Monday, March 30, 2009

A Lightning Bolt From Jesus

"And now verily, Thou art mine own annointed one!"

An Alaska blogger named 'HistoryBuff' believes Sarah Palin took her selection as John McCain's running mate as a 'Lightning Bolt From Jesus', and her unrestricted license for unilaterally beginning her own campaign for national office, specifically, the presidency of the United States of America!

And lot's of Palin's actions since then seem to bear this theory out, since they make little sense otherwise. After her 'lightning bolt' selection, everything has been 'always about Sarah', hang anything else including the State of Alaska. Naturally, this gives considerable discontent to Alaska's citizens, where her approval ratings have plummeted from over 90% to the 50's and 60's - but still well over her predecessor's dismal 19% when he left office:
  • She said she would refuse the stimulus money - then said she would only refuse 43% of it. Sort of like cheering for funding for the Bridge to Nowhere, then coming out against that boondoggle;
  • She took a free ride on the GOP for $150,000 for clothing, plus another $55,000 in hair and personal stylist costs, plus $23,000 in 'accessories;
  • After Palin's selection, she quickly morphed into the rogue of the McCain campaign, becoming in the process a Maverick's Maverick (A re-Maverick?);
  • She shamelessly used her children as campaign props many times;
  • She even horned in uninvited, on her own daughter's TV interview with Fox;
  • She's most recently been in the news complaining she couldn't find anyone in the McCain campaign to pray with;
And now, it seems that Jesus' Lightning Bolt could well fissile . . .

Apparently for the publicity, Palin took it upon herself to endorse Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry over another well-known Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison. Perry, who was George W. Bush's Lt. Governor and his successor as governor of Texas, is one of those five Republican governors who, like Sarah 'refused' the Stimulus Package. That's in spite of the fact Texas has the highest child homelessness rates in the nation, lowest expenditure per pupil for Texas childrens' education and many other notable economic deficiencies. But then everyone by now should know the new Republican maxim: "Doctrine over reality".

Palin's endorsement prompted a Texarkana Gazette editorial to declare, "When it comes down to it, Palin doesn’t know Eskimo from Alamo about Texas government and politics.";

Palin still takes flak for her exorbitant use of GOP money for clothing and accessories - roughly a quarter mil or so. One pundit has declared - based on Palin's nearly legendary ignorance on anything outside Alaska - that she most likely simply believes NAFTA stands for, "Need Another Fifty Thousand For Accessories";

Palin repeatedly tries her versions of strong arm politics against her opponents, most of whom are better at the game, and which usually leaves her with egg all over her face. One problem is Sarah keeps trying unfamiliar language to appear knowledgeable and intelligent - and coming up otherwise. Sort of a George W. Bush in lipstick in fact. For example, here's what she told interviewed matt Lauer after the election results were in: "we tried to articulate that we were the true change agent that would progress this nation."

You betcha!

But, Sarah is nothing if not consistently 'radically conservative'. For example, she recently chose as Alaska's new Attorney General, one Wayne A. Ross who happens to be a director for the National Rifle Association, and has been knighted by the Vatican for his anti-abortion work. Ross's red HUMMER carries a personalized license tag reading "WAR". (Ostensibly for 'Wayne Anthony Ross'?)

Honestly, you can't make this kind of stuff up!

Palin's extreme radicalism can only be good for progressives everywhere!

Keep it up, Sarah!

You betcha!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A List of George Bush's Major Accomplishments:

Defending against universal accusations that the George W. Bush presidencies were the biggest presidential failures of all times, the Republican National Committee has mounted a campaign to prove otherwise. Republican bloggers have published lists of what are perceived as some of Bush's greatest presidential accomplishments. They also maintain there are hundreds, if not thousands of other, lesser known successes as yet unpublished, he can lay claim to:

Here are some of President Bush's major *successes; Bush has:

  • Saved Federal tax dollars by mandating the No Child Left Behind Act - then refusing to fund it, thereby passing costs on to states;

  • Introduced much needed humor and levity into solemn meetings between international leaders;

  • Introduced tension-lessening joking, bra-snapping, goosing, and general sophomoric smart-alecky wackiness and silliness;

  • Indulged a lifelong passion for playing stupid tricks insulting to others, thereby improving relationships between people;

  • Reduced costs for the US military through accelerated attrition in battle on two fronts;

  • Introduced many unknown new types of food, and more profits for corporations by eliminating controls on untested, genetically engineered crops;

  • Reduced threat of ugly international lawsuits by getting the US completely out of the United Nations Human Rights Commission;

  • Set a new world record for largest change in a national budget ever, anytime, anywhere;
  • Established new policies for controlling AIDS in Africa and other impoverished regions by eliminating funding for birth control to provide a greater supply of people for infection, thereby allowing nature to handle the problem;
  • For the first time in history got a real handle on population control in Iraq and Afghanistan;
  • Opened up logging operations on Federal lands by eliminated the need for Environmental Impact Statements;
  • Boosted corporate profitability through the introduction of the best corporate welfare programs in the history of the world;

  • Raised sarcasm to new and stratospheric heights with words such as, 'You're doing a heckuva job Brownie'.

  • Declared coal as 'clean' by fiat, thereby opening up and reintroducing 19th century technology for US energy needs;

  • Kept thousands of very rich people off welfare roles by providing them the largest dollar-value tax cut in world history;

  • Enormously reduced US energy usage by getting the price of gasoline up two and a half times over any other time in history;

  • Eliminated legal threats for impacted species by gutting the Endangered Species Act;

  • Eliminated foreign threats to American criminals by getting the US thrown completely out of the International Criminal Court;

  • Increased corporate profitability and efficiency while simultaneously helping third-world economies by outsourcing millions of US jobs overseas;
  • Completely turned around an inherited US economy by setting a new world record for biggest value change in stock market in history;
  • Finally got Christ in government where he belongs, with 'faith-based initiatives';

  • Improved Republican image with gay and lesbian constituencies by demonstrating loving, personal familiarity with people like Saudi Prince Abdullah;

  • Introduced thousands of previously unknown words to the English language;
  • Re-established torture as a useful and viable official US governmental policy;

  • Officially returned the Christian God to the White House by requiring morning prayers of all staffers;

  • Saved billions of tax dollars by cutting programs for poor, children and needy;

  • Increased corporate bottom line profits by limiting lawsuits and placing a cap on judgements against corporations;

  • Removed barriers between church and state by permitting faith-based Christian groups to maintain their religious hiring prejudices while using government funds;
  • Used the simple tactics of bombing countries flat, murder, official torture, invasion, shock and awe, to bring US style freedom and democracy to two middle eastern nations for the first time in history;
  • Indirectly increased private employment in welfare, public service, homeless, battered women and other non-governmental and volunteer groups;

  • Forced a disrespectful reporter to throw away his own shoes, and indirectly established a new shoe-throwing tradition around the world;

  • Opened up potential of development of millions of acres of new farming regions in the high arctic by getting the US out of the regressive Kyoto Global Warming Treaty;
  • Reduced fire danger in US National forests & Federal lands by cutting zillions of dangerously menacing trees;

  • Ended a severe and persistent drought in New Orleans;

  • Proved once and for all the total elimination of all Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq;
  • Proved once and for all, the total elimination of all nuclear enrichment programs in Iraq;
  • Passed new laws to keep down the number of highly educated and skilled people from coming to the US in order to provide more jobs for our own less intellectual people;
  • Saved billions of tax dollars by cutting over 40 Federal educational programs;
  • Improved moral in the US armed forces by making them take more personal responsibility by the simple method of cutting veterans' benefits across the board;
  • Used tactics of doing the exact opposite to illustrate and reinforce concepts of HONOR and DIGNITY in the White House.

  • Established new standards for reading upside down;

And, the list goes on . . .

* But, there is one major Bush accomplishment which outshines all the others by far: President Bush has, almost single-handedly, managed to completely destroy the Republican Party - and perhaps for all time.

In case you think this list is inaccurate, or perhaps even non-existent, here are some sources:

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The politics of Dumb

The 'Dark Ages" date from the middle of the 5th century AD (approximately) and roughly overlap and coincide with the rise of Christianity and Catholicism. The Dark Ages are defined as a cultural decline and societal collapse of Europe following the fall of the Roman Empire. Paganism and tribal savagery by Germanic tribes are blamed for the fall of Rome. There are some parallels between those times and now.

The period of centuries following the sack of Rome is called 'dark' because of its lack of written records, cultural advancement and human achievement during most of the period. Cultures prior to the sack of Rome left multitudinous records, buildings and evidence of their achievements. The few written records existing from the Dark Age were made by isolated religious monks in their monasteries and are only fragmentary in nature. We know very little really, about what went on during those times.

Classical Greek and Roman civilizations faded away and humanity descended into feudalism and savagery. The conquering groups and tribes were simply more interested in conquest than civilization. The contemporary term 'Vandal' comes from one of the tribes who helped sack Rome, the Vandals, known for their love for senseless destruction. The subsequent stagnation of culture and civilization lasted nearly 1000 years. No one really knows the horror experienced by the common man during those dark times. But, if we compare to similar 'revolutions' where established cultures and civilizations were overthrown and society degenerated into savagery, we can interpolate the period must have been marked by untold human suffering on an immense scale.

About the 14th century AD, the so-called enlightenment began, sparked by the Reformation - which was in effect a revolt against Catholicism. But Catholics, who very often cooperated with the conquerors, or were conquerors themselves, resisted the very idea of any Dark Age, insisting instead the period was harmonious and peaceful. In a way, it is very like denying the Holocaust as one Cardinal has recently done. Since there were few written records, no one actually knows for sure. But again, we can interpolate if the complete history of Catholicism is any indication, the opposite was probably true - unless you were a devout Catholic then, who strictly adhered to the rules of church leaders, or at least pretended to do so.

Fortunately for western humanity, the enlightenment and Reformation, led to the period called the Renaissance, marked by an explosion of human achievement, intellectual 'enlightenment' and advancement never before seen. The influence of religion gradually receded and more people were freed of the stifling muzzle of church control, be it Catholic or one of the many protestant sects which came to be. Fabulous new ideas and inventions came to the benefit of humanity as a whole. All of this led, centuries later, to the truly advanced civilizations we enjoy today in the western world especially.

But, that's not the end of the story. Catholicism in particular, has a long and bloody history of bending to the winds of intrigue, treachery, war, crusades and inquisitions, very often even sponsoring and paying for them. An unhealthily incestuous relationship has existed with various governments, kingdoms and states over the centuries, and led to untold human suffering at the hands of, or behest of 'The Universal Church'. Murder, massacre, torture and horror are a common product of this religion. But, lest I be perceived as 'anti-Catholic', please note that I am convinced almost ALL other sects, religions and denominations are equally perfidious and treacherous when it suits their needs. I believe that is a simple and common characteristic of religions in general.

Another observation I must make: It benefits religions to keep their adherents 'dumb' and non-thinking as well as hypnotized and paralyzed by their particular brand of mythology and fear - which gives rise to some decidedly peculiar cults. The education of real intellectuals is one of the dread fears of all religions, any arguments to the contrary. True, many religions, and Catholics in particular originated many schools and universities, but they were established to proselytize first to create new adherents, and to educate secondarily. Further, any education provided was strictly promulgated to promote the religion itself. Only later did schools and universities become more secular, and only then only very grudgingly.

Indeed, many Catholic leaders, as well as other religions, eagerly participated in destroying records and other intellectual evidence in conquered areas. Spanish priests for example, ruthlessly ordered thousands of books and records destroyed as 'heathen' during the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs .

To this day, we see religious groups attempting to stifle intellectual pursuits which conflict with their doctrine. Attempts at banning books are legion; anything perceived as against their various dogmas is vigorously, and relentlessly attacked. Sex education in schools and evolution are contemporary examples. Abstinence is touted as the only solution to teen pregnancy, while statistics show that does not work, and indeed, religious groups promoting such a policy have a statistically higher incident of teen pregnancy than the general population. Today, Pope Benedict XVI insists the distribution of condoms aggravates the problem of AIDS - when exactly the opposite is shown to be true by countless studies.

Religion, and anti-intellectualism in favor of doctrinal beliefs is alive and well amongst those who wish to turn back the clock. And, that also favors politics which enlist religious groups in their political causes. We have seen the cynical wooing of Christian evangelists and Catholics by current Republicans, which often works because those groups believes the party is sympathetic to their doctrines. However, these same groups, perhaps feeling a little jaded, have recently begun to question this fact. But it is also true I believe, that like the religious, many Republicans also perceive intellectuals as their natural enemies. Karl Rove for example has said, “As people do better, they start voting like Republicans - unless they have too much education and vote Democratic, which proves there can be too much of a good thing”.

If that is true, then it not an advantage for the party to provide anything more than lip service for education, and that is exactly what we have seen. Nationally, and in individual states all over the US, Republicans are urging cuts in funding to education. Some are drastic and draconian. The excuse is always 'the budget'. Many early education and programs for the arts, and advanced education are being cut or proposed for cutting. The federal government under Bush cut funding to over 42 separate national education programs, including some over 40 years old.

Simultaneously he gave a half trillion dollar tax cut to the rich and enormous tax benefits to the energy industry. Obviously, dumbing down the electorate benefits a few.

The Hell with the seed corn. Hang the young, the disadvantaged and the poorer members of our society.

Two things to remember:

"The strength of the United States is not the gold at Fort Knox or the weapons of mass destruction that we have, but the sum total of the education and the character of our people."

"Religions change; beer and wine remain."
-Hervey Allen

Friday, March 13, 2009

Déjà vu All Over Again

Gee wilikers! Who woulda ever thunk it? The dichotomy of the current economic situation is simply mind-boggling.

Today we are inundated with legions of right-wing 'financial experts' viciously criticizing the US's bailouts and 'stimulus bills'. Besides the obvious questions about where were these people when the Republican leadership was busily train-wrecking the economy, I am wondering how they've suddenly become such gurus today - at least unto themselves. No one else is fooled fortunately.

It's a lot like a gang of bankrupts providing financial advice to those not yet so afflicted. I'm tempted to think it's simple jealousy, but realize it is only rank and rancid sour grapes.

But the facts are this: The 'Great Depression' beginning with the crash of '29 is attributed to the removal of most of the regulations and controls over banks and other financial institutions instituted by three successive Republican administrations. The 'open market economy' touted by Republican financial 'conservatives' and the laissez-faire attitudes championed by them, and passed under their control of Congress, resulted in a wildly speculative economy and the crash which followed.

In the words of economist Irving Fisher, "Easy money is the great cause of over-borrowing. When an investor thinks he can make over 100 per cent per annum by borrowing at 6 per cent, he will be tempted to borrow, and to invest or speculate with the borrowed money. This was a prime cause leading to the over-indebtedness of 1929. Inventions and technological improvements created wonderful investment opportunities, and so caused big debts."

Besides the fact the Republican claim of 'conservative', at least in the financial sense, was and is in 180 degree opposition to reality, the uncontrolled market economy was a stark and utter failure. After the '29 crash, new controls were instituted by a chastened Congress, and some old controls were re-introduced. But it took over ten years and a world war - brought on partly by the resulting world-wide depression - for economies to recover. The damage was immeasurable and incalculable human suffering occurred.

And yet, to paraphrase an old biblical maxim, it appears '"the greedy have ye always with you". The self-labeled 'conservatives' never ceased in their efforts to alter the situation to fit their doctrine and in their favor - which boiled down to its essence which seems to be, 'The greatest good for the richest few'. It took them over seventy years, but at last they succeeded with the Bush II administrations and Republican control of both houses of Congress.

In a virtual repeat of the Republican administrations of the 1920's, Republicans under GW Bush managed a repeat of the removal of most regulations and controls over the financial affairs on the country. And, in the immortal words of Yogi Berra, it is 'déjà vu all over again'; A virtual repeat of the great Depression, only partly ameliorated so far by the emergency bailouts and stimulus bills. It remains to be seen whether all this will work.

And again, in a virtual repeat of history, a charismatic Democratic president is being called upon for rescue. Let us hope he is up to the job.

Will we learn this time? Will we ever allow this to happen again?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Barney Frank - Closet Republican?

Democratic Congressman Barney Frank of Massachusetts has now been accused of being a ‘Closet Republican’. Liberal media throughout North America has long speculated about his admittedly odd sexual proclivities. Now, several pundits are openly claiming Frank is actually a ‘DINO’ (Democrat In Name Only) and is in fact a closet or ‘secret’ Republican.

Frank has vigorously attempted to explain himself to his disbelieving pundits who roundly accuse him of conduct ‘unlike a Democrat’, based primarily on his sexual orientation and tendencies.

But, Frank adamantly denies any and all Republican leanings. “It may be true that I do enjoy sex with other men - particularly the ‘back door’ kind if you know what I mean. But, while that may be so, I am in fact a good, liberal and loyal Democrat! A sort of real maverick in other words - and not the kind who claim to be like John McCain or Sarah Palin.”

“And yes, I also know I’m quite unlike your typical Democrats like Bill Clinton, Ted Kennedy, Elliot Spitzer and John Edwards. Those are the kind of guys who never see a woman they don’t try to screw, or a skirt they don’t attempt to lift, or female ass they won't try to grope. What the public conceives of as your typical, normal Democrat in other words. The kind that get all those Christers all tied up in knots because they enjoy 'normal' sex. No, I’m not like that at all, and I readily admit I prefer sex with other males to any female any day of the week and twice on Sundays. And yes, I know that may tend to make me seem just like your typical uptight perverted Republicans like Larry Craig or Mark Foley - but that’s just a strange and odd coincidence.”

“I can’t explain it myself - but that’s just the way it is with me.”

But, the liberal media remains unconvinced. "He's just acts way too Republican" explained one commentator.

Another said, "If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and smells like a duck, then I'd call it a duck, wouldn't you?"

Based on his legislative activity though, Frank certainly and mostly qualifies as a liberal Democrat. Even there however, Frank also shows some Republican leanings. For example, he has been a fervent advocate of disbursing billions of dollars with few controls to rich benefactors through the so-called ‘Stimulus Bills’.

“What? I can’t use my legislative clout to reward a few friends?” said Frank when questioned.

So, the jury is still out.