Saturday, January 22, 2011

KO: The Sacrifical Mutton

Oh, the angst. Keith Olbermann leaves MSNBC. Well, he left "by mutual consent," which is a euphemism for getting the sack. And people expostulate. That's right. The Left mourn the loss of one of their own, their voice, their conscience.

Spare me.

A multi-millionaire Leftwing television presenter who couldn't abide sharing the same broadcast with anyone of a differing opinion, a narcissist who had issues with women in general, an effete who represented everything pejoratively elitist about the Democratic party which turned OFF the demographic whom they originally represented and disenfranchised them to such a point that they became ripe fruit for the picking by the avaricious and deceptive GOP, has left the building.

I am at a loss at the attitudes of people who should know better, demanding boycotts of the network and petitions for reinstatement and apportioning blame on that omnipresent entity, the sinister "corporation."

To quote a well-known Rightwing sage (and that's an oxymoron), I say to you this:

Man up! You've lost nothing, and Olbermann's left with his pockets laden down from whatever $30 million weighs. He'll serve out whatever time proscribed by his severance contract, in tweeting and twittering away; and at the end of his corporately-imposed exile, he'll most likely get snapped up by Roger Ailes and decamp to take up residence as Fox's voice from the other side, their first liberal infotainer since the retirement of Alan Colmes, snugly wedged between his old nemeses, Beck and Bill-O, and maneuvering his way around Fox to present Countdown.

That move makes sense. It shows Fox as really "fair and balanced," and it garners the network a whole new tranche of liberal/moderate/Progressive viewers, including the usual haters from the Right who watched and agonised over Olbermann's antics on MSNBC as much as the usual suspects from the Left do the same with Beck on Fox. A gig like that will also most likely pay KO a sizeable amount more than MSNBC would, so everyone would be happy.

Olbermann could carry on speaking his version of truth to power to the Right as well as continuing his argumentum ad hominem attacks, from time to time, on the President. That's a small price for Fox to pay, enduring criticism from a Leftwing commentator, who - every time the only adult in the room does something the fraternity of eternal children cannot abide and refuse to understand - engages in the worst kind of rhetoric against someone from his own side of the political equation.

Keith would be ratfucking with Rove and not even be aware that he's doing it, laughing all the way to the bank - or to Yankees' games in the company of Sean Hannity.

In the meantime, until the martyr serves his sentence, it might be mete for the hoi polloi who hung on his every word to try to engage their minds with Lawrence O'Donnell, who's not averse to presenting (and subsequently skewering) a divergent viewpoint and whose program encourages viewers to re-acquaint themselves with the lost art of the Left: the ability to think critically.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Judged by the Company One Keeps, Dahlink

There's an old Spanish proverb, which states, roughly translated, "Tell me whom you pal around with, and I'll tell you who you are."

Now, that really means that a person is judged by the company they keep. Back in 2008, a certain very egotistical and narcissistic Vice-Presidential candidate asked the public to believe that a certain Presidential candidate was unworthy of attaining the Oval Office, because he "palled around with terrorists."

So, what are we to believe when presented proudly with a picture, posted on her Facebook page, of none other than that sage, strident and omnipresent Progressive pundit-cum-voice of the beleagured Middle Class, Arianna Huffington, nestled cosily in the crook of an arm belonging to Darrell Issa, whilst out on a night of partying in Las Vegas on the night of the day which saw Rep Gabrielle Giffords shot?

Here's the link to the picture, itself:-

Notice Issa's easy, proprietorial body language. Here's a man with his property, or at least someone who buys what he's selling, and I'm not talking about car alarms.

For anyone seeing the logic of the President writing an op-ed in the WSJ, basically in response to Issa's open-handed invitation to tell the fat cats what they want undone, then Huffington's totally and deliberately misrepresented take on this as seen on the Olbermann show last night, suddenly makes method of her madness.

It's as important to remember that Mrs Huffington, who during her 1990's enchantment with one Newt Gingrich (an enchantment which is still lasting to this day, considering the intimate little photo she displayed from her summer holiday in Amalfi, which just happened to include "bumping into" Newt), led the internet clarion call to impeach Bill Clinton as it is important to remember that the man in whose arm she's nestling holds the power to subpoena, investigate and impeach that man whom he's gone on record as having "the most corrupt Administration in history."

We all know that the accusation that President Obama "palled around with terrorists" was blatantly false, unless Bill Ayers was Obama's babysitter in Indonesia or Hawaii; but every picture tells a story, and this particular one says Arianna Huffington is palling around with a sinister-looking, high-ranking Republican with a dubious criminal history, who holds the power of impeachment in his greasy, corporately corrupt hands.

Fine with me if Arianna wants to indulge in a little bit of Rovian ratfuckery. I never bought her Damascene conversion anyway. So she's ratfucking her Progressive following, but what's she doing with the King Rat?

Same Shit, Different Day, Same Lies, Same Voices

Last week, I watched the return of Real Time with Bill Maher. I always approach each episode of that show with trepidation, because I never know whether Bill's actually going to show up and give us a provocative hour of good commen sense observations or whether he's going to phone in his apt impersonation of a Class A cockhead in desperate need of a condom to cover his face.

I was neither pleased nor disappointed with this week's show, apart from the fact that one of his panel guests was the ludicrous Chrystia Freeland, who sounds like Megan Mullally, trying to be serious after admitting to having smoked two packs a day. Bill sat her between the Democrat James Carville and the Republican Mike Murphy, and I've yet to ascertain anything either of the two men disclosed, because they were constantly being interrupted by this woman. Later in the show, Martin Short appeared, and the latter third of the panel discussion section disintegrated into a frenetically childike dialogue between Freeland and Short, which amounted to Freeland jumping gleefully up and down in her seat as she and Short discussed how much better Canada was than the States - ne'mind the fact that both probably earn much more money here than in their own home country, but there you go.

What disappointed me the most occurred during Bill's initial interview with Elizabeth Warren, when he asked her if he thought anything was achieved by the President "caving" to the Republicans' demand to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest people in the country. I thought it was a pretty stupid question, especially to ask a woman who is a special advisor to the President and, therefore, part of the Administration, itself. It's almost as if Bill thought Warren a pretty smart cookie, but a cookie who was book-smart and lacking in common sense, taking advantage of the fact that Warren apparently likes Bill and feels comfortable on his show, thinking she'd offer an opinion that would garner him a gotcha moment on which he'd feast for the rest of the season.

Of course, Warren gave a safe answer. Whatever she thought of the extension of the tax cuts, she's the sort of person who would see the benefits the President got from this situation that would favour the demographic Warren champions: the fabled Middle Class.

It just stuck in my craw that Maher and many like him are still pushing the myth that Obama "caved" on the tax cuts. He "caved" to the Republicans' demands. He's weak. He has no backbone. He is, as Maher rather self-righteously proclaimed on national television at the end of last year, a "pussy."

As if the only thing that mattered, the be-all and the end-all to people supposedly "in the know", the pundit crowd, were those damned tax cuts. Nothing else mattered, not the unemployed, not the working classes or even the working poor, to whom Maher later tipped the wink as being the bulk and majority of that demographic collectively known as "the Middle Class," the politicos, the pundits, the dittoes following their leads in the blogosphere all wanted that one almighty point scored against the Republicans - right, dead and square in their big, fat, white belly.

A woman in California, a union official and activist for the ILWU, who happens to be an amateur political wonk to the extent that she's constantly tweeting her thoughts, opinions and attitudes to the likes of Lawrence O'Donnell, Bob Cesca and Keith Olbermann and who screams at the television to such an extent that she scares her young son, went into abject meltdown over these tax cuts for the rich, without a thought for any of her fellow proletariat who just might be long-term unemployed or the chances her children gained for financial help in their quest for post-secondary education.

It's the fashion to follow the tax cut craze, which means, more and more, that the Democratic Party is abandoning its championing of the working classes.

Bill Maher is an intelligent man, and he should know better. He's followed government and government procedure enough to know how things work. He knows a compromise when he sees one. This is all just the language of the moment, the game of "Piss on the President," better known amongst older Democrats as "Shooting Yourself in the Foot." The Democrats do that a lot and never learn from it.

Obama caved to the Democrats, so now we have to find someone to mount a primary challenge, never ever remembering the events which occurred after the primary challenges of 1968 and 1980. The first brought us Watergate and introduced us to the Three R's of the Republican brand: Ratfucking, Roger Ailes and Karl Rove. The second brought us 12 years of Republican rule, credit and financial deregulation, trickledown, phony wealth which felt good at the time but came back to kick us all in the ass, and the first Gulf War.

And after all is said and done, with all the legislation passed during the lame duck session of Congress and after the horrific events in Tucson, after the President held it together for us on all those occasions, Bill and his ilk are scurrying about, furiously searching for the next stick with which to beat the President. Social Security? Tackling the tax code? The State of the Union speech? What he should say? What he shouldn't say?

In the year that's the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War - yes, the one which was fought in order to end slavery - I have a hard time taking the Democratic Party seriously, when its most liberal proponents insist on treating the President of the United States like Miss Scarlett treated Prissy, and that's said as someone who was weaned on the Democratic Party.

And if that's not enough, I have to sit, watch and listen to Sean Hannity facilitate the very public unraveling of Sarah Palin for all to see on Monday evening, in a typically incoherent, Biblically-inspired rant, filled with the obvious lies, which just happened to shift the blame for all the violent rhetoric she started and subsequently inspired, back to the Democratic party and liberals in general. Somewhere, somehow in Governor Palin's parallel universe, the Democrats put up crosshair maps, identifying innocent Republican candidates as targets to be taken out, Democrats were the moral, emotional and political scourge of this great, free country, Democrats have been issuing death threats against Madame and her spawn and CNN has been bullying poor Willow Palin, who does a fair job of bullying, herself, if her recent antics on her Facebook page are anything by which she can be measured. In that respect, I fear for CNN's safety, because I would imagine that Willow has pretty much had to bring herself up, what with Mommy prancing about the Lower Forty-Eight, being adored.

Thing is, and not being one to push the envelope of false equivalency, people believe these talking heads. Some poor bastard conned into voting against his own interests and living in a modular home someplace is going to believe Palin when she paints the Democrats and anyone liberal as a danger to the lifeblood of a nation; just as there are adoring scores of people on the Left, slurping up the lattes from the superior sections of the Left Coast, who follow every word Bill Maher says, even when he contradicts himself from one week to the next, whilst ignoring the fact that he looks increasingly more comfortable in the company of Darrell Issa and Bill Frist than he does with anyone of the Democratic persuasion.

And so it will go on and on, with civility as much of an illusion and a pretense as anything else about our sick and sordid political system. Palin's pets will buy into the myth of deranged and unAmerican coastal elites trying to change Brand America to their own socialistic and godless liking, and Maher's minions will continue to believe that the only America that matters is found along the West Coast or in the Northeast, and everything else is Flyover Country or the unreconstructed neo-Confederacy inhabited by a race of racist, illiterate, inbreds who pronounce the word "shit" as having two syllables.

Speaking of the Confederacy, do you know the story of how California tried to secede in 1861 to form the Republic of the Pacific? Their state flag today is almost an exact replica of their intended "republic's" flag, which is more than a bit like those Deep Southerners who want to incorporate the Confederate battle flag as part of their state's emblem.

Maybe the two extremes have more in common than they think. At least they can always share their Obama hate.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Euphemism of Plain Speech (Yes, That's an Oxymoron)

by Marion Watts on Thursday, 13 January 2011 at 12:11. Right, come the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November 2012, I hope to take up arms with my laptop, sitting here in merry old England, and exercise my Constitutional right as an American citizen. No, I'm not going to beat the elderly Queen about the head with my computer, not even Prince Charles, although I admit I'd quite like to give a resounding bitch slap to that smirky, little twerp, George Osborne, who I reckon happens to be Eric Cantor's brother, from whom he was separated at birth.

I simply mean that I'm going to vote in the next Presidential election, because, according to Sarah Palin, today's rhetorical meaning of "taking up arms" means voting; and, after all, Palin's a wordsmith, right? I mean, who'd argue with "refudiate?"

Silly me. Here I thought "taking up arms" meant ... well, taking up arms, arming yourself for some sort of conflict, the way the French Resistance did when the Nazis invaded France; but I suppose that's a different place, a different time and a different meaning - like years ago, during the English Restoration of the Seventeenth Century, the only time a woman or a girl was referred to as "Miss" indicated that she was a member of the oldest profession, as in "'tis a pity she's a whore."

So I guess "taking up arms" really means "voting" because Palin says it does.

And I suppose Robert Gibbs's referral to the "Professional Left" really didn't mean those people who espouse a Liberal or Progressive point of view and get paid by a corporation or an entity for propagating that Left-of-centre viewpoint, either in print or via the media of television or radio. Since I'm a linguist and that's a profession, and since I'm pretty Leftist, I guess that means me. Since my cousin's an unskilled worker and he's Leftist too, I guess that means he. I suppose you can be professionally unskilled. I didn't know that the entire populace, hoi polloi, plebosphere who lean Left were entirely professional, but I'll take Ed Schultz's interpretation of it because Big Ed's on television, and he should know, right?

And when Michele Bachman makes a clarion call for all her constituents to be "armed and dangerous in the streets," she really means she wants them to be politically aware. Gee, I guess my 82 year-old aunt must be causing quite a sensation in the little hamlet where I was raised. I've never met a more politically astute person in my life, so I guess the local police department/sheriff's office must be kept pretty busy keeping her in line, since she's always been "armed and dangerous in the streets" (even though we've only got one state route which passes through the village).

Then there's the question of socialists and Nazis. Just who are they in today's political climate? I thought Silvio Berlusconi was pretty damned close to being a Nazi, without actually saying that he was (which is illegal in Italy), but it seems that Barack Obama is a socialist and George W Bush is a Nazi, depending on which political persuasion you follow. Or maybe Barack Obama is the Nazi and George W Bush is the socialist, if you're Ann Coulter. Who knows?

All I know is that a Democratic Congresswoman is critically injured, and six people - including a Federal judge, a 30 year-old Congressional aide and a 9 year-old child - are dead because a disturbed person, who may or may not have been influenced by the extreme rhetoric of violence which seems to be the acceptable norm for political discourse on one side of the political equation these days. The alleged assailant did, however, appear to have rather eclectic reading tastes, which seem, upon initial examination, to lean rightwards into the realm of Glenn Beckistan, but no one's blaming Beck.

No one's really blaming anyone in particular, even though Sarah Palin seems to think that everyone on the Left is blaming her and is acting the victim anyway for whatever purpose. Hey, Sarah, nobody's blaming you, but if you suddenly take down your Congressional Target Practice map, listing 20 Democratic Congressional seats represented as targets in firearms' crosshairs within an hour after this attempted assassination of a government official-cum-massacre of various private citizens, you're really showing somewhat of a cover-your-ass mentality, aren't you? Normally, I'd say "guilty conscience," but I would iimagine that "guilt" isn't a concept with which you're familiar, and I doubt you have anything reasonably resembling a conscience.

I actually agree with various voices on the Right, shouting that we should blame the shooter, but that doesn't mean that this tragic incident shouldn't prompt us to look closely at the extreme and often irrational dialogue that's been bandied about all over the place from the bureacracy to the blogosphere for the past two years. From "anchor babies" on the Right to "public option" on the Left, hands UP, who hasn't got a headache from the shouting, the hatred and the vitriol?

As the late James Brown said, "Big mouths say nothing."

They might not say anything, but they sure do cause deep and probably impenetrable rifts. The talking heads act as our cheerleaders, ratcheting the volume of dialogue up to fever pitch, then lighting their Havana cigars, chortling mercilessly and walking away to their seven-figure corporate salaries whilst the plebs snark and bicker amongst themselves.

Insult is traded with insult. People revel in argumentum ad hominem, especially when it comes to referring to the President. The worst the last Democratic President had to endure in this respect was being called "Bubba" consistently by the likes of the late Tim Russert, scion of the Beltway media establishment. (Well, karma even has a way of biting a dead man's ass, Big Tim; after all, your legacy has been David Gregory in the MTP chair and your ineffectually trivial son pretending to be NBC's nepotistic Capitol Hill correspondent). The worst Jimmy Carter had to endure from said media was being labelled a Cracker.

The current President is treated with derision and disrespect by both sides of the political equation. The Right seek to ostracize him in the eyes of their so-called base by emphasizing how "different" he is to previous occupants of the Oval Office, and they're hardly subtle in indicating why he shouldn't be there. (Are you listening, Birthers?) The Tea Party, that lovechild of Libertarians crossed with John Birchers and delivered by the Koch Brothers, has cornered the market in vitriol on that subject.

The Left treat the President with scorn and condescension, almost implying that he's an idiot, incapable of walking down the street and chewing gum at the same time. They're over-solicitous to the point of patronising when they obsess about what he's going to say before he says it, then jump in, feet-first in mouth, with intense criticism, five seconds after he's said it. Second-guessing is a way of life.

And at various times, to both sides, he's painted as an elitist. The Right say he's unAmerican, and the Left say he's weak. Worse than weak, he's been labelled an "appeaser" and a "quisling" for compromises he's made. People on the right call him an idiot and want to "knock some sense" into him. People on the Left call him a "pussy" on national television.

Some on the Right refer to him as an anti-colonial Kenyan, but we get the gist. And we get the gist when people on the Left take to referring to the President as the "Affirmative Action President" or, simply, "the house nigger." Suffice it to say, the latter are the ones whose voices are the most strident in favour of redacting the n-word from Mark Twain's "Huckleberry Finn."

But I suppose Newt Gingrich didn't mean anything racial when he made the Kenyan remark, and I'm sure Bill Maher wasn't stereotyping the President as ghetto superbad and violent when he remarked that he wanted a "real" black President who was a gangsta who'd open his jacket to the Congress and Cabinet to reveal a concealed weapon on his body ... as in "gun" and nothing phallic.

I'm beginning to be confused as to when euphemism became plain speech, and plain speech came to be explained away as harmless euphemism, but it seems to me that the Republicans have become increasingly more recalcitrant whenever there's a Democratic incumbent in the White House, and the Democrats are simply frustrated that, for all their elite Left Coastal and Northeastern credentials, the only candidates who've successfully made it to the White House on their ticket in the past 35 years have been two Bubbas and a black man.

And that's really what's fueling all this ire in America at the moment, from Capitol Hill to the most rural of boondocks: The Right can't stand the thought of a black man in the White House, who isn't there to serve drinks, and the Left can't abide the fact that there's a black man in the White House, who's smarter than everybody else and the only adult in town, much less in the room.

Happy New Year.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The American People

Just who are "the American People?"

I want to know.

I hear that phrase bandied about by all and sundry and so much at the moment, but I'm damned if I can figure out who, exactly, "the American People" are. Depending on who uses the phrase and for what purpose, "the American People" seem to want and demand a lot of things, many of which are at cross purposes with each other.

For example, according to some, "the American People" want small government. They don't want Washington looking over their shoulders and in their garbage cans. "The American People" are rugged individualists, who answer to no one but their wallet and their God, in that order. "The American People" are not socialists.

On the other hand, "the American People" want their Social Security payments made on time, and they want the assurance that Medicare will be part and parcel of their personal care package when the time arrives in their lives to take advantage of this program, to which they are entitled. And never mind that both those programs are based on a socialist premise, "the American People" don't want government interfering with either one or both.

"The American people", according to some, are ignorant. Worse than ignorant, they're stupid. Those who hold this opinion usually are inclined to view those "rugged individualists" as rubes (if the individualist happens to hail from the Midwest) or inbred, unreconstructed Confederate shitkickers, if such an individualist happens to be from any point South of the Mason-Dixon Line. These "American People" always vote against their own interests - which means, they always vote Republican; and no matter how hard the "American People" who know better - usually those found on the West (or Left, as they prefer) Coast or in the cosmopolitan urban areas of the Northeast - send all these bright-eyed, idealistic, eager-beaver, young unpaid college volunteers to live amongst the hoi-polloi every four years, when the election of a Democratic President becomes imperative, these poor kids just can't seem to dent the iron mask of stupidity worn by the local yokels.

Last November, I was told by victorious Republican candidates that "the American People" had spoken. That they had repudiated, even refudiated, the President's political agenda by re-electing the selfsame bunch of corporate, Rightwing business lackies sporting Bibles in one hand and pitchforks in the other, who'd rammed the ship of state against the rocks two years previously.

How's that for a dose of masochism?

Based on that result, it appears that "the American People" like knowing their place. They like the idea of being peones, peasants, working poor. Now, all of a sudden, some part of "the American People," some Democrats awakening from a slumber that just might rival Rip Van Winkel's, have realised that "the American People" aren't all a Middle Class dream turned nightmare. Now, we're hearing references to "the working class" again and even "the working poor."

We heard the President reference "the working class" when he explained his reason for making a compromise with Republican Party leaders (or "caving" to them as some interpreters of information imparted to "the American People" have said) on extending the Bush Tax Cuts for the rich. We heard Kathleen Kennedy Townsend reference "the working poor" when speaking of a demographic to whom the Democrats need, desperately, to speak and to deliver a message.

The President gets it. So does Townsend, who would remember lessons learned from her father, Robert Kennedy, along these lines. Senator James Webb, of Virginia, gets it too. More Democrats need to heed this too.

A great deal of "the American People" can be found amongst the working class or the working poor. I don't mean the recently down-sized and down-shifted professional Middle Class, I mean the people who were born working and who'll work all their lives and be lucky they'll have enough to cover funeral expenses when they die. I mean the ones who live in cheap modular homes or shanty rentals on the other side of whatever railroad track or gullet runs through the town where they live. The people who operate forklifts, dig ditches, work in fastfood restaurants and shop at WalMart.

Believe it or not, most of these people's daddies and grandaddies were probably New Deal Democrats. Many of them probably voted for Kennedy. And somewhere during the past forty years, they found themselves abandoned by the Democratic Party which we know today, only to be discovered and nurtured like a hot house flower by the Republicans wanting to rule today.

They quoted Bible scripture to them, just so these poor folk would feel at home, and told them stories about how the Democrats wanted to kill unborn babies. They filled them with a perverted myth of American exceptionalism. They taught them that America was a Christian nation and that Americans, by virtue of that selfsame exceptionalism, were better than any breed of people in the world and, therefore, entitled to do as they damned well pleased.

They turned them into cannon fodder and Barbie dolls looking like Lynddie England.

And when the good folk of certain tranches of the Democratic Party speak of "the American People," they don't mean "the working poor". Somewhere along the line, as well - probably during the Reagan regime - someone filled these poor folks' pockets with plastic buying power and convinced them that they were "middle class." The working class connotation only reinforced the caul of shame which had enveloped them since birth. And in return for that plastic prosperity, they gave the Republican party their vote.

No, indeed, some well-meaning Democrats, speaking collectively of the "middle class" don't include the working poor who've spent the last 30 years believing themselves part of that dream. They talk about Ward and June Cleaver, with their social consciences and their lattes and Chablis, planning for the Ivy Leagued college funds of Wally and the Beaver.

To the well-meaning Democrats of the Left Coast persuasion, who call themselves populists, yet who travel in private Lear jets, the working poor have cooties. They watch Fox News and fry everything from meat to chocolate candy.they're fat. They hunt animals and sometimes people. They run meth labs. They're racist. Worse than racist, they like Sarah Palin.

In short, they're not worth the dirt in which they wallow. Leave them to their religion and their rusticity. Leave them in the bowels of Beck.

Sitting where I'm sat across the wide expanse of the pond known as the Atlantic Ocean at the beginning of the year which marks the 150th anniversary of the beginning of a family feud called the Civil War, I'm amazed at how "the American People" are being collectively screwed by those whom they'd probably deem their betters.

The Republicans have done a fine job (speaking sarcastically) in keeping them dumb and under their thumb. Take racism, for example. Racism, especially in the South, was a bad habit taught by trickledown. It behooves the Democrats of the Left Coast-cum-Progressive variety to believe that it's the shitkicking rednecked poor whites (never one and the same, I can assure you) who populated the white-sheet-and-pillowcase-variety of the Ku Klux Klan. Not true.

The Klan, and its offshoot, Hayley Barbour's Citizens' Councils, were part and parcel of the upper echelon of Southern society. Poll taxes and literacy tests affected illiterate whites who didn't own a pot to piss in justa as much as it did the black sharecropper. Their "betters" sought to keep both tranches as dirt cheap labour by pitting one against the other, in racial terms as well as working terms. On the rare occasion when both white and black have-nots realised they were being royally screwed by those who had the power, it was a revolutionary sight to behold.

But the Northern brethren were no better. The sharp-suited industrialists who populated FDR's fabled cocktail parties of his last two administrations and their robber baron predecessors kept their labour costs at a minimum by pitting their lowly-paid immigrant Irish and Italian labour against the even cheaper influx of African Americans migrating Northwards. That goes a long way to explaining why Chris Matthews marvels that he forgets the President is black or that Bill Maher is amazed that Obama doesn't act the way he thinks a black man should. That's not Chris or Bill talking; those are the voices of their Irish immigrant great-grandaddies, and their unacknowledged racism is inherited and inherent.

North and South, the Republicans buy these peoples' votes and the Democrats turn their refined noses away from them.

They're nobody's people, "the American people," and worse, if they're Southern, they're descendents of traitors and traitors, themselves.

The latest Civil War anniversary seems to have brought to the fore a lot of simmering hatred still left over in this nation. Were I not living in the UK, that might surprise me; but since I live amongst people who have been inculcated with hatred of the French by successive generations starting with those who fought in the Hundred Years' Wars in the Middle Ages and since I've watched professional soccer matches turn into bloodbaths as a carry-over of the religious wars of the Renaissance, the revival of North-South bickering doesn't surprise me in the least.

What does surprise me is the invective and the vitriol coming from Northerners, who assume that everyone born and bred South of the Potomac is attending Secessionist balls and standing in line to join either the United Daughters of the Confederacy or the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

I can assure you, we're not.

And even more pathetic than shocking are the calls from various Northern voices amongst the so-called liberal Democrats, for the South to secede. I'm wondering if some people in the Democratic party have a problem with the fact that three of the last four Democratic Presidents have been from the Deep South. I don't seem to remember a George McGovern, a Walter Mondale or a Mike Dukakis getting anything but slaughtered at the pollls.

I guess, just like "the American people" spoke up to elect our first African American President, they also spoke up for the men from Texas, Georgia and Arkansas; and as a Virginian, I hope in 2016, "the American people" hand the Mother of Presidents her ninth favourite son - as long as that potential President's surname be Webb, Kaine or Warner and not Cantor. (Forget McDonnell and Cuccinelli. They're gifts from our friends in the North).