Tuesday, April 29, 2014


When Is It Time? . . . The Bundy Ranch, or A Falling-out Among Thieves . . . Problems in the Front Office . . . Let's Play Screw the Poor! . . . What's the Opposite of Affirmative Action?

If you listen to the Chattering Classes in places like Fox, Drudge, Rush, etc., we live in a "post-racial" society.  After all, Americans elected and re-elected Barack Obama, America's first biracial President, right?


Well, it's not quite that simple.  During the 2008 election, people at a Sarah Palin-led rally shouted the N-word, and were not called out for it, or admonished that we don't use such language anymore.  It only got worse, with Obama's face grafted onto quite poorly-veiled racist and stereotyped posters and pictures.  I've seen them myself - as someone who voted for Obama, my coworkers enjoyed showing them to me.

One thing that the election of President Obama showed us is that racism is very close to the surface, no matter how much time has elapsed since the death of Jim Crow.  In fact, Jim Crow's alive and well, although the latest push to disenfranchise blacks, women, the young and minorities are carried our under the idea of combating "voter fraud."

So, when can we finally have an honest debate about race with the Right that doesn't involve them immediately saying that it doesn't exist, and even bringing up the question is racist?


The Bureau of Land Management has no trouble with allowing ranchers to let their cattle graze on federally-protected property, with the understanding that the ranchers pay a small fee for the privilege.  Cliven Bundy has taken advantage of this subsidy since his business was established in 1964.

I include the date so we can dispense with his ridiculous assertion that he had an "ancestral claim" on the land.  Like many of the Darlings of the Right (Sam "Joe the Plumber" Wurzelbacher, Dr. Ben Carson, etc. etc. etc.) that emerge, get a lot of air time, then fizzle out when the truth arises, a lot of Mr. Bundy's position is based on lies and half-truths, if not full-on, uncut bullshit.

That hasn't stopped militias (read: gangs of heavily-armed thugs and malcontents) from flocking to Bundy's side to defend his right to break the law, good law-abiding American that he is.  One group in particular, the "Oath Keepers," has decided to withdraw, probably because they got tired of sitting around in the sun. 

A mouthpiece for Bundy immediately branded them traitors and hinted that they might have ended up shot.  That would have made great footage on any of the networks - except for Fox, where Sean Hannity is still trying to wash Bundy's semen and his own drool from his manly chin.

Why?  Because someone did the one thing you NEVER do with a Darling of the Right:  Give him a microphone.  Bundy's rants revealed that he's a malignant little pustule of racism and bad impulses.

So it goes.


Speaking of Malignant Pustules, allow me to introduce to you one Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team.  Sterling started his career as an ambulance-chasing lawyer, graduated to slumlord, and bought the Clippers mainly so he could call himself important, apparently. 

His little racist rant (oddly enough directed toward his half-Latina, half-black girlfriend) may get him the Marge Schott treatment by the NBA.


The Republican caucus in the US House of Representatives have voted over 50 times - OVER 50 TIMES! - to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and every time they've failed miserably.  A successful repeal would have taken affordable medical insurance away from millions of Americans.  The Democrats support the ACA, and many want to improve upon it.

They've also failed to extend unemployment insurance to millions of Americans who struggle to get by in a down economy.  The Democrats want to help.

The Republicans are now facing a vote in the Democrat-controlled Senate on increasing the minimum wage, which would help millions of Americans.  The GOP caucus in the Senate and the House want to block it, the Democrats are all for it, because it would help Americans.

The Democrats want to raise taxes on the richest one percent, in order to reduce income inequality.  The Republicans want to cut or eliminate taxes on the one percent.

Tell me, who wants to help the country again?


Not the Supreme Court, apparently, because they decided that helping minorities get jobs or higher education isn't such a good thing after all.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Told You So

In an earlier post, I suggested that after their annexation of the Crimea, the Russians would turn their attention to the Don River basin and the city of Donetsk.  Historically, the Donbass has been the lifeline for the Crimea; supplies from the river area to the peninsula through the Sea of Azov helped Sevastopol hold off the British, French and Turkish armies in the 1854-56 war, and since the peninsula's resource-poor, the Donbass is strategically important. 

I hate being right at times.

So far, nine cities in the eastern Ukraine have seen their central government buildings taken over to varying degrees by either ethnic Russian 'militias' (backed by Russia, of course) or Russian troops in mufti.  Russian Army forces have completed their concentration on the east bank of the Don and seem to be awaiting their orders to cross the river and annex the Sudetenland - er, "come to the fraternal aid of their oppressed ethnic Russian brethren."

At least, that's how it'll be announced.

Ukraine's Interior Ministry troops are reportedly getting ready to take back the buildings and reassert control over the area, but I doubt they'll have the wherewithal or heart to withstand the Russian Army's 30,000 troops. 

I anticipate them getting their jump-off orders from Moscow by midsummer.  If I'm wrong, I'll be wrong.  If I'm right, Ukraine will lose a vital industrial area.

And there are times when I hate being right.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Stop Complaining About Political Corruption

If you voted for the guys who appointed John "Johnny Smiles" Roberts, Samuel "Sammy the Weasel" Alito, Antonin "Fat Tony" Scalia, Clarence "Quiet Man" Thomas and Anthony "Tony the Swinger" Kennedy to the United States Supreme Court, you should stop complaining about the corrupting influence of money in American politics.

Simply stop complaining. Thanks to this little quintet of mafiosi, people and organizations (let us recall the Mittbot's famous assertion that "Corporations are people too!" from the 2012 campaign) who have more money than you and I will make in our entire lifetimes will be able to wield more influence.

It started with the Citizens United decision, and was reinforced with the recent decision in McCutcheon v FEC.

I've written to my congressional delegation suggesting that a new law be passed requiring Congressmen and Senators to wear corporate logos (similar to the walking billboards that are NASCAR drivers) so we know who owns these people.

(Full disclosure: I'm as much to blame, having voted for Reagan. I have performed the necessary acts of penance and contrition.)

Head, Meet Bucket of Sand.

The United Nations released Part Two of the IPCC report on global climate change. Part One said that yes, global warming is real, and yes, it is anthropogenic (that's a big word! It means "man-made").

Part Two dwells upon the consequences - acidification of the oceans and a decline in fish; droughts in one area, floods in another, resulting in shortages of food grains (which is already being seen), extremes of local weather (heat waves, cold snaps, storms, etc.) getting more extreme, and so on.

This report is buttressed by a lot of science, going back about 25 years, and is accepted by 97% of the scientific community. NASA, and the Pentagon, both agree that the changes we are inflicting on the planet are a matter of great concern, even to the level of a national security threat.

Which means, of course, that politicians on the Right and energy producers can't stand it and want it to go away.

So, what to do?

Glad you asked! The Republican majority in the House of Reprehensibles on Wednesday passed the Bridenstine Bill, that will solve the global warming problems of America for good.


Again, glad you asked! The Bridenstine Bill will force the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to divert funding away from studying the effects of climate change on America, and instead concentrate on detecting storms. It won't out-and-out ban NOAA from studying it; just divert enough effort away from it to render anything the agency might do ineffective and barely noticeable.

Contrary to myth, ostriches don't bury their heads in the sand when threatened. Many humans, apparently, do.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Poisson d'Avril

From 1957: