Sunday, May 29, 2011

She's baack(and other movement on the right)

Saturday's Statesman Journal ran an AP story, reporting that Sarah Palin will "embark this weekend on a campaign style bus tour along the East Coast." The AP referred to half-Governor Palin as "telegenic but divisive"-- nothing if not tactful. She hasn't announced her candidacy formally, but was quoted as saying that she has "that fire in the belly" for a presidential bid. While most people would remedy that fire in the belly with Maalox or Pepto, Sarah takes it to mean the time is right to buy a house in Arizona and get on the bus. She said that the bus tour will serve as a reminder "who we are and what Americans stand for."

Scary thought, eh? We need an illiterate hockey-mom who quit a job less than halfway through the term to tell us who we are? If that is the case, "we" are in deep doo-doo. But the fundamental issue is that neither the Mavericky one nor any of the announced and/or unannounced Republican presidential candidates are talking to me. If I accept Mrs. Palin's premise, I have to imagine her telling me what Americans stand for amounts to respecting someone who is a quitter, who shoots wild animals from airplanes and helicopters, names her kids with nonsensical names, like Trig and Track, and, if I'm not mistaken, absconded with campaign funds the last time around to clothe herself in Manhattan finery. She better think this through before giving up her gig at Fox News. As it is, she has a movie coming out. IMAX? I doubt it... YouTube, more likely.

The AP article surmised that Mrs. Palin is looking at the current field and concludes, "why not me?"

The Kinkster (right) with Will Smith and Bill Clinton

Why not, indeed. The last person I recall saying that while running for office was the inestimable Richard "Kinky" Friedman. Actually, the Kinkster's tagline was "Why the hell not?" Unfortunately, Texans took him as seriously as Groucho and voted instead for Rick Perry. More on him n a minute.

Yesterday, Mrs. Palin photo-opped her way into the annual Rolling Thunder motorcycle ride and rally. One could say her appearance was less than welcome by some of the participants.

Sarah Palin on the Stealing Thunder tour

Why just a few weeks ago, Newsweek ran a teaser placed above the publication's name. "Is Sarah Palin Over?"

Just when you thought it was safe...

She's baack!

* * *

No one is terribly concerned about my personal fave, Rick Santorum. I am a little saddened that he is not being taken seriously... yet. Before this whole thing shakes out, Rick may look damned good.

Newt certainly doesn't. Between his marriages, his infidelities, his flip-flopping on the Paul Ryan Medicare movement, Newt is just not being taken seriously.

Separated at birth?

Ah, and then there's former and closeted preacher, former governor, Fox News provocateur and bass player, Mike Huckabee. He has decided his "fair and balanced" gig is more better than being president. Somewhere down the line, Chuck Norris bailed as Mike's number one fan, replaced by inimitable Ted Nugent. Now, I have nothing against Mr. Nugent, other than the fact that the best thing he ever did was "Baby, Please Don't Go" with the Amboy Dukes. Actually, the picture below is Ted grooving out with Mike on bass, playing Ted's mega-hit, "Cat Scratch Fever."

Jammin' with Ted

I make the pussy purr with

The stroke of my hand

They know they gettin' it from me

They know just where to go

When they need their lovin man

They know I do it for free

Uh, Pastor Mike...? You should be ashamed of yourself.

Mike is out, but Rudy and Ricky are in the wings. It's like an off-night on the Ed Sullivan show.

Least likely to receive the nomination...
most likely to bow out before getting in, etc.

What am I thinking?

Which brings me to Texas Governor Rick Perry.

The mere fact that Mr. Perry didn't take the above mentioned Kinky Friedman's run for the governorship seriously is a huge negative. He may be a Te-Party fave for exactly the reasons I find him and his policies so detestable.

Lone Star Search winner.

I don't hold Mr. Perry's rugged good looks against him. He could be in a Cohen Brothers film or a character in a Cormac MacCarthy book. Rick Perry-- somewhere between Tommy Lee Jones and Josh Brolin. He is the best–and the most obvious–that we can hope for. A good looking, empty suit. According to, Governor Perry is against federal funding for abortion, supports the equal rights amendment and the amendment preventing same-sex marriage. He opposes any restrictions on gun control, which seems to be less than a very smart policy, considering an alarming number of the guns bought in Texas are used during the commission of crimes in Mexico. In 2002, he had overseen the execution of a Mexican citizen, despite pleas from then President Vicente Fox. Also in 2002, he vetoed the ban on executing mentally retarded inmates. He is one of the governors in favor of citizens having to show photo I.D.'s in order to vote. Oh, and did I mention the guy's full of shit? In November, he emphatically stated he would not run for President.

Perhaps fate and the unpredictability of the race will set things right. Still, I've got my money on the other Rick... Santorum. No one else provides such slapstick over the top humor. But, wait... I forgot Michele Bachmann! No worries. There'll be time...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Maybe I'll be a Zionist.

opposing points of view

Tom Wolfe coined the term, the “Me Decade” in a piece he wrote in New York Magazine, extrapolating the line from the Clairol ads of the day, “If I have one life to live, let me live it as a… ”

I don’t necessarily want to be a blonde. Maybe I’ll be a Zionist. It seems like the time is right. Although, if I don’t get on the bus now, I may miss the opportunity. The chance to become a zealous supporter of Israel through Zionist eyes doesn’t come around every day. Listening to the rants of Ahmadinejad or watching Inglorious Basterds get the juices flowing. Or, more recently, the posts and comments of an Irish woman named Anna on Facebook.

Facebook can be the “six degrees of separation” gone terribly wrong. I know someone who knows someone who idolizes Sarah Palin and still doesn’t believe the president was born in Hawaii.

In this case, it is someone I met in Salem who, along with her husband, publish an online newspaper. I talked to them about writing about the gangs in Salem. We had a lively conversation and I never saw them again. When I got on Facebook, I friended them and the virtual newspaper. On the eve of Israeli president Netanyahu visiting the United States, our president spoke in favor of asking the Israelis to relinquish the West Bank, which they had taken over after winning the 6 Day war of 1967. To Netanyahu, it is simply not a topic to discuss. And this is where Anna comes in…

Under “Basic information” on her Facebook page, where damned near everyone else writes a little bit of puffery about themselves, Anna wrote:

“FREE GAZA... There will only be peace when the Jews leave. They do not belong on Arab land.

They are committing GENOCIDE everyday they are there. They have proven with all the ethnic cleansing and wars that they have no respect for Palestinians.

. . . thanks to all decent peaceloving Palestinians who are suffering so much right now.”

Ah, Hamas children... they blow up so fast.

Really? That's what you want people to know about you, first and foremost?

My heart goes out to all the peaceloving Palestinians, particularly the ones who dress their kids up in explosives. Maybe Anna hasn’t read the Hamas Covenant (or Charter), issued in 1988. According to Wikipedia, the Covenant “outlines the organization's position on many issues, and identifies Hamas as the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine and declares its members to be Muslims who "fear God and raise the banner of Jihad in the face of the oppressors." The charter calls for the eventual creation of an Islamic state in Palestine, in place of Israel and the Palestinian Territories, and the obliteration or dissolution of Israel."

Anna lists as one of her favorite books, “Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine.” And on May 18, she commented on Facebook that “Israelis are pure evil.”

So I’ve decided, rather than call this Irish Jihadist what she is in terms of Middle English, without any substance behind it, I would read up on my Israeli-Palestinian history. I’ve ordered three books on the subject. One claims to be unbiased. Another is clearly pro-Israel. The third is a collection of pieces, so it may be more balanced than the other two. I feel a little like Captain Renault in Casablanca, when he drops the bottle of Vichy water into the trash and kicks the can. My Judaism has lain dormant for most of my life. What there was of it was more traditional than religious, more custom than ritual. But if what Anna buys into and spews is representative of even a dozen others, it is dangerous, and far too reminiscent of events and attitudes of the past. Yes, those events and attitudes.

Now, of course, I don’t really want to be a Zionist. Even some Israelis don’t want to be Zionist nor do they particularly like what they stand for. But, at the heart of it, Zionism is simply “the self-determination of the Jewish people in a sovereign Jewish national homeland.” Zionism takes many forms: Labor Zionism, Liberal Zionism, Nationalist Zionism, Religious Zionism, Green Zionism and so on. In 1975, the U.N. general assembly passed a resolution that designated Zionism as "a form of racism and racial discrimination." The resolution was repealed in 1991. By the way, the topic of accepting "Palestine" into the U.N. is being discussed. They are requesting membership if there is no peace with them and Israel by September. And who said there's no such thing as Palestinian comedy? Within the context of the Arab-Israeli conflict, Zionism is viewed by critics as a system that fosters apartheid and racism. The critics are, no doubt Arab. Wikipedia points out iin their page on Zionism that it “is dedicated to fighting antisemitism. Some Zionists believe antisemitism will never disappear (and that Jews must conduct themselves with this in mind), while others perceive Zionism as a vehicle with which to end antisemitism.”

All of which is to say that one needs to look past the labels and epithets and see people and their groups for what they are. Anna may be right– there may be some peaceloving Palestinians. Both of them may be very nice people. Then, there are the rest. I say that with an obvious tongue-in-cheek. Anna doesn't. From her words, she seems deadly serious, with an emphasis on 'deadly.' The thing is, there must be thousands–no, tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands–who feel the way Anna does. I don't know if her comments are directed at all Jews or just the Israelis. Rarely is the distinction made. Did I mention I am Jewish? To paraphrase Jon Stewart, I'm not really a Jew... I'm Jew-ish. I am Jew Lite. But there are certain images indelibly etched in my mind that neither time nor tolerance will erase. When I went to Hebrew School, ostensibly to study for my bar-mitzvah, I had a teacher who had numbers tattooed on his arm. The girl of my dreams in high school was forbidden to date me because I was Jewish. I was assigned to a room in the dorm my freshman year in school with a kid from Sewickley, Pennsylvania who had never seen a Jew before and was driven to stab me or throw me from the nearest window in our room on the 16th floor. And like the hundreds of thousands of Anna's, there are hundreds of thousands of Jews (or Jew-Lites, if you prefer), who have had close encounters with the holocaust, brushes with anti-semitism, and feelings of persecution. The stereotype is nerdy, over-achieving and most of all, sublimating... sucking up and keeping a lid on it. There have been books written on the subject. But I digress. The topic is the hate thrust upon Israelis and Jews for things they have and have never done.

And this is where you should drop the needle down on "Neighborhood Bully," on Bob Dylan's Infidels album.

I will follow up on this topic once I gain insight and the necessary background that will invariably reinforce my dislike of the people like Anna and their ignorant, misdirected hatred.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Santorum: McCain doesn't understand interrogation


Former Sen. Rick Santorum said Tuesday that Sen. John McCain, who spent 5 1/2 years enduring brutal treatment at the hands of his North Vietnamese captors, doesn't know how effective waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques can be. The Republican presidential contender insisted the tactics led the United States to al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

McCain, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a speech last week that waterboarding al-Qaida's No. 3 leader, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, did not provide information that led to bin Laden's compound in Pakistan.

McCain said he asked CIA Director Leon Panetta for the facts, and that the hunt for bin Laden did not begin with fresh information from Mohammed. In fact, the name of bin Laden's courier, Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti, came from a detainee held in another country.

"Not only did the use of enhanced interrogation techniques on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed not provide us with key leads on bin Laden's courier, Abu Ahmed, it actually produced false and misleading information," McCain said.

In an interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt on Tuesday, Santorum said McCain was wrong.

Harvard grad and right-wingnut Hugh Hewitt,
broadcasting from an undisclosed location (his basement).

"Everything I've read shows that we would not have gotten this information as to who this man was if it had not been gotten information from people who were subject to enhanced interrogation," Santorum said. "And so this idea that we didn't ask that question while Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was being waterboarded, he (McCain) doesn't understand how enhanced interrogation works.

"I mean, you break somebody, and after they're broken, they become cooperative. And that's when we got this information. And one thing led to another, and led to another, and that's how we ended up with bin Laden," said Santorum.

He added: "Maybe McCain has better information than I do, but from what I've seen, it seems clear but for these cooperative witnesses who were cooperative as a result of enhanced interrogations, we would not have gotten bin Laden."

In the House, Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., the chairman of the Intelligence committee, said the Justice Department should stop investigating CIA interrogators for alleged abuse of detainees under the Bush administration because their work was a "vital part of the chain" that led to the successful raid on bin Laden's hideout.

The Justice Department had no comment.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

The former senator/Fox commentator is a deeply and publicly religious man. He may even believe he is a gift from God. And in that assessment, I couldn’t agree more. The guy is a gift. I am sure all the president’s men think so. Former senator Santorum is right up there–classified as a gift from God–along side half-governor Palin and “The Donald.”

Many pundits and right wingnut radio pretty much declared Mr. Santorum the winner of this week’s South Carolina Republican candidate debate. Fox, the host of the debate, declared Ron Paul the winner. “” declared Godfather Pizza CEO Herman Cain the “unofficial” winner. Minnesota Governor, Tim Pawlenty was cranky more of the “candidates” chose not to participate. He was referring to Mitt Romney, but where was half-governor Palin, Michel Bachmann… and The Donald? Be thankful for small favors. Any of those three could suck the air out of the room… and Tom Pawlenty with them.

But back to our “gift from God” for a minute: In 2004, sex columnist Dan Savage launched a website and related campaign that defined “Santorum” as “the frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the by-product of anal sex.” Savage’s campaign was-and continues to be-so successful that any subsequent Google search on “Santorum” brings up the as the top link. The second highest link is Wikipedia, where “Santorum” is also defined as shitty spooge. Dan Savage, (no relation to Doc Savage, aka Michael Weiner) began his merry gay prankster campaign in response to former senator Santorum’s 2004 assertion that 2004 assertion that allowing same-sex marriage would lead to bestiality or, as Santorum put it, “man on dog.”

Homophobia should not be a dealbreaker for one running for president. No doubt, there are many Americans who probably agree with Santorum. For that matter, they may also agree with his statement during the debate (which he repeated in a post-debate interview with sympathetic blockhead, Sean Hannity.

“If you look at what President Obama has done right in foreign policy… it has been a continuation of Bush policies.” Santorum stated, adding, "He's done right by finishing the job in Iraq. He's done right by trying to win in Afghanistan. Those were existing policies that were in place." He continued, "What President Obama has done on his watch, the issues that have come up while he has been president, he's gotten it wrong strategically very single time."

Hmmm. Maybe Santorum could have alternate definitions. In addition to being a “frothy mixture,” it could also be a noun, synonymous with “liar” and/or “delusional simpleton.” erhaps, one could have a “Santorum,” which would mean a teeth whitening and brain reduction.

I need not go through a list of President Obama’s historic accomplishments since he’s been in office. Google it. They’re all there, and more... for example, what (or who) do we attribute the job growth that was reported on by the AP Friday?

Hiring now at fastest pace since 2006

WASHINGTON – American companies are on a hiring spree. Businesses delivered a jolt of strength to the economy by creating 268,000 jobs in April, the biggest monthly total in more than five years. The gains were solid across an array of industries, even beleaguered construction.

It was the third month in a row of at least 200,000 new jobs. The private sector has added jobs for 14 consecutive months. Even a slight rise in the unemployment rate to 9 percent appears to be a quirk.

The job growth was better than economists expected and perhaps the strongest sign yet that what they call a "virtuous cycle" has taken hold: When people spend more, corporate earnings rise, leading to more hiring and then more spending.

Companies have added more than 200,000 jobs for three months in a row.

… Retailers reported strong April sales, partly because Easter fell later than usual but also because people appear to be more willing to spend. Auto companies say sales are brisk. And factories have expanded production this year at the fastest pace in a quarter-century.

JEANNINE AVERSA, AP Economics Writer – Fri May 6, 7:03 pm ET

No one is claiming credit for this. Maybe President Obama, fresh off his victory lap for having Public Enemy #1 killed on his watch, should (duly) take the credit. It sure ain’t anything Bush did. Nor, for that matter, can Representatives Cantor, Boehner and (economic policy architect) Paul Ryan claim credit. While their “Path to Prosperity” espouses stimulating the economy with a commitment to less government spending and even lower taxes for the rich, jobs have increased and the market is going strong under the Obama administration. Spread the good news…

And let Santorum run… Support his canidacy. Encourage him to keep talking mealy-mouthed gibberish. Let the wingnuts see him as the voice of the sleeper cells of stupidity in this country. I'm thinking, a vote for Rick Santorum is a vote for Barak Obama. Do I need to break that down for you? Santorum, as in divisive.

Meanwhile, the rest of us need to stay awake, stay focused and, to paraphrase W, “stay the course.”

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

P-A-L-I-N spells moron.

Boy, I hate going back to the same tired well, filled with stagnant one-liners and flippancy that falls flatter than a badly baked soufflé. But why should I not take the obvious. It's like a gift. Late-night talk show hosts and the likes of Jon Stewart absolutely love when things like this happen. Stupidity is funny. Repeated stupidity is really funny. Or sad, depending on your perspective. Take the bit from Saturday night's White House Press Corps Dinner. You would have thought after her debacle over her reading material with Katie Couric, (the Perky One), Mrs. Palin would have gotten an answer together. Uh-unh... not our Sarah. Today's Huffington Post reports:

Stump the half-governor-- a really easy game.

Sarah Palin had a Katie Couric moment over the weekend during the White House Correspondents Dinner festivities.

At the MSNBC after party, NBC's blog NBCU Direct asked several party attendees the following question: Who do you think is the most influential journalist today?

But while most of the attendees had no problem coming up with answers (Eliot Spitzer said Brian Williams, as did Andrea Mitchell, while SNL's Bill Hader went for The New Yorker's David Grann), Palin fumbled when asked.

"Oh my goodness, that's a great question," she said, before turning to her husband Todd and asking for his input.

When Todd also balked, Palin came back and said, "Um, gosh, that's a great question, I have to think about it, OK? Because there are many."

Does Guns & Ammo count?

As Palin walked away from the camera, she ran into her Fox News pal Greta Van Susteren, and then turned back to the NBC cameras to shout, "Greta Van Susteren is the most influential journalist!"

• • •

Yesterday, stupid turned to snarky when, speaking in Colorado, Mrs. Palin pretty much ignored the facts, and the history and credited George Bush for the killing of Osama Bin Laden. According to AP, "In delivering a speech in Colorado on Monday night, Sarah Palin reacted to the death of Osama bin Laden and the path taken by the country to achieve the accomplishment.

According to multiple reports, Palin acknowledged President Barack Obama in her remarks, though not by name. She did, however, offer her thanks and appreciation to his predecessor George W. Bush.

"Yesterday was a testament to the military's dedication in relentlessly hunting down the enemy during many years of war," Palin said. "And we thank our president. We thank president Bush."

* * *

Is it any wonder why Newsweek is running a teaser on the cover of this week's issue asking, "Is Sarah Palin over?"

My answer is, "I hope not." Between her, Bachmann and Trump, I don't know which I find more amusing. Oh, and then there's word that Sharon Angle will be running for a house seat.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Einstein and Imbeciles

What is it? Einstein, I think, defined insanity as doing the same thing and expecting different results. I knew right-wingnut radio would do some sort of blow-back or reverse spin on the killing of Bin Laden, but when I actually heard it, I was shocked way beyond disappointment. I heard lunacy, lies and libel all in the same sentence. And this was from just one of the nuts. You know, the one who sounds like a neutered nut. Mark Levin. I shall refrain from the whack pronunciation. Oops.

The testosterone-deficient Mr. Levin said that the president did nothing and should get no credit for killing Bin Laden. It was the military, pure and simple. Oh, and beyond that-- get this, the operation was a clear vindication of George Bush, Dick Cheney, Scooter Libby and Don Rumsfeld. The operation was a result of Gitmo and advanced interrogation procedures. Really?

Some people kvetch that blogs are nothing more than an excuse to rant tirelessly at some obvious target-- in this case, right wingnut hate radio. And, the problem is??? This is my opinion and you can take it for what it is: Mark Levin is a treasonous, goading moron, who is sponsored and paid to prattle racist faux anger, wrapped up in constitutional tinsel, for the unwashed masses, who have been told they are the rightful inheritors of the American Dream. God, it makes me sick. He and the rest of them should have to proclaim their membership to SAG and AFTRA and just admit they are what remains of the Catskills and stand-up. They are bad lounge acts... worse than that, actually, because they seem to actually believe the shit they spew. Levin and Savage are, for me the worst. Savage? Don't fucking get me started. Such an obvious Lenny Bruce wannabe. Feh!

We will look back on these days and wonder how the fuck we could have just let them slip away.