Friday, August 29, 2014

There's Something About Sarah...

Sarah Palin is a genius!  It's about time someone said it!  A g-e-n-i-u-s.  Some might disagree with me and they need to step back and look at this modern marvel in a non-partisan light!  We all know the story...  Suddenly plucked from political obscurity to become John McCain's running mate; the GOP hoped the allure of the first female Vice President might be enough to trump the prospect of the nation's first bi-racial President.  It wouldn't be the first time the GOP used smoke and mirrors versus substance.  It's rumored that McCain wanted Lieberman as his running mate, yet the prospect of having two old and rather boring white men seek the nomination seemed so yesteryear. 

Then she spoke.

Many recoiled at the obvious lack of readiness Palin presented to be one heartbeat away from the Presidency.  However, some--quite a few in fact--flocked to this enchantress.  There was just something about Sarah!  She didn't have to be correct.  She didn't have to have a grasp of vocabulary.  She didn't need to know history, geopolitics, or even be familiar with Supreme Court cases.  Indeed, her relative ignorance made her stronger!

I look back at the fallen candidates of my lifetime:  Walter Mondale, Geraldine Ferraro, George H.W. Bush, Dan Quayle, Ross Perot, Admiral James Stockdale, Bob Dole, Jack Kemp, Al Gore, and ...y'know I can't even think of his running mate.  Wasn't he the one that had the secret baby?  John Edwards!!  More recently, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.  I actually had to look up Dole and Kemp and that leads to my point.  Does anyone remember these guys?  With the exception of President Bush (41) and McCain, the others have faded into relative obscurity and political purgatory.

Palin is unique among the other "also-rans." She has the least legislative and executive record and experience.  She doesn't have the business acumen of Ross Perot or Mitt Romney, she hasn't served years in government like Bob Dole or Kemp, in fact she doesn't even have the claim to fame of being the first female Vice President nominee, following in the steps of Ferraro.  If she excels in anything, it is her ability to be a gaffe machine, surpassing even Dan Quayle.  Criticisms of Sarah's gaffes only make her stronger.  There is something about Sarah!

Maybe the stupid in this country feel "safe" around Sarah.  She isn't much brighter than any of them and perhaps that is a welcome non-threatening sign to the dimwits of our nation.  Palin's audience was primed and ready to go before she even spoke a word, thanks to the likes of Limbaugh, Hannity, and Beck.  Unlike these men, who took the time to understand basic talking points and policy, Sarah "went rogue."  Her speeches become more like a bizzaro-conservative Mad-Lib.  Seemingly random words and fragments of ideas tumbled from this woman's mouth, yet she quickly learned if she dotted her words and fragments with other words like "socialism," "tyranny," and "liberty," the crowds ate it up. 

As she spoke, the McCain camp reeled.  She was off message--simply hurling political hand-grenades toward the Obama camp.  It made many--enough--to vote for Obama.  We can only wonder what substance the McCain campaign may have demonstrated with Lieberman with the VP nod; but even off message, Sarah was adored.  To these folks, she wasn't "off-message," she was a "firebrand."  If only she could be as useful as a burning stick...  It didn't matter that she was off-message!  It didn't matter that she may have been proverbial Alaskan albatross around McCain's neck!!  Sarah's admirer's were angry and her nonsensical, overly-smug, blitherings dotted with "socialism," "liberty," and "tyranny" struck a chord with her admirers.  Read the transcripts!  You have no idea what the hell she's talking about or its relevance, but goddamn it sounds oh-so important and impassioned!!  There really is something about this woman!

John McCain--who?!?  Even with a loss on election night, Sarah's admirers gleefully looked forward to 2012.  Who wanted McCain anyways?!?  He was too old!  He didn't say "liberty" enough!  Sarah!  Sarah!!  Sarah!!  The enchantment was complete.

"Dummy" you say?  In 2009, Palin resigned her Governorship half-way through her first term.  Rather than her followers question her oft spoken "love of country" and "love of service," they applauded her move.  Her spell complete, the "dummy" from Wasilla, Alaska traded up; leaving the measly $125,000 a year Governorship for a $7 Million book deal.  In fact, during the time period between her resignation in July of 2009 and April 2010, Palin had earned at least--many speculate much more--but at least $12 million dollars.

The "P.T. Barnum" of American politics knows her skills and intelligence are limited.  Yet she is bright enough and savvy enough to realize that their are millions of Americans who hang on her every word.  These are the dummies!  Blindly, faithfully, reverently--these hapless schmucks actually think that Sarah will "rescue the Republic" by running for the Presidency again.  I got news for the dummies out there, Sarah may be a "great patriot," but she's a much better capitalist.  As we seen with Alaska, her capitalism trumps patriotism.

There's no reason for Sarah to go back into politics!  For what?  A pay cut?!?  Sarah Palin, like P.T. Barnum is an example of the American Dream!  The $12 million she made in the year following her resignation wasn't even inclusive of her Fox contract.  Hey--if a bloated, disheveled, unshaven Michael Moore can be rolled out to give commentary on...anything--why the fuck not Sarah Palin?!?  This Machiavellian marvel of the modern age capitalizes on her celebrity-like status.

From the sidelines, she collects money through her SarahPac, sprinkles it out amongst Tea Party candidates, thereby continuing to stay in the eye of her admirers.  She gives political commentary of the quality one might over hear in a diner.  She throws the occasional political hand grenade.  Writes books.  Has books written for her.  Gives speeches about nothing and collects staggering pay days.  Sarah really doesn't "do" anything, she's more of a brand than an influence; but that doesn't stop her blind faithful from buying books, writing the checks for the "big" speeches and tuning in.

Who's the dummy now?

Geeesh!   I forgot about Dukakis and Bentson!!  Dukakis!!  Again, I prove my point, there is just something about Sarah!  Christ...I even think I voted for Bush 41 that time!

P.T. Barnum supposedly once said, "There's a sucker born every minute."  Sarah seems to understand that.  Her political relevance is the equivalent of an Seinfeld episode--it's about nothing, but it sounds oh so gosh darn important.  The bizarro-conservative Mad Lib speech format works for the masses.  They ask and require nothing Sarah's relief.

The movie "Game Change" which showcased the McCain/Palin ticket of 2008 was largely dismissed by Republicans.  Steve Schmidt, the senior campaign adviser for McCain/Palin endorsed the film.  Julianne Moore's Palin shows a woman overwhelmed by the scrutiny, facts, and figures of the campaign.  Woody Harrelson's Schmidt realizes the campaign is doomed.

However, there is a remarkable scene where Moore's Palin has a surprise phone call from her son serving in Iraq, just before the Vice Presidential debate.  Moore's Palin is seen as a mom wishing she could protect her son.  You get a sense that if given a choice for an extra 60 seconds of talk time, Palin would have readily left the race.  It's not a completely demonizing film of Palin, in fact, the above scene truly humanizes Palin. 

If this scene is true, then we have an unvarnished look at who Sarah Palin really is.  It isn't pundit, Tea Party king-maker, author, or Vice President--it's mom.  Regardless of your political affiliation you find yourself momentarily rooting for Sarah.  You have to wonder if we saw more of this Sarah Palin on the campaign trail versus the "Momma Grizzly," would this country accept a sincere, genuine, mom with limited political knowledge?

Sarah has suffered many blows since 2008, some deserved, many in retaliation, and some undeserved.  Recently she gave an interview discounting Tina Fey's portrayal of her on Saturday Night Live.  Palin felt that Fey's portrayal didn't have much to do with the election.  Au contrair!  While much of Fey's schtick is attributed to actual quotes Palin alleged said (Palin never said, "I can see Russia from my house.") it was Palin's own incoherent Mad Lib speeches that gave Fey's performance credibility and believability. 

Fey's turn as Palin during the SNL skit of the Vice Presidential debate, where Fey as Palin asks, "Is this the talent show portion?" slayed audiences.  You just never knew what wackiness Sarah was going to say.  It was befitting.

But who is laughing now?

There is something about Sarah!  As foible as Dan Quayle, as ridiculous as Dukakis, as cantankerous as  Ross "Can I Finish?" Perot, Sarah has proven to the test of time.  She is regarded as a leader.  The party, at times, looks to her and she has cemented a safe and secure status for herself that pays well and has no liabilities.  Her fans ask nothing of her, yet hope she will run for President one day.  They'll continue to be strung along as long as possible.  In the meantime, Sarah has launched her own TV channel.  Her daughter, Bristol, has found her own limited celebrity status and has begun a political blog--possibly foreshadowing a political future for herself.

...and all it took was some incoherent Mad Lib-like speeches dotted with "liberty," "tyranny," and "socialism."  Like Barnum, she's taken the dopes of this country for a ride and made herself one hell of pay day by doing very little.  As Barnum said, "There's a sucker born every minute." 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Fallout From Ferguson

When people talk about "American Exceptionalism" or make some broad claim of how the United States should be doing...this or that in our foreign policy, I have to wonder what country they are seeing.  If Ferguson is teaching us anything, it is that we should worry more about our own domestic affairs, than foreign affairs, and be more humble than haughty.  What has come out of Ferguson is not pretty.  Clearly race, inequality, and racism are still issues that our society needs to deal with and before we can even deal with those issues, we need to work on a method of dealing with these issues before we even get to the solution.

As I read the headlines and commentaries, there is plenty of ugliness and hate being dished out all over this country.  The vehemence and certainty of events each side holds--without any conclusion of evidence--is startling.  Yet, there are issues and concepts voiced by both sides, that if examined, might actually bridge the political and cultural divide in this country.  With that some observations of Ferguson:

The Use of Force:

I've been surprised by the certainty of guilt directed at Officer Darren Wilson, by news groups, feeds, and pundits I follow.  By many, Wilson has already been tried and convicted. For supporters of Brown, his past, who he was, or his actions during the shooting are remarkably immaterial.  Officer Wilson killed a unarmed black man.  We still don't know what happened during that altercation, save that 10 shots were fired, 6 of which struck Brown.  No matter the facts, I doubt there will be any closure.

One thing that has bothered me in reading the "prosecutions" of Wilson, is that police should expect to get "banged up" during the course of their job.  No matter the perceived threat, police should be willing to roll around, struggle, and in general--"street fight" suspects to prevent another Michael Brown.

I disagree entirely.

There a lot of hot-headed, violent people in this country, who think nothing about hurting or assaulting others.  In Pennsylvania, a park ranger was beaten by a skate boarder.  The ranger had directed the skaters to another location where the activity was permitted.  The beating was videotaped with on-lookers watching and cheering.

No--I don't think we should open the door to the expectation that police should get "banged up" doing their job.  You've got to be a pretty ballsy and a out-of-pocket individual to seek a confrontation with law enforcement.  If you have any belief that your life is going to "bettered" by locking up with the police, you really need a reality check!  You're not going to win.

Yet, across this country, the stories of people being harmed or killed by police, seeming unnecessarily continue to dot our news feeds.  One observation or claim that has been made, is that the Ferguson police despite having access to "military-like" vehicles and equipment, do not have tasers equipped to them as a basic standard.  That observation may be moot considering Officer Wilson felt the need to fire 10 shots.

The Militarization of Police:

It hasn't been a major secret, but since 9/11 our police forces have been "decked out."  Observers in Ferguson have been shocked and unnerved to see police more militarized in their dress, equipment, and tactics.  The presence of armored vehicles with mounted machine guns now has many, who appear to be on the "Left" side of the political spectrum bemoan our "police state."  Oddly enough, conservatives have longed complain about the coming "police state," and while many dismissed it as sensationalist whining over such trivial things as Bloomberg's big-soda-ban, they meant this as well.  Which is also odd, because it was their idea.

Now we a see a call to end such funding to police departments despite a decade of tacit approval for such funding.  The looting and rioting has been denounced, but there haven't been any calls to end that completely either.  Most recently, President Obama has ordered a review of funding, equipment, and training given to police who have such equipment at their disposal.  It will be one of those "feel good" reviews.  No significant will come of it.  I can't imagine the Federal Government dropping off military style vehicles and equipment to "Mayberry, USA" without a few conditions.   

Race & Racism:

We can't talk about Ferguson, without talking about race or racism.  Seemingly we aren't allowed to.  You're a "racist" if you don't accept that Wison killed Brown in cold blood.  You're also a "racist" if you believe that Wilson killed Brown because of the color of his skin.  The sign to the left is also "racist."  It's not a bad joke, insensitive, or tasteless--the sign is "racist"--or so I'm told.  The website "GoFundMe" is racist.  Every Brown supporter is "monkey," every Wilson supporter a "racist."

"Racist," like so many other powerful words in our language, is being used so freely and frequently, that it is beginning to lose its weight and meaning, becoming a watered-down slur or dismissal of another's thought.  

Racism surely isn't dead in this country.  The sound bytes, tweets, and written commentary from people at large, underscore this in a big way.  However, in Ferguson I can't seem to shake the feeling that the idea of race, as an underlying and supposed cause of the shooting, has been interjected by others.  Michael Brown was unarmed and shot at 10 ten times and struck by six of the bullets.  This is the issueThis is where the focus should be.  However both sides have been quick and quite free to interject race because "you know how those monkeys are..." and "anytime police have a chance to kill a black man, they will...

Inflammation of the situation has come from both sides.  The arrival of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton has many Wilson supporters rolling their eyes decrying the "race card."  While these supporters assume that the arrival of Civil Rights leaders means a "shield" or "excuse" for the black community, the supporters of Wilson aren't listening to what is being said by either men.  Being unarmed and shot at 10 times is a civil rights issue.  Likewise the arrival of the Ku Klux Klan and the establishment of a "GoFundMe" account for Wilson's defense is also receiving criticism.  Wilson does get a defense--doesn't he?

Just in case the irrational indignation, double-standards, and immature idiocy of all this might escape you--What did we want to say about "American Excpetionalism" and how other countries and cultures should conduct themselves?  Supporters of Brown would be quick to point out that the likes of Egypt and China have condemned the police response in Ferguson.  ...because Egypt and China have just awesome records on human rights, civil rights, and race...  Please...
The Prosecution:

I don't know why we don't do a better job with prosecutors in this country.  Going way back to Marcia Clark and the O.J. case to the fumbled Trayvon Martin case, our prosecutors seem entirely inept.  One might wonder why we even bother to employ them.  They never seem ready for "prime time" and even if they might be, they never seem wanted for the case at hand.

Robert McCulloch is slated to be prosecutor in the Brown case.  Brown supporters have started a petition drive to remove McCulloch from the case because he has close ties to the police and has favored law enforcement in criminal cases.  No shit!  You mean that the prosecutor gets along with the police and doesn't side with criminals?  This is a "thing?!?" 

Critics also point to the fact that McCulloch's own father was killed by a black man in 1964 while on duty.  They also cite a incident from 2000 in which two alleged drug dealers were killed by police and no charges were filed.  A Federal investigation subsequently found that the two suspects were unarmed and not moving towards the officers.  Admittedly, one could argue that McCulloch may not be the may not be the "best" prosecutor for the Brown case.  Howerver, to make that argument, one would also need to explain why residents of St. Louis County felt this--now supposedly compromised--prosecutor has been allowed to stay in office for the past fourteen years.

Questions Unanswered:

If the assumption that McCulloch won't be fair in his prosecution because his own father was killed by a black man, isn't that "racism?"  More to the point of the great civil rights issue in the Ferguson case--Why did St. Louis County elect this man to begin with?  Wasn't he "tainted" before hand?  Can any prosecutor by a prosecutor if their family was affected by a crime?  Surely if there were questions about the 2000 incident, why again, have they let McCulloch continue to serve?  

If Wilson is acquitted, is that "racism?"  Is it a loss for civil rights?  Is it a court-sanctioned mandate for police to shoot--quite liberally--at unarmed people?  History and numbers would seem to be on the side of Wilson.  A Cato Institute study in 2010 tracked 11,000 incidents of alleged conduct between April 2009 and December 2010.  Of that number, only 9.7% were found guilty and of that number only 36% served jail time.

If Wilson is convicted, is he a "sacrificial lamb?"  Will he be railroaded to appease the minority communities?  Would such a conviction convince his supporters of "reverse-racism" and a perceived "protected" status for blacks?  Wilson's own actions of firing 10 shots may be his own undoing.  In a legal sense, these 10 shots can either be viewed as 10 separate actions or one single action, depending how a jury processes testimony.

As the evidence begins to be presented to the grand jury, nine of the twelve jurors will have to look at the facts and evidence of this case, to answer the question:  Why were 10 shots fired at an unarmed man?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Rick Perry's No Good, Horrible, Bad Day

Rick Perry has had better days.  Today the longest serving Governor in Texas history was booked on two felony counts of abuse of power stemming from his indictment on Tuesday by a grand jury for coercion and official oppression. 

Where did this come from?!?

Perry was having a great summer!  His name continued to be bandied about as a possible contender for the GOP nomination in 2016.  He had a high-profile image and voice on the border crisis.  Conservatives delighted when he didn't shake Obama's hand.  Rudeness is a plus with that crowd.  He invigorated the conservative masses by sending the Texas National Guard to the border to deal with the crisis.  The guard wasn't going to do anything different than what was already occurring at the border, but it made conservatives happy that someone other than Obama was doing the same thing. 

Perry enjoyed a lot of press this summer.  Those 60,000 people at the border were a God-send to Perry's political future.  He was able to do the "I told you so!" dance.  Yet, in all of the press coverage, there was never any mention about a grand jury investigation or even possible indictment.

Meet Rosemary Lehmberg.  Remarkably she heads up the State Public Integrity Unit.  The photo to the left is one of many taken during her rather animated booking for DWI.  Rosemary is also a Democrat and as the District Attorney for Travis County, in which the capital of Austin resides, it would be her job to investigate any wrong doing by the Governor.  Remarkably, the City of Austin, is supposedly a "liberal bastion" and has a tendency to put a Democrat at the helm of the D.A.'s office.  How the people feel about alcoholics, remains to be seen. 

I've been told that prior to her arrest, Lehmberg had already been investigating the Governor.  However, I haven't found any corroboration to that in print.  After Lehmberg's animated arrest--and it was animated--Governor Perry wanted to see the D.A. resign.  She refused.  Later Perry threatened to and subsequently vetoed $7.5 million dollars earmarked for Lehmberg's unit.  Whether this amount is portion or the entire budget is unknown.  Perry wanted her gone!

...and who wouldn't?

If we're to have any integrity in politics, how do we let a D.A. with Lehmberg's responsibility continue to serve, when she herself has committed arguably one of the most preventable and dangerous crimes we have?  If Lehmberg's time in the pokey and subsequent pictures are any indication of the woman, I'd have to say she was a definite power drinker.  Most people have the common courtesy to simply pass the hell out at this point.  Lehmberg clearly has some alcoholic stamina going for her.

So what is the big deal and why the indictment?

Well some Left-leaning government watchdog group was...well...watching and made a claim for "abuse of power."  It's a claim that wasn't dismissed and one that seemed credible enough to warrant the convening of grand jury.  A grand jury, who, felt there was something in the evidence presented that warranted a criminal complaint.  This is pretty simple logic, but not so for many conservatives.  To them, it's another "liberal plot" and while this entire process underscores that something in Perry's actions didn't line up with either the "letter of the law" or the "spirit of the law," many conservatives deflect with "Obama's crimes."

Believe me--Democrats would like to see nothing more than an Impeachment hearing.  We're giddy with anticipation for the "crimes" to be rolled out and listed.  One day one of these conservative "patriots" will step forward and end the "tyranny" of Obama.  Until then keeping their political base rabid with conspiracy theories and threats of government take-over will have to suffice.

Perry could receive up to 109 years in jail for the charges.  Fairly extreme.  I don't care for Rick Perry, but I don't think the world will be "safer" locking up the man.  At the end of the day, both sides can spin this any ol' way, and the fact remains that Perry wanted a power-alcoholic out of office.  The idea isn't criminal, the methodology may have been.  We'll see...

Sunday, August 17, 2014


With all the news, charges, and counter-charges coming out of Ferguson, Missouri they only thing we are certain of is that Michael Brown was shot dead.  To be precise he was shot ten times.  Reportedly, he was unarmed.  Accusations of racism, claims of cover-ups, protest, and looting are now coming out of Ferguson as well. 

As an individual, I typically give the police a wide-berth.  It has to be a shitty job.  You deal with low-lives most of your day, respond to calls from the ridiculous to the perilous, and there is always some asshole that feels their manhood is somehow "salvaged" if the police have to wrestle him...or the ground.  It's a dangerous and stressful job and for those who may have forgot--even lunch can be precarious.  Just a short time ago, two Nevada officers were gunned down at a "CiCi's Restaurant," while having lunch by two knuckleheads who wanted a "revolution."

Eating at CiCi's is bad enough--dying there?? Ugh!

It's hard to ignore the growing attention regarding alleged police brutality.  In recent weeks, we had the man in NYC die from a choke hold.  He got wrangled up with the cops over allegedly selling "loose cigarettes."  I also came across a story of a taser being used upon a "larger than normal" six year old child.  There's a black woman who made headlines for being assaulted by an officer as well during a traffic stop.  I want to give the police a wide-berth, but the evidence is mounting.

Some have even taken issue with the fact that Ferguson Police apparently have access to armored vehicles with mounted machine guns.  "Why do the police have vehicles like this?!?"  The answer is quite simple:  We are a savage, idiotic, entirely-too-proud people, who are too easily offended for being held accountable.  Just look at Ferguson.  Here's a community that is supposedly seeking "justice" and doesn't feel "safe."  So...they loot.  They claim they'll take the community apart "brick by brick."  This is why we have armored vehicles with mounted machine guns--for savage idiocy such as this.

"Teenager" Michael Brown wasn't some awkward high school sophomore riding his Huffy and hoping to ask his sweetheart crush to the Homecoming Dance.  There wasn't much "teen" left in Michael Brown.  To me, Brown looks to be 6 feet tall--perhaps more--and probably about 230 lbs. at least.  The release of the video of Brown allegedly stealing a $50 box of cigars has come under fire as an attempt to "criminalize" Brown.  I don't know what happened in that store, but I can say that Michael Brown certainly wasn't the victim.  I would surmise that Michael Brown was pretty used to getting his own way.  Michael Brown was 18 years old.  He could vote and by most laws of the land, he was considered an adult.  I don't think Michael Brown referred to himself as a "teenager." 

It appears that Michael Brown's confrontation with police is independent of the alleged robbery, yet I can't shake the images of the video.  I get a deep gut feeling that Brown was used to getting his own way.  However, no matter Brown's demeanor, we have to question the ten shots fired.  I think by the time you get to the fourth shot, one might pause.  Was it panic?  Was it necessary? 

One thing that was really surprising in the events unfolding in Ferguson was the attention of the "hacktivist group" Anonymous.  Anonymous threatened to reveal the shooting officer's name if it wasn't released by the Police Department.  Is this really the best use of their time?  If these guys could figure out why we all keep getting Viagra spam e-mail, offers to refinance our houses, and who the hell that Nigerian Prince is--they'd do the world a big favor.  Their involvement here just seemed...sensational.  Not for nothing, but I'm a fairly solid Dem with a I.T. background and even I know e-mails don't just "vanish."  How about Anonymous find those Lerner emails so we can get to the bottom of whatever that is about? 

Race has raised its head again.  Some would like to tell us that racism is dead in this country.  It is alive, well, and rejuvenated.  I recently read an article citing statistics that, for the first time ever, minority students will now outnumber Caucasians in the classroom.  The commentary following the article highlighted just how well racism is doing in this country, as many commentators said they'd pull their children out of school to "keep them away from the savages."  Racism is not dead.  But...was it a factor in Ferguson?

Bill O'Reilly has taken heat from the Left for "another opportunity to lecture the Black community."  I'd like to know why the Black Community is only on its feet and vocal after one of their own gets shot.  Had Brown not been gunned down and had we only the video tape of the alleged strong arm robbery, there wouldn't be nary a peep out of the Black Community.  I'm not suggesting that the Black community is "ok" with strong arm robbery or crime in general.  I am suggesting that our communities are sitting by blissfully ignorant while we watch a generation of sociopaths grow.  This is true in all communities.  For every Michael Brown, we have a Aaron Wheeler--the white 18 year old Florida man--who viciously beat an autistic 16 year old at a party. 

Marches, protest, riots, all seems so pointless.  It's like a knee-jerk reaction to do "something," only after something awful has already occurred.  The true work in preventing incidents like Brown or even Wheeler needs to happen before the outrage.  We've taken our eye off of kids for a looooong time in this country.  We were preoccupied by that recession.  We didn't love our children any less.  We just didn't think or couldn't provide the opportunities we might have liked to provide to them.  We worried about the basics--rent/mortgage, food, and utilities.  For many families it was "survival mode."  How is that working out for us?  It's time for all us to evolve and stop settling on our less than mediocre children and challenging them.

Lastly, there is a meme circulating the internet featuring the Arizona shooter.  Ferguson and Tucson are two different beasts, but it is a valid point.  Why weren't we marching for this guy's execution?!?

Here's another guy who seemingly everybody knew "just wasn't right" and yet we sat the sidelines blissfully ignorant fostering another sociopath. 

We do have to ask ourselves why six year olds are being tazed, men are being choked to death over cigarettes, and why 10 bullets are necessary.

...or we can continue to sit the sidelines and be blissfully ignorant. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

The "i" Word

Speculation of the impeachment of President Obama has dotted, if not dominated, the headlines.  I'm not quite sure how this is "new" news.  Impeachment of this President has been one of the more kinder punishments the extremists of the GOP have longed for.  Some are quite happy just sending the army in to arrest everybody.  Others feel a "hang 'em high" mentality is in order and that a trial is just a waste of time.  More than a comfortable "few" have voiced their support of an assassination of this President.  At any rate, none of this speculation or want is new.

For close to six years now, we have heard perhaps every excuse and "reason" why this President needs to go.  They've complained about the economy, despite lower unemployment and a stronger stock market.  They've complained about unfulfilled campaign promises, like not closing Gitmo, but Heaven forbid if we do move prisoners along.  They can't decide if this President is a Nazi, Socialist, Communist, or Marxist.  They spend equal time debating whether the President is Kenyan-born or trying to turn us into a "Caliphate."  They've painted him as unpatriotic, un-American, non-supportive of our troops, an anti-capitalist, a destroyer of Religion and marriage, and one article even made the case that the President of the United States was, in fact, Beelzebub--The Demonic Lord of the Flies.

To be fair to the extremists point of view, there is no end to the litany of misdeeds, "treasonous" behavior, wrong doing, and intentional destruction this President has wrought.  Why then, have we never seen articles of impeachment filed?  Are we to believe that these God-fearin', red-blooded, uber-Americans are "ok" with having a Kenyan-born, socialist, demon running the country?  Exactly how many years of imminent destruction do we endure before these "patriots" act?

Acting requires leadership, a trait woefully lost on the GOP.  These jackals have such a hard-on for trying to figure which of them is going to be nominated in 2016, there are willing to cut each other's throats to get there.  In the interim, their idiot electorate will just have to be satisfied with the side shows.  It's telling that the renewed focus on impeachment comes from the extremists' punditry.  Republicans ought not to expect any individual leadership; all thoughts and policies must be vetted through the various think tanks and Evangelical strongholds. 

"Luckily" for the extremists, leadership often comes from the punditry, which often enjoys high-ratings and few responsibilities.  Sarah Palin has learned this and mastered it.  She is a genius!  At her worst and most fumbling, Sarah learned she could toss political red meat to the masses and it didn't need to make sense, be true, or even be intelligible, for her to be loved and accepted by the idiot conservative electorate.  Palin made headlines a few weeks back calling for President Obama's impeachment over the border crisis as evidence of his "dereliction of duty"--something Palin is very familiar with. 

Watching the reaction of Palin's pronouncement and its effect on the extremist electorate, I sort of conjure the image of a dog owner teasing a dog with a tennis ball.  Who wants to play fetch?!?  You want the ball?!?  Who's gonna get the ball?!?   This is followed by the fake throw and the dog tear-assing across the house or field.  After a while, the dog realizes the ball wasn't thrown, so it returns to its master and falls for the same trick over and over.

Who wants to impeach?!?  You wanna impeach?!?  Who's gonna get that bad ol' Kenyan?!?

However this may be the one time where the master actually throws the ball, sending the conservative electorate bounding along in joy.  Maybe.  The Republican "leadership" isn't too keen on impeachment according to Boehner.  They have, in fact, tried to position their rhetoric as a Democratic ploy to inflate fundraising.  This, the Democrats have done, sending out emails and letters asking for supporters to "have the President's back."  I liken this version of fear-mongering by Democrats as being very much akin to "gun-grab" letters by the NRA:  deceitful and opportunistic.

It is true though that the GOP punditry and the GOP electorate have been seeking Obama's removal from office for some time.  After all their complaints, charges, innuendo, and manufactured conspiracies, they sort of remind me of the kids in the old Willy Wonka movie, eagerly unwrapping candy bars of conspiracy hoping to find that one Golden Ticket of Impeachment.  Many have already claimed to have found their Golden Ticket, even though the elected Republicans don't even seem to be looking.

Why is that?

Six years people!  Six!  Six years of having every news article comment thread shitted up by some dopey extremists and some "plot."  All the charges, all the hearings, all the "evidence" put in play by the Evangelicals, business leaders, and their own electorate, yet the GOP hasn't moved towards impeachment.  Why?

Could it be they have nothing?  If I'm a self-styled red-blooded, 'Murikan, patriot, I've been told how I'm going to be rounded up in FEMA camps, how the government is poisoning me with "Chem Trails," and how my guns are going to be taken away.  Oh...and lest we forget the President is a demon or the actual Biblical anti-Christ.  If I'm a conservative, I'm wondering why no one has done anything!  What are they waiting for?!?

....that awkward moment when you realize the ball was never thrown...
I personally hope the GOP does move towards impeachment.  I really do.  I doubt it will happen.  It would take a member of the GOP to actually lead and put their reputation on the line and that just isn't going to happen.  The extreme Right in this country may not be happy with the way things are, but there is a big gaping whole between voter remorse and illegal action.  Who among the GOP is going to bring a fairly dodgy case against the President?  Who is willing to risk falling on their face?

None of them.

Perhaps the extreme Right hasn't been paying attention, but their party isn't exactly known for its loyalty and standing by their "standard-bearer-of-the-week."  Marco Rubio, Bobby Jindahl, and even Mitt Romney can attest to that.  Standing up for impeachment means to expose one's self and in the party of selfish, they aren't about to risk their imagined shot at the White House.  Their electorate will have to be satisfied with chasing imaginary thrown balls.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

It is no Longer Conservatism, it is Extremism.

Imagine this:  It's 11:45 PM on New Year's Eve 2013.  You're with friends and family.  Maybe you're talking about the coming year.  Is your band coming to the area?  Will you get that promotion?  Will you be able to swing that vacation this year?  What predictions did you make for 2014?

Did you predict 58,000 children would stream across our borders, many of them seeking out Americans, based on a 2008 law signed by President Bush?  No?  Anyone?

Sometimes in American Presidencies, things happen that you just don't expect.  The picture to the left is of President Bush receiving word that an airplane just flew into Tower One in NYC.  Georgie took some unfair criticism over the next few moments that would come.  Reading to a group of children, the President didn't leap to his feet and scream at the children, "Run for your lives!!  We're under attack!!" He kept a cool head and finished the event and I don't fault him for that.  For Bush, 9/11 was that moment that just couldn't be anticipated or fathomed.

The nearly 60,000 children now coming over our southern border is just another one of those things no one saw coming.

There has been a lot written about these children.  Conservatives have given this "invasion" front page press.  I share Jon Stewart's opinion of this "invasion:"  Usually invading forces don't need help reaching for and pouring their cereal.  "Invasion" is one of those clever marketing terms used by today's GOP and those that fancy themselves "conservative."  As I look at this particular issue, the border crisis, I found the term "conservative" too kind for some of these folks.  The term "conservative" almost shields them and masquerades the naked hate and xenophobia of these imbeciles.  "Extremists," sounds a bit extreme to me, but when you look at the behavior of today's self-styled "conservative" it's pretty extreme. 

If we are to accept everything the conservatives say about these children: that they are riddled with diseases, have been beaten, have been raped, and are prone to crime because of violence in their home countries as truth; greeting these children with angry shouts of, "Go Home!!" and protest signs written in a language that can't understand isn't "conservative."  It's moronic.  It's extreme. 

(By the way, when are these dummies ever going to get over their English-fetish?  They are insistent that everyone speak English, even though they clearly don't have a grasp of it themselves.)

When you decide that drawn weapons should be used to turn back these kids, that isn't conservatism, that is extremism.  And when you convince yourself that 60,000 diseased, beaten, and raped children would be deterred by a mine field guarding our southern border--you aren't conservative, you're sub-human filth and an extremist.

Today's extremists are quick to quote the numbers!  They will gladly roll out the expense tally.  See?!?  They aren't hateful, panicky, xenophobes more willing to see a beaten, diseased, raped child blown up by a landmine or turned away at gun-point.  They're just frugal!  So frugal that militia groups have stated they are headed to the border, as their fellow extremists clamor for the National Guard to stop the "invasion."

Nancy, is one of those extremists that is on every news feed with a comment section.  Like most other extremists she really has no fucking clue what she is talking about--blurring issues--and not capable of comprehending the article itself.  Yet, 320 other dimwits "liked" Nancy's fiesty idiocy.  It is true.  Governor Rick Perry of Texas wants to send National Guard troops to the border.  Republicans have a reputation of being "courageous" sending other people's children off to deployment or war.  Such "courage!!"

Perry's 1,000 person unit is estimated to cost $12 million per month of deployment.  Sort of throws that frugal idea out the window...  Will Perry's unit be drawing weapons on children?  Will they be firing warning shots to send the "invaders" backwards?  Will they be planting land mines?  Nope.  They will be doing the exact same thing as the current border patrol agents are doing.  Why?  Because Perry feels the children are being kept in "squalor."  Perry is undoubtedly also planning on making a run for the White House again, so doing anything in all of this highlights his "leadership." 

Nancy read the same article as I.  Maybe she's a dummy.  Maybe her conservative bubble is so large and opaque that "standing up to Obama" and doing the exact same thing as Obama are somehow different to her.  Let's just hope that Nancy doesn't have the "gut's" to make a sign!  The blind irrationality of these extremists should be a concern to everyone.  This level of stupidity and extremism is dangerous.

Tea Party Texas State Representative David Simpson got a first hand sampling of his own party's manufactured extremism, after stating that the U.S. should help these children, at a town hall meeting. Simpson was shellacked by his constituents.  Complaints that the Central American children were "riddled with diseases" and didn't have "Christian hearts" filled the room.

I wonder if these people even hear themselves!  From their very opposition to "Obamacare," now they are worried about diseases?  "Faith-healing" and anti-vaccination is acceptable, but now they want to see shot records?!?  It is exhausting following the inconsistency of their logic.  Exhausting!  What is the reasoning and rationale?!?  "American kids can't have health coverage because that's 'socialism,' but if my child is going to catch polio, it's going to be 'Murikan-polio!"  I just don't get it.

Dave Simpson and Governor Perry are both treading in dangerous waters.  They'd best watch out!  Sarah Palin has called for the impeachment of President Obama over the border crisis due to a "dereliction of duty."  The photo left shows a...well as Breitbart called it, "You Decide:  Did Palin Give a Drunk Speech?" Sarah Palin in Colorado, where she claimed Colorado was a "border state." 

According to Sarah providing "comfort" to this "invading" force is grounds for impeachment for President Obama...and by association, Perry and Simpson would face charges as well.  Right?  Isn't that how it works?  Sarah's genius and the extremists' stupidity deserve their own entry.  We may well see impeachment proceedings against this President and why not?  Sarah has nothing to lose and that's the genius of Palin.  More on her another time.

I think back to other countries over the years who have dealt with refugees at their borders.  As Americans we think less of these countries.  They aren't a grand as we are.  These countries have been in the Caribbean, the Middle East, Africa...the list goes.  Food and medical supplies were always in short supply in the tent cities that had been erected.  Money and security was also an issue.

But in all my years and in all the times I have heard about "refugees"--and it's been sadly plenty--I have never seen these "lessor" country's citizens turning people away.  I don't recall them taking to the streets and shouting at them.  I don't recall these "less civilized"--these "third world" countries--ever considering using land mines to kill the needy.

It is 100 days until the mid-term elections of 2014.  Soon there after, the race for the Presidency will begin unofficially.  It really is time to encourage your family to recognize the extremism in this country.  The next four years will be pivotal for our nation.  I'm not taking about goofy tax credits.  I'm taking about what is 'normal' and what is 'acceptable.'  It's time to recognize there are far too many people like Nancy, who vote and are aggressive in their ideas.  If you're not "fighting," you're letting them win.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

R.I.P. Archie Andrews 1941-2014

Archie Andrews of Archie Comics is dead.  ...or he soon will be.  In the 75th issue of Archie Comics, a special double-sized commemorative issue, Archie will die.  Don't weep overly much for Archie.  He lived a ripe ol' life until the age of 73 and that ain't bad.  Archie spent those 73 years in the prime of his life as a teenager--dating, sharing milkshakes, eating hamburgers, and worrying about if he was going to take Betty or Veronica on a date.  He never worried about high blood-pressure or had to think about "bad cholesterol" and he didn't suffer the embarrassment of erectile dysfunction or the indignity of a prostate exam.

Archie Andrews spent 73 years in relative peace and bliss.

Archie's death isn't what has the conservative Republicans up in arms.  (As I write that last sentence, I'm struggling to remember when Republicans weren't up in arms over something...) They are rather immune to the notion of sympathy.  This is an electorate after all who would like to solve our current border crisis with landmines and drawn weapons.  Conservatives are very comfortable with death, even the death of children.  It isn't the fact that Archie dies, that angers Conservatives; it is how Archie dies that has this moronic electorate frothing.

Issue #75 of Archie Comics will show Archie's last moments of life as bravely jumping in front of a bullet meant for Kevin Keller--Archie Comics' first openly gay character.  Keller's character is running for the U.S. Senate on a gun reform platform.  A deranged gun man decides he is going to "vote" early and Archie intervenes and dies.

See?  I told you they don't get choked up over the loss of life.  I do catch a whiff of disappointment the "homo" wasn't killed.  Really!  What has happened to this country where we don't let others get shot?!?

Queue the conservative outrage.

Archie's death has been called, "elitist," a "liberal indoctrination tool," "what happens after 50 years of liberalism," a "mandate for PC behavior," and "liberal propaganda."  Genuine fans of Archie are confused and shocked as well, with many wondering what such an extreme story line was ever introduced.

 Comics in general have become "more sophisticated" over the years.  The story lines have grown to reflect real world issues.  In the past four years, Archie Comics has dealt with a number of adult issues.  Fifty-years of sitting in a malt shop and not getting passed first base with Betty or Veronica only takes a readership so far.  So yes, more adult themes have been introduced.  Among many of the conservative comments I've read, I was surprised to read the outrage over a gay character in comics, more so than a Senate candidate campaigning on a gun reform platform or even Archie's death.  Regardless, conservatives have decided that "liberals" have destroyed another "American Icon."

They call it a "propaganda tool." I call it life--ripped from our headlinesWhy was Archie shot?  Because that is what happens in this country.  Despite conservative talking points and countless pro-gun memes floating about the internet, young people are being shot!  Sure!  The shooters have any number of weapons at their disposal, but they are choosing guns.  The movie patrons in Aurora weren't bludgeoned by a baseball bat.  The attendees at Gabby Gifford's Tuscon event weren't stabbed.  And the children of Sandy Hook weren't forced fed with a fork and died of diabetes.  They were shot.

If conservatives need to define for themselves some "villain" who concocted the fall of an "American Icon," they need only look at our daily headlines.  Texas is reportedly a bastion of safety due to its lax gun laws.  That didn't stop Ronald Haskell from shooting and killing four children and two adults and wounding a seventh.  Note, once again, that Haskell didn't bring pharmaceutical "poisons" to kill the family.  He brought a gun.

So yes, dear conservatives, Archie will be shot.  It isn't as if being shot is all that rare in this country.  It's becoming quite fashionable.  Yes, there was a gay character and in a comic book!  Yes, somebody wanted to kill him.  Why that amazes conservatives is beyond me.  Just recently we had a conservative candidate advocating for the stoning of gays.  Is shooting gays that big of a stretch of the imagination?  Maybe Keller's sexuality is secondary to conservatives and they object to his fictional gun reform platform or the notion that someone might try to kill him over it.

Is that so hard to believe?

Constitution Party Candidate David VanDerBeek promises to lead an "armed resistance" against any gun confiscation by the government.  Although there isn't any gun confiscation program, VanDerBeek wanted to "one-up" his fellow Oath Keeper nut jobs and maybe squirrel away a few votes in the process.

Conservatives have spent many years and much energy telling non-conservatives what "sheeple" they are and how they don't "see the big picture."  Since 2009, you've had to notice the record number of forensic accountants among conservatives who understand our deficit and recession.  There is no end to the list of foreign policy "experts."  Name your issue and conservatives are certain "liberals" caused it.  For all their "mastery" of knowledge, claims of pending doom, worries about our economy, and emphasis on social issues, the grown men and women of the Republican Party actually give a shit about the death of a fictional character.

I shouldn't be surprised.  It isn't the first time that the GOP have cited fictional children characters as "indoctrination tools" or contrived some "anti-conservative" message to tether to fictional characters.  What is striking about the conservative reaction to Archie's death, is that the outrage over a fictional character dwarfs, much of our real world death.

Just name the name the massacre or arena of gun death:  Aurora, Tuscon, Sandy Hook, coffee shop, nursing school, Virginia Tech, Washington ship yards...the list goes on and I'll show you a conservative indifference.  In Aurora and Tuscon, victims were blamed for not expecting to be gunned down.  Sandy Hook never "happened," it was "False Flag."  For many of the other shootings, they were "the price we pay for living in a free society."  As one knucklehead conservative poster once said, "I'd rather live in an unsafe freedom, than a safe tyranny."

Archie wasn't gunned down for some "indoctrination tool."  Archie was a price we paid for living in a free society.  Isn't this "unsafe freedom" grand?!?  Archie was "freedomed to death."  I have to wonder what the conservatives reaction would be if Archie had died at his high school, shot to death in the library, like the kids at Columbine.  Would we hear any outrage then?  We didn't hear any for Sandy Hook or Columbine.

Death in comics is a fairly fluid thing.  Publications these days are notorious for "offing" marquee characters in an attempt to boost circulation.  In that vain, Archie joins Captain America, Spider-Man, and Superman as "A-listers" killed off.  Issue #76 of Archie Comics is said to flash forward one year from the time of Archie's death.  The supporting cast will continue on dealing with the aftermath.  It's hard to imagine Archie Comics without Archie.  Time will tell if Archie's death is final or not.

Who knows...  Archie Comics #100 might also be a special double-sized commemorative issue where Jughead wakes up from a bad dream after a run in with bath salts and realizes he was dreaming.  For us, our bad dream will continue.  Real world "Archie's" will continue to be shoot and killed.  They will die in malls, at college, in the high school, or perhaps another grade school.  As our bad dream goes, the conservatives will rail on about "freedom," and "liberty" and won't have much outrage for the death of the real world kids.  Then again--all bets are off if one of the real world "Archie's" gives their life to protect a gay.  Then we might see some outrage from the Right.