Saturday, August 11, 2012

What are the Limits on Freedom of Speech?

I ask this question after I see the following story:

Republican Councilman Paul Smith, of Sterling Heights, Michigan, has found himself at the center of controversy after video of him holding a sign that depicted President Obama's head on a spike surfaced after being recorded at a Tea Party rally more than three years ago in April 2009. He also had other signs that included Nancy Pelosi with bullet holes in her head, and a noose around the neck of former Michigan Governor, Jennifer Granholm.
Shocking?  Not anymore.  Frankly, I'm not really surprised by what Republican representatives in our government do anymore.  Has this crossed the line or protected speech?  I'm not sure.  When it comes to the President, the supreme court ruling is clear.

Federal statute [prohibits] “any threat to take the life of or to inflict bodily harm upon the President of the United States.” ...but [not] mere “political hyperbole.”
Are his signs "hyperbole"?  While the secret service is investigating this, has he broken the law?    It appears the its possibly not the case.  In the supreme court case NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware Co:

“emotionally charged rhetoric . . . did not transcend the bounds of protected speech set forth in Brandenburg. . . . An advocate must be free to stimulate his audience with spontaneous and emotional appeals for unity and action in a common cause. When such appeals do not incite lawless action, they must be regarded as protected speech.
So it seems that violent rhetoric is not illegal unless violent action results from it.  At least from the previous ruling.  But to throw another wrench into these decisions, the ninth circuit court made the following ruling in Planned Parenthood v. American Coalition of Life Activists:

The Ninth Circuit concluded that a “true threat” is “a statement which, in the entire context and under all the circumstances, a reasonable person would foresee would be interpreted by those to whom the statement is communicated as a serious expression of intent to inflict bodily harm upon that person.”995 “It is not necessary that the defendant intend to, or be able to carry out his threat; the only intent requirement for a true threat is that the defendant intentionally or knowingly communicate the threat.”99
So that's nice and complicated.  I still don't really know if what this Republican councilman said is illegal.  In the context of this situation, it is important to note, that yet again, this is a Republican, right winger carrying out this type of threat.  Once again, it's the tea party using extreme language as the norm.

 These are your Republican representatives folks.  These are the people who claim they are the victims:
Smith went on to say that the city council is like a "fraternity", and that "I'm not welcome to the club."
 Yea, that's because you're a freaking idiot.  You did this three years ago and got caught now.  Suddenly you're the victim. *sigh*


Friday, August 3, 2012

Why We Stand Up Against Intolerance

Over the course of American history, a group of Americans has always stood up to intolerance.  Whether it was against African Americans, women, immigrants, homosexuals, or others, we have stood up and made our voices heard against the seemingly unbreakable wall of intolerance.


Consider these famous words from Robert Kennedy.

“Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events. It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”

We stand up against intolerance because we hold true the values of equality, fairness, opportunity, and freedom.  We stand up against intolerance because it has no place in a democracy; no place in this great American experiment.  We stand up against intolerance because we value treating others as we wish to see ourselves treated.

But mostly we stand up against intolerance because we know that, historically, it is a juggernaut of a force.  It takes tiny acts of courage and belief to collectively break away and erode the juggernaut.
Because with each action we take, we give somebody else that hope that they can share in the same values that our country and so many other democracies around the world are founded upon.  Going back to our birth:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.


Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Trayvon Martin "Lynching"

Make no doubt about it, Trayvon Martin's murder (let's stop calling it a "death") was a lynching.  Once lynching's went out of fashion because they were "frowned upon", folks had to find a nicer, cleaner way to kill blacks.  You can't really call a lynching a "self-defense".  You can't really defend a lynching and say it was an "accident".  But the intention is the same.  Kill the black man or woman, publicly murder the black child, and intimidate an entire neighborhood or population; instilling fear is the goal, guided by racist motivations, desire to have power, and desire to have control.

Trayvon Martin was defenseless.  He was a child murdered by an adult.  The adult decided Trayvon was "suspicious" and hunted him down, motivated by the fact that "those assholes always get away with it."  Then he murdered Trayvon in public when all he was guilty of was walking while black.

He may not have been hung up in a tree, but he was essentially lynched.  No surprise knowing Florida's history of lynching blacks.

Anna Brown, a homeless woman from St. Louis, was also "lynched".  

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Anna Brown was homeless and had so much pain in her legs that she couldn’t walk.
When Brown, 29, refused to leave the emergency room at St. Mary’s Health Center in Richmond Heights, Mo., a suburb near inner St. Louis, the police thought she was on drugs and arrested her for trespassing. She’d already been examined, and a doctor said she was healthy enough to go to jail.
The police carried her into a jail cell by her arms and ankles, her body slackened. There were a couple of beds in the cell, but they left her on the concrete floor. A couple of officers stood by the door as she writhed and moaned, and then they walked away. “They thought she was a drug seeker,” an officer said later.
She had stopped moving within 15 minutes and was pronounced dead a short time later.

 The hospital claims they "acted appropriately".  It was much easier to think that she was a drug dealer, a hooker, or just trying to game the system; those sneaky blacks.  Easier to just take her to jail, ignore her, and then let her die.  How safe would you feel going to the hospital, knowing that others of your community would end up dead there?

But what about the police?  They wouldn't lynch a black man or woman, would they?  Often times, it was the police who were the ones arresting "suspects"... I mean "assholes"... who were suspected of committing crimes against whites.  Wouldn't want them to get away with it.  Justice by lynching; justice by ignoring them health care.  This was a murder, plain and simple.

Kenneth Chamberlain, a 68 year old marine veteran, was also "lynched", this time by the police in his own home.

Kenneth Chamberlain Junior has called for the prosecution of the officers who killed his father. After the meeting, he criticized police for refusing to release the name of the officer who fired the fatal shots. The police had responded to a false alarm from Chamberlain’s medical alert pendant. The officers broke down Chamberlain’s door, tasered him, and then shot him dead. 
Kenneth Chamberlain, Jr.: "You hear him asking them why are they doing this to him. He says, ’I’m a 68-year-old man with a heart condition. Why are you doing this to me? I know what you’re going to do: you’re going to come in here, and you’re going to kill me.’ You also hear him pleading with the officers again, over and over. And at one point, that’s when the expletive is used by one of the police officers." 
Amy Goodman: "What did they say?" 
Kenneth Chamberlain, Jr.: "Where they say, 'I don’t give a F.' And then they use the N-word. And then, as I said, ultimately, they bust down the door."
A 68 year old man, shot to death in his own apartment.  They may not have strung him up in public, but they sure as hell made his death public.  They decided his heart condition, combined with his being black, was enough reason to kill him, all the while using racial slurs.  And again, this murder, this assassination, was carried out by the police.


With Barack Obama being elected president, and with the civil rights movement in our past, apparently we are in a post race world (*cough* bullshit *cough*).  Racism is alive and kicking its ugly head in violent, frightening ways.

And we want to talk about how American's aren't racist anymore since they elected a Black president?  We want to talk about how racism is dead?  How about the dead Trayvon Martin?  Anna Brown?  Kenneth Chamberlain?

They may not have been hung by a mob, but the end results were the same.  And the mob is defending George Zimmerman; the mob is defending the hospital staff; the mob is defending the police.

A new century, and the same old tired shit.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Bobby Rush Takes a Stand

Today on the floor of Congress, Bobby Rush was escorted out of the session for wearing a hoodie.  Congress has rules of decor in which hats are prohibited, and apparently that includes wearing a hoodie.

Take a stand against racial profiling.  Take a stand in support of Trayvon Martin.


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Be Very Afraid

What do the current Republicans have that they are running for?
What policies do they have which they are in support?

Or are they simply running against something?

The party that wants to kill government?
The party that wants to end women's rights?
The party that wants to kill voter's rights?
The party that wants to hand the keys of our country to the wealthy corporations?
The party that wants everybody to be afraid of black people?

Are they now officially the party of fear?

Apparently so...

Be afraid!  In just two years, this country will turn into some dystopian, awful, post apocalyptic hell hole.  And it will all be because of that big, scary, Kenyan usurper, Muslim president.

Don't you see?  Being black is bad.  Shit, being half black is bad.  Being Muslim is bad.  Even being a fake Muslim is bad!  He stole the presidency, just so he could ruin this country with his failed policies.


Meanwhile, the rest of America wants to know.  Hey Republicans, what are you doing about jobs?  What are you doing about the environment?  What are you going to do about our failing transportation system?

Or are you just going to focus on taking away a woman's rights to her body?  Is that the solution to everything right now?

Oh I forgot, the solution to the country's problems is to be AFRAID.


p.s.  Bonus points if you can point out the very very subtle subliminal messaging in the Rick Santorum advertisement.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Last source was a fake

I learned my lesson.  I will check my sources a little closer in the future.  Although I will say that it is a fine piece of extremely believable satire.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Mitt Romney Can Relate to Black People

Old story, but I just found out about it.  I think this is sad and funny at the same time.  Looks like the Southern Strategy is alive and well, blow the dog whistle for racist, conservative, white voters.  They'll come to your side every time.

While addressing a crowd in Alabama during the primary there, he made the following comments.

I understand how difficult it can be for an African-American in today’s society. In fact, I can relate to black people very well indeed. My ancestors once owned slaves, and it is in my lineage to work closely with the black community. However, just because they were freed over a century ago doesn’t mean they can now be freeloaders. They need to be told to work hard, and the incentives just aren’t there for them anymore. When I’m president I plan to work closely with the black community to bring a sense of pride and work ethic back into view for them. 

Don't let anybody tell you this is a "Romney" moment or that this happened on accident.  This was on purpose. Its a strategy meant to woo old school, racist white voters.  To anybody else with any sensibility, the comments are asinine, absurd, and racist as hell.


Friday, March 16, 2012

Quick Note

Also, a quick note.  If you do follow, I haven't been posting much these days.  I haven't found too much inspiration to blog lately, so I don't want to just post "filler" material, kind of like the beef industry uses in pink slime.  As my inspiration returns and I find more to blog about, it will come.

I have also been blogging on the DailyKos website as a little side project called the "United States County Project".  It's my ultimate nerdiness coming out.  If you are interested in checking that out, click the link in this entry.  Soon I will start linking those diaries to this blog, even though the topic of those are unrelated to these blog entries.

Anonymous Exposes Ron Paul

This will be a short entry, more just a news update.  The hacker internet activist group "Anonymous" has recently exposed Ron Paul's ties to white supremacist groups.  Despite the campaign and Ron Paul's denial of these connections, the hacking of the website of the white supremacist group "American Third Position"
(A3P) reveals otherwise.

In addition to finding the usual racist rants and interactions with other white power groups, we also found a disturbingly high amount of members who are also involved in campaigning for Ron Paul. According to these messages, Ron Paul has regularly met with many A3P members, even engaging in conference calls with their board of directors.
On top of being on the board of directors of A3P, former Scientologist, and high ranking Ron Paul organizer, [A3P webmaster Jamie Kelso] also is the account owner of German nazi forums and store, 
If you are trying to avoid being a racist or a white supremacist, this isn't the way to do it.  If you are claiming that you have no connections to these groups or that you can't control what your campaign is doing, this isn't the way to do this.

So is there anybody left willing to vote for Ron Paul?


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Let's Play a Little Game

Here's how this game works.  You make a guess to the question below, and see how close you can get.  Post your responses as well!

So, here's the question.

How many women do you think are in congress?

Want to find out the answer?  Scroll down below to find out.

Ok, let's see how close you got.

In the House of Representatives there are 76 women out of 438 representatives.  16 are Republicans, 60 are Democrats.

In the Senate there are 17 women out of 100 representatives.  4 are Republicans and 13 are Democrats.

What do you think of these numbers?  Appropriate for a Democracy?  Appropriate for our country?  Should gender matter at all?  And finally, do you think that the political situation in the United States would be different with more women in congress?

Share your thoughts in the comments.


Friday, March 2, 2012

Contraception = Slutty Woman

Women, you want contraception?  You want your health insurance to cover contraception?  Well then you're a slut and a prostitute!

This guy is a nut job, no doubt.  But when will a Republican male speak out against his comments?  When will more than just Carly Fiorina speak out against his disgusting language?  Anybody?  *crickets*

We shouldn't be too surprised.  Limbaugh has a history of making disgusting comments, but just as bad, the Republican party has a history of bowing down to Limbaugh.  When he's called the de-facto leader of the Republican party, just watch how they react when he has another outrageous statement.

And before anybody says that he's just a radio host, he is a product of the Republican party created by the mindset of Karl Rove, Grover Norquist, and the abolishing of the fair media laws.  And with millions of listeners, you know his target is the Republican base.  Oh well, guess he won't go anywhere.

So ladies out there, are you a slut?  Are you a prostitute?


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Imagine There's no Pizza

An oldie but a classic. Sometime I wish he didn't drop out of the race.  Oh well, he was entertaining while he was around.



Saturday, February 25, 2012

Santorum's Theocracy

Make no doubt about it, when Santorum is talking about his policies, they come from his religion.  And make no doubt about it, he intends to turn this country into a theocracy should he become president.

Watch this little piece and try to become aware of what he means when he says these things.  When he talks about one man's Christianity not being as good as his.  When he derides another person's Christianity because it places value on the planet's health.  When he talks about his theocratic values being the basis for the laws and social policy of this country.

Theocracy in the United States?  Its always possible.

When analysis starts saying that Santorum is "talking about things like Hitler" and calls it fundamentalist "brainless biblical babble", it should perk some ears up.



I missed this earlier.  Even his spokesperson is in on the gig, calling Obama's policies "radical Islamist".  Special...

Friday, February 24, 2012

Mitt Romney - Pathological Liar

I don't know exactly how to pinpoint it.

Is it his nervous laughter?
His body language?
His stuttering speech?
The tone of his voice?

Or is it all the documented evidence of his constant lies and flip flops?



p.s.  :I don't know if I want American cars to rule the world.  I think I would prefer a sentient, intelligent being to do that.  *snark*

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Why Corporations are Happy

They are happy because Santorum, Romney, and Gingrich are driving the conversation.  This Republican primary and election season SHOULD be talking about a few things.  The conversation SHOULD be revolving around...

- The corporate destruction of the economy
- The corporate destruction of the environment
- Corporate theft of our tax dollars and jobs
- How to fix the economy, and get the money and power influence out of our government.

Instead, we seem to be talking almost entirely about...

- Ending a woman's right to a legal abortion
- Ending a woman's right to legal contraception
- Obama's faith

Republican's know they can't win on the economy.  And since they're gigantic tool bags of the super wealthy  and the 1% in America, they definitely know they can't win the conversation on the economy either.  So what do they do?

Change the topic of conversation and hope that people don't notice.

I thought we were done with this shit when Turd Blossom was advising the president.

I only wish Occupy had kept the conversation around their message.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Ideological Purity

As the election season continues to ramp up, this idea of "ideological purity" is popping more and more into my thoughts.  What does it mean to me?  It means staying 100% true to your ideals and values when you vote.  If a candidate doesn't match you on a key value, or values, you either vote for the other guy or abstain from voting out of protest.

Are you willing to be an ideological purist?

Should Democrats, liberals, and progressives be willing to maintain ideological purity?

What ARE the values and ideals we should prioritize and remain true to?

(1) A clean, healthy, and poison free environment.

(2) A strong government that supports this country's social contract and the "general welfare" of the people.

(3) Strong public education, public healthcare, and public transportation, all publicly and democratically owned.

(4) Equality of citizens under the law; male, female, gay, straight, black, white, brown, religious, spiritual, atheist.

(5) A fair economic system that gives everybody a fair chance at success and the "American Dream".

(6) Rule of law with rights protected under the Constitution and Bill of Rights.  Accountability for those who break the law, regardless of their power or wealth.

Number 6 will bring me back to my original point of ideological purity, in a roundabout sort of way.  I will explain.

When Bush was in office, the thing that tended to make liberals and progressives full of anger and rage was the deterioration of rights.  This included the PATRIOT act, the Guantanamo Bay prison, CIA torture camps, drone strikes, etc.  What made it even worse was the lack of accountability for our government and elected officials, essentially making a farce of the Constitution and the rule of law.

Ideological purity... I'm getting there, I swear.

Now that Obama, a Democrat, is president, it seems that the values have changed.  Embarassingly, it seems that a majority of progressives and liberals approve of the Guantanamo Bay prison remaining open and approve of drone strikes abroad, even against American citizens accused of terrorism.

As a liberal and progressive myself, it's fucking embarassing.

So what happened?  Are values not so important anymore once on of our own is in power?  Are we willing to sacrifice some of our values for the bigger picture?


I had a debate with a friend of mine over the NDAA bill recently passed into law.  I thought it was pretty clear that the rules on military detention did not apply to American citizens.  Apparently, it is not as clear as I thought, even to the point where the ACLU is taking up this cause.  As I look deeper into this issue, if its true, this could be at serious conflict with my values.

Do I like it?  No.
Do I "approve" of this policy?  No.
Do I think it needs to be changed?  Abso-fuckin-lutely.

Is this a deal breaker for me on President Obama?


Why not?  After looking at the big picture, I'm not willing to be an ideological purist and have this one policy, as much as I may dislike it, cause me to vote Republican or abstain from voting.

Sure, I could vote Republican, but I know there would be no change on this detention policy and that the Republicans could actually make it worse based on their actions in the past.  Other things voting Republican might mean...

...Support of industries that poison our land, water, and air.
...Privatizing, defunding, or even abolishing public support programs like social security and welfare.
...Selling off our future through privatization and "profitization" of our public education.
...Government sponsored legal discrimination of gays and the deterioration of the rights of women.
...More corporate tax-breaks, deregulation, and support for the .1 - .01% at everybody else's expense.

That is what I fear if I vote Republican out of ideological opposition to this one policy of the Obama presidency.

What if I vote for a third party?  This never works and actually typically helps the opposition party in an election.  What is I abstain from voting?  That is one less vote towards an Obama victory and towards a Republican victory, something I can't tolerate in 2012.

But does voting for Obama mean I am accepting his policy via the NDAA?  No.  Will I try and get it changed?  Yes.

Will I be an ideological purist at the cost of an Obama presidency?  Hell no.

You can disagree with me and act in a way that will give us a Republican president in 2012.  Just be honest, as a liberal or progressive, and say you're willing to make that sacrifice for your ideals.  Admit that you're willing to see and have a Republican president as part of your protest to Obama's policies.  That is the risk you take by abstaining or even voting Republican out of protest.

As I watch the debates and the rhetoric coming from both sides, the stakes almost seem to be even higher than 2008.  I'm not willing to make that sacrifice.

Are you?


Thursday, February 9, 2012

What have YOU lost under Obama?

I'm so sick and fucking tired of hearing the following.

"The country is being destroyed under president Obama."

"We're slowly losing all of our rights under Obama."

"We have to take our country back."

"Our liberties are being eroded little by little."

"This country is turning communist / fascist / marxist."

"Electing a Republican in 2012 is our last hope to save this country."

So lets actually hear it...

What the FUCK have YOU lost under Barack Obama?

What rights have YOU lost?
How has Obama destroyed the country for YOU?
Which of YOUR liberties have been eroded?
How is Obama turning the country away from Democracy?
What will a Republican do better for YOU than Obama?





Crickets.... thought so...

I issued a challenge a while back to people asking them what was justified about the Iraq war and why thousands of our troops and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis had to die for.  I got ZERO RESPONSES.  I realize there are probably no Republicans or even Conservatives who read my blog, so maybe you can share this with them.  Or even ask your conservative friends the above questions.

But lets see the responses.  And yea, I'm mad.  I can't stand that rhetoric anymore.  Its so full of shit it drives me nuts.  Especially when I see rhetoric like this...

Enough already.  Time to back up some of this nonsense with FACTS.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Thank You Dan Savage

Thank you Dan Savage.  Without you and your fan base, the following news headlines from last night just wouldn't be the same...

Santorum surges with 3-state sweep (That's a lot of Santorum)
Op-Ed: Santorum Surge Stains Romney's Cloak of Inevitability (I hate getting Santorum on my cloak) 
Romney tries to beat back possible Santorum surge in trio of states (Overwhelming!) 
Santorum's surge fills pocketbook, turns GOP race on its head ... again  (LOL, fills pocketbook)
Santorum's Slow-Mo Surge Continues (Oooooh, slow motion Santorum?)
The Santorum Surge, Take II (I just can't get enough...)
and one of my favorites...
Santorum Stuns Romney

So which one is your favorite?
Do you have any you can add to this amazing list?


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Why Voting Matters #1

For those of you who are thinking of abstaining from voting this year out of frustration, here is one reason why voting matters:

The 9th Circuit Court in California struck down as unconstitutional the state's voter-passed ban on gay marriage Tuesday, ruling 2-1 that it violates the rights of gay Californians.
"Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples," Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote in the decision. The court concludes that the law violates the 14th Amendment rights of gay couples to equal protection under the law. Access to gay marriage will remain on hold pending appeals to the decision.
What does any of this have to do with voting for President?  It is the president who appoints the judges of the circuit court of appeals.  Do you want a president who appoints judges that supports the rights of all Americans?


Do you want a president who appoints judges who supports open discrimination of minorities?

There is some history here to support this.  Obama has repealed DADT and "the president has long opposed divisive and discriminatory efforts to discriminate against same-sex couples."

Romney?  Here is what he said about today's ruling from the courts:

“Today, unelected judges cast aside the will of the people of California who voted to protect traditional marriage. This decision does not end this fight, and I expect it to go to the Supreme Court. That prospect underscores the vital importance of this election and the movement to preserve our values. I believe marriage is between a man and a woman and, as president, I will protect traditional marriage and appoint judges who interpret the Constitution as it is written and not according to their own politics and prejudices.”
Rights are not political.  Right's are not something to be debated or chosen.  Rights are universal and human, and everybody should receive them.  And we don't need a president who will pick judges who will support policy that openly discriminates against a group of people and takes away their rights.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Policy, Values, and the People Affected

Politics = values.  Enacted policies affect people.  Everyday.

Every single decision a politician or political representative makes is representative of a value they hold true.  If they don't state it, it must be remembered that still their policy is reflective of their values.

We can't forget that.  Voters can't forget it, especially when deciding between two very different candidates (i.e. President).

So when Mitt Romney supports a policy of keeping the Bush tax cuts and scrap the medicare tax, what values are he promoting?  When he simultaneously supports a policy of slashing medicare, medicaid, and social security, what values are he promoting?  Who does it affect, and how?

Mitt Romney’s economic plan is of, by, and for the wealthiest 1 Percent of Americans. Millionaire Mitt Romney would give himself a $4 MILLION tax cut, while raising taxes on the middle class and cutting the programs tens of millions of Americans depend on each day.
So we know who his policies affect, but what values are he promoting?  That one is tougher to see.  I think...

(1)  Taxes, the funds that are needed to support the government, are unnecessarily high.  Wealthy people are paying too much and middle and lower class aren't paying their share.  Because...

(2)  The middle class and poor are getting too much help from the government without paying their fair share of taxes.  And...

(3)  The government should not be in the business of helping out the American people and providing for the common good.

(4)  "I [Mitt Romney] don't have enough money.  I should pay less taxes so that I can be richer."

I don't think he'll ever come out and say it explicitly (although he did slip up recently).  But do you want a candidate who thinks the government shouldn't provide for the common good?  That the wealthy should pay a lower share than the rest?  That the super wealthy should get even more wealthy at the expense of the rest?

Do you believe in a government of the people, by the people, and for the people?  One that provides for the general welfare of its people?

Or do you believe in a government which values the wealthy over the rest?

VALUES are important.

It's how we should vote, and what we should think of every time we hear some policy from these candidates.

Mitt Romney’s economic plan is of, by, and for the wealthiest 1 Percent of Americans.


p.s.  Bonus points if you can name what famous document the phrase "general welfare" appears in without clicking on the link.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Muppets on the Attack

Go figure, Fox was right all along.  Watch as those liberal, socialist Muppets go after Fox News for exposing the truth.

Someone has to stop them.  They're out of control.


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Newt's Three Weddings = Great President

If you're not aware of the fact yet, Newt Gingrich has had three marriages, and two divorces.

I'm sorry, I'm sorry, what I meant to say was...

Three traditional marriages and two traditional divorces.  And two traditional affairs.  None of that faggoty, gay, homo stuff.  You know, those homos that are destroying traditional marriage.  And ruining it for people like Newt...


If you're at Fox News, somehow his infidelity, dishonesty, and general scuminess (real word?) are good traits in a president.  What's that you say?  I must be talking about an Onion article right?  Guess again...

I will tell you what Mr. Gingrich’s personal history actually means for those of us who want to right the economy, see our neighbors and friends go back to work, promote freedom here and abroad and defeat the growing threat posed by Iran and other evil regimes.

You can?  DO go on...

1) Three women have met Mr. Gingrich and been so moved by his emotional energy and intellect that they decided they wanted to spend the rest of their lives with him.
Damn, why couldn't one of those be me.  I'm moved by his emotional energy.  See!  I'm blogging about him!
2) Two of these women felt this way even though Mr. Gingrich was already married. 
And this is related... how?
 3 ) One of them felt this way even though Mr. Gingrich was already married for the second time, was not exactly her equal in the looks department and had a wife (Marianne) who wanted to make his life without her as painful as possible. 
Such passion!  If only the rest of America could be moved in such ways.

4) Two women—Mr. Gingrich’s first two wives—have sat down with him while he delivered to them incredibly painful truths: that he no longer loved them as he did before, that he had fallen in love with other women and that he needed to follow his heart, despite the great price he would pay financially and the risk he would be taking with his reputation.
Those are treasonous words.  Are you saying Newt will fall out of love with America?  Mitt Romney never would, he would love America to death, after taking all its money and firing all its workers...

5) Mr. Gingrich’s daughters from his first marriage are among his most vigorous supporters. They obviously adore him and respect him and feel grateful for the kind of father he was.
These must be why Republicans are so "pro-life"... potential voters!

So in conclusion, Newt's passion for America would make him a great president.  And Fox wants him to seduce America, perhaps a younger, hotter America, using some nice lingerie to hold up his man boobs.  And when he's done, he'll get us all some diamonds from Tiffany's!  You get some diamonds!  You get some diamonds!  YOU get some diamonds!  (Oprah style)

All joking aside, this article is so incredibly stupid.  And yet, we all know there are Republicans out there who will justify every wrongdoing of not only Newt but all Republicans as something good.  a.k.a. the fuck up known as the Bush-Iraq-war-venture-oil-fun-time.  Do YOU want to see a President Gingrich?

Seducing America?


p.s. If you want to be really confused, read this whole article out loud to yourself.  Its pretty tough actually.

p.p.s.  My creative, amazing sister made those photoshop images above.  Please check out her website with her great art and photography.

Be a proud LIBERAL

Short but sweet post today.  More coming next week.

"What did liberals do that was so offensive to the Republican Party?I'll tell you what they did.  Liberals got women the right to vote.Liberals got African-Americans the right to vote.Liberals created Social Security and lifted millions of elderly people out of poverty.Liberals ended segregation.Liberals passed the Civil Rights Act,the Voting Rights Act.Liberals created Medicare.Liberals passed the Clean Air Act,the Clean Water Act.
What did Conservatives do?  They opposed them on every one of those things, every one.  So when you try to hurl that label at my feet, 'Liberal', as if it were something to be ashamed of,something dirty, something to run away from, it won't work,because I will pick up that label and I will wear it as a badge of honor."

- Lawrence O'Donnell Jr.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

This Blog's Purpose

In the last couple of days, and especially after watching last night's presidential State of the Union address, the purpose of this blog has been made clearer to me.  And I think this will also make blogging easier and more enjoyable.

It is two parts:

(1)  Continue the Occupy discussion - While Occupy may not be making much news anymore, and while people may not be hearing about what they are still doing, the movement is still alive and thriving, although winter is setting it back some.  The corporate owned media does not want you to know about the Occupy movement, because it challenges the status quo of the rich getting richer off the backs of everyone else.  And in a time when people are struggling beyond their comprehension, their actions must be challenged and real change must be demanded.  In the same vein, that leads me to the second purpose of my blog.

(2)  Ensure that Barack Obama gets elected - After watching last night's state of the union, its clear where each presidential candidate falls.  It is also clear which candidate's rhetoric and actions side with the people versus siding with the cruelty of the 1% or even the .1%.  As Occupy continues, and the division between the two sides has been made clearer to me, it seems imperative that the candidate becomes president who will support policies that will benefit the most people of this country rather than the fewest at the top.  I will embrace the candidacy of Barack Obama for reelection, even as he has disappointed me in many ways since he took office in 2009.  Voting Republican, not voting, or voting for a third party candidate out of frustration with Obama will be destructive to this country.  I will debate and challenge anybody who disagrees with me on this blog, respectfully of course.

Ultimately, what it really comes down to is this front page article from Arizona.

TAMPA, Fla. — GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney isn’t just in the top 1 percent of Americans with income — he’s in at least the top 0.006 percent, tax returns he released Tuesday show.
The 2010 adjusted gross income of Romney and his wife, Ann, totaled $21.7 million, according to their tax return. That means they ranked high even among the top 8,274 tax returns.
Romney, a former Massachusetts governor and private-equity executive, made more than half of his income from capital gains and dividends. They are taxed at a top rate of 15 percent, rather than the top rate of 35 percent for ordinary income.

Mr. "Corporations-are-people"?  Freddie Mac "historian"?  Or community organizer?


Monday, January 23, 2012

Music Spotlight #2 - The Del McCoury Band

Hi everyone.  It's time for another Music Spotlight!

A couple nights ago the lady took me out to the Chicago Bluegrass Festival downtown.  Pretty awesome huh?  The best part of the show was one of my favorites, The Del McCoury Band.

The Del McCoury Band is a bluegrass band. Originally Del McCoury and the Dixie Pals with Del on guitar and his brother Jerry on bass, the band went through a number of changes until the 1980s when the band solidified its line-up, adding McCoury's sons, Ronnie and Robbie on mandolin and banjo, respectively. In 1988, the "Dixie Pals" name was dropped in favor of the current name. Fiddler Tad Marks and bass player Mike Brantley joined in the early 1990s while the band became a national touring act. In 2004 they were nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album for It's Just the Night, and in 2006 they won that category for The Company We Keep. 
The band recorded with Steve Earle on his 1999 album The Mountain. The band has also often performed in recent years with The Lee Boys, with setlists mixing bluegrass, funk and gospel with extended jams on many songs.
They have been performing since 1967, and here they are with one of my other favorite band, The Chieftains.

 They're fun to listen to, are very talented, and if you haven't listened to or gotten into Bluegrass music, they're not a bad place to start.  Enjoy!


Friday, January 20, 2012

Hey Newt: STFU

In last night's debate, Mr. King of CNN had the gall, the gumption to ask Newt Gingrich, the man running for President, about his personal life.

Let's predict how Newt responded.  After you make that prediction, lets make a prediction about how the South Carolina crowd responds to the red meat.



In case you don't know this Newt, when you're running for President, your past decisions, past misgivings, and past wrongdoings are open laundry for the rest of us to wonder about.  ESPECIALLY when you are a hypocrite who rails about the sanctity of marriage when it comes to homosexuals.  What John King should have asked him was:

"Given that you think gay marriage should be illegal because it undermines straight marriage, should individuals who are unfaithful within the context of straight marriage be allowed to stay married?"
Ironically, this is the same Newt Gingrich who went after Bill Clinton hard when he lied about a blowjob.  Hypocrite much?

This is how it works with bullies.  Newt Gingrich is a BULLY.  And when somebody fights back and calls out a bully for the shit that they say and do, they can't handle it.

So to you Newt...


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Good Day for Progressives

Today is a good day for progressives:

(1)  Websites such as Wikipedia, Reddit, and others imposed a self blackout to bring widespread attention to the bills SOPA and PIPA.  Before the blackout, it seemed that these two bills were destined to be ignored by the media and fast tracked to be passed into law.  But tonight, the lead story on NPR is about SOPA and PIPA.  The lead story on Yahoo! news is about these two bills.  I don't watch the mainstream media news, but I am wondering if they are finally talking about it as well.  Even on AccuWeather's website, the lead story is about SOPA and PIPA.  Whoduthunkit?

Meanwhile, an update on the bill from CNN:

SOPA was once expected to sail quickly through committee approval in the House. But after a massive pushback from tech companies and their supporters, it's being extensively reworked. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has said SOPA won't come up for a committee vote as-is. 
That means the bill could change a lot from day to day -- and one major tenet of the original legislation has already been removed. As originally written, SOPA would have required Internet service providers (ISPs) to block access to sites that law enforcement officials deemed pirate sites. 
A markeup process once expected to take days is now likely to last for months. As the outcry around SOPA grows louder, the bill's momentum in Congress appears to be fading.

This only happened because of massive push back from all levels, but mostly from grassroots users of the internet as well as push back from tech companies who would risk losing much from these risky bills.

(2)  In a victory for environmentalists, the Keystone XL Pipeline application was denied by the White House.  While this itself is a huge victory for environmentalists (who almost never have victories these days), it is a small victory because they can still reapply for the permits to construct the pipeline.

However, in a fascinating statement released by the President to explain the decision, Obama says:

Earlier today, I received the Secretary of State’s recommendation on the pending application for the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline.  As the State Department made clear last month, the rushed and arbitrary deadline insisted on by Congressional Republicans prevented a full assessment of the pipeline’s impact, especially the health and safety of the American people, as well as our environment.  As a result, the Secretary of State has recommended that the application be denied.  And after reviewing the State Department’s report, I agree. 

This announcement is not a judgment on the merits of the pipeline, but the arbitrary nature of a deadline that prevented the State Department from gathering the information necessary to approve the project and protect the American people.  I’m disappointed that Republicans in Congress forced this decision, but it does not change my Administration’s commitment to American-made energy that creates jobs and reduces our dependence on oil.  Under my Administration, domestic oil and natural gas production is up, while imports of foreign oil are down.  In the months ahead, we will continue to look for new ways to partner with the oil and gas industry to increase our energy security –including the potential development of an oil pipeline from Cushing, Oklahoma to the Gulf of Mexico – even as we set higher efficiency standards for cars and trucks and invest in alternatives like biofuels and natural gas.  And we will do so in a way that benefits American workers and businesses without risking the health and safety of the American people and the environment.

Wow... THIS is the President Obama I voted for.  I thrills me to see him going after Republicans for being the corporate whores that they are.  It also thrills me to see him talking about jobs and workers in a long term context of the health of our environment.  Who would have thought that the two of them were tied together?  Crazy!

We'll see if Democrats, Progressives, and Obama can maintain this opposition to the Keystone project.  Surely they will maintain their pressure to get this pipeline built and the union of progressives needs to maintain our strong opposition.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Dangers of Republican Racism

I don't usually go this far with the title, but the language is appropriate after watching this clip from the Republican / Fox News debate on MLK day no less.

Stunning enough as his comments are, its shocking to see and hear the crowds response.  

Newt has this sort of ideological purity that says that he knows what's best, especially for a whole group of people within American culture; blacks.  And he can talk about how he means "poor", but he means "black".  This is clearly evidenced by the audience, the racists in South Carolina.  

But this sort of ideological purity can be dangerous when its rooted in racist beliefs; when its rooted in the belief that you are superior.  Its especially dangerous when you show yourself to be in the minority, when you really are not.  As Republicans cry about the death of "white America", they need an enemy to blame for their "white decline".  Who are those enemies?

Black and brown people...



They (White Christian Republicans) are racially "the best" of the American people.
They have "the highest" self-esteem.
They value work more than "other" Americans.
They have a greater "work ethic" than blacks and browns.
White Republicans are the most upstanding Americans there are.

And they should have the right "to fight" for their superiority, because it is that "other American" Barack Obama that is ruining this country; its that racially inferior black president who is taking this country down the road of destruction.

If you don't believe it, you're not listening close enough to God.  Because its God who has told them they are superior, and that their beliefs and values are a holy order.

And the crowd in South Carolina?

They soaked it up.

Boo-ed the black liberal challenging Newt's premise.
Cheered the white Republican's racial superiority and knowledge.

What's next?


I challenge anyone who disagrees with me to say so in the comments below.  But don't in ignorance think that racial superiority and racially motivated beliefs are not dangerous.  When you think your race and values are "truth" and "superior", I worry for the day you and your party gain power.


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Why I Will Never Vote Republican

The name of one of the chapters of Pat Buchannan's new book "Suicide of a Superpower" is called "The End of White America".  What is the chapter about?

One of the chapters is entitled "The End Of White America." Hannity said that Buchanan labels white Americans as an "endangered species" in the book... "America is going to look very much like California right now," Buchanan said, going on to paint a very gloomy picture of the state (bankruptcy, a "black-brown war among the underclass," and so on), and claiming that, in Los Angeles, "half the people there don't speak English in their own homes." 
Buchanan said that the people of color in California "are not bad or evil people," but that they are bankrupting the state. He concluded, "What happens when all of America is like that, when every American city is like LA? ...What California is today, America is in 2041 if we don't change course."

Nothing like some good ol' racism to stir up the Republican base on Fox News.  What does this entail?
(1)  White people are better than brown or black people.
(2)  English is a superior language, and only spoken by white people; the superior race.
(3)  Black and brown people are leeches, living off the welfare of the government; a.k.a. welfare queens.
(4)  Black and brown people are violent, and engage in violence instead of hard work.

Now it's no surprise coming from Pat Buchanan, with his history of racism:

(1) "I think the African American community has embraced Great Society liberalism which has been devastating for the African American family... they bought a lot of liberal propaganda on the liberal plantation"

(2)  On the civil rights movement - "There were no politics to polarize us then, to magnify every slight. The 'negroes' of Washington had their public schools, restaurants, bars, movie houses, playgrounds and churches; and we had ours."

(3)  On Apartheid South Africa"White rule of a black majority is inherently wrong. Where did we get that idea? The Founding Fathers did not believe this."

(4)  On Christianity"Our culture is superior. Our culture is superior because our religion is Christianity and that is the truth that makes men free."

(5)  On Hitler and the Holocaust"Hitler was an individual of great courage.... Hitler's success was not based on his extraordinary gifts alone. His genius was an intuitive sense of the mushiness, the character flaws, the weakness masquerading as morality that was in the hearts of the statesmen who stood in his path."

(6)  On homosexuality"The poor homosexuals -- they have declared war upon nature, and now nature is extracting an awful retribution (AIDS)."

(7)  On women - "The real liberators of American women were not the feminist noise-makers, they were the automobile, the supermarket, the shopping center, the dishwasher, the washer-dryer, the freezer."

Notice a trend here?


So what consequences has he had for his thoughts?  His actions?  His speech?  He got hired by MSNBC, and even with his latest book and "End of White America", he's still on their payroll as of this post.  Will he be shunned?  No.  Will he be pushed aside?  No.  Will he be made irrelevant?  Of course not.  Why?

Because too many people believe the same thing as him.  And too many people with a lot of money believe the same thing as him.  Why do you think he keeps showing up on Fox News and MSNBC?


Him voicing these opinions stirs up the Republican base.  And a stirred up, ignorant, racist Republican base helps gets votes.

When I used to teach social studies, I taught my students about the first amendment and freedom of speech. The main lesson concept was essentially...

You can say what you want, but you have to face the consequences of your speech.

Well apparently I was wrong.  Apparently there's no consequences for being a racist, ignorant, slimeball your entire life.

Let's not pretend that Pat Buchanan and his beliefs are an outlier either.  For the GOP and their base, these beliefs are common and have been around since the end of the civil war.  At least now, they're starting to just explicitly say it.  And Buchanan has been explicit about it his entire life.

But now Gingrich is saying it too...

And Santorum is saying it...

And Perry is saying it...

And Bachmann is saying it...

Even Ron Paul is saying it...

This is why I will NEVER vote for the GOP.


I will NEVER vote for racism, homophobia, theocracy, sexism, anti-semitism, and ignorance.


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Football and Evangelism

I'm getting sick of having to see and hear Christian evangelism during football games.  Here I am sitting and watching the Denver vs. New England game, and of course, because the second coming, Tim Tebow, is playing, I have to see this shit...

Really?  There is so much that frustrates me about this.

I don't usually like or find it acceptable to use children to deliver a religious and /or political message.  This case I definitely don't like it.  And this is both religious and political to me.  Why is it political?  The creators of the video are Focus on the Family, one of the most socially conservative religious and political action groups in the country.

Focus on the Family (FOTF, or FotF) is an American evangelical Christian tax-exempt non-profit organization founded in 1977 by psychologist James Dobson, and is based in Colorado Springs, Colorado. 
Focus on the Family's stated mission is "nurturing and defending the God-ordained institution of the family and promoting biblical truths worldwide."
 This right here is one of the main reasons I get so turned off at times by organized, institutionalized, dogmatic religion.  One, they claim that there are biblical truths, which automatically has the assumption that anything different is false and wrong.  Including such things as homosexuality for example, and "gay marriage":

In the same letter Dobson says that traditional marriage is the cornerstone of society, and he states that the goal of the gay and lesbian movement is not to redefine marriage but to destroy the institution itself. “Most gays and lesbians do not want to marry each other…the intention here is to destroy marriage altogether.” Dobson makes the argument that without the institution of marriage everyone would enjoy the benefits of marriage without limiting the number of partners or their gender. Focus on the Family sees allowing same-sex marriage as “…a stepping-stone on the road to eliminating all societal restrictions on marriage and sexuality.”
Focus on the Family asserts that the Bible lays out the correct plan for marriage and family. Dobson says that "God created Eve to complement Adam physically, spiritually, and emotionally". Dobson also uses the biblical figure Paul to affirm his views on marriage. He states that Paul maintained that men and women mutually complete each other, and to exchange a "natural relationship for an unnatural one is sinful".
In reference to same-sex marriage and same-sex couples with children, Dobson states, “Same-sex relationships undermine the future generation’s understanding of the fundamental principles of marriage, parenthood, and gender.” He also stated that the alleged destruction of what it considers to be the traditional family by permitting same-sex marriage will lead to "unstable homes for children"

So if I'm homosexual, I'm out to destroy your society?  I'm out to destroy marriage?  By... uh... getting married?  If Dobson and Focus on the Family had their way, homosexuals would be second class citizens, outcasts, hospitalized, or even arrested.  Since they apparently are out to destroy marriage and society...

But what makes it worse within the context of organized, dogmatic, religion; they claim these are worldwide truths.  The concept of multiculturalism, different religions, different beliefs, and different ideas simply doesn't exist to them.  The idea of tolerance and embracing these differences doesn't exist to them.  In fact, the exact opposite exists.  Its as if the crusades aren't over, except now its become socially "unacceptable" to kill people in Jesus' name.  At least not as openly.

God bless America huh?  Apparently he forgot to bless Tim Tebow tonight.


Friday, January 13, 2012

When Mitt Romney Came to Town

If you want to see what your Republican nominee will do to the future of our economy, watch the following video on his history with Bain Capital; the jobs he destroyed, the communities he sank, and the people's lives he ruined.

This is the "Capitalism" that Mitt Romney and Republicans equate with Americanism, Democracy, and Patriotism.  Lives ruined in the name of greed and profit.

Who will you vote for in 2012?

The 1%?


The community organizer?

These are 28 minutes of your life you wont regret.  I promise you.  If you disagree after watching this, sorry.


note:  I realize that "Winning our Future" is Newt Gingrich's PAC.  In no way am I saying go vote for Newt as he is just as destructive as Mitt.  HOWEVER, the point of this video and blog post is to show Mitt Romney's stance clearly.  He is the inevitable nominee for president of the Republican party.  And his background as part of the 1% needs to be viewed.  If you object to it coming from Newt, I understand.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

What did they die for?

As the Iraq war "officially" ends, the question on my mind these days is...

What exactly did the soldiers die for?
Why did 4803 brave men and women die?  What was their purpose?
Why did 32,226 Americans have to suffer physical and mental injury and trauma?
Why are 120 veterans and active service members committing suicide every week?

I ask the question of Democrat or Republican.  I ask this question to hawks and pacifists.  I even ask this question of those in the armed forces or who are veterans themselves.

To what purpose were these brave soldiers sent to die?  Eight years later and nearly 5,000 dead, I think we deserve an answer.

And if there isn't an answer, somebody better damn well pay for it.


p.s.  I realize I didn't mention the Iraqi dead.  That's for another post.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Child Dental Care? Bah!

The New Year must feel like a trivial day for some when they are faced with struggles like this:

Many Illinois children who are covered by government-sponsored insurance programs often go without much-needed specialty dental treatment or wait for extended periods because of an ailing Medicaid system.
The biggest issues, advocates say, are Medicaid reimbursement rates in Illinois that are among the lowest in the country for specialized care and administrative hassles that go along with treating low-income patients. Dentists say they can't make ends meet.
Barriers to specialty dental care for low-income children remain a problem almost seven years after a federal judge ruled that the state had violated the rights of several hundred thousand poor children in Cook County.

Do tell how after a federal judge shows that the rights of poor children in Chicago and surrounding communities are being violated, how DOES this continue to happen?

And I didn't quite know that dental care is "specialized care".  People have and do die from untreated dental illness.  But hey, if you're poor then you don't really deserve this "specialized care".

Chicago IS a world class city.


On another personal note, I am a new uncle!  It's very exciting news for my sister and our family.  She gave birth to Jordan Itai on December 24th.  We went to his Bris on the 31st and the little guy handled it like a champ!  I will post pictures of the little guy once I have the clear from my sister, but I will just say this.... he's freakin adorable.

Mazal Tov!


p.s.  Sorry for linking to fox news, I won't ever do it again