Friday, September 28, 2012

Voter Fraud and the Zombie Demographic: James Holmes and the Obvious

Well look who got caught with their hand in the cookie jar.

MSNBC is reporting that the Republican National Committee recently hired a new firm called, Strategic Allied Consulting to register republican voters in Florida and four other battleground states nationwide. The firm is headed by one Nathan Sproul, the former executive director of the Arizona republican party. Mr. Sproul went out and hired 2,000 people in Florida alone and paid them something like $12 per hour to go door to door and get the faithful on the books.

Things quickly got a little dicey. In Palm Beach County a worker for the company dropped off 300 plus registration forms at a Florida election office. Then, as NCAA football referees say, after further review, it turns out 108 of the new registrations were utterly bogus. Some people had addresses in New York, others were transferring their addresses to places like a Shell gas station, a Land Rover dealership, and a medical building. Many of the signatures were written in similar hand writing. Later, Florida election officials stated that irregularities were popping up in five other counties and some of the "new" republicans being registered by the company were quite dead. Obviously the Strategic Allied operatives were looking to fully engage that zombie demographic which is so favorable to their man, Mitt Romney.

The Florida arm of the GOP fired the company and the RNC followed suit quickly. Well, after all, it is a bit unseemly to scream voter fraud when voter fraud didn't really exist and then hire some yahoo who actually tries to pull it off. Strategic Allied Consulting has already collected $3 million in fees from the RNC, but there was no word about whether a refund would be offered, or demanded.

Sproul is reportedly outraged by the termination of his contract, saying all this chicanery was not company sanctioned and was the result of a "few bad apples." He claims that as soon as he found out about the fake registrations he fired those involved. MSNBC is reporting his company may sue the RNC over the whole issue.

This is not something the Romney crew wants to deal with at the moment, although now I suppose we'll hear things like, "see, we told you there needed to be voter IDs." I mean you have to say something don't you. RNC communications director Sean Spicer practically touched on that in a brief interview. He said the national party acted immediately as soon as "mere allegations" were made. He also blathered on about his party having a zero tolerance for such things and how the "other side" clearly engaged in inappropriate behavior for long periods of time.

Right. Sean Spicer and the rest of his crowd could have cared less until the whistle was blown. Given the voter fraud mania they manufactured they couldn't do anything less than cut ties with this gang of forgers. That bump you just felt was the bus running over Mr. Nathan Sproul.

Meanwhile out in Colorado NBC is reporting that prosecutors have released new information in the James Holmes case. Holmes, who killed twelve people and wounded another fifty-eight in an Aurora theater, has been hit with 152 counts. Prosecutors allege that prior to the massacre, Holmes threatened an unnamed University of Colorado professor which prompted the the school to ban him from the campus. In addition they state that Holmes spoke with an unidentified student about killing people, "when his life was over."

Why no one at the university went to the police with all this prior to the shooting remains a mystery, although one would guess that decades of future law suits will disclose the reason, or reasons.

NBC also reported that Mr. Holmes' defense team is considering an innocent by reason of insanity plea.

Oh, you think?

Thank God for weekends.

sic vita est



Thursday, September 27, 2012

Another Day and Another Scam, Again

James B. Catledge is quite a guy. He is a motivational speaker, into real estate and is the head of a couple of marketing companies. He also went into partnership with a Canadian named Derek F.C. Elliott. Together they started an outfit called EMI Sun Village Resort and Spa.

Through Sun Village, Messrs Catledge and Elliott took out a loan in 2005 to buy a hotel in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic which they named Sun Village Juan Dolio Resort. It was an older place and needed some renovations. So, being the wiley businessmen they are, they began to recruit investors through Catledge's marketing firms.

Sales presentations were made. One video pitch was titled, "Real Estate Secrets of the Wealthy." Investors were urged to use their home equities and savings to buy into securities tied to the resort.

Unfortunately for the marks, one of the real estate secrets of the wealthy they weren't told about was that Catledge's firms were taking up to a 44% commission on their investments. Sun Village also failed to fully fund the renovations with the money and in fact used the cash on some other projects and to pay off early investors to keep them happy. This is what is known as a Ponzi scheme, or in some quarters, business as usual.

Investigators, that would be the FBI and the SEC, don't really know where a lot of the money is, however they do know the location of at least $15 million of it. It is sitting in a trust held in the South Pacific nation, Cook Islands. The beneficiaries of the trust are James B. Catledge and various members of his family.

Estimates of the scam range up toward the $164 million dollar mark, although in the indictment, Elliott and Catledge have been accused of fraudulently soliciting a little over $91 million. Both gentlemen are looking at 20 years and fines that are twice the value of the property involved.

The hotel in the Dominican Republic never opened and ended up being sold at auction in 2009, effectively wiping out everyone except Catledge and Elliott.

I suppose I could begin moralizing at this point about greed and avarice and a complete lack of ethics in the business world. I could rail about how Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney want to let slimy bastards such as Catledge and Elliott run around without any government restrictions whatsoever, although government restrictions didn't seem to slow them down in this instance.

I could, but I won't. I'll just mention that in 2008, James B. Catledge donated $100,000 to the Republican National Committee, John McCain's presidential campaign and a couple of other republican causes, one of which was Mr. Romney's failed presidential run. In May of 2008 he and his wife Tiffany attended a little suaret at Mr. Romney's Deer Valley, Utah vacation home that featured George W. Bush. The price of admission was $70,000 per couple. As late as 2010, even after the Sun Village Juan Dolio Resort tanked, he gave California republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman $30,000.

The old saying is that you are known by the friends you keep. I would suggest that you are even better known by the people who give you large amounts of cash.

That is all. Over and out.


(Information contained in this post was gathered from NBC News)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Bad Numbers For Mitt, Bad Vibes For Voters, and It Ain't Over

The numbers continue to sour for Mitt Romney. The latest poll out, one by the New York Times/CBS/Quinnpiac, paints a picture of a ship taking on heavy water. The poll shows the president ahead in Florida 53% to 44%, in Ohio 53% to 43% and in Pennsylvania 54% to 42%.

The initial reaction of the Romney people to these results is quite simple. They don't believe them. An anonymous staffer told Politico, "There hasn't been any national news, anything that would push these numbers from 3% to 9%. You've got to have something to precipitate that kind of sea change." According to NBC news, Romney's Politcal Director, Rick Beeson told a press contingent, "Public polls are what public polls are. I kind of hope the Obama campaign is basing their campaign on what the public polls say. We don't. We have confidence in our data and our metrics."

So, has Rick Beeson taken a hit of acid, or is he naturally delusional? Probably neither. He knows that those numbers reflect the people in those states who think they are going to be able to vote. He also knows that republican law makers and operatives have been working like beavers whacked out on amphetamines in all three states trying to make sure as many Obama supporters as possible are disenfranchised.

In Ohio precinct voting hours, especially in heavily democratic areas, are being restricted. Florida traditionally has allowed voters to go to the polls on the Sunday before national election day. It has also been a tradition for predominantly black churches to bus their congregations to the polls on that Sunday after services. Florida recently did away with voting on the Sunday prior to election day. And we know what is going on in Pennsylvania where there is a brutish and overt effort to make sure Mr. Romney carries the state by enforcing a photo ID system.

NBC news recently followed a hospital worker as she went through the process of securing that ID. She had to burn a vacation day and spend four hours waiting as the wheels of the Pennsylvania election commission ground away ever so slowly. I don't have any real numbers, but I would hazard to guess that she is the exception. How many low income employees at places like Wal-Mart and McDonalds are going to be able to spend a half day away from work during the week while they wait on the state of Pennsylvania to decide whether they can vote or not? Somehow I think the management of places like Burger King will discourage that sort of thing

No, Rick Beeson isn't living on his own little fantasy island. He just knows how many people in Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania his party is going to fuck over. Those are his "metrics."

That is why Obama needs a slam dunk in the debates, the first of which is a week from today. If his core supporters aren't allowed to vote it really won't matter what the polls say now, or even the day before the election.

In the mean time, The National Memo is reporting that the non-partisan, Tax Policy Center is saying it is literally impossible for Mr. Romney's tax plan to achieve its stated goals. The Romney people promptly accused the Tax Policy Center of having a liberal bias, although back in November the Governor's campaign proudly stated that the organization was "an objective third party."

Well no one has ever accused the Romney machine of consistency when it comes to such things. After all this is the same guy who spent a day praising the health care system in Israel while he was visiting there. Israel, of course, has had universal health care since it's inception.

The election would appear to be slipping further and further away from Mr. Romney, but you can never under estimate the depths to which his party will sink either ethically, or legally. These are, after all, the direct descendants of Richard M. Nixon and Ron, the contraman, Reagan.

It ain't over until it is over, someone said. That adage has never been truer than right now.


Monday, September 24, 2012

The Coming Debates: Someone Needs to Hit a Home Run

Slate's David Weigel quotes an unnamed member of Mitt Romney's staff as saying,  "People are holding back until  the debates. In 1980 Reagan was trailing Carter in the polls 39% to 47% until their debate."

Weigel points out the staffer's facts were wrong, that the Carter lead wasn't eight points, but rather three, within the margin of error of most polls.

Of course a Romney staffer getting his or her facts wrong isn't surprising, or even news. I mean they're the same ones who would have you and I believe that Obama wants to eliminate work requirements for all welfare recipients. Then there is the odious 47% comment made by their candidate to the fat cats in Boca Raton. Someone fed him that info, he didn't just drag it out of the great blue sky.

Details aside, the essence of that staffer's statement is absolutely true. The first face to face meeting between the president and the republican nominee is coming up in nine days. With things as tight as they are the three debates loom as the key to victory in November.

Mr. Romney's message, or messages, depending on what day of the week it is, has failed to inch him any closer in the polls. In fact in some states like Ohio he is slipping. The last two weeks worth of self inflicted damage have left people talking about everything but the things he wants them talking about. Suddenly, just breaking even with the president during the debates isn't an option. He has to decisively win at least two out of the three and maybe all of them.

Things are nearly as dire for Mr. Obama. He may lead in several swing states, but those leads are slim. In Florida, depending on which poll you read, he is either tied or his lead is well within the margin of error. Even in Ohio, where he seems to be gaining momentum, there are only five points separating him from Mr. Romney.

The president has another worry also. Legislatures in places like Pennsylvania, Florida, and Ohio are busily trying to disenfranchise many of his supporters. The Pennsylvania voter ID act is an over the top effort to hand that state's electoral votes to the Mitt. Hell, republicans there have bragged about it openly. In Ohio there are reports that the state election commission is shortening the hours of heavily democratic precincts. In Florida new restrictions have been put on early voting that will primarily impact black, lower income, and elderly voters. There may be hundreds of thousands, if not millions of voters nationwide who instead of casting their ballots for the president will be turned away, or unable to reach the polls at all.

The fact is there are probably very few truly undecided voters left. However, there maybe a significant number who are leaning one way or the other so tepidly that they can be swayed by a decisive win in the debates. The aim of both campaigns is to make those people think to themselves, "well you know I was going to vote for so and so, but now I think I'm going the other way."

It is too close to call, despite all the optimism on the left. The debates will probably seal the deal, but we don't know who for. Four years ago I thought Joe Biden would hand Sarah Palin her head during their appearance. Biden seemed afraid to come down on her hard and Palin, as we have since learned, simply rolled out a bunch of nonsense she'd learned by rote and didn't understand at all. The result was at best a draw, although most, including myself thought the edge went to Ms. Palin. Back in 1960 if Dick Nixon hadn't had that sweaty upper lip and the screen presence of someone waiting to be dipped in boiling oil history might have turned in ways we can't even begin to imagine.

In nine days things will start to slide downhill quickly for someone. Just who it will be is a matter of conjecture at this point.

The jury, as they say, is still out.


Friday, September 21, 2012

Lynching Chairs in Texas and Virginia and Racist Zombies on Facebook

It has been ugly out there ever since Barak Obama was sworn in as the President of the United States. You didn't have to look far for it. Now it is being shoveled right into our faces on a nearly daily basis.

After Clint Eastwood rambled on at the republican convention to an empty chair some conservative wits have taken a liking to that metaphor for the president. In Austin, Texas some guy hung an empty chair from a tree branch in his front lawn. In Centerville, Virginia another hung one from  a tree near a park with a hand painted sign that said, "Nobama." Funny stuff right? Of course the symbolic lynching of the first African American president has nothing to do with racism, especially down south where the lynching of African Americans was once nearly as popular as football.

Tech News Daily is reporting a sharp spike in racist activity on social media outlets such as Facebook. It notes that a study done by Baylor University found wide spread racially stereotyped photo shopped depictions of the president doing things like wearing a flat billed baseball cap while eating fried chicken. Another shows him sporting a mouthful of gold teeth while asking, "where are the white wimmin?" A third portrays Mr. Obama as an African witch doctor wearing a necklace of skulls and sporting a large bone through his nose.

Mia Moody Ph D, who headed the study, pointed out that some groups on Facebook claim not to be racist, such as a bunch called, "I don't hate blacks, I just think Barak Obama is a terrible president"  However despite the denial "I don't hate blacks.."
is chock full of bon mots such as, "Obama needs to step down and go back to Africa with the rest of the coons." Another post there claims, "He's nothing but a jigaboo and spear chucker." If those clods don't hate blacks, God only knows what they say about the people they do.   

A quick glance at the comments section of the Tech News article provides a glimpse of the outrage felt by conservatives about such accusations. Most commenters believe the article was severely biased. As one person wrote, "Hate speech is defined as anyone who disagrees with Obama's policies. However the vast majority of racism I see on social networking sites is coming from the left." Another stated that he, "saw far worse when Bush was president. Far, far worse." Both authors failed to provide any examples, or proof of their statements. Well why muddy up the waters with such details?

It is an old conservative trick to play the martyr and wail about how they are persecuted by a vast leftist cabal. Yes, we're all just a bunch of poor white people suffering from discrimination ourselves. Hell, we even have to let black people eat in the same places we do now days.

Do I think, Mitt Romney and all republicans are racist? No, I don't. However they've attracted every closet and overt racist in the country to their cause. And now, thanks to places like Facebook, any loon with a home computer can spew his, or her bullshit out to millions of people without taking any sort of responsibility for it at all.

The election of Barak Obama has ripped apart the myth that racism is dead in this country. It has reared its ugly, lice ridden, head like some flesh eating zombie rising from the grave. Not that it was ever really gone. All you had to do to realize that was sit around a cigar store lounge with a bunch of other old white guys who assumed you thought just like they did and still do.

A democratic blogger down in Austin called the guy who lynched the empty chair and explained to him her concerns. His response was, "You can take it (her concerns) and go straight to hell and take Obama with you."


A year or so ago a fellow asked me, probably not rhetorically, "Where is Lee Harvey Oswald when we need him?"

Oswald is dead. Luckily, someday that gentleman will be too. Maybe then we can move forward and be done with all this hateful crap. America may be the home of the brave, but we'll never be the land of the free until we are.



Thursday, September 20, 2012

George Zimmerman's Pistol and A Chameleon Named Mitt

NBC News and just about everyone else reported yesterday that more evidence has been released to the public in the Trayvon Martin killing. Apparently tests show that the grip of George Zimmerman's pistol, the one used in the shooting, had no traces of Martin's DNA on it. Tests on the holster were inconclusive. Brother Zimmerman maintains that he shot Martin in self defense as the teenager was banging his head against a sidewalk while trying to snatch his gun.

In addition, a security tape at the 7-11 convenience store Martin visited immediately before the shooting showed him buying Arizona Ice Tea and a bag of Skittles. Unlike Zimmerman, the clerk found young Mr. Martin so non-threatening that he maintains he doesn't even remember selling the items to him and couldn't pick him out in a photo array. In other words he was just another kid buying junk food like so many others.

Zimmerman's defense team, in an ongoing effort to put the victim on trial, have subpoenaed Martin's Miami school transcripts. They want to look specifically at his disciplinary notices, suspensions, and tardiness records. It is part of their plan to portray Martin as a gangster wanna be cum drug fiend who was on the prowl for a burglary score and no doubt, some Caucasian victim to shake down or worse.

No one has ever maintained that Trayvon Martin was a perfect kid. In fact the reason he was in Sanford, Florida that night was that his father didn't want to leave him at home alone in Miami while he visited a friend up state. I just hope Zimmerman's defense team doesn't ever want to look at my high school records. To be truthful, if a suspension or two, tardiness to class, and mediocre grades make you a dangerous thug I'll have to plead guilty. So will a lot of us.

Meanwhile Mitt Romney did a one hundred and eighty degree turn last night during a Univision Forum back in Miami. Despite video evidence to the contrary, Mr. Romney reportedly told the audience, "That this is a campaign about the 100%." He also took credit for and praised the Massachusetts health care law he enacted as governor. In front of a primarily Hispanic audience he said he wasn't in favor of mass deportations of illegals and instead favored something called "self deportation." He babbled about people making their "own choice as to whether they want to go home." Why someone who took the risk and spent the time and money to get here illegally would want to go "home" remained unexplained. Finally, he claimed that while he wanted to make sure the word "marriage" applied to one man and one woman, he said, "that certainly doesn't prevent two people of the same gender living in a loving relationship in a gay domestic partnership."

Those angry rumbles you hear are coming from the far right of his party. The liberal Mitt has resurfaced and every suspicion and fear has just been realized. As I type conservatives everywhere are wondering why they didn't vote for Rick Santorum in a primary.

Of course if we've learned anything in the last year, Mitt Romney doesn't just want it both ways, he wants it every way. He is a political chameleon who changes shades depending on his audience and the polls. At the moment he is reeling, his numbers dipping as the center responds negatively to his arch conservative pitch. Now he appears to be shifting to the center. Make no mistake about it though, when the hard right reacts like they always do to such heresy we will be back to the Mitt who has written nearly half of us off as being a bunch of loafers who refuse to take responsibility for our lives. The more he talks the more he sounds like a used car salesman who is desperately trying to get you behind the wheel of that Saturn Ion with only 175,000 miles on the odometer.

Yes, after yesterday's performance one thing is certain. Mr. Romney is slick and his hair is perfectly coiffed, but he is lying to someone. And everyone, I mean everyone, knows it, even the people who will vote for him.

So there we have it. Another day in the rock 'em sock 'em world of American justice and politics. It is better to be all things rather than just one. Everyone plays to the press. Public opinion is all important. When crunch time comes you want the masses on your side and whipped into a proper pep rally frenzy. Hold that line and block that kick. Go, go, get 'em, ugh, ugh.

Sic vita est


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Truth, The Whole Truth, and Nothing but the Truth According to Mitt

Well if we accomplish nothing else this week, at least all of us slackers now know exactly what Mitt Romney really thinks about us. The magazine "Mother Jones" glommed onto a surreptitious cell phone video of the Mitt speaking to donors in Florida this past May. It was not a gathering for the hoi polloi. Reports are the Romney people charged $50,000 a plate to be there. Given the price of the chicken served Romney no doubt felt quite at home and comfortable. He was, after all, among "his people."

This is what he had to say, "There are 47% of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47% who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe government has a responsibility to take care of them, who believe they are entitled to health care, food, to housing, you name it. That that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what."

"My job," he continued, "is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility for their lives. What I have to do is convince 5 to 10% of people who are independent, that are thoughtful, that look at voting one way or the other depending on, in some cases, emotions, whether they like the guy or not."

Sports fans, you have just caught a glimpse of the true soul of Mitt Romney and the republican party. On MSNBC and CNN the talking heads are yammering about what a gaffe it was, how it capped off a couple of bad weeks for the candidate,  yada, yada, yada. Make no mistake about it, Mr. Romney, in the company of a bunch of very well to do white folks, said, with perfect diction and in a relaxed and polished delivery, exactly what he really believes. He can claim it was "not elegantly stated," as he did in a hastily called press conference last night, but the fact of the matter is, given the crowd he was speaking to, it was perfectly stated.

Of course his facts were utterly false, but that has never stopped any conservative, or at least any wealthy conservative from considering them pure gospel.

MSNBC's Alex Wagner broke down the statistics this morning. 44% of those who don't pay any federal income tax, or payroll tax are elderly and retirees. 30.4% are the working poor, you know those people who serve up your hamburgers, and restock the shelves at Walmart. They are receiving tax credits for their children. Another 5% are students. The other categories are splintered and include 3,000 Americans who made over $2 million last year, but because of deductions got out of paying any taxes. A total of 18.1% of Americans pay no federal income taxes, or payroll taxes, not 47%. 25% of Americans get tax refunds at the end of the year, but do pay payroll taxes.

Mr. Romney's own running mate had to use federal money to get through college. Did that make him, at least for a while, part of the mythical 47%? I hate to tell you this Mittster, but the vast majority of us aren't sitting around on our arses waiting for the old welfare check to come rolling in so we can buy more cheap beer and pork rinds.

Obama's campaign manager, Jim Messina said, among other things, "Its hard to serve as president for all Americans when you disdainfully write off half the nation." He threw out other words like, "shocking" and such. I don't know why he, or anyone else in the Obama campaign should be shocked. Who did they think they were running against, the ghost of Mother Teresa? The fact is, when it comes to real life for most Americans, Mr. Romney is a complete sociopath. He is utterly disconnected with every citizen of this country who makes less than $150,000 or so per year. If you aren't in the country club with him, you are part of the problem. And he is here to make sure the problem goes away, or at least shuts up.

Mitt has hinted that the offending statement was taken out of context and to understand what he was truly trying to say you have to see the whole video. At the same time he stood by the substance of his "inelegant" words. Oh just fess up buddy, you put it exactly how you see it from your perspective.

One can say many things about this presidential election. What we can't say is that there is no real difference between the candidates, at least not any longer.

Just don't grow old, become disabled, get sick, or lose your job to some guy in a Hanoi sweat shop. If you do you'll become another member of the cursed 47%. You'll be one more drag on the economic dynamic who refuses to take responsibility for him or herself. You will be one of the shunned who is called "unclean."

And people wonder why I'm a democrat.


Monday, September 17, 2012

The Monday Blitz: Obama Si, Romney No; Finger Pointing Republicans; Thin Ice Overseas; Superbugs and The Topless Duchess

It is a scatter shot sort of day. There are a myriad of things happening, none of them completely detailed, all of them rather fluid.

A recent poll by an outfit known as impreMedia/Latino Decisions was released and Mr. Mitt Romney did not fare well. In fact he is getting killed in the Latino community, especially when it comes to Hispanic women. According to the results, the president leads Governor Romney 74% to 21% among Latinas. In addition his numbers are not a whole lot better when men are included. Overall he trails Mr. Obama 68% to 26%. I suppose this is what happens when you've sold out to a bunch of anti-immigration lunatics who want to deport just about everyone who speaks Spanish as a  first language. Mr. Romney spent the day in Los Angeles trying to court Hispanic voters. Looking at the current numbers that makes about as much sense as it would for Obama to come to Oklahoma in an attempt to convert white republicans into liberal democrats.

Given recent revelations, however, confusion, befuddlement, and outright delusions seem to be part and parcel with the Romney campaign. Politico is reporting that several senior Romney staffers are unhappy in the extreme with not only the direction of the campaign, but also its chain of command, or rather lack thereof. Chief campaign strategist, Stuart Stevens was specifically accused of screwing with the nominee's acceptance speech at the convention and the bizarre Clint Eastwood appearance with the notorious empty chair. He is also taking heat for Mr. Romney's ill timed condemnation of the president's foreign policy immediately following the murders of a United States ambassador and three of his security personnel. The staffers claim there is a serious lack of cohesive management within the campaign itself. That is not something you want to hear when your candidate is running on his supposed business management skills. Indeed, desperation seems to be seeping into the Romney camp even before the debates. After all they've been spending huge sacks of money, but their man continues to inch backward in the swing states. It is unclear what will happen, but if the palace guard is in revolt fifty days out, look for heads to roll in some sort of decisive reorganization. We know the Mitt isn't shy about doing things like that.

Of course the president himself is skating on some thin ice. He has to tread lightly, but steadily with a cool, firm hand in the middle east and one has to think that the teacher's strike in Chicago isn't doing him any good. Yes, the whole world is a mine field. Even the Japanese and Chinese are at odds over some two bit islands. The islands are unoccupied, however a 1969 U.N. survey indicated the possible presence of sub soil resources. That would be oil and natural gas and as we know all too well that is a teat no industrialized nation can turn away from. Any of these issues could mushroom into full fledged disasters for Mr. Obama in the next two months.

Meanwhile a seventh person has died at The National Institute Health Clinic in Maryland. Internet news sources are calling, Klebsiella Pneumoniae a "super bug" that is highly resistant to anti-biotics. And yes, the dead are really dead and not turning into flesh eating zombies.

The Duchess of Cambridge is suing a French publication over photos taken of her on the sly while she was lounging topless during a vacation. The magazine should have the money to pay her off because issues featuring her are flying off the shelves in France. One would assume Kate Middleton Windsor has just learned a valuable lesson about being a celebrity. The Frogs are a wiley bunch, so don't take your top off unless you are in the shower or bathtub and even then make sure the blinds are pulled tight.

Indeed, it has been one of those haphazard sort of days. Perhaps things will grow a little more defined, or at least clearer as the week progresses.

We can only hope. Onward and upward.


Friday, September 14, 2012

The Innocence of Mitt

Well if we've found out anything this week it is that Mitt Romney is not a master diplomatist, nor is he the brightest bulb in the chandelier. Instead of mourning the four murdered American state department employees like just about everyone else, he was howling that Barak Obama was sympathizing with those who pulled the triggers and lit the fires. He pointed to a press release issued by the Cairo embassy as proof of the president's support of the angry mobs.

It turns out the press release, which was not authorized by either Obama, or Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was issued before any of the violence began. In other words, it was meant to try to defuse what might become a violent situation rather than sympathize with those who had perpetrated the attacks afterwards. In fact, NBC News is reporting that the release was written and put out by a senior public affairs officer who had disobeyed orders to keep silent altogether about the odious little film clip on Youtube that started the chaos.

In the mean time Romney has failed to mention the putrid piece of film making at all, thus implying he either agrees with it, or at least thinks that racist screeds designed specifically to cause uproars like this are perfectly fine. Of course, no matter what his attitude toward "The Innocence of Muslims" is, he could feel he can't condemn it because if he does the xenophobic right wing, who actually believes that the film is accurate, will revolt. And Mitt Romney really needs for them to get off their asses and vote in November, because it certainly looks like he is losing the center.

NBC News quoted former ambassador R. Nichols Burns as saying, "I just think Governor Romney has, in a very unwise way, injected himself into a situation where he clearly doesn't have all the facts." That would be a nice way of saying Mitt doesn't know what the fuck he is talking about.

Team Romney trotted out their foreign affairs advisor, former ambassador Richard S. Williamson. He dismissed Burns' assessment because, according to Williamson, Burns began his career in the Jimmy Carter administration. Unfortunately not even Romney's people can get things straight. R. Nichols Burns began his state department career during the Ronald Reagan administration and it continued through the administrations of G.H.W Bush, Bill Clinton, and G.W. Bush.

So, are these clods just stupid, outright liars, or simply desperate? It is probably a combination of all three. The latest NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll shows Mr. Romney trailing by five points in both Florida and Virginia and by seven in Ohio. That is not good news for the republican nominee. The Mitt has to force the issue now. The election is less than two months away. None of those leads are insurmountable, but he needs to start scoring points and win big in the debates.

Yes, it is down to the sweaty finish and Romney and his people are not making any headway despite the republican faithful's deep, almost psychotic, hatred of the current president.

The last few days have proved that Mr. Romney is not above inserting politics into a diplomatic crisis that should have bipartisan support. There is no telling what else he is capable of as the clock winds down.

Watch out for that October surprise.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Innocence of Muslims, More Than Meets the Eye, and Some Get What They Wanted

What we know right now is that the United States ambassador to Lybia, Chris Stevens and three other American diplomats have been murdered in Benghazi. Their killers may, or may not have been members of a crowd of deadly hysterics who were protesting a thirteen minute clip of a movie deemed insulting to Mohammad and Islam that was posted on Youtube. U.S. intelligence agencies and personnel are hinting that the killings were a hit carried out by al-Quaeda operatives using the protest as a cover to gain entrance into the U.S. consulate. Given the date, the anniversary of the despicable terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, one has to suspect that there is some truth to that idea. In fact the timing of the violence seems choreographed to a tee. The offending film has been sitting on Youtube since July and until now no one had noticed it, or cared. Just recently it was translated into Arabic by person, or persons unknown. Yes, it doesn't take much of a leap to think that nefarious minds and hands have been plotting all this for more than just a few days.

The film itself, now being called, "The Innocence of Muslims" was apparently shot in Duarte, California, which is east of Los Angeles. The working title, which was posted during a casting call, was "Desert Warrior." The name Mohammad and the religion of Islam wasn't mentioned anywhere in the original script. The producer has been listed as either Sam Bassiel, or Sam Bacile who was originally identified as an Israeli-American. Insurance salesman, cum anti Islamic fanatic, Steven Klein, who gave "advice" on casting and content, says that Bassiel/Bacile is a pseudonym for some unnamed person behind the production. The AP reports that a Coptic Christian, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula claimed he helped with "logistics" of the actual shooting, ie studio space. Nakoula reportedly has several aliases and at least one outlet says he has been convicted of "financial crimes" in the past.

Actress Cindy Lee Garcia, who appeared in the film, has gone public saying she and the rest of the cast were completely mis led during the shoot. She maintains all the offensive material was dubbed in as the film was being edited. She claims that if she'd known what the real purpose of the film maker was she would have never signed on to the project.

Apparently a full cut of the movie was shown in a one day run at a theater either on Sunset, or Hollywood Blvd with the title "The Innocence of Bin Laden". Klein claims no one was in the audience. The L.A. Times reported that there were ten people there at best. It was the only time that the entire film has been shown, although Pastor Terry Jones tried to show it to his "congregation" in Florida yesterday. Reverend Jones' premier of sorts was thwarted by "technical difficulties," proving once again that CD players are far too complicated for fundamentalist Christians. Jones' main claim to fame is that he is the clown who burned some Korans a while back, initiating rioting in Pakistan.

The clip is still available for viewing on Youtube. It has production values that would make even the world renowned movie hack, Edward D. Wood cringe. The acting is so breathtakingly bad and amateurish that one has to believe Ms. Garcia was not only mis led about the script, but her future in the industry. The prophet is played by some guy who vaguely resembles Matthew McConaughey and who displays the on screen presence of a high school defensive back trying to muddle his way through Hamlet. In several scenes the dubbing is painfully obvious with voices that aren't even close to those of the actors on the screen.

So what happened is that some cryptic person made a hateful and terrible movie which absolutely no one had seen, or would have seen, until someone else decided to whip middle eastern mobs into a frenzy. As we've learned in the past that sort of thing isn't hard to do. In fact in certain locales rioting seems the main form of recreation and entertainment. Screeching rage is the norm and arson a national pastime.

Mitt Romney, proving to be the opportunist, was quick to blame the president for the whole bloody affair while claiming Obama was guilty of apologizing for American values. I'm not sure what values those are considering the content and quality of "The Innocence of Muslims." It is basically a home movie and its only purpose is to demonize the prophet, all of Islam, and provoke a violent response. The dialogue of the film is rather like that whole yelling fire in a crowded auditorium thing that has been ruled not to be free speech.

Unfortunately, as they always seem to do, Muslims took the bait and ran amok, providing idiots like Steven Klein and Terry Jones with more fodder for their hate mills.

NBC interviewed Hrair Dekmejian, a University of Southern California professor and expert on the middle east. He talked about how such films were offensive to Muslims just as a film depicting Jesus Christ in such an unfavorable light would be offensive to devout Christians. What he failed to point out is that while Christians might be incredibly outraged we aren't likely to run out and burn down someones embassy. But hey, cultural differences abound in this diverse world of ours. We shouldn't let a little crude, libelous, stupidity, arson and murder drive us apart.

Yes, given the date and the proximity to the national elections in this country methinks something is rotten in the state of Denmark. This has the feel of more than just disjointed happenstance. Someone was and is playing us right now and they are also playing the rabid crowds in places like Egypt, Lybia, and Yemen.

Before we send in the Seals, before we drop a bomb or two we need to know who is behind it all. It is easy to make broad claims and pronouncements, to level blame. What we need are cool analytical heads and a rapier response, not the traditional American one that calls for the immediate blunt club of scores of Tomahawk missiles.

Mitt Romney and Jim Inhofe can shout all day about a "weak" foreign policy, but they can't explain how any sort of foreign policy, other than one of abject and oppresive terrorism, could have prevented the events of the last couple of days. The old axiom, "Kill 'em all and let God Sort 'em out," doesn't work in the real world. In theory we want others to respect us, not live in fear of us.

In the end a work of hate caused a reaction of hate. Presumably the mysterious film maker and the assassins of Ambassador Stevens are happy with the outcome of this slimy exercise in manipulation. After all, both got exactly what they wanted.

sic vita est.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

September 11 Then and Now

I remember the day as being warm and filled with sunshine. There was a brilliant blue sky, much like there is today. Summer was grudgingly fading, but true autumn had yet to appear on the southern plains.

I was driving a cab then. It was just another dead end job in a series of dead end jobs meant to stave off the bill collectors as a second novel failed to find a publisher. I was headed west on Britton Road in northwest Oklahoma City. I was quite nearly to May Ave. which runs the entire length of the town from north to south. The dispatcher came across the air, in response to an unheard question and said, "Yeah, a plane crashed into the World Trade Center."

There was a moment of odd irony. Six plus years before, in 1995 as I was finishing that novel, it had dawned on me that I was making far less money as a free lance writer than was the average homeless alcoholic who was begging for change on street corners. I had begun to drive the hack in March of that year. In April Tim McVeigh blew up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. That morning, another clear beautiful day, I saw the smoke rising up in a great pall from downtown OKC and my first thought was that a plane had crashed there.

There on Britton Road on September 11, I remembered that initial impression from the Oklahoma City bombing and then quickly assumed some goof had driven his Piper Cub, or his Beechcraft twin engine prop into one of the towers. It was another hour or so before I realized airline jets had been hijacked and the United States of America was being assaulted by a ruthless bunch of kamikazes.

Later, I ate lunch at a deli that was managed by a friend of mine. He was convinced that U.S. fighter jets had downed United flight 93 over Pennsylvania. He wasn't alone then and even now there are those who think that is exactly what happened.

The ensuing chaos touched everyone and everything. My father compared it to December 7, 1941. During the hours and days following the hijackings high profile people from different walks of life received mail laced with toxic anthrax spores. All commercial airline traffic was shut down. The skies over America became void of any sort of civilian aircraft.

Eleven years after the fact the final statistics still aren't in. More and more survivors and respondents are succumbing to all manner of cancers and lung ailments. Then there are the U.S. troop casualties in Afghanistan which continue to mount. What we do know is that in those first frenzied hours 2,606 died in NYC. 125 were killed at the Pentagon. 246 passengers on the four hijacked planes died as did the 19 savages who perpetrated the crimes.

Of the dead, 372 were New York City Fire Department personnel as well as 23 NYCPD cops, 37 Port Authority Police, and 15 Emergency Medical Technicians. 372 foreign nationals are included in the initial casualty list.

In October American warplanes began bombing Taliban positions in Afghanistan. Eleven years later and after 2,000 U.S. troops have been killed we're still there and so are the Taliban, although they aren't in power any more, well at least not for the time being.

But, you know all of this don't you. You know that September 11, 2001 changed the country forever and in ways that aren't entirely good. In fact it changed the country in ways that are downright frightening. Since 9-11-01 the government, in the name of national security, has rendered the concept of habeas corpus moot. If you are considered enough of a threat, or are simply suspected of being a threat you can disappear for years. That right to a speedy trial thing and the prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment have gone as extinct as the Brontosaurus. America, since 9-11, has been in a constant state of war and while the constitution still receives glowing lip service from many quarters in reality it has become irrelevant.

G.W. Bush, who was president on that awful day lives in Dallas now, retired and generally ignored by everyone, especially those in his own party. He used 9-11 as a pretext to settle an old score with Saddam Hussein in Iraq while forgetting about Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the attacks. Bin Laden himself was whacked by a bunch of Navy Seals in May of 2011.

So who won?

al-Qaeda certainly didn't. The life expectancy of an al-Qaeda leader is now numbered in days as opposed to years. The Taliban didn't, at least not yet. They were forced out of power and into the hills by U.S. and allied military forces. Saddam didn't either, although no one has ever proven to me and scores of others what he had to do with all this in the first place. If Bush hadn't had such hard on for his ass he'd probably still be running things in Baghdad for ill or good.

And finally we didn't either. We've given up too much, become too intolerant, become too willing to say yes to whatever new police power the government wants to implement. We are too willing to give up freedom to preserve freedom. We've replaced the communist menace with the Islamic menace. Just ask an American Imam how easy it is to get some land zoned for the construction of a mosque anywhere in this country. The general public immediately shrieks and starts shouting about centers of terrorist activity.

Osama bin Laden's people killed nearly 3000 human beings eleven years ago today. We're the ones, however, who have continued to eat away at our own personal freedoms and privacy. He committed his act out of hate. We have and are committing ours out of fear. Only time will tell who, in the end, inflicted the most lasting damage to the republic.


Monday, September 10, 2012

Amir Jennings is Missing

If you've never heard of Amir Jennings it isn't surprising. Very few people have. He was eighteen months old when he went missing in November. The last time he was seen by someone other than his mother was on a Columbia, South Carolina bank security camera.

His mother, Zinah Jennings has told police multiple stories about Amir's whereabouts and although none of the stories have panned out, she claims she knows he is safe. The police in Columbia aren't buying it and neither is the D.A. She was picked up in December after her mother, Amir's grandmother, reported him missing. Recently a jury found her guilty of "unlawful conduct toward a child." In other words, we don't know what you did with your kid, but it can't be good. The judge gave her ten years a week after she delivered a second child while in custody. It was a baby girl.

The defense asked the court for mercy saying that Zinah Jennings was "stressed out" over having to care for a little boy and suffered from post-partum depression. Witnesses testified that Ms. Jennings had told them she had contemplated giving the child away, or selling him and had even thought about throwing him out of the car as she drove down the highway.

Does any of this sound familiar? Not that long ago there was an eerily similar case in Florida. The mother was Casey Anthony and the missing child was her daughter Caylee. The national press was all over it. You couldn't turn on a cable news outlet without being bombarded with reports about the search for Caylee and the subsequent trial of her mother. Analysts were hired and consulted ad nauseum. The Internet fairly crackled with late breaking bulletins, rumors, and innuendo. Nancy Grace was a whirling dervish.

So where was the media feeding frenzy this time around? Why haven't you, or practically anyone else, heard of Amir Jennings and his dear old, crazy ass, Mom? NBC News quoted Monica Carlson of the Wilmington N.C. CUE Center for Missing Persons. "Media," she said, "has always leaned toward cute little kids. And unfortunately a lot of times they think cute little kids are white."

That's right. Amir Jennings is black, cute as a button by the way, and his disappearance and his mother's trial has barely caused a ripple on the national scene. It would seem the national press prefers to spend their time on exploited and abused white kids rather than black ones. If it happens in the black community, well, hey, that shit just happens. Lets move on to something that will attract more ratings and sponsors. You got a white kid lost in the woods? Get Geraldo on it ASAP.

The apathy is so great in fact that a woman named Natalie Wilson helped co-found an outfit called Black and Missing Inc. Their mission is to try to raise public awareness and help solve cases of missing minority children. To show you exactly how tough that job is, she related this story to the UPI. Her organization arraigned for a television outlet to air a plea for help in finding a young black girl who had disappeared. The spot was bumped so the station could cover Paris Hilton's release from jail.

I don't know what the guidelines are that MSNBC, FOX, and CNN use to decide when to go all in on a story. I'm starting to think the worst of them though. I do know someone is going to read this and they're going to think and say that race has nothing to do with the disparity of coverage between the cases of Caylee Anthony and Amir Jennings. They'll truly believe it and they'll be white. They'll also be wrong.

As I type Zinah Jennings continues to refuse to aid police in the search for her child. One shudders to think what her concept of a "safe place" for her son is.

If he is still alive, Amir Jennings has turned two years old. Tragically, we might never know what happened to him and even worse, many of us, thanks to the silence of the almighty media, don't even know he is gone.

Such is reality in America. We are outraged by what we are told to be outraged about. We only know what the press thinks we want to know. Demographics and ratings determine current events. Everything else is a void. One that swallows up children like Amir Jennings and too many others.

Sic vita est.


Friday, September 7, 2012

Gina Rinehart Explains Capitalism

Well it is nice to know that cruel and unusual people aren't confined to the United States.

In Australia the head of Hancock Prospecting, a mining concern worth thirty billion and change, recently expressed her disdain for those who are "jealous" of the wealthy.

Georgina Hope Hancock Rinehart, known familiarly as Gina Rinehart, has this to say about us slackers who are filled with envy. "If you're jealous of those with more money, don't just sit there and complain. Do something to make more money yourself--spend less time drinking, or smoking and socializing and more time working." She went on to say, "Become one of those people who work hard, invest, and build and at the same time create employment and opportunities for others."

That's right, put your nose to the grindstone and invest your hard earned money. As an old ad for an oil field service company used to brightly say, "If you don't have an oil well, buy one." You see it is all quite simple. Horatio Alger was right.

Rinehart made these remarks last week and besides the sage advice and motherly scolding she had the usual complaints about, "socialist anti business government policies." She also wanted Australia to reduce taxes and lower the minimum wage. It was your normal run of the mill right wing industrialist horse shit. Let me make more money and everyone will be better off. Right, that has always worked.

Well this week Ms. Rinehart cut a video for something called the Australian Mining Club. During her latest rant she let people know just how much she really wanted to pay her workers in an ideal world. She opened by complaining that the Australian mining industry can't compete in the global market place because of, among other things, the wages she is forced to pay. Then continuing on the previous theme of jealous Aussies not wanting to work she said, "Africans want to work. Its workers are willing to work for less than two dollars per day."

Now I'm not all that familiar with the cost of living statistics in Australia. However, I'm pretty sure that "less than two dollars a day" puts pretty strict limits on where you can live, how much you can eat, and certainly on how much you can "invest and build and at the same time create employment for others."

Of course, Ms. Rinehart's perspective on that whole Horatio Alger thing is a bit skewed. She was the only child of Lang Hancock, the guy who actually started the business. When he went off to that great mine shaft in the sky she inherited $75 million, allowing her to skip the whole $2 per day step in the process of becoming a successful tycoon.

According to Wikipedia her corporation is currently investing heavily in Australian media outlets. Obviously she has learned from our pal Rupert Murdoch that if you control the news a lot of this negativity regarding your personality and politics will disappear, as will government efforts to make your financial records public: something she is fighting tooth and nail to prevent. Unfortunately, no amount of media control will stop her three kids who took her to court last year. They are suing her because she continues to deny them control of their trust funds, which were set up by their grandmother. Hey, business is business and money is money. Let the little shits shovel some ore, it will teach them the real value of an honest day's labor.

I suppose we should feel lucky that this monstrous toad doesn't live here in the U.S. God only knows how much cash she'd be funneling Mitt Romney right now. No doubt he is her type of man.

Yes, Australia, you can have her. We have too many just like her on the premises all ready. There is no need to add yet another entrepreneur who thinks that if everyone else earns less we'll all be better off.

So, good luck in Oz, mates. Just watch out for that minimum wage decrease. Two dollars a day doesn't buy a whole lot of Foster's. Just ask those hard at it, happy, souls in Africa.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Chuck Norris the Prophet, the Dadaist Clint Eastwood, and Tom Head, Revolutionary

It is very easy for someone like me to sit here on my arse and point out the differences between the current versions of the republican and democratic parties. I mean I could ramble on about hundreds of millions of dollars being donated to Mitt Romney by people like Sheldon Adelson and every oilie west of the Mississippi River. Then I could talk about how that compares to my paltry $75 in donations, made in three convenient $25 installments, to the president's campaign. Bill Maher kicked in $1 million to Obama, but to the Romney people a donation that minor probably doesn't even rate an autographed photograph of their candidate. Even organized labor, the bugaboo of all things right of Hillary Clinton, can't compete with the corporate dollars flowing like flood waters into untold bank accounts with Mitt's name on them.

Then there are all those let 'em die in the streets health care plans/kill the middle class tax breaks for the super wealthy/voter ID/corporate welfare/anti choice things. Those, however, are a given. Hell, the republicans brag about them. It is rather like the story related by the late Hunter Thompson. A friend of his once threw a burlap sack full of rats onto the white house lawn when Lyndon Johnson was president. He was protesting the war in Vietnam and knew that Johnson would be incensed by the sight of rats scurrying across the grounds. He told Thompson he had no urge to do it when Nixon was president, because in his words, "Nixon might like rats."

Indeed, some things are so obvious they don't need to be dwelt on at length.

The truth is that if you really want to see the difference between the republicans and the democrats just take a look at the camera shots of the delegates cheering the endless speeches at each convention. When Mitt Romney delivered his speech which was, as NBC News put it, "full of optimistic nostalgia," the camera panned across an almost unbroken sea of white faces. While the candidate spoke in front of a huge sign that said, "We Believe In America," one had to think that the America the GOP believes in is devoid of African Americans, Native Americans, Asians, and Hispanics, at least in any meaningful way. The America they believe in, the one they are a clawing to hang onto, is one where the white race is in unquestioned command. It is almost as if they are in the throes of some terrible acid flashback. Everything they do, want, and say is geared to dump us all into a time machine and get us back to 1956.

Then last night I took a look at the crowd at the democratic convention. It was this huge array of every color the human body arrives on this earth in. Black people, Latinos, Caucasians, Asians, even a Sikh or two. What you saw was a mirror image of the diverse peoples who make up this nation. What you saw was the reality and future of the American demographic.

Yes, howl as they might, struggle as they will, the Caucasian strangle hold on power in the United States of America is coming to a close. Their numbers are shrinking while everyone elses are expanding almost exponentially. It is why mobs of them want to build an iron curtain around the country to keep immigrants out. It is why they go into apoplectic fits every time they have to specify English as the language of choice at the local ATM. The country is no longer theirs and theirs alone. The place simply isn't like it was, or at least not like what it was for them.

Optimistic nostalgia versus forward. Forward into the twenty-first century where Caucasians are outnumbered by a collection of other ethnic groups. It isn't a trip all those people at the republican convention want to make. Some at their frayed edges, like Judge Tom Head out in Lubbock are predicting a revolution. Chuck Norris and his wife are envisioning a thousand years of darkness if the president is re-elected for another term. Clint Eastwood is babbling to empty chairs. Sometimes desperation looks suspiciously like psychosis.

I have no idea if Barak Obama will win in November or not. Right now the race is too close to call. What I do know is that even if he loses this one the writing is on the wall when it comes to white folks running things around here. Deep down they know it too. The whole voter ID movement is nothing more than a vile attempt, laced with panic, to stem the tide of the future.

It won't work in the long term. Sheldon Adelson's money will buy a lot of things, probably even happiness, despite the fantasy that it won't. Unfortunately for the GOP all the cash in the world can't stop the clock. They might beat Obama, but they won't beat the future and the future is what they are really railing against.

It is their windmill and Mitt Romney is their Sancho Panza. If they weren't such brutes I'd feel sorry for them.


Monday, September 3, 2012

Labor Omnia Vincit, Some of the Time

In the United States we are celebrating something called Labor Day. It is a holiday set aside to recognize the contributions that working people have made to the fabric of American society. It is also widely seen by the public here as being the official end of summer and another fantastic excuse to grab a case of beer and drink it as fast as possible.

The history of the holiday, as with most things American, is steeped in social conflict and outright violence. According to Wikipedia the most probable originator of the idea was a guy named, Matthew Maguire, who in 1882 was a machinist and secretary of the Central Labor Union. He proposed that the first Monday of every September be set aside to honor labor's accomplishments, both economic and social in the United States. Once again, according to Wikipedia, Oregon was the first state to institute the holiday in 1887. By 1894 twenty nine other states had followed suit.

Then things got dicey. In Illinois there was a man named George Pullman. He owned an outfit with the grandiose name, The Pullman Palace Car Co. The company manufactured luxury passenger train cars with a revolutionary sleeping berth arrangement. Pullman also owned the "town" of Pullman where most of the company's workers lived. You didn't own a home in Pullman, you rented one from the company and you bought food, clothing, and other goods from stores which were also owned by Pullman. In 1894 Pullman began a series of layoffs and wage reductions, but refused to lower the rent being charged to his laborers. A wildcat strike was called and the situation quickly became deadly.

Before it was over army troops and the U.S. marshal service were called in and at least thirty strikers were gunned down by the authorities. The shit hit the fan immediately. What began as a local strike suddenly went national, fouling up train service to practically everywhere west of Lake Michigan. The transportation disruption and the deaths of the strikers caused a national uproar. A queasy Grover Cleveland, then president of these United States, desperately wanted to make peace with the growing and increasingly angry labor movement. A mere six days after the Pullman strike ended congress unanimously passed an act calling for a national holiday to be designated as Labor Day.

The boys on the hill and the president, however, wanted to make sure the American version of Labor Day would not be associated with International Labor Day, May first. May Day was being co-opted by a new and growing political movement known as communism. It commemorated a worker's demonstration in Chicago calling for an eight hour work day which had degenerated into a riot with not just a few casualties. So they went with the original idea by Matthew Maguire, the one that was all ready in place in thirty states, the first Monday in September.

Oh what a happy ending. Actually not really. Organized labor, which provided tens of millions of Americans with not only a decent living, but a step up the ladder into the actual middle class has in the last half century plus become so vilified by the republican propaganda machine that it seems on its last legs. It has become the favorite whipping boy and girl of every non union hack who is jealous of their wages and benefits and blamed for practically everything gone wrong in the country.

Despite providing Americans with a five day work week, overtime pay, a minimum wage and company subsidized medical benefits, plus vacation time, this holiday, and that eight hour day, people are clamoring for its demise. In fact the quickest way to get your car window smashed in, other than having an Obama bumper sticker in Oklahoma, is to try to organize a union at any work place in the nation.

Not that it really matters anymore. If you do unionize a place, by some miracle, the owners will simply ship the jobs overseas in order to maximize their profits and not face the possibility of a worker's compensation law suit when someone gets their arm torn off by a piece of machinery. Yes, the management at Nike find child labor and sweat shops far more to their liking than having to pay some U.S. citizen enough to rent a decent apartment and buy more than raman noodles for dinner.

Right now there are plenty of people inside and out of the U.S. who claim that labor routinely wages class warfare against those who own and run the corporations. They are careful not to mention they've been doing exactly that ever since the organized labor movement began. Just ask the survivors of the Pullman strike, although it will have to be through a medium since there aren't any left alive. You can also ask any former Bridgestone-Firestone plant worker in OKC who watched his or her job shipped south of the Rio Grande. That move wasn't made because Bridgestone-Firestone was losing money, it was made so the corporation could make more profits by using cheaper labor who wouldn't squawk when they got screwed over.

The reality is, that thanks to the poo bahs who run the corporations, a vibrant and important segment of the middle class, the blue collar work force, has gone the way of the Dodo. The rest of the middle class is soon to follow. Because of people like Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan and the rest of their crowd the country is very quickly becoming either very wealthy, or very poor with no in between. When that dour scenario sets in for good the guys who run things will see a real case of class warfare, one with guns.

People like myself and others are routinely accused of being jealous of the rich. That is not the case. I have no problem with the rich per se. I do have problems with them trying to pay less in taxes than me, accepting government subsidies to expand their businesses, and continually fucking me and the rest of us poor schmucks either through labor practices, or price gouging. The rank and file worker didn't run the Enron scam, didn't drop untold billions in the stock market with bad investments and we certainly didn't ship any jobs to Bangladesh.

So enjoy the beer and kick back with some football. Just keep in mind that it isn't the arrogant assholes who run the factories, or own the corporations who make this country great. It is the people who work for them.

Labor omnia vincit. Well, some of the time anyway.