If you have never heard of POAC, you should really click here or, better yet, here.

Post-Buckley NRO continues its descent towards unbridled wingnut hilarity as author attempts to prove liberals “hate joy” by quoting noted political philoshoper A.C. Slater from “Saved By the Bell.” Seriously 4-23
http://tinyurl.com/3luggq

Not much time to write an actual post, but everyone should watch this video. Viewer Discretion Advised.

Bread, peace and freedom.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Ani DiFranco — \’Tis of Thee Couldn’t find a video of this song. I saw Ani live in Lawrence in 1999 and she performed this song, prefacing it with the words “This is a song about the war on drugs and how it has turned into a war on poor people”. The drug war is a waste of time and money, especially when you consider that jail will screw up your life worse than a whole trash bag full of cocaine. Normally, I let people search for song lyrics on their own if they want to, but this song is worth quoting in it’s entirety.

they caught the last poor man
on a poor man’s vacation
they cuffed him and confiscated his stuff
they dragged his black ass down to the station
and said, ok, the streets are safe now
all your pretty white children can come out and see spot run
and they came out of their houses
and they looked around
but they didn’t see no one

my country ’tis of thee
to take swings at each other on the talkshow tv
why don’t you just go ahead and turn off the sun
cuz we’ll never live long enough
to undo everything they’ve done to you
undo everything they’ve done to you

above 96th street
they’re handing out smallpox blankets so people don’t freeze
the old dogs have got a new trick
it’s called criminalize the symptoms
while you spread the disease
and i hold on hard to something
between my teeth when i’m sleeping
i wake up and my jaw aches
and the earth is full of earthquakes

my country ’tis of thee
to take shots at each other on the prime time tv
why don’t you just go ahead and turn off the sun
cuz we’ll never live long enough
to undo everything they’ve done to you
undo everything they’ve done to you

they caught the last poor man
flying away in a shiny red cape
they took him down to the station
and they said, boy, you should’ve known better
than to try to escape
i ran away with the circus
cuz there’s still some honest work left for bearded ladies
but it’s not the same going town to town
since they put everyone in jail
except the cleavers and the bradys

my country ’tis of thee
to take swings at each other on the talkshow tv
why don’t you just go ahead and turn off the sun
cuz we’ll never live long enough
to undo everything they’ve done to you
undo everything they’ve done to you

Damn right. Bread, peace and freedom.

Tax Day Today!

April 15, 2008

Just got mine done last night. My wife loves this day. She loves seeing how much we are getting back like we just won the lottery. It is pretty nice getting that goverment check, especially if you make the kind of money that Bill Gates does.

 
The Bush tax cuts provide extremely wealthy families with vast benefits. The richest one
percent of families will get an average tax cut of $92,000 in 2010, including cuts in income and estate taxes. The average income for families in the top one percent will be $1.6 million in 2010, and yet, the President and his allies in Congress have showered the most generous tax cuts on these fortunate families (Citizens for Tax Justice: pdf document)

So why aren’t we breaking out the torches and pitchforks? It’s the big lie. The big lie goes something like this: The government is stealing your money and giving it away to other people and you know how to spend your money better.

The short answer to this idiocy is that taxes are the cost of living in a civil society. The long answer is that you drive on roads, use water out of the tap, use safe, dependable electricity, cross bridges on the highway, and play with your kids in the public park. These things cost money to build and maintain. When you have to pay that bill (or have that money withheld from your paycheck like most of us) you are paying for your use of those services. I love Thom Hartmann’s analogy. Let’s say you walk into a convenience store. You see that they have candy bars for a dollar. You have an extra dollar in your pocket and are hungry so you grab a candy bar. Unfortunately, in line in front of you is one of these folks that like to show up in the middle of lunch hour and buy $50 worth of scratch tickets and the line is taking forever, so you crack open the candy bar and start munching.

At the point you open the wrapper, the dollar in your pocket is no longer yours. You didn’t sign a contract, but that dollar now belongs to the store. Imagine going to the cash register with the half-eaten Snickers in your hand and then accusing the clerk of theft when they try to ring up the candy bar. If you have a minute, check out A Day in the Life of Joe Middle-Class Republican.

The Bushies (and John McCain is on that list) also like to say that if these irresponsible tax breaks are not  made permanent, middle class Americans will pay an average of $1,800 more in taxes. True enough as far as that goes. But that’s like saying that if Bill Gates was to walk into a homeless shelter where two nuns are feeding 14 homeless guys, they have an average income of $10 million a year. It’s true, but doesn’t change the fact that it’s 14 dudes who have nothing but the shirts on their backs, two nuns who have taken a vow of poverty, and Bill Gates.

There is a class war going on with our tax policy. I think it’s about time we started participating in our side of it.

Bread, peace, and freedom.

Friday, George W. Bush admitted to OK’ing talks on torture between high level cabinet officials. You read that right, the President of the United States admitted to war crimes. And the talking heads on Sunday couldn’t get enough. They couldn’t stop talking about the inherent stupidity, political tone-deafness and near criminality of the remarks of… Barack Obama.

“You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them,” Obama said. “And they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

This is elitist??? I saw these comments and the furor over them on Saturday while watching TV with my wife. As soon as Obama’s remarks were stated, she raised her hand in the air and said, “I know I’m bitter.” However, the Clinton and McCain campaigns can’t seem to wrap their heads around this line of thinking, so I’m going to try to spell it out for anyone who is still confused. Let’s start with a definition.

 elitist – a person who is or who believes himself or herself to be a member of an elite group

So what Clinton and McCain are saying is that, based on nothing more than the words he uttered in this case, that Barack Obama believes himself to be a member of an elite group? What group is this? Non-bitter Moonbats of America?

Obama may have made a poor choice of words as many are saying (an idea with which I vehemently disagree), but that doesn’t make those words any less true. I look around at Great Bend, KS and I see a town that is hanging on against all odds. One of the local manufacturing plants shut down a few years ago and no one has any illusion about it opening back up. All of the politicians look at those of us out here in flyover country and say, “I’m going to bring the jobs back” and they never come back. They say, “I’m going to make sure your family has health care” and every day you see cans on the counter tops of restaurants and convenience stores admonishing you to drop your change into the can so a little kid can get the chemotherapy that they need to stay alive. They say, “I’m going to make sure that you have a place to live” and then do nothing to stop the snake-oil salesmen who bring their easy credit terms and screw you out of your home.

This country has turned into a nightmare for most of the people in it. Politicians don’t care about how we are doing, what sort of towns we live in, what our kids eat and drink, or what sorts of jobs we work to try to make ends meet. They take the anger from this and redirect it at the things that aren’t like us, be they gays, guns or the idea that the government is going to close down your local church and make your kids start singing “Darwin is Great” before the start of the day. Easy things at which to be angry, sure, but intellectually dishonest as well. And most of us are starting to realise this. Bitter? Bet your ass we are.

So let McCain and Hillary keep filling the airwaves with nonsense about how “elitist” Barack Obama is. It does an absolutely fabulous job of making the two of them look foolish and out of touch.

Bread, peace, and freedom.

Afterthought: Just read a great post from Crooks and Liars. I must admit at one point on Sunday, I was watching Fox’s idiotic contribution to public discourse on the public airwaves they call Fox News Sunday. I wondered if Bill Kristol was going to chime in on this controversy with one of his patented “dumbest thing ever uttered” quotes and thought he let me down. Turns out he was saving it up.

I haven’t read much Karl Marx since the early 1980s, when I taught political philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania. Still, it didn’t take me long this weekend to find my copy of “The Marx-Engels Reader,” edited by Robert C. Tucker — a book that was assigned in thousands of college courses in the 1970s and 80s, and that now must lie, unopened and un-remarked upon, on an awful lot of rec-room bookshelves.

My occasion for spending a little time once again with the old Communist was Barack Obama’s now-famous comment at an April 6 San Francisco fund-raiser….

Talk about a non sequitur. Andrew Sullivan at theAtlantic.com has more time than me to tear apart this nonsense.

Bread, Peace and Freedom

Sometimes you have to wonder if the administration is even trying to fool us anymore. Remember the good old days when Bush or Cheney or Rumsfeld would get up on a stage and feed us crap with a straight face? Remember these classics?
Bush thinking hard

Bush, May 29, 2003: We found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories. You remember when Colin Powell stood up in front of the world, and he said, Iraq has got laboratories, mobile labs to build biological weapons. They’re illegal. They’re against the United Nations resolutions, and we’ve so far discovered two. And we’ll find more weapons as time goes on. But for those who say we haven’t found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they’re wrong, we found them. (May 23, 2003–a month after he declared victory.)

Or this gem.

“We know that Iraq and the al-Qaeda terrorist network share a common enemy — the United States of America. We know that Iraq and al-Qaeda have had high-level contacts that go back a decade” and “we’ve learned that Iraq has trained al-Qaeda members in – and poisons and deadly gases.”

But according to some remarks Cheney made on Sean Hannity’s abyssmal radio show, if we leave Iraq now, al Qaeda will start selling the oil and kill us all!!! However, when Bush trotted out this line of bull a couple of weeks ago, a reporter (who had evidently gotten a spine replacement procedure) asked White House Press Secretary Dana Perino

“I don’t understand how a fragmented, clandestine, non-Iraqi terrorist organization could produce and sell Iraqi oil on the global market, especially when the majority of Iraqis have turned against al-Qaida. Could you describe a plausible scenario?”

Imagine this, she couldn’t. It seems like the White House has been leaving Dana in the dark. At least when they trotted out something like this with Ari Fleischer or Scott McLellan, they seemed to give them a heads up so they could have answers for some of the more obvious questions the press would have, e.g. “Really? I mean, really?”; “What?”; “Are you on medication? How about the president?”. Either Dana is being chucked under the freight train, is profoundly stupid, or the administration has finally come around to the idea that we don’t believe a thing that they say anyway and have just decided to stop trying. How much further to January?

Bread, peace and freedom.

A very good friend of mine in Topeka has a tendency to send me long rants via email on religion, politics and the mix of the two. I invited him to make the occasional post on my blog. This is what he sent for his first post.

“At this moment, I am not pissed off.  I wish to share a music video with you.  This song has brought me great joy.  Enjoy.  I am sure that I will get bitchy later….

Aunt Warren”

Loreena McKennitt — The Mummer’s Dance (ed. note: This song was also played during my wedding.)

I have to start this post out by congratulation the Kansas Public Library System for making it to the 21st century in a big way. They launched a service last month called Kansas Audio books, music and more! which allows users to download audio books for 2 weeks and listen to them on computer, mp3 players, and even burn some titles to CD. Libraries are such fantastic institutions on so many levels. The public library was my favorite place in the world when I was a kid, and was one of the few places I could always go because my trips to the library always resulted in me coming home with knowledge and adventure in a bag and no money going out of my parents meager budget. Now that I am a parent, time to read is something that doesn’t come along as often as I would like. With this service, I can download a book and listen to it at work. There are many books that I have wanted to read for a long time and haven’t had a chance.

This brings us to last week when I was browsing the catalog and came across Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins. He explains that Economic Hitmen (or EHM’s as he refers to them) are people that go to developing countries and make economic predictions based on the revenues generated from infrastructure projects. Multi-national corporations then loan money to these countries to fund these infrastructure projects, contracts for which often go to subsidiaries of the corporation that made the loan in the first place. When the expansion doesn’t happen like planned (because the predictions were BS from the start) the loan goes into default and the corporations wring concessions out of these countries. If the leaders of the countries involved don’t like the idea of putting the soul of their country in hock to multi-nationals in exchange for personal gain, the multi-nationals send in what Perkins refers to as “the Jackals”. These are many times former CIA and State Department officials that foment rebellions, coups, and political assassinations.

The reason this book is important are the chapters on Saudi Arabia and Iraq. After the oil embargo in the early 70’s, American corporations came to the realisation that if the oil stopped, so would their money. Since Saudi Arabia had no need to go into debt they had to find some other way to get the royal family on the hook. Finally they came up with something the author refers to as “The Saudi Arabian Money Laundering Scheme.”

“The condition was that Saudi Arabia would use its’ petro-dollars to purchase U.S. Government Securities. In turn, the interest earned by these securities would be spent by the U.S. Department of the Treasury in ways that enabled Saudi Arabia to emerge from a medieval society into the modern industrialised world. In other words, the interest compounding on billions of dollars of the kingdom’s oil income would be used to pay U.S. companies to fulfill the vision that I (and presumably, some of my competitors) had come up with to convert Saudi Arabia into a modern industrial power.”

In exchange, the Saudis got internal and external security in the form of U.S. weapons and weapon systems and nobody telling them how to run their government. The truly frightening part is where the author states that if Saddam had taken the same deal we tossed at the Saudis, not only would he still be in power, we would be helping build and maintain chemical weapons plants!

This book really shines when it starts showing, step by step, how the purchases we make in this country make other people miserable. The corporations that smile at us and sell everything from soft drinks to shoes to the gas in your car starve people in third-world countries to get that stuff to you and make themselves filthy rich in the process. Everyone should go to John Perkins’s website to find out what you can do to help make a difference. 

Bread, Peace and Freedom!

Friday Protest Song.

April 4, 2008

No time to write a bunch about this song. Barry McGuire. Eve of Destruction. Good stuff. ‘Nuff said.

Different meeting place this time. We will be meeting at 3 pm in Marty Keenan’s office at 2200 Lakin in GB. Jacqueline Bujanda, Regional Coordinator for the Democratic Party will be there. On Aug 7 last year, the LA Times did a story on Jacqueline and a Republican Coordinator in Berkeley, CA entitled Behind Enemy Lines.

Jacqueline Bujanda proudly plays the outcast in this table-flat farming community surrounded by grain silos and antiabortion billboards.

At age 24, she endures stares, insults and slammed doors as she performs the political version of peddling Coke in a Pepsi town: She sells the Democratic Party in dark-red western Kansas, a state that hasn’t elected a Democratic U.S. senator since Prohibition — the longest streak in the nation.

She was born in El Paso and became a starter on her high school basketball team. In Garden City, she rode the bench. She believes the move was class-driven. Her mother worked in a local meatpacking plant: “The daughters of wealthy white parents played ahead of me because I was the girl with the single Latina mother.”

In college, Bujanda became convinced Democrats were more inclusive for minorities like herself. (Read more…)

This is a hard truth that the GOP has not dealt with. I would contend that it’s because they cannot. After LBJ signed the Civil Rights Act, the south began hating Democrats. Nixon tapped this anger for political power with what has become known as “The Southern Strategy”. On top of that, the GOP is very much behind the interests of big business and the morbidly wealthy. These interests are very much at odds with those of the poorest among us, who are predominately minorities. Because of this, the chances of the GOP overcoming this lack of support bordering on abject hatred from minority communities in this country are about the same as my chances of me getting my own Sunday talk show on NBC this weekend.

Bread, Peace and Freedom.