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Fiscal Cliff: Republicans Will Lose

4:17 pm in Uncategorized by Omnipotent Poobah

So far, I’ve abstained from posts about the Fiscal Cliff or Fiscal Crag or Hoar Frosty Diving Board Into the Socio-Economic Pits of Hell. One, there is chatter enough without me throwing in my rapidly worthless 2 cents. Two, it is the most predictable story in the history of politics. But, let me to throw in at least a cent and a half with the caveat that this post isn’t all about the cliff, but the behavior surrounding the tax hike on the wealthy.

It’s safe to say the Republican party is suffering  bit of internal strife. Their election bid failed for many completely foreseeable reasons, not the least of which was acting like imbeciles led by a candidate who never met  a position he wouldn’t gladly abandon. The Republican intelligentsia, like Bobby Jindal (And let’s face it, how intelligent can your intelligentsia be if Jindal represents it?), keeps trying to tell the Tea Partiers, Grover Grovelers, and Evangelical Loons to cool it. “Psst. They finally caught onto us. Shut up and look smart for a change you guys.” But, they just don’t get it.

The GOP still can’t figure out they lost the election. Or maybe they’ve just practiced ignoring facts for so long they can’t break the habit. They’re under the mistaken impression they can continue to act as they have and no one will be the wiser. Oddly, this is partly Obama’s fault. Until now, he’s negotiated every issue by coming into the room offering concessions before the ink was dry on his proposal. With each concession came a new Republican demand he almost always accepted until he became the proud owner of a 1969 Belchfire 5000 with no wheels or engine. Republicans call this negotiating in bad faith, which is true if by “bad faith” you mean not negotiating at all, just capitulating.

Obama Gets a Backbone

Suddenly, Obama gets a backbone and now sets the terms. He’s willing to negotiate, but he’s set some hard rules for what he finds acceptable, secure in the knowledge the vast majority of Americans will back him up on it. Republicans can complain all they want that Obama hasn’t presented a proposal (which he has) and that their proposal is balanced (while still containing the very things Obama said he won’t concede to).

In the process of not seeing what is wrong with this picture, they have said some unbelievably nutty things. Last week Boehner suggested that Obama actually following through on his campaign promise to raise taxes on the wealthy was madness, madness I say! Which, in a way, I suppose it is. A politician delivering on what he promised would seem mad to a politician who never has. Then, there are the simple lunkheads who dig a deep hole deeper.

Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) is the richest woman in Congress, a full-fledged member of the soon-to-be more highly taxed group. Thomas Roberts of MSNBC asked the genteel woman from Tennessee, “Over 65 percent of Americans agree that taxes need to be higher on those making over $250,000 a year. And I know you like to say these are small business owners, these are people that are going to give jobs to the American people. But when we look at this as a whole and the mandate that was given as a collective voice with the president’s re-election and he ran on the fact that he was going to raise taxes, and now this polling supports that Americans want to see taxes raised,” Roberts continued. “How can you stand there within the halls of Congress and say that’s not something you are willing to do?”

To which Black answered, “Well, I think that’s a really good question (but apparently one not good enough to answer). But here’s my question: If I say I want my neighbor to pay more than what I pay — I don’t care what level you’re at, you will always have that happen — but I think that what a lot of the American people are not aware of is how it’s going to directly impact them, and that is their jobs. Because these are the job creators.”

Diane, Diane, Diane. You just called 65% of the American people ignorant of what the taxes mean. Hell, even Mitt only insulted 47% of America. This is not the way to increase your voter appeal. Plus, you are arguing against many super-wealthy Republicans by single-mindedly refusing to accept tax increases on them — even though the rich can already see the handwriting on the wall. When Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein — surely one of the most arrogant, least sympathetic rich people on the planet — calls for heavier taxes on himself, you know you’re seriously on the wrong side of the issue.

There are Too Many Jobs

But, you’re not the worst. Billionaire investor and author Ken Fisher thinks we have too many jobs. In his words, “…if we continue to innovate as we have been it will mean more output with fewer jobs in the future. In the long run we will all benefit.” I suppose that is true if all means we folks who fund lower taxes on his $1.4 billion fortune. It would seem, at least in Fisher’s case, that he doesn’t intend to create many jobs with his windfall.

Republicans who will drive over the cliff to save some tax money against the will of 65% of Americans are not displaying much political genius. They will eventually lose this battle one way or another. They will have to concede because the few rational supporters they have left will punch out or because there isn’t a chance in hell of them getting their demands met when they are in no position to demand anything other than calling french fries, Freedom Fries in the Congressional dining room.

They will lose because it’s folly to continue as the party of angry white guys when there are a rapidly dwindling number of angry white guys left. They will lose because they can’t cater to religious zealots who want to quash anything not contained in the Bible at the expense of millions who like their rights just the way they are thankyouverymuch. They will lose because their candidates show the intellectual capacity of turnips and their spokespeople throw hissy fits when their own bought-and-paid for TV network declares the election over when it is over…and then fires him because he was such a pain in the ass about it. They will lose because they can’t continue to say, “no” while nodding their head, “yes” as every conspiracy crackpot in the nation mouths off about commie plots, Kenyan pretenders, and FEMA death camps. They will lose because they will ice their cake by letting The Donald’s hair speak for them or don’t take the hook to Clint Eastwood rambling at an empty chair.

It would be hard to repeatedly expend thousands of rounds of NRA-approved ammo at their own feet unless they were trying…trying really, really hard. So in the vast scheme of things, capitulating to avoid the cliff dive or just doing a Thelma and Louise doesn’t amount to much. The only principle they have ever adhered to is the principle of free political market capitalism. They sold their entire party and a good part of the nation to a band of lunatics to plug self-inflicted holes in their Big Tent. Now that their political capital is well and truly squandered, they are looking for a bailout – a bailout from the people they sold their party to. The ones that got them into this pickle because they are too obstinate, arrogant, regressive, and, well ignorant not to see what they are doing to themselves.

So here’s my cent and a half’s worth: The physical cliff is the least of their worries.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks! More than politics, more than pop culture & humor.

The Election: Well, That was Anticlimactic

12:11 pm in Uncategorized by Omnipotent Poobah

Well, that was anticlimactic. We listened to a grueling (for voters) 4-year long campaign during which we witnessed the worst political spectacle of the epoch. If, “liar, liar, pants on fire” meant anything, there wouldn’t be a pair of Levis left on the planet. The country immersed itself in a boiling cauldron of rancor so deep there is no word in English to adequately describe it. And yet, after all that, we have essentially the same balance of power as before.Well played America, well-played.

It’s time for a few observations and maybe a little advice. For the “mandate” crowd, winning an election by the skin of your teeth does not a mandate make. For the “it’s imponderable we lost” crowd, no it isn’t. You acted like a bunch of jackwads. For the “gridlock will finally break” crowd, what makes you think reelecting largely the same people who are already bought and paid for is going to break gridlock?

But since the nation is populated with a large ignorati caucus, let’s break it down real simple like:

The Shallowest Anchorman in the History of Anchormen

  • Ohio voting lines were as long as depression era soup lines because Ohio can’t run an election to save their incompetent lives. It was not the, “African-Americans Ken Blackwell.
  • Brit Hume, America is not more liberal than many thought. Independents didn’t swing for Obama because they were liberal, they swung for Obama because Mitt Romney is a crapweasel.
  • Bill O’Reilly stated the obvious and then spun off to his unhappy place. Minorities and women did vote for Obama because, “they want stuff”. Many white men voted for Romney because, “they want stuff” too – namely the “stuff” minorities and women seek.
  • Brian Kilmeade, if America is the, “shallowest country in the history of man” because they considered Sandy a valid election issue, it is because you are leading much of the country away from common sense for a dip into the same “shallow” end of the gene pool in which you dog paddle.
  • Karl Rove, calling the Wars of Error huge successes is a lot like not believing actual math showing Obama won Ohio. Are you running for President on the Ignorati of Upsidedownistan ticket in 2016?
  • Ari Fleischer, a word to the unwise. Elections have consequences and if the Republican party never embraces LGBT and women’s rights you will suffer them.
  • Kudos to Tammy Baldwin for becoming the first openly gay senator. It is a big accomplishment for the LGBT community. But it’s also a big accomplishment for the straight voters who supported her and for a senate in dire need of diversity. That it pissed off the fundies is just icing on the cake.
  • Dear Central Virginia Assembly of God, putting religious voter guides inside the polls is against the law and upstanding citizens who feel obliged to lecture everyone else on morals should know that. May God visit his wrath upon you for worshipping asshatery above all else.
  • Ha ha, very funny Charleroi, PA Republicans. Putting up “NO PARKING FOR DEMOCRATS” and “WALK THAT WILL BE THE MOST WORK YOU DO ALL DAY” [sic] signs is a hoot. May you get a voter intimidation ticket.
  • Tea bagging True the Vote people, you haven’t taken back “your” country yet. Laws are still laws. Tampering with ballots is still tampering with ballots. Even if you hate the Big Government that passed them. Don’t complain if your cheating asses get thrown out of the polls.
  • Why the hell is Wall St. complaining about an Obama win? They made record profits since he’s been in office. Huge bonuses for being stupid all ’round!
  • So Diane Sawyer is a wine connoisseur. So what? She was just playing the drinking game where you take a hit every time a pompous asshole appeared on camera.

Donald Trump Impersonates Daniel Ortega

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks! More than politics, more than pop culture & humor.

 

Ann Coulter: You Know You’re a Douchebag When…

1:08 pm in Uncategorized by Omnipotent Poobah

You know you’re a douchebag when Michelle Malkin thinks you’re a douchebag. Today’s douchebag is douche recidivist – apologies to douchebags for comparing her to a feminine hygiene appliance – Ann Coulter who described Barack Obama as a, “retard” in a mid-debate tweet Monday. “I highly approve of Romney’s decision to be kind and gentle to the retard,” she said.

“What a stupid, shallow thing to say, Ann,” said Malkin, who is a bit of a douchebag herself sometimes.

There are two things unique about this picture. First, Coulter chose the words, “kind and gentle”, two words missing from her lexicon until now. She usually chooses something like, “communist imbecile”. Still, that’s better than Rush Limbaugh who would’ve used, “communist imbecile manslut”.

Second, Malkin – who sometimes uses similar words – seemed genuinely offended. She must be going all liberal and shit because her complaint put her in league with a gaggle of socialist Hollywood fellow travelers like, Michelle Branch, Marlee Matlin, and Christina Applegate.

The R-Word

All the tweets specifically addressing the offending word used, “the R word” in place of “retard”. It evokes the “N word” debate. Not saying the word is probably worse than saying it during a discussion about it. These words are offensive, but people with brains functioning better than a marshmallow wouldn’t use them. But once you cross the line, better the ignorance of the user is on display for everyone to ridicule…and ridiculing Coulter is like ridiculing belly up fish in a barrel.

Of course Deadfish McCoulter doubled down, “The only people who will be offended are too retarded to understand it,” was her first response. In true Conservo-Coultarian fashion, she ducked any responsibility later when that excuse didn’t fly. “Obama: Stage 3 Romneya – because cancer references are HILLARIOUS. If he’s the smartest guy in the room it must be one retarded room.” That response – if you’ll excuse me for using the R-word just this once – isn’t even “retarded” it’s incompetent.

Ann, Stage 3 Romnesia is an AMNESIA reference, not a cancer reference and I’m fairly sure there is no amnesia lobby complaining about offenses involving “the A-word”. Though I sometimes wonder if Romney doesn’t have some sort of huge goobulent tumor, Obama was implying he forgets things easily when it suits him.

And, “the smartest guy(s) in the room” were Enron execs, which makes Obama sound like a very smart man indeed when compared with that lot of thieves and scoundrels –at least a lot smarter than someone who accidentally turns a perceived minus into a positive.

However, it isn’t for me to decide whether “the R-word” is offensive. I have no skin in the game other than taking great delight in reminding the world what a turd Coulter is – apologies for offending all you turds out there. But, Special Olympian and Down syndrome sufferer John Franklin Stephens can make the interpretation.

Well Played Franklin, Well Played

In one of the most eloquent letters I’ve ever read – written by an intellectually disabled person or not – Stephens makes his own point from the moral high ground. Ground where he stands head and shoulders above Coulter…or me. The letter is well thought out, sincere – and perhaps surprisingly – very magnanimous.

After pointing out all the misconceptions in Coulter’s comments, Franklin’s letter offers a touching olive branch.

“After I saw your tweet, I realized you just wanted to belittle the President by linking him to people like me. You assumed that people would understand and accept that being linked to someone like me is an insult and you assumed you could get away with it and still appear on TV. Well, Ms. Coulter, you, and society, need to learn that being compared to people like me should be considered a badge of honor.”

“Come join us someday at Special Olympics. See if you can walk away with your heart unchanged. [Signed] A friend you haven’t met yet.”

Well-played Franklin, well-played.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks! More than politics, more than pop culture & humor.

Tagg Romney is a Little Hot Under the Collar

4:09 pm in Uncategorized by Omnipotent Poobah

 

What a joke. No, really, what a joke.  Tagg Romney wants to whomp the Prez up side the head? Despite the faux outrage over his “threat”,  I’m pretty sure the Taggster meant a metaphorical whomp. I’m equally sure the Secret Service saw it that way too. After all, Tagg isn’t spread eagle on the ground at the business end of a drunken Secret Service agent’s Glock. Besides, brother Josh apologized for him. Apparently, Tagg has the same aversion to embarrassing questions as Dad has to Evil Empress Whoopi Goldberg and the ladies of the View.

Please, don’t hit me Tagg! It’s a joke!

‘I’m Hankerin’ for a Shot of Milk in a Dirty Glass’

But let’s pretend, shall we? What if Tagg actually meant it? What if he is secretly a swaggering Mormon who’s handy with his fists, has a quick temper, and thirsts for a swig of milk…in a dirty glass? What if Obama had said to you, “Young ‘un. Your Pa is a dirty, low down liar!” I suspect you’d be pissed and spit back, “Meet me on Main Street at high noon you piss pot little varmint. We’ll duke it out mano-a-man.”

Hell, even Malia and Sasha would kick holy hell out of your knees if you said that about their Dad – as Tagg’s Dad occasionally does. Circling the wagons is what families do. Most of us don’t cotton to familial insults even if we suspect, deep inside, they might be more than a little true. It is the way of wagon trains – and families. Blood is thicker than water. It’s thicker than cold, hard facts too.

Empirically, Obama is right. Mitt’s pants catch fire more often than an unregulated oil refinery. In fact, he lies more often than his famously lying running mate, Paul Ryan (Romney’s robust 9% vs. Ryan’s wimpish 7%). In fairness, Willard had been lying longer, so the spread is understandable. (On a personal note, I think Mitt’s lies are more artfully crafted than Paul’s. His 47%  “mistake” that was merely inartfully put is comedy gold. Kudos, really. It put’s Paul “Ayn” Ryan’s “Balanced Budget Plan” to shame.

Props on Romney’s Wide White Belt and Straw Shoes

But Tagg does have a point that Obama calling Daddy a liar is disingenuous, even if the Prez only does it 2% of the time. Mitt has always been a quantity-over-quality man. However, Obama gets a lot of style points. His lies are to Mitt’s lies as a pair of finely tailored wool pants are to Mitt’s window pane check, polyester capris circa 1982. Props on Mitt’s wide white belt and straw shoes though.

Tagg, the point here isn’t Obama calling your Dad a liar. That is demonstrably true. The point isn’t you wanting to stomp the O-Man into a Chicago pizza grease spot. Even if your desire was just an inartfully stated joke. That’s your DNA’s fault. It isn’t even that Obama lies too so Dad is justified in calling him out on it – even though the political calculus suggests Malia and Sasha would be justified in coming to beat you like a 9th Century Persian tapestry from your Dad’s bathroom.

The point is that your Dad is a liar. And Malia and Sasha’s Dad is a liar. Worse yet, they both hire surrogates to lie so they don’t have to do the dirty work of politics themselves – though I suppose that does create  jobs for professional surrogates. There is no need to get all huffy about someone telling the truth about your Dad’s lies or for your opponents to chuckle in the corner…until they get caught in lies – even fashionable ones. Everyone knows everyone else is lying. Everyone enables the lies with applause, contributions, and votes. Lying is one of the traits that separates humans from apes – if you believe that sort of science. But that doesn’t make it right.

Damn! Now I want to take a swing at somebody!

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks! More than politics, more than pop culture & humor.

Jack Welch as a Virtual Business Messiah

6:28 am in Uncategorized by Omnipotent Poobah

GE Housatonic Superfund project site

GE Housatonic Superfund project site (Photo: CorpsNewEngland/flickr)

I worked for GE during the “halcyon” days of Jack Welch.  There were many things to recommend GE in those days, but Jack Welch was not one of them. Today, many people remember Jack Welch as a virtual business messiah.

The guy turned massive profits and was (and is) the darling of Wall Street, but it seems a lot of people have forgotten a lot of things about Jack…one of them being he could also be the most flamboyantly dumb man ever. He returns to that glory with his birther-like charges of Obama fiddling jobs numbers a month from the election.

His baseless charges are his Harry Reid, “Romney never paid taxes” moment – all huff with no puff. At their heart, the charges are more of an attack on Obama’s integrity than anything to do with the jobs numbers and they contain not a smidge of proof. It’s laughable that a man with less integrity than Donald Trump would make such claims. Let’s review some of Jack’s suspect history of integrity:

  • Jack Welch sold the electronics division, but waited until the next morning to call the division president in to let him know.
  • At a time when the company was stressing loyalty to GE employees, Welch said loyalty to a company was an outmoded concept. He denied saying it, despite dozens of witnesses.
  • His nickname was “Neutron” Jack because of his penchant for “killing” employees by offshoring their jobs but leaving the factory buildings intact – much like a neutron bomb would. In fact, forget Bain. He was one of the pioneers in offshoring while touting the superior abilities of American workers.
  • Under his “leadership”, GE created several new Superfund sites and refused to clean up old ones. One requires dredging the entire Hudson river downstream of a GE plant to remove contaminated river bottom. The work still isn’t done.
  • The company regularly faced fines for financial “irregularities” like teaming with diamond company DeBeers to fix prices and corner the industrial diamond market using GE’s artificial diamond business. They sewed up 90% between them.
  • Jack fell “victim” to what was then the world’s largest divorce settlement. His wife found an affair with a mistress he kept in a very expensive Manhattan apartment to take “Little Jack” for a few sprints around the bedpost.

The list goes on. He has a long history of stretching or downright lying in his past – many of them with solid proof.

Although it too often comes from both sides of the aisle, these charges, without proof, about something so critical to the nation doesn’t speak well for his integrity. Just ask his boys Mitt and Paul, both of whom rarely meet a truth they could tell. I don’t know whether Jack is right or wrong on this count, but I doubt it. I certainly wouldn’t admit I had no proof and then refuse to take my charges back the next day and I’m not doing that here. It’s a long-shot, but Jack may be right – I don’t know and neither does he. But if Obama truly fudged the numbers, why stop at a few tenths of a percent? Why not lop off a lot? Why make the charges if you can’t back them up?

If you choose to listen to a messiah, listen with some context. Messiahs don’t always tell the truth. Sometimes they don’t even know the truth. Here’s another provable fact. Jack Welch was once named one of the Top 10 CEOs in the nation not worth the money paid to them.

Some messiah.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks! More than politics, more than pop culture & humor.

Truth is the First Casualty of Politics

4:34 pm in Uncategorized by Omnipotent Poobah

Truth is the first casualty of politics. Politicians warp it, distort it, and spin it like Whirling Dervishes. When all else fails, they simply lie their way around it, all the while claiming a fantasy moral high ground where it is perpetually Orwell’s 1984truth is fiction and fiction is truth.

A sentient person should expect a certain amount of this. After all, it is a candidate’s job to present themselves in the best possible light. But, there is a huge difference between good lighting and whispering lies from the shadows.

Sometimes facts are both truthful and verifiable. You can argue 1+1=9422, but that doesn’t make it true or a fact. When the fact is so immutable as to render it above challenge, some simply lie. “But it does equal 9422! Most leading mathematicians say so.” No they didn’t.

Pulling Saturn from its Orbit

Perhaps the most time-tested, hardest-to-clarify, and in some ways least honest lie is a spin so powerful it pulls Saturn from its orbit. People usually call this “interpretation”. No doubt almost everything has some degree of real interpretation, but quoting words without also quoting lines before and after that show an opposite meaning is not interpretation. Cherry picking only the facts that agree with your position while vigorously denying an opponent’s isn’t interpretation either – though it is depressingly frequent. Stephen Colbert calls these “facts” truthiness.

Barack Obama acknowledged in a recent 60 Minutes interview that his campaign sometimes goes over the top. You have to give him props for that. It is a limb most candidates avoid like dangling from it with a drunken lumberjack and sharp chainsaw. But, acknowledgement isn’t an apology or a pledge to give up on cooking the books of truth.

“Do we see sometimes, us going overboard in our campaign, the mistakes that are made or the, you know, areas where there’s no doubt someone could dispute how we are presenting things? That happens in politics,” Obama said. Ironically, that was a totally indisputable truth, but one that doesn’t excuse his participation.

Sadly, the President went on to tell another untruth. “The truth is of the matter is most of the time we’re having a vigorous debate about the vision of the country.” However, if lies and distortion constitute having a “vigorous debate about a vision of the country” we’re having it with cheap, dime store, non-prescription bifocals.

Michele Bachmann comparing the use of census data to throw Japanese into concentration camps during WWII is “factual” as it goes, but……

“If we look at American history, between 1942 and 1947, the data that was collected by the Census Bureau was handed over to the FBI and other organizations at the request of President Roosevelt, and that’s how the Japanese were rounded up and put into the internment camps,” she said about one of the most unfair and egregious acts in American history.

Would I Lie to You?

So far, so good, but then Bachmann implies there is a plot without actually saying the words, “There is a plot.” (NOTE: Some reports claim she explicitly talked of a plot in other interviews, but I can’t completely verify they are true). But carefully read Bachmann’s language and you see some heavy handed dervishing. So heavy handed that even Fox’s Megyn Kelly, not exactly a hostile interviewer, doesn’t ask to clarify what she means.

“I’m not saying that that’s what the administration is planning to do,” she said as she outlined a plan. “But I am saying that private personal information that was given to the Census Bureau in the 1940s was used against Americans to round them up, in a violation of their constitutional rights, and put the Japanese in internment camps.” Strictly factual? Yes. Sublime truthiness? Um, decide for yourself.

There isn’t a person in the species that hasn’t lied, even Mother Theresa. It is as human a trait as opposable thumbs. At the risk of being accused of moral relativism, not all lies are bad. However, they are still lies and a fully true answer might be hurtful, but a more morally correct one. But, we don’t live in utopia where everything is orderly, clean, and unambiguous. Haters gonna hate, actual human beings gonna lie.

Dishonesty and its morality are at the crossroads of every society. Sometimes, as in modern-day America, the lies get too big. The lies come too easy, we believe them too easily, and we all enable them. Lies also have consequences.

Recognizing there will be lies until cockroaches exclusively reclaim the planet is a first step toward making things better. So are thinking carefully, investigating fully, admitting mistakes and obfuscations, and holding the feet of at least the biggest, baddest liars to the fire are big steps too.

Would I lie to you?

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks! More than politics, more than pop culture & humor.

You Know Why They Hate Us?

8:09 pm in Uncategorized by Omnipotent Poobah

Joe Scarborough, Conservative Fruitcake

(photo: DonkeyHotey/flickr)

MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough created a controversy on Monday by suggesting Muslims and Arabs protesting the infamous, and infamously bad, anti-Islamic video hate America because of their religion and culture. “You know why they hate us?” he said. “They hate us because of their religion, they hate us because of their culture, and they hate us because of peer pressure. And you talk to any intelligence person, they will tell you that’s the same thing, and all those people who think we’re going to go over there and change them are just naive.”

Joe is specifically blaming Islamic religion and Arab culture, which isn’t necessarily true, but there are some connections – just not the type he’s suggesting. Before throwing his baby out with the bathwater, consider this:

Islam is not the problem. The Koran teaches more or less useful, peaceful lessons about loving your neighbor and doing good – at least you can interpret it that way. The Koran is no different than most holy books in that sense. It is all in the interpretation and who does the interpreting. Fortunately, the vast majority of Muslims follow the peaceful part and leave the troublemaking to a relatively small percentage of over-zealous firebrands. Violence is not a Muslim thing, it is a human thing.

Using Religion to Stir Up Trouble

Just as some fundamentalist Christians make weird and violent interpretations of the scriptures, some Muslim clerics who do the same with the Koran. There is little difference between a preacher who advocates killing abortion doctors or spewing Westboro Baptist’s, “God Hates Fags” lunacy and a Muslim cleric launching a fatwa against the U.S. because we “allowed” a nutty, money-laundering, soft porn maker to insult Muhammad and Allah. Both are prostitutions of religious teachings. But, that doesn’t mean that media, and especially politicians, don’t use religion to stir up trouble in the service of their own agendas.

In the current case, a gaggle of extremists wanted to advance their agenda. They could’ve made a more genuine argument by pointing out the many pitfalls of American policy and the damage they’ve been dealt by the World’s Only Remaining Superpower™. However, that’s a complicated, tough sell. Bar charts, pie graphs, and lectures from historians about American policy’s effect on the Arab/Israeli/American quagmire are yawners. It’s much easier to get the kids busy making fire bombs and laying in a good supply of rocks and protest signs, then light a match. Poor, uneducated people who’ve heard nothing but lies for centuries are fertile targets for a little rage.

Middle Eastern governments have a variety of reasons for keeping America’s feet over their citizen’s fires. For some, like Egypt’s Mubarak, the reason was not appearing to be an American puppet. The current Egyptian government is in turmoil over sectarian divides and is a still morphing “democracy” sitting atop shaky legs. They don’t want their people probing the fault lines too vigorously for fear of an everlasting Arab Spring, summr, fall, and winter.

Until recently, Pakistan put on a love America storyline for westerners, but told Pakistanis all their problems come from Washington. In Afghanistan, Karzai wants to deflect attention from his unfortunate appetite for airplane loads of $100 bills. If he doesn’t distract his people, they might want some of those pallets of money themselves. Libya is in shambles and the government so weak they couldn’t help the U.S. even if they wanted. It is easier for them to float the idea that the U.S. could’ve made everything easy had they just invaded the place and thrown Gaddafi out – but since they didn’t go bomb their place, not ours. And, stop asking questions.
Read the rest of this entry →

Conventions and Clint Eastwood: May They Go the Way of the Dodo Bird

4:08 pm in Uncategorized by Omnipotent Poobah

The Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Barack Show is underway, leaving us all to wonder why we even need conventions – especially if your secret guest speakers are His Eloquency Clint Eastwood and the Imaginary Barack the Kenyan Kommunist. They are outmoded in an instantaneous 24×7 world.

According to the Great Big Screaming Heads, the primary function of the Republican World Lie-a-Thon Champeenships was to introduce Mitt to America. Apparently introducing him is really hard. He’s been running since 2008. Of course, the crazy wing of the party could say incredibly stupid things at exactly the most inopportune times. Party swells cozied up to big donors and assorted cash-laden hangers-on for a little up-close and personal grifting. And, Mittens got to enjoy his favorite political banquet meal…rubber chicken slathered in Dom Perignon caviar sauce served by a brace of virgin Sister Wives.

Barry doesn’t need a convention to introduce himself, though maybe pretending to be someone else would be advantageous. When people can’t decide between you and an unprincipled, unlikable misfit there is trouble afoot. Still, Democrats will indulge in the same conventioneering as the Mittenites, except they’ll replace the infirm Clint with ancient Betty White. We should never allow people that old to drive or address large groups of people in prime time – with or without an empty chair. It’s a disaster.

Once upon a time, conventions – like 4-year long campaigns and the Electoral College – meant something. Today, not so much.

Before people became professional candidates instead of legislators and corporate lackeys, conventions still held some magic, some suspense. Occasionally, the primary orgy of the previous two years didn’t lock up every state before things even got off the ground. The parties didn’t usually squash the rugged individualism of states and single delegates out of existence by bald threats and deft agenda control. Votes still meant something. Now? Pffft!

People used to pay attention to conventions too. They tuned in to watch grown men and women in plastic straw boater hats tell the world their political shit not only didn’t stink, but was positively essential for a balanced diet. There were balloons and tchotchkes and back room deals. It was all quite festive and gave delegates a reason to vote FOR someone instead of prevaricate for an unapproachable, stock-still statue of the Angel Moroni.

Many people used to look forward to the party platform’s grand reveal. Democrats and Republicans always used the same standard template. There were lots of flag-waving, no-brainer, popular, chicken in every pot promises that wouldn’t survive the inaugural ball. No one actually believed them, but they were such fun.

Today, nasty outliers conspire to create platforms guaranteed to piss everyone off – including their own supporters, God, and Jerusalem. Planks like no abortions – even when a rapist with a rusty Bowie knife stabs Mom to death – don’t elicit much support. Well, except for professional goobs like Rush Limbaugh, Tony Perkins, and any Republican who wouldn’t understand a rape if he woke up with a sore bunghole.

The modern convention – and likewise the Electoral College, primaries, and campaigns lasting more than 2 weeks – are anachronisms. They are overly expensive dodo birds that serve no discernible purpose. They distract everyone. But then, maybe that’s why we still have them. People need a distraction after a 4-year campaign.

“The delegate from the great state of Sensibilonia moves we abolish all conventions and adjourn so we can get to the massage parlors before they close for the night!”

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks! More than politics, more than pop culture & humor

Why Do Conservatives Hate America, Er, Sex

7:26 am in Uncategorized by Omnipotent Poobah

Explain why you don’t wear a flag pin on your pajamas, or that the 10 Commandments and the Bill of Rights are entirely separate documents, or why you believe Barack Obama is an American citizen to a rabid conservative and they’re likely to ask, “Why do you hate America?”

My question for them is, “Why do you hate sex?”

After all, conservative Catholics believe the celibate ringleader of the world’s largest pedophile ring when he says sex is for procreation – no fun allowed.

And that whole homo sex thing reads like swing set assembly instructions written by Siberian prison labor outsourced by Bain Capital. “Tab-ski A only fits in Slot-ski B, but never insert Tab C-ski in Slot D-ski” – so confusing.

Just exactly how does gay marriage degrade your own marriage? How does a soldier who doesn’t mention being gay and that you don’t ask about being gay become gay by being asked or telling? Perhaps you wouldn’t be so confused if you didn’t interrupt Larry Craig for an explanation while he is practicing his wide stance at Minneapolis International. I’m given to understand wide stance consummation can be very distracting.

You also like your experts in morality. Just ask David Vitter, a man who visits more prostitutes than Charlie Sheen. When you need advice on strong marriages serial adulterer Newt Gingrich will explain it all…politics made him do it.

When you’re helping that unplanned son or daughter with their biology homework ask just about any other conservative male how lady plumbing works. They really know their stuff. Michele Bachmann can help the kids get extra credit by explaining how HPV vaccine causes cancer.

Why do you feel a swell of, um, “pride” when the little woman whispers, “Oh God, oh God, oh God” while faking an orgasm? Isn’t that using the Lord’s name in vain?

Everyone knows you think sex toys are the work of the devil. So bad, you want to try owners in a court forbidding Sharia law, which ironically really cracks down on the dildo-wielding set. Still, I understand why you’re embarrassed. The 5-year old walking out during the pastor’s visit yelling, “Look Mommy, I found a rocket ship!” can be mortifying – especially when the reverend suggests that dunking you like a witch in the baptismal pool will drive the devil out.

You believe promise rings are an effective form of birth control, that kids will never discover sex unless the Obamunists expose them to sex education in school, and that pregnancy begins with a gleam in Daddy’s debauched eye…but that’s OK, because men are entitled by God to be debauched.

Finally, why are you so obsessed with everyone else’s sex life?

I hear getting laid will help with that.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks! More than politics, more than pop culture & humor

The Right of a Person to Laugh Shall Not be Abridged…

10:24 am in Uncategorized by Omnipotent Poobah

Good on ya’ Mitt. You cracked a joke. I didn’t think you had it in you. You’re usually as stiff as a cardboard cutout of yourself, yet you cracked a joke…and it was funny.

BTW, forget all this stuff about the joke being a nefarious plot. In addition to reasonably good “sing along with the radio when no one is in the car” renditions of Motown hits, Obama brings the funny sometimes too. Who doesn’t remember Obama’s joke about your shameful Sheamus episode? Well, um, other than Barry.

I’m sure it is only happy coincidence that either of you tell pretty good jokes. Judging from the tenor of your campaigns, I don’t think either of you employ joke writers – though sometimes I’m not so sure about your surrogates.

Things are funny for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the truth in the punch line. Birthers are funny in a deranged sort of way. They wouldn’t believe Obama isn’t a Kommunist Kenyan if you teletransported them back to the delivery room. You have to admit, there’s something hilarious about that sort of willful, batshit ignorance. In fact, they are the funniest of all political comedic goats. They are caricatures of themselves. Can we all say, “Dr. Orly Taitz (esq)“?

And your dog strapped to the roof? Best damn sight gag ever. Comedy gold! And, Obama was right to joke about it too.

Look, the country is flushing itself down the crapper. In general, not much is funny these days. People need comedic relief – other than what passes for policy statements anyway. There are far too many sancitimonious dill-pusses who can’t find a scosh of humor in the bleak landscape of their own demagoguery. Maybe if they spent half the energy bringing the funny as they do bringing the vitriol we wouldn’t be neck deep in a Three Stooges sketch involving Curly sinking into a pit of faux quicksand while Larry blocks Moe’s eye-poke by placing his hand between his eyes.

Remember, a laff a day keeps the default away.

With the exception of psychopaths, laughing is a universal human trait. We find ourselves and others funny, even if it is in a nervous titter sort of way. It’s time we reclaim the one, most important right not in the Bill of Rights, “The right of a person to laugh shall not be abridged regardless of race, creed, color,  sex, national origin, or any other reason.”

Remember, somber is easy. Comedy is hard.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks! More than politics, more than pop culture & humor