Thursday, July 31, 2014

Ted Cruz Throws a Pizza Party and John Boehner Folds Like a Cardboard Box

Dysfunctional is far too mild of a word to describe the legislative branch of the United States government at this particular moment in time. In fact there might not be a word, or term in the English language, or any other for that matter, which accurately conveys the overall psychotic behavior of large numbers of senators and representatives.

Republicans in the House of Representatives, over the past couple of years, have found the time and will to attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act on 56 different occasions. Each time they voted the members of that august body knew any such measure would either die in the senate, or in the Oval Office where the president of the United States would veto it.

They went so far as to shut down the federal government in an attempt to overturn a law which was  passed and upheld as constitutional by the Supreme Court. Then they brought the nation to the brink of financial default by refusing to raise the debt limit until the very last moment.

All of this horrid nonsense has been ramrodded by a first term senator whose psychosis borders on a new version of McCarthyism. With a smarmy smile, bellicose, not to mention surreal political theater, and an ego the likes of which the nation has never seen, Rafael Edward Cruz has, in effect, engineered a political coup which has overthrown the Speaker of the House--the person who is third in line when it comes to  presidential succession.

Let's be honest. If you currently think John Boehner is actually in charge of the U. S. House you've eaten a pretty powerful hallucinogenic and you might want to sit tight in a darkened room somewhere until it wears off. Indeed, kick back with a lite beer and wait for the crocodiles to stop dancing with the hippos and the music playing on the stereo to no longer ooze out of the speakers in a viscous purple slime.

Today Boehner and the boys were supposed to vote on a watered down immigration bill. Watered down because Barack Obama had requested $3.7 billion to shore up security on the border with Mexico. The "compromise" the Speaker was pushing today would have budgeted not $3.7 billion, but $569 million.

Unfortunately for Boehner any sort of hint he and the GOP might be working with Obama, rather than against him, doesn't pass The Cruz Purity Test. Last night the senator from Alberta threw some of his house toadies a pizza party. Between slices of pepperoni and mushroom pie he riled up the troops and today they convinced a befuddled Boehner they had the votes to defeat the bill. The Speaker's heroic response to this bullshit was to fold up like a cheap cardboard box and refuse to allow any vote at all. 

MSNBC is reporting when other republicans--you know, the ones who understand the GOP might not get a single Hispanic vote ever again--realized what was happening they mobbed Boehner, begging him to bring the measure to the floor. However, the Speaker, cowering in the cold and unblinking Cruzian Glare, refused.

Don't abandon all hope though America. The House of Representatives did pass something today. They authorized the speaker to bring a suit against the president because, according to them, he has "abused" his executive powers. Right--at least Obama has taken action during what amounts to the most incredible case of national constipation we've ever suffered through. Meanwhile Boehner has proved himself to be about as politically astute as Mad Magazine's favorite son, Alfred E. Neuman. The vote to sue was 225-201. Not a single democrat was for it. Five republicans joined the minority, not because they agreed a law suit was a massive waste of time and money, but because they want to impeach Obama and didn't think the action went far enough.

The other night, after boredom and a couple of vodka tonics had settled in I cruised Youtube for a bit. After a while I found a 10 minute, or so collection of video snippets and still photos. The post was titled, "Romney Supporters Mourn the Loss of America." It was a compilation of reactions by republicans at the moment they realized their guy had blown the presidential election. In all those video moments and still pics there was not a single face which could be described as anything other than Anglo-European.

What a fractured GOP told the nation today is, "That is the way we want it."

The bad news is the republicans control the demographics of congressional districts and there is no way to flush many of these grotesque bastards down the drain. The good news is, thanks to Cruz's reign of terror, it could well be they won't win the white house in the foreseeable future.

We are witnessing the last, bitter, throes of white rule in America. What else could ignite such vitriol, outright hatred, and a visceral disrespect of a president of these United States? It goes beyond politics and we all know it. The angry and terrified sons of bitches perpetrating it just won't admit it.

Hey, not even Ron Reagan would put up with these crazed assholes and he was so evil his administration tried to make us believe ketchup was equal to a vegetable when it showed up on a cafeteria tray in the public school free lunch program.

I'm not sure how much lower we can sink. But, with Ted Cruz in charge of the republican party and the House of Representatives, either in collusion with, or in fear of him, there is no bottom in sight.

The hard right edge of the republican party has gone down an ink black rabbit hole. The trick is to keep the rest of the nation from following them into that awful place.

sic vita est


Monday, July 28, 2014

The Weekend That Was: Bad Craziness in Ridley Township, Pennsylvania, Saco, Maine, and Gujranwala, Pakistan

It was a rough Saturday night in a couple of places.

South of Philadelphia in Ridley Township, PA, Mr. Tyrell Styles went a little funny in the head. For reasons known only to him, he opened fire on his son and the child's mother with what is reported to be a 9mm Ruger hand gun. The boy had been attending a friend's birthday party.

The AP report claims Shymea Washington had been living with relatives for the past few days after an having an argument with her close pal, Tyrell. She was wounded in the shooting and their five year old child, Cion Styles was killed by a shot to the head.

After the shooting the elder Styles led local police on a high speed chase which ended when they cornered him. Instead of surrendering the shooter did what a lot of these cranks do. He attempted to kill himself. He is currently the resident of a hospital ICU, listed in critical condition and on life support.

It turns out, until the very instant he opened fire on his kid and partner, Tyrell Styles was one of the NRA's good guys with a gun. According to police, he didn't have a criminal record and was licensed to carry the weapon. If there was a motive for the shooting, other than insanity, the media hasn't reported it.

On the same day in Saco, Maine, Joel Smith, a guy people described as friendly and outgoing, loaded up a 12 gauge shotgun, then killed his two sons, aged 12 and seven while they were in their bedrooms. Tragically he wasn't done. The AP reports he then went into his own bedroom where he shot and killed his wife, Heather and their four year old daughter. He capped off the nightmare by killing himself.

Heather Smith had told a friend earlier in the day she thought her husband might be suicidal. Police claim the family was having "domestic and financial problems." Joel Smith's mother said her son's wife was suffering from an "addiction" and that Joel was artistic and loving. Well, maybe the first, but certainly not the second. At last look, loving people don't use a 12 gauge shotgun to kill their entire family and themselves. Such behavior is reserved for the wildy angry and demented

Finally, on a different track, a number of those mischievous Islamic jokers in Pakistan ran amok during the last few hours. Reuters reports the excuse this time is some of the citizens of a town called, Gujranwala got pissed off at a young man's post on facebook, which they considered blasphemous. Of course a lot of people in Pakistan think everything is blasphemous, so a cynical eye might question their judgement on the issue.

While a crowd of 150 or so demonstrated in front of the local police station another mob attacked the houses of people belonging to the Ahmadi sect of Islam. The Ahmadiyya believe their interpretation of Islam, based on a prophet who decided he was the one true embodiment of what Muhammed wanted Islam to be, is the religion in its purist form. But then, as we all know, every sect of Islam thinks the same thing and they really don't like anyone else, be it a Muslim who isn't one of their own, or the vast numbers of us who fall into that unwashed category known as infidels.

According to a 1984 Pakistani law, members of the sect are such heretics Ahmadis are not considered Muslims, cannot give the traditional greeting to another Muslim, or call their places of worship mosques.

The short of it is the crowd who attacked the homes killed a woman and two of her grandchildren, a seven year old girl and her infant sister. The guy who actually posted the alleged blasphemy is apparently unharmed at this time.

A leader of the Ahmadiyya told Reuters it is the worst attack on their community in four years. Back in 2010, 84 Ahmadi faithful, or according to the majority of Pakistanis, those evil bastards, were killed by mobs of outraged True Muslims. Indeed, the truth, depending on your version of it, is both painful and deadly to those who consider it so much bullshit.

Of course, it is easy for us here in the United States to shake our heads at all the craziness in Pakistan and think--how can those people act like that? What we have to keep in mind is, it is also easy for people all over the globe to look at the weekend's events in Pennsylvania and Maine and ask, how can Americans behave that way?

All I can say is, well, they don't have anything better to do and we've got guns--lots and lots of guns.

Hey, it's the only explanation I have. If you can come up with something better let me know.

sic vita est


Friday, July 25, 2014

A Friday With the Republicans

Well, you have to give them their due--they never stop trying.

According to today's "The Oklahoman," both state Senator, Greg Treat and Representative Randy Grau are "confident" two anti-choice bills passed into law this year will be upheld in state and federal courts.The story, written by Rick M. Green, gives us the gist of the two measures which were signed by Governor Mary Fallin.

Senate bill 1814 mandates that a physician providing abortions must have admitting privileges to a hospital within 30 miles of the location where the procedure is performed.

Green quoted Grau as saying, "If you are performing this type of surgery on an individual, it just makes sense that you would have admitting privileges to a nearby hospital so you could continue the care of the patient."

Right. There isn't a sane person out there who believes that babble. Green noted Amanda Allen, the state legislative counsel for The Center for Reproductive Rights, said such legislation is nothing more than a crude attempt to make it more difficult for a woman to find an abortion provider. She also pointed out, despite Grau and Treat's optimism, similar laws in varying locales have been struck down by various courts because it places an undue burden on a woman who decides to have the procedure.

House bill 2684 would require abortion inducing drugs be administered only in accordance with Food and Drug Administration protocols. Boy that sounds reasonable doesn't it? Green wrote a similar bill was previously declared unconstitutional by the Oklahoma Supreme Court. According to the ruling 96% of abortions are provided by different regimens than the original FDA protocol. In other words the federal protocols are out of date and physicians know it. As Allen says, the law would prevent a doctor from using his or her best judgement during a medical procedure.

Grau responded, "This isn't the wild west. You can't take just any drug and, as a physician, use it however you want to with your patients."

Representative Grau is a lawyer by trade. Senator Treat has a degree in history and political science and since his graduation from college has been a career politician.

So what we have here are two guys, who are as qualified in the medical sciences as I am, trying to regulate the most private aspects of a woman's health and critical medical decisions which should be reserved for people who are actually qualified to make them. Yes, there is nothing quite like the republican version of a government which doesn't intrude into our personal lives. Meanwhile, according to 24/7 Wall Street, Oklahoma ranks 5th in the nation when it comes to per capita gun violence and in a study published in 2011 the state is third in meth use.

One might think these clowns would be more concerned with those issues rather than wasting everyone's time and money on two bills which are doomed to die in a courtroom somewhere. Of course something along those lines would make sense and as we know members of the Grand Old Party haven't come to grips with that particular concept.

A case in point is Texas governor Rick Perry's decision to send 1,000 national guardsmen to help patrol the state's border with Mexico. According to Perry himself, the troops won't have the authority to arrest, or detain anyone, much less shoot the little fuckers, which is what the loons in the tea party really want them to do.

As columnist Clarence Page observed, Mr. Perry's military expedition will cost around $12 million and he has no idea where the money will come from. Unfortunately, for those of us not from the Lone Star State, Texas republican Senator John Cornyn and democratic Representative Henry Cuellar do. According to Page, both men have sponsored bills which will have the federal government reimburse Texas for the cost of the deployment.

Yes, no one loves big government quite like a right wing republican. Oh they'll screech and squeal, but when push comes to shove they're the biggest, greediest, sloppiest, pigs at the trough. How else can you describe them when a senator who is supposed to be a fiscal conservative asks the federal government to shell out $12 mil for what amounts to a cruel and blatant publicity stunt?

While some of these contradictions may be puzzling to the lay person, they are no surprise to those of us who follow the process. These crass sonsofbitches have no shame and they certainly have no sense of honor.

It is simply the nature of the beast who serves the rich, panders to racists, lies to the middle class and poor--and--has led us into every economic catastrophe the nation has suffered through in the last 100 plus years.

 No wonder even sewer rats refuse to hang out with them.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Now is Not the Time to Fly

It would seem the year 2014 is not the time to fly--anywhere.

Last night Air Algerie flight AH-5017 disappeared off radar screens as it traveled from Ouagadougou, Barkina Faso to Algiers. According to NBC it departed at 1:17 AM local time and was due to arrive at 5:10 AM. NBC also reported that the Swiftair operated MD-83 contacted air control 21 minutes after take off and requested to change its route due to heavy rain and storms.

Initial reports say the aircraft was last contacted near Gao, Mali which is in the far south east part of that country. A day long search failed to find any signs of the plane  A couple of hours ago Reuters, quoted Mali president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita as saying wreckage was spotted in the northern desert region of his nation. The report remains unconfirmed and in fact, at this moment, there are at least two other claims of wreckage being spotted in completely different areas of the country.

That's right, welcome to 21st century journalism, everyone can go global in a nano second and they do it before confirming anything.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Agency describes the air space over Mali as "potentially hostile." At least one expert on the area thinks none of the armed groups operating in the country have the means to bring down a jet flying at an altitude above 24,000 feet. Yes, yes, we've heard similar opinions lately, although in a different place and at a different height. The Malaysian prime minister makes sure we're well aware of them.

According to reports there were 116 passengers and crew aboard, 51 of them French nationals.

Yesterday, a Trans Asia flight crashed on the Taiwanese island of Penghu. Of the 58 people on board 48 were killed and 10 were injured. In addition five people on the ground were hurt. The turbo prop had made one attempted landing, but aborted and was going around again for a second attempt. Early speculation is weather was a factor in the crash.

Meanwhile a couple of more planes loaded with the bodies of victims in the Malaysia Airlines disaster last week have left Ukraine and are bound for the Netherlands.

Pro Russian separatist forces are still saying they don't have a weapon capable of shooting down the Boeing 777 aircraft. These same master propagandists have spent last 24 hours bragging their anti aircraft crews shot down two Ukrainian fighter jets yesterday. The planes were knocked out of the sky about 25 miles from the MH-17 crash site.

Obviously there are some missile systems in the eastern Ukraine, but not others--you know--the ones which shoot down civilian aircraft. To believe it all we have to do is trust the people around Donetsk who are blasting away at airplanes as if they're hunting ducks somewhere near Monroe, Louisiana.

And finally, as CNN keeps reminding us during this terrible parade of tragedy, Malaysian Airlines flight MH-370 is still missing and no one has a clue as to what, why, or where.

So far in 2014 more people have perished during air travel than the last five years combined.

What does this gruesome number mean? Is it just one of those statistical anomalies which every so often pops up and bites us in the collective ass? Or, as many conspiracy theory quacks speculate, is it the dreaded Illuminati trying to cement their control of the world?

Maybe the first, but certainly not the second. In the end, I tend to go with a third option. Let's face it, as fantastic as our technology has become you still need competent and sane human beings to operate it. Unfortunately, it has been proven time and time again during this century, competency and sanity are two commodities we are are dangerously short of.

sic vita est


Monday, July 21, 2014

Flight MH-17: A Perfect Crime

The train has pulled away from the siding in eastern Ukraine. That would be the one holding the bodies of most of the victims from Malaysia Airlines flight MH-17. Where it will end up is still a tad fuzzy.

According to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, he cut a deal with pro-Russian separatists for both the return of the bodies, which, in theory, will go to the the Netherlands, and the plane's two black boxes which he says will be turned over to Malaysian authorities.

That is all fine and good, however it remains unclear how the nearly 300 casualties will reach their destination and who might want to get their hands on them before they do. In addition, Razak didn't announce a time table for the recovery of either the cockpit recorders or the dead.

Dutch experts who were allowed to see the bodies stored in refrigerated rail cars complimented the separatist for their work in recovering them. Of course those kind words might be motivated more by the close proximity of heavily armed rebels than actual gratitude. As we've learned tunes sometimes change once people get out of the range of automatic weapons.

Take for example Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott. There were 27 of his countrymen aboard the doomed flight and nearly a third of the passengers were headed down under for a conference on AIDS. He wasn't standing next to some dude with AK-47 when he was quoted by Reuters as saying of the recovery effort, "Its more like a garden clean up than a forensic investigation. This is completely unacceptable."

Dutch PM, Mark Rutte told Reuters, "If, in the coming days, access to the disaster area remains inadequate then all political, economic, and financial options are on the table against those who are directly, or indirectly responsible for that."

His statement likely explains why Reuters is also reporting access to the crash site has magically improved today. Well, that and the separatists have had four days to find and dispose of any damning evidence.

Secretary of State John Kerry is claiming U.S. and Ukrainian intelligence sources have mounting evidence pointing right at the rebels, who have been armed and trained by the Russians. This includes U.S. knowledge of a missile launch at the time of the downing and taped conversations between separatist commanders and people who are possibly Russian officers immediately after the plane slammed into the ground.

The Russian Defense Ministry is claiming it has never supplied rebel forces with the SA-11 BUK anti aircraft missile system thought to have been used to bring the Boeing 777 down. While also denying the separatists were involved in any way, a spokesperson hinted it was actually Ukrainian fighter planes who blew MH-17 out of the sky.

Meanwhile Vlad Putin was indignant over what he called the "exploitation" of the tragedy by people like the Ukrainians and Americans. The United Nations Security Council was supposed to meet today in order to vote on a resolution to condemn the shoot down and demand that those who are responsible be held accountable.The foreign ministers of the European Union are also ready to sit down tomorrow and discuss sanctions against the Russians.

It is safe to say no one in eastern Ukraine gives a rat's ass about U.N. resolutions, or some E.U. sanctions against the Ruskies, which were in the works before the plane was shot down in the first place.

The Dutch can convene a war crimes trial if they want, but the chances of getting their hands on whoever did this ranks right up there with Nigeria's prospects of putting the collar on Abubakar Shekau, the head of Boko Haram.

Let's face it, even if Malaysia gets the recorders untampered with the information revealed won't point to who fired the fatal shot. You know the rebels aren't going to give up any of their people. As for the Russians, hell, they found the remains of Adolf Hitler 69 years ago and still haven't told anyone what they did with them. Does anybody seriously think they'll admit to a single thing regarding MH-17?

Indeed, there might be scads of circumstantial evidence, but there will always be a valid argument every shred of it is tainted, because of the aims of those who gathered the information. And, without a smoking gun, or, in this case, a missile launcher, no one can definitively prove a thing.

Yes, many will rage, but the terrible truth is no one is going down for this foul act.

Tragically, in the end, it is a perfect crime.


Friday, July 18, 2014

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH-17

Questions are being asked and denials, not to mention excuses, are being issued left and right concerning the latest disaster to hit Malaysia Airlines.

The one thing everyone seems to agree on is that somebody shot the Boeing 777 down. The Russians are blaming the Ukrainians and the Ukrainians are blaming both the separatists who control much of eastern Ukraine and their Russian sponsors.

The rebel's main argument is they don't have the weaponry to bring down a plane flying at 33,000 feet. It would seem to be a reasonable assertion. The only problem with it is Flight MH-17 was downed in an area where they're running the show and they've been busily shooting at Ukrainian aircraft for the past few weeks. The truth is it's highly doubtful either side will come clean in this nightmare, so the world will be stuck with yet another mystery about who and why.

Perhaps the most important question to be asked, besides who did it, is why was a Malaysia Airlines jumbo jet loaded with 298 souls flying over a war zone to begin with? Was the management of the company so concerned with added fuel costs and extended flying times they put their passengers and aircraft at risk? Reuters quoted the Malaysian Prime Minister, Najib Razak as saying, "The International Air Transportation Association has stated that the air space the aircraft was traversing was not subject to restrictions."

That little song and dance will certainly be of comfort to the families of the victims. Especially since Korean Air, Asiana, Quantas, Cathay Pacific, and Pakistan International all stopped flying over the same air space months ago out of concerns something like this might happen.

Australian air safety expert, Geoff Dell put it this way when told of jet's route, "I find it astonishing. I'm absolutely flabbergasted." Of course not everyone had taken his assessment of the situation to heart, at least not until the news broke yesterday. Air India, Thai Airways, Vietnam Airlines, Air China, and China Eastern Airways were all flying similar routes. Now they are assuring everyone they will be avoiding the area in the forseeable future.

Good choice. Customer relations tend to suffer when your planes get shot down by rogue anti aircraft crews because they're too stupid to know the difference between military troop transports and clearly marked passenger jets.

The flight originated in Amsterdam and carried 192 Dutch passengers, many of them AIDS researchers headed to Australia for a conference on the disease. One of the Dutch travelers held a dual American citizenship There were 44 Malaysians, not counting the crew of 19  all whom were Malaysian, 17 Australians, and 12 Indonesians. There were also passengers from the U.K. Canada, Germany, Belgium, and New Zealand. It is reported there were 80 children aboard.

Over on YouTube the space cadets are already posting conspiracy theories. One claims the United States brought the plane down--a couple say the aircraft was actually the 777 designated as Flight MH-370 which went missing back in March and has never been found. Yes, a lot of people use drugs, but only a few can handle them.

This morning some of the talking heads on CNN were wondering whether Malaysia Airlines could survive this second loss, even though it is subsidized by the government. The real questions here are should they and why would any of us want them to.

It wasn't their fault someone on MH-370 went off the deep end, but the company mis-handled the aftermath so badly you had to wonder if the team running the show was named, Moe, Larry, and Curly. Now this--a deliberate management decision to route a flight directly over an active war zone.

Indeed, given what has transpired since March it might be best for everyone if Malaysia Airlines went the way of TWA, Pan American, and countless other outfits who have collapsed because of their own incompetence.

It is, after all, the very essence of natural selection. Take care of business, or end up like the Triceratops.

For all you lawyers out there, the line will begin forming on the left tomorrow morning. And for God's sake, at least try to act dignified.

sic vita est


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Polls in Iowa and New Hampshire: Good-bye Mr. Biden, Hello Undecided

The year 2016 seems distant to many, but for those with their eyes on the big white house on Pennsylvania Ave. it is right around the corner. Just like potential candidates, 2016 seems like it is only a heart beat away to the people who cover the most exalted of all blood sports, American presidential campaigns. Yes, this year's November vote is only a little more than three months off and interest is keen, especially when it comes to the next make up of the senate. The difference being, covering mid term elections is rather like sitting around watching batting practice, compared to a presidential election which is akin to witnessing a seven game world series drama.

Everyone loves to focus on Iowa and New Hampshire because they are the first live fire tests for potential candidates. That's why NBC and the Marist people just published a poll of voters in those two states.

The results aren't really a surprise, especially on the democratic side. In Iowa 89% of democrats view Hillary Rodham Clinton favorably and in New Hampshire 94% of them do. If you are a fan of Jumping Joe Biden you are in for a long night in both places. When pitted against each other, Iowa democrats chose Clinton over Biden 70% to 20%. In New Hampshire it actually got worse for the vice president--Mrs. Clinton blew past him by a 74% to 18% margin.

The truth is if you were going to donate money to the Biden presidential campaign you might want to rethink your investment and go with something that has better odds, like the Power Ball Lottery. It is safe to say the democratic nomination is sitting firmly in Mrs. Clinton's lap. All she has to do at this point is say she wants it.

For the GOP things are far more muddled. NBC and Marist threw ten names at republican voters and the big winner in both states was a guy named, Undecided. In Iowa he pulled in 20% of those asked. His closest competitors were Jeb Bush and Rand Paul both with 12%. New Jersey governor, Chris Christie, who will be visiting Iowa shortly, was mired in 5th place with 8%. Currently he is running four points behind Paul Ryan, one behind Rick Santorum, and one point ahead of Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Rick Perry.

In New Hampshire the Undecided campaign is in full swing. He leads Rand Paul 22% to 14%. Governor Christie is playing better in the Granite State, coming in at 13% which is three points better than Jeb Bush and four points ahead of Ted Cruz.

There are few more things that can be gleaned from the available figures. One is Louisiana governor, Bobby Jindal should plan on staying in Baton Rouge. He was sitting at 4% in New Hampshire and a mere 1% in Iowa. A second is, outside of Texas, Ted Cruz's smarmy smile and monumental ego don't exactly fire up the republican base. In Iowa he was at 7% and his New Hampshire number was 9%. Those are hardly inspiring figures.

The third thing we learned is while Mrs. Clinton won't have to spend a dime during the primary season, she'll need a lot of them when it comes to the general election, at least in Iowa and New Hampshire. When all the potential voters were asked about specific republicans in a race against the former Secretary of State things got tight. In Iowa she was in a dead heat against Rand Paul and her leads against Christie and Bush were within the four and a half point margin of error. The only persons she had comfortable leads on were Cruz, and Wisconsin governor Scott Walker.

In New Hampshire Paul was within three points of her and she led Christie, Bush, and Rubio by only five points.

For Hillary Clinton the downsides are, among swing voters, there could be a lingering weariness of the Clinton name and Barack Obama certainly isn't doing her any favors. In fact the only time the party of an outgoing president has held on to the white house in recent history is when George H.W. Bush followed Ronald Reagan into the oval office. However, on the upside, especially among democrats, huge numbers will tell you, if he could run, they'd vote for ol' Wild Bill in a nano second--they are looking at her and figuring they're a  getting, what we call on the southern plains,  a two-fer.

There will be a lot more polls between now and 2016 so numbers will shift dramatically on the GOP side. If we've learned anything lately its when you put republicans in a primary debate many of them will immediately prove themselves to be abject fools. That and there is a huge block of tea party cranks who would rather fall on their swords than vote for a GOP candidate they decide is impure.

As they say, stay tuned. We're just getting warmed up.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

More Crowds in the Streets; Now Boarding for San Pedro Sula; Nailing Jose Antonio Vargas at Last; a Warrant for the Patriot and Ray Davies was Right

It's a mixed up, muddled up, shook up world....

From the song "Lola" by the Kinks.

At times it is easy to wonder if we are living in some terrible Greek or Shakespearean tragedy. Maybe there is something to all that quantum physics mumbo jumbo about string theories and multiple dimensions which questions the very notion of reality. Let's face it, the absurdity of America and much of it's population points to a Celestial Author who possesses a darkly twisted and downright sick sense of drama. Indeed, the notion we are acting the way we do because we choose to is becoming not only distasteful, but downright repulsive.

The AP is reporting 50 or so citizens of Oracle, AZ showed up on a highway today protesting the possible arrival of 40 undocumented immigrant children at a local "academy for troubled youths." They were carrying signs which said things like, "Return to Sender" and "Non Yankees Go Home." They have promised to block the road and turn the bus, or buses back like the people in Murrieta, CA did a scant few days ago.

One of the organizers, Loren Woods was quoted as saying, "We are not going to tolerate illegals forced upon us." Oracle has a population of a little over 3,500. Nearly four out of every ten people there is Hispanic. Practically everyone else is of Anglo/European descent. I say practically because, according to Wikipedia, 1.54% of the town is Native American. The odds of each and every one of them laughing their asses off at what Mr. or Ms. Woods had to say are, at this moment, firmly sitting in the rarefied range of what is known as a sure thing.

So, who riled up the riffraff? According to the AP his name would be Sheriff Paul Babeu. Reportedly, the chief law enforcement officer of Pinal County shouted out the alarm yesterday through social media postings and a press release. In addition he leaked arrival news to anti immigration activists. He claims he is concerned some of the kids might have gang affiliations-- something they were presumably trying to escape from when they risked life and limb to cross all of Mexico to get here.

Meanwhile Barack Obama, in his never ending quest to placate everyone and please no one, has put the rush job on deportations. A charter plane, carrying 17  undocumented women, 12 girls, and nine boys, ranging in ages from 15 years to 18 months landed in San Pedro Sula, Honduras today. San Pedro Sula has the highest murder rate per capita in the world.

Also today, Reuters is reporting a co-founder of the pro immigration activist group "Define American," Jose Antonio Vargas, was arrested as he attempted to go through airport security in McAllen, TX. Vargas, 33, came to the United States from the Philippines when he was 12 years old to live with his grandparents. When he turned 16 he went to the California DMV to get his driver's license. That's when he found out his immigration documents had been forged and he was here illegally.

He is a graduate of San Francisco St. University and in 2008 was a member of the team of Washington Post reporters who won a Pulitzer Prize for their coverage of the Virginia Tech massacre. In addition he won an award from the Sidney Hillman Foundation for his June 2011 essay in the New York Times Magazine in which he described what is like to live and work in the United States as an undocumented alien.

It is unclear at this time what his status with Immigration Services is, or even why he was detained, although one has to fear the worst given the rising clamor of pale skinned mobs in the streets.

Finally on Monday our old pals the Bundys were back in the news. Cliven Bundy is the Nevada rancher who rallied so called militia members and other unsavory elements, including Fox News around him a while ago. He managed to manufacture a grotesque cause celebre when Bureau of Land Management agents tried to confiscate his cattle which had been grazing on federal property for years while he refused to pay for the privilege. He was particularly fond of telling everyone he didn't recognize the authority of the federal government in Nevada, although he did, on more than one occasion, say it while holding an American flag.

It didn't take long for ol' Cliven to screw the pooch. When he publicly revealed himself to be a virulent racist, right wing politicians and Fox itself ran for the hills. Yesterday a warrant was issued for his son's arrest.

Cliven Lance Bundy, who is 34 and helped organize Les Resistance against the feds, was charged with failing to appear in a court which is overseeing his drug rehab program. Lance claims he was recuperating from out patient surgery and couldn't make the date. Unfortunately for him the judge wasn't buying it, probably because this isn't the first time he's skipped an appearance. He is facing two to eight years in the joint. The AP reported that in February of 2013 he pleaded guilty to charges of felony burglary and weapons theft.

Oh yes,  like his Dad, he is quite the patriot. His mother and father say they thought their son had obtained a release from the program.

There we have it. Raging, xenophobic, crowds are howling for mass deportations of kids. We just shipped a bunch of mothers and their children off to the murder capital of the world out of political expediency. And the government may well be in the process of deporting an award winning journalist who grew up here, went to school here, and has been working productively in this country for years.

But, just because they were born here, we are stuck with a lunatic racist who has been, for all practical purposes, a welfare cheat for decades and his son--a drug addled felon.

Ray Davies didn't know how right he was when he first sang those lyrics so many years ago.


Friday, July 11, 2014

Friday Dispatches: Sheldon, Warren, and Bill Write a Letter, Bad Craziness in Houston, and Sometimes it is Just Easier to Belly Up

Sheldon Adelson, Warren Buffett, and Bill Gates all co-authored a letter which showed up in the New York Times today. The three uber rich guys are pissed off at congress in general and their inaction on immigration reform in particular.

Of course everyone else is too, so why should they be any different? In fact the last NBC-WSJ poll found only 7% of Americans had faith in congress to do anything. It is not a difficult conclusion to reach, especially when the most significant thing proposed by the Speaker of the House lately has been to threaten to sue the president because he is doing things republicans don't like.

According to the billionaire club, "American citizens are paying 535 people to take care of the country. We're being short changed." They went on to say, "The current stalemate--in which greater pride is attached to thwarting the opposition than to advance the nation's interests--is depressing to Americans and virtually all of its business managers." Business managers, by the way, are code words for people who are really, really rich.

The authors pointed out that even though they don't agree on certain aspects of immigration reform, they could come to a compromise and pointedly wondered why congress couldn't do the same.

Gates has kept his party affiliation private and the distribution of his political contributions is equally as hazy. Most reports agree he gives slightly more money to democrats than republicans. Buffett is a registered democrat and an Obama supporter, although he does have disagreements on certain issues with the president. And--as we know all too well--Sheldon Adelson is a Screaming Mimi republican who throws so many huge wads of cash at GOP candidates you'd think all those green Benjamins were confetti.

The problem is, unlike congress, these three new amigos aren't scared of  tea party cranks and loons who see any compromise as capitulation to a guy they are convinced is an African socialist who is busily attempting to oppress the white race. In truth the mega bucks guys have seriously over estimated the courage and intelligence of the entire legislative branch. Hey, in the final analysis you can't shame people who don't understand the concept.

Meanwhile in Houston, Ronald Lee Haskell showed up in court today and promptly fainted while standing in front of a judge. No medical reason was given for the collapse, although it is easy to think it finally dawned on Brother Haskell the last person this certain to take the fatal hot shot was named, Tim McVeigh.

Haskell is, of course, the fine young lad who showed up at his former sister in law's house on Wednesday demanding to know where his ex-wife was. When the family members told him they didn't know he did what any American psychopath would do, he shot the seven of them, killing all but one.

The lone survivor, Cassidy Stay, saved herself by playing dead. After her former uncle left, she alerted police and they were able to prevent Haskell from getting to her maternal grandparents, who he planned on killing too.

On the second of this month, Ron Haskell, who previously had been convicted of assaulting his ex-wife, accused his mother of talking to her on the phone. He bound his mom with duct tape and choked her until she passed out. The next day she had a California court issue a violence protective order against her son. In November of last year he was accused of attacking his sister.

Haskell's attorney was quoted as saying he is researching an innocent by reason of insanity plea for his client, based on, "evidence of a troubled history."

Well, you have to plead something don't you? Let's face it, given what happened, there aren't a lot of options available to the defense at this moment.

Usually this is when I'd start railing against the unnatural gun fetish in America. During the rant I would howl about the gruesome reality that this nation is the only place in the entire industrialized world where a crazy fuck like Ron Haskell could possibly get his hands on a weapon--one which is good for only a single purpose--that is to kill another human being.

But it is late Friday afternoon, my argument will do about as much good as Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No" drug policy, and somewhere it's 5pm, so, thankfully, the bar has opened.

Yes, sometimes it's simpy easier to belly up than it is to belly ache.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Sarah Palin and the Judge Judy Option

It would be easy to think no one listens to Sarah Palin any more. Let's face it, she proved herself an idiot when she ran as a vice presidential candidate. She quit as governor of Alaska barely two years into her first term for vague reasons, the most substantial of which seemed to be there were people who were saying bad things about her. Her daughter's life is pretty much the epitome of everything she says she is morally aghast at. And, at this moment, her current ambition appears to be landing a gig as co-host on the daytime talk fest known as, "The View."

So, when she writes, or perhaps has something ghost written for her, on the right wing web site, Breitbart, the initial reaction is to shrug the shoulders and yawn. The problem is, despite everything, she still has an audience. Hey, if a clan of bearded rednecks in West Monroe, LA can pull in 4 plus million viewers every week on a cable TV network, you know someone is going to be listening to Mrs. Palin, no matter how disjointed her babble is.

Right now her loud and feverish audience is hearing her say Barack H. Obama should be impeached. Several media outlets are reporting on the screed which appeared yesterday on Andy Brietbart's corner of the internet. That coverage, of course, accomplished her main goal--which is keeping herself a topic of conversation in quarters which shouldn't be giving her even a sliver of copy, or a single moment of air time.

Why anyone is shocked, or even angered by her opinion is a tad beyond understanding. In fact the only real surprise is she hasn't been screeching about impeachment before now. On the surface anyway, what set her off yesterday was the hot button issue of illegal immigration.

Like many of the far right she is seemingly in a panic about the huge number of children from Central America who have and continue to flow over the border. According to her, "Without borders there is no nation." She also contends, rather darkly, "The opening of our borders to a flood of illegal immigrants is deliberate. This is his (Obama's) fundamental transformation of America. It is the only promise he has kept."

She also claims the president is, "giving false hope and tax payer's change to millions of foreign nationals who want to sneak into our country illegally."

Well, no one ever said Sarah Palin would let a couple of facts get in her way. As the Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart pointed out, Barack Obama's administration has deported more than two million undocumented aliens since he became president. That's more than any other president in the history of the country and a number large enough to cause immigration advocates to dub him the, "Deporter in Chief."

In addition, when it comes to all those undocumented kids, if they aren't from Canada, or Mexico, the current U.S. law, signed by George W. Bush, says they cannot be deported immediately. The main point of the law when it was enacted wasn't to shelter illegal aliens for devious reasons, it was to meant to protect children from human traffickers. So, in actuality, when it comes to the 50,000 plus minors who have entered the country in the last few months, Barack Obama is upholding the law, rather than breaking it.

Yes, yes, but none of that matters to Palin and the torch carrying mob trailing along behind her. What really counts is if all these illegal fuckers get to stay and become citizens they're going to vote for democrats. Well, that and white people are going to end up being outnumbered.

Think not? Besides the "fundamental transformation of America" crack, why else would she include the line, "Many now feel like strangers in their own land." Indeed, the president and these other sonsofbitches don't look like you and me, so we have to get them the hell out of here.

To make sure we know she isn't a one issue political whore, she added, "Mark my words, he'll be meddling in the U.S. court system with appointments that will forever change the basic interpretation of our constitution's role in protecting our rights."

You read it correctly. One of the reasons, Sarah Palin says the president should be impeached is that he will be making judicial appointments--which last time anyone looked is part of his job description.

There we have it. Mrs. P. claims the black guy should be impeached, because he's letting brown people into the country, despite the public stats saying he is sending them home at a record pace. Plus, he might carry out his duties as president and appoint some judges, who, by the way, have to be confirmed by the senate, a legislative body that could well be controlled by republicans within six months. If she had actually read the constitution she'd know that, but then who has time to read these days? Self promotion, after all, takes a lot of effort and such details are best left to junior staffers.

All this makes you wonder when she'll attempt to drag Barack Obama into the courtroom of television's Judge Judy. Trust me, given her understanding of the constitution and law, it could happen any day now.

sic vita est


Monday, July 7, 2014

America, a Prison Riot in Progress

What a week for gun lovers.

It all began on June 29th. In Antioch, CA someone entered a house and shot seven guys. Fortunately for all of them whoever did it wasn't much of a marksman. The victim's wounds varied in severity, but the seven will survive. The shooter is still at large.

The same night down in New Orleans a gun fight exploded on Bourbon St. Police arrested 20 year old Trung T. Le on the 4th of July. They say he fired the first shot in the exchange which killed one and wounded nine others, all of them innocent bystanders. They're still looking for the other Quick Draw McGraw who was involved.

Back in Antioch, which is located in the San Francisco Bay area, an 11 year old was shot and wounded on Thursday. The police quickly arrested the would be assassin the same day. He is 14.

In Inkster, Michigan, also on Thursday, 24 year old Raymone Jackson walked up to a porch and shot a two year old child to death in order to torture her father, who might have been involved in an earlier shooting. Immediately after the despicable act, he wounded not only the father, but a 12 year old family friend who made the mistake of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

That's right, baby it was a tough week, but the mayhem was just getting started. Let's face it, there is nothing quite like a 4th of July weekend to ramp up the violence. Hey, if you're going to celebrate the good ol' U.S.A. nothing says it better than opening fire on crowds of people.

In Indianapolis, about 30 minutes before the bars shut down early in the morning of the 5th, seven people were shot. One is listed in critical condition while the other six victims are not in life threatening situations. The A.P. questioned the Indy police chief about a motive. He was quoted as saying, "There was no rhyme or reason..." The current theory is the whole thing began when two people bumped into each other on the street. The cops haven't found the shooter, but did manage to arrest a 23 year old convicted felon who, while not involved, was found to be carrying a loaded gun.

In Houston four kids were shot at a 4th of July dance, one of them critically. The next day a  local barber shot and killed a customer after the two of them got into an argument and the patron refused to leave his shop.

In St. Louis seven people were shot, three of them fatally. In New Jersey a young girl was hit by a stray bullet as she slept in her bed across the river from Philadelphia. She'll survive her wound unlike another who was killed by an equally errant round as she rode a scooter down a sidewalk in Paterson. The Jersey cops are trying to figure out if the second shooting was tied to a prior one.

Indeed, it was deadly in several places, but absolutely nothing compared to the carnage in Chicago. Over the holiday weekend the dead and wounded piled up so fast in the Windy City no one could come up with a definitive count of the numbers. Some media outlets put the figure at 60 wounded and a dozen, or so shot to death. The Chicago Tribune reported as many as 82 wounded and 14 dead. Police Superintendent, Garry McCarthy issued a statement saying the violence was, "unacceptable" and blamed at least part of it on, "the proliferation of guns."

Oh, you think?

Yes, when your town has become a fucking war zone gun proliferation could have something to do with it.

Of course in the bizarro world of the NRA all these stunning statistics just mean the average Joe should go out and buy more guns--because, after all, if everyone is armed we'll somehow be safer.

Well tell them that in Chicago, because apparently everyone there already has a gun. How else can you explain casualty figures that look like they should be coming out of Mosul Iraq, rather than one of the great cities in America.

Now, please don't shake your head and try to lecture me about freedom and rights. Trust me, you aren't free if your kid gets shot while she is asleep in her bedroom, riding a scooter down the street, or sitting on a front porch. You certainly aren't free when you can't walk down a street without worrying that someone might start shooting if you accidentally bump into them. And, quite honestly, your rights don't really matter if you're laying dead in a park because some goof decided to go off just because he had a gun and could.

It is time to face the terrible truth. America isn't a free society. It is nothing more than a prison riot in progress.



Saturday, July 5, 2014

Trouble in Murrieta: The Boat People Stop the Bus People

Media reports tell us since October of last year an estimated 52,000 unaccompanied kids, the majority of them from Central America, have crossed the southern border into the United States. In addition another 39,000 families, most of them with only the mother have made the trip. As can be imagined this puts a bit of a strain on the system. The current law says unaccompanied minors must be processed and then handed over to the Department of Human Services for placement until an immigration judge decides what to do with them--a process which could take months, if not years.

A lot of people aren't big fans of the situation. In fact, Texas Governor, Rick Perry wants the entire lot deported immediately. Perry, by the way, is a surname which originated in middle ages as Pirige. In the 7th century it denoted an English person who owned a pear orchard.

Not to be outdone by the Texas governor, a bunch of folks in Murrieta, CA showed up outside of a border patrol processing center earlier this week and blocked the entrance to it when three bus loads of Central American kids, along with a few of their mothers arrived. The protesters carried U.S. flags and signs that said things like, "Stop Illegal Immigration" and "Go Back to Mexico." They also chanted, "Go home" and the now grating and fascist-like, "USA, USA, USA."

The local cops stood around and didn't do anything. They claim they were waiting for back up. The border patrol agents, rather than running over some of the patriots and creating martyrs, had the buses turn around and go to another locale. The Murrieta police chief, Sean Hadden promised if more buses arrive his officers will force the crowd to clear the road. The name Hadden is of English and, or Scottish origin.

According to one of the protest organizers, "We are defending our nation. We want the laws enforced at the border. A nation without borders is a nation without sovereignty." Her name is Patrice Lynes. The surname Lynes is of Anglo-Norman origin. She also promised the media, "We will stop when the whole process stops."

She was applauded by Jim Gilchrist, the founder of the "Minute Man Project," which bills itself as a neighborhood watch organization keeping an eye on our borders. He was happy to tell anyone who would listen the angry and ugly demonstration in Murrieta is just the beginning. He predicted  from now on there would be mass protests across the entire land in response to the outrage of illegal immigration. If you're curious, the name Gilchrist originated in Scotland.

The mayor of Murietta, Alan Long blamed the whole mess on Barack Obama and congress. He initially called the deluge of unaccompanied children an invasion, although once videos of his city's bellicose citizens played nationally, he toned his rhetoric down considerably. He also might want to do a little internet research. The statute which requires the government to hand the kids over to DHS personnel, rather than deporting them right away, was signed into law by George W. Bush. Long is an Anglo-Saxon name, Bush, depending on who you read, comes from either the Norse language, or old English. Obama, on the other hand, is from eastern Africa.

Mayor Long also said his city would be overwhelmed by illegals if the border patrol dumped them there. Murietta's 2010 population was 103,466. 55.7% of that figure is of Anglo-European descent, 25.9% is Hispanic, 5.4% is African American, 9.2%, Asian, and a whopping 0.7% is--you guessed it--Native American. There were, in total, 140 people on the buses which were turned away.

Wikipedia says the land the city of Murietta is situated on was purchased by a guy named Esequial Murietta. He was a Basque who wanted to raise sheep there, but gave up on the idea, handed the place over to his younger brother Juan, then moved back to Spain.

Yesterday many of us celebrated the day the United States of America declared itself independent from Great Britain. Shortly after the revolution our ancestors began building a nation which stretched from the Atlantic to the Pacific. We were then, as we are now, a diverse people not of one race, but many. In fact the only thing most of us had in common for the first century of our history, aside from an all consuming desire to exterminate the actual Native Americans, was that someone in our past got here without filling out an immigration form.

That's right. Unless your name is something like Sequoyah, or Crazy Horse, at some point, the only difference between your ancestors and the kids on those buses is that great, great granddad, Henry, Adolph, or Vito used a boat to get here.

In the final analysis there are a couple of things to consider. One is, if close to 100,000 Anglo Canadian kids and their mothers came flooding across our northern border would anyone raise this big of a stink?

The second is, to paraphrase The Man, let he, or she without an ancestor who wasn't willing to risk their life to get here, throw the first stone.


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Caliph's Fifteen Minutes

Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction.

Blaise Pascal

They're a bunch of deadly fucks, even if they can't settle on a name. First it was the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL. Then they became the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS. Now they've settled on The Islamic State, rather like Brother Trump decided to call himself, The Donald.

Their leader is a guy named Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, at least that is the name he has used in the past. According to various sources, including his own organization, his real name is Ibrahim Awwad Ibrahim al-Badri al-Samarrai. It is a mouthful, but when you claim to be a direct descendant of the prophet Muhammad you probably want something regal sounding. NBC reports he is rarely photographed and seen. According to mid-east expert, Patrick M. Skinner this secrecy increases his prestige among those of a similar bent. That is one theory--another, held by some cynics, is it might indicate he knows there is an armed U.S. drone cruising around the wide blue skies at this very moment with his name on it.

His group has issued grand statements. First and foremost among them is they have established a new Caliphate of Islam which will, "trample the idol of nationalism, destroy the idol of democracy and uncover its deviant nature." A second is the dude now known as Caliph Ibrahim has declared every other Islamic terrorist group null and void and therefore all of them must obey the direct orders of--yes--him. A third was, of course, his version of Islam is the only acceptable one and anyone who thinks different is a heretic. Why isn't that a surprise?

The Islamic State also posted a global map on the internet showing the extent of the new Caliphate. It covers the northern half of the African continent, Turkey, every square inch of the middle east, including Iran and Pakistan, plus all of India, Sri Lanka, and it runs as far east as Malaysia and Indonesia.

The Caliph, or leader, didn't provide us with any clues about how he was going to rule this vast expanse, or how long it would take his army to conquer it. No doubt he is a big picture man and prefers to leave those sort of details to the little people.

The media is running wild with the story and politicians everywhere are pointing fingers.

Ibrahim's outfit got it's chops fighting in the Syrian civil war and now has been able to take control of a large area in Iraq, so they've had a degree of military success. In the process they've also managed to slaughter thousands of civilians and murder several hundred, if not more, prisoners of war. They've even paraded around a captured scud missile which most experts believe is not operational.

So yeah, all this blow and go is impressive and if you live in Iraq you are in serious danger. However, the truth is they fought in Syria, but couldn't win. When that little adventure bogged down, an about face was ordered and they grabbed a large patch of Iraq which has an army who, twice over the last quarter century, has proven itself to be one of the worst in the world. The Islamic State's heavy armor consists of some surplus Humvees and Toyota pick up trucks either mounted with machine guns, or manned with guys toting rocket propelled grenades. They haven't a soul, at least to date, who can fly a helicopter, much less a jet fighter and there hasn't been a report by any news outlet saying they possess even a single tank, or know how to use one if they did.

In addition they haven't had to actually run a place. You know--take care of the water supply, repair the sewer system, pick up the garbage, pave a highway, or install a street lamp--any of the sort of things the general public demands of a government.

Yes, these monsters can create a of a lot of havoc in Syria and Iraq, but they aren't going anywhere else. Does anyone really think the rulers of Kuwait, the Emirates, or the Saudi royal family are going to submit to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi? After you mull that question over think about how the Ayatollahs of Iran, the Turks, Pakistanis, and the entire sub continent of India will react to them.

Faith and some success can attract thousands of recruits from prisons, the ranks of the disaffected, and the newly converted, but it still can't get you to Tel Aviv, much less places like Istanbul, or Tehran without an air force and more than a few armored divisions.

In response to this terrible nonsense the United States has nearly 1,000 troops on the ground in an advisory capacity. There are also a handful of Russians in the country along with some aircraft sent from Moscow with love. The Iranians are on record as saying they'll supply the current Iraq government with enough arms to defeat the, "terrorists."

ISIL, ISIS, or IS, take your pick, has won a few battles, but in doing so, their victories combined with their over blown hubris have made sure they'll never expand beyond northern Iraq and parts of Syria. In the final analysis no one in the sane world wants to put up with the sort of horse shit they spout. Let's face it, if the Iranians are calling you terrorists you've reached a low that is unimaginable.

Hey, even the Taliban knew their brand of Islam wouldn't sell outside of Afghanistan, or the tribal areas around the Pakistan border. Their one mistake was not giving up bin Laden. If they had, they'd still be running the country. This new violent trip back to the middle ages just doesn't wash outside of very small places like the minds of the people wanting to force it down everybody else's throats.  

What it boils down to, Caliph Ibrahim, is you probably want to live it up right now and enjoy the view, because, honestly, your fifteen minutes are coming to an end soon.

Trust me.