches into which, and for which, they were born. From what the school esteems the most highly, one may observe that schools exist primarily to provide evidence, retroactively, to justify decisions made about kids even before the first time they step through the school-house doors.

Then it all made sense: the incessant testing, the rote delivery, the video games, all of it.

For another example, I have trod on the verge of cognitive dissonance many hundreds of times during the Reagan/Bush years (inclusive of Clinton's terms). I was puzzled almost into paralysis by the impression I was getting, that the leaders of my government seemed to be doing everything they could to screw things up.

And this didn't make any sense to me. These folks were supposed to be the representatives of the People, whom the Constitution calls "We." Whatever else might be said of them, it didn't seem they were acting in the interests of anybody I knew.

My last ex-wife usta say of me I was a quick study but a slow learner. It took me pretty nearly til the summer of 2003, the ICORP in Iraq, to finally formulate the logic of the events which had so bothered me. It was this: For most of the past almost 40 years, it has been the express policy of the political Parties in the USofA to damage, undermine, sabotage, marginalize, cripple, and any other way to disable any public institution or instrument by which the People could reasonably seek redress against the encroachment of the CorpoRatocracy on the rights of citizens or their power to govern themselves.

Once I had that schema, it all made sense. And I think that is prob'ly the only schema under which it makes even the most tenuous sense: Their job has been to do the most damage they could do in the time allotted to 'em. Corporate interests don't expire, don't die. They have plenty of time.

Woody's "Martha Stewart Moment": Announcing a cheap, environmentally neutral Mosquito Spray

My pal, elldeedvm, the vet in the east mountains, sends this long. Absent my old pal, the mad vet of the prairies, EllDee's my source for wisdom biological:
She wrote: FYI. Too good an idea not to pass on, and definitely cheaper than those smelly sprays and Avon products (which smell great, but only last a short time, too).
Subject: MOSQUITO SPRAY I can't wait to try this in the summer! I was at a deck party awhile back, and the bugs were having a ball biting everyone. A man at the party sprayed the lawn and deck floor with Listerine, and the little demons disappeared.The next year I filled a 4-ounce spray bottle and used it around my seat whenever I saw mosquitoes. And voila! That worked as well. It worked at a picnic where we sprayed the area around the food table, the children's swing area, and the standing water nearby. During the summer, I don't leave home without it.....Pass it on.

------------------OUR FRIEND'S COMMENTS:I tried this on my deck and around all of my doors. It works - in fact,it killed them instantly. I bought my bottle from Target and it cost me$1.89. It really doesn't take much, and it is a big bottle, too; so itis not as expensive to use as the can of spray you buy that doesn't last30 minutes. So, try this, please. It will last a couple of days. Don'tspray directly on a wood door (like your front door), but spray aroundthe frame. Spray around the window frames, and even inside the dog house

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Ol' Perfesser 'Splens It ALL, Lucy! (Or: Why Does Nobody Read C.Wright Mills Anymore?)

Not for nothing do they call it "The Ruling Class"!

Questions and Answers

Q: So, who does rule America?

A: The owners and managers of large income-producing properties; i.e., corporations, banks, and agri-businesses. But they have plenty of help from the managers and experts they hire. You can read the essential details of the argument in this summary of Who Rules America?, or look for the book itself at

Q: Do the same people rule at the local level that rule at the federal level?

A: No, not quite. The local level is dominated by the land owners and businesses related to real estate that come together as growth coalitions, making cities into growth machines.

Q: Do they rule secretly from behind the scenes, as a conspiracy?

A: No, conspiracy theories are wrong, though it's true that some corporate leaders lie and steal, and that some government officials try to keep things secret (but usually fail).

Q: Then how do they rule?

A: That's a complicated story, but the short answer is through open and direct involvement in policy planning, through participation in political campaigns and elections, and through appointments to key decision-making positions in government.

Q: Are you saying that elections don't matter?

A: No, but they usually matter a lot less than they could, and a lot less in America than they do in other industrialized democracies. That's because of the nature of the electoral rules and the unique history of the South.

Q: Does social science research have anything useful to say about making progressive social change more effective?

A: Yes, it does, but few if any people pay much attention to that research.

Q: Is connected to the site called "Who Rules America?" on

A: No! That site (and many others with documents purporting to tell you "who rules America") is run by a white supremacist/neo-Nazi organization.
Addendum, re. C. Wright Mills, who already in 1956, had it "wright":
Via WikiPedia:The Power Elite (1956) describes the relationship between the political, military, and economic elite (people at the pinnacles of these three institutions), noting that these people share a common world view:

* the military metaphysic: a military definition of reality
* possess class identity: recognizing themselves separate and superior to the rest of society
* have interchangeability: they move within and between the three institutional structures and hold interlocking directorates
* cooptation/socialization: socialization of prospective new members is done based on how well they "clone" themselves socially after such elites

These elites in the "big three" institutional orders have an "uneasy" alliance based upon their "community of interests" driven by the military metaphysic, which has transformed the economy into a 'permanent war economy'.
Nobody could EVER anticipated...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Cui Bono: Who Is REALLY Benefitting From The Bear Stearns Bail-Out (BS B-O)?

Thom Hartmann yesterday dropped a tantalizing hint as to the REAL beneficiaries of the Federal Reserve's largesse in bailing out Bear-Stearns, and it's NOT the Billionaire Brit who was trying to corner all the shares.

In fact, Hartmann implied the primary beneficiaries of the bail-out are Saudi and other Middle-Eastern potentates who are deeply invested in the USer real estate market through these derivative instruments which caused the biggest part of the recent melt-downs and stock/credit crises that have overtaken the industries, beginning way last summer and still metastacizing throughout the financial markets today.

I e-mailed him today ( to enquire what his sources were for that assertion. I await an answer, and will post what I learn, here and elsewhere...

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Folks Call Me a "Contrarian"...

But I'm not....


Forty Years, Plus A Week Ago, A Five-Foot Four-Inch Perpetual Fuck-up & Habitual Failure

Namwed Lt. William "Rusty" Calley led his Charlie Company of 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 11th Brigade, 23rd Infantry Division (the Americal Division) into a little Vietnamese 'ville called My Lai. Wikipedia has a plain-spoken, even-handed description of the deeds that ensued. Read it, and remember Fallujah, Haditha, Samara, and all those other denials...

Calley's not still in jail, though he should be. According to the biographical Wiki on him, "In 2007, Calley agreed to be interviewed to discuss the massacre, saying, "Meet me in the lobby of the nearest bank at opening time tomorrow, and give me a certified check for $25,000, then I'll talk to you for precisely one hour."[4] However, when confronted with journalist's questions, Calley fled the scene." Once a chickenshit...

Somehow, the SCUM (SoCalledUnbiasedMedia) let this particular anniversary slip by. Can't imagine how that would happen, can you?

Friday, March 21, 2008

"They Could Fuck Up A Wet Dream": The Foot-note Candidacies Of BHO and HRC

Anybody ever asks you what that means, point to the Democratic Presidential Nominating Campaign of 2008. It's textbook.

  1. *With an opponent inextricably tied to and willingly aligned with the least popular, most detested, "Worst President Ever;"
  2. *with a populace united in opposition to an immoral, illegal "war;"
  3. *with an environmental crisis much of which is attributable to the inertia of the ruling elites;
  4. *with the economy bobbing around like a turd in a maelstrom, credit harder to find than chicken-teeth and harder to get than a Vestal Virgin;
  5. "with oil hovering around $100/bbl (until after Nov, when it will take off);
  6. *with food and transportation prices spiraling upwards and no end in sight;
  7. *with medical care costs growing while coverage for citizens declines along with their health;
  8. *with unemployment rising, corporate profits sky-rocketing, and wages stagnating,
that is, with ALL these pop/prog issues in play...

...the Dems offer not one but two "exotic" candidates (neither of whom is populist or progressive--much less "liberal"), either of whom will inevitably divide both the party and the Country, and both of whom can make it close enough for the GOPukes to steal in November, if they so desire.

The competitive Clinton/Obama race in the Dim primaries is a god-send for the elites. It provides cover, for one thing. If either is 'elected,' it will be taken--by the relentlessly naive, at least--as 'evidence' that the elites are powerless to control the outcome of the 'election.'

Of course, due to the acrimony, anger, and angst stimulated by the simultaneous candidacies of not one but two candidates who are avatars of different, traditionally marginalized, often despised social groups: women and racial minorities. Both groups are therefore (and understandably) voraciously hungry for the legitimacy winning the Presidency would provide.

Yet I suspect that either an BHO or a HRC presidency will be almost as great a triumph for the long-term interests of the oligarchy as nuevo-Bush McStain would be.

That is because the array of government and social institutions "mierdas-touched" by the Bushies is so stunningly complete, to total, so thorough, the shit-splashing so comprehensive, that there is NO FUUKIN way any mere mortal human will be able to clean it all up. This bed cannot be unshit. The fecal matter is everywhere, and crusted hard by the years of neglect.

Because, of course, either HRC or BHO will have been 'elected'--if they are--on the PROMISE of "change," and with an ostensible 'mandate' to repair all that damage. Which, unfortunately, is a promise they will be--utterly, tragically, inevitably, predictably--unable to fulfill. This will have the (for the Right) desirable consequences, thereby, of (1) exascerbating the alienation of the desperate, fearful electorate from the process, and meantime (2) lodging a black-mark against the aspirations of any future 'exotic' candidate. Can you NOT just hear Big Babs Bush opining on the inability of 'those people' to govern? I can...

The other option available to the elites, of course, is to simply cut to the chase, use the usual chicanery of vote rigging, electronic malfeasance, and other dirty tricks, to install McStain/(Huckleberry or Ghouliani or Romney), to seal (and steal) the 'election,' and proceed with the 'bidness as usual' of the last 7 (by then 8) years, of relieving the country of all its disposable income, destroying the infrastructure of democratic republicanism, spreading world-wide terror, and enervating such of the people who yet possess a conscience to their serial, and increasingly criminal abuses...

McStain's already on record believing 'the jobs ain't coming back, the immigrants ain't going home, and there's gonna be a lot more wars.' So he's the perfect agent of this program. Bush has lowered expectations so far, almost anything will be regarded as an improvement, even if it is more of the same in a slightly different wrapper.

If the Dims had PLANNED to hand the country over to the Oiligarchs & Pollutocrats, they wouldn't have done ANYTHING different this year.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Too Bad Disbarrment Doesn't Include Knee-capping With A Ball-Peen Hammer

Too Bad Disbarrment Doesn't Include Knee-capping With A Ball-Peen Hammer
Or mebbe a dip in the waterboard pool.

From the good folks at TruthOut dot Org:

"Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, was disbarred today by a District of Columbia court that ruled that his convictions last year for perjury and obstructing justice in a White House leak investigation disqualify him from practicing law," reports Carol D. Leonnig of The Washington Post.
Sleazy motherfucker deserves FAR worse. Poor bastard'll hafta pawn his cashmere overcoats and live off his wife's (trifling, DEMOCRAT Party) salary. Mebbe put off buyin' that condo in Haifa...Breaks mah fuukin heart, it do...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A Word From The "Wise"

Tim Wise, one of the smartest, most perceptive writers on Race, ever, anywhere, in CounterPunch:
For most white folks, indignation just doesn't wear well. Once affected or conjured up, it reminds one of a pudgy man, wearing a tie that may well have fit him when he was fifty pounds lighter, but which now cuts off somewhere above his navel and makes him look like an idiot.

Indignation doesn't work for most whites, because having remained sanguine about, silent during, indeed often supportive of so much injustice over the years in this country--the theft of native land and genocide of indigenous persons, and the enslavement of Africans being only two of the best examples--we are just a bit late to get into the game of moral rectitude. And once we enter it, our efforts at righteousness tend to fail the test of sincerity.

But here we are, in 2008, fuming at the words of Pastor Jeremiah Wright, of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago--occasionally Barack Obama's pastor, and the man whom Obama credits with having brought him to Christianity--for merely reminding us of those evils about which we have remained so quiet, so dismissive, so unconcerned. It is not the crime that bothers us, but the remembrance of it, the unwillingness to let it go--these last words being the first ones uttered by most whites it seems whenever anyone, least of all an "angry black man" like Jeremiah Wright, foists upon us the bill of particulars for several centuries of white supremacy.

But our collective indignation, no matter how loudly we announce it, cannot drown out the truth. And as much as white America may not be able to hear it (and as much as politics may require Obama to condemn it) let us be clear, Jeremiah Wright fundamentally told the truth.
When Tim Wise talks, LISTEN the fuck UP. for shit's sake!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Wanna Use Somebody's Words Agin 'Em? Here's How You Do It...Get Used To It...

"Don't tell me words don't matter." Read the comments. Get used to it. This is just the beginning...

Jeremiah Wright, Preachin' It!: I Post This Mainly To Link To The Comments, Which Are Instructive

Go ahead. Click through to the YouTube page. Read 'em; or even just the first couopla pages; there's almost 1200.

The sentiments expressed there are why I mostly think "Mid-Dull Murka" is not ready for ITS president (fuck the rest of us, they're the MAJORITY!) to be a Black dude with a big smile and a funny name. (I am NOT speaking for myself.)

And also why I don't think 'they're' gonna take "Yes" for an answer.

Nota bene: aint no bankers or brokers defenestrating themselves

The clearest evidence possible that the fix is in, and nobody in the oiligarchy is gonna suffer a dime's worth of real loss or a minute's worth of discomfort...

I'd feel a whole lot better about this if the boss of the aptly acronymed "BS" had followed--or better yet, preceded--Assif Mondvi out a window yesterday...

Monday, March 17, 2008

Dear Friends, Correspondents, Well-Wishers, Etc:

Indeed, to ALL my friends, relations, acquaintances and others who in 2007 sent me best 'wishes', chain letters, 'angel' letters or other promises of good luck if I forwarded something, Thank you for your thoughts and good wishes, but


So, for 2008, would you please just send money, beer, chocolate, movie tickets or gasoline vouchers and airline tickets instead?

Thank you!

(Thanks to my pal, LD, the DVM).

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Who Says Irony Is Dead?

The post-colonialist structure of the Dim primary is fascinating, pitting representatives of the two dominant 'colonized' Dimocrat base-groups--'women' and 'minorities'--against each other for the oligarchs' leavings, forcing them to play White Man's cut-throat, zero-sum, winner-take-all politics to put themselves in a position from which they will be in effect prevented from answering the particular dilemmas and issues of the groups of which they are avatars.

Such is the irony of Murka's first seriously multi-ethnic "National" political campaign:

By running as as the "Non-African-American" Black person, Obama CANNOT call or devote (should he be 'elected') special attention to the systematic social and economic marginalization of People-of-Color without losing popularity with 'tolerant whites' who might vote for a Pale Male Black who knows his place, by running the risk of being retroactively labeled as 'just another one of "them" '...

Of course, he cannot run as a 'Jesse Jackson' Black--that is, as a Black person with a special sympathy for the plight of poor, economically marginalized Blacks (and others, which of course the critics dismiss) without losing the 'white' votes that appear to make him a 'viable' candidate.

HRC confronts exactly the same dilemma as a "woman" candidate: she could NOT be a striong advocate for, say, Choice, because she would be accused of not being the "president" of all the people, which would include those who oppose choice for women in the matter of their bodies.

And it is probably all in vain, because I firmly believe that the Pukes will promote some fear-bearing horror between now and election day to drive the people onto the Fascist's arms again. Both Hillary and Barack are destined to become footnotes.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Can Somebody Please Explain To Me Why Some Photos Disappear From Blogger?

and some do not? And what is the difference between them? And where do they GO when they disappear? And how they do that? and is there some piece of code that will disable this unfortunate tendency?
Thank you very much, in advance, for your attention to this matter!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

A "War" Story***

In the comments on another site, a posturing, braggart "troll" described one of its "greatest (alleged) accomplishments" as having made one of its professors cry in "law school." This reminded me of one of my favorite moments as a teacher.

Yea, though the distinguished likes of William James or John Dewey would doubtless quail at the thought, I was once a professor (I know, it's enough to make a butcher blanch, but there it is.) I have taught in English, Journalism and Education programs at three major (top 100) Universities. I had some pretty good moments over those years. But one of the most memorable involved a student whom I judge may well have been the troll, or its doppelganger.

It occurred this way:
During the very first meeting of one class (at LSU, as it happened), while delivering myself of various opening remarks and instructions for the conduct and expectations for the following semester, I asked what I and almost everyone else in the room knew was a rhetorical question. The exception was a young man, large-ish, somewhat older, in his early 20s perhaps, with close-cropped blonde hair, jug-ears, a prognathous jaw and an aggressive attitude: very much the image I have of the "troll" who spurred this fond memory.

The young man, upon hearing the rhetorical question, pretended to understand that I had issued a legitimate interrogatory, thrust his arm into the air, and waved it. I acknowledged him. He began to 'answer' the rhetorical question, which I allowed to proceed for a moment, and then stilled him, politely. I was not at all surprised when, a bit later, in response to another rhetorical question, the young man again engaged in the same behavior, which had the same result. And when my third rhetorical gambit was met with the same aggressive challenge, I had had enough. THis was a crisis.

I let him talk, as I slipped off my customary perch on the front lip of the instructor's desk. I walked with slow deliberation toward his seat. I stood adjacent, on the side where the bar attaching the desk-top to the seat forbade easy egress. I waited. He stopped.

"You do know, young man, don't you," I said, with my best sardonic chuckle, "that were we--you and I, now--members of ANY other mammalian species, I'd have to kill you...or run you off." He was startled, and laughed nervously. "You understand, don't you?" I lowered my brows and nodded for emphasis. He muttered something indecipherable. "Good," I said. And returned to my classroom duties. The young man transferred to another section, and shortly left education altogether.

***A War Story: This refers to an old service joke. Sarge: "You know the diff'rence b'tween a war story and a fairy tale?" Private: "No, Sarge. Tell me." Sarge: "Well, son, a fairy tale starts out 'Onct upon a time...' an' a war story stars off, 'This ain't no shit, boys, I was there...' "

20/22 Hindsight: Monument Valley, Grand Canyon & Painted Desert

She Wore A Yellow Ribbon on the Stage Coach:
Why they don't call it the "Average" Canyon: (The North Rim, opposite here, is 10 miles away and more than 1,000 feet higher.)
One of the Canyon's "Locals" checks in: (You say "Elk," I say "Wapiti.")
Pastels are still "paint":
(Photos Courtesy of Prof. B. Mascali; driver: Dr. J.)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

20/20 Hindsight

This is the 2,020th post on the three blogs that comprise my little InnerToobs enterprise, since I posted the first one at the end of April, 2006. I hope you've enjoyed at least some of them. I have.

As an additional fillip, here are some fotos from a recent excursion through the Dineh' country on out to the Grand Canyon. Above, for instance, is a seriously ("monumentally"?) manly, albeit seasonally parched, yucca plant posed amid the amazing, 1,000-year-old, intricately crafted, geometrically almost perfect, field-stone ruins at Aztec Ruin National Monument, Aztec, NM. It's not as close to downtown as I recalled it, but it is very accessible, and well worth the $5 you pay to look around.

Below, that's the famed Shiprock, from a little south of Shiprock, AZ, and about 25 miles distant. (Travel Tip: If Shiprock's on your right, and you're aiming for Kayenta, you missed the turn. Hang a U-ey at the dead dog near the roadside, trailer taco stand...)
Right around here, somewhere, is the "e" in the middle of Nowhere, AZ. Also fossilized dinosaur tracks (give or take 150 miles; we do it all the time).This is one of the reasons for the trip: approaching Monument Valley, late pm.Even before the Grand Canyon of the Colorado, there's the canyon of the Little Colorado. It's steep: If you went over the side, it's 200 feet before you'd even touch the side; over a thousand feet to the bottom.---To Be Continued---

Dirty Rice: A running-mate for McStain?

I thought I was a cynic, but Rik Hertzberger, of The New Yorker is surely top dog, (so to speak).

He recently made a (seemingly) serious case that McStain's best interests as Presidential candidate would be best served by the addition to the ticket of the least competent female public servant EVER--who escapes the label of "Least Competent Public Servant Of All Time Regardless of Gender" only by virtue of serving in the same regime with Alberto Gonzales and Douglas Feith .

(Update: The more one thinks objectively about this pairing, the 'better' (for the GOPs) it looks. It could really be a smart move for the Pukes. Because it would trump the candidacies of BOTH HRC and BHO, without having the awkwardness (and distraction) of having EITHER a black or a woman at the top of the ticket. But at the same time, it preserves the novelty factor of having BOTH a black and a woman on the ticket. Sheer fuuking GENIUS!)`

Update #2: The More I Think About This, The More Genius It Seems:
The biggest advantage of it is that it preserves the novelty of the Dims choices--which, when you think about it, is just about ALL they have--without the danger of any of there being any significant power shift. By keeping a White Male on top--where obviously God intended us to be--they preserve the most of the symbolism of the Dim ticket, without actually having to share power with despised, marginalized people. Condi could be counted upon for discretion, silence, and decorum ; plus, it would give her at a minimum, four more years to get something--any-fucking-thing--RIGHT!
Win-win, all the GOP way...

(Note: After posting this, I found Nick Van Hoffman had speculated on this (mis) match-up, last month on Alternet.)

Monday, March 10, 2008

NM 1,2, & 3 are ALL "open" seats

The announced retirement of "Pajama" Pete Domenici, the god-father of NM national politics for nearly seven terms in the US Senate, has caused tsunamic ripples throughout the whole NM Congressional delegation, as all three incumbent US Reps have announced their candidacies to replace him in the Senate.

Former Albuquerque City Council Chair Martin Heinrich so far seems to lead a pack of otherwise lackluster wannabees in NM 1, including the former Secretary of State who still, in 2004, could NOT distinguish any significant difference between open source and proprietary software in the bowels of the voting machines she was responsible for overseeing. The S.S. Beckie Vigil-Jiron floats VERY HIGH in the water. Others include Michelle Lujan Grisham , ex-State Aging Secretary, ex-State Health Secretary & Attorney; Robert Pidcock , Attorney & Army Veteran; and Jessica Wolfe, Ex-Gubernatorial Aide.

Announced GOPs are State Sen. Joe Carraro, and the National GOP fave, Sheriff Darren White. This has been Heather Wilson's seat. She was Pajama Pete's designated heir. Carraro is a charismatic former entertainer and bar-owner.

NM2, in the southern part of the state, and now represented by Steve Pearce, 58% supported Bush in 2004, and Pearce has never had serious opposition. Four Dems have announced to replace Pearce: Al Kissling, who was defeated by Pearce in 2006; Bill McCamley, a Harvard-educated local politician with the best environmental credentials of the field; Frank McKinnon, who has the most liberal record and agenda, and Harry Teague, a Hobbs businessman. This seat stays GOP unless Rapture occurs before November.

NM3 is the most competitive among the Dems. As the seat formerly held by Tom Udall, the leading contender to capture Domenici's seat for the Dems, it will likely stay Dem. It should be extremely competitive for the Dem nomination. The seat is seen locally as 'perq' belonging to the son of a long-time politico/Dem godfather. The lucky scion is one Ben Lujan, currently State Public Regulation Commission Chair & Son of State House Speaker Ben Lujan. Santa Fe County Commissioner Harry Montoya should be the most formidable challenger to Lujan, but the most progressive candidate probably is Don Wiviott, a 'green' developer and local environmental activist. Wiviott's the closest lineal heir to Tom Udall's seat, but his chances are not great, I think, between Lujan and Montoya, both deeply connected, powerful local politicos...Other candidates include Jemez Pueblo member and Ex-State Secretary of Indian Affairs, Bennie Shendo Jr. Jon Adams, originally from Los Alamos, is a former Assistant Attorney General; Rudy Martin is a social activist attorney from the tiny village of Dixon, famed for its apples and rapids.

Carol Miller is an announced "Green Party" Candidate. Two largely sacrificial GOPs are running.

I've known the elder Ben Lujan for YEARS. We were neighbors. He's a glad-handing, BIIIIG-smiling fixer and a ward-heeler in a district where ya gotta watch where you set your heels, due to there being not infrequent rattlesnakes around.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Like there was EVER any doubt?

Back in the middle of February, various Dim pundits were effusive in their praises of House Dems who, it appeared, might stall or prevent the Busheviks' plans to confer retroactive immunity on the telecom corporations which had abetted the GOPhascist's domestic spying agenda. They were absolutely reverent on the subject of the apparent courage of the House Dims to leave immunity out of the House FISA/PAA bill, predicting that the Dims would finally show a tiny bit of spine and oppose the continued destruction of the Constitution by the Pukes in the name of 'national security.'

I, on the other hand, was less sanguine, claiming in several places (OpenLeft, among them; read the comments) that the gutless, feckless, shit-for-brains Dims would find a way and a reason to cave and grant the Bush Cabal it's way, as they have on every other occasion where they could have resisted.

Who was right?

Well Matt Renner at Truthout today seems to support my prediction:
Blue Dog Democrats May Give Bush Victory on Spying
By Matt Renner
t r u t h o u t | Report

Thursday 06 March 2008

A plan to grant legal immunity to telecommunication companies that cooperated with potentially criminal spying would pin another Bush victory on the conservative Democratic group.

Democrats in the House of Representatives - teetering on the verge of compliance with the spy power demands of the Bush administration - have devised a plan that would give the president everything he has demanded, while keeping the majority of Democrats' fingerprints off the most controversial elements of the proposed legislation.

The bill at hand is an update to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), a law intended to prevent misuse of surveillance powers by presidents in the wake of the Watergate scandal. The legislation passed the Senate with the majority of Democrats voting against it. The bill evoked heated disagreement between conservative and progressive Democrats because it would broaden presidential spy powers and would grant retroactive legal immunity for a broad range of companies that may have broken the law by participating in the Bush administration's warrantless surveillance programs.

Civil liberties groups and progressive members of Congress oppose immunity because it would cut off around 40 lawsuits against the telecoms - court cases that have been the only significant source of information about the administration's surveillance activity. However, House Democratic leaders face mounting pressure to grant telecoms immunity, from the Bush administration and from members of the Blue Dog coalition - a group of conservative Democrats who often cross the aisle to vote with Republicans on legislation framed by the Bush administration as pertaining to national security.

"A capitulation on this point [legal immunity] would destroy a small flickering flame of hope by many citizens that Congress was not entirely in the pocket of lobbyists and could on this one occasion stand firm on a point of legal principle. If the companies and the White House were acting lawfully as they insist, there is nothing to fear from judicial review. If not, it is important to establish that this was an unlawful program," constitutional law scholar Jonathan Turley wrote on his web site.

In what appears to be a calculated political maneuver, a plan has been proposed that would break the bill into two parts, allowing Democrats who are opposed to the immunity provision to vote against it without actually killing the bill.

The plan, floated on February 29 by an unnamed "senior Democratic aide," would separate the part of the bill that expands spy powers from the section that grants retroactive legal immunity for companies involved in surveillance. Progressive Democrats who have been working to remove the immunity provision could vote against it without actually killing the bill. Or, as the unnamed aide said, the plan would "allow Democrats to register their objections to the immunity provision," according to The Los Angeles Times report.

If the bill is split into two pieces, conservative Blue Dog Democrats in the House could join with Republicans to pass the immunity provision, handing the Bush administration a victory while providing political cover for progressive Democrats and the Democratic leadership. Bush has warned repeatedly that he will veto any FISA update that does not include retroactive immunity for telecoms.

In a January letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, 21 Blue Dog Coalition members made it known they supported granting immunity to the telecoms, and urged Pelosi to move quickly to pass the Senate version of the bill. (Follow the link and scroll down to the 21 worthless, traitorous, cowardly members motherfuckers who signed the letter.)

Members of the Blue Dog Coalition were integral in the passage of the highly controversial Protect America Act (PAA), a Republican-backed bill that greatly expanded spy powers in August 2007. The PAA was allowed to expire in February in the face of stark warnings from the Bush administration.

Spokespersons for Speaker Pelosi and for the Blue Dog Coalition failed to return numerous requests for comment on the situation.

ACLU lobbyist Michelle Richardson told Truthout she is concerned that House Democrats may try the same tactic they used to pass the PAA. "One possibility is that by splitting the bill in half and dangling the immunity provision in front of Republicans, Democrats could get a better spy bill passed. The other possibility is that they want a repeat of August 2007, where they put up two bad bills, and let the Blue Dogs off the leash so they could vote how they wanted, while a majority of Democrats could cry victim and claim they voted against immunity," Richardson said.

The ACLU released a national poll conducted by The Mellman Group that showed only 31 percent support, among likely 2008 voters, for granting telecoms retroactive immunity.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Wednesday that the House would not vote on the bill this week.
Like there EVER was ANY fucking doubt that the gutless, feckless, spineless, shit-sucking motherfuckers would capitulate.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

What he said...

Jon Schwarz had this today:
I was concerned for a while that the Democrats wouldn't find some way to lose this year. Clearly they faced an extremely challenging environment: their opponents have destroyed the country and plan to nominate an angry gnome whose platform is "I will destroy this country harder!" It was obvious it would take discipline, hard work and more than a little luck for the Democrats to pull this one out of the fire and lose.

But you should NEVER count the Democrats out. Remember, these are the people who managed to lose to the mighty Bush/Quayle ticket in 1988. Do you believe in miracles?

—Jonathan Schwarz

Now That's What I Calls Hope!!!!!