Update: Just reported--Scott Roeder was found guilty after 37 minutes of deliberation, and will face a mandatory life sentence. Justice is done. Hope he thinks his defense, as described below, was a good idea.
This is pretty stupid of them. Landrieu is a blue dog. The Republicans now not only may have their fingerprints on a conspiracy(in the federal, legal sense, not the Oliver Stone sense) to do surveillance, with a view to intimidation, of a US senator, but one that was kind of on their side and might have gone back to it on this. Now she won't, and I can bet other blue dogs won't want the implication they're being intimidated by the RNC. Meanwhile, this brings us right back to the Republicans as the Dirty Tricks party, the party of, seriously, Watergate. They actually did this. They never learn anything at all and haven't changed their approach since I have been alive, and I just turned 41(Nixon was my first president--great inoculation against ever trusting his party). They might have won, but just like always, that's not enough for them and they took that extra, unnecessary, stupid step. Much like Watergate.
This will look good in an election year if the connection turns out as firm as it looks likely now. They do nothing in Congress, they shout and scream, and they spy on their opponents. Being only interested in power, not governing, they are fundamentally lazy and inclined to the path of least resistance: they cannot make themselves look good--they can only try to make others look as bad as they are.
1 week later: I do believe Artemis is completely back to normal. Two more pills left of her Clavamox, and she's now giving me serious problems with them(taking them I mean) and is strong enough to resist. Vigorously. It's a good sign.
My reaction? As always, an excellent speech. Said all the right things, challenged the banks, proposed things we very much need. But I already thought this. I want to see him willing to fight for all this now. And when I say fight, I mean fight. I mean forget the Republicans, and treat them like the losers they are. There is no reason to listen to them or talk to them, and they have no intention of working with him. If a fly is buzzing around your head, you don't reason with it. You ignore it or swat it.
Show me, Obama. Please.
As for the GOP response, listening right now: having an audience doesn't change that this is sad boilerplate they would have applied to any speech and I'm falling asleep just listening. I am, though, waiting to see if Mr. Generic White Republican whose name I've already forgotten comes out in favor of puppies and sunshine. Seriously, these are Obama's opponents who are holding him at bay? These losers? I'd be embarrassed to let them win if I were him.
O'Keefe is, as I'm sure you've been reminded to death, the fellow who punk'd ACORN(note: I'm not going to get into whether he uncovered anything genuine or if the staff were just fucking with him; I'm fairly indifferent on the subject of ACORN itself) last September. He was quite celebrated by the Republicans for having done so, 31 members of Congress even trying to enter a resolution commending him. From that link(at which you can also read said resolution), a list. These folks:
Todd Akin [R-MO2] Roscoe Bartlett [R-MD6] Joe Barton [R-TX6] Rob Bishop [R-UT1] Jo Bonner [R-AL1] John Boozman [R-AR3] Paul Broun [R-GA10] Henry Brown [R-SC1] John Campbell [R-CA48] John Carter [R-TX31] Howard Coble [R-NC6] Tom Cole [R-OK4] Michael Conaway [R-TX11] John Culberson [R-TX7] Mary Fallin [R-OK5] Trent Franks [R-AZ2] Louis Gohmert [R-TX1] Kay Granger [R-TX12] Ralph Hall [R-TX4] Jim Jordan [R-OH4] Steve King [R-IA5] John Kline [R-MN2] Doug Lamborn [R-CO5] Blaine Luetkemeyer [R-MO9] Daniel Lungren [R-CA3] Kenny Marchant [R-TX24] Joseph Pitts [R-PA16] Bill Posey [R-FL15] Phil Roe [R-TN1] Jean Schmidt [R-OH2] John Shadegg [R-AZ3]
Now, of course this sounds nothing like what we now think of as the beginning of Watergate. No way, in an election year, could anyone have reason to be charmed by O'Keefe's apparent gifts at this sort of thing, and decide to pay him to do something more ambitious. Certainly no one would think there was anything to be gained by surreptitious access to an important Democratic senator's phone banks. And there just is no way anyone in the Right thought that using reality show techniques to win elections would be an idea worth trying. Because the Republicans are honorable men, who have no history of, or experience with, this sort of thing.
I guess we'll have to see what O'Keefe is willing to do when he realizes he's still young, will face at least ten years of federal jail time, and if he got out--or got a lesser sentence--he'd still be able to capitalize on all the attention he's getting right now. I mean, in a decade, who'd care to give him his own show or pay him to write a book? He'll never be this famous again and, from the looks of him, jail would be uncomfortable. He's got his life ahead of him. I imagine he's thinking about that right now. He seems smart. He certainly knows his cohorts are thinking the same things about themselves, and him. One of his cohorts being the son of a federal prosecutor, a right-wing activist, U.S. Attorney Bill Flanagan. I imagine we may be hearing that name quite a bit in not too long.
But we'll see, won't we? Update: the plot thickens. The U.S. Attorney in question is only the acting one, and only still in his seat because our old friend, and friend to prostitutes everywhere, David Vitter, is blocking his replacement. This makes one wonder why it's so important to Vitter that this man--now the father of someone performing political espionage on another Louisiana politician--remain in his office. You don't think that they thought they could have blocked any investigation? I don't either. That would be insane. Far too obvious. Surely Republicans would be smarter than that, especially given the Democrats are self-destructing on their own. Watergate was a similarly unnecessary mistake. They'd have learned.
The same worse than useless UN forces that cleared out every white Westerner from Rwanda, and then abandoned the Tsutsi to the machetes of the Interahamwe, strike again, this time standing between Haitians and food. demanding they fill out forms before they can have any. With warehouses full of the stuff ready to go, they can spare the hands to practice their marching band.
That statement was made by President Obama in his softball interview with Diane Sawyer, or at least what's left of her that's not collagen. If ever there were words that would come back to haunt a president...that's almost up there with "Bring 'em on."
He listens to his enemies and ignores his voters. I am now officially off him. Not that I am turning Republican either, though. I have always tried to avoid the easy cynicism that both parties are the same. That's not so much the case here. It's more like that Obama is so weak and so easily ruled by his need to win over his enemies--who will never be won--that he is more than happy to spit in the eye of his base. It doesn't matter that the GOP are not in charge. They're deferred to anyway, and Obama has absolutely no spine. Show me, Obama, how you differ from having a Republican there. Otherwise we might as well save a step, & have someone there we already know to suspect.
If you take a shot every time this tool from the White House(whom Maddow gives not a moment's deference to--she's one of the few true investigative journalists on TV) repeats the mantra "jobs middle class," you may die of alcohol poisoning.
Hey, here's something that'll save money. Lives too. Getting the hell out of Iraq and Afghanistan. You know, like he'd said he'd do by now. But wait: The Pentagon is explicitly exempted from this freeze!
When it comes time to vote, he will be baseless. The Republicans are an evil gang, and could never win my vote. But I have no idea what the Democrats are, apart from purveyors of one of the worst betrayals of all, false hope.
As it's the state I grew up in, I wish I could say I am completely shocked that SC Lieutenant Governor Andre Bauer's opinion that poor people are animals was something he thought smart to speak aloud, explicitly, in public. But I heard this kind of thing a lot down there. But, uh, over two decades ago.
Here, via Rachel Maddow, is the actual audio of Andre Bauer's "don't feed stray animals" speech. Now I'm thinking Sanford might not be so bad. A philanderer is preferable to someone who speaks of the poor as one would a dog in an alley, & shrieks like a little girl at the horror they may "breed." Bauer forgets that those poor people vote. Maybe there were myriad ways in the South, once, to keep them from doing so. But those went away and the ones that replaced them aren't nearly as effective.
I also imagine right now, Mark Sanford's laughing his lungs up, as Bauer and he are longstanding enemies. Why does the sleazebag Mark Sanford not step down? You're joking, right? He knows there are far worse. All he had to do was sit back as Bauer shot his mouth off.
Geithner Wants Us To Panic And Do What The Bankers Want Again
Geithner couches it as a warning, but after what happened in 2008, we should realize this is a threat. He claims that the markets will dive should his cohort Ben Bernanke not be reconfirmed. Never mind the miserable job both men have done, or why we should even take Geithner seriously anymore.
Is it just me, or are you sick of these swine threatening to torpedo the economy if they don't get their way? How is the banking community--which Geithner is utterly part of--now any different than a bunch of Mafia thugs?
"Nice economy you've got here. Shame if anything were to happen to it..."
Why should these people be allowed to fuck us again? Tell me.
Obama More Interested In His Enemies' Opinion Than His Friends
The other day it occurred to me Obama's problem is one he shares with George from Seinfeld. I remember an episode in which Jerry had another new girlfriend, a masseuse. And she does not like George. So George, against even his own interests(resulting even in losing his own girlfriend), becomes irrationally obsessed with getting her to like him, all to no avail, and he ends up the pathetic wormy mess he always does.
It occurred to me Obama has acted much the same toward the bankers and the Republicans. And all they have done in return is fuck him over, again and again, openly gloating about it. The result of all his attempts to make peace with them has only been what anyone could have predicted: they see him as weak and easily tricked, and that they can manipulate him into doing anything they like. As an example, look at the healthcare debate. Even though he should know he will never win over a GOP voter, he has ignored the wishes of his actual voters and only been concerned with what his enemies think.
There are some among the left who think this is the time to stop criticizing Obama and unite behind him. Well, perhaps, in a way. But not in the sense of becoming mindless drones like GOP voters were under Bush. All that will result in is Obama ignoring progressives even more. He only reacts to people he thinks don't like him.
So I think maybe a better approach would be to act more in that way?
Oh look, another speech. How impressive. When exactly did you start fighting, Obama? "I didn't do this to boost my poll numbers. The way to boost your poll numbers is to do nothing!" he says. Well, given your deservedly falling polls in the face of not doing a damn thing your voters wanted,I think you've disproven half that statement, Mr. President. You sure give a good speech, though. Repetition can almost convince one it's true.
First off: before I start, let me mention I am a longtime fan of both Stewart & Colbert, if watching both every night counts for anything. And I realize the criticism by Stewart I mention here was accepted manfully by its target. Just the same, the emphasis Stewart put on this concerns me a little. So.
I understand being even-handed. And Keith O. does often get emotionally carried away. But all Olbermann said about Brown(see below) is in fact verifiably true, and Stewart even said as much himself previously. To be honest, in the past couple of months I've noticed an odd shift with Stewart, most glaring in his pussyfooting with John Yoo, who used him as a mop. I'm starting to detect a simple reaction against any particularly strong opinion simply because it's vehemently expressed. (This is also the great South Park's most insidious flaw, and more on them as well in a moment)
Remember when Saturday Night Live, when Gulf War 1 happened, started throwing in pro-war propaganda, and occasionally kept doing so, like "Iraqi Pete?" And South Park did its part too, keeping the hatred of Saddam Hussein(who, granted, was a complete bastard and did deserve his death) warm until when we toppled him. Both shows used their street cred as a soft means of persuasion toward ideas that otherwise, most of their viewers probably would have been against. But for some, the fact these shows say it gives it credibility.(a fairly good explanation of this can be found spoken by John Cusack in the "Cutting Edge Live" segment of the admittedly flawed Bob Roberts, which sadly I cannot find video for) Of course, nowadays absolutely no one doubts that SNL is nothing more than part of the Selling Machine.
I have a hard time thinking this was accidental. Or thinking that who pays Stewart, or Parker & Stone(whose attitude about politics, more than a bit adolescent, seems to be that it's stupid and boring and why won't it just go away), or Lorne Michaels, is irrelevant in this matter. But you'll also notice, Stewart's audience seems a lot less against what Olbermann is saying than Stewart is.
Careful whom you trust just because they're funny.
"There are a lot of people, when you say banker, people think Jewish. People who have prejudice, people who have -- what's the best way to say -- a little prejudice about them. To some people, bankers -- code word for Jewish -- and guess who Obama's assaulting? He's assaulting bankers. He's assaulting money people. And a lot of those people on Wall Street are Jewish. So I wonder if there's starting to be some buyer's remorse there."
Buyer's remorse? Why, exactly, Rush, did you bring up their being Jewish or not, at all? Of course you're completely unaware of this particular type of historical paranoia against Jews, and what the phrase "Jewish bankers" connotes. My ass. He's deliberately reaching back to a very old and very well-known trope of antisemitism, in such a clumsy way too.
This isn't even code. This is an attempt to imply--and I'm being kind--a claim that Obama was raised to the presidency by a conspiracy of Jewish bankers. Otherwise why say "buyer's remorse" specifically in connection to "Jewish bankers?" It'd be one thing had he only said "bankers," but he went a completely unnecessary and stupid step further.
Rush is forgetting that people who aren't his listeners can also find out what he says. Look at the statement. It's designed to confuse the issue and obscure the statement that you can really see at the end. A "lot of people," Rush? Like you?You disgusting, gelatinous, mushbrained golf-shirt-staining sweaty hateful drug addict pile of dog shit?
I already thought he was a piece of fascist scum. Now we know he's not just that: he's NAZI scum. And the time has come to drive him from the airwaves. He is a purveyor of hate speech, pure and simple.
Unless the GOP doesn't mind taking their marching orders from a Nazi. And being perceived as agreeing with him. I wonder what Cantor and Lieberman will have to say about this?
Final Prognosis on Artemis, My Dumb But Adorable Cat
So: naught but UTI. And boy did she wriggle. So she got a shot, a bottle of antibiotics, and a big bag of very expensive prescription food, and the donations JUST covered it. But no dead kitty. Thank you very much, everyone who pitched in to help.
I could have thought of better ways to spend my birthday today than an afternoon at the vet. But still. She's very, very happy to be home.
(Previously posted on Wednesday; I brought it up to the top because the problem is still current)
Rarely do I talk about my personal life here, but this is a bit of an emergency.
My cat Artemis, whom I've had for almost 4 years now, whom I brought out here from Chicago with me and who's just about all I have now in the world, took terribly sick Tuesday night and is suffering and in a bad, bad way from the looks of things. She's the sweetest, nicest cat, and this is what she looks like(though she's considerably heavier now):
I am without a day job, and thus am without funds to have this taken care of. I ask all of you for help. If you can, please send whatever amount you can(but at least a dollar would be good) through Paypal at this address: email@example.com. Please mark it "Artemis Fixit Fund," so I'll know.
I will thank everyone that does publicly here(unless you ask me not to), and any excess amount will be refunded to the donors. Please, please help. As I said, right now, she's almost all I have. And she's suffering, and it's killing me to not be able to help.
Update 2: a second one from Lucy White, one from Melanie Murray, and one from a fella I know who doesn't want me to let people know he's secretly a softie. Thank you.
Update 3: and a donation from the estimable Chad Parenteau, whose site you should go visit right now. Also my friend Angie Chen. Thanks, folks.
I'll be taking her in tomorrow(Friday), and I will update on her progress as I know. At the moment she is weak, but stable. It's fortunate she was such a healthy cat before she got sick. A weaker cat might have gotten much worse by now.
Further update I should have posted a long time ago: She came out fine, and to this day is scarily healthy, thanks to the help of you kind people
Date of death: January 21. Essentially, the most effective form of bribery has been legalized today. Your vote no longer counts, at all, period. Only the votes of stockholders do. Oh wait, corporations don't care what they think either.
"Thanks for the last, and greatest, betrayal of the last, and greatest, of human dreams." --William S. Burroughs.
Suppose you're a foster child, from an extremely abusive household. Suppose you end up with nice foster parents, who nevertheless believe in communication and peace. Suppose, because of that, they asked the advice of the abusers on parenting, even inviting them, allowing abuse while scolding about it, thinking maybe they can compromise, and asking the child to be patient. What do you think would happen to the kid? Well, what's happening to you right now?
I and millions of others put you in office to fix this country. To get healthcare passed. To fix the economy. To get us out of Afghanistan and Iraq. We gave you the biggest majority Democrats have had in two generations at least, which, if you were Republicans, would be enough tools for the job.
This is what I will do. I expect many others will too: since the GOP will be in power no matter what vote I cast, I'll just start throwing it down a rathole and voting a third party candidate. Because if my vote is to not matter, it might as well have a personal meaning.
Because you don't care about those who voted for you, Barack Obama. You rush to help Wall Street. But you do nothing for the rest of us. We gave you a supermajority because that way the GOP couldn't stop you. What did you do? Wasted it placating the GOP, who responded with scorn. You play their game, and they win. Fine. You're not my candidate. You don't represent me. You do not represent hope, or change, or anything whatsoever. You are an empty suit and not even a good symbol. You care more about the opinion of your enemies than your friends.
I have given you a year, Obama. And you did nothing. Fuck. You. You are now a symbol of the fact nothing ever, ever changes.
Obama: No, I'll Wait Till Brown Is Seated, So Health Care Will Be Thoroughly Killed
So, given we know for sure Brown will vote against, what do we make of this? That Obama is an idiot? That he has no understanding of politics? Or that he's just a glove puppet of the GOP?
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: So how do you do it now? This strategy that a lot of people have talked about getting the House to pass the Senate bill. Speaker Pelosi yesterday seemed to say that this was kind of a non-starter.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, here's , here's one thing I know and I just want to make sure that this is off the table. The Senate certainly shouldn't try to jam anything through until Scott Brown is seated. People in Massachusetts spoke. He's got to be part of that process.
Does he know HE WON? Does he think that congress will be any easier to work with? Why is he so afraid to do what needs to be done? Is he afraid his 60 majority will no longer be in mint condition if he uses it? Well, now he won't have to. Whew!
This man is useless to us. Very useful to Wall Street, very useful to the GOP, extremely useful to Fox. But he doesn't care about the people who voted for him, and is doing nothing for us. The point is not to be nice. The point is to win. And if this were the GOP you know they would find any way to pass it even if they had to play dirty. And would force every Democrat to vote with them.
But Obama feels being effective is beneath him. I have a hard time now believing he's from the Chicago I lived in. This makes me sick.
It appears as though in Massachusetts Scott Brown may take away the supermajority tomorrow. Which would be sickening given so many rotten things about him(like for instance his suggesting Obama's mother was unwed), particularly yesterday, so close to his seemingly inevitable victory, when he had a rally. You'd think one would be more careful so close to election day. And then this took place.
The most jarring moment, however, came during a rally Brown held with a cadre of famous Massachusetts athletes in which one attendee called for Coakley to have a "curling iron" shoved "up her butt."
The reference was to an assault case that Coakley's office oversaw, in which she was late to press charges against a man who had raped a toddler (Coakley later won grand jury indictments charging rape and assault and battery).
You'll see in the above-linked video that Brown's careless response was, "We can do that." Really?
The first Republican responses to the Haiti disaster were easily dismissible and, though repulsive, hardly surprising: Fatboy Limbaugh, who doesn't want people to help, and Robertson, who essentially said they deserved this, much as he agreed with Falwell when he said we deserved 9/11. Pat said it was because Haitians made a deal with the Devil to throw off France. All I can say is, a debunked urban legend is a hell of a thing to damn your soul over, Pat. But I expect you'll be able to fact-check that with the Devil in person, when you join Falwell soon.
What kind of evil bastard wants to deport people to a country that is, essentially, destroyed? Some people tell me I'm too biased against Republicans. Well, I wouldn't be if every time I heard something disgusting and inhuman like this it didn't come from a Republican. They seem to pride themselves on being the voice of heartless evil. I have always wondered why.
I expect it makes them feel like what they imagine men are.
LULU: Chapter 1, Page 1-2The first part of LULU, my adaptation of the plays of Frank Wedekind, is up, and this first chapter will be serialized(or at least that's the plan) one page a week, every Saturday or Sunday.
First, a two-page prologue. Click here, or the image to the left, to see.
Second page this time next week. Bookmark it! Also, I wrote quite a lot more about my intentions with this, thoughts on past adaptations of the play, and more here at Open Salon.
One of my heroes, the great horror cartoonist Steve Bissette, has a new webcomic! Steve's doing comics again! (Which he gave up back in the 1990s, leaving TYRANT, his ambitious comic which was to tell the completely non-anthropomorphized story of the birth, life, and death of a T. Rex, sadly unfinished to this day)
Chapter one of "Lulu" is basically finished. (If you're wondering why I've blogged so little for a while) Right now I'm applying the greys. But in the meantime to whet your appetite, from my Facebook gallery of "Lulu" in progress, a drawing of Lulu's hapless first husband, Dr. Goll. I will soon be serializing the chapter as soon as the greys are finished, so please keep checking back for updates. (Click image to see larger) (c)2010 John Linton Roberson.
I wonder, why is this snotty rag considered "progressive?" Also, I thought it was the Seattle Weekly that was owned by that right-wing company that operates alternative weeklies across the country, like SF Weekly and NY Press. Yet here it is too. Is its appeal really just that it panders to the secret wish of hipsters to have permission to be passively racist?
"Eternity in the company of Beelzebub, and all of his hellish instruments of death, will be a picnic compared to five minutes with me & this pencil." --E. Blackadder, 1789 Questionable
words & pictures from John Linton Roberson